Does God stands behind all evil on earth

Previously posted on Bijbelvorsers, June 29, 2011, obtained the article “Staat God achter al het kwaad hier op aarde” (Does God stands behind all evil on earth) to December 11, 2014 1029 viewings by Bible scholars on Webs, the website of the Association for Bible study.

Neuroimaging sheds light on the seat of suffering

Neuroimaging sheds light on the seat of suffering (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The article looked at the bad elements which may come over us in our life and how they influence our relationship with others and with the Divine Creator.

We often hear people give the remark that it is God who punishes the world. They say that disasters are on this world, the wrath of God. According to them it is a rebuke of God for the people living wrong. One may well ask why people still do their best to live well are also ‘being punished’. Why should people who do well suffer also?

Day, Fred Holland (1864-1933) - Da Suffering t...

Day, Fred Holland (1864-1933) – Da Suffering the ideal 2 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the ancient Hebrew scriptures one can find the Book of Job, in which an image is outlined why there is suffering on this planet. We can read the story in the book of Job, the wealthy man who is unexpectedly hit by calamities of all sorts of nature which make life difficult for him so that he even wants to put an end to it.

The Book of Job can be a very good teaching tool for us to make a new start or to find new ways to cope with our suffering and with all the problems which seem to be too much for us.

Therefore I would like to advice you to take that Old Book at hand and to read it. Perhaps the Bible Study I wrote on our ecclesia site can help you to go through it and to see solutions to your own situation.

Perhaps it can be interesting to look at what happened to the biblical figure Job. This rich man who lived according the Will of God but suddenly had to find that everything went wrong in his previously so blessed live. What had gone wrong? was it a penalty from God? Did somebody found that vengeance should have come over this godly man and his family?

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Please do find out in the Bible Study at the Christadelphian Ecclesia Brussel-Leuven.

  1. Bad things no punishment from God
  2. Profitable disasters
  3. Facing disaster fatigue
  4. Fragments from the Book of Job #1: chapters 1-12
  5. Fragments from the Book of Job #2: chapters 12-20
  6. Fragments from the Book of Job #3: chapters 21-26
  7. Fragments from the Book of Job #4: chapters 27-31
  8. Fragments from the Book of Job #5: chapters 32-37
  9. Fragments from the Book of Job #6: chapters 38-42
  10. Fragments from the Book of Job #7 Epilogue
  11. Let us recognise how great God is

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Dutch version about this subject / Nederlandse tekst over dit gegeven: Staat God achter al het kwaad hier op aarde

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Additional reading:

  1. Science, scepticism, doubts and beliefs
  2. Science, belief, denial and visibility 2
  3. Are religious and secular ethicists climbing the same mountain
  4. Being Religious and Spiritual 1 Immateriality and Spiritual experience
  5. Because men choose to go their own way
  6. We are ourselves responsible
  7. Looking on what is going on and not being of it
  8. Dealing with worries in our lives
  9. Self inflicted misery #1 The root by man
  10. Self inflicted misery #7 Good news to our suffering
  11. Self inflicted misery #9 Subject to worldly things
  12. About suffering
  13. Seems no future in suffering
  14. Partakers of the sufferings
  15. Suffering continues
  16. I Can’t Believe That (1) … God would send anyone to hell
  17. I Can’t Believe That … (2) God would allow children to suffer
  18. Choices to make in suffering
  19. Suffering produces perseverance
  20. Suffering leading to joy
  21. Suffering-through the apparent silence of God
  22. Suffering redemptive because Jesus redeemed us from sin
  23. Words from God about suffering
  24. Gospel = Good tidings, good news, a good message
  25. God’s promises to us in our suffering
  26. God’s Comfort
  27. Miracles in our time of suffering
  28. Objects of God’s final wrath
  29. He who smiles rather than rages is always the stronger
  30. Not holding back and getting out of darkness
  31. Being Religious and Spiritual 7 Transcendence to become one
  32. National Natural Disaster and Bible Prophecy
  33. Reacting to Disasters
  34. Cancerous Black Holes
  35. Getting out of the dark corners of this world
  36. Thoughts on Passover
  37. Salvation, trust and action in Jesus #1 Suffering covered by Peace Offering
  38. A love not exempting us from trials
  39. From pain to purpose
  40. Dying or not
  41. Some one or something to fear #6 Faith in the Most High
  42. Commit your self to the trustworthy creator
  43. Creator and Blogger God 3 Lesson and solution
  44. Let us recognise how great God is
  45. God should be your hope
  46. You God hold the future
  47. Heed of the Saviour
  48. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #10 Prayer #8 Condition
  49. Continuing Paul’s Prayer Requests
  50. Prayer for the day
  51. Songs in the night Worship God only
  52. Rejoice even though bound to grieve
  53. Profitable disasters
  54. Character is built
  55. Pain and Suffering is inevitable but Misery is optional
  56. The blessing of a broken leg
  57. Faith and trial
  58. Autumn traditions for 2014 – 4 Blasphemy and ridiculing faith in God
  59. That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us
  60. True riches
  61. What moves mountains? Trust!
  62. Poetry of Peace
  63. Aligned
  64. Importance of parents 1
  65. We all have to have dreams

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  • Questioning God (dailybibleplan.com)
    The next time you feel tempted to question God or to try to explain His actions, remember this passage.  Remember that we were not there for creation.  Remember that we cannot explain the intricacies of this world.  Remember that we cannot explain how the wind blows or how storms move.  Most importantly, remember to trust God.  He has a plan.  He is in control.  He loves you and will always do what is best for you.  When we submit to God’s authority in our lives, we can rest in the knowledge that He will care for us completely.
  • I think ignorance should be punishable (maasaiboys.wordpress.com)
    It is a long stretch of imagination to read in Job the hope for a future Christ, one born of a virgin. There is nothing in Job that can be read to mean he is making a prophecy of a future Messiah.
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    If one believed they were headed for heaven, they wouldn’t be holding on to life as hard as they do even in the face of terminal illness. If there were true theists, they would be praying more than they are actually doing and we would have them concerned more seriously in finding out which of the many religions is the correct one for insurance against finding oneself in the wrong place. And I think if they truly believed the words found in Mark, none of them would work, they would live like birds expecting their god to provide for them. Being non-believers, they pray halfheartedly knowing all they believe is a lie and do it only for show. They work their asses off because no god is going to bring food on their tables.
  • Making Sense of Suffering (enteringthepromisedland.wordpress.com)
    Eventually, in God’s timing, the story of Job became incredibly real to me as I began to experience deep suffering in my own life. I learned I had a choice: to either let the suffering accomplish the goal and purpose that God wanted in my life; or, let the suffering crush and destroy me. God put the book of Job right in the center of the Bible for a very good reason: it’s an example of faith in the night seasons. God intends for all of us to use it as a “road map” on our journey through the dark night, always keeping in mind that at the end of the road, Job finally “saw” God as he never had seen Him before, and it changed his life forever.
  • With Friends Like These… (thebluepaper.com)
    “don’t fight the law because the law wins” or “burning the chicken on the barbecue might not be a bad thing” or “if you see God and Satan having a drink together and they happen to glance your way, grab your ankles and…” Well. You know the rest.
  • Protecting Your Heart from Entitlement (pastortyrus.com)
    Job, he never charged God foolishly for his lost, and in the end he was awarded double than what he had before his divine test. If you are reading this blog today and you feel that you have allowed possessions to lead you to entitlement, stop and repent. Ask God to clean your heart from the ungodliness that can come with riches, and vow to always be conscious and grateful of everything in your life.  For this is the sentiments of a grateFull heart – if I lose it all, to God be the Glory for what I had, if I gain more, to God be the Glory for what he has given.
  • Wrestling with the Big Questions: A Day In Job at LICC (bibleandmission.redcliffe.org)
    The book of Job speaks a compelling word of honesty and hope into the deepest and most difficult of human experiences. Job’s story of suffering and the process he goes through with his comforters and with God is just as relevant for Christians and local churches today as we wrestle with our own questions and the questions of those around us.
  • The Weather (frmilovan.wordpress.com)
    In the end, however, the weather doesn’t have to be any sort of indication of God’s disposition. As our Lord tells us: “For He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt. 5:45).
  • I Am Job (billboardministry1.wordpress.com)
    He has given him power over all that I have, even me /  But death is not near / I have lost all and at moments thought of death.
  • Proverbs and fart jokes and other ancient wisdom literature (patheos.com)
    Read Job, the Psalms and Ecclesiastes and you’ll have a proper perspective for reading those platitudes in Proverbs.

    “The Lord’s curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the abode of the righteous,” Proverbs 3:33 says.

    “Funny you should say that,” says the Psalmist. “I just came from the house of the wicked, and they’re doing pretty well. They’re expanding the place, actually, since they just took over the abode of the righteous and sent those poor saps packing.”

