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Can God love or have a moral sense?

Yes.
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No.
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Don't know.
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Offline Greatest I am

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Re: Can God love or have a moral sense?
« Reply #45 on: July 17, 2013, 05:46:08 PM »
God sent a demon to possess Saul. He put to death David's son by Bathsheba. He put lies in the mouth of false prophets to intentionally deceive people. He hardened the heart of the Pharoh so he WOULDN'T repent. He even had Ezekiel bake bread with human feces in it. Then later in his mercy he allowed Ezekial to use animal feces instead.

Whether or not these questions are pursued in another thread dedicated to this purpose, I think it would be useful to cite the Scriptures which speak about the things you bring up.  Because I recently started a thread about the whole Ezekiel/feces bread issue (for an entirely different reason), I'm certain you've misunderstood at least that passage: the bread itself didn't have feces in it, but was to be baked over a fire fueled by human feces, and when Ezekiel protested, God allowed animal feces to fuel the fire instead.  He didn't bake the bread before getting that permission, and the bread itself was composed of several ingredients, but feces of any sort was not among them.  Now, it is important to realise that the prophets do "strange" things, or God commands them to do strange things, not for the sake of doing them, but as a symbol, a parable, a visual aid to the message they're proclaiming.  But let's not make them more strange than they are.  :)  Some of your other descriptions seem accurate enough, but it is best if we are working with the actual texts. 

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Now we can NEVER know the mind and plans of God. Can't we however make a moral argument on the things we see presented in the OT?

What do you mean?  If we can never know the mind and plans of God, how can we make an evaluation of his actions based on our human mind and ideas?  We can say "If I was in charge, I'd do things differently" or "That doesn't seem very fair to me", but if we begin by admitting that God's mind and intentions are on an entirely different plane from ours, then whether or not he's superior, he's certainly different.  Can we really judge him without getting into his mind? 

If anything, I find this oddly comforting.  If I were "making up" a story about a god, it might resemble some mix of Hindu and Greco-Roman mythology and philosophical traditions.  Or perhaps it would be some non-theistic philosophy using reasonably normal stories from my own day and age to illustrate points.  The absolute last thing I would come up with is the OT (or even the OT and NT taken together).  Even by their own standards, some of the OT stuff was way out in left field (e.g., Ezekiel and the feces).  Yet, that's the revelation, in all its messiness.  In every generation, it unsettles us and requires that we wrestle with God as Jacob did, until Jacob finally prevailed over God (on the face of it, another ludicrous story).   

Not if you are thinking esoterically.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGx4IlppSgU

Two quick remarks if I may.

You say we cannot know the mind of God as depicted in scriptures but I do not agree because scriptures themselves tell us that we can. First Gen 3;22 when God indicates that A & E have his exact moral sense.

And. 1 Thesalonian 5;21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

We could prove nothing if we could not reason as God does.

You also indicate that we cannot judge God or his action.

Yet you adore him because you have judged him good.

How is it you can judge him and others cannot?

Regards
DL

Offline Greatest I am

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Re: Can God love or have a moral sense?
« Reply #46 on: July 17, 2013, 05:46:09 PM »
"But again, your question is predicated on the idea that a human can judge God based on human notions of right, wrong, reason, ethics, etc. "

If your love of God is not based on the same, then what are you using to judge?

Regards
DL

Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Can God love or have a moral sense?
« Reply #47 on: July 17, 2013, 05:52:32 PM »
Thank you for engaging the actual issues Mor. We may not see eye to eye on many things, but it annoys me when people won't give an adequate response to others. Even if they are perceived to be a troll.

No need to thank me, I'm happy to do so, and so are many other people here.  :)

No, I don't think I or anyone else is obligated to respond adequately to just anyone's questions.  A troll is a troll because they're not serious about engaging an issue, they're interested in provoking, whether for fun or for nefarious purposes.  Such people shouldn't pretend or expect that they are entitled to a dignified, reasonable response.  People that show even the slightest interest in engaging the issues will be able to convey that in their messages, even if they don't always "see eye to eye" with those with whom they're interacting.  Such people do deserve a dignified, reasonable response.  If and when I can do that, I will, and if I can't, someone else will.  But certainly the troll deserves nothing but scorn because scorn is all they have to offer.    

