I am acutely aware of the seriousness of faith. The major Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) are all concerned with salvation, and how we can be “right with God”. If there is a God who has created this vast universe, as I am convinced there is, then His power to bring salvation or damnation is of the utmost importance and we are right to fear Him.
It is this fear of God which has led me to study religion in depth. In my adult life I have made it my mission to understand more about God and religion, and to try to ascertain what truth is and how I can live in the best possible way. I’m still learning, and the more I explore the more I realise the vast range of opinions that exist in matters that are of huge theological importance.
If heaven and hell exist, and if only one religious path leads to salvation, then many billions of people will be damned to hell. The reason I find this concept difficult is because I believe God is completely in control of our lives and our destinies. The idea that God would judge people for actions which He has freely undertaken (to unfold our lives in a certain way) is problematic as we can have done nothing freely to warrant God’s wrath. As a caveat to this, I must point out that it is not my place to judge God, and I don’t deny He has the power and authority to do whatever He chooses, even if damning certain people to hell might seem cruel or unfair to my human understanding.
I find it difficult to understand those who believe that God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, but at the same time argue that we have free will. It is so clear to me that we do not have free will. We do not take the decision to be born. We do not choose to grow from nothing into babies and then toddlers and then teenagers and then adults. We do not choose the colour of our skin or our eyes. We do not choose how our organs are arranged in our bodies. We do not choose our parents, or our siblings. We do not choose to make our hearts beat, or our blood flow. We do not choose to grow our nails or our hair. We do not choose our dreams when we sleep. We do not choose to digest our food and drink.
In the same way, we don’t choose which thoughts will arise in our minds. If you believe you are in control of your thoughts then tell me, what is a thought? How do you make thoughts arise in your mind? What will you be thinking about in an hour’s time, or at this time next year? If you say thoughts are caused by your subconscious, then please explain what this subconscious is and who or what is in control of it. If you think that you are merely a product of evolution, then please explain what is the cause of this evolution. If you believe we exist due to a set of mathematical laws, then please explain why these laws exist. And tell me, why does anything exist at all?
What causes the seed to grow into a flower? What causes the tree to sprout up from the earth and grow its branches and its fruit? My friend, when you pray for good weather, a fruitful harvest, or a new job, are you not praying to a God who is in control? Do you really not see that God is in control of all things?
And yet still, there are those who attempt to argue that God only does good things; that He is not in control of your ailments and your diseases; your very life and death. There are those who argue that God blesses them with a husband or wife, or a tasty meal, or a new job, but then deny that it is also God who causes the divorce, or the food poisoning, or the redundancy. Friend, can’t you see the hypocrisy in this way of thinking? Surely you know, if you are honest with yourself, that God is in control of all those things which you call “good” and all those things which you call “evil”.
I hear you arguing that your holy scriptures talk about the devil as the cause of evil in the world. Friend, do not be naive. Have you really thought in depth about what the devil is? I would like to know some attributes of this creature. Where does he dwell exactly? Does he live within a creaturely body? Is he able to somehow insert thoughts into your mind? Surely he would have to be omnipresent in order to control our thoughts. What are his powers? What does he control in contrast with what God controls? Please, give me some insights into Satan and his powers, and let those insights be rational!
If the devil exists, he must be under God’s control, as everything is. To argue against this would be to deny God’s omnipresence. The myth of the fall, and the entire Christian story, are based on the idea that we have free will, which we do not. How can it be said that we are sinners, when all of our sin is willed by God?
If you’re still not convinced, my friends, I’d like to invite you to undertake a simple exercise. Take a sheet of paper, divide it into three columns, and label the columns ‘God’, ‘Satan’, and ‘Human’. Then under each of those headings proceed to list the things of which each of the three persons is in control. We might call this ‘The Will Game’. You could even put certain activities into more than one column. My intention is to encourage you to think deeply about the cause of activity in existence, in the microcosm and the macrocosm.
Now I do not wish to offend my Almighty God and Father, whom I kneel to in prayer each and every day. I do not wish to offend the God who has power to make me suffer in every moment for all eternity. Heavens, that is the last thing I wish to do! I am driven to speak the truth in accordance with my convictions, and may you, my friends, persuade me otherwise if I am wrong! I cannot argue that God is in control, as I have done here, and then deny that my convictions come from God. God must be willing me to write this article or I wouldn’t be doing so. The Lord knows full well that I am merely a puppet in His hands!
Perhaps I am in dangerous territory. Could it be that by speaking so openly about the truth that I perceive, I am participating in my own downfall? This worries me greatly. I don’t know whether the Christian story is so beloved by God that anyone who questions it is guilty of a grave sin. I can believe that the Christian story is God’s game that He has chosen to play over the last two thousand years, and maybe it is a great sin to shed light on the errors and inconsistencies in this great story which has produced so many saints and martyrs.
I write not to argue against God but to convey what God has revealed to me. I am a lonely voice in a world where either people have forsaken God in their atheism or they hold blindly to a set of doctrines and defend them at all costs. People are quick to say who will be saved and who will be damned, but I do not claim to have such knowledge, despite what any particular scripture says! I have a hope that God is ultimately merciful to every sentient being, and I do pray that God chooses mercy over damnation for all of us, regardless of our beliefs – beliefs which He has bestowed upon us!
Lord, forgive me if I have sinned in writing this article. You know my heart. You know that I hate doing anything that annoys or angers you. I know that if this article speaks to anyone, it will be through your Spirit working in the minds of those who read. I ask, Lord, that you would show these people only what is true, and that you would save their minds from any thoughts you would consider blasphemous. May your truth and your will prosper, Lord!
