Tuesday, March 14, 2006

two thoughts on jesus

i have had two thoughts about jesus recently. one about his life. one about his death. i thought i would throw them out there and ask for refinement or comments or whatever...

i wondered if god could really have a good basis for understanding what it is like to be human before jesus. and what i mean is that if you are god, and you know what man really is, (i.e. animated dirt), then it would seem a small thing to say "go and kill these people." not that he didn't feel the pain of people or that their deaths did not grieve him in a way. but that there would have to be an element in which god could not fully understand what it was like for those people who were on the receiving end of this.
then it seems as though things change once the word is made flesh. i wonder if when he was finally clothed in flesh and walked among us if it was not an eye opening experience. suddenly, "an eye for an eye" becomes, "NO! don't hit anyone. turn the other cheek. don't resist an evil person..." (now there's a command the church does very little with)
as if things came into focus for god in the flesh. THEN he could finally have full and complete knowledge of what was going on here. he took on flesh and after 30 years of practice, walked out the door to be a perfect example of a life lived that would please the father.

and at the same time, i contemplated the cross. and i wondered... is there an element of the cross in which god is not just being gracious to us, but also taking responsibility? is there not a sense in which the message of the cross is, "this whole mess is really my fault. i started it. and i'm going to finish it."

42 comments:

Herschel said...

deep stuff.....contemplating

Tessa said...

http://articles.news.aol.com/news/article.adp?id=20060314092509990003&cid=936

I found this interesting... it has nothing to do with your deep contemplations... i just thought u might like to read it.

jON said...

well, when you've contemplated a bit, would you mind sharing some thoughts? it's hard for me to find stuff on this type of thing from sources i trust fully.

Wendy ftfs said...

Wow... lol you are one deep and radical thinker.
We are made in his image so I'm thinking he understands all of our emotional responses .... and you are right there is a lot of killing off of people in the OT. I'm thinking of how many people were killed just to punish David when he took the census when the Lord told him not to. Crazy stuff sometimes.
But I have come to realize that the Lord does not view death in the same fashion as we do... I'm not sure that he views it in a bad light at all. "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." He admonishes us that it is better to go to the house of mourning tham to a party.
Eccl.7:2 "It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart."
Eccl.7:3,4 "Sorrow is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure."
As far as an eye for an eye goes I think Jesus was simply letting them know that the law was never what he wanted for us.
Yes he took responsibility for us. He took our sin so there would no longer be any separation between us. As far as this all being his fault, I wouldn't use the word fault but you are right .... the Lord knew exactly what was going to go down in the garden before it did.
Hope you are well....

Wendy ftfs said...

Thanks for the site on the F word Exhibit, Tessa.

Herschel said...

well i've contemplated...

i dont think i would support your hypotheses. I think they are "too human."

pardon the cliche but part of what makes God God is the mystery. Not that we shouldnt strive to understand Him...

I just dont think it is possible for an omniscient(spelling?) God to now know how it feels to be human even without experiencing it yet. i think that is putting God in a box.

As for the cross thing, this one is a little deeper but i still dont htink i can support it...i have a hard time calling this whole situation a mess knowing God is all-powerful and in control. To me, there has to be some kind of purpose to everything that happens down here. If it is all predestined, then He has a reason, and if we have free will and he lets us do all this crap, then there must a be a reason for Him giving us this freedom. I just cant see this whole thing, and none of us can, which thereto adds to the mystery(cliche count-2)

jON said...

thank you for your honest response. as always, not everything i say is biblical truth, just thoughts that float in and out of my head. so i appreciate you taking your liberty to disagree with me.

