The Extent of Suffering in Our World Makes The Existence of God Implausible.

This is my opening statement in the debate I had with David Wood on the problem of suffering and God.

Christian philosopher James F. Sennett has said: “By far the most important objection to the faith is the so-called problem of evil. I tell my philosophy of religion students that, if they are Christians and the problem of evil does not keep them up at night, then they don’t understand it.”

I’m arguing against the theistic conception of God, who is believed to be all powerful, or omnipotent, perfectly good, or omnibenelovent and all-knowing, or omniscient. The problem of evil is an internal one to these three theistic beliefs which is expressed in both deductive and evidential arguments concerning both moral and natural evils. I’m going to hopefully combine all of these elements into a novel approach to the problem.

As I do this, keep in mind what Corey Washington said in a debate with William Lane Craig: “We’ve got to hold theists to what they say…if they say God is omnibenelovent, God is omnibenelovent, if they say God is omnipotent, God is omnipotent. We can’t let theists to sort of play with these words. They mean what they mean. And if God is omnibenelovent, God will not have any more harm in this world than is necessary for accomplishing…greater goods.”

Here’s the problem: If God is perfectly good, all knowing, and all powerful, then the issue of why there is so much suffering in the world requires an explanation. The reason is that a perfectly good God would be opposed to it, an all-powerful God would be capable of eliminating it, and an all-knowing God would know what to do about it.

So, the extent of intense suffering in the world means for the theist that: either God is not powerful enough to eliminate it, or God does not care enough to eliminate it, or God is just not smart enough to know what to do about it. The stubborn fact of intense suffering in the world means that something is wrong with God’s ability, or his goodness, or his knowledge.

Many theists believe God set the Israelites free from slavery, but he did nothing for the many people who were born and died as slaves in the American south. These theists believe God parted the Red Sea, but he did nothing about the 2004 Indonesian tsunami that killed a quarter of a million people. Many theists believe God provided manna from heaven, but he does nothing for the more than 40,000 people who starve every single day in the world. Those who don’t die suffer extensively from hunger pains and malnutrition all of their short lives. Many theists believe God made an axe head to float, but he allowed the Titanic to sink. Many theists believe God added 15 years to King Hezekiah’s life, but he does nothing for children who live short lives and die of leukemia. Many theists believe God restored sanity to Nebuchadnezzar but he does nothing for the many people suffering from schizophrenia and dementia today. Many theists believe Jesus healed people, but God does nothing to stop pandemics which have destroyed whole populations of people. Lethal parasites kill one human being every ten seconds. There are many handicapped people, and babies born with birth defects that God does not heal. As God idly sits by, well over 100 million people were slaughtered in the last century due to genocides, and wars. Well over 100 million animals are slaughtered every year for American consumption alone, while animals viciously prey on each other.

Let me tell you about a man named Robert, who for four and a half years heard cruel voices in his head. The cruelest voice said that Satan was going to force him to murder his daughter. You may say that these voices were all lies and should have been treated as such. If you say that, then you don't understand the horror or schizophrenia. You wholeheartedly believe these voices. He was so convinced Satan was going to force him to murder his daughter, that he fought the urge to commit suicide on a daily basis so he wouldn’t be the instrument of his daughter's death. Nothing that he tried helped him either, and he tried it all: exorcisms, repentance from every known sin, medications, and counseling. His wife eventually divorced him in fear he may have been a threat to his daughter, leaving him to live alone in a psychotic state. He’s recovered a great deal. But why didn’t God care?

Then there’s former American slave, Frederick Douglass, who described how his Christian master whipped his aunt right before his young eyes. “He took her into the kitchen, and stripped her from neck to waist. He made her get upon the stool, and he tied her hands to a hook in the joist. After rolling up his sleeves, he commenced to lay on the heavy cowskin, and soon the warm, red blood came dripping to the floor.” “No words, no tears, no prayers, from his gory victim, seemed to move his iron heart from its bloody purpose. The louder she screamed, the harder he whipped; and where the blood ran fastest, there he whipped longest. He would whip her to make her scream, and whip her to make her hush; and not until overcome by fatigue, would he cease to swing the blood clotted cowskin.” Now why didn’t God ever explicitly condemn slavery? Stories like these could fill several libraries.

I’ll begin by assuming for the sake of argument that God exists.

Then why did God create something in the first place? Theists will typically defend the goodness of God by arguing he could not have created a world without some suffering and evil. But what reason is there for creating anything at all? Theists typically respond by saying creation was an expression of God’s love. But wasn’t God already complete in love? If love must be expressed, then God needed to create, and that means he lacked something. Besides, a perfectly good God should not have created anything at all, if by creating something, anything, it also brought about so much intense suffering. By doing so he actually reduced the amount of total goodness there is, since God alone purportedly has absolute goodness.

I could end my argument here, but let’s say God decided to create something anyway. Then why didn’t God just create a heavenly world? Theists typically believe that a heaven awaits faithful believers when they die, where there will be no “death, or mourning or crying or pain,” where believers will have incorruptible bodies, in a perfect existence. So why didn’t God just create such a perfect existence in the first place? If there’s free will in heaven without sin, then God could’ve created such a world. To say God initially did create such a world but that there was an angelic rebellion in it merely places the problem of evil back in time. How is it possible to be in the direct presence of a being that has absolute goodness and unlimited power and still desire to rebel against him? Even if this is possible, why didn’t God prevent such a rebellion? Pierre Bayle argued: “One might as well compare the Godhead with a father who had let the legs of his children be broken in order to display before an entire city the skill which he has is setting bones; One might as well compare the Godhead with a monarch who would allow strife and seditions to spring up throughout his kingdom in order to acquire the glory of having put an end to them.”

Again, I could end my argument here. But let’s say God decided to create a fleshly world anyway. Then why did God create us with free will? God shouldn’t have given free will to his creatures if by doing so he knew it would lead to intense suffering. The giver of a gift is blameworthy if he gives gifts to those whom he knows will terribly abuse those gifts. Any mother who gives a razor blade to a two year old is culpable if that child hurts himself or others with it. If, however, God did not give us free will, then Calvinistic theology must justify why our world brings God more glory than a different world where he decrees from eternity that his creatures all perfectly obey him.

Again, I could end my argument here. But let’s say God decided to create a fleshly world with free creatures in it anyway. Then what is the purpose of creating such a world? It appears to be a cruel game of hide and seek, where God hides and we must find him, and only the few who find him will be rewarded while the many who don’t, are punished when they die. If God has foreknowledge then why didn’t he just foreknow who would find him even before creating them, and simply place them in heaven in the first place?...then there’d be no one punished for not finding him. If this world is to teach us the virtues of courage, patience, and generosity in the midst of suffering, then those virtues are irrelevant in a heavenly bliss where there is no suffering or pain.

In any case, God should’ve had three main moral concerns when creating such a world:

Concern One: that we don’t abuse the freedom God gave us. God should not allow any genocides like the Holocaust; no Joseph Mengele’s who tortured concentration camp prisoners; no atomic bombs that devastated Hiroshima; no gulags, no 9/11’s, no Cambodian children stepping on land mines, no Columbine shootings, no Jeffery Dahlmers, no gang rapes, or brutal slavery.

Good mothers give their children more and more freedom to do what they want so long as they are responsible with their freedom. And if children abuse this freedom, their mothers will discipline them by taking away their ability to make these choices. It’s that simple. If my mother sat by and did nothing while my older brother beat me to death, and if she had the means to stop him and didn’t, then she is morally responsible for letting me die. She could even be considered an accomplice.

God could keep us from abusing our freedom. He could’ve created us with a stronger propensity to dislike doing wrong just like we have an aversion to drinking motor oil. We could still drink it if we wanted to, but it’s nauseating.

God could also implant thoughts into a person’s head to prevent him from doing evil; much like in Robert’s case above, except these thoughts would be good ones.

God has many other means at his disposal here, if we concede for the moment the existence of this present world: One childhood fatal disease or a heart attack could have killed Hitler and prevented WWII. Timothy McVeigh could have had a flat tire or engine failure while driving to Oklahoma City with that truck bomb. Several of the militants who were going to fly planes into the Twin Towers on 9/11 could’ve been robbed and beaten by New York thugs (there’s utilitarianism at its best).

A poisonous snakebite could’ve sent Saddam Hussein to an early grave averting the Iraq war before it happened. The poison that Saddam Hussein threw on the Kurds, and the Zyklon-B pellets dropped down into the Auschwitz gas chambers could have simply “malfunctioned” by being miraculously neutralized (just like Jesus supposedly turned water into wine). Sure, it would puzzle them, but there are a great many things that take place in our world that are not explainable. Even if they concluded God performed a miracle here, what’s the harm? Doesn’t God want us to believe in him?

Concern Two: that the environment God places us in will not cause us excessive suffering. God should not allow any pandemics, like the Spanish Influenza of 1918 which killed 20 million people, no tornado’s, no floods, no hurricanes, no earthquakes, no devastating fires, no volcanic eruptions, no lethal parasites, or major diseases like cancer, polio, malaria, pneumonia or AIDS. There should be no poisonous creatures like the brown recluse spider, and no poisonous plants like Yew (eat it and you die within minutes).

If God exists and wants us to believe in him, then he should’ve made it a priority to prevent religious diversity by clearly revealing himself in this world such that only people who refuse to believe would do so. In this way he’d prevent all religious wars, Crusades, Inquisitions and witch burnings. There’d be no religiously motivated suicide bombers, no Muslim terrorists, and no kamikaze pilots.

