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Re: Why did God command people to stone, scorch, and smite sinners to death? [Re: Green Cochoa] #132154
03/29/11 02:13 AM
03/29/11 02:13 AM
Tom  Offline
Active Member 2012
14500+ Member
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 14,795
Lawrence, Kansas
Thanks to everyone for the input. I'm very busy, but will respond to things as I can.

Originally Posted By: NJK
T:No one questions (i.e., no Christians) that God doesn't have malicious intent.

NJK:Seems to me that even questioning God with “why” to a personal tragedy, even by Christians, which inherently implies, ‘is God acting unfairly towards me?’ inherently brings into issue of the question of whether or not God is acting “maliciously” i.e., “out of feeling a need to see others suffer” and/or ‘without just/due cause.’


Greg Boyd speaks of the "blueprint" perspective, or paradigm, where everything that happens is for a purpose (i.e., God is behind it). This perspective can indeed lead to the types of questions you're asking. This would be as opposed to the casualties of a war zone perspective, from what he calls the "
"Trinitarian warfare" perspective, better known by us as "the Great Controversy."

Quote:
T:To me that concept that God *ever* acts to defend His interests is contrary to agape. Agape is by its nature other-centered. God always acts in the best interest of others, regardless of the cost to Himself. This was exemplified by Christ on the cross.

NJK:Simply said, how is ordering the death of anyone, e.g., “a stubborn child” (Deut 21:18-21) in their own “best interest”?? God interest is to have a sinless universe. So His acts are ultimately towards that interest which in itself is for the best of all of His creatures. So even in allowing sinful men to live, that is to serve as a tangible GC demonstration, for those who will be redeemed, why His ways should be followed.


When God has to choose between Himself and someone else, He always choose the someone else over Himself. This is seen in the gift of Christ for man. Consider the difficult choice He made revealed in the Early Writings passage we've discussed previously. This same choice is wonderful described in the chapter "Gethsemane" in "The Desire of Ages."

Quote:
T:Satan argued, in Eden, that God had His own interests in mind in prohibiting Adam and Eve from eating of the TOTKOGAE. He said they would be as goods, the implication being that God didn't want this to happen, as that would be bad for God (and good for Adam and Eve). The temptation was predicated on the idea that God looks after His own interests, to the detriment of the interests of His creatures. The reality is that God looks after the interests of others, even His enemies, to the detriment of His own.

NJK:Well then... Satan lied.


He's still lying. He misrepresents God's character. This the secret of his power.

Quote:
T:The problem here is that if the problem is sin, and that's what needs to be demonstrated, then anything artificial that God does to cause pain/injury/death is not demonstrating that sin is the problem, but the opposite. Only by it being seen that sin is the problem can it be seen that sin is the problem. This is what the chapter "It Is Finished" (from which we have discussed the last page) is discussing throughout. It wasn't until the cross that this principle was clearly seen by the (loyal) angels (and unfallen worlds). This is when the Great Controversy was won, as far as they are concerned.

NJK:It seems to me that in the final paragraph of DA 764, the titling phrase “It is Finish” is speaking of the necessity for this GC to go on, was here finished at the cross and soon this decreed judgement would be executed.

Again my view and understanding of DA 764 is that the angels did not understand the sinfulness of Satan’s sin, and thus that it was not deserving of death.


The question addressed wasn't whether Satan was deserving of death, but that had God permitted him to die, that event would have been misunderstood, as the angels did not yet understand that death is the inevitable result of sin. This is right in the paragraph. There's no discussion in regards to deserving death.

Quote:
NJK:However I see that they fully understood this at least by the debacle in the antedelluvians needing the Flood to redress things. What they pointed came to fully understand at the Cross, i.e., 4000 years after sin, was that, and just how much, Satan actually hated Jesus and wanted Him dead. That is what was umasked and resulted in the Angels utterly rejecting him (DA 761.2)


It made clear that Satan had been lying in regards to his own purposes, and also in regards to the misrepresentations regarding God's character and the principles of His government.

Quote:
T:Indeed. And we see what the principle involved in the destruction of Jerusalem was. The wrath of God was inflicted by means of His permitting those who rejected Him to experience the result of their choice. This is the same principle at work in the judgment, as described in DA 764. We even see the same language used and the same Scriptures quoted ("Thou hast destroyed thyself.")

NJK:Still, given the undeniable sovereignty of God in all and any matter, I see that what is meant here is ‘Thou hast destroyed thyself by the means that God has ultimately allowed.’ God does not always have to directly cause destruction when there are perfectly natural means that will naturally bring about this result, still means that He has the power, if He wills, to prevent and/or defeat.


He doesn't have to ever directly cause destruction. This has been a key point I've been making. The SOP tells us that the use of force is not a principle of God's government, that it is only found in Satan's government.

I've been asserting that this principle did not exist before sin came about (I think there should be agreement on this point), and also that it was not added afterward (it is probably here that we would disagree, with perhaps you and others of your persuasion, seeing it included temporarily as an emergency method).

Quote:
NJK:It could also be argued, as you apparently already understand, that God’s acted non-violently by simply not permitting His “wisening” Spirit to influence (in this case of rebellion, “compel”) these Jews to do the right things.

Tom:Right. The use of force is contrary to the principles of His government. Compelling power is found only under the government of the enemy.

NJK:I actually understand that God can use force (i.e., a definition of “violence”) to forcefully bring about a judgement (e.g., the Flood and Sodom and Gomorrah) and not that God uses force to “compel” people.


This would be using force to compel people. If you threaten to use force to kill people if they don't do what you say, that's using force to compel them.

Quote:
So I was saying here that if God had permitted His Spirit to “strive” with these unbelieving Jews here to make them e.g., ‘see that paying their taxes was the best choice,’ he would have, given their decided rebelliousness against His will, been “compelling” them to do the right thing = His will here.


God did permit His Spirit to strive against them, but they persistently resisted His Spirit, and that's why God permitted the things to happen against them that did. They chose their will over God's will. That's how they destroyed themselves.

Quote:
If such a dilemma had been righteous, then surely God would have acted to influence a choice for good amongst such would-be sincere seekers of His will. However they were acting out of pure and callous rebelliousness.

