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Problem of Evil

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#256    Mystic Crusader

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 07:22 PM

View Postsimplybill, on 05 February 2013 - 06:18 PM, said:

Now, I realize you may see God as the "mad sadist" who inflicts pain on people just for his own pleasure. I've spent some time thinking about this myself, because it seems as though pain is often unnecessary and gratuitious. For instance, why are good, faithful Christians imprisoned and tortured for their faith in God, as happens on a daily basis around the world? If put in that position, would I remain faithful, or would I immediately cave, curse God, and beg for mercy from my tormentors? And I've always believed, knowing my own weak nature, that yes, I would immediately cave, curse God, and beg for mercy.

And then I read the stories of people who spend years in hellish prisons, imprisoned for their faith in God,  and upon their release proclaim the goodness of God. How is that even possible?

This is an  excerpt from Richard Wurmbrand's "In God's Underground":

   "The prison years did not seem too long for me, for I discovered, alone in my cell, that beyond belief and love there is delight in God: a deep and extraordinary ecstasy of happiness that is like nothing in this world. And when I came out of jail I was like someone who comes down from a mountaintop where he has seen for miles around the peace and beauty of the countryside, and now returns to the plain."

He was in prison for 14 years. He didn't view God as a heartless, distant diety inflicting pain on his creation, but as a benevolent, caring Father.

I wasn't referring to just god, but all of mankind as well.  I see all of the ugliness of mankind in god.  Sadists are about power and think inwards, only of themselves, obtaining dominance through the use of pain, without pity or remorse.  It just happens they take pleasure in inflicting pain also.

Thomas Paine wrote in The Age of Reason that “Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous execution, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be consistent that we called it the word of a demon, than the word of God."
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#257    David Henson

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 07:39 PM

View Postmanbearpigg, on 05 February 2013 - 07:17 PM, said:

So how does your system of belief uhh... justify  the fossil, written, carbon dating records that link man over 5,000 years?

Perhaps the best way for me to respond would be to give you a link that I posted myself on my own forum? The Historicity of The Bible. I could post it here but it is really long, 4 parts (posts) in the thread. It doesn't deal with the fossil, or carbon dating which are barely as useful as blind speculation or the failed metaphysical experimentation called "Evolution."

To a skeptic the idea of the Bible being far more accurate than those forms of dating are as ridiculous as the aforementioned methods are to me, I suppose. You can get 1,656 years of chronology just in Genesis 5:1-29; 7:6. From Adam’s creation to the birth of Seth, 130 years; Then to the birth of Enosh, 105 years; To the birth of Kenan, 90 years; To the birth of Mahalalel, 70 years; To the birth of Jared, 65 years; To the birth of Enoch, 162 years; To the birth of Methuselah, 65 years; To the birth of Lamech, 187 years; To the birth of Noah, 182 years; To the Flood, 600 years. Total of 1,656 years. Taking it there from a pivotal point with accurate secular historical note and extending it to the present day takes only a matter of time and effort. Comparing it to astronomical records is helpful.

Edited by David Henson, 05 February 2013 - 07:52 PM.

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#258    manbearpigg

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 08:43 PM

View PostDavid Henson, on 05 February 2013 - 07:39 PM, said:

Perhaps the best way for me to respond would be to give you a link that I posted myself on my own forum? The Historicity of The Bible. I could post it here but it is really long, 4 parts (posts) in the thread. It doesn't deal with the fossil, or carbon dating which are barely as useful as blind speculation or the failed metaphysical experimentation called "Evolution."

To a skeptic the idea of the Bible being far more accurate than those forms of dating are as ridiculous as the aforementioned methods are to me, I suppose. You can get 1,656 years of chronology just in Genesis 5:1-29; 7:6. From Adam’s creation to the birth of Seth, 130 years; Then to the birth of Enosh, 105 years; To the birth of Kenan, 90 years; To the birth of Mahalalel, 70 years; To the birth of Jared, 65 years; To the birth of Enoch, 162 years; To the birth of Methuselah, 65 years; To the birth of Lamech, 187 years; To the birth of Noah, 182 years; To the Flood, 600 years. Total of 1,656 years. Taking it there from a pivotal point with accurate secular historical note and extending it to the present day takes only a matter of time and effort. Comparing it to astronomical records is helpful.

I don;t understand why carbon dating/fossil records are as useful as blind speculation when science backs it up. the measurement of half-life   in our carbon based system is much more accurate and scientific than biblical accounts which has no known basis except God and his muses.
I don;t see what is metaphysical about evolution when it strictly deals with the physical not beyond that which is what the metaphysical is.
Just so we are clear, I am not an evolutionist nor do i deny it. It is a tool and an honest attempt at correctly defining the nature of this universe, not a final statement as many atheist tend to believe.