If God exists he should stop all natural disasters too, like the Indonesian tsunami. If God had prevented it, none of us would ever have known he kept it from happening, precisely because it didn’t happen. Any person who is supposed to be good would be morally obligated to prevent it, especially if all it took was a “snap” of his fingers to do so. Why didn’t God stop it?

If the theist claims natural disasters are the result of sin, then the punishments simply do not fit the crimes. God’s purported punishments are barbaric when compared to our own. We simply put criminals in jail. We don’t break both arms of an infant because her father lied at the office.

If God allows these disasters for a greater good, what’s the greater good here? Any paltry benefits to the victims could’ve been gained by other means. To say the victims are going to be rewarded in heaven for their suffering can never morally justify why they suffered in the first place, otherwise the final eternal state, even if it’s pleasant for them, only compensates them for their sufferings. This same reasoning could justify us torturing anyone, so long as we later compensated them for their sufferings.

If God exists he should not have created predation in the natural world, either. The amount of creaturely suffering here is atrocious as creatures prey on one another to feed themselves. There is no good reason for this and every reason against it. All creatures should be vegetarians. And in order to be sure there is enough vegetation for us all, God could’ve reduced our mating cycles and/or made edible vegetation to grow as plenteous as wild weeds do today.

Paul Draper has argued that “the theory of evolution of species by means of natural selection explains numerous facts much better than the alternative hypothesis, that each species of plant and animal was independently created by God.” Specifically Draper argues, “Both pain and pleasure contributes to two central biological goals of individual organisms, namely survival and reproduction.” But since God doesn’t need the biological usefulness of pain and pleasure in attaining these twin goals, and since God additionally needs good moral reasons for allowing for pain, theism is antecedently more implausible than say, atheism. This is particularly persuasive when we consider how long sentient animals had to suffer through this evolutionary process before the arrival humans.

In fact, there is no good reason for God to have created animals at all, especially since theists do not consider them part of any eternal scheme, nor are there any moral lessons that animals need to learn from their sufferings. As a result, William Rowe’s argument about a fawn that is burned in a forest fire and left to die a slow death without any human witness is gratuitous evil, plain and simple. It serves no greater good.

The theist may object that by making these changes it might go against the laws of nature and/or upset our fine tuned ecosystem. However, the theist faces a dilemma here: if God created the laws of nature in the first place, then he could’ve created a different set of laws, and if he didn’t create these laws, then where did they come from? Besides, since this present ecosystem is causing so much intense suffering, the question for the theist is why this ecosystem is more important to God than one without so much suffering that constantly needs divine maintenance. People should matter more to God than a fined tuned ecosystem.

If changing the environment in any of these ways requires some adjustment that does not accord with any known laws of nature, what’s the problem? The ordering of the world by general laws “seems nowise necessary” to God, as David Hume argued. The theist typically believes God created the universe out of nothing, and if he can do that, he can do anything in his world. He could even perform one or more perpetual miracles here. As far as the theist knows, the whole world operates by perpetual miracles anyway. Are all things possible with God, or not?

Concern Three: that our bodies will provide a reasonable measure of wellbeing for us. I want you to think outside the box here. All that seems to be required for this is that we have rational powers to think and to choose, the ability to express our thoughts, and bodies that will allow us to exercise our choices. So we could’ve been created much differently…easily.

God could’ve created all human beings with one color of skin. There has been too much killing, slavery, and wars because we are not one race with one language.

God could’ve created us with much stronger immune systems such that there would be no pandemics which have decimated whole populations of people. At the very least, he could’ve given us the knowledge to cure these diseases the day after he created us, but he didn’t even do that.

God could’ve created us with self-regenerating bodies. When we receive a cut, it heals itself over time, as does a sprained ankle, or even a broken bone. But why can’t an injured spinal cord be made to heal itself, or an amputated leg grow back in a few weeks? If that’s all we experienced in this world we wouldn’t know any different.

We find a lot of things in nature that God could’ve done for us. He could’ve made us all vegetarians, as I mentioned, given us wings on our backs so we could fly to safety if we fell off a cliff, and gills to keep us from drowning.

Only if the theist expects very little from such a being can he defend what God has done. Either God isn’t smart enough to figure out how to create a good world, or he doesn’t have the power to do it, or he just doesn’t care. These are the logical options.

In response, theists resort to claiming we just cannot fathom God’s omniscient ways. But this begs the question, because it assumes God exists. What needs to be shown is that God exists, and the empirical evidence of evil is against this. In addition, the theistic response here cuts both ways. We’re told God is so omniscient that we can’t understand his purposes, and this is true, we can’t begin to grasp why there is so much evil in the world, if God exists. But if God is as omniscient as claimed, then he should know how to create a better world, especially since we do have a good idea how he could’ve created differently.

One main reason a theist claims to believe in a good God is that the arguments for God’s existence outweigh the empirical evidence of evil in the world. But as soon as we study those arguments in any depth, they are less than persuasive. The design argument, for instance, is undermined by the extent of evil in the world.

Besides, these arguments don’t lead exclusively to theism or to any particular type of theism either, whether it’s Judaism, Islam, or the many branches of Christianity. Choosing between theistic religions depends additionally on historical evidence, usually coming from a pre-scientific and superstitious people, even though practically anything can be rationally denied in history.

The main reason people accept a particular type of theism, or none at all, depends to a very large extent on when and where they were born, called the “accidents of birth.” For, if you were born in Saudi Arabia, you would be a Sunni Muslim right now. If you were born in India you’d be a Hindu. If you were born in Japan you’d be a Shintoist, and if you were born in Thailand you’d be a Buddhist. Deny it all you want to, but these are the sociological facts.

In conclusion, I personally think any single one of these problems makes the existence of God implausible, but taken together they are insurmountable obstacles to the belief in the theistic God.

58 comments:

Cole said...

Hey John,

I just wanted to stop by and tell you I finished reading you book and I have now rejected Christianity. You're right.

While I still believe in some sort of Superior Reasoning Power I haven't got all the details worked out on who he or she is.

I know you disagree and I'm not going to try to convince you otherwise because that's not my job.

I don't believe I should try to convince others that some sort of God exists anymore.

Anyway, keep up the good work John.


Formerly known as Calvin

John W. Loftus said...

Cole, the person I remember as "Calvin" was very confident of his faith. It surprises me that with reading just one book someone as confident as you were rejects Christianity. Although, one reviewer did say he didn't think anyone could read my book and still keep his or her Christian faith. As I said in my book, I am just sharing the reasons why I rejected Christianity. If the reasons I offer convince others, then I am pleased. So I am pleased. I wish you well as you begin to think and reason out your own conclusions on the remaining issues, now that your blind dogmatism is gone.

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

John and Cole:

I decided to read Cole's blog. I too am amazed that "Calvin" has learned so much and progressed so far in accepting and loving his own and others' humanity. Yes, he may still have ideas I might differ with, but they are minor.

Welcome to the human race, it's a lot more fun than you might have thought before. You're now someone I'm glad to know -- even in this small a way.

And John, if your book helped him, it may be one of the things you should most deservedly take pride in. (And if any of my long-winded ramblings helped too, knowing that would make this day even nicer than it is.)

I hope you will continue to join with us, Cole. Your new perspective, and your understanding of your old one will be valuable.

Shygetz said...

Wow, congrats Cole. Good luck with your change; it's not always easy leaving the old behind. I hope you'll come by to hash out your new ideas here. Tempering my ideas in the crucible of public criticism has often helped me forge my opinions into something much better than they were initially.

Shygetz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dillie-O said...

John,

Thank you for writing such an accurate and concise post about the Problem of Evil. This a GREAT reference point when I'm trying to wrap my head around things. I'm going to freak a few people out around here if they see that my Google reader has Star next to this entry 8^D

So dealing with the topic in question, I get the initial inference from your post that if there was a God, he should have created a world that seems rather bland and homogeneous, everybody doing his bidding with doggy woggies and birdy-wirdies in the air.

While I don't take movies as gospel (pardon the cliche), movies such as the Matrix (referencing the first matrix the machines built), The Island, and others, all seem to proclaim the opposite. Humans cannot survive in a "perfect" world or that a "perfect" world is incompatible with the nature of us as human beings.

I still tend to look at the free will argument side of things. Free will is a tool in that we are endowed with, to do good or evil with. Does the fact that God gave it to us, knowing we would be responsible for such atrocities make God bad or us?

Do you want your kids (if you have any) to do everything that you say, without question, for their entire life? I certainly don't want that for my children. It's a scary thought to see where they could go, but ultimately it seems better that they choose to love me instead of forcing them to love me. It seems rather paradoxical doesn't it?

The other thing that seems interesting to me is that a lot of your arguments are precisely the arguments the "average Joe" makes against Christianity... "God is this big joy kill that makes me to X,Y,Z instead of having fun."

So that's some initial thoughts. Hopefully this will keep things going for some more discussion. I want to make better sense of it all, but my first impression is that you want to reduce to world to a digital true or false type environment in order to allow for God's existence, but the world functions in a far more analog format.

Dan Marvin said...

I'm republishing my opening statement in a debate I had.

I just don't know if there even will be free will in heaven. I know we won't want to leave and be tempted to leave. We can appreciate Gods goodness in the presence of evil. Unlike Adam who didn't know evil, Satan who didn't know evil, until they fell. We do! Because of it, we so appreciate his goodness and no matter what temptation that will come our way in heaven, if that could even happen, there would be no way, why? Because we knew how horrible evil was and now we can fully appreciate his goodness.

