Monday, January 17, 2022

The Great White Man in the Sky

 

Left, an Ashkenazi Rabbi and, right, a Mizrahi Jew. 


Which one does the Armstrongist God look like? 

Which face would you worship?


The Great White Man in the Sky

By NeoTherm

 “Adam was made by God. The God who made Adam was Jesus Christ. "All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made" (John 1:3). This is speaking of Jesus Christ, the Word, or active Spokesman of the Father. Now notice how Christ made Adam: "And God said: Let us make man {Adam} in our image, after our likeness" (Gen. 1:26). What is the meaning of "likeness?" The facial expression! So Adam looked like Jesus Christ. Adam also looked like God the Father. God said, "Let US make man after OUR image." Both Jesus Christ and God the Father look alike.

   “When Jesus was on earth 4000 years later, He looked exactly like the Father. Jesus was "the express image of His {the Father's} person" (Heb. 1:3). But Jesus also looked like the average Jew! Judas had to kiss Jesus in order to point Him out among His disciples who were also Jews (Luke 22:48).

   “Since Adam looked like Christ and Christ looked like the average Jew, then Adam — the first man — must have resembled the Jew. Adam therefore was a white man as are the Jews! Jews are not Negroes, as a few colored people contend. The Jews are Whites.” Herman Hoeh, “The Race Question”, 195


 “The Great White Man in the Sky” is a fanciful phrase that is rooted in serious Armstrongist theology.  Armstrongists decidedly believe God is a White man – not a biological being but a spiritual paradigm or archetype.  More aptly, God is a White superman.  And, though it is difficult to find clear statements, God very probably abides somewhere in the Cosmos, if not in published Armstrongist theology then in demotic characterization.   This opinion piece is focused on the views on this topic from Classical Armstrongism and uses early information resources.   Denominations derived from the now-defunct Worldwide Church of God may have updated or modified some of these views.  For instance, I recently and unexpectedly collided with the fact that the United Church of God now asserts that God is not bound by space and time.  I have no access to the post-classical theologies of these denominations.  It is expected that most will maintain an appreciable belief in Classical Armstrongism and this writing will be a midrashic response to them. 

The Armstrongist Anthropology 

The deductive path in Hoeh’s statement above is easy to follow.  Jesus looks like God the Father.  Adam looks like Jesus.  Jesus was a White man.  God the Father, Jesus, and Adam all then looked like White men.  Further, Herbert W. Armstrong (HWA) states in his book “Mystery of the Ages” (MOA), page 94, that God in creating Adam “purposed to reproduce himself.”  While Adam was biologically a White man, God is the spiritual and archetypical White man on which Adam is based.  Underpinning this argument is the assumption that God has a body and I have challenged that idea elsewhere.  

Genesis speaks of both an image of God and a likeness.  Hoeh identifies the likeness as God’s “facial expression” or his appearance in the quotation above.   What the image of god actually is varies in Armstrongist publications.  At one point it seems to equate to the bodily form of God (MOA, p. 46).   At another place, HWA states that the image of God consists of two components: “…man, made to become in the character image of God and also in the likeness or form and shape of God (MOA, p. 102).”  Similar variations can be found in archival sources, but nobody seems to have ever retracted the concept of God as a White man.  So this means that, in classical Armstrongism, God is the White man archetype both in persona and soma.  

But a separate question is, “Whom does Hoeh regard to be a White man?”  The two photos at the top of this article are both pictures of Jews.  The man on the left is an Ashkenazi Jew and the man on the right is a Mizrahi Jew.   The Ashkenazi left the Middle East long ago and settled in various places in Europe.  This is the Jewish type Americans are most familiar with.  They are in fact of 30 to 70 percent European ancestry in contravention to the common but mistaken belief that Jews have preserved their racial purity in Diaspora.   The Mizrahi are Jews that never left the Middle East, never went into Diaspora.  They were there in the time of Jesus and they are there now.  Jesus was a Mizrahi in today’s terminology.  There is no reason to believe that Jesus did not look like the Jew on the right. I would expect that Hoeh did not have the Mizrahi in mind when he made his categorical statements about the appearance of God, Jesus, and Adam being like that of a “White” man.  

The Inadvertent Dehumanization of People of Color

God as archetypical White man is a problem.  I would conjecture that this problem was unforeseen at the time that this combination of racial theory and the doctrine of God was developed by whomever and wherever in the Armstrongist movement.   Adam was created in God’s image and Adam was a White man.  This means that the White man is God-like – he possesses both the character and form of God by creation.  What then of people of color?  In line with the Armstrongist view, people of color are a departure in persona and soma from the White ideal and, therefore, from God’s nature.  They are then neither in the image or likeness of God.  And what of people with mixed ancestry?  Might some be only partially in the image and likeness of God?

As a matter of praxis, are the various Armstrongist denominations now on the scene willing to tell people of color in their congregations that they are not in the image or likeness of God while the White congregants are God-like by creation?  

Does this departure from God’s nature mean people of color are somehow inferior to the White race?  The answer, in spite of some earnest advocacy of humanistic values in some of Hoeh’s articles, seems to be ‘Yes.’   This is apparent from Chapter 7 in the MOA.  Here we find that the Gentiles, both White and people of color, will be ruled over in the wonderful world tomorrow by the greatest White people of all: the “Israelites” (as defined by the ideology of Anglo-Israelism).  As HWA states (MOA, p. 341), “And, again, no gentile nation will be as great as one of the Israelite nations.”  For eternity. 

