Man or God

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AuthorTopic: Man or God
...b10010b...
Member # 869
Profile Homepage #50
quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

quote:
Originally written by Thuryl:

My contention, based on experience, is that people who have read the Bible are not, on average, morally better than people who have not.
No contention here. Reading about something does nothing if you don’t apply what’s read.

By the way, Ford makes cars knowing that some people will use their cars to intentionally hit others. Should they not make cars since they could be misused?

If more people misuse cars than use them for their intended purpose, then yes. If the existence of the Bible is not a net positive influence on the world, then how can it be said that the Bible is a good book?

quote:
If the slave did not die immediately, that would indicate that the master did not have murder in his heart and would also raise question as to whether or not the beating was actually responsible for the death.
Wait, wait, wait. Are you saying you don't have a problem with beating one's slaves as long as the intention is not to kill them?

[ Friday, August 31, 2007 19:58: Message edited by: Thuryl ]

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The Empire Always Loses: This Time For Sure!
Posts: 9973 | Registered: Saturday, March 30 2002 08:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #51
Abusus non tollit usus is the old rule. Practically speaking, good luck showing that the Bible causes net badness in the world, let alone such a preponderance of badness that we ought to let the abusus toll anyway on pragmatic grounds.

Some of the OT laws are just wacky by modern standards, but some are remarkably enlightened for their time. Many of them seem to compress into the criminal code what we now distinguish as criminal investigation. So for instance what is classed as fornication or worse if it occurred in a settlement is deemed to be rape if it occurred far from witnesses, because the woman is presumed to have cried out for help. And beating a slave so badly that he dies on the scene is presumed to be intentional homicide, while causing an eventually fatal injury allows some possibility that there was less than murderous intent. Modern western law still recognizes this principle in distinguishing degrees of murder or manslaughter; it just allows a more elaborate procedure for determining intent. OT law is a rough and ready instrument, but many of its principles are still accepted.

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We're not doing cool. We're doing pretty.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
...b10010b...
Member # 869
Profile Homepage #52
quote:
Originally written by Student of Trinity:

Abusus non tollit usus is the old rule. Practically speaking, good luck showing that the Bible causes net badness in the world, let alone such a preponderance of badness that we ought to let the abusus toll anyway on pragmatic grounds.
I don't think anyone here has been arguing that the Bible cannot rightly be used for any purpose whatsoever.

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The Empire Always Loses: This Time For Sure!
Posts: 9973 | Registered: Saturday, March 30 2002 08:00
Shaper
Member # 6292
Profile #53
Stillness, thanks for taking up the challenge to address so many specific points. I appreciate that.

You do realize I didn’t construct that list or its arguments myself, right? I would make my arguments in some cases differently, but I was still interested to see how you perceive and reconcile the passages cited. I also, as a one time Christian, know how I would have been inclined to counter many of these points myself, because as a worshipper of the Bible-god, it had to be the case. More interestingly to myself, I rarely heard any of these points addressed in a Christian context. Christendom is typically very good at not looking at its more problematic material. It quietly sweeps most of it under the rug. All of it that I experienced, and it was a decent diversity, didn’t remotely begint to foster critical thinking or the asking of those annoying kinds of questions I like to pose. It wants to hand pat answers and to pretend that it is all tidy and long ago concluded.

I am playing devil’s advocate here. Not all views expressed necessarily reflect the views of Synergy, Inc. or its affiliates.

To step back into the Christian context, I’d apply your quote from Peter about the “last days” not to the modern world today, 2000 years later, but the end of the age of the law which occurred in 70 A.D. when Titus sacked Jerusalem. Those were the last days of which so much was prophesied in the first century in Matthew and Luke, and in Jesus lamenting that not one stone of the temple was going to be left upon another. Assuming those prophecies were made as written, they foresaw the terrible end to many centuries of a Jewish way of life...far more relevant and timely for the Jews than something happening in the distant world millennia later. We like to think everything’s about ourselves, a foolish conceit of every generation, if you ask me.

You say confusion does not come from God’s word? So what happens? God wrote a clear, unconfusing book, but if someone reads it, satan runs up and scrambles someone’s brain? Explain the process. And if it helps, I am not under the conviction that God owes humanity a book at all or that any spiritual writing is supposed to be written plainly as a textbook. Conversely, I see spiritual communication as highly figurative and symbolic, like dream language, and not readily literalized and pinned down. I’m engaging an assertion that we are obligated to the contents of the Bible for our eternal destiny, and therefore everything rides upon our clear understanding of it, that’s its testimony is that its divine author is perfect and maintained it with a purpose in mind. Did He achieve that purpose, and did He do it well...at all?

Do you truly see God’s activity and personality as being uniform in the OT and NT? Yikes. How come he didn’t send Israel out to slaughter the Samaritans and purify the Promised Land again? Or the Romans? Jehovah determines it is wise and loving and good and true to slaughter all heathens to the man, woman, child, and animal in the OT. God suddenly seemed a whole lot less interested in killing all the opposition in the A.D. years. That’s not a little tiny bit different in focus, activity, and personality to you?

“If the slave did not die immediately, that would indicate that the master did not have murder in his heart.” I must disagree with this logic. A master could just be very bad at actually killing someone in a rage as intended. The implication is that Biblical law treated slaves as disposable property of lesser or little value, much as it did women. This is reflective of partiarchal ancient cultural values very nicely, but not of the God of the NT whom you claim authored everything in the OT with the same mind and heart and intention. God seemed awfully behind the curve on His own enlightenment in OT times. He had no problem with slavery and polygamy and animal sacrifice and wholesale slaughter in the OT. In the NT it’s “forgive your enemies.” Oh, we are to forgive our enemies, but God gets to slaughter or broil them? Do as I say, not as I do.

OK...if you will...God is not a “murderer” by your definition, but He is a mass-killer far beyond the scope of Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Countess Elizabeth Bathory, and Vlad the Impaler combined. God takes away life from a hella lotta people, and in a most savage, unmerciful fashion, nicely justifying so very many a bloody campaign ancient Israel embarked upon to expand their holdings. Why has God stopped slaughtering the wicked inhabitants of the earth as He did in so many ways in OT times? God figured out it wasn’t working and had to scrap up something new to try?

Lot’s wife may have been stupid, but it is an arbitrary and capricious God who says, “Don’t look back at the amazing, massive, noisy destruction of the city you spent your life in, because I will for no good reason punish you with it for death.” Would you really trust this kind of guy with your life and love and loyalty? Scares the hell out of me. You never know what He’s going to do or why. There’s no reasoning or mercy with the God of the OT.

Which reminds me of this fantastic short story I read in a Reader’s Digest as a kid in which two archaelogists discover the preserved body of Lot’s wife in a foreign storeroom, indeed yet a pillar of salt, and she is lovely. They realize only they have figured out who and what she is, that no one else realized what they had on their hands. They put her in the back of their truck to smuggle her out of the country, gleefully rubbing their hands at their amazing discovery. They are crossing a border in a fierce storm at night for cover, and are afraid they are being caught when the guard goes back to open the back of their truck. They crouch in front, expecting quick arrest or worst, but the guard waves them on, miraculously, apparently not discovering their purloined artifact. They can’t believe their good fortune. They drive into the next country. It is only when they finally open the back of the truck themselves to extract their treasure, when they realize, with horror, what has occurred. There is no Lot’s wife in the back of the truck. She has dissolved into nothing in the rain that has blown inside. It was a great short story. Back to the matter at hand.

Are you saying the God of the NT who instructs us to turn the other cheek and to forgive your brother 70 x 7 in a day, if necessary, is the same who has 3000 men slaughtered for not keeping a vow and 42 children mauled for making fun of a prophet? You don’t see the disconnect here? Do as I say, not as I do? Random, capricious determination how I will deal with wickedness today? God seems awfully moody and unpredictable. Is this the same guy who gave “an eye for an eye?” How is being mauled to death as a child the just price for making fun of someone’s bald head? If you justify it, I hope to never meet you and that you never find yourself in a position of power to judge or legislate anything in this world. Christians scare me, because they operate by the frightful kind of God they think they known through this Bible, a hopelessly conflicted and angry God who broils His babies for being bad, but puts His own son to death in the largely misplaced hope to redeem all his children.

