Augustine and a Legacy of Horror

Guardians of Darkness

Pelagius was not only an enemy of Augustine, but also of Jerome (the vicious women-hating translator of the "vulgate bible" ... a man also responsible for destroying much of the Platonist heritage that the early Christians co-opted to give a semblance of reason to their beliefs).

Pelagius was accused along with his disciple, Coelestius or Caelestius, of the following beliefs, deemed "heresies";

1. Adam was created liable to death, and would have died, whether he had sinned or not.

2. The sin of Adam hurt himself only and not the human race.

3. Infants at their birth are in the same state as Adam before the fall.

4. Neither by the death nor fall of Adam does the whole race of man die, nor by the resurrection of Christ rise again.

5. The Law (given in the Old Testament) introduces men into the kingdom of heaven, just in the  same way as the Gospel does.

6. Even before the coming of Christ there were some men sinless. (He cites the Old Testament and is agreeing with Moses on this issue). 

Thus he claimed one could achieve grace through ones own free will, without the church, its priests, and all its trappings. Many early Christians believed that the way to salvation involved following Jesus' example and living life as he taught. But this left nothing for the church to do, no reason for the church to even exist!  Of course, this thinking was declared heresy. 

(And voila! Christianity became the cult of Klippoth.)

What manner of man was this Augustine? (From Saint Augustine:
Madness and the Western Christian World-View
, by Lewis Loflin)

Augustine of Hippo was very influential and a great philosopher and theologian of Late Antiquity. He is the most important of the Latin Church Fathers. His works, especially his Confessions (a self-biography) and City of God, helped distinguish the Church in Western Europe from the Church as it developed elsewhere.  Protestant reformers Calvin and Luther, both violent tyrants, would draw their theology from this man.

It would be very wise for Christians (and others) to find out what this man really taught and why it is, in fact, totally un-Biblical!

Augustine would also justify the "Just War" doctrine to give the Christian church the theological grounds, the justification, for murder and terror in the "name of Christ." Gone was the peaceful, loving Jesus who preached to those with ears to hear him and who never advocated force or terror.

Fighting, killing, making war, even genocide, killing women, pregnant women and helpless babies who are all total strangers, is an example of humanity at its worst.  Human beings have been doing it from the time of the first Nation States, and show no signs of an inclination to stop. Many claim that the Christian tradition is ambivalent when it comes to prosecuting wars, even in a just cause.  (Of course, in a war, both sides have a Just Cause - they just disagree strongly on what the cause is.)  This is because the founder of Christianity, Jesus, rejected all use of force. Jesus allegedly did acknowledge that the authority to use force came from his Father (according to John 19:11), but it must be admitted that, unlike the founder of Islam, the founder of Christianity did not use a sword.  Also, for more on the writer of John and his reliability, see below.

Augustine did have one opponent that almost saved Christianity from his hateful, un-Biblical ranting.  His name is Pelagius, a British or Celtic monk. The church went along with Augustine and declared Pelagius a heretic for obviously practical reasons having nothing to do with Scripture.

In Confessions, by Augustine, you can read a lot about Augustine and from there, apply modern knowledge to see what kind of man he was. 

As a child, Augustine wanted to play like other children, yet he received harsh beatings for neglecting his studies.  His parents "enjoyed" his torment - he says so himself!  In other words, he was severely abused. He never married but he did have a son with a concubine that he fell deeply in love with. He grieved when she was sent away and he couldn't marry her because of some social custom.  Other information on Augustine tends to show that his mother destroyed this relationship through manipulations.  His father died before he went to Italy. He would grieve later for his mother and the sacking of Rome. 

You have here two crucial ingredients for what is known as a "child of rage":  a brutally abused child by sadistic parents, and a broken heart.  (See Convalescence from Christianity, a monograph in a book sold here.)

