Man or God

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AuthorTopic: Man or God
Shaper
Member # 6292
Profile #75
Apologies for another round with the teleophone pole. Brevity has never been one of my strong suits, partly due to the earnest desire to do as much as I can to be clearly understood.

Stillness wrote:

“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)”

I can readily see that prophecies have layers of meaning. A lot of prophecy in the OT read on a spiritual/symbolic level has rather lovely and hopeful implications. Symbology, like dream language, is really the language of prophecy anyway. The degree to which scriptures are actually useful and viable to modern man is the degree to which spiritual truths are veiled in the seemingly literal. Ezekiel’s vision of a temple on a hilltop from which water runs to the four corners of the earth, ever growing deeper, and healing the world could be equivocated with the spiritual symbology that others focus upon as the age of Aquarius, who pours the water of the Spirit out upon the earth. It would also represent the spiritual fulfillment of the third major Israelite feast of Tabernacles, the full harvest taken in. On literal levels, these things in the Bible are curious, but quite useless to my daily life or hopes or dreams.

What I don’t see is Matthew or Luke talking remotely about anything except what is to come to pass in that generation. Jesus said, "This generation would not pass away before these things came to pass." John, in the very beginning of the Revelation says these things “which must shortly come to pass.” Shortly meant imminent, not 2000 years in the future. And tell me why God would see fit to burden us with prophecies of earthly kingdoms and natural catastrophes (which are absurd,) when the whole message of and tone of the NT was a spiritual, inner kingdom Christ came to demonstrate?

Another thing the very first verse of Revelation gives is that it is a vision “signified to John” which means literally it is sign-fied...put into signs. Nothing in the vision is literally what it appears to be. Moreover, the meanings of nearly any sign is Revelation is already defined or implied through OT prophecies. I suggest again that any real merit in Revelation is looking past the bizarre and fearful imagery to a potent, timely, and ongoing spiritual message of the unfolding of the “revelation of the anointing” in the people of God, and the inner spiritual processes it requires to become “an overcomer.” A mountain will fall into the inner sea of your life and turn its formerly productive waters to blood. Hail will mow down the grassy works growing in your inner world. The horseman, who is the Christ, not an antichrist, rides through your earth in four roles, to ultimately plow you anew for a fresh crop of good fruit to be borne. The means may be fearful, but the purpose and outcome is glorious. There are great losses and sacrifices to be suffered to press on into God, Who is a consuming fire, setting alight all who enter in. And on and on.

The last message God appeared to deliver to Israel on natural kingdoms was to Daniel while in Persia, the end of which promises that there will be no more world empires after the Roman Empire breaks up, except the kingdom of God which will swallow up the whole earth like a great mountain. “And of the increase of the kingdom of God there shall be no end.” This is a very hopeful promise and should scuttle any of the foolish speculation on future one-world governments, if one claims to live on the word of Bible propehcy.

Taken as a spiritual message to a blossoming church age, Revelation is a timely, relevant, and beautiful book that has absolutely nothing to do with the kingdoms or physical state of the outer world. You can live your life in worry and endless speculation about the very silly and never-fulfilled dire predictions with which Christians love to drive themselves (and anyone else who will buy into the nonsense) into a fearful frenzy, but I assure you it is energy wholly wasted, and counters the spirit of love, which is to cast out fear, not promote it. It speaks very poorly of a would-be agent of God. Christians are some of the most negative, pessimistic, fear-mongering people on the planet. By their fruit ye shall know them. I want nothing more of the gloomy, childish, ignorant reasoning of mainstream Christendom. Its message and concept is hopelessly infested with tares destined to be burnt and plowed under in due time. The tares here represent wrong idols of thinking, not persons.

“Confusion could come from Satan’s lies. It could also come from a lack of understanding. “

Isn’t your claim about Scripture that God gave us a clearly understandable, accurate, reliable, and literal book, so that you don’t have to be a scholar of Greek and Hebrew and ancient world cultures to even begin to have a hope of appropriating its contents properly? Does the God Who arranges this onerous condition for properly grasphing all the essential spiritual truths by which to live seem particuarly brilliant, thoughtful, merciful, purposeful...or sovereign to you? The fact that Christendom is hopelessly divided into myriad camps of belief against itself based upon that very book simply proves that it is not clearly defined truth anyone can read and comprehend at face value. And most of the world was not and much still is not literate to even begin to ferret out nuance. What of them? The “God and Truth by proxy of Perfect Book to humanity” theory is insulting to most time and place.

I propose, that just as earthly children truly learn by the modeling and attitudes of their parents far more than by anything they say, so too does the spiritual child learn of God by modeling after what he is able to observe in those who are spiritually more mature and demonstrate the character of God in the world. That’s how humans really learn, and the western world is infatuated with books and head knowledge. The recent development of fanatical Bible-worship I think plainly reflects our cultural values and our concept of education, which is woefully astray in various ways today.

“If you want to understand the you might do actual research or ask someone who knows...You would also not be critically searching for disharmony.”

Wait...where do you get these additional stipulations for how God unfurls his truth in scripture? You are making this up yourself as an apology to your claim that Scripture plainly communicates and instructs us....therefore we are accountable to it and God, because He has given us all we know.

Which do you think impresses God more...a critical mind who accepts nothing foolishly as hearsay or conjecture and reasons, debates, and inquires after truth until it demonstrates itself sufficiently...or the typical religious person who merely assimiliates whole belief systems, interpretations, customs, rituals, and lifestyles based upon mindless masses who went before and likely have perpetuated increasingly gross errors for centuries?

“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.”

