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Passions in Poetry

the will of God

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Huan Yi
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since 10-12-2004
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Waukegan


0 posted 11-17-2004 07:12 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

“In great contests, each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be wrong. God cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time.”

Abraham Lincoln, memorandum dated September 30, 1862

So is he sitting out Iraq?  Why aren’t there lightning bolts
or something except in an ancient past too far away
to verify?



P.S. Seems related:


“Rubenstein, R. "The State of Jewish Belief" in Commentary 42, August 1966, p.134

"No man can really say that God is dead. How can we know that? Nevertheless, I am compelled to say that we live in the time of the "death of God"... When I say we live in a time of the death of God, I mean that the thread uniting God and man, heaven and earth has been broken. We stand in a cold, silent, unfeeling cosmos, unaided by any purposeful power beyond our own resources. After Auschwitz, what else can a Jew say about God?

I believe the greatest single challenge to modern Judaism arises out of the question of God and the death camps. I am amazed at the silence of contemporary Jewish theologians on this most crucial and agonizing of all Jewish issues. How can Jews believe in an omnipotent, beneficent God after Auschwitz? Traditional Jewish theology maintains that God is the ultimate, omnipotent actor in the historical drama. It has interpreted every major catastrophe in Jewish history as God's punishment of a sinful Israel. I fail to see how this position can be maintained without regarding Hitler and the SS as instruments of God's will. The agony of European Jewry cannot be likened to the testing of Job. To see any purpose in the death camps, the traditional believer is forced to regard the most demonic, anti-human explosion in all history as a meaningful expression of God's purposes. The idea is simply too obscene for me to accept."”

http://www.wujs.org.il/activist/programmes/sources/theology/responses _to_suffering_in_the_holocaust.shtml

Ron
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Member Rara Avis
since 05-19-99
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Michigan, US


1 posted 11-17-2004 08:14 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
God cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time.

That would be much less of a paradox, I think, than the people who want free will for humanity but still insist on laying the blame for the Holocausts of our world, both big and small, at the feet of God.
Larry C
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2 posted 11-17-2004 07:04 PM       View Profile for Larry C   Email Larry C   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Larry C's Home Page   View IP for Larry C

What Ron said...

If tears could build a stairway and memories a lane, I'd walk right up to heaven and bring you home again.

Aenimal
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since 11-18-2002
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3 posted 11-17-2004 11:53 PM       View Profile for Aenimal   Email Aenimal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Aenimal

With regards to the suggestion that the Holocaust was punishment for the sin:


"The destruction of six million Jews in such a horrific manner that surpassed the cruelty of all previous generations, could not possibly be because of a punishment for sins. Even the Satan himself could not possibly find a sufficient number of sins that would warrant such genocide!

There is absolutely no rationalistic explanation for the Holocaust except for the fact that it was a Divine decree … why it happened is above human comprehension – but it is definitely not because of punishment for sin.

On the contrary: All those who were murdered in the Holocaust are called “Kedoshim” – holy ones – since they were murdered in sanctification of G–d’s name. Since they were Jews, it is only G–d who will avenge their blood. As we say on Shabbat in the Av Harachamim prayer, “the holy communities who gave their lives for the sanctification of the Divine Name ... and avenge the spilled blood of His servants, as it is written in the Torah of Moshe ... for he will avenge the blood of his servants ... And in the Holy Writings it is said ... Let there be known among the nations, before our eyes, the retribution of the spilled blood of your servants.” G–d describes those who were sanctified as His servants, and promises to avenge their blood.

So great is the spiritual level of the Kedoshim – even disregarding their standing in mitzvah performance – that the Rabbis say about them, “no creation can stand in their place.” How much more so of those who died in the Holocaust, many of whom, as is well known, were among the finest of Europe’s Torah scholars and observant Jews.

It is inconceivable that the Holocaust be regarded as an example of punishment for sin, in particular when addressing this generation, which as mentioned before is “a firebrand plucked from the fire” of the Holocaust."

~Rabbi Menachem M. Schneersohn

"It is not my task to justify G-d on this. Only G-d Himself can answer for what He allowed to happen, and the only answer we will accept is the immediate and complete Redemption that will forever banish evil from the face of the earth and bring to light the intrinsic goodness and perfection of G-d’s creation."

~Rabbi Menachem M. Schneersohn

"Our outrage, our incessant challenge to G-d over what has occurred--this itself is a most powerful attestation to our belief in Him and His goodness. Because if we did not, underneath it all, possess this faith, what is it that we are outraged at? The blind workings of fate? The random arrangement of quarks that make up the universe? It is only because we believe in G-d, because we are convinced that there is right and there is wrong and that right must, and ultimately will, triumph, that we cry out, as Moses did: “Why, my G-d, have you done evil to Your people?!”"

~Rabbi Menachem M. Schneersohn

On whether the holocaust disproves the existence of G-d:

"On the contrary--the Holocaust has decisively disproven any possible faith in a human-based morality. For was it not the very people who epitomized culture, scientific advance and philosophic morality who perpetrated the most vile atrocities known to human history? If nothing else, the Holocaust has taught us that a moral and civilized existence is possible only through belief in and submission to a Higher Power."

~Rabbi Menachem M. Schneersohn

merlynh
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since 09-26-1999
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4 posted 11-18-2004 03:50 PM       View Profile for merlynh   Email merlynh   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for merlynh

"God cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time."

