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Stephanos
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100 posted 01-07-2005 11:52 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
Muslims, (in the hundreds of millions), claim the very same thing and more
for the Koran, indeed Salman Rushdie through “The Satanic Verses”
earned himself a death sentence for suggesting otherwise.
What gives the Bible more authority?

From a theological standpoint, Divine inspiration gives the Bible more authority.  The claims of various religious texts are mutually exclusive.  I agree with Ravi Zacharias when he says that while most people consider religions to be superficially different and fundamentally the same, that they are really fundamentally different and only superficially similar.  (That's just a long way of saying that several disputing claims of divine authorship cannot all be right, only one can, if any.)


Moving from dogma to history ... The New Testament is (in addition to being a religious text) a historical narrative, as observed and written by several or many.  In contrast, the Koran, though claiming to be a revealed Text given verbatim from Angelic beings, is cheifly a book of aphorisms, and religious instruction.  Therefore the literal life of Jesus ... his death and resurrection, and the subsequent history of the early Christian Church, sets the Christian texts apart historically.  


If you believe the historical claims of the New Testament are dubious, I would recommend "The Ressurrection of the Son of God" by historian N.T. Wright.  Though difficult to read for a lay person (like myself), I've found his writings to be quite intriguing and immensely informative.  
I'll stop there for now.


Stephen.  
Ron
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101 posted 01-08-2005 10:18 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
From a theological standpoint, Divine inspiration gives the Bible more authority.

Isn't that a little circular, Stephen? It's right because, well, it's right?

quote:
(That's just a long way of saying that several disputing claims of divine authorship cannot all be right, only one can, if any.)

Can God create a rock too heavy for him to lift, Stephen?

While I'm certainly in no position to claim all major religions are right, neither am I in a position to say it's beyond God's power to show us different and even conflicting faces for reasons of His own. You cannot accept omnipotence as the foundation for your faith, Stephen, and then bind it with your own limitations.
Arnold M
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102 posted 01-08-2005 07:44 PM       View Profile for Arnold M   Email Arnold M   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Arnold M

Ron, God is not, and will not do something that's illogical or nonsensical, in my opinion. But,there are a number of things that God cannot do.  For instance, He cannot lie; He cannot stop loving, when that is His nature.
Ron
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That's fine, Arnold, as long as you don't believe God is omnipotent.

FWIW, I would agree that God will not do anything illogical or nonsensical, but I suspect my reasons would differ from yours. However, I certainly wouldn't rule out the perception of absurdity by us mere mortals. Any god we could fully understand wouldn't be God.
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104 posted 01-08-2005 10:33 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
Isn't that a little circular, Stephen? It's right because, well, it's right?


In a sense, that's exactly right.

It's right because it is true.  Yes, this is circular in a sense.  We've talked about presuppositions before, how everyone uses them and has them, regardless of the chosen worldview.  If it so happens that Divine revelation resembles something axiomatic, or truistic, then so be it.  A circle, like one who claims to be the "Alpha and Omega", starts and ends in the same place.


So how are the Divine teachings of scripture different from any other first principle, or presupposed belief?  How is Christianity any different than a form of philosophical dualism (as Brad is wont to ask)?  That's where the evidential things come in.  Our faith is historical, based in the world of facts and literal happenings.  Christ rose from the dead, and other explanations fall way short in their attempts to "reconstruct" the history of the gospels and the Church itself.  It is also vindicated or "proved" in our personal lives as Christians ... where the experience of God should be vibrant, manifesting in a more contemporary kind of "history" too.  


In short, I wasn't offering the mere claim of divine authorship as proof of itself.  And yet the Bible itself makes these sort of claims, the assumed, matter-of-fact statements like, "In the beginning God".  But the Bible itself offers much more in the way of historical persuasion than just some unsupported claim.  It is my (at least partially studied) opinion that other "holy" texts do not possess the same degree of integrity in theology and history.


Stephen.      
Essorant
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105 posted 01-09-2005 09:57 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

It is my (at least partially studied) opinion that other "holy" texts do not possess the same degree of integrity in theology and history.

That is because there are different theologies and histories in this life.  Not just Judaish and Christian.
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106 posted 01-09-2005 06:04 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Ess,

That's not what I meant.


