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Bible Teachings or Traditions of Men?


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#1    Alter2Ego

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 03:44 AM

ALTER2EGO -to- EVERYONE:
I am a Christian and have the deepest respect for God's inspired Word, the Judeo-Christian Bible. I invite fellow Christians to participate in the questions for discussion. Two of the most basic teachings in Christendom are as follows:


1. THE TRINITY
The teaching that God is split up into three individual persons that are combined into one "Godhead" (Father, Son, and holy ghost/holy spirit). All three of these persons are said to be CO-EQUAL (meaning they have the same power) and CO-ETERNAL (meaning they have always existed at the same time and none of them can die).


2. HELLFIRE
The teaching that God will burn a person's soul in everlasting hellfire for committing wicked deeds. In other words, God will supposedly punish people forever in fiery flames of hell--despite the fact the crimes the persons committed were only done during the persons' brief human lifespan.


QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION:
1.
Are there scriptures in the Bible to support the teachings of Trinity and hellfire? If so, present the scriptures by giving Bible book, chapter, and verse and also explain why you believe the scripture you present is talking about Trinity or literal hellfire.


2. Why are these teachings found in pagan/false religions that never worshipped the God of the Judeo-Christian Bible? For instance there were pagan trinities at least 200 years before Jesus came to the earth as a human.


A. In the 2nd century B.C.E. (two centuries before Christ came to the earth), Egypt had a triad of gods consisting of (1) Horus, (2) Osiris, and (3) Isis.


B. Likewise, in the 2nd century B.C.E. (two centuries before Christ came to the earth), Babylon had a triad of gods consisting of (1) Ishtar, (2) Sin, and (3) Shamash.


C. In fact, during the 1st century AD when Jesus was on earth, Palmyra, which was an ancient city in Syria, had a triune god which consisted of (1) moon god, (2) Lord of Heavens, and (3) sun god.



3. If the Trinity and hellfire are Bible teachings, why is it that Jesus and his apostles who followed him around never taught anyone about the Trinity and literal hellfire?


4. How is it that both the Trinity and hellfire teachings did not become "Christian" teachings until the Roman Catholics copied both of them from pagan/false religions--AFTER the resurrected Jesus Christ returned to heaven?


5. If hell is a place of literal fiery torment, how is it that the Bible says Jesus went to hell for the entire three days that he was dead?


"He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that HIS SOUL WAS NOT LEFT IN HELL, neither his flesh did see corruption." (Acts 2:31--King James Version)


6. If hell is a place of literal torment, why is it that the word "hell" also means "Sheol" and "Hades" and "the grave"?


7. Does the Bible teach that humans have an immortal soul that survives the death of the person so that the soul can then be burned in eternal flames? If so, please present scriptures to this effect to prove it.


8. Are the words "Trinity" and "Godhead" in the Bible? If so, were those words part of the original writings?


"That people may know that you, whose name is JEHOVAH, you alone are the Most High over all the earth." (Psalms 83:18)

#2    Likely Guy

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 05:13 AM

Sorry Alter2Ego.

If you're only going to "invite fellow Christians to participate in the questions for discussion"; I, as the pragmatic agnostic that I am, am 'out of here'.

Bye bye. :(

Edited by Likely Guy, 05 May 2013 - 05:18 AM.


#3    third_eye

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 05:56 AM

^ Hey ... wait up ...

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#4    Frank Merton

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 07:11 AM

I think the Bible is "scripture," since it is believed by so many to be so, but that only means it should be treated with great respect.  Therefore, I have studied it in the past and read a few books about it.  I agree with you that it is not possible to demonstrate clearly that the Bible teaches either Hell or the Trinity as they are generally taught.  There are a few passages that can be argued in favor of these traditional teachings, and a lot more that seem to say the opposite (that God is greater than Jesus, etc.).

This is a fundamental problem with trying to take anything written in any human language as somehow the infallible Word of God.  Each person reading a text reads into it what they want to read into it or what they have been taught to read into it, and all languages are human inventions and hence with all sorts of built-in potential for ambiguity, figures of speech, metaphors, hyperbole, poetic license, mistranslation, tampering, and so on.


#5    Mr Walker

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 07:49 AM

The clearest illustration of the nature of the trinity is when god speaks to christ on earth via the holy spirit. From memory this happens when christ is baptised by john and god the father says via the spirit, " My son i am most pleased with you"

Thus there are at times 3 separate and distinct elements of god. But at the same time in genesis and other parts of the bible there is a a statement that the word was with god and the word was god "The word" is the incarnation of jesus/christ as  the creative aspect of god. Words had  physical creative power to early peoples.