Some Biblical Issues and Christian Views in Brief

The idea that God is a racial type is, of course, wrong. God is Spirit.  The idea that God even has a body as a part of his eternal essence is illogical.  Belief in a corporeal God is just a failure to recognize figures of speech in the Old Testament for what they are.  The image of god and the likeness of God are not a matter of personal proclivities of character and bodily form, respectively, but have to do with intellection, creativity, and the capacity for spiritual understanding. (Admittedly, precisely what Imago Dei is, is controversial among Christian theologians and preachers but what it is not is clear – it is not about bodily shape.  It is about persona but not a particular racial persona.  God would not be limited in such a way that he only knew what it was like to be White in persona and soma.   Such limitation would place the valuable personal attributes of sub-Saharan Africans, for instance, outside God’s cognizance and creative purview.)  And as for the Israelite nations (as defined in Anglo-Israelism) ruling over the Gentile nations, we have this statement in Isaiah:

“And the LORD will make himself known to the Egyptians, and the Egyptians will know the LORD in that day and worship with sacrifice and offering … they will return to the LORD, and he will listen to their pleas for mercy and heal them … Assyria will come into Egypt, and Egypt into Assyria, and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians. In that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the LORD of hosts has blessed, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance.” (Isaiah 19:19-25)”

This shows Gentile nations (including a dark-skinned Hamitic nation) interacting directly with God without the priestly intervention of national Israel and occupying a status equivalent to Israel in the sight of God, in spite of what Dean Blackwell may have said decades ago. 

Further, the separation of “image” and “likeness” into two different concepts, here reconstituted by HWA (MOA, p. 102), was abandoned by Christian churches in the Middle Ages.  Neither term was thought to refer to God’s bodily shape.  In Genesis 1:27 we find “image” used alone and in Genesis 5:1 we find “likeness” used alone yet both usages in similar contexts.  They seem to be used as synonyms with Genesis 1:26 being a repetition of synonyms for emphasis. 

And A Genetic Constraint

If one insists that the first man was a fleshly replica of God, it is important to establish who the first man was.  The first modern men were haplogroup A and were sub-Saharan Africans of the Negroid racial type.  Other racial types developed as mutations from this original type.  I believe this proliferation of races was guided by God.   This genetic history is imprinted on all human DNA.  And using the logic of HWA’s exegesis, this would make God racially a sub-Saharan African.  I believe that Adam was, rather, a haplogroup J Middle Easterner but that is a larger treatise. 

Conclusion

This is not a diatribe against White people.  I see no reason to believe that White people are in any way more or less important from a Christian perspective than any other race of people.  But for those who accord White people a superior position in the plans of God, this essay may seem like an audacious act of lèse-majesté.  Nobody should accord White people, or any other people, a role in the world as Übermenschen and certainly not based on a misconceived and underdeveloped version of the Doctrine of God.  God is not a man with cellular biology, a genotype, and a phenotype.  He is Spirit.  He does not possess race as an attribute.  There is neither Jew nor Greek in Christ.  And God is not the great White man who lives in the sky.  

Note:  Armstrongist dogma is notoriously difficult to research because each topic is scattered in many publications.  I would appreciate knowing about any published and official dogma that contravenes what I have written.  Please provide the source.  I would especially like to know if the idea that God is a White man archetype has ever been directly retracted. 

 

52 comments:

Anonymous said...

The fault with armstrongism is that they wrongly believe in a pre-existent Christ.

DennisCDiehl said...

Let's face it. If horses had gods they would look like horses in the mind of the horse.

This no form, no race, no genetics and outside space and time god is useless and certainly is not the cultic version presented in the Old Testament.

The God of the Old Testament creates man "very good" and in a short time finds out he didn't do such a good job and they were very bad. We know what happened in the myth. Reboot.

The subsequent stories and "laws" of that culture bespeak a psychopathic anger and entitlement of the "chosen" of this God versus the unchosen. Scripture presents a God driven death toll of 2.8 million non-chosen, 'very goodly" created humans. Satan, I recall only was responsible for the ten children of Job and that was with God's permission. The chosen versus the unchosen haunts this planet to this day.

When defining God, people do so with God is "all" and then a list of superlatives and perfect traits, powers and knowledge etc that no humans have. When we learn more about our Universe and how nothing we are and certainly not the center of it or the reason, we describe a God that is "outside space and time" which is meaningless which is the ultimate honor unavailable to humans. Good thing...

To be outside space and time is the same as "does not exist" or if that could be understood, which it can't be, That God, as a smoky spirit lives in no space and takes no time to do it.

It would also be "the blackness of darkness forever" reserved for false prophets in scripture (2 Peter 2:17) only worse. You can't reserve "no space" and you can't check in because of "no time". Your stay would not be short or long. You could not move and with no time, there'd be no memories and planning anything would be a challenge in a no space no time place which is not actually a place. That God exists in the worst prison or mental hospital outside the known Universe. In short, "No space, No Time, No thing, No god" seems more likely.

I know we compulsively, as humans, crave answers and have a tendency to make them up as we go to comfort ourselves in our space time experience. Especially in the realms of the unseen, unprovable and unknowable or not yet known. We see things that aren't even there and pretend to know that we do. That's what "faith' really is. The substance of what we hope is true based on no evidence that it actually is or could be true. (Hebrews 11:1)

Where faith is encouraged, reason is discouraged. Faith requires that we make-believe, presume and pretend. The topic of "God IS..." (Or God Isn't) provokes this. In effect we lie and fool ourselves pretending to know what we either don't or can't. It requires we believe the unbelievable and yet, we must believe, that "He that comes to God MUST believe that He is..." Belief in anything is not the same as the truth of any matter.

Endless topic and one that, no doubt, produces more rancor and arguments than inspiration or truth in time or space.



DennisCDiehl said...

PS

What does it mean when people say that God is outside of time and space?

It means they don’t want you to evaluate the concept of God by means of rationality because otherwise you will encounter countless contradictions and claims that are outright wrong.

It also is another way not to provide any reasonable answer to a reasonable question that may find you doing or not doing, being or not being, something in your life that a church or cult might wish or not wish one to do or not do.

Outside space and time is a fancy and unchallengeable way to say "It's a mystery" so just trust us and do as we say. We are God's representatives (Salesmen) on Earth at this time.

Miller Jones/Lonnie C Hendrix said...

