Monday, September 19, 2005

Space And Time

Past the edge, and before the beginning. I got involved in a discussion the other day about how the universe began. I used to think about that sort of thing a lot, although often I was aided (or hindered) by substances well within space and time, if you know what I'm saying. These days I never seem to have the time to s-l-o-w d-o-w-n and ponder such things, though when I do it's with an older but clearer mind.

Some people say that at the edge of the universe, space curves and bends back over on itself or some such nonsense. Well what happens if you ignore the curve and go straight? Where does that go? Or if there's a wall at the end of the universe, what's on the other side of the wall?

Some people say that the universe started with a "big bang", and that before that there was no universe, or even no "before that". What caused "nothing" to explode into "everything" when it did instead of a trillion years before or after? Nothing, it just did. That seems really weak.

Some people (myself included) say that the universe and everything in it was created by God. Well, like the other answers it IS an answer, but not really one that answers the question. At least not to my satisfaction. Because who created God? Nobody, He was always there and always will be. What did He do for the eons before He created the universe, and where was He all that time? Just bobbing around in space all alone? It seems to me that the more knowledgeable people get, the more complex becomes their way of saying "Who knows?" They start using bigger words and talking quantum physics but it still doesn't answer the question. "Our finite minds can't comprehend infinity or eternity". Well no duh! That's why we don't understand the answer! It's kinda like I'm watching an episode of the Twilight Zone and thinking "Wow, that would be wierd if something like that happened." Only something like that DID happen, because here we are. We exist, and so does the universe!

But I think that's one reason why I'm stuck on believing God created it all. I can't comprehend how it (the universe) would have come into existence without someone getting the ball rolling, so I have to believe there exists an incomprehensible being who did get the ball rolling, even though I can't fathom where He came from. And since He made all this, He must have had a reason.

What do YOU think?

124 Comments:

Blogger TE said...

Derifter,
I've been to outer space too, I mean spaced out, no wait, I'm back now. WOW man! Is this cool or what; or what; or what. The hands on the clock are freaking me out. They're cracking me up! munch...

That was me from 1979 to 1981. I think.

Hey, years before I was ever a Christian, I knew there had to be a God, of some sort, because something had to put the Universe here. I knew something greater than the Universe must have done it.
Now I know that God, in a personal way.

Thinking of the Universe is one of the coolest things there is to do.

What about this? Eternal = No-Time.

God can not be limited to something He created. Time is simply a way of measuring things that change. Everything in the Universe is in a constant state of change, from the atom to the largest galaxies.

God does not change. Therefore, He can't be effected by time. We use the clock (that man invented) to measure the rate of change of planet Earth. It helps us stay on schedule.[Well, it helps some people.]

The closer things are to us, the easier it is to track their rate of change. Like, the Earth's rotation; revolutions of the moon around the Earth; revolutions of Earth around the Sun; other planets around the Sun. As we look beyond our solar system, it starts getting more difficult to get an exact rate of change on things.

God is not bound by time, like us, but He can interact with those in time. Time has no power over God, He has power over it, because He created it.

So, thinking of God, as existing in time, as we understand it, is a category mistake. God is eternal. He lives in no- time.

He created space and placed things into it. He is greater and is beyond the limits of space. Though, He controls it and interacts with things that are in it.

Before God, nothing existed, but God. (Try to imagine nothingness, you can't do it.) God created something out of nothing. Something only God can do.

Toss something back to me.

T.E.

September 20, 2005 9:15 PM  
Blogger DErifter said...

HAHA! TE, now YOU'RE starting to freak ME out! You must have had some good stuff back then.

Your thoughts on time and space make a lot of sense, and I think it HAS to be that God created it just like you said. I can't imagine nothingness, or before time, but God creating both from outside of both is strangely somehow understandable. I still would like to go back one more step and know more about where He came from and what He did before He created them though. (I know... He was always there) But my mind can't DO that! It reminds me of looking at a reflection of your reflection in a mirror, you know how it seems like you're looking around a corner that you can't quite see around?

When you said "Eternal = No Time" it reminded me of that wierd verse in Colossians 3 where it says "for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory." It's one of those that makes you go "Wha-? I died? Then where am I now???

So you're telling me that what we're doing now has already happened? Or that, since time is only an invention for our convenience, what we're doing now has always BEEN happening, and always WILL be? Like we're in a living snapshot of everything that has ever happened, or ever will happen, all happening at the same time and continuing forever? (Scratch the word "time" in that sentence because it's not real.)

I do enjoy thinking about it, but I also hate thinking about it. It's fun and aggravating at the same time.

Break it down for me, TE!

September 21, 2005 5:46 PM  
Blogger TE said...

Derifter,

I don't want to freak you out, I just don't want to be serious all the time, and I'm serious.

Speaking of time, lets talk about it. I'm just going to throw stuff out there. I'm just exploring our infinite creator. He made us with the desire to explore, so I'm on an exploration for the truth. What's really cool, is that we will be exploring the infinite God forever. It will never end. It will be an impossibility to get board. After a drillion years of exploration, God will still have new things ahead to learn about and enjoy.

God is not bound by time, but can interact with those in time. When God spoke the universe into existence, at that moment, time began for the universe and for those who would live in it. God can't be limited by something that did not exist until He created it. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. So from our standpoint, when we look at God, we see a God that has not changed. God is the same today as He was yesterday, although I am not the same today as I was yesterday. God will be the same tomorrow as He is today, although I will be different tomorrow than I am today. He created the universe and time so that beings that change can function. As you know, we keep track of time by using the consistency of our solar system.

God is an infinite being and that is impossible to comprehend. We only understand things that have a beginning and ending. A being that begins to exist at a certain point in time, can only comprehend things that have a beginning. It's impossible for a finite mind to comprehend a infinite mind. That's what seperates a contingent being from a necessary being. But, we can know by using logic that a necessary being must exist.

So who created God? If some being created God, then God wouldn't be God. That would make the other being that created God the true God. But who created that being? We know that we can't have an infinite regression. There must be a uncaused first cause. There must be a being that is self existent. There must be a first being that did not need a cause. That first cause must be a necessary being. This necessary being fits the description of the God of the Bible perfectly. He said to Moses, "I Am". God was saying,"I exist". He can't not exist. He must exist.

We puny humans can't totally comprehend God. But we can logically conclude that He must exist.

T.E.

September 21, 2005 9:47 PM  
Blogger DErifter said...

TE,
I knew that when you were serious you were very serious, but I now know that when you're kooky you're wacko! (smirk)

The guy at work, who I was talking with the other day, thinks that Martians probably "seeded" us, you know- started our civilization just for their own entertainment, like we would with Sea Monkeys(tm). When I asked him where the Martians came from, he said they in turn were seeded by some other, more advanced race, and so on. When pressed further about where THOSE beings came from, he finally said "They were just always there."

So I told him that was basically the concept of God: A being or beings who always existed, are so far advanced over us that it might as well be infinite, and having the power to create civilizations, might as well be God. (You probably figured out that he doesn't believe in the existence of "God", just these super-advanced aliens. But it all goes back to the same place in the context of time, space, and where we came from. "Who knows?"

Well, we do, but who can explain it to any kind of satisfaction?

September 22, 2005 6:16 PM  
Anonymous Josh said...

Hey, guys. Great discussion, and one that I've been doing some thinking on for some time.

T.E., I like your arguments about God being "above" or "outside" of time because He created it. However, I think I'm going to have to disagree with you overall (although it is a loving disagreement, and not an angry disagreement...haha). What is time, really? It is merely a way for us to measure sequence. But is God above sequence? Well, since we are admitting that God existed before the earth, we must believe that God existed at a time, or sequence, before the earth was formed. So why would we assume that if God, at least at one time, existed in sequence (time) that He does not anymore?

And what is our biblical argument? What passages of Scripture can we point to that prove that God is outside of time? Is it even possible for God to exist outside of time? I'm not trying to limit God here, but obviously there are some things that God cannot do because they are not logically possible. For instance, God cannot make a colorless red car. The fact that it is red means that it cannot be without color. God cannot make a rock so big that He can't pick it up because there is no such thing as a rock that He can't pick up. Also, God cannot make two mountains stand side by side without necessarily creating a valley between them because the very definition of a mountain is that it peaks and then trails off to a lower elevation.

So is it even make logically possible for God to exist outside of sequence (or time)? Is there any way that He could have set up the world so that this makes sense? I'm just asking questions, and I would love to hear what you guys think about this one.

-Josh

September 25, 2005 2:35 PM  
Blogger DErifter said...

Hi Josh, and welcome!

I sure don't have this nailed down, that's one of the reasons for the post. I'm interested in what other people do with these concepts. Most probably don't give it too much thought, except for "I don't have time" or "I need some space" or "I haven't been spaced out in a long time"

All right, that last one is maybe a little different, but still.

If I understand Truth Explorer's theory, God only existed (sequentially) before the earth from OUR perspective. From God's perspective, there could be no before or after. Think of God looking at an empty box from outside of that box (pre-creation)

Now God fills the box with both space and time (creation), though He Himself remains outside of the box. We, who are inside the box and have never been outside of it, can't comprehend anything that is not in the box: it's our whole world. But from God's perspective, since He is still there just as He always has been and always will be, nothing outside the box has changed, only the things inside the box. (Namely us, the universe, and time.) So He can observe and interact with things inside the box, without changing what lies outside of the box.

The biblical support might be Psalm 103:17 "Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God." No beginning or end. In fact, He IS the beginning and the end (alpha & omega).

That's "if" I understand TE's theory. I'm excited to see what he's got to say. Am I close, TE?

Now about those "colorless red car" and "rock He can't lift" questions and others like them, call me illogical but I say yes, He can make a colorless red car, and yes He can make a rock so heavy that He can't lift it. The fact that I don't understand how He could do it doesn't change the fact that He can. How many puzzles have you seen that seem impossible until you see how it's done? Someday it'll be obvious. Of course! So THAT'S how you make 2 mountains stand side by side without a valley between them, I never would have thought of THAT!

By the way, Josh- We'll assume that any disagreements here are not angry ones unless so stated. That seems to work pretty well. We're just sharing ideas, not mandating conformity! Thanks for your comments.

September 25, 2005 9:04 PM  
Blogger TE said...

I was here.
I'll be back.
T.E.

September 26, 2005 3:44 PM  
Blogger TE said...

Derifter and Josh,

God is spirit and has no need of space. Space only helps being that need space in order to move or change. Space serves no purpose in God's ability to exist. Space is needed though, for human beings to exist. Without space we could not move. Neither space nor matter can limit or help God. But God uses space to help us in our existence. God places gas in space so we can breath. God is not a physical being and has no need of space or no space. The spirit of God has no need to move, He is everywhere present.
We see outer space and understand that only a infinite God could make limitless space.
We are making a category mistake when we try to place a non-changing, self existent being into a time-space continuum. A self-existent being can not come to exist at a certain point in time. He simply exist. It's impossible for time to affect this type of being. On the other hand, Contingent beings are beings that come to exist. Anything that comes to exist, has come to exist in time, because he is not a self-existent being.

God is the same yesterday, today and forever. If God must obey the law of time, then this means he has the potential to change, and if he has the potential to change, he can only become something less than he is and something less than he is, would make him something other than God. This means that God would have the potential to do evil, and this presents numerous problems.

Many things we know about God are not stated explicitly in the Bible, but are stated implicitly. The word trinity is not in the Bible, but it can be understood by gathering certain facts, which make the concept of the trinity undeniable. We understand that the prophecies in the Bible could not have been made by a God that is limited by time. Therefore there was no potential of God missing a prophecy.

We must be cautious and realize that even though we are made in God's image, we are not duplicates of God. We have some knowledge, but God has all knowledge. We are finite, He is infinite. We have a little power, He is all powerful. So, just because we are limited by time, that doesn't mean the creator is limited by it.


The size and weight of objects are normally compared to limited man. An ant is small because it is smaller than me. The Sun is big when compared to me. God is not a physical being. The material size of an object has no effect on God or on His ability to move it. God is infinite in power. If God made a rock a billion times larger than all the matter in the universe combined, He could still make one, a billion times larger than that one, and another a billion times larger than that one and on and on. We may not be able to comprehend an infinite being, but it is logical that an infinite and unlimited being is not limited as we are. We can't comprehend how space can go on without end, but it is logical that a infinite god could create such a thing.
A being that can create something from nothing can't be limited by that thing.

We have given names to different objects , so that we can identify them. Different objects have different shapes. A circle is a circle as long as it stays in that shape. If God changed a circle into a square, it would no longer be a circle, it would be a square. We must be careful of category mistakes. God could change the shape of the Sun from a round object into a block shaped object if He so desired. There is no problem here. The only problem would come if we continued to call it round.
The same applies with the colorless red car. A colorless red car is not colorless any longer, it is now red.

I hope I didn't miss anything, but if I did, I'll be back.

T.E.

September 26, 2005 8:59 PM  
Blogger TE said...

So much for my Chiefs being good this year. Denver 20 --- Chiefs o Six minutes left before half time.

T.E.

This Sucks!!!

September 26, 2005 9:20 PM  
Blogger DErifter said...

TE,
I can tell you've spent some time thinking about this. ("Time". Listen to me, will ya? Haha!)

Both of you,
I'm sticking to my guns on this "colorless red car/heavy rock" deal.

Josh,
It looks like you view them as pointless questions, since both of the available answers seem to contradict each other. (If the car is colorless, it can't be red. If God can lift the rock, then it's not a rock that He can't lift.)

TE,
You seem to suggest that the answer to these questions is "No, God can't make the car red, because then it wouldn't be colorless" and the same with the rock.

Pretty similar, but still different views. Illogical vs. impossible.

I still think that due to God's omnipotence that yes, He CAN make the colorless car that's red and also the rock that's too heavy for Him to lift. The fact that we don't understand how He could do that has no bearing on the fact that He can. By saying either that it's illogical or that it can't be done, I think we're putting our limits on the limitless God. Our limits from inside the box don't apply to someone who is outside the box (from my earlier example).

TE, when you said:

"We may not be able to comprehend an infinite being, but it is logical that an infinite and unlimited being is not limited as we are. We can't comprehend how space can go on without end, but it is logical that a infinite god could create such a thing."

, you both made my point (about the above questions) and confirmed what I said earlier about how even though I can't fathom how God came to be, I CAN (well, sort of) get my mind around His creating both space and time.

I can feel my mind expanding....


PS- After I gave up on the Vikings last week (in writing no less!) Look what they went and did to the Saints! I'm not sure WHAT to expect from them this week against Atlanta, but I expect Michael Vick to have a big game. I'm really going out on a limb there, huh.

Josh, do you follow football at all? And if so, who's your team?

September 27, 2005 1:14 AM  
Blogger TE said...

Derifter,

For God to make a rock so big that He couldn't lift it, He would need to create an object, much more massive than the rock, so that the force of gravity would be strong enough to prevent Him from lifting the rock. For God not to be able to lift the rock, He must first move these objects into the correct position, so that He may attempt to lift the rock, which He just moved.

God is not a human being, but is spirit. No material object or any element that He creates out of nothing, can have any influence on Him. Humans, on the other hand, can build something (from materials that already exist) that is to heavy for one (flesh and bone) man to lift from our planets' gravitational force.

Are there things God can't do? The infinite God of the Bible cannot create another infinite God. There is no room for two infinite Gods. [God cannot break the law of noncontradiction. (A is not non-A)] God is a rational being by nature. If God can be both rational and irrational,(like humans sometimes are) then we are going to run into a lot of problems. For one thing, We would have no solid base from which to know what is rational or irrational.

God is a constant being. We should be very thankful that God is a constant being. This way, we know that God tells only the truth. Because He cannot not tell the truth. Part of His perfect and constant nature is truth. Our whole basis for knowing what truth is, comes from God Himself.

We can actually be relieved that God can't break or go against His own nature, which in fact, would be rebellion against Himself. We can trust in His constant nature.

Gods' nature and attributes are perfect and unchangeable. He is a certain and constant being. God is a logical being, whom cannot break the law of noncontradiction, because it wouldn't be within His own being or nature to do so.

Therefore, God cannot make a colorless red car, because it is not within His nature or being to do such a thing. Since there is no other necessary being in existence, from which such a thing could happen, we know that a colorless car will never be red.

T.E.

September 27, 2005 10:21 PM  
Blogger TE said...

Derifter , I did not prove your point. An infinite God, may create endless space. Endless space = Endless space. There is no contradiction here, even though I can't comprehend something without ending or beginning.

A Colorless car is not a red car. Here we have broken the law of noncontradiction.

T.E.

September 27, 2005 10:38 PM  
Blogger DErifter said...

Well I think we can be pretty sure that we'll never see a colorless red car, but I think God could make one if He chose too. That's just me.

I agree completely that we can be glad in the end that God is constant. But we just see the means differently. You say He CAN'T go against His own nature, I'd say He WON'T go against His own nature. I think He could, but because of who He is He never would. I think He's sovereign and can do whatever He wants, but what He wants is ALWAYS good. Conceivably, He could even do evil, but He would never choose to because He is good. He has free will too, or what would be the value of His love for us? He'd be a robot if He HAD to love us.

Either way, I'm glad He is the way He is. Now if only He would cause the Vikings to be consistently good.
Have yourself a nice night, TE.

September 27, 2005 10:45 PM  
Blogger TE said...

What color is a colorless red car?

September 27, 2005 11:05 PM  
Blogger DErifter said...

It's red, but there is no color, otherwise it wouldn't be colorless!

Where does space end?

What happened before time started?

September 28, 2005 6:38 PM  
Blogger TE said...

Derifter,

Comparing time & space to a colorless, red colored car, is like comparing apples and oranges.

We live in time & space, and we see colors. These things exist and can be understood, at least to a scientific and logical point. A colorless red car is illogical. It breaks the law of noncontradiction that comes from the nature of God himself. God cannot be anything other than what he is, (one of which is being logical) therefore, we know that there will never be any such thing as a colorless red car. A red car is red and a colorless car is colorless.

It's the same with sin. God is sinless by nature. God cannot sin. He is pure rightousness. He is holy. Sin can only come from something outside of God, and everything outside of God was created by God, and God cannot be effected by anything He created. We do not need to worry that God might decide to sin one day and start doing evil things to us, because He can only do what is ultimately good. God has a free will to do as He pleases', still, He cannot violate His own nature. It may be His will to do certain things, but whatever He does will never violate His own nature. If God did violate His own nature, He would self-destruct, and everything as we know it would cease to exist. Not being able to sin is another thing we can't comprehend, but I can still accept that God has no probability of sinning. It doesn't break the law of noncontradiction.

I can accept that an infinite God could create infinite space. I can accept that God could create time. These things are logical. But creating a colorless red car is not logical and is not acceptable.

>Where does space end? It doesn't end, and it doesn't need to end, because an infinite God created it. Also, God can take it out of existence.

>What happened before time started? This is a self defeating statement. If something "happened", then it was in "time", not before "time". This is a category mistake.

T.E.

September 28, 2005 8:20 PM  
Blogger DErifter said...

How can you say that infinite space is logical? How much time would it take to travel from one end of the universe to the other, even using wormholes? It's silliness! You can't comprehend endless space, or the first thing ever to occur, or a colorless red car. That's my point. They all dare our minds to understand them. They make us crazy.

