Atheists complain that God doesn’t force them to live in His presence forever

If we can work our way to God’s approval, why did Jesus die on a cross?

In the parable of the Prodigal Son, we see no angry judge, no distant law keeper. The son takes his share of the inheritance (while his father still lives) and runs far away, where he wastes all his gifts, his share of the riches his father worked for, and finds himself helpless and destitute.  Ashamed, he decides he will go back home and ask to be a servant in his father’s house. He decides that he has no right to call himself a son; he wasted this inheritance too. So he starts along the weary way home.

Meanwhile, his father is looking down that road, hoping to see his son in the distance.  He has no reason to expect it, yet he waits on that roadside. One day he sees his son in the distance, and he does not hesitate. He runs to meet him, he embraces him.  He calls him a son come back from the dead. With nothing but joy, he prepares a feast and a celebration for this son who has been restored to life.

The prodigal son brought nothing back home but his shame and humiliation. His bitter repentance. He had nothing to offer in order to buy his way back into his father’s good graces. His father’s response to his return was joy and acceptance.

We have to learn who we are, who He is, and what our real relationship with him is.

We can’t feel how ashamed we will be. We don’t see how humiliated we are. We do not reckon how bitter our repentance will be.

But the reaction to our repentance will be joy. Fellowship, sharing in the presence of our Father, living in his love.

You criticize a Straw God. You see Him as the distant judge, the petty scale-balancer, the angry destroyer. That is what we see if we’re trying to look at god in a mirror.

You omit God’s representation of Himself in His Son, Jesus Christ. The parable is from the mouth of Jesus. The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. I Colossians 1: 15

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. Hebrews 1: 1-3

I and the Father are one. John 10: 30

Jesus chose to suffer the just recompense for offenses he did not commit. He paid our bill. He, the perfect penitent, had to do this for us. We cannot in our mortal life pay an eternal debt.

He died a torturous death so that we would not have to answer for our offenses, so that no one has to go to hell.

God …who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus…1 Timothy 2:4.

Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live? Ezekiel 18:23

For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live! Ezekiel 18:32

Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?’ Ezekiel 33:11

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:17

Does God force us to love him? He could, but he does not.  My atheist friends keep declaring that they would prefer his coercion to anyone having the free choice to suffer an eternity apart from God. Yes, atheists complaining that God doesn’t force them to live in His presence…forever. Oh, the irony and contradiction.

God created people in his own image, like him in this one of many ways: we have the power to choose. God does not violate that god-like feature he gave us. He prefers that we make informed choices, that we are self-determined, that we are able to create, imagine, conceive of things we have not seen. He prefers that, knowing all that we know, we choose to remain in intimate relationship with Him.

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:10

We love him, because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19

We have the free will to determine our way. There is plenty of evidence that to choose to love him is not foolish.

 

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169 thoughts on “Atheists complain that God doesn’t force them to live in His presence forever

  1. tildeb

    Atheists don’t believe in a god or gods.

    But atheists will point out that if such a god as yours did in fact exist (which they don’t believe He does), then it’s not love but emotional blackmail through brute manipulation to present a faux-choice between either loving this god or suffering eternal torment.

    That’s sociopathic behaviour.

    Already we have some major problems with this notion of choice: it’s not something you would do to anyone you love who had rejected your offer to love them (Are you then of a higher moral character than this god? Apparently so.) nor if you think about it did you at any time ‘choose’ to love another. Yet many theists presume that this ‘loving’ model for how their god behaves makes good sense. It doesn’t. It’s emotionally stunted with a sociopathic willingness to to punish far in excess of the ‘crime’ so to speak.

    So the typical response by an atheist is to suggest that your god stop hiding behind this faux-choice theists like to tout and simply make his presence and demands clearly known. For that is what such a conditional love is: a demand to comply or else. That’s not a loving choice; it’s a tyrannical threat.

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    1. madblog Post author

      It would be unacceptable behavior for a flawed human being. It is not so if the Person really does rightfully deserve love, honor, glory…is actually perfectly good and the definition of Love. And also the Creator of the Universe who created you and me.
      The real issue here is atheists’ denial of who God is, and willingness to distort his nature. The same problem we all have to caricature him so that we can dispense with him.

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    2. I 53:5 Project

      tildeb,

      Faux choice or choice you don’t understand?

      First point you have to understand here is that God forces no one, we all have a choice, that is sound Christian theology that cannot be refuted on moral grounds because you don’t like the choice.

      If God were truly forcing us to worship him, 99-100% of the world’s population would be Christian. Obviously, this is not the case, so perhaps God’s intention is not to force us after all. Many people reject Christianity and even the notion of God, so clearly we have the freedom to believe God and hell don’t exist. If God meant to force everyone to worship him, he would not have allowed people to doubt his existence or coming judgment.

      But suppose that one believes God exists and will throw those who don’t worship him into Hell. When the scenario is depicted as a choice between flattering a despot or torture, it seems that one is unethically forced into worship. In reality, the choice is between choosing to do good by loving God and following him, or choosing to reject God and do evil. One is rewarded for doing good and punished for doing evil, but this is not necessarily coercion. In society, people are punished with fines or incarceration for doing wrong, yet no one would say that we’re forced to obey the law; in fact, many choose to commit crimes, even when there is a great chance they’ll be caught. In many other situations, people choose to receive immediate gratification despite knowing there will be negative consequences later. People get drunk, knowing they’ll have a hangover the next day; students have fun during the weekend instead of doing homework, knowing they’ll get bad grades on Monday; people conscious of their weight indulge in foods that are delicious but also fattening. In each case, there is a clear choice: self-gratification now and unhappiness later, or self-discipline now and reward later.

      Coercion is more than the existence of a negative consequence: it is a threat or an irresistible force that causes a person to do something they would not have done otherwise. If someone becomes a Christian because they come to know Christ and want to follow him, they aren’t being forced into that choice; they may not have even thought about hell. On the other hand, if someone becomes a Christian because they’re afraid of going to hell, their position is similar to that of a child who doesn’t do wrong because he’s afraid of being caught and punished by his parents. Is the child being coerced? Technically, he’s making a choice he wouldn’t otherwise make because of fear. Ideally, he would do the right thing because he wanted to; but if the only way to motivate him to do the right thing is by threatening punishment, better that than his doing the wrong thing. Similarly, worshiping God is the right thing to do, and is in our best interests, and God would rather we come to him out of love instead of fear. If nothing else will get us to do the right thing, fear is a last-resort motivator. However, as there are people who freely choose not to worship God, and others who choose to worship out of a genuine desire to do so, it’s clear that God is not forcing us to worship him.

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  2. tildeb

    You say that your god created man in his own image (Genesis 1:27). You believe this to be true. On what evidence? On the authority of scripture (The Napkin Religion is the One True Religion because it says so right here on this napkin)?

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  3. ColorStorm

    You closed with ‘there is plenty of evidence.’ The fact that people dare to even ASK for proof is proof of a stirred heart. For goodness sake what more could God do for us?

    I asked a lady once what distinguished us from cows or any other animal for that matter, and I was accosted for such a ‘stupid’ question.’ Seems like a fine question to me, and the correct answer always points to a Creator.

    Then, there is always the ‘love of God,’ as expressed in Christ as you state here. By the way, MB, I’m thinking the elder brother was even further way from the Lord, being geographically closer. He was within arms length of partaking of this amazing grace; but that darn pride…..

    Good stuff here

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  4. madblog Post author

    tildeb, I have already answered your questions in the post. Also try The Jesus God, my post right before this one, I think.
    It’s not argument to restate the position to which I already responded.

    Napkin Religion? Huh?

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  5. lang3063

    People have this crazy idea that we’re sitting on a fence deciding if we’ll go one way or the other. We’re not. We’re already “dead in trespasses and sins.” We all start out as God’s enemies, every one of us. We are born with the disease. As the post makes abundantly clear the choice God gives us is not “love me or else.” It’s “please take My hand so you can be rescued.”

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    1. Wally Fry

      “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

      Lang..so right. We come into this world in a condemned state. We don’t do anything to become that way, and we can’t do anything to get over being that way. This whole issue gets so misrepresented by people desperately looking for an excuse to reject God. And the “love me or burn” argument seems to fit their needs perfectly.

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    2. Arkenaten

      This sounds like an oblique reference to Original Sin? ( correct me if I’m wrong)
      I have asked this of several Christians and have yet to receive an answer. Maybe you would be able to direct me to a site on Judaism which states that the doctrine of Original Sin is part of Judaism, please?

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      1. madblog Post author

        I think we’ve explained about on this thread (though it may be below on the page) that we DON’T believe in original sin. Catholics will have to speak for themselves, but we Protestant/evangelicals find that it conflicts with Scripture and the known nature of God.

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  6. David

    “We come into this world in a condemned state.”

    More of God’s love?

    “This whole issue gets so misrepresented by people desperately looking for an excuse to reject God. And the “love me or burn” argument seems to fit their needs perfectly.”

    Oh, stop. You don’t know me. I’m not looking for an excuse. I was raised in a Baptist church, got baptized, sang in the choir, was surrounded by church-going family, the whole nine yards. I had no reason to stop believing in Yahweh and Jesus. It’s just that it all fell apart as I began to ask questions. It just ceased to be believable.

    The “love me or burn me” argument is not an excuse. It’s just a problem that won’t go away.

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  7. madblog Post author

    I actually differ with this remark. We come into the world innocent…that’s why we evangelicals baptize people who’ve come of age and understand what they’re doing. We don’t baptize infants because, not only do they not understand but baptism is not magic fireproofing….Young children are not held accountable…But t.he real reason is that God is just and fair, and holds us responsible only for our own offenses, and only when we are intentionally offending.

    Why do you insist that the “love me or burn me” God is the real one, the one to whom you continue to direct your objections. Why do you opt not to take up the challenge to recognize God in Jesus Christ, or the “please take my hand so you can be rescued” variety? I see that those comments get no response from any of you. It does seem that y’all are choosing your straw man carefully.

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    1. David

      I actually differ with this remark.”

      Well, see, here’s one of the fundamental problems. As with any human-created text, no one can say for sure what the text means. Different people read the same words and come to different conclusions. So, what’s true and what isn’t?

      “Why do you insist that the “love me or burn me” God is the real one, the one to whom you continue to direct your objections.”

      I think that this version of God (“love me or burn me”) is consistent with the text.

      “Why do you opt not to take up the challenge to recognize God in Jesus Christ, or the “please take my hand so you can be rescued” variety?”

      So, you’re suggesting that there are different versions or varieties of God? Which version is the real version? Again, I think this reflects the problem with human-created text, especially texts that are the product of multiple authors over long periods of time.

      What I’ve noticed over the years is that different folks derive different versions of God from the Bible (same holds for other folks who follow other faiths using other religious texts). In many case, the version an individual believes in is often suited to that person’s personality, in other words, we often read these texts and then tend to find the God that fits who we are (not always, but often). Now, that doesn’t mean that God doesn’t exist. However, it does suggest that any particular version of God is probably not an accurate description of God.

