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Author Topic:   The Great Debate
Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 4077 days)
Posts: 708
Joined: 04-12-2005


Message 91 of 102 (272525)
12-24-2005 5:04 PM
Reply to: Message 90 by arachnophilia
12-24-2005 4:07 PM


Re: Merry Christmas Arach
hee hee hee...
This message is a reply to:
 Message 90 by arachnophilia, posted 12-24-2005 4:07 PM arachnophilia has not yet responded

  
arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 261 days)
Posts: 9068
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 92 of 102 (273100)
12-27-2005 1:36 AM
Reply to: Message 88 by Mr. Ex Nihilo
12-22-2005 3:41 PM


Re: does god make choices?
For the record, I'm still holding to the idea that the Israelites did not believe that God could intentionally do evil. I'll explain it more as we go along.

well, that's kind of the point of this whole debate, right?

[quote]Actually, this brings up the question: What do the Scriptures say that God cannot do?[/qs]

well, there's this:

quote:
Jam 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

but that's not hebrew.

So what are God's limitations accoridng to the Hebrew Scriptures?

i'm not really sure. it's more of an impression i get. perhaps ou can find something in specific?

so perhaps god DOES have a choice precisely because he is limited in some regards.

Could you explain this further?

well, you were saying that god's omniscience limits his freewill (and presumably his capacity to do or create evil). it stands to reason then that if god is not omniscient, he is not limited in this manner. because he doesn't know the outcome, he has a choice, and can make mistakes as well as evil.

If God is not omniscient. then what does God not know according to the Scriptures?

your original position was that god did not know evil -- but i showed that to be incorrect. there are things that god clearly describes as evil, statements that god creates evil, commands and allows things we would call evil, and that tree of knowledge of good and evil that made adam "like god." i think a verse that said something to extent of "god does not know evil" would be overruled by the myriad evidence that he does.

do you have such a verse?

It is painfullly obvious that God can do something that God himself calls a mistake. You've already noted the great deluge comments within Genesis where God repents of his creation of humanity and allows the universe to go through a period of "re-creation".

But just because he has "repented" does not mean it's evil.

I have pointed out the previous Scriptural passage where it says God repents of the good. This seems to me to indicate that God holds back his Spirit to allow things to fall back into the quantum foam of the primordial chaos.

no no, i think you're missing what i mean to say. i'm not saying that creating man was "evil," only that god himself considered it a mistake. it might well have been good. we can do lots of good things that turn out to be mistakes. it's just evidence that god is fallible and can make choices that he himself considers "wrong."

i'm not gonna answer the rest of this. i hope you don't think it rude of me. i don't mean to be rude; i'd just end up cluttering up the conversation by repeating myself. i'm not entirely sure the specific limitation the hebrews thought god had in ability or knowledge, so i guess the ball's in your court for the time being.


אָרַח

This message is a reply to:
 Message 88 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 12-22-2005 3:41 PM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 93 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 12-27-2005 2:49 PM arachnophilia has not yet responded
 Message 100 by Zothar, posted 09-23-2008 11:32 AM arachnophilia has not yet responded

Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 4077 days)
Posts: 708
Joined: 04-12-2005


Message 93 of 102 (273254)
12-27-2005 2:49 PM
Reply to: Message 92 by arachnophilia
12-27-2005 1:36 AM


Re: does god make choices?
Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

For the record, I'm still holding to the idea that the Israelites did not believe that God could intentionally do evil. I'll explain it more as we go along.

arachnophilia writes:

well, that's kind of the point of this whole debate, right?

Yes. It is.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

Actually, this brings up the question: What do the Scriptures say that God cannot do?

arachnophilia writes:

well, there's this:

KJV writes:

Jam 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

but that's not hebrew.

If we're talking about the Christian Scriptures, then there's also this passage which speaks of it being impossible for God to lie

Hebrew 6:18 writes:

God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged.

Similarly, in regards to Christ, the Scriptures say it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him:

Acts 2:24 writes:


But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.

And furthermore, as you already started to cover in James, the Christian Scriptures state that it is impossble for God to change, that he does does not change like shifting shadows:

NIV writes:

Don't be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

The Christian Scriptures also state that God lives in unapproachable light:

I Timothy 6:15b-16 writes:

-- God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.

The Christian Scriptures also state God is light; in him there is no darkness at all:

1 John 1:5 writes:


This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.

Consequently, this Christian thought reverberates very easilly in the Hebrew Scriptures with the following passage found in Daniel 2:22:

NIV writes:


He reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what lies in darkness,
and light dwells with him.

I'll note that the passage in Daniel does not say that "darkness" dwells with God -- rather, darkness seems to be something separate from God that God's light pierces and disperses (even transforming the darkness as the Genesis account displays).

You yourself admit that the Hebrew Scriptures in Genesis do not indicate that God created the "primal darkness" which "apparently" preceeded the Creation.

And, as I noted before in regards to God's light, the following Hebrew Scriptures make the following claims about God:

Psalm 18:28 writes:


You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.

There were many other passages that I quoted from the Hebrew Scriptures -- all indicating that God's qualities are like light. The following passage in the Hebrew Scriptures goes even further and just outright states that God will be our everlasting light.

Isaiah 60:19 writes:


The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.

There are actually plenty of Hebrew passages which indicate that God is light, or very much like it -- plenty of passages which indicate that God is our very "source" of light. There is not, however, one passage found within the Hebrew Scriptures which indicates that God's "radiates" darkness.

Now let's take a strict look back at the Hebrew Scriptures alone and note what they say that God cannot do.

As we've both noted before, The Hebrew Scriptures make the following claims about God's ability:

Numbers 23:19 writes:


God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind [note: repent]. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?

