A Couple of Complications With Calvinism, Part 1

A principle problem with the Calvinist tenet of Total Depravity or Inability can be seen in the Jewish concept of sin. In Judaism, there is no concept of “original sin”. There is no Jewish concept of the effects of sin being passed on to future generations. Judaism teaches that man is not born sinful. When man is born he neither carries the burden of sin committed by his ancestors nor is he tainted by it. Sin is the result of human inclinations, which must be properly controlled. In the Jewish mindset, sin literally means “missing the mark” like an arrow missing the bulls eye on a target. Man sins when he strays from God’s Law and is disobedient to His Law. The early stories in Genesis teach that these human inclinations “are the result of evil from his youth” (Gen. 8:21, see also Jer. 32:30).

Pardon in the Old Testament actually appears for the first time in Exodus 23. “Behold, I send an Angel before you to keep you in the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared. Beware of Him and obey His voice; do not provoke Him, for He will not pardon your transgressions; for My name is in Him. But if you indeed obey His voice and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries.” (Ex 23:20-22) Here the angel is almost assuredly a reference to the One who led the children of Israel out of Egypt and then appeared as the Shekinah glory of God that guided the children of Israel through the wilderness and then led them into the Promised Land. This “angel” is no doubt the One who spoke to Moses in Exodus 33:14, saying, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” This angel is the “presence” or face of God (Isa 63:9,18; Ex 34:6) His “glory” is no other than “the Angel of the Covenant” (Mal 3:1), the Messiah, the Christ ( John 1:14; 14:9; 1 Cor 10:4; Heb 1:3).

Notice the instruction given to Moses to give to the children of Israel. “Beware of Him and obey His voice; do not provoke Him, for He will not pardon your transgressions.” Take heed to give reverent attention to this One because He is God” and obey His voice. Obedience to the Word of God is seen in the Old Testament over and over again. Obedience to God’s Word is the foundation of the Shema, which is considered to be the most important part of Jewish prayer service. It is traditional for Jews to say the Shema as their last words in this life, and it is customary for parents to teach their children to say it before they go to sleep at night. This prayer is recited out loud on Yom Kippur demonstrating the overwhelming need for God’s salvation.

The Shema begins with the declaration, “Hear, O Israel: the Lord is our God, the Lord is One” (Deuteronomy 6:4) relating to the kingship of God. There is an admonition that follows the declaration, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deut 6:5-9) This love demonstrated in obedience to God’s Word becomes the foundation for reward and punishment. It contains the promise of reward for serving God with all one’s heart, soul, and might (Deut 11:13) and for the fulfillment of the laws. It also contains punishment for transgression. There is an admonition directed to the individual Jew as well as one directed at the whole community of all the Jews.

The plea for pardon appears for the first time in Exodus 34, in the story of the golden calf where Moses prayed to God on behalf of the people who had sinned terribly against God; “If now I have found grace in Your sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray, go among us, even though we are a stiff-necked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us as Your inheritance.” (Ex 34:9) The Israelites had transgressed God’s Law and had done so in an egregious manner. Moses prayed to God on their behalf.

Again in Numbers 14, when the people threatened to stone Joshua and Caleb for encouraging the people to trust God and to go into the Promised Land in spite of the report of strong obstacles facing the Israelites, God’s anger burned against them. “And all the congregation said to stone them with stones. Now the glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle of meeting before all the children of Israel. Then the Lord said to Moses: “How long will these people reject Me? And how long will they not believe Me, with all the signs which I have performed among them? 12 I will strike them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and I will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they.” (Num 14:10-12) Moses interceded on their behalf and prayed for God’s pardon for His people. (Num 14:20-24)

“Then the Lord said: ‘I have pardoned, according to your word; but truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord — because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice, they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it’.” What is interesting here is this: there is no reference whatsoever to any suggestion or even a hint of any concept of total depravity and certainly no concept of in ability on anyone’s part to respond to God. It simply is not in the Old Testament.

Consider Exodus 20:4-6, “You shall not make for yourself a carved image — any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” Here and in Exodus 34, and Numbers 14, the Scriptures themselves answer the question of the validity of total depravity; there is none or else there would be no warning concerning disobedience being “visited on the third and fourth generations.” If they were totally depraved as Reformed Theology contends, there would be no validity to the warning.

Ezekiel 18 presents an interesting treatment of sin and redemption as provided for by God. “Why should the son not bear the guilt of the father?’ Because the son has done what is lawful and right, and has kept all My statutes and observed them, he shall surely live. The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself. But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; because of the righteousness which he has done, he shall live. Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord God, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live? (Ezek 18:19-23)

God’s instruction here is clear; “Turn and live.” “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,” says the Lord God. “Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord God. “Therefore turn and live!” (Ezek 18:30-32) This is God’s Word of instruction and there is no hint of His being the catalyst of repentance whatsoever. Repentance is the responsibility of the sinner; not the One sinned against. Once again, there is no hint of total depravity or inability presented in the Old Testament.

This is not to say that sin is not present in the Old Testament nor is it to suggest that the presence of sin in the world has no effect on the sinner. David acknowledges this in Psalm, when he says that he was born in iniquity and conceived in sin. (Psalm 51:5-6) Sin is an ever present reality. Sin is an individual problem and even a national problem but the focus of sin is on those committing the sin and the One sin is committed against who will forgive that sin if those committing the sin would “humble themselves and pray and seek God’s face and turn from their wicked ways.” (2 Chron. 7:14) David also understood that he and he alone was responsible to God for his sin (Psalm 51:2-5) and he also knew that God and God alone was the One who could and would forgive his sin. (Psalm 51:7-19) David did not repent of his sin because God gave him some special grace to do so; he repented because God’s Word through the touch of the Holy Spirit working in his heart convicted him of his sin and God’s love demonstrated to Him and to Israel is their long and storied past caused David to fall to His knees and cry out to God for forgiveness so that God might bless him and in being blessed, David might be a blessing to others.

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44 responses to this post.

  1. My, Bob, you really are selective in dealing with the OT and with your assumptions concerning Judaism. Which part of Judaism are you quoting: Reformed, Conservative? Certainly not Orthodox Judaism. Have you forgotten that David wrote: “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; an din sin did my mother conceive me?”(Ps.51:5) Did you forget that he wroe also: “The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as the be born, speaking lies?”(Ps.58:3) Or that Isaiah said of the house of Jacob “thou …wast called a transgressor from the womb?”(Isa.48:8) Does not Solomon say, Eccles.9:3, “…:yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead?” Or have you forgotten that Roms.3:9-23 is based by Paul upon OT texts which I am sure you can quickly locate? O yes, and remember Jer.17:9: “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: Who can know it?” As to the respentance idea not being a gift of grace, consider what in the world the OT is speaking about, when it speaks of taking away a heart of stone and giving a heart of flesh to know and follow Him (Ezek.11:19; 36:26,27). In reading you discussion above, one almost gets the feeling that you have wondered into the vagaries of Pelagianism. Even the Arminians (and I am thinking of Wesley) recognized original sin. If the OT does not teach original sin, sin acquired by the whole human race in the fall of Adam, then the NT is false to its core..which it is not as it gets its doctrine of sin from the OT. I trust that I am not being in the slightest bit discourteous. I am simply astounded at what you have written.

    Reply

    • Dr. Willingham,

      I so appreciate your comments BUT I assure you I am not missing anything. It is a different matter to talk about a Jewish mindset concerning sin and one concerning original sin where men are condemned in Adam and then of total depravity or inability.