Neo's assessment of the Armstrong theology on this subject is consistent with the language employed by Herbie in his magnum opus, Mystery of the Ages:

"What is God’s form and shape?
In Genesis 1:26, “God said, Let us make man in our
image, after our likeness.” We know the form and shape of
_- man. That is-the, image, likeness, form and shape of God.
In various parts of the Bible, it is revealed that God
has a face, eyes, a nose, mouth and ears. He has hair on his
head. It is revealed God has arms and legs. And God has
hands and fingers. No animal, fowl, bird, fish, insect or any
other kind of life we know of has hands like human hands.
Even if any other living being of which we know had a mind
to think with, without hands and fingers he could not
design and make things as a man does.
God has feet and toes and a body. God has a mind.
Animals have brains, but no mind power like man’s.
If you know what a man looks like, you know what
is the form and shape of GOD, for he made man in his
image, after his very likeness!
One of Jesus’ disciples asked him what God the
Father looks like. Jesus replied: “Have I been so long
time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip?
he that hath seen me hath seen the Father...” (John
14:9). Jesus looked like the Father. Jesus was, actually,
“God with us” (Matt. 1:23). Jesus was the begotten and
born Son of God.
And what was Jesus’ appearance? It was that of a
human man, for he also was the Son of man. He looked
so much like other Jewish men of his day that his
enemies bribed Judas to point him out and identify who,
in a crowd at night, was Jesus.
So now we know God has the same form and shape
as a man. We also know he is composed of spirit, not of
matter as is man. Spirit is invisible to human eyes,
unless manifested by some special process.
And if so manifested we would see both God the
Father and Christ now glorified in heaven with faces,
though formed and shaped like human faces, as bright
as the sun full strength! Their eyes flames of fire, feet
like burnished brass and hair white as snow (Rev.
1:14-16)." --Mystery of the Ages, pp. 46-47

Anonymous said...

An eternal, omnipresent being would not be limited by space. Time, for residents of planet Earth is relative to the relational cycles amongst the earth, sun, and moon. God could use it, or abide in it for His dealings with earthlings.

Most white people have no idea the damage which has been done, and the bad feelings which have been generated through "white paternalism" over the centuries. White paternalism is largely based on this white God theory upon which NEO is shedding some light. Yet, it would seem, based on the history in the Bible, that the Jews were simply another variety of Arab. There are also Sephardic Jews, whose skin is darker than the Ashkenazic Jews of Europe.

Whoever first coined the term "anthropomorphism" was really on to something. It is the natural human way of conceptualizing God, and that process also dominates the Bible and other holy books.

NeoDromos νέο δρόμος said...

Dennis wrote, "What does it mean when people say that God is outside of time and space?"

This view of space and time in relation to God of course is a bête noire to materialist atheists who do not believe there is such a thing as "outside of space and time." Just as saying that "space and time are created artifacts" are fighting words. That is why some atheists espouse the idea that the Universe has always existed - the need for a creator is then eliminated - at least in debate. A corollary question is, does materialism make sense as an explanation for reality? The answer is 'No'. Materialism does not even account for the infrastructure that it requires for its own coherence. It does not explain existence itself - that is a part of the presumed infrastructure for materialists. Materialism does not credibly explain human sentience. But we have had this conversation before.

God is outside time and space because he created time and space. Both, we know from physics, are a part of the physical universe - both are affected by gravity. But God is also present in time and space. He is both transcendent and immanent. But this is not directly testable. Nothing in the Spirit realm is. It is deduced after establishing the logical inevitability of the existence of God and the complete inadequacy of materialism as an explanation for reality. Again, we've had this conversation.

You raise the issue of the status of being "chosen." I take a Barthian view. Everyone is chosen in Christ - it just depends on what conditions are required for them to exercise the option. Further, I have the Hartian view that all ultimately will be provided with their set of critical conditions - this life or the next. We could expect no less from an omnipotent and benevolent God.

You raise an issue of theodicy. I think your 2.8 million figure must refer to The Flood. First, I believe The Flood was local and not global. I am not willing to concede that figure. Second, you have counterposed God against mankind without introducing the critical factor of free will. Of course, I do not think human will is really total libertarian free will. But it is workably free for required purposes. It is pragmatic freedom not ideal freedom. At one point, some humans became obsessed with evil. (All that God created was good. Evil is privative. It is parasitic on Good. Evil has no separate ontology.) Their ability to choose entered into the picture. So they died in a natural calamity orchestrated by God and their debased society was wiped out. Can there be a moral path without there being a moral path - without consequences for immorality?

This is getting long but in brief there are rational, credible answers for every question you raise. And the answers have been around for centuries in some cases - going back to the Patristics.

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Miller Jones/Lonnie C Hendrix said...

Dennis would have us believe that God is a figment of the human imagination. For him, Scripture is a compilation of the various musings and speculations of ancient, ignorant humans trying to explain things of which they had little or no understanding. For Dennis, these ancient Hebrew notions about God were no better than those of the ignorant Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks and Romans which dominated and oppressed them. Indeed, from his perspective, the Hebrew God is probably worse - a racist, murderous "psychopath!"

BUT, if the Hebrew God really wasn't any better (or maybe even worse) than the gods of the folks who ruled over them, then how did their notions of God come to supplant/triumph over the notions of their betters? Think about it! The gods of these powerful nations being supplanted by the God of an obscure nomadic people who couldn't even maintain their own independence - let alone dominate anybody else! OR was the YHWH of the Hebrews somehow different from Ra, Amun, Osiris, Isis, Zeus/Jupiter, Apollo, Mars, etc.?

Sure, just like other nations, the Hebrews used their God to justify their bad behaviors (racism, misogyny, slavery, genocide, etc.); but the notion of one superior, loving and just God also emerges from their Scriptures. Was that God the product of their imagination? Was "He" somehow superior to those other gods? If not, then why did "He" supplant them? Did the notion of there being one invisible and supreme deity make more sense than the notions which it replaced? Yes, the Hebrews said that humankind was made in the likeness of their God, but where did those notions of omnipotence, omnipresence and omniscience come from? Clearly, the Hebrews believed their God was far superior to even the greatest human (and not just in terms of power, but in character/personality). Did those notions originate in the Hebrew mind?

Moreover, even if we say that it is all just the product of human imagination, we are left with trying to explain human imagination! After all, where does this ability to imagine things that don't really exist come from? Think about the ability to conceive the notion of a building that has never existed before and then bring that notion into actual existence! Think about the literature, art, music, architecture and science that originated in the human imagination! Where does all of that fit into our notions of the tangible/physical/material reality that our five senses perceive all around us?

