Cake
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    • Genesis 3:1-8

      The writer refers to the snake as being more intelligent than all the animals. He is not suggesting that all snakes are more intelligent than other animals but that this being is not like the animals. In later scriptures this being is referred to as the adversary.

      (Many English Bibles fail to translate certain words and instead transliterate them. "Satan" is one of these untranslated words. The Hebrew word means adversary and does not always refer to mankind's accuser.)

      The adversary, in the form of a serpent, spoke to Eve and focused her mind upon the prohibition. “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”

      Some questions are asked to instill doubt in the mind of the listener and I believe that this is what the adversary was seeking to accomplish in asking this question. God desires that his followers believe Him and trust His word and His assurances. The adversary convinced Eve to doubt God’s reliability.

      There were many trees of which Adam and Eve could eat. The adversary emphasized this one negative, and thus distorted the situation. Eve's statement that they could eat of every tree except one tree. shows an understanding of the command.

      God had said dying you shall die. Every day, small parts of our bodies die. The reason that frailty comes with age is because our bodies are slowly dying. As God said “Dying you shall die.” As long as they had access to the tree that provided life, their bodies were not decaying.

      The adversary contradicted the statement which God had made and suggested that God did not want Eve to be like unto God. The basic appeal of humanism is to cause people to desire to be their own gods. Thus, they are deceived just as Eve was here.

      Eve was tempted in the very same ways that we are tempted. She saw that the tree was good for food - the craving of the flesh. She saw that it was Pleasant to the sight --  the craving of the eyes. And she saw that it was desirable to make one wise - the pride of life. 

      Our relationship to God is based on His reliability and trustworthiness. Because God is all powerful, He can do all that He promises and because what He says is always true, we can have faith in Him.

      Because Eve doubted God and the word of God, she sinned. “She took of its fruit and ate.” Not satisfied with this, “She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.” 

      They disobeyed God and did exactly what he had told them not to do.

    • Thank you @Shewmaker. I’ll preface this with a note that my opinions and understanding are severely limited in scope, but I have a desire to learn. I’m approaching this topic as a debate and I’m not saying I firmly believe any theory one way or another.

      Eve’s temptation and her subsequent actions are considered the moment of original sin. Blame seems to fall to the humans for giving in to temptation. But the serpent adversary makes the first move by making the temptation and introducing the humans to doubt (or into disbelieving God), which is a sin by itself. Is this the original sin?

      If God created the adversary he must have given it free will or used the adversary as a conduit to make the test. Does the adversary have a grudge against God (and for what?) or does it simply want to exercise a power that the humans don’t have yet so they will worship the adversary as the true God? (The sin of EGO or Edging God Out.) How does the adversary know what will or will not happen? God gives it a special intelligence “more subtil than any beast of the field.” (Note that subtil can mean cunning but, also, thin and vapor-like, perhaps akin to a spirit.) What was God’s purpose for creating it? How did it already know what evil was? What makes us think the adversary wants to trick to the humans? Perhaps it was only trying to help Eve, thinking that God was the trickster?

      Don’t forget that God placed the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the midst of the garden. Two trees. Eve says God told her, “Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.” So it seems the adversary knew that since they COULD eat fruit of the tree of life, eating fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil would not kill them but give them God-like powers.

      What I’m getting at are the motives of the adversary. Perhaps it thought God was only being selfish or dishonest to tell them to stay away. Perhaps the adversary didn’t understand what dying truly was… unless it was already aware of its own mortality. Why would God make the tree forbidden in the first place, and later create an adversary to test other creations? Is the answer because God created evil, too?

      I think so, and perhaps the key is that God had already made the correction against evil before creating the heaven and the earth. He tries to warn humans not to make the same mistake by putting up a barrier to evil (the tree). His creation comes with two sides to everything (balance) and if you have to know evil, you will also have to know good in order to have the antithetical make sense. But if God could have stopped the adversary, why didn’t he?

      Perhaps because he knew his decision to give us free will would come with consequences. Otherwise, if there was a chance that Eve could have ignored the adversary, why would God make that gamble? It goes to the heart of seeing God as a developing, evolving entity, as we are. If God had to face evil himself, then he knew each of us must also know of good and evil so we can make our own choice between the two, even if it is painful. Part of the correction may include us doing our part to help eliminate evil altogether. This story seems to suggest that the awareness of evil had to have an origin and if God is the creator of everything then that includes evil. Does this make God the original sin?

    • All of us (including myself) have presuppositions.

      I have had many of my presuppositions exploded but I suspect that there are plenty more.

      Let's begin with presuppositions regarding time. Because your post contains such.

      Was time created or is time eternal?

