1. Standard memberGrampy Bobby
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    17 Feb '14 20:462 edits
    The Only Issue

    Sin will not be and is not the basis of the Last Judgment; sin won't even be mentioned. Each unbeliever's good deeds and works will be the basis for each indictment. Reason: No matter how many good deeds and works unbelievers perform and accumulate, they all add up to human righteousness. Human righteousness cannot have relationship and fellowship with God's perfect divine righteousness. "For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all of our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment [in the Hebrew: menstrual rags]." (Isaiah 64:6a) "He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy [grace] by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit". (Titus 3:5) The only way to receive God's righteousness is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. (I Corinthians 1:30) The Last Judgment is God's time and place for the final verdict on man's futile struggle to reach heaven on his own merit. Visualize God on His Throne; all unbelievers of the human race will stand before this bench of absolute justice. No believers will be present because "there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (Romans 8:1)

    If you have believed in Christ you are spared the Last Judgment: "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the only begotten [uniquely born] Son of God." (John 3:18) "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not believe in the Son shall not see life but the wrath of God abides on him." (John 3:36) The unbeliever's separation from God for all eternity or second death [separation from God and destruction of the well being of body and soul] is described in Revelation 20:15: "And death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." Since Christ paid the penalty for the sins of the entire world, God the Father's Justice cannot prosecute the human race for personal sin. The only issue is your decision regarding faith alone in Christ alone? Your call.
  2. Hmmm . . .
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    17 Feb '14 21:201 edit
    Originally posted by Grampy Bobby
    [b]The Only Issue

    Sin will not be and is not the basis of the Last Judgment; sin won't even be mentioned. Each unbeliever's good deeds and works will be the basis for each indictment. Reason: No matter how many good deeds and works unbelievers perform and accumulate, they all add up to human righteousness. Human righteousness cannot have r ...[text shortened]... personal sin. The only issue is your decision regarding faith alone in Christ alone? Your call.[/b]
    On the one hand, Grampy, I need to ask you what you think the English word “believe” means here (since, as I have noted elsewhere, its meaning(s) have changed somewhat from when the Bible was first translated into English—and not all of the current usages accurately reflect, in my opinion, the Greek pisteo).

    But— On the other hand, regardless of the understanding of “believe”, I want to point out that sin does not mean moral wrongdoing. The underlying Greek word (which the English word “sin” accurately reflected when the Bible was translated) is hamartia—a missing of (or not hitting) the mark, regardless of any moral fault. It means error, failing, fallibility. Hence, the notion of "original sin" is one of basic human existential fallibility--whatever its cause.

    Do you assume (or do you think the Bible assumes) that the human mental faculties (e.g., nous) are sufficiently infallible (that is, free from sin) as to render the decision (or ability) to believe or not, justifiable of eternal reward or condemnation?

    _________________________________________________

    Another way to put the last question is to ask whether or not human “free will” is sufficiently infallibly informed that such decisions justifiably merit eternal reward or condemnation? And if the ability to exercise “free will” is diminished by ignorance and/or illusion (Greek: plani) because of “original sin” (that is, existential fallibility)?
  3. Standard memberRJHinds
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    17 Feb '14 22:54
    Originally posted by vistesd
    On the one hand, Grampy, I need to ask you what you think the English word “believe” means here (since, as I have noted elsewhere, its meaning(s) have changed somewhat from when the Bible was first translated into English—and not all of the current usages accurately reflect, in my opinion, the Greek pisteo).

    [b]But
    — On the other hand, regard ...[text shortened]... r illusion (Greek: plani) because of “original sin” (that is, existential fallibility)?[/b]
    Are you pleading an insanity defense?
  4. Standard memberSwissGambit
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    17 Feb '14 22:571 edit
    Originally posted by Grampy Bobby
    [b]The Only Issue

    Sin will not be and is not the basis of the Last Judgment; sin won't even be mentioned. Each unbeliever's good deeds and works will be the basis for each indictment. Reason: No matter how many good deeds and works unbelievers perform and accumulate, they all add up to human righteousness. Human righteousness cannot have r ...[text shortened]... personal sin. The only issue is your decision regarding faith alone in Christ alone? Your call.[/b]
    Belief in Jesus Christ isn't 'my call'; I cannot decide to believe in him.

    Yes, the main device they gave you for winning souls is faulty. I know it's going to take some time to adjust to that after years of repetition. Don't worry; I'll be here to remind you periodically that we don't get to just choose what we want to believe.
  5. Hmmm . . .
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    17 Feb '14 23:09
    Originally posted by RJHinds
    Are you pleading an insanity defense?
    Well, I’m not pleading. 😉 But, it might come down to something like that.

