Kierkegaard: God Has No Cause

KierkegaardThere are those who talk about God’s cause, and about wanting to serve that cause. This is all very fine, but how, exactly, is this to be interpreted? The common view thinks that God has a cause in the human sense of the word, that he is some kind of advocate, interested in having his cause win and there­ fore eager to help the person who would serve his cause, and so forth. If we follow this line of thinking God becomes a minor character who arrives at the embarrassing dilemma of needing human beings.

No, no! God has no cause, is no advocate in this sense. For God everything is infinitely nothing. Any second he wills it, every­ thing, including all opposition to his cause, becomes nothing. Wanting to serve God’s cause can never mean the same thing as coming to his aid. No, to serve God’s cause is to face examina­tion. If someone wants to serve his cause, it is not God who loses his balance and sublimity; no, he fixes his attention upon this volunteer – observantly – and sees how he conducts him­ self, whether he has integrity and resolve. Because God is not interested in temporal causes, because he is infinitely the con­quering Lord, precisely for that reason he examines. He is quite able to accomplish his will alone.

This is why the more one is involved with God the more rig­orous everything becomes. It is out of God’s infinite love that he involves himself with every human being. The very fact that God permits evil people to thrive in this world is a mark of his infinite majesty. Do you not understand this frightful punish­ment, that God overlooks them? God’s punishment is upon those he chooses to have nothing more to do with. And yet he always accomplishes what he wills.

We usually think that when we honestly want to serve God’s cause, God will also help us along. Well, how? In a material way? By a successful outcome, prosperity, earthly advantage, or the like? But in that case everything gets turned around and it no longer remains God’s cause but a finite endeavor. Besides, maybe I am only a cunning fellow, who really does not want to serve God but in a deceptive, pious way to cheat God to my ad­ vantage. Perhaps I even think that God is in a bind and is made happy as soon as someone volunteers to serve his cause. Utter nonsense and blasphemy! No, God is spirit – and our task is to be transformed into spirit. But spirit is absolutely opposed to being related to God by way of temporal benefits. Such is God’s sublimity – and yet this is the infinite love of God!

Yes, infinite love, so infinite that God desires to involve him­ self with every human being, with every weak, foolish, carnal heart who tries to make him into a nice uncle, a really fine grandfather whom we can make good use of.

God is infinite love and for this reason has no cause. He will not suddenly overpower a person and demand that he instantly become spirit. If that were the case we would all perish. No, he handles each person gently. His is a long operation, an upbring­ing in love. Yes, there are times when one gasps and God strengthens with material blessings. But there is one thing God requires unconditionally at every moment – integrity – that one does not reverse the relationship and try to prove his relation­ship to God or the truth of his cause by good fortune, prosper­ity, and the like. God wants us to understand that material blessings are a concession to our weakness and very likely something he will withdraw at some later date to help us make true progress, not in some finite endeavor but in passing the examination.

Written by Søren Kierkegard: Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard. Compiled and Edited by Charles E. Moore p. 43-45

Copyright 2011 by The Plough Publishing House. Used with permission. [Photography added]

Advertisements

46 thoughts on “Kierkegaard: God Has No Cause

  1. “Any second he wills it, every­ thing, including all opposition to his cause, becomes nothing…His is a long operation, an upbring­ing in love.”

    I agree with John that most of the excerpt is meaningless fluff. However, internal inconsistency (as displayed in the above quote), is a much more damning quality. This god’s “infinite” nature seems to suddenly disappear when dealing with evil. There is no reason that suffering and evil should not also instantly become nothing. But as this obviously hasn’t happened, the problem of evil stands as a crushing blow to any claim for a perfect god.

    “Honest atheists would agree that there are seemly evidences for God”

    Evidence? I certainly haven’t heard of any. I have, however, had massive amounts of ad hoc ‘god of the gaps’ claims presented to me as evidence. Perhaps you’re referring what Peter B. was talking about.

    ” that since the odds of a life-permitting universe arising from chance is so unmistakably minute that to call it astronomical would be the greatest understatement of all time”

    It seems someone needs a lesson in probability. So far, we’ve observed one universe, that is, the one we inhabit. It is life-permitting. Thus, the odds of a universe being life-permitting, as far as we know, are one in one. That is %100, the opposite of ‘unmistakably minute’.

    As for other teleological claims of ‘fine tuning’, consider this presentation by Neil Degrasse Tyson.

    But not only are the premises false (resulting in an unsound argument), the argument is also invalid. Cosmological and teleological arguments for god both require that there be an exception to their own rule. The god they presume to prove doesn’t require a cause or a designer. That means the conclusion refutes a premise directly. It is incoherent, inconsistent, and all manner of fallacious babble.