Offline PoorFoolNicholas

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Re: Can God love or have a moral sense?
« Reply #48 on: July 17, 2013, 05:59:10 PM »
Quote
You also indicate that we cannot judge God or his action.

Yet you adore him because you have judged him good.

How is it you can judge him and others cannot?

This seems like a rather valid point doesn't it?

Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Can God love or have a moral sense?
« Reply #49 on: July 17, 2013, 06:43:07 PM »
I will probably get flamed for this, but here it goes.

I think think reason God looks so harsh in the OT is because it was written by a primitive people who had little understanding on the full nature of God.  As God slowly revealed more of Himself to man, the faithful began to see more of His loving nature rather than a fierce and terrifying God. I think the stories that are relayed in Scripture are true, but written from a primitive society's point of view.  I dare say, those stories would have been written much differently if one of the Apostles had gone back in time and saw what was happening and wrote about it.  If you notice, as time goes on in the OT, the way God is described and written about mellows over time.  He is a very harsh and unforgiving God in Genesis, but by the time you get to the time of exile, He is viewed as a much more caring and sympathetic entity.  Once He became incarnate, the fullness of truth was revealed and we can understand Him much better.  Of course, we still really have a very shallow understanding on the depths of His love and I'm sure the saints in heaven probably shake their heads at how little we really understand of God's love.

By primitive people you mean the Jews and you blame them for the harshness.
If that is not your view the I recant.

Having said what you said, what are your thoughts on the fact that the Jews showed the God of Eden as quite loving and elevating man out of Eden as compared with your version of a fall with a harsh God who throws a fit on the whole of existence?

http://www.mrrena.com/misc/judaism2.php

"Instead of the Fall of man (in the sense of humanity as a whole), Judaism preaches the Rise of man: and instead of Original Sin, it stresses Original Virtue "

Regards
DL


I really am not overly concerned with what modern Jewish midrashs have to say about Adam and Eve.  I would state that your claims that God throws a fit is a bit disingenuous as it is clear that man was the causal factor in sin entering the world, not God.  In regards to the final statement, I can't really address it because Orthodoxy does not teach Original Sin.
God bless!

Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Can God love or have a moral sense?
« Reply #50 on: July 17, 2013, 06:45:47 PM »
Not if you are thinking esoterically.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGx4IlppSgU

If you are committed to thinking esoterically, you can think anything you want.  Drugs can enhance that experience.  

Quote
Two quick remarks if I may.

You say we cannot know the mind of God as depicted in scriptures but I do not agree because scriptures themselves tell us that we can. First Gen 3;22 when God indicates that A & E have his exact moral sense.

No, I didn't say that we can't know the mind of God as depicted in the Scriptures.  If anything, I said this is one of the only ways we could know something of God's mind or thinking: based on what he reveals about it in Scripture.  

Does God's acknowledgement of man's knowledge of good and evil subsequent to eating of the tree of knowledge mean that man has God's "exact moral sense"?  I would personally reject that, if by that you meant that man knows those things the way God knows them.  Man knows those things as man is capable of knowing them, because man's mind is man's, and God's mind is God's.  

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And. 1 Thesalonian 5;21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

We could prove nothing if we could not reason as God does.

You only quoted part of a larger sentence.  Read it in context.  

We had the ability to reason even before the Fall: the Genesis account of the temptation of Eve is careful to note how, after the Serpent's words, Eve reasoned that it was to her advantage to eat of the fruit.  But after the Fall, our minds are darkened, and we don't reason properly.  In the power of God's Spirit, given to us through our participation in the death and resurrection of Christ, we can in fact be inspired and guided to choose and reason rightly.  St Paul goes so far as to say in another place that "we have the mind of Christ".  We have this through the Spirit.  It's not a fundamental change to our nature (baptism doesn't render me perfect); but it is a potentiality, the ability to overcome our fallen nature, to choose by grace the condition from which we fell.  God is still God, though, and man man.  Human nature is not overcome or changed, but given a potentiality to become divine by grace, if and to the extent that man cooperates with God.

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You also indicate that we cannot judge God or his action.

Yet you adore him because you have judged him good.

How is it you can judge him and others cannot?

