I often want to ask Christians (or any theists for that matter) whether they believe things are right and wrong inherently, or because they are commanded by God. Why does that matter? Well, if the former is true then we can figure out what is right and wrong and decide what is best without relying on God. If the latter is true, we must rely on God to help us figure it out -- and that is extremely problematic with Christianity. Here's why:
First, let's look at some of the key properties of God, according to the bible:
1. God exists.
2. God communicates with some humans at certain points in time, in different forms such as a burning bush (Exo 3:1) or an angel (Judge 6:11).
3. God has asked specific people to break the primary rules he provided man (Exo 20 and Deu 5), like telling Abraham to kill his own son (Gen 22:2) and giving Moses authority to command the Levites to murder thousands of their brothers friends and neighbors (Exo 32:26-29).
But Satan has very similar attributes:
1. Satan also exists. (Rev 12:9)
2. Satan can also communicate with some humans at certain points in time, in different forms such as a snake (Gen 3:4) or an angel (Corin 11:14).
3. Satan has also asked men to break God's rules (Gen 3). He's also quite tricky and can tempt even the most righteous (Matt 4:1).
So how would a Christian be able to tell the difference between God and Satan? Couldn't Satan come to a righteous Christian and claim to be an angel (which he is, according to many interpretations of the Bible) in order to make that person do something horrible, such as commanding the rape of women and murder of infants? And why would that Christian believe that such a thing was actually terrible, since it has been condoned by God (e.g. Isaiah 13:16)?
Ok, I'm confused. What are you talking about?
Really? You stated in earlier posts that sin is because of the eating the fruit and A & E knew better, Now it's Satan's fault.You stated less than an hour ago that A & E knew what they were doing.
Interesting part is if you read the myth there is nothing saying that the talking snake was Satan.
Do you read the bible or just repeat the dogma and apologetics.
I just understood. Sorry. And I see that I kind of talked incoherently there.
It is through our free will that we incur in sin. Nevertheless, it's through the tempter, Satan, that many of our choices are steeped in struggle.
That is why there is no reason to be grateful for his actions. You see, while it was verily the fault of our first parents and their sin, it was through Satan that the opportunity came.
Nevertheless, the rule is that no creature shall be confirmed to glory lest through merit.
Thus, the struggle is what makes the decision meritorious or worthy of judgment - which is won by our free will and our cooperation with grace.
And yes, it is true that in Genesis there is not connection of the serpent with Satan.
Nevertheless, if you go to Revelation/Apocalypse, you will see that John refers to Satan as "the ancient serpent".
"And that great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, who seduces the whole world. And he was cast unto the earth: and his angels were thrown down with him." [Revelation 12:9]
I may be saying dogma, but dogma is based through the Bible - either explicitly or implicitly.
Ok, I might have not been as explanatory as I wanted too, but yeah. Tell me if I didn't make sense again in some part or another.
So if your best friend told you that a restaurant they ate at gave them food poisoning , and then a total stranger told you that they got food poisoning from a restaurant they just ate at , would it be logical to assume it's the same restaurant?
Then why assume it's the same serpent?
"It is through our free will that we incur in sin. Nevertheless, it's through the tempter, Satan, that many of our choices are steeped in struggle.:
Oh. So there isn't Free Will in Heaven? I didn't realize that.
"That is why there is no reason to be grateful for his actions. You see, while it was verily the fault of our first parents and their sin, it was through Satan that the opportunity came."
Look above. The story had no mention of Satan. If you are intellectually honest , you should not make this argument ever again in your life and just say you don't know. You can't answer the question because the information is limited or not available to you. Will you be intellectually honest?
""And that great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, who seduces the whole world. And he was cast unto the earth: and his angels were thrown down with him." [Revelation 12:9"
Would a dragon fit in an apple orchard? Didn't God command the serpent to crawl on it's belly for the rest of it's life? Crawling serpents are called snakes. Snakes are not dragons. The fact the word 'dragon' is mentioned in the bible is reason enough to dismiss it as NOT the word of some all knowing universe creator if it can't keep out unfactual information from it's own book.
"Ok, I might have not been as explanatory as I wanted too, but yeah. Tell me if I didn't make sense again in some part or another"
You didn't make sense in some part or another.
Dustin... do you actually think that any Catholic following dogma and their beliefs actually thinks a dragon... with I don't remember how many heads and toes... is going to destroy the world... literally? Like, pardon the expression, I don't mean to make fun here... a Charizard (Pokemon) of the sort?
The Book of Revelation is full of what we call apocalyptic language. It is full of symbolism and metaphors.
Symbolism and metaphors are not a literal expressions but expressions of what I would say, though I think the definition might be a bit restricted, an expression of more abstract, complicated, and/or spiritual truths.
