A religious question continued ( religious thoughts)

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This is a continuation of the original question on where does evil come from. I have given the matter much thought this week and have come to a startling thought. I think that Hannibal Lector from Silence of the Lambs may have hit the nail on the head. Evil is sin in the eyes of God ---so --- when does one first start to sin ? When He Covets ! The devil coveted God's Power and thus in an instant evil was born. I often wondered why God felt that coveting warranted two commandments and now it took this question to open my eyes. You can apply coveting something to every commandment given. God works in mysterious ways ! Out of mouth of a psycopath comes the answer to a religious question--Thank You Hannibal the Cannibal.

-- Joel Rosen (Joel681@webtv.net), August 16, 2000


I would like to try and add to what Joel and others have already stated. I have been thinking on this for awhile now and have tried to figure out how to condense my thoughts enough to actually post them. I would really, really encourage anyone who ponders on these things, to purchase a little book "By Divine Design", written by Michael Pearl. One of the questions covered in this book is "Why? Why did God create Lucifer if He knew it would result in sin?" And many more along these lines. He states in his Preface: On many of these difficult questions God has chosen to remain mostly silent. When challenged, "Why have you made me (all things) thus? His response has been, "Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay?" Apparently God does not think that a clinical analysis of His motives or an apologetic defense of His actions is necessary to vindicate His Moral government; for God "giveth not account of any of his matters." Just as wise and noble men do not stoop to defend themselves before cynics and petty critics but remain "presidential," so also in the face of human criticism, God has remained Godly. Having said this, to lay the foundation for the proper understanding of our position when considering the things of God, we certainly can, and it is useful for us to ponder the nature or character of God. That we might better understand Him and serve Him. And if we start at that point, the very nature of God, it increases our understanding of things such as Satan, sin, evil, etc... We also must understand, that Gods creation is patterned after God himself. Therefore, His creation contains elements of His very being. God himself is not capable of evil or sin, but He carries with Him the knowledge of evil. He is all knowing (omniscience), he has complete and perfect knowledge. Therefore, His creation (angels & human beings) have the capacity to know good & evil exist. In the garden, God instructed Adam & Eve: "Eat of all the trees, but don't eat of the fruit of the tree in the midst of the garden." When Lucifer tempted Eve, he said "For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, KNOWING GOOD AND EVIL."(my emphasis). God himself said "Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil:......) The opposite of evil is holy. Without one, the other would not be known. God himself knew of both. But His own eternal character would not choose to act against Himself. His creation, on the other hand did and continues to choose evil. As to Satan himself, again I go back to the fact of God's nature, and how he choose to pattern all of creation after himself. The physical creation being patterned after himself, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit (triune) carries over into virtually all else. The atom, is three parts: protons, neutrons, and electrons. Time is Threefold: past, present & future. Animal, vegetable, and mineral. Three basic elements in the soil that causes a plant to grow: nitrogen, phosphorous, and potash. Three primary colors from which all other colors are derived: red, yellow and blue. The list goes on & on. But we see the pattern. If we look at all of the knowledge He has given us, I believe we see how Satan came to be. We may not know perfectly now, but I don't believe we are completly in the dark. Yes, God knew His angel, Lucifer, would seek the throne of the Most High(like Joel pointed out, he coveted). He also knew He wanted fellowship and love with His other creation (human beings, also made in His image), both created, but to different degrees or ends if you will. For mankind to even have the capacity to "choose" holiness, it must be given the knowledge of "good & evil". The first choice given to man, was obedience to God. Nothing more or less. Once that choice was made, towards disobedience, the knowledge of evil (for human beings) was realized. As nothing occurs outside the scope of God's knowledge, I must conclude Satan serves a purpose in God's eternal plan. Please keep in mind God seeks fellowship with His creation, not merely robots preprogrammed to obey. Those that overcome Satan, sin, a fallen world and all the rest, are in a way being refined for eternity. We must recognize, as followers of Christ, that this earthly kingdom is for but a moment, a moral training ground of sorts. Even the angels were clearly given a choice, having the knowledge of good and evil in them already. Some choose holiness and obedience, many did not. To sum it up, I am trying to lay out the foundation of nature/character of God---His creation contains the "constitutional" character/nature of Himself. I am sorry if this is so long, it is hard to lay out all of the elements that must be considered to do justice to this question. Again, I would really like to suggest the book, By Divine Design. The author writes plainly and clearly on these things, and goes into depth for a better understanding or at the very least, causes one to consider, consider, consider!! The address is: The Church At Cane Creek, 1000 Pearl Road, Pleasantville, TN 37033. The cost of the book is only $4.00. They do not recieve a royality, it is a ministry. The postage for orders of 0.01 - 10.00 is $2.00. The bible tells us "But the natural man recieveth not the things of the Sprit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned". I am thinking of the original thread, and someone stating it is all nonsense, or something to that effect. It is perfectly reasonable that you would think so, but for some of us, our faith and His word sustain us, even when faced with the hard questions. God Bless! Wendy

