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Ten Commandments ?

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Ron
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25 posted 04-23-2003 12:38 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
He expected perfection at that time and was willing to kill whatever, or whoever, did not meet His demands.

"And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."

God has always, from the time of Adam, demanded perfection. Sin is just another word for disobedience, and just as you can't be half-pregnant, you can't be almost obedient. You are or you aren't. Like any good parent, God established parameters and defined consequences. Do this and that will happen. Do that and this will happen. Unlike most human fathers, God then did exactly what He had said He would do. I wouldn't call that cruel and vindictive. I'd call that perfect consistency.

While it's certainly easy to conclude that "Jesus was created by God to be the one being on Earth capable of following all of God's laws," such a conclusion will eventually raise many more questions than it answers. It's not necessarily intuitive, but the only conclusion that works in the long run is that Jesus, like the Father and the Holy Spirit, have always existed and were not created at all. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

The relationship between God and Adam, and later between God and Abraham, was a legal one. The former was a very simple "contract" and was inherited by every human born of Adam. It foreshadowed the latter contract, which was much, much more complex and is still in force today for every Jew and Muslim born of Abraham. When Adam and Eve broke the first contract, the result was death, both a spiritual death and eventually a physical one. For God to do anything else would have made Him a liar. All who have died since then have died at the hand of Adam, not God. At most, God may have picked the time. Do you spank your errant child in ten minutes or in thirty?

Generations later, God offered Abraham a partial out. Do this and do that, said God, and the spiritual death earned by Adam can be lifted. There were a whole lot of this's and that's, of which the Ten Commandments were only a part. Integral to this contract was the concept of appeasement through blood.

Some say this, too, actually goes back to Adam. We usually remember that Adam and Eve covered themselves with fig leaves, but Genesis also tells us that God, before kicking them out of the Garden, made "coats of skins, and clothed them." This is the first recorded death in the Bible, and perhaps a harbinger of what was to come - that shed blood would be a covering for sin. "And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission." (Hebrews 9:22)

Jesus didn't "convince" God that our "survival was worthwhile, even with all of our imperfections." That was never necessary, and even the idea of convincing an omniscient God of something boggles the mind. Jesus, rather, fulfilled the contracts God had made with Adam and Abraham. If the blood of a bull or goat or ewe could wash away a little sin, the blood of Jesus would wash away all sin. Completely. Totally. For all time.

quote:
There are too many contradictions to consider Him so.

But, Mike, there are also too many contradictions to NOT consider God omniscient.

Virtually everything Jesus did in his brief time on Earth was foretold hundreds and even thousands of years earlier by the prophets of God. The place of his birth, Bethlehem, was prophesied in Micah 5:2. The time of his birth was prophesied in Daniel 9:25. In Psalm 69:9 we learn He will be heralded by John the Baptist, in Psalms 78:2, we learn that Jesus will teach in parables, and in Malachi 3:1 and Psalm 69:9 we learn how Jesus will drive the money-changers from the Temple. In Psalms 41:9, we learn of the betrayal of Judas and in Zechariah 11:13 the price of that betrayal, thirty pieces of silver, is foretold. Vivid details of His crucifixion and death are sprinkled throughout the Old Testament, in Isaiah 50:6 (spitting and slapping), Psalm 22:16 (piercings), Isaiah 53:12 (crucified with criminals), Psalm 22:18 (casting lots for His clothes), Psalm 69:21 (vinegar to drink), and Amos 8:9 (the darkening of the skies). Some few of the prophecies might be coincidences. Many could be manipulations by those who wrote the New Testament. But there are literally thousands of such minutia, none of which have ever been proven false.

And what of the New Testament and the book of Revelations? To believe that God doesn't know the future is to deny the prophecies of John and the second coming of Jesus. The most important messages of the Bible depend on God's accurate predictions of a future yet to come.

The bottom line is that God and Jesus either know the future or have repeatedly lied to us about knowing the future.

quote:
If one believes that God is indeed omniscient, then one must believe that God has directed events to make the world what it is today and what it has been in the past..that all of the wars, brutality and man's inhumanity to man are by His design.