    ” I would fight fervently against the argument that my beliefs have no evidence.”

    Of course you would fight. If you actually had evidence, you could present it. As there is none, fight you must.

    “John, I am dumb”

    You’ve convinced me.

  2. Prayson, always a good read! Thank you.

    I love when the atheist will make the objection that God has no evidence. Well, perhaps that may be the case for a very limited worldview, with an epistemology that can only be taken from empirical, inductive, research. However, if that is where one takes their view of truth, the very system they take for granted as the only way to learn such truths (science) breaks down on a fundamental level.

    Yes, there is empirical data proving that socks exist. Alas, my sense perception can tell me that as I view my foot, and comfortable, fluffy piece of cotton is fit snugly around them; furthermore, this piece of cotton was produced, marketed and purchased as a being of a sock. Hence, I can empirically conclude socks exist.

    God on the other hand, while some may make the case that empirical evidence does exist, I would take a different approach. I would look at simple reason. After all, for the atheist to look at each of the cases of argumentation for God’s existence – Cosmological, Teleological, Moral, Contingency, Ontological, Aesthetics, etc. – and simply dismiss them simply by saying they’re not evidence, to do all of this is not to debate seriously. While one could make the case that these arguments have been refuted (and in doing so would have to look at the responses and refutations of said refutations) that still puts the atheist in a very arrogant position to say there is NO evidence for God, or at least that there is less evidence for God than a sock. In fact, I would disagree wholeheartedly! For while socks do exist, it is possible that they could NOT exist. God does not exist in the same way, for it is impossible that God not exist. This, of course, is a line of modal logic congruent with the ontological argument, which proves that either God necessarily exists (and as such MUST exist) or it is impossible for God to exist. Yet the other arguments for God’s existence, particularly the teleological, show that it is at least possible for God to exist, and if it is possible, he MUST exist.

    Aside from that, the Cosmological argument would show that it is impossible that God does not exist, or at least, that is the position that must be held until another form of necessarily existent, uncaused being can be postulated to escape the law of causality. The only other view allowed would be that of skepticism, which many atheists claim to hold, all the while placing a tremendous amount of non-skeptical faith in their empirical craft.

    I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on this Prayson, and as well as yours, John.

    • Peter, supremely well crafted comment. I commend you for it. And bravo for focusing on the cosmological argument, but you do realise that that dismisses any and all notions of the personal god found in Christianity. Still, the flaw in your approach is the simple problem of evidence. That is to say there is nothing, not a bit, scrap or shred found anywhere that might even remotely indicate a god. What you have are imaginative runes, desires, longings. They’re fine for poetry, but far from anything tangible. Perhaps look at it from a Dark Matter perspective. No one has observed the stuff, but people far brighter than I have concluded it must exist or galaxies would simply have spun themselves apart long ago. It’s a deduction based on external evidence. To now we’ve found nothing that even hints at a god.

      • John,

        Interesting that you site Dark Matter and deduction. Like I stated earlier, the scientific method is based around a system of induction and deduction, but the odd thing is that if one has such an extreme bias of empiricism that they dismiss deductive and inductive cases for the existence of God, they must hold the same standards of equal measures to their naturalistic processes. Such an epistemology leads to skepticism. As Hume pointed out, ironically, the induction fallacy seems to reduce the entire scientific enterprise to skepticism.
        While I as a theist wouldn’t even take this extreme (and please note that I am an avid science reader and lover of science), but it is interesting that when Hume confronted himself with the induction fallacy he simply shrugged it off and decided that science is the best thing we have going for us, and we should roll with it (I paraphrase here, naturally).

        I would have to disagree with you that there is absolutely no evidence for God. As you pointed out, a case for Dark Matter can be logically induced from a large amount of data that we have available. I would then refer you to the basic Teleological argument. This argument has been around for some time, but remarkably benefited from the cosmology and astronomy of modernity. While we cannot directly observe God, as we cannot directly observe dark matter, we can induce – logically – that since the odds of a life-permitting universe arising from chance is so unmistakably minute that to call it astronomical would be the greatest understatement of all time
        (and a pun to boot!). While I simply don’t desire to go into extreme detail here, if you would like a further discussion, I would refer you to my paper, which I’ve posted on my blog: http://www.appropriateapologist.com under the title of “The Teleological Argument in Modern Cosmology.”
        If we take both analogical and probabilistic arguments for God’s existence, we can have a strong inductive case that rivals that of the case for dark matter – which by the way is still under heavy debate even in cosmology circles even with the evidence for it – and we have such a case through purely empirical science, NOT mere religious experience and other sorts of “codswallop”.

