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Is God the source of evil? February 25, 2005

Posted by roopster in Bible, Christianity, God, Religion, Theology.
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I recently started a project to document verses in the Bible that are often ignored as being a part of the central message of Christianity.

I grew up in the Pentecostal/Charismatic environment. One of the core teachings of this movement is the “goodness of God.” When the preacher says “God is good” the response from the congregation is “all the time.” In other words – “God good. Devil bad.”

However I’ve recently highlighted several verses that seem to disagree with this theology. They show God as an active participant in evil deeds and sometimes even initiating these acts.

Here’s a small list:

God creates evil

Isaiah 45:7
I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things

God sends evil spirits

Judges 9:22-23
After Abimelech had governed Israel three years, God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the citizens of Shechem, who acted treacherously against Abimelech.

God sends an evil spirit to torment Saul

1 Samuel 16:14-16
Now the Spirit of the LORD had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD tormented him. Saul’s attendants said to him, “See, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you. Let our lord command his servants here to search for someone who can play the harp. He will play when the evil spirit from God comes upon you, and you will feel better.”

God devising evil against a family

Micah 2:1-3
Woe to those who devise iniquity and work out evil on their beds! At morning light they practice it because it is in the power of their hand. They covet fields and take them by violence, also houses, and seize them. So they oppress a man and his house, a man and his inheritance. Therefore thus says the LORD: “ Behold, against this family I am devising evil, from which you cannot save yourselves; Nor shall you walk proudly, for it will be a time of evil.

Jason made this comment on 1 Samuel 16:14-16:

So what’s an “evil spirit”? A headache? Insomnia? An anxiety attack? Whatever it was, it would seem it was a health thing since Saul’s servants suggested someone play soothing music for him so he could “feel better”.

However, even if this is the case, then God would also be the source of disease and sickness.

This scripture (among others) support that view:

God sent diseases on the Egyptians

Exodus 15:26
He said, “If you listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you.”

These verses may be normal to many of you but for a former charismatic, they are shocking!

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Comments»

1. Scotti - February 28, 2007

This is such an important and thought provoking post. God is sovereign over all things including evil, but He is still holy and sinless. Have you considered the ultimate act of evil….the suffering and death of God incarnate, Jesus Christ? It was planned and ordained!(Acts 2:23) It was the will and the aim of the LORD to crush Jesus. (Isaiah 53:10). No one ever suffered as much and no one in history was less deserving of suffering, than Jesus who is sinless. But Jesus did not retaliate. Instead, He accepted His purpose with obedience. The very purpose of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was to destroy the power of evil and suffering. (Hebrews 2:14) There is no sin and no evil in the world that is greater than God. Christ could remove all evil at one spoken word (Mark 1:27) but for now, he chooses not to do so. This is a mystery but I believe it brings more glory, beauty and worth to God to rescue sinners from the power of evil than to eliminate it all together at this present time. The power of Satan over death is taken away when we put our faith in Jesus Christ. Satan can still deceive, steal, destroy, kill our temporal flesh but he cannot keep us from eternal life when we put our faith in Christ. This shows the beauty and superiority of Christ.May the peace of the Lord be with you today and always.Scotti