Did I tell you that I adore God because I have judged him good?  Or did you just assume that?  You know what they say about assumptions...

We cannot judge God or his actions because we have no common experience upon which to draw.  We are a different type of entity from him, we have limits he does not, etc.  It would be absurd to try, even though we often do when we are troubled by something.  But even that phenomenon, when analysed dispassionately, says more about our limits than it does about his.  

That said, anyone can "judge" God when it comes to deciding whether or not to accept him and live one's life in light of that acceptance.  People do that all the time and come to different conclusions.  I have one, and you seem to have another.  And we succeed to varying degrees in living out our choices.  But that's a different matter from evaluating God based on our ideas.      

Offline LBK

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Re: Can God love or have a moral sense?
« Reply #51 on: July 17, 2013, 06:59:08 PM »
I also note that there is one answer to your question but I cannot judge the value or ----" For starters, the Great Canon of St Andrew of Crete, sung during Great Lent, is quite comprehensive in its coverage of OT events, and offers much in the way of their Orthodox interpretation."


I did not provide a link, as most Orthodox Christians would know where to read it, and, as far as you're concerned, your belligerence and refusal to even remotely engage with what people are actually saying brings to mind something that Jesus said about pearls and piggies. You're not here to learn, you're only here to spout your own awesomeness and to rubbish the beliefs of those here.
Am I posting? Or is it Schroedinger's Cat?

Offline PoorFoolNicholas

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Re: Can God love or have a moral sense?
« Reply #52 on: July 17, 2013, 07:14:23 PM »
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We had the ability to reason even before the Fall: the Genesis account of the temptation of Eve is careful to note how, after the Serpent's words, Eve reasoned that it was to her advantage to eat of the fruit.  But after the Fall, our minds are darkened, and we don't reason properly.

So Adam and Eve's reasoning wasn't darkened but now it is? Why didn't they make a better choice then? This is what irks me about the Adam and Eve scenario. Infants making a poor decision, then being rather harshly judged. Then having to wait thousands upon thousands of years for it to be corrected???

Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Can God love or have a moral sense?
« Reply #53 on: July 17, 2013, 08:19:32 PM »
Quote
We had the ability to reason even before the Fall: the Genesis account of the temptation of Eve is careful to note how, after the Serpent's words, Eve reasoned that it was to her advantage to eat of the fruit.  But after the Fall, our minds are darkened, and we don't reason properly.

So Adam and Eve's reasoning wasn't darkened but now it is? Why didn't they make a better choice then? This is what irks me about the Adam and Eve scenario. Infants making a poor decision, then being rather harshly judged. Then having to wait thousands upon thousands of years for it to be corrected???

Their reasoning wasn't darkened in the beginning because God didn't create them with a darkened reason.  But he did create them with free will, which they can and did exercise.  They used their reason in order to justify their decision (read Gn 3 carefully).  The difference now is that, while we retain free will, we are also subject to passions, a clouded reasoning, etc.  We are frail, fickle, etc.  But even so, man can choose. 

As far as I can tell from my reading of the text, Adam and Eve were not created as infants, but as what we'd call fully developed adults.  Infants are not capable of "making poor decisions" or, for that matter, "wise decisions".  And it's not like they made a poor decision but repented.  They chose to disobey despite a warning about what would happen if they did; and when they were called on it by God, they didn't take responsibility for their choice and repent, but they demonstrated a hardening in their choice: they passed responsibility to anyone other than themselves, even blaming God. 