How did a burning bush, which has no vocal chords with which to speak, still manage to speak to Moses? Wouldn't that be illogical? But God did it. He is not bound by any law.

You can accept that God could create time, and to you that's logical. What did He do just before that? I'm not saying you're wrong necessarily, I just think you're limiting God. Why is it illogical that a car could be colorless AND red, but you say it's logical that time exists now, but there was a time when it didn't? If there was a time when time didn't exist, then isn't "now", AFTER that?

September 28, 2005 9:45 PM  
Anonymous Josh said...

Hey, guys. Sorry it's been a few days since I've said anything. I've been swamped at work.

My biggest problem with the conversation thus far is that it has been entirely philosophical and not at all Scriptural. Don't get me wrong: I'm a strong believer in reconciling our faith with philosophical principles. However, the Bible must come first when discussing our disagreements. I hope to point out some passages that put a rather large dent in the idea that God exists completely outside of time. First, though, I want to answer T.E.’s philosophical argument that for God to exist within time (or "sequence") would mean that God would be susceptible to change.

T.E. says that if God can change then He must change for the better or for the worse. Since God is perfect, this change is not possible for He is already the best He can possibly be. This idea dates back to Plato, who obviously was not a Christian since he was born several hundred years before Christ. I have never understood why so many Christians tend to put great deals of faith in Greek philosophy, which was essentially pagan. However, a great deal of our theological tradition comes from Plato and from Aristotle’s concept of God as an unchanging “unmoved mover.” I want to argue that the idea of God being unchanging is unbiblical and makes no philosophical sense.

The “unchanging” argument seems to make sense as long as two assumptions are granted to its presenter: 1) that it is possible to conceive of a meaning for “perfect” that excludes change in any and every respect and 2) that we must understand God in just this sense. God may be completely unchanging in certain respects, such as His righteousness. But the very fact that He is unswerving in His righteousness would necessitate Him changing in some situations. Example: if the creatures behave according to God’s will, God will appreciate this behavior; if not, God will have a different response, equally appropriate and expressive of the divine goodness.

To be completely unchanging, as Aristotle suggested, would logically lead to Aristotle’s idea of God in totality: “If God actually pushed the world in any way, then that would mean a change in God. If God entered into any sort of relation to the world then God would in some sense be dependent on the world. Therefore, the world is moved toward God by His existence, but God does not move toward the world.”

This idea falls apart completely in light of the fact that God entered into the world at a specific moment in time in the form of Jesus Christ. He transferred His inhabitance from the spiritual to the physical. If God truly is completely unchanging then Jesus Christ’s death on the cross is an impossibility.

Truth be told, however, there are over forty passages in the Bible that speak of God changing, relenting, or repenting and only two passages that say He doesn’t. Those two passages, when read in context, do not close the door on God’s attribute of changeability.

1 Samuel 15:29 says, “He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a man that he should change his mind.” This passage, however, speaks directly to the issue of whether God is reliable and true to his promises. The Scripture answer a resounding “YES!”, because, as we have already established, God is unchanging in righteousness. It is also quite noteworthy that this same chapter, 1 Samuel 15, twice states that God does repent.

1 Samuel 15:11—"I am grieved that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions."

1 Samuel 15:35—Until the day Samuel died, he did not go to see Saul again, though Samuel mourned for him. And the LORD was grieved that he had made Saul king over Israel.

Similarly, the other passage that says that God does not change is Number 23:19, which says, “God is not a human being that he should lie, or a mortal, that he should change his mind. Has he promised, and will he not do it? Has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?”

Once again, the point of the passage is to speak to the eternality of God’s character and His promises. It is not to imply that every aspect of God is fixed from all eternity.

God could have set the world up in any way that He chose to. The question is, “How did God choose to set up the world?” This answer cannot be solved with logic alone because given the many possibilities, we cannot intuitively know whether God decided to move alongside us in time or not. But does the Bible give us evidence that He does? I think so.

God is often depicted as:

Changing His mind:
2 Kings 20:1-6—God changes His mind and grants Hezekiah another 15 years.
Jeremiah 26:2-3—God will change His mind if the people will repent.
Exodus 13:10-14—God Changes His mind about the destruction on Israel.

Being disappointed:
Jeremiah 3:6-7, 19-20—God thought Israel would return, but she did not.
Isaiah 5:1-4—God expects to yield grapes, but yields wild (worthless) grapes instead.

Regretting how things turn out because of human decisions:
Genesis 6:6—God regrets making man. How can he regret if he eternally knew that it was certain to turn out exactly this way?
1 Samuel 15:11—“I regret that I made Saul king, for he has turned back from following me.” God had originally planned to bless Saul and his descendents (1 Samuel 13:13).

Giving conditional propositions:
Jeremiah 22:4-5—The king of Judah is told that if he obeys God’s word his descendents will continue to sit on the throne of David.
1 Kings 9:4-7—God will either bless Solomon or not depending on his actions.

Being omniresourceful (changing His plans) in view of the decisions of men:
Exodus 4—God assures Moses that no matter how many times it takes, Pharaoh will believe.
Ezekiel 12:3—“Perhaps they will understand, though they are a rebellious house.”
Exodus 13:17—God takes Israel the long way around because He thinks they may change their minds about going if they face war.

Many more examples could be given of God changing his mind or his plan, but one more should suffice. This one is so striking because it is from the prayer that Jesus himself prayed in the garden:

Mark 14:35-36 35 Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36 “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

The astounding thing about this verse is that Jesus, being Himself God, prayed a prayer that would make absolutely no sense if the future were truly set in stone. Jesus himself is speaking of the future here as if it were partly open.

Though I believe that there are some decent philosophical argument for the changelessness of God, I think they all pale when held up to the vision of our Lord as presented in the Bible. This is not a static God; this is the creative and omniresourceful creator of the universe. He is not an “unmoved mover”; He is the one who responded to our sin by wrapping Himself in flesh and allowing Himself to be killed for the very people who were crucifying Him.

I’ve enjoyed the conversation, and I’m looking forward to hearing from you guys. Sorry about your Vikings, derifter. If you want, you can feel free to join me in cheering for my favorite team, the Pittsburgh Steelers. You guys have a great week.

-Josh

October 04, 2005 1:27 PM  
Blogger DErifter said...

Hi Josh,

You're right- we HAVE been pretty much talking thoughts instead of scripture. Maybe that's because at the beginning, it wasn't necessarily a post about God. Space and time are a couple things that have always kinda nagged at my mind. Not in a bad way, though, but like a brain teaser you just want to figure out before anyone tells you the answer. But so far, no one even CAN tell me the answers!

I think the mind-blowing concepts of space without limits and time without beginning or end <--(depending on who you talk to, and by that I mean YOU, TE!) just naturally lead to a discussion about God, especially among Christians. All infinite things. I don't know how an atheist could avoid that morph during a discussion like this.

I can see your point in some of the verses you listed, where it does look like God has changed His mind. How do you think that squares with all the talk of predestination and foreknowing? Or even prophecy for that matter?

Or from a different angle, tell me your thoughts on the "changing God" verses you listed vs Hebrews 13:8 (Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever). Granted, there's a lot of wiggle-room both ways depending on your definitions of "change", "susceptible to change", and what exactly it means to exist outside of time. That in itself is hard to grasp.

After that, could you just quickly summarize how space can go on without end? Thanx!

The Steelers, huh? Josh, you might be the only one here smiling at the end of the fourth quarter every week. The Packers came real close to catching Carolina on Monday though.

October 05, 2005 12:00 AM  
Blogger DErifter said...

Whoops, I meant to include James 1:17 alongside the verse from Hebrews:
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." (emphasis mine)

October 05, 2005 12:08 AM  
Anonymous Josh said...

Hey, derifter. Yeah, the fourth quater is usually a happy time for me on Sundays. It wasn't that way until last season, though. I definitely went through my share of grief with the Steelers over the past 5 or 6 years.

On to the discussion, though! Ha!

I learned something about 5 years ago that has radically changed my perception of Scripture. It was a simple truth that had been staring me in the face for years, but I had never picked up on it before: Eastern literature often presents truth in paradoxical pairs. The Bible is an eastern book, and it does the same thing. Some examples:

1. Christians-Are we saved, were we saved, or are we being saved? Yes!
2. Jesus-was he fully man or fully God? Yes!
3. Are we condemned because of our sin or because of the sin of Adam? Yes!
4. Are we saved by God's grace alone or by our freewill decision to accept His gift of salvation? According to the Bible, both are true!

We can't pick only the verses that we like and leave the others out. The Bible presents many, many passages that show that God does indeed change His actions based on the decisions of his people. However, there are still a handful of passages that say He doesn't change. Which passages are true? Both! And that's what we have to understand.

Like I said in my last post, there are aspects of God that never change: His goodness, His righteousness, His justice, etc. These attributes are eternally perfect and the fact that he is the maximum of these things will never change. However, that doesn't mean He doesn't change his course of action based on changing circumstances. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. He doesn't change like shifting shadows. You can trust Him because He is eternally the same being; but that doesn't mean He never reacts or grieves or feels joy toward his creation.

Did this help clarify a little?

October 05, 2005 11:28 AM  
Blogger DErifter said...

Hi Josh,

I'm not sure I can cheer for the Steelers. They are, after all, an AFC team. (EEEwwww!) But I have a hunch that your happiness will splatter all over TE and me, and there'll be enough to go around :)

Yes, your explanation did clear some things up. If we're not on the same page, I think we're at least reading the same book!

Does it bother you at all that if God changes His course of action based on changing circumstances, it implies that His first course of action was wrong? Or maybe I'm just jumping to that conclusion. I know what you're saying though, He's not an intellectual or emotional statue. My view of God has Him knowing every detail of everything (even in the future) and although He doesn't control every choice or decision we make, He knows what they will be and can plan around them (or already has, I guess). Some people think that is the same thing as making us choose the decisions He wanted us to make, but it's really not like that. Was it you that was writing about asking your daughter if she wants candy from the store, and equating that with leading her decision even though it was hers to make? Anyway, I read that somewhere recently. DANG my memory!

I liked your paradoxes.
Is the car colorless, or is it red?
Yes!

Okay, I'm not gunna go there again...

October 05, 2005 6:27 PM  
Blogger TE said...

Derifter,

What's a wormhole?

TE

October 06, 2005 8:37 PM  
Blogger DErifter said...

You can read about wormholes here
or if you like Carl Sagan, there

October 06, 2005 9:27 PM  
Blogger TE said...

Thanks,
TE

October 06, 2005 9:46 PM  
Blogger TE said...

Derifter,

How is it going?

It's about an hour and 40 minutes until my Sooners get stomped. I don't know if I can bear to see it. I probably won't watch it all.

Like I have said before, I don't always make my points very clear, so I guess I will just keep writing to you over and over again, until you tell me to just shut up.

Maybe saying that it is "logical" to me that God could create infinite space is not the best word to use. Maybe, "believe or understand", I don't know.
When I say it's logical to me that an infinite God can create infinite space, I don't mean that I can comprehend an infinite God or infinite space, but rather, I can believe or see or it makes sense to me that an infinite God could create infinite space.

TE

October 08, 2005 10:42 AM  
Blogger DErifter said...

TE,
Well, your prediction was right: The Sooners got stomped. What, can you see into the future? (HA!)Other than that, The Gophers beat Michigan for the first time in about 20 years or so. The Packers blew out the Saints and neither the Vikings nor Chiefs lost.

I don't think we're too far apart on the "space" issue (pun intended), and if you're waiting for me to tell you to shut up, you'll be waiting a long "time".

What you said pretty much matches what I said at the end of the original post, so you're making it easy to agree with you!

October 10, 2005 6:36 PM  
Blogger Don't need this site anymore - Bye guys! said...

Hey Guys,

Josh said something interesting:

"God is often depicted as:
Changing His mind...
Being disappointed...
Regretting how things turn out...
Being omniresourceful (changing His plans)..."

If God is God, then he must be omniscient. In other words, he must already know what is going to happen before it ever happens.

So how could an omniscient God ever...

1. Change his mind? He already knows EXACTLY how he is going to handle things in the future. So how could he ever change his mind?

If I know that I am going to McDonald's tomorrow, then I can't decide right now that I am going to Burger King and then later change my mind that I'm going to McDonald's. I already know that I'm going to McDonald's. At best the only thing I can do is PRETEND to change my mind, because I already know exactly what I am going to be doing.

2. Be disappointed? God already knows how things are going to turn out, so how could he ever truly feel disappointed about anything?

If you already know from the beginning of time that the Sooners will get stomped on October 8th, 2005, and you also know exactly how, then how could you ever possibly feel disappointed after the fact?

3. Regret how things turn out? How could an omniscient God ever "regret" anything? It is foolishness to say that a God created man, then saw that mankind turned out bad, then regretted making man and decided to wipe them out with a flood. The whole idea is quite dumb. It is dumb because it likens God to a man who doesn't know how things are going to turn out. But if that was the case, then he wouldn't be God.

If God created humans, then he already knew that they would fail him long before the event ever happened. So what is there to feel regret about? A God should be incapable of feeling such an emotion, or experiencing such a thing in any way.

An omniscient God could never feel regret that his creation turned out sour. He already knew how it would turn out. The only way you can feel regret is if things didn't go the way you had hoped that they would. But God already knew what would happen. So there was no reason for him to hope that it would go otherwise from the start. Unless of course he didn't know how things would turn out, which would mean that he is not God.

4. Change his plans? Again, how could an omniscient God ever "change his plan"? He already knows exactly what, when, and how he is going to do something. Well then how could his plan ever change?

For instance, in the book of Jonah, God plans to wipe out the city of Ninevah. But then after Jonah preaches to them and they repent, God "changes his mind." He doesn't do it. But did God really ever change his plan? No. His plan was to save the people. So basically God had Jonah LIE to the people and say that the city would be overthrown in 40 days. It was a LIE because God already knew that he wouldn't destroy the city. Apparently as far as God is concerned, the ends justify the means.


What is my point in all this? The Bible is a book written by men to describe a being created in man's image, with all the attributes of man. It is a book of mythology, and the authors were too dumb to think up stories that were consistent with the idea of what an omniscient God should be.


-------------

One other subject that Josh spoke of was this:

"1. Christians-Are we saved, were we saved, or are we being saved? Yes!"

Saved from WHAT?

Saved from sin? Then why do Christians still sin?

Saved from death? Then why do Christians still die?

Saved from hell? Why would God even create such a place?


"2. Jesus-was he fully man or fully God? Yes!"

Well, you can't have it both ways. In spite of how you would like this to read, the two are contradictory.

If Jesus was fully man, then he could not do miracles or see the future.

If Jesus was fully God, then he would not have to eat, would never have prayed in the garden of Gethsemene, and could not be killed.

So you can believe in a mixture of both, but you can't logically say that he is "fully" one or the other.

"3. Are we condemned because of our sin or because of the sin of Adam? Yes!"

Well again, I know what you wrote here sounds clever, but it is essentially meaningless. Which one is it? Is it our sin or Adam's? There is a big difference between the two.

The attempt to say that "both" are what condemn us is just an attempt to reconcile conflicting scriptures in a conflicting, errant Bible.


"4. Are we saved by God's grace alone or by our freewill decision to accept His gift of salvation? According to the Bible, both are true!"

Then the Bible is a self-contradicting mess, because both cannot be true.

You have free will, but only when God allows certain people to have it, which means that it is not free at all.


Also, Salvation is a "free gift", yet to get it you have to meet certain very specific conditions, unique to each denomination. Um, if you have to do something to get something, then it's not really "free" anymore then is it?

And if you don't stay in the faith, then God's so-called "gift" will be taken away. Doesn't sound like much of a gift. Sounds like this God isn't much of a giver actually, since being allowed to keep the "gift" is wholly dependent on our actions.


I'm glad MY dad doesn't treat ME that way. When he gave me a $1,000 when I got out of high school, it really was FREE. He didn't expect me to do anything for him in return. He didn't expect me to meet any conditions to get it, or expect me to do anything to keep it. He didn't question what I did with it, and he sure as hell never made me give it back.

That sure sounds a heck of a lot better than Our Father Who Art in Heaven, doesn't it?

----------

Hey Derifter,

Sorry to taint your site with my anti-christian words here. I hope you don't take offense! You can always delete my post if you want. I won't be bothered (much).

Thanks!
Clint

October 11, 2005 8:46 AM  
Blogger DErifter said...

Clint,

I'm going to wait and let Josh reply in regards to most of your questions, since most of them were related to his comments. Besides, you already know a lot of what I think. Not because you're omnicient, but because I've told you :)

A couple things I DO want to comment on though...

The first will be woefully brief compared to what it deserves just because books could (and have) been written on the topic which, by the way, has more to do with salvation than space and time but oh well.

You said "And if you don't stay in the faith, then God's so-called "gift" will be taken away."

You may disagree and probably do, but in my view of the everlasting life that is granted to those who believe, it's just that: Everlasting. So you may refer to yourself as an ex-Christian but in my view no such creature exists. True believers have everlasting life which by definition can't be taken away. Which means to me that those who "leave the faith" either never were given everlasting life, or they still have it. If you were ever born again, you have that life and you always will, regardless of your actions (see you in heaven, brother!). Don't take this as demeaning, but if you never were born again then you never had that life and still don't. It's kind of a tough position to hold, but it's how I interpret things.

Second, and I feel a bit funny saying this, but after Josh replies I'd like to ask a favor of you. I know you're not just pulling your questions out of your butt and throwing them out here to trip us up. I know you've asked the same questions of yourself. They're tough questions and ones that we sometimes don't want to ask. But I think they need to be asked and I thank you for asking them. But the favor I'd like to ask is this: Tell us where you went in your quest to find the answers. How close did you get to satisfying your need to know? Obviously, you never found the answers you were looking for, but I'd be interested in the answers you DID come up with (before leaving, of course. I know where you're at now.)

So anyway, why I felt funny asking that was because at first I thought it would be like asking you to help us Christians beat you in the debate if we knew where you had been. Then it occurred to me that we really aren't debating here, (at least I don't think so) but looking for answers to hard questions. If you can help me understand something that I don't understand, I'll take it. I'm not that picky about where truth comes from as long as it's truth. And if I can help you find an answer you were looking for, would you turn it down?

And YEAH! What's up with all this anti-Christian words "tainting my site"? Dang!
You're funny.

October 11, 2005 6:57 PM  
Blogger DErifter said...

PS- TE knew that the Sooners would get stomped, but I bet he feels disappointed anyway. Maybe we should stop talking about the Sooners getting stomped.

October 11, 2005 7:27 PM  
Blogger Don't need this site anymore - Bye guys! said...

Hello Derifter,

Well one thing that's for sure and that's that Christians can't even agree among themselves on whether someone can lose their salvation or not.

The reason is simple. There are contradictory scriptures that support each viewpoint. You can find scriptures that support the "once saved always saved" argument. But here are a few that contradict that, as well as the "you were never a real Christian in the first place" argument:

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, than in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.”
1 Timothy 4:1

Well it just figures that if you can "depart" from the faith, you had to have had some to begin with right?

