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Headscratchers: The Bible
Please remember the Rule of Cautious Editing Judgement. If you have a legitimate question about the Bible, that's fine, ask away. If you're just here to bash it or bash others for not following it or believing in what's written there (or vice versa), please, please don't. That's not what this is for. That's how we lost the first religious Headscratchers.

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     The three explanations that do not hold water 

Note: this isn't meant as destructive criticism. If anything, it encourages creativity in defending The Bible.

Free Will Guilt Trip: Does not hold water because the idea that God provided free will and that we choose our own Hell is so Newer Than You Think, that predestination not only was acceptable until the 18th Century, but is actually supported by the Bible, depending on how you interpret some passages (see Acts 13:48, Romans 8:29 and 30, 2 Timothy 1:9, Ephesians 1:4 and 5, 2 Thessalonians 2:13, Jude 4)
  • Free will in Judaism and Christianity actually predates predestination. Also, foreknowledge is not predestination and does not preclude or prevent free will. The interpretation you mentioned is not universally accepted.

    Previous to Augustine there was no serious development in Christianity of a theory of predestination.
    - The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Vol. IX, page 192

    The Greek Apologists and Fathers...They know nothing of unconditional predestination; they teach free will.
    - Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, Vol. X, page 231
  • In addition, predestination does feature but not in the way people think. Instead of Predestination as in 'You will go to Heaven or Hell regardless of what you do' it is predestination in the sense that everyone is meant to go to Heaven, that is our destination, whether we get there or not is down to us with God's help.
  • Sin implies free will anyway, since someone being predetermined to sin would mean God wants them to sin, which is a contradiction-in-terms.

Pandora's Box Predicament: God pretty much was the one to lay the punishment; at no point was it indicated in Genesis that Adam and Eve "opened a Pandora's Box", hence Yahweh is responsible for the world's evils. This is supported by the fact Yahweh is honest enough to describe himself as "creator of good AND evil". (see 2 Kings 6:33)
  • "When under trial, let no one say: 'I am being tried by God.' For with evil things God cannot be tried nor does he himself try anyone. But each one is tried by being drawn out and enticed by his own desire." (James 1:13-14)
    • "[...]Behold, this evil is of the Lord". Also see Isaiah 45:7, Lamentations 3:38, Amos 3:6.
  • Question: Are you trying to blame Yahweh or just stating a fact? There is a difference between evil as part of justice and evil as badness or wrongdoing. The verses you mentioned were about the former, while James 1:13-14 is about the latter. You can't possibly be blaming God for every bad thing every human does, right? Which "evil" are you referring to?
    • Well, assuming that God is omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent, it certainly could be seen as a possibility that God is to blame. I mean, he creates humans with the capacity for evil built in, knows exactly when they'll do evil things, and doesn't necessarily do much to stop them, even when what their actions do damage to innocents.
      • That basically boils down to blaming God for creating angels and humans with free will, which is only a legitimate argument if you actually prefer not having free will. You could make an argument for blaming him if he knew about Satan's rebellion beforehand. But at the same time, it could be argued that God's foreknowledge is selective and he did not know Satan would rebel, which would absolve him from blame. Either way, it still doesn't take away the blame from Satan and humanity.
      • Selective foreknowledge seems a contradiction with omniscience. And anyway, free will presumably exists in heaven, and it's free of pain/suffering/evil. Why couldn't the same thing be done here on Earth?
      • Ask that to Adam, Eve, and Satan. The same thing would have been done on Earth if they hadn't screwed everything up. Eventually Earth will be like that, once God's plans of fixing everything come to fruition.

Satan is the God of Evil: Other than Job and maybe Revelation (aside from the chapters concerning the Beast), there's little to indicate that Satan is the God of Evil of Christian mythology. Indeed, if anything, while Satan Is Good is maybe only applicable to the OT, he appears to be a quite minor malicious agent at most, and maybe even just an epithet for any random fallen angel, not a single entity.
  • In the book of genesis (according to Christian theology) Satan was the serpent in the garden the tempt eve. also in the Books of Matthew, Mark, and Luke where Satan tempts Jesus in the wilderness. Also in John 8:44 where he is called "the father of the lie" and was also mention in second Corinthians and in the book of peter.So yeah.. Satan has been shown being the Big bad in other books outside just Job and Revelation.
  • Perhaps Satan is a job description. It comes from ha-satan, meaning prosecutor or adversary. It may go to explain how Satan can be both God's loyal Amoral Attorney and adversary-the former is the scusessor to the job of the latter

     Theodicy Problem 
This is a common problem posed in Christianity (first posed earlier with respect to a similar Greek cult) that sort of summarizes three major schools of thought on how god works, which may help a troper interpret where some of the replies are coming from and why they frequently contradict each other. Note that typically Christians will deny this is a problem at all or claim to have "solved" it, but all schools of christian thought tacitly operate on its validity from a functional perspective.

  • The formulation of the problem goes:
    • Given: God is omnisicient, omnipotent, and benevolent.
    • Given: Evil exists
    • Therefore: At least one of the first three postulates must be false

  • Specific 'solutions' to the problem are:
    • God is omniscient and omnipotent, but he isn't particularly benevolent. This is a popular philosophy of 18th century "watchmaker god" thought and some early cults that held on to jewish custom, but isn't popular with the majority of modern Christians.
    • God is omniscient and benevolent, but not omnipotent: "Free will" philosophies usually tend to run along these lines. God couldn't help it that there's evil, it's someone else's (usually humanity's) fault. This is the most popular Protestant interpretation by far in the modern world.
      • A popular variation is "God works in mysterious ways", e.g. God is benevolent in his own Blue And Orange morality way, just not by our standards.
    • God is Benevolent and omnipotent, but not omniscient. He could solve everything in the world, but he didn't particularly see the first evils coming (unintended consequences) and is now playing it cautious with his adjustments. Any interpretation where God is sad about anything pretty much falls into this category.
      • A popular variation is "God is testing us" and "free will is a spanner in the works", both popular plotlines in Christian fiction.
      • This is pretty much just a rehash of can God create a sandwich so big He can't eat it? If God is truly omnipotent and omniscient, he would also know and be able to create a universe with quantum uncertainty built in such that he can't actually predict what happens next. And then He can produce prophecy anyway because he's powerful and intelligent enough to brute-force to solution he wants regardless of the uncertainty he put in place.

  • A fourth solution, that Evil doesn't actually exist and that plagues and hurricanes and so on are actually good, is usually considered to fall under the "not benevolent" category.

  • Again, this is a summary of the effective approaches to interpreting the Bible, not actual stated policy. Mentioning the fact that everyone has to pick a category is actually considered heresy by many religious groups, but is important to understanding the book as a work of literature.

  • For an act to be truly good, it must be freely chosen. Therefore, in order to do good, one must have the option of choosing not-good. Conclusion: Good cannot exist without the possibility for evil. Corollary: In Heaven, good can exist without evil only because the occupants have already chosen to reject evil and choose good.

  • The first two chapters of Genesis have always bugged this troper: two conflicting creation accounts right after each other. Plants before man, then man before plants. And somehow people accept these both as true. Huh?
    • Blame the poor choice of English for the Hebrew translation. Basically, Genesis 2 is an expansion of the time on Genesis 1, RIGHT before the creation of man. It should read, roughly, God created man (called Adam), sprung up Eden and then moved man to Eden. The Hebrew word is eretz (אֶרֶץ), which can be translated as earth (global) or land (local). The same word is in the account of Noah.
      • A similar linguistic argument is sometimes made about the claim that God created the animals after man in Genesis 2, but before man in Genesis 1. Ancient Hebrew didn't distinguish between the simple past tense ("God created the animals") and the pluperfect tense ("God had created the animals"), so it's not 100% certain that the animals were created after man in Genesis 2:19.
    • According to my Intro to the Hebrew Bible class the explanation scholars have for this is they believe that some of the books, such as Genesis, were created by different people at different times, and that if you look at what one particular source has written then their own narratives are far less contradictory. Concerning the chapters in question, the first chapter of Genesis is attributed to P, or the priestly source, which is commonly believed to have been written sometime around or shortly after the Babylonian exile, whereas much of chapter 2 was written by J, or the Yahwist, who I think is supposed to have written sometime around the late 10th to early 9th century BCE in the southern Kingdom of Judah.
    • The above, basically, although the exact identities of the writers of the various sources aren't always clear. Basically, the Bible we have today is a weaving together of the religious and folklore traditions of various groups - the primary two being the Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah. When the former was destroyed, some of its people fled to the latter, given their similar ethnic background and so forth. One of the things the writing of the Bible was supposed to accomplish was to synthesize the two traditions into one religious history that everyone could get behind. This also explains why we have a number of other apparent duplications, such as two versions of the story where David has a chance to kill saul but doesn't. The various patriarchs are thought to be folk heroes of the various Hebrew tribes, combined into one lineage to unite the Hebrews as one ethnic group - one large family. A lot of apparent contradictions in the Bible make sense when viewed this way instead of seeing it as a document that was divinely presented in its current form.
      • I always thought the first chapter was giving a brief summary, and the second was going more in depth. But, the first response sounds better.
      • First, it's the events itself described. Second, even if it was not the events, we have Man then Woman in 2. Compare DIRECTLY to "at the same time" in 1.
      • Let's see...Genesis 1:27 "So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." If I say "My wife and I had two children, a boy and a girl," does that mean we had them at the same time? It JBM that people read stuff that isn't there into the Bible, and I'm not even a believer.
    • The Mormon response is that the first creation was spiritual and the second of the physical forms of the things involved.
    • The response that a person believing in the unity of the text of the Bible would give is a) the accounts of creation are not meant as historical or scientific accounts at all, but rather are mythology in the fullest sense of the word; the stories that reveal a society's way of seeing the world and man's job within it. Thus, the two conflicting stories are not two different accounts of creation that contradict each other, but are two different, but necessary views of man. In the first, Man is created last and rules over his environment, and is created with an immediate partner. In the second, Man is created before his environment and is placed within it, alone, and must realize his place in the world. Rabbi Joseph. B. Soloveitchik wrote a book ("Lonely Man of Faith") playing off these two conceptions of man to illustrate a philosophy of Judaism.
    • These are all good responses. To give a lame response on a man who harmonizes these two accounts, read The Science of God by Gerald Schroder (apologies if I mispelled)

  • Genesis 1:14-19. These violate two major facts. Light cannot exist without a sun, and secondly, how can morning be distinguished from evening without the sun, moon, or stars? Here we can see yet another self contradiction that leads to the following problem! Plants are made on the third day (Genesis 1:11) before there was a sun to drive their photosynthetic processes. (Genesis 1:14-19). Without a Sun there is no possibility of plant life. The other problem is that plants are not the first forms of life to have existed on Earth. In biblical times these people would have had no clue about the world of microbes or bacteria, they had no concept of life living and growing around thermal vents at the bottom of the Oceans either.. And secondly, plants today are almost all flowering plants that rely on other animals and plants to exist e.g as the Venus fly trap, or parasitic plants that rely on other plants like a tree to do their photosynthesis for them. How do all plants came before animals when they are reliant on them in a co-dependency, or how plants came before the Sun. This is especially problematic if you consider a day of Genesis being 1000 years vs 24 hours. Even under the 24 hours period, plants can neither grow, or live without sunlight!
    • "Light cannot exist without a sun"? From what I've read of the Big Bang, during the instants after the event, when it was, using the phrase loosely, 'too hot' for subatomic particles to come together and form atoms, there were still plenty of photons streaming around. I've seen that bit of information used as an argument in favor of Creation - "The early universe was filled with light."
      • Seriously, if you're gonna criticize, there's a lot better to take on. That may be the only thing it got right.
    • One theory is that when they say "plants" what they actually say is simple lifeforms as plants was considered as the most basic lifeform back then and when they say the sun it's not that the Sun was created but actually appeared on Earth. You yourself said that people back then have no concept of bacterias, exactly why they say plants instead of bacteria or other single celled lifeform because other wise it would make no sense to the audience then.
      • If they had no concept of bacteria, they had obviously had no concept of bacteria, as in, that it existed and what it was. Bacteria were first observed by Antonie van Leeuwenhoek in 1676, using a single-lens microscope. I'm fairly certain that it was meant in the vegetation sense. How could the Sun be in existence but not be perceptible on Earth, and how could plants or even bacteria such as phototrophs live without sunlight? It just doesn't make any sense at all. Which is another thing, how come Christians get to choose how the Bible is read and to be interpreted literally, and which parts figuratively, is it whenever it suits their argument?
      • As mentioned in the WMG, the authors of Genesis probably wouldn't have been able to wrap their minds around the literal creation of the universe anyway, and simply described what they could (assuming God showed them the creation, the Big Bang was light, water and dust gathering was the creation of the Earth, etc.). As for how to interpret the Bible, in all fairness, a metaphorical look at Genesis kinda makes sense; given this, what makes less sense is saying, "well, if we interpret the creation story metaphorically, that helps tie everything together, but let's not go around trying to interpret things metaphorically for the sake of...not interpreting things in an alternate way." More than a few literary critics would find that most nonsensical.
    • The passage is from the point of view of an observer standing on the earth. When it was first formed, there was dense clound cover, thus light could shine through, and day and night could be diferentiated, but no source could be seen. The "creation" of the sun was merely the newfound ability to see it from an earthly point of view. (Just to clarify, this isnt saying there were actually people on the earth at the time)
    • "Light cannot exist without a sun." But what if the "light" isn't photons/whatevertheyare at all? Some people think that the first occurance of "light" refers to the creation of angels rather than stars. In this interpretation, separating light from darkness would probably refer to the casting down of Satan (going by the account of Lucifer rebelling against God and being banished and so on).
    • another explanation would probably be that plants were "fed" the "light" from day 1 which was probably maintained by the Big Man himself until he cooked up a source to constantly radiate the light we enjoy today
  • ...what? Are you somehow forgetting that for one thing, entropy presumably didn't exist prior to the Fall, which implies that physics worked in a completely different way than they do now? Light can exist without a sun. Try turning on a flashlight sometime. I would guess that the creation of light refers to the creation of energy, which is consistent with our understanding of how matter and energy interact: He created energy, then converted it into matter. As for plants surviving without sunlight...look, we just don't have enough information about precisely what was going on at the time to have any concrete understanding of this.

  • If I remember correctly (I don't claim to have remembered correctly), I remember that it said in the beginning, there was only God and that God created everything else. So then where did Satan come from to tempt Eve in Eden?
    • God created him. Not sure why, but I think most theologians agree on that.
    • The Hebrew word that translates to the English 'day' more accurately translates to 'a period of time.' Thus, it took 'seven periods of time' rather then 'seven days, exactly.' I belive (could be wrong) that it's stated that when God made the Heavens (this is said later in the Bible) he also made the Angels. At some point during this period one third of the Angels, lead by Satan, attempted to subvert God's position and instate themselves as leaders of the Universe (basically). 'Course, God was like 'Screw you guys I'm God' and subsequently cast them all down to hell (or some variation thereof). Satan, for whatever reason, is not himself stuck in hell, and can move about both the mortal and immortal plains freely. Now, I'm not sure if it's actually stated, but my belief is that when Satan saw God came up with his big, awesome plan of creating humans, he decided to go screw with said plan and make everyone miserable. 'Course, if you take the beginning of Genesis entirely metaphorically...
      • Come on, those angels were just Too Dumb to Live. They tried to usurp ''God??!!'
      • The days are described with literal mornings and nights, enforcing "day" instead of "period of time", but that is a technicality. If Heaven were important enough to have been created then, it would have been mentioned. Also, the reason Satan supposedly rebelled was because God was paying attention to the humans more than to the angels...which only happened after the Fall because God spent very little time with his humans (otherwise the Fall never would have had a chance). That aside, "Satan" is hebrew for "opposer", a title given to many entities. It was meant in the context of Job to be an angel God sent to test mankind's faith, for the purpose of testing mankind's faith. So even with the "Fall", the "Satan" presented needed not be the "Satan" of the "Rebellion".
      • There are a number of figures in the Bible who have been called "Satan." The serpent in Genesis, the "adversary" in Job, Lucifer in Isaiah and the Satan who tempts Jesus in the desert may all be the same being, they may be all different, or it may be some combination. Your theological mileage may vary.
      • I don't think anywhere in the Bible it actually states that Satan is Lucifer. People just assume it.
      • A note on the discussion about "Period of time" and "day": People are too quick to assume that "day" means "twenty-four hours". On some planets, the days are longer than the years. "Day" simply means "A revolution of the Earth around its axis". It doesn't have a definite length.
    • Well, it's important to remember that God is all but explicitly stated to exist outside of time. Presumably, heaven and the angels do too, which means that the attempted rebellion could have happened at any time. Interestingly, this could also do something to explain the "district attorney/Big Bad" dichotomy: Lucifer originally functioned as the prosecutor, but then turned evil? I don't know. Don't quote me on that.

  • Why no concrete explanation for when, how and why Satan had a Face-Heel Turn? Satan was simply an agent to sort out the guilty back in the Old Testament, but in the New Testament he's suddenly become a monster responsible for sin in the first place, and the Big Bad of everything. No build-up whatsoever. Saying he's the snake (who's more of a Trickster Archetype than pure evil) opens up more questions and plot holes. Did the writers purposefully left it blank for you to imagine it? Viewers Are Morons? Were they just unable to find a good enough villain, and go "let's make Satan evil." I really want to know.
    • Bigger question might be why you're treating The Bible like it's a piece of fiction literature that was plotted out by a single source with one running plotline and foreshadowing.
    • As to how, Satan likely turned something during or after the earth's completionnote . The reason why he (as the serpent) turned was because of Pride; he wanted to rule the earth instead of God, and that's why he spitefully caused mankind to disobey God. Also, considering that the serpent is guilty of genocide on the entire human race, I would consider him evil. He was the Big Bad since Genesis; Satan as "simply an agent to sort out the guilty" as seen in Job is only one interpretation that is not universally believed, others consider his actions there evil too. And no, Satan being the serpent doesn't open up any plot holes, you must be misunderstanding something. I will concede that it was rather late in The Bible (Revelation) that Satan was actually identified as the serpent, but considering Jesus and his followers considered Satan as evil and the Big Bad before Revelation was written, this was likely a common belief among Jews in the first century and before.
      • Alright, but why would someone who already had a Face-Heel Turn as the serpent in Genesis be an agent of God in Job? Why choose pride as a reason for his fall? It doesn't seem compelling. Not to mention, booting Adam and Eve out of the garden of Eden didn't really seem that evil-they lost their immortality, but would be capable of growing.
      • Uh, maybe because he wasn't an agent of God in Job? Like I said above, that is "only one interpretation that is not universally believed"; in other words, he was still acting as the Big Bad against God at that time. Read what I wrote above; I had already answered that question before you asked it. Anyway, what do you mean "why choose pride"? People don't consciously choose a reason to make a Face-Heel Turn. He fell because he was envious of the worship of God and wanted some for himself, essentially becoming the Ur Example of A God Am I. And apparently you failed to grasp the implications and consequences of what happened to Adam and Eve. For one thing, robbing someone of their immortality is basically the same as, or worse than, committing murder. Additionally, the serpent's trickery ended up leading to sin and the Humans Are Bastards trope, not to mention various defects and diseases. If someone doesn't see that as evil, then I sincerely hope I never meet them in person.
      • If God opposed Satan (which was a title applied to many entities, divine and human) then he wouldn't gloat to Satan or give express permission to the extent that was given. And, even more, if Satan wasn't an agent of God then there was no obligation for Satan to follow the rules that God set.
      • Opposing Satan has nothing to do with gloating or giving permission. God gave permission to Satan to prove a point, namely that Job would serve God under any circumstance. And Satan followed God's rules not because he was an agent of God, but because God is more powerful than him.
    • Isaiah 14 contains a pretty good description of what happened.
  • So God knows everything that is, has been, and will be, right? So he obviously knew that Satan was going to turn evil, right? So, why did he create Satan in the first place? He could have easily avoided every single problem on the planet had he not created this guy, or at least, somehow stopped him from turning evil.
    • No, he doesn't know everything. He has the power to know everything, but he doesn't always use it. Until Satan's Face-Heel Turn, there wasn't really any reason for God to see the future.
      • Wait... that makes no sense either. So far, we've got a God who is either malicious (he knew that evil would be introduced into the world and did nothing to stop it) or negligently incompetent (he could have known, but intentionally chose not to, and once it occurred he did nothing to correct his own mistake). You cannot have it both ways... either God is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent, or he's not. And if the former conditions apply, then there is a problem with the idea that Lucifer ''rebelled'. Because you cannot "rebel" if your actions are all part of the larger plan.
      • The reason why it doesn't make sense from that standpoint is because you are looking at it in hindsight. For one thing, in order to intentionally choose not to know something, you have to first recognize that there is something that needs knowing (unless you are saying that if God has the power to see the future, that he should be omniscient even if he doesn't have to be). After all, why would God choose to use foresight to see if any of his creations would make a Face-Heel Turn if there had been no such thing as a Face-Heel Turn up to that point. Besides, even if he did foresee Satan's Face-Heel Turn, he could not have done anything to prevent it without overriding his free will, and thus the best he could do to prevent the fall of humankind was to limit Satan's contact with them (at least until they had kids). I really don't get why people seem to think that "God is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent". God is NOT omnipresent, and saying that he's omniscient and omnipotent are gross oversimplifications. Yes, God knows everything about the past and present and can know the future, but doesn't always know everything about the future, and while God is extremely powerful, including absolute physical power, he must obey his own laws and sense of justice. And God DID take steps to correct Satan's mess (that's what Jesus was for), he just decided not to correct it immediately.
      • "God is NOT omnipresent"
    • Free will.
      • The claim that Satan, like man, possesses Free Will solves one problem, but creates another. Several times throughout the Old Testament, God is shown interfering in the affairs of men if they do something He doesn't like, up to and including killing them outright. Satan, supposedly, is the biggest doer-of-things-God-doesn't-like of them all. So why has God elected to wait until the End of the World (i.e. the time of the Revelation) to destroy Satan? Why hasn't He already destroyed Satan?
      • To make a point. Reading between the lines in Genesis chapter 3, Satan was challenging God's right to rule mankind in the Garden of Eden, inferring that humans would be better off if they were left on their own or in Satan's control. If God had killed off Satan, Adam, and Eve immediately, it would have looked like Satan was right or at least that he could pose some threat to God's sovereignty. Instead, God gave Satan and humans free reign on Earth for millennia in order to prove that Satan is a bad ruler and that humans would screw themselves over without God's guidance.
    • God has no reason to give any of his angels, including Satan, free will. They can do their jobs perfectly well without it, even Satan, and humans already have free will. Good angels? For what? Making them in God's image? Humans already have that covered. Let the humans be good. Worship? Again, humans.
      • Well there is really no reason to give any of his creations free will at all(including humans) when you really think about it they can all exist fine without it. but to answer your question I figure it's for the same reason God gave humans free will so they can be able to better enjoy their existences. Also you have to consider the fact the God made angels before humans.
  • So, God tells Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit from The Tree of Knowledge. Satan becomes a snake and tells Eve to eat the Fruit. Adam and Eve do so, and God punishes not Satan, the one who caused the problem, but snakes themselves, removing their legs. What The Hell, God? Are you forgetting that it wasn't the snake itself who made A&E disobey, but Satan? That'd be like if a bunch of guys in gorilla suits robbed a bank and shot lots of people, and then all gorillas had to be shipped to Antarctica because of the aforementioned robbery, it just doesn't seem right.
    • It never actually says the snake was Satan, and many don't think he is. People inferred that from a reference to Satan as "the great serpent" or something like that, which sounds similar, but could just as likely refer to Reptiles Are Abhorent in general. What you pointed out is another reason that the "snake is Satan" theory just doesn't add up.
      • Not true, The Gospel of Peter specifically states that Satan tempted Adam and Eve.