2. Mark Wilson - March 1, 2007

Hi You need to get a more accurate bible. I’ve pointed that out before. Do you deliberately choose bible verses with wrong words? (annoyed rant)Isaiah 45:7 (NIV) actually says”I bring prosperity and create disaster;” and the same for NASB and in the AMP it says “I create [physical] evil (calamity)” and the footnote in the AMP says (Moral evil proceeds from the will of men, but physical evil proceeds from the will of God.)Judges 9:22-23Here is what Matthew Henry says about this. John Gill said basically the same – which is that this is a Job situation. God permitted the devil to do it.”This was from God. He permitted the devil, that great mischief-maker, to sow discord between them, and he is an evil spirit, whom God not only keeps under his check, but sometimes serves his own purposes by. Their own lusts were evil spirits; they are devils in men’s own hearts; from them come wars and fightings. These God gave them up to, and so might be said to send the evil spirits between them. When men’s sin is made their punishment, though God is not the author of the sin, yet the punishment is from him.”1 Samuel 16:14-16Here is what Matthew Henry says about this.God took his mercy from Saul (as it is expressed, 2Sa_7:15); for, when the Spirit of the Lord departs from us, all good goes. When men grieve and quench the Spirit, by wilful sin, he departs, and will not always strive. The consequence of this was that an evil spirit from God troubled him. Those that drive the good Spirit away from the do of course become prey to the evil spirit. If God and his grace do not rule us, sin and Satan will have possession of us. The devil, by the divine permission, troubled and terrified SaulMicah 2:1-3 Much like described in the first one, the actual words in the bible are a natural disaster (AMP) “against this family I am planning a disaster from which you cannot remove your necks”. The NIV and NASB say the same thing.Exodus 15:26Well, there is no mention of spiritual evil here, just physical calamity.So in all your quotes, you’ve proved that God punishes people. Yes. Why does this surprise you? He said He does. Why wouldn’t He? Does He have to live up to your expectations of Him as a wuss?You mentioned that you were a charismatic. Charismatics don’t typically believe only half of the bible – only the good nature of God and not the Judge aspect.He is both.The bottom line is that God rewards AND He punishes. How about you balance your posts – one GOOD thing God did for every punishment that He gave out. Have both?Anyway, I’ve posted enough answers for you to see that God is both… He’s a Father… Father’s reward and punish. I’m not sure posting any more answers to further questions will help.God bless you in your journey,Mark.

3. Roopster - March 1, 2007

Scotti,

Nice blog!

Satan can still deceive, steal, destroy, kill our temporal flesh but he cannot keep us from eternal life when we put our faith in Christ.

In light of the sovereignty of God, one would have to say that this is really not a true statement unless Satan is given permission by God.

A careful study of the Bible will show that Satan is only responsible for 10 deaths (Job’s 7 sons and 3 daughters) and that is with permission from God.

However, God flooded the world, directed the children of Israel to wipe out entire nations, etc.

If the Bible is accurate, I guess the bottom line would be that ultimately God is responsible for everything and this is just a reality that we have to face.

Would you agreee?

4. Roopster - March 1, 2007

Mark,

I primarily use NIV or NKJV.

Paul

5. Mark Wilson - March 1, 2007

Hi RoopsterTry the NASB, it’s the most literal. Or try the AMP – it is literal and it includes the ACTUAL meaning of the greek or hebrew. You probably know that the hebrew contains meanings that one english word simply cannot capture. So the AMP includes those meanings.You use the NIV? The NIV for Isaiah 45:7 says “I bring prosperity and create disaster;”No mention of evil.Yes, the whole point is that Adam’s and Eve’s actions released the enemy and sin and death into the world. Job shows that his actions are limited. Your verses show that God permits evil to happen to evil people (all those examples you gave were to people who had done something wrong).Jesus said not even one sparrow dies without God’s permission. God is not the one who kills that sparrow – death is reigning at this time.And we Christians can rest easier because God sets the boundaries within which death reigns.I know that by looking at the evening news it seems like there is no limit… but we’re reaping what we’ve sown. We permit all kinds of evil in our homes and cities, we don’t love one another – so we should not be surprised when God permits evil to come to us.You verses are exact proof of that. The people did something, God permitted the enemy to move in response to that action.He is not all mean-ness, it’s our own selfishness and evil intent that brings the bad stuff into our lives. He permits it because we refuse to change our ways.I really do think it would be good to get some balance on this blog. One negative post for a positive post. How about it? One praise post for one criticism post of God?He does wonderful things too. How about some airplay for His wonderful-ness?God bless,Mark.

6. Mark Wilson - March 1, 2007

All these verses really just confirm what Paul said:Romans 2:2 And we know that God, in his justice, will punish anyone who does such things.http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%202:2;&version=51;Sin is only dealt with when people come to Christ. Until then, it’s a barrier and a problem between them and God.God bless you Paul,Mark.

7. doc - March 1, 2007

Well, if you step out of the light, then you step into darkness. And if you step away from peace, then you step towards evil, etc., etc.

