The Evangelical Universalist Forum

God does not create, commit, or allow evil!


#201

Steve, as I mentioned in a previous post, Adam and Eve were already created in God’s image and likeness to start with, and they already knew good from evil because God told them NOT to eat from the tree. They didn’t have to disobey Him or sin to be “like God”. I suppose God knows good and evil because He sinned? If I tell my child not to do drugs, he can either trust that I know what I’m talking about, look at the destruction drugs have on other people’s lives and stay away as instructed, or do some drugs himself. It would not be necessary to engage in drug use in order to be conformed to God’s image as you suggest. In my opinion, the verse that you quote is not God speaking.


#202

I agree with LLC. As I learned in A.A.


#203

A good quote and right to the point, St.M!


#204

Thanks Dave you are so kind. A true universalist if I ever saw one :smiley:


#205

What “past struggles” did Gabe or I bring up? Your posting history of flip-flopping from one dogmatic theme to another?


#206

BTW great catch, Gabe. I’d never even heard of “Cole”. I did a quick search, and yes, “St.Michael” is almost certainly the same person as this guy: I’m A Calvinist/Universalist


#207

HPFZ, I read, “Where Did Satan’s First Desire for Evil Come from?” by John Piper. He had no answer, either. Let me lay out my own (inconclusive, but I think more satisfying :wink: ) answer. As I have shared in other comments:

So, here are some of those verses:

Isaiah 14:12-14
“How you are fallen from heaven,
O Lucifer, son of the morning!
How you are cut down to the ground,
You who weakened the nations!
For you have said in your heart:
‘I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount of the congregation
On the farthest sides of the north;
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
I will be like the Most High.’ [Sounds a bit like, [i]“For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God….”]

Ezekiel 28:14-15, 17.
“You were the anointed cherub who covers;
I established you;
You were on the holy mountain of God;
You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones.
You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created,
Till iniquity was found in you.
…“Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty;
You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor
;

Why did Satan become proud of his own splendor and beauty—instead of being thankful? Why did he want to exalt his throne, and be like the Most High, receiving adulation? I don’t know; he was focusing on self instead of on God. But he was not an automaton; he had a free will.


**But my bigger concern than answering “Where Did Satan’s First Desire for Evil Come from?” is confronting passivity in people’s lives from ungodly fatalism. Sure, our loving God uses bad things for good, but I have argued a number of times in this forum that He doesn’t send the bad things. Satan does.

In that same excellent book, Beauchemin also asks,

I would argue that every last person in hell, or the subsequent Lake of Fire, will, of their own “free” will, eventually be freed of their bondage. Their (admittedly misinformed and therefore constrained) free will, will become unlimited and unconstrained, and they will freely endorse the saving love of God in Christ, within linear time. And then linear time will end, and this classroom in which every last one of us finds ourself right now, will end.

(Shadrach, Mishach, and Abed-Nego—admittedly “good guys”—were tied up and thrown into the fiery furnace of Nebuchadnezzar. But “one like the Son of God” was right there with them. **They were freed of their satanic bondage, and were saved. And when they came out of that fire, they didn’t even smell like smoke.)
**
The song, “Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be),” was first published in 1956. It was introduced in the Alfred Hitchcock film The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), starring Doris Day and Jimmy Stewart:

Que sera, sera,
Whatever will be, will be;
The future’s not ours to see.
Que sera, sera,
What will be, will be.
Que Sera, Sera!

I never liked that song.

Fatalism is not godly. Greek mythology told of the Moirai, or the Fates, three goddesses pictured as weavers of men’s lives. They were vindictive and capricious. Their decisions could not be canceled or annulled, even by other gods. As far as I know, Fatalism was prominent in all ancient literature except that of the Jews. There is no word in the Hebrew corresponding to the fortune or Parcae of the Latin and the Moirae of the Greek.

Fatalism is a major premise of Islam, which demands total submission to the sovereignty of Allah. Muslims continually use the Arabic phrase “In sha Allah,” which means “if God wills.”

It is widely held in Hinduism, too. It is a fatalistic view of life that helps keep India’s caste system in place.

Calvinism’s predestination is, in my opinion, also fatalistic. So yes, a Calvinist may argue that evangelism “is important” and necessary for the salvation of the elect, but logically your individual responsibility to evangelize any particular elect person is not necessary for the salvation of that elect person.

But “que sera, sera” is not just under the purview of some religionists. Let’s remember atheistic “determinism.”