However, in my mind it holds much more credibility than the biblical accounts, probably very different in your point of view.

AND yes i read your link and it really doesnt answer my specific question but I understand your general beliefs from what i assume.

Oh and please answer my previous response (I know i didnt quote it right but its mixed in there with your thread).


#259    J. K.

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 08:55 PM

View Postmanbearpigg, on 05 February 2013 - 08:43 PM, said:

AND yes i read your link and it really doesnt answer my specific question but I understand your general beliefs from what i assume.


I think the answer to your question would be: the atmospheric pressure and oxygen content before the Flood was much greater, and the Flood itself intensely affected the geology of the world.

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#260    IamsSon

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 11:09 PM

View Postredhen, on 05 February 2013 - 07:51 AM, said:

Ok I'll accept that. It seems to a very common view. Bart Ehrman explains in his book God's Problem: How the Bible fails to answer our most important question - why we suffer that the biggest problem he had when teaching a course on theodicy to a class of privileged teenagers was convincing them there was a problem.
Although it may sound similar, what PA is saying is significantly different to what Ehrman is saying.

PA is pointing out that since the universe is serving God's purpose there is no problem from God's perspective.

While Ehrman is viewing the situation from a humanist perspective and saying that since the universe does not function the way he would like it to or the way he thinks it would work if the Biblical God was real, that means there is a problem with the Bible.

"But then with me that horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man's mind which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey's mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?" - Charles Darwin, in a letter to William Graham on July 3, 1881

#261    David Henson

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 11:54 PM

View PostJ. K., on 05 February 2013 - 08:55 PM, said:

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I think the answer to your question would be: the atmospheric pressure and oxygen content before the Flood was much greater, and the Flood itself intensely affected the geology of the world.

I must have missed something. I thought I had answered the question and it had nothing to do with that. Maybe I should scroll and recheck.

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#262    David Henson

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 12:04 AM

View Postmanbearpigg, on 05 February 2013 - 08:43 PM, said:

I don;t understand why carbon dating/fossil records are as useful as blind speculation when science backs it up.

Because science is the imperfect observations of man.

Quote

the measurement of half-life   in our carbon based system is much more accurate and scientific than biblical accounts which has no known basis except God and his muses.

God "and his muses" have proven to be far more accurate. In another thread I point out that the life expectancy given by science for King David's time was 35 - 40 years when he himself wrote it was 70 - 80. The basis of science on the matter is conjecture, whereas David was there.

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I don;t see what is metaphysical about evolution when it strictly deals with the physical not beyond that which is what the metaphysical is.
Just so we are clear, I am not an evolutionist nor do i deny it. It is a tool and an honest attempt at correctly defining the nature of this universe, not a final statement as many atheist tend to believe.

However, in my mind it holds much more credibility than the biblical accounts, probably very different in your point of view.

Exactly.

Quote

AND yes i read your link and it really doesnt answer my specific question but I understand your general beliefs from what i assume.

Oh and please answer my previous response (I know i didnt quote it right but its mixed in there with your thread).

Perhaps we are at cross purposes, could you repeat the question please?

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#263    J. K.

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 12:23 AM

View PostDavid Henson, on 05 February 2013 - 11:54 PM, said:

I must have missed something. I thought I had answered the question and it had nothing to do with that. Maybe I should scroll and recheck.

I was interpreting manbearpigg's statement ("So how does your system of belief uhh... justify  the fossil, written, carbon dating records that link man over 5,000 years?") to ask how a relatively young earth and recent advent of humanity could correlate with a fossil record that goes back millions of years.  If I was wrong, I apologize.  I was not intending to trample on the thread.

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#264    manbearpigg

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 12:35 AM

View PostDavid Henson, on 06 February 2013 - 12:04 AM, said:

Because science is the imperfect observations of man.



God "and his muses" have proven to be far more accurate. In another thread I point out that the life expectancy given by science for King David's time was 35 - 40 years when he himself wrote it was 70 - 80. The basis of science on the matter is conjecture, whereas David was there.



Exactly.



