My Response to Dr. Gary Knoppers Article on Aaron & Jeroboam’s Apostasy? or Not?Posted: March 8, 2010 Filed under: Article Reviews, Gary Knoppers 2 Comments
Article: Gary N. Knoppers “Aaron’s Calf and Jeroboam’s Calves,” Fortunate the Eyes that See: Essays in Honor of David Noel Freedman In celebration of His Seventieth Birthday, ed. Astrid B. Beck, Andrew H. Bartelt, Paul R. Raabe, and Chris A. Franke. (Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, 1995), pp. 92-104.
Dr. Gary N. Knoppers studied Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University, wrote his Ph.D. dissertation on “”What Share Have We in David?”: The Division of the Kingdom in Kings and Chronicles” under the direction of Frank Moore Cross Jr. His most popular work is his 2-volume set in The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries on 1 Chronicles, which granted him the R. B. Y. Scott award in May of 2005 from the Canadian Biblical Studies. He has written, contributed to, and edited nine books and written over 75 articles dealing with issues on his numerous fields, such as: Ancient Historiography, Old Testament Biblical Theology, The Books of Kings and Chronicles, Comparative Ancient Near Eastern Religions, Inner Biblical Exegesis, and Northwest Semitic Epigraphy. Since 2002, Dr. Knoppers has been the Edwin Erle Sparks Professor in the Department of Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies at The Pennsylvanian State University.
Unfortunately, Dr. Knoppers’ field of Ancient Mediterranean Studies seems to have been more and more infected with a serious syndrome; a disease that even coming from Calvin College and Gordon Conwell cannot keep one immune from. So it is with Dr. Knoppers, that Source Criticism has taken its toll on him, to which whoever it was that wrote Deuteronomy, must have written the books of Kings and Chronicles too. Dr. Knoppers, like much of his field in Ancient Studies, can sometimes place too much importance upon the historical, and therefore lose sight of the literary value in the Old Testament. How this affects one’s interpretation and reading of the Old Testament is that what flaws their historical view—JEDP disease.
So it is, the disease of JEDP affects Dr. Knoppers’ article from the very beginning. Not even four sentences into the article written in honor of David Noel Freedman, does Dr. Knoppers get off on the wrong path, saying, “The Deuteronomist could have devoted greater coverage to Jeroboam’s fortifications (1 Kings 12:25) and to his military campaigns.” From the very beginning of the article, Dr. Knoppers’ whole argument lies on finding the importance of the history of the accounts of “Aaron’s Calf and Jeroboam’s Calves,” but does it without having a proper history of the events taking place. Dr. Knoppers goes on to point out that the Deuteronomist wrote of very similar stories in how he described Aaron’s calf in Exodus 32 and Jeroboam’s Calves in 1 Kings 12.
After his introduction, stating that both Deuteronomy and the books of Kings are written by the same person, he moves on to compare the two events of Aaron and the golden calf and Jeroboam’s calves. Here Dr. Knoppers shows the similarities in both narratives and how they announce each covenant at the time with God (Mosaic & Davidic). He gives an overview of the events with a point which the writer is getting across—that is that with the covenant event comes covenant breaking. Like that of Aaron during the giving of the Law, Jeroboam plays a most famous role during the giving of the Davidic covenant of the kingdom. One man gave to David and Solomon what was given to Moses and Joshua, comparatively speaking; then the nation fell into apostasy under Aaron and Jeroboam.
From there Dr. Knoppers goes on to show that the motives of both men were that of the same; each, as he puts it, “reacts against an established orthopraxis.” Both men made a corporate decision to apostatize from the LORD—a decision that would not only have an affect upon themselves, but also their followers and their future lineage. Dr. Knoppers mentions that in both accounts they directly make mention of them “referring to deity” and reacting totally against the Lord. Dr. Knoppers sees that it was Aaron’s calf that perverted the people of Israel, but it was Jeroboam’s calves that extended that prevision among YHWH’s people.
