Locke and Demosthenes. The two names for some, conjure up the concept of philosophy because of the great thinker, John Locke and the Greek statesman, Demosthenes. But for Orson Scott Card fans, Locke and Demosthenes are the pseudonyms of Ender (Andrew) Wiggins’ siblings, Valentine and Peter. The two super-intelligent children get “citizen’s access” to the net and pose as adults who argue back and forth over politics on the nets. They decide ahead of time what their arguments will be, with Peter’s pseudo-persona winning the arguments. Eventually, Peter takes over the world.
I have no interest in taking over the world, and it is just as well, because if I did, it would be an exercise in disappointment since I don’t have that kind of influence. However, as a blogger, it delights me to no end to see people talking, batting ideas around, asking hard questions, passionately defending what they believe to be the true answer to those questions. The blogosphere is a like a cool breeze blowing the multicolored leaves of possibility compared to a hot, suffocating theological car.
When I read other writer’s blogs, I always read the comments, because to me, the comments are often as enlightening as the blog itself. Granted, more often than not I strongly disagree with either the blog or the comments, but when one is exposed to a view not their own, one can better understand the human experience. Here are some recent blog comments that I appreciate and want to highlight, a pat on the back for the Lockes and Demostheneses out there and encouragement for all those who read but never comment.
Test Everything, Hold on to What is Good – Michael H. says:
I agree it’s time to expose the false math of the established church.
Good news = Most will be lost?
Mercy, love, and justice = Eternal suffering
When the church says most will be lost, what they are really saying is that the death Adam brought in the garden is BY FAR more powerful than what Christ did at the cross.
Zero faith in Christ disguised as faith
What is the abomination of desolation? We must first know what is made desolate. A non existent temple in Jerusalem? No, the sacrifice of Christ is what is made desolate, empty, and worthless, but by what?
Good news = Most will be lost
Mercy, love, and justice = Eternal suffering
The sacrifice of Christ is made desolate by church decree, and these doctrines represent zero faith in the power of Christ disguised as faith
The scripture, “Oh death where is thy sting, oh grave where is thy victory,” according to the church and their own doctrine should read, “Oh death thy sting is great, oh grave thou shalt be full.”
Simple math reveals what the abomination that makes the sacrifice of Christ desolate is, and Jesus said it would be found in Daniel yet no one knows what it is. Why? Because it points directly at the church. Where? Daniel 3:1-6
Bow down to our false image of god or burn in the fiery furnace.
Notice a key observation that is completely overlooked about this king of Babylon: Nebuchadnezzar erected this false image of God AFTER being converted and becoming a believer in Daniel’s God when Daniel interpreted the kings troubling dream.
Nebuchadnezzar symbolizes BELIEVERS!! You now know who the Babylon of Revelation is. Babylon = confusion by mixture
Confusion by mixture = Good news = Most will be lost and Mercy, love, and justice = Eternal suffering
The Non-Judgmental Search Engine – Wendy says:
Universalism does not eliminate Judgement, in fact, it raises the bar. And this is according to Christ who warned ‘ believers’ several times they will be judged and punished if necessary. In God’s Kingdom, there is no favoritism. Everyone will be judged.. For all face the judgement seat and be held accountable for the good and the bad they do…Luke 12:47, 1 Pt 4:6, Rom14:10, Col 3:25.
First or Last – Rachel says:
I do not think that universalism takes away from anyone’s free will and I will tell you why…I have been volunteering at a school working with kids who have behavioral problems. Many of the kids have a terrible home life and have no idea what it is to be cared for, to be loved unconditionally. Most of my time is spent working with those who are having the hardest time. The thing that I have discovered about these kids is that love and trust are foriegn concepts to them. Once they realize that I really do love them that they can trust me, they began to soften. I do not force them to do so, that would not be possible. Once they begin to trust in my love for them they want to change and be someone who is worthy of that love. Their behaviors reflect this.
I think that is the way with nonbelievers. I cannot imagine anyone refusing the love of God once they are aware of its existence.
Still Waiting on the Proof, Smarty – Sean Dean says:
Love ya. Still don’t get it. Too many angels on that pin for me to count…….
Pagan Gems and Christian Fluff – Sisterlisa says:
I think that is a good way of explaining it. And for folks who are not familiar with the language in which you described it, I believe there are others who can explain it in a way they can relate to. Relational. It’s all relational. If we can’t effectively find a way to relate to people, how will we ever come to understand one another? When we take the time to listen and discuss things with others then we miss out on identifying that they really do get it. Then we miss out on some spectacular friendships. They just may not have come to understand the Divine Truth in the same way we do through Christian lingo. God speaks to people through various ways. People from all walks of life have come to understand sacrificial love and the Divine can express that love of his for them in a way they can relate to. Even if they never hear the English translation of the name “Jesus” or even if maybe they had a very poor representation of who Jesus is, He can still get people to understand him. If we think He can’t express his love for them, they we have a small limited view of his power. I also find that some folks who say they don’t believe Jesus is the way, have gotten a carnal limited explanation of who he is and what he does. So I don’t get too caught up in the popular key phrase lingo that many Christians put out. When we speak in terms of spiritual concepts, they get it…or maybe they had gotten it a long time ago and “we” missed that.
