What the Noah Movie Says About God

What the Noah Movie Says About God

Who is God? What does God do? I believe Aronofsky’s film, Noah, has plenty to say in response to these two questions. Please read the two previous blog posts in this series, if you haven’t already: What People Say About Aronofsky’s Noah and What People Say About Aronofsky’s Creator

In case you completely disregarded my suggestion, here’s a quick overview of something you should know in order to understand the rest of this blog post. Creator A is Aronofsky’s character. Creator B is the Creator presented in the Bible.

Creator A, according to the twenty-something blog posts I read, is or does the following:

  • Sovereign or in control
  • Creator of everything we see
  • Far off or distant
  • Rains down justice from the heavens
  • Silent
  • Inscrutable
  • Holds the power of life and death, but not much else
  • Unable to interfere with wide actions of propagation or destruction
  • Struggles to communicate with Noah
  • Sends the flood
  • Sends visions
  • Sends the animals
  • Warns Noah about the flood
  • Gives Noah dreams
  • Can be compared to Dawkin’s ‘blind watchmaker’ or George Lucas’ ‘Force’
  • Has no qualms with being misunderstood and misrepresented
  • Incapable of making Himself known
  • Does not speak
  • Driven by ecological fervor

From the above list, I agreed (only in the most literal sense) with the following regarding Creator A:

  • Sovereign or in control
  • Creator of everything we see
  • Far off or distant
  • Silent
  • Sends visions
  • Sends the animals
  • Warns Noah about the flood
  • Gives Noah dreams
  • Does not speak

The “truth” of who Creator A really is or what Creator A really does can be inferred by what Creator A does or does not do. Anything outside of that, for example, what Noah or other movie characters say about Creator A’s intentions, may or may not be accurate. The same reasoning applies to blog writers. Movie goers should not trust blog writers in order to determine Creator A’s intentions; instead, they should see the movie for themselves and considering factual only what Creator A did or did not do in the movie.

In What People Say About Aronofsky’s Creator I wrote,

God’s character cannot be distorted. Only our perception of God’s character can be distorted. Aronofsky’s film, Noah, demonstrates how easily our perceptions can be influenced.

Let me expound on this idea in order to demonstrate that Aronofsky’s film, Noah, has plenty to say in response to Who God is and what God does.

The “truth” of who Creator B really is or what Creator B really does can be inferred by what Creator B does or does not do, and anything outside of that, for example, what people throughout the course of history say or write about God’s intentions, may or may not be accurate. We should look at what Creator B does or does not do in order to determine Creator B’s intentions.

Now, here’s the tricky part…

One of the things God does is communicate directly, silently, and personally with individual people. Suppose Johnny says “God told me, ‘Sell all you have and give it to a certain charity for children in war-torn countries.'” In addition, suppose Suzy (Johnny’s wife) says, “God told me, ‘Withhold your normal donation to the charity for children in war-torn countries, because I disapprove of the idea that they want to let homosexuals volunteer in their organization.'” Obviously, something is amiss. We need to think of this situation as a filter. I’ll call it the Johnny and Suzy Filter.

Just like a real filter, the Johnny and Suzy Filter removes unwanted material. If we want truth, then we need to consider all the possibilities and eliminate the ones we find erroneous.

There are 6 possibilities* to consider, assuming that God does personally communicate with people.

  1. Johnny misinterpreted God’s message
  2. Suzy misinterpreted God’s message
  3. God likes confusing people with mixed messages
  4. God didn’t actually communicate with Johnny
  5. God didn’t actually communicate with Suzy
  6. God didn’t actually communicate with either Johnny or Suzy

*If you think of more possibilities to add to this list, please do leave a comment at the end of this blog post.

What should we do when we clash with one another about how we perceive God’s intentions?

In the Noah movie, Noah, a frightened little boy, witnessed his father being murdered by Tubal-Cain. It is possible that Noah’s own desire for justice plays a part in how he interprets Creator A’s warning and how Noah makes the connection between the violence of humanity and the idea of divine justice.

The same rings true for us. We are like Noah.

We are shaped by our experiences. Our own desires play a part in how we interpret personal communication with God.

And here’s what’s even more tricky…

Most Christians turn to scripture to correctly interpret personal communication with God. Again I say, we are shaped by our experiences. Our own desires play a part in how we interpret scripture. Even scripture itself warns us:

double edged sword

We need to think of this concept as a second filter. I’ll call it the Double-Edged Sword Filter. Keep this in mind as we continue to consider Creator B in light of both Aronofsky’s film and scripture.

In the Noah movie, Creator A is the sovereign creator of everything we see, who warns Noah about the flood. In this way, are Creator A and Creator B alike? What does the Bible say?

  • God was fed up with the sins of humanity and sent a flood to destroy everyone.
  • God chose one righteous man to build an ark.
  • Instructions for the ark included sealing it with pitch, including one door and one window, and compartments for various animals.
  • A handful of other people entered the ark with the man.
  • The flood came, and it rose up over the mountains.
  • The man sent out birds to determine whether dry land was available, twice the birds returned, but not the third time.
  • The ark came to rest on a middle-eastern mountain
  • After the people left the ark, they sacrificed an animal.
  • God was pleased with the smell of their sacrifice and blessed the them.

Oh wait. That’s the Epic of Gilgamesh, written a full millennium before the Genesis account. (Although in that account there were gods, plural, not God, singular.)

That there are so many similar flood accounts speaks volumes about the idea that there was, indeed some sort of great flood. I don’t dismiss the flood story as fiction, but I also do not embrace that the story is entirely accurate. There is scientific evidence to both support and refute a giant cataclysmic flood. And the truth is that not a single modern person on God’s green earth witnessed ancient history. Those who claimed to be eyewitnesses and put the account into writing were sure to include their own ideas about why the gods or God sent the flood. Assuming that there really was a world-wide flood, we still need to apply the Johnny and Suzy Filter as we read what they wrote. And then after we do that, we need to apply the Double-Edged Sword Filter.