The things of God are not the same things  man may reason. Though man would like to believe it is so, it is not. God created the evil and the good alike and has a purpose for all. Only man is vain enough to think he can figure out the workings of God, when all is the glory of the Father. The reasoning of man is foolishness, and wisdom is God's alone.
Huan Yi
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Waukegan


5 posted 11-18-2004 07:59 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

merlynh,


“The idea is simply too obscene for me to accept.”

Rubenstein, R. "The State of Jewish Belief" in Commentary 42, August 1966, p.134

I personally prefer the “Kingdom not of this world”
idea for explanation.

John

~DreamChild~
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6 posted 12-09-2004 12:37 PM       View Profile for ~DreamChild~   Email ~DreamChild~   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for ~DreamChild~

i find myself agreeing with mer on this one...
Huan Yi
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since 10-12-2004
Posts 6334
Waukegan


7 posted 12-10-2004 01:04 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi



“There is absolutely no rationalistic explanation for the Holocaust except for the fact that it was a Divine decree … why it happened is above human comprehension – but it is definitely not because of punishment for sin.”

Then can the acts in fulfillment of a Devine decree
be sins?

Stephanos
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8 posted 12-16-2004 08:06 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

John,


I would say yes.  But that doesn't mean that God sins.  In the Old Testament, God used other nations (less righteous in many ways) than Israel to punish her.  Then those very nations were judged for their cruelty.  Why?  Because of their heart motives.  They did not judge or execute what they did out of any righteous judgement of their own.  They did so for their own personal gain and greed.  And remember God's judgements can be seen as active or as passive.  Passive, in the sense that sin and unrighteousness will often take us far from his protective blessing.  And God shouldn't be blamed for the troubles we cause ourselves ... nor for the evil actions of others, who do not actively seek to do his will.  


Now am I saying that the Holocaust was because of Jewish sins?  How could I know that?  Jesus seemed to warn against that whole mode of thinking in the following exhange:


"There were some present at that season who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.  And Jesus answered and said to them:  "Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things?  I tell you, no.  but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.  Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem?  I tell you, no.  but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.'"  (Luke 13:1-5)  


Stephen.
Huan Yi
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since 10-12-2004
Posts 6334
Waukegan


9 posted 12-16-2004 08:46 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


Stephen,

So the Nazi’s were sinning in fulfilling God’s
divine decree, ie bringing about God’s command;
if they had not fulfilled God’s divine decree, they
would not have been sinning, just not doing
what God wanted them to.  Is God female?

John
Denise
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10 posted 12-16-2004 08:46 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

I would say yes, too. Take Joseph and his brothers as another example. God meant what happened to Joseph for good, and to "save many people" out of the future famine, although his brothers certainly sinned in the performing of what God meant for good for Joseph and the "many people".

Pharoah is another example. He sinned by not letting the Israelites leave Egypt, but it was God who hardened Pharoah's heart so that Pharoah would be obstinate and not let them go so that God's name and power would be proclaimed throughout the earth due to the plagues and deliverance of the Jews out of Egypt, despite Pharoah.

If God is perfection, which I believe He is, and sin is missing the mark of God's perfection, man sins but God can't. Everything that God does is perfection and is motivated by His selfless love for His creation and for the fulfillment of His divine purposes for the ultimate good of His creation, despite what things may look like in the short-term. God sees the big picture, while we are decidedly near-sighted.

In the book of Romans, Paul is talking about God's hardening of hearts and withholding faith from some and giving faith to those whom He will, and the question is raised, then why does God hold them accountable if such is the case. The answer, and I'm paraphrasing here, Who are you to answer back to God? Shall the clay complain to the potter for making of it as he sees fit? Some are made as vessels of honor and some for common use.

So, to me, it's all wrapped up in the Sovereignty of God and probably something that we'll never be able to fully comprehend. But maybe we aren't suppossed to.
Huan Yi
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since 10-12-2004
Posts 6334
Waukegan


11 posted 12-16-2004 08:51 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

Denise,
  
“Pharoah is another example. He sinned by not letting the Israelites leave Egypt, but it was God who hardened Pharoah's heart so that Pharoah would be obstinate and not let them go . . .”


How was Pharoah sinning?  Who’s the judge?

John
Denise
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12 posted 12-16-2004 09:25 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Is God female...funny, John.

Actually, I don't think anyone can help but fulfill a divine decree. I don't think it is something that can be resisted. I see the sin issue as a separate issue from the divine decree issue. We sin all the time, even more than we realize, I think, and God uses the good, the bad, and the ugly and weaves it all together for the fulfillment of His purposes.

As for Pharoah, well, only God is the judge. I don't have my bible handy at the moment, but I think it's intimated, at least, that he sinned against the Israelites by his actions.

Some things we just can't fathom, things like the Holocaust. I personally don't think it was for Jewish sins, I lean more perhaps towards it being a graphic display of the depths of the depravity of man and what that depravity can produce. I also believe that God can, has, and will bring good out of it, ultimately, and that someday we'll understand it all, sort of like how we can now see that the death of Christ, although horrific while it was happening, and most at the time thought he failed in his mission as he hung dying on the cross, we can now see it as the centerpiece of God's will for the redemption of mankind.
 
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