SOMETHING happened. certainly god has always had compassion for the underdog. the downtrodden, the lowest of the low. (low in our human eyes) yet there seems to be a great contrast with how god deals with mankind from the OT to the NT. it just seems as if SOMETHING happened to change it. and i'm not quite sure what that is, i'm merely speculating. (apparently what i have esposed on here is called "process theology". the thought that god is in process along with us. learning, growing, etc... a very unpalatable idea for fans of the "blueprint model", i.e. god knows and has foreordained everything that will occur)

which leads in to the second thought. are all things pre ordained? does everything that happen cross god's desk for approval or veto before it happens? or is it that god is just that great of a redeemer and worker that he can redeem anything and make it beautiful and use it for his purposes and glory? if we are indeed free, can god predestine what we are going to do? does god predestine the rape and murder of 8 year old girls?

i still think that god must rightly know that he is first cause here. this whole planet and being did not have existence before he made it so. and while technically, it is adam and eve's fault that they freely chose to disobey and let death in, i have a matrix style question...

would adam and eve still have partaken of the fruit if god didn't ask them not to?

for if we are made to be free, it would seem of necessity that anything attempting to control us would cause a rebellious response in keeping with our desire to remain free. isn't that why god added the law? so the trespass would increase? didn't he know that our reaction to someone telling us not to do something would make us run right out and do it? isn't that what paul says about the law in romans? that it is the law itself that gives us knowledge of these things and then through the knowledge of things we are not supposed to do, create the desire for it? isn't that why jesus tells people NOT to say anything about him? so that they will run right out and talk about it all over the place? and don't the scriptures state that god is so big and so amazing he could set this whole thing into motion that would require him to come and save us from ourselves although he has certainly orchestrated it all?

questions, questions...

Herschel said...

man i wish i had thought of that stuff...

thinking again...

jON said...

and yet, is this desire to be free...this desire to not be under subjection...this desire to freely give our obedience to whom we choose...

is that in and of itself our sinful nature (as many would maintain) or is it this desire that the sinful nature latches onto and perverts?


oh, yeah. i have no idea what's going on with my site here. it's not the template, so i'm confused.

jON said...

and, we're back.

Herschel said...

so your question basically boils down to "would we have sinned if we didnt know what sinning was?"

ok, now that ive boiled it down to that, i still need to think...sorry...this is some good stuff

jON said...

yes. should we be held responsible for things we did in ignorance? i am thinking less and less that we are. but some people KNOW the law. and so they are responsible for that knowledge. and others who do not have the law (and therefore are ignorant of god's truth and character) become a law for themselves and still do or do not do things that wound or do not wound their consciences.

and isn't wounding your conscience the true test of something sinful? so if your conscience doesn't bother you, i mean truly doesn't bother you, aren't you okay? didn't jesus say the holy spirit would convict the world of sin? have you ever had a time where the holy spirit was convicting you of sin that you were unaware of it? doesn't he have his ways of letting you know?

so what if people's consciences aren't wounded over the same things? isn't god alone the only one to judge a heart in that situation? for example:

last night i did something heroic for erin. and she hugged me and called me her saviour. her meaning was innocent. she only meant i was a hero. she didn't give it a second thought. it wasn't worship.

i heard it, however, and the first thing that crossed through my mind was jesus. and that to say thank you would be stealing honor from him. so i asked erin not to call me that.

in judging both hearts, in my estimation of who god is and what he is like from the scriptures and his dealings with us as individuals, i would say neither of us were really sinning there. i think we both were in line with our consciences perfectly.

whether or not either of those courses of action was the best or right one, neither of us were doing something we were convinced was wrong and yet doing it anyway. so i don't think that any of the interal emotions or motives were sinful, thereby giving the action its true meaning.

however, perhaps our physical actions transgressed "the law" in some fashion. that is what i think the awesome power of the cross is. it actually fulfilled the law for us. it dealt with all the externals that we would ever fail at so that we could stop focusing on them. stop trying to perfect the flesh. we just can't do it.

but we can have the breathing room for our external actions in order to now allow god to perfect the internal. and once the internal is clean, the external will follow.

not in the sense that once the inside is clean, the outside will then automatically be doing all the "good christian things". but rather, once you clean the inside, everything that comes out of you is perfect because you stop doing things that wound your conscience. unfortunately, it is hard to pin down and make rules because everyone's conscience is different.

and when somebody does something that would wound your own conscience, it can be easy to judge them and think we know what is in their heart just because we know what is in our own. and how often do we not even truly know that!

which is one way in which christianity comes up short. people keep doing things they are convinced are wrong and end up placing themselves under judgement instead of perhaps rechecking their traditions against scripture to see if they are god-breathed or man-breathed. because we don't have to obey men. we really don't.

we don't need to accept the puritans' interpretations as truth just because they're old.

there is room for disagreement. and there is so much room, if you love god and serve him with all your being, you don't have to agree with any of them.

you can start your own traditions if you want. we are all priests here. "with god, there is no partiality." it is our birthright, and we should stop letting other people dictate how we are going to live our faith.



because they aren't going to be standing next to me on judgement day.


i have to answer for me and me alone.

