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post #41 of 63

I have a sort of universal belief about God and I don't believe God ever endorsed or commited acts of violence against people. I am a near death experience researcher and people who have gone to the presence of God while near death reported total unconditional love. God knew long before material creation what would be and still decided to do it anyway. All people are children of God and the earth is place to have all kinds of experiences and God does not decide what we will experience. There are natural laws of cause and effect but that is no punishment.

post #42 of 63

There is another "Christian" view of God. Mysticism, gnosticism.

 

Yes, Christians of all stripes: Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant all know gnosticism as "heresy". But the fact is early Christian thought was SO diverse, it is mind boggling. We have lost over 85% of early Christian writings, and those are only the ones we know about. Gnosticism simply WAS Christianity before the orthodox began persecuting and excluding certain people and asserted apostolic succession through one man at a time. Paul was not over every single church in the known world. He was simply a human, not an infallible mouthpiece of God. That goes for the whole canon of scripture old and new.

 

I have been a devout evangelical my 30 years, including being a missionary....until the last few months. The more I study theology the more it unravels. The canon was put together by a council of men, I cannot believe an infinite Divine is bound by it. But I can not deny the experiences I have had and continue to have of God/Christ/the Spirit. I also cannot deny the experiences that Muslims have had with Allah, or what experiences atheists have NOT had with God.

 

All that to say, in mysticism I realize I will never be able to explain everything. I do not try to explain and apologize for God based on what humans wrote in a canon of scripture. I *believe* that God is good, that all paths lead to Him/Her/It or rather that the Divine is already in everyone and enlightens everyone (John 1:9). But at the end of the day, I only know the Divine by what I experience....and I can't always explain it or box it up. I have seen evil (visited Auschwitz), I also know love, beauty, creation, the spiritual realm, power. For myself when I ask this question and contemplate atheism as some friends have, I am caught by those things. I can't explain why God allows evil. But the idea that there is no God doesn't make sense for me either.

 

I guess to answer your real question, even though I identify as a "Christian" I do say that if you are going to try to explain God solely by the Bible the human race will always ask "how can He allow this?".

post #43 of 63

Philomom, I'm with you - the problem of evil was part of what made me stop believing altogether, although I was long gone from the church for a while before that.

 

I think the quote you're referring to is Epicurus

 

"If God is willing to prevent evil, but is not able to

Then He is not omnipotent.

If He is able, but not willing
Then He is malevolent.

If He is both able and willing
Then whence cometh evil?

If He is neither able nor willing
Then why call Him God?" 300 BC

As far as morality goes, some seem to have hit on the morality conundrum, is something moral because God commands it, or does God command it because it is moral?

There is so much crazy stuff in the bible. If you read the whole dang thing and decide which parts you like and which parts you don't, how do you decide that? What is it that tells you that slavery is wrong, even though God never says it isn't, in fact, he goes to great lengths to tell you exactly how to treat your slaves, how long to own them, and what you can do to them when the misbehave. What is it inside yourself that tells you which parts of the bible are moral and which parts aren't? What tells you that your interpretation is right and someone else's is wrong? 

And what about contradictions, for instance, God tells Moses that one of the commandments is "thou shalt not kill", but then goes on to command the murders of multitudes of people for one or another reason. 

There have been moral codes since forever, and there are good reasons for them. We are a social species - we are hardwired to care for others of our species. We would never have survived if we didn't help each other and work together. Explicit ideas about one or another thing are partly sociological. 

Morality can be determined in more than one way, but the idea "Love your neighbor as yourself" was hardly new to Jesus' time - Confuscious, Epicurus, Socrates, and so on expressed similar sentiments long before Jesus. Reciprocity is one idea of morality. Consequentialism is another, the idea that the consequences of your actions determine whether or not something is good. You could determine if something is good if it results in the most amount of good for the most people, or creates the least amount of suffering. Obviously this does not give you dogmatic ideas about "right" and "wrong", it leaves some grey area. But morality is hardly black and white in application anyhow. In the example of lying above, is it always wrong to lie? If you could lie to say, save yourself and your children from a horrible fate, without causing harm to anyone else, would you do it? Would you tell the truth if it meant the deaths of hundreds of people? I think dogmatic thinking about morality gets people into all sorts of trouble with being judgmental and putting people in boxes they don't belong in.

