The nature of God
I submit, for your consideration that the Lord of love and forgiveness, the Lord of the whole universe, taught by Jesus was not the same as the god of the ancient Hebrews who they call "Jehovah". Indeed, historically, the ancient "people of Jehovah" were the worst enemies of both Jesus and the early Christians. In the Hebrew Scriptures, the god called Jehovah is a wargod and local god, credited with every kind of atrocitiy and brutality. The God taught by Jesus, by contrast, is a God eager to love and to forgive. He relates to the universe by a principle called "grace", an idea that was completely unknown to the Hebrews. In the earliest and best Greek manuscripts of the Greek Scriptures, the writers never once used ANY FORM of the ancient Hebrew name for God. Since they were genetically Hebrews, this could not have been an oversight and must have represented a voluntary "boycott" by those early writers. The God of Jesus belonged to the entire universe, while Jehovah "belonged" exclusively to the Jews as they themeselves claimed.
Interesting thought, but...
17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
Could you show me a text in the Bibl OT, where God was unjustified in eliminating bad?
Hmmmm ... why then does the God of the Jews [Jehovah] send the Messiah [Jesus] to earth to save the world from sin and death? This same God, [Jehovah] Jesus himself calls 'heavenly Father.'
Less Religion and more Jesus!
The quotation from James 1:17 is interesting but I believe that the "father of the heavenly lights" is the father of all human beings not just the god of the Jews, Jehovah.
Everyone knows the story of how "Jehovah" was said to "command" the massacre and slaughter of peaceful peoples indigenous to the Promised Land. Of course, "Jehovah" never stepped down out of the sky and killed these people. It was, instead his "ancient theocratic organization" that butchered the innocents. The generaals made sure that women and children were included in this despicable "command from Jehovah".
If you believe that the Lord of Jesus Christ, the perfect and tender God of love, peace, and forgiveness commanded these atrocities I have some swamp land in Florida I'd love to show you ! :)
Your letter shows some basic assumptions common to fundamentalism. The first is that "Jehovah... sent Jesus". I do not believe that Jehovah sent Jesus but that Jesus was sent by God. The reason for this is that it was the people of Jehovah who engineered the murder of Jesus.
Jesus did not fit the descriptions or expectations of the Messiah. The Messiah was a superstition that represented the hopes and fears of the Jewish people. They predicted that he would be a fierce, ferocious, tough and bloody soldier who would "liberate" the Jews from Edom (Rome). Jesus, the teacher of Love and the Prince of Peace did not fit this profile at all. The Jews rejected and turned their back on him and, as you might be aware, have still not accepted him as the "Messiah" even today, two thousand years later. (Interestingly, Jesus himself did not make this claim, it was made for him by others after he was "safely" dead).
When Jesus spoke to the "heavenly father" I believe that he was referring to the God of all humanity and not exclusively to the god of the Jews, Jehovah. If the Jews did recognize Jehovah as "father" then his words against them in John 8:44 apply to him, "Your father is an illisionist and the father of illusion..."
Again I ask;
Could you show me a text in the Bible OT, where God was unjustified in eliminating bad?
Now, which "peaceful" people could you be talking about? Amalakites, Edomites, Midianites, Moabites, Canaanites, Amorites???
One blairing and justifiable fact with every single nation that was totally destroyed by God is this, they worshipped Satan. Here's their peaceful cry;
"Please let us at peace and worship Satan and all the other false gods we can create. We mean you no harm. Let us worship the god of corruption to the best of our abilities. Let us prostitute our physical bodies with immorality of all sorts. Let us worship the creation rather than the Creator. Let us have our idols of man and womans sex organs, let us worship the sun and moon and stars. We even like to burn our young children in the fires of a cool god named Molech. Please, we are a peaceful people. Matter of fact, come in join us in this worship of FREE WILL. Worship whatever way you want and who ever you want. It's way cool."
