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Literalism or Symbolism?
It Is Both
It Just Depends on the Circumstances
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The purpose of this two-part (0)
sequence of documents is to dismount another technique that is often
to disfigure people's faith - whichever the faith of their choice may
We have touched on one facet of this danger in earlier documents (1) ; now we will identify
the other, and far more dangerous, facet: the technique used by those
who, quoting the Holy Scriptures: (a) justify just about any criminal
act "in the Name of God"; and (b) "can show" that there are key
contradictions in them thus "proving" the inherent "unreliability" of
Why is this so important? Unfortunately men have been erroneously
to place their faith in either an institution or in a book instead
placing their faith and
entire trust in God.
(2) The institution and book are the instruments to
develop, and help place and strengthen our faith in God; they are not to become the
object of our faith. When the faith is not based on God, all
the unbelievers have to do is to
discredit the "institution" (3) and prove the "book"
Once that is done, the little faith man has will simply vanish away.
How are we going to accomplish this? Precisely using their same
in reverse. We
will point out apparent
errors in the Holy Scriptures and other
and show that they are not really errors, even though they may appear
to the average under
Do not, O Christians, make the mistake of thinking: "That would never
me!" Jesus Himself warned us that:
unless those days had been shortened, no flesh should be saved: but for
the sake of the elect those days shall be shortened.... For there shall
arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and
wonders, inasmuch as to
deceive (if possible) even the elect." [Matthew 24: 22-24]
Should you doubt those words, then listen to what M. Gorbachev
complains about. (4)
As we have said many times, even the evil ones have to serve God!
This will not be an exhaustive study of the issue at hand. That would
generate unnecessary volumes upon volumes of examples. Through Parts I
and II of this document, we shall only utilize a few examples to
illustrate the point, and to
underscore the importance
of continually seeking the Guidance of the Holy Spirit in the
understanding, interpretation and
application of the Holy Scriptures
and other religious texts.
There are several reasons why the Holy Scriptures and lesser
religious texts may appear contradictory or outright wrong.
The adjustment of a communication from God to the intellectual level of
the recipients of the communication at a
particular point in time is difficult.
Holy Scriptures have been translated 3,000 times, and in far too many
cases altered just to suit very temporal agendas. Temporal agendas
change with time, while the Divine Agenda never does.
The Holy Scriptures show
only "window shots" of events that were continuously evolving.
The interpretation of
the Holy Scriptures is colored by the social and religious customs of
area and the time in question and the degree of Illumination by the
The Greek texts and other
become "Holy Reference Points" for the theologian, scholar and faithful
may be inaccurate
convenient to some institution; or
(ii) the popular passions
to make it so "for our own good"; or
(iii) incorrect translations
may be wrong to the
extent of directly contradicting the version of the Word of God they
(iv) the original Greek texts
of the New Testament were lost long ago - even before St. Jerome
translated copies of them into latin.
Let us now take one category at a
communication from God to the intellectual and development level of the
recipients of the communication
particular point in time is difficult.
This was covered in our just released
document Creation vs Evolution (1)
of the Judeo-Christian Holy
Anyone who speaks/understands more than
one language realizes that just
the mechanical translation of words does not convey the true
meaning of a thought. The translation of the words must also be
accompanied by their expression within the cultural
framework of the
language it is being translated into.
An interesting exercise to
illustrate this point is to have a native Portuguese and a native
Brazilian who are
fluent in English (but not intimately familiar with, say, the US
culture) translate a brief text in Portuguese to American English and
to King's English. The four documents will convey
imagery and inaccuracies.
Do the same with a representative of all Spanish speaking countries in
Latin America and Spain and you will have a menagerie of images
conveying the message and many of them will deviate greatly from the
concept contained in the original US English version of the text.
When, to this dimension, we add thousands upon thousands of years of
and linguistic evolution and the ever evolving archeological
interpretation and re-interpretations of those past cultures, one must
be very careful in not placing
too much weight in the meaning of certain isolated
In addition to all of that, there is yet another dimension to be
concerned about: The spiritual
dimension of the concept being transmitted.
It is totally possible to translate a spiritual text from, say, English
to Portuguese and convey the exact same spiritual message, while
the mechanical translation of said text, even taking into account the
cultural coloring of both languages today, would appear totally
wrong. The reverse is also true.
In many cases the errors are simply out of ignorance and the poor
spiritual illumination of those who study to be theologians, but do not
, or those who study to be shepherds and who do not know God
. The "knowledge of God" (that is, intimate communion with
is the foundation of all knowledge. With the exception of Paul of
Tarsus, most of those selected by Jesus were uneducated men (i.e.,
culturally and religiously ignorant), but it was through their intimate
communion with Him that the foundation of Christian knowledge was laid.
