problem of evil and suffering
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
29-07-2015, 07:49 AM
RE: problem of evil and suffering
(28-07-2015 11:20 PM)Fodder_From_The_Truth Wrote:  Reading Q laud himself as "sent by God to preach" should be all you need to hear to know what he's truly about.

No, not all, I'm here sent by God to preach love, free will choice to receive love, truth, justice and etc.

I'm not here to make you a Scientologist, JW, Mormon, or God/god forbid, an atheist!

I'm told atheists on forums like TTA are bitter and angry. If you are not, your posts to me will be respectful, insightful and thoughtful. Prove me wrong by your adherence to decent behavior.
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
29-07-2015, 10:16 AM
RE: problem of evil and suffering
(29-07-2015 07:48 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  
(28-07-2015 01:14 PM)dancefortwo Wrote:  It's all a moot point. You need incontrovertible evidence that a god even exists and thus far, that hasn't happened. Ever.

See my post above. Do you use the term "incontrovertible" evidence when assessing who to trust? When not to drink cyanide or open a can of Campbell's soup to ingest it? Do you have incontrovertible evidence that cyanide kills and Campbell's doesn't? Do you have incontrovertible evidence that you exist, let alone that God does? Do you have incontrovertible evidence that your soul mate "really" loves you? Have they incontrovertibly proven it?

God has given adequate evidence to all of His existence via His primary comparison in the scriptures to the heavens. As the universe is infinite or as close as we can imagine something of infinite volume, God's love and compassion and justice are infinite.

Yes, I do need and use incontrovertible evidence when assessing who to trust, when to not drink cyanine etc. If I didn't use evidence for such things I'd have been dead long ago. Not using logic and evidence is religions cash cow.

Your particular god has just as much evidence for his existence as Zeus does for his.....which is to say...none. Oh, except for a very long book written by humans set in various existing geographic locations. A book written about a god isn't evidence of a god, it's only evidence is that it's a book written about a god. Nothing more.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 3 users Like dancefortwo's post
29-07-2015, 11:40 AM
RE: problem of evil and suffering
(29-07-2015 07:45 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  The New Testament uses the word "predestined" regarding "saved" (from memory) five times. Each time, always, it is used with the word "foreknowledge". We launched Apollo 11 at the moon to a point in space where it would come to meet the rocket and vice versa after several days' journey from Earth orbit. We did not predestine or force or make the moon to arrive at the point where Apollo 11 would meet it, but we had foreknowledge, inductive, observable, deductive, demonstrated, that the moon would be there.

God predestined people to be saved in terms of He knows who will trust Him. He has foreknowledge and meets people where they need to be met. Same for evidence leading to placing one's trust in Christ.

Another example is how the NT says God predestines Christians to be conformed over time to the image of Christ. That's like saying I predestined my students to learn my syllabus or I predestined my family to eat pizza when they asked to visit a pizzeria. You are putting way too much weight on predestination notions IMHO, then again, I find that most atheists love predestination because it lets them be fatalistic about Christ--"If there is a God, He or She would have to force me to love them or force me by overwhelming evidence to believe." Is this a tactic you could successfully employ in human interactions via "free will"? "This woman says she doesn't have feelings for me but I'm going to overwhelm her with flowers, cards and candy until she changes her desire/her will for me!" The answer, of course, is a resounding "No, this stuff I put on God wouldn't work with humans, either!" because we live in a world of conflicting wills.

You are late to the TTA party, and that's fine, but also apparently late to Hebrew study--again, for what feels like the umpteenth time, I will answer re: Pharaoh. The Hebrew for God on Pharaoh's heart means to "test what is there" or "confirm what is there" as a rope squeezed around a sponge gets the water out of "Pharaoah's heart". God foresaw Pharaoh's reaction and says, "Look, a lot of stuff will happen to Pharaoh and you'll see what's in his heart."

The same can be said of any Christian, of any atheist. God is testing us now at TTA. Will we pass the test?

Surprisingly, God is like a professor offering students a final exam worth say, 50% of the semester grade, and also the answer key. I know I would visit a professor during his office hours to get this answer key. I wouldn't shout at the professor that by god, he has to meet me on my turf in my comfort zone and print the answer key on my paper and so on.

PS. I'd like to learn more about your 30+ years of Bible study. Because we would necessarily agree that historical and other context is vital, but whoever told you the Word of God isn't for people today to live practically, live wisely, and understand God better may have been criticizing the Bible but not really studying it. In plain English, it tells the children of Israel to mediate on it constantly to save their own lives! Where did you get this stuff from? Hint: Not the Bible.

