Author Topic: On the Bible and Punishment  (Read 3662 times)

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deances

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Re: On the Bible and Punishment
« Reply #75 on: January 07, 2012, 01:44:01 AM »
I understand your point, Molly. Let's look at it this way, then:

Statement 1:  God exists.

Statement 2:  The Bible exists.

Question: Is it important to you that God exists?  Is it important to you that the Bible exists?

CHB states a clear personal correlation between the Bible and the belief in God.

I also understand, respect, and appreciate, the concept of faith, because that is where premises begin.  For example, if someone were to say to me:  "How do you know that God is not inherently evil, and this whole business about being all-loving and all-forgiving is just a scam, so that one day He'll reveal to us that He will torment us forever, just to see the looks on our faces as our hope completely shatters!" 

My response would be:  because I begin everything with the PREMISE that good is superior to evil, and therefore, if God is the Supreme Being, he cannot POSSIBLY be evil.

It seems many of you in here hold the same PREMISE about the Bible being God's word.  What makes you have that premise?  The fact that the Bible is God's word, is spoken by many, and where is that written?  In the Bible. In other words, it is self-authenticating.

My question, then, is:  what causes you to believe that the Bible is God's word - other than the self-authentication that is found in the Bible itself?

Also, please note: I do not have a goal to convince anyone that the Bible ISN'T God's word.  As I stated in my initial post, I believe that: maybe some, or all, of it is not God's word, and may some, or all, of it is God's word - and the passages I find illogical perhaps I'm not understanding their true meaning, whether it be an inaccurate translation or an intended puzzle put there by God so we can think more deeply about the answer.


Offline Molly

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Re: On the Bible and Punishment
« Reply #76 on: January 07, 2012, 02:20:24 AM »
ok.  Is it important to me that God exists?  Yes.
      Is it important to me that the Bible exists?  Yes.


What causes you to believe the Bible is God's word?

I was very close to Jesus as a child.  Then lost everything when hormones hit.

A little later in my life I really needed help and didn't know where to find it.

So in desperation, i thought--the Bible!

I read Psalms all night long and the next day the message I was reading was confirmed in practice, and I was hooked.

After that, for quite a while, the Bible was confirming my daily experiences and vise versa.

I realized --this book is alive!

The next stage I went through was discovering that the Bible was written by one hand.

I started jumping all over the Old and New Testament seeing where one thing correlated to another.

There is no way this could have been written by 40 something authors over 2000 or so years.

It was very exciting.

Nowadays, it's like food to me.  I just need to eat it every day to live.

Oh, I should say, also, that since I come from a liberal, scientific background, I made a deal with God early on, that I would read the Bible literally, first, so I always do that when I read the Bible--read it as if it is the literal truth [much to the consternation of the more spiritual people on the board], but it has been greatly rewarding to me.

Anyway, that makes a long story short---not sure if that is the sort of answer you are looking for about the Bible, though.

deances

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Re: On the Bible and Punishment
« Reply #77 on: January 07, 2012, 03:07:20 AM »
That is a beautiful and inspiring story, Molly. 

Personally, I always find it peaceful and heartwarming to walk through a Christian bookstore, peruse the shelves, and also look at various wooden carvings that contain passages from the Bible.  One of my personal favorites - which I have hanging on my home office wall - is actually not a direct passage from the Bible, but a wonderful inspirational message nonetheless: 

Don't tell God how big your storm is, tell your storm how big your God is!

My conflict with the Bible came when I read it last year, slowly, from cover to cover. I just couldn't get past the thought of: well, everything is great if you follow the rules.  But what if you don't?  And it was not from a personal worry.  It was more like: if God is throwing a party in his penthouse apartment, I can't really have a very good time eating fine food and drinking fine wine, if I think he's got people shackled in the dark and dingy basement below.

That's what  I couldn't get past, despite all of the uplifting messages. 

