I’d like to burn some very typical straw men. Hopefully, in the debate over Christianity, these unnecessary issues can be avoided.
Creation - Neither Genesis nor any of the scriptures demands that the earth and universe is only 6- to 10- thousand years old. The Hebrew word for “day” (yom) could mean long periods of time. The words “there was morning and there was evening, the first day” could be translated “there was beginning and ending, the first (yom)”.
(BTW, the narrative moves to the surface of the earth in Genesis 1:2. While stars were certainly already in existence, their light was not visible on the surface of the earth until the opaque early atmosphere cleared).
Adam and Eve – While scripture does indicate they were specially created, there are gaps in the biblical genealogies that could place Adam and Eve back 60- to 90-thousand years. This would also predict increasing discovery of a common DNA originating between east Africa and the Mesopotamia.
(BTW, the word for “rib” means “side”. The story of Eve’s creation could mean God created her from Adam for symbolic purposes. I speculate a biopsy, of sorts, from the side, with a few million variations to the DNA producing a female. )
Talking Snakes - A boa constrictor with vocal cords is not in view here. That image comes largely from medieval art. The “serpent” in the garden was intelligent and used for evil. One can only speculate what sort of being it was (perhaps one no longer extant).
The Flood – The fact that a great flood is found in various cultures indicates that it happened. Two questions emerge: which account is most accurate and whether the flood was global or local.
I’m of the opinion that the flood was regional rather than global for several reasons. First, while the flood was universal in effect, it was only regional in extent due to human’s not having moved much beyond the Mesopotamia at the time. A global flood was unnecessary.
Secondly, language like “under all the heavens”, “all the earth”, etc. are most likely from the perspective of the observer, i.e. a flood from horizon to horizon. “Mountains” could be translated “hills” with rain and water “covering” (or running over) them rather than submerging them.
Thirdly, this would mean there were not polar bears and penguins, etc. on the ark, but only animals indigenous to the region and of special relation to man.
Fourthly, a global flood would have torn the ark to pieces, no matter how well built. And it certainly would not have landed anywhere near its original location.
Fifthly, the scripture itself said a “large wind” was used in the evaporation process. Such a wind would have virtually no effect in a global flood.
Finally, if the flood were only regional why not just have Noah, his family, and whatever animals needed, hike out of the area and be safe? Why a big specifically-built ark? I think because God often operates via symbols teaching important truths or significance, i.e. salvation in Christ or deliverance through troubled waters (trials).
Use of Metaphor – The scriptures use metaphor and other literary devices. One need only utilize common exegetical analysis and context to determine what any author meant as literal or metaphorical (and on a case-by-case basis).
Inerrancy – If there are consequential or factual errors in the Bible that does not mean Christianity is false. However, I find it remarkable how well the Bible holds up to scrutiny and that there are plausible answers to discrepancies. Personally, I hold to the Chicago Statement on Inerrancy.
Hell – is not a place of torture (external) but of torment (internal). There are many descriptions of hell in the scriptures. The “fire” is most likely not the chemical combustion we’re familiar with. It, combined with all the other descriptions, reduces to separation from God and the judgment of God.
This does not make hell more tolerable (that’s not possible). But it does dispel hillbilly theology that has poor souls swatting flames for eternity! Christ depicted conversation taking place “in the flames”. No person could have a conversation while on fire! On our familiar planet, one is in mindless torture if burning.
It is, however, a profound tragedy to be eternally separated from God. It is a “spiritual chaos” one enters when the intact “self” survives the physical body. There are indications that some kind of body could exist in hell.
Heaven – is a remarkably physical place. It is not ethereal or immaterial. It is a combination of a “new heaven and new earth”. We will live on earth in physical bodies that are “spiritual” which nonetheless have access to one another and continued exploration of the universe without many of the limits of current bodies affected by entropy, etc. Christ’s resurrected body could be touched and he ate food, etc. This describes the redeemed, resurrected body.
This is not to be confused with an intermediary state which is not physical. At death, one goes either into the very presence of God to await the resurrection of the body, or in a state of chaos to await final judgment.
“God will not allow anything to happen in your life that you can’t handle” – False! Scripturally, there are plenty of things that happen that one cannot handle! Devastating things! The accurate teaching is that nothing will happen that God’s grace will not get one through.
“You must become like children” - Christ said to “humble yourself like a little child”. It does not mean to be naïve, ignorant, gullible, or irrational.