    “Trust me,” Job adds, “the world does not work that way.”

  • November 28, 2014 – wrestling (cohdailyprayer2014.wordpress.com)
    If our pain is something that needs to be removed as soon as possible, the opportunities it sets before us are stifled. The world offers us solutions to our pain: technology gives us peace and distraction, psychology fixes our interior life, medicine helps us live forever and promises us well-being.

    But we will still get sick, we will still suffer, we will still die. The promises of the passing-away world are empty, but they stoke our vain expectations nonetheless. Even when our pain does not require psychological or medical help, our society provides experts to save us from discomfort.

    Our struggle does not belong to the experts, it is ours. It is part of the upside-down gift of redemption by which we can be driven to God and experience light casting out darkness. The impact of the new creation is not instant, however. I’m not sure God is into the quick fixes; spritiual recovery is a process. Learning to appreciate the process is a big part of participating in the solution.

     

I Can’t Believe That … (2) God would allow children to suffer

How could a loving God allow an innocent child to suffer? Surely he cares enough to prevent the suffering (if he didn’t care, he wouldn’t be very loving). And surely is able to prevent to suffering (if he couldn’t, he wouldn’t be very powerful). And yet we know that in this imperfect world children suffer. So does that mean there is no God? Or could God have good reasons to allow such suffering?

The Suffering (video game)

The Suffering (video game) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When we talk about the reasons for suffering there is a real danger that anything we say will sound glib or even insensitive to those who have been bereaved. The mother who has lost a beloved child doesn’t want reasons, she wants her child back. Trying to intellectualise the problem will be cold comfort for such grief. Trying to explain away the suffering would be heartless. Because what possible reason could you give that would make the death of a child acceptable? What explanation would justify so great a loss? And that is the first thing to recognise. When we seek to understand the existence of suffering we are not seeking to give a reason for individual acts of suffering. Some acts of suffering, when considered in isolation, have no reason. They are not caused by God, they are not for some eventual gain, they are, essentially, meaningless. We do not live in a world where everything has a purpose, where everything happens for a reason. The Bible says God has subjected the world to “futility” (Rom 8:20), that is, God has purposefully made this world imperfect and subject to imperfection. God does not cause suffering, but has made the world where suffering occurs. The question is, why would he do that?

Step back and consider: what is the cause of so much of the evil in the world? Answer: human beings. Whether it is cold-blooded murder or just casual neglect, so much suffering and pain is caused by humans making bad choices. Sometimes people will choose to do something truly wicked, more often people just choose to do what is easy, but it is those choices that produces the suffering. God could have created a world without such suffering because he could have created a world without people or only with people whose minds he controls. That would have prevented a lot of suffering. There would be no murders, if God didn’t allow people the freedom to choose. But God has allowed people the freedom to choose. Because a world in which people have free will is better than a world without it. Imagine a world without free will. Sure, there would be no evil but there would also be no good. Without free will there could be no love and there could be no relationships. There could be no acts of kindness, no moments of generosity, and no real charity. The world would just be filled with choice-less robots, neither good nor bad, just behaving as instructed. A world with free will is better, and world where people freely choose to do good is best, but if people are truly free then that means they have the option to cause evil.

But this isn’t the whole answer. Murderers may choose to murder, but waves don’t choose to drown people, rocks don’t choose to crush people and viruses don’t choose to infect people. A lot of the suffering in the world is caused by natural processes, by the laws of nature operating as they always do, the victims just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Why does God allow such suffering? Well, imagine the alternative. Imagine that rocks would always fall down to the ground EXCEPT when a child was underneath. That might seem like a wonderful idea, but think of all the exceptions and kinks in the laws of nature that would be needed to make children invulnerable. Bullets would turn to jelly when fired at children, fire would become cool when a child was close by, man-eating tigers would become lovable kittens. Suddenly the ordered and regular world that we’re used to has become chaotic and difficult to predict. No longer could humans depend on things behaving like they always have and so could no longer make even reasonable guesses about the outcome of their actions. Without the laws of nature, without the regularity of nature, human free will cannot operate because without that regularity you cannot make informed choices.

Okay, you say, I understand that free will is a good thing and I understand that the laws of nature are necessary, but even so couldn’t have God made the world better? Couldn’t there be less dangers? Or couldn’t we be less vulnerable? Why not make humans impervious to harm so that we can carry on whatever the world throws at us? Of

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Preceding article: I Can’t Believe That (1) … God would send anyone to hell

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Additional reading:

  1. About suffering
  2. Foreword to suffering
  3. Choices to make in suffering
  4. Crucifixion for suffering
  5. God’s instruction about joy and suffering
  6. God’s promises to us in our suffering
  7. Importuning for suffering hearts
  8. Seems no future in suffering
  9. Suffering through the apparent silence of God
  10. Suffering continues
  11. Suffering leading to joy
  12. Surprised by joy
  13. Surprised by time in joys & sufferings
  14. Miracles in our time of suffering
  15. Offer in our suffering
  16. Temptation and its conquest
  17. Words from God about suffering
  18. Mission son of God perceived as failure
  19. Patient waiting
  20. Moving mountains
  21. Why Think There Is a God? (3): Why Is It Wrong?
  22. Attributes to God
  23. Disappointed with God
  24. God’s measure not our measure
  25. Full authority belongs to God
  26. God Helper and Deliverer
  27. God is Positive
  28. God’s design in the creation of the world
  29. God’s hope and our hope
  30. God His reward
  31. God’s promises
  32. God’s salvation
  33. Incomplete without the mind of God
  34. Is God hiding His Face when He is seemingly silent
  35. Jesus his answers about God’s silence
  36. Based confidence
  37. Chrystalised harmonious thinking
  38. Our way of life
  39. Life with God
  40. Nuturing a close relationship with God
  41. Concerning gospelfaith
  42. Epitome of the one faith
  43. My faith
  44. Hope
  45. Working of the hope
  46. Looking for blessed hope
  47. Hope for the future
  48. Expiatory sacrifice
  49. Content with the no answer
  50. Free will and predestination
  51. Meaning of life
  52. Death and after
  53. God’s Comfort
  54. A world in denial
  55. Fear and protection
  56. Because men choose to go their own way
  57. It is a free will choice
  58. Free will and predestination
  59. Let you not be defined by the effect of your wrong choice
  60. The Existence of Evil

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  • Why does God allow evil? (pastormikesays.wordpress.com)
    The Bible describes God as holy (Isaiah 6:3), righteous (Psalm 7:11), just (Deuteronomy 32:4), and sovereign (Daniel 4:17-25). These attributes tell us the following about God: (1) God is capable of preventing evil, and (2) God desires to rid the universe of evil. So, if both of these are true, why does God allow evil? If God has the power to prevent evil and desires to prevent evil, why does He still allow evil? Perhaps a practical way to look at this question would be to consider some alternative ways people might have God run the world:
  • God’s Gift & Our Response: Mercy & Worship (jamespaulgaard.wordpress.com)
    God gives us many good and wonderful gifts that we need. But a gift does not give its intended benefit if the one receiving the gift does not open the gift and use it. You could be given the greatest gift in the world, but if the gift sits in the corner unopened, that gift will have no benefit in your life. So through this series, we want to encourage you to reflect on the many gifts God has given you, and how you respond to those gifts. In today’s sermon we are thinking about God’s gift of mercy and our response of worship and the three points of the sermon
  • Why You Shouldn’t Teach Your Children That Hell is Real (patheos.com)
    If teaching heaven is bad, teaching hell is downright mental child abuse. There is no way around this one. You are telling a child that for bad deeds done, or not worshipping the right (or any god), you are going to burn in a lake of fire for eternity. Pure torture, unimaginable pain and it is forever.The myth of Hell needs to be destroyed faster than the myth of heaven by far. Children and countless adults fear any of their actions will result in them spending eternity in Hell. Why? It is such a childish and illogical idea. For starters, their almighty God created an evil angel, and instead of destroying him, gave him his own kingdom? And let’s not get started on the fact that if Satan is the one punishing the bad guys for their evil, doesn’t that make Satan the good guy? If Hell is for the most evil people in the world who listened to and or worshipped Satan, wouldn’t Satan be glad to have them? It simply doesn’t make sense and even Christians and other religious followers are deciding they don’t believe in Hell anymore. It seems that all the rest of their religion is true, but Hell sounds too mean, so that part is obviously just an allegory. So, just like the endless rape, murder, genocide and other atrocities of the Bible, let’s go ahead and cherry-pick Hell right out of it.
  • The Man or The Devil In The Mirror? [Part 1] (corbenstreet.wordpress.com)
    People must understand and know how to differentiate between the reason and the purpose of doing things. But because humans are always so good at taking things for granted, it is not surprising that whatever the reason and the purpose of using mirrors, it no longer means anything to everyone – anymore!
  • David Haines killing is ‘an act of absolute evil’, says Archbishop of Canterbury (christiantoday.com)
    The Archbishop of Canterbury is among the Christians expressing their sorrow over the killing of hostage David Haines at the hands of Islamic State militants.The 44-year-old aid worker’s beheading was shown in a video released on Saturday night.It has been strongly condemned by British Prime Minister David Cameron, who has vowed that Britain will take “whatever steps are necessary” to keep the country safe and bring the killers to justice.Archbishop Justin Welby used his Twitter account to ask every church in the country to pray for Haines’s family, saying he had been “evilly killed in the place he was serving in love for its suffering people”.

