tertullian on God’s body

Against Praxeas (Tertullian)

For who will deny that God is a body, although God is a Spirit? John 4:24 For Spirit has a bodily substance of its own kind, in its own form. Now, even if invisible things, whatsoever they be, have both their substance and their form in God, whereby they are visible to God alone, how much more shall that which has been sent forth from His substance not be without substance! Whatever, therefore, was the substance of the Word that I designate a Person, I claim for it the name of Son; and while I recognize the Son, I assert His distinction as second to the Father.

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origen on immutability and incorporeality

Would, indeed, that not only Epicurus, but Aristotle, whose sentiments regarding providence are not so impious (as those of the former), and the Stoics, who assert that God is a body, had heard such a doctrine! Then the world would not have been filled with opinions which either disallow or enfeeble the action of providence, or introduce a corrupt corporeal principle, according to which the god of the Stoics is a body, with respect to whom they are not afraid to say that he is capable of change, and may be altered and transformed in all his parts, and, generally, that he is capable of corruption, if there be any one to corrupt him, but that he has the good fortune to escape corruption, because there is none to corrupt.  Whereas the doctrine of the Jews and Christians, which preserves the immutability and unalterableness of the divine nature, is stigmatized as impious, because it does not partake of the profanity of those whose notions of God are marked by impiety, but because it says in the supplication addressed to the Divinity, “Thou art the same,” it being, moreover, an article of faith that God has said, “I change not.”

Origen. The Works of Origen: De Principiis, Letters of Origen, Origen Against Celsus (3 Books With Active Table of Contents) (Kindle Locations 8884-8886). . Kindle Edition.

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Clement Criticises Most Men for Believing God has a Body

From Stomata Book 5

Now the sacrifice which is acceptable to God is unswerving abstraction from the body and its passions. This is the really true piety. And is not, on this account, philosophy rightly called by Socrates the practice of Death? For he who neither employs his eyes in the exercise of thought, nor draws aught from his other senses, but with pure mind itself applies to objects, practises the true philosophy. This is, then, the import of the silence of five years prescribed by Pythagoras, which he enjoined on his disciples; that, abstracting themselves from the objects of sense, they might with the mind alone contemplate the Deity. It was from Moses that the chief of the Greeks drew these philosophical tenets. For he commands holocausts to be skinned and divided into parts. For the gnostic soul must be consecrated to the light, stript of the integuments of matter, devoid of the frivolousness of the body and of all the passions, which are acquired through vain and lying opinions, and divested of the lusts of the flesh. But the most of men, clothed with what is perishable, like cockles, and rolled all round in a ball in their excesses, like hedgehogs, entertain the same ideas of the blessed and incorruptible God as of themselves. But it has escaped their notice, though they be near us, that God has bestowed on us ten thousand things in which He does not share: birth, being Himself unborn; food, He wanting nothing; and growth, He being always equal; and long life and immortality, He being immortal and incapable of growing old. Wherefore let no one imagine that hands, and feet, and mouth, and eyes, and going in and coming out, and resentments and threats, are said by the Hebrews to be attributes of God. By no means; but that certain of these appellations are used more sacredly in an allegorical sense, which, as the discourse proceeds, we shall explain at the proper time.

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basil criticizes the jews for believing God has a body

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origen criticizes the jews for believing God has a body

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justin martyr criticizes the jews for believing God has a body


And again, when He says, ‘I shall behold the heavens, the works of Thy fingers,’ unless I understand His method of using words, I shall not understand intelligently, but just as your teachers suppose, fancying that the Father of all, the unbegotten God, has hands and feet, and fingers, and a soul, like a composite being; and they for this reason teach that it was the Father Himself who appeared to Abraham and to Jacob.

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Are all mass shooters liberal democrats?

The purpose of this article is to compile primary and secondary evidence as to the religious or political affiliations of mass shooters. Several articles claim to debunk claims that mass shooters tend to be liberal or democrats. They typically are written without consideration of primary evidence and are written without consideration of the actual claims by proponents. The article will be updated as research is assembled.

Maj. Nidal M. Hasan (Fort Hood)

Nidal Hasan was a devout Muslim who opposed the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. He used his position in the military to promote Sharia law saying “I’m a Muslim first and I hold the Shariah, the Islamic Law, before the United States Constitution.” He is quoted as being supportive of Obama and had hopes Obama would pull troops out of the wars. This fact is quickly being scrubbed by news agencies. The screenshotted Google cache capture shows original text from an NBC article that is now missing.

