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Christian Issue - Page 2

post #21 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2xy View Post
Seems to me that the most sensible thing would have been for God to destroy Satan. If no Satan = no sin, then there would be no problem and no sacrifice would have been necessary.

This whole discussion brings to mind the Epicurean riddle:

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?
Actually many Christians believe it works the other way evil = Satan. Evil is simply selfishness and pride-fullness. We are selfish and prideful because we have free-will and choice. Satan is the not the root of evil.

If you believe that Satan is a fallen angel then where did the original pride and selfishness come from. It came from free will. The evil was already in the world. Satan just personifies it.
post #22 of 48
Either way, evil exists in the world because God allows it to. If God created everything, then God must be the root of evil, right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebirdiemama
Which would you enjoy more, the love of someone who chose to love you, or the love of someone who has no choice but to love you?
I cannot conceive of a situation in which someone is forced to love me, so I find that question unanswerable. Personally, I cannot wrap my brain around the notion that an omniscient, omnipotent being would need or want love....especially from such imperfect beings such as ourselves.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JollyGG
Because of the trinity Jesus was not JUST God's son he was also God. He was the living manifestation of God. So God didn't so much let his son suffer and die as he let himself suffer and die.
Isn't suicide a sin? Just curious.
post #23 of 48
2xy
I just realized that I've never talked at any length with an atheist since my salvation experience.
I must say your opinion will add some interesting discussions. I will be thinking about your posts. I hope you will keep commenting.
post #24 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2xy View Post
Either way, evil exists in the world because God allows it to. If God created everything, then God must be the root of evil, right?



I cannot conceive of a situation in which someone is forced to love me, so I find that question unanswerable. Personally, I cannot wrap my brain around the notion that an omniscient, omnipotent being would need or want love....especially from such imperfect beings such as ourselves.



Isn't suicide a sin? Just curious.
The entire Bible is a divine romance between God and man. God is wooing us sinners back to Himself so that He can get all of the glory.

In typology, Adam and Eve are a type of Christ and the church. Eve was built out of a rib taken from Adam's side. Christ was pierced in his side on the cross and the church was produced when he resurrected. Christ said in Matt 16, I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not prevail. Just as Eve was built out of Adam (type of Christ), the church was produced out of Christ. Sorry it's a little jumbled up.

In the old testament you can see this in type in the Song of Songs. The king Solomon, type of Christ, is in love with this country girl, the church, and she goes through a transformation process until she matches him. Believers are going through a transformation process which takes an entire life time.

In the new testament you can see it in Ephesians when Christ loves her, the church, the believers, and gives Himself up for her. It is likened to a relationship between husband and wife. It says that through the washing of the water in the word Christ is getting rid of all of our spots and wrinkles. This is so that we will match Him. What i mean is that we need to mature. Christ is growing in us so that we will be a mature bride to match Christ.

Then in Revelation you can see the Spirit and the bride say, come. This is God and man completely joined as in a husband and a wife. In eternity we will be joined to God and praising Him for taking us lowly sinners and making us sons of God. God gets all the glory. We will never be worshipped as this is reserved only for God, but we will be organically joined to Him. What that is going to look like...I don't know. But I do know that I am joined to Him now and it's only gonna get better.

If we were made in God's image, which we were, and we being mere humans have such a need for love and companionship, then our source surely desired for us to love Him and be one with Him.

The Bible isn't just a bunch of do's and don'ts. It is the breath of God expired out into black and white print so that we can see His love for all of mankind.
post #25 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2xy View Post
Either way, evil exists in the world because God allows it to. If God created everything, then God must be the root of evil, right?



I cannot conceive of a situation in which someone is forced to love me, so I find that question unanswerable. Personally, I cannot wrap my brain around the notion that an omniscient, omnipotent being would need or want love....especially from such imperfect beings such as ourselves.
As C.S. Lewis wrote,

Quote:
Some people think they can imagine a creature which was free but had no possibility of going wrong; I cannot. The happiness which God designs for His creatures is the happiness of being freely, voluntarily united to Him and to each other . . . And for that they must be free.

The way I see it:

God does not need anything, so he does not need us to love him, but that is the purpose for which he created us, for US to experience the love and happiness that only comes from our perfect Creator. He created us out of love to experience His love, and the only way that is possible is for us to be free to choose his love or not. Unfortunately, with the choice to not choose his love comes the potential for evil. There is no way around it.
post #26 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2xy View Post
Seems to me that the most sensible thing would have been for God to destroy Satan. If no Satan = no sin, then there would be no problem and no sacrifice would have been necessary.