PPS. Look at it this way, obviously the Bible is relevant for our lives today since you are dredging up the way "god" treated some Pharaoh 3,500 years ago. Obviously, the Bible bothers you today...

Let’s look exactly at what happens in these passages. I find that you are missing many points as you attempt to justify the discrepancies and smooth over them with typical rhetoric.

First, god commands Moses to have the Israelites turn back and encamp by the sea. This would make Pharaoh think that the Israelites have lost their way. god will then harden Pharaoh’s heart and have him chase after the Israelites (verses 1-4, 8-9). Second, when god commands Moses to split the sea and lead the Israelites through it, god again states that he will harden Pharaoh’s heart so that Pharaoh and his army will follow the Israelites into the sea (verses 15-18).

So, it is due to god’s hardening of Pharaoh’s heart that the Egyptians set out in pursuit of the Israelites after having let them go, and then foolishly enter the split sea. All of this was calculated to bring glory to god and to teach the Egyptians that god is the Lord.

Christians usually think of the Torah as teaching freedom of will. This is what god seems to say to Cain in Genesis 4:7 – even though sin crouches at the door to bring people down, people can rule over sin. And this is what Moses clearly implies when he tells the Israelites that he has placed before them two alternatives, life or death, and they should choose life (Deut. 30:19) So why does god take away Pharaoh’s free will and harden his heart?

The non-Priestly report of the appointment of Moses (Exodus 3-6:1) itself seems to reflect more than one point of view. When god first appoints Moses at the burning bush, he tells Moses: "Go and assemble the elders of Israel and say to them: the Lord, the god of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, has appeared to me and said, I have taken note of you and of what is being done to you in Egypt; and I have declared: I will take you out of the misery of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites…They (= the elders) will listen to you; then you shall go with the elders of Israel to the king of Egypt and you shall say to him, “The Lord, the god of the Hebrews, manifested Himself to us. Now, therefore, let us go a distance of three days into the wilderness to sacrifice to the Lord our god. Yet I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go except by a mighty hand. 3:20 So I will stretch out My hand and smite Egypt with various wonders which I will work upon them and after that he shall let you go."

According to this speech, god is fully aware of the fact that a simple request will not convince Pharaoh that he should let the Israelites go. In fact, he explicitly informs Moses that Pharaoh will refuse the request. Only after god stretches his hand and smites the Egyptians with various plagues will Pharaoh agree to let the Israelites go.
This text never mentions that god plans to harden Pharaoh’s heart. This idea comes up mostly in the Priestly material. Here, Moses is simply told that god knows that Pharaoh will not readily agree to free the Israelites, and that he will have to first suffer several mighty blows.

There is, however, a problem with this. If this is what god told Moses, why does Moses get so bent out of shape when, two chapters later (still within the non-Priestly stratum), Pharaoh ignores his request to let Israel go?!
(5:22) And Moses returned to Yhwh and said, “My Lord, why have you caused evil to this people, why did you send me? Since I have come to Pharaoh to speak in Your name it has become worse for this people, and you have not at all saved your people!” Yhwh said to Moses, “Now you will see that which I shall do to Pharaoh, for he shall send them with a mighty hand; and with a mighty hand he shall expel them from his land” (Exod 5:22-6:1)

What sense does Moses’ complaint make? Didn’t god already warn him that this would happen?

Scholars agree that it seems the passage describing Moses’ complaint was written before the passage in which god tells Moses about Pharaoh’s stubbornness and the many plagues that will be needed (3:18-20). In other words, we can isolate two stages in the growth of Non-P thus far:

Stage 1 (5:22-6:1) – Pharaoh unexpectedly ignores Moses and the signs from god. Moses, having expected his speech and demonstration to work, panics when this occurs and god promises to take care of it.

Stage 2 (3:18) – god knows in advance that Pharaoh will ignore Moses, and warns Moses accordingly.

The supplementary character of the later material in chapter 3 within the non-P stratum is also indicated by the fact that it clashes with Exodus 4:1, where Moses says, “But they won’t believe me and they won’t listen to my voice, for they will say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you.’” It is difficult to imagine Moses saying this directly after god specifically tells him in 3:18, “they will listen to your voice.” Thus, scholars suggest, 4:1 originally followed immediately after 3:17.

3:16 Go and assemble the elders of Israel and say to them: the Lord, the god of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, has appeared to me and said, I have taken note of you and of what is being done to you in Egypt; 3:17 and I have declared: I will take you out of the misery of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites… 4:1 But Moses spoke up and said: “But they won’t believe me and they won’t listen to my voice, for they will say, The Lord has not appeared to you.”

