Friday, June 29, 2007

Jesus: "Let's Cuddle!"

“Yes, but do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?”

How many times have you heard this, or if you are or were formerly a Christian, uttered it yourself?

In the Christian communities I have been part of, this seems to be the ultimate point of the faith. If you don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus, then you’re just going through the motions. If you don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus, what you have isn’t faith, it’s “religion” (bad!). If you don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus, you are missing out on the abundant life. If you don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus, you are probably not a Christian.

From a historical perspective, when and why and how did the idea of a “personal relationship” with Jesus come to the fore? The phrase itself appears nowhere in the Bible, and I feel pretty certain that Luther & Calvin weren’t tossing it around back in the day. Anybody know?

I must admit that cultivating this personal relationship with Jesus has always, always been a struggle for me. How can you have a personal relationship with an invisible God? Humans in relationship are, first of all, in physical and verbal contact with each other. There is a very clear two-way directionality about it; you say something, and the other person speaks back to you. You have conversations. You make eye contact. Maybe you hug each other. But I can’t cuddle with Jesus. When I have a bad day, or am crying, there’s no Gentle Shepherd waiting at home to make me dinner, talk me through my upset, give me advice, or just listen to me.

When I was a Christian and heard this argument from someone else, I would argue (patiently, perhaps patronizingly) that Jesus does listen to us, does draw close to us. And that he uses other people and circumstances in our lives to provide comfort – friends and family become instruments of Jesus’ love. This sounded beautiful, at the time.

But I now see at least two problems with it. One, in that model, Jesus is using surrogates – substitutes – for himself. It would be like me having a boyfriend but telling him to go to my friend Lydia with his needs, because I’ve set her up to be my eyes, ears, and arms for him. What’s the point of that? If my boyfriend has even half a brain, eventually he’ll dump me and just start dating Lydia.

Two, non-Christians get comfort and succor and love from other people and circumstances all the time, without benefit of a personal relationship with Jesus. For all intents and purposes, what they “get” from these truly human relationships is indistinguishable from what Christians get from their surrogate-Jesus-human relationships. So again, what exactly is Jesus doing that’s special or different?

The idealist in me wants to believe that a mystical, beautiful personal relationship with God-slash-Jesus is possible. That said, I have always thought the idea of being "married to" Christ (a la Song of Solomon) as extremely creepy. Plus, in all the years I've tried to get closer to Jesus, I just haven't sensed him personally coming closer to me. Which is strange given how much Jesus supposedly loves me.

So what am I missing out on by not cultivating a personal relationship with Jesus? Sadly, I’ve come to believe, not much.

31 comments:

maybeitsnonsense said...

I really like what you have to say here- This has been so frustrating for me, why does this relationship seem like a one-way street? How can I have a relationship with a belief- There have been times that I think I have 'felt the presence of god' but that does not mean it is a relationship-
having been a christian, or maybe you still consider yourself one,
how do you make sense of the times you 'felt god?'

Heather said...

One of the difficulties I've had with believing that Jesus is God is that if one prays to Jesus, how do you know if you're praying to the human aspect or the divine aspect? How are the two seperated in the Bible? And doesn't that mean that you're praying to a physical image, which is condemned in the OT?

But, like the word Trinity or Original Sin, personal relationship is also nowhere to be found in the New Testament. I have a feeling if Paul were around today, he'd have no idea what any of the churches were talking about. I also think he'd be horrified that his letters were on par with the OT, and had he known they'd be preserved, he'd have written more clearly.

The use of the words 'personal relationship' almost seem ego-driven, as though one is elevated above everybody else. And yet a huge aspect of Christianity is humility.

Slapdash said...

*** how do you make sense of the times you 'felt god?' ***

Confused. Was it legitimate? Was it real? Or was it just me being awash with emotions because I whipped myself up internally?

The fact that I had one experience of totally believing I felt God but having it blow up in my face has made me go back and question every other time I've felt God. :(

Slapdash said...

Good thoughts, Heather.

