Archive for the 'Bible Software' Category

Logos Takes a Road Trip

Okay, this I did not expect. I learned today from the Logos blog that my favorite (and, arguably, the best) Bible software company has a 37-foot RV all decked out and ready to canvass the US promoting their upcoming software release.

That is really different.

Omnibenevolence and the Flying Spider

I ran across the word ‘omnibenevolence’ while reading Jonathan Edwards, A Guided Tour to His Life and Thought by Stephen J. Nichols. I tried to look it up in my everyday dictionary, the M-W Collegiate 11th Ed. Finding nothing, I dusted off the trusty giant Webster’s Third, again to no avail. Then, I went online. I was not surprised that Wikipedia sports a five-paragraph article about the word (you can find that here), but I would not recommend the contributor’s point of view (e.g. a supposed biblical contradiction). Googling the term nets 15,100 results with a broad spectrum of ideas, many relating to debates in Theodicy (the branch of theology that deals with the question: how can God be good [just] while evil exists?).

After giving up on the internet, I set Libronix search engines to work combing through my electronic library; again, nothing (though a search for the word ‘benevolence’ and its variants scored 1715 hits, including 12 occurrences in Jonathan Edwards’ Religious Affections).

Though rare, the meaning of the word is plain. ‘Omni’ comes straight from the Latin and means ‘all, everything, universal’. ‘Benevolence’ (which comes to us [via M.E.] from the Latin benovolentia) essentially means ‘kindly disposition towards an object; good will’. Hence, the statement ‘God is omnibenevolent’ means that God is completely good and has perfect (uncorrupted) good will towards us. Of course, this is a biblical notion and an axiom of conservative Christian theology: God is perfectly good.

So what did Jonathan Edwards write that prompted Stephen Nichols to brandish this seminary-type gem of a word? Nichols was commenting on Edwards’ observations of the flying spider. When Jonathan Edwards was 19 years old, he conducted research on this famed spider to understand how a wingless arachnid could fly. He even wrote a scientific essay about it. The spider fascinated young Edwards so much that he wrote:

There are some things that I have happily seen of the wondrous and curious works of the spider. Although everything pertaining to this insect is admirable, yet there are some phenomena relating to them more particularly wonderful.

Edwards looked at the spider and saw the spider’s incredible, wise, and omnibenevolent Creator. He viewed creation (and God’s care of creation) as a benevolent gift of God, and in the intricacies of creation, he believed that one could clearly see the hand of God. He shared this idea with Paul, who wrote:

… his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. (Romans 1:20 ESV)

I should look around and take in the details of creation more often; and think twice before mushing little creatures. To find out how the spider flies, you can order the above-mentioned book or The Works of Jonathan Edwards and read the essay. 🙂

From Nyet to Da

A known Russian cultural habit is to first offer a negative answer to inquiries and favors. This initial negative response often does not mean ‘no’. With a little conversation and/or cleverness, it may become a ‘yes’ or even an ‘of course! yes’. There is a book called, “From Nyet to Da” (from no to yes) that documents this idiosyncrasy and gives advice to the bewildered and rebuffed foreigner.

I first encountered this bit of culture four years ago, when Maya and I went to a remote Lake Baikal resort. The only place to eat within a 30-mile radius was at the local cafeteria. The first morning, we went to the cafeteria and asked for a breakfast menu. “We’re closed, and, besides, we do not have any food!” came the angry-sounding reply. We did not bring food with us, so we decided to improvise. I noticed a few candy bars behind the counter and asked if we could buy some. The waiter then barked, “Candy for breakfast? You should eat real food. Will you have eggs or kasha?” This happened before every meal that weekend.

That is probably an extreme example (the waiter was a little weird), but it does happen a bit like that. An attendant at a ticket counter might tell you there are no tickets, but if you ask in a slightly different way, you may be on your way to your destination. The same goes for many other public service offices and businesses. You get used to it after a while.

Question: Is this specific to Russian culture?

Last week, I purchased a cool commentary set online from Logos Bible Software. They sent the CDs to my address in the US. I wrote tech support and asked if I could download volumes of the commentary when I need them, explaining that it would probably be months before the CDs would be brought to me way out here in Siberia, and that I need them for a study that I will be teaching.

Here are some excerpts from their reply:

Sorry, but it is
impossible for us to help you in this way. You must wait for your CDs. There is no way we can allow you to download the commentaries from our website. We are sorry.

Even though they left no hope, I responded with this email:

Dear Tech Support,

Thank you for your kind response. I do not mean to be pest, but could you please clarify as to why it is impossible? Downloading the commentaries would be most helpful to me, and besides, Logos Tech Support has allowed me to download ship-only products in the past. However, if it is indeed impossible, then I will patiently wait.

Sincerely, Mike

It turned into a classic case of from Nyet to Da; the next day, Logos sent me the unlock files and the download addresses. They wrote, “you are more than welcome to download the commentaries as needed”.

Thank you, Logos. I'll have the eggs, please.