The presence of sin allows God to demonstrate his righteousness, the presence of sin allows God to demonstrate his love, and how else could he show the character of love that loves enemies and inners if there were none? God endures this horrible assault on his everlasting holiness; he endures the horrifying blaspheming, history of fallen beings, he suffers it, the imposition it is on his purity to display
his wrath to the fullest extent, to put himself on everlasting display.

Why are we here? What is the theological answer? To give the text book answer, to glorify God and enjoy him ever more. How do you glorify God? Here is how, you sinner, go get saved. Get saved so God can be glorified, that's it; this is the purpose of this entire universe.

God knew we would sin, He knew we would rebel, He knew we would introduce evil, He knew it. So that he can send forth a savior born of a virgin, to live under the law to save us under the curse of the law so that, we can be a little trophy of his grace, he can always point to us as a testimony to his goodness. Ephesians 2:7

We wouldn't know how God is righteous as he is, everlastingly, and give him glory for it if it hadn't had of been for unrighteousness, we wouldn't know he's loving as he is if it hadn't been for sin, we wouldn't know he's holy if it weren't for judgment.

How holy is God? So holy that he must send out of his presence, everlastingly, anyone who is not fit. Why of all this? That he might make known the riches of his glory, that is, he did all of this in order that he might gather into heaven a redeemed humanity who would forever glorify him for all that he is.

Tommy said...

I wouldn't call it a problem of evil, but rather the problem of indifference.

If there was a god watching over us that judged us and sentenced the wicked to hell and the innocent and good to heaven, then such a god would not intervene to stop the Holocaust or Timothy McVeigh.

But when you consider that we live in a world that is at best indifferent and at worse hostile to us, it is evidence that either there is no god, or if there is, it couldn't care less about us, or like the Prime Directive in Star Trek, it simply forbids itself from interfering in our affairs.

A new argument I have started using recently when theists claim that a hurricane, volcanic eruption or earthquake is a sign from an angry god is to point out that we have observed such phenomena on other bodies in our solar system. If volcanoes constantly erupt on Jupiter's moon Io and violent sandstorms sweep across the surface of Mars where nobody lives and nobody can be harmed, then it is evidence that these are common natural phenomena in the universe and such phenomena on Earth should be regarded as natural as well. The only difference is that we just happen to live here and consequently some of us get killed by these phenomena.

BTW, that's really Calvin? I remember him telling me that he would be celebrating the day when god consigned me to burn in hell for all eternity. Glad to see he is mellowed.

For a time after I turned away from Christianity, I still maintained a belief in a god of sorts. Though I have been an atheist for many years, I don't have a problem with people believing in the existence of a god that loves us and wants us to be better people. I just reject the existence of a god who decides whether we fry or not in the afterlife based on whether or not we accepted that everything in a collection of books known as the Bible was literally true.

Lee Randolph said...

there are so many impediments to free will, and so many logical problems with free-will as its used in christian apologetics.

my question to christians that want to use this 'free will' argument to defend the problem of evil/suffering is as follows.

Given that a memory depends on the states of conglomerations of neurons in the brain, and given that learning can be inhibited by manipulating them, and given that we all have our degree of learning capacity, and given that the degree of learning capacity affects how much we can learn, and given that this is all physical,

where is it exactly that the data we are supposed to gather, learn, along the way in exercising our free will in dealing with the problem of evil/suffering is stored? After death, our bodies deteriorate. Please, oh Please, someone say Quantum Mechanics and entanglement.....

Where is the soul again? The heart? oh, right, that so yesterday, must be in my noggin.

And, something I borrowed from John, If heaven is not like earth, then what are we going to use it for?

And how can a psychopath, who cannot feel emotion, get into heaven if he/she can't love god?

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Dan,
how else could he show the character of love that loves enemies and inners if there were none?
uh, by instilling it in us from the beginning?

Why exactly was it necessary for god to create us?

Why exactly was it necessary for god to create us with the propensity not to understand love without suffering?

Why is it that one persons freewill is another persons misery?

Why are there unintended consequences of good intentions that cause suffering?

Could it be....chance?

David B. Ellis said...


So dealing with the topic in question, I get the initial inference from your post that if there was a God, he should have created a world that seems rather bland and homogeneous, everybody doing his bidding with doggy woggies and birdy-wirdies in the air.


If that's the impression you get about the POE then you haven't studied the topic carefully enough.

Keep at it though.

Shygetz said...

dillie-o said: "While I don't take movies as gospel (pardon the cliche), movies such as the Matrix (referencing the first matrix the machines built), The Island, and others, all seem to proclaim the opposite. Humans cannot survive in a "perfect" world or that a "perfect" world is incompatible with the nature of us as human beings.

And why would it be against the nature of humans? Because God made us that way! An omnipotent God could make us in such a way that we could survive in a perfect world.

Strike two against your argument is the idea of heaven. If the human essence cannot survive in a place of perfection, then heaven cannot be a perfect destination for the saints.

I still tend to look at the free will argument side of things. Free will is a tool in that we are endowed with, to do good or evil with. Does the fact that God gave it to us, knowing we would be responsible for such atrocities make God bad or us?

Then why were there ever miracles? If God values our free will so highly, why did he perform miracles which circumvented our free will (egregious example #1: Exodus 4:21 where God promises to harden Pharaoh's heart so that He may kill the firstborn sons of Egypt)? If He did so to perform some greater good, then He should be willing to do so now in order to perform some greater good.

Either God holds free will as inviolate, so the miracles attributed to Him really weren't done by Him, or He is willing to interfere in free will to bring about a good outcome, so His failure to do so now is inexplicable. Which is it?

"Do you want your kids (if you have any) to do everything that you say, without question, for their entire life?...ultimately it seems better that they choose to love me instead of forcing them to love me.

But you are not God. You do not claim to always be correct, to know the future results of all actions, and to love perfectly. God clearly does claim all these things. Additionally, God does want us to do what he says without question.

And if you told your children "Love me, or I will torture you until the end of eternity" I think it could safely be said that you ARE forcing them to love you.

"The other thing that seems interesting to me is that a lot of your arguments are precisely the arguments the "average Joe" makes against Christianity... "God is this big joy kill that makes me to X,Y,Z instead of having fun.""

But God could have made us where doing X,Y,Z IS having fun. He apparently chose not to. but rather threaten us with eternal torture if we do not do X,Y,Z. But He loves us. Really.

Unlike Adam who didn't know evil, Satan who didn't know evil, until they fell. We do!

So God made both us and Satan, knowing we would fall through no fault of our own simply because we didn't know evil. Why not make us either know evil, or be instinctively repulsed by it? He is omnipotent, after all...

The presence of sin allows God to demonstrate his righteousness, the presence of sin allows God to demonstrate his love, and how else could he show the character of love that loves enemies and inners if there were none?

God loves his enemies and sinners? He commits genocide against his enemies (e.g. Joshua 6:21) and tortures sinners eternally unless they repent (and not just repent, no...they must choose the proper path of repentance from a grab bag of religion, with no reliable evidence to lead them to the correct conclusion).

You and I seem to have a different definition of "love". I wouldn't treat a person I hated that badly...

God endures this horrible assault on his everlasting holiness; he endures the horrifying blaspheming, history of fallen beings, he suffers it, the imposition it is on his purity to display
his wrath to the fullest extent, to put himself on everlasting display.


And it's his own fault that it turned out this way. He knew it would, he could have done it differently, he chose not to. That's like asking you to feel bad because I suffer a horrible assault on my dignity when I choose to ride my kid's tricycle through the mall naked.

We wouldn't know how God is righteous as he is, everlastingly, and give him glory for it if it hadn't had of been for unrighteousness, we wouldn't know he's loving as he is if it hadn't been for sin, we wouldn't know he's holy if it weren't for judgment.

Umm, God could create us with this knowledge, and we would know if without needing all that crap. Or do you have a weird definition of "omnipotent" too?

It's like a kid with an ant colony; burn some of 'em with a magnifying glass so the others will praise your mightly power and forbearance. Forget it. If a God like that does exist, He is nothing close to omnibenevolent. In fact, He is an asshole, and you can keep Him.

richdurrant said...

"uh, by instilling it in us from the beginning?"

Lee, Do we not want to challenge our knowledge constantly to know if we are right? Isn't that even one premise of this site, to challenge what we believe we know to be true? So be instilling knowledge to us are we to then blindly follow, or to challenge that knowledge so we know that it is based in truth?

"Why exactly was it necessary for god to create us?"

For the purpose I mentioned above, among others, such as learn how to make responsible choices that bring about good consequences to others. Learn that our Free will affects others free will. Basically to become free acting beings that choose to do the right thing, not be forced to do what's right. We need to learn these things by trial and error, and isn't an error what makes us become a little more responsible about our choices?

David B. Ellis said...

two problems with the free will theodicy:

1. it only addresses a tiny portion of the suffering of the world and, therefore, even if it were valid, is incomplete.

2. eliminating most or even all of the extreme suffering caused by moral (as opposed to natural) evils would not require God to interfere with free will---only with freedom of action. When a pedophile is apprehended in the act of attempting to abduct a child it is not an interference with his free will---he still wills to commit his crime, he's simply unable to carry out his will.

So the free will defense fails on two counts.

Craig said...

