How do you defend God's love against His other attributes?

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Re: How do you defend God's love against His other attribute

Postby maintenanceman » Fri Jan 08, 2016 6:02 am

Robert wrote:

For me and some others though, why did Paul, James and John continue talking about sinners needing repentance since Jesus had accomplished it all?? Life has gone on a very long time now since the Parousia and a majority are not accepting and following Jesus. How do you see this reality fitting with everything having been accomplished???


Hi Robert, just my 2 cents worth:

The eating of the fruit was a spiritual separation. What ever Adam and Eve did (in the eating of the fruit), it caused a spiritual gulf, not a physical one. I dare say if you saw Adam before he ate the fruit and after, you would not see any difference, in the fleshly sense, but a HUGE change did take place, and I think that from that moment on, God started working towards reconciliation. davo spoke of God's command of on the day you eat you shall surly die, but they did not obviously die in the flesh. God even helped them out with their wardrobe :D

So, in my thinking, this sin nature, the fleshly kind, is a part of our makeup, thus not only the continued talk about needing repentance for our fleshly 'missing the mark' but also the continued emphasis on love, for us to love all and especially the brethren. Thus many may have heard of Christ but choose not to acknowledge Him, yet.

And thus is the reason for the Ecclesia, with Christ the head and us the body! We are to tell the good news of this reconciliation that has happened!

Really is a story of good news.
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Re: How do you defend God's love against His other attribute

Postby Cindy Skillman » Fri Jan 08, 2016 1:41 pm

I realize this isn't going to cover the full horror of some kinds of sin, but--repentance means turning away from a thing. Wishing you hadn't done it. Let's say you're trying to learn to shoot a bow and arrows. You make a shot; it goes too high; you repent of that shot and you change your aim in order to make a better shot. You continue these fine adjustments to both your knowledge and your physical skill until you can hit the target dead center more often than not. That takes a LOT of practice and a lot of repentance.

We're all born as natural human beings, but God wants people who worship (draw near in affection) Him in spirit and in truth. He made the natural world and us natural humans and He said it was "very good," but that doesn't mean it was finished. We're not finished. "He's still workin' on me," you know. We're developing and growing. We have lots of adjustments to make and as we make them, we repent of the wrong things we do. We didn't do them (for the most part) because we wanted to sin. We now regret that we did them. Doing those things didn't put the arrow through the bull's eye. Maybe those things put the arrow through someone we love (or someone we hate), and we now realize that was a bad, very bad choice and we wish we hadn't done that. So we repent and turn from that behavior. In our own flesh, we honestly do not have the power to refrain from messing up, but we died in Christ Jesus to the flesh and we now live by His life, though it isn't we, but Christ who lives through us. Yet we still contend with the flesh, and we WILL contend with the flesh until that too is redeemed.

As someone once said in a sermon I heard, We are saved, We are being saved and we will be saved. There is a spiritual salvation and a soulish salvation and a physical salvation. The spiritual is accomplished already. The soulish is being accomplished. That's the part where Father is conforming us to the image of His Son. The physical will not be complete until the resurrection. I'm not sure this all plays out exactly as the guy said, but it's a useful picture, I think.
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Re: How do you defend God's love against His other attribute

Postby Robert » Fri Jan 08, 2016 10:32 pm

Hi Chad & Cindy- Great thoughts from you both thanks so much. I think you both cover the crux of the issues regarding our humanness but the call to holy sanctification as well. For me, what you say Cindy about being saved, continuing to be saved and finally completely saved is solid theology. A struggle i have though is obedience. John more than any other Bible author puts so much focus on obedience. He seems to include obedience/love as one and the same. Love is an action which is demonstrated in obedience to Gods commands. There are many verses in John and 1,2,3 John which continually put this focus on obedience as love. The thing that makes me knock my head on the wall like Jason previous in this thread ;) is the reality that NONE of us are fully obedient, not even close. So, to those who interpret John as linking love/obedience, we never really fulfill the 2 greatest commandments ever and thus never love as God commands us too. I write this in a reflective way because to me, Jesus is the ON LY ONE who could ever be fully obedient and keep the whole law and is why we must take on His identity in faith so we can love as He did. What then do we do with Johns call for obedience?? How do you fit in James focus on faith showing itself in works also?? i know such easily answered questions eh?? :roll: 8-) This also makes me think of the whole notion of repentance as well. I like how you stated Cindy that repentance is ongoing our entire lives. But many suggest that the *real true believers* will achive a full repentance and obedience which will show they are the ones who *have it* I wonder though if any of those who claim this would attest they have achieved it themselves??? Would anyone on here darfe say they have 100% repented and are living 100% obedient faith and love for God and man??? Gleefully await all responses :D
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Re: How do you defend God's love against His other attribute