NJK: Also, while the destruction punishment was indeed manifest in reality, it, to the issue of this discussion, was a “wrathful” pronouncement of Jesus Himself, which He surely may have been quite instrumental in allowing when the time came.

Tom: He had no choice, given the constraints of free will.

NJK:The deliberate ‘veiled teaching’ approach of Jesus (Matt 13:10-15) all directly based upon the desire for physical destruction in the OT in Isa 6:9-13 and the later “blindness in part” that occurred on Ethnic Jews (e.g., Rom 11:25) all surely greatly contributed to this final utter end. Therefore He was indeed “instrumental” in this end. He could have easily done the same thing with His disciples who in many ways ‘just didn’t get it’ until after the resurrection.


Jesus Christ did all He could to save them. In the beginning of His mission, He spoke plainly, but, because of the opposition, He changed His approach. At the end of His mission, He spoke plainly again. At all times He did all that He could to save them. He did nothing to contribute to their destruction. As He said, He came not to destroy but to save. When it was suggested that He destroy, He replied that those making the suggestion did not know what spirit they were of.

Quote:
T:In the case cited, in its actual reality, it was violent.

NJK:It could also be argued, as you apparently already understand, that God’s acted non-violently by simply not permitting His “wisening” Spirit to influence (in this case of rebellion, “compel”) these Jews to do the right things.

Tom: It's not possible to compel people to do right things, unless one has a very superficial idea as to what doing right things means.

NJK:And... didn’t God, e.g., “compel” the right thing to be done by Moses and his previously disobedient wife, when He was going to strike Moses dead if he persisted in his disobedience. (Exo 4:24-26). If God actually wanted Moses dead then, rather than actually be forced to do what was right, Moses would have died. Actual Biblical Truth is not determined by mere philosophically-based maxims but by all that is written! (2 Tim 3:16).


You're saying that actual Biblical truth is that God forced Moses to do what was right by threatening to strike him dead, right? But didn't you earlier say that God doesn't do this? (i.e. compel people to do what's right)

Quote:
T:Agreed. My point is that this episode illustrates how God always acts; it's not a special case.

NJK:I do not see how ‘one’ development can become an ‘illustration of how God always acts’.


If God acts consistently, it makes perfect sense that one development can illustrate how God always acts. The only way this wouldn't make sense is if God sometimes acts one way, and sometimes acts another.

For example, Jesus said, if someone strikes you on the cheek, to turn the other cheek. If someone asks you for your coat, give him your shirt as well. Is this how Jesus Himself acted? Did He consistently act like this, or only sometimes? If He always acted like this, then wouldn't any episode in His life demonstrating this principle be an illustration of how He always acted?

Does God act like Jesus Christ? If what Jesus Christ said was true, that when we see Him we see the Father, wouldn't this have to be the case?

Above all, the cross demonstrates how God always acts. Whether considered from the standpoint of the Father or the Son, it's an incredible demonstration of self-sacrificing love. This revelation is a revelation of God's character, of how God is in His core being. He always acts according to the description of "The Destruction of Jerusalem" (or, better yet, according to the description of the cross) because of who is He is.

Quote:
The Divinely active and direct Sodom and Gomorrah destruction (Gen 19:24, 25), indeed with God and two Angels having bodily made a trip to Earth for this is a prominent examples of how God can actively bring about the results and judgement of sin. As it will also occur with the Lake of Fire destruction of the wicked.


How did Jesus Christ teach that we should treat our enemies? Does God treat His enemies differently than what Jesus Christ taught?

Quote:
NJK: [As now updated]: A) It seems that doing, an even cursory, word study on the word “fear” in relation to God in the Bible (OT #03372a/#03374 & NT #5399) will corroborate exactly what “healthy fear” I am referring to. (E.g, OT: Gen 22:12; Job 1:1; 8, 9; 2 Chr 6:31; - NT: Matt 10:28; Heb 4:1; Rev 11:18; 14:7; 19:5, etc)

Tom: The following comes to mind: (MS 20, 1897)

NJK:In keeping with the ‘healthy fear of God’ understanding in the Bible, indeed pivotal to the final warning to be given to the world (Rev 14:7), the following ‘more to the point’ (= exegetically pertinent) passages comes to mind: Job 28:28; Psa 111:10; Pro 1:7; 9:10; 15:33; Isa 11:2; 33:6.

NJK:As your cited SOP statement, moreover, actually says nothing against having this Biblically encouraged “healthy fear of God”, I can only see your opposition to this as also being merely as ‘how you prefer things to be; how they should be’ and not what the Bible actually teaches! Needless to say, at least for me, that I personally am not persuaded by what is not Biblical, however surfacely righteous one may think they are.


If by "fear of God" you mean being afraid of God because of what He will do to you if you don't, that's precisely what the statement is addressing. Here's another one:

Quote:
It is not the fear of punishment, or the hope of everlasting reward, that leads the disciples of Christ to follow Him. They behold the Saviour's matchless love, revealed throughout His pilgrimage on earth, from the manger of Bethlehem to Calvary's cross, and the sight of Him attracts, it softens and subdues the soul. Love awakens in the heart of the beholders. They hear His voice, and they follow Him. (DA 482)


Those who wait for the Bridegroom's coming are to say to the people, "Behold your God." The last rays of merciful light, the last message of mercy to be given to the world, is a revelation of His character of love.
Re: Why did God command people to stone, scorch, and smite sinners to death? [Re: Green Cochoa] #132155
03/29/11 05:02 AM
03/29/11 05:02 AM
Tom  Offline
Active Member 2012
14500+ Member
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 14,795
Lawrence, Kansas
Originally Posted By: MM
M:I do not believe Jesus, while here in the flesh, revealed everything there is to know about "His strange act".


Then He didn't reveal all we need to know of God.

Quote:
I also believe Jesus began revealing what the Father is like in the OT before His incarnation and continued doing so while here in the flesh.


It wasn't understood.

Quote:
Jesus said, "I have many things I'd like to share with you but none of you are ready. I'll finish sharing it with you through the Holy Spirit later on."