      I am not saying that there is no concept of sin in the OT nor even one of depravity existing. I actually do deal with Psalm 51 and a couple others. You wrote, “If the OT does not teach original sin, sin acquired by the whole human race in the fall of Adam, then the NT is false to its core.” I agree partly with your comment; in that if it does not teach total depravity in the OT then it is not true in the NT either. My point is, if the Jews do not have such a concept and you can check it out; then it is possible that the tenet is being read into the text instead of being taken out of the text. Jews do not have such a belief as I can tell.

      Now… that does not mean NT scholars do not have such an approach to the OT… but if the Jews do not have that view, it is fair to assume that it is not an OT concept.

      ><>”

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  2. D.R.

    Why didn’t you go ahead and add planes, trains and automobiles as well. Total Depravity and Inability are MUCH different in that Adam’s sin started all this. The Jews’ understanding of the Scriptures concerning sin is a valid argument and since they have NO concept of either TD or TI it is a fair assertion as validated by your weak retort.

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  3. Posted by Joshua Bennett on February 29, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    You didn’t actually answer his question. I must say that this post is more disturbing than part 2. Part 2 just represents shoddy scholarship. This is borderline heretical.

    Reply

  4. Joshua,

    While I do appreciate comments or I would write what I want to write with NO comments allowed, it would seem to me it would not be too much to ask that critical responses epecially of the magnitude of yours, be more than 9 words.

    My response to DR was, “The Jews’ understanding of the Scriptures concerning sin is a valid argument anThe Jews’ understanding of the Scriptures concerning sin is a valid argument and since they have NO concept of either TD or TI it is a fair assertion as validated by your weak retort.”

    My point simply put is this; the Jewish community sees the OT for what it is apart from the NT. That is a fair assessment. My point is there is NO Jewish concept of TD or TI. Does that mean it is not an OT concept? Maybe it does and maybe it does not. I am simply saying that the fact that it is not a Jewish concept might lend itself to folks reading it into the OT text. The fact that there is no Jewish concept of the Trinity is not even in the same ballpark with original sin and TD and TI. I know that you are smart enough to figure that one out.

    To me that is a problematic issue that Calvinism has in establishing TD in the OT. If you have comments related to what the POST actually says then you are welcome to contribute, otherwise I would appreciate it if you kept your thoughts to yourself.

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  5. Posted by wingedfooted1 on February 29, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    Bob,

    The scriptures make it abundantly clear that man is “dead in sin” and “in bondage to sin”, that his “heart is desperately wicked”, and that his “thoughts are evil from his youth”.

    However, there is no mention that he is “totally depraved” as defined by the “T” in the TULIP.

    Genesis 4:26 (NIV)….
    Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh. At that time men began to call on the name of the LORD.

    Strange behavior for a bunch of totally depraved God haters.

    Romans 2:14-15….
    for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, BY NATURE do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, THEIR CONSCIENCE ALSO BEARING WITNESS, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them.

    Again, strange language from Paul if man is totally depraved.

    Yes, man is totally unable to contribute one iota to his salvation, but no where from Genesis to Revelation is there any mention that man can’t believe the gospel without first being regenerated (calvinism) or released from the bondage of sin (arminianism).

    God bless.

    wingedfooted1

    Reply

  6. I would like to add something concerning the reference (and conclusions) concerning Exodus 23.

    Repeating a couple sentences to refresh the context:

    Here the angel is almost assuredly a reference to the One who led the children of Israel out of Egypt and then appeared as the Shekinah glory of God that guided the children of Israel through the wilderness and then led them into the Promised Land. This “angel” is no doubt the One who spoke to Moses in Exodus 33:14, saying, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

    I think that there is some doubt that this angel was the One who spoke with Moses. I will quote the passage so we can see it up front:

    Exo 23:20-23 KJV
    (20) Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.
    (21) Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him.
    (22) But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries.
    (23) For mine Angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites: and I will cut them off.

    First of all, who is speaking in Exodus 23? It goes back to Exodus 20:1, which begins with the words, “And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God…” and continues without interruption all the way past Exodus 23:23.

    Secondly, if the speaker is the LORD, then who is the Angel? Although it is possible for someone to speak of themselves in the second person (as in Zechariah 4:9) and God is called an Angel in another place (Genesis 48:16) this does not seem to be the intention in this passage, because “I” and “he” are being used side by side as if these are really two different people.

    Third, does it seem a little ominous where it says “for he will not pardon your transgressions?” God has the ability to forgive sin, “for who can forgive sins, but God alone?” A messenger, however, would not forgive their transgressions.

    When Justin Martyr was speaking with Trypho (“Dialogue with Trypho, a Jew”, 2nd century) he identified this Angel as Joshua the son of Nun, showing from the Hebrew scriptures how “angel” literally means “messenger” without necessarily relating to whether the being is flesh or spirit, and how it was Joshua who God used as his servant to bring them unto the Amorites, the Hittites, etc.

    He also pointed out that Joshua used to be called by “Oshea” before Moses specifically changed his name (Numbers 13:16), that the specific words of the passage in Exodus are “my name is in him”, and the Hebrew name “Joshua” in Greek is pronounced “Jesus.” Justin say this as more than simply a placement of authority, but even the LORD revealing his own name within the book of Exodus.

    Considering the two options:

    1) If God was talking about Himself then the passage sounds schizophrenic,
    2) But the word Angel does not require that the servant be a created spirit, and Joshua was the appointed servant (angel) of the LORD to bring them into Canaan.

    I think the second option, that the Angel is not the One that spoke at the burning bush, but rather someone assigned to task of leading Israel into the promised land against the Canaanites, is more reasonable. How long did the pillar and the cloud continue with them? If the pillar and the cloud stopped, then who is the Angel that continued to lead them?

    Reply

    • I believe this is a reference to Christ or perhaps the Holy Spirit. The statement “He will not pardon your transgressions is a word of warning that IF YOU DO NO OBEY HIS VOICE, He will NOT pardon… it is not that He cannot do so; God is warning that He will not. Obviously He knows, because He is the One who forgives sin.

      The point to the post is this: there is no indication whatsoever of total depravity or inability of the children of Israel in the OT needing to be regenerated to respond to God’s instruction. God spoke; people responded and their destiny was determined by the choices they made. Same thing is true today.

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  7. I have something to add to this, as well, in order to negate out the concept of original sin. What is the Promised Land? It is twofold. One is carnal, and the other is spiritual. The Carnal is they physical land of Israel, with specific borders, as God told Abraham. However, the book of Hebrews discusses the spiritual Promised Land, which is “an heavenly”. Now, if we look at the carnal, which REVEALS the spiritual (Calvinists deny this…at least those who I have debated have), that those who got to go to the Promised Land were two different sets of people. Who got to go?

    1. Those who had faith…AND FAITH WAS NOT A GIFT FROM GOD. Who were those people? Caleb and Joshua.

    Who else got to go?

    2. Those who had “no knowledge of good and evil”.

    Deuteronomy 1:39
    Moreover your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, and your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it.

    The Key word being “Knowledge”. Do we remember the story of Adam and Eve, in that they got Knowledge of something called good and evil?

    They were “IN THE GARDEN” until they got that knowledge. Satan wanted them to get knowledge. This reminds me of that old saying “ignorance is bliss”. As long as you are ignorant, you remain innocent.

