The Evangelical Universalist Forum

God does not create, commit, or allow evil!


#281

Ok, about creeds , common consensus- two quotes, one short, one longer

  1. This is a short excerpt from a GREAT essay:

"My aversion to human creeds as bonds of Christian union, as conditions of Christian fellowship, as means of fastening chains on men’s minds, constantly gains strength.

My first objection to them is, that they separate us from Jesus Christ. To whom am I to go for my knowledge of the Christian religion but to the Great Teacher, to the Son of God, to him in whom the fulness of the Divinity dwelt? This is my great privilege as a Christian, that I may sit at the feet not of a human but divine Master, that I may repair to him in whom truth lived and spoke without a mixture of error, who was eminently the wisdom of God and the light of the world. And shall man dare to interpose between me and my heavenly guide and Saviour, and prescribe to me the articles of my Christian faith? What is the state of mind in which I shall best learn the truth? It is that in which I forsake all other teachers for Christ, in which my mind is brought nearest to him; it is that in which I lay myself I open most entirely to the impressions of his mind. Let me go to Jesus with a human voice sounding in my ears, and telling me what I must hear from the Great Teacher, and how can I listen to him in singleness of heart? All Protestant sects, indeed, tell the learner to listen to Jesus Christ: but most of them shout around him their own articles so vehemently and imperiously. that the voice of the heavenly Master is well nigh drowned. He is told to listen to Christ, but told that he will be damned if he receives any lessons but such as are taught in the creed. He is told that Christ’s word is alone infallible but that unless it is received as interpreted by fallible men, he will be excluded from the communion of Christians. This is what shocks me in the creed-maker. He interposes himself between me and my Saviour. He dares not trust me alone with Jesus. He dares not leave me to the word of God. This I cannot endure. The nearest possible communication with the mind of Christ is my great privilege as a Christian. I must learn Christ’s truth from Christ himself, as he speaks in the records of his life and in the men whom he trained up and supernaturally prepared to be his witnesses to the world. On what ground I ask, do the creed-makers demand as sent to their articles as condition of church membership or salvation? What has conferred on them infallibility? “Show me your proofs,” I say to them, "of Christ speaking in you. Work some miracle. Utter some prophecy. Show me something divine in you, which other men do not possess. Is it possible that you are unaided men like myself, having no more right to interpret the New Testament than myself. and that you yet exalt your interpretations as infallible standards of truth. and the necessary conditions of salvation? "

2.From ‘God in Search of Man’ by A.J. Heschel. Wonderful book -


#282

Murray’s so-called exegetic quote below… what an abortive load of tripe, “IMO” of course. This is EXACTLY what I mean by “prevalent gymnastics” — or let me restate that in full…

That understanding when applied carte blanch leads to all manner of prevalent gymnastics to have God NOT doing “evil”, where in fact certain texts plainly say otherwise.:astonished:

Hermano, with all due respect to you… the inspired (by God) Isaiah was neither ignorant nor confused! You may as well apply Murray’s concocted blancmange he calls “exegesis” (cough) and magically massage it into ANY so-called “troubling passage” i.e., one that upsets the gut of any sacred cow. I feel I could use any number of other choice words here… but I’m not sure I’m getting the “impulse” quite right. :unamused:


#283

blancmange!! Just for using the word, you get:


#284

Dave, without creeds how does one avoid theological and moral chaos? Is there any one thing, and I mean anything, that all self-described Christians believe in? (Remember, some “Christians” do not believe in the existence of God!)

And it’s not just doctrinal disagreement. There is also moral disagreement. Is there any moral statement, even one, that all self-described Christians believe in? Some think abortion is fine, others recognize it as murder. Some think that forbidding remarriage is monstrous, others think that permitting it is monstrous. Some are anarchists, some are statists (of every stripe imaginable). Some are pacifists, some are war-mongers. Some are capitalists, some believe that property is theft. Etc.

Given the above, does the word “Christian” not lose any meaning? If a total stranger tells me that he is a Christian, I have no idea what he believes (or even if he believes in the existence of God), and I have no idea if he holds to moral theories that I recognize as Satanic.

Is there anything to be gained by a “unity” that amounts to nothing other than, ‘We all like to use the word “Christian” to describe ourselves’?


#285

I knew that very question would be asked, G. How do you answer the points that were brought up?

Edit: let me withdraw that question. You are an eloquent spokesman for the EOx church, so at best we will be trading viewpoints back and forth until the Second Coming. :smiley: What I quoted in my post is where I stand.


#286

Since DaveB doesn’t like creeds…and P-Zombies and Zombies are not mentioned in them…I can “cut lose” with my P-Zombies and Universalism Biblical exegesis.

