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 Demigod1979
Joined: 12/4/2011
Msg: 51
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My Theological Questions. Contemplation Welcome.Page 3 of 8    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)

The mythos is that a person has free will to accept or reject God. You reject God, you also reject all that God has provided and promises. Reject God, God lets you have your own way.

I think the Book of Job is prescient. The question that Job asked - why evil people prosper and good people don't - is still unanswered (it's still with us today as the problem of evil). It would seem that people are actually doing pretty well by rejecting God. The Book itself doesn't help us any, since all that God says at the end is that he is all-powerful and can therefore do whatever he wants.


The concept of burning in a lake of fire (Christian theology) forever may be an over-interpretation.

So those passages that mention people wailing and gnashing their teeth are just bunk?
 A_Gent
Joined: 8/18/2011
Msg: 52
My Theological Questions. Contemplation Welcome.
Posted: 5/27/2012 12:33:38 PM

So those passages that mention people wailing and gnashing their teeth are just bunk?


When Christ is quoted about talking of hell, he was making use/allegory of the garbage dump outside of the city (Jerusalem) walls. The inference is being discarded.

There is good fodder for discussion on whether discarded means oblivion, or remaining conscious yet outside of what what emanates from God... a void.

One interpretation of hell is people being left to their own rationalizations. Imagine, if you will, Napoleon living in contemplation, wailing and gnashing his teeth, of his own frustrated glory.

Perhaps someone has done you ill... and you have never forgiven them... now live with it....constantly blaming.... constantly trying to change the past.... never moving forward with your life because you enjoy hanging onto your blame and hatred soooo much it becomes who you are....

C.S. Lewis gives an interesting illustration in The Great Divorce.
 Demigod1979
Joined: 12/4/2011
Msg: 53
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My Theological Questions. Contemplation Welcome.
Posted: 5/27/2012 3:53:41 PM

When Christ is quoted about talking of hell, he was making use/allegory of the garbage dump outside of the city (Jerusalem) walls. The inference is being discarded.

There is good fodder for discussion on whether discarded means oblivion, or remaining conscious yet outside of what what emanates from God... a void.

One interpretation of hell is people being left to their own rationalizations. Imagine, if you will, Napoleon living in contemplation, wailing and gnashing his teeth, of his own frustrated glory.

Perhaps someone has done you ill... and you have never forgiven them... now live with it....constantly blaming.... constantly trying to change the past.... never moving forward with your life because you enjoy hanging onto your blame and hatred soooo much it becomes who you are....

C.S. Lewis gives an interesting illustration in The Great Divorce.

This whole separation from God approach gets tiring really fast. Atheists today live without God they're no less happy than believers (and in many ways they're happier, as evidenced by the high happiness index of highly secular countries). This kind of approach is based on the idea that people need God to have true and meaningful happiness but that's entirely a faith position (which is why many non-believers find this approach extremely unpersuasive).
 60to70
Joined: 7/28/2008
Msg: 54
My Theological Questions. Contemplation Welcome.
Posted: 5/28/2012 12:05:34 AM
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 60to70
Joined: 7/28/2008
Msg: 55
My Theological Questions. Contemplation Welcome.
Posted: 5/28/2012 12:20:41 AM
Furthermore.....god has no say in what you do or say or commit or align yourself with. god is the equation that gave you a mind, a soul and the abililty to act on mercy, kindness and justice. Otherwise, what is the point of living?
 60to70
Joined: 7/28/2008
Msg: 56
My Theological Questions. Contemplation Welcome.
Posted: 5/28/2012 12:25:25 AM
.....if you do not know history..you are doomed to repeat history or something to that effect. Another very good lesson in free will and exploration of human nature. God has no human qualities. lol. Thank Zeus. Or something. God is the last thing reminiscent of anything you ever knew.
 A_Gent
Joined: 8/18/2011
Msg: 57
My Theological Questions. Contemplation Welcome.
Posted: 5/28/2012 1:42:26 AM

Atheists today live without God they're no less happy than believers (and in many ways they're happier, as evidenced by the high happiness index of highly secular countries). This kind of approach is based on the idea that people need God to have true and meaningful happiness but that's entirely a faith position (which is why many non-believers find this approach extremely unpersuasive).


If an atheist has satisfied their existential yearnings without the need for some supernatural explanation, then off you go and be happy. Perhaps you are correct. You have nothing to lose.

If a person finds they have need of some other explanation beyond the here and now... well if that makes them happy it is mostly harmless... and perhaps they are correct. They have everything to gain.
 gingerosity
Joined: 12/10/2011
Msg: 58
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Posted: 5/28/2012 2:09:33 AM
it is mostly harmless... and perhaps they are correct. They have everything to gain.


