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#21 Arch

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 08:16 PM

Arch,

My understanding of God's love that I see scattered throughout the Bible is...undescribable!!
Too often we think of it as just a little bit above human love, but the greek word many times in the New Testament means "super abundant", meaning that it blows away, by far, anything that we can imagine.
The Bible tells us that God sets His love upon us according to His purposes, His will and NOTHING can thwart those purposes!!
Now, God does love ALL people on this earth, in a certain way, but He has a very special love for His children.
God's love is not based on our actions, we don't sway God's love by saying or doing things, His love is constant from the "foundation of the world".
I did not include scripture here to support these claims, but most definitely would should you desire.
Religion, to me, is a thought process as such:
We can close the gap between a deity and mankind somehow; either a deity can be understood as less than completely sovereign and completely in control and perfect, AND/OR mankind is not really too far removed from that deity.
So, to close the gap, let us show this deity what we can do!!
We can pray hard, we can bow, chant, humble ourselves, recite things ad nauseum, we can injure ourselves, deny ourselves, fast, meditate, study sacred scripture etc. etc.
The God of the Bible tells us that we have no ability on our own to please Him in anyway because our hearts are tainted by sin.We need a new heart!!
We need to come to Him broken, bankrupt, humble, desperate and urgently to receive what ONLY he can provide.
I am not an expert on world religions, but I know that most, if not all, have the same message:
It's all up to you! find hidden wisdom, work harder, say certain magical words, find a "key to life" etc.

Chip

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Thanks again Chip. I'm rather impressed by the depth coming from someone of such a young age :lol:

I was wondering if you or someone else could explain something to me, as it's something about the Christian faith that's never made sense to me.

"The God of the Bible tells us that we have no ability on our own to please Him in anyway because our hearts are tainted by sin."

I was under the impressive Jesus died for our sins. Wasn't this meant to relieve us of our sins? If so, why is there still sin in the world? Or have I completely misinterpreted this?

Regards,

Arch.

#22 chipwag64

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 05:24 AM

Arch,

The Bible tells us that we are not sinners because we do sinful things, but rather, we do sinful things because we have a natural sinful nature.
From Mother Theresa to the worst mass murderer, all people from all time are descendants of Adam, the first man that God created.
Death came to this world through sin and spread to all of his descendants, so that we cannot be perfect and righteous in God's eyes.
To deal with these sins in the Old Testament, God gave His chosen people Israel a very strict,harsh,complicated and very messy sacrificial system where animals were slaughtered and blood was sprinkled, even on people.
God was using this system to show His people how ugly sin is in His eyes, how sin was paid for by death, how often these sacrifices took place to show how sinful they were etc.
God is Holy and Just, His holiness shows us that He will not have anything to do with even one sin, it is sickening to Him.
His justice shows us that every sin must be paid for by death, not one will He overlook.
Because our whole nature is tainted by sin, we do not understand and see things the way God does, we value things differently, we esteem ourselves and others wrongly, we worship material things and other people, or ourselves above God etc.
Now, in the Old Testament God made covenants, one of which was to give His people a new heart that would desire Him; (heart meaning will, mind and emotions).
God also promised His people a Messiah, an anointed one who would have an eternal Kingship to rule His people in righteousness.
God is not a respecter of people as if anyone had qualities in themselves that attracted Him to us, God does not owe anyone anything.
So, as we read the New Testament, we see the revelation of all that God promised His people fulfilled in the life of Jesus Christ.
We see a one-time, perfect sacrifice for all sins past, present and future.
We see One who fulfilled the Law of God perfectly that we could never do on our own.
We see a King who will rule in justice, righteousness and holiness who God has approved of!!
We see many prophecies of the Messiah fulfilled in Him that are next to impossible (statistically) to all come about in one person.
So to answer your question, Jesus was crucified to put away our sins; the Just died for the unjust that He might bring us to God, He is the mediator between God and man.
But all this grace comes through faith.
Only those of faith are God's children, and this faith is, as everything is, a gift of God.
So we now believe through faith that Jesus bore our sins as a one-time perfect sacrifice for sins, fulfilled the Law perfectly to redeem us from the bondage of the Law, that God is satisfied with this substitution, that we are now declared justified in God's eyes, that we have imputed to us Jesus righteousness and that we are given God's Holy Spirit to keep us in this grace wherein we now stand until Jesus comes again to take His "bride" home where we will always be for eternity without end...OR,
we deny all that and spend all of eternity under God's wrath in hell.