And even dedicate a Zombie love song - to it :exclamation: :laughing:

And can you sing along, DaveB and Hermano - to this “church hymn” :question:

or

youtube.com/watch?v=YCVMuevcCvY


#287

Starting to dislike the zombies here! But they are a great way to derail a discussion; maybe I need to put a few in my back pocket. :laughing:


#288

Actually, Dave, the Zombies and P-Zombies, don’t “derail a discussion”…But they put it, into its “proper perspective”. :laughing:


#289

I stand - actually I’m sitting - corrected!!


#290

Hermano, with all due respect to you… the inspired (by God) Isaiah was neither ignorant nor confused! You may as well apply Murray’s concocted blancmange he calls “exegesis” (cough) and magically massage it into ANY so-called “troubling passage” i.e., one that upsets the gut of any sacred cow. I feel I could use any number of other choice words here… but I’m not sure I’m getting the “impulse” quite right. :unamused:

I’m not against this concept but there are problems. First is that if you didn’t know in advance that Satan s/b blamed for any bad stuff in the OT,
you would never come to this conclusion from the scriptures themselves. You have to overlay a HUGE presupposition first and apply it over dozens & maybe hundreds of verses. Secondly, where is Jesus in all this? It’s not only that Moses and the Prophets don’t know but Jesus apparently doesn’t know.


#291

Steve… you are right about prepositions and conclusions.

Long story short… the ONE word in Hebrew translated “evil” is… < רָ֑ע > = ra’ — this ONE Hebrew word is variously translated by the TWO Greek synonyms <πονηρός> ponēros and <κακός> kakos. Thus all THREE are EQUIVALENT in their basic meaning. Again, no matter where these two Greek synonyms appear they both account for the one Hebrew word < רָ֑ע > = ra’.

Thus whether such be rendered evil / bad / wickedness / calamity / trouble / strife etc, where such is attributable to Yahweh in terms of bringing chastisement or retribution, such is the case, no matter how much it might offend certain sensitivities.

It should be noted

Where God is the subject of the verb < רָ֑ע > = ra’ his infliction of pain (evil) on people is not due to viciousness; it is the just judgment of sinners who do not respond to his call for repentance. In the Old Testament, God is not depicted as committing an immoral act when He does < רָ֑ע > = ra’ to the wicked. (adapted from ‘Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament’ Harris, Arch, Waltke. p. 855)


#292

Dave, I Like it! :slight_smile: I actually found it to be quite a strange coincidence that you should post this, as I happened to be thinking along these same lines earlier. I believe this is the problem that Adam and Eve were confronted with in the Garden of Eden, the truth according to God(the tree of life) and the truth according to man(the tree of the knowledge of good and evil). In other words, it was the spiritual wisdom of God vs. the carnal knowledge of man telling us the difference between good and evil, right and wrong.


#293

Let me start this reflection, by sharing the Calvinist Got Questions take on Christian Science at:

What is Christian Science?

I also like the Protestant site Patheos article at Solo Scriptura vs. Sola Scriptura. I don’t mind Sola Scriptura that much - it’s an established view. But I do share the author’s concerns with “Solo Scriptura”.

If we ignore what the author is saying, then we end up with what I call “Twilight Zone Theology”. Twilight Zone Theology can be very compelling. And can have a Biblical sound and compelling logical exegesis. Like:

Christian Science with Mary Baker Eddy, where all is mind and ideas
Puppet on the String theology - no free will and God manipulates everything
Universalism and P-Zombies, in the Left Behind Tribulation
Satan as the Cosmic Bad Dude, wrecking havoc on all
The garden of Eden had smoking herbs
The OT Nephilim were space aliens
Trump is the anti-Christ
Etc.

So to everyone out there. If we have no standards, other than the bible - then answer this. How do we distinguish between “normal” and “Twilight Zone” theology?

And what’s the difference between Hermano, blaming everything on the Devil - and this Woman’s take?


#294

Let me guess :smiley: - by depending on other people’s biases, formulations, creeds, politically- or power-driven agendas? By Papal pronouncement? By Calvin’s creed written right after the burning of the witches in his area? (the witches are historic, I don’t think the Westminster Creed was written right before, but you get my point).

Standards? Whose? And what was their ‘standard’? Are you telling me that their standard was not the Bible? Am I to entrust myself and my free mind to - who? Who is going to decide for me?