I am wicked. You are wicked. Israel was endlessly wicked. Why are we all not put to death for our wickedness, for surely we have earned it? God arbitrarily selects some here and there, now and again for slaughter in the vain hope that it will terrify the remaining into being a bit less wicked for a little while?

“So if you interpret the scriptures as you have and find conflict and wickedness on God’s part, then know that it is only your interpretation in which these things exist.”

I am, I believe, a reasonable man, and I would suggest that many who find contradiction and outrage in the messages of the Bible are also reasonable people with good hearts, even hearts made in the image and substance of the true God that actually is. We are beings said to be the children of God and made in His image. This means the essence of our nature and heart is akin and of the kind that is God’s. How we are best able and inclined to love and protect and wisely raise our children is reflective of the nature of God and how He regards and loves and protects and seeks to wisely raise His children. So how come God’s so inept at raising his own children to understand, love, obey, and honor Him and better themselves?

In the natural, when children go astray, I see the onus as being upon the parents, not the wayward children. If the children of God are such wayward bastards, then God is a mighty poor, inept, and ill-prepared parent. If a supposed “satan” can so easily seduce and steal away the vast majority of God’s own children out from His own house, then God is a father children are eager to abandon. What earthly children with a good father do that??? What’s wrong with this picture? In familes where parents and children are well-bonded, where siblings have bonded, good luck at anyone coming in to tear that family and its loyalties apart. Look what the Italians achieve in family loyalty in their ungodly waywardness and wickedness. It puts what Jehovah was able to achieve with Israel and Christendom to shame. The sovereign, ominscient, bringer of all things into being according to His will and calling it all good...this God as depicted and interpreted in Scripture is an abysmal failure. By definition, a God with an unstoppable and uncontrollable cannon on the loose deck of his own ship which He is fighting against but either cannot or will not defeat...is no god at all.

Rahab was a mythological sea demon from ancient Semitic culture. That the book of Psalms refers to Rahab as an actual creature God dealt with is not dismissable as something we have not found yet that once existed. How about the flying fiery critters? Explain the laws of physics that enable an animal to breathe fire?

Floods are common, overlapping ancient tales, common to any place that had rivers, and ancient civs were formed along rivers. Floods would figure prominently in their tales of old. Noah’s flood as it is found in the Bible is hardly “corroborated.” All that is corroborated is a common ancient mythology built out of flood tales, of which Noah’s story is predated. I also believe studiers of linguistics and language development would be highly insulted to be asked to believe that all languages instantly came into being about 4000 years ago in Mesopotamia.

Again you assert the Bible is “reliable.” Please define in no uncertain terms what that means by your definition...reliable. And reliable to accomplish what? If God acted supernaturally to give, maintain, and preserve His vital handbook from heaven, as I believe you assert, how many errors could, would, or should this God be inclined to permit for us to consider it still preserved and reliable to His satisfaction? If God were involved at all in this remarkable supernatural, interferatory fashion, why would it be less than perfectly done? God does things halfway, halfheartedly? Carelessly? I would say you seem content to be satisfied with a most careless and unimpressive God. The Bible gives no appearance of any special creation or preservation at all. It’s riven with all kinds of messy and problematic stuff, like all other human endeavors carried out by many persons over disparate times and places.

Where do the evil nephilim giants keep coming from? God sent a flood to wipe out all these nasty evil beasts from the earth, but I guess they came back? Mutated? Evolved? Demon spawn? What’s your theory about these bizarre, recurring beings that have now completely once again disappeared, despite not having been done in for good by the flood?

If you read the book of Jashar, which is referred to twice in the OT as another apparently respectable accounting of Hebrew exploits, well, in Jashar you will read exploits of the most absurd mythological proportions to show how ridiculous it is to take ancient Hebrew stories seriously as historical accounts. The sons of Joseph are strong enough to leap over the high walls of a city in a single jump, etc., just like Superman. If the God of the Bible inspired all its words and keeping, why did He permit reverential references to Jashar in it? God’s omniscient and God is the supernatural keeper of the sacred text. Why would God have his text refer to a much more plainly embellished and unbelievable book?

Jos 10:13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, Until the nation had avenged themselves of their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jashar? And the sun stayed in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.

2Sa 1:18 (and he bade them teach the children of Judah the song of the bow: behold, it is written in the book of Jashar):

Have you ever read Jashar to see how absurd it is, and how it steals credibility from the OT texts that WERE deemed canon?

So, are you saying that in the Bible, I’m not ever easily to know what “house” is supposed to mean in any context, because it may or may not mean a house/household? But I am supposed to base my eternal fate upon my clear understanding and following of the very sloppy, slippery communicator who gives me this sort of loaded fare to do it by? Is that best you expect of the fashioner of 100 billion galaxies and 100 billion souls? Where there is smoke there is fire, and where there is mud...what?

Please explain to me how I am supposed to know when to take God’s words literally and when not. Cuz, like, you know, it seems kinda important when not knowing for sure can get me savagely mauled by beasts, drowned in a deluge, or sawed up by Godly Hebrews. If God did not mean that he would forever blot out the remembrance of someone when He says so in those words....I dunno man...again, abysmally poor and unpredictable communicator. What a loser. I can write circles around God if I really want to communicate something succinctly. Matters of life and death deserve the u t m o s t o f c l a r i t y . Ya think? God’s got a wickedly perverse sense of humor, it would seem.

God has to protect David from being influenced by satan? But in Job, satan is not able or permitted or even thinking to do anything to Job until God suggests it. Seems to me more like satan is God’s puppet to carry out His will. Nice theory that “God allowed satan to do it” but it reads: “2 Sam 24:1 And again the anger of Jehovah was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them, saying, Go, number Israel and Judah.”

“He moved” is not passive, it is active and direct, and this satan is nowhere in sight. Exceedingly poor communication if God meant to suggest satan did it, not Him...ya think? Is God far sloppier than any copy editor today would permit?

There is also a huge difference between God permitting people to believe lies and “causing a lying spirit”. The words sure read direct...or is this yet another of myriad examples where mighty Jehovah says one thing, but really means something a different collective of words would have communicated about a thousand times more accurately?

My conclusion is that the bar for God’s specificity for so many is so low, no one could limbo beneath it to save their life.

-S-

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A4 ItemsA4 SingletonG4 ItemsG4 ForgingG4 Infiltrator NR Items The Lonely Celt
Posts: 2009 | Registered: Monday, September 12 2005 07:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #54
The message I take, from bits like the bears eating the kids that taunted Elisha, is not that God really sends bears to eat kids who taunt prophets, but that the ancient Hebrews thought God would have taunters eaten by bears. On the one hand, this is a typically barbaric ancient way of expressing the real fact that mocking God is dangerous — not really because God is snippy, but because mocking God is as foolish as mocking gravity. On the other hand, it shows the brutality that God had to deal with, in the multi-millennial project of growing a cultural context for revelation. These are both important points, which I can believe God would want to convey.

I take most of the apparently God-sanctioned atrocity in the OT in this way. The iconic story for me is the final twist in the life of the supreme prophet, Moses. From the manslaughter that was his first recorded act and which drove him from Egypt into the exile where he found a burning bush, the story of Moses shows him consistently reacting with uncontrolled violence whenever he gets sufficiently provoked. Exodus seriously portrays him, this tremendous prophet, as having a deep psychotic streak. To suppose that he performed all his massacres because that was what God wanted is reading into the text, at least in all the cases I can remember. Certainly the text never asserts that Moses was infallible. And in the end Moses himself is not permitted to enter the promised land to which he led his people for forty years.

