YES! I Believe in GOD!

“so you believe in the total god that tells us to stone our disrespectful children to death, dash babies against the rocks, etc?”

YES I believe in him! ALL of him, not just the part you talk about. Most of all, I believe in ALL the character of God which allows me to understand harsh laws in light of God’s perfect holiness and our evil choices. How can a perfect being allow any corruption to dwell with him? Those laws you talk of were a device to show the Israelites that NO ONE is “good” in the eyes of the Lord, and the smallest, most miniscule infraction against him (if there was no grace or mercy) should be met with death and separation from God forever. The law was given to illustrate that. It was our “teacher” to bring us to Jesus who took the punishment for the miniscule infractions that separated us. *It showed us that we cannot hope to reach God on our own by following laws.* It is by his mercy, love, and grace that we are saved through faith. And even that faith is not of ourselves. It is the gift of God. *No longer are we required to follow a list of do’s and don’ts which was never able to save us anyway.* Praise God that he provided a way!

So, go ahead and talk about stoning, it just illustrates the great gulf between you and God. Take the next step, and accept what God has done to bridge the gap.

God Does Evil!

I do not deny that God does evil. However, This does NOT stain the character of God in any way, it merely accentuates his righteousness in judgment, as you will see. The scripture says, “God repented of the evil which he thought to do”. God was going to do evil? What was the evil he was about to do? He was going to destroy (Exodus 32:10) the children of Israel after they made stone calves and claimed that the calves where the actual ones that freed them from Egypt’s tyranny. As the context says, “They corrupted themselves.” (Exodus 32:7).

Ask yourself now, what is punishment? It is the action that fulfills justice. To the one receiving it, it is evil (corrupting or destroying the good that they are, or the good that they have achieved in their lives, or the peace they gained). To the one administering the punishment (evil) it is either the satisfaction of justice or the tool to bring proper behavior back. Indeed, when we all stand before God in the end, the ones who have rejected him will experience great evil (punishment), and from God’s perspective, justice will be satisfied.


The key here is that when man does evil, it is rebellion against God and the good things he made. When God does evil, it is punishment and the satisfaction of righteous judgment. It’s silliness to think that God is rebelling against himself or corrupting himself. God’s evil is the action of perfect judgment. Against it, none of us can stand.

However, Jesus’ death satisfied the righteous judgment of God upon every man so that peace could exist between them if man chooses it.

 

God Created Evil!

(Isa 45:7)  I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

Definition of Evil: The perversion or corruption of good.

I acknowledge that God creates evil, as he says in Isaiah 45:7. However, to create evil, good is created first. If God had stopped at creating good, evil would not have come to fruition. Only good would have existed. Up until that point, creation had no choice in what it did. But, the moment he gave man choice, evil was created. That does not mean that anything in the world had been corrupted, it meant that the choice was man’s to make. God created evil, more specifically the capacity for evil, when he created good and gave man the ability to corrupt it, deviate from it, destroy it, or pervert it.


The Nature of Men


Humanity has no real experience in pure evil, that is, evil for the sake of evil. If humanity commits evil acts it’s in pursuit of something good, they just get the good the wrong way. Evil is the perversion, or the corruption, of good. Evil cannot exist without good existing first. In fact, there is no definitive way to judge whether something is good or evil without having an infinitely good reference point. If no “absolute good” exists, then there are no moral absolutes by which one has the right to judge something or someone as being evil. Evil requires the existence of good.

Humanity’s experience in evil is found throughout history in criminal acts. The thief, the murderer, the drug addict, and the rapist; they are all trying to fulfill a want or a need, whether it be power, sexual gratification, material things, pleasure, an adrenaline rush, satisfaction, or any number of reasons not listed here. These things in of themselves are good. However, the pleasure, or release experienced in attaining them the wrong way is mixed with pain. What you have done stays with you, causing whatever good you may experience to be tainted, and you may have to change your morals to justify your actions. Self may be redefined in the process. This type of behavior can lead to one’s own destruction.

So we understand the evil nature of men, but they cannot be totally evil. However, we can only judge the murderer as evil if we have moral absolutes; otherwise it falls to each man’s definition, and each man’s definition is different. Whose definition, then, should we use? Using men as our yardstick isn’t useful, especially since evil is within every man.

Where do morals fall into human nature? Choice is the main ingredient in morality. Without it there are no morals, just behavior we emit. You can’t judge a man who has no ability to choose what he does. You cannot say his morals are bad. On the outside it may look that way, but if there was no choice on the inside then there is no morality. Without choice we are no better than animals driven by instincts.

Choice may not exist for two reasons: either the man is constrained by an outside force or his psychological makeup is abnormal. When I say psychological makeup, I mean the raw materials in the mind that men use to make a choice. This raw material is composed of feelings and impulses that at once present themselves in any given situation. If the raw materials of the mind are bent or twisted in some way, free choice is hindered.