52 responses to “The Most Serious of Games”
You write “I write not to argue with God but to convey what God has revealed to me”. Friend, God has revealed everything we need to know in Scripture and what you are saying is not a revelation because it is contrary to scripture. Rather than revelation I fear it is a subtle deception. I would encourage you to research the two wills of God.
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Many thanks for your comment. I’m intrigued; do you not believe it’s possible for God to reveal things to people outside of the Bible, and if so, what is your basis for this belief?
It is my understanding of the two wills of God that one of those wills relates to the way humans *should* act. There is still an implication here that we have free will, and I would disagree, for the reasons explained in the post.
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Everything I type from here on are my opinions, based on considerable reading and some free thinking, and I mean no offence to people who have different views.
I think we have nothing to fear. I believe we will all be united with God, eventually. Nothing else makes sense and science has revealed that the universe is abundantly logical. Mysteries are only mysteries until science determines the laws that govern what causes what and how. Science reveals God. Even the complexities of predicting the weather are becoming understood better and more reliably with time. A link below shows its development:
There are many different religions other than Christianity and it can’t be true that the only way to God is through belief in Christ – God is not exclusive. If Christ died to defeat our mortality then He did it for humanity, once and for all. There is nothing we can do, nor need to do, to save ourselves. Everything else is unnecessary fear trending.
Your view of God is different to mine. I believe wholeheartedly in Panentheism – everything within God; not God is everywhere. It makes more sense to me that the universe and life were brought into existence within God; otherwise, we have the farce of God creating the universe in a space outside of Himself, and filling it up as He created it, to be present throughout it – omnipresence!
It follows then, that God can choose to be in control of everything that happens within Him – your view. But, if we have no choice at all about everything that happens to us and within the universe, God does have a choice. If you accept that, then you can imagine other possibilities of how God relates to us, all living things, and the universe.
You acknowledge the automatic nature of the pumping of your heart, you have seen man-made machines that just keep going once started, so, is it possible that we are allowed to ‘improvise’ within any limits He may set? I have done some improvised acting and found it much more exciting and rewarding than following a script! He can still be aware of everything that’s happening within Him, like the Director of a play, or a yoga expert’s awareness of automatic bodily processes!
So, where does that leave us? Those who propagate fear in God warn us that He may condemn us to an eternity of hell if we do not believe in Him and live a Godly life. They warn that without this fear, we are likely to do evil deeds in our pursuit for personal happiness. Well, you know that I’m looking after my 94 year old mother with ailing physical health and dementia, despite my views that all of humanity will be saved. You are welcome to visit us and see for yourself how my views have not caused me to pursue personal happiness.
Peace and love to all,
Many thanks for your comment. I fully respect your views even if we do not agree about everything. I hope that you are right and that we do not have to fear God. That would be wonderful!
I do still consider myself a panentheist. I believe the world is in God and therefore a part of God, rather than the world being separate from God in some way. I believe God is holding everything in existence and that nothing can exist outside of Him. I believe that even those things which appear to be mechanical (such as the mechanical heart you mention!) are under God’s direct control.
I have great admiration for your dedication in caring for your mother. It must be tough. May God bless you for the sacrifices you have made and all the hard work, care, and love, that you offer her.
Peace and many blessings,
Thank you for your response and for acknowledging, through trust in my honesty, that I am dedicated to caring for my mother.
I hope you understood that I made this point because I’ve read many posts that suggest that an assurance of a good after-life will inevitably result in the pursuance of one’s own pleasure and the likelihood of evil deeds. I feel a genuine love toward God and humanity and tap into the inner goodness supplied to all of us by God. I do not believe that we are in a fallen state, nor do I believe in the story of Adam and Eve.
It may interest you to know that contrary to the belief that we are born sinners due to our fallen state (The Adam and Eve story), my feeling is that when we pursue our own happiness, without regard for likely harm or trespass to other people, we are doing so because we do not genuinely believe that there is an after-life, or, because there are times that we doubt it!
I do think that the number of distractions tempting us to go against our own goodness are increasing as technology gives us more toys (or gadgets) to play with. I enjoy a good game of chess, with a real opponent, in a room with a board and chess pieces, not against computer software. If you do good through the love of God and humanity, without consideration of the threat that you may be condemned to an after-life in hell for failing to perform to the standards expected, I believe that you will be more content with your life, even if you think that God orchestrates everything that happens. I hope this is clear, as I don’t think I made this point in my last post.
Have you read “The Shack”, by William Paul Young? There is much that I disagree within it, but on page 163 of the paperback edition, during Mackenzie’s encounter with Sophia, the author suggests that God could no more choose who should be saved and who should be condemned, than Mackenzie could with his children. It appears that the author believes that we shall all be saved, as I do.
Peace and love to all,
I’ve seen how dedicated you are to caring for your mother through what you have told me in your emails, texts, and comments. Not that you have ever been anything other than humble about what you do for her. I have so much respect for carers, especially those who care out of compassion and love.
I must admit it’s reassuring to read that you don’t believe in the fall of man or the story of Adam and Eve. For many years now I have found the idea of a fall to be illogical (you have read my reasons why), and I still question whether the story in Genesis 3 is intended to be metaphorical in some way that I don’t fully understand.
I have read The Shack, although it was a few years ago so my memory of the story is rather hazy. I actually wrote a short review of the book on this blog in 2013:
I no longer have a copy of the book so I can’t look up the reference you mentioned, unfortunately. I’d like to read that book again some time, although I know some consider it to be the work of the devil!
If you believe all will be saved I’m guessing you don’t believe in the Biblical idea of judgment (e.g. 2 Corinthians 5:10)? I have always found this concept difficult because of my strong conviction that we don’t have free will.
Peace and love back to you!