How does one reconcile these contradictions with the ones you noted? I don't even pretend to understand the answers to that question. But I long ago learned that anything and everything of worth always carries a price. My mom didn't send me to grade school to catch the mumps, chicken pox, and measles, though I'm sure she knew that would be a cost of going. At the time, I'll admit that I couldn't imagine ANYTHING being worth the mumps, and years later, I'm still not too sure it was. But Mom thought so.

Free will is the greatest gift in the Universe, and I have to suspect the price is correspondingly high. Could God have made us perfect? Sure, but we would not have been mankind. We would have been angels. Beautiful, glorious, utterly servile, but very different from what God apparently intended.

The very existence of mankind, something created by God but with the choice to follow or not follow God, is a paradox of the highest order. Had Adam not disobeyed God and been cast from Eden, there would have been no war, no disease, no death, no brutality, none of the contradictions that point to a God that is other than love. But could there be free will without disobedience? If there was only the theoretical possibility of disobedience, without the reality, would it still be free will? Can there be salvation without sin? Can a sword be tempered and made hard without searing heat?

As fond as I am of analogies, there isn't anything that even remotely describes our relationship with God. I sometimes imagine myself writing a computer program. By definition, the program has to do exactly what I tell it to do, because, frankly, I don't know how else to do it. Even random choices can only exist because I explicitly randomize them. So, how do I tell the program to disobey me? I can't. And if I could, if the computer program really did disobey me, wouldn't it only be doing so because I told it to? Wouldn't its disobedience be just another form of obedience?

Our relationship with God is a paradox. On good days, my faith insists there is a reason we are unlike the angels and the beasts of the field, insists God has a plan far beyond my understanding, insists that we are being prepared in the only way possible for something very, very special. On bad days, I find myself wondering if maybe mankind is just another incredibly funny platypus?


Thomas119gold
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26 posted 04-23-2003 10:14 AM       View Profile for Thomas119gold   Email Thomas119gold   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Thomas119gold's Home Page   View IP for Thomas119gold

Littlewing are you going to add your 2 cents?
Because at this rate I am going to lose my sense.

LOL

littlewing
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27 posted 04-23-2003 12:50 PM       View Profile for littlewing   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for littlewing

Thomas lol - yes -

I am gathering my info to be precise and accurate in order to properly back my statements . . .
xxoo
Balladeer
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28 posted 04-23-2003 01:17 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer


And what of the New Testament and the book of Revelations? To believe that God doesn't know the future is to deny the prophecies of John and the second coming of Jesus


Unfortunately, Ron, I have little problem denying either of them. I just don't know...period. What irks me is those who do claim to know. Is there life after death? Seems to me the only one qualified to know is someone who has been there and come back to tell us...I haven't heard of that happening and yet mortals will stand up there and tell me in no uncertain terms there is. I have problems with much of it. Adam's sin was eating from the tree of knowledge...as if knowledge were the sin. I have a problem with original sin. I have a problem with telling a one minute year old bably he is a sinner by the virtue of being born. That strikes me as the mantle of sin being used by the church as a weapon to force people to feel unworthy and spend their lives being repentant for actions they had no control over. Is the only way to get to heaven by accepting Jesus as the Son of God? What about Ghandi or other great figues of history who were not Christians? Are they out? What about the millions of people who existed before Jesus was born? Do they get grandfathered in? Jesus gave his life for our sins. So Jesus is dead? No, He is alive....so did he really die or just change addresses from Earth to heaven? Did God sacrifice His son or simply call him home and, if so, is that really a sacrifice? Yes, paradoxes indeed....paradoxes of the cruelest kind because the answers to them cannot be realized on Earth.

All people have is their faith, not based on knowledge or fact but by what they feel in their hearts...and if that faith commits them to being God-fearing and kind to their fellow man, then so be it. That's good enough.

My girlfriend is a devout Christian and one day, playing devil's advocate, I goaded her unmercifully in a tongue in cheek way about the inconsistencies of the Bible. Finally she said "Look, I can't tell you without a doubt that God exists, that Jesus exists or that Heaven exists. All I can go by is my faith and the teachings of the church. If it all exists, I feel I will be rewarded. If it doesn't and there is nothingness then I won't know it anyway so I'm going to cover my bases and believe with all my heart and hope for the best."

I think she has the right idea....
Ron
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29 posted 04-23-2003 05:54 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Mike, you're going in a very different direction now, both from the original question and certainly from your own earlier posts. Virtually every one of your rhetorical questions has a logical, reasoned response, available from even a cursory study of Christian beliefs. But those answers, as you've said, are only answers for those willing to accept the underlying premises.