So what about this "harsh judgement"?  Well, let's look at it.  God "punishes" the serpent who tempted Eve with pride by humbling him, making him crawl on the earth, and promising his ultimate defeat through the "seed of the woman" (whom we say is Christ).  He "punishes" Eve, who went from a position of equality with Adam to leading him into sin, by making the man her "leader" or ruler, in spite of the pains (of childbirth) which come with that relationship.  And he "punishes" Adam, whose vocation it was to be a steward of the earth, cultivating it and blessing it by his work, by declaring him to be the reason that same earth is cursed, producing thorns and thistles in spite of his hard work...and then eventually he'll decompose back into the elements from which he was created in the first place.  In other words, they tried to overturn God's order and replace it with theirs, and in response God overturns their order and imposes a lesser dispensation for them to live under until the "seed of the woman" definitively reverses Adam's disobedience with his own obedience, and re-creates creation through the Cross.  That lesser dispensation promises that we'll be able to reproduce (and thus have the consolations of family life and continuity), provide for ourselves (it'll be hard work, but we're promised food so we'll have strength to work and enjoy other aspects of life), and death (rest and an end to the evil which we can individually commit on earth, which would've gone on forever had they eaten of the tree of life and attained immortality while being inclined towards evil).  That's the story as we have it.  It might seem like a punishment, but it's not quite the same as "death by lethal injection".  What do you think would be a more appropriate punishment?  Of course, this assumes that you are God, so you'll have to describe what kind of God you are, your purpose in creating stuff, your design for man, etc., etc.  We're quick to judge God as too harsh, but we don't always have an alternative to suggest.

Regarding how it took "thousands of years" to rectify the situation, Scripture talks about Christ entering the world "in the fullness of time".  That presumes that, within that lesser dispensation which God instituted after the Fall, a certain kind of "development" needed to happen in order to "create" the conditions within which Christ entered the world.  He's not just "any guy", he was a particular man born to a particular woman of a particular lineage in a particular community at a particular historical juncture, etc.  It wasn't simply a matter of plopping a body down just anywhere and torturing him to death.  There's a lot more that went into correcting Adam's mistakes. 

Dinner.  :P 

Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Can God love or have a moral sense?
« Reply #54 on: July 17, 2013, 09:19:24 PM »
I watched this tonight and his explanation of Old Testament writings was most interesting.  I can't really do it justice by trying to explain it, so I figured I would just post the link.  I will have to mull it over a bit in my head as to what I think of it.  The speaker is a Fr. Hans Jacobse.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Ka-4898NN2U
God bless!

Offline PoorFoolNicholas

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Re: Can God love or have a moral sense?
« Reply #55 on: July 17, 2013, 11:29:36 PM »
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It wasn't simply a matter of plopping a body down just anywhere and torturing him to death.  There's a lot more that went into correcting Adam's mistakes.

Shouldn't an infinitely powerful God be able to do anything He pleases whenever He wants? You seem to limit God by stating that He had to do things a certain way. How is He a God if He is bound by some sort of cosmic timetable, or forced to wait thousands of years before He can fix things?

Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Can God love or have a moral sense?
« Reply #56 on: July 17, 2013, 11:55:44 PM »
Shouldn't an infinitely powerful God be able to do anything He pleases whenever He wants?

Sure, he can do anything he wants whenever he wants.  The issue here seems to be that he did it in a particular way at a particular time, and you think he should've done something different.  That says nothing about God's omnipotence, but it does say something about your limitations. 

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You seem to limit God by stating that He had to do things a certain way. How is He a God if He is bound by some sort of cosmic timetable, or forced to wait thousands of years before He can fix things?

It's not because he's bound by a cosmic timetable or forced to wait.  I'd argue it's didactic.  It has nothing to do with God needing to wait and everything to do with our need to grow in wisdom and stature to a certain level.   

For instance, when Genesis 2 speaks of the creation of man (it's a different creation account from that in 1.1-2.4a), it says that God thought it wasn't good for man to be alone.  Didn't he know that before he created him?  Why does that only occur to him after he's got a man on his hands?  Anyway, he decides he'll make the man a helper...and he goes on to create all the animals, bringing them to the man to see what he'd name them.  Why would he do that, knowing that he was going to end up making a woman for the man?  Why would he go that charade?  The key, I think, is in the verse which says "But for the man there was not found a suitable helper".  In other words, God knew the kind of companion the man needed, but the man himself needed to learn, to come to understand, not only that it wasn't good for him to be alone, but also what kind of companionship was good for him.  Through what looks to us like a game or an unnecessary and elaborate drama, God is teaching, and the man is learning. 

I think God has been teaching, and man "learning", throughout the OT, and when the fullness of time arrived, man was finally ready for the Incarnation.       

Offline PoorFoolNicholas

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Re: Can God love or have a moral sense?
« Reply #57 on: July 18, 2013, 12:04:41 AM »
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I think God has been teaching, and man "learning", throughout the OT, and when the fullness of time arrived, man was finally ready for the Incarnation.