In my opinion this passage of Hebrew Scriptures is saying that God cannot lie -- and that he cannot repent of what he has already fore-ordained (because if he says that he's going to do something and then turns around and does not do what he said he would do this would make him a liar). I believe that this view is what the authors of the Hebrew Scriptures intended when they wrote thoughts like this.

In your opinion, apparently, you feel that this passage is not actually saying that God cannot lie -- and you feel that it's also saying that he can actually repent of evil actions that he has apparently brought about. In opposition to my own view, you are apparently claiming that the Israelites believed that this passage in the Hebrew Scriptures indicated that God was simply above reproach if he actually decided to lie -- and you also feel that the Israelites believed that they had no right to judge God if indeed he did repent of evil.

There are also passages which seem to indicate that God cannot change (in addition to not lying).

I Samuel 15:29 writes:


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.

And again:

Malachi 3:6 writes:


"I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.

While it is certainly possible that some Israelites did believe as you claim, I'm fairly well certain that the authors of the Scriptures did not view these passages in the way you claim the Israelites did. I'm also fairly sure that those who originally scribed these words also beleived that those who did understand the passages in the way I've noted above were more than likely understanding the passage in accordance with God's Spirit.

As an aside, one will also note that the passage in Numbers 23:19 seems to mesh very easilly with the following passage in Hebrew 6:18 which I already quoted above:

Hebrew 6:18 writes:

God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged.

Clearly, according to the Scriptures -- whether Christian or Hebrew perceptions -- it seems very, very reasonable to conclude that the Israelites believed the God could not lie. In fact, if the Israelites actually did believe that God could lie, this would undermine the very promises that they believed in (which makes very little sense to me).

You had said before:

arachnophilia writes:

i think the second half of that view would be consistent with the bible, yes. where does god ask them to hold him accountable?

I think there are passages in the Hebrew Scriptures which ask people to trust God and hold him accountable to his words. Indeed, if God could lie and not be held accountable to anyone, then why would God ask the Israelites to trust in his promises -- and to even test his promises -- in order to validate his trustworthyness as follows?

Malachi 3:10 writes:


Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.

In fact, if the Israelites believed that God could lie, then why would they write anything which indicated that they should trust in God's promises at all -- and there are too many examples of the Israelites writing "Trust in God" to quote here.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

So what are God's limitations accoridng to the Hebrew Scriptures?

arachnophilia writes:

i'm not really sure. it's more of an impression i get. perhaps ou can find something in specific?

Since we're discussing the Hebrew Scriptures on their own merit, let's take a deeper look at what the Hebrew Scriptures say that God cannot do.

As noted before, according to Habakkuk 1:13 we read his eyes are eyes are too pure to look on evil; that he cannot tolerate wrong:

NIV writes:


Your eyes are too pure to look on evil;
you cannot tolerate wrong.
Why then do you tolerate the treacherous?
Why are you silent while the wicked
swallow up those more righteous than themselves?

Consequently, this passage in Habakkuk 1:13, as I noted before, seems to reverberate very easilly with the passages I already quoted before from Job 34:10-12, where it is suggested:

Psalm 34:10-12 writes:


So listen to me, you men of understanding.
Far be it from God to do evil,
from the Almighty to do wrong.

He repays a man for what he has done;
he brings upon him what his conduct deserves.

It is unthinkable that God would do wrong,
that the Almighty would pervert justice.

Like Habakkuk above, these passages in Job seem to be strongly attempting to vindicate God's will into something holy and good no matter what happens to us. In this instance it appears as if the idea that God could pervert justice is simply unthinkable.

Consequently, Isaiah seems to be saying the same thing here in a round-a-bout way -- that God cannot tolerate evil:

NIV writes:


Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save,
nor his ear too dull to hear.

But your iniquities have separated
you from your God;
your sins have hidden his face from you,
so that he will not hear.

And along similar lines, God himself states that he cannot bear the Israelites evil assemblies:

Isaiah 1:13 writes:


Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations— I cannot bear your evil assemblies.

And again:

Psalm 5:4 writes:


You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil; with you the wicked cannot dwell.

Clearly, if the Israelites themselves believed that God could not tolerate or look upon the face of evil -- that the wicked could not dwell with him -- then how can one argue that God himself was believed by the Israelites to even be a "little bit" evil?

arachnophilia writes:

so perhaps god DOES have a choice precisely because he is limited in some regards.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

Could you explain this further?

arachnophilia writes:

well, you were saying that god's omniscience limits his freewill (and presumably his capacity to do or create evil). it stands to reason then that if god is not omniscient, he is not limited in this manner. because he doesn't know the outcome, he has a choice, and can make mistakes as well as evil.

Well talk about this more after, if that's ok?

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

If God is not omniscient. then what does God not know according to the Scriptures?

arachnophilia writes:

your original position was that god did not know evil -- but i showed that to be incorrect.

Maybe -- maybe not. There's more to it than that.

Have you ever noticed how the Hebrew Scriptures depict God, God's light, or God's Spirit as "searching out" for people's innermost spirit -- effectively determining their good deeds from their bad deeds?

For example:

Proverbs 20:27 writes:


The lamp of the LORD searches the spirit of a man ; it searches out his inmost being.

...or, again, here:

Psalm 7:9 writes:


O righteous God, who searches minds and hearts, bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure.

...or here...

Psalm 139:1 writes:


O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.

...or here...

Jeremiah 17:10 writes:


"I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve."

This brings up an interesting question:

Why would an omniscient god need to "search" for anything if he already knows everything?

arachnophilia writes:

there are things that god clearly describes as evil, statements that god creates evil, commands and allows things we would call evil, and that tree of knowledge of good and evil that made adam "like god."

Yes. And exactly how is evil created according to the Scriptures?

If, as I've noted before, evil is created where something is void of God's presence, then God is not actually directly making evil -- he's repenting of the good things, withdrawing his blessing in response to the evil that we do.

Or, again, if the Spirit of God is moving in a certain direction, the ultimate direction of the Spirit's motion is a good and holy one. Even if those who go against the direction of God's Spirit (using the wind analogy) are ultimately brought to ruin or outright destroyed, this is still not God's direct fault -- people destroy themselves when going against God's will.

Or, as expressed in the very same book that you've quoted to prove that the Israelites believed that God does evil:

Isaiah 63:10 writes:


Yet they rebelled
and grieved his Holy Spirit.
So he turned and became their enemy
and he himself fought against them.

Consequently, this passage fairly states what I've been saying all along.

If we resist the direction of the Spirit's motion, then evil will befall us. But God himself is not actually creating evil. We're fairly well creating evil ourselves -- but our actions will still work, whether good or evil, according to God's purpose. This is what I think the Scriptures mean when they say that God knows the end from the beginning: he knows ahead of time that good that will befall all who are moved by his Spirit (even if they have to go through a painful process before they get there).

arachnophilia writes:

i think a verse that said something to extent of "god does not know evil" would be overruled by the myriad evidence that he does.

do you have such a verse?

Again, I think there's more to it.

What about the passages I quoted above -- the ones that said that God cannot tolerate evil? Would this be a limitation? What exactly do the Hebrew Scriptures mean when they say that God cannot tolerate evil? Does God have control over this intolerance?

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

It is painfullly obvious that God can do something that God himself calls a mistake. You've already noted the great deluge comments within Genesis where God repents of his creation of humanity and allows the universe to go through a period of "re-creation".

But just because he has "repented" does not mean it's evil.

I have pointed out the previous Scriptural passage where it says God repents of the good. This seems to me to indicate that God holds back his Spirit to allow things to fall back into the quantum foam of the primordial chaos.

arachnophilia writes:

no no, i think you're missing what i mean to say. i'm not saying that creating man was "evil," only that god himself considered it a mistake. it might well have been good. we can do lots of good things that turn out to be mistakes. it's just evidence that god is fallible and can make choices that he himself considers "wrong."

i'm not gonna answer the rest of this. i hope you don't think it rude of me. i don't mean to be rude; i'd just end up cluttering up the conversation by repeating myself. i'm not entirely sure the specific limitation the hebrews thought god had in ability or knowledge, so i guess the ball's in your court for the time being.

Well...I've already stated exactly what I felt the Israelites believed that God cannot do -- and what I felt the Israelites believed that God didn't know.

For the sake of resolving a good debate, it seems to me that you should at least offer your own view on what you feel the Israelites believed that God didn't know or couldn't do -- especially since you seem to have agreed with me that you feel that the Israelites also believed that God was neither omniscient nor omnipotent.

If you feel that the Israelites also believed that God was neither omniscient nor omnipotent, then, for the sake of this debate, it would appear that you are somewhat obligated to fill in these details. To leave it blank at this point seems to be leaving the default position in favor of the Scriptural passages which do seem to indicate that God cannot tolerate nor look upon evil.

If the Hebrew Scriptures ask people to be like God, and God seeks those who are blameless before him, would this not indicate that God too is also considered blameless?

As such, no offense intented, but it seems to me that the ball is still somewhat in your court arach.

In regards to lack of omniscience, what do you feel the Hebrew Scriptures indicate that God does not know -- and why?

In regards to lack of omnipotence, what do you feel the Hebrew Scriptures indicate that God cannot do -- and why?

Note: I've editted this post many times to clarify certain points.

This message has been edited by Mr. Ex Nihilo, 12-31-2005 12:42 AM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 92 by arachnophilia, posted 12-27-2005 1:36 AM arachnophilia has not yet responded

  
Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 4077 days)
Posts: 708
Joined: 04-12-2005


Message 94 of 102 (274080)
12-30-2005 2:09 AM


Cross References: Back to Basics
The main thrust of your argument seems to rest with passages from the Hebrew Scriptures which describe God as creating evil.

For example, you've noted the Isaiah 45:7 passage below (and we've analyzed it in depth):

Isaiah 45:7 writes:


I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

In your opinion it appears as if this passage should be read fairly literally. This, as I've since found out, doesn't mean that you think the Israelites thought evil was something tangible -- although I do admit that I was confused by your opinion at first. However, you did seem to indicate that evil happenings effectively somehow directly emanated from God -- and you apparently believe that the ancient Isrealites also believed this as well.

In my own opinion I think this passage should be read rather loosely. This, as I've pointed, doesn't mean that I take this to mean that evil is something tangible either -- although I do think that the Israelites did have a tradition for acknowleding evil happenings to spiritual forces. In my own opinion, however, I have indicated that evil happenings effectively are somehow indirectly caused by rebellion against God will -- and I believe that the ancient Istaelites believed this as well.

You also noted another passage from the Hebrew Scriptures to bolster your opinion. The passage came from Amos 3:6 and it reads as follows:

Amos 3:6 writes:


Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?

In this passage you again noted that God appeared to be "doing" evil and that there was basically no other way to read it except in a literal sense that God was the "source" of evil.

Like the Isaiah passage above, you were basically saying what other way do you propose we read this, two passages that plainly say that the Lord has created and done evil?

Actually, this was you exact phrase right back at the beginning of this discourse:

arachnophilia writes:

what other way do you propose we read this, that plainly says the lord created evil?

My suggestion is to look elsewhere in the Scriptures to see clear examples of what God is actually doing when he "supposedly" creates evil. In fact, there are entire sections of Scripture which go into great detail about the "mechanisms" of exactly how God does "create" evil.

As a cross reference I submit the following link for you to examine.

Ezekiel 16: An Allegory of Unfaithful Jerusalem

Read through this section and tell what you think.

I've got some interesting thoughts to share with you regarding these passages in Ezekiel. They've been strongly shaped by David Haggith's thoughts expressed in his book "End-Time Prophecies of the Bible". Although I don't agree with everything he says (and the little bit I do not agree with him is much less then the many things I do agree with him), I've found his research to be excellent and fairly ecumenical -- and very solidly Christian based.

He is a protestant as far as I can determine -- so I'm not quoting strictly catholic sources to bolster my own opinion when I quote him.

This message has been edited by Mr. Ex Nihilo, 12-30-2005 02:12 AM


Replies to this message:
 Message 99 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 01-03-2006 12:25 AM Mr. Ex Nihilo has not yet responded

  
Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 4077 days)
Posts: 708
Joined: 04-12-2005


Message 95 of 102 (274316)
12-31-2005 1:25 AM


God Killing...
Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

Could you point out a passage of Scripture which actually says that God himself came down and killed someone?

arachnophilia writes:

here's a good one:

KJV writes:

2Sa 6:7 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God.

1Ch 13:10 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzza, and he smote him, because he put his hand to the ark: and there he died before God.


Ok, I missed these before ... and I admit they're good counter points.

But let's take a look at what's going on here in these passages.

II Samual writes:


David again brought together out of Israel chosen men, thirty thousand in all. He and all his men set out from Baalah of Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the Name, the name of the LORD Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim that are on the ark. They set the ark of God on a new cart and brought it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were guiding the new cart with the ark of God on it, and Ahio was walking in front of it. David and the whole house of Israel were celebrating with all their might before the LORD, with songs and with harps, lyres, tambourines, sistrums and cymbals.

When they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. The LORD's anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down and he died there beside the ark of God.

The other passage you quoted seems to be a retelling of the same event:

1 Chronicles 13:1-10 (New International Version)

One problem with these passages is the fact that both quite plainly state that Uzzah apparently did something terribly wrong before the Lord's wrath struck him dead -- he actually reached out and touched the Ark of the Covenant, which is a big no no.

What do you think of these passages when it's pointed about that Uzzah does the wrong thing -- but with good motives?

I have further thoughts on these passages, but I'd like to hear your thoughts on them before I proceed (or, if you're too busy to respond in full, just let me know and I'll proceed to share my own thoughts and you can comment on them appropriately).

Edit: Thinking about how Uzzah reached out to touch the Ark reminds me of an article I read in my NIV Syudy Bible. I found it interesting then -- and I find it very applicable now. The following quotation seems to me to be of direct relevence to the question of Uzzah's death -- and "how" God killed him.

The article called Living with Fire reads as follows:

Living with Fire

Dangerous material more powerful than the atom.
The book of Leviticus is painstakingly ritual, however, strikingly similar to the procedures surrounding nuclear technology. The specialized clothing, the concern for purification, the precise handling of crucial materials-both nuclear workers and Old Testament priests share these. This similarity gives an important clue to understanding Leviticus.

Cleaning up a Nuclear Spill
At the Hanford plutonium separation plant in Eastern Washington, plutonium and U-235 are keep in a special high-security vault, in brass cans wrapped three times in plastic. To move the radioactive material, specially trained handlers don white protection overalls and special breather masks. They never touch the materials except through a sealed "glove box."

If an accident occurs, such as a small fire ignited by the "hot" material, the entire area must be cleansed through laborious scrubbing with soap and water. Carefully trained workers dispose of the dirty water in a specially protected toxic waste area. Anyone contaminated must be similarly "cleansed" from the exposure. In extreme cases, she or he must stay away from other people for months.

These rigid rules grew from hard experience. For decades no one knew the dangers of radioactivity. Workers who used radioactive materials to hand-paint the first "glow in the dark" watches licked their paint brushes to get a fine tip; their supervisors said they would gain sex appeal. Instead they got cancer. The introduction of nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants increased the amount of radioactive material being handled. Gradually scientists realized: if you are going to use the atom, you must adopt procedures to fit its power.

The Intimate presence of God
Leviticus reads something like a training manual for atomic plant workers. Its "dangerous material," however, is more powerful than the atom. Leviticus gives exhaustive detail on how to live with God.

A pamphlet on "how to survive a nuclear accident" may be dull if read on vacation, but it's gripping if read in a vibrating nuclear reactor. Similarly, Leviticus is dull if you do not realize the wonderful news behind it: a powerful God, the creator of the universe has entered the life of a small and insignificant tribe. The Israelites could not merely fit this God into their lives. They needed to restructure their lives-food, sex, economics-to fit with his. It was essential not just for priests, but for everyone.

Ignoring the operations manual could be deadly, It was for Aaron's two sons (Chapter 10).

And, I'll also note, it was deadly for Uzzah as noted above. In fact, it can once again be easilly said that someone, in this case Uzzah, died directly as a result of their apparent sin against God. In others words, once you read past the poetic language employed, it seems as though Uzzah basically killed himself as a result of going against God's Spirit.

As another article notes:

People who read of Uzzah's death in 2 Samuel 6:6-7 have often puzzled over why he died for trying to keep God's ark from tipping over. In 1 Chronicles the reason is clearer. David explained (15:13) that the Lord had been angry at themfor moving the ark in a way disobedient to God's law.

Numbers 4:14-15 and Exodus 37:5 specify that Levites were to carry the ark with poles -- and never touch it, on pain of death. Uzzah and his brother, non-levites, were carrying it on an oxcart -- the same vehicle the Philistines had used (1 Samuel 6:7). When the oxen stumbled and Uzzah stepped in to catch the ark, that was the final straw. Uzzah's death resulted from prolonged (though possibly well-intentioned) disobedience to God's direction. God had told them to honor the ark, a sign of his presence. Their sloppiness revealed a lack of concern for God's honor.

Consequently, the remainder of the "Living with Fire" article, applied to a more Christian perspective, goes as follows:


Living with Fire*

Free from Contamination
Today, Because of Jesus Christ, we don't live in the world of Leviticus. Jesus' perfect self-sacrifice made the daily sacrifice of animals unnecessary. He replaced the high priest as our representative before God. Jesus cleanses the real source of contamination , our sinful nature. Leviticus was meant to teach people some basic truths about God. and when their lessons were complete, they could go on to bigger and better things. (The New Testament book of Hebrews spells out this graduation.)

Yet we need to be reminded of the principles Leviticus taught. It tells us that God was then, as he is today, "a consuming fire" (Hebrews 12:29). He has taught us how to live with that fire, not because we deserve to know, but because he wanted our company. We dare not treat him lightly.

This message has been edited by Mr. Ex Nihilo, 01-02-2006 01:57 AM

This message has been edited by Mr. Ex Nihilo, 01-03-2006 01:57 AM


  
Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 4077 days)
Posts: 708
Joined: 04-12-2005


Message 96 of 102 (274368)
12-31-2005 10:01 AM


God apparently doing evil...
arachnophilia writes:

there are things that god clearly describes as evil, statements that god creates evil, commands and allows things we would call evil, and that tree of knowledge of good and evil that made adam "like god."

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

Yes. And exactly how is evil created according to the Scriptures?

And, in addition this, what do the Hebrew Scriptures indicate are the reasons why God has apparently done these things?

Let's look at each example given.

arachnophilia writes:

there are things that god clearly describes as evil...

No doubt -- since we wouldn't be having this discourse if there weren't. But let's look at why these things are happening according to the Israelites in the Hebrew Scriptures.

arachnophilia writes:

statements that god creates evil

And how does God create evil?

arachnophilia writes:

commands and allows things we would call evil

Yes, but unless the Scriptures declare them evil, it matters not whether we think they're evil or not. You quoted several different sources for things that "we" would call evil -- the great deluge and the Sodom and Gomora events for example. However, nowhere do the Scriptures themselves call these events evil. This would be an example of our "subjective" human perception calling something which God himself considers a good thing evil.

Now, if you're talking about God sending evil spirits to counfound people, then once again we have to look at the reasons given as to "why" God sent them.

For example, in Judges 9:22-24 we read of the event where God sends an evil spirit between Abimelech and the citizens of Shechem.

Judges 9:22-24 (New International Version)

However, it is clearly noted that the citizens of Shechem acted treacherously against Abimelech. It also quite clearly states that God did this in order that the crime against Jerub-Baal's seventy sons (the shedding of their blood) might be avenged on their brother Abimelech and on the citizens of Shechem (who had helped him murder his brothers).

In other words, "God sending an evil spirit" appears to mean that the citizens of Shechem did something wrong (going against God's spirit) which inevitably brought disaster upon themselves.

Once again, God is seen as "in control", but his control seems to be his own stepping out of the way to allow evil to befall those who have done evil.

In other words, God did nothing. And the only thing that he specifically ensures is that whatever does happen as a result of their own evil actions will work according to his will -- not theirs.

Based on the "mechanics" of this passage of the Hebrew Scriptures, it would seem as if we could extrapolate this "mechanism" of the Spirit's motion to other passages which basically say that God "sent an evil spirit" and infer that, once again, God is not actually doing anything except letting the pieces fall where they may when evil arises.

For example, there are the following passages found in the Hebrew Scriptures...

1 Samuel 16 (New International Version)

Within this passage we see that the Spirit of the LORD had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD tormented him.

So once we see this same pattern -- the evil spirit "from God" showing up when the "Spirit of the Lord" departs -- which brings up an interesting question: why did the Spirit of the Lord depart from Saul in the first place?

It seem that Saul's own previous actions brought about the departure of God's Spirit, especially in the light of previous passages prior to the Spirit's departure where God specifically says about Saul, "I am grieved that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions."

So, once again, we see man "sins" preceeding the departure of "God's Spirit" -- which is fairly well exactly what I've been stressing all along. In other words, once again, God "sending an evil spirit" appears to equal "man rebelling against God's Spirit" -- and God stepping back in response to allow evil to consume itself.

But let's take another look at some more passages of the Hebrew Scriptures where they specifically talk about God "sending a spirit" which has sinful and evil actions.

For example, there's also this passage which you noted before:

1 Kings 22 (New International Version)

Here we specifically read an account where God specifically says, "Who will entice Ahab into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?"

Finally, apparently after much debate, one spirit rises to the challenge -- effectively answering, "I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouths of all his prophets."

To this God clearly replies, "You will succeed in enticing him." God then gives the spirit permission to be a lying spirit, "Go and do it."

Now, when reading these Hebrew Scriptures solely on their own merit, one can reasonably conclude that God sends lying spirits, correct?

But what exactly does it mean when it says that God "sent a lying spirit" -- and what was already happening "amongst the people" before God allows this to happen?

The king of Israel apparently brought together the prophets -— about four hundred men -— and asked them, "Shall I go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I refrain?"

They apparently answered, "Go, for the Lord will give it into the king's hand."

Now let me ask you a simple question: were these prophets telling the truth?

It seems to me apparently not -- especially since God later says through Micaiah, "I saw all Israel scattered on the hills like sheep without a shepherd, and the LORD said, 'These people have no master. Let each one go home in peace.'"

And later on we read...

NIV writes:

Micaiah declared, "If you ever return safely, the LORD has not spoken through me." Then he added, "Mark my words, all you people!"

Of course, later on, we read...

NIV writes:

But someone drew his bow at random and hit the king of Israel between the sections of his armor.

The king told his chariot driver, "Wheel around and get me out of the fighting. I've been wounded."

All day long the battle raged, and the king was propped up in his chariot facing the Arameans. The blood from his wound ran onto the floor of the chariot, and that evening he died.

As the sun was setting, a cry spread through the army: "Every man to his town; everyone to his land!"

Apparently the 400 prophets were lying while Micaiah was telling the truth after all. Furthermore, we specifically read from Miciah, "As surely as the LORD lives, I can tell him only what the LORD tells me."

And why were the 400 prophets lying in the first place?

The prophets were most likely lying because they were telling the king the exactly the things that the king wanted to hear in the first place -- lies which had nothing to do with doing God's will in the positive sense. In other words, they were apparently "false prophets".

Passages in the Hebrew Scriptures such as these noted below cover these kinds of "false prophetic" lies in God's name in lengthy detail:

Ezekiel 13: False Prophets Condemned

Here's another...

Jeremiah 14:13-15

And here's another (for a bit of overkill)...

Jeremiah 23: The Righteous Branch

Furthermore, the Israelites seemed to be in a state of terrible rebellion against God's will anyway -- and this state of rebellion leading to them being thrown in chaos occured well before the "lying spirit" was sent by God.

For that matter, preceeding the period which lead up to this time of Samuel (and later Micaiah), the Israelite nation was in a state of depravity. According to both Judges 17:6 and Judges 21:25 we read, "In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit."

Certainly the times we read where Samuel and Micaiah were actively prophesying seems to be a period of rebuilding Israel from the ashes of the former chaos that they were in during the period of the Judges -- so it's not hard to imagine that several people within the Israelite nation were still rebelling against God's will.

Even more so, since other passages of Scripture do indicate that God's Spirit leaves in accordance with people's sins, it does not seem unreasonable to conclude that this example of the "lying spirit" within I Kings 22 is simply yet another example of this very same "spiritual mechanism" affecting the "king of Israel" .

After all, the king of Israel we're talking about here is in fact none other than King Ahab -- the MOST EVIL of all the kings before him as I Kings 16:30 rather clearly states. Is there anyone else who typifies this rebellion against God's Spirit as well as Ahab does within his own time?

Isaiah 63:10 writes:


Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he turned and became their enemy and he himself fought against them.

Archaeological note: Carved ivory plaques were found at the site of Ahab's palace in Samaria. Ahab was known to live in a ivory palace (1 Kings 22:39).

arachnophilia writes:

and that tree of knowledge of good and evil that made adam "like god."

Yes, but as I mentioned before, the Hebrew Scriptures do not explicitly state that the tree of knowledge of good and evil made Adam "like God". It specifically says the that the tree of knowledge of good and evil made Adam like "the unique one among us" -- which might not be a reference to God at all but the adversary among them.

I will note that I've already discussed the symbolism of the serpent possibly being a Hebrew cultural reference to pagans amongst them. I'll also now add that the very word dragon we use today comes from the Greek word Drakoni, which means "the seeing one". I will also now note that the history of dragons in ancient mythology seems to be strongly linked with the idea of "terrible guardians" which lord over treasures, including "secret knowledge" amongst other things.

Here's an interesting link which gives a comprehensive list of links involving the history of dragons in ancient mythology around the world:

Dragons in legends and mythology

I would like to discuss this further when we have a chance -- but more on this later.

Getting back to the state of Adam and Eve prior to their participation with the infamous tree, since Adam and Eve were now being driven out from the garden so that they wouldn't reach out and partake in the tree of life, it seems to me that they definitely weren't left in a state similar to "godliness" -- especially since God himself could apparently "still" partake in the tree of life (there is no record of God not being able to do this -- in fact, it seems to me that the "tree of life" is actually a complex metaphor for God himself based on passages such Proverbs 11:30 which states, "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise." -- certainly God would be considered to me the requirements of this: a righteous being who wins souls).

This brings back my other point: the final result of partaking in the tree of knowledge of good and evil does not actually appear to leave them in a state that the serpent originally claimed -- being like gods. Indeed, as far as I am able to determine, being like God means being holy and separated from evil. Adam and Eve are not left in this state however. In fact, they seem to be in the opposite state that God orignally "created" them in (ie., left feeling guilty and ashamed and separated from God instead of feeling innocent and unashamed and closer to God).

Regardless of how one words it, it appears as if the "sin" occurs before the "wrath of God" comes, that the Holy Spirit is rebelled against before the bad spirit enters in.

As I noted above, in other words, God did nothing.

Nothing.

And the only thing that he specifically ensures is that whatever does happen as a result of their own evil actions will work according to his will -- and not their sinful desires.

I personally liken "sin" to the analogy of a short circuit within an electrical system. When the appliance is properly grounded, the it can allow the eletrical surge to pass harmlessly though it and disipate into the ground. However, if the appliance is not properly grounded, it blows a circuit.

Technically speaking, although the Israelites certainly didn't have anything remotely related to electrical appliances, they certainly did have the concept of the "elect".

In this sense, using the electrical anology above, it appears that the elect were those who were grounded in God so that the temptations of sin could be dissapated harmlessly into the earth.

However, if the person were not "elected", this seems to indicate that the person was not actually grounded in God in the first place -- so the temptations of sin took a disasterous hold on the person and essentially blew a circuit within their spirit causing them to likewise dissipate into the earth with the flow of the temptation (ie., driven into the ground: aka., sheol)

We had mentioned before about an analogy of the one-way street, where some were going in the right direction (according to God's will), and some were going in the wrong direction (against God's will).

But a better anaology than the street analogy might be the electrical analogies or direct currents and alternating currents. Since this usage of "science" is OT I'll leave it up to you if you want to hear more on this. However, as far as searching for an exact analogy that acurately captures the effects of going with or against God's Spirit, I think this analogy works very, very well -- and is not far removed from how I believe the Israelites beleived God worked in creation and his "elect".

This message has been edited by Mr. Ex Nihilo, 12-31-2005 12:44 PM

This message has been edited by Mr. Ex Nihilo, 01-06-2006 11:33 PM


Replies to this message:
 Message 97 by arachnophilia, posted 01-01-2006 3:53 AM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded

  
arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 261 days)
Posts: 9068
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 97 of 102 (274575)
01-01-2006 3:53 AM
Reply to: Message 96 by Mr. Ex Nihilo
12-31-2005 10:01 AM


might be a while
mr. ex,

sorry about this, but i might take a while responding. my computer's powersupply has shorted out again. while i do have access to another computer here, it's not really mine. so i can't spend too long on it, besides the middle of the night. i'm not sure when i can get it fixed. it's time for a whole new computer, but i don't have the money.

i'm sorta considering using this as an excuse for a break from the board anyways. but i know i won't. i'll try to take a look at some of this in next week or so, but i can't really make any promises.


אָרַח

This message is a reply to:
 Message 96 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 12-31-2005 10:01 AM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 98 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 01-01-2006 11:51 AM arachnophilia has not yet responded

Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 4077 days)
Posts: 708
Joined: 04-12-2005


Message 98 of 102 (274636)
01-01-2006 11:51 AM
Reply to: Message 97 by arachnophilia
01-01-2006 3:53 AM


Re: might be a while
No problem arach. Respond when you have a chance. As we've both agreed before, there's no hurry. I suspect the posts I've written above might open a new can of works anyway.

Hope all goes well with your search for a new computer. Have a happy new year.

Dale (Mr. Ex Nihilo)


This message is a reply to:
 Message 97 by arachnophilia, posted 01-01-2006 3:53 AM arachnophilia has not yet responded

  
Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 4077 days)
Posts: 708
Joined: 04-12-2005


Message 99 of 102 (275205)
01-03-2006 12:25 AM
Reply to: Message 94 by Mr. Ex Nihilo
12-30-2005 2:09 AM


Re: Cross References: Back to Basics
Here's a follow up from David Haggith's Book I mentioned earlier. Read through it and tell me what you think when you have a chance...

arachnophilia writes:

what other way do you propose we read this, that plainly says the lord created evil?

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

My suggestion is to look elsewhere in the Scriptures to see clear examples of what God is actually doing when he "supposedly" creates evil. In fact, there are entire sections of Scripture which go into great detail about the "mechanisms" of exactly how God does "create" evil.

The section of Haggith's reading starts as such...

End-Time Prophecies of the Bible writes:


Hosea 6:6 writes:

For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.

What God really wanted to see in his people was transformation toward justice, humility, generousity -- love. Virtue defined holy living more than sacrifice or ritual, and paganism had nothing to offer with regard to virtue. Unlike idols, God did not need to be fed daily sacrifices to still a ravenous belly and rapacious temperment.

Instead of becoming a vehicle for respecting the life they ate or a reminder of the cost of evil, the practice of sacrifice as begun by Moses had become an excuse for continuing to sin: We can sin today, and sacrifice tomorrow to keep God happy. They had become a form of indulgence. So God reminded his little nation that he is quite capable of preparing his own sacrifice -- if sacrifice were really what he wanted -- and that he would do exactly that if they persisted in their foolishness:

Zephaniah 1:2-18 .

How can God who is loving, who is perfect, and who is unchanging because he is perfect, get so emotional! Emotions seem highly changeable, unstable, even unpredictable and dangerous. One answer may be that human emotions reflect divine nature just as much as human intellect does. Another may be that God communicates in language that human listeners should be able to understand. He lowers himself to state his case in human terms. And could a wake-up call be more plain? One would think such dire predictions would have brought immediate reform, but they usually fell on deaf ears.

God the Jilted Lover

God's emotional pleas were even plaintive. The creator of the universe seemed to humiliate himself before his creation by begging for their affections. This was not likely because God felt unfulfilled without their affection, so it must haven been because God would lower himself even to pleading if that's what it took to guide humanity toward their fulfillment in him. It speaks volumes for the virtue of humility that God was willing to speak in such humanly comprehensible terms because of his love. In one striking passage of utterly human passion, God speaks of himself as a lover jilted by his bride. He reminds his bride, Israel, that he had transformed her into a princess, though she began from the common clay of the nations around her. The Jews had come out of the land of Babylon into Jerusalem, but Babylon would be their destiny again if they continued in its ways:*

Ezekiel 16:1-14

Having used the language of a marriage covenant, this love poem takes a sudden turn. The bride that had begun as nothing and had been transformed by God's own beauty prostitutes her beauty by giving her devotion to other gods. God describes himself as a cuckolded husband. The marriage between God and the people of Jerusalem is broken by their unfaithfulness. In practical terms, the people of Israel did this by building temples in high places to pagan gods. The metaphor of prostitution is particularly appropriate because many of these temples required temple prostitutes to carry out their fertility rites before pagan gods. In that respect these pagan temples were nothing more than religious brothels, and the priests nothing more than pimps, making a living off the temple prostitutes.

Ezekiel 16:15-21

Instead of using the material wealth with which God had blessed them to build a monotheistic nation, the people of Israel had reverted to the pagan ways of the Babylonians -- even to human sacrifice. A few Jews at this time were not above killing the greatest blessing that had come out of their marriage with God -- the children they had made together.

Ezekial 16:22, 25, 30, 32-34

Because the Jews were unwanted, God says, they had to humiliate themselves by paying others to commit prostitution with them (perhaps meaning they had to pay tribute to those nations whose imperial strength had impressed them):

Ezekial 16:37-45, 52, 59-63

Thus, the prophet Ezekial predicted Jerusalem's first destruction at the hands of the Babylonians because the people had broken the covenant established by Moses, but he also made predictions of a new covenant to come. How appropriate, since Jerusalem turned to the pagan gods of Babylon, that Babylon should have its way with her. She would get the lover she seduced and would be raped by him. She would, then, find that God, her former lover, was no longer there to protect her and would discover her illicit lover's true domineering spirit.* Jerusalem did what came natural to her, and Babylon would do what came natural to it in the state of human affairs.

God expressed the ramifications of Jewish idolatry in terms of a jealous human lover so the people of Israel could feel their shame and change, but they did not. The resulting punishment came about entirely by human will carried out by human hands (Babylonian plans carried out by Babylonian hands). At the same time, God spoke as though he was the one bringing these things about because he chose to allow them to happen.*

The destruction that eventualy came upon Jerusalem was not God's way of evening the score. The only way the Jews of that time were going to understand the error of trusting in Babylon's religion was to experience how misplaced that trust was. Books of words had failed to turn them around, but reality communicates where words have failed* That God is not a vindictive lover is shown by how quickly he is ready to restore Jerusalem -- even before Jerusalem has done anything to show change.

Because the Gentile nations had in some cases been better than God's own people, he promised to make them prosper. Their prosperity, however, would not be based on the same covenant God had with the Jews since the days of Moses. God promised a new covenant that would include the Gentile nations. Thus, the Jews will never open their mouths to speak proudly over their Gentile sisters as they had done in the past, for the Gentiles would also become a chosen people.

*emphasis mine.

Although this passage within Ezekial is most certainly an allegory, a "poetic story" that should not be taken literally, the "mechanism" of God's wrath is expressed very clearly within the lines of these poetic words.

1) Although expressed poetically, it is clear that since Jerusalem turned to the pagan gods of Babylon, Jerusalem essentially openned it's defenses thereby allowing Babylon to have its way with her. She would basically get the lover she seduced and would be raped by him as a result of her "adultery". She would, then, find that God, her former lover, was no longer there to protect her even as she would discover her illicit lover's true domineering spirit.

2) Even though expressed poetically, in reality one can still clearly see that the resulting punishment came about entirely by human wills carried out by human hands (Babylonian plans carried out by Babylonian hands). At the same time, God spoke as though he was the one bringing these things about because he chose to "allow" them to happen.

3) The destruction that eventualy came upon Jerusalem was not God's way of "evening the score". The only way the Jews of that time were going to understand the error of trusting in Babylon's religion was to experience how misplaced that trust was. Books of words had failed to turn them around, but "reality" communicates where words have failed.

Poetry or not, these lengthy passages within the Hebrew Scriptures seems to display a very clear and unequivocal pattern found all throughout the Hebrew Scriptures from beginning to end -- God's Spirit retreats in response to man's sins (and man causes his own demise by rebelling against God's Spirit).

This message has been edited by Mr. Ex Nihilo, 01-03-2006 01:14 AM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 94 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 12-30-2005 2:09 AM Mr. Ex Nihilo has not yet responded

  
Zothar
Junior Member (Idle past 3193 days)
Posts: 2
Joined: 09-22-2008


Message 100 of 102 (483593)
09-23-2008 11:32 AM
Reply to: Message 92 by arachnophilia
12-27-2005 1:36 AM


Re: does god make choices?
this is just something to throw out there. sorry, i was reading and couldn't resist:

once there was a proffesor talking to his students. he said "if anyone believes in God, stand up." one student stood up. "do you believe that God created everything?" asks the proffesor. "Yes" "Do you believe that there is evil?" "yes" "then do you believe that God created evil and is therefore part evil?" the student didn't know how to answer and sat down. then another student stood up. "sir" he said, "is there such thing as cold?" "of course," the proffesor replied. "no, cold is just a word made up by man for the absence of heat. it is not made; heat is just taken away. is there such a thing as darkness?" "of course" "no, darkness is just a word made up by man to represent the absence of light. is there such a thing as evil?" "of course" "no. evil is a word made up by man. it is the absence of Gods love and righeousness".

this shows where i stand on this point. evil is not a thing created. its just a result of us drawing away from God and becoming corrupt because we are human.

by the way, that second student was Albert Einstein.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 92 by arachnophilia, posted 12-27-2005 1:36 AM arachnophilia has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 101 by Coragyps, posted 09-23-2008 11:38 AM Zothar has not yet responded

  
Coragyps
Member
Posts: 5288
From: Snyder, Texas, USA
Joined: 11-12-2002


Message 101 of 102 (483594)
09-23-2008 11:38 AM
Reply to: Message 100 by Zothar
09-23-2008 11:32 AM


Re: does god make choices?
by the way, that second student was Albert Einstein.

Bullshit. That's an urban legend, debunked years ago:
http://www.snopes.com/religion/einstein.asp


This message is a reply to:
 Message 100 by Zothar, posted 09-23-2008 11:32 AM Zothar has not yet responded

  
Adminnemooseus
Director
Posts: 3825
Joined: 09-26-2002
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 102 of 102 (483731)
09-23-2008 11:12 PM


Closing down
As I see it, this topic got off to a poor start, headed somewhere uncertain, and finished up where it headed. Then 2+ years later it was mysteriously revived from the dead.

I'm don't know why it got promoted (to stop topic disruption elsewhere?) and why it ended up in the "Great Debate" forum.

Closing it down.

Adminnemooseus


  
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