Ryan wrote:Here is the difference between your analogy and mine, God isn't coming into a public building with a gun. All things are His, so to put it into perspective using your analogy, it would be more akin to a man going into His own house and finding someone harassing, abusing and murdering his family. The man has authority because it is his house and his family whom he loves and he is well within his right to defend them, up and to death.
I am sure many an abuser of children and wives have said exactly the same thing. Whether we are talking about a gunman, a crime boss, a rapist or an abuser in the family, the logic is the same and it is criminal.
mitchellmckain wrote:Authority does not come from power, I refute that completely. Authority comes from responsibility or knowledge not from threats.
Authority comes from position.
NO! That thinking is real temptation in the fall of man itself. I am talking about thinking that authority and otherwise being like God, who says what is good and what is evil, can be gained not by learning from Him, but simply getting handed to you in some way, like a position where you can dictate it to others however you like. That is what created to whole mess that we are in now.
Ryan wrote:Responsibility comes from power and authority.
That is demonstrably false. Plenty of people have aquired power and used it to put themselves in the position of authority and acted not only irresponsibly but with every kind of evil imaginable.
Ryan wrote: Does the President have authority in the United States because he has knowledge or because he has the position?
The presidency is a job with responsibilites that someone is elected to do. We elect him because we need someone to take those responsibilites. That kind of authority comes from responsibility. It has nothing to do with knowledge.
Ryan wrote:How do you get responsibility or power without already having authority?
Jesus explains this. "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authyority over them. It shall not be so among you
; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave; even as the Son of man came not to be served but to serve, and give his life as a ransom for many."
Even people in the workplace understand this principle. You get responsibility by serving people -- by doing the work that needs to be done. Only the most childish and sinful minds can possibly think they get authority by having it just handed to them for doing absolutely nothing. It has indeed happened in the past especially in empires and monarchies and the results are typically disastrous if not nightmarish.
Ryan wrote:Your definition of authority is in terms of what one knows as in "he is an authority on the subject" but the Biblical definition of authority is as of a king.
And yet in 2 Samuel 8 we find God's opinion of kings, which can best be described as disgust.
11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.
Rev 19:11-16 (ESV)
Please tell me, how do you square the above passage with your interpretation and idea of who God is?
You have got to be kidding -- literal interpretations of Revelations. You are really grasping at straws! But no, in general this is not something that I will interpret. I don't do eschatology. Seeing bunny rabbits in the clouds seems more rational to me than that. But no I do not see any great explanations of the character and nature of God in this. I can only speak of some of the symbolism that do understand. The sharp sword coming out of the mouth, for example is a symbol of the truth, not a magical power for combat and genocide, which says that God's method of destroying evil is to speak the truth. As for God's wrath, I have already spoken of this to you extensively and I am not going repeat myself.
Ryan wrote:But sanctification is a process which requires participation.
Also, notice he says "faith apart from works" as in as a separate issue to while James (James 2:24) says "and not by faith alone" as in not exclusively. They aren't contradictions, but separate issues. One talking about justification in terms of salvation, the other talking about justification in terms of sanctification.
Yep. Salvation is the work of God but it is a work of God in us. Salvation is all about a transformation of who and what we are, because Heaven isn't a vacation paradise that you buy a ticket for. Heaven is something that good people create around them because of who they are.
Ryan wrote:"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." Are you saying that this statement is salvation by works? I certainly don't see it that way.
That depends on whether you read this with the eyes of a religious legalist looking for a formula by which he can say that he saved others are damned. John 3:16 is not Jesus' answer to the question of what must I do the be saved (we have the answer to that in Matthew 19:26 which is "with man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible). John 3:16 is about what God did and why. The why is not offense or glory but love for us, and what He did was to send His only Son.
Ryan wrote:In the analogy, the judge would be God, coming down off the bench to pay the debt through His incarnate Son, Jesus Christ for your sins (hence you would be the defendant). You believe that is not Biblical?
Well you may be able to create your crime boss image of God out of what the Bible says but it is little different that the Israelites making a golden calf out the things of the earth which God has made.
Ryan wrote:If God forgives without payment, what then is the death of Christ for?