Offline Beloved Servant

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Re: On the Bible and Punishment
« Reply #78 on: January 07, 2012, 03:15:43 AM »

...if I think he's got people shackled in the dark and dingy basement below.



Praise God that's untrue.






Offline Molly

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Re: On the Bible and Punishment
« Reply #79 on: January 07, 2012, 03:25:52 AM »
If you can't get past it, how do you think He feels,

who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 1 Tim 2:4

Ezekiel 18:23 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 18:32 For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!


But, I'm not really the one to talk about this, because I figure he will work it all out for the best.  I trust him to do that, coming from a family of atheists, only one believer per generation, who


1 Timothy 4:10 .... have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.


I just tell them, if you are ever in trouble, call out the name of Jesus.  Then I duck for cover.  They don't even want to hear that much.

deances

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Re: On the Bible and Punishment
« Reply #80 on: January 07, 2012, 03:35:17 AM »
There are countless examples in the Bible, however, when literally interpreted, that make no logical sense to me, such part of the law is (was) to stone someone to death for letting a ox and a donkey plow in the same field.


Offline Beloved Servant

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Re: On the Bible and Punishment
« Reply #81 on: January 07, 2012, 03:40:08 AM »


If you are not finding your answers by asking people you could try asking God.

deances

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Re: On the Bible and Punishment
« Reply #82 on: January 07, 2012, 05:16:29 AM »
I do ask God - every day, for both general and specific enlightenment.  Perhaps this is the path on which He is leading me - to ask and to discuss with my fellow human beings.


Offline Molly

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Re: On the Bible and Punishment
« Reply #83 on: January 07, 2012, 05:30:52 AM »
There are countless examples in the Bible, however, when literally interpreted, that make no logical sense to me, such part of the law is (was) to stone someone to death for letting a ox and a donkey plow in the same field.
 

Could I see the verse you are referring to?

deances

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Re: On the Bible and Punishment
« Reply #84 on: January 07, 2012, 06:19:45 AM »
There are tons of these examples.  I will look specifically for the ox and donkey one, but while searching for that one, here are a few I came across:

These are God's instructions to Moses, to "PUT TO DEATH" anyone who:

1. Curses his mother or father (Leviticus 20:9)
2. Man who commits adultery with another man's wife (Lev. 20:10 - both the man and the adulteress to be killed)
3. Man who sleeps with his father's wife or his daughter-in-law  (Lev. 20:11-2 - all parties concerned to be killed)
4. Male who sleeps with another male  (Lev. 20:13)
5. Man who marries a woman AND also her mother (Lev. 14 - all three to be killed, specifically by being burned by fire)

Wait, it gets better...

6. A man who sleeps with an animal (Lev. 20:15 - kill not only the man, but the animal, too!)
7. A woman who even APPROACHES an animal to have sex with it (Lev. 20:16 - kill the woman and the animal, too!)

These are just some of many.  I'll look for the ox and donkey one, the wool and linen one, and the one where no one can touch the skin of a dead pig.  Which means playing football is forbidden.   :grin:

Offline Molly

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Re: On the Bible and Punishment
« Reply #85 on: January 07, 2012, 06:26:06 AM »
These are Old Testament laws.

God was setting apart a holy people for himself.

So obviously he couldn't allow rampant depravity.

And, what's more, they had signed up for it, agreeing to keep his laws.

But these laws are not so unusual in any place other than Sodom and Gomorrah and modern day America [equivalence noted].

Kind of sounds like the Muslim countries today, doesn't it?

deances

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Re: On the Bible and Punishment
« Reply #86 on: January 07, 2012, 07:24:01 AM »
But does it make sense that the penalty for those acts would be death?  And what about the animals?

If some woman tried to seduce a Labrador retriever, and didn't even succeed, mind you, should the townsfolk put her to death?  And the dog, too?

And what about burning people by fire?  That would be cruel and unusual under our Constitution's Eighth Amendment.  Were the Founding Fathers less barbaric than God?

See why I'm having trouble following they literal interpretation?