Wendy fts said...

Conscience.....
The Lord inhabits the praises of His people....
Knock and the door shall be opened unto you....
The Spirit of the Living God dwells within you.... etc.
The Holy Spirit was given to us for three reasons
One...to convict the world of sin.
Two...to comfort us.
Three...to guide us into all truth.

Could you have ever dreamed of a more perfect conscience than that?

The conviction, the guidance and the comfort all delivered to us with unfailing love.

Herschel said...

I dont think I disagree with you.

I honestly dont know what I will be held accountable for and what i what be. The whole judgment thing is all foggy to me.

i do think that as a Christian, and as someone who is activley seeking Christ and the Holy Spirit, you will know when you sin.

The Holy Spirit will/does convict us. I think that is a fact, and we will know it. I guess i am speaknig from personal experience though. I'm pretty sure I know when something i am doing is a sin. I cant think of a time since i accpeted Christ when i did something and then a week later was like "oh thatw as a sin back there, i shouldnt have done that" Even if i had zero knowldege of it, i still had the "feeling of conviction"

thats just me though

jON said...

absolutely. so what if you find a place where you no longer feel that conviction? i know the popular answer is to say that you are hardened. but is that always the truth? especially if you are seeking to lay all things in subjection to christ?

paul spoke of this once. he said that he was given a thorn in the flesh and three times he prayed to have it removed. this thing that should not be there. what was god's response? "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."

so, wouldn't paul have to find a place of comfortability? a place where his conscience no longer bothered him over this thing that in his mind should by all rights go, but was himself powerless to remove because the lord himself wanted it to remain there?

so maybe we need to be broken in some places. the places that the lord desires. because if we're broken, we probably need more of him. yet at the same time, the more god puts of his spirit into broken cisterns, the more will spill out from us into the world.

maybe the cracks are for helping us to get close to people with the same cracks who might feel a little self-conscious about their cracks? and have a hard time feeling comfortable with people who don't posess the same cracks?

and if this is the way the lord wants your life to be, shouldn't you be able to relax and rest in that knowledge and be comfortable? have real lasting peace before the lord?

does this help explain and give a new and deeper meaning to statements such as, "To the pure, all things are pure..." and again, "We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin..."

i think there is a place of soft conscience that stops bothering you because of grace, when you live in subjection to the spirit, walking in him moment by moment, knowing that whatever remains in your life in according to god's choice right now. i know that we are oftened warned against this type of spiritual approach as it can be easy to fall into deception, but can there be any other way into a truly god-centered and god-filled life of action? how can you ever know what god wants from you, personally, if you do not live this way?

will i screw up this kind of freedom? absolutely. i make mistakes. but there is a difference between a one time mistake that i learn from and a perpetual plaguing thing that i cannot shake on my own.

can i find comfort in the moment in the cross? can i be comfortable that the lord, who is not bothering me about a particular thing, wants that thing to remain, whether or not i think it best for it to go?

of course i speak in generalities like "it" because my examples may not be your examples. but i'll give one...

smoking. is it good for me? no. is it waste of money? yes. have i tried to quit? yes. it has a hold on me and i cannot break it on my own. i've tried. is it possible that while in the midst of this thing i cannot break that it can be redeemed and used for god and his kingdom? and not having to feel guilty about it all the time because of the cross?

it is in having cigarettes on my porch (because we NEVER smoke around zaavan) that i have gotten to know and be aquainted with my nieghbors. and find out about them and their lives and their needs.

his power is made perfect in my weakness. to the pure all things are pure. he who is born of god does not continue to sin.