The Koran (for example) is a book given from an angel to Mohammed, with the self-authenticating stamp of divinity upon it (according to Muslims).  But Matthew Mark Luke and John, though being religious texts too, are chiefly historical narratives  about what God did in history.  Whenever history comes into play, questions can be asked as to whether or not they really happened.  Alternative explanations of (for example) the crucifixion and ressurrection of Jesus Christ, encounter a legion of difficulties which make them implausible.  The orthodox version of what happened (though having difficulties) does not have them in the same degree.


Hence, that's why I said the holy books of other faiths do not have the same theological historical integrity.

You seem to be saying that there are different "Histories" behind these other texts.  I don't disagree with that.  I was talking about the veracity of historical claims, regardless of which particular story.


Stephen.
Essorant
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107 posted 01-09-2005 07:47 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

I think Christians know best above all others the integrity and veracities of Christianity and their own texts; So do Muslims know best above all others (including Christians) the integrity and veracities of Islam and their texts.
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Your problem, Stephen, is that the Old Testament faces all of the problems you might cite with the Koran (hardly surprisingly, since they spring from a common well). You going to tell us you don't believe the OT, either?

The historicial distinctions you're making are really a question of how much time has passed. There is substantial secular proof Jesus lived and died. There is somewhat less secular proof Noah survived a world-wide flood. Had that flood occurred a mere 2,000 years ago, however, we can be confident the evidence would be overwhelming. Historical "proof" is all a matter of how much time as passed.

Joseph Smith and L. Ron Hubbard represent even more recent examples of theology, Stephen. Does their historical accuracy thus privilege them over older religions?
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109 posted 01-10-2005 09:19 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Essorant:
quote:
I think Christians know best above all others the integrity and veracities of Christianity and their own texts; So do Muslims know best above all others (including Christians) the integrity and veracities of Islam and their texts.



The thing is ... the New Testament claims one thing about Jesus, and the Koran quite another.  It is even written in the Koran that Jesus did not literally die on the cross (no doubt a retained scrap from gnostic heresies a couple of centuries earlier than the Koran).  


The New Testament claims that Jesus is the Messiah, and the very Son of God.  The Koran claims that such teachings about Jesus are blasphemous, and that he never made such claims.  


All of this is diametrically opposite ... incompatible ... unreconcilable.  One must be true, or the other false.  Or else they both may be false.  But they both cannot be true.


Historically, we can compare the roots of the Koran, and those of the New Testament.  The Gospels were written in a relatively short time from the time when Christ walked the land of Palestine (70-150 years).  Fragments of writing and oral traditions were most likely used (Most scholars agree on this).  But the Koran was written some 500 plus years after the time of Christ.  It's comments on the nature of Jesus, are dogmatic in nature.  Andd it does not even attempt historical description for it's claims.  The rightness of the Koran on these historical issues are claimed (by Muslims) not on the basis of historical knowledge, but direct divine revelation from Allah through an angel.  Actually much of the knowledge, and misinformation, about Christianity in the Koran came from various religious traditions which developed long after the actual events of the first century, related by travellers.


So which text is more likely to represent the truth about the events surrounding the life of Jesus of Nazareth ... something collected and written by those of that very community, fairly soon thereafter, or something written centuries later by an Arabic warrior/ priest, whose knowledge of Christianity has been shown to be a mixture of third hand stories and paganism?  


My whole point is to say that opposing claims of history are not compatible.  Neither is their liklihood,  plausibility, or credibility the same.  If you've never looked into the differences I'm attempting to describe, then it might be better for you to suspend your judgement on the matter, than to try to argue for some kind of textual egalitarianism.  All texts, and all claims are not automatically equal.  



Stephen.

Stephanos
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110 posted 01-10-2005 09:58 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Ron:
quote:
Your problem, Stephen, is that the Old Testament faces all of the problems you might cite with the Koran



Firstly, do you have an idea what particular problems I might cite with the Koran?  While you are speaking of generalizations, I have particulars in mind.  So I'm not yet sure that you can even know that the Old Testament faces "all of the problems" which I might cite with the Koran.


quote:
You going to tell us you don't believe the OT, either?


No.  What would give you that idea?

quote:
The historicial distinctions you're making are really a question of how much time has passed.


hmmm.  No, the ones concerning the Koran actually have little to do with how much time has passed, if you mean to make a truism out of "older = more obscure /    less old = less obscure".  