    In comments to the BBC later on Sunday, the Archbishop described the aid worker’s murder as “an act of absolute evil, unqualified, without any light in it at all”.

    He said there was a sense that in places where militants have taken hold “the darkness is deepening”.

    “It’s being done in the name of faith, but we’ve heard already today faith leaders from Islam across the world condemning this,” he continued.

  • William Lane Craig vs Walter Sinnott-Armstrong: evil, suffering and God’s existence (winteryknight.wordpress.com)
    This is one the top 4 best debates that William Lane Craig has done in my opinion. (The other two are Craig-Millican debate and the first and second Craig-Dacey debates) This one doesn’t seem to get a lot of play on the Internet: there’s no video, transcript or anything. But it is a great debate, and on a problem we are all concerned about: the problem of evil and suffering. One other thing – Sinnott-Armstrong is also a very courteous, respectful and intelligent scholar and he is very good at defending his side. This is a very cordial and engaging debate, and because it was held in front of a church audience, it was targeted to laymen and not academics.

I Can’t Believe That (1) … God would send anyone to hell

Me neither. I certainly wouldn’t want anyone to go to suffer everlasting torment, however bad they were in life, and I don’t like the idea of a god would want that either. The idea of unending pain is not only intolerably cruel but to pretend that in any sense someone could deserve that fate so unjust as to be positively wicked. Regardless of how bad someone behaved, regardless of how many crimes they committed, no-one could do enough evil to justify an infinite punishment. Even worse is the suggestion that anyone who misses out on salvation will end up with the same punishment; petty crook and genocidal dictator alike, they all must endure an eternity of pain and suffering. A god who behaved in this way could not be described as “merciful“, could not even be described as “just”. Such a god could only be described as wicked. But the God I believe in is both merciful and just, so I can’t believe that He would send anyone to hell.

There is another reason why I can’t believe it – the idea isn’t even biblical. Look at what Jesus says about hell:

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell (Matthew 10:28)

Leave aside for a moment what Jesus meant by “soul” and “hell”, it is clear that Jesus did not think of hell as many Christians do. For Jesus, hell is not a place where the soul suffers eternal conscious torment. Instead hell is a place where the soul is killed, destroyed, finished, done.

Look at what Jesus promises to anyone who will accept it:

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them (John 3:36)

Jesus promises eternal life. The opposite of eternal life is not eternal conscious torment but eternal death. Jesus makes this clear in the words considered above. Whoever rejects the offer will “not see life”. They don’t go on living in torment and agony for all eternity. They just stay dead. That’s the fate of the wicked, that’s the fate of those who reject Jesus’ offer of life, they stay dead.

The question then is why do so many Christians believe in hell, given that is a horrible idea and not what Jesus taught? For some people, though they call themselves “Christian”, just use the doctrine of hell as a stick to beat their neighbours. There also probably some truth in the claim that the historic church used the threat of hell as a way of controlling its followers. But there are also many sincere and well-intentioned Christians who still believe in hell. This is because they are used to reading the Bible a certain way and have never been shown that it was written differently.

Many Christians believe that the soul is immortal, that it not only survives death but can never die. This is not what Jesus or the early Christians taught, but if you believe that the soul cannot die then you must believe it goes somewhere after death. You wouldn’t want to belief that wicked people end up in a good place (a lot of Christians believe they go to heaven when they die), so there must be a bad place for the bad people to go to. Once you’ve got this idea in your mind then you read the Bible to fit that idea. For example, whilst Jesus never talks about eternal conscious torment, he does talk about “eternal punishment” (Matthew 25:46). If you already believe that bad souls go to a bad place when they die, it is convenient to read “eternal punishment” as though it said “eternal conscious torment”. That’s not what Jesus said, but that’s what many Christians think.

English: Ge-Hinnom, c. 1900.

Ge-Hinnom or Valley of Hinnom, c. 1900. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It also does not help that Christians today have forgotten what Jesus meant when he used the word “hell”. When Jesus talks about hell he is usually using the word gehenna, which literally means “Valley of Hinnom“. This was a place in ancient Israel where the worshippers of the pagan god Molech would perform human sacrifices, including burning children (e.g. 2 Kings 23:10). This practice is condemned by God through the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 32:35). Jeremiah uses the imagery of being burnt in the Valley of Hinnom to portray the fitting punishment for those who practiced such evil (Jeremiah 7:31-32). This is the background to the word gehenna in the New Testament where it represents the fate of the wicked. When Jesus talks about the ‘fire of hell‘ (Matthew 5:22) he is using the word gehenna, using this imagery for the destruction of death. The other word used by Jesus for hell is hades. Though in greek mythology hades was both the abode of the dead and the god of the dead, in the New Testament hades simply refers to the grave. In either case Jesus was not referring to a place of eternal conscious torment for the wicked, as many people now think about hell.

As you can see from this overview I do not think that Christians should believe in hell and as such I do not think that hell provides any obstacle to believing in God. Jesus does not teach that the wicked go to hell and I do not know of any other part of the bible that teaches this idea. Wherever people got the notion of hell from it was not from God and not part of his message to mankind. I can understand that you would not want to believe in a god that condemned people to hell, though your personal dislike would not determine whether or not such a god existed. But the notion of hell is inconsistent with everything we know about the God who does exist; inconsistent with his goodness and inconsistent with his message to mankind.

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Additional reading:

  1. Another way looking at a language #3 Abraham
  2. Sheol, Sheool, Sjeool, Hades, Hell, Grave, Tomb, Sepulchre
  3. Grave, tomb, sepulchre – graf, begraafplaats, rustplaats, sepulcrum
  4. Darkness, light, burning fire, Truth and people in it
  5. Jesus three days in hell
  6. Hellfire
  7. A fact of History or just a fancy Story
  8. The soul
  9. Dying or not
  10. Is there an Immortal soul
  11. Immortality, eternality – onsterfelijkheid, eeuwigheid
  12. Set free from any form of mental torment or self-condemnation
  13. Creator and Blogger God 3 Lesson and solution
  14. Creator and Blogger God 7 A Blog of a Book 1 Believing the Blogger
  15. Fragments from the Book of Job #1: chapters 1-12
  16. Fragments from the Book of Job #4: chapters 27-31
  17. We are ourselves responsible
  18. Self inflicted misery #6 Paying by death
  19. Self inflicted misery #8 Pruning to strengthen us
  20. Bad things no punishment from God
  21. Being Religious and Spiritual 3 Philosophers, Avicennism and the spiritual
  22. Being Religious and Spiritual 6 Romantici, utopists and transcendentalists
  23. Being Religious and Spiritual 7 Transcendence to become one
  24. Atonement And Fellowship 4/8
  25. Edward Wightman
  26. Fear and protection
  27. Fear of God reason to return to Holy Scriptures
  28. Eternity depends upon this short time on earth
  29. A small company of Jesus’ footstep follower