Hope this helps,
Chip

#23 chipwag64

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 06:20 AM

I am sorry Arch, I didn't fully answer your question in post # 21.

As far as sin in the world goes, there is the sin nature still present in all people.
For the unbeliever, nothing has changed, and nothing will change, in fact the Bible tells us that people become hardened in sin over time to the point where some have no chance at repentance.
Repentance is a major doctrine in Christianity, although you may not hear much of it in today's churches.
The Greek word translated in English "repentance" means to change your mind, to do an about face as it were.
It means to go from being indifferent and apathetic about your sin condition to see your sins as God sees them, to be grieved deeply about them and desire a cure. True repentance includes action; we see stories in the Bible of people doing anything they can to get to Jesus for healing, not letting any obstacle come between them and the cure.
God, in His mercy, is long suffering toward us, and has given us this age of grace to come to Him, but it's not open ended, there will come a time when the last believer is in and the door is shut.
It is horrifying to hear people say that they will repent on their death bed; what an assumption people make that they have the liberty to shun this gift at will and come on THEIR terms; what if they were struck by a car and instantly killed?
So, the unbeliever, as they continue in their sin condition, become harder and more calloused in their heart, as if their heart wasn't already stone-cold dead spiritually.

Now for the believer.
The believer comes by grace, through faith, in repentance to God through Jesus Christ;
they are truly grieved about their sin condition and plead for reconciliation and healing through the free offer of the gospel.
They understand that life in Christ means death to their current life, they become crucified with Christ and share in His resurrection to a new life as a new creation.
They are given the Holy Spirit as a guarantee, or downpayment of a yet future full payment and the bondage to sin is broken.
This means that sin can no longer rule and dominate us as the Holy Spirit begins the transformation process.
But this in no way implies that we no longer commit sins.
We have the natural human nature in us that does war with the Holy Spirit, it is the way that we lived, some of us for many decades, and it is easy and felt good.
But now the Holy Spirit comes in and says, "I'm in charge, he/she is mine now, you had your reign" and begins to work in us to rid us of that old nature, it doesn't happen all at once.

I hope that this better answers your question,
Chip

#24 de_skudd

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 06:37 AM

Hi de_skud,

Thanks for sharing. I always find peoples religion insights interesting. And I agree, of the reading I've done the new testament does seem to be one of the best. I've seen no evidence for not believing that Christ walked the earth.

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Hey Arch,

That’s the first step to really getting to the meat and potatoes of Christianity. BTW I find peoples religion insights interesting. Even that of atheists…


I'm interested though, what is this Noble Path? Being an atheist myself I see no reason why I shouldn't be moral.

Regards,

Arch.

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You’ve never heard of Buddhism? It the atheists religion!! I was speaking about the “Noble Eightfold Path”.

I also agree, there is no reason for an atheist not to be moral. There are many moral atheists. The problem for the atheist is in explaining their morality.

I’m providing two simple articles concentrating on atheistic morality below. These are not necessarily my views on the subject, but a place for you to become familiar on the apologists general outline of the subject.

Here’s a good article by Ray Cotton on the subject:
http://www.leaderu.c...s/god-ethi.html


Here’s a quick piece by Dave Miller
http://www.apologeti...g/articles/2720

Below is a bit more in-depth view on the subject It’s part of a debate between a theist and an atheist on the subject:

http://www.reformed....tin/pen896.html


Again, the sole reason for me providing these recourses is for your familiarization on the subject before we launch into something that would require an overall brief on my part for discussion (as I’m not aware of your familiarity of the subject).

#25 de_skudd

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 06:46 AM

Thanks again Chip. I'm rather impressed by the depth coming from someone of such a young age  :lol:

I was wondering if you or someone else could explain something to me, as it's something about the Christian faith that's never made sense to me.

"The God of the Bible tells us that we have no ability on our own to please Him in anyway because our hearts are tainted by sin."

I was under the impressive Jesus died for our sins. Wasn't this meant to relieve us of our sins? If so, why is there still sin in the world? Or have I completely misinterpreted this?