Individually, that's debatable. What is more clear-cut is the 'opportunity-cost' of religion to society.

What else could have been achieved with all the religious land, income, tax breaks, and staff over thousands of years? What else could billions of customers have been doing with their time to advance civilization instead of praying for help?
 PROTON67
Joined: 4/26/2012
Msg: 59
My Theological Questions. Contemplation Welcome.
Posted: 5/30/2012 10:52:23 AM
God is real, and a sincere Spirit filled study of His Word can arrive at the truth of these subjects. True, the devil has produced liars, hypocrites, ignoramuses, false doctrines, and counterfeit christians to confuse the way. But I have seen people's lives, families and relationships changed by obeying God's Word and by the power of His Spirit. I have seen people healed in the name of Jesus. I have been healed myself. Just as in Bible days, I have seen demoniacs freed from possession of evil Spirits, again, in the name of Jesus and by the power of His Spirit. The first thing you need to do is to receive the gift of the baptism of the Holy Ghost as the original church did. Read all about it in Acts 2:1 - 39, Acts 10:44-48, Acts 19:1-6. It is for everyone. For in Christ there is neither Jew or Gentile, bond or free, male or female. God is no respecter of persons. Once you receive the free gift of the baptism of the Holy Ghost, Jesus has promised to lead you into all truth. Otherwise, you will continue to grope for morsels of truth in spiritual blindness.
 A_Gent
Joined: 8/18/2011
Msg: 60
My Theological Questions. Contemplation Welcome.
Posted: 5/30/2012 7:13:12 PM
Well proton... I have no reason to doubt your sincerity .... yet you can quote scripture and use all the God talk you wish... and while it may mean something to an insider... to an outsider it comes across as just so much blah blah blah... And probably creates more of a barrier than a bridge.

And until Christians (in this case) come to collectively resolve Gandhi's paradox, “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ,” they are themselves acting as an anti-Christ.
 purfectmeow
Joined: 4/17/2012
Msg: 61
My Theological Questions. Contemplation Welcome.
Posted: 5/31/2012 2:06:35 AM
^ Bingo. All that professing our religious beliefs do today is stir the pot so to speak.
It causes us to be judged by the texts we choose to practice, which in Christianity brings me back to freedom of will.
We have that freedom as well to decide whether or not to sin. The difference has always been that we are forgiven our sins past, present, and future. Im not one to preach or shove my beliefs on anyone, nor am I a good Christian; just a saved one. In the end I think thats what matters the most to me.
 A_Gent
Joined: 8/18/2011
Msg: 62
My Theological Questions. Contemplation Welcome.
Posted: 5/31/2012 10:56:12 AM

According to Christianity (and other relevant religions); "God" is all knowing, all power, all present - Correct?
According to Christianity (and other relevant religions); "God" Created Humanity in his image - Correct?


So back to the OP's questions...

The "image of God" bit has been subject to much interpretation and so far, I've not known any one to win the ribbon. So your interpretation may be as accurate as the rest.

However, the first statement in Genesis about man in God's image, "26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”" is directly linked with humanity having something different about it that sets itself apart from the rest of the animal kingdom. Does this imply dominion or stewardship or superiority or higher status or having an immortal soul or ???? Perhaps yes to all.

But clearly humanity does have qualities that separate itself from the rest of the animal kingdom. Including the ability to go its own way...

.... and really mess things up.
 purfectmeow
Joined: 4/17/2012
Msg: 63
My Theological Questions. Contemplation Welcome.
Posted: 5/31/2012 11:34:57 AM
^As Christians we believe we are through the death of Christ.
He was sent as a human "atonement" for our sins.
Heaven is suppose to be a perfect place, like a garden of "Eden".

Thats what I believe anyway. Take it or leave it; makes no difference to me.
If you really want to know e-mail me and I can provide you with my pastors list
of people more than willing to explain and answer 99% of your Christian inquiries.
 Demigod1979
Joined: 12/4/2011
Msg: 64
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Posted: 5/31/2012 4:45:35 PM

Theres a couple of things i dont understand.
Firstly, if i were to create a species to dominate a planet orbiting a star, i would create the life form to be powered from the solar power, plants can do it! It would stop the killing of millions of animals and would be a far more logical thing to do from so many perspectives!

Funny, I was actually thinking something similar the other day. If human bodies had plant-like tissue (or harbored algae like coral and some jellyfish do) then it would cut down vastly on the amount of food we need to eat. It would also be helpful if our bodies could store up water, that way we wouldn't need to drink as much.