        To take it a step further, as I did above, Taking the ontological argument showing God as either necessarily existent or necessarily non-existent, and the cosmological argument which shows that a first cause must occur, coupled with the empirical claims of both probabilistic and analogical teleological arguments, one can have a solid foundation, based both on a priori knowledge, a posteriori experience, philosophical inquiry and scientific empiricism. While I understand where the atheist comes from in his or her view, I would fight fervently against the argument that my beliefs have no evidence.

        All of this, however, is a bit odd to be talking about in the comment section of a Kierkegaard post, since Kierkegaard himself was a fideist. To him, faith and reason were two desperate fields that had nothing to do with one another. On his view, if one believes in God on evidence, then he has no faith, an subsequently, Kierkegaard would probably agree that there is no “evidence” to be had in the debate. While I am not a fideist by any stretch of the imagination, I admire the fact that while taking such a view, Kierkegaard states that people SHOULD in fact take a “leap of faith”. This worldview he holds may shed some light on your irritation (if that is an appropriate description of your reaction). I always feel it is important to try and understand where someone is coming from by their own worldview before trying to examine their position through mine, lest we descend into mindless dogmatism.

        Good day,
        Peter B.

        • I find it always interesting that when discussing the existence of their god theists don’t seem able to write short, concise remarks/reply’s. Everything has to be an essay, which indicates to me the fragility of their ‘beliefs.’ It’s almost as if you’re trying to convince yourself. I can however fully sympathize with your dilemma here. You might as well be trying to convince yourself (and others) that unicorns exist.

          Now, sorry to say it, but the teleological argument goes nowhere. I scanned over your post (written by Peter Berthelsen) and found nothing new in it. It’s the same circular meanderings that go nowhere. It’s poetry, which is always nice, but in the end just that, wordy poetry… fluff.

          If you really want to get into the meat of the god question, ask yourself not if one exists, rather why would this universe even require one. That’s how I approach the subject, and I do look at all the possible answers with an honest eye and an open mind.

          If you’re interested I have a post on this subject: Pillow Fights with Gods. http://thesuperstitiousnakedape.wordpress.com/2012/10/28/pillow-fights-with-gods/

          Cheers
          J

      • John,

        You seem to be descending into non-reasonable discourse now. I have laid out an argument, and you completely ignored it. Yes, what I wrote was long, but it has nothing do do with “convincing myself”. It was a long written statement because it is a complex argument (try explaining evolution simply to people who don’t want to believe in it and you can probably understand my predicament). I try to write well enough that people wont focus on one tiny piece of writing that I did and then refuse to move further into my arguments. As such, I tend to elaborate and clearly state what I’m trying to say, as well as address common objections prior to them being raised for the sake of brevity in the long run.
        I can understand given your worldview that unicorns and God have the same amount of evidence. I have tried to state why you are wrong, and you refuse to address my arguments and instead say simply that they are “circular meanderings” – and offer no actual basis for your accusation. At that point, I suppose, there is an impasse if you don’t want to engage in debate.

        As for your last question, as to why the universe would require a God. I would argue that there is not enough science to give rise to a rational belief in atheism. Science has yet to prove that this universe is causally self-contained, and it almost certainly never will. At best you’re left with a default position of agnosticism. Atheism requires a certain “leap of faith” just like theism does. Any atheist who disagrees simply has blind faith in the very process in which they claim they gather knowledge.

        But at this point, I think continuing this debate would be rather pointless, as you have (1) not engaged at all, (2) resorted to assuming you know something about me by thinking I’m trying to convince myself, and (3) expressed a worldview that is so closed-minded that it rivals that of militant religion. I’ll let you have the closing words, if you’d like, but I seriously doubt I’ll reply. At some point, dead debates need to be buried.

        • Peter, apologies if my words cut a little. My intent is not to belittle, but I’ll admit that’s a fine line when pointing out the inaccuracies, fragility, and what I consider the utter silliness of 21st century personal-god religion. And you’re perfectly correct, commenting on the length of reply was dead wrong. Sorry.

          Now, I did address you argument (although it was actually not yours, rather Peter Berthelsen’s). I pointed you to just one of my posts on the matter. In that particular mash of words I go through most so-called arguments for your gods existence.

          A final point, you simply ignored addressing my question. You answered with a question, which I find rather pathetic but otherwise typical of most theists. I’m quite serious. Recast the whole ‘god subject’ and ask, really ask: why would a universe even require a god?