The things He had yet to share weren't in regards to God's character. He said "it is finished," which was finishing to reveal God's character, as ST 1/20/90 states.

Quote:
What I really keep hoping is that you'll honor my request to address the two newly worded questions posted above. I realize you think you have adequately addressed them, but after all these years I still have absolutely no idea what you believe.


I've tried for years and written hundreds pages. What makes you think anything else I could write would help?

Quote:
It would do my heart and soul wonders if you were to explain your thoughts in the clearest of terms possible. "Go ahead, make my day."


I can't write any clearer than what I've written. I can refer to writings on line that explain these things in ways very similar to what I think. Or send something to you. I'd be happy to do so.


Those who wait for the Bridegroom's coming are to say to the people, "Behold your God." The last rays of merciful light, the last message of mercy to be given to the world, is a revelation of His character of love.
Re: Why did God command people to stone, scorch, and smite sinners to death? [Re: Tom] #132156
03/29/11 05:16 AM
03/29/11 05:16 AM
NJK Project  Offline
Banned Member
Dedicated Member
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,098
Laval, Quebec
Quote:
NJK:Seems to me that even questioning God with “why” to a personal tragedy, even by Christians, which inherently implies, ‘is God acting unfairly towards me?’ inherently brings into issue of the question of whether or not God is acting “maliciously” i.e., “out of feeling a need to see others suffer” and/or ‘without just/due cause.’

Tom: Greg Boyd speaks of the "blueprint" perspective, or paradigm, where everything that happens is for a purpose (i.e., God is behind it). This perspective can indeed lead to the types of questions you're asking. This would be as opposed to the casualties of a war zone perspective, from what he calls the "
"Trinitarian warfare" perspective, better known by us as "the Great Controversy."


Everything that happens is indeed for a purpose that we will come to be aware of during especially the ‘Millennium books reviews’, however that does not stop many people now to ask these “why” and ‘Divine-demeanor/intent’ questions. Job candidly and sincerely clearly asked them eventhough he never gave up faith in God (e.g., Job 19), as did others in the Bible, and that is because God does punish the wrongs of even His people. So when no personal wrong is known, one, even the Believer, usually, almost knee-jerkedly, asks such Divine Character probing questions. It really takes an achieved stoic character to, effectively, emotionlessly (or at least unnaturally, emotions wise) accept whatever happens to you without such questions, however not only do I not see this in the Bible, e.g., Psa 94, but I do not believe that God expects this of even Believers. Refusing to obey God or opposing Him and His cause because of such assumed wrongdoings on His part is another thing, but sincerely questioning them is quite normal.

Quote:
NJK:Simply said, how is ordering the death of anyone, e.g., “a stubborn child” (Deut 21:18-21) in their own “best interest”?? God interest is to have a sinless universe. So His acts are ultimately towards that interest which in itself is for the best of all of His creatures. So even in allowing sinful men to live, that is to serve as a tangible GC demonstration, for those who will be redeemed, why His ways should be followed.

Tom:When God has to choose between Himself and someone else, He always choose the someone else over Himself. This is seen in the gift of Christ for man. Consider the difficult choice He made revealed in the Early Writings passage we've discussed previously. This same choice is wonderful described in the chapter "Gethsemane" in "The Desire of Ages."


Seems to me that this scenario skirts the actual issue at hand here by narrowing it down here, though actually “spuriously”, to: ‘God Himself vs. others (directly)’. Is not God’s Will just as much a part of God as He Himself is?? Then my question above still remains. I.e., e.g., when God says for, or directly, causes the death of an individual or a group of people, is He not choosing between Himself = His Will vs. that person and their will. Indeed, in the GC context, the two are inseperable, just like a soldier in a [u[war[/u] is bound by laws of war to no kill defenseless civilians but will self-defensively seek to “neutralize” as the need is, a uniformed combatant, indeed even just because he is in that enemy uniform. In the GC war both God and sinning men are in their respective uniforms on this battlefield and thus the two (the individual and the uniform) become ideologically inseparable and share in the same warring fate.

Quote:
NJK:Well then... Satan lied.

Tom: He's still lying. He misrepresents God's character. This the secret of his power.


That should go without saying, doesn’t it?!... My point was that God indeed did not want Adam and Eve to know good and, that was actually a truth. The lie was that it was not for the reasons that Satan appendedly claimed.

Quote:
NJK: Again my view and understanding of DA 764 is that the angels did not understand the sinfulness of Satan’s sin, and thus that it was not deserving of death.

Tom: The question addressed wasn't whether Satan was deserving of death, but that had God permitted him to die, that event would have been misunderstood, as the angels did not yet understand that death is the inevitable result of sin. This is right in the paragraph. There's no discussion in regards to deserving death.


The angels did not see that Satan “sin” was “sinful”, i.e., deserving to be put to death just for having decided not to continue to obey God’s law. If Satan then had been immediately destroyed, the Angel surely would have known that it was because of that act of rebellion which God would have surely stated was “sin”, if they did not already know that definition themselves. What they would not have understood was “why”, i.e., why did Satan have to be destroyed for that “new “lawless” way that he was proposing. It was then to be shown in the GC how Satan’s way was indeed deserving of death as it was not a better way, but one that would lead to suffering and death. That was seen long before the cross, e.g., by the Flood.

What was “finished” at the Cross was literally the opposing arguments in this GC and not a long ago demonstrated knowledge that sin is deserving of death. Indeed had God not barred access to the tree of Life, sinners would not even have died, but lived a perpetual life of sin. So it was even not to prove/show that ‘the inevitable result of sin is death’ that the GC was permitted to go on, or else one can easily make this Tree of Life removal objection. It was to show how wrong the course of Satan was that it was indeed deserving of being eradicated along with anyone who wanted to adhere to it.

Originally Posted By: Tom
It made clear that Satan had been lying in regards to his own purposes, and also in regards to the misrepresentations regarding God's character and the principles of His government.