"For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,
"And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,
"If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame."
Hebrews 6:4-6

If you were "once enlightened" and you "fall away", doesn't that pretty much sound like losing your salvation? It seems pretty clear to me.

"So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth."
Revelation 3:16

That was God talking to Christians there. It stands to reason that if God spits you out of his mouth, then he doesn't want you anymore.

My point in those scriptures is twofold:

1. There ARE scriptures to support the idea of losing your salvation; the Bible is in conflict on this issue just as it is in conflict on many issues.

2. The so-called "free" gift is not really free, and should not be taught as such in church.

Preachers should call it what it is: God's Conditional Gift. It is entirely conditional, because you have to meet several conditions to accept it (1.Faith 2.Repentence), and you have to meet certain conditions to keep it (1.Faith 2.Obedience). If it was not conditional and was really free, all people would be given the gift for free whether they knew it or not.

Jesus Himself said that the gift is not free when he said that it would cost you your life, that you would have to lose your life for Him (Matthew 10:39). He said that if you won't bear your cross then you can't be his disciple (Luke 14:27), and to count the cost (Luke 14:28).

So preachers need to quit this "free promotional offer!" type of sales preaching and start calling salvation what the Bible says that it is: Entirely conditional and not free at all. Only it makes a better sales pitch and wins more converts when you tell everybody that it's a "free gift", doesn't it?


---------------

Derifter, you asked me some stuff. I'll try to answer:

"Tell us where you went in your quest to find the answers."

Well, I read the Bible, I prayed, and I thought. And occasionally I spoke with an older Christian friend of mine (who is still trying to get me back, by the way :)

"How close did you get to satisfying your need to know?"

Well, I'm not sure that I understand what you mean. "Satisfying my need to know?" I found what I needed to know, painful as it was to accept: The Bible is illogical and full of internal contradictions, fallacies, and atrocities. That is fitting for a book inspired by men and not by a God. It was heart-rending for me to arrive at that conclusion, after that religion worked over my brain for 28 years. But I feel much better now :)

"Obviously, you never found the answers you were looking for, but I'd be interested in the answers you DID come up with"

I really don't know what you mean. Answers? What answers?

I twisted and turned my theology around over and over to try to make it fit what the Bible says. But I found that the Bible is illogical and self-contradictory. I discovered that I would never find any sort of "ultimate truth" in the book, as evidenced by every different Christian and different denomination believing something different from the others. They are all reading the same book, right? So who is right then?

Instead of keeping the viewpoint that "I don't understand this but I am just going to believe it anyway" required of a Christian, I rejected. A rational, logical, scientific view of the world is what drives me now. And it feels good to have no more internal conflicts over my beliefs.

I don't think there are answers to a lot of the "deep" questions that people ask about our existence. Many people cannot accept that, and cannot accept the concept of an unknown afterlife, or more likely and even worse, no afterlife at all. Most people do not want to think that their life has no deep, hidden purpose or meaning planned out for them by some deity. It is more comfortable and safe to just accept the logical fallacies and hold on to those good feelings.

And hey, if that's what people want, then more power to 'em.

Take it easy,
Clint

October 12, 2005 8:01 AM  
Blogger TE said...

Hey Derifter,

Read at your own risk.

I just got back from some wormhole travel. I ended up in a strange part of the universe. In this part of the universe everything is turned around backwards, so it's a little confusing, like this message. But there was some cool stuff there, like a big screen TV about the size of our moon. Millions of people were all around getting ready to watch the OU vs. Texas game end. When the game ended the score was 45 to 12, but by the beginning of the game it was 0 to 0. This was pretty awesome, because now I was excited about having a chance of beating the "shorthorns" and saving the season. Just when I was getting really excited about beating Texas, my wife called me on my special wormhole cell phone and told me to get home and get some work done around the house. So I shot back through the wormhole and was back home in "no time" at all. Of course, I always watch sports before doing work. So I turned on my big screen TV and the game was just beginning. A few hours later the score was back to 45 to 12. I guess moving foward in this case set me back.

If you did not understand this message, that means your head is not screwed on backwards.

TE

October 12, 2005 11:20 AM  
Anonymous Josh said...

Okay, guys: this is going to be long! Sorry about that.

Hey, Clint. Man, I’m really glad to have you in on the conversation. Don’t worry about being “anti-Christian” because I can tell you’re really thinking through these issues. I truly appreciate your thoughtfulness.

I would like to delve a little further into my theology here, because I think I can help you with some of your questions. I struggled with these exact issues when I got to college. I didn’t feel like anyone had answers for me, so I started to do a lot of reading on my own. What I came up with, based on studying many religions and finally deciding that the Bible was true and trustworthy, is a different way of seeing some of the biblical passages than many other Christians I know. I can see that you’re not in a place anymore where you can say that you feel the Bible is indeed true or trustworthy, but maybe discussing some of these things will help you to at least see it from a different perspective. So, with all that in mind, I’d like to answer your points one by one.
Your first assumption is that, “If God is God, then He must be omniscient. In other words, he must already know what is going to happen before it ever happens.” I think this is the first mistake that many people make. What does “omniscience” mean, anyway? It simply means that God knows everything that there is to know. But why do we assume that it is possible for anyone (including God) to know exhaustively what the future will hold even though it hasn’t happened yet? In my view, the future is yet to come, and therefore it is not exhaustively knowable.

My argument is not about God’s knowledge. I agree with other theologians that God knows the entire content of reality perfectly. Anything that can be known is known by God.

Where I disagree with most people is with just exactly what the content of reality consists of. Calvinists maintain that God knows all future events because He ordains all future events. Arminianists claim that God knows the future because the future is there for Him to know. However, I do not see the free will of people and of spiritual beings as being compatible with a predetermined future.

If all future reality is already settled from all eternity then there are no legitimate choices. The decision I will make next week over whether to have eggs on Tuesday or not is not truly free if it is already certain that I will have eggs. If from all eternity God has known that I will have eggs next Tuesday, then I can do nothing but have eggs next Tuesday.
Because of this incompatibility with free will, I believe that future reality consists of some certainties (what God decrees, where the human race as a whole is moving as we near the eschaton, Christ’s death for the salvation of mankind, etc.) and some possibilities (the free will decisions of individual people, etc.). This is not merely a philosophical belief, but one that I have found the Bible affirms.

Because of this, I believe God knows the future in part as possibilities, in part as certainties. Those things that He ordains to pass He certainly knows will happen ahead of time. However, those things that He leaves open for his free creatures to decide He knows in terms of possibilities rather than certainties: God knows that agent x may possibly do action y or z, but that x would never do a because of their character, their ability, or their geographical location.

Does this limit God? I do not believe so, but let me give an example. In my opinion, God does not know that a monkey is sitting next to me on the couch right now as I write this. In fact, there is not a monkey sitting next to me on the couch right now. Am I limiting God by saying that He does not know there is a monkey sitting next to me? No, because reality does not consist of a monkey sitting with me right now.

Am I limiting God by saying that He doesn’t know what all of the future free will decisions of everyone who will ever exist will be? In my view, no, because those people do not yet exist and neither do their decisions. Reality does not consist of any decision that will be made in the year 2055, and therefore that decision can only be known by God as a possibility right now and not a certainty.

The next question that is logically asked of this view of God is this: how can we trust God to be wise if He does not know the entire future exhaustively? I think we ask this because our view of God is so small. God, however, is infinitely intelligent. Most Christians would affirm this and yet few follow that belief to its logical conclusions.

The fact of God’s infinite intelligence would mean that God knows every possibility that the future could hold. Not only that, but He can prepare as adequately for each possibility as if it were the only possibility He had to consider. Our understanding of this is limited because of our experience with our own intelligence. An example would be beneficial.

If I am making Southwest Chicken for my wife (one of my favorite dishes to cook), then I will have chicken in the oven, tea boiling on the stove, rice cooking in a pot, mushrooms sautéing in one pan and onions sautéing in another. These five things require my full attention. If I am also trying to watch Smallville on television then something is going to get burned, spilled, dried out, or blown up. Because of my finite intelligence, if my attention is divided five different ways, that is about all I can handle.

God, however, is a God of infinite intelligence. His attention cannot be divided because you cannot divide infinity. From the foundation of the world He knew that I, Josh Crain, exactly the way I am now, was a distinct possibility; and He loved that possibility. From the foundation of the world, God knew that the events of September 11 were a possibility and He prepared the hearts of those people who lost loved ones as if it were a certainty. My theological view does not undermine God’s wisdom or sovereign control: it rather infinitely exalts it. In this view God does not know less than the classical view: He knows more. He does not under-know the future: He over-knows it.

If God’s infinite intelligence is granted, then we start to realize that God has more control of the universe in the openness model than He does in any other Arminian model. He is the infinitely intelligent God who will be victorious in the end. He is not surprised, He is not shaken, He is not unprepared. Since from all eternity God has known all possibilities, He’s just as prepared for any possibility to happen as He would be if it were a certainty. God loses absolutely no providence in this view.

This could obviously raise a lot of questions and I’m prepared to answer those whenever they come to you. Keep in mind, however, that there is no passage in the Bible that says God fully knows all that will come to pass. The closest we get is Isaiah 46:9-11—“Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me.10 I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please. 11 From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do.”
This passage, however, lends itself to exactly what I’ve been saying: God does know the future insofar as “what I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do.” Feel free to ask me any questions that this stance brings to your mind. However, this is how an omniscient God could change His plan based on the actions of his freewill creatures. This is how an omniscient God could regret how someone turns out; Saul didn’t have to be the way he ended up…he freely chose to start down that path. Our failure to understand this is not the fault of biblical authors who “were too dumb to think up stories that were consistent with the idea of what an omniscient God should be.” Our failure to understand this is due to the fact that we see God in the same way the Greek philosophers saw Him, and that is simply not the way that God is consistently viewed in the Bible. The biblical authors are undeviating in their portrayal of our Lord; we do an injustice to their writing when we bring our presuppositions to the text.
As far as your criticisms of the paradoxes: I think you’re taking them too far. What are Christians saved from? We are saved from the consequences of our sin. That consequence is hell, but I fail to understand why you insist that hell is a created place that God has set aside for the wicked. The entire Bible speaks of a God who desperately wants us to spend eternity with Him, but simply cannot coexist in the same sphere as unrighteousness for all of eternity because He is completely holy. Hell has been understood as many things, but most recently many theologians have come to believe that hell is the destruction of a soul who chooses to separate himself from God. This would explain why Jesus said things such as, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28) Regardless of the details of precisely what hell will be like, most theologians can agree that hell will last eternally (whether that’s annihilation or eternal suffering) and that it will be horrible because of the absence of God’s presence. Hell is not God’s choice for us, as He made clear by laying down His life for the very ones who crucified Him.
Jesus—fully man or fully God? Yes! The argument that Jesus could not have done miracles if he were fully man does not stand: Jesus was fully man, not merely man. The arguments that Jesus would not have to eat if He were fully God, wouldn’t have to pray, wouldn’t have been killed, etc. would stand if Jesus were merely God, but he was fully God living a temporary life as a man.
If I wear a blue jacket today and meet you, we would say hello and talk for a while. If I wear a red jacket tomorrow, you wouldn’t say, “That can’t be Josh; Josh wears blue jackets.” I am still fully Josh no matter what I wear or where I am. God is still fully God, even if He cloaks himself in skin and lives as a man who needs nourishment and who’s body can be destroyed if not acted upon by supernatural forces.
Condemned because of our sin or Adam’s? Yes! When sin entered the world through Satan and through man, it changed this earth forever. That change influences us all and is at least partly responsible for the mess we’re in now. If I live a perfect life will I be condemned for the sin of Adam? No; but because of man’s initial sin our condition has deteriorated and I will not live a perfect life.
God’s grace or our freewill decision? Both! By God’s grace I am offered a gift of salvation. There is nothing meritorious about me accepting this free gift but there is much merit in God’s offering it.
What about the “free” part? Clint, I’m not sure what conditions or denominations you are speaking of that put demands on this free gift, but the Bible is clear that it is free. However, once accepted, it will cost you everything. We come just as we are, but after Christ enters our life He begins to work on our hearts and change us. This is not a “killjoy” kind of change! This is life! I never understood what living was until I accepted Christ. I see so much anger and bitterness and hatred in the world; wherever the light of Christ does not shine there is a depth of sadness that nothing can overcome but Him.
Clint I’m sure you’ve heard all of this before. However, I just want to share with you the joy that I have from knowing Him. I’m praying for you, man, because I’ve been where you are and I know it’s so tough. I really appreciate your willingness to chat with me, though. If you ever want to discuss or just talk about the Steelers (that’s right, baby…they won again last night!), feel free to let me know. Take care, and let the discussion continue.

-Josh

October 12, 2005 11:29 AM  
Blogger TE said...

Clint,

I'm glad you got to see China and I'm glad you're back.

I see that you're making comments again. I know it's hard not to, when you have a passion for something. I was going to give it up entirely, but I think as long as I don't spend to much time on it and make sure I'm spending time with my family, when they are around, then things will be alright. I've just got to keep the time spent on commenting under control. What do you think?

TE

October 12, 2005 11:42 AM  
Blogger Don't need this site anymore - Bye guys! said...

Hi Josh,

Thanks for the reply.

I never was a Calvinist; couldn't stand the idea. That said...

A God who DOESN'T know everything? That's certainly something that I've never thought about before. But I find the idea to be a bit illogical for several reasons.

1. How could such a God know some events about the future but not others? For instance, how could he know that Jesus would be "the lamb slain before the foundation of the world" before he ever created the world and before he ever knew that man would rebel? After all, if he didn't know what man would choose, then how would he know that Jesus would have to die?

So what criteria determines what God knows about the future and what he doesn't know about the future?

2. How could someone be infinitely intelligent, yet not know how things are going to turn out? By definition, that is limited intelligence. That is, your God's intelligence is limited only to the present and not to the future. Or rather, his intelligence is limited to only a few parts of the future. Am I missing something here?

3. Also, to play Christian's advocate, how would a God knowing everything about the future in any way contradict people having free will? As a Christian, I could see that God could still give me a choice, even though he already knows what choice I will make.

---------------------

Here is something else that you wrote:

"If all future reality is already settled from all eternity then there are no legitimate choices."

How so? I can feel that I have choice in my life even if another person (a.k.a. God) already knows exactly what I am going to do. How does their knowledge of my choice in any way detract from me having a choice? An omniscient God would just know how things are going to turn out; that doesn't mean that he would be in any way controlling my decisions.

------------------

You also wrote:

"I fail to understand why you insist that hell is a created place that God has set aside for the wicked."

Where did I insist that?

There are many scriptures that support the idea of hell as a place for the wicked to suffer. There are also scriptures that support the idea that hell is not a place per se. This is not surprising, since the Bible is so self-contradictory. Hell, like many matters of seemingly great importance, is ill-defined in the Bible. In any event, I don't care one way or the other.

----------------

Here's something else that you said:

"From the foundation of the world, God knew that the events of September 11 were a possibility and He prepared the hearts of those people who lost loved ones as if it were a certainty."

God "prepared the hearts" of those people who lost loved ones? I wonder how many victims of September 11 would agree with your assessment.

----------------------

Regarding God's "Free gift":

"Clint, I’m not sure what conditions or denominations you are speaking of that put demands on this free gift, but the Bible is clear that it is free. However, once accepted, it will cost you everything."

The condition for receiving the "free" gift is faith and repentence. But if you happen to don't believe, then you're screwed. And if you happen to believe but don't want to repent, then you are equally screwed. If you cannot meet these 2 conditions that God has set up for his conditional gift of salvation, then you cannot be saved.

A true free gift doesn't cost you anything. God's gift costs you "everything", just as you said and as the Bible says.

When a person gives a beggar on the street $5, they don't expect anything in return. The gift is free. But God expects much in return: obedience, service, and trusting faith. That requires work.

"Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." Phillipians 2:12

Take it easy,
Clint

P.S. I got your invite to join the hurricane katrina discussion. Thanks for the invite, but I will probably refrain for now. I don't think I really have anything to add to your discussion, except that I think I agree with some of the things that you said.

October 12, 2005 12:40 PM  
Blogger Don't need this site anymore - Bye guys! said...

Hey TE,

Yeah, I'm spending too much time on here today. I'm supposed to be working.

Arguments are a two-edged sword. On one hand, I enjoy the conflict. But on the other hand, I hate constantly checking back for responses, as well as that sinking feeling you get in your stomach when you are reading something someone else wrote against you that is irritating, and that itchy feeling you get to respond. That's part of it, though. That's the price you pay for throwing strong opinions out there!

Chill out guy :)

Clint

October 12, 2005 12:45 PM  
Blogger Don't need this site anymore - Bye guys! said...

Josh,

P.P.S. By the way, in between reading your hurricane katrina deal on your website, that was a pretty nifty picture there of fighting yourself. How does a person take a picture of themself? I need to figure out that trick :)

October 12, 2005 1:06 PM  
Anonymous Josh said...

Hey, Clint. I’m spending too much time here today, too, but I have to leave tomorrow for a hiking trip so I’m trying to answer some questions before I go. By the way, I really like your website (especially the “devotionals”, lol).

I want to talk about the “free” gift of salvation. I think our opinions are butting heads because we have a different definition of free. Mine is that it doesn’t cost you anything to accept it, yours is that it is only free if you don’t have to do anything to receive it. Even the bum on the street that we give $5 to has to reach his hand out to receive it. Having faith that leads to repentance is us spiritually reaching our hand out to receive God’s gift of salvation. The reason I say it’s free is because you don’t have to change your life to accept the gift; just come in faith. However, once you’re saved it does cost you your life.

I completely agree with you that we have far too many preachers who want to emphasize the “free” part, but turn down the volume on the true cost of discipleship. I understand what they’re trying to do (make the Gospel have wide appeal/being a salesman), but I don’t feel that this is the way Christ presented His own gift. “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37).

----------------------

God does know everything. My argument is not about God’s knowledge but about the content of reality that is knowable.

You said:
“How could such a God know some events about the future but not others? For instance, how could he know that Jesus would be "the lamb slain before the foundation of the world" before he ever created the world and before he ever knew that man would rebel? After all, if he didn't know what man would choose, then how would he know that Jesus would have to die?”

God creates a people that He knows will populate the earth and number in the millions and billions. You don’t think He would know beyond a shadow of a doubt that not all of them will choose to follow Him? Even if Adam and Eve wouldn’t have fallen someone else would have. It was inevitable, and therefore God had a plan in place. That doesn’t mean that every single detail of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection were foreknown ordained. The fact that He would save us from sin and destroy the work of the devil was, however.

God ordains some events throughout history and He, of course, foreknows what these events will hold because He causes them to pass. A God of infinite intelligence would also know the likelihood of certain free-will events coming to pass, as well as those events which were 100% bound to occur. So: how does He know some things and not others? Because:
1. He brings about some events Himself
2. He knows those things which are completely inevitable (such as the fall of man)
3. He knows the percentages of likelihood of all other events

----------------------

You said:
“How could someone be infinitely intelligent, yet not know how things are going to turn out? By definition, that is limited intelligence. That is, your God's intelligence is limited only to the present and not to the future. Or rather, his intelligence is limited to only a few parts of the future. Am I missing something here?”

