The Evangelical Universalist Forum

God's existence

Dave, I’m not sure what you’re saying. The writers of the Bible were men just like us, and they were writing of their experiences- otherwise known as wisdom.

Certainly they were people more or less just like us! I agree completely.
I don’t think, however, that the category ‘wisdom’ is sufficient as an explanation of the bible, especially if ‘wisdom’ is simply the writing of one’s experiences. ‘Wisdom’ implies a weighing of experience and facts, insight into the meaning of experience, the ability to generalize the value of one’s experience to that of others.
Also, can wisdom override fact? Or do we want to go so far as to say that whatever someone writes about their experience is equally as valid as anyone else’s? For instance, a Buddhist mystic who writes about his ‘atman’ becoming ‘brahman’, losing himself in a cosmic awareness, in comparison to John standing at the open tomb - something ‘outside’ of him and his thinking - and then seeing and talking to and eating with the risen Lord? One is a report of inner experience, one is a report of an objective experience.
This is another huge subject. But on their own, men and women have not been able to understand ‘god’ in His redemptive work through Jesus Christ - no amount of thinking alone can rise to that - and that revelation is the key to so much else.

Dave, No man has ever seen God.

How many people saw Elvis after his death? Elvis died, but many people see him in those that continue to play his music.

Pete Enns new book (How the Bible Works) appears to argue that wisdom is what the Bible is actually about. When we play off ‘wisdom’ (which as you say involves “insight into the meaning of experience”) and ‘revelation,’ how then do we decide what claims of revelatory truths we will affirm without wisdom playing the pivotal role in that decision?

Bob, I agree. I think that this is what the three/fourfold witness is about. They saw it, we see it, and the heart and mind testify to it. As it is said, hindsight is 20/20. In a way, the writers of the Bible are the hindsight, thereby giving us foresight.

Enns has certainly been a help to me in my reading to this point; his latest work though is where he and I part ways, at least partially. I have not given up hope that Truth is more than ‘what appeals to me’ or ‘what enables me to live a larger life’ or even ‘what leads to flourishing’ - though Truth might very well do that.
Feelings are good; they may or may not relate to Truth with a capital ‘T’.
Are you entirely with Enns’ reasoning in his latest work?
Note: I know this is repetitive for you, since I have read (and somewhat agreed with) your well-written paper Reasons to Follow Jesus - An Apologetic

Dave, I’m only in the middle of Enns’ new book, so I can’t fully critique it.
Though I have not heard him to argue that truth always accords with what appeals to me, or with our feelings. Wisdom would often argue go contrary to that.

But my question to you was what your alternative means of deciding what is true or revelatory is. As Enns last book affirms, we all vainly wish we had a way to gain ‘certainty.’ But I don’t see how to argue that finding Truth is inconsistent with evaluating things like ‘what leads to flourishing,’ what makes sense to us, and what accords with various human ways of ascertaining values, knowing, and wisdom. What is the alternative way to know what claims to truth to accept?

Dave, I certainly don’t think that mean anything by this statement, so don’t be offended. But the way it sounds to me is exactly what many back in the day believed. And some of this attitude even persists today; that those who study the Bible know more than just normal everyday people. We can’t possibly think for ourselves. We need to be told how it is by scholars who know better. However, I don’t believe this is true. On the contrary, a lot of the scholars seem to have no common sense.

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Well they certainly don’t know LESS, do they? Say I studied history - would I not know more than “normal people” ? Of course people who read the bible thus know more than those who don’t, about the bible and what God has been doing through history, and about immortality and the life to come, about the Holy Spirit indwelling repentant believers, about the Suffering Servant, prophecy fulfilled, the Love of God above all else. How would your ‘normal’ person know those things? Guesswork? Watching TV? Playing video games?
‘Back in the day’? You have truly lost me there, LLC. Sorry.

It’s probably much easier…for folks to get a handle, on my Z-Hell ( 1, 2, 3) - end-times theology…then LLC’s theology. And for the record, I have hung around with clergy from Lutheranism, Anglicanism, Quakerism, Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy and community churches. So I have learned, a “little bit” - about theology and the bible.

Dave, 1 Cor. 8:2-3 says “And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to. But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him.”

Paul was advanced in Judaism beyond many of his contemporaries (Gal. 1:4). Did this get him anywhere?

Can a celibate priest who locks himself in a monastery, studying the Bible day and night
tell you more about love than someone else?

Who cares if the world was created in six days or six thousand years.
“See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and vain deceit.” (Col 2:8)

As far as life after we literally die, no one knows.
" Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up in his fleshly mind." (Col.2:18)

Many have suffered for the sake of truth, and those who were slaves can tell you about it. Do we have to read the Bible to know that slavery is wrong?

It’s written in the Bible that women should not speak in church. I suppose no normal person should question this because they don’t know anything.

According to the so called scholars, we should be eating fish on Friday.

HF, No offense, but it really doesn’t matter who you hang around with. This seems like vain boasting to me.

From what I understand the only thing that matters is loving God and loving others as yourself.

Randy, you were right.

Well, there’s no “vain boasting”… when you say you know, a “little bit” about something. If you hang around enough “experts” …for any length of time…some of their “insights” and “expertise” - will rub off. Even reading the responses, of some of the forum “experts” - such as yourself - has an enlightening effect upon me! :wink:

Even a stuffed fish will sing…when the “experts”, take it to the river of knowledge!

As far as whether hanging around “experts” is “bragging”

Dave, if what you say is true, then how come you have thousands of scholars arguing over what the Bible says?

HF, I’d say if you hang around someone who may be lonely and just looking for a friend, or spend your time with a parentless child who needs a mentor, then you may discover something more about God.

Thousands? Maybe, I don’t know. Most of the ones I’ve read are NOT arguing about what the Bible says - the overall message is very clear. It’s impossible to keep up with the amount of literature and to be honest, if I felt that to understand the Bible I had to keep current of that literature, I would give up.
But to repeat - the message is clear.
And you haven’t answered my short list of items that pointed out things NO ONE could have known without the Bible.

Thank you, Dr. Freud! :rofl:

LLC to DaveB2.0!

Yes, the message is clear! The tribulation and Z-Hell ( 1, 2, 3), is just around the corner!

This came from the BBC today!

The worst possible scenario…is someone like me, might be pushed over the edge (with someone like LLC, edging me on)…and retrofit the up and coming zombies - with Artificial Intelligence! But keep the programming, so that they are true - to their zombie heritage!

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Dave, God speaks in many different ways. As I mentioned before, the Bible isn’t the only source of truth. The Golden Rule has been known for ages. People didn’t need to read the Bible to know this. Where did Confucius get all his wise sayings?

Concerning your list:

  1. No one knows what happens after we leave this earth.
  2. People have hearts and minds, a conscience, and the capacity to do good.
  3. Many have suffered for the sake of truth. The story of Harriet Tubman opens our hearts and minds as well.
    4.prophecy fulfilled?
  4. The love of God is revealed in those who love.

I really cannot see what your points have to do with mine. None at all.

Dave , you claim that those who study the Bible know more about God than those who don’t.
I disagree. I think Bob asked a good question here.

And why didn’t the Pharisees and Sadducees recognize Jesus?

Bob can answer that on his own, and I hope he will. It’s not a big secret.

You’ve read the New Testament, so I suspect you already know the answer to that. Right?