The Character of God in the Bible

The Koran makes self-contradictory claims. That’s how I know it’s false. Mohammed claimed to speak for God, and the Koran says the Bible is from God. Yet Mohammed contradicted God.

God has revealed himself. Every worldview other than Christianity falls on its face. So it’s either Christianity, or total lack of knowledge. Yet it is unlivable to suggest that we have no knowledge. No one lives in accordance with that claim. Even the claim that “we have no knowledge” is itself a claim to knowledge.

Ultimately I know for two reasons: 1) the internal testimony of the Holy Spirit and 2) the evidence that confirms the Bible, along with disconfirming all competing truth claims.

All houses are built on sand.

Not God’s house! I base my worldview on Scripture, and the evidence by and large lines up with exactly what I would expect to see (including these very conversations we’re having). If I look at competing claims, like for example evolutionary atheism, they fail utterly by comparison. See:

Yes, our sin is the reason for it. Prior to the Fall, God walked openly in the Garden with Adam.

No, not really. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Loving God is the end. “Perfect love casts out fear.”

No, I don’t agree. It is “selfish” in that we are seeking the greatest good for ourselves. That’s not evil. The greatest good we can have is to live in communion with God forever. That kind of “selfishness” is aligned with love for God AND fear of God, and is not an evil.

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Again, I think this has been put to you a few times now, but what happens when a person is honestly convicted that they know what God’s assertions about goodness are, and those assertions are harmful to others? This is not just a philosophical question for me, it seems to be an active cause of harm in certain Christian communities. I mean, didn’t Bob Jones University assert that interracial dating on their campus was not “good” up until like 2001, when the U.S. government put their tax-exempt status on the line? I remember those dudes, they published a lot of my homeschool textbooks. :slight_smile:

A practical example that has personal importance to me is how the SDA Church is dealing right now with an internal controversy over whether women should be permitted to be ordained as ministers. Most members I speak to have a similar moral view as you do, and so when approaching this issue their central question is always “what does God want?” or “what is God’s will?” The issue of whether these policies that prohibit women from entering the ministry or church leadership are actually harming anyone is beside the point. Harm to humans is not a part of this moral equation.

Perhaps worse still, honest and earnest Adventist believers who claim to base their views on the Bible and the leading of the Holy Spirit come to opposite conclusions about whether God wants women to be permitted in ministry. To me, this illustrates the additional epistemological problem here. How, exactly, can we fallible humans be certain of God’s will in each and every specific context? When I look at Christians, they certainly don’t seem to agree about many of these specific and relevant moral questions that affect our shared society.

Instead, I’d prefer a type of Christianity that asked “is this harmful?” or “is this helpful?” We will not ever have perfect answers to those questions, of course, but at least under a view centered on valuing human well-being the question becomes an empirical one.

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I wish He would quit doing that in public!

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I presume you can explain away every contradiction in the bible too. Why do you suppose muslims don’t have similar explanations for those in the Quran?

You are very good at false dichotomies, I’ll give you that much. But how do you know God has revealed himself?

Your internal testimony could deceive you, just as it deceives muslims, hindus, etc. But what is this evidence that confirms the bible? And I’m tired of looking at your silly links, so I will pass on that.

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That’s faulty logic.

All human concepts originate with humans.

Meaningless. This does not present any standard at all.

This is vacuous. There is no way of telling whether our concept of goodness comports with God’s will.

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If one’s views as a Christian aren’t based on the Bible, and instead are on what we wish Christianity to be, then it becomes a new religion. You’re free to make a new religion if you wish based on a helpful-harmful clause using arguments from outside the Bible to add to the Bible. Perhaps that could be a new kind of objective morality. But then you’d still have to show how they came from God or argue philosophically for the existence of more than one god.

If you want a subjective morality where there are no perfect answers but society can generally determine what is helpful or harmful, then why do you need Christianity?

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Nobody needs Christianity today to be moral, but since you are responding to a Christian, its a valid question.

Personally, I feel nobody knows what God really wants. There is no way to prove the moral laws in the scriptures were handed down from heaven. Its more likely they were copied largely from other nations around them, since the Jews didn’t live in vacuum. In the end, we get to use our critical thinking faculties to decide on the best action possible.