Here’s what the Bible says about who Creator B is and what Creator B does (for real this time):

  • God saw that the earth was corrupt and full of violence.
  • God told Noah, someone He considered righteous, His plan to destroy the earth and everyone in it, because of the corruption and violence.
  • God told Noah to make an ark with a door, a window, and compartments for the animals. Noah was to seal it with pitch, etc.
  • God gave instructions about who and what should enter the ark.
  • The flood came, and it rose up over the mountains.
  • God remembered the ark and its inhabitants and sent a wind so that the waters receded.
  • God told everyone to come out of the ark.
  • God smelled the sacrifice Noah made and was pleased.
  • God said to Himself, “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done…”
  • God blessed Noah and his sons.
  • God told them that the animals would fear them.
  • God said they could eat animals in the same way they had eaten plants.
  • God told them not to eat the meat of animals “with lifeblood still in it.”
  • God said He would demand an accounting for lifeblood.
  • God said He would “demand an accounting from every animal.”
  • God said He would “demand an accounting from each human being… for the life of another human being.”
  • God put a rainbow in the clouds as a sign of His promise to never again send a flood to destroy everyone and everything.

If we use our Johnny and Suzy Filter, then here are the possibilities:

  1. Noah misinterpreted Creator B’s message
  2. The people who wrote Genesis misinterpreted Creator B’s message
  3. Creator B likes confusing people with mixed messages
  4. Creator B didn’t actually communicate with Noah
  5. Creator B didn’t actually communicate with the people who wrote Genesis
  6. Creator B didn’t actually communicate with either Noah or the people who wrote Genesis

Now, I’m sure there are some of you who are chomping at the bit to add some possibilities to this list, such as:

  1. Noah correctly interpreted Creator B’s message
  2. The people who wrote Genesis correctly interpreted Creator B’s message
  3. Creator B does not confuse people with mixed messages

Let’s look at these one at a time. First, let’s suppose Noah correctly interpreted Creator B’s message. What are the implications? Well, to start with, we can wholeheartedly conclude that Creator B, the character portraying God in the Biblical story, is not God. How so? Because He makes ungodly decisions and mistakes.

If Creator B were God, then Creator B would have been able to see the future from Noah’s time until today. Creator B would have been fully aware that sending a flood would not rid the world of corruption and violence. If Creator B were, in fact, aware of the futility of His actions, then why would He knowingly proceed to drown millions of people and animals? Was He having some sort of divine temper tantrum? Either way, Creator B can’t be God, because God is neither ignorant nor evil.

Furthermore, if Creator B were God, then Creator B would have been able to see the future from Adam and Eve’s time until Noah’s time. Creator B would have been fully aware that in creating people and placing them in a garden with a tree from which they should not eat and a tempter who would eventually convince them to eat, then the world become full of corruption and violence. If Creator B were, in fact, God, He would have been aware of the future and not at all surprised or disappointed with the outcome of His decisions. Creator B proceeded to create the people and the tree and the tempter, knowing the world would become filled with violence and corruption and knowing He would then send a flood that would fail to eliminate violence and corruption. Either way, Creator B is not God, because God is neither ignorant nor evil.

Some people might argue that because the people of Noah’s time were violent and corrupt, they deserved to die, and since Creator B is God, He has every right to send them to their horrifying deaths. Let’s just suppose that this is true. Is it righteous and good to kill millions of animals, unborn babies, infants, toddlers, and young children because of the sins of the grown-ups?

Answer the question, if only to yourself. Answer the question, if you dare.

How did you justify Creator B? More importantly, why? Is it because you want the Creator B of the Noah story to be God? Why would you want that? Is it so the story in scripture can remain in your thoughts as part of the literal, infallible Word of God?

We must consider the possibility that Noah or the Genesis writers made correlations where there were no correlations. In other words, they observed what was taking place in the world around them and then assumed that it must have happened the way it did because God was showing favor or disapproval, grace or judgment, etc.  And then they based their own spiritual schema, decisions, and actions on those assumptions.

For example, Creator B gave Noah instructions about who should enter the ark, namely, “you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you.” Creator B planned ahead of time to save Noah’s family only.

I’ve heard preachers and teachers claim that Noah pleaded with people to make the right choice and enter the ark. In order to have a choice in the matter, they would have had to have been informed. Did Noah inform them?

noah jesus

Matthew recorded the words of Jesus concerning whether people knew a flood was coming:

…they were, in the days before the flood, eating, and drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage, till the day Noah entered into the ark, and they did not know till the flood came and took all away…

What are the implications?

First, Creator B told Noah who would board, then Noah kept his mouth shut, because he believed Creator B. But what if the Bible Noah is like the movie character Noah?

In the movie, Noah was adamant that Creator A wanted genocide. He had the drug-induced vision, and he witnessed the horrors of the corrupt human condition, and he became convinced. But in the end, movie goers learn that Noah had gotten all mixed up about what Creator A really wanted.

In the Bible, Noah believes that he understands exactly what Creator B wants. Is this why Noah didn’t bother to tell anyone? Did Noah figure it was pointless to tell people, since Creator B had already told him who would enter the ark? What if Noah, seeing the corruption and violence in the world, assumed that Creator B’s intentions must be to destroy everyone, when in reality, God wanted Noah to warn people?

Another example of the possibility that Noah or the Genesis writers made correlations where there were no correlations is the sacrifice Noah offers to Creator B after the flood.

Perhaps when Noah killed the animal and then saw a rainbow in the sky, he assumed it must be a sign that Creator B was pleased. But what if the rainbow was just a sign of “an optical and meteorological phenomenon that is caused by both reflection and of light in water droplets resulting in a spectrum of light appearing in the sky (Wikipedia).

Creator B may have been smiling on Noah, because Noah sacrificed to Creator B. But was God smiling on Noah? Did God desire to smell the burning flesh of a dead animal, as if all the carnage of the flood were not enough?