Indeed brother, on this we agree for sure. And yes you are correct, it seems that my issue is that "i" would have done it differently. For God to watch millions upon billions? dying everyday and NOT stopping it bothers me. Could any of us watch our child die and do nothing IF we really could do something about them dying? Do you see why certain passages makes it seem like God treats us as cattle instead of precious individuals?

Offline Mor Ephrem

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Re: Can God love or have a moral sense?
« Reply #58 on: July 18, 2013, 12:21:57 AM »
Quote
I think God has been teaching, and man "learning", throughout the OT, and when the fullness of time arrived, man was finally ready for the Incarnation.

Indeed brother, on this we agree for sure. And yes you are correct, it seems that my issue is that "i" would have done it differently. For God to watch millions upon billions? dying everyday and NOT stopping it bothers me. Could any of us watch our child die and do nothing IF we really could do something about them dying? Do you see why certain passages makes it seem like God treats us as cattle instead of precious individuals?

Again, you're presuming you could do it better, but you're making that judgement based on:

a) what you know,
b) what you think you know,
c) what you would do if you were God based on a) and b), and
d) your assumption that you know enough about what it is like to be God

But that's precisely the problem: we don't know what it's like to be God, and so we don't know how a God would do things.  We take our human experience and human ideas, make some presumptions about the things we don't know or are uncertain of, and then pin all that on God.  Really, it's a joke. 

You want to talk about God as a Father watching his children die and not doing anything?  How do you know what he's doing and what he's not doing?  You're basing that on the fact that those people are dying, and that's it.  You don't know what lies ahead for those people, what the course of their lives has been up to that point, what's in their best interests, what they desire, etc., etc.  You just see people dying in a moment and God letting it happen, and cry "unfair" because it looks unfair to you.  But what's unfair is to condemn God on such paltry evidence. 

Children routinely perceive the things their parents do for them or to them, or the discipline they enforce, etc. as "cruel", "unfair", and "my parents don't love me".  Now, it's possible that all those things are true, and the parents don't love the children.  But is that really the most reasonable explanation always and everywhere?  Or is it more reasonable that the children are children, and are limited in their understanding, and will "get it" when they get older and understand the world a bit better?  Certainly, our accumulated human experience is the latter. 

Are we not like children in the eyes of God?  Not in terms of how simple or innocent we are, but in terms of our development: like children, we don't know a tenth of what's going on, but we cry "unfair" and "God doesn't love us" anyway.  As a common human feeling, that's understandable, but when you look at it logically, it's just stupid.  No reasonable person would ever say "the children are right" against the parents in the overwhelming majority of those cases.  So why is God different?  Because he's so lucky to have us as his children?  In the words of Greatest I am, "Pfft".     

Offline Greatest I am

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Re: Can God love or have a moral sense?
« Reply #59 on: July 18, 2013, 01:01:06 PM »
I will probably get flamed for this, but here it goes.

I think think reason God looks so harsh in the OT is because it was written by a primitive people who had little understanding on the full nature of God.  As God slowly revealed more of Himself to man, the faithful began to see more of His loving nature rather than a fierce and terrifying God. I think the stories that are relayed in Scripture are true, but written from a primitive society's point of view.  I dare say, those stories would have been written much differently if one of the Apostles had gone back in time and saw what was happening and wrote about it.  If you notice, as time goes on in the OT, the way God is described and written about mellows over time.  He is a very harsh and unforgiving God in Genesis, but by the time you get to the time of exile, He is viewed as a much more caring and sympathetic entity.  Once He became incarnate, the fullness of truth was revealed and we can understand Him much better.  Of course, we still really have a very shallow understanding on the depths of His love and I'm sure the saints in heaven probably shake their heads at how little we really understand of God's love.

By primitive people you mean the Jews and you blame them for the harshness.
If that is not your view the I recant.

Having said what you said, what are your thoughts on the fact that the Jews showed the God of Eden as quite loving and elevating man out of Eden as compared with your version of a fall with a harsh God who throws a fit on the whole of existence?

http://www.mrrena.com/misc/judaism2.php

"Instead of the Fall of man (in the sense of humanity as a whole), Judaism preaches the Rise of man: and instead of Original Sin, it stresses Original Virtue "

Regards
DL


I really am not overly concerned with what modern Jewish midrashs have to say about Adam and Eve.  I would state that your claims that God throws a fit is a bit disingenuous as it is clear that man was the causal factor in sin entering the world, not God.