Offline Molly

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Re: On the Bible and Punishment
« Reply #87 on: January 07, 2012, 07:40:59 AM »
Death makes sense to me, yes, in view of the need to completely wipe out the abomination from amongst a holy people.

It might make more sense spiritually to you--if you could completely wipe out the act and all memory of it and leave the person intact.

[God says in the New Covenant, he will remember their sins no more.]

Burning?  I'd have to see the scripture.

The Founders--we should kiss their feet for what they have done for us.  It took the evil ones some 235 years to remove the blessed protections the Founders placed around the American people.  Have they finally succeeded now with ndaa?

I don't really see where you are having trouble unless you are thinking in a very general way.

For instance, we wouldn't want to go around shooting adulterers in this day and age, but would we want to be married to them?

And, in fact, a lot of people do kill their cheating spouses because cheating is, as Eric Berne might say, a level three game, destined to end badly.

If we could remove such people from a close involvement with our lives, might that be prudent?

We have that choice now, but they didn't then.  They were living in each other's pockets in very close communities.

Don't forget, at that time, these Laws only applied to God's holy people.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2012, 07:45:28 AM by Molly »

deances

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Re: On the Bible and Punishment
« Reply #88 on: January 07, 2012, 08:05:24 AM »
Modern society kills people, too.  But death by lethal injection is considered comparatively more humane than other measures.

Consider this death threat:  "I...will do this to you: I will appoint over you a sudden terror, consumption, and fever that will waste away the eyes and cause the soul to pine away...I will increase the plague on you seven times according to your sins...I will let loose among you the beasts of the field, which will bereave you of your children and destroy your cattle...I will act with hostility against you and I...will strike you seven times for your sins...I will send pestilence upon you.

That's all God speaking, purportedly, from Leviticus 26: 14-25.

That verse about the burning, as I had mentioned before:  Leviticus 20:14

Here's the one about touching the skin of a dead pig  (modernly, a football): Lev. 11:8

I think all of these things really happened: disease, pestilence, inexplicable death, colossal earthy disasters.  And the people of those primitive times had no idea what caused those phenomena, so they attributed them to an "angry God."  Much like people many centuries ago thought thunder was "the angry shout of the gods."


Offline Molly

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Re: On the Bible and Punishment
« Reply #89 on: January 07, 2012, 09:01:36 AM »
well, I don't think you want to call these people primitive, Deances.  They were as smart as we are, maybe smarter [not degraded by flouride and aspartame  :winkgrin:].  Look at the level of their literature and then go visit a high school or college, and look for the same level.

The pig is an unclean animal to the Israelites--did you know that?  And, guess what?  Who would want to risk trichinosis in the sanitary conditions they had in the camps?  But, there are other reasons as well.  Touching a dead pig--imagine how dangerous that might be from a health point of view.  So there goes your football.

Here's the thing.  You are God and you are trying to create a holy people out of a people who are, shall we say, not so holy.   How would you do it?   If you make a list of the most depraved things you can think of [in the eyes of a holy God] and threaten them with death, do you think they would take you seriously and not do those things?  Whereas, if you just, say, fine them one sheep, they might play a little more loosely with the rules, don't you think?

They also had Judges, and trials, and the need for two or more witnesses.

The whole purpose of the law is to strengthen sin. 

For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power.
--1 Cpr 15


But, like Paul says, they are under a schoolmaster, the law, because they have not grown up into their inheritance yet.
   

Offline jabcat

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Re: On the Bible and Punishment
« Reply #90 on: January 07, 2012, 09:11:57 AM »
Thanks Molly for the excellent points about the scriptures, the Law, God's purposes as best we can understand them.  Those are all valid points of discussion.  Trying to understand those things is one thing. Outright textual criticism is another.  Discussion at TM is within the scriptures, not struggling over what parts are inspired and which are not - the exception being translational issues, including any  parts that have been shown to be spurrious re: transcription from the originals, etc. - a very small percentage -  not the huge amounts of scripture that's being called into question here.   

http://www.tentmaker.org/forum/rules_and_faq/moderatortm_expectations_regarding_the_scriptures_7383.msg84791.html#msg84791

Gary's main focus for TM Ministries is The Victorious Gospel of Jesus Christ, and anything that continually distracts from that is not furthering that purpose. 