      This is the Greek text from 2 Timothy 1:9:

      τοῦ σώσαντος ἡμᾶς καὶ καλέσαντος κλήσει ἁγίᾳ οὐ κατὰ τὰ ἔργα ἡμῶν ἀλλὰ κατ᾽ ἰδίαν πρόθεσιν καὶ χάριν τὴν δοθεῖσαν ἡμῖν ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ πρὸ χρόνων αἰωνίων

      The next to the last word is χρόνων. That is the greek word "chronos" which means time. This text refers something which which was given to Christians in Christ Jesus before time began. That indicates that time is not eternal. There is another passage which also states that chronos "time" is not eternal, that is Titus 1:2

      Because time is something which God created, God existed before time and is not limited by nor ruled by time.

      You and I perceive only 1 moment. We remember the past but we can know longer observe it except in memory and we are blind to the future. We dwell within time and are both limited and ruled by it. God is not.

      God perceives all of time for He dwells in eternity. Isaiah 57:15

      Second, presupposition.

      Good and evil in the Hebrew language do not mean "right and wrong." A tornado is "evil" in the Hebrew language because it is detrimental or calamitous. One scholar suggests "function and malfunction". I usually go with beneficial and detrimental.

      The tree which they were forbidden did not serve as a substitute for God's word. "Right and Wrong" can only be known through revelation but just as a dog can be trained through positive and negative reinforcement, a human can come to the realization that if I do X then A is sure to happen, but if I don't do X then A might not happen.

      Yet God had not given Adam and Eve the capacity to anticipate consequences. My late wife's sister was born mentally challenged. She does not understand cause and effect. When asked about past events, she has difficulty with sequencing, especially if more than two events are referenced. "Between" is a very difficult concept for her.

      Why would God do this?

      Your post contains the presupposition that knowledge which is acquirable through either the five senses or through intutition is just as valuable as knowledge which is acquired through what we are told.

      Yet this is antithetical to the teaching of the Bible.

      The Bible teaches that all of the knowledge which man can acquire without God's word is both ephemeral and confined to the physical universe which had a beginning and which will come to an end.

      The Bible also teaches that God predetermined before the foundation of the world that mankind would not be able to acquire that knowledge which transcends the physical and which is eternal except through God's word.

      Although these passages should be read in their larger context, yet for conciseness sake, I am going to extract passages from 1 Corinthians 1:17-2:16

      1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

      1:27-29 but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence.

      2:6-10 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: but we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

      2:12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we
      might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

      Third, presupposition

      "Original Sin"

      If you mean by that "inherited guilt" or "inherited depravity" that was invented by Augustine the philosopher and is not taught by the Bible.

      Sin is something which each person commits, it is not something which we inherit.

      Fourth, presupposition

      Regarding the adversary: If God did not create moral robots which could not choose that which contradicted God then God is responsible for the choices of those who contradict Him.

      The adversary has freedom of choice because he is not a moral robot just as you have freedom of choice because you are not a moral robot.

      What "glory" is there in something which cannot choose to do anything except fwhat it was created to do. A functional table with no artistic design which does not collapse has no choice but it also has no personality, no character, no individuality. It is simply an extension of its maker's capacities, a tool and nothing more.

      If you were to make one vessel to be a mop bucket, another vessel to be a chamber pot and a third vessel to be a soup tureen, would these three things then have the right to argue with you over why you made them the way that you did?

      Isaiah 29:16

      Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay:
      for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not?
      or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?

      Those things which the adversary said to Eve were said about their mutual maker. Was Edison wrong when he threw away the bulbs that did not function in the way that he had envisioned and electrical light would function?

      Fifth presupposition

      Testing an invention is bad.

      We are God's invention. He invented us for a purpose. He has the right to test us in order that we might fulfill our purpose or fail to do so. (That may sound to you as if I am contradicting what I wrote previously about time, but it is not a contradiction. The existence of the test is like practicing a skill. A pianist does not become skilled without practice. A football player does not become professional without practice. The exercise of the spiritual muscles of the one who trusts God makes that person stronger: "Those who by reason of use have their senses exercised" is a phrase found in Hebrews 5:14. We are also told to exercise ourselves toward godliness in 1 Timothy 4:7

      Exercise requires resistance. Whether it be the resistance of weights, of kinetic pressure or of some other resistance, exercise requires resistance.

      In order for the followers of God to become strong and mature, they must endure and persevere through tribulations which both test their faith and which also permit them to exercise their spiritual mettle. But what happens to someone who gives up in the middle of the struggle? Does he achieve that for which the training was designed? No. Thus it is also with the person who begins to doubt during the tribulation which is intended to help him grow and mature.

      My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.  For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. James 1:2-8

      If a teenager goes to a training camp that he knows lasts 14 days and decides to quit on the fifth day, he is a double-minded person. If we ask God to make us stronger and are unwilling to endure the training then we are just like thaat person.

      Adversity is not intended to destroy us but to give us an opportunity to exercise and become strengthened through our resistance of that which we are exercizing against.

      I may not have answered all your questions, but I've been typing for quite awhile and I have an appointment in less than two hours for which I need to prepare. If there is any part of what I have written that you desire to discuss further or if there is something which you brought up in the original post with which I have not dealt, please feel welcome to post a follow up to this posting.