***One of the difficulties I've had with believing that Jesus is God is that if one prays to Jesus, how do you know if you're praying to the human aspect or the divine aspect?***

I was always confused about whether I was praying to Jesus or to God the father. I would say "dear God" and close with "in Jesus' Name, Amen" but I was usually picturing Jesus while I prayed. I mean, who ARE we supposed to pray to, which part of the Trinity, I mean? Never thought about the human aspect, myself. That's interesting!

Heather said...

Slapdash,

**I was always confused about whether I was praying to Jesus or to God the father.** The two seem to be used interchangeably, and yet Jesus always directed the praying aspect to his father. And Paul made a distinction between the two, as well.

** I mean, who ARE we supposed to pray to, which part of the Trinity, I mean? ** It's interesting that no one ever prays to the Holy Spirit.

Bible student said...

When it comes to prayer Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6) He further taught at John 14:13 “Also, whatever it is that YOU ask in my name, I will do this, in order that the Father may be glorified in connection with the Son.”

When the first man and woman sinned, their relationship with God changed. Adam and Eve could originally approach God in conversation without feeling the need for an intercessor between them and their Creator, doing so as children would approach their father. Their sin and rebellion lost for them this relationship.

There is a big difference between the Creator and the created. At Revelation 22:8,9 we read, “Well, I John was the one hearing and seeing these things. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel that had been showing me these things. But he tells me: “Be careful! Do not do that! All I am is a fellow slave of you and of your brothers who are prophets and of those who are observing the words of this scroll. Worship God.” Nobody but God the father deserves our prayer.

The trinity doctrine is not biblical. It became part of Catholic teaching in Constantine’s time.

Heather said...

**Adam and Eve could originally approach God in conversation without feeling the need for an intercessor **

Actually, we don't really know that. The Bible's not that clear on the relationship prior to the fruit. That, and God seemed to kick them out because he wanted them away from the tree of life, and thus unable to live forever, more than anything else.

This would also lead to the question of who created man with the ability to sin? Because if man had the ability to be tempted by that sin, then man was not created 100% good, nor was man created without flaws.

Slapdash said...

Hi Bible Student (ooh, careful of what that shortens to, BS!) :)

Welcome. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

***When it comes to prayer Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6) He further taught at John 14:13 “Also, whatever it is that YOU ask in my name, I will do this, in order that the Father may be glorified in connection with the Son.”***

I know these verses well, and I would like to suggest that neither one of them necessarily implies "personal relationship" with Jesus. I know the conventional interpretation of John 14:6; but it is not also possible that Jesus could have meant no one comes but through him in the way one might mean "an apple doesn't fall to the ground but for gravity"? Gravity is always in operation, we don't have to call it by name or even acknowledge it and it still does its thing. It acts upon us anyway. Maybe Jesus has just 'done his thing' spiritually speaking, and all of humanity will reap the reward and gift of it regardless of whether they confessed the name of Christ or not.

As to John 14:13, well that's even more problematic because it's a point blank promise that God will answer prayer. And as I'm sure you've read by now on my blog, and just about any other person's who is going through deconversion, we have experienced and seen a LOT of unanswered prayers (and by unanswered I mean "NO" which is exactly the same as not answering). The promises are pretty much ringing hollow for me these days; Christians seem to be in the habit of over spiritualizing the prayer verses that are perfectly straightforward. "Oh no, it's if you ask for things that are already in God's will." "Oh no, it means that God might still answer no, or not yet." "Oh no, that promise was very specific to the apostles...it doesn't mean that today we could move mountains." Etc.

I don't mean to sound harsh here, but that is how it all seems to me these days.

Bible student said...

Hi Heather.

**The Bible's not that clear on the relationship**

God addresses Adam directly at Genesis 2:16-17. There is a conversation involving Adam and Eve at Genesis 3:9-19.

**if man had the ability to be tempted by that sin, then man was not created 100% good,**

Man was created perfect, not as a puppet. The Is God an Anarchist? page was a discussion of free will. What value would worship have, if we did not have the ability not to worship? Not only man, but perfectly created angels, chose to follow Satan instead of their sovereign.

