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Creation, Evolution, and the Over-Active Imagination, Part 1

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May 12, 2014 Tags: Design, Evolution & Christian Faith project, Science & Worldviews, Worship & Arts

Today's entry was written by Jeremy Begbie. Please note the views expressed here are those of the author, not necessarily of The BioLogos Foundation. You can read more about what we believe here.

Creation, Evolution, and the Over-Active Imagination, Part 1

Note: Today’s blog post was first published on the IMAGE project’s ‘Good Letters’ blog, and arose out of conversations and experiences with participants of the Whidby Island Colloquy, funded by the BioLogos Evolution and Christian Faith grant program.

Much is said these days about the importance of the imagination for virtually every human activity, from mowing a lawn to composing songs. And when it comes to the creationist-evolutionist disputes, it won’t be long before one side accuses the other of lacking imagination. Usually it’s the evolutionist who blames the Bible-reading creationist for a plodding literalism. And this is just where the arts are needed, so it is said, because they help us take myth, symbolism, and fictional narrative seriously—just what we need if we’re going to read Genesis properly.

But matters can’t be this simple. I’m inclined to think that if there is a problem with the imagination in the current evolution debate, it is not so much a lack of imagination as an over-active or over-ambitious imagination, and this afflicts both sides in the debate. If you have children, it’s likely you will have said to them at some point—“you’ve got an over-active imagination.” We’re saying their imaginations have got out of hand, with the result they’re out of touch with the way things really are.

Something similar, I’m suggesting, is evident in the fights over evolution. And if the arts can help us here, it’s not so much to ignite the imagination as to help the imagination operate more responsibly.

Among many things, the imagination seems to work in two ways. First, it can find and construct patterns that help us make sense of things. I look at your face—I see eyes open, a slight wrinkling of the forehead, your head nods every now and then. All of that makes up a pattern which tells me that I believe you’re awake, perhaps even listening to what I’m saying. We don’t experience the world as a jumble of disconnected events; we link things together, and perceive other things in the light of wholes. That’s the work of the imagination.

Second, the imagination takes us beyond our immediate experience. In much of life we’re dealing with things that aren’t immediately experienced. I remember a phone call I made just before I left home. I am aware it will soon be Easter. I am not experiencing these things now; it’s the imagination which brings them to mind.

The imagination works below the level of conscious reflection, but it makes things easier to believe and understand (it makes “sense” of things), and especially when it uses metaphor. (Just think of the popularity of the metaphor of nature as “mother.”) Most important, in its keenness to discern and establish connections the imagination can get out of hand: the paranoid schizophrenic uses his imagination, but in ways that make him believe in connections that don’t exist (“that man over there is trying to kill me”).

In other words, the imagination can become undisciplined, untethered to the way things are, sometimes with dangerous results.

My hunch is that both sides of the evolution debate tend to be captive to what Charles Taylor would call an “imaginary,” a pre-conscious way of perceiving the world that in this case has arisen from being over-impressed by the power of science to deliver truth, deriving in large part from the Enlightenment. The imagination, that is, has got out of hand. The result is that both science and Christian faith are misrepresented.

Turning now to the evolution debate, most of us know that at least some of Charles Darwin’s contemporaries in the nineteenth century, and many since, believed his theory of evolution undermined Christian belief. But fewer realize that the outlook it threatened was far removed from classical or biblical Christianity. It was encapsulated in the well-known and highly popular “natural theology” of William Paley (1743-1805) —which Darwin knew well.

According to Paley, the world showed overwhelming evidence of design, and was created by God in the beginning to be much as we find it now. Darwin’s theory of natural selection did indeed threaten this religious vision. In addition to being struck by the sheer brutality seen in nature, Darwin was convinced that many of the supposedly designed features of living things did not come about by being individually designed by a Creator in the beginning, but through law-governed natural processes over a long period.

In fact, Paley’s theory was not required by science, and certainly not by orthodox Christianity. It was the product of an over-ambitious imagination, one over-enamored with the metaphor of the world as a machine—as many Christians in the nineteenth century (including John Henry Newman) clearly saw.

The sad thing is that an over-active imagination soon got to work on Darwin, taking his theory far beyond what he himself held. One of the first signs that something was getting out of hand was the appearance in the late nineteenth century of an outlook eventually labeled “social Darwinianism,” in which biological concepts are applied to politics and social arrangements. In an extreme form, it is held that we are justified in destroying the physically or mentally handicapped since this helps the “natural” evolutionary process along.