Ach, there are no end to questions. I stand by my post quoting from Channing and Heschel. I do not believe they speak with forked tongue. :laughing:

To wit:
“We indeed grant, that the use of reason in religion is accompanied with danger. But we ask any honest man to look back on the history of the church, and say, whether the renunciation of it be not still more dangerous. Besides, it is a plain fact, that men reason as erroneously on all subjects, as on religion. Who does not know the wild and groundless theories, which have been framed in physical and political science? But who ever supposed, that we must cease to exercise reason on nature and society, because men have erred for ages in explaining them? We grant, that the passions continually, and sometimes fatally, disturb the rational faculty in its inquiries into revelation. The ambitious contrive to find doctrines in the Bible, which favor their love of dominion. The timid and dejected discover there a gloomy system, and the mystical and fanatical, a visionary theology. The vicious can find examples or assertions on which to build the hope of a late repentance, or of acceptance on easy terms. The falsely refined contrive to light on doctrines which have not been soiled by vulgar handling. But the passions do not distract the reason in religious, any more than in other inquiries, which excite strong and general interest; and this faculty, of consequence, is not to be renounced in religion, unless we are prepared to discard it universally. The true inference from the almost endless errors, which have darkened theology, is, not that we are to neglect and disparage our powers, but to exert them more patiently, circumspectly, uprightly. The worst errors, after all, having sprung up in that church, which proscribes reason, and demands from its members implicit faith. The most pernicious doctrines have been the growth of the darkest times, when the general credulity encouraged bad men and enthusiasts to broach their dreams and inventions, and to stifle the faint remonstrances of reasons, by the menaces of everlasting perdition. Say what we may, God has given us a rational nature, and will call us to account for it. We may let it sleep, but we do so at our peril. Revelation is addressed to us as rational beings. We may wish, in our to sloth, that God had given us a system, demand of comparing, limiting, and inferring. But such a system would be at variance with the whole character of our present existence; and it is the part of wisdom to take revelation as it is given to us, and to interpret it by the help of the faculties, which it everywhere supposes, and on which founded.”


#295

So Dave, are you saying you accept each of these examples, as logical exegesis renderings - from Sola Scriptura? Why or why not? :wink:

Christian Science with Mary Baker Eddy, where all is mind and ideas
Puppet on the String theology - no free will and God manipulates everything
Universalism and P-Zombies, in the Left Behind Tribulation
Satan as the Cosmic Bad Dude, wrecking havoc on all
The garden of Eden had smoking herbs
The OT Nephilim were space aliens
Trump is the anti-Christ
Etc.


#296

Sorry, Randy - I’m not going to follow your shiny object (this time - you may catch me at a weak moment in the future :smiley: )
I have no interest in those particular questions, really.
BTW I edited that post before you wrote.


#297

Dave, it sounds to me as though you subscribe to epistemological skepticism (at least when it comes to religious knowledge). Is that accurate?

I myself do not think such skepticism is compatible with any sort of Christianity that commands its adherents to be martyrs. Who in his right mind would sacrifice his life for a Christ Who might exist, or for a creed that perhaps is true, or for an understanding of the Bible that possibly is correct, or for a Church that may be the true Church? For that matter, who would even bet five dollars on such things? And if a religious belief isn’t worth even five dollars, why bother with it at all?

A skeptic would of course say, “Look at all the mutually exclusive beliefs for which people have sacrificed themselves. They cannot all be true, therefore we can never know which if any of them is true.”

I would deny that “therefore”. Disagreement does not necessitate invincible uncertainty.

I think that skepticism collapses into solipsism, and perhaps worse.


#298

DaveB quoted:

Between a rock and a hard place. I have come to disdain even ‘What We Believe’ sections of most ‘Christian sites’

But it also may be that my growth in Christ is always in such a state of flux… :confused:

Most of what I believe now I possibly would have labeled as heretical 20 years ago. :open_mouth:


#299

G - actually, I’m not an epistemological skeptic, or solipsist. But neither am I an ‘organization man’, nor do I disparage the use of human reason (did you read the post above, following the words ‘to wit’? That’s where I stand.) Nor do I have an intellectual ‘pride’ or consider myself all that smart.

I do think that we can easily overlook the fact that each of us makes up our own mind - if we are adults - as to what ‘form’ our Christianity takes. I think there is room in our Father’s mansions for all kind of variations on a theme. If a group of people really wants to bind the conscience, will and intellect of OTHER people, beyond what the the word of God does - I recognize their right to do it, but it does not mean that everyone must march to their drum.

As to who will choose to die for Christ - we’ll know when the time comes. There will be surprises.

MM - well said!


#300

**Again you have to disagree! **I gave you a counterexample. Do you disagree with Jesus for first commanding his disciples not to go to the Gentiles with the gospel, and later commanding them to do exactly that? If He understood differing needs according to the growth of the Kingdom, why couldn’t the Father have plans for eating from the two trees according to the maturing of Adam and Eve?

If eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil is intrinsically evil, why do YOU think God planted the tree there? Just to tempt Adam and Eve? Hardly, since God tempts no one with evil (James 1:13).