Eve was deceived by Satan, but not Adam. (1Timothy 2:14) He deliberately chose disobedience, tried to hide and pass the responsibility off on others, even blaming God for his own willful sin. “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree and so I ate.” (Genesis 3:12)

Losing everlasting life was their punishment for disobedience.

Bible student said...

Slapdash, I may be as befuddled about this "personal relationship" with Jesus as you are. It wasn’t part of my upbringing, so I’m not sure I understand it’s scope.

You mentioned trinity before and I wonder if you are distinguishing the principals and their attributes, according to scripture. Your last comment doesn’t make that clear.

As I read Easter Lies and Old Boyfriends the verse that came to mind was Hebrews 11:6, “Moreover, without faith it is impossible to please [him] well, for he that approaches God must believe that he is and that he becomes the rewarder of those earnestly seeking him.” Praying in harmony with His will is also necessary. (1 John 5:14)

You also mention recognizing God’s voice. We are all given a conscience, but I thought God finished what He had to say to mankind at the end of the Bible.

Let me know.

Slapdash said...

***What value would worship have, if we did not have the ability not to worship? Not only man, but perfectly created angels, chose to follow Satan instead of their sovereign.***

How much of a choice is it when there is only one right answer? That making any choice other than to worship God gets us sent to eternal, fiery hell?

Someone on another blog gave this example: it's like saying - hey Joe, you can choose to marry me - I'm not saying you can't - free will after all. And I really really really love you! Oh, but if you say no to me, you will burn in hell forever. But hey, your choice!

Is that really a choice?

***You mentioned trinity before and I wonder if you are distinguishing the principals and their attributes, according to scripture. Your last comment doesn’t make that clear.***

The Trinity is a side issue for me. I know what the Trinity is, though I think sometimes evangelicals make an idol of Jesus - hee hee, if that's possible. I don't recall hearing people say we need a personal relationship with God the Father. It's always Jesus.

***As I read Easter Lies and Old Boyfriends the verse that came to mind was Hebrews 11:6, “Moreover, without faith it is impossible to please [him] well, for he that approaches God must believe that he is and that he becomes the rewarder of those earnestly seeking him.”***

BS, I know it may be hard to believe this since I have only started blogging recently, after my faith/trust/belief has already done a major nosedive...but this has been a process 6 or 7 years in the making. And prior to this unravelling, you could not have distinguished me from any other believer you've known. I probably meditated on that Hebrews verse just as much as you do. I believed. I trusted. I believed that he is.

Faith doesn't unravel in one day. Those of us who have struggled don't wake up one morning and think "Gee, you know what? I don't think I believe in Jesus anymore! What bunk!" It is an excruciating, lengthy, tear-filled, painful process. You beg to the God you believe in for answers. You trust he will provide answers. You wait for the answers. The answers don't come. And then the questions start to multiply. You keep praying. You consult wiser believers than yourself. You read lots of books. You journal. You pray some more. You cry. You ask for direction, for leading, for forgiveness, for the truth to be shown to you.

And it's not. And when it's not, after months or years of begging God, WHO YOU BELIEVE IN, but who neither answers you nor rewards you...well, you start to wonder if the God you believe in is really there.

***Praying in harmony with His will is also necessary. (1 John 5:14)***

And there are lots of other verses about prayer that don't put that "in his will" condition on it.

But even if we have to pray in his will, doesn't that defeat the purpose? Why do we have to pray if his will is going to be done anyway? If we can't affect or ever change God's mind on anything, I literally see zero point to prayer. It becomes an exercise in frustration, because it means God ain't listening to me. And to say that prayer is just a way of conforming us to God's will more and more... well, I say show me the verse that says that.

maybeitsnonsense said...

bible student
***Eve was deceived by Satan, but not Adam. (1Timothy 2:14) He deliberately chose disobedience, tried to hide and pass the responsibility off on others, even blaming God for his own willful sin. “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree and so I ate.” (Genesis 3:12)***

if eve was perfect then how could she have been deceived? if adam was sinless than how could he blame his actions on another? if adam and eve were both sinless, perfect, blah blah, then why would they have even desired to "disobey".
we are not only talking about choices and free will here-

the bible says that (paraphrased) we each sin when we are LED AWAY BY OUR OWN EVIL DESIRES- which gives birth to sin and leads to death.