He was born to Latin speaking parents of mixed religious beliefs on November 13, AD 354 at Thagaste, in the North African province of Numidia. Augustine's father, Patricius, was a Pagan and his mother (Saint Monica) while a Christian, still held some Pagan ideas. Their mixed beliefs caused confusion for Augustine and led him to question religion in general. It made sense that Augustine searched for truth, as well as deciding at a later date to convert to Christianity.

It should be noted that his religious confusion, search for truth, and deep emotional pain in his personal life twisted his vision of Christianity once he did convert. It should be noted that such a person from such a background would have a twisted vision of life, in general.  Today, such people get therapy and/or are given medicine.  If such people are seen in leadership positions, their character is put to the question by people with reason and logic. 

Financed by a family friend at the age of sixteen, Augustine moved to Carthage to study rhetoric. At seventeen he read Cicero's Hortensius, which further inspired him to know the truth. Soon Augustine joined the Manichees. The Manichees were a religious group that stressed purity of life and the need to place emphasis on the importance of Christ. The Manichees seemed so valuable to Augustine because they promised to provide him with the "truth" he was seeking. With the Manichees, Augustine was able to write his first work, which dealt with aesthetics and was entitled, On the Beautiful and the Fitting.

A crucial point not brought out in Confessions is, "Who are the Manichees?" When Augustine wrote his biography the Manichees were a well-known and twisted type of Christianity. Drawing from Christianity, Gnosticism, Zoroastrianism/Mithraism and Greek Paganism, their main theme was that all creation (flesh) was evil. They believed all sex, even in marriage, including the birth of children, was evil and sinful! Therefore, according to the Manichees, celibacy was best.  The Catholic church drew its celibacy nonsense from this Pagan concept into the faith. Augustine, because of his love of sex, would be torn between sex and sin. In believing that all creation and flesh, physical matter, was evil, these people were defaming all of God's works.

Lastly, Manichees were dualist and apocalyptic believing in good verses evil, Satan verses God, etc. (Zoroastrianism) The Book of John and Book of Revelations are heavily Gnostic. Manichees were declared heretics and butchered by the Church. Take note that the Torah, on which the Bible is supposed to be based, has none of this nonsense in it. 

Even more important is that Gnostic and Manichean influence was very strong in Alexandria, Egypt and that, along with Neo-Platonism (pseudo-Platonism) would influence the concept of "The Trinity," another un-Biblical idea. The Christianity of the 4th century was not the Christianity of most early Christians or anything Jesus ever taught.

"The three-in-one/one-in-three mystery of Father, Son and Holy Ghost made tri-theism official. The subsequent almost-deification of the Virgin Mary made it quatro-theism . . .  Finally, cart-loads of Saints raised to quarter-deification turned Christianity into plain old-fashioned polytheism, a/k/a Paganism. By the time of the Crusades, Christianity was the most polytheistic religion to ever have existed, with the possible exception of misunderstood Hinduism.

This untenable contradiction between the assertion of monotheism and the reality of polytheism was dealt with by accusing other religions of the Christian fault. The Church - Catholic and later Protestant - turned aggressively on the two most clearly monotheistic religions in view - Judaism and Islam - and persecuted them as heathen or pagan. The external history of Christianity consists largely of accusations that other religions rely on the worship of more than one god and therefore not the true God. These pagans must therefore be converted, conquered and/or killed for their own good in order that they benefit from the singularity of the Holy Trinity, plus appendages." -- The Doubter's Companion (John Ralston Saul)

The conflict is that Deists, Unitarians, Jews, and most other ethical monotheists would accept much of the Matthew, Mark, Luke, Acts, James (synoptic stuff interpreted through reason, tradition, etc and works/moral conduct). 

Contrary to that, Orthodox Christians mainly accept John and Paul "by faith" and reject reason totally. Quoting Martin Luther on reason:

"Reason must be deluded, blinded, and destroyed. Faith must trample underfoot all reason, sense, and understanding, and whatever it sees must be put out of sight and ...  know nothing but the word of God."

"The damned whore Reason...."

The fact is, that without the influence of dualistic Gnosticism, their would be no Christianity, in particular, Protestantism.

