Thursday, November 29, 2018

The Logic of Christianity 17: And, Batting Cleanup: The Holy Spirit

The link in the syllogistic chain I presented in the previous post pertains to the argument that, even if the Bible were considered a thoroughly human book—written by humans without divine aid and collected and canonized by humans without divine aid—still (logically) the Bible is trustworthy.  But, why do we tie our hands behind our back?  Why would logical individuals restrict their arguments to some such arbitrary presumption—simply because scholars operating under a now-defunct, now-bankrupt modernist philosophy that demanded that we doubt everything that can be doubted prescribed such a presumption?

In an earlier post, I argue:
It is altogether CONSISTENT that LOGOS THE AGENT used LOGOS THE AGENCY to self-actualize in the ACT of creating a LOGICAL UNIVERSE capable  of  sustaining  LIFE  and,  consequently,   leading  to  a  SCENE  in  which SOCIAL PURPOSE motivated the AGENT to create a CREATIVE, COMMUNICATIVE, ACTION-BASED life form with which LOGOS THE AGENT could communicate.

I continue my argument:
It seems that, since the God we seek to identify uses “rational communication” for the purpose of developing “social” relationships with the only species to whom that God has given the ability to engage in creative “action”—namely, the human—the God we seek to identify should have, at least at some point, “communicated socially” with this human species.  Logically, a God capable of and motivated to communicate socially with a species that that God designed and formed to be capable of similar communicative action would be expected to engage in such social communication.

How does the Judeo-Christian God communicate with humans? 
The only ways that God still spoke freshly to humans, for Rabbinic Judaism, were through children, fools, and the BAT QOL (or mysterious voice from Heaven).  Jesus alludes to the proofs of God speaking through children during his Palm Sunday entry into Jerusalem (Matthew 21:15-16).  And, while Christianity disagrees [with the Jewish view] that the age of prophecy had ended (there are plenty of Christian prophecies), it certainly affords the proof that was still acceptable to Jews:  The BAT QOL.

It seems that both children and fools were considered innocent, because they lack the good inclination.  Therefore, the Holy Spirit (which inspires prophecy) is able to dwell inside these humans—they are innocent—in the same logical move that prompted Acts 2:17-18 to report that (after Jesus’ death and resurrection) “the Spirit” could be “poured out” on all flesh.  Once Jesus’ death provided the forgiveness, the “NOW innocent” believers could receive the Holy Spirit.

In Chapter 23 of my book Angels and Demons: The Personification of Communication, I explain:
Jewish scholar G. F. Moore (in Volume I, page 414, of his book Judaism in the First Centuries of the Christian Era) links . . . three terms . . . together quite easily.  In his chapter entitled, "The Word of God:  The Spirit," Moore states, "God's will is made known or effectuated in the world not only through personal agents (ANGELS), but directly by his WORD or by his SPIRIT" (emphases mine). 

According to the Bible, God has spoken to humans through his own voice, his own handwriting, the BAT QOL, angels, and the Holy Spirit/Spirit of God.  Many of such messages are recorded in the Bible.  The Holy Spirit, according to Judaism, was—in times past—found in prophets, children, and fools.  After Jesus’ death and resurrection, the Holy Spirit could be “poured out” on all “flesh” (KJV).  This is predicated on a prophecy given through the Old Testament prophet Joel—Joel 2:28: "And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.  Acts 2:16-18 in the New Testament, claims that this prophecy was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost (fifty days after the death and resurrection of Jesus): 
16 [T]his is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:  17 “In the last days,” God says, “I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh.  Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.  18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.” 