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  • Biblical Hell (focusedandfree.com)
    Because of the symbolic nature of the language, some people question whether hell consists of actual fire. Such reasoning should bring no comfort to the lost. The reality is greater than the symbol. The Bible exhausts human language in describing heaven and hell. The former is more glorious, and the latter more terrible, than language can express.
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    In Christian tradition it is usually associated with the notion of eternal punishment, especially by fire. This idea appears in Isaiah. 66:24, but it is not clearly associated with a place. Jewish writings from the third century B.C. onward, speak of places of punishment by fire for evil spirits and the wicked dead (1 Enoch 18:11-16108:3-7152 Esdras 7:36-38). The book of Revelation describes a lake that burns with fire and brimstone in which the wicked will be eternally punished (Revelation 19:2020:14-1521:8).
  • Gehenna in the ‘Love Wins’ controversy (creationconcept.wordpress.com)
    One aspect of the great controversy about hell, and about Bell’s thesis, is the meaning of the word Gehenna in the New Testament. Most English translations contribute to the confusion by replacing the word Gehenna with hell, instead of leaving it untranslated, as it should be, since it is the name of a specific geographical place on earth.
  • Is Gehenna the same as the lake of fire? (creationconcept.wordpress.com)
    Arthur W. Pink compared Gehenna with the lake of fire in Revelation 20 in his article on Eternal Punishment. He thought these two things were identical. But Pink may have been mistaken about this, as he was about the doctrine of dispensationalism. He eventually realized dispensationalism was false, and wrote a series of articles against that theory, which he previously supported.In his discussion of Gehenna, Pink compared things said of it with the information that is provided about the lake of fire. His comparison is summarized
  • Is Literal Hellfire Torment A Bible Teaching? (debatepolitics.com)
    The teaching of literal hellfire torment is commonplace in Christendom and non-Christian religions. This teaching defames the Creator and portrays him as a sadist who tortures people in flames of fire for all eternity—as punishment for wrongdoing committed during the relatively brief human lifespan. The hellfire dogma was brought into Christianity by the Roman Catholics who copied it from pagan religions. (Pagans are those who do not worship the God of the Judeo-Christian Bible.)
    +
    The scriptures indicate that hell is nothing more than mankind’s common grave. Proof of this is provided by a verse of scripture in the Bible, which no hellfire-believing Christian can explain away. I’m referring to the scripture that says Jesus Christ–the epitome of a perfect, sinless, and obedient man–died and went to hell.
  • What and Where is Hell Anyway? (robertjrgraham.com)
    When most people think of hell, they think of Satan in that red suit with two horns and a pitchfork somewhere in the depths of the Earth where souls are tormented day and night on some kind of giant char broiler. Do something wrong in life and you’re condemned to an eternal damnation of flames. None of this could be further from the truth, and we should know better, “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices” (II Corinthians 2:11).The English word hell comes from the Anglo-Saxon hel, or in the genitive case helle, which means a “hidden place”, from the Anglo-Saxon word helan, meaning “to hide”.
    +
    Whether it’s the word sheol in the Old Testament, or gehenna or hades in the New Testament, they all mean either the grave or the state of death.
  • Is Hell eternal or do those who do not choose Christ just cease to exist? (askthepastors.wordpress.com)
    There are four words used in the Bible for the place of the dead, Sheol, the Hebrew term for the grave and also for the place of departed spirits, Hades, the Greek version of Sheol, the Abyss (used for the place of the dead in Romans 10:7, but usually reserved for place of judgment for demons, Luke 8:31; Rev. 9:1,2, 20:1) and Gehenna, the term taken from the Valley of Hinnom just south of Jerusalem where trash was perpetually burned. This last word refers specifically to the final place of torment, most properly translated “hell” (Matthew 5:22,29,30; 10:28; 18:9, etc.)
  • Comments on Walter Balfour’s interpretation of Gehenna (creationconcept.wordpress.com)
    In their disputes about the meaning of Gehenna, both men overlooked the significance of Gehenna as a topographical feature in the land of promise, and one of the valleys which Isaiah said will be filled, as John the Baptist proclaimed. [Luke 3:5]From Gehenna, one views Jerusalem as an outsider; the teachings of Jesus encourage us to get into the kingdom of God, and obtain life.
    +The sayings of Jesus about Gehenna also apply to the present age. Gehenna is a judgment. [Mat. 5:22, 23:33] Jesus referred to it as something we should avoid at any cost, even if it means loss of our right eye, or our right hand, or our right foot. [Mat. 5:29, 30] Jesus said God is able to destroy “both soul and body” in Gehenna, and that we should fear him. [Mat. 10:28, Luke 12:5] This suggests that the warnings about Gehenna apply to our present lives; being cast into it represents the spiritual condition, of being outside the holy city.Being cast into Gehenna contrasts with entering into life. [Mat. 18:9] Scribes, Pharisees, and hypocrites are called “children of Gehenna.” [Mat. 23:15] Balfour correctly pointed out “no Gentile is ever threatened with Gehenna punishment,” as that threat applies especially to those in Jerusalem. One must be in the holy city, in order to be cast out of it. While the threat of “the damnation of Gehenna” applies only to Jews, the heirs of salvation, who are “in Christ,” are called Jews, and “the circumcision,” in a spiritual sense; Jesus used the threat of Gehenna figuratively and metaphorically to warn the saints who dwell in the heavenly Jerusalem.
  • Is Punishment Eternal? (pilgrimpassing.com)
    Thus, sheol and hades were the same place and must have been occupied by the redeemed since the Messiah was there while His body lay in the grave. That the lost were also there, but in a separate area, is clear from Christ’s statement that when the rich man died, “in hades he lift up his eyes, being in torment….” That in his torment he could see Lazarus and Abraham in comfort (Luke 16:19-31) further indicates that the redeemed were also in hades yet distinct from the damned. That part of hades, which Christ referred to as “Abraham’s bosom,” must have been the “paradise” in which Jesus promised to meet the believing thief on the cross that very day (Luke 23:43).
    +
    If God is so loving why doesn’t He universally forgive everyone? Love is only part of God’s character. He is also infinitely and perfectly just. How can God forgive someone who admits no guilt? How can He forgive those who insist that there is nothing for which He needs to forgive them? And would it not be the utmost folly to do so? If in His mercy and grace God simply passed over human rebellion, would that not be condoning evil and even encouraging it? Would that not in itself undermine God’s control of His universe?
  • Walter Balfour’s discussion of Gehenna
  • Hope in Gehenna?
  • John Calvin on Gehenna
  • Gehenna applies to the church, not the world
  • Gehenna in the ‘Love Wins’ controversy
  • To Hell with Hell
  • Philosophy – What Is Hell?
  • Jason Erb critically analyzes biblical doctrines on Truth Hertz with Charles Giuliani, January 1, 2013
  • Lost Soul in Hell
  • The Amazing Race of God
  • God versus Satan
  • A Full Documentary About the Signs of Apocalypse
  • Reality of Hell…
  • To Hell with HellIs Punishment Eternal?
  • There Is No Hell, Look It Up

Points to remember of philosophy versus spirituality and religion


*
Philosophy does open your mind,
but not to an imaginary evil gremlin whose ultimate goal is to enslave humanity.
It simply opens the mind to new ideas and not being close minded.
Some may say I’m just another typical example of how the devil can take possession of people
through exposure to worldly things.
The truth is if you shelter your kids from ‘the real world’
they are going to wonder what you are keeping from them
and many will run at the first chance they get.
If philosophy, being the love of knowledge by definition, is so evil, then
what are you saying by telling people to stay away from it?
There is a word to describe the rejection of knowledge;
it is called ignorance.

*

From The Truth About Sheltering Your Kids: Jonathan Farris’ Story

Preceding articles:

Being Religious and Spiritual 1 Immateriality and Spiritual experience

Being Religious and Spiritual 2 Religiosity and spiritual life

Being Religious and Spiritual 3 Philosophers, Avicennism and the spiritual

Being Religious and Spiritual 4 Philosophical, religious and spiritual people

Being Religious and Spiritual 5 Gnostic influences

Being Religious and Spiritual 6 Romantici, utopists and transcendentalists

Being Religious and Spiritual 7 Transcendence to become one

Being Religious and Spiritual 8 Spiritual, Mystic and not or well religious

Philosophy hand in hand with spirituality

How long to wait before bringing religiousness and spirituality in practice

++

Additional reading:

  1. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  2. Are religious and secular ethicists climbing the same mountain
  3. Caricaturing and disapproving sceptics, religious critics and figured out ethics
  4. Theology without spirituality sterile academic exercise

+++

¡Spiritual, Spiritual!