The prophet Isaiah wrote these words, which he believed were the very words of God:

“What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices?” Says the Lord; “I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats. When you come to appear before me, who asked this from your hand, this trampling of my courts? Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations — I cannot bear your worthless assemblies. Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals I hate with all my being. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening. Your hands are full of blood!”
Isaiah 1:11-15

So who do we believe? The Genesis writers or Isaiah?

The prophet Jeremiah wrote what he believed were the words of God:

“For in the day that I brought your ancestors out of the land of Egypt, I did not speak to them or command them concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
Jeremiah 7:22

Jesus, the Word (Logos) of God, said:

“I desire mercy, not sacrifice.”

Noah’s and the Genesis writers’ perceptions were fallible. That they were fallible doesn’t necessarily mean they were erroneous, it just means that as human beings they were capable of error. Knowing this, we should examine that portion of the text that isn’t as subject to erroneous perception. In other words, let’s use the Johnny and Suzy Filter:

  • Noah made an ark with a door, a window, and compartments for the animals. Noah sealed it with pitch, etc.
  • Noah and his family and some animals entered the ark.
  • A flood came, and it rose up over the mountains.
  • A wind caused the waters to recede.
  • Everyone came out of the ark.
  • Noah sacrificed an animal.
  • The animals feared people.
  • People began to eat animals in the same way they had eaten plants.
  • A rainbow appeared in the clouds.

Now, let’s apply our Double-Edged Sword Filter to analyze what remains

Your Double Edged Sword Filter might not tell you what you want to know about Creator B, but it will tell you what you might not want to know about yourself.

How could Noah have known a flood was coming? People don’t have the ability to see the future. So one aspect of this story requires divine intervention. We don’t know how Creator B told Noah a flood was coming, whether an audible voice, a dream, a vision, or in some other manner. Regardless, Noah correctly interpreted that part of the message. Of all the story elements listed, that is the single story element that we can safely attribute to both Creator B and God.

So, what have we learned about Who God is and what God does from the Noah movie?

We’ve learned that our perceptions about Who God is and what God does can be influenced, for better or worse, by the sources of information from which we draw conclusions about Him. Among those sources, we must also examine ourselves as a source. Yes, God communicates with people. But people also have a way of hearing from Him only what they want to hear.

The only real anchor we have, in this giant ocean of subjective deconstructionism, is the Word (Logos) of God, Jesus Christ.

Strongs defines the Greek word, logos in this way:

3056 lógos (from 3004 /légō, “speaking to a conclusion”) – a word, being the expression of a thought; a saying. 3056 /lógos (“word”) is preeminently used of Christ (Jn 1:1), expressing the thoughts of the Father through the Spirit.

[3056 (lógos) is a common term (used 330 times in the NT) with regards to a person sharing a message (discourse, “communication-speech”). 3056 (lógos) is a broad term meaning “reasoning expressed by words.”]

There is something that is alive and active and sharper than any sword, the Word of God. The Word of God is the thoughts of God, expressed by Christ through the Spirit. The Bible is most valuable in that it contains a long and detailed record of the human perceptions of God. Like the Noah movie, people can walk away from stories in the Bible curious, disgusted, amazed, confused, or disinterested. But no matter what the reaction, they always take with them a very personal image or concept of Who God is and what God does. What does that image or concept look like?

Does it look like Jesus Christ? Does it do what Jesus Christ did?

Comments
  • Mary Vanderplas May 25, 2014 at 8:20 am

    I agree with what you say about our not being able to know the history that lies behind this story. I would add that it is important to focus on what the biblical authors who took over the flood tradition intended in their use of this tradition to express Israel’s faith – rather than trying to answer questions about history.

    I don’t agree with your conclusion that the Creator couldn’t possibly be God if in fact Noah heard the message of judgment correctly. Who says that if the Creator were God, he would have been able to see the future and would have known about the violence and corruption that would happen? The text says that God grieved the sorry state of the creatures – which assumes that God did not know the future in any absolute way. Likewise, who says that if the Creator were God, he must have known that sending a flood would not lead to a change in the human heart and therefore he would not have resolved to wipe out the creation? Must God know the future in some absolute way in order to be God? And could not God change his mind, abandoning the world he created? Is it evil to hold an expectation for the world and to stick to that expectation? This story is in the Bible for a reason. It seems to me that you write it off as having nothing to say about God. Rather than concluding that the biblical authors got it all wrong, that they imported their own biases to interpret what was happening around them, I think we need to recognize that the story has some important things to teach about who God is and what God does – including that God can abandon what he has made.

    In regard to Noah, I don’t think the focus is on whether God intended Noah to warn the others or not to warn them, whether it was pleasing to God that Noah sacrificed animals, etc. I think the focus is on God’s decision to rescue this one because of his righteousness and on God’s “remembering” of Noah and all the animals (8:1) – which gives hope and makes possible a new beginning – as well as on God’s commitment to remain faithful to the creation, relating to it in new ways (8:21-22).

    I don’t disagree with your points about personal biases and limitations influencing our understanding of what God is saying – and about the influence that others have on our interpretations of God’s intentions. Nor do I disagree that the touchstone for evaluating truth claims is the one Word of God, namely, Jesus Christ. Still, though, I think that you dismiss unfairly (and on the basis of some preconceived ideas about God) the biblical story of Noah, instead of hearing in it important truths about who God is and what God does.

    • Mary Vanderplas May 25, 2014 at 4:14 pm

      I can understand your objection to the picture of God acting to destroy the creation on the grounds that it doesn’t fit with God’s goodness. However, I think two things need to be noted that are important for understanding the story and what it says about who God is: God is pictured here as grieving over the state of the world and enduring deep hurt as a result of humanity’s waywardness (not as having a “temper tantrum” or acting from a distance to inflict punishment); and the story ends with a resolve on the part of God never to act in floodlike ways again. In other words, the basic problem is a tension within God concerning the creation turned away from his purposes; and this problem is finally resolved by a change within God that brings about a new beginning for the creation. To read the story as you seem to, focusing only on the divine decision to destroy (and dismissing this on the grounds that it doesn’t fit with the character of God) without taking into account the divine agony and the resolution of the tension within God in the divine resolve in the end to stay with the creation is, I think, to miss what the biblical authors intended to say: namely, that the future of the creation is assured based on God’s promise to remain its faithful Creator.

