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To witness is to create - different levels of reality

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To witness is to create

— Different levels of reality —

Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary

μαρτυς

The amazing noun μαρτυς (martus) means witness, and the concept of witnessing is a major deal in both the Biblical arena and in nature. It's used 34 times in the New Testament; see full concordance

To witness is to create

Our noun μαρτυς (martus) brings to mind names like Martin and Martina, although these officially derive from a genitive form of the name Mars, belonging to the Latin deity of war (these names are related to the word "martial," meaning "of war" or "of military engagement"). It also reminds of the noun μαραθον (marathon), which describes a sort of fragrant fennel and which in turn reminds of the word מור (mor), meaning myrrh. The former noun became linked to the place of a famous battle — namely the Battle of Marathon; the Greek victory over the much larger Persian army determined both the shape of our western world and the tone and style in which the gospel came to mankind — and the latter as the possible source of the name Mary, the mother of Jesus. These patterns are not coincidences or mirages: the name Bethlehem, for instance, both means House of Bread and House of War.

Whether these connections are technically due to true etymology or merely implied by creative authors is neither clear nor the focus of our present review. What rather strikes is the way with which these patterns tie into the most fundamental natural mechanisms in which our world is formed.

The beauty of the universe is that it isn't centralized. There's no boss pulling strings. The rules on which the universe works (collectively called Logos in the New Testament) are true all the time for all elements of the universe, but they do not exist separately from those elements (with the obvious exception of the "seed" from which the whole shebang emerged; we'll get to that). That means that the rules upon which the universe works can only be established from elements going head to head to see what works. And here's the catch: if nothing in the universe worked in some specific way, the rule that governs this behavior didn't exist either, except perhaps potentially (which counts as little as the million bucks you will "potentially" make on your next trade).

Contrary to your portfolio, in the universe exists the rule that whatever can happen, will happen, so even when rules exist only potentially, they are lined up in the blockchain of time waiting to become as real as rain. All this is tricky stuff, but for more, check out our riveting introductions to Quantum Mechanics and Chaos Theory (see the links below).

Water, blood, spirit and Schrödinger's cat

The bottom line is that there are different levels of reality. The one we inhabit is the one where it rains; the reality where things like stones and squirrels exist and where natural law applies all the time and the same for everybody. Our rainy reality in turn consists of three levels of complexity: the material world, the biosphere and the mental sphere (the Internet may be the beginning of number four, actually). Each of these levels exists within the previous, and evolves self-similarly to the previous, or rather to one big underlying mother pattern. Or as John says it: "There are three that bear witness on earth: the spirit, and the water, and the blood, and these three agree in one (1 John 5:8; note that the most trusted manuscripts of 1 John 5:7-8 do not congrue with what the King James Version made of it).

The famous story of Erwin Schrödinger's cat was designed to demonstrate that quantum uncertainty does not translate to the large scale world. But it has a serious flaw. The story tells how Erwin Schrödinger put his cat in a box, together with an atom that had a half life of 1 hour, a Geiger-counter and a poison that would be released if the atom decayed. After one hour the box contained 50% dead cat and 50% live cat. But when Schrödinger opened the box, the cat jumped out 100% alive, and its dead alter ego had vanished from the stage of rainy reality.

The story's fatal flaw is that it fails to take into account what happened next. As Erwin sat down at his kitchen table, congratulating himself for being so smart, the kitchen door opened and in stepped Mrs. Schrödinger! She immediately contrived what her conniving husband had been up to, and ignited in a fury directly proportional to the chance that the cat might have been dead. Mister Schrödinger spent the rest of the month sleeping on the sofa, but never quite concluded that mankind's imagination creates realities that tie into the slippery world of quantum uncertainty (for more on mankind's very real powers of creative imagination, read our article on αγγελος, aggelos, or "angel").

All three levels of rainy reality's complexity have atoms, which are the smallest working elements: matter has atoms, the biosphere has cells and the mental sphere has minds. All these atoms consist of a nucleus in which the information is stored that determines the qualities and behavior of the atom, and a surrounding body that executes the behavior of the atom and which binds with others. The atoms are kept in one piece by a certain internal force field (actually, the nucleus also consists of bits that are glued together by yet another force field), and the atoms interact with others by means of a similar but external force-field.

All these atoms yearn to bind with others. That appears to be a fundamental quality of the universe. But these elements have no idea who they are or anybody else is, and so they just have to be themselves and see what the world thinks of them. And here's the deal: if the world treats you like a banana, it is because you behave like a banana — you're a banana! The world subsequently reacts to your behavior, and while differing reactions may swarm like flies around you, the bundled momentum of consensus chips like a chisel your behavior and thus your essence into shape. And thus you'll become increasingly banana-esque, or rather: you'll become an increasingly useful version of the younger you.