    • Hej Peter B.

      I think you very correct. An atheist who keep convincing herself that there is zero(many times capitalized) evidence/arguments to support existence God are sadly not aware of renaissance of Christian philosophy.

      Atheist philosopher Quentin Smith lamented in what he called “the desecularization of academia that evolved in philosophy departments since the late 1960s.” He said atheism is challenged by a great” wave of “intelligent and talented theists entering academia today,” Unlike any unaware atheists, Smith sees that, “God is not ‘dead’ in academia; he returned to life in the late 1960s and is now alive and well in his last academic stronghold, philosophy departments.”

      Honest atheists would agree that there are seemly evidences for God, but not good enough. I am puzzled that if there was no evidence then what changed great atheist giant, late Antony Flew, from atheism to deism. He claimed it was an increasing evidence supporting teleological argument. So I fail to understand the claim that there is no good case for God. Well, maybe they think by saying it many times, it would be true. I moved from athiesm to Christianity because of historical case for the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.

      I think, we think differently, but I am still sadden by many atheists, who probaby have read only new atheists propagandas, hold to weak and outdated objections to the case for existence of God.

      Peter, you are also correct, the evidence of God’s has to be in an accumulative form.

      That was awesome comment Peter. Thank you.

      Prayson

      • Sorry about jumping in here, but Prayson, don’t you see the rather odd contradiction you’ve made by using “philosophy” and “evidence” in the same sentence? Are you really trying to say a humans thought on a matter is evidence? Curious.

        • Are you seriously asking this?

          Philosophy: attitude, axiom, beliefs, conception,convictions, doctrine, idea, ideology, metaphysics, ontology, outlook, theory, thought, values, view, viewpoint, wisdom

          Evidence: affirmation, confirmation, corroboration, cue,data, demonstration, deposition,documentation, facts, index, indication, indicia, information, manifestation, mark, sign,significant, smoking gun, substantiation,symptom, testament, testimonial, testimony,token, witness

          • Yes. I am serious asking. Since I do not see how they can be rather odd contradiction.

            Remember John, the law of contradiction states that two antithetical propositions cannot both be true at the same time and in the same sense. Example I am human(A) and I am not a human(not-A)

            So how is Philosophy and evidence rather odd contradiction?

          • Granted, my choice of words could have been better. That does not excuse the rather odd fact that you implied philosophy was some kind of evidence. That’s utter nonsense. Now I remind you, the burden of proof rests wholly on you. I’m not the one claiming a magical sky fairy made the universe in six days.

          • John, I am with you. I do not believe in a magical sky fairy who made the universe in six days neither 🙂

            The aim John was to help you see that your claim of rather odd contradiction between philosophy and evidence is not true, not to prove that God exist 🙂

          • Prayson, you have this terrible habit of not actually answering anything 😉

            So am i to take it by your statement that you’re not a Christian? Interesting…

          • Hej John.

            I am in terrible habit of answering only the question related to the topic at hand. 🙂 I sadly do not follow red-herrings, following whatever assertion, or claims thrown in, John.

            If you have notice John, I want my readers to think, think, and think, even when asking questions. So I help them to understand their own questions, defend their assertions before I attempt to understand them and try to answer.

            John, you will be wrong believing that Christians believe in a magical sky fairy and equally wrong painting all Christians in a single brush of believing that God made the universe in six days.

            So John, could we go back to what was our discussion. Do you agree that there is rather no odd contradiction between philosophy and evidence?

          • Sure, but I hope you realise that if you don’t believe in Genesis then you also don’t acknowledge the Garden of Eden. No garden of Eden, no Original Sin… No original sin, no need for Jesus. Right?

          • You see, there you go again! You play dumb. Anyway, before I explain, Merry Christmas to you and yours. I hope you have a good one.

            Now, if you don’t believe in Genesis, which you implied, then logically you also can’t believe in the Garden of Eden. Both stories are in the same book. Evidently you can’t say the first page is stupid but the third (or whatever it is) isn’t. Garden of Eden = Original Sin, right? Jesus came to earth to forgive sin, correct? If we are however without sin then there’s no need for Jesus. It’s pure logic.

          • Merry Christmas John. Our Christmas, here in Denmark, is on 24th. It was awesome being with family.

            John, I am asking because I believe your question is loaded with unwarranted assumptions. There are three main readings of Genesis 1, young earth creationism(24hours six days creation ca. 6000 years ago ), old earth creationism(12-15 millions years ago this camp includes most intelligent designer, theistic evolutionists) and Gap-theorem creationism(there is a gap between Genesis 1:1-2, with the rest of creation, meaning we can not know how long it took before creation happened) in Church history.