I may have not done a good job of explaining this. I’m not saying that God’s intelligence is limited to the present; rather, I am saying that there is no possible way for God to have exhaustive knowledge about the future since it doesn’t exist yet. Similarly, God does not have exhaustive knowledge about the Steelers/Cowboys game that happened this last week, because there was no Steelers/Cowboys game last week; it doesn’t exist. This is not an argument about God’s knowledge (which is perfect), but about the nature of time. A great book to check out on this subject of time being one direction is “The Arrow of Time,” by Peter Coveney.

Even infinite intelligence cannot know for sure how everything will turn out. Take a basketball game, for instance. Let’s say God is watching the Houston Rockets verses the Los Angeles Lakers. Going into the game, God knows that the Rockets are far more talented and should win. He knows the exact attributes, talents, and tendencies of each player. He knows every single detail about them including what emotional thing could have happened to them that day and affected their game play. God knows that the Rockets are (hypothetically) 85% sure to win this game because they’re the better team and Kobe Bryant has his feelings hurt from a conversation he had last night with Shaquille O’Neil.

Two quarters into the game the Rockets are up 17 points and looking good. Then Tracy McGrady turns his ankle while coming down with a rebound and landing on Yao’s foot. McGrady’s out the rest of the game, Kobe turns it on in the fourth quarter; Lakers win by 3. Even infinite intelligence could not have predicted this outcome.

Now take Israel. She perverted herself with idols, she disgraced herself before the Lord. Given all of the conditions of hearts of individuals in that nation; given their past, their tendencies, and their characters, God “thought that after she had done all this she would return to me” (Jeremiah 3:7). However, because people acted contrary to their normal tendencies “she did not (return), and her unfaithful sister Judah saw it.”

God is infinitely intelligent; but even with that much intelligence He cannot look at all the variable of most given complex situations and know the outcome 100% unless He gets involved. It’s not about knowledge or intelligence; it’s about the unpredictability of free will.

-----------------------

You said:
“How would a God knowing everything about the future in any way contradict people having free will? As a Christian, I could see that God could still give me a choice, even though he already knows what choice I will make.”
I maintain that God has set up a world in which He moves alongside of us in time. However, let’s assume for a moment that I am wrong. How would this model (that many people hold) work, exactly?
From all eternity God knows what movie I will choose to see on October 12, 2005. You say I still freely chose to see this movie, but God simply knows what I will choose. How is that possible? If God knows what “decision” I will make before I am created then I wasn’t present when the “decision” was actually made. So who made the “decision” for me? Do my “decisions” exist alongside of God for all eternity? If we choose that path then we’ve entered into dualism. The point is this: you can’t have it both ways. Either you make your decisions and God doesn’t have exhaustive foreknowledge of future events, or God makes your decisions for you and so He does have exhaustive foreknowledge of future events.
-----------------------

You said:
“God ‘prepared the hearts’ of those people who lost loved ones? I wonder how many victims of September 11 would agree with your assessment.”
It’s my conviction that God is always at work in the world around us. Do I come to this conclusion in large part because of my Christian worldview? Absolutely. Just as you have come to the conclusion that God wasn’t at work in their hearts based on your atheistic worldview. The truth is that there were many people who pulled through that tragedy that say they relied on God for their strength. There are also many people who were hurt, are still angry with God and have their lives in pieces that would say He wasn’t there for them when they needed Him the most.
I believe God was there for all of those who hurt. It comes back to choice once again: some chose to rely on Him, some didn’t. The truth is that you and I will look at this tragedy from two very different perspectives and those perspectives will largely define what we see.

Well, I’m not sure if I helped any or muddied the water some. I look forward to hearing from you again when you get a chance. We’ll all try extra hard not to waste our lives away checking out comment sections all the time, but I do enjoy the conversation. Now if you’ll excuse you I have to go for a ride in my colorless red car.
-Josh

P.S. Thanks for the compliment on my picture. It's a rare Chinese technique still practiced in some parts of south-east Asia called "haveyourwifetakeapicturethenphotoshopit." Maybe one day I will teach you this art. heh heh...take care : )

October 12, 2005 4:52 PM  
Blogger DErifter said...

Wow, party at my place while I'm working huh? Now what have I told you kids about that?

I had a lot of reading to do when I got home and I'm thoroughly enjoying it. For the most part I'm gunna sit here in the bleachers for a minute and watch. But there's a couple things I want to say quick.

Clint,
Maybe that favor I asked wasn't really a good question. I was thinking about it at work today, and I guess it would be pretty tough to say "how close you got" to the answers you didn't get. Thanks for trying though. Also I wanted to insert a chuckle for your "playing Christian's advocate" (chuckle...)

Oddly, you're doing a fair job of arguing my view on the topic of foreknowledge/free will.

TE,
"What???"

Josh,
I disagree with quite a lot of what you say about God's knowledge of the future and how it relates to free will, but you are making a good argument for your view.
Also, "Steelers won again" (Whatever...)

Thanks to all of you for sharing your thoughts.

October 12, 2005 8:09 PM  
Blogger TE said...

Derifter,

"what!!!" is right.

Just thought I'd get goofy.

TE

October 12, 2005 10:33 PM  
Blogger DErifter said...

TE,
I thought you got knocked back to 1979! But it was good for a laugh, thanks.

October 12, 2005 11:02 PM  
Blogger Don't need this site anymore - Bye guys! said...

(Thanks for the letting us use your blog here, Derifter!)

Hi Josh,

Alrighty. You are definitely right that our world views influence how we interpret things. No one can escape from that.

And it seems we have come to sort of an agreement on the free gift thing too.

So I'm just going to leave a few closing questions here, and give you the last word.

-----------------

You said:

"Even if Adam and Eve wouldn’t have fallen someone else would have. It was inevitable, and therefore God had a plan in place."


Why do you say that it inevitable that people would eventually not do what God wanted? Are you saying that it is inevitable that people will be evil? If so, then is God's creation not flawed?

To say that some part of God's creation would eventually HAVE to choose evil makes no sense. By that logic, you could say that God himself could someday choose evil. But you would say that his infinite knowledge and goodness would keep him from doing such, right?

If that is the case, then is mankind being created WITHOUT infinite knowledge and goodness a fundamental flaw in the creation? Free will is apparently not the problem. Being stupid is. So wouldn't it be God's responsibility to educate then?

If Adam and Eve sinned, it was because they didn't fully understand the consequences of their actions. The words "you shall surely die" held utterly no meaning for them. So how is that a "free will" decision when the creation is not even capable of understanding what the consequences of the decision would be? That would be like me telling a 2-year old not to touch a hot oven or he will be burned, then sitting back and watching him do it. The story of Adam and Eve is exactly the same way.

In his infinite wisdom and love, it was God's responsibility to educate his creation and make them fully aware of what their decision means, what the consequences would be. The test of Adam and Eve as presented in the Bible is a completely unfair test in my opinion, not in keeping with a loving creator.

If God has a perfect creation, walking in a perfect loving relationship with him, then why would ANY of his creation EVER choose disobedience?

Adam and Eve were supposedly deceived by the devil. But God is the one who let the devil in the garden in the first place. So why should he hold them responsible when he set up the tempting conditions under which they were likely to fail?

Okay, now I've gone off on a complete tangent :)

Take Lucifer. Unlike Adam and Eve, he sinned in a sinless environment. Why? Because of his free will, right? Then what keeps God from sinning? Goodness? Apparently not, because Lucifer was good too. Infinite knowledge? This seems to be the key.

So Lucifer is without infinite knowledge and does not fully appreciate the consequences of his sin. Then he sins. So then, my question is does God creating a creation with free will but limited knowledge not present a fundamental flaw in the creation? A flaw that will always lead to things that God does not want? And if that is the case, then how can he hold his own creation responsible for that? After all, he is the one who set things up that way.

------------------

You said:

"If God knows what “decision” I will make before I am created then I wasn’t present when the “decision” was actually made... The point is this: you can’t have it both ways."

That is only true if you hold to the assumption that the future doesn't exist yet. If the future DOES exist, only we haven't experienced it ourselves yet, then we were just as present when we made future decisions as we were when we made past decisions.

Unless you have tied yourself to the assumption that the future doesn't exist yet, the argument could be made that God knows both the past, present, and future equally. In such a God's mind's eye, the three states of time already exist. If that is the case, then my free will remains the same now and in the future no matter if God already knows what I am going to do or not.

I believe that you are making a circular argument. "I believe that God doesn't know the future because the future doesn't exist yet - The future doesn't exist yet or else God would know it."


------------------

Regarding God "preparing the hearts" of the victims of the September 11th attacks...

Wouldn't God messing around with somebody's heart be interfering with their free wills? I know for myself at least, I would like to think and experience the world as it is without some God screwing around with my head, for better or worse.

You said:

"There are also many people who were hurt, are still angry with God and have their lives in pieces that would say He wasn’t there for them when they needed Him the most."

That is a very stereotypical view of unbelievers, a view usually put forth by Christians. I get kind of tired of hearing Christians label unbelievers that way. But perhaps you weren't talking about unbelievers.

Specifically in regard to the victims of 9/11 you may very well be right, but all I can just say for myself is that in my own experience, from all the people I know I have never met one single unbeliever who was "angry" at God over world tragedies. The only person who can be mad at a God is, by definition, alredy a believer. So perhaps you were talking about Christians?


In any case, I've got a better question. I can think of a much better way for God to prepare fo the 9/11 attacks than just "preparing people's hearts". How about preparing a few simple equipment failures to keep the planes from taking off that day?

Or how about preparing some pilots to shoot down those planes before they hit the towers?

Or how about preparing a little heart attack for each of the terrorists the night before the attacks?

If I have the power to stop it, but instead I stand back and watch as someone brutally murders another right in front of me, then you would condemn my actions as evil. Yet when a God does nothing, we can overlook it. Why? Because sin is our fault anyway, and if God does something we don't understand then it just must be a part of his plan.

I refuse to hold a God to a different moral standard than I would hold a man. I refuse to accept that sort of stupidity.

----------------

I asked about hell, but did a lousy job. Let me clarify. Regardless of the nature of what hell IS, why would a God feel it necessary to separate any part of his creation from himself either in annhilation or in torture?

My point is, why would God care what the heck I do? It would be like me having an ant farm then deciding to punish my ants for not worshipping me. Or for trying to escape. Why would I care what my ants do? If some of them want to stay with me and worship me, great. But if some of them want to defy me, go outside the ant farm and live in the dirt, more power to 'em.

People talk a lot about the God the Father relationship with us. But I just think about my own son. I will always care about him, and how he feels about it in return is inconsequential. Even if he someday hates me and never wants to speak to me again, I would still never shut him out of my house. But God locks you out the day that you die.

True love, the kind the Christian God does NOT give, would allow you to be free to choose him with no threat of punishment. Even if you lived without God for 1,000 years, true love would be God always waiting in case you wanted to come back. True love would mean that God would be willing to wait an ETERNITY for his creation to repent and come back to him. Instead, we only get about 85 years.

WHY is there punishment if people don't want to do things God's way? Is that really so bad? As long as you are not hurting someone else, what difference does it make if you choose something for your life that God didn't intend?

Unlike what Christians believe, I have found that people in general are NOT evil. They just want to live their lives in peace. People in general, Christian and non-Christian alike, are all the same. They want to be happy, and they want to have a pretty good standard of living. That's all. That's it.

So why would God care one way or the other if people did not necessarily do things his way? If I were God, it wouldn't matter to me if my creation did not want to serve me.

Take me, for instance. I don't believe in any gods. If I were God, I would not feel threatened by an atheist in the slightest. I certainly would never feel any need to punish the man. And why would I make him die? Let him live forever and be an atheist if he wants to. Eventually, he might come around and we could have a beautiful relationship.

But if he never does, that's okay too. Because I gave him free will out of my love for him, and that means that he truly can think what he wants without any threat of punishment from me.

--------------------

I'm done here. You have the last word.

Regards,
Clint

October 13, 2005 8:13 AM  
Blogger Don't need this site anymore - Bye guys! said...

Hey Josh,

I forgot to say, thanks for the compliments on my website.

In the heat of battle, I sometimes overlook it when someone says something nice because I am too busy focusing on the argument. But I do appreciate your kind words.

Your website looks pretty interesting, from what I saw. I especially liked the picture of the breast implants. Thank you for that. (j/k)

And aside from content, the website itself looked well done. You and Derifter both appear to have a few technical web skills that I am severely lacking. I've gotta work on that!

Well, have fun hiking.

-----------

P.S. Hey Derifter, TE, and Josh, are you each sure that you are Christians? I mean, are you really sure?

I've got one website that you can go to and I guarantee it will make you an atheist as soon as you visit it. The site is:

www.iamanatheist.com

Check it out - if you dare!

October 13, 2005 2:18 PM  
Blogger DErifter said...

AWWW, CRAP!
Nowww I've gone and done it. I was kinda teasing that link with my curser just for fun, and I accidentally cut and pasted it in my browser and hit "enter"!!! I tried clicking on "stop", but it was too late.

I'll miss you guys.....
Ha ha! Hey, I thought Einstein did NOT believe in God, or was it that he wasn't a Christian?

October 13, 2005 5:55 PM  
Blogger Don't need this site anymore - Bye guys! said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

October 14, 2005 7:14 AM  
Blogger Don't need this site anymore - Bye guys! said...

Nice to have you, Derifter. Now I've converted at least one to the dark side.... mwuhahahaa! (evil laugh)


Word has it that Einstein was not a Christian, but seemed to be some sort of Deist. Here is an excerpt about his religious views from wikipedia.com. (Of course, you have to be careful what you read on wikipedia - since anybody can edit it, sometimes it is not always true.)

-Clint


[Religious views

Although he was raised Jewish, he was not a believer in Judaism. He simply admired the beauty of nature and the universe. From a letter written in English, dated March 24, 1954, Einstein wrote, "It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it."

The following is a response made to Rabbi Herbert Goldstein of the International Synagogue in New York which read, "I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings."

He also expressed admiration for Buddhism, which he said "has the characteristics of what would be expected in a cosmic religion for the future: It transcends a personal God, avoids dogmas and theology; it covers both the natural and the spiritual, and it is based on a religious sense aspiring from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual, as a meaningful unity."

Victor J. Stenger, author of Has Science Found God? (2001), wrote of Einstein's presumed pantheism, "Both deism and traditional Judeo-Christian-Islamic theism must also be contrasted with pantheism, the notion attributed to Baruch Spinoza that the deity is associated with the order of nature or the universe itself. This also crudely summarizes the Hindu view and that of many indigenous religions around the world. When modern scientists such as Einstein and Stephen Hawking mention 'God' in their writings, this is what they seem to mean: that God is Nature."]

October 14, 2005 11:27 AM  
Blogger DErifter said...

Clint,
Yesterday that evil laugh would have scared me, but today it's somehow, I don't know, "comforting" :D

By the above definition, I suppose you're religious too, eh?

October 14, 2005 4:07 PM  
Blogger Don't need this site anymore - Bye guys! said...

Hey Derifter,

Heh, heh... Trying to pin me down, eh?

I guess I don't really fit that definition, since I don't spend a heck of a lot of time just sitting around admiring the structure of the universe.

There could be a Creator or a God or Gods, I don't know.

Here's Webster's definition:

1. relating or devoted to acknowledged ultimate reality or deity

I am not sure if that applies to me or not. Am I "devoted" to my own "acknowledged ultimate reality?" I suppose so, but then isn't everyone? So by that definition, everyone is religious, including me.

October 14, 2005 8:10 PM  
Blogger DErifter said...

Clint,

Well, no I wasn't trying to pin you down. I wouldn't. That's up to you. I only said that with a bit of a smirk on my face. It almost sounds like that's the way Albert meant it, too. Like he was saying, "Well, if you want to call my fascination with the incredible depths and wonder of the universe religious, then yes I'm religious." That's how you strike me. On the other hand, I really don't know that much about you so maybe I'm way off.

October 14, 2005 10:17 PM  
Blogger Don't need this site anymore - Bye guys! said...

Hey Derifter, thanks for the compliment! (Sounded like one to me.)

Also, have you noticed how this has become "The Post That Wouldn't Die?"

October 15, 2005 8:42 AM  
Blogger DErifter said...

Clint,
I've thought about writing a decoy post to relieve some of the pressure on this one. (Yours was the 50th comment- unheard of on this site!) I think I'll put something up about fabric and see what happens.

October 15, 2005 10:12 AM  
Anonymous cadre said...

It’s the post that would not die! I hope you guys don’t mind me adding my 2 cents to the conversation. I found this site by clicking on a link on one of derifter’s posts on Josh’s site and thought a post entitled “Space and Time” would be a fun one to read.

55 comments later…

So anyway, my name is actually Josh, but I thought “cadre” would be less confusing since the other Josh has already posted. “Cadre” is in fact my Xbox live gamer tag... so if you guys want to join me in a game of Halo 2 sometime, feel free.

Clint, I’m actually posting to comment on some of your thoughts, but I realize you’ve spent a lot of time here already, so don’t feel like you have to respond if you don’t want to.

First, you said: “If Adam and Eve sinned, it was because they didn't fully understand the consequences of their actions. The words "you shall surely die" held utterly no meaning for them. So how is that a "free will" decision when the creation is not even capable of understanding what the consequences of the decision would be? That would be like me telling a 2-year old not to touch a hot oven or he will be burned, then sitting back and watching him do it. The story of Adam and Eve is exactly the same way.”

My thought was this: If your 2-year old continually wants to touch the oven even though you told him not to because he would get burned, would you not eventually let him touch the oven so that he would know that what you said is true and for his benefit? The consequences of the burn would certainly be unpleasant for both you and your 2-year old, but the benefit would be that he is much more likely to trust you the next time you told him not to do something. I am not a father myself, so this may, in fact, be a horrible example. When I one day have kids of my own I may think much differently.

Next, you said: ”So then, my question is does God creating a creation with free will but limited knowledge not present a fundamental flaw in the creation? A flaw that will always lead to things that God does not want? And if that is the case, then how can he hold his own creation responsible for that? After all, he is the one who set things up that way.”

I think that we can use children as an example here again. When a family decides to have children, they can not bring a child into the world and give that child a complete knowledge of everything they’ve learned throughout their lives on the first day of the child’s life. This would, in essence, mean that the parents had given birth to a new parent instead if the parents giving birth to a child. So, with that in mind, should the parents be at fault for every mistake that the child makes throughout its life? What about the parent’s grandchildren? They were the one’s that brought the original child into existence, and they also did this knowing that the child (or some child down the line) had the potential to rebel at some point along the way and do things that may in fact lead to a destructive life.

As a Christian, I see my role as the “child” in the family. God did not create me to be another god with infinite knowledge, but instead to be his child. If I am a child, then I have the choice of either obeying the word of my Father, or disobeying it. It’s my choice, but if I continue to test him, then God will eventually let me “burn my hand on the oven” so that I will know that his word can be trusted.

Next, you said: “If I have the power to stop it, but instead I stand back and watch as someone brutally murders another right in front of me, then you would condemn my actions as evil. Yet when a God does nothing, we can overlook it. Why?”

