God is Love?

The other night my little guy brought me the story of Noah to read to him before bedtime. The book starts with this description of Noah on Page 1:

A long time time ago there lived a man called Noah.
Noah was a good man, who trusted in God.

Alright… fair enough. Turn to Page 2. This is where we learn about the type of God that Noah trusted.

The following conversation is purely fictional and has occurred only in my mind… well, except for the conclusion.

G: Daddy, what does wicked mean?

D: Well, it means they had done some things wrong that God didn’t like. They had broken God’s rules.

G: So, God’s going to punish them? Like, give them a time-out.

D: Not exactly. He’s going to cause a flood and drown all of the wicked people.

G: But Daddy, I thought God loved people.

D: So did I son, so did I.

84 thoughts on “God is Love?”

  1. Organized religion is about authority structures and dogmas. If me, Joe, or 3,000 people get together to do good works in the name of Jesus, that’s not organized religion. It’s organized works.Yours,a complete idiot,Zeke

  2. dufflehead “Goddess worship? so you think god is a man? the fact that the bible was written from a patriarchal society is no nevermind then?”I think God is not really male or female in the sence that we are. But God wants to be refered to as he and He did send his son, Jesus who is a male. And Jesus told us to pray to the Father. Jesus is equal to the Father.God could have told the first person to find Jesus’ tomb empty to shut up and only men are allowed to tell the world that the Lord has risen, but He gave that honor to a woman. “3 years as a Christian? wow, you must know everything then.”I know that, not quite three years is not that long, and I don’t claim to know every thing about the Bible. I am trying to learn as much as I can as fast as possible, time is short and there is much to learn. I do know this if someone is studying the Bible through eyes that want to find it full of holes, they will learn nothing.“fruit from your comments” well, the fruit from your comments, sable, (and zec) hurt someone by denying their love for God. is that good fruit?”Hold on if she loves the Lord, GOOD! But I think that she is up to something else. Like spreading doubt. So don’t try to make me feel bad, if she is hurt because of my reaction of thinking she doesn’t love the God of the Bible.Nun’s points: 1) What about all the children who were on the earth in Noah’s day? I guess they were wiped away by the flood as well. Those, evil, wicked toddlers and babies!What is she saying? Is she saying that God has no right to do this? Yet the whole time while Noah built the ark, the parents of these kids mocked Noah and God.2)There are flood stories on every habitable continent of the world, and in fact, the Babylonian text (which predates the Old Testament) has the flood of Gilgamesh described within it. The OT version sounds suspiciously similar to the Babylonian version.What is she saying here? The Bible is not to be trusted?3) If there are flood stories on every continent (and this is before white missionaries brought it to them during the Age of Exploration), it stands to reason that Noah and his family were NOT the only survivors of the flood. It’s likely that it was a localized flood and several family groups escaped to different continents with similar stories of the terrible flood, how it was a divine punishment from their deity, and how the deity allowed them to survive.What is she saying here? Is it not a consideration that after the flood people did re-populate the earth and with them and their new confused languages, left to fill the world after the tower of Babal, to tell their version of the flood story to their future children.4) Noah’s daughters didn’t have husbands at the time. Noah’s sons’ wives were saved, but I guess no one (including Noah) thought it important to ensure the human race was carried on through the daughter’s seed as well (of course, given that women were seen as little more than an incubator for the man’s “seed,” that’s not surprising). So, when everyone but Noah’s family was destroyed in the flood, Noah’s daughters were doomed to live husbandless and childless; thus taking away their only worth in such a patriarchal society. No wonder they got their father drunk and slept with him as a way to bear children. How does this happen after 4 years of studying the Bible in a college? Why am I coming to the feeling that she wants to undermine the Bible instead of bring understanding to it? Tell me Dufflehead about her love for the word of God.“maybe i should just refer to you as a viper now instead of a chicken?” I don’t care what you call me.

  3. zecryphon said:<>These people broke God’s laws or rules and since God could read their hearts, He must have seen that they weren’t even sorry about what they were doing. <>But what “laws or rules” were broken, especially seeing that the Mosaic law didn’t come until hundreds of years later.My best explanation, at least at this time, is that love always includes punishment when we do wrong. In the case of Noah, wickedness was more a condition of the heart…a lasting, damning condition, that must receive the justice that is from God.

  4. Ninja said: “So, when everyone but Noah’s family was destroyed in the flood, Noah’s daughters were doomed to live husbandless and childless; thus taking away their only worth in such a patriarchal society. No wonder they got their father drunk and slept with him as a way to bear children.”I thought it was just Lot’s daughters that had to resort ton incest to ensure their survival and the survival of the species, if you will. If it was permissible to sleep with Noah, why would it not make more sense for the daughters to sleep with their brothers, Noah’s sons? That’s how Adam and Eve’s kids must have populated the earth. Was the gene pool still pure enough during Noah’s lifetime to allow for incest during the time of Noah, as it must have been during the lifetime of Adam’s kids?

  5. “i thought Christ moved us beyond the law. or maybe i missed something.”Where did you get this idea? It’s been my understanding that Christ came to fulfill the law not abolish it.“God told the flood story?”That’s always been my understanding. Who did he tell it to? who wrote it down?”My answer to your two questions would be Moses. But let’s take a look at what is written in my bible, which is The Archaeological Bible NIV by Zondervan.“Genesis is strictly speaking an anonymous work. Historical tradition, however as well as Biblical attestations, assigns authorship to Moses. See Mark 12:26; Luke 24:27; John 1:45; Romans 10:5; and 2 Corinthians 3:15. Moses’ authorship would not have required him to write the entire book. In fact, all of the Genesis events took place long before Moses was born, indicating that he must have used sources. We might view Moses as an editor/historian who, in addition to receiving God’s direct and supernatural communication, drew together details of the family histories of Abraham and his descendants, as they existed in the Israelite community in Egypt, into a single text. “did they write it down word for word or embelish it?”Since we don’t have the origianl manuscripts, there is just no way to know. I guess whatever we believe about authorship of the Bible and it’s reliability we have to believe on faith.“how do we know? is it important one way or the other?”I believe it’s important. If we question God’s revelations to mankind in the Bible in one area, like the flood story, why do we trust His revelation that He will save us through His son Jesus in another without question or worry?

  6. Ninjanun has said the following:“The Bible, as far as I’m concerned, (and as Pete Grassow mentioned) is a common people doing the best they honestly can to explain the Unexplainable in the only terms they know how.”In my opinion these are not the words of someone who holds a high opinion of the scriptures or views them as a divine revelation from God about Himself. I have been taught that God has revealed Himself in three ways: creation, Jesus Christ and the Bible. Now I have heard the exact same statements that Nun made, also be made by atheists and agnostics. Since Ninjanun is neither an agnostic nor an atheist, I am genuinely confused as to why she views the Bible in this light. And why she would suggest that I have very little idea of who wrote the scriptures or why, without basis, simply because I hold a different view than she does is completely beyond me.I will meet her halfway on the inerrancy issue. I believe that the truly inerrant documents or writings were the originals, which due to time and erosion we just don’t have anymore. The scribes did the best they could and tried to copy the scriptures exactly as they were originally penned, because as I understand it, if you made a mistake in the copying process, you could pay for it with your life. That’s a good incentive to make sure people do a good job. 🙂 But nontheless mistakes have made their way into the Bible versions we have today. I believ the King James Version is said to have something like 130 errors in it alone. So it can’t be said to be truly inerrant, in the sense that people use that word. In the membership class I took at my former church they taught us that and I quote “the Bible doesn’t use the word inerrant but the idea is obvious.Psalm 19:7-9Psalm 119:43Psalm 119:142Psalm 119:160John 17:17An inaccurate Bible contradicts God’s character quality of absolute truthfulness.Titus 1:2Hebrews 6:18Some consider this a minor issue, but the idea that the Bible contains errors opens the door to serious spiritual danger. When people decide they have the authority to label one verse as a mistake, the soon find others that they consign to the “error” category. I’ve watched it happen over the years. Each generation rejects more and more Scripture, as it gets in the way of their own opinions.”Author: Dr. John BenchtleIf either you or Ninja wish to discuss this further you can email me at zecryphon@gmail.com Constantly taking up Steve’s blog space to conduct a discussion about composition and reliability of the Bible just isn’t cool.

