Saturday, July 26, 2014

Blood and Gender Distinctions

Alice C. Linsley

I'm a traditionalist. My position takes as its basis the tradition of the priesthood which the Church received from Abraham's Horite people. This older understanding of the priesthood clarifies why "woman priest" is an ontological impossibility. Ignoring the origins of the priesthood weakens the traditionalist defense of the male priesthood. Traditionalists tend to go back only to the first and second centuries of Christianity, overlooking thousands of years of salvation history and significant anthropological and archaeological information.

Anthropological studies have shown that the origins of the priesthood predate Abraham. The oldest known order of priests to worship one supreme Creator were the Horite priests of Nekhen along the Nile (3000 B.C.). The ruler-priest Melchizedek was not the first of his kind. Priests were a caste in the ancient world, and as such practiced endogamy, that is, they married only within their priestly lines. Archaeological discoveries reveal that there was an order of priests dedicated to the Creator and his Son (Ra and Horus) as early as 3000 B.C. These are called "Horites" and they are Abraham's ancestors. This fact is recognized by Abraham's descendants who refer to their ancestors as "Horim."

The Horite ruler-priests held a binary worldview (versus a dualistic worldview). They were great observers of the patterns in nature and noted certain fixed binary sets: male-female, day-night and east-west. These priests kept records of celestial events and natural phenomena because they believed that God has made his divine nature and eternal power known in the order of creation (Romans 1:20). When we ignore or confuse such binary distinctions we have a distorted view of the fullness of Christ.

The ancient priests (Habiru/Hebrew) regarded blood as the substance of life. This why the first man is called Adam in the Bible. Adam is a reference to blood. Ha-dam means "the Blood" and specified human beings among archaic peoples. Leviticus 17:11: “The life is in the Blood.”

There is an etymological connection between the words Adam, Edom and the Hausa word Odum. These words pertain to the color red. Edom was the home of an especially prestigious line of ruler-priests. These Horite rulers are listed in Genesis 36. Jesus Christ's ancestry is Horite.

Blood is the complex and somewhat mysterious transport system that allows communication and coordination between different parts of the human body. It nourishes organs and muscles. Without it, life as we know it could not exist. It is natural to associate blood with the beginning of life and the renewal of life. For Saint Paul the Blood of Jesus speaks of the fullness of life in God. The blood of sacrificed animals prefigured the Blood of Jesus, but could never serve as a substitute.

For St. Paul, the benefits of the “blood of Jesus” are manifested as the pleroma, the fullness of all things in heaven and on earth, both invisible and visible. The Gnostics used the term to describe the metaphysical unity of all things, but Paul uses the term to speak about how all the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Christ in bodily form (Col. 2:9).

Paul refers to the Blood of Jesus no less than twelve times in his writings. Because God makes peace with us through the blood of the cross, he urges “Take every care to preserve the unity of the Spirit by the peace that binds you together” (Eph. 4:3).

The Bible does not say that women can be priests because the very notion would have been unthinkable to the ancients. They held to the binary distinctions that reveal “woman priest” as an ontological impossibility. The idea of women sacrificing animals in the Temple would have been a great affront to the Creator. He created women to bring forth life, not to take it.

This idea that men and women have distinct blood work is a foreign concept to moderns. Today women fight in combat, hunt and abort their unborn. However, in the ancient world men and women had distinct roles when it came to blood work. These roles were not to be confused. Nor was it proper for the blood shed by males and females to be present in the same place. That is why women were not permitted at the altar of blood sacrifice and men were not permitted inside birthing chambers.

Abraham's Horite people made a distinction also between the blood work of men in killing and the blood work of women in birthing. The two bloods represent the binary opposites of life and death. The blood shed in war, hunting and animal sacrifice fell to warriors, hunters and priests. The blood shed in first intercourse, the monthly cycle and in childbirth fell to wives and midwives. The two bloods were never to mix or even to be present in the same space. Women did not participate in war, the hunt, and in ritual sacrifices, and they were isolated during menses. Likewise, men were not present at the circumcision of females (Pharaonic circumcision, not female genital mutilation) or in the birthing hut.

