1. Hmmm . . .
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    24 Oct '07 23:37
    I said wasn’t going to bother going at this again, but (sigh)—

    The Christian sin/salvation motif—at least in the West, and especially within Protestantism—seems to run generally like this:

    (1) The first humans sinned (erred/failed, literally failed to hit the mark, hamartia).

    —Basically, they were suckered by the serpent, in the Genesis account, into an act of disobedience.

    (2) All subsequent humans are infected with this original sin (or inherited “sin nature” ).

    (3) All humans therefore stand under condemnation.

    (4) God, however, makes the ultimate sacrifice, becoming human and taking humanity’s sin on himself in order to destroy it (Rom. 6:6), or remove it (Heb. 9:26).

    (5) God’s ultimate salvific act results in the salvation of—some.

    ____________________________________

    The first humans (and/or Satan) are able to place all under condemnation; God is able to save some?

    The sin of the first humans infects all; God is able to heal some?*

    The first humans (and/or Satan) create a breach between God and all; God is pleased to reconcile some?

    Is this:

    (a) the best that God is able to do? Or,

    (b) the best that God chooses to do?

    If this is the way it is, I don’t need a plethora of scriptural quotes to explain why—I’ve been through that in great detail with Epi (and really don't want to argue scriptural exegesis/interpretation). Just choose (a) or (b).

    If this is not the way it is, tell me what I have gotten wrong about the “all” and the “some.”

    _____________________________________

    * The root meaning of soterias, “salvation” is to make whole or make well; hence to save, to preserve, to heal.
  2. Joined
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    25 Oct '07 04:111 edit
    Originally posted by vistesd
    I said wasn’t going to bother going at this again, but (sigh)—

    The Christian sin/salvation motif—at least in the West, and especially within Protestantism—seems to run generally like this:

    (1) The first humans sinned (erred/failed, literally failed to hit the mark, hamartia).

    —Basically, they were suckered by the serpent, in the Genesis acco ]soterias[/i], “salvation” is to make whole or make well; hence to save, to preserve, to heal.
    Saying that God chooses to do something in your example (b) indicates that he actually contemplates doing good verses bad. For me, God makes no choices, rather, he simply does what is best. This is because God already knows the facts and the results of his actions and/or potential actions. Only humans are burdened with the unknown, hence, we contemplate what might be best. If God's creation knew what was always best we also would not be burdened with making "choices", hence, this is why we must rely on God or suffer accordingly. So I guess my answer is (a) because this is the best that can be done while keeping in tact our ability to choose. If such an ability to choose were not present we would either be all knowing as God is or we would not really have the ability to choose, rather, God would simply be talking/interacting with himself. What good would that be?
  3. Hmmm . . .
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    25 Oct '07 04:41
    Originally posted by whodey
    Saying that God chooses to do something in your example (b) indicates that he actually contemplates doing good verses bad. For me, God makes no choices, rather, he simply does what is best. This is because God already knows the facts and the results of his actions and/or potential actions. Only humans are burdened with the unknown, hence, we contemplate w ...[text shortened]... oose, rather, God would simply be talking/interacting with himself. What good would that be?
    Saying that God chooses to do something in your example (b) indicates that he actually contemplates doing good verses bad. For me, God makes no choices, rather, he simply does what is best.

    That’s interesting; I’ll ponder on it—but point well-taken.

    So I guess my answer is (a) because this is the best that can be done while keeping in tact our ability to choose.

    Well, that means you bite the bullet on God’s omnipotence (as did Harold Kushner). But—

    I actually think you gave a fine example of a possibility (c) in your last post in the thread on submission. Put that together with not being all-knowing. . .
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    25 Oct '07 04:53
    Originally posted by vistesd
    [b]Saying that God chooses to do something in your example (b) indicates that he actually contemplates doing good verses bad. For me, God makes no choices, rather, he simply does what is best.

    That’s interesting; I’ll ponder on it—but point well-taken.