To a determinist, all choice is illusory. Western students get indoctrinated into this in any psychology class, or Darwinian Evolution class. No free will = no moral responsibility or culpability. (Although maybe that is more principled than the idea that a “loving” God picks you for eternal conscious torment, not based on your choices in life, but on His choice—before you were even born.)

**I am arguing against letting ourselves be victimized and defrauded! ** Satan was defeated and disarmed at the cross. As I quoted Richard Murray above,

Also, as I have said elsewhere,

Blessings.


#208

Greetings!

As I looked deeply into Genesis, which included analyzing the thoughts that lead one to ask questions like, “Should the Genesis account be read literally or allegorically?” and “Why are there several accounts?" I realized that for understanding to proceed, I was eventually going to have to decide what I would choose to believe from among the competing opinions.

My teenage religious training included being made aware of a few opposing points of view because I asked (sometimes uncomfortable) questions of my teachers. Of course, I was provided with answers that supported the theology of the Southern Baptist, most of which I found illogical and therefore, unsatisfying - although they were able to scare the hell out of me with their words of fire and brimstone and dire consequences for unbelief.

During this time, I also observed how the conclusions of these choices of what to believe can be used to justify the reactions of the persons that surrounded me to the words and actions of others. And doesn’t justification within us often point to a conscience that is not in agreement with the heart?

For instance: a friend and myself once attended a Baptist summer youth camp sponsored by my Baptist High School. Now, we loved the devil’s music, that evil rock and roll, and desired to grow our hair long in the fashion of the times. We partied surreptitiously, as best we could, because some of my friends had non-religious parents. Much to my surprise, my friend, who was one of those with non-religious parents, responded to the invitation to come down and dedicate his life to Christ! I asked him later what that was all about. He replied, "Well, you know, I figure that now that I’m saved (and can’t lose my salvation!), my bases are covered (implying that he could feel comfortable partying and loving the things we loved, sex, drugs and rock and roll, while still going to heaven)!

Thus I observed that Southern Baptist theology (Calvinism) gave a great pretense under which one may justify insincerity and hypocrisy. I knew that I was justifying, and so did he. Thus, I also knew that because we could conclude such things, others were as well.

Early on, then, I came to see a direct link between what one believes in his or her heart as the truth and one’s reactions to the words and actions of others.

I have written much from my perception of that link because I came later to understand that my heart is the sum total of the thoughts within me from which I would speak act and react to the words and actions of others. I wrote more on that here; and I send a thank you to all who participated in that discussion.

So, should Genesis be taken literally or allegorically? Without going into a lot of detail, my answer was, “literally,” because the logic of the allegorical position could not reasonably tell me at what point I should quit reading the account allegorically and start reading it literally. That was my decision and why I made it. Therefore, I made a choice as I began my search for a coherent understanding by believing (exercising faith) that The Words were telling the story of real-time events surrounding real-time people.

In other words, I looked at the arguments and then made a choice as to what I would believe. Many here have gone through this same process because Universalisim is not the belief that drives modern understanding in, “The Church.”

Additionally, my choice of what I would believe was not without the support of a logical conclusion or two drawn from scripture, even as Steve wrote:

I will also add that Paul must have also considered Ish and Ishsha to be the first and only human beings brought into existence by an act of creation when he said:

Now the point of this was not necessarily meant as a rebuttal to the logic employed in another post to show that God created other human beings besides Ish and Ishsha -though it does successfully do just that, if you are willing to believe - rather I am wanting to point out that I recognized that I had to make a choice as to what I would put my faith in, if I desired to move forward into understanding. But, my faith was not blindly engaged because logic, applied to scripture, gave me a conclusion that did not contradict my consideration that the Genesis account should be read as a literal account of the first two human beings and how we came to be the kind of people we are - people who know of the difference between good and evil, and yet are unable to realize the ideal that knowledge creates in us.

That is what we are, and it is Genesis that tells us how we came to be that way.

But, there was a problem that I began noticing in my thoughts as I progressed in my understanding by choosing what I would accept into my heart as truth. That problem was that I began to recognize that there were thoughts in my heart that I wanted to believe were true, but contradicted the conclusions I was coming to as one act of faith led to another.

Let me illustrate.

I was discussing with a roommate once in the USAF the fantastic life spans of human beings before the flood. We were both Christians by that time. I was quite surprised when he said, “But, there had to be other human beings somewhere else because, if there weren’t, then Adam and Eve’s children were incestuous and incest is a sin!”

