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  1. Tapiwa Mushaninga
    04 December 2013 @ 9:43 am

    Mark

    I think you entire article is overly simplistic and basically posits and false argument. It seems you forgot that there is a fundamental difference between being mistaken and being deceived. If you choose to believe error in light of truth you are not mistaken you are deceived and that deception can cause problems, ask Eve! You seem to suggest that it does not matter what one believes, we will all go to heaven. That sounds dangerously close to universalism. I always thought Jesus wanted people to worship him in spirit  and in truth but your article seems to suggest otherwise.

    I have a couple of questions that I would like you to answer,

    1. Is the devil mistaken?
    2. Was God being dogmatic, intolerant, as per your words, when he kicked out the devil and will he be hateful when he punishes the devil for having a different point of view.
    3. can we say a person is honestly mistaken for believing consistently that 2 + 2 = 6 even though he has been shown on a number of occasions that it is 5 or was it 4?
    4. To what extent does having the right facts affect our salvation?
    5. If people believe wrongly is it possible that they might have a strong delusion?

     

    • Jim Hamstra
      04 December 2013 @ 11:05 am

      Tapiwa,

      The devils are mistaken not in their understanding of truth but in their rejection of the Author of truth.  The devils believe and tremble (cf James).  They tremble not because of their "different point of view" but because they have made a terminally fatal choice.

      God excluded the devils from Heaven for their own survival.  Sin cannot exist in the presence of God.  Had God not established a boundary around His undiminished presence, and placed them outside the boundary, they would have ceased to exit.  When the undiminished presence of God fills the whole creation without reservation at the restoration of all things, sin and sinners will cease to exist.

      Knowing the truth will not save us for eternity but it can help us live a better life now.  Knowing and accepting Jesus allows us to live in the Kingdom of Heaven here and now.  Many who do not know Jesus in this life will learn to know and love Him in the life to come.  Many who think they know Jesus now will discover how little they actually know in the life to come.

      Rejecting God's free gift of forgiveness and eternal life is a terminally fatal choice.  Hell will be full of forgiven sinners (cf A. Wallenkampf).

    • Mark Gutman
      05 December 2013 @ 8:45 pm

      Replying to Tapiwa's questions:

      1. Yes, but that’s a general question.  Mistaken about what?  If the devil charged that God will kill or torture those who don’t love and obey him, many Christians apparently believe that his charge was correct. 
      2. No to both questions.  I may understand why you disagree with me, but that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t do something to try to change your behavior or to make it less of a problem to me.  As to punishing the devil, I see a difference between allowing natural consequences and getting revenge.  Does God need to punish the devil?  Are the consequences of sin so mild that if God doesn't punish, the devil will be getting away with something? 
      3. It seems strange to accuse a person of dishonesty for choosing to believe that 2 + 2 = 6.  Some children get stuck in their heads that 4 x 6 is 26, or some other similar mistake, and keep putting the wrong answer on their papers.  You might call it a type of math dyslexia.  I taught a 4th grader who consistently mixed up the letters “b” and “d.”  I couldn’t figure out how to get her straight on that, but I never thought that she was anything other than honestly mistaken, although she knew the difference between the two letters.  Removing all doubt about math facts and alphabet letters, though, is much easier than removing all doubt about such matters as the Trinity or justification, where you can always find billions of people who will disagree with your conclusion.
      4. I don’t know.  As I understand it, rebelliousness is the problem more than mistaken understanding.  If mistaken understanding results in more rebelliousness, the consequences would probably be worse than driving to the wrong location one Sabbath.
      5. Of course, although I’m curious as to how you distinguish between "wrong" and "deluded."

  2. Stephen Foster
    04 December 2013 @ 10:36 am

    Thank you for this thought provoking blog.
     
    This is why God alone knows and can judge who indeed will be lost. Tapiwa hits it on the head in terms of deception, delusion, and willful deception. Only God knows who has been deluded and why; He alone can read hearts.
     