Perhaps we are at cross purposes, could you repeat the question please?

sure thing: (Its mixed in there)


Posted ImageDavid Henson, on 04 February 2013 - 09:16 PM, said:


Before we get started lets define evil according to the Bible. The Hebrew word for evil is ra. In a basic sense it means something that results in pain, sorrow or distress. It can, depending upon the context, also be translated as bad, gloomy, ugly, calamitous, malignant, ungenerous and envious.  (Genesis 2:9; 40:7; 41:3; Exodus 33:4; Deuteronomy 6:22; 28:35; Proverbs 23:6; 28:22). The Greek word for evil is kakos. It is something that is morally bad and destructive. Bad, hurtful, injurious, wrong.


An illustration, if you will. A young child is told by his parents not to play in the street. To do so would be bad (Hebrew ra) because it could result in something bad (Hebrew ra). There are two possibilities if the child disobeys. Both of them are bad (Hebrew ra). Either the child gets hurt or the child gets punished. To the child the rule or the punishment may also seem bad or evil.



In the sense of punishment the Hebrew ra can and often is translated as calamitous. For example, at Isaiah 45:7. The KJV translates ra there as "evil." God created evil. A more accurate translation is calamitous. God created the punishment of the flood, and the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden.

Definitions are always welcome!


That God is omni anything is more of a theological assumption (and not a very accurate one) than it is a biblical fact, especially in the context that it is often given. Consider what it means to be omnivorous, for example. It has practical limitations, it doesn’t mean eating everything. God, for example, is most certainly not omnipresent. His position is fixed in heaven. He can go anywhere he likes, but his position is fixed. That he is omniscient isn’t entirely true in that although he can get to know anything he needs to know he doesn’t know everything. For example, he didn’t know what Cain had done, or what Adam and Eve had done, he had to ask. He sent angels to get to know if the complaints he was receiving from Sodom and Gomorrah were true. Is God omnipotent? God can’t lie. God can’t sin. It could be argued that he could do these things if he wanted to, but the fact is that his sense of  justice prevents these things. Similar to when a person says I couldn’t kill another person. Is he Omni benevolent? He hates some things.

Again, i am using rhetoric against a massive population of self-proclaimed Christians that believe that theological fallacy of an Omni-all Abrahamic God. Just following the footsteps of Socrates and Plato. Yes biblical stories confirm that God Jehovah is not all powerful loving or knowing.

However, he has proven time and time again in the bible to be able to LIE (sacrifice of Isaac, 40 years wandering in a desert etc, death to all those who oppose certain penta-laws, etc.) if you say that those were just test and didnt really mean it than i guess i can say the same for all my lies as well.

Okay. Just for clarification evil is calamity through justice, as explained above and sin means simply to miss the mark. If the Bible is explaining that a marksman, a thrower of stones or spears, misses his mark the word used is sin. So to sin against ones boss is to show up late for work, to sin against your neighbor is to do something that he expects you not to do. The same as to sin against God. If God says not to kill, then to kill is a sin against God.

Those are, again, great definitions. Some I do not agree with, especially the last part. You say to go against God's will is a sin but biblical stories prove otherwise that many have gone against the will of God and was actually praised or blessed for some obscure reason. (David steals bread from the altar, Elisha? slaughters children with female bears, Hosea marries a harlot) all things that were supposedly denied by God in the scriptures but was justifiable when it seemed fit to do so.

That isn’t a logical conclusion given the facts.

It is only if you believe in that all-purpose Abrahamic God with no faults. (Where were you during this whole debate?)


What is evil is subjective, yes. We may perceive God’s workings evil. Good is also subjective, but good can exist without evil. Adam didn’t have to sin, he could have remained faithful and so not have died. Jesus demonstrated this by not sinning. It is promised that, just as God intended when he created man, man will live forever in peace upon the earth. We can fathom God’s actions. Through study of his word.

I believe we are in agreement here. Good CAN exist without evil if an almighty wills it.

Well, he did create heaven, but there is evil in heaven as well. Disobedient angels. There will be a new heavens and a new earth, meaning without sin.

i believe this is irrelevant to the OP. nice observation though.

The earth was created for man, and man will live forever upon it.
again I believe this is irrelevant. please clarify if you meant to tie it to some other point that i might have missed.


Acts 24:15: and I have hope toward God, which hope these [men] themselves also entertain, that there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.

The Bible promises everyone will have the opportunity to make an informed decision. That is why it says that some will be resurrected to life everlasting and some to judgment. That is why Satan is released for 1000 years after the resurrection.

I believe this comes down to canonical differences. From your choice of diction and theology, I'm going to assume Jehovah's Witness or Seventh Day? If not please let me know otherwise.

In answer, I would say, with all due respect, you have much to learn.