    This is just one example of many more to debunk the concept of original sin.

    Those who get to go to heaven are those who have faith, and those who have no knowledge of good and evil. But Calvinists will tout that word called “exegesis” to inform me that I took it out of context. I highly disagree.

    Ed Chapman

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    • Prefacing, I will say that I am hardly Calvinist, and I protest the term “original sin” because it is a term not found in scripture. However, I think that you are taking something out of context. We are told that we are all under the effect of the transgression of Adam’s sin, of that knowledge of good and evil.

      Rom 5:12-14 KJV
      (12) Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
      (13) (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
      (14) Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

      You mentioned the spiritual Promised Land as mentioned in Hebrews… but doesn’t it also say that “all these died in faith, not having received the promises?”

      Heb 11:13-16 KJV
      (13) These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
      (14) For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
      (15) And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.
      (16) But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

      That would mean that Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Sarah (for all these died in faith) have not yet obtained that heavenly kingdom. And if these faithful have not yet obtained that heavenly country, then I would postulate that it is unlikely that those who died in ignorance should be assumed to have obtained that spiritual promised land.

      The wages of sin is death, all of sinned (and fallen short of the glory of God) and thus all men (being born in Adam) are doomed to die, regardless of whether we want to think of ourselves as “innocent” or not. I do not know if that’s what someone means by “original sin” but I can establish that by scripture (Romans 6:23, Romans 3:23, Romans 5:12, 1 John 1:8, John 3:18, and so forth… )

      Joh 3:17-18 KJV
      (17) For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
      (18) He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

      The way the passage is written, it does not seem that belief cannot a default state achieved through ignorance. If you believe that belief in the Son of God is obtained in ignorance, I would be interested in hearing your explanation, but if it is not, then I do not see how ignorance can result in salvation.

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      • I accidentally doubled my negative….

        I meant to say that I do not believe that belief can be a default state obtained in ignorance. However, doesn’t Calvinism effectively teach that belief is something obtained through ignorance, that belief is a gift forced upon someone whether they want it or not?

        …. or they are forced to want it against their will. I have seen the acrobatics already, but it boils down to that someone is forced to do or want something somewhere along that line, that salvation is obtained in ignorance through that lucky lottery drawing from before the beginning of space-time.

        Not of faith, but by luck, by the capriciousness of divine randomness.

      • Yes, I know what the Calvinists believe in that regard, that faith is a gift of God. But faith is not a gift of God. Grace is. Our part is faith. Based on our part, God gives us Grace.

        Grace is the opposite of the law. Either you are under the law, or you are under Grace. It is grace vs. the law, not grace plus law. Saved by grace thru faith. What that means is the we believe in God’s Promise, we believe what he said, we put our trust in him, and he gives us grace. We have a part to play in the salvation process. Our part is faith. That isn’t a gift from God.

        Andrew said:
        “We are told that we are all under the effect of the transgression of Adam’s sin, of that knowledge of good and evil.”

        My reply: Who told you that you are under the effect of the transgression of Adam’s sin?

        When do you get that knowledge of good and evil?

        What is the effect of the effect of Adam’s sin?

        What did I take out of context?

        My comment on Romans 5:12-14. While you quoted it, I think you glossed over it, which is verse 12.

        What is sin? Based on 1 John 3:4, sin is the transgression of the law. Where no law is, there is no sin. In a nutshell, ignorance of the law, IS the excuse. If you don’t know the law, you are innocent of the law. The law was given by Moses to the Jews. They were the ones to learn it, and to live it. I can’t take Deuteronomy 1:39 out of context. It is by KNOWLEDGE of Good and Evil that put Adam and Eve “IN” sin.

        We are born “IN” sin, NOT “with” sin.

        Andrew said:
        “You mentioned the spiritual Promised Land as mentioned in Hebrews… but doesn’t it also say that “all these died in faith, not having received the promises?”

        Those names mentioned did not receive the promise while alive. They are now dead, and when Christ died, he set the captives free (from Abraham’s Bosom), and took them to the land of Promise (Heaven). They reside in the Promised Land, which is the Spiritual. The Carnal (The Physical Land of Israel with specific borders) is still yet to be fully fulfilled, as the Arabs fight over the land as well.

        You mentioned “the wages of sin is death”.

        My comment: It isn’t discussing physical death, but spiritual death, which is separation from God. Adam’s body was gonna die anyway. If you read 1 Cor Chapter 15, you will see that what came first was the natural body, which dies. What comes after that is the Spiritual Body, which lives forever. Adam and Eve was gonna die a natural death anyway. The wages of sin is eternal separation from God…not the death of the body.

        Andrew Said:
        “The way the passage is written, it does not seem that belief cannot a default state achieved through ignorance. If you believe that belief in the Son of God is obtained in ignorance, I would be interested in hearing your explanation, but if it is not, then I do not see how ignorance can result in salvation.”

        My response:

        Read Romans Chapter 2. Jesus is the judge, right? Jesus is the savior, right? If that be the case, then Jesus judges the ignorant people, too. How does he do that? By their CONSCIENCE. Everyone has one. We feel guilt when we do what we know is wrong in our heart. That is what Romans Chapter 2 teaches. All of those Amazon people running around naked with bones in their noses, who have never heard of Jesus will be judged by Jesus by their conscience. And since Jesus is not only the judge, but the savior, don’t you think that he can save them, too? I don’t think you do. Everyone has a conscience.

        By the way, I do my best to take nothing out of context. I have been a diligent studier of the Bible for many years…looking at things from the controversies that others bring up. If you say that the sky is green, I attempt to prove that the sky is blue. An exaggerated example, but that is how I work. And lo and behold, my findings, which is pretty much independent, agrees with a lot of learned preachers that do not take the same view as you do, although, there are some that take the same view as you do.

        No one is “IN” sin, if they don’t have the knowledge. While they may have sinned, they are not “IN” sin, until they have that knowledge. But, we are born “IN” sin, not “with” sin. Just a recap. I have more in Romans to show that, as well.

      • Andrew,
        I myself also made a slight mistake,

        I said:
        “My comment on Romans 5:12-14. While you quoted it, I think you glossed over it, which is verse 12. .

        I meant to indicate verse 13, in that you glossed over verse 13. Be also reminded that only the Jews had that law. For until the Jews had the law of Moses. The Gentiles did not have any of the law. So, Until the Gentiles know the law, sin is not imputed until they know the law. Once they get that knowledge of good and evil, then they are accountable. They either make a free will decision to repent, or reject it altogether. People go to hell based on rejecting Christ’s salvation. They can only reject if they know, or have knowledge. This is why Romans Chapter 2 is extremely important to understand. Ignorance of the law is the excuse.

      • For the sake of brevity, answers in short form:

        Who told you that you are under the effect of the transgression of Adam’s sin?

        Paul said exactly that in Romans 5, and Moses said the same when he recorded God’s words with Adam and Eve after they sinned.

        When do you get that knowledge of good and evil?

        We know good and evil every day. If only good things happened to us we would not know the evil. Adam and Eve were offered a utopia without evil, and they rejected it.

        What is the effect of the effect of Adam’s sin?

        Guilt, labor, sorrow, and death. See Genesis 3:7, 17-19. “In the sweat of thy face thou shalt eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return.”

        Every child of Adam has remained under this curse, under this effect of sin. Not one child of Adam, not one descendant, was born into a world without pain and death. Did not Paul say that in Adam all die?

        What did I take out of context?

