Heaven Runs out of Room

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Postby Rye » 2008-01-13 09:52am

NecronLord wrote:Zuul...

Take a flick through this.

In basically every version, it's 'The Lord was with them, they drove out the men of the hills, but could not drive out the men of the vallies, for they had iron chariots.' Now you and I know that 'the Lord was with them' basically means 'they were lucky/they won' but in a biblical-literal sense, that means he was either physically there, or if we're a little lax, directly helping.

So why couldn't they defeat the iron chariots with his aid?


They didn't ask? Lol. They did in the other bit and he obliged. It may be a remnant to explain why there are still foreigners in those lands at the time of writing (my guess) but in the story it can mean just as much morale as direct intervention. It makes a point of mentioning his type of direct intervention in chapter 4 but describes nothing other than their courage/battle prowess in chapter 1.

Yes. God is later able to lead his little trained (if frequently failing) minions to victory against nine hundred chariots of iron. Clearly, then, the armies of the peoples of the vallies simply fielded more than nine hundred chariots of iron, or Barak's army was more formidably able to back their idol up in battle.


It's not mentioned how many there were, but they're there to represent a more technologically advanced race, scary because they had chariots of iron which gave them such an advantage against the pedestrian israelite forces. After the initial defeat, which demonstrates how scary they are, they ask for specific help and get it next time around. God still ends up looking like a hilarious dick though, "Hey man, why didn't you do that last time?!" "You never asked."
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Postby Darth Wong » 2008-01-13 11:26am

Zuul wrote:They didn't ask? Lol. They did in the other bit and he obliged.

It said God was with them. Since God is supposed to be constant, and should therefore have equal power both times, doesn't it make more sense to assume that they simply had more conventional military power or better tactics the second time around? Or are we totally ignoring the effect of conventional military power and tactics in a battle against an enemy army with chariots?

Certainly, if an army without God's help was defeated in their initial encounter with an enemy using unconventional weapons or tactics and came back to defeat them in a second engagement, we would not hesitate to conclude that they learned from their initial defeat and improved their tactics or brought more forces (or both).
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Postby Androsphinx » 2008-01-13 02:52pm

NecronLord wrote:
Androsphinx wrote:Assuming a ten-hour night, it works out at 5 deaths a second.
Indeed. Of course, a less charitable interpretation would be that it just poisoned their water supply with something slow acting but very lethal. As the king and his retinue would have been drinking and eating better, they would have survived, as the text indicates.


The parallel pericope in 2 Chronicles 32 indicates that the high-ups, commanders, etc. were disproportionately targeted.
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Postby Tasoth » 2008-01-13 04:35pm

For those saying they can get help from the egyptian gods, is that even a good idea? Didn't Moses tell the Egyptians that the plagues were coming? If the egyptian gods could stop them, they could have. So said gods either didn't care enough about their followers or couldn't stop god. They had enough time to make prayer and even sacrifice, but the plagues still came. So what's to say that god can't simply smack the immortality away?

Then again, there's no way to know with imaginary beings and ancient novels.
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Postby Junghalli » 2008-01-13 04:54pm

Tasoth wrote:For those saying they can get help from the egyptian gods, is that even a good idea? Didn't Moses tell the Egyptians that the plagues were coming? If the egyptian gods could stop them, they could have. So said gods either didn't care enough about their followers or couldn't stop god.

Hence my idea of making a deal with them to let us into their afterlife, and in exchange we give them modern armies to defend themselves with (by the same means the Pharoahs would take their wealth into the afterlife with them).

Of course, this assumes God would have to do a conventional invasion of the Egyptian afterlife to get the souls there into Hell, which is admittedly a bit of a leap in logic.

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Postby The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-01-13 05:58pm

There's no guarantee the Egyptian afterlife exists just because their gods do, so forget about that.

OTOH, the Iron Chariots really did stop God. The order is explicit: God tried to defeat the army with Iron Chariots and FAILED, and then the Israelites reorganized, attacked it by themselves and won.
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Postby Adrian Laguna » 2008-01-13 06:22pm

The Duchess of Zeon wrote:OTOH, the Iron Chariots really did stop God. The order is explicit: God tried to defeat the army with Iron Chariots and FAILED, and then the Israelites reorganized, attacked it by themselves and won.