  • Does Satan actually "want" to be stuck in a lake of fire for eternity? Does he at one point think "Perhaps my actions will fail, but I will accept the pain nonetheless."? Can he go in and out of this lake anytime he wants? I refuse to believe whatever sins he commited they would make him be unsaveable. Surely God knows full well his pride is lying to him. There's no need to back up anything, if Satan eventually wises up and accepts his inferiority, they can make up?
    • One, Satan appears several times- for example, he tempts Jesus a couple of times and he talks to God about Job in what pretty much can't be ANYTHING BUT Heaven at the beginning of the Book of Job, resulting in Job losing his kids and most of his wealth, so, he isn't stuck, per se. For two, if I remember right the Fire And Brimsone Hell kind of "lake of fire" is Word of Dante, meaning it isn't expressly said/described as such in the Bible? Though I can be wrong.
      • I'm assuming Revelation hasn't occured at that point, so of course he can visit Heaven. Substituting the lake of fire for any eternal bad fate, any crime commited shouldn't be answered like that. If God foresaw Lucifer's betrayal and painful doom, what was the point of creating him? To make an example of traitors and bad people for all other creations? Unless Lucifer is perfectly okay with suffering, it is truly unfair.
      • God didn't foresee Satan's betrayal. Just because God can see the future doesn't mean he always does. Also the point two posts above made about Fire and Brimstone Hell being Word of Dante was that Satan won't be literally tortured, his only "eternal bade fate" will be Cessation of Existence.
      • But God is omniscient ie all-knowing. If he didn't foresee Satan would betray him, then he wouldn't be omniscient anymore because it was something he didn't know.
      • Omniscience is a power, not a state of being. God may be omniscient and omnipotent, but he doesn't have Power Incontenence that he uses those abilities non-stop. You, like most people, are taking the application of the word too literally and absolutely.
      • Where do you get that it's a power that can be turned off? I never said it was a state of being, I was thinking more of an attribute.
      • Whatever you want to call it, perhaps it was a bad idea to make this about semantics. My point is, God does not foresee everything. The Bible itself infers this, such as God making such comments as "I am quite determined to go down that I may see whether they act altogether according to the outcry over it that has come to me, and, if not, I can get to know it", and "For now I do know that you are God-fearing in that you have not withheld your son, your only one, from me," which both imply that he did not know such things before.
    • He might be in a Then Let Me Be Evil mindset, and it's pretty confirmed he knows he's going to lost as after Christ's resurrection. As for the "lake of fire Dante" thing, the imagery of fire comes from Christ's comparison of hell to Gehenna, a valley where the Jews' trash was dumped and burned.note  Following that, Revelation referred to the Very Final Punishment as the lake of fire
    • Satan and all of the fallen angels are damned, there is no hope for their salvation. If given the chance, they would be to evil to repent.
      • That's the problem. Being able to be damned in the first place. It contradicts God's all-loving virtue, unless his definition of love is a little off.
      • Kind of. God is described as all-loving, and as such he loves all of his creations. But he's also described as a God of justice, and those who do evil answer for it. For mankind, these evils would mean murder, or thievery, or adultery, or idolatry - and the punishments for those are not necessarily lethal or permanent. But in Satan's case? If there's such a thing as a Moral Event Horizon in the Bible, he's most definitely crossed it. Satan is personally responsible for stripping the immortality and innocence of every human ever, humanity's collective fall from grace (and, depending on how you view Christian dogma, a lot of the angels as well) leading to Humans Are Bastards, and continuously leading and tricking people away from good and toward evil. As such, your average person can be redeemed. But Satan is done for.
      • It also depends on how you view "all-loving". While The Bible says "God is love" (1 John 4:8), it also says that there are things God hates (Proverbs 6:16-19), and in extreme cases God actually can hate individuals (Psalm 11:5). It also stands to reason that if someone loves something good, they will hate its opposite evil.
      • So all in all, Satan's existence is completely pointless. If God hates evil, he wouldn't let it exist, if not make it impossible to create. Nothing can stop him reversing all evil, but it still breathes.
      • However not only does God allow Satan to exist, he also allows him free will. To boot, Satan doesn't even BELIEVE he is going to lose. He thinks he still has a chance, but that is foolish...or is it?
      • Actually, Satan DOES know he is going to lose, which is why he is so bitter and angry and wants to take as many people as possible down with him.
      • Not true. Making it impossible for his creatures to turn evil would encroach on their free will, and God doesn't want to do that. And he spared Adam, Eve, and Satan in order to prove to the angels (and to humanity) how screwed up their world becomes when they alienate God and try to rule themselves; so Satan's existence actually does have a point, and when God considers that point to be sufficiently proven, then he'll kill Satan.
      • Why does he need to kill Satan, a being created by God himself? I know this discussion is reaching natter levels, but what I get from all of this is that God is a violent creator who won't hesitate to make the existence of his children miserable for an apparently eternal amount of time, all for teaching a lesson to the rest, whom are too afraid to stand up to him. The fact that this is possible speaks against his virtues that he demands we show. Why does free will exist if disobeying him leads to pain? Who would want eternal pain, physical or otherwise? Unless Satan is perfectly fine with suffering, this topic remains controversial.
      • You seem to be missing the point of my last post. It's not God who is making everybody miserable, it is Satan and humanity itself that is making humans miserable. Killing Satan and others who disobey God and getting rid of inherited sin would solve the problem for everybody else. God gives his creations free will because he wants his creations to choose to obey him rather than be forced to do so. Also, I should mention that you are talking to a troper who doesn't believe in Fire and Brimstone Hell, considering that your last few statements seem to refer to that. There is no such thing as eternal pain
  • Why is Satan so stupidly prideful in the first place. I get the idea that God wants Satan to have free will, but that still doesn't justify why He didn't raise the Morning Star to, at the very least, be smart and humble enough to not challenge Him. Combine with the omniscience for perfect parenting, and it comes off as being a bumbling father when raising Lucifer.
    • You can raise a person to the best of your abilities but it doesn't guarantee they won't rebel later, not everyone keeps the morals they taught growing up.
  • The Original Sin is said to have made humans mortal. Prior to that God said to "be fruitful and multiply." Unless He planned for Adam and Eve from the Tree of Knowledge(which makes banishing them iffy), they're eventually going to run out of room.
    • God didn't create Adam and Eve with immortality. He just possible to attain immortality if they eaten from the tree of life. so them running out of space wouldn't happen unless they ate from that tree..which they didn't.and even then there is no guarantee that the immortality would pass on to their children.
    • Actually, he did. The Bible doesn't really make it clear what the Tree of Life was for, but having only one source of immortality in a fixed place is rather counterproductive if you want your creations to populate the Earth. Romas 5:12 is one of several verses that says that mortality is the result of sin and that sin is inheritable. Since humans were not created as nor meant to be sinners, that means that humans were created and meant to be immortal. Not to mention that if Adam and Eve were not created as immortal, then God's sentence of death from eating from the Tree of Knowledge would have been a meaningless lie.
      • Not really. When God said that Adam and Eve would "surely die" if they ate of the fruit he could have meant that once they ate the fruit death is now a sure thing for them. Since now they can't eat from the tree of life and be immortal. If you think if they were already immortal then they wouldn't even need to eat from the tree of life.
      • Perhaps, but my point is that God intended for all humans to live forever, both Adam and Eve and their descendants. How he planned to do that, and how the Tree of Life factored into that plan The Bible doesn't exactly say. But The Bible makes it clear that both Adam and Eve and their descendants were intended to have eternal life; that God did guarantee eternal life to their offspring, if Adam & Eve were faithful.
      • Adam and Eve weren't "immortal" in some sort of biological sense. They were immortal because death didn't exist yet. There was no entropy. That was introduced as a result of the Fall. Death (i.e. entropy) is clearly discussed later on as a disease infecting Creation. What was the Tree of Life for? Well, that's a good question, but it's hard to say.
      • OK, I'll bite, What was the point of creating the tree of life? It's one purpose was to granted immortality and according to Revelation heal nations. All of which would unnecessary and unneeded if human hadn't sin in the first place since the no entropy thing. So the only time the tree life would even be of usefully is if humanity starts sinning and entropy starts. so the one and only time the tree of life can be used God decides to take it away?
      • The tree of life was probably symbolic of humanity's immortality rather than actually granting immortality literally. Basically, a human eating of the tree of life would not gain undending life from the tree of life itself, but would be symbolic of God's guarantee that he would never die. Adam and Eve were likely meant to eat from the tree of life some years later after they had proved their faithfulness to God. If Adam ate from the tree after sinning, he would have obligated God to give him back his immortality, and God could not let that happen.

    Tree of Knowledge 
  • Adam and Eve eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. By which, they gain the ability to distinguish between right and wrong. God becomes furious and exiles them from Eden. Isn't that a Catch-22? It's wrong to eat of the fruit of the tree, but you don't KNOW it's wrong UNTIL you eat of the fruit of the tree. "Thou shalt open this safe. The combination to the safe... is within the safe."
    • They don't need knowledge of good and evil to understand the concept of "don't disobey God." They don't need to know that eating the fruit is evil, they just need to listen to God and not do it. The Bible emphasizes obedience to God as a virtue.
      • Surely having virtues requires an understanding of good and evil.
      • The thing is, God is entirely good and doing what he says is good. Eating the fruit is disobeying God, which is a sin and evil. The Tree of Knowledge was most likely metaphorical because just eating the fruit is to know evil.
      • Yes, but if you have to eat the fruit to be able to tell the difference between good and evil, they wouldn't understand that disobeying god is a less preferable behavior to obeying him until after they disobeyed him.
      • They knew it was wrong because God specifically told them not to. Adam and Eve, being purely innocent, knew that doing what they were told was good and disobeying was bad. After the serpent told them to eat, it was up to them to choose to listen to God or disobey him. They chose poorly, and thus came to know evil. They weren't stupid, just innocent.
      • Such concepts as "obedience", "trust" and "doing something just because you were told to" are all parts of the GOOD/EVIL paradigm. And before the couple ate the fruit those concepts should've been meaningless to them; they had been, so to say, technical pragmatics. Moreso, since they didn't know evil, the notion of deceit would've been unknown to them as well! Thus, when the snake told them, that the fruit was not lethal and was, in fact, an instant Level Up serum, they had no reason not to believe him!
      • Obedience isn't some moral action. The wording of "Knowledge of Good and Evil" means that they were aware and fully capable of doing evil. In simpler terms, think of conocer vs saber. Conocer is used with acquaintances, in other words kinda knowing. Saber is used as a more technical verb and is a through knowledge.
      • The wording is in fact that they COULD NOT KNOW that disobeying was "evil". Toss in that deceit would be unknown to them, you get the above comment. Even if "obedience" were not a moral choice, they wouldn't have reason to obey the primary command when confronted with a valid argument. Unless thought is wrong, but then we become robots.
      • How is obedience not a moral action? In obedience, you have two options for behaviour: to obey or to disobey. How do you differentiate between them, if not morally? I mean, it's not a technical question? The whole basis for obedience in this instance is that god is good and to disobey would be evil, so it is a value judgment and the values in question are moral values, the moral values of good and evil, to be exact. Might be that your linguistic explanation overcomes this, but could you elaborate a bit, I don't follow your argument there.
      • It depends on who you're obeying. Eve sure obeyed the snake.
      • Actually she technically obeyed herself. The snake merely offered her a suggestion and provided what were the facts.
      • To offer up another view, it isn't so much that they had no idea what Evil was beforehand; rather, eating from the tree did just as Genesis described: it gave them shame, and from then on, they were prone to evil. They knew obeying God was good, and not to obey Him was the opposite of good. Just because they were innocent doesn't mean they couldn't reason that not obeying God and therefore not doing good was, well, a bad thing.
      • They couldn't have known that not doing what God says was a bad thing, because they didn't know that there was such thing as "a bad thing". They're exactly like children, doing what they're told by people who know more than them, and having no reference frame of their own for what counts as good or bad advice. The thing is, though, God lied. He never said "Don't touch the tree because it will let you understand the difference between good and evil, and I don't want that." He told them that touching the tree would result in them dying. The chain of events went more like this:
        GOD: Do not touch this tree or you will die.
        ADAM AND EVE: Oh, thanks for the warning. We'll be sure not to touch it.
        SNAKE: Actually, that's wrong; you'll just become wise, and know the difference between Good and Evil.
        ADAM AND EVE: Oh, really? Well, that's okay then. * eats fruit*
        And God promptly throws them out.
      • Where's it say they didn't understand they were supposed to do what God says? Eve in fact resists the temptation at first ("but God said not to...") so obviously she wasn't just going to do anything anyone says. Adam and Eve recognized God as their authority, and it's very straightforward logic that if obeying God is good (as they do believe), not obeying God would be the opposite of that. Also, there was no lying involved on God's part. Was the dying part a lie? 'Cause they did kinda die. The serpent, on the other hand, was the one who told them they would basically become gods, which...was the lie here. The serpent told Eve she would have knowledge of Good and Evil; while this means Adam and Eve didn't know everything there is to know, the Bible doesn't say Eve was curious as to what this "Evil" was. The whole point of creating humans is that God imbued them with free will, i.e. the ability to choose good or evil; this wasn't something He withheld at first. They didn't "find out" what this concept of "evil" was; they simply took on guilt.
      • Obedience is intrinsically a moral dilemma, and not knowing about evil/immorality would mean they wouldn't know about deciet. God actually said "and of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou dost not eat of it, for in the day of thine eating of it — dying thou dost die." (Genesis 2:17, Young's Literal Translation). So that Adam lived at least 900 years after that point (Genesis 5) means that God did lie. However that they gained knowledge of shame and guilt means they gained knowledge of social consciousness, a core requirement for morality and a fundamental step for wisdom; the Serpent told the truth. They also then realized they would die, the wording across all literal translations suggests that they would have died eventually even if they didn't eat the fruit. To avoid continuous repeating of the person below me.
      • You don't do a very good job at defending God as good. In fact you make God as a parent. That then leads to an error in that you posit parents as infallible authorities on everything ever, which is (in simplest words) pure bullshit. God also did lie because if their spiritual parts had died they would not have been able to feel guilt or love for their children. And also there is no "kinda die"; God said they WOULD DIE. And they didn't so God lied. The snake, on the other hand, only said they would "be like God, knowing good and evil." Additionally, they also showed relative content in their knowledge before eating the fruit, not even taking the time to understand what "death" was, hence making God's promise or warning an empty threat at best. And, even more-so, in the perspective of the bible you take (because reality has morality before humanity), it is undeniable that the characters exercise and develop moral knowledge from the very time of the "fall". And in fact, the "guilt" exhibited is present BECAUSE of their realization of the supposed "evil" in their action.
      • Actually, they die. They become mortal upon eating, which inevitably results in their death and the death of all their descendants. God never said they would die the very second they ate.
    • Thing is; you can't get away from the fact that Adam & Eve couldn't know you should do what you're told until they've eaten the fruit. You can't get away from that. Sure, they had been told "DO NOT EAT OF THIS FRUIT. IF YOU EAT OF IT YOU SHALL DIE." but once they'd been told that they wouldn't die (and been dumb enough to believe it just like that) they would think "Good, now I can eat this fruit. Sure, God said I shouldn't, but since I have no moral problems with disobedience there's no reason why I shouldn't eat it."
      • Adam and Eve were only like children in the sense that they didn't understand the difference between good and evil. They should have known (using just logic) that if God told them not to eat from the tree because they would die, that they would really die if they ate from the tree. In a more modern situation, imagine if you're in a laboratory and the head of research tells you that a beaker is full of acid. He walks out, then some guy comes up and tells you that the beaker is full of something that will cure every disease you've ever had. Who would you listen to?
      • What is this "death" thing you speak of? It is cake? The threat of death in a world where nothing has died is as empty as the threat of starvation to a wealthy glutton, if not more-so.
      • Well, logically the most recent person should have the most up-to-date information, science does march on and it would be For Science!!y their actions. Before God had to tell them full out, but the fruit gave them the godly ability of consequence which also comes with death if misused.. Since only an Omnibenevolent being could avoid making a single err, only an omnibenevlent being could gain the power of immortality while having the power of consequence. OR to better put it, Adman and Eve had and the fruit gave them God Mind but without God Soul they fell to Man Body (mortality).
    • It's simple. The fruit allowed them to determine good and evil for themselves (thus being "like god' the serpent didn't lie.) Without having a higher power tell them. They still knew right and wrong, as we can see.
      • A similar idea: That they already knew right and wrong, good and evil, and the serpent was bluffing them that they didn't.
    • The whole story is a metaphor. The "snake" tempted the woman with the promise of power if she ate the "forbidden fruit." She did and realized she was nude. She then tempted the man to also eat, and he also realized he was nude. Their punishment was that the woman had to go through labor pains, and the man had to work for a living. Does This Remind You of Anything?? In short, this is the story of humankind's awakening consciousness and understanding of sex (and its consequences) and death.
      • You forget that [people take the story very literally. And also, what the snake promised was "knowledge" and hence "realization". The "punishments" could even be claimed to have been physically present before but not experienced; pregnancy would take 9 months, we assume early Spring and they would have Autumn/Winter timing.
      • God told them, "Be fruitful and multiply," so He was actively encouraging them to have sex and have many children. And since they were impassible, childbirth would be painless and work would be easy and fun. The Bible is very pro-sex within marriage. Sex outside of marriage is condemned because it makes a mockery of marriage.
    • If anything it's a metaphor for the Agricultural Revolution and Mankind learning how to till the ground ("making" our food instead of waiting for "God to give it to us" upgrading from Hunter-gathering to Farming) , essentially upgrading us from just sapience to both it and sentience.
      • One of biggest issues with the idea that it's a sexual metaphor is the fact that there isn't really anything to bear that out. The fruit is directly related to "The Knowledge of Good and Evil", so it's obviously involved with a literal loss of ignorance and, therefore, innocence.
      • Nothing to bear that out? First of all, remember that in Hebrew, the verb "to know" also means "to have sex with." In fact, the very first line after the end of the Eden story (Gen. 3:24) is "Now the man knew his wife Eve...." (Gen. 4:1) Secondly, the fact that after they eat from the tree of knowledge, they immediately realize that they are nude and seek to cover themselves indicates that the innocence being lost is specifically sexual innocence.
      • Be wise about what is good and innocent about what is evil.
    • One problem with this issue is that we are using an English translation. Some scholars believe that the ancient Hebrew translates more closely to "the fruit of the tree of knowledge both good and evil". In this interpretation it isn't so much that Adam and Eve didn't know about good and evil so much as they only had knowledge of the former, and even then incomplete knowledge.
      • A comment on the Tree of Knowledge being metaphorical for sexual innocence: In Genesis 2:23-24, when God creates Eve and presents her to Adam, Adam declares that a man and his wife will become one flesh...and before that, in Genesis 1:28, God advises them to "be fruitful, and multiply." And all of this happens BEFORE the eating of the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, so evidently God sanctioned sex (within marriage) and that it therefore was not a metaphorical fruit.
      • The Bible is believed to be written by several groups over several locations over several generations. You yourself exemplify that in using Genesis 1 and 2, where chronology is different with regards to gender.
    • What most people don't remember is that when God went to visit them the day they ate the fruit, they tried hiding from him in the Garden. If they had repented by telling him what they had done, it's entirely possible we would be living in the Garden right now. It's not only that they ate it, but the fact that they didn't admit what they had done wrong(especially if you're going by the interpretation that they didn't know what was wrong until they ate the fruit).
    • Adam and Eve were idiots: God had provided everything for them, and they could indulge in everything they want (Including a different type of fruit.) Since consequence doesn't rely on morality, they should know that they're risking eternal happiness on the advice of a total stranger. Being all-knowing, if God can be angry at anything that level of idiocy would definitely make Him mad.

  • Above there already was a thorough debate on the topic of Tree of knowledge, however it seems to me that a substantial point of sheer wrongness of the whole issue was omitted, so I'll raise it here. Why. Why plant a tree, if you forbid your creations to eat from it? What purpose did that tree serve? Why tempt your creations if you know that you're going to punish their indulgence with death? Why punish it with death? They disobeyed you? SO WHAT? Before you say that it was a test, please take moment to consider the meaning of that word. A test is always a simulacrum, a model of some greater, inescapable and uneliminatable (this is important) ordeal that the test subject will have to face later on despite your best will and efforts (this is very important), so you submit him to a mitigated version to see if he's likely to handle it without suffering the whole extent of consequences and/or to prepare him for the real deal. BUT the words inescapable and uneliminatable, will have to loose their meaning in case you're omnipotent. This is your world, you created it literally from a scratch, and you made the rules. There can be no ordeal, no problem, no obstacle in this world for your creations, unless you want it to. So, if the Tree was a test of obedience (or trust, whatever), what was it a test FOR?
    • (1) No, a "test" does not always refer to a simulacrum/model, or what you say it does. (2) God did not know that they would violate his prohibition. (3) God really, really, really doesn't like being disobeyed, which is why they died. (4) As to the answer to your question, its purpose was a symbol of God's right as Creator to tell humans what was right and wrong and expect them to comply.
      • (3) They died? Oh yeah, at least eight hundred years after they were supposed to die according to God. If God doesn't like being disobeyed as much as you claim, why not kill them and start over as he did with the Flood later on? (2) How can God have an Omniscient Morality License (as you claim in 4) if he isn't omniscient? Reverse Psychology would kick in eventually even if the Serpent hadn't, and God would know that.
      • The Bible also says God classifies a thousand years as one day. While this is probably meant to show His longevity and immortality, it also neatly explains why they died 900 years later despite God telling them they'd die the same day.
      • (3) Considering that they otherwise would have had a form of Immortality, it makes no difference whether they died immediately or hundreds of years later. The point is that their death was a consequence of eating from the tree, and had they not done so, they would still be living today. Also, killing them immediately would make it seem like God was afraid of humans making their own decisions about deciding what was right or wrong, and that Satan was at least partially right. Most people don't read between the lines to realize that what Satan was really trying to do was question God's right to rule over humans and angels, and God let humans live and screw themselves over so everyone would realize what happens when God is not in control. (2) & (4) Okay, I misapplied the trope, but the points still stand. What God has is more like a "Creator Morality License".
      • Wait, isn't it worse if they were immortal? With only a limited number of things to do in Eden over an infinite amount of time, it really should have been only a matter of time before they ate the apple. I mean, it's like putting a toddler in a crib with some toys and a piece of candy and telling him that whatever he does, not to eat the candy, then kicking the kid out of the house when he does. It seems a bit unreasonable.
      • They would not have been in Eden for an infinite amount of time, nor did they have nothing to do. They were supposed to "fill the earth and subdue it" (Genesis 1:28), to cultivate the garden of Eden (Genesis 2:15) until it was spread across the entire planet. And your analogy fails. Adam and Eve had plenty to eat besides the Tree of Knowledge, and there was no reason for them to even want to eat from it in the first place, and there was a reason for them not to eat from it.
      • Wouldn't they eventually run out of room when subduing the Earth?
    • Actually, God WAS afraid of humans. Genesis 3: 21-23. They were banished because Gawd [sic] didn't want equals.
      • He banished them for their own good. As mortals, they could be redeemed, but eating from the Tree of Life in their fallen state would seal their fate. It would have made them like demons, unable to die and unable to repent, and thus condemned to Hell.
  • Something confuses me. As far as I understand Genesis, one of the reasons God banished Adam and Eve from the garden was that now that they ate from the tree of knowledge, they would become like god if they ate from the tree of immortality. But he never forbade them to do that in the first place. So, what would he have done if they had eaten from the tree of immortality before the tree of knowledge?
    • Who knows? Perhaps the idea is that the tree of life would only work so long as they kept eating it, and thus so long as they listened to God, they would live forever.

    The First Humans 
  • The story of Adam and Eve. If you take it completely seriously, then we're all descended from...two people? Hasn't royalty taught us that incest causes problems when you continue to do it over and over and over and over and over and over and over again?
    • There's been quite a bit of discussion on that subject, which I won't get into here for the sake of brevity, that basically boils down to what I call 'Ultra Recessive Genes'. Those genes, plus the centuries-long lives people had back then (allowing for hundreds of children having hundreds of children within just a few generations), would account for enough genetic diversity to avoid problems.
    • We're descended from inbreeding TWICE. People forget that everyone but Noah's family got massacred, and even if God created more humans apart from Adam and Eve in Eden, he decided not to meddle with humans again after he flooded them all. There is evidence of inbreeding in the bible, though - people stop living as long (900 yearsish), and once in a while everyone becomes so evil that God feels he should just give up and kill them all (Noah's ark in Old Testament, Revelations in New Testament)
    • Maybe in fact, we are all retarded compared to what people used to be like, maybe things like hair loss, allergies and other conditions that we deem as normal are just side effects of inbreeding and people were just slightly different and better than what we are now.
Any neccessary inbreeding that occurred during those times would not have resulted in any birth defects because humankind was closer to their original state physical perfection.
  • Then where is the evidence of these super-intelligent people? Surely someone created waterproof houses before Noah's Flood, seeing as the location is a prime area of natural flooding.
  • About the 900 years thing: Some people claim it had to do with changing from a moon-based calendar to a sun-based. In the moon-based calendar, the "year" was what we'd call a month. So Methusaleh and others only became 900+ months old, which is acceptable.
  • Until you realize that if that were correct, a five-year-old kid became a father. Genesis 5:21 if anyone wants the ref.
  • Of course, being closer (genetically speaking) to humanity's original, immortal form might account for the ridiculous lifespans. Genetic degradation slowly shortening lives until there were enough people for good gene diversity would reduce lifespans to something resembling our own. Or the calendar thing, either one.
  • This assumes that you believe someone actually lived to be 900 years old. Is there any evidence of this other than the Bible?
  • No, but if you're going to question that small tidbit of supernatural happenings in the Bible, there isn't much point debating anything on this page at all
  • My pet theory is that pre-Flood humanity was made up of various human species, like Neanderthal and Denisovan and such. Noah and his family were probably mostly homo sapiens (or one of the survivors was of a different species), which accounts for their DNA present in humans today. This second interbreeding streak is what killed off the longevity and whatnot.
  • Where did Cain's wife come from, anyway? Furthermore, where did the people Cain was worried would kill him for killing Abel come from? And what about Seth's wife?
    • From Adam and Eve. They were all born from Adam and Eve.
    • The Bible specifically states that Adam and Eve had a metric ton of kids.
      • Actually the Bible at the time doesn't state that they had any more kids than Cain and Abel at the time. To assume it was one of Adam's and Eve's children would be kind of wrong. Unless it were with either his or Abel's unmentioned twin. But then why would she be banished as well?
      • Doesn't matter, because it doesn't say how much time elapsed between Cain's banishment and his marriage. He might have been wandering for a century for all we know.
      • It doesn't state that they had any more sons than Cain and Abel at the time.
      • That incest thing was pretty damn common at the time.
      • Humans are notably more inbred than what's normal for most animals..
      • Yet not as much as is required for successful skin grafting. I would also like to see your evidence for this claim.
    • Some sources also propose the idea that Cain's wife was Lilith.
    • This used to bother me, but if humans lived for centuries in the Genesis days, while still maturing and reproducing at the same rate, Cain would've only needed to wander around for a century or two before he'd have a few thousand people to choose from.
    • As mentioned above, he could choose from any number of sisters. This also explains who he'd run away from, even if he wasn't just afraid of what Adam and Eve would do to him.
      • What about Neanderthals? Science already says we had lots of kids with them. Like, to this day you can find people with Neanderthal DNA in them. So what if Adam and Eve were the first humans, and then they mixed with the Neanderthals to make more humans? I know genetically that the descendants would still be more Neanderthal than human, but if He can change water into wine, can't He change one species of the homo genus into another?
    • If you take The Bible to be about the creation of man as a psychological/intellectual reflection of God and evolution to be about the biological development of the human species, then there is no problem. Adam was the first human to be, intellectually, in God's image. Cain's wife was a biological human without reference to whether her mind was a reflection of God.
      • That interpretation then ignores the significance of the Creation event and diminishes that of the Fall. It also ignores that psychological developments tend to be founded in communal developments, and so only two people would be at best difficult and at worst lead to a dead end.
    • The Bible also states that Adam and Eve were the FIRST humans that God created, not the ONLY humans.
      • I see this argument a lot and it ignores one simple fact. Original Sin. If God created other humans then they would not have been tainted by original sin. Only if we're all descended from Adam could the doctrine still apply, therefore, God creating other people creates a massive plot hole where there was only squick before. Does Occam's razor apply to fan theorising?
      • They could inherit original sin if Adam and Eve are among their ancestors, even if they're not the only ones. Adam and Eve's children could've interbred with other God-created humans' children, eventually passing the stigma on to all of them.
      • I don't think so. Sin is only passed on if both of the original ancestors are sinful.
      • Original Sin is not a fact, it's an interpretation. Just as the "squick" of Cain marrying a sister is an interpration. Whether she was or wasn't is really irrelevent to the Aesop of Cain and Abel, which is "don't commit murder."
      • Origin Sin must be a fact for any theological importance of any event. Also, there is not a lot of punishment for murder, if that were the real Aesop of the story.
      • If all snakes can be punished because of the Original Sin regardless of descent, why not humans?
  • God can apparently created the entire universe simply by speaking it. Over 100 billion galaxies, more stars than there are grains of sands on the Earth, all the laws of physics that are so precise even a micron of difference would make it unlivable. God did all this in 6 days at most. Yet he still needs Adam's rib to make ONE person. Why?! God should be able to make Eve without even thinking of it, He doesn't need to borrow a rib!
    • Perhaps God create Eve from Adam's rib because he wanted and not because he actually needed to.
      • And why would He want to?
      • God works in mysterious ways perhaps he felt that if he made Eva from Adam's own flesh Adam would feel more closer to her than if he just made her from scratch.