            So thinking that all Christians are young earth creationist, is simply false. I think it is best John to understand what you are asking before you ask 🙂

          • and there you go again… round and around, never being drawn on the matter. Straight question then: Do you believe in the first book of the bible, Genesis? Yes or No…

      • I think Philosophy is perfectly acceptable form of evidence. While mere “naval gazing” which is all too prevalent in a lot of philosophy today, often stains the reputation of philosophy, to say that it is opposite or contradictory from evidence is a misunderstanding of wh at philosophy is.

        John, as you defined philosophy, I would agree with you that it is not evidence, but I think you have a definition that isn’t true to the enterprise. Philosophy is far more than just beliefs. I find the most useful philosophy is that which studies both the logical implications and epistemological nature of different fields of study. For example, the philosophy of religion is not merely thinking about religion or a discussion in comparative religion, but a sense of “intellectual maintenance” on arguments for and against the existence of God, and different properties of divine nature, such as omnipotence, omnibenevolence and such (as well as the problem of evil and other paradoxes of belief in God).

        Like I said, I would whole-heartedly agree that mere beliefs do not serve as evidence in the slightest. Regardless of how much someone wants to believe that the sky is purple, they will never change the fact that it is blue. I would just disagree with you on your definition of philosophy.

        Prayson, Thank you for your kind words. I like how you referenced Flew. I am in the process of reading his book right now, although I’ll admit that it is a tough read – his mind is clearly a very insightful, philosophical one. Also, I think the law of contradiction that you brought up (I’ve often heard it called the law of non-contradiction) is a great way to show how philosophy is not just belief, but a useful pursuit. In the philosophy of history, for example, a philosopher can easily show two historical events that may contradict with one another, and as such, cannot both be correct. While this example is elementary, this logical law can have serious implications in more complex disciplines were research and experimentation are key components.

        • Thank you Peter.

          I think evidence shows the truthfulness of a philosophical premise. Example Muhammad al-Ghazali’s (ca.1058–1111) cosmological argument, namely “Every being which begins has a cause for its beginning; now the world is a being which begins; therefore, it possesses a cause for its beginning.

          All evidences cosmologists have, according to Alex Vilenkin, shows that al-Ghazali was right, that the universe began to exist finite time ago.

          So a logical premise backed up with evidence is more persuasive than one which is not. 🙂

      • You mention Genesis 1 John.

        A number (14-16) of specific, identifiable events are mentioned there, IN A SPECIFIC SEQUENCE. I ask that you momentarily ignore the Days references, and simply make a sequential list of the events that you see there.

        First, considering the possibility God did NOT exist. That means that some ancient speaker or writer had devised the story of Creation, without ANY help from God. Such a writer had 14 events to mention, right? In principle, he could have selected any of the 14 as the first to mention. Then he would have 13 left to select from for his second event. This choice making would continue until he eventually just had one left to choose as the fourteenth.

        It turns out that this is a large number of possible choices for his (human-written) storyline! In fact, the number of choices is referred to in mathematics as 14 factorial (14!). That seems like an innocent number, but it is actually HUGE! It is over 87 billion possible storylines! (87,178,291,200)

        Do you see why this is significant? A HUMAN writer would have had to select from over 87 billion possible sequences in writing such a Creation story for Genesis 1. To put it a different way, there would have been one chance in 87 billion that a poorly educated ancient writer could have selected the CORRECT actual sequence which really occurred! In other words, it is scientifically and statistically IMPOSSIBLE for this to have happened!

        It has only been in the last hundred years where science has advanced enough to be able to determine WHEN (in scientific terms) each of those events happened, such as that nearly all stars turn out to be far older than the Earth, and therefore “first” in creating starlight (and then sunlight). And that the appearance of man turns out to be the most recent of those 14 events. And also the relative timing of the other events mentioned in Genesis 1. ASTOUNDINGLY, very recent modern science has CONFIRMED the sequence of those events in Genesis 1, with only (in my opinion) a single minor discrepancy (regarding birds being one step different in the two sequential listings). As far as I am concerned, THIS means that modern science has statistically PROVEN that Genesis 1 could NOT have been written by any human, UNLESS God was directly providing information that ancient writer could not possbily have known!

      • Yea, really weird.