We should be very clear at this point: the view that what we can build our ethics simply by observing a “natural” biological process is not one required by science (nor, of course, by biblical faith); again, it is the product of an over-active imagination.

More notoriously in recent times, the so-called “new atheists” (Richard Dawkins et al.) have elaborated an “imaginary” that sometimes go by the name of “naturalism” or “reductionism.” Behind the colorful rhetoric it’s a vision that turns out to be bleak in the extreme. Dawkins is quite insistent: evolutionary theory requires atheism (something Darwin himself never believed). The universe is a closed system, entirely explicable by the natural sciences, one without any ultimate meaning or purpose, destined to futility.

Again, we should be clear: this kind of all-encompassing vision is not required by science itself. Science is simply not qualified to address the issue of ultimate meaning, the question “Why is there something rather than nothing?” That the world has no purpose is not something that can be verified, deductively or empirically, on scientific grounds. It can only be presumed by the scientist, not demonstrated.

It’s no wonder that many scientists have accused the ever-polemical Dawkins of letting his imagination run away with him: his images may be striking and memorable (“meme,” God as a “virus”) but many of them are not justified by scientific evidence. And, needless to say, Dawkins’s account of the Christian faith has little to do with mainstream Christianity; in the words of David Bentley Hart, we are treated to “spasmodic assaults on whole armies of straw men” (The Experience of God).

The approach typified by Dawkins has provoked fierce opposition, much of it appearing long before Dawkins himself: from those who espouse “creationism” and the rather more slippery “intelligent design,” for example, which appeal to science (and especially in the case of the first) to the Bible. Yet, again, both of these theories are articulating imaginative constructs that are not generally well grounded in scientific evidence (like Dawkins, their supporters are generally over-enamored with the explanatory reach of science). Further, their readings of biblical texts (especially Genesis) are often highly dubious.

Join us tomorrow for Part 2 of this post, in which Jeremy suggests how artists can model a more responsible form of imagination.


Jeremy Begbie is Thomas A. Langford Research Professor of Theology at Duke University, North Carolina, and Affiliated Lecturer in the Faculty of Music at the University of Cambridge. He is a professionally trained musician, and has taught widely in the UK, USA and South Africa.

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Roger A. Sawtelle - #85534

May 23rd 2014

Tony,

In addition to the above which is very important there is something that you and all other Christians need to be very aware of.

God created the Hebrew/Jewish people and gave them the Mosaic Covenant.  What that did was not bring salvation into the world in itself, but set the stage for the coming of Jesus Christ, Who brought the real true salvation.

The problem with the Mosaic Covenant kis that it is legalistic.  The problem that Jesus taught and worked against was Legalism, which is serving God by keeping the Law, however that is defined.

Sadly many people, including Evangelicals, but certainly not limited to them, have made their form of “Christianity” into a glorified form of Legalism.  No one is saying that the Law, particularly defined as the Decalogue is not good, but Jesus made it clear that obeying the Law does not lead to salvation.  See Mk 10:17-21.  

Also one can argue that one set of rules is better than another, so one Legalism is better than another, Jesus and Paul say that all Legalism falls short and only faith in Jesus Christ and salvation through Him leads to the Father.

I do not enjoy judging the faith of others, because that is God’s job.  Only God knows for sure if you are saved, because God knows your heart, not your works.  Even though your mind might be confused by Legalism, your heart might be right with God.

However I would be remiss if I did not share the truth that I received from the Bible, from Jesus Christ, and from the Holy Spirit, which is that humans are not justified by works according to the Law, but by right relationship of faith through grace to God the Father through God the Son and God the Spirit. 

The problem is that we want something to boast about, something which we want think makes us better than others.  However the problem with this is there will come a time when we will lose this “edge” and then where are we?  Boast not in yourself, but in the Lord Jesus. 

We love our children when they do well and give them gifts, but we also love our children when they don’t do so well and they might need gifts then too.  God gives us the greatest gift, salvation, not because we are strong, smart, and good, but because we need it.

We did not earn it, we do not deserve it, and therefore, when we have it, we cannnot lose God’s love for us through Jesus Christ. 