    Noah's Ark 
  • The story of Noah's Ark. How come all but two of each animal had to go? Yes, I know it's because of reproduction, but seriously. Were the kittens that took the swim evil? The llamas? The puppies? The horses? I doubt it. Also, don't tell me that EVERY human other than Noah and his sons were evil.
    • That's the official story. I actually asked that very question of a rabbi at my hebrew day school, and he responded that, yes, even the llamas were being bad llamas. The standards they were morally judged by were different from the standards by which God judged humanity, but they failed to measure up nonetheless.
    • Wait, did you ask him that before or after my question? Thanks either way, but still. God just wiped out an entire civilization! Granted, we were dicks, but he's GOD! Can't he just beam good thoughts into their heads?
      • Oh, before, about a decade ago. And as for animals... that's actually a good point. They never ate the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, so technically speaking, he should be able to muck about with their free will...
      • Technically, He could beam good thoughts into our heads now. He doesn't because if He had wanted to create programmable robots, that's what He would have done in the first place. Without the free choice to do evil, it wouldn't mean anything if we chose to do good.
      • Of course, if he did beam good though into our heads, we still would be able to not follow them.
      • Unless he is, and one of the thoughts involved is "disbelieve in the idea of me beaming thoughts into your head". When you get involved with mind control conspiracies, the sky's the limit. But free will with animals is a whole 'nother ball game, they're not as important as people, after all. That's why he asked for animal sacrifices- because animals are a lower class of being, less important than humans you can kill them as much as you want.
      • On the animals issue: my view of sin is that it "unbalanced" the world. When Adam and Eve sinned, it introduced sin into a world not made for it, starting off a "chain reaction", if you will, of sin which caused everyone (and thing) after the first to sin. Thus, animals are, in fact, sinful. However, they're still only animals; killing them isn't as big as deal. The only difference between humans and animals is the awareness of sin.
    • Well the OTHER possibility in the case of humans comes from the beginning of Genesis 6 (and the apocryphal book of Enoch to a greater extent) which implies that mankind was breeding with the rebelling angels and the flood was also purposed to get rid of those hybrids.
      • You do realize that the nature of the animals chosen meant that, in many cases, they would be essentially pets? I'm certain that several people will try to rip into this one, but the essence of those sacrifices was still 'sin hurts'.
    • Honestly, I always thought it was only two of each animal cuz there'd only be room for that many. I mean, it's one boat. Even if it's a really really big boat, there's only going to be so much room on the thing.
      • How much room does a pair of rabbits take up? Now, how much room does a pair of field mice take up? A pair of beetles? Of ants? The large animals may be the impressive ones, but most of those that couldn't take the swim would be small animals that didn't need that much room to begin with.
      • If you take the measurements from the Bible every animal gets about 1.3 feet.
    • He could have just "cloned" some more animals, and just needed the two kinds as a base. Or it could be symbolic.
    • What did the carnivores eat while on the ark? There's only two zebras, so Noah couldn't afford to get those eaten... So how did he prevent the lions from starving?
      • Fish.
      • Noah took seven of every clean animal, and two of every unclean (Genesis 7:2). It's not spelled out, but presumably five of the each of the clean animals were for food.
      • What makes you so sure the carnivores were? I've seen arguments to the effect that meat-eating itself didn't exist until after the flood occured.
      • Those arguments are completely non-supported, and possibly written by a parodist.
      • Simply: Biology. There were dinosaurs at the time. The teeth patterns, and other structural support, as well as descendent genera, all demonstrate and support the fact that at least ONE organism on the ark was carnivorous.
  • There are a few theories kicking around that the Ark was built using the Royal Cubit which was about 1.5 times as long as the cubit. Also, when an animal is placed in a confined space, they tend to sleep most of the time. They would have needed less food because of that. Also, the Ark was large enough and had proportions in a way that would have snapped it in two if it had been hit by a large enough wave. Placing a hole in the middle, closed to the Ark almost all the way to the top would have prevented the ship from breaking, and it would have also had the interesting side effect of pumping old air out of the Ark and pulling clean air in as the waves moved.

  • How can a ship some 157x50 metres hold two of every animal on Earth?
    • God made it a TARDIS.
      • Some people say it's because it wasn't the entire world that was flooded, just the known world at the time. There were much less animals to carry in that case, and Noah didn't have to bring on any fish or animals that could survive in flood conditions.
      • Fish would've been decimated by the flood. The changes in pH, pressure and temperature of the water would've slaughtered countless species of fish and other water-based animals from sharks to insects (and water plants). Unless God protected them specifically, but that kinda undoes the point of having an Ark in the first place.
    • They simply took baby animals instead of fully grown ones in some cases.
      • How did that work? By the time most of the babies were gathered, they would be adults. Or, did their parents travel to where Noah lived, coexist in that environment, and give birth right before the Ark was launched?
    • How much room does it take to hold a pair of rabbits? Or a pair of beetles? The large animals get press because we're impressed by size, but most animals are small.
      • Yes, but small animals are much more numerous as well. You can get away with two kinds of elephants and one kind of giraffe, but there are twenty-one species of rabbit (and 32 species of hares), not to mention almost a million different beetle species. Depending on how pedantic you are, it would still take up a lot of space to house them all, possibly more than it would to house the larger animals.
      • It was written by people in Israel who didn't know that when they wrote it. Most of the world was unknown to them at the time it was all written. They had no idea how big the world was. This was probably a really plausible story, if you count on the audience believing based on their own experiences. Now, with the Discovery Channel, how can anyone believe this? I'm amazed at how many people still have hope in finding the Ark someday.
    • I also want to know why, if we take this as a literal story, how Noah could have gotten penguins, bears, and such. If we assume it was a metaphor or a myth based on a larger-than-average local flood, then we remove all trace of theological and religious importance.
  • How about after the flood? Ignoring the risks of inbreeding, if every animal today is descended from two, or seven, ancestors who were in Turkey four thousand years ago, then how is it that many animals can only be found in places far removed from Turkey, with no reason to believe they were anywhere in between? How is it the rainforests of South America, or the continent of Australia, have species which only exist there?
    • God induced all the chosen animals to head straight for the ark, so presumably afterward he told him them where and how to head back home.

  • In the story of Noah's Ark, Noah takes two of each animal on his ark to save them from being wiped out. Several questions: How do they keep the boat clean, how do they stop the animals from killing each other, and how did the plants survive?
    • Magic, magic and magic.
    • Or, rather, shoveling waste overboard, Divine Mind-whammy of the animals (he's done it other places), and God probably provided some divine form of sun lamp; fertilizer would be the waste not shoveled overboard, and they wouldn't lack for water.
    • As noted above, some theorize that carnivorous behaviour did not begin until after the Flood.
      • And as noted above, this is complete bullshit. Shovelling the waste of even each kind would be a task even for a family of eight. Rain water would need to be purified, too. There would be no need for fertilizer because no plants were taken. And all plants (as with the fish) would have died quickly but we can only assume given the text that God doesn't care about them.

  • Along those same lines, the logistics of the ark doesnt work. Lets assume 500 animals on board - a gross undersetimation, but lets roll with it. Noah had - what 3 kids and their wives? So 8 people. Assuming no other chores - food prep, laundry and so on - each person would have 125 animals each to care for, feed and so on. That's just nine minuets an animal, assuming no sleeping, no rest breaks, no meals - just around the clock, 24-hour-a-day animal care. What - did god put the animals in stasis or something?

  • Was Noah the only guy who had a boat? Even if none of the sinful people believed Noah, shouldn't a fisherman thought to use his vessel to save himself from the flood? Granted, God could probably make sure any boatsmen crashed on rocks or something, but no one in the story acted like the concept of a boat was revolutionary.
    • Since it had never rained until that point, and since the majority of the Bible takes place in the Middle East, there might have not been any lakes in the area where early mankind lived. No lakes, no concept of fishing, no boats. Even if not, a tiny fishing boat wouldn't last long in a storm.

  • In Exodus, about halfway through the whole 10 Plagues thing, Pharaoh is completely willing to let the Israelites go, yet God keeps hardening his heart in order to keep sending more plagues for Moses to clean up. Why does He keep doing this? Wouldn't it be easier and faster to leave Pharaoh alone and let him release the Israelites?
    • God is given credit for everything that ever happens. Saying "God caused this to happen" is just the author's style of saying "this happened."
      • Yeah, but God specifically says to Moses that He'll harden Pharaoh's heart. That's God personally taking credit for what happened, rather than just being how the author writes.
      • A couple of things ought to be mentioned here. First, to Hebrew writers, the heart was the organ of logic and reason. So where Moses would have used "hardened heart", most English-writing people would use "closed mind". Second, the Egyptians, led by Pharaoh, did participate in worshiping every item listed in the plagues. If the YHWH of the Hebrews, then, can control these things so much better than any shaman in the employ of Pharaoh, then truly this YHWH is NOT to be messed with.
      • First, that does not excuse the source of the closed-mindedness: God. Second, it does not matter if he is or isn't a FORCE to be messed with: being forced to do something negates any moral consideration and forcing others to do something (except when forced yourself) is immoral.
      • Really? They worshipped festering boils?
      • God wanted to give the Jews a spectacle to enhance their belief. It wasn't enough to just have them leave, they had to leave in a very spectacular way. In fact, the miracles of Exodus and later Mount Sinai are used in contemporary Jewish "outreach" programs as part of the proof of the truth of Judaism (though I'd rather not get further into that debate).
    • I read somewhere that it originally was Ra hardened Pharaoh's heart, and later translations changed it to avoid mentioning a "false god". I don't know how reliable the source was, though.
      • Given the flow and concerns of the rest of the Pentateuch, this seems unlikely. As far as I know, the Hebrew mentions God, and the earliest sources for this section of the bible are actually oral, and thus unrecoverable.
      • I don't have the citation, but it's my understanding that there is a rather strong argument in exegetics, that judaism transfered to monotheism from polytheism and that this can be seen from the bible. I don't know how it affects the argument for Ra's presence.
      • It depends. If we assume that the monotheistic ideology of the Bible was based on polytheistic ideology, we destroy any significance of God as an ultimate being and hence signifies merely a stepping stone in theological thought. If we assume otherwise, then Ra is excluded on principle of no other gods being capable (because they wouldn't exist).
    • Another interpretation is that, had they let the Pharaoh let them go earlier, he would have changed his mind shortly and had them recovered. As it is, by forcing the Pharaoh to hold his resolve up until the final plague, he had better reason to just let the Israelites go. Of course, he still went after them in the famous scene with the Red Sea, but they had several days of lead time.
      • You have to consider: if even a million people left the world superpower for certain death at a time when the total world population arguably exceeded 5 million, then you would chase after them too. Or would you want a million people to die because of their stubborness? I mean who do you think could survive a desert for 40 years? Even more if we take the term used to describe the 'slaves' at face value: "hired laborers" or arguably "mercenaries"; they give up stable jobs, shelter, food, and respectable positions at the request of an old man claiming to talk to God. They may even have been contracted and they left before fulfilling the time they signed for.
    • I always thought that God did all the ten plagues because he wanted to make sure that the entire known world knows what he, as the supreme Master of the universe, is capable of what will happen if you mess with him or his chosen people. So literally, he did it for the reputation.
      • But then why is there no evidence for any of the plagues? It doesn't make sense that no one would ever record such an event, not even the other Israelites. And surely some would have had to report some, such as losing their first-born son.
      • I've been told that each plague systematically undermines each individual Egyptian god.
      • Considering that the Egyptians had a specific god for just about everything, it'd be impossible for any kind of plague not to undermine a specific god.
      • But then that means not all were dealt with, marking the claim as baseless.
      • Another source suggests that the combined effect of the plagues was to nuke the Egyptian economy.
      • Which never happened according to history.
    • Exodus 7:3-5: "And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay my hand upon Egypt, and bring forth mine armies, and my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch forth mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them." In other words, He does it to show the Egyptians just how awesome He is, so that they'll start worshiping Him instead of their own gods, which apparently is more important than the freedom of the Jews or the thousands of lives that will be lost. I honestly believe that the only reason this interpretation isn't held by more people is because it requires one to believe that God Is Evil, as it's pretty well spelled out right there.
      • I'm not so sure about that; biblical archeology seems to suggest that the Israelites probably served as a mercenary army for Egypt for some time before becoming slaves (and even that part is debated), so that would explain the armies parts. As for the idea of the Egyptians worshiping him, I didn't get that at all; rather, I get the impression God is saying that because the Hebrews were brought forth from Egypt by great judgments, signs and wonders, the Egyptians will know that the god protecting the Hebrews vastly outclasses their own. And given how much stock the ancient world put into their gods (particularly as military weapons), this would effectively ensure that Egypt would think twice before trying to attack/enslave/wipe out the Hebrews again. That, and it would serve as a reminder to the Hebrews as to what God could do for them, making his anger over their abandoning him repeatedly very understandable.
      • There is no evidence that the Hebrews were ever in Egypt (as soldiers or slaves). Archeologists have searched in vain for any evidence of the Exodus and have failed to validate the Bible's assertion that millions of people encamped in the Sinai for 40+ years. Scholarship is leaning to the conclusion that the Hebrews were Canaanite and remained Canaanite.
      • This is simply not so. Archeologists have found evidence of an Israelite presence in Egypt at the right period. Whether you accept this evidence or not is up to you.
      • I'd be a lot quicker to accept the evidence if I could see the article and judge their methodology, evidence and conclusions.
      • The movement of the Keme-Semetic Alphabet's(The Ancestor of the Greek, Coptic, Latin, Arabic,Hebrew, Aramaic, and most modern alphabets) passage from Egypt up the Levant matches the Exodus almost exactly.
      • Considering that they do not know when the exodus occured and they are unable to find any archeological traces of 40 years of wandering in the Sinai...
    • In the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible, it states that Pharaoh hardened his own heart.
      • This happens for the first half of the plagues, not the last half, and is in the original.
    • Three words: God hates slavery.
      • The Bible actually condones the practice, with certain limits on cruelty towards the slave.
      • Such as releasing slaves every 50 years.
      • Although the fact that it's only permission to enslave pagan nations indicates some pretty severe Moral Myopia.
      • Slavery back then tended to be a bit different and slaves weren't necessarily slaves for life. In some cases, it was more of an indentured servant sort of deal.
      • Ancient Egypt didn't practice slavery at all. It would have served no purpose in their economy, where the farming majority were displaced with nothing better to do for a chunk of every year anyway.
      • In dealing with any forms of slavery one has to understand that different cultures have different forms of slavery which can aren't always analogous to American/Colonial slavery.
      • Perhaps that's true, but I do remember a verse in Exodus that punishes those who beat slaves to death, but if two days pass by, and then the slave dies, then no punishment is dealt. And besides, it is still generally accepted that owning a person as property is wrong, and yet the Bible gives instructions on the proper way to go about doing it.
      • The idea that Pharaoh would be displeased that Egypt had too many Hebrews living in it is also contrary to what we know of ancient Nile civilization, which routinely assimilated ethnic groups from outlying reaches of its empire.
    • One interpretation that I've seen is that God does not actively harden the Pharaoh's heart. Rather, God hardened Pharaoh's heart in the same way a call from an old friend might make one nostalgic or seeing an attractive person might make one aroused. There was no specific intent to harden Pharaoh's heart; rather God hardened Pharaoh's heart in that God's actions hardened Pharaoh's heart.
      • But God, being omniscient, would know that his actions would harden Pharoah's heart, and, being omnipotent, would be able to figure out how to accomplish the same goals without doing so. For an omniscient and omnipotent being, action is intent.
    • The plagues aren't there to convince Pharaoh but the Hebrews. They have been living in Egypt for many generations so cultural osmosis is a work. This is Fridge Brilliance when you realize that each plague corresponds to an Egyptian god, and Abraham's god tromps over each one of them.
      • Given the vast extent of the Egyptian pantheon, ten plagues would hardly be enough to undermine EVERY Egyptian god. And that the Egyptians ones don't necessarily care for the Egyptians any more than the Greek ones did for the Greeks also makes God's actions superfluous.
    • The way I saw it, each time the Pharaoh wanted to let them go, he was only doing so out of fear of further punishment. Only once he'd suffered true grief and understood that he was wrong was he allowed to let them go. "Hardening his heart" means making him stick to his guns, because to do otherwise is to use supernatural power to bully someone into submission. Of course, he ended up reneging anyway, but that was out of selfishness. We see several other times in the Bible that God isn't satisfied with "good" behavior motivated only out of fear of divine retribution, you have to actually care.
      • That still means God took Pharaoh's ability to choose. God did not respect free will in that situation.
    • I'm surprised not to find this explanation here; if one reads through the passage carefully, one would note that God does not harden the Pharaoh's heart the first time he refuses to let the Israelites go. It's only after that first refusal, and after the following plagues that God intervenes. The Pharaoh, like any person, would have reacted to the plagues with fear and awe, and likely would have granted the Israelites their freedom the moment the Nile turned to blood. God simply made sure the Pharaoh remain consistent in his original choice, so as to drive the point home that you do not not mess with His people.
      • Pharaoh flaking out is his own choice. God did not let him choose otherwise. Forcing him to be consistent is still removing his ability to choose capitulation over further punishment. God did not respect free will when he did that.

  • The plagues in general bug me. It's not like God needed the pharaoh's permission for the Jews to leave. He could have instantly transported them all to the Promised Land or to the desert to begin their wandering. He could have made them invulnerable to the Egyptians' assaults long enough for their exodus. He could even have ensured that the Egyptians simply didn't notice the Jews leaving. Out of the slew of totally peaceful solutions available to him he chose the one that brought pain to a lot of people most of whom were most likely innocent of any wrongdoing. Why?
    • If you read the above discussion on hardening the Pharaoh's heart, there are times when the Hebrews could have marched out just as easily as if God had done what you suggested, but God refuses to allow this to happen. He justifies his continual uses of the plagues by saying "Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay my hand upon Egypt, and bring forth mine armies, and my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch forth mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them." (Exodus 7:4-5) and "Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him: And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son's son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that ye may know how that I am the LORD" (Exodus 10:1-2). Both of these passages seem to imply God is using the plagues and causing all that suffering so he can prove to both the Egyptians and the Hebrews that he is God. The question would be, of course, why the hell does he not choose a less destructive means of proving himself. But then, the old testament God has quite a bit of God Is Evil in him.
      • God Is Evil? Hardly. You forget that people back then were even more thickheaded than we are today. Heck, look at the incidents with Abraham and all the nations he traveled through. Everyone one of them who observed examples of God's power ended up acknowledging Him to be the one true God, yet they apparently decided to stick with their old gods anyway. It may have been the only way for God to impress upon the minds of the Egyptians that not only is the God of Israel the one true God, but that all the gods of Egypt are completely powerless before Him.
      • A number of alternative ways occur. Just for instance, he could appear to everyone as a burning bush, convincing each person of his existence and power personally. He could perform an equal amount of non-violent miracles. For that matter, if he's so convinced that it's necessary for people to believe in him, he could simply will that they do. It would violate free will, sure, but so does killing someone.
      • After bringing the Israelites out of Egypt, God appeared to the them as a column of smoke and fire covering an entire mountain, and they still chose to build a golden calf to worship while Moses went up and talked with the Lord. People were pretty stubborn.
      • A column of smoke and fire is hardly divine. Additionally other gods had ALREADY used both smoke AND fire as symbols and disguises. And that's nothing of that when Moses went for the "talk" they had NOT been forbidden from creating 'idols'.
    • A traditional Jewish answer to this kind of question is that the trauma and theatrics of leaving Egypt, as well as the completely unnecessary length of the time spent wandering in the desert, were really intended to purge the Israelites of any traces of "slave mentality." If they'd just been magically transported out of Egypt, as you suggest, their external condition would have changed but their mindsets wouldn't have. All the unnecessary stuff was really intended to constitute them as a free people.
      • Still superfluous, then. The golden calf is a symbol that they had still had idoltry. And if they were (as history and the Bible dictates) laborers, they would have been easily as free without the trauma associated with the plagues.
    • Here is a bit better explination, your best friend is being badly treated by this bully and you can help them out, will you only help them out or will you want to see the bully punished for badly treating your friend?
      • Punish the bully, yes. Punish the bully's family, his employees' families, his neighbor's families, rather than the bully himself? That'd just make me a lot worse than the bully.
      • You guys don't seem to know how racism works. It's a system everyone is complicit, especially the Upper class merchants and farm lords (think sharecropping [[Older than You Think 500 years early) and the prissy soon to be Pharaoh kids. These people were evil. And as anyone would tell you in the american South (for example) it's pretty powerful,, that whole nation had the sin on its hands, the fact that he didn't level the bastards and instead left them off easy to repent is a sign of his mercy.
      • You fail to understand that history has repeatedly shown the "slavery" present in Exodus to be so drastically different from what was present in America that it's not even able to be defined accurately as "slavery". In fact the closest that Ancient Egypt at ANY of the possible times of the account practiced was hiring labor and soldiers from neighboring areas. And then we have that the Pharoah didn't have any problem meeting several times with a representative of the people. And then we have the effect the plagues would have had. Total economic collapse. A fate worse than death and a complete humiliation of the WORLD SUPERPOWER OF THE TIME. To give no comment on that the Pharoah was COMPLETELY WILLING half the time to AGREE TO LETTING THEM GO, and so wasn't purely evil.
      • And not to mention killing all of the first-born sons, including young infants. Because people are born 'racist'...
      • Ahem... are all of you forgetting that the Egyptians were terrorizing and killing the Israelites' children for years before Moses showed up to lead them out, as well as the whole slavery bit? Even after one of God's people had basically saved Egypt from starvation a few years back? In my opinion, A) God hardened pharaohs heart so he could punish the Egyptians properly; if he had simply said "Oh, well, sure, you can leave", justice wouldn't have been met (the "Old Testament God Is Evil" thing is baseless if you realize that, if God punished someone, they really deserved it; you're mistaking evil for strictness). B) He wanted to show the Egyptians that their gods were absolutely nothing compared to him; he even left their "strongest" gods for last, creating a heavy darkness (Ra) and showing his power over death (which was also a Take That for them doing the same thing to the Israelites)
      • That still doesn't make it right for God to kill innocent children. It's understandable that he'd punish the Egyptians that had mistreated the Israelites, but it was entirely wrong for him to do so by killing those who hadn't actually done anything wrong yet.

  • One of the plague was the slaughter of all the animals in Egypt. Then what did the Pharaoh army harnessed to their chariots to pursue the hebrews??

  • Why, exactly, did Moses have to run away in the first place? He'd checked that nobody was there to witness him killing the slave-beater, and even if there had been a witness, who's going to take the word of some random passerby over that of an adoptive member of the royal family?
    • People overreact to things much less severe than murder. Moses was likely raised to believe that the noble Egyptians don't go around offing one of their own, yet Moses did exactly that. And remember, he's the son of slaves brought up in the royal family. How many were in on that secret? Did the dad like the idea of raising a Hebrew child as one of his own? But...yeah. Good question.

  • In 1 Maccabees, Israel's conquering by Alexander the Great and persecution of the Jews is portrayed as punishment for turning away from God. However, Judas' rebellion is then portrayed as punishment directed at the Greeks for being so cruel to the Israelites. What gives? Weren't the Greeks doing more or less exactly what God wanted them to do?
    • According to Maccabees, the Greeks were spreading their religion rather aggressively, even turning the holy temple into a shrine of Zeus. There's also graphic depictions of Jewish martyrdom.
    • One might argue that the Greeks went too far, or the punishment was over.
      • Pretty much. The Jews' punishment for turning away from God was the loss of their sovereignty. What Antiochus did was interfere in the practice of the Jewish religion itself.
      • The same argument is made about the Egyptians. The answer is that the Egyptians/Greeks were indeed God's messengers, but that doesn't mean they didn't have free will. They could have punished the Jews, but not done it in quite such a cruel and heartless manner, or not have gotten such extreme enjoyment out of it.
      • You have a culture believing that their gods are guiding them to victory, and hence that the people being conquered are inferior to you. Yet you are to stop when a god you don't believe in and have no reason to believe in wants, despite not letting anyone know when exactly that is? Isn't God supposed to be GOOD? Then why promote senseless violence in that way?
      • It's not senseless. Rather, it means that just because God uses one group of people as a means to punish another, does not excuse the first group for its sins. For this reason, Moses called the pagans, "A people without sense," because when Israel fell under judgment, pagans would conquer them easily, but the pagans would then (foolishly) conclude that the conquest was their own doing, rather than God punishing the Jews EVEN THOUGH PROPHETS WOULD WARN IN ADVANCE OF THE COMING JUDGMENT.
    • This is actually pretty consistent with the entire history of Christianity (remember how Jesus apparently had to be sacrificed as part of God's plan? Now remember the 19 centuries of persecution the Jews had to endure for that?)
    • It's pretty consistent with prior Jewish texts, for that matter. Whenever the Children of Israel were doing wrong, the Lord allowed them to fall victim to neighboring peoples...but those neighboring peoples were themselves eventually brought down for their own wrong-doing, and a fair portion of the time it appears that it was repentant Israelites who did the task. Read the book of Judges for a fair list of examples.