god is not bugging me about the cigarettes. for now, the only pangs i have are the voices of other people telling me what a horrible person i am and how i'm not a "good christian" and any other slew of horrible things that seek to bind me. and i think they're intentions are good. or they believe they are. but at the heart of it is a mold of a "good christian" life that doesn't exist. and having to be dishonest with others about who i am, trying to show them that i fit the mold, when in truth i do not, is a horribly painful thing. and i have stopped trying to cram myself into this mold that i do not fit into.

but god leaves me alone about it. and i know i'm not hard because god pangs me about all other sorts of things all day long. always saying, "stop. slow down. show love." and, "before you answer your wife, rid yourself of malice. treat her how you want to be treated!" "you must be consistent if you want anyone to believe what you say!" and these thing sound a lot more like what i read in the bible.

and now, i heed his voice correctly about 75% of the time. some things are still too frighteneing. i've posted before about my desires to lay hands on the injured and heal them, but for fear of looking like a fool, i have yet to obey those nudges. and i hope they don't stop, because i want to get it right.

but thank god for grace and the cross and the blood that i have room to mess up while i'm giving my ALL to get it right!

which brings us back to the beginning of this whole post. in testing adam and eve, and them failing the test, it unleashed a slough of things we, as humans, could not hope to contain. and though it was technically the humans fault, god knowing their frailty, knowing the way he had made them, placed before them the possibility for these things to enter the world.

for before god asked anything of them, there was no possibility for disobedience. there was no possibility for sin. but once he spoke to them and gave them command... it was all but inevitable.

Herschel said...

wow...i wish my brain worked as well as yours... :)

jON said...

maybe. maybe not. believe me, it is a curse as well as a blessing.

try the fact that i can't leave a comment less than a foot long. or how about not even having the capability of small talk? and then there's the fact that i can't turn it off.

i'm not complaining. it is actually a very exciting existence. it just can be difficult to find people willing to engage. so i thank you for the willingness to at least listen, if not respond. yet, while having all of these things go on and progress in my head, it can be lonely at times.

as i say to my wife, "if you want me to hear you, make sure you get eye contact and acknowledgement before speaking. otherwise, since i'm already having a conversation with either myself or god or both, i'm not going to hear you or register that you're even talking to me. and plus it's kind of rude to interrupt when someone else is talking isn't it?" erin always loves that last part. thank god he gave me a woman with every bit as dry and cynical sense of humor as me or we would be in real trouble.

and honestly, most of this stuff is revelation from the spirit and i'm just trying to be faithful to communicate it. so i really can't take any credit for it.

but compliments aside, that doesn't get you off the hook. i'm still looking for perspective on this thing and i value yours. now that the topic has come around full circle, what are your thoughts? i will certainly keep checking back here. i am loving this more than you know. it is the very embodiement of everything i had hoped blogging could be.

ongoing conversation about the innermost recesses of my heart and mind.

Herschel said...

i would have to say there would be no sin if God hadn't told us not to do something in the first place...we cant sin if we have no limits...

so therein lies a new question--why? but its not a new question, we've asked it hundreds of times before

jON said...

sorry, but i want to make sure i understand you. "why" what?

why is there no sin without limits? or, why did god give limits knowing these limits would almost certainly cause us to sin? or, something else i haven't thought of?

Wendy ftfs said...

LOL This blog is Smokin'. Lots of cool stuff happenin' here.

Speakin' o' smokin'....

I share this with only love ...

My parents both smoked... they loved me a great deal ... Smoking is not a character judgment.
My Mom is dead.... died at 53 years old. My Dad quit shortly after ...
Sigh ... smokin' from a young age was a contributing factor toward her early departure. She was a wonderful God fearing woman and I miss her soooo much. She was someone very valuable BECAUSE she loved us so much. And she loved her grandchildren. They were the apple of her eye and they knew it. There is one who never met her.
I say this to people ... Do you want to share in the lives of your children's children? Your odds are greatly increased by butting out. She didn't want to die when she did.
Was it all supposed to be that way?? No... were there contributing factors in her life that made her pick it up at the tender age of 14? I'm sure... and the Lord knew she would... just like He knows what all of us will choose in every avenue we experience. Was she any less righteous than anyone else who loves God? Oh no...but she's gone...
I've been robbed...that's how I feel.

jON said...

i completely understand, wendy. i take no offense to the words which you have spoken and i echo them in my own heart.

i do not wish to see zaavan robbed of his parents. i just find myself, at present, in a situation i cannot get out of on my own strength. and i have decided to quit beating myself up about it and live in joy.

