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Author Topic: The non-existence of God  (Read 13312 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #90 on: December 21, 2010, 03:53:37 AM »

Alright I understand more, and the responses are appreciated sorry I can't follow up invidiually...don't have much to say at the moment.

But regarding the OT God? It seemed like he was such a dictator, all these laws and commandments and I was reading when Moses got the Ten Commandments from mt Sinai and the language being used...it just seems like this is an all powerful distant God.

That is because He was. What I mean by that is there was the natural sepearation between Creator and creation, which the Fall widened into a chasm.  This was symbolized/embodied by the curtain which seperated the Ark of the Covenant and us. At the Crucifixion, as St. Matthew tells us (27:51), it was torn in two, because of "the new and living way which He [Christ] opened for us through the veil, that is, through His flesh (Heb. 10:20). The Jewish Talmud (Yoma 39b) suprisingly provides corroboration: it tells us that for about 40 years before the destruction (70 AD) of the Temple (i.e. the time of Christ's Crucifixion ) every night the gates of the Temple would open of their own accord, and Rabbi Yohanan B. Zakkai rebuked them saying, "Temple, Temple, why do you alarm us? We know that you are destined to be destroyed"
http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Articles/Parochet/parochet.html
Christ offered the archtype of which all the various sacrifices of the OT only prefigured and reflected various aspects of it, the Son of God and the Son of Man pouring out His being to join man to God.

When Moses asked God's name, he was reflecting the prevailing thought in the Middle East: to know a god's name was to be able to put the deity at this beck and call, much like one would call a dog and tell him to fetch.  To this God tells Moses that He is above such things, that He is too big for their petty ideas of power:
Exodus 3:13 Then Moses said to God, "If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is His name?' what shall I say to them?" 14 God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And He said, "Say this to the people of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'"
Christ reiterates this, with a twist, when He says ""When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will know that I AM, and that I do nothing on My own authority but speak thus as the Father taught Me." (John 8:28)
Once Moses asked to see God's glory:
18 Moses said, "I pray thee, show me Your glory." 19 And he said, "I will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you My name 'The LORD I AM'; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20 But," He said, "you cannot see My face; for man shall not see Me and live." 21 And the LORD said, "Behold, there is a place by Me where you shall stand upon the rock; 22 and while My glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with My hand until I have passed by; 23 then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen."
"Face," "hand" and "back" here are metaphorical, as God had no spatial dimensions. But when God entered space and time through the Incarnation, He replies to His disciples request, which echoes Moses':
John 14:8 Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied." 9 Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, 'Show us the Father'? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does his works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me; or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.
As St. Paul explains (II Cor. 3)
3 and you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. 4 Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our competence is from God, 6 who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not in a written code but in the Spirit; for the written code kills, but the Spirit gives life. 7 Now if the dispensation of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such splendor that the Israelites could not look at Moses' face because of its brightness, fading as this was, 8 will not the dispensation of the Spirit be attended with greater splendor? 9 For if there was splendor in the dispensation of condemnation, the dispensation of righteousness must far exceed it in splendor. 10 Indeed, in this case, what once had splendor has come to have no splendor at all, because of the splendor that surpasses it. 11 For if what faded away came with splendor, what is permanent must have much more splendor. 12 Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, 13 not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not see the end of the fading splendor. 14 But their minds were hardened; for to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. 15 Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their minds; 16 but when a man turns to the Lord the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. 4:1 Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. 2 We have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways; we refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the likeness of God. 5 For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. 6 For it is the God who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

But before that could occur, the way had to be prepared, which brings up your second comment.

Quote
I don't even know how you can interprete the OT God in the light of Christ, I am finding that much too hard to do.
The Fathers point out that Genesis, the first book of the OT law begins in Paradise and ends (Gen. 50:26) in a coffin in Egypt, underlying how far man had strayed. Scripture then takes up the giving of the Law in Exodus.  To cut it short, for brevity's sake, the Law was given for many complimentary reasons, e.g. :1) to show that man cannot save himself.  The OT records that unrepentent and unregenerated man repeats Adam's error in trying to be God without God, 2) to cultivate holiness from without so that He could in time come to cultivate holiness from within.  The OT records a progressive narrowing  down from Adam to Noah to Abraham to David all the way down to the Virgin Mary, the New Eve, who does not listen to the serpent's hissing promises of divinity but instead conceives God the Word through the ear (as the Fathers say) by hearing the call of God delievered by Gabriel and ansering "Behold the handmaiden of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word." As my priest says, all of creation hung on her "yes" to God, as God didn't have a plan B.  3) to prepare the soil do that the new Creation would take root and grow without weeds.  In the beginning of OT, the Hebrews are no better than their neighbors in idolatry and polytheism, and the degenerate morality that engendered. As Moses points out at the giving of the Law:
Deut. 7:6 "For you are a people holy to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his own possession, out of all the peoples that are on the face of the earth. 7 It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love upon you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples; 8 but it is because the LORD loves you, and is keeping the oath which he swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 9 Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations, 10 and requites to their face those who hate him, by destroying them; he will not be slack with him who hates him, he will requite him to his face. 11 You shall therefore be careful to do the commandment, and the statutes, and the ordinances, which I command you this day. 12 "And because you hearken to these ordinances, and keep and do them, the LORD your God will keep with you the covenant and the steadfast love which he swore to your fathers to keep;...9:1 "Hear, O Israel; you are to pass over the Jordan this day, to go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than yourselves, cities great and fortified up to heaven, 2 a people great and tall, the sons of the Anakim, whom you know, and of whom you have heard it said, 'Who can stand before the sons of Anak?' 3 Know therefore this day that He who goes over before you as a devouring fire is the LORD your God; He will destroy them and subdue them before you; so you shall drive them out, and make them perish quickly, as the LORD has promised you. 4 "Do not say in your heart, after the LORD your God has thrust them out before you, 'It is because of my righteousness that the LORD has brought me in to possess this land'; whereas it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is driving them out before you. 5 Not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart are you going in to possess their land; but because of the wickedness of these nations the LORD your God is driving them out from before you, and that He may confirm the word which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. 6 "Know therefore, that the LORD your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness; for you are a stubborn people. 7 Remember and do not forget how you provoked the LORD your God to wrath in the wilderness; from the day you came out of the land of Egypt, until you came to this place, you have been rebellious against the LORD."

That centuries later the Hebrews were still not ready, the Prophet Amos lamented:
...2:4 Thus says the LORD: "For three transgressions of Judah, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment;
because they have rejected the law of the LORD,
and have not kept his statutes,
but their lies have led them astray,
after which their fathers walked.
5 So I will send a fire upon Judah,
and it shall devour the strongholds of Jerusalem."
6 Thus says the LORD: "For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment;
because they sell the righteous for silver,
and the needy for a pair of shoes--
7 they that trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth,
and turn aside the way of the afflicted;
a man and his father go in to the same maiden,
so that my holy name is profaned;
8 they lay themselves down beside every altar
upon garments taken in pledge;
and in the house of their God
they drink the wine of those who have been fined.
9 "Yet I destroyed the Amorite before them,
whose height was like the height of the cedars,
and whose strenght was that as the oaks;
I destroyed his fruit above,
and his roots beneath.
10 Also I brought you up out of the land of Egypt,
and led you forty years in the wilderness,
to possess the land of the Amorite.
11 And I raised up some of your sons for prophets,
and some of your young men for Nazirites.
Is it not indeed so, O people of Israel?" says the LORD.
12 "But you made the Nazirites drink wine,
and commanded the prophets 'You shall not prophesy.'
13 "Behold, I will press you down in your place,
as a cart full of sheaves presses down.
14 Flight shall perish from the swift,
and the strong shall not retain his strength,
nor shall the mighty save his life;
15 he who handles the bow shall not stand,
and he who is swift of foot shall not save himself,
nor shall he who rides the horse save his life;
16 and he who is stout of heart among the mighty shall flee away naked in that day," says the LORD.
3:1 Hear this word that the LORD has spoken against you,
O people of Israel,
against the whole family which I brought up out of the land of Egypt:
2 "Of all the families of the earth, I have known only you;
therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities."

However, the Lord was determined to reveal Himself in Israel's seed, in spite of themselves, as the Prophet Hosea demonstrated (3):
1 And the LORD said to me, "Go again, love a woman who is beloved of a paramour and is an adulteress; even as the LORD loves the people of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins [the pagan version of communion]." 2 So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a lethech of barley. 3 And I said to her, "You must dwell as mine for many days; you shall not play the harlot, or belong to another man; so will I also be to you." 4 For the children of Israel shall dwell many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or pillar, without ephod or teraphim. 5 Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and they shall come in fear to the LORD and to his goodness in the latter days.

Indeed, the Prophet Joel (2) both warns and promises:
1 Blow the trumpet in Zion;
sound the alarm on my holy mountain!
Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble,
for the day of the LORD is coming,
it is near,
2 a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and thick darkness!
Like blackness there is spread upon the mountains a great and powerful people;
their like has never been from of old,
nor will be again after them through the years of all generations.
3 Fire devours before them,
and behind them a flame burns.
The land is like the garden of Eden before them,
but after them a desolate wilderness,
and nothing escapes them.
4 Their appearance is like the appearance of horses,
and like war horses they run.
5 As with the rumbling of chariots,
they leap on the tops of the mountains,
like the crackling of a flame of fire devouring the stubble,
like a powerful army drawn up for battle.
6 Before them peoples are in anguish,
all faces grow pale.
7 Like warriors they charge,
like soldiers they scale the wall.
They march each on his way, t
hey do not swerve from their paths.
8 They do not jostle one another,
each marches in his path;
they burst through the weapons and are not halted.
9 They leap upon the city,
they run upon the walls;
they climb up into the houses,
they enter through the windows like a thief.
10 The earth quakes before them,
the heavens tremble.
The sun and the moon are darkened,
and the stars withdraw their shining.
11 The LORD utters his voice before his army,
for his host is exceedingly great;
he that executes his word is powerful.