I have found on various forums that discuss God and Christianity, that people object to my views on Universal Salvation and Panentheism. I happened on a site that deals well with both of these topics and uses Biblical references, I thought I should share it with you:
Also, from the web site, I found the info on the topic, “God is Love,” very reassuring and helpful:
Please let me know your thoughts on the way this web site deals with the two topics.
Peace and love to all,
The story in Genesis 3 may be metaphorical in a way we don’t understand, but the language used suggests that God was unaware of what had happened until after He called for Adam and questioned him about his new awareness of his nakedness. Is He God or just some Lord of the manor?
The Orthodox Study Bible has some interesting words on THE HOLY TRINITY, after Genesis 1:28, in the link to a pdf, if you feel like checking it:
Click to access The_Orthodox_Study_Bible_-_St.pdf
The important parts of page 162 and 163 of The Shack read as follows:
SOPHIE: Which three of your five children will you sentence to hell?
MACK: I can’t do this…..I won’t……Could I go instead?…….
SOPHIE: Now you sound like Jesus. You have judged well, Mackenzie…..
MACK: But I haven’t judged anything.
SOPHIE: Oh, but you have. You have judged them worthy of love, even if it cost you everything. That is how Jesus loves.
I hope you find this helpful.
Peace and love to all,
I 100% agree with subscriber, PJmills1992 in his comment that ‘you are being subtly deceived’
Panentheism is PAGAN and God would not put such blasphemous notions into your mind! …so too is , only believing the parts of God’s Word that suit you/ us… so too is, reading ‘stuff’ into scripture that is not written there!
(s)atan is responsible for such anti-Christian notions and you must ‘suss him out’ and strive to resist him. But then again, you have previously stated in other of your posts that you do not believe in satan either!
You need to decide just ‘who’ it is you believe you are actually praying to on a daily basis since your knowledge concerning the truth of our living God appears very wide of the mark; and therefore ‘a little knowledge is dangerous!
Maybe this is because you ask numerous questions of others in your blogs but when they genuinely try to steer you in the right direction your reply is to tell them ‘Of course I don’t agree with you…’ etc.
It would appear that you don’t even agree with the teachings of the Baptist church you were recently baptized into either; since they would surely not support such un-christian beliefs as Panentheism.
There are no end of examples in the Bible showing we have free will because…
God created us in the beginning because He wants HIS OWN LOYAL, truly loving family, children, brothers and sisters in His own likeness; but in His immeasurable wisdom, He won’t force us to love Him because He doesn’t want to!
He wants us to come to Him willingly / of our own free will and with overwhelming love for Him…the same love He showed for us by dying such an unspeakably cruel, agonising death for us on the cross …and it is ‘such as those’ He is gathering to Himself (Calling) on a daily basis.
Remember too Steven, (s)atan is a god of chaos, injustice and confusion…and death, whereas, Our Lord is a God of justice, orderliness, simplicity and peace …and life.
(s)atan will do absolutely everything and anything to rob mankind ( you Steven!!!) of that ultimate priviledge, blessing and joy…everlasting life in God’s family, God’s soon coming kingdom.
Pantheism is pagan, but it is surprising that you think the same of Panentheism, which is part of the doctrine of the Eastern Orthodox Christian Church! Acts 17:28 refers –
Peace and love to all,
I welcome your answer but I worry about Steven’s confusion so, any such diologue can only further our knowledge and hopefully point us in the right direction which is crucial to our salvation.
This being the case: Panentheism is related to Process Theology…but God never changes so it is unbiblical!
Panentheism is essentially a combination of theism (God is the supreme being) and pantheism (God is everything). While pantheism says that God and the universe are coextensive, panentheism claims the God is greater than the universe and that the universe is contained within God. Panentheism holds that God is the “supreme effect” of the universe. God is everything in the universe, but God also is greater than the universe. Events and changes in the universe affect and change God. As the universe grows and learns, God also increases in knowledge and being.
Panentheism is most definitely not biblical. In fact, it is extreme heresy that impugns the character of God and makes Him more like a man. God is present everywhere (Psalm 139:7-8), but God is not everything. God knows everything, whether actual or possible (Psalm 139:1-6; Romans 11:33-35). God does not learn because He already has all knowledge. God is “affected” by things that occur in the universe, but only in that sin angers Him and holiness pleases Him. Our actions do not change God or impact His essential being.
The Bible presents God as holy (Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:8), sovereign (1 Chronicles 29:11; Nehemiah 9:6; Psalm 83:18; Isaiah 37:20), omnipresent (Psalm 139:7-10), omniscient (Job 28:24; Psalm 147:4-5), omnipotent (Job 42:1-2), self-existent (Exodus 3:14; Psalm 36:9), eternal (Psalm 90:2; Habakkuk 1:12), immutable (Psalm 33:11; James 1:17), perfect (Deuteronomy 32:3-4), and infinite (Job 5:9; 9:10). None of these attributes are compatible with panentheism. God transcends all of His creation, and is in no sense limited or changed by events in His creation.
Hello again Dinos!
In answer to the link you provided re Acts 17 v’s 24-28 as a means of justifying Panentheism, these verses do not support it at all.
Acts 17:24-28King James Version (KJV)
24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
Here, The Apostle Paul is defining ‘The True Church’ made up of those in whom God’s Spirit lives….also proving that the Holy Spirit is not a separate entity; not a third person in The Godhead.
A) When we give ourselves to God wholeheartedly by obeying ALL of His Commandments (They were not abolished with the death of Jesus Christ as some would have us believe) and making every effort to live as Jesus Christ lived, God’s Spirit moves to live inside us to protect and guide us…hence the meaning of: the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit.
It is ‘that’ that will identify us as ‘one of His Own’ during the tribulation and end times and the means by which we will be protected…akin to identification by the lambs blood on the door posts of those saved from the Angel of death during the passover.