    The Bible is replete with warnings about lack of knowledge and not loving truth. Something tells me however that Jesus is the key to all of this and the only Way to avoid being deceived/deluded/ignorant; as “…all other ground is sinking sand.”

  3. Jim Hamstra
    04 December 2013 @ 11:06 am

    Mark,

    Thanks for generally well-reasoned article.  I have two comments:

    1) At least you only had to drive 175 miles due to your mistake.  Earlier this year my wife and I drove to Canada for a funeral.  Imagine our dismay when we had driven almost 400 miles before we realized that in our hasty departure we had forgotten our passports!

    2) It was the church's "prosecuting lawyer" who made the statement in footnote 2 – not the judge.

    • Mark Gutman
      05 December 2013 @ 8:48 pm

      Thank you, Jim.  I knew it was the "prosecuting lawyer," but somehow I got the judge in mind and didn't even catch my mistake in proofreading.  I hope that wasn't due to a character defect.

      • Jim Hamstra
        06 December 2013 @ 2:32 am

        If that is your biggest oops ever then you are truly amazing 8-).

  4. Tapiwa Mushaninga
    04 December 2013 @ 2:50 pm

    I still find it difficult to agree. The bible says in the last days most will be deceived which means they will believe lies as though they were truth. Jesus further admonishes us to take heed lest we be deceived. If lack of knowledge is not a problem, why does the bible highlight that many perish precisley because of it. Many who had a difeerent perspective on Christ's divinity eventually put him to death. What you believe will inevitably affect the way you do things.

    • Jim Hamstra
      04 December 2013 @ 4:10 pm

      Wrong can mean mistaken or wicked. 

      Being mistaken is part of the normal learning process.  From before we are born the brain is training its patterns using external stimuli and responses.  In order to learn we have to accept that we are sometimes mistaken.

      Being wicked is part of the fallen human condition.  We can no more NOT be wicked than a Leopard can change its spots (cf Isaiah).  In order to let God change us we have to accept that we are sometimes wicked.

      Some of those who crucified Christ were mistaken and some were wicked.  All were forgiven (cf Jesus).  I expect to see some of them in heaven.

      We are all broken people in need of a Savior (cf Paul).  We are all sometimes wrong – both mistaken and wicked.  This is as true for Christians and even for SDAs and even for Ellen and Ted, as for anyone else. 

      What we believe (rightly or wrongly) will indeed affect the way we do things.  Father forgives us, for we do not know what we are doing.

    • Jim Hamstra
      04 December 2013 @ 4:12 pm

      Make that Jeremiah – I was mistaken (or was that wicked?).

    • Jim Hamstra
      04 December 2013 @ 4:19 pm

      The Truth that makes us free is a Person, not a Fact.

      Jesus does indeed warn us not to believe in false Gods and false Messiahs because they cannot save us now or in the life to come.  Only Jesus is able to save to the uttermost.

      But none of us know everything in this life, even those who know Jesus best, even Chritains or SDAs or Paul or Ellen or Ted.  Many who do not know Jesus at all will learn of Him in heaven.

  5. Bugs-Larry Boshell
    04 December 2013 @ 3:20 pm

    It depends on what the definition of is is. Thanks Bill Clinton! Or in this case the definition of error. Religious error. Is there a Bureau of Religious Standards somewhere that houses official, universal reference materials for the exact establishment of religious "truth"?
     
    Since all religious belief is based on opinion there is no standard and no appeal authority for disputes. Yes, there are standards devised by consensus that apply within a group of consenters, but there is no immutable doctrinal measurement equivalent to 2 + 2 = 4.
     
    If one is doomed to hell (whatever nasty version), by erroneous belief, then we are all fated to learn first hand the true nature of the inferno. 

    • Jim Hamstra
      04 December 2013 @ 4:34 pm

      Those who are not sick do not need a Physician.  Those who are not wicked do not need a Savior.  Those who deny that Truth exists will have to settle for lies.

      There is a Bureau of Moral Standards to which in the afterlife we will have unlimited access.  Meanwhile we can only trust in the Peson(s) who establish and maintain the Bureau.  God alone is the author and perfecter of genuine belief – apart from Him there can only be opinions.  If I do not personally know the Author then I cannot understand the Book.