  7. I shall begin by assuming that the issue of God’s existence is settled. We all believe that there is a God. As those who desire to know the truth, we must go one step further to find out what kind of God He is. God is the greatest Unknown. We must spend some time to find out about this unknown One. The next step now is to know what kind of a God He is. In the past few thousand years man has been inquiring about the nature of God. Is He kind or is He righteous? Is He indifferent towards us, or is He extremely interested in human affairs? These types of questions are the direct cause of all human religions. What is religion? Religion is man’s inquiry about God and his explanation of Him. Through these explanations, different men have arrived at different concepts about God. What kind of God is He? This is a big question. It is also a very serious question. We have all given our thought to this subject at one time or another. The question might even have occurred to our little mind when we were five years old. All men, educated or ignorant, have been intrigued by this question. It comes naturally after some contemplation and observation. But a person trying to speculate about God is like an ant attempting to understand a human being. It is extremely difficult for the little creature to try to realize our life, nature, and mind. In the same way it is impossible for us to try to comprehend God. For this reason, in the past few thousand years, all kinds of people, theologians and philosophers alike, have done much thinking about Him. What has God been doing all this time? Has He been indifferent to us or has He tried to reveal Himself to us? What is God’s attitude? Do you think He would say, “I am God and have nothing to do with human beings. I do not care what you think about me. I shall stay in heaven as God. Let the mortals be ignorant!” Or do you think He has a desire to reveal Himself to man and visit him? When I was in India, I saw some people lying naked on beds studded with nails. Some walked with bare feet on burning coals. These people devoted a great deal of energy to seeking after God. What has God done to them? Did He hide Himself and take no notice of them at all? Has He not kept Himself as a perpetual mystery? This is a great question. We have to consider it scientifically and objectively in order to find out what God is like. A few years ago I spoke on a similar subject to some medical students in an auditorium in Cheloo University. I said that man is an organism with a life. God also is a life. Man’s life is higher than that of the lower animals, and God’s life is even higher than that of man. I asked the students, “Since we realize that all living organisms have some common laws and express some common traits, can you name them?” Different ones then started to bring up different points. At the end we summed up the discussion in this way: all living organisms contain two common characteristics. You can call these characteristics their common expressions or their common laws. First, every life wants to preserve itself. It tends to reproduce itself. There is the ability to produce posterity, to continue its own life. Second, every life wants to have fellowship with other lives. It cannot stand being by itself. When a man cannot find fellowship with another human being, he goes to dogs, cats, fish, or birds and makes friends with animals. All living creatures desire fellowship. Based on these two characteristics of life, namely, the preservation of itself and fellowship with others, laws of human government are instituted. For example, the death penalty reflects a convict’s desire to preserve his own life; punishment comes in the form of taking away and terminating such a life. This is the way to inflict suffering on a life. Imprisonment, as a less serious punishment, cuts him off from having fellowship with others. This reversal of the life principle becomes then a suffering for him. From this we see that punishment is applied according to the principles of life. With these two chief characteristics in mind, let us turn to the life of God. God is an organism of a higher order than human beings. He is naturally governed by this law of life. We can know God by the characteristics and distinctive features of His life. From this we can deduce whether or not God wants to have fellowship with man. There are two kinds of religion: religion based on natural concepts and religion based on revelation. Natural religion starts with man as the center. He is the one that is seeking after God and studying about Him. What then is revelational religion? Revelational religion comes directly from God. He is the One who comes to reveal things to us. Man’s thoughts are often useless fancies. God’s revelation alone is trustworthy. Christianity is different from all other natural religions in that it is a religion that comes from revelation. Christianity begins from God. It is God who comes to seek out man, rather than man who seeks after God. I will not try to persuade you to believe in Christianity or to read the Bible. I will only make a few suppositions. We will treat the subject in the same way as if we were solving a problem in geometry. We will start from the suppositions and then deduce our arguments step by step. We will examine our reasoning’s to see if they are sound and if our conclusions are logical. As in mathematics, with some problems we work forwards, while with others we work backwards. At any rate, in the end we should be able to tell whether or not a supposition is justified. We have to make a few suppositions. The first one is that God exists. This in fact has been covered by us already. We have agreed that there is a God. He is a Being who has a purpose. Second, we assume that God has a desire to reveal Himself to man. If God wants to reveal Himself to man and if He wants us to know Him, how does He do it? In what manner can He be made known to us? If He speaks to us through thunder or writes to us through lightning, we will not be able to comprehend His message. How then does God make Himself known to us? If He is to reveal Himself and if He wants us to know Him, He necessarily must do it through human means. What then are the common ways that men communicate with one another? First, they do it through speaking and second through writing. All means of communication, whether telegraph, telephone, sign, or symbols, are all included in these two categories. If God is to manifest Himself, these are the only two means for Him to do so. For the present we set aside the aspect of speaking; we will see how God communicates with us through writing. If God reveals Himself through writing, of all the volumes written by different people throughout the centuries, there must be one book which is divinely inspired. This is a very crucial test. If such a book exists, it proves not only the existence of God, but it contains His written revelation to us as well. Is there then such a divinely written book? In the search for such a book, let us first mention a few basic principles. Suppose I want to order a book from a publisher. If I can tell him the name and author of the book, there will be no trouble getting it. If, however, I forget the name and author of the book, I can describe the characteristics of it to the publisher, such as the contents, size, color, binding, etc. The publisher will then search through all his books and locates the volume I want. God has one book in this universe. How do we find it? We have to know its characteristics first. If there is any book that has been written by God, it must meet certain conditions or have certain qualifications before one can say that it is from God. Let me put forth a few propositions. If there is a book written by God, it must first of all mention God. It must tell you that it is from God and that its author is God. This is the first qualification. Second, it must carry a moral tone that is higher than what we commonly know. If it is a fabrication, it can at the most be on the same level as man. Third, if there is such a divine book, it must tell us about the past and the future of this world. Only God knows clearly what occurred in the past and what will happen in the future. Only by telling us these matters will we know Him as God. Fourth, this book must be simple and available so that all may be able to secure and understand it. If there were only one such book in the world, then only a very few people would be able to see it. It would not pass the test unless it is a book accessible to everyone. In the United States there is a group of people who claim to have a book from God. It is engraved in gold and contains only twelve pages. Such a book then would not be accessible to the Chinese. God would never write to us a book at which we could not look. Now the matter is simplified. Let us repeat these four conditions once more.(1) If such a book exists, it must tell us explicitly that its author is God.(2) It must carry a high tone of morality.(3) It must give a detailed description of the past and the future of the universe.(4) It must be available.Let us pick out some of the more important writings throughout human civilization and check them against these qualifications to see if any meets our requirements. We will start from books that are generally considered to be good. Let us take the Chinese classics of Confucius. They are immediately disqualified under the first requirement, for none of them claims to be written by God. They do have a high tone of morality, but they fail to give the origin and destiny of the world, the universe, and man. This does not mean that they are worthless books; it means that they do not contain the qualifications we want. They are not what we are looking for. Let us go to the classics of other cultures. There are numerous volumes of famous writings, but none of them passes the first test. They are all clearly written by man. They may be masterpieces in philosophy or morality, but they are not written by God, nor are they divinely inspired. We have to set them aside. There is a book in India called the Rig-Veda. It once dominated Hinduism. However, it does not claim to be written by God. Another book called the Avesta, written by a Persian named Zoroaster, is also extremely influential in the Middle East. It does not claim to be from God either. Moreover, its moral tone is not especially commendable. Let us come to the Koran of Mohammedanism. This is the closest one we can find. It tells us that it comes from God; it meets the first requirement. However, it does not fulfill the second requirement, for its moral tone is too low. The heaven it describes is full of lusts and flesh. God could never write a book with such licentiousness and immorality. Hence, this book does not pass the test of morality. After searching through all the books, you have to come finally to the Bible. If God desires to communicate with man, and if He does so through writing, then this is the only book that can pass the four tests. Hence, this must be the book God has for man. What does this book say? In the books of the law in the Old Testament, it says, “Thus saith the Lord,” at least five hundred times. Other books in the Old Testament repeat the phrase about seven hundred times. In addition to the references in the New Testament to the speaking of God, the Bible has more than two thousand claims of divine origin. If God has no intention of communicating with man, we can forget about this book. But if He does communicate with man through writing, then this book has to be of immense value. Can you find another book where God is claimed as its author that many times? We have to see if the Bible meets the second qualification. Let us take a look at its moral tone. Everyone who has studied this book confesses that it carries the highest moral standard. Even the sins of the noblest persons are recorded and condemned without mercy. Once a strong opposer of the Bible was asked by his son, “Why are you so strong against the Bible?” He answered, “If I do not condemn it, it will condemn me.” This book does not let us get by easily. The human concept is that all sexual acts outside marriage are considered as fornication. The Bible, however, says that even an evil thought is fornication. Human morality condemns an act of killing as murder, but the Bible condemns a slight hatred in the heart as murder. We consider a man who lets his enemy get by without paying vengeance as forgiving. But the Bible charges man to love his enemy. How high is its moral tone and how low we are before its standards! You cannot help but admit that it presents the best ethical code for humanity. Furthermore, this book describes in detail the past and future of the universe. Once a friend told me that he could believe in everything the Bible says except the parts in Genesis and Revelation where it talks about the origin and destiny of the heavens and earth. I told him that if this is indeed a book from God, it must, of necessity, contain these matters. If the Bible did not contain Genesis and Revelation, it would be the same as any other book, and we would have to look for another book; it would not be the one we want. But the past condition of the world and its future destiny are recorded here. Hence, the third qualification is also met. What is the circulation of such a book? Last year (1935), more than two hundred million copies were sold. Can you name another book that has such a high circulation rate? This statistic, moreover, is not limited to just last year; every year the number has remained approximately the same. In one sense this book is very popular. In another sense it is like a thorn in your hand; it pierces you. This book gives you a headache. It creates an unspeakable uneasiness within man. It even causes man to oppose it. In spite of this, its annual sales are still over two hundred million. Furthermore, this book is translated into more than seven hundred twenty languages. In every country and among every race, there is a translation of this unique book. It is extremely easy for anyone to obtain a Bible anywhere in the world. If the Rig-Veda were God’s book, then more than half of the world would perish due to a failure in obtaining it. Even if you put the Rig-Veda in my hand, I would still be unable to understand it. If only the educated ones can contact God, then I am destined to go to hell. If only the Indians have the opportunity, we Chinese, as well as other races, are out of hope. If God speaks through the Rig-Veda, then where can we find that book? Maybe we can only find the original copy in the London Museum. And even that may not contain the original meaning of God’s revelation to man. This is not all. The Bible contains sixty-six books and it is divided into the Old and New Testaments. It was written by no less than thirty people. The span from the time the first book was written to the time when the last book was finished is more than sixteen hundred years. The places where they were written are also different. Some were written in Babylon, some in Italy, some at one end of Asia Minor, others at the other end of the Mediterranean. Furthermore, the writers themselves differed in their backgrounds. Some were lawyers; some were fishermen. There were princes, and there were shepherds. All these writings by men of different backgrounds, languages, environments, and periods are put together. The amazing thing is that it is still a complete book. All those who have had some experience of editing know that in order to put together a few articles written by different authors, it is necessary for the authors to be of comparable level of academic achievements and viewpoints. Even when the academic standard and viewpoints are similar, there will still be conflicts and contradictions when you put five or six articles together. But the Bible, though complex in contents, contains history, poetry, laws, prophecies, biographies, and doctrines and was written by so many different ones at different times and under different circumstances, yet when you put them together, they surprisingly run as one continuous volume. There is no conflict or contradiction. They are written in one breath. If you read this book carefully, you have to admit that God’s hand is behind all the writings. More than thirty people of varied backgrounds and ideas in different times and places wrote these sixty-six books. When you group them up, they link together as if they were written by one individual. Genesis was written about fifteen hundred years before Christ, and Revelation was written ninety-five years after Christ. There is a time span of sixteen hundred years. One talks about the beginning while the other projects the end of the world. Yet whatever begins in Genesis is concluded in Revelation. This amazing feature cannot be explained in human terms. Every word of it has to be written by God through man. God is the motivating One behind the whole composition. There is another remarkable thing about this book. In itself it is a book that gives life. Yet countless numbers of people have lost their lives for its sake. There was a time when anyone who held this book in his hand would immediately be put to death. The most powerful empire in history was the Roman Empire. There was a time when this empire summoned all its forces to destroy this book. Everyone who possessed it would be inhumanly persecuted and later killed or burned. They wiped out thousands of people and burned countless copies of the Bible. They even set up a monument at a place where they killed Christians. On it was the inscription: “Christianity is buried here.” They thought that when they had burned all the Bibles and removed all the Christians, they would see Christianity lying there beneath their feet. But it was not long after that when the Bible came back again. Even in a country like England, which has already accepted Christianity as its state religion, you can still find tombs of martyrs for Christ if you visit different places there. Here and there you can find places where the Bible was once burned. Or you may come across a tombstone that tells you that such and such a person tried so hard and wrote so many books in his life to oppose the Bible. One place may tell you that the Bible was once burned there, and another place may tell you that Christians were once killed there. One signpost may point you to a statue of martyrdom, and another may point to a site of Bible burning. Why is it that so many people have tried so hard to oppose this book? Why is it that men would pass by other books, but would either oppose this book with every fiber of their being or would put their whole life to the stake for it? There must be something extraordinary here. Even if you do not believe that this is God’s word, you have to admit that there is something unusual about this book. This book seems to be very simple and easy. If you consider it from the historical point of view, it tells the origin of the universe, the earth, the plants, human beings, how they established their kingdoms, and how they will eventually end. This is all. There is nothing special about it. Yet it has been handed from generation to generation for centuries. Today it is still with us. Moreover, if you do not confess that it is truth, you have to conclude that it is false. You can disregard many books, but you cannot ignore this book. Nor will it ignore you. It will not let you go. It demands a verdict from you. It will not pass you by. Another remarkable thing about this book is that almost half of it is prophecy. Among the prophecies, almost half of them are fulfilled. The other half is for the future and await fulfillment. For example, it predicted the fate of the nations of Moab and Ammon and of the cities of Tyre and Sidon. Today when people talk about big cities, they mention London and Shanghai. Then it was Tyre and Sidon. They were two chief cities of the ancient world. The prophecies concerning these two cities were all fulfilled. Once I was in the Middle East. For some reason I did not visit those two places. However, I bought two pictures of those cities. It amazed me when I looked at those pictures. I could not help but believe in the Bible. It was prophesied that if these two metropolitan cities did not repent, they would be destroyed and devastated. Their land would become hills of rocks and pebbles where fishermen would come to dry their nets. In the pictures that I bought, there was nothing but fishing boats and open nets on the shore. This is only one small fact that proves the reliability of biblical prophecy. If you compare past events with the prophecies in the Bible, you will find that they all correspond one with another. For another example, take the birth of Christ. Isaiah prophesied concerning a virgin with child a few hundred years before Christ actually came. Later, He was born indeed of the Virgin Mary. The prophecy was accurately fulfilled. As the prophecies concerning the past have been fulfilled, so the prophecies concerning the future must also be fulfilled. If God desires to communicate with man, He must do so through common human channels of communication. He must use the human language or human writings. In other words, there must be a book in the world that is a direct revelation from God. If such a book does exist, it must contain the four criteria we mentioned. Now we can say that such a book is found. This book tells us that God desires to have fellowship with us. He speaks to us through this book. Through it God is no longer an unknown Being. We can now know Him. This book is the