Where to from here dear folks?   :bigGrin:
Neither should there be vulgar speech, foolish talk, or coarse jesting--all of which are out of character--but rather thanksgiving.  Eph. 5:4  **  Saved 1John 3.2, Eph. 2:8, John 1:12 - Being saved 2Cor. 4:16 2Peter 3:18 - Will be saved 1Peter 1:5 Romans 8:23

Offline Molly

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Re: On the Bible and Punishment
« Reply #91 on: January 07, 2012, 09:16:50 AM »
I was just getting warmed up.  :winkgrin:

I was thinking --Why would you want to strengthen sin [with more and harsher laws]?

Then I was thinking--Maybe so you could see it.

You can't see sin in a place like Sodom and Gomorrah.

But, you still feel its effects eventually.

ok, ok, I hear you lol.  I'm off.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2012, 09:19:53 AM by Molly »

deances

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Re: On the Bible and Punishment
« Reply #92 on: January 07, 2012, 09:32:44 AM »
Well, first of all, you all seem like a nice bunch of folks with a thought-provoking website that I think provides overall value to the continued intellectual evolution of humanity.  And I certainly do not intend to overstep any boundaries set forth in this website.  It's not my website, after all, and as a guest in someone's house, I follow the rules.

Forgive my naivete regarding the term "textual criticism."  I am truly not quite sure what you mean by discussion within the Scriptures as opposed to textual criticism.

The very first entry to this thread summarized my thinking, which is:  I agree with you that the Bible does not contain any concept of eternal  punishment or damnation, but that alone does not answer other questions about actual contents of the Bible that appear wholly inconsistent with an all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-loving Heavenly Father.  I even included the notion of looking at the Bible as a library - an anthology of the universe of thought at the time, some accurate, some not - rather than a constitution or a life manual.

Molly, if you look at my post closely, you will see that I referred to "primitive times" not "primitive people." In any case, the word "primitive" is synonymous with early civilization. It is not a derogatory word, and I certainly did not use it in that spirit.

You are right about the contaminated pork in Biblical times, and hence the need for laws.  Why, then, do modern-day folks follow those Old Testament laws regarding fasting, not eating meat and dairy products together, etc.  Granted, some Christians look upon the New Testament as a "new" covenant that "replaced" the old, but certainly not all do.  There are Christians who believe it is imperative to follow both Testaments, to have church services on Saturday (the Sabbath) as opposed to Sunday, etc.  So, even though the pork is no longer contaminated, a lot of those customs have remained.

As to your question about how I would do things differently, I certainly would not dare suggest that I would possibly have a better way than God.  But I see God portrayed in the Bible as the most powerful force in the universe, but not necessarily unequivocally dominating. Analogically, God is like the United States which, presumably, can defeat any other nation in war, but might have trouble if, say, every other nation in the world joined forces against the U.S., if someone developed a nuclear weapon more powerful than ours, etc.  But none of that compares to God.

God does not struggle with evil - God created evil and allows it to exist, for His reasons. For His lessons that he teaches us. He does not doubt. he does not get angry. He does not get sad.  He is God. He created the entire universe and can control every corner of it.

Getting back to this forum, the other thing I said very early on was that:

1. BECAUSE I cannot see a literal interpretation of the vast majority of Scripture as being logical, I conclude that;
2. EITHER some of the Bible's passages are flat-out incorrect;
3. OR, the Bible is 100% correct, but the literal interpretation is in correct. 