      • Bugs-Larry Boshell
        04 December 2013 @ 6:09 pm

        A really nice homily, a version of a parable, Jim, devoid of facts, supported by your belief, your opinion. Carries no Bureau of Religious Standards imprimatur. Yours is post lifetime set up where your opinion, if realized, can enable you to say, on that final day, "see, I told you so."
         
        I'm not saying you are not entitled to your belief. However, your Bureau of Moral Standards is just as vacuous as the Bureau of Religious Standards. Both belong to the Imaginative Bureaucracy of Beguiled Religious Brains (IBBRB), of which I am the CEO! 
         

        • Stephen Foster
          04 December 2013 @ 9:47 pm

          Of course, the reality is that the belief that there is no “Bureau of Religious Standards somewhere” or that the Bible does not in fact represent the definitive Bureau of Religious Standards is likewise an opinion for which there is no “evidence.”
           
          In fact it can be argued that there is much more “evidence” that the Bible represents “a Bureau of Religious Standards” than there is that it does not.
           
          Perhaps John 3:18 is the operative text; but in any case the Bible which quotes Jesus as uttering those words also indicates that the final call/judgment is His. I don’t know of any “see, I told you so” prophecies in the Bible.

        • Jim Hamstra
          05 December 2013 @ 1:07 am

          I doubt that the mantra of the afterlife will be "I told you so".  More likely it will be "now I am beginning to understand".

          I am glad you appreciate my parables – I have studied this art under the Master Teacher 8-).  He IS the Way, the Truth and the Life.

          • Jim Hamstra
            06 December 2013 @ 5:14 pm

            It is easy to understand how Bugs-Larry got confused.  Being educated in SDA schools to become an SDA pastor, much of his indoctrination was focused on "I told you so".  Too bad he had to leave the Ellen Coccoon to make any personal headway towards "now I am beginning to understand".  I hope that as his understanding increases he will eventually rendezvous with the Mother Ship, in this life or in the life to come.

          • Jim Hamstra
            06 December 2013 @ 5:18 pm

            Bugs-Larry,

            The gravitaional pull of the Mother Ship is very strong.  The only way to ultimately fail to rendezvous is to repeatedly and persistently apply your Reverse Thrusters.

          • Bugs-Larry Boshell
            06 December 2013 @ 7:53 pm

            Jim your sense of humor is finally shining through illustrated by your fantasy of my redocking with the Ellen Ship! Come on, Mr. engineer, reversing thrusters would mean a fiery deorbiting. Already did that and ended happily upon earth! (Yes, I know, orientation at the time of thrust could have different outcomes, but probably not a rendezvous with the ship).
             
            When I was about five years old I recall conjuring a question that has stayed with me, "why am I me?" I was an adaptive personality, given more to pleasing than allowing brain washing. The core of that question, the analytical "why," never left my consciousness and permeated other aspects of my thoughts. It took many years of analysis, acquisition of sufficient knowledge and resolve, to De-Ellenize, deorbit from the Momma Ship, and decelerate to earth.  Your hope that as my understanding "increases" I will be deposited into a capsule lifted by three dire-messaged-angels to the fairy craft of 7up ism is doomed. Sorry! No confusion, ever. My dad got away with "I told you so" when I questioned his discipline, but no one else has.
             
            I apply the "I told you so" principle to the "believers" of strange doctrines, who are wafted off to heaven on the last day and then can look back at the left over people, and can shout back "See, I was right, I told you so."

          • Jim Hamstra
            07 December 2013 @ 1:11 pm

            You elsewhere admit to the strong force exerted by the Tractor Beam of Love.  You may never have seen the Mother Ship but you can feel the Tractor Beam.

            You still confuse Ellen and the Mother Ship.  The Ellen Coccoon may be in some kind of eccentric orbit around the Mother Ship but Ellen is not the Mother Ship.