For the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; who can endure it?

12 "Yet even now," says the LORD,
"return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
13 and rend your hearts and not your garments."

Return to the LORD, your God,
for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger,
and abounding in steadfast love,
and repents of evil.
14 Who knows whether he will not turn and repent,
and leave a blessing behind him,
a cereal offering and a drink offering for the LORD, your God?

It took the wake up call of the Babylonian Exile to set the Hebrews straight, and the Prophet Malachi directed them to continue on that path:

3:1 "Behold, I send my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. 2 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? "For he is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap; 3 he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, till they present right offerings to the LORD. 4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years. 5 "Then I will draw near to you for judgment; I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow and the orphan, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the LORD of hosts. 6 "For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed. 7 From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts.

Thereafter we see in the books of the Maccabbees the Hebrews dying rather than follow their kinsmen in disobeying the Law and worshipping Antiochus as ""God Manifest," and eating pigs sacrificed to the Greek pantheon:
2 Maccabbees 7:9 And when he was at his last breath, he said, "You accursed wretch, you dismiss us from this present life, but the King of the universe will raise us up to an everlasting renewal of life, because we have died for his laws." 10 After him, the third was the victim of their sport. When it was demanded, he quickly put out his tongue and courageously stretched forth his hands, 11 and said nobly, "I got these from Heaven, and because of his laws I disdain them, and from him I hope to get them back again." 12 As a result the king himself and those with him were astonished at the young man's spirit, for he regarded his sufferings as nothing. 13 When he too had died, they maltreated and tortured the fourth in the same way. 14 And when he was near death, he said, "One cannot but choose to die at the hands of men and to cherish the hope that God gives of being raised again by him. But for you there will be no resurrection to life!" 15 Next they brought forward the fifth and maltreated him. 16 But he looked at the king, and said, "Because you have authority among men, mortal though you are, you do what you please. But do not think that God has forsaken our people. 17 Keep on, and see how his mighty power will torture you and your descendants!" 18 After him they brought forward the sixth. And when he was about to die, he said, "Do not deceive yourself in vain. For we are suffering these things on our own account, because of our sins against our own God. Therefore astounding things have happened. 19 But do not think that you will go unpunished for having tried to fight against God!" 20 The mother was especially admirable and worthy of honorable memory. Though she saw her seven sons perish within a single day, she bore it with good courage because of her hope in the Lord. 21 She encouraged each of them in the language of their fathers. Filled with a noble spirit, she fired her woman's reasoning with a man's courage, and said to them, 22 "I do not know how you came into being in my womb. It was not I who gave you life and breath, nor I who set in order the elements within each of you. 23 Therefore the Creator of the world, who shaped the beginning of man and devised the origin of all things, will in his mercy give life and breath back to you again, since you now forget yourselves for the sake of his laws." 24 Antiochus felt that he was being treated with contempt, and he was suspicious of her reproachful tone. The youngest brother being still alive, Antiochus not only appealed to him in words, but promised with oaths that he would make him rich and enviable if he would turn from the ways of his fathers, and that he would take him for his friend and entrust him with public affairs. 25 Since the young man would not listen to him at all, the king called the mother to him and urged her to advise the youth to save himself. 26 After much urging on his part, she undertook to persuade her son. 27 But, leaning close to him, she spoke in their native tongue as follows, deriding the cruel tyrant: "My son, have pity on me. I carried you nine months in my womb, and nursed you for three years, and have reared you and brought you up to this point in your life, and have taken care of you. 28 I beseech you, my child, to look at the heaven and the earth and see everything that is in them, and recognize that God did not make them out of things that existed. Thus also mankind comes into being. 29 Do not fear this butcher, but prove worthy of your brothers. Accept death, so that in God's mercy I may get you back again with your brothers." 30 While she was still speaking, the young man said, "What are you waiting for? I will not obey the king's command, but I obey the command of the law that was given to our fathers through Moses. 31 But you, who have contrived all sorts of evil against the Hebrews, will certainly not escape the hands of God. 32 For we are suffering because of our own sins. 33 And if our living Lord is angry for a little while, to rebuke and discipline us, he will again be reconciled with his own servants. 34 But you, unholy wretch, you most defiled of all men, do not be elated in vain and puffed up by uncertain hopes, when you raise your hand against the children of heaven. 35 You have not yet escaped the judgment of the almighty, all-seeing God. 36 For our brothers after enduring a brief suffering have drunk of everflowing life under God's covenant; but you, by the judgment of God, will receive just punishment for your arrogance. 37 I, like my brothers, give up body and life for the laws of our fathers, appealing to God to show mercy soon to our nation and by afflictions and plagues to make you confess that he alone is God, 38 and through me and my brothers to bring to an end the wrath of the Almighty which has justly fallen on our whole nation." 39 The king fell into a rage, and handled him worse than the others, being exasperated at his scorn. 40 So he died in his integrity, putting his whole trust in the Lord. 41 Last of all, the mother died, after her sons. 42 Let this be enough, then, about the eating of sacrifices and the extreme tortures.

Since the Hebrews had become singularly monotheistic that in such a monotheistic society that God could come and reveal Himself as Trinity without men falling into idolatry or polytheism with the revelation.  It is only in this retrospect that the OT makes any sense.

You do know that no one even bothers to read your posts when they constitute absurdly long quotes, right? At most, someone will skim over the first couple lines and respond based on them...but usually not even that. If you have an entire chapter of the bible that you think proves your point, just reference it and maybe give a sentence or two summarizing, if you feel so compelled.
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« Reply #91 on: December 21, 2010, 04:06:14 AM »

What I don't understand is how a loving God would let disease and all of these problems manifest in the world. Why does the whole world have to suffer by the consequences of Adam?

Because I am Adam, and you are Adam.

Do you really believe that? I mean really really believe that? Or are you just saying, or do you just believe it, because you aren't aware of a better answer? I'm not looking to get into a debate or anything, I just remember lots of times giving an answer on message boards that I knew was "right," but that I pretty much just accepted because I felt like I had to, like it was the only way I could consistently hold to or make sense of things. Sometimes I read these things, like "I am Adam, and you are Adam," or "the doors to hell are locked from the inside," and so forth, and I really wonder about this, how people can really believe such ideas.
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« Reply #92 on: December 21, 2010, 04:07:00 AM »

You do know that no one even bothers to read your posts when they constitute absurdly long quotes, right? At most, someone will skim over the first couple lines and respond based on them...but usually not even that. If you have an entire chapter of the bible that you think proves your point, just reference it and maybe give a sentence or two summarizing, if you feel so compelled.

But at least you were kind enough to quote it, just in case someone missed it the first time  Tongue
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« Reply #93 on: December 21, 2010, 07:02:14 AM »

It is understood that man described God in a way he/she related to at the time.  It is understood that humanity in the OT was immature, childish or adolescent in behavior.  At one point they all followed God's commands, then fail, then back again after suffering, then fail, then back again, then fail, and so on and so forth.  The story of Israel is one with equally both praise and rebuke.  God was like a Father who pretty much praises their good deeds and terrifies them with their bad deeds, not that God is wrathful in any literal sense.  His wrath was that like a parent to a little child so that they can be geared towards the right way.  Also keep in mind, many of the stories really is not God punishing them directly, but rather letting them see for themselves the consequences of their own actions...

So basically since man kept falling down and back up, Christ had to come to show us the way. That is why God became man?

And what about setting the stage for the Incarnation? I mean isn't the OT about setting up the savior as well?

I have a question, did Christ fulfill every single prophecy in the OT? And how many prophecies were there?
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« Reply #94 on: December 21, 2010, 11:30:12 AM »

You do know that no one even bothers to read your posts when they constitute absurdly long quotes, right? At most, someone will skim over the first couple lines and respond based on them...but usually not even that. If you have an entire chapter of the bible that you think proves your point, just reference it and maybe give a sentence or two summarizing, if you feel so compelled.
There you are, speaking for everyone by self appointment again.

There are many who, like you, have gone through any number of my lenghier posts, and feel compelled to stick in comments every other line. Are you admitting that you comment on things you haven't read, in other words you pontificate on what you know not?

Then there are those who post or PM their approval.

Then there are those who seem to skim through, see a point they like, skim some more see another point, skim some more.....Some come back and decide to read the whole thing.

And then there are those who I am a sure just see I posted it and skip it. The funny thing is those who have actually posted that that is what they do, aren't consistent and end up going through any number of my lenghier posts, and feel compelled to stick in comments every other line. In other words, in the first group with you.

You will have to forgive me that I do not cater to your group as my target audience.  So I have obsessive-compulsive disorder, and you have attention deficit: what a winning combination. Tongue
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« Reply #95 on: December 21, 2010, 11:31:56 AM »

What I don't understand is how a loving God would let disease and all of these problems manifest in the world. Why does the whole world have to suffer by the consequences of Adam?

Because I am Adam, and you are Adam.