The following is part of a presentation Hasan gave in his position as a US Military Officer:

Page 1: “The Koranic World View As It Relates to Muslims in the U.S. Military”
Page 2: “Objectives: Identify what the Koran inculcates in the minds of Muslims and the potential implications this may have for the U.S. military. Describe the nature of the religious conflicts that Muslims may have with the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Identify Muslim soldiers that may be having religious conflicts with the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Page 5: “Concept of Jihad: [Arabic jihad, from jahada, to strive; see ghd in Semitic roots.]. 1. Islam An individual’s striving for spiritual self-perfection. 2. Islam A Muslim holy war or spiritual struggle against infidels. 3. A crusade or struggle: “The war against smoking is turning into a jihad against people who smoke” (Fortune). Struggles inside ones self are termed ‘the Greater Jihad’ and Struggles with outside forces ‘the lesser Jihad.’”
(This page about Jihad ties in to the last several pages of Hassan’s presentation, starting at page 35.)
Page 9: “Military Statistics: Pentagon officials say there were 4,070 self-declared Muslims in the U.S. Armed Forces in May 2001…. Qaseem Uqdah: heads the American Muslim Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Council in Washington, DC, counts upwards of 15,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and Coast Guard members—2001…. “
Page 11: “Fatwa: Muslims in U.S. Military: … ‘It’s getting harder and harder for Muslims in the service to morally justify being in a military that seems constantly engaged against fellow Muslims.’”
Page 12: “Muslims in the Military” (Here Hassan cites Koranic verses about the punishment for those who kill Muslims.)
Pages 13: “Adverse Events” (Hassan lists four Muslims who refused to carry out their duties in the U.S. army. One inflicted casualties.)
Page 17: “Rule of Abrogation:…. ” (Koranic verses are cited that discuss how some revelations in the Koran override others. This will be important to page 35 and thereafter [below] in which “defensive/offensive jihad” is shown to override verses about peace and forgiveness.)
Page 22: “Concept of Complete Submission: O you who believe! Enter into Islam completely, whole-heartedly … [2:208]”
Page 25: “Lack of Submission:..” (Cites Koranic verses cursing those who do not believe or submit to the Muslim God. These cursed are “despised, hated, as apes and swine.”)
Pages 27-32: “Fearing God” and “Rewards”
(Discusses fearing the Muslim God and the rewards e.g. paradise for Muslims who fear and follow God.)
Page 32: “Punishment Verses: [8.50] And if you could see when the angels take away the souls of those who disbelieve (at death); … taste the punishment of blazing fire. [44:43] Verily, the tree of Zaqqum. [44:44] Will be the food of sinners. [44:45] Like boiling oil, it will boil in the bellies, [44:46] Like the boiling of scalding water. [44:47] (It will be said) ‘Seize him and drag him into the midst of blazing fire,’ “
Page 33: “Punishment Versus Cont: [44:48] “Then pour over his head the torment of the boling water” … [44:56] Surely, those who disbelieved in Our Ayat (verses, signs, etc), We shall burn them in Fire. As often as their skins are roasted through, We shall change them for other skins that they may taste the punishment. Truly, Allah is Ever Most Powerful, All-Wise.”
Page 34: “Punishment Slides: … [41:29] And those who disbelieve will say” “Our Lord! Show us among the jinn and men who led us astray: that we may crush them under our feet so that they may become the lowest.”
Page 35: “Example: Jihad-rule of Abrogation: In Mecca Muslims were not permitted to defend themselves/fight. There only job was to deliver the message (peaceful verses). Emigration to Medina: self defense was allowed. Then offensive fighting was allowed. Later verses abrogated former ie: peaceful verses no longer apply. Indeed at one point Islamic spanned form Morocco/Spain to the Border of India/China.”
Page 37: “Defensive Verses: Permission (to fight) is given to those (believers) who are fought against, because they have been wronged; and surely, Allah is able to give them victory.[22:39] … “
Pages 38-41: “Defensive Jihad” (Koranic verses are cited.)
Pages 42-43: “Verse of the Sword: … “
Page 44: “Offensive Jihad Cont: 9.29: “Fight those who do not believe in Allah … until they pay the tax in acknowledgement of superiority and they are in a state of subjection.”
Page 45: “Offensive Islam If The Future: … He will break the cross, kill the pigs and abolish the jizyah, … “
Page 46: “History Cont: Islam “spread by the sword?” … “
Page 47: “Different Paths to Heaven?: … [3.85] And whoever desires a religion other than Islam, it shall not be accepted from him, and in the hereafter he shall be one of the losers.”
Page 48: “Comments: … If Muslim groups can convince Muslims that they are fighting for God against injustices of the “infidels”; ie: enemies of Islam, then Muslims can become a potent adversary ie: suicide bombing, etc. We love death more then you love life!”
Page 49: “Conclusion: God expects full loyalty … Muslims may be seen as moderate (compromising) but God is not … Fighting to establish an Islamic State to please God, even by force, is condoned by the Islam. Muslims Soldiers should not serve in any capacity that renders them at risk to hurting/killing believers unjustly … “
Page 50: “Recommendation: Department of Defense should allow Muslims Soldiers the option of being released as “Conscientious objectors” to increase troop morale and decrease adverse events.”