The problem with many folk is that they feel that they are doing quite well on their own keeping the Law that they do not need Jesus Christ to go beyond the Legalism to Salvation.  I hope that this is not you.   

We need to go beyond Legalisms if we are to have any peace in the world today.  As long as Islam, Judaism, Humanism, Christianity, etc. dabate which is the better Legalism, we are doomed.  Therefore Christianity as salvation through faith and love rather than Legalism is most important.

 

 


Tony - #85546

May 27th 2014

Roger…

In addition to the above which is very important there is something that you and all other Christians need to be very aware of.

God created the Hebrew/Jewish people and gave them the Mosaic Covenant.  What that did was not bring salvation into the world in itself, but set the stage for the coming of Jesus Christ, Who brought the real true salvation.

Roger, I have said that the “Mosaic Covenant” set the stage for the coming of Jesus Christ.  “The Hebrew Patriarchs were responsible for the scheme of an elaborate plan which included the establishment of moral laws and the sacred observance of festivals, celebrations, and ceremonies.  In effect, this arrangement was the redeeming qualification for mankind from sin and imperfection, in preparation for the arrival of Jesus Christ the Son of God.”

The reason I stated that, “this arrangement was the redeeming qualification for mankind from sin and imperfection,“was because the celebration of Passover, instated through Moses in Egypt and held for 1500 years, was a sign of things to come.  Namely, the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ as the Passover Lamb.  Thus, yes, as I stated, Jesus “brought the real true salvation.”

 

“The problem with the Mosaic Covenant is that it is legalistic.  The problem that Jesus taught and worked against was Legalism, which is serving God by keeping the Law, however that is defined.”

Roger, I hope you understand that these [legalistic] “Works” are not the “Works” I was referring to in my previous posts.  The “Works” that I refer to for Salvation are, “humility, prayer, seeking God’s face, and the turning away from wicked ways.”

 

“No one is saying that the Law, particularly defined as the Decalogue is not good, but Jesus made it clear that obeying the Law does not lead to salvation.”

Roger, I believe you’re confusing the “Decalogue” Law with the burdensome, religious service Laws that were placed upon the people.

In Matthew 23:2-4 Jesus said, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat:  All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.  For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.”  In today’s world, apart from compulsory or obligatory coersion, these [Works] may include, but are not limited to, voluntary activities such as - religious services, maintenance of church grounds, and other forms of voluntary assistance where members of the organization believe Salvation is earned and merited.

What is imperative for [Salvation] is for individuals in [Civil Society] to abide by the rules, as set forth, by the [Criminal Code] according to its regulatory mandates.  The [Decalogue] contains the core attributes of these rules which make up the [Criminal Law].  The regulation of social conduct is essential for the prevention of; threatening, harming, or otherwise endangering the health, safety, and moral welfare of the people.

Jesus stated, in Matthew 5:27-28, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”  In this same sense it can be said that whosoever maliciously attacks the psychological integrity of an individual has already violently attacked the physical well-being of the person in his heart.  Therefore, the “Works of Salvation” are, “humility, prayer, seeking God’s face, and the turning away from wicked ways.”

 

Also one can argue that one set of rules is better than another, so one Legalism is better than another,”

I will suggest that when you are in the United States it would be best for you to abide by the criminal code of the United States and when you travel, say to England, it would be best for you to abide by the criminal code of the England.

 

Jesus and Paul say that all Legalism falls short and only faith in Jesus Christ and salvation through Him leads to the Father.”

Hypocrite is the man if when in public in the United States abides by the criminal code of the United States and then at home treats his wife in a reprehensible manner, and hypocrite is the man if when in public in England abides by the criminal code of England but when at work is cruel to his fellow employees.  However, righteous is the man who abides by the criminal code when in public in the United States or in England and also treats his wife and fellow employees with the respect they deserve.

 

“The Problem with many folk is that they feel that they are doing quite well on their own keeping the Law that they do not need Jesus Christ to go beyond the Legalism to Salvation.  I hope that this is not you.”

Roger…Jesus is on my mind and in my heart from the moment I wake to the point when it is time for bed.  John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  Salvation comes only through Jesus Christ and the Grace of God.