-- Wendy@GraceAcres (wjl7@hotmail.com), August 17, 2000.

Try to explain this qiestion without the voo-doo, invisible actors, devine pretense, biblical myth or movie dialog.

-- Hendo (redgate@echoweb.net), August 17, 2000.

OK Hendo, you asked. Here it is. We are all born 100% id. We are less intelligent and far more helpless than many animals. As we begin to learn, selfishness quickly takes over. Babies are concerned only with having their own needs met. You could consider that to be coveting, but it's a stretch. The point is, we are all born with unsavory character flaws. I wouldn't go so far as to say evil, but then I don't acknowledge any higher powers, the devil, or any of the other voo-doo Hendo spoke of. Now... in order to function in society, we must learn that others have needs and feelings too. We must cast off much of the selfishness of our youth. Many have trouble denying the old selfish man, and they look for an excuse. Religion is a good crutch. "I'm not resposible for this awful thing I did. That devil who invented evil is the cause. Moreover, my god is going to forgive me of it, and I will be absolved of all responsibility." Give me a break. We are each the source of our own evils. No god, no devil, no demons, no other bizarre unseen forces. Let's all take responsibility for our actions.

-- Jim (catchthesun@yahoo.com), August 17, 2000.

To Wendy: WOW! If you are not "of the cloth", you should be. Beautiful post.

To Hendo: Okay, let's try it without the smoke and mirrors. Evil to me is selfishness taken to the highest degree. It is gratification of the self with total disregard for the rights and needs of the group. Humans are social animals. If you act completely alone for you own benefit and affect no one else, are you commiting acts of evil? Not necessarily. When your actions negatively affect the group, or another individual, the degree of negativity will determine the label it receives. The word "evil" is generally reserved for horrendous acts and is designed to spotlight the "evil doer" as one to be corrected, shunned, attacked or eliminated by imprisonment, execution or banishment. The word also carries with it an implied reference to a "higher authority" who goes by any one of dozens of names from the major religions of the world. Your canine companion doesn't understand the word "evil", but may respond to "Bad Dog. BAD!"


-- Craig Miller (CMiller@ssd.com), August 17, 2000.

Why would anyone explain a question concerning Satan without the very source (the bible) that contends he exists? If not for the bible, it would not be known that he does exsist! As to voodoo, etc.. I refer you to the scripture in my above post. Let it be foolishness unto you, but to suggest we consider the things of God, without using the tool He has given us to do so, is foolishness. I much prefer to go to the author of creation to know Him and His ways. I will take my chances with eternity based on His word.....I like the odds. God Bless! Wendy

-- Wendy@GraceAcres (wjl7@hotmail.com), August 17, 2000.

Oh, the intolerance of the "tolerant" never ceases to amaze me. If folks wish to discuss religion and clearly indicate what the subject is, why try to disrupt? What is the point?

To win souls?? For whom?

To degrade or disprove a belief system? For what purpose?

To save folks from religion? OK, and save them into what?

To prove yourself an intellectual above such drival? So who cares?