The reason is that at one crucial point, when the people were perishing for thirst in the desert, God told him to speak to a certain rock, telling it to release water. Instead Moses struck the rock. The water appeared, but Moses forfeited his entry visa, and died with only a sight of the land of promise. My reading is that Moses's fault was not this one reckless act, but the persistent habit of violence that made that reckless act typical of him.

Of course it remains the case that, then as now, God evidently finds many horrible events to be the best course for history to take, for whatever reasons. (If the psychotic violence was Moses's rather than God's, still it was God who accepted Moses as a leader.) And the Biblical message on this problem, as given in the penultimate passage of the book of Job, is simply that humans are not qualified to judge the administration of a universe. Nobody has to accept that as a satisfying answer, but it is hard to deny that it might be true.

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We're not doing cool. We're doing pretty.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Lifecrafter
Member # 7723
Profile #55
quote:
Originally written by Nioca:

Before eating the fruit, they were like children. In fact, God frequently references that humans are his children. Children can easily be led astray by outside influence. Tell me, do you know anyone who'd punish a child with death for taking a small step out of line?
First of all everybody is somebody’s child. By this reasoning no one should be punished. Second if God spoke to you and told you you will die if you did a certain thing, would you think disobeying him and doing it anyway is a “small step out of line?” In fact, can you see any negative repercussions if God said he was going to administer justice in a certain way, and then when it comes time to do it he just let everything slide? What do you think would happen where you live if there was no law enforced and everyone did as they pleased? Maybe the serial killer/rapist would stand before the judge and say, “But, Your Honor, I’m a child of God!” And the prosecuting attorney would shrug and say, “Well, he’s got a point there.”

Forgive my assumption if I’m wrong, but I’d guess that you, like a lot of people in our society, are probably content to see anyone who believes in the Bible being God’s word and God, as presented in the Bible, being loving as irrational, emotional, ignorant and/or stuck in some ancient time when “the gods did it” was a good answer for everything. You read where God kills thousands or hundreds of thousands and see a psychopathic murderer. I read it and see a God of love and mercy. I must be brainwashed or at least a little off right? Especially if I think my views are logical! Yet, I insist that my beliefs are based strictly on logic and not emotion. I’m not uninformed, (at least no more so than the average guy) but my assessment on what we are and our place in the universe is based on my study of nature, religion and spirituality, and much thought and meditation to try to fit the pieces all together and refine the big picture.

So, if you’re content viewing people that disagree with you on the biblical God as dumb, stop here... Good. This is going to take a while, so if you get bored easily jump down to my summary, but don't post back disagreeing until you've read the reasoning behind it.

Let’s start with God’s description of himself in Exodus.

Exodus 20:5,6 …I Jehovah your God am a God exacting exclusive devotion, bringing punishment for the error of fathers upon sons, upon the third generation and upon the fourth generation, in the case of those who hate me; but exercising loving-kindness toward the thousandth generation in the case of those who love me and keep my commandments.

And

Exodus 34:6, 7 And Jehovah went passing by before his face and declaring: “Jehovah, Jehovah, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abundant in loving-kindness and truth, preserving loving-kindness for thousands, pardoning error and transgression and sin, but by no means will he give exemption from punishment, bringing punishment for the error of fathers upon sons and upon grandsons, upon the third generation and upon the fourth generation.”

What we learn:
1) God does not share his position with anyone or anything else. So other gods, your family, yourself, alcohol, pleasure and whatever else could occupy first place in a person’s life, must come after him.
2) God is loving, forgiving, and merciful as you said he should be.
3) Even though he is forgiving, wrongdoing is still punished.
4) God does not just deal with us as individuals. He views us as communities and families.
a. So the merits of one or a few can benefit others.
b. So the faults of one or a few can harm others.

We can get more, but let’s stop with these four points. First, everybody likes God’s love and mercy. That’s always the focus when people are extolling God. Everyone also likes community and family merit. You get one righteous person and their family, friends, and/or nation receives God’s favor along with him/her. What some don’t like or understand is God’s hatred of idolatry and his justice. This would be 1, 3, and 4b. The flip side of community merit - community responsibility - is particularly difficult to grasp as you and Synergy have commented on.

1 is easy. God created all things. He requires that his instructions and ways be adhered to and not anyone else’s. That is his right. Period. Case closed.

3 is a little harder, but not much. If you chose to disobey God, which is in effect idolatry, which we already established he hates, you will be punished. This is what Adam and Eve did when they sided with Satan and chose to decide for themselves what was right and wrong as opposed to listening to the one who gave them a perfect life, a beautiful home stocked with food, animal creation to enjoy, a beautiful mate, and fulfilling and rewarding work. For the sake of harmony in creation and people that want do right and live peaceably, those that do not must be punished and/or eliminated. This is the basis for all criminal law. Without this there is chaos and lawlessness. I really don’t know what else to tell anyone who disagrees with this principle. I imagine an anarchist might disagree somewhat (although I admittedly don’t know much about the anarchist movement). But I would think that even they recognize then need for some sort of standards to maintain order.

Which brings us to 4b, family and community responsibility. I’ll be the first to admit this is difficult to understand and explain. Yet the Christian has to come to grips with it (either that or reject the claim in the scriptures that God’s word is contained therein) as it is seen over and over again from the beginning till the end of the Bible. All of Adam’s children suffer because of his wrongdoing; the flood kills the whole world, save eight,; communities, cities, and nations are penalized for the actions of certain members. Is God unjust? Never. Here’s why…

Romans 6:23 The wages sin pays is death.

So when Adam and Eve sinned the “wage” they were paid was death. Jehovah had the right to execute them immediately, in which case we wouldn’t be having this discussion – being nonexistent and all (that is of course assuming for the sake of argument that the Bible is accurate and we are all Adam’s offspring). But he did not. He allowed them to live for a time and have children. (I think it’s worth noting that the Bible records Adam as living hundreds of years after his sin during which time he witnessed generation after generation of his offspring. Not too shabby for someone who committed an open act of rebellion against the Almighty God, against whom the claim is made that he’s a murderous psychopath). Now, by the time they begin procreating they are outcasts – sinful, dying, and no longer a part of God’s universal family. Their children would be born the same way because…

Job 14:4 Who can produce someone clean out of someone unclean?
There is not one.

(Why God allowed this is another subject. For now let’s just say he immediately set in motion a plan to undo the effects of this rebellion and to respond to issues that had been raised and these things would take time. - Genesis 3:15; Romans 8:20, 21) So, Adam’s children would be born in the same state he was when he made them – imperfect, dying, cut off from God’s favor. Any short-lived existence that any of Adam’s children would have would be due to God’s mercy and long-suffering as all of them would be deserving of death and headed in that direction.

Ecclesiastes 7:10 For there is no man righteous in the earth that keeps doing good and does not sin.

Stay with me. I am going somewhere with this. Right from the beginning Adam’s children recognized this predicament and so took steps to reconcile themselves to God. That is why we have the aforementioned sacrifices by Cain and Abel. Jehovah would happily accept these attempts when they are accompanied by good motivation and demonstrated by action and actually befriend sinful humans. This relationship would give them favor, but would not exempt them from punishment for sin.

Ezekiel 33:11 “As I am alive,” is the utterance of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah, “I take delight, not in the death of the wicked one, but in that someone wicked turns back from his way and actually keeps living. Turn back, turn back from YOUR bad ways, for why is it that YOU should die, O house of Israel?”

We gain a couple of bits of information here. When someone (an individual or a nation) behaves particularly wickedly God would rather they turn around from badness, but if they don’t they will ultimately be destroyed. The other bit that is not so apparent is that God always gives warning first.