The text of the Koran is "newer" than the text of the New Testament, yet makes historical claims about the life of Jesus which are unsupported by what even Secular historians accept about Jesus' life.  


If "time passed" has anything to do with the problems I'm talking about, it is the amount of time passed between the events themselves and the writing about those events.  Mohammed is much farther removed than the apostolic band who were eyewitnesses of Christ.  And he only makes historical claims as dogma with no supporting narrative.   My problem isn't so much that the Koran does that, but that when it does so, it is contradictory to something much sturdier in the vein of historical knowledge.  


Therefore when the Old Testament does something similar (that is to just state something ipso facto), I haven't seen that it does so at the expense of some other firmly established history. The Koran does.


quote:
There is substantial secular proof Jesus lived and died.



Really?  The Koran says he literally didn't die.  Beginning to see my point?


quote:
Joseph Smith and L. Ron Hubbard represent even more recent examples of theology, Stephen. Does their historical accuracy thus privilege them over older religions?


That totally depends upon what you're talking about.  Again, generalizations don't work well in these types of discussions.  


I don't know that Hubbard makes many claims in the area of history (from what I understand it is pretty much westernized, modernized, hinduism which is mainly aphoristic or philosophical in nature rather than historical).  


And I would say that the Book of Mormon is even more dubious than the Koran in it's history.  Especially since Jospeh Smith's mystical translation of ancient Golden plates in the 1800s (which was to become the Book of Mormon) mysteriously turned out to be plagiaristically close to exact phraseology used in the 1611 Authorized Version (KJV) of the Bible, in not a few passages.  And that's just one of many particulars I could discuss with you about the BOM.


Stephen.  
Essorant
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111 posted 01-10-2005 09:33 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Stephenos
Perhaps Christianity and Christ are not portrayed accuratly in the Koran; but think about how Heathenism and heathen gods are portrayed in the Bible.  
The same flaw that you say the Koran has about Christianity and Christ, the bible seems to have about hundredfold about heathenism and heathen gods.  It may seem disturbing to see Christ portrayed wrongly, yet the heathen beliefs and gods are basically portrayed as devilworshipping and devils in Christian lore---I don't think there's anything worse a belief or what someone believes in may be called.  

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112 posted 01-12-2005 01:13 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Essorant:
quote:
Stephenos
Perhaps Christianity and Christ are not portrayed accuratly in the Koran; but think about how Heathenism and heathen gods are portrayed in the Bible.


Think about how Heathenism and heathen gods are portrayed by mostly everyone today, even those who value them as "culture".  No one really thinks they are really "Gods", but imaginative creations of the human mind.  


I too can value pagan religion in this cultural sort of way ... but how can they be said to be "Divine" in any sort of way?  Only if we redefine divinity, and make it to mean only that which WE deem as sacred.  But you see, WE become the center again.  


I think a good hint lies in the history of the "gods" themselves.  They were seldom if ever potrayed as "God" in the sense of a divine being who is the origin and Lord of all things.  They were born, they were imperfect.  They were finite.  They were also morally beneath "divinity" being more vicious and petty most of the time than the humans who fabricated their existence.  Reading Greek mythology, I have often said, is like watching an ancient soap opera.  The gods' behaviors are scandalous.  They are vigorous players, but are never said to be screen writers.  The astonishing thing about the Jewish religion is that their God was claimed to be the Director, screenwriter, and producer.  The astonishing thing about the Christian religion is that it claimed that he also made a cameo appearance, in one of the characters.  And also astonishing is that the history behind it is not easily dismissed.  


Another note:   If Worshipping such ideas or objects (of Pagan gods) really did get in the way of percieving and submitting to the One God, it's no surprise that the ancient Biblical texts called them at best "worthless" and at worst "demonic".  


Of course, not all Christians have seen something thoroughly evil in paganism.  There is at least the thought that their desire to worship "something" other than self ... the tendecy to deify and exalt another being, is indicative of something that the One True God has placed in their hearts.  Though misguided, the desire is right.  Right impulse, wrong target.  I think there are even hints of this sympathy with Paganism in the Bible.  When the Messiah was to be born to the Jews, it was not the religious leaders of that day who were privy to the nativity, but the Magi who were Babylonian astrologers.  If any one loves truth, they will find it, it seems.    