By 384 Augustine was unsatisfied with the Manichees and he broke away to open the New Academy, a school of rhetoric, in which he became the official orator of Milan. Much of his time is spent trying to get his students to pay him.

Augustine was finally converted to Christianity in 386 and was baptized the next year. The damage was already done. In 391 he returned to North Africa to live a celibate life before being ordained as a priest in order to assist the archbishop of Hippo. Four years later Augustine became the Bishop of Hippo, from which point he devoted all his work to the service of the Christian church.

It was in 397 that Augustine began his autobiographical Confessions. His intention for this work was to give an account of his conversion to Christianity.  Augustine also expressed his ultimate desire for truth and happiness therein.

The sorry thing abut Confessions is that it is page after page of self-loathing lunacy.

He finished his Confessions in 401. Shortly thereafter he began work on another book during that period which was titled City of God. In it, Augustine traced the story of the human race from the time of Adam and Eve in the Tigris-Euphrates river region to his own time.

Augustine remained Bishop of Hippo until his death in 430 AD.

Augustine invented the concept of Original Sin as we have it today. From the Encarta Multimedia Encyclopedia on Original Sin:

Original Sin, in Christian theology, the universal sinfulness of the human race, traditionally ascribed to the first sin committed by Adam. Theologians advocating original sin argue that the concept is strongly implied by the apostle Paul, the apostle John, and even by Jesus himself. Late Jewish apocalyptic writings attribute the world's corruption to a prehistoric fall of Satan, the temptation of Adam and Eve, and the resulting disorder, disobedience, and pain of human history.

Saint Augustine appealed to the Pauline-apocalyptic understanding of the forgiveness of sin, but he also included the notion that sin is transmitted from generation to generation by the act of procreation. He took this idea from 2nd-century theologian Tertullian, who actually coined the phrase original sin. Medieval theologians retained the idea of original sin, and it was asserted by 16th-century Protestant reformers, primarily Martin Luther and John Calvin. Liberal Protestant theologians later developed an optimistic view of human nature incompatible with the idea of original sin.

Tertullian of Carthage: (150-225) advised that: "Divine revelation, not reason, is the source of all truth." That irrational statement has been the hallmark of the Christian church since the 4th century. Almost 2,000 years of human backwardness and retardation has resulted.  The ancient Greeks, for one example, knew the world was round and the earth circled the sun, but "revelation" said the opposite so scripture had to be right, reason had to be wrong.  Here is another wonderful quote from Augustine in DeGenesi ad Litteram:  "Beware of mathematicians and all those who make empty prophecies. The danger already exists that the mathematicians have made covenant with the devil to darken the spirit and to confine man in the bonds of hell."

Augustine would further expand this nonsense to unbelievable levels even applying it to the Bible. According to Augustine, the Bible, in reality, didn't mean what it said after all! 

Augustine's idea that we are responsible for Adam's "Fall" or the "sin" of Adam and Eve, is a direct contradiction of Ezekiel 18 where God clearly says that only the sinner will die and their children are innocent.

The Bible never mentioned Original Sin, Jesus never implied it in this manner.  One might think that Jesus' moral teachings overrule Paul, Tertullian, Augustine, Calvin, or Luther!  One might also look at the Torah for the words of Moses. 

"The word Trinity is not found in the Bible . . . It did not find a place formally in the theology of the church till the 4th century." -- The Illustrated Bible Dictionary

The Catholic Encyclopedia also says: "In Scripture there is as yet no single term by which the Three Divine Persons are denoted together. The word [tri'as] (of which the Latin trinitas is a translation) is first found in Theophilus of Antioch about A. D. 180 . . .  Shortly afterwards it appears in its Latin form of trinitas in Tertullian."

From the first day the Pagan Trinity cult seized control of the Church under Constantine in 325 at Nicaea, Jesus' teachings and most of the content of the Bible has been ignored. There is no such term as 'Original Sin" or "Trinity" in the Bible.