I’ll quote Phillip Yancey to try to answer that: “Power can do everything but the most important thing: it cannon control love…In a concentration camp, the guards possess almost unlimited power. By applying force, they can make you renounce your God, curse your family, work without pay, eat human excrement, kill and then bury your closest friend or even your own mother. All this is within their power. Only one thing is not: they cannot force you to love them. This fact may help explain why God sometimes seems shy to use his power. He created us to love him, but his most impressive displays of miracle – the kind we may secretly long for – do nothing to foster that love. As Douglas John Hall has put it, “God’s problem is not the God is not able to do certain things. God’s problem is that God loves. Love complicates the life of God as it complicates every live”.” (Philip Yancey, Disappointment with God

So, how would it affect your example the “brutal murderer” was your child? What if both the murder and the victim were your children? What if you loved them both equally and truly impartially?

Next you said: “My point is, why would God care what the heck I do? It would be like me having an ant farm then deciding to punish my ants for not worshipping me. Or for trying to escape. Why would I care what my ants do? If some of them want to stay with me and worship me, great. But if some of them want to defy me, go outside the ant farm and live in the dirt, more power to 'em.”

I think this is one of the most striking differences between our points of view. You see humanity as God’s ant-farm where I see humanity as God’s children. Sure, if my ant-farm escapes, big deal. But as children, we have the right and the free-will to defy our parents and do every bad thing they told us not to. To think that God should simply not care if I choose to defy him would make him a horrible and un-loving father.

Anyway, thanks for taking the time to read another long post on this subject everyone. And thanks for your responses to the other guys here, Clint. You’ve really made me think about some things that I may have taken for granted in the past and I really do appreciate that. But again, please don’t feel like you need to keep posting on my behalf.

-cadre (the other josh)

October 16, 2005 7:07 PM  
Blogger DErifter said...

Well, as I said about 35 or 40 comments ago, "Hi Josh, and welcome!"

Only this time it's a different Josh. Since your comments are in regard to things Clint said, I'll just greet you and let him do his part. Again, Cadre, welcome.

October 16, 2005 8:16 PM  
Blogger Don't need this site anymore - Bye guys! said...

Hi Cadre,

Fresh meat! Yum.... (Just kidding :)

Thanks for posting. Here goes:

1. Regarding Adam and Eve's lack of understanding of their test being like God letting a kid touch a hot oven:

CADRE: "My thought was this: If your 2-year old continually wants to touch the oven even though you told him not to because he would get burned, would you not eventually let him touch the oven so that he would know that what you said is true and for his benefit?"

HELL NO! I ain't gonna let my kid burn his hand on an oven! Are you crazy???

Burn my 2-year-old's hand on an oven, just to prove to him that I'm right... Why don't I let him walk out in the street and get hit by a car while I'm at it? He'll REALLY be convinced by then. That is, if he survives.

CADRE: "The consequences of the burn would certainly be unpleasant for both you and your 2-year old, but the benefit would be that he is much more likely to trust you the next time you told him not to do something."

No comment, except you sure as heck ain't babysitting MY kid!

But you did say something interesting here, which was, "If your 2-year old continually wants to touch the oven... would you not eventually let him."

So how many times are you going to stop him before he does it? 5? 10? 20? How many times did God stop Adam and Eve? ZERO.

I still say that creating a test in which the creation is not capable of understanding the consequences would be like me telling my 2-year-old son not to touch the snake in the yard or he will die, then standing by and watching him get bitten and die. It's a stupid test. It's not fair. And any thinking person who hasn't been brainwashed by the church can easily see that for themselves.

---------------------

2. Regarding free will without unlimited knowledge leading people away from what God wants, and why he should then hold them accountable for that flaw.


Next, you said: ”So then, my question is does God creating a creation with free will but limited knowledge not present a fundamental flaw in the creation? A flaw that will always lead to things that God does not want? And if that is the case, then how can he hold his own creation responsible for that? After all, he is the one who set things up that way.”

CADRE: "I think that we can use children as an example here again. When a family decides to have children, they can not bring a child into the world and give that child a complete knowledge of everything they’ve learned throughout their lives on the first day of the child’s life."

That's a good analogy. But that analogy is not fitting for a God. You said, "they can not." But God can. God can do anything.

If you COULD give your month-old child all the knowledge that you have about life, to better guide him in his life, you would. You try to as he grows up, but he won't always listen because his knowledge at each point is limited.

For instance if he was born knowing all about sexually transmitted diseases and the dangers of drugs, he would be far less likely to ever sleep around or do drugs in his lifetime. You try to train your kid the best you can as a parent, but our technique is crude and limited, because we are human.

God is not a human. He created Adam knowing how to walk and talk, didn't he? (We don't know, but it would seem so.) So why didn't he create Adam knowing FULLY what sin and death is? If I know that sleeping with someone will give me AIDS, I ain't gonna sleep with that person. Likewise, if Adam fully understood that eating the fruit would bring him death, he wouldn't have eaten it either.

He ate it because he didn't understand. Why didn't he understand? If a kid does something bad the parent could be responsible, depending on the age of the kid (which is a measure of his knowledge and thus, responsibility). A parent could be held to blame for a lot of a kid's actions, not training them right. But humans are limited. God is not. He could train his kids perfectly with perfect knowledge.

If I fully understand something, then I WILL make the right decision.

CADRE: "So, with that in mind, should the parents be at fault for every mistake that the child makes throughout its life?"

To some extent, yes. A parent is responsible for training their child. But yes, at some point a child is totally responsible for his/her own actions.

And some mistakes actually benefit a child, helping them to grow.

A human parent is responsible for training the child and giving the child what the parent knows about life, as best he/she can. But a God parent would know far more about life than any human parent, and could train directly with a Vulcan mind-meld :)

This just shows me that people are willing to treat a God like a human when it comes to some moral standards (such as training a kid and not being responsible for the end result), and are willing to let him get away with anything when it comes to other moral standards (such as killing all of Egypt's firstborn for no good reason).

I will not do that. If God is a God with infinite knowledge, then he should be far superior to man in every way. This includes parenthood. If an infinite God created a finite man and did not give that man the knowledge that he needed to make the correct decision in the garden, then that GOD is responsible, not the man.


CADRE: "As a Christian, I see my role as the “child” in the family. God did not create me to be another god with infinite knowledge, but instead to be his child."

We are talking about amounts of knowledge here. How much you KNOW has absolutely no effect on whether you are still "God's child" or not. If Adam was created with infinite knowledge, it still would not change the fact that he would be God's child.

And heck, I'm not even asking for unlimited knowledge here! I am just saying that Adam needed to have enough knowledge to fully understand what "death" and "sin" is. He did not. Thus it is stupid to hold him accountable, just as it would be stupid for me to sentence a 2-year-old to death for eating a piece of chocolate against my will.

CADRE: "If I am a child, then I have the choice of either obeying the word of my Father, or disobeying it. It’s my choice, but if I continue to test him, then God will eventually let me “burn my hand on the oven” so that I will know that his word can be trusted."

Then that God is horrible. A parent who lets his kid hurt himself just to prove a point (or in Adam's case, KILL himself), is not a parent to be trusted. Such a parent belongs in prison.

There is a point where a parent has to "let go." What Father demands unquestioned obedience throughout their kid's life? God does, or else he gets rid of you.

If my kid is doing something wrong, I correct him, yes. But at some point, I let him go. When he is an adult and doesn't do what I want, that's fine! He can make his own decisions then. And will have no punishment to ever fear from me. THAT is true love. Not like God's love, which is more like a threat that I'm going to shoot him if he doesn't do what I want.

-----------------------

3. Regarding us not minding that God doesn't stop evil people from hurting innocent people:

CADRE: I’ll quote Phillip Yancey to try to answer that: "..."

Your quote paraphrased: "Power can't make somebody love you, and God loves everybody, so that's why God does some things we don't understand sometimes." (Correct me if I'm wrong.)

I'm sorry, but I'm not buying it.

-A man rapes a baby. But God doesn't stop it because his loves makes things "complicated" somehow.

Yeah, right.

-Two nuts, in their dedication to God, crash a plane into two towers and kill 2,000 people. God doesn't stop it because of his great love.

Give me a break!

-A man rapes and kills a mother while the child stands by and watches. God does nothing, but "love" factors into this somehow.

NOPE. I don't think so.

Saying that God lets shitty things happen out of his love is a stupid answer that explains nothing. All it serves to do is let God off the hook for the crappy things in life. Why? So doubt can be crushed, the religious paradigm can remain intact, and all the Christians can go on about their happy lives without thinking about it anymore. I will NOT turn the question off just because of a fancy quote that is meaningless to anyone but a Christian who already believes it in the first place.


CADRE: "So, how would it affect your example the “brutal murderer” was your child? What if both the murder and the victim were your children? What if you loved them both equally and truly impartially?"

If I had two kids that were fighting, and one was about to murder the other, I would stop the fight and you would too! So don't give me this "what if you loved them both equally" crap.

---------------------

4. Regarding why God cares what the heck we do:

CADRE: "I think this is one of the most striking differences between our points of view. You see humanity as God’s ant-farm where I see humanity as God’s children."

If you take an infinite God (or an infinite universe) and contrast that against a finite man, we are little more than ants regardless of how great we wish to see ourselves. We can call ourselves "children", but one point I am trying to make is, why would a truly infinite God even care one way or the other? But I am still listening...

CADRE: "Sure, if my ant-farm escapes, big deal. But as children, we have the right and the free-will to defy our parents and do every bad thing they told us not to. To think that God should simply not care if I choose to defy him would make him a horrible and un-loving father."

I understand your point, and I agree. You explained why God would care. That's not exactly what I meant by the question, though. So let me rephrase that from "Why would God care?" to "Why would God feel the need to punish?"


If my kid defies me, I DO care. I don't like it. And when he is young, I will punish him for it. But when he is old, it is out of my hands.

The whole purpose of training your kid is to build them into a good person. Why? Because you want them to do well in life. But when they become adults, we really don't even have any rules for them anymore. My son can't really defy me at that point, because ultimatums no longer exist between the two of us. He can disappoint me a bit if he does something bad like hurting someone else, but our relationship remains the same.

Likewise, say a God creates us. But unlike a parent, God doesn't try to train us or teach us anything. And unlike a parent, God's laws don't change as we grow older and wiser. He has only one rule and it is an ultimatum: LOVE ME OR DIE.

How is that "love"? How is that "a choice"? That's no choice at all! You have the choice of either A. Love God. or B. Love God. Any other choice, and God kills you (or allows you to die, whatever, same difference).


Why would a God feel the need to punish if we didn't want to do exactly what he wanted? Say for instance, Satan wanted to be like God and sinned in his pride in this way. So why didn't God just let him have a little section of heaven, isolated from the rest? That way the sin is contained, and will never escape.

Likewise, if Adam wanted to eat the fruit, why did God set up the condition that he would "surely die" if he ate it? Why didn't God just say, "If you eat it, I will be disappointed in you." Or if he had to, say, "If you eat it, I will put you in jail for a year." That is a bit more fitting with a loving God to me. (Though it would still be pretty bizarre. I mean, why test your kid anyway? I never tell my kid not to do something on purpose just to see if he "loves me" or not. That sounds pretty stupid overall if you ask me. I don't have to "test" my kid to see if he really loves me or not - I already know it when he gives me a hug. But there are a lot of stupid things in the Bible that no one thinks to even question.)


Thanks for the post Cadre! I've enjoyed it. I give you the last word here, and will read your response.

Take it easy,
Clint

October 17, 2005 8:50 AM  
Blogger Don't need this site anymore - Bye guys! said...

P.S.

Cadre, I'll keep arguing after this if you really want me to, but I just wanted to respond once and maybe see your rebuttal. Have a good one!

October 17, 2005 8:53 AM  
Blogger Don't need this site anymore - Bye guys! said...

P.P.S.

Hi Cadre, one other thing. I was reading through my response again and realized that I sounded pretty harsh in some areas. I didn't mean to sound so harsh; please don't take it personally. Just remember it is ideas that are competing here, not people :)

October 17, 2005 9:03 AM  
Blogger Don't need this site anymore - Bye guys! said...

I just realized that I am outnumbered 4 to 1 here. 4 Christians vs. 1 Atheist. Though only 2 of them are actually fighting. The other 2 must be just enjoying the fight :)

Hmmm.... 4 on 1, huh? Oh, well. I don't mind. At least that makes things interesting. I enjoy a good challenge. It gets kind of tiresome on exchristian.net where you've got about 20 Atheists versus 1 Christian at any given time. (As TE found out... ;)

Space and Time. I've definitely taken up too much space on this subject with my LOOOONG posts. And I've definitely spent too much time here, too. Time to head to the lounge!

October 17, 2005 9:51 AM  
Anonymous cadre said...

Clint,

Don't worry about sounding "harsh". I've read enough of your other responses to the other guys here to get a bit of a feel for your passion for the subject. That's kinda why I wanted to use you as a sounding board for some of these ideas of mine. Hope you don't mind :)

Anyway, I liked your response...I don't have time at the momement to write another two pager (I'm at work now) but thought I'd write a quick line to thank you for the response. Once again you've given me some things to think about, but that's why I've enjoyed reading this discussion! Hopefully I'll have some time later to give it some thouught and respond.

-cadre

October 17, 2005 9:55 AM  
Blogger Don't need this site anymore - Bye guys! said...

Hey Cadre,

I've played Halo with friends but I don't play online. I'm more of a Nintendo person. I've got my gamecube and lately have been wearing out Star Wars: Rogue Leader, trying to unlock all the missions. I've also been playing a bit of Dragon's Lair 3D, and have just beat Robotech Battlecry.

For multiplayer, you can't beat Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee. My friends and I play that every time we get together. For FPS multiplayer, we do Halo, XIII, and Medal of Honor: Frontline.

A bit off-topic here....

October 17, 2005 2:38 PM  
Blogger Don't need this site anymore - Bye guys! said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

October 17, 2005 2:41 PM  
Blogger Don't need this site anymore - Bye guys! said...

Cadre, do you plan to get an Xbox 360 when it comes out? It kind of sucks how they are advertising the core system for $300, but you really have to pay $400 since it really won't be any good without the hard drive. Typical marketing gimmick.

October 17, 2005 2:42 PM  
Anonymous cadre said...

I plan to get a 360 eventually, but I don't think I'll be able to get one at launch. $400 is pretty steep. I guess I could try to earn some extra cash babysitting...but the demand for sadistic babysitters is low these days :-) j/k. Might be able to get one a couple months after launch though when I can throw some xmas money at it.

Right now my two biggest games are Halo 2 and World of Warcraft on PC. I played Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters with a friend one time and it was great! We spent hours leveling cities in the wake of our glorious destruction!

The cold hard truth is...somewhere down the line I became a bit of a game freak. Over the past 4 years I've managed to buy all three of the major game consoles (gamecube, xbox, playstation 2). The last game I beat was Eternal Darkness on the cube. It's a pretty decent action/puzzle solving game if you're into that kind of thing. The sanity effects are wild.

October 17, 2005 8:40 PM  
Anonymous cadre said...

btw:

I just thought of this...but I'm not the same "Josh" that posted on joshcrain.com on the Katrina and Laura: Why Extreme Calvinism is Hurting the Cause of Christ, Part 1 story. Sorry for the confusion (if there was any). I am, in fact, a completely different "Josh" all together and not the guy JCrain was debating.

October 17, 2005 8:59 PM  
Blogger DErifter said...

Cadre,

I have to admit I felt a little sorry for you when I first read your 2-year-old-burning-his-hand-on-the-oven analogy. My first thought was "Uh-oh, Clint's gunna eat him alive on that one."
So Clint starts off his comment with "Fresh meat! Yum...."

I gotta go with Clint on that one, that analogy just does't work for me. Burning your hand is way different than "Surely dying". By the the time they disobeyed, it was too late to learn the lesson they were supposed to learn about God's word being true and for their benefit. But I can see where you were going with it though.

Clint,
You can't have it both ways.

You said, "I just realized that I am outnumbered 4 to 1 here. 4 Christians vs. 1 Atheist. Though only 2 of them are actually fighting."

Then I think you're outnumbered 2 to 1, not 4 to 1. But that's okay, I'm not that good at math either.
Hee-Ha-Hooooo. I'll take 1 point for that!

You said, "If I know that sleeping with someone will give me AIDS, I ain't gonna sleep with that person. Likewise, if Adam fully understood that eating the fruit would bring him death, he wouldn't have eaten it either."

Maybe that's what you think when you're reading a story about Adam eating from the tree (which I doubt was an apple tree but anyway), but when it comes down to it are you that sure you wouldn't? People sleep with AIDS-infected people every day, and some even know it. People smoke, which eventually will bring death. People do all sorts of things that they know are bad, and in some cases lethal. You could print on a pack of smokes the words, "SMOKING CAUSES CANCER. CANCER CAUSES DEATH." and people would still smoke. They figure it won't happen to them, or the research is faulty. They think, "I will not surely die" because they have been deceived. If they had believed the true info that they had received, they would not have smoked.

Probably. Or they might just think it's worth it. I smoked for 16 years because I figured the consequences were so far down the road that "this cigarette here" won't make any difference. I'm starting to drift from my point.

Adam and Eve knew the truth, but they were deceived, and the disobedience that followed is what lead to their death. God didn't say, "In that day I will surely kill you to teach you a lesson about obeying me." He was telling his 2-year-olds, "You shall not play out on the highway, because in that day you will get hit by a car and surely die. So don't play on the highway." It wasn't a warning about the punishment that awaited them, it was truth about the danger that awaited them.

To sum all that up, fully understanding something doesn't guarantee that you will make the right decision. (I should've just said that!)

Later, about your son you said, "When he is an adult and doesn't do what I want, that's fine! He can make his own decisions then. And will have no punishment to ever fear from me. THAT is true love. Not like God's love, which is more like a threat that I'm going to shoot him if he doesn't do what I want."

The fact that your son has no punishment to fear from you doesn't mean that there are no consequeces for his actions. Playing in the street when you're 20 can get you killed just like when you're 2. The fatherly advice remains: "Don't play on the highway." Death doesn't have to be a disciplinary action. It can be a result of your own stupidity. Or gullibilty in the case of Adam.

Later you said, "I will NOT turn the question off just because..."

I like that. I've DONE that, and I hated it then (though it's convenient), but I didn't call it "turning off the question." That's a very accurate description of that act. I'm gunna try to work that into conversations from now on...

Still later you said, "So let me rephrase that from "Why would God care?" to "Why would God feel the need to punish?"

The need to punish (which I don't think is anywhere to be found in The Garden) is born of love, as you mentioned earlier. We'd all agree that a little discipline is a good thing. But I don't think that's what was happening in the Garden. That wasn't punishment, but death. Consequences of actions. Jump off a building, you die. You don't die because you disobeyed the rule about "no jumping from the building", you die because when you hit the ground you went "splat". That's why the rule about no jumping existed.

Later still you said, "He has only one rule and it is an ultimatum: LOVE ME OR DIE."

I don't see it that way. I see people drowning, and Jesus saying, "Gimme your hand! Trust me, I won't let go. If you don't take my hand, you'll drown!"