In other words, rather than believe that the radically different world of that time allowed for what we now call incest, he choose to believe something else that the totality of scripture does not support because he couldn’t allow the belief in his heart to be challenged that brothers and sisters copulating and creating other human beings was not a sin at that time.

The world before the flood was fantastic. So fantastic that, without the Genesis account, we would find ourselves languishing in our speculations as we try to figure out where we came from and why we exist. Indeed, I perceive that many still speculate into perplexity for choosing to make it a truth in their heart that the Genesis account is a story that should only be understood spiritually, never literally, simply because it is so fantastic!

One of my own turnings on faith - one of my own points of decision when I had to choose between what I wanted to believe and what I was being led to believe - came when I had to challenge an axiom I had accepted as truth simply because it made sense, given my upbringing. The axiom was that surely God would not allow His Words to be tampered with!
Therefore, given the popularity of the King James Version, it must be the translation that God Himself oversaw, given how precious His Words are to our understanding.

After consideration, and after observing how many people who believed this axiom (including myself) behaved, I choose to reject that axiom and put my faith into the belief that God was not responsible for how men choose to translate His Words; the originals have survived the centuries (this is a provable fact, not an axiom), and that was enough; for as His Son said: If they don’t believe Moses and the Prophets, they won’t believe even if someone comes back from the dead. That became the act of faith that then enabled me to discover exactly how Calvinistic bias was interposed into our English translations of The Original Words.

Thus, when Universalism came into my purview I was immediately able to grasp its significance to understanding the over-arching theme of scripture, the salvation of all mankind, without my heart, “getting in the way.”

Again, my goal in posting this is largely to point out that moving forward in understanding requires that a decision be made between competing claims as to what you want to allow into your heart as truth, while recognizing that there will be resistance to change from within your own heart - from your own thoughts that reflect the way you want things to be - as you progress in understanding.

I perceive, then, that this awareness of the difference between what we want to believe and why we want to believe it, and then coming to accept, on faith, what we are led to believe, is our cooperation with the Spirit of Jesus as He leads Believers into all understanding.

In other words, understanding is exactly what everything we have to do and say and believe has always been about, the heart.

Now, concerning the question of why there are several accounts in Genesis, the significance of my answer is found, again, in believing that Genesis is a story about real-time people and real-time events, and therefore, the accounts should be in agreement if they are telling the same story.

Given the incredible life-spans of human beings antediluvian, a fact revealed in the third account, Adam and Eve were available during most of the age prior to the flood to tell the story of what happened to any who asked. This is a fact. Then, given the assumption that human beings were at least as intelligent and creative as we are today, and given the simultaneous rise of civilization and writing in Mesopotamia, which must have been settled post-diluvian, I concluded that the recording of language, writing, was known before the flood.

This is a reasonable assumption and one that introduces the possibility that Moses was as much a compiler as he was an author.

So, for believing this assumption, it becomes a thing of examination and perception to understand that the first account (which is written in a more undeveloped style that involved repetition to tell its story), was written as a synopsis, and, at that, given the ending of the account, a joyful summation of how Elohim created The Heavens and the Earth. Also, within this account there is the fantastic notion that there was a creation before the one from which human beings began, something the writer could only know as a fact if that writer was able to talk directly with Elohim because only Elohim could provide such information. Thus, the possibility exists that Ish and Ishsha wrote at least the first account and, at that, possibly before he and Ishsha were turned.

So, how long were they in the garden before the fall? I perceive that it must have been quite a long time because when Jehovah said, in the second account, “In the sweat of your face shall you eat your bread…” Adam must have known what bread was, otherwise the word would have no meaning to him. Logically, then, since it would take a long time to develop the ability to make bread (ahem) from scratch, they must have been in the Garden for quite some time, if Ish and Ishsha were acquainted with the Hebrew word for, “bread,” at the time Jehovah spoke it.

After examining this logic, I choose to believe it as truth in order to move forward in my understanding.

That then renders the second account to be easily perceived as an expansion on the first account because it gives the name of Elohim, Jehovah, and then expands on the first account by providing more details of what happened on the sixth day… and after, specifically, how Jehovah created them Male and Female and the story of how Ish and Ishah came to be turned - and Cain to murder his brother Abel and how Cain’s first child was Enoch - who wrote that really fantastic account of The Watchers - and then, only a handful of children later, Lamech, who bore three important and creative sons maned Jabal, Jubal and Tubal-Cain, and how Lamech came to be a murderer, and Eve to have a son that she considered as a replacement for Abel and how this son had a son who trusted that Jehovah would avenge Him for being wounded, rather than murder the offender as Lamech did, thus ending the second account.