Bible. I hope all of you will read it.THIS IS SERIOUS: WAS JESUS CRAZY? WAS HE A LUNATIC? OR THE BIGGEST LIAR?God desires to reveal Himself to us. He does so through means that are comprehensible to man. These are namely written and spoken language. We have seen how God reveals Himself through writing. Now we want to take a look at His revelation through speaking. Suppose that you have had correspondence with a person for many years; however, you have never seen him. Naturally, you would want to know him more by having some direct acquaintance with him. Full understanding of someone cannot be achieved merely through writing. Direct contact gives a better chance. It seems as if communication through speech is of a more intimate and thorough nature than writing. When spoken language is added to written language, communication becomes enhanced. If you take away either of the two, you have a gap. Of course, if you take away both, communication is completely voided. Effective communication is always carried out by these two means. If God’s intention is to reveal Himself to us, He must of necessity do so through speaking. But how does God speak? Does He trumpet from the heavens? If so, we would all be frightened to death. We would all run away. No one would dare to listen. There is a chasm between Him and us. He, being so high and great, would drive us away from His holiness. How then does He speak?THE WINTER ON THE MOUNTAINLet me relate to you a story. One winter I was staying on the mountain Lu-shan, recovering from an illness. It was immediately after the war, and there was practically no one living on the mountain. In the vicinity of my dwelling, one could hardly see anyone all day long. I am a quiet person by nature. This kind of environment was very appealing to me. Not only was it quiet there, but the weather was cold as well. From morning till dusk, all I saw was a boy who came three times to deliver my meals. At the beginning I was quite at ease. But after a while, even a person like me began to feel lonely. One day after lunch I went to take a nap. There was a balcony outside my bedroom window. When I woke up I saw some little creatures gathering around the balcony. Bits of my meal had been dropped there, and the birds were busily chirping around them. As they hopped around, they chirped and made many cheerful noises. I said to myself, “All right. Since I cannot find any human beings, I will try to make friends with these little birds.”I rose up and went out to greet them. But in an instant they all flew away. An idea came to me. I took some of the leftover rice and began to arrange it in rows, with only a few grains in the first row and gradually increased them towards the entrance of the doorway. I hid behind the door and watched them coming. Soon they gathered around again. I said to me, “This is my chance.” I walked out and began to make friends with them. But the minute they saw me, they all scattered. Some perched on the branches of the tree across the balcony and stared at me, as if trying to determine what my intention was. Every time I approached them, they flew away, and every time I walked away, they came back. This went on a number of times. I wanted to preach to the birds. I wanted to tell them, “Little birds, I have no special intention in doing this. This is winter on the mountain, and food is scarce. I have enough food with me, and I just want to share it with you. Please be at peace and come down. I only ask that as you eat, I can sit among you. I want to listen to your songs and watch you playing. Come. Let us be friends…” But the birds would not come. They did not understand me. I had to give up. Later I had a certain realization within. I began to preach to myself. I said, “This body of mine is too big. If I could shrink from five feet eleven inches to the size of a bird, and even change myself into a bird, they would not be alarmed by my presence. I could then tell them my heart’s intention, and we could spend the winter on the mountain Lu-shan together.”We have a similar problem today. If God remained God, we could never understand Him. If He talked to us in His language, we would be altogether lost. If God wants to reveal Himself through speaking and have fellowship with man, He must shrink Himself to such a degree that He and we are the same. Only then would He be able to speak to us and tell us of Himself and of the mysteries of the universe. Only then would we be able to understand Him. Has God become a man to reveal Himself through His speaking? Let us again use the method of supposition. What if God revealed Himself through the human language? What if He became a man and fellowshipped with man? The implication is tremendous here! It would mean that in this world, among all the human beings throughout history, one person was not merely a man, but God as well! If it is granted that God became a man, there must be a mortal who was also divine. We need to find out about this One. This is a thorny task. But we will employ the effective method we have adopted—namely, setting down a few principles. Then we will search according to these qualifications and directions. We want to base our evaluation on what manner of life a person should possess and what qualifications he must have if he is God.The first condition that this person must fulfill is that he must claim to be God while he is on earth. He cannot be apologetic about it. He must declare boldly that he is God. Only then can we know who he is. Without this declaration, we have no way to guess his identity. Hence, a declaration is our first qualification.Second, the way this person came into the world must be different from ours. If I said that I am God and yet was born in the same manner as every other mortal, my words would carry no force. If on the other hand, I dropped down from heaven; my assertion would be taken seriously. The way this person comes into being must be extraordinary. He must come in an absolutely different fashion; otherwise, his words will not carry the necessary weight. Third, this man must bear a moral standard that is far above that of all other human beings. He must have God’s holiness, and his life must bear the mark of God’s righteousness. For example, if I became a bird and lived in exactly the same way as other birds, without showing them anything extraordinary, I could not convince them that I was actually a man. If God is to become a man, His moral behavior must be of the highest quality. This is the only way that we could identify Him as God. Furthermore, if a person is God, he must necessarily be able to perform things which no mortal can do. If he can achieve what we cannot achieve and know what we do not know, we can say that he is truly God. Lastly, this person must be able to tell us the divine purpose concerning man. What was God’s purpose in creating the universe and man? How does He take care of human pains and sorrows? What is the origin and ultimate solution of everything in the universe? What should our attitude towards God be? All these he must reveal to us. Unless this one shows us what we do not see, we cannot say that he has shown us any revelation. We will set down these five conditions and put the whole of humanity to the test. Let us find out if someone meets the five requirements. Such a person would surely be qualified to be God. The first person to put to the test should be yourself. Of course, you are not God, because you have never claimed to be God. Nor have I ever claimed to be. So that rules out you and me. Very well, now we will introduce Confucius. If you read his books, you will find that he did conduct a very moral and proper life. But he never claimed to be God either. Hence, he fails in the first step. What about Sakya Muni, the founder of Buddhism? Not only was there an absence of the claim of divinity, but his philosophy itself is void of deity. He did not believe in the existence of God. Since he had no God, he cannot be God either. Next, go to Mohammed. He believed in God. But he never claimed to be God. He called God Allah and himself the prophet of Allah. If you go through every person in history, you will discover that no one ever claimed to be God except One. That One was Jesus of Nazareth. He claimed to be the living God. No other person put forward such a claim. How can Jesus of Nazareth claim to be God? Before going on, we have to pause for a moment to seriously consider the matter. It is not a light thing to claim to be God. A person who makes such a claim falls into one of three categories. He must belong to one of these three categories; he cannot belong to all three. First, if he claims to be God and yet in fact is not, he has to be a madman or a lunatic. Second, if he is neither God nor a lunatic, he has to be a liar, deceiving others by his lie. Third, if he is neither of these, he must be God. You can only choose one of the three possibilities. If you do not believe that he is God, you have to consider him a madman. If you cannot take him for either of the two, you have to take him for a liar. There is no need for us to prove if Jesus of Nazareth is God or not. All we have to do is find out if He is a lunatic or a liar. If He is neither, He must be the Son of God. These are our three choices. There is no fourth. What did Jesus of Nazareth say about Himself? In John 10:30 He said, “I and the Father are one.” We need some explanation here. In the Bible the invisible God is called the Father. The Son manifests and expresses the Father. What is hidden is the Father, and what is expressed is the Son. The Son is the One who can be seen and touched. Behind, you have the Father. In front, you have the Son. The two are actually one. They are the two sides of the same reality. When we talk about two, we refer to the fact that one is hidden while the other is revealed. When we talk about one, we say that the revealed One is just the hidden One in manifestation. This is the biblical interpretation of the Father and the Son. Therefore, when Jesus of Nazareth one day said, “I and the Father are one,” it was a statement that no one else could make. This man was saying in reality that He and the invisible God are one entity. He is God and God is He. God is the invisible Father, and He is the manifested Son. The Father and the Son are one! Who can this One be that made such a claim? Is He a madman? Is He out to deceive us? After Jesus spoke such a word, what reaction do we see? “The Jews again took up stones that they might stone Him. Jesus answered them, I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of these works are you stoning me? The Jews answered Him, We are not stoning You for a good work, but for blasphemy, and because you, being a man, are making Yourself God” (vv. 31-33). The Jews understood very well that Jesus’ words meant that He claimed to be God. After hearing these words they wanted to stone Him to death. A claim was made by Jesus, and an accusation was charged by the Jews, both of which concerned His divinity. Was Jesus insane? Did He speak pure nonsense just to cause people to kill Him? Or was He a swindler setting up some kind of a scheme? If so, what was He trying to gain? Was He trying to gain death? Perhaps we will go back a little bit to the earlier parts in the Gospel of John and see what it says there. John 1:18 says, “No one has ever seen God; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” Why has no one seen God? It is because God is invisible. Jesus said that He was the only Begotten of the Father; He expressed the invisible Father. When you see the only Begotten, you see the Father. Again He spoke concerning Himself, “And no one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended out of heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven” (3:13). Have you ever heard anyone say such words? I cannot say, “No one has been to Shanghai, but he who comes from Shanghai to Tientsin, even I, Watchman Nee, who is in Shanghai.” If I say so, I would be gibbering nonsense. But Jesus was speaking a heavenly language. He said that He came out of heaven and is still in heaven. What can a person be if he can be in two places simultaneously? Either he is God or he is a lunatic or he is a liar. If you have not yet believed in Christ, please give a verdict to this issue. Who is this man? Let us read John 3:31-32: “He who comes from above is above all; he who is from the earth is of the earth and speaks out of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. What He has seen and heard, of this He testifies, and no one receives His testimony.” He said that He came out of heaven and was above all. After a while He said the same thing again. Let us see what the purpose behind these words is. He came to preach the things of heaven, but no one received His words. He mentioned words like “heaven,” “above all,” “out of heaven,” etc. What kind of man was He? Confucius never said this. Neither did Sakya Muni or Mohammed. Was Jesus of Nazareth a madman, a liar, or the Son of God? John 5:17 says, “But Jesus answered them, My Father is working until now, and I also am working.” He always put Himself in the same place as the Father. Verse 18 says, “Because of this therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath but also called God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.” When we read His words now, we may consider them to be ordinary remarks. But the Jews knew what He was saying. They knew that He was making Himself equal with God. The words in fact meant that God is His Father and He came to express God. The invisible One is God, and the visible One is He. Therefore, the Jews sought to kill Him. What should we do about such an unusual person? John 6:46 says, “Not that anyone has seen the Father, except Him who is from God, He has seen the Father.” Here the word is clearer. He said that no one other than Himself has ever seen God. Only He knew what the Father is like. I can only say with soberness and reverence that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God. Read John 8:18. What did He say? “I am one who testifies concerning me, and the Father who sent me testifies concerning me.” The question in verse 19 is most interesting: “They said then to Him, Where is Your Father? Jesus answered, You know neither Me nor My Father; if you knew Me, you would know My Father also.” Have you seen what He was saying? They had seen Him, yet did not know Him. Of course they would not know the Father either, whom they had not seen. If men knew Him, they knew God. Who is He then? If knowing Him equals knowing God, is that not the same as saying that He is God and God is He? Read John 8:23: “And He said to them, You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world.” The preposition “from” in this verse is ek in Greek. It means “out of.” That is how it should be translated. He said, “You are out of this world, but I am not out of this world.” This man claimed to be from above; He did not come out of this world. Who can He be? The Jews were confused. They were totally bewildered. Who was this man? The ancestor of the Jews is Abraham. They boasted of being the descendants of Abraham in the same way the Chinese boast of being the offspring of Hwang-ti. The name Abraham was highly venerated among the Jews. Now they brought out Abraham. Please read John 8:53: “Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets died too. Who are you making yourself? How did Jesus answer them? Was He greater or smaller than Abraham? In verse 56 Jesus said, “Your father Abraham exulted that he would see my day, and he saw it and rejoiced.” What is this? Even Abraham had to look forward to Jesus! Hence, verse 57: “The Jews then said to Him, You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” Now please pay your attention to Jesus’ answer in verse 58: “Truly, truly, I say to you, Before Abraham came into being, I am.” Tell me who this man is. If I told you that before Hwang-ti was, I, Watchman Nee am there, you would immediately write me off as a lunatic. Some of you would say that I am a liar. The words Jesus spoke made Him a madman, a liar, or God. There can be no fourth alternative. We have to read on. In John 10:37-38 Jesus said, “If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do them, even if you do not believe Me, believe the works so that you may come to know and continue to know…” Know what? The clause following is very crucial. It is a big statement: “…that the Father is in Me and I am in the Father.” Who then is this man? He said that He was in God and God was in Him. Passages like the above are numerous in the Bible. I shall mention one more. Read carefully John 14:6-7: “Jesus said to him, I am the way and the reality and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and henceforth you know Him and have seen Him.” It says clearly that if you know Jesus of Nazareth, you have known the invisible God. Why is this so? It is because He is God. One of the disciples was confused. John 14:8 says, “Philip said to Him, Lord, show us the Father and it is sufficient for us.” Philip was asking to be shown the Father who had been mentioned again and again by Jesus. Verse 9 says, “Jesus said to him, have I been so long a time with you, and you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father; how is it that you say, Show us the Father?” Here Jesus made it very plain that to see Him is to see God. He made no apology about it. He is God. There is no need to see the Father anymore. If you see Him, you see God! Who is Jesus of Nazareth? What would you say? Is He merely the founder of the Christian religion? Is He merely an example of self-sacrifice and humanitarianism? Is He a social reformer? Is He an advocate for universal love, peace, and freedom? Listen to what He said about Himself. He said that He is God. What is your conclusion? Is He a lunatic or a liar? Is He a hoax, or is He God? This is a vital question. Can He be a madman? If you read His biographies in the Gospels and observe His life and manner, you will realize that not only was He sane and sound, He was very sober and firm. If there is a perfectly sound person in this world, He has to be the One. His mind was clear, and His mentality was alert. If you study His deeds and words carefully, you have to confess that His thoughts are very logical and consistent, and His manners are most comely and appropriate. To opposing ones He only needed to reply a few sentences, and their arguments against Him were defeated. He did not have a trace of madness in Him. A madman could never have done what He did. Then is He a liar? A liar always lies for a profit. If there is no profit to be gained, what is the purpose of lying? Why was Jesus crucified? For no other reason than that He claimed to be God. At the last judgment, the hour when His release or crucifixion was to be deliberated, He was examined as to who He was. What was His answer? He said that the Son of Man would be seen sitting on the right hand of the Majesty on high, descending on the clouds in glory (Matt. 26:64). Even then He claimed to be God. As a result, He was crucified on the cross. Is there a liar who would sacrifice his life for his lie? Once I met a person who wanted to talk with me about our faith. He read some books about Jesus and admitted that Jesus had a high standard of morality. He could consider Jesus as a perfect man, a model for humanity. But he could not believe that Jesus is God. I said, “If you admit that He has a high standard of morality, then He at least is not a liar. If you agree that He is not a liar, then you have to accept His claim of divinity as truth. He repeatedly asserted that He is God. If you admire His morality, you have to recognize His divinity as well. Jesus of Nazareth is God!”Please read John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Verse 14 says, “And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us (and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only Begotten from the Father), full of grace and reality.” What is the “Word” mentioned in verses 1 and 14? Verse 1 speaks of the relationship the Word has with God.In reference to when, the Word was there from the beginning.In reference to where, the Word was with God. In reference to what, the Word was God. Today the Word has become flesh; He has taken on a human body and dwelt among men. As to how He dwells, it says that He is “full of grace and reality,” and “we beheld His glory, glory as of the only Begotten from the Father.” Who is this One? He is Jesus of Nazareth. Here we have only seen one of the five qualifications mentioned earlier. Only Jesus of Nazareth meets this first condition. This proves that He is God. We shall go on to see the four other conditions or qualifications. Jesus of Nazareth must meet all the other four qualifications before we can conclude that He is God.EXAMINE THE CLAIMSIf God is to be a man, He must come into the world in a way that is very different from all other mortals. We come into the world through our parents and are conceived by our mothers. To ascertain whether Jesus of Nazareth is an ordinary person or the incarnated God, we need to examine His birth. If His birth was no different from ours, we have to conclude that He is nothing but a man. Not only does He have to pass the first qualification, but He needs to pass the second one. Do not hastily believe in a person simply because he claims to be God; we have to test him by our second criterion. If he is indeed God, he must be born in an extraordinary manner. If we study the birth of Jesus, we will find that it was very different from ours. He was born of a virgin. Both the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke in the New Testament tell us this fact. Jesus was born of a virgin, Mary. Before we go on, we have to realize that there are two ways to know God: by natural speculation or by revelation. According to natural speculation, one meditates and conjectures about God. In revelation, God speaks to man. We want to look at the revelation of God. We want to know what God says. The Gospels of Matthew and Luke show us that Jesus was born of a virgin, Mary. This important fact enables us to conclude that He is no ordinary person, and it justifies our being a Christian. The natural mentality cannot readily accept this fact. Some years ago, a big debate was conducted in England. On one side were prominent leaders of modernistic schools of theology. On the other side was a famous Presbyterian pastor-theologian. Four major topics were raised. Twice a day, for four consecutive days, each side took turns delivering a long speech for a total of eight messages. One of the topics was related to our subject—the virgin birth. The modernistic theologians asserted that one reason alone was enough to disprove the virgin birth—the event was biologically impossible. According to the law of biology, it is impossible to have the virgin birth. On the same day, their opponent gave the rebuttal. Let me briefly mention a few of his arguments. He said, “Our friends have denied the possibility of such an event on the ground of biological law. I am here to ask whether such an event happened. They asked, ‘Can this happen?’ They referred you to academic principles. I am asking, ‘Has this happened?’ I point to a historical occurrence. It is one thing to be academically justified. It is another thing to be historically recorded.”As he was speaking, he drew out a newspaper from his pocket. In the paper was an article about an accident that had happened a few days earlier. A man was driving on a winding mountain road. Due to carelessness, the car slid and tumbled down a deep gorge. The car was totally wrecked. Not even a square foot of the vehicle was left untouched. It was thoroughly damaged. But the man on the ground was absolutely unhurt. Later, he rose up and walked away. The theologian read the passage aloud and said, “This car tumbled down a thousand feet into ruin. You cannot even find a square foot of whole metal, and yet the man was unharmed. My friends would ask, ‘Could this man live?’ But my question is, ‘Is this man alive?’ He is alive! If you consider the possibility, there is none. But if you consider the fact, there it is!”What we have is a historical fact. If we try to study the virgin birth from a scientific point of view, we may conclude that this is an impossible event. But my question is whether or not such an event occurred. The Gospel of Matthew says that Jesus was born of a virgin. So does the Gospel of Luke. At least you have to say that these records have said such a thing and that such an event was recorded in history. At least you have to believe that there is a historical event. I am not asserting that Matthew and Luke were inspired by the Holy Spirit when they wrote their books. Whether these books were divinely inspired or not, we will set aside for a moment. We are saying that there were a few people who followed Jesus. They wrote His biography. Both Matthew and Luke were contemporaries of Jesus. Matthew followed Him for more than three years. Luke was not as close, but he “carefully investigated all things” (Luke 1:3). I believe that when he wrote his gospel, the mother of Jesus was still alive. What did they say about the birth of Jesus? They all testified that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary. His birth was absolutely different from ours. Today, after almost two thousand years, some who never saw Jesus, never talked to Mary His mother, and never met Joseph His father; conclude that He was not born of a virgin. How can you say that He was not born in this manner? Are you ruling out the possibility of such an event and concluding that it did not happen because of some arguments you proposed in your study room or some theories you fashioned in the laboratory? Perhaps we should read the genealogy of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew. There are forty-two generations in the genealogy. Beginning from the first generation, it repeatedly says, “So-and-so begot So-and-so.” This phrase is used through verse 15, which says, “And Eliud begot Eleazar, and Eleazar begot Matthan, and Matthan begot Jacob.” Verse 16 continues, “And Jacob begot Joseph.” The surprising thing is that the next part of the sentence does not continue with “Joseph begot Jesus.” Rather, it says, “Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.” When the line reaches Joseph, the pattern is dropped. This is because Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary. His way of birth was very different from ours. We have seen that His method of coming into the world was an unusual one. Now we want to look at His way of departing from the world. As we shall see, this was also contrary to our ordinary deaths. No one can ever predict the place, time, and manner he or she is going to die. A hundred years from now, all of us here will be dead. But no one knows how we are going to die. Jesus of Nazareth, however, foresaw His own death. He knew exactly when, where, and how it was to happen. Once when someone told Him that He was going to be killed, He answered that it was not acceptable for a prophet to perish outside of Jerusalem (Luke 13:33). He knew that He was going to die in Jerusalem. One day, He told His disciples that the hour had come. Not only did He sense the imminence of His death; He told others that His death hour had come. He knew also how He would die. A number of times He mentioned that He would be crucified. This was recorded at least three times in Matthew. Not only was this man different in His way of entering into the world, but His manner of departure was no less extraordinary. Both His birth and His death were very unusual. Is this the Son of God? Let us consider the third qualification. What kind of morality did Jesus of Nazareth have? Was He the same as we are? Did He ever sin? I like the sentence Jesus spoke in John 8. Many were opposing Him at that time. They surrounded and cross-examined Him. In return He asked, “Which of you convicts Me of sin?” (v. 46). This was a tremendous challenge! Which one of us would dare to stand before everyone and challenge to be convicted of sin? Whoever dared do such a thing would be put to shame the minute his wife stood up to testify against him. Perhaps, in less than five minutes, seven or eight people would immediately rise up to expose his lies and unfaithfulness. But when Jesus made such a statement, no one was able to convict Him of sin. There has been a countless number of saints and sages throughout the ages, but none was bold enough to claim to be perfect and sinless. Why is it that Jesus alone dared to make such a claim? All I can say is that this man is either arrogant to the extreme or holy to the uttermost. A proud person may talk in an outlandish manner because he does not know himself; he has no realization of what kind of person he is. But when Jesus challenged, “Which of you convicts Me,” there was no way He could be humble or polite about it. He is without sin, and He is holy to the uttermost. Jesus of Nazareth is not like Confucius, who said that given some more time, he would be rid of big, moral flaws. Jesus is sinless. When He made such a statement, He made it before His enemies. If there had been a slight misconduct on His part, the Jews would have caught it right away. The Jews are not prolific writers; they have not produced many books other than the Holy Scripture. But after Jesus, many books were written by the Jews to contradict Him. All these books deny His divinity, but none touch His morality. Of all the opposing writings, none can prove that Jesus ever sinned. Every philosopher or founder of religion, at one time or another, has said, “I repent,” or “I regret such and such a matter. I will do better from now on.” But Jesus of Nazareth never repented. A sinner must of necessity repent. But what does a sinless man have to repent of? Jesus never apologized to anyone; He never did anyone any wrong. When I was in England, some British friends asked for my opinion concerning their people. I said, “Among you, once ever so often, I hear, ‘Excuse me’ and ‘I beg your pardon.'” To the English, anyone who does not know how to make these two remarks has to be an extremely base person, for he knows not his own mistakes. Anyone can make a mistake, but when one refuses to admit his mistakes, he makes himself vulgar. For this reason we have to say, “Excuse me” and “I beg your pardon” all the time. The amazing thing is that Jesus of Nazareth never said “sorry” to anyone. He never apologized. Could He be so evil as to ignore His conscience completely? Was He oblivious to His own errors? Or is He really sinless? If so, He cannot say, “sorry.” It is not a matter of humility or politeness to Him, but a matter of maintaining His standing. I love the story about Jesus once walking down a road. Many people were gathered around Him, hoping to see the resurrection of a dead person. It was so crowded that the people pressed upon each other. One woman, who suffered from an issue of blood for years, thought that Jesus would surely be able to heal her since He had performed all kinds of miracles. She did not come to the Lord directly. All that she did was touch the fringe of His garment, and the sickness was immediately healed (Mark 5:25-29).Jesus felt something, turned around, and asked, “Who touched Me?” How did the disciples respond? They said, “You see the crowd pressing upon You and You say, Who touched Me?” (v. 31). He should have asked, “Who pressed Me?” instead of “Who touched Me?” If I were Jesus, I would have said in a gentlemanly fashion, “Excuse me.” But Jesus did not need to say that. When He said that it was a touch, He meant that it was a touch and not a pressing against. The disciples only knew that many thronged around Him. But He knew that someone “touched” Him. He knew what He was doing. There was no need for apology. He knows no sin because He is without sin. Let me mention another story about Jesus. One day He came to the synagogue in His hometown. Someone handed Him the Scripture, and He started to read from a passage about Himself. The people there, however, despised Him. He remarked that a prophet is always despised in His own place. For this reason, God would not choose them but would rather go to someone else. After they heard this, they were very indignant. They carried Him outside and tried to throw Him down a cliff. I like very much what Jesus did then. He passed through their midst (Luke 4:16-30). If someone tried to push us over a cliff, we would struggle to escape. But He was no ordinary person. He simply passed through the persecutors’ midst. They could do nothing except let Him pass by! He is without sin. Again, you see the same Jesus preaching to a ruler at midnight in a house (John 3:2), while choosing to converse with a woman beside a well at midday (4:5-7). Everything He did was very proper. No one can say anything against Him. You cannot find fault in Him. Another time some opposers came to tempt Him. They asked whether or not it was lawful to pay tax to Caesar. The Jewish nation, as you know, no longer existed then, and Caesar of Rome was their king. If Jesus said “no” to the question, He would have been involved in a political issue, and the opposers would have had an excuse to condemn Him. If He said “yes,” all the Jews would have counted Him as siding with the Romans and hated Him. The result, of course, would have favored the opposers. This was a question that could not be answered “yes” or “no.”How did Jesus reply? He said, “Show Me the coin for the tribute” (Matt. 22:19). He was wise. He even had the opposing ones draw out the money from their own pockets. Then He asked, “Whose is this image and inscription?” (v. 20). They had to admit that it was Caesar’s. Jesus gave an excellent reply: “Render then the things that are Caesar’s to Caesar and the things that are God’s to God” (v. 21). With that He dismissed the whole case. This is where His majesty lies. He never made a mistake. You cannot get a case out of Him. I cannot enumerate all His deeds. Everything He did bears such a mark of nobility that there is absolutely no flaw in His behavior. I will briefly mention His betrayal as a final example. It was very late in the night, and men armed with torches, spears, and swords came to arrest this empty-handed Jesus. He asked them, “Whom do you seek?” They said, “Jesus the Nazarene” (John 18:7). He replied, “I told you that I am” (v. 8). At that very word, the band of rogues whose minds were set on capturing Him fell back to the ground. If Jesus had not voluntarily given Himself over to them, they would never have been able to seize Him. Such calmness and majesty can only be seen in Him! As to the traitor, Jesus knew from the first day of his intention. Yet He allowed the same to follow Him and even let him be the keeper of the money. All the time Jesus knew that money was being stolen by him. Who can demonstrate such forbearance and uprightness? Here is a man who is absolutely different from all others. In every respect, He has been proven to be the Son of God. The fourth qualification we mentioned is that one who claims to be God incarnated must be able to perform what an ordinary person cannot. Has Jesus of Nazareth performed any supernatural acts? We are not His contemporaries; it was almost two thousand years ago that He walked on earth. Naturally, we cannot be His witnesses. But one thing is sure: the apostles who followed Jesus recorded, preached, and testified the things concerning Him. The four Gospels were all completed within thirty years after His departure. Most of the Jews who were then alive had seen Jesus. If the apostles’ records were false, they would have been repudiated long ago. However, the Jews only argued that Jesus is not the Son of God. They never denied His deeds, for the deeds were all facts. Today, when we read the four Gospels, we have no apprehension about their authenticity. If there had been a slight error when they were written, there would have been grave problems because many of the contemporaries had actually seen and heard Jesus. There was no chance for any fabrication. Hence, these books cannot be a hoax. If the Jews could not attack these books, there is even less of a basis for an attack today. Let us examine some of the deeds of Jesus of Nazareth. Matthew 11:2 and 3 say, “Now when John heard in the prison of the works of the Christ, he sent word through his disciples and said to Him, Are You the Coming One, or should we expect another?” John wanted to make sure that Jesus was the Christ sent from God. If He was not, John would wait for another. Verses 4 and 5 say, “And Jesus answered and said to them, Go, report to John the things that you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; and the dead are raised and the poor have the gospel announced to them.” Jesus answered neither “yes” nor “no.” He only asked the messenger to tell John of the things heard and seen. He wanted John to think about them and decide for himself if Jesus was the Christ. Jesus proved His divinity by the miracles He performed. Here is a man who accomplished things that are impossible for human beings. You cannot help but confess that He is God. John 7:31 says, “But many out of the crowd believed into Him and said, Will the Christ, when He comes, do more signs than this man has done?” Many people testified that He performed all kinds of miracles which no man could do. John 10:24 says, “The Jews therefore surrounded Him and said to Him, How long will you hold our soul in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” On the one hand, the Jews hardened their hearts and refused to acknowledge His divinity, and on the other hand, they were puzzled by the many supernatural miracles that He performed. They gathered around Him and pressed for an answer. There is one thing in which Jesus never gave in: His claim to divinity. He performed what mortals could not. These acts testify to His divinity. He told the people clearly, “The works which I do in My Father’s name, these testify concerning Me” (v. 25). On the one hand, He made His claim, and on the other hand, He performed miracles to justify His claim. In John 14:11 He said to His disciples, “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me.” This is the same as saying that He is the invisible Father. “But if not, believe because of the works themselves.” If He had not done anything impossible, this word would have had no value at all. If He had not performed any extraordinary acts, they would have asked back, “What works have you done? We do not know what you are talking about.” But the disciples knew of the acts He did. All these acts prove that He is the Son of God. We have to check Jesus of Nazareth against a fifth qualification. If He is God, He has to show us what He is. Is He kind, or is He severe? Is He gentle, or is He fierce? What kind of a God do we have? As a matter of fact, Jesus did show us what God is. This is a most wonderful thing. The eternal, invisible God is now seen by us. There is no need to conjure up an untouchable and far transcendent God or imagine what He is like; He has revealed Himself to us. He has dwelt in our midst and walked among us. Jesus of Nazareth is the very God dwelling among and with man. He has manifested God’s nature and attributes to us. There is no need to search for God anymore because He has revealed Himself. Our mentality is too limited. Our hands are too short, and our viewpoint too narrow. If we were left to ourselves to study and search for God, we could only conclude that He is the unknown One. Now we know that God desires to reveal Himself. In fact, He has revealed Himself to us already. We have said that the two means whereby God communicates with us are the written and spoken language. For this reason, the Bible and Jesus of Nazareth are the two indispensable factors in our faith. When you take away either one, God becomes the gravest problem in the world. Hebrews 1:1 says, “God, having spoken of old in many portions and in many ways to the fathers in the prophets.” These speaking constitute the Bible. “Has at the last of these days spoken to us in the Son” (v. 2). This is Jesus of Nazareth. Whoever is in Christ now may know Him. To have heard the words of Jesus of Nazareth is to have heard the words of God. Dear reader, what is your attitude towards Jesus of Nazareth? Thomas confessed, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). Peter proclaimed, “You are…the Son of the living God!” (Matt. 16:16). Martha said, “I have believed that You are the Christ, the Son of God” (John 11:27). Even a Roman centurion exclaimed at the sight of Jesus hanging on the cross, “Truly this was the Son of God” (Matt. 27:54b). I hope you will make the same confessionWHO IS HE?Our Christian faith is based upon the revelationof God. It is different from all other religions which are attained through meditation, conjecture, and searching. We believe that the Bible is God’s revelation to us. In other words, it is His spoken word to us. We also believe that God has become a man, who is the very Jesus of Nazareth. God, the Bible, and Jesus Christ constitute the basis of our faith. Let us begin by looking at the position that Christ occupies in our faith, or we may say, in Christianity. However, Christianity has been altered and is not what it ought to be. At the present we will not mention what Christianity ought to be. Rather, we will only draw a comparison between Christianity and other religions in order to see the distinctiveness of our faith. We will not try purposely to exalt Christianity and debase other religions. We will only draw an objective comparison between them. First, let us consider Confucianism. Actually, followers of Confucius never formally assert that theirs is a religion. Confucianism merely exercises great influence on Chinese culture, education, ethics, and philosophy. One thing, however, is certain: the teachings and doctrines of Confucius are of foremost importance, while the person Confucius is not as crucial. I do not mean that Confucianism has no concern for Confucius. The man indeed was an extraordinary person. However, in order to be a part of Confucianism, one only need to understand the doctrines of Confucius, abide by his teachings, and be thoroughly acquainted with his books. It does not matter whether one understands the man Confucius or not. The principles, doctrines, and teachings of Confucius are the essence of the religion. Next let us consider Buddhism. The founder of Buddhism was Sakya Muni. Once he preached to his disciples about evil persons being reincarnated through the Wheel of Rebirth after death. This is something that attracts man’s attention. But in all of Buddhism, the point of emphasis is doctrines and theories. Concerning the man Sakya Muni, although he has a history and biography, they are something parenthetical. They do not form the crux of Buddhism. The center of the religion is not the man Sakya Muni. Whether there was such a person is unimportant to today’s Buddhism. All that is needed are the doctrines and teachings. Other religions such as Taoism and Mohammedanism are all of the same principle. After each founder set up a r