I think that depends on what Bible you're reading, the King James Bible makes it clear that the Israelites won with God's intervention.
King James' man wrote:12 And they showed Sis'era that Barak the son of Abin'o-am was gone up to mount Tabor.
13 And Sis'era gathered together all his chariots, even nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the people that were with him, from Haro'sheth of the Gentiles unto the river of Kishon.
14 And Deborah said unto Barak, Up; for this is the day in which the LORD hath delivered Sis'era into thine hand: is not the LORD gone out before thee? So Barak went down from mount Tabor, and ten thousand men after him.
15 And the LORD discomfited Sis'era, and all his chariots, and all his host, with the edge of the sword before Barak; so that Sis'era lighted down off his chariot, and fled away on his feet.
16 But Barak pursued after the chariots, and after the host, unto Haro'sheth of the Gentiles: and all the host of Sis'era fell upon the edge of the sword; and there was not a man left.




Regardless, Sis'era was a viable threat with 900 chariots like this one:
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What happens when God has to face chariots like these, in their tens of thousands.?
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Postby Adrian Laguna » 2008-01-13 06:29pm

Could a mod remove the second inlined image and replace it with a link (preferably in the word "these")? I can see it just fine, but I just noticed that anyone running 800x600 resolution will have their formatting fucked-up.

Also, if it's not too much trouble, the quote box is probably better if it reads "Judges, Chapter 4" rather than "King James' man". The image really needs to be changed, though.

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Postby bilateralrope » 2008-01-13 07:02pm

Apart from their mystic effects against god, do iron chariots have any real advantage over wooden ones ?

Iron would be heavier than wood, making a slower chariot.

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Postby Darth Wong » 2008-01-13 08:21pm

Adrian Laguna wrote:
The Duchess of Zeon wrote:OTOH, the Iron Chariots really did stop God. The order is explicit: God tried to defeat the army with Iron Chariots and FAILED, and then the Israelites reorganized, attacked it by themselves and won.

I think that depends on what Bible you're reading, the King James Bible makes it clear that the Israelites won with God's intervention.
King James' man wrote:12 And they showed Sis'era that Barak the son of Abin'o-am was gone up to mount Tabor.
13 And Sis'era gathered together all his chariots, even nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the people that were with him, from Haro'sheth of the Gentiles unto the river of Kishon.
14 And Deborah said unto Barak, Up; for this is the day in which the LORD hath delivered Sis'era into thine hand: is not the LORD gone out before thee? So Barak went down from mount Tabor, and ten thousand men after him.
15 And the LORD discomfited Sis'era, and all his chariots, and all his host, with the edge of the sword before Barak; so that Sis'era lighted down off his chariot, and fled away on his feet.
16 But Barak pursued after the chariots, and after the host, unto Haro'sheth of the Gentiles: and all the host of Sis'era fell upon the edge of the sword; and there was not a man left.

I think the larger point here is that God+Israelites were defeated by Sis'era. If they came back to win later, with some unspecified changes to the gameplan, it still doesn't change the fact that they were defeated earlier, especially when God is being claimed to be omnipotent and omniscient. If he really is, then it should have been impossible for Sis'era to defeat them the first time.
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Postby Rye » 2008-01-13 08:42pm

Darth Wong wrote:
Zuul wrote:They didn't ask? Lol. They did in the other bit and he obliged.

It said God was with them. Since God is supposed to be constant, and should therefore have equal power both times, doesn't it make more sense to assume that they simply had more conventional military power or better tactics the second time around?


Not necessarily, since God isn't constant and they never asked for help. There is a regular theme of God requiring obeisances and prayer before he'll actually do anything.

Another example of God's people vs people with chariots is in Exodus 14.23-25, and he does throw them all into a panic again and clogs their wheels. These were fleeing civilians (that asked God for help) and he gave it to them in much the same way as he did later (with the difference of killing them via the sea rather than sword). Joshua 10.10 has another example of God throwing enemies into a panic after Joshua builds a totem for God in chapter 9.

Or are we totally ignoring the effect of conventional military power and tactics in a battle against an enemy army with chariots?


That's a fair point, certainly. Judges 4 does not say they were defeated by conventional means, however, just that they miraculously panicked and all but lined up to be slaughtered.

Certainly, if an army without God's help was defeated in their initial encounter with an enemy using unconventional weapons or tactics and came back to defeat them in a second engagement, we would not hesitate to conclude that they learned from their initial defeat and improved their tactics or brought more forces (or both).


Indeed. It may just be that Barak's army was just bigger, they certainly outnumbered the charioteers (not sure by how much, can't be bothered checking, but I do remember that they did by a large margin) according to the text.

Of course, when you do that, you also might as well stop saying God was stopped by iron chariots since he's superfluous to the account in general. There's two examples above where chariots posed no problem at all when he was involved, and one where the army he was associated with was turned back.
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Postby Darth Wong » 2008-01-13 08:46pm

Zuul wrote:Not necessarily, since God isn't constant and they never asked for help.