 


Roger A. Sawtelle - #85543

May 27th 2014

Tony,

You have got Old Testament theology down pretty well.  But Christianity is not based on OT theology, but the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

What is the NT theology of salvation?


Tony - #85547

May 27th 2014

Roger…

You have got Old Testament theology down pretty well.  But Christianity is not based on OT theology, but the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Christianity is [wholly] and [exquisitely] based on Old Testament theology and the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ [is] the perfect fulfillment of that theology.  


Eddie - #85551

May 28th 2014

Hi, Tony.

I think your statement here is one that the major Reformers of the 16th century would agree on.

Some people seem to wish to equate “Old Testament” with “Judaism” and “New Testament” with “Christianity” but in fact that isn’t the traditional Protestant way of understanding the relationship between the Testaments.  For an orthodox Protestant (indeed, for an orthodox Christian of any kind), the Old Testament is not just a Jewish book, but also a Christian book.  Indeed, understood as a Jewish book, it’s more properly called “Hebrew Bible”; when a Christian refers to it as the “Old Testament” it is being taken up into Christian religion as the first part of a two-part Christian revelation.  And in that understanding, “Old Testament” doesn’t mean “flawed revelation” but something more like “deep and wonderful but incomplete revelation.”  Unfortunately, some Protestants in recent years—usually those furthest from the Calvinist theology and leaning strongly toward a popular Arminianism—think in terms of “Old Testament bad, New Testament good.”  

It is this hostility to the Old Testament, and the false identification of “Old Testament teaching” with a “religion of law and works” which has led some of them to deny that Christians are bound by the moral commands of the Decalogue.  But of course Christ never spoke against the Decalogue and made clear that he expected his followers to honor it.  And the Old Testament teaching contains much more than just a set of laws.  How anyone could read Jeremiah and think that Old Testament spirituality focuses on a slavish works-righteousness is beyond me.

Sometimes I think I detect a few hints of Marcionitism in the scornful attitude some modern Protestants take toward the Old Testament.  


Roger A. Sawtelle - #85548

May 27th 2014

Tony,

So you are saying that Christianity and Judaism are theologically the same.

So a good Jew is a good Christain, and Paul and the writer of Hebrews were wrong to say anything different.


Tony - #85549

May 27th 2014

Roger…

You know very well I am not saying that Christianity and Judaism are theologically the same.  I believe my statement is clear enough.

“Christianity is [wholly] and [exquisitely] based on Old Testament theology and the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ [is] the perfect fulfillment of that theology.”

Also, read my post #85546 above, you might have missed it as I replied to it instead of the end of the thread!


Roger A. Sawtelle - #85554

May 28th 2014

Tony wrote:

Roger…Jesus is on my mind and in my heart from the moment I wake to the point when it is time for bed.  John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  Salvation comes only through Jesus Christ and the Grace of God.

That is a Christian statement of faith that a Jew cannot say and still be Jewish. 

What did you do to be selected for salvation by God?

You said that you did nothing to deserve this salvation, because you said you were saved by grace of God which is undeserved love.

We need agaon to clarify what the Bible says.  First the Bible is about Covenants, not theology per se.  The Old Covenant or Testament, which is the Mosaic Covenant, based on the Decalogue, but is more than the Decalogue, and the New Covenant of Jesus Christ. 

John1:17  For the Law was given through Moses; Grace and Truth came through Jesus Christ.

Jesus and Paul said that these two covenants are incompatible, because one is higher than the other.  They are both good in that they are both from God, but if one holds to the Mosaic Covenant, one cannot hold to the Covenant of Jesus also. 

My hope is built on nothing less or nothing else than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.  I dare not trust the sweetest frame (the Decalogue) but wholly lean on Jesus Name.

The Law is good, but I cannot fulfill the Law and therefore receive the benefit of salvation from the Law.  Only through the love, power, and wisdom of Jesus, i.e. the Holy Spirit can I in some sense do God’s Will.

I cannot earn or deserve salvation.  In fact I can only receive salvation when I finally accept that my way, my power, my wisdom is wrong and God’s Way is right.  In other words when I stop trying to please God and allow God to rule my life.    

The Law tells us what not to do, but God’s Spirit tells us what we are to do.  We are to follow God’s plan of history, not ours, or what we think God should do.

There are two serious problems with Legalism.  One is boasting.  If we earn salvation, then we have the right to brag that we are better than others.  We lose our humility.