Postby Gabe Grinstead » Sat Jan 09, 2016 6:24 am

Cindy Skillman wrote:I realize this isn't going to cover the full horror of some kinds of sin, but--repentance means turning away from a thing. Wishing you hadn't done it. Let's say you're trying to learn to shoot a bow and arrows. You make a shot; it goes too high; you repent of that shot and you change your aim in order to make a better shot. You continue these fine adjustments to both your knowledge and your physical skill until you can hit the target dead center more often than not. That takes a LOT of practice and a lot of repentance.


Cindy,

as usual, you provide some awesome insight - this is a analogy on repentance... I may use this one day. :-)
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Re: How do you defend God's love against His other attribute

Postby Gabe Grinstead » Sat Jan 09, 2016 6:40 am

Robert wrote:A struggle i have though is obedience. John more than any other Bible author puts so much focus on obedience. He seems to include obedience/love as one and the same. Love is an action which is demonstrated in obedience to Gods commands. There are many verses in John and 1,2,3 John which continually put this focus on obedience as love. The thing that makes me knock my head on the wall like Jason previous in this thread ;) is the reality that NONE of us are fully obedient, not even close. So, to those who interpret John as linking love/obedience, we never really fulfill the 2 greatest commandments ever and thus never love as God commands us too. I write this in a reflective way because to me, Jesus is the ON LY ONE who could ever be fully obedient and keep the whole law and is why we must take on His identity in faith so we can love as He did. What then do we do with Johns call for obedience?? How do you fit in James focus on faith showing itself in works also?? i know such easily answered questions eh?? :roll: 8-) This also makes me think of the whole notion of repentance as well. I like how you stated Cindy that repentance is ongoing our entire lives. But many suggest that the *real true believers* will achive a full repentance and obedience which will show they are the ones who *have it* I wonder though if any of those who claim this would attest they have achieved it themselves??? Would anyone on here darfe say they have 100% repented and are living 100% obedient faith and love for God and man??? Gleefully await all responses :D


Robert,

Great post. I, too, struggle with obedience and as you have observed, we all do. Though in the past few years I have considered that perfect obedience may not be what God expects of us at this time. Desires? Yes - but expects? No. I don't think so. If he expects it, then he will be sorely disappointed constantly and with everyone (or nearly everyone).

I really like what George MacDonald says about this on his sermons "The Way" and "The Truth in Jesus". If you get a chance, you should listen to them (in that order) - Well, technically, MacDonald builds upon his sermons, so ideally you would read them from 1-36, but they don't have to be read or listened too in that way.
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Re: How do you defend God's love against His other attribute

Postby Robert » Sat Jan 09, 2016 12:19 pm

Hi Gabe- I fully agree God will be sadly disappointed if He expects perfect obedience from us. As i said, so many passages in the Bible where any kind of perfection is seemingly asked of us just seems to be the proverbial carrot on a stick, always so close but just out of reach of ever getting. All of us are sinners, yet He declares Abraham and a few others as righteous because they believed and obeyes what He told them. John harps on obedience. yet Paul, declares himself the chief of all sinners and agonizes over the reality how bound he is by sin despite being a chosen apostle!!! I am with you about Cindys exposition on repentance, i plan to share it alot :D I see so much focus though placed on being *fully repentant* Can anyone honestly say it has ever occurred though?? If we examine ourselves do we not find various sins, both outward actions and internal thoughts, get repeated despite our repenting??? It seems like God understood we would never ever be free from sin before He created us, and knew we would need Jesus to save us as only He could. Like you were saying about faith, it is something we recieve from God. We cannot will it on our own. Love i think is much the same. Depending on the situation and our mood, all of us can find it near impossible to rest in faith and love. I think a major obstacle also is that our pride and ego get intertwined and we think we need to be the same AS God rather than trusting and relying ON God. Job expressed a struggle i have all the time. *Though He slay me, yet will i trust in Him* Sometimes it is just really really hard, even though i have been a believer since i was 16 and have sought to live in faith and love always, i just struggle to fully trust God to be God. Death is going to happen but i want to avoid it as long as i possibly can, and when I pray Jobs prayer i tremble at knowing God may just slay me.
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Re: How do you defend God's love against His other attribute

Postby Paidion » Sat Jan 09, 2016 6:57 pm

Hi Davo, you wrote:Yes that always seems to be standard fair in attempting to juggle away what seems obvious from the text, but I find it most unconvincing IMO. Bible search the phrase “surely die” and you won’t find one text where the interpolation “you shall surely die” can have “begin” with any credibility squeezed into it… again IMO. “You shall surely die” was a direct executable judgment without any equivocation or doubt as to its certainty. It basically meant “from the moment you ____ you shall die” i.e., there will be no turning back.


