Wednesday, March 6, 2013

And this is why we need more Latin.

Hoo boy... This one is perhaps a little more understandable than r/atheism's "do inanimate objects have souls" question, but seriously...

Lemme back up a second. I started noticing a lot of references to an entity known as "Jesus is Savior." Thought I'd check it out. Wow...

As someone in the field of software and the internet, let me start by saying that first off, the 90's called, they want their terrible web page back. It just goes on and on and on with random links and pictures, all over some random cosmic backgroundy thing and yellow links with dire portent (and also the picture of a Pope and a protestant presenting the NIV along with Satan - because someone is really good with history I guess...)

I cannot stress enough how much of an eyesore this page is.

Go ahead, click the picture.
I dare you...

Anyway, I clicked on the link of the Pope presenting the world with the NIV (wow... I almost can't type that without cracking up). After all, I have my own issues with the NIV, so let's see if we can find some common ground.

No, probably not.

Most of the little snippets are pretty obviously simple translational differences, more than likely the choice of idiom vs. exact translation. That or things where with a little digging, you find that the KJV is completely wrong (like how they put the entirety of the Lord's Prayer in Luke, but it's actually not all there... Whoops!)

The one that really caught my attention though was under the heading "The NIV perverts Jesus Christ into Lucifer!" The complaint is that the NIV renders "Lucifer" as "Morning Star" in several places, such as Isaiah 14:12:

Quomodo cecidisti de caelo, Lucifer, qui mane oriebaris?
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, who didst rise in the morning? (Douay-Reihms Translation)
How you have fallen from heaven, O Morning Star, son of the dawn...(NIV Tranwslation)

I vote for maintaining Lucifer, personally, but here's why the NIV isn't wholly wrong.

Lucifer is a title, just like Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. For an angel, their name, their title, is their calling. Michael means "who is like God?" That is to say, the meaning of his existence is to point to the strength and power of God. When Michael casts Lucifer into hell, it is not by his own strength, but by showing God's strength.

So what does Lucifer mean? Well, it's Latin, a compound of "lux" and "fero", that is of "light" and "carry." Lucifer means "light bringer." It is a title: the angel who fell to become the prince of darkness was called to be the one bringing God's truth. Ironic, no? In any case, this light bringer that arises in the morning was also typified as the "morning star." Or rather, the morning star was also called a (the) light bringer.

Upon Satan's utterance of "non serviam" (which is nicely contradicted by Mary's "Fiat"), the eternal second person of God takes upon himself the mantle of light bringer, and with it the title of "lucifer."

Fun fact, the last stanza of the Exsultet references Christ as "lucifer" several times:

Flammas eius lúcifer matutínus invéniat:
ille, inquam, lúcifer, qui nescit occásum.
Christus Fílius tuus,
qui, regréssus ab ínferis, humáno géneri serénus illúxit,
et vivit et regnat in sæcula sæculórum.

I leave the translation of that passage as an exercise for you, dear reader, in preparation for the upcoming feast to which it is proper. Enjoy!

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