But was it literally poured out on ALL flesh?  Not if, by all flesh, we mean animal flesh.  (Hence, the NIV translated “flesh” (the literal translation of both the Greek [SARX] and Hebrew [BASHAR] terms) as “people.”  Not if, by all flesh, we mean all “people”—including non-Christian humans.  Not even if, by all flesh, we mean that every Christian is able to prophecy.  Paul asks rhetorically, in I Corinthians 12:29-30 (ASV): “Are all apostles?  Are all prophets?”  The clearly implied (rhetorical question) answer is “No.”  Not even can it be said that every Christian in New Testament times possessed a spiritual gift that would allow him or her to be a medium of God’s messages.  Rather, these miraculous spiritual gifts are given by the “laying on of the hands of apostles.”  In my book Psychotic Entelechy: The Dangers of Spiritual Gifts Theology, I observe:
Christianity . . . believes that God continued to speak through the visitation of angels (as when Gabriel announced John’s and Jesus’ births) and through prophets and prophetesses such as Simeon and Anna (Luke 2:25-38) and especially through John the Baptist who lived at the time of Jesus.  Christianity also teaches that God spoke through those (such as apostles and prophets) who had received spiritual gifts in the first generation of the church.
According to 
Catholics hold that public or “general” revelation ended at the death of the last apostle (Catechism of the Catholic Church 66, 73), but private revelations can be given still—and have been, as Marian apparitions at such places as Fatima and Lourdes testify (CCC 67).  Such revelations can never correct, supplement, or complete the Christian faith (“Distinctive Beliefs of the Mormon Church,” Catholic Answers.  Available:

Protestantism as defined by Martin Luther claimed that God’s communication with humans ended with the canonical Old and New Testaments.  Luther’s mantra, “Sola Scriptura,” emphasized the point that even the Catholic Church in its various offices were not considered capable of credibly offering new messages from God (pp. 98-99).

I continue, in Psychotic Entelechy:  The Dangers of Spiritual Gifts Theology, pages 110-112:
Those who are “filled with the Spirit” are at [the] time [of the New Testament—the time that the Book of Acts refers to them] actually in the process of receiving messages from God.  In addition to using the mediation of angels and mysterious voices,  God   (in  the   New  Testament   period)   used  a  variety  of  methods  to communicate with humans.  These methods are termed “spiritual gifts” by the apostle Paul.  Yet, each method or gift was designed to provide communication from God.
The spiritual gifts listed by the apostle Paul in three separate writings feature prophets prominently (Romans 12:6, I Corinthians 12:28, Ephesians 4:11).  In the last two lists, prophets are listed second only to apostles.  In the first list, apostles are not mentioned; prophets are listed first.  Both apostles and prophets had miraculous powers.  Their messages, whether written or spoken, were considered by the Church to have come from God just as surely as the messages of Moses, Elijah, and David did.  The early Christians met weekly to devote themselves not to the Torah (as the Jews did in the Synagogue), but to the apostles’ doctrine (Acts 2:42).  Of the twenty-seven books in the New Testament canon, at least seventeen were thought to have been authored by apostles.  The Book of Revelation was written by a prophet.  Luke and Acts were both written by the evangelist Luke, and Mark is attributed to the evangelist John Mark.  In the Ephesians 4:11 list, evangelists are mentioned as (spiritually) gifted, immediately following apostles and prophets.
Hebrews and the three epistles of John were at one time thought to have been authored by the apostles Paul and John, respectively.  None of the four epistles make the claim of apostolic authorship, however.  Second and Third John claim to be written by “The Elder.”  If he is not the apostle John himself, the Elder is probably a prominent disciple of the apostle John.  Given its Pauline elements, Hebrews may well have been written by a prominent disciple of the apostle Paul.  James and Jude claim to have been written by Jesus’ physical relatives:  his brothers.  All of the authors of New Testament books not authored by apostles or prophets could easily be authored by individuals who had other spiritual gifts.  Paul seems to assert that he conveyed a spiritual gift of prophecy to Timothy at the time he laid hands on him to set him apart for eldership (I Timothy 4:14 and II Timothy 1:6).  It is possible that the Elder of the epistles of John (if not the apostle John) also received a spiritual gift at his ordination as elder.  The author of Hebrews claims to be a companion of Timothy (Hebrews 13:23).  Hence, some think Paul is the author.  If the author is not Paul, he may have received a spiritual gift from Paul as Timothy did.  Jesus’ brother James is depicted in Acts 15 as the presider among the apostles in Jerusalem.  Paul lists James along with Peter and John as the pillars of the Jerusalem church (Galatians 2:9).  Apparently, James had some form of inspiration, as his brother Jude may have.
The basis upon which Christians believe the books of the New Testament were inspired of God is that all books were written by authors who had spiritual gifts.  Various lists of spiritual gifts mentioned in the New Testament include: 
·         apostles (I Corinthians 12:28-29, Ephesians 14:11), 
·         prophets (Romans 12:6, I Corinthians 12:10, 28-29, 14:1-40, Ephesians 14:11),
·         evangelists (Ephesians 14:11),
·         teachers (I Corinthians 12:28-29, 14:6, Ephesians 14:11),
·         healers (I Corinthians 12:9, 28-29),
·         miracle workers (I Corinthians 12:10, 28-29),
·         pastors (Ephesians 14:11),
·         deacons/servants (Romans 12:7),
·         encouragers (Romans 12:8),
·         contributors to the needs of others (Romans 12:8),
·         leaders (Romans 12:8),
·         mercy givers (Romans 12:8),
·         helpers of others (I Corinthians 12:28),
·         administrators (I Corinthians 12:28),
·         revealer (I Corinthians 14:6)
·         messengers of wisdom (I Corinthians 12:8),
·         messengers of knowledge (I Corinthians 12:8, 14:6),
·         believers--with the gift of faith (I Corinthians 12:9)
·         speakers in tongues (I Corinthians 12:10, 28-30, 14:1-40), and
·         interpreters of tongues (I Corinthians 12:10, 30).
Also listed by Paul among the spiritual gifts in Romans 12:7, some of the early deacons on whom the apostles laid hands were apparently prophets, healers, and miracle workers, as well (Acts 7:56, 8:5-7, 13).  Some of the abilities listed as spiritual gifts could be interpreted as the equivalent of typical aptitudes without respect to any miraculous abilities.  Many teachers, pastors, servants, encouragers, contributors, leaders, mercy givers, helpers, administrators, and believers have existed throughout the history of mankind without respect to any specific spiritual giftedness.  But, then, what would be the point of calling them spiritual gifts?  The miraculous element is implicit in the way Paul discusses spiritual gifts.