So, the millions of Christians who are all at doctrinal odds with each other in all those competing denominations clearly don’t have the right attitude toward the scriptures, or God would have made the truth more clear to them. I would actually agree with the main tenet here though. I would say that spiritual truth comes in a deeply symbolic, metaphorical package that is designed to keep out the uninitiate by its very nature. To whatever degree revelation of God is in the scriptures, it is there in a form to exclude, not readily to cast pearls before swine, so to speak. Jesus spoke in parables that even his own dull-witted disciples rarely comprehended. Jesus said it was not given to the masses to understand. The divine is protectected from the profane by virtue of their being no easy shortcut into it.

If one can surrender the notion that God owes it to humanity to give them a textbook to reveal Himself and His truth to all (which absolves the lazy Christian from having to be a living testimony to the world if you follow the implication), then perhaps it is not so difficult to embrace the universal reality that spiritual understanding is not something casually happened upon. It takes seeking, discipline, and as Paul stated it, “the mind of the spirit knows the things of the spirit, but the carnal mind knows carnal things.” (And never the two shall meet.) Only the diligent and genuine and disciplined are likely to truly uncover spiritual truths in any communication that is of God, so to speak. This protects the truth from the casual uninitiate. The NT is full of “mysteries” which are designed to conceal, not reveal their truth, if you have ever studied the cultural context for a “mystery.” The fact that so much of Christendom mangles the book of Revelation along with most of the rest of the scriptures in so many ways says a lot about the power of the book and seeking in the pages of a book alone to know God and truth. Ironically, Christians are some of the most exempt people from seeing the truths of God, because of their attitude and expectation of that book, I would dare say.

written September 11, 2007 12:52 PM                      

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.

“(The Bible) reliably conveys God’s message so that a person can know God and what he wants from them.”

Aren’t you contradicting yourself here? Show me how the Bible has reliably or with any remote consistency been comprehended and employed in the last 2000 years? Even in the first century A.D. Peter and Paul taught opposing gospels and had a controversy with one another. So much for God guaranteeing that His truth was clearly and “reliably” communicated to humankind. Even the saints had their differences. Peter and the 12 taught grace and works as necessary for salvation to the Jews. Paul, who spent three years in the desert receiving his revelation, preached a beautiful word of universal redemption based on grace alone to the rest of the world.

...

I still maintain my assertion that in the NT we have no picture of God seeing it necessary to slaughter anyone, but instead instructs us to love our enemies, not kill them for their wickedness, and this is very different behavior, focus, and instruction from what we are given in the OT. The God of the NT stopped giving endless prophecies about all the woeful things coming to all the wicked nations of the earth too. You don’t find this radical shift in focus and concern by God to be a bit suspect at best? All credibility goes out the window here, because in my opinion this demonstrates complete capitulation of one’s critical reasoning.

Again, God destroying Lot’s wife for wanting to look at the most amazing and irresistible thing she’d ever see in her life is such an unbelievably pointless and stupid test and punishment to inflict upon a simple soul, that it screams absurdity. I can’t find it in my heart to allocate one drop of awe and admiration for the wisdom, mercy, and purposefulness of such a purported God. The story is rubbish.

All this harping about phsyical death being the wages of missing the mark shows how carnal-minded we are, concerned with our physical being. The death that comes from living disconnected from the Source and living by our own fashioned conscience judging good and evil is our spiritual death, which physical death merely corroborates. The spiritual death is the tragedy though.

“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.”

It most certainly is. According to Christian mythology, God created an angel who became satan or directly created satan. Either way, sovereign God is responsible for His creation doing exactly what He designed and created it to do, including us.

“Isa 54:16 Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the fire of coals, and bringeth forth a weapon for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy.”

Isa 45:7 I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil. I am Jehovah, that doeth all these things.

Isa 46:10: “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure”

Psa 90:3 “ 3 Thou turnest man to destruction, And sayest, Return, ye children of men.”

Seems to me the message is that Jehovah does all he pleases and desires, holds the reins and makes the moves...with either His right hand of favor, or His left hand of disfavor/correction. He creates the evil and the waster to destroy. Your God, Stillness, is not sovereign, and is not in precognition or control of His own creation-and therefore is no God at all. The adversarial agencies that the ancient archetype of satan represents cannot be other than the very left hand of God Himself, serving His will at all times. No loose cannons on the deck. God cannot be surprised or foiled by His own creation. Thuryl is repeatedly attempting to make this very plain, salient, logical point, which I would imagine any child could understand before being made sevenfold a child of the devil by being indoctrinated with the most foolish concepts of God by others...who mean well, God bless them.

...

Your questions. I didn’t see where you asked any of these previously, by the way:

“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 answered this in my last post, but the short answer again, is God has subjected the creation to futility and promised its entire redemption, just as Paul said. Therefore, He is the One Who chose this path of suffering and futility for us at this time. He is not powerless to stop it, just as a control-freak parent could lock his child up in the basement so that it never comes into contact with a dangerious world, but that would not be wise rearing of one’s child now, would it. Because we are meant to be strong to face and overcome the traps of the world. An exotic plant in a greehouse dies readily when placed outside in the real storm. Adam and Eve in the garden = an exotic plant in a greenhouse with no backbone and no teeth. You can’t govern the universe, let alone yourself, as an ignorant, untried, inexperienced, unwise babe. I have no problem seeing the purposefulness in God subjecting creation to this path. Again, you can look at the scriptures I quoted here or others like it to get an idea how actively God seems to think He takes part in evils and destruction and the agnecies of destruction upon the earth.

“1 Why should anyone get to live if they’re not willing to cooperate with God?”