            Personally I have visited and studied the Ellen Coccoon but I never lingered there, never ever orbited there.  Some but not all in that orbit have applied Reverse Thrusters and drifted off elsewhere.  Some have landed on other planets.  I have neither illusion nor intention that you will ever return to Ellen.  I myself have encountered the Love Beam and know what it can do.  I suspect that it captured Ellen herself and she emerged into the light.  Strange that so many who claim to be her followers linger in and around her Coccoon a century after she herself has flown toward the light 8-).

            Disclaimer – I have not left the SDA Church.  It is not my ride to heaven.  It is not my bully pulpit.  It is neither my shelter from the storms of this life nor my haven of hope for a better future.  Like the US of A, I was born and raised here.  It is certainly a dysfunctional place, but having literally travelled all over the world and spent quality time in many other places with many other people, I have found no better place to live physically or spiritually.  I conclude that this is where God wants me here and now.  Everywhere I have gone I have tried (and even been paid 😎 to leave things a little better than I found them (hopefully no worse 8-), and I try to do the same at home. 

            My home does not have to be home for everyone else.  But that does not mean I cannot visit your home.  And maybe read one of your favorite books or learn to play one of your favorite games.  And maybe even look for opportunites to leave things a little better than I found them.  I might pick-up your trash, take your garbage to the dump, repair a recalcitrant appliance or computer or car, install the new track lighting your wife wants in her kitchen or fix that dripping faucet, upgrade the overloaded circuits in your shop, plant a tree in your yard or whatever catches my fancy.  I might play with a bored or cranky child, change a dirty diaper, talk to your elderly parent sitting off by herself.  Or I might help you move in or out.  Or even invite you to visit my home 8-).

  6. Bugs-Larry Boshell
    04 December 2013 @ 11:44 pm

    Stephen, you tumbled head long, hair down (if you have some!), into my trap! I gave Jim and other readers a good escape by expressing my honor of  belief, but I guess you just can't suppress your urge to universalize your belief, even quoting John 3:16 as your proof. All you have is that one little verse to augment your assertion that the Bible is in fact a Bureau of Religious Standards? I expected more!
     
    Jehovah told his "people" to kill all gentiles, the non Jews in their country, killing his own people for failure to complete the genocide, Elijah killed 450 Baal ministers with his own hand, Paul said women shouldn't talk in a meeting nor cut their hair, Jesus said it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle (yes, I know the many rationalizations) than a rich man to get into heaven, he said you have to hate your family to follow him. One of the OT dying prophets had a young maiden placed near him for erotic purposes, millions of innocent animals were mercilessly sacrificed to "atone" for sin, a menstruating woman wasn't allowed in the temple, a brother had to marry the widow of his brother. There are thousands of other similar "standards" established that I presume you selectively ignore. You choose what you like from your Bureau of Religious Standards, the Bible, since it actually has no none, except what you prefer.  If the Bible is the word of God, it puts some very unsavory stuff in his Directory. When you get to heaven, I trust your interview with Him will clear it all up. In the meantime, please continue to refer to Stephen's Bureau of Truncated Religious Standards (SBTRS) for your authority! 

  7. Elaine Nelson
    04 December 2013 @ 11:54 pm

    It's the usual circular arguments:  The Bible is inspired because it was said by its writers to be inspired.
    The Bible is the Word of God because the biblical writers claimed it to be.
    Whatever the Bible writers have recorded, they are all true, because the Bible cannot be false and be the Word of God.

    All the rules Bugs is citing above are eternal, universal and timeless, because the Bible is always true.  

     

    Who will be the first to admit that he, nor anyone he knows, observes all the Bible's rules; believes that everything written therein is always true, and is unquestioned?

  8. Stephen Foster
    05 December 2013 @ 3:36 am

    Who cited John 3:16 Larry? I cited John 3:18; which is a different statement.
     
    It’s you who (rightly) says that the Biblical Jesus revealed God to us. Evidently, the Bible was sufficiently credible to you for you to have concluded that the Biblical Jesus revealed God to us. (So, are you now moonwalking that position?)
     
