Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Do you know Jesus?

Yesterday, walking into a courthouse, a refined woman approached me and said, “Do you know Jesus?” I mumbled something about being late, and walked on. My mind was crammed with thoughts of, “Obviously I know who Jesus is. I live in America, don’t I? Which Jesus do you want to talk about? The mythical? Historical? Teacher, miracle worker? Do you want to talk about the prophecies he allegedly filled, and why the Jews do not hold him as a Messiah? Do you want to talk about Paul’s Jesus, Mark’s Jesus, John’s Jesus, Judas’ Jesus, or Thomas’ Jesus?”

Don’t get me wrong, I do not fault the woman. She has been informed that this is what a God requires her, and she has faith in it like she has faith in the sun. She couldn’t stop believing it any more than she could stop breathing. And I understand how the conversation is supposed to unfold. I am to reply, “Tell me more” and at that point the Holy Spirit is to come swooping in and work his magic, softening my heart.

Yet I began contemplating this momentary encounter and realized what an odd notion it is. I would be surprised, in America, to find anyone that does not know at the least who Jesus is. There would be no expectation of my exclaiming, “Who? I never heard of that person before. Why are you asking me?” That wasn’t what she was asking.

If I had the time and inclination, she would have discovered I know more facts (or lack thereof) and theories (plenty of them!) as to the who, what, and when of Jesus than she did. That wasn’t what she was asking. I could have told her that I, too, had had as much of a personal relationship as any human could to the deity known as Jesus, and that wasn’t what she was asking.

She wanted to “get me saved.”

But why should she have to say anything in the first place? The god that would have created this world certainly has the opportunity to communicate with me. He doesn’t need human intervention to do his work for him. It is as if the Holy Spirit is sitting on the sideline, being held back, “C’mon, c’mon, c’mon. I want to talk to that guy. I really want to work my God magic on his mind, opening him up to the possibility of Jesus. Just ask him. Just talk to him. C’mon.

“Wait…….Here you go. There! Say it! Say it! BINGO! Now that you asked, I am released and I can come in with all my Godly power! Thank goodness that human was around to mention the name ‘Jesus’ or I would never have been able to do my stuff.”

How silly is that notion?

Or worse, what if the Holy Spirit, being in a cantankerous mood, decided that, like Pharaoh, I was going to get the hardening treatment? Instead of helping, He was going to prohibit. At some level, you have to feel a bit sorry for Pharaoh. Sure, he initially decided to not release a slave nation that was lying about going on a holiday for three days when it was really trying to escape. But after God worked him over with a few miracles, the desired effect was achieved—Pharaoh decided to let the people go. Only then did God quash the whole point of the previous miracles by forcing Pharaoh to not give up.

What if He did the same with me? “C’mon, c’mon, c’mon. Talk to the guy. If you don’t talk to him, there is no reason for me to step in. GREAT! You talked to him! Look, he is starting to turn toward you and seems to be ready to ask a question. Looks like I am on! Time to stop this fellow from even thinking about hearing about Jesus. Boy I love my job.”

It is as if God created a world where He is limited by what humans will do, for some strange reason.

We were told that witnessing was as much a benefit for the saved as the unsaved. What possible benefit could this woman receive by being re-buffed by dozens of lawyers? Did she deliberately place herself at a busy intersection, hoping to be constantly turned down? Was this a sign of persecution?

We weren’t people at lunch. We weren’t sitting on a bench enjoying the day. We are on our way to court. She was approaching us at a point in time where nobody has time to sit and chat about Jesus. It should have been expected to not get into a lengthy conversation. Like standing in a busy highway, and being “persecuted” by all those cars swerving and honking. What does one expect?

I get how it is presumed to work. All that is supposed to be needed is a little impetus. A teeny, tiny shove in the right direction. And if the other side is willing to move, even a millimeter, God is supposed to take over. It is amusing when, with people that do not know my background, I am told, “If you would only read just a little bit of the Bible, you would see it is true.” I still read the Bible quite a bit, only as a historical document, not a deity inspired document.

Where is the system breaking down? That fellow holding the “John 3:16” sign at the football game is reaching millions of people. Is that enough? Is seeing a billboard enough? How much of the Bible must one read before God “kicks in” and does the rest? Or are some so hardened, it doesn’t matter what they do, they are doomed from the start?