        You made an argument that ignorance means innocence, and then extended that idea of innocence to equate faith and salvation unto eternal life. That’s where you took the whole metaphor of the promised land, of the children of Israel that entered Canaan under Joshua out of context.

        On a related note, if you were extending the metaphor of those same children of the complaining Israelites, what do you think will happen to the children (and survivors) of the people that rebel against Christ when he returns to rule with his saints for a thousand years (as foretold in Revelation?)

        Those children may live in that kingdom, but being born within those boundaries does not equate to salvation any more than being in that group that was predestined to enter the promised land guaranteed that any individual actually entered, or survived after entering.

        It is by KNOWLEDGE of Good and Evil that put Adam and Eve “IN” sin.

        You’ve reversed the cause and the effect. Adam and Eve sinned first, and after that their eyes were opened, knowing good and evil. They already knew the good, but after that they knew that they had sinned, and were about to know the evil when they were banished under the curse.

        I don’t think that Adam and Eve fully understood what it meant to know good and evil before this time, but how could they, having never known evil?

        Those names mentioned did not receive the promise while alive.

        Read Hebrews 11:16 …. it says that they still desire that better heavenly country. That means that they did not have it then, and they still do not have it yet. That entire story you went into about ascending from Abraham’s Bosom and the rest is not supported by scripture (I am putting this mildly.)

        Heb 11:16 KJV
        (16) But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

        If they desire a better country, that means they cannot already have it, and it even specifically says that this country is a heavenly country, so there can be no confusion about this being a “physical nation of Israel.”

        The wages of sin is eternal separation from God…not the death of the body.

        It was Paul that said that the wages of sin is death.

        Rom 6:23 KJV
        (23) For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

        Paul did not say “the wages of sin is eternal separation from God” and no where does our Bible speak of there being a “physical death” and a “spiritual death.” Scripture plainly speaks that the wages of sin is death, death being the cessation of life, the separation of body and spirit, the dissolution of knowledge and consciousness. Yes, death, bodily death.

        That’s what it plainly saith. And if you miss this nothing much else of scripture is going to make sense, including love, justice, mercy, faith, salvation, or the resurrection of the dead. I can not emphasize how important it is to understand that life means life and death means death.

        Read Romans Chapter 2. Jesus is the judge, right? Jesus is the savior, right? If that be the case, then Jesus judges the ignorant people, too. How does he do that? By their CONSCIENCE.

        Jesus is the judge? Yes, he is.
        Jesus is the savior? Yes, he is.
        How does Jesus judge people? By their works. See Revelation 20:12.

        Rev 20:12 KJV
        (12) And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

        Unless we are in disagreement that Jesus is that God on judgment day, and if we can agree that a man cannot be saved by works, we must conclude that by our works we are undeserving of eternal life. What then what is the default judgment of Revelation 20:12? Is it not the same as we are told in John 3:18, that he who believes not is condemned already?

        This resurrection is not the resurrection of the saints, for they were raised upon Christ’s return. The resurrection of the just has already passed, so this is the resurrection of the unjust that Paul spoke of concerning “the way which they call heresy, so worship I the faith of my fathers…”

        All of those Amazon people running around naked with bones in their noses, who have never heard of Jesus will be judged by Jesus by their conscience.

        Can you show me scripture for that? Revelation 20:12 tells me that they will be judged by their works, and John 3:18 tells me that they are condemned already without knowledge of the Son of God.

        And since Jesus is not only the judge, but the savior, don’t you think that he can save them, too? I don’t think you do. Everyone has a conscience.

        You are wrong on both counts.

        1) Yes, I do believe that Jesus can save them, because I believe that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both the just and the unjust, and that the small and great shall stand before God, and see the devil revealed and cast down, and that our God is a God that will not despise the broken and contrite spirit, that will never turn away genuine repentance. Can Jesus save the Amazon people? That depends upon repentance, not ignorance nor works.

        Act 24:14-15 KJV
        (14) But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:
        (15) And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.

        If Abraham is in heaven (as you said earlier) then there is no resurrection of the dead, and Christ would have destroyed his own proof of the resurrection when he spoke with the Sadducees when he said that “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” For he spoke these words to prove that Abraham should rise, not that he was living already, and he spoke no other words for this proof which put the Sadducees to silence.

        If the Amazon people shall be saved, they shall be saved by repentance and faith in the Son of God, when they shall see the Son of God, not by ignorance or being graded on a curve. The judgment of Revelation 20:12 has two outcomes – destruction in the lake of fire or entering into life within the Holy City which shall descend out of heaven. I am inclined to think that those two options are given because those are two very real and possible outcomes.

        If one is willing to let the bible speak plainly about life, death, and the resurrection, this falls into place very quickly. Why would God have a resurrection of the unjust if he was going to judge them in their absence, and why call them to be present at all? What is the purpose (or purposes) of a judgment?

        2) I must disagree about all people having a conscience. Some people have no conscience. We call these people psychopaths, and they are far more common than we might like to believe.

        1Ti 4:2 KJV
        (2) Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

        You may call this a seared conscience, or no conscience, but it equates to the same – people that are no longer governed by, effected by, or feel a conscience. That which is seared no longer has feeling. Ignorance might be a mitigating factor, but it does not equal innocence nor salvation.

        Luk 12:48 KJV
        (48) But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

      • Short response for now, as I am watching America’s Got Talent. More to follow tomorrow when I get more time to read completely your post. Sorry about that.

        I had asked, “When do you get that knowledge of good and evil?”

        You responded:

        “We know good and evil every day. If only good things happened to us we would not know the evil. Adam and Eve were offered a utopia without evil, and they rejected it. ”

        My response: HOW? You said we know it…but how? Satan told Adam and Eve to GET KNOWLEDGE…HOW? Eat the fruit of the tree of WHAT? Once they ate of that tree, they got WHAT? Knowledge.

        Paul stated that before the law (which means before he got knowledge) that he didn’t know what Lust was, had the commandment not said, thou shalt not covet.

        Up until he knew lust, he could not be charged with lust, even tho he committed the sin of coveting.

        Again, 1 John 3:4 states that SIN is the transgression of the law.

        Paul states that by the law is the knowledge of sin.

        Without the law, you don’t know sin. And where you don’t know sin, you will not be charged with sin, even when you sin. For before the law, sin was in the world, but where there is no law, there is no transgression.

        Is that hard to figure out? We all sin, but not all sinners are charged with the sin, until they get knowledge of sin. For by the law is the knowledge of sin.

  8. One more thing:

    You said that I, “and then extended that idea of innocence to equate faith and salvation unto eternal life. ”

    Where did I use the word faith in conjunction with the word innocence? I referenced Romans Chapter 2. Does Romans Chapter 2 exist? Yes. It has nothing to do with faith. It has to do with ignorance, yes, but not faith. Jesus judges those who are in ignorance FAIRLY by their conscience. He is not only judge, but savior. Do you really think that those who have no knowledge of Jesus are by default going to hell? I have spoken to some Calvinists that do in fact believe that nonsense, but it isn’t true.

    Reply

    • I think we have a misunderstanding between us of what is meant by some basic terms, and if I answer your question when we have a different understanding of the definitions, it will simply be confusing.

      First, the word “evil” has more than one meaning. God purported to do evil unto various peoples in times past. That’s the language of scripture.

      Exo 32:14 KJV
      (14) And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.