      Don’t get me wrong. There is much to recommend in the teachings of Jesus. Christianity, as a philosophy and guide to how to live, has many positive traits. But is Jesus really a god? I’m not so sure about that.

      (Also, all of this could also lead to the question of whether or not Jesus is a separate god from Yahweh. But I digress.)

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  8. madblog Post author

    I don’t think that the other Christian commenters will disagree with me on the innocence of infants or the fairness of God. I think what they were saying is that we all have a sin nature, a propensity to seek our own desires to the exclusion of God’s or other people’s, not that babies are born evil.
    The Bible is actually internally consistent; there is one God who is “the same today, yesterday and forever”. There is an abundance of scholarship of the highest order, there is massive commentary by minds greater than mine or yours. There is the God who will be found by seekers who want to find him.
    If you truly want answers, you ask until you find them. They are to be found.

    So why don’t you consider the the challenge to recognize God in Jesus Christ, or the “please take my hand so you can be rescued” variety?

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    1. Wally Fry

      Allow me to clarify what I said If I may. When I said we come into this world in a condemned state, I was not implying that infants and children who do not believe are doomed. David, that is not what the context of that passage teaches and if you have a background with the Bible, you know that.

      I do, however, believe in the depravity of man. So, sue me David. We are all born with a sin nature and at some point in our lives we are held accountable for our choice. When is that? Well, I don’t know. God knows. And David, you are certainly accountable.

      Btw, when David said he would see his young son who died someday in heaven? That teaches pretty clearly that God is both just AND fair.

      Mad…sorry if I created any confusion here. I think we are actually on the same sheet of music and perhaps I should learn to use more words. Sometimes I try to use a few as possible and things get left out.

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        1. Wally Fry

          Mad…hey you add away LOL. And thanks . These guys make me nuts, always looking for a wedge to drive between believers. It’s yet another way to justify non belief, After all, if we don’t walk in lockstep, it must be false.

          Here is what tickles me, though. If you put 10 scientists in a room and asked them to all explain one theory down to the minutest detail, with no deviance whatsoever, you would be waiting until the end of time for 100 percent agreement.

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  9. madblog Post author

    “Then if you do not believe in Original Sin why do you consider you need to be ‘saved’?”

    Because we spend most of our time seeking our own selfish interests, disregarding the claim God has on us or our interests, NOT loving God with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength; and NOT loving our neighbor as ourselves. Because we spend a great deal of our time sinning.
    And because we cannot make amends by our own efforts. Even our justice and righteousness is tinged, or filled, with the lust for self-glorification. We’re dedicated offenders, we’re hopeless, you’re hopeless, I’m hopeless. Jesus who is truly without sin or selfishness died in my place, the just for the unjust, so that you and I can enjoy what he deserves: unfettered fellowship and loving intimacy with God.

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  10. Arkenaten

    Well this is simply a doctrinal reply that explains very little, if anything at all.
    However, I am always keen to learn so …

    Because we spend most of our time seeking our own selfish interests,

    Says who?
    And if one were to be selfless, then would this ‘need to be saved’ become unnecessary?

    NOT loving God with our whole heart, soul, mind and strength; and NOT loving our neighbor as ourselves. Because we spend a great deal of our time sinning.

    We have to establish which god first and foremost.
    Sin as you understand it is seems to be intrinsically linked with morality. Thus we have to establish where this derives.

    And because we cannot make amends by our own efforts.

    Again who says this?
    Every individual is responsible, and held responsible for their own actions ( unless mentally incapable of understanding).

    … you’re hopeless, I’m hopeless

    Unsubstantiated opinion. I choose not to be tarred with the same brush as you.

    Jesus who is truly without sin or selfishness died in my place, the just for the unjust, so that you and I can enjoy what he deserves: unfettered fellowship and loving intimacy with God.

    As he came back to life less than three days later this was hardly the ultimate penalty.
    But please explain how his death absolved you from your ”sin”?

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  11. David

    “These guys make me nuts, always looking for a wedge to drive between believers.”

    I’ll return to other points later in the day, but let me make this clear. I’m not looking for “a wedge to drive between believers.” Don’t take this so personally. This is not my point when I point out that there are differences between believers. My point is that that folks can’t agree on what the Truth actually is. You can try to minimize your differences on this particular point if you’d like, but there are plenty of other differences out there.

    Let me point out that it was madblog who said….”I actually differ with this remark.” I didn’t say that you two differed. She said that you two differed. I didn’t try to create any wedges, I was just responding to the statement “I actually differ with this remark.” It’s not my fault that you two apparently differed.

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  12. David

    Lots of bits and bobs here that suggest a response, so this will be a mixed bag.

    “We all start out as God’s enemies, every one of us. We are born with the disease.”

    And who gave us the disease? Who created us with the disease in place?

    “The choice God gives us is not “love me or else.” It’s “please take My hand so you can be rescued.”

    So, it’s take my hand. Or what? What will happen if the hand is not taken? What’s the alternative outcome? It’s eternal torture, right?

    “I think what they were saying is that we all have a sin nature.”

    Of those born with a sin nature, what percentage will sin?

    “When I said we come into this world in a condemned state, I was not implying that infants and children who do not believe are doomed … I do, however, believe in the depravity of man.”

    You’re contradicting yourself. If we come into the world in a “condemned state” then we are condemned when we come into the world. We are not innocent at birth, we are in a condemned state from birth (and, I assume, from conception). If we’re born depraved, then we come into the world depraved. How can we be innocent if we’re born deprave/d By the definition of depravity, we are born morally corrupt and wicked. That is, we are not born innocent.

    And who created us depraved and in a condemned state? Who’s responsible here?

    Regardless, if you are correct, and all infants and children who do not believe still go heaven, then logically, the best thing that can happen to us is death in infancy.

    Sin nature, depravity of man, original sin … oy, what a mish-mash of philosophical concepts.

    “If you put 10 scientists in a room and asked them to all explain one theory down to the minutest detail, with no deviance whatsoever, you would be waiting until the end of time for 100 percent agreement.”

    I think that you’re thinking of economists here.

    Scientists do not claim to possess absolute truth or claim have access to absolute truth. So, it shouldn’t be surprising to find disagreement. Scientists are trying to understand how the natural world works, and it’s an imperfect, error-prone and tentative process. The good news is that no one will be tortured for all eternity for getting it wrong. Might be denied tenure, but that’s about it. And there are ways to improve on the accuracy of the answers about the natural world (see below). But according to you, if you guess wrong about God, then you suffer horrific pain for ever and ever and every for you mistake. See a difference here?

    Now, theologians and Christian theists DO claim to at least have access to absolute truth, and many claim to possess absolute truth. However, despite claims to absolute truth, there are endless disputes among Christians about what those absolute truths actually are with respect to numerous issues (I’d be glad to provide a list if you’d like). In some cases, where the answer is basically a yes or no answer, the two Christians may have come to diametrically opposing conclusions; that is, this are not minor degrees of difference.

    Well, someone must be wrong in these disputes. Someone must not possess absolute truth. So, who’s wrong? Who knows? Could be that both are wrong. So, what is the absolute truth? Who knows?

    If there really is an absolute truth, why can’t we find it?

    Why can’t a room of ten theologians in a room find agreement on every point of absolute truth? When we see disagreement about the absolute truth for dozens of theological and moral questions, it’s hard avoid the conclusion that no one knows or possess access to anything remotely resembling Absolute Truth.

    You know, the nice thing about science is that when scientists disagree about points within a theory, they can often settle disputes by running more experiments and gathering more data. They can even develop new theories. Over time, using this approach, you can get a very, very strong consensus. No absolute truths, but in some cases, we have a high degree of certainty.

    For example, take those ten scientists in the room. All ten of the scientists in the room will agree that bacteria and viruses cause disease. And all ten will all very, very strongly agree that the earth is much, much, much older than 6000 years, they’ll all very strongly agree that Homo sapiens species did not begin with a single breeding pair created ex nihilo 6000 years ago, and they will all very strongly agree that there was no global flood in the recent past. Now, there’s no absolute certainty here, but at this point in time, it would appear very, very, very unlikely that these conclusions are inaccurate. And that’s a really big problem if you’re going to conclude that the Bible is a text of absolute truth, and that it is an absolute truth that God created Adam and Eve ex nihilo 6000 years ago and that God flooded the entire planet about 4500 years ago.

    In the meantime, Christian theists have had no new data in two thousand years. Since scientists can gather more data, incorrect theories can be discarded. In contrast, Christian theologians have been fighting the same moral and theological battles for hundreds and hundreds of years, and they’ll still be fighting the same battles a thousand years from now. And everyone will be claiming access to absolute truth, and they’ll still be saying that if you get the answer wrong, you’ll be tortured for all eternity.

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    1. madblog Post author

      David, I haven’t had a chance to reply to your comments for two days because I’ve been bombarded by a barrage of non-sequitur on several different posts of mine and frankly lost track.. I’m very sorry.
      Please allow me to take a short break and then I’ll be able to give your comments my attention. Sorry…I didn’t mean to blow you off.

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      1. David

        No problem. The longest section in my comment was in response to something Wally said, not to something you said.

        However, if I could add just one question to the pile…

        You mentioned the “please take my hand so you can be rescued” variety of God. Has this variety of God been available to all people at all times?

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      2. David

        “I did not realize you addressed me.”

        You didn’t make the comment about the 10 scientists in the room?

        Well, I did get a bit carried away in my response. Probably shouldn’t have rambled so much.

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  13. madblog Post author

    Whoa, calm down. I don’t sit at my computer all day responding to blog comments. All comments are moderated on my blog. I have a life and many other things to do. I’m not intimidated, yikes.

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  14. madblog Post author

    Arkenaten, I’m not sure what you hoped to prove by pointing out that Judaism has no Doctrine of Original Sin…The Bible doesn’t either. This was supposed to bother us or make us wonder what we’ve been thinking?
    For that humanistic item you’ll have to go to the ancient Greeks and then to the syncretism (distortion) perpetrated by the Medieval Catholic church. Don’t think you’ve quite got us pegged.

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    1. Arkenaten

      Prove?
      Proof is for mathematicians. I don’t worry about it, or indulge in it.
      Evidence is the key.

      You have already mentioned that Evangelicals do not subscribe to the doctrine of Original Sin, yet the compilers of your bible, the Roman Catholics, clearly did, tracing it back to Paul and later to the formulation established by Augustine of Hippo, and still do.
      Also, the ”founder” of Protestantism,Martin Luther, acknowledged it, yet you seem to believe that your personal interpretation, and that of your particular sect of Christianity supersedes the understanding these two bastions of your religion?
      I have always been under the impression that the Word of God – the bible – was immutable, based on its own writing.
      Yet it seems crucial doctrine has changed and is
      still changing.

      Thus, if you are expecting me, or anyone else, to accept your interpretation on this particular piece of doctrine, which differs so much from the vast majority of other Christians, why should I consider any of your other interpretations hold any more validity?
      Surely it would be better if your own adherents agreed about the religion before it s doctrine was spread?
      Oh, just out of interest are you aware of Yetzer harah?