The distinction between the blood work of females and the blood work of males is ultimately about the distinction between life and death. This is why the Habiru (Hebrew) were commanded never to boil a baby goat it its mother’s milk. The mother's milk symbolizes life. Killing the new life in the substance of life blurs the distinction between life and death.

Historically, after childbirth women and their newborn infants were received into the church with great solemnity and joy. This was the Church’s way to recognize the woman and welcome the child. This liturgical moment, called "churching," affirmed the blood work of child bearing. This practice was observed in the Church for centuries, but began to disappear as feminist influences increased in the Church. Today, instead of welcoming the newborn and affirming the labor of the mother, Episcopal Church seminary dean, Katharine Ragsdale, leads her listeners in this chant:

“Let me hear you say it:

Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done.
Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done.
Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done.”

The innovation of women priests has caused great confusion and division in the Church. This has spread throughout the whole Anglican Communion. This innovation is contrary to the binary pattern of Holy Scripture whereby the "blood work" of women and of men is distinct and never confused. A female standing as a priest at the altar is as confusing as a male image intended to represent the Virgin Mary.

Regardless of how one views the priest standing at altar - in persona christi, in persona ecclesiae, a icon of Christ, etc., this is not a matter of secondary importance. No synod or jurisdiction has authority to change the received tradition concerning Jesus Christ and his blood shed for the salvation of the world.

C.S. Lewis is correct that when it comes to the Church's received tradition, "We cannot shuffle or tamper so much. With the Church, we are farther in: for there we are dealing with male and female not merely as facts of nature but as the live and awful shadows of realities utterly beyond our control and largely beyond our direct knowledge. Or rather, we are not dealing with them but (as we shall soon learn if we meddle) they are dealing with us." (From Priestesses in the Church?)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

70,000 Year Old Settlement Discovered in Sudan

Site of excavations in Affad. Photo: Marta Osypińska

During ongoing excavations in northern Sudan, Polish archaeologists from the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology in Poznań, have discovered the remains of a settlement estimated to 70,000 years old. This find, according to the researchers, seems to contradict the previously held belief that the construction of permanent structures was associated with the so-called Great Exodus from Africa and occupation of the colder regions of Europe and Asia.
The site known as Affad 23, is currently the only one recorded in the Nile Valley which shows that early Homo sapiens built sizeable permanent structures, and had adapted well to the wetland environment.
This new evidence points to a much more advanced level of human development and adaptation in Africa during the Middle Paleolithic.
Read it all here.

Though this settlement is located in northern Sudan, Nubian Middle Stone Age artifacts have been discovered there, suggesting that stone technologies traveled along the Nile.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

G. K. Chesterton on Divine Frivolity

Chapter XVI of Heretics – “On Mr. McCabe and a Divine Frivolity”

“If there is one thing more than another which any one will admit who has the smallest knowledge of the world, it is that men are always speaking gravely and earnestly and with the utmost possible care about the things that are not important, but always talking frivolously about the things that are.”

“Numbers of clergymen have from time to time reproached me for making jokes about religion; and they have almost always invoked the authority of that very sensible commandment which says, ‘Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.’ Of course, I pointed out that I was not in any conceivable sense taking the name in vain. To take a thing and make a joke out of it is not to take it in vain. It is, on the contrary, to take it and use it for an uncommonly good object. To use a thing in vain means to use it without use. But a joke may be exceedingly useful; it may contain the whole earthly sense, not to mention the whole heavenly sense, of a situation. … The thing which is fundamentally and really frivolous is not a careless joke. The thing which is fundamentally and really frivolous is a careless solemnity.”