Do you really believe that? I mean really really believe that? Or are you just saying, or do you just believe it, because you aren't aware of a better answer? I'm not looking to get into a debate or anything, I just remember lots of times giving an answer on message boards that I knew was "right," but that I pretty much just accepted because I felt like I had to, like it was the only way I could consistently hold to or make sense of things. Sometimes I read these things, like "I am Adam, and you are Adam," or "the doors to hell are locked from the inside," and so forth, and I really wonder about this, how people can really believe such ideas.
Life experience, that's how.
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If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
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                           and both come out of your mouth
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« Reply #96 on: December 21, 2010, 11:34:43 AM »

Life experience, that's how.

Interesting. I used to be a very traditional Christian, and politically conservative. After a bit of life experience I turned into a liberal agnostic. Funny how that works.
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« Reply #97 on: December 21, 2010, 12:20:17 PM »

Life experience, that's how.

Interesting. I used to be a very traditional Christian, and politically conservative. After a bit of life experience I turned into a liberal agnostic. Funny how that works.

Different strokes... laugh
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« Reply #98 on: December 21, 2010, 12:22:48 PM »

It is understood that man described God in a way he/she related to at the time.  It is understood that humanity in the OT was immature, childish or adolescent in behavior.  At one point they all followed God's commands, then fail, then back again after suffering, then fail, then back again, then fail, and so on and so forth.  The story of Israel is one with equally both praise and rebuke.  God was like a Father who pretty much praises their good deeds and terrifies them with their bad deeds, not that God is wrathful in any literal sense.  His wrath was that like a parent to a little child so that they can be geared towards the right way.  Also keep in mind, many of the stories really is not God punishing them directly, but rather letting them see for themselves the consequences of their own actions...

So basically since man kept falling down and back up,
Some got back up. Others just fell further down.

Quote
Christ had to come to show us the way. That is why God became man?

Only in part: God the Son became man so that His relationship with God the Father could become our relationship with the Father.  Not taking us in like foster children, to be given an example of a good family and then sent back, but rather adoption into the divine family of the Holy Trinity.  In baptism our realtionship with God is not like that between Jesus and the Father, it is that relationship between Jesus and the Father.  As the baptismal hymn says "As many as are baptized into Christ, have put on Christ." As St. Peter writes in his second epistle:

1:1 Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours in the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: 2 May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature. 5 For this very reason make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

As Pope St. Athanasius the Great of Alexandria, the Great Champiion of the Faith of Nicea, states: "God became man so that man could become God." Not according to the lie of the serpent, which led to death, but according to His Word "'Let Us create Man in Our Image and Likeness'....And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."

Quote
And what about setting the stage for the Incarnation? I mean isn't the OT about setting up the savior as well?

The OT has no other purpose.

Quote
I have a question, did Christ fulfill every single prophecy in the OT? And how many prophecies were there?
There are hundreds referenced in the NT itself, and thousands which the Fathers (and Mothers!) of the Church reference.  To give an exmple of one not in the NT, but expounded from the earliest days of the Church, Isaiah 66:
1 Thus says the LORD:
 "Heaven is my throne and the earth is my footstool;
what is the house which you would build for me,
and what is the place of my rest?
2 All these things my hand has made,
and so all these things are mine,
says the LORD.
But this is the man to whom I will look,
He that is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.

3 "He who slaughters an ox is like him who kills a man;
he who sacrifices a lamb,
like him who breaks a dog's neck;
he who presents a cereal offering,
like him who offers swine's blood;
he who makes a memorial offering of frankincense,
like him who blesses an idol.
These have chosen their own ways,
and their soul delights in their abominations;
4 I also will choose affliction for them,
and bring their fears upon them;
because, when I called, no one answered,
when I spoke they did not listen;
but they did what was evil in my eyes,
and chose that in which I did not delight."

5 Hear the word of the LORD,
you who tremble at his word:
"Your brethren who hate you and cast you out for my name's sake have said,
'Let the LORD be glorified, that we may see your joy';
but it is they who shall be put to shame.

6 "Hark, an uproar from the city!
A voice from the temple!
The voice of the LORD,
rendering recompense to his enemies!
7 "Before she was in labor she gave birth;
before her pain came upon her she was delivered of a son
.
8 Who has heard such a thing?
Who has seen such things?
Shall a land be born in one day?
Shall a nation be brought forth in one moment?
For as soon as Zion was in labor she brought forth her sons.
9 Shall I bring to the birth and not cause to bring forth?
says the LORD;
shall I, who cause to bring forth, shut the womb?
says your God.
10 "Rejoice with Jerusalem,
and be glad for her,
all you who love her; r
rejoice with her in joy,
all you who mourn over her;

This Prophecy was fulfilled at the Nativity of Our Lord, and God, and Savror, i.e. Christmas, because the Church teaches that the Virgin Mary, the New Eve, gave birth to Christ, the New Adam without labor pains.  The reason is that from the first moment, Christ was undoing the curse at the expulsion from Paradise, Genesis 3:

14 The LORD God said to the serpent,
"Because you have done this,
cursed are you above all cattle,
and above all wild animals;
upon your belly you shall go,
and dust you shall eat all the days of your life.
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your seed and her seed;
He shall crush your head,
and you shall bruise his heel."
16 To the woman he said,
"I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing;
in pain you shall bring forth children
,
yet your desire shall be for your husband,
and he shall rule over you."

Because the Holy Theotokos ("She who gave birth to God") listened to God and not the serpent, she gave birth to the New Adam without the pains of Eve. Instead, however, she experienced the pain of seeing her son and God dying on the Cross, where He crushed the head of the serpent.  Btw, according to Tradition, Golgotha, "the place of the Skull" got its name from Father Adam's skull being buried there. You'lll see it on most icons of the Crucifixion.


But back to your question. It may be better to say that He is fulfilling all the prophecies, as there were those on His first coming (which have all been fulfilled), some which were fulfilled during the time of the Apostles, some the Church has fulfilled since then, and some which will be fulfilled at the second coming. (btw, it is often said that the Jews are conflating the prophecies of the first and second coming, which is why they are still waiting for someone who has already come).
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« Reply #99 on: December 21, 2010, 12:24:32 PM »

Life experience, that's how.

Interesting. I used to be a very traditional Christian, and politically conservative. After a bit of life experience I turned into a liberal agnostic. Funny how that works.

Different strokes... laugh
...different experiences.
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« Reply #100 on: December 21, 2010, 12:42:04 PM »

What I don't understand is how a loving God would let disease and all of these problems manifest in the world. Why does the whole world have to suffer by the consequences of Adam?

Because I am Adam, and you are Adam.

Do you really believe that? I mean really really believe that?
Makes sense to me. Adam (and Eve) represent the processes that occur in our own body-minds, the spiritual challenges we experience, and the possibility for falling, redemption, and getting back up on the path to God. The Creation narrative is actually a symbol of our process of theosis.
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« Reply #101 on: December 21, 2010, 01:58:42 PM »

You do know that no one even bothers to read your posts when they constitute absurdly long quotes, right? At most, someone will skim over the first couple lines and respond based on them...but usually not even that. If you have an entire chapter of the bible that you think proves your point, just reference it and maybe give a sentence or two summarizing, if you feel so compelled.
There you are, speaking for everyone by self appointment again.

There are many who, like you, have gone through any number of my lenghier posts, and feel compelled to stick in comments every other line. Are you admitting that you comment on things you haven't read, in other words you pontificate on what you know not?

Then there are those who post or PM their approval.

Then there are those who seem to skim through, see a point they like, skim some more see another point, skim some more.....Some come back and decide to read the whole thing.

And then there are those who I am a sure just see I posted it and skip it. The funny thing is those who have actually posted that that is what they do, aren't consistent and end up going through any number of my lenghier posts, and feel compelled to stick in comments every other line. In other words, in the first group with you.

You will have to forgive me that I do not cater to your group as my target audience.  So I have obsessive-compulsive disorder, and you have attention deficit: what a winning combination. Tongue

Nothing wrong with lengthy posts, it's just the lengthy copy and pasting.
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« Reply #102 on: December 21, 2010, 02:12:55 PM »

So basically since man kept falling down and back up, Christ had to come to show us the way. That is why God became man?

I don't believe that's the only reason.  Even if humanity was perfect in their deeds and follow God's laws, at a certain point, I believe God would still become man.  It just so happens that because man isn't perfect, God's incarnation is like killing two birds with one stone.  God becoming man helps us to overcome our falls, and even when we at least try, it's a source of comfort that God is right there with us even in His human form, struggling with us.  But it's not merely to help us overcome our weaknesses.  It also is the source of complete communion with God, engrafting us into God's realm.  We are not beyond infinite or eternal in nature.  There was a time when we didn't exist.  But the eternal and infinite God who became flesh also wanted us to partake of His infinite and eternal nature.  It is why fall or no fall, man would still continue to grow in God's nature.

Many Church fathers took the Genesis story allegorically.   The "tree of life" and pretty much all the other plants with it represented communion with God's nature.  The "tree of knowledge" represented a mature level of man that in the story, Adam and Eve were not ready to have, but at least it's there not to destroy man's free will, since God programmed that our free will are guided by the stimuli we see around us.  The question God asks us, do you choose life or knowledge?  If you choose life, you will grow, and when you grow, at the opportune time, you will able to handle and receive the knowledge.  If you choose knowledge prematurely, you will mar your image, your innocence, and you won't be able to handle it, and it will darken you and it will be death to you, and can lead to the misuse of good knowledge.  We don't teach for instance certain things to children until they're at a more opportune age.