I know I'm being sort of disjointed here, but I have a few more thoughts, so bear with me. :)

Someone else said something about it being a "fallen world". Now, does that mean that you are taking the fall of Adam and Eve literally? Did someone once exist who ate the apple and brought death and suffering on humankind? If so, how could God, who knew in advance that we would do this, allow this to happen? What plan, what scheme could possibly call for the horrible atrocities we have suffered as a supposed result of this? And if we chose to "sin" and fall away, to suffer eternal torment, how is that justice? How is eternal suffering adequate punishment for finite crimes, or more importantly, for crimes that we commit because of a fall that God himself could have prevented? 

Perhaps Gods plan was to save us from ourselves, from the beginning of time. If God wanted to forgive us for our sins, why couldn't he just forgive us? Why was the brutal torture and death of Jesus necessary for us? Moreover, how is it effective? In other words, how can Jesus take on our sins and leave us with no responsibility for our own actions? If one brother murdered someone and a judge somehow allowed the second brother to be executed for the crime of the first, perhaps that would have been a selfless thing for the second brother to do, but it hardly resolves the first brother of his responsibility for his actions. 

To sum it up, yes, I think the Abrahamic God is unjust and cruel. I can't see any way for him not to be. Any god who would create me sick and then command me to be well on pain of eternal suffering could not possibly be a loving god. 

post #44 of 63

Argh, stupid format won't let me quote. Too bad because there were many quotes that I wanted to agree with and spring off of. I'll do my best without quoting.

This is a juicy and fascinating thread.

I am not Christian but was as a child and still believe in God. I *feel* God in my life and in the world. I believe that God is love and, like others have said, his actions are ultimately for good, even if my puny human consciousness can't comprehend how. This includes suffering and death. I don't have to "get" it - it's not my place. My place is to trust God and accept what happens in the world and to me and my loved ones. I also don't have to "get" God or what he is, not that I could comprehend him if I tried - feeling him is enough. I also believe that, in some way, God IS the world - he is present in it and part of it, all around, at all times. These are my beliefs and they are heavily influenced by Christianity even though I am no longer a Christian.

I was talking with DH once actually about the "problem" of the genocidal OT God (all the smiting and enslaving and raping bothers me a lot too). We were talking about how many religions have gods and goddesses that have both destructive and creative, dark and light "faces" that are equally important and coexist in the same deity. I think this reflects the reality of life on Earth, the intertwining of the life and death cycles in nature (of which we are a part) and the fact that disasters happen. Nature itself is not benevolent, but neither is it malevolent or cruel. It just IS, and the duty/purpose of humans is to come to terms with it, accept it, learn and grow in the mystery of it. I feel sort of similarly about God, though at the same time I harbor a feeling that he IS benevolent, ultimately. Or perhaps benevolent is the wrong word. Perhaps "existent" would be better. I feel that God IS, and that I can/do dwell in him whether I realize it or not, and that is what matters. When I remember God's presence I am comforted. I think the seeming contradictions between the OT and NT God are another variation of the "deity with two faces" theme that appears in so many places. How can God be complete and omnipresent without having a "dark" side too? One that's not necessarily evil, but maybe bloody and seemingly harsh to us as limited, self-cherishing beings. Does that make any sense?

The OT still bothers me though. One of the reasons I'm not Christian.

As for morality, I personally believe that everyone is born with an inherent morality (I don't believe that anyone, really, deep down, wants to hurt others) but that we are also products of our social contexts. We are conditioned by both our unique societies and families, and that combines with the inherent temperament that we were born with. There is also a dark side of human nature, just like God has a "dark" side. I am trying to come to terms with that all the time. I know how much horror there is in the world. Some of it has happened in my own family. I read about horrific things all the time. Torture and sadism have always been around. Even in nature some animals torment their prey before killing it. I don't comprehend it. But I accept it as part of something larger that I don't have to comprehend. I think? See, I am writing out what I *feel* but I don't know if I am right or not - these are just the assumptions I operate on. I'm not even sure where they come from.

Anyway, I think I'm sort of going on and on now.

post #45 of 63

 

Quote:
The OT still bothers me though. One of the reasons I'm not Christian.
 