Regards,

Arch.

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Hi Arch,

To answer your questions;

We have no ability, in and of ourselves to please God. It’s isn’t until we are cleansed by the sacrifice of Jesus (by accepting Him as Lord) that we can please God. Sin keeps us from coming to God, but Jesus becomes that mediator (in a sense) through who’s sinlessness allows us before God.

There is still sin in the world because of those who have not accepted the sacrifice of Jesus, and His lordship, over their lives.

There, that’s it in a nutshell. I hope it helps…

#26 Arch

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 06:56 AM

Arch,

The Bible tells us that we are not sinners because we do sinful things, but rather, we do sinful things because we have a natural sinful nature.
From Mother Theresa to the worst mass murderer, all people from all time are descendants of Adam, the first man that God created.
Death came to this world through sin and spread to all of his descendants, so that we cannot be perfect and righteous in God's eyes.
To deal with these sins in the Old Testament, God gave His chosen people Israel a very strict,harsh,complicated and very messy sacrificial system where animals were slaughtered and blood was sprinkled, even on people.
God was using this system to show His people how ugly sin is in His eyes, how sin was paid for by death, how often these sacrifices took place to show how sinful they were etc.
God is Holy and Just, His holiness shows us that He will not have anything to do with even one sin, it is sickening to Him.
His justice shows us that every sin must be paid for by death, not one will He overlook.
Because our whole nature is tainted by sin, we do not understand and see things the way God does, we value things differently, we esteem ourselves and others wrongly, we worship material things and other people, or ourselves above God etc.
Now, in the Old Testament God made covenants, one of which was to give His people a new heart that would desire Him; (heart meaning will, mind and emotions).
God also promised His people a Messiah, an anointed one who would have an eternal Kingship to rule His people in righteousness.
God is not a respecter of people as if anyone had qualities in themselves that attracted Him to us, God does not owe anyone anything.
So, as we read the New Testament, we see the revelation of all that God promised His people fulfilled in the life of Jesus Christ.
We see a one-time, perfect sacrifice for all sins past, present and future.
We see One who fulfilled the Law of God perfectly that we could never do on our own.
We see a King who will rule in justice, righteousness and holiness who God has approved of!!
We see many prophecies of the Messiah fulfilled in Him that are next to impossible (statistically) to all come about in one person.
So to answer your question, Jesus was crucified to put away our sins; the Just died for the unjust that He might bring us to God, He is the mediator between God and man.
But all this grace comes through faith.
Only those of faith are God's children, and this faith is, as everything is, a gift of God.
So we now believe through faith that Jesus bore our sins as a one-time perfect sacrifice for sins, fulfilled the Law perfectly to redeem us from the bondage of the Law, that God is satisfied with this substitution, that we are now declared justified in God's eyes, that we have imputed to us Jesus righteousness and that we are given God's Holy Spirit to keep us in this grace wherein we now stand until Jesus comes again to take His "bride" home where we will always be for eternity without end...OR,
we deny all that and spend all of eternity under God's wrath in hell.

Hope this helps,
Chip

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Hi Chip,

Thanks for the indepth analysis, but I'm afraid I'm still a little confused. As you said Jesus bore our sins by giving the ultimate sacrifice, and that was are now "justified in God's eyes". Doesn't this imply that sin was eliminated?
You then said that Jesus will come and take the believers to be with God. Am I interpreting this right by saying only the believers are going to spend the rest of their days without sin? So this idea that sin would be removed is a future promise?
I'd really be interested in wrapping my head around this concept as it's one of the few things I don't understand.

Regards,

Arch.