Incidentally, the receiving of spiritual gifts is not identical with what Acts describes as “baptism of the Holy Spirit”—an event that occurred on only two occasions.  For a discussion of that phenomenon, which was accomplished by a separate act of God, consult my book Psychotic Entelechy:  The Dangers of Spiritual Gifts Theology, pages 117-118.  But, how were spiritual gifts conferred?  I answer the question on pages 113-116: 
If spiritual gifts provide miraculous messages from God, it is important to know how they are conferred.
. . .  
[T]he phenomenon referred to by the apostle Paul as “spiritual gifts” may be referred to by other New Testament writers with different terminology.  While never using the phrase “spiritual gifts,” Luke points out in Acts: “The apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders among the people.  . . . Crowds gathered . . . bringing their sick and those tormented by evil spirits, and all of them were healed” (Acts 5:12, 16).
The Laying On of Apostles’ Hands

In the early period of the church, seven deacons were chosen to assist the apostles.  Luke states: “They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them” (Acts 6:6).  Afterwards, one of those deacons, “Stephen . . . did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people” (Acts 6:8).  Another of the deacons, “Philip went down to a city in Samaria . . . the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did . . .    [E]vil spirits came out of many, and many paralytics and cripples were healed” (Acts 8:5-7).  Although Luke never refers to these special abilities of the apostles and deacons as “spiritual gifts,” their abilities seem to be identical to the abilities of the healers and miracle workers in Paul’s lists of spiritual gifts.  Although Philip baptized many Samaritans, Philip was the only Christian in Samaria capable of performing miraculous works.  Luke states: “[T]he Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.  Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit” (Acts 8:16-17).  One must assume that receiving the Holy Spirit in Luke’s terminology means that the Samaritan Christians were capable of miraculous works, as was Philip.  A sorcerer named Simon noticed the method by which these gifts were transferred:  “When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, ‘Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit’” (Acts 8:18-19).  His request was denied.
The laying on of the hands of an apostle seems to be the method by which spiritual gifts were conferred in the apostle Paul’s writings.  In Romans 1:11, Paul tells the Romans: “I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift.”  Why was it necessary for the apostle to see the Romans in order to confer spiritual gifts?  Could he not just pray that they would receive spiritual gifts?  Apparently not.  Did they not automatically receive spiritual gifts upon being baptized?  The Samaritans who were baptized by the deacon Philip did not receive spiritual gifts at baptism.  The Roman church was in a unique position.  Apparently, some Roman Christians did have spiritual gifts or Paul would not have written in the twelfth chapter of his epistle:
We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.  If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.  If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.  (Romans 12:6-8)
Luke informs us that Jews and proselytes from Rome were in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:10-11).  Some of these Romans were surely converted to Christianity by the apostles on that day.  It is fair to assume that some of them received the laying on of the hands of apostles.
In Acts 19, Luke records another incident in which an apostle laid hands on some individuals and they received spiritual gifts.  Paul discovered at Ephesus some disciples who had received only the baptism of repentance taught by John the Baptist, not Christian baptism.  They were unaware of any Holy Spirit connection.  Paul had them rebaptized in the name of Jesus.  After the baptism, Luke reports: “When Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied” (Acts 19:6).  Observing Luke’s symbol system, the terminology he used in Acts 19--“receiving the Holy Spirit” and “the Holy Spirit coming on” individuals—is identical to the terminology he used in Acts 8:16-17, at which time the apostles Peter and John laid their hands on the first Samaritan Christians after their baptism.  In the Acts 8 text, Simon the Sorcerer observed that (miraculous) gifts were given by the laying on of apostles’ hands (Acts 8:18).  Speaking in tongues is not clearly defined in the Acts 19 instance.  Perhaps, it was the spiritual gift of prophecy discussed by Paul in I Corinthians 12-14.  Prophecy, which is also mentioned as a result of the laying on of Paul’s hands in Acts 19, is definitely a spiritual gift.