    So I guess my answer is (a) because this is the best that can be done while keeping in tact ...[text shortened]... n your last post in the thread on submission. Put that together with not being all-knowing. . .
    On the one hand God is omnipotent. On the other hand he has relinquished part of his power over us. Does the fact that we have free will imply that God weighed giving us free will verses not giving us free will? Put another way, was giving us free will the only "good" thing to do and, therefore, the only thing to be done? Especially in light of the fact that God is love and such freedom seems to require free choice, or at least on our part?
  5. Hmmm . . .
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    25 Oct '07 05:354 edits
    Originally posted by whodey
    On the one hand God is omnipotent. On the other hand he has relinquished part of his power over us. Does the fact that we have free will imply that God weighed giving us free will verses not giving us free will? Put another way, was giving us free will the only "good" thing to do and, therefore, the only thing to be done? Especially in light of the fact that God is love and such freedom seems to require free choice, or at least on our part?
    Okay—I’m an omnipotent physician. I know that my grown children do not always act in their best interests health-wise. But they have free will, and I do not try to compel them to act otherwise.

    When they become ill—even deathly ill—as a consequence of their choices, do I refuse to heal them? If one of them is in the throes of a heart attack, and has lost the capacity to communicate their wishes to me, do I simply let them die because they are unable to ask for my help? Perhaps they cannot even see that it is me; in a kind of delirium they resist my help; they think I am an enemy trying to restrain them. Hmmm. How am I to behave in such a case?

    And if they ask for my help? Do I say, “No, too late. You could have asked anytime up until the time you had this heart attack. Now I won’t help you.”?

    EDIT: At least a heart attack ends in death, not eternal suffering.

    Nevertheless, you chose an option without obfuscating around it. Commendations for that. Thanks.

    EDIT 2: With regard to your above comments on option (b), take "God chooses" in the same sense as "God wants, or wills".
  6. Gangster Land
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    25 Oct '07 06:04
    Originally posted by vistesd
    Okay—I’m an omnipotent physician. I know that my grown children do not always act in their best interests health-wise. But they have free will, and I do not try to compel them to act otherwise.

    When they become ill—even deathly ill—as a consequence of their choices, do I refuse to heal them? If one of them is in the throes of a heart attack, and has lo ...[text shortened]... Now I won’t help you.”?

    EDIT: At least a heart attack ends in death, not eternal suffering.
    You are on a roll tonight! Did you try a different kind of wine with dinner this evening?

    Anyway, it was a variation of this question of squaring God's alleged omnipotence with the fact of suffering in this world, and the condemnation of some to hell in the next.

    There is just too much sorrow for a loving and omnipotent God to exist.
  7. Hmmm . . .
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    25 Oct '07 06:141 edit
    Originally posted by TheSkipper
    You are on a roll tonight! Did you try a different kind of wine with dinner this evening?

    Anyway, it was a variation of this question of squaring God's alleged omnipotence with the fact of suffering in this world, and the condemnation of some to hell in the next.

    There is just too much sorrow for a loving and omnipotent God to exist.
    Same cheap jug red as usual. 😉

    Whodey at least chose an option. I just had a thought though—(i) if human original sin results in condemnation of all, and (ii) God’s supreme act of redemption is only able to redeem some, and (iii) if it is claimed that that inability is humanity’s (or Satan’s) fault as well. . . The balance of power—in terms of effective redemption—certainly is tipped away from God.

    I think you’re right, though. The whole thing just sort of collapses under its own weight of too many superlatives. One either has to bite the bullet on one of the horns of the dilemma, or start redefining some basic terms in ways that defy my understanding—or claim that we can’t understand those terms as they are applied to God, in which case they simply have no meaning for us as applied to God.

    Nevertheless, if one is willing to bite one of the horns of the dilemma, understanding and accepting the entailments, that at least moves the argument to the virtues (or not) of those entailments.
  8. Illinois
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    25 Oct '07 08:552 edits
    Originally posted by vistesd
    I said wasn’t going to bother going at this again, but (sigh)—

    The Christian sin/salvation motif—at least in the West, and especially within Protestantism—seems to run generally like this:

    (1) The first humans sinned (erred/failed, literally failed to hit the mark, hamartia).

    —Basically, they were suckered by the serpent, in the Genesis acco ]soterias[/i], “salvation” is to make whole or make well; hence to save, to preserve, to heal.
    I think what is needed here is a deeper appreciation of what it is to be a human being in God's created world.

    We are accustomed to seeing our selves and our world as being insignificant within the overwhelming expanse of the universe surrounding us. Modern science teaches us that we are merely puppets dancing on the strings of our genetic code, and, at bottom, that we are nothing more than a collection of atoms and molecules. But is this how God sees us? The answer is undoubtedly, no.