      That said, perhaps you would be prepared to now answer the previous reply to your interpretation of why the need to be saved?

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  15. madblog Post author

    I’ll repeat that that doctrine is not IN the Bible at all. Do you actually not understand that humanistic philosophy has long been syncretized with Biblical theology in some denominations and in the Catholic Church in particular? The C church holds man-made tradition as equally valid with God-inspired Scripture. To disastrous results, and of which you are providing one example.
    If you want to label me, I am an evangelical (non-denominational) fundamentalist Christian. Do you think we’re all under the Pope? Can you not distinguish?
    But neither do I hold some peculiar private interpretation of Scripture; my beliefs are shared by all born-again (to use a trite phrase) evangelical Bible believers who regard the Bible as God’s inspired Word. Sola Scriptura..it’s the true authority for faith and practice.

    And I’ve already answered that. What part did you not understand? I’ll be glad to explain.

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    1. Arkenaten

      I know the doctrine is not in the bible.
      And I know what evangelicals believe.
      I also know that this situation is ludicrous and untenable as the Catholic Church were responsible for compiling the bible at the urging of Constantine in no small measure because of Marcion.
      There is ”no”’ right here. What do you not not understand?

      Any interpretation you may have come up with is still based on the original books the Roman Catholic Church deemed canonical
      Are we on the same page yet?

      I also know that there are 30,000 different Christian sects who cannot agree on doctrine. Because the doctrine is man made.

      And no, you have not answered the question regarding why the need to be saved.

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  16. I 53:5 Project

    Ark,

    Why do we need to be saved? Easy, because we all sin and the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23).

    Though Jesus never sinned (1 Peter. 2:22), He bore our sins in His body on the cross (1 Peter. 2:24), and died in our place. Instead of God making us pay for our sins, He did it Himself by becoming one of us.

    Two things happen when we sin: one to God and one to ourselves.

    When we sin, God is offended because it is His Law that we are breaking.

    Also, when we sin, we also die. We don’t die right there on the spot, but we do make it a certainty that we will face a death that is far more severe.

    Sin, even the slightest, kills us (Rom. 6:23) by forcing God to ensure we will be eternally separated from Him. (Isaiah 59:2).

    God hates sin (Hab. 1:13), and sin must be punished or there is no justice.

    Since none of us are able to please God on our own, He made an offering that is pleasing to Himself.

    That offering was the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

    There was no other way. If there were, God would have done it.

    Befoe you answer, your question was about doctrine, not history or the reliability of Scripture.

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        1. David

          “Yes, we die because we sin but it’s a spiritual, not a physical death.”

          Ok, but then why do we experience physical death? Why do we die physically?

          “The only way we can avoid this death is to be redeemed.”

          So what is a spiritual death anyway? The word “death” implies a state of insensibility. When we die a spiritual death, do we become insensible? If not, then it’s not really death.

          “He died for our sins on the cross and rose from the grave.”

          How does a god die? If you are referring to the physical death of a human body, then it now appears that you are saying that the punishment and/or payment for sin is physical death.

          “Since none of us are able to please God on our own, He made an offering that is pleasing to Himself. That offering was the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.”

          It pleased God to have himself killed? This doesn’t make any sense.

          “All have sinned.”

          All have sinned? I thought that babies were innocent.

          Like

        2. David

          Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes tonthe Fathet except through Me.’”

          Almost forgot this one. So, what you’re saying is that millions of people have lived and died over the past couple of thousand years with zero opportunity to come onto the Father and experience eternal bliss.

          Like

        3. I 53:5 Project

          All people have the opportunity David, no one is excluded.

          Christianity doesn’t teach that people don’t have an opportunity for eternal bliss, instead it teaches that no one deserves eternal bliss, because we have all done wrong during our lives (Rom 3:23). We can gain admittance to heaven by repenting of our wrongs, accepting Jesus Christ’s death as payment for our wrongs and deciding to follow and worship Him as Lord.

          The principle here is that Jesus is the only way to God, not any particular church or denomination (Jn 6:40). Thus, salvation is accessible to EVERYONE and is intended by God for EVERYONE:

          Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the Earth! (Is 45:22)

          I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people…This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires ALL people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for ALL…
          (1 Tim 2:1, 3-6; see also Is 49:6, 52:10, Rev 5:9)

          Indeed, there are people “from EVERY nation, tribe, people and language” who will be saved (Rev 7:9). Thus, far from being for a selct group, Christianity is for EVERYONE. Anyone who chooses to accept Christ as Lord and Savior is a Christian and has equal standing with all other Christians before God.

          You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Gal 3:26-28)

          As far as those who have never heard goes, and there are very few of them and they are judged on what they think about what has been revealed to them through creation.

          If you don’t mind, I have a question. How have you forgotten about the single most quoted Bible verse?

          I think it’s fair for you to know that I won’t entertain endlessly frustrating “I don’t know” or “I don’t get it” questions from pople who do know and do get it. I can tell who is just trying to waste my time, I suspect you are one of those people.

          Like

        4. David

          “All people have the opportunity David, no one is excluded.”

          Not true. For example, the populations of the Americas clearly had no knowledge of Jesus until well into the second millennium AD. That’s millions of people living and dying with zero opportunity to come onto the Father and gain eternal bliss. You can cite all the verses you want, but this just demonstrates that the verses are inaccurate.

          “As far as those who have never heard goes, and there are very few of them and they are judged on what they think about what has been revealed to them through creation.”

          “Millions” is not “very few.”

          Judged on what they think about what has been revealed to them through creation? Now you are changing the criteria for coming onto the Father. If the only way to heaven is through “repenting of our wrongs, accepting Jesus Christ’s death as payment for our wrongs and deciding to follow and worship Him as Lord,” then “what the think about what has been revealed to them through creation” isn’t going to do the trick. Or maybe we just have another contradiction here.

          “I think it’s fair for you to know that I won’t entertain endlessly frustrating “I don’t know” or “I don’t get it” questions from pople who do know and do get it.”

          I’m sorry, but I honestly don’t get it. Much of this truly does not make sense. I’ve tried to explain why it doesn’t make sense. But it’s certainly your choice as to what you will entertain.

          “I can tell who is just trying to waste my time, I suspect you are one of those people.”

          Ah, so you’re psychic? Maybe I’m just trying to get you to think.

          Like

        5. I 53:5 Project

          David,

          Your last sentence speaks to the opinion I formed of you. Are you asking questions about things you truly don’t understand to gain understanding? Or, are you trying to get me to think?

          When people ask questions like you are asking, the vast majority of the time the latter is true.

          Like

        6. I 53:5 Project

          Although many people do not know the full revelation of the gospel, none of us are totally ignorant of him. ‘For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.'[6] The created universe speaks so clearly of a Creator that it took rebellious humans thousands of years to come up with a half-decent explanation of how things might have arisen without any intelligent designer, in the neo-Darwinian synthesis. The psalmist exclaims that ‘the heavens declare the glory of God'[7] and we really have to be quite blinded by naturalist philosophy before we can take a walk in the country or gaze at the night sky and not see something of God’s creative flair reflected there.

          Then there is the witness of our consciences. Though defective since the fall, they still function and give us a sense of a moral order, a morality that we generally know to be correct, even though we fail to live up to it. Paul, in his treatment of God’s righteous judgment, tells us that ‘Gentiles, who do not have the law…show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness’.[8]

          Hence there is no-one that is totally ignorant of God. All of us have some knowledge of him and will be judged according to that. God ‘will give to each person according to what he has done’,[9] not according to what he had no opportunity to do.

          The Old Testament Heroes

          We see this principle at work in the pages of the Old Testament. We know that there will be thousands of Jews and Gentiles who lived before the time of Jesus yet will still be part of that ‘great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language’. Jesus described Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as feasting in the kingdom of heaven while heaven itself is described as being at Abraham’s side.

          Like

        7. tildeb

          The created universe speaks so clearly of a Creator that it took rebellious humans thousands of years to come up with a half-decent explanation of how things might have arisen without any intelligent designer, in the neo-Darwinian synthesis. The psalmist exclaims that ‘the heavens declare the glory of God'[7] and we really have to be quite blinded by naturalist philosophy before we can take a walk in the country or gaze at the night sky and not see something of God’s creative flair reflected there.

          No, it took thousands of years to develop the scientific method. It’s not ‘naturalist philosophy’ that makes your cell phone work any more than it’s ‘naturalist philosophy’ that design efficacious medicine and space stations. Pretending it is – developed by people supposedly ‘quite blinded’ by applying the method of science – demonstrates a remarkable degree of dishonest rationalization by those who wish to promote contrary and incompatible religious beliefs.

          It’s this kind of typical and willful misrepresentation of science that condemns religious belief in the eyes of so many of today’s youth. To rectify your intentional misrepresentation, simply produce compelling evidence from reality for your religious claims. But this you cannot do or you would. And that’s a clue…

          Like

        8. tildeb

          Ah, you want me to take the micro-macro mambo seriously? Sorry. I can’t. There is no such distinction in the theory of evolution. It’s a creation of creationists. And that’s yet another example of your lack of understanding evolution rearing it’s head yet again.

          Like

        9. I 53:5 Project

          Again…

          Thoughts on this tildeb? You know before you break-down macro evolution for us all and blow the mind of a world renowned chemist.

          Does James Tour lack your level of understanding?

          Professor James M. Tour is one of the ten most cited chemists in the world. He is famous for his work on nanocars, nanoelectronics, graphene nanostructures, carbon nanovectors in medicine, and green carbon research for enhanced oil recovery and environmentally friendly oil and gas extraction. He is currently a Professor of Chemistry, Professor of Computer Science, and Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Rice University. He has authored or co-authored 489 scientific publications and his name is on 36 patents. Although he does not regard himself as an Intelligent Design theorist, Professor Tour, along with over 700 other scientists, took the courageous step back in 2001 of signing the Discovery Institute’s “A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism”, which read: “We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.”

          On Professor Tour’s Website, there’s a very revealing article on evolution and creation, in which Tour bluntly states that he does not understand how macroevolution could have happened, from a chemical standpoint.

          “Although most scientists leave few stones unturned in their quest to discern mechanisms before wholeheartedly accepting them, when it comes to the often gross extrapolations between observations and conclusions on macroevolution, scientists, it seems to me, permit unhealthy leeway. When hearing such extrapolations in the academy, when will we cry out, “The emperor has no clothes!”?

          …I simply do not understand, chemically, how macroevolution could have happened. Hence, am I not free to join the ranks of the skeptical and to sign such a statement without reprisals from those that disagree with me? … Does anyone understand the chemical details behind macroevolution? If so, I would like to sit with that person and be taught, so I invite them to meet with me.”

          In a more recent talk, entitled, Nanotech and Jesus Christ, given on 1 November 2012 at Georgia Tech, Professor Tour went further, and declared that no scientist that he has spoken to understands macroevolution – and that includes Nobel Prize winners!