 

That's kind of a curious That's kind of an interesting phrasing for me.  I'm a Christian because of the NT.  The OT is a history and a forshadowing of Christ, to me, but it isn't the rock on which I built my faith.  Jesus is. :)

post #46 of 63
Quote:

Someone else said something about it being a "fallen world". Now, does that mean that you are taking the fall of Adam and Eve literally? Did someone once exist who ate the apple and brought death and suffering on humankind? If so, how could God, who knew in advance that we would do this, allow this to happen? What plan, what scheme could possibly call for the horrible atrocities we have suffered as a supposed result of this? And if we chose to "sin" and fall away, to suffer eternal torment, how is that justice? How is eternal suffering adequate punishment for finite crimes, or more importantly, for crimes that we commit because of a fall that God himself could have prevented? 

Perhaps Gods plan was to save us from ourselves, from the beginning of time. If God wanted to forgive us for our sins, why couldn't he just forgive us? Why was the brutal torture and death of Jesus necessary for us? Moreover, how is it effective? In other words, how can Jesus take on our sins and leave us with no responsibility for our own actions? If one brother murdered someone and a judge somehow allowed the second brother to be executed for the crime of the first, perhaps that would have been a selfless thing for the second brother to do, but it hardly resolves the first brother of his responsibility for his actions. 

To sum it up, yes, I think the Abrahamic God is unjust and cruel. I can't see any way for him not to be. Any god who would create me sick and then command me to be well on pain of eternal suffering could not possibly be a loving god. 


I think Epicurus either deliberately or unwittingly left out a possibility:  That the purposes and workings of an infinite, almighty, all-powerful God might--just possibly--show up in ways that are incomprehensible to finite, limited human minds.

 

While you are urging us not to be dogmatic about morality, you yourself are being dogmatic about how you think God should behave, in terms of morality or ethics.  You believe a lie could well end up with a good result (and I don't necessarily disagree).  And yet Almighty God must behave in a way you consider moral and can understand, or else he doesn't exist?  Perhaps, just like the "wrong" of a lie might be outweighed by the good it does, the "wrong" of evil existing (as you consider it) might have some greater purpose which is good in the ultimate accounting of things.

 

I want to address the bolded sentence real quick:  The death of Jesus was not other-sacrifice on the part of God, it was self-sacrifice.  Jesus, being God-made-flesh, willingly put aside the divine and became weak and limited like us, and for us.  In orthodox Christian doctrine, God did not pick some poor fool out of the human race and torture him to death.  Rather, he himself took the punishment for our sins in order to make eternity with him possible.  How that happened gets into the trinity, which is a whole different argument. I just want to clarify that in Christian thought the situation was not "capture and torture" but a willing, deliberate, purposeful self-sacrifice made by God Incarnate.  In doing so, he reconciled justice with mercy.

 

We are not left with no responsibility for our sins.  Temporal consequences remain, as do eternal ones.  A good bit of both the OT and the NT deal with personal responsibility for sin, and the consequences for sin. (which consequences then become yet another reason to rail against God.  'Cause calling something sin and prescribing punishment is all mean and judgemental 'n'at. duck.gif)

 

I have other things to do this morning, but there are plenty of other Christians who have addressed your questions.  http://carm.org/why-there-evil-and-suffering-world   Ultimately though, the only intellectually honest answer, no matter what constitutes a person's religion or rejection of religion is: "I don't know the answer to everything."

post #47 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by les_oiseau View Post



 



Agree. Thanks for bringing up that point since we as believers may take the fact for granted for the sake of conversation, while the non-believers reading here might get a wrong idea of what we believe.



Would it be possible to us a different set of terms than believer/non-believer. As a non-Christian I believe deeply in a number of spiritual and philosophical tennets and I find it somewhat dismissive to be termed as a non-believer simply because my beliefs are different from those who believe the mythology of Christianity. Flip it around- would you like to be called a non-believer because you don't ascribe to Pagan or Huumanist or UU teachings?

Thanks for considering.

Karen

 

post #48 of 63


That would not bother me at all.  I do not ascribe to the Pagan, Humanist or UU teachings.  I am quite the non believer in them.   If someone in those faiths referred to me as one of the nonbelievers I would nod in agreement. I am indeed a nonbeliever.

