Truth is a value i hold nearanddear (Not a typo). Since youth “Truth” (pursuing/acquiring/living it) has been my main objective, purpose, vocation, occupation!…obsession?-lol;)
For me, and obvious to any Regular Readers (Thanks for Your Time!:)), my priority is Spiritual/Biblical Truth…which trickles to other Truth topics…i.e., Science, health, etc.
Through the years, have had countless conversations with various Folks (the 🙂 and the 🙁 the pleasant, the disagreeable) from all walks of life, all walks of education, culture, religion including Agnostics and Atheists.
Every One is a teacher; for sure. Both positive and negative…conversations aka transmissions of knowledge…teach…(and possible mold).
A reocurring concern/cluster…family of spiritual questions bubbling to the surface among thinking, caring, loving people…seems to be:
Why is there evil?
Why would God allow suffering? When will it end?
IF God is all knowing and all powerful, did God “create” evil?
IF my life is predestined…why bother? (changing, trying, etc.)
Hoping this reading i’ve enJOYed (in the past) will help You now (and in the future)…resolve/reconcile…touch these seemingly tough topics of discussion.
Is Your Future Predestined?
Many people believe that their life and future are predestined by a higher power. They feel that from conception to death, we all follow a script already written in the mind of God. ‘After all,’ they say, ‘God is all-powerful and all-knowing, or omniscient, so surely he must know every detail about the past, the present, and the future.’
WHAT do you think? Does God foreordain our life course and ultimate destiny? In other words, is free will genuine or just an illusion? What does the Bible say?
Total or Selective Foreknowledge?
The Bible leaves us in no doubt as to God’s having foreknowledge. He knows “from the beginning the finale,” says Isaiah 46:10. He even used human secretaries to record many prophecies. (2 Peter 1:21) What is more, those prophecies always come true because God has both the wisdom and the power to fulfill them in every detail. Hence, God can not only foreknow but also foreordain events whenever he chooses to do so. However, does God foreordain the destiny of every human or even the total number who will gain salvation? Not according to the Bible.
The Bible teaches that God is selective when it comes to foreordaining the future. For example, God foretold that “a great crowd” of righteous humans would survive the destruction of the wicked at the end of the present system of things. (Revelation 7:9, 14) Note, though, that God did not give a specific number for that great crowd. The reason? He does not predestinate individuals. God is like the loving father of a large family. He knows that at least some of His children will reciprocate His love, but He does not predetermine the number.
Compare God’s use of foreordination with the way he uses his power. As the Almighty, God has absolute power. (Psalm 91:1; Isaiah 40:26, 28) But does he use his power in an uncontrolled manner? No. For instance, he held back from acting against Babylon, an enemy of ancient Israel, until the time was right. “I kept exercising self-control,” God said. (Isaiah 42:14) The same principle applies to his use of foreknowledge and foreordination. Jehovah exercises self-control in order to respect the free will that he gave us.
God’s control of his powers does not limit him or render him imperfect. In fact, it magnifies his greatness, and it endears him to us, for it shows that his sovereignty truly is exercised not only with omniscience and power but also with love and respect for the free will of his intelligent creation.
Is God to Blame??
On the other hand, if God predetermines everything, including every nasty accident and vile deed that has ever happened, could we not rightly blame him for all the misery and suffering in the world? Thus, upon closer inspection, the teaching of predestination does not honor God, but casts a pall over him. It paints him as cruel, unjust, and unloving—the very opposite of what the Bible says about him.—Deuteronomy 32:4.
The Choice Is Yours
By means of his servant Moses, God said to the nation of Israel: “I have put life and death before you, . . . and you must choose life . . . by loving Jehovah your God, by listening to his voice and by sticking to him; for he is your life and the length of your days.” (Deuteronomy 30:19, 20) Had God predestinated each Israelite either to love him and gain life or to disregard him and merit death, His words would have been both meaningless and insincere. Do you believe that God, “a lover of justice” and the very personification of love, would act in such an arbitrary way?—Psalm 37:28; 1 John 4:8.