      2Sa 24:16 KJV
      (16) And when the angel stretched out his hand upon Jerusalem to destroy it, the LORD repented him of the evil, and said to the angel that destroyed the people, It is enough: stay now thine hand. And the angel of the LORD was by the threshingplace of Araunah the Jebusite.

      Jon 3:10 KJV
      (10) And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

      If one has knowledge of good and evil then one has known good and evil, one has experienced good things and evil things firsthand. You asked, “How” do we know good and evil every day? People do evil things every day, so we know by experience, the hard way. “Experience is the best teacher, and a fool will have no other school.” Some people inflict more evil than others, we all suffer evil, and as such we all experience the knowledge of good and evil.

      Doesn’t this match what we read in Genesis? They sinned (cause) and they were cursed (the effect) and we read about the rest in all of history.

      I looked at the passage and it doesn’t say exactly when they got the knowledge of good and evil, but it does say that their eyes were opened after they ate of the fruit (and that disobedience was sin.) The curse pronounced upon them was the beginning of six thousand years of evil.

      The difficulty with saying that there is no such thing as law at all, is because we are told that the law of “love” is not a new commandment, but one we have had from the beginning. God did not have to give a command of “do not kill your brother” for him to count Cain’s anger and murder as sin. As you said earlier, we are supposed to have a conscience, and that conscience itself does make a type of law.

      But regardless, even if one never violated their conscience, grew up on a desert island where there was no one to sin against, never encountered an animal to be cruel towards, they still do not have eternal life. They are still under that curse of death.

      This may be another part where definitions might be key:

      Do you really think that those who have no knowledge of Jesus are by default going to hell? I have spoken to some Calvinists that do in fact believe that nonsense, but it isn’t true.

      If I must answer technically, then I say absolutely. Hell is the common guardian of all until they are raised from the dead, and those that are raised to judgment are raised from hell. That’s exactly what it says:

      Rev 20:13 KJV
      (13) And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

      Sea, death, and hell… are equivalents in that they all hold the dead until they are raised to judgment. Do I believe that those who have no knowledge of Jesus are by default going to hell? Jesus himself was raised from hell (see Psalm 16:10, Matthew 16:18, Acts 2:31, Revelation 1:18) so if I believe that Jesus was raised than I also believe that we shall be raised in like manner.

      If you mean when hell is cast into fire at the end of the world, then it depends what you mean by the word “knowledge.” It would be difficult for anyone to have no knowledge of Jesus when he raises them to judgment and judges the dead by their works.

      So this becomes like the question that I was asked if I believed that God would destroy Universalists, and I couldn’t give a plain answer, because:

      1) How does one remain a Universalist when you see the destruction of the wicked first hand (so I said there would be no such thing as a Universalist) unless

      2) One goes into denial and calls God a liar, says that he cannot destroy the wicked, and in that case I replied that God would destroy every Universalist.

      So it’s a trick question, like as if one was asking about atheists on judgment day.

      With that out of the way, yes, I believe the scripture when it says that every man by default is condemned to death and has not eternal life abiding in him. God created us out of dust and to dust we shall return, if we receive not the gift of life.

      Joh 3:18 KJV
      (18) He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

      How else can you interpret this? That’s not nonsense, that’s John 3:18. If something about that seems wrong, then maybe there’s something else that needs to be brought into question, like the “dead are not dead” doctrine that seems so popular, which Calvin and the Catholics fought for against Tyndale and Luther back in the days of the “Reformation.”

      Because when death doesn’t mean death, the resurrection makes no sense, and without the resurrection, the judgment doesn’t add up either, not to mention calling into question the very nature and character of our God and Creator and basic meanings of common words like “love” and “justice.”

      It seems that you are approaching this from a “justice” angle, and that is fair enough, because we understand that God should be just. Yet this just God does say that we are all condemned by default, to die as brute beasts and return from whence we came. How is this unjust? Consider this: animals die all the time without ever being offered eternal life, but he has promised to raise all men to judgment. Why is there a resurrection of the just and unjust?

      Reply

      • It looks as if you are straining at a nat and swallowing a camel with this. My topic is in regards to sin, as it is sin that separates man from God. My topic is in regards to what is sin, not what is evil. My topic is the law. My topic is how is sin “IMPUTED”, vs NOT IMPUTED.

        You do know what “IMPUTED” means, right?

        Paul stated that before the law, he was alive…that is spiritually alive. Once he knew what lust was, he died…that is spiritual death.

        That is when he got knowledge, and that is when he was DEAD IN HIS SINS. Before that he was ALIVE.

        My topic has nothing to do with God repenting of the evil that he was going to do with the children of Israel. He couldn’t anyway, as he made a promise to Abraham, and God’s promises are not broken by God, otherwise, the faith of Abraham would have been in vain.

        You can’t be dead in sin if you are alive. You can only be dead in sin if you are dead.

      • You reference:

        Joh 3:18 KJV
        (18) He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

        The ONLY way that a person in this case can NOT BELIEVE is first by being told about it. Rejection is part of this. If you reject, then you “believe not”.

        You can’t either believe, or not believe until being told.

      • I had a conversation with a 7th Day Adventist once. He told me that dead means dead. I responded with, I agree that dead means dead…but what does dead mean? In the case of our conversation, there is two kinds of death. One is spiritual, and the other is carnal. Born again is the spiritual resurrection. The Resurrection of the Body is physical, i.e. carnal.

      • I don’t know if you got this, so I am sending it again, as a reply:

        By the way, no one is born spiritually dead. We die spiritually. We are born spiritually alive, then we die spiritually, then we are “born again”. We die when we get knowledge, just like Adam and Eve did. Deuteronomy 1:39 states that the little ones get to go to the Promised land because they had no knowledge of good and evil…so how can you say that we know it everyday if they didn’t? You need to reconcile that, because God himself said that they did not have that knowledge, yet you say we all do have that knowledge. So again, I ask…HOW?

        You asked me something about the word “Knowledge”. Isn’t it self explanatory here in Genesis 2:9, 17, and in Deuteronomy 1:39? The phrase KNOWLEDGE of GOOD AND EVIL is in both places.

      • These replies are starting to multiply…. so I will try to group them again.

        1) Paul uses “dead in sins” as a metaphor in Ephesians 2:1 and Col 2:13. Life and death can be used metaphorically, and I have no trouble when someone understands the metaphor. However, it sounded like you were going beyond the metaphor. If the context is “in sin” then the scope must remain with regards to sin, not literal life or consciousness.

        2) The passage of John 3:18 does not say “disbelieve” but “believeth not.” Yes, someone can “believe not” or “not believe” simply by default. For example, you did not have a trusting faith in “Flying Spaghetti Monsters” even before you ever heard of such a thing.

        3) There is one literal death, which is the cessation of thought and consciousness, the inability to love, hate, envy, or even know that you are dead. This is true death and the plain literal meaning of the word.

        There is no such thing as “spiritually dead” and the only place you will find that term used is within theological circles, not scripture. I would like to deal with scripture. The only way you can say someone is “spiritually dead” is by means of metaphor, as in “dead in sins” and even then it is only applied to living people.

        If you want to say that “born again” is used as as a symbol for resurrection, that is OK, but that is not the resurrection of the dead, and you will never see any New Testament author proclaim that being “born again” is the hope of the Christian. In fact, Paul says that without the resurrection we might as well eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.

        1Co 15:31-32 KJV
        (31) I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.
        (32) If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.