    The subliminal devaluation of human beings, inflicted on everyone by the materialism of the modern age, is the cloud which keeps us ignorant of our true worth (i.e., from our true responsibility to God). Not overtly, but it works its way into one's world view regardless.

    What happens to a child if you tell him that he is worthless over and over, throughout his entire life? Will he come to value his own decisions? Will he grow up to understand the weight of his own choices? Any psychology professor could tell you that depressed people generally regard their own choices as meaningless. Indeed, we are raised by our parents, but by and large we are raised by our culture, too, and as such, each and every person, at least in part, has been raised with the message, "you are worthless," pounded into their brains.

    But God has a great deal more respect for us than we have for ourselves, and a great deal more love for us than we have for ourselves. He knows who we are. We were created in His image, truly rational and free creatures (minus the omni-nature of course), and our worth to Him is immeasurable. Yet, we do not know how to value ourselves as He values us; our valuation is dependent upon the world in which we find ourselves, not upon God's appraisal.

    But God sent His Son into the world, in effect, to appraise us. Jesus talked with people, healed people, raised people from the dead, told everyone about the Father, and showed every person He met the love which God has for them -- revealing our true worth. Through Him, we know that we are far more valuable than a collection of molecules and each of us more significant than a trillion galaxies.

    Does our ignorance of who we are change who we are? No. Whether we are aware of it or not, each of us is an eternal soul; each a truly rational and truly free creature. Whether we value the eternal significance of our choices or not, our choices nevertheless have eternal significance.

    Is our ignorance entirely out of our control? No. It is essentially a choice to remain blind to our worth in God's eyes, because in order to gain the knowledge of our true worth in God's eyes we would have to first be responsible to God on some level. The devaluation of ourselves is one way to keep God at arm's length. A materialistic culture is a joint-stock company. We prefer it, despite its depressive aspects, because we get to go our own way (i.e., we don't have to be responsible to God).

    My point is, in order to truly understand the significance of sin and salvation without resorting to shallow logic and flawed conclusions, we first would have to understand that we are truly rational and truly free creatures over whom God exercises no control, and, as you've pointed out vistesd, that there is no escape from the responsibility of who we choose to submit to, whether it is ourselves, other people, or God.

    As soon as you truly understand the responsibility which we bear, then it will be easy to understand why God saves some and damns others. It is a flawed exegesis which automatically estimates God as being unreasonable for damning the disobedient to eternal torment, instead of seeing the weight of God's judgments as a clue to the true gravity of our situation. Has it occurred to anyone that the punishment might possibly fit the crime, regardless of any preconceived notions to the contrary?
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    25 Oct '07 10:18
    I believe that God is all-loving and all-powerful. A consequence of that belief of mine is that all people will be saved at some point. I believe that some people may end up in hell, but that they won't stay there forever. I believe that God's love is irresistible. It's just that some people will "resist" longer than others!
  10. Joined
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    25 Oct '07 13:112 edits
    Originally posted by vistesd
    Okay—I’m an omnipotent physician. I know that my grown children do not always act in their best interests health-wise. But they have free will, and I do not try to compel them to act otherwise.

    When they become ill—even deathly ill—as a consequence of their choices, do I refuse to heal them? If one of them is in the throes of a heart attack, and has lo ...[text shortened]... above comments on option (b), take "God chooses" in the same sense as "God wants, or wills".
    Firstly, our physician has come and tried to compell us to seek him because he cares for us. Biblically he is said to be at the door of our hearts knocking. Secondly, to recieve treatment one must sign a paper accepting treatment, or at least that is the way our medical system operates today even if they obviosly need help. Of coarse there are exceptions to this rule such as not being of sound mind or not being able to make a sane knowledgable choice for whatever reason. Then the "Good Samaritan" laws kick into effect as the Good Samaritan scoops us up and treats us despite ourselves. Is this not the picture that Jesus gave us? As I said before, I do not believe that those who are unable to make a choice, for whatever reason, are held accountable. I believe God to be a just judge in such a scenerio. However, those that are deemed accountable will decide for themselves and we must accept their choices or we will be violating the law by treating those who do not wish to be treated.