Dennis doesn't like things that can't be measured and evaluated by humans. He doesn't like mysteries, and he can't conceive of anything that exists outside of our reality. I don't mean to be disrespectful; but, from my perspective, that is called a lack of imagination! For better or worse, God/nature/evolution has equipped us with the ability to imagine (I would characterize it as a positive). As a consequence, we (humans) are NOT confined to this material realm which we currently inhabit. In other words, we don't just have the ability to explore this world - we've been equipped with the ability to explore what lies behind/beneath this material realm around us!

Tonto said...

Garner Ted Armstrong, in his book "The Real Jesus" that he wrote back in the 1970s, created quite a stir when he suggested that Jesus had a red beard.

DennisCDiehl said...

NeoTherm thinks:

"You raise an issue of theodicy. I think your 2.8 million figure must refer to The Flood."

Actually no. It excludes it as this number is not precisely stated in the OT. It is the actual account of slaughter as listed in 158 specific OT battles and such ordered by OT God at the hands of OT Israelites and Kings.

https://friendlyatheist.patheos.com/2013/07/25/how-many-people-did-god-slaughter-in-the-bible-steve-wells-has-written-a-book-documenting-every-kill/

All of this is chronicled in the book, "Drunk With Blood: God's killings in the Bible" By Steve Wells.

You're personal proofs are mere assumptions and speculations. Whenever one says "God" or "Christ" did or thinks this or that, one steps outside the realm of actual proof and simply philosophizes about all that one actually does not or cannot know. Theological spin.

The need to believe would naturally drive what you consider to be rational and credible answers for every question.

If the gods orchestrate the debasement and consequent wiping out of their own creation, they are either insane or inept. This is mere apologetic for what we actually see around us with still the need to believe the gods share no responsibility for it according to the tale told of their involvement and cause in and of it all to begin with.

Answers going back a couple of thousand years and from the Patristics (Church Fathers, for those who have to look up a lot of Neo's terms and elucidations) may run the chance of being quite out of date and the product of their times and not reality as we know it today. That's no different than saying "The Bible is true because it says it is" They offer YOU rational and credible answers for EVERY QUESTION. Billions might disagree

Anonymous said...

The athiests step gingerly out of their closets revealing how far from being a friend of God they are. But never doubt come Sabbath services they'll be suited and booted.

Zippo said...

Jesus had a red beard

GTA was playing on Jesus' Davidic ancestry, as David was described as "ruddy". He even suggested that they could have had freckles - imagine them looking like Howdy Doody...

A WCG friend introduced me to a Jewish man from India, who had a typical south Indian appearance. His story was that his ancestors left by Israel boat and arrived in India - and as he said they didn't assimilate, his Indian appearance must be the "original" Jewish features.

Anonymous said...

9:50 "The athiests step gingerly out of their closets revealing how far from being a friend of God they are. But never doubt come Sabbath services they'll be suited and booted."

What the hell is that supposed to mean? If someone doesn't believe that God is white then the person is an atheist? Africans never viewed God as white. The Chinese never view God as some white guy. The logic of Armstrongites is shocking at times. Wait, ALL the time!

Anonymous said...

Checking the Greek/Interlinear/Lexicon: not only was the hair white but also the head, white as snow and wool - Rev 1:14.

Anonymous said...

Dennis's AC salesmanship training is evident in his anti God posts. He tries to control the marks focus on his selling points, hoping other facts won't be noticed, or questions raised. He's like the ACOG leaders with their pet Pharisaic narratives.
As far as I'm concerned, the frequency of his anti bible, anti God articles is in violation of this blogs purpose. But since when have ACOG ministers played by the rules? Rules are just for the little people.

Bob Petry, C. L. said...

Here’s a thot: What do you think?

Many claim one way to understand what words mean in the bible is to see HOW the words are used IN AND BY the book itself. With that in mind, compare what Neo Therm says about these two verses. Then……

Gen 1:26  And God said, Let us make man IN OUR IMAGE, after OUR LIKENESS: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
Gen 1:27  So God created man in HIS OWN IMAGE, in the IMAGE of God created he him; male and female created he them.

…… see if it holds water in this context. I suppose Seth was only an “anthropomorphic” phrase and does not mean what it says.

Gen 5:3  And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son IN HIS OWN LIKENESS, AFTER HIS IMAGE; and called his name Seth:

Just think about it.

RSK said...

Well, considering it also depicts him with eyes of fire and feet like brass, I dont think thats a good indicator of his physical appearance during his lifetime.

NeoDromos νέο δρόμος said...

Dennis wrote a bunch of things. I will try to go through them and give my view. I want to give the atheist brother a respectable response.

Dennis wrote: "You're personal proofs are mere assumptions and speculations"

I cannot prove to you God exists. You cannot prove to me that he does not. What I can say is the materialism does not furnish a credible explanation for the human mind as Miller Jones points out. Also, materialism has no theory of Being as in "why is there anything?" We could say that materialist atheism is not a theory of everything - it is special rather than general. But also the disproof of materialism is not the proof of theism. You will only know about God as much as he wants you to know.

Dennis wrote: "The need to believe would naturally drive what you consider to be rational and credible answers for every question."

I am not sure what you mean by "the need to believe." Everyone who lives an examined life (some do not) tries to make sense of their existential context. Some are expansionist and believe there is more complexity to reality than what materialism would support. Some are reductionist, like yourself, and believe that materialism alone answers all their deep questions. It could all, expansionist or reductionist, be classified as a desire to rationalize reality. Then we must go to the metaphysics and ask ourselves why someone should want to rationalize reality anyway? How is this quest a product of mutation and natural selection? If you explore belief, you discover that belief itself is mystical and has no credible material causation.

Dennis wrote: "If the gods orchestrate the debasement and consequent wiping out of their own creation, they are either insane or inept."

God need not orchestrate the debasement of a society. He need only give the created sentient beings in that society some degree of free will. And build within them a moral sense. They will discover debasement themselves. And if everything goes to ruin, God has to do something about it. He's on the hook. Jesus spoke of the renewal of all things - the apokatastasis. The creation, then the cross, then the re-creation.