Example:

Three men go to war. One of them suppresses the natural instinct for self preservation in pursuit of defending his country. The other two have an abnormal psychological makeup that presents itself in the form of abnormal fear. This fear prevents them from choosing freely which instincts to suppress and which to encourage. Both shrink from the fight and protect themselves.

Now let’s say that both of the men see a psychologist and have that twist in the mind corrected. With free choice in hand, one of the men chooses to suppress the instinct of self preservation and joins the fight accordingly. The other man decides that self preservation is still the best course of action and let’s other men go onward to the fight in front of him. We would say the latter man has bad morals. We could blame him now, but we could not blame him before.

Another example:

A necrophiliac is a man who has sex with dead bodies. Two men commit the act of necrophilia, but only one them has a bad psychological makeup. The normal man’s morals are violated and he feels bad about what he’s done. In an attempt to reconcile his actions with his morals, he may construct different morals that allow the action. If this continues, he may inflict psychological damage on himself and eventually become as bad off as the other man.

The man with bad psychological makeup feels his actions are normal and his morals are not violated, though we cannot say he has any morals with respect to his perverted act. Now let’s say that this man begins to understand that his actions are wrong. This is the moment that morality begins. In an effort to change, once he perceives a better morality, he may set an inward law within himself to never do it again. If he follows this correct morality, he may expend more moral energy than some people have done their entire lives. He is going against his nature. Change on the inside is harder on the mind, will, and emotions than just an outward change of action.

Which one is the greater moral work? Is it the psychologically normal man who stops looking at pornography because he is made to, or the psychologically abnormal necrophiliac who goes against his nature, and stops having sex with dead bodies because he has an understanding of better morals. Both men, over time, will not be 100% successful at either pursuit without help, but we would still say it’s important that they try. Notwithstanding, we are not qualified to judge whether a man’s actions matches his morals. We cannot see man on the inside. It would be nice, though, to have a referee to tell us when we are out of bounds.

To sum up, the nature of man has two aspects: men are basically evil (perverted goodness) and strive for good the wrong way; and man may or may not have a good psychological makeup that allows him to make choices on a matter. Man is going one of two directions in relation to his morals. Either he is heading towards inner peace in himself and others (actions being congruent with his inward morals), or he is at war with himself and others (actions not congruent with his inward morals), assuming his psyche is normal. Either he is becoming a hellish creature or a heavenly creature. Indeed, the end result of continually violating an inward morality is hell itself (figuratively). Humanity strives to follow the morals they have while experiencing success and failure depending upon the amount of one’s inner strength on a given day. Humanity must also do mental checks to make sure they have the right morals, and make sure their minds aren’t damaged in any way.

However, how did we end up in this continual inward war with one’s self? It’s quite obvious to parents that small children possess instincts, feelings, and impulses; but do not possess a conductor to set them to the right tune. Like a piece of music that indicates which notes should be played and for how long; a good morality that sets the “human machine” in the right working order regulates which instincts, feelings and impulses must be suppressed and which must be encouraged. We don’t have morality when we’re born, neither did our parents, or their parents before them. Yet, morality is taught as part of the nurturing process. Where did this inward war originate?

This is where I will give the atheist, evolutionist, philosopher, and religious man a chance to answer. I would be very interested in the evolutionists answer, though I doubt they have one. If they have no answer, I will continue with part two.

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Dear Morally Average Atheist,

An atheist said the following:
“Do you find it at all questionable that, since you can’t offer any evidence that Christians who claim a higher moral standard, actually live to a higher moral standard, and that if anything, the evidence shows that they, Christians, actually live a moral standard that is lower than the moral standard of non believers?
Why is it that you pretty much shrug off actual evidence? I am guessing that if you could show that Christians actually lived to a higher moral standard, you wouldn’t hesitate, but since you can’t, you just ignore the fact that the evidence shows that proclaiming to have a higher moral standard is futile and meaningless, since it (the higher moral standard) has no affect on how believers (Christians) behave.”

Surely, you are not saying it’s useless to try to follow a better standard because no one else does. Your observation does not diminish your responsibility in this area. For instance, if no one in the world got their math completely right and everyone averaged about the same amount of mistakes, striving toward perfect arithmetic would still be good. If, however, a group of people were told the right way of doing math, and chose to ignore the instruction, and still averaged the same amount of mistakes as everyone else, should a math enthusiast be content to be average just because it’s average? No, he should find out what is the correct way, and continue to do what is correct to do. That’s when real progress is made. The ones who know what is right and willingly do wrong should be counted as rebellious, deceived in some way, possessing a hindered mental ability, or persuaded the opposite way to the point of exhaustion.

It is the same with morality. A higher morality of the mind exists as instruction for the “human machine” to be run smoothly. If we are only concerned with others, we will do just enough to get by, and no progress will be made. Also, if the human machine isn’t run in proper order, men will hinder society eventually. The man who does right because his mind is right is in better working order than a man who does right because he is made to. The latter will eventually collide with other men and do harm.

