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God or not-God;- Clean or unclean

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posted on Jul, 31 2020 @ 05:01 PM
Discernment is the act of recognising the distinction between two categories.
Judgement is the act of recognising a preference between the two categories.
In the Biblical perspective, true and final judgement is God’s work, not ours.
Yet we may and must exercise our discernment, an obligation imposed by the lines of division between two categories which fill every part of the Bible.

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
There is the most fundamental division, right from the start.
On the one hand, the Creator. On the other hand, what was created.
Because creation has no independent existence, the relationship between the two is asymmetrical.

Beyond the initial distinction between God and the created world, there is a distinction within the created world between what is, and what is not, in line with God’s will.
And again this division is asymmetrical. The two sides of the boundary line do not have equal value. What is right (being God’s will) takes precedence over what is not right, just as the Creator himself takes precedence over his created world..

The rest of the Bible is about the long project of bringing us back into harmony with God’s will.
One of the first steps in this journey is the re-discovery of the true boundary between good and evil, the boundary which follows God’s judgement.
That is the intended purpose of the Law. The Law provided by Moses fulfils that purpose imperfectly, but it serves to encourage people and train people to look for the difference between the two.
The fundamental distinction in the Law is between “treating people the right way” and “treating people the wrong way”, and I looked at the social side of the Law in a previous series; God's Law
But the difference is also expressed in the ritual distinctions between “holy and unholy”, and between “clean and unclean”.

In a previous thread, I looked at the distinction (Leviticus ch11) between clean and unclean food-animals.
The following section of Leviticus shows how to distinguish between clean and unclean in matters of health, with particular reference (chs13&14) to the problem of leprosy.
Physical symptoms are carefully described.
There is a skin condition- or, rather, a group of skin conditions. There may be white spots or swellings, which may spread through the skin and may turn into raw flesh. As long as they are spreading, they are “unclean”, but once they cease to be infectious they may be declared “clean”.
But the same heading also includes itching diseases, and red spots on the scalp, and the moulds which may infect clothing and house walls.
So this is really about infection in general, rather than the specific disease labelled as “leprosy” by modern doctors.

The necessary discrimination between what is clean and what is unclean is to be made by the priests.
Of course, this is partly because the priests are the guardians of inherited knowledge.
At the same time, leprosy comes under priestly authority as a spiritual condition. I’ve even seen the suggestion that leprosy was purely a spiritual state, but that over-simplifies the case. The detailed physical symptoms can’t be disregarded.
A truer statement would be that Biblical leprosy is a hybrid condition- a state of health with spiritual overtones.
It is not so much that bad health is regarded as the equivalent of sin.
It would be more true to say that bad health and sin are two different aspects of “not right”, both covered by the bridging concept of “unclean”.
Nowadays we treat them separately, but the association found in the Bible does serve one useful purpose.
The need to distinguish between the infectious and those free from infection sets up a distinction, and gets people’s minds into the habit of looking for distinctions.
This, in turn, gets them trained into looking for the one distinction that really matters- the distinction between good and evil.

Another aspect of being “unclean”, often mentioned in the Bible, is having any kind of contact with the dead, whether touching a human corpse, or eating an animal that has been found dead.
This is not just for reasons of hygiene.
The God of Israel abhors contact with the dead because he is a God of Life. That is why even mourning for the dead is to be avoided by those approaching God, such as the priests; “None of them shall defile themselves for the dead… except for their nearest of kin”. (Leviticus ch21 vv1-2).

So “clean or unclean” is one way of describing the difference between “right and not-right”. These ritual distinctions, trivial in themselves, are analogues of the distinction between good and evil.

One implication which could be drawn is that ritual and even spiritual uncleanliness may be as “infectious” as the physical forms.
Haggai established this point, at least for ritual uncleanliness, by asking the priests of his time to make a ruling on two questions;
If a man carries holy flesh in his garment, and the garment touches some food, does that contact make the food holy? The answer was “No”.
But if the man is unclean, by contact with a dead body, and he touches some food, does that contact make the food unclean? This time, the answer was “Yes”.
The moral is that we only escape defilement by detaching ourselves from what is defiled.