The verses in between, 3:17-3:22, were added later, interrupting the flow of this narrative. Why would an author or editor seek to add this section here? It seems that the addition of this material can best be understood in light of what we find in many parts of the non-Priestly stratum concerning the plagues.

For example, at the non-P account of the plague of blood, which starts in 7:14. In 7:14 god tells Moses, “The heart of Pharaoh is heavy; he refuses to send the people.” This pattern is found in nearly all the non-P plague texts (8:11a, 28; 9:7, 34). Note that it is Pharaoh who makes his own heart heavy, or whose heart is simply heavy by itself; god does not cause it to be so, and the verse does not add the standard (Priestly) refrain, “as foretold by god.”

In this earliest stratum, god does not seem to have anticipated so much resistance from Pharaoh. In spite of the terrible plague of blood, Pharaoh simply pays no regard to it (7:23). Moreover, 7:24 tells us, “All the Egyptians dug up water from the outskirts of the Nile to drink, because they could not drink water from the Nile.”

The basic implication is that the Egyptians did not die of thirst during the seven day blood plague, since they maneuvered their way around the plague by digging up water round about the Nile (since in non-P, only the Nile was afflicted). In other words, the plague didn’t quite do the trick, as god had expected, so god had to send another plague, and then another. Moreover, at least parts of the non-Priestly plague account suggest that god is being toyed with. Pharaoh continuously promises to let the Israelites out, yet as soon as god removes the plague, his heart becomes heavy and he refuses to let them go.

Thus, in the non-Priestly story of the plague of locusts, Moses promises Pharaoh that he will remove the plague, but pleads with him, “but let not Pharaoh act deceitfully yet again by not letting the people go to sacrifice to the Lord” (8:25). But, sure enough, as soon as god removed the plague: “Pharaoh made his heart heavy this time also, and would not let the people go” (v. 28).
Similarly, in the non-Priestly account of the hail plague, Pharaoh promises to let the Israelites go, but retracts as soon as the plague is stopped. (9:34) “But when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, he continued to sin and his heart became heavy, his and those of his courtiers.”

So why does god continually stop the plagues in the middle, before getting what he wants? If the plagues are meant as a pressure tactic to force the Egyptians to let the Israelites go (as god does with the Ashdodites in 1 Sam. 5:6 for instance), then it seems to have taken an inordinately long time to get the job done.

Even the plague of the firstborn doesn’t seem to have completed the job. In the non-Priestly account of the miracle at the sea, Pharaoh and his courtiers have “a change of heart about the people” when they hear that they have fled (Exodus 14:5). In this early layer of non-Priestly plague narrative, god learns of Pharaoh’s stubbornness through his encounter with him, and gradually steps up his efforts to get Pharaoh to release the Israelites as Pharaoh’s resistance persists. Later editors simply couldn’t accept the notion that god is not all-knowing and is taken aback by Pharaoh’s actions.

I might add here for your benefit, it is worth noting that the idea that god knows in advance how human beings will choose to act is not the only one we find in the Torah (see, e.g., Gen. 15:13-16; Deut. 31:16-18). For example, it is only after god sees that Abraham binds his son on the altar that he learns of Abraham’s devotion to him (Gen. 22:12)—the text explicitly says, “for now I know. Indeed, god’s uncertainty as to how people will act is the basis of his decision to try them.

The secondary passage in Exodus 3 attempts to solve the theological problem of Pharaoh surprising god by his defiance. It unequivocally asserts that god knows about the long and difficult road ahead in his confrontation with the Egyptians. There is nothing surprising about this for god, and, therefore, god appropriately prepares Moses for the fact that many plagues will be needed. Similarly, each time god brings on a new plague, and each time he stops it in the middle, god knows full well what will happen next.

Yet, this solution imparts a new problem, which I wouldn't expect you to see. If god indeed knows all of this in advance, why doesn’t he start with the most severe and effective plague, the plague of the firstborn, or simply kill the Egyptians and take the Israelites out?

Well this is because the writer wants the reader to think the plagues are not only meant to exert pressure of Pharaoh to let the Israelites out. They are also meant as signs of god’s might and power. This is what god means when he says to Moses in 3:20, “I will stretch out My hand and smite Egypt with various wonders which I will work upon them.” The plagues are (wonders) not merely (beatings). god is counting on Pharaoh’s stubbornness to display his might and assert his power. Although the text states that the Egyptians are to benefit from this knowledge, since the story is recorded and read by Israel, the Israelites are taught of god’s greatness.

