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Author Topic:   The Great Debate
arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 323 days)
Posts: 9068
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 31 of 102 (235822)
08-23-2005 2:46 AM
Reply to: Message 29 by Mr. Ex Nihilo
07-24-2005 11:03 AM


bump
according to the official rules, as defined by mr ex. nihilo himself:

the time frame: maximum time between post and response -- one week.

i cut you some slack, of course, because i missed by a day myself. it's now been more than three weeks since i last replied. if you'd like to continue this at a later date, due to real-life concerns or whathaveyou, that's ok by me. i hope you're ok and everything.

anyways. i think you forfeit a turn.

the verse we were discussing was:

quote:
Isaiah 45:7

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


i have been arguing that the literal meaning of this verse, aside from anything structural is that god does two things: one at each extreme. an alpha and omega, so to speak.

the interpretative meaning, according to context, is that god is picking who wins a battle -- there cannot be two winners. one side must lose. the "evil" here is the defeat, and the "good" the victory. this means that the biblical definition of evil is subjective, because both the good and the evil are technically refering to the very same event: the outcome of the battle. applied to us, this means that "good" and "evil" seem to be relative human terms, and that god is above those particular definitions. do you agree this fits with the verse?

so, the point of this verse is that god does some things that some people think are evil some of the time. similar points are made even when the hebrew are on the losing end:

quote:
Lamentations 3:38

Out of the mouth of the most High proceedeth not evil and good?


this is somewhat a point about division, as you have said. god divides the good from the evil. but in essence, by choosing to not bestow blessing on a group (especially in favor of another) god is in effect "doing evil" to that group of people. in this case, the evil is done to city of jerusalem. god is righteous in his decisions -- but to the sinning hebrews he is doing evil. god himself even phrases it as such:

quote:
Ezekiel 6:10

And they shall know that I am the LORD, and that I have not said in vain that I would do this evil unto them.


god's evil is his abscence, yes. he forsakes judah and allows them to be captured and exiled in babylon. but the action of withdrawing his favor is called "evil" by god and the people who worship him. and it is phrased as an action god does. similarly, we might call a mother who abandons her baby in a trash dumpster "evil." the evil is not her action, but the lack of it, and it's still phrased an action she does: abuse.

anyways, on to the forfeiture part -- because i think we can move on now. i've brought it up before, but here it is again:

quote:
Amos 3:6

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?


this, again, i think is pretty straightforward. but i'm sure you'll object. this might be a war reference too, depending on what a trumpet blowing in the city could mean. it might mean an invading army. either way, it's something the people seem afraid of.

what this passage is saying, i think, is that people should not be afraid, because god has the authority. i think, in this respect, it's similar to matthew 6, which says that god takes care of the birds and the flower, why not the ones he loves? either way, the verse is speaking to the ultimate authority of god, who controls even the bad things that might happen to a people.

so:


  1. god does good and evil, speaks good and evil.
  2. evil is subjective, and depends on the recipient not god or objective moral standards
  3. god is in control of all things, including (all) evils
  4. god is the original source of evil

shall we debate point 3 now?

This message has been edited by arachnophilia, 08-23-2005 02:47 AM


אָרַח

This message is a reply to:
 Message 29 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 07-24-2005 11:03 AM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 32 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 08-28-2005 12:21 PM arachnophilia has responded

Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 4139 days)
Posts: 708
Joined: 04-12-2005


Message 32 of 102 (237977)
08-28-2005 12:21 PM
Reply to: Message 31 by arachnophilia
08-23-2005 2:46 AM


Re: bump
arachnophilia writes:

it's now been more than three weeks since i last replied. if you'd like to continue this at a later date, due to real-life concerns or whathaveyou, that's ok by me. i hope you're ok and everything.

My apologies arachnophilia. I gave my computer to my mom as a gift -- so I don't have easy access to the internet at home. I tried to go down to the library, but I can only get 1 hour slots -- which isn't enough time for me. With summer working, and family and kids, and everything else, I just haven't been able to reply as soon as I wanted.

Anyway, since I don't have as much time as I used to -- let's just cut to the chase:


  1. god does good and evil, speaks good and evil.
  2. evil is subjective, and depends on the recipient not god or objective moral standards
  3. god is in control of all things, including (all) evils
  4. god is the original source of evil

Having read through your posts, I think we already agree on #3 as well -- although there are some finer points that we might disagree with. I think ultimately this last point, however, is the point that needs to be addressed: what is the original source of evil according to the Scriptures?

If you want me to go back and respond to your previous posts, I will. There were some very important things I'd like to comment on, such as:

arachnophilia writes:

knowing good and evil seems to form one GOD, or person of god-like qualities.

or this:

arachnophilia writes:

similarly, light needed darkness to define itself. oh wait, that's backwards, sorry. we're generally agreed, i think, that the theme of creation is order from chaos, nevermind the ex-nihilo stuff. we've talked before about the leviathan-lothan connection, and the role of the deep as chaos. i'd like to suggest that the natural state of things is evil. the chaos is evil. and leviathan is evil (his image is used to depict the devil in revelation.)

this is, i should point out, totally consistent with your point. if god, being the source of "good" went away, the universe would by nature revert to "evil," would it not? so evil then can be expressed as an abscence of god -- which is your point exactly if i'm correct. and that's fine. i agree with that. it's not what this verse in isaiah is saying, but that's an acceptable view of things. now, this is of course begging a question:

if evil is a lack of god's presence -- and the universe is naturally evil -- why?

Actually, I was itching to respond to everything you posted in the last two posts -- especially the Hebrew parallelisms. However, I just know I won't be able to respond as quickly and conscisely as I did before now that I don't have a computer at home.

I'd like to get to the heart of the matter as the Spirit leads and and finish this debate -- perhaps even taking off the time-restriction of "one week" if possible.

Let me know what you think. If not, then I'll just request for the mods here to start a thread where others can start to judge our debate.

By the way, according to the official rules, as defined by me.

the time frame: maximum time between post and response -- one week.

This didn't mean that a person would lose their turn to respond. This meant that they would lose the debate period due to lack of response. I think I'm actually the one cutting you some slack when you first missed by a day -- at least according to the rules of how I pictured an official debate.

I'm not interested in winning a debate by a technicality. Although I have and I will continue to stress using some standards when engaging this debate, I also realize that there is life outside of EvC -- and that we all have things to do with family, work, and all that.

Let me know if the time extension beyond one week is ok for you. If not, then AdminJar might as well start a new thread where others are invited to judge the debate -- and that would make our part in this discourse finished since it would then be up to "other people" to debate how well they felt we each did.

Where do you want to go from here?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 31 by arachnophilia, posted 08-23-2005 2:46 AM arachnophilia has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 33 by arachnophilia, posted 08-28-2005 4:17 PM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded

  
arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 323 days)
Posts: 9068
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 33 of 102 (238025)
08-28-2005 4:17 PM
Reply to: Message 32 by Mr. Ex Nihilo
08-28-2005 12:21 PM


Re: bump
My apologies arachnophilia. I gave my computer to my mom as a gift -- so I don't have easy access to the internet at home. I tried to go down to the library, but I can only get 1 hour slots -- which isn't enough time for me. With summer working, and family and kids, and everything else, I just haven't been able to reply as soon as I wanted.

oh, ok. i was starting to get worried. i thought maybe you got like hit by a car or something.

Anyway, since I don't have as much time as I used to -- let's just cut to the chase:

  1. god does good and evil, speaks good and evil.
  2. evil is subjective, and depends on the recipient not god or objective moral standards
  3. god is in control of all things, including (all) evils
  4. god is the original source of evil

Having read through your posts, I think we already agree on #3 as well -- although there are some finer points that we might disagree with.

this actually really suprised me, but ok. we'll go one from here.

I think ultimately this last point, however, is the point that needs to be addressed: what is the original source of evil according to the Scriptures?

this is really the heart of the debate, i think. the point we've been trying to get to. i don't actually know, and i'm open to some debate of course. my position here is relatively weak.

f you want me to go back and respond to your previous posts, I will. There were some very important things I'd like to comment on

if you'd like to, it's up to you. but as you said, they're relatively minor points.

I'd like to get to the heart of the matter as the Spirit leads and and finish this debate -- perhaps even taking off the time-restriction of "one week" if possible.

it was your rule, not mine. if you want to get rid of it, that's fine by me, especially given the circumstances.

This didn't mean that a person would lose their turn to respond. This meant that they would lose the debate period due to lack of response. I think I'm actually the one cutting you some slack when you first missed by a day -- at least according to the rules of how I pictured an official debate.

probably. but i'm more interested in the debate than "winning." but i think it's fine, we're both understanding people here.

I'm not interested in winning a debate by a technicality. Although I have and I will continue to stress using some standards when engaging this debate, I also realize that there is life outside of EvC -- and that we all have things to do with family, work, and all that.

exactly.

Where do you want to go from here?

well, let's hash this last point out for a while, and see what we come up with. this is really the interesting point of the debate, and it'd be a shame to miss it because of some silly rule neither of us seem to care that much about anyways.

This message has been edited by arachnophilia, 08-28-2005 04:18 PM


אָרַח

This message is a reply to:
 Message 32 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 08-28-2005 12:21 PM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 34 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 08-30-2005 2:45 PM arachnophilia has responded

Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 4139 days)
Posts: 708
Joined: 04-12-2005


Message 34 of 102 (238626)
08-30-2005 2:45 PM
Reply to: Message 33 by arachnophilia
08-28-2005 4:17 PM


Re: bump
arachnophilia writes:

this actually really suprised me, but ok.

Why did this surprise you?

arachnophilia writes:

this is really the heart of the debate, i think.

I agree.

arachnophilia writes:

the point we've been trying to get to. i don't actually know, and i'm open to some debate of course. my position here is relatively weak.

What exactly is your position? I've gone into lengthy detail about my own view. Could you at least present some idea on what you think might be the case according to the Scriptures?

_____________________

Note:

arachnophilia writes:

it was your rule, not mine. if you want to get rid of it, that's fine by me, especially given the circumstances.

Alight then. The rule on the one-week time limit is now officially scrapped from this discourse.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 33 by arachnophilia, posted 08-28-2005 4:17 PM arachnophilia has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 35 by arachnophilia, posted 08-30-2005 9:38 PM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded

  
arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 323 days)
Posts: 9068
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 35 of 102 (238700)
08-30-2005 9:38 PM
Reply to: Message 34 by Mr. Ex Nihilo
08-30-2005 2:45 PM


Re: bump
Why did this surprise you?

because you've disagreed with just about every other step of my logic... surely i expected to have to demonstrate that from scripture, at the very least.

What exactly is your position? I've gone into lengthy detail about my own view. Could you at least present some idea on what you think might be the case according to the Scriptures?

to be totally honest, i'm not exactly sure. i think the position of scripture is that there is no real objective moral evil, because nothing can really be against god except by his will. but that all evils (plural) are created to allow us valid choice. so that would lead me to believe that god in essence created Evil capital e, as well as Good, with the intent of allow human free will.

this is somewhat analagous to god not being omni-present to allow for things like faith.


אָרַח

This message is a reply to:
 Message 34 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 08-30-2005 2:45 PM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 36 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 09-01-2005 4:54 PM arachnophilia has responded

Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 4139 days)
Posts: 708
Joined: 04-12-2005


Message 36 of 102 (239701)
09-01-2005 4:54 PM
Reply to: Message 35 by arachnophilia
08-30-2005 9:38 PM


Re: bump
arachnophilia writes:

because you've disagreed with just about every other step of my logic... surely i expected to have to demonstrate that from scripture, at the very least.

I have demonstrated from Scripture my own views many times in this thread. We do disagree in some areas. However, we have agreed on a number of key points too.

Unfortunately I don't have the time to go into great detail about the finer points, so I'm just moving ahead to the conclusion.

arachnophilia writes:

to be totally honest, i'm not exactly sure. i think the position of scripture is that there is no real objective moral evil, because nothing can really be against god except by his will. but that all evils (plural) are created to allow us valid choice. so that would lead me to believe that god in essence created Evil capital e, as well as Good, with the intent of allow human free will.

Yes, I understand your position. But ultimately where does evil come from, where is its source according to the Scriptures -- God or man?

Do you feel that God created the "potential" for evil to happen -- or do feel that he created the universe so that there was "inevitable" that evil would indeed happen?

The Scripture do quite plainly state that God is good -- GOD IS GOOD. Yet it never says that God is evil.

The Scriptures also say that light dwells in God -- LIGHT DWELLS IN GOD. Yet it never says that darkness dwells in God.

Let me put this another way -- when it says that God is "holy", what do you think the Scriptures mean? We both know that "holy" means to be "set apart" -- but what do you think that God is set apart from?

Edit for clarificatoin: I believe that the Hebrew's concept of God's holiness was intricately linked with their concept of God being inately good -- that is, that God was "set apart" from evil. I suspect that many of the "holy items" they used were viewed as intimately good by virtue of their ordination from God himself -- they were seen as a visible sign of his holiness.

If I'm understanding your position correctly, I think you believe that the Hebrew's concept of God's holiness was intricately linked with a concept of God being above judgement -- that is, that God's actions were "set apart" from human comdemnation. I suspect that, in this sense, you believe that good and evil were used arbitrarilly insomuch that one could relatively define good and evil -- that the concepts were spuriously used in juxtaposition to the whims and fancies of the Israelites themselves.

Consequently, I think the later view (your view?) was exactly where many of the Israelites fell "off the mark" in the past. In this sense, as God's chosen people, some would seem to believe themselves as being above reproach simply because they were God's chosen people.

This is a problem that is, in my opinion, not singular to the Israelites alone -- I readilly admit that my own Catholic faith often failed this very same temptation, especially during the 400's and Middle Age.

However, as many passages of Scripture do indicate, the Israelites themselves were only considered valid representatives of God insofar as they were following God's orders. Their own "holiness" was oftentimes linked with their ability to do good in God's eyes -- therefore staying under his watchful protection. When they collectively failed to do God's will on a large scale, the ramifications were often horrific to behold. :(

This message has been edited by Mr. Ex Nihilo, 10-03-2005 12:49 PM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 35 by arachnophilia, posted 08-30-2005 9:38 PM arachnophilia has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 41 by arachnophilia, posted 10-09-2005 2:50 AM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded

  
Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 4139 days)
Posts: 708
Joined: 04-12-2005


Message 37 of 102 (240306)
09-03-2005 7:45 PM
Reply to: Message 30 by arachnophilia
07-31-2005 1:16 AM


Finer Details
Ok, just had some extra time to clarify a few things.

arachnophilia writes:

yet light and dark forms one day. skipping down a bit.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

In Hebrew day and night comprise of one [echad] day.
...

You seem to be mixing up the concept of measuring "time" with the concept of mixing up "value".

The concept of "day" and "night" comprise one 24 hour day -- but "light" and "dark" do not comprise one of anything in the Scriptures.

Furthermore, a 24 hour day in certain parts of the world can and do often comprise entirely of daylight or else entirely of evening -- such as in the extreme poles of the earth. A 24 hour day can be solely one or the other -- and neither is required to measure the 24 hour time frame.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

However, nowhere do the Scriptures actually state that good and evil are one [echad]. Likewise, nowhere does the Hebrew Scriptures actually state that light and darkness are actually one [echad] -- except in relation to the physical events of day and night. Not once are these "pairs" of good and evil described in such a fashion as a unified one with the word "echad".

I requoted this part above because I wasn't sure if you actually understood what I was saying.

arachnophilia writes:

nowing good and evil seems to form one GOD, or person of god-like qualities. and now apparently in man. good and evil are united in the tree, and in god, and now apparently in man. before this point -- the division of morality so to speak, man seemed to be unaware of either in specific. thus he was easily duped by the serpent and/or eve, who also probably did not know better.

Alright, for the sake of this discussion, let's go with this logic then. If man if created in the image of God, and man is naive to evil, does this also mean that God is naive to evil?

God, for example, is apparently looking for Adam and Eve after they partake in the tree. Certainly, if God indeed knows all things, he shouldn't have been surprised by this, correct?

God, likewise, is apparently surprised by Adams' loneliness. Again, certainly, if God indeed knows all things, he shouldn't have been surprised by this, correct?

Some would say that God was testing them, giving them the chance to confess so to speak. Others would say that God indeed didn't "know evil" until he discovered it.

Which view would you take -- or is there another concept you would like to interject here?

For the record, the Scriptures do sometimes make statments which seem to indicate that God can possibly be caught off gaurd.

For example, Jeremiah speaks as follows:

NIV writes:

Why are you like a man taken by surprise,
like a warrior powerless to save?
You are among us, O LORD,
and we bear your name;
do not forsake us!

Admittedly, I suspect that this passsage is more used in a metephorical sense. However, bearing in mind the passages in the earliest chapters of the Genesis account, the Scriptures do seem to indicate that God can indeed be caught off gaurd.

If God indeed cannot look upon sin (cf. is naive to evil), then many parts of the Scriptures would make sense.

arachnophilia writes:

similarly, light needed darkness to define itself. oh wait, that's backwards, sorry. we're generally agreed, i think, that the theme of creation is order from chaos, nevermind the ex-nihilo stuff. we've talked before about the leviathan-lothan connection, and the role of the deep as chaos. i'd like to suggest that the natural state of things is evil. the chaos is evil. and leviathan is evil (his image is used to depict the devil in revelation.)

this is, i should point out, totally consistent with your point. if god, being the source of "good" went away, the universe would by nature revert to "evil," would it not? so evil then can be expressed as an abscence of god -- which is your point exactly if i'm correct. and that's fine. i agree with that. it's not what this verse in isaiah is saying, but that's an acceptable view of things. now, this is of course begging a question:

if evil is a lack of god's presence -- and the universe is naturally evil -- why?

Who said the universe is naturally evil?

I think the Scriptures indicate over and over again that the creation, while in pain, is still fundamentally good - just as God ordained it.

Again, you seem to be invoking a dualism that, in my opinion, the Scriptures do not actually argue for.

arachnophilia writes:

why can't everyone win the superbowl?

They can. If all teams join together and play on the same team, there will be no more opposing teams to be rivals against. In this instance everyone wins and nobody loses.

Observe the following passage of Scripture...

NIV writes:

Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, "Are you for us or for our enemies?"

"Neither," he replied, "but as commander of the army of the LORD I have now come." Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, "What message does my Lord have for his servant?"

I certainly think that there were minor strains of Jewish thought which sought to exalt their own Jewish identity above the Lord they worshipped -- but I'm fairly sure that God's ultimate purpose went way above the "primitive" ideas of "good guys" and "bad guys".

arachnophilia writes:

creation CANNOT be thoroughly good.

Yes, but creation can be like a mirror which reflects God's goodness. In all honestly, creation appears to be basically neutral, altough it leans in its Creators direction.

arachnophilia writes:

otherwise it would be like god. and that's a big problem with that logic.

Why?

arachnophilia writes:

it contradicts itself.

I don't think it does.

arachnophilia writes:

evidently, creation is not currently thoroughly good, either. so what happened, exactly? where did the bad come from? from god's absence? if god's creation turns evil when he takes a coffee break, it's not too thoroughly good is it?

Sure it is. Like a mirror it can reflect it's creators goodness -- which is what God designed it for -- because even creation gives praise to God.

It seems to me that it's when something occults the image of God that the reflection of God becomes distorted -- much like viewing the world through a darknened glass.

arachnophilia writes:

logic does not side with maimonides.

Sure it does.

Edit: corrected spelling, added bold for emphasis, clarified various points by adding Scriptural references where appropriate.

This message has been edited by Mr. Ex Nihilo, 10-03-2005 12:29 PM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 30 by arachnophilia, posted 07-31-2005 1:16 AM arachnophilia has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 42 by arachnophilia, posted 10-09-2005 3:29 AM Mr. Ex Nihilo has not yet responded

  
Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 4139 days)
Posts: 708
Joined: 04-12-2005


Message 38 of 102 (248470)
10-03-2005 10:00 AM


Computer's Back
Ok, mom decided she didn't want the computer anymore, so she decided to give it back to me. I can now respond faster again. :)

Everything ok there arachnophilia?


Replies to this message:
 Message 40 by arachnophilia, posted 10-03-2005 5:20 PM Mr. Ex Nihilo has not yet responded

  
Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 4139 days)
Posts: 708
Joined: 04-12-2005


Message 39 of 102 (248520)
10-03-2005 12:04 PM
Reply to: Message 30 by arachnophilia
07-31-2005 1:16 AM


Re: Hebrew Parallelisms Follow-Up
arachnophilia writes:

can it wait a little?

No problem. There's no more time restrictions for our debate here. :)

arachnophilia writes:

if i get an opportunity, i'll find my old prof on campus and ask him if he can refer me to some material.

Good. I'd like to hear what your prof has to say on the matter.

This message has been edited by Mr. Ex Nihilo, 10-03-2005 12:04 PM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 30 by arachnophilia, posted 07-31-2005 1:16 AM arachnophilia has not yet responded

  
arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 323 days)
Posts: 9068
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 40 of 102 (248643)
10-03-2005 5:20 PM
Reply to: Message 38 by Mr. Ex Nihilo
10-03-2005 10:00 AM


Re: Computer's Back
Everything ok there arachnophilia?

yeah, just been really busy with school lately. i'll try to reply shortly, though not tonight -- i've got a class in half an hour, and then an art project to finish and a hebrew assignment to write when i get home.


אָרַח

This message is a reply to:
 Message 38 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 10-03-2005 10:00 AM Mr. Ex Nihilo has not yet responded

arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 323 days)
Posts: 9068
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 41 of 102 (250222)
10-09-2005 2:50 AM
Reply to: Message 36 by Mr. Ex Nihilo
09-01-2005 4:54 PM


Re: bump
I have demonstrated from Scripture my own views many times in this thread. We do disagree in some areas. However, we have agreed on a number of key points too.

ok, let me just run over those, as i've been a bit out of it lately, busy with school and whatnot.

we agree that:


  1. god does good and evil, speaks good and evil.
  2. evil is subjective, and depends on the recipient not god or objective moral standards
  3. god is in control of all things, including (all) evils
but as of right now, we do no agree that:

  1. god is the original source of evil

Yes, I understand your position. But ultimately where does evil come from, where is its source according to the Scriptures -- God or man?

well, this is kind of the debate. and i think we might actually be at the end of it, too. because i think we might agree here too, somewhat. like i said, i don't think the bible presents a view of an objective evil against god, but that it means a more relative kind of evil.

but i'd like to point out that this point is fundamentally moot. if the source is man, and god is responsible for man, then the ultimate origin of evil lies with god, doesn't it? now, i don't mean to somehow conflate man's misdeeds with actions of god, i'm simply saying that if god is omniscient, and knew man would be evil in some respect, yet created us anyways, then god bears some responsibility there.

so maybe a good question is whether or not the god of the bible is omniscient. i don't suspect he is. but anyways -- according to scriptures, the origin does in fact have to be with god. i won't quote genesis 2 and 3 back at you, i know you've read them. but the tree of knowledge of good and evil was placed in the garden of eden by god (not man) and granted man something godly.

so the premise here is that god knows both good and evil, and the first conclusion we must reach is that both good and evil therefor exist at this point. so we have two choices: either there is an objective moral evil that god is not responsible for (say, another god, that god did not create) or evil is merely a condition of creation. we've already ruled out the first option, and the option of man creating evil is not allowed be contraints of the premise. he just hasn't been around long enough.

the only remaining option, the one that evil is just a condition of existance, is entirely consistent with the subjectivity we've been discussing. at least, i think so.

Do you feel that God created the "potential" for evil to happen -- or do feel that he created the universe so that there was "inevitable" that evil would indeed happen?

i'm not sure. does it make a difference, really?

The Scripture do quite plainly state that God is good -- GOD IS GOOD. Yet it never says that God is evil.

The Scriptures also say that light dwells in God -- LIGHT DWELLS IN GOD. Yet it never says that darkness dwells in God.

does subjective evil rule out objective good? i know we've talked before about subjective evils being used for objective good purposes, in a kind of sacrificial way. the way i believe personally is that god is indeed good, even when doing things we might call "evil."

Let me put this another way -- when it says that God is "holy", what do you think the Scriptures mean? We both know that "holy" means to be "set apart" -- but what do you think that God is set apart from?

Edit for clarificatoin: I believe that the Hebrew's concept of God's holiness was intricately linked with their concept of God being inately good -- that is, that God was "set apart" from evil. I suspect that many of the "holy items" they used were viewed as intimately good by virtue of their ordination from God himself -- they were seen as a visible sign of his holiness.

If I'm understanding your position correctly, I think you believe that the Hebrew's concept of God's holiness was intricately linked with a concept of God being above judgement -- that is, that God's actions were "set apart" from human comdemnation. I suspect that, in this sense, you believe that good and evil were used arbitrarilly insomuch that one could relatively define good and evil -- that the concepts were spuriously used in juxtaposition to the whims and fancies of the Israelites themselves.

that's sort of it, i think. i think the holiness idea was really about a concept of god being fundamentally not human. genesis seems to be about god's commonality with us, and exodus seems to reflect the idea that god is also very different. in one book, god talks to and wrestles with mankind. in the other, mankind has to be kept at a safe distance.

i don't profess to totally understand the hebrew position on holiness. for instance, it's said that holy books make the hands dirty -- the hebrews that were debating over canonization of the tanakh would have to wash their hands in a cleansing ritual after reading the scrolls. the bits that were holy made them dirty, not vice-versa.

but i can tell you that "holiness" probably has more to do with ritual cleanliness than anything else.

Consequently, I think the later view (your view?) was exactly where many of the Israelites fell "off the mark" in the past. In this sense, as God's chosen people, some would seem to believe themselves as being above reproach simply because they were God's chosen people.

which is evidentally not the case. or at least the position of the bible. it does seem to be an axiom of the jewish faith that they can't, say, screw up "salvation" in their sense. they're god's people, what do they need to be saved from in the first place? but i think the mistake is to translate that as "above reproach." no one is above reproach, except of course god. and god, like any good parent, punishes his children when they need discipline.

Their own "holiness" was oftentimes linked with their ability to do good in God's eyes -- therefore staying under his watchful protection. When they collectively failed to do God's will on a large scale, the ramifications were often horrific to behold.

or at least not break any major rules. i think it's wrong to frame it in terms of good. it's when they do "evil in the sight of the lord." it's when they make an egregious trespass, hurting god in some respect. generally, it's when they forget god, and go off to follow other gods -- almost everytime you see this line of logic, it's basically because israel has been cheating.

here's a question though. does a subjective view of evil become objective because the view is that of god's?


אָרַח

This message is a reply to:
 Message 36 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 09-01-2005 4:54 PM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 43 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 10-09-2005 11:58 PM arachnophilia has responded
 Message 48 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 10-17-2005 12:46 AM arachnophilia has responded

arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 323 days)
Posts: 9068
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 42 of 102 (250223)
10-09-2005 3:29 AM
Reply to: Message 37 by Mr. Ex Nihilo
09-03-2005 7:45 PM


Re: Finer Details
You seem to be mixing up the concept of measuring "time" with the concept of mixing up "value".

The concept of "day" and "night" comprise one 24 hour day -- but "light" and "dark" do not comprise one of anything in the Scriptures.

they are often used ing conjunction, though, as parallels, like day and night. they are also often used as synonyms for day and night, so the application is totally acceptable.

Furthermore, a 24 hour day in certain parts of the world can and do often comprise entirely of daylight or else entirely of evening -- such as in the extreme poles of the earth. A 24 hour day can be solely one or the other -- and neither is required to measure the 24 hour time frame.

as far as i know, the hebrews did not live anywhere close to either pole at the time the bible was written.

Alright, for the sake of this discussion, let's go with this logic then. If man if created in the image of God, and man is naive to evil, does this also mean that God is naive to evil?

i don't think it's acceptable to read "in the image of god" as "exactly like god." they evidently are not. (besides, this bit's from the other creation story -- don't expect it to fit perfectly).

God, for example, is apparently looking for Adam and Eve after they partake in the tree. Certainly, if God indeed knows all things, he shouldn't have been surprised by this, correct?

God, likewise, is apparently surprised by Adams' loneliness. Again, certainly, if God indeed knows all things, he shouldn't have been surprised by this, correct?

if god does indeed know all things. i'm not totally sure the god of genesis does -- but i think that's just the way he's presented there: more like us.

Some would say that God was testing them, giving them the chance to confess so to speak. Others would say that God indeed didn't "know evil" until he discovered it.

i think the first is far more likely. it doesn't seem that god is unaware of evil, rather that he creates a tree called "knowledge of good and evil" that makes man like god. knowing evil is part of that. but i think my view of the text as a whole -- that it tries to present god in human terms -- is probably the most accurate.

For the record, the Scriptures do sometimes make statments which seem to indicate that God can possibly be caught off gaurd.

For example, Jeremiah speaks as follows:

NIV writes:

Why are you like a man taken by surprise,
like a warrior powerless to save?
You are among us, O LORD,
and we bear your name;
do not forsake us!

Admittedly, I suspect that this passsage is more used in a metephorical sense. However, bearing in mind the passages in the earliest chapters of the Genesis account, the Scriptures do seem to indicate that God can indeed be caught off gaurd.

well, let's look at that statement for a second. is god a warrior powerless to save? do you think he was caught off gaurd?

If God indeed cannot look upon sin (cf. is naive to evil), then many parts of the Scriptures would make sense.

well, i've already pointed out numerous occasions where it would not make sense. in fact, i don't think very much of it would make sense at all. how do you explain god punishing people for any sin? how do you explain the exile? how do you explain how every king of israel (as opposed to judah) did "evil in the sight of the lord?"

Who said the universe is naturally evil?

you did.

god creates from the deep, symbolic chaos = evil. so prior to god's intervention, and without god's intervention, the universe is naturally evil. it takes the supernatural good to do otherwise. that's what this particular position boils down to. and i don't think that's a strawman, just a logical conclusion.

you can probably see why i don't agree.

I think the Scriptures indicate over and over again that the creation, while in pain, is still fundamentally good - just as God ordained it.

god's creation is fundamentally good, yes. god says so a number of times. but what about before he did anything?

Again, you seem to be invoking a dualism that, in my opinion, the Scriptures do not actually argue for.

i'm not, really. i don't think the bible represents a dualism at all. i was just carrying that particular premise to its logical end. if god is good, and only god is god is good, then all else must have been initially evil, and revert to evil without his presence.

i don't feel this is the case, and i suspect you don't either.

They can. If all teams join together and play on the same team, there will be no more opposing teams to be rivals against. In this instance everyone wins and nobody loses.

that's not winning. that's defaulting.

I certainly think that there were minor strains of Jewish thought which sought to exalt their own Jewish identity above the Lord they worshipped -- but I'm fairly sure that God's ultimate purpose went way above the "primitive" ideas of "good guys" and "bad guys".

i'm sure. that takes us back to the verse that started this. god decides.

Yes, but creation can be like a mirror which reflects God's goodness. In all honestly, creation appears to be basically neutral, altough it leans in its Creators direction.

i agree here. i do not think creation is good, nor do i think it's evil. but to be truly neutral and subjective, both sides must exist, right?

arachnophilia writes:

logic does not side with maimonides.

Sure it does.

well, let's look at this discussion again. you wrote originally that:

quote:
In other words, in Maimonides' view, since God is totally "set apart", he also needs to be something "distinct from creation itself".

to which i replied that it was inconsistent for maimonides to say god was thoroughly good, and totally unlike his creation, which was also thoroughly good. in your view, abscence of god = evil. so if god were to disappear, creation would be evil, would it not?

therefore the natural tendency of creation, according to you, is evil. which makes it not thoroughly good. even if evil merely exists, creation is not thoroughly good.

i think we basically agree that the universe is generally neutral, although i suspect we're using the word in different ways.


אָרַח

This message is a reply to:
 Message 37 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 09-03-2005 7:45 PM Mr. Ex Nihilo has not yet responded

Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 4139 days)
Posts: 708
Joined: 04-12-2005


Message 43 of 102 (250360)
10-09-2005 11:58 PM
Reply to: Message 41 by arachnophilia
10-09-2005 2:50 AM


Re: bump
Hmmm...your responses didn't show up as a "YES" in the "Replies Await" box of index page for some reason?

Sorry for the delay.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

I have demonstrated from Scripture my own views many times in this thread. We do disagree in some areas. However, we have agreed on a number of key points too.

arachnophilia writes:

ok, let me just run over those, as i've been a bit out of it lately, busy with school and whatnot.

we agree that:

1. god does good and evil, speaks good and evil.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

Not necessarilly.

I still think God does only good. However, I think that he speaks to humans on a level that they can understand. Therefore, if he calls the end results of his actions "evil", it's seems to me more the case that he's simply using a phrase that others will immediately grasp.

I also think that the Israelites believed this too -- since many passages of Scripture overwhemlingly say God is good compared to the minority of passage which do not explicitly state that God is evil but only allude to the end result of his actions causing evil (which can also be translated as painful, etc.)

Even in the case of someone "repenting", like God apparently did with his creating of humanity during the flood, this doesn't necessarilly imply that God sinned. Repentance, in it's most basic sense, simply means to turn 180 degrees from what you were formerly doing. In others words, one can still be left feeling guilt even for doing good if the good that you started eventually becomes corrupt.

Having said this, however, we do agree somewhat on the next point -- which I think brings our thoughts more in line with each other.

2. evil is subjective, and depends on the recipient not god or objective moral standards

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

Yes and no.

I think, technically speaking, the subjective value of good and evil is intimately related to the people God is apparently speaking to. As I said above, I think that he speaks to humans on a level that they can understand. In this sense it's a question of language.

However, if you are still suggesting that God can do evil, as I noted above, the Israelites unquestionably believed that God is good. The evil part is what we are still debating.

3. god is in control of all things, including (all) evils

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

There is no question about this one. We agree.

However, I would like to note that, similar to your street analogy used earlier, doing evil is like going down the wrong way of a one-way street.

The Spirit of God which moves all things is still objectively good -- even if the end result of the motion results in what humans would subjectively call evil. Again, as noted above, this is the question of the language employed. In other words, God's objective view of evil become subjective when reduced to a level that humans can misunderstand.


I apologize if these reponses throw us backward in this dialogue at all -- but I just needed to clarify a few things. When I placed the strike though those texts before and asked you to move on, it was partially because we'd both explained our views and neither side seemed to be giving any ground. It was more a matter of expediency than agreement.

In my view, by focussing on what we thought was the original source of evil according to the Scriptures, I thought we could kind of reverse-engineer this debate to flow from source to man and see where God fits in.

Please note: I don't plan on going back to discuss these things. I'm simply planning on continuing with the remainder of your repsonses below in order to see exactly where we do agree.

Whoever chooses to critique our debate can inform us what they thought of our ideas later.

arachnophilia writes:

but as of right now, we do no agree that:

4. god is the original source of evil

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

Yes, I understand your position. But ultimately where does evil come from, where is its source according to the Scriptures -- God or man?

arachnophilia writes:

well, this is kind of the debate. and i think we might actually be at the end of it, too. because i think we might agree here too, somewhat. like i said, i don't think the bible presents a view of an objective evil against god, but that it means a more relative kind of evil.

but i'd like to point out that this point is fundamentally moot. if the source is man, and god is responsible for man, then the ultimate origin of evil lies with god, doesn't it? now, i don't mean to somehow conflate man's misdeeds with actions of god, i'm simply saying that if god is omniscient, and knew man would be evil in some respect, yet created us anyways, then god bears some responsibility there.

so maybe a good question is whether or not the god of the bible is omniscient. i don't suspect he is. but anyways -- according to scriptures, the origin does in fact have to be with god. i won't quote genesis 2 and 3 back at you, i know you've read them. but the tree of knowledge of good and evil was placed in the garden of eden by god (not man) and granted man something godly.

so the premise here is that god knows both good and evil, and the first conclusion we must reach is that both good and evil therefor exist at this point. so we have two choices: either there is an objective moral evil that god is not responsible for (say, another god, that god did not create) or evil is merely a condition of creation. we've already ruled out the first option, and the option of man creating evil is not allowed be contraints of the premise. he just hasn't been around long enough.

the only remaining option, the one that evil is just a condition of existance, is entirely consistent with the subjectivity we've been discussing. at least, i think so.


Whoa...what the heck just happened here? :confused:

There's a lot of things you noted in here that I haven't actually agreed to. It was almost kind of rambling.

If you're really busy right now arach, take a break and let me know when you've got time to come back and realy focus on this debate. I'd rather talk with a very focussed arachnophilia, because I think we can learn a lot more from each other then. :)

Peace in Christ.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 41 by arachnophilia, posted 10-09-2005 2:50 AM arachnophilia has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 44 by arachnophilia, posted 10-13-2005 10:46 PM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded

  
arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 323 days)
Posts: 9068
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 44 of 102 (251617)
10-13-2005 10:46 PM
Reply to: Message 43 by Mr. Ex Nihilo
10-09-2005 11:58 PM


Re: bump
I still think God does only good. However, I think that he speaks to humans on a level that they can understand. Therefore, if he calls the end results of his actions "evil", it's seems to me more the case that he's simply using a phrase that others will immediately grasp.

i think it's the other way around. it's people ascribing human qualities to god.

Even in the case of someone "repenting", like God apparently did with his creating of humanity during the flood, this doesn't necessarilly imply that God sinned. Repentance, in it's most basic sense, simply means to turn 180 degrees from what you were formerly doing. In others words, one can still be left feeling guilt even for doing good if the good that you started eventually becomes corrupt.

yes, and no. to say that god sinned is a little more than to say god made a mistake (which god himself will say he did, ala the passage you refered to). saying god sinned is to say that god made some kind of trespass against something or someone. since god is the highest authority, no one has any right to say that god commited a trespass.

therefore, god cannot sin, even if he can do things we call evil, and even if he can do things he calls mistakes.

Yes and no.

I think, technically speaking, the subjective value of good and evil is intimately related to the people God is apparently speaking to. As I said above, I think that he speaks to humans on a level that they can understand. In this sense it's a question of language.

sure, it probably is. i agree here. but it's this subjectivity that is the basis for the first point (i really should have put them the other way around). since the language is in question, and what we call evil is subjective, it can besaid that god does evil and speaks evil.

this "evil" may well be good from the eyes of god, or someone who speaks for god:

However, if you are still suggesting that God can do evil, as I noted above, the Israelites unquestionably believed that God is good. The evil part is what we are still debating.

the idea being that even when god does something someone might consider evil, there is a good purpose behind it.

There is no question about this one. We agree.

However, I would like to note that, similar to your street analogy used earlier, doing evil is like going down the wrong way of a one-way street.

The Spirit of God which moves all things is still objectively good -- even if the end result of the motion results in what humans would subjectively call evil. Again, as noted above, this is the question of the language employed. In other words, God's objective view of evil become subjective when reduced to a level that humans can misunderstand.

ok, agreed.

It was almost kind of rambling.

sorry, i do that.

If you're really busy right now arach, take a break and let me know when you've got time to come back and realy focus on this debate. I'd rather talk with a very focussed arachnophilia, because I think we can learn a lot more from each other then.

i'll be ok. :P

the sum of the argument is that evil existed before man, and god knew good and evil before man did. i think this "knowing good and evil" bit is, as holmes put it, divine judgement -- it's us making those specific subjective quality judgements we've been talking about. it's use choosing what to call good, and what to call evil.

the other point is that for the things we call evil, or if some objective evil DOES exist, god has to be responsible for it if he's omniscient.

shall we proceed from one of these two points?

This message has been edited by arachnophilia, 10-13-2005 10:48 PM


אָרַח

This message is a reply to:
 Message 43 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 10-09-2005 11:58 PM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 45 by Mr. Ex Nihilo, posted 10-16-2005 8:38 PM arachnophilia has responded

Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 4139 days)
Posts: 708
Joined: 04-12-2005


Message 45 of 102 (252276)
10-16-2005 8:38 PM
Reply to: Message 44 by arachnophilia
10-13-2005 10:46 PM


Re: bump
Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

I still think God does only good. However, I think that he speaks to humans on a level that they can understand. Therefore, if he calls the end results of his actions "evil", it's seems to me more the case that he's simply using a phrase that others will immediately grasp.

arachnophilia writes:


i think it's the other way around. it's people ascribing human qualities to god.

Ok, but you don't think this is what the Israelites themselves believed, do you?

Although we are free to give our own personal thoughts on the matter, we are still ultimately trying to resolve what the ancient Israelites believed about their own Scriptures, correct?

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

Even in the case of someone "repenting", like God apparently did with his creating of humanity during the flood, this doesn't necessarilly imply that God sinned. Repentance, in it's most basic sense, simply means to turn 180 degrees from what you were formerly doing. In others words, one can still be left feeling guilt even for doing good if the good that you started eventually becomes corrupt.

arachnophilia writes:

yes, and no. to say that god sinned is a little more than to say god made a mistake (which god himself will say he did, ala the passage you refered to).

Alright, God, in the case of the flood, apparently repents that he had ever made man. Yet, later on, several Scriptural verses also teach that God cannot repent. However, again, in I Samuel 15, God repents that he had made Saul king of Israel (in verses 11, 35 for example) and yet he also declares that he is not a man that he should repent (verse 29 for example).

Do you believe the Israelites beleived these things were contradictions in their own Scriptures, or do you believe the Israelites believed these statements were God's way of trying to force the Israelites to see subtle differences in the meanings of a word?

Or stating it differently, if you're studying Hebrew, could you take a look at the word for "repent" and see if it is used in more than one way? Are there any cases where the word repent is used in conjunction with someone performing what the Scriptures consider a "good action"?

I ask because I'm not sure if I have the proper resources to properly identify this at this time.

More specifically, for example, consider the case of a parent giving a child a toy. The toy is good. It is designed to give joy to the child. However, by some tragic mishap, the child ends up choking on the toy.

We'll pretend in this case that the child was rescued.

However, in real-life these kinds of accidents do unfortunately happen. If, in this hypothetical situation, the child perished due to the toy, would the parent be guilty of sinning -- even if their original intention was good?

arachnophilia writes:

saying god sinned is to say that god made some kind of trespass against something or someone. since god is the highest authority, no one has any right to say that god commited a trespass.

But doesn't God have the ability to judge his own actions?

arachnophilia writes:

therefore, god cannot sin, even if he can do things we call evil, and even if he can do things he calls mistakes.

Well, let's take a look at this statement for a minute.

First of all, God is apparently doing something that has a direct effect on humanity, something that he should be able to hold himself accountable for, correct?

Is God not aware of his own actions -- or is he simply above condemning himself?

Mr. Ex nihilo writes:

Yes and no.

I think, technically speaking, the subjective value of good and evil is intimately related to the people God is apparently speaking to. As I said above, I think that he speaks to humans on a level that they can understand. In this sense it's a question of language.

arachnophilia writes:

sure, it probably is. i agree here. but it's this subjectivity that is the basis for the first point (i really should have put them the other way around). since the language is in question, and what we call evil is subjective, it can be said that god does evil and speaks evil.

Ok, scratch what I asked above. I think we're actually agreeing here very well.

arachnophilia writes:

this "evil" may well be good from the eyes of god, or someone who speaks for god:

However, if you are still suggesting that God can do evil, as I noted above, the Israelites unquestionably believed that God is good. The evil part is what we are still debating.

arachnophilia writes:

the idea being that even when god does something someone might consider evil, there is a good purpose behind it.

There is no question about this one. We agree.

However, I would like to note that, similar to your street analogy used earlier, doing evil is like going down the wrong way of a one-way street.

The Spirit of God which moves all things is still objectively good -- even if the end result of the motion results in what humans would subjectively call evil. Again, as noted above, this is the question of the language employed. In other words, God's objective view of evil become subjective when reduced to a level that humans can misunderstand.

arachnophilia writes:

ok, agreed.

wow.

Do you agree that this is what the Israelites believed as well?

arachnophilia writes:

the sum of the argument is that evil existed before man, and god knew good and evil before man did. i think this "knowing good and evil" bit is, as holmes put it, divine judgement -- it's us making those specific subjective quality judgements we've been talking about. it's use choosing what to call good, and what to call evil.

To be honest, I think it's not so much about good and evil. I think it's more probably about shame -- and the laying of blame to others who do not deserve it. It's about figuring out who is responsble for what and what's going to be done in response to each other's actions.

More importantly, although many tend to think of the account of the garden as a story of good vs. evil, I think it's more a story of how a loving God was willing to subject himself to the scrunity and judgements of his own creation. As the late Pope John Paul II said,

Pope John Paul II writes:

"...in a certain sense one could say that confronted with our human freedom, God decided to make Himself 'impotent.' And one could say that God is paying for the great gift bestowed upon a being He created 'in his image, after his likeness' (cf. Gn 1:26). Before this gift, He remains consistent, and places Himself before the judgment of man..."

arachnophilia writes:

the other point is that for the things we call evil, or if some objective evil DOES exist, god has to be responsible for it if he's omniscient.

shall we proceed from one of these two points?

Actually, we can proceed from both if you like. I'd also like to get back to the concept of the "void" which existed prior to God's creation.

Is that ok?

This message has been edited by Mr. Ex Nihilo, 10-17-2005 12:26 AM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 44 by arachnophilia, posted 10-13-2005 10:46 PM arachnophilia has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 50 by arachnophilia, posted 10-17-2005 1:37 PM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded

  
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