Why tree?  Because it represents the "tree" that Christ died on.  The use of tree here is very clear.  One is a blessing and one is a curse.  Adam ate from the curse.  Christ came and turned the curse into a blessing by being nailed to it.  Man is now able to proceed to fight against his sins and in so doing partake of the divine nature through Christ.

Quote
And what about setting the stage for the Incarnation? I mean isn't the OT about setting up the savior as well?

The Old Testament is wrought with prophetic allegory, not just literal prophetical sayings.  From the very beginning, Genesis was one of them.  The stories of the OT is a story of failure and deliverance and salvation from that failure.  If they never have failed in the beginning, the OT wouldn't have been written at least in the way it has been written.  So yes, it was written primarily to set the stage for the coming of Christ in the context of man's fallen nature.

Quote
I have a question, did Christ fulfill every single prophecy in the OT? And how many prophecies were there?

Not all prophecies in the OT were about Christ, that is some were fulfilled before Christ came, but by the time Christ sent his disciples around the world, almost all were fulfilled.  As for how many there were, I don't know, but a lot is a gross approximation.  Other examples are those of Isaiah as Ialmisry showed you.

The Passover practices, the temple structures, and other stories like the parting of the Red Sea and Jonah and the fish are all prophetical for Christ.  Some websites that can help answer your question:

http://fatheralexander.org/booklets/english/bible5_e.htm
http://fatheralexander.org/booklets/english/old_testament_messiah.htm
http://fatheralexander.org/booklets/english/prophecies_christ.htm

And more links can be read from here:
http://fatheralexander.org/page8.htm
http://www.holytrinitymission.org/section.php?04_e#3 (I know the writing is pretty annoying, but if you go from the main website it's going to open like 12 java applets if you're willing.  These are only titles, but the links lead to places more readable)

On how to interpret the Bible, I particularly follow the teachings of this fourth century document:
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/pearse/morefathers/files/origen_philocalia_02_text.htm

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« Reply #103 on: December 21, 2010, 03:26:15 PM »

So basically since man kept falling down and back up, Christ had to come to show us the way. That is why God became man?

I don't believe that's the only reason.  Even if humanity was perfect in their deeds and follow God's laws, at a certain point, I believe God would still become man.  It just so happens that because man isn't perfect, God's incarnation is like killing two birds with one stone.  God becoming man helps us to overcome our falls, and even when we at least try, it's a source of comfort that God is right there with us even in His human form, struggling with us.  But it's not merely to help us overcome our weaknesses.  It also is the source of complete communion with God, engrafting us into God's realm.  We are not beyond infinite or eternal in nature.  There was a time when we didn't exist.  But the eternal and infinite God who became flesh also wanted us to partake of His infinite and eternal nature.  It is why fall or no fall, man would still continue to grow in God's nature.

Yes, it is speculated by the Fathers that even if man had not fallen, God would have come in the Incarnation.  The Crucifixion and descent into Hell, not being needed, would not have occured.

Quote
Many Church fathers took the Genesis story allegorically.   The "tree of life" and pretty much all the other plants with it represented communion with God's nature.  The "tree of knowledge" represented a mature level of man that in the story, Adam and Eve were not ready to have, but at least it's there not to destroy man's free will, since God programmed that our free will are guided by the stimuli we see around us.  The question God asks us, do you choose life or knowledge?  If you choose life, you will grow, and when you grow, at the opportune time, you will able to handle and receive the knowledge.  If you choose knowledge prematurely, you will mar your image, your innocence, and you won't be able to handle it, and it will darken you and it will be death to you, and can lead to the misuse of good knowledge.  We don't teach for instance certain things to children until they're at a more opportune age.
IIRC I've never seen the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil portrayed as a Tree of Mature Knowledge.  Rather that man chose to know (connaitre) evil rather than to continue in the Knowledge of God, and just knowing of (savoir) evil.
Quote
"Adam knew his wife, and she conceived..."
I'm not sure what that has to do with the issue I brought up...?
You were arguing for the ignorance defense.  It it quite clear that they knew (savoir/wissen/scire/saber) that it was wrong, from what Eve told the Serpent, and what God said when He called them in the garden.  What the change was, was that they knew (connaiter/kennen/cognoscere/concocer) sin, i.e. its consequences.  That is the Knoweledge of Good [and more specifically] Evil.
The problem is reading scripture can be just as empty an experience.  I know plenty of atheists who study scripture who don't believe a word: the academies are full of them.  I myself have the problem of reading too much for apologetics, and worse yet, polemics, not enough for devotions.

As Satan showed in the Temptation in the Desert, he knows (savoir, wissen, scire, saber) his scripture, he just doesn't know (γνωρίζω, connaitre, kennen, cogniscire) it.
One of the Desert Fathers said "Seek God [the Hesychist way] and not where God lives [the Scholastic way]"

In other words "Know [cognire, connaitre, conocer, kennen] God, not know [scire, savoir, saber, wissen] Him (I don't know what, if any foreign languages you speak.  English doesn't make the distinction).

And that being said, I've been too busy discussing God, and am now late for worshipping and communing with Him. Another Hesychast/Scholastic distinction.
For example, St. John Chrysostom:
Quote
Do you see how he called the place after the event occurring in the place? Likewise the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is also the name given, not that it had a knowledge of good and evil, but because the proof of the knowledge of good and evil was given in connection with it, as well as exercise in disobedience and obedience.
Do you see how it is proven from so many examples that it is customary with Scriptures to call the actual places after the events occurring in the places? It is has the same custom in regard to times as well.
In just the same way Adam knew that obedience is good and disobedience wrong, but he later learned it more clearly when he was expelled from the garden for tasting fruit from the tree, and forfeited that blessed state. Since he fell foul of punishment for tasting fruit from the tree despite God's veto, then, the punishment taught him more clearly how wrong it is to disobey God and how good to obey - hence the tree's being called knowledge of good and evil. Why is it that, if the very nature of the tree did not contain the knowledge of good and evil, and instead the human being learned it more clearly from punishment for disobedience in regard to the tree, the tree is called knowledge of good and evil? Because this is a custom with Scripture, when an event happens in places or at times, to call the places and times after the events.
Let us hold on to that fact, then, that obedience is good and disobedience evil, and we shall thus understand the former case as well. The tree is referred to as the knowledge of good and evil, in fact, for the reason that the commandment exercising them in obedience and disobedience was given in regard to the tree: while Adam knew before this that obedience was good and disobedience evil, he learnt it more clearly later from actual experience.
http://voxpatristica.blogspot.com/search/label/Tree%20of%20the%20Knowledge%20of%20Good%20and%20Evil

It is not a choice between living in ignorance versus dying for knowledge. Rather it is a choice between liiving in Faith and trusting God's word versus learning the hard way that Father indeed knows best: man chose to know evil like he should have known God.
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« Reply #104 on: December 21, 2010, 03:42:11 PM »

I've quoted elsewhere that Gregory Nazienzen did not see the Tree of Knowledge as the knowledge of evil, but since God creates all things good, a tree to be used for a later time in man's life.

There are other interpretations, but at least I find this one very consistent and relevant to man's nature and Christ's coming.
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« Reply #105 on: December 21, 2010, 05:18:34 PM »

Wow this is all so mindblowing. I finally have more of a grasp of Christ's two natures which makes sense.

 I am trying to read Genesis and I am fighting using human logic to apply here, how do I know what is to be taken as allegory and what to take as not? How do I even read this book? Isn't it used more as a spiritual book?
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« Reply #106 on: December 21, 2010, 05:27:46 PM »

Wow this is all so mindblowing. I finally have more of a grasp of Christ's two natures which makes sense.

 I am trying to read Genesis and I am fighting using human logic to apply here, how do I know what is to be taken as allegory and what to take as not? How do I even read this book? Isn't it used more as a spiritual book?

This is going to be controversial.  But if you ask me, there's no spiritual value for my salvation to take the first chapters of Genesis ultra-literally.  Certainly, there are many bishops and priests presently in the Orthodox Church who teach this as well.

You will find others, as I'm sure you've seen in other threads that find it necessary for themselves to take these chapters literally, even to the expense of disregarding scientific theories.  I think you know very well my views on this, especially in the "Creationism, Evolution, Orthodoxy" thread.

So when something is read through the "lens of the NT" while at the same time acknowledging perhaps some of the stories written probably in poetic or fantastic ways, it gives credence to accepting even "fictitious" accounts in allegory.

I've given you some links that give you many views on how to read the Bible.  The most important thing is that one consults a spiritual guide in the Church to understand how to read the Bible as well, as Scriptures are not interpreted by yourself.  This keeps the Orthodox Church coherent and not as separative as the Protestant denominations.

Also we value the Scriptures not in a scholarly way, but in a spiritual way.  It is to be read when seeking your personal benefit.  Although the scholarly way is one way to look at it in studying it and can be beneficial, the most important is what you can learn from it for yourself.  We also view the Scriptures not separate from Church tradition, but a central part of Church tradition, whereas, Church fathers continued to write even after Revelations many writings, some of which can be read here:

ccel.org/fathers

Also do a search on the writings of Philo of Alexandria.  He's a first century Alexandrian Jew living before and during the time of Christ. Whether or not he knew Christ, we don't know, but we do know that this was considered the possible Greek Jewish thought at the time.  The Church of Alexandria later on were quite influenced by his writings in understanding how to interpret the Scriptures, and his writings pretty much were one of the things that set the stage for Christ's acceptance in the Greek world.
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« Reply #107 on: December 21, 2010, 05:48:29 PM »

Wow this is all so mindblowing. I finally have more of a grasp of Christ's two natures which makes sense.

