Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Overwhelming Exegetical and Logical Insight
06/25/2007 - James WhiteI am currently traveling, but happened this morning in catching up on a few items to see the following overwhelming example of Rome's powerful biblical argumentation. You will recall that a few days ago I made note of the fact that in essence, Rome's exhortation to her followers to pray to saints and angels means that the prohibition on contact with the dead found in Scripture is in essence irrelevant and without meaning. In Deuteronomy 18:10-11 an entire list of things that God considers to be hb'[eAT, toevah, detestable, to Him, are listed.
Deuteronomy 18:10 "There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.There are two terms to look at briefly: The first is ~yti(Meh;, "the dead." The meaning is not difficult: it refers to someone who was once physically alive on earth but is no longer. It's just that simple. When a person stops breathing and their heart stops and they expire, they are dead. It is sophistry at its best to say, "Oh, but they are alive to God!" Of course they are. Even those undergoing punishment awaiting the day of judgment are "alive" in that sense. That is not the point. The prohibition here refers to the dead, and whether one was righteous or unrighteous is not mentioned. It does not say "those who call upon the unrighteous dead," it simply says "the dead." Further, this is a prohibition in law directed to those of us alive on earth. Hence, it uses our viewpoint, not God's, as the definition of who is dead and who is alive. Can anything be more obvious, more plain, more simple, than this?
The next term is vr;D', darash,to seek after, to inquire after, resort to, frequent, or, when used with el- as it is here, to seek in prayer or worship. One of the activities that is an abomination in God's sight, connected with other magical and pagan activities, is seeking after, resorting to, and praying to, the dead.
Now, Rome encourages this very activity, so, Rome must find a way to dismiss commands like this. We have seen how some apologists, like Patrick Madrid, have dismissed God's law regarding the prohibition of statues and images as objects of religious worship by saying that men back then had a particular problem with idolatry, but we do not have the same problems today. In this instance, the prohibition against religious contact with, communication with, inquiry of, the dead, is dismissed by simply redefining the term "the dead." If you are a saint, you aren't dead, so, all is well! So, we have to ask, what is this prohibition about then? Who does it forbid us to inquire of? All those who have passed from this life are, we believe (in opposition to some), conscious, either in the presence of God or they are undergoing punishment (there is no purgatory to make reference to in such a biblical discussion). So, it would follow, if the Roman argument is valid, that this last section was a waste of "sacred page space," a useless prohibition without object and meaning. That is the result of allowing Rome's dogmas to trump the plain meaning of Scripture.
Now, all of that having been said, I get quickly to what I just saw this morning from the keyboard of Dave Armstrong. Evidently DA has been ransacking the Internet looking for quotes he can throw around in hopes that no one will notice that the man cannot respond to an exegetical argument. He seems to think that if he can garner enough quotes that will somehow add up to doing serious exegesis of the text itself. In any case, those who think it is a complete waste of time to even interact with DA were given a huge gift in the form of the following argument that, I must confess, I have no answer for. Nor can I refute the argument that "God came from Teman" (Hab. 3:3) means God is a man who came from someplace called Teman (yes, I've had Mormons use that one). Some arguments, honestly, provide their own refutation. So, here is DA's newest. I had written:
[T]he prohibition of contact with the dead is specifically in the context of people living on earth seeking to have contact with those who have "passed from this world"! This kind of argumentation leaves the prohibition of contact with the dead meaningless and undefined.And now, DA's refutation:
This can be annihilated with one biblical example, from St. Peter, who contacted the dead when He raised Tabitha, saying, "Tabitha, rise" (Acts 9:36-41). Who was he talking to? Well, Tabitha, of course: a dead person! You can't get much more straightforward and plain than that. Therefore, the Bible offers explicit proof that we can have contact with the dead in a certain sense....There you go. Annihilated. Peter raised Tabitha to life, hence, Peter contacted the dead. Just like when a Roman Catholic prays to Mary to be rescued from the wrath of Jesus. There you go folks, behold Romanism in all its (twisted) glory.