Hasan was a radical Muslim terrorist with Democratic sympathies due to the Democratic opposition to Bush’s wars.

Seung Hui Cho (Virginia Tech Shooter)

The express reason for Cho’s attacks were to kill Christians, who he saw as hypocritical. He hated then President Bush who he describes as going on a “hummer safari”, likely an image of Bush driving around shooting defenseless animals. His manifesto is interspersed with religious imagery including a bizarre section claiming that he and people like him are Jesus Christ.

Only if you could be the victim of your reprehensible and wicked crimes, you Christian Nazis, you would have brute-restrained your animal urges to fuck me.

Do they wanna fuck us and pretend to be Jesus Christ? I say we’re the Jesus Christs, my Brothers, Sisters, and Children. Jesus Christ exists in us all: Ax Jesus Christ, John Jesus Christ, Jane Jesus Christ, Seung Jesus Christ, Carlos Jesus Christ, Hakeem Jesus Christ, Mohammad Jesus Christ, Zhang Jesus Christ, Oliver Jesus Christ, Elizabeth Jesus Christ, Vladimir Jesus Christ. ___________ Jesus Christ.

I say fuck you, you Descendants of Satan Disguised as Devout Christians. I say we take up the cross, take up our guns and knives and hammers, and take no prisoners and spare no lives until our last breath and last ounce of energy.

Seung was interested in class warfare, lamenting that the rich were able to afford luxury and he was excluded. He was a leftist.

James Holmes (Aurora Theater Shooter)

James Holmes was a moral relativist who targeted a movie theater in order to stress no motivations for his killings. He was killing to kill. His notebook describing his motivations is filled with questions on the meaning of good and evil and the value of life. Holmes has no social media presence and no information could be found on parent’s political affiliations.

James Holmes social political affiliations are best described as unknown.

Adam Lanza (Connecticut School Shooter)

Adam Lanza seems to be a primal anarchist. He called an anarchist radio show to talk about how society destroyed the life of a chimp by caging it. He expresses understanding towards the chimp and places blame on society. He compares this to human beings, including a mall shooting.

Lanza held gay-rights sympathies, referring to Tyler Clementi in a now deleted post on the Shocked Beyond Belief message board. He also calls others “homophobe”. He opposes traditional marriage and defends “zoophilic relationships”. He shows disdain for property rights. He says “Conservatives really piss me off. Actually, everyone does.” He says there should be no age of consent, and claims sexual harassment is a rebellion against artificial scarcity of sex.

Lanza held the view that society corrupted the natural state of humanity:

Thinking of this society as the default state of existence is the reason why you think that humans would be “not well” for “no reason whatsoever.” Civilization has not been present for 99% of the existence of hominids, and the only way that it’s ever sustained is by indoctrinating each new child for years on end. The “wellness” that you speak of is solely defined by a child’s submission to this process… When civilization exists in a form where all forms of alienation (among many other things) are rampant… new children will end up “not well” in all sorts of ways. You don’t even have to touch a topic as cryptic as mass murder to see an indication of this: you can look at a single symptom as egregious as the proliferation of antidepressants.

