apples are apples… yet sometimes they just might be an orange….

Keep me as the apple of the eye;
hide me in the shadow of thy wings,
from the wicked who despoil me,
my deadly enemies who surround me.

Psalm 17:8-9


(one of our two little apples on our four apple trees…Julie Cook / 2017)

Whereas an apple a day supposedly keeps the doctor away, historically apples have often
fallen in and out of favor….both literally and figuratively.
in part due to a loss of translation or simple miscommunication.

A member of the rose family, apples were most likely the first trees to be cultivated
by man.
Historical records have even credited Alexander the Great with most likely
discovering a dwarf variety of apples that he later brought to Macedonia from Kazakhstan.

And it was the early European settlers who are credited with having first introduced
cultivated varieties of apples to North America as the crab apple was the only native
“apple” species on the continent.

Thus having originated in central Asia, it is often speculated as to whether apples were
even known to exist as an actual fruit or tree in ancient biblical times.

And as any biblical translation scholar will tell you,
Hebrew translations may or may not always have a corresponding word in
English as an equivalent…
just as we observe with the use of the word apple in Psalm 17.

Verse 8 mentions “keeping me as the apple of your eye…”
Meaning that ‘I am to be held in the center of your heart and attention
I am your pride and joy…..”

As the Hebrew translation of the psalm does not use the word apple as we
know the word apple to be today, but rather it translates as “little man of my eye”
and refers to the pupil of the eye and not an actual apple because the pupil was
thought to be a round hard ball, much like an apple.

And yet it was the eye to which early civilizations looked as being key to the essence of a person.
So keeping one as the center of the eye is to have kept them at the heart of one’s being.

The word apple is laced throughout various verses and passages in the Old Testament
with a direct Hebrew translation often referring to pupils and or actual eyeballs…

So perhaps apple is wrongly transposed from the more accurate notion
of that of an aperture, with aperture being the center of the eye…
as an aperture is a hole in which light passes through, such as in a camera lens….
which in turn equates the pupil of the eye, which is the hole allowing
ligt to pass to the back of the retina….which is in essence how we see…
thus apple is meant as aperture.

And as we read the story in Genesis regarding the exchange between Eve and the serpent:

Now the serpent was more subtle than any other wild creature that the Lord God had made.
He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden’?”
And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden;
but God said,
‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden,
neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’”But the serpent said to the woman,
“You will not die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened,
and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food,
and that it was a delight to the eyes,
and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate;
and she also gave some to her husband, and he ate.
Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked;
and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.

We see the same sort of translation issue arising in this story as
the Latin translation of the word “apple” is closely similar to the translation of “evil”
“with the Latin words mālum (an apple) and mălum (an evil),
each of which is normally written malum.
The tree of the forbidden fruit is called “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil”
in Genesis 2:17, and the Latin for “good and evil” is bonum et malum.”
(Wikipedia)

So we see that the end result is often that time has a way of cementing
certain words to certain meanings.
While the gist and the story remains pretty much the same and understood…
the symbols of various words take on a variety of meanings.

As in these two examples with the word apple…
In the one instance it is seen as something ominous and wrong with a sinister
and evil connotation…
while next it is meant as something special, endearing and solely important…

And it is often here, in these confusions of translations and multiple meanings,
that skeptics often point…
as skeptics love to use perceived confusion as a smoke screen of defense.
Their’s is a very loud and very vocal piece of the hysterical….
“see, that isn’t right, that isn’t what was really intended….
so how do you, how can you, claim to even know what is right or what is wrong…
maybe you’ve just been misguided all these thousands of years…”

However as we often see in these sacred stories and narratives that although there
may be multiple words that are being used in a variety of different contexts…
the meanings and lessons conveyed are still always the same as originally intended…

It’s just that we may have exchanged an apple for an orange…
Which means that sometimes the words are defined as the same thing,
and at other times they are not…
perhaps meaning or relating to a variety of different things such as
feelings, thoughts and emotions….

….such is the joy of language…

But one thing is always certain…
God’s word will always remain the same…as well as unchanged…
God’s meaning, intent and His words are never altered or changed despite man’s
often erroneous and misguided attempts of expressing such…
For His words stand the test to both time and translation….

