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Re: Agnostics: Are you afraid of hell?
« Reply #135 on: October 26, 2020, 03:17:12 pm »
Okay, but God isn’t literally evolving from a mountain god to the One Lord, right and wrong isn’t literally changing, just our understandings of it. What’s God’s justification for revealing it in bits instead of revealing Truth to humanity all at once, instead of waiting so long?

The whole universe is based on the principle of least action until it reaches the Omega point (OP). The transition to this OP is what Paul says "God will be all in all" in I Cor. 15:28. The reason for this is due to the redemptive nature of God's nature which forms us from the clay of the ground and breathes in us God's spirit which actually occurs over a 13.8 billion years from the very beginning.

Quote from: CI
Like GR suggested — “you know slavery is bad, too?”

But it addition to being a progressive creation it is also an immanent creation where change and discovery happen by the Kingdom being put "in" us and then spreading change. This is perhaps the most fundamental aspect of the message of Jesus. So slavery and other sinful arrangements is a revealing process that comes by walking in the faith. It is something we come to see as we mature in the faith.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2020, 09:17:29 pm by Harvey »



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Re: Agnostics: Are you afraid of hell?
« Reply #136 on: October 26, 2020, 03:47:12 pm »
It’s up for debate whether the authors of the Old Testament saw the Canaanite gods (such as Baal, Ashera, and Dagon) as real gods who were not to be worshipped (which I think is called monolatry) or imaginary gods. Isaiah 44:9-20 seems to imply that all gods besides Yahweh are only imaginary,

Deut 32 sheds a little light for me concerning their thinking about these gods - that they were real in the form of demons, possibly.

16 They stirred him to jealousy with strange gods; with abominations they provoked him to anger.
17 They sacrificed to demons that were no gods, to gods they had never known, to new gods that had come recently, whom your fathers had never dreaded.
18 You were unmindful of the Rock that bore you, and you forgot the God who gave you birth.  - Deuteronomy 32:16-18

Right, passages like that imply that the other gods are real spiritual beings (we’d refer to them as demons) who are not to be worshipped. That’s in contrast to passages like Isaiah 44 that imply other gods are just imaginary, idols of stone.

Could be both, I suppose, like some of these gods existing as demons while others were just statues. Isaiah 44 sounds like it’s describing a man making a god for himself. I think individual familial god(s) also existed in the ancient world within the broader pantheon of the chief gods of the nation - think Ra, Baal or Zeus for example having demonic forces behind them while family/clan gods didn’t...or, maybe some of them even did.
Pride goes before destruction,
and a haughty spirit before a fall.

- Proverbs 16:18



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Re: Agnostics: Are you afraid of hell?
« Reply #137 on: October 27, 2020, 12:25:39 am »
@ChristianInvestigator: You've got to remember that the bible is made of 66 books, each of which may be written/edited by multiple authors at different times in history. None of them have the same concept of God and they are all writing for different reasons. Some of these authors may have concept of Yahweh as all knowing for example, others clearly don't.

I've always been a fan of actions speak louder than words and this is true of the bible too. If we're determining what someone is like we look at their actions not what their followers might say about them or even what they say about themselves. Neither Yahweh, nor Jesus, act as if they are omnipotent, omniscient or all good. Yahweh constantly makes mistakes, his plans go awry, he changes his mind based on humans pleading with him etc. One example would be the flood, where after Yahweh regrets what he has done and promises never to do it again. None of the passages you quoted point to omnipotence but would it really matter? Kings are constantly praised by their followers for being most wise, most powerful etc. why would we base any conclusions about properties or character of God from these platitudes?

My personal view is that Jesus chose to make limited use of his divine attributes during the incarnation. So He wasn’t constantly omniscient or omnipotent during every moment described in the gospels. As for Yahweh in the Old Testament, I don’t know what you are referring to about God’s plans “going awry,” but you’re right that there are several moments where God changes His mind. Some of these are examples of “anthropomorphizing” God by using human terms to describe something that cannot be understood by our minds, and some of them are just examples of God testing someone.

For example: In Exodus 32, YHWH tells Moses that He will destroy Israel. Moses responds by reminding YHWH of the covenant He made with Israel. Then “the LORD relents from the disaster he had spoken of.”
My view is that what is going on here is anthropomorphism on the scribe’s part, describing God “speaking” and “relenting,” although obviously those are not things God literally does. Moses isn’t really convincing YHWH to change His mind, instead God is threatening to destroy Israel (which He is really not planning to do) in order to encourage Moses to step up into his role as Israel’s leader and intercessor. It’s a teaching moment for Moses.
The text doesn’t say that explicitly, but that’s how I read what’s going on in that passage. There are many plausible interpretations, my point is that you don’t have to assume that the authors of the Bible see God as a limited being.

Quote from: Gnil

By Woolly, I mean the Christian God is not not well defined. It's a fairly fluid concept that will be different for every believer but is often such an empty concept that one can't make any predictions or test to see if the concept might have any truth in reality. .

I don’t know about that, there are plenty of concrete words we have to describe God, and we can know a bit about His personality and typical actions from studying the Bible. Sure every believer imagines God differently, and there’s a lot about God that’s still a mystery, but there are several concrete descriptions to go off of.

Quote from: Gnil

I think we're going to have a fundamental disagreement here. Jesus' followers could accurately report that he rose from the dead but it doesn't follow from this that God exists or that he caused Jesus to be raised, that Jesus and God are one etc. All we could conclude would be that Jesus rose from the dead. Paul was simply wrong when he said Christianity stands of falls on Christ's resurrection. None of the other beliefs of Christianity follow from Christ's resurrection.

I'm sure you must see this but I'll try and ask a simple one: If say the author of the 1st gospel is correct that Jesus rose, how does it follow that the author of numbers was correct when he said Balaam had a talking donkey? Can you me the line that connects the two please because as far as I can tell their truth or falsehood is completely independent of each other and must be investigated separately.

Here it is:
We assume off the bat that Jesus rose from the dead (for the sake of argument).
The immediate question is — how? There are several possibilities. Maybe there’s an alien race, for example, that resurrected Jesus as an elaborate hoax. But since Jesus was resurrected in a religious context, taught about God, and claimed to be the Christ, it’s most reasonable to assume that he was resurrected by that God he was always talking about — the Hebrew God.
So it follows that if the reports of Jesus’ resurrection are true, it’s reasonable to assume that God exists and caused him to be raised. Can we at least agree on that?

Drawing the line to Balaam’s donkey is a little less direct, but there is still a connection. We’ve answered “how” was Jesus raised, the next question is “why” was Jesus raised? I think one reason why God would want to raise Jesus from the dead is in order to vindicate His message. “This guy was legit — here’s a resurrection to prove it.” It’s also reasonable to think that God would want to preserve that message for future generations. So that validates the New Testament (or at least the teachings of Jesus) which validates the Old Testament (because Jesus taught that "the scriptures" were trustworthy) which validates Balaam's donkey.

That's the basic reasoning, at least. I agree that the argument isn't super strong when it comes to validating the entire Bible, but I think it's perfectly reasonable to infer God's existence given an actual resurrection (the first paragraph). Do you agree?
"This year, though I'm far from home
In Trench I'm not alone.
These faces facing me,
They know... what I mean."