There are two way to discuss religion. One is to argue the existence of God, which seems to be what you are attempting in your last post. That can be fun, but is ultimately fruitless since such existence can never be proved or disproved. The second way to discuss religion is to agree on a foundation, which I thought was the tone of your earlier posts. Euclid set down his postulates, then used strict logic to build his Geometry. Euclidean geometry might be right or it might be wrong (in the sense it reflects the Universe), but there is absolutely no question that it is consistently and internally logical. A discussion of Christianity might never be quite as rigorous as Euclid's math, but it can come surprising close. IF those in the discussion agree on their postulates.

BTW, the logic your girlfriend presented is called Pascal's Wager, and it does indeed make a whole lot of sense.  
Thomas119gold
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30 posted 04-23-2003 08:49 PM       View Profile for Thomas119gold   Email Thomas119gold   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Thomas119gold's Home Page   View IP for Thomas119gold

Okay Littlewing I was just wondering
Balladeer
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31 posted 04-23-2003 09:51 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Ron, I would certainly be interested in those logical, reasoned responses to my questions. As far as my going in two different directions...you are so right. That's why I get so confused with religion. I can make a case for belief or non-belief, for foundation or non-foundation....and have no idea if I am even close with either one. When one tries to reason out the unexplainable it can lead to many different directions.

The direction I began with are my poor attempts at trying to figure out what the Bible is saying with respect to God's personality and what role Jesus plays in the scenario. My other direction is questioning the validity of either....there are even more directions my befuddled mind can traverse when mired in religious ponderings.

My girlfriend and I travel different roads to come to the same location..she believes by believing she will enter heaven if it exists. I believe that by living the best life I can for myself with respect for the rights of my fellow man I will enter Heaven if it exists...Christianity agrees with her but not with me...and I can live with that, too.
Opeth
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32 posted 04-24-2003 09:33 AM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

I could of sworn that earlier, I posted a reply and now I find that it is gone.

JP
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33 posted 04-24-2003 11:32 AM       View Profile for JP   Email JP   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit JP's Home Page   View IP for JP

Foretelling the future?  Not the same as foreknowledge I think.

God did give us free will... why then would he involve himself in our day to day affairs?  Why would he give us the gift of free will if he were then going to eliminate every obstacle to our decision to go to him?

Not create the Egyptions because the Isrealites were to be enslaved by them? Why create Adam and Eve if they were going to destroy the sanctity of Eden?

What joy is there in forcing someone to obey and love you?  What use in this worship if it is compulsory?  To be God and have your creations come to you and love you of their own choice regardless of the things You've seen them survive...

Yesterday is ash, tomorrow is smoke; only today does the fire burn.
Nil Desperandum, Fata viem invenient

Opeth
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34 posted 04-24-2003 11:56 AM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

Well said, JP.

If I were The Creator, I surely would not have a need to be praised by those whom I created. There would be no purpose for it, except for a sheer craving for attention.

Why would Jesus want millions of "saved" people to play harps while they sing to him at his feet?  

Oh, the license to sin is given to all who believe.

I always thought worshipping God was done out of "selflessness" not "selfishness" ~ I mean what is the meaning of obeying and accepting a saviour if the "I" doesn't receive something in return - immortality?


[This message has been edited by Opeth (04-25-2003 08:19 AM).]

bklynboy
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35 posted 04-26-2003 08:49 AM       View Profile for bklynboy   Email bklynboy   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for bklynboy

Just my 2 cents worth
One who follows the Tao does not care to argue whether or not God exists,  or  to feel compelled to be obedient; they are simply in harmony with the Tao drinking  green tea , while the others argue

Ron
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36 posted 04-26-2003 10:03 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
If I were The Creator, I surely would not have a need to be praised by those whom I created. There would be no purpose for it, except for a sheer craving for attention.

Any parent who says they don't want their children to love them is either lying or in need of serious psychological help. Such a desire is not selfish or egotistical, but is born instead of the unconditional love any good parent feels for their children.

How many times have you heard the advise, "Always show your kids that you love them?"