Why is it that God needs all this work from humans, to get a simple job done? Time to face facts. It isn’t a god that is doing all the work. It is the humans out pushing. If they stopped hawking, lo and behold, God, too, would come to a grinding halt. That should tell us something about the force of god(s) in the world.

13 comments:

  1. Knowing Jesus

    I have always thought it strange that a lot of Christians go around asking, "Have you heard of Jesus?" I live in the Bible belt, and people still ask that. But you'd be surprised sometimes at how little people know about Jesus. There's a girl I work with who used to say she was a Christian. I asked her one time, "So you believe a dead guy came back to life?" She said, "Is that in the Bible?"

    He doesn’t need human intervention to do his work for him.

    I find this whole line of thinking to be without much use. For any way God chose to get people to embrace the gospel, you could say the same thing. If God spoke directly to you, you could say, "God didn't need to speak directly to me." There's always another way. So why fault God for choosing some particular way? If he chooses to do it through humans, what's the problem?

    Only then did God quash the whole point of the previous miracles by forcing Pharaoh to not give up.

    Doesn't "force" imply that something is done against the will? If God forced Pharaoh not to let Israel go, that would imply that Pharaoh wanted to let Israel go but was prevented from doing so. But that isn't what God did. He harden Pharaoh's heart, causing Pharaoh to be unwilling to let Israel go. Pharaoh did exactly what he wanted to do with full intention. He wasn't forced.

    The question, I think, is whether a person can really be accountable for acting on an inclination that he did not choose. If some outside influence caused me to have some desire that I then acted on, can I be accountable? I think I will have to write a blog on that sometime, because it seems to be at the heart of a lot of our disagreements.

    It is as if God created a world where He is limited by what humans will do, for some strange reason.

    Why would you consider it a limitation for God to do what he wanted to do? If he wanted the gospel to reach people through human intervention, why would you consider that a limitation?

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  2. Thank you for your comment and yes, ephphatha, I agree that people, even some that should know better, know very little about the God they are proclaiming.

    Oh, I have no problem with God using humans to do His work for Him. What sends all the warning bells off in my head is when I see a human system, comprised of humans only, which exhibits all the idiosyncrasies, detriments, predictions, reactions and benefits of other human systems, that claims it is somehow more than human. I am not complaining about God using humans; I wonder why we only ever see humans, and never, ever see the God itself. Why would I possibly NOT want a god to speak directly to me?

    Do you believe aliens have kidnapped humans? We have human testimonials to that effect, which broadly agree. The one thing we never have, though is, “Hey look—that alien over there is talking to Bob.” We never see the aliens themselves. Only hear about them.

    We have the exact same scenario with god(s). We have human testimonials to that effect, which broadly agree. The one thing we never have, though is, “Hey look—that god over there is talking to Bob.” We never see the god(s) themselves. Only hear about them.

    With a human system, devised of vastly differing individual personalities in differing times, knowledge and cultures, we would expect to see vastly differing god(s). And we do. Taking into account the minuet variations, we have had millions of gods over the course of history! We would expect that belief in a god would not affect a human’s moral system. Statistics bear that out. We would expect, being a human system, in-fighting, power struggles, politics, splitting, debating, benefits to society, help for some, and harm for others. Guess what? Exactly what we see.

    And, we would expect like any salesmanship, it works on some, but not on others. In a certain courthouse, there is fellow known for being outgoing to get people to come to his shoe-shine stand. “Do you want your shoes shined?” and “Do you know Jesus?” are probably just as effective. Does a Christian ever stop and wonder why? The shoeshine man sure doesn’t. He knows he is doing all the work.

    I must confess that the story of Moses/Pharaoh/Exodus is my second favorite story in the Bible. Not even from a debating standpoint, I have always liked the story. (King David is my first. Must be something about “hometown boy does good” that I like.) Of course it is all allegory, having never happened, but still a great myth.

    If God forced Pharaoh not to let Israel go, that would imply that Pharaoh wanted to let Israel go but was prevented from doing so. But that isn't what God did. He harden Pharaoh's heart, causing Pharaoh to be unwilling to let Israel go. Pharaoh did exactly what he wanted to do with full intention. He wasn't forced.

    I am sorry to break this to you. Pharaoh did not get the benefit of “full intention.” His “intentions” were deliberately impinged by God, so that God could perform the Tenth plague. Pharaoh was willing to let Israel go. God wouldn’t let Pharaoh act on his intentions.