Paul informs Timothy that Timothy’s spiritual gift was conferred when Paul laid hands on him: “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands” (II Timothy 1:6).  Some have suggested, based on I Timothy 4:14, that spiritual gifts were conferred by the laying on of the hands of non-apostles.  Paul tells Timothy:  “Do not neglect your gift, which was given to you through prophecy by the laying on of the hands of eldership.”  The proposed interpretation suggests that the gift was conferred when the body of elders laid their hands on Timothy.  While that interpretation of the text is possible, it is also possible that the text should be interpreted:  The prophetic gift was conferred on Timothy when Timothy was set apart as an elder through the laying on of hands.  II Timothy 1:6 argues strongly for this second interpretation.  Paul clearly tells Timothy his gift was conferred when Paul laid hands on him.
If we accept this second interpretation, we do not have a single instance in the entire New Testament of someone receiving a “spiritual gift” except by the laying on of an apostle’s hands.   This observation, of course, does not apply to the conferral of the gift of apostleship. 

So, then, if spiritual gifts are only conferred by the laying on of an apostle’s hands, how does one become an apostle?  I answer on pages 119-120:
Requirements for Becoming an Apostle

According to the Revelation to John, Jesus praises the church at Ephesus for testing “those who claim to be apostles but are not” (Revelation 2:2).  Revelation, however, does not spell out how false apostles are detected.  Luke’s writings identified . . .  the method by which spiritual gifts were conferred—by the laying on of apostles’ hands.  It is suitable, then, that we turn to Luke for information regarding how men became apostles.
In Acts 1:12-2:4 . . . Luke details the choosing of a new apostle to take the place of Judas Iscariot.  He quotes Peter in listing the qualifications for the office:  Therefore, it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us.  For one of these must be a witness with us of his resurrection. (Acts 1:21-22)
If, in order to be counted an apostle, one must have been a personal disciple of Jesus for at least three years and an eye witness of his resurrected body, it seems impossible that a modern-day apostle could exist.  Even Paul apparently had those who questioned his apostleship.  Clearly, Paul was not a personal disciple of Jesus during his ministry from John’s baptism to Jesus’ ascension.  He could, however, on the basis of his conversion experience on the road to Damascus, claim to be a witness of the resurrected Jesus.  He asks rhetorical questions to the Corinthians: “Am I not an apostle?  Have I not seen Jesus our Lord?  Are you not the result of my work in the Lord?  Even though I may not be an apostle to others, surely I am to you!”  (I Corinthians 9:1-2).  In his epistle to the Galatians, he offers his apostolic credentials as they pertain to the three-year discipleship issue: 
I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up.  I did not receive it from any man nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.  . . . When God . . . was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus.  Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter and stayed with him fifteen days. (Galatians 1:11-18)

Paul claims here that he was indeed a personal disciple of Jesus, although he does not make clear how that instruction proceeded.  Whether his specific mention of a three-year-time-period is significant or not is debatable.
To the Corinthians, he even claims to have learned specific details of Jesus’ earthly life events directly from Jesus:
For I received from the Lord that which I also passed on to you:  The Lord Jesus, on the night in which he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.”  In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; this do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” (I Corinthians 11:23-25)
Paul asserts that he received this historical narrative from the Lord, not from others.  Paul also points out that his apostleship is recognized by the other apostles: “James, Peter, and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship . . .   They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews” (Galatians 2:9).  If Paul’s apostleship is recognized only after some difficulty, we should certainly not lightly accept the apostleship credentials of anyone living today.  It is relatively safe to say that there are no modern-day apostles.  That being said, it is safe to say that, since spiritual gifts were conferred by the laying on of apostles’ hands, there are no modern-day spiritual gifts.