God created a world full of dichotomies where we can live amidst a wide range of opposing powers and principles, a world in which we get to choose whether or not we want to live in peace, with the light, with the darkness, and/or with the evil, etc.

I don’t see it as a bad thing, only that God created a kind of theme park where we can decide for ourselves which rides we want to go on before we get here.

Therefore, be thankful for what you have experienced in life, knowing that no matter what happens we can never be separated from God.

doc [Wink]

8. Mark Wilson - March 2, 2007

Hi doc

Yes, the freedom to choose is the best and the worst thing IMHO.And also, because the enemy is in this world and we struggle to see him and his works, we remain passive and unaware… so he compromises our “free” will.As a result I don’t actually think there is much “free” will… BUT there is still “will”… but it’s heavily influenced towards selfishness and greed etc.But yes in the end there are two polar choices. If we choose to align with the enemy (by doing it his way) then God will permit the enemy to have access to our lives.Like Paul said, whoever you obey is your master. If you want to figure out why the world is in such a state, you just have to consider the freedom of people to abuse drugs, hurt one another, sexual immorality if all types.I just wish that the church would step up and present a clear alternative – a viable strong alternative in which people can be freed, healed and restored.As a practical example, when someone is addicted to alcohol, I want them to KNOW by observation i other people’s lives that Christianity is a VIABLE OPTION rather than entering into drug rehab. I long for the world to see what God is capable of, what He can do for us. And it can only happen through US… so if I want the world to see… then it has to be shown through ME. Then YOU. Then someone else.That’s why my “seekism” is *deliberately* positive in nature – because I have seen that dwelling on the negative is not valuable or upbuilding. It has no vision and doesn’t encourage.Rather than complaining, I seek the truth and I want to live it out – for my sake and for the sake of the people around me.God bless you guys,Mark.

9. doc - March 2, 2007

That’s a pretty good response to my post, Mark.

But isn’t the real enemy the way we think about others as well as ourselves?

Isn’t an enemy whatever we believe it to be?

IOW, if we think of something as being an enemy, then won’t it become an enemy to us and will it not then cause us some measure of harm?

Likewise, aren’t our friends whatever or whomever we label as friends?

The deeper implication in this latter statement is that when we choose to love and become one with all that is, then there will be no enemies in our lives, nor will there be anything that can harm us, not even ourselves.

This is because life and love have the power and ability/potential to rise above all else, even death itself.

Of course until we can learn to love all that is in our quest to be one with all that is, we’ll have to defer to the fact that some things will continue to be harmful to/for us, whether they be physical, mental, or spiritual affectations.

Still, there is nothing that can keep us separated from God, nor have we ever been separated from Him at all except in our own insane imaginings.

Other than that, it appears as if you are a pretty wise and compassionate person.

Keep up the good work in Christ.

doc

10. Mark Wilson - March 5, 2007

Hi doc

At the core of your thought lies this error

> This is because life and love have the power and ability/potential
> to rise above all else, even death itself.

This is absolutely not biblical. There is absolutely no scripture to suggest that we in and of ourselves can rise above death, by loving or by positive thinking (see people as friends and then they are!).

Your logic also denies the existence of an absolute God who has an absolute moral code and who is willing and able to punish those who continue to flout His moral code. His code is a simple and healthy one: love one another and love God.

Your writing is full of new age thinking. My quotes above are clear problems, but this next phrase, which you use several times

> in our quest to be one with all that is

is a dead giveaway that you’re looking at this discussion NOT as a Christian would, but from a very different world view.

This next quote is *so* astonishingly un-biblical that it causes me to seriously doubt your motivations in leaving comments on this blog and post.

> “there is nothing that can keep us separated from God, nor have
> we ever been separated from Him at all except in our own insane
> imaginings.”

It’s not our insane imaginings, there really was a fall, there really IS evil in this world (I’ve been sexually abused – THAT is evil) and there really is a devil.

You end your comment with “in Christ” so you appear to be a sheep, but your comments are so misleading and deceptive that you’re actually a wolf.

All the best,
Mark.

11. doc - March 5, 2007

Mark,
At the core of my beliefs, God is Love and God is Life.
(see 1 John 4:8 and John 11:25)

Thus my statement is accurate in that love and life can overcome any manner of evil, even death itself.