This whole discussion brings to mind the Epicurean riddle:

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?
I believe God is able, but not willing. I do not believe he is malevolent, but I doubt my ability to prove that to anyone. My proof would come from the Bible, which might not mean anything to you and I don't want to just spout off verses.

I will say that it has to do with free will and the fact the God gets all the praise and the glory when sinners, who have sin in our flesh, choose God. The angels in heaven cheer when this occurs.

Bluebirdiemama put it very well. Satan was already destroyed on the cross. From God's viewpoint, which is in eternity, everything has been accomplished. All of the things in Revelation have already taken place in eternity. However, we are in time and things have to be worked out with us still. Here's an analogy: If a company decided to build a building they come up with a plan and it's planned all the way to the finished product. But, it is a very messy process until it is complete. So, I guess I'm saying that we are in a messy process right now, but eventually God will get His building. The Bible refers to the Body of Christ as the church, which Jesus will build in love. The church is also referred to as God's masterpiece. I imagine a masterpiece will be displayed for all to see in the end, but right now, it's a little messy.

Trying not to get too preachy cause I know that is not fun for anyone, but I don't know how to tell you my beliefs otherwise???
post #27 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shami View Post
From God's viewpoint, which is in eternity, everything has been accomplished. All of the things in Revelation have already taken place in eternity. However, we are in time and things have to be worked out with us still.
I have heard this said before. I don't believe that free will and predestination can mutually exist. If God has everything all wrapped up on his end, then all the choices that you will make in your life have already been determined before you make them.
post #28 of 48
But this leads me to another issue....

God created the original two people with free will. Yet he didn't want them to have the knowledge of good and evil, so he said not to eat from the tree. And then he allowed this serpent to talk Eve into eating from the tree. All the while, Adam and Eve do not have knowledge of good and evil. So how are they to make an informed decision? Free will without knowledge is a disaster waiting to happen.
post #29 of 48
Quote:
I have heard this said before. I don't believe that free will and predestination can mutually exist. If God has everything all wrapped up on his end, then all the choices that you will make in your life have already been determined before you make them.
I'm not calvinist and don't believe in "predestination" the way I'm thinking you mean.

But God having full knowledge that is not bound by time does not negate free will.

Knowing a the choices a person will make, and even planning accordingly, does not equal forcing that person to make that particular choice. Knowing the choices every single human being will ever make and working that into an overarching plan does not equal forcing each of those to make certain choices.

Quote:
God created the original two people with free will. Yet he didn't want them to have the knowledge of good and evil, so he said not to eat from the tree. And then he allowed this serpent to talk Eve into eating from the tree. All the while, Adam and Eve do not have knowledge of good and evil. So how are they to make an informed decision? Free will without knowledge is a disaster waiting to happen.
Free will with knowledge isn't much better. If we have the ability to choose, the ability to choose wrongly is there by the very nature of things.

Adam and Eve had a relationship with God. They walked with Him, they knew Him as their Creator. He told them that choosing to disobey on that point would have disasterous affects and they chose not to believe him. God told them it was wrong, and that they would suffer if they chose it. He gave them the knowledge that they needed to choose rightly. They were very well informed.
post #30 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post
Knowing a the choices a person will make, and even planning accordingly, does not equal forcing that person to make that particular choice. Knowing the choices every single human being will ever make and working that into an overarching plan does not equal forcing each of those to make certain choices.
I guess it just seems.....silly....to me, to continue to bring millions of people into this world who will choose to be doomed for eternity. That just doesn't sound very loving to me, at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom
Free will with knowledge isn't much better.
But it is better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom
Adam and Eve had a relationship with God. They walked with Him, they knew Him as their Creator. He told them that choosing to disobey on that point would have disasterous affects and they chose not to believe him. God told them it was wrong, and that they would suffer if they chose it. He gave them the knowledge that they needed to choose rightly. They were very well informed.
God merely told them that eating of the tree would cause them to die. Had they ever seen anything die? Did they know that dying was "disastrous"?

If you tell a 18mo toddler that something is "hot," they have nothing with which to associate that word. They will still attempt to touch a hot object until they succeed....and therefore learn what "hot" is.