#27 chipwag64

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 07:40 AM

Arch,

The term "justification" as I understand it is a way of God viewing us in a legal sense.
Because we have all sinned against God, He, as prosecutor demands payment to clear us of this debt, having already established "guilt" beyond a doubt.
Jesus, through our being united to Him through faith, becomes our payment to satisfy the prosecutor's demand of payment.
God is, in this sense, the plaintiff and prosecutor.
His requirement is payment for a debt, regardless of who pays; now naturally, the guilty party owes the debt, but in this case, the defendent (us humans), the guilty ones, are bankrupt, we can't pay.
So, to satisfy the debt, the Defender, Jesus, is the only party who has the means to pay and cancel the debt, which settles the case.
We are deemed "justified" because the debt that we owed has been payed, there are no more charges against us.
God, as the judge also, declares us "free" and "just".
Hope I explained this properly.
Now, the debt that we owed, was ALL of our sins past, present and future; it's like a charge against our whole life.
So, the payment made has to be sufficient to clear all the charges, each sin brings a charge of undeniable guilt and a created debt.
If EVERY charge is not satisfied and payment made, there will still be a debt.
In the unbeliever's trial, there will be no one to step forward and defend them, they wanted to represent themselves.
There will be no one to make restitution for damages done.
So, they will always be guilty and in undescribable debt, and not only that, because they have no means of completely removing the sin nature that causes the debt, they will forever increasing add to that debt.

For the believer, as I mentioned previously, the Holy Spirit breaks the bondage and dominion of the sin nature and finally triumphs over it in victory when we are "glorified".
Every sin debt has been paid, we are free and just, and there will be no more accumulation of sin debts.
So, yes Arch, only in the afterlife will we be totally free from sin.
The word "sin" means .."to miss the mark".
Think of a bullseye (God's Holiness) and everyone of us are archers.
Everything we do, think or say is an arrow. If the arrow doesn't hit the bullseye, it is sin. Sin is NOT just bad things that we do, it is also good things that are NOT done, that should have been done.

Chip

#28 de_skudd

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 07:53 AM

As you said Jesus bore our sins by giving the ultimate sacrifice, and that was are now "justified in God's eyes". Doesn't this imply that sin was eliminated?

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No, because of the free will of man, man can continue to sin if he wishes to do so. The sacrifice of Jesus became THE WAY of our salvation, but, as long as we remain in these “Mortal Coils” (our fleshy bodies) the propensity to sin remains a possibility. And there are many who remain unrepentant, therefore (for now) sin remains. Sin will be eliminated when we are face-to-face. There will be two judgments; one for the redeemed, and one for the unredeemed.


You then said that Jesus will come and take the believers to be with God. Am I interpreting this right by saying only the believers are going to spend the rest of their days without sin? So this idea that sin would be removed is a future promise?
I'd really be interested in wrapping my head around this concept as it's one of the few things I don't understand.

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Yes, the redeemed will spend eternity with God. And to do so, sin must be expunged because sin cannot survive in the glory of God. As I said in an earlier post, there is still sin on this Earth because every knee has not yet bowed. There are unrepentant hearts! Everyone MUST have the opportunity to become repentant.

Therefore, there is the propensity for sin to be eradicated, but it will not be totally eradicated until the final judgment and the redeemed are in the presence of God.


I hope that helps.

#29 chipwag64

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 08:02 AM

Arch,

I have refrained from posting scripture to support my answers to your questions, but when I am speaking with anyone, Christian or not, I ALWAYS tell people not to believe me, read the Bible to see for yourself.
I couldn't help but think of a passage in Paul the apostle's letter to the Romans when I last posted so I will provide that here:

Rom 3:10 as it is written: "None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one."
Rom 3:13 "Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive." "The venom of asps is under their lips." "Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness." "Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known." "There is no fear of God before their eyes."
Rom 3:19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it-- the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction:
Rom 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.

Chip

#30 Arch

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 08:23 PM

Hi guys,

A big thank you to de_skudd and Chip for your descriptions. I think I can finally say I understand where the idea of Jesus dying for our sins comes from.

de_skudd,
When you mentioned Buddhism a little light went off in my head. I have indeed heard of this before, but it has been so long I've forgotten a great deal. I'm currently reading through the links you posted. I'll get back to you when I've finished reading them, as I got the impression there was more you wanted to discuss on the matter.

In the mean time I have another question that you reminded me of when you mentioned "the free will of man". Back in high school I did some study on Philosophy and one of the units we covered was time travel.

Are you aware of the Grandfather paradox? In a nutshell it says that time travel is impossible because if one were to return to the past and kill ones grandfather, the individual would be unable to return to the past (due to never being born) and kill his grandfather. This creates an impossible loop.

Some have suggested that if time travel were possible, the individual upon returning to the past to kill his grandfather would find himself unable to do so. In effect, this eliminates free will. (It is for this reason I don't think time travel is possible).

