Do Christians even reflect on the things the Bible says? Take for example the thought process of this:
1) God creates Earth, man, animals, etc. 2) God tells Adam and Eve to not eat from the tree of knowledge 3) Duped by Satan they do in fact eat from the tree 4) Mankind is punished by God and original sin is introduced 5) God later appears on Earth in the shape of a man on the cross to absolve this sin
The question is, why would God do this? Why would he need to die on the cross to convince himself to absolve original sin? What would be the purpose? Does the bible mention anything about God having multiple personalities?
This brings me to the point of this thread, please list any examples that you have of the Bible making God (or Moses or whoever) out to look unreasonably dumb. Another good example was made by Brian in the "Why would Mary ask this" thread...concerning why Mark would make out Jesus' family to think he maybe crazy (Mark 3:20-21) considering they were aware of his birth to a virgin and his foretold coming from an angel, etc.
I think the passages about the Tower of Babel make God seem kind of dumb. It might not have seemed so at the time this silly story was invented, but in this day when we've sent men to the moon (without bumping into a firmament, btw) how is it logical that God would worry that this tower might actually reach heaven?
But I think your question is misleading. It seems to me that it is the bible that makes God seem dumb. Christians go out of their way to offer the most implausible explanations for what the bible says in order to avoid making God seem dumb, intolerant or malevolent.
God did not need to convince himself to absolve sin. Dieing on the cross had nothing to do with absolving sin. Sin still exists. Murder, lies, adultery.... What He did was provide a way for our sins of our past (and our future) to be fogiven and forgotten. And He did not need to convince Himself to do that either. He created us, he loves us, and wants to be with us. Sin separates us from him. So He did what it took to close the gap. Why does sin separate us...that is a whole other question... The holy, pure blood of Jesus was the only thing that could enable us to be with Him. ....more on this later.
The holy, pure blood of Jesus was the only thing that could enable us to be with Him.
Remember, this is God we're talking about. If he wanted a way to "close that gap", he could have done it an infinite number of ways besides sacrificing his own son. Like, he could have simply said "let there be no gap!" and there would not have been one.
"Take for example the thought process of this: 1) God creates Earth, man, animals, etc. 2) God tells Adam and Eve to not eat from the tree of knowledge 3) Duped by Satan they do in fact eat from the tree 4) Mankind is punished by God and original sin is introduced 5) God later appears on Earth in the shape of a man on the cross to absolve this sin"
And then: "The question is, why would God do this?"
The short answer is that He didn't
The longer answer is that there once was a pastoral culture in which a priestly caste enjoyed certain peculiar benefits including free room and board at a special tabernacle tent that was outfitted with an outdoor slaughterhouse, fruit and vegetable recepticals, and a really manly open pit barbecue area.
The priestly caste also enforced regulations that required the populace to provide the privileged caste with the first quality produce and choicest cuts of meat.
As is common with oligarchies, this particular system required a huge body [of] restrictive laws accompanied by ponderous volumes of mythological justification.
As is also common with demagoguery, the most effective propaganda tool is the Big Lie, a technique wherein such a whopper is broadcast that the average citizen does not have the time or resources to refute it since he barely has the time or resources to keep his family fed, what with the first fruits and choice cuts corporate welfare system favoring the upper (leisure) caste.
Now what more effective Big Lie could be developed to support this privileged priestly caste's accustomed lifestyle than "Man is born in sin and dies in sin, and the only redemption available is by transferral of that sin into sacrificial offerings of the finest fruits, vegetables, and livestock deliverable upon demand at the Terminal."
But when a pastoral culture becomes more [urban and] urbane, the middle and lower classes usually enjoy a greater degree of education and leisure time with which to develop and expound more individualistic philosophies, and thank goodness, effective challenges to the status quo.
The oligarchy will respond with more laws, more onerous laws, and bigger lies. Eventually a revolt against the oligarchy results in total chaos during which half-baked ideas and poorly organized provisional regulators assume authority. ["Eat the Rich"]
Of course once the dust settles, it's "Meet the New Boss, Same As the Old Boss."
So, "Please allow me to introduce myself, I'm a man of wealth and taste. Been around for a long long time ..."
To paraphrase Revenge of Reason, I ask, "Why does Man continue to do this?"
[This message has been edited by Abshalom, 01-31-2004]
Why? It comes to a question of the deffinition of love. From my own experience I have learned that love is a choice involving hard sacrifice that sometimes brings joy, pain, peace, and confusion. When we CHOOSE to love there are concequences. When we CHOOSE not to love there are concequences. When we choose not to love by our actions (sin) we are essentially walking away from God. That is what creates the gap. Us walking away from him. When we choose not to love our friends around us, we alienate our selves from them. It is the same with God. WE made that gap, not him, so now we have to do something (anything!) to fill the gap. But now, all of the sudden we cannot just turn around and undo all those choices we have made to put us away from God. So God said, "I will clean you. I will fill those giant holes for you." But he looked around and could not find anything but dirty water, dirty earthly blood to clean us, could not find any thing but more holes in the earth and in the heart of the human. So he had to look inside himself to find something that would acutally get us clean and whole. He saw that we should die for our sins, but that would just put him right back where he started at before creation....with no one to love. So he said, "Here. I will have my son die for you, for I can raise him from the dead, thus allowing me to raise you from the dead."