As DA 761.2 states, in seeing the root of Satan’s controversy: i.e., out of jealousy of Christ and not out of consciousness for the freedom of God’s created beings, the Angels finally came to see and understand Satan’s real, even hopeless purposes here and probably felt quite duped for having given him a partial benefit of the doubt, even being ‘sympathetic’ to his cause. However the knowledge that sin and sinners were deserving of death was long ago settled. Yet this complete “umasking” of Satan could only be tangibly proven by what God had allowed to happen at the Cross, and there indeed, Satan proceeded to completely expose and betray himself.

Originally Posted By: Tom
He doesn't have to ever directly cause destruction. This has been a key point I've been making. The SOP tells us that the use of force is not a principle of God's government, that it is only found in Satan's government.


How then did Sodom and Gomorrah and surrounding cities “naturally” get destroyed? The inhabitants ignored the customary “brimstone and fire” precipitation??? (Gen 19:14b, 24, 25). Same with the Flood, or the Egyptians in the Red Sea. I can name a plethora of Biblical examples along this “non-natural” lines.

Originally Posted By: Tom
I've been asserting that this principle did not exist before sin came about (I think there should be agreement on this point),


Indeed it was not as there was nothing to so “forcefully” oppose, if not destroy, in God’s universe.

Originally Posted By: Tom
and also that it was not added afterward (it is probably here that we would disagree, with you and others of your persuasion, seeing it included temporarily as an emergency method).


Indeed I disagree for from the time that God “organized” a war fo “strength” (Rev 12:8b) (and not merely for expulsion Rev 12:8b, 9) in Heaven so that the winner would indeed “take all”, God has had, and occasionally does, make use of force in this GC.

Quote:
NJK:I actually understand that God can use force (i.e., a definition of “violence”) to forcefully bring about a judgement (e.g., the Flood and Sodom and Gomorrah) and not that God uses force to “compel” people.

Tom: This would be using force to compel people. If you threaten to use force to kill people if they don't do what you say, that's using force to compel them.


Making use of force to effectuate a judgement is not at all “using force to compel people” nor ‘threatening to use force to kill people if they don't do what you say’.

All I said that God used force to bring about these non natural calamities. Case in Point:

The Flood:

Originally Posted By: SOP PP
Then "the fountains of the great deep" were "broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened." Water appeared to come from the clouds in mighty cataracts. Rivers broke away from their boundaries, and overflowed the valleys. Jets of water burst from the earth with indescribable force, throwing massive rocks hundreds of feet into the air, and these, in falling, buried themselves deep in the ground. {PP 99.1}


Sodom and Gomorrah:

Originally Posted By: SOP PP 162.2-3
Suddenly and unexpectedly as would be a thunder peal from an unclouded sky, the tempest broke. The Lord rained brimstone and fire out of heaven upon the cities and the fruitful plain; its palaces and temples, costly dwellings, gardens and vineyards, and the gay, pleasure-seeking throngs that only the night before had insulted the messengers of heaven--all were consumed. The smoke of the conflagration went up like the smoke of a great furnace. And the fair vale of Siddim became a desolation, a place never to be built up or inhabited--a witness to all generations of the certainty of God's judgments upon transgression. {PP 162.2}
The flames that consumed the cities of the plain shed their warning light down even to our time. We are taught the fearful and solemn lesson that while God's mercy bears long with the transgressor, there is a limit beyond which men may not go on in sin. When that limit is reached, then the offers of mercy are withdrawn, and the ministration of judgment begins. {PP 162.3}


That all sound to me like “force”, even violent force to achieve this level of destruction.

Quote:
NJK: So I was saying here that if God had permitted His Spirit to “strive” with these unbelieving Jews here to make them e.g., ‘see that paying their taxes was the best choice,’ he would have, given their decided rebelliousness against His will, been “compelling” them to do the right thing = His will here.

Tom: God did permit His Spirit to strive against them, but they persistently resisted His Spirit, and that's why God permitted the things to happen against them that did. They chose their will over God's will. That's how they destroyed themselves.


What I meant here was ‘Striving with them to the end’. Of course at a point they had silenced the voice of the Holy Spirit and God did not act against this resolute will.

Quote:
NJK:The deliberate ‘veiled teaching’ approach of Jesus (Matt 13:10-15) all directly based upon the desire for physical destruction in the OT in Isa 6:9-13 and the later “blindness in part” that occurred on Ethnic Jews (e.g., Rom 11:25) all surely greatly contributed to this final utter end. Therefore He was indeed “instrumental” in this end. He could have easily done the same thing with His disciples who in many ways ‘just didn’t get it’ until after the resurrection.

Tom: Jesus Christ did all He could to save them. In the beginning of His mission, He spoke plainly, but, because of the opposition, He changed His approach. At the end of His mission, He spoke plainly again. At all times He did all that He could to save them. He did nothing to contribute to their destruction.


How is “doing all He could” not inclusive of such a large portion of His ministry, indeed this middle part. The disciple who heard these parables did not even understand many of them, if any, unless Christ explained it to them. Jesus, as indeed directed in Isa 6:9-13, was working to hardened these inceptively rebellious Jews in their unbelief. Then at the end, His clearer pronouncements, which were actually, as I see it, His judgement pronouncements in Matt 23, just fell on this already completely hardened soil, and thus brought forth no fruit in most.

Originally Posted By: Tom
As He said, He came not to destroy but to save. When it was suggested that He destroy, He replied that those making the suggestion did not know what spirit they were of.


Such statements were pointedly made in regards to outsiders such as these Samaritans. However the Jews were not as in the dark as these people. Which is why Jesus spoke to these Jews veiledly for the most, and crucial portion of His Ministry. (Cf. DA 582-586). It actively was by God no longer blessing the Jewish nation that they had come to be destroyed. Their unbelief had caused this withholding of God which tangibly effectuated this destruction.

Originally Posted By: Tom
You're saying that actual Biblical truth is that God forced Moses to do what was right by threatening to strike him dead, right? But didn't you earlier say that God doesn't do this? (i.e. compel people to do what's right)


Fair enough in surface part. So I’ll defer to the SOP here which states that the sent Angel, though making it unequivocally clear that Moses was going to be killed, said absolutely nothing, but Moses was left to recall/figure out why this threatened destruction was being made.