  • The story about the stoning of a harlot. Jesus utters "He who's without sin shall cast the first stone". Ok, two things bother me here. The first one is that nobody calls him out on inventing new rules. The law said the criminal caught red-handed should be executed - it didn't demand immaculacy from the executioners, and it's reasonable, because judicial system should operate on the basis of proof, or else it would go to hell (pun not intended). Second is that nobody thought of reverting this suggestion on Jesus himself. They wanted him to either support a cruel law or express disrespect to laws. Well, this is even better! Either he admits that he's a sinner, or directly partakes in the killing.
    • first off jesus didn't create a new law he just added new conditions to a law that already existed. second if they were to go through with execution it would only confirm everthing that jesus been saying about them being hypocrites, also they just wanted jesus to say something that goes againsted the law so they can arrest him (him admitting he's a sinner or partaking in execution wouldn't do anything in term of incriminating himself)
    • I'm really not sure it's possible for you to have looked at this from any more of a wrong way. He's not a lawyer making a legal argument or making new rules, he's shaming the mob to save the woman's life. Jesus isn't about the laws of man. Him being the only one without sin is the point, as he's saying only He can judge.
      • That's exactly my point! He's facing an angry mob and is basically telling them, that they are no better than the harlot they are about to execute. And everybody is fine with that, everybody is SUDDENLY compalcent and aware and ashamed of their own sins so much as to abandon the voice of reason (whether they're sinners or not, she was still a criminal deserving a punishment by their laws, which, by the way, Jesus recognised). But most important, it was not even really about justice, was it - it was a set up for Jesus, right? And he gave them a perfect opportunity to exploit - instead of "defy the laws/support the execution" dilemma they could've forced a "defy the laws/admit that he's a sinner/partake in the execution" one upon him. They didn't. Why?
      • Their laws also acknowledge and rely on the existence of a God. You're thinking in secular terms, in theories of social justice that don't fully apply when the law is believed to have come from an all-knowing God as a divine commandment. Maybe the courts can't prove that the people in the crowd were as guilty as the woman, but God would know, and that was Jesus's point. If you kill someone in the name of God for a crime that's no worse than what you've been getting away with, isn't God going to find that offensive? Ever since Adam, Eve and Cain, we've seen that God really doesn't like being lied to about sin, and Jesus's audience were raised on those stories. As for the second part, Jesus made no bones about what he thought of himself. People had already tried that in other confrontations; had they asked, he would have just outright said he's the son of God. It's what eventually led to the crucifixion. In this case, they may well have already known who he was and what he claimed, which is why they didn't bring it up again (and why they were spooked enough to back down - the thought of "hey, what if he really is God, and he does know everything?" would naturally cross each one's mind just a little).
      • Except that those were not just some random people. They didn't revere J at all, but hated him. They wanted to frame him and expose him as a fraud and eventually kill him (which they did). That was the whole reason of demanding a resolution of case from him. Moreover, if their moral backbones were flexible enough to allow them to commit those misdeeds that J appealed to, why would they suddenly be ashamed to lie about them to the face of the guy they are trying to ruin?
      • The leaders of the crowd were priests and scribes, but most of the people with the actual stones were probably just ordinary people they rounded up. For all we know, maybe the priests were uselessly shouting "hey, come back here, he doesn't have a point!" while their followers were walking away, which is just one more reason for them to really hate him. Also of note is that, according to The Other Wiki, the Sanhedrin Court effectively abolished capital punishment in AD 30, "as God alone was deemed to be the only arbiter in the use of capital punishment, not fallible people". With Jesus's argument taking place in the context of an existing religious debate (and the Sanhedrin already coming down on the anti-stoning side), it'd be politically dangerous for his enemies to even try to argue the point.
      • Actually, it doesn't say that the priests round up a crowd - they just brought the captured harlot to where Jesus was teaching people. It was them who Jesus addressed to and it was them who was so inexplicably and abruptly ashamed of their sins. As for the abolition of stoning, it is a valid point, but it kind of invalidates the whole idea of set-up. Wouldn't it be dangerous or at least pointless for the priests to even put across such a controversary topic in public?
      • I've heard that the story of the stoning was added to the book fairly late as a morality tale. Don't take it literally. Literalism is a faulty, 19th Century Christian way of viewing Classical Jewish storytelling traditions.
      • Yes, the story was a late insertion not found in any of the earliest known manuscripts, so the whole story should be taken with a grain of salt just on general principles.
    • One way I've heard it explained is that the Pharisees were being somewhat dishonest with the law themselves in this case. The Jewish law being brought up in this scenario requires both people committing adultery to be stoned to death, yet we see here that the adulterous man is conspicuously absent. The explanation I've heard is that the man was in on the whole thing with the Pharisees. Why this never gets brought up in the text, I have no idea.
      • It's explicitly mentioned as being a test for Jesus. One, Pharisees weren't literalists in any sense of the word (they were actually political and religious opponents of the Saducees, who were in fact literalists). Two, even the literalist portions of Second Temple-era Judaism were reluctant to impose a death sentence without several very clearly defined warnings (including male eyewitnesses who had warned the perpetrator beforehand that the act in question was both illegal and subject to a death sentence). Three, no Jews outside of temple security would have had the authority to impose a death sentence; that was reserved for the Roman prefect of Judea.
    • Jesus was a fan of Take a Third Option. The point of that story was to illustrate that compassion for people should trump rigid adherence to the law, because all of us are imperfect and in need of forgiveness. Once everybody else had left, leaving Jesus and the woman alone, he tells her to "go and sin no more," meaning that he knew that she was guilty, but was willing to forgive her and give her a fresh start if she tried to do better in the future.
  • So did Jesus's family had to accept him as his lord and savior to get into heaven?
    • Joseph died before his ministry years. Mary was, according to Catholic doctrine, born without any original sin as a prerequisite to conceiving the lord and savior of humanity. His siblings/cousins/whatever were involved in the church from the beginning (particularly James the Just, who was with Peter and Paul one of the paramount leaders of the early church).
      • So were all his cousins including but not limited to third-sixth cousins and siblings were involved in the church and what do other christian doctrines have to say about Mary sin state and what would happen to his family members if they didn't accept him as lord and savior or stayed orthodox jews?
    • Other doctrines do not believe in the immaculate conception (that Mary was conceived without sin). Nowhere in The Bible is it said that Mary was sinless or needed to be sinless to conceive Jesus. After all, if God was capable of causing two sinful parents to have a sinless child, then Jesus' death would be pointless. And while Jesus' half-brother James was an early Christian leader, he was only a Christian after Jesus had already died.note  Had Jesus' family not believed in him, they would simply have been treated like all other unbelievers by God. However, Acts 1:14 states that Mary and his brothers were present at Pentecost during the founding of the Christian congregation, so they likely all did become Christians.
      • How would God using two sinful parents to give birth to a sinless kid affect the story in anyway and isn't Jesus God so Jesus would send his family to hell and what do you mean by the term unbelievers?
      • The whole point of having a Messiah was so that the people who were already sinners could be redeemed. Jesus Himself would be able to save everyone since he was also divine, as well as sinless, making his sacrifice more powerful. If God created a sinless normal person, and allowed him to die as a Messiah, it would only be good enough to spare one sinner.
      • Not exactly. The thing is, Jesus being Divine means that he is able to rise from the dead, thus triumphs over death. Had Jesus been a normal person, his sacrifice is meaningless and we're all screwed regardless our belief.
      • The Angelic Salutation (when the angel Gabriel reveres Mary as being "full of grace") might actually give Bibical support to the Immaculate Conception. First, the angel is referring to Mary as "filled with grace" before she conceived Jesus (as the whole point of the salutation was to get her permission for her to become pregnant), indicating that God preserved her in some form of holiness earlier in her life. Second, the fact that an angel is actually revering Mary, indicates that she must be greater than an angel in the eyes of God, which would seem less likely if she was a sinner.
      • By 'unbelievers' I meant someone who didn't believe in Jesus' resurrection. Anyway, the whole point of Jesus dying was to give a perfect sacrifice to satisfy Equivalent Exchange, so God would be capable of reversing the sin of imperfect humanity. Adam sinned, then had kids, passing on sin and death, and died as a result of sin. Jesus did not sin, did not have kids, and died despite not sinning. Therefore, Jesus traded his life and the possiblilty of his own perfect human descendants to become the "Father" of the imperfect human race, thus making them eligible to escape sin and death. This implies that either God would not be capable of or at least would have to break his own rules to make a human sinless without using a perfect human sacrifice. Thus, if Jesus' purpose was to provide a ransom so God could make humanity sinless, yet God could make a normal human sinless without it, Jesus' sacrifice would be completely pointless. Besides that, if Mary was sinless, she also would neither age nor die of natural causes, and would theoretically still be living today unless she not been killed at some point in time. And not everyone believes that Jesus is God or in Fire and Brimstone Hell.
      • So in other words Jesus is okay with sending his distance cousins and their descendants to hell because they believe the wrong things.
      • (The following applies if above comment was in response to the one above it. If not, disregard this statement.) Apparently you didn't catch my hint. I was saying that I don't believe in Fire and Brimstone Hell at all, so Jesus is NOT okay with sending ANYBODY to hell, because hell doesn't exist.
      • I apolgize for not catching your hint but for the people who do believe in hell do they believe Jesus sends his unbelieving cousins, aunts, and uncles to hell or what?
      • In Romans 2, Paul writes about gentiles who were ignorant of the law but nonetheless were faithful to it through their actions. Many Christians believe this also applies to those ignorant of Christ, as in a person who does not intellectually know of Jesus, but nonetheless seeks God in his heart and seeks and does what is right will be shown mercy.
  • Why wait so long to be sacrificed why didn't he just sacrificed himself during the Garden of Eden?
    • one of the major reoccurring theme of the bible it that god does thing at his own pace. keep in mind that it took 100-something years! for god to send someone to get childeren of isreal out of egypt. 40 years too take them to their promise land and it took god a whole week to destroy the walls of jericho for them too.
    • The problem with this argument is that those events that you listed also involved human actions and/or God announced loud and clear before the events happened the same can't be said about Jesus's first coming on earth.
    • And? What's your point?
  • The crucifixion and its effects border a Mind Screw for this troper. So if Jesus is villified, tortured and murdered in agony, we all earn eternal salvation. But should people have come to their senses and said "No! Free him instead of Barrabas, so he can continue to teach us and enlighten us!", everyone remains doomed to Hell forevermore?
    • Technically, even if Jesus had died peacefully in private, it still would have brought salvation into the world. The whole point was more or less that an innocent man tastes death so that sinful men could be spared eternal death/damnation. Jesus' death was so horrific because He wanted mankind to be aware of how much he loved them, showing how much he would suffer for us.
    • To this troper this goes to show the problem with the codifying of theology... aka Bible Fanon. Nowhere in Canon does it even come close to saying what would have happened! But the questioner cannot be blamed for their assumption of what would have happened, because most of the prevalent Fanons have decided that it only could have worked that one way... putting God in a box.
  • How long did Jesus know he'd have to die a most painful death? Doesn't seem like something you can deal with, knowing that eventually that was going to happen to you. If someone told me I'd have to be crucified, I'd be running the opposite direction.
    • He is called "The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world," so we can assume that He knew even before Creation. As a practical matter, He personally told Isaiah about the manner of His death, and if His Incarnation concealed any knowledge from Him, the crucifixion wasn't among that. He knew full well He would have to be crucified, and He was prepared for it. Even so, He was afraid when the hour approached, but He was more committed than afraid, so He went through with it.
  • John 3:16 seems to imply that, by letting His Son die, God made the "ultimate sacrifice," i.e. a sacrifice that was as costly for Him as it would be for any living human father to let his only son die. Yet, Jesus was resurrected three days later, and soon thereafter returned to Heaven to sit at the right hand of God — presumably, as He'd been doing since before His incarnation. How is being dead for only three days a "great sacrifice"?
    • Taking this idea to something of an extreme, I have to pose the question of how it's possible for God to sacrifice at all. He can do anything and everything by the nature of his existence. He's infinite. He could have made a million, billion Jesuses in less time than it took for me to write this sentence.
      • No, He couldn't, because Jesus wasn't some created being that the Father could replace with another created being. Jesus is His Only Begotten Son, the Eternal Word who has no beginning, just as the Father has no beginning. His Son was the only thing the Father could give up that couldn't be replaced in any way, shape or form.
    • As well as experiencing physical pain on the cross, Jesus bore the weight of everyone's sins ever. This separated him from the Father causing him pain more so than we would feel, as he had been with the Father for all time.
    • Explain how this is a sacrifice if he got back everything he lost.
      • Because he still had to suffer through one of the most experience/death imaginable. Even if most people knew they'll be fine afterwards they still wouldn't want go through that. It's like getting hit by a truck in order to someone else's life and then being told it doesn't count as a sacrifice because you made a full recovery without any permanent damage. Even though you spend hours in excruciating pain and have a bunch of nasty scars to show for it.
  • Why is the second coming necessary after all Jesus could have just stayed on earth instead of leaving?
    • Considering the second coming is suppose to bring forth the end of the world. It does seem kind of silly to be upset over the fact that God didn't decide end the world 2000 years ago.

    Holy Spirit 
  • Jesus says that there is only one unpardonable sin: committing blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. What exactly is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? Since this is the only sin that can never be forgiven, why doesn't the Bible explain it more?
    • It really is not a case of a sin being unforgivable as it is mortal/venial. In the whole passage, Jesus also refers to those who blaspheme Him (the ancient Jews) and those who blashphemed His father (the ancient pagans), saying they would be saved. He did not mean that they simply CAN be saved, He meant they WOULD be, because they only blashphemed out of ignorance. Those who blashphemed the Spirit (or those who knew better but still refused Jesus as Messiah; it is implied the Pharaisees were this) would be damned because they rejected Christ out of malice. However, he means that they are in a state they would be damned for, not that they were unforgivable; if they repented, they would be forgiven.
    • The basic context of Jesus' content was after a group of Pharisees claimed that he was doing his miracles by means of demonic powers. The main point was that Jesus was performing miracles in the name of God, and the Jewish tradition of the day stated that if someone was performing all these miracles in the name of God, than it's accepted that God sent them, because otherwise God wouldn't allow them to perform the miracles. Jesus fit the criteria (and followed all the Law), but they accused him of being a demon. In that case, the unpardonable sin was attributing to the devil something that was clearly performed by the power of the Holy Spirit solely because he was undermining their authority. The blasphemy is that they refused to accept an act that, according to their standards, was clearly from God, and calling it demonic. It's not so much that the sin is unpardonable. It's saying that anyone who rejects a clear sign from God in this manner has essentially reached a point where they are irredeemable. That said, that's only one interpretation, and there are many others. It's just the only one I could think of off the top of my head.
      • Pretty much that. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit essentially means denying God to the point of being irredeemable.
      • However, this only applies if you are a believer. Unfortunately, some folks don't understand that.
      • Open to interpretation, of course, but what this troper has learned is that the Holy Spirit is the holiness within/connected to you. So committing blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is committing blasphemy against a soul (presumably yours, but it works with anothers).
      • When it comes to the "unforgivable sin" it is twofold; the nature of this sin is where you come to know that the Gospel is true but say no to it anyway. It is one thing for an atheist to go "screw you" because the atheist is ultimately, ignorant. Yet if someone came to know that Jesus is God, believed it and then said no to it - you are denying truth openly of your own volition. As the Holy Spirit is the 'Spirit of Truth' then to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit is to deny openly the very truth you profess. The second part of this twofold statement is that in order for God to forgive, you have to be truly sorry (repentant or in a state of contrition), but of course if you openly say no to the truth after knowing it to be true then you're not going to be sorry, are you? Therefore, it is unforgivable not because it is so horrible, but because God quite simply cannot forgive you because you are not sorry!
      • So...essentially Naytheism?
      • This bothered me for years too, but a theology professor once explained it in a conversation in a way that made sense to me, and kinda said the same thing as above. If someone accepts and then completely rejects the Holy Spirit, they're rejecting God, their connection to God and their own divine sense of right and wrong. In other words, the unforgivable sin is "unforgivable" because you'll never want forgiveness after that. You've crossed the Moral Event Horizon completely and there's no little voice inside you that feels guilty about it anymore. If you reject God in a moment of anger, but then seek forgiveness, then some part of you was holding back and you didn't really cross the line at all. It's only when someone absolutely rejects God for all time, and never feels any regret, that the connection's really been severed.
      • The Holy Spirit has always been a bit of a problem. Ask ten Theologians what the Holy spirit is or represents, you'll be lucky if you get less than twelve different answers. It's part of the Trinity, but even the Catholics never settled on a real definition.
      • And.. just becuse we see it diferntly doens't mean it's not there. I saw it as the force of Morality and Good itself, what Zoraster worshiped as Ahura Mazda
      • A consoling Spirit that also provides strength and miracles. Usually when it says God spoke to a non-preist in the OT, it's the Holy Spirit.
    • It refers to a self fulfilling prophesy. The sin is forgivable but the sin denies the person to seek forgiveness. It is like saying Clinical Despression is incurable. Yes, there are treatments for it, but a Depressed person doesn't believe that there is a cure, or that the cure will work; and doctors cannot treat them without violating their Free Will.

  • Just what the heck is the Holy Spirit supposed to be, anyway?
    • It is God's active force, or Life Energy; essentially the energy/force God exerts on people or things. It is not sentient or sapient, nor part of a Trinity. Since the Holy Spirit is the effect of God's will in action, blaspheming against the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:31-32) involves willfully and knowingly opposing the spirit, or opposing God's will and purposes.
      • So then, it's like God's midichlorians, except it's not sentient?
    • The Holy Spirit is, in mainstream Christian theology, interpreted as a sentient being and indeed part of the Trinity. This is supported by John 14:16, where Jesus says "[..] he [Father] shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever", clearly indicating that God is intent on sending Somebody, not merely a Life Energy. The next verse continues: "Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." Jesus even uses personal pronouns, indicating a sentient being. In the verse after this one, Jesus says: "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." This can be interpreted as saying Jesus is also the Holy Spirit (because of the Trinity), just like he is also the Father ("I and my Father are one." – John 10:30).
    • Disagree on John 14:16-17. There is no indication that the "helper"/"comforter" has to be a person instead of a thing, and the end of the verse saying that it will be "in you" would point to a thing instead of an entity, unless you are saying that the scripture implies spirit possession. Additionally, Jesus does not use personal pronouns; the correct translation of the original Greek word used there (αυτό) is it, not him (which would be αυτόν); that particular translation you quoted is wrong.

  • When Satan came to Jesus to tempt him, he offered three things. One was to bow down to Satan and he would gives Jesus a city. Jesus declines, makes sense, following the devil is a sin. The other was to test God by jumping off a cliff, to see if He would send angels to save His son. Jesus refuses, as you shouldn't tempt God like that. However, I don't get the other one. Satan tells Jesus to turn a rock into bread, Jesus declines, saying man does not live by bread alone, implying God is needed too. Which makes sense, but while man does not live by bread alone, he does need bread (or other foodstuff) to survive. I don't get it, the other two were blatantly sins, but I don't see how turning a rock into bread in order to survive is a sin.
    • He was fasting for religious purposes. Common in Judaism, rare in Christianity.
      • Actually, fasting is still very important in Orthodox Christianity.
      • Even if he were fasting, which would be reasonable as Jesus was and always seemed to consider himself a Jew, he would still be able to turn a stone into bread. Even once, and turn it back. Or feed it to the animals around him. They wouldn't be bound by the same moral conduct that God demands of Humanity, would they?
      • It's also stated that the Holy Spirit had led him into the desert. The reason he was there at all because the Holy Spirit brought him to; it's assumed that the fasting was part of the whole "living the desert" experience. Eating anything would have been ignoring that.
      • That's a good reason why he wouldn't eat the bread, but why can't he turn a stone into bread?
      • To add to what has already been said, what Jesus says is from Deuteronomy 8:3 which talks about God feeding the Israelites manna to teach them that they couldn't just live by bread, that real life came from God. Turning a stone into bread would be akin to choosing this life, or his own way, over the life that God could provide.
      • But if Jesus is God, then wouldn't God still be providing the life? And actually, doesn't the Bible say that God created all life forms, including the wheat and yeast used to make bread? Meaning that God still provided the bread to begin with?
    • We could just save the argument and say the third is bad for the same reason as the first.
      • But that ignores that the act called for has no intrinsic reasons to be denied. Unless Jesus could give to temptation, but the He isn't perfect.
    • It could be argued that there were some subtle principles he was learning about how to use his powers appropriately (see Anne Rice Out of Egypt & Dostoyevsky's Grand Inquisitor scene for more on this.) With the powers at his disposal, he had very broad options of what to do. He could have fed himself and whoever else he wanted every day (and can you imagine what a following that could get him?), he could have raised an army, he could have called lightning down from heaven to get rid of the Romans and liberate his country, he could have really taken over. In fact this list of "power-options" begins to sound like the temptations themselves, especially if you take a view of sin that's less "breaking a specific rule" and more "moving in a wrong direction." This is very much the view espoused by Dostoyevsky. In the Grand Inquisitor scene, turning the stones into bread would simply be the first step towards Jesus' getting the poor to follow him unquestioningly because he feeds them, and Jesus rejects it because people must have free choice; he doesn't want to be a demagogue. (Later of course he does feed a group of five thousand people who've stranded themselves in an unpopulated place without food by following him there. Perhaps because he overcame this temptation early, he makes it quite clear in the gospel of John that he's not going to do it again, vehemently rejecting a group who want to make him king soon after.)

  • So, Jesus fasted 40 days and 40 night in the desert, hm!? You know, aside from the resurrection, nowhere else in the Bible does it shows any indication of Jesus being stronger or more resistant than his fellow man. Maybe it was more like "40 hours" in the original version, but it didn't look badass enough.
    • 40 days doesn't seem like an unreasonable amount of time to survive without food if he had water, especially if he was in pretty good shape or if he was mostly just sitting and meditating or something instead of walking around using up energy.
    • Apparently, 40 days and 40 nights is an old Hebrew idiom for an indefinite period of time.
    • Also, "fasting" doesn't necessarily mean no food. It could refer to being limited to a specific type of food, for example, or eating only at certain times of the day.
      • Fasting is usually not eating during daylight, as I understand it; after sundown and before sunup it's acceptable to eat a small meal, or only a certain selection of foods. Nowadays people treat it as drinking nothing but water for a period of time.
      • Fasting meaning no food between sun-up and sun-down is the islamic definition of fasting. In Catholic practice fasting means no meat and only one meal in a day. It is worth noting that the Catholic Church makes a distinction between fasting and abstinence, abstinence meaning no meat (nowadays, many dioceses allow abstaining from something else as a substitute, the important thing being the sacrifice, not what is sacrificed).
    • It is possible for a human body to survive for forty days without food(provided you get water) if you ignore the fasting traditions that allow food to be eaten at certain times. However, doing so risks permanently ruining your bowels. As for why Jesus did not turn the stone to bread? Well, Satan wanted him to do it and maybe he did not feel like entertaining Satan in any form at that point. His human body may only by 30 years old but he still has an incarnation of a timeless God, who has probably been observing Satan's antics for a million years already.
    • If you actually look it up, you can find about "modern" people fasting that long, and even more, without water and eating at night or anything, just not eating and not drinking, but remaining in prayer, worship, etc. There are even not Christian people who can (and have) do it (not the praying and worshipping part, but fasting that long). Even though it may seem clinically implausible or even impossible to some, we gotta hear what Jesus said there: Not just bread, but of the Word of God we may also live. Of course, believing that makes it possible. It's beyond the "natural", it's faith. If and when God allows me (once He says I'm ready for it), this troper may come to try it.