God is meant to be omniscient. This means past, present and future are all viewed simultaneously, therefore God knows the future. God also created us, so he knows our past.

If God created us in a specific way, AND knows our future can we really be said to have free will? He set in motion all things, including all our future choices. The only reason we make these choices is because he designed us to make them.

To try and make this a little clearer I'll use a Biblical example. When Moses tried to convince the Pharaoh to free the slaves the Bible says "but God hardened Pharaoh's heart" so that he would not let them go (Sorry, not sure of the exact quote).

God used Pharaoh as an example to show his great power. But if God was controlling Pharaoh's thoughts, did Pharaoh actually have free will?

Sorry for the confusing writings, but hopefully you can see my point. If God is truly omniscient and all powerful, how can man be said to have free will? If we don't have free will then my fate was predetermined before I was born, including whether or not I would be one of the redeemed. It hardly seems just for a God to create a human knowing full well he would condemn them to hell at a later time.

Do you think God is omniscient? Do you think we have free will? Do you think the two can co-exist and if so how? I'd be really interested to see where you guys stand on this issue.

Regards,

Arch.

#31 CTD

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Posted 26 May 2009 - 11:24 PM

I believe God knew how to give us free will.

'Omniscient' is a term used to describe God - not to define Him. Monkeying with the term won't change anything.

This is the case with plenty of objects. A rock might be round on one end and pointy on the other. Does it alter the rock if we quibble over 'pointy'? Obviously not. How then could quibbling over 'omniscient' alter God?

#32 chipwag64

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 01:30 AM

Arch,

The Free Will/ Predestination debate or discussion already has a thread elsewhere on the forum if you want to check it out.
It's located in the "Bible Q&A" section under "topic title".
Many times, a topic can get side-tracked and overlap other topics that already exist on the forum, so you might want to start there and even post there if the discussion centers on free will and/or predestination.
Good questions though!
After thinking sometime about directing you there, I now think it is not a good idea for now, just my opinion.
There are many things written in the Bible that are not easy to understand, believe, YES, but fully understand, NO, which is obviously why they have been debated for many years.
The Bible mentions Predestination in a few passages, but it must be understood in context of the rest of the verses around the passage.
I don't consider predestination to mean our individual choices in life, as if God predestines our choices, it is referring to a final destiny that was limited in advance.
I don't find the term "free will" in the Bible as it applies to salvation, although I understand the concept.
The gospel stands as a free offer to all!! God calls all men to repent through the gospel, Jesus said "He who comes to Me, I will not cast out".
So, yes, we are "free" to come, the question is, are we "willing"?
No one can ever say that God in any way hindered them from receiving His free grace!!
For anyone to do something, they need basically three things that I can see, maybe more. 1) Ability...I may want to bench press 500 lbs. with all of my heart, but I am not able at this time. 2) Will, or Desire...I may have the ability to bench press 500 lbs. in a few years, but will I have the desire or will at that time? 3) Opportunity...I may be able and willing to bench press 500 lbs. in a few years, but will I have the opportunity?
As I posted previously, this is the age of grace, this is the opportunity to come!!,
The Bible tells us that WE are the ones who are not able nor desire to come.

Chip

#33 Arch

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 02:37 AM

Arch,

The Free Will/ Predestination debate or discussion already has a thread elsewhere on the forum if you want to check it out.
It's located in the "Bible Q&A" section under "topic title".
Many times, a topic can get side-tracked and overlap other topics that already exist on the forum, so you might want to start there and even post there if the discussion centers on free will and/or predestination.
Good questions though!
After thinking sometime about directing you there, I now think it is not a good idea for now, just my opinion.
There are many things written in the Bible that are not easy to understand, believe, YES, but fully understand, NO, which is obviously why they have been debated for many years.
The Bible mentions Predestination in a few passages, but it must be understood in context of the rest of the verses around the passage.
I don't consider predestination to mean our individual choices in life, as if God predestines our choices, it is referring to a final destiny that was limited in advance.
I don't find the term "free will" in the Bible as it applies to salvation, although I understand the concept.
The gospel stands as a free offer to all!! God calls all men to repent through the gospel, Jesus said "He who comes to Me, I will not cast out".
So, yes, we are "free" to come, the question is, are we "willing"?
No one can ever say that God in any way hindered them from receiving His free grace!!
For anyone to do something, they need basically three things that I can see, maybe more. 1) Ability...I may want to bench press 500 lbs. with all of my heart, but I am not able at this time. 2) Will, or Desire...I may have the ability to bench press 500 lbs. in a few years, but will I have the desire or will at that time? 3) Opportunity...I may be able and willing to bench press 500 lbs. in a few years, but will I have the opportunity?
As I posted previously, this is the age of grace, this is the opportunity to come!!,
The Bible tells us that WE are the ones who are not able nor desire to come.