The main churches…v 24 ‘…temples made with hands…’ have moved too far away from the true teachings of God’s early church…as I have previously tried to explain to Steven. God’s True Church today consists of all those I’ve described above in paragraph A.
V 26 means: it is blood that defines us as human beings who all stem from Adam; the first created Human being.
Earth and the length of time it will last (till the end of days since God knew mans greed would destroy mankind in a certain amount of time due to free will) was solely created by God for man; human beings, and why it contains all we need to sustain us through our earthly (Human) lives. God given human life will never be found on any other planet hence: ‘…and the bounds of their habitation…’
V 27 speaks for itself in proving we have free will: ‘…That they should seek the Lord, if haply THEY MIGHT FEEL after Him…’ There is no demand in those words; no compelling us to do so. Paul’s very words show here that we are free to act on our feelings!
Steven asks for logical answers to his questions in his blog and only part of the logic to it all is: Why would the Apostle Paul (or any of the Apostles murdered for their faith) have needed to endanger his life by preaching in those towns and cities in the first place to try to get the unbelievers to see the truth if, God had not created every one of them with free will to believe His word, or not!
And, in previous comments on this question you pointed Steven to a site for the Orthodox Bible re: The Trinity.
Acts 17 v 16: Now while Paul waited for them at Athens his spirit was stirred up in him when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.
Paul’s spirit was part of Paul; as are our own spirit’s part of us. God’s Spirit is Holy because God is Holy; as is Jesus Christ; Them being One and The Same, but when Jesus Christ left God’s (His) Holy Spirit with us to comfort us after He returned to God in Heaven, the Holy Spirit did not suddenly become a separate entity. God/ Jesus Christ left us part of ‘Himself’ in our sadness at our perceived loss of Him. Hence His words: ‘I will never leave or forsake you’
God/ Jesus Christ did not say: The Holy Spirit or, the Holy Ghost will never leave or forsake you.
I took the time to start reading that particular Orthadox Bible you provided a link to and although, commendably, they do not go along with most of todays main churches in their ‘progressive’ interpretations of the Bible, they still do not abide by the true early church in observing God’s Saturday Sabbath rest; the 7th/ last day of the week of creation…in accordance with The Fourth Commandment.
Jesus Christ, all of the Apostles, the believing Jews and also the converted Gentiles observed it…and continued to observe it even after Jesus Christ’s death.
To compromise is to tell, or accept only half of the truth. God will not be compromised!
Thank you for your further comments.
I think that each of us has a personal understanding of Christianity and the nature of the Trinity, so I’m not inclined to be dogmatic about it. Paul was speaking to Athenians at a time when they had pagan beliefs, with Zeus as the primary god, and not to a church that had fallen away, as you put it. The temples were dedicated to Zeus, Athena, Apollo, Aphrodite and others.
I have a different interpretation about how we dwell in God: all non-living matter and creatures exist within God and humanity may be the only living creature on this earth with a more intimate relationship and understanding of God. I would include even those who profess to be atheists as having an intimate contact with God although they may deny this on an intellectual level and turn away from Him. When they use bitter words against God, I believe that they are acknowledging His existence in a negative way. I believe that we all live within Him, as Paul was addressing the Athenians, and not the elect few with the right beliefs in the churches he had founded. I think Paul is saying that no human being can exist without this intimate contact! Below is a link which may help other readers:
And below is an extract from Meyer’s NT Commentary, within the link:
Reason assigned (γάρ) for οὐ μακρ. ἀπὸ ἑνὸς κ.τ.λ., for in Him we live, we move, and we exist. Paul views God under the point of view of His immanence as the element in which we live, etc.; and man in such intimate connection with God, that he is constantly surrounded by the Godhead and embraced in its essential influence, but, apart from the Godhead, could neither live, nor move, nor exist. Comp. Dio Chrys. vol. I. p. 384, ed. Reiske: ἅτε οὐ μακρὰν οὐδʼ ἔξω τοῦ θείου διῳκισμένοι, ἀλλʼ ἐν αὐτῷ μέσῳ πεφυκότες κ.τ.λ.
There are many different denominations of Christianity, and probably much variation within each denomination, so I do not feel compelled to hold beliefs dogmatically. Below is a link listing the Christian denominations and I wonder which, if any, that you identify with? The list includes a historical timeline of denominations and an estimate of the number of members for each:
There is a wealth of information available from the net and there are several more points and responses I could give, but I wanted this to be relatively short. You may not agree with anything I’ve presented, but please spare a thought for other readers who may be interested.
Peace and love to all,
Thank you for your response.
I had never heard of Process Theology until you mentioned it. There is much to commend it so I’ve included a link for consideration by other readers:
Within the post is an important explanation of why God allows human suffering:
One classic exchange over the issue of divine power is between philosophers Frederick Sontag and John K. Roth and process theologian David Ray Griffin. Sontag and Roth argued that the process God’s inability to, for instance, stop the genocide at Auschwitz meant that God was not worthy of worship, since there is no point in worshipping a God that cannot save us from such atrocities. Griffin’s response was as follows:
One of the stronger complaints from Sontag and Roth is that, given the enormity of evil in the world, a deity that is [merely] doing its best is not worthy of worship. The implication is that a deity that is not doing its best is worthy of worship. For example, in reference to Auschwitz, Roth mocks my God with the statement that “the best that God could possibly do was to permit 10,000 Jews a day to go up in smoke.” Roth prefers a God who had the power to prevent this Holocaust but did not do it! This illustrates how much people can differ in what they consider worthy of worship. For Roth, it is clearly brute power that evokes worship. The question is: is this what should evoke worship? To refer back to the point about revelation: is this kind of power worship consistent with the Christian claim that divinity is decisively revealed in Jesus? Roth finds my God too small to evoke worship; I find his too gross.