An example of a
Let us review the various versions of Colossians 1: 24 and compare them
with its true translation:
It makes me happy to be suffering for
you now, and in my own body to
make up all the hardships that still have to be undergone by Christ for
the sake of His body, the Church - The New Jerusalem Bible
Who now rejoice in my sufferings for
you, and fill up those things that
are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for his body,
which is the church. - The
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for
your sake, and in my flesh I am
filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of
his body, which is the church - The New American
It makes me happy to suffer for you,
as I am suffering now, and in my
own body to do what I can to make up all that has still be undergone by
Christ for the sake of his body, the Church - Daily
Roman Missal - English Edition
prepared by Rev. James Socias, a devotee of Jose María
Escrivá and his work.
Who now rejoice in my sufferings for
you, and fill up that which is
behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake,
which is the church: - King
The overall impression is that Christ's
suffering was incomplete. His passion, crucifixion and death just was
not sufficient suffering - just "did not quite make it" - and Paul has
now to "make up the difference." This concept/translation is somewhere
and heresy. However, in the most accurate translation of the original
texts that we have found found we read:
Now I enjoy the sufferings
I endure because of you, and the suffering of Christ, which are
still lacking in my flesh, are
being fulfilled in favor of His Body, which is the Church. - Translated from the original
by Msgr. Dr. Juan Straubinger
As the reader can
easily see, the suffering that was lacking was not Christ's suffering
but His suffering manifested
in Paul's flesh for the benefit of Christ's Body, the Church.
This is a tremendous difference from all other man centered versions.
No Biblical error. Paul did not make a mistake either - it was simply
that it did not occur to the translators, except to Msgr. Straubinger,
that all that is Christ and of Christ was, is and will ever
be perfect and no
man can even think of making up something that Christ lacked, except,
of course, Mr. and Mrs. Moon (5)
who seem to be the latest version of the Antichrist and claim to be
making up Christ's incomplete mission. But that is another story
altogether; a story well covered in False
Many, many other apparent errors could be brought to light but we are
only trying to show one or two examples of each category.
(c) The Holy Scriptures
only "window shots" of events that were continually evolving.
There are Biblical passages where we may find outright (apparent)
contradictions and those are used in many cases to prove that the Holy
Scriptures cannot be trusted. What is being forgotten is that the
events that we are reading about are on-going. One individual may say
"yes" in one of the Gospels and then say "no" in another of the
Gospels. Was the time exactly the same? No. You may agree with us now
and ten minutes later you may not - that does not show incoherence,
that show that the circumstances were different ten minutes apart.
An example of
such - "window shot" - problem
Luke 23: 39-42
And one of the malefactors which were
hanged railed on him, saying, If
thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering
rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the
condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive
the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing
amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember
me when thou comest into thy kingdom. - King's James
Matthew 27:38 - 44
Then were there two thieves
crucified with him, one on the
right hand, and another on the left. And they that passed by
reviled him, wagging their heads,....
He saved others; himself
he cannot save. If he be the King
of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe
him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have
him: for he said, I am the Son of God. The thieves also, which
were crucified with him, "cast the same in his teeth" ["cast
the same in his teeth" means that they
were joining in the insults.] - King's
Incoherence? No. Both thieves could have been indeed
mocking Him as we
read in Matthew 27:38-44 until one of them was awe struck by Jesus'
demeanor, even in such condition, and had a conversion upon which he
then did say what we read in Luke 23: 39-42.
One "instant" before miguel de Portugal's flash conversion, he was
seeking ways to force a decadent life upon himself, and was unaware of
what was about to happen. In the instant after the flash conversion,
what he had been seeking was no longer important or of interest.
It was immediately discarded since his priorities had been
instantaneously changed. If one would report the "instant before" and
the "instant after" there would appear to be total incoherence, unless
one knew what happened in between.
As the Biblical example shown above - there are many more
reflect a report at two different "windows of time" and do not
errors in the Holy Scriptures.
The interpretation of
the Holy Scriptures hinges on the social and religious customs of the
area and the time in question.
To translate ancient texts one
understand the social and religious customs of the time in question
the translation of the Word of God becomes a vehicle of perdition.
An example of
the consequences of ignoring customs at the time in question
Luke 17: 28-36
Likewise also as it was in the days
of Lot; they did eat, they drank,
they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day
that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven,
destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when
the Son of man is revealed. ....
[after setting the Sodom backdrop we continue to read]
I tell you, in that night there shall
be two men in one bed; the one
shall be taken, and the other shall be left. Two women shall be
grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other
men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
- King's James Version
This passage has obviously given headaches to many non spiritual
translators and shepherds. We could see this passage being grossly
misinterpreted since a question would come (or brought) up - without a
regarding the two men in a bed: Obviously one was in the "wrong
position" and was left but the other was in the "right position" and
was taken. The reader may use his/her imagination to see how much
disinformation could be squeezed out of this monumental error.