In revelation jesus comes in a third form as an "avenging angel" on a horse and weilding a sword.

Thus throughout the bible we build up an overall picture of the nature of god . It includes (1)what christians call god the father. (2)Another creative spirit who came down to earth as the son of god and as a man; and (3) an energy being which can  manifest physically and also enter into human beings, and is called, by christians, the holy spirit. BUT these things are linked as one being, just as our mind physicla body and self aware spirit are linked together. Unlike us however they can separate  these elemants of themself and operate independently.

I know god the father and the holy spirit quite well, but as far as I know i have never encountered christ the creative/'redemtive spirit. In my life, God manifests creative miracles which might be seen as coming from christ but to me they seem to come directly from god.  As a human being it is hard to differentiate between the power  and abilities of god the father, and god the son.


As to hell, that is clearly NOT a biblical concept as most peole recognise it. The bible says tha , on death all humans go to sleep to await the resurrection days. After being judged they either have eternal life or die the second and final death of body and soul There is no biblical concept of eternal everlasting punishment either.

Edited by Mr Walker, 05 May 2013 - 07:53 AM.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world..

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

#6    Alter2Ego

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 02:01 PM

View PostFrank Merton, on 05 May 2013 - 07:11 AM, said:

I think the Bible is "scripture," since it is believed by so many to be so, but that only means it should be treated with great respect.  Therefore, I have studied it in the past and read a few books about it.  I agree with you that it is not possible to demonstrate clearly that the Bible teaches either Hell or the Trinity as they are generally taught.  There are a few passages that can be argued in favor of these traditional teachings, and a lot more that seem to say the opposite (that God is greater than Jesus, etc.).

ALTER2EGO -to- FRANK MERTON:
There are no passages in the Judeo-Christian Bible that are proof of trinity or literal hellfire torment.  Of course that has not stopped Trinitarians and hellfire howlers from attempting to apply scriptures to the aforementioned false teachings.


View PostFrank Merton, on 05 May 2013 - 07:11 AM, said:

This is a fundamental problem with trying to take anything written in any human language as somehow the infallible Word of God.  Each person reading a text reads into it what they want to read into it or what they have been taught to read into it, and all languages are human inventions and hence with all sorts of built-in potential for ambiguity, figures of speech, metaphors, hyperbole, poetic license, mistranslation, tampering, and so on.

ALTER2EGO -to- FRANK MERTON:
That may be so, but the text itself does not agree with what each person chooses to read into it.  By paying attention to the context (the surrounding words, verses, and chapters), one is able to get the single correct meaning of what the text is actually saying.  In other words, the problem is not the Bible.  The reason why people read what is not there is because they ignore context. They cherry pick a few words from entire verses, while they ignore everything else. When the context is paid attention to, it soon becomes clear that the verses are not saying anything about trinity or literal hellfire torment.


"That people may know that you, whose name is JEHOVAH, you alone are the Most High over all the earth." (Psalms 83:18)

#7    Frank Merton

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 02:12 PM

Although I agree with your overall statements about what the writers of the Bible thought, I have seen verses that others with different views often cite.  I don't doubt that you could give them a good argument, but my point is that what the text may say and what the reader may read are not necessarily the same, and that this is a problem with any text we cite authoritatively.

As a result, I don't think we should treat scripture as infallible, because to be so the reader must also be infallible.  Instead treat scripture as useful, God-inspired if you will, or at a minimum the writings of holy and wise men.


#8    Alter2Ego

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 02:12 PM

View PostMr Walker, on 05 May 2013 - 07:49 AM, said:

The clearest illustration of the nature of the trinity is when god speaks to christ on earth via the holy spirit. From memory this happens when christ is baptised by john and god the father says via the spirit, " My son i am most pleased with you"

Thus there are at times 3 separate and distinct elements of god. But at the same time in genesis and other parts of the bible there is a a statement that the word was with god and the word was god "The word" is the incarnation of jesus/christ as  the creative aspect of god. Words had  physical creative power to early peoples.

ALTER2EGO -to- MR WALKER:
The only part of your comment I agree with is that portion where you use the expression "separate and distinct."  According to Christendom's definition of trinity, Jehovah the Father, Jesus Christ the created Son, and God's holy spirit are the same god combined into a single "Godhead" and--get this--they are all co-eternal and co-equal.  