Would you put your child to death for being a rebellious teenager? If you are a good parent, you have better means at your disposal to work on the behalf of the bettering of your own flesh and blood than ending its existence. God doesn’t have to put anything to death for its waywardness. The wages of sin, of missing the mark of perfection, simply is death, and spiritual death at that. God is in the resurrection business though, so even death need not be the ultimate end of the matter. The provision had been made even before the foundations of the world were lain...so sayeth the holy writ.

“2 Are you anti-death penalty, anti-war, anti-abortion?”

Let the dead bury the dead. I wish to have nothing to do with the governmental policing and punishing of citizens in this life. I seek to employ my energies more effectively being pro-stance, not anti-stance. For all my devil’s advocating and penchant for challenging norms in a forum like this, I most like to advocate for what I do see and believe in and hope in. The world will do what it does, and I am here to contribute what I can to help add pieces toward building a better world, and I see this role as one of be-ing and modeling, rather than through the politics of the earthly. I think war is absurdly tragic, abortion sad, and death penalty an unfortunate reality of where we are at, since we have yet to learn well how to turn lives around or demonstrate the kind of grace, forgiveness, and restoration the gospels are about and promise. If Christians had done a better job being in spirit what they have sought to inflict by force and politics upon the earth in this age, I expect we’d see a lot more progress in all this ongoing death we continue to reap. It is not my place to judge or condemn anyone for their behavior, but I can be revulsed, outraged, and heartbroken to observe it. But I will let the dead bury the dead.

“3 Explain how you harmonize the suffering that exists with your God who is much smarter, much more loving, and generally better than mine.”

I think I already did that. This isn’t a pissing contest about whose God is better, really. I mock, believe it or not, with underlying affection, but I do mock what I see as absurdity. My point, as I would put it, is that God must be and certainly is much more sovereign, purposeful, wise, meaningful, and balanced, than I feel the mainline dogma of Christianity you are defending can ever possibly hope to present. There is a reason the majority of the world has ultimately rejected this messy and revulsive vision of God they are presented, both in the message, and even moreso in the fearmongering, judgemental message-bearers the typical Christian tends to be.

Great big baby in the bathwater, but man the bath is sullied. And that too is a part of the Great Plan, rather than representing another something that got out from under God’s will and purpose for us.

-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 #76
It's as hard to get someone to understand you with a long post as it is to hit someone with a telephone pole.

"A telephone pole is a long post, and vice versa."

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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 #77
quote:
Originally written by Wiz:

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'
“Bad choice with destructive consequences” is pretty much the definition of evil. You don’t get too much more evil than something that destroys and enslaves your mind and body. Ask a heroine addict if it’s evil. My friends widow would strongly disagree with you.

Evil decisions, by their very nature, destroy, erode and bring pain. The can bring some measure of satisfaction or pleasure, but it’s not real joy – not the kind that comes from truly good things. A rapist will never get joy and fulfillment from his violence like a husband and wife will have from their wholesome relationship. The same goes for a murderer or a thief. Gain from hard work trumps theft and a murderer won’t have peace. Most people can’t lie without feeling bad unless they’re some kind of sociopath. Some may feel less bad than others due to an eroded conscience, but lying certainly does not bring real joy. I don’t know what politics has to do with anything.

quote:
Originally written by OP:

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.
God didn’t create Satan or anyone with improper proclivities. Do you have a natural tendency to do heroine (assuming you’ve never done it)? No. Yet you could desire to feel its effects, knowing how destructive it is. Most people push this stupid thought out of their minds, but some don’t and act on it. Is God to blame if they do? Well, he allowed it, but c’mon. Give God a break. He can’t be blamed because somebody decided to do something stupid.

Proverbs 19:3 It is the foolishness of an earthling man that distorts his way, and so his heart becomes enraged against Jehovah himself.

Ecclesiastes 7:29 See! This only I have found, that the [true] God made mankind upright, but they themselves have sought out many plans.

Satan and man were created perfectly. They “distorted” what God gave them. You can blame him for allowing it, but I’d rather credit him for taking a bad situation and turning it into something good – which is exactly what God started to do from the very beginning of man’s fall.

Reconciliation and restoration is a major them of the Bible. It shows how he has taken steps toward this and there’s only very little left to be accomplished before he’s finished.

quote:
Alorael, who doesn't see why God would or should give anyone the capacity to understand him. Does he say he did?
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it says we were made in his image, implying we have qualities like his. And yes the Bible is quite clear that we can know God. That doesn’t mean that we understand every single aspect of him, but we can be friends with him and know him.

Loke 10:22 All things have been delivered to me by my Father, and who the Son is no one knows but the Father; and who the Father is, no one knows but the Son, and he to whom the Son is willing to reveal him.

Your question on God’s truthfulness is good and one I think of myself sometimes. There are a lot of different ways I reason on this. Here’s one:

Let’s say a disaster strikes, for example your home is destroyed by fire. Now let’s say your father comes over and says, “Don’t worry son, I’ll rebuild your home.” Let’s say the next day he has a team demolish the remains. The day after that he has a survey team there. The third day he begins drawing up a blueprint. A bit more time passes and he has a foundation laid. Then a frame. Then floors. All the time he’s assuring you that the project will be completed. At this point do you have any reason to doubt him? Of course your father is human and he could die before he gets done, but besides that it would seem the old man is true to his promise.