 

However, this thread title is not specifically focused on Christians and simply stating believer and unbeliever in God really does it leave it open to the question of which God.  So for the sake of clarity people might want to be specific about which groups of believers in what/whom and which groups of non believers in what/whom.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Karenwith4 View Post

 Flip it around- would you like to be called a non-believer because you don't ascribe to Pagan or Huumanist or UU teachings?

 



 

post #49 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post




I think Epicurus either deliberately or unwittingly left out a possibility:  That the purposes and workings of an infinite, almighty, all-powerful God might--just possibly--show up in ways that are incomprehensible to finite, limited human minds.

 

Yes, I have heard this argument before. I suppose I should state that I was once a very staunch Catholic and deeply entrenched in apologetics, just for reference. :) My counter to this is that, if God has some ultimate plan or goal that is ultimately good (and if God is omnibenevolent, his plan must be ultimately good, right?) and he is all powerful, then how could he not have devised a way to reach that goal without the amount of suffering everyone has had to endure. I'm not just talking about things we bring on ourselves, such as crime and such, what about disease? What about natural disasters? What good comes of children born with severe chronic illness or a good person's gruesome death from cancer while his family watches him suffer?

 

Ultimately the whole thing leaves far too many holes and more questions than answers for me, and the conclusion that there either is no God or that he created us and no longer has any interest in us lines up much more with the suffering and misery in the world and also with the scientific understanding of how life began and continues.

 

While you are urging us not to be dogmatic about morality, you yourself are being dogmatic about how you think God should behave, in terms of morality or ethics.  You believe a lie could well end up with a good result (and I don't necessarily disagree).  And yet Almighty God must behave in a way you consider moral and can understand, or else he doesn't exist?  Perhaps, just like the "wrong" of a lie might be outweighed by the good it does, the "wrong" of evil existing (as you consider it) might have some greater purpose which is good in the ultimate accounting of things.

 

Hm, you're probably right. I don't think being dogmatic about morality is good, which in itself is a dogmatic statement. :) Paradox, I suppose. I should clarify that the moral argument was not the reason I stopped believing in God, although it is another nail in the coffin, so to speak, for me. I don't think that God doesn't exist because he is amoral - I think he doesn't exist because I see no evidence for him. Religion, and dogmatic ideas about morality are another issue entirely. 

 

I would like to ask this question though: if we are required to believe in God, Jesus, or whatever any religion requires to get into an afterlife, why would God make his existence or working obscure in such a way that it causes many to lose faith? If he is loving, and he wants us in his presence for eternity, then why does he not have more transparency. In other words, why does one need to try so hard to believe if that is the only thing that would save one's soul? If the blink of time that is my lifetime is all I have to secure my place in heaven, why would God make himself hidden?

 

I want to address the bolded sentence real quick:  The death of Jesus was not other-sacrifice on the part of God, it was self-sacrifice.  Jesus, being God-made-flesh, willingly put aside the divine and became weak and limited like us, and for us.  In orthodox Christian doctrine, God did not pick some poor fool out of the human race and torture him to death.  Rather, he himself took the punishment for our sins in order to make eternity with him possible.  How that happened gets into the trinity, which is a whole different argument. I just want to clarify that in Christian thought the situation was not "capture and torture" but a willing, deliberate, purposeful self-sacrifice made by God Incarnate.  In doing so, he reconciled justice with mercy.

 

So God could have just forgiven us, but instead he sacrificed himself...to himself. I'm still really not sure how that was necessary, or effective. I get the argument of Jesus as example - that he came here to teach us about how to be servants to one another and to care for others more than for ourselves. As Richard Rohr said "he came not to die for us, but to show us how". As I said before, the things Jesus taught were not really unique to him, and if he was not really a sacrifice or a stand in for us, then why worship him? Why does one need to be Christian or believe in Jesus to receive eternal life? If I am a good and caring person, which I strive every day to be, will God grant me entrance into heaven if I die and it turns out he exists? If not, then how is he just, to leave me in the dark for a very brief period of time and then punish me for eternity for my mistake, one that I used my presumably god-given reason to arrive at.

