Let us first, speak to “Eisegesis.” Eisegesis, simply enough, is using the Bible to prove what you already believe or what you want to believe.
Let us start with an extremely exaggerated example:
Let us say that I am a devoted, loving and Christian parent. My beloved child, seemingly out of nowhere, commits suicide. I do not want to believe that my child would go to Hell. I simply must believe that suicide is good and that God approves. I go to my Bible and find that at least seven people in the Bible killed themselves. More than that, among them were Prophets, Kings and Disciples… I carefully compile my list:
- [Abimelech] called hastily unto the young man his armour-bearer, and said unto him, Draw thy sword, and slay me, that men say not of me, A woman slew him. And his young man thrust him through, and he died (Judges 9:54).
- And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed with all his might; and the house fell…upon all the people that were therein (Judges 16:30).
- Saul took a sword and fell on it (1 Sam. 31:4).
- When [Saul’s] armour-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise upon his sword, and died (1 Sam 31:5).
- When Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he…got him home to his house, to his city, and put his house in order, and hanged himself, and died (2 Sam. 17:23).
- It came to pass, when Zimri saw that the city was taken, that he went into the palace of the king’s house, and burnt the king’s house over him with fire, and died (1 Kings 16:18).
- [Judas] cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself (Matt. 27:5).
I am now certain that God approves of suicide. My beloved child is secure in God…. And, while I am still hurting, I decide that God would certainly want me to commit suicide so that I may be with my child…
That is eisegesis!
Let us go on to other things:
Let us say that, in my mind, I see God as a kindly Father. I read a verse that says that I can never be plucked from his hand. I like that and I start a Bible Study. While there are many verses on the subject, they are just about evenly divided between those that support Once Saved, Always Saved and those that speak to fear, trembling, being plucked from the vine and falling from grace.
I compile my lists… 20 verses supporting Eternal Security and 20 verses that speak to falling from Grace.
- God is Good! I know that and so all of the verses that make God look like a good guy must be literal… Clearly, these verses mean what they say.
- On the other hand, all of those verses that make God look like a bad guy, must be misquotes, mistranslations or simply false…
- We all know, after all, that God, is a good guy!
Based on what I now “know,” I write a book and form a new denomination, built on the firm knowledge that, no matter what those mean and ugly verses might say, God would never cast away one of his children!
But what if I saw God as a mean and ugly judge? I would certainly take those same verses and declare that all of the verses that supported my view of God as a stern and awful Judge, were to be taken literally, while all of those verses that spoke of a kind and fatherly God who would show grace and mercy on his children, cannot possibly mean what they say…
Based on what I now “know,” I would certainly write a book and start a new denomination fixed on terror and the firm belief that the slightest infraction of the Law will bring down judgment, death and Hell.
Please note: There is not one single verse, in all of Scripture, that informs us of the shape of the earth… Not even one. Not one verse says that it is flat. Not one verse says that it is a globe… Zero, Zilch, Nada.
On Flat Earth, I must start with an idea, a thought or a belief that comes from a source outside of Scripture… A book, a Facebook Post, a YouTube video or, in the beginning at least, the fertile imagination of one individual. Somehow, I come to believe that the earth must be flat. (For the vast majority of Modern “Flatearthers,” it came through Facebook or YouTube.)
Based on my belief that the earth must be flat, I follow the YouTube Guru or the Facebook Wizard to the Scriptures. There, he / she points out a handful of idioms, allegories and a little poetic language that, while none of it says the earth is flat, might seem to support the theory I so desperately want to believe. The fact that nearby verses speak to the skin on Job’s teeth and the pillars on which the foundations of the earth are firmly fixed be damned… Those things are obviously allegory but anything that backs up what I want to believe must, absolutely must be taken literally!
Now, armed with less than six passages which, while they do not say that the earth is flat, do seem to support what I want to believe, I make a video, go on Facebook, as an On-fire Evangelist for the Flat Earth Gospel! I am so very proud of my new found knowledge and this New Doctrine, that I leave Jesus in order to preach Flat Earth… After all, what is salvation if you can believe something that nobody else knows about yet?
And then come the Party-Poopers… They challenge your science and your theology, making you look like an idiot. If you have an Associate’s Degree in Dental Technology, certainly you can prove the scientists of the world wrong! If that doesn’t work, you can simply declare that all science is evil and scientists are of the Devil… That fixes it!
This is where Flat-earthers divide into Clergy and Laity…
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