Herschel said...

my why question was "why would God give limits knowing it would cause sin?"

my simple answer is that He wants us to choose Him and not be robots...but i know things arent that simple...

Susan said...

And to think I've been missing all this!

I thought that a child will always want to do the very thing you tell them not to because they were born with a sin nature whereas Adam and Eve were not. Therefore I don't think it necessarily follows that by God giving them a command - don't eat the fruit it means that they would automatically want to eat the fruit. In fact it seems to me that the thought only occurred to Eve when the serpent suggested it.

I read somewhere that: "At Calvary Christ accepted responsibility for the introduction of moral evil into the universe". I think God accepted the responsibility even though He was not to blame.

jON said...

thank you susan for showing us the other side. but this of course, leads to more questions for me. i hope everyone will continue this as long as it is interesting to them...i know it still is for me.

hersch, i don't think that your simple answer is untrue, or too simple. since we do not have a definite answer on this from scripture (at least that i have found yet) all we can do is speculate. and people have speculated for millenia over this very question. why did god create us and this place in the fashion he did? the most common answer i have heard is that he wanted creatures who would freely choose to love him instead of creatures who had no option.

which is what makes the question so much more troubling. i think that it is a very fact that unless god had given a command, there would be no possibility of disobedience. and if no possibility of disobedience, no possibility to sin.

so i'm not suggesting that god himself actually did the bringing of sin into the world, but there are some things about this scenario, as well as things that scripture states, that show that there is a contradiction going on here. while god did not, in fact, desire sin to enter the world, he did in fact create the conditions for it. for, once again, how can one disobey when nothing has been asked?

and i think you make a good point susan when you say that the thought seems to have not entered eve's mind until the serpent put it there. i think you are quite right. but what are we then to make of the rest of the facts surrounding this?

could god not have stopped the serpent from speaking to eve? did he have no idea this was happening? did he not see her mind and heart turning? was he unaware? could he not have put a stop to the fruit being eaten once the test was failed from a heart standpoint? could he not have shown up sooner? and if adam and eve had no sin nature, why would they disobey?

they were deceived. but we must realize something important here. the serpent told them the truth. he placed in them the thought that they would not physically die, which was true. for i do not think they had a concept of the spiritual self (just speculating here) being separated from the physical self, and had thought that there would be a complete death in disobedience. the serpent opened them up to the knowledge that their bodies would in fact stay quite alive and they would be "like god, knowing good and evil." and god not only allowed it, what i am saying is that he set up the conditions for it to happen. though, of course, he did not MAKE it happen.

how difficult it is to not eat of this fruit! do we not do the same? are we not always longing to know good and evil and be like god in that manner? what if we did not? what if we did not worry all the time about right and wrong? trying to judge ourselves and others along these lines of physical actions? what if we simply lived and obeyed whenever god spoke to us?

could this not be another aspect of the cross? to cover our consciences so that we could be in god's presence continually with no fear? to help return us to a "garden state" where we can be naked and unashamed always before god and one another?

because if in the garden there was only one command given to them, which if they did not break would have kept them covered in god's good standing, how can any other concept of sin not be arbitrary? a later addition that could not, of necessity, be sinful in and of itself?

i am becoming more and more convinced that sin has nothing whatsoever to do with our actions.
and this is quite different than what i believe i was taught, whether implicitly or explicitly, i do not know.

damn. i'm just working through this stuff and typing off the cuff. i hope i have not lost anyone. so, before i go any farther, i will stop and allow for reading and feedback and whatnot.

brothres and sisters, i am loving this! thank you for helping give birth to it!

much love.

Wendy ftfs said...

Eve was deceived, Adam wasn't according to scripture. hmmmm

Yes, I have always wondered this very thing as well...why was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil there at all? Unless it would, through the struggles that would ensue, make us to be a little higher than the angels and truly be in better fellowship with God because we will know as we are known. The plan brought us to a deeper relationship. More like a comraderie.... submissive to the Lord of Lords and King of Kings but friends as well. Hmmm
Sin is evil... evil is sin. It is Satan's territory. Jesus took the evil away from the sheep. He is the Good Shepherd.