          Do Nobel Prize winners lack your level of understanding tildeb?

          You believe in evolution because your worldview depends on it, that is a fact.

          Like

        10. I 53:5 Project

          Again…

          Thoughts on this tildeb? You know before you break-down macro evolution for us all and blow the mind of a world renowned chemist.

          Does James Tour lack your level of understanding?

          Professor James M. Tour is one of the ten most cited chemists in the world. He is famous for his work on nanocars, nanoelectronics, graphene nanostructures, carbon nanovectors in medicine, and green carbon research for enhanced oil recovery and environmentally friendly oil and gas extraction. He is currently a Professor of Chemistry, Professor of Computer Science, and Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Rice University. He has authored or co-authored 489 scientific publications and his name is on 36 patents. Although he does not regard himself as an Intelligent Design theorist, Professor Tour, along with over 700 other scientists, took the courageous step back in 2001 of signing the Discovery Institute’s “A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism”, which read: “We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged.”

          On Professor Tour’s Website, there’s a very revealing article on evolution and creation, in which Tour bluntly states that he does not understand how macroevolution could have happened, from a chemical standpoint.

          “Although most scientists leave few stones unturned in their quest to discern mechanisms before wholeheartedly accepting them, when it comes to the often gross extrapolations between observations and conclusions on macroevolution, scientists, it seems to me, permit unhealthy leeway. When hearing such extrapolations in the academy, when will we cry out, “The emperor has no clothes!”?

          …I simply do not understand, chemically, how macroevolution could have happened. Hence, am I not free to join the ranks of the skeptical and to sign such a statement without reprisals from those that disagree with me? … Does anyone understand the chemical details behind macroevolution? If so, I would like to sit with that person and be taught, so I invite them to meet with me.”

          In a more recent talk, entitled, Nanotech and Jesus Christ, given on 1 November 2012 at Georgia Tech, Professor Tour went further, and declared that no scientist that he has spoken to understands macroevolution – and that includes Nobel Prize winners!

          Do Nobel Prize winners lack your level of understanding tildeb?

          You believe in evolution because your worldview depends on it, that is a fact.

          Like

        11. tildeb

          Who said really smart people cannot misunderstand? Touring not only announces that he doesn’t understand (something that can be rectified) but offers us a really good reason for not wishing to understand evolution: it is, by hos own admission, in conflict with his religious beliefs. He’s not alone. Many big brained people are similarly torn. Too bad, eh?

          There is no micro-macro divide in evolutionary theory. That’s why you have to seek out a chemist to support your creation of this artificial and imaginary divide. In biology, no such divide is established (although a few religious biologists can always be found trying to ‘save’ their religious beliefs from the onslaught of new knowledge). It is well understood and fully backed by countless examinations of species that small changes over time can lead to very large changes. There is no point where you can say, ‘Ah ha!’ There’s the divide!” and separate the micro from the macro. It’s imaginary.

          But you can locate divergent paths in genetic reproduction using the model of common ancestry. This helps explain, for example, why both your and my DNA – and every reader here – possess the same genetic damage from the same ancient simian virus. The creationist explanation (and/or its synonymous Design version these days) offers us no equivalent means to explain this. Your beliefs and my belief, your world view and my world view, make not one jot or tittle of difference facing the fact that our shared DNA possesses this shared damage. Unlike you, however, I understand why it’s reasonable to assume shared ancestry. You try to reject this fact and any understanding of how it come about only because it interferes with your model of some divine POOF!ism event. There is no other reason to reject common simian ancestry.

          Like

        12. I 53:5 Project

          I want a workable macro-evolutionary model that stands up to scrutiny, not the possibility that we have a common ancestor without evidence that explains the process.

          So you’re completely writing off Tour simply because of his religious beliefs?

          That speaks volumes.

          Like

        13. tildeb

          To overthrow the theory of evolution is going to require a lot more than a chemist saying he doesn’t understand or a religious person insisting that a religiously inspired ‘macro’ model only be used. That’s not how science is done. You really should know this basic stuff.

          What is done is taking a contrary hypothesis to better understand how life changes over time by evolutionary mechanisms – say, God POOF!ed people and other critters into existence – and then bothered to inform that alternative explanatory model with incorporated compelling evidence from reality to support it.

          Something more than playing with words.

          Pointing at a tree and saying, “Oh look: God!” doesn’t do the job because you’ve offered no understanding how this external divine agency causes this POOF!ing effect by some heretofore unknown mechanism so that we can differentiate a POOF!ed event from a non POOF!ed event. (We see evolutionary changes ongoing in many small and large examinations of real species in real life so we’re going to need some means to differentiate.)

          It would also be just swell if you developed a few equivalent therapies, a few equivalent applications, a few equivalent technologies to demonstrate why your hypothesis of creation through POOF!ism deserves greater consideration than the current explanatory model does. It would help just a wee bit if you could produce mutually supportive evidence from unrelated areas of inquiry as the evolutionary model does. Perhaps you could isolate genetic evidence of a POOF!ism event in, say, a mere 250 species to show that common ancestry was even questionable. That would help your cause. You certainly have your work cut out for you.

          But go ahead…

          I’ll wait….

          Like

        14. tildeb

          I want you to be a butterfly. Wanting something doesn’t make it so.

          As I’ve said repeatedly, there is no distinction you continue to insist is a meaningful category (macro-evolution). There is only evolution. You either understand what it means or you don’t. Continuing to insist on a ‘macro-evolution model’ demonstrates you do not understand what evolution means. You can rectify this if you want, but I sincerely doubt you have any interest at all understanding a model that ‘only’ produces applications, therapies and technologies that inconveniently work for everyone everywhere all the time yet is incompatible with your religious beliefs in special creationism for humans. I think you will hold fast to your lack of understanding (ignorance) out of fear that just maybe your religious beliefs might not be worthy of the certitude you grant it.

          All life on earth is genetically related.

          Like

        15. David

          “Although many people do not know the full revelation of the gospel, none of us are totally ignorant of him.”

          The verse reads “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

          That’s very, very specific. That strongly suggests that one needs much more than some vague notion of a creator god. Many cultures have a notion of a creator god, but you would label them as pagan or heathen and say that individuals within the culture worship a false.

          To be saved, one must know the “full revelation of the gospel.” How else can one “repent of our wrongs, accepting Jesus Christ’s death as payment for our wrongs and deciding to follow and worship Him as Lord?”

          “When people ask questions like you are asking, the vast majority of the time the latter is true.”

          Is this an ok thing to do or not, that is, is it a problem if I’m trying to get your to think?

          And, again, much of this really doesn’t add up to me.

          Like

        16. I 53:5 Project

          David,

          This may be difficult to understand but people are accountable to God whether or not they have “heard about Him.” The Bible tells us that God has clearly revealed Himself in nature (Romans 1:20) and in the hearts of people (Ecclesiastes 3:11). The problem is that the human race is sinful; we all reject this knowledge of God and rebel against Him (Romans 1:21-23). If it were not for God’s grace, we would be given over to the sinful desires of our hearts, allowing us to discover how useless and miserable life is apart from Him. He does this for those who continually reject Him (Romans 1:24-32).

          In reality, it is not that some people have not heard about God. Rather, the problem is that they have rejected what they have heard and what is readily seen in nature. Deuteronomy 4:29 proclaims, “But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.” This verse teaches an important principle—everyone who truly seeks after God will find Him. If a person truly desires to know God, God will make Himself known.

          The problem is “there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God” (Romans 3:11). People reject the knowledge of God that is present in nature and in their own hearts, and instead decide to worship a “god” of their own creation. It is foolish to debate the fairness of God sending someone to hell who never had the opportunity to hear the gospel of Christ. People are responsible to God for what God has already revealed to them. The Bible says that people reject this knowledge, and therefore God is just in condemning them to Hell.

          Liked by 1 person

        17. David

          “Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as feasting in the kingdom of heaven while heaven itself is described as being at Abraham’s side.”

          These were Jews and this is pre-gospel. The Jews have that special thing going with God, and post-gospel, you clearly and specifically need to go through the god named Jesus.

          Like

        18. David

          “Professor James M. Tour is one of the ten most cited chemists..”

          Chemistry isn’t biology.

          There is much about chemistry that I don’t understand. Therefore, it’s wrong?

          By the way, I think that it’s very important to distinguish the question of what happened from the question of how it happened. There’s a very strong consensus that macroevolution did occur, but there’s a variety of views about how it happened.

          Do you think that has occurred? If it has, how could we tell? How might we test the hypothesis?

          And just so I can understand where you’re coming from…I 53, when was life on Earth created?

          Like

        19. I 53:5 Project

          David,

          There is a very strong consensus that macro-evolution occurred in some circles but no evidence or workable model to suggest how.

          How is when I think life was created going to increase your understanding of me?

          The only possible reason anyone has ever had for asking this question is in the hope that they will get “5,000-6,000 years” as an answer so they can subsequently mock a YEC rube.

          That was your intent, was it not?

          I have been doing this a long time, that is always how it works.

          Liked by 2 people

        20. I 53:5 Project

          David,

          It’s only important to distinguish the how from they why if you cling to a belief you are willing to admit has no evidence to support it.

          Non-believers have to believe in evolution in one form or another, no matter what, or their worldview collapses.

          This is why they either disregard the how ( as you did) altogether, use billions of years and possibility, or state that they don’t know but science will someday figure it out.

          Like

        21. David

          “There is a very strong consensus that macro-evolution occurred in some circles but no evidence or workable model to suggest how.”

          No evidence? No workable model? None? I think that you need to do a little more reading. And do you agree with the strong consensus?

          “How is when I think life was created going to increase your understanding of me?”

          I want to understand how you do science.

          “The only possible reason anyone has ever had for asking this question is in the hope that they will get “5,000-6,000 years” as an answer so they can subsequently mock a YEC rube. That was your intent, was it not?”

          No. I have no interest in mocking you. I want to understand how you do science.

          Like

        22. David

          “It’s only important to distinguish the how from they why if you cling to a belief you are willing to admit has no evidence to support it.”

          This is not correct. Discovery and understand of the natural world is often a sequential process. First, you have to figure out what happened. Then, you try to figure out how it happened. There can be a considerable period of time between figuring out the what and the figuring out the why.

          This happens all the time in science. In the 1800s, developmental biologists did a decent job of observing and recording what happened during development from a fertilized egg to an adult organism. They knew what happened, however, they had no idea how it happened (it’s a mystery, so it must take a miracle, right?). Understanding the “how” had to wait until the 20th and 21st centuries, and even now, it’s far from fully understood. But no one’s worldview is at stake here, and no one thinks that the answer will be a supernatural one.

          “This is why they either disregard the how ( as you did) altogether.”

          I didn’t disregard the how at all. I said it was different question with several proposed answers.

          Like

        23. David

          “I want you and tildeb to show me a workable scientific model of macro-evolution that stands up to scrutiny.”