    Sin & Death 
  • Something that doesn't sit well with me is the passage "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16), which has been called Christianity in a nutshell. My problem is that since God is all powerful, if it is possible for him to forgive sins through his son's death it should be possible for him to do it without it. Thus, the message that is intended to portray God as infinitely loving of the world comes off making him look like a jerk for requiring Jesus's sacrifice to do it.
    • And yet if god is jesus it makes him look like a dude who would make a human aspect of himslef, prech to us dirlecty rather than the "lord over and shoot lasers" thing and then let us kill him, it makes him look a lot nicer and us a lot worse.
    • Your premise overlooks a few things. It is written that the wages of sin is death, which God pretty much said from the get-go. Man sinned anyway, and continues to do so to this very day. It's terminal in every sense of the word. Jesus' death was necessary because for sinners, Redemption Equals Death (sort of). Jesus didn't have any of that on his record to redeem, so his was the only one that could do anything to save everyone else. Besides, God choosing mankind over His own Son should send a pretty powerful message as far as the lengths to which He's willing in order to go to help us.
      • The problem is that he didn't have to choose to punish anyone. He's God, and therefore the final authority. If he decides that people should be forgiven, he can do it, with no "wages of sin" necessary.
      • If this was the case, we can do truly atrocious deeds and still be saved. Christianity more or less changes us, because of the Holy Spirit acting in us. We are forgiven of our sins because we are sincere and detest our deeds. Your idea removes that bit. IIRC, this was the case with the gnostics.
      • You don't answer WHY he HAD to PUNISH anyone. He would KNOW who is being sincere. And so that issue already defeats itself.
      • Even letting only the truly remorseful people into Heaven in no way required Jesus's death. The basic point is basically that God makes the rules, therefore he can change them without requiring a sacrifice on anyone's part, including his own.
      • Well, actually, the understanding of exactly why Christ had to die for mankind's salvation is not firmly spelled out in scripture. In the West, St. Anselm's theory of atonement (i.e., Christ was a sacrifice to off pay the debt of our sins) is pretty much universal, in the East, while that idea isn't rejected, the incarnation is also seen as sanctifying human existence and allowing part of God's eternal nature to become a part of those who accept Christ. Thus, during the crucifixion, Jesus destroys death because He is eternal. As a person repents and develops a virtuous nature, more and more of them becomes sanctified and allied with Christ, and thus eternal able to overcome death. Thus the point of the incarnation isn't just reparation for sin, but transformation of human existence from within.
      • God needed to sacrifice Himself for us sinners to truly display His love even though we killed Him. Yes, He could wipe away our sins, but that seems so cold and mechanical. It really drives the whole point that God loves us.
      • Not for this troper.
      • Which is a shame really, considering what the guy posted in that little paragraph above.
      • So wait, He sacrificed his son purely for display purposes?
      • Not purely, and not even display. Christ is a permanent reminder of God's love.
      • The problem is that if the crucifixion wasn't actually needed, God/Jesus (trinity) comes across as a Martyr Without a Cause. Even if it was a symbolic gesture.
      • Equivalent exchange, boss. God laid down the rules when he made the universe and he darn well holds us to them. Break 'em and death is the penalty. God had this, let's call it, loophole set up so that you could give up the life of an animal instead of your own, but as people (and their sin) grew, animals just weren't cutting the mustard anymore. Enter Jesus, the only guy around who hadn't lost his life to a rule breaking. He traded his pure, uncorrupted life for all of our wasted ones, which actually allowed God to rewrite the rules of life and death, allowing everyone life without any more death. So, no, not symbolic.
      • God has no problem holding the sun still for a day, yet can't offer forgiveness withour sacrifice? And it wasn't even a permanent one! It was less than twenty four hours.
      • Well, yes, but he's God. He doesn't need to be 'allowed' to rewrite the rules. He can just do it.
      • Do we know that? A lot of people assume God is absolutely, totally omniscient and omnipotent, but the Bible puts limits on what he can do. He can't break his own promise, for one thing; that comes up both in the Flood story and with the Covenant. And he can't, or at least won't, override free will, even when his own followers are acting against his wishes or are heading towards certain disaster. It seems more like God is bound by certain cosmic rules, or at least by the rules of self-consistency. He can't create a rock so heavy that he can't lift it, he can't break his own word, and he can't revoke free will even to save people. With such rules in place, it's easier to see how some long term plans might be in order to get a human race that's spinning off its axis back on track.
      • I'd be more worried if God didn't keep His promises. And are you really criticizing God's desire to stick to His word?
      • But God never once made any such promise! He's keeping to a word that he never said! That itself is questionable morality.
      • Hmmm , strictly adhering to a set of self-stipulated rules even though these rules cause great suffering to one's followers...Now, which alignment would cover that behavior?
      • The thing is, without any sort of penalty for sin, no one has much motivation to always obey God. If one accepts that obeying God is good, and disobeying God is evil, if one were to disobey God and commit evil without punishment, that leaves the problem of God completely condoning evil. The only way around this is to have a system in which doing evil is undesirable, i.e. to have God punish evil. God is perfectly merciful, but He's also perfectly just, but as creatures of free will, we're going to commit actions that require justice, ignoring one in favor of the other.
      • Name one person who has committed an infinite amount of evil.
      • Me. I realize it, and repent for it, every day.
      • You are a human. You are a finite being with a finite lifetime and finite power and finite understanding. It is therefore impossible for you to commit an infinite amount of anything, including evil.
      • If I were by myself I'd probably say the same thing, but God keeps cleaning me more and more, showing things I didn't even remember or didn't even know about myself. And check Ecclesiastes 3, there's eternity in our hearts, and God keeps showing me (sometimes painfully) what I've filled it with so far, and most importantly, what He wants to fill it with.
      • But repentance is a virtue, something a being who committed an infinite amount of evil will not have.
      • Why...? What does that have to do with the wages of sin being death? The whole point of Jesus' sacrifice is to un-damn humanity. That wasn't God's plan B; that was pretty much the logical loophole that allows for simultaneous perfect mercy and perfect justice from the beginning.
      • The point is that if a finite amount of sin in life results in an infinite amount of punishment in death, then that justice isn't perfect, but rather disproportionate.
      • One theory I've heard is that it's the severity of the sin that gets the mark - and all sin is, by definition, committed against an infinitely good God.
      • But that infinitely good God freely commits the SAME actions. Yet it's not sin. Double standards are more immoral than breaking a promise that's causing suffering.
      • Sin, by definition, must be against God's will.
      • What is it with this "finite" or "infinite" amount of sin? You are making things more complicated then they are. Perfect/sinless people live forever and sinners die; it's that simple. Remember, Adam and Eve were condemned to death after one sin. It has absolutely nothing to do with numbers, how many sins a person commits is irrelevant, and how sinful a person is doesn't become relevant until after resurrection, where it might make conforming to God's standards in their new life more difficult. Also, God can't sin; sin is an action that goes against God's will and intentions on how his creatures are supposed to act. Since God can't oppose his own will, he can't sin.
      • One way I've heard it explained is that Hell, being separation from God, isn't so much an extension of God's wrath as it is the void left when you completely reject God (see the "unforgivable sin" IJBM on here). It's not really God saying "screw you, here's eternal pain," it's more like "Wish you were here, but I can't help you if you won't accept My help." (I should mention my personal theology is fairly lenient when it comes to Heaven; the way I see it, you pretty much have to try to get into Hell, because otherwise, you'd be right about the disproportionate thing.)
      • Although, since God created the entire universe — including Heaven and Hell — that means He also created the conditions that would prevail for anyone separated from His presence. If Hell is a burning lake of fire, then God created that burning lake of fire as a "default" state for existence when not in His presence. One could argue that God could have created a default sans-Gods-presence state for the Universe that was considerably more comfy than Hell.
      • Do some research befored conplaining ok. According to the bible god created hell AFTER satan rebellion(NOT during during the creation period!) to be satan prison, then satan supposedly trick humanity into eating the forbidden fruit which allow humans to understand the difference between good and evil which then allowed humans to go to hell too.
  • Another way of seeing it would be this: Righteousness is having a connection, or an understanding, with God. Sinning means that that connection is broken. The link is re-established through redemption. Heaven is being permanently connected to God. Hell is being permanently severed from God. If you accept these statements, Heaven and Hell take on the nature of natural continuations of already existing states, rather than reward and punishment. If you choose to do things that distance you from God, you stay distanced from God.
    • By that token, sinners should never die and remain 'separate' from God. Though it does actually jive with reincarnation themes (even though they are not biblical).
  • Why is being homosexual considered "bad" or a "sin" for Christians?
    • Because it is unnatural and against God's design for human sex relations. (And no, the claim that homosexuality is genetic does not contradict the previous statement.)
    • 1.) It could be argued that same-sex relations are, in and of their very nature adultery and fornication (the notion of gay marriage throws this one for a loop). 2.) The societies that Christianity took hold in saw same-sex relations as upper class decadence (accusations of being the receptive partner in a homosexual relationship were a common slur in republican era Rome, for one).
    • (Same troper from above.) Ah... That makes sense. Thank you kindly to both for answering my question.
    • The Bible says laying with another man. This means anal sex, or so I understand. Anal Sex makes it alot easier to contract diseases than vaginal sex (it causes tears in the flesh you wouldn't know where there, and they would get infected). In a society without modern medicine and treatment, such a thing would be really, really bad and would likley be contagious. So for at least in the camp of Israel, it was banned for sanitary reasons, much like many theorize not eating pig/shellfish was.
    • Here's what I think: A) His rules say no sex outside of marriage, B) The rules say marriage is a "man and woman becoming one flesh". Since homosexuals can't get married in the Biblical sense, than having sex would be a sin.
      • But if "no sex outside of marriage" is indeed one of God's rules, then King Solomon was guilty of breaking that rule 400 times. There was no indication in the Old Testament that Solomon's 400 concubines — whom he never married — were considered in any way a violation of God's rules.
      • Not per se, but many of these were foreign and they led Solomon away from God and into idolatry. God punished Solomon by breaking up his kingdom, leaving only the tribes of Judah and Benjamin to Rehoboam (Solomon's son and successor).
    • being homosexual is not a sin, but homosexual sex is a sin
      • "Whoso looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart" Matthew 5:28. Judging by this type of argument, the poor homosexuals who just happen to think of sex have sinned.
      • Though it primarily applies to heterosexuals, which would mean they're all in the same boat.
    • What about intersexuals? If a person is genetically and biologically somewhere between male and female, then having a sexual attraction to either would get them damned either way. And if an intersexual tries to change their biological orientation, would that get them further condemned for changing something that god gave them?

  • What really bothers me is this: It says that once a soul goes to Heaven or Hell, they stay there forever. Apparently, only angels can fall from grace. Does that mean that a soul loses all free-will to commit evil in Heaven, and in Hell it can't redeem itself ever? That is just plain depressing.
    • Humans become unable to sin, due to it being Heaven and completely perfect. And hell is separation from God, eternally.
      • Which begs the question: If it's possible for God to create a place (Heaven) that's so completely perfect that even beings with free will will never sin there, why didn't He create the Earth to be the same kind of place? Then no one, including His own Son, would have had to endure the 6000 years of heartache and grief that Original Sin imposed.
    • The way the Bible explains it and what needs to be understood is that human beings were originally created in the image of God, we were made to be one with Him and share in His glory and powers and we were going to turn this Earth into a paradise with God overseeing that process, the Garden of Eden was going to be the starting point and the Human race was going to expand from there. However when Satan came in the form of a serpent he told Adam and Eve that they could be just as great as God if we ate of the fruit that He told us not to. We were originally made in the image of God, but sin corrupted our original purity and goodness that God made us to have and God being Holy, meaning that He is perfectly good, could no longer maintain that relationship with us because His nature cannot be with another being that is against His nature, God's nature is good and good can't mix with evil. This spiritual separation from God prevents humanity from living lives to the utmost joy and quality and has left humanity doomed to death, our sin has doomed us to physical death and ultimately after physical death eternal death in hell. The reason we go to hell is because our sin separates us from the presence of God, the penalty of sin is death and hell and its state of eternal death is that penalty. Hell is a heavy price to pay for sin, but it is the only price that can appease God according to the Bible.
      • The Bible goes on however to tell us that God saved us by having Jesus pay the price for our sin with His death, that way by accepting what He did for us we can be righteous in the eyes of God because we no longer have any sin debt to pay to God and through this mean we can escape hell. The only reason anyone goes to hell after what Jesus did is because they have rejected Him, God can't do anything more, He gave everything He had when he made His Son Jesus die in the place of humanity, it is now up to humanity to decide whether they want to accept what Jesus did. Despite the mercy of God once you are in hell unlike our time on Earth the grace period where we can be redeemed from our sins is over, everything that is good and holy that God is willing to give us will be something we will no longer have access to, we will be cut off from God forever. To put things into perspective this is what hell is said to be like in the Bible:

1) God is light, He is brighter than any star in the universe His will is what keeps stars burning in the first place allowing us to see the literal world around us but His spiritual light also reveals good things in our souls hidden in the darkness of sin as well. Hell is outside of God's presence, it is a realm of literal darkness where you will be all alone, you won't see your friends and family, Satan, and especially not God, and you will remember for all eternity what you could have had in heaven had you obeyed God. A person in hell would ask themselves if a lifetime of sin on Earth was worth giving up unspeakable joy and glory in the presence of God for eternity, and since they will see God for the briefest of times, as God judges everyone in Revelation, in Hell they will have the memory of seeing God in all His glory but will never have it as an eternal reality since they are cut off from Him. Eternal darkness and loneliness.

2) God is life, God creates life and sustains life and provides a means for us to live our lives in abundant joy and glory. In hell we will be in a state of eternal death, it is a place where we are not alive but we won't die either, "where the worm dies not.", we will have physical bodies but we will not be able to live any sort of "life" and death will not give us any release from our torment leaving our conscious minds to ponder forever alone in the darkness of hell. And beyond that without God a person in hell will have no joy or pleasure and no ambitions, preventing them from living a life of abundance or meaning regardless of whether they were in a state of undeath or not. Hell is the second death, our first death separates us from our bodies and when God judges a nonbeliever they will be cut off from His presence forever and that state of death will last forever.

3) While the Bible makes mention of a lake of fire, hell's fires are just as much metaphorical as they are literal. God is the water of life, He quinces our spiritual thirst for His presence as we were made in His image and were made to be one with Him. In hell you will have a raging fire inside your soul that is your need for God but you will no longer be comforted by the Spirit of God, you won't hear His Word and He will no longer convict you to return to Him since your salvation period in which you could be redeemed and return to God is now over, you will have a thirst for God but you will never be able to satisfy that thirst. That is why God says to come now while our thirst is strong and our hearts are still open, now is the accepted time to come to Him lest you harden your heart and close yourself off from God, you may never have another chance and if you lose your chance while here on Earth and die you will regret it for all eternity since you can choose where you will be in eternity.

  • So hell is separation from God and His will for eternity, while heaven is us becoming one with God where we will become complete with God and reign with God. Our wills will be the same as God's for we will be one with God, what He wants we shall want, His glory, powers, and dignities as creator and master of the universe we will share for we will reign with Him. Heaven is an exciting place for there will be no more pain, or sadness or anger, and certainly no more sin or death to destroy us anymore, all that is against God will be no more and we will be in a state of eternal joy with Him forever. Hell is a person missing out on that, and never being able to turn back.
  • Chris Walley gives a good summation of the nature of hell in his "Lamb Among the Stars" trilogy
""There is a place where those who want nothing to do with God can be alone forever. Men call it Hell.""
  • Wait, heaven is eternal oneness? So, heaven is Instrumentality?
  • Nothing so simple as mind control, it is something so complex it can't properly be expressed in words. Our oneness with God can be likened onto how the Trinity works, God has 3 separate entities, 3 persons, that have different personalities but ultimately share all the same attributes and one unifying will that works together for a greater overall purpose. The Father is God, the Son (Jesus) is God, and so is the Holy Spirit, they are separate but equal, separate and yet one, meaning that everything that makes the Father God makes the Son God and that each member of the Trinity knows each other intimately and infinitely (meaning they know everything about each other) and even love each other infinitely. Each member of the Trinity has a single substance and will and they all share these attributes making them one being and yet still 3 persons, that is what the Bible explains and no one can claim to understand it all. In likewise manner we will intimately and infinitely know and love God for everything that He is and his essence shall consume and command us as our will and desires become one with God's and we shall serve and worship Him. The Trinity will still exist but to be with God, to be in His presence is to be one with Him. But again I stress all of this is far more complicated than that and can't properly be expressed, one would simply have to wait and see.
  • Yeah, can't properly be expressed. No matter how often I hear stuff like that, it sounds like the stuff the villains do in most media I watch, the stuff that gives me nightmares. Either there's a Perspective Flip in here somewhere, or something is being explained wrong/can't be properly explained at some juncture.
  • Because you're taking a description of heaven and trying to paint an image of nirvana on it. To be eternally with God, and of like mind and will, is not to be absorbed into Him...frankly, even saying so smacks of pride to me. He is creator, we are creature, and a nirvana-esque endgame implies the same thing the serpent said - 'Ye shall become as gods'.
  • I hear those sorts of arguments against heaven a lot. Things like, "Oh there is no free will in heaven since we will only have the choice of being with God.", and yet using our free will to choose to not be with God certainly has helped our situation what with all the sin, suffering and death we go through as a result of that choice. What one needs to consider is that going to heaven in the first place was part of your free will to begin with, when you accepted Jesus as your savior that was an act of your will, you said to God when you accepted Jesus, "I recognize myself to be a sinner, one who has gone against the will of God and I turn away from that behavior and want to return to serving you and your will Father, not my own, and by accepting Jesus as savior I acknowledge that my sin debts are paid in full by Him." It really is that simple and heaven is you being rewarded for using your free will to return to God, you wanted to be with Him on Earth and so you accepted His offer, heaven is a continuation of that, heaven is for those people who want to be with God. Hell is not really a punishment as much it is a choice, a person who wants to defy God and turn away from the presence of God can choose to do as such, and hell is simply a continuation of that, hell is for those that didn't want God and so God in return won't acknowledge them as one of His own come Judgment Day.
  • And besides I don't see why heaven would be such a bad thing, the implications of reigning with God are infinitely exciting. Reigning with means that we will be ruling with God, we will be part of His kingdom and that we will share all of His glory and dignities. We will have omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, omni-benevolence, and immortality, we will share all that God has, I don't see how that can be "boring." in the slightest, the universe would be at your beck and call.
  • Not so sure about the omni-s. We're finite creatures, even if we'll be finite creatures expanded beyond our current wildest imaginations. It's a difference of type, not merely of amount.
  • The general fear/arguement isn't of boredom, but rather Loss of Identity- that God's greatness and descriptions of heaven such that it seems from what we are told that some intrinsic part of what makes us ourselves will be overwhelmed by the Presence. As for Hell being a choice and eternal separation for those that reject God, again, from the descriptions, it makes it sound to me like the choices are "hate god and not meet him at all and sit in a cave for eternity" or "fuse with God and all the other deceased, so overcome with awe and whatnot that your personality, ideosyncracies, habits, likes and dislikes, and hobbies are subsumed with reverence and a pathological obsession with prayer, praising, and singing", which seems like a bit of a bum deal as far as choices are concerned. As noted elsewhere on the Wiki, Loss of Identity is Nightmare Fuel. If everything that makes me myself- an unending thirst for understanding, an intrinsic mistrust of absolute authority that goes along wiht the thirst for knowlege (tell my to do something without saying why, and I automatically get suspicious no matter who is saying it), a wry sense of humor and love of reading, shyness, a love of cooking, video games, and gundam model kits, will be subsumed with praising, prayer, singing, and blind obedience and reverence without a thirst for knowledge or understanding, then it sounds more like destruction of the soul and said soul being used as raw material for someone else. I recognize that I don't always do the right thing and that I not infrequently do things that can be deemed sinful, for which I am truly sorry, but if the choices are sitting in a cave with the scum of humanity who aren't sorry for their atrocities (hello Hitler, says Mr. Godwin! Perhaps its pridefulness and overblown sense of deservingness on my part, but a system that equates a desire to retain my present sense of identity with killing eleven million innocents seems unfair) or losing myself, I get a bit indignant.
  • There's a fine line between pride and identity. You're seeing it from a completely self-centered perspective. And worship is not just limited to "PRAISE THE LORD" for all eternity.
  • Let's put it this way: Some people will look at the idea of "becoming one with God" from the perspective of somebody who's just been told they're actually a tasty burger and there's a customer waiting. That's just the way these things go.
  • Worth noting that, according to one biblical fanfic (The Screwtape Letters), that 'tasty hamburger' metaphor is the demonic, not divine, outlook on humanity. And again, for the record, we won't 'become one with God' - we'll be of like mind and will, but still separate, and finite, creatures. Recommendation for those who care: Pick up a copy of the book Heaven by Randy Alcorn and look through it.
  • Jesus wants us to eat Him, not the other way around.


  • So, if God is omnipotent, why would he need to rest for a day?
    • The Hebrew words refer to a ceasing action. It would be better said that God ceased creating things.

  • Isn't omnipotency a logical impossibility? Or does being omnipotent allow you to defy logic without defying logic, even though that is in and of itself a logical impossibility? I guess what I'm asking is, is God able to perform paradoxes? Because being able to do anything implies that he can perform logically impossible feats, which means that he could make all humans good without defying free will.
    • You, like most people, are taking the word "omnipotent" too literally. God does have "limitations", like the inability to lie (Titus 1:2).
    • But that's an inability stemming from a completely good nature, i.e. God always tells the truth, therefore he shouldn't lie. By contrast, omniscience is not an evil trait, therefore he shouldn't lack the ability to use it.

  • If God is omnipotent, what would happen if He fought Himself?
    • He would win. ...okay, joking out of the way, I'd say His attribute of immortality would override His attribute of all-powerful. Does that sound like a limitation? That's because God's limits are from what's necessary to be self-sustaining. He cannot, for instance, sin, because that would contradict His attribute of being all-good. So harmful actions against Himself, such as killing Himself, disobeying Himself, creating something greater than Himself cannot happen, or else he would not be God.
      • If God's very nature means that He can't act self-contradictory, doesn't that mean He has limitations? Yes, they prevent Him from acting in a manner that isn't omnipotent, but being able to do absolutely anything would include the ability to not be able to do absolutely anything which would I think I've gone cross-eyed
  • The Bible outright says God's not omnipotent. He's just really, really potent, especially compared to humans, but several scriptures point out certain limitations He has. Several scriptures, notably Hebrews 6:18 and Psalm 89:34, state that God is incapable of lying no matter what. Isaiah 55 has a lengthy tract which states that once God has expressed his purpose, He cannot go back on it but must fulfill that purpose (Romans 11:29 says something similar about how he can't revoke his own gifts or statements). Isaiah 43:25 states that God sometimes chooses to erase His own memory, and if He does so the memory is Lost Forever and even He can't recover it. Several scriptures state that God is incapable of changing his own nature (1 Samuel 15:29, James 1:17).
    • Isaiah 43:25 actually sounds more like he's saying he "forgets" in the sense of "acts like he doesn't know" rather than in the literal sense.

  • God is supposedly omniscient, right? Why, then, would he need to test us to see if we're worthy of heaven? An omniscient being, by definition, knows everything; tests are completely unnecessary. On top of that, God supposedly creates every single detail of every single person; so he's testing what he knows is going to happen because he made us exactly as he wanted? What the eff kind of test is that?
    • It's not a test though, we damn ourselves and we chose the impure path.
      • Except we don't because we don't know which path to take, and God isn't willing to tell us, since there are multitudes of religions.
      • But according to the Bible, Jesus is THE path to follow (John 14:6).
      • Which could go with the thought that all religions lead to Jesus. Stay with me here. Basically, there are many religions, all of which lead to God/Jesus. Well, mostly.
      • That then makes the very idea of a "right religion" false. Then all rituals are futile and the implications of forbidding both pagans and atheists from Heaven leave God as even less moral than can be taken.
      • If god doesn't see us worthy of being with him because we "choose" to be vile, disgusting creatures (again, he made us that way), then why bother creating us at all in the first place?
      • Or rather, we simply chose the incorrect path and are suffering for it. God made us to be in a personal relationship with Him, which can't exist if the other party has no choice.
      • Wait, if God wants a personal relationship with us, and has us tortured for eternity if we do not accept, does that make God a Yandere?
    • It kind of depends on what you mean by omniscience. Omniscience of the kind you're talking about has some pretty horrifying implications which you've touched on. If God knows everything that will ever happen, and crafted a divine plan to that effect, then yes, all that testing is just a cruel joke. But even worse, if everything's already been decided nothing you or I or any of us do means anything. There's no point in caring, loving, trying, being decent, because it matters not one jot. Everything that happens was going to happen anyway no matter what. However, there is a strain of theology called open theism which posits that, among other things, God is a living dynamic entity and he responds to what goes on in the world. I take it to mean that while God may be omniscient, the future doesn't actually exist in any objective form and so he can't know the future. There are other interpretations however. And futhermore, God's omniscience may actually be overstated. In Exodus, God is about to go off on one because of the whole Golden Calf thing and exterminate the Israelites. Moses actually talks him out of it. This particular line of thought is what helps me sleep at night.
      • Actually the point of omniscience is a fundamental one that even pre-Christian thought realized. If he's a perfect being than by definition he must have perfect knowledge, or simply 'be all knowing'. It also keeps Hell as unjust because God would STILL KNOW that HE IS FORCING an infinite punishment on the actions of FINITE CRIMES, many of which are rightly claimed OUT OF IGNORANCE of the TRUE PATH and God's ACTIVE REFUSAL to provide ANY indication of which one IS "right", if any can even be claimed to be "right". And you then contradict yourself in that "God being all knowing still would have made all of that play out differently" meaning that God is the ultimate Chess Master...not something you would expect from the PERFECT GOOD GUY. Especially since your comment implies underhandedness.
    • Indeed the idea that the Omnipotence of God is often taken to an unfortunate extreme. A logical one by some measure but one that a little research typically breaks down. God's omnipotence is that he's all POWERFUL, not necessarily all KNOWING. He gave us free will when he created us and because of it we can do things he wouldn't originally expect. The example above of Moses calming Gods wraith is one example, as are other times (often by Moses) where others convinced God of things. Abraham convinced God to spare a city from his wraith repeatedly if he could just find enough inccocent people there (Moses didn't, but God being all knowing still would have made all of that play out differently) There are several accounts where people are even offered repentance by god for their deeds, but upon choosing not to change God exacted his punishment on them. If he was of the "all knowing" type of omniscience, he would have just been intentionally wasting his own time offering a chance to people he knew wouldn't take it up. Changes to the laws given to man reflect this as well.
    • Another example: God created the marriage arrangement and then had to later amend it down to ONE wife because guys seemed to think a couple extra (or a couple hundred extra for some biblical playboys) would do them just fine. If he knew his rule wouldn't be followed the way he wanted he would have made all the proper addendum's to begin with.
      • Actually the Bible doesn't really limit marriage to one man and one woman. Several biblical verses even demand that people take on multiple wives, such as those of their brothers when their brothers die. And then the command by God to "go forth and multiply". And then there's that several prominant figures are noted by God as good despite having wuite a few additional wives.
      • Yes, God did require the practice of taking their brother's wives when they died, if they had no children, but this rule was only for the Israelites. However, God only intended for the limit of one woman for one man, and he made it a rule once Christianity came into play.
    • In the end, it mostly comes down to free will. Which is whole different argument...
  • It all comes down to how you view time and remembering how omniscience is really defined. Omniscience is defined as the ability to know everything that can be known. That last part gets left off a lot. So if it can't be known an omniscient being can't know it. With that in mind it all comes down to you how you view time. If the future isn't real (i.e. hasn't happened yet)then it is unknowable therefore God doesn't know the future. I personally like to think that God knowing everything that can be down could see how every decision, everything you do, and everything that happens to you affects your life. So He could see how doing X would affect my life throughout the ages. So with this view He doesn't know the outcome of the whatever test or trial He lets happen in your life what He does know is that you're better off because of it.