Susan said...

Ok, I'm thinking maybe it is all about love.

Before the fall Adam and Eve experienced unbroken fellowship and therefore a good relationship with God. But I wonder if they really knew how much God loved them; did they know they lengthens God would go to prove His love; did they know how important and special to God they were? I suspect not and because they really didn't know how much God loved them perhaps their own love for God was weak also.

Jesus said, if you love me obey my commands. Adam and Eve didn't obey so perhaps they didn't really love God or perhaps their love was a childish immature kind of love.

The devil temptation went along the lines if God really loved you he would not withhold anything good from you. Eve fell for it perhaps because she was not fully convinced that God loved her and had her best interests at heart. God foreknowing all this already had a rescue plan in mind, the cross. When we consider the cross we see the width, the length, the height and the depth of God's love, we realize that God would not send His Son to die for a bunch of worms but that we must be really important and valued for God to make this enormous sacrifice. So maybe God had to allow sin to enter the world in order to prove His love for us. If so, it was an incredibly high price to pay.

Herschel said...

or perhaps He allows sin to show His majesty.

if we were not so bad, would we recognize something so good?

had we not fallen, would we have even understood that God was God, and above us? or to be worshipped?

Susan said...

Actually I rather think that God could have shown Adam and Eve His majesty if He wanted to. Afterall He showed it to Isaiah in Isaiah 6 and also to Moses.

jON said...

susan, yes. love. the heart of our freedom that we have been given through the cross. "if you love me, you will obey my commands." we can do what we will with this freedom, because if we love him, we will obey him. but yes, again. what a price.

and again, if god could have shown his glory, he obviously has reasons for not doing so. there must have been some end to be achieved by not doing so. what and why?

hersch, i agree with your thoughts as well. unless we suffer, unless we go through the awful, it can be easy to ignore how good things are when they are good. why do you think we complain about such useless things in this country? because we don't have many real problems. like lack of food or shelter. and the people who do have these problems here, we ignore.

so another question that has come up in our discussions for me: is the "fruit" that is spoken of in this creation story actual fruit or a metaphor? because i think it can have radical implications on us and our lives if it is a metaphor. if it is metaphor, we could actually be slinging down fistfuls of the stuff ourselves in ignorance. and if we are, perhaps we should stop.

Wendy ftfs said...

It was real fruit...remember what the tree was ... the knowledge of good and evil...they must not have had that knowledge before they partook.

And as far as ignoring the needy, speak for yourself Americano...:-)

We Canadians take care of our poor.
LOL

jON said...

i'm not sure if i want to chase the rabbit trail about fruit just yet.

but i did want to go back a bit. i've been thinking about this. and i think we find the answer to the "why?" question in romans. (coincidence?)

RO 11:32 "For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all."

once disobedience, sin, had entered the world, apparently, god set about the task of making us equals. i have no doubt about what the text says, that he wanted to have mercy on all. but did he do this so that there would not be one of us able to boast over another? is that why he kept speaking? speaking things that we, by all rights SHOULD be able to keep, but with our natures being what they are, we WOULD NEVER keep. (Dt 30:11 "Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach."; GAL 3:24-25 "Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.")

so now i'm thinking... in order to put us all on an even keel of disobedience, he had to keep speaking. he had to keep commanding. hence the law. a wonderment so complex and intricate that it would be almost impossible for free beings such as us to keep it. not that he ever made any one of us disobey, but rather that i think he knew who we are and what we are made of and what the end result would be.

but also to show us something perhaps? to show us just how unsucessful law is at controlling our behavior? and that we need to have a heart and mind change (repentance) in order for true change in our lives to occur?

and yet we legislate on as if this will actually do some good at making men or women do as we wish. and in trying to make them do as WE wish, are we not robbing them of their birthright as free beings for whom the blood has been given? is true god-given freedom so intolerable for us? because if we allow people to do as they wish, they might do something we don't care for. can we love them even if they choose something we would not? can we follow jesus' example and love people even if they choose things that cause themselves, or us, pain and misery? and then, without striking back, ask the father to forgive them for their ignorance?