So, even though god is earnestly trying to relieve the Israelites from their terrible suffering as quickly as possible, he is also not quite that much in a hurry. After all, the longer Pharaoh resists god’s demands, the longer god can show off his might, teaching the Egyptians, and indirectly the Israelites, of his greatness. He is also not that worried that these plagues will in theory affect, not just Pharaoh but all of the Egyptians as I mentioned before. Again, why is a god doing this? How is it even remotely moral to think he is punishing millions for one person's acts? That is unjustifiably grotesque. But I digress, in part.

Again, god knows in advance that Pharaoh will consistently make his heart heavy, but god does not force him to do so, and with good reason. For if god hardens Pharaoh’s heart, it becomes impossible to claim Pharaoh “sinned” in refusing to let the Israelites go (9:34). Consequently, any punishment of Pharaoh and the Egyptians becomes extremely problematic.

By insisting only on god’s foreknowledge of things but not his pre-determination of things, these biblical authors can blame Pharaoh for his refusal to let the Israelites go and at the same time protect god from appearing seriously challenged in his efforts to break Pharaoh’s rebellious spirit. That is, they “have their cake and eat it too.” Does this sound familiar? It should because it's exactly what you have tried to do over countless of posts.

PS – Of course you can find some “good things” in the bible. If one searches enough he/she can extract good from any source. But the fact that people use the bible to directly define their every move in life AND dictate their decisions based on ancient text taken out of context makes it an idol.

PSS – People dredge up all the ISSUES because there are those like you (it seems) who continue to use the bible to cherry pick the good and justify the bad or use the bad to justify their behavior because “the bible said it and I believe it, so that settles it” just because they want every word to be true. If that weren’t the case, the bible would have little relevance in today’s society, as it rightly should.

**Crickets** -- God
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Tonechaser77's post
29-07-2015, 11:53 AM
RE: problem of evil and suffering
The Q Continuum Wrote:  "I dunno. They could be born with AIDS, cancer and five or six other things, suffer painfully, and die young--or be in pain even longer and then pass."

He responded:

"And how long will the child be in Heaven, without pain or suffering?"

I said, "A million years or more..."

You have no evidence of this. You are just talk. All talk. Elephant talk.

NOTE: Member, Tomasia uses this site to slander other individuals. He then later proclaims it a joke, but not in public.
I will call him a liar and a dog here and now.
Banjo.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
30-07-2015, 09:46 AM
RE: problem of evil and suffering
(29-07-2015 10:16 AM)dancefortwo Wrote:  
(29-07-2015 07:48 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  See my post above. Do you use the term "incontrovertible" evidence when assessing who to trust? When not to drink cyanide or open a can of Campbell's soup to ingest it? Do you have incontrovertible evidence that cyanide kills and Campbell's doesn't? Do you have incontrovertible evidence that you exist, let alone that God does? Do you have incontrovertible evidence that your soul mate "really" loves you? Have they incontrovertibly proven it?

God has given adequate evidence to all of His existence via His primary comparison in the scriptures to the heavens. As the universe is infinite or as close as we can imagine something of infinite volume, God's love and compassion and justice are infinite.

Yes, I do need and use incontrovertible evidence when assessing who to trust, when to not drink cyanine etc. If I didn't use evidence for such things I'd have been dead long ago. Not using logic and evidence is religions cash cow.

Your particular god has just as much evidence for his existence as Zeus does for his.....which is to say...none. Oh, except for a very long book written by humans set in various existing geographic locations. A book written about a god isn't evidence of a god, it's only evidence is that it's a book written about a god. Nothing more.

Let's start with our common ground. We both believe in (some) absolute truth and in (some) absolute morals, yes?

I'm told atheists on forums like TTA are bitter and angry. If you are not, your posts to me will be respectful, insightful and thoughtful. Prove me wrong by your adherence to decent behavior.
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
30-07-2015, 09:58 AM
RE: problem of evil and suffering
(29-07-2015 11:40 AM)Tonechaser77 Wrote:  
(29-07-2015 07:45 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  The New Testament uses the word "predestined" regarding "saved" (from memory) five times. Each time, always, it is used with the word "foreknowledge". We launched Apollo 11 at the moon to a point in space where it would come to meet the rocket and vice versa after several days' journey from Earth orbit. We did not predestine or force or make the moon to arrive at the point where Apollo 11 would meet it, but we had foreknowledge, inductive, observable, deductive, demonstrated, that the moon would be there.

God predestined people to be saved in terms of He knows who will trust Him. He has foreknowledge and meets people where they need to be met. Same for evidence leading to placing one's trust in Christ.