Chip

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Thanks for that Chip. In hindsight I should have realised there would be a forum covering this topic.

And to de_skudd, I've read over those pages on the Nobel Path. Was there anything further you wanted to discuss, or was it just for general knowledge?

Regards,

Arch.

#34 Arch

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 04:35 AM

I believe God knew how to give us free will.

'Omniscient' is a term used to describe God - not to define Him. Monkeying with the term won't change anything.

This is the case with plenty of objects. A rock might be round on one end and pointy on the other. Does it alter the rock if we quibble over 'pointy'? Obviously not. How then could quibbling over 'omniscient' alter God?

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I'm sorry CTD, it seems I have unwittingly insulted you again as your tone carries a note of resentment. My question was of genuine interest, not an attempt to shut down anyone's faith.

Allow me to try and explain.

It is not a question of whether God knew HOW to or not. If he truly is all powerful of course he knew HOW. It's a question of whether he did or not.

Omniscience to define God? How much less of a definition can I give it? It allows for God to do and know all things. It doesn't get any broader than that.

I think Shakespeare said it best "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet". I agree with you. I'm not sure what we were quibbling over. Do you have another definition of 'omniscient' you would like to share?

Again CTD, I'm not trying to poke holes in theories here. I'm asking for peoples opinions on areas of interest to me. I would like to know how a Christian deals with this implication.

Regards,

Arch.

#35 de_skudd

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 05:58 AM

Hi guys,

A big thank you to de_skudd and Chip for your descriptions. I think I can finally say I understand where the idea of Jesus dying for our sins comes from.

de_skudd,
When you mentioned Buddhism a little light went off in my head. I have indeed heard of this before, but it has been so long I've forgotten a great deal. I'm currently reading through the links you posted. I'll get back to you when I've finished reading them, as I got the impression there was more you wanted to discuss on the matter.

In the mean time I have another question that you reminded me of when you mentioned "the free will of man". Back in high school I did some study on Philosophy and one of the units we covered was time travel.

Are you aware of the Grandfather paradox? In a nutshell it says that time travel is impossible because if one were to return to the past and kill ones grandfather, the individual would be unable to return to the past (due to never being born) and kill his grandfather. This creates an impossible loop.

Some have suggested that if time travel were possible, the individual upon returning to the past to kill his grandfather would find himself unable to do so. In effect, this eliminates free will. (It is for this reason I don't think time travel is possible).

God is meant to be omniscient. This means past, present and future are all viewed simultaneously, therefore God knows the future. God also created us, so he knows our past.

If God created us in a specific way, AND knows our future can we really be said to have free will? He set in motion all things, including all our future choices. The only reason we make these choices is because he designed us to make them.

To try and make this a little clearer I'll use a Biblical example. When Moses tried to convince the Pharaoh to free the slaves the Bible says "but God hardened Pharaoh's heart" so that he would not let them go (Sorry, not sure of the exact quote).

God used Pharaoh as an example to show his great power. But if God was controlling Pharaoh's thoughts, did Pharaoh actually have free will?

Sorry for the confusing writings, but hopefully you can see my point. If God is truly omniscient and all powerful, how can man be said to have free will? If we don't have free will then my fate was predetermined before I was born, including whether or not I would be one of the redeemed. It hardly seems just for a God to create a human knowing full well he would condemn them to hell at a later time.

Do you think God is omniscient? Do you think we have free will? Do you think the two can co-exist and if so how? I'd be really interested to see where you guys stand on this issue.

Regards,

Arch.

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God is omniscient, and we do have free will. God, according to His word and His nature, will not make us do anything against our will. We accept Him Freely or we reject Him freely. Just because God knows the future doesn’t mean He controls what we do, it just means He saw what we did, before we did it. God is just, but His grace is as free as our will.

