It looks to me like God kills and destroys. That’s pretty absolutistic if you ask me.
I don’t have the luxury of picking or choosing the kind of God I want. The reason we study the scriptures is to understand the God who is and what He is like. You ask, “what what be your concern if He didn’t (kill and destroy)”? The question to me is completely irrelevant because Christ clearly said that He is able to (and likely will to some) destroy both soul and body in hell. The meaningful question to me is, “how do I make sure I’m on the right side”?
I am with you on the concept/belief we use scripture to learn who we are and be changed through the HS’s leading having been called of God. We dont come to change the God of scripture but be changed by Him.
We dont come to save His reputation, He came to save/deliver/forgive us from death and our sins.
Thanks for your replies David and your willingness to share your views…
As the original posting/article illustrates, there are essentially two positions that can be taken with respect to scripture.
One position is that the English translation/s that we have are 100% accurate in their interpretation of the original texts - and that the original text writers were 100% accurate in their perception and understanding of God and the issues pertaining to life, salvation, the great controversy, etc. Under this position, it is therefore assumed/accepted that the bible means exactly what the words say and according to how we understand those words to mean today and that those words accurately reflect and represent God’s nature, character and the other above mentioned concepts. Verses such as Isa 55:8,9; 1 Cor 13:12 and 2 Tim 2:15 would seem to question the assumptions inherent in this position. In order to limit the impacts of the issues mentioned in these first 2 verses, God would have to have dictated every word written originally and then also subsequently have dictated every translated word into English or whichever other subsequent translated language. Then we could be somewhat more confident of taking scripture at face value.
The other position is that the original writers, although inspired by God, nevertheless still reflected their understanding of things and that they did so within a cultural and developmental context that shaped their perceptions, understandings and therefore their writing. And that on top of that subsequent translators did the same. Consequently, there are inherent perceptual and interpretative biases involved whereby it is not as simple as taking what is said on face value. This does not mean the bible is not the word of God, but it does mean that as a living and active word, it does need to be interpreted - ie, rightly divided under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Essentially, whether we are consciously aware of it or not, we each are ‘choosing’ which view of God we hold because we choose which of the above positions we hold to.
And God allows us the freedom to do so - even though doing so impacts his ‘reputation’ and therefore our witness of Him to others (as per Israel’s history with respect to their gross misportrayal of God to the surrounding nations).
I say this very gently and carefully, there is much more at stake than merely me making sure whose side I am on. How I view God will impact the God I portray to others via both what I say and how I treat others. The church leadership at the time of Christ is but one example of this: their view of the nature and character of God enabled and validated (in their mind) their perception and accusation of Jesus as a blasphemous agent of Beelzebub who ultimately deserved to be killed and destroyed.
Please know that I am not trying to get you to change your views. At the end of the day, we are each responsible for being fully persuaded in our own minds as to the view we hold to (Rom 14:5).
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
I would even go so far as to say He was made to be Satan. John 3:14-15:
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
No, it wasn’t an absolutistic statement.
I believe they did die. Before they ate, their eyes were open to the spirit but closed to the flesh. After they ate, their eyes were open to the flesh but closed to the spirit. Adam became a different creature after eating the fruit. The old Adam died. The opening of the eyes gives the meaning and that’s what Satan used to first deceive Eve and then had Eve deceive Adam (though Paul says Adam was not deceived). Their eventual physical death simply followed suit. In the same way, when we come to Christ our eyes are opened and we become new men and women, the old man dies. Just as physical death followed the spiritual death of Adam, our physical resurrection follows our spiritual resurrection in Christ.
I don’t think I arrived at the same conclusion you did.
Galiman: I don’t have the luxury of picking or choosing the kind of God I want.
Phil: As the original posting/article illustrates, there are essentially two positions that can be taken with respect to scripture.
Both your positions are straw men full of gaping holes.
One position is that the English translation/s that we have are 100% accurate in their interpretation of the original texts -
One thing the English translation has going for it is it’s English. English is such a versatile and flexible language. There’s a reason why it’s called the universal language. Consider yourself blessed for knowing English and having an English bible.
“One of the best assets of the English language and why it is so awesome is its flexibility. It is a huge entity of vocabulary and is constantly absorbing new words, whilst at the same time seeping into foreign languages. English contains over 750,000 words. With so many different words available to describe things, you should never be short of synonyms.” https://www.europelanguagejobs.com/blog/english-awesome-language
Phil: and that the original text writers were 100% accurate in their perception and understanding of God and the issues pertaining to life, salvation, the great controversy, etc. Under this position, it is therefore assumed/accepted that the bible means exactly what the words say and according to how we understand those words to mean today and that those words accurately reflect and represent God’s nature, character and the other above mentioned concepts.