I don’t know what your source was for the meaning of panentheism, but it is certainly different from mine. My understanding and intended use sees the universe and all forms of life being created by God, within God. Since we consider Him to be infinite, it matters not how large the universe may appear to us, because, since it is finite and apparently growing, it is still only part of the infinite God that it is within. Also, compared to his infinite Being, the changes we see as significant are small and predictable to Him, who remains unchanged in essence as the Trinity.
Below is a link to the Encyclopedia Britannica’s explanation of religious philosophical concepts of God including classical theism, pantheism and panentheism:
And, below is a relevant extract from it:
Freedom or determinism
In those forms of pantheism that envisage the eternal God literally encompassing the world, humanity is an utterly fated part of a world that is necessarily just as it is, and freedom is thus illusion. To be sure, classical theism holds to human freedom, but it insists that this freedom is compatible with a divine omniscience that includes his knowledge of the total future. Thus, the question arises whether or not such freedom is illusory. Panentheism, by insisting that future reality is indeterminate or open and that humanity and God, together, are in the process of determining what the future shall be, probably supports the doctrine of human freedom more completely than does any alternative point of view.
I noticed that you have sent a second post to me but I do not have time, at present, to deal with that. You should know that I’m a full-time, live-in carer to my elderly mother. I understand that you care about Steven; so do I.
Peace and love to all,
I agree that everyone is entitled to their own opinions on everything but, since this post; and practically all other of Steven’s posts are related to God, the Father of Jesus Christ, the Creator of all things and The Author of the Bible, I believe our comments should come from God’s Own written word.
I do not, nor would I ever presume to theorise on anything pertaining to God and my OWN comments come only from God’s Word as It is written on my heart.
I was brought up under certain religious doctrine and attended one of the four main churches but from as young as nine years old, due to the behaviour I observed from the church members/ congregation/ vicar etc, I knew something just wasn’t right…Jesus (As a child relates to) just would not have behaved like them much less agree with their: Saying one thing whilst doing the complete opposite for their own personal betterment.
Jesus would not teach only certain parts of the Bible or, dismiss The Old Testament as irrelevant in our times. The Ten Commandments are as relevant today as they were in Moses’ day.
Jesus would not have seated the poor and humbly dressed in the back pews …to be neither seen nor heard…whilst actually reserving certain seats for ‘so called important’, wealthy others dressed in their Sunday best (better suited to Ascot, in fact!!) at the front.
I knew from such an early age that God was not in that church /denomination perse…but I knew He existed somewhere as a living God and that all who truly wished to know Him intimately; as He wishes to know us, would be guided into His loving arms.
Theorizing and phylosophizing over God and His Creation of all things, by attempting to put ourselves on par with Him (Panentheism); minimizing His superiority, magnificence and greatness and therefore distrusting His precise written Word, will not induce Him to reveal Himself to us or, bring us into a meaningful, intimate relationship with Him.
The Bible tells us that IT is a supernatural book in that it is protected so not everyone is ‘given’ (called) to truly understand it. Those earnestly seeking God with all their heart will earnestly ask in their daily prayers for ‘the Knowledge’ to understand His Truth, His Holy written Word.
The Bible tells us that this understanding can only come to individuals following the in-dwelling (in them) of God’s Holy Spirit. This is how God identifies us, will set us apart during the end times.
Thank you for caring about Steven and me and presenting God as you see Him based on the Bible. I also thank you for sharing with us your disillusionment with the church you attended when you were nine.
It would be helpful to know which of the four main churches that you attended and which one that you currently attend, if you are willing to share that with us?
I am happy to reveal that I was born in Larnaca, Cyprus, to Greek speaking parents. Historically, a significant number of Greek speaking Jews lived in Cyprus during St Paul’s missionary work, so a proportion of the current ‘Greek’ population are of Jewish descent. Two links below may be helpful:
I was baptised into the Greek Orthodox Church as an infant in Larnaca in 1950. We emigrated to Cambridge, England, in March 1954. For practical reasons, my sister and I attended Sunday School in local churches as children; first a Baptist Church, 1954 – 1957; then a Congregational Church, 1957 – 1964, as they were closest to our homes at the time. I was confirmed in the second church when I was fourteen, and was invited to become a Sunday School teacher because of my enthusiasm and knowledge acquired. I declined as I did not think that I had the maturity and ability to control a class of younger children. I continued to worship at that church as a full member until I married in 1970. My wife and family attended the local Anglican from that time.
It was during the period 1960 – 1964, that I thought about God a lot. I was keen on science and marvelled at the consistency revealed by the laws of physics, chemical reactions, and the way genetics reproduced living organisms. I saw science as one of the ways that God the Creator is revealed in that it is He that makes these processes consistent and predictable. Without Him, and our progress in science and technology, we would not be communicating as we are on Steven’s website!
At the age of fourteen, because of my belief that God is a logical Being, revealed by the sciences, I wondered how the universe was created. Knowledge of the Big Bang Theory of the universe was insufficient on its own because of my belief in God as the Creator. It was through my own thinking that I envisaged God as an infinite Being with a magnificent power to attend to everything from the whole universe down to the particles known as quarks that make up the fundamental particles of atoms that we know as protons, neutrons and others.
I grappled with the concept of omnipresence and wondered how that was achieved, especially during the time of creation. I reasoned that if God was infinite, then it was illogical that He should be in a space on His own when He created the universe in another space apart from Him, which He then filled so that He was omnipresent throughout this new space! I’m not saying that this couldn’t happen, but that it was not logical. I believed that the Bible writers did not put into appropriate words the true reason that He is omnipresent – that He created the finite universe within His infinite Being. Nothing else made sense to me and God gave us the ability to reason so we should not be afraid to use this gift.