Now let’s go back to our description of God in Exodus where he says sons and grandsons would pay for the error of fathers and then I’ll summarize. First of all we all recognize the truth of this on some level. If a parent is careless, lazy, involved in dangerous behavior, etc. their children suffer. That means that the burden of responsibility on parents is heavy, but it is their responsibility nonetheless. Second, the ancient Israelites had a saying, “Fathers are the ones that eat unripe grapes, but it is the teeth of the sons that get set on edge.” (Ezekiel 18:2) The implication being exactly what we said above – children pay for their parent’s mistakes. God actually saw fit to respond to this saying.

Ezekiel 18:3, 4 ‘As I am alive,’ is the utterance of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah, ‘it will no more continue to be YOURS to express this proverbial saying in Israel. Look! All the souls—to me they belong. As the soul of the father so likewise the soul of the son—to me they belong. The soul that is sinning—it itself will die.’

He went on to explain that a son could break whatever bad pattern his father had set by living righteously and thereby gaining life. Conversely if his father had set a righteous pattern, his son could break that also by being wicked and bring his own death upon himself. So community and family responsibility only goes so far. At some point people have to individually give an account for themselves to God. The righteous will live, everyone else will not.

[i]Summary:

I. All humans, regardless of age, sex, race, nationality, are imperfect and sinful and therefore deserving of death, not life.
II. That any of us have life is due to God’s patience and mercy.
III. God wants us to take advantage of any life we have and befriend him.
IV. He does not want anyone to die, but after giving warning he will eventually execute wrongdoers.
V. Parents have a responsibility to their children. Children can benefit or suffer depending on their parent’s behavior. At some point a child has to stand on his own merits.[/i]

So now let’s take one of the difficult accounts. The flood will work.

quote:
Originally written by Nioca:

quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

quote:
GE 6:11-17, 7:11-24 God is unhappy with the wickedness of man and decides to do something about it. He kills every living thing on the face of the earth other than Noah's family and thereby makes himself the greatest mass murderer in history.
Murder is unlawful killing. God does not murder. As the Sovereign Lord and Judge of the universe he has the right, even the obligation, to get rid of wickedness. Otherwise he is wicked.
This might be plausible if he didn't cause so much collateral damage. How many innocent bystanders did he annihilate when the flood came?

The bystanders I refer to are the animals who couldn't know or understand wickedness, and perhaps a few men who were not wicked. If God does not commit murder, than the floods could not have come. If the floods came, which you claim, then God committed murder.

So, did anyone that existed during the days of Noah deserve life? (I) No, they were all imperfect. (II) So it was due to God’s patience and mercy that they were alive. Did anyone take advantage of this patience and befriend God? (III) Yes. “Noah found favor in the eyes of Jehovah.” (Genesis 6:8, 9) Were there wrongdoers? Yes. So much so that “Jehovah felt regrets that he had made men in the earth, and he felt hurt at his heart.” (Genesis 6:6) Did he give warning before he took action? (IV) Yes! “For the Sovereign Lord Jehovah will not do a thing unless he has revealed his confidential matter to his servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7) He told Noah “The end of all flesh has come before me, because the earth is full of violence as a result of them; and here I am bringing them to ruin together with the earth.” (Genesis 6:13) Noah, as a “preacher of righteousness” alerted his contemporaries. (2 Peter 2:5) Jesus, who was an eyewitness to these events, tells us that “they took no note until the flood came and swept them all away.” (Matthew 24:39)

You assume that there were other righteous people. Where were they? Why weren’t they on the ark with Noah? I’m surprised you mentioned animals and not any babies that might have been there. The answer to that would be that there were no righteous babies, so they would not be deserving of life anymore than any adults.

I want to focus on human loss atm, but I would like to know your feelings on animals. Do you feel that killing animals is wrong under all circumstances? Or is it ok for food, clothing, and protection? Do you feel that animals are as important as humans? So for example: if I kill a sparrow because I feel like it should I face the same penalty as if it were a person I killed for the same reason?

Here’s a very important consolation to me in regards to all the loss of human life that we see now and that has been occurring for some time now. The Bible tells us that

“There is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Acts 24:15)

That would mean that anyone who has not received a judgment of eternal death can be resurrected. I don’t see why that would not include some children whose parents were destroyed by God, although I’m not 100% sure of that.

quote:
So he killed, no, murdered 70 people for doing something they were unaware of being wrong.
Why are you assuming they were unaware of this being wrong? I quoted you from their law, which was a contract that they willingly entered into with God. If you sign a contract with me and break it and I take you to court, what will the ruling be if you say, “But I didn’t know what was in the contract.” In fact, if you break the laws of your country and say, “I didn’t know this was illegal” will they say, “OK, but don’t do it again.” Where I live ignorance of the law is no excuse.
Posts: 701 | Registered: Thursday, November 30 2006 08:00
Lifecrafter
Member # 7723
Profile #56
quote:
Originally written by Thuryl:

Are you saying you don't have a problem with beating one's slaves as long as the intention is not to kill them?
I don’t have a problem with any kind of discipline for anyone as long as it’s not heavy handed. Israel used corporal punishment not just for slaves, but also for anyone disorderly. It also used monetary punishment. I don’t really like to speak against my government, but fines and beatings are far superior to imprisonment IMO, which did not exist under Jewish law. You don’t get criminals that hurt society and then make them a further burden in to society prison.

quote:
Originally written by Synergy:

Christendom is typically very good at not looking at its more problematic material. It quietly sweeps most of it under the rug. All of it that I experienced, and it was a decent diversity, didn’t remotely begint to foster critical thinking or the asking of those annoying kinds of questions I like to pose. It wants to hand pat answers and to pretend that it is all tidy and long ago concluded.
Christendom is not one united entity. But in general, I agree with you. I could not be in such a faith. What I do has to make sense and have real meaning. Much of Christendom’s faith is of the God-is-a-mystery-don’t-question-the-Bible type.

quote:
I’d apply your quote from Peter about the “last days” not to the modern world today, 2000 years later, but the end of the age of the law which occurred in 70 A.D. when Titus sacked Jerusalem. Those were the last days of which so much was prophesied in the first century in Matthew and Luke, and in Jesus lamenting that not one stone of the temple was going to be left upon another.
It did apply to the end of the Jewish system of things. Here is where the Bible gets deep though and you begin to see God’s wisdom – some prophecies have dual fulfillments. So well after 70 CE the apostle John received a revelation of the last days that would involve the complete destruction of all wickedness and the ushering in of a thousand year reign under Christ. That hasn’t happened yet. 66-70 C.E. was a minor fulfillment. What’s coming will be on a worldwide scale like the deluge, but more thorough. (Mat 24:21, 22, 37)

quote:
You say confusion does not come from God’s word? So what happens? God wrote a clear, unconfusing book, but if someone reads it, satan runs up and scrambles someone’s brain? Explain the process.
Confusion could come from Satan’s lies. It could also come from a lack of understanding. For example, if you live in western culture and “house” to you means “building that your immediate family lives in” and you don’t take the time to actually use a dictionary and see what the second definition is, find out how other cultures (in particular Eastern or African ones) use the word, or how the Bible itself uses the word in other places, then you will be confused. This also goes toward motivation. If you want to understand the you might do actual research or ask someone who knows, instead of getting information from people who hate the Bible and/or don’t have a clue about it themselves.

You would also not be critically searching for disharmony. If you and I are having a conversation and I’m hanging on your every word with the intent of catching a contradiction, I’ll miss your meaning. You also may not care to share your meaning with me since I’m not listening anyway. Which brings us to the most important factor in understanding – God himself. The Bible is clear that his spirit and his representatives are always involved in understanding his message. If you don’t have the right attitude he simply will not bother with making you understand.

Acts 8:29-31 So the spirit said to Philip: “Approach and join yourself to this chariot.” Philip ran alongside and heard him reading aloud Isaiah the prophet, and he said: “Do you actually know what you are reading?” He said: “Really, how could I ever do so, unless someone guided me?” And he entreated Philip to get on and sit down with him.