“…paradox simply means a certain defiant joy which belongs to belief. … if Mr. McCabe asks me why I import frivolity into a discussion of the nature of man, I answer, because frivolity is a part of the nature of man. If he asks me why I introduce what he calls paradoxes into a philosophical problem, I answer, because all philosophical problems tend to become paradoxical.”

And this from Orthodoxy

G.K. Chesterton
“Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”

Related reading: The Africa Chesterton Never KnewChesterton on the Value of Detective Stories; Chesterton on Premature Celebrations of ChristmasChesterton on the Kingdom of HeavenWho is Sunday? Who is Thursday?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Abraham's Audience with Pharaoh

Genesis 12:18-20

18 And Pharaoh called Abram and said, “What is this that thou hast done unto me? Why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife (isha)?

19 Why saidst thou, ‘She is my sister (achot),’ so I might have taken her to me for a wife? Now therefore behold thy wife; take her and go thy way.”

20 And Pharaoh commanded his men (anashim) concerning him; and they sent him away with his wife and all that he had.

Alice C. Linsley

Abraham's meeting with Pharaoh is an understated account of a remarkable moment in the patriarch's life. Likely he met with Nebhepetre Mentuhotep II, a powerful ruler of the 11th Dynasty who reigned for 51 years.

Mentuhotep II

Sometime around the 39th year of his reign Mentuhotep II reunited Egypt after two centuries of political instability. Consequently, he is considered the first ruler of the Middle Kingdom. He was a builder of great monuments. The southern shrine city of Thebes was the center of his political power. His royal house had close connection to Nubia and at least one of his wives was Nubian.

Kemsit, Mentuhotep's Nubian queen
She was buried at Mentuhotep's mortuary complex at Thebes.

Mentuhotep had at least seven wives, including his sister Neferu II. He appears to have been a collector of wives and consorts, and this story concerning Sarah reflects historical reality.
Abraham's audience with Pharaoh
Circumcision was a sign of purity among the ancient Egyptians and only circumcised males were permitted to appear before Pharaoh. Therefore, it is highly probable that Abraham was already circumcised at the time of his audience with Mentuhotep.
The king and his insignia, including the crook and the flail, were never to be touched by ordinary mortals. All who were granted audience approached with due reverence, prostrating themselves seven times. During the Late Bronze Age the rulers of Canaan compared the pharaoh to the sun and themselves to the dust under his feet. Gold was associated with the sun and Horus' totem was the golden falcon which appeared on the top of Mentuhotep's cartouche.

After his enthronement Mentuhotep also bore the title "son of Re" and was known as the ruler of the Upper and Lower Nile regions which were symbolized by the sedge (Upper) and the bee (Lower) and by the double white and red crown.

As a Horite (devotee of Horus), Abraham would have been aware of the titles held by the king of Egypt. The oldest title was the Horus name assumed by Mentuhotep II when he came to the throne as heir or "son" of Horus, ruler of the universe. This was written inside a serekh with the Golden Horus name. The concept of the golden falcon has been definitely traced to the time of Mentuhotep and the 11th Dynasty. The ancient Egyptians believed in the resurrection and associated the golden falcon with the deified king who would rise from the grave and lead his people to immortality.

Sarah was Abraham's half-sister
Analysis of the marriage and ascendancy structure of Abraham's people reveals that the Horite rulers had two wives. The first was a half-sister, as was Sarah to Abraham. The second wife was usually a patrilineal cousin, as was Keturah to Abraham. The wives maintained separate households in distant settlements on a north-south axis. Sarah resided in Hebron and Keturah resided at Beersheba to the south. Both Hebron and Beersheba were in the Horite territory of Edom. The Greeks called this region Idumea, referring to the land of the people with a red skin tone.

It is commonly believed that Abraham lied to Pharaoh when he said that Sarah was his sister. However, Scripture reiterates that Sarah was Abraham’s half-sister in Genesis 20:12. Here Abraham explains this to Abimelek, “She is the daughter of my father, but not of my mother.” This is a significant clue in gaining understanding of the kinship pattern of the Horite rulers.