In response to the statement that Christians do not follow their own higher moral standards, I initially did not know what to say. I could cite my own experience and show how I have progressed but that would be lifting myself up. I could have cited other men whom I know have followed this higher moral standard, but again that would be lifting up other men. Pride would be noticed in either statement, and my efforts would be useless because this pride would indicate the opposite of what I was trying to say.

Christians (who follow a higher morality of the mind), of all people, count themselves the vilest of men. When a man is getting better he understands more and more clearly the evil that is left in him. When a man is getting worse he understands his own badness less and less. This is common sense, really. You can see mistakes in arithmetic when your mind is working properly: while you are making them you cannot see them. The man who strives for right knows where he has gone wrong. The man who is completely wrong in the mind, knows neither right nor wrong, but views all he does as acceptable until someone says otherwise. If men know to do right, they should do it, regardless of what others around them are doing.

(This post is a continuation of the post “Dear Moral Atheist”)

A Changing God

I do not necessarily believe the following:

When did God decide that he would send His Son to die for our sins? The Bible says he was the lamb slain from the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:19-20) It would seem that God decided this before man took of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. But maybe not. Which world was God talking about? Some people claim there are two worlds mentioned in the Bible, an old world and a new world. 2 Peter 2:5 mentions an old world. This old world was the world before the flood. The new world was the world after the flood. Psalm 24:1-2 says this new world was established on the floods.

So here’s how his works:

  1. God had one plan for creation from the beginning.
  2. Adam sinned.
  3. Man became depraved.
  4. God saw his plan was not working anymore.
  5. God sent the flood to destroy everything making a new world.
  6. God started over with a new plan. (Jesus dying for our sins)

However, the earth may have been established on the floods from the beginning of creation as suggested by this video that discusses the hydroplate theory:

So… what’s the point of believing there are two worlds?

Maybe God didn’t know that man was going to sin. And God didn’t necessarily put the tree of knowledge of good and evil there to give man a choice. I’m sure that was part of it, but God may have intended for man to eventually eat of the fruit once he had matured. The fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil was not inherently wrong. The tree didn’t bring death. Man’s actions did. Death came by sin. This may be illustrated by the following story of a little girl riding in a car with her father. She asks, “What is sex daddy?” Her father said nothing but continued the journey and eventually parked the car. He got out and asked his daughter to carry his briefcase. She pulled the briefcase out of the car and it fell heavily to the ground. She tried to pick it up but could not do so. As he watched this struggle her father replied, “Some things are too much for you to handle at this age. Just like this briefcase some subjects you will not be able to carry correctly till you mature.”

So, God may have intended for us to eat of the tree of knowledge at a certain time in the future.

Conversely, the tree of life was supposed to make man live forever. Both trees were in the midst of the garden. The principle follows that when I would do good, evil is present with me. If Adam was to choose the tree of life, the tree of knowledge of good and evil was there as well. This leads me to believe that Adam had not eaten of the tree of life because man obviously does not live forever. Gen 3:22 further relates that man should not be allowed to eat of the tree of life because then he would live forever in sin. The power of life was apparently more potent than death. However, the ban might have eventually been lifted on the tree of knowledge once man had matured.

I said all this to say that God may have waited to see what man would do before he decided to send his son to die for us. But does this mean he didn’t know what man was going to do? This thought seems to violate a natural attribute of God: Omniscience (all-knowing). So… God doesn’t know the future? What am I saying?

God gave man freewill, the ability to choose. Man is the wild card of creation choosing this or that at whim. However, God does know your thoughts before you think them as evidenced in Psalms 139. Could not God have known what Adam was going to think and know he was going to sin? But if this is true, then God provided the tree planning that man would sin and accordingly, Jesus was the lamb slain from the foundation of the “old world.”

What if it is true that God had one plan for the old world and a replacement plan for the new world. Does God change like that? Does he know the future or choose not to know? The Bible has a few stories where God changes his mind.

  1. God was going to destroy the Israelites and Moses stopped him. (Exodus 32:9-14)
  2. God was going to destroy the city of Nineveh but changed his mind after they repented. (The Book of Jonah)
  3. God divorced Israel and said he would take them back if they repented. Jeremiah 3:8-11
  4. God changes people from the outside in (Old Testament), God changes people from the inside out (New Testament)

It would seem that God’s mind can be changed by the will of man. Let me stress before we go any further that God’s character doesn’t change but his actions can be changed. I don’t know how that works if God knows the future though. It may be that this is just the way that God likes to do things: i. e. Wait and see what man is going to do.

So here are my questions to the reader:

  1. Did God change plans?
  2. If God changed plans, what was his first plan?
  3. Are there really two worlds?
  4. What do you think about the Hydroplate Theory?
  5. Does this really affect our lives?