    • Lanny A. Eichert May 25, 2014 at 4:45 pm

      It looks to me like neither you, Mary, nor you, Alice, believe Noah literally existed through the literal Genesis flood. Am I correct?

      • admin May 25, 2014 at 10:05 pm

        That Noah is named in a genealogy seems convincing to me that he existed. Plus Jesus references him and the flood. So, yeah, I definitely lean toward a real Noah and a real flood. It’s the details that seem muddy to me, which comes as no surprise considering the story was probably transmitted orally for many generations before it was ever written down.

        • Lanny A. Eichert May 25, 2014 at 11:04 pm

          Alice, you say you definitely lean toward a real Noah and a real flood. Those are words that suggest some uncertainty. A leaning is not knowing for certain even though you preface Jesus references him and the flood. Why are you so uncertain? What do you require for certainty?

          • admin May 27, 2014 at 11:18 pm

            Irrefutable evidence or a time machine. Either one would do nicely.

            • Lanny A. Eichert May 27, 2014 at 11:32 pm

              Poor Alice doesn’t know God’s perfect literal Holy Bible IS Irrefutable Evidence because she is an unbeliever.

      • Mary Vanderplas May 26, 2014 at 5:56 am

        As I said, I think the story has some historical basis, which likely includes the person of Noah, but I don’t think the history can be recovered or that it is important in terms of thinking about and understanding what the biblical authors were trying to communicate. The story is concerned not with historical details but with the relationship between God and his creation and specifically with what happens in God that affects the future of the creation.

        • Lanny A. Eichert May 26, 2014 at 7:23 pm

          So, Mary, you think the Biblical account is more about the internal workings of God than His creation? Yet you say He saves only some, meaning just eight persons and lets the whole earth’s population drown including very many plants and animals, too. So what is going on inside God, since He is only interested in eight persons with a few animals and disinterested in the millions that were drowning?

          • Mary Vanderplas May 28, 2014 at 5:05 am

            The focus of the story is not on the plight of the victims but on the divine pathos in response to the sorry state of the creation God loves leading to God’s resolve to save some creatures, including every animal, and his resolve to stay with the creation in spite of its ongoing resistance. The story is not about a remote, disinterested deity who annihilates the creation – a false portrait that may reflect popular thinking as well as your vengeful-tyrant-deity theology but does not reflect what the biblical story actually says – but about a God who grieves deeply, entering into the hurt of the creation, and who acts out of this pathos to mitigate judgment and to make a commitment to continue with the creation. Read the text for what it says, not for what you need it to say to support your perverse doctrine.

            • Lanny A. Eichert May 28, 2014 at 1:11 pm

              Mary, grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption {Ephesians 4: 30} is instruction given by God to only His saints and you accuse me of not knowing that because you want to put retribution in a bad light. You run off portraying me without balance because it fits your agenda of being off balance yourself falling toward God’s love. I tell you and everyone else vengence belongs to the Lord God. He is Lord, dear people, and He will insist on His Lordship. That insistance means vengence in wrath. The Bible is not without the wrath of God. Just as the Exodus from Egypt is the capstone of God’s redeeming power, so is the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah the capstone of His judgment upon wicked men. The Genesis flood is likewise and God by Peter’s pen warns His saints {3: 6} scoffers will try to make it foolishness.

              You can’t envision a loving God being a vengeful-tyrant-deity because for you hate and love exclude each other. It is not so with God, which you fail to realize in your own wisdom. Yet true wisdom is found in believing every word of God’s Holy Bible which uncovers God as both loving AND vengeful. You and Alice minimize God’s vengence on this site and so do your friends.

              • Mary Vanderplas May 30, 2014 at 5:28 am

                I can’t envision a loving God being a vengeful tyrant because a loving God is not a vengeful tyrant. God’s justice is a loving justice; God judges in order to help, not to seek retribution and destroy. God’s justice is the justice of a parent who loves his or her wayward child too much to let the child get away with acting in ways that cause destruction to himself and others.

                The God who is love in himself does not hate any of his human creatures. God loves and wills the salvation of every person. Your vengeful-tyrant-deity has nothing to do with the God revealed in Jesus Christ – the God of just love and loving justice.

                • Lanny A. Eichert May 30, 2014 at 11:49 pm

                  Mary, your statement: “the God who is love in himself does not hate any of his human creatures”; is wrong as per Psalm 11: 5 & 6

                  The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup.

                  You just can’t seem to believe reality as given in God’s perfect literal Holy Bible which He, Himself, inspired (God-breathed) every word as spelt to the human penmen. The soul of God absolutely hates everyone that does violence to His individual words and spelling. Can’t you read what their portion will always be, dear Mary?

                  • Mary Vanderplas June 1, 2014 at 6:10 am

                    Hate is the antithesis of love. Insofar as God is revealed as love in himself, who treats every person with both love and justice, it cannot be said that God hates anyone or anything except evil – which by definition opposes God’s good and loving purposes. Whatever language the biblical authors use to communicate God’s judgment of sin and evil, it is not true that God hates anyone.

                    • Lanny A. Eichert June 1, 2014 at 6:58 pm

                      Mary, the text says “him that loveth violence his soul hateth” speaking of the Soul of God and “him” is a human being. How can God express Himself any clearer than to inspire {God-breathed} those very words spelt correctly? You are outrightly disputing God’s exact words and calling God a Liar. There’s no way a person who calls God a Liar can rightly claim to be a believer and enjoy God’s salvation.

                    • Mary Vanderplas June 6, 2014 at 5:37 am

                      The text says, “God is love.” Jesus, the fullest revelation of God, loved all people and treated all people with mercy and compassion. The text says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son…” How could it be any clearer that God does not hate anyone, but loves everyone and expects his followers to do the same?

                      Your god is a grotesque caricature of the God revealed in scripture (a product of divine and human action) and in Jesus Christ – the God who IS love.