I subscribe mostly to the social-contract theory of morality. I believe we can all agree on what should be bad or good for our society.

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I’ve mentioned before on the forum that I think if we were told they were handed down from heaven, there’d be much more reason to consider them unreliable. The fact that Christians can have a comprehensive theology based on 66 books written by people over a few millennia is better proof of their heavenly influence than if a man said he received them from heaven or got them from an angel or found them as a miracle.

The number varies and there is no one Christian theology. Evangelical Christians believe most of Roman Catholic theology is wrong, and vice versa. In addition the Bible can be used to argue for anything even if it is logically unsound or ahistorical.

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Agree. And anything can be used to argue with anything. None of that negates my point. Thousands of books have been written about Christianity and the Bible and it holds up to scrutiny in spite of its breadth of scope, types of genre, and authors.

Having many books written about your religion doesn’t make it valid. The Bible doesn’t hold up scrutiny in many cases.

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This conversation is about Jesus weeping. I’m curious what you’d think if it. It moved me and gives some explanation of what we’ve been discussing.

Nothing in that video explains why God killed the firstborn kids of the Egyptians or why he had thousands of Jews killed simply because David ordered a head count.

At least Lazarus got a good ending, but what about the thousands of kids who die from malnutrition in Africa, or the women and children killed by gunmen and insurgents in Northeastern Nigeria. What about the thousands of people who are dead from Covid-19 or now suffering a chronic illness due to the disease. Jesus does nothing for this people and worse still, if they are not Christians when they die, they will burn in hell forever.

Finally, it makes no sense for Jesus to claim he loved Lazarus, but delayed to heal him. In fact, the real reason why Jesus did not go to see him is clearly stated in John and it was a selfish one - he wanted glory.

John 11:3,4
3 So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.”
4 But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

If Jesus really wanted glory from a resurrection miracle, there was no need using Lazarus as a lab mice. If I were Jesus, I would have healed my friend with a word. And if I still wanted to display my resurrection might, I would go to a Pharisee or Saducee and ask them to lead me to a tomb housing a corpse of his relatives. I would pick a corpse which has been in state for years. I’d say a short prayer and ask the dead person to come out to my glory. Don’t you think this would have been a better and incontestable demonstration of his resurrection power?

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The ultimate end was Jesus’ glory, but the verse right after that is that Jesus loved them. It tells us that Jesus’ suffering and any suffering is ultimately for God’s glory and that He loves us meanwhile and that we don’t always know why. So that means those two things should be present in any story or situation.

If I thought you were God, but I’m 100% sure you’re not.

This is not love, it’s selfishness. If his ultimate aim was to gain glory, there were many ways to do that without letting Lazarus die.

Jesus weeping over Lazarus also does not make sense, when he clearly allowed the man to die for the sake of personal gain. Jesus played a sick joke on them.

That’s not what I asked. Isn’t the scenario I presented a better and incontestable way to get glory from a resurrection miracle, without Lazarus dying?

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You don’t get to decide that. You’re not God. He is God so will know how He receives the most glory.

Why should receiving glory be a goal for God? Is he that insecure that he needs to prop himself up?

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How could God be insecure? That makes no sense. All of us enjoy praise and recognition especially from those that love us or we love - we don’t have to be insecure to do so. Wouldn’t you agree humanity all throughout history assumes God or any god desires praise, adoration, worship and/or recognition?

Some relevant passages:

John 17

Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, 2 as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. 4 I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. 5 And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

Psalm 86

Among the gods there is none like You, O Lord;
Nor are there any works like Your works.
9 All nations whom You have made
Shall come and worship before You, O Lord,
And shall glorify Your name.
10 For You are great, and do wondrous things;
You alone are God.

11 Teach me Your way, O Lord;
I will walk in Your truth;
[c]Unite my heart to fear Your name.
12 I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart,
And I will glorify Your name forevermore.
13 For great is Your mercy toward me,
And You have delivered my soul from the depths of [d]Sheol.