The “Grandfather paradox” is a nice little si-fi piece. I think Ray Bradbury wrote the premise and story for this paradox. But it remains that, a nice little si-fi piece.

As far as far as hardening Pharaoh’s heart (I did a study on this quite a few years ago, so I’m working on memory here, and don’t what to misspeak): This is a literary device, God hardened Pharaoh’s heart by continuing to send Moses and Aaron in his face (in front of his court), and because Pharaoh was a proud man, and because Moses and Aaron were challenging his status as a god-man in front of his court, Pharaoh’s actually hardened his own heart due to pride (the cause of Satan’s fall).

#36 CTD

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 09:19 AM

I'm sorry CTD, it seems I have unwittingly insulted you again as your tone carries a note of resentment. My question was of genuine interest, not an attempt to shut down anyone's faith.

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It seems you know an awful lot about my emotional state for someone who isn't directly observing me. If it helps your case, feel free to try to convince others that you actually do.

Allow me to try and explain.

It is not a question of whether God knew HOW to or not. If he truly is all powerful of course he knew HOW. It's a question of whether he did or not.

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This is incompatible with what you just said. You just got done arguing that free will cannot exist.

"If God created us in a specific way, AND knows our future can we really be said to have free will? He set in motion all things, including all our future choices. The only reason we make these choices is because he designed us to make them."

Now you argue in a different direction entirely, because whoever made up this stuff failed to take into account one simple aspect of 'omniscience'. You have chosen to accept and repeat one of the lamest arguments ever devised "to disprove God", and already you can't stick to it in the original form.

Now you introduce an entirely different issue: Whether or not God did give us free will. Although you'd rather nobody notice it, you concede His capacity to do so, which is the very thing you were claiming He could not have. We don't even need to waste a few days demonstrating the self-evident to folks who'd prefer to reject it. If scripture is our guide, there is no question at all about the history. See Adam 777's sig. Locate the word 'choose'.

Omniscience to define God? How much less of a definition can I give it? It allows for God to do and know all things. It doesn't get any broader than that.

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You assume God is defined by the term. I do not. I believe the term is applied in an attempt to describe God.

I think Shakespeare said it best "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet". I agree with you. I'm not sure what we were quibbling over. Do you have another definition of 'omniscient' you would like to share?

Again CTD, I'm not trying to poke holes in theories here. I'm asking for peoples opinions on areas of interest to me. I would like to know how a Christian deals with this implication.

Regards,

Arch.

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Since you presume to know about me, I'll return the favour. You came across this stuff somewhere, and liked it. I wonder if you understand that it presupposes God is an invention of men, since it rests on God's capacity to conform to a cherry-picked idea of omniscience (and an inconsistent application thereof).

Here's a simpler argument that's a little more consistent with itself:
Omniscience is oxymoronic because it's impossible to know circles are squares, yet omniscience requires one to know absolutely everything. Premises which are untrue cannot themselves be known; one can only know about them. One can only know that they are untrue.

But in the end, an argument against a term does not amount to an argument against God. If one wants to understand, one takes into account the context in which terms are employed and attempts to determine and understand what the person who employed the term intended to say. This is the only legitimate procedure for interpreting.

Now there exist 'christians' and probably some Christians as well who have taken the wrong approach or been led astray, and have reached scripturally unsound conclusions about omniscience and free will. This is no secret. Time will tell if this turns into a divide-and-conquer scenario. I doubt it will.

As has been mentioned already, there are already threads on these issues. I guess we'll see how much of what's already been said needs to be repeated. Hopefully, if it's very much, we can just copy & paste (From experience I know it's always assumed that nobody knows how to take links or use the forum's search feature.)

#37 Arch

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 08:20 PM

"It seems you know an awful lot about my emotional state for someone who isn't directly observing me. If it helps your case, feel free to try to convince others that you actually do."

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You are correct, it is an assumption on my behalf. However as I'm sure you already know it is often possible to guess at someones emotional state by the way they write. I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything. I am interested in having an intellectual conversation and I feel as though I am being met with constant aggression from you. If this is not the case then I apologise, however it is difficult to have an open conversation when it feels like you are being attacked every time you question something.

"This is incompatible with what you just said. You just got done arguing that free will cannot exist."