What many of the Patristics believed does not go out of date. Gregory of Nyssa believed that evil was privative centuries ago and it is still believed to be privative by many Christian philosophers.

Finally, I believe that you are better off believing in atheistic materialism than believing in The Great White Man in the Sky. Atheists have some degree of rational consideration behind what they believe. The Great White Man's followers - not so much.

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RSK said...

"Kill Whitey.... Whitey Delucca, our ex-manager." - Fear of a Black Hat

Anonymous said...

Christian scholars, who know that God is omnipresent spirit, have written that man was created in or after God's image in that, like God, mankind exercises dominion. Gen. 1:26 says exactly that! Seth was born in the likeness of both Adam and God in that he was also capable of dominion.

There is so much information that goes over our former brethrens' heads, because they are stuck in the old quagmire. Like how God plainly used an orderly evolutionary process, and left a fossilized record including 250,000 years of man-like creatures. Suddenly, approximately 10,000 years ago, man began to be able to communicate using language, and to accumulate knowledge because he had a method of recording his thoughts. Adam was the first "God-conscious" man. Also, the "days" in creation week are a lesson in relativity. The sun and moon weren't even present until the middle of the week, so how could there actually be literal "days".

Where have you been, Bob Petry? We've been discussing these things for years, and many others have learned from the discussions. You are bringing us Armstrongism yet again, way late in the game. We've already moved on to greater concepts. Take your "special ed" class somewhere else!

Anonymous said...

Can't believe it! Everytime we get a good, edifying and real discussion going on, Petry shows up and messes it up with his Armstrongism!
Yukkkkk!

NeoDromos νέο δρόμος said...

Bob Petry 1:03 wrote, "I suppose Seth was only an “anthropomorphic” phrase and does not mean what it says."

I did have a look at Genesis 5:3 as I thought through my article. Here is an explanation that is too long to have been folded into the text I submitted to NO2HWA. Part of what makes Hoeh's argument work is the idea that Adam was the exact clone of God in appearance. If Adam was not exact, then we do not know how much Adam differed. Adam might have differed so much as to look like a sub-Saharan Black. This is why Hoeh cited Heb 1:3. This verse seems to state that Jesus was an exact clone and helps Hoeh's argument. I will come back to this.

The problem with this is that Seth did not look like an exact clone of Adam. Seth had a mother who contributed her genetics and whatever these words were saying about Seth, they were not saying he was an exact clone. This is also true of the usage of these words "image of God" and "likeness" earlier in Genesis. The words are not speaking of an exact replica and Hoeh now has no assurance as to what Adam really looked like.

Hoeh's reliance on Hebrews 1 does not work either. The first comparison is a metaphor and the text uses symbolism: "He was the brightness of his glory." How then are we to know that the next comparison "and the express image of his person" is then not a metaphor. I believe it is a metaphor and it has reference to a marking on a coin. Moreover, the word translated as "person" is from the Greek word "hypostasis." In early Christianity this term was used to mean something like "substantive reality" as in the phrase "faith is the substance of things hoped for." Nowhere else in the NT is "hypostasis" used to mean "person" and I believe that this is a novel translation by the KJV translators. After all, the translators believed in the Trinity, as do I, and the members of the Trinity are referred to as persons. The KJV is full of eisegesis. So, this leaves Hoeh in a lurch. His assertion that Adam is a White man cannot rest solely on semantic support. And it is the usage of these words in regard to Seth that leads to this conclusion.

In brief, the modern hermeneutic is that the image and likeness language refers to the fact that Adam represented God in a certain capacity. This is based on contemporary Middle Eastern usage. Kings and government officials placed statues of themselves in cities in their domain to represent the extension of their authority to that location. Also, idols represented Gods that were not present and visible. This makes the most sense. This language then means that Seth was in the role of leader among Adam's offspring. Here a comparison for fit:

And God said, Let us make man "look like a White man identical to us": and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle

And God said, Let us make man "a representative of us in authority": and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle

Looking at this alone, ceterus paribus, which one fits the better?

The response to your assertion is that the Seth language has nothing to do with anthropomorphism and it does mean what it says. But what it says is not what Hoeh claimed.
And, again, God is not a White man.

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Anonymous said...

Lazy "woke" Americans who are critical of "white paternalism" are going to be in for a rude awakening when the USA defaults and China becomes the ruler of North America, as it is already starting to become in Africa. Africans who cast off white colonialism 70 years ago are beginning to look back fondly on the days when the white man was in charge, as Chinese paternalism turns out to be 100x worse than white paternalism. The grandchildren of today's woke left in America will look back and wish they were still encumbered by "whiteness."

P.S. Jesus wasn't white. But the photo atop this article also gets it wrong; Jesus' complexion would have been more like Nasser or Arafat.

Anonymous said...

I always figured God looked like Herbert Armstrong. Or, rather, Herbert Armstrong looked like God. Same difference. On the other hand, Ted, as the son of the earthly God-lookalike, probably didn't look like Jesus. If he had, Judas could have just told the Romans to arrest that good-looking dude with the tattoos of naked women on his arms. Perhaps Richard Armstrong looked more like Jesus. But he died, and was not resurrected. HWA once called GTA his son "...in whom I am well-pleased!", so I suspect he had some grandiose ideas about being the earthly version of the Almighty. GTA once said that in the womb he was "shaped" and "formed" in preparation for his role as God's spokesman on Earth, so he too was pretty grandiose. I guess the nut does not fall far from the tree. Grandiosity seems to be a persistent theme in the various WCG offshoots: so many men (it's always men) claim to be apostles, prophets, witnesses, watchmen, etc., etc. The spirit of grandiosity seems to have been passed down from HWA to the various men who emulate him in some way. That in itself is sort of spooky.

Anonymous said...

Strawman argument 10:53. No comment written about believing Jesus is not white is an athiest.

Anonymous said...

RSK 11:03 never wrote anything about it being Jesus appreance during his lifetime

Anonymous said...