    Who Wants To Live Forever 

  • Did the authors of The Bible even think about the downsides of eternal paradise?The whole point of Christianity seems to be overcoming death,and earning heaven. But none of them realises that such paradise could become boring. I mean,there's only a limited number of things someone could come up with or do to pass the time-eternal bliss would get dull.
    • This is something this (Christian) Troper has thought about a lot, and has come to the conclusion that God probably took this into account. This Troper is pretty sure God wouldn't overlook such a blatant flaw in His own religion.
    • You're thinking about it as if Heaven is exactly the same as Earth, except nobody dies. That's not the case. Heaven is something that we, as mortal humans, simply cannot understand. If you're trying to understand God as if He is human or as if Heaven is something like Earth, then you're doing it wrong.
    • According to some, Heaven/New Earth is a place where we all work towards our flourishing, in joy of the one we were made for (God). It's a place where deeds are celebrated regardless of who did it, and where we will be able to do many things we couldn't before (one example C. S. Lewis mentioned was walking on water). Besides, just because we have an infinite amount of time doesn't mean that in heaven we won't have an infinite-30% amount of things to do (which is still infinity if I remember my math concepts), and if we in our humanity couldn't come up with anything more, perhaps God could create something more. Also, think of it like your time in the summer, fall and spring moved into a moment only you enjoyed it all because your best friend and King was actually there to help you and play with you and advise you all that time. But referring to the immediate above poster, we still are limited, so until Revelation, we'll just have to think for the most part.
    • I always thought heaven would be like what a sinless world is like in Ted Dekker's Circle Series, i.e., a playing ground for humans and God.
  • Consider the details in the Garden of Eden story. Adam and Eve were in a sort of paradise and were happy. But then they learn they were naked the whole time by eating from a certain tree, and so they were stained with sin. And imagine it: all Adam and Eve had were each other, animals, plants and the ground to keep themselves amused. And they were happy for what may have been a very long time before they (and by extension for believers, all humanity today) were marked by sin. But when a person's electricity cuts off in these times, boredom is likely to strike within hours. It is likely being without sin changes a person's perceptions or how they experience happiness, and perhaps the presence of God plays a part as well. Maybe being without sin is itself enough to give a person eternal happiness? That may explain why God is so adamantly against sin and reacts negatively to those who sin. God wouldn't even answer His son's dying cries when Jesus took all sins upon himself on the cross.

  • Whose idea was it to put Erotic Literature in The Bible? Specifically, the Song of Solomon. It's quite a Genre Shift from everything else before or after it, and the original text probably was much more smutty.
    • God created sex and made it holy. Marital relations are never condemned in the Bible; in fact, the Bible never fails to speak positively of marital relations. All the condemnation of sex involves abuses such as fornication, adultery, contraception or sodomy, and these are condemned because sex is holy, and it is a sin to abuse holy things by treating them in a manner contrary to their purpose. Desecrating something holy is called sacrilege. The point of the Song of Solomon is that sex within marriage is a beautiful and holy thing, and it serves as an image of God's relationship with His people. It's not for nothing that God refers to His relationship with His people as a marriage.
      • Marriage existed before sex? It's cool. Or any lifelong sexual fidelity automatically is considered marriage?
  • Is it me, or does God, after what took place in the Garden of Eden, curse the snake to SLITHER ON THE GROUND? Seriously, what was it doing before? Flying?
    • Snakes Had legs.
    • Some medieval art shows the pre-curse Snake standing upright on the tip of its tail.
    • My personal theory? Snakes were originally dragons.
    • Arboreal? He did come out of a tree.
    • Snakes do have vestigal legs (vestigal - a thing that's there but is not used for anything, like how humans have an appendix that we don't use for anything). Perhaps that explains something?
      • Only male pythons and boas have tiny buds of hind toes, which are used in mating to stimulate the female; most snakes have no remnants of limbs whatsoever. Which means that, whatever species of snake was supposedly to blame for the Fall, an awful lot of innocent species must've gotten slapped with the same penalty, some more thoroughly than others.
      • While we're on the subject, since when do snakes eat dust? Snakes mostly eat rodents, and ancient Middle Eastern cultures were well aware of that fact.
      • Figure of speech. "Eat my dust" would be a similar phrase that comes to mind. I'd say it meant that the serpent would have to slither around the ground amidst the dust.
      • All snakes are serpents, but not all serpents are snakes. So yeah.
      • It's from the tongue flicking thing. The people who wrote the bible thought that snakes were eating the dirt, as opposed to smelling. You'd think God would know better, buut...
    • Some medieval artists painted the little bugger as being closer to a monitor lizard with a human head in order for this to make sense.
      • Humans still use the appendix. Ever wondered why a burst appendix is so damn deadly? It's storing a shitload of toxins.
    • What's worst is, why did God punished snakes!? it only works if he didn't knew Satan turned into a snake, or controlled the snake (different stories) but still, isn't it very unfair to curse the snakes because that's what Lucifer choose to transform into/control/posses?
      • The Hebrew term used was serpent, not snake. Serpent in the sense of a monstrous thing.
      • The whole concept of Satan possessing a snake or something along those lines comes from Paradise Lost, not the Bible.

  • In the translation I've read, anyway, God describes himself as "a jealous god" several times in reference to wanting His people to not worship other powers. So why did He make Envy a Deadly Sin? Wouldn't that make God a sinner?
    • First, that 7 deadly sins stuff isn't in the Bible, so it's not canon. It's a fanon thing early Catholic church writers agreed on while trying to shape out The Verse, but so far there's been no literal Word of God to settle the issue. Secondly, God often breaks his "you shall not murder" rule also, so it looks like he thinks his rule are only meant to apply to humans, and he is beyond them.
      • Jealousy and Envy aren't synonyms. Jealousy means wanting to keep what is yours to a paranoid, dangerous extent, while envy is wanting what others have.
    • Look at the wording more carefully. And the word that was translated into "jealous" refers to the way a lover is jealous over his beloved hanging around men all of the time. And God didn't commit murder, He carried out justice.
      • The same is often said by vigilantes and other human killers. While God is certainly in a much more authoritative position with regards to the claim, it is still somewhat questionable when it comes to the whole "visiting the sins of the fathers upon the sons" thing he does. The people living in Israel when the Jews got back from Egypt were guilty of nothing more than being born to parents that had moved to Israel, and for being born there, God commanded their deaths.
      • And how do you know, these were royals and high class slave masters. And no Slaver, from the moment he gains sentience, is "innocent." They deserved what they got, plain and simpl.
      • War was going to happen though. And it's not like the Canaanites just peacefully gave up their land as the multitudes of battles in Joshua indicates.
      • Importantly, too, the Bible doesn't say that the Canaanites' only sin is living in the land given to Abraham. They weren't just harmless squatters hanging out in an abandoned apartment while the owner was away for a while. They were violent, they were dangerous, and they lived in terrible sin.
      • which it's suspiciously too convenient for the Isrealites don't you think, kind of like the perfect excuse for taking another civilization, they were "all" (yes apparently ALL) bad and were doing terrible stuff, so it was right to kill them. And who's telling us they were bad? the people who wanted the land they were in.
      • Well, not really. The land was promised to their forefather, and they were occupying land that they had no right to. That, and their religions were truly horrible, as quite a few required human sacrifice.
      • Okay, so, send a prophet to the canannites saying that if they don't shape up and/or get out, they'll be destroyed. You know, like how God sent Jonah to Ninnevah because he was "concerned about that great city." But no, no warnings, no chance of escaping judgement, not even a Sodom-esque "Send in Angels and check the place out first" thing. Just jumping right to kill em all. That's part of why people fret about the things God does in the old testament. It doesn't just seem evil, but inconsistent.
      • How about an army of Israelites wandering around the border for a generation after their God led them out of Egypt? You think a huge event like Pharoah and his army drowning in the Red Sea would go unnoticed by the surrounding nations? And for the record, there was one tribe that did repent and beg the Israelites for a peace treaty, which Israel agreed to and abided by, the trickery the tribe used notwithstanding. Rahab, too, illustrated that the people marked for extermination could escape because Redemption Earns Life.

  • OK, here's a theological question for you people. Why is it in the 1st book of Kings, Elisha is permitted to say goodbye to his folks, but the dude Jesus wants to follow him can't go bury his parents first? I've never understood that.
    • Because the guy who wanted to bury his parents first wasn't going back to Jesus. If I recall correctly, Jesus even says that. That, and it works with the whole "Jesus came to divide" bit, where families would be divided over the issue of Jesus.
      • More specifically - some scholars indicate that the actual 'can I go bury my parents' comment came up while the parents were still alive. Basically, it's 'can I put this off until after some other, higher priority task gets finished?' The answer there is no - following the Christ is a binary point - all or nothing. If it's not the top priority, then don't bother.

  • Peter denies Jesus three times. Does this make him a bad man?
    • Yes, but he repented. Judas did not.
      • As shown in his three proclamations of love to the Risen Christ, symbolically countermanding the three cries of denial
    • No, just imperfect.
  • OK, Jesus, you mind telling me why You cursed the fig tree? I get it, you were hungry,but what did that old tree ever do to you to make you go: "May you never bear fruit again!"
    • Its a metaphor for unbelievers saying that they believe, when in reality, they bare no fruit. Also note that the fig tree had bared leaves, but not fruit, which is odd because figs grow both at the same time.
    • His disciples point out to him that it's not the right season for figs, so Jesus' decision is still oddly petty. And even so, why the curse? Should we kill unbelievers?
    • ** There is the undeniable fact nothing is known of where Jesus went and what he did betwen ages 13-30. This has allowed extra-biblical myths to rise to suggest he went everywhere between Glastonbury and Japan in a quest for wisdom. Now let's propose he went to India and encountered Budddhists. Or the Buddhists came to him - Palestine was at the crossroads of trading caravans, so this is not improbable. We know Buddhism left a firm presence as far west as Afghanistan: its missionaires and believers must therefore have penetrated further, maybe as far as Roman Palestine. The fig tree is important in Buddhist legend. In cursing the fig tree to wither, is Jesus therefore denouncing a rival religion as having no substance - no "fruit"? If he had spent time travelling and exploring other religions - and he had seventeen years to do this in - Jesus may have encountered the Buddhist religion but found it lacking in some ways and not to be compared with his innate Abrahamic monotheism. Hence the parable comes down to us, but with its original context lost.
  • Where did God get his own persona or ego (in the Freudian sense also known as individuality, not the ego in the sense of pride) anyway? Don't give immortality arguments: if he lacked his own genesis he has no one or nothing to learn from, which means he should lack a personal ego and remain a part of a chaotic id (You should know that learning requires stimuli, have you ever read in deep silence a massive book while blindfolded?). And the Bible accurately portrays God not as a Brahman -esque collective unconscious, but something which has its own ego (I Am The Lord Thy God, Thou Shall Not Worship Other Gods Besides Me). Having an ego means having an individuality, ergo, the entire universe should not contain anything which he doesn't want in the first place. Also, if he has his own ego, won't his own ego be obliterated by the multiversal management?
    • Magic? Although its possible that there is another force that drives him which is why he (or she) is unable to break some rules. The bible doesn't meantion this, but the bible doesn't meantion a lot of things. Also, since there are "other gods" he could have modeled himself after them, if they came before him.
    • God is a being BEYOND us, and our methods of learning.
      • Then what's the point of even TRYING to understand or learn about God? And, to the one above using "magic", the Bible makes clear that "other gods" either don't exist or are not "gods". As well as that any force greater than God by necessity makes God lack perfection. Unless God is a machine, but then God has no free will and that carries its own implications.
      • The point is eternal life, as Jesus said in John 17:3. To explain, we were created to be in a relationship with God, and when we sinned, we separated ourselves from Him. Essentially, salvation is when this relationship is mended by faith in Christ and repentance (a change of heart rather than change of lifestyle, though the former ought to create the latter). While God id not COMPLETELY knowable, He does reveal that which we can understand.

  • With the sheer number of rules in the Bible, is it still possible to not break all of them? If you follow all the rules in the bible, congratulations, you just put yourself in And I Must Scream -like state. It's better and more satisfying if we just fixed the sin-causing desires and obsessions ala Buddhism and psychoanalysis. Then there's the constant repentance. If we break the rules, we need to repent to Jesus. There's problems with that tactic. First, it seems like self-deprecation if we will continue to be repent for eternity. Second, if we are going to repent, then what is the use of the rules? For example, if a mass murderer repented for all the sins he committed before death, he will go to heaven. Seems like Doublethink.
    • The idea of repentance is SINCERE desire to reform and to not do the action again. As in you recognize you did the wrong and that you want to change. Forgiveness is the striking from the record your sins, in exchange for you changing your life. The rules show us that we screwed up.
      • People on death row are more than willing to be SINCERE about not being the action again. Of course the issues then rises that free will is redundant because use of it IS IN FACT "sin" and hence we are PUNISHED for using it. And then what about those who ONLY restrain themselves BECAUSE they will be rewarded for doing what the Bible says? Aren't they LESS moral than the one who rejects the Bible but does "good acts" because he SINCERELY wants to.
    • The mass murderer? Yeah, probably would go to heaven. But going to heaven does not get him out of judgment and a punishment before he gets to go. As for all the rules. All the rules as addressed to you the reader sure, there are plenty of rules made only for individuals or for people at certain places and times which contradict those made for people in other places and times.
    • However, that still doesn't address one of the odder questions - would a repentant murderer get into Heaven while a non-Christian that upheld the ideals of Christianity (e.g. Gandhi) be condemned to Hell? That's a question that really doesn't gel for a lot of people, as it rewards someone that overtly committed sins while punishing someone that did a world of good.
      • The entire idea behind Christianity is that, on their own merits, no one in the human race has ever been virtuous or sinless enough to get into Heaven. The only way in is to admit that they don't deserve it, accept that Jesus' sacrifice can absolve them of their sin, and ask for God's grace and forgiveness. It isn't about good people vs bad people, but about people who accept salvation vs people who don't think they need it. See also: Parable of the lost sheep, parable of the prodigal son. From a humanist viewpoint, it sounds fucked up, but the religion is what it is, and isn't going to change for our sake.

  • The Thou Shall Not Kill commandment. First, if God didn't order us to not kill, then why war? Gandhi followed the commandments better than Christians, who freaking planned world domination before (God is justified as an argument for colonialism). Also, the usage of the commandment to justify suicide and euthanasia as sins. On euthanasia, what will be followed? Thou shall not kill or "Love thy neighbour" (If Love thy neighbour is followed, then euthanasia can be justified as an act of compassion)? On suicide, does the commandment really have to extend to the self? If that's the case, then... Welcome to 1984!!!!!
    • Calm down there Troper. Remember, this isn't for complaining about religions you don't like. But in answer to your questions:
      • Kill meant something different in those days, i.e. murder. The commandment is stating thou shall not murder. Killing in war has never been generally considered murder (whether or not that's a wallbanger is another page).
      • The Bible has nothing to do with nineteenth century Real Politik. People finding tortured justifications for questionable actions in an 1000+ page holy book is only to be expected. It's be more surprising if they couldn't.
      • Suicide is a sin on practical grounds. As heaven is supposed to be better than earth, suicide has to be a sin, otherwise everyone would do it because, well, why wait for the good stuff?
      • Because the wait makes it better. Because waiting can help provide you the ability to watch your children and make sure they learn properly. Because God told us to "go forth and multiply". Becuase it lets one attempt to discover the Truth for themself. Because it allows one to work in the name of God. And that's just to begin.
      • And we cannot do all those things in haven because...?
      • On euthanasia, the question is open. Some Christians find it reprehensible others do not. It's up to you to decide what the Bible says and whose explanation makes the most sense. Opposition to euthanasia is not an article of the faith.
    • This is one of the many flaws in the King James translation. The word means "murder".
    • Except killing people in war is murder also if you look at it that way.
      • That actually depends on who you ask many people feel that fighting for your country isn't murder.
      • The Hebrew word translated as "kill" in the King James Version, and which (as mentioned above) would be better translated as "murder", had a specific legal meaning. State-sanctioned killing, such as the killing of enemy soldiers in war or the execution of a condemned prisoner, was expressly excluded from that definition.

  • "If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it and throw it away". And everyone takes this book seriously. Flat "What.".
    • dude really? it's a metaphor...the eye represents anyone or anything that causes one to sin(even if it as close to you as an organ) get rid off it,your better off without. jesus commonly spoked in metaphor. which even confused he followers at times.
    • Fair for Its Day; that was the legal policy in many countries for years, at least with hands rather than eyes.
      • At least if the definition of sin only included " stealing from, killing, and harassing other people". After all, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. But nowadays sin now included EVERYTHING, from being unbaptized, to doubting the Word of God, to committing suicide, to even just pornography and birth control and gluttony. Even thinking lustful thoughts qualifies you for thoughtcrime (Matthew 5:28). So, if I think lustful thoughts (which if Freud Was Right was impossible to suppress) or think about the wrongness of religion then I should have my brain taken away? If I look at Rule 34 or look at the internet for an article about atheism then I should have my eyes gouged out and my hands cut off? If I swear, do Cluster F Bombs, use God's name in vain, talk about the God delusion, commit excessive gluttony, etc. then I should have my mouth sewn shut? More like Jesus demanded all of us to go And I Must Scream. This Is Madness!
      • Madness? This! Is! Sparta! But I don't know of anyone who takes those quotes literally. The moral's usually taken as "if you're being tempted to sin, then don't just try to will the sin away, get rid of the temptation itself". Like, if you're trying to quit smoking, then throw away every single cigarette and make it so you can't buy any more, so when you're being tempted later, you won't be able to act on it. But if the issue is more that certain people have no problem taking things like that figuratively but suddenly get all literal with stuff like "the Earth is only 7000 years old" ...yeah, that one baffles me too.
      • The Bible
    • The rule is saying only an eye for an eye, whereas that kind of thing would routinely merit punishments like death in other contemporary situations. Also, when given in the Law of Moses (P) it is meant to be just that, a law, a method of punishment for the law enforcement to carry out in response to a felony. Whereas the expression was twisted by later generations to just mean "fighting fire with fire" (another biblical expression twisted by later generations, this time to the sheer opposite of its original contexual meaning; see also, "Vengeance is mine").

  • The story about Samson and Delilah. Is it just an Ur Example of Too Dumb to Live, or is Samson's inexplicable inability to smell the rat supposed to have some deeper meaning?
    • The time between Delilah's betrayal is never mentioned. It's likely that they happened many years apart, during which time Samson would have fallen back to being madly in love with her and forgotten past greivances. Still, he's definitely holding th Idiot Ball.
    • Samson makes a lot more sense when I imagine him as Lenny from Memento...
  • Speaking of Samson, why is his hair the source of his power?
    • Samson was a Nazarite, meaning someone who had taken an oath to consecrate themselves for God. They had various purity rules to follow, like not drinking alcohol, not touching corpses, and not cutting their hair. Samson broke the first two on a regular basis, and defying the hair one was the final straw for God. Recall that God was actually the source of Samson's power, not his hair, hence why He gave Samson his strength back when he asked for once more chance to take down the Philistines with him.
      • But he didn't cut his own hair. Does that mean that God was just being a dick when He took his powers? Or was He being unreasonably strict? And if He was just being unreasonably strict, then why would He just flip-flop and give Samson's powers back just because he asked nicely?
      • Samson didn't cut it, but he told Delilah to, knowing she had attempted all the previous false ways to subdue him. Plus, it says that Samson still expected to wake up and beat up the Philistines upon him. He may have genuinely thought that his hair didn't matter, which would reek of immense pride to God. Like I said before, also, cutting his hair was the last straw after all the other rules Samson had broken, so God had already been giving him a lot of slack, not being strict. As for giving Samson his power back, it wasn't just God being nice. Samson didn't merely ask for his power back, he asked to die and take all the Philistines in the temple with him. That sort of request showed that Samson had genuinely repented, and wasn't going to give himself the chance to be an arrogant jerk again.
      • He didn't tell Delilah to cut his hair, he only told her that it would get rid of his power. And he still did beat up the Philistines, and really, his hair didn't matter, since he got his power back again anyway.
    • It's pretty much the same thing as telling her to cut it, since he knew she had tried all the other false methods. And he only beat up the Philistines later, when he was humbled. There doesn't seem to be a question being asked now.
    • His hair was not the source of his power, but it was the condition God set for him to keep his power. Samson only (stupidly) told Delilah the source of his strength, he (stupidly...very stupidly) did not expect her to cut it. And it wasn't simply God being nice to give him back his powers; if you notice in the text, it says that his hair had grown back by the time he asked for his powers back.

  • What bugs me a bit is that for all the claims about God's omnipotence and omniscience floating about (including on this page)...the Bible itself seems to do a poor job to back them up. Sure, He's immensely powerful and, presumably, knowledgeable — creating Heaven and Earth is no small feat just for starters. But infinitely so? Setting aside the fact that that would be hard to actually demonstrate, He sure doesn't seem to act the part very convincingly...
    • Well, the infinite clause is assumed since he created, well, everything (assuming of course he exists). He/They/It's the essence that brought forth all existence with Heaven, Hell, Physical Reality, etc., so he had to be infinite otherwise philisophically we'd be right back at the same problem of the "first domino" (you can't go back an infinite amount of dominoes, otherwise the chain would never start). Perhaps in literary tradition the bible isn't the best way to show God's Infinite ways. It all depends on how you look at it.

  • A herd of two thousand pigs. In Judea. Where it's forbidden to eat pork. What.
    • Were they Roman Pigs? But even if they were, there are certain theories that the whole Kashrut concept came about because unkosher animals were ill-suited for the kind of agriculture that existed in ancient Israel.
      • Yeah. Judea was under Roman occupation at the time. They were either Roman pigs or pigs raised by Hellenized Jews who were raising them for their occupiers. (the Prodigal Son story) It has been theorized that the story of Legion -from the name "Legion" on down to the pigs- are an allegorical attack on the Roman occupation.
      • So when the Roman soldiers saw their meat ration for the next year galloping off the top of a cliff, and they ended up on half-rations, they'd have loved a word with the local who stampeded their pork. And a little later, they got him... the Bible does tell us Jesus was knocked around a bit by the Roman soldiers. Maybe beaten up with real prejudice by half-starved squaddies to whom a meat issue was but a distant memory...

  • While there is a lot of the Bible that bugs me, I can chalk it up to Values Dissonance. Yet there's something that bothers me when the Devil meets Jesus. Okay,the Devil said that, basically, if Jesus served him he would be in charge of all the kingdoms of the land. Um,Satan? HE'S GOD IN A MORTAL FORM! He already is destined to be ruler of the planet! Even if Evil Cannot Comprehend Good was in effect and Jesus wasn't Incorruptible Pure Pureness, you of all of beings should know he's going to be in charge eventually. Sheesh, I can see why you're going to lose in Revelation.
    • He may rule eventually under The Plan, but he has to die first, and then wait x number of years. What Satan was offering was "rule 'em all now, no dying, no waiting".
      • Literary Answer: The temptation of temporal power.

  • Okay, so it was stated in the Bible that Moses had a stutter, so God had Aaron go with Moses to talk to Pharaoh for him. So... why didn't God just cure Moses' stutter?
  • How come jews and muslim would go to hell?
    • John 14:6 - Jesus says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life, none shall come to the father except through me." Many Christians believe this to mean that Christianity is the only path to God and that anyone who doesn't "accept Jesus as their personal saviour" is going to suffer for all eternity. Of course, you could argue that "through me" means through his ways, giving to the needy, and treating people right, rather than wearing an I-heart-Jesus-tshirt and ringing a Christianity bell. Consider, if you will, Matthew 22: 36 - 40, where Jesus said, "(The Greatest Commandment is) Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.' This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: 'Love others as well as you love yourself.'
      • Couple John 14:6 with John 3:16, where Jesus says that whoever believes in the only begotten Son of God (referring to Himself) should not perish, but have everlasting life. Also Acts 4:12, where Peter the apostle states that "there is no other name given under heaven by which men must be saved".
      • Fair points both. I would counter by saying that Jesus says whoever believes in him should not perish, but that doesn't necessarily mean that people who don't believe in him will perish. Also perish is quite different from suffering in eternal hellfire, I dare say the meaning is entirely opposed to eternal suffering. As to the second point note the use of the word "is", which is temporally localised to the present. He doesn't say "there can be no other name given under heaven by which men must be saved", so theoretically God could, later on, have opened a new path or two for those billions for whom Christianity didn't work.
      • Yeah, it does. You stopped in the middle of a passage- two verses later it says that "Whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the Name of the only Son of God."
    • Good points but if only christians go to heaven what happened to all the old testament people, holocaust victims, and modern day rabbis when they died or die?
      • Those who died in anticipation of the Messiah waited in the netherworld for Jesus to die, and He set them free and took them to Heaven when He rose from the dead.
    • Another question raised by this issue is about those who don't have a CHANCE to hear about Jesus; for example, people in remote tribes somewhere who, through no fault of their own, have no contact with Christian theology. Now, the obvious answer is that "they still sinned, and are therefore culpable." But what if they genuinely felt bad about their sins and took every step humanly possible to both atone and make sure it didn't happen again? That is, after all, one of the criteria for acceptance into Heaven. It hardly seems loving or just to eternally punish someone because they didn't know a specific name they never had a chance to hear, especially when they fit your criteria for not getting eternally punished, save for that one bit.
      • "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:8-10.
      • I'm not entirely sure you get where I'm going. My question wasn't about people who do good but don't know, it was more about those who do bad, but FEEL bad about it. Which is a criteria, at least from what I was taught (Repent of your sins and all that stuff.) Unless you're implying that it's not possible to truly repent except if you believe in Jesus, which, as I mentioned, hardly seems like a fair system given that it's auto-exclusionary to anybody who doesn't get a shot at hearing the word. Blaming and punishing someone for something they had literally zero control over is like failing somebody in gym class for being born without legs.
      • The above scripture applies to those people as well (assuming that the people don't just feel bad but atone and make sure it doesn't happen again, like you said before).
      • It is Roman Catholic doctrine that unbelievers who have never heard of Christ but lived by God's commandments are saved. The logic behind it is that since these people already live Christian lives, they would have no problem acknowledging Him as their Lord when they finally learn of Him. One unfortunate implication is that, once they have heard of Him, they must convert of lose their chance at salvation.