 I am trying to read Genesis and I am fighting using human logic to apply here, how do I know what is to be taken as allegory and what to take as not? How do I even read this book? Isn't it used more as a spiritual book?

This is going to be controversial.  But if you ask me, there's no spiritual value for my salvation to take the first chapters of Genesis ultra-literally.  Certainly, there are many bishops and priests presently in the Orthodox Church who teach this as well.

You will find others, as I'm sure you've seen in other threads that find it necessary for themselves to take these chapters literally, even to the expense of disregarding scientific theories.  I think you know very well my views on this, especially in the "Creationism, Evolution, Orthodoxy" thread.

So when something is read through the "lens of the NT" while at the same time acknowledging perhaps some of the stories written probably in poetic or fantastic ways, it gives credence to accepting even "fictitious" accounts in allegory.

I've given you some links that give you many views on how to read the Bible.  The most important thing is that one consults a spiritual guide in the Church to understand how to read the Bible as well, as Scriptures are not interpreted by yourself.  This keeps the Orthodox Church coherent and not as separative as the Protestant denominations.

Also we value the Scriptures not in a scholarly way, but in a spiritual way. 
LOL. My priest once pointed out the difference between a scholar's way of putting things. "One says 'I'm going to watch the sun set with my wife. No one says 'I'm going to view the earth rotating on its axis.' That would be stupid."
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« Reply #108 on: December 21, 2010, 06:19:23 PM »

Wow this is all so mindblowing. I finally have more of a grasp of Christ's two natures which makes sense.

 I am trying to read Genesis and I am fighting using human logic to apply here, how do I know what is to be taken as allegory and what to take as not? How do I even read this book? Isn't it used more as a spiritual book?

This is going to be controversial.  But if you ask me, there's no spiritual value for my salvation to take the first chapters of Genesis ultra-literally.  Certainly, there are many bishops and priests presently in the Orthodox Church who teach this as well.

You will find others, as I'm sure you've seen in other threads that find it necessary for themselves to take these chapters literally, even to the expense of disregarding scientific theories.  I think you know very well my views on this, especially in the "Creationism, Evolution, Orthodoxy" thread.

So when something is read through the "lens of the NT" while at the same time acknowledging perhaps some of the stories written probably in poetic or fantastic ways, it gives credence to accepting even "fictitious" accounts in allegory.

I've given you some links that give you many views on how to read the Bible.  The most important thing is that one consults a spiritual guide in the Church to understand how to read the Bible as well, as Scriptures are not interpreted by yourself.  This keeps the Orthodox Church coherent and not as separative as the Protestant denominations.

Also we value the Scriptures not in a scholarly way, but in a spiritual way. 
LOL. My priest once pointed out the difference between a scholar's way of putting things. "One says 'I'm going to watch the sun set with my wife. No one says 'I'm going to view the earth rotating on its axis.' That would be stupid."

Although it would make good for a romantic comedy line.
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« Reply #109 on: December 22, 2010, 02:07:26 AM »

Hmm that sounds pretty good. But how did the early Jews take the prophets seriously though? How was the OT formed? Couldn't there be alot of false prophets? So how was discernment made?
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« Reply #110 on: December 22, 2010, 02:32:19 AM »

Hmm that sounds pretty good. But how did the early Jews take the prophets seriously though?
Depends on which Hebrews you are talking about.  Many, especially early on, didn't take them too seriously at all. By the time of the Maccabbees, the majority had taken them very serious. Their pagan neighbors remark on the strictness they had to holding to their law, refusing to participate in other cults (pagans had no problem for the most part worshipping each others gods), etc.  With the translation of the Pentatech/Torah/Five Books of Moses, their teachings attracted a wider audience, there being a movement called "God-fearers" among gentiles who followed the moral precepts and some of the rituals but did not formally convert (for one thing, circumcision was an issue, which is why most converts were women).  Cornelius in the Book of Acts is such a one.  By the time of Christ, we have all sorts of literary and archaelogical proof that the teachings of the Prophets were being followed in full force.
Quote
How was the OT formed? Couldn't there be alot of false prophets?

There were. We have records of many of them. Some of them are mentioned in the OT in passing.  Baalam is a famous example: we have actually found non-Hebrew, pagan Armaic inscriptions about him from Deir Alla.
Quote
So how was discernment made?
Through worship.  The Scriptures were drawn from the texts that were read in the Temple and synagogue.  Refined in that context, they stood the text of time and proved themselves representative of the Faith of those who held to the Covenant.
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« Reply #111 on: December 22, 2010, 02:39:44 AM »

Hmm that sounds pretty good. But how did the early Jews take the prophets seriously though? How was the OT formed? Couldn't there be alot of false prophets? So how was discernment made?

When the prophets were alive, a lot of them suffered by their own people themselves.  They didn't take them seriously.  It seems that they revealed to them prophecies that were later on fulfilled at that time that made descendants go back to these same prophets and take their words seriously.  And their prophecies sometimes were not easy pills to swallow and were very provocative especially concerning the failures of Judaic Kings and peoples, but their fulfillment made the people and the scribes look back to those words and honor them even though they killed some of them.  It's as if a child is warned about something wrong and its consequences, but doesn't listen until the consequences show up, and then it seems only from that they learn, and they go back and obey the authenticity and thus the authority of these prophets' words.  An example from Isaiah's first chapter:

Quote
Hear me, you heavens! Listen, earth!
   For the LORD has spoken:
“I reared children and brought them up,
   but they have rebelled against me.
The ox knows its master,
   the donkey its owner’s manger,
but Israel does not know,
   my people do not understand.”

This was the mood of the Scriptures repeatedly at people's failures over and over again.

We also know of an assembly of about 70 Jewish Rabbis who put together a Greek translation of the Septuagint 300 years before Christ compiling these records and confirming Jewish acceptance of the texts.  The Dead Sea scrolls also included most of the books of the OT as well, showing the acceptance by these group of Jews, i.e. the Essenes.
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« Reply #112 on: December 22, 2010, 03:02:15 AM »

When the Bible talks about the Lord talking, they don't mean that God literally talks right?

And what of the slaves, why weren't the abolishment of slaves apart of God's Law in the OT?
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« Reply #113 on: December 22, 2010, 03:05:08 AM »

When the Bible talks about the Lord talking, they don't mean that God literally talks right?

I'm inclined to say no, because the whole vibrating air to make sound waves through vocalization sounds anthropomorphic and not to be taken literally.  But perhaps, I'm not sure, there were times when maybe prophets heard something.  But I think it's more accurate to say that they were inspired by God to write these down.  God "talks" through these prophecies.
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« Reply #114 on: December 22, 2010, 03:12:36 AM »

The best way to read is to click quote ,and read ,because there no blue background and the letters are bigger and black, against a white background...easier on the eyes...


Alright I understand more, and the responses are appreciated sorry I can't follow up invidiually...don't have much to say at the moment.

But regarding the OT God? It seemed like he was such a dictator, all these laws and commandments and I was reading when Moses got the Ten Commandments from mt Sinai and the language being used...it just seems like this is an all powerful distant God.

That is because He was. What I mean by that is there was the natural sepearation between Creator and creation, which the Fall widened into a chasm.  This was symbolized/embodied by the curtain which seperated the Ark of the Covenant and us. At the Crucifixion, as St. Matthew tells us (27:51), it was torn in two, because of "the new and living way which He [Christ] opened for us through the veil, that is, through His flesh (Heb. 10:20). The Jewish Talmud (Yoma 39b) suprisingly provides corroboration: it tells us that for about 40 years before the destruction (70 AD) of the Temple (i.e. the time of Christ's Crucifixion ) every night the gates of the Temple would open of their own accord, and Rabbi Yohanan B. Zakkai rebuked them saying, "Temple, Temple, why do you alarm us? We know that you are destined to be destroyed"
http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Articles/Parochet/parochet.html
Christ offered the archtype of which all the various sacrifices of the OT only prefigured and reflected various aspects of it, the Son of God and the Son of Man pouring out His being to join man to God.

When Moses asked God's name, he was reflecting the prevailing thought in the Middle East: to know a god's name was to be able to put the deity at this beck and call, much like one would call a dog and tell him to fetch.  To this God tells Moses that He is above such things, that He is too big for their petty ideas of power:
Exodus 3:13 Then Moses said to God, "If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is His name?' what shall I say to them?" 14 God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And He said, "Say this to the people of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'"
Christ reiterates this, with a twist, when He says ""When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will know that I AM, and that I do nothing on My own authority but speak thus as the Father taught Me." (John 8:28)
Once Moses asked to see God's glory:
18 Moses said, "I pray thee, show me Your glory." 19 And he said, "I will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you My name 'The LORD I AM'; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 20 But," He said, "you cannot see My face; for man shall not see Me and live." 21 And the LORD said, "Behold, there is a place by Me where you shall stand upon the rock; 22 and while My glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with My hand until I have passed by; 23 then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen."
"Face," "hand" and "back" here are metaphorical, as God had no spatial dimensions. But when God entered space and time through the Incarnation, He replies to His disciples request, which echoes Moses':
John 14:8 Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied." 9 Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, 'Show us the Father'? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does his works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me; or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.
As St. Paul explains (II Cor. 3)
3 and you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. 4 Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. 5 Not that we are competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our competence is from God, 6 who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not in a written code but in the Spirit; for the written code kills, but the Spirit gives life. 7 Now if the dispensation of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such splendor that the Israelites could not look at Moses' face because of its brightness, fading as this was, 8 will not the dispensation of the Spirit be attended with greater splendor? 9 For if there was splendor in the dispensation of condemnation, the dispensation of righteousness must far exceed it in splendor. 10 Indeed, in this case, what once had splendor has come to have no splendor at all, because of the splendor that surpasses it. 11 For if what faded away came with splendor, what is permanent must have much more splendor. 12 Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, 13 not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not see the end of the fading splendor. 14 But their minds were hardened; for to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. 15 Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their minds; 16 but when a man turns to the Lord the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. 4:1 Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. 2 We have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways; we refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the likeness of God. 5 For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. 6 For it is the God who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

But before that could occur, the way had to be prepared, which brings up your second comment.