Another example is how the NT says God predestines Christians to be conformed over time to the image of Christ. That's like saying I predestined my students to learn my syllabus or I predestined my family to eat pizza when they asked to visit a pizzeria. You are putting way too much weight on predestination notions IMHO, then again, I find that most atheists love predestination because it lets them be fatalistic about Christ--"If there is a God, He or She would have to force me to love them or force me by overwhelming evidence to believe." Is this a tactic you could successfully employ in human interactions via "free will"? "This woman says she doesn't have feelings for me but I'm going to overwhelm her with flowers, cards and candy until she changes her desire/her will for me!" The answer, of course, is a resounding "No, this stuff I put on God wouldn't work with humans, either!" because we live in a world of conflicting wills.

You are late to the TTA party, and that's fine, but also apparently late to Hebrew study--again, for what feels like the umpteenth time, I will answer re: Pharaoh. The Hebrew for God on Pharaoh's heart means to "test what is there" or "confirm what is there" as a rope squeezed around a sponge gets the water out of "Pharaoah's heart". God foresaw Pharaoh's reaction and says, "Look, a lot of stuff will happen to Pharaoh and you'll see what's in his heart."

The same can be said of any Christian, of any atheist. God is testing us now at TTA. Will we pass the test?

Surprisingly, God is like a professor offering students a final exam worth say, 50% of the semester grade, and also the answer key. I know I would visit a professor during his office hours to get this answer key. I wouldn't shout at the professor that by god, he has to meet me on my turf in my comfort zone and print the answer key on my paper and so on.

PS. I'd like to learn more about your 30+ years of Bible study. Because we would necessarily agree that historical and other context is vital, but whoever told you the Word of God isn't for people today to live practically, live wisely, and understand God better may have been criticizing the Bible but not really studying it. In plain English, it tells the children of Israel to mediate on it constantly to save their own lives! Where did you get this stuff from? Hint: Not the Bible.

PPS. Look at it this way, obviously the Bible is relevant for our lives today since you are dredging up the way "god" treated some Pharaoh 3,500 years ago. Obviously, the Bible bothers you today...

Let’s look exactly at what happens in these passages. I find that you are missing many points as you attempt to justify the discrepancies and smooth over them with typical rhetoric.

First, god commands Moses to have the Israelites turn back and encamp by the sea. This would make Pharaoh think that the Israelites have lost their way. god will then harden Pharaoh’s heart and have him chase after the Israelites (verses 1-4, 8-9). Second, when god commands Moses to split the sea and lead the Israelites through it, god again states that he will harden Pharaoh’s heart so that Pharaoh and his army will follow the Israelites into the sea (verses 15-18).

So, it is due to god’s hardening of Pharaoh’s heart that the Egyptians set out in pursuit of the Israelites after having let them go, and then foolishly enter the split sea. All of this was calculated to bring glory to god and to teach the Egyptians that god is the Lord.

Christians usually think of the Torah as teaching freedom of will. This is what god seems to say to Cain in Genesis 4:7 – even though sin crouches at the door to bring people down, people can rule over sin. And this is what Moses clearly implies when he tells the Israelites that he has placed before them two alternatives, life or death, and they should choose life (Deut. 30:19) So why does god take away Pharaoh’s free will and harden his heart?

The non-Priestly report of the appointment of Moses (Exodus 3-6:1) itself seems to reflect more than one point of view. When god first appoints Moses at the burning bush, he tells Moses: "Go and assemble the elders of Israel and say to them: the Lord, the god of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, has appeared to me and said, I have taken note of you and of what is being done to you in Egypt; and I have declared: I will take you out of the misery of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites…They (= the elders) will listen to you; then you shall go with the elders of Israel to the king of Egypt and you shall say to him, “The Lord, the god of the Hebrews, manifested Himself to us. Now, therefore, let us go a distance of three days into the wilderness to sacrifice to the Lord our god. Yet I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go except by a mighty hand. 3:20 So I will stretch out My hand and smite Egypt with various wonders which I will work upon them and after that he shall let you go."

According to this speech, god is fully aware of the fact that a simple request will not convince Pharaoh that he should let the Israelites go. In fact, he explicitly informs Moses that Pharaoh will refuse the request. Only after god stretches his hand and smites the Egyptians with various plagues will Pharaoh agree to let the Israelites go.
This text never mentions that god plans to harden Pharaoh’s heart. This idea comes up mostly in the Priestly material. Here, Moses is simply told that god knows that Pharaoh will not readily agree to free the Israelites, and that he will have to first suffer several mighty blows.