You are how you relate

Our reality (the one in which it rains) is a matter of relativity. Our reality consists of the relationships between elements. These relationships are self-organizing and are rigged to bring forth something no element in itself could have begun to think of. Hence material atoms somehow brought forth living cells. And living cells somehow brought forth conscious minds. And conscious minds are right now bringing forth something that vastly exceeds the scope of one. And since it exceeds the scope of any one mind, the authors that discuss this unprecedented and unimaginable super-life gave it all kinds of names and contexts: the New Jerusalem descending from the Heavens (Revelation 21:2), Logos on the Clouds (Acts 1:9, 1 Thessalonians 4:17), the Cloud of Witnesses (Hebrews 12:1).

The opposite of this process of collective verification is described by the adjective αμαρτυρος (amarturos), meaning without witness (see below). It looks suspiciously (but probably accidentally) similar to the adjective αμαρτωλος (hamertolos), meaning erroneous, the noun αμαρτια (hamartia), meaning error, and their parent verb αμαρτανω (hamartano) meaning to err, which is commonly translated as "to sin," but which actually means to limit the freedom of. There are of course countless ways of saying something wrong but only one to say it right. Convention is the only path to diversity and ultimately to freedom.

The evolution of human language is an excellent example of this principle at play. Before there were words, people were anatomically perfectly capable of speaking. And so they blurted out whatever sound they privately felt would suit the occasion (for instance: MIOWOWOWEEEEE!!!). If a listener would then hear the utterance and ever so slightly understand a tiny bit better what the utterer might be on about (for instance: "LOOK OUT, THERE'S A BEAR THERE!!!"), the chances of survival of both went significantly up. And this in turn meant that the utterance itself would survive and be passed on. Hence grunts were honed into words (read our article on νομος, nomos, meaning noun or name) and words became sentences and sentences became the wisdom tradition which became our modern scientific tradition.

The quest for convention

Modern science is in a large part the embodiment of our formative principle. The scientific method insists that any valid experiment must be reproducible, which means that any third party that repeats the experiment, must find the same results and thus be a witness to the validity of the first. Without that witness, no result is valid. That in turn means that Truth does not exist in some hyperspace of possibilities waiting to be discovered, but rather that it exists where two or three are gathered in its name (Matthew 18:20). Truth is not true because it's true; truth is true because it's agreed upon. Science is not the pursuit of some absolute truth, but the pursuit of convention. Just like language itself. Just like the biosphere. Just like the material universe. It's all in the second law of thermodynamics.

The story of Jesus of Nazareth is absolutely brilliant, more brilliant than any of us could have possibly imagined. Humanity's library of scientific and technological knowledge and artistic skills expands in much the same way as baby Jesus grew: increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man (Luke 2:52). He is the Logos or Word in the flesh (John 1:14), which indicates that prior to the physical birth of Jesus, the Word was very much around and engaged with humanity. The Word of God enters the Biblical stage in Genesis 15:1, where He addresses Abraham and cuts the famous covenant of which Jesus Christ was the fulfilment. In Christ, of course, are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3) and a love that exceeds all knowledge (Ephesians 3:19).

Love in turn is not a mushy feeling but a true force field that binds atomic minds into mental molecules: companies, schools and disciplines, and finally into a whole new life form. In the distant past, God made the dust of the earth and brought it together into a vital composition. He released into that composition His breath, and Adam became a living being (Genesis 2:7). Much later He promised that Abraham's posterity would be like the dust of the earth (Genesis 13:16). Later still, He brought that new dust of the earth together into a new vital composition and released into that composition His Spirit and created a New Life form (Acts 2:1-4). There's really nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9).

It's not good that one is alone

The Word of God is the entire width and breadth of the ever growing corpus of natural law upon which the universe runs, evolves and will ultimately come to its completion (Romans 1:20, John 21:25). But that Word of God existed in its most concise form before the universe came into existence because it caused the universe into existence (Colossians 1:17-18). That most concise form is recorded as the Great Commandment, which instructs to love God and one's neighbor as oneself (Matthew 22:36-40). Loving God would have been no problem prior to creation because there wasn't anything else. But loving one's neighbor wouldn't work if there wasn't any. This suggests that God's reluctance to violate His own core essence prompted creation, and became manifested in this most essential procedure of continued creation.