 

We are not left with no responsibility for our sins.  Temporal consequences remain, as do eternal ones.  A good bit of both the OT and the NT deal with personal responsibility for sin, and the consequences for sin. (which consequences then become yet another reason to rail against God.  'Cause calling something sin and prescribing punishment is all mean and judgemental 'n'at. duck.gif)

 

I'm not against justice. I still think criminals should face the consequences of their actions. I'm well aware that if I do something to intentionally hurt someone that there will be consequences - either legal or in my relationship with that person or with others. Those are finite consequences for finite crimes. If I come to the conclusion that there is no god, or if I am gay, or if I do xyz thing that any religion says is immoral, when I'm not actually hurting anyone, then how is it right for God to punish me eternally? That's akin to locking your child in the basement for his entire life for disrespecting you, which in itself is still finite compared to eternity.

 

I have other things to do this morning, but there are plenty of other Christians who have addressed your questions.  http://carm.org/why-there-evil-and-suffering-world   Ultimately though, the only intellectually honest answer, no matter what constitutes a person's religion or rejection of religion is: "I don't know the answer to everything."

 

And that is truly my answer too. I can't know for sure if there is a god or not. Based on many other factors, I feel that the God I once worshipped isn't relevant to my life, and honestly, I am much much happier since I've come to that conclusion. Obviously not everyone comes to the same conclusion or feels the same way. :) As long as people treat each other with kindness, I'm good. 

 

Thank you, cappucinosmom, for taking the time to respond. I find the whole topic intensely interesting, and I hope I was able to be as respectful as you were. :)

 



 

post #50 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post

That's kind of a curious That's kind of an interesting phrasing for me.  I'm a Christian because of the NT.  The OT is a history and a forshadowing of Christ, to me, but it isn't the rock on which I built my faith.  Jesus is. :)


I get that Christianity is essentially about Jesus. As far as I have understood (correct me if I am wrong), Jesus as savior is *the thing* that makes all Christianity, regardless of variation, different from just regular old monotheism. The OT is not the only reason I am not Christian (though, as you may know from my earlier posting in the spirituality forum, I have been drawn to it for a long time). But it seems that in being a Christian one can't just ignore or leave out the OT, no matter how much one focuses on the NT and Jesus, and I just don't know how to deal with it. So it is a factor for me.

 

post #51 of 63



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ursusarctos View Post




I get that Christianity is essentially about Jesus. As far as I have understood (correct me if I am wrong), Jesus as savior is *the thing* that makes all Christianity, regardless of variation, different from just regular old monotheism. The OT is not the only reason I am not Christian (though, as you may know from my earlier posting in the spirituality forum, I have been drawn to it for a long time). But it seems that in being a Christian one can't just ignore or leave out the OT, no matter how much one focuses on the NT and Jesus, and I just don't know how to deal with it. So it is a factor for me.

 



Historic, traditional Christianity views the OT through the lens of Jesus Christ. Jesus interpreted the OT this way. The post-Resurrectional encounter of Luke and Cleopas on the road to Emmaus on the late afternoon on the day of Resurrection in Luke's Gospel is a perfect example of this as is Philip's encounter with the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts.

 

From Biblegateway.com (NKJV):

 

Luke 24: 25 Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.

 

Also Acts 8 (Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch):

 

And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet. 29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.”
30 So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?”
31 And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 The place in the Scripture which he read was this:


      “ He was led as a sheep to the slaughter;
      And as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
       So He opened not His mouth.
       33In His humiliation His justice was taken away,
      And who will declare His generation?
      For His life is taken from the earth.”[b]

34 So the eunuch answered Philip and said, “I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?” 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. 36

 

Other examples would be Peter's first sermon on the day of Pentecost, where he interpreted Psalm 2 through the lens of Christ in Acts.

 

Frankly, without knowledge of the OT, a lot of the NT makes little sense, wrenched out of its proper context. The Epistle to the Hebrews is a perfect example of this.

 

Christ as the Savior, Messiah in Hebrew, Christos in Greek, is not just the thing that sets apart Christianity. As Christ Himself said, He did not come to do away with the Law and the Prophets, but *to fulfill them." As is written in the Epistle to the Hebrews, sacrifice in the Jerusalem Temple was no longer needed once Christ came, because he was the perfect sacrifice, as well as being the Great High Priest. As a hymn I remember puts it, maybe from my Episcopalian days, Christ is both "victim and priest."