I did not have a name for my personal understanding of how God is omnipresent throughout the universe and I had not read about the concept of Panentheism at that time. In fact, it was a Greek Orthodox priest who explained this concept to me in 1990 and I do not think you can rule it out as unbiblical since it is known that errors were made in translations, and the writers of the scrolls were limited by the language of the time. Are you contending that God dictated the words to the writers in the same way as the Quran is purported to have been? How would God find words of timeless quality, since we humans change the meaning of words through changing use? So what is “God’s Own written word?”
Peace and love to all,
Thank you for your interesting reply.
A small world considering a friend of mine whose husband was stationed in Cyprus many years ago, went back to live in Larnaca after loosing him and and taking early retirement. Sadly though, Brits were not allowed work permits back then so after about eight years her capital ran out and she had to sell her house there and return to the UK.
If I could answer your final paragraph …
God; being perfect doesn’t make mistakes and knowing the contents of His love-letter (The Bible) to His intended brides (Mankind) would be deliberately distorted by man via satan to hide God’s Almighty plan for mankind, His absolute truth; God wrote it in code. I put to you, and Steven, in one of my previous comments that… the Bible is supernatural.
That in itself shows how ‘mega!’ our God; the only true God, is…and why panentheism could only be a vehicle in which we might be driven away from the truth whilst insulting God in the process.
In God’s mercy and kindness towards us as His much loved mortal creations, He gave us free will and the power of discernment (reason / logic, if you like) knowing satan would use it to encourage theorizing and wrongful assumption and differing religious belief due to mans own self-love, disobedience, lack of humility and wisdom …and why God protected the contents of the Bible by making sure that ONLY those who truly love God with ‘…all their hearts, all their minds, all their might’…would be able to understand the whole of God’s truth as He Divinely inspired His appointed writers to record it.
To those whom God has called into His service to impart ‘the Knowledge’ , to witness, tell His Truth, spread His Word, there is no mis-translation, no mis-interpretation, no mis-understanding…they read it exactly as God originally wrote it!
God does not change and neither does His message, His good news. And why God came to Earth in human form as, The Word, Jesus Christ in the first place …to bring the Good news!
Since God also gave the gift of speaking in tongues (the ability to understand and converse in all languages) to His appointed ones, the wrongful and deliberately misleading notion that God’s appointed writers in those days were limited by language barriers can in no way be supported. It simply isn’t true.
And yes, I am saying that God Divinely inspired the writers of the Bible through His Holy Spirit. But I will not be drawn into any conversation relating to the Koran because it is not mentioned in the Bible.
You ask: How would God find words of timeless quality, since we humans change the meaning of words through changing use?
Your question actually disproves your ‘notion’ of panentheism by basically admitting that, even God’s choice of words are far superior than those of Human beings.
And, due to the fact that God gave us human beings ‘free will’, the uninformed section of humanity will constantly change their minds about everything because they do not have a real relationship with God so, have no clear direction because God’s Holy Spirit does not live inside them…yet.
But if they humbly and wholeheartedly submit to God, with the gift of His Grace they could still be guided by the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit.
God drew up ‘the whole of’ His Almighty plan before mankind was even created.
The Bible says, “Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I AM GOD, AND THERE IS NO ONE LIKE ME (my emphasis) Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’ . . . Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it” Isaiah 46:9-11,
The Bible is God’s revelation to humankind, so we can believe every word of it. The Bible says, “No prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but MEN MOVED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT SPOKE FROM GOD’ (my emphasis) 2 Peter 1:21.
This truth is evident in the fact that, unlike the false prophecies made in other religions or by individuals such as Nostradamus, the Bible has never once been wrong – every time the Bible has predicted a future event, it happened exactly as Scripture said it would.
You ask: So what is “God’s Own written word?”
Again your question disproves panentheism: God’s OWN (Singular!) written Word is everthing written in the Bible but we, as humans are only given to understand the whole truth (The lifting of the veil) with God’s help through His Holy Spirit following constant, fervent prayer in asking for the Truth to be revealed to us. But it will not happen overnight. First we must show that we are keeping all of The Ten Commandments through our unshakable love for Him.
God says: If you love me, keep all of my Commandments.
And in answer to you on which church I currently attend: Ephesians 2:19-22 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit.
We, as Christians, ARE the temple of God; we ARE the church. It is totally unnecessary to worship Him in a special building.
Thank you for taking the trouble to present your wholly Biblical-based knowledge of God and for answering some of my questions.
I discussed with my mother, your friend’s experience of being unable to get a work permit during her eight years in Cyprus. She was puzzled about this denial until I reminded her that Cyprus was a British colony while we lived there, so neither Cypriots nor Brits needed permits then. Presumably, your friend went to live in Cyprus after it became independent in 1960, and before it had joined the EU in 2004?
I have discussed your view that the Bible was written in code with a Theologian friend of mine. His view was that it might be possible for the OT or Torah, but that it was somewhat improbable that the NT was. Can you provide a link or the details of a book that may help me to appreciate that God wrote it in code? Your view that God only reveals the whole of His truth to those who truly love Him, according to the Commandment, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment,” seems bizarrely exclusive! There are still people on this earth without access to The Word.
With the Catholic hold on western Christianity; and, without the Protestant movement and the invention of the printing press, we would not have personal Bibles to enable us to read God’s word – human endeavour or part of God’s Plan?
You wrote (24/07), “To those whom God has called into His service to impart ‘the Knowledge’, to witness, tell His Truth, spread His Word, there is no mis-translation, no mis-interpretation, no mis-understanding…they read it exactly as God originally wrote it!”