On a thread labeled: China is Reportedly Selling Pills Made Out of Dead Babies, he writes:

I don’t see how it’s more disgusting than a pill derived from any other animal. If anything, it seems slightly less disgusting.

He seems to be an evolutionist, by his own account:

I always ride the pessimism train down different tracks until it inevitably leads me to contemplating over 500 million years of animals cannibalizing each other.

Adam Lanza self proclaimed hating conservatives and espoused many leftist causes. His motivation for murder was action against what he saw as an artificial society. His atheistic worldview mirrored that of his heroes, the Columbine shooters.

Klebold and Harris (Columbine shooters)

Eric Klebold famously wore a shirt with the words “Natural Selection” shirting across the front as he shot his fellow students. He wrote on his website:

—Natural SELECTION!!!!! God damn its the best thing that ever happened to the Earth. Getting rid of all the stupid and weak orginisms……..but its all

Like Adam Lanza, the motive for the Columbine shooting was primal anarchy. Instead he saw society as a corrupting influence, even wondering why he was not free to steal things left in vans.

Some excerpts from his journal:

NATURAL SELECTION. KILL all retards, people w/ brain fuck ups, drug adics, people cant figure out to use a fucking lighter. GEEEAWD! people spend millions of dollars on saving the lives of retards, and why. I don’t buy that shit like “oh hes my son though!” so the fuck what, he aint normal, kill him, put him out his misery. he is only a waste of time and money, then people say “But he is worth the time, he is human too” no he isnt, if he was then he would swalow a bullet cause he would realize what a fucking waste and burden he was.

Isnt america supposed to be the land of the free? how come, If im free, I cant deprive a stupid fucking dumbshit from his possessions If he leaves then sitting in the front seat of his fucking van out in plain sight and in the middle fucking nowhere on a Fri fucking day night. NATURAL SELECTION. fucker should be shot. same thing with all those rich snotty toadies at my school. fuckers think they are higher than me and everyone else with all their $ just because they were born into it?

ever wonder why we go to school? besides getting a so called education. its not to obvious to most of you stupid fucks but for these who think a little more and deeper you should realize it. its societies way of turning all the young people into good little robots and factory workers thats why we sit in desks in rows and go by bell schedules, to get prepared for the real world cause “thats what its like”. well god damit no it isnt! one thing that seperates us from other animals is the fact that we can carry on actual thoughts. so why don’t we? people go on day by day. rutine shit. why cant we learn in school how we want to. why cant we sit on desks and on shelves and put our feet up and relax while we learn? cause thats not what the “real world is like” well hey fuckheads, there is no such thing as an actual “real world”. its just another word like justice, sorry, pity, religion, faith, luck and so on. we are humans. if we dont like something we have the fucking ability to change! but we dont, atleast U dont. I would. U just whine/bitch thoughtout life but never do a goddamn thing to change anything. “man can eat, drink, fuck, and hunt and anything else he does is madness” – Based on Lem’s quote. boy oh fuckin boy is that true. when I go NBK, and people say things like, “oh it was so tragic,” or “oh he is crazy!” or “It was bloody!” I think, so the fuck what, you think thats a bad thing? just because your mommy and daddy told you blood and violence is bad, you think its a fucking law of nature? wrong, only science and math are true, everything, and I mean everyfuckingthing else is man made.

Thats what school, laws, jobs, and parents do If they realize it or not and them, the few who stick to their natural instincts are casted out as psychos or lunatics or strangers or just plain different. crazy, strange, weird, wild, these words are not bad or degrading.. if humans were let to live how we would naturaly it would be chaos and anarchy and the human race wouldnt probably last that long, but hey guess what, thats how its supposed to be!!!!! society and goverments are only created to have order and calmness, which is exactly the opposite of pure human nature. take away all your laws and morals and just see what you can do. if the goverment was one entity it would be thinking “hey, lets make some order here and calm these crazy fucks down so we can be constructive and fight other goverments in our own little so called self created “civilizied world” and get rid of all those damn insticts everyone has” well shit I’m to tired wright anymor tonight, so until next time, fuck you all