What is this blogs purpose? To destroy COG groups? To push their mentally sick ideas ? To live out their fake frustrations? To expose how spiritually sick the elders forum must be because this blog is run by elders and their spouses. Go look at the other blogs and tell me it's not ministry led.

Anonymous said...

Well your figuring was small minded and not biblically based.

Anonymous said...

Well, 11:11, I confess. I am an ordained Reverend with Universal Life Church. You can be, too, just by asking them. It'd be kind of nice to also have a fake spouse so we could help stamp out Armstrongism together, and maybe spread some sick ideas. And, that's about as close as your accusations come to being the truth. This blog is definitely not run by elders and their spouses. They hate us and are probably making their imprecations against us because we expose the truth about them.

Hoss said...

Anon 11:11:00 asked, What is this blogs purpose?

A former masterful commentator to this and other COGblogs, Byker Bob, wrote his use of such public forums was as a troubleshooter. We provide feedback, act as "devil's advocate", and let COGs know when they go "off track" (and off the rails). It is up to the COGs to take note and apply our freely given critique to improve themselves...

Anonymous said...

Problem is "Hoss" the alleged masterful commentators are the "devil's advocate" from within the very COG ministry. Which puts certain 'troubleshooters' from the ministry far far away from God and in complete hypocrisy and mired in the stench of lies.
Do you think no one can recognise you in the long run?

So 'Hoss' is clearly claiming here to be a part of a self perceived 'devil's advocate' gang who have taken it upon themselves to let COGs know when they go 'off track'. Isnt that how James Malm perceived himself?

Big headed and egotistical those here who hide behind fake names and gather information on COG with fake Facebook accounts haunting COG facebook groups, spinning lie upon lie.

NeoDromos νέο δρόμος said...

Do you want to know what Jesus looked like? Remember Hoeh's observation: "But Jesus also looked like the average Jew! Judas had to kiss Jesus in order to point Him out among His disciples who were also Jews (Luke 22:48)." I think this observation was valid. I just think Hoeh thought the average Jew was an Ashkenazi.

Jesus had dark hair and eyes. He was olive-skinned. He had curly or maybe even frizzy hair. He was about 5'1" and weighed about 110 pounds. He had short hair and likely a beard. He had an aquiline nose. He may have had a muscular build because of his hard physical labor as a tekton - an artisan in wood. (From a variety of sources including archaeology.)

Jesus was too ethnic for Armstrongism. He looked too much like a Mexican or a Muslim an East Indian. If he were to attend your church services this coming Sabbath, he would be regarded with suspicion. He would not have been admitted to Ambassador College. He did not look like GTA. And HWA once said on the Sabbath before a crowded Field House on the Big Sandy campus that it was a "shame" for an AC graduate to work with his hands. Kinda leaves Jesus out of Armstrongism. And this does not bode well for his acceptance when he returns - though his return is much anticipated and, in some quarters, incessantly predicted and talked about. But maybe he Whitened up a little out there in the Third Heaven over the centuries. Some people cite how he appears in Revelation to reassure themselves.

Just saying ...

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Anonymous said...

There have been a few ACOG leaders who considered and appreciated our trouble shooting. Ian Boyne and Wes White come to mind. They managed to dialogue with us as a friend and concerned equal rather than as a corrective authoritarian. There was also debate, but they never took the position as know it all. Lonnie's friend Vance Stinson appears to have those same positive attributes based on his recent response.

Why is this so? Those guys may be true intellectuals who appreciate being challenged, and feel totally capable of defending or amending their positions. They may be humanitarians who don't automatically "cancel" fellow human beings who have left the groups. Or, they may have realized somewhere along the way that HWA was deeply flawed, and was not a quasi-Biblical figure equal to characters in the Bible.

Most of us do appreciate and respond positively to open-mindedness from ACOG leaders, however, the examples have been few and far between.

Anonymous said...

"[Jesus] would not have been admitted to Ambassador College... it was a "shame" for an AC graduate to work with his hands"

Didn't applicants to AC have to submit a photo? What was up with that ?? Especially for women who were marriage fodder for elite select males groomed to (brutally) oversee/enforce the local level running of the cult.

Too good to work with their hands eh?...that is until the money stopped rolling in. lol

jim said...

Why do you (anonymous) fixate on whether ministers and their wives run this blog. I think it is absurd, but why do you care so much?

Anonymous said...

Maybe the ministers are secretly good people, and want the truth about Armstrongism to get out?

DennisCDiehl said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
"[Jesus] would not have been admitted to Ambassador College... it was a "shame" for an AC graduate to work with his hands"
======================
That's complete bullshit

jim said...

👍

Hoss said...

Anon 524 - I've been called lots of things and insulted in many ways, but I've never been accused of being a COG minister incognito! The closest I've come was being asked to do opening prayer.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to AC's Photo-screening, they took all the good looking girls from my congregation! ...brutal cult

NeoDromos νέο δρόμος said...

Anonymous 6:34

Well said.

Anonymous said...

5.24 AM
You sir, are a silly sausage. All scientific organisations have a peer review process for scientific issues. This is also a natural part of relationships. Christ "peer reviewed" many Pharisaic questions as well as His disciples beliefs and behaviors.
Totalitarians such as the Chinese communists and even the French revolution Directory, believed that the government should have all power, with no interpersonal power permitted. This is true in today's ACOGs where ministers are hostile towards members discussing religion among themselves. Truth doesn't fear the market place of ideas. It's only lies and all manner of distortions that fears scrutiny.

Anonymous said...

I am late to this discussion, but will add my two cents.

To imply that only "white" humans are truly made in the image of God as Hoeh, HWA, and others within the COG movement did in some of their writings is despicable and ludicrous. Variety can be found among all of creation. Simply because one snowflake doesn't look identical to another, doesn't make it any less a snowflake, and most of us wouldn't try to argue that a yellow tulip is less a tulip than a red tulip, just because they are two different colors.

I suppose you could stretch the argument to include women, and no doubt I'm sure someone has at one time or another. Since male pronouns are used in scripture to refer to God, and Jesus Christ lived his physical life as a man, would this mean that women bear less of God's image than men? Of course not! Genesis 1:27-28 confirms that both man and woman were made in God's image. If a difference in male and female anatomy doesn't affect this, then a difference in skin color wouldn't either. A human is no less a human whether they be black, white, male, female, Jew, or Greek, and thus all bear God's image.