As soon as things went wrong in the realm of mankind, God promised to fix them. As time passed his plan was revealed more and more and started to take shape. He formed a nation from which a promised seed, the messiah would come. He gave a law that would foreshadow what this messiah would do and promised that this nation could play a role in his blessing of the whole world. As promised he sent the messiah, who happened to be his firstborn and most beloved son. By his word and actions he demonstrated God’s love for humanity, even to the point of suffering and dying. He started a congregation of those that would be the core of the kingdom he promised would bless humanity. And he’s given instructions to anyone who desires to be a part of that kingdom. What reason do I have to doubt? If he’s lying, what is the point of this house he’s built, even at cost to himself, that just needs a few more pieces in place before it’s ready to be occupied?

quote:
Originally written by Synergy:

What I don’t see is Matthew or Luke talking remotely about anything except what is to come to pass in that generation. Jesus said, "This generation would not pass away before these things came to pass."
This is an astute observation and I actually have to think to respond. I’m also surprised with your knowledge of Daniel. You’re claim on a OT/NT division is starting to develop some teeth. Even your Bible-God-is-evil argument is looking like it has a little merit. Wow! This is definitely worth picking through your unpleasant formatting. What happened to mythical creatures and scripture-out-of-context arguments? Another day, though. For now I sleep…
Posts: 701 | Registered: Thursday, November 30 2006 08:00
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Synergy,

How was the date?

I want to address the 4 difficult issues you raised. I’ll go from what I consider easy to difficult.

OT/NT Division

quote:
Originally written by Synergy:

I will still maintain my assertion that in the NT we have no picture of God seeing it necessary to slaughter anyone
This is what made your argument strong. Israel’s history had plenty of war, much of it ordained by God. Christians have standing orders from Christ that we are no longer warring with other humans. I think this is your argument. So you went from what God is doing to what his instructions are for his servants. That’s a little bit of a bait-and-switch, but a worthwhile one.

First of all this is not uniform even in the Hebrew Scriptures. Noah didn’t fight anyone. He built the ark. God did the destroying.

Second, the OT was clear that humans would no longer be fighting.

Isa 4:4 And he will certainly render judgment among the nations and set matter straight respecting many peoples. And they will have to beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither will they learn war anymore.

So when God brings adverse judgment against all the nations, as both the OT and the NT are abundantly clear he will do, it will be as foreshadowed in the Psalms:

“A thousand will fall at your very side, And ten thousand at your right hand; To you it will not come near.
Only with your eyes will you look on And see the retribution itself of the wicked ones.” (Ps 91:7, 8)


Or with King Jehoshaphat of Israel and his army when he prayed to Jehovah for help when he was outnumbered by Ammon and Moab and he was instructed that the battle was God’s not his and that he would not need to fight. (2 Ch 20:15-17)

Also think about it from a practical perspective. God’s chosen people were grouped together as one nation during the days of Israel. As prophesied in Isaiah above, such was not to be the case forever. God’s people would be in all the nations. What sense would it make for God’s people to kill each other?

So (1) the OT is not uniform in that God’s people are instructed to wage God’s battles and (2) it was prophesied in the OT that God’s servants would not practice warfare in the future. While you might argue quite successfully that Christians are different from Israel, this does not show a change in God.

quote:
but instead instructs us to love our enemies for the first time
Ex 23:4 Should you come upon your enemy’s bull or his ass going astray, you are to return it without fail to him.

Prov 25:21 If the one hating you is hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.

quote:
The God of the NT stopped giving endless prophecies about all the woeful destructions coming to all the wicked nations of the earth around Israel.
Mat 24:30, 38, 39 And then the sign of the Son of man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in lamentation, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory… For as they were in those days before the flood, eating and drinking, men marrying and women being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark; and they took no note until the flood came and swept them all away, so the presence of the Son of man will be.

Luke 19:43, 44 Because the days will come upon you when your enemies will build around you a fortification with pointed stakes and will encircle you and distress you from every side, and they will dash you and your children within you to the ground, and they will not leave a stone upon a stone in you, because you did not discern the time of your being inspected.”

1 Th 1:6-8 This takes into account that it is righteous on God’s part to repay tribulation to those who make tribulation for YOU, but, to YOU who suffer tribulation, relief along with us at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with his powerful angels in a flaming fire, as he brings vengeance upon those who do not know God and those who do not obey the good news about our Lord Jesus.

Rev 16:14 They are, in fact, expressions inspired by demons and perform signs, and they go forth to the kings of the entire inhabited earth, to gather them together to the war of the great day of God the Almighty.

There are a lot more that speak of God’s destruction of the wicked. So no, I see no change with God. His personality and his purpose become clearer in the NT, but that is true for all the scriptures. We know more about him by the time we finish Malachi than when we started in Genesis.

quote:
Is there any viable contention you have against it conceivably being part of God’s plan to let us fumble about with our experience and perception of God through gross superstitions and childlike applications, as witnessed in OT eras?
What superstition? Are you saying the Bible puts forth superstitious views or that some cultures in the Bible were superstitious? There are people now who are superstitious. Just last night I had a conversation with a friend who said he doesn’t like to go to funerals and he doesn’t like to be near cemeteries because he doesn’t like dead bodies. I asked him if he felt the dead could harm him and he said no, he doesn’t have a good reason. When he was a child there was a saying in his culture that if you see a dead body you will have some kind of nightmares (I think it was lost in translation from Mandarin to English).

I don’t so much disagree with your statement about God’s plan to let us fumble around, I disagree with the time it was instated. That was absolutely not his original plan. He laid out his original plan when he gave Adam and Eve instructions.

Ge 1:28 Further, God blessed them and God said to them: “Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it, and have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and every living creature that is moving upon the earth.”

He wasn’t just running off at the mouth about something he knew would not happen. This was truly what he wanted from them and they were “blessed” to be able to carry out their assignment. But, they deviated and so he plotted a new course that would still bring us right to where Adam and Eve were supposed to lead – a paradise earth filled with their perfect children blessed of God and with the animals in subjection to them. That has never changed. Only now it will be without Adam and Eve.