"juggle away what seems obvious." Them's pejorative words! I think if you examine it honestly, it's not as obvious as you think.

All right, I'll be specific. As you say, "begin" is not in the text, but the equivalent is nestled in the Greek verb of the Septuagint. The verb is "αποθανεισθε". This verb is the second person plural, future passive. So the sentence could be, "In the day you eat from it, you will surely be dead." And that reading would harmonize with your position.

However, that same verb form could be the future continuous passive. In that case, it would read, "In the day you eat from it, you will surely be being dead."That doesn't read well in modern English. So it would better be translated, "In the day you eat from it you will surely be dying." And that idea is tantamount to "In the day you eat from it you will surely begin to die."
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Re: How do you defend God's love against His other attribute

Postby Cindy Skillman » Sat Jan 09, 2016 7:07 pm

Thanks for the kind words, guys! :) Anyone may share anything I write here at any time. You don't need to credit me--I probably got it from somebody somewhere anyhow (even though I usually can't remember where).

I've met people who claim to be free from sin, and who have encouraged me also to become free from sin. At the time, this confused me. John said, "If anyone says he has no sin, he is a liar and abides not in the truth." However he may have expressed himself elsewhere, I think this statement may shed a little light to the effect that he may have been pointing to a goal rather than to a freedom we could expect to exercise fully whilst still in the flesh. Anyway, I was young when I last encountered this doctrine and many temptations are certainly more trying for the young. Now that I'm old, those temptations honestly don't trouble me at all. Others, milder and more socially acceptable, have taken their place.

We descendants of the "Age of Reason" have this problem: we feel the Bible ought to be interpreted like a chemistry textbook. It was written by passionate, loud, enthusiastic and imaginative Middle Easterners. The guys who tell you "If you resist, you will face the MOTHER OF ALL BATTLES!!!" Do they really believe this? Eh, I don't know. Probably not. They know they're angry and they're heated up and they intend to do all they can to, shall we say, discommode you. This is just the way they talk. The Russians are also famous for their quick tempered passion. Guess who they're descended from? The Bible is not a product of staid and stable professorial types. It's full of exaggeration, metaphor, hyperbole, and any other literary device you can think of. We somehow expect the writers of the various books and letters to be similar to the intellectual giants we admire in Western culture. Sure, many of them ARE giants, but I promise they're nothing like CS Lewis. That doesn't make the Bible untrue; it makes the Bible thoroughly Oriental. Oriental it IS, and that is the way it must be read if we are to understand it at all. If you offered the sort of staid and stable arguments we admire to a Middle Eastern crowd, they would find you utterly lacking in sincerity and conclude you not only didn't mean it, but you didn't care whether you even made a credible presentation of your points. This is not first-hand knowledge, BTW, but it's the testimony that I've read of a number of people who've made a study of (or grown up in) Middle Eastern culture.

Yes, when we miss the bull's eye, we ought to make an adjustment, aim more carefully, regulate our breathing, maybe look with both eyes instead of just one, wear sunglasses if necessary, etc. in an effort to get closer to our goal with the next shot. That's not to say that we can have complete control of our development. Our Father, who encourages, coaches, enables through His Holy Spirit, will ultimately conform us to the image of our Elder Brother, and not we ourselves. IMO, feeling blindly and sometimes pridefully that we've already arrived, is not helpful.

Here are a couple of tips that have helped me with besetting sins:

1. Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another that you may be healed. I'm not saying I've done this in all cases, and I think it needs to be done very circumspectly (people have been hurt), but even when I've balked, just the terror of the idea of needing to make confession has often made the sin far, far less attractive.