Augustine provided the theological reasoning for a reign of terror. He had a hellish life, he was like a man "in hell" and what he created was hell, an outward expression of his own inner self. 

In 410, when Augustine was in his fifties, Visigoths sacked Rome, a disaster for which the classical consciousness was unprepared. Pagans and Christians blamed each other for the disaster. Even Christians expressed anxiety, "Why were the righteous also suffering?" "Where was the Kingdom of God on earth that had been prophesied?" Augustine was further shattered emotionally.

Augustine's The City of God was a response to the crisis of the Roman Empire in the same manner that Plato's Republic was a reaction to the crisis of the Athenian polis. But whereas Plato expressed hope that a state founded on rational principles could remedy the abuses of Athenian society, Augustine maintained that the worldly city could never be the central concern of a Christian. He said that the ideal state could not be realized on earth, that it belonged only to heaven.

The misfortunes of Rome, therefore, according to Augustine, should not distress a Christian unduly, for Christianity belonged to the realm of the spirit and could not be identified with any state. The collapse of Rome did not diminish the greatness of Christianity, for the true Christian was a citizen of a heavenly city that could not possibly be pillaged by ungodly barbarians, but would endure forever. Compared to God's heavenly city, the decline of Rome was unimportant. The welfare of Christianity was not to be identified with Rome's material progress or even its existence. Thus like the Manichees, Augustine saw nothing worthy in the world at all, but that doesn't mean he would ignore it.

He definitely did not ignore it.  Augustine stipulated that although the earthly city was the very opposite of the heavenly city, it was a reality that people must face. Christians could not reject their city entirely, but must bend it to fit a Christian pattern. The city that someday would rise from the ruins of Rome must be based upon Christian principles. (His) Warfare, economic activity, education, and the rearing of children should all be conducted in a Christian spirit. Although the City of Man was ever evil, imperfect, and of no consequence in comparison to the City of God, it was not about to disappear and be replaced by the Kingdom of God on earth. The church could not neglect the state, but must guide it to protect human beings from their own sinful natures. (This is nothing other than Big Brother mentality.) The state must employ repression and punishment to restrain people, who were inherently sinful, from destroying each other and the few good men and women that God had elected to save from hell.

After that, it was in only warfare and terror that this perversion of Jesus' Church and teachings would excel. Augustine made sure of that.

The five points of Calvinism were developed based totally on Augustine.  Keep in mind that Jesus never mentioned any of this. The bottom line is that Christians have a choice of following the moral teachings of Jesus or following Augustine, a completely depraved 4th century mystic.

Calvinism teaches:

1) Total depravity: that man is touched by sin in all parts of his being: body, soul, mind, and emotions,

2) Unconditional Election: that God’s favor to Man is completely by God’s free choice and has nothing to do with Man. It is completely undeserved by Man and is not based on anything God sees in man (Eph. 1:1-11),

3) Limited atonement: that Christ did not bear the sins of every individual who ever lived, but instead only bore the sins of those who were elected into salvation (John 10:11,15),

4) Irresistible grace: that God's call to someone for salvation cannot be resisted,

5) Perseverance of the saints: that it is not possible to lose one's salvation (John 10:27-28)*.

*John was written by a Gnostic Greek about 100 CE. From page 51, A History of Christianity by Owen Chadwick, proves that the author of John was not one of the actual apostles and proves that he never met Jesus. His writings are worthless and worse: they are anti-Jewish. 

It was also the writer of John that tried to claim that Jesus is the Logos.  The Logos is well known to Eastern Traditions as Kundalini, Chi, Ki, Vajra, or Dorje.  In the West, it was well-known to the Hermetic Tradition.  Later on, but still before the time of Jesus, this Logos was called Christos.

We see in John a desire to use Greek Pagan concepts and philosophies as a tool for communicating Jesus as The Logos to a Christianized Gentile audience. John's Logos would not be understood by Jews and his book would only be familiar to someone practiced in the Pagan Mystery cults that flourished in the Hellenistic world.

