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Atheists & Agnostics: Why Don't You Believe The Bible?


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#201 jonas5877

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 06:30 AM

"They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us." 1 John 2:19 What does knowing anyone mean? It means you have had a personal relationship with them as opposed to merely hearing about them. There are many, many clues that scripture gives to indicate whether one is a genuine Christian. Firstly, they will believe scripture. Not all "Christians" believe scripture. They find a value in going to church, enjoy the fellowship, sing the hymns and do all the rituals that they think are a part of Christainity. But do they believe what is written, or what other people tell them. Jesus said: "If you believed Moses, you would believe me" But many, many Christians do NOT believe Moses. As you can plainly see here, they exchange what Moses wrote in Genesis for things that they find more believable. Secondly, if someone claims to know Christ then the fruits he will produce will be in accordance to those listed in scripture: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." Thirdly, by believing that Jesus is the Son of God. (1 John 5:1). Not everyone "within Christianity" believes this. In fact their are quite a few priests (at least here in Sweden) that openly confess that they do not beleive this. If you think that these things are "my interpretation" then what other possible interpretation is there? I have no way to judge what your personal experiences were, but something that can be boiled down to an "imaginary friend" or some kind of fuzzy gut feeling is obviously not genuine Christian faith. No one would offer their own lives on the basis of a gut feeling. It has to be more. And before you start talking about muslims with explosives taped around thier bellies then I assure you, that doesn't negate what I am saying, because neither do they do what they do simply because they have vivid imaginations. No, they do it because there is a spiritual force that drives them, just as genuine Christians are driven by a spiritual force. I try to aviod going into details about my experiences on a public forum, but I can tell you this. As someone who had an extreme aversion towards Christianity, and yet converted in just a few days without human testimony because the evidence of God was so powerful, and the confirmation so undenialble, I absolutely did not convert because I simply imagined something. You say you want a miracle to convince you, despite the fact that the Bible warns against making such demands, and truly I say to you in all sincerity, you should be careful about what you ask for, because you just might get it, and although you might think that is a good thing, you should think again. Everything comes at a price. "To him who has been given much, much will be demanded". The apostles were shown an abundance of miracles, but they were all persecuted severely. Is that what you want, or are you just trying to put God to the test? Would you be willing to pay the price?

Christ said that his miracles were testamony that He is who He said He is. Why can't a miracle be used now as a testamony of the existence of God?

Were all the people that witnessed Christ's miracles and converted required to pay that same price?

Knowing something is true through whatever evidence convinces you will lead to belief. I have risked my life for my country because I had enough evidence if its worth that I believed I could die serving it. If I were to believe in Christ again, I think I could pay the price. One never knows until he is put to the test.

#202 Fred Williams

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 07:24 AM

Christ said that his miracles were testamony that He is who He said He is. Why can't a miracle be used now as a testamony of the existence of God? Were all the people that witnessed Christ's miracles and converted required to pay that same price? Knowing something is true through whatever evidence convinces you will lead to belief. I have risked my life for my country because I had enough evidence if its worth that I believed I could die serving it. If I were to believe in Christ again, I think I could pay the price. One never knows until he is put to the test.


The Bible documents just how extremely counter-productive miracles proved to be to converting unbelievers. For example, see Psalm 78:12-17. Many more examples can be provided. The 10 lepers that were healed, and only one thanked Christ (Luke 17:11-19). People don't like to be proven wrong about their beliefs and they don't like to be shown they they are not the center of their universe, that they actually are accountable to a higher being. People just don't like that. Miracles essentially removed the first step of the process of faith, then belief.

A sincere thank you and kudos for your service to this country.

Fred

#203 jonas5877

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 11:55 AM

The Bible documents just how extremely counter-productive miracles proved to be to converting unbelievers. For example, see Psalm 78:12-17. Many more examples can be provided. The 10 lepers that were healed, and only one thanked Christ (Luke 17:11-19). People don't like to be proven wrong about their beliefs and they don't like to be shown they they are not the center of their universe, that they actually are accountable to a higher being. People just don't like that. Miracles essentially removed the first step of the process of faith, then belief. A sincere thank you and kudos for your service to this country. Fred

I agree that people don't like to be proven wrong about their belief. And some people will see something as a miracle that others will dismiss.

Maybe miracles were more prevalent back in Christ's time so people just thought they were ordinary events. Therefore, they didn't think much of the person doing them.

If miracles remove faith, then how is faith built up through answer to prayer? Calipsys4 has stated that he knew it was God answering his prayers by the miraculous way they were answered....exact amounts of needed money from people who didn't know he needed money....messages from people with exact wording that he was praying for....etc. Were these the wrong thing for God to do because it would erode Calipsys' faith. It seems that the exact opposite has happened.

Is faith the first step or is belief the first step?

I have never seen anything like a miracle nor have my prayers been answered in any way that I can distinguish from ordinary coincidence. Every time I have investigated someone elses miraculous answer to prayer, I have found that the person who was the "instrument of God" for that answered prayer knew what the need was and obtained that information through ordinary means. This says something for the helpfulness of Christians towards their brethren but nothing for the idea that God was the cause of the answered prayer.

#204 Salsa

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 12:50 PM

Christ said that his miracles were testamony that He is who He said He is. Why can't a miracle be used now as a testamony of the existence of God?