C.S. Lewis has pointed out also, that paganism often painted quite a "shadow" or pre-figuring of the truth of Christianity.  The dying and rising nature gods of mystery religions, in some way resembled Christ ... only they didn't have a real history behind their dying and rising.  


Stephen.
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113 posted 01-13-2005 12:25 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

"Think about how Heathenism and heathen gods are portrayed by mostly everyone today, even those who value them as "culture".  No one really thinks they are really "Gods", but imaginative creations of the human mind. "

That seems at least more respectful than how the bible treats them.


"I too can value pagan religion in this cultural sort of way ... but how can they be said to be "Divine" in any sort of way?  Only if we redefine divinity, and make it to mean only that which WE deem as sacred.  But you see, WE become the center again."

"...They were seldom if ever potrayed as "God" in the sense of a divine being"

If you look at the ancestery and relations of the word and meanings of divine, it looks like it has a firmer history and tradition in meanings toward Heathen "god" than Christian "God".
http://www.geocities.com/indoeurop/project/phonetics/word30.html http://www.bartleby.com/61/roots/IE117.html


(regarding the root of Divinity)
"This is believed to have been the name of the principal Indo-European deity"

Look at all the names that it is related to:  Jove, Zeus, Jupiter, Dione, Diana, Tiw

I don't think there's anything in the roots and etymology that tries tries to enforce the sense of "allperfect" "allknowing" etc. that you will seem to try to force upon it.  


Christianity seems to want the "gem" without the "stone"  That's just not going to happen.  Paganism shall always be the ancestral "stone" and Christianity the descendent "gemstone"  Without the "stone" the gemstone had never come about.  

[This message has been edited by Essorant (01-14-2005 11:28 AM).]

Essorant
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114 posted 01-14-2005 12:24 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

[Moderator please delete this if you may, Thanks]
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115 posted 01-20-2005 05:52 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos


Essorant, you are assuming that Christianity sprung from previous pagan religious beliefs.  You have not shown that to be true.  You certainly can't show it to be true using etymology of words alone.  For example, can you show that the revealed name of God to the Jews "YHWH", the tetragrammaton, was derived from paganism?


quote:
Without the "stone" the gemstone had never come about.



But even by your analogy, you are conceding a difference of worth and of essence between the rock, and the extracted gem.

Stephen.
Essorant
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116 posted 01-21-2005 02:04 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

"Essorant, you are assuming that Christianity sprung from previous pagan religious beliefs.  You have not shown that to be true.  You certainly can't show it to be true using etymology of words alone.  For example, can you show that the revealed name of God to the Jews "YHWH", the tetragrammaton, was derived from paganism?"

No; but I believe we needed to see and learn the world before we might learn the Universe.  We need to learn the flat earth under our worldly feet, before we might learn the round earth in respect to the Universe.  It is step from the worldly to the Universal.

Without that first step, you may not make it to the second.  And even if you could you wouldn't know the difference.  

Paganism is the first step: it keeps us in touch with the worldly spirits: Christianity is second step:  in touch with the Universal Spirit.  To me both are two steps; one for each foot.  Both feet need to take those steps in order to swiftly move man, or he trips more often than walks trying to keep both feet only on one foot's side!
  
"But even by your analogy, you are conceding a difference of worth and of essence between the rock, and the extracted gem."

But I am saying that the stone is still in the gem too; the gem is the state of being being the stone, but also being in a more evolved and polished state: the gem.  Without being the stone first, it can't come to be the gem.  
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117 posted 05-01-2005 07:27 PM       View Profile for Arnold M   Email Arnold M   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Arnold M

Seems to me the topic of this post has sure wandered.
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118 posted 05-01-2005 07:46 PM       View Profile for Arnold M   Email Arnold M   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Arnold M

Maybe this can be interesting.

In many places in the OT, prophecies concerning the coming Messiah and His rule as King, always speak of His rule being forever.  And, Luke 1:32,33 reads, speaking of Jesus, "He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: and He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end."

Yet Paul tells us in 1 Cor. 15:24-28 that Christ Jesus will not reign forever, but will deliver up the kingdom to God the Father, after all enemies have been made subject to Him, that is, Christ, and then He will be subject to the Father, that God may be all in all.

A seeming controversy.  Which is right, and why?

God bless you
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119 posted 05-11-2005 02:18 AM       View Profile for Arnold M   Email Arnold M   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Arnold M

Hi Jim, it's been awhile since I've been on this thread.