According to the fundies (and the Bible), God is constant. And when the Bible says that "God is with" somebody, it means that he is helping him directly, with his supernatural powers. That's why Samson could wipe out entire armies when God was "with" him.
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Postby Stark » 2008-01-13 08:57pm

There seems to be a definate power curve in the OT (excluding Genesis, but Yahweh never seems to do anything like that again). This is probably due to his evolution from a tribal mystic or whatever into a god, but early on he seems pretty hopeless and limited in power but also comparable to other gods in power. The storytelling conventions make him even less powerful, with his burning guys with fire but being talked out of it by Moses etc: we can see the cultural basis for this kind of thing, but as a mythology it's pretty silly. Any military defeat had to be explained in the context of god, which ended up making him pretty worthless for a guy who created the universe and flooded the region.

I remember being pretty surprised that the OT clearly recognised the power of other gods early on.

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Postby Darth Wong » 2008-01-13 09:03pm

Stark wrote:There seems to be a definate power curve in the OT (excluding Genesis, but Yahweh never seems to do anything like that again). This is probably due to his evolution from a tribal mystic or whatever into a god, but early on he seems pretty hopeless and limited in power but also comparable to other gods in power. The storytelling conventions make him even less powerful, with his burning guys with fire but being talked out of it by Moses etc: we can see the cultural basis for this kind of thing, but as a mythology it's pretty silly. Any military defeat had to be explained in the context of god, which ended up making him pretty worthless for a guy who created the universe and flooded the region.

As I said, we need to remember that even in literary context, the narrator of the first 5 books of the Bible is Moses, and it's worth noting that all of God's most impressive feats occur before Moses is born, hence the "omniscient observer" of the Bible didn't actually observe any of the events which took place before his childhood. Ergo, it's all hearsay, even if you take the Bible literally.
I remember being pretty surprised that the OT clearly recognised the power of other gods early on.

I remember being surprised by that as well, and the guy who corrected me was a professor in Old Testament theology.

I was also surprised when someone pointed out how common immaculate births are in other mythologies. I felt pretty stupid when I realized that Zeus and the other Greek gods impregnated human women all the fucking time, so there was no need to invoke mythologies no one had ever heard of, like Mithraism. You can't swing a metaphorical cat in ancient mythology without hitting a half-human half-god being.
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Postby Rye » 2008-01-13 09:10pm

There's very little in there that's consistent. Some parts say God knows all and can't, lie, other parts say he sends people "deluding spirits" so they can't know the truth, some parts say he knows everything, other parts say he keeps hail and ice in warehouses for "times of war" and that Moses can convince him through argumentation.

The thing Mike said about the Flash in versus situations is about as appropriate with God. He can flood the world and in human form can walk on water, but the hebrews have to have the water held back for them to escape the Egyptian charioteers? He can make whole adult humans from clay but requires a human mother to create his child? It doesn't make any sense.
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Postby Stark » 2008-01-13 09:13pm

Darth Wong wrote:As I said, we need to remember that even in literary context, the narrator of the first 5 books of the Bible is Moses, and it's worth noting that all of God's most impressive feats occur before Moses is born, hence the "omniscient observer" of the Bible didn't actually observe any of the events which took place before his childhood. Ergo, it's all hearsay, even if you take the Bible literally.


I didn't know that regarding the supposed authorship of the Bible, but even as a child it surprised me that it was so obviously Moses being a cult figure, with all his 'last night I talked to god, do this' and 'while I was up the mountain you're not allowed to go up, god said all this stuff' rubbish. He even inflated his own standing, by repeatedly being the only thing that prevented god from wiping out the Israelites! In Exodus it almost seems that god is the junior figure in the partnership.

I remember being surprised by that as well, and the guy who corrected me was a professor in Old Testament theology.

I was also surprised when someone pointed out how common immaculate births are in other mythologies. I felt pretty stupid when I realized that Zeus and the other Greek gods impregnated human women all the fucking time, so there was no need to invoke mythologies no one had ever heard of, like Mithraism. You can't swing a metaphorical cat in ancient mythology without hitting a half-human half-god being.


It's even worse with all the other gods powering sorcerers or giving their followers benefits etc. It's a long, long way from the later 'all other gods are lies' thing.

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Postby Rye » 2008-01-13 09:16pm

I love that bit in Exodus, where Moses goes up to the Pharoah and his court magicians and to prove he's the servant of the LORD, he throws a stick that becomes a cobra. The magicians are unimpressed, and to show how it can be done, they replicate it and throw two sticks that become snakes. But God's serpent kills theirs. Therefore... he uh... wins? Hahah.
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Postby Durandal » 2008-01-13 09:57pm

Darth Wong wrote:I was also surprised when someone pointed out how common immaculate births are in other mythologies. I felt pretty stupid when I realized that Zeus and the other Greek gods impregnated human women all the fucking time, so there was no need to invoke mythologies no one had ever heard of, like Mithraism. You can't swing a metaphorical cat in ancient mythology without hitting a half-human half-god being.


