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As happens, on a thread (THE PRINCIPLE) comes up a related subject that really warrants a thread of its own. I hope I am not acting incorrectly by posting previous posts so that readers can see how it developed;

MELKITE POSTED:
'If the god of the Old Testament truly is the creator of the universe, then eternal existence is something none of us should ever hope for.  Yahweh Sabaoth, the Canaanite lord of the armies, displays quite well how vindictive and fascist of a god he is.  A god who would ask us to kill our own children to feed his jealous narcissism, if such a god truly is the author of existence, then no promise of his can be trusted, even the promise of eternal salvation.  His heaven would likely be nothing more than an eternity with an eternal Jim Jones or David Koresh, only infinitely worse.  I don't know about you, but I have no desire to worship such a being.  If our choices in an afterlife are either eternal fiery torture, or eternally appeasing jealous narcissism, then all I have is despair and I can only hope the atheists are right.'

CASSINI ANSWERED:
'This post is very interesting to me. Over the Christmas I watched THE BIBLE on TV, all about the Old Teatament. I too was shocked at some of the things I saw and heard. I presumed they were stories from the Bible, some I recognised, some I did not. I too was shocked at what God is supposed to have told man to do, kill all, men, wonen and children and all that. I too could not come to terms with a Trinity that has as one of its three persons that God and the second person Jesus Christ, the seemingly totally opposite, kind, forgiving, gentle, loving etc.
But then my faith had to rescue me. Who was I to judge God the Father's behaviour. He has to be one with the Son, and only He knows why he did what He did and it must have been done as one with Christ. I can only BELIEVE what He did was for the salvation of souls in a way we humans will only understand if we ever get to heaven. I am now back in peace with my Trinity God. I pray you too find peace through faith and He will show us why He did or allowed others to do was not as we perceived it from reading the Bible or what we saw in THE BIBLE.

There followed an exchange of opinions ending with;

MELKITE POSTED:
'I believe in creation as well.  I think some kind of creator created the universe, even if it was not Yahweh.
If someone came to you today and told you that they were a prophet from God, and that God wanted you to sacrifice your children to him, would you believe him or call him crazy?  If that person instead told you God commanded you to conquer the neighboring town, and to not leave one man, woman, child, dog, cat or sugar glider alive, would you believe him, or call him crazy?  You are right, I have no right to judge the creator of the universe.  However, the Bible says no man's mercy can be greater than the mercy of God.  No man's righteousness can be greater than the righteousness of God.  If it is possible for man to easily be both more merciful and more righteous than Yahweh in the OT, then you clearly worship nothing more than a bronze age idol.  Yahweh is not god.  At best he is imaginary, at worst he is a demon.  The one true God of the universe is above reproach, but that God is not Yahweh. Yahweh is abhorrent and should be detested by all right-thinking people.  Who am I to judge Yahweh?  A person who is clearly more merciful, compassionate and humane than the war god of a warmongering people.

CRUSADIND PHILOLOQUIST POSTED:
'I think you might be begging the question here to a certain extent. If God exists, then there are no standards of morality that exist outside of Him and by which His actions might be judged. Of course, the traditional Catholic view, I think, is that our standards of morality are ultimately rooted in God's nature, and so he would not command us to do something inherently immoral, but it is still the case that our conception of moral behavior flows from God, not from some third source that would have to exist outside of both us and God and would therefore be greater than God.

Anyway, on the Old Testament, I would only say that we have to remember that it was written by men belonging to a people whose relationship with God developed over time, and I am not sure that we can always take its judgments of various events at face value. People are always conditioned by their surroundings to some extent, after all, though this applies to us as well as to people living in the past, and I think we should also reflect on the derivation of our own standards and beliefs before passing judgment on people from other cultures.'

FINALLY MELKITE POSTED:
' I feel completely justified passing judgement on their culture.  We don't give the same tolerance for barbaric Islamic culture, and yet that is essentially what we see in the OT as well.  Call a spade a spade; the Israelites we effing barbarians.

