Satan’s Conversation with Eve (Gen. 3)

He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (Gen. 3:1)

Satan is so crafty. I’ve long believed it’s no mistake that he chooses to talk to Eve on her own, not because she’s Eve and the weaker of the two, but just the fact of talking to one of them, rather than the two of them. “It is not good for him to be alone,” God had said before the Fall — astonishingly, even before the ‘bad’ was introduced into creation, there was ‘not good.’

But isn’t also curious that Satan chooses to start the conversation by implying that he has an incorrect understanding of God’s conversation with the two? Later, he’ll imply that he is an authority on the matter of whether the thing will kill them or not — clearly he needs her to believe that he knows what he’s talking about. So why start by implying that he doesn’t know? Why start by having her feel like she’s telling him stuff that he doesn’t know? How does that help him?

He does not come in claiming to be an alternative God. The conversational style makes it sound as though this is one created thing chatting to another about their roles in the cosmos…. Over the course of the conversation he sounds as if he is not trying to set himself as an alternative Father figure, but rather as a kind of impartial older brother, advising rather than issuing contradictory orders.

Does he despise her? He must, to wilfully lead them away from God’s decrees like that. Unless he is convinced that ‘opening their eyes’ in that way was good for them or good for him or something. What is he hoping to gain? That clearly is not something Scripture thinks we need to know, maybe it is, at this stage, beyond our comprehension.

Very curious.

the word “evangelicalism”

Timothy Keller writing in The New Yorker magazine:

“in the early nineteen-seventies, the word “evangelical” still meant an alternative to the fortress mentality of fundamentalism [but]…its meaning has changed drastically…”

“When I used the word to describe myself in the nineteen-seventies, it meant I was not a fundamentalist. If I use the name today, however, it means to hearers that I am.”

“in popular usage, the word is nearly synonymous with “hypocrite.””

“Does the word, then, have an ongoing usefulness? For now, the answer may be no.”


“Destroying how Society Works”?

“The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works,” he said, referring to online interactions driven by “hearts, likes, thumbs-up.” “No civil discourse, no cooperation; misinformation, mistruth. And it’s not an American problem — this is not about Russians ads. This is a global problem.”

Who said this? A former executive at Facebook.

Why Things Don’t Change

The sun is nearly 900,000 miles wide. It is a huge ball of gas with nuclear fission going on at the centre, producing a temperature of 15.5 million degrees Celsius at the core.

A human being can blot it out of the sky by holding up the palm of their hand.

No matter how great or how true a thing or an idea, no human being will see what they choose not to see.

Text Blades by Waytools

I’m part of the pre-release test group for a new kind of keyboard, called Text Blades. Each of your fingers has its own key, and as well as going up and down like a real key on a real keyboard, each key is also a mini-touchpad — the key knows which part of it you’re pressing, allowing each single key to mimic all the keys that its finger would normally control.

Imagine how much better your life would be if your home was a little bit larger and all your commutes were a lot shorter. That’s what typing with the Text Blades is like. Your fingers have all the room that they need while sitting on the home row, but they have much less distance to travel when they need to move.

More room, less reach.

Unfortunately, this means that for the first few days, when you’re driving, as well as saying, “Wow! We’re here already!” you’ve also got too many occasions when the kids in the back seat are complaining, “Dad! You went past it again!”

Videos at the waytools website.

Yoann Bourgeois “La mécanique de l’histoire”

Wordless yet eloquent statement about human history & “progress.”

Life More Abundantly?

“God wants you to be rich” is a statement that, to me, seems almost indistinguishable from an assertion like “God wants to stuff you with a table full of cappucino-flavoured ganache.” Before accepting Jesus’ offer of “life to the full” (John 10:10), you need to understand his concept of what a full life is. That is unlikely to be the same as the assumptions of 21st century western culture.

Facebook & Trump: Social-Engineering Manipulation used as Propaganda

“We don’t know everything about Facebook’s role in [Donald Trump’s] campaign. What we do know — or certainly ought to know by now — is to not take Facebook at its word.”

— from Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society

“Facebook sold ads during the campaign to a Russian ‘troll farm,’ targeting American voters with ‘divisive social and political messages’ that fit right in with Donald Trump’s campaign strategy… Truth was not a requirement.”

— from Sullivan, “Facebook’s Role in Trump’s Win,” Washington Post

For a more complete and fascinating article, see Lancaster, “You Are the Product,” in the London Review of Books. (note: ironically, you have to sign up to receive email from LRB, but you can easily unsubscribe to these by clicking at the bottom of the first one.)

The Alien Logic of Both/And

My former colleaugue, Lish Eves taught that our western/Greek logic is based on “either/or” — we deduce things with the default that one thing will exclude the other thing. This has been a useful shortcut in, for instance, Newtonian physics, but turns out to be a real drawback in our attempts to understand quantum mechanics.

But, she said, many other non-western cultures, notably the ancient Hebrews, have a default logic that is “both/and” — this makes them appear to us illogical and incapable of reasoning when in fact it’s merely a different kind of reasoning and the only way of dealing with some truths. Einstein rejected quantum physics because he was “either/or.” But light IS both wave and particle; there are occasions where the photon/electron or whatever IS in superposition — both here and there. Jesus IS fully human and fully divine. etc. For ancient Jews, my comical example is “Your god does not exist, AND our God could beat him up with one hand tied behind his back, AND he doesn’t have hands anyway.” To us, this is funny; I’m not sure St Paul would understand why we think so.

In our lives, relationships are easier to see as both/and … most westerners can conceive of a love/hate relationship when it comes to themselves. But the extreme modernist frequently complains “How can you say God is a God of love when X Y and Z?” EITHER he is this and not that OR he is … etc.

You and I are culturally conditioned, I think, to lump things into either/or categories. Other cultures would find this arbitrary.

What I never got around to asking Lish is why it is that she thinks cultures need to be either one or the other….

Mac Malware Alert! Or not.

There was a rash of articles earlier this month in various newsites about a new report warning that 2017 would be a ‘banner year’ for cyber-security breaches on Macintosh computers. The report said that “Apple’s current strategies may not be enough to stop the rising tide.” (Wagenseil, “Mac Malware Reaches New Heights, Report Finds”) Did you get that? “may not be enough”!

Oddly enough, the information-security firm that released the report highlighting the many threats that were ‘likely’ to come is precisely the same information-security firm that has just introduced a new antivirus product for sale called Malwarebytes for Mac.  I wonder if they had any idea when they started working on the product that the month of its release would be the most dangerous time in all of Macintosh history! Pretty amazing.

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