          And I want you to tell me how you do science. It’s a simple request.

          Like

        24. David

          “I want a workable macro-evolutionary model that stands up to scrutiny, not the possibility that we have a common ancestor without evidence that explains the process. ”

          Would you settle for a reading list?

          Like

        25. David

          “Just one would be fine. ”

          Just one book or just one reading list? I’m a little confused here.

          Now, to help me pick out some books for you, perhaps you could tell me where you’re at on this issue.

          Do you think that all species were created at the same time around 6000 years ago?

          Or

          Do you think that macroevolution happened, and that it happened over millions of years?

          It would help if I knew where you’re coming from and how you do science. Otherwise, it will be difficult to continue.

          Like

        26. I 53:5 Project

          David,

          Why do you want to know “how I do science”?

          Even if I told you, what are your specific qualifications that entitle you to judge me?

          What field of science are you a credentialed expert in?

          Like

        27. I 53:5 Project

          David,

          The arrogance displayed by offering to help me pick out books is going to make this difficult.

          People who state or imply that Christians just need a science education are among the most off-putting types I can think of.

          Liked by 2 people

        28. David

          “Macro-evolution didn’t happen at all.”

          Ok, good, we’re getting somewhere.

          Got lots of books that can give you evidence that you requested that macroevolution happened and even some books that discuss possible mechanisms.

          So, when, where and how were living organisms created? Roughly speaking. Did this occur about 6000 years ago and were all of the species created around the same time?

          Like

        29. David

          “Why do you want to know “how I do science”?”

          Well, if I’m going to provide scientific answers to your questions, it would help if I understood how you view science. How do you think science works?

          “Even if I told you, what are your specific qualifications that entitle you to judge me?”

          Not trying to judge. Trying to understand.

          “What field of science are you a credentialed expert in?”

          Biology.

          Like

        30. I 53:5 Project

          David,

          Give me a link to an article that explains macro-evolution. That is all I want from you.

          Everyone reading this can see you are doing nothing but insulting my intelligence and avoiding a simple question.

          Liked by 1 person

        31. I 53:5 Project

          David,

          This is how I understand macro-evolution, where am I going wrong?

          In evolutionary biology today, macroevolution is used to refer to any evolutionary change at or above the level of species. It means at least the splitting of a species into two (speciation, or cladogenesis, from the Greek meaning “the origin of a branch”) or the change of a species over time into another (anagenetic speciation, not nowadays generally accepted.

          Any changes that occur at higher levels, such as the evolution of new families, phyla or genera, are also therefore macroevolution, but the term is not restricted to those higher levels. It often also means long-term trends or biases in evolution of higher taxonomic levels.

          Now explain to me how humans evolved from single celled organisms.

          Like

        32. David

          “The arrogance displayed by offering to help me pick out books is going to make this difficult. People who state or imply that Christians just need a science education are among the most off-putting types I can think of.”

          You asked me for answers. You asked me for theories. You asked me for evidence. You wanted all of the this. I did not start this, you did. This is what YOU wanted.

          So just what the hell you want from me? I offer to give you what YOU wanted, and now I’m ARROGANT?

          Like

        33. I 53:5 Project

          I want a link to an article that explains exactly how macro-evolution happened.

          Want me to do it for you?

          OK. What follows is from Berkeley.edu.

          “What is macroevolution?

          Macroevolution generally refers to evolution above the species level. So instead of focusing on an individual beetle species, a macroevolutionary lens might require that we zoom out on the tree of life, to assess the diversity of the entire beetle clade and its position on the tree.

          Macroevolution refers to evolution of groups larger than an individual species.
          The three domains The history of life, on a grand scale.

          Macroevolution encompasses the grandest trends and transformations in evolution, such as the origin of mammals and the radiation of flowering plants. Macroevolutionary patterns are generally what we see when we look at the large-scale history of life.

          It is not necessarily easy to “see” macroevolutionary history; there are no firsthand accounts to be read. Instead, we reconstruct the history of life using all available evidence: geology, fossils, and living organisms.

          Once we’ve figured out what evolutionary events have taken place, we try to figure out how they happened. Just as in microevolution, basic evolutionary mechanisms like mutation, migration, genetic drift, and natural selection are at work and can help explain many large-scale patterns in the history of life.

          The basic evolutionary mechanisms — mutation, migration, genetic drift, and natural selection — can produce major evolutionary change if given enough time.”

          Seems like this almost makes sense until you get to “can produce change if given enough time.”

          Liked by 1 person

        34. David

          “Everyone reading this can see you are doing nothing but insulting my intelligence and avoiding a simple question.”

          I’m not avoiding anything, and I’m not trying to insult your intelligence! I’m trying to understand you and where you are coming from. I don’t know you, I don’t know anything about your science education background, so I have to ask questions.

          I’d be happy to give you libraries of information. This is not a question that can be addressed in a single paragraph on a blog. We’re talking about the history of life on earth over millions of years. It’s a huge subject.

          “Give me a link to an article that explains macro-evolution. That is all I want from you.”

          You think that you’re going to understand this from a single article? Really? Ok, this is clearly a waste of time.

          Like

        35. I 53:5 Project

          David,

          So you’re withholding the link because you are afraid I won’t understand it?

          Is that what you’re saying?

          Are you saying there are no articles that can break this down for a simpleton like me?

          That is the arrogance I spoke of.

          Like

        36. David

          “Now explain to me how humans evolved from single celled organisms.”

          In what, a paragraph? Oy vey, and people accuse ME of not being serious.

          Like

        37. I 53:5 Project

          David,

          You claimed on this thread that you are a biologist, correct?

          Then why can’t you break down somenof the science of macro-evolution for us?

          Seems odd if, in fact, you are a biologist who has some scientific knowledge of it.

          Liked by 1 person

        38. David

          “Why can’t a credentialed biologist explain the science he believes in?”

          You have the link to Berkeley. So there’s your link. There’s your explanation. It’s good enough for me.

          But did the link satisfy you? Of course not. So why should I waste my time giving you a link?

          “Seems like this almost makes sense until you get to “can produce change if given enough time.”

          Look, if you want to learn about how this can happen, I can point you to some excellent resources. But it’s going to take a lot more than a link to an article. That’s just how it is.

          If you have no interest in learning about the subject, and if you don’t want to explain to me what you think that answer is the question of when, where and how species appeared, then adieu.

          Like

        39. David

          “Are you saying there are no articles that can break this down for a simpleton like me?”

          This isn’t arrogance. No single article can break it down for ANYONE, not at the level that you are looking for.

          Like

        40. I 53:5 Project

          What about 29+ Evidences for Macroevolution: The Scientific Case for Common Descent

          by Douglas Theobald, Ph.D?

          That seemed pretty “sciencey” to me.

          Also seemed super duper easy to find.

          Like

        41. David

          “You claimed on this thread that you are a biologist, correct? Then why can’t you break down somenof the science of macro-evolution for us?”

          It’s not a claim, it’s a fact. And that means that I have some idea of what it takes to “break down” the science of evolution.

          You want me to give you a course in a few paragraphs? Hey, you have your Berkeley link, you’re not a simpleton, there’s your break down.

          Satisfied? Of course not. So, why to ask me to break this down for you?

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        42. I 53:5 Project

          I just posted a link for 29+ evidences for macro-evolution, wasn’t that hard to do.

          Why couldn’t you have done the same?

          Sorry for all the questions, I’m just trying to figure out how you “do science.” 🙂

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        43. David

          This comment keeps going in the wrong place.

          “That seemed pretty “sciencey” to me.”

          Ok, I’m totally baffled. If you’re finding your own links, what do you need me for?

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        44. David

          “Why couldn’t you have done the same? ”

          Did it satisfy you? Did it give you answer to your original desire for a workable scientific model of macro-evolution that stands up to scrutiny?

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        45. I 53:5 Project

          Yes David, I got my answer and am pretty sure (I know) all 29 evidences in that link can be refuted.

          Do you, as a scientist, still believe macro-evolution happened?

          If so, why?

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        46. David

          “I asked you a simple question, you refused to answer it, I felt I had no choice.’

          I didn’t refuse to answer it. I simply felt that the answer was going to take way more than a link, and clearly, I’m correct in this assumption.

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        47. David

          “Yes David, I got my answer and am pretty sure (I know) all 29 evidences in that link can be refuted.”

          Ok, refute them.

          In the meantime, fair’s fair. When, where and how do you think species originated?

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        48. I 53:5 Project

          David,

          Unlike you, I’ll answer your question.

          In the beginning, God…

          Before you go there, I see mention of “god of the gaps” as an intellectually dishonest cop-out so, spare us both.

          I came to believe in God, in part anyway, because He is a better explanation than infinite time + endless possibilities = macro-evolution, and/or wishing upon a star that science will one day prove what non-believers presuppose about God.

          On the point about science trying to back up presuppositions, the Berkeley article admitted as much.

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        49. I 53:5 Project

          Ok, here’s the refuting.

          Now I know why you won’t talk about the mechanics of macro-evolution. Apparently a procees isn’t even needed for it to have occurred.

          Sounds a tad less “sciencey” now but, what do I know, I’m not super good at “doing science” and stuff 😉

          In “29 Evidences for Macroevolution,” Douglas Theobald sets forth the evidence that he believes proves scientifically that all living organisms descended from “one original living species.” He does so by listing what he claims are 29 potentially falsifiable predictions of the hypothesis of universal common ancestry and presenting the evidence that he believes confirms each of those predictions.

          Dr. Theobald does not address the origin of the first living thing or the mechanism by which that first organism diverged into every life form that has ever existed. His thesis is expressly restricted to the affirmation of universal common ancestry. In other words, he argues that, without knowing anything about how the first life arose or how it diversified, one can still be certain that all living things descended from the same ancestor. He states in the introduction

          “In this treatise, I consider only macroevolution [which he labels a “virtual synonym” for universal common descent]. I do not consider microevolutionary theories, such as natural selection, genetic drift, sexual selection, theories of speciation, etc., which biologists use as mechanistic theories to explain macroevolution. Neither do I consider abiogenesis; I take it as axiomatic that an original self-replicating life form existed in the distant past.”

          In the conclusion, he says.

          “These previous points are all proofs of macroevolution alone; the evidences and the conclusion are independent of any explanatory mechanism. This is why scientists call macroevolution the “fact of evolution.” None of the 29 predictions directly address how macroevolution has occurred; nevertheless, the validity of the macroevolutionary conclusion does not depend on whether Darwinism, Lamarckism, or something else is the true mechanism of evolutionary change or not. The macroevolutionary conclusion still stands, regardless.”

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        50. David

          “In the beginning, God…”

          In the beginning, God…What? When? How?

          You say I didn’t answer your question, but you’re still not answering mine.

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        51. David

          “His thesis is expressly restricted to the affirmation of universal common ancestry. “

          Right. Exactly. And you didn’t refute this thesis.

          You said clearly and explicitly that you could refute the 29 Evidences for Macroevolution, but you didn’t even try.