SO- i guess adam and eve must have had evil desires in their perfect god image identity. otherwise they would not have been led to sin.

Heather said...

Biblestudent,

**God addresses Adam directly at Genesis 2:16-17. There is a conversation involving Adam and Eve at Genesis 3:9-19. ** These are only two examples, and from these two, it's difficult to say much about the relationship.

**Man was created perfect, not as a puppet.** No. If man had been created perfect, then man was wouldn't have the desire to sin. Man wouldn't have been tempted. Free will involves the option of making a choice. In order for a choice. So when God gave Adam/Eve free will, God created them with the ability to be tempted by sin, and thus sin, itself. As maybeitsnonsense says, they were designed to have evil desires, and then punished for following their design.

**Eve was deceived by Satan, but not Adam. (1Timothy 2:14)**
First, she wasn't deceived. The serpent (and the story never identities the serpet as Satan -- that's something read back into the story, due to what's said in the NT) didn't lie. They did become as gods, and they didn't surely die. (The word used for death means physical death). Second, if the only way to live forever was to eat from the tree, then they were already dying,.

Bible student said...

Slapdash,
Draw close to God, and he will draw close to you. (James 4:8) For I am the Lord your God who holds your right hand, and who says to you, 'Do not be afraid. I will help you.' (Isaiah 41:13) The invitation of the 55th chapter of Isaiah, all recommend a personal relationship with God. In any friendship we forge, the bond is based on knowing the person, admiring and valuing his distinctive traits. So God’s qualities and ways, as revealed in the Bible, are a worthy field of study. Pondering the way God manifests each of his qualities, seeing how Jesus Christ perfectly reflected them, and understanding how we may cultivate them will draw us closer to God. We see that God is the rightful and ideal Sovereign of the universe. What is more, he is the Father we all need. Strong, just, wise, and loving, he never abandons his faithful children.

I don’t claim to know the answers. I do love to type about what I have learned, about the one I had given up on years ago.

A de-conversion was a good idea for me. Shedding the “mother church” and it’s questionable teachings, let me explore my relationship with God. James called Abraham God’s friend. (James 2:23) Wouldn’t we all like to have that distinction.

Hell is on my list with the trinity as scripturally shaky. Life or death is what has been offered.

The model prayer recorded at Matthew 6:9-13 is where we can see how prayer benefits us. Priorities, His first, then ours. Sustenance and to keep us safe. As mentioned earlier, following His way is often all the answer we need.

Bible student said...

Hi, maybeitsnonsense if you incorrectly quote the scripture, James 1:13-15 reads in my Bible, ‘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. Then the desire, when it has become fertile, gives birth to sin; in turn, sin, when it has been accomplished, brings forth death.’

Heather, Paul repeated what he knew was written at Genesis 3:13. Eve gave in to the selfish ambition to “be like God,” in the sense of determining for herself what was good and what was bad instead of abiding by God’s judgment on this matter. Imagining herself to be deprived of something that she had now come to view as rightfully belonging to her, Eve chose to transgress God’s command. Later her husband Adam yielded to her pressure and joined in this rebellion. He did so, not because he was deceived into thinking that the serpent was speaking the truth, but evidently because he selfishly chose the companionship of his sinful wife in preference to the approval of God.

Since God said that they would die if they disobeyed, they might be alive today if they kept their integrity. Consider that 2 Peter 3:8 says, “But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.” Mercifully for all his offspring (us), Adam’s death sentence was measured I God’s idea of a day, not man’s.