    The assumption seems to be that our “sanity”—our ability to make “free will” decisions about what, or what not, to believe—is somehow free of the fallibility (hamartia) that affects other capacities. This is an especially interesting assumption when made in the context of “original sin”, or general existential fallibility.

    Really, RJ, there seem to be four logical possibilities:

    1. Our capacity to choose rightly what to believe (among all the conflicting truth claims) is unhindered by hamartia, and hence infallible. By that word “infallible”, that any choice to believe the wrong thing is deliberately and morally perverse, and cannot be because of ignorance or illusion, because we could not do so by a simple, honest mistake.

    2. A simple, honest mistake justifies eternal condemnation/reward.

    3. It ain’t up to us—in the sense of Calvinist “double predestination”.

    4. It ain’t up to us—in the sense of God’s unhinderable healing grace.

    Anyway, RJ, in some of what is posted here, it seems as if the mental capacity to choose is the one area that is assumed to be free of the debilitating effects of “original sin”. I don’t think that makes sense (nor do I think it is clearly scriptural).
  6. Hmmm . . .
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    17 Feb '14 23:282 edits
    Originally posted by SwissGambit
    Belief in Jesus Christ isn't 'my call'; I cannot decide to believe in him.

    Yes, the main device they gave you for winning souls is faulty. I know it's going to take some time to adjust to that after years of repetition. Don't worry; I'll be here to remind you periodically that we don't get to just choose what we want to believe.
    Hi, SG.

    Ignoring for now the definitions/understandings of words such as theos and ho Christos, which certainly affect how/what we can “believe “ . . .

    . . . and agreeing with your point here, . . .

    . . . and drawing on googlefudge’s (I think correct) distinction between “gnostic “ and “agnostic” theists, . . .

    I really see no reason why “agnostic Christian”—or, “Christic agnostic”, to get away from all that “True Christian™” stuff—is not a valid option.

    In such a case, words like “believe” (or “faith” ) take on a different, non-epistemic, usage—one that I think is compatible with psychology (especially sports psychology) and the understandings embedded in the original languages, although somewhat foreign to modern (especially protestant) theological discourse.

    I’m really just thinking out loud. In any event, I agree with what you say here: I cannot believe in things that I cannot believe in. It is not a “free” decision—unless one can “believe” with total randomness. That is the problem (for me) with “libertarian free will”: it reduces either to logical incoherency or pure randomness.

    But—my argument here, cast in the language of my Christic roots—is that for such “free will” decisions to be free, they cannot be hindered by ignorance or illusion; they must be not be subject to such human fallibility. I think this sets up a contradiction in some Christian soteriological formulae that seems to be just glossed over. I think that some Orthodox (capital “O” ) streams of thought recognize this—especially Gregory of Nyssa’a concept of apokatastasis.
  7. Standard memberGrampy Bobby
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    17 Feb '14 23:35
    Originally posted by vistesd
    On the one hand, Grampy, I need to ask you what you think the English word “believe” means here (since, as I have noted elsewhere, its meaning(s) have changed somewhat from when the Bible was first translated into English—and not all of the current usages accurately reflect, in my opinion, the Greek pisteo).

    [b]But
    — On the other hand, regard ...[text shortened]... r illusion (Greek: plani) because of “original sin” (that is, existential fallibility)?[/b]
    Originally posted by vistesd
    On the one hand, Grampy, I need to ask you what you think the English word “believe” means here (since, as I have noted elsewhere, its meaning(s) have changed somewhat from when the Bible was first translated into English—and not all of the current usages accurately reflect, in my opinion, the Greek pisteo).

    "Lexicon :: Strong's G4100 - Believe: pisteu;, verb: Outline of Biblical Usage 1. to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, place confidence in 1. of the thing believed 1. to credit, have confidence 2. in a moral or religious reference 1. used in the NT of the conviction and trust to which a man is impelled by a certain inner and higher prerogative and law of soul 2. to trust in Jesus or God as able to aid either in obtaining or in doing something: saving faith 3. mere acknowledgment of some fact or event: intellectual faith 2. to entrust a thing to one, i.e. his fidelity to be intrusted with a thing." http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G4100