This assumption is false on its face. Peter said the Old Testament prophets didn’t understand much of what they wrote about! It was the Spirit of Christ that was directing them to write. Clearly we must have the Spirit of Christ to interpret the meaning of what the Spirit of Christ wrote.
1 Peter 1: Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things which angels desire to look into.
2 Peter 1: And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
Phil: Verses such as Isa 55:8,9; 1 Cor 13:12 and 2 Tim 2:15 would seem to question the assumptions inherent in this position. In order to limit the impacts of the issues mentioned in these first 2 verses, God would have to have dictated every word written originally and then also subsequently have dictated every translated word into English or whichever other subsequent translated language. Then we could be somewhat more confident of taking scripture at face value.
I disagree with your application of these scriptures.
Isaiah 55:8,9 says: "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.
You quote Isaiah to prove that the scriptures are suspect because they were written by man (writing is an expression of thought and man’s thoughts are not God’s thoughts). Wasn’t Isaiah 55:8,9 written by a man? You can’t have it both ways.
Phil in response to WBaker: no one is suggesting we scrap the scriptures. We are merely growing in our awareness of how to “rightly divide” scripture so that we reduce the risk of being ‘sloppy workmen’ in our use and application of it (as per 2 Tim 2:15).
You imply that 2Tim. 2:15 was written to warn us that some scriptures are suspect (if I understand you right); that Paul’s exhortation to rightly divide the word of truth is referring to a process of picking and choosing which verses to accept and which ones to ignore based on the writers’ cultural bias. I believe Paul was just emphasizing the same thing Christ was saying in Luke 10:26, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?” (How do you divide it?).
Phil: In order to limit the impacts of the issues mentioned in these first 2 verses, God would have to have dictated every word written originally
I think you put too much faith in man’s ability and desire to follow the right path. Having God dictate every word is no guarantee that someone won’t come along and try to twist it. We have only to look at the few words that God did dictate (actually, He wrote them with His own finger) to see how that turned out. Augustine, that great doctor of the church, felt he needed to make some improvements to the Commandments that God had written. I don’t see the Catholics, Mormons, Lutherans, etc. removing (rightly dividing?) Augustine’s butchered law from their catechisms. Let’s hope the Adventists don’t follow their example. Thankfully we do have the Ten Commandments in their original form?
Phil: The other position is that the original writers, although inspired by God, nevertheless still reflected their understanding of things and that they did so within a cultural and developmental context that shaped their perceptions, understandings and therefore their writing. And that on top of that subsequent translators did the same. Consequently, there are inherent perceptual and interpretative biases involved whereby it is not as simple as taking what is said on face value. This does not mean the bible is not the word of God, but it does mean that as a living and active word, it does need to be interpreted - ie, rightly divided under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
This is another straw man. What you’re saying is that the word of God can’t be depended on to mean what it intended to say. It was the Spirit of Christ that inspired the writers to write what they did. If Christ didn’t mean what He said then why didn’t He say what he meant? Jesus constantly referred to the scriptures in His arguments against the priests, pharisees, and Satan. Not once did He cast doubt on their integrity. He even went so far as to say His word would never pass away and that it would judge the world!
Essentially, whether we are consciously aware of it or not, we each are ‘choosing’ which view of God we hold because we choose which of the above positions we hold to.
Both positions are false.
Phil: there is much more at stake than merely me making sure whose side I am on. How I view God will impact the God I portray to others via both what I say and how I treat others.
If you are on the right side, your view of God will be correct and you will be able to portray to others the correct view of God by your speech and treatment of others. It’s a total package. It’s the gospel that brings love (have gospel, will love).
The church leadership at the time of Christ is but one example of this: their view of the nature and character of God enabled and validated (in their mind) their perception and accusation of Jesus as a blasphemous agent of Beelzebub who ultimately deserved to be killed and destroyed.
The Roman Catholic leadership in the time of the Middle Ages is another example of what you point out. Their view of the nature and character of God enabled and validated (in their mind) their perception and accusation of the followers of Jesus as blasphemers and followers of beelzebub and were hunted down, imprisoned, and killed (destroyed).
Matt.10:25: If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household!
John 16:2: “the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service.”
Splitting in mental health is the failure to bring together the positive and negative qualities of the self and of others into an integrated cohesive self. The process starts at birth when the infant begins a relationship with the primary caregiver, initially the mother. He interprets the world only on the basis of satisfying his physical needs which form the basis of his cognitive world. It is normal to expect a child to say “I love you” and “ I hate you” to the same mother and it is a normal phase when it is time limited. It is suppose to resolve as we enter adulthood but it is not a guaranty. Several factors contribute to its resolution or to its continued formation and religion can be a factor in hardening or crystallization. Religion fosters pathological splitting by using Satan as the suppository of our negative self that are unacceptable by our conscience.