2. Realize that sooner or later, sin WILL be dealt with. I don't believe these things simply vanish when we die, especially if we've been willfully clinging to them. Maybe they do vanish if we have hated and fought them; I don't know. Maybe the destruction and eventual rebirth of our bodies into spiritual bodies negates at least those sins we are eager to let go of. At any rate, the idea of having to continue fighting this stuff in the age to come, where possibly others will see what I am ashamed of, whether or not I choose to confess has been a marvelously freeing thought experiment. Makes the sins much less compelling.

3. Realize that the person against whom we've sinned will probably eventually know what we've done. Even though I fully expect us all to have things like this, and to be wonderfully forgiving of one another, I'd just as soon have as few such things as possible.

You might have noticed all the above have to do with the avoidance of shame. I'm not sure how I feel about shame as a motivator, but it does have an effect on me. The OT at least, also uses shame as a motivator. One example is Ezekiel warning Judah how ashamed she will be when God eventually reconciles her.

That said, here is what Paul had to say about sins we hate but keep committing:

Romans 7

14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. 15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.


You might justly say, "Yes, but that's what Paul was like before he died in Christ, and that is an important point. I think that the idea of the already/not yet nature of our salvation explains this. Spiritually we are sitting in heavenly places with Christ Jesus, fully victorious over sin through His victory. In the physical, we do still struggle against the law of our flesh and against the law of our minds. With our minds, we have some sway. We keep feeding them good things, the law of sin becomes weaker. With our flesh, our only hope is to overpower it and make it our slave--make it subordinate to our Spirit-led minds. That comes of feeding the mind on spiritual food and on spiritual communion with our Father and with one another. (Whatsoever things are good . . .)

Hope that helps a little, Robert. :) You make excellent discussions.

Blessings, Cindy
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Re: How do you defend God's love against His other attribute

Postby davo » Sun Jan 10, 2016 5:04 pm

Hi Paidion…
Paidion wrote:All right, I'll be specific. As you say, "begin" is not in the text, but the equivalent is nestled in the Greek verb of the Septuagint. The verb is "αποθανεισθε". This verb is the second person plural, future passive. So the sentence could be, "In the day you eat from it, you will surely be dead." And that reading would harmonize with your position.

Well yes I agree it “would harmonize” and here’s how… The verb <ἀποθανεῖσθε> apothaneisthe parsed = 2nd per. pl. (A & E) fut. ind. (shall surely) MIDDLE not “passive” voice = they participated in the ensuing judgment, i.e., “death” wasn’t something to passively overtake them in the yawning passage of time, no –– judgment was executable and definitive to be experienced IN LIFE, that is… if anything was to “begin” as you say it was the imposition of spiritual/covenantal separation/exile aka RELATIONALdeath” on the day thereof or from that time forward, as a direct result of disobedience.

Paidion wrote:However, that same verb form could be the future continuous passive.

“Could be” again how? Not according to… 2nd per. pl. fut. Ind. mid. IF anything it probably leans in the other direction. According to H. K. Moulton’s ‘The Analytical Greek Lexicon’ **The future middle is in many verbs used simply as the future of the active voice.** That seems to be other than what you are saying above??

Paidion wrote:In that case, it would read, "In the day you eat from it, you will surely be being dead."That doesn't read well in modern English.

…and methinks even less so in the Greek. <ἀποθανεῖσθε> apothaneisthe is a verb, period. The verb in this form appears only three time in the NT (twice in the one verse) where Jesus declares “you will DIE in your sin/sJn 8:21, 24. It was a definitive declaration that to be sure would occur in the Day of the Lord, i.e., sometime in the forthcoming period… in other words, NOT something to passively overtake them unawares; it was an ensuing judgment, just as I noted earlier from 1Kgs 2:37.
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Re: How do you defend God's love against His other attribute

Postby Paidion » Sun Jan 10, 2016 9:26 pm

Davo, there is no difference in form between the passive voice and the "middle". Calling it the "middle" is a matter of personal choice. Some grammarians say there is no such voice in the Greek as the "middle," that this is an invented "voice" to account for particular grammatical peculiarities by treating them as if they were in the active voice.

For example, "The window broke." Is this something the window did (active)? Or is this something the window received (passive)?
I favour the latter. But those who are confused call it the "middle."
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Re: How do you defend God's love against His other attribute

Postby davo » Mon Jan 11, 2016 6:08 pm

Paidion wrote:Davo, there is no difference in form between the passive voice and the "middle". Calling it the "middle" is a matter of personal choice. Some grammarians say there is no such voice in the Greek as the "middle," that this is an invented "voice" to account for particular grammatical peculiarities by treating them as if they were in the active voice.