    First, notice that God, prior to the acts, predicted that He would have to harden Pharaoh’s heart. (Ex. 7:3) If Pharaoh would have never let the people go on his own, and God knew that with omniscience why intervene at all? True, after the first few miracles, Pharaoh hardened his own heart, and, on his own, was not letting the Jews go.

    But in Chapter 10, we have a significant paradigm shift. Pharaoh’s servants tell him that the country “has been destroyed,” (Ex. 10:7) and to let the people go. Pharaoh apologizes (vs. 17). But the next thing recorded is that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and Pharaoh would not let the people go. (vs. 20) God has to do it again in vs. 27. And from then on, it is God doing all the hardening. Notice the difference.

    Pharaoh not let go because Pharaoh hardened his own heart. (8:15)
    Pharaoh not let go because Pharaoh hardened his own heart. (8:32)
    Pharaoh not let go because God hardened his heart. (9:12)
    Pharaoh not let go because Pharaoh hardened his own heart. (9:34)
    Pharaoh not let go because God hardened his heart. (10:20)
    Pharaoh not let go because God hardened his heart. (10:27)
    Pharaoh not let go because God hardened his heart. (11:10)
    Pharaoh pursued because God hardened his heart. (14:8)

    Simply by virtue of the noted difference, we can see that God reached a point of intervening constantly to get the Plagues off. This is not a surprise, God predicted He would! God said that He deliberately was using Pharaoh to show off God’s power. (7:3; 9:16; 14:4; 14:17)

    If Pharaoh did this on his own volition, was God lying when He said, “I will harden his (Pharaoh’s) heart so that he will not let the people go”? (Ex. 4:21)

    Either Pharaoh did this on his own (which renders all of these verses as significant contradictions) or God forced it. Any reading that attempts otherwise is rank apologetics.

    Further, if you look at the reaction of Paul, in Romans 9, one of the questions he addresses is how we can find Pharaoh at fault, specifically because God, in God’s will, deliberately hardened Pharaoh’s heart. Paul’s defense is “Quit yer whining. God gets to do what He wants.” If Paul himself doesn’t say, “Pharaoh did it on his own accord” then are you disagreeing with Paul?

    The question, I think, is whether a person can really be accountable for acting on an inclination that he did not choose. If some outside influence caused me to have some desire that I then acted on, can I be accountable?

    I get where you are heading. If I am physically inclined (for example) to have sexual affairs, does it absolve me of the responsibility? Certainly not! If an outside influence (say a pretty woman) was part of the cause by which I had the affair, am I accountable? Certainly.

    But we are talking about a God. I cannot harden a heart. I cannot create “vessels of wrath.” I cannot change languages to stop mutual cooperation. I can’t cause someone to be born blind just to show off my healing powers.

    I cannot create a world in which immorality and suffering cannot exist. Whoops. Apparently neither can God!

    Why would you consider it a limitation for God to do what he wanted to do? If he wanted the gospel to reach people through human intervention, why would you consider that a limitation? A limitation? Or an obvious demonstration that God is simply a human construct. Because He does it solely through human intervention.

    Look, when we communicate to people, we adjust to their needs and desires. If you talked to a 7 year-old, you would use a limited vocabulary. Talk to a philosophy major, you use different terms. Talk to a non-believe unfamiliar with the Bible, a different presentation.

    We understand that humans learn differently. Some are audio, some are visual, some learn through reading, others through debate. Some are more creative, some are more mechanical. All are different. And so we communicate in a variety of ways. Yet your God can’t figure this out?

    Some would require miracles, some require a relationship, some audio, some visual, etc. But this one-dimensional God can only do it one way. The one way (ironically?) that we can’t empirically verify. (“God told me by an inner voice….”) That’s what makes the warning bells go off.

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  3. Dagoods,

    I think you raise a lot of legitimate questions, but none of these questions seem to work as arguments. It is perfectly legitimate to wonder why wouldn't God do things differently. Why doesn't he intervene directly? These are all good questions, but they aren't arguments. Yet you seem to be arriving at conclusions because of these questions.

    I think we are just going to have to disagree about Pharaoh, but just to make sure I'm not being misunderstood, lemme explain my point of view a little farther. First, I agree that Pharaoh was willing to let Israel go at some point. However, God hardened his heart. The question is, what affect did that have on Pharaoh? After hardening his heart, did Pharaoh continue to be willing to let Israel go but was prevented somehow? I don't think so. I think the hardening caused Pharaoh to change his mind. He was no longer willing to let Israel go. His intentions changed. So I don't believe Pharaoh was forced at all. He acted on full intention.