  8. <>If a bunch of people just sat down and wrote a book that tried to explain the things they didn’t understand, would you really expect a book as complex as the Bible to be the end result?<>Zec, I love you, but that statement right there shows me that you probably don’t know much about how the Bible was written or put together.The Bible is not the Word of God. Jesus is the Word. It says so right there in that (supposedly) infallible, inerrant scripture of yours.

  9. <>Unless eternal torment in hell as punishment for sinning against God is part of the Noah story that Steve is reading to his child, (I don’t personally recall it being there in any of the Noah accounts I read as a child), it isn’t relevant the conversation and does not need to be mentioned.<>The Fall came with Adam, so unless I’m really off on my understanding of normative evangelical theology, the same rules that apply to us (“for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God… the soul that sins shall surely die”) applied to Noah’s neighbors and Steve’s kids alike. So one must presume that being wiped out in a flood was just the beginning of their punishment, which is still continuing today.You and I both know that you can’t single out Noah’s neighbors and suggest that their punishment was any more severe than what any one of us is entitled to for our sins, not me, you, Noah, Noah’s neighbors or Steve’s kids–at least not according to evangelical doctrine.This may not be the subject that you want to discuss, but I think it’s at the heart of what Steve brought up.

  10. Now on another note… for me to have said “a complete idiot” was fully out of line (and was more about Elton John than anyone else). Still… My apologies! Even with that said, I still doubt very much that individuals (left to their own accord) could ever amass the same veracity for works that organized churches do. There is no way around it. Organizations do provide inspiration for good works at levels far beyond the impact individuals can have on their own. Most food bank depots are located within churches. This is because organized churches do in fact offer habitual volunteers (that are not commonly found elsewhere). Just think of how much more likely you are to give to projects such as operation Christmas Child or the Food Bank than you are to individual beggars. What’s more, just think how more impacting these organization are then the strewn and unsystematic works of individuals. Would individuals all working on their own be able to provide the same consistent support to these organizations without organized churches? When it comes down to it, you are right that individuals do the work, but it is the organizations that provide the steady encouragement, the buildings and the assembly of those individuals.

  11. You know dufflehead, this little conversation of ours has really helped me personally. I just want to say thanks again.One of the things I’m beginning to understand about the disconnect with evangelicals/fundamentalists/traditionalists, is the <>attitude of certainty<> and the less than gracious spirit toward those with different viewpoints (especially when the alternate viewpoint has some merit to it) [pointing finger at myself].So if anyone here finds themself in constant battle on this or any blog, perhaps they should check their attitude!? [join me in doing so]

  12. “”fully comprehending what it means to sin against God. You and I fully understand what it means” you do? to me, this is a truely impossible task.”Since I have been made aware of the law and understand the consequences of the law, yes I understand what it means to sin against God. “here’s a question for the flood story:does it matter if it’s true or if it really happend? why or why not?”It’s true for me, one because God said so, and because God can not lie. There are also other accounts of a great flood happening so there are sources outside the Bible that confirm this event. That should put to rest any claims that this is a made up story. Now the bigger issue is not whether or not this is a true story but the lesson of the story. If you live in sin, in opposition to God and His divine law you will be punished. Noah trusted in God and was saved. If we trust in God and His promises we too will be saved.

  13. i wasn’t really expecting answers (they were more to just get the thought processes going) but, since you did give answers, this will help direct my explination.

  14. you’ve never gotten a bible story wrong?about the multiple versions . . . if the Hebrew story came after the babylonian, wouldn’t it stand to reason that the Hebrews are using their language to describe the flood story? how can you claim one flood story is more reliable than another?the point with all of the children at the time is simillar to what happens to children when they die now. what do you think happens to children when they die? and you are saying that the children are accountable for the sins of their parents?the point with the he/she . . .if the world were matriarchal, do you think men or women would have written the bible? would God have been a he or she, if the disciples were women? would Christ have come in the form of a woman or a man, if the Temple was actually run by the preiestesses? this is not goddess worship, this is pointing out that calling God by a gender is a disservice to God. Christ was a man, i’ll agree to that.why shouldn’t you feel bad for hurting someone? because someone believes something different, that gives you the right to attack them? i’m all for discussion, but calling someone a liar and a pagan? that’s not discussion.to ask questions is to undermine the Bible? do you believe everything everyone tells you?what she and i (among others, obviously), are doing is pointing out that there are no simple answers and that people need to actually think when it comes to their faith.i believe that love for God is not equivalent to love for the Bible. that would be idolatry. personally, i think most Christians today should be called idolatrous when it comes to the Bible.

  15. Jimmybob,I think my questions may have been part of a thought process that was trying to answer more than just your questions, so let me stick with your comments/questions.“How do you hear from God and how do you learn what God thinks?” “So, do you hear directly from God? Like an audible voice or inner voice?”As far as I know, I don’t hear voices ( at least, that’s what the voices tell me. ) 🙂 I’m assuming from this that you are wondering why I believe what I believe? (In light of the surrounding discussions, that is.)“I suppose you see no difference between the spoken Word and the written Word. One is just penned. So, I guess oral tradition is just as good. But either one cannot be final authority because of possible mistakes.”Is this what you believe? Because we believe this, I think. (We being the Nun and I, not me and the voices.) I’m not sure I completely understand the use of the uppercase W on both of those. The point to be made with this statement is that the oral tradition came before the written text; we get the Old Testament because at some point someone(s) wrote down all of the stories that had been/were being passed to other people and generations by telling them.You seem to have a relationship set up between the authority of the Bible and the historical accuracy (truth? trustworthiness?) of the Bible. And, since we are calling the historical accuracy of parts of the Bible into question, that seems to imply that we do not see the Bible as an authority on God. This is not the case.I believe there is a logical fallacy that states something to the effect of “either the Bible is 100% true or 100% false.” This false dichotomy ignores so many things about language and culture and is not even followed when used (how many things are now thought to be “cultural references”?)“So, if one agrees with the atheists/agnostics on the unreliability of the Bible to tell us what God is like, then how would that person go about telling the atheist/agnostic about the love of Christ with any authority?” “I mean, you can live it out before them, but they are still going to be unconvinced about the existence of God or Christ.”I think you’ve answered your own question while applying some doubt to the answer’s effectiveness. If we can give a genuine attempt at the love we claim to have and give name to the cause of our love and belief, while acknowledging that we do not have all of the answers (only a glimpse, if you will), my hope is that we would shake their unbelief.So, to sum it up, to me, the Bible is an authority on God. To me, there are parts of the Bible that I see as myth (“a usually traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon” – Merriam-Webster) and parts that are historical (most of the New Testament). My view has changed over time based on my knowledge and reason, not to say that my knowledge or reason are any more right than others. I hope to present to those that seem to have a view that was similar to mine questions that caused my view to change. And, hopefully, I’ll think about questions presented to me from any viewpoint.

  16. shieldsy,< HREF="http://www.w3schools.com/tags/tag_a.asp" REL="nofollow"> look at the href part of the anchor tag<>

  17. How about seeing this as a passage written by people attempting to explain God? And their explanations of God are just as inadequate as mine. And so they ascribe Divine intentions to a flood. And explain the lucky survivor in terms of obedience to the Divine. But God was really weeping with the people who were trapped by the flood – just as God continues to weep with all victims of natural disasters today. Or do we continue to see floods as God’s retribution for wickedness: try telling that to the people who died in the floods of Mozambique or in Hurricane Katrina!

  18. sablechicken,goddess woship? so you think god is a man? the fact that the bible was written from a patriarchal society is no nevermind then? 3 years as a Christian? wow, you must know everything then. doesn’t matter that the nun went to college to study the bible for 4 years (not to mention the ammount of time she’s been a Christian)“fruit from your comments” well, the fruit from your comments, sable, (and zec) hurt someone by denying their love for God. is that good fruit?maybe i should just refer to you as a viper now instead of a chicken?

  19. Yep, eight people: Noah, his sons, and their wives. After all, they had to repopulate the earth once the waters rescinded. Well, okay, that was the sons’ doing; but still! 😉

  20. Thanks, sable. I know how hard it is to admit when you’re wrong or act inappropriately (I’ve eaten my share of humble pie) but you’re a bigger person for doing it. 🙂It really means a lot to me that you apologized.

  21. Unless eternal torment in hell as punishment for sinning against God is part of the Noah story that Steve is reading to his child, (I don’t personally recall it being there in any of the Noah accounts I read as a child), it isn’t relevant the conversation and does not need to be mentioned. The more important lesson of the story is that just as there are rules for obeying your parents, there are rules for obeying God. Genesis 6:11-13 explains how bad things had gotten. How far do you have to push God, how wicked must you be in God’s eyes for Him to say “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth.” So you tell me, how you would explain to a child how and why that kind of wicked behavior should be permissable by a just and righteous God.

  22. When Jesus quotes the Davidic Psalm “My God My God, Why have you forsaken me” he reminds the listener or David’s question (essentially “where is God when I am suffering”). In doing this he point to the answer – He is on the cross suffering with us! This is why the Psalm is viewed as being prophetic. It is because Christ is the fulfillment of the Psalm. When readers see this today they often see it with little to know understanding of the original context. They believe incorrectly that doubt is being expressed when really the quoting of the introduction made original readers think of the quotations ending (where salvation comes to the Psalmist). To think of this in terms of doubt is to totally miss the point (or to take the exact opposite point) much like we are with the story of the Noahic covenant. The story of Noah is an anti-myth polemic plain and simple. It is not meant to answer questions about paradoxical love and hate in the Father. To read it as if it is, is to create a debate formulated upon false pretenses. It is eisegetical and improper to do so.