Christ never used miracles to prove the existence of God. Creation itself is sufficient enought to do that.

As you pointed out, miracles were primarily used to strengthen his testimony about himself and also to provide hope and comfort to believers. But even for the believers Jesus made very clear there were benefits to be reaped by believing without miracles. To Nathanael, who submitted to Jesus for a mere comment he said:

"You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that."

Belief that springs from testimony leads to "greater things":

"Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

This reveals God's will for mankind - to acknowleged the obvious!

Knowing something is true through whatever evidence convinces you will lead to belief.


There are two kinds of faith. One kind is human, and the other divine. Human belief is based on believing what is "believable" from a human point of view. You witness that the sun rises every day of your life. Your "faith" that the sun will rise tomorrow is based on that. That is the kind of faith that can provide rewards in this life, because human faith reaps human rewards.

Hebrews chapter 11 speaks of the other kind of faith. It lists a number of examples of people who put their faith in the "unbelievable" and yet reaped no benefit in this life:

"All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country--a heavenly one."

This kind of faith not only pleases God, it also benefits mankind, simply because it is the way he created us:

"without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."

In other words, miracles that prove God's existence would not only be counter-productive in relation to God's will, they would also rob mankind of the benefits of faith.
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#205 Salsa

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 01:07 PM

If miracles remove faith, then how is faith built up through answer to prayer?


Miracles don't remove faith. On the contrary, miracles sometimes require faith (Matthew 13:58), but as in all things, there must be a correct relationship between the two (faith and miracles) in order for them to reap a benefit. I don't see miracles as a bad thing. I consider my own salvation as being the result of a whole sequence of miracles, but I do recognize that they can do more damage than good in the same way that an axe can be used both for good or for bad depending on the context.

In a perfect world, miracles would be totally unnecessary, and for that reason I don't count the ones I have witnessed in my life to be to my credit.

The weren't, but they were necessary and I have to be thankfull for that.

I was born and raised in a hellish, demonic environment and miracles were necessary to set me free from that. But I would rather have been like Nathanael, who just believed Jesus' testimony, without all the thrills of seeing miracles.

#206 Calypsis4

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 01:26 PM

Uppsala said, "Christ never used miracles to prove the existence of God. Creation itself is sufficient enought to do that."

I absolutely love that statement.

#207 jonas5877

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 05:34 AM

Christ never used miracles to prove the existence of God. Creation itself is sufficient enought to do that. As you pointed out, miracles were primarily used to strengthen his testimony about himself and also to provide hope and comfort to believers. But even for the believers Jesus made very clear there were benefits to be reaped by believing without miracles. To Nathanael, who submitted to Jesus for a mere comment he said: "You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You shall see greater things than that." Belief that springs from testimony leads to "greater things": "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." This reveals God's will for mankind - to acknowleged the obvious! There are two kinds of faith. One kind is human, and the other divine. Human belief is based on believing what is "believable" from a human point of view. You witness that the sun rises every day of your life. Your "faith" that the sun will rise tomorrow is based on that. That is the kind of faith that can provide rewards in this life, because human faith reaps human rewards. Hebrews chapter 11 speaks of the other kind of faith. It lists a number of examples of people who put their faith in the "unbelievable" and yet reaped no benefit in this life: "All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country--a heavenly one." This kind of faith not only pleases God, it also benefits mankind, simply because it is the way he created us: "without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." In other words, miracles that prove God's existence would not only be counter-productive in relation to God's will, they would also rob mankind of the benefits of faith.

Jesus stated that He saw Nathanael under the fig tree when Nathanael knew that Jesus had not been there. That was a miracle in that Jesus had knowledge that Nathanael was sure He could not have had.
I have stated that I cannot make myself believe in God without more evidence. I discount the idea that a person can choose to believe something without some sort of evidence. You said it required miracles to get you to believe and follow Jesus. Are you so much more important to Jesus than I am that He would perform miracles to gain you but won't do the same for me? I thought He wanted everyone.

What are you doing for God that makes you worth the miracles He used to convince you to convert?

#208 Salsa

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 07:06 AM

Jesus stated that He saw Nathanael under the fig tree when Nathanael knew that Jesus had not been there. That was a miracle in that Jesus had knowledge that Nathanael was sure He could not have had.


So if someone told you they saw you under a tree you would consider that such a miracle that you woult convert to Christianity? Nathanael believed because he had the heart of a believer.

I have stated that I cannot make myself believe in God without more evidence. I discount the idea that a person can choose to believe something without some sort of evidence. You said it required miracles to get you to believe and follow Jesus. Are you so much more important to Jesus than I am that He would perform miracles to gain you but won't do the same for me? I thought He wanted everyone.
What are you doing for God that makes you worth the miracles He used to convince you to convert?


If I was "doing something for God" then it would not be grace. It would be a reward. I cannot say exactly why God did the things he did for me, but I am pretty sure that it has nothing to do with anyone being more important than anyone else. Whether it concerns people, as in the case of David, or countries, in the case of Israel, or people as in the case of the Jews, God usually picks the smallest and the weakest in the eyes of the world, rather than the most "important".

People tend to simplify things in these kinds of debates, but practically everything in life is incredibly complex. I think that goes for things physical as it does for things spiritual. There may have been quite a few things to take into consideration in my case: my background, prayers of others, my situation (which was dismal), the reasons I shunned Christianity, whether or not miracles would bring about the desired effect, whether or not I was hungry for God and willing to listen to him... etc, etc.