The language you’ve used is reminiscent of Gnosticism. Please tell me you’re not a Gnostic?
You wrote (24/07), “God does not change and neither does His message, His good news. And why God came to Earth in human form as, The Word, Jesus Christ in the first place …to bring the Good news!”
Really? Where in the world is capital punishment still applied to those who disobey all of the Law stated in Leviticus 20:
You wrote (24/07), “Since God also gave the gift of speaking in tongues (the ability to understand and converse in all languages) to His appointed ones, the wrongful and deliberately misleading notion that God’s appointed writers in those days were limited by language barriers can in no way be supported. It simply isn’t true.”
I never wrote that the appointed writers were limited by language barriers, but I meant that they had to write in languages that were understood by the people of the time (Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek). I added (22/07), ” How would God find words of timeless quality, since we humans change the meaning of words through changing use? I mean ordinary humans, not the appointed writers, over a long period of time, and through misleading translations from the original languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. I’m sure you can find examples, especially from the newer translations of the Bible? What is your understanding of “daily bread” from The Lord’s Prayer? Can you read Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek?
You wrote (24/07), “You ask: So what is “God’s Own written word?” Again your question disproves panentheism:….”
I was quoting from the words you used in the first para. of your 21/07 post, ” I believe our comments should come from God’s Own written word.” I turned it into a question by preceding your words with mine (22/07), “So what is”. I’m baffled how this disproves that God is Panentheistic. I think you simply do not understand my perception of what it means. Below is an interesting link which may help to reconcile our views of God. I request only that you read more than one topic from it before you dismiss it, especially, God is Love:
I should request also that you ask me what I mean, rather than guessing incorrectly, and misrepresenting my views on a public forum. I ask with humility, knowing that I do not write everything in a clear and unambiguous way, despite my best efforts.
Your closing paragraphs suggest that you may meet other like-minded Christians in each other’s homes, for Bible reading and combined worship, much as the early Christians did. Also, you appear to be committed to spreading the Good News, so you may regard yourselves as Evangelical in action, if not in name?
Peace and love to all,
Your comments and questions are important…they encourage deeper study in me. Thank you.
Yes, you are wise to scrutinize the scriptures as the Bereans do…as God hopes will be the case in our search for His absolute Truth.
But don’t let it worry you unduly by dissecting words of no consequence …like ‘until’…because, what I should have explained in more depth is: the Bible is supernatural in that ‘our individual’ understanding of it is governed by The Holy Spirit.
In God’s mercy and kindness towards us as His much loved children, He gave us free will whilst knowing it would lead to theorizing over His written Word, and often deliberately wrongful translations, assumptions and misleading differing religious belief and why He protected the contents of the Bible by making sure that ONLY those with ‘Discernment of The Spirit’ would be able to understand the whole of God’s truth as He Divinely inspired His appointed writers to record it.
It is called: the Gift of Discernment or, Discernment of The Spirit. But you must ask for ‘that’ revelation /understanding in your prayers…then it won’t matter which Bible you read. How ‘mega’ is our One True God in protecting His Holy Word for those TRULY seeking Him!
It is said by some that: Discernment is: finding God’s Will in a sea of nonsense. The Holy Spirit will guide you through this if God wills it.
There is much written of it if you would like to research / search the web to give you more insight into it…but again, read with an openheart as the information will vary. Or, your Theologian friend would surely explain it to you in any case.
I use the KJV. When I purchased this house, the lady owner had died. The Bible I use now was left in a cupboard here. It was given to the previous house owner as a gift in 1912; judging by the inscription on the inside of the cover. She attended the Catholic church but as you know, I do not. Which goes to show you what I mean about certain Bible translations …I use the same Bible as she did but the message she will have drawn from it via her priest will have been vastly different to what is being revealed to me through those same pages.
RE Mathew 1 v’s 24 -25:
God wants us to know that Mary was still a virgin when, ‘until after’ she had given birth to Jesus because it is relevant.
Mary’s womb was the sacred vessel holding the unborn Messiah and why it was out of bounds other than to The Holy Spirit.
Mary herself was not the sacred vessel and nowhere in the Bible are we instructed to revere her along with, or above, Jesus Christ /God.
Khalil Gibran was a most unlikely prophet but as he said: ‘We are the bows from which our children; as arrows, are sent forth. They live in a world we may never visit; no, not even in our wildest dreams.’
God also felt it relevant for us to know that despite Mary being so very young, she was very wise, obedient and humble; and also that, Joseph was a ‘just’ man and most importantly, from the bloodline of King David…as was Mary.
Precise details of what happened afterwards between Mary and Joseph is obviously not relevant for inclusion in God’s written Word but clearly, God wanted us to know Mary went on to have other children…so she did not die a virgin.
Mary had fulfilled God’s purpose at His given time according to prophecy and why she is barely mentioned except as an ordinary married mum giving birth to Jesus’ siblings thereafter. (Joses, James, Judas… not Escariot… and Simon : Mathew 13 v’s 53 – 58) The physical sexual union between man and wife is a joyful gift from God which Mary and Joseph would have been blessed with/ entitled to. God picked Mary and Joseph to serve Him in so direct a manner due their righteousness and humility…ordinary people. Joseph would not have been capable of any form of defilement against his wife, or anyone else; and why God picked him, above any other man to be Mary’s husband and surrogate parent to Jesus in the first place. See Mathew 1 v. 19
After opening and digesting the contents of your link my comments are thus: Not all Jews disbelieved; only some of them. John 10 v 19-21: ‘There was division among the Jews…’
Genesis 8: v7…’And he sent forth a raven which went forth ‘to and fro’ until the waters were dried up from off the earth.’ To and fro means backwards and forwards so the raven most certainly came back.