I appreciate the respect but I still find the last bit a little condescending since you pertain more knowledge in a specific field of a specific sect of Christianity. In the subject of biblical canons you far out-know me but only in the specific field of your sect. In general knowledge of theology and biblical creeds, I don;t think you can say you know more than another person just by reading a few posts. Agreed?

Sorry for the lentitudinous replies, I was busy for a bit!


#265    IamsSon

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 12:49 AM

View PostDavid Henson, on 05 February 2013 - 07:14 PM, said:

6,000 years old, which isn't Biblically supported (See my post Genesis Chapter 1) However, I would dispute the historical dating of mankind being older than 6,000 years. Adam was, according to accurate Bible chronology, created in 4026 B.C.E.
What exactly do you consider "accurate Bible chronology?"

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#266    manbearpigg

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 12:50 AM

View PostDavid Henson, on 06 February 2013 - 12:04 AM, said:

Because science is the imperfect observations of man.

I can say that God is the imperfect hope of man but does not give it credibility. I can say many things but does not mean it holds truth.  

God "and his muses" have proven to be far more accurate. In another thread I point out that the life expectancy given by science for King David's time was 35 - 40 years when he himself wrote it was 70 - 80. The basis of science on the matter is conjecture, whereas David was there.

Actually, the biblical accounts of David and most other biblical characters were written centuries after the reign of King David by unknown authors (Scholars have coined these writers with individual letters that represent their origins as in AUTHOR E or AUTHOR I) Same goes for the new testament where the earliest of the gospels are dated years after the death of Jesus and his disciples.

So in real retrospect, David was not present in the time when the books of judges, samuel, and kings were written (and maybe the chronicles?)
I know that Job is the oldest book dated yet and is closest to what the ancient Judaic diaspora believed YHWH was supposed to be like.
Furthermore, It is the OPINION of the scholars that these collection of books we call the old testament today were written with a purpose during very troubling times for the nations of Israel and Judea.
The purpose is very obvious in the books.
I am not denying a form of truth in these books but to say that the bible holds more credibility than the "imperfect observation of man" (science) is very hard to back up since the bible holds just as many imperfections of men but with mythology, zealous fanaticism, and transitory mistakes embedded in it.  

Exactly.



Perhaps we are at cross purposes, could you repeat the question please?



#267    redhen

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 01:52 AM

View PostIamsSon, on 05 February 2013 - 11:09 PM, said:

PA is pointing out that since the universe is serving God's purpose there is no problem from God's perspective.

While Ehrman is viewing the situation from a humanist perspective

Right, like Job, God's ways are so high above our ways, it's an ineffable mystery. It's probably for a greater good (whatever that is), and anyways, "that's just the way it is".

Are there any new arguments out there?


#268    David Henson

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 02:15 AM

View PostJ. K., on 06 February 2013 - 12:23 AM, said:

I was interpreting manbearpigg's statement ("So how does your system of belief uhh... justify  the fossil, written, carbon dating records that link man over 5,000 years?") to ask how a relatively young earth and recent advent of humanity could correlate with a fossil record that goes back millions of years.  If I was wrong, I apologize.  I was not intending to trample on the thread.

No, it was me at fault. I understood your answer and appreciated it. Good answer. I just didn't realize at the time that that was the nature of the question he had asked. Please, I would rather you trample on the thread than withhold your answer.

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#269    David Henson

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 03:19 AM

View Postmanbearpigg, on 06 February 2013 - 12:35 AM, said:

sure thing: (Its mixed in there)


I see what the problem is. You are having difficulty in using the quote tags in your response. Its difficult to see where our comments are separated. You need to put a quote tag before each of my comments you want to address, by simply typing quote in brackets. [ quote ] only without the spaces. At the end of each quote be sure to close the tag by typing /quote in brackets like this [ /quote ] only without spaces. Its also a good idea to leave the first quote tag as it is, for example, this opening quote tag is  [ quote name='manbearpigg' timestamp='1360110953' post='4652113' ] but also make sure you close that first one just as you would the following ones. [ / quote ] The reason for this is that it includes a link to the original post. I hope this helps. I would recommend you not use the multi quote function. Its a pain in the ass.


Quote

Definitions are always welcome!


Good. Thank you.

Quote

Again, i am using rhetoric against a massive population of self-proclaimed Christians that believe that theological fallacy of an Omni-all Abrahamic God. Just following the footsteps of Socrates and Plato. Yes biblical stories confirm that God Jehovah is not all powerful loving or knowing.

However, he has proven time and time again in the bible to be able to LIE (sacrifice of Isaac, 40 years wandering in a desert etc, death to all those who oppose certain penta-laws, etc.) if you say that those were just test and didnt really mean it than i guess i can say the same for all my lies as well.