The other is fear.  If we are able to earn salvation by good works, we are able to lose our salvation by bad works.  Therefore we are subject to fear, not joy and peace.  Christians are forgiven and saved once and for all and thus are free from fear.    

Christians are saved by grace and not selected according our works.  Certainly we have works, but we have works because we are saved, not saved because we have works. 

The problem we have in the US today is that certain leaders tell people they cannot be saved unless they believe certain doctrines, attend certain churches, embrace a certain life style, rather than tell them that salvation comes when they allow Jesus Christ come into their hearts.

Jesus Christ does not reject or judge.  He accepts and changes.  He would not put up with much of what seems to be going on in Evangelical Churches as well as many Liberal Churches.    

 


James Stump - #85575

May 30th 2014

EDITORIAL NOTE:  Some comments have been removed from this post because they violated our “Ground Rules for Commenting.”  The offending commenters have been notified.  Unfortunately, when others have their comments nested under comments that are removed, they no longer appear because they have no where to “hang”.  Please consider this when responding to comments that clearly violate our policies.


Tony - #85578

May 31st 2014

Hi Roger…

No apologies necessary for not responding earlier - We all must have a little patience and wait our turn!

 

A little refresher on language rules before getting to the main point.

Splitting hair: to quibble; to try to make petty distinctions.  <Idioms.thefreedictionary.com>

Semiotic: observant of signs, to interpret signs:  a general philosophical theory of signs and symbols that deals esp with their function in both artificially constructed and natural languages and comprises  syntactics, semantics, and pragmatics.  <Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary>

Syntactic: arranging together: of, relating to, of according to the rules of syntax or syntactics.  <Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary>

Syntactics: a branch of semiotic that deals with the formal relations between signs or expressions in abstraction from their signification and their interpreters.  <Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary>

Semantics: 1: the study of meanings:  a: the historical and psychological study and the classification of changes in the signification of words or forms viewed as factors in linguistic development  b: (1): semiotic (2): a branch of semiotic dealing with the relations between signs and what they refer to and including theories of denotation, extension, naming, and truth  2:  General Semantics  3 a: the meaning or relationship of meanings of a sign or set of signs; esp: connotative meaning  b: the language used (as in advertising or political propaganda) to achieve a desired effect on an audience.  <Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary>

Pragmatics: a branch of semiotic that deals with the relation between signs or linguistic expressions and their users.  <Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary>

Connote: 1: to be associated with or inseperable from as a consequence or concomitant (the remorse so often connoted by guilt)  2: to convey in addition to exact explicit meaning (all the misery poverty brings)  b: to imply as a logical connotation  <Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary>

Etymology: 1: the history of a linguistic form (as a word) shown by tracing its development since its earliest recorded occurrence in the language where it is found, by tracing its transmission from one language to another, by analyzing it into its component parts, by identifying its cognates in other languages, or by tracing it and its cognates to a common ancestral form in an ancestral language 2: a branch of linguistics concerned with etymologies  <Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary>

Linguistics: the study of human speech including the units, nature, structure, and modification of language  <Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary>

Cognate: 3 a: related by descent from the same ancestal language  b: of a word or morpheme; related by derivation, borrowing , or descent  c: of a substantive; related to a verb usu. by derivation and serving as its object to reinforce the meaning <Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary>

 

 


Tony - #85579

May 31st 2014

Roger…

Note the [brackets] throughout!

James 2:14-25 NIV, “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no [deeds]?  Can such faith save them?  Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.  If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?  In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by [action], is dead.

But some will say, ‘You have faith; I have [deeds].’

Show me your faith without [deeds], and I will show you my faith by my [deeds].  You believe that there is one God.  Good!  Even the demons believe that - and shudder.

You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without [deeds] is useless?  Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?  You see that his faith and his [actions] were working together, and his faith was made complete by [what he did].  And the scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,’ and he was called God’s friend.  You see that a person is considered righteous by [what they do] and not by faith alone.

In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for [what she did] when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction?  As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without [deeds] is dead.”

 

The Words - Deeds, Actions, and Works

Faith without [deeds] is no good - (What good is it, my brother’s and sister’s…).

Faith without [action] is dead - (In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by [action], is dead).