I agree that morals have to come from somewhere, but at the same time, they can't be dictated by God unless God is unmovable (which I know is what the Church teaches).  If God dictates what is moral, then God can make rape moral.  He can make murder moral (Yahweh did).  He can make genital mutilation moral (Yahweh did).  He can make child sacrifice moral (Yahweh did).  He can make genocide moral (Yahweh did).  In order for God to be the source of morality, he must be immovable, which means the abhorrence of the above was the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, completely regardless of cultural sensitivities.  It is proof beyond a shadow of a doubt that the one true God and Yahweh are not the same, not by a long shot.'

PLEASE HELP US UNDERSTAND THIS 'APPARANT' CONTRADICTION!
Melkite is espousing, foundationally, the heresy of Marcionism.

It is Marcionite for sure. The problem is we see God through our modern day human rose colored glasses. The culture was one thing back then and it's A WHOLE NOTHER THING today. Some aspects better some worse. While women were basically seen as property and sex objects-seemingly even by the Patriarchs within the realms of polygamy, now a days we've been taught to be more masculine with a "I don't/won't put up with your crap anymore" attitude that has caused some major destruction of homes from divorce/adultery.

We cannot presume to judge Israel as a people either because we live in a Democracy (supposed to be Republic though-U.S.) and we have no clue on how a theocracy should be run. You simply cannot judge the government/peoples/culture and God himself and how he interacted with the Israelites/Canaanites/Amalekites as how it's done today.

He's God he has every right to destroy or call for the destruction of peoples that are in idolatry against Him. Sure as a modern day woman I find the killing babies of the Amalekites thing abhorrent. But who the hell am I to judge the Creator of the UniverseHuh?!!!  Crazy!
God ordered the killing of the Amalekites, Canaanites, etc., for reasons that are His own. Since this led to the stable foundation of Israel - the very mode by which He would send His Son to die for the redemption of the Universe - we know it was for the good of human souls. Further, I personally believe God ordered the deaths of those pagans because the longer they would have lived, the more corrupted they would have become. Perhaps He gave supernatural grace to those who were good among the evil tribes, so that they might make an act of faith before death and enter as fully as was possible into the Covenant. Perhaps not. This is why God is glorious: all is for our good, even if we do not know how it is so.

The God of the Old Testament is clearly the Father of Our Lord & Saviour Jesus Christ. I strongly encourage you to read St. Irenaeus of Lyons' "Against Heresies", especially the first and second books, in which he demolishes this very idea. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103.htm Here is chapter 27 of Book I, dealing with Marcion: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103127.htm

Christ brings a sword. Christ wishes to cast fire upon the Earth. Christ judges against divorce. Christ condemns and condemns and condemns. He never comes across as anything other than the Holy Son of (the same) God (as the old Testament).
I had to look up Marcionism to be see what it was.  I see the glaring similarity, but I am not a Marcionite. 

A)  I don't believe that Yahweh is a lesser god; I reject that he is a god at all.  Perhaps I am an Ayahwist.
B) While I want to believe that Christ is the Theanthropos and the lover of my soul, insofar as he claims to be the same god as Yahweh, I can't believe that he is God and remain logically consistent.  So I am at the point that I recognize the logical problem, but for emotional sensitivity and nostalgia am not yet ready to formally reject that Christ is God.  I am near, but not ready to commit to that yet.  If I do, that would not be Marcionite.
C) I prefer the epistles of James and John over those of Paul.  Paul's letters would be the first I would cut from the NT if I were to do so.  I am staunchly anti-predestinarian.  Perhaps I am a Pelagian Ayahwist.  At first I was going to say Semi-Pelagian, but I don't think I believe in Original Sin anymore.  Certainly not with the tenacity Augustine attributed to it.
(02-27-2014, 01:50 AM)Melkite Wrote: [ -> ]I had to look up Marcionism to be see what it was.  I see the glaring similarity, but I am not a Marcionite. 