        There are statements consistent with…

        Paleontology
        Astronomy
        Meteorology
        Biology, biogenesis
        Anthropology
        Hydrology
        Geology
        Physics

        There are 16, or so, specific sequenced events listed in Genesis 1. It has only been in the past hundred years or so that science has begun to establish just when those several events occurred. Even skeptics agree that the Bible has said that Light came first, for at least 3500 years! That statement must have seemed odd to many people. Why Light first? Why not Man, to witness everything? Why not the Earth, to stand on? But Genesis 1 starts by saying that Light was first. It is only in the past hundred years that science has discovered that stars are older than anything else we know, and therefore that their light existed before anything else.

        Over 20,000 known manuscripts document the New Testament text. This makes the New Testament the most reliable document of antiquity (a document written before the printing press).

        • Roy, hate to burst your bubble, but you are aware, aren’t you, that the six-part Judaic creation story, the cardinal couple Adam and Eve (Mashya and Mashyana), the duality of the universe, the concept of Free Will, and even the End Times prophecies with a Saoshyant – a saviour figure – were all stories embezzled from the far older Zoroastrianism, and from the Sumerians the Hebrews kidnapped Utnapishtim and renamed him Noah. You good book is little more than a bunch of stolen stories. Perhaps you didn’t know that?

      • Don’t worry about hurting my feelings John, the bubble is still intact.

        The argument that Judaism/Christianity borrowed from Zoroastrianism is, as yet, unproven. In fact, if any borrowing was done, it was quite possibly the other way around.

        In the first place, the evidence actually indicates that Zoroaster wasn’t even born until about the time of the Babylonian Captivity. Kenneth Boa states that his dates are sometimes given as 628-551 B.C. (Cults, World Religions and the Occult [Illinois: Victor Books, 1990], 45). Other scholars give similar, though not identical, dates (e.g. Herzfeld, 570-500 B.C.; Jackson, 660-583 B.C – see W.S. Lasor, “Zoroastrianism,” in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, ed. Walter Elwell [Michigan: Baker Book House, 1984], 1202). If these dates are even relatively accurate then it is quite possible that Judaism did not borrow from Zoroastrianism. Rather, it may actually have been Zoroaster who borrowed from the religion of the Jewish captives in Babylon.

        It is certainly true that Zoroaster spoke of such things as “… the coming of a savior and the resurrection of the body,” etc. (Ibid., 44). But he may have borrowed these ideas from the Jewish captives in Babylon. Indeed, it appears that all of these ideas can be found in the Jewish Scriptures PRIOR to the Babylonian Captivity.

        For instance, Isaiah offers the first, full monotheistic conception of God (e.g. Isaiah 43:10-13), it by no means follows that Isaiah borrowed this conception from Zoroastrianism! Indeed, Isaiah wrote his book BEFORE Zoroaster was even born! The period in which Isaiah was writing was roughly that of 740-680 B.C. Thus, if there was any borrowing, it was Zoroaster borrowing from Isaiah–not vice-versa. Besides this, LaSor argues that Zoroaster was not a true monotheist anyway, but a polytheist. At most he was a dualist: “He exalted Ahura Mazda…as supreme among the gods…and viewed the world as an age-long struggle between Ahura Mazda and Angra Mainyu” (Ibid., 1202).

        In addition, the coming of a savior is promised as early as Gen. 3:15 in the Bible. This was long before the birth of Zoroaster. Genesis was probably written between 1450-1410 B.C. And there are numerous other Messianic prophecies before the Babylonian Captivity (e.g. in Numbers 24:17 (Law); Psalm 22–especially v. 1, 7-8, 14-18 (writings); Isaiah 52:12-53:12 (Prophets)). All of these prophecies were given BEFORE the birth of Zoroaster and the development of Zoroastrianism. Thus, we need not think that Judaism/Christianity borrowed the idea of a Savior from Zoroastrianism; likely it was just the reverse.

        The resurrection of the body seems clearly alluded to in Job 19:25-27. Although this book may have been written during the time of Solomon (approx. 965 B.C.), the events themselves are almost certainly from the patriarchal period (approx. 2000 B.C.). Additionally, Psalm 16:10, written by David long before the Babylonian Captivity also alludes to the physical resurrection of the Messiah (see Acts 2:25-32). Thus, the idea of bodily resurrection (including the resurrection of the Messiah) would seem to predate the advent of Zoroastrianism.

        Finally, angels are mentioned in the Bible frequently in Genesis (e.g. 3:24; 19:1; 28:12; etc). Thus, the biblical doctrine of angels is also prior to the beginning of Zoroastrianism.