¡Spiritual, Spiritual! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Religious Gaslighting – Reclaim Your Spirituality (kyoung4.wordpress.com)
    Teaching the people to fear God is gaslighting on a massive scale. The major religions of the world have been gaslighting humanity for centuries in order to stunt humanity’s spiritual development. Our spiritual development is the key to our freedom from the control grid. It is imperative that we resist how the religious Psychopaths in Charge attempt to define the sacred for us. We must also be careful that when walking away from the madness of the religion of our childhoods that we do not leave our spiritual development behind too.
  • Major developments for philosophy of religion at Rutgers (leiterreports.typepad.com)
    Rutgers, with support from the Templeton Foundation, has created a new Center for Philosophy of Religion, which will be directed by Rutgers philosopher Dean Zimmerman, who is well-known for his work in both metaphysics and philosophy of religion.
  • A Very Human Enlightenment (anupturnedsoul.wordpress.com)
    Surely enlightenment, transcending the human condition, and finding yourself are worth whatever the price they are being sold for?
    +
    We find what we need when we need it. Our greatest teacher is ourselves and our life. Learn from your experiences. Be gentle with yourself. Give yourself the time and respect you need. Trust yourself. And remember you are human… that is a precious gift.
  • Awareness is the magic key. (laurierohner.wordpress.com)
    Discovering the flaws and obstacles you have put up in front of you allows you to move and change direction.
    +
    What I want or desire I was taught was not allowed. Hard work and a lot of it was necessary to succeed and if you did not succeed than there was something wrong with you. I fought daily with my inner demons only to find more demons to conquer. I was taught a fit all religion made to believe like the group and that religion was the ‘one’ that mattered and was right.
  • A Nation That Accentuates the Positive – Mitch Horowitz (payingattentiontothesky.com)
    For the past 150 years, since the dawn of clinical scientific study, virtually all fields of inquiry, from medicine to psychology to brain biology to quantum theories, have broadened our conceptions of the mind. While shallower expressions of motivational thought are easy to dismiss, the pioneers of positive thinking not only supplied America with its national creed, but also displayed a precocious instinct that our thoughts may accomplish more than we realize.
  • Greek Phil 211: Philosophy & Religion? (bulletforyourtrouble.wordpress.com)
    religious views often remind me of philosophical thought. For example, in my Asian Religions class, almost everything covered in the class has something to do with a philosophical way of thinking, believing, and living and touches on ideas that Greek philosophers have created theories on. I can’t name any off the top of my head at the moment, but it gets me every time how philosophical thought always pops up in discussion of religion and vice versa.
    +
    So perhaps it’s plausible to think more along the lines of all religions are a type of philosophy, but not all philosophies are religious.
  • Spirituality Re-visited On A Snowy Sunday (ypsjadon.wordpress.com)
    However the idea, that the spirituality begins where religion ends is not new, but it is something, which I could never fathom fully, probably because I was too busy with my own concept of my existence. Why I exist, how I think, where do these ideas come from is something that I still cannot answer. I ‘am unable to answer such questions using all my faculties of the material world, be it knowledge, be it intellect or be it religion. I stopped trusting religion when my father fell sick. Answers sought never showed up. The harder I tried to get the answers the more confused I became.
    +
    God and religion (or rather religious practices) are two things that mix as much as water and rock I believe that this is some part of the answer which I seek. A part that shows the path to the gateway. I have merely to follow this path to understand  the being which is me; something that is within each and everyone of us, just waiting to be discovered.
  • All is well, and you will never get it done. Have fun! (laurierohner.wordpress.com)
    No one is taking score of any kind, and if you will stop taking score so much, you will feel a whole lot better — and as you feel a whole lot better, more of the things that you want right now will flow to you.
  • TOWARDS an Equitable Society: balancing left- and right-brain activities (3dmetrics.me.uk)
    As a former software diagnostician in CERN, I am used to being in the 12% minority that Chi Onwurah MP highlighted in her keynote speech at Women Shift Digital.But after (male) doctors, instead of admitting they can’t help me, told me my pain is psychological, I learned more about psychology, philosophy, religion and consciousness than I ever wanted to know, having studied mathematics and computing.
  • Two quotes from David Bentley Hart (pretentiouslatintitle.wordpress.com)
    while I love the logical precision of analytic philosophy, I wonder whether its narrowing imaginative scope is less due to a misguided attempt to ape the sciences and more to the fact that a lot of professional philosophers have not had much intellectual exposure to anything other than analytic philosophy. I owe at least as much in the course of my education to reading books that weren’t on the syllabi.
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Philosophy hand in hand with spirituality

Experiences and Interest in philosophy and spirituality

I think it is wrong to think philosophy can not go together with spirituality. I also think it is wrong to assume that when a person is interested in philosophy, he would not be interested in the spiritual or the religious.

Expérience

Expérience (Photo credit: Saturne)

The world itself presents itself in a succession of pure experiences which we should see. We can either ignore what is going on in the world or look at it question the what and why’s and how’s. Often the human beings can not qualify these experiences in a way by which all would agree with.

Should we not recognise that those things which come along our way are always felt and undergone by our own self, which was constructed by previous experiences and learnings. In a way this may give us always the way of the subjective choice and subjective sense or experience. Each is simply a pure impression that is made upon us at some point in our life, where we do have a certain education or development which shall obey the laws of our state at the moment.

Experiences and Impressions

Reality appears to us first as an unqualified multitude of original impressions that cannot be compared or ordered in anyway without our previous learnings. Is our experience not mere juxtaposition in space and succession in time; an aggregate of utterly disconnected particulars?
Living in this world we can not do without seeing what is happening around us. We can not merely observe the things, and not bring them into thought-relationships.

The things which happen in our lives shall give us our experiences. Those experiences will create senses and shall be our best teacher, experience being the mother of wisdom. To take on any qualities or relationships whatsoever thought or reason must act upon them. It is the process of thought that attributes qualities to pure experiences and relates some experiences to others to build an understanding of the world.

Conscious or unconscious direction with second nature

Our way of thinking or the process of thought should proceed through certain ways be it our conscious or unconscious direction. Our brain should go on working, considering what happened and analysing everything. Probably it shall order everything, classify it. This using some organic laws of interconnection. These laws are part of the world of thought itself and not completely within our control. Pure experience presents itself in a spontaneously emerging stream and thoughts grow out of that experience making it distinguishable to us and situating it in relationship to the rest of experience.

Some do consider the process of thinking not a human activity. We may say that thoughts emerge out of pure earlier experiences and are dependent on our upbringing or rearing and the language we learned, both becoming a second nature.

Out of body experience

Out of body experience (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our religious thinking and being should also become such a second nature. From the Bible we can learn that the ‘soul‘ is not an external element in our being. Many Christians and Muslims imagine there are a good and a bad angel sitting on our shoulders and talking to a soul which can go out of our body when we die. For them this human soul is to be a phantom-like inner being that contains our conscience and moral fibre. It is the element which can let us do good or let us do bad, under influence of other spirits called either angels, for the good ones, and devils, like Satan and Lucifer, for the bad ones.

Breath given by Creator

Those people forget that it was God Who blew his breath in the nostrils of the first man and woman, to bring them to life. The Pneuma or spirit in those first human beings was not something separate from them. It was their breathing, their being itself.

The soul is not a specific element as such but the transcription of the inner being and the thinking which happens by ‘electronic actions’ in our brain and by breathing. Without breathing we shall not be able to give oxygen to our brains by which they will not be able to work, and with a non-working brain we are as good as dead.

You could say that the soul is our “background of our being”. This ‘being’ has to be fed to stay alive. And because it is not a material element it has to find its food in the immaterial. therefore we as human beings should also give food to the immaterial elements of our being, our “body and soul”.

God gave breath to all creation, but the difference between man and the other living organisms is that god has given more power to man. He has received the power to think, to make choices, to make decisions, to give names and to handle like he wishes to do. But all his actions will create experiences, be it nice or bad ones. He shall have the choice to learn from them or to continue his life without learning more from those things that overcame him.

Material and immaterial being and understanding

Like the soul in an immaterial thing, our thinking its coming to understand something is an abstract element. Understanding is “an abstraction which the human mind forms by reflecting on its own thoughts and forms of thinking.” This knowing is a natural product of the process of mind and it is bound up in, and limited by, language. {Coleridge}

Coleridge asserted that it is a process that requires no “self” to enact. It is a natural process of the lawful interaction of mental elements, a simple unfolding of the characteristics of the mind in nature. But I do think we do have a responsibility and we do have the choice and power to have the self to come to understanding.

I believe when we do open our mind to different thoughts we can enable ourselves to learn more. I also believe this is one of the tasks God has given His creation in the Garden of Eden. We can only give the plants and animals name and classify them in groups when we do have the knowledge and skill to do so. This would not require that we all have the same certificate of proficiency or that we may excuse ourselves when it is not in our domain.

Given brains and reason

An illustration of the Cartesian theater, wher...

An illustration of the Cartesian theater, where a homonculus sits in a person’s head seeing and hearing everything that he experiences. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Because God has given us brains to use, we should use them. So we should think about matters and question things. This questioning things may fall under philosophy. Today many may say “Reason is a direct product of the reasoning faculty.”, but that is not taking the Creator in mind. He had a reason to place human beings on this earth having a brain to reason. Reason is a direct product of the power of creation, Who Himself is Spirit. God is not a man of flesh and blood, but a Spirit without a beginning and without an end. His breath gave us spirit, making us capable to reason, to become reasonable figures in that Created World.

It is not an “accident” that reason comes to us. Reason is breathed into us by the Creator. Though many may think it is just something what happens accidentally, it is something which is in-breath in our human constitution. It may appear spontaneously without warning or precursor, but it is grounded or part of a growing seed, which can only come into existence when the person is willing to use his brain. It is from all the previous experiences, the teachings a person got, that he or she shall be able to think. Though this would not be possible without the Power of the Most High, the Spirit God. Without Him we are nothing. It is the Holy Spirit Who can give us ‘spirit’ to think about matters and to come to reason. God has implanted ethic thoughts in us. He has created us all in His image, so we all do have certain elements of the Supreme High Being. We do not all have the same elements, but somehow we all received enough elements to become full human being who can think properly and who should be able to find God. The Reason as such becomes Spontaneous Knowing. We all have received the power to get to Knowing. Some may think it is not an understanding that is constructed through any thought process, but they should remember the Creator who build in His creations the possibility to think and to come to conclusions. In our inner being we do have the key to come to understanding. It is the direct and self-authenticating recognition of truth.