There is, however, a problem with this. If this is what god told Moses, why does Moses get so bent out of shape when, two chapters later (still within the non-Priestly stratum), Pharaoh ignores his request to let Israel go?!
(5:22) And Moses returned to Yhwh and said, “My Lord, why have you caused evil to this people, why did you send me? Since I have come to Pharaoh to speak in Your name it has become worse for this people, and you have not at all saved your people!” Yhwh said to Moses, “Now you will see that which I shall do to Pharaoh, for he shall send them with a mighty hand; and with a mighty hand he shall expel them from his land” (Exod 5:22-6:1)

What sense does Moses’ complaint make? Didn’t god already warn him that this would happen?

Scholars agree that it seems the passage describing Moses’ complaint was written before the passage in which god tells Moses about Pharaoh’s stubbornness and the many plagues that will be needed (3:18-20). In other words, we can isolate two stages in the growth of Non-P thus far:

Stage 1 (5:22-6:1) – Pharaoh unexpectedly ignores Moses and the signs from god. Moses, having expected his speech and demonstration to work, panics when this occurs and god promises to take care of it.

Stage 2 (3:18) – god knows in advance that Pharaoh will ignore Moses, and warns Moses accordingly.

The supplementary character of the later material in chapter 3 within the non-P stratum is also indicated by the fact that it clashes with Exodus 4:1, where Moses says, “But they won’t believe me and they won’t listen to my voice, for they will say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you.’” It is difficult to imagine Moses saying this directly after god specifically tells him in 3:18, “they will listen to your voice.” Thus, scholars suggest, 4:1 originally followed immediately after 3:17.

3:16 Go and assemble the elders of Israel and say to them: the Lord, the god of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, has appeared to me and said, I have taken note of you and of what is being done to you in Egypt; 3:17 and I have declared: I will take you out of the misery of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites… 4:1 But Moses spoke up and said: “But they won’t believe me and they won’t listen to my voice, for they will say, The Lord has not appeared to you.”

The verses in between, 3:17-3:22, were added later, interrupting the flow of this narrative. Why would an author or editor seek to add this section here? It seems that the addition of this material can best be understood in light of what we find in many parts of the non-Priestly stratum concerning the plagues.

For example, at the non-P account of the plague of blood, which starts in 7:14. In 7:14 god tells Moses, “The heart of Pharaoh is heavy; he refuses to send the people.” This pattern is found in nearly all the non-P plague texts (8:11a, 28; 9:7, 34). Note that it is Pharaoh who makes his own heart heavy, or whose heart is simply heavy by itself; god does not cause it to be so, and the verse does not add the standard (Priestly) refrain, “as foretold by god.”

In this earliest stratum, god does not seem to have anticipated so much resistance from Pharaoh. In spite of the terrible plague of blood, Pharaoh simply pays no regard to it (7:23). Moreover, 7:24 tells us, “All the Egyptians dug up water from the outskirts of the Nile to drink, because they could not drink water from the Nile.”

The basic implication is that the Egyptians did not die of thirst during the seven day blood plague, since they maneuvered their way around the plague by digging up water round about the Nile (since in non-P, only the Nile was afflicted). In other words, the plague didn’t quite do the trick, as god had expected, so god had to send another plague, and then another. Moreover, at least parts of the non-Priestly plague account suggest that god is being toyed with. Pharaoh continuously promises to let the Israelites out, yet as soon as god removes the plague, his heart becomes heavy and he refuses to let them go.

Thus, in the non-Priestly story of the plague of locusts, Moses promises Pharaoh that he will remove the plague, but pleads with him, “but let not Pharaoh act deceitfully yet again by not letting the people go to sacrifice to the Lord” (8:25). But, sure enough, as soon as god removed the plague: “Pharaoh made his heart heavy this time also, and would not let the people go” (v. 28).
Similarly, in the non-Priestly account of the hail plague, Pharaoh promises to let the Israelites go, but retracts as soon as the plague is stopped. (9:34) “But when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, he continued to sin and his heart became heavy, his and those of his courtiers.”

So why does god continually stop the plagues in the middle, before getting what he wants? If the plagues are meant as a pressure tactic to force the Egyptians to let the Israelites go (as god does with the Ashdodites in 1 Sam. 5:6 for instance), then it seems to have taken an inordinately long time to get the job done.

Even the plague of the firstborn doesn’t seem to have completed the job. In the non-Priestly account of the miracle at the sea, Pharaoh and his courtiers have “a change of heart about the people” when they hear that they have fled (Exodus 14:5). In this early layer of non-Priestly plague narrative, god learns of Pharaoh’s stubbornness through his encounter with him, and gradually steps up his efforts to get Pharaoh to release the Israelites as Pharaoh’s resistance persists. Later editors simply couldn’t accept the notion that god is not all-knowing and is taken aback by Pharaoh’s actions.