 

The mindset of Christians discounting the OT is an ancient heresy - dating to the second century. Marcion - aka the Marcionites.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcion

 

Contrary to popular belief that the First Ecumenical Council formalized the Biblical canon, Marcion's rejection of many Biblical books is what probably spurred the early Church towards developing an accepted list of books in the Bible. St. Athansius the Great, Patriarch of Alexandra, by the way, wrote the first know listing of the now accepted books of the NT in his Festal Letter for Pascha in 367. Note the First Ecumenical Council was in 325.

 

post #52 of 63

 

I couldn't get the quote thing to work as I wanted it to...

 

InMedia Res wrote:
So God could have just forgiven us, but instead he sacrificed himself...to himself. I'm still really not sure how that was necessary, or effective.
 

Actually, the NT never comes right out and says exactly who Christ paid the debt of our sins to.

 

Christ is the second person of the Trinity. It was His free choice to become incarnate. He is both fully God and fully man. He has two natures - Divine and human - but one will. He suffered in His human nature, so we can say that God suffered on the Cross. But His human nature was so sanctified by the Divine that it could not suffer corruption - that's why his physical, human body didn't suffer corruption in the grave.

 

He HAD to suffer to redeem human nature. Think of it as Jesus being the only one who could redeem us. So, someone who was able to pay the debt, paid it. I'm an Orthodox Christian and we don't subscribe to the "substitutionary atonement" that is a Western Christian belief, that the Father demanded payment for our sins and Christ paid that price. He suffered and died for us because of His love for us. Not because an angry God the Father demanded he do it.

 

Some Church Fathers write that even if the Fall hadn't happened, Christ would still have become incarnate.

post #53 of 63
Thread Starter 



Quote:

Originally Posted by InMediasRes View Post


My counter to this is that, if God has some ultimate plan or goal that is ultimately good (and if God is omnibenevolent, his plan must be ultimately good, right?) and he is all powerful, then how could he not have devised a way to reach that goal without the amount of suffering everyone has had to endure. I'm not just talking about things we bring on ourselves, such as crime and such, what about disease? What about natural disasters? What good comes of children born with severe chronic illness or a good person's gruesome death from cancer while his family watches him suffer? 
 

...........

 

Hm, you're probably right. I don't think being dogmatic about morality is good, which in itself is a dogmatic statement. :) Paradox, I suppose. I should clarify that the moral argument was not the reason I stopped believing in God, although it is another nail in the coffin, so to speak, for me. I don't think that God doesn't exist because he is amoral - I think he doesn't exist because I see no evidence for him. Religion, and dogmatic ideas about morality are another issue entirely. 

 

I would like to ask this question though: if we are required to believe in God, Jesus, or whatever any religion requires to get into an afterlife, why would God make his existence or working obscure in such a way that it causes many to lose faith? If he is loving, and he wants us in his presence for eternity, then why does he not have more transparency. In other words, why does one need to try so hard to believe if that is the only thing that would save one's soul? If the blink of time that is my lifetime is all I have to secure my place in heaven, why would God make himself hidden? 



 

 



I want to think more on what you said, but quickly, here are a few thoughts....

 

The Bible says the earth was made good in God's sight, or perfect, for us. Genesis 1:12 says  "The earth brought forth vegetation: seed-bearing plants according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it, according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good."

Genesis 8:22 says (after Noah and the flood)  "As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night will not cease."

This is where my mind goes in response to a lot of the illnesses we have now.  There is a deliberate effort, and has been for a long time, to take away the seed's ability to produce according to it's kind.  And a movement to take from us seedtime and harvest. Many of the foods we eat have been genetically manipulated and I think this is hugely to blame for the illnesses we have now. It is a rejection of the gift and promise of God (natural seeds and harvest) that we have dispair and pain (illness).

 

Along the same lines I think of Hebrews 12:26-28a  "The Lord promised; Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also heaven. Now this expression, "yet once more" indicates the removal of what can be shaken- that is, created things- so that what is not shaken might remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us hold on to it by grace."

So by His grace we can hold to His unshakable self, while all things temporary (of the world, not of God) are shaken until they are gone.