Also, in the garden of Eden, adam and eve did not know what sin was, they were "pure" god never informed them what sin was, so to then cast them out when they commit an act they do not fully understand the consequences of is immoral, its like punishing a 3 year old for doing something bad when it doesnt know what its done wrong????

Indeed. In fact, the whole point of the story seems to be that people shouldn't learn things. If Adam and Eve hadn't eaten the fruit then they would have lived a blissful life of ignorance (the ideal existence?). Instead, they achieved knowledge of good and evil and were punished for it. I see it as perhaps a social commentary, by a scribe who did not want people to study too much, lest it lead them away from God. The correlation between education and religious belief is very strong (the smartest people are also the least religious) so keeping people in ignorance would be ideal to keep the religion virus alive. Basically, the message is: don't learn things - just trust and obey God.
 purfectmeow
Joined: 4/17/2012
Msg: 65
My Theological Questions. Contemplation Welcome.
Posted: 5/31/2012 5:49:16 PM
^ Yes that was the message for Adam and Eve. God making man was an experiment of sorts. He found out that man has (here we go again...) freedom of will.
 A_Gent
Joined: 8/18/2011
Msg: 66
My Theological Questions. Contemplation Welcome.
Posted: 5/31/2012 6:15:16 PM
if i were to create a species to dominate a planet orbiting a star, i would create the life form to be powered from the solar power, plants can do it! It would stop the killing of millions of animals and would be a far more logical thing to do from so many perspectives! Funny, I was actually thinking something similar the other day. If human bodies had plant-like tissue (or harbored algae like coral and some jellyfish do) then it would cut down vastly on the amount of food we need to eat. It would also be helpful if our bodies could store up water, that way we wouldn't need to drink as much.


Well... humans ARE solar powered. You know.. grade 5 biology... the sun provides energy to the plants.. we and other animals eat the plants. Fossil fuels are stored solar energy. If humans were living within their means... there would be more than enough energy to go around indefinitely. Silly humans.

As for the form of humans.. perhaps being a plant or invertebrate based "creation" would not have been able to support the sort of creature God needed his special creation to be. I mean, don't expect a skate board to do quite the same job as a Chevy.

Also, in the garden of Eden, adam and eve did not know what sin was, they were "pure" god never informed them what sin was, so to then cast them out when they commit an act they do not fully understand the consequences of is immoral, its like punishing a 3 year old for doing something bad when it doesnt know what its done wrong????


A problem arises if one takes the Creation Story as a literal fact... and in fact.. it is only the conservative evangelical and fundamentalist faiths that continue to do so. And they are entitled to their beliefs based upon their faith... but there are all sorts of logical inconsistencies that they must contend with in order to do so. If one can accept that Genesis, at least the creation part of it, describes spiritual truths rather than scientific or historical truths.... and that it is an allegory... it may be easier to make sense of the whole thing without having to negate contemporary scientific revelations.

The essence of the story... God created humanity in order to have community with mankind. God could have created mankind to blindly follow Him much as your dog is loyal to you as long as you feed it. God wanted a humanity to value Him because they choose to. God gave humanity free will. Humanity exercised their free will, and blamed God for the mess they made and continue to make of it. God said.. "Okay.. out you go.. see if you can do it better yourselves...... If you change your mind.. I'm still here and I'll make it easy for you to come home."

And humanity has been fighting it ever since.
 A_Gent
Joined: 8/18/2011
Msg: 67
My Theological Questions. Contemplation Welcome.
Posted: 5/31/2012 7:23:49 PM

Jesus clearly states that every part of the old testament is relevant and true, god claims his word is truth, so surely as a "christian", a follower of christ, you would follow what he says.


Please explain.
 Demigod1979
Joined: 12/4/2011
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Posted: 6/2/2012 8:53:12 AM

If you read in Genesis, you'll find that man and woman should have remained innoccent of al evil, until Satan in the form of the serpent convinced Eve to eat of the fruit. At anytime both She and Adam could have said no. There were two trees in the Garden that were not to be touched. One the Knowledge of good and evil, the other the tree of life. The fruit eaten was of knowledge of good and evil, thus introducing mankind into knowing what was right and wrong. Again at any poitn because of free will either one of them could have said no.

Actually, the snake was not Satan - there is absolutely nothing in the bible to even hint at such a suggestion (instead, this was a later interpretation by people like Milton). Also, if eating the fruit from the forbidden tree was so dangerous then why did God make it so easy to reach? What kind of responsible caregiver would put something so utterly dangerous within reach of those who he is caring for? What if they had mistaken it for another fruit, eaten it by accident? Why didn't he make the tree a thousand feet high so they couldn't reach the fruit easily? It's like putting a piece of cake or beer in front of someone and saying don't eat it.