An excellent book which discusses the "hiddenness" of God in light of the Problem of Evil and human reason is Divine Hiddenness And Human Reason by J. L. Schellenberg. This book provides a careful and thorough treatment of an interesting challenge to traditional theism, a version of the problem of evil that we might think of as a problem of 'epistemic' evil: if the perfectly loving God of theism exists, why hasn't he seen to it that more people believe in him?

Recognizing that almost certainly no one has direct voluntary control over whether she believes in God, Schellenberg sees the central question this way: if a loving God exists, why has he failed to provide evidence of his
existence sufficient to produce theistic belief in all serious, epistemically inculpable investigators of theism? Pressing this question as a challenge to theism obviously requires showing (A) that the existence of God entails, or makes likely, the total absence of what Schellenberg calls "reasonable nonbelief" and (B) that reasonable nonbelief nevertheless occurs.

richdurrant said...

yes David E, I agree about the free will defense, and i am not trying to solve the entire problem of evil with it. I used that for the to answer what Lee, in an earlier post, had mentioned about free will.
As far as your example, if you put in there that God somehow keeps us from committing any act, that is interfering with our freedom. As far as natural evils, those are called evil by humans. maybe from Gods point of view they are not in fact evil. Not that we can't comprehend his purpose for creating the world as it is, but once we get to see the broader picture we might change our mind about what evil really is. Our purpose for now is to learn how to make responsible choices, and make right what we get wrong(repent). It appears that this is a pretty big task in and of itself. I only aim free will at evil that is caused by human choice. Natural evil isn't intended to be resolved through free will.

DBULL said...

I'm always amused at the cherry picking of the bible that occurs on this site. As self described former christians it can only be the result of willful omission. Do you remember reading anything to the effect that the God of the bible is also a RIGHTEOUS JUDGE? What could that mean? You guys remember something called a curse being introduced in the garden of eden? Perhaps you should throw those monkey wrenches into your machinery and see how things pan out. I suspect you'll have to rebuild the machine. You conveniently never discuss what the bible says that vexes your endless arguments (which lead you nowhere). Constant rehashing, never proving anything, nor can you. Good luck debunking a God who hides Himself. You will meet Him, unfortunately it will likely be under very adverse conditions. Anything a man can be argued into, he can also be argued out of. Good luck arguing a man whose be experienced into something out of his beliefs. You boys have all been argued around the block, and where has that left you?

Tommy said...

dbull, yet another jerkwad who has nothing to offer but appeals to fear of the afterlife.

The Rev. Jenner J. Hull said...

To dbull I can only say...

The Bible is a book of historical allegories. If you think for a second that it holds any meaning past that of vague metaphor, then you're reading much, much too deep.

In simpler language, it's FICTION.

Countless Biblical scholars have "cherry picked" the Bible for verses appropriate to their current kink. The aplogists cling onto the "God loves you" verses while ignoring the gleeful OT wrath of a "God" who acts just as a human would.

Atheists are the only ones who honestly "cherry pick" the Bible to separate the "shit from the petunias."

And Rich D. doesn't seem to grasp the concept of "free will" in the context of a Christian "God."

If such a "God" actually endowed us with "Free Will," then He/She/It is hardly the "God" of the bible.

The "God" of the bible is very specific in the fact that "He" created everything and is ruler over all. The whole "free will" kick seems like an "Out" for the fact that, despite the very concept of a "loving" and "just" "God," "His" creation still does horrible things.

Simply put, there can be no "free will" if "God has a plan for us all."

And if "God" created us specifically, with an ultimate plan (which involves all that "Revelation" bullshit), then there can be no "free will."

For those in the know, "free will" is human nature. Some people do good, and some do bad. If we can stop those doing bad, we're doing good.

If "God" wants to help out in any discernible way, then we welcome "Him." 'Cause, as far as I've seen, we've only got the Cops to rely on.

Since "He" would rather not do anything (based on realistic human experience), then any paranormal or supernatural definition of "God" is utterly useless.

The only thing "God" is capable of doing is "answering prayers," and we've all seen that this concept is notoriously "hit and miss." More accurately, it's like playing roulette.

And in the "roulette example," "God" is hitting 31 one hundred times in a row. Without betting. And without ever being near the table.

Dan Marvin said...

Shygetz said... And if you told your children "Love me, or I will torture you until the end of eternity" I think it could safely be said that you ARE forcing them to love you.

Obey me otherwise you can get hurt and killed. I tell that to my kids when they want to run out into the streets and I will not let them. How am I different as a Father to my children? Obey God’s laws or go to Jail (hell) how that is difficult to understand? And since you all have broken God’s law your punishment is hell. If God were to set sinners free he would be an unjust god. A judge in court that lets criminals go free is corrupt, God is not corrupt.

Tommy said... ”dbull, yet another jerkwad who has nothing to offer but appeals to fear of the afterlife.”

I don’t know him but I think he did just fine: (how else can we show our love to you? Do you let people you love drink and drive and go to jail?)

Hebrews 10:31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

2 Corinthians 5:11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.

The Bible refers to the fate of the unsaved with such fearful words as the following: Shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2), Everlasting punishment” (Matthew 25:46), Weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 24:51), Fire unquenchable” (Luke 3:17), Indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish” (Romans 2:8,9), Everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord” (2 Thessalonians 1:9), Eternal fire…the blackness of darkness for ever” (Jude 1:7,13) Revelation 14:10,11 tells us the final, eternal destiny of the sinner: “He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone…the smoke of their torment ascended up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day or night.”

I said we wouldn't know he's loving as he is if it hadn't been for sin, we wouldn't know he's holy if it weren't for judgment.

Shygetz said... ”Umm, God could create us with this knowledge, and we would know if without needing all that crap. Or do you have a weird definition of "omnipotent" too?”
So you don’t have knowledge of good vs. evil? BTW He did it is called your conscience, He burned the Ten Commandments into your brain while still having Free will. Lets take the 9th Commandment:
“It's a proven fact that with ALL people, across all genders and races, the consequences / telltales of when a person lies, are that; They experience sweaty palms. They experience induced swallowing. Their heart rate increases. Their faces turn red. They avoid eye contact.
They speak more quickly, etc. etc. (The same old, same old with everyone human being on the planet. Except of course for sociopaths and those who have perfected evil deception.” (findthetruth.com)
Craig said... ”if a loving God exists, why has he failed to provide evidence of his existence sufficient to produce theistic belief in all serious, epistemically inculpable investigators of theism?”

Patrick (The Rev. Jenner J. Hull) said...”Since "He" would rather not do anything (based on realistic human experience), then any paranormal or supernatural definition of "God" is utterly useless.”

In rich man and Lazarus . God said if they don't believe The Bible, neither will they be persuaded with anything else.

Remember satan argued your same points to Jesus in Luke 4. You agree with satan? Hmmm wrong teem choice all.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi richdurrant,
nice to talk to you again,
a couple of things.
Lee, Do we not want to challenge our knowledge constantly to know if we are right? Isn't that even one premise of this site, to challenge what we believe we know to be true? So be instilling knowledge to us are we to then blindly follow, or to challenge that knowledge so we know that it is based in truth?
are you following the case of the english couple that "lost" thier child? While I am not saying that they are guilty, I am using it as an example of small child abduction and murder.

You seem to be saying that it is more important for child murderers to learn to be more moral than it is to not allow (doesn't mean prevent) it to happen in the first place. Borrowing from John again, we get sick at the smell of rotten food or stinking road kill. It is makes us not want to eat it. Did god do it or is it biological mechanisms? My point is that no matter what, It it more important to not allow children to abducted an murdered than it is for the murder to learn a moral lesson, and a mechanism such as 'stench' or psychological 'stench' in the our minds should be achieveable by a good god.

But then, you go on later to equivocate the meaning of good to defend god doing exactly what I was talking about. You fall back on the old "yes I know the bible says that god is good, but we don't really know how that applies to god so we can't say what he ought or ought not do related to the problem of suffering" in which case just come right out and admit the the "good god' of the bible is meaningless.

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

Dan:
I have a number of challenges for you. I wonder if you will deign to notice them, since you don't have answers to them in your "Handy Dandy Book of Responses to Typical Arguments From Atheists." (Not that those ideas work, but I've got a few 'non-typical arguments' for you to handle.)

The first thing I've got to ask you is if you ever look at what you've written and ask if the words make sense. Not if they are true, if they even make simple English sense. For example, you say the following, among other similar statements: (I've corrected an obvious typo -- we all type too fast at times.)

"The presence of sin allows God to demonstrate his righteousness, the presence of sin allows God to demonstrate his love, and how else could he show the character of love that loves enemies and sinners if there were none."

and

"Why are we here? What is the theological answer? To give the text book answer, to glorify God and enjoy him ever more. ... God can be glorified, that's it; this is the purpose of this entire universe."

Okay, so who is God's 'audience?' Who is he showing these things to? "Glorify" means to 'make manifest the glory of.' It takes an indirect object. You manifest something to someone. The same with these 'demonstrations' you talk of. You have to demonstrate something to some one.

Who is God's audience? Himself? But he has no need to glorify himself to himself. He does not need to demonstrate his justice, his wrath, his other characteristics to himself.

Is humanity his audience? But -- in your belief -- once a person has spent a few decades here on Earth he'll be in the presence of God -- if only briefly, for the judgment. They will see God's glory, his magnificence, and understand his other characteristics.