Satan became known as the father of the lie with his statement at Genesis 3:4. Though created perfect, he deceived himself into believing that he deserved the worship that is only God’s. This got him the death sentence spelled out in the Bible's first prophecy. (Genesis 3:15)

As to what we learn about the conversations with our first parents is that these were the last ones in the Bible, God’s quality of holiness means that he has nothing in common with sin and sinners. From then on, angels and Jesus Christ were His messengers.

Heather said...

Biblestudent,

Nothing in Genesis identifies the serpent as Satan. It's a creature that God creates, and God punishes the serpent, not Satan. If the serpent was Satan, why punish all snakes? Can you find anything in the OT that ties Satan to the serpent? Or anything in the NT, other than Revelations comment of that "serpent of old?" It's an inference, and a rather shaky one at that. The concept of Satan was not clear-cut, but evolved as sections in the Bible were written.

Again -- who created Adam/Eve with the ability to be tempted by sin? As maybeitsnonsense says, our own desires lead us away to sin. But who made Adam/Eve to have that desire? If Adam/Eve were made to have that desire, then they were not created perfect. Many often say that God is created perfect, yet God does not have the desire to sin. We cannot then turn around and say that Satan and Adam/Eve were created perfectly, if they did have that desire to sin. Then they weren't created perfectly, they were created flawed.

**Eve gave in to the selfish ambition to “be like God,” in the sense of determining for herself what was good and what was bad instead of abiding by God’s judgment on this matter.** I will ask again -- who created her to experience that selfish ambition?

**Since God said that they would die if they disobeyed, they might be alive today if they kept their integrity. ** If I tell you to not do something or you shall surely die, the impression given is that you will die soon after doing that action. And the word day is not used anywhere in the Genesis story. The impression given is that the death will happen quickly. We can't read anything back into this, only what we have in front of us. That was the only knowledge available.

Plus, the Peter quote is in reference to the second coming, and why it's delayed. To use it in Genesis is to pull it out of context and apply it to something it's not meant to be applied to. It's also saying that by applying that quote, we can't take the Genesis story in a straightforward fashion.

**Later her husband Adam yielded to her pressure and joined in this rebellion.** Actually, no he didn't. Given the way the Hebrew language is arranged, he was standing right next to her the entire time, as she was talking to the serpent.

Bible student said...

Heather,
Just after Jesus called the scribes and Pharisees hypocrites, six times, in the 23rd chapter of Matthew, he refers to them as “serpents, offspring of vipers” in verse 33. Maybe it’s a stretch but Jesus did know Genesis 3:15. It seems that he is calling them the “the serpent’s seed.”

Compare John 8:44. Jesus is telling just the Pharisees this time, “You are from your father the Devil, and you wish to do the desires of your father. That one was a manslayer when he began, and he did not stand fast in the truth, because truth is not in him. When he speaks the lie, he speaks according to his own disposition, because he is a liar and the father of [the lie].”

If I encountered a talking snake, I’d run. Something is definitely out of the ordinary. Aside from that we might look at the effect of their conversation. Satan compared to a Lion, (1 Peter 5:8) who’s style is to take the weak or young from the herd. If you think Satan didn’t go after the less experienced partner, the scriptures read in English, Genesis 3:1, “began to say to the woman.” Verse 2 “the woman said to the serpent”, in verse 3 she embellishes God’s command with her husband’s (I can just hear him say, “Honey, don’t even touch it.”) Verse 4 is again “the serpent said to the woman” In verse 6 “the woman saw” and “she began taking of its fruit.” Adam doesn’t appear in the story until 6b. That says “Afterward she gave some also to her husband.”

Telling Eve that she would not die, after her husband let her know the consequence of the prohibition, caused convinced Eve to make the wrong choice. We are encouraged to build our faith in God for just such trying times, to shield from Satan’s attacks. (Ephesians 6:16)

We are created with God’s perfect qualities, but even Jesus could have failed. (Matthew 4:1-11) Satan would like nothing better than to draw any of us away from God’s favor. The Devil provided the argument that we need something better than what God provides.