Such emphasis on peoples' physical characteristics, as opposed to their spiritual condition misses the mark, and perverts the gospel message. As NEO commented in his original post, "There is neither Jew nor Greek in Christ."

We also have Peter's testimony, "I now truly understand that God does not show favoritism, but welcomes those from every nation who fear Him and do what is right. He has sent this message to the people of Israel, proclaiming the gospel of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all." Acts 10:34-36

We could also look at Jesus's words concerning the faith of a gentile centurion, "Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. I say to you that many will come from the east and the west to share the banquet with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Matthew 8:10-12

His warning to the Jewish leaders of His day also comes to mind, "And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham." Matthew 3:9

In the end it isn't our physical appearance or ancestry that God is concerned with, because only those who have faith in Jesus Christ and follow Him will be counted as Abraham's children and heirs to the promise, which comes through Christ. Galatians 3:26-29; 1Samuel 16:7.

Concerned Sister

Anonymous said...

I started reading WWCOG literature in 1965, and I have no recollection of ever reading that only white humans are truly made in Gods image. I've been to Asian FOT feast sites, and never discerned such attitudes in the white visitors.

Can anyone quote a WWCOG publication to prove this allegation??

NeoDromos νέο δρόμος said...

Anonymous 11:18

Please read the article and not just the comments. The article starts with an extensive quote from Herman Hoeh that appeared in a foundational WCG publication.

Just because people don't talk about this doesn't mean that don't know about it. Sometimes you just have to scratch the surface.

NeoDromos νέο δρόμος said...

Concerned Sister

Nicely stated. I believe that Armstrongism never addressed the downstream theological implications of this and other doctrines. For instance, the question: What if there are humans that are accorded a special status of privilege because they are like God in character and appearance not through spiritual formation but by creation. What if humanity is to be divided into two groups: those created after God's kind and mutants? What does it mean for society, public policy and ultimate salvation?

Armstrongism actually went down the path with this concept quite a way. Herman Hoeh explained that Whites should not socialize with Blacks and Browns. Only spiritual fellowship at church services was permissible (Hoeh, "The Race Question"). And even at the Feast you had segregated seating. You also had at the Feast in Big Sandy a special Fun Show for Blacks, and a separate one for Latinos and a separate one for Whites. Admission of young people of color to Ambassador College was limited and highly controlled.

I wrote to Hoeh about such matters several years before he died, and he assured me that this was not done because the WCG had a theological foundation for its racial policies, but the policies were implemented to help the WCG to get along with the larger American Society. And he sent me some newspaper clippings about racial segregation back at that time. To the contrary, his article "The Race Question" demonstrates that the WCG's racial policies were firmly situated on a foundation of Armstrongist theology that Hoeh wrote himself.

The policies changed but to my knowledge the underlying theology did not. One Splinterist preacher apparently has a large following in Africa. I wonder if his congregants have been made aware of this history and theology?

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Anonymous said...

I've "scratch"ed and still can't find where Hoeh wrote (or implied to me) only white humans are in God's image.

Anonymous said...

The fact that the collective "Adam" was made in the image of God, did not stop them from sinning, which was a deviation from the character of the being whose image they were created to reflect. The idea that in spite of this some human beings are somehow more favored by God than others based solely on certain inherited physical characteristics or ancestry, having nothing to do with their character is repugnant and cannot be backed by any honest evaluation of scripture.

I agree that WCG's policies concerning believers who were considered "gentile" were based on faulty and dishonest theological reasoning, as evidenced by Hoeh's own writings, as well as statements by HWA, and others. While some might point out that HWA spent considerable time flying around and visiting countries considered by him to be gentile, his feelings concerning those he considered uneducated masses within some of these countries is reflected in a letter to the ministry in 1975,

"Most of these mass - population countries, like India, south-east Asian nations, those in Africa and South America, are utterly DIFFER-ENT from the United States. In America we can speak to the general public -- they are virtually all people of reasonable education. But in these other countries, as high as 87% of the people are illiterate -- cannot read or write -- their minds not much above dumb animals. Preaching God's Message to them would be like preaching to millions of cows, horses and chickens. These countries have virtually NO middle - class people -- just the educated who run things at the top , and the tragically poor and ignorant at the bottom. Those whose minds have been developed, and are able to comprehend our
Message, are the minority who run the government, industry, business,
education, and the professional people." Taken from the Bulletin, June 3,1975.

The Bulletin was a periodical sent out to the ministry and other WCG leaders during the 1970s. I believe it was eventually replaced by the Pastor General's Report.

We might ask ourselves if the sentiment above is a true reflection of a God who loved the world so much, He was willing to sacrifice His only begotten son? Does it reflect the example of Jesus Christ, who preached the gospel as He was healing the blind, lame, and lepers? Does it echo Paul's statement, "Brothers, consider the time of your calling: Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were powerful; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly and despised things of the world, and the things that are not, to nullify the things that are,so that no one may boast in His presence." 1Corinthians 1:26-29

If the answer is no, I would ask, where was the balancing voice of Biblical wisdom, when this was written? Where were those who considered themselves ministers and servants of God? Why wasn't there any push back, if upon evaluation, these sentiments and others did not reflect the mind and character of God, whose image we bear?

The idea that WCG policies were implemented to fit in with the larger American society of the time is also a terrible excuse. The double standard suggested here should be obvious to anyone who has ever heard a COG minister preach that while being in the world, Christians should not be "of the world." As such, we don't adopt the views of the society surrounding us just to "get along." Instead, we are to rise above those around us, and be a light.

It is true that some of the COG groups have changed their policies to one degree or another, though many among the membership still harbor an aversion to interracial marriage, even between believers. And though the policies have been quietly changed, I have never heard a minister openly acknowledge the hurt or division some of these policies created, or the wrong headed theological premise they were based on.

Concerned Sister

NeoDromos νέο δρόμος said...