Humans can do whatever they want. There are no laws of nature that prevent humans from making choices. maybe from actually DOING some of those choices, but not from making the choice. If a man choosses to speed while driving home one day, then it is his fault for whatever happens. If he crashes into a school bus full of kidies and they all burn to death, its his fault. Its only a tragedy if you think it is, and then its only a tragedy in your own mind. so you shouldn’t expect others to think that way also. it could also be a miracle for another person. maybe the bus stopped the car from plowing into a little old lady walking on the sidewalk. one could think it was a “miracle” that she wasnt hit. you see, anything and everything that happens in our world is just that, a HAPPENING. anything else is relative to the observer, but yet we try to have a “universal law” or “code” of what is good and bad and that just isnt fucking correct. we shouldn’t be allowed to do that. we arent GODS. just because we are at the top of the food chain with our technology doesnt mean we can be “judges” of nature. sure we can think what we can think what we want, but you can “think” and “believe” you can judge people and nature all you want, but you are still wrong! why should your morals apply to everyone else. “morale” is just another word. and thats it. I think we are all a waste of natural resources and should be killed off, and since humans have the ability to choose… and I’m human… I think I will choose to kill and damage as much as nature allows me to so take that. fuck you, and eat napalm + lead! HA!

Dylan Klebold tended towards more introspective writings, making several claims to be “God”. He had contempt for Christianity and God, calling it “gay shit”.

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The Cheap Value of Life under Communism

From the Gulag Archipelago:

The interrogators had neither voice nor strength left to threaten and torture; they had one universal method: feed the prisoners nothing but salty food and give them no water. 
Whoever coughed up gold got water! 

One gold piece for a cup of fresh water! People perish for cold metal. 

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Understanding Psalms 11-20

Psalms 11

Psalms 11 is positioned as David addressing those who tell him to flee. The wicked pursue David (v2), and the righteous must worry (v3). David responds that God is not ignorant of his situation. Instead:

Psa 11:4  The LORD is in his holy temple; the LORD’s throne is in heaven; his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.

God is actively watching the Earth, and David’s faith is in God’s coming judgment. God tests individuals (v5), and then judges the wicked (v6).

Psalms 12

Psa 12:1  …Save, O LORD, for the godly one is gone; for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man.

Psalms 12 starts with an implicit criticism of Yahweh. Yahweh has not acted swiftly and the righteous have been destroyed. As a response, Yahweh is stirred to action. The groans of the needy have inspired God to act (v5). In this chapter, as in the other psalms, the poor and the needy are equated with the righteous. Although the wicked swarm from every side (v8), God will give His people safety (v5).

Psalms 13

Psa 13:1  To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?

Psalms 13 describes an abandonment of David by God. This situation is unthinkable to David. He wonders why God has left him. As with other psalms, this abandonment is described as “hiding His face”. David’s enemies triumph (v2), and he is on the verge of death (v3). This death is euphemistically labeled “sleep”. David appeals to God’s ego: if God lets David’s enemies win they will brag about killing a follower of Yahweh. David imagines a future time when God will answer his prayer (v5).

Psalms 14

Psa 14:1  To the choirmaster. Of David. The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is none who does good.

Psalms 14 begins by describing the wicked. They are evil (v1), ignorant (v3), and they declare that God does not exist (v1). Describing the wicked is thematic in the Psalms, and this verse describes them as abandoning God in favor of sin.

But not all people are wicked. Instead, the text describes how God will right the wrongs and restore justice to the righteous:

Psa 14:5  There they are in great terror, for God is with the generation of the righteous.

The theme of Cosmic Justice echoes strongly in this chapter: A wicked contingent who prospers but will soon be punished. A righteous contingent who must trust in God’s salvation. God, looking from heaven, upon the Earth to test the hearts of man (v2). The last verse tells of the coming judgment in which Yahweh restores the fortunes of “his people” (v7).

Psalms 15

Psa 15:1  A Psalm of David. O LORD, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill?

Psalms 15 is a psalm of David. It speaks of a time in which Yahweh still dwelt in the tabernacle, as opposed to the temple Solomon built in Jerusalem. David wonders who can dwell in God’s holy place. This psalm lists out the characteristics of a righteous man. He does what is right (v2). He does no evil to his neighbor (v3). He does not lend money at interest (v5). He does not take bribes (v5). In this context, David also says that the man “does not change” (v4).

The psalm throughout is layered with Cosmic Justice. The righteous will prosper because God will protect them. The reader can understand where they sit before God, by reading and following the prescriptions of the psalm.