That is an outright lie ----- if you believe scripture.

The first sin would have been the temptation of Eve. Right?
Many say the snake or Satan lied.

The cause of that was the talking snake and God himself put it there and is therefore the causal factor in sin entering the world.

I see again that you did not bother telling me what your theology is that replaces my assumption.

If it is as full of holes and lies the way your replies are it is no wonder you hide it.

I have you dead to right on this one.
Let's see what kind of honest moral man you are.

Regards
DL

Offline Greatest I am

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Re: Can God love or have a moral sense?
« Reply #60 on: July 18, 2013, 01:01:06 PM »
Not if you are thinking esoterically.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGx4IlppSgU

If you are committed to thinking esoterically, you can think anything you want.  Drugs can enhance that experience.  

Quote
Two quick remarks if I may.

You say we cannot know the mind of God as depicted in scriptures but I do not agree because scriptures themselves tell us that we can. First Gen 3;22 when God indicates that A & E have his exact moral sense.

No, I didn't say that we can't know the mind of God as depicted in the Scriptures.  If anything, I said this is one of the only ways we could know something of God's mind or thinking: based on what he reveals about it in Scripture.  

Does God's acknowledgement of man's knowledge of good and evil subsequent to eating of the tree of knowledge mean that man has God's "exact moral sense"?  I would personally reject that, if by that you meant that man knows those things the way God knows them.  Man knows those things as man is capable of knowing them, because man's mind is man's, and God's mind is God's.  

Quote
And. 1 Thesalonian 5;21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

We could prove nothing if we could not reason as God does.

You only quoted part of a larger sentence.  Read it in context.  

We had the ability to reason even before the Fall: the Genesis account of the temptation of Eve is careful to note how, after the Serpent's words, Eve reasoned that it was to her advantage to eat of the fruit.  But after the Fall, our minds are darkened, and we don't reason properly.  In the power of God's Spirit, given to us through our participation in the death and resurrection of Christ, we can in fact be inspired and guided to choose and reason rightly.  St Paul goes so far as to say in another place that "we have the mind of Christ".  We have this through the Spirit.  It's not a fundamental change to our nature (baptism doesn't render me perfect); but it is a potentiality, the ability to overcome our fallen nature, to choose by grace the condition from which we fell.  God is still God, though, and man man.  Human nature is not overcome or changed, but given a potentiality to become divine by grace, if and to the extent that man cooperates with God.

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You also indicate that we cannot judge God or his action.

Yet you adore him because you have judged him good.

How is it you can judge him and others cannot?

Did I tell you that I adore God because I have judged him good?  Or did you just assume that?  You know what they say about assumptions...

We cannot judge God or his actions because we have no common experience upon which to draw.  We are a different type of entity from him, we have limits he does not, etc.  It would be absurd to try, even though we often do when we are troubled by something.  But even that phenomenon, when analysed dispassionately, says more about our limits than it does about his.  

That said, anyone can "judge" God when it comes to deciding whether or not to accept him and live one's life in light of that acceptance.  People do that all the time and come to different conclusions.  I have one, and you seem to have another.  And we succeed to varying degrees in living out our choices.  But that's a different matter from evaluating God based on our ideas.      

Such a fancy back pedling dance. Nice to watch.


"Does God's acknowledgement of man's knowledge of good and evil subsequent to eating of the tree of knowledge mean that man has God's "exact moral sense"?  I would personally reject that,"

Then you reject God's own words. Oh well.

Strange how you talk of reason in Eden while speaking od a totally ridiculous and illogical talking snake.

We are likely done here.
Thanks for the chat.
I go now to find an honest man and debater that believe the bible.

Regards
DL

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Re: Can God love or have a moral sense?
« Reply #61 on: July 21, 2013, 07:33:51 PM »
Mor Ephrem

Why does God kill his children so often?

God can cure as well as kill yet he only seems to kill.

Can you tell us why you think that is?

Is that a good policy to have towards children?

Regards
DL