Lastly, Dr. Knoppers ends his article focusing on the consequences of these two men’s innovations. He makes light of Aaron’s apostasy, since his event was cut short and ended quickly, therefore not affecting the people of Israel (whereas Jeroboam’s taking of the nation lead them astray). Moses’ being there at the time, Dr. Knoppers says, allowed him to plead on the people’s behalf. Here the intent of Aaron was deliberate, which can be seen by the way Moses treats the calf as a cult symbol. The difference in these two stories of covenant breaking apostates is that in Jeroboam’s story there is no swift resolution. Where Moses mediates for the sins of Aaron, the sins of Jeroboam go unrequited. Here Jeroboam’s symbols of the calves continue on throughout the history of the 10 tribes; even the purge of Jehu does not eradicate them in 2 Kings10:29. Although Dr. Knoppers confesses that the people of Aaron and the followers of Jeroboam “find blessing only through Zion,” he ends on an awful note. He states that the unresolved episodes of Jeroboam’s calves is only because, “That history, as Deuteronomistic commentary on the relationship between Israel and its deity, is unkind to the northern kingdom is therefore hardly surprising. Its course testifies to the enduring value of the Jerusalem temple.” The problem is that Dr. Knoppers does not see the Divine, but only sees a book of history written by people no better than himself. But we will deal with this in the end of my evaluation of Dr. Knoppers’ article.
Although I must start by saying I in no way hold to the JEDP disease theory, there was one positive idea I found in Dr. Knoppers’ article. That is, that both the Mosaic and the Davidic covenants have an act of apostasy shortly after the giving of them. In Exodus 20 the Mosaic covenant is given, and soon following, in Exodus 32, Aaron the apostate has a prominent place in the book. Then once more, in 2 Samuel 7 the Davidic covenant given, and just a little while later in history in 1 Kings 12, Jeroboam the apostate is wrecking the covenant. Taking this a little further, every covenant that is given has a major covenant-breaker that brings damnation upon them and their descendents. For example:
- Edaic – Cain
- Nohaic – Ham
- Abrahamic – Esau
- Mosaic – People of the Wilderness
- Davidic – Jeroboam & 10-Tribes
- New Covenant – Judas
Although this particular idea was not spoken of in Dr. Knoppers’ article, he did compare Aaron and Jeroboam’s events which lead to their so-called “apostasy” as he puts it, in the Old Testament. This got me thinking about how the Lord has planned to have not only a famous person through whom He makes His covenant with people, but also has planned a famous person through the history of redemption who would be an apostate from His covenant each time. People that knew God and knew the truth, and were part of Israel in some way or form; yet they fell away, broke covenant, and left from living for the God of Israel.
As far as examining this article, the heart of the issue is JEDP—seeing that the same author of Exodus 32 is the same writer of 1Kings 12, as Dr. Knoppers does. Since Dr. Knoppers has fallen to the lies in JEDP, he cannot see the history of redemption, nor its unfolding through the covenants for the LORD’s people in the way which the LORD has designed. Dr. Knoppers sees that the reason for Jeroboam’s apostasy and turning of the nation of the LORD’s people away from what was the norm, is simply because of the author’s intent to speak ill, or to belittle the northern kingdom. Dr. Knoppers defends this as if it is the writer’s own personal feeling about them.
This is what leads to the second issue: that Dr. Knopper does not see Jeroboam as an apostate, but as one who just had a difference with his nation and decided to break away, and happened to have most—10 of the 12—tribes follow him. Dr. Knoppers simply sees Jeroboam’s situation not being dealt with properly by the author of the material simply because the author was not a part of the northern kingdom and would have disliked them in his writing. My question to such a line of thought is, why even believe in the Bible as a historical book, if one sees its human authorship over the divine authority from God Himself? Dr. Knoppers’ view that the Scriptures only give us a commentary on history, and are not the very historical happenings of that which has taken place, skews how he sees what is spoken of in the Old Testament. If Dr. Knoppers’ lenses are already set in stone that he must look at the Bible of Old as only some author’s intent to write ill of their northern kingdom, and not as an apostate nation—which believed in idols, left the true God of Israel, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—then he will never see the true historical timeline which God Himself has planned.
My Response to Dr. Gary Herion’s Article on Why God Rejected Cain’s OfferingPosted: February 18, 2010 Filed under: Article Reviews, Gary Herion 3 Comments
You can read Dr. Herion’s Article: Gary A. Herion “Why God Rejected Cain’s Offering: The Obvious Answer,*” Fortunate the Eyes that See: Essays in Honor of David Noel Freedman In celebration of His Seventieth Birthday, ed. Astrid B. Beck, Andrew H. Bartelt, Paul R. Raabe, and Chris A. Franke. (Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, 1995), pp. 52-65.