                    • Lanny A. Eichert June 7, 2014 at 4:03 am

                      Mary, the problem is solved by letting both be true within their limits. God hates the wicked and loves the righteous. Simple isn’t it according to Scripture. Read the Proverbs in which there are only two kinds of people: the wicked and the righteous, the former under condemnation and the latter under blessing.

                      The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup. { Psalm 11: 5 & 6}

                    • Mary Vanderplas June 8, 2014 at 7:04 am

                      You completely miss the point of the gospel, the good news, which is that God loves sinners. God loves those who are unlovely, unlovable, which includes all of us. There are no limits to his love (“For God so loved the world…”). It is not the case that God loves only the (self) righteous and deserving.

                    • Lanny A. Eichert June 9, 2014 at 1:11 am

                      Mary, God’s love is limited by man’s refusal to accept it. Will you tell me God forces Himsel on His moral creatures? How then are they under moral responsibility?

                    • Mary Vanderplas June 10, 2014 at 5:32 am

                      God’s love is limited by nothing. No good parent stops loving a child when the child strays or rejects the parent’s love. The parent continues to love the child and to hope for the child’s return. Likewise, God loves all people no matter how far they have strayed or how fiercely they reject his love.

                    • Lanny A. Eichert June 10, 2014 at 8:39 pm

                      Mary, even the parent must agree with the state to execute the murderer

                    • Mary Vanderplas June 13, 2014 at 5:08 am

                      The loving parent never stops loving the wayward child. The parent does not will the child’s destruction, but wills and works for his restoration.

                    • Lanny A. Eichert June 17, 2014 at 12:45 pm

                      Mary, physical death terminates the work of God’s provisions to save any unwilling soul. They remain without excuse {Romans 1: 20} and under sentence of everlasting torment in the Lake of Fire. That’s the fate of all those persons Alice loved who died without confessing Christ, and also the >90% of the world’s population who also died without confessing Christ, and also my own birth mother and father since they both died without confessing Christ. Reality check !!! No Jesus in your heart means no heaven in your future, just hell-fire torment forever.

    • admin May 25, 2014 at 10:17 pm

      The question you pose, “Must God know the future in some absolute way in order to be God?” has been weighing heavily on me today. A few years ago, Tim and I decided that no topic, no matter how disconcerting, should be taken off the table of discussion. I currently believe that, yes, God must know the future in an absolute way in order to be God. If God didn’t know the future, then this means He is not omnipotent. And if He is not omnipotent, then He is not God. Right now, I am asking myself where I got this idea that if God is not omnipotent, then He is not God. I still believe it to be true, but I’ve never taken the time to think/pray/study about it. I love the saying, “Test everything. Hold on to what is good.” And I want to apply it, without reservation.

      • Mary Vanderplas May 26, 2014 at 5:55 am

        I don’t see God not knowing the future in an absolute way as being inconsistent with either his omnipotence or his omniscience. I think that the omnipotence of God is his ability to do everything that is consistent with his character, not his ability to do absolutely everything. And I see his omniscience – his knowing “all things” – as not necessarily entailing knowing from the beginning everything that will ever happen but rather knowing everything there is to know about us. I think the omniscience of God can and does allow for the free decisions of human beings.

        This isn’t the only place in the Old Testament where God is pictured as not knowing everything beforehand (see, for example, Genesis 22:12). I assume that you would dismiss also these other texts as not giving a true picture of who God is but rather being reflective of the characters’ or the biblical writers’ ideology.

        I appreciate your willingness to question and reevaluate your beliefs.

      • Lanny A. Eichert May 26, 2014 at 11:41 pm

        You two are going about it all wrong, because you are first determining from your own intellect what attributes a being must have in order to be god, instead of listening to God tell you what His attributes are.

        In the beginning God … is the way the Book starts and that’s where you must start. God is the source of all knowledge, not either one of you. Why, Alice, do you even try to tie knowing the future to omnipotence when your subject is omniscience? Do you think men and angels are God’s robots He not only has the power to control, but does indeed control them so that they are not morally responsible agents? Mary, why is it you can’t see that it is inconsistent for God to not know the future in an absolute sense while He is omniscient and omnipotent (and omnipresent)? You want to limit God’s knowledge to only knowing US? How then did God create everything and control everything He put in motion? Do you really believe God didn’t know Abraham was willing to go all the way in offering Isaac? You haven’t read Hebrews 11: 17 – 19 with understanding, have you? Neither one of you have taken to heart accommodation? “Now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me” was spoken and written for Abraham’s sake just as Jesus spoke John 11: 42b & 43 for the people’s sake.

        We, Baptist Fundamentalists, unlike you two, have learned to believe every word of the Bible and to live by it as Jesus spoke in Matthew 4: 4

        Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

        Therefore we rightly understand Scripture and start from IT, not ourselves, to know why God is God.

        • admin May 27, 2014 at 11:20 pm

          Oops. I meant omniscient, not omnipotent.

          • Lanny A. Eichert May 27, 2014 at 11:40 pm

            Alice, three times you used omnipotent and you confess I still believe it to be true, but I’ve never taken the time to think/pray/study about it. What carelessness is evident in you and your friends !!!

        • Mary Vanderplas May 28, 2014 at 5:06 am

          What does the text say? That God knew beforehand exactly what would happen – or that he experienced sorrow and regret, which assumes that he didn’t know for sure exactly what would take place? You import your ideas of God’s omniscience into the text, distorting what the text actually says, which is that God didn’t know. By contrast, Alice takes seriously the fact that the story portrays God as not knowing the future in an absolute way and deals with it by concluding that the authors must have gotten it wrong, that they must have allowed their own limited understanding or biases to shape their interpretation of events.

          You listen to God tell you what is true about who he is, do you?? Ah, yes, except when you don’t – which, as it turns out, is often. The reality is that you (routinely) distort the meaning of the text to fit your preconceived ideas of who God is and what God does.