A)  I don't believe that Yahweh is a lesser god; I reject that he is a god at all.  Perhaps I am an Ayahwist.
B) While I want to believe that Christ is the Theanthropos and the lover of my soul, insofar as he claims to be the same god as Yahweh, I can't believe that he is God and remain logically consistent.  So I am at the point that I recognize the logical problem, but for emotional sensitivity and nostalgia am not yet ready to formally reject that Christ is God.  I am near, but not ready to commit to that yet.  If I do, that would not be Marcionite.
C) I prefer the epistles of James and John over those of Paul.  Paul's letters would be the first I would cut from the NT if I were to do so.  I am staunchly anti-predestinarian.  Perhaps I am a Pelagian Ayahwist.  At first I was going to say Semi-Pelagian, but I don't think I believe in Original Sin anymore.  Certainly not with the tenacity Augustine attributed to it.

You're upside down, bro.

[Image: 1301329735_lake-reflection.gif]
(02-26-2014, 06:29 PM)Heorot Wrote: [ -> ]God ordered the killing of the Amalekites, Canaanites, etc., for reasons that are His own. Since this led to the stable foundation of Israel - the very mode by which He would send His Son to die for the redemption of the Universe - we know it was for the good of human souls. Further, I personally believe God ordered the deaths of those pagans because the longer they would have lived, the more corrupted they would have become. Perhaps He gave supernatural grace to those who were good among the evil tribes, so that they might make an act of faith before death and enter as fully as was possible into the Covenant. Perhaps not. This is why God is glorious: all is for our good, even if we do not know how it is so.

This is where it becomes problematic for me.  God could have brought about the conversion of those pagans if he wanted to.  To say that the longer they lived, the more corrupt they would have become necessitates one of two things: either God is not omnipotent, because he was incapable of bringing about their conversion and so killing them was the only way to prevent them from harming others, or God was capable and desired their deaths instead, that is he weighed their life and their death, and he decided their death was more pleasing to him (which begs the question, why did he ever want them alive to begin with then?).  Neither possibility fits with the God that Christianity preaches, teaches and adores, so Yahweh clearly is not the same god.

Further, you say we know it was good for human souls, but unless they went straight to heaven (and we have no reason to believe they did other than pure sentimentality), then it obviously wasn't good for *their* souls, was it?  This is problematic because, on the one hand, it means someone else had to go to hell in order to save you (again pitting God's omnipotence against his benevolence, or disproving either), and on the other, it means God is just as likely to slaughter you while you are in mortal sin in order to bring about a greater good for someone else 1500 years from now, thus showing how insignificant you are to him and how capricious his love for you is.  It destroys any possibility of having a hope and trust in him that is founded upon anything greater than that same sentimentality.  It reduces Christianity to wishful thinking, hoping you happen to remain on God's good side.

No deity like that is worthy of our worship.
I think the Book of Job should be read by those who protest that God must be evil. I think in the last judgment some will be pleasantly surprised and some unpleasantly surprised at God's mercy and righteousness.

For most of my life I was an unbeliever in God, probably heading for hell. And yet, if it were not for my suffering I would have no chance of finding God. Clearly God can pull good out of situations that we cannot understand. If God permits evil it's for a reason.
I agree with Thomas. I remember reading a book written about St. Padre Pio where he speaks of a baby coming into this world who died in infancy. Of course this is always tragic, but he said that this was the mission of that soul to bring on a greater good. The outcome, if I remember correctly, was to reunite the parents. In this light, it maybe wasn't tragic at all. The infant became a saint, the parents reconciled. Maybe the Holy Innocents had a similar mission too. Maybe even evil people like the Pharaoh who were used by God for His purposes have a similar mission too and are given greater mercy when they died because of that? It's a mystery that we don't know. Maybe what's off is how we view death.

In general I think of this line from Scripture in regards to all of this:

And we know that to them that love God, all things work together unto good, to such as, according to His purpose, are called to be saints.(Romans 8:28)