    And so we communicate in a variety of ways. Yet your God can’t figure this out?

    I see no reason to think God hasn't figured that out. If it were a situation where God was trying to get everybody to accept the gospel, and he was only using one method, and that one method only worked on a few, I could see where you were coming from. But that isn't what the Bible teaches. In John 6:37, it says very clearly, "All that the father gives me will come to me." Throughout John 6 and John 10, Jesus explains why some people believe and some don't. The reason some believe and some doesn't isn't simply because some respond better to miracles, some to visuals, and some to audio, but they just lacked the proper stimulus because God couldn't figure out their individual needs. It's because some where given to Jesus by the Father and some weren't. Jesus said, "But you do not believe, because you are not of my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me....My father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand" (John 10:26-29). God saves everybody he intends to save, so I don't think he is trying but failing to save anybody.

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  4. Thank you for saying I have good questions. I like to think so myself. Often legitimate questions which the opposing position cannot address become good arguments. The fact that the best response is that a god-concept is a human construct is very telling.

    Most of my debating takes place in forums. Here I just like to question and see what others think. Occasionally blather out a thought in a blog.

    No problem if you want to disagree with me on Pharaoh. Paul (you know—the most prolific writer of your Bible, a person studied in Judasim, and an allegedly inspired author) when pontificating about whether Pharaoh should be held at fault, said, “God will harden who He will harden. Who are you to question God?” Funny that Paul didn’t buy your argument that Pharaoh was to blame for his own actions. But if you want to disagree with Paul’s take on it, fine by me.

    I would agree that Jesus explains why some believe and some do not. Jesus deliberately speaks in such a way (using parables) because He recognizes speaking openly and forthrightly would actually cause them to convert! In other words, He deliberately keeps them from turning and having their sins forgiven. Odd for a God to do. (Mark 4:12)

    God saves everybody he intends to save…. but not everybody He desires to save. Bizarre, that. He desires that everyone is saved, and not perish (1 Tim. 2:4, 2 Pet. 2:9) but you claim He only intends to save a few. God has desires He does not intend to fulfill?

    Which aspect is moral in God—His desire or His intentions? To deliberately intend to not perform a moral act—immoral, moral or non-moral?

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  5. when pontificating about whether Pharaoh should be held at fault, said, “God will harden who He will harden. Who are you to question God?” Funny that Paul didn’t buy your argument that Pharaoh was to blame for his own actions. But if you want to disagree with Paul’s take on it, fine by me.

    I take Paul to be saying that Pharaoh IS to blame. If he'd been saying that he wasn't to blame he'd have said "God will harden who he wants to harden, and doesn't hold them accountable".

    Paul's readers were questioning God's justice in hardening and yet holding accountable...By saying "who are you to question God" he was admitting both that God hardened and that God held him accountable.

    As for your references to 1 Tim. 2:4 and 2 Pet. 2:9, I'll assume you know Christian theology very well and already know the answer that I'd give.

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  6. Often legitimate questions which the opposing position cannot address become good arguments.

    Can you give me an example?

    Funny that Paul didn’t buy your argument that Pharaoh was to blame for his own actions. But if you want to disagree with Paul’s take on it, fine by me.

    Paul doesn't disagree with me. Do you see anything in Romans 9 that even implies that Pharaoh was without fault? No! The question Paul raises implies just the opposite. He said, "Why does [God] still find fault?" That implies that God does find fault. So the issue Paul then deals with for the next few verses is the justification of God, since God does find fault. If you're interested in a very indepth study of Romans 9, I would highly recommend The Justification of God by John Piper.

    God has desires He does not intend to fulfill?

    You act as if this is all new to you. I may have you mixed up with somebody else, but I vaguely remember you writing somewhere that you used to be a pretty well-read Christian. If so, I'd be surprised that you weren't very familiar with the distinction between God's sovereign will and his moral will. Are you familiar with this distinction and where it comes from? If not, you might have a look-see at this article by John Piper.

    Which aspect is moral in God—His desire or His intentions?

    I'm not sure I understand your question. Everything God desires or intends is moral for him to desire or intend. But some of his intentions include things he does not desire for themselves. For example, he takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 33:11), yet he's the one who punishes them.

