death and zombies

Genesis: Death and Zombies.

Genesis: Death and Zombies.

Christians, Muslims and Jews often miss a very important point, the Bible doesn’t say very much about death – certainly not enough to support three religions. In a video lecture entitled ‘Five Big Words from Genesis that shaped Ancient Hebrew Thought’, Professor James Tabor made a very interesting point: that when Genesis says you´re dead, you stay dead and he’s right – or is he?

In fact, when you start looking, it is obvious that the writers of Genesis were very careful exactly how much they said, or didn’t say, about death. Why you may ask!

Well Hebrew spirituality wasn’t born in a vacuum. As it turns out, Genesis was written as a visceral rejection of the Egyptian class-based obsession with death. In many ways the Egyptian religion was a death cult; it was only the rich who got to live beyond death. The Hebrew people wrote the Torah to put the story straight.

But here’s the thing, you can’t read the book of Genesis literally – you can’t take what it says at face value. How do I know?

Because Genesis tells you, right at the beginning, that you must look deeper than the words. The Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki ) noted, in 11th Century France, that the first word of Genesis, b’reshit, cannot be explained – it shouldn’t be there.

Which begs the question, why does the oldest, most accurately, and most often, copied book in the world contain a grammatical error in the first word that is untranslatable and is obviously a grammatical mess.

Rabbi Jeff Goldwasser wrote a wonderful blog on this subject that you can read HERE and he renders the words (B’reishit bara Elohim)  thus: “In the beginning of the beginning that is always beginning, God created the creation that is still.”

I would argue that the Elohist writer of Genesis 1 put this grammatical error into the text at precisely this point because he is telling the reader, right at the beginning, to look deeper than the text. Please bear this in mind as we proceed.

Before humans are even mentioned in Genesis, the writer makes it clear that even fish are alive (hai’yah – a thing that has life) and it is the Nephesh of that fish that has life. What is the Nephesh you may ask – where does it come from? It has often been translated as ‘Soul’ but this is problematic. When we say ‘Soul’ people think of an invisible ‘you’ that exists eternally; this is a view familiar to Greeks and to Hindus but this was precisely not what the Hebrews were saying. The word Nephesh ‘kind-of’ means breath and humans have the same Nephesh as the animals.

But ‘To Breathe’ or ‘Breathing’ is not all the word means – the implication is ‘An Entity or Creature’.

In Genesis 2, a later Yahwist writer expands on the concept of the creation of humans and tell us that the breath of life comes directly from the breath of God. In other words the essence of life is the essence of God.

“And he is forming, Yahweh/Elohim the human from the soil from the ground and he is blowing into his nostrils the breath of life and he is becoming a human living entity.”

You need to hold onto this idea; the idea that the essence of life is the essence of God because it will become important.

Some scholars have tried to say that it is only the breath that is alive and when we stop breathing we are just dead – ‘end of’.

Indeed, it was this view that I grew up with over a half century ago.

It has been a popular view amongst Christian, Muslim and Jewish scholars that the Jewish Bible holds a monistic view of human life; that man is not composed of two elements (body and soul) but that man is rather a psycho-physical organism. Indeed, this view is popular among atheists and Neo-Darwinian Evolutionists today. They think that we are just temporary machines – which in Hebrew is Golem but Golems lack self-awareness – they lack the ability to choose between Good and Evil. For more on this subject, read this BOOK.

It must also be noted that the Hebrew people were not idiots; they knew that babies are alive before they take their first breath and similarly they knew that we don’t just end.

Professor Herbert Chanan Brichto said, “Why has a millennium and more of good Bible scholarship failed to discern the basic view of afterlife permeating Scripture? For the biblical evidence for immortality presents a model of the afterlife which would have constituted a rebuttal of resurrection.

The metaphor of God breathing into clay is an answer to the question, ‘How do we live’ – we are dead clay animated by the essence of God – our life is God’s life.