I might add here for your benefit, it is worth noting that the idea that god knows in advance how human beings will choose to act is not the only one we find in the Torah (see, e.g., Gen. 15:13-16; Deut. 31:16-18). For example, it is only after god sees that Abraham binds his son on the altar that he learns of Abraham’s devotion to him (Gen. 22:12)—the text explicitly says, “for now I know. Indeed, god’s uncertainty as to how people will act is the basis of his decision to try them.

The secondary passage in Exodus 3 attempts to solve the theological problem of Pharaoh surprising god by his defiance. It unequivocally asserts that god knows about the long and difficult road ahead in his confrontation with the Egyptians. There is nothing surprising about this for god, and, therefore, god appropriately prepares Moses for the fact that many plagues will be needed. Similarly, each time god brings on a new plague, and each time he stops it in the middle, god knows full well what will happen next.

Yet, this solution imparts a new problem, which I wouldn't expect you to see. If god indeed knows all of this in advance, why doesn’t he start with the most severe and effective plague, the plague of the firstborn, or simply kill the Egyptians and take the Israelites out?

Well this is because the writer wants the reader to think the plagues are not only meant to exert pressure of Pharaoh to let the Israelites out. They are also meant as signs of god’s might and power. This is what god means when he says to Moses in 3:20, “I will stretch out My hand and smite Egypt with various wonders which I will work upon them.” The plagues are (wonders) not merely (beatings). god is counting on Pharaoh’s stubbornness to display his might and assert his power. Although the text states that the Egyptians are to benefit from this knowledge, since the story is recorded and read by Israel, the Israelites are taught of god’s greatness.

So, even though god is earnestly trying to relieve the Israelites from their terrible suffering as quickly as possible, he is also not quite that much in a hurry. After all, the longer Pharaoh resists god’s demands, the longer god can show off his might, teaching the Egyptians, and indirectly the Israelites, of his greatness. He is also not that worried that these plagues will in theory affect, not just Pharaoh but all of the Egyptians as I mentioned before. Again, why is a god doing this? How is it even remotely moral to think he is punishing millions for one person's acts? That is unjustifiably grotesque. But I digress, in part.

Again, god knows in advance that Pharaoh will consistently make his heart heavy, but god does not force him to do so, and with good reason. For if god hardens Pharaoh’s heart, it becomes impossible to claim Pharaoh “sinned” in refusing to let the Israelites go (9:34). Consequently, any punishment of Pharaoh and the Egyptians becomes extremely problematic.

By insisting only on god’s foreknowledge of things but not his pre-determination of things, these biblical authors can blame Pharaoh for his refusal to let the Israelites go and at the same time protect god from appearing seriously challenged in his efforts to break Pharaoh’s rebellious spirit. That is, they “have their cake and eat it too.” Does this sound familiar? It should because it's exactly what you have tried to do over countless of posts.

PS – Of course you can find some “good things” in the bible. If one searches enough he/she can extract good from any source. But the fact that people use the bible to directly define their every move in life AND dictate their decisions based on ancient text taken out of context makes it an idol.

PSS – People dredge up all the ISSUES because there are those like you (it seems) who continue to use the bible to cherry pick the good and justify the bad or use the bad to justify their behavior because “the bible said it and I believe it, so that settles it” just because they want every word to be true. If that weren’t the case, the bible would have little relevance in today’s society, as it rightly should.

Thank you for your very thoughtful lines of inquiry here. Much food for thought there!

1. Again, “hardens Pharaoh’s heart” in English in Hebrew was originally “squeeze to make what’s already in boil to the surface”. Much better would be “test Pharaoh’s heart” and of course, an omniscient god would foreknow what the test “grade” would become!

2. The non-priestly report is consistent with my stance that God knows and foretells X will happen than Y than Z (and if you could PLEASE remind BuckyBall that you are saying this is forthtelling, since he insists the Bible never does such stuff!)

3. Good point about Moses being bent out of shape when predictions are fulfilled. It couldn’t be he was mad at good for predestining a response if he believed in sovereign predestination! More logical might be that Moses was just upset at his people still enslaved and despised. What do you think? And wouldn’t this be consistent with Moses’s (human) weakness the first time he was called and foretold what he should do? He griped on the holy mountain too, right? I hear what you wrote when you said:

Quote: What sense does Moses’ complaint make? Didn’t god already warn him that this would happen?

…but we might as well ask why does anyone ever complain about a god warning to begin with. I guarantee I get god complaints when I post god warnings and prophecies online.