          • Lanny A. Eichert May 28, 2014 at 1:24 pm

            Mary, accommodation will answer all the problems both you and Alice have about the story, however the bottom line of reality is that God is Alpha and Omega, knowing the beginning and the ending. God knows it ALL. What is the matter that your favorite word, all, doesn’t really mean all in this case?

            I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. {Revelation 1: 8}

            • Mary Vanderplas May 30, 2014 at 5:29 am

              Where is it said that God knows from the beginning everything that will ever happen in the history of the world? The story of Noah, among others, doesn’t say that God knows it all; the picture presented is of God not knowing in advance what would happen. To call this “accommodation” is ridiculous; indeed, the whole Bible is accommodation. The stories are written as they are because they communicate what the authors believed to be true about God. One either takes what they say as a true picture, or one dismisses it as ideology that does not accurately reflect who God is.

            • Lanny A. Eichert May 31, 2014 at 12:28 am

              Mary, are you so blind as to not be able to read Revelation 1: 8?

              the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come

              God was THERE and you think He is as blind as yourself? God’s omnipresence is sufficient to prove His omniscience, but God doesn’t know just because He sees what happens. God knows what is IN men’s hearts so He knows what they will do before they even do.

              for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. {1 Samuel 16: 7}

              the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins. {Psalm 7: 9c}

              Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: {Isaiah 46: 10}

              Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD. {Jeremiah 23: 24}

              But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man. {John 2: 24 & 25}

              Put Isaiah 46: 10 with Romans 9: 22, dear Mary, and God makes the vessels of wrath fitted for destruction according to His pleasure. Your lovely words cannot stop Him from His pleasure.

              God waits for a contrite heart. Just because He waits doesn’t mean He doesn’t know WHEN, and then there is that heart attitude that God is able to discern. How can God wait for the heart to be contrite if He doesn’t know when it is contrite before it does anything indicative of contriteness?

              • Mary Vanderplas June 1, 2014 at 6:11 am

                None of the texts you cite proves that God knows from the beginning everything that will ever happen in the history of the world. The biblical authors don’t speculate about this. They are far more concerned to assert God’s complete knowledge of his human creatures and the care and love that he has for every person. And in more than a few places the biblical authors picture God as not knowing in advance what will happen.

                • Lanny A. Eichert June 1, 2014 at 7:11 pm

                  Mary, “God’s complete knowledge of his human creatures” means He knows beforehand exactly what they will do and why they will do it. THINK, THINK, THINK what you write. That means He know when, why, where and how everything progresses in the future. You contradict yourself.

                  In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth {2 Timothy 2: 25}

                  Reread those verses until the light dawns for you.

                  The picture of God as not knowing in advance what will happen is your foolish thinking because you’re not born again and are without the Holy Spirit to give you understanding of spiritually discerned things. You’re like Nicodemus asking if he could re-enter his mother’s womb.

                  • Mary Vanderplas June 7, 2014 at 6:30 am

                    Is this what Genesis 6:5-7 says? Is it what Genesis 22:12 says? In these texts and elsewhere in the Old Testament God is revealed as not knowing the future in some absolute way. God’s knowing of us totally need not mean that he knows with certainty everything that will ever happen before it happens. When the biblical writers talk about God’s knowledge, they are talking about relational knowledge, not knowledge in the abstract.

                    • Lanny A. Eichert June 8, 2014 at 1:24 am

                      Mary, God’s knowing of us totally certainly does need to mean that He knows with certainty everything that will ever happen before it happens. To know us totally means knowing what we will do in any and every situation. He totally knows our every thought and emotion BEFORE it is reality in time for us.

                      Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. {Jeremiah 1: 5}

                      This text is fun to discuss with Mormons, because they use it to prove we existed as pure unembodied intelligences before God created anything at all. They fail to understand that it means nothing more than God’s foreknowledge of all things. Nevertheless it states God’s total knowledge of us existed in God even before we were conceived in our mothers’ wombs. Just like Jeremiah was fashioned by the Potter God into a vessel of honor {Romans 9: 21}, the multitude were fashioned into vessels of dishonor with God’s complete knowledge of his human creatures, He certainly knowing the future in an absolute way.

                      Mary, I quoted Jeremiah 23: 24 that there is nothing that escapes God Who fills heaven and earth: every single void between the electrons of every atom. That means He is inside every brain of every person ever conceived so that He knows exactly every impulse of our minds and what they mean and will accomplish long before our bodies move to their stimuli. God designed our brains, so certainly He knows how and when it is doing what it is doing. God didn’t create us to be on our own, left to ourselves. What is salvation? It is the recognition that we cannot govern ourselves and need God to take over our lives, even our thoughts and emotions to be brought into His captivity. An alcoholic knows he can have no victory without God’s help. We ALL suffer the same disability: we cannot rule our own selves by ourselves. The proof is that we sin and die. That’s why God provided the Savour: to save us from ourselves.

                      Have you come yet to the end of yourself? Only then will you be ready to be saved. You need to look for another explanation for those texts you think display God’s absolute ignorance of the future. You see, if He should not know the future in an absolute way, then He is absolutely ignorant of the future.

                    • Mary Vanderplas June 9, 2014 at 5:21 am

                      The biblical authors do not speculate about whether God knows everything before it happens. The text you cite is about God knowing this one whom he has chosen as a prophet to the nations. It is not about God’s foreknowledge in the abstract or about God knowing beforehand everything his servant will say and do. You distort the meaning of the text to make claims that the biblical author did not intend to make for the purpose of supporting your view of what God must be like.

                    • Lanny A. Eichert June 9, 2014 at 10:45 pm

                      Certainly, Mary, they didn’t need to speculate about whether God knows everything before it happens, because God told them He was:

                      Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: {Isaiah 46: 10}

                      Anybody with a rational head on their shoulders knows God is omniscient and nothing is hid from Him.

