Our Moral God

Lon

Well-known member
It's the motive that makes an action good or bad, Lon!
It 'can' be, but what if when swinging the hammer, I hit a friend's hand instead of the nail? Isn't such a case of 'good and bad?' (You hit on this in a second and I agree with you -▼ your plow verse and analogy)▼ sorry for the bad puns (unintentional at the time, but brought a smile in retrospect).
And Jesus gives us the motive anyway.
🆙
A father gives his kids good gifts because they were in need and asked for a piece of bread or a fish. All men have sinned and have need of a savior. Indeed, we really have no idea just how dispicable we really are and won't have any idea until we see Him who is righteous face to face but that doesn't mean that every action we take is evil and a man who would neglect his own son has attained to a special kind of evil.
Yes, agree.
When the bible talks about plowing being evil, its using a figure of speech.
I'm sorry, remind me of this particular verse? Please and thank you.
The idea is that even the good, productive things that an unbeliever does are terrible in comparison with true righteousness and they won't profit him anything in the end. It's hyperbole.
Yes, I agree here too.
That implies a contradiction. "Good" cannot be 'arbitrary' by definition,
Let me ensure we are communicating: Do you or I ever have a hard time figuring out which is which? My posit: It is us that are arbitrary, not God who alone is the standard. I'd think we agree also on this point.
at least not in this context. That which is arbitrary is either amoral or it is unjust, depending on the what you're talking about but generally, righteous and arbitrary are opposites.
Well, talk to me about the immoral who takes care of his child. You'd said in the analogy, that they weren't truly good, just (if I am reading and paraphrasing your point): somewhat good. I'd say the act is good: the thing was done, in a good way, to completion, and then, in the larger picture, knowing only God is completely/always good. But then, if you will, further: The guy that stopped the murderer in his church, in Texas, said it was 'good.' Arbitrary can mean 'by accidental whim' and I'd side with you on such a point of definition. The other is based on an individual's perception (in the eye of the beholder). So a question or two: Was it good that the man stopped the murderer? (I'd say 'yes.') What about the murderer's mother?
That depends entirely on why he did it.
This is where, for me, I'm not quite on board. I think 'why' doesn't always produce the best good, unless it is God alone who knows what the actual good is and acts.
Well, challenging topics are the funnest topics to discuss! :)
And more, for me, I find meaning from your exchanges and on this particular, I appreciate the comments. I'm not sure which seminary class discussed this particular, but I might have been sick that day :) (thank you for the thread).
I just wish I could get people to make an actual argument. If I'm wrong I really do want to know it but personal opinions and one liners is mostly all I get.
Be of some good cheer, this is a valuable thread, at least for me. It has a lot of good and important meaning and discussion. It is important, for me, to flesh out what 'good' means and what it means that 'only God alone is good.' In that direction, I've needed the content here and ty (again). In Him -Lon
 

Clete

Truth Smacker
Silver Subscriber
It 'can' be, but what if when swinging the hammer, I hit a friend's hand instead of the nail? Isn't such a case of 'good and bad?' (You hit on this in a second and I agree with you -▼ your plow verse and analogy)▼ sorry for the bad puns (unintentional at the time, but brought a smile in retrospect).
No, it isn't a case of good and bad as in good and evil, as if anything could be both. Whether you hitting your friend's hand is good or evil depends entirely on why you did it. It is was an accident then there is no blame because accidents cannot be evil, by definition. If it wasn't intentional but was due to negligence of some sort then there is blame and you should be forced to make your friend whole (i.e. pay his doctor bill or whatever). Finally, if the act was intentional then not only should you be forced to make him whole but it aught to be done unto you as you did to your neighbor. So either you get whacked with a hammer and / or you are forced to pay double restitution

Thus, it is the motive that defines such an action as either good or evil.

🆙

Yes, agree.
(y)

I'm sorry, remind me of this particular verse? Please and thank you.
Proverbs 21:4

Yes, I agree here too.

Let me ensure we are communicating: Do you or I ever have a hard time figuring out which is which? My posit: It is us that are arbitrary, not God who alone is the standard. I'd think we agree also on this point.
Well, not even the Calvinist who blatantly does believe that God is arbitrary would rarely admit that this is what they believe. I remember Hilston openly admitting it but he's the only one I've ever come across who was intellectually honest enough to state it outright and so while you might say that its not God who is arbitrary, you're statement that "God alone is the standard" gets you closer to it than you might be comfortable with admitting. It depends on just what you mean by "God alone is the standard.", doesn't it.

Let's use a completely absurd example so that there's no confusion about that it's altogether hypothetical...

Let's say that God authorized the rape of girls in their 20s but only during months with two full moons.

Would such a decree by God make the rape of girls during a blue moon month good or would the decree make God evil?

That aught to be the easiest question anyone has ever asked you. If you hesitate to answer that question at all then you need to reexamine whether you think that God is arbitrary and just what it is you think it means to call God righteous.

Well, talk to me about the immoral who takes care of his child. You'd said in the analogy, that they weren't truly good, just (if I am reading and paraphrasing your point): somewhat good.
I didn't say either. It is his action that is good, not him.