 

 

 

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and insights.... because of what you shared I am really curious to know your thoughts on this question, and I hope this does not sound confrontational or anything, it is in fact something we have been talking about in the church I go to so it's on my mind and I'm curious to know your thoughts...

Why would the world have to be free from sufferings, even ones not directly brought upon ourselves, for the god who created it to be good? Or, why does the existence of suffering imply that an all knowing and all powerful god is somehow not perfectly good? We all agree (I think ) that we don't have all the answers available to us, so why draw the conclusion one way or the other just based on that?

 

I have struggled with the same questions you bring up, so I am not suggesting or implying anything by asking this question. My pastor was recently faced with the posibility that he might loose his 4th child.  So the questions in my mind are (again) if I loose a child, is God still good? If my home burns down or this city is bombed, is God still good?

 

 

 


Edited by les_oiseau - 6/16/11 at 12:46pm
post #54 of 63

I want to clarify, I was not discounting the OT.

 

I view it through my faith in Christ (very much as you described, Tradd).  But it is not the OT that my faith is based on.

post #55 of 63



Augh.  my computer is failing me now.  I have so many things to write, but since I can't do that at the moment, I want to at least take the time to let you know I appreciate your respectful approach and the discussion in general. :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by InMediasRes View Post





 



 

post #56 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by cappuccinosmom View Post

I want to clarify, I was not discounting the OT.

 

I view it through my faith in Christ (very much as you described, Tradd).  But it is not the OT that my faith is based on.


I know that, but many Christians do discount it, and really knowledge of the OT is essential to fully understand the NT. We don't base our faith on the OT, but it is still vital to our faith.

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post #57 of 63

Am I cheating here, jumping to a reply after reading just a few posts?

 

I finally came to a place that I could say I am not a Christian, and the Bible was a big part of that.  My assumption was that to be this I needed to accept a handful of truths that I was unable to make.  1)  That Jesus is the son of God.  2)  That he was placed on this earth to redeem the sins we were born into.  3)  That he literally was raised from the dead and walked this earth before ascending to heaven.  Is it also a requirement to believe that the Bible is not allegory, but a literal history?  

     The fact was I rejected the idea that the idea of God was one who meddles in the affairs of people.  That was the only way to resolve the dilemma of good and evil.  God does not save people.  Does not cause children to die because he needs them in heaven or has some other divine purpose.  I do believe in a Divine Presence, something that is connected to all things as we are connected to all things in our body, and like our body the WHOLE IS CONSCIOUS.  But it is just as much what we call evil as what we call good and beyond all that.  If I see the essence of the divine this way, the problem of just and unjust, morality and immorality become the problems of humanity, not God.  And to arrive at this conclusion I had to reject the Bible as a literal history of a people, to reject the Christian reality of Jesus as Son of God.

     I think it is a wonderful testament to the unity of mankind, apparent on so many levels as an undercurrent of truth, that so many of our basic morals are the same.  Stealing, murder, etc.  People have foibles, therefore their religion has foibles.  The inconsistencies are the inconsistencies of man.  God just is.  That's how I see it.

post #58 of 63

Over 500 witnesses physically saw Jesus raised from the dead so it is hard to say that is not true...

 

The Bible is a historical document regardless of how you view it

 

IDK how much proof you need that Jesus is the son of God the NT is testimony of all that Jesus said and did so if you did not believe his words surely his actions would prove it...he fulfilled the prophecy of the Messiah and foretold of it to his disciples.

 

I suppose you could discount peoples historical written testimonies just because YOU weren't there but that is like calling all those witnesses liars, which I don't think is fair.

post #59 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by sosurreal09 View Post

Over 500 witnesses physically saw Jesus raised from the dead so it is hard to say that is not true... I suppose you could discount peoples historical written testimonies just because YOU weren't there but that is like calling all those witnesses liars, which I don't think is fair.



Five hundred witnesses saw what? An empty tomb or Jesus ascending into the sky? How come no one wrote about it until 40 or so years later in a time when human longevity was not that great?
post #60 of 63

The saw Jesus walking around risen, he did not just beam into the sky...

 

It was very common in those times to have anything important even religious testimonies memorized instead of written. Ask a historian. The first documentation written was 30 years after Jesus' resurrection which is why it is so credible. There are also many many more testimonies or books written besides the 4 used in the Bible. They chose those four to make up the NT.

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