I firmly believe this account is historical. It is very simple and fits better to me than any other explanation I know. I know the sentiment of most regarding Adam and Eve, that it is just a myth or an allegory to teach some deeper truth. That is not the biblical presentation though. It is presented as a real account and everyone from Noah to Abraham to Moses, David, and Jesus has their genealogy traced back to Adam. I think anyone that doesn’t acknowledge this as a real account is really missing out on knowing God’s wisdom, love, justice, and power.

quote:
Why does every part of your disparate collection of writings in the Bible have to be equally enlightened and representative of the true conception of God? I’d say none of it does more than scratch the surface of God anyway. God’s way way too huge to be contained in many thousands of pages of writ. I think we will be a long time in appropriating and growing up into God.
Agreed. 100%.

Is this idea the basis of your OT/NT argument? If so, you're preaching to the choir. I agreed a long time ago that the books show us different things about God. David experienced God’s mercy and care and could read about Moses’ relationship with God. Solomon had a special gift of wisdom and lived in a time of peace with the surrounding nations, so his insight is going to be different. Jesus was far more enlightened than any other prophet. So his words are going to reflect an intimacy with God that Moses, David, and Solomon lacked. That being said, it is not a different God that is being presented. It is quite clearly different aspects of the same God with the same personality and the same standards.

Are you aware that much of the NT is an expounding on and clarification of the OT? The latter is quoted literally hundreds of times in the former. It's not as if Jesus or his disciples were saying, "Worship this new God!" They were basically saying, "This teaching is a continuation of worship to the God of our forefathers."

Mat 5:17, 18 Do not think I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I came, not to destroy, but to fulfill; for truly I say to YOU that sooner would heaven and earth pass away than for one smallest letter or one particle of a letter to pass away from the Law by any means and not all things take place.

Acts 24:14 But I do admit this to you, that, according to the way that they call a ‘sect,’ in this manner I am rendering sacred service to the God of my forefathers, as I believe all the things set forth in the Law and written in the Prophets.


Like Jesus and Paul, whom you seem willing to admit had spiritual enlightenment, I believe the things set forth in the Law and the Prophets - or the "Old Testament," as you call it.

SoT: “Stuff about telephone poles” – now you don’t have to say it.

EDIT: All 66 books still harmoniously carry one sigular theme.

[ Thursday, September 13, 2007 07:18: Message edited by: Stillness ]
Posts: 701 | Registered: Thursday, November 30 2006 08:00
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To be honest, what I find interesting about this poll, is that the majority of Spidderwebbers think that the Bible is completely manmade (which, I think, is the equivalent of "the Bible is fake").

Alas, I voted 3.

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Really!? I thought there would be 1 or 2 other people that agreed with me. I find that most people don't believe in the Bible - even church-going folks. I doubt that the people who voted that the Bible is God's word are representative of society. Maybe in the US it is 10% though. I'm not completely sure.
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Heroine - (n) a female heroic figure.

Heroin - (n) an opiate derived from the poppy which transforms to morphine soon after entering the bloodstream.

Pedantic, yes. But for all the pontificating in this thread, one should expect grammar to match.

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Thralni - "a lot of people are ... too weird to be trusted"
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We were talking about an obsession with theatrical performances. What did you think we were talking about? Illegal drugs?
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All joking aside, you seem to interpret the bible according to your perception of "rightness." It would seem that, given your seeming desire to enlighten, you would be more precise in your words. Because we all know that, while debilitating, addiction to heroic persona is not a life threatening state. :P

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quote:
Originally written by Stillness:


“Bad choice with destructive consequences” is pretty much the definition of evil.

By that definition, all those people who got on the titanic, all who went to work in the WTC that day, all who got on ill fated flights and disastrous train rides, all who went to scale the Everest and never came back and the countless others that made bad choices with disastrous consequences were performing acts of evil?
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quote:
Originally written by Wiz:

quote:
Originally written by Stillness:


“Bad choice with destructive consequences” is pretty much the definition of evil.

By that definition, all those people who got on the titanic, all who went to work in the WTC that day, all who got on ill fated flights and disastrous train rides, all who went to scale the Everest and never came back and the countless others that made bad choices with disastrous consequences were performing acts of evil?

By definition "evil" does not have to have a moral component. It can just mean something that causes harm. So the titanic crashing was evil by that definition. With the WTC there is a moral component as it was not an accident, so it would fit under both definitions. Heroin addiction is also not an accident. It has a moral component. If you don't think subjecting your mind and your body, and your loved ones for that matter, to the affects of heroin is morally wrong then I guess we disagree.
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If the sole purpose behind the heroin addiction was the pain and torture of your loved ones, then, it could be evil. Are you saying that accidents are evil while ones with moral components are not due to the presence of the moral component?

And Titanic sinking was evil? Who committed that evil act then? God?
Posts: 23 | Registered: Friday, January 10 2003 08:00
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quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

By definition "evil" does not have to have a moral component. It can just mean something that causes harm. So the titanic crashing was evil by that definition. With the WTC there is a moral component as it was not an accident, so it would fit under both definitions. Heroin addiction is also not an accident. It has a moral component. If you don't think subjecting your mind and your body, and your loved ones for that matter, to the affects of heroin is morally wrong then I guess we disagree.
Traditionally, when discussing religion, evil refers to choices that are contrary to the will of the god or gods under consideration. It may be that casual readers of this thread see it as a discussion rotating around religious belief, a conception for which they shouldn't be blamed.

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Synergy, et al - "I don't get it."