Full SOP statement:

Originally Posted By: SOP
On the way from Midian, Moses received a startling and terrible warning of the Lord's displeasure. An angel appeared to him in a threatening manner, as if he would immediately destroy him. No explanation was given; but Moses remembered that he had disregarded one of God's requirements; yielding to the persuasion of his wife, he had neglected to perform the rite of circumcision upon their youngest son. He had failed to comply with the condition by which his child could be entitled to the blessings of God's covenant with Israel; and such a neglect on the part of their chosen leader could not but lessen the force of the divine precepts upon the people. Zipporah, fearing that her husband would be slain, performed the rite herself, and the angel then permitted Moses to pursue his journey. In his mission to Pharaoh, Moses was to be placed in a position of great peril; his life could be preserved only through the protection of holy angels. But while living in neglect of a known duty, he would not be secure; for he could not be shielded by the angels of God. {PP 255.5}


So indeed on this Great and Spiritual Mission, Moses was surely a dead man if he did not adhere to God’s requirements and God here made this clear.

Quote:
T:Agreed. My point is that this episode illustrates how God always acts; it's not a special case.

NJK:I do not see how ‘one’ development can become an ‘illustration of how God always acts’.

Tom: If God acts consistently, it makes perfect sense that one development can illustrate how God always acts. The only way this wouldn't make sense is if God sometimes acts one way, and sometimes acts another.


That is not the way that I engage in exegesis. When two seemingly opposite developments manifest themselves and upon deeper exegesis reveal to indeed be exactly as rendered, then I longer see an either/or choice here, but a both/and. So you may want to only consider instances where you think that God did nothing to force a judgement, I, including all pertinent episodes, as in this issue, see that God can and does use both natural and forced developments to effectuate judgements. I therefore build my Theology on that comprehensively harmonized conclusion rather than only a preferred single side of episodes. Again that is the only way of doing Biblical exegesis vs. the opposite which is actually eisegesis.

Originally Posted By: Tom
For example, Jesus said, if someone strikes you on the cheek, to turn the other cheek. If someone asks you for your coat, give him your shirt as well. Is this how Jesus Himself acted? Did He consistently act like this, or only sometimes? If He always acted like this, then wouldn't any episode in His life demonstrating this principle be an illustration of how He always acted?


Notice that despite this, Jesus does not instruct us to be pushovers, but to also demand, as much as possible, fairness, even justice, to the end. So when going to the Garden of Gethsemane, he instructed his disciples to take their swords (Luke 22:35-39). He even twice demonstrated that He could terrace that arresting mob if he wanted to. When He was struck in the Judgement hall, He demand to know exactly why.

Interestingly enough, the counsels of Christ that you cited (Matt 5:39) above were made for ‘when dealing with an “evil” person. I.e., it would be almost suicidal to resist such an evil person. As people are similarly told today, when someone is robbing you, do not put up a fight. Turning the other = engaging in a confrontational fight vs. self-defensive acts.

Originally Posted By: Tom
Does God act like Jesus Christ? If what Jesus Christ said was true, that when we see Him we see the Father, wouldn't this have to be the case?


I’ll further add that all that was done in the OT was tangibly done through Michael/Christ. E.G. the Heavenly visitor who came to down to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah was the incarnate Michael/Christ. And so I do not have a dichotomy between what was done by God in the OT vs. what was done in the NT. So they are all contributive to this theological understanding here to me and not, effectively, “mutually exclusive”.

Originally Posted By: Tom
Above all, the cross demonstrates how God always acts. Whether considered from the standpoint of the Father or the Son, it's an incredible demonstration of self-sacrificing love. This revelation is a revelation of God's character, of how God is in His core being. He always acts according to the description of "The Destruction of Jerusalem" (or, better yet, according to the description of the cross) because of who is He is.


The self-sacrifice that was demonstrated at the Cross was mainly because there was, at least potentially, one person that could/would saved by it. So that ‘giving of His “life” (psyche) for his friend, even a single person, was indeed solely for that reason. However in the Destruction of Jerusalem 40 years of delay and thorough preaching had demonstrated no such redemptive potential. Indeed all those who would be redeemed had already long fled the city back in ca. 67 A.D. So no self-sacrifice and forbearance was demonstrated here instead but the complete removal of God’s Spirit, leaving man, on both sides, to follow their own passions resulting in that utter physical destruction and slaughter of life. Had a similar complete mercilessness been expressed on the Cross, Jesus would, at the very least, struck all of His enemies dead, while still dying for the relatively faithful/believing others.

Originally Posted By: Tom
How did Jesus Christ teach that we should treat our enemies? Does God treat His enemies differently than what Jesus Christ taught?


‘Do good to them until it no longer is worthwhile because of their recalcitrance.’ (E.g., Matt 10:13-16; 11:20-27; 18:15-18). Again here, a teaching/theological understanding is not to be built around a single verse, and that to the exclusion of all of the other applicable ones.

Originally Posted By: Tom
If by "fear of God" you mean being afraid of God because of what He will do to you if you don't, that's precisely what the statement is addressing.


In one part the word “fear” in both the OT and NT only mean “being (variously) afraid of ...”. It also further seems to me that this fear (even if of what God can do in punishment e.g., Matt 10:28) is indeed the beginning of this walk towards God that naturally soon will transform itself into love as God then begins to enter into a relationship with this “approached fearful” person. That is a “fear” that most people in the world do not even have and thus they persist in sin and rebellion. So fear is only a beginning here and indeed that is the most logical thing to expect when dealing with a God that most have not personally seen, because a claim of ‘inceptive love’ here in such an effective case of ‘blind dating’, prior to that meeting on that first date, would at best be hypocrisy. The truth inceptively drawing emotion here is “fear” and then (relational) “love”.