Is this magical Christianity where the sacrifice of some special innocent human being has some power to make God forgive us?
It is not literally about payment. You cannot make what you have done go away with payments. That whole propitiation thing was never anything but symbolic. So in the first chapter of Isaiha, God says he is sick of our "propitiations", sacrifices, ceremonies and indulgences, they don't pay for anything. They never had any purpose for him, but only a purpos to help us to change our habits and turn away from evil. The idea that sins can be paid for is just the absurd fantasy of legalists.
The death of Christ is however about justice. And justice isn't really about payment. Justice is really about facing and accepting the fact that our actions have consequences. Jesus' death on the cross forces us to accept the fact that our sin will destroy everything that is good and it is only by accepting that fact that we can get through the lies and delusions of our sin to make a relationship with the living God.
Forgiveness isn't something that God finds difficult to do or requires payment in order for Him to do it. The problem is that cheap forgiveness will not help us to be responsible and face the destructiveness of our sins.
mitchellmckain wrote:The difference is between deciding what you believe because you have a gun pointed at you telling you to believe it or die, and deciding what you believe because that is what you see all around you in the world that you live in and thus know to be real. It is the difference between intellectual honesty and the cowardice of a sniveling worm.
I reject your analogy of a "criminal with a gun" because it is in no way similar to what I am saying, I am curious if you will re-answer it using what I have said about what I believe and not some straw-man about a crime boss.
A rose by any other name is still a rose and skunk is still a skunk when you call it by prettier name. You can call your crime boss, father, god or godfather all you want just as the Mafia does. I don't care what you call him, if he uses the methods of a gunman, crime boss, rapist or abuser to rule by fear for his own self-centered selfish pursuits then I will see him for what he is and denounce him. I don't care what pretty promises the devil makes or what terrifying threats, the character of the god of this world makes it clear just what he really is and I will oppose him at ANY cost.
Ryan wrote:Couldn't someone say the same thing about your view, Mitchell? Couldn't someone just say, "HEY!! I never asked for this "responsibility" why is it fair to force me to accept it or else I am subjected to living out some "self-imposed hell"?
mitchellmckain wrote: Yes people can and do say this. Nobody asks for life because that would be an impossibility. You cannot be asked if you want to be alive until you are already alive. So while people can and do say this, it is completely irrational. You can only choose whether to embrace life or reject it, and this is in fact the fundamental choice that God has put before, and so He says, "I set before you life and death therefore choose life." If you choose death the only thing He can do is mourn for the loss of His child, but He cannot live for you because that isn't life. This is why the possibility of evil is inherent in life and free will, because it always includes the possiblity that you will do this irrational thing and choose against life itself. To this there is no answer and this is why universalism is wrong. It is an unavoidable part of life, free will and love that the one to whom you offer these things can reject what you offer.
What gave God the right to put me in a position where I have to make these fundamental choices whether I want to or not? Why do I have to suffer in a hell of my own making because God decided to plop me into existence and put this choice in front of me?
He did not "plop you down into existence". That is absurd. Before you exist there is no you that you can accuse Him of doing anything to. What God did is create life. Life is a phenomenon of self-organization by which living things create themselves. It is true that the creation of life is not an inherently moral thing to do, because suffering is an unavoidable part of life. So its morality depends on the motivation. To create life for selfish reasons such a glorifying yourself the way that Frankenstien did in Mary Shelly's book, that is a great evil. The creation of life is something that human beings do all the time when they become parents, and its morality depends on our motivation. The only motivation for the creation of life that is moral is that of love, in which is found the commitment to be there with encouragement and comfort through that unavoidable suffering of life.
But the risk remains that you will do the irrational thing and choose not to embrace life but choose death, and the only justice is that you will get only what you choose for yourself.
Ryan wrote:How is that any different than your analogy of a criminal with a gun?
The difference is methodology. Those who use the methods of a criminal, thinking that they must be obeyed just because they can shoot you, they ARE no different from the criminal with the gun. That is different from the methods of Jesus, who says that real authority coms from service and the responsibility that comes from that service. It also comes from the hard work of a student or scholar who makes the effort to learn proficency in something so that people can see that he knows what he is talking about.
Ryan wrote:Why must I choose life or death?