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The problem I have with God is when people make what are by all accounts good choices, which are followed by disastrous consequences. Or heck, people who just meet with disastrous consequences irrespective of any choice they make.
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quote:
Originally written by Wiz:

If the sole purpose behind the heroin addiction was the pain and torture of your loved ones, then, it could be evil. Are you saying that accidents are evil while ones with moral components are not due to the presence of the moral component?

And Titanic sinking was evil? Who committed that evil act then? God?

m-w.com
1 a : morally reprehensible : SINFUL, WICKED <an evil impulse> b : arising from actual or imputed bad character or conduct <a person of evil reputation>
3 a : causing harm : PERNICIOUS <the evil institution of slavery> b : marked by misfortune : UNLUCKY


I don’t understand your question about moral components. An event that is pernicious, like the Titanic sinking, is evil(3) simply for the reason that it causes great loss of life. This says nothing of morality. Here is the relevance, Salmon: God can commit evil(3) acts, but he is never evil(1). That’s why I made the distiction.

quote:
Originally written by Synergy:

Meanwhile, we have scriptures themselves to suggest other perspectives:
Isa 54:16 “Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the fire of coals, and bringeth forth a weapon for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy.”

Isa 45:7 “I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil. I am Jehovah, that doeth all these things.”

This scripture when taken in context is actually making the opposite point.

Isa 54:15-17 If anyone should at all make an attack, it will not be at my orders. Whoever is making an attack upon you will fall even on account of you. Look! I myself have created the craftsman, the one blowing upon the fire of charcoal and bringing forth a weapon as his workmanship. I myself, too, have created the ruinous man for wrecking work. Any weapon whatever that will be formed against you will have no success, and any tongue at all that will rise up against you in the judgment you will condemn. This is the hereditary possession of the servants of Jehovah, and their righteousness is from me,” is the utterance of Jehovah.

God is speaking a prophecy to his people and assuring them that whoever attacks them will not be doing so at his orders and as such they are assured that they will not be conquered. To make them confident he is reminding them that he is the one that created man, and that includes the guy that makes weapons and the guy that wants to use them against them. He’s not saying that he’s moved the waster to destroy his people as you seem to be implying. It’s the exact opposite. He's going to stop the waster from destroying.

When you see statements and you think that it’s saying that God is making somebody do bad, you should probably check the context. That’s not a biblical teaching. Anybody that does bad does so because they decided to. We all have freedom to chose. “God made me do it,” just like its cousin “the devil made me do it,” doesn’t fly with anybody. The reason no one buys it is because they recognize that the buck stops with them when they do wrong and if you wrong them they're not allowing you to point to someone else.

I explained “evil” above. Note how it’s contrasted with “peace” just as light is contrasted with darkness. He’s saying that he makes calamity for his enemies (in this instance Babylon, prophesying their fall to Medo-Persia) and peace for his people.

quote:
Originally written by Drew:

The problem I have with God is when people make what are by all accounts good choices, which are followed by disastrous consequences. Or heck, people who just meet with disastrous consequences irrespective of any choice they make.
I understand that. Servants of God have had similar sentiments that are recorded in the Bible.

Ecclesiastes 8:14 There exists a vanity that is carried out on the earth, that there exist righteous ones to whom it is happening as if for the work of the wicked ones, and there exist wicked ones to whom it is happening as if for the work of the righteous ones. I said that this too is vanity.

Habakkuk 1:2, 3 How long, O Jehovah, must I cry for help, and you do not hear? How long shall I call to you for aid from violence, and you do not save? Why is it that you make me see what is hurtful, and you keep looking upon mere trouble? And why are despoiling and violence in front of me, and why does quarreling occur, and why is strife carried?
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quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

Synergy,

How was the date?


It was mentally highly energized. She loaned me the book "Conversations With God," of which I had only heard vague reference previously. I devoured it last night, because I was unable to stop reading it. My paradigm has just expanded and been challenged another order of magnitude, but I was perfectly ready for it, and there is no chance, and there are no coincidences. It also, incidentally, leaves me nearly wholly disinterested in following up on anything further here, though. I am chewing on something that has me in a fever at present.

-S-

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Enjoy your book. Let us know about the new plateaus of enlightenment you reach. I won't bother how wrong you are about everything in your posts. :)

I will tell you that the Bible does use animals to represent different nations. Rahab, in particular is used to represent Egypt. Check context in Isaiah and the Psalms. Context context context! Verses don't exist in a vacuum. They're a part of books and the Bible as a whole. I know you know that, but if you don't treat them that way, you'll never get it.
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When in Rome ...

quote:
Originally written by Stillness:

Context context context!
Yes; but. What is context, after all, but a way of assigning to a statement a meaning which is not apparent in the statement alone?

Of course this is just how meaning works, and the very language that makes certain sounds or shapes carry meanings is itself a kind of context. But language is a context that is effectively fixed, as far as any individual is concerned. Other uses of context are inevitably more subjective.

If two statements seem to refer to the same thing and seem to imply different things about it, one can often resolve the apparent contradiction by interpreting one in the contextual light of the other. But which one gets to shed the contextual light, and which one gets to be contextually interpreted? It can in principle go either way.

I believe that there must be criteria, of some kind of overall cohesiveness, that can determine how good a contextual scheme is. I don't believe that anyone has ever elucidated this theory, but I think that in principle it must be possible. Some interpretations are just worse than others. They apply context in ways that seem more far-fetched, they make unimpressively expressed statements more important than striking ones, and so on.