        It doesn’t sound like Paul considers being “born again” as any substitute for the resurrection of the dead. Also notice that Paul is able to use the word “die” both metaphorically and literally back to back and doesn’t seem to think that his audience will be confused. He did not literally “die daily” per verse 31.

        If death didn’t mean actual death in the real and literal sense, why would Paul care whether the dead were raised? Wouldn’t he be most happy in heaven (etc) and beyond caring? No, Paul says that without the resurrection we would be without hope.

        So in the case of our conversation, there are not two kinds of death. That is not yet established, so that is something that I would need you to prove from scripture, that there are two literal types of death, representing literal states of existence. A metaphor to a literal thing is not a literal thing itself.

        Otherwise, we should allow that words should be allowed to be read in their normal and usual meaning unless the context demands otherwise. If we do not do this than anyone can make the scripture say anything, and everything quickly means nothing.

  9. By the way, no one is born spiritually dead. We die spiritually. We are born spiritually alive, then we die spiritually, then we are “born again”. We die when we get knowledge, just like Adam and Eve did. Deuteronomy 1:39 states that the little ones get to go to the Promised land because they had no knowledge of good and evil…so how can you say that we know it everyday if they didn’t? You need to reconcile that, because God himself said that they did not have that knowledge, yet you say we all do have that knowledge. So again, I ask…HOW?

    Reply

    • The term “spiritually dead” is not in the bible, and it’s a made up doctrine to try to explain how “immortality of the soul” is supposed to reconcile with plain passages that speak of death and life. “Immortality of the soul” is a doctrine derived from paganism, not the Hebrew faith or the Christian scriptures. Please, try finding any clear passage that says that we are born “spiritually alive” or the like.

      You keep speaking of Deuteronomy 1:39, so let’s look directly at the text:

      Deu 1:38-39 KJV
      (38) But Joshua the son of Nun, which standeth before thee, he shall go in thither: encourage him: for he shall cause Israel to inherit it.
      (39) Moreover your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, and your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it.

      It means exactly what it says, that those adults will die but the children will enter. God killed a lot of those children later on, by the way, and not all of those children actually entered (the group as a whole entered however.)

      So I would say that you are getting off track when you say it “states that the little ones get to go to the Promised land because they had no knowledge of good and evil.” That’s going off track because:

      1) it is “your little ones” and not “the little ones” meaning it is talking only about a specific generation, not a doctrinal statement with broad application, and

      2) it does not say it is because their children had no knowledge of good and evil, and it does tell us exactly why this decision was made. One generation was being specifically punished, not that their children were being specifically blessed (see preceding verses 34-35, same chapter.)

      3) that generation that entered that promised land in their parents’ stead still died.

      4) Not too far before God was willing to wipe out EVERY Israelite, including man, woman, and child, and leaving only Moses. What implications does that have?

      Exo 32:9-10 KJV
      (9) And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people:
      (10) Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation.

      God was not going to spare the younger generation in this case, so I think that should have some bearing upon implications of “innocence from ignorance.”

      I would propose that God allowed the younger generation to enter Canaan because he intended to bring a people in regardless, and because he was patient enough to hit a forty-year “reset” button to start with a whole fresh batch…. not because of a = ignorance = innocence = salvation equation.

      Exo 32:11-12 KJV
      (11) And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, LORD, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand?
      (12) Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people.

      In fact, that seems to be the reasoning that Moses used with the LORD in the case of the golden calves, to spare the people for the LORD’s sake, not because they were deserving or innocence.

      Reply

      • The words SPIRITUALLY DISCERNED is in the Bible. Things are supposed to be spiritually discerned, not carnally discerned. God told Adam that IN THE DAY that he eats of that fruit, that he would die. He didn’t die that day, now did he?

        Paul said that he died when he learned what lust was. Did he die? NO. it was spiritual.

        1 corinthians 15 discusses the body. And if you read it properly, Adam was gonna die a natural death anyway.

        The soul is eternal. Spiritual death is what it is…separation from God. The soul is invisible, hence eternal. If you can see it, it dies. If you cannot see it, it is eternal.. You cannot see a soul. You can see a body, but not a soul.

        Eternal has nothing to do with immortal. Immortal only deals with the body, not the soul. The soul is eternal. A dead soul is an existing soul without a body, carnally speaking. A dead soul is a person separated from God, spiritually speaking.

      • You are so missing the point. The point is, that the little ones entering was based on a CONDITION, and that condition was that they had no knowledge of good and evil.

        You want to ignore that point altogether. Don’t do that.

      • I think you are making a simple grammatical mistake. God did not tell Adam that the day he ate of the fruit he would die, but that he should die. Will and shall are not the same word, and they have a vast difference of implications.

        God told Adam that IN THE DAY that he eats of that fruit, that he would die. He didn’t die that day, now did he?

        Of course he didn’t die that day. God did the pronouncing of death that day, but he never set a specific day for his death.

        Let me give a simple example that is easy to read:

        1) “Thou will not have any graven images.”
        2) “Thou shalt not have any graven images.”

        When Israel made the golden calves, they made graven images, did they not? If God had said “you will not make any graven images” that would have been a prediction, and God would have been proved to be a liar. Rather, he gave a command, not a prediction.

        When one pronounces a decree on a day “thou shalt” it does not have anything to do with the date of fulfillment. See the examples of King Saul and King Solomon when they pronounced “today shalt thou be my son in law in one of the twain” and “in the day that thou pass over the brook Kidron, thou shalt surely die.”

        1Sa 18:21 KJV
        (21) And Saul said, I will give him her, that she may be a snare to him, and that the hand of the Philistines may be against him. Wherefore Saul said to David, Thou shalt this day be my son in law in the one of the twain.

        How many days were allocated for David to obtain the trophies that were necessary before the wedding could take place? It says “days” and he had to travel a distance… Then read the account in 1 Kings 2 with Solomon and Shimei, and it should help establish the meaning. A promise or a decree is dated on the date it is made certain, not on the date of fulfillment.

        Like when you receive a check, the date on the check represents the day of the signing, not when you will redeem the promise for money.

        This, however, must be answered:

        The soul is eternal.

        No, GOD is eternal, but the soul that sinneth, it shall die.

        Eze 18:20-21 KJV
        (20) The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.
        (21) But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.

        God plainly said that souls die.

        Eze 13:19 KJV
        (19) And will ye pollute me among my people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, to slay the souls that should not die, and to save the souls alive that should not live, by your lying to my people that hear your lies?

        Apparently, souls can die, and even false prophets can slay souls (that should not die) or save souls (that should not live.) That doesn’t mesh with the definition you gave. The soul is the living whole, not an invisible ghost. That’s why we have a commonly known distress call of “SOS” for “Save Our Souls.”

        Jos 10:35 KJV
        (35) And they took it on that day, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and all the souls that were therein he utterly destroyed that day, according to all that he had done to Lachish.

        So if Joshua utterly destroyed all the souls, then they do not seem to be eternal.

        1Sa 24:11 KJV
        (11) Moreover, my father, see, yea, see the skirt of thy robe in my hand: for in that I cut off the skirt of thy robe, and killed thee not, know thou and see that there is neither evil nor transgression in mine hand, and I have not sinned against thee; yet thou huntest my soul to take it.

        How have you established this “invisible eternal soul” doctrine? Are you sure you got this from scripture? Because according to my bible, a dead soul is a person that has been slain with famine, or hunger, or the sword, and other number of physical means, and a living soul is one that has the breath of life, the same as every other living creature on this planet.