Quote
I don't even know how you can interprete the OT God in the light of Christ, I am finding that much too hard to do.
The Fathers point out that Genesis, the first book of the OT law begins in Paradise and ends (Gen. 50:26) in a coffin in Egypt, underlying how far man had strayed. Scripture then takes up the giving of the Law in Exodus.  To cut it short, for brevity's sake, the Law was given for many complimentary reasons, e.g. :1) to show that man cannot save himself.  The OT records that unrepentent and unregenerated man repeats Adam's error in trying to be God without God, 2) to cultivate holiness from without so that He could in time come to cultivate holiness from within.  The OT records a progressive narrowing  down from Adam to Noah to Abraham to David all the way down to the Virgin Mary, the New Eve, who does not listen to the serpent's hissing promises of divinity but instead conceives God the Word through the ear (as the Fathers say) by hearing the call of God delievered by Gabriel and ansering "Behold the handmaiden of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word." As my priest says, all of creation hung on her "yes" to God, as God didn't have a plan B.  3) to prepare the soil do that the new Creation would take root and grow without weeds.  In the beginning of OT, the Hebrews are no better than their neighbors in idolatry and polytheism, and the degenerate morality that engendered. As Moses points out at the giving of the Law:
Deut. 7:6 "For you are a people holy to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his own possession, out of all the peoples that are on the face of the earth. 7 It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love upon you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples; 8 but it is because the LORD loves you, and is keeping the oath which he swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 9 Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations, 10 and requites to their face those who hate him, by destroying them; he will not be slack with him who hates him, he will requite him to his face. 11 You shall therefore be careful to do the commandment, and the statutes, and the ordinances, which I command you this day. 12 "And because you hearken to these ordinances, and keep and do them, the LORD your God will keep with you the covenant and the steadfast love which he swore to your fathers to keep;...9:1 "Hear, O Israel; you are to pass over the Jordan this day, to go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than yourselves, cities great and fortified up to heaven, 2 a people great and tall, the sons of the Anakim, whom you know, and of whom you have heard it said, 'Who can stand before the sons of Anak?' 3 Know therefore this day that He who goes over before you as a devouring fire is the LORD your God; He will destroy them and subdue them before you; so you shall drive them out, and make them perish quickly, as the LORD has promised you. 4 "Do not say in your heart, after the LORD your God has thrust them out before you, 'It is because of my righteousness that the LORD has brought me in to possess this land'; whereas it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the LORD is driving them out before you. 5 Not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart are you going in to possess their land; but because of the wickedness of these nations the LORD your God is driving them out from before you, and that He may confirm the word which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. 6 "Know therefore, that the LORD your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness; for you are a stubborn people. 7 Remember and do not forget how you provoked the LORD your God to wrath in the wilderness; from the day you came out of the land of Egypt, until you came to this place, you have been rebellious against the LORD."

That centuries later the Hebrews were still not ready, the Prophet Amos lamented:
...2:4 Thus says the LORD: "For three transgressions of Judah, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment;
because they have rejected the law of the LORD,
and have not kept his statutes,
but their lies have led them astray,
after which their fathers walked.
5 So I will send a fire upon Judah,
and it shall devour the strongholds of Jerusalem."
6 Thus says the LORD: "For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment;
because they sell the righteous for silver,
and the needy for a pair of shoes--
7 they that trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth,
and turn aside the way of the afflicted;
a man and his father go in to the same maiden,
so that my holy name is profaned;
8 they lay themselves down beside every altar
upon garments taken in pledge;
and in the house of their God
they drink the wine of those who have been fined.
9 "Yet I destroyed the Amorite before them,
whose height was like the height of the cedars,
and whose strenght was that as the oaks;
I destroyed his fruit above,
and his roots beneath.
10 Also I brought you up out of the land of Egypt,
and led you forty years in the wilderness,
to possess the land of the Amorite.
11 And I raised up some of your sons for prophets,
and some of your young men for Nazirites.
Is it not indeed so, O people of Israel?" says the LORD.
12 "But you made the Nazirites drink wine,
and commanded the prophets 'You shall not prophesy.'
13 "Behold, I will press you down in your place,
as a cart full of sheaves presses down.
14 Flight shall perish from the swift,
and the strong shall not retain his strength,
nor shall the mighty save his life;
15 he who handles the bow shall not stand,
and he who is swift of foot shall not save himself,
nor shall he who rides the horse save his life;
16 and he who is stout of heart among the mighty shall flee away naked in that day," says the LORD.
3:1 Hear this word that the LORD has spoken against you,
O people of Israel,
against the whole family which I brought up out of the land of Egypt:
2 "Of all the families of the earth, I have known only you;
therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities."

However, the Lord was determined to reveal Himself in Israel's seed, in spite of themselves, as the Prophet Hosea demonstrated (3):
1 And the LORD said to me, "Go again, love a woman who is beloved of a paramour and is an adulteress; even as the LORD loves the people of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins [the pagan version of communion]." 2 So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a lethech of barley. 3 And I said to her, "You must dwell as mine for many days; you shall not play the harlot, or belong to another man; so will I also be to you." 4 For the children of Israel shall dwell many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or pillar, without ephod or teraphim. 5 Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and they shall come in fear to the LORD and to his goodness in the latter days.

Indeed, the Prophet Joel (2) both warns and promises:
1 Blow the trumpet in Zion;
sound the alarm on my holy mountain!
Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble,
for the day of the LORD is coming,
it is near,
2 a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and thick darkness!
Like blackness there is spread upon the mountains a great and powerful people;
their like has never been from of old,
nor will be again after them through the years of all generations.
3 Fire devours before them,
and behind them a flame burns.
The land is like the garden of Eden before them,
but after them a desolate wilderness,
and nothing escapes them.
4 Their appearance is like the appearance of horses,
and like war horses they run.
5 As with the rumbling of chariots,
they leap on the tops of the mountains,
like the crackling of a flame of fire devouring the stubble,
like a powerful army drawn up for battle.
6 Before them peoples are in anguish,
all faces grow pale.
7 Like warriors they charge,
like soldiers they scale the wall.
They march each on his way, t
hey do not swerve from their paths.
8 They do not jostle one another,
each marches in his path;
they burst through the weapons and are not halted.
9 They leap upon the city,
they run upon the walls;
they climb up into the houses,
they enter through the windows like a thief.
10 The earth quakes before them,
the heavens tremble.
The sun and the moon are darkened,
and the stars withdraw their shining.
11 The LORD utters his voice before his army,
for his host is exceedingly great;
he that executes his word is powerful.

For the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; who can endure it?

12 "Yet even now," says the LORD,
"return to me with all your heart,
with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
13 and rend your hearts and not your garments."

Return to the LORD, your God,
for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger,
and abounding in steadfast love,
and repents of evil.
14 Who knows whether he will not turn and repent,
and leave a blessing behind him,
a cereal offering and a drink offering for the LORD, your God?

It took the wake up call of the Babylonian Exile to set the Hebrews straight, and the Prophet Malachi directed them to continue on that path:

3:1 "Behold, I send my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. 2 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? "For he is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap; 3 he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, till they present right offerings to the LORD. 4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years. 5 "Then I will draw near to you for judgment; I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow and the orphan, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the LORD of hosts. 6 "For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed. 7 From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the LORD of hosts.