As far as our quest to become one with all that is, God is the only thing that truly is, meaning God is the only reality and so He is all that is.

Conversely, whatever is not of God cannot exist, nor is it real. It simply does not exist, except in our own insane mind.

So our quest to become one with all that is, merely means we are endeavoring to become sane by becoming one with God, and we do this by becoming likeminded with God. (see 1 Peter 4:1)

However, I submit that we have never existed apart from God except in our own insane imaginings, and it is that insanity which creates the illusion of evil and of being separated from Him.

I can only state that once you have been picked up and dusted off from that fall that humankind took, then you will come to realize this as a truthful statement as well. More on this in a sec…

I am sorry you were abused in your past. Welcome to the club…

I can only state that were you to show compassion and express forgiveness towards those who abused you, much as did Jesus from the cross when He asked forgiveness for those who abused Him, then you would also understand that God does not require punishment.

Rather, He forgives and loves those who would persecute and shame Him, although He does tend to be overprotective of His Children. But it is only those who live from the perspective of fear, shame, anger, and grief who desire to see others punished.

However, those who live from the perspective of Love, Mercy, Kindness, and Compassion have no need to punish others, as they have no such fear, shame, anger or grief, and they also recognize that those who do live with fear, misery, shame, anger, pride, and grief, etc. are already suffering a kind of punishment.

Yet they will often endeavor to sustain their suffering by seeking vengeance and retribution, and they often try to increase suffering in the world by sharing it with others through acts of violence or of condemnation.

However, when one is living in the light and love of God, then there is no reason to punish anyone, as those whom we believe deserve punishment are looked upon by God as children who do not know what they are doing.

IOW, they are insane, and no one who is insane should be punished, for their insanity is punishment enough.

And although it may appear that evil exists in the world, it only exists when the love and life of God are not recognized because of that insanity.

But when one comes to understand that God is everywhere, then they come to understand that the light and life of God likewise exists everywhere.

And when one finally comes to full understanding of this latter realization, then evil ceases to exist for them, just as the darkness ceases to exist whenever the light comes on.

I ended ‘in Christ’, because as an Elder of the Presbyterian Faith, I Happen to believe in God and in the Atonement of Jesus Christ, an atonement which reconciled us with God.

That said, I would ask you to consider the source of your beingness, as well as the meaning of the Atonement, as this will help turn up the light in your own mind as you answer the following question:

If you believe your life and soul came from God, then how is it that God became separated from Himself?

Meditate upon this for a while, and ask “What on Earth, in Heaven, or in Hell is there that can cause God to become divided in such a way whereby any part of Him could ever become separated from the whole?”

I bet your answer will have something to do with an insane mind…

In Christ,

doc

12. Mark Wilson - March 5, 2007

Hi Doc

> If you believe your life and soul came from God, then how is it that
> God became separated from Himself?

When I have a child, that child comes from me, but it is not me. I am not it – even though it came from my loins. That child can then rebel and leave my home and disconnect from myself and my wife (in the example).

I can build an object with my bare hands – like a house – and yet it is not me and I am not that house.

The bible clearly teaches the following:

1. God built us, but we are not Him. He is not us.
2. He is relationally connected to us as children are to parents.
3. Unfortunately the bible says that we became separated from Him. While we remain separated, we are under the influence of the devil.
4. Jesus can reconnect us to our Father and remove the separation. The process begins here and now and is completed in Heaven. But even then, in heaven, the bible shows in it’s stories that we are not Him and He is not us.

As I (bluntly… and rudely) said in my last comment to you – your theology is not based on what the bible *actually* says.

Thanks,
Mark.

13. doc - March 5, 2007

Mark,
I truly understand how it is you hold to the four listed points in your last post, as I recognize they are based upon certain lines of Scripture. Yet the points I made are not only based upon what is written in te BIble, but what is ‘written’ between the lines as well.

For example, people often use Hebrews 9:27 to renounce the idea of reincarnation. However, if we read such verses as Matthew 11:12-14 and Matthew 16:13-14, we can argue for the concept of reincarnation, as Jesus said John the Baptist was Elisa, while those who followed and obeyed the Laws of Moses seemed to think Jesus Himself was a reincarnated prophet.