No, if our purpose is to glorify god, I guess he must be just one of many gods and that those other gods are the ones who 'need to be convinced.'

But does the judgment show either his justice, his 'wrath' (is wrath a 'good' characteristic?), or his holiness? If heaven and hell exist, then all of us will continue to exist for all eternity. Some of us in 'eternal torment' some in eternal pleasure, but all of us eternally. Yet this oh-so-just God of yours will judge us on our actions over a mere few decades, a time when we had no direct experience of God in the fullness of his magnificence, at a time when we are bombarded with hundreds of different Christianities each telling us different this that we need to do or not do to be saved. Is this, in any way, shape, or form 'just?'

You argue "How holy is God? So holy that he must send out of his presence, everlastingly, anyone who is not fit." Fine, but then how can ANYONE be saved? None of us, by that statement, is 'fit.' If your answer is 'we may not be fit, but we are saved through faith in Jesus Christ, Our Saviour' then you are saying only those who have the 'right sort' of faith, who can solve the puzzle of the hundreds of different Christianities somehow, by solving this puzzle, earn a 'free pass.' But you would not, I would expect, accept Mormons, or Catholics, or members of the MCC (gay Christians), or Unitarians, or 'liberal Protestants' as 'having faith' no matter how many of them insisted they did, because it's not the 'right' faith.

Is any of this anything like 'justice?'

I'm going to go into this from another direction later -- and this time I will do it -- but I want to give you two other views of the question of God's justice. (I don't accept either of them, because I don't accept a God or an 'afterlife' but at least they seem reasonable compared to the utter injustice of your God.)

First, "God made us to know, love and serve him in this world and to be happy with him in the next." In other words, heaven is the 'default position,' God wants us all to be saved, and it takes a positive and knowing act of the will, a rejection of a God a person believes in, to damn that person.

(A further attempt to describe this position is a paraphrase of Red Skelton's 'mean widda kid.' "If I dood it, I get a helling. I dood it anyway.")

That's the Catholoc position I grew up with. I reject it, but it is much more credible than yours.

Or try this one:

Hell exists, and sinners are punished there. But it is not eternal. It exists only until God sends his only son to Earth to redeem the world, to wipe out the old sinful world and institute a new and purified world, at which time there is no longer a need for hell, and all the sinners there are released to enjoy the presence of God.

(It may sound vaguely Christian, and thee are certainly passages in the Bible that can be interpreted in that way. In fact, it comes from the religion that had much greater influence on Christianity than is usually thought, that introduced the idea of "God's Son" into a Jewish context that did not and could not imagine such an idea; that changed the idea of Satan from the Jewish one to the idea of the constant adversary that Christians believe in. That religion is Zoroastrianism.)

But let's look further at the idea of the Christian God, whether he wants people to be saved, whether he is -- if he exists -- all-wise or pretty dumb, in the next comment.

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

Dan:
I'm going to make two statements that I ask you to accept for the sake of the argument.

First, that my disbelief is sincere, not a 'wilfull hard-heartedness' or a way of 'giving myself an excuse for sin.' I simply do not believe the various 'Christian formulations' are true. I can no more believe that 'Jesus was the Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity, and the Way to Salvation' than you can believe that "There is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his Prophet."

(You think I am wrong, of course, as the Muslim thinks you are wrong. But I'm sure you'd resent it if the Muslim insisted -- as some do -- that you, like all men 'know in your heart' that Islam is true.' Some Muslims go so far as to claim that no one 'converts' to Islam, what they do is 'revert' to Islam because when they were born they were Muslim until their parents, etc, taught them otherwise. And since you'd resent those arguments being made to you, I'd appreciate it if you did not make the equivalent ones to me.)

The second statement I ask you to accept is that -- from a secular standpoint, at least -- I have been a good man for my 61 years. I define 'goodness' as acting honestly, responsibly, respectfully, helping others and not causing them deliberate pain or using them to my advantage and their disadvantage.

By this definition, I have not been 'perfect' but I certainly rank in the top ten per cent on the 'goodness scale.'

Given those two statements, were I to die now, would I be saved or damned?

If you say 'damned,' does this not imply that anyone whose 'lack of belief' in the Christian formulations comes from ignorance -- that they simply never heard them, or heard of Jesus -- is equally deserving of damnation?

But if this is so, then what of the many millions of people who died before the birth of Jesus? Aren't they equally damned? But why did God create them, then? Is this an action that 'displays God's justice?' (There might be an argument about the 'descendants of Abraham,' that they, because of the covenant, had a chance for salvation and eternal happiness. Ironically, belief in an afterlife was NOT a part of Judaism until relatively late -- and still is not an essential part of it. Jews follow the law and do what God has asked them -- as they see it -- out of gratitude, out of respect, NOT out of fear of hell.

Or what about those people in China, Southeast Asia, Northern Europe, Russia, or in the Americas who lived after Jesus's death, but who had never learned of it? They too are damned, I suppose. Or those who couldn't read, and had never had a Christian preach to them? Or those who were only exposed to the 'wrong' kind of Christianity?

If these are damned, how does this display god's justice?

(Beware, this seems like a standard argument, but there is a ticking bomb hidden in it. But that will have to wait for this evening, after the Mets, laundry, and a nap.)

Dan Marvin said...

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said... "I can no more believe that 'Jesus was the Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity, and the Way to Salvation' than you can believe that "There is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his Prophet."

Then you are the anti-christ: In 2 John the 7th verse it is clear "For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist."

Then you said "I have been a good man for my 61 years." So I ask you have you ever lusted in those 61 years? How about lied even once in those 61 years? If you have then you have broken Gods Laws and you must be punished, otherwise God is an unjust Judge. If you lie just once you are a liar, if you hate someone just once you are a murderer at heart and you will have to face God on judgement day. The Bible says we are not good we have wicked hearts. We desire things that are bad, (look at any addiction) we live for sin. Fornication feels good to us, it is an abomination to God though.

"I have not been 'perfect' but I certainly rank in the top ten per cent on the 'goodness scale.'." That does not matter. You must be Holy (made perfect) in His presence and the only way to do that is through Christ's blood being shed for your sins.

"Given those two statements, were I to die now, would I be saved or damned?" Damned for eternity.

"If you say 'damned,' does this not imply that anyone whose 'lack of belief' in the Christian formulations comes from ignorance -- that they simply never heard them, or heard of Jesus -- is equally deserving of damnation?"

Yes, we all have lied and deserve hell, even if we never hear of Jesus. God burned the Ten Commandments into your conscience and all humans on earth know it is wrong to lie or steal. (9th and 8th Commandments) The Bible says there is none good, no not one (Psalm 53:3, Romans 3:12). So who is right God or you?

"Or what about those people in China, Southeast Asia, Northern Europe, Russia, or in the Americas who lived after Jesus's death, but who had never learned of it? They too are damned, I suppose."

Now you sound like Oprah

"Or those who couldn't read, and had never had a Christian preach to them?" (your answer is on Oprah link)

"Or those who were only exposed to the 'wrong' kind of Christianity?" Your answer is in Philippians 1:15-18

Philippians 1:15-18 "Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; andsome also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice."

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

Fascinating. You really do believe that Jesus was so poor a communicator that, even though he preached for a year, even though, for most of that time he lived with and traveled with his disciples -- and he preached much more than the words we have recorded, all of which can be spoken in an evening, even though -- according to you he came back from the dead and spent even more time with those same disciples, even after all of that, he'd failed so badly in getting his message across.

Why else would he, later have to appear in a vision to someone who had never met him or heard him preach, and convey through him, what he'd really meant. (And remember the almost proudly contemptuous way in which Paul speak of the "Jerusalem group" -- the people who'd traveled with and listened to Jesus speak.)

I'm tempted to speak of those poor stupid apostles who were so dense, but Jesus is the one who picked them. Why couldn't he get his point across to them in all that time?

For that matter, why didn't the people ever agree on what he said. Paul himself is witness to that. So many of his epistles are condemnations of other people who got the message wrong too, who thought that Jesus meant what he said about the Jewish law, who believed that jesus was right in saying that the current generation would not pass away before the Kingdom of God would come to pass.

And there were always different interpretations of jesus' words. Marcion, Origen, the Gnostics, the Ebionites, the Arians, all of them got it wrong. And today there are hundreds of different interpretations of the words you quote as if they are perfectly clear.

And yes, i see you do make the same argument as the Muslims, that all of us 'know in our hearts' the truth. (of course, different truths, but why should I believe you and doubt him?)

Much more tomorrow, you will make an excellent target.

Steven Carr said...

DAN MARVIN
So I ask you have you ever lusted in those 61 years? How about lied even once in those 61 years?

CARR
As always, we have a Christian double-standard.

A lifetime of suffering is nothing compared to the eternal reward you will get. Even 70 years of agony is nothing compared to eternity.

But one momentary lapse for a second or two deserves eternal punishment, even though a whole lifetime is nothing compared to eternity.

Michael Ejercito said...

The original basis is based on the false assumption that God would want to stop suffering.

Bloviator said...

All I can say is WOW!!!!!! This concerning both Dan Marvin and cole (aka Calvin). Calvin's commentary used to be acid enough to take the chrome off my car bumpers (boy am I dating myself here -- they're all plastic now!) Unless this is a prank, my hat is off to you, sir. As I'm sure you realize, this is a decision that few of us have taken lightly. Poor Dan really mesmerizes me with his parody of a Westboro Baptist Church member -- oh wait, it's not a parody, is it? Dan, please, please, pleeeaaaaassssseee sent an email describing your 'conversion experience'. I remember you saying something about 'the hot iron of god's hand', or some such, but I sure would like to hear the whole story.