  23. Shieldsy, Way to go! That picture is freakin’ awesome! Hilarity! (My favorites are the sheep and the guy with the axe pointed at the tree in the background)Jimmybob,Just to clarify, I rely on history, experience, people that are smarter than me, and science to help me interpret scripture. As far as the comfort thing, I think it’s more of a perspective; I don’t think we can know anything for certain (i.e. no such thing as absolute truths), which is where the faith comes in. And the human error goes both ways; maybe error when the story was written, maybe error when we interpret it. As an example, I read attitude into blog comments. I assume the attitude of the author, but the attitude comes from my psychological make up (sometimes causing things to get way out of hand). With people in blogs, though, I can at least ask if that’s what someone meant. And then I have to take it on trust that they are telling me the truth. I don’t think we have that kind of luxury with the Bible.Thanks for the questions. The helped make me tie up a lot of thoughts into something a bit more cohesive.

  24. Jimmybob, if the god of the scriptures is so hateful why did He send His son to die in our place so that we may have eternal life? That doesn’t sound like the act of a mean and hateful god to me.

  25. “The Fall came with Adam, so unless I’m really off on my understanding of normative evangelical theology, the same rules that apply to us (“for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God… the soul that sins shall surely die”) applied to Noah’s neighbors and Steve’s kids alike.”Hmm, before I agree with your statement that the same punishment applies to Steve’s or anybody’s kid, I’d have to know how old the child in question is. I don’t think God would send a child to Hell, who is incapable of fully comprehending what it means to sin against God. You and I fully understand what it means and why the consequences for that sin are so severe, I can’t say the same for a child. The same situation can be applied to the mentally challenged as well. “So one must presume that being wiped out in a flood was just the beginning of their punishment, which is still continuing today.”I don’t know that one MUST presume that. I mean in some places in the bible Hell or Sheol was referring to the grave. So isn’t it possible that the people who were wiped out in the flood are just dust in the grave and will never be resurrected to eternal life on the last day, thus being eternally separated from God which is part of what Hell is?“You and I both know that you can’t single out Noah’s neighbors and suggest that their punishment was any more severe than what any one of us is entitled to for our sins, not me, you, Noah, Noah’s neighbors or Steve’s kids–at least not according to evangelical doctrine.”I’m not wholly convinced that evangelical doctrine is correct. Alot of the things I believed while a part of the Evangelical Free church in the mid to late nineties, I no longer believe, because I just can’t find scriptural support for it. A couple of example are the teaching of “just ask Jesus into your heart”, where is that in the Bible? Another is the Predispensationalist view of the end times.“This may not be the subject that you want to discuss, but I think it’s at the heart of what Steve brought up.”I’ll discuss anything you or anybody else wants to talk about. 🙂 I’m going through a transition phase right now, so I’m totally open to having my faulty beliefs corrected and learning new things.

  26. I think that to ask why we–who must forgive each other seventy times seven–are held to a higher standard than God, who will impose eternal damnation on any human for anything less than total and absolute perfection, is a legitimate question. And responses like “who are we to judge God” just don’t cut it.Try explaining, in a way that a kid can understand, why he deserves to suffer eternal torment. Go ahead, I’d really like to hear that one.

  27. “fruit from your comments” well, the fruit from your comments, sable, (and zec) hurt someone by denying their love for God. is that good fruit?”Where did I even suggest that Ninjanun denied loving God? Show me that.

  28. How about the other kids favourite – Samson: a womanising, disobedient, murdering, suicide-bomber. My advice … avoid reading the old testament!

  29. < HREF="http://www.thebricktestament.com/genesis/the_flood/gn06_11.html" REL="nofollow">Look at me, I’m doing hyperlinks!<> Thanks dufflehead

  30. Would you all agree that the Bible is the <>written<> Word of God? Based on <>“all Scripture is God-breathed…<>” and so forth.Also, in regards to the question provoked by the post, I wonder if Jesus ever doubted or debated his father’s love?I was stewing over this early this morning and my logical mind came to the conclusion that if the God of the Scriptures is hateful and Jesus predicted more to come, then perhaps we’re all believing in the wrong god. If I keep following that out, conclusion after conclusion, I find myself agreeing with Elton John about the evil that all religion/faith has brought to the world.How do we sort this out?

  31. Let’s not get into bloodlines. I live in a country where purity of blood used to be legislated so that people could not have sexual contact across colour lines. This was intended to preserve pure (white) blood. But I recall the New Testament speaking about a new community where Greek and Roman, slave and free all belonged – irrespective of blood.

  32. i thought Christ moved us beyond the law. or maybe i missed something.God told the flood story? interesting. who did he tell it to? who wrote it down? did they write it down word for word or embelish it? how do we know? is it important one way or the other?steve, maybe the angle to take is to compare the flood with something more recent say, katrina, or maybe the fires in california. if we didn’t have a scientific explination of the causes of those things, what would we attribute them to? (if it’s even possible to step that far out of our lore)

  33. Dear Ninjanun,I’m sorry that I hurt your feelings. I didn’t have to be such a jerk.I guess I am a stupidchurchperson now, and that is really hard for me to admit.Please accept my apology, I was frustrated with myself and I should not have taken it out on you.Sorry

  34. zec, if it’s so uncool to take up so much space with the discussion, why didn’t you just write the last paragraph and be done with it?

  35. Dufflehead, I have a serious question for you. How do you hear from God and how do you learn what God thinks?I don’t believe I worship the Bible, but I do believe it’s the written Word of God. To me it is the final authority on God. That is my stance, but I want to understand where you and Ninjanun are coming from.I suppose you see no difference between the spoken Word and the written Word. One is just penned. So, I guess oral tradition is just as good. But either one cannot be final authority because of possible mistakes.So, do you hear directly from God? Like an audible voice or inner voice?I suppose someone could have just preached to me without a text to point to and asked if I would believe in Christ. But, eventually I would wonder on what basis I have to believe other than someone told me so.Isn’t that the whole point of some atheist/agnostic talking heads (hate to bring up the word)? To prove that the Bible is not trustworthy and therefore anyone who believes in “Christ’s teachings” is believing in myth. Aren’t there some of them that don’t even believe Jesus existed?So, if one agrees with the atheists/agnostics on the unreliability of the Bible to tell us what God is like, then how would that person go about telling the atheist/agnostic about the love of Christ with any authority?I mean, you can live it out before them, but they are still going to be unconvinced about the existence of God or Christ. They’ll just think you’re a decent human being like they are. Don’t get me wrong, it is still more desirable to do so. Jesus did say, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”But, please share more, so that I can understand. We may have had differences of opinion in the past, but I do believe you and Ninjanun love Christ and want everyone to get to heaven. We just see things differently and I want to understand how.

  36. recovering said,<>Don’t all these stories make so much more sense when put in the context of a God that chooses the foolish and depraved things of the world to confound the “wise<>nice.Tax collectors, samaritans, and prostitutes come to mind. Not sure why tho.

  37. “We will never reconcile what science has taught us about how old the Earth is, and how life got here.”Reconcile it against what? I am not a “young earther” and I never have been. I believe the earth is as old as science says, maybe even older. There is no date given in the book of Genesis as to when the creation happened, as far as I can tell.“Noah’s flood is never going to considered a real possibilty by the ungodly. Kent Hovind on his 4th video spends 3 hours talking about “The lies in the Textbooks” I have watched it 3 times with my daughter. Very very good. The 2nd video is about “The Garden of Eden” . It’s about how the Earth was different and why people could live to be 950 years old. The 6th video is called “The Hovind Theory” This is mainly about Noah’s Flood, and what happened to the Earth at that time. I tell you Kent Hovind makes so much sence. If you really are having a hard time talking to your kids about how the flood could have happened this one will help you.”Kent Hovind is a liar and a thief. The fruits he bore could win him 288 years in the grey bar hotel. I have a problem with young earthers in general. I just don’t seen any convincing argument coming from their camp that the earth is 6,000 years old. Anything Hovind has ever said will always be especially suspicious to me because of the lies he told in other areas of his life.“Wow just wow. Ninjanun that is a very bold statement after writing…“4) Noah’s daughters didn’t have husbands at the time…” It is a bold statement and she had no basis to assume I had very little knowledge of how the Bible came into being based upon it. But so what? We all make false assumptions about people based upon what they type, it’s not the HUGE sin you seem to want it to be. The Nun and I are still cool.“You at one time preached and taught Sunday School?I think that you are a wolf in sheep’s clothing Ninjanun.”Hey, Sable, that speck in your eye, wouldn’t happen to be a beam would it? “When people say that they are confused because you say that you are not agnostic or an atheist, I can see why.”People didn’t say that, I said that. “I have only been a Christian less than 3 years and in that time I have used my own study of atheism to help me look for the answers to what Christians should know and have a answers to.”And just how did you conduct this study of atheism? Care to share what you learned about atheists and what they as a group believe? I’d be very interested to know. Since I just spent the last ten months of my life dealing with them on a daily basis, it’d be interesting to see if your conclusions match what I’ve experienced.“I have learned much”We’ll see grasshopper, we’ll see.“and the fruit that is falling from your written comments tell me that you are a full blown atheist,”That’s funny because the fruit I see from Ninjanun is not atheistic at all. All I see is a different interpretation and some questioning. So she made a mistake and got her stories confused. Big deal. You’re telling me you’ve never made a mistake? Please.“and you have become that way because of your desire for goddess worship.”First, she is a beloved sister in Christ and you will not continue to slam her in this manner as long as I’m here. You have no basis for making any judgement about what she believes. She is NOT an atheist and you have no way of knowing for certain that she is practicing goddess worship. Plus your statement doesn’t even make sense. If she was an atheist, which means that she lacks a belief in any god, she would not be guilty of goddess worship. Do you even think your statements through before typing them? “You can’t swallow the “HE” part of God and you are turning to pagan worship to fullfil your need to stroke your female ego.”Oh someone is stroking their ego alright, but it ain’t the Nun.“I’m sure that you will tell me if I am wrong about this.”Too late, I already did.

  38. Thanks for being receptive to my apology. Ninjanun. You have a nice name. I feel better after saying I’m sorry for that unChristian like out burst of mine. You know it is actually a bit freeing to say that I am a stupidchurchperson, maybe some day I might even take myself off the FOE list.

  39. Then I apologize for whatever it was I said that hurt her. But she has to understand that if she’s going to go around making false assumptions about people, like the one she made about my understanding of how the Bible came together, without basis or reason there could be less than pleasant consequences as a result. Now, my invitation to an email discussion about what the Bible is and how it came to be, is still on the table if she’s interested.

  40. zec,uhm . . my grammar or punctuation is bad or something.she was hurt by one of your statements.that statement was not about denying her love for God. i think was about the scriptures.that’s as cleared up as i can make it.

  41. old testament = jewish mythology. it is a story of a people trying to explain their past using their language. same as the native americans, same as the celts, same as the romans, same as the greeks, same as the norse, etc. etc.the passage the nun brought up seems to say that the people killed preChrist went somewhere other than hell until Christ went to talk to them, too.lowend: God is black and white? then why do people influence his decisions?zec: so, before the white man showed up, what happened to the native americans that died? should we start giving kids some test or should we just not tell anyone about sin so that no one is “in the know”.“fully comprehending what it means to sin against God. You and I fully understand what it means” you do? to me, this is a truely impossible task.here’s a question for the flood story:does it matter if it’s true or if it really happend? why or why not? (assuming this isn’t ninja-ing the post)

  42. Jimmybob, this has nothing to do with the blog at all. But I cannot let that one go! Elton John and anyone else who thinks the world would be better off without organized religion (by this he means organized Christianity) is a complete idiot. Just for starters, you can imagine Africa being completely demolished financially with absolutely no hope. The world would have no: YMCA/YWCA, Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Social Services, Salvation Army, basically every cities homeless shelter and children’s shelter program. There would be no Boys and Girls Clubs of America, no Big Brothers and Big Sisters, no Boy Scouts, no Good Will, no Habitat for Humanity, no Save the Children, World Vision, Feed the Children, Feed the Poor, most of our subsidized retirement care facilities and no Samaritan’s Purse. Can you fathom the impact this would have on our Children’s Hospitals or Cancer Research Funding or AID’s Relief (PWSD) or Katrina survivors or our Suicide Hotlines? Organized Christianity is powerhouse and I would bet it is responsible for well over 80% of the world’s social justice programs. It’s not perfect, but only the truly imbecile so quickly jump to extremist views like Elton John has, without thinking of any issue but his own. He demands tolerance but preaches nothing by hate and intolerance himself.