Mat 13:10-15 So the disciples came up and said to him: “Why is it you speak to them by the use of illustrations?” In reply he said: “To YOU it is granted to understand the sacred secrets of the kingdom of the heavens, but to those people it is not granted…For the heart of this people has grown unreceptive, and with their ears they have heard without response, and they have shut their eyes; that they might never see with their eyes and hear with their ears and get the sense of it with their hearts and turn back, and I heal them.’

House
1. a building in which people live; residence for human beings.
2. a household.
3. (often initial capital letter) a family, including ancestors and descendants: the great houses of France; the House of Hapsburg.

quote:
God suddenly seemed a whole lot less interested in killing all the opposition in the A.D. years.
The whole “New Testament” is about God’s kingdom under Christ that is going to do that very thing. In fact, that’s what the whole “Old Testament” is about. What book are you reading where you’re seeing something different? God is the same from cover to cover. He works off of the same principles. He has the same standards for his servants. His personality is exactly the same. The distinction is imagined.

Your comments are making me think you’re saying God doesn’t do the exact same thing all the time so he has changed. I don’t think that’s logical. In fact, you could make the same distinction between books within the so-called Testaments if you wanted to. It’s imagined though. I could give you hundreds of Christian Scriptures that mention vengeance, destruction, and judgment and hundreds of Hebrew Scriptures that talk about God’s love, his feelings being hurt when people do bad, his joy when he sees goodness in someone, his patience, his forgiveness and mercy. I could also say that sometimes you talk about video games, at others you talk about social issues, or science, or spirituality. Should I conclude that there are different Synergies or that there is one Synergy with a multi-faceted personality and interests?

The major change is Jesus presenting God more clearly. That means his love becomes more evident. That is his dominant quality. But it always has been. How many times does God forgive Israel before he gets fed up and then he still forgives them some more. How many times does he forgive really bad mistakes when a person is repentant in the Old Testament? If you know the Bible as you say then you probably know it’s difficult to count.

One of my favorite sections of scripture is Ezekiel 16 where God illustrates how he feels about Israel. He paints a picture of himself as a man that finds an abandoned baby girl just born. He takes her under his protection and pampers her and provides her with love and the best things life has to offer. When she is of age and beautiful because of his care he takes her as a wife. Then she betrays him and commits adultery with partner after partner and even becomes a prostitute. After all of that he promises that he will forgive her and conclude an eternal covenant with her again even though she broke the first one. He makes this promise while she is an adulteress and a prostitute, not after she comes back to him. I seriously doubt most people would forgive their mate so graciously if at all.

I think people tend to be focused on themselves and humanity and what they think God should be doing for them, while failing to see things from God’s perspective, which he readily and abundantly provides in the Bible. So no, I don’t see your point. Not even a little bit.

quote:
Lot’s wife may have been stupid, but it is an arbitrary and capricious God who says, “Don’t look back at the amazing, massive, noisy destruction of the city you spent your life in, because I will for no good reason punish you with it for death.” Would you really trust this kind of guy with your life and love and loyalty? Scares the hell out of me. You never know what He’s going to do or why. There’s no reasoning or mercy with the God of the OT.
Why aren’t Lot and his daughters killed then? Why did they have no problem obeying God? Why do you think disobeying God is not a good reason to die? Do you think he owes something to humanity or the other way around? Do you think when God says something is important he’s just playing a game or his words are to be taken lightly as if it’s not the Ruler of the Universe speaking? I really don’t get your perspective.

God protects them from a city full of men trying to abuse them. He compassionately drags them out of the city so they wouldn’t die. He tells them to take anyone who will leave with them out of the city as well and go to the mountains. When Lot says, “Please don’t make me go to the mountains. I want to go to a city.” God allows it and promises not to destroy that city and says he won’t act until Lot is safe. All he asks is that Lot and his people keep moving and don’t look behind. Just small things to show their obedience and support of his exercise of judgment against these very wicked cities. Her disobedience revealed that she was not on God’s side but that her heart was with those cities in which the men raped strangers who passed through. Also very telling is God’s discussion with Abraham in chapter 18:20-32 in which Abraham “reasons” with God about destruction of the city. If you can read this account and see God as unreasonable and merciless, then we’ll probably just have to agree to disagree. I think you want a lax God who never punishes wrongdoing. I thank God that he’s not that way and you reject him because he is. I personally think you fail to realize the very terrible repercussions if the God you wish for was God and also doubt that you are able to reconcile this being with reality.

quote:
I am wicked. You are wicked. Israel was endlessly wicked. Why are we all not put to death for our wickedness, for surely we have earned it?
So you aren’t going to die then? By what means are you going to live forever?

quote:
If the children of God are such wayward bastards, then God is a mighty poor, inept, and ill-prepared parent.
It’s true that Satan corrupted 2 of the 3 true human children of God have graced this planet, but that’s not God’s fault. He gave Adam and Eve everything good and they chose to abuse his gift. He also has heavenly children though. So when you look at the big picture most of God’s children are loyal. As for the rest of humanity, they are not God’s children. (Deut 32:4, 5) Good point though.

quote:
Rahab was a mythological sea demon from ancient Semitic culture. That the book of Psalms refers to Rahab as an actual creature God dealt with is not dismissable as something we have not found yet that once existed. How about the flying fiery critters? Explain the laws of physics that enable an animal to breathe fire?
This, my friend, is not a good point. There are myriads of myths about all sorts of creatures, from pigs, to rats, to crows, and fish that perform all manner of fantastic acts. Are these mythological animals?

Do you know what a fire ant is? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_ant Do you think it’s called a fire ant because it breathes fire? What about the bombadier beetle who is able to “fire” at its enemies and kill or incapacitate them? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombadier_Beetle Very little from the animal kingdom surprises me anymore. If certain books of the Bible taught animal worship like in certain religions I would be concerned, but the fact that it refers to creatures you think never existed or that have myth surrounding them does not worry me. It’s not even a good argument.

quote:
I also believe studiers of linguistics and language development would be highly insulted to be asked to believe that all languages instantly came into being about 4000 years ago in Mesopotamia.
I didn’t say that, nor does the Bible claim such a thing. It says that at one point all people could communicate and then God confused their languages. Of course other dialects would develop later.

quote:
Please define in no uncertain terms what that means by your definition...reliable. And reliable to accomplish what?
It reliably conveys God’s message so that a person can know God and what he wants from them.

2 Tim 3:16, 17 All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.

As I said, it’s confusing to you, but not to me and not to a lot of people. You see chaos and a disjointed presentation. We see a clear message and a singular theme.

quote:
Where do the evil nephilim giants keep coming from?
The Nephilim died in flood. The came from the union of angels who had assumed human bodies and the human wives they took. The only other mention of “nephilim” is from the ten of the twelve spies who gave a bad report. Joshua and Caleb mentioned no nephilim. The intent of the 10 was to frighten Israel so that they would not carry out God’s instructions. They are never mentioned again. Look at the account carefully. They were exaggerating.

quote:
God has to protect David from being influenced by satan? But in Job, satan is not able or permitted or even thinking to do anything to Job until God suggests it. Seems to me more like satan is God’s puppet to carry out His will. Nice theory that “God allowed satan to do it” but it reads: “2 Sam 24:1 And again the anger of Jehovah was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them, saying, Go, number Israel and Judah.”
This is a good argument, but when you examine both accounts you get a clear picture of what happened.

First of all God does not suggest that Satan do anything to Job. He allows it to happen to address the issues that Satan raises.

Notice how the NIV sums up Job’s ordeal:

Job 42:11 All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the Lord had brought upon him, and each one gave him a piece of silver and a gold ring.

And now the NWT

And there kept coming to him all his brothers and all his sisters and all those formerly knowing him, and they began to eat bread with him in his house and to sympathize with him and to comfort him over all the calamity that Jehovah had let come upon him; and they proceeded each one to give him a piece of money and each one a gold ring.