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I think I now see where your problem lies. I was not trying to argue anything. I was posing an intellectual problem in the hopes someone would provide me with an intellectual answer. This was a question CTD, not a debate. Please take note of the "If" in that sentence.

"You have chosen to accept and repeat one of the lamest arguments ever devised "to disprove God", and already you can't stick to it in the original form."

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Again, a question, not an argument. And you may have noticed I started with the premise 'if God exists'. In no way am I trying to disprove God's existence. My question was about free will.

"Now you introduce an entirely different issue: Whether or not God did give us free will. Although you'd rather nobody notice it, you concede His capacity to do so, which is the very thing you were claiming He could not have."

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Rather nobody noticed it? CTD, I drew attention to that fact. Deliberately, because I wanted people to start with that assumption. I'm not saying God is unable to give free will, I'm asking people's opinions on whether or not he DID, which presupposes his existence.

"If scripture is our guide, there is no question at all about the history."

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What history? I was inquiring about the philosophical logic behind God and free will. I have little problem with the New Testament history. Christ existed.

"Since you presume to know about me, I'll return the favour. You came across this stuff somewhere, and liked it. I wonder if you understand that it presupposes God is an invention of men"

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Not that it's terribly relevant to the question I posed, but no I didn't just come across this idea. As I said I studied philosophy. This idea is my own based upon what I learned about the Grandfather paradox. As I have already stated, I'm starting with the assumption that God does exist and working from there.

"Omniscience is oxymoronic because it's impossible to know circles are squares, yet omniscience requires one to know absolutely everything. Premises which are untrue cannot themselves be known; one can only know about them. One can only know that they are untrue."

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Agreed CTD. The definition of omniscience I am familiar with says "to know all that can be known. This excludes knowing squares are circles.

Now, to return to the question I originally posed, which you have nearly avoided. If we start with the definition of omniscience "to know all that can be known", do you think God can know our future? If he both knows our future AND set all things in motion, can it not be said we do not have free will?

I believe de_skudd has given an excellent answer to this question, but I will respond to him personally.

Regards,

Arch.

#38 Adam Nagy

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 08:33 PM

I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything.

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Please convince us of how you aren't trying to convince us of anything. :lol:

Arch, the moment you put your fingers to the keyboard you are trying to either convince someone of your ideas or your motive. It's unavoidable.

The hostility you feel is inevitable. I especially hope every Christian on this forum comes across with the motive that they are trying to convince you of truth. Sometimes it hurts.

Nobody is calling you names or questioning your ability to understand. In fact, CTD's cut straight to the chase demonstrates that he has faith that you can understand. We may get blunt but it's only insulting if it offends your pet ideals.

#39 Adam Nagy

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 08:38 PM

CTD may have been a little hard on you. I hope you can forgive us if we wrongly question your sincerity. There maybe some battle wounds from people who come in here with a total lack of sincerity. We're human too.

#40 Bex

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 11:35 PM

If we start with the definition of omniscience "to know all that can be known", do you think God can know our future? If he both knows our future AND set all things in motion, can it not be said we do not have free will?


Hmmm, I think it's tough to wrap our human minds around this and the way God works in this manner.

Here are my thoughts from my limited understanding. Though God knows all things and is able to view all time in an instant - this does not remove free will. Evident in the fact that great evils have been purpetrated, such that has grieved God's heart. But again, He has not prevented a person from choosing good or evil. Because God did not create robots.

I am unsure exactly how it works with God. Does He see the exact choice we will all make? Or does God view all the choices that we might make and allows it to come to pass as it happens? Yes He can see it all. But choices are made, decisions are so often changed (sometimes at the last moment), and we are not programmed to play out a robotic role. Nor was anybody born to go to Hell. God's intention for every human being is to become His child and enjoy eternal life with Him (our Father). The loss of even ONE soul to God is greater than the loss of all the riches imaginable. Priceless are our souls to Him. Evident in the horrific suffering and death of Jesus Christ.

So yes we each have free will and everyday is precious and a gift and another opportunity to return to a God that calls the lost and drifting back to Him and those near Him, even closer! Evidentally we're a work in progress, rather than a done deal :lol: . But I would be careful to rely upon "tommorow", since nobody knows if tommorrow will come. Today is the day!




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