Samuel 6 v 23: ‘Therefore Michal, the daughter of Saul had no child ‘unto’ her death.’ It does not say, until. And even if it did, it clearly means she had no child before she died. Why the confusion?
Psalm 72 v 7: ‘In His days shall the righteous flourish and abundance of peace ‘so long as’ the moon endureth.’ This is also perfectly clear when relating it to signs in the heavens just before the end times…when the stars fall from the sky and the moon gives up its light and we are plunged into darkness etc.
I hope all else is well with you and yours.
It’s been a while since we heard from you and your posts are always important, based as they are, on your understanding, or knowledge, of the Scriptures.
I have a tendency to be frank with people, especially about matters concerning God. I have prayed to Jesus that I have not offended you as that was not my intention. I guess you may have been on holiday or given up on me as our views seem different enough for you to think that I’m wrapped up in my own opinions, which is far from the truth. As one who believes in Orthodox Christian doctrines, I take notice of what the Saints and early Church Fathers have to say in their Homilies, or commentaries on the scriptures. I do not fully trust the translations into English and give as an example the following passage from Matthew:
Matthew 1:24-25King James Version (KJV)
24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus.
The use of the word “till” suggests that Mary had sexual relations with Joseph after Jesus was born, but Joseph knew that the Holy Spirit had caused her to conceive Jesus, one of the three persons of the Trinity, each co-substantial with the others. How could Joseph think of defiling Mary after this very solemn union? The link below refers, if you are willing to check it:
Peace and love to all,
No, I have not been offended in any way by your comments…or Steven’s for that matter…because I see you as still searching for the absolute truth concerning God’s Word…as are we all.
I have been extra busy of late re-drawing building plans which is very time consuming.
I will answer properly over the next few of days.
I was happy to learn that I had not offended you and I hope all goes well with your building project.
Peace and love to all,
Just to say; in case you think I still haven’t answered your last email above: My reply/ comment has somehow slotted itself in further up the page on August 7th!
Steven’s latest post today is brilliant; really thought provoking.
Hi Jan! Just a note to say I’m sorry your comment seems to be sitting higher up than it should be, I’m not sure why this has happened. If it keeps happening I will have to take some action to sort out the problem but I’m hoping it’s a one-off. It’s possible that you accidentally hit reply to the wrong post or could be a technical glitch (I don’t want to unduly accuse you of anything!). Please let me know if it happens again.
Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments, your contributions are much appreciated!
I am happy to know you find me a worthy contibutor to your meaningful posts. Thank you.
Yours is the only site I actually feel compelled to immerse myself in, feel enthusiastic about contributing to because your motives are genuine; as is the case with Dinos.
You are highly intelligent to be sure, but the mode of your writing and responses do not cause contributors; such as I, to feel out of their depth…on the contrary. Since it induces deeper, meaningful yet comfortable study into God’s Word, it can only be God given.
If you remember from one of your previous posts, I commented that I feel God has personal plans for you. And the fact that even after having been baptized into the Baptist church you are ‘to my mind’ not fully convinced by their particular doctrines/ teachings, proves it.
God’s true church is not a building made with hands; it is a peculiar (special) people God holds in His hand. Once there, God says, ‘No-one will ever take you from My hand.’
The life’s work / aim of a true Christian will be in getting right into the palm of God’s hand.
I will continue to converse with and watch you with interest, Steven.
My very best to you and Dinos.
From Jan…a student in Christ.
Thank you Jan, I’m so glad that you feel this blog is a place where we are earnestly seeking after truth, as that was surely a guiding principle when I started to blog a few years ago. I’m really enjoying the discussions, which are often challenging and thought provoking. God bless you and best wishes to you too!
Hi Jan and Steven!
I think the reason that posts are sometimes not in date order is that if you click on ‘Reply’ to respond to an individual post, it will attach itself below that post, but other readers may have already posted some comments which form a string in date order. This happens more when there is a long delay between dialogues of two readers, if you see what I mean.
JAN – thank you for your last comment to me sent at 1.10 am on August 10 starting:
Your comments and questions are important…they encourage deeper study in me. Thank you.
Yes, you are wise to scrutinize the scriptures as the Bereans do…as God hopes will be the case in our search for His absolute Truth.”
One way to ensure the string of thoughts are kept in date order is to post comments at the foot of all the others. If you want to ensure that it’s understood that your responding to a particular post, then you need to address it to the intended recipient, state the date of the post you are responding to, and copy a short extract from the start of that post, much as Steven does.
STEVEN – do you know if you have to have a ‘WordPress’ account in order to access ‘See all Comments’ and get to the foot of all the comments?
You may want to know that mum has been re-admitted to hospital on Saturday morning, 13 Aug., again due to chest pains and breathing difficulties brought on by heart failure, for which the medics have not yet managed to fine tune her treatment.
Peace and love to all,
Hi Dinos, Jan, and all,
So sorry to hear your mum is back in hospital again, Dinos, will keep you both in my prayers.
Regarding commenting, you can either reply to another comment by clicking the ‘reply’ link directly under that specific comment or scroll down to the ‘Leave a reply’ box and the foot of all the comments if you are making a general comment which isn’t specifically answering another comment.
When you reply to a specific comment the comments are ‘nested’ which is why you see the indentations which make it clear that you are replying to a specific comment. By default only 3 comments can be nested, meaning after 3 comments in a thread you won’t see the ‘reply’ button. I have actually amended that setting so that 5 nested comments are allowed.
I hope that makes sense and I apologise for any confusion.
To answer your question, Dinos, no you don’t need to have a WordPress account in order to see all the comments and leave a comment.
I send you my thoughts for your comfort and courage to assure you that, you are not alone.