You see, we cannot undo our choices. He cannot undo our choices. They are done. We made them and they will always be. But now he can say, "all you have to do is let me clean you and they will be forgotten, You can start anew." But it took holy blood to clean us.
He is GOD. And we are human. He gave us free will with consequences for our choices. But he also knows that we are only human, so he gave us a bit of himself (a BIG bit)so that we could be better. Be with him.
I find your ideas interesting as you quote something, yet give no biblical refrence for it. The theology is interesting however and seems to hinge on the idea of sacrifice.
I would like to ask you why god desires blood sacrifice?
In the OT the priests would offsten kill bulls or sheep to apease God, logicaly Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice, a human one. This is why he is often refered to as the lamb of God, Cleansing blood etc. Why does god require the shedding of blood in order to be apeased?
This has allways been an interesting quetion to me, and one that defies logic. There are numerous refrences in the OT about how the aroma of burning meat is pleasing to the lord.
Finaly, I think you missed crashfrogs point:
God = Omnipotent
this is the guy who said "let there be light" and there was. He needs not kill anyone, his son or otherise, he can just say "let the sin gap be filld", or "let mans souls be clean" etc.
The question then is if god can do the above, why did he choose the path he did?
I think this ties in with the OT ideas of sacriffice. If you could explain why god likes dead things offered up to him, I would be much obliged!
From this, I think we can both learn more concerning gods nature.
Thank you very much.
[This message has been edited by Yaro, 01-30-2004]
Yaro: If I may, I would like to pose just one question to you. What is the point in loving someone if they are just forced to love you back? Is that true love? I know this may sound cheazy, but have you seen the movie Bruce Almighty? A very serious question is posed: How do you make someone love you without affecting free will? That is just it. FREE WILL. How is love love or hate hate if God just says, "okay. love me." We are given the choice to love him. Yes, God is emtirely omnipitent. But even an omnipitent God knows that love given freely is of much more worth than comanded love. If he were to just say, "let the gap be filled" then where is our free choice of love and sacrifice for him.
As to the value of blood.... blood is life. If a person has no blood, they have no life. It is not that God desires dead things to be offered up to him, it is that from sin comes death (the loss of blood). But if we as humans do not want to spill our own blood, then it has to come from somewhere. Hence the animals in the old testament and the blood of Jesus in the new.
I know that this is not a very long or good explanation but I am speaking with the first thing that comes to mind. I will look up some Bible refferences for you to try to better explain... But I hope that gives you a little bit better understanding.
Try to think of it as if you had a child. (maybe you do) You can watch that child grow and make mistakes and try to fix them all you want. But a child does not really learn untill it suffers the consequences of it's mistakes. It is the same with us.....
More later... I will try to give some better explanations.....
Bruce: How do you make someone love you without affecting free will?
God: Hahaha what a stupid question. Why do you think I made hell?
But, to the subject at hand,
How is love love or hate hate if God just says, "okay. love me."
Because god is omnipotent if he wants the love to be real then he can make it real. Of course this leads me into another question that I have been meaning to ask.
Why does god care whether the love is real or not, why does god care if I believe in him or not? Why is god so worried about the feelings of a small human living on a small planet that orbits around an uninteresting star in a universe that contains an unimaginable number of stars and planets? Why is he so threatened by us?
You cannot just plot an "AUTHENTIC" sticker on something and make it so. A cubitzerconia will always be just a cheap imitation for a diamond, no matter how polished. That is just a fact. God can see straight to your heart and know your feelings and whether they are true or not.
He could have made us all robots and just said, "okay, love me" just as simple as turning on a light switch. You are right, he could have done that. But how much more beautiful to watch true love unfold as a human grows to realize that they are capable to love and are unconditionally loved! Free will is a part of life, a part of every relationship. It's the beautiful and priceless part. If all of my friends were so simply because my mom slipped them a $20 how pointless and worthless that would be. I would rather have no friend at all than a fake one. How much more beautiful for me to see a friendship unfold and develop over time by the learning of eachothers true feelings about life. That is why truth is so valuable. Because it is so rare. True love even more so.
Do you care whether love is sincere? I do. When I look into my boyfriends eyes after I know I have just insulted him without meaning to, and I find understanding and forgiveness in his eyes because he knew my intentions....that moment will always be sweeter than when some guy at the super market looks at me admirably. One is love, the other lust. What a difference.