In addition, isf you read outside the BIble and study more ancient relious beliefs, you will see that ther are several mythical deities that were a lot like Jesus.(read up on ‘Osiris’ and ‘Dionysos’, for example.)

Could it be, then, that Jesus has been coming to earth in mortal form since the foundation of Earth, but within various and different cultures?

So there is a Scriptural basis, and a way of thinking based upon what is written elsewhere that reveals reincarnation just might not be so far fetched after all, and that maybe humankind has never been without Christ in one form or another.

Now, let’s see if I can address your points in a simple way that reflects my understanding, an understanding gained from reading Scripture and trying to put the pieces together.

1. God created our bodies form the dust, and then blew His Breath into us to make us alive. (Genesis 2:7) This would indicate that our living spirit (i.e. Breath of Life) does indeed come from God.

2. Knowing that God works through us, I am more inclined to think we are relationally connected to Him as hands are to arms and feet are to legs. (eg. 1 Corinthians 12:27)

3. I define that separation as a form of insanity, while the devil represents the total absence of God’s Love and Life.

IOW, if we express anything less than the love and mind of Christ, then we could be classified as being insane, or less than sane, while having a total absence of love and life would make us like the Devil.

4. Yet we can be in Him and He in us, this being a matter of semantics that reveal our potential unity of sameness and oneness.

In fact Jesus even implied that we are gods when he referred to Psalms 82:6 in John 10:34. Yet at the same time there is only one God. So it must be that as gods we are one and the same with God.

Yet because of our insanity gained at the fall when we disobeyed God and turned towards the lure of the darkness, we lost our ability to know and remember who we are: Sons and daughters of God who came from God, just a surely as our own sons and daughters come from us to be as one with us in spirit.

(Perhaps this is a good place for 1 Corinthians 8:5-6)

But the only thing that stands in our way to prevent us from realizing and experiencing the truth that we are of the same stuff as God, is our steadfastness of unbelief, doubt, and refusal to make this consideration, this being the result of having an insane or rebellious mind.

Although what I have said is based upon Scripture, I also realize we can use Scripture in a way that supports just about anything we could conceive of saying, while even the Devil can use Scripture to tempt us away from God.

However, I use scripture to help us to be at peace and one with God, as I believe that is the ultimate desire of every one who is on GOd’s Side. So please do not equate me with the Master of Deception who uses Scripture to tempt us away from God, as I use it to help others turn to God.

You should also be aware that I believe Scripture was written by men who were inspired by God, but they were limited in their understanding of Him, this being something even Jesus knew and talked about. (“You have heard it said…”, etc.) So one often has to look beyond what is written, to recognize the spiritual state of the writer in order to gain a higher insight towards the truth of God.

In short, the writers were often blinded to what God was really telling them, being covered by the dark veils of their own understanding. (re: I Corinthians 13:12)

Now, I do not claim what I say is totally true, nor do I say it is the only way to believe. But I do the best I can with my own limited understanding as I endeavor to align my mind with the mind of Christ.

I could say more, but I accept that we are right where we need to be in our understanding of God and of Scripture. IOW, neither of us are wrong in our understandings, but then again we are not totally right in our understandings either, the idea here being that we both still have a lot to learn.

That said, I would advise you to put away your pride and take a more humble approach in your learnings and teachings, knowing that you also express errors in judgement, so that you might better recognize the truth when it comes knocking at your door, and I will keep doing the same.

In Christ,

doc

14. Mark Wilson - March 6, 2007

Hi Doc

Before I reply, I want to say for the record that I support your right to free choice and to explore your own POV. Having said that, I also have a right to disagree and have my own POV – even if mine is orthogonal to yours.

So, having said that… that I have a right to disgree… and my right to disagree with you is equal to your right to disagree with me… so now I’ll say my short and sweet piece. 🙂

> take a more humble approach in your learnings and teachings

If you read my blog you’ll see that I have experienced more than my fair share of the occult an new age teachings. I have not remained cloistered as you may think. I’ve been there and back again.