Anonymous 1:08

I now see what you are getting at. Hoeh never directly stated that only White people are in the image of God. This is deduced. (Nor do I recall from my reading did he affirm that Blacks and Browns are also in the image of God.) That is why I said, "I believe that Armstrongism never addressed the downstream theological implications of this and other doctrines." HWA/Hoeh never seem to have said, "Let's think this through to the end giving consideration to all of its implications." Here I am assuming that the exclusion of Blacks and Browns was inadvertent. It could be that the exclusion was intentional and that remains a topic of further research.

The deductive pathway is as follows:

1. You can follow Hoeh's logic cited in my article to understand that God, Adam and Jesus all had the character and form of the White race. This is the image and likeness in which God created humankind originally. (This definition of image and likeness is not compatible with orthodox Christian doctrine.)

2. Blacks and Browns have neither the character nor appearance of the White race, hence, they are not in the image or likeness of God.

If Hoeh had asserted that the likeness of God just meant the general human appearance - two arms, bipedal, a head, etc. - all of humankind would be in the image and likeness of God. But he specifically tied the image and likeness to the White race. He theorizes that the non-White races arose from later genetic mutation. Hoeh wrote:

"The Negro, as well as the Oriental, is a mutation from Adam's stock. Each is a distinct variety of man. The Negro reproduces after his own likeness, not after the likeness of Adam, who was white." (Hoeh, "The Race Question")

The Negro is then not in the likeness of Adam who derives his likeness from God. The Negro reproduces offspring in his own likeness. So far, I have not been able to find a statement from Hoeh where he affirms that even though the Negro is in his own likeness, he is nevertheless in the image of God. He does admit that the Negro is descended from Adam. He admits that God intended mutations. But he does not admit that non-White people are in the image and likeness of God that I have been able to find.

A mystery is concealed in Hoeh's statement, "Each is a distinct variety of man". If HWA/Hoeh were to give us a full elaboration of this ominous statement, what would they give us? Would we be reassured or appalled? Based on how non-White people were treated in the early WCG, I could make a guess.

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Anonymous said...

Concerned Sister
You cannot prove your accusation that "Hoel, HWA and others" taught that only whites are truly made in Gods image.
Btw, NEO's claim that whitey committed genocide against the north American indians has been debated on this blog several times.

Anonymous said...

I clearly stated in my comments above that the idea was implied. I didn't say it was directly taught by Hoeh, or HWA. However, that idea is the result of following out the ramifications of Hoeh's statements to their logical conclusion, with a careful reading of the article on Race quoted by NEO.

Hoeh contends that Adam was made in the image and likeness of Jesus Christ and God the Father, who are according to his logic, white. He defines the term "likeness" to mean "the facial expression" which by his reasoning would mean that Adam looked exactly like Jesus Christ, who in his physical life looked like a white Jew.

He also takes great pains to explain his view of the Biblical term "kind" and how there can be different varieties within each kind, and uses the example of the "cattle kind" reproducing cattle, but there being different varieties of cattle within that kind. He even makes the statement, "There is only one human KIND, but there are many human varieties or races."

He then launches into an explanation of mutation, and asserts that Blacks and Orientals are a result of mutations from Adam's original stock, resulting in a "distinct variety of man." He then states, "The Negro reproduces after his own likeness, not after the likeness of Adam, who was white." Remember that earlier in the article he defined "likeness" as facial expression, so by this definition what he is essentially saying here is that Blacks and Orientals no longer reproduce in the likeness of Adam, who was white, and by extension, no longer look like God. Further down he makes this statement, "Parent stock always reproduces after its own kind except when a mutation suddenly appears. That is why the white parent race of men always reproduces whites — after its own kind." And so, we have jumped from Blacks and Orientals simply being different "varieties" of humans, to being a different "kind" of human, which contradicts his earlier statement that there is only one human kind.

I could go on, but I think I've made my point.

Concerned Sister

Anonymous said...

"Whitey" most certainly did commit genocide amongst other atrocities, like broken treaties, children removed from their families and put in boarding schools, desecration of sacred lands, robbery of artifacts, etc. Anybody who does not acknowledge this is deliberately ignorant.

There was a sad old joke back in the '60s, about a conversation between a weary Native American and a gung ho Black Panther. The punchline was spoken by the Native American: "Wait until the White man is finished playing Cowboys and Colored People with you!"

Seriously folks, until we acknowledge the horrible mistakes of our past and start correcting them, we're in for continued rough sailing. We need less divisiveness, not more. Denial and totalitarianism will never repair or truly unite our nation.

NeoDromos νέο δρόμος said...

Anonymous 6:51 wrote, "Btw, NEO's claim that whitey committed genocide against the north American indians has been debated on this blog several times."

Let me start by saying that I do appreciate very much the comments of Concerned Sister.

To Anonymous 6:51, your statement above needs clarification:

1. I have never used the term "whitey." That is of your device.

2. I believe the European settlers who came to North American committed acts of genocide against the Native American tribes. But the governmental policy was eventually one of assimilation. I believe that Native Americans would have committed acts of genocide against the Europeans if the Native Americans had had the population numbers and technical resources.

3. The first two points have nothing to do with what I wrote about previously concerning the WCG and its view of Native Americans. Nor do these points have anything to do with this article about the Armstrongist about the racial status of God. I am not sure why you even made the unrelated and erroneous reference that you did.

4. What I have written about in the past is that some Armstrongists in the WCG believed, though it is not documented in WCG literature that I know of, that the European settlers (believed by Armstrongists to be Israelites) should have exterminated the Native Americans based on passages in the OT concerning Canaanites. In so believing, they became advocates of genocide in their hearts. Nobody ever made the statement within the WCG that church members should take up the fight against Native Americans. But one can only conclude that if the European population of the USA decided to exterminate Native Americans, Armstrongists would have been silent proponents. The dogma would permit them no recourse. This is hypothetical. It's a thought experiment. What the WCG would have actually done is unknown. But this is how their dogma ramifies. What I can say is that I have no doubt that the WCG congregants I heard talking animatedly about this issue would be out hunting down Native Americans with their rifles if US policy and church policy were to align. For God and country.

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