For example, "The window broke." Is this something the window did (active)? Or is this something the window received (passive)?
I favour the latter. But those who are confused call it the "middle."

Okaaay, I see where you are coming from… we definitely have significantly different views as to the grammar of the biblical Greek. :?: :?: :?: :?:
FWIW…
The Greek middle voice denotes that the subject is in some special manner involved or interested in the action of the verb. Stated slightly differently, in the middle voice there is an intensification in some manner or degree between the subject and the action expressed by the verb.

That intensification is borne out, as in, is reflected by the repeated מ֥וֹת תָּמֽוּת die die = “surely die” in the Hebrew of Gen 2:17. Again seen in Jesus’ oft repetitious “amen amen!” (Gk. ἀμὴν ἀμὴν = Heb. אָמֵֽן אָמֵ֥ן) = “truly, truly!” of John’s gospel etc. Again… FWIW.
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Re: How do you defend God's love against His other attribute

Postby Valiantwarrior » Sun Feb 07, 2016 11:45 pm

Teehee :D
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towards us?" - Percy Dearmer
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Re: How do you defend God's love against His other attribute

Postby Eleutheros » Fri Nov 11, 2016 4:59 pm

Paidion wrote:
[Spiritual death's] the ‘death’ Adam died “the day” he ate… you will recall Adam lived “physically” a tad longer than “for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”


If they died only a spiritual death, why did God shut them out of the Garden, lest they return and eat from the Tree of Life and live forever? Wouldn't God want them to live forever spiritually? After all, didn't Jesus come that people might have (spiritual) life and have it more abundantly?

Rather, didn't God keep Adam and Eve out of the Garden to prevent them from returning to the garden and eat from the Tree of Life so that they wouldn't live forever PHYSICALLY in their sinful condition?

I think the meaning is, "In the day you eat of it, the death process will surely begin in you."

It might be compared to a doctor today saying to a cancer patient, "When you take radiation, the cancer cells will surely die." The doctor doesn't mean that the cancer cells will die the moment or even the day when the patient takes radiation, but rather will BEGIN to die at that time."


Hey, Paidion,

My comment is only a bit off-topic for this thread, I'm sorry about that, but I found your reply fascinatingly close to my own beliefs and wished to hear your reply on the difference.

The phrase Jehovah used in Genesis 2:17, as I'm pretty sure you would know, is notoriously difficult to translate, for Jehovah Elohim just repeats the word for death, "...eat day thereof die die."

...Which is not the same phrase that Ishsha repeated back to the The Nacash; for she both added to, and subtracted from, the Words of Jehovah when she said, "...no eat of, no touch, lest die."

However, The Nacash did repeat back the exact phrase, which, to my way of thinking means It's words should be translated as a question of surprise for hearing Ishah's distortion: "not, 'eat thereof die die?!?'"

So, I asked myself, "Were the words It spoke next, 'For (Jehovah) Elohim knows that day eat of, eyes opened, exist (as) Elohim, knowing good (and) evil.' the truth, or a lie?"

I think it was the truth, in much the same way that the media lies when they tell the truth, by contextually distorting exact phrases to encourage a hearer to believe the false ideas that are already held as truth, or bring doubt to hearers that know the truth.

Regardless, something happened to them on that day that changed them. I propose that what changed was that they acquired a conscience, which implies that a conscience did not exist in them prior to eating from, "The tree of the knowledge of the difference between good and evil," which, "the knowledge of the difference between good and evil," is the definition of a conscience!

Therefore, I hold that the Words of Jehovah about what would happen on the day they ate the fruit of this tree should read something like this: "In the day you eat of it, in dying, you will die." This rendering implies something dramatic would change in them, rather than them just simply dying (spiritually or physically), which is what Ishsha wrongly came to believe Jehovah meant.

This is not a new idea, in fact it was suggested to me when C.S. Lewis in The Magician's Nephew implied that Aslan's permission was needed for the fruit of the Apple Tree planted in the fresh Narnia to affect, for good, the outcome of the effect for which the fruit was created; and when J.R.R. Tolkien implied in the Silmarillion concerning the Two Trees of Valinor, Telperion and Laurelin that, upon their destruction by Ungoliant, they could not be replicated because some things can only be done at the beginning.

Please know that I am very interested in what you will say to this idea.

By the way, I really like your moniker!
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