Nitpick: An immaculate birth, in Christian mythology, is when the child is conceived without original sin. So Mary was immaculately conceived, since God chose to not burden her with original sin because she was going to be Jesus' mom. (Why he doesn't just pull this same trick with everyone else is unexplained.) It doesn't refer to a god directly impregnating a woman, as far as I know.
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Postby Darth Servo » 2008-01-13 10:12pm

Durandal wrote:Nitpick: An immaculate birth, in Christian mythology, is when the child is conceived without original sin. So Mary was immaculately conceived, since God chose to not burden her with original sin because she was going to be Jesus' mom. (Why he doesn't just pull this same trick with everyone else is unexplained.) It doesn't refer to a god directly impregnating a woman, as far as I know.

I thought we were sticking with just the original material and not stuff the Catholics added later.
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Postby Darth Wong » 2008-01-13 10:32pm

Durandal wrote:
Darth Wong wrote:I was also surprised when someone pointed out how common immaculate births are in other mythologies. I felt pretty stupid when I realized that Zeus and the other Greek gods impregnated human women all the fucking time, so there was no need to invoke mythologies no one had ever heard of, like Mithraism. You can't swing a metaphorical cat in ancient mythology without hitting a half-human half-god being.

Nitpick: An immaculate birth, in Christian mythology, is when the child is conceived without original sin. So Mary was immaculately conceived, since God chose to not burden her with original sin because she was going to be Jesus' mom. (Why he doesn't just pull this same trick with everyone else is unexplained.) It doesn't refer to a god directly impregnating a woman, as far as I know.

I don't know about all this Catholic Mary-worshipping bullshit. I was talking about the widespread Christian conception that an immaculate conception is one that does not involve being fucked by a dirty hairy human guy.
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Postby Adrian Laguna » 2008-01-13 11:18pm

Darth Wong wrote:I think the larger point here is that God+Israelites were defeated by Sis'era.


Well yeah, that's why I mentioned that not only are our iron chariots better. We have 20-30 times more of them.

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Postby Patrick Degan » 2008-01-14 12:31am

Zuul wrote:
Patrick Degan wrote:Atomic bombs and ICBMs. Ever hear of those?


Yeah. Last I checked, they couldn't kill the majority of the planet as in revelation.


"The majority of the planet" at that time being what was known as the Roman Empire —which was not the majority of the planet even then. Also, a third part of mankind is not a majority, which is what Revelation alleges in its so-called "prophecy". Whereas we can actually bring about the deaths of half the present planetary population —either directly or indirectly— using modern nuclear and bioweapons quite effectively.

Since when have there been regular trade exchanges or diplomatic relations between human society and Hell? What indication is there to show that Hell is keeping up with the modern world?


Why would hell go in for trade exchanges or diplomatic relations anyway? Surely you don't think this would be an appropriate argument for the nonexistence of alien technology, so why would it apply to Hell?


Leaving aside your ridiculous red herring of alien technology for the moment, the fact that there aren't regular exchanges between Hell and Earth points to a Hell which is isolated culturally and politically, as well as scientifically, from a world which has far outstripped it in terms of destructive capability.

Humans can also rise up en masse against whips and chains. They don't control the mind, unlike the incantations in a magick book can do with demons. Really, you're being a bit dense here.


No, I am pointing out that potentially being dominable by force doesn't stop technological progress within a society.


No, you are missing the point entirely. If a demon can be bound and controlled simply by a book of magick words and phrases and not by any physical coercion, that means that it's not capable of managing a feat which oppressed humans are capable of and have demonstrated time and time and time again throughout history —the ability to resist, rise up, and overthrow a master.

The Black Arts can be a useful adjunct in certain applications. It's technology and science, however, which will win the war.


The black arts will give science the data it needs to attack


And machines which will do the actual attacking. What's your point?

Really? All Judges 4:13-16 says is that the Lord "discomfited" Sisera and it seems it's down to his using a sword and Barak who's acting for him. Sisera's forces are destroyed on the pursuit by Barak's army —not Yahweh. That does not contradict the earlier passage in which he wasn't able to drive out the inhabitants of the valley with their iron chariots.


It doesn't say Yahweh was driving anyone out, it says Judah (or rather, the men of) was/were. He intervenes in Judges 4, but only enough to let the israelites win the day rather than do everything himself.