I don't know the answer to these things. All I know is that I cannot deny what happened to me and I try to do my best to pass it on as wisely as possible, because I have no need to offend anyone or make anyone jealous. And very, very few Christians are Christians due to the miraculous signs and wonders.

You say that "I thought He wanted everyone", as though providing miracles is the way to "get" everyone. The bible teaches us quite the opposite. The israelites were set free from the burdens of slavery by such a manifestation of miracles that it could be described as an overdose, but what did God get for his efforts? All they did was harden their hearts, complain and rebel against him. How does anyone know that you would not do the same, when things get rough, and people insult you, and you experence hardships and all kinds of torments?

As I told you, everything comes at a price and everything you are given in life can be a curse if it turns out that it does not produce the fruit that God expects from someone who has been given much. Sure, you might decide to "believe in God" if you got your miracle, but simply believing God exists is not the faith that saves, or the faith that will produce good fruit in you. These things are only available to people who are willing to listen to what God is telling them and believing his testimony, whether or not that testimony comes from a burning bush or from a bum on the street.

#209 jonas5877

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 10:52 AM

So if someone told you they saw you under a tree you would consider that such a miracle that you woult convert to Christianity? Nathanael believed because he had the heart of a believer. If I was "doing something for God" then it would not be grace. It would be a reward. I cannot say exactly why God did the things he did for me, but I am pretty sure that it has nothing to do with anyone being more important than anyone else. Whether it concerns people, as in the case of David, or countries, in the case of Israel, or people as in the case of the Jews, God usually picks the smallest and the weakest in the eyes of the world, rather than the most "important". People tend to simplify things in these kinds of debates, but practically everything in life is incredibly complex. I think that goes for things physical as it does for things spiritual. There may have been quite a few things to take into consideration in my case: my background, prayers of others, my situation (which was dismal), the reasons I shunned Christianity, whether or not miracles would bring about the desired effect, whether or not I was hungry for God and willing to listen to him... etc, etc. I don't know the answer to these things. All I know is that I cannot deny what happened to me and I try to do my best to pass it on as wisely as possible, because I have no need to offend anyone or make anyone jealous. And very, very few Christians are Christians due to the miraculous signs and wonders. You say that "I thought He wanted everyone", as though providing miracles is the way to "get" everyone. The bible teaches us quite the opposite. The israelites were set free from the burdens of slavery by such a manifestation of miracles that it could be described as an overdose, but what did God get for his efforts? All they did was harden their hearts, complain and rebel against him. How does anyone know that you would not do the same, when things get rough, and people insult you, and you experence hardships and all kinds of torments? As I told you, everything comes at a price and everything you are given in life can be a curse if it turns out that it does not produce the fruit that God expects from someone who has been given much. Sure, you might decide to "believe in God" if you got your miracle, but simply believing God exists is not the faith that saves, or the faith that will produce good fruit in you. These things are only available to people who are willing to listen to what God is telling them and believing his testimony, whether or not that testimony comes from a burning bush or from a bum on the street.

And what is the "price" you are paying for those miracles that God conjured up to convince you to convert? Are you dirt poor? Are you being persecuted by your government?

You and Calipsys have indicated that God won't waste a miracle on me. I never said that God should provide miracles to get everyone. However, He has it in His power to provide the evidence to convince me to change. I think it is those six words but it may not be that at all. If God exists in the form that you believe, I am sure He knows infinitely more about me and my threshold of belief than I do. It might not take a miracle that I can recognize as a miracle. My point is that He has not done anything to convince me that He even exists, much less that He is the Christian God.

I am only human but if I thought it was important to convince you to believe something so that it would save their life, I would go to greater lengths than this God seems to be doing. If God loves us all the same then why do you rate a miracle or two in order to be convinced to follow Him, but I don't even get six little words? BTW, I served Him (or so I thought) for 15 years and helped a number of boys to make the commitment to Jesus. Even now, I don't let anyone at my church know that I don't believe because I don't want those young men to change their minds because of me. Who knows? God may exist and Jesus may be His Son and both of them may not want me. Doesn't really follow what I read in the Bible but I'm not convinced that it is all true anyway.

#210 Salsa

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 06:39 PM

You and Calipsys have indicated that God won't waste a miracle on me.


Jonas, neither Calipsys nor I know exactly how much God "wastes" and exactly why he wastes it, but what scripture tells us is that he causes his "sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous". Most of us would choose to let the sun rise only on the good, and send rain only on the righteous.

I think the reason for this is that God is willing to make an investment in the hope that some day it will yield a profitable return:

"As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."

And why did God send his "Word"? (Which most Christians recognize as being synonymous with Jesus)

Well if you have a Christian upbringing then I am sure that you are familiar with the parable of the sower. This parable describes a guy who goes out into the field and throws big fistfulls of seeds all over the place, some falling along the path, some on rocky places, some among thorns, and some on good soil.

Even though some of the seed was wasted, the sower always got a profitable return.

Jesus was "sown" on the earth for just such a reason. Not primarily to perform miracles, although these were necessary to authenticate his identity, but for the purpose of producing a return on God's investment.

Now you make the claim that the simple act of God casting his miraculous seed on your soil will produce a "good harvest" in your life, but a harvest is not something that just bursts up out of the ground at the blink of an eye.