I'd say the act is good: the thing was done, in a good way, to completion, and then, in the larger picture, knowing only God is completely/always good.
Yes, that's it. Bad people do good things all the time. If they didn't then there'd be no attraction to them. No one wants to be around people who literally have no redeeming quality whatsoever. Even Satan himself comes as an angel of light.

But then, if you will, further: The guy that stopped the murderer in his church, in Texas, said it was 'good.'
He said what was good? The murder or his stopping of it?

Arbitrary can mean 'by accidental whim' and I'd side with you on such a point of definition.
"Accidental whim"? I don't understand what that means.

The other is based on an individual's perception (in the eye of the beholder).
We are not talking about matters of opinion here. We are having a theological discussion about right and wrong. Any aspect of the actions in question that happen to be a matter of personal opinion are not relevant to our discussion about whether the action was morally right or wrong.

So a question or two: Was it good that the man stopped the murderer? (I'd say 'yes.')
I don't know what instance you're referring to but it's not difficult to presume that the stopping of a murder is a good thing.

What about the murderer's mother?
What about her?

This is where, for me, I'm not quite on board. I think 'why' doesn't always produce the best good, unless it is God alone who knows what the actual good is and acts.
The best good? What does that mean?

You have to remain on topic here. We are talking about actions that are otherwise amoral in nature. Plowing a field is not an inherently good or bad thing. Thus, if it becomes a moral action then it must be the motive / attitude of the farm hand that turns what is otherwise a mundane action into something with moral implications.
If a man just dispises God and everything good with every fiber of his existence then every breath he takes could be considered immoral if he takes that breath in order to keep his hatred of God going. Good and evil has to do with the intent of the heart of him who performs the action.

And more, for me, I find meaning from your exchanges and on this particular, I appreciate the comments. I'm not sure which seminary class discussed this particular, but I might have been sick that day :) (thank you for the thread).
You're quite welcome! :)

Be of some good cheer, this is a valuable thread, at least for me. It has a lot of good and important meaning and discussion. It is important, for me, to flesh out what 'good' means and what it means that 'only God alone is good.' In that direction, I've needed the content here and ty (again). In Him -Lon
Think of that question, "What does it mean to say that only God is good?" in the context of my opening post. Read the OP again if you need to.
If God is Reason then what would that fact have to do with the fact that only God is good?

Clete
 

Lon

Well-known member
No, it isn't a case of good and bad as in good and evil, as if anything could be both. Whether you hitting your friend's hand is good or evil depends entirely on why you did it. It is was an accident then there is no blame because accidents cannot be evil, by definition. If it wasn't intentional but was due to negligence of some sort then there is blame and you should be forced to make your friend whole (i.e. pay his doctor bill or whatever). Finally, if the act was intentional then not only should you be forced to make him whole but it aught to be done unto you as you did to your neighbor. So either you get whacked with a hammer and / or you are forced to pay double restitution
Or four-fold
Thus, it is the motive that defines such an action as either good or evil.
It is a matter of motive, but sometimes even good 'intention' but inept, is an awkward thing. It is why I get hung up on 'good' even if the guy had good intentions. Clete, isn't it still possible, that with good intent, ill can come from it? If so, how do we reckon 'good?' I've been reading a book on culinary mushrooms. While it I might have a good intent to make a delicious dish by intent, 'ill' can still be the inept result.
I agree with your analogy, but walk with me a moment if you will: We know God could/would never make a mistake with a poisonous mushroom. It is partly why, I'd think, "Only God alone is good." He cannot make a poor decision. Of course at that point, we are talking about benefit as well as being morally good. Does such cloud my grasp here? Are we talking about a very specific kind of 'good?' Maybe I need both a definitions as well as 'scope' of that definition at this venture. Appreciate it at this point, and ty.
(y)


Proverbs 21:4
Thank you. "Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp (ploughing/tilling) of the wicked, are sin." Interesting translations... Because they are many, it confuses.
Well, not even the Calvinist who blatantly does believe that God is arbitrary would rarely admit that this is what they believe. I remember Hilston openly admitting it but he's the only one I've ever come across who was intellectually honest enough to state it outright and so while you might say that its not God who is arbitrary, you're statement that "God alone is the standard" gets you closer to it than you might be comfortable with admitting. It depends on just what you mean by "God alone is the standard.", doesn't it.
For me, it is rather a question of 'our' perception. I've no doubt God is wholly good. Rather, He is good, even if me (any human), not being the definer of good, doesn't think so. For the most part, in thread, I would only question another's value/definition (including my own) if they don' see God as all-good and its very definition.
Let's use a completely absurd example so that there's no confusion about that it's altogether hypothetical...

Let's say that God authorized the rape of girls in their 20s but only during months with two full moons.