Hendo, Anne and Irene, if you dislike the discussion/ideals so much, why bother to join it? What are your true motivations? I don't really care to join the discussion, but your badgering makes me wonder what you believe motivates your disruptions. No one asked you to read the posts, they even warned you what its contents would be. I'm just curious.

What causes you to click on a religious discussion when you obviously feel disgust, disbelief, or superiority to such beliefs? I'm not trying to attack you, I just don't understand the paradox of your actions. I know why Christians will enter into a discussion of satanism or atheism, they are following orders from headquarters and really don't buy into the philosophy of tolerance...but why do you attack religious discussions when you stress/desire tolerance and 'live and let live' in your belief systems. Whose orders are you following?

-- JimR (jroberts1@cas.org), August 17, 2000.

Wendy, that was certainly inspired and thank you so much for sharing!

Jim, I think we know whose lead they are following. Nice response. Maybe they are drawn to look by two things, an unfulfilled desire for the truth and a criminals need to return to the scene of the crime. The crime starting with the coveting of knowledge and power and evoling into all out rebellion. Just a thought.

Joel, I came to the same conclusion a few years back. However your insight was more complete than mine. I saw it as stealing. Taking what isn't yours to take. It goes through everything and it all points back to self glorification. Thanks for the insight!

-- Doreen (liberty546@hotmail.com), August 17, 2000.

Here we go again! Wendy, you say "When Lucifer tempted Eve---" I don't recall that it was Lucifer that tempted Eve, but rather the serpent, later identified as Satan.

In a follow-up post, I assume to Hendo, you say "Why would anyone explain a question concerning Satan without the very source (the bible) that contends he exists? If not for the bible, it would not be known that he does exsist" I don't need the bible to tell me that evil exists nor does Hendo or a lot of other people I suspect. So give us heathens some credit OK?

The bible is a mixture of alot of things. Some history and some myth. Before you start flinging cyber-stones and bible verses at me I'd like to say that merely because I say the bible has alot of myth in it doesn't take anything away from the value and inherrent truth of the myth. Myths are created from archtypal things and as such they have deep, universal truths buried within them, but not necessarily literal truths. In that sense they're like a parable. They can reflect age old behaviorial patterns, thought patterns or emotional patterns or spiritual truths.

There are alot of ways these things can be looked at and each one will yield a different perspective of the same truth. If we try to identify the archtypal things we're discussing as archtypal things, rather than a literal interpretation, it seems likely to yield a broader view of the truth.

An example: God is Love---Satan is the fear of love. Each, God and Satan, are representations of archtypal things. We all know that Love is and we all know fear is. Some would argue against the existance of God and others would argue against the existance of Satan but few would argue against the existance of Love or fear.

-- john leake (natlivent@pcpros.net), August 17, 2000.

Wendy, very well said, you certainly have a gift.

-- Cindy (atilrthehony_1@yahoo.com), August 17, 2000.

Hi John, you are correct I should have said, "When the serpent tempted Eve", the serpent being identified later as Lucifer." Is that better"? A rather obtuse point, I think, the substance remianing the same. As to the second point regarding the bible providing the information as to the exsistence of Satan, I point you back to the original post Trigger wrote. Her question referred to the "seed" of evil in regards to Satan. Not simply that evil exists, rather Satan being a created being, represents the essence of evil. If that is indeed the case, the question of Satan being the embodiment of evil is a different question than the fact that evil exists. And for us to know of Satan, I maintain we do indeed need the Bible. We may be innnately aware of evil, now, as Eve choose to disobey God and eat of the tree of the knowledge of Good & Evil. As to your third point on the Bible, again I refer you to the scripture above. I would add to the rest of your point the following scripture, But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servent of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. This is said is love and prayer. It speaks to the post from JimR above. He is correct when he says he understands why christians would have these discussions.... and that is the point. I do not wish to strive with the "natural man", but instead seek to better understand the things of God, with my brothers and sisters in Christ. It would be an effort in futility to "argue" these points with anyone not covered by the blood of Jesus. Indeed, a sin even to argue such things. On the other hand to offer salvation unto God and the good news of the saving sacrifice Jesus Christ made on the cross, is what we are called to do. I implore you to turn your heart & mind to knowing and receiving Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. Apply your considerable God given wisdom to the freely given gift of salvation, that eternity might be spent in His presence. God Bless! Wendy

-- Wendy@GraceAcres (wjl7@hotmail.com), August 17, 2000.

