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Posts Tagged ‘pope francis’

“and Lead us not into temptation”

According to “The Independent” on Dec 8, 2017,

“Pope Francis has called for a change to the wording of the Lord’s Prayer, as the existing translation implies God ‘induces temptation’… The prayer, also known as Our Father, asks God to ‘lead us not into temptation’.”

“The 80-year-old also highlighted that the Catholic Church in France had already adapted the prayer, and uses the phrase ‘do not let us fall into temptation’ instead.”

I want to start by clarifying that I do not think there is anything malicious or necessarily heretical about the Pope’s call for change here. However, I do think there is clear error, so I will make the case.

“The reasoning is that ‘It is not a good translation because it speaks of a God who induces temptation.’”

This is just a mis-use of the word “translation”.  (I hope that, assuming the Pope was speaking in Latin, that this English translation isn’t erroneous).  Rather than trying to change the translation, he should be engaging in the issues of interpretation (more on that later).

Translation is the process of one language to another. In this case, Greek to English (in the case of the Catholic Church, it is often Greek to Latin to English.

The Greek (with English letters) is:

Kai eisphero ego me eis peirasmos

Kai – a conjunction – “And”

eisphero – (bring, take (like a message, a sacrifice, ) (see Luke 5:18, I Tim 6:7))

ego – me

me – not

eis – spatially in reference to – (before, into, onto, next, resulting in, among, about, etc)

peirasmos – “to be put to the test/tribulation”

I know that just like English, just the meaning of each Greek word is not always the right answer for a thought or phrase, but in this case, apparently is pretty good. So, all that being said,

“And lead us not into temptation…” (Matt 5:13)

is a perfectly sound “translation” – in fact, it is an excellent translation! If anything was a potential change in the translation, you might could change it to “and lead us not into trials/tests”… but that isn’t what he wants to change.

The Pope is not troubled by the translation. He is troubled by an interpretation question. One does not change what the Bible says because one is troubled by a question of interpretation – one teaches through it!

What does it say?

It clearly says something close to “and lead us not into temptation.”  If the translation is sound, what is the Pope concerned about?  From his further thoughts it is clear that he is troubled by the interpretation.

“Interpretation” is what something means.

So, if the Pope is uncomfortable with the fact that it sounds like God Himself is tempting someone to sin (which is not in the character of God, as indicated in James 1:13

“Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.”

So, is there any way to understand the words in the prayer other than God tempting people? Can someone lead someone into temptation without tempting them? Of course they can.

Consider that perhaps the exact experience that Jesus had in mind was His own recent experience (Matt 4, which starts with “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”

Jesus had been led into a situation in which He was tempted. Did the Father tempt Him? No. Did Jesus want to experience the situation again or want His followers to ask to avoid those kind of situations? I think it is likely so.

One interpreter of this passage referenced the idea of a mother taking their children through the checkout line with all of the candy having already told them that they could not have candy. She is putting them in a situation in which they will be tempted. She is not tempted them, though.

Jesus is encouraging us to ask for the extra grace from God to allow them to avoid those type of tough tests – the tests of being led into situations of temptation.

This situation, in which Pope Francis is seeking to change a translation because he thinks the passage needs further interpretation, is just an error. Of course, like the rest of us, he is just a man and “to err is human” (that is also not in the Bible by the way, but a quote from Alexander Pope – no relation to Pope Francis).

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What did Pope Francis say? 2v2-francis-pope

Is has been widely reported that recently, at a speech before the “Pontifical Academy of Sciences” on 10/27/14, Pope Frances made a number of statements that have drawn special attention.

The one drawing the most attention is: “God is not a divine being or a magician, but the Creator who brought everything to life…” as reported, for example, in USATODAY (http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2014/10/28/pope-francis-evolution-big-bang/18053509/).

This phraseology has understandably created some dramatic responses! Could this be the Pope – the leader of over half of the Christians in the world – be denying the Divinity of God?

I know honestly little about this Pope. I know that he has been at the center of many controversies about things he has said before – some possibly accurate, but most have apparently not been accurate.

I know that he is well liked by many not even a part of Christianity (and some in opposition to Christianity), and maybe that makes some nervous about him. However, I have tried to evaluate him based on what he actually says or does.

In this case, his words about evolution or the Big Bang are of no personal concern to me, since I share in his apparent thoughts on them both – I agree that they are at least both completely acceptably in line with biblical and theological interpretations (here is an example of a creative one – catch the pun? See what I did there? ;-)… sometimes in perfect harmony with the biblical accounts (read these, for example)… and I think even in some ways answers some tough questions…

Personally, I am gratified that another representative of Christianity is espousing the idea that science and the Christian Faith are NOT in contradiction… That faith is “trust”, not “ignorance”.

But I do not think we would be even hearing about the Pope’s views on creation or science would be of interest to anyone if the Pope were denying the Divinity of The only Divine God. That would be pretty important, huh?

Fortunately, he wasn’t.

The pope was speaking in Italian, not English. What he actually said (according to the transcript found at http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/it/speeches/2014/october/documents/papa-francesco_20141027_plenaria-accademia-scienze.html)

was

“Dio non è un demiurgo o un mago, ma il Creatore che dà l’essere a tutti gli enti.”

The word “demiurgo” has a specific meaning to the Catholic world – but it does not seem to have an awesome English equivalent. It seems to stem from the ancient conflict with the Gnostics. The Gnostics believed in a main God and many Sub-gods… kind of “godlets”. The Catholic word for these sub-gods… sot of “divine-ish” beings – is “demiurgo”.

You can see more detail at (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04707b.htm)…

So, in essence, the Pope was saying that God is not some sub-god nor some magician with a magic wand, but The Creator – the One God who Created all things. That makes sense.

I am all for holding any public figure who claims Christ, to account for their words… as I hope others hold me accountable. God knows that I have said wrong, stupid and foolish things in the past. However, I do think that this time, there is nothing in the Pope’s words to cause concern for other Christians. Continue to pray for all of our leaders!  Pray for their integrity to scripture and reason!

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