Gary A. Herion is a professor of Religious Studies in the Humanities Department at Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York. Herion teaches on a number of different levels at The Hartwick College Religion Department; ranging from Introduction courses such as Understanding Religion and Introduction to the Bible; Intermediate courses such as Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hebrew Scriptures/Old Testament and New Testament; to several Advanced courses like Jesus in Myth, Tradition and History, Hebrew Storytelling, The Prophets of Israel, and Paul’s New Testament Writings. Herion has also contributed to two well-known books in his field (and editing one of them): The Anchor Bible Dictionary published by Doubleday in 1992, and Ancient Israel’s Faith and History: An Introduction to the Bible in Context, published by Westminster John Knox Press in 2001. However, it is the book that Herion contributed to in 1995, published by Eerdmans, entitled, Fortunate the Eyes that See: Essays in Honor of David Noel Freedman In celebration of His Seventieth Birthday that caught my eye while reading it. In this book, Herion wrote an article entitled “Why God Rejected Cain’s Offering: The Obvious Answer.*” It is in this article that Herion defends his belief that the rejection of Cain’s offering was simply because it was from the ground.
Amongst his vast field of religious studies, Herion spent some time studying under David Freedman during his graduate work, and was also his coworker on the Anchor Bible Dictionary. His involvement in so many areas – from introduction courses of religion, to teaching both the Old and New Testament full-time, to in-depth classes about the Torah, the Gospel, Jesus, and the prophets – seems to me, vast as the ocean. Although he is so knowledgeable in such a variety of fields, this particular article is focused upon the field of Old Testament Biblical Theology, and he wrote it not from the angle of a Jew or Christian, but simply a scholar of the Holy Bible. However, doing so, he lacks one of the major important presumptions that Christians carry when coming to Old Testament biblical theology—that is, using the New Testament to help interpret the Old Testament. Herion seems to use the Old Testament alone when dealing with God, and because of that he is somewhat mislead in his view of the character of God and the theology of the Old Testament because he does not allow the whole of the Canon to speak for how God works with mankind. This is easily seen in his article “Why God Rejected Cain’s Offering,” because the answer to this question does not lay in the Old Testament, but rather in the New Testament where God later revealed it.
Herion breaks down his defense—that the ground was the reason why Cain’s offering was not accepted—by looking at what he calls the thematic elements in the text. This includes looking at the man, soil, and the geography of Eden in Genesis 2; the fate of the man and the soil in Genesis 3; Cain, Abel, and the soil in Genesis 4; and Noah and the soil in Genesis 5, 8, and 9. Herion’s reason behind breaking his article down in such sections is to prove and give his explanation to the question which is the title of his article: “Why God Rejected Cain’s Offering.” Herion begins his article stating the problem of there being no answer in the given text of the narrative in Genesis 4. Although this may be true of the text, it is not true of the whole Canon. He takes the stand that Genesis 4 does not give an answer, but the surrounding texts make “The Obvious Answer” clear to the reader. Herion then goes from identifying what he thinks is a problem (God giving no answer to Cain), to then defending his own answer to it, gleaning from Genesis 3, 5, 8, and 9. Herion tries to show how the ground being cursed in Genesis 3:17-19 is the “obvious answer.” From here he then looks to the post chapters (after Genesis 4), dealing with why the flood came and the affects in Genesis 8 and 9—that is, how the ground has affected that before God’s sight. Although some of what he says is true, he still misses the fact that it is not simply because of the ground’s curse, because did not the animals have a curse as well? The article tries its best to contribute to his mentor and friend in an area in which people are restless in finding reasons in Genesis 4 only; however, overall, the article is a laugh at best.
If one was to write an article that was to be a contribution to a 600-page book for my 70th birthday, I would be quite thrilled and honored. However, if one did so with their theological conclusion in the article being dead-wrong, I wouldn’t be very happy, nor would I even want the article to be “in honor” of me. Herion titles his article, “Why God Rejected Cain’s Offering: The Obvious Answer*” and it is that subtitle that is the biggest problem of his article. I, like Herion, think the answer of “Why God Rejected Cain’s Offering” is very “obvious” as well, but somehow did not come up with the same “answer.” But then it was the “*” that caught my attention when skimming down through the different articles in the table of contents.
Mr. Herion begins his article defending the “*” in his title. He starts by saying,
“It may seem arrogant to subtitle an article, “The Obvious Answer.” Indeed, if there remain any great unanswered questions in biblical studies, surely on of them has been: “Why did God reject Cain’s offering?” If the answer to this question is obvious, why have scholars during the past two millennia not seen it?”