The Bible is necessary, even to those who refuse to believe in it. If the only standard of behavior we have comes from within us, we have no standard, because our ideas of right and wrong can change drastically if we have no outside objective basis for them. The Bible is our outside objective basis, that never changes. You don't have to believe in God to understand that.

-- Kathleen Sanderson (stonycft@worldpath.net), August 17, 2000.

Wendy: While I understand, I think, what you are saying and Jims questioning of Hendos and others motivations in challenging beliefs and conclusions drawn by them, I think it could be genuinely instructive for those of us who may not call ourselves "Christians" to make your arguments based on your human understanding, based on your experience etc. rather than on one scripture supporting another. To many that would have more relevance to their lives. BTW, there was no slight intended there.

I would also ask that when you're quoting scripture in your posts to please put it in quotes at least. It will help to make your posts more clear.

As to "he understands why christians would have these discussions...." so do I, but it would still be instructive to make an attempt to be more inclusive in the discussions because you are discussing existential issues that are relevant to us all, tho you may not recognize it as such. Thank you.

-- john leake (natlivent@pcpros.net), August 17, 2000.

Thank You, John. Please do not misunderstand. Rather than trying to exclude "those that do not call themselves Christians" - I am appealing to them to acknowledge that while they themselves do not accept the "voodoo, fabels & myths" contained in the bible, for those of us that do, that is the foundation on which "christians" operate on. Everything flows outward from that basis. I, nor has anyone else, insisted you MUST accept the bible. Indeed many of us have acknowledged our understanding that to many this is nonsense. But this question did not begin as a philisopical debate, it was a very pointed questions as to a perfect & holy God, creating an angel, Lucifer, capable of sin. That IS a question pertaing to the God of the Bible. It follows that, that alone would narrow our ability to be "inclusive". If we all jumped in on another topic, and began insisting you accept scripture, then your point would be valid. But to imply we should use our human ability only, when discussing the things of God, does not make sense to me. I am sorry I forgot to put quotation marks on the scripture reference, I was in a hurry and blundered. I apologize, it does make it difficult to read. God Bless! Wendy

-- Wendy@GraceAcres (wjl7@hotmail.com), August 17, 2000.

Wendy: You're correct. It was a question specifically related to the bible. I apologize.

Doreen: You said "Jim, I think we know whose lead they are following" Thats a cheap shot. It assumes alot of things that may not be correct.

-- john leake (natlivent@pcpros.net), August 17, 2000.

I think its useful to start at infancy and move up from there. Imagine how an infant views the world. only smells, instincts, sounds, images,colors. No names to any of it. No story, no ego, no right or wrong, no good or evil, just direct expierience. A newborn can't even think! You need language for that. Then parents go to work teaching programing conditioning Etc. Some experts believe a child is completely programed into society by the age of 4 or so. The die is cast. Some think until a person knows he is a product of conditioning he is incapable of making a responsible choice. Anything that happens they just blame everyone else! When you know what happened to you then you can start to be responsible. Just maybe unconscious is true evil......Kirk.....

-- Kirk Davis (kirkay@yahoo.com), August 18, 2000.

John, I am sorry that you feel it was a "cheap shot". However, when you started the thread awhile back called "Questions for Christians" (Ithink) you and anybody else on this forum who cared to read it had some of the best witnessing I have EVER seen. If you aren't touched by that enough to question your presumptions, then you join in on another one with a definitive subject line and become a bit contentious, you are not seeking anything but argument. I say that because, aside from bringing up some valid points about describing spiritual things in a manner in which someone who is not a Christian might be able to garner something from, you go on to proffer the same lie as previously...ie.