    To deliberately intend to not perform a moral act—immoral, moral or non-moral?

    If by "not performing a moral act," you mean, "performing an immoral act," then of course it's always immoral to perform an immoral act. But I can't think of a single example in the Bible of God committing an act that was immoral for him to commit.

    If by "not performing a moral act," you mean "performing an alternative moral act," then of course it's always moral to perform a moral act. There may be situations in which two options are equally moral. It's not immoral in those situations to choose one and not the other.

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  7. jeff and ephphatha. Sorry about this. Didn’t realize old blogs had comments. Let’s deal with Romans 9, shall we?

    Fault, Fault is meaningless. Start back at vs. 10-14. God picks Jacob over Esau before they have even done anything good or bad. So actions are MEANINGLESS as toward blame.

    Vs. 15 makes the point again. “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy.” Again, the actions of the person are irrelevant. Fault is not even in the running!

    Vs. 16 couldn’t make it anymore clear. “It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.” How else can we read “desire or effort.”?

    Do me a favor. Read vs. 17, but replace the word “Pharaoh” with Hitler. “For the Scripture says to Hitler, “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power…..therefore God hardens [Hitler] whom he wants to harden.”

    Now look at the reaction Paul expects. We would laugh at the thought of worrying about “blame” in the concept of Hitler. If there was a Hell, the one person that is certain to be the first occupant is Hitler. God involved, God not involved, Hitler is to blame. But is that the reaction Paul expects? NO

    Vs. 19. “One of you may say to me, ‘then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?’” What the heck? Is that what ANYONE says about Hitler? Why does God blame him? The ONLY way this would make sense, in light of the previous verses, and with this reaction, is that the person thinks that if God directs everything it is not fair to blame Hitler for his actions. Which makes perfect sense in light of the previous statements of “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,” “I will have compassion on whom I have compassion,” “he hardens whom he wants to harden.”

    God does what God will do, regardless of what we think.

    But it continues……

    Does Paul say that Pharaoh is to take the fault? That, despite God’s constant intervention, we are all responsible for our own actions, and Pharaoh is to take the blame? Nope. Paul continues in the same theme with:

    Vs. 20 “But who are you, O man, to talk back to God?” The response of Paul—God is sovereign, he gets to harden hearts and blame them, and so suck it up. In fact, some of the people were “prepared for destruction” (not very nice) and so be it.

    I agree that God found fault in Pharaoh. That is not the question. God found fault in Pharaoh for something God did, not Pharaoh. And we have to just suck eggs and take it.

    Now, if you want to read it to say that Paul is blaming Pharaoh for his own actions, go right ahead. Apologetics can make black to be white and vice versa.

    Other comments

    jeff, I have heard a variety of conflicting answers to 1 Tim. And 2 Peter. Always looking for something new.

    ephphatha, yeah I know the difference between God’s sovereign will and moral will. Decision Making and the Will of God I just don’t buy it. The biggest reason to even create the difference is try and explain why God can’t save everyone. Done by definition, not explanation. I was looking for explanation.

    But I can't think of a single example in the Bible of God committing an act that was immoral for him to commit. ephphatha, you have already determined that God cannot commit an immoral act. God could commit anything, heck, genocide, murder, lying, infanticide, it matters not—you have already determined it is not immoral.

    There may be situations in which two options are equally moral. It's not immoral in those situations to choose one and not the other. So if it is equally moral to let all persons be saved, or to let some be saved, and some be tortured forever, you see neither as the better choice for a loving God?

    Question: If God were to commit an immoral act, what would it look like? Or is it impossible for you to conceptualize that?

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  8. Dagoods,

    Unless I'm just having a big misunderstanding, I don't see how your discussion of Hitler changes anything. We still blame Hitler for his actions and we still blame Pharaoh for his, even though both were part of God's sovereign decree.

    In the previous verses, Paul is talking about election, not blameworthiness. Our election or non-election does not depend at all on our desires, will, or actions. Our election is strictly up to God. In the course of proving his point, Paul argues for the sovereinty of God in all events, including Pharaoh's actions. That is what raises the issue of blameworthiness.

    I agree that God found fault in Pharaoh. That is not the question.

    Good. Glad we got that cleared up.

    God found fault in Pharaoh for something God did, not Pharaoh.