You have to be careful about how you read some portions of the Bible. I don't know exactly how you think that God lied regarding the things you mention, but I've found that most problems skeptics have with the Bible are due to misinterpretation rather than mistranslation. If you want to discuss each of those above cases you can tell me what exactly you mean in each one, with scriptural references if possible.

Quote

Those are, again, great definitions. Some I do not agree with, especially the last part. You say to go against God's will is a sin but biblical stories prove otherwise that many have gone against the will of God and was actually praised or blessed for some obscure reason. (David steals bread from the altar, Elisha? slaughters children with female bears, Hosea marries a harlot) all things that were supposedly denied by God in the scriptures but was justifiable when it seemed fit to do so.


Just briefly I can comment on a couple of those. In the case of David, the holy bread was to be removed that day and replaced by fresh bread. Some translations use the term "common" meaning it was to be thrown away and replaced, since it was a Sabbath. (Leviticus 24:5-9 / 1 Samuel 21:1-6 / Matthew 12:1-4) It would have been a sin had Ahimelech taken the fresh bread and given it to David.

In the case of Elisha and the bears, The people of Jericho were no friends to prophets of Jehovah. On his way to Bethel it isn't disclosed how far it took to gather this possibly hostile group of children, or whether or not Elisha may have felt his safety was threatened, but it is safe to say that God knew these children were opposed to his purpose set before Elisha and God wasn't going to tolerate it any further than he did. (Proverbs 17:12)

Since Elisha was wearing the official robe of the prophet, as the children in the area may have been aware, their taunting may have been directed at Jehovah himself. The question is were the children saying "Go on up" meaning to Jericho or as in the way Elijah had been transported elsewhere on earth at 2 Kings 2:11? It is very likely the case that the children were challenging God and blaspheming him.

There are a few times when it seems that God is pronouncing evil upon someone when in fact he is pointing out with accuracy the results of someone's evil nature. Canaan is a good example of that in the case of Noah's intoxication. (Ge 9:20, 21) To curse can mean to predict the outcome of a group of people due to their noted propensity for doing bad. The children in the case of Elisha were a pretty obvious target for that. These were probably teenagers rather than small children.

Quote

That isn’t a logical conclusion given the facts.

It is only if you believe in that all-purpose Abrahamic God with no faults. (Where were you during this whole debate?)


Be more specific, then. What are the facts and why isn't it a logical conclusion?

Quote

I believe we are in agreement here. Good CAN exist without evil if an almighty wills it.


Okay. Though Good is subjective. What God thinks is good some may not. Countless people will reject God and prefer everlasting destruction.

Quote

I believe this (Acts 24:15) comes down to canonical differences. From your choice of diction and theology, I'm going to assume Jehovah's Witness or Seventh Day? If not please let me know otherwise.


Its a Bible quote. What does canon have to do with it? You used that term earlier and I'm not sure what you mean by it.  

Quote

I appreciate the respect but I still find the last bit a little condescending since you pertain more knowledge in a specific field of a specific sect of Christianity. In the subject of biblical canons you far out-know me but only in the specific field of your sect. In general knowledge of theology and biblical creeds, I don;t think you can say you know more than another person just by reading a few posts. Agreed?

Sorry for the lentitudinous replies, I was busy for a bit!


I answered this before, and I still don't see the question you asked that I haven't answered.

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#270    nothingliz

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 03:39 AM

How would you know the Love of God without the hatred of the Devil.  Love is better to be chosen rather than forced.  How do you know what is good until you know what is evil or the truth until you know the lie and unless you ask for it or he intentionally gave it to you, how could you differentiate what the truth is and what the lie is.

The bible is put into such a way as to cause you to think and reason and to ask God for understanding.  Certain things are intentionally kept from us so that we may choose to ask God for help and clarity, this is another choice of love.  It is good that there are skeptical people out there, to make those who do not believe ask questions that those who do believe can answer them so that when others who do not believe hear or read the answer may find what they are looking for.  Even if the skeptic being answered doesn't find what he's looking for, others will.  But the mere fact that your asking questions, means that your heart is looking for the truth that is God, thats where most of us start.

If I cannot see God, yet see the evidence of him in everything around me, but would like a more personal touch, I'd study meditation and keep working at it until I found him.
As of right now we are in a fallen nature and that needs to be cured.  Once you can see the lie of worldliness, then you can see the truth that lies beyond the world.

Edited by nothingliz, 06 February 2013 - 03:42 AM.






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