Genesis 2:17 in my Bible reads, “But as for the tree of the knowledge of good and bad you must not eat from it, for in the day you eat from it you will positively die.” Other versions are pretty close. Either way, eternal life was lost to mankind.

Heather,
We look at the bible in different ways. The Catholics I grew up with called some parts mythical, I call it truth. If we can’t take God’s word on something, who can we trust? The Bible can be viewed a whole. There is no division between the Hebrew and Greek scriptures. Jesus taught from the scriptures he had. **Not meant to be applied to** limits this perfect book, and it’s readers. If the definitive guide to the Bible has been written, let me know where.

Heather said...

Biblestudent,

You earlier stated that man was created perfect. Now you're saying that man was created with God's perfect qualities, but could have failed. And yet man is held up to God's standard of never failing. But God can't fail in this, or it goes against who God is, so it is an unfair standard. This is changing the position, because if we were created with the possiblity to fail, then that leads to being created with flaws. Which leads to being created imperfectly.

The Bible also says to be as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves. Also, nothing in Judaism sets up the serpent as Satan, so for Jesus as a Jew to refer to other Jews as serpents and the offspring of vipers would make no sense to anyone that he was calling them of Satan/the Devil. Before you respond to this particular comment, please, I would ask that you go and see how the concept came about. Please don't just go back to the Bible, but investigate why the Bible says what it says, and why it identifies Satan the way it does. Or back and investigate why the Gospel of John is so harsh towards the Pharisees.

Same with Adam standing next to Eve. You are going off of a translation, *I am going off what those familiar with the Hebrew language say.* I am going back to the orignal language.

**Jesus taught from the scriptures he had. **Not meant to be applied to** limits this perfect book,** This is missing my point, though. When telling Adam/Eve, or anyone, that they would surely die, they would take surely die as to be a quick event -- nothing something that would last for 1,000 years. In telling someone that on the day they eat something, they shall surely die would mean in another context that they would die that day.

Bible student said...

Heather,
Maybe you misunderstood, maybe it's my typing. Jesus could have failed, (Matthew 4:1-11) Adam, Eve and Satan failed. God is the only Creator, and ‘his activity is perfect,’ with no injustice or unrighteousness. (Deuteronomy 32:4) So each of the above were perfect, righteous creatures. Adam lost perfection for man. Because God knows how we are now born, (imperfect) He is willing to forgive, when we are repentant. Jesus remained perfect under every trial, and has been rewarded.

Satan received his death penalty the same day as Adam. He will be around until the end of Christ’s reign, one thousand years after Armageddon. (Revelation 20:7, 10)

God though is known for causing whatever He wills. At Genesis 1:28 we read, “Further, God blessed them and God said to them: “Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it, and have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and every living creature that is moving upon the earth.”

Immediately killing his creation was not as important as his original intent. Besides He could fix the perfection thing later. (Revelation 21:4, 5) The **Peter quote**(2 Peter 3:8) gives us the idea that God takes his time.

I did find another OT Satan reference at Ezekiel 28:11-19. He looks just like the King of Tyre.

I’m surprised that you are telling me that God has buried his message in someone else’s language. Sounds like the same argument my Muslim friend makes about the Koran.

I said the serpent/viper reference was a stretch, but then offered the other gospel writers view of about the same subject, to compare. Who's to say?

Heather said...

Biblestudent,

I'm guessing by your response that you aren't going to look and see how the concept of Satan changed?

** So each of the above were perfect, righteous creatures. Adam lost perfection for man.** Then you need another word than perfect. If God is in fact perfect, then what was created cannot have been perfect. God will never sin, and cannot sin as it goes against his nature. Yet God is considered perfect. Therefore, if man was created with the ability to sin, man cannot have held the same perfection as God.

And could you answer this next question, which I will ask again, with a simple answer: if Adam/Eve were created with the ability to sin, who created them to be that way?