  • How come the new testament and the old testament present two different end of the world scenrios?
    • They're the same scenario, but different metaphors are used.
    • Actually the two testaments depict the world ending in different ways.
      • The world ends in God's judgment. Both John's and Daniel's accounts of the cataclysm are vividly metaphorical.
      • I've heard the theory that John's account makes more sense when viewed not as a prophecy of the end of the world, but rather as anti-Roman propaganda targeted toward the Greeks. One key piece of evidence: the whole Number of the Beast thing, especially considering the confusion about whether it's 666 or 616, works well when you read the number as DCLXVI/DCXVI. Basically, adopting the Roman numeral system was a sign of bad things to come for them.

  • Something that has made me scratch my head in confusion is a particular passage in Matthew 8:14. Having grown up Catholic, this passage stands very clearly about something taught in Catholicism. It says (according to KJV) "And when Jesus was come into Peter's house, he saw his wife's mother laid, and sick of a fever." As a Catholic, I was taught Peter never had a wife. But here is this passage as clear as day saying that Peter does in fact have a wife somewhere.
    • As I recall it never specifically states whether Peter had a wife or not, but if he was anywhere over the age of 18, it was likely he did, given the culture at the time. More research is needed into this though, as it's not a passage I'm familar with. Also, why is it Catholics are raised to believe he wasn't married? I myself am protestant, and do not fully understand the concept here, but I'm assuming this has something to do with priests not being able to wed? (which doesn't make any sense if you read Hebrews 13:4, but that's another discussion).
      • The passage says nothing about which Peter is referenced. This is post-Sermon-on-the-Mount, and it is quite probable, at this period, that Jesus had more than one follower named Peter.
    • Catholicism does acknowledge that Peter had a wife and that is was perfectly valid for him to have a wife. Clerical celibacy is a discipline, meaning that, if the Pope wanted to, he could wake up tomorrow morning and make it completely licit for a Priest to have a wife.

  • I honestly don't get how God is Incorruptible Pure Pureness. From what I've seen, God can be petty, jealous, vengeful...oh, and one of the biggest knight templars I've ever seen. Sure, he may be good, or at least have good intentions, but he's not pure good. That seems more like Jesus Christ's MO.
    • Christ is God too. God the Father, God the Son (a.k.a. Jesus) and God the Holy Spirit are all God. Not parts of God, but God. How the three can be one is a question smarter people than I have spent 2000 years to try to figure that one out.
      • I've got an idea. God the Father is the original God aka YHWH, the Knight Templar with a hint of Blue and Orange Morality. Jesus is God on a human level, and thus a pacifist. Finally, the Holy Spirit is the medium between the two.
      • I've got another idea. Jesus and the Holy Spirit are NOT God, and the Trinity belief is a misinterpretation of The Bible. As to the OP, it depends on what your definition for "good" is.
      • Doesn't jive with the Bible, though. Jesus repeatedly claimed divine titles for Himself (like claiming to be the Supreme Judge of humanity, to the exclusion of the Father), and the Holy Spirit is explicitly called God by Peter (Acts 5:4). There's a reason that every time Jesus did something big, the people around Him either worshiped Him or accused Him of blasphemy.
      • It actually does jive with the Bible, though. And makes a whole lot more sense then the idea of a Trinity. And Jesus did claim divinity as the SON of God, but he NEVER directly claimed to be God himself, but instead said that the Father was greater than him (John 14:28). Some may say that he indirectly claimed to be God. And the Holy Spirit is mentioned in Acts 5:3, not 5:4; anyway, Peter says absolutely nothing of the sort in that scripture, so I have no clue where the reasoning that "the Holy Spirit is explicitly called God by Peter" comes from other than Logical Fallacies.
      • Actually, He has. "He who has seen Me has seen the Father." (John 14:8, NASB) Another instance is seen in John 8:58, though it takes a bit of Jewish history to understand. When God revealed Himself to Moses back in Exodus, He told him His personal name-YHWH (often pronounced "Yahweh"), meaning, "I am." When Jesus said "Before Abraham was, I am," He used the exact same word to refer to Himself. Not to mention that He was, at the same time, claiming to have been around when Moses was alive, which was centuries back- a trait that only God Himself would have.
      • For one thing, John 14:9 is not meant to be taken literally, that they are the same person. Jesus was effectively saying, "I'm just like daddy." Also, Critical Research Failure on John 8:58. Yahweh does not mean "I am". It means "he who causes to become". The two scriptures have nothing to do with each other. On the other hand, how do you explain John 14:28 and Colossians 1:15, where Jesus is called "the first-born of all creation"?

  • Okay, genuine question here, for Christians - not a rhetorical one, and I'm not trying to be mean or whatever. I haven't actually read the Bible, since I'm an atheist, but something about Christianity, Christians and the Bible has been bugging me for a while. If I'm completely wrong about any point of this, please tell me so. Also, please READ this properly before flaming. In the Old Testament, I believe it says homosexuality is evil. Since many (NOT ALL) Christians obviously believe this, this implies that the Old Testament is in fact still relevant to Christianity. Now, let's consider the following things the Old Testament also says: 1. You must kill your children if they disobey you. 2. You are allowed no contact with women on their period. 3. You must kill your neighbor if he works on the sabbath. 4. You must be put to death if you eat shellfish. Why are these, being in the same Testament, ignored while homosexuals are considered evil? Why are these considered somehow lesser, or even redundant/outdated/archaic/obsolete, while homosexuality is not? (Please don't say 'because God said so', because that is not an actual answer in this context. I'm actually curious, not trolling.)
    • Christian proscriptions on homosexuality really don't have a whole lot to do with the Old Testament. People say they do, but that has more to do with the sola scriptura Protestant movements that have to find a motivation for everything they do in some passage or another of the Bible. They have a hell of a lot more to do with cultural practices of the European and Middle Eastern groups that adopted Christianity (the homosexuality/pederasty of the Groman Mediterranean was a practice of a small upper class). That, and the fact that even if God didn't state directly that adopting a homosexual lifestyle is a sin, you have to commit a hell of a lot of other sins to get there (adultery and fornication come to mind).
    • You are right in saying that the Old Testament is still relevant. However, all the other laws you mentioned were part of the Mosaic Law, which after Jesus died, was no longer necessary to follow. By contrast, the New Testament not only restated the condemnation of homosexuality, but condemned it even more harshly than the Old Testament did.
      • Nuh-uh. "For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled," Mathew 5:18.
      • "For Christ is the end of the Law, so that everyone exercising faith may have righteousness." (Romans 10:4) Also, Matthew 5:18 itself refers to the fulfillment, or end, of the Mosaic Law. By the way, what Bible translation is that?
    • Not to mention that the Law was made to show people that they could never hope to save themselves by their own righteousness.
  • It only applies to Jews and a lot of them are to set the Jews apart from the Gentiles (like circumcision). That's also why we can eat whatever we want and don't have to be circumcised.
;"The voice spoke to him a second time, 'Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.'" Acts Ch10 V15.
  • But what if two same-sex people who aren't married kiss or make out, without actual sex being involved? Would that break any sins that straight kissing and making out would?
  • What? For one thing, whether the two same-sex people are "married" or not is absolutely irrelevant. It's still homosexuality.
  • It's not irrelevant, marriage is supposed to be holy and protected by God, and originally, no human had the right to severe such a tie (which is why divorce was so much more difficult in the early new age).
  • The proscriptions on homosexuality are continued in the New Testament, most notably in Paul's letters to the Corinthians, Romans, and (I believe) Timothy. Old Testament laws are generally held to still be in effect if confirmed by the New Testament (or else we'd wind up with an even bigger problem of nothing in the Old Testament being valid, including proscriptions of murder and blasphemy).
    • If I may provide a Jewish response to your questions. For Number one, there are two issues. First of all, your summing up of the rule of "The Rebellious Son" (Deuteronomy 21 18-21), as anybody who doesn't listen to their parents gets killed, is erroneous. It's not just a kid failing to clean his room, it's more drastic than that. Rabbinic interpretation says he has to steal money from his parents and use it to do disgusting things with bad people. They also compile a long list of other qualifications for this rule, such as the parents have to be the same height (!), which leads me to point two: The Talmud says this case never happened and never will. Why then was it written? The answer of the talmud is to give us more to learn. But, I once heard a lecture that this law actually comes to limit parental authority. In other near eastern legal codes, the father had the full right to decide to put his son to death. In these verses, he must bring him to the courts first. Add that to the ridiculous qualifications added by rabbinic exegesis, and you have a law whose point was its inapplicability. As for 2, Jewish law still mandates this, which means Orthodox Jewish men don't have sex with their wives for 2 weeks every month, 1 week for the menstruation and another week of waiting after it stops. While this sounds like it sucks, from what I've heard, after 2 weeks of waiting the sex is fantastic. Now you know why hassidic Jews have so many damn kids. 3. Only meant for a Jewish society, and its not like you can walk over there and shoot him. Rather you have to warn him, and if he continues, you bring him to court, where he is tried. Yes, breaking the Sabbath is a capital crime, and that may befuddle a modern mind, but the way you put it is way more immoral than the actual. Plus, Rabbinic qualifications make it very difficult to attain a death sentence. Two witnesses must warn the person, he must acknowledge the warning, state his intention of ignoring it, and then do it anyway. And if the court rules unanimously, the case is thrown out (its assumed, quite Jewishly, that truth cannot be arrived at without an argument). 4. Eating shellfish is bad, but again, only for a Jewish society. And you are not put to death for it, rather, you get 39 lashes. It is described as an "abomination", yes, just like homosexuality, but for both of those, that term does not effect its legal application. Why is it wrong to eat shellfish? I don't know. I assume God knows. I trust him. Hope I've helped.
  • Where in the bible does the bible say it's error free?
    • The Bible says that "all scripture is inspired of God" (2 Timothy 3:16) and that God cannot lie (Titus 1:2). Applying both together means that everything in the Bible is true. It's not exactly the same thing as saying it's "error free", but it's close.
    • Key word: "Inspired." That means man wrote it down, and man is fallible. A story that's "inspired" by truth doesn't necessarily get everything down right.
      • Well, if God really did have a hand in writing The Bible, I doubt he would let the writers write something erroneous. If you don't belive that God did, then The Bible wouldn't be inspired in the first place, so it wouldn't matter. On the other hand, man can and has at times changed scripture either due to mistranslation or to fit their own bias.
      • The other thing to keep in mind is that something can be true From a Certain Point of View.
      • 2 Timothy 3:16 only refers to the Old Testament, not the New, so how do Christians justify the New Testament canon? Is there anywhere in the New Testament that says the New Testament is the word of God? Also, both Testments alluded to books that are not even in the canon itself.
      • No, it doesn't. It says "all scripture", so it refers to the entire Bible, including the New Testament.
      • No, it doesn't. How could it be talking about the new testment when the new testment didn't even exist yet. If you want futher proof check out the whole quote. "However as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness." You see in the quote above it talks about scriptures he knew since infancy so how could it be talking about the new testment unless god had a time machine?
      • It still says "all scripture". I understand where you are coming from, but the context of verse 15 applies only to Timothy, thus to him, verse 16 refers to the Old Testament. But to readers living after the Bible's completion, verse 16 refers to the entire Bible, even those written after 2 Timothy. You forget that The Bible has more than one audience.
      • Isn't that taking the verse a bit out of context and stretching it because how could anybody use that verse to justify the N.T canon? Also at the time it was written the scriptures were already completed as the Old Testament canon or the Jewish tanakh.
  • Am I the only one who doesn't get why people say that the serpent is evil? Okay, so the serpent decides to trick humanity into eating the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. Humans learn what good and evil are, and get out. Alright, I understand that the serpent is crafty. But why is this regarded as a Moral Event Horizon on the serpent's behalf? Sure, the serpent got them booted out and supposedly created death, but he basically gave humanity free will, and the capability to truly think. And grow. At its very worst, the serpent comes off as a Well-Intentioned Extremist. Why do people associate that with Big Bad material? It seemed more like the serpent is a Designated Villain, and not the same guy who'd become Satan.
    • Um, for one thing, the serpent did not give humanity free will or teach them good and evil. If humanity didn't have free will beforehand, it would have been impossible for them to eat from the Tree of Knowledge. And how is tricking humanity into dying not a Moral Event Horizon? Also, don't forget that with death also came sin and the Humans Are Flawed and Humans Are Bastards tropes.
  • How does the law saying "don't boil a goat in its mother's milk" get interpreted to mean "don't have meat and dairy at the same meal"? It seems pretty obvious to me that the intended meaning is "boiling an animal in it's own mother's milk is cruel and unusual, don't do this cruel and unusual thing to your animals".
    • The goat was almost surely intended to be killed before being dunked in the boiling milk, and then eaten when it was done cooking. The authors of the Talmud, where the "don't mix meat and dairy" rule comes from, might have reasoned along these lines: 1. "Boy, the Torah sure considers goat boiling to be bad! That same admonition against boiling a young goat in its mother's milk appears three separate times." 2. "That means it must have had some great cultural significance, like maybe it was a common practice for some of the neighboring tribes that the Israelites wanted to distance themselves from." 3. "Therefore, it can't just be about baby goats and their mother's milk, it must be hidden code for a far more general prohibition."
  • Sorry if it had been discussed before, but what exactly is wrong with the notion of Jesus being married and having a child? From what little I know of Jewish rabbis at the time, an un-married, childless rabbi would have been completely unheard of! Plus, Jesus was half-human, I'm sure his half-human self may have had eyes and dated a girl when he was a teen. Could make for a sweet (in a cute, d'aawww way) painting: Jesus as a teen kissing a girl in front of a sunset with his father's workship in the background (or hammer by Jesus' side to let us know he was a carpenter before his ministry.)
    • It's not a question of 'What is wrong with it", it's a question of "This is an early twentieth century invention". There is no evidence that Jesus was officially a Rabbi and many Jews of the time were unmarried if they had strong religious beliefs around this (such as St Paul who was a bachelor and didn't seem to consider it a particularly big deal from the way he threw it out). There is no mention anywhere of a marriage or children for Jesus anywhere in the records; given the mania for producing 'Gnostic gospels' one would have expected a 'Gospel of Jesus's Son' to be produced at some time. So, sorry the idea of a Mrs Jesus is an invention of twentieth century conspiracy theorists.

  • Were the various exterminations in the Bible ordered by God or were the Hebrews using that as an excuse?
    • Well you need to understand the mindset of why the Hebrews killed certain groups of people, it was either to gain greater territory or to defend themselves which means that it was motivated by war. The Hebrews saying God ordered it wouldn't be the first time in human history a group of people killed in the name of their God. Logically writing down stuff like that boost morale and helps give a sense of righteousness to the group who claimed it, all war has demonizing of the enemy where you paint your side with a white brush and the enemy with a black brush. Now naturally only God Himself knows if He ordered it but we can't exactly ask Him, but if He did His reasoning might have been that any group that posed a threat to His chosen people were to be destroyed which seems reasonable enough to me; if someone threatened my home I would have their ass destroyed.

  • Speaking as an honestly curious person raised Jewish, where did the concept of Original Sin come from - somewhere in the New Testament, some early Christian conference? Whenever I've heard it referenced, its couched in the context of the Book of Genesis, but we Jews have that too and I've never heard anything of that nature in all my years of Hebrew Day School and synagogue...
    • Before the Fall, human beings were morally perfect and not subject to death. When Adam and Eve sinned, however, they brought a multitude of curses onto both themselves and the planet. Chief among these curses are mortality and the tendency to sin, and these were brought not only on themselves, but also on their descendants. God warned Cain that sin was a demon lurking whose urge was toward him. Instead of heeding the warning, Cain gave into his sinful nature and committed murder, but his sinful nature pre-existed the murder and even the planning of the murder, unlike his parents who had no sinful nature until they actively chose evil. Because of the corruption sin has brought on the human race, human beings die, even if they have not personally committed any sins.
      • And yet Judaism (or at least the bits of it I've been exposed to), which has the same book and story, does not consider the departure from Eden and associated punishments an infection and does not couch it in those terms or philosophies - apart from anything, I was taught it was more 'we were blessed in Eden and that blessing was removed' than 'we were cursed when we left', and the 'evil' in Cain actually the ability to choose leading in that instance to a bad choice, teaching the lesson that the ability to choose brings with it an obligation to choose wisely; Judaism has a focus on mitzvot, or positively-aligned good deeds to be chosen (whether towards God, Man, or Self), with little mention of the negatively-aligned sin (bad deeds to avoid that must be repented for), and less mention of inheritance in moral teaching beyond the strictly legal punishment variety. So, once again, I ask my question. If the book is the same and the story is the same, where did the concept of original sin as being centric and defining - or, perhaps, the highly divergent interpretations - come from?
      • Maybe Judaism has changed over the years. Anyway, Original Sin simply refers either to Satan's rebellion or to Adam and Eve's disobedience, those being the first sins of a created being in general and specifically humans, respectively. In Adam and Eve's case, that sin lead to death not only to themselves, but also to their descendants. "Original Sin" is not so much a separate concept from sin so much as the first occurrence of that concept/action. Now if you are asking what sin itself is, that is a different discussion. "Sin" (which is referred to countless times in the Old Testament) itself refers to a failure of a created being to be or act in harmony with God's personality, will, or justice. "Willful" sin refers to sin that is a conscious act; this is the only type of sin that perfect beings can commit, and the attitude that created beings can choose for themselves what is right and wrong, good and bad (humans were originally only intended to distinguish between what God chose to be right and wrong). "Inherited" sin refers to the sinful nature and tendency of humankind that leads to death.
      • Or Christianity changed... in any case, I was asking because of the way it was explained to me by people trying to convert me, namely, 'Original Sin is a soul infection from Adam and Eve that means everybody goes to hell until Jesus comes and because he died nobody needs to go to hell anymore'; I then try to understand the concept of 'original sin' for the simple reason that, as Judaism makes no mention of such things (and, indeed, makes very little mention of the afterlife and less mention of damnation), this makes Jesus sound like the only problem he solved was one that his followers invented, which is obviously not exactly the dogma of anybody not throwing pipe bombs around. Basically, understanding the this world/next world and sin avoidance and repentence/mitzvot rather than sin(and sin as present and to be avoided, but mostly in terms of choosing to do a mitzvah instead and/or ritual uncleanliness) dichotomies via trying to understand the Christian conception of Original Sin, since the context I mention above as having heard it in makes it sound rather important (and, incidentally, I recognize that I may have been ethnocentric in claiming that we've always been like this and any change to create such theological dichotomy must be on your part, and request that you do the same, so that this does not devolve into a 'you changed your dogma' 'no you changed your dogma' fight).
      • I know what sin is, its just that the way things were explained to me in the past, inherited sin is a substance and infection in and of itself rather than a mere tendency (as the former would explain why outside aid is needed, whereas the latter makes the requirement of outside aid sound to me like either Moving the Goalposts or the omniscient God not having planned on something happening very shortly after leaving his control and before free will was a factor), particularly given the aforementioned 'may just be the ability to choose, and thus the ability to choose wrong as being necessary to make actively choosing right (and thereby giving that choice meaning) a possibility, rather than a taint' thing/interpretation. If it was explained to me wrong - or I'm making an erroneous assumption, or unintentionally being a biased douchebag, or the like - just say so.
      • Please forgive me, I did not realize I had deleted part of your argument. We might have been trying to edit the page at the same time; I don't remember seeing any replies to my last post while I was editing it. Anyway.....Christianity did change, partially; actually, it's more like it fractured, or in some cases adopted foreign ideas. It's complicated. Also, I don't believe in Fire and Brimstone Hell, but rather Cessation of Existence. So if you are trying to understand sin in that context, I can see where you are confused. Inherited sin requires outside aid simply because it's inherited, and thus humans are incapable of reversing sin and death on our own. (Perhaps I was unclear; inherited sin is not a tendency itself but rather causes a tendency to commit individual sins.) Because the sinless Jesus died when he didn't have to, it allows him to pay the price of sin for humans so they don't have to die, or can come Back from the Dead. It has nothing to do with the afterlife or hell. Actually, Jesus' sacrifice was based on the same principles of the Mosaic Law that required the animal sacrifices, except that animal sacrifices were inadequate to cover sins and thus more were always required, while Jesus' sacrifice was adequate and thus no more sacrifices were necessary. Animal sacrifice was basically Foreshadowing for Jesus' sacrifice. It might be easier to understand if you look at it that way.
      • The only real issue with that is that Judaism has evolved in that respect to use of prayer in lieu of animal sacrifice without any theological need for a human/divine sacrifice; while the official word is that we're technically waiting for the temple to be rebuilt so we can start again, two thousand years of waiting means most of us don't really want to stop and have come to realize/justify that prayer works just as well, as long as it has meaning behind it and other the proper rites are followed. As for the revival of the dead instead of afterlife thing, that is a difference I am familiar with; namely, the difference of "Christians see the Messiah as a divine entity in and of himself whose role in saving is a spiritual one, who requires two steps to bring the dead back", as compared to the Jewish conception of "Messiah as a mortal Earthly savior that the divine will send to lead us around the same time that the divine will be bringing the dead all back in one step". Same general outline, different details filled in. It was the Fire and Brimstone Hell/Fluffy Cloud Heaven that was confusing me, since the Jewish (or rather, Jewish that I was taught at Hebrew Academy) "we know God'll bring everybody back at the first appearance of the Messiah, and anything else like punishments and what happens the meantime should be a lesser priority than following the other commandments and doing good deeds, so don't worry about that stuff" is so at dramatic odds in outline as well as details with the "strictly-defined choice between highly-exclusive-gated-community or prison, with Original Sin as reasoning" system that gets so much talk (or so it sounds like) as being Christian view. That the talk is, in fact, incorrect (or explained sufficiently poorly/folklore filled that I, and probably a good number of not-so-observant Christians I inquire take the wrong interpretation), goes a long way to removing that confusion.
        Granted, this still leaves the issue of Satan and whether he's just a really good prosecuting attorney on God's payroll, as the Jews believe, or an Ultimate Enemy Against God who'll have a role in the end times and was the Snake's true identity, as the Christians believe (or rather what media I have seen claims they do), but given inherent desire for somebody to blame, the reputation that is inevitable from being the prosecuting attorney to humanity's defendent, and the inherent desire for loose end tying/continuity, I'm not so in the dark about if-it-isn't-based-on-truth potential explanations for that difference. Besides, pretty sure that was Jewish non-biblicly-grounded folklore at the time and we just dropped it like a lot of superstition does, although whether that was correct to have done or incorrect to have done depends on your own religious standpoint.
      • The differing ideas as to Satan's role partially stems from Satan having little mention in the Hebrew Scriptures outside of the Book of Job, while being mentioned far more often in the Christian Scriptures. His identification with the "serpent" in Genesis comes from several verses in the Christian scriptures, in particular John 8:44 where he is called "the father of the lie" (the first lie in The Bible being the serpent's lie to Eve) and being called "the original serpent" at Revelation 12:9.//
Although even without that info, I still have a hard time seeing him as a prosecuting attorney for God. From the standpoint that he punishes a righteous man who did nothing to deserve it, he is evil, and perverts God's perfects standard of justice. Actually, the entire aesop/moral of The Book of Job is to deconstruct the concept of Laser-Guided Karma and show that bad things can happen from other sources besides divine retribution. Much of the book is an argument between three guys and Job, the former accusing the latter of doing something to deserve his punishment and Job's rebuttal that he did not. While much of God's answer was about correcting Job's self-righteousness, at Job 42:7,8 he said that the three guys were wrong. I also point out that while Satan was accusing Job, he directed the accusation towards God, and the actual bet made was with God, not Job. He also prosecutes someone who God had already made a judgement on (God calls Job "blameless and upright" in the very first chapter), while Satan questioned Job's integrity against God's judgement and was the one who initiated the whole thing. I would expect that God's actual prosecuting attorney would "prosecute" someone who God questions the motives of and initially tells the attorney to test. Of course, God doesn't need a prosecuting attorney because he can see anything he wants to and is capable of reading hearts and can thus discern a person's motives and actions directly. Maybe I'm looking at the subject biased or in hindsight, but I think I make a pretty good argument.
  • Its the job of a prosecuting attorney to accuse and probe all defendants, not just the obviously guilty ones. Besides, Jewish doctrine is that all men are 'on trial' every year; Yom Kippur is the day he writes down his verdict on each individual and their deeds for the year, which is why it is observed via rigorous fasting and intense prayer (aka, desperate pleading for him to not put anything really bad on our permanent record); Job was inherently on trial because he is human, and if he wasn't now, he would be the day after the next Yom Kippur. Besides, I have trouble seeing God actually accept a wager from the Ultimate Evil. As for God calling him 'blameless and Upright', my interpretation is, who do you think is the defense attorney? For humans, the defense attorney being the judge would be called a conflict of interest, but I'm pretty sure the big guy is capable of being impartial when he takes off the metaphorical defense attorney hat and puts on the powdered judge wig.
    Again, though, this is inherently a flawed argument; we both have severe preconceptions biasing us, and are communicating in a forum that mandates more that we both understand that there is a difference between the interpretations and have an idea why that might be, rather than that we actually agree with the 'other' interpretation.
  • But a comparison between the human justice system and God just doesn't work, because the entire reason that attorneys exist is to either prove or disprove to the judge that a person committed a crime, because the judge doesn't know whether they are guilty or not. But God does know automatically whether a person is guilty or not, there is no need to prove anything. Also, I don't see why you have trouble with God accepting a wager from someone evil, since he did it before. Why do you think God allowed Adam, Eve, and the serpent live in the first place instead of killing them off? It was because he accepted the serpent's unspoken wager to decide whether humans were capable of living and ruling themselves without God. He does it because he refuses to let Might Makes Right.
  • As I said, we ain't convincing anyone of anything here. The comparison betweeen judgement systems just gets down to the old question of why if he's omnipotent and omnicient does he need angels at all, or why bad things happen to good people, or why Eden happened at all, or if his omnicience fully accounts for free will, or if interpretation is a factor for him, or anything else that doesn't seem to jive with those two qualities to the asker; while such questions have oft been answered, it is rarely if ever to satisfaction in absence of omniscience to enable such answer (look at that semihumorous line down at the bottom of the page); the fact that we cannot verify the legal structure of the divine or God's methodology, or perhaps understand it depending on perspective, means it is largely conjecture based on evidence that is mostly talking about other things and is largely reading between the lines (possibly erroneously, hence the entire concept of differing interpretation to begin with). As for calling Eden a wager between the Snake and God... again, we come back to preconceived notions. You have a preconceived notion of 'the snake is The Enemy', and thus are preconditioned to think of the event in terms of direct opposition between it and God; I have a preconceived notion of the snake as being just a snake, and am thus preconditioned to think of it as the snake being fallible in and of itself and/or just a jerk/troll who acts like that to everybody, regardless of how much God's paying attention.
    In short, there is no concrete answer in this place and time to things like this besides belief, even taking the official (literal) Word of God into account, particularly given differing literal-flamewar-inciting opinions on where canon ends and Fan Fic begins; if there were, there would not be so very many sects giving vastly different answers in both Christianity and Judaism.