Psalms 16

Psalms 16 is enigmatic in that this very easily can be a psalm in times of distress or in times of great prosperity. David calls on God to “preserve him” because he puts his trust in Him (v1). This is followed by praised of God and the righteous people (v3). David disfellowships those seeking other gods:

Psa 16:4  The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names on my lips.

Verse 4 might be cursing those who seek other gods, or it might be rendered that “the idols” multiply, meaning something like they chase after all sorts of gods without profit. David puts his faith in Yahweh, who instructs him in righteousness (v7) and protects him (v10). Verse 10 has been used as a text to indicate life after death, which is possibly but not necessary. It could be that David is recounted the many times he was in “Sheol” (close to death) and God saved him.

The Cosmic Justice in this chapter is individual. David follows God and in return is blessed by God. There is a hint of punishment of the wicked, but the focus is on a right relationship with Yahweh.

Psalms 17

Psalms 17 begins for an earnest call for God to respond to supplication. Verse 3 states in bold terms that Yahweh has tested King David and has found nothing.

Psa 17:3  You have tried my heart, you have visited me by night, you have tested me, and you will find nothing; I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.

As with other Biblical passages, God tests hearts to know what man will do. David proclaims his righteousness. He has passed. He has avoided violence (v4) and held fast (v5).

For this, he calls for God’s response. The idea is that God has some obligation to respond to the needs of His own people, Cosmic Justice. David follows with calling Yahweh the savior of those who seek God (v7). David extends this idea to himself. Because God protects His people, God should protect David (v8, 9).

After describing the wicked, David calls on God to “Arise” (v13). God’s justice will be swift and with the sword. The curse states that although they prosper, and have many children, that they will come to an untimely end. The children will inherit the wealth (v14). David contrasts this wealth to his own content with being in God’s presence (v15).

Psalms 18

Psalms 18 serves as praise towards Yahweh for answering David’s pleas. In previous Psalms, the content alluded to a coming salvation or was modified after the fact. Psalms 18 reads uniquely as a psalm dedicated to praising God’s response.

The format follows typical Cosmic Justice mindset. David called on God to execute judgment. Because of David’s righteousness, Yahweh responds with justice against the evildoers. David reciprocates with praise.

The first few verses focus on King David’s calls to action. David called when on the verge of death (v3, and metaphorically referenced as the “cords of Sheol” in v5). And God responded (v2). This response was fierce and swift. The earth rocked (v7) and fire came from the mouth of God (v8). He rides a “cherub” and flies through the wind (v10). The imagery is warlike. And a warlike response was needed. David recalls that his enemy was too strong for him (v17).

The salvation was a function of God’s justice and David’s righteousness. David served God faithful, and God reciprocates in kind:

Psa 18:20  The LORD dealt with me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me.

Psa 18:21  For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God.

Psa 18:22  For all his rules were before me, and his statutes I did not put away from me.

Psa 18:23  I was blameless before him, and I kept myself from my guilt.

Psa 18:24  So the LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.

The next few verses detail David’s outlook on Cosmic Justice. God acts according to man’s actions. God punishes the haughty (v27), but saves the pure (26). It is cause and effect, reaction to action. God enables His people.

In this context, God’s ways are “perfect”. Justice and righteousness equate to perfection. Because God chooses to operate on a principle of Cosmic Justice, God is perfect. The perfection, in this sense, is a choice. God is being praised, not for inherent metaphysics, but for right act.

God’s actions extend to punishment of the wicked. When God poured out His power, his enemies begged for mercy but found none (v41). The time for repentance is long over, replaced with justice.

The psalm ends with David again praising God. He details how he will praise God among the nations. This is the same bargaining chip used elsewhere to convince God to act. In a reversal of the standard psalm format, it is David who is fulfilling his end of the bargain as the psalm closes.

Psalms 19

Psalms 19 is a general psalm of praise, much like Psalms 8 although Psalms 19 does not contrast God with creation. God is glorified in his own right. David writes of God righteousness, His glory, and the perfection of God’s laws.

The psalm starts out with very personified praises towards God. “The heavens declare His glory” and “sky proclaims His handiwork” (v1). Both “day” and “night” glorify Him (v2). Verse 3 seems to be an acknowledgement that this praise is not vocal in nature, no one can hear it.