Would such a decree by God make the rape of girls during a blue moon month good or would the decree make God evil?
If it somehow saved her? I'd hate it. I'd beg and wrestle with God for some other way: just the same as I'd beg God to find some other way to save mankind than to offer His Only Begotten Son. My dad once looked off into the clouds one day... I'd just had a guy threaten my life as a pastor 'because' I was a pastor and he thought we were all hypocrites. He'd said he was out to destroy me and my family. As my father looked into the clouds he came back: "I don't know how He did it. If it were my Son, I'd say 'I'm sorry, you people are going to fry, you cannot have my son." I bawled my eyes out that day, because my father was telling me He valued the gift of the Lord Jesus Christ (I never knew up until that point if he was receptive of Christ, he later confirmed he'd recently received Christ as Savior). What I did realize is that 'all things work together.' I hate the idea of evil being used to bring us to Christ, but Paul was struck blind also for that purpose. I hope and pray you can speak meaningfully to 'good coming from evil' and "all things work together for good." I've had a very (don't want to overemphasize or get into this, but I could bold, post about 20 'very's' and stress it) hard childhood. There were times I faced death, rape, and a lot of abuse. I HAVE to believe I was in God's hands. It was a very desperate time as a little child where at the age of 8, I was contemplating suicide, simply to get out of such desperate and wicked circumstance. Because of it, I'm incredibly open to input regarding the goodness of God and my own life going through such. I've seen the good of God for me, but I never doubt that He sometimes doesn't give me the 'good' I think is good, but always gives good and only knows how to give what is good.
That aught to be the easiest question anyone has ever asked you. If you hesitate to answer that question at all then you need to reexamine whether you think that God is arbitrary and just what it is you think it means to call God righteous.
I didn't quite follow on this last point. My point was God is not arbitrary, but that we are because we don't know always what is genuinely good. As believers, I believe we are much closer and resembling our God.
I didn't say either. It is his action that is good, not him.
🆙
Yes, that's it. Bad people do good things all the time. If they didn't then there'd be no attraction to them. No one wants to be around people who literally have no redeeming quality whatsoever. Even Satan himself comes as an angel of light.
Agree.
He said what was good? The murder or his stopping of it?
Him stopping it (I linked) I believe.
"Accidental whim"? I don't understand what that means.
Part of the definition of arbitrary. One part is like 'random accident.' Point: I don't like 'arbitrary' because it can mean wishy washy, accidental, whim, etc. "Preference" is also part of the definition (better for our discussion, but yet awkward because of the scope of the term).
We are not talking about matters of opinion here. We are having a theological discussion about right and wrong. Any aspect of the actions in question that happen to be a matter of personal opinion are not relevant to our discussion about whether the action was morally right or wrong.
As it pertained to 'arbitrary.' I was talking about definition and agreed with you regarding 'arbitrary.' God isn't arbitrary. Certainly 'situational ethics' would 'arbitrate' a particular good. As we've been talking, I 'think' this is where we could talk about a parishioner shooting a man who was killing members of the congregation. Good isn't arbitrary at such a point: the man didn't go to jail and saved lives.
I don't know what instance you're referring to but it's not difficult to presume that the stopping of a murder is a good thing.
I wrestled a long time with this. The disciples had two swords. When Peter cut off the ear of the servant, Jesus repaired it and said He could call angels anytime to His protection. "Wise as serpents, gentle as doves" and "turn the other cheek" always had a bearing on what was 'right' and what is 'good' for Christians. With you, I believe the man did a good thing: He saved lives. I still (why I'm in the thread) wrestle for what is 'good' when/if I ever come into a similar situation. I believe protecting the helpless is a command for believers. It took me a long time to get to that position and, to be honest, I don't know if I'm right. It is just where I am at today and believe it is the right thing, at least for me. Any thoughts?
What about her?
She won't necessarily think it is good. As I've just discussed above, 'good' isn't always easily seen. God knows it, I'm not sure if we/I always do.
The best good? What does that mean?
Okay, what if the guy wasn't shot, and was saved? He did something horrible, like Saul was doing to the church. Some of this is asking: hoping you'll have feedback on 'good.' I'm not sure if 'best' good is the way to discuss what I'm asking, but 'good, better, best' was part of what was going through my mind. I often know what is good, but I'm analytical and always looking where I, at least, can do better and making better decisions that benefit people. I want people to know Jesus.
You have to remain on topic here. We are talking about actions that are otherwise amoral in nature. Plowing a field is not an inherently good or bad thing. Thus, if it becomes a moral action then it must be the motive / attitude of the farm hand that turns what is otherwise a mundane action into something with moral implications.
Situational ethics are always difficult. If I were the guy in the congregation, is it better to allow congregation members that know and love Jesus, go and be with Him and hope the guy that is shooting them will come to Him? Or is the immediate need (perhaps immediate need of good) to save the congregation I love? God certainly is incredibly better and The Definer of Good. Have any scriptures that immediately come to mind? I'd appreciate it and thank you.
If a man just dispises God and everything good with every fiber of his existence then every breath he takes could be considered immoral if he takes that breath in order to keep his hatred of God going. Good and evil has to do with the intent of the heart of him who performs the action.
At this point I was pursuing perhaps 'inept' if you will. He/she may have good intent, but I'm questioning if that is 'enough' to fit the full definition of good. God certainly can be nothing, but always good.
You're quite welcome! :)


Think of that question, "What does it mean to say that only God is good?" in the context of my opening post. Read the OP again if you need to.
If God is Reason then what would that fact have to do with the fact that only God is good?