▪ Why would God not predetermine everything, including the bad things that happen to people?—Deuteronomy 32:4.
▪ What will ultimately determine our future?—John 17:3.
God’s purpose and man’s plan(s)…
By means of the Bible, God is, in effect, saying to us: ‘This is my purpose for mankind and the earth, and this is what you should do to gain everlasting life. It is now up to you to decide whether to listen to me or disregard me.’ Yes, how perfectly God balances his powers of foreordination with his respect for our free will! Will you choose life “by listening to [God’s] voice and by sticking to him”? [excerpted reading AWAKE! 2009, Is Your Future Predestined?]
Normally, people want to be peaceable, honest, and kind. Why, then, do we often see violence, injustice, and cruelty? Horrific news reports are common. Is there someone trying to make people act badly?—Read 1 John 5:19.
Did God make humans with an evil tendency? No, Jehovah God created humans in his image, with a tendency to imitate God’s love. (Genesis 1:27; Job 34:10) But God also dignified humans with free choice. When our first parents chose to act badly, they rejected God’s example and became imperfect. We inherited the tendency to sin from them.—Read Deuteronomy 32:4, 5.
God wants us to resist our bad tendencies. (Proverbs 27:11) So he teaches us how to avoid doing wrong and how to find real happiness. At present, though, we cannot imitate God’s love perfectly.—Read Psalm 32:8.
Although evil abounds now, God is permitting it for a limited time to allow all to see its sad consequences. (2 Peter 3:7-9) Soon, however, the earth will be filled with happy people who obey God.—Read Psalm 37:9-11.
[excerpted Where Did Evil Come From? Bible Questions Answered]
Humans:) we have the power of selection. We can choose to use…any talent, gift, knowledge, circumstance…for the good, better, best.
It’s super sad, to me, when anyone is killed! (A life/process cut short/stolen/time taken.) Innocent ones have been martyred(by many torturous “mean”s) throughout human history…literally..(and nowadays: virtually or in the media/social or on film).
Sunday evening, Hubby, our Girls, (and me) watched “portions” of–(Bill O’Reilly’s so-called “history” book..yeah, HIS story? book about the Carpenter’s son brought to film)–Killing Jesus on National Geographic channel. (Actually, I was hoping to catch an Alaskan Bush People episode instead.) And as a person (46 years old–from youth to maturity) who has read about/studied/researched/investigated in-depth/thoroughly pursued (learning) knowing this person of interest, this “perfect” example of great compassion, this great teacher thereof, Jesus,…I was curious (to say the least).
This post is NOT a movie review nor a book review…exactly/per se. (Do random excerpts of books & random excerpts of movies count for review??) May be? You’ll call this post: HER story. (Read on as i eat my own words–“Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover!” Tasty?? -lol:)
Hey! i guess, it takes something..some kind of something…(no vocabulary word is coming to mind…insert Your own) to render a passionate follower/fan of Jesus…stale/unimpressed by a movie that deflates climatic/awe-inspiring accounts of incredible feats/miracles of compassion and sacrifice as totally anti-climatic!! (Dare i! say, this movie was Anti-Christ?!) I’m not knocking the actor (who played Jesus)…tough role; for sure. (Perhaps, i should of watched the entire thing to form a more positive feel for it. The feeling i do get is: most likely, saw the better portions. (The ones that kept me from channel surfing or falling asleep.) The ones that needed/”attempted” to grab/attract the attention of a person who didn’t need “any” attention grabbing/attracting to begin with…(before watching bits of Killing Jesus…Did the movie murder it for me?).