The [deeds] or, if you will, the [action] that James is referring to here is [compassion] - in relation to (cloths and food for our brothers and sisters) - and [obedience and offering to God] in relation to (Abraham offering his son Isaac).

Abraham, Rahab, and People are righteous righteous because of [what he did], [what she did], and [what they do].

It should be noted and understood that the words, [deeds] and [action] in the New Internatinal Version were substituted and associated with the word [works] which is used in the King James Version.  Thus, the words [deeds], [actions], and [works] all have the same significance and implications in this context.

 

The Words - Faith and Believe

James 2:18-19 states, “But someone will say, ‘you have [faith]; I have [deeds].’  Show me your [faith] without [deeds], and I will show you my [faith] by my [deeds].  You [believe] that there is one God.  Good!  Even the demons [believe] that - and shudder.”

Here, James is implying that the words [faith] and [believe] are associated with the same meaning - The demons [believe] and have [faith] that God exists, but shudder, because they have no [deeds], [actions], or [works] - in other words - the demons shudder because they have [no compassion] and [no obedience and offering to God].

 

I have stated in a previous post that, “The ‘Works’ that I refer to for Salvation are, “humility, prayer, seeking God’s face, and the turning away from wicked ways.”

This is where I quoted 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

Roger, you stated, “thank you for clarifying what you mean as ‘works.’  The problem is that no one else uses this definition.  Works are defined as actions, while these are attitudes.”

“Paul gives us a list of Fruit of the Spirit.”

(Gal 5:22 NIV)  “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,”

Roger, your statement is wrong “that no one else uses this definition” for “works.”  2 Chronicles 7:14 is wherefrom I quoted the “works” for Salvation - “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”  These are all [actions] and thus they are [works].

Also, note how God “will forgive their sin,” once, and only once - “then will I hear from heaven” - “His People” perform these [works] of redemption.  These are [works] of redemption for salvation.

Roger, the “Fruit of the Spirit” from (Gal 5:22 NIV) “are” attitudes, but they are also [works] of savation - “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,”

That you say that these are attitudes (manners, dispositions, feelings, positins with regard to a person or thing) “is” correct.  However, once they are put into [action] they are [works].

 

The Ten Commandments contain the core attributes of the standard of rules for the Kingdom of God.  It is interesting to note  that amongst the Ten Commandments the first four involve the respect for God and for worship, and the remaining six require the respect for others - respect for parents, life, marriage, property, honor, and desires.  It is in this way that Jesus reduced the [Ten Laws] to His [Two Laws] Matthew 22:37-40:

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

These are [deeds], [actions], and [works] that must be respected for all to go well in a person’s life.  However, we all know that we live in an imperfect world with imperfect people that make imperfect decisions.  We ourselves are imperfect people and we ourselves make imperfect decisions.  We could, but only, strive to be better people and strive to make better decisions.  This is the reason for asking for forgiveness and for the forgiveness of others.

Galations 6:7 states, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”  We all know and understand the principle that - what goes around comes around - Whatever you do comes back to you.  The Law of Karma is continuously in the process of balancing itself.  If we do good to the Universe, the Universe will do good to us - If we do evil to the Universe, the Universe will do evil to us.  A wise man once explained that his son, standing upright, would look straight to the sky and spit into the air and would then wonder why he would be spit upon.  He exclaimed, “he Just doesn’t get it.”  Some people just don’t understand the workings of gravity.


Roger A. Sawtelle - #85580

May 31st 2014

Tony wrote:

I have stated in a previous post that, “The ‘Works’ that I refer to for Salvation are, “humility, prayer, seeking God’s face, and the turning away from wicked ways.”

Tony, everyone does not have the ability do define words their own way.  We cannot define evil as good and visa versa.  Works are things we do. 

Prayer is not a work.  Repentance is not a work. Humility is not a work.  Giving is a work.  Praise is a work.  Serving is a work.

Prayer, repentance, and humility are not required by the Decalogue.  Therefore how can these attitudes lead to salvation through the Decalogue, when they are not part of the Decalogue.

Under the OT Covenant people try to do right to be saved.  Under the New Covenant of Jesus Christ people are saved therefore they do right. 

Under the OT Covenant people do right so God will bless them.  Under the Covenant of Jesus Christ God has blessed people with salvation, God’s greatest blessing, so they want to do right.  