Clete
Rereading, the 'morality' of God emanates from His character: It is the essence of His being. On that point, you suggested that God would abide by His own Law, but, if you will, it is already consistent with His character that He would keep it. There are, however, laws given to men, that they not take the same liberties that God alone has. For instance, God has a right over the lives of every being. He created them. They are His. I'm His. You are His. He has exclusive rights. He isn't willing that any should perish. Point: You and I taking a life, normally is reserved for God alone, but there are instructions for 'breaking' that rule from God. There is then a sense of not touching what doesn't belong to us and in that, taking a life on our own authority is much different than taking one on His. I've address previously some of my concern with "God is reason." "Come let us reason" says the Lord, though your sins are as red as scarlet, they shall be white as snow." "Reason" is more of a verb than an adjective. I can leave this part to you to open up a bit more with the direction you are desiring it to head. In Him -Lon
 

Clete

Truth Smacker
Silver Subscriber
Or four-fold

It is a matter of motive, but sometimes even good 'intention' but inept, is an awkward thing. It is why I get hung up on 'good' even if the guy had good intentions. Clete, isn't it still possible, that with good intent, ill can come from it? If so, how do we reckon 'good?' I've been reading a book on culinary mushrooms. While it I might have a good intent to make a delicious dish by intent, 'ill' can still be the inept result.
I agree with your analogy, but walk with me a moment if you will: We know God could/would never make a mistake with a poisonous mushroom. It is partly why, I'd think, "Only God alone is good." He cannot make a poor decision. Of course at that point, we are talking about benefit as well as being morally good. Does such cloud my grasp here? Are we talking about a very specific kind of 'good?' Maybe I need both a definitions as well as 'scope' of that definition at this venture. Appreciate it at this point, and ty.

Thank you. "Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp (ploughing/tilling) of the wicked, are sin." Interesting translations... Because they are many, it confuses.

For me, it is rather a question of 'our' perception. I've no doubt God is wholly good. Rather, He is good, even if me (any human), not being the definer of good, doesn't think so. For the most part, in thread, I would only question another's value/definition (including my own) if they don' see God as all-good and its very definition.

If it somehow saved her? I'd hate it. I'd beg and wrestle with God for some other way: just the same as I'd beg God to find some other way to save mankind than to offer His Only Begotten Son. My dad once looked off into the clouds one day... I'd just had a guy threaten my life as a pastor 'because' I was a pastor and he thought we were all hypocrites. He'd said he was out to destroy me and my family. As my father looked into the clouds he came back: "I don't know how He did it. If it were my Son, I'd say 'I'm sorry, you people are going to fry, you cannot have my son." I bawled my eyes out that day, because my father was telling me He valued the gift of the Lord Jesus Christ (I never knew up until that point if he was receptive of Christ, he later confirmed he'd recently received Christ as Savior). What I did realize is that 'all things work together.' I hate the idea of evil being used to bring us to Christ, but Paul was struck blind also for that purpose. I hope and pray you can speak meaningfully to 'good coming from evil' and "all things work together for good." I've had a very (don't want to overemphasize or get into this, but I could bold, post about 20 'very's' and stress it) hard childhood. There were times I faced death, rape, and a lot of abuse. I HAVE to believe I was in God's hands. It was a very desperate time as a little child where at the age of 8, I was contemplating suicide, simply to get out of such desperate and wicked circumstance. Because of it, I'm incredibly open to input regarding the goodness of God and my own life going through such. I've seen the good of God for me, but I never doubt that He sometimes doesn't give me the 'good' I think is good, but always gives good and only knows how to give what is good.

I didn't quite follow on this last point. My point was God is not arbitrary, but that we are because we don't know always what is genuinely good. As believers, I believe we are much closer and resembling our God.

🆙

Agree.

Him stopping it (I linked) I believe.

Part of the definition of arbitrary. One part is like 'random accident.' Point: I don't like 'arbitrary' because it can mean wishy washy, accidental, whim, etc. "Preference" is also part of the definition (better for our discussion, but yet awkward because of the scope of the term).

As it pertained to 'arbitrary.' I was talking about definition and agreed with you regarding 'arbitrary.' God isn't arbitrary. Certainly 'situational ethics' would 'arbitrate' a particular good. As we've been talking, I 'think' this is where we could talk about a parishioner shooting a man who was killing members of the congregation. Good isn't arbitrary at such a point: the man didn't go to jail and saved lives.

I wrestled a long time with this. The disciples had two swords. When Peter cut off the ear of the servant, Jesus repaired it and said He could call angels anytime to His protection. "Wise as serpents, gentle as doves" and "turn the other cheek" always had a bearing on what was 'right' and what is 'good' for Christians. With you, I believe the man did a good thing: He saved lives. I still (why I'm in the thread) wrestle for what is 'good' when/if I ever come into a similar situation. I believe protecting the helpless is a command for believers. It took me a long time to get to that position and, to be honest, I don't know if I'm right. It is just where I am at today and believe it is the right thing, at least for me. Any thoughts?