I’m “kinda” knocking the compilation/filter/script/presentation of filled in glaring gaps and omissions (on film from what i did watch) in Jesus’ life put forth and withheld (that couldn’t help notice/acknowledge). Probably because of being a person familiar/well-acquainted with the historicity of the Nazarene aka The Sage from Capernaum, The Prince of Peace, Humble Washer of Feet, Healer of Lepers, Gregarious Great Teacher…
He presented matters of great weight and depth with simplicity, brevity, and clarity. He illustrated his points with things well known to his listeners (Mt 13:34, 35)—to fishermen (Mt 13:47, 48), shepherds (Joh 10:1-17), farmers (Mt 13:3-9), builders (Mt 7:24-27; Lu 14:28-30), merchants (Mt 13:45, 46), slaves or masters (Lu 16:1-9), housewives (Mt 13:33; Lu 15:8), or anyone else (Mt 6:26-30). Simple things, like bread, water, salt, wineskins, old garments, were used as symbols of things of great importance, even as they were so used in the Hebrew Scriptures. (Joh 6:31-35, 51; 4:13, 14; Mt 5:13; Lu 5:36-39) His logic, often expressed through analogies, cleared away misguided objections and put matters in their proper perspective. (Mt 16:1-3; Lu 11:11-22; 14:1-6) He aimed his message primarily at men’s hearts, using penetrating questions to cause them to think, arrive at their own conclusions, examine their motives, and make decisions. (Mt 16:5-16; 17:24-27; 26:52-54; Mr 3:1-5; Lu 10:25-37; Joh 18:11) He did not strive to win over the masses but endeavored to awaken the hearts of those sincerely hungering for truth and righteousness.—Mt 5:3, 6; 13:10-15. (Excerpted: Insight On Scriptures, Vol. 2 Jesus Christ–Master Teacher)
Excerpts seen of this “particular” movie (Killing Jesus)/take on Jesus…left him a silent stranger to me…and did, in my opinion, unjustly Kill “the Greatest Man who Ever Lived”..again! (FYI: The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived is 1 fav book of mine about Jesus.)
(Perhaps ? I am being a bit dramatic, okay, yeah!…how could any film do Jesus justice?? And most movies seem unable to fully capture the essence of any book. May be? for someone less familiar (or unfamiliar), this was an “okay” (adequate) introduction to Jesus.)
This is what Bill O’Reilly says:
To say that Jesus of Nazareth was the most influential man who ever lived is almost trite. Nearly two thousand years after he was brutally executed by Roman soldiers, more than 2.2 billion human beings attempt to follow his teachings and believe he is God. That includes 77 percent of the U.S. population, according to a Gallup Poll. The teachings of Jesus have shaped the entire world and continue to do so.
Much has been written about Jesus, the son of a humble carpenter. But little is actually known about him. Of course we have the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, but they sometimes appear contradictory and were written from a spiritual point of view rather than as a historical chronicling of Jesus’s life. Who Jesus actually was and what exactly happened to him are emotional subjects that often lead to contentious discussion.
Martin Dugard and I are both Roman Catholics who were educated in religious schools. But we are also historical investigators and are interested primarily in telling the truth about important people, not converting anyone to a spiritual cause. We brought this dedication and discipline to Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy, and in these pages we will do the same with Jesus of Nazareth. By the way, both Lincoln and Kennedy believed Jesus was God.
Sorry Bill (& Martin)…but, You got me laughing a little (at the above-highlighted) and thinking:) “Really O’Reilly?!”
Yeah, we may NOT take Your word for it …that Jesus “supposedly is” God (a Catholic/Non-Biblical teaching), but we might just accept it from (your soft-er/best-er sell-ers) Lincoln & Kennedy, eh?! (or from the popular poll of 2.2 billion opinions). If we cannot believe Bill, Lincoln or Kennedy, then surely–2 billion people cannot be wrong?? (about God?!) Do 2 billion opinions (aka “non-facts”) make 1 (O’Reilly) right (aka “accurate”)?! Is popular opinion “truth”?
Really-O’Reilly?! It’s a riot! to me, that You claim Not to be pushing a spiritual POV “whatsoever”? (even though, educated in religious schools (or rather is it: programmed by?) and professing to be Roman Catholic)…and that this book is purely “fact” based/well-researched or is it “really” a popular-opinion/tradition-based book?! Or is it pushing some (modern-day) political agenda in ancient carpenter costume (disguise)? Or is it just a follow-up (killer formula)…last two books killed it/made money/made hot lists?
