Talk

Advanced search

Questions on the bible

(129 Posts)
ACubed Sat 21-Jan-17 11:53:07

Hello all, back again as have had some thoughts on my mind lately , would love any thoughts on this.

If God is omnipotent why would he need to ask people things (Adam for example) or test people's faith?

If he does love us, again why test the faith?

This leads on to: if the bible is the true word of God, why would he go out of his way to get things wrong - for example saying that there are two lights on the sky which go around the earth. Surely god could have told us the earth goes round the sun. It's like he's going out of his way to convince people the things written are not true.

Does anyone's know Of any creation stories which say the earth is round and orbits the sun?

ACubed Sat 21-Jan-17 11:56:27

Forgot one! For those (the minority I know) who believe pain in pregnancy and childbirth is down to eve, why did Jesus dying not absolve this sin?

Also who did Cain and Abel reproduce with?!

Mindtrope Sun 22-Jan-17 09:15:25

Are you an atheist?

ACubed Sun 22-Jan-17 12:20:35

I can't totally discount some conscious force creating the Big Bang, but I'm really struggling with organised religions. I work with a lot of jehovas witnesses and am trying to understand what they believe- I know they take the bible very literally.

niminypiminy Sun 22-Jan-17 16:48:42

To understand what Jehovah's Witnesses believe you'll have to ask specifically about them and their beliefs. Their interpretation of the Bible is very different from Christians. They don't believe, for example, that Jesus is the Son of God. Long wiki article here.

Your questions assume a very naive and literal reading of the Bible which is completely foreign to the way most Christians understand it. The story of Cain and Abel, for example, is a fable which tells us something about the human propensity to mess things up and its consequences. It tells us something about what happens when humans turn away from God. It's not (and was never intended to be) a literal account of how humans populated the earth.

ACubed Sun 22-Jan-17 18:14:09

Interesting thanks, I'll read that article now. Yes this is aimed at bible literalists, or just anyone who fancies a chat about it. I know there are quite a few people on here who take it literally, but I know most christians do not. I was just with a catholic friend who was saying the bible is more a tool to help you understand god, would you agree?

ACubed Sun 22-Jan-17 18:24:56

One thing though is that how can one then be certain that the entire NT is not meant literally either?

I think we can be certain that the Bible is not meant to be taken literally because in 2000 or so years of Christians reading and studying and praying through the scriptures they have only been taken literally by a minority groupings of conservative Protestant Christians and non mainstream Christians, such as the Jehovah's Witnesses, in the past 150 years or so. Literalism is very new in the overall scheme of things.

boolifooli Sun 22-Jan-17 21:37:07

Jesus took the scriptures literally though. Wouldn't he have known it was allegorical?

ACubed Mon 23-Jan-17 07:23:05

I guess what I mean is, how could you be so sure that god and Jesus are not also metaphors for love and kindness?

Mindtrope Mon 23-Jan-17 09:40:37

This allegorical idea is to paper over the fact that the bible, especially the old testament is hideous and cruel.

And yes- which bits are allegorical- the cruel and nonsensical bits?

FreshStartIn2017 Mon 23-Jan-17 10:46:35

Hi Acubed. Some really good questions, it's great to see someone actually thinking these things through and looking for answers.

If God is omnipotent why would he need to ask people things (Adam for example) or test people's faith?

You are right that God knows ahead of us what we will do, and what we will say even before it is a word on our lips (Psalm 139).

However God allows testings of our faith because it produces endurance and character. Romans 5:3-4 says: “We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” James chapter 1 tells us that we should "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

You know when you've met someone who has really suffered in life? They often have a deep, inner beauty that is very attractive and admirable. Sometimes suffering, horrible though it is to endure, produces really good fruit. The bible calls being tested "refined" and "tried by fire", which is just like gold being put in the furnace to remove the impurities, so your refined gold is pure gold. Isaiah 48 says "See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction."

It also shows whether a church is real or not: Revelation 2:2-3 says, “I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary.“ Here, the testing proves the person's salt, so to speak.

If he does love us, again why test the faith?

Sometimes we see our trials as God hating us, but actually He uses them to turn around for our good. We just don't always see that, or at least not until a long way down the road, long after the trial has been and gone. But, for example, I've been through some trials, and some I can see why they happened, and I know I am a better person for it. People have even been helped because of it. But there are also some trials I've had that remain a mystery to me, and perhaps will until I meet Him face-to-face. Thats where faith comes in: its about trusting that God knows what he's doing, and is doing what he knows (even though we don't always).

This leads on to: if the bible is the true word of God, why would he go out of his way to get things wrong - for example saying that there are two lights on the sky which go around the earth. Surely god could have told us the earth goes round the sun. It's like he's going out of his way to convince people the things written are not true.

Which bible verse do you speak of? The ones I find support what we know:

Two words sprint to mind: urban legend. People do like to twist the bible and it's meaning, so you need to see the context carefully. For example, the bible speaks of the sun rising and setting, but we still speak of that today, yet we all know that is the appearance it has, rather than the actual journey. Likewise, the bible talks of the "four corners of the earth", meaning all directions: North, South, East and West. It can't be twisted to mean the bible is saying the earth is flat, because it isn't. You could just as easily extrapolate that to maps with a little compass symbol on the side. The map writer isn't saying the earth is flat, but is trying to show you directions more easily.

Does anyone's know Of any creation stories which say the earth is round and orbits the sun?

Job explains that the earth is suspended in space (Job 26) and that the 'heavens' fix their rule over the earth (Job 38).

The thing is, the bible isn't a book about astronomy, though it has some parts thrown in here and there; it is a book about the lifespan of humanity and where we fit with God. It is a book about our sin making a wall between us and God, and Jesus knocking that wall down so we can have full and confident access to God. It is about the message of trusting God rather than ourselves, or any false teaching.

