A nonviolent atonement
Theologian Michael Hardin speaks at Paddington Uniting Church in Sydney, Australia on the topic of Nonviolent Atonement, on 28 April 2012. This video is part 1 of 2 parts. For part 2 click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqbO2VTSO-M
I have checked out part 1 of the video by Michael Hardin. From what I can understand so far, Michael Hardin objects to the Penal Substitutionary Atonement (PSA) theory of the cross that presented God as angry and petty, and proposes the idea that it was not God who needed propitiation but humankind (specifically the Jews). God/Jesus nailed the law on the cross (and I believe the law was not from God but from man, specifically Moses), so that the law cannot condemn humankind.
I also learnt that Michael Hardin is a co-editor of the book “Stricken by God?” and the following summary sits well with me.
1. God’s nonviolence in Christ at the cross. I.e. While the Cross was a violent episode, we are not witnessing God’s violence; the atonement is non-penal. Good Friday was not the outpouring of God’s violence upon Christ to assuage his own wrath. That day was God’s “No!” to wrath and “Yes!” to love and forgiveness in the face of our violence and wrath.
2. Christ’s total identification with humanity in his incarnation and his call for us to identify with him in his life, death, resurrection and glorification. His solidarity with us draws us into the new humanity he is creating.
(From “Stricken by God?“)
The mythical origin of the ten commandments
On a similar note, here’s sharing some websites that suggest the ten commandments were actually based on ancient myths. I had decided to google to find out about the origin of the ten commandments because I was reflecting that the proponents of Penal Substitutionary Atonement (PSA) theory tend to assume that God was angry because he was supposedly “holy and righteous” and he had to punish poor, “sinful” human beings for failing to meet the requirements of his law or ten commandments. But what if the ten commandments did not come from God but from man’s traditions? Would that dispel the idea of God’s so-called “holy wrath”?
For a start, this article sheds some light on the origin of Moses, the alleged “law-giver” in the Jewish scripture.
“The story of Moses resembles the tales of other lawgivers in a wide variety of places. As I relate in “The Origins of Christianity and the Quest for the Historical Jesus Christ,” the legend of Moses, rather than being that of a historical Hebrew character, is found in germ around the ancient Middle and Far East, with the character having different names and races, depending on the locale: “Menu” is the Indian legislator; “Mises” appears in Syria and Egypt, where also the first king, “Menes, the lawgiver” takes the stage; “Minos” is the Cretan reformer; “Mannus” the German lawgiver; and the Ten Commandments are simply a repetition of the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi and the Egyptian Book of the Dead, among others.”
So, it appears that Moses may be a fictional/mythical character whose story is similar to the stories of other law-givers in some other places. Not only that, the ten commandments may have been adapted from the Egyptian Book of the Dead, as described below too.
“According to Wikipedia:
“Some historians….have argued that the Ten Commandments originated from ancient Egyptian religion, and postulate that the Biblical Jews borrowed the concept after their Exodus from Egypt. Chapter 125 of the [Egyptian] Book of the Dead (a.k.a. the Papyrus of Ani) includes a list of things to which a man must swear in order to enter the afterlife. These sworn statements bear a remarkable resemblance to the Ten Commandments in their nature and their phrasing…..The Book of the Dead has additional requirements, and, of course, doesn’t require worship of Yahweh.” 1
The Book of the Dead was written circa 1800 BCE. 2 The Schofield Reference Bible estimates that the Hebrew Exodus from Egypt and the provision of the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai occurred in 1491 BCE., some three centuries later. Many religious liberals, historians, and secularists have concluded that the Hebrew Scripture’s Ten Commandments were based on this earlier document, rather than vice-versa.”
So it appears that the Ten Commandments or the Law was not original as it was probably “stolen” or adapted from the Egyptian book of the dead, given their similarities and the fact that the book of the dead was written much earlier than the said provision of the ten commandments.
The following article has an interesting perspective as the author of the article assumes that Moses could have existed in ancient Egypt, who was influenced by the culture and religion of the Egyptians, and later decided to modify the ancient 42 Kemetic laws and condense them into the ten commandments for the hebrew people.