Taken by itself, out of context, that advise is a load of crap. The key to happy, healthy children who will become happy, healthy adults is to teach them to GIVE love. Showing your kids you love them is certainly part of that, a very big part of it, but it is still the path and not the goal. A parent should very much want their child to love them, not because it bolsters parental ego, but because it is the most important thing a mom or dad will ever teach their kid.

Lives and hearts are never changed by merely receiving love. It is only when we feel it blossom within our own heart, when we GIVE our love freely to another, that we come to know its real power. This is true on a human level, and I think it's equally true on a divine level. Learning how to love God isn't for His benefit. It's for ours.

quote:
... they are simply in harmony with the Tao drinking green tea, while the others argue

Or perhaps they are in harmony with green tea, while learning to drink Tao?

Arguing is not the same thing as questioning. If free will is our God-given right to make choices, then the ability and willingness to ask questions is a very necessary part of that gift. Those who never question will never learn, and choices made in blind ignorance are an insult to both Man and God. There can be no harmony until first there is discord.
Crazy Eddie
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37 posted 04-26-2003 10:57 AM       View Profile for Crazy Eddie   Email Crazy Eddie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Crazy Eddie

Ron,

If God exists and knows the future why would he/she bother to intervene in what is, by definition, a foregone conclusion?
Ron
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38 posted 04-26-2003 11:15 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Again, C, you're asking circular questions. "Why would he/she ..." suggests a time line that quite possibly exists only in your own perception of the universe. Creation was/is/will be an intervention, and without the ambiguity of time, may well have been/is/will be the only intervention necessary. That First Intervention (which, again, is a misnomer in the absence of time) would have necessarily created all or any other  interventions, right along with your foregone conclusion.
Balladeer
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39 posted 04-26-2003 11:24 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

I have to go back to one of my first examples..God getting angry and threatening to kill the Israelites. First, if God gave man free will and yet knew exactly what decisions would be made in advance and what the outcomes would be from the use of that free will, then why get so murderously angry when that free will lead them away from His commands? No, I'm sorry but every action He took convinces  me that He did NOT know what paths would be taken....otherwise His anger and vindictiveness would be nothing more than a sham and theatrical presentation. It would also be very cruel to punish for committing acts one knows in advance will be committed.

You can't have it both ways. God either does not know which paths man's free will shall follow or God has a sadistic streak..I would prefer to hope that it is the former....
Ron
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40 posted 04-26-2003 12:46 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Mike, why would you lend any credence at all to the stories of God's anger and displeasure detailed in Exodus? If God has lied to us about knowing ALL, then you have to assume that story is a lie, too, and you can't use it to prove or disprove anything. You're trying to take the word of a liar to prove He's a liar?

You either have to throw out the Bible entirely or try to resolve perceived conflicts within the context of the entire book. The latter isn't always easy, sometimes it doesn't even seem possible, but personally, I don't think that's necessarily bad news. Any Absolute, whether it be omniscience, omnipotence, or this sentence, is a paradox just waiting to be revealed. The Bible is written in layers, and I don't think it's possible to fully understand a hidden layer until you have reached at least a partial understanding of the revealed layers. I believe that apparent contradictions in the Bible are invitations, like giant sign posts pointing to something really, really important. They exist for a reason, though I don't pretend to understand all those reasons.

Put another way, seeming contradictions are choices to be made. Do you trust there are resolutions, even if they may exist beyond your current understanding? Or do you assign your own limitations to God and throw out the baby with the bath water? I've always felt those were the only two choices, but you seem to be presenting me with a third I never considered. You seem to want to do both?
Opeth
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41 posted 04-26-2003 12:59 PM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

"Any parent who says they don't want their children to love them is either lying or in need of serious psychological help."

~ Really Ron. I do believe you should refrain from discussing issues with me because doing so clogs your sense of perception.  Which "any parent" are you talking about? Certainly not me.

Since when does praise = love?

I don't need my children to praise my name. I don't need my children to play harps at my feet. I don't need my children to give me glory. That has nothing...listen Ron...nothing to do with expressing and teaching about giving LOVE.

Get it? Good.

Ron
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42 posted 04-26-2003 01:54 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

After two years, Opeth, one would think you'd learn that twisting words to suit your own purpose wasn't going to work. Where in my post do I mention praise, harps, or glory? Those are presumably your concepts of divine love, not mine. When I say "love" you can assume I meant to use that precise word. When I use generalities like "any parent," you need not get defensive. Trust me; I rarely have a problem saying what I mean and I doubt I'll ever need your help finding the right word. Should that happen, though, I'll be sure to ask.