Different ways to go giving different opinions

From the beginning of the world mankind questioned the Spirit God and for that reason Jehovah God gave man the possibility to work it out himself. Woman would bear children in pain and would find they all could be different, going their own way or helping each other. All had to make their own decisions and could think their own way. God allowed it to be so.

Because we all went different ways on the paths which lay in front of man, different opinions came into the world, and people could choose between many theses or postulates.

The direct knowing of truth is build in by the Creator and could happen spontaneously and also compulsively. The reasoning faculty is ‘knowing’ itself. It is not a process that leads to knowing. This implies that there is some part of us that simply knows the truth and cannot help but know it. But we are stubborn beings, though we do not want to admit it. We have direct sense impressions – smells, tastes, sensations, sounds and sights – which simply appear in awareness. We don’t call them into being and we cannot alter or avoid the way they present themselves. Ideas and intuitions also – upon their initial appearance – share the same unalterable immediacy of presence.

With this awareness of things, matters and background knowledge, we can hear others and see what others do or create. Seeing what happens in the world we can not ignore the inner language of thought. We can only deny our interpretation of experience, not the fact of having it.

Trying to perceive more knowledge

So we may experience a lot of things in our life, encounter lots of publications and thoughts. By tackling our taste to get more knowledge,we are not going against God His wishes. The opposite I would say. We should learn and we should try to get more knowledge.

With philosophy we may come into the domain of the seekers who search to get more wisdom, knowledge and understanding about reality. Did or do not many philosophers try to get to answers about life and about why and how things are? They do like to offer an explanation of the way things are where spirituality is a description of a position that we as a human being should take in relationship to the way things are.

Trying to become one with self and environment

Experience

Experience (Photo credit: Kaptain Kobold)

In the action of Spirituality a person tries to become One. Bring mind, soul, thinking in unison with his being, material body. By the spiritual action we do want to go to the source from which everything else originates, whilst by the philosophy we want to come to an understanding why and how human being went away from its source and how it can come back to this source again.

While Philosophy is generally in the mental state of consciousness, the mind taking efforts to know, the spiritual would love to come to that Source of knowledge, believing that there exist something more than the material being its consciousness that exist above the mental ranges.

Trying to transcend domain of rationale and intellect

Moral philosophy

Both the philosopher and the spiritualist may be willing to come to knowledge which transcends domain of rationale and intellect. The philosopher not so much concerned by the own individu or individual, person, character, his identity, but preferring to give objective pictures of reality without telling us explicitly (although often they do implicitly) how we should be in relationship to that picture. Even in moral philosophy generally what we get is an explanation of why certain things are right and others wrong. What we don’t get is someone telling us that we should do the right thing. What we do with morality is left in our own hands.

Spirituality resides in higher regions and has much more to do with the own subjective personality. From the subjective point of view the spiritualist tries to go deeper into himself, looking for the realm of truth there and not as such by others. He knows that the soul is in each of us and is inseparable joined together with flesh and blood. In that casing of human flesh there is our way of breathing and thinking, spirit and moral judgment.

Trying to Relate things

We may be interested to see how we can relate to things, and therefore we can look what philosophers do have to say about that. Spirituality wants to go a step further than just knowing how things are related with each other. It tells us how we should be in relationship to the way things are. It can show us how we should react and by knowing what actions we do have to take we also shall be able to choose if we are willing to use such a knowledge to take on an attitude and to build up a religious field. Spiritualities always include philosophical explanations of the world, but those philosophical aspects are the backdrop for the main event which is direct instruction about how to live.

Door to transcendence

Understanding, intellect and the mind is one door to transcendence. From philosophers we can learn a lot, and we should take the opportunity to learn from their writings. But they will never be able to give the full answer. They mostly do not look for The Divine Source. In our normal consciousness people are so caught up with their emotions, sensations and thoughts and their own mind, they get full of themselves in the emptiness of the world. They become so active that there is no room for the Divine. There the spiritual person wants to go against. He wants to have his wondering not taking him to put Him in the chains of life.

No reason to be afraid of philosophy

To see clear
Man thinking on a train journey.

Man thinking on a train journey. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Christians should not be afraid that the philosophy would carry people away from the Divine. When this would happen it is because the person is not prepared to sincerely look for the Divine. Often the person going away from religion is because he does not see clear the difference between philosophy, religion, religiousness and spirituality.

The philosopher may have the love and intellectual search for wisdom. The spiritual minded person knows or believes there is something extra in our life than just the knowledge of the material world. The spiritual person does want to find knowledge to come to wisdom, but understands that wisdom is more that putting all facts together. To come to spirituality there must be more than the willingness to come to understand the own being. Besides the willingness to come to get to know the inner-self there is the love and opening of their hearts for the wisdom and the willingness to have it taking part in the relationship with others.

Sister and brother

We should understand that the religious person may like to look into philosophy and at the same time may look into spirituality. The two approaches can marvelously be like sister (heart) and brother (brain) in the process of coming to the point of Being part of the One on one side and then Becoming part of the big thing on the other side – in being active in life.

Relationship of unity and Oneness

So, I would say, do not mind letting philosophy going hand in hand with spirituality and making a person to become religious in the good sense of the word, finding and loving the Only One Who is One and wants us to be one and worshiping the Right One in a relationship of unity and Oneness.

The only thing a Christian should be careful for is that he does not get carried away with human thinking, but keeps himself concentrated on the sacral and spiritual matters, looking for the Most Important Being making our self being possible to be a being, the Only One God, the Adonai Elohim Hashem Jehovah.

+

Preceding articles:

Looking for True Spirituality 1 Intro

Looking for True Spirituality 2 Not restricted to an elite

Looking for True Spirituality 3 Mind of Christ

Looking for True Spirituality 4 Getting to Know the Mind of Christ

Looking for True Spirituality 5 Fruitage of the Spirit

Looking for True Spirituality 6 Spirituality and Prayer

Looking for True Spirituality 7 Preaching of the Good News

Looking for True Spirituality 8 Measuring Up

Fruits of the spirit will prevent you from being either inactive or unfruitful

How long to wait before bringing religiousness and spirituality in practice

++

Additional reading:

  1. A concrete picture of what is to come in the future
  2. Migrants to the West #7 Religions
  3. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality
  4. Women, conservative evangelicals and their counter-offensive
  5. Lying in the senses in matters of love
  6. Our relationship with God, Jesus and each other
  7. Separation from God in death, the antithesis of life
  8. Fragments from the Book of Job #7 Epilogue
  9. Exceeding Great and Precious Promise
  10. Wondering
  11. Believing to understand
  12. Light within
  13. Let tomorrow be sufficient
  14. Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience
  15. Don’t let anyone move you off the foundation of your faith
  16. Know Who goes with us and don’t try to control life
  17. Know by trying
  18. Knowing where to go to
  19. Think hard before you act today
  20. Disappointed expectations
  21. I Only hope we find GOD again before it is too late !
  22. Put on the whole armor of God
  23. Weapons of our warfare
  24. A call easy to understand
  25. Getting of at the fence
  26. Hope as long as you live
  27. A goal is a dream with a plan
  28. Lying in the senses in matters of love
  29. Be humble like Christ
  30. The way God sees us
  31. Two forms of Freedom
  32. Altar everything in life
  33. Duty of encouragement
  34. Establish Priorities
  35. Luck
  36. Joy: Foundation for a Positive Life
  37. Nothing noble in the flesh left to itself
  38. Determined To Stick With Truth.
  39. Created to live in relation with God
  40. God’s promises
  41. Sow and harvests in the garden of your heart
  42. A love not exempting us from trials
  43. Call unto God so that He can answer you
  44. Life in gratitude opens glory of God
  45. Do not be so busy adding up your troubles
  46. Preexistence in the Divine purpose and Trinity
  47. Immortality, eternality – onsterfelijkheid, eeuwigheid
  48. Dying or not
  49. What happens when we die?
  50. Dead and after
  51. Sheol or the grave
  52. Satan the evil within
  53. Soul
  54. Destination of righteous
  55. Destination of the earth
  56. God’s design in the creation of the world
  57. God His reward
  58. Is there an Immortal soul
  59. The Soul not a ghost
  60. The Soul confronted with Death
  61. The soul has no rainbow if the eyes have no tears
  62. Trust God to shelter, safety and security
  63. God wants to be gracious to you
  64. Invitation to all who believe

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Are Science and the Bible Compatible?