A harvest is something that develops over a period of time, so how do you know in advance what it will yield?

Also, as I think I pointed out, you might think that all God wants is for you to do is immediately recognize and confess that he exists. Many people get that impression when quickly browsing through the bible. And many people also think that since God claims to be love and wants "everyone to be saved" that he "owes them big time"! I am sorry to say this, but you seem to fit perfectly into that category.

God is not interested in trying to convince people that he exists. Even demons believe that (James 2:19).

No, God is looking for someone to produce something long-term. He is looking for a harvest. He is looking for a return on the investment he has made, in the form of good fruit.

I have no idea what kind of fruit you would produce by getting the miraculous "six words" that you have taped onto your refrigerator .. or whereever... but I just don't think it is a good idea to put God to the test. I don't know of anyone who has done that and succeeded, but I really doubt it.

You might get your "miracle" some day. What do I know? But whether or not you produce a good harvest is anyone's guess...

#211 jonas5877

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 07:26 AM

Jonas, neither Calipsys nor I know exactly how much God "wastes" and exactly why he wastes it, but what scripture tells us is that he causes his "sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous". Most of us would choose to let the sun rise only on the good, and send rain only on the righteous. I think the reason for this is that God is willing to make an investment in the hope that some day it will yield a profitable return: "As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."

I can see that you are very knowledgeable about the Bible, but what does this mean? If His word going out accomplishes what He desires, then does that mean He desires that some people will not be convinced? The parable of the sower, seems more applicable, in that the ground (person hearing the word) determines what happens. That emphasizes free will.

And why did God send his "Word"? (Which most Christians recognize as being synonymous with Jesus) Well if you have a Christian upbringing then I am sure that you are familiar with the parable of the sower. This parable describes a guy who goes out into the field and throws big fistfulls of seeds all over the place, some falling along the path, some on rocky places, some among thorns, and some on good soil. Even though some of the seed was wasted, the sower always got a profitable return. Jesus was "sown" on the earth for just such a reason. Not primarily to perform miracles, although these were necessary to authenticate his identity, but for the purpose of producing a return on God's investment.

Since God has an infinite amout of power and an infinite amount of knowledge, isn't the return totally dependent upon how much He wields that power and uses that knowledge? He determines the performance of the harvest by determining the amount of investment. If a farmer wants better yeild, he invests more in the crops. There is a point that the investment costs are not worth it and you reach a point of diminishing returns. God cannot reach that point because he has infinite resources and investing more doesn't cost Him any more than investing less.
Again, the harvest is entirely based on how much God is willing to limit His investment into the process.

Now you make the claim that the simple act of God casting his miraculous seed on your soil will produce a "good harvest" in your life, but a harvest is not something that just bursts up out of the ground at the blink of an eye. A harvest is something that develops over a period of time, so how do you know in advance what it will yield?

I have yeilded a harvest in the past when I thought I was a Christian (using your contention that Christians cannot deconvert). I see no reason why I would not go right back to that work once I believed again. The only reason I don't work at it now is because I don't believe it.

Also, as I think I pointed out, you might think that all God wants is for you to do is immediately recognize and confess that he exists. Many people get that impression when quickly browsing through the bible. And many people also think that since God claims to be love and wants "everyone to be saved" that he "owes them big time"! I am sorry to say this, but you seem to fit perfectly into that category. God is not interested in trying to convince people that he exists. Even demons believe that (James 2:19).

1. Of course demons believed, they had seen God and He had spoken to them and fought against them. He has done neither to me.
2. The demons knew God existed, God made sure of that. Yet, they still rebelled. So, it is true that to follow Him is still a choice even after He has proven to me that He exists. So why does He still hide from me?
3. If I knew He existed, I would likely go back to serving Him. I have done it before and am comfortable doing so.

No, God is looking for someone to produce something long-term. He is looking for a harvest. He is looking for a return on the investment he has made, in the form of good fruit. I have no idea what kind of fruit you would produce by getting the miraculous "six words" that you have taped onto your refrigerator .. or whereever... but I just don't think it is a good idea to put God to the test. I don't know of anyone who has done that and succeeded, but I really doubt it. You might get your "miracle" some day. What do I know? But whether or not you produce a good harvest is anyone's guess...

Gideon put God to the test, several times and God performed Gideon's requests. Judges 6:17-40

What fruit I would yeild is unknown but my past performance should be an indicator. I am leaning more and more toward the idea that He is not performing that simple miracle for the same reason that the Easter Bunny doesn't leave eggs at my house.

#212 Salsa

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Posted 06 December 2012 - 03:13 PM

If His word going out accomplishes what He desires, then does that mean He desires that some people will not be convinced?


No, not at all. That verse doesn't teach us that God gets everything he desires. It only tells us that his word was sent out for a purpose, and that it achieves the purpose it was sent out to do - to produce a harvest, even though a great deal of seed was wasted. If God got everything he desired then no seed would be wasted. There would also be no point in Jesus teaching us to pray "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven". If everything that happened on earth was a product of God's desires then that prayer would be absolutely pointless.