“The fact of the matter is that the original “42 Declarations of Innocence” can be found in the sacred spiritual texts inscribed on the walls of the Temple of Unas in ancient Kemet. According to the Euro-Christian Holy Bible, Acts 7:22: “Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was mighty in words and deeds.”
When the Egyptian Moses took these ancient Kemetic laws to the Barbarians, he had to change them because he was speaking to a people who were living in the caves and hills of Europe and who had not lived a spiritual way of life. As such, Moses had to transfer the original Kemetic text “I have not…” to “Thou shall not…” that is, into Commandments.”
(From “Real origin of the ten commandments“)
Last but not least, someone named Tib Csabai wrote a comment in this blog entitled “The 10 commandments are a copy from chapter 125 in the Egyptian book of the dead”, as follows:
The book titled “The Bible Unearthed”, by Israel Finkelstein and Neil Silberman is a must read for anyone discussing the Old Testament.
These two gentlemen are among the worlds recognized experts in mid-eastern archeology and national movements, as well as writings of the era. Any discussion of this topic is worthless without understanding of their work.
Both were retired from the their Israeli government positions after the book was published, though the Israeli government made no effort to question their facts.
What kind of things did they bring to light? There was no Exodus from Egypt … archeology proves the contrary! Moses never existed and the persona is a total fabrication. There is no evidence of Jewish presence at Mt Sinia/Horeb, though the archeological trail in the area is quite clear and complete. The Read Sea did not part with the loss of the Egyptian army. The pestilence not only did not come, but the period in question, was among the most productive in Egyptian agriculture. And the first born males survived to do quite well. The Old Testament was composed at the order of a Jewish king who wanted to unite the Judeans and the Israelites, so he could take on the Assyrians. “Moses” had nothing to do with writing it. And, yes, the Ten Commandments appear to have come from the Book of the Dead, not from the top of Mt. Sinai.
Are Finkelstein and Silberman correct? Perhaps the best answer lies in the fact that Israel has not “denied” the book, but gone to great length to “bury” it in the dust heaps of our libraries.
So, it appears that archaeology has shown that Moses did not exist, and there was no Exodus from Egypt. And the ten commandments appear to have come from the Book of the Dead, not from the top of Mount Sinai (and therefore, not from God).
So, in view of the above revelations, it appears that the ten commandments or the law was not God’s idea but man’s idea. The Jews would have probably borrowed the idea of the law from other ancient traditions, such as the Egyptian tradition, and worshipped their own version of god whom they called Yahweh/Jehovah – one who was supposedly jealous of other gods, and had an anger problem towards those who dared to step on his toes, so to speak.
That means the cross is not about a so-called “God’s wrath poured out on his son on our behalf” because God did not give the ten commandments in the first place – it was Moses who gave the law, and that’s assuming Moses existed in the first place too. This revelation would deal yet another blow to the PSA theory of the cross.
Given that there are compelling evidence such as the above, one may wonder why there are still many ministers and preachers preaching about the cross as being about God’s “holy wrath” and “judgment on sin of man”. I think what Darin Hufford wrote here in his book “The Misunderstood God” gives a clue to this phenomenon:
“Fear has become the glue that holds the institutional church together. If ministries were to eliminate fear as a motivator, their businesses would literally cave. The infrastructure that holds them together would be gone. Our beliefs about God are laced with this same poison. Offering sermons, altar calls, Communion and even sermons about salvation rely on fear to motivate people and ‘seal the deal’. Amazingly, we now hear that it’s holy to be terrified of God.”
(From “The Misunderstood God” by Darin Hufford)
- Thoughts on “A better atonement: the last scapegoat” (themysteryofchrist.wordpress.com)
- According to Colossians 2:14, did Christ expose and put to shame the scapegoat mechanism? (themysteryofchrist.wordpress.com)
- Getting atonement right: 1-2-13 (billtammeus.typepad.com)
- The Purpose for Sacrifice in Religion- Part 2 (unconventionalspirituality.wordpress.com)
- What if the cross is not about “God’s wrath” but about “man’s violence” to Jesus? (themysteryofchrist.wordpress.com)
- Are Israel’s god and ten commandments “stolen” from Egypt?