So when you say “He (Jesus) was made to be Satan,” a healthy interpretation is acknowledgement that our psychological needs oscillate between good and bad, both of which are still our own self.
This is a basic principle in the treatment of borderline personality disorder, a disorder characterized by unstable self, those who only see the world as black and white.
I didn’t have the psychological implications in mind but I’m glad you saw some value in the concept. People like you, George, and Kim are able to see things that many of us are not able to see. I admit the idea is somewhat shocking when you first see it. Some folks said the idea doesn’t make any sense since Christ came to die for man and if Christ posed as Satan on the cross then that would mean that Christ died for Satan (which obviously isn’t so).
I believe what needs to be kept in mind is that in being made to be sin (who knew no sin) God was able to condemned sin by condemning Christ. 2 Cor. 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. Rom. 8:3 He condemned sin in the flesh.
In a similar way, God was able to condemn Satan by condemning Christ. Christ took upon Himself the condemnation that Satan deserved and by receiving that condemnation He gained the rulership of the world that Satan previously had a right to. Essentially, Christ bought the world by posing as Satan and receiving his punishment. The keys that Satan held are now in the possession of Christ. Rev.1:18 I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.
In posing as Satan on the cross, not only was Satan condemned but he was cast down to the earth. John 12: Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. 32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” 33 This He said, signifying by what death He would die.
What must be kept in mind is, the earth Is not just the globe, it also includes its orbit (the tropical year).
I go with Paul.
Paul states that the Man Jesus died as the First Man. Jesus before the Resurrection,
Christ after the resurrection. His body glorified, what ever that means, as reported by
by the Gospel writers post-resurrection. He did things we can’t in our present human bodies.
Paul says Christ is the Second Adam. And as such, we are all made alive.
Does a house actually become condemned only because a building inspector delcares it condemned - meaning that the moment immediately prior to the inspector issuing the declaration of ‘condemned’, the house was in fact not condemned whereas the moment of the inspector issuing/imposing the declaration, the house suddenly becomes condemned? Or was the building, by nature, already ‘condemned’ because like all things since the entrance of sin, it is subject to decay and deterioration and had naturally (via the law of cause and effect - specifically “the law of sin and death”, “bondage to decay” Rom 8:2, 21) become structurally and functionally unfit/unsafe for habitation?
Similarly, is sin only condemned after God condemns it? Or is sin, by nature, already (self-)condemnatory?
How we see this scenario is a reflection of our ‘world view’ - our view (and accompanying underpinning assumptions) of how we believe/perceive reality operates. This will influence how we see God operating - as One who must impose things such as condemnation or punishment because they wouldn’t otherwise (naturally) occur if God didn’t impose them.
I see your point Phil and I agree that we are condemned already (prior to Inspector God’s condemnation) by virtue of our being born sinners. But there is something else going on in the condemnation of Christ (who knew no sin) as sin. It is only by the condemnation of Christ that we are enabled to participate in His righteousness.
What I hear Paul saying is that Christ participated in our sin by (and only by) being condemned as a sinner. In a similar manner, we became justified by (and only by) His exoneration and resurrection. It’s a hard concept to grasp and I still don’t understand it as fully as I should. It’s one of those concepts that we need to meditate on because it is at the very heart of the gospel message.
The gospel message is that through the condemnation of Christ we become the righteousness of God in Him.
In other words, without God’s (The Inspector’s) condemnation of Christ we would never have been able to participate in the righteousness of God in Christ.
Cor. 5:21: For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
A man (or woman) can spend a lifetime chewing on that concept and still not know it as he (she) ought to know it. (Paul) @Phil1
Sin in the flesh was condemned at His crucifixion like you said. I also believe Satan was condemned at His crucifixion. The result of that condemnation was that he was cast down to the earth.
John 12:31-32: 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. 32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”
Satan is the great serpent of old and the dragon. He has a face, a head, and a tail (believe it or not). It was by posing as the dragon’s head that Christ was able to bruise it.
Revelation 12:7: 7 And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. 9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
A very good Old Testament illustration is the hanging of Haman. Think of the gallows as the cross and Haman as Satan under the guise of Judas (after Satan entered into him).
Satan intended the cross to be the means by which he would destroy Christ but by Christ posing as Satan, Satan essentially condemned himself.