I think that the reason that people think that God is in "control of everything" is that they are so used to mixing up popular philosophical thoughts about who God is, and what God is able to do, that they think that these ideas are actually biblical. But I have never seen anything in the bible where God makes the claim that everything that happens is a result of his will or that he controls everything. If he controlled everything then no one would have free will. We would just be puppets under God's control. And what exactly would be the point of that? Would God find any pleasure in creating puppets? It just doesn't make sense.

Since God has an infinite amout of power and an infinite amount of knowledge, isn't the return totally dependent upon how much He wields that power and uses that knowledge? He determines the performance of the harvest by determining the amount of investment. If a farmer wants better yeild, he invests more in the crops. There is a point that the investment costs are not worth it and you reach a point of diminishing returns. God cannot reach that point because he has infinite resources and investing more doesn't cost Him any more than investing less.
Again, the harvest is entirely based on how much God is willing to limit His investment into the process.


In this parable the harvest is based on the soil's ability to recieve the seed and to let it penetrate and interact with the soil, all according to how "hard" the surface is. In that context, God's "infinite power" is "powerless" against free will, where free will is used in such a way as to harden one's heart.

Sure, you can sometimes use brutal force to put a criminal on a better path, but there is no guarantee that they will, and even if someone "conforms" due to such brutal measures, is that what you really want? You can get someone to conform, but you cannot get them to love you by forcing them to do so.

That leaves us with God's infinite knowledge. But that knowledge is not so infinite that it includes things that are not "knowable". Any kind of free will that is "knowable" is nothing more than a programmed machine. God created us in his image. If we are nothing more than programmed machines, then so is he.

I have yeilded a harvest in the past when I thought I was a Christian (using your contention that Christians cannot deconvert). I see no reason why I would not go right back to that work once I believed again. The only reason I don't work at it now is because I don't believe it.


The harvest is not "work". The harvest is fruit. If God wanted workers he would have created slaves. What work did the guy do who was crucified with Jesus and yet would join him in paradise? Not a shred. But something touched this guys heart and that was enough of a harvest to get him saved. Sure, there is work to be done, and if someone bears the fruit of rightousness then they will be "working", but it is not to be confused with what God desires for mankind, which are the spiritual qualities that please him.

1. Of course demons believed, they had seen God and He had spoken to them and fought against them. He has done neither to me.


Well, you should be glad about that I guess. The point however is that belief in God's existance is not what God desires, it is belief in what he says and testifies to that counts.

2. The demons knew God existed, God made sure of that. Yet, they still rebelled. So, it is true that to follow Him is still a choice even after He has proven to me that He exists. So why does He still hide from me?


True. As long as we have free will then the possibility exists that we can rebel against him. The question is whether or not we would do so knowing what we know. When satan rebelled against God he had no way of knowing what the consequences of his rebellion would be. When someone is punished then it is often used as an example for others to teach them that they should avoid making the same mistakes.

3. If I knew He existed, I would likely go back to serving Him. I have done it before and am comfortable doing so.


Again, you can "serve" someone, but that does not mean that the relationship you have with that person is good. You can serve someone and yet hate him. I think God created us in such a way that faith is a vital part of the relationship we are supposed to have with him. Working or serving or performing rituals or whatever it is people think they need to do .. is never enough to purchase what is priceless.

Gideon put God to the test, several times and God performed Gideon's requests.


Good point, but you should note that Gideon prefixed his request with the words "if I have found favor in your sight", indicating that he was in the process of building up a relationship with God, rather than demanding a sign as proof of his existance. What Gideon wanted was confirmation that he was not being decieved somehow, which is totally in line with what scripture teaches us in that we are to "test the spirits".

#213 gilbo12345

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 02:50 PM

No, not at all. That verse doesn't teach us that God gets everything he desires. It only tells us that his word was sent out for a purpose, and that it achieves the purpose it was sent out to do - to produce a harvest, even though a great deal of seed was wasted. If God got everything he desired then no seed would be wasted. There would also be no point in Jesus teaching us to pray "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven". If everything that happened on earth was a product of God's desires then that prayer would be absolutely pointless. I think that the reason that people think that God is in "control of everything" is that they are so used to mixing up popular philosophical thoughts about who God is, and what God is able to do, that they think that these ideas are actually biblical. But I have never seen anything in the bible where God makes the claim that everything that happens is a result of his will or that he controls everything. If he controlled everything then no one would have free will. We would just be puppets under God's control. And what exactly would be the point of that? Would God find any pleasure in creating puppets? It just doesn't make sense.


I think the same thing, I use the example of me creating a video game where all I had to do was press the B button and I win. Certainly such would be easy and there would be zero risk of failure however its not satisfying.

The same can be alluded to with God and our freewill, yes God could have made us so that we never disobeyed and was 100% loyal to him, however how satisfying would that be? As satisfying as the game where I just press the B button and win automatically. I think its more rewarding that God made us with freewill to choose and that people come to him out of their own choice to do so. If I were God that would seem infinitely more satisfying than having everyone come to me because that was what they were programmed to do.

Its similar to friendship and hardship. Lets say I am a billionare businessman with 10,000 "friends", surely not all of these are my actual friends. One day tradgedy strikes and I lose my empire of money, would I still have 10,000 "friends", no only the actual friends would remain. I guess life is merely a test to weed out the actual friends of God than the ones who claim they are when times are good, (similar to the friends of Job in the Bible).
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#214 Salsa

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 02:10 AM

I think the same thing, I use the example of me creating a video game where all I had to do was press the B button and I win. Certainly such would be easy and there would be zero risk of failure however its not satisfying.