Originally Posted By: SOP
A proper fear of God, in believing His threatenings, works the peaceable fruits of righteousness, by causing the trembling soul to flee to Jesus. Many ought to have this spirit today, and turn to the Lord with humble contrition, for the Lord has not given so many terrible threatenings, pronounced so severe judgments in His Word, simply to have them recorded, but He means what He says. One says, "Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy law," Paul says, "Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men" (RH Oct. 21, 1890). {6BC 1100.8}


Again, as repeatedly confirmed in my Biblical/Theological studies, the God I have more fully/accurately come to know, and indeed love, and deeper at that, -because of that fact, is Real; and that in every single aspect of His Person, His Governance and His Creation and all that He as revealed in His Word and the SOP resolutely point to that fact. That is why trying to fit God into a Theological box rather than letting that “realness” speak for itself actually impedes that Great “Loving” Revelation of Him. As in any relationship, one prefers to be dealing with someone who is “real” rather than someone who is illogically/unaturally “artificial”.


“Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.” Matt 25:45 NJK Project
Re: Why did God command people to stone, scorch, and smite sinners to death? [Re: Green Cochoa] #132157
03/29/11 11:09 AM
03/29/11 11:09 AM
Tom  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 14,795
Lawrence, Kansas
Originally Posted By: NJK
T:You're disagreeing with the following?

I believe our job as Christians is to argue the reverse, that Satan/sin is responsible for all the evil in the world, and not God.

NJK:Actually yes. As God can and has prevented evil, e.g., to safeguard Israel, He therefore is fully responsible for its occurrence, indeed simply by removing this protection, choosing not to have mercy.


God could only prevent evil by restricting free will. Satan is the author of sin and all its results. Satan is responsible for evil, not God.

Quote:
So I do not see this as “the argument of the enemy” per se, but rather just his cover, and that by calculatedly to this end, having chosen to remain in the shadows while letting, the already manifested and more prominent God, wholly take the blame.


I'm not understanding your point here. My point is that Satan is responsible for evil, not God, and that Satan's argument is that God is responsible. It sounds like you're saying that God is responsible for evil, and that it is not Satan's argument that God is responsible for evil. Well, if God is responsible for evil, then since Satan is a liar, one would expect Satan to argue the reverse, that God isn't responsible for evil.

Quote:
Again, Satan’s GC position is that man can live independently of God and if the Tree of Life had not been removed, as I understand it, such ‘sinful perpetual life, despite knowing good and evil, and indeed practising evil, would have been possible (Gen 3:22-24).


I agree this is an argument of Satan's. In reality, man cannot live independently of God, and even if the the Tree of Life had not been removed, man could not have lived forever independently of God.

Quote:
So Satan’s posturing here is to make God responsible for the adverse effects of sin, all stemming from God withdrawal of the life quality maintaining tree.


This is overly complicated. Satan simply misrepresents God's character, presenting Him as One who is responsible for evil, because He looks after His own interests in preference to those of His creatures, in addition to being harsh, severe, and arbitrary.

Quote:
And towards this blaming end, he does indeed try to complicate matters, now have nothing to lose, but rather many more, upset-with-God, people to gain.


People are not upset with God because they think God removed the Tree of Life (very, very few think in these terms), but rather because they don't trust God, perceiving Him wrongly to be concerned with Himself, and responsible for evil. And not just evil in general, but the specific evil which happens in their own lives.

Quote:
So in summary of my Theological understanding here: I do not see that ‘God is not responsible for why evil happens as sin is this why but solely, in an ultimate since, that this evil is permitted to be effectuated, as he can easily prevent it, and all that stemming from the decision to ban access to the Tree of Life to sinful man and curtail its effect upon nature outside of the Garden of Eden.


You didn't close the quote mark. This is a very difficult sentence to understand. I'll just comment on the "as He can easily prevent it" part. God cannot easily prevent evil. If He could prevent evil, He would, as that His character. God hates evil, and is doing all He can to bring it to an end, as quickly as possible. The judgment will reveal that God has consistently been working towards this end. All of His actions have been motivated by bringing evil to an end.

To bring evil to end it is necessary to reveal the character of the enemy, and the character of his government, as well as the character of Himself and His government. The parable of the wheat and the tares addresses this.

Quote:
So it is solely in that since that I say “responsible for” i.e., ‘having allowed it’ but certainly not for actively doing it.


I agree that God has allowed evil to occur, and one can argue that there is responsibility inherent in that, and I believe God recognizes and accepts that. However, the alternative would be not have created creatures with the ability to love and be loved. Loved requires risk. God was willing to understand this risk, and God has paid for the risk in the sacrifice of His Son.

Although God could be said to be responsible in a certain sense for having permitted evil to occur, His responsibility doesn't go beyond that, and, again, the only alternative would have been a Universe without sentient creatures capable of love.

Quote:
The Devil in many ways does that. Still much of our various personal and planetary adversities are natural occurrences of a continually degenerating nature from its once perfect state. E.g., God does not cause earthquakes or hurricanes, an ageing planet with damaged and shifting tectonic plates natural cause earthquakes, and an uneven climate causes hurricanes to form.


Agreed.

Quote:
NJK: In a ultimate sense yes since cancer could have been prevented and cured by the Fruit of Life. However if one has “chosen” by such directly causing unhealthy acts such as smoking to expose themselves to getting cancer, then God may still also have allowed this by having banned the preventive healing found in Fruit of Life. It was indeed such sinful acts that resulted in the banning of access to that healing tree.

Tom: I think you're over-complicating this. It has nothing to do with the tree of life. If you smoke, you may get cancer, because of the characteristics of cigarettes. This is an example of a free will choice leading to an undesirable consequence. If all had followed God's counsels, these things wouldn't happen. God is not responsible for these things happening, but they follow the law of cause and effect.

NJK:I actually am not, in my understanding. With cancer, many people live healthy lives and still get cancer.


This doesn't counter the point, that people who smoke may, and do, get cancer according to the principle of cause and effect.

Quote:
That all really stems back to the absence of the Fruit of Life in our lives.


This is irrelevant to the point that cigarette smoking causes cancer.

Quote:
Cigarette smoking is something else entirely and may be a cause-and-effect issue.


Right!

Quote:
However many diseases are not, but just a natural consequence of our bodily frailty after so many years of being removed from the Tree of Life and our once perfect state.


These are the result of sin. You're way of looking at things seems to make God responsible for disease, since He removed the tree, instead of putting the blame where it belongs, which is on sin and Satan.