This is further demonstrated by the word Ga`va at the end of life, “He breathed out his life” with the clarification “to return to his people.” Obviously, the writer could easily have said, “He just died” if he wanted to.

In the book of Koheleth (The Teacher – Ecclesiastes) it says: “And the Dust returns to the Earth (and leaves it) as it was, and the life-force (Ruach) returns to God who gave it.”

It is evident that the Hebrew understanding of life was not just an idea entirely focused on the self as was the Hindu, Egyptian and Persian concepts of the ‘Soul’ or ‘Self’. Rather the Hebrew understanding is that all life is a part of, and expression of, the essence of God. This fundamentally changes our relationships with ourselves and the world around us.

In 1 Samuel 28:11-14, King Saul goes to woman who could summon the dead and spoke to the ghost of Samuel. This story rests on three pillars:

  1. Hebrew people, at that time, accepted the idea of life after death.
  2. Hebrew people, at that time, accepted the idea that it was theoretically possible to speak with the dead.
  3. The proscription of the practice was based on the fact that it worked – not that it didn’t work.

It is evident then that the Hebrew people had a much more nuanced understanding of life, and of life before/after death, than people may realise but what is also evident is that they were deeply aware of the danger of building our life on the idea of a life to come.

We can conclude then that the Book of Genesis was specifically written to guide the Hebrew people toward a life-based, life-affirming religion as opposed to the Death obsession of the Egyptians and the nihilism of the Persians.

Unfortunately, this rather profound and subtle understanding of life and death did not really satisfy the Hebrew people of the Second Century BCE after suffering one invasion after another. No longer were they going to accept the blame for all the suffering of the Jewish people based on their ‘supposed’ sin. The Scribes had to come up with a more palatable story – and boy did they!

Sometime around the Second Century BCE, the Pharisee sect came up with the idea of the Resurrection of the Dead. They blended this absurd belief onto the already existing belief in the appearance of a Jewish Superman they called the ‘Moshiach’ – a military leader who would save Judah and establish a physical Judean hegemony over the whole world. In this Armageddon part II, the Jewish dead would rise out of the graves and live again.

Unfortunately, the introduction of the doctrine of the Resurrection of the Dead re-introduced the human preoccupation with death and the promise of the next life, which was why so many Hebrew religious teachers rejected it.

Professors Funk, Borg and Crossan, of the Jesus Seminar, concluded that the Jesus of History, like other prominent Hebrew religious leaders in the early first century CE, did not believe in the Resurrection of the Dead.

Indeed, the Jesus of History’s teaching conformed to the essence of the Torah and tried to push people to focus on this life and not speculate on death and the life to come. He said, “Have you found the beginning that now you look for the end?”

Of course, the concept of the physical resurrection of the dead is ridiculous and this doctrine alone has singlehandedly created billions of atheists over the years. My own father, a convert to Catholicism, was terrified to have a medical procedure as it would mean the removal of a body part, “What will I do at the Resurrection?” he whimpered.

So was Professor Tabor right? Do we die and then stay dead until the Last Day and the Resurrection of the Dead?

To be honest, you could read the text and find whatever answer you like and people do every day. But I would argue that, if you read the Hebrew original and try to understand it, the only philosophical paradigm that is consistent with the earliest Hebrew texts is the paradigm contained within the Q-Source that we call the words of the Jesus of History.

In the modern world, we think ourselves so clever. Some Muslims blow themselves up because they are convinced that they will get paradise when they are resurrected. Christians are convinced that the world is a maximum security prison and only they have an escape plan. Buddhists see life as a cheap package holiday; they just want to go home and never come back – given the chance they will just stay in their hotel room for the rest of their lives. Atheists believe that life is an accident and they are their own god.

So maybe, just maybe, the writers of the Book of Genesis were much smarter than we think! When the Pharisees introduced the idea of the Resurrection, they did not realise the hell on Earth they were bequeathing to the world.