Yeah, it would be like God playing chess with himself. Knowing every single move and combination would kind of take away any form of stimulation the game would possible have to offer.

Well, I actually used to play chess with myself when I was younger, as a kind of excercise, but it was really hard to catch my opponent (me) off guard. Posted Image

Lets say I am a billionare businessman with 10,000 "friends", surely not all of these are my actual friends. One day tradgedy strikes and I lose my empire of money, would I still have 10,000 "friends", no only the actual friends would remain. I guess life is merely a test to weed out the actual friends of God than the ones who claim they are when times are good, (similar to the friends of Job in the Bible).


Exactly! The tragedy that strikes you in this case is a tool that can be used to expose hidden attitudes, and if God is going to judge all mankind, including "men's secrets" (Rom 1:16), then I think he has tools to expose such secrets.

If God is going to judge mankind then I think he must do so in such a way that is both righteous and void of favoritism, just as I think is illustrated in the parable of the sower. There aren't two kinds of seed, one sown in order to produce a good harvest, and the other to produce a bad harvest. No, the same seed is sown everywhere. The ability to produce a harvest is not determined by what comes from above (the seed), but by what is below (the soil).
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#215 jonas5877

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 05:56 AM

No, not at all. That verse doesn't teach us that God gets everything he desires. It only tells us that his word was sent out for a purpose, and that it achieves the purpose it was sent out to do - to produce a harvest, even though a great deal of seed was wasted. If God got everything he desired then no seed would be wasted.

Seed would be wasted if He desired it to be thus. The verse says:
"As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."
Unless there are some other verses around this one that qualify this statement, I see no other way to interpret it except as I have already said. If God's word accomplishes what He desires and achieves the purpose for which He sent it, then He desired and the purpose was that not all would understand or believe. I realize that the Bible makes it clear that not all people will become believers but that doesn't mean that God's plan is for all to believe.

There would also be no point in Jesus teaching us to pray "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven". If everything that happened on earth was a product of God's desires then that prayer would be absolutely pointless.

1. Calvinists believe that everything is a product of God's desires.
2. Because God has the ability to control everything and He knows everything past, present and future, everything happens because He allows it. He knows that you will stub your toe tomorrow but allows it to happen anyway. The level of control is up to Him.

I think that the reason that people think that God is in "control of everything" is that they are so used to mixing up popular philosophical thoughts about who God is, and what God is able to do, that they think that these ideas are actually biblical. But I have never seen anything in the bible where God makes the claim that everything that happens is a result of his will or that he controls everything. If he controlled everything then no one would have free will. We would just be puppets under God's control. And what exactly would be the point of that? Would God find any pleasure in creating puppets? It just doesn't make sense.

Philippians 3:20-21.
And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

Apparently, He has the power to bring everything under His control. He must be choosing to not have everything under His control, then.

In this parable the harvest is based on the soil's ability to recieve the seed and to let it penetrate and interact with the soil, all according to how "hard" the surface is. In that context, God's "infinite power" is "powerless" against free will, where free will is used in such a way as to harden one's heart. Sure, you can sometimes use brutal force to put a criminal on a better path, but there is no guarantee that they will, and even if someone "conforms" due to such brutal measures, is that what you really want? You can get someone to conform, but you cannot get them to love you by forcing them to do so.

Convincing someone of something does not change their free will. Convincing me that the speed limit is 80 kph does not force me to drive within those speed limits. I still have the free will to disobey that law. The difference is that once I am convinced, I know that the law is real.

That leaves us with God's infinite knowledge. But that knowledge is not so infinite that it includes things that are not "knowable". Any kind of free will that is "knowable" is nothing more than a programmed machine. God created us in his image. If we are nothing more than programmed machines, then so is he.

Are you saying that God doesn't know the future? How about all those supposedly fulfilled prophecies in the Bible?
If He does not know the future, then He should be trying even harder to convince atheists and agnostics of His existence.

Well, you should be glad about that I guess.

Not really. I would rather be punished for what I do and know He exists and cares than be ignored. When you are ignored, you are considered not important enough to bother with. Apparently, I am so unimportant that God doesn't even want to provide any contact at all.

The point however is that belief in God's existance is not what God desires, it is belief in what he says and testifies to that counts.

Now you are not making sense. How do you believe in what He says if you don't believe in Him? Do you believe that you will get a lump of coal in your Christmas stocking if you are bad? Santa Claus says you will.

True. As long as we have free will then the possibility exists that we can rebel against him. The question is whether or not we would do so knowing what we know. When satan rebelled against God he had no way of knowing what the consequences of his rebellion would be. When someone is punished then it is often used as an example for others to teach them that they should avoid making the same mistakes. Again, you can "serve" someone, but that does not mean that the relationship you have with that person is good. You can serve someone and yet hate him. I think God created us in such a way that faith is a vital part of the relationship we are supposed to have with him. Working or serving or performing rituals or whatever it is people think they need to do .. is never enough to purchase what is priceless.

I never said that serving Him was the key to being saved. The choice to serve is still a choice even if you believe in Him. You can choose to work for someone or go find another job. Just because you choose another line of work doesn't mean you no longer believe in your previous employer.
What would be the point of serving Him and hating it? He would know you hate it.