If nothing in the Garden had ever died, how would Adam and Eve have known that dying was undesirable? If they had no knowledge of good and evil, how would they have been able to understand that God was good and the serpent was evil? A complete innocent would trust everyone and not be suspicious of anyone.

Sorry, but the whole thing sounds like a set-up to me. I'm really not trying to be argumentative; it's just that I really don't understand how anyone can read the Bible and come to the conclusion that the deity portrayed in it is a loving being.
post #31 of 48
Quote:
I guess it just seems.....silly....to me, to continue to bring millions of people into this world who will choose to be doomed for eternity. That just doesn't sound very loving to me, at all.
Hmm, well the Bible does say that God's wisdom is foolishness to man. We presume to think God's way of doing things is foolish.

However, to not bring people into the world would remove their choice. And he also brings people into existance who will choose thim.

Quote:
If nothing in the Garden had ever died, how would Adam and Eve have known that dying was undesirable? If they had no knowledge of good and evil, how would they have been able to understand that God was good and the serpent was evil? A complete innocent would trust everyone and not be suspicious of anyone.
I am not aware that the Garden of Eden was a place where the life cycle didn't occur. It was set up for *perfect* life, but it wasn't heaven and it wasn't eternity. Perhaps some Christians disagree, but I think it is more of a culture/tradition thing to assume that Eden was just like heaven. It was an earthly place. Heaven is an eternal, spiritual "place". The Fall definitely changed life for the worse, and made death something we fear, but I don't think that means things didn't grow old and die in Eden.

I'm out of time. I hope someone else will pick this convo up because I'm probably not the best person to answer. I know the answers inside but have a hard time conveying them well.
post #32 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Purple Sage View Post
The way I see it:

God does not need anything, so he does not need us to love him, but that is the purpose for which he created us, for US to experience the love and happiness that only comes from our perfect Creator. He created us out of love to experience His love, and the only way that is possible is for us to be free to choose his love or not. Unfortunately, with the choice to not choose his love comes the potential for evil. There is no way around it.
Yes!

God is love. And He is also rivers of living water. He created us so we could be recipients and live in peace and joy.

If you read, starting at the beggining, Genesis, you will read that God created the heavens and earth, sun, stars, moon, animals, plants, everything. And then He created man.

He created our world, peice by peice, put everything in motion, and then He created man. It is in this order because He created it FOR man.

And He made it a perfect place. God gave one rule. And since God's word is perfect, anything that opposes it is imperfect. When that rule was broken, imperfection entered the world.

Sin, anything that separates us from God's love, held power over people until Jesus came to destroy it.
post #33 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2xy View Post
But this leads me to another issue....

God created the original two people with free will. Yet he didn't want them to have the knowledge of good and evil, so he said not to eat from the tree. And then he allowed this serpent to talk Eve into eating from the tree. All the while, Adam and Eve do not have knowledge of good and evil. So how are they to make an informed decision? Free will without knowledge is a disaster waiting to happen.
The way I see this is...

"And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, "From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die."
Genesis 2:16-17

1. It was a commandment of God to not eat from the tree. If Adam/Eve knew God, and if you read from the beg of ch 2 it really seems like God spends time with them, then they know who he is. They know he is perfect.

2. When the Lord gave this command, there was good in the world, but there was no evil. So that statment can also, in my opinion, be read to mean "you will know good as it is contrasted with evil; you will bring evil into this world."


It is less about the actual fruit of the actual tree, and instead about the act of disobedience. If it wasn't the fruit it would have been something else. Man is imperfect and therefore would have disobeyed God at one point or another.
post #34 of 48
Here is def. of repent.
1 : to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one's life
2 a : to feel regret or contrition b : to change one's mind

I am not a Calvinist although I had to do some quick research to see what that meant. Anyway, God is always trying to get man to change his mind/ways, which shows that there must be something on man's side. It's not all God's doing, but His mercy is new every morning. So, He may have mercy on us in ways we don't understand.
So much happened in my life which made me feel like a broken person. Was this God's mercy to allow me to be broken to a point that I was a raw, open wound? Sorry that sounds so dramatic, but it was true. Without my particular environment, which He allowed, I would not have needed God.
Some people say that religion is a crutch and for weak people. I say I have no shame in being weak, frail and in need of God.
God desires all men to be saved and to come to the full knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:4). This is His desire.
I see it as this:
Over the top of a doorway it says, "Whosoever will"
If you walk through the door, turn around and look up,
it says this, "Chosen before the foundation of the world"
post #35 of 48
The Two Trees

I read a little booklet about the two trees representing two sources. The tree of life represents God. God was meant to be our source for everything. God placed Adam and Eve in the garden and said to eat of all the trees except the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The tree of life was in the center of the garden.