    Note: I believe in the verbal plenary inspiration of scripture; in the historical reality of the first advent of the unique person and work of the Risen Christ as true. I am convinced of God's sovereign authority and accept His offer of the grace gift of salvation, with the conviction that it is accurately presented and an offer worthy of acceptance; I have an 'elpis' hope or expectation with absolute confidence of favorable results. I am persuaded that God has revealed Himself to mankind for the explicit purpose of reconciling depraved mankind unto Himself to share His perfect happiness with them. (to be continued)
  8. Hmmm . . .
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    18 Feb '14 00:322 edits
    Originally posted by Grampy Bobby
    Originally posted by vistesd
    [b]On the one hand, Grampy, I need to ask you what you think the English word “believe” means here
    (since, as I have noted elsewhere, its meaning(s) have changed somewhat from when the Bible was first translated into English—and not all of the current usages accurately reflect, in my opinion, the Greek [i]pisteo[ ...[text shortened]... ciling depraved mankind unto Himself to share His perfect happiness with them. (to be continued)[/b]
    On “believe”: not that it really matters for the “meat” of this discussion, but I suspect that Strong’s is reading more contemporary understandings back into pisteo here. And the original meaning of the English word “believe” was to “hold dear”, “to love”, to “trust” (and is related to leave, furlough, life and love). [John Ayto, Dictionary of Word Origins] As you can see, that is not as bad translation of pisteo, meaning to trust, or have confidence in. Hence my reference to SwissGambit about non-epistemic usages of the term.

    As I say, though, that doesn’t really matter for my question, and I will accept that understanding of “Christian belief” for the sake of discussion.

    This really has little to do with the nature of God’s revelation or plenary inspiration (though I reject the latter, as, frankly, a latter-day imposition of protestant thought)—it has to do with (a) human capability, and (b) the extent to which moral responsibility hinges on that capability. Your assumption—and it is an assumption that seems predominant in certain, though not all, theological schema—seems to be that sinfulness or “original sin” (the “human depravity” you refer to?) does not affect mental capacity to “freely choose” whatever might be “right belief”. Therefore, in response to revelation (say) humans are effectively infallibly able to choose correct belief. If they are not able to infallibly choose correct belief, then how can failure to believe carry justified moral consequence?

    [Consider an alternative soteriological paradigm: that of healing, as opposed to that of reward versus punishment (based on either morality or right/wrong belief). I know that the latter has a long theological tradition (especially in the west, and especially in Protestant thought)—but it is not the only salvation paradigm in either scripture or early church thought. ]

    In sum, this “free will to believe” notion (aside from other problems of “libertarian free will” ) seems to, at best, leave an unexplained lacuna in that particular line of Christian thought—to wit, how is it that this is an area that is held to be “free” of diminishment by “existential human fallibility” (or, in more theological language, “original sin” )?

    __________________________________________________

    NOTE: I have been trying to avoid a discussion of “libertarian free will” versus “compatibilism”—but note my comments to SwissGambit that, in my understanding, “libertarian free wll” (which seems to be what most Christians mean) is either logically incoherent or reduces to randomness.
  9. Standard memberRJHinds
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    18 Feb '14 01:41
    Originally posted by vistesd
    Well, I’m not pleading. 😉 But, it might come down to something like that.

    The [b]assumption
    seems to be that our “sanity”—our ability to make “free will” decisions about what, or what not, to believe—is somehow free of the fallibility (hamartia) that affects other capacities. This is an especially interesting assumption when made in the con ...[text shortened]... ts of “original sin”. I don’t think that makes sense (nor do I think it is clearly scriptural).[/b]
    Maybe that is why the Lord Jesus will be the Judge and not any of us.
  10. Standard memberGrampy Bobby
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    18 Feb '14 03:05
    Originally posted by Grampy Bobby
    Originally posted by vistesd
    [b]On the one hand, Grampy, I need to ask you what you think the English word “believe” means here
    (since, as I have noted elsewhere, its meaning(s) have changed somewhat from when the Bible was first translated into English—and not all of the current usages accurately reflect, in my opinion, the Greek [i]pisteo[ ...[text shortened]... ciling depraved mankind unto Himself to share His perfect happiness with them. (to be continued)[/b]
    Originally posted by vistesd
    "But— On the other hand, regardless of the understanding of “believe”, I want to point out that sin does not mean moral wrongdoing. The underlying Greek word (which the English word “sin” accurately reflected when the Bible was translated) is hamartia—a missing of (or not hitting) the mark, regardless of any moral fault. It means error, failing, fallibility. Hence, the notion of "original sin" is one of basic human existential fallibility--whatever its cause."
    __________________________________________________

    The word "sin" (harmartia, as you've noted) in the singular can mean one of three things: Adam's original sin; the human sin nature; the principle of personal sin. Personal sins: mental, verbal and overt violations of God's standards. (to be cont'd)
  11. Standard memberGrampy Bobby
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    18 Feb '14 03:15
    Originally posted by SwissGambit
    Belief in Jesus Christ isn't 'my call'; I cannot decide to believe in him.