        As for the NT authors adding in Messianic prophecies after the fact, it is simply false. For example, a copy of the text of Isaiah, dating to around the 2nd cent. B.C., was found among the Dead Sea Scrolls. This copy of Isaiah is thus PRIOR to the birth of Christ. The prophecies are genuine. Not only this, they also predate the origin of Zoroastrianism as I mentioned previously.

        As for Jesus being either unhistorical or insane, both conjectures are entirely without merit. The first flies in the face of an immense amount of information from both ancient Christian and non-Christian sources that were roughly contemporary to Jesus. For instance, aside from the NT and early Christian writers, there are references to Jesus in the Talmud, Josephus, Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, etc. The second notion, that Jesus was insane, is pure speculation with virtually no evidence whatsoever to support it. People say all sorts of strange things, but the evidence in support of these theories is flimsy in the extreme. And the evidence against such ideas is truly overwhelming.

        The ties between Judaism/Christianity and Zoroastrianism are certainly interesting, but the evidence is insufficient to say that the former borrowed from the latter. Indeed, if any borrowing was done, it was likely Zoroastrianism borrowing from Judaism/Christianity.

        The Avesta was put in writing between 346-360 AD [Herz.ZW, 774] and of which we have manuscript copies only as early as the 13th century [Wat.Z, 56 — and note to conspiracy theorists: blame Alexander the Great and the Muslims for the destruction of Zoroastrian literature].

        Some of the material probably comes from a time before the Christian era, but most of this is reckoned to be hymns and some basic information [Rose.IZ, 17] that was part of the oral tradition. The rest seems likely to have been added later, and for good reason, as Rose notes [ibid., 27]:

        “The incorporation of certain motifs into the Zoroastrian tradition in the ninth century CE could indicate the conscious attempt of the priesthood to exalt their prophet in the eyes of the faithful who may have been tempted to turn to other religions.”

        Although there may be similarities between Judaism and Zoroastrianism it’s what’s different that deserves mentioning.

        Here’s just three of many…

        1. Zoroastrian practice includes an initiation ceremony and various rituals of purification intended to ward off evil spirits. Fire worship in the sacred fire that must be kept burning continually and be fed at least five times a day. The chief ceremony involves a sacrifice of haoma, a sacred liquor, accompanied by recitation of large parts of the Avesta, the primary scripture.

        2. There is a cosmic battle between the Good God, Ahura Mazda, and the evil god, Ahriman.

        3. The Persian Creation Story: First the sky was created from rock crystal (note 1) in the shape of a hollow sphere so that it was both above and below where the earth would be. First water was created and then earth. Plants were created next and then animals. Finally humans were born and the seventh creation fire, most perfect of all, was made and all was done.As the creator rested, the first mountain grew Alburz(note 2) also known as Mount Hara or Harbatz taking 800 years to grow its roots into the earth and its crown upwards until it touched the sky. And when it touched the sky the sun, moon and stars were born and circled the top of Alburtz. As they revolved water fell from the sky and the tree collected it all about it into a sea called Vourukash. Thusly Alburtz was the source of all light and all water.(Note 5) As the rains fell seven regions, or Karshvars (note 3) formed. The largest of these regions was Khvanrath, which was to be occupied by humans, and it was as large as the other six combined. As Alburtz grew it sprouted other mountains, 2244 in all.(Note 4) The Vourukash Sea sent out two mighty rivers, one to the west and one the east, making the boundaries of the known world. The water flowing into the rivers was purified, and it flowed from them to the Peak of Hara which threw the water into the air and became the rain again. The Vourukasha Sea began to foam in its center and from that came the first tree, the Saena Tree (note 6). And as the first tree grew its crown provided a place for the first nest so the first bird appeared the Saena (note 7) and from the dropping leaves of the Saena Tree came the first plants, the very first plant being called Gaokerene which had healing properties when eaten and gave immortality to resurrected bodies of the dead.With the great forces of creation so unleased the first animal came into existance, the white bull as bright as the moon, and it first lived on the banks of the River Vah Daiti (Veh Rod). It was killed by Angra Manyu (Note 8) and its seed flew upwards to the moon where it was purified and created may of the animals seen today. Also it created many plants when its seeds dropped back to earth from the moon. Across from the bull’s home on the river was the first man, Gayomarta (note 9)who also was created spontaneously by the force of creation. Angra Manyu in great anger destroyed this first human as well. The sun purified the man’s seed for forty years when a rhubarb plant grew from them. The rhubard plant sloly grew into Mashya and Mashyanag, the first mortal couple. Angra Manyu tricked them into worhsipping him as their creator thusly the first sin occured, filling the world with corruption and evil. After 50 years they had twins, but because of their sin, they ate the children. After a long long time they had another set of twins from which comes all of us humans, but especially the Persians.