Esther 6:4: So the king said, “Who is in the court?” Now Haman had just entered the outer court of the king’s palace to suggest that the king hang Mordecai on the gallows that he had prepared for him…7:9-10: Now Harbonah, one of the eunuchs, said to the king, “Look! The gallows, fifty cubits high, which Haman made for Mordecai, who spoke good on the king’s behalf, is standing at the house of Haman. Then the king said, “Hang him on it!”
10 So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the king’s wrath subsided of Haman.”
I appreciate your response David and the opportunity to dialogue with you. I am not trying to change your mind, but rather to respond to points you have raised with evidence. This process helps me grow in my bible study and hopefully gets other people thinking and studying for themselves too. For, at the end of the day, we are each need to be fully persuaded in our own minds (Rom 14:5) and able to give a reasoned response gently for the hope that we have (1 Pet 3:15)…
In regards to interpreting 2 Cor 5:21, I would offer a couple of observations for what they are worth.
The Greek word (hamartian) for both occurrences of the word “sin” in 2 Cor 5:21 is exactly the same. The accompanying Greek verb (epoeisen) broadly means to make or do - or even to bear (eg Matt 13:26; Lk 8:8). Paul uses this particular word only 4 times in all his writings: 2 Cor 5:21; Eph 3:11; Heb 1:2; and Heb 7:27.
Heb 7:27 is particularly interesting as Paul elaborates on how Jesus carried out epoeisen - by offering Himself up sacrificially.
Notably Peter only uses this word once - 1 Pet 2:22 where it is translated as committed. Now if we read 1 Pet 2:22 in context from 1 Pet 2:21-25, we have Peter also conveying this same notion of Jesus being offered and Himself offering up sacrificially.
There are 2 schools of though amongst expository commentators on the meaning of Jesus being made sin. One view is the more popularly promoted notion that Jesus was somehow made to be sin so that ‘God’s just wrath’ could be poured out on Jesus instead of us - eg, the penal substitutionary theory of atonement.
The other view is that the meaning of Jesus being made sin is that He became a sin offering or atoning/propitiating sacrifice. I find that the above verses accord better with this view.
Now we need to also consider the nature of Jesus ‘sacrifice’ and how such a sacrifice results in atonement/propitiation.
I probably don’t need to outline the most common view - that Jesus died like a sacrifice, that the death of the innocent ‘satisfied’ justice and in so doing all is well again. I find this view severely lacking in depth of explanation in that punishment (imposition of a death penalty) does not actually restore that which is broken. It allegedly “appeases” - thought I would challenge that it actually even does that.
At the end of the day, it depends on how we each view what sin functionally is, what it functionally does, what it functionally results in and all of that is functionally resolved.
The most predominant view is that because the bible includes judicial/forensic language, then we must exist within the context of a cosmic judicial system. And for those who wish to believe this and hold to it, there appears to be plenty of ‘evidence’ in scripture to support that view. All that is needed is a superficial reading of the bible to seemingly provide such support.
And if it is the case that we are merely located within a cosmic court context, then Isa 55:8,9 is redundant on this point because God’s ways are exactly like our ways - God’s court system operates in principle like our court system.
However, if we notice scripture a little more deeply and carefully, we find some interesting ‘anomalies’. The passage in 1 Pet 2:21-25 cites Isa 53 quite a bit. And if I go to Isa 53 and look and (for the sake of this exposition) note particularly verses 4 and 5, I see:
the notion of Jesus bearing our griefs and carrying our sorrows
the notion that while He was doing this, we would (mistakenly) consider (reckon/appraise/perceive) that He was being struck down by God
that, contrary to that misperception, Jesus was instead ‘sacrificially’ submitting himself to this treatment of wounding, crushing, ‘striping’ etc for our wellbeing
and that the outcome of this was that we are healed.
I would propose that if in fact we are within a comic court context, why would the outcome be that we are healed? Shouldn’t the outcome be that we are pardoned?
But instead the Hebrew word is healed - and only conveys the notion or being healed via being actually repaired.
This brings up an important point. There are many references throughout scripture to judicial terms. And there are many references to the notion of healing. What I have observed is that the judicial references appear to be metaphors intended to illustrate aspects of things but not to convey the idea that the judicial/forensic system is the reality. Rather, while healing could also be cited as metaphorical (and I believe it is), I also find that the weight of ‘evidence’ supports the notion that healing is also the reality.