Dan, remember my words. If Calvin can "see the light", so also can you. All you guys are trying too hard here. We don't accept the bible as anything more than allegory and wishful thinking, with a bit of history thrown in here and there. You might as well quote from the Iliad in hopes of convincing me Achilles was a true son of a god. (Actually, I wish you would -- it is a marvelous read).

I repeat my phrase from the thread on Joseph's deconversion, Dan will one day be one of us.

John, as ever, all excellent points which to a thinking mind make the possibility of an omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent god vanishingly small. Take out the omnibenevolent and things might be more interesting, but then, as you have said before, what would be the point of worship?

richdurrant said...

Lee,
I really don't like the term "free will" because it is only half the picture. From your perspective, I can see and understand the problem you face with "free will". I don't really agree though that allowing the desire to do something to remain, and having something impede our actions is truly being free to act. I think that is a problem with the free will defense. I still maintain that we need to learn to act responsibly, and that is our purpose for being free to choose and act. I don't like any more then you do that someone is free to harm someone else, and I have followed that case, as well as others like it, with interest.

Oh, and thanks to revJJHull for those encouraging words, and reminding me how feeble minded I am.;) Maybe someday, with your help, I'll be "in the know".

To Dan Marvin who said,
"Yes, we all have lied and deserve hell, even if we never hear of Jesus. God burned the Ten Commandments into your conscience and all humans on earth know it is wrong to lie or steal. (9th and 8th Commandments) The Bible says there is none good, no not one (Psalm 53:3, Romans 3:12). So who is right God or you?"
Did Christ not suffer for all, and those who follow him are forgiven of their sins if they repent? If this is true, then atheists are right about God, and he is only just and not merciful, IMO.

Dan Marvin said...

richdurrant said... "If this is true, then atheists are right about God, and he is only just and not merciful, IMO."

That is not according to the Bible (Luke 6:36) So you believe in atheists and not God? So atheists are your gods? God said something about graven image's also (2nd Commandment)

How does giving a way for all humans on earth the free will to choose salvation not constitute merciful? If you are too proud to admit that God is in charge then how is that His fault? In alcoholism if you admit you have a problem then you are 50% healed but if you fight it, the cure is far off. If you do not realize that you are a wretched sinner then how can God be with you to change you? (1 Timothy 1:9-10)

Eternity begins here on earth, before you die, not after. If you want an eternal life you must begin by throwing away the pride and humbling your self to God and ask (free will) Him to save you. (Psalm 34:18,Psalm 51:17)

akakiwibear said...

The problem of evil seems so profound to atheists, but it really very simple. We live in a world where fire burns, there are consequences for our actions.
Is it God's fault if I stick my hand in a fire and get burned? Atheists seem to think I should think it is
>>> why???
Perhaps it would be nice to keep it very simple and believe that the existence of fire and our ability to be burned is proof there is no God, but really????

richdurrant said...

"That is not according to the Bible (Luke 6:36) So you believe in atheists and not God? So atheists are your gods? God said something about graven image's also (2nd Commandment)"

I'm not sure how Luke fits into this....hmmm.
You said that if someone doesn't have an opportunity to hear of Christ and then dies, he deserves to be in hell for eternity. How is me being merciful going to make a difference to them? What was Christ doing in 1 Pet 3:19? And for what purpose in 1 Pet 4:6 would the gospel be to preach to the dead if they are to be in hell for eternity? I almost expect the "you aren't a real Christian" trump card now.

"How does giving a way for all humans on earth the free will to choose salvation not constitute merciful?"

This is why I think you missed the point of the question. We're not talking about people who used their free will and choose not to follow Christ. We are talking about people who lived their whole lives, with the burned in commandments, never knew of Christ or that they needed to follow him, never heard the gospel, and then died. What is to become of THOSE people?

Now I must go and pray to my atheist gods!

Dan Marvin said...

richdurrant said... "And for what purpose in 1 Pet 4:6 would the gospel be to preach to the dead if they are to be in hell for eternity?"

You must understand we are all spiritually dead (we all sin) and this is why God sent Jesus to wake us up and we all can be "born again" into eternal life.

This is actually a great question, the verse has to do with the spiritually dead not the physically dead. If you choose to not follow Jesus, the the Bible addresses this also: Revelation 20:14 "And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death." After you all harden your hearts there is not much else God can do for you. So I am begging for all of you to just try your very best not to listen to the naysaying hard hearts and understand the true message in the Bible.

"What was Christ doing in 1 Pet 3:19?" Lets keep it in context and it is obvious.

We see this by the passage 1 Pet 3:18 "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:"

1 Pet 3:20 "Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water."
1 Pet 3:21 "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:"

I was talking about this earlier (not to get off subject) but I said everything in the OT was a shadowy prophecy for the NT, I said the crossing of the red sea was as the water baptism, which it was and the next example was the water baptism of Noah's day, it related to the spiritual baptism of today as a covenant with God. Step 4-5 below is the baptism, water is just the symbol of true baptism, the public promiss (covenant) to God.

This is paramount if you want real results and a true relationship with God, he gives a way to do it.

I have said in the past "God’s word declares that this is God's plan of salvation; 1. Hear the WORD of God. 2. Believe that Jesus is the Messiah. 3. Repent of your ways that are contrary to God’s will. 4. Be Baptized INTO Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 5. Remain faithful to the Covenant you have made with God."

NO, this life is not easy in fact, the only guarantees for us here on earth (according to the Bible) are persecution, temptations and tribulations. Recent reports is 200 million Christians wil be arested or tortured for their faith all over the world THIS YEAR ALONE! We are very blessed to live in the US to be able to worship God.

Great question though I wish more atheists would be more inquisitive enough, instead of just sitting on their presupposition. Please take the rest of your life to understand God's word and you will be wiser for it...and follow those steps and you will be...SAVED!

Dan Marvin said...

Sorry, I forgot to answer this question.

richdurrant "We are talking about people who lived their whole lives, with the burned in commandments, never knew of Christ or that they needed to follow him, never heard the gospel, and then died. What is to become of THOSE people?"

Now even you are sounding like Oprah (watch for answer)

richdurrant said...

First, I'm not an atheist. Next If that sounded like Oprah to you maybe there's a question that is still left unanswered, and it's a good one. How can God be merciful and condemn someone to Hell for eternity who never had the opportunity to know who Jesus was and that he/she needed to follow your 5 steps to salvation? There are good people who aren't Christian. Yes it's true that you need to repent and all sin, but there are those who never learn this hear in this life, or don't have the mental capacity to understand the gospel. I have a daughter who is severely handicapped. She functions at about a 2 year old level. She certainly can understand that she does make mistakes. She knows not to hit, lie, ect... No comprehension of the gospel at all, no understanding of the necessity to repent, and yet the gospel according to Dan puts her in Hell. Explain how this can be merciful?

Shygetz said...

Dan said: So you don’t have knowledge of good vs. evil? BTW He did it is called your conscience, He burned the Ten Commandments into your brain while still having Free will.

My comment was that we would know the nature of God's glory and righteousness without needing eternal punishment if he just made us knowing. Do you refute that? If so, then you claim God is not omnipotent.

You claim that the Ten Commandments were burned into every person's heart when they were born. So I was born knowing to keep the Sabbath holy? I was born knowing not to make graven images? I was born knowing not to covet my neighbor's ass?

I think not. I was born knowing not to hurt people without cause, not to steal, basically all the things required for any social group of animals to survive. The rest I learned.

And the Ten Commandments were God's covenant to the Jews. I am not, nor have I ever been, a Jew. According to Jewish theology, I am bound by the Noahide covenant; according to Christian theology, by the covenant of Jesus. I have never been bound by the Ten Commandments.

Obey me otherwise you can get hurt and killed. I tell that to my kids when they want to run out into the streets and I will not let them.

Ah, but if your child ignored you and ran into the street, would you crank up your car and run him down yourself?

Your God would. And you would apparently cheer him on, rejoicing in your righteousness.

And Christians have the nerve to claim superior morality. Feh.

This is actually a great question, the verse has to do with the spiritually dead not the physically dead.

Now you are reading from the Book of Dan Marvin. 1 Peter 4 contains no reference to preaching to the spiritually dead; it talks about preaching in the past to those who are now dead, that they may be judged justly, having heard the news of Jesus. You can't be a literalist and make up your own verses.

And tell me about 1 Peter 4:7 while you're at it. How far off can "The end of all things" be and still be considered "near" to first century AD? 2000 years?

Dan Marvin said...
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Dan Marvin said...

richdurrant "There are good people who aren't Christian."

No there isn't they all have either lied, stolen, or lusted after someone. They probably dishonored their parents at least one time in their life and countless other Commandments have been broken by them. There is none that are good, no not one. How many laws do you have to break to be called a lawbreaker?

richdurrant "I have a daughter who is severely handicapped. She functions at about a 2 year old level."