If you can find any scripture that proves God, Jesus, and the holy spirit are the same god and that they are co-equal and co-eternal, please present it by quoting it verbatim.  Be sure and provide Bible book, chapter, and verse.  Then bold the words within the quotation where you are seeing Christendom's version of trinity.  Lastly, explain why the bolded words from the quotation are saying what you believe they are saying.  Can you do that?

"That people may know that you, whose name is JEHOVAH, you alone are the Most High over all the earth." (Psalms 83:18)

#9    Frank Merton

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 02:18 PM

To Mr. Walker

My main problem with the Trinity is that nowhere in the NT is the teaching made explicit, and I cannot imagine the failure to do so of such a central doctrine.  The word "Trinity" does not even appear, nor do phrases like "God the Son," or "Three in one," and so on.  You only infer it from suggestions that can be interpreted many ways.

It seems reasonable to me that a century or so after the Gospels were born comparisons between this Jesus and other cult-heads started being made, and Jesus was seen to come off poorer, so they developed the teaching in comparison with many other similar "trinities" that existed back then in order to "elevate" Jesus to godhood and make him more "salable."  Now of course the way I just expressed it would not be what happened.  Instead, these Christians felt an insufficiency, saw the trinities around them, and thought, "Now that is the way it must have been."


#10    Alter2Ego

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 02:44 PM

View PostFrank Merton, on 05 May 2013 - 02:12 PM, said:

Although I agree with your overall statements about what the writers of the Bible thought, I have seen verses that others with different views often cite.  I don't doubt that you could give them a good argument, but my point is that what the text may say and what the reader may read are not necessarily the same, and that this is a problem with any text we cite authoritatively.

As a result, I don't think we should treat scripture as infallible, because to be so the reader must also be infallible.  Instead treat scripture as useful, God-inspired if you will, or at a minimum the writings of holy and wise men.

ALTER2EGO -to- FRANK MERTON:
I suspect you do not understand the meaning of the word "infallible."  
Below is the definition of "fallible."

Quote

fallible

The definition of fallible is capable of making mistakes or errors.

(adjective)

Imperfect people who are
capable of making mistakes are an example of people who would be described as fallible.
http://www.yourdictionary.com/fallible


Scriptures being misinterpreted by someone does not make the scripture itself fallible. Something is only fallible when the error is within the writing itself.  For instance, if you took a recipe from a cookbook and left off some of the ingredients, whose fault is it that your resulting product did not come out right?  Is it because the cookbook was fallible (the error is within the cookbook's writing), or is it because you are fallible (you made the mistake of leaving out part of the recipe)?

Now, use that same example with the Bible.  You are putting the fault on the scriptures rather than on the reader when you say the above. If the error is not within the Bible but instead is because the reader ignored some of the words that are part of the "recipe," how can you successfully argue that the Bible is fallible? Whose fault is it that the Trinitarian and hellfire howler deliberately ignored words and sentences (part of the "recipe) within the context? Is it God's fault or the Bible's fault if people are lacking in reading-comprehension skills?  When the previously ignored words (the context) are included in the reading, it soon becomes clear that the scriptures are not talking trinity and literal hellfire torment.


"That people may know that you, whose name is JEHOVAH, you alone are the Most High over all the earth." (Psalms 83:18)

#11    Beany

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 02:48 PM

View Postthird_eye, on 05 May 2013 - 05:56 AM, said:

^ Hey ... wait up ...

I'm right behind you. If you're not quick, I may pass you up.


#12    Frank Merton

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 03:00 PM

My point seems to have gone past you -- there can be no such thing as infallible scripture.  It is a logical impossibility because it is written in fallible languages and read by fallible people.


#13    Paranoid Android

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 03:20 PM

HI Alter2Ego,

There's 8 questions you've put up for discussion, some of which overlap, and some of which I disagree with.  Instead of addressing your 8 points of discussion, I'd rather address two points, if you don't mind - The Trinity; And Hellfire!

Point 1- The Trinity:  I think a link would far better state my beliefs than any personal input.  So click THIS LINK, for interest.  I own the book (Concise Theology) in which this article forms a part, and greatly respect the research of J.I. Packer

Point 2- Hellfire:  In the previous thread you started I tended to agree with you that hell is not a place of torturous fire.  To this post I'm going to attach an essay I wrote several years ago on the matter.  Your thoughts and criticisms are appreciated :)

Attached File  Opposite of Heaven UM copy.doc   52.5K   2 downloads

Edited by Paranoid Android, 05 May 2013 - 03:25 PM.