Therefore I believe in the God of the OT and the NT as revealed by Jesus Christ.

About what you wrote – reincarnation, Jesus reincarnated – your philosophy is pretty much what I expected.

It’s a free-for-all mix and very new age. It’s not at all Christian. Not even remotely. Look up Christianity in wikipedia and you won’t see ANY of what you wrote in the definition.

Roopster appears to be right on the edge of agreeing with your new age beliefs, but he still wants to believe in the God of the bible. It’s for this reason – the deception of Christians – that I cannot remain quiet and just go along meekly.

I therefore have to speak out and warn others Christians reading this that your viewpoints are NOT Christianity and from a Christian POV (as defined by the whole bible, OT and NT) your teaching is ABHORRENT to the God (as defined by the OT and NT). Jesus (as defined by the OT and NT) would not approve of your teachings.

I thank God that in a world where free speech is permitted, I have the right to share my viewpoint. You also have a right to what you think too.

> you also express errors in judgement

I agree with you on this. But I have to act on what I read in the bible. From what I read in the bible, I can clearly see that your views are NOT Christian.

You have a right to your views, I am not taking your rights away, just asserting my own views. My view happen to collide with yours. That’s life.

Thanks,
Mark.

15. Scotti - March 6, 2007

I like your new site! Great look and more convenient being on WordPress! This is such an important topic…I haven’t had much time to spend on line recently but looking forwarding to reading the posts here and getting caught up.

May the Peace of the Lord Jesus be with you,
Scotti

16. doc - March 6, 2007

Mark,
Life should not be a collision, but a sharing in which we can learn from one another, as well as being able to taste things that are more exotic or even more bland to the palate that what we have been used to eating.

I agree that what I have stated does not align with orthodox Christianity, but it does align with what is written in the Bible and my thoughts are only ‘Free-for-all and New Age’ in the sense that I have stepped out of that orthodox box to understand even greater and more universal meanings from Scripture than those who continue to live by more the more orthodox self-righteous and self-serving methodologies.

IOW, I try to seek ways to be more inclusive, caring, loving and forgiving, than continuing in the ways of judgement, exclusion, execration, and condemnation, as the former is more catholic (aka universal) in nature.

Now, you said you believe in the God of the OT and the NT as revealed by Jesus Christ, and that’s very good of you.

As an Elder of the Presbyterian Faith, I took an oath which states the following:___________________________
† I shall trust in Jesus Christ as my Savior and I acknowledge Him Lord of all and Head of the Church, and through Him I believe in one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

† I shall accept the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be; By the Holy Spirit, the unique and authoritative witness to Jesus Christ in the Church Universal, and God’s Word to humankind.

† I shall sincerely receive and adopt the essential tenets of the Reformed Faith as expressed in the confessions of our church as authentic and reliable expositions of what Scripture leads us to believe and do, and I will be instructed and led by those confessions as I lead the people of God.

† I will fulfill my office in obedience to Jesus Christ, under the authority of Scripture, and be continually guided by the confessions of the church.

† I will allow myself to be guided by the polities of this church, and I will abide by its discipline. I will be a friend among my colleagues in ministry, working with them, and be subject to the ordering of God’s Word and Spirit.

† I will, in my own life, seek to follow the Lord Jesus Christ, love my neighbors, and work for the reconciliation of the world.

† I promise to further the peace, unity, and purity of the church.

† I will seek to serve the people with energy, intelligence, imagination, and love.

† I will be a faithful elder, watching over the people, providing for their worship, nurture and service.

† I will share in government and discipline, serve in governing bodies of the Church, and in my ministry, I will try to show the love and justice of Jesus Christ.
___________________________
Having taken that oath,I have learned to use my imagination and love in ways that help to reconcile certain beliefs in a way that helps further the peace, unity, and purity of the universal (aka catholic) church.

And although I push the envelop whenit comes to the fourth line, I tend to use Scripture in ways that will result in unity and peace, rather than in disunity and chaos, although those such as yourself who retain the idea they are somehow better and smarter than others tend to become agitated and discriminatory over this, this being the result of learning Scripture under the yoke of exclusion and judgement, as opposed to learning it under the yoke of peace, love, and forgiveness.