4. The rest of your thread, of course, is predicated on multiple sources contributing to the Torah, and using conflicting ideas/stratagems within. Please don’t think I’m trying to be trite, but like the concepts behind life itself, the very first life, from non-life and random processes, it’s a concept without evidence. I’m conversant with the different “styles” used in the Hebrew but also intense codes, acronyms, etc. showing one through-line. For example, were you aware that Y… H… V… H… appears every 53 characters through the Torah to its middle, where every 53rd character becomes H… V… H… Y… until the end?! (Yeah, I counted some but got tired after a while…!) I can’t fathom of people stitching together conflicting sources while embedding such codes… what would their reasoning be to do so?

Thank you sincerely. This is a good, reasoned dialogue we’re having. You are clearly knowledgeable in the scriptures.

I'm told atheists on forums like TTA are bitter and angry. If you are not, your posts to me will be respectful, insightful and thoughtful. Prove me wrong by your adherence to decent behavior.
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
30-07-2015, 03:11 PM
RE: problem of evil and suffering
(25-07-2015 05:50 PM)Alla Wrote:  
(12-07-2015 06:50 PM)nintendo2190 Wrote:  in bart herman's book god's problem he discussed the issue how why an all-powerful god allows suffering and FREE WILL is also examined. if god is all powerful, allknowing, and all loving , why did he create lucifer knowing that her would revolt and tempt eve into eating the apple and then sacrificing his son. thats not very loving to me remember its not free will.
More correctly to say "God gives to all people moral agency" instead of "free will".
Moral agency gives all children of God an opportunity to choose between good and evil.
When God created Lucifer he was not Devil. He was not falling angel. But he was one of the noble and chosen.
(12-07-2015 06:50 PM)nintendo2190 Wrote:  why didn't he just for give mankinds sins did he need to sacrifice his son?
God is not only Mercy but He is Justice. If He just simply forgives us all our sins it will be Mercy. But where is Justice then?
Atonement gives an opportunity to have Justice and Mercy.
(12-07-2015 06:50 PM)nintendo2190 Wrote:  or why didn't he stop the earthquakes or tsunamis etc.
Because it is part of getting to know evil and learn how to deal with it the right way. By learning evil and how to deal with it the right way we becoming more like Gods/more perfect/more wise/more kind. And most of all we can exercise our moral agency.
(12-07-2015 06:50 PM)nintendo2190 Wrote:  why didn't got cure all disease.
Because it is something that we have to learn to do. This way we grow/ we progress. Without working and searching we can not progress.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lilith
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
30-07-2015, 03:42 PM
RE: problem of evil and suffering
(29-07-2015 07:49 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  
(28-07-2015 11:20 PM)Fodder_From_The_Truth Wrote:  Reading Q laud himself as "sent by God to preach" should be all you need to hear to know what he's truly about.

No, not all, I'm here sent by God to preach love, free will choice to receive love, truth, justice and etc.

I'm not here to make you a Scientologist, JW, Mormon, or God/god forbid, an atheist!

Why, how unusual - you entirely missed the point. Facepalm

The problem is your arrogant and delusional claim of being sent by God to preach.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
[Image: flagstiny%206.gif]
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Chas's post
31-07-2015, 12:35 PM
RE: problem of evil and suffering
(30-07-2015 03:42 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(29-07-2015 07:49 AM)The Q Continuum Wrote:  No, not all, I'm here sent by God to preach love, free will choice to receive love, truth, justice and etc.

I'm not here to make you a Scientologist, JW, Mormon, or God/god forbid, an atheist!

Why, how unusual - you entirely missed the point. Facepalm

The problem is your arrogant and delusional claim of being sent by God to preach.

I missed a point? It was you who must have missed this sentence:

Quote:For example, were you aware that Y… H… V… H… appears every 53 characters through the Torah to its middle, where every 53rd character becomes H… V… H… Y… until the end?!

However, I did not miss your point. I simply chose the high road of not addressing the obvious fact, if there is a theistic god any preacher could be preaching truth.

I'm told atheists on forums like TTA are bitter and angry. If you are not, your posts to me will be respectful, insightful and thoughtful. Prove me wrong by your adherence to decent behavior.
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
31-07-2015, 04:23 PM
RE: problem of evil and suffering
(29-07-2015 10:16 AM)dancefortwo Wrote:  Your particular god has just as much evidence for his existence as Zeus does for his.....which is to say...none.

There is more evidence for Zeus 'cuz thunder and lightning and shit.

#sigh
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like GirlyMan's post
Post Reply
Forum Jump: