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Author Topic:   The Great Debate
Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 267 days)
Posts: 712
Joined: 04-12-2005


Message 63 of 102 (254996)
10-27-2005 2:57 AM
Reply to: Message 56 by arachnophilia
10-20-2005 10:37 PM


Re: bump: As short as I can make it.
Again, I think you are missing my point. As I said before, Adam and Eve never ever were capable of not choosing. They had no choice on whether they could make a choice. God, however, may not even have the ability to choose in the first place.

Admittedly, there are passages of Scripture whick speak of God choosing. But, again, I think this is a matter of language -- God reducing his words into a more primitive vernacular that people could understand. However, if God knows in advance what will happen then it appears as if he cannot actually make a choice in the first place. In this sense, when the terms similar to "choosing" are made in reference to God, it seems as though a more precise word would be "elect" -- a term which signifies God's fore-knowledge that is revealed only as people experience it.

In other words, the only way to be 100% good is to totally lack the ability to chose evil in the first place. Most people seem to think of this in reverse. They say that the only way you can know if someone is truly good is if they are presented with a choice between good and evil. But that's not necesssarilly true. Good can exist on its own and it does not need evil to define itself.

Therefore, contrary to public opinion, the ability to choose is very possibly the potentially most lethal ability. If one choses correctly, they can continue within the goodness that they were created in -- they are effectively blessed to be imprisoned. But once they choose incorrectly, they're basically out of the loop -- they are condemned to be free.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 56 by arachnophilia, posted 10-20-2005 10:37 PM arachnophilia has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 64 by Phat, posted 10-27-2005 3:02 AM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded
 Message 80 by arachnophilia, posted 11-13-2005 12:11 AM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded

Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 267 days)
Posts: 712
Joined: 04-12-2005


Message 65 of 102 (254999)
10-27-2005 3:03 AM
Reply to: Message 64 by Phat
10-27-2005 3:02 AM


Re: bump: As short as I can make it.
ok..."provision" instead of "elect".

This message has been edited by Mr. Ex Nihilo, 10-27-2005 03:05 AM


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Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 267 days)
Posts: 712
Joined: 04-12-2005


Message 67 of 102 (255526)
10-29-2005 6:42 PM
Reply to: Message 66 by arachnophilia
10-29-2005 5:18 PM


Re: hurricane wilma -- i'm still alive
arach writes:

everything's ok, yes.

Good to here that. :)

arach writes:

it'll probably be a little while before i can get to the debate again; i'm really just on now to update people, let them know i'm ok and whatnot.

No problem.

arach writes:

well, unless the mods say someting in here then i'm not really concerned about length.

Cool. Then I'll start working on the post to your previous posts -- but when you have a chance please do check out those "mini" posts.

Wife and I are going to a halloween party tonight -- so it'll probably be the next day or so.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 66 by arachnophilia, posted 10-29-2005 5:18 PM arachnophilia has responded

Replies to this message:
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Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 267 days)
Posts: 712
Joined: 04-12-2005


Message 69 of 102 (255544)
10-29-2005 8:37 PM
Reply to: Message 68 by Admin
10-29-2005 6:43 PM


Re: bump
Thank you.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 68 by Admin, posted 10-29-2005 6:43 PM Admin has not yet responded

Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 267 days)
Posts: 712
Joined: 04-12-2005


Message 72 of 102 (255579)
10-30-2005 1:29 AM
Reply to: Message 71 by sidelined
10-30-2005 1:50 AM


I am angry now...
sidelined...you are aware of the fact that this is a one on one debate between arachnophilia and myself, correct?

You are also aware of the fact that moderators have been invited to moderate this thread as they see fit, correct?

You are also aware of the fact that this is love4oneanother's very first post, correct?

You currently show around 2270 posts, correct?

If so, then why the ---- are you so --- as to have engaged in an argument within the middle of the official debate between arachnophilia and myself?

Yeah. Welcome to EvC.

...and leave love4oneanother alone while you're at it.

thank you

edited for appropriate tone by PB

This message has been edited by AdminPhat, 10-30-2005 01:55 AM


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
 Message 73 by sidelined, posted 10-30-2005 3:22 AM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded

Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 267 days)
Posts: 712
Joined: 04-12-2005


Message 74 of 102 (255737)
10-31-2005 12:18 AM
Reply to: Message 73 by sidelined
10-30-2005 3:22 AM


Re: I am sorry now...
My apologies too. I shouldn't have reacted that way.

I guess what irked me the most is that I don't like seeing newbies -- Christian, athiest, or otherwise -- getting the cold shoulder right off the bat. I think everyone deserves a chance to speak their mind -- in the appropriate thread of course.

:)


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Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 267 days)
Posts: 712
Joined: 04-12-2005


Message 76 of 102 (255936)
11-01-2005 2:39 AM
Reply to: Message 75 by AdminPhat
10-31-2005 1:01 AM


Re: I am sorry now...
Thank you.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 75 by AdminPhat, posted 10-31-2005 1:01 AM AdminPhat has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
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Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 267 days)
Posts: 712
Joined: 04-12-2005


Message 82 of 102 (270237)
12-17-2005 12:41 AM
Reply to: Message 81 by arachnophilia
11-19-2005 12:43 AM


Re: bump
Aye arach, everything's ok. My wife and me sold our computer before I could come back and post a note that it wouldn't be until around Christmas that I'd be able to post back again.

Sorry about not letting you know about that before I sold the computer. Anyway, we have a new computer now, so I'm back on-line.

It's good to see that everything is ok with you after that big huricane went through your area.

I'll probably be posting tomorrow to pick up where we left off and respond to some of your observations above.

Take care til then.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 81 by arachnophilia, posted 11-19-2005 12:43 AM arachnophilia has responded

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Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 267 days)
Posts: 712
Joined: 04-12-2005


Message 84 of 102 (270457)
12-18-2005 7:41 AM
Reply to: Message 79 by arachnophilia
11-13-2005 12:01 AM


Re: ruling over sin.
I generally agree with you here. However, sin does seem to be depicted as having characteristics of being about to "crouch". It also seems to be able to "desire" Cain.

While I agree that this could be an anthromorphization of sin, it could also be the continuing revelation that spiritual forces are at work in humanity's decisions -- spiritual beings who are at work independent of human influence and affect.

Certainly, during the period of David, later passages within the Hebrew Scriptures do depict "unclean spirits" tormenting human beings, such as Saul for example. The witch certainly also seems to be able to contact spirits as well, notably the spirit of Samuel. You've also noted that the Lord himself apparently sends unclean spirits to "lie".

Since later passages seem to reveal further details going on in the "spiritual realm", it doesn't seem unreasonable to conclude that this situation with Cain is but a preview of what is later revealed as a full-fledged system choreographed in and of itself according to God's Spirit.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 79 by arachnophilia, posted 11-13-2005 12:01 AM arachnophilia has responded

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Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 267 days)
Posts: 712
Joined: 04-12-2005


Message 86 of 102 (270705)
12-19-2005 9:42 AM
Reply to: Message 80 by arachnophilia
11-13-2005 12:11 AM


Re: does god make choices?

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

As I said before, Adam and Eve never ever were capable of not choosing. They had no choice on whether they could make a choice.

arachnophilia writes:

i dunno if this is on topic, really. it's kind of silly philosophical question. can god make a rock so big even he can't lift it?


Maybe you're right, but I think it still directly pertains to the questions we've been going over so far. I'll explain below as best as I can as the Sprit enables me to do so why I feel it is on topic.

The problem with this is that the question is perhaps an extremely valid one -- because it might have an answer that refutes either one of our premises in regards to what the Israelite's beleived.

Q: Can God lift a stone so heavy that even he cannot lift it?

A: No, God cannot surpass his own limits -- this is why I've been stressing that God is limited by his own ability all along.

Many people will quote passages of Scripture which make statements like "With God all things are impossible" or "Nothing is impossible with God."

But I think a more clear reading would be something to the effect of "What is impossible with men is possible with God."

In this sense, it seems to me anyway, that these passages which talk about God being "almighty" should not be understood as being a reference to God being able to do "anything" -- because there are apparently things that God cannot do according to the Scriptures themselves.

Rather, it seems to be stressing that God is the "most powerful", the "Most High", the "ultimate" and that there is "none above him". In this sense, he is certainly more powerful than anything else and no one can even begin to compare to him -- no one.

