theology

Why is Gods nature the way that it is?

god nature philosoraptor meme(If there is a God) why is God the way that he is?

When one asks “what reasons are there for God wanting to do A, but not B?” the reply is usually “because that is Gods nature.”

So why is Gods nature like A, and not like B? What determines Gods nature?

(And if the pat answer is “well God determined his own nature to be Nature-A, not like Nature-B” why did he determine Nature-A instead of Nature-B?”

If the Old Testament Law was meant to be temporary why is it always called eternal, enduring, and everlasting?  

old testament covenant eternal

 

Why is the Old Testament called eternal?

Most evangelicals say that the Old Testament was meant to be temporary covenant, one that was planned to be replaced by a better covenant, if that’s the case, why is this covenant (or series of them) in the Old testament frequently called an “everlasting covenant” not a “temporary covenant”? In fact, in Psalm 19:7 the Law is called perfect, which leads us to wonder, why should a “perfect” Law need replacing? (See below for examples)

Why does OT eschatalogical prophecy of the future include a restoration of Old Testament Law?

In fact Zechariah has a prophecy regarding the end times (Zech14:4-13) which undeniably shows the “the Day of the Lord.” In this prophecy The Lords feet rest on the Mount of Olives, there is eternal daytime, no night, and God ushers his reign of peace for the whole earth. During this eternal kingdom, God commands all nations to obey Old Testament law and celebrate the feast of Booths (Zech 14:16-19). Likewise, we see temple sacrifices continue in this vision of the future (Zech 14:21).

A few examples of Old Testament edicts described as Eternal/everlasting

“The Israelites are to observe the Sabbath, celebrating it for the generations to come as an ENDURING covenant” (Exod 31:16)

“The secret things belong to Yahweh our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children FOREVER, that we may follow all the words of this law” (Deut 29:29)

“A servant who is born in your house or who is bought with your money shall surely be circumcised; thus shall My covenant be in your flesh for an EVERLASTING covenant.”  (Gen 17:13)

“God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an EVERLASTING covenant for his offspring after him.” (Genesis 17:19)

“The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the EVERLASTING covenant.” (Isaiah 24:5)

“it is from the people of Israel as a covenant FOREVER.” (Leviticus 24:8)

“It is an EVERLASTING covenant of salt before the Lord to you and your descendants with you.”(Num 18:19)

Why doesnt God reveal himself so clearly that there are only two choices, instead of hundreds?

why doesnt god clearly reveal himselfWhy would God not reveal himself so clearly that the only possible choices would be to:

(a) reject him, having accurate knowledge of who he is

(b) accept him, having accurate knowledge of who he is

———————-

1. Instead of knowingly choosing A or B, people have a more difficult choice, including dozens of different options in their own religion, some of which are claimed to damn one to hell (Trinity, Unitarian, Pentecostal, Catholic, Prosperity, Free Grace, Pelagianism, and hundreds of other views or “heresies,” etc etc).

2. Instead of knowingly choosing A or B, people have a more difficult choice, including hundreds of religions that are active today, each with dozens of interpretations, each filled with millions who sincerely believe they picked the right God.

3. Instead of knowingly choosing A or B, people are in ignorance and choose from thousands of options depending on their historical era, in many cases, the full truth being unavailable to those who lived before the time of the full truth. (i.e., Islam and Christianity only began after thousands of generations of people died).

1, 2, 3 could easily be averted if God simply revealed himself more clearly, and people could still have free will to chose A or B. So why did God not actualize such a system?

Some biblical authors viewed God as having the ability to deceive, others did not

Do the Biblical authors agree on who God is? In many cases they do, in others they do not.

Most biblical scholars say that the Bible was written by a diverse group of people with differing views and opinions about political and social issues (one only need look at some of the differences between the Hebrew Bible with it’s nationalistic focus, to the New Testaments pacifist ethics.)

As the Oxford Companion to the Bible (edited by leading Princeton/Harvard scholars Bruce Metzger and Micahel Coogan) asserts: “The Bible thus speaks with many voices, and, from the time of its emergence as an authoritative sacred text, readers and interpreters have noted its many repetitions, inconsistencies, and contradictions.”

How the biblical writers view god

If God cannot act contrary to his nature can he have free will?

does god have free will.Most people define “free will” as having a genuine choice between multiple options. For example, in a given situation it would be possible for a truly free being to have a genuine choice between (a) telling a lie or (b) telling the truth.

Yet God, per the formal philosophical definition and the Bible, cannot lie, “it is impossible for God to lie.” (Hebrews 6:18)

It seems to follow that if God cannot have a genuine choice, but *must* act in accordance to his nature, he cannot have genuine libertarian free will. This point is eloquently argued by the influential philosopher William Rowe in his book ‘Can God Be Free?’ I’ve outlined three of the most popular responses to this dilemma, are there any others?

OPTION 1: “God can act contrary to his nature, he just chooses not to”

RESPONSE 1: The universal consensus of philosophers and theologians is that it’s impossible for God to choose imperfection. If a perfect being could genuinely choose to be imperfect, then its perfection would be contingent upon circumstances, there would be a real possibility of God becoming not-God in the future, or Good-God becoming Bad-God. In any case, even Bible itself says “it is impossible for God to lie” (Hebrews 6:18) not “it’s possible for God to lie, but he chooses not to.”

OPTION 2: “God isn’t constrained by his nature, he is characterized by his nature; thus he freely chooses that which he wants. In other words, God would never even desire to lie.”

RESPONSE 2: First, God did not determine or select his nature in the past (this would mean that he previously had a different nature). Second, God cannot change his nature in the future (for he is “immutable” or unchanging). Thus it seems that God is, a “prisoner” of his nature: (a) he did not choose it, (b) he cannot change it, and (c) he cannot act contrary to it, even if all this is willingly accepted, it precludes God from having genuine free will, but only the illusion or feeling of free will.

OPTION 3: “God has the freedom to act within the constraints of his nature. It’s impossible for him to tell a lie, but he can tell many different truths, or the same truth many different ways. Since he is perfect he does not require the option for imperfect choices.”

RESPONSE 3: Certainly this describes a limited form of freedom, but this is a concession that God does not have libertarian free will, but only a limited freedom. The irony with this response is that it means that Satan and humans have a greater amount of freedom than God.” Yet, in my opinion this is probably the best answer to this dilemma.

How can you be perfectly happy knowing your loved ones are being tortured in hell/

How can you be perfectly happy in Heaven if you know that some of your family and friends, whom you love very dearly, are being eternally tormented by the flames of hell?

how can you be happy in heaven

(This is a very weighty topic, and it may help you to watch this video of a Jordanian Pilot being burned by ISIS, and gauge your reaction towards a stranger feeling just seconds of hell, before answering hastily and carelessly
http://video.foxnews.com/v/4030583977001/ ).

 

OPTION 1

You will be so enthralled by the tantalizing pleasure of being with God, that you will stop caring about the suffering of others. The enjoyment gained from being with God will completely annul the sorrow and empathy for your family/friends who are lingering in incomprehensible anguish.

(The downside of this theory is that it seems to be centered wholly on selfishness, you ignore the suffering of others because you are enjoying something amazing; an idea antithetical to the Christian ideal.)

 

OPTION 2

You will become so enraptured by God, and so moved by the desire for his interests that you will actually rejoice as you see the torture of sinners who did not obey God, even if those people are your own children, parents, wife, or husband. Seeing what you believe is justice which honors God, will give you more happiness than seeing your family members saved from infernal torment.

(The downside of this theory, which indeed was held by many Protestants in the 15th-19th centuries, is that it appeals to our senses as downright cruel and frightening. It also exhibits the action of betrayal, an action that is not noble, in that one “betrays” his love for his earthly family, and instead rejoices at their painful and never-ending agony.)

 

OPTION 3

Some part of your mind will be erased and you will no longer retain any memories of your loved ones and family members; their very existence will be wiped from your mind.

(The downside of this theory is that it appears to make humans playthings for God, who brain-wipes them against their will, in some sense making them slaves/robots).

 

OPTION 4

Your mind will be “reprogrammed” and all the emotion and feelings that you now have towards earthly loved ones will extracted, and then redirected towards members of your heavenly family. Simply put, God will take away your feelings towards your loved ones.

(The downside of this theory is that it appears to make humans playthings for God, who brain-wipes them against their will, in some sense making them slaves/robots).