And if healing is the reality, then Paul’s discourse in Rom 5 regarding the first and second Adam makes sense - the second Adam came to do what the first Adam was meant to do - not deviate from the path of/to abundant life. While Satan succeeded in tempting the first Adam away from this path and instead into sin (which consequentially cannot lead to anything but death), he was unsuccessful in his efforts to get the second Adam to do the same. While Satan only had to tempt the first Adam once and was successful on that first attempt, Satan continued well beyond the initial recorded temptations in the wilderness to repeatedly tempt the second Adam throughout his life and ministry. And guess what the climactic temptation was? To avoid the most gruesome and painful death known to man - death on a roman cross whilst also being taunted and despised by those carrying out the crucifixion.
Jesus statement in Jn 15:13 makes much deeper sense if you understand the significance of self-renouncing love as the underpinning principle that supports and promotes abundant life. The first Adam lived in accordance with this essential principle prior to Gen 3 and in so doing ‘retained’ the connection with/‘right to’ abundant/eternal life. But in Gen 3 he unfortunately deviated from that principle and in so doing lost the connection with/to abundant/eternal life as per the cause and effect reality that God had ‘warned’ Adam about in Gen 2:17. As Paul points out in Rom 5:14, humanity, via the first Adam’s departure from living in harmony with (‘obedience to’) the foundational principle of self-renouncing love, received the naturally-occurring outcome (‘wages’ as Paul refers to it in Rom 6:23). By contrast, Jesus as the second Adam did not, no matter what temptation was thrown up at him including death, deviate from living in absolute harmony with (‘obedience to’) the necessarily life-promoting principle of self-renouncing/Agape love. And in so doing, as a valid member of humanity, once again restored connection between humanity and abundant eternal life. Essentially, by his obedience, the second Adam ‘earned the right’ to eternal abundant life (as per Paul’s point in Rom 5:19). Thus, atonement or propitiation was achieved - not by token appeasement, but by actually fixing what was broken! Thus, healing is not only metaphorical, it is also reality. Healing can achieve what a judicial process of imposed punishment cannot.
So in what ways might God’s ways be higher than our ways on this matter? In our judicial system, we attempt (unsuccessfully) to reinstate justice via requiring a penalty to be paid. In God’s system, He actually repairs, heals and restores that which is broken.
I believe all of this has direct relevance to interpreting 2 Cor 5:21, and I offer it for your consideration…
How do you conceptualise the notion of judgement? Do you see it as someone rendering a verdict that results in a state that did not exist prior to the verdict, but which only came into existence as a direct result of the verdict? For example, is a person who is pronounced guilty only guilty once it is pronounced and was not guilty the moment before it was pronounced?
Am I merely being pedantic - or have we misunderstood some key concepts in scripture without realising it?
Is judgment something that God determines - or is God’s judgment in fact revelation of reality already in existence rather than determination? Have a look at 1 Cor 4:5 and see what you think, or perhaps Jn 3:18, 19 (which notably follow on from Jn 3:16,17).
Could it be that Jn 12:31,32 is speaking of judgment as a revealing/unveiling of what was already in existence but perhaps couldn’t be seen clearly by all relevant parties? Could it be that the deceiver’s deceptions actually blind us to the truth and reality of what is going on until they reach a point where they become too obvious?
Hence, we could return to the analogy of the house inspector whose ‘judgment/assessment’ is nothing more that a revelation of the true state of the house. Or we could consider a health professional who undertakes ‘investigative processes’ such as MRI’s and X-rays to reveal the things that are otherwise hidden (as per 1 Cor 4:5) and then renders his ‘judgment’ - which we know as diagnosis and prognosis. Or perhaps your mechanic runs some tests on your rough-running car to identify what is actually going on? And so on…
I find that there is a robust biblical case for the notion of judgment as revelation/unveiling/diagnosis and prognosis.
Guess which book of the bible spends the most time talking about ‘judgment’? And what is its title? Revelation - the stated purpose of which is to reveal a reality that is in place, but which is presently unseen: Rev 1:1).
Consequently, was Satan condemned at the crucifixion - or we he condemned long before that and rather fully revealed as to how condemned he actually was - the lengths that his absolutely ruined/‘condemned’ nature would lead him to go to?
(FWIW: Ellen White has proposed that Satan has been intentionally aiming to get us to misperceive God’s nature and character by influencing us to God as possessing the attributes that Satan actually possesses - key to which is arbitrary [RH Feb 15, 1912, para 2]. Arbitrary entails having to impose something upon something else because it otherwise wouldn’t actually exist. In other words, there isn’t a natural cause and effect relationship in existence under reality, therefore something has to be arbitrarily inserted. If Ellen White’s proposition does have some merit to it, then things start to make a whole lot of sense.)
Judgment in the Bible – OT and NT – shows VARIOUS WAYS in which
God effects Judgment on humans.
In some cases Humans effect Judgment upon themselves that is attributed
to God by those who read the Bible.