Q source thumb 2

The Q-Source and Philosophical Coherence

The Q-Source and its Philosophical Coherence:

A few weeks ago, a desperate and troubled soul asked me if the Q-Source actually existed and I explained – what seemed self-evident to me – that the Q-Source was proved, first and foremost, by its philosophical coherence.  My friend paused for a moment, looked at me blankly, and then just repeated the question again, as if I was hard of hearing.

In that moment of failure, I had an epiphany! Looking around at the world as if I had just woken from a dream, I realised that most people are as blind to philosophical coherence as some people are to the colour red. Blindness to philosophical coherence is the reason people can no longer tell the difference between fact or fiction, truth from lies. In this world, where everyone has their own personal version of reality, vaccines are ‘safe and effective’ and global warming predictions come true.

I could see that my kind and gentle friend could read the individual words of Christ but it was evident that she couldn’t see the significance of the meaning that was contained within the groups of words when put together.

She just couldn’t see that those sayings, themselves, contradicted the Christ narrative and were therefore not a part of that Christ narrative. In fact, she – like so many other people in this modern world – is entirely dependent on an ‘authority figure’ to tell her what to think and what to believe.

Sadly, my friend is not alone, most biblical scholars look at the words in the bible as just so much data – numbers devoid of value, words devoid of meaning.

In this blog, I will explain exactly what philosophical coherence is and how it proves the existence of the Q-Source but much more importantly, I will give you the mental tools you need to distinguish between good and evil – truth from lies – for yourself.

What is ‘Philosophical Coherence?’

It is a truism that nature seeks balance. In fact, the Great Enlightenment was only possible because people knew – deep down in their bones – that the world around them could be understood through reason. It was upon this assumption that Western Civilisation was built.

Evidently then, and contrary to popular opinion, human beings are hard wired to seek order – within themselves and in the world around them. What we call ‘Sanity’ is a description of that coherence – that balance – within ourselves.

It is for this reason that most people who have watched Amazon’s Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power have concluded that the writers of the show are idiots. Why?

Because the words of the characters are incoherent – they contradict the core values of their own characters.

Even people who are effectively illiterate can get a sense of identity from a text message. Most people can tell if a text message was written by someone they know well or from a stranger. Because of this fact, even the illiterate have concluded that the Rings of Power was badly written – its characters incoherent.

Why is this relevant?

Consider this:

If one minute Jesus said that he was not good and, in fact, only God is good.

But then, in the next minute, he said that he was God and everyone should worship him, what would that mean?

In fact, most sane people would suspect that these lines had either been written by the idiots from Amazon or that Jesus was insane. The same person could not have made both statements.

Why? Because the ‘Paradigms’ expressed are not philosophically coherent – they are contradictory.

Let’s analyse that concept a little bit more carefully.

The Structure of a Paradigm

It is helpful to think of an idea, a concept, or a philosophical proposition using the umbrella term: ‘a paradigm‘. A paradigm is a Greek word that describes a pattern or an example. In modern use it tends to refer to a concept.

Taking it further you can think of a paradigm as a huge roof held up by pillars. Each of those pillars are facts that support the structure of the paradigm.

For example, it has become fashionable to believe that the Earth is flat. You can think of this concept as a paradigm supported by several observations, assumptions or ideas, which we will call pillars.

If any of those pillars are proved to be incorrect our paradigm itself becomes unsupportable – the roof will collapse.

Taking our example of the flat Earth as a whole, the paradigm is supported by several pillars:

  1. The Earth – particularly in Middle-America – looks flat.
  2. Maps look flat.
  3. Planes seem to fly in a straight line not a curved line.

Obviously, Flat Earthers will be howling at this point, as I have left out an entire corpus of their work but I am only using the Flat Earth theory because it’s so funny – so don’t get caught up on details – we are discussing principals here.


If anyone is interested in proving that the Earth is not flat, Emily and I destroy the pillars of this theory HERE.

So where does that leave us?