        Gen 2:7 KJV
        (7) And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

        ( … the soul is the whole, not a part )

        The equation is: Dust + spirit of life = living soul

        … so what is man, really?

        Gen 3:19 KJV
        (19) In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

        Answer: DUST. Man is not the animating breath of life, because all living animals have that same breath of life (see Genesis 7:22, Job 27:3). Dust is the essential defining component of our soul.

        Job 34:14-15 KJV
        (14) If he set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit and his breath;
        (15) All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust.

        I can find a lot about death, and dissolution back to the dust, but I cannot find an “eternal soul” doctrine in scripture. And consider this, why would God offer us eternal life if we were already eternal? That would seem rather pointless. If he meant “eternal happiness” or “eternal closeness” he would have said so, because it’s not like the words were missing from the language.

      • The point was not who was entering, but who would not enter, and the other aspect was that within this context crossing the Jordan was not analogous to salvation. That’s why I said that I thought you were taking it out of context.

    • I would like to mention that the words “knowledge” and “good” and “evil” can have a variety of meaning, which is why we should be careful with our associations.

      “Know” can mean “to realize” or “to understand” or “to experience.” One can know someone without really knowing them, and Adam knew his wife.

      “Good” can mean godly, or it can mean merely something that is “good” as in tasting good. It can mean morally good or it can mean something luxurious. Likewise, “evil” can mean wicked, or it can mean something that afflicts. God has inflicted evil (affliction) but he does not inflict wickedness.

      That’s one more reason to be careful over forming doctrine merely on the words “knowledge of good and evil.” Those words by their very nature are broad in potential scope. If we ignore this the language will trip us up until God becomes Evil.

      Reply

      • Stop dancing around the words.

      • Ed, you’re the one ignoring things… I am trying to point out nicely why your method of interpretation might be flawed. If you try to assign one and only one meaning to a word (that has multiple shades of meaning) from a single verse and base a doctrine on it, you can wind up with error or severe contradiction.

        For example, consider these three verses:

        Num 23:19 KJV
        (19) God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

        Rom 5:15 KJV
        (15) But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.

        Amo 7:6 KJV
        (6) The LORD repented for this: This also shall not be, saith the Lord GOD.

        The first two are often used in combination by Unitarians to “prove” that Jesus is not God. The reasoning goes “God is not a man” and “Jesus was a man” therefore “Jesus could not be God.”

        The first and third are often used by atheists or Muslims to attack the scripture as a whole. That is, they say that the first first says “God does not repent” and the third says that he repents, therefore the Bible contradicts itself.

        Your reasoning seems to be falling into a similar trap. You saw the words “knowledge of good and evil” in Genesis and reversed the cause and effect. The cause is sin, and the effect (the result that God brought about) is the knowledge of good and evil. That could mean knowing about good and evil, or inflicting and receiving good and evil, or various shades in between, but it was a condition that was placed upon the entire human race. Even little infants can suffer pain or be murdered. Yes, even little infants fall into the world of the knowledge of good and evil. Not all infants receive only good.

        In the latter example in Genesis when God forbade the current generation from entering the promised land, the focus was on the current generation, but he still intended to bring Israel in somehow. Using that passage to say that youth (or ignorance) constitute merits (works) unto salvation actually is eisigesis… meaning that you are starting with an idea rather than letting the text speak in its plainer fashion.

        If I were to accept your premise for the sake of argument, I would have to ask you, do you really think that all of that youthful generation that was still alive 37 years later (and “little ones” is a vague term here) was without sin, and had never committed an evil thought or action?

        That is the next logical step if we follow the reasoning you presented. Why would the children of this one generation of stiff necked people be different from every other generation of children on the planet?

        Little children are sinful just like everyone else. They can be selfish, hateful, wicked, disrespectful, and murderous…. We do not start in a state of perfection (being worthy of salvation) and then all make a ritual descent into evil, needing to be raised up again by a savior. The truth is that we are imperfect creatures that must be willing to become perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect. This perfection (of love) is not something that can be created because this genuine love (this perfect love) cannot be forced.

        I think you may have good intentions, but if you are confronting a problem (of seeming injustice, or a lack of compassion) for countless generations that have never been confronted (or shown) the truth, we don’t need to invent a “ignorance is works fit unto salvation” doctrine to derive another path to eternal life without faith in our Christ as the Son of God.

        There is so much there on this already that most people will not see because they don’t want to see it, chiefly because popular doctrine effectively denies the resurrection and preaches a dispassionate vengeful God that likes to inflict suffering. I am left to conclude that people either prefer their version of God, or are afraid of what their peers will think if they “rock the boat” but the defense of said popular doctrine becomes “traditional” and “emotional” and avoids simple resolution by scripture.

        Is there hope for the Amazon tribes you mentioned? Here’s a few of the easy clues that are typically ignored:

        Mat 10:15 KJV
        (15) Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.

        Mat 12:41 KJV
        (41) The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.

        Mat 25:37-40 KJV
        (37) Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
        (38) When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
        (39) Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
        (40) And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

        Notice that in the parable of the sheep and the goats, the sheep are not pulled out of heaven, and the goats are not pulled out of torments. The sheep did not know Christ and are apparently not even familiar with said parable, but they are not judged through “ignorance” but by their spirit of love, and because of this spirit of love they are the ones that will repent and embrace Christ. But regardless of what they did in life, if they reject Christ at the judgment they shall be destroyed like every other wicked thing.

        The parable of the sheep and the goats is tremendously damaging to the “you are alive even while you are dead” doctrine, but this is typically ignored. Why would the goats be surprised that they are rejected if they were alive and tortured for thousands of years before? You would think they would have a clue that something wasn’t as it was supposed to be? Maybe they were just under the impression that the Air Conditioning was broken in their personal waiting room, or maybe Lord Abraham of the Underworld (the master of Hell) was giving them the silent treatment? (I speak in jest for I know whom I mock.)

        Are the men of Nineveh, Sodom and Gomorrah, and the Amazon tribes in heaven right now? No, they are dead and await the resurrection to judgment, when the sea and death and hell shall give up their dead, small and great. Are they being punished without judgment in anticipation of an “everyone is damned” judgment? No, punishment follows judgment, not the other way around.

        I am probably preaching to empty air, but if those that call themselves preachers and theologians would be willing to take the beam out of their own eye and go back to the very basics of scripture, most of these dilemmas they are unable to satisfactorily answer when asked would simply dissolve. I think that it’s a question of whether we truly love God to law aside our own ego, or whether we prefer a delusion of the traditions of men.

      • And I am saying that my method of interpretation is not wrong. The Amazon people is a great example. Again, Romans chapter 2 exists. You ignore it.

        What was the audience that you mentioned? JEWS. They were given the law under Moses. The Gentiles were not. The Gentiles do not come in until later in Acts.

      • The people of Ninevah. God told Jonah to go tell them to repent. They did.

        It is obvious that you do not believe in existence after death, until the resurrection? Yes, those amazon people in ignorance is in heaven with Jesus. We are a spirit dressed in a body, and yes, we have a soul. We are not a soul, we have one. And Adam became a living soul. A living soul is a soul with a body. Life requires a body. Without a body you are a dead soul. An eternal existing soul, without a body. Souls do not die. Yes I know Ezekiel 18:4 and Ecc 9:5. If you see a dead person on the street, that dead person cannot answer you if you ask that dead person a question. That is what Ecc 9:5 means.

        Ez 18:4 is discussing spiritual death, not physical death, as souls cannot die.