Dr. Straubinger was the only one that we found (in five languages)
that had the correct translation:
tell you, that night there will be
two men reclining at the
one would be taken.... etc.
"Elementary, my dear Watson" - as
Sherlock Homes would say. In spite of Da Vinci's Last Supper, dining
tables as we know them now did not exist then. There were more like
very low platforms and men reclined by them while eating the food
placed on those low platforms.
Someone mistranslated "reclining" to
"lying", ignored the fact that it was a food related scene [women would
be grinding grain (logically in the kitchen) and men working
(cultivating) in the
field] and added the "bed" because there is in a bed where one normally
lies these days - and Presto! a major translation error which most
Bibles have and about which we have the sinking feeling that has been
continues to be) used for the justification of improper behavior/acts.
Once again, errors of this type abound from the many non spiritual and
culturally impoverished translators.
(e) Many other religious texts
become "Holy Reference Points" for the faithful because:
convenient to some institution; or (ii)
to make it so "for your own good"; or
incorrect translations - are
downright wrong - to the
extent of directly contradicting the version of the Word of God they
We will just cite a few of
these without categorizing them. The reader should be able to do so on
Example No. 1:
In Volume II (Lenten Season) of the Liturgy of the Hours, Page
976, in Second Reading in a Treatise by St. Basil we read in the last sentence
that "...we become God". This is
troubling because this sounds like New Age (7) philosophy.
We find the same phrase in the Portuguese Version - Page 898. Thus it
is not an error of translation into English. Unfortunately we find that
in too many accepted and approved religious texts. Although man was
created in the image of God man will never become a God. We repeat the
cry of Michael the Archangel: "Who is like unto God?" and we
answer it: "No one will ever be like unto God!" This is the ugly
head of the Genesis serpent finding its way into approved religious
texts to claim
Example No. 2:
"Through the intercession of Mary
many souls are in Paradise.... for God has entrusted Her with the keys
and treasures of the Heavenly Kingdom." St. Thomas Aquinas
The Catholic Church teaches that it is the Successor of Peter who has
the Keys of the Heavenly Kingdom - Where is the coherence? In addition,
as we have shown (8a),
when a human is born in Time, his soul also is in his final destination
- Heaven or Hell in the Eternal Frame since, in Eternity, all is
present, there is no past nor future.
Example No. 3:
Speaking of Israel: "What is your
iniquity, O daughter of Jacob, that your chastisement is so severe? You
have dishonored the King and the King's Son, you shameless one, you
harlot!" St. Ephrem (8)
Example No. 4: "The Jews wander over the entire earth,
their backs bent and their eyes cast downward, forever calling to our
minds the curse they carry with them." St. Augustine
We Comment on both of the above:
"What is Good for the Goose, is Good for the Gander"
"..forgive us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against
Example No. 5:
"They who are not baptized cannot
enter the kingdom of Heaven." Ven. Louis of Granada (8)
If that were true, imagine the fate of those who are responsible for
effort an the lack of universal conversion.
Example No. 6:
"God cannot do that which is against
the faith. He cannot do what is against the truth." St. Ambrose (8)
Now it seems that the Faith sets the limits for God or that the Faith
is as perfect as God. That is blasphemy!
Example No. 7: "Crucifiers of Christ ought to be held in
continual subjection." Pope Innocent III (8)
Papal infallibility? Just when is convenient....
Example No. 8:
"He who does not believe contracts an
incurable sin; for by his disbelief he dares to assert that God is
either impotent or a liar."
St. John Chrysostom (8)
We Comment: To
contract a disease one has to be infected by someone. In this case
"someone" are those who - through poor examples and a failed
Evangelization effort - have led many away from the True Faith.
from the condition of the world today, if we are to apply St. John
Chrysostom's rule to the Church Administration we can confirm our
evaluation of them: They have been and are ill, very ill.
Amongst the many less than fortunate statements made by men and women
honored by the Roman Catholic Church, there are also many true gems.
This is just
another example of the absolute need to make the Holy Spirit of God an
integral part of our daily lives since amongst the fine wheat there is
is much chaff - both sowed by the same sower. With the Light of the
Holy Spirit of God we can easily separate the wheat from the chaff
without falling in grave sin just because St. So and So said it!
is Jesus and Mary Whom to Whom we must look for examples to emulate and
Saints. The Saints are to be examples and reminders that "For man
is possible with God", but they are never, ever, to replace
Divine Wisdom and much less take the place of image of God that we must
strive to emulate!
Greek texts upon
which the New Testament are based were lost long ago. This will be
covered in Part
II of this document
- but "dark" as it may appear, it
has a "happy and faith building conclusion".
Published on June 24, 2005 -
Feast of the Birth of John the Baptist
Reviewed and Confirmed
on July 14, 2009
Copyright 2005 - 2019 by The M+G+R Foundation.
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