                      Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD. {Jeremiah 23: 24}

                      You can’t hid your thoughts from God, poor foolish thinker, and since God is not bound by time, He also knows everything, including your thoughts, BEFORE you do. Since you cannot do anything without thinking to do it first, God knows what you will do before you do it. So He knows everybody who ever lived or will live. Therefore He knows everything absolutely and nothing takes God by surprise. His proclamation that He is the Alpha and the Omega certainly agrees with Isaiah 46: 10 as quoted above declaring “the things that are not yet done” because they were yet to be thought.

                      the LORD looketh on the heart. {1 Samuel 16: 7}
                      the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins. {Psalm 7: 9c}
                      he knew what was in man. {John 2: 25}
                      These three verses quoted above, which you denied above, tells any simple soul God knows everything going on inside us which may or may not control what we do, so God does indeed know what the future will absolutely be.

                      The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? {Jeremiah 17: 9} Answer the question, Mary, who can know it? Neither you nor I can {are able} to know how corrupt we are, but God DOES. He know how corrupt we are from the moment of our conceptions and you don’t think He knows the future in an absolute sense?

                      the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds: … unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, INDIGNATION and WRATH, TRIBULATION and ANGUISH, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile {Romans 2: 5 – 9}

                      Do you see the everlasting future God has declared for those who don’t obey ther truth? That’s everybody who physically die without confessing Christ. Once they die the language of Scripture is that they perish (in hell in the Lake of Fire): physical death is the cutoff for salvation according to the tenor of Scripture, so believe it if you would escape everlasting torment.

                    • Mary Vanderplas June 10, 2014 at 5:36 am

                      None of these verses proves that God has known from the beginning everything that would happen in the history of the world and in the life of every person. That God knows us completely doesn’t mean that he knows in an absolute way what we will think or do before we do it. Is this what Genesis 6:5-7 says? Is it what Genesis 22:12 says?

                    • Lanny A. Eichert June 10, 2014 at 11:32 pm

                      Mary’s poor god has to learn from man. Mary’s poor god does NOT get exactly what he wants. >90% of humanity has already perished in hell without confessing Christ before they physically expired.

                    • Mary Vanderplas June 13, 2014 at 5:10 am

                      What does Genesis 6:5-7 say? What does Genesis 22:12 say? You believe every word of your literal, perfect Holy Bible all right – except when what the author is saying doesn’t fit your doctrine. Then you conveniently ignore it or explain it away.

                    • Lanny A. Eichert June 17, 2014 at 1:02 pm

                      Mary, “now I know” doesn’t mean that God didn’t know BEFORE that moment. Likewise “and GOD saw” doesn’t mean that God hadn’t seen it BEFORE that moment.

                      You are “in denial” after all those verses I quoted declaring God certainly knows the future absolutely. It fits your low view of the Holy Bible that you cannot believe what God wrote about Himself making it impossible for you to trust God at all. You’re lost and headed for everlasting torment in the Lake of Fire if you don’t change.

  • Patrick Strickland May 26, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    There is a verse in the bible that states that unto the froward God will show himself froward and unto the pure he will show himself pure. PSA 18:26 That does not change the fact that he is love but he will hide himself from man and answer us according to the idols we have in our hearts. I think he truly wants to test us to see if we will each of us press beyond what we read to find out that he truly is love and to look in the mirror and become as he truly is. The word is a mirror and only reflects who we are at any given moment. If we judge good and evil then all we will see is God who does great good and great evil. If all we see is love then all we will see is love. We become just like the God we preceive in scriptures.

  • Lanny A. Eichert May 27, 2014 at 11:36 am

    Patrick, pressing “beyond what we read” is the WRONG thing to do because looking in the mirror makes us the measure of truth instead of God’s perfect literal Holy Bible. That’s the erroneous direction of this blog site with its over emphasis on the love of God to the minimization of God’s justice by which it argues falsely against eternal torment (everlasting torment).

  • Patrick Strickland May 28, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    Thank you for your opinion but it is one I do not share since the letter written on a page kills us but it is the spirit gives us life. If we do not press beyond just a letter understanding of the word then we will always remain in the realm of death blinded to what God is actually doing. It takes getting past the letter and pressing into the reality of the spirit before we can truly see truth. When you look in the scripture you only see what you are.

    Psa 18:26 KJV With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward.

    In this scripture the word froward occurs two times and both times it is a different word used.

    the first froward dealing with our nature the word in the Hebrew is `iqqesh
    – Phonetic: ik-kashe’
    – Definition:
    1. twisted, distorted, crooked, perverse, perverted
    – Origin: from H6140

    Eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and judging what is good and what is evil leaves us with a twisted distorted crooked perverse and perverted view of the world around us and even our view of God suffers from the same aliment NO MATTER WHICH SIDE OF THE TREE WE LIVE BY.

    Now God will show himself to the froward as froward: which in the Hebrew is the word Pathal and is used in the Hithpael.
    – Phonetic: paw-thal’
    – Definition:
    1. to twist
    a. (Niphal)
    1. to be twisted
    2. to wrestle
    b. (Hithpael) TO BE TWISTED
    – Origin: a primitive root
    – TWOT entry: 1857
    – Part(s) of speech: Verb

    – Strong’s: A primitive root; to twine that is (literally) to struggle or (figuratively) BE be (morally)TORTUROUS: – (shew self) froward shew self unsavoury wrestle.

    THAT SOUNDS JUST LIKE THE GOD YOU ARE DESCRIBING ONE WHO IS TORTUROUS TO MOST OF MANKIND.

    But that is not the God I see since I see that he is pure and has made me pure and all creation pure by what Jesus did at the cross. I have to see all as pure.

    Tit 1:15 KJV Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.

    The word for pure in the Hebrew is Barar
    – Phonetic: baw-rar’
    – Definition:
    1. to purify, select, polish, choose, purge, CLEANSE or make bright, test or prove
    a. (Qal)
    1. to purge, purge out, purify
    2. to choose, select
    3. to cleanse, make shining, polish
    4. to test, prove
    b. (Niphal) TO PURIFY ONESELF
    c. (Piel) to purify
    d. (Hiphil)
    1. to purify
    2. to polish arrows
    e. (Hithpael)
    1. to purify oneself
    2. TO SHOW ONESELF PURE, JUST, KIND
    – Origin: a primitive root
    – TWOT entry: 288
    – Part(s) of speech: Verb

    – Strong’s: A primitive root; to clarify (that is brighten) examine select: – make bright choice chosen cleanse (be clean) clearly polished (shew self) pure (-ify) purge (out).