Having dissolved the pillars of the Flat Earth Paradigm, the Flat Earther has only three choices:

  1. Abandon the Flat Earth theory.
  2. Ignore the facts.
  3. Kill me.

So we can see from this example how a philosophical paradigm is a roof supported by pillars. We have also seen how in any argument, discussion or self-analysis we must consider the pillars of a belief and have the courage to test their ability to support the truth.

This is also true of a literary character.

Not a Real Flat Earther

Imagine if you were a writer working for Amazon and you want one of the Hobbits in the Rings of Power to be a Flat Earther. You would not be able to have the character himself refer to a place in Middle-Earth, while pointing to a point on a globe or saying that the Earth is like a ball – unless of course your Hobbit is insane (or if you really are working for Amazon).

Chinese Spring Rolls are Full of Worms

As most Christian Pseudo-Scholars seem to have such a problem with the idea of philosophical coherence, let’s examine another example.

Take as our second example, Chinese food. When I was a boy growing up in a poor area of England foreign food did not exist, which was a shame as English cuisine of the 1960s was disgusting.

Imagine our delight when a Chinese take-away opened at the end of our street. On dark winter evenings, a large group of scruffy boys would appear outside the newly painted shop like so many moths around a brightly painted lantern.

The highlight of my grey and loveless life came in the form of the exotic Chinese delicacy they charmingly called ‘Spring Rolls’. Until, that is, someone in our gang mentioned – just as I bit into an envelope of deep fried batter stuffed full of bean shoots – that Spring Rolls were full of worms.

To say that I was explosively sick would be an understatement.

My friend’s paradigm – that Spring Rolls were made from earth worms – was based on one observation and one assumption:

  1. Deep fried bean shoots do look like worms.
  2. As we were all totally ignorant – it seemed perfectly possible that the Chinese did, in fact, eat worms.

And thus was born a lifetime aversion to bean shoots, despite the fact that the pillars of my belief are easily dissolved.

So any literary representation of me in the future, would not be believable if I were described as a lover of Spring Rolls.

So much then for philosophical paradigms and their coherence. Let’s get to the meat of this discussion.

Introducing the Q-Source

I will not bore you with a detailed explanation of the Q-Source as I have done so – ad nauseam – elsewhere: on our website, in my books and in published papers but for the newly interested honest reader, I will just give a quick synopsis here.

Reading the Synoptic Gospels horizontally, the attentive reader will notice that they are all biographical stories told from the perspective of the omniscient narrator – knowing the contents of people’s thoughts and private conversations – usually these stories are there to engender belief or justify a Pauline Paradigm. With so many mistakes in history, geography and culture these story elements must be carefully quarantined on the fiction pile.

While reading horizontally, we can also see that huge chunks of narrative and incidental dialogue have been copied between the Gospels. So much then for Christianity.

However, there also exists a collection of logia (phrases, sentences, paradigms) that offer up philosophical paradigms, which spectacularly contradict the philosophical basis of the Gospel narratives.

I am not the only one to notice this fact and cannot claim it for myself. However, I will not bolster my argument by citing their authority here.

Instead, let’s examine a couple of examples for ourselves:

Q-Source Paradigm Number 1

The fundamental basis of this paradigm is the concept that God is the essence of ‘Good’.

The paradigm is expressed in several places but, in the interests of brevity, we will examine this one:

“Why are you saying I’m good? No one is good except one – God.”

Luke 18:19

This paradigm is supported by the following pillars:

  1. The world is designed specifically to nurture life (Matthew 6:31, 7:11)
  2. God does not judge us, we judge ourselves (Matthew 5.45, Matthew 7:1 – 16)
  3. God is within and without all things and is the source of all life and existence (Luke 17:21, Tomas 70, Matthew 13:31)

This paradigm dissolves the Christian doctrines of original sin, vicarious sacrifice, the divinity of Jesus and Jesus as an apocalyptic teacher to name but a few.

This bears repeating. The above paradigm and its pillars totally contradicts the narrative of the Gospels, the letters of Paul and Acts.