**I’m surprised that you are telling me that God has buried his message in someone else’s language. ** Have you ever studied a foreign language class? I've taken about five years of Spanish, and it's amazing how much gets lost in translation. In terms of the Hebrew, when we take into account that there's about 6,000 years worth of change, then what we have in English isn't always clear-cut. Then add to the fact that any translation will have the bias of the translator. If you think I'm pulling this out of the air -- that Adam was right next to Eve, then I again ask you to research it yourself.

Bible student said...

Heather,
At Leviticus 19:2 God said to Moses, “Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them: You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.” Because we are created with His qualities we can call them by the same name, even though we manifest them in a different degree than our creator. A man can be said to be just or loving or wise or powerful. God is most wise, loving, powerful and just. Perfect man is different than perfect God.

I’ll ask you a better question. Is Jesus perfect although he could have sinned?

At Genesis 3:6 the Hebrew verb translated as “gave” is in the imperfect tense and is associated with a special form of the conjunction “and” [Hebrew, waw], indicating a temporal or logical sequence. Therefore, the several occurrences of waw, which connect the chain of events at Genesis 3:6, are translated not only with “and” but also with other transitional words, such as “consequently,” “so,” and “afterward.”

Is this what you have found?

maybeitsnonsense said...

BIBLESTUDENT-

**Hi, maybeitsnonsense if you incorrectly quote the scripture, James 1:13-15 reads in my Bible, ‘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. Then the desire, when it has become fertile, gives birth to sin; in turn, sin, when it has been accomplished, brings forth death.**

First of all I clearly stated that I was PARAPHRASING- which means I was not attempting to directly quote the bible, therefore I did not MISQUOTE. Secondly, if you think I am taking it out of "context" than that is another issue all together. I did not MISQUOTE- in your words-

I am not sure about what point you are trying to make. The passage says it is not god who tempts but each individual is "enticed by their own desire." I do not see this as conflicting with the point I was making-
Sin starts with a "DESIRE" not an action- and if they had the DESIRE than they must not have been sinless. bible student- does not the bible teach that the evil desires (to sin) result from the flesh and fallen nature?

Furthermore-
What will happen in your heaven/eternity with god after you die? Does you free will suddenly dissapear? Can you still sin/desire/disobey god?
To me it seems like a similiar/same scenario as the garden of eden.

Bible student said...

maybeitsnonsense,

The point James makes in those verses is that God is not to be blamed for sin. It sounded like you turned that around when you typed **adam and eve must have had evil desires in their perfect god image identity.**

We each have the ability to choose our course, and God hasn’t interfered in centuries. Adam and Eve were the last of their kind, with all their desires met and exceeded in paradise, they really blew it. God did not make a mistake when he included gullibility in our make-up.

Verse 15 begins, “Then the desire, when it has become fertile, gives birth to sin” The desire is not the sin, it even needs to “become fertile” before it is trouble. I remember Paul saying that he experienced a war within himself, between fleshly desires and his conscience. It was an encouragement to keep up the fight and not give in to what we have learned in distasteful to God.

I’ll have to get back to you about my hope for the future, dinner’s ready.

maybeitsnonsense said...

**The desire is not the sin, it even needs to “become fertile” before it is trouble**

BIBLE STUDENT-

What sense do you make of the teaching of Jesus that even to look at a woman lustfully is to commit adultery? - to me this sounds an awful lot like "desire"

Bible student said...

Matthew 5:28 says, “But I say to you that everyone that keeps on looking at a woman so as to have a passion for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

Jesus is not here speaking about a passing immoral thought. This continued looking arouses passionate desire, which, if opportunity allows, can lead to adultery. It’s a warning, to keep us safe.

bretmavrich said...

A few ideas.

Personal Relationship: Not a biblical term, but a biblical concept. Cf: the Gospels and John's first epistle. John desires that we would enter into the tangible fellowship with the Living Word just like he did in the gospel.

A choice that's not a choice: If God's the source of Life, and man rebels against Life, they die forever. The choice we're given is to come back from the dead. Of course its a no brainer, but that doesn't make our free will not free: we freely chose death, which was kind of dumb.