This transitions into general praises for God’s law, which then, the author affirms. The author, showing solidarity with God’s laws, asks for forgiveness of unknown transgressions (v12). These unknown transgressions are contrasted with willful rebellion, from which the author also asks protection (v13).

The chapter ends by assuring God that everything David does is meant to be acceptable to God, and as a result, God should find him worthy:

Psa 19:14  Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

Psalms 20

Psalms 20 is a “Psalm of David”, but better reads as a psalm written “about” David. The setting appears to be King David preparing for war, and the people pray for God to intercede on his behalf. The themes of Cosmic Justice are invoked for David’s success.

This prayer operates on multiple levels. The people pray that Yahweh intercedes on David’s behalf, but this is concealed by the confidence in Yahweh’s success. The prayer is offered as if it has already been fulfilled, perhaps reinforcing the need for Yahweh to act. If He does not act, the failure would be God’s.

By rendering glory to God before the act, this serves as both positive reinforcement for God acting and gives God the praise that He desires. This quid pro quo is seen in verses 3 and 4:

Psa 20:3  May he remember all your offerings and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices! Selah.

Psa 20:4  May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans!

The people focus on David’s loyalty to God, and depend on God to repay this loyalty in turn. King David, perhaps, answers the people in verse 6, shifting the 3rd person perspective to a 1st person perspective: “I know that the LORD saves his anointed.”

The verse ends with multiple confirmations that Israel depends on Yahweh for success. This is linked to a call for God to respond to this prayer of praise:

Psa 20:9  O LORD, save the king! May he answer us when we call.

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Understanding Psalms 1-10

Psalms 1

The purpose of Psalms one is to encourage individuals to follow Yahweh. A contrast is drawn between someone who follows God and someone who follows the wicked. The psalm concludes with a blanket warning of coming Cosmic Justice:

Psa 1:5  Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;

Psa 1:6  for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

The wicked, although they currently exist, will soon perish. They will be judges on their actions.

Psalms 2

Psalms 2 begins in with a global scope. The “nations” rage (v1). The kings conspire against God (v2). But Yahweh laughs; He plots the destruction of these arrogant nations. The chapter ends with a warning of a coming Cosmic Justice:

Psa 2:12  Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

Psalms 3

Psalms 3 is attributed to King David. David’s enemies doubt that Yahweh will save him. But David prays for salvation, and God answers. Although this Psalm is limited to the lift and times of King David, Cosmic Justice is found in David’s call for God to execute judgment on the “wicked”. The wicked live and threaten God’s people. David, almost challenging God’s reputation, notes that the wicked doubt God’s capacity to save. The Psalm uses standard language calling on God to act: “Arise”.

Psa 3:7  Arise, O LORD! Save me, O my God! For you strike all my enemies on the cheek; you break the teeth of the wicked.

Psalms 4

Psa 4:3  But know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself; the LORD hears when I call to him.

Psalms 4, another psalm of David, is a call for other men of his time to place their trust in God. The psalm begins with recounting that God has acted before, has saved David in times of need. This serves as evidence of God’s power and righteousness. Other men are called to follow suit. David assures his listeners that Yahweh protects the righteous. David sleeps safe knowing God is protecting him (v8).

Psalms 5

Psalms 5 begins, as many psalms do, with a call for God to listen to the prayers of His people (in this case David). In this psalm, David alludes to being oppressed by the wicked. King David appeals to God’s character in consistently punishing the wicked. The implication is that God should now act in the same fashion and punish David’s oppressors. Because God hates evildoers (v5) and abhors the bloodthirsty (v6), God should not let the actions of David’s enemies go unpunished.

Psa 5:10  Make them bear their guilt, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; because of the abundance of their transgressions cast them out, for they have rebelled against you.

The psalm ends with assurance that the righteous will be protected by God. As with the prior implication that if God does not punish the wicked, He is violating His character, David further implies that if God does not protect His people, He is violating His character.

Psalms 6

Psalms 6 is enigmatic. The author, David, is being punished by God for some unknown reason. David calls on God not to punish him in God’s wrath. The idea is that if God waits, His wrath will subside, and the punishment will not be as strong. When God is angry, the punishment will be harsher.