Related reading:  The Horite Ancestry of Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ of Two Crowns; The Marriage and Ascendancy Pattern of Abraham's People; Chronology of the Genesis Rulers; The Nubian Context of YHWY; The Urheimat of the Canaanite Y


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A.N. Wilson on Bishops in the Church of England

In 1983, British biographer and novelist A.N. Wilson wrote, in his Life of John Milton, “It needs an act of supreme historical imagination to be able to recapture an atmosphere in which Anglican bishops might be taken seriously; still more, one in which they might be thought threatening.”

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Sick of Liberal Character Assassination?

Christians find themselves in the crosshairs of liberals both politically and scientifically. A favorite liberal excuse to justify bad science is one of their favorite mantras; people who are Christians are primitives who have closed their minds to science. They point to the Inquisition of the Middle Ages and the Age of Reason and Enlightenment as their proof. Being Christian has nothing to do with science, but everything to do with morality, which is why many can see that scientists who say they can predict the future is a lie. As in all things, when the Left’s bluff is called, and they cannot win on the basis of either the facts or the truth, they resort to attacking the character of those who expose their lies as if character assassination can make the truth a lie and a lie the truth.

Being Christian no more makes one a primitive who cannot understand science than being a scientist makes one an honest and honorable atheist. “Figures don’t lie, but liars figure,” is the perfect axiom with which to tag global warming scientists who, rather than examine the facts and reach a conclusion, have an agenda and find the facts to match the conclusion. The simple fact is that the only proof that there are “greenhouse gases” is based on computer models, models that they programmed without being able to conduct any actual experiment to prove their theories.

Read it all here.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Peter Leithart on John Walton's Lost World of Genesis 1

John Walton’s The Lost World of Genesis 1 promises a lot. It offers what Walton calls a “face-value” and “literal” reading of Genesis 1, but one that sidesteps the problems of attempting to reconcile science and the Bible. For Walton, creationist readings and concordist readings that attempt to correlate Genesis 1 with contemporary scientific theory both miss the point and read “modern” questions into an ancient text that was not designed to answer those questions.

Walton’s treatment of the “days” of Genesis 1 illustrates the cleverness of his solution: With young earth creationists, he claims that Genesis 1:1-2:4 describes a seven-day sequence, and that the days must be interpreted as normal 24-hour days (90-91). Yet he doesn’t think that Genesis 1 implies anything at all about the age of the material universe. Christians can rely on science to tell us how old the earth is.

The two main planks of Walton’s argument are, first, his claim that Genesis 1, being ancient cosmology, should be read like an ancient cosmology, and, second, the claim that ancient cosmologies present not a “material” ontology but a “functional” one. According to the “modern” materialist ontology, a thing is when it comes into material existence; on this view, to “create” means to bring something into material existence. According to ancient ontology, though, a thing is when it has been assigned and equipped to play a role in an ordered system; to “create” doesn’t mean to bring something into existence but to give something (that might already exist) its place in an order. For ancients, a thing is “by virtue of its having a function in an ordered system” (24).

Genesis 1, he argues, is concerned with function rather than with material origination. Walton believes that God brought material things into being (96); he doesn’t think, however, that this is what Genesis 1 is about. Overall, it’s about God’s organization of the world as a cosmic temple. More specifically, things are not made de novo in Genesis 1 but are assigned their proper position in that cosmic temple. The sun had been shining for a long time before the week of Genesis 1 begins; what happens during that week is not the formation of the ball of burning gas but the placement of the sun with the moon and stars in the firmament as signs, for appointed times, etc. Pre-existing heavenly bodies are given new functions in relation to humanity. Presumably too human beings of some stripe had existed for a long, long time, but they are assigned a new role as priests of God’s cosmic temple during the seven days of “creation.” That is what it means in Genesis 1 for God to “create” heaven and earth.

Read it all here.