Tag Archives: greek

Does God Regret Making Humans?

Yesterday I had a debate with a Christian apologist on the topic of ‘Noah and the Flood’. In my opening presentation (which can be seen here) I pointed out that the story of Noah begins in Genesis 5 and at the start of Genesis 6, the God of the Bible informs us as to His reasons for the flood. It’s in looking at this reason for the flood that I noticed a curious difference, the story (of God’s regret) is present in Christian English translations of the Bible, in Jewish English translations of the Hebrew Bible, in the Hebrew Masoretic Text but it is absent from the Greek Septuagint. Why is this important?

The Greek Septuagint is a translation of the Hebrew (Old) Testament into Greek (another term for the Greek Septuagint is the LXX). At the time of early Christianity, it is the Greek Septuagint that most of the Old Testament quotes in the New Testament come from. In other words, the authors of the New Testament books chose to use the Greek Septuagint over any Hebrew form of the Old Testament. Some modern Christians believe that any form of the Old Testament is the inspired word of God, though the truth is that modern Christians don’t accept the Hebrew Masoretic Text or the Greek Septuagint but rather a combination of the two textual traditions. In other words, neither the Hebrew Masoretic Text by itself, nor the Greek Septuagint by itself can honestly be said by any Christian to be the unaltered, inspired words of God as He revealed them. It is only a hybrid version of the Hebrew Masoretic Text, the Greek Septuagint and the Dead Sea scrolls which the modern Christian reads and believes in. This is best summarized in the examples I gave regarding a portion of the Shema Yisrael back in 2017:

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The Jewish English Translation of Genesis 6:6 (Rabbi AJ Rosenberg):

And the Lord regretted that He had made man upon the earth, and He became grieved in His heart.

Source: https://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/8171/jewish/Chapter-6.htm

The Christian English Translation of Genesis 6:6 (NIV):

The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled.

Source: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+6%3A6&version=NIV

At this point, both translations say roughly the same thing, but that is until we take a look at the Greek Septuagint, which the New Testament authors would’ve used. Let’s look at the Lexham Greek Septuagint (H.B. Swete Edition), it says (emphasis mines):

καὶ ἐνεθυμήθη ὁ Θεὸς ὅτι ἐποίησε τὸν ἄνθρωπον ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, καὶ διενοήθη

The English translation (as published by Oxford University Press) says (emphasis mines):

then God considered that he had made humankind on the earth, and he thought over it.

Source: http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/nets/edition/01-gen-nets.pdf

One translation (by Lancelot Brenton; a later 1987 edition) of the Greek Septuagint at this passage says:

then God laid it to heart that he had made man upon the earth, and he pondered [it] deeply.

The problem being that the word for heart is absent in the Greek altogether (at least in the Septuagint versions I have checked myself). Having said that, at least one commentary, the Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges says about Genesis 6:6 –

It was the dread of any expression being liable to the suspicion of irreverence towards the Almighty, which led to the strange renderings of this verse by the later Jews. Thus, LXX renders “repented” by ἐνεθυμήθη = “considered,” and “grieved” by διενοήθη = “purposed,” while the Targum of Onkelos renders the second clause “and spake by his word to break their strength according to his will,” and Pseudo-Jonathan, “and disputed with his word concerning them.” The object of such paraphrases is to avoid anthropomorphism. The LXX also avoids the expression of repentance as applied to God in Exodus 32:12.

Source: https://biblehub.com/commentaries/cambridge/genesis/6.htm

Where does this leave us?

It would mean that the earliest Christians (especially the New Testament’s authors) used a form (or version) of the Old Testament that today’s Christians would consider to have been tampered with and corrupted.

and God knows best.

Teaching a Greek Christian the Truth About the Greek New Testament

While in Speakers Corner about two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to discuss the New Testament (and a few of its variants) along with the historicity of the Crucifixion narrative using my Nestle-Aland 28th Edition Greek New Testament…with a Greek Christian. This proved very opportune, as he could openly correct me had I lied or made a mistake about what the Greek New Testament said! I was excited to be put to the test and suffice it to say, I think the discussion went quite well.