Regarding Statement 3, I have asked for your input because I believe that some of you on this forum are well-versed in responding.  And some already have - with very informative answers.     :grin:


Offline jabcat

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Re: On the Bible and Punishment
« Reply #93 on: January 07, 2012, 09:56:22 AM »
I don't want to jump the gun too much.  If there's something else worthwhile to explore that's fine.  Textual criticism would include making statements that indicate the scriptures are not inspired, God-breathed, that large portions of them are just man's point of view and opinions, when the scriptures themselves say otherwise.   That opinion is certainly between that person and God, once a responsible effort has been made to show what the scriptures actually say, share how God has personally dealt with an individual on it, and attempt to present sound doctrine.  So far I believe that's been done.

If there's anything further to be explored and learned without us getting into a vein of either continually casting doubt on the believability of the scriptures, or getting into a struggle over it (so far so good on that one  :bigGrin:), then that's great.  We're probably admittedly walking a fine line here - a line that's been blatantly obliterated at times in the past - so yes, I'll admit, I may have a little too much of a penetrating eye on these particular topics  :cool: (x-ray glasses).   Sorry, it's not always a clear or easy call.

See where this can go that's "true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable...things that are excellent and worthy of praise",  so we can "think on these things".   :dsunny:
Neither should there be vulgar speech, foolish talk, or coarse jesting--all of which are out of character--but rather thanksgiving.  Eph. 5:4  **  Saved 1John 3.2, Eph. 2:8, John 1:12 - Being saved 2Cor. 4:16 2Peter 3:18 - Will be saved 1Peter 1:5 Romans 8:23

Offline redhotmagma

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Re: On the Bible and Punishment
« Reply #94 on: January 07, 2012, 02:52:47 PM »
If we could continue with this line I'd like to.  These are questions I'd like to see some responses to.  I have a general feeling, and haven't been given any specific answers directly from Him.  I still operate within an inspired mindset, but its something I've been mulling lately.  I've started a word study on the food laws.  I'll share it when I get time to really dig in.

Right now I hang my hat on "these things were given for our example, on whom the ends of the age have come"

Offline Cardinal

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Re: On the Bible and Punishment
« Reply #95 on: January 07, 2012, 03:25:04 PM »
My answer is, it became very personal when I tried to wander away from it.  If one knows me very well, I don't often say "God told me";  for one reason, although I do believe we can hear His voice, I believe we also are vulnerable to hearing our own voice and attributing it to God.  However, in this case, it was very clear, direct, and came with strong conviction that put me on my knees.  I didn't have to guess or hope, God let me know. 

My thoughts simply are, Jesus became the revealed Word in flesh, but His doing so did not negate the logos, which scripture states is forever settled in the heavens.  In my understanding (and I've had some very intense dealings from God regarding His Word) there's the Word (thought/intent of God), the written Word, and Jesus the Word revealed and come in the flesh - not one or the other.   

IMO, there can be a misunderstanding between the written Word, the spoken Word, and the fact that Jesus revealed the Word in flesh.  As I've said, I don't believe one negates the other.

John 6:63 Jesus said "..the Words I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life".

John 1:1 Christ is the living Word of God.

Scripture is the written Word of God - John 14:23 JESUS (THE WORD) SAID, "if a man love me he will keep my Words"

Matthew 4:4 "It is written man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God".

John 15:3 Again, JESUS (THE WORD) SAID, "Now you are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you".


Shortly after God revealed UR to me, I was tempted to adopt what seemed to be a popular opinion on TM at the time, that Jesus ALONE was the Word, and that the written Word was suspect, unreliable, and not inspired.  God dealt with me swiftly, deeply, and painfully that I was to not go in that direction, and was to maintain a belief [and stance] that His written Word is just that - His Word.  Yes, Jesus is the Word -become flesh.  But God also has written Word and spoken/revealed Word.  They operate in tandem.  They don't exclude or diminish each other, and I don't believe I should either.

I later inquired (again) of God about this topic.  He immediately let me know He had already let me know.  I went to the written Word.  These scriptures are from perhaps the most literal English translation available, The Christian Bible (1991).