Heraclitus of Ephesus used the word Logos around 500 BCE to describe his concept of the regularity with which the universe seemed to operate. The universe was a divine machine and Heraclitus credited the Logos (literally, it means "the reason") as the ultimate rationale that secretly operated the universe and the heavens above.

The Logos was often ill-defined, but was responsible for keeping the ratio of all things in proportion, much like the balance of Eastern yin (dark) and yang (light). The cult of Hermes made use of this to describe their Hermetic corpus written about in the Poimandres:

The [Poimandres] writer fell into a deep and heavy trance, in which there appeared to him a being who introduced himself as Poimandres (Shepherd of Men), "the Mind of Authority." Poimandres then shows the mystic a vision, in which he sees a great light and a great darkness, respectively [darkness] reality and [light] matter. From the light comes "a Holy Logos," ...the "shining Son of God," who proceeds from Mind itself. [I.e., it proceeds from out of that Darkness.]

By the beginning of the Common Era, the Logos was a deeply felt and intricate part of Greek thought despite its mystical and sometimes confusing machinations. It was well established that the Logos was a divinely felt presence of God, but no philosopher could find a more practical implementation for how the Logos actually mattered to humans and their lives. The man who would provide this meaning and give personified substance to the Logos at the beginning of the Common Era was Philo.

Philo of Alexandria (30 BCE - 45 CE) was a Jew of the dispersion, and observed the mitzvot, yet like a lot of cosmopolitan Alexandrians of the time, Philo worshipped the Greek gods, too. Philo introduced the concept of the Logos as an allegorical force of Yahweh. Philo believed that the two worlds (Jewish and Hellenic Greek) were not irreconcilable and the Logos was his attempt at melding Yahwism with the Greek vision of God. The Greeks, armed with the powerful philosophy of Plato, and later Aristotle, believed that God was inherently "unknowable." He/She/It was beyond human understanding and all attempts to describe God would end in failure. However, a glimpse of God could be attained through rational thinking and deep meditation. If one could achieve the Hermetic level of mystical awareness as chronicled in the Poimandres, one will be able to experience God.

This is where the idea of Logos came from.  Note that these ideas pre-date Jesus.

Finally, like Tertullian, Augustine repudiated the distinguishing feature of classical humanism, which was the autonomy of reason. For Augustine, ultimate wisdom could not be achieved through rational thought alone; reason had to be guided by faith. Without faith there could be no true knowledge, no understanding. Philosophy had no validity if it did not first accept as absolutely true the existence of God and the authority of his revelation. Valid ethical standards could not be formulated by reason alone, but were revealed to people by the living God. Christian truth did not rest on theoretical excellence or logical consistency; it was true because its source was God, so claimed the man having the vision.

Yet Augustine continued to insist that "revelations" were true even if in they were in direct contradiction of both Jesus and/or the Old Testament!

Without reason all we have is blind superstition and a cult. Classical humanism is not the secular humanism of the 20th century. Unfortunately (for the Church Fathers) the Bible didn't say what they wanted to hear when read as written. (Jesus was too human and too Jewish) Because terms such as Original Sin and Trinity don't even exist or are not supported, many would declare reason must be rejected and their self-revelations (called spiritualism) (called delusions in our time) must overrule reason.

By rejecting all humanism and reason, they rejected not only all learning, science, and freedom, but they also rejected Jesus' message of love and his humanity as well. The end result was the Dark Ages, human backwardness and retardation, and the murder of millions.

In conclusion God, and by that we mean the Christian God, is not supposed to be the depraved tyrant of Augustine, Calvin, and Luther. God does not punish the innocent or murder children. At the same time people do suffer because we do live under the Laws of Nature. According to the Bible, God made that Nature!  But God gave humans intelligence and the gift of reason and expects us to solve our own problems. That includes ending suffering where possible and advancing and growing. God also gave humans Free Will!

Christians can be like Augustine and these negative self-loathing fundamentalists and just give up and wait for some mythical end times or impose another religious hell on earth. Christians can dabble in silly make-believe spiritualism and withdraw into some "spiritual" mental ward. Or Christians can make the right choice, look out at the world and deal with real problems using reason, or strive for greatness and achievement.

Here is the Jewish view of Original Sin. The text is from:

The term “original sin” is unknown to the Jewish scriptures, and the church’s (Christian) teachings on this doctrine are antithetical to the core principles of the Torah and its prophets.

According to church (Christian) teachings, the mortal sin committed by our first parents in the Garden of Eden had catastrophic consequences for the human race.  Most importantly, Christendom holds that these devastating effects extend far beyond the curses of painful childbirth and laborious farming conditions outlined in the third chapter of Genesis.

This well-known (Christian) church doctrine posits that when Adam and Eve rebelled against God and ate from the forbidden Tree of Knowledge, all of their descendants became infected with the stain of their transgression.  Moreover, as a consequence of this first iniquity, man is hopelessly lost in a state of sin in which he has been held captive since this fall.  As a result, he is powerless to follow the path of obedience and righteousness by his own free will.  Rather, (Christian) missionaries contend, because all are born with an innate and uncontrollable lust for sin, humanity can do nothing to merit its own salvation.  In essence, man is totally depraved and true free will is far beyond his grasp.  “Totally depraved” may seem to be a harsh way for a Christian doctrine to depict mankind’s dire condition, yet this is precisely the term used by the (Christian) church to describe man’s desperate, sinful predicament.  It is only through faith in Jesus, Christendom concludes, that hopeless man can be saved.

The doctrine on original sin teaches that “all human beings are born with an innate tendency to disobey God.”  While this statement is superficially correct, it fails to convey the far-reaching scope of this (Christian) church doctrine.  Although Christianity does teach that the entire human race is born with an evil inclination, this tenet encompasses a far more extreme position than the one briefly outlined.  In fact, missionaries insist that as a result of the fall in the Garden of Eden, man’s unquenchable desire for sin is virtually ungovernable.  In Christian terms, man is not inclined toward sin but more accurately is a slave to sin.  As a result, the church concludes, short of converting to Christianity, humanity can do nothing to save itself from hell.

Bear in mind, there is good reason for the (Christian) church’s uncompromising stand on this cherished doctrine.  The founders of Christianity understood that if man can save himself from eternal damnation through his own initiative and obedience to God, the church would have very little to offer the human race.  Moreover, if righteousness can be achieved through submission to the commandments outlined in the Torah, what possible benefit could Jesus’ death provide for mankind?  Such self-probing thoughts, however, were unimaginable to those who shaped primitive Christianity.

Despite the zealous position missionaries take as they defend this creed, the Christian doctrine on original sin is profoundly hostile to the central teachings of the Jewish scriptures.  Over and over again the Torah loudly dismisses the notion that man has lost his divinely endowed capacity to freely choose good over evil, life over death.  This is not a hidden or ambiguous message in the Jewish scriptures.  On the contrary, it is proclaimed in virtually every teaching that Moses directs to the children of Israel.

In fact, in an extraordinary sermon delivered by Moses in the last days of his life, the prophet stands before the entire nation and condemns the notion that man’s condition is utterly hopeless.  Throughout this uplifting exhortation, Moses declares that it is man alone who can and must merit his own salvation.  Moreover, as he unhesitatingly speaks in the name of God, the lawgiver thoroughly rejects the notion that obedience to the Almighty is “too difficult or far off” and declares to the children of Israel that righteousness has been placed within their reach.