Prior to the fall of man, when the error of the absence of collective confirmation engulfed the world (Genesis 3) the Creator decided that it was not good that the man was alone (Genesis 2:18). This realization stems from before the singularity of the beginning.

One must carefully consider that time is a function of the universe, and these events can't be localized in some distant past but rather down the scale of complexity below the level of time and even that of the original singularity. These patterns tell us something about the structure of reality with the same emotionally detached approach with which a scientist may look at a human body. The scientist is able to be emotionally detached because she knows that this is how she will serve and honor her subject most effectively. When her work day is over, she is free to give in to all her feelings and engage her subject as the loving husband he is.

Derivations of the noun μαρτυς (martus), meaning witness
  • As mentioned above, together with the common prefix of negation α (a): the adjective αμαρτυρος (amarturos), meaning without witness (Acts 14:17 only).
  • The verb μαρτυρεω (martureo), meaning to witness or be a witness of: to create reality by agreeing on it with others; not merely testifying in some formal way but also being the embodiment of that what you convey for others to latch onto. In the passive voice, it describes that which is being witnessed of (Hebrews 11:2). This amazing verb occurs 77 times, see full concordance, and from it in turn derive:
    • Together with the preposition επι (epi), meaning on or upon, or in this case serving to emphasize: the verb επιμαρτυρεω (epimartureo), meaning to witness emphatically (1 Peter 5:12 only). From this word comes:
      • Together with the preposition συν (sun), meaning together or with: the verb συνεπιμαρτυρεω (sunepimartureo), meaning to jointly witness emphatically. This word occurs in Hebrews 2:4 only, where it is used to demonstrate how the Creator engaged every possible way to witness to humanity about the dealio of the universe.
    • Together with the preposition κατα (kata), meaning down from, down upon: the verb καταμαρτυρεω (katamartureo), meaning to witness against someone or something. In a world where confirmation creates reality, incompatible realities might arise and engage each other as if they were individuals. The famous "battle of the angels" in the Book of Daniel tells of such an event (10:13-21). Our verb is used 4 times; see full concordance.
    • The noun μαρτυρια (marturia), meaning a witnessing; the act of being a witness. This noun is used 37 times, see full concordance, and from it comes:
      • Together with the adjective ψευδης (pseudes), meaning false: the noun ψευδομαρτυρια (pseudomarturia), meaning a false witnessing (Matthew 15:19 and 26:59 only). See the verb ψευδομαρτυρεω (pseudomartureo) below.
    • The noun μαρτυριον (marturion), meaning a testimony; the corroboration that creates reality. This word occurs 20 times; see full concordance.
    • Again together with the preposition συν (sun), meaning together or with: the verb συμμαρτυρεω (summartureo), meaning to witness jointly (Romans 2:15, 8:16 and 9:1 only).
    • Together with the adjective ψευδης (pseudes): the verb ψευδομαρτυρεω (pseudomartureo), meaning to bear false witness. Bearing false witness creates false realities, which can cause grave harm and take a lot of energy to undo. The prohibition of creating false realities is among the big ten, and right up there with those of theft and murder (Exodus 20:16). This verb occurs 6 times, see full concordance, but of similar vein are the noun ψευδομαρτυρια (pseudomarturia), meaning a false witnessing (see above), and the noun ψευδοματυς (pseudomatus), meaning a false witness (see below).
  • The middle deponent (looks like passive but behaves like active) verb μαρτυρομαι (marturomai), which means to call to witness; to ask others to corroborate or testify about something (not unlike the familiar Hebrew word Amen). In English this would be accomplished by adding "right?" to a statement. This verb brings to mind the idea that people have the law of the Lord written on their hearts (Deuteronomy 30:11-14, Jeremiah 31:33, Romans 2:15). The gospel is not something external that needs to be taught to people or somehow inserted into their heads, but rather something they are already very familiar with but keep suppressed for some reason or other. This verb is used 5 times, see full concordance, and from it comes:
    • Together with the preposition δια (dia) meaning through or throughout: the verb διαμαρτυρομαι (diamarturomai), meaning to call to witness throughout (a group, territory, time or even the range or compass of one's testimony; thoroughly). This verb occurs 15 times; see full concordance.
    • Together with the preposition προ (pro), meaning before: the verb προμαρτυρομαι (promarturomai), meaning to call to witness earlier or beforehand (1 Peter 1:11 only).
  • Together with the adjective ψευδης (pseudes), meaning false: the noun ψευδομαρτυς (pseudomartus), meaning false witness (Matthew 26:60, 26:61 and 1 Corinthians 15:15 only). See the verb ψευδομαρτυρεω (pseudomartureo) above.