The concept that God, who creates all things through Christ, and for Christ, allowed our first parents to disobey, bringing death and sin into the whole human race, is hard to perceive, until we understand that the redemption that follows is because of the sacrifice of God's Son.

And what part does man have in this?  NONE.  All is out of God, simply because of His love and grace.  Can we pat ourselves on the back because we believed?  NO! Even faith is a gift as Eph. 2:8,9 tell us.  Faith comes by hearing the word of God.

Paul, in Rom.9, uses the metaphor of the potter and the clay, describing God (the potter) making vessels of beauty and menial use.  Did the menial vessels have any say, being made for destruction? NO! God shows his power and wrath on them that he might, in contrast, reveal the riches of His glory for the vessels of beauty.

All for now.  God bless, Arnold
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120 posted 05-30-2005 01:40 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

As in most cases, I think, the seeming contradiction disappears when reading from a literal translation, Arnold.

In the CLNT the verses read: "He shall be great, and Son of the Most High shall He be called. And the Lord God shall be giving Him the throne of David, His father, and He shall reign over the house of Jacob for the eons. And of His kingdom there shall be no consummation."

To me it seems that is referring specifically to His reign during the two future eons prior to His submitting the kingdom to God the Father.
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121 posted 05-30-2005 02:57 PM       View Profile for Arnold M   Email Arnold M   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Arnold M

I agree, Denise.  I said it that way hoping others would see that "ruling for ever and ever" in a literal translation would read "ruling for the eons."  The last two ages in God's plan.

God bless you on this Memorial Day.  Arnold
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122 posted 06-01-2005 09:34 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Arnold and Denise,

Though I respect you both, I don't feel that this fact about the language proves that Christ will not be reigning forever.  I've mentioned it before, but even our english word "forever" is rooted in words that refer to finite durations of time.  Yet we still use it to mean "eternity".


The same phrase "age unto the ages" is also used elsewhere of God's reign.  But surely you wouldn't suggest that this refers to a finite duration of God's Kingdom.  And you also didn't address one tiny problem in interpretation ... that last sentence.  "And of his Kingdom there shall be no consummation (or end)".  Does that last sentence support, or tend to contradict your overall rendering of this passage?  


Stephen.  
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Geeze, Stephen.  You're starting to sound like an amillennialist.  Welcome to the orthodox fold!

The best thing about pre-millennialism is that it sells fiction.

On UR, God will save whomever He chooses to save and damn whomever He chooses to damn. He, being God, is certainly justified in doing whatever He pleases to do, in accordance with His nature. Looking at it any other way forces God to abide by our own senses of justice rather than being governed by God's supreme justice.  I can't think of a more arrogant attitude toward God than that.

Jim
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124 posted 06-02-2005 03:36 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

JIm,

I'm simply stating that I don't think the language of scripture implies a finite lordship for Jesus Christ.  The part about the kingdom being "delivered up to the Father", is more of a dispensational statement to me, which suggests that the time of Christ perfecting sons is over, and complete, thus ready to be presented as a gift to his Father in Heaven.  But Christ will always be God's agent of ruling the creation.  And the primary reason I pointed those things out, was not to get into milleneal issues, but to try and show that it is bad exegesis to use the term "eon of the eons", to prove that Hell is not an enduring conscious reality for the damned.


That view could be held regardless of the millineal dispute.  I am very cautious of ultra-dispensationalism indeed.  I too wince at those popular fictional accounts of the end times that are so popular today.  But I am also very cautious of ultra-amillenialism, especially when it turns into preterism.  I think of all positions, preterism is maybe the most problematic.


But for the present time, I'll just say that I'm a Pan-millenialist, pan-tribulationist.   In other words, I believe such things will all "Pan out in the end".  lol.  


You may consider that to be non-commital, as well as my position with Calvin and Arminius.  When it  comes to the salvation issue, and whether man's will or God's sovereignty should be considered the real agent ... I still say that scripture teaches both sides of the equation.  Both sides of the seeming contradiction are true, and verified in no uncertain terms by scripture itself.  While others feel the need to take a side, I feel only the need to bow and worship a God who is able to reconcile what is impossible for our finite minds to reconcile.  


Oh, and what do you mean by UR?

Unconditional reconciliation.
or Universal reconciliation or something else?

Stephen.
 
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