Good point, but you should note that Gideon prefixed his request with the words "if I have found favor in your sight", indicating that he was in the process of building up a relationship with God, rather than demanding a sign as proof of his existance. What Gideon wanted was confirmation that he was not being decieved somehow, which is totally in line with what scripture teaches us in that we are to "test the spirits".

Well, now we know that evil spirits cannot control the dew.

#216 jonas5877

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 06:12 AM

I think the same thing, I use the example of me creating a video game where all I had to do was press the B button and I win. Certainly such would be easy and there would be zero risk of failure however its not satisfying. The same can be alluded to with God and our freewill, yes God could have made us so that we never disobeyed and was 100% loyal to him, however how satisfying would that be? As satisfying as the game where I just press the B button and win automatically. I think its more rewarding that God made us with freewill to choose and that people come to him out of their own choice to do so. If I were God that would seem infinitely more satisfying than having everyone come to me because that was what they were programmed to do. Its similar to friendship and hardship. Lets say I am a billionare businessman with 10,000 "friends", surely not all of these are my actual friends. One day tradgedy strikes and I lose my empire of money, would I still have 10,000 "friends", no only the actual friends would remain. I guess life is merely a test to weed out the actual friends of God than the ones who claim they are when times are good, (similar to the friends of Job in the Bible).

Does God need to make it so He has a feeling of satisfaction whenever someone chooses to be saved?

Why would His convincing me to believe in Him cause me to no longer have free will? Is belief a matter of will? Can I decide to believe that I can defy gravity and levitate? Can you decide that the true God is Odin and actually believe it?

Why did you get saved in the first place? Was it out of a love for God and His ways or was it really because you were afraid of the punishment? Isn't it a bit of an infringment on our free will that God has the ultimate punishment in store for those that don't follow Him? If I strapped a bunch of explosive onto you and told you to do as I say or I will blow you up, would you say that you still had complete free will?

Believers don't really have complete free will. They can choose to follow Jesus or not but they believe that there are unthinkably horrible consequences for not following Him. So, at least at the beginning, they choose to be saved out of the fear of Hell.

Unbelievers don't even have the choice to follow or not, because they don't know if there is anything to follow or if there is any punishment for not following.

#217 jonas5877

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 06:16 AM

Yeah, it would be like God playing chess with himself. Knowing every single move and combination would kind of take away any form of stimulation the game would possible have to offer. Well, I actually used to play chess with myself when I was younger, as a kind of excercise, but it was really hard to catch my opponent (me) off guard. Posted Image Exactly! The tragedy that strikes you in this case is a tool that can be used to expose hidden attitudes, and if God is going to judge all mankind, including "men's secrets" (Rom 1:16), then I think he has tools to expose such secrets. If God is going to judge mankind then I think he must do so in such a way that is both righteous and void of favoritism, just as I think is illustrated in the parable of the sower. There aren't two kinds of seed, one sown in order to produce a good harvest, and the other to produce a bad harvest. No, the same seed is sown everywhere. The ability to produce a harvest is not determined by what comes from above (the seed), but by what is below (the soil).

However, God made the soil. So it accepts and nourishes the seed in the way that God designed it to. If the seed dies or is carried away, that is the way God intended because He made the soil rocky or sandy or without moisture.

Unless God is not all-knowing or all-powerful, He chooses who will believe and who will not because He made them the way they are.

#218 gilbo12345

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 02:23 AM

1. Does God need to make it so He has a feeling of satisfaction whenever someone chooses to be saved?

2. Why would His convincing me to believe in Him cause me to no longer have free will?

3. Is belief a matter of will?

4. Can I decide to believe that I can defy gravity and levitate?

5. Can you decide that the true God is Odin and actually believe it?

6. Why did you get saved in the first place? Was it out of a love for God and His ways or was it really because you were afraid of the punishment?

7. Isn't it a bit of an infringment on our free will that God has the ultimate punishment in store for those that don't follow Him?

8. If I strapped a bunch of explosive onto you and told you to do as I say or I will blow you up, would you say that you still had complete free will?

9. Believers don't really have complete free will. They can choose to follow Jesus or not but they believe that there are unthinkably horrible consequences for not following Him. So, at least at the beginning, they choose to be saved out of the fear of Hell. Unbelievers don't even have the choice to follow or not, because they don't know if there is anything to follow or if there is any punishment for not following.


Firstly posing so many inanne (and unrelated) questions is what is known as "hurling elephants" its not a debate "tactic".

1. Considering that from the Christian perspective is that our purpose in life is to glorify God, therefore choosing God over the temptations of the world would be pretty glorifying (well thats what I think).

2. Where did you get that from? I never said we don't have freewill? We have the freewill to choose, that is the point. That is why there are going to be people who are saved and those who are not, not because of God's choices but because of our own, ergo people need to take responsibility for their own actions and not complain and blame God for everything.

3. What is the relevance of this question?

4. You can pretend that you can, doesn't mean you can. Again what is the relevance?

5. I'm not 100% sure who God is (hence the agnostic part of theist agnostic), however that would be a debate of theology and historical accuracy. Again I ask what is the relevance to what is stated here?

6. Since I'm not 100% sure who God is, I'm not 100% sure if I will be saved. I hope that God can understand my confusion with all the different Religions around.