Thereafter we see in the books of the Maccabbees the Hebrews dying rather than follow their kinsmen in disobeying the Law and worshipping Antiochus as ""God Manifest," and eating pigs sacrificed to the Greek pantheon:
2 Maccabbees 7:9 And when he was at his last breath, he said, "You accursed wretch, you dismiss us from this present life, but the King of the universe will raise us up to an everlasting renewal of life, because we have died for his laws." 10 After him, the third was the victim of their sport. When it was demanded, he quickly put out his tongue and courageously stretched forth his hands, 11 and said nobly, "I got these from Heaven, and because of his laws I disdain them, and from him I hope to get them back again." 12 As a result the king himself and those with him were astonished at the young man's spirit, for he regarded his sufferings as nothing. 13 When he too had died, they maltreated and tortured the fourth in the same way. 14 And when he was near death, he said, "One cannot but choose to die at the hands of men and to cherish the hope that God gives of being raised again by him. But for you there will be no resurrection to life!" 15 Next they brought forward the fifth and maltreated him. 16 But he looked at the king, and said, "Because you have authority among men, mortal though you are, you do what you please. But do not think that God has forsaken our people. 17 Keep on, and see how his mighty power will torture you and your descendants!" 18 After him they brought forward the sixth. And when he was about to die, he said, "Do not deceive yourself in vain. For we are suffering these things on our own account, because of our sins against our own God. Therefore astounding things have happened. 19 But do not think that you will go unpunished for having tried to fight against God!" 20 The mother was especially admirable and worthy of honorable memory. Though she saw her seven sons perish within a single day, she bore it with good courage because of her hope in the Lord. 21 She encouraged each of them in the language of their fathers. Filled with a noble spirit, she fired her woman's reasoning with a man's courage, and said to them, 22 "I do not know how you came into being in my womb. It was not I who gave you life and breath, nor I who set in order the elements within each of you. 23 Therefore the Creator of the world, who shaped the beginning of man and devised the origin of all things, will in his mercy give life and breath back to you again, since you now forget yourselves for the sake of his laws." 24 Antiochus felt that he was being treated with contempt, and he was suspicious of her reproachful tone. The youngest brother being still alive, Antiochus not only appealed to him in words, but promised with oaths that he would make him rich and enviable if he would turn from the ways of his fathers, and that he would take him for his friend and entrust him with public affairs. 25 Since the young man would not listen to him at all, the king called the mother to him and urged her to advise the youth to save himself. 26 After much urging on his part, she undertook to persuade her son. 27 But, leaning close to him, she spoke in their native tongue as follows, deriding the cruel tyrant: "My son, have pity on me. I carried you nine months in my womb, and nursed you for three years, and have reared you and brought you up to this point in your life, and have taken care of you. 28 I beseech you, my child, to look at the heaven and the earth and see everything that is in them, and recognize that God did not make them out of things that existed. Thus also mankind comes into being. 29 Do not fear this butcher, but prove worthy of your brothers. Accept death, so that in God's mercy I may get you back again with your brothers." 30 While she was still speaking, the young man said, "What are you waiting for? I will not obey the king's command, but I obey the command of the law that was given to our fathers through Moses. 31 But you, who have contrived all sorts of evil against the Hebrews, will certainly not escape the hands of God. 32 For we are suffering because of our own sins. 33 And if our living Lord is angry for a little while, to rebuke and discipline us, he will again be reconciled with his own servants. 34 But you, unholy wretch, you most defiled of all men, do not be elated in vain and puffed up by uncertain hopes, when you raise your hand against the children of heaven. 35 You have not yet escaped the judgment of the almighty, all-seeing God. 36 For our brothers after enduring a brief suffering have drunk of everflowing life under God's covenant; but you, by the judgment of God, will receive just punishment for your arrogance. 37 I, like my brothers, give up body and life for the laws of our fathers, appealing to God to show mercy soon to our nation and by afflictions and plagues to make you confess that he alone is God, 38 and through me and my brothers to bring to an end the wrath of the Almighty which has justly fallen on our whole nation." 39 The king fell into a rage, and handled him worse than the others, being exasperated at his scorn. 40 So he died in his integrity, putting his whole trust in the Lord. 41 Last of all, the mother died, after her sons. 42 Let this be enough, then, about the eating of sacrifices and the extreme tortures.

Since the Hebrews had become singularly monotheistic that in such a monotheistic society that God could come and reveal Himself as Trinity without men falling into idolatry or polytheism with the revelation.  It is only in this retrospect that the OT makes any sense.

You do know that no one even bothers to read your posts when they constitute absurdly long quotes, right? At most, someone will skim over the first couple lines and respond based on them...but usually not even that. If you have an entire chapter of the bible that you think proves your point, just reference it and maybe give a sentence or two summarizing, if you feel so compelled.
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« Reply #115 on: December 22, 2010, 03:18:47 AM »

When the Bible talks about the Lord talking, they don't mean that God literally talks right?

I'm inclined to say no, because the whole vibrating air to make sound waves through vocalization sounds anthropomorphic and not to be taken literally.  But perhaps, I'm not sure, there were times when maybe prophets heard something.  But I think it's more accurate to say that they were inspired by God to write these down.  God "talks" through these prophecies.

I'm so confused, how did they even know how God "spoke...are the OT writers trying to interprete what they think?
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« Reply #116 on: December 22, 2010, 04:31:52 AM »

After a bit of life experience I turned into a liberal agnostic.

This week, anyway.
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« Reply #117 on: December 22, 2010, 07:02:12 AM »

After a bit of life experience I turned into a liberal agnostic.

This week, anyway.

Yeah, I've been thinking about that. I'm not sure that I've ever been anything except a liberal agnostic since sometime late in 2005 (well, the liberal part came a couple years earlier). Trying to be Orthodox (or anything else)--"giving it another shot" or "trying to make it work"--doesn't necessarily mean you aren't an agnostic anymore. Frankly, I don't know that I've actively believed in God in over 5 years. I don't really waver between "I'm not sure if there's a God" and "There is a God". It's more about wavering between "I'm not sure if there's a God" and "Gee, wouldn't it be swell if there was a God? But I still don't know..."
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« Reply #118 on: December 22, 2010, 09:45:19 AM »

When the Bible talks about the Lord talking, they don't mean that God literally talks right?

I'm inclined to say no, because the whole vibrating air to make sound waves through vocalization sounds anthropomorphic and not to be taken literally.  But perhaps, I'm not sure, there were times when maybe prophets heard something.  But I think it's more accurate to say that they were inspired by God to write these down.  God "talks" through these prophecies.

I'm so confused, how did they even know how God "spoke...are the OT writers trying to interprete what they think?

It could be tricky business: I Kings 19:11 And he said, "Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD." And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. 13 And when Eli'jah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him, and said, "What are you doing here, Eli'jah?" 14 He said, "I have been very jealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the people of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thy altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away." 15 And the LORD said to him, "Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus; and when you arrive, you shall anoint Haz'ael to be king over Syria; 16 and Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint to be king over Israel; and Eli'sha the son of Shaphat of A'bel-meho'lah you shall anoint to be prophet in your place. 17 And him who escapes from the sword of Haz'ael shall Jehu slay; and him who escapes from the sword of Jehu shall Eli'sha slay. 18 Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Ba'al, and every mouth that has not kissed him."

The Fathers talk about the Prophets' purifying their senses so as to increase their awareness and discernment.  I recall in my Paleontology class at the U of Chicago: talking to another paleontologist, one suddenly noticed a rock he was standing on, picked it up and looked at it, and remarked "this the other half of a fossil I found over there [motioning at a distance] 15 years ago." Sure enough, when it was compared to the piece in question, it fit perfectly.  But then the paleontologist had training, and developed an eye for what he was looking at.

So too, while the rest of Israel may have been impressed by the wind, earthquake and fire, but the Prophet Elijah was not, as he had been purified to recognized the small voice.

Sometimes God did go for the dramatic, for instance at Sinai with Moses. But often it was more mundane. In any case, since God was not then a part of creation, He spoke through use of impressions and forces in and on creation, sort of like what is proposed for atom theory: the structures of the atom are not seen directly, but postulated through their perceived effects.
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« Reply #119 on: December 22, 2010, 10:07:05 AM »

When the Bible talks about the Lord talking, they don't mean that God literally talks right?

And what of the slaves, why weren't the abolishment of slaves apart of God's Law in the OT?
Similar to why polygamy wasn't. As Joseph says to his brother who sold him into slavery "you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good." (Gen. 50:20). It was an institution which fallen man invented, which God turned to His purposes, to train and prepare man for His coming. Note, the enslavement of Joseph later led to the enslavement of all of Israel, yet God calls this enslaved people His Chosen People.

He then teaches them in Person:

John 8:28 So Jesus said, "When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will know that I AM, and that I do nothing on my own authority but speak thus as the Father taught Me. 29 And He Who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do what is pleasing to Him." 30 As He spoke thus, many believed in Him. 31 Jesus then said to the Jews who had believed in Him, "If you continue in My word, you are truly My disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." 33 They answered Him, "We are descendants of Abraham, and have never been in bondage to any one. How is it that you say, 'You will be made free'?" 34 Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, every one who commits sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not continue in the house for ever; the son continues for ever. 36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.

as the Aposltes further expounded:
Phillippian 2:4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
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« Reply #120 on: December 22, 2010, 10:33:26 AM »

After a bit of life experience I turned into a liberal agnostic.

This week, anyway.

Yeah, I've been thinking about that. I'm not sure that I've ever been anything except a liberal agnostic since sometime late in 2005 (well, the liberal part came a couple years earlier). Trying to be Orthodox (or anything else)--"giving it another shot" or "trying to make it work"--doesn't necessarily mean you aren't an agnostic anymore. Frankly, I don't know that I've actively believed in God in over 5 years. I don't really waver between "I'm not sure if there's a God" and "There is a God". It's more about wavering between "I'm not sure if there's a God" and "Gee, wouldn't it be swell if there was a God? But I still don't know..."
Is it impossible to practice Orthodoxy, while acknowledging one's agnosticism?
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« Reply #121 on: December 22, 2010, 11:51:19 AM »

After a bit of life experience I turned into a liberal agnostic.

This week, anyway.

Yeah, I've been thinking about that. I'm not sure that I've ever been anything except a liberal agnostic since sometime late in 2005 (well, the liberal part came a couple years earlier). Trying to be Orthodox (or anything else)--"giving it another shot" or "trying to make it work"--doesn't necessarily mean you aren't an agnostic anymore. Frankly, I don't know that I've actively believed in God in over 5 years. I don't really waver between "I'm not sure if there's a God" and "There is a God". It's more about wavering between "I'm not sure if there's a God" and "Gee, wouldn't it be swell if there was a God? But I still don't know..."