    Now in terms of those who are accountable and who do choose to be treated, those individuals still have the option to leave against medical advise and/or continue life style patterns that are killing them that contradict the medical advise given them. In such a scenerio the physician is powerless other than encouraging them to "do the right thing".
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    25 Oct '07 13:211 edit
    Originally posted by vistesd
    EDIT: At least a heart attack ends in death, not eternal suffering.
    In this scenerio, is the physician causing the suffering? Is the physician to blame or is he simply there to help the poor chap by giving him what he possesses to help him?

    If one is having chest pain in a hospital and all indications point that they are having a heart attack and the patient insists on leaving, what is one to do? If he is treated without his consent our laws would come after those who forced him to be treated. That is as long as he is deemed to be of sound mind. All that can be done is to inform the patient that he is having the heart attack and inform him of the consequences and let him decide from there. In fact, the patient can opt not to not only be not treated but opt to not be treated when he can no longer decide for themselves for whatever reason. The only fault of the physicain would be to misdiagnose the patient or not adequatly inform the patient of the consequences of his actions, whatever those actions may be.
  12. Standard memberKellyJay
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    25 Oct '07 14:08
    Originally posted by vistesd
    I said wasn’t going to bother going at this again, but (sigh)—

    The Christian sin/salvation motif—at least in the West, and especially within Protestantism—seems to run generally like this:

    (1) The first humans sinned (erred/failed, literally failed to hit the mark, hamartia).

    —Basically, they were suckered by the serpent, in the Genesis acco ...[text shortened]... ]soterias[/i], “salvation” is to make whole or make well; hence to save, to preserve, to heal.
    God was, is, and always could save all, but all don't want saved.
    The way was msde for all, but all didn't come.
    Kelly
  13. Territories Unknown
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    25 Oct '07 14:351 edit
    Originally posted by vistesd
    I said wasn’t going to bother going at this again, but (sigh)—

    The Christian sin/salvation motif—at least in the West, and especially within Protestantism—seems to run generally like this:

    (1) The first humans sinned (erred/failed, literally failed to hit the mark, hamartia).

    —Basically, they were suckered by the serpent, in the Genesis acco ...[text shortened]... ]soterias[/i], “salvation” is to make whole or make well; hence to save, to preserve, to heal.
    —Basically, they were suckered by the serpent, in the Genesis account, into an act of disobedience.
    You and I differ on this point. I agree that the text shows confusion and deception in relationship to the woman's decision. However, the serpent never speaks to the man, only to the woman. The man is only convinced on his course of action after dialogue with the woman. The man took his cue from the woman without dialogue--- presumably he assessed her condition and further decided to be with her outside of the communal relationship with God was be preferred to being in communion with God without her.

    (5) God’s ultimate salvific act results in the salvation of—some.
    Here again, is where we depart. The final reckoning offers absolutely no evidence of a salvation-by-works determination, nor does the rest of properly-read Scripture tell of anything but a grace/faith-based salvation. Instead, at the Judgment Seat of Christ, we see works in view for other purposes (this discussion currently being fleshed out within a different thread).

    That being said, salvation was universally rendered, although not universally applied. When Christ said on the cross "Tetalestai," He was indicating that the work was perfectly perfect: finished in the past and goes on working forever. That finished work was for all mankind, as indicated throughout Scripture. God is not able to save some, as such partiality would be in contradiction to His character. He is also not able to violate the volition of a self-autonomous being, thus man's ability to refuse anything offered by God with respect to relationship or otherwise.

    a) the best that God is able to do? Or,

    (b) the best that God chooses to do?

    If you were to change the word "some" with the word "all" in the portion immediately above these choices in your original post, the answer would then be yes to both questions.
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    25 Oct '07 15:48
    Originally posted by gaychessplayer
    I believe that God is all-loving and all-powerful. A consequence of that belief of mine is that all people will be saved at some point. I believe that some people may end up in hell, but that they won't stay there forever. I believe that God's love is irresistible. It's just that some people will "resist" longer than others!
    Do you think the same for Satan? Will he come around as well or is this exclusivly for human beings?
  15. Territories Unknown
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    25 Oct '07 16:10
    EDIT: To my previous post, I say the man had dialogue with the woman and then the man had no dialogue with the woman. The former sentence should have contained the word "no," as well. My bad.
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