I John 2:7 The Law is called the Word that was heard
         2:8 Then again, I am writing a new Word to you that is true in Him.
           :14 I have written to you...and God's Word is staying in you

Mathew 13:18-22  Jesus talks about the Word about the Kingdom, in the parable of the sower - Vs. 22;  "Now the one among the thorns into which the seed was planted, this is the person who hears the Word, but the concerns of this age and enticement or riches stifle the Word, and it beomes unfruitful.


Mt. 15:3  "Why do you step beyond the boundaries of God's Direction because of your tradition?  ...now you have invalidated God's Word because or your tradition."

Rev. 3:8  You have kept my Word and you haven't disowned my name ("Yesu")

John 1:14 The Word became flesh

John 8:31  Then Yesu was saying..."if you stay in My Word, you are truly my students"
          37  "you are seeking to kill Me, for My Word has no room in you"

John 17:6,8  "I made your Name apparent...they have kept Your Word.  Now they have come to know that everything that You have given to Me, is from You, because they have kept the Declarations that you gave me, I have given to them, and they accepted them, and truly knew that came out from You..."

"Well seen! I too watch over My Word to see it fulfilled" (Jer. 1:11-12).

 :cloud9: Excellent post, Jab  :thumbsup:  Me, too.....my story is a little different in that when I came to Him I had no idea if the Word was true or not, and tested Him, by standing on one scripture at a time. When it bore fruit, It only took a few before I realized it had been written by God and not man.

Carnal minds of men have and continue to corrupt the Word, particularly as it relates to the power of God, which is why the Word (that was from the foundation, ie. the Spirit made flesh) within us has not fully "resurrected" yet in power and glory. But NONE of it will stop Him from doing His completed will and revealing Himself in a people called by His name.

For this cause He has given us His Spirit, that will lead us into all Truth and we need not be afraid of being mislead if we're pressing in to know HIM. My  :2c:  Blessings...
"I would rather train twenty men to pray, than a thousand to preach; A minister's highest mission ought to be to teach his people to pray." -H. MacGregor

Offline Molly

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Re: On the Bible and Punishment
« Reply #96 on: January 07, 2012, 03:46:16 PM »
One other thing I'd like to mention.

There is a point you reach where you have to step out in belief, however you are able to do it.

As a child, I just believed.  No problem.

As an adult--something happened.  skepticism?  Worldliness?

 It was no longer so easy for me.

So I had to make a decision, because, as I said, I really needed help, and I was desperate.

I decided to believe.

I remembered reading about Kierkegaard's 'leap of faith', and I took the leap.

And, all of a sudden, it was like a two way switch was turned on,

And my belief was confirmed.

 I had crossed a threshold, and my belief created greater belief in a resonating feedback loop.



For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1 Cor 1:18

deances

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Re: On the Bible and Punishment
« Reply #97 on: January 07, 2012, 04:43:57 PM »
I completely agree, Molly.  And that describes my faith, too, in God.  I just haven't been able to make a necessary and inevitable connection between God and the Bible.

As I said at the onset, I do not dismiss the Bible - I just haven't figured it out yet.  And I am cautious not too place too much credence on it, lest I turn it into a graven image that ought not to we worshipped in the Lord's stead.


Offline Molly

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Re: On the Bible and Punishment
« Reply #98 on: January 07, 2012, 04:52:28 PM »
I think the best advice I could give to you, Deances, is that if something is offending you, set it aside and come back to it later.

The Bible is a big book, so you don't have to focus on those things that do not make sense to you.

We change as we read the book, and over time what didn't make sense, suddenly does.



And blessed is the one who is not offended by me."
--Luke 7:23

Offline Cardinal

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Re: On the Bible and Punishment
« Reply #99 on: January 07, 2012, 04:55:37 PM »
 :cloud9: AMEN  :thumbsup:
"I would rather train twenty men to pray, than a thousand to preach; A minister's highest mission ought to be to teach his people to pray." -H. MacGregor