Why does God care? Because he made you. I don't know if you have ever built something before.....created something that was your very own. I paint. I know what it is like to make something, to put time and effort into a piece of work. A peice of work that only I could have made. When you are creating, it is the most beautiful thing to watch it unfold before your eyes and take on a life and a meaning of it's own but that is still entirely yours, simply because you are the only one who could have ever made it. The pride is emense. (even on the ugly peices of art...because it is MY ugly peice) That is how I know the care God has for us. Because I have experienced it, felt it. Even if it was just a miniscule little fraction of what he must feel in us..... his human creation. I can imagine the time and care he took to make us, form us into creatures that are a physical representation of his spirit, even puting his spirit in us. He cares if we love him because he made us.
And whether you believe it or not, he cares about each individual person's heart. Knowing every one is not beyond his reach. He is after all omnipitent. If you have 20 kids, you still want to know everyone and be a part of all of their lives. Time and money are the only things that would stand in the way. Time and money are not a barier for God.
I don't know if there is life outside of earth (i gues we will see about mars) our out there somewhere in the universe, but if there is I know God is not too small to handle it all. He cares about every heart.
He is not threatened by us. We are threatened by Him and the thought of unconditional love....because we are scared that one day it won't be there. Well, let me tell ya. It will.
I tried to tuch on the issue of blood a little bit.... ask away any more questions you might have and I will try to find an answer for you.
To the issue of Why God's Son? I want to tell you that sins were cleansed at the cross yes, but Jesus accomplished so much more.
If you look at the old testament, Israel could not get it right. They really could not stay on the right path for more than a genneration or two, if even that. They did not know how to live a life close to God, following his commandments. Jesus showed us how. In Isaiah God lists off many of the things that pulled Israel away from God and He prosmises to destroy all of those distractions. Jesus was tempted by those same things that Israel was but he said no, (Luke 4) instead turning to God. Jesus also taught us how to pray, how to encourage one another, how to simply live life close to God. Then he said, "it is finished" when he died on the cross. Saying your past is over. "Start fresh. I died for you, for your sin. Now live the life that I have shown you by example."
He cleaned us and closed the gap, but he also gave us the ability to do what we need to do to stay close to Him. He encourages me by saying to my heart, "I know it's hard. I walked it. I lived it. I breathed it. But if I can do it, so can you. I will help you by giving you streangth."
Oof. That's the kind of saccarine Christianity that could give you cavities.
If you're so certain that God is a loving, concerned benefactor, why don't you amble over to the God and Good Parenting thread where the goodness of a God that would allow evil and inequity to persist is discussed.
Free will doesn't justify the presence of evil, because there's an infinite number of choices even if you take out the evil ones. So, evil doesn't increase your free will. What it does do is decrease the amount of free will able to be excercised by the victims of evil. If you murder me in a single act of free will, I've just lost the ability to excercise free will forever. You can't make choices when you're dead. Why did your free will choice to murder me outweigh all the free will I would have been able to excerise for the rest of my life? That's hardly fair.
Free will doesn't justify God's continued tolerance for evil. Therefore the inescapable conclusion is that God is either amoral (and isn't loving) or is powerless (loving but unable to do anything about it) or both, or simply non-existent. Either way the God you're talking about - loving and all-powerful - demonstratably doesn't exist.
Just because a loveing God exists does not mean that a hate doesn't. See that's the thing. People want to blame all of the bad things that happen in life on God or the nonexistance of one. How about the existance of Satan? There is good and bad in this world. They are opposing factors that do have spiritual forces behind them. I have SEEN suffering in families, in friends, in my own short life. I am not going to say that I can understand where everyone has come from but I do see where I have come from and I see family and friends go throught emense pain, but that doesn't mean that it's God's fault. Jesus came to heal the wounded and broken hearted. He did not say that there will never be suffering in this world again. He simply gave us the power to say no to sin and to help others out of their chains and then gave a promise of coming agian to abolish it all forever.
Other people and their choices may affect me (and they have!), maybe someday even unto death, but that is their choice. It is may choice of how I deal with the way they hurt me. Believe me, it is hard but I recognize that it is their choice. In some cases it has taken me years to let things go but I am not going to let their bad choices affect me and my choices. No matter how painful it may be.
Just because a loveing God exists does not mean that a hate doesn't. See that's the thing. People want to blame all of the bad things that happen in life on God or the nonexistance of one. How about the existance of Satan?
Well for one there is no more real evidence for Satan than for God. If we go by the idea that God created the universe and everything in it as most keep Christians maintain then He also created evil.Are we to say then that evil is something that He should have left out of the world? He commits to using evil Himself so he must not have a problem with it.It is not a matter of blame and this is something that escapes the radar of Christians. It is a matter of responibility and that is where the problem lays. If God allows for evil that He created then how can He expect to punish us for rebelling against that? It is only through ignorance that you can fashion a "loving" God from the one in the Bible.
'Everyone is entitled to his own opinion but not his own facts.' (Daniel Patrick Moynihan)