All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof,
for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete,
equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:16-17

lovely words

“We must escape the slavery of words and give loyal adherence to meanings instead.
Words should express ideas, not originate them.”
A.W. Tozer

DSCN1450
(statue of the sacred heart of Jesus on the grounds of Klyemore Abbey, Connemmara , County Galway, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015—yes I know I’ve used it before, but the image is so right for the post)

A.W.Tozer, the great 20th century American evangelical theologian, often dissected man’s view of God.
Tozer noted that when “we say that God is love; we say that God is light; we say that Christ is truth; and we mean the words to be understood in much the same way that words are understood when we say of a man, “he is kindness itself.” By so saying we are not stating that kindness and the man are identical, and no one understands our words in that sense…”

Our words for and of God are really mere descriptors.
Words we have assigned to Him.

Nothing more.

These types of words are man’s feeble attempts to describe or even ascribe to God things that we feel are important characteristics which need to accompany any sort of dialog or introduction of His being.
A Being which defies and is beyond the limitation of human words.

We Christians often use the pity little phrase “God is Love” to sum up, to one and all,
what makes God… God

Yet…is God not so much more than Love?

What of Peace…which passes all understanding
What of Holiness…
What of Omnipotence
What of being Sovereign

In our statemet that God is Love, we have ascribed love as being God and God being Love…
with any and all other love being less than because if God is love, then all other love is therefore different is it not, and in turn not of God…
and if it is therefore something else, less, below, inferior, what then is it…
For if God is, as we say, love, then the whole concept of love comes back to being that of God….as we base our understanding and definition of love on one thing and one thing only…God

God being Love in turn becomes the benchmark so to speak.

That being the level we should all ascertain to when we seek love, offer love and give love…for love is indeed of God and is in turn Godly

Yet we have watched as love has fallen
It has become cliche.
It has become small
It has become cheap
It has become carnal
and it has become dirty.
It no longer seems to mean what we have said…God is Love
Have we allowed ourselves, by lessening the word love with our flippant and empty usage, to lessen and diminish God?

God, along with this love of His, are each deeply much much more than the one dimensional sweetness found simply in a deity being described by the human definition of the pure essence of love. To say that one loves another was never something trite or small…it was a big deal to declare love. It was earnest, sincere, deeply felt and beyond the surface of casualness. It became the verbal declaration of a bond that went beyond understanding. Just as God is beyond understanding.

Yet what then when we speak of His mighty wrath?
What of His being the Light of the world.
What of His being Justice…or of being Life itself….?

Are we saying that we believe, dare assume, that these very words are actually God?
Or are they merely metaphorical descriptors?
Do we separate the two or causally blend them together?
Or is there something much deeper happening and truly beyond us when we speak these words which we ascribe to God?

If we say God is Love, what then of all the other types of love?
Do we say that God is but one type of love?
A bigger love while all other love is little?
Or is love always love, with God being the highest form possible…
Therefore all love, all the feelings, the emotions, the definitions come back to one thing
God being love…with the love we offer, seek, want, give being interconnected to the love of God.
With our love being God’s love as love becomes One..as in the true intent of Love…two becoming one

Yet at the same time how do we describe, define, spell out who and what God is?
Simple Love?

How do we say that He is Love when someone loses a loved one due to tragedy and or illness?
How do we say He is Justice when we watch a life methodically ended by the hands of another?
How do we say He is Peace while we watch the results of fighting and wars?

It is then, at those very moments, when we declare that God is obviously not of of this world…
Separating ourselves from Him.
We create a divide.
As our love and His love suddenly become different…no longer one and the same..the One has separated and become two again.
As our descriptors, our words, our definitions become less, and less, and less…

For the Love,
The Peace
The Justice
The Life
The Sovereign of all Creation
has all remained the same…

What He is, does not, has not, cannot change….
His love does not change, therefore we know that Love has not changed…despite our changing….
our diminishing the words, the meanings, the definitions….
God, His love, are constant, forever….He, it, does not change.

It is us who change…for we are constantly changing the relationship….redefining, altering
rewriting the rules…
We change the meanings, the importance, the intent of the words and all that is associated with the words…

Love doesn’t change.
Love remains the same.
God remains the same.
The meaning of God and of His love has never changed.
For God is God and therefore cannot change or alter who He is…
For God has always been and will always be…God.

We are the ones to change.
We grow tired, bored, lazy and wish to rewrite what we know.
We want our words and their meanings to accommodate our whims, our wills, our desires.
Not the other way around where we must accommodate to the word…
and in this case the love of God…

Despite our best efforts to twist the word, the meaning, the message the definition.
Love is still Love and Love is still God, and God is still love…
And we are still the object of that Love.

The question therefore remains…what will define our love and what will define our God?

For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, have not perished
Malachi 3:6