But even still, even God apparently has his limits. God is his own limitation.

I'll discuss this more below.

arachnophilia writes:

adam and eve were not given EVERY choice, just the ability to choose. so what if it were "forced" on them?

I'll discuss this more later. I want to discuss God's supposed limitations more before I come to this.


Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

However, if God knows in advance what will happen then it appears as if he cannot actually make a choice in the first place.

arachnophilia writes:

why not? you're sort of assuming that there is only one path of action that can unfold. if god were omniscient, he could look down the various path of different outcomes of subsequent choices -- like a giant quantum computer.


Exactly.

See, here's the thing: God already knows in advance what he will do -- he knows the beginning from the end, doesn't he?

Bearing this in mind, how can he actually have any choice in what he's going to do in the future -- since he already knows the future (including his own future)?

In this sense, this is an example of a possible limitation of God -- in the same way that he cannot create a stone so heavy that even he cannot lift it, he likewise cannot overpower himself to the point that he's not doing his own will (he must follow his own destiny which he foreknew would happen).

You said above that I'm sort of assuming that there is only one path of action that can unfold -- and you're correct on this. But I don't think you're understanding why I've said that.

Certainly there "were" a multitude of various possibilities from the beginning -- he could look down the various path of different outcomes of subsequent choices as you noted above. But, since he already knows what's going to happen, there is no other choice.

Since God foreknew what would happen there is only one path that actually happens -- the path that we are all walking in: we call it reality -- and everything else is irrelevant conjectures of what might have been.

arachnophilia writes:

either way, i think it's moot. since we're discussing the biblical interpretation of these sorts of things, let's look at the bible:

Gen 6:6 writes:

And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.


Yes, and I've been searching through the Scriptures in regards to this. I've already noted that you're assuming that this repentance is always a turning from sin. But God can repent from doing good too -- so it does work both ways.

Observe:

Jeremiah 18:10 writes:


If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.

arachnophilia writes:

now, evidently, god can make mistakes. isn't presumable that if god is omniscient, he could have foreseen what would happen with man? or in the garden of eden? and if he knew he would regret it, why do it in the first place?

Simple: Because it was "good" to do it in the first place.

arachnophilia writes:

god's ability make do something god himself calls wrong is evidence that god can make choices -- wrong ones.

Maybe not.

God's ability to do something God himself calls wrong can also be evidence that God himself cannot control the future which he has already seen -- including even his own future.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

the only way you can know if someone is truly good is if they are presented with a choice between good and evil. But that's not necesssarilly true. Good can exist on its own and it does not need evil to define itself.

arachnophilia writes:

is this how you think the authors of the bible thought?

I personally think it is. But I admit I could be wrong.

arachnophilia writes:

it might have been, i admit. however, i think for OUR choices to meaningfull, some alternatives have to exist. i think free will depends on having both good and evil.

More on this later: gotta go to work soon.

Mr. Ex Nihilo writes:

Therefore, contrary to public opinion, the ability to choose is very possibly the potentially most lethal ability. If one choses correctly, they can continue within the goodness that they were created in -- they are effectively blessed to be imprisoned. But once they choose incorrectly, they're basically out of the loop -- they are condemned to be free.

arachnophilia writes:

i think that's kind of the point of the cain verse you posted. cain has a choice -- do what god wants and be good, or choose the alternative and be free, but have to deal with sin. either choice is really a compromise, i guess, but maybe only one's the meaningful choice.

The questions remians though: Does God himself have a choice -- can God change the future which he himself has seen?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 80 by arachnophilia, posted 11-13-2005 12:11 AM arachnophilia has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 87 by arachnophilia, posted 12-20-2005 12:13 AM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded

Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 267 days)
Posts: 712
Joined: 04-12-2005


Message 88 of 102 (271770)
12-22-2005 3:41 PM
Reply to: Message 87 by arachnophilia
12-20-2005 12:13 AM


Re: does god make choices?
arachnophilia writes:

well, ok, that might be a reasonable answer. but the question at hand here is whether or not creating evil is within the abilities of god. you asserted originally that it was not. "god can't do it because it's not within his abilities" would be a tautology. i'm asserting that evil is within the abilities of god.