In that sense, you resemble the Scribes and Pharisees, who thought themselves to be more holy than they had a right to believe, for they did not show the love and willingness to embrace those who were not like themselves, until those others jumped through numerous heavy and burdensome hoops.

And it is this self righteous pride that is the source of all evil, for as soon as one places themselves above and beyond the merest of God’s living creations, then they have set themselves apart from life itself, having turned towards the darkness thinking it to be the light.

As to the reincarnation issue, that was an example of how we can use Scripture to allow others to maintain their beliefs in peace, especially when Jesus Himself said John the Baptist was Elisa, a prophet who had been dead for many generations.

But tell me, what word other than ‘reincarnation’ would you use to describe what Jesus was truly saying about John being Elisa? And why would those who followed and obeyed the God of the O.T. think of Jesus as being a returned prophet?

doc 😉

17. Mark Wilson - March 7, 2007

Hi doc

> you resemble the Scribes and Pharisees, who thought themselves
> to be more holy than they had a right to believe

I am not any more holy than you or anyone else.

> But tell me, what word other than ‘reincarnation’ would
> you use to describe what Jesus was truly saying about
> John being Elisa?

As you know, being an elder in the faith, the scriptures said that there would be a in the mould/shape/type of Elijah – a prophet of the times. Jesus confirmed that John was the foretold person.

You wrote a lot of good and nice things in your reply. But undermining it all is this logic:

> my thoughts are only ‘Free-for-all and New Age’ in the sense
> that I have stepped out of that orthodox box to understand
> even greater and more universal meanings from Scripture

which leads to and results in this conclusion which you stated in your own words:

> isf you read outside the BIble and study more ancient relious
> beliefs, you will see that ther are several mythical deities that
> were a lot like Jesus.(read up on ‘Osiris’ and ‘Dionysos’, for
> example.)
> Could it be, then, that Jesus has been coming to earth in mortal
> form since the foundation of Earth, but within various and
> different cultures?

That statement of yours stands alone.

No further reply from me is needed, although I will add one more quote from you:

> having turned towards the darkness thinking it to be the light.

Thanks,
Mark.

18. doc - March 7, 2007

So Mark,
What problems do you have with the idea that maybe Jesus has been coming to Earth in mortal form since the foundation of Earth?

Besides, it was posed as a question, not as a reality.

Still, it is argued that the underlying doctrines of Judaic Christianity are founded in certain beliefs that came from other cultural and religious beliefs: That Christianity is a conglomeration of beliefs taken and adopted from other non-Judaic sources, making it a belief system based upon mythology and theft, and is, therefore, invalid as a pure and self-actualized religion.

However, there are links such as this one (http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/JesusEvidenceCrucifiedSaviors.htm#Attis) which argue against this assertion, showing that there is and only has been one Christ.

However, if we take a more universal ecumenical approach, as opposed to an apologetic defense type of an approach, then a potential is created in which perhaps Jesus has revealed Himself to more than one people throughout the ages, meaning the concept of Christ may have been around forever but culminated about 2000 years ago within the middle east as Our Lord and Savior as we now recognize Him.

Yet if we look at other current non-judaic belief systems, we can often see root similarities with our beliefs, such as loving, revering, and respecting life and one another, as well as the idea that good will triumph over evil in the end.

And so perhaps the thread of God that ties all of humanity together, no matter what else they may believe, is that of love and knowing good will overcome evil, while acting upon the good makes it possible for the fruits noted in Galatians 5:22-23 to become manifest in our lives.

I say all this because it appears you are quick to judge and condemn others of error when there no need. For if we love one another while recognizing that good will overcome evil, and if we act upon the good while forgiving those errors, are we not then emulating our Lord and Savior?

Therefore, do not be so hasty to call others less than a Christian.

Rather, call Christian anyone who believes good will overcome evil, and then acts upon the good as they endeavor to express the fruits of the spirit.

That way, we can be more inclusive in our ministry of uniting the body of man as we recognize the kingdom of God in others, rather than rejecting others because they do not fit into our particular mold.

