Oh, come on, I spent an hour formulating these answers!
padre wrote: But you are also set "free" from that "fault-finding" by belief in Christ, because Christ was a complete fufillment of the law, to which even Paul notes no one, not Jew or Gentile, could aspire to fufill in its entirety.
BS. If his actions truly acted as a "Get Out of Jail Free" card, even the believers wouldn't try so hard to please God. After all, "Jesus died for me! I repent! *death* ahh, just in time."
... Come to think of it, most of them don't try as hard as they would if they honestly believed judgement was upon them. I wonder how many people believe that they believe in God, but in fact question it or "believe just in case".
I'm not sure where you are coming from on this issue. God made a consistent effort before 2,000 years ago and still continues this today to make himself "known and discovered". It's quite easy actually.
There are so many tools at his disposal to prove his existence that he shouldn't have to rely on faith alone. For example, if he were to manifest himself to me in such a way that I could not rationally explain what was going on (i.e. the more colorful miracles of the Old Testament), I'd believe. And once I believed, I'd be an obedient straight-shooter.
I can't fathom how someone who truly believes in God (any god, for that matter) could possibly go astray from the holy way. Nay I say.
It seems here as if you are putting humans and animals on the same level, which is not a valid condition to begin with.
In comparison to God, isn't every creature vastly inferior? God understood the full effects of giving us free will before he decided to do so. To say otherwise would be to say he was without knowledge.
Humans are not on the same level as angels, and secondly, angels do serve a higher purpose than man. Also, would you really want to have a full understanding of "everything" in the world? I can think that in some ways that would be quite sorrowful. And no, we are not expected (as humans) to perform as if we had unlimited perspective. In fact, in the Book of James, you are encouraged to ask the Lord for wisdom if you are lacking, and He freely offers it.
A full understanding of everything would be preferable, assuming I had the perception and capacity to sort it all out (They're a package deal - this is my problem with Bruce Almighty).
Lord, grant me the wisdom to complete this Calculus exam... oh, you want me to go learn it myself? Heck, I didn't need you to tell me that.
padre wrote:Do you remember where in the Bible it says to "ignore your reasoning"? The foundation of Christian apologetics, for instance, is built on reasoning through issues, both Biblical and worldly. Secondly, the "commands" are there for a reason...and very good ones I might add. He also gives you the strength to follow them...you are not left "orphaned" to try and mechanically follow them on your own.
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.
"There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death."
"Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ..."
--2 Corinthians 10:5
And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish [ought] from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
-- 2 Peter 1:20
Do not interpret what I say, follow it verbatim - Despite the fact that in the third millenium everyone will say I work in mysterious ways and they can believe in whatever hippie derivation they want, as long as they believe. Why must my people always change
my words around? I am God, I know better than you. Stop interpreting -- Stop reasoning.
Do you see my point, or shall I go find some more references in the bible that say we should ignore our reasoning skills and focus on his word alone? I'm sure there's more. Google is your friend.
I don't know if I would argue that it is an act of cruelty or love or even a test. I'm not seeing a whole lot of purpose in trying to read too much into it considering the limited amount of information we have about the event. Nonetheless, it is something to think about. Also, did he not give Adam and Eve a "free will"? Would it preferable to you to not have free will?
Slackmaster K wrote:
God designs Adam to be innocent, naïve, and curious. God forbids Adam to eat from a fruit yet does not explain why; only that he will die if he does. Christians will argue that this is not an act of cruelty; but love. God is only testing Adam.
Obviously it was a test. If it weren't, God never would have put the tree there in the first place. If he knew the lowly humans would ignore him, use their own reasoning skills, and eat the fruit, he would have surrounded it with a firey electric fence. Or at least put a serpent there to warn them.
Furthermore, God is omnipotent, right? Which means "all-knowing", right? So there's nothing God doesn't know. Thus, God knew the outcome of the scenario before it played out - Before the tree and people were even there. Yet he allowed the scenario to play out exactly as he had forseen. God created Adam and Eve with the express knowledge that they would disobey him. He even had a contingency plan worked out (thus the creation of the rest of the world).
So he created the Tree, Adam, and Eve. He warned them away, put a snake there to tempt them, and watched with a pervertedly satisfied eye as his plan unfolded as he has laid it out. Then he ejected the evil heathens from the Garden, never to return. Now they would have to fend for themselves instead of having everything given to them. And it was all part of God's Divine Plan.
Sound cruel enough?
padre wrote: I think you are mixing up the concepts of "test" here and not examining the definition to its fullest. If a teacher, for instance, gives her class a "test" to see if they have retained knowledge about a given subject, was the purpose of that test nothing more than an experiment on her students? Or was she doing it out of genuine concern that they retain what they have learned and can move forward to the next class/grade? Webster's Dictionary also defines the word "test" as being "an ordeal or oath required as proof of conformity with a set of beliefs." Now, I suppose it could be argued that God was seeing if Adam really truly did trust His commands or not, and well, Adam didn't do so well.