Forgot one! For those (the minority I know) who believe pain in pregnancy and childbirth is down to eve, why did Jesus dying not absolve this sin?

Jesus dying absolved all sins, for all time, and for ever.

But the consequences of sin remain. We see people still sinning alls round us, and even those who come to God for forgiveness, battle with sin each day.

When Eve sinned, the perfect earth was no long perfect, and that's when sickness, death, sorrow and suffering came into the world. Before the introduction of sin (and it's consequences, life in the garden was perfect.
But that's not the end of the story! God promises in heaven there will be no more sorrow of dying, or crying. None at all. It will all be over and new.

Also who did Cain and Abel reproduce with?!
The same way evolutionists believe the cavemen reproduced; with the females around them.

Don't forget, they lived much longer than we do today, and had far more children than we have in the modern time. They would have bred like rabbits to start with! But the gene pool would be much more pure at the start, so less physical problems with marrying a half sister or a cousin and the like.

I was just with a catholic friend who was saying the bible is more a tool to help you understand god, would you agree?

Yes and no. Yes in the sense that the bible is useful to learn about God; his ways, his thoughts, his rules, his love, his dealings with mankind, but its not JUST that. Its the living word, the inspired word of God, and is like a two-edged sword, it cuts to the bone and is an incredible book.

FreshStartIn2017 Mon 23-Jan-17 10:48:32

This allegorical idea is to paper over the fact that the bible, especially the old testament is hideous and cruel.

The allegorical idea is only applicable when the bible is clearly using allegories. But not when it's not. The darker side of human behaviour is not hidden but exposed truthfully. Sometimes that makes cruel reading, but at least it's honest (and not much different than listening to the evening news!).

ErrolTheDragon Mon 23-Jan-17 11:01:29

t, they lived much longer than we do today,

Unlikely.grin

Since the OP is particularly interested in the ways bible literalists attempt to rationalise the bible, I'll recount what one told me, in all seriousness, re 'who did cain and able have kids with'. ( a correction, you need to ask about cain and seth - though I suppose Abel might have procreated before being murdered. Thats by the by. ) So, the bible is the truth but its not the whole truth - Adam and Eve also had daughters (not worthy of mention, obv) and thats who Cain and Seth married. This person thought incest was a perfectly reasonable idea, even though the laws of god later described would ban it.

Mindtrope Mon 23-Jan-17 11:09:52

fresh- from my reading it's not the humans who are being cruel in the bible- but that genocidal maniac that some choose to worship.

FreshStartIn2017 Mon 23-Jan-17 13:48:15

Ta well known that some are offended by the idea of God being our judge. They think they've never done wrong and are close enough to being perfect.

The bible also demonstrates this with story after story of people taking offence at God. In 1 Corinthians chapter 1 it says:

"For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
For it is written, "I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE, AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE."
Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom;
but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness,
but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

ErrolTheDragon Mon 23-Jan-17 14:30:50

we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness

Maybe that answers on of the OPs questions. Its not meant to make sense.

The idea that a diety would create people capable of rational thought and then actually want them to set it aside is pretty weird.

FreshStartIn2017 Mon 23-Jan-17 15:33:51

You've taken that slightly out of context by missing off the second half of the sentence:

"But^ we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, ^
^*but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.*^"
So in other words, those who are closed will always take offence and see it as foolishness - no matter what - but those who are open and choose to trust in God over anyone else, will see the message as powerful and wise.

FreshStartIn2017 Mon 23-Jan-17 15:37:18

T*he idea that a diety would create people capable of rational thought and then actually want them to set it aside*

No one expects people to set rational thought aside, in fact, the bike says "test the spirits" and "search diligently" so you are "always be ready to give an answer to the hope found within you".

Atheists think they've got the monopoly on being rational but they haven't. They just rationalise and come to the conclusion that they will trust in mankind (often themselves) whereas a Christian rationalises and comes to the conclusion that they will trust in God.

FreshStartIn2017 Mon 23-Jan-17 15:37:49

Haha - the BIBLE, not the BIKE!

ErrolTheDragon Mon 23-Jan-17 15:58:11

I missed out the second half of the sentence as 'called' is a whole other theological can of worms. grin

There's a big difference between thinking rationally and 'rationalising'.

picklemepopcorn Mon 23-Jan-17 16:13:02

Acubed
The bible reflects the time the books within it were written. So the earliest parts which talk about creation reflect an ancient understanding of how the world came about, and would have been written down only after years of oral transmission. The New Testament is about broadly current events, written about 100 years later. It's more of a record of events as they were seen and shared among the people who were interested. That said, it still contains elements influenced by more ancient texts. Little bits have been added here and there to give gravitas to the story and explain the significance of the events in terms the listeners at the time understood.

JustAnotherPoster00 Mon 23-Jan-17 16:19:09

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?

Then he is not omnipotent.

Is he able, but not willing?

Then he is malevolent.

Is he both able and willing?

Then whence cometh evil?

Is he neither able nor willing?

Then why call him God?”

-Epicurus

JustAnotherPoster00 Mon 23-Jan-17 16:22:13

To me that quote encapsulates everything, which answer is it theists?

Please dont use the 'god is mysterious we have no way of knowing his mind' piffle

(always wanted to use the word piffle)

TheElephantofSurprise Mon 23-Jan-17 16:26:23

The bible is a book written by human beings. The early parts of the bible tell the 'explaining stories' of their cultures. Literal truth is not necessary for the Bible.

If you want a book which claims to be absolutely accurate, you need to go to the Qur'an.

God speaks to us in words (and styles) we can understand. Some people say 'He made us different so we can know them'.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now