"There are alot of ways these things can be looked at and each one will yield a different perspective of the same truth.

"If we try to identify the archtypal things we're discussing as archtypal things, rather than a literal interpretation, it seems likely to yield a broader view of the truth."

John, there is only ONE truth and that is that Jesus was God, came here and was killed by us (gentiles represented by Pontius Pilate and Jews by the mob) to take away ALL of our sins if we would only ACCEPT the TRUTH. No broader in it. Sorry, but I cannot back down on this, because that would be cheapening the sacrifice that Christ made for me and I will not do that.

You are still being prayed for by at least 10 people that I know.

-- Doreen (liberty546@hotmail.com), August 18, 2000.

Doreen: I apologized to Wendy because she and you are correct---it was a specific bible related question.

As to my just liking to argue---maybe, maybe not. For those whose only source of truth is the bible, perhaps my comments were out of line.

However the thread also is concerned with Good and Evil which is a subject matter we all have thoughts on.

As to your "I say that because, aside from bringing up some valid points about describing spiritual things in a manner in which someone who is not a Christian might be able to garner something from, you go on to proffer the same lie as previously...ie. ""There are alot of ways these things can be looked at and each one will yield a different perspective of the same truth.

"If we try to identify the archtypal things we're discussing as archtypal things, rather than a literal interpretation, it seems likely to yield a broader view of the truth."

How you can call that a lie is completely beyond my comprehension. All you have to do open your eyes to the world around you and its as self evident as the nose on your face. Even amongst sincere, devout Christians, reading from the same bible, they will often get a different meaning from it. Thats where all the different Christian denominations come from. Its all in the interpretation, what you get out of it.

To deny and betray that obvious fact and truth and in the next breath claim to be a truth yielding/seeking Christian is the height of spiritual arrogance, foolishness, and hypocrisy.

BTW Kirk. I think you nailed it. Excellent post. Thank you!

-- john leake (natlivent@pcpros.net), August 18, 2000.

John, I don't have my bible here right now so I won't put this in quotations, in the New Testament it says it is pointless to discuss spiritual things with natural man as he will have no understanding of it.

Thank you for calling me a hypocrit, thank you for calling me arrogant, and thank you for calling me foolish! I count all of that as a blessing!

-- Doreen (liberty546@hotmail.com), August 18, 2000.

Doreen: You're welcome. You earned it.

-- john leake (natlivent@pcpros.net), August 18, 2000.

There is no God. Religon is just man's way of using a God to manipulate man!

-- Who Cares (randy40@yahoo.com), August 19, 2000.

Since when does man need God to manipulate their fellow man? Religion was just perverted and twisted into yet another tool to do the job; that is why man needs God. God didn't create religion, man did...don't blame God.

John Leake you notice I didn't list your name as one of the "matags". Honest inquirey and debate is welcome and heatlthy. Flaming and badgering isn't.

-- JimR (jroberts1@cas.org), August 21, 2000.

>>There is no God. Religon is just man's way of using a God to >>manipulate man!

Wow, that must be hard to live with! Do you realize what your saying? You are saying you are just the product of some big cosmic happenstance! Throw the dice and over a million billion years a gob of gook turns into you. The only purpose you have in life is to please your self right now, drink and be merry for tomorrow you die! <>< What a terrible way to live, imagine for a moment that you really believed that you were born for a specific purpose, you were born for a grand reason! Imagine how the focus of your life is changed if you have a purpose to live your life to glorify God your Savior, to worship and love Him above all else. Suddenly, life takes on a new and grand purpose! And everything else in life is secondary and God takes care of it all!

Todd O. <>< IA

-- (Tosborn@cccglobal.com), August 21, 2000.

What's a "matag"? (Did I miss reading it?) And in defense of John Leake, he has been posting here for a long time and has always been decent and wouldn't flame or badger anyone that I can think of. I believe he and Doreen have had several "conversations" on other religious threads, and it gets a bit hot sometimes. Both of these folk have their own strong opinions and can take what they dish out. I wouldn't worry about anything escalating beyond strong opinion!