To God's pure people He says this:
16 so that you do not become corrupt and make for yourselves an idol, an image of any shape, whether formed like a man or a woman, 17 or like any animal on earth or any bird that flies in the air, 18 or like any creature that moves along the ground or any fish in the waters below. 19 And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars--all the heavenly array--do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the LORD your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven. 20 But as for you, the LORD took you and brought you out of the iron-smelting furnace, out of Egypt, to be the people of his inheritance, as you now are.
25 After you have had children and grandchildren and have lived in the land a long time--if you then become corrupt and make any kind of idol, doing evil in the eyes of the LORD your God and provoking him to anger, 26 I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you this day that you will quickly perish from the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess. You will not live there long but will certainly be destroyed.
If God could JUSTIFIABLY whack His own people up side the head for all the stuff above, you don't think He has the right to whack people up side the head for the very same stuff above that aren't His chosen people? Give me a break.
PS. Show me the peaceful Satan worshippers in the Bible that God whacked with the big stick. I think I missed that part.
Like the JW's you fail to distinguish a very important distinction: there is a universal difference between "destroying evil" or "elminating corruption" and slaughtering human beings. You do not "destroy evil" by killing human beings. This is the monstrous lie that lies at the root of the whole insane "Armageddon" concept. This will make one of Hitler's concentration camps look like a Sunday picnic in the park.
You also make the common fundamentalist assumption that the indigenous peoples of the ancient lands were worshipping "satan". Many ancient peoples observing nature honestly did the best they could to formulate their ideas of God. They gave these ideas and concepts different names. But believing in the essential goodness of human beings and at least some innate intelligence, I don't believe that these people were deliberately worshipping evil. Many of them were honest, good, kind, sweet and loving human beings. To dismiss them all as "satanists" is just a convenient way to dehumanize them. When they are thus turned into "objects" it becomes okay to murder them. This mirrors precisely the exact same reasoning used by the bloody Israeli army who did actually massacre them.
I used to believe exactly as you do now. I discovered that many of my beliefs were the results of teachings and continuous reinforcements by the Watchtower Society.
I now worship a very different God. My God is the God of Jesus. As He is the God of Love and forgiveness, His only function and great delight is to love his children. So my God would never "whack people up side the head".
Love and Blessings,
Again I ask;
Could you show me a text in the Bible OT, where God was unjustified in eliminating bad?
Here is the resurrected Christ speaking to those who remain corrupt, He sounds distinctly like Yehweh:
Rev 2:5 Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. "If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place".
No lamp, no light, no life. Ever heard the expression "punch your lights out?" Bad , evil and corruption will not be tolerated.
16 Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
22 So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. 23 I will strike her children dead.
27'He will rule them with an iron scepter;
he will dash them to pieces like pottery-
just as I have received authority from my Father.
Wrath? Bad will be destroyed to make way for ALL good.
16 They called to the mountains and the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?"
Many ancient peoples observing nature honestly did the best they could to formulate their ideas of God.
Were you there? If not, where do you get your facts?
You do not "destroy evil" by killing human beings.
Your right I don't. God will start at the bottom and work his way up to the top. He wants the generals head nailed. See Genesis chapter 3.
Many of them were honest, good, kind, sweet and loving human beings.
Where do you get your facts?
My God is the God of Jesus. As He is the God of Love and forgiveness, His only function and great delight is to love his children. So my God would never "whack people up side the head".
That would be true if you reason that the Bible is a lie. Read Revelation. Read the OT. Read Christ's own words.
26 "Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. 27 People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all.
28 "It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. 29 But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.
The line that divides good from bad will be as precise as the line that was drawn when Christ walked the earth. Some loved him and some hated him. The line is being drawn.
You can ignore the OT if you want. You can ignore Jesus own words if you want. You can ignore Revelation if you want. You can say none of it will happen if you want.
I see that your loving attempts to uplift the thinking of Pomegranate are doomed to failure. You attempt to use logic and informed, illuminated, loving reasoning. This is anathema to Pomegranate, who is exactly like the God he worships - no big surprise there. As I have pointed out in other threads, it is fruitless to appeal to the intellect when dealing with emotional people or issues. And the idea of a warlike God who goes on a rampage against his "enemies" like the Hebrew's Jehovah is an emotional issue indeed.