  43. Seems like things are dividing pretty nicely between liberal/conservative viewpoint.Ninjanun, what I can’t understand in this particular instance is how you can believe that Noah built a very real and vey huge boat on the basis of some sort of prophetic message he received but that the rest of the prophetic message never came to pass (“I am going to put an end to all people … both them and the earth” Ge 6:13). Why did God have him build a boat rather than say “Move to a distant land”? Why did Noah hear God correctly about one bit (“Build a boat”) but not the other bit (“I’m gonna destroy everyone & everything”)? And what about the prophetic allegory of Christ’s redemption and global judgement? Sorry, seems far simpler & reasonable in this instance just to take the text at face value. On the law fulfilled = abolished topic … it’s my understanding that the law hasn’t been abolished: God still requires a sacrifice every time someone sins (i.e. not abolished) but He can look upon the sacrifice that was made “for all time” (i.e. fulfilled).Steve, can we discuss Samson next coz I really don’t like the guy … there’s nothing redeeming in that story at all … at it leaves us without a leg to stand on when it comes to condeming suicide bombers.

  44. One more thing…I believe that God’s anger/hate <>is<> the point of the Flood story. So, there isn’t much gleaning necessary. But, that’s just my opinion.

  45. One more thing…I believe that God’s anger/hate <>is<> the point of the Flood story. So, there isn’t much gleaning necessary. But, that’s just my opinion.

  46. jimmybob, i’m really looking forward to answering your questions, but it’s probably going to take me most of the evening to compose it. in the meantime, here’s a couple of questions in the direction of my answer(s): did we really have people land on the moon? how do dowsing (“witching”) rods work? is there a difference between ‘myth’ and ‘theory’? where do we get the word “Bible” from?in my mind, i’ve got most of these things working together to answer your question, so we’ll see.just didn’t want you to think i was ignoring you.

  47. Pete Grassow said:“Or do we continue to see floods as God’s retribution for wickedness: try telling that to the people who died in the floods of Mozambique or in Hurricane Katrina!”We don’t have to tell them that it’s God’s retribution. Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson beat us to it!

  48. Random thoughts to whoever…Steve provoked the thought that our God may not be “love” only. In fact, logically, his point was that God also hates, as evidenced when he destroyed everyone but Noah and his family by flood.I don’t think you can separate the OT God and the NT Jesus on this issue, as much as we would want to try. Jesus believed in the OT Scriptures. He himself spoke about the flood when comparing it to times of future tribulation and the coming judgment of God. I believe you either accept God as Jesus did or you really can’t accept Jesus’ teachings either. How could you?So, I wondered if Jesus ever doubted God’s love? After thinking about it some more today, I realized there was a couple of times he may have. Once in the garden when he prayed for the cup to pass. And then on the cross when he asked the Father why he was being forsaken.In those moments Jesus must have felt abandoned and unloved. It would have been terrible.But, he comes to a very important conclusion in both cases…he accepts the Father’s will and continues on. He knows there is a greater plan and <>he is the demonstration<> of God’s love to the world.So, maybe we can do the same. Maybe we can accept that there is a mystery to “love.” That somehow in order to have complete love for something, there must be a hatred for the opposite. God must destroy sin because of his love of righteousness. (When I use the term <>opposite<> I mean to include <>different<> in it’s definition.)Now that makes sense when you think of Elton John again. Religion has caused men to hate just as much as it has caused them to love. It makes them hate things opposite of what they believe in. And the more devout the believer, the more hate and love increase on opposite sides.Let’s face it squarely. When judgment comes, there will be no love shown to those who receive punishment. There will be great damnation and <>“eternal torment”<> as Zeke put it. That equals hatred to me.The only love shown will be an equal but opposite demonstration of love for righteousness.So, if I only see God’s hate, I must conlude that I should seek another god or none at all or just be doomed.But, if I see the reality of both hate and love, I must abandon my will to God, as Jesus gave us the example. In fact, I MUST look at Jesus – who is the example of God’s love for me. I must understand what God hates and what God loves. Otherwise my passions could be misplaced and lead me away from Christ.Thanks Steve, for the provocative post. Even if no one agrees with me or understands what I’ve said, I’m thankful that I had a chance to think about this.I still have a long way to go.

  49. “But what does make sense is that there was a pure Adamic bloodline that God was attempting to protect, in order to eventually get to Christ. If this tainted bloodline had become so pervasive that the only pure-blooded folks on earth left were Noah & his family, it would explain a lot… especially regarding children in the flood, the love & mercy of God toward HIS people, and worldwide flooding.”If all people on the earth were descendants of Adam and thus a part of the Adammic bloodline, how were Noah and his family who must have come from Adam, considered pure?

  50. <>Doesn’t this just contradict what you said before about it being a local flood. Why didn’t they just marry some of the other survivors?<>I think I was wrong about Noah and his daughters. I think someone later corrected me that it was LOT’s daughters; not Noah’s, that got him drunk and slept with him.Anyhoo, I don’t care if it contradicts or not. The fact that it contradicts just displays once again the utter insanity to try to fit scripture into the impossible “infallible, inerrant” category. The Bible, as far as I’m concerned, (and as Pete Grassow mentioned) is a common people doing the best they honestly can to explain the Unexplainable in the only terms they know how.

  51. ninjanun“Zec, I love you, but that statement right there shows me that you probably don’t know much about how the Bible was written or put together.”Wow just wow. Ninjanun that is a very bold statement after writing…“4) Noah’s daughters didn’t have husbands at the time. Noah’s sons’ wives were saved, but I guess no one (including Noah) thought it important to ensure the human race was carried on through the daughter’s seed as well (of course, given that women were seen as little more than an incubator for the man’s “seed,” that’s not surprising). So, when everyone but Noah’s family was destroyed in the flood, Noah’s daughters were doomed to live husbandless and childless; thus taking away their only worth in such a patriarchal society. No wonder they got their father drunk and slept with him as a way to bear children.” You at one time preached and taught Sunday School?I think that you are a wolf in sheep’s clothing Ninjanun. When people say that they are confused because you say that you are not agnostic or an atheist, I can see why. I have only been a Christian less than 3 years and in that time I have used my own study of atheism to help me look for the answers to what Christians should know and have a answers to. I have learned much and the fruit that is falling from your written comments tell me that you are a full blown atheist, and you have become that way because of your desire for goddess worship. You can’t swallow the “HE” part of God and you are turning to pagan worship to fullfil your need to stroke your female ego. I’m sure that you will tell me if I am wrong about this.~~~~~If a person reads the Bible, without being on a mission to find contradictions, he/she will find the Bible to be understandable, consistent, and in harmony. Admittedly, yes, there are some passages that are difficult to explain. Yes, there are some passages of Scripture that seem to contradict other passages of Scripture. Why is this? The Bible was written by approximately 40 different authors over a period of around 1500 years. The Bible covers many different topics. The literature in the Bible is in different forms, i.e. poetry, history, teaching, prophecy. Each writer of a book of the Bible wrote their book(s) to a different audience, from a different perspective, and for a different purpose. As a result of all of these facts, we should expect some differences! However, a difference is not the same thing as a contradiction. It is only a contradiction if there is conclusively no possible answer for how the verses or passages can be in agreement. Even if the answer has not yet been discovered, that does not mean an answer does not exist. Many skeptics and critics of the Bible have promoted a supposed contradiction in the Bible in relation to history or geography only to later be proven wrong once further archaeological evidence is discovered. http://www.allabouttruth.org/answers-to-alleged-bible-contradictions-faq.htmDoes The Bible Contain Contradictions?http://www.inplainsite.org/html/alleged_bible_contradictions.html

  52. Ninjanun – <>“So, when everyone but Noah’s family was destroyed in the flood, Noah’s daughters were doomed to live husbandless and childless; thus taking away their only worth in such a patriarchal society.”<>.Doesn’t this just contradict what you said before about it being a local flood. Why didn’t they just marry some of the other survivors?

  53. I just thought I might clear something up here. Lot sleeps with his daughters; Noah does not. After God puts the sign/curse of the Bow (the weapon and not a happy rainbow) in the sky there is a place for this story (does exist is some other ancient versions) but it does not appear in the canon as we have it. Instead a different sexual story appears where Noah’s son sees his drunkenness and nakedness (may have sexual overtones). This of course takes us back to my first post. This story (even without the identical sexual experience with the daughters found in other versions) can still be seen as a doublet (or at least as a story that once was a doublet). This is because the story was an oral tradition in a number of cultures. These cultures had differing titles for God but similar creation and flood myths. The compiler of the biblical version put two (at least) versions together using one line from one and one from the other (repeating back and forth) until a new version appeared (using two different cultural names for God from two different times). The point of the story then, as I see it, is to explain the Oneness of God! Elohim and YHWH are one God (and presumably to convince those in others cultures with similar stories of the same.) It, just like the first creation story (Gen 1:1-2:3b) tells all the people of the world that the God of Israel is God and that He is One.

  54. Now This is just the greatest post Steve! There is so much to talk about with Noah’s flood! My daughter is 11 now and she is in public school. They are really starting to push the Theory of Evolution and pangaea and all that crap on her now. I made and investment of buying Ken Hovind’s DVD Creation Science Seminars. ( I know…I know..He is going to jail for 288 years for tax problems, but that does not change anything about how wonderful the information is.) Any one can see his videos on the internet for free. When I read the kind of things like…Zecryphon said… “I don’t think scripture does contradict itself. I think your statements are what are being considered contradictory, not the Bible. The local flood vs. the global flood theories are the suppositions of men and women in an attempt to make the Bible story make sense to them. The word of God states plainly what happened. Apparently we can’t reconcile that against what science may have discovered so we have to change the meaning of what is written in God’s word until we can understand it. Isn’t that just making God in our own image?”We will never reconcile what science has taught us about how old the Earth is, and how life got here. Noah’s flood is never going to considered a real possibilty by the ungodly. Kent Hovind on his 4th video spends 3 hours talking about “The lies in the Textbooks” I have watched it 3 times with my daughter. Very very good. The 2nd video is about “The Garden of Eden” . It’s about how the Earth was different and why people could live to be 950 years old. The 6th video is called “The Hovind Theory” This is mainly about Noah’s Flood, and what happened to the Earth at that time. I tell you Kent Hovind makes so much sence. If you really are having a hard time talking to your kids about how the flood could have happened this one will help you. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5374743445141242179&q=kent+hovind+theory

  55. Because Dufflehead I chose to answer what had been written to me and about me instead. I am now done with the issue of Biblical inerrancy on this thread.

  56. Wow. It’s times like this when being a Calvinist makes life a lot easier.We are all depraved. None of us deserve anything but judgment. God chose Noah and his family. God can do that…because He’s God. Most figures in the Scriptures who were “righteous” were chosen by God because their behavior showed they were anything but upright…that’s the beauty of His choice. I especially was struck by the statement that he “hated” Esau before he was born. That He “hardened Pharaoh’s heart.”Don’t all these stories make so much more sense when put in the context of a God that chooses the foolish and depraved things of the world to confound the “wise?”

  57. Sweet Sasy! Way to go Steve great post…you sure got them talking again.This is for Sr. Jeff…because there is no more demerging..;(Did Demons have Sexual Relations with Women in Genesis 6:4? by: Hank Hanegraaff ——————————————————————————–“The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.” Genesis 6:4Genesis 6:4 is one of the most controversial passages in the Bible. As with any difficult section of Scripture, it has been open to a wide variety of interpretations. It is my conviction, however, that those who hold consistently to a Biblical worldview must reject the notion that women and demons can engage in sexual relations. I reject this interjection of pagan superstition into the Scriptures for the following reasons. First and foremost, the notion that demons can “produce” real bodies and have real sex with real women would invalidate Jesus’ argument for the authenticity of His resurrection. Jesus assured His disciples that “a spirit does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have” (Luke 24:39, NKJV). If indeed a demon could produce flesh and bones, Jesus’ argument would not only be flawed, it would be misleading. In fact, it might be logically argued that the disciples did not see the post-resurrection appearances of Christ but rather a demon masquerading as the resurrected Christ. Furthermore, demons are nonsexual, nonphysical beings and, as such, are incapable of having sexual relations and producing physical offspring. To say that demons can create bodies with DNA and fertile sperm is to say that demons have creative power – which is an exclusively divine prerogative. If demons could have sex with women in ancient times, we would have no assurance they could not do so in modern times. Nor would we have any guarantee that the people we encounter every day are fully human. While a Biblical worldview does allow for fallen angels to possess unsaved human beings, it does not support the notion that a demon-possessed person can produce offspring that are part-demon, part-human. Genesis 1 makes it clear that all of God’s living creations are designed to reproduce “according to their own kinds.” Finally, the mutant theory creates serious questions pertaining to the spiritual accountability of hypothetical demon-humans and their relation to humanity’s redemption. Angels rebelled individually, are judged individually, and are offered no plan of redemption in Scripture. On the other hand, humans fell corporately in Adam, are judged corporately in Adam, and are redeemed corporately through Jesus Christ. We have no Biblical way of determining what category the demon-humans would fit into – whether they would be judged as angels or as men, or more significantly, whether they might even be among those for whom Christ died. I believe the better interpretation is that “sons of God” simply refers to the godly descendants of Seth, and “daughters of men” to the ungodly descendants of Cain. Their cohabitation caused humanity to fall into such utter depravity that God said, “‘I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth – men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air – for I am grieved that I have made them.’ But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.” (Genesis 6:7-8). http://www.oneplace.com/Articles/Print-Friendly.asp?article_id=1091

  58. <>For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. <> –I Peter 3:18-22So yes, it is pertinent to eternal salvation. Seems to me that those who suffered God’s wrath in the flood were not exactly in heaven all that time.A few more points: 1) What about all the children who were on the earth in Noah’s day? I guess they were wiped away by the flood as well. Those, evil, wicked toddlers and babies!2)There are flood stories on every habitable continent of the world, and in fact, the Babylonian text (which predates the Old Testament) has the flood of Gilgamesh described within it. The OT version sounds suspiciously similar to the Babylonian version.3) If there are flood stories on every continent (and this is before white missionaries brought it to them during the Age of Exploration), it stands to reason that Noah and his family were NOT the only survivors of the flood. It’s likely that it was a localized flood and several family groups escaped to different continents with similar stories of the terrible flood, how it was a divine punishment from their deity, and how the deity allowed them to survive.4) Noah’s daughters didn’t have husbands at the time. Noah’s sons’ wives were saved, but I guess no one (including Noah) thought it important to ensure the human race was carried on through the daughter’s seed as well (of course, given that women were seen as little more than an incubator for the man’s “seed,” that’s not surprising). So, when everyone but Noah’s family was destroyed in the flood, Noah’s daughters were doomed to live husbandless and childless; thus taking away their only worth in such a patriarchal society. No wonder they got their father drunk and slept with him as a way to bear children.