So did the Lord let it happen or bring it on him. The answer is both. Satan was the one who actually raised the challenge to God and directly brought the calamity upon Job. But God allowed it. Ultimately nothing happens unless God allows it. In that sense it can be said that he brought the calamity on Job and moved David to number Israel.

In the case of David I suggest you read the whole account and figure out why Joab resisted David’s command to conduct the census and why David’s conscience bothered him after he did it.

How does suffering fit in with your concept of God? Does he allow it? Is he powerless to stop it? Does he cause it?

I think I’m being pretty cooperative in answering you, but you have not answered me. I asked you two questions:

1 Why should anyone get to live if they’re not willing to cooperate with God?
2 Are you anti-death penalty, anti-war, anti-abortion?

And now

3 Explain how you harmonize the suffering that exists with your God who is much smarter, much more loving, and generally better than mine.
Posts: 701 | Registered: Thursday, November 30 2006 08:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #57
Arguing at great length is like attacking with a telephone pole.

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We're not doing cool. We're doing pretty.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Lifecrafter
Member # 7723
Profile #58
Well said. I didn't know another way to say it. But I'll try to be more concise.
Posts: 701 | Registered: Thursday, November 30 2006 08:00
...b10010b...
Member # 869
Profile Homepage #59
quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

In fact, can you see any negative repercussions if God said he was going to administer justice in a certain way, and then when it comes time to do it he just let everything slide? What do you think would happen where you live if there was no law enforced and everyone did as they pleased?
I don't think it's unreasonable to say that an omnipotent being would have a duty to prevent everyone from sinning in the first place, so the issue of whether to "let things slide" would never come up. There wouldn't be a problem with everyone doing as they pleased if what they pleased to do was always good. Why allow people to have any desire or capacity to sin in the first place? Free will is the root of all evil: an omnipotent creator that gives its creations the ability to do harm is a monster.

quote:
One of my favorite sections of scripture is Ezekiel 16 where God illustrates how he feels about Israel. He paints a picture of himself as a man that finds an abandoned baby girl just born. He takes her under his protection and pampers her and provides her with love and the best things life has to offer. When she is of age and beautiful because of his care he takes her as a wife.
This is one of the creepiest things I have ever read.

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The Empire Always Loses: This Time For Sure!
Posts: 9973 | Registered: Saturday, March 30 2002 08:00
Lifecrafter
Member # 7723
Profile #60
You think the ideal is a God who forces his will on his family. I think the ideal is a God that lets his family follow him out of love and feels comfortable enough with the rightness of his ways that he doesn't have to make everyone robotic.

Abuse of free will is where evil comes from.
Posts: 701 | Registered: Thursday, November 30 2006 08:00
Law Bringer
Member # 335
Profile Homepage #61
God isn't humanity's father. God is humanity's programmer and engineer and builder. A father is not directly responsibility for his children's actions as long as he corrects them when he can. A programmer is responsible for his program's problems.

—Alorael, who concludes like many before him that either God screwed up or God has some reason for wanting humans to sometimes act evilly.
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
...b10010b...
Member # 869
Profile Homepage #62
quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

You think the ideal is a God who forces his will on his family. I think the ideal is a God that lets his family follow him out of love and feels comfortable enough with the rightness of his ways that he doesn't have to make everyone robotic.

Abuse of free will is where evil comes from.

Omnipotence grants responsibilities that ordinary parenthood doesn't. When you have the capability to make your creation whatever you want it to be, making it anything less than perfect is wrong.

What's the difference between use of free will and abuse of free will? If it's possible to create someone who's guaranteed to make the right decision in every situation, then why not do so? It's wrong for humans to try to force each other to always make the right decision, because humans don't always know what the right decision is. But again, analogies to humans don't apply, because we're talking about an omnipotent being here. It's wrong to delegate moral agency to someone less moral than oneself.

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The Empire Always Loses: This Time For Sure!
Posts: 9973 | Registered: Saturday, March 30 2002 08:00
Lifecrafter
Member # 7723
Profile #63
There's no manmade program that compares to humans. Humans were made to reflect God's qualities. That's what made us children. That means great flexibility of mind, awareness, creativity, reasoning, freedom. When used properly it is beautiful. You all don't seem to recognize that your scenarios of what God should have done sacrifice so much of what makes life enjoyable. We can be all we are and more and still have perfection.

If you want to use the biblical account to blame God since he created man with the capacity to rebel and allowed it to happen I don't really have a big problem with it. The Bible itself does that. It also shows why he allowed it and how he will fix it. Somehow your logic is equating "can rebel" with "must rebel," though. That seems to be flawed logic. Thinking that the only two possibilities are God making a mistake and God wanting humans to be evil is also flawed.
Posts: 701 | Registered: Thursday, November 30 2006 08:00
Shaper
Member # 6292
Profile #64
quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

If you want to use the biblical account to blame God since he created man with the capacity to rebel and allowed it to happen I don't really have a big problem with it.
Stillness, my friend, I think you really should have a big problem with it. Christianity can't make up its mind or reconcile how sovereign God actually is, and you just can't have it both ways. Sovereign God must be given credit for the existence and proliferation of what we call evil.

The fact that the travail of good and evil is our human experience, and by the nature of the God I can say I know to the degree I know God at all, I know that what is transpiring is not a creation that got away from God because God gave us free will. There are no loose cannons on the deck of God’s ship. A child doesn't even really have free will. A parent has so much more maturity and capacity to use myriad ways to direct, shape, and manipulate a child. The child has scarcely a clue what is going on in the mysterious minds and intentions of Mom and Dad. God has even more such capacity of will and intention if God is God at all. It requires no coercion upon will at all. If we are suffering the travail of going our own tumultuous course in humankind, it is because God willed that it be our experience, seeing a higher purpose and ultimate benefit from our having done so. I also see that it is a progressive, unfolding experience that will take us where we are going in due time. We haven't seen the end from the means yet by which to pass our judgement from our premature vantage point.

The bottom line for me is that God is very mysterious and unknowable and huge to me. God is also intimately intertwined with each of us and readily accessible within our very being, which I think someone like Jesus or Paul sought to demonstrate and teach, assuming we have true accounts of their words and teachings (obviously someone had these ideas for them to be written at all.) Jesus said, "The Kingdom of Heaven is within you." God is in a metaphorical sense the Father of all, and is a perfecty apt and capable and wise Father from whom nothing has gone awry. The adversarial opposing force represented by the archetype of satan is a much a part of God and His will as the divine sacrifice for the redemption of all.

As Love and Rockets once proposed, "To go against nature is part of nature too." For humankind to fumble and stumble and suffer through many evils caused by the selfishness and myopia of our collective youth is a necessary part of our growing up. Failure is a necessary part of the truest success. The God I know, love, admire, and embrace, is in control, yet needs to "control" nothing. The spiritual laws ordained already reflect and execute the will of God. He doesn't have to pull strings. God is freely available to any who seeks diligently. There is a reason a secular or Christian healer alike can tap into seemingly mystical powers to invoke changes we may call supernatural. It is not by rote formula or subscription to the proper God or incantation. It is the power innate in us precisely because we are the children of God embued ultimately with God's nature and capacities to create and speak things into existence...so to speak. Belief/faith and collective strength in what we will are keys to being effective. It is handed to us with the capacity to be selfish, temporal, and destructive, or to serve the greater good of the many in a more mature and lasting fashion. We are struggling in the realm of both.

I have personally experienced a "miracle" to my own body, though I don’t say so with the expectation that any skeptic would be convinced by my simple assertion. I watched and felt my right leg grow a half inch longer at the age of ten while being prayed over by a Christian minister named Derek Prince. It was medically verified subsequently that my legs were no longer of different lengths afterward. This no longer proves the Christian God or worthiness to me specifically, because many cultures and religions have found ways to tap into such "otherworldly" practice where wills unite through the gifted or honed. I believe in a God, who, as Scriptures state, "rains on the just and the unjust."