The third account, called a scroll within the account itself, then tells the story of how millions of human beings became so murderous before the flood that Jehovah felt penitent for creating mankind, but Noah found favor, because Noah was righteous…

Thus, I can believe that all of these narratives were written down by different people who were close to the events that occurred, with the third narrative - possibly begun before the flood - turning into a running native because I can logically assume that writing existed before Mesopotamia, and that assumption is made conceivable for my believing that the Genesis account should be read, from beginning to end, as a story about real-time people and real-time events. Thus, Noah then took at least four accounts - the book of Enoch was the fourth account - with him on the Ark, and Moses came to receive them and organize them and then add to them from his own dealings with Jehovah and His soon to be nationalized people, the Hebrews.

So, were Ish and Ishah truly free to choose between believing Jehovah concerning His command about that tree and not believing Him? Yes, but only if Jehovah did not know as a fact what the two of them were going to do when tested. And, make no mistake, Jehovah’s command was a test. But, was this command a temptation to make them fall, so Jehovah could get on with His only plan, ever, for humanity - which would logically be their fall and all the Pain and Suffering, all the Evil that would come after?

Or was it an opportunity for them to succeed?

If so, succeed at what?

That was the question I pondered for quite some time.

Could it be that, perhaps, this is what Jehovah intended us to be, from the beginning?

Be good!

Dennis!

Thank you, St. Michael, for typing out such a prescient statement that played well into what I was considering typing about as I read the most recent posts.


#209

Dennis said:

So, Dennis, what is your take on the relationship between Genesis and modern science (i.e. old earth, big bang, evolution, etc.) :question:


#210

Steve, as I mentioned in a previous post, Adam and Eve were already created in God’s image and likeness to start with, and they already knew good from evil because God told them NOT to eat from the tree.

I don’t really see how you discern they knew good from evil from the fact God gave them a command? You can give a dog a command to roll over but that doesn’t mean he knows good from evil.

In Gen 2.25 it says “And they were both naked , the man and his wife and were not ashamed.” So it sounds to me that they were innocent not yet having a conscience and not yet knowing good and evil.


#211

So, were Ish and Ishah truly free to choose between believing Jehovah concerning His command about that tree and not believing Him? Yes, but only if Jehovah did not know as a fact what the two of them were going to do when tested. And, make no mistake, Jehovah’s command was a test. But, was this command a temptation to make them fall, so Jehovah could get on with His only plan, ever, for humanity - which would logically be their fall and all the Pain and Suffering, all the Evil that would come after?

Even if we accept Open Theism , how could God not know what would happen? Eve seems to be innocent but Satan who is the master deceiver of the universe is allowed to tempt her and immediately sinful desires erupt in her. Of course Adam didn’t have to partake but he wasn’t strong enough to resist. But God made them and God made their DNA and put those desires in them. But i think the reason is found in Rom 8.20 “For the creation was subjected to futility , not willingly but because of Him who subjected it in hope, because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”

If you think about it, don’t we learn just about everything by contrast? If we never experienced the bad stuff would we really appreciate the good stuff later on? If you give your child everything they want, what happens? They become spoiled.


#212

Steve, there is a difference between a dog and a man. To eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was wrong according to God. And if this tree was there, then sin was already present in the garden. The fact that it was bearing fruit means that it was also physically evident. If this be the case, then death was occurring as well. I would agree that Adam and Eve were young and innocent. However, they obviously had a conscience( “a voice viewed as acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one’s behavior”) due to the fact that they knew it was not right,according to God, to eat of the tree, but in their innocence they simply ignored it. Desire for the fruit came from their own hearts. As James 1:13 says, God does not tempt people, nor does He put lustful thoughts in our heads. We think what we want to think.


#213

What do people mean when they say, “God is in control”? Do they mean that every event that occurs, happens because it is God’s will for it to happen? Do they actually believe that all the murders, tortures, rapes of little girls, and all other atrocites that are taking place every day, occur because they are God’s will?

Clearly Jesus didn’t believe that, since He taught His disciples to pray, “Let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matt 6:10). If His will had always been done on earth and always would be done on earth, such a prayer would have been unnecessary.


#214

Did they know it was not morally right? Or did they know only that God had commanded it?

I think Steve 7150 is correct. They did not know good and evil in the moral sense until they had eaten from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. It is like one of my dogs. I trained them not to enter a certain room in the house, and they don’t normally do so. But one of them often does when he knows I’m not watching. Adam and Eve may have thought God was not watching when they were tempted by the devil.