Posted Image

My blog is now taking a new direction.  Dedicated to my father who was a great inspiration in my life, I wish to honour his memory (RIP, dad) by sharing with the world what he had always kept to himself.  More details, http://www.unexplain...showentry=27811

#14    Mr Walker

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 03:39 PM

View PostAlter2Ego, on 05 May 2013 - 02:12 PM, said:

ALTER2EGO -to- MR WALKER:
The only part of your comment I agree with is that portion where you use the expression "separate and distinct."  According to Christendom's definition of trinity, Jehovah the Father, Jesus Christ the created Son, and God's holy spirit are the same god combined into a single "Godhead" and--get this--they are all co-eternal and co-equal.  

If you can find any scripture that proves God, Jesus, and the holy spirit are the same god and that they are co-equal and co-eternal, please present it by quoting it verbatim.  Be sure and provide Bible book, chapter, and verse.  Then bold the words within the quotation where you are seeing Christendom's version of trinity.  Lastly, explain why the bolded words from the quotation are saying what you believe they are saying.  Can you do that?
Certainly i could show that god the father and god /christ   or the word are one  But you would have tio accpe ttha tthe words of the bible show that christ IS the word of god.

Christ as man on earth is NOT representative of the nature of christ the angel, or word, in heaven.

But it is irrelevant really. First I do not care what you believe about the trinity I tis not important to your "salvation" or critical to your ongoing relationship with god. And second I know god personally and physically as a mentor friend protector etc I have known the power of the holy spirit in my body and know its many positive effects. I have felt the power of god in my mind as we meet mind to mind and  in my body as a part of me I have  benefited greatly  from this. i would not be aive without gods presence.

Everthing I have, and am, is due to god, and  god's presence has empowered and transformed me from a "mere mortal man" into a part of god. In doing this it has freed me from the human  traps of pain suffering anger etc and filled my life with power joy etc.


And so, for me, the trinity is also, in a way irrelevant, except for this. Humans are a trinity themsleves, and we are modelled on god. And the whole bible story from alpha to omega illustrates the diverse and complex nature of god. God IS a trinity, in the sense that a human being is a trinity; body (physical entity)  self aware and directed mind and a physical and conscious spirit/will. Other than that, it doesnt really matter. Believe as you will, but stay connected to god in an ongoing personal  connection and relationship with him..

In my experience, god christ and spirit, are all a part of one greater entity. And they are coequal and coeternal in the same way that our body mind and spirit are linked into a coequal and coeternal whole. But in god's case his nature allows him also to separate these pieces so that they can exist independently  This is how his spirit can enter us or his mind can link with ours.

But thengod is neither human nor male and is a very different being, physically, to what we are. "He" is a being, in which energy,  consciousness, and matter, exist interchangeably  at his will.

Edited by Mr Walker, 05 May 2013 - 03:46 PM.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world..

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

#15    Jor-el

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 03:42 PM

View PostAlter2Ego, on 05 May 2013 - 02:01 PM, said:

ALTER2EGO -to- FRANK MERTON:
There are no passages in the Judeo-Christian Bible that are proof of trinity or literal hellfire torment.  Of course that has not stopped Trinitarians and hellfire howlers from attempting to apply scriptures to the aforementioned false teachings.

Contrary to your opinion there is more than enough evidence to provide contextual proof within he bible and also ancient Jewish sources regarding the Trinity.

One such source of the many that I can possibly choose from is a simple and direct quote from the bible that you cannot ignore.

Ecclesiastes 12:1

Remember also thy Creators in days of thy youth, While that the evil days come not, Nor the years have arrived, that thou sayest, 'I have no pleasure in them.'


So do we have more than one creator or not?

Another, off the top of my head...

A very detailed account of God appearing as man to Abraham is recounted in Genesis 18.

Genesis 18:1-2

1The Lord appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. 2Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground.

In the very same account we find the following passage:

16 When the men got up to leave, they looked down toward Sodom, and Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way.

17
Then the LORD said, "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?18 Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. 19 For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him."

20
Then the LORD said, "The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous 21 that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know."

Notice Gods question and then God answering the question asked by HIMSELF?

Unless we want to accuse God of not being altogether there, we must accept that the textual context refers to two entities called God.

Immediately following this conversation we have in Genesis 19:24 a very interesting phrase...

Genesis 19:24

Then the LORD rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the LORD out of the heavens.

How many Lords are there?

According to the text the are TWO of them. One in the form of a man who was with Abraham and one in Heaven. It is clear in the text word for word and I'm not inventing it.

And guess what, they are both called Yahweh...

Posted Image


"Man is not the centre. God does not exist for the sake of man. Man does not exist for his own sake."

-C. S. Lewis





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