7. Certainly not, its the same as a father and a child. The child can choose to disobey his / her father but knows that there will be consequences if caught... The thing with God is that you always get caught :P

8. Your analogy is taking it out of context, stick to the child and the father analogy I gave above. If the person was a fully fledged Christian I assume he / she wouldn't be afraid of death rather than the atheist whereby death is the end of the road.

9. Everyone has freewill you cannot deny that

#219 Salsa

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 03:14 AM

"As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."

Unless there are some other verses around this one that qualify this statement, I see no other way to interpret it except as I have already said.


There are other verses, and the one I gave you in an earlier post should definitely have led you to understand that "what I desire" cannot reasonably be translated as "everything I desire".

If I throw some watermelon seeds onto a plot of land and watermelons start growing there, did it produce what i desired or not?

Similary, if you were handed over the role of Bruce the Almighty and knew that most people will choose to reject the narrow path you suggest in favor of the broad path that this world offers, then what would be the "desire" and "purpose" of your plans?

Would it not be to save as many people as possible - given the circumstances?

1. Calvinists believe that everything is a product of God's desires.


Yes, they do. But what does that have to do with me?

2. Because God has the ability to control everything and He knows everything past, present and future, everything happens because He allows it. He knows that you will stub your toe tomorrow but allows it to happen anyway. The level of control is up to Him.


Sure, assuming that there was no free will. But what scriptures do you base these assumptions on? I have never seen a single scripture where God himself makes such claims. In fact, there are many scriptures that teach us the exact opposite. As I said, these kinds of ideas are are based on vain philosophies rather than on scripture.

Also, what God "allows" us to have is free will. If God created Adam and Eve with free will and told them explicitly not to disobey him, then how is that "allowing" anything. It isn't allowing, it is forbidding.

And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

Apparently, He has the power to bring everything under His control. He must be choosing to not have everything under His control, then.


Of course God has the "power" to bring everything under his control just as someone with a horsewhip has the power to control a horse, but perhaps God has other "desires" than whipping horses. There is a time and season for everything.

Are you saying that God doesn't know the future? How about all those supposedly fulfilled prophecies in the Bible?

If He does not know the future, then He should be trying even harder to convince atheists and agnostics of His existence.


We tend to think of God in extremes because doing so make our theology neat and tidy whereas not doing so makes us feel uncomfortable. But I actually don't think God knows the future - at least not as far as every single thought and decision of every single person on the planet is concerned. And even though I understand that God has the resources to find out what any individual would decide given a certain scenario, I can see nothing in scripture that teaches us that prophecy is based on foreknowledge. Jer 1:12 says "I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled". That would be a strange occupation for someone who knows in advance every detail about what will happen. Obviously what God knows is unfathomable from our perspective, but as far as his plan for mankind is concerned it is apparant from what we can see in scripture that he is active in bringing about certain events, just as he is active in finding out things that an omniscient God would have no need to find out.

Not really. I would rather be punished for what I do and know He exists and cares than be ignored. When you are ignored, you are considered not important enough to bother with. Apparently, I am so unimportant that God doesn't even want to provide any contact at all.


You seem to think that contact is something that needs to be established according to your conditions and on your timetable. If you seriously want to increase your chances to make contact then I would suggest a different approach.

I never said that serving Him was the key to being saved


And I never said you did say that. My comment was in reply to this:

So, it is true that to follow Him is still a choice even after He has proven to me that He exists.


If all that was in the equation was to "choose" and to "follow" then you would have a valid point. God could suddenly appear and we could all continue to choose to follow or not to follow. What if the basis for our choice was important to God? What if it was entirely necessary for our own wellbeing?

Let's suppose God created us to function a certain way. What if the "correct" way to communicating with him and to follow him was vital for our survival?

Let's also say that God created us with two sources of information - 1) the heart, or spirit, which interfaces with the spiritual, and 2) the mind, which interfaces with the world.

Neither of these sources are bad, as long as both are used correctly. The mind for gathering and processing information about the world around us, the heart for communicating with God and giving us understanding about eternal things.

The way I see it is this. When God created mankind he "set eternity in the hearts of men" (Ecc 3:11) so that they would have the means to navigate and understand truths that they would not normally have the possibility to understand. And if it pleases him when we use this kind of understanding to "choose" and to "follow" then his appearing before us just might interfere with that process. God wants us to freely acknowledge what he has written on the tissues of our hearts, rather than switch that part of us off and let our minds rule instead. Someone who turns a deaf ear to God is like a rebellious mule that lacks "understanding":

"Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you."

God wants us to come to him, sure, but he wants us to do so in the correct manner.

#220 Salsa

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 03:23 AM

However, God made the soil. So it accepts and nourishes the seed in the way that God designed it to. If the seed dies or is carried away, that is the way God intended because He made the soil rocky or sandy or without moisture. Unless God is not all-knowing or all-powerful, He chooses who will believe and who will not because He made them the way they are.


Jonas, you need to take a parable for what it is, as well as understand what it isn't. What a parable is not is a logical exercise inviting us to try and fit any and everything we choose to shoehorn into the parable. That would be missusing the intention of the parable.

A parable is a short story that most often uses fictional objects or events as a means of getting a certain idea across. If the point that God wanted to get across was that he created the soil then he would hardly have used the parable of the sower. The sower doesn't really create anything. He sows, and that's all he does. It's a parable...




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