Pascal’s Wager – This is not an argument for God nor necessarily addressed to atheists. Pascal used a popular gambling motif to shake the French laity out of spiritual complacency and to at least move them in the direction of God.
Further, the Wager, as it is commonly used, is not allowed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15. He said if Christ was not risen, then the jig is up! Christianity is false! He did not say believe it anyway “just in case” or because it provides a positive way of life.
I hope these internal considerations provide food for thought.
Relating to: "Gnostics intentionally make their writings encoded so that they can't be understood. Their hope is that "sacred knowledge" will reveal the true meaning to those in tune with it."
This is partially a true understanding. However, the inclusion of manipulation is not true and is describing something familiar in your circumstance. There is an area of life that understands syntax and written communication within what is circumlocutio or organized phraseology that allows another area of life to adapt it into what is their verbal pathway without "controlling" for how someone understands about their interest. There is something about your dependency on human beings who have "investigated" parts of something provided to do so and say incomplete about it from certain "party platforms" that you will ultimately come together around. It is not what you are interested with and it leaves you going in circles that stop back and forth in confusion.
In this area website, you understand to write what you can say to yourself and say outloud and that is coming from an area that has not understood your interest complete believing they have taught you something that you will somehow use to benefit them in some way at some occasion. I write what is known complete that another area of life understands to what is verbal communication according to their activity place. It is possible for some of you to participate there saying verbally about what you know compete, but life that is participating there does not go on websites.
The closest current understanding you can have about me since that is how some of you are preoccupied (which is also not continuable) is to relate me to an hermit at an open shell or to a pearl with the later being a better whole image. This means an existence who writes purely at a setting that is a peaceful domain (absent divided religious understandings). Understanding existences like me correctly without the inclusion of abuse or what I understand to call written terrorism is good for you. Written and verbal terrorism (telling and giving someone something that is not interesting to them that you are not believing is being giving to you and that you can not continue to understand to be providing) is not supported to continue and it is not attractive to see. Understanding yourself to someone that is understanding complete and continuously aware to God's united interest will only relax you into more negative energy. This means that at your non peaceful activity place you will say and do more that is not "bright" or dark until you can understand to go over to what is interesting to you that you can see directly and be provided to know about complete within emotion that is supremely celebratory. For those that understand to abuse and say what is verbal terror you can know that what is truly interesting to you will always relate in a way that you will come to understand with the area of activity life you understood yourself against once you know about yourself, other life around you and God as God is always known.
If you are too hot! You can understand how to cool dOwn. There is a reason you think and write and say what you are not sure about and do not love to say and the reason is able to be sitting down in your environment right now.
RE: "The closest current understanding you can have about me since that is how some of you are preoccupied (which is also not continuable) is to relate me to an hermit at an open shell or to a pearl with the later being a better whole image."
Actually, I was thinking more along the lines of a decaying cabbage, than "a hermit in an open shell" or "a pearl" - possibly you have an over-inflated opinion of yourself --
I honestly try to wade through your word salad until I come across the term, god, at which time, I simply delete the post.
Arch of the High City as Always,
It is interesting that you understand to you the word cabbage. I have some purple cabbage now soaking in a brine of water. Do you know what happens when you sit cabbage up understanding complete with water and you turn it when it is interesting to do so. You can look into all the ways "cabbage" is able to be understood across places of activity as well as things that sound like cabbage because you have an interest here that you can use yourself within in a way that is added to.
You can also look into all the ways that EGO is able to be understood and things that rhythm with it. Again you have an interest here. I am a very small human being understanding a continuously aware conduction of whole light (e) and I go around with what I can continue to (go). You can come to know what that means through experience only.
Selma is it? Get off the bus and get to the back of the bus can be said in a lot of non appreciating ways and you can understand that from the internet. What rhythms with Selma and what relates to Selma's opposite that is continuable for you. It is Parks I love with a Rosa or two together.
You can understand decay completely however you can never experience it. Thank ALL for that. "God" is a name that we will not continue to say and it is only around temporarily in the area where life is misunderstanding how they are provided to preoccupied and dependent on humans for fragments of knowledge called "information" and "gifts" given within missions and agendas according to misunderstood interests.