Do you feel you are a better human then her? I hope not! I have learned to treat everyone the same and that NO HUMAN is better then any other. We are all wretched sinners. My brother who is one year older then me was born with cerebral palsy, people would often make him feel less then they were, over a short time I realized it wasn't my brother with the problem but the ones who judged him. My Sister was very mentally challenged and today she has a daughter, who isn't, and is doing fine in life.

richdurrant "She knows not to hit, lie, ect... No comprehension of the gospel at all" Sounds like she has good comprehension of the Bible to me. God burned those Commandments into everyone's brain, even your daughter. My own daughter was 4 when she memorized all Ten Commandments. You would be surprised about the capacity of children. We shouldn't limit our children's learning based on some preconceived notion that they couldn't do something before we try with them. I know you won't give up on her. This is a great tool to help them learn. Hey Kids, Test Your Memory. See If You Are a Genius!

richdurrant "and yet the gospel according to Dan puts her in Hell."

Prove this statement! You have a lot of nerve to say this. If fact I just yesterday wrote to someone who wrote to me:"I hope your one year old son dies, Then I can scream and cheer in your face that he is rotting in hell!" (Yes, I get love letters from all sorts of people that claim to be atheists)

Robb jumped to the same conclusion as you. I will tell this to you also, I have never in my life said that children go to hell and if you have a beef with God fine, but don't drag me into YOUR belief system.

My reply to Robb: "One of the most often-used weapons in the skeptic's arsenal is to seize statements from religious people that make God look like a cruel despot waiting to cast any and everyone into a torturous lake of eternal fire. However, this frequently lands the skeptic in a less-than-defensible position when the actual text of the Bible is consulted. Children in fact go to heaven.

In 2 Samuel 12, King David's newborn son fell terminally ill. After seven days, the child died. In verses 22 and 23, the Bible records that David said: "While the child was alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, 'Who can tell whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?' But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me." It is clear that David's dead infant son would never return to this Earth, but David also said that one day, he would go to be with his son. Through inspiration, David documented that his own eternal destination was going to be " in the house of the Lord" (Psalm 23:6). Therefore, we can conclude that "the house of the Lord" would be the eternal destination of his infant son to whom David would one day go. King David was looking forward to the day when he would be able to meet his son in heaven. Absolutely nothing in this context gives any hint that the dead infant son's soul would go to hell.

Look there are many verses saying the exact opposite of your view, such as...

Matthew 18:3-5 "And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me."

Luke 18:16-17 "But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein."

In Ezekiel 18:20, the Bible says: "The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son." Also, in Exodus 32, Moses pleaded with God to forgive the sins of the Israelites when he said: "Yet now, if You will forgive their sin—but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written. And the Lord said to Moses, 'Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book' (Exodus 32:32-33). The Bible is plain in its teaching that babies do not inherit the sins of their parents. One commonly misapplied scripture used to teach that infants inherit sin is Psalm 51:5-6, which has been dealt with in detail by Wayne Jackson (2000)" (REF: apologeticspress.org)

Moving on:

Shygetz "I have never been bound by the Ten Commandments. I was born knowing not to hurt people without cause, not to steal," (not to lie)

Friend you have been bound but you do not understand it yet.

Shygetz "And the Ten Commandments were God's covenant to the Jews."

So what you're saying is that only jews know it's wrong to lie?

Shygetz "You can't be a literalist and make up your own verses."

Who said I was? To take every word of the Bible literally is definitely wrong. Why would anyone take a parable literally anyway, that just doesn't make sense. I read the Bible 'plainly' if it obvious he is talking in parables then I read it as a parable.

True literals would make very absurd comments like "I was born knowing not to covet my neighbor's ass? " God was talking about coveting neighbors things and this guy thinks God is talking about just a donkey isn't that comical. I agree with you, those are the type of people that you have to watch out for.

Shygetz "Ah, but if your child ignored you and ran into the street, would you crank up your car and run him down yourself?"

Is that what you think God does? OK what if after telling your kid over and over again not to drink and drive then your child drinks and drives and runs over and killing 4 children, should he go to jail? Wouldn't you build the jail yourself?

Shygetz "And Christians have the nerve to claim superior morality. Feh."

Prove this statement! Have I said that I am better then anyone else. I am saved, I am grateful and humbled.

Shygetz "Now you are reading from the Book of Dan Marvin. 1 Peter 4 contains no reference to preaching to the spiritually dead;"

Ok I will bite, prove me wrong.

Shygetz "How far off can "The end of all things" be and still be considered "near" to first century AD? 2000 years?"

Compared to eternity you mean? 9 months in a womb, 90 years to figure the meaning of life (glorify God) and eternity in a place to spend based on the choices you made.

richdurrant said...

OK Dan,
By your stardards I am not Christian, I am LDS(Mormon) which doesn't qualify in the ranks of Christianity. so according to this statement you just made; "No there isn't they all have either lied, stolen, or lusted after someone. They probably dishonored their parents at least one time in their life and countless other Commandments have been broken by them. There is none that are good, no not one. How many laws do you have to break to be called a lawbreaker?"
That puts me and my daughter in the not a good person catagory correct? This is not putting words in your mouth or misunderstanding you because this was in response to my statement that there are good people who aren't Christian. Prup said he was not perfect for his 61 years but in the top 10% to which you responded that didn't matter and he was damned for eternity.
Now you got mad at me because I said that you might believe my daughter is headed for hell, but yet I think in you writtings here it is pretty obvious to at least me, ( I know there are more), that you are saying that except when confronted with having to actually say those words. You start throwing out scripture references for both sides of it, some damning us to hell others saving the little children. She's 12, hardly a "little" child, none Christian, 10 commandment burn aweful lowely sinner bound for hell. Which is why I asked you specifically about her scenerio. I don't believe you have or care to really answer me about her. Because everything you have said priop to this leads me to think she is bound for Hell, except for the little children scriptures which really don't apply here but are feel good answers. So Dan I have to ask again where we stand? I am not trying to trap God into being something he is not, which is another claim you make about me. I am calling into question YOUR understanding of the bible, not Gods.
"Prove this statement! You have a lot of nerve to say this."
I think I have some compelling evidence that you are in fact claiming such a thing. I may have a lot of nerve but if what I say here is true, sir, then I think it is you who has the nerve.

Dan Marvin said...
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Dan Marvin said...

My Dad is an atheist and he never even mentioned the name Jesus to me ever. If "I" were to die as a child (almost did at age 8) then I believe I would have gone to Heaven, like your children because they do not know right from wrong. LDS believes Jesus and Lucifer are brothers, You are a polytheist. I am a monotheist. You believe in a different god then I do.

richdurrant So Dan I have to ask again where we stand?" Ultimately, God will decide who He will allow in heaven, that is up to Him. I cannot tell if you or anyone will go to hell or not. What I can tell you is what the Bible says. In Rev 21:8 it says all liars will have their part in the lake of fire. If you lie, I can tell you according to the Bible, you will go to hell but God made a way so you don't have to spend eternity in hell... That doesn't mean I have the power to send people to hell.

Let me ask you this if we were to only read the Bible (God's word) there would be no mormonism, correct?

The third article of faith says this: "We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel."

You see, one of the basic differences between Christianity and Mormonism aside from the dealings with God and His nature, in his how we are forgiven of our sins. Yes, we are to keep his Commandments, but we are not saved by keeping those Commandments. The Bible does not say that eternal life is dependent on whether or not you endure. 1 John 5:13 says that we can know right now that we have eternal life. The third article of your Church contradicts the book of Romans and Ephesians and Galatians which all teach justification by faith alone.

Which laws and ordinances on the Mormon Church you must obey in order to have your sins forgiven. Can you please tell me? Justification is our legal declaration by God upon on us, sinners, that we are declared righteous in His sight. Sanctification is the process we go through and our lives where the Holy Spirit makes us more like Jesus.

I lovingly request that you read Romans chapters 3-5 and Galatians 3-5 It is these chapters that speak of this issue. I hope that if you read them you will see that the third article on your Church is in contradiction to God's word.

Please understand that I am not here to bash on you. I believe you are lost and I do not want you to go to hell. What ever I am I am by the Grace of God. I want you to find the real and loving Jesus who can fill your heart with His salvation.

richdurrant said...

"Ultimately, God will decide who He will allow in heaven, that is up to Him. I cannot tell if you or anyone will go to hell or not."

Does that include yourself, whom you believe to already be saved?

"Let me ask you this if we were to only read the Bible (God's word) there would be no mormonism, correct?"

Not so, and in fact with only the bible we have hmmmm, lets see, how many different religions are there based on the bible now? We use the KJV of the bible and study it frequently, just so you know.
I usually don't enter into a discussion of what the bible says about things here, but sisnce no one else is reading this post anymore I'll comment some on the rest of your post.

"The third article of faith says this: "We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel."

you say that it contradicts the bible, but here in your own post you uphold that very article of faith:
"If you lie, I can tell you according to the Bible, you will go to hell but God made a way so you don't have to spend eternity in hell..."
You tell me you have a way to keep me from hell and I can become saved right? This is saying the same thing that all men MAY be saved, meaning there is a way to become saved. Not so different after all maybe?

"The Bible does not say that eternal life is dependent on whether or not you endure."
You mean Matt 10:22, 24:13, Mark 13:13, that doesn't say anything about endure to the end?

"Which laws and ordinances on the Mormon Church you must obey in order to have your sins forgiven. Can you please tell me?"
Yes I can, baptism, beyond that none. You might note that it actually says "saved" not "so you sins can be forgiven".

"Justification is our legal declaration by God upon on us, sinners, that we are declared righteous in His sight. Sanctification is the process we go through and our lives where the Holy Spirit makes us more like Jesus."
Can you explain the method it takes to get to this point? remembering that you don't believe your works help you in any way, they are only the "fruit" of salvation right?