On a different note (and later) you said of Satan,
"So why didn't God just let him have a little section of heaven, isolated from the rest? That way the sin is contained, and will never escape.

I would think that sin, not confronted, would run wild and grow and spread, but that's just me.

Earlier, no wait. Later, you said, "Just remember it is ideas that are competing here, not people :)"

"Exactly"

And farther down you said, "The other 2 must be just enjoying the fight :)"

Well I was, until you started picking on me!

And finally, you said,
"I've played Halo with friends but I don't play online. I'm more of a Nintendo person. I've got my gamecube and lately have been wearing out Star Wars: Rogue Leader, trying to unlock all the missions. I've also been playing a bit of Dragon's Lair 3D, and have just beat Robotech Battlecry.

For multiplayer, you can't beat Godzilla: Destroy All Monsters Melee. My friends and I play that every time we get together. For FPS multiplayer, we do Halo, XIII, and Medal of Honor: Frontline."

I once beat the computer at Pong, and I'm getting pretty good at Space Invaders. You guys are nuts.

Cadre, at first I thought you might have been "Josh Crain the Other", but I kinda figured it out. Josh City over there, huh?

October 17, 2005 9:44 PM  
Anonymous cadre said...

Looks like we poked the bear, Clint! If I were going to be completely honest...I'd have to say I knew the "burning hand" analogy wasn't going to work before I posted...but I really wanted it too somehow :-)

Derifter, you said: “Then I think you're outnumbered 2 to 1, not 4 to 1."

Truth be told, it may be 2 to 1 in favor of Clint now...you see, I somehow managed to click on his i am an atheist link a few posts above. Looks like you were right when you said "To sum all that up, fully understanding something doesn't guarantee that you will make the right decision." Now I've gone off and become an atheist even though Clint told me up front what the consequences of that action would be :-)

October 17, 2005 10:09 PM  
Anonymous cadre said...

So, I have a half-formed thought running around in my head and was thinking maybe you guys could help me finish it (or dismiss it).

Is it possible to have a truely loving relationship where there is no need for trust?

I'm thinking that if God had bestowed all of his knowledge on Adam from the start then there would really be no need for Adam to trust God (he would simply know God...and therefore that might've somehow deminished Adam's (and eventually humanity's) capacity to love God.

If God's design was for humainty to love Him and He them, then trust must be established...and for trust to be established, there must be a choice (eat or don't eat the fruit).

That make any sense?

October 17, 2005 11:15 PM  
Blogger DErifter said...

Cadre,

Boy, did YOU stir up some bad memories! You reminded me that I was the first to click on the iamanatheist link that Clint left there, like cheese for a mouse. Looks like it's us 3 against Josh, or 3-2 if TE comes back.

About your half-formed thought:
I don't think you have to choose between trust and love, especially if love comes first. I can trust Satan to act counter to my best interest at all times. But I don't love him. I love my wife, and I trust her, but I'm not sure what love would look like without trust. When it comes to God, "To know, know, know Him is to love, love love Him. And I dooooooooooo." Sorry, I should take that tune to the lounge. But I think the trust is in the knowing.

Another twist that brings up would be the reverse: God can love us, but can He trust us? I dunno. I doubt it, unless we mean trust us to do what He knows we'll do, due to His knowledge of the future. And I think you guys have all pretty much come around to my view on that, right? (Uh huh. Sure.)

That reminds me. Have you guys noticed how this has become "the post that really doesn't have that much to do with space and time anymore"? Not that it bothers me, it's all good stuff. I was just noticing that. Another thing I've noticed is that if you want to float a half-formed thought, this is an ok place for it. Heck, it's a good place to float non-formed thoughts (even ask TE! hahaha!)

By the way, I loved your sadistic babysitter comment. You kinda snuck up on me with that one.

October 18, 2005 12:11 AM  
Anonymous cadre said...

derifter,

You said: "Another twist that brings up would be the reverse: God can love us, but can He trust us?"

I think God could trust Adam at first...but only if there was a reason to trust him...hence the choice to eat or not eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge. I guess what I'm trying to establish with this line of thinking is the necesity for the test that God placed in the garden. If God had not placed a circumstance in the garden in which Adam could disobey, then Adam would not even have the option of not trusting God and I'm not sure that would be real love. Even though Adam knew God, it would be hard to love Him if no other options were available.

I'm also trying to show that love does indeed "complicate the life of God" as I said from my original post.

If we could divise a world for our children in which there was no potential for heart-break or trouble of any kind, would they love us for it? Or would they simpy know that we did it for them and leave it at that? Well, now I'm starting to sound like Rod Serling on an intro to the Twilight Zone so I guess I'll wrap this post up.

It's still a half-formed thought, but I think maybe it's getting somewhere...at least in my mind.

October 18, 2005 10:34 AM  
Blogger DErifter said...

Maybe you should try to define "trust" the way you're using it. I might not be understanding what you're getting at. It seems to me that if God has infinite knowledge of the future (as I believe He does) then "trust" as I'm using it wouldn't be an issue since He would know beyond a doubt what choice we would make. Obviously, the choice would have to actually present itself at some point, or knowing what we'd choose would be meaningless. (Josh's view I think, would say that's why God can't know the future, if I understand what he's saying.) Maybe if you hold to that view (that God knows everything that can be known, verses my view that God knows absolutely everything), trust would be more of an issue.

October 18, 2005 12:08 PM  
Blogger Don't need this site anymore - Bye guys! said...

Cadre and Derifter,

What is this nonsense about having to "trust" someone in order to love them? Since when is trust a prerequisite for love? I love my mom, but I don't trust her at all. She is totally unreliable and undependable. I love my kid, but I don't trust him to always do what I want. Does that in any way detract from my love for him? No.

I think the only reason this notion of having to trust someone in order to love them has even been brought up is to justify why a God feels the need to put man through a silly test of obedience. "It was to prove that man really loved him", or something like that. I've set it before and I'll say it again. I love my kid no matter what he does. I don't set up any "tests" to see if he really loves me or not. That would be sadistic.

Likewise, I don't set up "tests" to prove whether my friends are really my friends or not. It is not necessary. What is the motivation of a God to test his creation? For what purpose? The whole idea is a very stupid one, in my opinion.

CADRE said: "If we could divise a world for our children in which there was no potential for heart-break or trouble of any kind, would they love us for it?"

If our love is unlimited, as God's supposedly is, then what would be more important: Showing our love for our creation? Or making sure that our creation loved us back?

It sounds like you believe that God's motivation is not simply to love others, but to make sure his own need for love is met.

I didn't have a kid for the purpose of having someone worship and adore me. I had a kid so I could have someone to love, even if that love is never returned. The kind of love that God apparently has, the kind that EXPECTS SOMETHING BACK, is not real love at all.

CADRE said: "Or would they simpy know that we did it for them and leave it at that?"

WHY does it matter what they think? All our job as a parent to do is to love them. It is up to them with their free will to choose whether they appreciate it or not. No matter what they choose, loving them as a parent should be good enough.

--------------------

There is something else that Derifter brought up. It is basically the notion that God didn't "kill" Adam, but just warned him away from the danger.

Likewise, Jesus doesn't make people go to hell for not believing in him; he just tries to rescue them from the natural consequence of their own sin.

That sounds good. It sounds reasonable. I used to believe it (and preach it). I said, "You see, God doesn't want ANYONE to go to hell! That's why he sent Jesus!" But there is a problem.

Look at Adam. You can say that God did not make him die for sinning, but merely warned him of what would happen if he did sin. In other words, God did not kill Adam after he sinned; death was just the natural consequence of disobeying God.

My question is this. Who set up that rule in the first place? Who designed it so that eating that tree would cause death? Is God just this innocent bystander who is helpless when it comes to certain laws, namely the laws of sin and death?

Here comes the child and the oven analogy again. It is a lot like a God warning a child not to touch a hot stove or he will be burned. (And you can say that even when the child is old and should know better, he still could disobey and be burned. Fine.) But then you say that God is not responsible, because he did his best to warn the person but they did not listen. BUT WHO BUILT THE OVEN IN THE FIRST PLACE? WHO TURNED IT ON?

God designed the laws of this universe, including the law that if you disobey him, you will die. He could have set up the law so that if you disobey him, you merely get a spanking or a "time out" for a few thousand years. No. He said that if you don't do things his way, your life will be terminated. Where did this rule come from? If not God, then who else?


Likewise, Jesus never sends anyone to hell (or oblivion, or painful separation, or whatever else definition you like, if you find hell as directly described in the Bible to be too distasteful). He just tries to save people, right? All he does is warn them of the danger. He tries to reach out a helping hand, to rescue people from drowning in the ocean.

That sounds well and good, but who created the ocean? Who designed it so that you will drown there?

DERIFTER said: "The fact that your son has no punishment to fear from you doesn't mean that there are no consequeces for his actions. Playing in the street when you're 20 can get you killed just like when you're 2. The fatherly advice remains: "Don't play on the highway." Death doesn't have to be a disciplinary action. It can be a result of your own stupidity. Or gullibilty in the case of Adam."

Who created the highway? Who put the cars there?

DERIFTER said: "We'd all agree that a little discipline is a good thing. But I don't think that's what was happening in the Garden. That wasn't punishment, but death. Consequences of actions. Jump off a building, you die. You don't die because you disobeyed the rule about "no jumping from the building", you die because when you hit the ground you went "splat". That's why the rule about no jumping existed."

Who created the ground? Who created the building? Who created the consequences?


My point is this. The whole "test" as designed by God is completely arbitrary. If as a parent he truly felt the need to punish his kid for no legitimate reason (that I can see), He could have thought of any punishment he wanted. It didn't have to be death and hell. But that's what he decided. Completely arbitrary and unfair.


Let's turn the tables, shall we? What if a human being did that? What if a dad wanted to "test" his two kids (for some obscure reason)? What if he put a big plate of poisoned chocolate chip cookies on the table, then he told the kids, "If either of you eat one of those cookies, you will surely die." Then what if he left the room?

How long do you think it would take before one of the kids went over and decided to take a bite? 5 minutes? 10?

And then the father comes back, acts disappointed that the kids didn't "trust" or "love" him enough, and lets them die.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT? If a human being did that, you would think that such a father is a pyscho. Yet when a God does it, you excuse him! WHY???

----------------------

Derifter also made the point that a person could fully understand something but still make the wrong decision for other reasons.

There are lots of reasons that people make the wrong decisions in life, that is true. Even when a person knows that smoking will kill them, they will still do it, that's true. Why? There are lots of reasons.

This is a point of contention here on which our opinions differ. But I still contend that if a person FULLY understands something, and if they care about their own well-being (like most people do), they will make the right decision.

Take your example. People smoke and sleep around because they think that they can beat the odds. They reject the knowledge of the consequences because they don't want to think about it. Denial is a basic human characteristic. But if the knowledge was inescapable, undeniable, and they TRULY UNDERSTOOD exactly what was happening to their lungs every time they touched a cigarette, they would probably never smoke again. But people are willfully ignorant, because everyone wants a quick fix and nobody likes to THINK.

It is possible that a God would try to explain something to his kids and they just wouldn't listen no matter how many times he said it. But the Bible records him telling them ONE time, and in very little detail at that. That would not be near enough in my mind for them to "get it." But why a God would even feel the need to do his sadistic little test game on them in the first place is beyond my comprehension.


----------------------


I have one other thing to say and that is regarding why couldn't God have just given Lucifer his own section of heaven? I mean, there's no way that a mere angel could ever overthrow God.

DERIFTER said: "I would think that sin, not confronted, would run wild and grow and spread, but that's just me."

If God stuck Lucifer on a pleasant but deserted island for all of eternity, then how could that sin grow and spread?

--------------------------

Since we are on the topic of Free Will here in this Space and Time :), let me bring up a few questions to you guys about Free Will and the devil:

1. Lucifer sinned, therefore he either has free will or God designed him to sin. When Lucifer and the angels sinned, God doomed them for all eternity. Why did God not try to save them with a Jesus? Why does he try to save us but not them? Does he not love the angels too?

2. Lucifer sinned in a sinless environment. What is to keep angels from sinning even today?

3. Christians were once sinners, and most believe that Christians cannot stop sinning even here on earth. So what will be different about that once you get to heaven? What's to stop you from sinning once you get there?

4. If a Christian can't sin once he gets to heaven, then he no longer has free will. So does that mean that God will take away people's free wills once they get to heaven?

I believe TE once answered some of these questions by saying that he believed that having sinned on earth will by like immunizing us against sin in heaven. But I don't get that, because if that is true, then why isn't this "immunization" working now?. If we can see the bad effects of sin here in our lifetimes, then why can we not choose NEVER EVER again to sin here on earth?


Take it easy, Gents.

Clint

P.S. 2 on 1, 3 on 1, 4 on 1, whatever. You guys just keep dishing it out. I can take it :)

October 18, 2005 12:12 PM  
Anonymous Josh said...

Dang! I leave for a few days and you guys write War and Peace 2! Don't we all have jobs?

Cadre, welcome to the discussion. It's always good to have another Josh on board. You guys have had some great points, and I want to discuss them, but I'll have to get to them tomorrow. In the meantime...

Cadre, you can babysit my kids anytime you want (I don't have any yet, but maybe some day...)

Clint, you made me an atheist, too. I clicked that stupid link before I could even research it. While I was there I almost bought a t-shirt! They had some pretty funny stuff.

T.E.-You dead, man?

derifter-I'm very sad that we haven't found a way to fit in a colorless red car anywhere recently. Do you have to trust a colorless car to get you somewhere before you can love it? Only Clint knows for sure...haha.

Okay, enjoy your days. I'll be fighting my other critics over at my website for the remainder of the afternoon.

October 18, 2005 5:09 PM  
Blogger TE said...

God made Adam in his own image, thus integrating within him deductive reasoning capacity and moral accountability. Adam had not yet experienced death. Yet because he bore God's likeness, he knew that by eating of the forbidden tree he would bring calamity upon himself, calamity not worth investigating by eating.

TE

October 18, 2005 9:31 PM  
Blogger DErifter said...

Clint,
You brought up a lot of good questions. Some I'm gunna have to think about some more, and they may end up like space and time:puzzling, but solid answers are hard to find.

The trust and love thing Cadre mentioned isn't a complete thought yet, so that's hard to nail down. What is meant by trust is an important part of the question. My wife can trust me to not run around on her, but it would be crazy of her to trust me to remember all 12 things at the grocery store without a list. One of those is a critical part of love, and the other is just that I have a bad memory and has little to do with love. So I'll wait on that question.

One of the hard ones is why death is the result of sin, instead of a year in jail. I think it points out the serious nature of sin, and why God is so against it. Why Jesus had to die because of it. It's not something he can just sluff off and say, "Oh, that's ok".

Why didn't God create us with infinite knowledge? I don't know.

For that matter, why didn't He create us to be His equals? I don't know. I suppose He COULD have, but I don't know why He didn't. TE will probably say there can't be more than one necessary being or something and that may be, but myself, I just don't know.

Will we be able to sin in heaven? Another good question, and one I've wondered about before. Maybe our free will will be perfected then, so our will will match God's of our own free will (because of our new glorified existance). It could be that since the price of sin had not yet been paid when Adam & Eve sinned, that's why they faced death themselves. But once we've been fully restored, and live in a paradise that is free from sin instead of this fallen world, the blood of Jesus has paid the price "once and for all" (I think that's in Hebrews somewhere but I don't have a lot of time right now to look it up.) so rather than sinning we'd be continually cleansed by His sacrifice and kept holy by it (including our desires.)

We might have to define sin, too. There's actions (I call them sins with a small "s") and the condition of having "missed the mark", or being dead in your sins, (which I call Sin with a capital "S")

Anyway, I gotta go. More later.

October 18, 2005 11:41 PM  
Blogger DErifter said...

Hey where ya been, TE?

October 18, 2005 11:42 PM  
Blogger Don't need this site anymore - Bye guys! said...

Hey Josh,

Fighting on your home turf, huh? Maybe I will go there and join forces with the legions of darkness to fight against you. Unless of course it is just another Christian arguing with you. Maybe I could spice that up a bit then too....

Hey Derifter,

Good answers there, thanks. I like and respect Christians who will just come out and say, "Heck, I don't know" every now and then. To me that person never looks stupid, but just looks thoughtful and honest.

Derifter and Everyone Else,

You are saying that sin calls for death because it is so serious. I understand. So WHY is it serious enough to merit such a punishment?
God himself determined what the offense is (disobeying him by eating the fruit) and what the punishment is (death and hell). Now be honest here. Is that REALLY an offense that merits such a severe punishment?

Couldn't God just have easily determined that the offense would be eating the fruit and the punishment would be 1,000 years of separation? WHY did he arbitrarily decide on DEATH? God being God, it is TOTALLY an arbitrary decision on his part what the consequences of sin should be.

If my kid disobeys me, first I say no. If he does it again, I say no a little louder. If he does it again, I go over and give him a swat on the rear and he quits. The punishment is appropriate to the offense.

God gives kid ONE chance (numero uno) to disobey him or not. Adam blows it, and the punishment is DEATH. Is that not just a little bit severe?

I mean, step outside the box here for just a minute. Pretend that you are not a Christian for a moment. You have NEVER heard about Jesus. You have NEVER heard anything about the Bible. I have just told you this story about how God gave man his chance, he blew it, and death was the consequence. In your mind does that really sound like anything any kind of parent would ever do?


Hey TE,

A baby human also bears God's likeness, correct? Yet a baby or a child is not yet knowledgeable enough to be held accountable for their decisions, let alone to be responsible for their own safety. You are ASSUMING that Adam was smart enough to be held accountable for choosing his own destruction. Not because the Bible indicates any such thing, but because it fits with your religious paradigm.

The paradigm is this: God is a fair God, therefore the test must also be fair. And you hold that to be true even if logic, common sense, and the Bible itself indicate that the test is NOT fair, and is a rather stupid test at that.

There is a reason that you argue against me when I point out that the test is not a fair one. Would you like to know what that reason is? I will tell you. You probably do not consciously realize it. Prepare to be offended.

Not just picking on TE here. All Christians rigorously defend the fairness of the test of Adam. Why? Because if the test is not a fair test, then God is not a fair God. And if God is not a fair God, then God is not a loving God either. And if God is not a loving God, then the Bible is not true. And if the Bible is not true, then your religion is not true. And if your religion is not true, then the the very beliefs that you hold dearest in your mind are not true either. And if those beliefs are not true, then that would bring you much emotional pain.

So TE, you, like all other Christians, will continue to defend your religion regardless of all of its stupidities and absurdities. Doubt must be squashed; the wall of Faith must be kept strong, and all is well in the world again. Why? Because a life without that faith is unbearable to even think about.


Also,

If anybody has the guts, I still would like to hear a response to my analogy of the dad giving his kid the choice to eat poisoned cookies or not. Why is it wrong if a human were to do that, but it is okay that God did it?

I'm waiting....


(Are you guys sick of me yet? :)

October 19, 2005 7:47 AM  
Anonymous cadre said...

Hey clint,

I liked you comment to Josh: "Fighting on your home turf, huh? Maybe I will go there and join forces with the legions of darkness to fight against you." Definite lol on that one.