          You said that the event of macroevolution didn’t happen. Theobold presents evidence that it did. You said that you could refute this evidence. But you didn’t. All you did was complain about a lack of mechanism. But that’s not what Theobold’s 29 Evidences is about.

          All you did was try to burn a straw man (with respect to Theobold’s thesis), and do I need to repeat what I said about the history of developmental biology?

          See why I didn’t bother with a single link for you?

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        52. David

          “I don’t need to know what, when, how.”

          Well, now, that’s one way to avoid the possibility that you’ll be shown to be wrong.

          And you accuse me of not answering questions? You demand that I have all the answers when you have none?

          Do you believe in the God of the Bible. Well, the Bible tells you what, when and how. Don’t you believe what is says?

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        53. I 53:5 Project

          I said I didn’t need an answer, you said you had one but I’m not smart enough to understand it.

          There is a difference.

          This is getting more pointless, I’m done.

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        54. David

          “He presents that he thinks it did, asks readers to believe it did, but provides no evidence of a mechanism.”

          So what? Do you understand the concept of a straw man argument?

          Theobold presents a thesis about WHAT happened. He defended his thesis. He never claimed that his thesis contained a mechanism.

          You claimed to be able to refute his thesis which was about WHAT happened. I repeat, his thesis was about WHAT happened. You failed to support your claim that you refuted his thesis. You failed. In fact, you didn’t even try. Indirectly, you also failed to support your conclusion that macroevolution didn’t happen.

          Let’s remember that I never said that this link would give you what you wanted, in fact, I knew it wouldn’t. That’s why I didn’t bother with a link such as this.

          I’m sorry, it’s going to take more than a link to understand evolutionary biology.

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        55. I 53:5 Project

          I understand evolutionary biology quite we’ll.

          Anyway, I said I was done and I mean it this time. I will leave you with this.

          Why does man seek to eliminate God from having had any role in the creation of the Universe? It’s very simple. Man hates God and does not want to be subject to God’s law, or held accountable for his actions. As Paul writes in Romans 1, “For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.”

          Liked by 1 person

        56. David

          “I said I didn’t need an answer.”

          But the answer is right there in the BIble!

          “You said you had one but I’m not smart enough to understand it.”

          At NO point did I say this. What I said was that you were going to have learn a lot more about the subject before you could understand about the possible answers. The answer was not going to be found in a single link. This is NOT the same thing as saying that you are not smart enough to understand it.

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        57. David

          Just a little mopping up…

          “But you should be OK with that since science can’t answer what, when, how either.”

          Actually, science has done pretty well with the what and when. And it’s working on the how. So, it’s not accurate to say that science can’t answer what, when and how either.

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        58. David

          Why does man seek to eliminate God from having had any role in the creation of the Universe? It’s very simple. Man hates God and does not want to be subject to God’s law, or held accountable for his actions.

          Nonsense. There are plenty of Christian scientists who think that macroevolution happened.

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        59. David

          “Why does man seek to eliminate God from having had any role in the creation of the Universe? It’s very simple. Man hates God and does not want to be subject to God’s law, or held accountable for his actions.”

          Nonsense. There are plenty of Christian scientists who think that macroevolution happened. Do you think that they want to eliminate God from having any role in the creation of the universe?

          Like

      1. I 53:5 Project

        David,

        Here is a pretty simple explanation of how it all works, hope it helps.

        We were created to have a relationship with God, but He did not make us to automatically love and obey Him. Instead, He gave us a will and freedom to choose.
        From the very beginning, we chose to disobey God and run our own lives, this is what the Bible calls sin.
        The result of sin is an empty life of separation from God that will eventually lead to eternal separation from God.
        The Bible says:
        “All have sinned and all fall short of the glory of God.”
        – Romans 3:23
        “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
        – Romans 6:23
        People try to fill the emptiness in their lives and build a bridge to God by doing good things but they always fall short.
        The Bible says:
        “There is a way that seems right to man but its end is the way of death.”
        – Proverbs 14:12
        “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us.”
        – Titus 3:5
        In order to bridge the gap between God and peoples, God sent His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, into the world.
        He died for our sins on the cross and rose from the grave.
        This opened the way to forgiveness and a new relationship with God.
        The Bible says:
        “But God demonstrated His love for us in that, while we were sinners, Christ died for us.”
        – Romans 5:6
        “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes tonthe Fathet except through Me.’”
        -John 14:6
        God has done everything necessary to provide forgiveness to all who ask for it. We accept this forgiveness by trusting what Jesus did for us on the cross and receiving Him as our Lord.

        Liked by 1 person

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      2. David

        “Seems like this almost makes sense until you get to “can produce change if given enough time.”

        Look, if you want to learn about how this can happen, I can point you to some excellent resources. But it’s going to take a lot more than a link to an article. That’s just how it is.

        If you have no interest in learning about the subject, and if you don’t want to explain to me what you think that answer is the question of when, where and how species appeared, then adieu.

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      3. David

        “That seemed pretty “sciencey” to me.”

        Ok, I’m totally baffled. If you’re finding your own links, what do you need me for?

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      4. David

        “That seemed pretty “sciencey” to me.”

        Ok, I’m totally baffled. If you’re finding your own links, what do you need me for?

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  17. madblog Post author

    David, maybe we would get somewhere if you pick one item and we deal with one at a time; you’re kind of all over the place. Or maybe you could distill what really bugs you down to one question?

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  18. madblog Post author

    Which one, I53?

    David, the Bible is clear that all are able to come to the knowledge of the truth, that it is available to everyone. We are all held responsible for responding to the evidence we DO have available to us. For instance, in the Book of Romans, Paul talks about how someone who has never heard of Jesus Christ still has the testimony of creation. He can recognize the Creator in the natural world and that which nature shows him: that the world was created by a powerful, loving, intelligent, personal God. He then can recognize and acknowledge and honor the True God.
    Even a bit of small knowledge can be enough, as long as we respond. And you’d be pretty surprised how often and in what manner people happened to come by the knowledge of the Biblical God in some pretty amazingly remote places.
    Likewise the people who came before Christ were accountable to look forward to the coming Redeemer. Basically, to be willing to acknowledge that there is a God who I choose to trust, look for, wait for, be ready to worship….that’s what God honors.
    God does not balance scales or count beans, he does not want prisoners but free beings who choose to love Him for who He is.

    So you’re trying to “get us to think?”

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  19. madblog Post author

    We also have the witness of our conscience. There’s a whole apologetic argument there. Basically, where do we even get the concept that there is good and evil, right and wrong?
    C.S. Lewis has the best treatment of this issue that I know. But I’ll have to get back to you later…

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  20. David

    Since I’m responding to multiple people, I’ll stick this at the end.

    “This may be difficult to understand but people are accountable to God whether or not they have “heard about Him.”

    But…getting into Heaven requires knowledge of Jesus Christ, son of Yahweh.

    The Bible is very clear:

    “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

    Again, that’s very, very specific. That strongly suggests that one needs much more than some vague notion of a creator god.

    And you said that getting into Heaven requires “repenting of our wrongs, accepting Jesus Christ’s death as payment for our wrongs and deciding to follow and worship Him as Lord”…which you can’t do if you don’t know about Jesus.

    “It is foolish to debate the fairness of God sending someone to hell who never had the opportunity to hear the gospel of Christ. “

    No, it’s not. “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” True or not true?

    “People are responsible to God for what God has already revealed to them. The Bible says that people reject this knowledge, and therefore God is just in condemning them to Hell.”

    Yes, condemning them to Hell without providing the information needed to escape this fate. Not very loving.

    “And you’d be pretty surprised how often and in what manner people happened to come by the knowledge of the Biblical God in some pretty amazingly remote places.”

    Doesn’t solve the problem of millions of people clearly living and dying with no knowledge of Jesus.

    “We are all held responsible for responding to the evidence we DO have available to us.”

    Yes, but the solution to escaping the consequences of our responsibilities is specifically, specifically tied to the knowledge, love and worship of Jesus. I’m not saying the, the Bible is saying this. “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

    “He then can recognize and acknowledge and honor the True God.”

    Who is the true god, Yahweh or Jesus? What does “True God” even mean in the absence of the knowledge of Jesus?

    I thought that there was the Christian religion and the not-Christian religions and that only the Christian religion will get you into Heaven. Not-Christianity won’t get you into Heaven. Now you’re suggesting that as long as one has some vague notion of a creator god who is somehow worshiped by doing who knows what to appease the creator god, then that is good enough.

    “Basically, where do we even get the concept that there is good and evil, right and wrong?”

    Lot of possible answers here, but it doesn’t really address the big problem. You decide you’ve done wrong. What do you do about it? To solve the problem, we must ask Jesus for forgiveness. Can’t do this if you don’t know Jesus.

    Either knowledge of Jesus Christ, son of Yawheh, who died for our sin is required for admission into Heaven or it isn’t. Either you need to know that Jesus died on the cross or you don’t. Which is it?

    Either admission into Heaven requires “repenting of our wrongs, accepting Jesus Christ’s death as payment for our wrongs and deciding to follow and worship Him as Lord” or it doesn’t. Which is it?

    Is it true that “I am the way and the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through me” or not. Which is it?

    I think all you see the problem. So, you all try to find verses to smooth over the difficulties, but all these verses do is demonstrate the self-contradictory nature of the text. Even the NT writers apparently can’t make up their minds about this.

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    1. madblog Post author

      David, I see that you had to dismiss at least three long comments by me and 153 explaining the Biblical evidence for salvation being available to everyone in order to somersault to the position that, again, God is unjust. You’ve had to do some real gymnastics to ignore the responses which answer your question.
      You are very good, if transparent, at cherry-picking the answers you find it easy to argue with and dismissing the ones which reasonably answer your question, but which might actually answer your question.
      We all have lives and time is valuable. It seems you aren’t serious.

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      1. David

        “I see that you had to dismiss at least three long comments by me and 153 explaining the Biblical evidence for salvation being available to everyone in order to somersault to the position that, again, God is unjust.”

        I didn’t dismiss anything. It’s not just a matter of injustice. The “Biblical evidence” is contradictory.

        I carefully considered your comments in framing my closing questions, and I tried to be as specific in my questions as I could be. I took both the verse that states “I am the way and the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me” AND the possibility that one does not need specific knowledge of Jesus, his life and his sacrifice in order to be saved into consideration.

        Now, can you answer the questions or not?

        Either knowledge of Jesus Christ, son of Yawheh, who died for our sin is required for admission into Heaven or it isn’t. Either you need to know that Jesus died on the cross or you don’t. Which is it? Clearly, millions have lived and died without this specific knowledge.

        Either admission into Heaven requires “repenting of our wrongs, accepting Jesus Christ’s death as payment for our wrongs and deciding to follow and worship Him as Lord” or it doesn’t. Which is it? Clearly, millions have lived and died without this specific knowledge

        Is it true that “I am the way and the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through me” or not. Which is it?

        I quite serious.