Of course spiritual uncleanliness, the kind that really matters, is infectious by example. “A little leaven leavens the whole lump.” “One rotten apple can spoil a whole barrel.”
That is why a primary function of the priesthood, probably more important even than sacrifice, is to teach this difference to the people;
“You are to distinguish between the holy and the common, and between the clean and the unclean” (Leviticus ch10 v10, repeated Ezekiel ch44 v23).
And when they neglect this task, they are failing in their function as priests;
“Her priests have not taught the difference between clean and unclean… therefore I have poured out my indignation upon them” (Ezekiel ch22 v26, v31).
The health of God’s people depends on looking for the difference between right and wrong, knowing God’s understanding of that difference rather than their own.

edit on 31-7-2020 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 31 2020 @ 07:24 PM
I am not very knowledgeable about the Holy Bible. To be honest, I am not a big fan of organized religion. That being said, it can play a big part in people changing their lives for the better. I have known some bad people who, with the help of organized religion, turned their lives around. So i'm not going to get into what I don't like about it and I'll just say that it's not for me.
Even though I have a hard time following what it is that your saying, I just wanted to commend you on all the thought you put into your post. You are obviously very well-read and passionate about your beliefs. Kudos

posted on Jul, 31 2020 @ 09:07 PM
a reply to: Firewater

Hey, kudos to YOU for a respectful response to a post you are not fully on board with. You are the type of person that I personally like to converse with.

posted on Jul, 31 2020 @ 09:34 PM

Come on man.

Clean and unclean....healthy and unhealthy.

Good and Bad.

Its not freaking rocket science.

Its not an Enigma wrapped up in a Mystery hidden within a Puzzle......or is it?.

posted on Aug, 1 2020 @ 12:29 AM
How do you interpret the times in the bible where women are considered unclean, birth, menstruation etc? I've always been bothered by this as I feel it has done horrendous social damage to women from that era onward, and yet at a time in the past with little in the way of medical knowledge, and even water among nomadic people, this period of uncleanliness for women may have been a blessed time out from daily routine too and a saving grace in preventing infection for the woman, not the man. This concept of unclean, is it perhaps just a bad wording? So that in english we have a word that is very negative in translation but in ancient hebrew had a religious concept built into the word. Just wondering this.

posted on Aug, 1 2020 @ 03:25 AM
a reply to: one4all
I'm not trying to make it complicated.
The basic message of the thread is that the Bible presents a basic division between two categories (what is or is not God/belonging to God) I said so in the opening paragraph, and in these threads I've been illustrating the point by different example of division.

The point is worth making, because of a current tendancy to downplay or blur distinctions, the psychological root being a desire to eliminate the possibility of being judged.

posted on Aug, 1 2020 @ 03:45 AM
a reply to: igloo
A good question.
I've actually done an older thread tackling this issue head-on; Monthly blood and the God of life

According to anthropologists (or at least according to Frazier) there are two different and opposite reasons for treating something as taboo. It might be unclean, or it might be holy. It might be too unclean to be touched, or humans might be too unclean to touch it.

My argument in the linked thread was that menstrual blood was originally taboo in the second sense, not the first. All through the Old Testament, blood is holy to the Lord, because it is the seat of life. Menstrual blood is the only apparent exception, and my case is that it's not an exception.

I point out that Leviticus takes the issue of menstrual blood in tandem with the issue of accidental emissions of semen. They are both taboo in the same way (which should in itself dispose of the idea that Leviticus is aganist women). As I see it, they are both holy, in the original understanding, because they are both concerned with the procreation of life. The sin of Onan was not just that he wasted his seed, but that he let his holy seed touch the unclean ground.

One important clue is that open sores and other products of genuine sickness require a "sin offering". Emissions of seed and menstruation do not. Neither of them are seen as examples of "bad health".

Militant feminists will not accept this argument (though they might if it came from one of their own), because they would rather nurse their grievances against a male God than be assured that he does not really hate them.

edit on 1-8-2020 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 8 2020 @ 11:28 AM
Why not just refer to and make the choices between the clear Biblical dualities presented by Solomon from Proverbs 10 - Proverbs 22. These have clear comparisons, no one has to show the dualities for they are all very clear, in that way the Lord get's the glory and not any man.

posted on Aug, 8 2020 @ 11:41 AM

posted on Aug, 8 2020 @ 11:45 AM

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