David describes his situation. He is close to death (v2). His enemies surround him (v8). He cries to the Lord day and night (v6). There is an element of bargaining with God. If God were to let David die, David would not be able to praise God.

Psa 6:5  For in death there is no remembrance of you; in Sheol who will give you praise?

Praise is David’s bargaining chip. It is something God values, and might regret to remise.

The psalm ends with a reversal of fortune, either an anticipated reversal or a post-script. Yahweh responds to David’s prayer, and David predicts a coming judgment of the wicked.

Psalms 7

Psalms 7, much like Psalms 6, is a call for God to act. David is again in conflict with his enemy. But David believes he is in the right. There is no call for God to forgive sins before salvation. Instead David challenges God to let his enemies kill him if he has done wrong (v5).

David calls on Yahweh to “Arise… in anger” (v5). God is called upon to “awake” (v5) as if God was not in action and is spurred to act.

The psalm descends into a general description of Cosmic Justice. God judges all men everywhere. He tests them to see if they are good or evil, and then acts accordingly.

Psa 7:8  The LORD judges the peoples; judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness and according to the integrity that is in me.

Psa 7:9  Oh, let the evil of the wicked come to an end, and may you establish the righteous— you who test the minds and hearts, O righteous God!

Yahweh is then praised for judging righteously, using a “sword” (v13), “arrows” (v13), and even using the enemies’ own traps against them (v15). The psalm ends in praising Yahweh’s righteousness.

Psalms 8

Psalms 8 is a general psalm of praise. Yahweh is praised for silencing His enemies (v2). His glory fills the earth and heavens (v1). Compared to Him, man is nothing (v4). But God still cares enough for man that He blessed man and gave dominion over the Earth. This act of condensation is amazing and praiseworthy. The psalm ends how it began, praising Yahweh’s name:

Psa 8:9  O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Psalms 9

Psalms 9 begins with a callback. Often in Israel’s speech about God, they reference His earlier acts to emphasize His power. This shows God is real, and acts in decisive ways. The act of recalling God’s actions are a way to sing His glory.

David says that he will “recount all your wonderful deeds” (v1). These deeds include enforcing Cosmic Justice. David’s enemies “perish” (v3). God has defended the righteous (v4). God has judged the nations (v5). God destroyed evil cities (v6). David’s view is that God is currently judging the world in righteousness, as evidenced by justice being performed:

Psa 9:7  But the LORD sits enthroned forever; he has established his throne for justice,

Psa 9:8  and he judges the world with righteousness; he judges the peoples with uprightness.

Psa 9:12  For he who avenges blood is mindful of them; he does not forget the cry of the afflicted.

The psalm then subverts itself. David moves from describing a world ruled by God to asking for deliverances from the “gates of death”. David has faith in God’s sovereignty over the world, so God should now act inspired by David’s faith. David, like in Psalms 6, reminds God that if he lives he will sing praises to God. Although Psalms 6 is more explicit, the argument is that if David dies then God will forgo the praise.

With a second reversal, David changes his speech to declaring that God’s judgment has been executed. The wicked are killed (v17) and the poor are saved (v18). But perhaps this is hope. The next verse calls on God to act. God is commanded to “Arise” and judge the nations (v19). God is to put the wicked in their place (v20).

Psalms 10

Psalms 10 is an anonymous psalm. It begins by challenging God:

Psa 10:1  Why, O LORD, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?

Psa 10:2  In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor; let them be caught in the schemes that they have devised.

Psa 10:3  For the wicked boasts of the desires of his soul, and the one greedy for gain curses and renounces the LORD.

As is common in the Psalms, the poor are positioned as those who do not deserve punishment. God’s enemies oppress them. The psalmist wonders why God does not act.

The wicked are positioned as evil foes, and a long list of ills are described. In verse 5, the prosperity of the wicked adds insult to injury. Not only are these people evil, but they live charmed lives. They defy God in their actions (v4) and words (v6).

God is called to “Arise” (v12). The implication is that the wicked are defying God and God’s character is at stake. Open defiance cannot go unpunished. The wicked say “You will not call to account” (v13). If God does not act, He will prove them right.

The verse ends with general praise. God is the king of the earth (v16), not man. God responds and protects His people (v17), just as a king would. His job is to execute justice and ensure there is no more terror on Earth (v18).

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