        Revelation chapter 6 shows this, that the souls of them that died SPOKE. No resurrection yet!!!

      • You are forgetting that the vision of Revelation utilizes symbols, including horses that prance around the heavens, and that even within this vision, these souls of men are told to go back to sleep until these things are fulfilled. Within this dream, these actors are only raised for their specific part to play.

        But I’m so glad you brought that up, because if you are to interpret that literally it happens to destroy the “eternal torment without judgment” doctrine quite effectively.

        Rev 6:9-11 KJV
        (9) And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:
        (10) And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?
        (11) And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.

        Apparently, their blood is not yet avenged upon them that dwell upon the earth, so it doesn’t seem as if anyone is being tortured and punished as Tertullian so desired to see, to mock, to dance at the torments that he imagined upon his adversaries.

        Tell me, what does “rest yet for a little season” imply? It means that they were resting, and they shall go back to resting. Are these actual specific people in this passage? No, it is a representative element in a vision. One needs to do better than pulling out a fragment of a dream sequence to contradict the so-many numerous clear passages that tell us that the dead are truly dead, and that we have no hope were it not for the resurrection of the dead.

      • See, you are dancing around this again. The DEAD SOULS SPOKE, and no resurrection took place. I love your tap dance, dude. You definitely humor me.

      • And in Revelation 20:12 the dead souls stand before God for judgment, but they are still being referred to as “dead souls” even though we are told that they have been resurrected. Did you notice that?

        Rev 20:5 KJV
        (5) But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.

        Rev 20:12-13 KJV
        (12) And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
        (13) And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

        It would seem that “the dead” can even mean “those who were formerly dead but raised to life.

        So in Revelation 6 you still have a single element of a vision of slain souls that protest for the purposes of the vision, except in this case the slain souls are alive for the dream… and they were resting, and they are told to go back to resting, and they shall rest until everyone else is killed as they were also.

        Are you not realizing that your version of interpretation is doing more damage to your position it could do any possible good, or that by trying to force your theory on that passage you are committing the definition of eisigesis? It’s a single element of a dream sequence, surrounded by horses that carry Death personified…. and you are using an isolated element to form doctrine?

        Do you have a similar doctrine that Death is an actual entity that rides a real horse? Otherwise, you are being grossly inconsistent.

        Rev 6:8 KJV
        (8) And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

        Jesus gives power to this guy named Death too, but that doesn’t mean that this is any more literal (or that he’s any more real) than the Easter bunny. What you are not doing is going back to scripture, reading it from the beginning as it was intended, and letting the bible define its own terms.

        Would you please try that? Definitions are given up front, and the scripture was not written in vain to be interpreted for us by Greek philosophers, Augustine, and John Calvin. What happens if you read the New Testament with the foundation of the oracles of God that was delivered was delivered to the Jew at the time of Christ (instead of the musings of Plato?)

        Rom 3:1-2 KJV
        (1) What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision?
        (2) Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.

        2Ti 3:15-16 KJV
        (15) And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
        (16) All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

        Col 2:8 KJV
        (8) Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

        Do you know how many times I have heard the appeal that all scripture is not given by inspiration of God, and that we should ignore scripture in favor of tradition? Personally it is getting old, and it becomes hard for me to remain patient with that argument. Jesus and Paul respected the scripture, and proved their doctrines from scripture. They never once claimed that the prophets which spoke of the Holy Ghost simply “didn’t understand” what they were talking about.

        2Pe 1:20-21 KJV
        (20) Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
        (21) For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

        Modern theology usually demands that scripture have private interpretation divorced from the rest of scripture, the more books the better, to allow sufficient wriggle room to defend their philosophies. Some dismiss the Old Testament, some ignore Paul, and others invent secret mystery doctrines under the label of “dispensationalism.” Please, it’s time to turn from such vanity.

        With that said, and with that appeal to go back to scripture, I really must leave this thread alone to deal with pressing issues elsewhere right now. We can continue to talk later with email, and I apologize if I sounded harsh earlier.

      • Revelation 6 has nothing to do with Revelation 20. The resurrection of the dead is revelation 20. There was no resurrection in chapter 6.

      • A simple question (two questions actually) so others can see your answer please?

        Is Death in Revelation 6 a literal person, or do you allow for this part to be played by an actor? Are those horses of Revelation 6 literal horses, or do you allow for them to be accounted for by special effects?

      • I am not talking about horses. I am not talking about death as a person. I am talking SOULS TALKING AND BEING ANSWERED. DEAD SOULS. NO RESURRECTION WITH THESE SPEAKING SOULS.

        You are dancing again. You are going off on a tangent.

      • You referenced:
        2Pe 1:20-21 KJV
        (20) Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
        (21) For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

        You sound catholic by referencing this. I debate them, too.

        Notice, if you will, the word PROPHECY in verse 20. It isn’t discussing “scripture” as a whole, but the topic of prophecy, IN THAT prophecy is not about anyone but Jesus. We cannot say that prophecy is about Jim Jones, for example.

        We all have the right to interpret scripture.

      • I find that you are not spiritually discerning things here. You keep saying that those little children later died. Really? No kidding? Dude, that is carnal. Everyone dies. The story is about the “Promised Land”. That has to be spiritually discerned. People get to heaven (Spiritually the Promised Land) due to having faith (Caleb and Joshua) and by not having knowledge of good and evil. Yes, everyone died. The little children grew up and got knowledge and died a physical death. That isn’t what I am talking about. You discuss carnal things, I discuss spiritual things. There are songs about this.

        1. When we were sinners, we were in Egypt in BONDAGE.
        2. Jesus set us free (The story of Moses) from Bondage of sin
        3. As Christians, we wander in the desert STRUGGLING with God (The bible definition of Israel, as Jacob struggled with God and prevailed).
        4. When we die, that is our crossing the Jordan.
        5. We enter into the PROMISED LAND (HEAVEN).

        that is how you spiritually discern things.

      • There usually comes a point where people claim that they have special divine knowledge that “cannot be understood” unless you bow to them and ignore scripture in favor of what they say. They claim to have “spiritual discernment” that trumps the normal meaning of words contained in the bible, that this is somehow “carnal.” Or you really sure this is where you want to go?

        If you decide that the scripture is “carnal” (and I have simply used scripture) then I will leave you to your own.

        Right now you are plainly DENYING scripture in favor of your private doctrine. After having been shown the scripture in black and white, you protest:

        Ez 18:4 is discussing spiritual death, not physical death, as souls cannot die

        But God himself has said:

        Eze 18:4 KJV
        (4) Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.

        Eze 18:20 KJV
        (20) The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

        If you are going to directly contradict God and say the exact opposite of what he has written, then there is no point in continuing. We would be on two separate wavelengths and at a disagreement upon what constitutes an acceptable source of doctrine.

        But maybe how you have responded may make some other people question their position, when they see what one must sacrifice to continue to defend the “immortal soul” theory.

        I will simply close here (for I have much to do outside this board right now.)

      • I already covered Ezekiel 18 and Ecclesiastes 9:5. Ezekiel 18 is discussing SPIRITUAL SEPARATION FROM GOD. Ecclesiastes 9:5 is discussing the dead body. There is no such thing as a mortal soul, or an immortal soul. Souls are eternal. the dead souls spoke. NO resurrection. No metaphors, no wild beasts, etc. As a matter of fact, Jesus ANSWERED the dead souls back. He said, wait a little longer.

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