After all, the body is not made up of one organ or of one cell type. Rather, it is made up of many different parts that contribute to the overall wholeness and health of the entire body. (re: 1 Corinthians 12)

So it is we need to recognize that other peoples and cultures have their place and are not our enemies, eventhough they may not follow the same doctrines as ourselves. But they are still part of the whole and are merely doing what they themselves were called upon to do.

So do not be so hasty to reject others based upon what they might believe. Rather, look to the Kingdom that is within them, and you might even see Christ staring back at you.

doc 😉

19. Heretic - March 7, 2007

Someone once said, that God inadverdently created evil, when He proclaimed that something was good. When He deemed something good, the natural opposite of that good thing was evil.

God said life was good. Therefore death was evil.
God said truth was good. Therefore lying was evil.
God said humilty was good. Therefore pride was evil.
. . . . . . . . . .
God said He was good. Therefore all who come against Him are evil.

Evil was simply a by-product of God’s good creation and proclamation.

20. Mark Wilson - March 8, 2007

Hi doc

You posed several challenges to me – all of which boil down to this:

“why not forsake your bible-based beliefs and embrace other non-Christian belief systems? you might like it”

My short answer is this: No.

My long answer goes like this: The bible is the description that we have for God and for Jesus and for what He offers us and what we have to do in response to Him. Your views embrace things and concepts that originate outside of Christianity. I choose NOT to open myself to occult views and beliefs. I counsel you to return to Christianity”.

You used to be an elder and you dabbled by reading about Osiris and other Freemason belief systems. You’ve stepped well outside of the limits that Jesus and God have placed on us. As a result you’ve become lost.

I won’t admire that you’re like a ship without an anchor which has drifted far away from “presbyterian” theology and well into the waters of new age thinking.

Thanks,
Mark.

21. doc - March 8, 2007

You got it all wrong, Mark…

I am still an Elder, and I am not asking you to ” forsake your bible-based beliefs and embrace other non-Christian belief systems.”

Rather, I am asking you to recognize that other non-Christian belief systems contain similar, if not the same, principles which are found in Scripture.

IOW, my ministry is that of recognizing and rejoicing in our sameness, as opposed to condeming others because of our differences.

In short, you do not have to give up anything to embrace your fellow man in Christ.

Rather, one only needs to recognize Christ in others, while forgiving that which is not of Christ.

The reason I do this, is because by recognizing Christ in the other, then I am better equipped to rejoice in our bond of sameness, thus promoting peace and unity between us.

But if we continue to focus only upon our differences, then we tend to sow and reap the disunity and discord that keeps us apart as enemies.

All this merely says is that we can practice a philosophy of exclusion or we can practice a philosophy of inclusion. I happen to choose the latter while it is evident that you are choosing the former.

The bottom line to the philosphy of inclusion, is that we do not ‘convert’ others by rejecting them if they do not, cannot, or will not, believe as we believe. Rather, we ‘convert’ them by revealing our samness, much as did Paul in Acts 17 when he talked about the UNKNOWN GOD.

And New Age thinking really isn’t all that bad, especially if we give credit where credit is due, that being upon the powers of love, unity, sharing, caring, mercy, and forgiveness which represent and come from Jesus Christ. All we need to do then, is reveal to those New Age thinkers just Who it is they are really worshipping, which is why I referred you to Acts 15:22 ff.

I guess you have yet to understand that a Christian is not one who judges, excludes, and condemns others by who they are not. Rather, a Christian is a person who accepts others in the Name of Christ Who is within them, and yet may still be unknown to them.

So our job is to simply tell those folks that Jesus is already in them and is being expressed through them by their acts of kindess and love towards one another. In this way, then, they will come to understand that they too are truly a follower of Christ.

Yet if you keep on going the way you have been, then others may come to think of you as being the type of individual Jesus speaks about in Matthew 7:22-23, and I’d hate to see that happen.

So perhaps all you need to do is be more loving and forgiving and less judgemental, as this latter does not really suit a follower of Christ.

doc 😉

22. roopster - March 8, 2007

NOTE: To respond to doc’s comments above, please go to my new blog “What defines a true christian?

Paul


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