A "word salad" are words that are not able to be had provided together relating to a current interest that can be seen directly occurring at an area of psychiatry where psychiatry life will use itself to understand something necessary about how to relate their observable interests together. Unless you are understanding with psychiatry directly now, in some manner, which is true in some area of your existence, you will not understand about a word salad completely and might consider having a good salad - cabbage is good with a nice whole herb vineagreat.
Fluid is good for you...have more and don't hold your urine.
RE: "Do you know what happens when you sit cabbage up understanding complete with water and you turn it when it is interesting to do so."
There are just SO many more important things to understand than cabbage, or for that matter, Mr. Hatter, than sailing ships and kings.
Apparently you're sufficiently coherent as to be able to do a little research on me, and have actually come up with some valid information, which means you're not entirely the idiot you appear to be.
But HERE's the real crux - "You can also look into all the ways that EGO is able to be understood" - the ego is yours, and you gratify it by seeking attention. When we stop, so will you.
Oh, and by the way, my friends call me Arch - YOU may call me Mr. Opteryx --
Opteryx: There a lot of ways to understand it. Some interesting, some necessary and some useless trash.
#1: "Seeing things (OPT) right away (ER) together (yx)". That is nice.
"See disaster circumstances when you go to the cross". Less interesting, but true.
"Get out of the cross hair immediately." This one is useless within what can be continued except for causing you to do something different immediately.
You can sit around and see how you understand yourself within these and know that they are provided to you according to where you are at activity.
You seem to have omitted the "Mr."
Archaeopteryx: A hi flying successful business person seeing life together while knowing complete about that sight immediately.
You are correct. Together with cabbage there are more things to understand (pick up and arrange together) until what you know about your interests are complete. You can see a cabbage as your nervous system either doing what it can always do or doing something different. From the word cabbage there are two other words: Cab (relate it to movement) and Age (either a youthful experience or one that is understanding from social security). Movement and ages are interesting to you, but not when infused with liquid hydrogen moving around like busk shot. Where is liquid hydrogen doing that in your body as well as in your environment. It is caused to behave this way when there is something else you need to go over and see that can be added to within an experience that is appreciation.
You can understand cabbage together with what you are writing about ships and kings and together with this understand what some have referred to as the Christhead and others as the female process place of God or the female presence of God.
You are not stupid or lazy and high school as well as many parents who get on a computer and cell phone are doing and saying something in the "cooking up" process place purposeful for moving life relating to them to a shared higher consciousness.
Relating to: "the ego is yours, and you gratify it by seeking attention." This is God causing your circumstances to receive this communication and it is describing God perfectly. This is what God causes again and again uniting life to this as a sharing experience. Some have used the word glory, hallelujah and always celebration to describe the experience of God as this Entity is always known. (Relating to the word "God", descriptions are better that labels as you know. Here is the description: Everyone and everything that has ever been and will ever be caused manifest able to be seen known about complete as well as understood where that is necessary.)
Relating to: "Stop". There is no such thing as an end to consciousnesses or to activity only movement of consciousness to unite with places of activity life that is either over and "down" to doing different locations (quantums having strings, M theories and P branes) with more negative energy or up to whole united positions (united area).
It is not necessary for me to be at a "physical computer" in the way you understand yourself to be in order for this to be seen by you and the life that relate to you existing at various location marks of what is the doing different universe and there is some life that relates to you that is positioned already at unity. This is true about activity and consciousness. You can know about it when you are seeing what is interesting to you conducted to appreciated movement as an awareness within the causation of united interest span over to activity that is either appreciating or necessary in the area of separation for repositioning. You are moved over to activity according to the causation of your existence to understand and translate an eternal communication that is understandable completely to the life that is consciousness. Activity such as the one you are seeing now is not always caused to me to have to participate in with full awareness. I can be gardening or boating and this can be generated when it is able to be used by an area of your separated circumstances. If there is something I will be caused to write that is a new and related understanding I will be doing the activity in what is full awareness. It is interesting to know about and there are two areas of united life that relate this way.
There is nothing else to tell you about now. Find out how to do something interesting.
A wet bird never flies at night --
OMG! I just realized who you remind me of -- Dr Bronner! (Before he died and the kids took the best crazy stuff off his soap!) All One!
Me or the Wholly Whacko?
Hmmm. Well, here's a sampling - I'll let you decide if it matches your prose or Wholey's:
By the way - it's the best soap. And it seems the kids running the joint have returned to full on plastering the good doctor's ramblings on the packaging after all.