As you are certainly aware, fundamentalist cults attract a certain type of personality. Essentially, these are personality types that hate: they hate themselves and wish to loose the hated self in something large, cosmic, and sweepingly grand. They hate all who are not a part of the cult, and who do not share their feelings about the hated "other." They hate the present, and look forward to the time, usually advertised as being just at hand, when all the hated "others" will be annihilated. In short, hate is the underlying motivation of the entire fundy cult movement and the people who are its constituent parts: think of the Hitler cult, the Stalinist cult, the Maoist cult, indeed, the Jehovah's Witness cult. All are haters of any "others" who do not share this most negative of feelings.
I much prefer the God of your conviction, and therein lies the problem with Pomegranate. He doesn't seem to be able to grasp that the majestic, eternal, and loving Father who lives and rules at the center of all things is not Jehovah, local war god, who was created in the very image of the people who created him, the warlike semitic tribe called Hebrews. About the only differences I can see between Jehovah and Baal are that with Baal, the people owned the property and with Jehovah, HE owned all the land and could parcel it out as he chose. Additionally, Baalites engaged in human sacrifice, while the Hebrews sacrificed animals.
And that brings up another point. Why would the Hebrews so readily accept the idea of a complex system of animal sacrifice just out of the blue like that? If you'd never thought of offering sacrifices at all, how would it suddenly occur to you that the awful smell of burning flesh somehow constituted a "restful odor" to God? In my opinion, Moses replaced the ancient practice of human sacrifice in the minds of the Hebrews with animal sacrifice - a definite improvement in creator/createe relations. Think about it. And think about how the Hebrew's alter would look and smell in just a few months will all that blood, and fat, and chared flesh, and rot, and corruption. This was the highest representation of God? That is personally offensive.
No, I must agree with you Cosmicmystic, God does not change. Our ability to conceive more and more about him does change as we so very slowly advance in our ability to comprehend ever more spiritual concepts of the reality of the beautiful and loving nature of the Father who lives in every human heart, and who realizes more real expression in our lives as we more and more reject the angry judge/warrior/accountant who speaks from a fulminating volcano and who is chiefly interested in recording the failures of his erring, but ignorant children on this planet, so that he can ensure they are properly punished later.
Pomegranate in my opinion is not ready for this god of Love. He seems to be a bibliolator, a literalist, who cannot see that Hebrew scripture is the overblown secular history of the Jews, raised by their ego to constitute some divine revelation and record of the daring-do of its leaders, egged on by an angry, hate-motivated God.
I wonder if the human race as a whole will ever be ready for your God of Love?
I wonder how the God of love will deal with Satan?
Or, let me guess, there's no such thing, he's only make believe, right?
How do you both understand Jesus in the Gospels and in the last book? He's bluffing? His words are pretty pointed. Didn't He condemned the Jewish leaders to their faces? Love and corruption don't mix, so one has to go. Also, both of your answers are nice if you ignore the Bible which both of you have done. If you choose to worship a god outside of the Bible, worship that god for yourselves. It's your choice. I can't condemn you. Not my job.
Call me a literalist, fundamentalist what have you. The message is clear from Gen to Rev, bad and corruption will be destroyed. I choose to side with the God of the Bible, who has never changed.
Are you guys afraid of something? That God is going to destroy someone that doesn't deserve it? Do you guys feel God's scales of justice aren't as honest as yours? You feel you know God better than Himself? So, a God of Love has no capacity to destroy that which gets in the way of that godly quality, Love? What's God to do with Satan? Love him to death?
Make pretend your God. What do you do to deal with a habitual child molestor? Love him like yourself? Invite him to your house for a meal with the wife and kids? How about the guy that blew up the Mara Building? You be the judge. Since you guys are able to judge God as incapable to destroy bad, when a kidknapper comes and takes your child and mutilates the body into tiny pieces, I know you'll show the utmost love and kindness to him. Invite him over for Christmas and buy him some lovely gifts.
A God who does nothing about bad, is not God at all. He's a powerless wimp.