     Fun and Prophets 
Am I the only one who finds chapter 13 of the first book of Kings seriously screwy? For those unfamiliar with, the key passage is verses 6-24:
6 And the king answered and said unto the man of God, Entreat now the face of the LORD thy God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored me again. And the man of God besought the LORD, and the king's hand was restored him again, and became as it was before.
7 And the king said unto the man of God, Come home with me, and refresh thyself, and I will give thee a reward.
8 And the man of God said unto the king, If thou wilt give me half thine house, I will not go in with thee, neither will I eat bread nor drink water in this place:
9 for so was it charged me by the word of the LORD, saying, Eat no bread, nor drink water, nor turn again by the same way that thou camest.
10 So he went another way, and returned not by the way that he came to Beth–el.
11 Now there dwelt an old prophet in Beth–el; and his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Beth–el: the words which he had spoken unto the king, them they told also to their father.
12 And their father said unto them, What way went he? For his sons had seen what way the man of God went, which came from Judah.
13 And he said unto his sons, Saddle me the ass. So they saddled him the ass: and he rode thereon,
14 and went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak: and he said unto him, Art thou the man of God that camest from Judah? And he said, I am.
15 Then he said unto him, Come home with me, and eat bread.
16 And he said, I may not return with thee, nor go in with thee: neither will I eat bread nor drink water with thee in this place:
17 for it was said to me by the word of the LORD, Thou shalt eat no bread nor drink water there, nor turn again to go by the way that thou camest.
18 He said unto him, I am a prophet also as thou art; and an angel spake unto me by the word of the LORD, saying, Bring him back with thee into thine house, that he may eat bread and drink water. But he lied unto him.
19 So he went back with him, and did eat bread in his house, and drank water.
20 And it came to pass, as they sat at the table, that the word of the LORD came unto the prophet that brought him back:
21 and he cried unto the man of God that came from Judah, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Forasmuch as thou hast disobeyed the mouth of the LORD, and hast not kept the commandment which the LORD thy God commanded thee,
22 but camest back, and hast eaten bread and drunk water in the place, of the which the LORD did say to thee, Eat no bread, and drink no water; thy carcass shall not come unto the sepulchre of thy fathers.
23 And it came to pass, after he had eaten bread, and after he had drunk, that he saddled for him the ass, to wit, for the prophet whom he had brought back.
24 And when he was gone, a lion met him by the way, and slew him: and his carcass was cast in the way, and the ass stood by it, the lion also stood by the carcass.

So, a true prophet of the Lord is decieved by another true prophet and dies for his trust of a man he thought spoke for his Lord; meanwhile, the prophet who decieved him to his death gets off scott free. What moral lesson is this supposed to teach, other than possibly "you're screwed no matter what"? (Neil Gaiman theorised that the message was "don't do what anyone else tells you to do, even if they say that God said for you to do it, or you'll be eaten by a lion on the way home.")
  • Even if he was a true prophet before, once he uttered a lie and said it was from God, he became a false prophet, and a true prophet should know that God doesn't contradict himself. This case is exactly like the serpent telling Eve, "You shall surely not die..."
    • But the former prophet's death there was for a good reason: The prophet disobeyed the Lord, and was killed. Yet this was the same prophet who had earlier prophesied against Jeroboam's altar to his Golden Calves, prophesying that one of David's descendents, named Josiah, would eventually come, break down the altar, and burn human bones upon it. The second prophet told his sons to bury him next to the first prophet, as a sign that his warning would surely come true. And it did, years later. (See 2 Kings 23) The former prophet is actually referred to in 2 Kings 23, and his bones were left alone, by the king's order.

     In regards to Christian attitudes about Satan 

As Mark Twain eloquently put it, why bother to pray for sinners when you don't pray for the person who supposedly needs it most?

Also, why accusing someone of deceit if all you have yourselves is verses that went through billions of mistranslations?

This is, of course, entertaining the idea that Satan has any merit as a concept. Original biblical verses use it as nothing more than an epiphet for fallen angels.

  • Do you have proof that it's gone through "billions of mistranslations"? Cite sources. And no, "it's been around so long that it must have been significantly altered" doesn't count as a source.
    • The main indication that it's been through mistranslations is that there are so many different versions — I can think of NIV, NCV, NLT, RCV, ASV, KJV, NKJV, CEV, ESV, and ISV off the top of my head. Not all of these can be correct simultaneously.
      • I was referring more to the extant Hebrew and Greek texts. We still have those, and so can compare current translations to see if they hold up. There's nothing to indicate that the Hebrew and Greek texts that we currently have deviate significantly from the originals (and being able to prove otherwise would necessitate having access to the originals anyway, so the whole argument has no real ground to stand on in the first place).
      • Obviously you have no knowledge of the subject matter, then. The english translations of the Bible are notoriously for being utter parodies of the original hebrew and greek verses.
      • You realize that you're making statements without backing them up? The burden of proof is on you here. Post a few links supporting this point of view.
      • This offers a good start. Really, it's such basic knowledge that it surprises me that you don't understand the concept.
      • See, you should have posted that in the first place, rather than assuming that "everyone knows this stuff", and I'll ignore that condescending remark that you felt the need to include with it.
  • Many Chiristians consider Satan irredeemable, and thus not "worth" prayer. He has already been judged by God and cast from Heaven, and Revelation indicates that he isn't going to be suddenly saved (though that book is especially open to interpretation). Most Christians who believe Satan or some form of the Devil exists consider him/it/them the cause of evil, possibly delighting in making people hurt, suffer, and turn against each other and God.
    • This. Mainstream Christian theology considers angels to not be offered the same chance at redemption that humans are. Angels are created without sin and can thus experience the full presence and glory of God, therefore they have full understanding of exactly what they're giving up if they sin, whereas humans, being imperfect and naturally inclined towards sin, don't have full comprehension of the consequences of their actions on that scale.
    • 1- Such view points are not supported by the Bible (which doesn't even have a true notion of Satan; again, it's just an epiphet for numerous entities, some of them now thought to be human) and 2- It seems a rather horrendous view point, since it just propagates the Black and White Insanity that christian sects are infamous for.
    • Something to consider: Does Satan even want to be saved? He's been dicking around with humans since Creation, and if he had really wanted to change, to be saved, he would've done it by now. Seems to me he kinda likes being how he is. You could try to pray for him, but he'd likely just laugh at you for it.

  • Satan is supposedly the ultimate evil in the universe. By roaming around freely on the Earth, whispering words of doudt and division in people's ears, Satan has caused more people to wind up condemned to Hell than any other being in history. So then ... why does God allow Satan to roam around freely? God is omnipotent; He could snap His fingers and confine (or destroy) Satan at any time. So why is God waiting until the Second Coming to get rid of Satan?
    • One theory, proposed to me by a door-to-door Jehovah's Witness, was that Satan was created with Free Will, just like humans were created with Free Will, and that God doesn't want to interfere with the Free Will of someone so long as that person is alive. One flaw with this hypothesis is that there were many occasions in the Old Testament where God most certainly did interfere with Free Will; in Leviticus 10:1-2, for example, God sends firebolts out of the Tabernacle and kills two priests because they made an improper offering. God has no trouble killing free-willed humans if they interfere with His plans; so why keep Satan around? Does God actually want Satan to roam around freely as part of His plan?
      • Well, killing people isn't interfering with free will. The reason why he's waiting is because Satan essentially challenged God's sovereignty (right to rule) in Eden by planting doubts in the first humans that God knew what's best for them, so instead of killing Satan right away and leaving the challenge and insult unanswered, he essentially pulled Vetinari Job Security and gave Satan control of Earth to settle the challenge once and for all, and at the same time subverting Might Makes Right by killing Satan after he's been proved wrong instead of immediately relying on power alone to assert his sovereignty.
      • All the while, as the Gods play, Men, Women, and Children weep, and are forgotten?
      • No, Those who endures life's hardship will be rewarded in heaven. so they're not forgotten.
      • Only if they are Christians everybody is not so luckily.
      • In Romans 2, Paul writes about gentiles who were ignorant of the law but nonetheless were faithful to it through their actions. Many Christians believe this also applies to those ignorant of Christ, as in a person who does not intellectually know of Jesus, but nonetheless seeks God in his heart and seeks and does what is right will be shown mercy. So they all will attain mercy as long as good person and seek God.

  • Gonna use the 'Eternal Now' understanding of God's existence to help answer this one. Effectively, God's decision is final, in fact, anyone and everyone's decision is final in Heaven, even ours. You may see God debate with his prophets, even bargaining with them about what He will do, but when He says something shall be so and makes it so, it shall not be undone because His will echoes in Eternity. Thing is this also applies to angels, before Satan's rebellion, Angels never had to 'choose' to serve God, they always had since they were created, when Satan Rebelled, his decision echoed in eternity, he cannot go back from it. So no, you do not pray for satan or for any of the devils and demons, they are where they are because they have made an eternal decision to rebel against God. Similarly, this is also the reason that if you, God willing, get to Heaven, you will never fall from it, or, kinda awkward to say this properly, you do not have the capacity to choose to rebel from then on, and what Angels are in the Heavenly host cannot either having chosen God rather then siding with Satan's rebellion. If you get to Heaven (or Purgatory, this troper is Catholic) you have therefore spent your life making the grand eternal decision to follow and obey God and cannot go back on it. You should not pray for Satan because he cannot be saved and, more importantly, does not want to, his eternal decision defines him, he is rebellion against God and hatred of all men.

  • Why is it that many Christians decided to make Satan an outright Big Bad anyway? I'm not talking about using the original "accuser" as the Ultimate Evil, since that's obvious, but why do they make it seem like he's in charge of all the horrible things we do(aka the "The Devil Made Me Do It" mindset)? The whole tragedy of the Original Sin is that WE are responsible for sin, and it's up to us to fix it. Having Satan being the figure that we break the initial straw with, I get, but not the idea that he's a Diabolical Mastermind planning out very aspect of our flaw. Blaming a supernatural figure for sin seems rather opposed to the idea of humans being the cause of it.
    • For the most part you are actually right. While Satan is the Big Bad he can only tempt us at most; whether we sin or not is our responsibility. But at the same time, that doesn't mean that Satan can't influence the world at all; on the contrary, he is described as the ruler of the world on several occasions (Luke 4:6, John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11; Ephesians 2:2, 6:12; 1 John 5:19). What you are wrong about is that humans cannot fix sin, but God can, which is why he sent Jesus as a sacrifice.

    Luke 17: 34 

Why do the people in this topic promoting the erroneous idea that "homosexuality = sin" ignore this verse? Even in the English version, it is clearly promoting homosexuality, not condemning it.
  • It only says there will be two men sharing a bed, one of them taken by God, the other left behind. It doesn't say that the two are gay, just that they were sharing the bed that night. Up till about the 19th century, it was perfectly common for men share beds when they were staying at each others house, with no implication of homosexuality. Standards have changed.
    • The Greek verses imply sex has to take place, though. Also, men sleeping together wasn't as common as you think. Already in the time it was written, it was seen as suspicious at best and worthy of death at worse.
    • Where do you get text implying sex? I'd like to see those Greek parts. Recently I perused the King James Version of the verse, and I noticed that the words "men" and "women" in that section were in brackets, with a note saying that these words were added later because the original words used for them were gender neutral so they figured it would be women grinding grain. According to there, the original text just said "two other", so just two people.
    • I study Aramaic and Greek; it's somewhat self-evident if you know the verses in that language. Also, The King James version is notoriously mistranslated.
    • Well, I don't know Greek, so I can't respond there. Still, would be nice if you outline the words that are used. A bit of searching tells me this is what the passage looks like in Greek: λέγω ὑμῖν ταύτῃ τῇ νυκτὶ ἔσονται δύο ἐπὶ κλίνης μιᾶς ὁ εἷς παραλημφθήσεται καὶ ὁ ἕτερος ἀφεθήσεται Could you point the words that are used there that imply sex?
      • "δύο ἐπὶ κλίνης", more literally translated as "in one bed", has historically been used as an euphemism for sex. Considering the subjects are masculine, "ὁ", this becomes particularly reinforced, as Greek literature of that time will show you.
    • Huh, who knew. Returning to the original question, it probably isn't often cited considering the verse is so little known, since it gets lumped with its larger passage around it about the end times. However, since only one of the men is taken, it may not mean that the action was wholly approved of. Given as it contradicts the later command to "not be yoked together with unbelievers", and only one of the men there was a believer, the implied response from God might actually be "I forgive you, but you shouldn't have been doing that."
  • To answer the question, it depends on whether a person believes in the Bible's inspiration and internal harmony or not. Since the Bible explicitly condemns homosexual sex in several other verses (Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:26, 27, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11), the implication of the verse promoting homosexuality would be a contradiction, and instead it would seem that even if such a euphemism existed, it was not being used here. Of course, if you think the Bible is nothing but an anthology of several books written by several men who may have different ideas, then the whole argument becomes moot.
    • But said verses don't condemn it explicitly either. Leviticus in its original wording refers to sex with underage male prostitutes, while both Romans and Corinthians refers to Greco-Roman pederasty.
      • That's rather unlikely, considering that the Bible does refer to prostitutes in other verses by the actual word "prostitute".
      • In the original Hebrew and Greek, yes. In English, again, it's mistranslated. Male prostitutes and female prostitutes also were known by different terms, which again were translated differently.
      • Apparently you didn't understand what I meant. I don't know which Bible versions you're referring to, but the English translations I use actually refer to male prostitutes by those actual words, such as at 1 Kings 14:24. However, it does not use the words "male prostitute" at Leviticus 18:22 or 20:13. The verses in the original Hebrew also uses a different word at 1 Kings 14:24 compared with verses in Leviticus.

    • Does it? The Roman passage in particular says "men with other men". If they had meant with children, they could have specified one of the words. Another essay here says this: "Because Paul also condemns female-female sexual intimacy in Romans 1:26-27, he cannot have in mind only specific sexual practices peculiar to males (i.e., pederasty) but means to make a categorical judgment of all same-sex sexual intimacy (57). Paul grounds this general condemnation on the normativity of Genesis 1–2 and its portrayal of male/female sexual intimacy as the exclusive norm, and all exceptions as 'unnatural.'"
    • See this essay on the matter. Though, Paul was notoriously harsh towards any sort of sexuality, and his passage is pretty much the only one of the bunch that can argue to be truly homophobic, so the bearing of his words are very, very much YMMV.
    • It's an exaggeration that Paul thought that Sex Is Evil. He just acknowledged that marriage could be difficult and personally preferred being single. Anyway, while verses in the Bible sometimes do have different meanings than what they seem at first glance, to say that Luke 17:34 refers to homosexuality when it does not do so directly, and at the same time say that the verses in Leviticus, Romans, and Corinthians do not refer to homosexuality when they would obviously do so if taken literally seems like a leap of logic. Anyway, continuing this argument would be pointless if just boils down to different interpretations.
    • In the hopes of putting more interpretations out there, as well as the insight as to what goes on during and even after translation, I'm just gonna post this: While it's written as a means of encouragement and defense of homosexuality as a God-given attribute, it's an interesting read for everyone curious about the little quirks of localization. It's a little long but well worth the time.

     Can Angels Die? 
  • Can an angel die? We know that YHWH can't and people can, but I don't think its ever been said if angels can be killed somehow. If they can, why is YHWH stuffing the rotten ones in Hell instead of just obliterating them?
    • Since they're beings created by God, that means their existence depends on him wanting them around. They probably can't be killed by humans, but God definitely could. As for why he'd seal them away in Hell rather than wiping them from existence, the same reason he doesn't do the same with humans.
      • You still haven't explained why God doesn't just obliterate fallen angels-if demons are supposed to be beyond redemption, there's no reason to keep them alive to repent(unlike people).
      • For one thing, demons are NOT in hell, they are right here on earth (see Revelation 12:7-9, you can read it right here on the Fallen Angel page). As for the reason why he keeps them alive, it's the same reason why he keeps Satan alive, to prove that Satan and his demons are screw-ups at ruling the earth.
      • So God keeps the fallen angels/demons around just to prove a point and show how great he is. Even though killing the fallen angels right after the rebellion would've most likely prevented original sin and so much human suffering?
      • No, it appears that you interpreted my statement in the opposite way from what I meant to apply. When I said that, I didn't mean that God did it to show how great he is (that's something he doesn't need to prove), but rather to prove Satan wrong. For one thing, killing the fallen angels would not have prevented original sin, they fell after the original sin occured. As for Satan, when he told Eve to eat the "forbidden fruit" that would give her the power to decide what is right and wrong for herself instead being content with the ability to distinguish between right and wrong, he was implying that Satan and humans would be better at managing Earth and their own lives independent of God instead of submitting to his will; it was an attack on God's sovereignty (right to rule). Satan was wrong, but the only way to show he was wrong would be to indulge him for some time. Had God killed all three off immediately, which he had every right to do, it would have seemed like he was afraid of Satan's accusation and weaken God's authority, not to mention plant seeds of doubt in the onlooking angels. While it may have provided a short-term solution, immediate execution might have actually led to an even worse angelic rebellion then what actually occured. By giving Satan free reign of Earth, he shows that he is not afraid of having his authority questioned as well as his superiority in justice by averting Right Makes Might and is willing to spend the time to prove Satan wrong before he executes him. (Actually, the entirety of human history from Eden onward can be viewed as one big court case of Satan vs. God and humanity, with Jesus as the star witness for the defense. Essentially God is so zealous for the pursuit of justice that he is willing to let himself be put on trial.) People all too often look at God's postponement of judgement in the Eden incident in the limited view of how it affected humanity and don't notice the bigger picture and the power-play that Satan was making.
      • First off killing Satan would've proven Satan wrong and second it's commonly believe that angels sinned before humans so if God killed the sinful angels before they came to earth it would've prevented so much needless suffering. Thirdly most Christians don't believe God will ever kill Satan unless you're an annihilationist and Fourthly you offer no bible verses to support your speculations. Also God still could have killed Satan before he talked to Eve preventing the seeds of doubt and if there would be a worse angelic rebellion God can still kill them regardless the moment the angels step out of line. God could have and should have made it a rule in regards to the angels that if they disobey him once then he will kill them instantly and all the problems would've been prevented.
      • No, killing Satan off would not have proven him wrong, it would only have proven the God was mightier. Also, the angels sinned after humans. The original sin is covered in Genesis chapter 3; the fall of the angels occurs in Genesis chapter 6 before the time of the Flood, roughly 1,600 years later. If you think that it's "commonly believed" that the angels sinned before humans, then you must be around a lot of people who don't know their Bible. Also, while I usually don't call myself this, I technically am an "Annihilationist". As for God preventing Satan from talking to Eve, that only makes sense from the view that God's omniscience is absolute. God likely didn't bother to foresee how the test in Eden would turn out, and even if he did, Satan would only end up making the same challenge on Adam and Eve that he did on Job, so God would still have let them be tempted anyway.
      • It is never mention in the bible when the war in heaven started it could have been either before or after the origin of sin. Second, God is planning to do away with Satan and all his angels according to Jude 6 the devil’s present state of existence is in hell with his evil angels. There they are being kept in darkness and bound in everlasting chains for their final day of judgment on the last day. Also what your suggesting is that God should becomes a tyrant who Kills all those who oppose him instantly with 0 chance of redemption or forgiveness.
      • All of the angels except Satan "fell" when they went to Earth to have sex with human women. That happened after the original sin in Eden. During the book of Job, Satan is mentioned as entering in among the faithful angels in heaven; thus he and the demons had not yet been expelled from heaven in the war yet. Furthermore, the war in heaven is only mentioned in Revelation, which covers future events. All evidence points to the war in heaven occuring after completion of The Bible; some interpretations even consider it to have occured as late as during the 20th century.
      • The reason I suggested that God should have killed the fallen angels is because it's commonly believed by christians that fallen angels can't be redeemed or forgiven if some christians do believe that fallen angels can return to heaven. Why don't they pray for the sinners that need it the most and most christian believe it was satan in the garden.
      • the bible says God forgive all those who comes o him seeking forgiveness however there are things God can't forgive. These things are not mention in great in the bible but some assume that trying to kill God is one of them. That or the Devil never apologize or regret what he did. Either way praying for him is not goanna do jack.
      • People pray for sinners so that they may seek God for forgiveness and realize to regret their sinful actions. So in other words if Satan and the fallen angels can't be forgiven and nor ever be forgiven God should have just destroyed them a long time ago.
      • The difference between demons and humans is that humans have inherited imperfection, thus we only have limited control over our actions and an inherent tendency to act against God's wishes. Thus we often regret our sins because even when we know something is wrong are desires may be stronger than our self-control. Demons were perfect angels when they fell, thus they have full control over their desires, so their decision to rebel is entirely on their head. Had they really wanted to serve God, they would have never sinned in the first place.
      • Also people pray for sinners so that God may forgive them not so that they will fell regret (that would go against their free will).Anyway God will pass Judgment on Satan and angel on Judgment day after he finish judging humanity. its not like Satan is a treat to God and most of the evil that happening on earth is cause by humans to humans.
      • People pray for others in hopes that others may be healed, see the light of their actions, etc. I don't see how a stirring or conviction from the holy spirit is a violation of free will. Satan and his angels are threats to humans and most christians do believe that most of the evil in human history came by his influence. Also they brought evil to humans in the first place and many christians believe their plenty of demonic attacks going on nowadays. So it wouldn't make any sense for God to allow pure evil things without any hope of redemption to roam creation. When it would have been more sensible for God to put them out of their misery long ago.
      • Asking God to directly control how a person thinks and feels would go against their free will. God can indirectly persuade people on earth like in the story of Jonah. However I'm not sure how would even work in hell or What God can tell Satan that he doesn't already know. And Satan is not a treat to GOD or any person strong enough to resist his temptations. Like Job for example. Also out of ALL the wars and mostly all the violence descripted in the Bible None of them where directly cause Satan
      • God could figure out some way to persuade Satan indirectly and people can hope that Satan and the fallen can be redeemed. However ignoring that according to most christians not a lot of people are strong enough to resist Satan's temptations. At the end of day if the fallen can be redeemed pray that they will return to heaven if they can't be redeemed then God should have just killed them long ago and that's all I have to say about the subject.
      • If God could find a way persuade everyone into following him he would have done that. Some people are just stubborn (of course this is all assuming that attempted murder on God is forgivable). Frankly it's also possible that God doesn't see Satan as a treat worth killing. Or he is trying to show the devil and his angel some mercy by sparing their lives for now. His call a God mercy.
    • Angels are simple, meaning they don't have constituent parts. They are indivisible spirits. As such, it is axiomatically impossible for them to die or decay, because there is nothing for them to break up into. Cessation of Existence is never imposed on sentient beings, according to the Bible, so death requires the separation of the victim into constituent parts. Humans can die, because we are persons made of a body and a soul, and the bond between them can be severed. Angels cannot die because they are entirely spirit and can't be broken apart. The only death an angel can experience is the spiritual death of being cut off from God, who is the source of all life.
      • Um, no. Ecclesiastes 9:5 says that Cessation of Existence is' imposed on humans. Additionally, you are only half right on how death works. The body is part of the soul, human death is the separation of the body and the spirit; this type of death is referred to as Sheol/Hades in the original Hebrew and Greek. There is another type of death, referred to as Gehenna in the Gospels or the "lake of fire" in Revelation, that refers to destruction of the entire soul. This death is the eventuality of both Satan and all the demons (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10-14).
      • No, Revelation says, "There, they will be tormented day and night, forever and ever."
      • But keep in mind this is Revelation, which is heavily symbolic. Much of what Revelation says is not to be taken completely literally.
      • Something that is symbolic therefore symbolizes something. So what does eternal torture in a lake of fire (Rev 20:10) symbolize? Because "'eternal torment' means you stop existing" isn't a logically discernible image. They're two opposite definitions.
      • For one thing, Ecclesiastes 9:5 clearly points to Cessation of Existence, and that is not a symbolic book. Additionally, look at the rest of the verse. It reads, "And the Devil who was misleading them was hurled into the lake of fire and sulphur, where both the wild beast and the false prophet already were; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever." Verse 14 adds, "And death and Hades were hurled into the lake of fire. This means the second death, the lake of fire." While the Devil is a living entity, the wild beast and false prophet are not. They are symbols, and symbols cannot be tortured. Neither is the "lake of fire" an actual place. Additionally, death itself is obviously not a living entity, but a state of being. How can you torture death? To say that the verse means that the Devil will be literally tortured would also mean that symbols and death itself can also be tortured. The word translated as "torture" is basanizo; while that translation is probably more common now, in ancient Greek, the primary translation referred to "testing/proving (on a touchstone)" or "examine closely", which would refer to testing and God's and Satan's rival claims to sovereignty as set out in Eden as told in Genesis chapter 3 against each other and finally resolving the issue, also setting a precedent on the issue and the prevention of another issue like it from ever arising. Thus the Satan will have been 'proved wrong' "day and night, forever and ever."
  • If God considers humans His main focus, why create angels with free will to mess things up? And for that matter, why create angels at all if you can do their job with literally zero effort.
    • You know the exact same thing could be said about humans right? Since God is all power he doesn't need any of his creation, and Most likely he created angels with free will for the same reason he gave all his creations free will. So they could better enjoy their existence and not be just zombies. also I pretty sure somebody already asked this before .

And on a different note from one lecture on such questions, "Heaven will be a place where a big sound heard will be, 'Oooooooooooooohhhhhhh'" as our questions are finally given an answer.
The BelgariadHeadscratchers/LITERATUREBiting the Sun

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