Furthermore, doesn't it bother you that the snake (or Satan if you prefer to call it) was actually telling the truth when he said the fruit will give them knowledge of good and evil? (God said they would die if they ate it, yet according to the bible Adam lived for almost a thousand years!) Don't you think that the snake could have been the good guy, the savior of mankind, the one who gave humans knowledge that God deliberately tried to deny them? (like Prometheus defying Zeus and giving fire to mankind?) Would you really prefer to live in blissful ignorance for your entire life?

Basically, I see the story of Adam and Eve as a metaphor for growing up, for the loss of innocence that happens at adulthood. The simple life that we lived as children gradually ends as we realize how complex and dangerous the world really is (and just like Adam and Eve, we get into a rebellious stage and eventually depart the sheltered environment of our youth). Once that innocence is lost, we never regain it and it seems to me that religions like Christianity are all about regaining that innocence (as Jesus said, we must all become like children). However, to me, life is all about complexity and challenge and I see it as part of being an adult to acknowledge reality and face it head on.

I also think there's some merit to Dr Francesca Stavrakopoulou's theory that the garden actually represented an existing garden on earth - a man-made garden built by a middle-eastern king to house God (or a temple, perhaps the very temple of Solomon) and that the sin of king Adam was that his ego and pride got the better of him and began to think that he was God (which might explain what God meant when he said Adam had become like one of them).
 A_Gent
Joined: 8/18/2011
Msg: 69
My Theological Questions. Contemplation Welcome.
Posted: 6/3/2012 6:10:01 PM

bhawk01 on 5/31/2012 1005 PM As im sure you will be aware the "law" was the teachings of the old testament


Sorry to take so long to respond.. been elsewhere...

One must be careful in taking one or two Biblical verses out of context and interpret them out of context of the greater body (cannon) of the Bible.. unfortunately, many do and it leads to denomination-ism and division.

In the greater context, more specifically what Paul has to teach, the law was given essentially as an example of what humanity would need to do in order to live "perfect." Even in recognizing that living perfect was impossible for humans, the Law also allowed for sacrifices and ceremony for atonement.

Christ is quoted as saying that the Law is still in force. However, He is also quoted as saying that "He came that we might have life more abundant." (not rules.), and quite clearly said that he gave two new commandments... "Love God, and love each other as you do yourselves. And in doing so, all the laws of the prophets are satisfied." For the believer, one is now free from living in accordance with the Law, as we now live under God's grace. It is not that the law and commandments are irrelevant... because they are still pretty sound advice, and when we go against them, it is likely going to create more problems than solve them.... yet we are now free to live according to how we should live.. .not because we have to... but because we can.
 A_Gent
Joined: 8/18/2011
Msg: 70
My Theological Questions. Contemplation Welcome.
Posted: 6/3/2012 6:19:16 PM
The fruit eaten was of knowledge of good and evil, thus introducing mankind into knowing what was right and wrong. Again at any poitn because of free will either one of them could have said no.
demigod1979 on 6/2/2012 1112 AM

I agree with demigod that the creation story can best be understood as metaphor... my personal opinion.

The issue with eating of the fruit of the tree.. metaphorical or otherwise....

Adam messed up. He rebelled against God. When God called Adam to task, Adam first blames Eve, then blames God for given him the woman... maybe a good point.. but beside the point... The point is that Adam denied his wrong doing and blamed everyone else... and therein is the foundation of much of human neurosis and wrong doing.. failing to take responsibility for our own mistakes and short comings.

But it would have been a very short story if Adam had said, "Ah!...God, I'm sorry..I made a mistake." And God had said, "No problem Adam, I'm cool with that and I'm glad you owned up to it.... now how 'bout getting on with ordering this thing I've created....... and let me show you another creation.. ALE!!!"
 Aries_328
Joined: 10/16/2011
Msg: 71
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Posted: 6/3/2012 7:50:59 PM
Any God worthy of the name would not be so insecure about himself that he would have to create beings in his image for the purpose of worshiping him.

In actuality, wouldn't Satan be the hero? After all, if Satan hadn't convinced Eve to eat the apple, we would have never been created, right?


She was supposed to eat it. So was Adam. What would really be interesting would be finding the origin of the story. Was it passed from oral tradition or was it made up on the spot. Way back before they had faux news and messnbc the only way to pass on historical references was through oral tradition. One of the tenants of oral tradition was that great care had to be taken to not alter the story. With translations that is really kind of difficult to know and by the time it was written down we don't know how or if the story was altered.