As I point out on pages 123-124 of Psychotic Entelechy:  The Dangers of Spiritual Gifts Theology,
The process of disseminating gifts would end when the last living apostle lays his hands on the last gift recipient before dying.   . . . The process is complete (teleios).  It will not be repeated in the future.  The recipient has no power to pass on the gift to anyone else.  The New Testament contains no hint that anyone (other than an apostle) who possessed a spiritual gift could pass it on to someone else. . . . Following deductive reasoning, I assert the following: 
·         Major Premise:  Spiritual gifts are only conferred by the laying on of apostles’ hands.
·         Minor Premise:  There are no apostles living in the twenty-first century.
·         Conclusion:  There are no spiritual gifts in the twenty-first century.

On pages 95-98 of Psychotic Entelechy:  The Dangers of Spiritual Gifts Theology, I offer a brief history of God’s communication with humans:
I defined spiritual gifts as the receipt of messages from God. . . this is “history” as communicated from presumed spiritually gifted sources.  The presumption is that much of the historic detail included would have relied on messages from God to certify its accuracy.  Certainly, the Jewish Bible (the Christian Old Testament) accepts the premise that God spoke to and through certain individuals.  That God spoke directly to Moses is the fundamental premise upon which Jewish Law is founded.  The first five books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) are known as the Torah, the Hebrew word for Law.  According to tradition, Moses is the essential author of all five books.

   Genesis provides a rapid-fire account of more than two thousand years of human history prior to Israel’s four-hundred-year sojourn in Egypt.  Prior to the account of human history, Genesis offers a one-chapter account of the creation of heaven, earth, and the plant and animal kingdoms.  Presumably, if Moses authored the creation and human history accounts, he would need some inspiration from God to certify that his account was accurate.  Moses’ account has God speaking directly to Adam and Eve, warning them not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  Following their Fall, God interrogates them and communicates to them their respective punishments.  To their children, God signifies his preference for the animal sacrifices (of Abel) to the vegetable sacrifices (of Cain).  Then, God warns Cain not to kill his brother.  After Cain murders Abel, God personally interrogates Cain and tells Cain of his punishment.  Later, God speaks to Noah, instructing him to build an Ark.  After the Flood, God provides Noah and his family a brief list of laws.  Then, God does not appear to communicate with humans until he begins to communicate with Abram, whom God renames Abraham.
   In the final three-fourths of Genesis, God communicates frequently with Abraham and his family.  God makes covenants with Abraham, his son Isaac, and Isaac’s son Jacob, whom God renames Israel . . .  Israel has twelve sons who become the patriarchs of the twelve tribes.  One of those sons, Joseph, God takes special interest in, communicating with him through dreams.  God has a special purpose in mind for Joseph, which takes Joseph to Egypt.  His brothers sell him into slavery, but God causes him to rise to leadership in that land.  Eventually, God uses Joseph’s position of influence to rescue his father and his brothers’ families from famine in the land of Canaan as they emigrate to Egypt.  The entire account of Genesis, if authored by Moses, would require that Moses be inspired by God to be certified historically accurate.  Moses’ perspective was four hundred years removed from the most recent historical circumstances he reports on.  The suggestion that Joseph may have written some accounts that Moses found in the Egyptian archives would argue for some historiographical accuracy, but none of the first five books make such an assertion.
   Exodus begins with the Israelites still in Egypt four hundred years later.  Now, the name of Joseph is long-forgotten by the Egyptians and the Israelites have become an enslaved people.  God raises up an Israelite named Moses, educates him in Pharaoh’s palace, and eventually speaks to him through a burning bush, commanding him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and back to the Promised Land (of Canaan).  God infuses Moses with miraculous powers and, upon his successful campaign to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt, God gives Moses the Law on Mount Sinai.  The various laws and instructions God gives to Moses are detailed in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.  These four books pertain to historical issues occurring during the lifetime of Moses.  The exception to this observation is the final chapter of Deuteronomy, which discusses the death of Moses.  The primary purpose of spiritual gifts theology in the final four books (of Moses) is to certify the accuracy of Moses’ messages concerning the Law.  The Law (Torah) comes from God.
   After Moses, there is a lesser profusion of spiritual giftedness throughout Jewish history.  God speaks to Moses’ successor Joshua throughout his leadership career in retaking the Land of Canaan.  He performed miracles through Joshua—such as causing the Walls of Jericho to fall.  After Joshua’s death, God inspires and speaks to various judges—Othniel, Deborah, Gideon, Samson, and others.  These judges receive miraculous abilities and counsel from God as they defend and protect Israelites in battle.