She won't necessarily think it is good. As I've just discussed above, 'good' isn't always easily seen. God knows it, I'm not sure if we/I always do.

Okay, what if the guy wasn't shot, and was saved? He did something horrible, like Saul was doing to the church. Some of this is asking: hoping you'll have feedback on 'good.' I'm not sure if 'best' good is the way to discuss what I'm asking, but 'good, better, best' was part of what was going through my mind. I often know what is good, but I'm analytical and always looking where I, at least, can do better and making better decisions that benefit people. I want people to know Jesus.

Situational ethics are always difficult. If I were the guy in the congregation, is it better to allow congregation members that know and love Jesus, go and be with Him and hope the guy that is shooting them will come to Him? Or is the immediate need (perhaps immediate need of good) to save the congregation I love? God certainly is incredibly better and The Definer of Good. Have any scriptures that immediately come to mind? I'd appreciate it and thank you.

At this point I was pursuing perhaps 'inept' if you will. He/she may have good intent, but I'm questioning if that is 'enough' to fit the full definition of good. God certainly can be nothing, but always good.

Rereading, the 'morality' of God emanates from His character: It is the essence of His being. On that point, you suggested that God would abide by His own Law, but, if you will, it is already consistent with His character that He would keep it. There are, however, laws given to men, that they not take the same liberties that God alone has. For instance, God has a right over the lives of every being. He created them. They are His. I'm His. You are His. He has exclusive rights. He isn't willing that any should perish. Point: You and I taking a life, normally is reserved for God alone, but there are instructions for 'breaking' that rule from God. There is then a sense of not touching what doesn't belong to us and in that, taking a life on our own authority is much different than taking one on His. I've address previously some of my concern with "God is reason." "Come let us reason" says the Lord, though your sins are as red as scarlet, they shall be white as snow." "Reason" is more of a verb than an adjective. I can leave this part to you to open up a bit more with the direction you are desiring it to head. In Him -Lon
Lon,

Look man, I'm sorry to be so direct and this won't be easy for you to hear but if you are a pastor, you need to resign. You literally do not know right from wrong! How could you possibly lead a congregation?

I simply could not believe what I was reading when you were talking about wrestling with whether it was better to allow people to be murdered so that they could go be with God rather than to stop the murderer from taking their lives. Can you not think past those individual lives and realize the pain and anguish and sorrow that the victim's families would be put through? We, as believers, will always have Jesus. If Jesus can wait for our presence in Heaven then so can we, don't you think? Besides that, it isn't the murder's right to decide that it someone's time to go meet Jesus and Jesus certainly did not predestine the murderer to go destroy dozens of lives and families so as to bring those individuals up to meet Him. The murderer, by virtue of committing murder, has forfeit his right to live. It is not immoral in any sense of the word to remove his life from him in the defense of innocent victims.

Lastly, (sorry I'm so short on time) I want to address the way you answered my hypothetical. My goal here is to hopefully show you something about not only God and His word but about how right and wrong works...

In the Law of Moses there are several laws (obviously). Some of these laws were religious in nature, some of them were moral in nature. Now, to be clear, it was always a moral issue if you were going to break one of these laws. Sometimes a person was forced to break a law and other times they weren't forced but it was done for good reason (e.g. Matthew 12:1-8). Let's look at a situation where one was forced to violate the law because it gives us a view of how law works and also how morality works and why your answer to my hypothetical was very wrong...

The law required that male children be circumcised on the eighth day of their life. The law also required that no work of the flesh be done on the Sabbath. Circumcision was obviously an act of the flesh. What then are you to do when a child's eighth day landed on a Saturday (or any other sabbath for that matter)? Well, you went ahead and circumcised the child because circumcision preceded the law and in fact was a symbol of it. Thus, you would rightly break one law in order to keep another.

Now, the reason that is important is because matters of morality generally cannot conflict in this manner. There is never - I repeat - NEVER - a situation where you are forced to rape a woman in order to save her life (or her soul). You will never be faced with dilemma of robbing your neighbor or burning his house down with him in it. You won't ever have to slap a man's wife across the face in order to prevent yourself from stealing his watch.

On a side note: There are situations, almost all of which are hypothetical in nature by the way, where one might be forced to choose between two moral issues but they are few and far between and generally not difficult to judge with a little distance from the situation. For example, do I flip this lever to keep dozens of people safe but at the expense of my daughter's life because she's wondered into a dangerous location where she'd surely die if I did flip the switch? For me, that's easy. My daughter will not die by my hand. If it costs a thousand other lives, including my own, so be it. I am not God and I am not those people's savior. If their safety costs the life of my daughter - to bad for them. In that case, I can't say with certainty that such a decision would be the "right decision". Perhaps there is no "right decision" in such a case. Perhaps such situations are a consequence of living in a fallen world and that salvation from such things is a key part of what the gospel is all about. Either way, I'll let God make that decision when the time comes for me to stand before His judgement and I'll be leaning very heavily indeed on His grace.​
Getting back to the point at hand...