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        1. madblog Post author

          It’s not a quiz. It’s not a “test”. It’s not being weighed on a balance. It’s Almighty God, who has the perfect right, evaluating our hearts and discerning who is willing to regard Him as True God, to admit He is Who He is. It’s God recognizing who is willing to be in proper relationship with him, and who is determined to reject the relationship. There is no third option. Once we understand Who He is, the only possible conclusion is that we are only in a position to bow in worship and honor.
          You prefer a legalistic checklist to a personal relationship.

          People are not truly ignorant in their hearts as to the existence of God.
          Romans 1:20-21: For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
          There is no one anywhere who truly has no concept of god in his psyche. No one dismisses God. Why is that?
          We have ample evidence right here on this blog that there is no one more preoccupied with God than an avowed atheist.

          ~”I love you unconditionally, more than anyone else ever could. I want to you to be so close to me that you’re like a branch of my vine. I want to pull you up by the hand out of a stormy sea. I want to care for and protect you like a shepherd does his sheep. When you wander, I will leave the flock and search til I find you, and rejoice when I find you. I am Love and I want you to be in me, and I in you.”
          ~ “No. I don’t want to acknowledge you. Make me a robot.”

          But he cannot. He created you not as a machine but as a human being with a mind, heart, and spirit. You cannot remove these things.You do not have the option to be an automaton.
          You are thereby denying your own nature!

          Like it or not, you are a wonderfully created ETERNAL being. Your choice is wisdom or utter foolishness. There is no neutral option because there is significance intrinsic in you. You are not a thing.

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        2. David

          “It’s not a quiz. It’s not a “test”….You prefer a legalistic checklist to a personal relationship.”

          You missed the point. This about internal consistency. It isn’t there.

          “But he cannot. He created you not as a machine but as a human being with a mind, heart, and spirit.”

          And…we start out as God’s enemies, we are born with a disease, we enter the world in a condemned state, we enter the world in a depraved state and with a sin nature.

          Nice job, God! A perfect design if I ever saw one.

          I’m sorry, but I still don’t see a resolution of the conflict between the concepts of omnibenevolence and eternal torture. I’m really, really not trying to be difficult, but the resolution isn’t there. You’ve danced around it in several different ways, but nothing here really directly addresses the problem.

          I’ve said it before, but your concept of God crams too many “omnis” into one entity. They conflict with each other, and the suggests that your particular version of God is a human construct. Doesn’t meant that “God” doesn’t exist in some form (I’m hardly an avowed atheist). Just means that your version of God is probably inaccurate.

          I don’t want to be redundant or irritate further, so I’ll leave it at that.

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        3. Wally Fry

          David

          Wow, talk about providence. Weather shut down at work just in time for me to see this statement.

          “I’ve said it before, but your concept of God crams too many “omnis” into one entity. They conflict with each other, and the suggests that your particular version of God is a human construct”

          Too many “omnis?” Really? I think without intending to, you have just hit the nail on the head. The only problem is you have the tail wagging the dog. (How’s that for cliches?) OF COURSE God is more “Omni” than we can possibly comprehend. We don’t understand, because we are finite. He can be all of these supposedly conflicting things, because…He is not finite. Our lack of understanding does not render it invalid; truth is, it reinforces the concept. Honestly, David, if we could “get” God, then He would not be much of a God, now would He? It is actually you trying to reconstruct a God that you can grasp which causes you to make a god that is a human construct. If God were a human construct, then we would make Him understandable, limited, and to our liking. The fact that He is all of these “omnis” actually indicates He is not a human construct.

          Peace

          Liked by 1 person

        4. Wally Fry

          Tildeb

          Hey…cool! We agree on something! It IS amazing..amazes me every day…that He has chosen to reveal His attributes to me, through His Word. So, that I can know. You can too Tildeb…you can too.

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        5. David

          If God were a human construct, then we would make Him understandable, limited, and to our liking.”

          You’re giving humans way, way too much credit. We produce utter nonsense on a daily basis.

          “Our lack of understanding does not render it invalid; truth is, it reinforces the concept.”

          Brilliant!

          It’s incomprehensible, incoherent, illogical, self-contradicting…at that’s how you know that it’s true!

          This is fantastic! You’ve rendered it completely impossible to tell if your version of God is the correct one. Genius, sheer genius.

          I stand in awe. What an amazing job of making a silk purse from a sow’s ear.

          Liked by 1 person

        6. David

          “I said He has revealed His attributes…not full understanding how they all work.”

          You want to believe that something is a revelation from God? You believe that you have a revelation from God.

          You get stuck when it doesn’t make sense? Then it’s no more revelations. It’s all suddenly in incomprehensible mystery.

          Like I said…genius.

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        7. Wally Fry

          David

          Oddly enough, you are on to something. Yes, The Bible is God’s revelation to mankind. And, yes, it’s not full in the sense that He has granted us complete understanding. My only response to that is…so what? I’m okay with that. He’s God, I’m not…and I am quite at peace with that concept. If fact, I am vastly and greatly reassured by that. I would hate to be in the hands of a being who was no more than me.

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        8. David

          “It’s not full in the sense that He has granted us complete understanding.”

          I don’t expect complete understanding. But I also don’t expect so many contradictions. However, this is what you get with a god designed by a committee.

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        9. Wally Fry

          Wow….the arrogance blossoms. Nice David. In light of that comment…I’m done. Not really thinking God needs my help with this argument.

          Peace and prayers.

          Like

        10. David

          Wow….the arrogance blossoms.

          No arrogance. Remember, I’m not the one claiming to have revelations from God. Now, that’s arrogance. Nor am I claiming to ever be able to “help God.” More arrogance.

          What I’m saying is the evidence strongly suggests humans are behind the creation of your particular version of God. It’s not arrogance, it’s just an evidence-based conclusion.

          I can’t begin to count up the total number of version of God or gods that are out there. So, how you suggest that we determine which, if any, are accurate? If you shut the down the analysis by playing the mystery card, then there is no reason to reject anyone’s version of god or gods.

          Liked by 1 person

        11. Wally Fry

          David

          Your ability to take another persons words, then twist them into a pretzel of your own meaning in order to condemn them is amazing and very skillful.

          I have not claimed any special revelation from God. I have the same revelation as anybody else(including you), and that is The Bible. The difference is what we have chosen to do with it. My claim that scripture is accurate is no more arrogant than your claim that it is not. It is, however, substantially truer…that is fact, like it or not, believe it or not.

          Your claim that my claim is arrogance is yet another attempt by you to make God, and all those associated with Him…the bad guys. If God is bad enough…you become released from the responsibility you have for rejecting Him. You keep hammering about those who do not know; my friend….you KNOW. You have been provided access, loudly and clearly. At this point, your responsibility for what you do with this information has increased exponentially.

          Next point. I never claimed God needed my help. That claim is simply untrue, and you knew that when you wrote it. Any analysis of the context in which I wrote that also shows I did not make that claim. Once again..make me a bad guy…make God a bad guy…voila! I no longer have to concern myself with accountability to such an ogre.

          David…perhaps I should call you…Wally. What you say? Not too many years ago, I was you David. Same arguments, same diversions, same rabbit trails, same mild insults and sarcasm. Only I was probably somewhat meaner than you, as most of what I did, I did in person, not shielded behind the anonymity of the internet.

          David…do you want to know when it’s too late? When you draw your last breath..until then God yearns for you to soften your heart and come to Him. You know why you can’t as is….James has explained that and so has Madelyn. You also know is all you have to do is repent and believe…just that.

          Quit wasting your time looking for the holes. Get the Bible out that you obviously own…Read the Book of John, with an open heart. Don’t look for what is WRONG….look for what is RIGHT.

          Liked by 3 people

        12. David

          “Your ability to take another persons words, then twist them into a pretzel of your own meaning in order to condemn them is amazing and very skillful.”

          I’m not sure that you followed what I said very closely.

          “I have not claimed any special revelation from God. ”

          I did NOT say that you had a “SPECIAL revelation” from God. I just said that you claim that you have revelations from God. That’s all. You do claim to have revelations from God, yes?

          Whether anyone else does or does not have revelations from God, or whether or not others have access to these revelations, is not relevant to what I said. You claim to have revelations from God. That’s all I said. This is what you claim, and so that’s not twisting anything.

          “My claim that scripture is accurate is no more arrogant than your claim that it is not.”

          Well, that depends on the basis for the claim.

          “It is, however, substantially truer…that is fact, like it or not, believe it or not.”

          Is it? How do you know? As soon as we get close to finding a flaw, you duck behind the mystery card. And then there are the testable historical claims which don’t seem to hold up very well.

          “If God is bad enough…you become released from the responsibility you have for rejecting Him.”

          You’ve totally, totally failed to understand my points. This is not about making God “bad enough.” It’s not about finding reasons to reject God. You see, I don’t believe that the Bible accurately describes God, so how can I think that God is “bad?” How can I reject something that I believe is inaccurately described. That just doesn’t make any sense.

          This is simply about the conflict between two attributes assigned to God by most Christians, a conflict that strongly suggests that the attributes are inaccurately assigned.

          “Next point. I never claimed God needed my help.”

          Again, you misread what I wrote. I did NOT say that you claimed that God NEEDED your help. I wrote…”Nor am I claiming to ever be able to help God.” In other words, I thought that you were saying that you might be able to help God. Not that God NEEDED your help, just you might be able to help God. See the difference?

          Now, if you don’t think that you could ever help God in any way, then I apologize for misunderstanding you. But if you think that you might be able to help God, then what I said was accurate and not untrue. In any event, I definitely thought it was accurate when I wrote, so please do not accuse me of deliberately writing something that I thought was untrue.

          I have ZERO interest in making you a bad guy. You started this by accusing me of arrogance, and I’m just returning fire. This has nothing to do with turning anyone into an ogre so that I can avoid accountability.

          Maybe you should read what I said more closely before drawing your conclusions about what I’m doing.

          “David…perhaps I should call you…Wally. What you say?”

          I say that you don’t know me. Of course, you’ve never filled us in on your conversion experience, so I can only guess who you are.

          “Don’t look for what is WRONG….look for what is RIGHT.”

          And if I do that, then depending on which religious text I happen to pick up, I could be converted to anything. It would just be random chance.

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        13. David

          “You are playing that Old Blood, Sweat and Tears song again my friend. ”

          That’s fine, but do you understand that I was not attempting to twist your words?

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        14. Wally Fry

          If you were not..I apologize. Nonetheless, what I said stands. And my opinion of why you are on such a mission stands as well. My plea that you read John..with an open mind…stands. Your status before the God you deny…stands. Your…yes, arrogance in the face of God…stands. Notice I said your arrogance before God, not me. Your opinion of me matters far less than only slightly, and my opinion of you matters less. It only matters where we stand in the eyes of God. Peace

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      2. David

        A footnote.

        “Your choice is wisdom or utter foolishness.”

        Ah, so, just two options, right? Nice euphemisms for the choice of love me or burn.

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  21. David

    “David, maybe we would get somewhere if you pick one item and we deal with one at a time; you’re kind of all over the place. Or maybe you could distill what really bugs you down to one question?”

