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Old 03-29-2010, 11:01 PM
 
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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.

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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.
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Old 03-30-2010, 12:00 AM
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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.
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Old 03-30-2010, 12:16 AM
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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.
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Old 03-30-2010, 12:17 AM
 
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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"

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Old 03-30-2010, 02:28 AM
 
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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

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Old 03-30-2010, 12:55 PM
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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?

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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?

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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?
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Old 03-30-2010, 01:25 PM
 
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Everything God created was "good"...perfect. We chose our imperfection with our own free will.
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Old 03-30-2010, 05:14 PM
 
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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.

 I like the mind to be a dustbin of scraps of brilliant fabric, odd gems, worthless but fascinating curiosities, tinsel, quaint bits of carving, and a reasonable amount of healthy dirt.
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Old 03-30-2010, 05:16 PM
 
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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"

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Old 03-30-2010, 10:23 PM
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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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Old 03-31-2010, 09:12 PM
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You might really like Joseph Campbell's Hero with A Thousand Faces and how it discusses the Jesus story.
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Old 03-31-2010, 09:55 PM
 
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You might really like Joseph Campbell's Hero with A Thousand Faces and how it discusses the Jesus story.
I liked The Hero With A Thousand Faces, but I got really turned off Cambell's approach to mythology when I saw him interviewed once. He compared the Christian creation myth, which he said was divisive and responsible for all kinds of bad things in Western culture, with an Eastern myth which he said was holistic. But he actually only told part of each story so that it better supported the point he wanted to prove. I found it really hard to take his work seriously after that.

 I like the mind to be a dustbin of scraps of brilliant fabric, odd gems, worthless but fascinating curiosities, tinsel, quaint bits of carving, and a reasonable amount of healthy dirt.
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Old 04-02-2010, 01:46 AM
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How is perfection capable of creating imperfection?

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?

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?
Well, this thead kinda slipped my mind today because my babe is sick... so this may not be the most thoroughly thought out.
Best I can do on question #1 is that God is capable of anything. God, to me and most christians, is everything good, to the point that there is no good without him. In fact, to be without God is to have a lack of truth, love, goodness... etc etc. We can experience degrees of it without God but not in its true and unaltered freedom.

I haven't gotten a chance to read those verses that Shami put up yet, but, about the world before sin came in. The world itself was perfect. The physical world was perfect, because that is the way that God created it. However, if the world of ideas, or the world of thought were to be made perfect, then we would not have free will. CLARIFICATION: To be without God is to be imperfect, so if we are to separate ourselves from God mentally, then we make our thoughts/ideas imperfect. (And of course if God created our minds perfect then we would not be capable of separating ourselves mentally from him and thus not have free will).

And so the serpent questioned whether God made sense to say "don't eat from that tree". If you read the story, the serpent asked them "did God really say don't eat from that tree?" . he said "you will surely not die" (I don't have a bible in front of me).
ei, he said---" you aren't really going to listen to God are you?"


So the disobedience was evil. And it brought evil into the world (separation from God. That is the def of sin, anything that separates us from God. )
And that is how they will "come to know good contrasted with evil". becase they will bring evil into the world. (From what I said in previous post--- I meant, that the "knowlegde of good and evil" was really telling them directly that evil will enter the world as a result of eating. Since evil was not in the world, how can they have knowlegde of it, unless they ... obtain knowlegde, by experiencing. So God was saying 'you eat from this tree, you will know of good (already in the world) and evil (you will experience as a result of eating/disobeying)'

Whether to listen to God or th serpent was their choice. You can make the argument that they didn't know who God was, or that they thought the serpent was good. But I don't think either are good arguments since
1. They knew God created the world, and for them, non the less. That's obvious bcause He told them to help Him in His creation work (by naming the animals.) Bible says they walked with God...... and if God is truth then He doesn't hide who He is.
2. if they knew who God is then there is no mistake about someone (serpent) who calls Him a liar. or a misleader.


I hope this helps.

I know it's hard to imagine a god like the christian god, esp when you add in all these things that seem to contradict one another. When I started trying to figure out who he was claiming to be, my starting point was good vs evil. Once I could see that good and evil can not co-exist in the least, then I coul wrap my head around some of the other stuff...
So, I know it's all hypothetical for you , but maybe that a starting point for understanding?
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Old 04-02-2010, 02:45 AM
 
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Just had a thought, maybe it's not of much use but here it is anyway.

God has free will. He can do as He pleases.
We were made in God's image, therefore we have free will. His angels have free will, too. Thus, His top most angel deciding that he wanted to be God.
Once, was his name Lucifer? Once he was cast down to the earth, he became the god of this age. The bible says he roams around like a lion to devour us. In the garden he was a serpent, but through out the centuries he is devouring souls and eventually he is depicted as a dragon in Revelation. Yikes.

The fact that we have free will must make it all the more sweet to God that we choose Him and not other things.

About perfection:
He is making us like Him through a process. He dispenses Himself into us. His divine life begins to spread from our spirit, to our soul (mind, emotion, will) (1 Thes. 5:23), and eventually our body (transfiguration of our body). As we open to receive Him through an intimate relationship with Him, He adds Himself to us, and we become like Him in life and nature, but never in the Godhead to be worshipped. We have this sin nature in our flesh, which we will be done with when our body is transfigured. So free will is very important, in the sense that it ain't easy to choose God or God's way. Spiritual warfare is very real. There is a fight over us every day, maybe even every moment.

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Old 04-02-2010, 10:39 AM
 
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Adding a verse to my pp #39, but I wanted to put it here too.

Zechariah 12:1

"...Thus declares Jehovah, who stretches forth the heavens and lays the foundations of the earth and forms the spirit of man within him"

This is a striking verse to me, especially when combined with other verses on the human spirit, like John 4:24, 1 Cor 6:17, 1 Thes 5:23. This shows the importance of the human spirit in God's creation.
The heavens are for earth, the earth is for man, and man was created by God with a spirit that he may contact God, receive God, worship God, live God, fulfill God's purpose for God, and be one with God.

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Old 04-02-2010, 06:06 PM
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Thanks for helping me to understand what you believe and why you believe it.
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Old 04-03-2010, 12:20 AM
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Thanks for helping me to understand what you believe and why you believe it.
If I sounded short in my last post I didn't mean to. Was trying to finish before my dd woke back up
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Old 04-05-2010, 10:46 AM
 
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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.
Kind of goes back the whole "can God create a rock so heavy He can't lift it?" Why can't a perfect, all powerful being be capable of creating something imperfect? If God could not create imperfection, how could He be all powerful?

I don't think obedience requires full knowledge. If I tell my 2 year old not to run out in the street, she doesn't need to grasp the concept of death to know that she should to listen to me. She simply needs to trust me. If doesn't listen, she might not have full knowledge of the consequences, but absolutely knows that she disobeyed me.

God gave us inquisitive minds and we should use them, but Christ also makes many references to having faith like a child. People who are critical of Christianity tend to interpret that as Christ wanting us to be "stupid" and "ignorant," but I think what Christ was trying to impart is that we can't know it all, and that there are times when we need to simply trust that God knows what He's doing. It's pure hubris for us to demand that God give us full knowledge of eternity before we can accept Him, or before we're responsible for our decisions.
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