#215

Well, the first thing to note is that I do not know everything. Indeed, it is impossible for me too. So, I could never provide a rebuttal to every question concerning our origins that could be put to me from the supporters of the two points of view, Darwinism and Creationism. However, that does not mean I can’t form an opinion.

The act of forming an opinion always involves self-education. So, I have looked into the debate and emerged convinced that there must be a designer of a structure, if a structure (anything from a child’s Lego building or a tree to a spaceship or a human being) is complex and orderly and serves a purpose. This is especially true if the structure is living.

Succinctly put: Design necessitates a designer.

And then there’s that Universal Nuisance that has to be considered by both sides, Entropy.

The energy in the universe is dissipating, all of it. So, for the the Darwinist to be credible concerning the origin of the species, he must discover the mechanism by which evolution, which is a hypothesis of naturally increasing order in a structure, is able to overcome entropy. Likewise, since matter and energy are equivalent, so is everything of design subject to entropy. So, for the Creationist to be credible concerning the origin of the species, he must explain why the designer of the species is allowing entropy to destroy his structures.

Concerning an old Earth - for holding in my heart as a truth that The Genesis account is to be understood literally, I can understand and accept that the word yowm is narrowed in scope in the first account of Genesis to mean a single day for the use of an ordinate numbering and the additional phrase, “the evening and the morning.” From this it is apparent that the writer of this account, for knowing that yowm can indicate an indeterminate age of time, intended to convey, through repetition, what he believed to be a fact: that the Heavens and the Earth were created in six days, as we know the word, “day,” to mean an evening and a morning.

After consideration, this understanding is where I have put my faith; this understanding is what I hold in my heart as truth; this understanding is what I have chosen to believe.

However, forming an opinion does not mean I can’t go back and revise my opinion when I consider a new argument, or when some new knowledge is comprehended. Indeed, I owe it to my soul, which is seeking truth, to hold my opinions loosely.

But, the devil is in the details and there is one thing I learned as quick as I learned that I don’t know everything, and that is that no matter what arguments are presented from one side against another’s arguments - and there will always be arguments against arguments, ad nauseum - sooner or later it comes down to a choice of what I will choose to believe, if I wish to move forward in understanding.

By faith in Universalisim as the truth of scripture are many of us here typing our hearts out to each other, trying to get it right. But in the end, there is only one person any of us needs to convince, ourselves.

That is why belief is called faith and how faith, engaged by the heart, gives wings to belief.

Be good!

Dennis!


#216

Dennis said:

Well, Dennis - good show. I was especially interested in the relationship between entropy and Darwinism.

First, a definition of entropy - from the web:

But I found this article in Scientific American:

A New Physics Theory of Life

And here is the subtopic description:

And we could visit the friends of Darwin at:

Doesn’t Evolution break the Second Law of Thermodynamics?

Their first paragraph gives their perspective:

So I guess that not all the scientific community are on board, with the law of thermodynamics (AKA entropy) - causing havoc for Darwinism.

You’re lucky I like to put on my academic hat, rather than just saying this: :laughing:


#217

I would agree that Adam and Eve were young and innocent. However, they obviously had a conscience( “a voice viewed as acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one’s behavior”) due to the fact that they knew it was not right,according to God, to eat of the tree, but in their innocence they simply ignored it

They knew God commanded them not to eat the fruit but i don’t see where this can be equated to knowing good from evil. The fact that they were naked and unashamed at first but later after eating the fruit they knew enough to become ashamed about being naked i believe suggests they obtained a conscience at that moment. This is all i can say about this, so i suggest we just agree to disagree.


#218

Steve, Just because we sin, doesn’t mean we don’t have a conscience. Sometimes we just don’t pay attention or listen to it. I remember being young and dumb. There were times I disobeyed my parents, thinking they didn’t know what they were talking about, only to find out later, they were right. I am older and wiser now, but I still do stupid things. I argue with the people I love and say things in the heat of anger that makes me feel horrible about afterwards. However, I am not without a conscience. Yes, on this I think we will have to agree to disagree.


#219

Is anyone here willing to take the step from ‘God is responsible for evil’ to ‘God is guilty’? Is it possible to avoid that conclusion?

I am not willing to concede any guilt to God whatsoever, and I’m doing some work on the phrase ‘is responsible for’ as well. I think we’ve gone a bit off the rails here, but I need to do some more thinking about it before I try to make a case.


#220

Agree to disagree that you are not without a conscience?