-- sheepish (rborgo@gte.net), August 21, 2000.

Comment to the infancy theroy of Kirk's.

I've never seen a infant that didn't throw a temper tantrum when it didn't get its bottle or have its diaper changed or the bottle was too warm or too cool or anything that didn't suit the infant...we are born with the selfish desire to survive at all costs...the survival instinct isn't learned from anyone. Survival is a basic human instinct that grows and evolves into coveting and if it isn't controlled, coveting hones itself into "attain at any cost" and the need for power to possess. That is why the Bible confronts coveting and the results of coveting in its early chapters, first with Adam and Eve coveting the tree of Knowledge and immediately follows with the Cain and Able thing and the need to survive at a higher level in God's eye...in its "infancy"--early chapters--the Bible deals with the first, basic human instints...it is amazing...think hard on it.

Yes, given free rein, an infant will grow without morals...even if you don't believe the Bible is the Word of God, you must understand the secular need for it as an guide to early man to escape heathenism and chaos? No, we don't need to teach a child selfishness, envy, lawlessness...that is what they will end up becoming...didn't you ever see the Lord of the Flys? Power, power, power.

Sorry, I don't see your point as being valid at all.

-- JimR (jroberts1@cas.org), August 21, 2000.

Jim: It might surprise you to learn that I agree with you on most of the points you make about the bible however I don't think that it makes Kirks point invalid, it just takes it a step further.

I agree, survival is the first order of business for any animal, including humans, albeit an animal with a difference. That conditioning happens is undeniable. That we as humans are a primary cause of conditioning is equally undeniable and we are all a product of our past, like it or not.

The born again phenomenon is, among other things, the rebirth into the spirit of CONSCIOUSLY directed growth toward a greater unity with life---thru understanding, wisdom, knowledge and compassion, etc---at least thats the way I see/experience it. It may not be recognised as such, or called different names, but I think thats the end result.

When we assume responsibility and sovereignty under God for our actions and our being, rather than abdicating it to blind conditioning, evolution(or blind conditioning) takes a back seat to a higher spiritual law, that of E-VOLITION.

E-VOLITION as I would define it is love-under-will or the making of conscious choices rather than machine-like, unthinking, reaction to the world around us. Since I coined the term, I reserve the right to define it.

Good discussion. Thank you.

-- john leake (natlivent@pcpros.net), August 21, 2000.

BTW, Jim: Yes, I did notice. I thought it was an oversight! (said with wry humor!) but since it wasn't, thanks!

Tnx Sheepish! For those who care about this issue I was called a liar first for bringing into the discussion a valid and irrefutable(IMO) observation that Doreen must have a hard time dealing with.

I responded in kind.

-- john leake (natlivent@pcpros.net), August 21, 2000.

Ha!, Sheepish, a Maytag is a very dependable agitater both in reality and on this forum. Shoot, if John Leake gets to make up words and meanings, then I do too. ;-)) Easy, I wasn't condeming John L, I was complimenting him. Sorry, if that wasn't clear, I apologize. But I guess I don't think one's seniority on this list is an entitlement to poor behavior, tho. And I also know John has been questioning this "Christian stuff" for awhile...that's good in my mind...I started out questioning to...if you play along the river bank long enough, sooner or later you're going to slip and fall in. ;-)