      I hope that nothing I have written sounded as if I was being personal, I intended only to discuss the subjects introduced. I also hope that you are not offended by the word "presupposition" because all humans have presuppositions.

    • Welp, it's a lot to unpack, so I'm just going to take small bites.

      Time is only for the purpose of God's teaching function, and that is temporary. Considering time when discussing the Divine adds a wrinkle in the continuity of past and future. That produces a gap, and in that gap is where miracles, revelation, and salvation happens. This is being united directly with God. Which is why human discussions of these matters is so lame because we can't use words or any type of logic to interpret the equivalent meaning. We use the term "awe" but revelation is literally unspeakable because it is an experience.

      If this type of discussion doesn't work if I use time references such as before and after, that's fine. I'm not wedded to time, I am using it as a tool to gain some better understanding of Bible meanings as a human. I take Genesis as the beginning of the perception of innocence. Was guilt present before Eve tasted of the tree of knowledge of good and evil? (Don't get hung-up on the word "guilt" as I'm using that as a contrast term.) Because God had to ask Adam, "Who told thee that thou wast naked?" Didn't he know already? And when Adam pointed to Eve and Eve pointed to the serpent, God curses the serpent and then all types of pain ensues for the rest of humanity.

    • Those who think that God is not yet infinite believe in a God who is too small.

      The reason that God poses certain questions to man is because He is trying to get man to recognize what God already knows. When God later asked Cain "Where is your brother?" God already knew that Cain had murdered Abel. But Cain needed to acknowledge what he had done.

      When God asked Adam "Who told you that you were naked?" God knew the reason that Adam was aware of his nakedness. But just like Cain, Adam needed to recognize what God already knew.

      This same way of dealing with man is found throughout the Bible.

      For example, God knows those who will never repent and who will pursue evil without limitation, BUT man does not know what wickedness is until it has had time to develop and produce its poisonous fruit. Therefore, God allows the wicked to prosper so that when He brings justice upon the wicked, man will learn what God already knows.

      How three dimensional, time limited, geographically located humans can have the audacity to suggest that God still needs to improve, is worse than a pre-schooler discussing a topology equation. At least the mathemetician whom the preschooler is critiquing shares some of the same limitations as the preschooler, but God is so beyond us that the farthest galaxy is more comprehensible through natural knowledge than God is. The only things that we genuinely know about God are those things which He testifies to us concerning Himself regarding which no man has ever observed the things whereof God testifies. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (If you are unfamiliar with topology, here is a wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Topology)

    • I've been mulling this over the past several days! It is not easy for humans to contemplate infinity or the magnitude of God. And so many still have a childlike impression of God an old man living in the sky!

      I agree with your view on the reason why God poses certain questions.

      Do you think that God will bring justice upon the wicked all at once or does it happen in each instance?

      I do not know about topology and math is my weakest area of knowledge. I can see how it has importance. Thank you for the introduction.

    • God wants men to learn the truth through His assurances concerning things which we cannot observe.

      A dog does not have as great an intellect as an elementary school child but a dog can be trained because it remembers that certain actions result in pleasure and other actions result in pain.

      If God dealt with us the way we deal with a dog that we are training, no one would need to read the Bible nor would anyone even need to believe in God.

      Statisticians would be able to determine that this set of actions produce this result and a different set of actions produce a different set of results and thus we would know what we is expected of us.

      But God did not want to train us like a dog is trained.

      Three passages regarding this.

      The three friends of Job thought that bad things only happen to bad people. They did not know of anything which Job had done which was wrong, but they did know of several major calmities which had come upon Job, so they urged him to repent. Problem was, they were wrong.

      Paul wrote about some Jews who thought that extraordinarily good things only happen to people with whom God is pleased. Paul said "No." He wrote that God was being kind and good to them in order to lead them to repentance.

      Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

      Romans 2:4

      God had planned all things before He created the universe. But He determined that there were a number of things which He would not reveal to man until after His Anointed had risen from the dead and ascended back to Heaven. Therefore, many of the things that are revealed in the New Testament regarding eternal reward and punishment were unknown to Ancient Israelites. For this reason, among the Israelites some began to ask this question "If good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people, what point is there to living a godly life." God caused a book to be written to answer that question. It has been misnamed in the centuries after Jesus and is commonly now called "Ecclesiastes" although that is not what it was called in the days of Jesus. Ecclesiastes is an apologetic in defense of living a godly life regardless of the fact that "under the sun" the same things happen to the bad that also happen to the good.

      (This link shows the passages that use the phrase "under the sun.")

      But the point is that God does not administer His justice "under the sun." The justice of God is administered in the spiritual realm and not in the physical.

      God in his infinite wisdom determined that humanity in its limited capacity for acquiring knowledge would not be provided within the natural realm with the ability to come to a knowledge of God's will—but only through His revealed word.

      For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it
      pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

      1 Corinthians 1:21

      Since administering His justice within the physical realm would allow man to learn God's will separate and apart from the revelation which He gave to those He selected to be His apostles and prophets, God's justice will be fully realized on the day of resurrection.