No no no, Mr. Zuul —the idea in a debate is to advance points which help, not hinder, your argument. If Yahweh is all-powerful as his fan club's sales-pitch always has it, he's not supposed to either be stopped by iron chariots or need to rely on his flunkies to get the job done. For fuck's sake, Zeus kicked ass when he decided to take on anybody in direct combat and never needed an army of devout flunkies to do his work for him and here we see Yahweh apparently unable to act to the same level of prowess as Zeus.

Somehow, I don't see a modern armoured force in Abrams MBTs getting too "discomfited" by a sword-wielding deity.


It says he made them panic and doesn't say how, just that he did it. I don't see why being in an Abrams would make you immune to panic (or being stabbed in the temple by a woman you've befriended previously).


Maybe because the crew of an Abrams tank, seeing some nutter in front of him waving a sword about, knows that said nutter will wind up making a mess on his treads but nothing more. So what's to panic? Also, I don't see any modern general being dumb enough to let some woman he met only a couple of days before get close enough to drive a nail through his skull (BTW, just why couldn't the supposedly all-powerful Yahweh knock off Sisera on his own?). Nor would that be enough (even if such a ludicrous assassination attempt succeeded) to prevent the second-in-command from taking over and leading his tanks forward with combined air and artillery support backing him up.
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Darth Ruinus
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Postby Darth Ruinus » 2008-01-14 01:00am

I wonder what would be running through the demons, the Devil's, the angels and Gods mind as they watch these lowly humans carve an extremely bloody swath right through Hell.
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Postby NecronLord » 2008-01-14 05:19am

Tasoth wrote:For those saying they can get help from the egyptian gods, is that even a good idea? Didn't Moses tell the Egyptians that the plagues were coming? If the egyptian gods could stop them, they could have. So said gods either didn't care enough about their followers or couldn't stop god. They had enough time to make prayer and even sacrifice, but the plagues still came. So what's to say that god can't simply smack the immortality away?
Go back to where I first mentioned them. They (at least on their own) can't stop Yahweh. Neither can satan, who about four of the pages of this thread are about dealing with. Nontheless, they can potentially be useful; they're supernatural entities who are not benefiting at present from our 'damnation' in the way Satan (assuming you go with the 'lives in hell and tortures the dead,' version, as the OP implies) is, and thus have far more to gain from cooperating with us.
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Postby Rye » 2008-01-14 10:35am

Patrick Degan wrote:"The majority of the planet" at that time being what was known as the Roman Empire —which was not the majority of the planet even then.


Yes, that's entirely what they meant. They meant the end of the world was actually just about the Mediterranean area. I'm sure. Yeah. Yeah.

Also, a third part of mankind is not a majority, which is what Revelation alleges in its so-called "prophecy".


Everyone dies in judeo-christian eschatology.

Leaving aside your ridiculous red herring of alien technology for the moment, the fact that there aren't regular exchanges between Hell and Earth points to a Hell which is isolated culturally and politically, as well as scientifically, from a world which has far outstripped it in terms of destructive capability.


Why would they be scientifically isolated? They can go anywhere they want without being detected. The fact they're not doing deals for stuff they don't even need as immortal intangible spirits means precisely dick.

No, you are missing the point entirely. If a demon can be bound and controlled simply by a book of magick words and phrases and not by any physical coercion, that means that it's not capable of managing a feat which oppressed humans are capable of and have demonstrated time and time and time again throughout history —the ability to resist, rise up, and overthrow a master.


I don't see why not. Presumably they keep their real names from one another.



No no no, Mr. Zuul —the idea in a debate is to advance points which help, not hinder, your argument. If Yahweh is all-powerful as his fan club's sales-pitch always has it, he's not supposed to either be stopped by iron chariots or need to rely on his flunkies to get the job done. For fuck's sake, Zeus kicked ass when he decided to take on anybody in direct combat and never needed an army of devout flunkies to do his work for him and here we see Yahweh apparently unable to act to the same level of prowess as Zeus.


Yahweh never entered direct combat, he either does everything by proxy (i.e. angels and religious leaders).

Maybe because the crew of an Abrams tank, seeing some nutter in front of him waving a sword about, knows that said nutter will wind up making a mess on his treads but nothing more.


Why wouldn't that be the case with charioteers?

So what's to panic? Also, I don't see any modern general being dumb enough to let some woman he met only a couple of days before get close enough to drive a nail through his skull (BTW, just why couldn't the supposedly all-powerful Yahweh knock off Sisera on his own?).


He barely does anything on his own except in Genesis when he creates the world and floods it and destroys Sodom and Gomorrah.
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