You must choose it because you exist as a living organism. It is the nature of what you are. You can embrace life and live or you can die.
Ryan wrote:Isn't that what the person with the gun in their face is being given a choice of?
No it is not. The choice of someone with the gunman's gun in his face is to obey or not according to the lie that whether they obey or not determines whether the gunman will kill you. Because this very thing demonstrates that the gunman is a liar and immoral, logic dictates that most likely the right thing to do is not what the gunman says to do. The very fact that the gunman says he will kill you for selfish reasons reveals that this is not a person who is trustworthy and so his promises mean nothing. This goes for EVERYONE who uses the same methods. It only proves they are worthy of contempt rather than obedience.
Ryan wrote:but what gave God the right to make it possible in the first place and thus make us choose?
There is no such right. The creation of life is not something that anyone has a "right" to do. And thus doing it must be justified by the motivation one has for doing so.
I said this before I even read what follows.
Ryan wrote:You are positing a situation that, while different in substance, is no different in essence to that of an appeal to Authority. You are saying that God had the right to put me into existence
Oops... there goes your whole argument down the drain with your false claims about what I am saying.
mitchellmckain wrote:So again we come back to the basic question? Is something right because God commands it or does God command it because it is right?
Why is it one or the other and not both/and?
Because both is not a distinct alternative. To say it is both is exactly the same as saying that it is right because God commands it. Either is it right for a reason other than God's choice or it is not. But this is beginning to sound like a two year old's game of repeating "why" to every answer you give to a question. It is childish game.
But how does he know what works Mitchell?
Such a question only has meaning in the context of living creatures who begin microscopically and have to learn and grow to every bit of ability and knoweldge that they have. God is not such a being.
Just throw in the doctrine of all-knowing or is it because it comes out of His nature and permeates the reality which He created?
I am leaning towards the idea that you don't have children (or don't discipline them if you do) because you see warnings as threats.
Incorrect. I have three boys ages 17, 15 and 5. But perhaps you are right that I am not the same kind of parent that you are, because I certainly don't limit myself to the methods of a crime boss or abuser that you seem to think is so great. Like I said before when they are very young and cannot understand things like knowledge and responsibility and the authority that comes from these, then you have no choice but to use power. Are all your children that young or have you continued to treat your children like toddlers even when they are older?
If my child is playing in traffic, I should just let him or should I warn him of the consequences up to punishing him for not listening? Or should I just let him wander around aimlessly figuring everything out for himself the hard way, when some of those ways lead to death?
What you do is warn your child just like God warned Adam and Eve, saying that if they play in the street then they will die. But this is because the danger is real and their are consequences that cannot be fixed. You are giving this command because you know the dangers and not just to test their obedience or throw your weight around with the attitude that right and wrong is whatever you say it is. This way of giving absolute commands is indeed how you deal with a very young child and it is a natural step in the process of teaching them to be responsible and leaning to keep themselves from harm, for just keeping them chained up and out of harms way will never let them learn this. But you give such a command in such an uncompromising way even though you know that the child will grow up and safely be able to go into the street someday. A very appropriate punishment for not demonstrating such a minimal step towards responsible behavior is for a time to again treat them as a younger child whom you would never even allow the possibility of going into the street, in fact, if you know that they are not obeying you on this then it would be irresponsible of you as a parent to do otherwise. However, to tell the truth, I would be very very reluctant to judge any parent about something like this, because each child is so different that the only people (besides God) who know enough about the child to make any kind of valid judgement is these parents themselves.
With God, its a little like walking into wind, when you turn your face towards it you can feel it on your face, but when you turn and walk the other way, you feel it on your back... on the face would represent mercy on the back would represent wrath... it isn't that God changed His mind, its that people have chosen the direction in which they walk. Because God gives a warning that when you walk in the wrong direction you will experience the consequences does not make it a threat coming from a man with a gun.
Now you are speaking my language in the same manner that I always speak of the God that I believe in -- the one who tells us things because they are right and warns of the consequences of doing otherwise.
How do you explain all the many warnings God gives in scripture with your view that only a criminal with a gun would make threats like that?
I explain them exactly as you just did, FOR THE FIRST TIME in any of the discussion I have had with you.