Take the bible passage of Jesus and Nicodemus.
And there was a man of the Pharises, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. Jesus answered and said to him: Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus said to him: How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born again? Jesus answered: Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
If I have spoken to you earthly things, and you believe not: how will you believe, if I shall speak to you heavenly things? [John 3: 1, 3-5, 12]
Jesus is talking about baptism in here. While trying to explain it, however, he uses physical explanations to describe what is purely spiritual.
To bring this to a close, John was a Jew. He was speaking of Christian truths and the fulfillment of the Jewish Law through Christ.
This isn't a simple case of poison where I believe someone must have been poisoned by "x" because another person was poisoned by "x" as well, where there are many variables such as the numberless poisons and various contexts in which a person could have gotten poisoned.
When John is speaking in Revelation, a Christian Jew, about religious truths which can be found through the Word of God in the Old and New Testament...
To me, since:
1. He's speaking in a religious context (particularly, the Judeo-Christian context)
2. He is speaking of ancient terms and
3. There is only one serpent that can be considered ancient in the cannon of Judeo-Christian scriptures that...
4. Has basically the same function as the dragon in the Apocalypse
I can only surmise that John is saying that the same "enemy" that caused the downfall of humans from it's original state of endless joy in earthly Paradise is the same that tries to prevent current people from attaining the most perfect joy in a Heavenly paradise.
Honestly, it seems to me that you think that all of the boundless and infinite knowledge of God would be poured over so simply.
We make metaphors to explain complicated things to children and other people in general.
Why would it be surprising, then, to believe that certain truths WILL be shown in the form of symbols?
This isn't even a question of belief. This is a simple question of, assuming there is a God with infinite knowledge and wisdom incomprehensible (regardless of whether you believe or not), if we use symbols and metaphors for even our own children to explain things out of their grasp, why not He?
So Revelation is mostly symbolic? How does one determine which books or verses are symbolic and which are literal? Is it similar to the elusive 'discernment of spirit'?
You think it's silly to believe that there are Christians who take the entirety of the Bible literally? I'm glad to hear that you don't, but there are millions of Christians who believe that the universe was literally created in a week and that there were two people from which all of humanity descended (never mind that those two stories have different time-lines). There are a good number of mainstream politicians in the US who think that evolution is false because it contradicts a literal interpretation of the Christian creation myth. The Catholic church refused to acknowledge a heliocentric solar system because it was contrary to literal interpretation of the Bible.
I suspect you take a good many parts of the Bible literally, but I'd also be willing to bet that you can't quickly and easily articulate which parts. Most of the Gospels, outside the parables? Jesus was definitely born of the virgin Mary, right? Did Satan really exist and tempt Jesus? Did God really create Eve out of the rib of Adam? Did God really appear to Moses in a burning bush? Did God actually wipe out most life on earth during the flood and instruct Noah to take everything else on his ark?
The idea that some of the Bible is figurative and some is literal just illustrates my original point: that nobody can truly and objectively know which parts of Christianity are most important, which parts should be followed strictly and which are simply a symbolic representation of a complex moral compass.
Revelation is an apocalypse, it's a genre in literature much like science fiction is a genre in literature today. It's fantasy, was meant as fantasy, and understood by contemporaries as fantasy. If they had movies back then, Revelation would be something like 2012 or Deep Impact: leaving much to be desired for their respective audiences.
Again based on your original sin understanding A & E had no text so they had no symbols and metaphors to understand good and evil, yet this loving god gave us original sin and then later said that sins of the father do not pass to the son.
The bast case explanation is god must be Bi-polar.
I think the boundless and infinite knowledge of God would at LEAST be better than the Old Testament.
Raping young virgins , endorsing slavery , endorsing genocide (Oh wait , that's only when the Israelites are being supported by Yahweh!) , ordering infanticide , making hundreds of arbitrary and mundane rules , many of which are punishable by death , stoning in some cases.
The abuse and absolute disgusting level of which the O.T. treats women ... animals ... children ... men who are not from the same belief system ... and men from the same belief system who didn't for some reason follow one or another arbitrary law and got punished for it.
I will stop here as others have already replied to the rest of your comment and you have some work to do to reply to everyone else already ;)
By the way, I didn't understand the "no free will in Heaven" argument.
The idea is this:
If evil is necessary for free will and evil doesn't exist in heaven, then there is no free will in heaven.
Just out of curiosity, if the talking snake in Genesis was Satan as you stated, why does after God condemning him to crawl on his belly and eat dust for as long as he lives (Gen 3:14) that yet the very first time he appears after that he has legs in Job (1:7) admittedly often depicted as rather clumsy looking ones, but functional, seems rather healthy and muscular even for someone with a diet of exclusively dust? Reportedly he can fly too.