Christianity does not work by the Law of Karma.  It works by forgiveness.  Forgiveness and Love which breaks the Law of Karma is our only hope to bring peace to the world and receive salvation. 

Please read Paul’s Letter to the Romans.  You still have a lot to learn.     


Tony - #85583

May 31st 2014

Roger…

Under the New Covenant of Jesus Christ people are saved.

What must people do to be saved?

Are all people saved?

Are there some people who are not saved?

Why are some people not saved?


Roger A. Sawtelle - #85585

June 1st 2014

Tony,

That is what Paul seeks to answer in Romans.  I do not think that I can give a better answer than he gave.  That is why I strongly recommend this book.

Another answer can be found in the story of the Rich Young Ruler, which I refered you to earlier.  


Tony - #85586

June 1st 2014

Roger…

It is clear why you have avoided answering these four simple questions - because answering them will expose the truth.  There is no more running around the bush - this smacks the truth head on.  This is why you have evaded the questions.  Nevertheless, I will answer the questions with [your] reference to the book of Romans.

 

Romans 1: 1-5  “By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:”

Paul states that he, and other faithful Christians have received grace and apostleship because of a [specific] requirement - obedience to the faith.  It is through [obedience] to the faith that we receive grace (mercy, clemency, pardon).

 

Romans 1:16  “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.  For therein is the righteousnes of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”

Paul states that everyone who [believes] and has [faith] receives the power of the Holy Spirit.  

 

Romans 1:18-19 “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;  Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.”

Paul states that them to whom God has revealed the [truth] and hold the [truth] in unrighteousness will receive the wrath of God.  Hence, not all people under the New Covenant of Jesus Christ are saved.

 

Romans 1:21-22 “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,”

Paul states that Christians - “when they knew God” - who received grace and “glorified him not as God, neither were thankful” lost their salvation.  Why?  Because they “became vain in there imaginations and their foolish heart was darkened.  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,”

 

Romans 1:28-32  “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;  Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”

Paul states again that Christians who “did not like to retain God in their knowledge” are given “over to a reprobate mind.”  Implying that once saved does not mean always saved.  Also, note what the corrupting factors are! 

Roger…do you not see the Ten Commandments there?  Covetousness, envy, murder, deceit, haters of God, disobedient to parents!  It’s a slam dunk!  This debate is over!

What must people do to be saved?  Are all people saved?  Are there some people who are not saved?  Why are some people not saved? 

There you go Roger!  Your questions are aswered!


Roger A. Sawtelle - #85593

June 1st 2014

Tony, Tony, Tony

You have to read more carefully, unless you have someone else who is misinterpreting the Bible for you.

This passage in the beginning of Romans is not about Christians and Christian theology.  It is about “natural theology.”  Paul is saying that God reveals Godself in and through nature, so no one can claim ignorance as an excuse not to be righteous and live by faith.  Please note that the righteous live by faith, not by obedience to the Decalogue or Mosaic Covenant.

Continuing.  Here Paul is talking about Gentiles or Pagans.  Because they did not worship the true invisible God, but false visible idols, their minds were corrupted by sin and God gave them over to the power of sin.

Therefore 1) Paul is not talking about Christians, but about Gentiles.  2) He says that the Righteous, be they Jews, Christians, or others live by faith in God, and not by following a list of rules.  3)  He says that God gives those who are unfaithful over to the power of sin, which causes them to break God’s Moral Law.

Paul says that people are not sinners because they do bad things, they do bad thiongs because they are sinners.  The only way to stop doing wrong deeds is to become good and the only way to become good is to accept the Covenant of Jesus Christ, not the one of Moses.

God so loved the world that He sent His only Son into the World, so that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting Life. 

What must people do to be saved?  Believe in God and have faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.  Anything more or less than this is false.

Obedience to the Law is better than nothing, but it is NOT the Way of Salvation.  Faith in Jesus, Who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life is only sure Way of Salvation. 

If you are involved in a false cult or sect, leave right now. 

            


Tony - #85598

June 2nd 2014

Roger…

If you are involved in a false cult or sect, leave right now.

I am so far away from that woman and her daughters that, look….You can’t even see me!

 

 


Roger A. Sawtelle - #85609

June 3rd 2014

Tony,

Something is wrong if you do not recognize clear Biblal teaching.

 


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