The Church Has Left the Building – John Dean says:
Alice, I knew Lanny well many years ago. He is well grounded in the Scriptures and will be a good, if you will excuse the term, “Devil’s Advocate.” I think both of you make some good points. Mary adds some balance to the whole discussion. Like you, I have been hurt by the church, so I have not commented too much here because I feel that there may be some bias in anything I might have to say. One thing I am certain of is that all of you love the Lord. I think continued discussion with everyone considering what the other person has to say will lead to a fruitful discussion on your blog.
Right now, I am devoting a good amount of time studying the Bible to help me get a better perspective on my own life. I don’t agree with all you write, but I do know your heart. When I feel the time is right, I’ll add more detailed comment to your very interesting blog. Be like the Bereans. Keep searching the Scriptures, depend on the Holy Spirit for guidance and He will help you.
The Four Horsemen – Lanny A. Eichert says:
Metaphorical language is not the same as “code” in which there is one-to-one correspondence between a symbol and what it represents. Metaphorical language expresses what can’t be expressed using ordinary language, what is beyond ordinary categories of thought, you wrote.
Tell me then, if there’s no one-to-one why can there not be other interpretations of this metaphorical language that are equally as valid as yours regarding details and concepts?
Do you realize Alice left us in a situation where we are without the context of her interpretation of the first four seals? This fifth seal occurs AFTER the first four. Does your interpretation account for the activities of these having happened? How do you view the first century of John’s time as characterized by (1) multiple nations conquering each other in extraordinary numbers and activity? And (2) extraordinarily high murder rates among nations? And (3) extraordinary world-wide famine excepting oil and wine? And (4) extraordinary high death rate by war, starvation, natural causes, and animal attacks limited to a specific quarter of the earth’s surface? These characteristics MUST first BE in place before the martyrdoms occur. Maybe you have a non-literal explanation for each of these that actually minimizes the literal language and allows it to fit first century Roman occupation?
I’m not going to jump through hoops making these all symbolic representations of some things I have brilliantly interpreted, but I’d rather take them simply literal knowing that such extreme things haven’t yet occurred in human history which then allows for a REAL show of God’s vengeance that makes the statements of the lack of human repentance truly astounding. Again John wrote that he was told to “come and SEE” and he SAW four literal horses, each a different COLOR. John was given the interpretations of these four horses and we aught not to change those interpretations and the same holds true for the rest of the Revelation. Leaving it there makes good sense of the lack of the word ecclesia (church) in the rest of the Revelation and easily puts these martyrs beyond the age of the church on the earth meaning they are NOT Christians which validates their cry to be avenged as Messianic Israelites seeking the literal Kingdom promised to them since Abraham. Please keep in mind that the Tribulation is preparatory to the literal Millennial Reign of Christ, all of which is for the benefit of Israel, God’s chosen people. Christ’s Church is NOT God’s chosen people. Christ’s Church is not in the Tribulation; it is in Heaven during the Tribulation. Therefore the martyrs could NOT be church age Christians.
Donuts for the Duck, Duck, Damned – Mary Vanderplas says:
I am still of the mind that some people may not be saved, that they may spend eternity (or perhaps some period of limited duration?) in alienation from God and others – not as a result of some divine decree by which they have been deemed objects of God’s hatred and rejected beforehand (which I find unbiblical and abhorrent) but as a result of their choosing by their persistent actions to forsake the positive relationship with God for which they were created. And I still do not see this as being fundamentally incompatible with the message of God’s love for all and desire that all be saved or with the message that salvation belongs entirely to God. As I’ve said before, there is a paradox in scripture of complete divine sovereignty and human responsibility that I believe must be preserved and not “explained away,” lest God be reduced to our size and lest we be reduced to other than the responsible agents we were created to be.
I can appreciate your desire to fill all of the holes, to construct an airtight theology, but to do so while ignoring or explaining away a sizable part of the biblical revelation, as you do, seems indefensible to me. I don’t disagree that there are texts which speak of universal salvation and unlimited atonement, of which 1 Timothy 2:3-6 is one, but there are other texts – more than a few of them – that speak of limited, conditional salvation, which I don’t think can be easily ignored or explained away. And it is a big stretch, in my view, to interpret the ending of the text you cite as a clear reference to people coming to faith at different times, in different “ages.”
Still, though, I think that what can be said is that God is able, if God chooses, to triumph over the human will to persist in rebellion and that therefore in the end what God has done in Christ may well overcome all human resistance, with the result that everyone is saved. I can’t rule out this possibility, anyway. And, as the president of the school I attended said recently, erring on the side of “salvific generosity” in one’s theology seems preferable to embracing a “stingy orthodoxy.”
I have a hard time understanding how anyone who is Christian can affirm a theological position premised on God’s hatred for his human creatures. Whether one is a “crazy Calvinist” or only a half-crazy (?) one, this theology is a hideous perversion of the message of scripture, which is that God is so crazy about us that he stopped at nothing to make us his own.