Makes me wonder: 1 look at the cover: A Cross smacks/pops me in the face!…an immediate red-flag goes up in my mind:…a blatant Catholic/pop-ular Idol/doctrine is making me eat my words “don’t judge a book by its cover.” (YUM) IF–these authors supposedly are not pushing a spiritual agenda/point of view/popular dogma about Jesus…What’s up with the Cross Cover?? Or the Cross Crucifixion in the movie?? Or showing the movie on Palm Sunday??
According to Greek scholar W. E. Vine, staurosʹ “denotes, primarily, an upright pale or stake. On such malefactors were nailed for execution. Both the noun and the verb stauroō, to fasten to a stake or pale, are originally to be distinguished from the ecclesiastical form of a two beamed cross.”
TheImperialBible-Dictionary says that the word staurosʹ “properly signified a stake, an upright pole, or piece of paling, on which anything might be hung, or which might be used in impaling a piece of ground.” The dictionary continues: “Even amongst the Romans the crux (Latin, from which our cross is derived) appears to have been originally an upright pole.” Thus, it is not surprising that TheCatholicEncyclopedia states: “Certain it is, at any rate, that the cross originally consisted of a simple vertical pole, sharpened at its upper end.”
There is another Greek word, xyʹlon, that Bible writers used to describe the instrument of Jesus’ execution. ACriticalLexiconandConcordancetotheEnglishandGreekNewTestament defines xyʹlon as “a piece of timber, a wooden stake.” It goes on to say that like staurosʹ,xyʹlon “was simply anuprightpaleorstake to which the Romans nailed those who were thus said to be crucified.” (Excerpted: Did Jesus Really Die on a Cross?)
Crossing Out the “Christian” Cross: (further excerpts: Did Jesus Really Die on a Cross?)
Long before the Christian era, crosses were used by the ancient Babylonians as symbols in their worship of the fertility god Tammuz. The use of the cross spread into Egypt, India, Syria, and China.
If the Bible does not really say that Jesus was executed on a cross, then why do all the churches that claim to teach and follow the Bible—Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox—adorn their buildings with the cross and use it as a symbol of their faith? How did the cross come to be such a popular symbol?
The answer is that the cross is venerated not only by churchgoers who claim to follow the Bible but also by people far removed from the Bible and whose worship far predates that of “Christian” churches. Numerous religious reference works acknowledge that the use of crosses in various shapes and forms goes back to remote periods of human civilization. For example, ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics and depictions of their gods and goddesses often show a cross in the shape of a T with a circle at the top. It is called the ansate, or handle-shaped, cross and is thought to be a symbol of life. In time, this form of the cross was adopted and used extensively by the Coptic Church and others.
According to TheCatholicEncyclopedia, “the primitive form of the cross seems to have been that of the so-called ‘gamma’ cross (cruxgammata), better known to Orientalists and students of prehistoric archæology by its Sanskrit name, swastika.” This sign was widely used among Hindus in India and Buddhists throughout Asia and is still seen in decorations and ornaments in those areas.
TheNon-ChristianCross, by J. D. Parsons, explains: “There is not a single sentence in any of the numerous writings forming the New Testament, which, in the original Greek, bears even indirect evidence to the effect that the stauros used in the case of Jesus was other than an ordinary stauros; much less to the effect that it consisted, not of one piece of timber, but of two pieces nailed together in the form of a cross.”
Vine’s ExpositoryDictionaryofNewTestamentWords states: “By the middle of the 3rd cent. A.D. the churches had either departed from, or had travestied, certain doctrines of the Christian faith. In order to increase the prestige of the apostate ecclesiastical system pagans were received into the churches apart from regeneration by faith, and were permitted largely to retain their pagan signs and symbols,” [including the cross].
What about the gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John (close friends/followers of Jesus)…authenticity? contradictory? historical accuracy? (Excerpts from: an Awesome article..(read back in 2000 & reread recently) The Gospels—History or Myth?