God wants to be food for man.
Christ said, He who eats me shall live because of me. We can eat the Word of God. When we read the Bible we can eat it. What I mean is that we can take it into our being and it nourishes us. When we pray over it, it becomes our sustenance. When we take in the word as our food it causes Christ to grow in us so that we mature in our spiritual life. I think it was Peter who said that we are like newborn babes who long for the guileless milk of the word.
Jeremiah said, Your words were found and I did eat them.
I can't remember who, maybe Ezekiel?, ate the scroll. These are all types and figures in the Old Testament pointing to the reality in the New Testament that we can eat Christ and live because of Him.

The tree of knowledge of good and evil (tkge) represents a source other than God. I need to go find the little booklet and reread it. I believe it says that it represents Satan. Of course they ate it and sin personified as Satan entered into them. Paul says that sin dwells in our flesh.

So when Christ was terminated on the cross, He paid our debt and this gave us access to the tree of life (God) again. Now believers have God as one source in their being. He lives in our spirit. But, we also have another source in us, and that is Satan who is in our flesh and is manifested as sin in our daily lives.

Therefore, moment by moment, we need to choose our source. If we choose our source the tree of life (God) then the issue is life and peace. If we choose Satan in our flesh, then the issue is death (in the spiritual sense, not death as in eternal death because I am talking about believers who have eternal life).
Passivity is a choice, too. There is a spiritual warfare going on and I think we are sometimes oblivious to it. We have to fight to keep our relationship with the Lord fresh everyday. But also the Lord lives to always intercede for us.

I found it online if you want to read it.
http://www.gnte.org/ecopub/Lee/leetrees.htm
post #36 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebirdiemama View Post
The way I see this is...

"And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, "From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die."
Genesis 2:16-17

1. It was a commandment of God to not eat from the tree. If Adam/Eve knew God, and if you read from the beg of ch 2 it really seems like God spends time with them, then they know who he is. They know he is perfect.
How is perfection capable of creating imperfection?

Quote:
2. When the Lord gave this command, there was good in the world, but there was no evil. So that statment can also, in my opinion, be read to mean "you will know good as it is contrasted with evil; you will bring evil into this world."
If everything was good at that point, then wasn't the serpent also good? Why would they have any reason to distrust what the serpent said, if everything was good? How can you know "good as it is contrasted with evil" if evil does not exist?

Quote:
It is less about the actual fruit of the actual tree, and instead about the act of disobedience. If it wasn't the fruit it would have been something else. Man is imperfect and therefore would have disobeyed God at one point or another.
Once again, I fail to understand how a perfect being can create imperfect beings. If a being is perfect, then everything he or she creates should also be perfect.

Doesn't disobedience fall under the "evil" category?
post #37 of 48
Everything God created was "good"...perfect. We chose our imperfection with our own free will.
post #38 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2xy View Post
I guess it just seems.....silly....to me, to continue to bring millions of people into this world who will choose to be doomed for eternity. That just doesn't sound very loving to me, at all.



But it is better.



God merely told them that eating of the tree would cause them to die. Had they ever seen anything die? Did they know that dying was "disastrous"?

If you tell a 18mo toddler that something is "hot," they have nothing with which to associate that word. They will still attempt to touch a hot object until they succeed....and therefore learn what "hot" is.

If nothing in the Garden had ever died, how would Adam and Eve have known that dying was undesirable? If they had no knowledge of good and evil, how would they have been able to understand that God was good and the serpent was evil? A complete innocent would trust everyone and not be suspicious of anyone.

Sorry, but the whole thing sounds like a set-up to me. I'm really not trying to be argumentative; it's just that I really don't understand how anyone can read the Bible and come to the conclusion that the deity portrayed in it is a loving being.
You need to remember to read this story as spiritual allegory rather than a court report.

What does it mean that they were innocent? What does knowledge of good and evil entail?

The reason that Adam and Eve were innocent is because they had not conceived the possibility of choosing something that went either against God, or Natural Law. They had a clear and close relationship with God though, so they were not in quite the same position we are in, often unable to discern just what the rules are. They knew the rule, but not the reason for it.