    In the passage in Psa 18 pure is again used two times they are both the same word but the mood is different in each case. the first usage dealing with us being pure is in the Niphael MEANING TO PURIFY ONESELF. the second usage of pure DEALING WITH GOD is in the Hithpael means TO SHOW ONESELF PURE, JUST, KIND. iN FACT THERE IS ANOTHER PASSAGE THAT SAYS THE SAME THING IN THE NEW TESTAMENT.

    1Jn 3:1-11 KJV Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. (2) Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. (3) And every man that hath this hope in him PURIFIETH HIMSELF, EVEN AS HE IS PURE. (4) Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. (5) And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. (6) Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. (7) Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. (8) He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. (9) Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. (10) In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. (11) For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.

    i WILL NOT CALL THAT WHICH GOD HAS CLEANSED UNCLEAN. Acts 10:15

    You really do need to get past what is written in ink and learn to live by the spirit of God in you because the letter kills but it is the spirit that gives life.

    The Kingdom of God is righteousness peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. But no one will preceive that as a living reality in their lives unless they press into the kingdom which is spirit. Rom 14:17; Matt 11:12

    Scriptures only bear witness of a reality found in Christ they are not that reality. Remember the pharisees quoted the scripture and had them memorized yet Jesus said to them Joh 5:38-40 KJV And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. (39) Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. (40) And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

    Knowing the letter of scriptures is not the same as actually knowing the Word of God -Christ in you. If you think it is then you are only fooling yourself.

    • Lanny A. Eichert May 29, 2014 at 11:51 am

      Patrick, you’ve got the wrong spirit, hence unsaved. The Bible is the only rule of faith and practice.

      • Patrick Strickland May 29, 2014 at 6:03 pm

        You are free to believe anything you want to: but only God truly knows if I am after the right spirit. I have peace with God and I can still love you even when you condemn me and judge me by appearance.

        • Lanny A. Eichert May 30, 2014 at 12:21 am

          Patrick, your “peace with god” is with the wrong god because you have the wrong spirit and you don’t get it because you are blind to God’s perfect literal Holy Bible. That’s not by appearance, but by your words.

          • Patrick Strickland June 1, 2014 at 4:34 pm

            There is only one God Lanny I serve the Same God you do but as I previously shared he shews us answers according to the idols of our hearts (Eze 14:4): to the pure he shows himself pure to the froward he shows himself to be froward and torturous. I see the pure side of him and you see the froward torturous side.

            Tit 1:15 KJV Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.

            I believe in a faithful saying that is worthy of acceptance by all men and I trust in a Living God who is the savior of All men especially those that believe as your literal perfect bible states word for word. You do not believe that statement; you only believe in a God who only saves believers. Why don’t you believe your literal perfect bible?

            1Ti 4:9-10 KJV This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. (10) For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of ALL men, specially of those that believe.

            You don’t have to answer the following questions to me but ask yourself honestly do you see yourself as still defiled by sin? Do you see all those who believe the same way you do as defiled by sin? and Do you see the whole world that Jesus died for that do not believe exactly the same as you as defiled by sin? Then if you answer yes to any of those questions then know what way God is showing himself to you. If your answer is yes to any of those questions then know that God shows himself to you as froward.

            Be honest with yourself Lanny your growth in him depends upon it.

  • Dennis Goodman May 28, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    As with the other posts about the Noah story, you present quite a bit to think about.

    What struck me as I first read through it was that the Johnny and Suzy Filter seems incomplete. Shouldn’t the possibilities that Johnny or Suzy or both have correctly interpreted God’s message all be included? I realize that in this case it seems absurd that Johnny and Suzy could have both correctly interpreted God’s message. One might conclude that God does like confusing people if it were true. Or, leaving motivation aside, that God’s messages to people can be confusing. It might seem less absurd to include the possibility that both were right if the two messages from God were not diametrically opposed to each other. In any case, it’s not absurd to think that one or the other of them may have gotten it right.

    Anyway, that’s a minor quibble. I don’t think it would have affected your analysis of the Noah story since you actually addressed those points.

    I enjoyed reading the discussion that has followed as well, particularly the discussion of God’s omnipotence and omniscience.

    Once you posit an omnipotent, omniscient, benevolent God you’re stuck with the problem of accounting for evil and suffering in the world. It’s no good, I think, insisting that it’s a product of free will or misdirected human nature anymore than noting that plate tectonics and deep ocean currents create weather patterns that both sustain life and take life. Whether God causes evil and suffering directly or merely countenances it as the result of design decisions, the fact remains that evil and suffering exist and so God seems deficient in either power, knowledge, or benevolence.

    While that perceived deficiency may or may not be a problem for God, the desire to resolve it in some rationally satisfying way is certainly a human problem rather than God’s problem. I’m not sure it can be resolved. If God is benevolent, omnipotent, and omniscient, then the existence of suffering and evil is a mystery in the same way that the reason God created us (as in everything in existence, not just human beings) is a mystery or in the way that the exact nature of the trinity is a mystery.

    Maybe such mysteries are necessary. They provoke us to ask questions; they create doubt. Doubt leads to humility, tempers arrogance, allows a space for not just faith but also for tolerance to grow. Maybe faith and tolerance are necessary to love God and to love each other.

  • […] the book to read you. For more on this, read Organized Bible Study, 25% Truth, Ancient Landmarks, What the Noah Movie Says About God, and Hawking and MacArthur Explain the […]

  • gary October 4, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    Dear Christian,

    I challenge you to watch this short, but very provocative video clip regarding the morality of your God’s act of killing so many little children in Noah’s Flood. If after watching this video clip you can still assert that your God and your belief system is good and moral, I will strongly and sincerely recommend that you see a mental health professional.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=2&v=3lmi4YJo1tU

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