“The significance and joy in my science comes in the occasional moments of discovering something new and saying to myself, ‘So that’s how God did it!’”— Henry Schaefer, professor of chemistry.

Science does much to help us understand the natural world, revealing a level of order, precision, and sophistication that points, in the eyes of many, to a God of infinite intelligence and power. In their view, science reveals not just details of the natural world but also facets of the mind of God.

That point of view finds abundant support in the Bible. Says Romans 1:20:

“[God’s] invisible qualities are clearly seen from the world’s creation onward, because they are perceived by the things made, even his eternal power and Godship.”

Likewise, Psalm 19:1, 2 states:

“The heavens are declaring the glory of God; and of the work of his hands the expanse is telling. One day after another day causes speech to bubble forth, and one night after another night shows forth knowledge.”

Despite all its wonders, however, the natural world reveals only some aspects of our Creator.

Where Science Is Limited

Many truths about God are beyond the scope of science. To illustrate, a scientist may be able to describe every molecule in a chocolate cake, but will his analysis reveal why the cake was made or for whom? For answers to questions like that—which most people would regard as the more important ones—he needs to consult the person who baked the cake.

Description : Erwin Schrödinger, Austrian phys...

Erwin Schrödinger, Austrian physicist (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Similarly, science “gives a lot of factual information,” wrote Austrian physicist and Nobel laureate Erwin Schrödinger, “but it is ghastly silent about all . . . that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us.” This includes, he says, “God and eternity.” For example, only God can answer such questions as the following:
Why is there a universe? Why does our planet have an abundance of life, including intelligent life? If God truly is almighty, why does he permit evil and suffering? And is there hope beyond the grave?

Has God answered those questions? Yes, in the pages of the Bible.

16 All Scripture is inspired of God+ and beneficial for teaching,+ for reproving, for setting things straight,* for disciplining in righteousness,+ 17 so that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

‘But how,’ you may ask, ‘can I be sure that the Bible really is from God?’ From a scientific point of view, what the Bible says about the world around us must harmonize with scientific fact, for God does not contradict himself. Does the Bible reflect such harmony? Consider a few examples.

Scientifically Ahead of Its Time

When the Bible was being written, many people believed that various gods inhabited the world and that those gods, not natural laws, controlled the sun, the moon, the weather, fertility, and so on. But that was not the case with the ancient Hebrew prophets of God. Of course, they knew that Jehovah God could directly control the natural world and that he did so on specific occasions.

12 It was then, on the day that Jehovah routed the Am′or·ites before the eyes of the Israelites, that Joshua said to Jehovah before Israel: “Sun, stand still+ over Gib′e·on,+ And moon, over the Valley* of Ai′ja·lon!” 13 So the sun stood still and the moon did not move until the nation could take vengeance on its enemies. Is it not written in the book of Ja′shar?+ The sun stood still in the middle of the sky and did not hasten to set for about a whole day. 14 There has never been a day like that one, either before it or after it, when Jehovah listened to the voice of a man,+ for Jehovah was fighting for Israel.+(Joshua 10:12-14)

Isaiah replied: “This is the sign from Jehovah to show you that Jehovah will carry out the word that he has spoken: Do you want the shadow on the stairway* to move forward ten steps or back ten steps?”+ 10 Hez·e·ki′ah said: “It is an easy thing for the shadow to extend itself ten steps but not to go back ten steps.” 11 So Isaiah the prophet called out to Jehovah, and He made the shadow on the stairway of A′haz go back ten steps after it had already descended the steps.+ (2 Kings 20:9-11)

Nevertheless, John Lennox, professor of mathematics at the University of Oxford, England, observed that those prophets

“did not have to have their universe de-deified [of mythical gods]. . . , for the simple reason that they had never believed in the gods in the first place. What had saved them from that superstition was their belief in One True God, Creator of heaven and earth.”

How did that belief protect them from superstition? For one thing, the true God revealed to them that he governs the universe by precise laws, or statutes. For example, more than 3,500 years ago, Jehovah God asked his servant Job:

“Have you come to know the statutes of the heavens?” (Job 38:33)

In the seventh century B.C.E., the prophet Jeremiah wrote about “the statutes of heaven and earth.”—Jeremiah 33:25.

Hence, all who lived in ancient times and had faith in the writings of the Bible prophets could know that the universe was governed, not by mythical, temperamental deities, but by rational laws. As a result, those God-fearing individuals neither bowed down to created entities, such as the sun, the moon, or the stars, nor did they have a superstitious attitude toward them.

15 “Therefore, watch yourselves closely*—since you did not see any form on the day Jehovah spoke to you in Ho′reb out of the middle of the fire— 16 that you may not act corruptly by making for yourselves any carved image having the form of any symbol, the representation of male or female,+ 17 the representation of any animal on the earth or the representation of any bird that flies in the sky,+ 18 the representation of anything creeping on the ground or the representation of any fish in the waters under the earth.+ 19 And when you raise your eyes to the heavens and see the sun and the moon and the stars—all the army of the heavens—do not get seduced and bow down to them and serve them.+ Jehovah your God has given them to all the peoples under the whole heavens. (Deuteronomy 4:15-19)

Rather, they saw God’s works as objects of study that reveal his wisdom, power, and other qualities.

When I see your heavens, the works of your fingers, The moon and the stars that you have prepared,+ What is mortal man that you keep him in mind, And a son of man that you take care of him?+ You made him a little lower than godlike ones,*And you crowned him with glory and splendor. You gave him dominion over the works of your hands;+You have put everything under his feet: All the flocks and cattle,As well as the wild animals,*+ The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea, Whatever passes through the paths of the seas.  O Jehovah our Lord, how majestic your name is throughout the earth! (Psalm 8:3-9)

19 Jehovah founded the earth in wisdom.+ He solidly established the heavens in discernment.+ 20 By his knowledge the watery deeps were split apart And the cloudy skies dripped with dew.+ (Proverbs 3:19, 20).

In harmony with today’s views

In harmony with the views of many scientists today, the ancient Hebrews also believed that the universe had a beginning.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” says Genesis 1:1.

bibles

bibles (Photo credit: fancycwabs)

Also, some 3,500 years ago, God revealed to his servant Job that the earth ‘hangs on nothing,’ or is suspended in space. (Job 26:7) And finally, more than 2,500 years ago, the prophet Isaiah wrote that the earth is a circle or sphere.

22 There is One who dwells above the circle* of the earth,+ And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers. He is stretching out the heavens like a fine gauze, And he spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.+ (Isaiah 40:22).* {For a more extensive discussion on the existence of God and the accuracy of the Bible, please read the brochure Was Life Created? and the book Is There a Creator Who Cares About You? published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.}

Yes, the Bible does harmonize with scientific truths about the natural world. In fact, the two fields of study are more than compatible — they beautifully complement each other. To disregard either one is to leave unopened a door to the knowledge of God.

105 Your word is a lamp to my foot, And a light for my path.+ (Psalm 119:105)

26 “Lift up your eyes to heaven and see. Who has created these things?+ It is the One who brings out their army by number; He calls them all by name.+ Because of his vast dynamic energy and his awe-inspiring power,+ Not one of them is missing. (Isaiah 40:26.)

We may conclude that in the Bible we can find a scientific accuracy in describing basic “kinds” of life. Those description which have been proven by the years strengthens also the credibility in other areas, including history and prophecy.

We should find the God of gods as the Source of infinite power, or energy.

23  Understanding the Almighty is beyond our reach;+ He is great in power,+ And he never violates his justice+ and abundant righteousness.+ (Job 37:23)

Standing still at God His wondrous works

We cannot order God His speech by reason of darkness, but we can stand still and consider the wondrous works of God in everything we can see around us. Human beings do want to have an explanation for everything, but they just can not. Never shall human being have the same knowledge as the Supreme Being Who is the Source of the “vast dynamic energy” that produced the universe. (Isaiah 40:26)

Scientist shall not be able to change the system in the essence, but it will be God Who shall use his supreme power to sustain His creation. Many people even would like to tell others that the world would become destroyed and shall not exist any-more after some time, but the Bible says regarding the sun, moon, and stars that the Creator God shall keep them established forever and ever.

148 1 Praise Jah!* Praise Jehovah from the heavens;+ Praise him in the heights. 2   Praise him, all his angels.+ Praise him, all his army.+ 3   Praise him, sun and moon. Praise him, all shining stars.+ 4   Praise him, O highest heavens*  And waters above the heavens. 5   Let them praise the name of Jehovah,
For he commanded, and they were created.+ 6   He keeps them established forever and ever;+ He has issued a decree that will not pass away.+ (Psalm 148:1-3-6).