[quote]Thinking that the only two possibilities are God making a mistake and God wanting humans to be evil is also flawed.[/quote]You have overlooked the very reasonable possibility, likelihood, or really, if your God is truly sovereign, the necessary answer that God wholly intended for us to experience struggling through good and evil for a season, even if it is a very long one, and that other promises and implications of the nature of God to resolve, heal, reconcile, and enlighten all things in due time, is yet destined to come to completion, but is surely a work in process.

The bottom line to me is that I trust God and in the ultimate goodness and purposefulness of God. I can’t see how any Christian who settles for such a mishmashed, self-conflicting explanation of God can truly embrace God, trust God, or love God in the deepest core of their being. I am convinced that at the deepest level, there is a revulsion and withholding. Anyone who “resists God” is only resisting a false image of God, for there is nothing the remotest bit resistible about God as God is...which is so largely out of our sight and grasp, yet readily viewable within your fellow human being, if you are not tainted by an evil eye that sees us as wretched sinners deserving of slaughter for being ignorant children. The children will grow up, and grow up well. I trust the Father. The Christian scriptures say that He holds the keys of death and hell. All negative agencies of God serve His purpose and have their end. At the end of the Revelation, John in his vision (or psychosis-you decide) sees death and hell cast into the lake of fire (and destroyed), declaring afterward that “there is no more death” and that all eyes are dried of tears. If God declared that the consequences of going our own wayward way as untried and immature children is death, then even death ultimately has no sting, because He is master over life and death, and all serve His will and purpose.

The mechanics and timeframe of how all this unfolds is beyond anyone and any religion to comprehend or commit to paper. Christianity has its role in acknowledging and tasting facets of the realities, but are not exclusive participants. God’s not the kind of God Who lets anything slip through the cracks ultimately. As the Scriptures depicted, He is the good Shepherd who leaves the 99 sheep behind in the fold to go actively collect and carry back the one last lost sheep. That’s the kind o’ guy “He” is. Too bad Christendom lost the vision it was probably given of the true sovereignty and universality of God’s will and purpose.

For God’s will to outrank and ultimately overrule ours does not require fear, force, or coercion (though it does take fire, a fire that purifies and transforms elements, rather than torture or destroy.) It merely requires Him to be smarter and more able than us. Like I said, I think it’s no trick at all to have someone fall forever in love with God if they get a true glimpse. God is not in the business of revealing too much prematurely, because, I suppose, it would circumvent the very necessary messy process we are in right now, plus, our capacity of the children of whatever age we are renders us incapable of grasping much of what we might see. The onus and burden of proof of faithfulness and worthiness and loveliness is wholly on God, the Father (Who is also the Mother and everything else to us). God is to be demonstrated actively to your life for your desire and conviction to be unleashed.

In real life, we do not require someone to place faith in someone they have not personally been able to experience and verify as faithful. Why do some demand faith and trust in a God not known or seen by the masses in order for God to show them any grace or favor? Faith requires personal experience, not hearsay. The Bible, as wonderful as many of its contents are, is merely hearsay.

I dearly love God, as unknowable as God is to me in so many ways. What I do know and sense in my whole being, is lovely indeed and wholly trustworthy. I am learning to trust in that which I do not know or understand. I trust in the nature I see. And i see the nature of God in the best of human capacity and expression, through a glass darkly. And so I dearly love my fellow human being, because I see God in you, the vessel housing and expressing God to me. I might add, I do so in great imperfection more often than not, but that too, is okay, rather than a cause for grief or derision or loathing. Much of Christendom sees humankind as evil and condemns it accordingly. I don't. I can't. To do so is to call God evil.

It is a great mystery, but God, Whose ways are said to be higher than ours, can use what we deign evil to work good and not be at fault for it. Like I said, we are not fit to judge until we have seen the conclusion, and methinks we are scarcely past the beginning of the beginning of our experience as spiritual beings in human bodies. As youngsters, we are both immature, and likely to draw all kinds of erroneous conclusions.

-S-

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A4 ItemsA4 SingletonG4 ItemsG4 ForgingG4 Infiltrator NR Items The Lonely Celt
Posts: 2009 | Registered: Monday, September 12 2005 07:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #65
This is still a telephone pole, but I think I agree with most of it. I'm more skeptical about miraculous healings, but then nothing funny ever happened to my legs.

Inasmuch as the original topic was the Bible, I would say that I find Synergy's picture in the Bible. And not by arbitrary squinting that is bound to project my views into the Bible, but just by not assuming that the Bible is a children's book. That doesn't mean it's a cryptic maze that James Joyce might have made. But God did make Joyce, so it's not like God is a simple soul with simple thoughts. The universe is a subtle place, and a revelation from the creator of the universe can only be so simple, without being false.

Just what was it with the Bible's first moral rule? I hope that God does not simply overlook crimes like murder, but eating a particular fruit hardly seems criminal. Even if some sort of psychoactive vegetable really did have an impact on early humans, as is perhaps just conceivable, the literal story about fruit is clearly unimportant.

What the story is saying is that the 'knowledge of good and evil', whatever that is, somehow necessarily entails mortality, and is incompatible with the idyllic existence represented by Eden. I understand that uncertainty about ancient Hebrew idiom makes it unclear whether the 'good and evil' phrase implies moral awareness, or simply heightened awareness ('good and evil' meaning 'everything'). Some threshold level of consciousness clearly is a prerequisite for mortality in the sense we really care about: the death of an ant is not the death of a someone. On the other hand it's hard to believe that God would forbid consciousness in general. In any case, the story suggests some basic derailment in the development of human consciousness. It's not like that's implausible on the evidence, or that even today we have much more to go on about the evolution of consciousness.

Opinion has long been divided over whether we are supposed to think that this derailment was God the quarterback getting sacked, or just God dropping back for a Hail Mary. So to say.

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We're not doing cool. We're doing pretty.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
Lifecrafter
Member # 7723
Profile #66
quote:
Originally written by Synergy:

quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

If you want to use the biblical account to blame God since he created man with the capacity to rebel and allowed it to happen I don't really have a big problem with it.
Stillness, my friend, I think you really should have a big problem with it. Christianity can't make up its mind or reconcile how sovereign God actually is, and you just can't have it both ways. Sovereign God must be given credit for the existence and proliferation of what we call evil.

Why should I have a problem when God is the Universal Sovereign and all-powerful and as I said:

Rom 8:20, 21 For the creation was subjected to futility, not by its own will but through him that subjected it, on the basis of hope that the creation itself also will be set free from enslavement to corruption and have the glorious freedom of the children of God.

What’s ironic is that you discount Christianity and your mental exploration has in part led you to some Christian truth.

The issue that I’m now taking is you calling your God more loving than mine when your claim in regard to human suffering is that your God “willed that it be our experience, seeing a higher purpose and ultimate benefit from our having done so.” How does your God wishing suffering on us make him better than mine?

quote:
Originally written by Synergy:

quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

Thinking that the only two possibilities are God making a mistake and God wanting humans to be evil is also flawed.
You have overlooked the very reasonable possibility, likelihood, or really, if your God is truly sovereign, the necessary answer that God wholly intended for us to experience struggling through good and evil for a season, even if it is a very long one, and that other promises and implications of the nature of God to resolve, heal, reconcile, and enlighten all things in due time, is yet destined to come to completion, but is surely a work in process.

No I’m not. This is exactly my point! It’s initial intent that determines goodness and not so goodness in our two scenarios.

Scenario 1: God made man in perfection with great capacity for expression in thought and action, to have an intimate relationship with his Creator, and make a race of humans with this same ability. This gift was instead used to join a rebellion. The Creator was disappointed but instead of silencing the rebels he allowed this rebellion to continue for a time and used it to resolve issues raised during the rebellion. After this time things will be as he planned them to be, in fact better in some ways.