The reason for this is that it was not until they had really conceived of the possibility of going against God's command that they actually understood the nature of the command. Not because God was trying to be tricky, but because that is what it means to have knowledge of good and evil - to be able to conceptualize going against God's commands or Natural Law.

The story is an interesting one, and it has raised a number of questions among theologians through the years. Clearly it was part of the nature of Adam and Eve that they had the capacity to conceptualize breaking the command. Was it possible though that they might never have actually fulfilled that capacity, and remained innocent? Would that have even been a good thing?

Traditionally, the serpent has been understood in Christianity as a fallen angel. Angels are also understood to have free-will, and face the same choice Adam and Eve did - Truth or Untruth. In more modern times many have seen the serpent as the embodiment of that potentiality within Adam and Eve to concieve of non-truth as a possible path. These are probably just different ways of talking about the same thing, which is that somehow, a perfect and complete God, who is Truth, manages to produce a creation that contains untruth.

This has been one of the major observations and also big problems within many philosophical and religious systems. We can see that the world is in many ways imperfect. People suffer, and do things they know to be immoral. We are confused. There is entropy, and suffering even in the animal and plant world - all of creation groans, as they say.

Yes, the First Principle, however it is understood, is perfect and Truth. How does the one produce the other? Well, according to dualist of various sorts, it is because the physical world is corrupt and weighs us down. According to Buddhists it is related to inappropriate attachment. And according to Christians, it is because within creation God planted a capacity to see and choose untruth, or free-will.

Is this loving? One might say not in a very human way, but that shouldn't really be a surprise. One way to look at it is to say without free-will, there is no possibility of free love, and so a God who wanted to maximize love would have to allow for free-will, with all its downsides.

I tend to think of it like this. God is just chock full of Being, and Is-ness. He is kind of the opposite of real Nothingness. So much so, that anything that has the possibility of being Something, he has to create, even if it is a pretty mean and pathetic something, it is still more than a Nothing, and he can create, or love, it. I like this image because it works really well with some of the things physicists seem to say about alternate dimensions and realities - that anything that could be, is.
post #39 of 48
I'm just going to throw this into the discussion.

There is something called the gap theory and I think it was in G.H. Pember's book, Earth's Earliest Ages.

The first verse in the Bible says that in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

Then in the 2nd verse it says, But the earth became waste and emptiness, and darkness was on the surface of the deep.

The theory is that God created the heavens and the earth, but something cataclysmic happened to make it become waste and empty with darkness. How much time passed from God's original creation of the heavens and the earth until the earth became waste, empty, and dark? We don't know. But anyway, what happened?
The theory is that this is when God's top angel became proud and wanted to ascend to the most high, causing God to cast him along with a third of the angels to the earth causing God's creation to become waste and empty and dark.
So then the following account of creation could be a kind of restoring or further creation of what had become waste/empty/dark. Maybe this is why He called the things He created 'good'. Maybe it wasn't perfect at that point.

Here are verses to read on this topic.

Job 38:3-7
Isa 45:18
Isa 14:12-15
Zech 12:1 this show the importance of man in God's plan. Heavens is for earth, earth is for man, man is for God. "...Thus declares Jehovah, who stretches forth the heavens and lays the foundations of the earth and forms the spirit of man within him"
post #40 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shami View Post
I'm just going to throw this into the discussion.

There is something called the gap theory and I think it was in G.H. Pember's book, Earth's Earliest Ages.

The first verse in the Bible says that in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

Then in the 2nd verse it says, But the earth became waste and emptiness, and darkness was on the surface of the deep.

The theory is that God created the heavens and the earth, but something cataclysmic happened to make it become waste and empty with darkness. How much time passed from God's original creation of the heavens and the earth until the earth became waste, empty, and dark? We don't know. But anyway, what happened?
The theory is that this is when God's top angel became proud and wanted to ascend to the most high, causing God to cast him along with a third of the angels to the earth causing God's creation to become waste and empty and dark.
So then the following account of creation could be a kind of restoring or further creation of what had become waste/empty/dark. Maybe this is why He called the things He created 'good'. Maybe it wasn't perfect at that point.

Here are verses to read on this topic.

Job 38:3-7
Isa 45:18
Isa 14:12-15
WOW! thanks for throwing that in there! I can't wait to read these pasages


2xy -- I will come back to reply to your questions. I know the answer, but not in word format, if you know what I mean.
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