Many human beings searched for explanations and wanted to explain the beginning of the universe. Though in simple terms the the Bible explains creation in a way that harmonizes with science and also gives answers to questions that science cannot, — such as, What is God’s purpose for the earth and for mankind? *

The astronomer Allan Sandage once said:

“Science cannot answer the deepest questions. As soon as you ask why is there something instead of nothing, you have gone beyond science.”

+

Preceding articles:

Bible containing scientific information

The mythical conflict of science and Scripture (1)

The mythical conflict of science and Scripture (2)

Science and the Bible—Do They Really Contradict Each Other?

Next: Reconciling Science and Religion

Dutch version / Nederlandstalige versie: Stemt de Bijbel overeen met de wetenschap

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Additional reading:

  1. The True God, Divine Creator or God of gods
  2. Incomplete without the mind of God
  3. Suffering
  4. Suffering-through the apparent silence of God
  5. Hope for the future
  6. Gods hope and our hope
  7. Prophecy pamphlet
  8. Is it “Wrong” to Believe that the Earth is a Sphere? Inclusive the first generation of Christadelphians their views
  9. A dialogue about the earth moving and spinning around the sun
  10. Cosmos creator and human destiny
  11. Everyday beauty

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  • Why I Love the Bible (richardmansel.com)
    the Bible is more than just a book. It is a living thing, breathing wisdom and power. It is a message from God and a window to the future. Nothing else exists like the Bible in the entire universe.
  • Answers in Genesis takes on Bill O’Reilly over Bible comment (tnchristiannews.wordpress.com)
    The Bible is the history of mankind; to call it only a theological book is to miss the whole point of Christianity.
    +
    The Bible Is a book of history–it’s a book of historical science. That’s why I teach thousands of kids each year to say “The Bible is the history book of the universe.’
  • Costco apologizes for labelling Bible as fiction (sunnewsnetwork.ca)
    A California pastor who tweeted a photo of a Bible labelled as fiction at his local Costco says a boycott of the chain is unnecessary.But Caleb Kaltenbach told the show Fox and Friends it is at times like this that “Christians in America need to stand up for their faith.”
  • Abusing Love: Why God’s “Love” Makes Me Cringe (n8carlson.wordpress.com)
    God’s love is manifest in the Gospel. The Gospel is “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). The Gospel is for the salvation from sin for believers. It is offensive. The Gospel tells an individual that they are a sinner, that they have rebelled against God, and that they cannot do anything to fix that. The Gospel does not affirm people as good people. It is not tolerant. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” It is God’s way and no other’s.
  • Unified Truth: Faith and Reason (str.typepad.com)
    Personally, not a huge fan of Thomas Aquinas. Greek philosophy is not compatible with Christian theology, except in a few areas. In Greek philosophy, the body is bad. In Christian theology, the body is good and will be redeemed eventually by God. Greek philosophy has brought us off course in our understanding of eschatology and other important things on many occasions in the church. I am a bit wary about some of what Thomas Aquinas believes because of that. (Jared Berryman)
    +
    As Aquinas did, Evangelicals conflate reason with truth. With their puffed-up minds, they think that if an argument can be made concerning Scripture using reason, then their reasoning constitutes the truth. For example, some of these wisdom lovers claim that God’s greatest attribute is His sovereignty. Surely reason tells us this apparent fact, but it isn’t found anywhere in Scripture; rather, it is their philosophical presupposition. (Sebastian Gonzales)
  • Thomas Aquinas on Wisdom by Robert M. Woods (facebookapostles.org)
    prior to the Enlightenment, wisdom was closely connected to reason. For them to reason, reflect, imagine, conjecture, was part of what it meant to act faithfully in accordance with being in the image of God. As it related to the four causes expounded by Aristotle and adhered to by Thomas, wisdom is an understanding of the final cause. Sadly, this has all but been lost in science and philosophy today.Is it possible that one reason Philosophy is ridiculed by so many today as irrelevant and outdated is because it lost its way a few hundred years ago and has never fully found the way back to the path. If philosophy was still about the blending of the theoretical and the practical, the reflection and the proper moral action, one can imagine that there would be many who would come to love and live wisdom.
  • Jerry Coyne’s Twisted History of Science and Religion (forbes.com)
    What’s truly amazing is just how much science early Christians were doing. John Philoponus (c. 490 – c. 570) was one of the first Christian professors in Alexandria. Historians today are stunned by his achievements.As a Christian, Philoponus was happy to ditch pagan orthodoxy and start afresh. So he was the first to actually do the experiment of dropping stones, proving Aristotle wrong about falling objects. Alas, shortly after he died, Egypt was invaded by the Persians and then by the Arabs. Alexandria lost its status as an important center of learning, while the Byzantine Empire went into siege mode as it fought an existential struggle for survival. Not a great environment for science!
    +It is truly amazing how many alleged instances of Christianity holding back science turn out to be completely bogus. Legends that the Church banned zero, fought lightning rods or anesthesia, excommunicated Halley’s Comet, and forbade human dissection all turn out to be false. The most widely cited example – the persecution of Galileo – was as much about politics as science. (Galileo purposefully insulted the Pope, which was not a wise move. For more on Bruno, the trial of Galileo, and a whole lot more, see James Hannam’s book, The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution.)Dr. Coyne continues:

    There was and still is, of course, opposition to science by Christians. The greatest opponent of biology’s greatest theory—evolution—has always been Christianity.

    Untrue. The writings of influential Church Father Thomas Aquinas hint that he would have accepted evolution. Besides, singling out Christianity as uniquely opposed to “biology’s greatest theories” overlooks the biggest enemy of genetics in the 20th Century: Soviet Communism. Communists rejected the work of Charles Darwin and Gregor Mendel (the latter, of course, a Catholic monk). Instead, they embraced the Stalin-approved Lamarckian vision of Trofim Lysenko, setting back Soviet genetics by decades.

  • How to falsify a religion using scientific or historical evidence (winteryknight.wordpress.com)
    The absolute origin of the universe out of nothing is also incompatible with atheism, Buddhism, Mormonism, etc. because they also require an eternally existing universe.
    +
    If you prove that the universe is eternal than would falsify the Bible’s claim that God created the universe out of nothing. That would be a scientific disproof. If you could find the body of Jesus still inside a tomb, that would falsify the Bible’s claim about a resurrection. That would be a historical disproof. The nice thing about Christianity is that we make lots of testable claims. Christianity is about forming beliefs that are in line with the available evidence.
  • What Caused the Big Bang? A Master Mason and Knight Templar Offers a Unique New Approach to Multiverse Cosmology (prweb.com)
    “When you understand that Consciousness and Identity are convertible, your spiritual understanding explodes. You no longer need any form of religion, belief, doctrine, or even a conventional identity,” Augustine stated. “My work can expand a person beyond their boundaries and into a new and higher level of Consciousness and spiritual understanding. This is why my subtitle of my book is ‘Consciousness and Enlightenment in the Internet Age and Beyond.'”
  • Creation (illustrationstoencourage.wordpress.com)
    Modern science agrees that the universe had a beginning. A recent scientific model suggests it to be almost 14 billion years old.
    +
    The false ideas of creationists could lead you to dismiss the Bible altogether. On the other hand, if the Bible actually contains a credible account of creation, you stand to benefit from its storehouse of “practical wisdom.”—Proverbs 3:21.
  • What Is the Meaning of Life? (illustrationstoencourage.wordpress.com)
    The question of the meaning of life may be asked in many ways, such as Why are we here?        or Does my life have a purpose? The Bible shows that our purpose in life is to build a        friendship with God. Consider some of these fundamental truths that the Bible reveals.
  • I Don’t Feel Good About My Life—Can Religion, God, or the Bible Help? (illustrationstoencourage.wordpress.com)
    The Bible, an ancient book of wisdom, provides answers to life’s important questions and can help you to feel better and have a sense of well-being.
  • Jehovah’s Witness Systematic Theology: Doctrine of Jehovah (trueforms.wordpress.com)
    “True, you cannot see God because he is an invisible spirit. (John 1:184:241 Timothy 1:17) By learning about him through the pages of the Bible, however, you can come to know him as a person.”
    (What Does the Bible Really Teach?, What is the Truth about God?)

    “No human has ever seen God because he is a Spirit, which means that he is a higher form of life than the physical creatures who live on earth. (John 1:18; 4:24) Nevertheless, we can discern God’s personality from the things he has made. For instance, the variety of fruits and flowers tells us of his love and wisdom. The size of the universe tells us of his power.—Read Romans 1:20.

    We can learn even more about God’s personality by reading the Bible. For example, it tells us what God likes and what he does not like, how he treats people, and how he reacts in different situations.—Read Psalm 103:7-10.”
    (JW, Good News from God, Who is God?)