The Heart

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The Heart

Post by Seballius » Wed Aug 08, 2018 7:40 pm

Bro. Steve and others,

I believe I have heard Bro. Steve say before that Jeremiah 17:9 does not apply to humanity as a whole. I do note that in Jer 17:1 the prophet addresses “the sin of Judah”. Nevertheless in verse 9 it does seem like it is a general declaration because it says “The heart” and not “their heart”. What are you thoughts on this matter? Is this a general characteristic of mankind or just a description of Judah in that day or possibly both?


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Re: The Heart

Post by steve » Wed Aug 08, 2018 9:14 pm

I think that the verse in question might equally apply to many people outside the circle its original referents (that is, outside of Judah in Jeremiah's day). What I oppose is taking a verse like this, which is clearly a denunciation of a specific society at a specific time, and making it a general anthropomorphically principle.

Jeremiah's assessment of "the heart", in this context, means "the heart [of this people]" (the longer phrase is used in 1 Kings 12:27 and Isaiah 6:10). This horrendous diagnosis may be very widely applicable, but universal application is not made by the prophet, so it is impossible to know how widely he (or God) might apply it beyond its intended targets.

There certainly are people whose hearts do not fit this description—at least not at all times—like Job, Abraham, David, Zacharias and Elisabeth, Mary and Joseph, pre-converted Cornelius, and all Christians to whom God has given a new heart and a new spirit. If the statement is general and universal, it must apply to cases like these as well. If it is not universal, then its applicability would have to be determined case-by-case.

The point is, Jeremiah is not writing a verse of anthropology for systematic theologians. He is uttering a prophetic denunciation of a corrupt nation facing God's judgment, and being told why.

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