Christianity the Roman Way Rome Exerted Tremendous Essay

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Christianity

THE ROMAN WAY

Rome exerted tremendous pressure on its colonies to conform, and do things in the Roman Way. When in Rome, one does as the Romans do. The Via Romana is a road referring to the Roman way. Rome conquered Alexander's vast empire and then imposed the Imperium (the imperial right to rule) upon the world. Religio-Romana refers to the Roman religion of paganism and polytheism. Roman religion. Romans are to practice Rome's religion without changing it. The Roman practices will be executed as they have always been since the beginning of Roman civilizations. This includes worshipping the Roman emperor as god. The political connection between Rome's religion and the people impose the belief and practice: Roman religion is the truth. Mos Maiorum refers to the living traditions. People are to live their lives according to Roman traditions. This is the daily life of Romans extant in the time of Jesus.

INTRODUCING JESUS

In John 14:6, Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life…." John 14:6 was originally written in Koine Greek. Referring to a translation of the original Greek, Jesus' statement says, "I and no one else am the way, I and no one else am the truth, and I and no one else am the life." In this one statement, Jesus essentially threw out the Roman absolutes and created a new spiritual law. However, Jesus's new law threatened the Roman social and political order. As a result, Rome would put in prison, torture, confiscate property, and murder Christians.

THE KINGDOM OF GOD

The Kingdom of God is unlike any kingdom the world has ever witnessed. It isn't a political kingdom or a military kingdom. The king is no ordinary King. The King is God. This kingdom arose within the ancient world's most powerful and ruthless empire at the time -- the Roman Empire. Numerous emperors ruled over the many years of the Roman Empire, but, only one -- Jesus, rules the kingdom of God. His kingdom is the first, and only one, to confront the human condition at its source -- the spirit. There are two aspects of the Kingdom of God -- the Christian Church on earth and the new cosmopolis on the new earth in the new heavens.

THE NECESSITY OF CONTEXT

Moses wrote the Biblical book of Job, the first to be written, in 1450 BC. The apostle John wrote the last book, The Revelation, in AD 96. Each book must be examined in its Sitz Im Leben, or "setting in life." No document can be separated from its time period. A proper investigation of the Bible, or any ancient literature, requires an understanding of the authors' cultural and historical backgrounds. This is a tremendous task because the Bible was written over a 1,546-year time period by approximately forty different authors. A scholarly investigation includes studying both higher and lower criticism. Higher criticism includes the book's author, date of writing, literary genre, culture, politics, social conditions, and language. Lower criticism studies the text and canon. Before applying principles of higher and lower criticism to the Bible, it's important to consider whether the Bible is history or myth. The Book of Genesis will be used as a model for how to make this determination.

MYTH OR HISTORY?

C.F. Nosgen defines a myth as: "Any unhistorical tale, however it may have arisen, in which a religious society finds a constituent part of its sacred foundations, because an absolute expression of its institutions, experiences, and ideas, is a myth," (C. F. Nosgen, cited in Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, ed. Gerhard Kittel, vol. 4, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1967, p. 765). According to Nosgen, a myth has no historicity to it. Historical documents and archaeology cannot be used to confirm the people and events of a myth.

The Biblical books from Genesis through Revelation, contain the names of hundreds, if not thousands, of people and places. The Biblical books provide details of events and other cultural information, such as the titles for officials in numerous cultures. These names and details demonstrate that the books belong in the genre of historical prose and not myth.

THE BIBLE CONDEMNS MYTHS

Many pagan myths existed during the time period when the Bible was written. The Genesis creation account is told with an unambiguous solemnity and veracity not found in pagan myths. In fact, the Book of Genesis is a polemic (a defensive attack) upon all mythic creation accounts of the ancient world. The Biblical writers knew of cultural myths and warned their readers against believing them. The following passages are but a few of those that explicitly condemn myths.

"We did not follow cleverly invented stories [muthos] when we told you about the power and coming of the Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 1:16;).

"As I urged you & #8230; stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer, nor to devote themselves to myths . . ." (1 Timothy 1:3-4).

"For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths" (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

"Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives tales . . ." (1 Timothy 4:7).

"Therefore, rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith, and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the commands of those who reject the truth" (Titus 1:14; emphasis added).

Myth is a genre of literature and, like any genre, has its own style. The opening pages of Genesis are not written in the literary style of the myth genre, but in historical prose. Therefore, the Bible is to be read as historical literature and not myth.

For example, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Noah, and Adam are disclosed as real human beings. The Genesis text does not switch literary styles after talking about Eden or places like Ur, Babel, Hebron, Shechem, Haran, Beersheba, Bethel, Egypt, the Mountains of Ararat, and the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. All of these places have been clearly identified by archaeologists. Moreover, Genesis' literary style doesn't bear any resemblance to the myths of antiquity. Whether one agrees or disagrees with what Genesis teaches is irrelevant. What is true is that Genesis (or any other Biblical document) is not classified as a myth.

CREATION

Christian history begins with the instantaneous creation of the universe ex-nihilo ("from nothing") by the Triune God. Instead of the Big Bang, the Christian Bible teaches the Big Word. Genesis documents creation, but not its exact date. Two extreme dating theories have been proposed. One view comes from John Lightfoot and James Ussher. The liberal date derives from Darwinian evolutionists. Both views are to be rejected for the lack of any evidence.

John Lightfoot (AD 1602-1675), Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University, in AD 1642 and 1644, calculated that the world was created on Sunday, September 12, 3928 BC and man was created on Friday, September 17, 3928 BC, at 9 a.m. James Usher (AD 1581-1656), a contemporary of John Lightfoot, was the Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of All Ireland, and Vice-Chancellor of Trinity College in Dublin. In AD 1650 and 1654, he calculated the first day of creation as Sunday, October 23, 4004 BC. However, he didn't give a specific time. To arrive at his date, Ussher added the ages of the twenty-one generations found in Genesis, studied Chaldean history, and studied the astronomical canon.

No reputable scholar today gives credence to either Lightfoot's or Ussher's calculations. Using the Genesis genealogical accounts does not help in dating creation. Ancient genealogies are commonly incomplete; not every person in the family is included. The Genesis genealogies are no different and that some generations have been omitted from the account. The truth is that it is impossible to know when creation occurred. Millions or billions of years is too long ago, but neither are the 4004 BC or 3928 BC dates accurate. What we do know is that Genesis says that God made the universe in six days. Unnecessary debate rages on whether each day was a long period of time or a literal twenty-four hours.

Some critics argue that Genesis tells two separate creation stories. But this simply isn't true. Genesis 1:1-2:3 is a distinctive outline of the events of the six days of creation, culminating with the beginning of male and female made in the very image of God. This overview helps to place everything that follows into perspective. Genesis 2:4-25 is a detailed summary of Genesis 1. The passage places special emphasis on man and his origin, the divine preparation of his home, and the creation of woman. The accounts complement one another.

Writers in the ancient world often used a two-step literary technique called recapitulation. In the first step, the author…

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