    Yes, the main device they gave you for winning souls is faulty. I know it's going to take some time to adjust to that after years of repetition. Don't worry; I'll be here to remind you periodically that we don't get to just choose what we want to believe.
    "Belief in Jesus Christ isn't 'my call'; I cannot decide to believe in him." -SG

    "cannot" or will not.... either way, there's no coercion from God or man; you own the decision and its consequences.
  12. Hmmm . . .
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    18 Feb '14 04:42
    Originally posted by Grampy Bobby
    Originally posted by vistesd
    [b]"But
    — On the other hand, regardless of the understanding of “believe”, I want to point out that sin does not mean moral wrongdoing. The underlying Greek word (which the English word “sin” accurately reflected when the Bible was translated) is hamartia—a missing of (or not hitting) the mark, ...[text shortened]... in. Personal sins: mental, verbal and overt violations of God's standards. (to be cont'd)
    Well, Robert, I’ll let you continue, since you indicated “to be cont’d”—and that’s certainly fair.

    But I want to say that where you seem to be headed is particular theological applications of the word, which I have suggested might be problematic (1) if they are based on a misinterpretation of the original meaning of the word, and (2) if those theological applications end up reading into the biblical texts what is, in fact, not there. I will hasten to add that (2) is only problematic, as far as I’m concerned, if there is a pretense of reading those theological applications straight out of the text (rather than into it).

    I suspect that a lot of modern, especially protestant, theology is based on a mis-reading of the texts in the original languages, as well as failure to recognize the evolutionary changes in word-meanings in the English translations (e.g., “believe”, as I mentioned). Basically, people end up reading such a theology back into the biblical texts (and likely tradition as well), while asserting that the biblical text somehow “must” mean what they now think it means.

    Nevertheless, neither the Greek nor (especially) the Hebrew are generally as clear-cut as some theologies seem to insist upon.

    I have seen an argument that humans necessarily fall short of the perfection of god—without the imposition of moral fault, but keeping the original meanings of hamartia—and that this human existential fallibility is nevertheless deserving of eternal punishment/condemnation/torment, etc. I think that argument fails on a number of grounds. But at least it does not require a moralistic re-definition of hamartia-sin.

    However, even that argument seems to be generally premised on the ability of humans to “freely” choose what to believe—and that raises the question of how humans can do that if their judgmental capability is impaired by the very underlying fallibility at issue! Alternatively, it raises the issue as to how that is the one human faculty that is somehow not affected (“infected”?) by sin—especially if one starts talking about such notions as “original sin” or “sin nature”, and especially within a biblical context.

    But, as I say, I will let you continue—as that is only fair.
  13. Standard memberRJHinds
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    18 Feb '14 04:59
    Originally posted by vistesd
    Well, Robert, I’ll let you continue, since you indicated “to be cont’d”—and that’s certainly fair.

    But I want to say that where you seem to be headed is [b]particular
    theological applications of the word, which I have suggested might be problematic (1) if they are based on a misinterpretation of the original meaning of the word, ...[text shortened]... ially within a biblical context.

    But, as I say, I will let you continue—as that is only fair.[/b]
    You need to stop trying to make excuses and accept the fact that you deserve eternal punishment.
  14. Standard memberGrampy Bobby
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    18 Feb '14 05:02
    Originally posted by vistesd
    Well, Robert, I’ll let you continue, since you indicated “to be cont’d”—and that’s certainly fair.

    But I want to say that where you seem to be headed is [b]particular
    theological applications of the word, which I have suggested might be problematic (1) if they are based on a misinterpretation of the original meaning of the word, ...[text shortened]... ially within a biblical context.

    But, as I say, I will let you continue—as that is only fair.[/b]
    "But I want to say that where you seem to be headed is particular theological applications of the word, which I have suggested might be problematic (1) if they are based on a misinterpretation of the original meaning of the word..." vistesd

    Fully agree that context matters greatly; sometime it may be divorced from a conversation though not always. You've obviously applied yourself to an academic pursuit of these languages which are relevant to biblical topics. Rather than exhaust your patience, I'd welcome a summary of the precise meanings you hoped I'd furnish; then I'll respond. Thanks.
  15. Standard memberGrampy Bobby
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    18 Feb '14 05:04
    Originally posted by RJHinds
    You need to stop trying to make excuses and accept the fact that you deserve eternal punishment.
    RJ, I for one am enjoying the conversation with this man who has obviously given considerable thought to the topic.
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