"The third article of your Church contradicts the book of Romans and Ephesians and Galatians which all teach justification by faith alone."
But the 2nd chapter of James upholds that article. Which is correct Paul or James? Or is there truth in both and together they give us the whole picture?

"I lovingly request that you read Romans chapters 3-5 and Galatians 3-5 It is these chapters that speak of this issue."

Thanks for your concern. While I'm reading up on your scriptures I'll add some study for you, James Ch 2.

"Please understand that I am not here to bash on you. I believe you are lost and I do not want you to go to hell. What ever I am I am by the Grace of God. I want you to find the real and loving Jesus who can fill your heart with His salvation."
Again I appreciate the concern for my spiritual well being. I won't regard any of our conversation as bashing, as I hope you will. You must also realize that I feel equally confident that I have found the real Jesus and my heart is filled with salvation.

Dan Marvin said...

Thanks for pointing that out!

James goes against mormonism also as in James 2:19 "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble."

Not even James agrees with your polytheistic views.

Yes works count because we are grateful and the Bible talks about the rewards in heaven (but that is now why we do it) but NOT salvation. There is a huge difference.

Dan Marvin said...

2 Corinthians 11 is another one to read for mormons and jehovah witnesses. It says that even preaching the wrong Jesus is a false apostles. "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ."

We must exegete Scripture

richdurrant said...

We can do this for a long time and get nowhere. You are misinformed about a lot of Mormon beliefs. Here's one for your one God though, John 20:17. If God the Father and Christ his son are one and the same person, explain this verse to me?

Dan Marvin said...

richdurrant said... "We can do this for a long time and get nowhere."

So let me just correct your reasoning and help you understand the secret messages of the Bible once and for all.

Describe God anyway you can and there are verses in the Bible that describes the same thing about Jesus.

Can God be described as "God, Alpha & Omega, Lord, Savior, King, Light, omnipresent, Omniscient, Omnipotent, Immutable, Speaker with Devine Authority"

Anything you can think of that describes God can be correlated to a verse about Jesus. Here is a list

Revelation 1:8 " I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty." (Red letters)

A polytheistic view is breaking the first and the second commandment, correct?

Shygetz said...

Anything you can think of that describes God can be correlated to a verse about Jesus. Here is a list

Dan, for your own sake, please check you "lists" before you link to them. I checked just the first passage on the list, where Jesus putatively calls himself Yahweh (which does NOT translate to "I am"). He does not call himself Yahweh in John 8:24, or John 8:58 (although this verse does seem to state that Jesus thought himself eternal), and in John 18:4-6, he is merely answering the question "are you Jesus of Nazareth" with the phrase "I am he." After such deception, I saved myself the time of looking further.

You are being misled by your "lists" and causing yourself great disservice by encouraging people not to take you seriously as a critical thinker. Examine your "evidence" before you present it to the public; your apologist sources seem to be misleading you.

As for the rest, please carry on.

Dan Marvin said...

Come on, you do not understand?

Exodus 3:14 "And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you."

John 8:58 "Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM."

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

Dan: That was in John, written 60 years after the fact, when almost everyone who ever saw or heard Jesus was dead. Is it even reasonable that if he'd actually made this unmistakable claim to be God, that the other evangelists wouldn't have mentioned it.

(If you say 'yes,' then you are only confirming what I've said that Jesus was a 'God" with abysmal communication skills, and that it is absurd that he didn't write his own book.)

richdurrant said...

So if I understand the secret message correctly, Jesus and God the Father are one and the same person? So Jesus is his own father, was sent by himself to do his own business, was baptized and spoke that this is my of whom I am well pleased from the heavens while descending in the form of a dove all at the same time, cried out to himself from the cross, should I go on? How then, in light of this secret message you mention, do you make sense of all this?
You still didn't even bother to explain the verse I mentioned before by the way.
The oneness of God is one in purpose from three different beings, God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost, who together make up the Godhead.

"A polytheistic view is breaking the first and the second commandment, correct?"

Lets answer the questions I pose before we go there. And you apparently didn't settle the issue once and for all!

Shygetz said...

In Exodus 3:14, God says "I shall be that I shall be" (Ehyeh asher ehyeh) not "I am that I am." The exact same word Ehyeh is used in Exodus 3:12 ("I will be with you"). Jesus was making a dramatic claim (that he existed since the beginning) but he did not directly call himself YHWH.

And please, defend the other three mentions in your list. I'd love to see how you twist John 18:4-6 into Jesus saying "I am God".

And rich, you left something important out. Jesus impregnated His own mother too.

Dan Marvin said...
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Dan Marvin said...

richdurrant said...
So if I understand the secret message correctly, Jesus and God the Father are one and the same person? So Jesus is his own father,


NO, Jesus Is the Father not his own Father.

Now your turn:

"A polytheistic view is breaking the first and the second commandment, correct?"

Dan Marvin said...

Shygetz said... In Exodus 3:14, God says "I shall be that I shall be" (Ehyeh asher ehyeh) not "I am that I am."

Boy you are cracking me up. Let me ask you a very important question, What translation of the Bible are you using? I just went to our trusty Biblegateway.com to find any other bible in the world with that same translation. Some of the most liberal translations, like the new living translation, still uses the "I AM" with a foot note of what you are implying (Or I will be what I will be) But all of them, and I mean every single Bible on this earth says "I Am has sent me to you." so your reasoning does not stand up to scrutiny.

So are you claiming you have greater information then the entire body of Biblical scholars in the entire world of all time, ever?

richdurrant said...

You really are trying very hard to avoid the questions now aren't you.
If Jesus is the Father, then you are saying that they are the same person, so then my assumptions from the last post, including Jesus impregnating his own mother(thanks for that one Shygetz I did miss it) are correct?

Just to not make myself a hypocrite.
"A polytheistic view is breaking the first and the second commandment, correct?"
Are you sure because if I only worship one God and have no other Gods that I worship, even believing in other Gods, doesn't seem to break the first commandment. As far as the second commandment, you got me there, because being a polytheist must mean idol worship? I must be missing the connection. So in answer to your question, no.
now it's your turn to actually answer the questions.

Shygetz said...

Dan said: "So are you claiming you have greater information then the entire body of Biblical scholars in the entire world of all time, ever?

Wow, Dan, when you go to flash your ignorance, you really go whole hog, don't you? Is your arrogance so great that you cannot admit ignorance and refuse to be educated by anyone who does not share your faith?

Bible Gateway is not the be all end all of Biblical scholarship; indeed, it does not even have the well-respected NRSV in its repertoire (which correctly translates "almah" as "young woman" rather than the theologically preferred but incorrect "virgin"). Most translations are by believing Christians and for believing Christians, and as such carries the theological translational biases of Christianity.

You are aware of these biases; you revealed yourself when you referred to "liberal translations", which would be meaningless were there not a "liberal viewpoint" from which to translate. And the fact that many have footnotes that state that there is a discrepency in translation would clue you in to the fact that at least some Biblical scholars must not agree with you, but no, you insist upon trying to belittle those who wish to educate you.

As for where I got my translation, the answer is Biblical scholarship. The first to translate the Hebrew 3:14 into "I will be" was (contrary to your belief) not me, but were Aquila and Theodotion in 2nd century CE, which slightly predates your favorite translation. Prof. Padozky has an excellent summary as to why the translation "I am that I am" is a misrepresentation of the Hebrew phrase (bottom of the page and continued). And, if you ask the Hebrews themselves, they will agree; Ehyeh asher ehyeh is not a metaphysical statement "I am", but rather an active one; ehyeh does not imply being in the English sense, but rather something more like becoming or proving to be. Again, this is not from me, but from linguists.

Now, please defend the other two verses your list referenced.

NO, Jesus Is the Father not his own Father.

Who impregnated Mary? God. And Jesus is God. Therefore, Jesus impregnated Mary, making Jesus his own father. Are you being deceptive, willfully obtuse, or are you just dense?

Rich is also correct in that, if he only worships God, then he does not break the first or second commandments. The OT speaks in a very matter-of-fact way about other gods; indeed, God does not say "Thou shalt not believe other gods exist". He says "you shall have no other gods before me". The monotheism of early Judaism was not that they believed only one god existed, just that they should worship only YHWH; true belief that YHWH was the ONLY god came much later during the time of the prophets (aroung 8th century BCE).

Dan Marvin said...

Am I mistaken to think that some of the gods of the eath were just the different judges? (Zephaniah 2:11)

I need deeper study for that to be a more confident statement.

God the father, God the son, God the spirit all the same God.

"Thus the term: "Tri" meaning three, and "Unity" meaning one, Tri+Unity = Trinity. It is a way of acknowledging what the Bible reveals to us about God, that God is yet three "Persons" who have the same essence of deity." Some have tried to give human illustrations for the Trinity, such as H2O being water, ice and steam (all different forms, but all are H2O).

richdurrant said...

I have a hard time following you Dan.

"God the father, God the son, God the spirit all the same God.

"Thus the term: "Tri" meaning three, and "Unity" meaning one, Tri+Unity = Trinity. It is a way of acknowledging what the Bible reveals to us about God, that God is yet three "Persons" who have the same essence of deity." Some have tried to give human illustrations for the Trinity, such as H2O being water, ice and steam (all different forms, but all are H2O)."

You are saying that there are 3 separate people who make one God? So does that mean that there are 3 Gods or that it takes more than one person to make one God?