  59. Wow! Look at all these posts! Steve lights the fuse and then sits back to watch our explosions. Kudos to you Great Puppet Master. Pull those strings; watch us dance” (I’m doing a little dance for you right now. Oh Yeah, Oh Yeah, I’m Jiggy wid’t!)

  60. I actually think that this story has little to do with the moral tale or even with ancient ideas of history. I believe it is more about equating Elohim with YHWH. It was originally two stories. One told very long ago with the general name for god Elohim and one told about the post-Moses God YHWH. One story uses 2 animals and the other utilizes the number 7 when speaking about the animals. The two are almost fed into each other one line from one followed by one line from the other. I think the story was meant to unify people divided by the diversity of this story (and in fact the people with different designations for the same God – especially given the revelation of God’s personal name of YHWH to Moses). Basically what I’m saying Steve is that I understand the difficulty of seeing a Judging God as also being a Loving God, but at the same time I think we are so out of the original context that it is almost impossible at times to understand the original purpose of stories such as these (Job is another good example or 2Kings 22 where God gets the devil to plant lies for Him).Anyway my son is starting to talk now and I have no idea how to explain this stuff to him either! I can’t just say, “That’s not what the story is about son, that’s like asking why Little Red Riding Hood wears red!” I am guaranteed to overcomplicate things beyond all measure. Good luck to you when this conversation comes to fruition. And please pray for me or I will be absolutely lost when I have it (or can’t you tell?)

  61. I don’t think Noah was as pure as the driven snow. Wasn’t he an alcoholic? For whatever reason we are told that Noah found favor with God. But maybe Noah, is the best example of a “good” person this planet had to offer at that time? One thing that often gets overlooked is that God is just and righteous and can not tolerate people breaking His law. The God that is often presented in churches and especially by some other Christians time after time is a God of love. But the love they describe God having is a pampering, hand-holding, coddling love, not a just, righteous and perfecting love. I mean if God were the type of judge we’d like Him to be, He’d let people into Heaven left and right simply because they said they were sorry and wouldn’t do it again. What if a judge on earth did that? Let’s say some guy walks into God’s court room and is charged with, oh let’s say rape and murder. When God says: “what do you have to say for yourself?” The crimminal replies “Well, I was going through a hard time, and I wasn’t myself. But I’m really sorry and I promise I won’t do that again.” What do you expect God to do at this point? Should God say: “Okay, as long as you promise not to do it again… you can go.” Would you consider that to be a just judge who is upholing the law or a judge who is our friend and buddy, a judge we can love, because since He let us go, He really loves us?

  62. what i think is fascinating is that, evidently, everyone else on the planet, except for the family of noah (8 people?) were considered wicked.

  63. and perhaps a little christian-hating reprobate named Saul rings a bell. wait. isn’t that in our coveted NT?

  64. dufflehead, I think I understand better. Basically, you’re saying the Bible is the closest thing we got to telling us what God is like, but it isn’t perfect because of many factors, including human error. You still draw your beliefs from the Scriptures, but you also rely on history and experience and science.My guess is that you are much more comfortable with the unknown, when it comes to matters of doctrine, than you are with certainty.When I asked you about the voice of God it was because I couldn’t imagine any other way to hear from God. I mean, if a person does not rely on the Scriptures, then he must rely on voices or intuition or some other source to teach him about God’s will.For me, it is by reading and hearing the Scripture that I get to know God and his will. Anything that contradicts what the Bible teaches is NOT the voice of God. More importantly, what the Bible does teach <>is<> the voice of God. It sure does make things a whole lot easier.In some ways, you and Ninjanun may have more faith than fundamentalists like me. For, in essence, what you are saying is that you still follow Christ, even though you believe the Bible isn’t infallible.Still, you gotta admit there is something powerful about pointing to the written word of God. Jesus did it best in the wilderness against Satan’s temptations. <>“It is written…”<>Great conversation. Thanks.

  65. To me, this is an amazing example of God’s love in action. Because true love has consequences. If you eff around on your spouse, does that not elicit a direct response? God is showing us that not loving Him has very real and permanent consequences. He is perfect, we are the ones who are flawed. So we do NOT have the right to question God’s judgement. Until we become perfect (which will obviously never happen on this shitbox called earth) we will never be able to execute such Godly judegement. I love the fact that our God is a black and white kinda God. There are no fine lines when it comes to Him. Those fine lines are us, not God.For a more theological and in-deapth look into this subject please reference the following:http://www.apple.com/trailers/universal/evanalmighty/large.html… this not to mock or make light of this, just a little fun. But honestly, it really is very simple: choose to love Him or not, the rest is human semantics and damnation.— nice post Steve, I’d love to hear your feeback.

  66. Or what about David and Goliath? How about the man David grew up to be, huh? An adulterer, murderer and liar. Oh the men of the OT! Of course, I can’t say the men of the NT were any better.Maybe we should just present these stories is a way that a child would understand. Kinda like God must have done with the story of creation. Moses had no idea what a sub-atomic particle was or gravity or what it took to form a planet. I’m sure God put it into simple language, language that a child could understand. I mean, children know they will be punished if they break the rules right? Use that. These people broke God’s laws or rules and since God could read their hearts, He must have seen that they weren’t even sorry about what they were doing. Maybe God thought that since they wanted to live in their sin, that they should die in their sin. We think it’s totally harsh and overkill and unjustified by our standards of parenting and moral behavior, but it’s not supposed to be about us, but about God. When we pass judgement on God as being harsh, we have put ourselves in a position above God, we are now the judge of Him. A very dangerous place to be, and yet we often seem most comfortable there.

  67. The interesting thing about this story is that the flood failed to accomplish the cleansing of humanity and yet God relented.In Gen 6:5 God sees that “every intent of the thoughts of his [man’s] heart was only evil continually.” and decides to wipe humanity out.In Gen 8:21 God sees “the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth” and decides never to wipe humanity out again.So apparently God decides within Himself that we are worthy of His love despite our failings. (Perhaps a corollary is that even in the immediate aftermath of God’s wrath, humanity is incapable of earning God’s mercy on our own.) Interestingly, that message shows up elsewhere.

  68. “Anyhoo, I don’t care if it contradicts or not.”I don’t think scripture does contradict itself. I think your statements are what are being considered contradictory, not the Bible. The local flood vs. the global flood theories are the suppositions of men and women in an attempt to make the Bible story make sense to them. The word of God states plainly what happened. Apparently we can’t reconcile that against what science may have discovered so we have to change the meaning of what is written in God’s word until we can understand it. Isn’t that just making God in our own image? “The fact that it contradicts just displays once again the utter insanity to try to fit scripture into the impossible “infallible, inerrant” category.”I don’t think it is utter insanity because the bible as far as I can tell does not contradict itself here. I think you might be using a contradiction in your own statements or logic as a reason to reject scripture as infallible.“The Bible, as far as I’m concerned, (and as Pete Grassow mentioned) is a common people doing the best they honestly can to explain the Unexplainable in the only terms they know how.”Does this statement apply to the whole Bible, the Old Testament or the New Testament? If a bunch of people just sat down and wrote a book that tried to explain the things they didn’t understand, would you really expect a book as complex as the Bible to be the end result?

  69. Dufflehead … you’re really bugging me now. How on earth do you manage to put hyperlinks in your comments? :oP

  70. Ha Kohen, after looking back to your first post on this thread I am beginning to understand where you’re thoughts are coming from. But, I do have some questions.Can we ever learn unintentional information? Or are we completely foolish to glean?It seems that what you are saying is that we cannot learn much of anything from the Flood story due to inadaquate context. How so?I believe we have a difference of opinion here. My stance is that the flood actually occured and for the reasons the Scriptures indicate. Which means that God actually did it. Which means that God’s state of mind is open for discussion.I can think of plenty of situations where I have learned things about others, even though what I learned wasn’t the point of their story.While you are correct in pointing out the Psalm Jesus quoted on the cross, I have to disagree with your assessment. When David said it, he had hope for rescue. Jesus would not be saved. He would be consumed as <>the sacrifice<> for the sins of the whole world.Darkness fell across the land and as Matthew Henry puts it, “to signify the withdrawing of the light of God’s countenance.”No matter where we come out on this issue, I believe Jesus gave us an example to follow. Even though we question, we can still trust God and go forward.God’s love is amazing – when we can understand what he hates.

  71. “But what “laws or rules” were broken, especially seeing that the Mosaic law didn’t come until hundreds of years later.”That’s true. So what standard was God using or did He just decide to wipe His creation off the face of the earth for the fun of it? I think not. I think Genesis 6:1-8 paints a picture of why God was angry with mankind and decided to do away with them.“My best explanation, at least at this time, is that love always includes punishment when we do wrong.”Well it depends on how you see God. If you see God as a god of love, what kind of love do you see? Do you see a pampering love that will love you no matter what you do and never punish you or judge you when you do wrong? Or do you see a perfecting love of a god who will hold you to a standard He has set and correct you when you do wrong also by a standard He has set. Thus by doing so God actually changes you from a wicked sinner into a child of God. “In the case of Noah, wickedness was more a condition of the heart…a lasting, damning condition, that must receive the justice that is from God.”That’s exactly what sin is. It’s a condition of the heart that manifests itself in outward actions. Remember Jesus’ words in Mark 7:20-23. I believe this passage directly addresses what must have been going on in the days of Noah. That men’s hearts were wicked and filled with evil, and since their hearts were wicked, their actions were wicked in the sight of God as well, and that is why He punished them.

  72. dufflehead, thanks man. Thanks for being so thorough. I didn’t mean to take up most of your evening, however. But, I promise to respect your time and effort in giving me your thoughts. I’m looking forward to a different viewpoint.To quickly answer some of your questions:There are records and eyewitnesses and astronauts and money spent to prove we went to the moon. Unless you’re a conspiracy theorist, it’s pretty easy to believe this one.I’m not sure about dowsing rods yet.Myth I have always thought to be a fictional account (in other words, there is evidence to the contrary or it is widely known to be fictional). Theory is a possible explanation for something (with some evidence to base it upon).The word Bible means book (from the Greek). Those who first called it “the Book” recognized it’s authority against the Gnosticism and heresy that was creeping into the church.Those are just the short answers. But, I’m looking forward to how these things tie together.

  73. Ninjanun…<>The Bible is not the Word of God. Jesus is the Word. It says so right there in that (supposedly) infallible, inerrant scripture of yours.<>“In the beginning was the Word; and the Word was with God; and <>the word WAS God<>…” (John 1:1-2)And if you believe God = Jesus = Holy Spirit (three distinct persons, one essence), then you must believe Jesus is the Word, so what Ninjanun said IS true. *nods* 🙂Plus, I don’t see where she expressed any disdain for the scriptures; she was just disagreeing with you, Zec.Zec…<>It’s been my understanding that Christ came to fulfill the law not abolish it.<>But if the law was fulfilled under Christ, doesn’t it also mean it’s abolished? I mean, no one has to make blood sacrifices for atonement; virtually none of the Levitical laws/the Holiness Code apply to us anymore. Y’know what I mean?

  74. “zec: so, before the white man showed up, what happened to the native americans that died?”What do you think happened to them? Also what do you think happened to all the people they most likely killed in order to inhabit this land? Do you believe they’re burning in hell or that they’re just dead? I believe God will judge them by their actions, since they never heard the law, they can’t be held to it.I believe God will judge a person who has no formal knowledge of Him by their hearts and the actions that flowed from that heart. Were their actions good or were they evil? Did the let their ego guide them or their conscience? “should we start giving kids some test or should we just not tell anyone about sin so that no one is “in the know”.”How can you know understand what sin is without first knowing the law? Until you have a standard against which to judge your actions, how can you know whether or not what you have done is right or wrong? Not only should we tell everyone what sin is, we should tell them about how Jesus is the way out of that sin and the damnation that comes along as the price of that sin.

  75. “Zec, I love you, but that statement right there shows me that you probably don’t know much about how the Bible was written or put together.”Then explain it so I do understand. “The Bible is not the Word of God. Jesus is the Word. It says so right there in that (supposedly) infallible, inerrant scripture of yours.”My it seems someone has a rather nasty outlook on the scriptures and God’s revelation of Himself to us. The scriptures are God’s words not mine. My scriptures would read alot differently.

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