Wendy ftfs said...

Yes, we can and that is exactly what we are called to do ... Many of us don't understand the depth of forgiveness we are called to ... and really only can do this through the spirit because the Holy Spirit knows the truth and will guide us into it. In every difficult situation that arises in our lives the Holy Spirit will be leading and guiding and will be the victor. Love will reign ... we can act no other way without great conviction and loss of peace. The conviction and unpeacefulness are miserable. It is easier to follow the Holy Spirit even though it looks like the craziest thing to do. We are led individually and creatively in every situation.... and when we follow the voice of the Lord we are free from all other voices around us.... and His voice can be heard wherever He decides it will be heard.... usually wherever you are at the time ... He is the Good Shepherd and finds us where we are.

Jon... why do you use the analogy of rabbit holes and rabbit trails?

jON said...

"rabbit trails" is an old euphomism here in the states and i am not sure its origin.

"rabbit hole" is from the matrix. which, even then, is from alice in wonderland. you know, she chases the rabbit down the hole and...wow. oh the things she encountered and witnessed.

Wendy ftfs said...

Cool ... :-)

Erin said...

Ok I know this is an old thread, but you brought it up....

So one thing first: are we assuming here that the story of Adam and Eve and the garden and the tree and the serpent and the fruit is literal? Because if not, that changes things. I have not ever been able to regard it as literal...but I've never really thought that through more. Maybe the tree of the knowledge could simply be our sin nature. God hoped we would not bow to it but knew we would so God created a plan of redemption before the dawn of time. The serpent represents our selfishness and temptation...I don't know. Like I said I haven't thought it through. It would probably help if I had read my bible recently, huh? ;-)

Now over on my blog we're talking about God having made a mistake and wiping out humanity...it all ties together. Did God tempt Adam and Eve on purpose? Did God make a mistake with humanity?

In other words, is God not perfect and not perfectly good?

Considering the word Adam means Man, I do wonder if Adam and Eve were not the only humans, but they were representative of humans as a whole.

Have you read Brian McLaren? I know this idea isn't new, but I read it for the first time in the A New Kind of Christian books...that Adam and Eve represent the gatherers, Abel is the herders/pastoralist, and Cain is an agriculturist (farmer). The farmers killed the herders with their greed for land. Follow?

If that's so, then I begin to see another whole reading of Genesis than I ever was taught before.

You suggested that God may actually be knowledge or learning. If so then the idea that he created the temptation of more knowledge is true. Hence our desire to evolve overcomes our nature to be good.

Also of interest to me in the comments here was the idea (I think you said it) that God created more and more law to level the playing field, so that no one could actually KEEP the law. But then why would he free us from the law (Jesus) instead of just creating more rules?

The irony isn't lost on me that today most of Christianity looks quite reminiscent of the Pharisees.

I guess this is just a bunch of disjointed thoughts, but there it is. Do with it what you will.

jON said...

what keeps you from being able to regard the beginning of genesis as a literal thing? and if not wholly, do you think it means the whole thing is allegory? that there is not a specific man and woman being spoken of?

of course i believe god is perfect and perfectly good. he is the standard by which those terms are even measured. this is his world, he gets to define things whether we like it or not.

according to paul, god created more and more law so that we would all be in the same boat, and then he could have mercy on all of us. i believe he then freed us from the law so that we would have the same kind of freedom we had at the beginning. to return us to a "garden-state", if you will.

before the tree, we had complete freedom. we could not have sinned because there was no command to disobey. and for a brief period of time, here in this place 2 years ago, i had found a state where i no longer wanted to know good & evil, i didn't think about it or even worry about it, i simply lived and trusted in the grace given us through the cross and life was never better.

this state of mind and being was damaged in my ordeal with church leadership. i'm still trying to return to that state.

One Voice of Many said...