Yes, it is very arrogant to subtitle your article “The Obvious Answer,*” but it is even more so ignorance than arrogance to say, “if there remain any great unanswered questions in biblical studies, surely one of them has been: “Why did God reject Cain’s offering?”” The last time I checked, the answer was given crystal clear by God Himself to the writer of the letter to the Hebrews in chapter 11 to the very question Herion addresses. Hebrews 11:1-7 states;
“11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 11:2 For by it the people of old received their commendation. 11:3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.11:4 By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. 11:5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. 11:7 By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.”
Although the answer to Herion’s question is found mainly in verse four (“By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain”), it is important to see the overall focus of the whole passage, and to notice how exactly Hebrews 11 sheds light on answering Herion’s question. How Herion cannot see clearly why God did not accept Cain’s offering is beyond me. The writer here says explicitly, “Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain;” but why is it more acceptable? The answer is given in the beginning of the verse—“By faith.” So it was because of Abel’s “faith” that God accepted his sacrifice, and it was by Cain having no faith that God did not accept his offering. Any other answer contrary to that, which is given here in Hebrews 11:4, is false and should not be accepted.
We see in Hebrews 11:1 that those who had faith also had their assurance in the things to come. In 11:2 we see the author shedding more light on the center of the passage (faith), stating that it is by faith that one has their assurance of the things hoped for; or on the other hand, receives their condemnation by not having faith. In 11:3 we see that God created everything not out of a matter, but out of non-matter, and it is the faith of the person that leads to understanding such truth. Following this, the first example the author of Hebrews has for us in 11:4 is that of Cain and Abel’s offerings telling us that God accepted Abel’s because of his faith, and that he was commended as righteous and his gifts were accepted. To what kind of faith Abel had, the author does not leave room for more questions or multiple answers. In every way the faith which Abel had was a saving faith; and through this faith, he still speaks. In summary, the acceptance of the offering was evidence of God’s acceptance of the person, which “still speaks.” The story of Abel’s faith as recorded in the Bible, still speaks to generation after generation, and still to this day. This mention of Abel’s faith indicates that from the very outset of human history, some Old Testament figures were saved by means of faith in a sacrifice, which was a foreshadowing to the future sacrifice of Christ. This is why I made mention to reading not only Hebrews 11:4, but all of Hebrews 11:1-7. The author Hebrews reminds his readers by saying, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” The question is not merely “Why God rejected Cain’s offering,” but “What saved Abel?” What saved Abel was his faith in giving his sacrifice, as a foreshadowing of the coming sacrifice of Jesus Christ. To answer Herion’s question, it is because Cain did not have faith—that is, faith of a coming sacrifice for mankind to which he would have known from his covenant parents Adam and Eve.
However, what is even more provoking than claiming that the question does not have an answer, is Herion’s statement, “I do not claim to have found the answer myself.” Really, if you do not know the answer or claim to, than why write a 13-page article, giving 4 proofs to defend the answer? And on top of that, why subtitle the article “The Obvious Answer” when you said you “do not claim to have found the answer.” Herion goes on in the article to describe the event which shed light on answering his question when a first year student at Hartwick College asked him the very question, “Why did God reject Cain’s offering?” He answered like always, “the text really does not tell us.” My response to that is simply that the text in Genesis 4 is not shedding light into why the sacrifice was not accepted, as it is more to the pivotal point in which the line of wicked (Cain) and the line of Seth (The Lord’s people) spilt. However, God did not let the question go unanswered; for when the history of redemption is reviewed by the writer of Hebrews, as we saw, the answer is clearly because Cain did not have faith.
Herion then gives the reason why it is he wrote the article saying that a student said out-loud one day in his class, “I thought it was because of Cain offered produce from the ground, which in the preceding chapter had been cursed by God.” Herion says to that, “he was delighted to encounter the haggadic tradition… This confirmed my suspicion that the solution is indeed so obvious and simple that either an American high school graduate or a medieval Jewish exegete could apprehend it.” Just before, Herion stated that he did “not claim to have found the answer,” and yet he nevertheless continues to defend his position that the lexical and thematic elements in namely Genesis 4 (but also throughout Genesis chapters 3 to 9) give us the “obvious answer” to why God rejected Cain’s offering. Herion makes mention that “viewing the curse in this way, we have glossed over the effect that the curse had on the character who pronounced it – God,” thus setting the stage for what he planned to defend in his four sections mentioned before.