We earlier tried to have the same discussion but an older missionary gentleman was listening in (as others do), and while this was not a problem, the moment I raised a problematic question he reacted in an absurd way that led to the conversation ending. Thankfully my Greek colleague was up for round two, where we summarized the first discussion and had a full length discussion on the above mentioned topics. It’s decidedly worth the watch, many thanks to the EFDawah YouTube channel for recording and uploading the dialogue with excellent quality!

and God knows best.

FREE COURSE by Ustadh Ali Ataie on Christianity

I’d like to announce that Ustadh Alie Ataie, whom I personally consider to be the most professional Muslim scholar on Christianity is having a 12 week course on the Gospels for free! This is an unmissable event, he speaks Arabic, Hebrew and Greek, he’s also graduated from a Christian Theological Seminary!

Here’s a little information on him:

Ali Ataie is the President and Founder of Muslim Interfaith Council and has been involved in interfaith activities for over ten years. He earned his undergraduate degree in Accounting from Cal Poly State University in 2000, during which time he served as the cc-2013-aliataiePresident of the Muslim Students’ Association . He has been both a guest lecturer and guest instructor at several colleges and universities such as Cal Poly State , UC Davis , UC Berkeley, and Cal State East Bay . He studied various Islamic sciences under local Bay Area scholars and has dialogued and debated with several Christian scholars on a variety of topics ranging from the historicity of the resurrection of Christ (upon whom be peace) and the Prophethood of Muhammad (upon whom be peace and blessings). He is a graduate of the Badr Arabic Language Institute in Hadramawt, Yemen and studied at the prestigious Dar al-Mustafa under some of the most eminent scholars in the world. He holds a Masters’ Degree in Biblical Studies from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, (the first Muslim seminarian in the 143 year history of the school to do so), and is working on a PhD in Islamic Biblical Hermeneutics.

Click here to register for the free course!

Spaces are limited! Very limited, so please ensure you register early. Here’s the breakdown of the course:

Lesson One

  • The importance of interdisciplinary knowledge
  • Jesus (peace be upon him) and his confirmation of the theology of the Old Testament
  • An introduction to the Gospel of Mark

Lesson Two

  • The two parts of the Gospel of Mark
  • Eschatology and expectation of the end of time
  • The two strands of Christianity
  • The Messianic secret

Lesson Three

  • Gospel of Mark represents Oral Proclamation of Pauline Christianity
  • Matthew uses Mark’s chronological structure
  • Interdependency of the Four Gospels
  • Four Gospels are called Synoptic Gospels

Lesson Four

  • An introduction to the Gospel of Matthew
  • Jesus (peace be upon him) as the interpreter of Sacred Law
  • Matthew’s use of Old Testament to foreshadow life of Jesus (peace be upon him)
  • The influence of Paul on the Gospels

Lesson Five

  •  Sources of the Gospel of Matthew
  • Matthew changes the Gospel of Mark
  • Gospel of Luke
  • An introduction to the Gospel of Luke
  • New characters and their significance

Lesson Six

  • The role of Jesus (peace be upon him) in salvation
  •  Portrayal of Jesus (peace be upon him)’s character
  • The nature of Jesus (peace be upon him) as a savior
  •  Sections of the Gospel
  •  Sources of the text
  • Unique Lukan material and its significance

Lesson Seven

  •  Differences between Gospels of Luke, Matthew and Mark
  • Authenticity of verses on the Communion
  • An introduction to the Gospel of John
  • Comparing John to the other Gospels
  • Historicity of the Gospel of John

Lesson Eight

  • The person and essence of Jesus: only human, only divine, or both?
  • Was Jesus created?
  • Comparison of various views of Jesus
  • Authorship of John

Lesson Nine

  • The importance of the Gospel of John
  • The word “god” in Hebrew and Greek
  • Jesus (peace be upon him) as the Messiah

Lesson Ten

  • Jesus (peace be upon him) in the Gospel of John
  • Who is Paraclete?
  • Understanding sin and forgiveness

Lesson 11

  • Oneness of God
  • Jesus (peace be upon him) has limited knowledge
  • Jesus (peace be upon him) does not say he is God

Lesson 12

  • Review
  • Source of names Matthew, Mark, Luke & John
  • Source of the claim that Bible is Divinely Inspired
  • Language of the Bible