Got it?
Opeth
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43 posted 04-26-2003 01:57 PM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

Sorry, Ron. I am not buying the backpedaling that you are selling. If you are going to post my quote about praising God and immediately below that comment, go on a tangent about love and parenting, well then, logically you directed your belief statements towards my quote.

Not being defensive, Ron, just observant.

Got it?

Good.

Ron
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44 posted 04-26-2003 02:15 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Backpedaling? You give yourself too much credit, I'm afraid. Or perhaps you could explain exactly why I would have any reason to backpedal from you?

I said exactly what I meant to say. Not my fault if it makes you feel so, uh, observant?
Crazy Eddie
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45 posted 04-26-2003 02:17 PM       View Profile for Crazy Eddie   Email Crazy Eddie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Crazy Eddie

Ron,


As I understand it what you are saying is that as we are bound by the linear progression of time, in the same way that the alphabet runs from A to Z. God could formulate the beginning of creation simultaneously at all points from A to Z and Armageddon at the same point. However the effects of Gods actions, as far as man and creation is concerned, cannot occur at any other time than point A or Z respectfully.

All this is of course possible but that would allow the destiny of man to be known by God, he would need to know that we are heading towards Z and the point in our timeline when we will arrive. If that is true the future and the events that occur at point Z surely have to be fixed for God to know them, doesnít that mean we have no control of our own destiny that we cannot change what will happen?
Balladeer
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46 posted 04-26-2003 02:41 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Yes, Ron, there is a third path. One is seeing things as you think they are. One is seeing things as you wish they were. One is the internal struggle of trying to convince yourself that number two may be possible even though number one seems to be the more realistic. I would chide God for being a liar, not out of insult, but because I desperately don't want Him to be and I would love to be convinced He is not...unfortunately that hasn't happened and the "we are not meant to understand" is too foreign to my personality to be of much use. Guess I'll just wait and see what happens......
Ron
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47 posted 04-26-2003 02:59 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
... doesnít that mean we have no control of our own destiny that we cannot change what will happen?

I'm going to assume you wrote those words on your own, without someone standing over your shoulder directing what you typed? Further, I'm going to assume you made choices in what you said, exercised your free will in deciding what to say and how to say it?

Yet, in spite of that, those words are now frozen, at least in the sense that I know exactly what you typed. Does that knowledge in any way detract from the choices you made? Does it undermine your free will? Of course not. The words and choices are still yours, even though I know what they were. Remove time from the equation, and there is no discernible difference between knowledge and foreknowledge. Would it really make any difference to you if I had also known what they "would be?" Knowing exactly what you have done doesn't interfere with your free will. Knowing exactly what you WILL do doesn't interfere, either. Not unless I share that foreknowledge with you. And that ain't happening as far as I can see.
Ron
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48 posted 04-26-2003 03:52 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Balladeer said:
quote:
I would love to be convinced ...

And while I might wish it, too, Mike, I've never felt that was something I could do well. Actually, I'm not sure that's something anyone can do well. There is no "proof" of God's existence and, in my opinion, that's not an accident. Uncontestable proof, I think, would come very close to hindering free will.

I agree that the "we are not meant to understand" pill is one not easily swallowed. But I don't think it's quite that simple, either. My three-year-old son couldn't understand calculus, but my 28-year-old son can and should. He still has to work at it, though, learning algebra and trig first, and the understanding won't ever be instantaneous. Being convinced is accumulative, I think, and understanding is a matter of delving through the various levels of the Bible. Can it ever be entirely understood? Should I ever reach that point, I'll let you know. Please don't hold your breath, though? But even if it is beyond my ken, that's okay, too. Frankly, if I ever feel I can fathom the mind and plan of God, it sure won't be the God we've been discussing here.
Crazy Eddie
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49 posted 04-26-2003 04:17 PM       View Profile for Crazy Eddie   Email Crazy Eddie   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Crazy Eddie

Ron,

If I was destined to write it - if it was pre-determined that I couldnít choose to write anything else - then surely I donít possess a free will, I just think I do. After all I couldnít have chosen to do anything else.
 
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