In this, not only does the writer of Hebrews destroy Herion’s idea, but so does Genesis 3:14. Herion is arguing the whole time that the ground was cursed in Genesis 3:17-19; yet in Genesis 3:14 the animals were cursed also. Genesis 3:14 reads, “The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life.” Did Herion not see that both the animals and the ground were cursed, yet the animals were above everything else? If Herion’s argument were to exist, wouldn’t have Abel’s sacrifice not been accepted either? For both were cursed at the fall of mankind. When seeing this, that all of creation at man’s fall was cursed—mankind, animals, and the ground—then only the writer of Hebrews’ answer stands: that Cain was without faith in his sacrifice, and because of that, God did not, nor would he ever, allow any sacrifice.
A THEOLOGICAL EVALUATION OF A SECULAR HUMANIST DECLARATIONPosted: September 9, 2008 Filed under: Apologetics, Article Reviews, Paul Kurtz, Secular Humanist 1 Comment
Recently I have read a article at the following site. I decided to write a review of the following section that quite disturbed me, extremely! The article was written by Paul Kurtz on, A Secular Humanist Declaration, namely section 4, Ethics Based On Critical Intelligence. You can read below;
“The moral views of secular humanism have been subjected to criticism by religious fundamentalist theists. The secular humanist recognizes the central role of morality in human life; indeed, ethics was developed as a branch of human knowledge long before religionists proclaimed their moral systems based upon divine authority. The field of ethics has had a distinguished list of thinkers contributing to its development: from Socrates, Democritus, Aristotle, Epicurus, and Epictetus, to Spinoza, Erasmus, Hume, Voltaire, Kant, Bentham, Mill, G. E. Moore, Bertrand Russell, John Dewey, and others. There is an influential philosophical tradition that maintains that ethics is an autonomous field of inquiry, that ethical judgments can be formulated independently of revealed religion, and that human beings can cultivate practical reason and wisdom and, by its application, achieve lives of virtue and excellence. Moreover, philosophers have emphasized the need to cultivate an appreciation for the requirements of social justice and for an individual’s obligations and responsibilities toward others. Thus, secularists deny that morality needs to be deduced from religious belief or that those who do not espouse a religious doctrine are immoral. For secular humanists, ethical conduct is, or should be, judged by critical reason, and their goal is to develop autonomous and responsible individuals, capable of making their own choices in life based upon an understanding of human behavior. Morality that is not God-based need not be antisocial, subjective, or promiscuous, nor need it lead to the breakdown of moral standards. Although we believe in tolerating diverse lifestyles and social manners, we do not think they are immune to criticism. Nor do we believe that any one church should impose its views of moral virtue and sin, sexual conduct, marriage, divorce, birth control, or abortion, or legislate them for the rest of society. As secular humanists we believe in the central importance of the value of human happiness here and now. We are opposed to absolutist morality, yet we maintain that objective standards emerge, and ethical values and principles may be discovered, in the course of ethical deliberation. Secular humanist ethics maintains that it is possible for human beings to lead meaningful and wholesome lives for themselves and in service to their fellow human beings without the need of religious commandments or the benefit of clergy. There have been any number of distinguished secularists and humanists who have demonstrated moral principles in their personal lives and works: Protagoras, Lucretius, Epicurus, Spinoza, Hume, Thomas Paine, Diderot, Mark Twain, George Eliot, John Stuart Mill, Ernest Renan, Charles Darwin, Thomas Edison, Clarence Darrow, Robert Ingersoll, Gilbert Murray, Albert Schweitzer, Albert Einstein, Max Born, Margaret Sanger, and Bertrand Russell, among others.”
Here is my personal response on this section, please be sure to read his article fully…
In the section entitled Ethics Based On Critical Intelligence, Paul Kurtz’s theological errors begin from the very first sentence. Regardless of whether or not Kurtz is a believer, one day he (and the entire human race) will indisputably be held accountable for the entirety of everything in his life, including his beliefs; no matter if an individual believes in a higher power or not, they will be judged (Rev. 20:11-15). Therefore, notwithstanding if Mr. Kurtz is a Christian or if he believes in any absolute truth, he still ought to be – and will be – held accountable for the theology he presents. However, there is much difficulty in revealing theological error to one’s writing and views on life when they have no personal knowledge of Christ, absolute truth, or the gospel. With this said, it is Kurtz’s first sentence in section four that stands out in a way that immediately places him on the defensive side. Kurtz says, “The moral views of secular humanism have been subjected to criticism by religious fundamentalist theists.” This may be the case at times in history – that is true – however, historically/theologically speaking, Christianity has been attacked from the beginning when man thought that they had a better plan of intelligence by partaking from the tree of knowledge (Gen. 3:1-7). Here is the first time that man thought for themselves alone and not for the glory of God. Historically, this is the first time that man went out on his own, so-to-speak, and with the intelligence obtained, began a fatality that all of humanity would be consumed by: the power of pride. This pride is that which critical intelligence is based and founded upon – it is man trying to find happiness in himself and not enjoying God completely. Adam’s intent was nothing less than trying to find intelligence in himself, and not the One who made him.