But I think it is empirically clear, from the fact that a wide range of interpretations can survive, that the optimization of contextual weighting suffers badly from the annealing problem. For a large text there are usually lots of different contextual schemes that can provide a locally optimal understanding of the text. This means that departing from these locally optimal schemes a little bit, in any way, always makes your interpretation a bit less reasonable. So if one has threshed out such a locally optimal contextual interpretation of a text, then one is strongly tempted to consider it the objectively right interpretation. As long as you don't venture too far from the home ground of your own interpretation, you can rebut any challenge convincingly.

But make a big enough change, turn enough things around and take enough different perspectives, and you can have another locally optimal scheme, different from the first, but possibly even better as far as those elusive objective criteria are concerned. From the point of view of one locally optimal contextual scheme, another one looks like a weird parallel universe, where all the familiar things are still there, but all their relationships are wrong; and yet somehow it all hangs together uncannily well, on its own terms.

How to choose between different locally optimal interpretations of the same text? That's a hard problem, which usually can't be resolved by just examining the text itself more closely.

So the role of context is not exactly Biblical authority's ace in the hole. In one sense it is its Achilles' heel, because it effectively means that there are many Bibles, even if we agree on the same text.

For me, this does not mean that the Bible is unimportant. It is rather the sense in which the Bible is, as the preachers say, a 'living word'. Though its letter has been fixed for many centuries, its spirit still moves and shifts today.

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quote:
Originally written by Student of Trinity:

So the role of context is not exactly Biblical authority's ace in the hole. In one sense it is its Achilles' heel, because it effectively means that there are many Bibles, even if we agree on the same text.
Context is certainly not the only key, but it is probably the easiest one to turn. Part of the biblical basis for it is at 2 Tim 3:16, 17 where it says all scripture is “inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, reproving, and for setting things straight.” So if you want to get a meaning, you need to use all scriptures to do it. The truth of the matter is you still aren’t going to get it unless someone shows you and you want to be shown. And there is something to be shown. And it’s definitely not the scattered thoughts of patriarchal shepherds over 1600 expressing their spirituality. And you have definitely missed it. You’ve got the puzzle pieces. You even have a few of them stuck together properly, but not enough to see the big picture.

Now this is not to say that anyone knows everything or always understands perfectly. That attitude would leave no room for further enlightenment. There’s a proverb that says it well:

But the path of the righteous ones is like the bright light that is getting lighter and lighter until the day is firmly established. - Pr 4:18

I know a few of my pieces may be forced in the wrong position and I’ve got open spaces still left to fill, but I do see a lighted picture. And it’s certainly not owing to my intelligence. If that were the case, you and some of the others here would probably be able to teach me a thing or two about the scriptures.

The idea that there are many pictures or many Bibles because people have different interpretations is not logical. What does our understanding centuries later have to do with the intent whenever the words were spoken or penned? The word of God being alive refers to the affect it along with its Author can have on a person. It does not mean it changes depending on the person. The Bible means what it means and what it always has meant.
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Well, you keep believing that with all your heart if it gets you through. The older I get, the more I experience how many ways there are to be mistaken about just about anything, how many ways there are to see a thing from a whole new light. For any truth grasped or perceived, there is a higher level of truth that nearly renders irrelevent a formerly embraced truth, and I believe the nature of God's universe is that there is actually no end to this kind of increase and evolution in understanding.

To pin one's belief and life to one book with one frozen way of grasping it seems to me, well, self-limiting, closing oneself off from other possible vital and liberating perspectives, as well as leaving oneself vulnerable to terrible chagrin or disappointment one day when that narrow requirement for a text fails you and is shattered.

Once you survive a shattering of your mindset and see what emerges on the other side, you might find that you come to look forward to having the experience repeatedly. It is like a mollusk shedding its skin or shell in order to expand. You're all tender and vulnerable for a bit after going through it, but your whole world gets bigger as a result.

Locking any spiritual text down too rigidly feels to me like wanting to stay in nursery school forever. God is full of endless mind-blowing surprises if we dare continue to venture in and not pitch camp and stop somewhere.

-S-

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The funny thing is that I agree with you. I'm always looking for better ways to understand everything. When I hear them, which is pleasantly often, I absorb and adapt. But there has to be a real basis and it has to be in accord with logic. I'm ready for my whole concept of anything to be torn down and rebuilt, but I'm not giving it up for shaky reasoning. If you tell me something doesn’t exist and I’m looking right at it, I may engage you in discussion about it, you may even be able to teach me something, but not very much. Definitely not enough for a paradigm change. You’d have to have an extremely thorough and reasoned argument. I’m not seeing that kind of reason. And it’s not as if I don’t understand you, because I do.

Let’s take your view of the soul and death for example. Not only is it not in harmony with the scriptures, but it is not in harmony with observed reality.

quote:
Originally written by Synergy:

There’s rare glimpses of cool, trippy stuff like this in scripture too, which no one quite seems to know what to make of;

I Pet 3:18-20 “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit; in which he went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water.”

Somewhere at this time, even crusty, crude ol’ Peter had a notion that someone like Jesus could go preach to dead souls in “prison” (like Greek Tartarus). Elsewhere it states that he took captivity captive. Why preach to the dead if there is no resurrection possible and promised for even the spiritually and physically dead?

First of all it does not say Jesus preached to “dead souls.” It says he preached to spirits. You read something that’s not there because of your beliefs. We all do it, but you have to train yourself not to. So are these spirits “dead souls?”

Ps 146:3, 4 Do not put your trust in nobles, Nor in the son of earthling man, to whom no salvation belongs. His spirit goes out, he goes back to his ground; in that day his thoughts do perish.