Author and critic C. S. Lewis found it difficult to view the Gospels as mere legends. “As a literary historian I am perfectly convinced that whatever the Gospels are, they are not legends,” he wrote. “They are not artistic enough to be legends. . . . Most of the life of Jesus is unknown to us, and no people building up a legend would allow that to be so.” It is also interesting that although noted historian H. G. Wells did not claim to be a Christian, he acknowledged: “All four [Gospel writers] agree in giving us a picture of a very definite personality; they carry the . . . conviction of reality.”
In his book CaesarandChrist, historian Will Durant writes: “That a few simple men should . . . have invented so powerful and appealing a personality, so lofty an ethic and so inspiring a vision of human brotherhood, would be a miracle far more incredible than any recorded in the Gospels. After two centuries of Higher Criticism the outlines of the life, character, and teaching of Christ, remain reasonably clear, and constitute the most fascinating feature in the history of Western man.”
What of the claims of higher critics that the Gospels do not meet the criteria of real history? Continues Durant: “In the enthusiasm of its discoveries the Higher Criticism has applied to the New Testament tests of authenticity so severe that by them a hundred ancient worthies—e.g., Hammurabi, David, Socrates—would fade into legend. Despite the prejudices and theological preconceptions of the evangelists, they record many incidents that mere inventors would have concealed—the competition of the apostles for high places in the Kingdom, their flight after Jesus’ arrest, Peter’s denial . . . No one reading these scenes can doubt the reality of the figure behind them.”
Historian Wells realized that there is a huge gap between the teachings of Jesus as presented in the Gospels and those of Christendom. He wrote: “There is no evidence that the apostles of Jesus ever heard of the Trinity—at any rate from him. . . . Nor did [Jesus] say a word about the worship of his mother Mary, in the guise of Isis, the Queen of heaven. All that is most characteristically Christian in worship and usage, he ignored.” Therefore, one cannot judge the value of the Gospels on the basis of the teachings of Christendom.
What about Contradictions? (further excerpts The Gospels—History or Myth?)
Critics have long claimed that the Gospels are full of contradictions. Historian Durant sought to examine the Gospel accounts from a purely objective standpoint—as historical documents. Though he says that there are seeming contradictions in them, he concludes: “The contradictions are of minutiae [trivial details], not substance; in essentials the synoptic gospels agree remarkably well, and form a consistent portrait of Christ.”
Seeming contradictions in Gospel accounts are often easily resolved. To illustrate: Matthew 8:5 says that “an army officer came to [Jesus], entreating him” to cure a manservant. At Luke 7:3, we read that the officer “sent forth older men of the Jews to [Jesus] to ask him to come and bring [the] slave safely through.” The officer sent the elders as his representatives. Matthew says that the army officer himself entreated Jesus because the man made his request through the elders, who served as his mouthpiece. This is just one example showing that alleged discrepancies in the Gospels can be resolved.
Further related reading: tidbits about Jesus: please see:
Getting to know (and well/accurately) “any mind” can be challenging, huh?! Getting to know a person (Famous/Influential or Not)…What do You examine? What do You consider? Who do You ask? What do You read?…(The person’s writings IF available? Accounts from Friends? Accounts from Enemies? Accounts from Family? Legal Documents? Historical Documents? Reporting in Newspapers of the Day? Biographies, Autobiographies, etc., etc., etc.)
“These are not books, lumps of lifeless paper, but minds alive on the shelves.”~Gilbert Highet
Let me close this post/book?/(her story?) with this:
For “who has come to know the mind of Jehovah (Yahweh/God), so that he may instruct him?” But we do have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16)
(published 3/31/15 @ 11:03 a.m. word count 2420+…whew!) ALRIGHT!:)
Do I truly need a take two to get the/a point across?
How Topsy and Turvy is my world: today?
What Do I think about the following (excerpted) questions?
Will God let humans continue to dominate one another and threaten the future of mankind?
How does he reveal that vital knowledge?
How fast am I driving?
Am I a safe driver?
Do I follow road signs?
Do I drive the speed limit?
Would I blow through a stop light or stop sign intentionally?
Do I like succinct illustrations that help drive home a/the point?
What Do I think about the following (excerpted) illustration?