If the interested reader takes the time to investigate, they will find that all logia, which share this paradigm, also exist outside of the Synoptic Gospels (Epistle of James, Didache, Gospel of Thomas), which begs the question, “Why did the Gospel writers (whomever they were) include these logia in their Greco-Roman fictional propaganda?”

The answer can only  be that they wanted Hebrew authority – a lie is much more successful if it has a hint of the truth. Anyone with any practical knowledge of Hebrew mysticism would recognise these Logia as being pure Kabbalah. For more information please refer to my book, The True Sayings of Jesus: the Jesus of History versus the Christ of Myth.

Let’s look at another example:

Q-Source Paradigm Number 2

Let’s look at another paradigm and see how it elegantly reveals the very essence of the Q-Source.

“Yet I am saying to you that every man who looks at a woman, to lust after her, has already committed adultery in his heart.”

Mathew 5:28

So let’s try to sum up that philosophical paradigm by examining the pillars on which it is built.

  1. Sin (Ra) is not an action but an internal act of volition – a choice. (Matthew 5.28, Thomas 70, Luke 6:43)
  2. To control one’s thoughts is much more difficult than controlling one’s actions. (Matthew 6:22, Luke 12:2, Luke 6:41)
  3. Our choice of our selfish nature (Yetzer ha-Ra) has a direct effect on the real world. (Luke 6:27, Matthew 7:13)

This logia dissolves the Christian doctrines of Salvation from Sin through belief, as it demonstrates that the imperative of the reality of existence is constant. No one can escape, while living, the magnetic pull of sense objects. We can only learn to become aware of that magnetic pull and to let go of our urges. This is called the Narrow Gate doctrine.

In Summary

In short, the core logia within the Gospels that are often called the ‘Q-Source’ are defined not by numerical value but through the coherence of their inherent meaning.

To be honest, the Q-Source can be summed up with only two uniquely Hebrew paradigms: Emunah and Teshuvah. Christians incorrectly translate these terms as ‘Belief’ and ‘Repentance’.

In English these concepts can be loosely translated as ‘Love and confidence in God’ and ‘Returning to the divine source’, but it would take a library of books to even come close to articulating the depth and breadth of these concepts. And, I believe, it was for this reason that the Jesus of History was a genius in the way he taught: simplicity is true refinement.

Going Forward

Using Philosophical Coherence as your datum, try comparing all the words attributed to Christ and you will find that a small group of logia, which all share the same view of the world, in most cases, share the same style and syntax. In short, they appear to have been spoken by the same person. That person was obviously a Hebrew but his or her’s view of life and God were not the same as Orthodox Judaism (in fact they are pure Kabbalah) – something else was obviously going on and it is this disconnect that identifies the Q-Source.

It is, therefore, risible to suggest that just because Luke copied Matthew and Matthew copied Mark that the Q-Source didn’t exist.

The Q-Source is obvious simply because it sticks out like a philosophical sore thumb and it exists in other non-canonical sources.

The Q-Source certainly doesn’t belong in a text that is based on the idea of salvation through belief, vicarious sacrifice, and the idea that life is something to be escaped or rescued from. It is obvious from the examples above that the Jesus of History (or whomever wrote the logia) believed that life was something precious and to be celebrated.

Well meaning people continue to describe the Jesus of History as an apocalyptic teacher despite the fact that his words contradict that belief. This is as accurate as describing me as a lover of Chinese food.

They also insist on the Jesus of History as a member of the Royal Davidic line, despite the fact that the Gospels, themselves, make a nonsense of this claim and it is directly refuted by the words of the Jesus of History. This is as believable as the idea that the Earth is flat.

Why do people have such a problem with philosophical coherence you may ask.

For the same reason that people who know smoking cigarettes is bad for them continue to smoke, cognitive dissonance, but that is the subject of my next blog but before then, why don’t you take what you’ve learnt here and ask yourself, “why do I believe the things I do?”

You might be surprised by the answer. Then you might be able to read the New Testament and see the truth hidden within the lies.