Also thought it was interesting when you said "Now be honest here. Is that REALLY an offense that merits such a severe punishment?". Seems like I've heard that somewhere before...(Genesis 3:4). I'm not trying to call you the devil here :-) just thought maybe you said it that way on purpose since you just talked about joining the forces of darkens to fight against Josh :-)

be back later,

-cadre

October 19, 2005 11:19 AM  
Blogger Don't need this site anymore - Bye guys! said...

Hi Cadre,

I was joking on the legions of darkness comment :)

But I am serious about the other question. That wasn't sarcasm, and I am not trying to be like the devil. Genesis 3:4 says, "And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die." In the Bible story, Satan called God a liar. I am not doing that.

What I am doing is asking this simple question: WHY did God set things up so that eating the fruit would cause death? He could have set things up so that it caused some other effect. So why death?

And again, is that not a pretty severe punishment for the simple infraction of not doing EXACTLY what somebody else wants 24/7?

I think that if you were honest with yourself about it, you would say that that is a pretty severe punishment. Adam murdered no one. He raped no one. He hurt no one. Yet because he did not show unquestioned obedience, he had to die. Fair? No. Silly? Ridiculous? Yes.


Let me ask you guys something else here too.

I am familiar with the common Christian explanation of the Genesis story of Adam's fall. The reason usually given for the "test" is that God did not want a creation to worship him as robots. Rather, he created man in his image and thus with a free will.

(This doesn't fit with why angels are not created in God's image but still have free wills, but I'm getting off track....)

According to the story, for a person to really love somebody back, they have to use their free wills to choose that person. So for man to love God, he has to use his free will to either choose God or not choose God.

Thus is the reason why God set up the garden test in the first place, to see what choice man would make.


Here is the kicker. How is OBEDIENCE a test of someone's LOVE? All obedience proves is that the person is subservient. It does not prove that the person loves.

Prisoners obey the prison guards, but that doesn't prove that they love them.

So Adam could have obeyed God, but that wouldn't have proved that Adam loved him.


My wife loves me. She doesn't have to obey my every command to prove it to me. That would be a dictatorship, not a love relationship. (Actually, she doesn't have to obey ANY of my commands to show her love for me, because I issue none.) All I expect from her is that she respect me, not that she obey me. But even if she did disrespect me one time, I wouldn't throw her out over it. And I certainly wouldn't KILL her.

Here is my question. If God wanted to prove whether or not his creation loved him (as opposed to proving whether or not his creation will obey him), then why didn't he just give Adam the choice of loving somebody else? With no punishment to be dished out if Adam chose someone else?

And then if Adam did choose someone else, God could just give Adam his blessing, leave him in peace, and create another planet and another Adam until he got what he wanted.

How does a testing a person's OBEDIENCE prove that that person LOVES you? If a man made his wife follow his every order to truly prove that she loves him, you would consider that man to be manipulative at the least and a tyrant at worst. Yet when God screws with people's heads like that as shown in the Genesis story, this is somehow okay. HUH?

October 19, 2005 11:55 AM  
Blogger TE said...

Clint,

I've been investigating Bible manuscripts for years and have not been able to find a proven contradiction. If a person wants to twist scripture, by ignoring metaphoric language, analogies, anthropomorphisms, etc., they will come up with all kinds of contradictions. This can also be done with any other literature, not just the Bible.

Another thing, the Lord Jesus actually gave verification to me that he was Lord and loved me before I accepted him into my life. After I accepted him, I was instantly brought into a relationship with him. Having the Bible to learn from is fine, but I don't need it to be in a relationship with God.

When I was young I followed the Baptist religion, but had never come into a relationship with the Lord Jesus. I later rejected that religion and believed much the same as you do now, and I attacked and made fun of Christians. Following a religion or a belief system (whether it be WoF, Baptist, Open Theism, Atheism or secularism) can make you religious, but it will never bring you into a relationship with God.

When Adam rebelled against God, he didn't fall to the ground and die physically at that instant, but he did damage a perfect relationship with God at that instant. Much the same way relationships are often damaged in our lives with others. Although, those relationships may be damaged, that doesn't mean that we never have anything to do with those people again, albeit some are never restored. God did not torture Adam for his rebellion, but questioned his reasoning for the rebellion. God's punishment for the rebellion has a certain degree of suffering and decay. For now we are all suffering in the same world, under the same curse. The suffering in this world lets us know that a life in rebellion towards God is not all that great.

God has made it possible to be reconciled to Him by Jesus sacrifice on the cross. We can accept his payment for our rebellion or continue in our rebellion and suffer the consequences.

If I interpreted the Bible, ignoring the figures of speech, as they do in the Atheist religion, I would reject the Bible also, but the language depicting hell is clearly metaphoric. There is no place in the Bible that can be proven to mean that hell is a place of torture. Atheists have misinterpreted the Bible. They have projected a false god of torture from the Bible. By doing this, they have fooled themselves into believing that they have a legitimate reason for rejecting the God of the Bible, but they are sadly mistaken.


Be careful before you decide to read some ones mind. Before I was a Christian I lived enjoying some things and suffering in others, just as I do now. For nearly 21 years I rarely gave much thought about God at all. I lived life without faith in Jesus with no problem at all. I just figured I'd live life experiencing it to the fullest till the day I died, simple as that. I figured that if there was a God, I would deal with him later, no big deal. I had heard the gospel a thousand times over for years, but it had no effect on me. When I was almost 21 another Christian told me about Jesus, I listened to him, even though I didn't really want to hear him. Two evenings later, when I was all alone, something unexpected happened. Jesus verified to me that he was indeed Lord and loved me. Then I asked him to come into my life, and he did come into my life and he has been with me ever since. As a result, I know that Jesus is 100% real and nothing can change that fact.

So for almost 21 years I lived without him, just doing my own thing and I was not concerned with him one way or the other, then all of a sudden he enters my life and reveals himself to me and I accepted him into my life and he has been with me ever since. I love him and I will be with him for all eternity. I would be in denial of the truth if I decided not to believe in him because I know for a fact that he is real.

TE

October 19, 2005 2:55 PM  
Blogger Don't need this site anymore - Bye guys! said...

Hi TE,

Thanks for your comments.

I cannot argue with religious experiences. I cannot argue with other people's feelings. Many things can feel quite real, no doubt. But does that make it true.

I make no attempt to "twist" scriptures. Nor do I mock people. I merely ask logical questions of the Bible. Questions that most Christians do not want to think about.

I seldom receive any answers from Christians that make any logical sense, or even show that they have thought about my questions at all. Most Christians I talk to ignore my questions altogether, as you have done. Resorting to the "I just know God is real because I have experienced him" line. That's fine. How can I argue with that? When a Christian decides to ignore logic on a subject and instead step into the realm of his own personal feelings on the matter, there is little else for us to discuss.


I could possibly see how Atheism could be labeled a "belief system," although I believe that that is inaccurate.

But how is Atheism a "religion"? I do not believe in a god or gods, simply because I see no evidence that such beings exist. How does that constitute a "religion"?

Since when does NOT having belief count as a "religion"? I don't believe in Santa Claus either. Should I be labeled a member of the "Aclausist" religion because of that?

P.S. TE, it's mostly your fellow Christians who preach the torture of hell, NOT atheists. Atheists don't believe in hell. As an atheist, I don't reject the idea of a God because I think hell would be bad; I reject it because I see no reason to believe in such a being. Pretty simple.

October 19, 2005 3:53 PM  
Blogger Don't need this site anymore - Bye guys! said...

TE,

I feel that I need to apologize to you. It was presumptuous of me to tell you what I think are your motivations. Everyone is different. I'm truly sorry.

And I was also wrong to say that you have "ignored my questions altogether." I haven't really asked you anything specifically, so what question could you ignore?

Your beliefs are very important to you, based on experiences that you cannot deny. I honestly respect your right to believe whatever you wish.

But I question all religious dogma, not only yours. Not because I want to pick on you, but because I consider religious dogma to be harmful, and I enjoy arguing over it. Particularly Christian dogma, since I consider Christianity to be a cult that held my mind captive and brainwashed for nearly 30 years.

I want a mental challenge. And what better mental challenge is there in life than religion and philosophy which try to touch on the purpose of our existence? I enjoy thinking logically, and I enjoy applying logic to the Bible to examine it critically. If something cannot hold up under scrutiny, then why is it to be believed?

Seriously, it is nothing personal at all. And I'll leave with no hard feelings if Derifter ever wants me too.

TE, thank you for talking to me. And I appreciate you sharing your religious experience here. I don't know what to say about it. If I ever experienced something spiritual as real as what you say you experienced, I may think a lot differently about things too.


I truly do not believe that I am in rebellion against any God. I just don't see any reason to believe that such a being exists. From my point of view, religion seems to be made up mostly of fantasy and wishful thinking. But I could be wrong.

Can you tell me why I am wrong? Can you give me a good reason to believe in a God, even though his Bible seems to make no sense?

Thank you, TE.

Best Regards,
Clint

October 19, 2005 6:45 PM  
Blogger TE said...

>So TE, you, like all other Christians, will continue to defend your religion regardless of all of its stupidities and absurdities. Doubt must be squashed; the wall of Faith must be kept strong, and all is well in the world again. Why? Because a life without that faith is unbearable to even think about.

>I make no attempt to "twist" scriptures. Nor do I mock people. I merely ask logical questions of the Bible. Questions that most Christians do not want to think about.

That sounded like mocking to me.


Clint, do you really believe that you are the only one here that has asked the tough questions about the meaning of life, God, the Bible, etc.

When you were a little kid, playing with your toys, I was already asking the tough questions. Give me a break.

>Most Christians I talk to ignore my questions altogether, as you have done.

You have got to be joking. Who has taken more time out of their life in the past few months, to answer question, after question, after question for you.

You talk about stupidities and absurdities, nothing is more absurd and stupid than atheism. Because to be an atheist you must be in denial of the very reality that surrounds you and ignore the answers for that reality. Maybe you need to start searching a little harder to find the answers to the tough questions. If you really wanted answers, you wouldn't be talking to me and Derifter in the first place. Your purpose for being here is not to find answers to tough questions, but to demonstrate that we are following a non-existent god and a corrupt Bible, but it's not going to happen. It's not going to happen because Derifter and I came to know the one true God,(and yes it was an experience, what else could it be, that's what life is, experience after experience) and we love him. I know that's something you can't possibly understand and I don't expect you to. Derifter and I do not love a religion, we love God. We may discuss time, doctrine or whatever, and may disagree on some of it, but we will always love our Lord, and we will never leave him.

I didn't tell you about me being saved because I thought it would change your mind about the Bible or God, but for you to realize that there is no possibility of me going back to the way I use to be, which is thinking like you do. I'm well aware that to you it is only a subjective experience that another person had and that it's not an argument of any persuasion.

What are the atheist answers to the meaning of life? Why is their belief system true? What facts do they have to back it up? What are their answers for the existence of the universe? Why do they read into the Bible what they want it to mean, like when they say God will torture people in hell?

All people have a worldview of some sort. You can call what your into anything you want, it doesn't much matter. But to me atheism is a dead system with no proof to back it up. So why should I believe it, or take it seriously?

Have a good night.
TE

October 19, 2005 6:55 PM  
Blogger TE said...

Clint,

I just saw your message. So please ignore what I wrote, as far as what you apologized for.

TE

October 19, 2005 7:00 PM  
Blogger TE said...

Derifter,

If you want to erase what I said to Clint, I will understand.

TE

October 19, 2005 7:04 PM  
Blogger TE said...

Derifter,

I can't count past 99, so you might want to start another post. Because we are about to reach my counting limit. Ha,Ha.

TE

October 19, 2005 7:08 PM  
Blogger DErifter said...

Hey-
Sorry I haven't been around much lately, but my wife had surgery the other day and I've only been able to get down here once in a while when she's napping.

When I said,
"Why didn't God create us with infinite knowledge? I don't know."
What I meant to say was I don't know "yet" :]

Clint, you said,
"To me that person never looks stupid, but just looks thoughtful and honest."

If you think I don't look stupid, you haven't had a good look at my picture. (Hint: I'm the one with no gills.)

(sigh...) I don't have much time now either, because I have to get to bed, but one thing I wanted to ask you is this.

If the penalty for sin had been 10,000 years of separation instead of death, would you have asked "Why so harsh? Why not 10 years?" Or if it was 10 years, would you have asked, "Why not a month?" Or if the penalty was no ice cream before bed would that have fit the crime? I don't think you (or I) really understand how serious sin is. Adam and Eve didn't have a bunch of rules to follow to stay in line. They had one rule. One. "Don't eat from that tree." How tough could that have been?

But included in just that one little thing is not only disobedience, but betrayal, deceit, greed (because the serpent told them they'd be like God and oooh, that must've sounded good) pride, and who knows what else? It was a big deal, not just a little slip.

Getting killed by a car seems harsh for that mistake too. Why couldn't it just bounce off and maybe scratch you? I get what you're saying about how God made the rules and the consequences and all, but how do we figure how it all fits when we are comparing an infinite God with our finite experience and judgement. When you say it's not fair, you're assuming that you know all the details, or at least enough to make an informed judgement. I don't think we have a clue about the battle that's raging around us.

The cookies. Say the dad made the cookies and someone else (an enemy) put the poison in them.

Man, you miss a day and all the sudden you're trying to repond to something that was written 10 comments ago!

I better hit it.

Clint and TE,
Go easy on each other. Remember we're canning each other's ideas, not each other. Passion is fine, but don't get down on each other. Don't make me write a post about a time-out!

Also, don't keep giving me permission to delete your comments. If you want to delete your own comments, you know how to do it. I'll delete mine if I feel the need but it's unlikely that I'll ever delete yours. Although we all have a lot to think about, don't forget that we enjoy this. Otherwise we probably would be spending time with our families instead of this. That reminds me....

October 19, 2005 11:51 PM  
Blogger Don't need this site anymore - Bye guys! said...

Hi Derifter,

Good luck to your wife on her recovery from surgery. Gall Bladder surgery. That's gotta be painful....

Thanks for the response. You said,

"If the penalty for sin had been 10,000 years of separation instead of death, would you have asked "Why so harsh? Why not 10 years?" Or if it was 10 years, would you have asked, "Why not a month?" Or if the penalty was no ice cream before bed would that have fit the crime? I don't think you (or I) really understand how serious sin is. Adam and Eve didn't have a bunch of rules to follow to stay in line. They had one rule. One. "Don't eat from that tree." How tough could that have been?"

I really do see your point. You seem to mean that our understanding is limited, so how can we judge how serious the crime is? We have no standard to judge it against.

All I can look at is the standards that we ourselves as humans have. If a human king set up a test of obedience like that, just to prove how loyal his subjects are, it would be a bad thing. So I think we have a problem between us that can never be argued away by either side, and here is why I think:

I look at the Bible and I judge the God of the Bible by human standards and human logic. But you do not. (I'm not saying that what you are thinking is WRONG; I am just analyzing here.) Instead, you hold your God to his own standards, which to you are standards of Pure Goodness.

Since to you God is to be trusted, and God is Good, then even though what he does sometimes may not look good by human standards, He is God, we don't know the full situation and He does, and therefore He must have good reasons for what he is doing because he is Perfectly Good. Do you see what I mean?

Another example would be when God told Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. By human standards, this is what I would have thought if a God had asked me to do that: "Hold on here. There is no way in heck I am worshipping any sort of God that commands me to kill somebody! See you later Jehovah - you freak."

But to a Christian, God can not be held by human moral standards because our standards are flawed and our understanding of the situation is limited. God is a God of Pure Love and Goodness by definition, so it's okay if he commands you to kill your kid or whatever. Because like Abraham, you trust Him that it will all work out for good in the end.

I honestly do not think that there is anything wrong with wanting to believe that if there is a God, then He is probably a good, kind, and loving God. A God whose ways don't always make sense to us.

But as an unbeliever who really is just curious and not trying to be sarcastic here, how do you KNOW that God is good? Good enough to deserve to be trusted with your entire life even when the things he does doesn't make any sense sometimes?

--------------

Derifter, you also said:

"But included in just that one little thing is not only disobedience, but betrayal, deceit, greed (because the serpent told them they'd be like God and oooh, that must've sounded good) pride, and who knows what else? It was a big deal, not just a little slip."

Perhaps you are right. Maybe it was pretty bad. Deserving of a lot more than a simple swat on the wrist.

God said that if Adam ate of the tree, then he would die. So I am curious then as to what would have happened if Adam had eaten the fruit but had not been greedy, prideful, lying, or whatever. What if he had just done it out of curiousity and no other motivation. Just speculating here.

I know you don't know, Derifter, but do you think that God would have still let Adam die if that were the case? If Adam had just said, "I messed up, Dad. I'm sorry." Do you think God would have given up the sentence?

I'm just curious what you think, that's all.

---------------------

Derifter, thanks for answering the cookie question. You said:

"The cookies. Say the dad made the cookies and someone else (an enemy) put the poison in them."

I understand. The "someone else" that you mentioned would be the devil. But the devil is not the one who decided that eating the forbidden fruit would bring death: God did.

The dad made the cookies (the fruit), put poison in them (death), and told the kids (Adam and Eve) not to eat them. Someone else (the devil) came and persuaded them to do it anyway.

My question remains: Why is it okay for God to do this test, but not okay if a human were to do it?

--------------------

I still do not understand why a loving father would feel the need to test his kids, period.

If it was just a harsh dictator wanting to see how loyal his subjects are, yeah I could see that. But a Heavenly Father? I am not trying to be sarcastic here. I truly just do not get it. If anybody has an explanation that you think makes sense, I would be interested in hearing it.

--------------------

TE,

You said some pretty harsh things there. If you were trying to hurt my feelings, you were successful. Oh well. I may have deserved it.

Again, if I got too personal and hurt your feelings in some way, I'm sorry about that. I really didn't mean to. Somewhere up there, I was probably careless and said the wrong thing without stopping to think how another human being might feel about it. Honestly, it was not intentional.

Regards,
Clint

October 20, 2005 2:08 PM  
Blogger Don't need this site anymore - Bye guys! said...

P.S.

TE,

I want you to know that I DO appreciate you taking the time to talk to me and answer a lot of my questions. I don't usually agree with most of the answers, but it's nice when someone is courteous enough to even listen to you in the first place. I appreciate it.

I am not here to "beat" you. I am here because I enjoy thinking and talking about religious stuff, the same as you do. I ask questions not because I seriously expect you guys to give me answers to the meaning of life, but because I want to see how Christians respond when logic is applied to their religion. I want to see for myself if it will ever be possible to crack through that shell of religious dogma and see the heart of why someone really believes something.

And besides, if the #1 religion in the world really is true, then isn't it worth discussing in depth a little bit? Especially with someone who doesn't share the same viewpoint that you have?

I have been to forums where everyone agrees. Christian apologetics with Christians debating Christians. Ex-Christian forums where the Atheists waste time just sitting around waiting for a Christian to come so they can all pounce on him like a bunch of piranhas. Do you want to hear one word to describe those places? BORING!

In general I would much rather talk to Christians about religious beliefs. If you want a spicy, heated debate, then talk to your opposite. But if you want a pat on the back and everybody telling you that you are right, then what's the fun in that?