So once a man’s spirit goes he doesn’t have thoughts or actions. He can’t be preached to or imprisoned anywhere (unless you consider a state of lifelessness imprisonment). The Bible is overwhelmingly explicit and consistent on that principle. There are a handful of scriptures, like the one you quoted, that would seem to say otherwise, but upon closer inspection they are all in harmony. So these spirits can't be from dead people. Who are they then?

The scripture itself tells us! They are spirits who disobeyed during Noah’s day? Were these somehow disobedient men or was there some other notable group who was disobedient during those days?

Ge 6:2 Then the sons of the true God began to notice the daughters of men, that they were good-looking; and they went taking wives for themselves.

And Peter himself in his second letter

2 Pe 2:4 Certainly if God did not hold back from punishing the angels that sinned, but, by throwing them into tartarus, delivered them to pits of dense darkness to be reserved for judgment

And Jude for good measure

Jude 6 And the angels that did not keep their original position but forsook their own proper dwelling place he has reserved with eternal bonds under dense darkness for the judgment of the great day.

The spirits are rebellious angels. But your question is still good. Why preach to them? Can they be saved? No, the scriptures are clear that they are being reserved for judgment, in this case the adverse judgment of everlasting destruction. The word here translated “preach” is from the Greek “kerysso.” It means “proclaim” (good or bad news), as distinguished from “euaggelizomai,” “declare good news.” So Christ came to them as a herald of bad news.

How does this fit in with what we know of the human make-up? Our emotions, thoughts, and memories are housed in the brain. When the brain is damaged or decays, who we are is damaged. When the brain dies as far as we can observe, the person is gone. So, if you were going to try to convince me otherwise, you’d have to do so from the scriptures and it would need to fit what we can observe. Also your position would have to make sense. You mentioned a resurrection for these spirits, but if they are alive somewhere, why would they need a resurrection? I firmly believe in the resurrection, but that means a bringing back to life. The person has to be dead first.

Am I open to the possibility that I’m wrong? Absolutely! But you or anyone else would have a long way to go toward convincing me of that. That’s what I’m saying. What I believe makes sense to me and fits in with what I see. If you have something that fits better and makes more sense then I am all ears. Glaring misapplication of scriptures and logical flaws like this one don’t do it for me though. If that makes me closed-minded and childish in your eyes, so be it. I don’t know a better way of approaching things.

Alorael posted a link a few weeks ago that had the best explanation for continuation of life after death that I have ever seen, from an atheist at that (I love it when atheists get spiritual). He theorized that consciousness might be like a radio broadcast and our brains like receivers. His evidence was supposed contact from beyond the grave. That’s interesting and even more comforting to me in some ways than my own beliefs, but I would not be willing to throw all of my beliefs about what we are in exchange for that without a whole lot of backup.
Posts: 701 | Registered: Thursday, November 30 2006 08:00
? Man, ? Amazing
Member # 5755
Profile #96
Not that there is ever a wrong time to mention this, but Dr Chiu's Immortality Device should stop those pesky life after death questions.

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Synergy, et al - "I don't get it."

Thralni - "a lot of people are ... too weird to be trusted"
Posts: 4114 | Registered: Monday, April 25 2005 07:00
Infiltrator
Member # 4256
Profile #97
What Thuryl said in the beginning was interesting to me, as there are several variations on it, and it isn't really possible to say that they are impossible, or really any less probable than the view presented by the Bible.

For instance, what is there against God being a rather twisted individual. Say that he has acted exactly like the Bible says he has acted, so far as any human has been able to tell (for simplicities sake, meaning that all revelation is accurately reported, all incidents are accurately reported, etc) and even more, that all these things point to him being a good, just, holy God.

What is there to say that out side this sphere of our own perceptions (spiritual, physical, mystical, all of them) he isn't laughing up his sleeve at the perfect act that he is playing, rubbing his hands together in anticpation of the day (perhaps an actual time for everyone, or perhaps just when people die) when he reveals himself as entirely different than how he portrays himself.

An all powerful God could easily manipulate humans to make them believe whatever the heck he wanted, so there is no evidence that wouldn't be suspect, no proof that could possibly be entirely conclusive.

It seems, that in the end, any belief in God must be based upon a faith that has no intrinsic backing.

Perhaps though such a faith as that is valued by this creator, faith that he is what he says he is. To me it isn't exactly an easy faith for a smart rational mind to take up.

However, even while it offends many of my sensabilities, I find myself to be very much drawn to it, and find it much more pleasant to have such a faith than to not have that faith. If it is a crutch, than it is a crutch I need, in fact, to cast off the crutch in order to 'get out of nursery school' is for me similar to a paralegic leaving his wheelchair in order to move faster, or for a building to leave the only foundation supporting it in an attempt to fly.

To me it becomes a choice between my rather arrogant sensabilities and an existence that is limited, in the same way that a fire place limits a house from the experience of burning down.

In any case, I voted A.

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"Let's just say that if complete and utter chaos was lightning, he'd be the sort to stand on a hilltop in a thunderstorm wearing wet copper armour and shouting 'All gods are false'."
Posts: 564 | Registered: Wednesday, April 14 2004 07:00
Warrior
Member # 1668
Profile #98
quote:
Originally written by Jumpin' Sarcasmon:

Not that there is ever a wrong time to mention this, but Dr Chiu's Immortality Device should stop those pesky life after death questions.
Best. Link. Ever.

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"Mongo only pawn in game of life" -- Mongo
Posts: 75 | Registered: Monday, August 5 2002 07:00
Guardian
Member # 5360
Profile #99
. . . But he can't be found on Google! It's a conspiracy!

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May the fires of Undeath burn in your soul, and consume it.
Posts: 1636 | Registered: Wednesday, January 5 2005 08:00

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