Deuteronomy 30 isn’t a quiet chapter and its verses read as though the Torah is bracing the Jewish people for the Christian doctrines that would confront them many centuries later.  (!!) As the last Book of the Pentateuch draws to a close, Moses admonishes his young nation not to question their capacity to remain faithful to the mitzvoth of the Torah.  Deuteronomy 30:10-14 states:

. . . if you will hearken to the voice of the Lord your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Law; if you turn unto the Lord thy God with all your heart and with all your soul; for this commandment which I command you this day is not too hard for you neither is it too far off.  It is not in heaven, that you should say, “Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it to us, and make us hear it, that we may do it?”  Neither is it beyond the sea that you should say: “Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, and make us to hear it that we may do it?”  The word is very near to you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it.

The Jewish people have drawn great comfort and encouragement from this uplifting promise.  For the (Christian) church, however, Moses’ strong message created a theological disaster.  How could the authors of the New Testament reasonably insist that man’s dire condition was hopeless if the Torah unambiguously declared that man possessed an extraordinary ability to remain faithful to God?  How could the church fathers possibly contend that the mitzvoth in the Torah couldn’t save the Jewish people when the Creator proclaimed otherwise?  How could missionaries conceivably maintain that the commandments of the Torah are too difficult when the Torah declares that they are “not far off,” “not too hard,” and “you may do it”?

This staggering problem did not escape the keen attention of Paul (the Apostle).  Bear in mind, the author of Romans and Galatians constructed his most consequential doctrines on the premise that man is utterly depraved and incapable of saving himself through his own obedience to God.  In chapter after chapter he directs his largely gentile audiences toward the cross and away from Sinai as he repeatedly insists that man is lost without Jesus.

Yet how could Paul harmonize this wayward theology with the Jewish scriptures in which his teachings were not only unknown, but thoroughly condemned?  Even with the nimble skills that Paul possessed, welding together the church’s young doctrine on original sin with diametrically opposed teachings of the Jewish scriptures would not be a simple task.

Employing unparalleled literary manipulation, however, Paul manages to conceal this vexing theological problem with a swipe of his well-worn eraser.  In fact, Paul’s innovative approach to biblical tampering was so remarkable that it would set the standard of scriptural revisionism for future New Testament authors.

A classic example of this biblical revisionism can be found in Romans 10:8 where Paul announces to his readers that he is quoting directly from scripture as he records the words of Deuteronomy 30:14.  Yet as he approaches the last portion of this verse, he carefully stops short of the Torah’s vital conclusion and expunges the remaining segment of this crucial verse.  In Romans 10:8 Paul writes,

But what does it say?  “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach).

Predictably, the last words of Deuteronomy 30:14, “that you may do it,” were meticulously deleted by Paul.  Bear in mind that he had good reason for removing this clause -- the powerful message contained in these closing words rendered all that Paul was preaching as heresy.

This stunning misquote in Romans stands out as a remarkable illustration of Paul’s ability to shape scriptures in order to create the illusion that his theological message conformed to the principles of the Torah.  By removing the final segment of this verse, Paul succeeded in convincing his largely gentile readers that his Christian teachings were supported by the principles of the Hebrew Bible.

The question that immediately comes to mind is: How can Paul deliberately remove a vital clause from Moses’ message and still expect to gain a following among the Jewish people?  While considering this question, we can begin to understand why Paul attained great success among his gentile audiences and utterly failed among the Jews who were unimpressed with his contrived message.

It is for this reason that although both Paul and Matthew quoted extensively from the Jewish scriptures, they achieved a very different result.  Paul was largely a minister to gentile audiences who were ignorant of the Jewish Bible (the only Bible in existence at the time).  As a result, they did not possess the skills necessary to discern between genuine Judaism and Bible tampering.

Since Genesis I, known to have been written earlier by an Elohist, describes the creation of men and women who are blessed, and Genesis II, written later by a Jehovist, goes on to tell another story of a lone man, Adam, for whom God creates a mate - there is a very different way of viewing the entire Bible story if one wishes to incorporate anything from the Bible at all.  Temple of Lylyth is an organization for non-Adamic people, no longer online.  See also Serpents versus Adamites, an extensive monograph sold on this website.

For Western Deism, a movement that caught on when the shackles of Ignorance were cast off, see Thomas Paine, Age of Reason