John. All we can do in our rearing of children is give them examples of more than one way of doing things. If left to their own devices, they would take the easiest route to the desired end goal...usually basic animal stuff: the nastiest dog eats first; survial of the fittest; if someone gets in your way, devise a plan to get them out of your way. Conscience is developed and doesnt just come with the package...that is where the Bible, scripture, the Holy Spirit and a belief in a divine judge comes in. I've always equated the Holy spirit w/conscience, whether or not this is a Biblical truth, I'm not sure. But, I'm not a nice enough person to just do acceptable things because I was born with an innate urge to honor my parents or not covet my neighbor's tractor, etc. All I know is that I would trust a person knowing that the Holy Spirit recides within them because I know that for me to commit sin now means ignoring the nagging of my conscience and the need for quick repentance if I do choose to ignore the nagging, uncomfortable feeling...yes, the Bible does provide for this too, in I John 1:9. The only person who was born w/"conscience" was Jesus. That fact is often overlooked when comparing Jesus w/budda, et. al. We usually state the difference between the two as Jesus defeating death...which he did even when he was born...as death and sin can be considered to be one of the same in a spiritual definition. Jesus was w/o blemish. Tempted? yes. But He was born w/a conscience--Joseph and Mary, although great folks, didn't have a whole lot to do with His E-volution into the King of Kings. As a matter of fact, Jesus turned his back on the Jewish relgion in which he was reared. It was the divine seed of the Holy Spirit within him and the eventual impact of the Holy Spirit on his life that enabled him to defeat sin both in life and in death...not so much as what Joseph or Mary said or did. In reading back, I guess I don't know if my point is as clear as murky flood water or not? :)) I hope I made some sense.

I guess that will be all from me on this subject; I've got tomatoes to harvest.

-- JimR (jroberts1@cas.org), August 21, 2000.

joel, wendy, john leake, thank you all for your well thought out answers. I appreciate you all taking your time to contemplate my question. I guess the conclusion I have come to over the past couple of weeks is that I want a God in my life that is bigger than the questions that I have. I don't want a God that I can put in a box, a God that my small mind can have all the answers for. God is who He says He is, and that is enough for me. This spring, my son and his friend were in a serious car accident. My son was driving, and he was not seriously injured, but his friend was. For three days, it was touch and go. We live in a small community, and I don't there was probably one minute in those three days that there was not many, many prayers going up for this boy. At this point, did I want a God that I had put on a shelf? One that was within my limited understanding? Or did I want a God that was who He said He was, and that could move mountains, do miracles, heal the sick---just by the word of His mouth??? With all my heat, with all my mind, and with all my soul, I wante a God who could whisper in that boy's ear, "Be healed, be whole, and rise up and follow Me." I am here to tell you, that is the God who answered our prayers, and that boy is with us today. Six weeks after that car accident, he walked out of the hospital on his own, and is doing very well four months after the accident. I for one, don't have all the answers to those of you who have questions and doubts about the Bible, but I believe that if you ask with an open heart and an open mind, that God will reveal Himself to you in time. Be patient, be open, and don't be afraid of what He will show you. I don't judge or condemn anyone for having questions or doubts, and I believe that God is big enough to handle your questions. I know that I hate to be handed "canned platitudes, and pat answers" to serious questions. Nothing pisses me off more!! I also know that God has revealed Himself to me in a number of ways, and even though He confounds me many times, I cannot imagine living a life without His comfort, guidence, and the reassurance of His love. May God bless all of you, and may you seek answers with an open and willing heart and mind.

-- (trigger@mcn.net), August 23, 2000.

trigger, amen! and again I say, amen!

-- sheepish (rborgo@gte.net), August 23, 2000.

Trigger: You;re right. We can't put God in a box, but are often tempted to do so by trying to define him. Our limited understanding effectively does that however. But trying to understand and putting things into a context that is useful to us seems to be part of our nature. Its useful to be mindful of the idea that whatever we may believe may be wrong. It helps to leave us open to a greater understanding.

Whatever grand visions we may have, it amounts to the vision of a frog in a well describing the greatness of the sky. Describe infinite or eternal and the box is complete.

-- john leake (natlivent@pcpros.net), August 23, 2000.

I agree with you John. Just because our understanding is limited does not mean we should stop seeking, searching, and learning. I think that we learn about God "line upon line; precept upon precept" and will not be able to fully comprehend Him with our limited, finite minds. I do not mind having my beliefs challenged, because it is only by thoroughly examining what I believe and why so that I can filter out false teachings. We are told to "stand firm or you will not stand at all" and to do that I feel that the foundation that I stand upon needs to be as strong as is my ability to make it. I hope that makes sense!!

-- (trigger@mcn.net), August 23, 2000.

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