I know.

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:

i think i will agree that this is the biblical position.

Cool -- we have another agreement: God has some sort of limits according to the Hebrew Scriptures.

arachnophilia writes:

but like i said, the question remains: is evil one of those things that god cannot do?

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

arachnophilia writes:

well, i think i was diverting from the discussion a little with my answer before. i don't think that the god of torah is omniscient.

Agreed. I too do not think the God of the Torah is omniscient.

But, then again, I don't think that God as defined within the Christian Scriptures is depicted as omniscient either.

arachnophilia writes:

i don't actually see omni-anything about him, he does seem very limited.

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

arachnophilia writes:

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

Could you explain this further?

arachnophilia writes:

moot, really. one's actions are defined by their will. one cannot do something that is against their will (coercion excluded).

I don't think it's a moot point. But I'll explain this in more detail later after we've covered a few more things.

arachnophilia writes:

why? because he'd know which path he would take? ok, i think i get that. i guess my comment is really moot, but i suspect this whole section of debate is. the god of the torah does not seem to be omniscient:

That's exactly what I think the Israelites beleived as well. It's what I know I believe: i.e., I believe that God is not omniscient.

This, in my opinion, brings up a simple question:

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

arachnophilia writes:

it has nothing to do with good or bad, or with sin. the point was that god can do something that god considers to be a mistake. the god of the old testiment is apparently fallible.

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:

i don't see how one could be fallible and omniscient.

But I'm not arguing that God is omniscient, remember?

I'm also not claiming that God is omnipotent, correct?

If we're both agreed that even God can fail at things, then it remains to be discussed exactly what God can fail at according to the Hebrew Scriptures -- to determine what the Israelites believed about God's limits in this regard.

arachnophilia writes:

you are asserting, basically that god has no free will?

Maybe ... maybe not.

I'll discuss this more later once we resolved a few more things.

arachnophilia writes:

so he HAD to make the mistake because he was going to? how is that not god overpowering himself, and forcing himself into a course of action?

Maybe not. Maybe he simply didn't know he was going to make a mistake in the first place -- or "mistakes" for that matter.

arachnophilia writes:

i dunno. that's a heck of a reading, i'm not sure i can say anything against it since it's self-confirming.

The question seems to be determining not so much what is more self-confirming -- but rather determining what more accurately conforms and mirrors what the Israelites believed about God as recorded within the Hebrew Scriptures.

arachnophilia writes:

so the means justifies the ends? the road to hell is paved with good intentions, they say. but seriously. if god knew he was going to regret something later, why do it? i don't see a way to read this that doesn't either make god much more human than traditionally thought, or completely mechanical.

There is a much more human way of percieving this thrn the "end justifies the means", a way which is far less cruel: The more human possibility is that God is still holy -- albeit, simply learning from his mistakes -- and our mistakes too.

arachnophilia writes:

well, right now this is just going to be a battle of personal opinions. both are consistent with themselves and probably explain the text.

But which is more logically consistent with what the Israelites beleived?

arachnophilia writes:

how about we figure out if god sees the future, or rather ALL of the future?

As I've noted before, I don't think God sees everything. I also don't think that God can do everything.

How about we simply discuss what God can and cannot do according to the Scriptures -- and combine this with what we can determine that God does or doesn't know according to the Scriptures?

If we agree that God is presented as limited in ability, then what do you think are some things that God cannot do?

Likewise, if we agree that God is presented as limited in knowledge, then what do you think are some things that God doesn't know?

This message has been edited by Mr. Ex Nihilo, 12-22-2005 06:31 PM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 87 by arachnophilia, posted 12-20-2005 12:13 AM arachnophilia has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 92 by arachnophilia, posted 12-27-2005 1:36 AM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded

Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 267 days)
Posts: 712
Joined: 04-12-2005


Message 89 of 102 (272400)
12-24-2005 9:42 AM


Merry Christmas Arach

Replies to this message:
 Message 90 by arachnophilia, posted 12-24-2005 4:07 PM Mr. Ex Nihilo has responded

Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 267 days)
Posts: 712
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

Mr. Ex Nihilo
Member (Idle past 267 days)
Posts: 712
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 267 days)
Posts: 712
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

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