When you travel by car, you might first consult online sources, maps, and written directions. Then, as you see signs and landmarks that match what the directions say, you gain confidence that you are nearing your destination. In a similar way, God has given us his Word, which describes striking global trends. As we see those landmark events unfolding, we become convinced that we are in the time period leading up to the end.
The Bible explains that world history would reach a unique, pivotal time period that would culminate in the end. That time would see a combination of worldwide events and circumstances that differs from anything in mankind’s history.
DO I LOVE LIFE?
Do I wish to continue existing, breathing, experiencing what this road trip called life has to offer?
What is my destination?
Do I know where I am headed?
Am I lost?
Am I proud?
Am I humble?
Am I willing to consult GPS?
Would I ask for directions if needed?
Would I accept accurate directions, but possibly from a stranger?
Would I only listen to “any” directions from familiar faces?
Do I trust aka read/accept street signs/names/road labels when driving?
Does the world’s upheavals affect my travels/driving through life?
Do I check the weather before driving/traveling?
Do I accept any weather/climate forecasts?
Would I alter my plans/choices/driving due to weather conditions?
Do I wish to have an accident or crash (and possibly harm or kill myself or anyone else)?
Am I a considerate driver?
Do I give vent to road rage?
Am I a compassionate, thoughtful/careful driver?
Am I willing to alter my choices/driving course to safeguard/respect fellow-fragile-life including ecosystems of planet Earth?
What Do I think about the following (excerpted) info/signs/world climate?
A prophecy recorded in Matthew chapter 24 lists events on the earth that would make up a composite sign. That sign would mark “the conclusion of the system of things” and lead to the time when “the end will come.” (Verses 3, 14) These features include major wars, food shortages, earthquakes in one place after another, an increase of lawlessness, a lack of love, and sly efforts by religious leaders to mislead people. (Verses 6-26) Of course, to some extent, such events have been taking place for centuries. However, as the end approaches, they would all occur in the same troubled era. They would also accompany the next three warning signals.
THE ATTITUDES OF PEOPLE The Bible says that “the last days”—the time period leading to the end—would be marked by a major deterioration of peoples’ attitudes. We read: “Men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, disloyal, having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness, betrayers, headstrong, puffed up with pride, lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God.” (2 Timothy 3:1-4) True, disrespect for fellow humans is not new, but only in “the last days” would that spirit reach such extremes that the era could rightly be described as “critical times hard to deal with.” Have you noticed this ugly downward trend in people’s attitudes?
THE EARTH IS BEING RUINED The Bible states that God will “bring to ruin those ruining the earth.” (Revelation 11:18) In what ways would people be ruining the earth? The time period when Noah lived was described in a similar way: “The earth had become ruined in the sight of the true God, and the earth was filled with violence. Yes, God looked upon the earth, and it was ruined.” So God said of that corrupt society: “I am bringing them to ruin.” (Genesis 6:11-13) Have you noticed the mounting evidence that the earth is becoming filled with violence? Additionally, humans have arrived at a unique point in history: They have the potential literally to ruin the earth by wiping out all human life on it. They have the weaponry in their hands. And the earth is being ruined in another way. The systems that support life on earth—the air we breathe, the animal and plant ecosystems, the oceans—are steadily being degraded because of human mismanagement.
Ask yourself, ‘Just over a century ago, did mankind even have the power of complete self-destruction?’ But now humans are exerting that power by amassing advanced weaponry and by devastating the environment. The rapid developments in technology seem to be outpacing man’s ability to understand or control the consequences.However, earth’s destiny is not for man to decide or control. Before all life on this earth is eradicated, God will step in to destroy those destroying the earth. That is his promise!
All excerpts from this post are taken from W May 2015 Article:Is the End Near? (Important question, huh?:))
In 2014, the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists warned the United Nations Security Council about major threats to the existence of mankind. Those scientists testified: “A careful review of these threats leads us to conclude that the risk of civilization-threatening technological catastrophe remains high.”
Convinced that we have reached a pivotal point (in Human World History)? (i am!)