        Note 1. Avesta, Yashta 13 then later metal
        Note 2. Avesta, Yashta 19
        Note 3. Karshvar is Middle Persian, modern Persian is keshvar meaning country. The Vedic texts say the same as the Persian texts. The B XII 1-2 “Alburz ever grew till the completion of 800 years of which 200 years was to the sun’s station, and 200 more years to the moon station, and yet 200 years more to the station of the endless night.
        Note 4. The Bundahishn XII 1-2 text in Note 3 continues with the details of how many mountains grew from Alburtz.
        Note 5. Vendidad 21,10
        Note 6. Yasht 12, 17
        Note 7. Senmurv in Phalavi, and Simurgh in old Persian
        Note 8. According to Zoroaster
        Note 9. Gayomad in Pahlavi, and Kiyumers in the text of the Shahameh Sources:Printed References

      • Cyrus did a lot more than just free the Jewish people when he defeated Babylon.

        In his famous decree, Cyrus claimed that God “has charged me to build him a house in Jerusalem.” Clearly the king saw himself, in some sense, as a tool in the hand of God. What he did not realize at the time was this: God foretold, two centuries before the ruler’s birth, of Heaven’s providential use of this man in the divine scheme of things. Through the prophet Isaiah, the Lord spoke:

        “Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have grasped, to subdue nations before him, and I will loose the loins of kings; to open the doors before him, and the gates shall not be shut: I will go before you, and make the rough places smooth; I will break in pieces the doors of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron; and I will give you the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that it is I, the Lord, who call you by thy name, even the God of Israel. For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel my chosen, I have called you by your name: I have surnamed you, though you have not known me. I am the Lord, and there is none else; besides me there is no God. I will gird you, though you have not known me; that they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none besides me: I am the Lord, and there is none else” (Isaiah 45:1-6; see also 44:26-28).

        This is an absolutely fascinating prophecy regarding the Persian ruler. Though this is not the place to discuss the matter in detail, the record of the Cyrus Cylinder reveals that the Persian commander took the city of Babylon “without any battle”; the soldiers “strolled along, their weapons stowed away” (Pritchard, 207). This demands further study of the fall of Babylon, as orchestrated by the Lord under the hand of Cyrus,

        Yet, the most important prophecy had not yet been fulfilled. The Lord told Isaiah that Cyrus would restore His city and free His captive people-and not for a reward. (Isaiah 45:13) Around 540 BC, Cyrus took control of Babylon with little resistance. During this time, the Jews had been in captivity because of their unfaithfulness to God. The Lord had told His people that they would be in Babylon for seventy years, but that He would eventually bring them back home. (Jeremiah 29:10) Cyrus fulfilled the latter prophecy only one year into his reign over Babylon. God stirred the heart of King Cyrus to put the following proclamation into writing and send it throughout his kingdom: “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth has the Lord, the God of heaven, given me; and he has charged me to build him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whosoever there is among you of all his people, his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord, the God of Israel he is God, which is in Jerusalem. And whosoever is left, in any place where he sojourns, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, besides the freewill-offering for the house of God which is in Jerusalem” (Ezra 1:2-4; cf. also 6:2-5).

        • Roy, you’re seriously quoting scripture? Sorry, but you might as well be reading from Moby Dick. You just don’t seem to get the fact that its fabulous fiction, written and re-written by men shaping a terrestrial superstition for sociopolitical reasons that mean nothing today. You and i can easily have a debate on a cosmological reason for the universe, but when you quote scripture all i’m going to do is roll my eyes.

  3. Reblogged this on A Sidekick's Blog and commented:
    Kierkegaard is known for many great writings, some controversial. Here is one of his little-known ones that hits the mark and has relevance in today’s popular “gospel offer” in which God becomes a useful provider to us “in exchange” for our “service” to Him, – as if He needed human help! Enjoy.

  4. “No, God is spirit – and our task is to be transformed into spirit.”
    “Such is God’s sublimity – and yet this is the infinite love of God!”
    “God desires to involve him¬ self with every human being”
    “God is infinite love”
    “He will not suddenly overpower a person…No, he handles each person gently”
    “one thing God requires unconditionally at every moment – integrity”
    “God wants us to understand…”

    Pure codswallop. Lots of definitive claims as to what this god is, but I can simply replace the word “god” with “sock” in every one of these statements and it will be just as meaningful and factual as this poetic, pie in the sky rambling.

    Fail, Mr. Kierkegard.

Comments are closed.