19 Oct 2013 
#72 Carrier's far-fetched explanation for Galatians 4:4 ([Jesus] come of a woman, come under the Law)

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Richard has a very strange way in order to explain away:
Galatians 4:4-5 "and when the fullness of time did come, God sent forth His Son, come of a woman, come under law, that those under law he may redeem, that the adoption of sons we may receive;"
He wrote for his lecture to UNCG (published Mar 28 2013) (ref: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwUZOZN-9dc  at 44:11):
"Born (= made) of a woman: in context (Gal. 4) this is allegorical, explaining we are born of the same woman (the slave girl = the corrupt world subject to the Torah law) but thanks to Jesus we will be reborn of another woman (the free woman = the celestial world)"
It appears Carrier is basing that "observation" on this passage of Galatians 4:

21 Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says?

22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman.
23 His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise.
24 These things are being taken figuratively: The women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar.
25 Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children.
26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother.
27 For it is written: “Be glad, barren woman, you who never bore a child; shout for joy and cry aloud, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband.”
28 Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise.
29 At that time the son born according to the flesh persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now.
30 But what does Scripture say? “ Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman ’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.”
31 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.
a) Carrier is conveniently putting "the Jerusalem which is above" in "the celestial world" (for Richard, the domain of demons, death and the Crucifixion).
However, that holy city above earth is in heaven, according to Paul:

2 Corinthians 5:1 "... we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven ..."

Philippians 3:20a "But our citizenship is in heaven. ..."
b) "and the Jerusalem above is the free-woman, which is mother of us all," (Gal 4:26) is part of an allegory (as acknowledged by Paul), but Gal 4:4 is not declared as such by Paul (do not mix apples with oranges). Furthermore, the Jerusalem above being a mother is symbolic, because the "us all" are flesh & blood human, born from a real flesh & blood human mother on earth. In other words, this heavenly Jerusalem is not generating any beings (human or not). 
Carrier wrote: "thanks to Jesus we will be reborn of another woman (the free woman = the celestial world)" but according to 4:31, the so-called rebirth (actually a symbolic change of origin) has already happened (not in the future!) for Paul's converts, while still alive on earth!
Also, Hagar, the slave woman,  and the free woman (Sarah) are not said to be mythical, even in the allegorical part. Why would the woman in Galatians 4:4 be otherwise?
The normal interpretation of the quoted verses is far from Richard's strange exegesis and certainly does not have to involve any rebirth:
Those who want to be under the Law (as requested by these Judaizing preachers preying on Paul's converts) will end up with no inheritance in heaven and being slave of the Law. They will be considered children of the slave woman (Hagar = mount Sinai = Jerusalem = the Law).
But the ones who are faithful to Paul have inheritance in heaven. They are (honorarily) children of the free woman (Sarah, the wife of Abraham = heavenly Jerusalem = freedom from the Law)
In his lecture, Carrier goes on into further explanation:
''when he [Paul] says Jesus is born of a woman, born under the Law, ... Jesus is symbolically born of the corrupt flesh, the corrupt flesh of the old world order, so that the corrupt world order can die with him ...''
Why symbolically? Because, even for Carrier, Jesus needs to be in human flesh & blood (which normally would involve a real earthly woman, not an allegorical one!) in order to be crucified in the sky by demons.
And then, if Paul meant Jesus came from (symbolically) Hagar (under the Law), that would conflict with Romans 1:3, 9:4-5 & 15:12 where Christ is said to be a descendant of David, Israelites &  Jesse, David's father, consequently from the line of Sarah (the free woman), Isaac & Jacob.
Also, I do not think Paul, either here or anywhere else in his epistles, wrote about the corrupt world order expected to die with Jesus' death (certainly, that did not happen, and Paul knew it!).
Therefore, I do not see any relationship between Richard's last statement and Galatians 4:21-31.
Furthermore, even if it were a relationship, Paul never made a connection between the allegory (starting at Galatians 4:24) and (not declared allegorical) Galatians 4:4-5a "His Son, come of a woman, come under law, that those under the law he may redeem ...", requiring his audience to interpret Galatians 4:4 through an allegory starting twenty verses later (Carrier might be the first one ever to use the later allegory in order to explicate Galatians 4:4!).
Therefore this explanation is extremely far-fetched and coming from Richard's biased imagination. And I wonder what kind of methodology he is using in order to arrive to that nonsense.
Finally, I invite my readers to read my understanding of Galatians 4:4 here and my comments on what Carrier wrote on the same topic in OHJ: post #95 .

Cordially, Bernard

Tags: {Carrier} {Galatians} {Galatians 4:4} {earthly & human Jesus} {Jesus' historicity} {mythicism} {Paul} {woman}
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