The teacher issues the test to determine a previously unknown outcome. If teachers knew all their students' competency levels, and the parents and DOE could trust that judgement, tests would be unneccessary. Academic credentials would consist of "This is a list of people who think I'm smart".
Clearly Adam didn't fare well (no pun intended) in God's test - By any definition, he failed miserably. However, if you will re-read my last, you will quickly come to see how God had this whole thing planned out ahead of time. It was really very mean (and somewhat petty imho).
padre wrote:Are you speaking of how God acts, or how humans act?
Slackmaster K wrote:
With God, if something is not done out of need, it is done out of desire.
Both (I should have taken out "With God,"). There are three reasons I can fathom for doing something: Need, Desire, or failure to control one's own actions. The last one isn't really a reason, but a cause. Can you come up with any other reasons for doing something, or are you going to chalk this one up to the mysterious ways in which God works?
Let's draw an analogy. A parent and a child are in the kitchen. The parent says "don't play with the stove burner." The child thinks "why not?" Does the parent explain everything at that particular moment? Not always, because sometimes too much information at the wrong time can be a bad thing, depending on the child's personality. Now if a friend of the child's comes along and says "go on, touch the burner. It won't hurt" and the child listens to his friend and gets burnt, how is that cruelty on the parent's part?
Slackmaster K wrote:
One might conclude that God was testing Adam not for new knowledge, but perhaps out of a desire to throw hoops and hurdles in front of him to watch him struggle - but who wants to believe in a cruel God? If there is another reason, God has not made it clear - and it doesn't seem like love.
As a former deviant child, I think I can understand the child's point of view here. I see this metaphorical parent as having one of the following perspectives:
1. The parent is too busy to explain everything to the child. The child should feel neglected or unimportant.
2. The parent doesn't believe the child has sufficient reasoning skills to understand the situation. The child should feel insulted (unless the child is really too stupid to understand, in which the child should be in restraints or monitored more closely).
3. The parent wants to ensure future obedience without question (i.e. without reasoning (and potentially, discussion)). The child is a pawn in the mind games being drawn out by the parent. The parent is cruel and the child will grow up with a poor understanding of the universe and with poor reasoning skills. These are critical years to develop those aspects of the child's mindset. [/quote]
padre wrote: You're abilities are limited to that of a rotting animal? Interesting. So I take it there is no room for reason, joy, relationships, and friendships? Furthermore, how is God a "source of sin" as you state? It is state numerous times throughout Scripture that God is holy, just, and loving all at the same time. He can't co-exist with sin. Also, what is the definition of sin? The dictionary states it as an "offense against religious or moral law". How can God create the Law, and the offense at the same time?
I will die of old age, if nothing else kills me first. Thus, it can be said that I'm rotting away. We established earlier in this post that there is no room for reason (God won't have any of that when his word is Bible and Verse (literally)).
God is a source of sin in that he knew ahead of time that sin would occur (Either that, or he doesn't know everything), and yet he designed us with the very reasoning skills we use to commit sin.
- He designs us with urges to have sex, but forbids fornication.
- He designs us with the Fight-or-Flight Response (which causes rage, anger, jealousy, and workplace stress), but forbids us from killing each other.
- He designs us to think for ourselves, but forbids it.
There is sufficient evidence not only for the historical information in the Bible, but also the promises that are made throughout Scripture to both the Jews and Gentile alike. And what is considered "sufficient evidence"? What is sufficient for you, may fall well short for others, so in some sense, there will always be an element of faith regardless of how much evidence is presented. Also, do you not exercise some amount of faith in some form or another on a daily basis? For instance, if you go and get surgery for kidney stones, do you not trust the surgeon to some extent? Or do you need to know every single facet of the procedure, every move his hands will make, and every single tool used before you can proceed?
Slackmaster K wrote:
If religion provided sufficient evidence, as some claim, there would be no need for faith.
Wow, they found a boat at the top of a mountain and everyone thinks it was Noah's. How did he manage to prevent the lions from eating the antelope? Bah, I'll go into my technical problems with the Great Flood another time...
Sufficient evidence could be described in this context as "Enough evidence to submit to a scientific process and get repeatable results that cannot be duplicated through any means other than God pressing his magic button".
I trust a surgeon to remove a kidney stone because (1) he does this for a living, (2) I can find other kidney stone patients and discuss the experience with them, and (3) Most importantly: I CAN SEE THE SURGEON!
Not in a metaphorical or spiritual sense, either. In the most literal definition of the word "see", the rods and cones in my eyes interpret the reflection of light off the surgeon in such a way that the image of a surgeon is transmitted to my brain as a tangible object with an absolute position in space and time. Unlike some gods I could mention.
padre wrote: This sort of setup also occurs in the New Testament when Jesus asks "who touched his cloak". Again, He knew full well who touched his cloak, but perhaps he is looking more for a confession than anything else. That is a matter of the heart, rather than a matter of deception.
So Jesus was testing the person who touched his cloak to determine a previously unknown outcome: Will this person admit it?