   Although Moses, following God’s Law, institutes the priesthood, it is not until later that the High Priest becomes the primary vehicle for God to communicate with humans.  After the time of the Judges, God speaks to Samuel, as a child, and calls him into the priesthood.  God continues to communicate messages to Samuel throughout his career.  Samuel, with God’s direction, anoints the first Israelite king, Saul.  Then, Samuel, with God’s direction anoints King David to replace Saul.  The anointing of Samuel as priest (and the sense in which Samuel’s anointing also made him a prophet) combined with the anointing of David as King (and the sense in which David’s anointing also made him a prophet) introduces a new era in God’s communication with humans.  The three anointed (messianic) offices—prophet, priest, and king—become God’s primary mouthpieces for Israel.  The Hebrew word meaning “anointed one” is “messiah.”  (The Greek word meaning “anointed one,” incidentally, is “christ.”)
   King David, under inspiration from God, writes many psalms.  His son King Solomon, with similar inspiration, writes many proverbs.  Later kings and priests are not considered to have equal inspiration.  Later prophets, however, become the voice of God to Israel.  The prophet Nathan was a contemporary of David.  Elijah, Elisha, Micaiah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel are the most famous prophets.  Other prophets whose writings are included in the Bible are:  Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.  Pharisaic and Rabbinic Judaism and Christianity accept the premise that God spoke through these prophets . . .  Pharisaic and Rabbinic Judaism believes that God's activity of speaking through prophets, however, ended with the canonical prophets of the Jewish Bible.  Ezra the scribe instituted a new way for God to speak to Israel—through reading the Torah aloud to the people. Even though the age of the prophets ended with the canonical Tanach (or Old Testament) for the Jews, Pharisaic and Rabbinic Judaism still allowed for the possibility that God might speak through infants and fools.

   Pharisaic and Rabbinic Judaism also taught that God could speak through a Bat Qol (or “mysterious voice”).  This type of communication is claimed by the early Christians on a few occasions.  When Jesus was baptized, a voice from Heaven said: “This is my son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17 NIV).  When Jesus was transfigured, his disciples were startled by a bright cloud.  A voice from the cloud said: “This is my son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.  Listen to him” (Matthew 17:5 NIV).  When Saul of Tarsus (who later became the Apostle Paul) was confronted on the road to Damascus, he was blinded by a light from heaven and heard a voice saying:  “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”  Saul asks who is speaking and the voice responds: “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting . . .   Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do” (Acts 9:5-6 NIV).
   Christianity also believes that God continued to speak through the visitation of angels (as when Gabriel announced John’s and Jesus’ births) and through prophets and prophetesses such as Simeon and Anna (Luke 2:25-38) and especially through John the Baptist who lived at the time of Jesus.  Christianity also teaches that God spoke through those (such as apostles and prophets) who had received spiritual gifts in the first generation of the church.

The Holy Spirit bats “cleanup.”  The Bible is NOT a thoroughly human book—written by humans without divine aid and collected and canonized by humans without divine aid.  The logic of Christianity would be tenuous, indeed, if it were but a thoroughly human book.  We may “load the bases” by arguing the logic that the New Testament books were historically and prophetically accurate, even by human historiographical standards.  But, then the Holy Spirit steps up to bat.  He hits a grand slam home run and clears (cleans up) the bases by certifying that the Bible is to be believed because, while it was written by humans using their own symbol systems, it was “inspired” by God.  God must be true though every man be a liar (Romans 3:4--KJV).  Christianity is thoroughly logical!