    This is where we disagree. An action is somebody's own when that person's will is engaged to act on their own inclination. God's action and Pharaoh's action were different. God did not refuse to let Israel go. Pharaoh is the one who refused to let Israel go. And why? Because his heart was hardened. So Pharaoh acted on the inclination of his own hardened heart. That is why he is blameworthy.

    God's action was to harden Pharaoh's heart. He acted out of his own desire to demonstrate his wrath.

    I'm sure I have some misunderstanding about your position, but two things you said seem to be inconsist with each other. First, you said, "I agree that God found fault in Pharaoh." But then you said, "Now, if you want to read it to say that Paul is blaming Pharaoh for his own actions, go right ahead," which makes it look like you think Paul does not think Pharaoh is at fault. Which is it? Is Pharaoh at fault or not?

    The biggest reason to even create the difference is try and explain why God can’t save everyone.

    No it's not. God can save anybody he wants. The reason for the distinction in God's will is because the Bible indicates that such a distinction exists. There are things that God does, and there are things that God commands others to do. God's sovereign will cannot be resisted, but his moral will can. You can't stop God if he decides to do something, but you can disobey his commands.

    So if it is equally moral to let all persons be saved, or to let some be saved, and some be tortured forever, you see neither as the better choice for a loving God?

    If they were equally moral, then one would not be better than the other. That's what it means to be equal. But whether they are equal is another question. As you know from reading Romans 9, God has a purpose in not saving everybody. That purpose is basically to bring glory to himself by demonstating his grace, power, and wrath.

    Question: If God were to commit an immoral act, what would it look like? Or is it impossible for you to conceptualize that?

    It's impossible for me to conceptualize that. For God to commit an immoral act, one of two things would have to be true. Either there would have to be a moral law above God and based on nothing, which doesn't seem possible, or God would have to have libertarian free will and be morally blameable at the same time, which also doesn't seem possible.

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  9. ephphatha, do me a favor. Forget the Hitler reference. My mind was going in one direction, and I had to set my response aside for a moment, and when I returned I was headed in a different direction. Ever do that?

    Two quick things on Romans 9, and then I am done. We can only go so far, eh?

    Paul can’t figure out, either, (just like me) why Pharaoh took the fault. “Why does He (God) find fault? For who has resisted His will?” If God forces one to do something, how can that person be held at fault?

    Paul most certainly does not say, “Hey. Pharaoh is responsible for his own actions.” He takes the sovereignty tact of “God can do what he wants.” Which was my sole point. If you disagree that this is what Paul is saying—O.K. Not the first disagreement we have had! :)

    I found this fascinating: God has a purpose in not saving everybody. That purpose is basically to bring glory to himself by demonstating his grace, power, and wrath.
    So if you are saved, that brings God glory. If I am not, that brings God glory. If you go to heaven, that brings God glory. If I burn in Hell, that brings God glory. Why would you EVER attempt to prevent someone from Hell? That brings God glory!

    If I do not sin, that brings God glory. If I do sin, that brings God glory. (Look at Pharaoh.) In fact, God can force the situation to make someone sin (Pharaoh, King David) to bring Himself glory.

    Everything that happens, moral, immoral or otherwise, brings God glory. If this is the sole standard, there is no such thing as morality or immorality. You are consistent in saying that God cannot do anything “immoral” because the concept of immorality in anyone is absurd. There is only action, and all actions produce God’s glory.

    In order for God to have vessels of wrath, prepared for destruction, in order to show His Glory, He had to create the concept we, as humans, call immorality. He had to have Adam & Eve sin. He had to create a situation in which they were capable, but not knowledgeable on performing an immoral act.

    And you cannot claim that any of this is immoral.

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  10. Dagoods,

    You are right to say that everything ultimately brings glory to God. But that doesn't make everything moral. You have to look at why or how it brings glory to God. Sin brings glory to God, not because sin is moral (which is a contradiction), but because sin leads to the demonstration of God's grace, power, and wrath. It is the demonstration of God's grace, power, and wrath that brings glory to God. Sin is merely the means by which that happens. If doing wrong were right, then it wouldn't really be wrong, and if it weren't really wrong, then it would not bring glory to God by demonstrating his grace, power, and wrath. It would have to bring glory to God in some other way.

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  11. ephphatha, I understand what you are indicating.

    Do you believe it was necessary for God to have evil exist, in order to demonstrate His power, wrath and grace?

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  12. I have the perfect response.

    "Do I know Jesus? Yeah. But he pronounces it Hay-soos. I think he works in the mailroom."

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