Quote:
T:I was going to say this one isn't an issue, but the plagues of Egypt come to mind. Many have the idea of God's acting like a criminal wanting protection money, using more and more force until He gets His way. That would be similar to what you're suggesting here.

M:While the plagues are an example of God’s use of force, I actually do not see them as an act of compelling since if God wanted to compel Pharoah to obey Him, He would not have hardened his heart at all.


Pharaoh hardened his own heart. That's written half a dozen times or so. God didn't force Pharaoh to do something against his will.

The way people traditionally see the plagues is that God employed more and more force until God forced Pharaoh to do something against his will. This would certainly bean "act of compelling," as you put it.

Quote:
Seems to me that God wanted to completely break the Spirits of Pharaoh so that Israel would have an unobstructed exodus and also a financially rewarded one as it indeed came to pass.


Spirits of Pharaoh?

Quote:
T:I don't believe God is violent, nor that violence is part of God's government, in either of the two ways you mentioned. I don't see any hint of this in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.

NJK:Due to a seeming confusion of understandings I suggest/move for an abandonment of the term “violence” here for instead ‘use of force’ as this is supposed to be how this term is being used here. So in that sense, I see God, in many instances, as “using force”, e.g., supernatural acts, to effectuate a judgement action and not always just letting nature take its course..


Ok, I'll put it this way. I believe the exercise of force is contrary to the principles of God's government. I believe compelling power is found only under Satan's government.

Quote:
T:Is any kind of violence a part of God's government?

NJK:If violence is “use of force” here, then yes.

T:If so, did this part of God's government exist from the beginning, and just wasn't revealed, like grace and mercy?

NJK:Of course, prior to sin: “No”; however after sin, by variously protective necessity: “Yes”

T:So we could say that God was always violent, but this aspect of His character wasn't seen, until sin came about (similarly to mercy and grace).

NJK:(Same response as above.)


What I'm asking is the following. God was always merciful, although this was an aspect of God's character which had not been revealed, as it was unnecessary until sin came about. We could also say that God was always violent, but this was also an aspect of God's character which was not revealed until sin came about. It sounds to me like this is what you are saying.


Those who wait for the Bridegroom's coming are to say to the people, "Behold your God." The last rays of merciful light, the last message of mercy to be given to the world, is a revelation of His character of love.
Re: Why did God command people to stone, scorch, and smite sinners to death? [Re: Green Cochoa] #132158
03/29/11 11:11 AM
03/29/11 11:11 AM
Tom  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 14,795
Lawrence, Kansas
Originally Posted By: GC
NJK:So the operative determinant here is to let the text itself determine what our view should be and not vice versa, however sincerely “righteous” we may consider it to be. If it is indeed “righteous” then it should not be contradicted. So it therefore seems clear to me that Jesus did not similarly demonstrate this OT wrath during his Earthly ministry simply because it was not yet the appropriate time to do so. That principle also manifested itself in God’s/His OT dealings (e.g., Gen 15:13, 16).

GC:NJK,

Excellent post. Well said.


So the principle that all that we need to know of God, or can know of God, was revealed in the life and character of His Son during His earthly ministry is false.


Those who wait for the Bridegroom's coming are to say to the people, "Behold your God." The last rays of merciful light, the last message of mercy to be given to the world, is a revelation of His character of love.
Re: Why did God command people to stone, scorch, and smite sinners to death? [Re: Green Cochoa] #132159
03/29/11 11:16 AM
03/29/11 11:16 AM
Tom  Offline
Active Member 2012
14500+ Member
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 14,795
Lawrence, Kansas
Quote:
T:The question is if Jesus Christ is a full and complete revelation of God's character. If that's the case, we don't really need to consider exceptions on a case by case basis, as there wouldn't be any exceptions.

GC:Tom,

Will you know everything that it is possible to know about God the moment you see Jesus when He comes?

How about after 3.5 years in Heaven with Him?


Since these questions are coming out of the blue, I'm guessing your train of thought is the following. If it were true that everything that we can know of God was revealed in the life and character of His Son then it would follow that we would know everything it is possible to know about God the moment we saw Jesus when He comes? (Or, in 3.5 years in Heaven with Him). Otherwise I don't see why you would ask these questions.

I don't think this is a valid argument, as the fact that Jesus Christ revealed all that man needs to know of God, or can know, in His life and character does not contradict the idea that God is infinite in love and goodness, and that even eternity will not be enough to exhaust the knowledge of His wonderful character.


Those who wait for the Bridegroom's coming are to say to the people, "Behold your God." The last rays of merciful light, the last message of mercy to be given to the world, is a revelation of His character of love.
Re: Why did God command people to stone, scorch, and smite sinners to death? [Re: Tom] #132160
03/29/11 01:10 PM
03/29/11 01:10 PM
Tom  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 14,795
Lawrence, Kansas
I'll treat this part separately.

Originally Posted By: NJK
Tom: The question addressed wasn't whether Satan was deserving of death, but that had God permitted him to die, that event would have been misunderstood, as the angels did not yet understand that death is the inevitable result of sin. This is right in the paragraph. There's no discussion in regards to deserving death.

NJK:The angels did not see that Satan “sin” was “sinful”, i.e., deserving to be put to death just for having decided not to continue to obey God’s law.


This isn't the issue discussed in the DA chapter.

Quote:
If Satan then had been immediately destroyed, the Angel surely would have known that it was because of that act of rebellion which God would have surely stated was “sin”, if they did not already know that definition themselves. What they would not have understood was “why”, i.e., why did Satan have to be destroyed for that “new “lawless” way that he was proposing.


This isn't at all what the statement says. Or, more accurately, the statement says nothing at all like this.

What it says is that God gives an opportunity to develop character, and that those who rebel against Him develop a character so out of harmony with Himself that His very presence to them is a consuming fire. The glory of Him who is love will destroy them. The angels did not understand this. Had God left Satan and his follower to reap the full result of their sin, they would have perished, but the angels would not have understand that this is because the inevitable result of sin is death.

This is precisely what the statement says.

Quote:
It was then to be shown in the GC how Satan’s way was indeed deserving of death as it was not a better way, but one that would lead to suffering and death.


Again, this wasn't the issue discussed.