My hypothetical, I had hoped, was of sufficient gravity that you couldn't possibly have any difficulty answering it but you found a way to quibble anyway. This tells me that you do not know right from wrong. I picked a crime that there could be no justification for and I picked a totally ARBITRARY time frame during which the crime could be committed. What does a blue moon month have to do with anything? It doesn't! And whether God uses an evil act, such as a rape, as an opportunity to get a woman saved does not imply that He sanctioned her rape, nor would it ever enter into the mind of God to do such a horribly wicked thing! An eventual good that come as a result of an evil action does not turn the evil into good. God's sacrifice of His Son at Calvary was a good thing which came as a result of Adam's sin. Does that make Adam's sin good? Is God's universe better because of Adam's sin? Certainly not!

If God sanctioned the rape of women in her 20s during blue moon months, then it wouldn't mean that rapes that happened once every blue moon would be good, it would mean that God is evil. Why? Because there is no way for such a God to be consistent, either with Himself or with any code of conduct that is conducive to life (see opening post on why such consistency is important). It would mean that God was arbitrary! You cannot be both just (i.e. righteous) and arbitrary. The two are opposites.

That's all the time I have! This is a bit all over the place and I'd normally edit things and reword/rearrange things but this is all I have time for for now.

Clete
 
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Lon

Well-known member
Lastly, (sorry I'm so short on time) I want to address the way you answered my hypothetical. My goal here is to hopefully show you something about not only God and His word but about how right and wrong works...
from?

It illustrates the limitation of our conversations that can never go any further. You are silly, of course, to take ANY lack (real or more often imagined in your case) as if it is the quintessential mark of being a pastor or not. You simply don't have the credentials, Clete, your own opinion of yourself matches my own arrogance, but without the wherewithal, frankly. You SHOULD redress the above when you actually have more time, and with a lot more humility. -Lon
 

Clete

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It illustrates the limitation of our conversations that can never go any further. You are silly, of course, to take ANY lack (real or more often imagined in your case) as if it is the quintessential mark of being a pastor or not. You simply don't have the credentials, Clete, your own opinion of yourself matches my own arrogance, but without the wherewithal, frankly. You SHOULD redress the above when you actually have more time, and with a lot more humility. -Lon
Oh! Now this was definitely a lie, Lon!

I absolutely do have the credentials and so does nearly everyone else who can read well enough to understand the book of Genesis. You flatly do not know right from wrong and as such cannot possibly be qualified to sit in any position of spiritual authority over anyone! (James 3:1)

Not only that, but your self-admitted belief in panentheism is, by itself, proof that you are far more interested in feeling, sounding and being thought of as high-browed and learned by those you surround yourself with than you are interested in humbling yourself enough to ever have the courage to alter a single belief in that mind of yours that you claim doesn't even work in the first place. It would literally take an act of God to move you a single inch. If that were not so, you'd simply make an argument or at the very least respond to the ones I've made.

Heaven forbid that anyone on this website simply engage a debate for the sake of the exercise. That's clearly FAR too much to ask!
 
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marke

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Would such a decree by God make the rape of girls during a blue moon month good or would the decree make God evil?

That aught to be the easiest question anyone has ever asked you. If you hesitate to answer that question at all then you need to reexamine whether you think that God is arbitrary and just what it is you think it means to call God righteous.


I didn't say either. It is his action that is good, not him.
Clearly, God does not predestine sinners to do evil, God does not condone evil, and God is not responsible for the wickedness committed by sinners against the will of God.
 

Clete

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Clearly, God does not predestine sinners to do evil, God does not condone evil, and God is not responsible for the wickedness committed by sinners against the will of God.
Not according to Lon and certainly not according to Calvin or Augustine (and, by extension, most of Christianity!).

“thieves and murderers, and other evildoers, are instruments of divine providence, being employed by the Lord himself to execute judgments which he has resolved to inflict.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, Chapter 17, Paragraph 5)​
”He testifies that He creates light and darkness, forms good and evil (Isaiah 45:7); that no evil happens which He hath not done (Amos 3:6).* Let them tell me whether God exercises His judgments willingly or unwillingly.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, Chapter 18, Paragraph 3)​
“We hold that God is the disposer and ruler of all things, –that from the remotest eternity, according to his own wisdom, He decreed what he was to do, and now by his power executes what he decreed. Hence we maintain, that by His providence, not heaven and earth and inanimate creatures only, but also the counsels and wills of men are so governed as to move exactly in the course which he has destined.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, Chapter 16, Paragraph 8)​
Further, it is the belief that God is immutable that leads to such doctrines. A belief in the dynamic, personal, relational God of Genesis leaves one without any need for such a god as was worshiped first by Aristotle and Plato then by Augustine and Luther and Calvin.

Clete
 
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marke

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Not according to Lon and certainly not according to Calvin or Augustine (and, by extension, most of Christianity!).