So TE, thanks for all the time you've spent talking and arguing with me. I'm not sick of it if you're not. But we need to stick to a few issues at a time, balance the time with our families, and avoid insults. I really need to avoid insulting Christianity and just stick to the issues, and if you can agree to try to treat me with that same level of respect, we will keep getting along just fine.

So whaddayasay TE, my Arch-Nemesis? Can you put 'er there, partner? (Man, that sounded lame :)


Now I'm going to take a short break from posting for a while. I've been spending too much time on this, and it is interfering with other more important parts of my life. But Derifter, I will be back!

Cheers guys,
Clint

October 20, 2005 2:38 PM  
Anonymous cadre said...

Clint,

You said "how do you KNOW that God is good? Good enough to deserve to be trusted with your entire life even when the things he does doesn't make any sense sometimes?"

I think this is why He sent Jesus...to prove that His heart is good and that he CAN be trusted. Since before humanity, God has had to deal with the accusation that He is somehow holding out on those he created. Satan mounted his entire rebellion on the idea that God was holding out on him in some way. So why didn't he just destroy Satan? As Josh has said on another post, "The accusation, once made, must be answered. Even destroying the accuser...will not rid God of the indictment." So how does a good God display his goodness...his options are either to send his only son to die for us...or to come down with all his power and bully up Satan. I don't think God wants to be seen as a bully. No one really loves a bully, they just fear them.

Also, you said: "The dad made the cookies (the fruit), put poison in them (death), and told the kids (Adam and Eve) not to eat them. Someone else (the devil) came and persuaded them to do it anyway." in reference to derifter's statement.

Is it scripturally sound to think that Satan DID poison the knowledge the tree provided? I'm not sure...that's why I'm asking.

Did Satan corrupt good knowledge therefore poisoning it by the time humanity took it?

I'd be interested to hear what all of you thinkg.

I'll be back later.

-cadre

October 20, 2005 4:09 PM  
Anonymous cadre said...

Clint,

You also said: "And besides, if the #1 religion in the world really is true, then isn't it worth discussing in depth a little bit? Especially with someone who doesn't share the same viewpoint that you have?"

I think you're exactly right. That's why I've enjoyed this thread so much. Not because I thought someone would win the debate in the end, but because it's just a bunch of guys talking about stuff that's important to them. It's rare to find a place like this on the Internet where 3 christains (4 if you count me, the newb) and an atheist can discuss things like this and it doesn't degenerate to a flame war, so I've really been blessed by everyone's willingness to talk and share with one another here.

-cadre

October 20, 2005 4:42 PM  
Blogger TE said...

Clint,

Well, I must admit, that was not the response I thought I was going to find when I got home from work today. I work 13 hours staight, and it gives me a lot of time to think. I thought of a lot of different questions that I thought you might ask off of that message I wrote. I know you could have, but you didn't. What you did write was the most impressive thing I think you have done since I've known you.

I think we all have got to drop the idea of changing anyone's mind. We can make exchanges with one another and each one of us can do with it what we want.

Clint you have said you are a smart-ass, well, I've been a smart-ass all my life too. I've gotten myself into plenty of fist fights and arguments because I've always had to add that one extra smart-ass comment that got me in trouble. My wife told me a couple of years ago that every time I talk to some one I piss them off. It's just hard for me to back down to anyone.

You took the high road on this one, so what else can I say, but sure, we can be friends. Was that lame, Oh well, you know what I'm trying to say.

I know that you are a much faster typist than me, but do you ever sit there thinking of what to say then type it, then think some more and type some more, then check the time and several hours just went by, then you look at what you wrote and think, thats all I've written in that amount of time. That's kind of what I go through and then I think I have spent way to much time on this and not other things that are important.

TE

October 20, 2005 7:51 PM  
Blogger TE said...

Derifter,

12 years ago I had gall stones removed. For months I put up with the pain until I got to where I was throwing up after almost every meal and the pain got so bad that I couldn't take it, then I went to the doctor and then soon after that had the surgery. After the surgery I felt like a new man. So I know what your wife was going through and how much better she feels now.

So read this qwick and get back to waiting on her. Hee,Hee

TE

October 20, 2005 8:15 PM  
Blogger DErifter said...

Clint,
Hey!!! I thought "I" was your arch-nemesis! Dang it all TE! The spotlight's always on YOU! Maybe we could be co-arch-nemesisses.

Back to Clint.
I'm going to step out of the current argument for a second to ask you for a bit of personal info (if you're willing, but don't feel pressured.) Going back to something TE said,
"It's not going to happen because Derifter and I came to know the one true God,(and yes it was an experience, what else could it be, that's what life is, experience after experience) and we love him. I know that's something you can't possibly understand and I don't expect you to."

That got me thinking. I don't think you ever said whether you had any kind of a "conversion experience" or a time when you actually met God. I don't think that kind of thing is necessary to become a Christian, as I know Christians who never have experienced anything like that, but I can't say I know anyone who HAD an experience and then left the faith. I had kind of a dramatic experience years ago, but I haven't brought it into this discussion until now just because (as you mentioned to TE) it's hard for you to argue against for one thing, and it doesn't add that much to the discussion from our side because it's a subjective experience. There's a place where that is appropriate, but I don't think this is it. So I'm not asking for details, just whether there was a time when you knew for sure that you were born again, or just a church-goer?

Cadre,
I think you got included when Clint said the whole 4-1 against him thing, even though you and me became atheists via his link. That still chaps my hide. I hate being an atheist.

The poison I meant was not that the knowledge was corrupted, but the poison was put into their minds by Satan. I don't see the knowledge as being corrupted, but Adam and Eve. I guess the way I worded it, it sounded like the cookies themselves were poisoned. My intent was to say the kids become poisoned by the decision/action of eating the cookies, not that there was anything wrong with the cookies themselves. Either way, it's just my best guess. I don't see one way or the other as scriptural or unscriptural, just "non"-scriptural because I don't see it written there at all.

I'm realizing that in order to stay current in this thing, either you guys have to comment less, or I have to comment more because when I get here and read like 4 or 5 800-word comments, I spend too much time responding to 3 or 4 things and in the meantime 10 other things get ignored.

Thanks for the well-wishes for my wife. TE, she said to tell you to "stick it."
No she didn't, that was ME! Just kidding. Seriously, she doesn't feel like a new woman yet, she's still pretty sore. She's been home from work all week and I went back Wednesday so she took care of herself for 2 days now. But she's getting better. Thanks again!

Thanks to both TE and Clint for shaking hands. It's no fun but it's worth it. Even if we don't change anyone's mind, let's still enjoy the conversation. I appreciate all of your (all of you guys's) questions and comments because they make me think. Do you guys say, "...all y'all's questions?" We don't talk that way up here so that was a mouthful.

October 20, 2005 8:50 PM  
Blogger DErifter said...

Clint,
You said, "If Adam had just said, "I messed up, Dad. I'm sorry." Do you think God would have given up the sentence?"

Hmm. That's starting to sound like repentence. Like a desire to renew the relationship. The price to pay to get back to how it used to be is something that Adam couldn't pay. So God came up with a way to make it work. In answer to your question, yes- sort of. Because He has justice to deal with, the price still had to be paid but He paid it Himself. I think He couldn't give up the sentence so He transferred it. Does that work for you?

October 20, 2005 9:00 PM  
Blogger DErifter said...

TE,
99's coming up fast.

October 20, 2005 9:01 PM  
Blogger TE said...

Derifter,

I didn't mean that I felt like a new man right after the surgery, but after I was all healed up and could eat anything I wanted.

TE

October 20, 2005 11:10 PM  
Blogger DErifter said...

I know.
You just had the stones removed? Why didn't they take the whole thing out?
Space and time. There. I just wanted to be on topic.

October 20, 2005 11:31 PM  
Blogger TE said...

Derifter,

I'm like you, when it comes to comments and questions. I go off for a little while and when I come back I'm way behind on what's going on and new people have joined in the conversation.

Also, It can take considerable time just to answer one question, whether it's asked by Clint or you or me or any one else. Yet, it's easy to ask multiple questions rapidly. I think we all need to try to consider this when we start throwing questions at people. We need to slow down a little and try to cover one question before 10 others are thrown out there.

TE

October 20, 2005 11:33 PM  
Blogger TE said...

Yes, the whole thing. What are you doing up this late?

October 20, 2005 11:35 PM  
Blogger TE said...

Please tell me what comes after 99 before it's to late.

October 20, 2005 11:36 PM  
Blogger TE said...

I'm writing because I wanted to be the one that hit 100. See how childish I am.

TE

October 20, 2005 11:58 PM  
Blogger DErifter said...

TE,
What am I doing up this late when I have to work in the morning? Now see, there's one of those questions that you just sit and wonder about, and I don't think there is a good answer. Heh heh. Well, I just hit a couple of other blogs, and now I'm ready to hit the hay. We'll have to start calling you TE100. Take care brother.

October 21, 2005 12:13 AM  
Blogger Don't need this site anymore - Bye guys! said...

Hey T-1000, or TE100, or just TE, or whatever :)

Thanks for everything you said. You are right about the questions. In the future I will try to trim down any questions. And I will also try to be more polite.

Hey Cadre,

Thanks for what you said there too. I thoroughly read everything you wrote. I'm going to drop that topic and let you have the last word there.

Derifter,

Welcome, fellow atheist! Nice to have you aboard. Did you realize that according to Wikipedia.com you have now joined a group of people that only make up between around 0.8% to 3% of the entire U.S. population? Now I know you feel special.

Regarding some kind of deep "conversion experience". Well, I know you guys are going to nail me on this one. ("Aha! You see? He was NEVER a True Christian in the first place!") But here goes:

I asked Jesus in my life when I was too young to even remember. It was somewhere around 5 years old. I don't remember it at all, but I always felt deep love in my heart for this person.

As I grew older, I have never been "just a church goer". I saw people like that around me and they always disgusted me. I was never there every time the door was open. I was there most Sundays and sometimes Wednesdays, but that's it. To me, the relationship was always a personal thing that the church was there to supplement.

Since being a real christian comes through each person's own "walk" and study of the Bible, I never really could figure out what a church was even for, other than just having a place to get together with other believers to worship God in music, and of course a place to get preached at.

Did I ever feel any religious experiences? Honestly, I don't know. Sometimes I felt like God was telling me to do this or that, but it could have been just my own head + wishful thinking of wanting to hear from God.

I did love the worship time, lifting my hands and praising God. During those times I felt closest to him. But looking back, was I really close to anything, or was the experience just brought on by a certain mental expectation of my own combined with watching the crowd around me? Sometimes I would just start crying in tears, when I felt the "Holy Spirit" moving on me. But was that really something external to me? Or just a mindset? A sort of religious crowd fervor?

Looking back, it seems like it was all just in my head. I have had no experiences that I can not chalk up to my own religious zeal, some kind of mental willingness, and a deep wishful thinking to experience something "spiritual."


So there you go. There will ALWAYS be people who think that I was never a "real" Christian to begin with, or that if I was, then I am still a Christian but am just in denial somehow. That seems to be the standard way that Christians deal with the issue. I can tell them I was a Christian and had a "relationship" by every definition in the Bible you can think of, but they won't believe it. Christians all seem to think they have got me figured out, even if they don't openly say it. It is irritating, but as a Christian I used to think of atheists in exactly the same way, so I guess that's my reward :)


As far as staying on topic, I got to thinking how the topic shifted so much. Here is how it went:

-Space and Time
-The Future
-Does the future exist yet?
-What is God's role in the future?
-What is God's role in man's will?
-Free will
-The Garden of Eden

So you see Derifter? It may seem like we jumped all over the place, but it is all relevant.

Guys,

I have really spent way too much time here in these last few days. Too much time away from family and work. I am planning to take a vacation from arguing for a while. But I will be back!

Take it easy,
Clint

P.S. Derifter, you are too nice to be a Nemesis. You've got to be a little more pissed off and fiery for that to happen. You've got to quit being so diplomatic and just tell somebody where to stick it sometimes, do you know what I mean? To be a proper Nemesis, you must inspire a bit of fear in your opponent. I just don't get that vibe from you, man. Sorry. :)

October 21, 2005 7:51 AM  
Blogger TE said...

To Clint and All,

I can't attack you for being as honest as you can be. That's all that any of us can do. We can only just tell it the best way we know it. From my perspective, I believe this is an area left to God. None of us can read minds and know every detail and experience in another person's life and whether they are true or not. Some things must be left to God and Him alone. But as far as philosophy and doctrine are concerned, we can continue trading ideas. I don't think any one person knows all there is to know, so each one of us might come across something he might not have known before.

I am probably the only Christian in the world that has never really gotten anything out of church worship services. To me, church services are mainly about socializing, entertainment, emotionalism, self improvement sermons and money,which are related to religious agendas,power over other believers, religious corporate sructures, and jobs for [so called] professional preachers.
We have a million churches in this country, but yet, pretty much all they have accomplished is to separate Christians from the rest of the country. Not in the sense that Christians don't help people in need in our country, but that for the most part we keep quiet about our beliefs when we are in the public. We don't profess boldly until we are behind closed doors on Sunday mornings, when it does little good.

Well, I'm stopping here because a major family problem just came up in the middle writing this message. See you all later.

TE

October 21, 2005 10:07 AM  
Blogger DErifter said...

I hope it all works out for ya TE, whatever it is.

October 21, 2005 5:29 PM  
Blogger DErifter said...

Hey TE-

I thought you were going to show us your mug!

October 24, 2005 5:43 PM  
Blogger TE said...

Derifter,

I don't know how. Sorry.

Plus, it's an ugly mug.

TE

October 24, 2005 5:52 PM  
Blogger DErifter said...

The only team they could beat is the Packers, does that really count as a win?
Well New Orleans, too, but does THAT really count as a win?

October 24, 2005 7:10 PM  
Blogger TE said...

It counts, take it while you can get it. That's what I do with my teams.

October 24, 2005 8:38 PM  
Blogger TE said...

Plus, the Vikings were down 17 to 0 and came back to win. That's not easy to do in the NFL.

October 24, 2005 9:04 PM  
Blogger DErifter said...

Yeah, you're right- It IS hard to get down 17-0, but the Vikes are getting good at it.

October 24, 2005 9:27 PM  
Blogger TE said...

Ha Ha, that was really funny.

October 24, 2005 9:31 PM  
Blogger DErifter said...

So,
Since it seems to be impossible for the Vikings to move the ball...

How do you feel about the theory that motion is impossible, because in order to move from here to there you have to cross an infinite number of points in a finite amount of time?

October 25, 2005 11:01 PM  
Blogger TE said...

What are the points made of? Something real or something imagined.
TE

October 26, 2005 10:20 AM  
Blogger DErifter said...

Um, half of each?

October 26, 2005 3:09 PM  
Anonymous Josh said...

Actually, the points are real only for the Vikings. If you're the Steelers, you simply glide past the imaginary points on your way to the Super Bowl. :)

October 27, 2005 1:06 AM  
Blogger DErifter said...

Josh,
There are no points for the Vikings.

October 27, 2005 7:18 AM  
Blogger TE said...

Go Chiefs!

October 27, 2005 7:02 PM  
Blogger DErifter said...

TE,
I think you already said that under another post.

Go Vikes! (cough, cough...)

October 27, 2005 7:21 PM  
Blogger TE said...

Go Chiefs!
Did I say that yet.

October 27, 2005 7:26 PM  
Blogger DErifter said...

No, I think that's something new.

October 27, 2005 7:42 PM  
Blogger TE said...

Good thing. I was getting worried there for a moment.

October 27, 2005 8:07 PM  
Blogger DErifter said...

Josh,
Going back to your earlier comment (scroll back in comments to Oct 12) about the non-existent monkey sitting next to you on the couch, God didn't know about that because it never happened, you're exactly right. But He knew you'd use that example before you used it (in my view) because that decision DID exist in what at that time was the future.

I've used this example before: In the movie The Outlaw Josey Wales, I know whether or not Josey kills Fletcher at the end of the movie because I've seen the movie and I know how it ends. Josey didn't know whether Fletcher would even find him until it happened, but I did. I didn't tell Fletcher where to find Josey, and I didn't make Josey's decision for him about whether to kill him. Even though in their minds none of this had happened yet, I knew it would because I've seen the movie.

That's how I see God's knowledge of the future. He's seen the movie, so He knows what will happen. To us, who are IN the movie, it appears that know one could know what will happen next since it hasn't happened yet. But God could have told TE, "Now in Josh's next comment he's going to say that I don't know about the monkey sitting next to him on the couch, but that's only because there's not a monkey there!"

Now, just how much of the script of this movie we're living is written by God and how much by us, and how that relates to free will and predestination is for another post, but I think this is enough to explain my view.

Hey, that was on topic!

October 30, 2005 1:31 PM  
Anonymous Josh said...

Hey, derifter. I understand your belief about the nature of time and I have many friends and colleagues that feel the same way. I can't hold to that view because I feel it has no:

1. Biblical merit (as Christians, this should be our most important thing to check; what in the Bible suggests to you that the entirety of the future is already settled and that God knows it in just this way?)

2. Scientific merit (Einstein's opinon of the "illusion" of time based on relative relation to events has since been discredited by quantum physics)

3. Logical merit (there are a lot of philosophical problems with God being timeless as opposed to Him being eternal)

Though I completely respect your view and held it myself at one time, the more I look into this subject the more I am convinced of my beliefs. I feel that this view of God's relationship to us allows me to 1) Attribute both power and wisdom to Him without suggesting that He ordains evil (Calvinism) 2) Avoid the logical inconsistency of suggesting that human freedom can coexist with foreknowledge of free decisions (Arminianism).

I'm more than happy to answer any objections that you have about it. I also know that there's a tremendous chance that I'll never convince you of my opinion, but I enjoy the discussion anyway.

On another football note...WHEW! I thought my Steelers were going to drop that game against Baltimore. Then today I find out that Big Ben is out for the next game.

As long as we don't start Maddox again...

November 03, 2005 2:39 PM  
Blogger DErifter said...

Josh,

That must be some re-tooling you're doing over at your site. I've been wandering around aimlessly for a couple weeks now.

In reply to point #1 from your last comment, I think that any example of prophecy reveals that God has intimate knowledge of the future. As far as the future being "settled", I'm not sure what you mean. If you're implying that my view has every event for all time laid out as carved in stone, then no, I don't believe that. I think we've covered this before. I don't think that God's foreknowledge of every event equals God controlling every event. Just like I knew Josey Wales's next move without deciding it for him. It was his own free will choice, but my knowing about it ahead of time didn't help him decide.

Point #2, I'm not that up on all of Einstein's theories or what's been discredited so I really can't say too much there. I suppose I should have studied up on all that before ever writing the post, but I never dreamed that it would go this far.

Point #3, Is there a difference between timeless and eternal?

All these "points" aren't reminding me of the Vikings at all. But you mentioned the Steelers and yeah- They played that right to the end didn't they? But you knew they'd win. I don't have the same confidence in my team, because they suck. Our QB is out too so maybe something good will come of it. Maybe I should root for the Steelers. Nah, they're AFC. (Spit) They'll have to beat the Colts before they get to the Big Game though.

November 04, 2005 6:10 PM  

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