I find that these questions seem to melt away when I immerse myself in the liturgy. They just seem not to matter anymore...
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« Reply #122 on: December 22, 2010, 11:52:59 AM »

After a bit of life experience I turned into a liberal agnostic.

This week, anyway.

Yeah, I've been thinking about that. I'm not sure that I've ever been anything except a liberal agnostic since sometime late in 2005 (well, the liberal part came a couple years earlier). Trying to be Orthodox (or anything else)--"giving it another shot" or "trying to make it work"--doesn't necessarily mean you aren't an agnostic anymore. Frankly, I don't know that I've actively believed in God in over 5 years. I don't really waver between "I'm not sure if there's a God" and "There is a God". It's more about wavering between "I'm not sure if there's a God" and "Gee, wouldn't it be swell if there was a God? But I still don't know..."


It's one thing to struggle with doubts, it's another to wear them on your sleeve like some kind of badge of honour. I think you've dug yourself into a hole by doing so.
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« Reply #123 on: December 22, 2010, 12:12:11 PM »

After a bit of life experience I turned into a liberal agnostic.

This week, anyway.

Yeah, I've been thinking about that. I'm not sure that I've ever been anything except a liberal agnostic since sometime late in 2005 (well, the liberal part came a couple years earlier). Trying to be Orthodox (or anything else)--"giving it another shot" or "trying to make it work"--doesn't necessarily mean you aren't an agnostic anymore. Frankly, I don't know that I've actively believed in God in over 5 years. I don't really waver between "I'm not sure if there's a God" and "There is a God". It's more about wavering between "I'm not sure if there's a God" and "Gee, wouldn't it be swell if there was a God? But I still don't know..."
Is it impossible to practice Orthodoxy, while acknowledging one's agnosticism?

I certainly hope not.  Undecided
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« Reply #124 on: December 22, 2010, 01:45:41 PM »

Yeah, I've been thinking about that. I'm not sure that I've ever been anything except a liberal agnostic since sometime late in 2005 (well, the liberal part came a couple years earlier). Trying to be Orthodox (or anything else)--"giving it another shot" or "trying to make it work"--doesn't necessarily mean you aren't an agnostic anymore. Frankly, I don't know that I've actively believed in God in over 5 years. I don't really waver between "I'm not sure if there's a God" and "There is a God". It's more about wavering between "I'm not sure if there's a God" and "Gee, wouldn't it be swell if there was a God? But I still don't know..."

Well, good. It sounds as though you've been spending a lot of time thinking about yourself.
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« Reply #125 on: December 22, 2010, 01:51:34 PM »

Is it impossible to practice Orthodoxy, while acknowledging one's agnosticism?

I suppose it depends on what you mean. It is certainly possible to acknowledge one's limitations and ability to know things with certainty, and all the while to practice the Orthodox faith. However, I hesitate to say that one could perpetually doubt the "existence" of God and have any real progress in theosis. Mustn't one thirst for union in order to achieve it? There has to be some level of resolve in order to carry the heavy weight of the cross; to keep one's hand to the plow.
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« Reply #126 on: December 22, 2010, 02:06:48 PM »

Is it impossible to practice Orthodoxy, while acknowledging one's agnosticism?

I suppose it depends on what you mean. It is certainly possible to acknowledge one's limitations and ability to know things with certainty, and all the while to practice the Orthodox faith. However, I hesitate to say that one could perpetually doubt the "existence" of God and have any real progress in theosis. Mustn't one thirst for union in order to achieve it? There has to be some level of resolve in order to carry the heavy weight of the cross; to keep one's hand to the plow.
"Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief." Mark 9:24.
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« Reply #127 on: December 22, 2010, 02:16:33 PM »

When the Bible talks about the Lord talking, they don't mean that God literally talks right?

I'm inclined to say no, because the whole vibrating air to make sound waves through vocalization sounds anthropomorphic and not to be taken literally.  But perhaps, I'm not sure, there were times when maybe prophets heard something.  But I think it's more accurate to say that they were inspired by God to write these down.  God "talks" through these prophecies.

I'm so confused, how did they even know how God "spoke...are the OT writers trying to interprete what they think?

I didn't realize the slavery question before, but Ialmisry gave a good answer.

As for God speaking, Ialmisry gave a good answer too, but I'll add this.  These prophets did things they didn't want to do or were uncomfortable doing so because more often than not their prophecies weren't all comforting.  There was some hope, but also some provocation.  By these actions, and by the fulfillment of the prophecies, one can say God indeed "talked" to them.  How?  It's a mystery.  God inspires, we iterate.  As Christ says, you shall know them by their fruits.
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« Reply #128 on: December 22, 2010, 03:11:56 PM »

When the Bible talks about the Lord talking, they don't mean that God literally talks right?

I'm inclined to say no, because the whole vibrating air to make sound waves through vocalization sounds anthropomorphic and not to be taken literally.  But perhaps, I'm not sure, there were times when maybe prophets heard something.  But I think it's more accurate to say that they were inspired by God to write these down.  God "talks" through these prophecies.

I'm so confused, how did they even know how God "spoke...are the OT writers trying to interprete what they think?

I didn't realize the slavery question before, but Ialmisry gave a good answer.

As for God speaking, Ialmisry gave a good answer too, but I'll add this.  These prophets did things they didn't want to do or were uncomfortable doing so because more often than not their prophecies weren't all comforting.  There was some hope, but also some provocation.  By these actions, and by the fulfillment of the prophecies, one can say God indeed "talked" to them.  How?  It's a mystery.  God inspires, we iterate.  As Christ says, you shall know them by their fruits.
Speaking of knowing fruits: the Prophets did not take up predictions as their main job.  Such prophecies of the future were to wake people up to the moral message.  It was, for instance, finding the fulfillment of the warnings of the prophets in the Babylonian exile that the Hebrews decided that they had better learn their lesson and listen to the prophets' messages against idolatry and immorality.  A good example would be Jeremiah.
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« Reply #129 on: December 22, 2010, 05:34:05 PM »

If ever I were tempted to hold up my fingers in front of me in the sign of the "A" (for atheist) to ward off the demonic, it would be now, being faced with the proposition that I surrender my mind - for to surrender my mind is to surrender my life.
Hey, I just realized something.  Yes, I'm kinda slow.  Just ask my high school math teacher, for example; he was a decent enough guy.  In fact, a very decent guy; I still remember him quite fondly.  He'd probably be the first to tell you that I showed signs of intelligence (well, perhaps not the first to say so, but he'd be in line somewhere) but that the intelligence always took a looooong time to display itself.  And I'd tell you what my English teacher thought of me, but I'm not sure what she has to do with this whole thing.

Anyway, it's taken me a while, but I just realized that, up until now, I'd assumed that the name TryingToConvert was a description of yourself.  How stupid of me!  Trying to convert doesn't describe what you are attempting to do for yourself; it describes what you are hoping to do with others.  Is that it?  If so, then first I must apologize for misunderstanding you.  And second, I must apologize for assuming you were being disingenuous; you in fact have been one of the more straightforward posters we've seen in a while.  Convert, while still a verb, is really a transitive verb.  Is that it?  And I think the right term is transitive verb, but wow, for that answer I'd have to reach WAY back to another English teacher, and I have no idea what she actually thought of me.  Isn't that funny!

At any rate, I understand that you are trying to convert...

...US!

How's it working, by the way?  I'm rather flattered that you'd consider us worth your time and effort, to be honest.  Have any of my colleagues converted?  Are any of us close?  As they say, it's the first dozen that are hard.  After that, it could be Katie-bar-the-door!

But as I said, I'm kinda slow.
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« Reply #130 on: December 22, 2010, 06:03:07 PM »

It's one thing to struggle with doubts, it's another to wear them on your sleeve like some kind of badge of honour. I think you've dug yourself into a hole by doing so.

But it is a badge of honor. Dogmatism and certainty are intellectual sicknesses.
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« Reply #131 on: December 22, 2010, 06:09:15 PM »

It's one thing to struggle with doubts, it's another to wear them on your sleeve like some kind of badge of honour. I think you've dug yourself into a hole by doing so.

But it is a badge of honor. Dogmatism and certainty are intellectual sicknesses.

Are you sure about that?
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« Reply #132 on: December 22, 2010, 06:13:16 PM »

It's one thing to struggle with doubts, it's another to wear them on your sleeve like some kind of badge of honour. I think you've dug yourself into a hole by doing so.

But it is a badge of honor. Dogmatism and certainty are intellectual sicknesses.

Are you sure about that?

No. Nothing can be known, not even the accuracy of the claim that nothing can be known.
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« Reply #133 on: December 22, 2010, 06:42:09 PM »

I find that these questions seem to melt away when I immerse myself in the liturgy. They just seem not to matter anymore...

Amen! Yes they do, which is why I'd want to be at a liturgy everyday, if that was possible.
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« Reply #134 on: December 22, 2010, 07:07:48 PM »

It's one thing to struggle with doubts, it's another to wear them on your sleeve like some kind of badge of honour. I think you've dug yourself into a hole by doing so.

But it is a badge of honor. Dogmatism and certainty are intellectual sicknesses.

Are you sure about that?

No. Nothing can be known, not even the accuracy of the claim that nothing can be known.
He who hesitates is lost.
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