“thieves and murderers, and other evildoers, are instruments of divine providence, being employed by the Lord himself to execute judgments which he has resolved to inflict.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, Chapter 17, Paragraph 5)​
”He testifies that He creates light and darkness, forms good and evil (Isaiah 45:7); that no evil happens which He hath not done (Amos 3:6).* Let them tell me whether God exercises His judgments willingly or unwillingly.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, Chapter 18, Paragraph 3)​
“We hold that God is the disposer and ruler of all things, –that from the remotest eternity, according to his own wisdom, He decreed what he was to do, and now by his power executes what he decreed. Hence we maintain, that by His providence, not heaven and earth and inanimate creatures only, but also the counsels and wills of men are so governed as to move exactly in the course which he has destined.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, Chapter 16, Paragraph 8)​
Further, it is the belief that God is immutable that leads to such doctrines. A belief in the dynamic, personal, relational God of Genesis leaves one without any need for such a god as was worshiped first by Aristotle and Plato then by Augustine and Luther and Calvin.

Clete
I strongly reject Calvin's opinion that God predestines sinners to commit horrific acts of rebellion against God.
 

Clete

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I strongly reject Calvin's opinion that God predestines sinners to commit horrific acts of rebellion against God.
That's good. The problem is that it flows quite logically from Calvin's premise. That premise being that God is immutable. You quite literally cannot have the one without the other. In other words, if humans have free will then God is not immutable.
 

marke

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That's good. The problem is that it flows quite logically from Calvin's premise. That premise being that God is immutable. You quite literally cannot have the one without the other. In other words, if humans have free will then God is not immutable.
Nonsense. God allows men to make choices that cause God to respond accordingly. Just because God responds differently or in various ways to men's choices does not mean He violates the Biblical principle expressed in Malachi that God changes not.

Malachi 3:6
For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
 

Derf

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Nonsense. God allows men to make choices that cause God to respond accordingly. Just because God responds differently or in various ways to men's choices does not mean He violates the Biblical principle expressed in Malachi that God changes not.

Malachi 3:6
For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
That very verse limits the ways in which God doesn’t change when it says “therefore ye … are not consumed.” The fact that they existed means God had changed in the past. The fact that they were the chosen people means God had changed in the past. The reason they were the chosen people means that God would change in the future, when He would take on a human nature.

But it assures us that He keeps His promises—He never changes by going back on His word. Even when He changed His mind about destroying Nineveh, He wasn’t changing in His character of forgiving the repentant.
 

ffreeloader

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That very verse limits the ways in which God doesn’t change when it says “therefore ye … are not consumed.” The fact that they existed means God had changed in the past. The fact that they were the chosen people means God had changed in the past. The reason they were the chosen people means that God would change in the future, when He would take on a human nature.

But it assures us that He keeps His promises—He never changes by going back on His word. Even when He changed His mind about destroying Nineveh, He wasn’t changing in His character of forgiving the repentant.
Your second paragraph proves your first paragraph is wrong. God did not change. His character is immutable therefore God Himself is immuatble as his character is who he is.

It always happens with man made theology, i.e., it contradicts scripture at some point.

Hebrews 13: 8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

This why I don't read theologians or buy into any theological system. I just take the Bible as it is. It is its own best expositor.
 

Derf

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Your second paragraph proves your first paragraph is wrong. God did not change. His character is immutable therefore God Himself is immuatble as his character is who he is.

It always happens with man made theology, i.e., it contradicts scripture at some point.



This why I don't read theologians or buy into any theological system. I just take the Bible as it is. It is its own best expositor.
You have to put Heb 13:8 next to other verses, like these:
2 Cor 5:21
Philippians 2:7
And from the same book as yours,
Hebrews 2:7-9 (KJV) 7 Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: 8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing [that is] not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. 9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

Was Jesus always a little lower than angels? Had Jesus ever tasted of death before? If all things will be put in subjection under Him, but haven’t been yet, aren’t there even more changes to come?

Character is not the person. You may be very righteous by not doing anything wrong, but until you do something right, there’s no impact. And changing from doing nothing to doing something is a change. Just not a change in character.
 

Clete

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Nonsense.
It isn't nonsense! It's the facts of reality! There isn't any question at all about it. It's very well established and unanimously accepted facts of history. Calvin's doctrine is nothing really but a reformation version of Augustinian theology and Augustine very very clearly states that he rejected Christianity in his youth precisely because the bible taught that God was not immutable which he believed was childish fairy tail fantasy. It wasn't until Bishop Ambrose of Milan taught him how to interpret the scripture in the light of Aristotle and Plato that Augustine converted to Catholicism. He then set about importing the Classical (i.e. Greek) ideas about God into Christianity and his major premise was the God cannot change in any way whatsoever (i.e. Immutability)


God allows men to make choices that cause God to respond accordingly.
Precisely! Therefore, God is not immutable!

Perhaps you don't understand what the term "immutable" means. It doesn't mean "consistent", it does not mean "trustworthy" or "reliable" or any other such concept. To be immutable means to be UTTERLY changeless. There can be no such thing as "responding accordingly" in a being that is immutable. The ability to respond would imply that the being is "contingent", meaning that there is some aspect of God that could be different than it is, even theoretically. Calvinists do not believe that God even has "aspects", never mind that any one of them could be different that it is and the reason they don't believe that is because they believe in the absolute immutability of God. It is, whether they acknowledge it as such or not, their bed rock, lower most, foundational theological premise and everything else they believe about the nature of God or the nature of anything else that reflects upon God is based on that single premise, including most especially their beliefs about predestination and the freedom of the will (or the lack thereof).