I tend to see the difference between OT and NT times is that since Christ's time we have the power of the Holy Ghost working through humans as His instrument to convert evil tribes, whereas not so much in the OT.  But yet, even since the NT, there's been times like with Constantine where God commanded "With this Sign [the Sign of the Cross in the sky] conquer". Maybe Constantine's enemies were not easily converted and God saw fit to have them killed? Yet that enabled Constantine to allow the Catholic Church to rise out of the catacombs and be free to spread the Faith. But, again, maybe God had more mercy on those He had killed for His purposes. How are we to know? And who are we to judge God, especially given we don't know all things like He does.
(02-27-2014, 02:24 AM)Melkite Wrote: [ -> ]This is where it becomes problematic for me.  God could have brought about the conversion of those pagans if he wanted to.  To say that the longer they lived, the more corrupt they would have become necessitates one of two things: either God is not omnipotent, because he was incapable of bringing about their conversion and so killing them was the only way to prevent them from harming others, or God was capable and desired their deaths instead, that is he weighed their life and their death, and he decided their death was more pleasing to him (which begs the question, why did he ever want them alive to begin with then?).  Neither possibility fits with the God that Christianity preaches, teaches and adores, so Yahweh clearly is not the same god.

Melkite, I thought you had orthodox beliefs about the Trinity. I had no idea that you were getting away from Nicene-Chalcedonian Christianity. Must take that into account when discussing things with you.  Smile

1. God could have done anything, but He did not will it. Fair enough; He is the creator, and we are the creatures. We are dust and ashes. He does with us as He pleases, according to His eternal plan.

2. The postulation "the longer they lived, the more perverse they might have become" does not necessitate God's lack of omnipotence. It confirms that God prizes free will, and He allows us to resist grace. True omnipotence is quite humble.

3. God was certainly capable of anything, being infinite and eternal. By "willing their deaths", however, you speak as an atheist or deist. God can be perfectly justified in willing the physical death of any of His creatures with souls, for their physical end is not their absolute end. Who knows what God did for the souls of the Amalekites after their physical death? Eternity is somewhat longer than the time it takes to receive a sword wound. The death of those people was not necessarily "more pleasing to Him" as an absolute directive; rather, the entrance of His chosen people into the Land of Promise was more pleasing to Him than the retention of the Land of Promise by pagans. All of this was about establishing God's overarching trustworthiness when making covenants.

4. I am not comfortable with what God ordered the Israelites to do, by the way. I am no cold, psychopathic fanatic. I find it very unsettling... and that's precisely why I believe Christ is the same God, incarnate, as the Old Testament YHWH. He's very unsettling for many reasons. 

Quote:Further, you say we know it was good for human souls, but unless they went straight to heaven (and we have no reason to believe they did other than pure sentimentality), then it obviously wasn't good for *their* souls, was it?  This is problematic because, on the one hand, it means someone else had to go to hell in order to save you (again pitting God's omnipotence against his benevolence, or disproving either), and on the other, it means God is just as likely to slaughter you while you are in mortal sin in order to bring about a greater good for someone else 1500 years from now, thus showing how insignificant you are to him and how capricious his love for you is.  It destroys any possibility of having a hope and trust in him that is founded upon anything greater than that same sentimentality.  It reduces Christianity to wishful thinking, hoping you happen to remain on God's good side.

Again, we don't know if the ignorant pagans (before anyone even knew of the Old Covenant, let alone the new) all went to Hell. The Scripture makes no judgment about that, but says only that they were to be physically destroyed. None of this pits God's omnipotence against His benevolence. Sure, they were slaughtered 3000+ years ago for the sake of Christ's coming 2000 years ago... and, therefore what?

The purpose of the service, sacrifice, suffering, and resurrection of Christ is specifically to show that we have been brought onto God's "good side". It was a sealed promise, for no one would go through what Jesus Christ went through, unless it were binding.

Quote:No deity like that is worthy of our worship.

To be blunt, God does not ask us to deem Him worthy of our worship. We are made of ash and dust, but even more, that ash and dust was culled from Nothingness itself. God alone has being, eternity, infinity, authority, and true, full love in His very Self. If we turn up our nose at what God commands, we are empty. Does the car reject the gasoline from the pump? Does the clay protest the potter who shaped it into a jar? Reject Paul all you want... but God is love, OT & NT. If the Lord of Hosts - whom we know as the Father of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ - was simply a demon or demiurge or aeon inserting his own will over and above God, then even the New Testament God is not omnipotent and you're left with atheism.

A slippery slope is the one which goes away from orthodox doctrine!
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