Quote:
That was seen long before the cross, e.g., by the Flood.


It wasn't seen then. The chapter explains that it wasn't until the cross that it was seen that there was no truth in Satan's accusations. Elsewhere it is written that apart from the cross, the holy angels were no more secure than they were when Satan stared his rebellion. The cross safe-guarded the universe by making clear what the character is of God and His government in contrast to that of the enemy. The Great Controversy will continue until this distinction is seen by all.

Quote:
What was “finished” at the Cross was literally the opposing arguments in this GC and not a long ago demonstrated knowledge that sin is deserving of death.


Sin being deserving of death isn't something discussed at all. The point made wasn't that sin was *deserving* of death, but that sin *results* in death. That's in important distinction.

Quote:
Indeed had God not barred access to the tree of Life, sinners would not even have died, but lived a perpetual life of sin.


No way! The time before the flood demonstrates this clearly. Men at this time could have lived to almost the age of a thousand, but few did, because of all the violence in the world. With so much violence, it would not have taken long for men to have killed each other. This is the essence of sin. You have to be number one. The only way to be number one is to get rid of the opposition.

At any rate, this wasn't discussed in the chapter.

Quote:
So it was even not to prove/show that ‘the inevitable result of sin is death’ that the GC was permitted to go on,


That was *a* reason, and a very important one. Had God left Satan and his follower to reap the full result of their sin, it would not have been understood that their demise was the result of their sin, but would have appeared to have been an arbitrary act of power on the part of God. This would have created a seed of doubt in regards to God's character.

This is explained in the paragraphs under discussion.

Quote:
or else one can easily make this Tree of Life removal objection.


This wasn't discussed.

Quote:
It was to show how wrong the course of Satan was that it was indeed deserving of being eradicated along with anyone who wanted to adhere to it.


No. Not at all. Not one word was mentioned along these lines.


Those who wait for the Bridegroom's coming are to say to the people, "Behold your God." The last rays of merciful light, the last message of mercy to be given to the world, is a revelation of His character of love.
Re: Why did God command people to stone, scorch, and smite sinners to death? [Re: Tom] #132162
03/29/11 03:24 PM
03/29/11 03:24 PM
Tom  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 14,795
Lawrence, Kansas
Originally Posted By: NJK
Tom: Greg Boyd speaks of the "blueprint" perspective, or paradigm, where everything that happens is for a purpose (i.e., God is behind it). This perspective can indeed lead to the types of questions you're asking. This would be as opposed to the casualties of a war zone perspective, from what he calls the "
"Trinitarian warfare" perspective, better known by us as "the Great Controversy."

NJK:Everything that happens is indeed for a purpose that we will come to be aware of during especially the ‘Millennium books reviews’, however that does not stop many people now to ask these “why” and ‘Divine-demeanor/intent’ questions.


Not everything that happens is for a purpose. There's a reason God has made the decisions that He has made, choosing to allow certain things to happen (like the Holocaust, for example) but this does not mean that God *purposed* for these things to happen. God's allowing certain things to happen, and purposing that they happen are very different things.


Quote:
Job candidly and sincerely clearly asked them event hough he never gave up faith in God (e.g., Job 19), as did others in the Bible, and that is because God does punish the wrongs of even His people. So when no personal wrong is known, one, even the Believer, usually, almost knee-jerkedly, asks such Divine Character probing questions. It really takes an achieved stoic character to, effectively, emotionlessly (or at least unnaturally, emotions wise) accept whatever happens to you without such questions, however not only do I not see this in the Bible, e.g., Psa 94, but I do not believe that God expects this of even Believers.


Would God want such a thing? Is this what we see from Jesus Christ?

Quote:
Refusing to obey God or opposing Him and His cause because of such assumed wrongdoings on His part is another thing, but sincerely questioning them is quite normal.


Agreed. God welcomes sincere questions.

More later.


Those who wait for the Bridegroom's coming are to say to the people, "Behold your God." The last rays of merciful light, the last message of mercy to be given to the world, is a revelation of His character of love.
Re: Why did God command people to stone, scorch, and smite sinners to death? [Re: Mountain Man] #132163
03/29/11 03:50 PM
03/29/11 03:50 PM
Mountain Man  Offline OP
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Southwest USA
Tom, in response to the following two questions, here's what I remember what you've said thus far.

1. In the OT, why did Jesus command godly people to kill ungodly people in battle?

The reason you believe Jesus commanded godly people to kill ungodly people in battle is because 1) the Jews failed to trust Jesus to defeat their enemies in a godly way, and 2) the Jews expected Him to think and behave like a pagan god.

2. In the OT, why did Jesus command godly people to kill ungodly people through the execution of capital punishment?

The reason you believe Jesus commanded godly people to kill ungodly people through the execution of capital punishment is because 1) the Jews failed to trust Jesus to punish them in a godly way, and 2) the Jews expected Him to behave like a pagan god.

Quote:
Exodus
22:20 He that sacrificeth unto [any] god, save unto the LORD only, he shall be utterly destroyed.

Numbers
15:35 And the LORD said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp.

Deuteronomy
2:34 And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain:
20:17 But thou shalt utterly destroy them; [namely], the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee:

Joshua
10:40 So Joshua smote all the country of the hills, and of the south, and of the vale, and of the springs, and all their kings: he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the LORD God of Israel commanded.

You believe Jesus was willing to think and behave like a pagan god in order to gain the trust and respect of the Jews long enough to wean them off such ungodly expectations.

Do you believe anything else about it?

Re: Why did God command people to stone, scorch, and smite sinners to death? [Re: Mountain Man] #132164
03/29/11 03:52 PM
03/29/11 03:52 PM
Mountain Man  Offline OP
SDA
Charter Member
Active Member 2019

20000+ Member
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 22,256
Southwest USA
Originally Posted By: Tom
Not everything that happens is for a purpose. There's a reason God has made the decisions that He has made, choosing to allow certain things to happen (like the Holocaust, for example) but this does not mean that God *purposed* for these things to happen. God's allowing certain things to happen, and purposing that they happen are very different things.

What were Jesus' options in cases like the Holocaust?

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