Slapdash said...

***A choice that's not a choice: If God's the source of Life, and man rebels against Life, they die forever.***

Why does it follow that "death forever" should be consequence of not choosing God? Is God that insecure?

Why are all choices other than God sinful, as well? The evidence for believing in God is becoming thinner and thinner for me. It's not that I actively want to go out and be all sinful, hurt everybody around me, lie, cheat, and steal. But according to Christian theology, I will burn in hell for not believing in God - I didn't "choose Life" as you put it. I'm not deliberately, in the face of incontrovertible proof, rejecting God. I am looking hard at the evidence for God and finding it wanting. This "choice" I am starting to make will apparently send me to hell because it's not the RIGHT choice.

Again, God is the one that set up this whole system. He could obliterate sin however he wanted to - after all, he ultimately will have the power to consign Satan to hell for all eternity at the end times, no? Jesus overcame sin on the cross, no? So why can't or won't God overcome this "death" that we are all consigned to if we don't make the right choice?

Bible student said...

Slapdash,
God hasn’t ever been insecure. At Eden God’s sovereignty (Revelation 4:11) was challenged. Satan suggested independence from God’s rule would be preferable. (Genesis 3:5) Since then, Satan has been proven wrong (Check tonight’s news). His time to dominate mankind (Matthew 4:8-9; 2 Corinthians 4:4; 1 John 5:19) is soon to end. (1 John 2:17)

God overcomes death with resurrection (John 5:28-29), after Armageddon (1 Corinthians 15:26; Revelation 21:4). Some living at that time , will be destroyed as in Sodom and Gomorrah or Noah’s day. (Luke 17:26-30) Others will not die (Revelation 7:14) but will be spared (2 Pet. 2:9) welcoming those returning to a world without Satan‘s influence. (Revelation 20:2-3) Lasting happiness under the best conditions in wonderful surroundings.

According to the Bible, the first ones to be offered a heavenly reward were 11 of Jesus apostles (Luke 22:28-30; Revelation 5:10). Other dying before that covenant, had an earthly hope (Luke 7:28), paradise that God originally given mankind (Psalm 37:11, 29).

Satan (or anyone else for that matter) isn’t tortured forever. The lake of fire means “second death,” the death from which there is no resurrection. This “lake” is a symbol, because death and hell (Hades) are thrown into it (Revelation 20:14). Death and hell cannot literally be burned. But they can, and will, be destroyed.

God is love. He is just. powerful and wise. Trust him.

Sinikal Saint said...

I know I'm really late with posting this--perhaps this subject has been addressed in later blogs that I could comment on. But nonetheless...

Slapdash, I think I would agree with Bretmavrich in that God is the source of Life, and to choose to rebel against Life is death. That is why any option other than God is sinful. God is the very Ground of Being, the Source of Existence itself, hence the notion of the Great "I AM." I think a lot of this has to do with how people perceive God.

In a way, I believe God is more than "God"--that is, more than some ultimate being up the sky arbitrarily barking commands at us. God is the Good, existence itself, and more so. At least that's the concept. I also think that's connected with the concept of Jesus as the "Logos," which to Greeks (as well as Jews influenced by Hellenistic philosophy) would have been understood as the unexplainable, inarticulable, unified and unifying principle of all things, of all Creation, not unlike the Tao or the Dharma of Eastern spiritualities/philosophies.

Anyways, I've rambled. I don't even know if anyone's gonna read this post so late in the game, but that's my two cents for the moment. I know you're struggling with the very existence of God, let alone Him being the "Ground of Being," but I thought I would take a shot at explaining the concept. Later's, and God bless!

steph said...

ok, late again, but this post reminds me of that beloved song, "jesus, lover of my soul" that always kinda creeped me out. (i know, i know - i'm such a child)

ExEvangel said...

I'm guessing early 20th century pentacostalism for the origins of this idea.

Regardless, my partner adorably sends this up with
"Do you accept Kraft Cheeses as your personal Lord and Saviour?"