Just because God responds differently or in various ways to men's choices does not mean He violates the Biblical principle expressed in Malachi that God changes not.

Malachi 3:6
For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
Quite so!

But it does mean that God is not immutable.

What it means is that Malachi 3:6 doesn't teach that God is immutable. What it teaches is that God is consistent, trustworthy and reliable. Or put another way, the verse is talking about God's character. Calvinists wouldn't even agree that God's character is anything other than the whole of God Himself. They would categorically refuse to acknowledge that there are parts of God and insist that any such theoretical aspect of God (whether its His character or His right thumb) is identical to the whole.

Such a belief might sound confusing but when you're being intentionally irrational then you don't have to make sense, right? But I assure you that this is what they believe and teach. Indeed, there are some, even here on TOL, who think that believing this stuff is the equivalent of believing the gospel itself and every single syllable of it is based on the idea that God cannot change in ANY way whatsoever.

Clete
 

marke

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It isn't nonsense! It's the facts of reality! There isn't any question at all about it. It's very well established and unanimously accepted facts of history. Calvin's doctrine is nothing really but a reformation version of Augustinian theology and Augustine very very clearly states that he rejected Christianity in his youth precisely because the bible taught that God was not immutable which he believed was childish fairy tail fantasy. It wasn't until Bishop Ambrose of Milan taught him how to interpret the scripture in the light of Aristotle and Plato that Augustine converted to Catholicism. He then set about importing the Classical (i.e. Greek) ideas about God into Christianity and his major premise was the God cannot change in any way whatsoever (i.e. Immutability)



Precisely! Therefore, God is not immutable!

Perhaps you don't understand what the term "immutable" means. It doesn't mean "consistent", it does not mean "trustworthy" or "reliable" or any other such concept. To be immutable means to be UTTERLY changeless. There can be no such thing as "responding accordingly" in a being that is immutable. The ability to respond would imply that the being is "contingent", meaning that there is some aspect of God that could be different than it is, even theoretically. Calvinists do not believe that God even has "aspects", never mind that any one of them could be different that it is and the reason they don't believe that is because they believe in the absolute immutability of God. It is, whether they acknowledge it as such or not, their bed rock, lower most, foundational theological premise and everything else they believe about the nature of God or the nature of anything else that reflects upon God is based on that single premise, including most especially their beliefs about predestination and the freedom of the will (or the lack thereof).


Quite so!

But it does mean that God is not immutable.

What it means is that Malachi 3:6 doesn't teach that God is immutable. What it teaches is that God is consistent, trustworthy and reliable. Or put another way, the verse is talking about God's character. Calvinists wouldn't even agree that God's character is anything other than the whole of God Himself. They would categorically refuse to acknowledge that there are parts of God and insist that any such theoretical aspect of God (whether its His character or His right thumb) is identical to the whole.

Such a belief might sound confusing but when you're being intentionally irrational then you don't have to make sense, right? But I assure you that this is what they believe and teach. Indeed, there are some, even here on TOL, who think that believing this stuff is the equivalent of believing the gospel itself and every single syllable of it is based on the idea that God cannot change in ANY way whatsoever.

Clete
God does not change. Whether your definition of immutable agrees with that basic fact is immaterial.
 

Clete

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God does not change. Whether your definition of immutable agrees with that basic fact is immaterial.
Saying it doesn't make it so, marke and it is not MY definition of immutable, it is THE definition of the term. That's what it means, Marke. I'm not making this up as I go!

immutable (ĭ-myoo͞′tə-bəl)

adjective​

  1. Not subject or susceptible to change.
  2. Not mutable; not capable or susceptible of change; unchangeable; unalterable.
  3. Unable to be changed without exception.


And of course God changes! It's not like you have to go to some obscure passage in the book of Nahum to find God going through the most dramitic changes that any God possibly could!

I have a question or two for you Marke. Questions that I'd bet you will not answer. You'd rather ignore them than to admit you've made a major theological mistake. Ready....

Did God die for your sin?

You believe that God was always a man, do you believe that was always dead too?

Is God still dead today or did He rise from the dead never to die AGAIN?

Go ahead, Marke! Please explain to me how these are not changes?



Revelation 1:17 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. 18 I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.
Revelation 2:8 “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write, ‘These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life:
 

ffreeloader

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That very verse limits the ways in which God doesn’t change when it says “therefore ye … are not consumed.” The fact that they existed means God had changed in the past. The fact that they were the chosen people means God had changed in the past. The reason they were the chosen people means that God would change in the future, when He would take on a human nature.

But it assures us that He keeps His promises—He never changes by going back on His word. Even when He changed His mind about destroying Nineveh, He wasn’t changing in His character of forgiving the repentant.

Is an honest man a thief? Is an honest man a liar? Is an honest man a con artist?
 
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