I'm jumping in here if that's ok. Hi Jon - long time no comment. :-)

I've read some suggestions lately that have me agreeing that the Bible is true but not in the historical literal sense but rather the historical metaphor since. I don't think the story of creation and the rest of Genesis is to be taken literally. It is said to have been written during the time of the Babylonian exile - a history book composed basically to give a disjointed people an explanation of their history. It was also written as man's response to God; not God's dictation to man. That's complete heresy I realize but when I look at it now in that kind of perspective I'm much less tied up in "but that doesn't make sense!!!" kinds of thoughts.

I think that, for example, Adam and Eve and their story, whether literal of allegory, the point is the same and that's what we should try and dig out of the rubble.

just me... :-)
Michelle

Erin said...

Why can't I view Genesis as literal? I just can't anymore. It makes no sense. It stresses me out. Are Adam and Eve literal people? I don't think so.

Michelle - your kind of heresy works for me. ;-)

One Voice of Many said...

Erin,

I read This Book recently. This guy might be your kind of heretic also. He's an Anglican priest and a scholar. His faith seems quite intact however his point on scripture is more on the historical metaphorical side. I quite enjoyed his perspectives.

Michelle

jON said...

thanks for joining me in the past!


the entire book of genesis? really? no abraham? no isaac? no jacob? no perez? no tamar? no joseph? no famine? no relocation to egypt because of said famine? because that's where genesis ends. which leads into exodus. and then leviticus. and so on and so forth on down the line through jesus' day and afterwards.

do you think any of the bible happened then? if so, at what point do you think it stops being metaphor and starts being history?

these are things i believe actually happened in real time and space. i believe this is history.

unless you're merely speaking of the beginning of the book. the garden, the flood, the tower of babel. those things, to me, smack of allegory.

let me ask you this as well, have you ever witnessed god breaking into this world in radical ways? not just the "behind the scenes" stuff, but a genuine "reach his arm in and touch something" moment?

it's fine if you feel this way, i'm just thinking through the implications of what has been said and asking some follow-up questions for personal clarification. i hope you don't mind.

One Voice of Many said...

Jon - your questions are just those that have plagued me for all of this time; how do I know if any of it was literal. If I relax and look at it all in story context and stop worrying if it was literal or not, but recognize the point of the story is the same regardless of literal or metaphorical, I can still be open to learn and grow. However, to answer your question, I was referring mainly to the story of creation and the flood and those things you mentioned here.

I don't think I can say that I've seen an actual God-intervention in my time here on earth. Maybe I have and I just didn't recognize it. But I think many of things at the time I thought were "God" was only because it was when things went in my favor by some happenstance. I don't let my brain stay in that thought pattern anymore because that brings up too much angst when things DON'T go my way. I think that the fact is that tide goes in and the tide goes out. That's just life.

And, no, I never mind your questions.
Michelle

Erin said...

Here's the thing: I'll accept as literal most things in the bible that have outside verification, i.e. historical documents or archeological finds that prove it's accuracy. I am not into circular reasoning - that is, believing the bible is true because it says it's true. So anything that is not independently verified is subject to suspicion as being some degree of metaphor/allegory. That's just where I'm at.

For instance, I've said about Noah...I can believe there was a flood that he experienced and he interpreted it as God's wrath, but I don't for one minute believe God flooded the ENTIRE earth and killed EVERYONE except a man and his family and a boat with 2 of every animal. Are you kidding me? What about genetic diversity? And I've heard the "pure gene pool" creationist argument but it still doesn't work for me.

Here's another thing...and I might be wrong on my facts by memory here, but I watched a documentary about it like a year ago....

Until 10,000 years ago, humans lived as hunter-gatherers (aka Adam and Eve)...at that point we began to develop language and keep track of history...so it would stand to reason that modern evangelicalism puts Adam and Eve (hunter-gatherers) at about 10,000 years ago (10,000 being a time frame, not a specifically accurate date).

There are a lot of reasons the metaphor/allegory explanation of the dawn of humanity as recorded in Genesis works for me. Maybe I was abrupt in saying ALL of Genesis...I haven't thought it all through yet. But as I said before, if it cannot be independently verified as being fact then I don't know that it's literally true.

I just don't believe that religion and science have to be mutually exclusive.

As for the other question about witnessing God breaking through in a tangible way...hmm...I have seen a *few* real miracles, and I have had things work out for good in amazing ways...but beyond that...I'm not sure.