Scenario 2: God saw fit from the beginning to make humans suffer to temper us in some way. When he thinks we have suffered enough he will relieve us and we will be better for it.


And you say my God is evil…

I appreciate you answering my third question even though you ignored the first two. It stregnthens my belief that there are no better answers than the biblical ones. People who want to make Jehovah out to be wicked always have as an alternative atheism, a wicked God, or no answers at all.

quote:
Originally written by Student of Trinity:

Just what was it with the Bible's first moral rule? I hope that God does not simply overlook crimes like murder, but eating a particular fruit hardly seems criminal.
I’m assuming you’re contrasting God’s response to Adam and Eve with his response to Cain? God doesn’t overlook any crime. He didn’t overlook Cain’s and he hasn’t overlooked any since then. And the sin was never about fruit. They had a whole garden full of all the fruit they could have eaten. The crime was this:

Gen 3:17 And to Adam he said: “Because you listened to your wife’s voice and took to eating from the tree concerning which I gave you this command, ‘You must not eat from it...’”

They chose to listen to Satan and themselves over their Creator, who had given them everything. Ah, the power of a pretty face...
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quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

Scenario 1: God made man in perfection with great capacity for expression in thought and action, to have an intimate relationship with his Creator, and make a race of humans with this same ability. This gift was instead used to join a rebellion. The Creator was disappointed but instead of silencing the rebels he allowed this rebellion to continue for a time and used it to resolve issues raised during the rebellion. After this time things will be as he planned them to be, in fact better in some ways.
In that case, it wasn't such a great plan in the first place, now was it? If you're omnipotent, things happen the way you will them to happen, and only the way you want them to happen. That's what omnipotence means. You can't evade responsibility by passing it on to beings you created, when you're the one who decided how to create them in the first place.

[ Wednesday, September 12, 2007 04:56: Message edited by: Thuryl ]

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Omnipotent doesn't require that everything goes your way. Even if you present a definition that agrees with you it becomes a pointless semantic argument as I don't know of that word appearing in any translations of the Bible. God does whatever he wants and he gives certain creatures choice as well. That means they can decide for themselves what to do. Whether God allows it is up to him, but the deciding rests on the creation.

By "better" I mean more logical and harmonious with obeserved reality. An evil creator would fail to explain a lot, like why we can derive so much enjoyment from life.
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quote:
They chose to listen to Satan and themselves over their Creator, who had given them everything. Ah, the power of a pretty face...
Mmh. You either have an omnipotent Oneness, called God, who created everything - in which case so called Satan is a part of God. Or you have a pair of twins called God and Satan in which case neither can be omnipotent. You just can't have it both ways.

If God is omnipotent, then good and evil are his light and his dark face, so no need for judgement.

I remember the british healer Tom Johanson once saying that the story of Eve and the apple made a lot of sense to him. That living in perfection in the garden of Eden would never have led to any awareness at all. As you are only aware of day when there's a conception of night, so you wouldn't know perfection without something that's less perfect to experience. And that 'the long walk home' is just a journey towards consciousness.

I like this perspective.

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quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

Omnipotent doesn't require that everything goes your way... Whether God allows it is up to him, but the deciding rests on the creation.

By "better" I mean more logical and harmonious with obeserved reality. An evil creator would fail to explain a lot, like why we can derive so much enjoyment from life.

Maybe God the way you envision him isn't evil, but he's not good. He either actively or passively permits evil. The fact that we can make choices isn't wrong; the fact that we are quite easily able to make terrible choices is. Proximate cause lies with us, but ultimate cause lies with God.

In other words, a good creator fails to explain a lot, like we we can derive so much enjoyment from evil.

—Alorael, whose view is somewhat similar to Synergy's. God is ineffable. Trying to describe him as good or evil is fruitless. He may be benevolent, but if so he's benevolent in a way that only makes sense over an infinite span of time and even then quite possibly not from a human perspective. Trying to explain anything in a human perspective with recourse to God is going to get you nowhere because nobody understands God.
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God is clearly not evil enough to make human life all hell all the time, or even evil enough to ensure that it is never good. But the sort of negligent evil that leaves rat poison lying around in the nursery, that is still on the table. So are occasional fits of outright malice, against the unfortunate few.

The universe is a product that is dangerous even when used as directed. There's a liability there that isn't easy to dodge.

About Genesis: my comments had nothing to do with Cain or Eve. My point was that punishing murder is clearly enforcing justice, but punishing the disobedience of an arbitrary command is more like tyranny. My inference from this was that acquiring the knowledge of good and evil must not have been disastrous just because God had arbitrarily forbidden it, but that God had rather forbidden it because it was in some way inherently disastrous.

Parent tells child not to touch the hot stove; child disobeys; child gets burned. It is not that the parent burns the child to punish the crime of disobedience!

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quote:
Originally written by ef:

Mmh. You either have an omnipotent Oneness, called God, who created everything - in which case so called Satan is a part of God. Or you have a pair of twins called God and Satan in which case neither can be omnipotent.
Either those or the biblical explanation.

quote:
Originally written by OP:

He either actively or passively permits evil. The fact that we can make choices isn't wrong; the fact that we are quite easily able to make terrible choices is. Proximate cause lies with us, but ultimate cause lies with God.

In other words, a good creator fails to explain a lot, like we we can derive so much enjoyment from evil.

No one will be allowed make a choice that will cause irreparable harm. It is in those instances that God intervenes.

Any “joy” you get from bad choices is counterfeit. A heroine addict (I’ve known a couple) will tell you that they’ve experienced a better feeling than you can imagine. One of the addicts I knew died because he had destroyed his body, though. In fact, he had overcome his addiction years before but it still caught up with him. So heroine gave him a good feeling, but never real joy. It brought pain and emptiness and was not sustainable.

quote:
Trying to explain anything in a human perspective with recourse to God is going to get you nowhere because nobody understands God.
Unless God has the power to make us to be able to be able to relate to him on some level, even giving us qualities like his own. Then we could understand. If he was not smart enough to make us understand him or didn’t want to, then you and Synergy are right.
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quote:
Originally written by Stillness:



Any “joy” you get from bad choices is counterfeit. A heroine addict (I’ve known a couple) will tell you that they’ve experienced a better feeling than you can imagine. One of the addicts I knew died because he had destroyed his body, though. In fact, he had overcome his addiction years before but it still caught up with him. So heroine gave him a good feeling, but never real joy. It brought pain and emptiness and was not sustainable.


I think this example misses the point. Alo was talking about the enjoyment derived from evil. Heroine addiction is not exactly 'evil'. It is a bad choice primarily due to it destructive consequences. So this doesn't say 'evil never gives real joy'. Rather, it says 'Anything that destroys you will not give you real joy. Eventually'
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Much of the Biblical interpretation of Satan is very much read between the lines. But let's go with the very basics: Satan was an angel who rebelled and fell, as per the Book of Milton. God created Satan. God created Satan with a rebellious urge, God permitted his rebellion, and God did not repair the damage. Either God's plan requires evil, a position that many would certainly question as "good" in any meaningful sense, or God is outright evil.

So what's your Biblical interpretation? I don't care why Satan rebelled; I want to know why he was created with his proclivities and why God did not cause reconciliation, which he clearly could.

Wiz mostly got my second objection. Heroin isn't evil. And joy isn't always the right emotion; satisfaction works too, or even entertainment. Why do people murder, steal, and rape? Why do people lie and not feel particularly bad about it? Why can politics exist?

—Alorael, who doesn't see why God would or should give anyone the capacity to understand him. Does he say he did? Would it not be acceptable for him to lie in order to further his ineffable goals? That's actually an interesting question even if you accept the Bible as the word of God: why does that make it true?
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