Next, Kurtz’s second sentence states, “The secular humanist recognizes the central role of morality in human life; indeed, ethics was developed as a branch of human knowledge long before religionists proclaimed their moral systems based upon divine authority.” If secular humanists recognize the central role of morality, then their systems such as detention centers, jails, prisons, and mental health hospitals would be able to fix the problem of humanity’s sin. But this is not the case, is it? No – they need men of God that live by a moral standard of absolute truth from the Word of God to come in and preach, pray, and teach biblical morals, because even the secular systems and men see something different about the Christian faith and Christian ministry. As a matter of fact, in a recent political forum moderated by Rick Warren between Senators Obama and McCain, Warren brought up the issue of faith-based ministries. The astounding result was that well over 70% of individuals would rather be in a ministry that deals with biblical morals and ethics than what the State, the nation, and mankind – such as secular humanists – have to offer. Theologically, Kurtz’s crucial problem is that he sees it as important to place the created above its Creator. This particular outlook is always at the very root of sin and is the cause of man’s failure in glorifying God to the utmost. The theological error in it is that man sees his own morals as his commandments rather than seeing and obeying what God has given to man to live by. Once again, this can be linked back to the fall with Adam, when he placed his moral values before that which God had ordained.
Further on in Kurtz’s fourth section he states another theological inaccuracy that is quite upsetting. When a person does not know the Lord, errors like this are in every way understandable due to a lack of basing ethics upon something that reasons as it ought to, but rather bases ethics upon something that reasons to get what is wanted, when it is wanted. This is seen when Kurtz says, “For secular humanists, ethical conduct is, or should be, judged by critical reason, and their goal is to develop autonomous and responsible individuals, capable of making their own choices in life based upon an understanding of human behavior.” Here Kurtz makes another theological error as he suggests that the correct way of reasoning is for individuals to make their own choices based on the understanding of human behavior. However, the real truth is that man was not created for the sake of his own name or for his own glorification; he did not have a will that made him aim to lift his name above the Lord’s; he was not made so that he may reason at any time to get his personal desires and wants. When the Lord created mankind He did not ask man what he thought about it; He did not ask man his opinion when He created them. Rather, in perfect wisdom and will, He made man to glorify Himself first and foremost above all else.
Lastly, there was one more sentence that stood out most of all in the later part of A Secular Humanist Declaration when Kurtz says, “As secular humanists we believe in the central importance of the value of human happiness here and now. We are opposed to absolutist morality, yet we maintain that objective standards emerge, and ethical values and principles may be discovered, in the course of ethical deliberation.” How can anyone find happiness in change? How does mankind find joy in what they do not know? This may give a temporary high or a season of getting a boost or taste of happiness, but only truth that never changes brings an everlasting happiness that results in morals that humans live by and that are joys to the human heart. Although ethical values may be found or may emerge, as Kurtz says, they only derive from the evil and sin of mankind. Therefore, this is why man must not look at his own fallen state to see what morals and ethical values to stand on, but rather he must look upon the perfect, blameless, and spotless Christ. This is the answer to every fallen need, every fallen want, and every fallen man that may think his mind is greater or thinks he has all the answers, and yet inevitably falls short in his needs. Christ is the answer to the secular humanist; He alone (and through the gospel) has a way of piercing the heart and humbling man before Himself.
In all, theological errors come as men try to be their own saviors – a mind savior, a moral savior, an ethical savior, a humanist savior – but in the end not one of these will save man from hell. There are even those who may know theology and the gospel, and yet rely on their own morals and ethics instead of acknowledging their need for the source of morality – Jesus Christ Himself. Why look for things that will fade away or fall in time? Why try to find answers in the mind that can change at any time? The answer is simple: because man wants to be their own savior and their own personal religion, and they do not want to give themselves up to a personal Christ – a Christ who has never changed, who perfectly lived by His own law, who was morally and ethically spotless, and who continues to be entirely perfect today as He rules from His throne until His return.
Even though my review may be barely read, thanks for reading if you have done so.