    Sorry about that. You have a point. I 53 brought up some point that I thought I’d respond to, and I guess that led to some philosophical wandering around.

    I doubt if I can distill this down to one question, but we can go back to the questions I raised in the long, rambling comment about the ten scientists, etc.

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  22. David

    …I suppose the basic problem is the conflict between the concepts of omnibenevolence and eternal torture, and whether an omnibenevolent entity would even give you a choice if the consequence of the wrong choice is eternal torture.

    By the way, I’ve always that Frost’s poem, The Road Not Taken, offered a good description of a genuine choice.

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      1. David

        The alternative is to manufacture automatons, or not to create people at all.”

        If some are to be tortured for all eternity, then an all-loving god does as you suggest. Make automatons or don’t create people at all.

        If you know with absolute certainty that some of the children that you are going to create will be tortured for all eternity, do you create them anyway? I don’t.

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    1. David

      “What do you do with people who choose to violently harm other people?”

      Can these people violently harm others after death?

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      1. madblog Post author

        So anything goes? You, as king of the word, require nothing from people who kill and harm? You do nothing to protect the innocent or punish the guilty? Is that just?

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        1. David

          So anything goes? You, as king of the word, require nothing from people who kill and harm? You do nothing to protect the innocent or punish the guilty? Is that just?

          Waiting a minute. I thought that we are all guilty, right?

          Did I say that I would do nothing to punish the quilty? No, I did not. The problem with your question is that it asks about what would I do on Earth during the life of the killers. This is not the same as asking would I torture for all eternity after death. It’s the eternal torture that I have a problem with, not any potential earthly punishment.

          I would also note that you’ve chosen murder as the sin to highlight here. But remember, sin is sin. Remember, sin is sin. Steal a cookie, kill a million, it’s all a sin. And according the Bible, the punishment is eternal torture for all sinners, including a child who steal a cookie and the is hit by a bus. So, what you would do with this child?

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        2. David

          …But to answer your question, broadly speaking, I’d probably mostly follow the current penal codes in the U.S. and Europe.

          Of course, if we follow your analogy to its logical conclusion, since everyone sins, I’m going to need bigger prisons.

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  23. madblog Post author

    tildeb, no matter which worldview you endorse, you are embracing a POOF origin of the universe. There is no possible non-POOF beginning.
    I hereby unabashedly endorse and declare my belief in POOF. I believe that Almighty God spoke and our universe sprang into existence from nothing. I believe God can and did produce all from nothing. You are not shaming or ridiculing me to accuse me of believing this.

    You have a more difficult problem than I do. You have the burden of proving that there was once nothing, then all of existence POOFed into being by no power or mechanism at all.

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    1. tildeb

      No, I don;t have any such problem. I make no claim about the beginning of the universe, so I can safely say, “I don’t know” and leave it at that. There is no burden of proof I assume.

      In stark contrast, your projections about ‘nothing’ and then ‘something’ means you are making a claim and then justifying it with your belief in POOF!ism. The problem isn’t in the POOF!ing hypothesis; the problem is that evidence for it comes only from your belief and not the reality it purports to describe. That makes your claim full of your belief but empty of knowledge value. The problem you have that I do not share is that you present this hypothesis as if it were based as if based in knowledge. It isn’t; it is based on your belief. Therefore it is a misrepresentation of what is true. My “I don’t know” is not equivalent.

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  24. madblog Post author

    The problem of the origin of matter does not go away even though you choose to ignore it. Everything came from somewhere at some time. Explain if you will how anything comes to exist.
    You do have to encounter it at some point. It is intellectually dishonest to demand that I prove something which you refuse to even think about.

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. tildeb

      I’m not ignoring anything; I’m just not claiming to know about origins (because we have no evidence of anything beyond the singularity of the Big Bang). There is a difference between not knowing due to a lack of knowledge and thinking one does know… but still without any knowledge. Rather an important difference, I think.

      You state that everything came from somewhere at some point… yet state that your god is exempt from exactly this. How convenient for you! And then you use this god to ‘explain’ how everything came from it.

      It’s amazing to me that you don’t recognize the problem with the reasoning you’re using here.

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      1. madblog Post author

        David, internal consistency is there, or you’re just smarter and more sophisticated than millions of people including many of the greatest minds ever known throughout the last few thousand years. I guess that’s what you mean?

        The internal consistency has been explained by me and by 153 several times. But like the answers you asked for to other questions, you dismissed the answers when they weren’t what you liked. God is not a rule book, he is a person with whom we have relationship, or with whom we refuse a relationship.

        If we refuse the FREE GIFT of eternal life, we don’t receive eternal life. Because we don’t want it. I don’t know how much simpler it can be said.

        That is not God sending us to hell, that’s us demanding to go there. A relationship willingly entered into with God = living in God’s presence, heaven. Refusing a relationship with God = not being in a relationship with God, hell. All our choice.

        Everyone knows what they know about God. If they respond favorably toward the “amount” of God they know, they are counted as righteous by God. If they respond to little or much information about God, by refusing Him, they leave Him with no choice but to be separated from Him. Because he made us with free will whether we want that free will or not.

        I do not waste time in “dancing.” I have been very straightforward with you in very plain language. The answer doesn’t suffice because you are setting very rigid parameters for the terms…the only way you will see (voluntary) separation from God is “eternal torture”.
        It may be a fine distinction here, but hell isn’t the punishment God sends us to as a result of refusing His love; refusing His love IS hell …painful separation from God IS the “torture”. Some think that the descriptions of hell are metaphorical…the real torture is self-imposed banishment from God’s presence.

        I have been amazed at how many times I’ve been told by you and tildeb that I don’t know something. It’s you who are claiming special revelation from some apparently supernatural source. How do you know what I know?
        Both your arguments depend partially on refuting my self-reports, which is a logical fallacy. I have not been so presumptuous as to tell you what you do or do not know.

        You are both offended by my knowing something. But that is because your belief system requires that those things are unknowable. What if they are not unknowable?

        A human construct…later.

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      2. David

        “David, internal consistency is there, or you’re just smarter and more sophisticated than millions of people including many of the greatest minds ever known throughout the last few thousand years. I guess that’s what you mean?”

        You have to be willing to accept the possibility of inconsistency before you can see inconsistencies. I’m hardly alone is seeing inconsistencies. Anyone who is Jewish sees the inconsistencies in Christian theology. So I’m hardly claiming to be smarter and more sophisticated then millions of people.

        “But like the answers you asked for to other questions, you dismissed the answers when they weren’t what you liked.”

        I didn’t dismiss anything. I incorporated your answers into my question, but I didn’t actually get answers to my questions. If there are no inconsistencies, then my specific questions could have been answered.

        “If we refuse the FREE GIFT of eternal life, we don’t receive eternal life. Because we don’t want it. I don’t know how much simpler it can be said.”

        Who doesn’t want eternal bliss? Problem is, it almost certainly doesn’t exist.

        “That is not God sending us to hell, that’s us demanding to go there.”

        Right. People demand to be tortured for all eternity. This makes no sense whatsoever. None.

        “Refusing a relationship with God = not being in a relationship with God, hell.”

        According to the Bible, Hell is a little bit more than just “not being in a relationship with God.” But maybe no one can really tell what the Bible is saying about Hell.

        “All our choice.”

        And, again, why give us a choice when the consequences of a wrong choice are so horrifying? We would never do this to our own children. In the context of Heaven and Hell, giving people a choice is sadistic.

        “Everyone knows what they know about God. If they respond favorably toward the “amount” of God they know, they are counted as righteous by God.”

        So, then you do not have to know about Jesus to get into heaven, correct? The big plan of dying on the cross for our salvation really isn’t needed. We just need to respond favorably to the amount of God that we know. And that’ll do.

        “Some think that the descriptions of hell are metaphorical…the real torture is self-imposed banishment from God’s presence.”

        So, now you’re saying that no one really knows what hell is. What is Hell? Who knows? People read the same text and come up with different answers. Great. Very helpful.

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        1. madblog Post author

          You are wasting your own time and I have been away from real life too much for the last few days. You are set like a flint to never ever consider the answers you ask for. Ah well.

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        2. David

          Well, I would say that we appear to be going around in circles, and I, too, must return to real life. However, I did consider your answers. I try to be very specific and direct in my responses to your answers.

          It should be clear from the set of questions I presented about whether or not one needed specifically to know of Jesus in order to get into Heaven that I considered your answers. To me, It appears that some verses say yes and others say no. I’m not being “set like flint.” It really does appear the that NT writers are conflicted on this point. It just does.

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        3. David

          Sorry, one last point.

          At the end of the conversation, has your point of view changed? Do I say that you are “set like flint.”

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        4. madblog Post author

          It is I who posited the thoughts (my post) in the first place, with which you came to argue. It is you who came to my place and asked the questions. Was I supposed to be in the position to change my views?

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        5. David

          “Was I supposed to be in the position to change my views?”

          I didn’t say that you were supposed to change your views. What I’m saying is this.

          I found your arguments unconvincing, but you, in turn, also found my arguments unconvincing. I didn’t change much, but neither did you. So, if I’m “set in flint,” then the same could be said of you. Goose, gander.

          Regardless, in the end, I do have a better understanding of your position.

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  25. madblog Post author

    tildeb: Duh. Yes, the definition of God does sort of require that he be more than the guy down the street. By definition he is exempt from the restrictions of that which he created.

    Have we been talking about God or somebody else all this time?

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    1. tildeb

      By what definition is god exempt from your claim that everything came from somewhere at some point? Either ‘everything’ is everything – including your god – or your special version of ‘everything’ isn’t really everything, in which case your claim doesn’t mean what you think it means because the term ‘everything’ has been arbitrarily changed by you..

      Liked by 1 person

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  26. Arkenaten

    Once more, David and Tildeb have asked specific questions; questions that all atheists have and so often present and yet, as always, they are offered nothing but scripture and non- answers that simply do not address any question in a direct an honest fashion.

    For the Christian,( especially on this thread) it all boils down to this:

    God did it.
    It’s in the bible and this is God’s word.
    No, I cannot explain and no, I do not properly understand it, but I accept it even if it all seems like malarkey and nonsensical to the point that I would not give the time of day to anything else did it not come with a ‘God’ label attached. This is part of the nature of human weakness and ignorance and occurred due to The Fall.
    Yes, to tell the truth I can see the reasoning behind both David’s and Tildeb’s points but to follow this line of reasoning would cause cognitive dissonance and this is why I remain firmly within the bounds of my religion, defer to Apologetics and qualified theologians who can confirm I am a sinner and direct me to the relevant biblical text to demonstrate this fact and providing I accept it as God’s word, I will not have to concern myself with such questions.
    For me as a fully fledged evangelical born again Christian, Jesus is God and if others do not believe this and all of the above they will, sadly, be going to Hell. This is unfortunate but this is the way it is, simply because it is in the bible. Amen.”

    Except of course, that it isn’t …

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