Now, as to accuracy... There were really not a whole lot of people floating around the world around some unknown time that would represent when Adam and Eve existed. A child growing up with a father (assuming) and no mother in a jungle where they rarely came across other people could conceivably been taught stories of how he came to exist and maybe one night dad took off and picked his son up a wife from some neighbors. The whole story could be a real story of the first kidnapping and sociopaths mind control experiment on a child!
All of the problems with religion start off with Genesis. Get that one right and everything is different. Each of the events depicted are really great points for life and going forward but each point has a bad conclusion.
The chastising for challenging obviously false information was backwards. It should have been rewarded.
The claiming that women were for the purpose of being subservient to man was wrong. The message was obviously that he respected and feared her enough to go against what he was taught.
The question remains, “Who was God talking to” when he said, “US”

Without knowing the origins it can only be taken as metaphorical and what is taken from it just depends on the time in history that interprets it.

Demigod... I just read your post. I like it. From my made up little story above I kind of have a similar view. I had no idea there was a theory in that direction.

I also think there's some merit to Dr Francesca Stavrakopoulou's theory that the garden actually represented an existing garden on earth - a man-made garden built by a middle-eastern king to house God (or a temple, perhaps the very temple of Solomon) and that the sin of king Adam was that his ego and pride got the better of him and began to think that he was God (which might explain what God meant when he said Adam had become like one of them).

 A_Gent
Joined: 8/18/2011
Msg: 72
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Posted: 6/4/2012 6:21:04 AM

And in doing so, all the laws of the prophets are satisfied." For the believer, one is now free from living in ACCORDANCE with the Law, as we now live under God's grace.


Actually.. it would be in accordance with the Law... but not under the domination of it.
 Demigod1979
Joined: 12/4/2011
Msg: 73
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Posted: 6/5/2012 5:14:45 PM

All of the problems with religion start off with Genesis. Get that one right and everything is different. Each of the events depicted are really great points for life and going forward but each point has a bad conclusion.
The chastising for challenging obviously false information was backwards. It should have been rewarded.
The claiming that women were for the purpose of being subservient to man was wrong. The message was obviously that he respected and feared her enough to go against what he was taught.

I think the story of Abraham willing to sacrifice his son is probably one of the worst stories in the bible. Think how much better it would have been if Abraham had refused and God had rewarded him for making the moral choice. Abraham should have reasoned that no moral god would give such a horrible command and refused point blank, and God should have then congratulated Abraham for seeing through the bluff. The story, as it stands, makes obedience to God the greatest possible virtue (in other words, blind obedience trumps morality).


The question remains, “Who was God talking to” when he said, “US”

That was also covered by Dr Stavrakopoulou, who is one of those who believe that the ancient Israelites worshipped multiple gods (including God's wife Asherah). Christians have reinterpreted such statements as referring to the trinity, but I think a far better interpretation is that God was speaking of other gods. IMO, the very fact that God says that he is a jealous God is positive proof that the bible is polytheistic (if fake gods were just woods and stone then what would God be jealous of?).
 A_Gent
Joined: 8/18/2011
Msg: 74
My Theological Questions. Contemplation Welcome.
Posted: 6/5/2012 6:12:06 PM
The problem with Genesis is in trying to interpret it as a book of scientific and historical truth. In doing so, even the most devout has to make no few amount of logical leaps of faith or suspension of disbelief.

If one can appreciate the book as one of spiritual truths, many of the question and answer begin to fall into place. Including the cultural context of polytheism from which Israel emerged. Israel's God becomes branded as being superior and above all others.
 purfectmeow
Joined: 4/17/2012
Msg: 75
My Theological Questions. Contemplation Welcome.
Posted: 6/5/2012 8:39:27 PM
I personally do not believe that God knew/knows everything about human thought and our future actions. I think he had an idea of what would happen if Adam and Eve ate that apple. If he had known the exact outcome wouldnt he have changed the environment to control what he wished to have happened? If Satan is the opposite of God doesnt he have as much control over evil as God does good? I still think even God figured things out about man as time went along, including what freedom of will did actually mean. If the bible is indeed a book of scientific truth, I feel it would offer more concrete evidence for non- believers to consider his existence as more than fantasy. If it is a book of historical truths I do believe so much more of it could have been proven by historical documentation. It is a book of spiritual truths however and it is to be taken as such. Faith is still a powerful thing. I do believe God has faith in man enough to have given us the gift of salvation and forgiveness.
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