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.

Tags: Pascal's, Wager, adam, and, creation, eve, flood, heaven, hell, inerrancy, More…the

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Ah yes - I misread you there.  His allegation isn't far off, however.  Individually, Christians may not fabricate their god-concept to perfect personal tailoring - but then again they typically aren't individual thinkers either.  That's where the various sects of the cult come into play.  The cult leaders create enough variety of Christianity such that devotees can always find a palatable dispensary when their lifestyle requires a change in dogma.

Had a sudden change in fortune?  That well-to-do conservative sermon sort of stings now?  That's ok, pop over to the "Jesus-loves-the-poor" dogmacicle stand for a refreshing treat.  It really does reveal how untruth is so predominantly woven into god-belief.

The existence of a theistic god is not determined by anything at this moment, at the most you could postulate a deist kind of god with which you might get away with. 

A theistic deity has properties, those properties have to be determined in one way or the other. Different theists do this in different way, some operate from the assumption that god communicates with people, some of those then continue to make the assumption that he uses prophets, and books and that some of the teachings in that book are symbolic, and that others are "essential" and others "peripheral", these are all baseless assumptions. The jump from a deistic god to a theistic deity is not properly explained for. 

All the properties of a theistic deity are pulled directly from the theist imagination, hence my comment that there are as many interpretations as there are Christians. They all draw their inspiration or "knowledge" from their own mind, yet by compartmentalizing they have convinced themselves that it's a "different" mind than their own. 

"The existence of god is not determined via psychology."

No it is not, The existence of god is indeterminable by definitions given by the believers so it seems. Though the belief in in god is in fact determined via psychology..

It is a misconception that a conversation between Eve and the Snake took place. That is because snakes do not have ears. Therefore the snake could not have heard this:


The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” Genesis 3:2.


I suppose the snake may have had ears back then and has evolved them away but that is unlikely. What is the apologetic view of this? I mean what is the point in having a snake talk if it has no ears? I think we should be told. The whole story of human civilisation is at stake here.

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).

I can understand that, but the passage just says snake in Hebrew, and in other surrounding mythology the snake was an actual snake and crafty.  As for an example, the snake that stole a chance for immortality from Gilgamesh.

I think the fairer thing to say is that Christian have no choice other than to accept that the snake was just a form.  If we took this story and didn't have a bible to eisegete some outside context into it, it primarily looks like an ancient etiology.  The snake seems like a real snake.  The curse is that the snake won't have legs.  

It seems most probable that this story is trying to say how a snake lost it's legs and how women suffer pain in childbirth and how men and women aren't equal.

But, I can see how you can see the snake as a demonic creature, and it is taking on a form.  But I feel you not only need to say "it wasn't a snake" you need to repudiate the belief completely that it is to be interpreted as a real snake and say "The Christians who say it is a snake are wrong, because it can't be a snake."

Crap, I just realized what the literalist would say: The snake lost it's ears when it lost it's legs. lol.  

Seeing as this serpent's intelligence (or at least knowledge) seems to have surpassed our own at the time, I think it's logical to assume that its species has simply remained hidden and is secretly controlling the world from behind the scenes.  Somewhere out there are snakes with ears who are rigging the next American Idol winner.

Lol! In all honesty though I don't know of any literalist who doesn't take the snake as Satan.  I ought to admit that.  But there are ultra-literalists.

I don't actually know any literalists, to be honest.  One doesn't get to interact with them too frequently in these parts.  Sometimes I check out AiG for a laugh, but I don't want to saddle any believers with that crap until they demonstrate they agree with it.  Innocent until proven silly.  

Lol, I once had a Church of Christ pastor's wife tell me that she believed in transubstantiation even though it was Catholic because the text literally said "this is my body"

So Catholics are in essensce ..uh..cannibals? :)

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