    Now, it was also the Biblical Jesus who said what is cited in John 3:18. But like I said, none of us can judge who will ultimately be saved. What part of that don’t you comprehend? I have seen no prophecies wherein some will say, “See, I told you so.”

    • Bugs-Larry Boshell
      05 December 2013 @ 1:17 pm

      Stephen, I noticed my reference error after I posted my reply. Anyway, key texting doesn't carry much weight, as it amounts to marshmallow tossing contest, so one text is as good as another.
       
      I have stated that Jesus revealed and personified God as Love, but I also said he didn't have to be divine to achieve that. Nor does the Bible have to be an authority to report that. You don't know, neither do I, whether or not Christ was divine. Neither do we know how accurately his life, statements, and events were recounted in the Bible. You have your belief in that regard, but that is all you, or anyone, has.
       
      Moonwalking? Stephen, attempt at humor, I'm convinced, is not your best talent!
       
      I do hope Super Guy isn't the one who "saves."

  9. Trevor Hammond [22oct1844]
    05 December 2013 @ 4:37 am

    Dear Mrs Nelson
    Your views of the Bible and what it is and reveals is an extreme one. This is a common position that many who have lost faith in the God that the Bible will take in order to justify their unbelief. It does get one some attention and popularity from both sides of the divide: 1] those to support such views and 2] from those seeking to save the lost. It is a very possible reality that many who are lost don't know they are lost or perhaps they may choose to deny being lost for whatever reason. Then there are those who openly rebel against God. Either way, whatever position one holds, the Bible is clear that they will enter into the judgment and if found wanting will be lost for eternity. They can come back to God in Christ Jesus but pride and fear often prevent them from doing so. Yes fear.

    • Jim Hamstra
      05 December 2013 @ 5:45 am

      Trevor,

      The "lost" parables in Luke describe both those who are lost outside the "house" and those who are lost inside the "house".  The latter never realize they are lost, but still they can be "found" by Christ, who seeks the lost both within and outside the house.  Regardless of where we "live" in our world view we are lost and need to be found by Christ.  Even if we are "right" about the Bible, God, Eschatology, etc, we are still lost without Jesus. 

      We are not judged by whether we are right or wrong – thank God or we would all be lost because we are all wrong even if we are sometimes right.  We are saved only by the mercy of God, not because of our superior knowledge or beliefs or obedience.

      On the other hand the one sure way to be lost is to reject the mercy of God.  In the end He will reluctantly honor our terminally fatal choice.
       

    • Bugs-Larry Boshell
      05 December 2013 @ 1:27 pm

      The concept of being "lost" because one doesn't "believe" the right stuff is a strange one, with possible terrible unintended consequences. Supposing Islam and Allah turns out to be the correct belief. Hmmmmm.

  10. earl calahan
    05 December 2013 @ 7:31 am

    Bugs Larry, you are a comedic lovable rogue. You wasted (in your own confession)
    ten years misleading your family, friends, and flock, while serving in the Lord's service. Taking the dole from the tithe of believers. You chalk it up to deception, and to propaganda of family, friends, and flock, teachers, etc.. Now you are
    extracting your pound of vengeful payback, for the terrible tricks played on your
    innocent trusting soul. Especially you are angry with God the annihilator, the Super Guy that has caused you misery all your life. Or so it appears to be so, as you glory in your personal wisdom in tweaking the noses of those who have also been deceived, but glory in the deception. And you facetiously do so with elan. i
    dare say you may be taken kicking and screaming into Peter's elevator, but i bet
    you will have everyone on your upward journey doubled over in laughter, before they call your celestial floor. There must be a place in heaven for jesters. As Frank
    Sinatra sang " Send in the clowns ". "By their fruits, shall ye know them".
    Of course, the foregoing definitely "tounge tight against the cheek. All the best to you, brother, administered in love.

    • Bugs-Larry Boshell
      05 December 2013 @ 12:56 pm

      Earl, you have me in uncontrollable tears! I don't how to stop the flow. If I could just stop laughing. . . Not one particle of your analysis is true except for maybe the clown thing. Well, maybe the rogue thing has a smidgen of possibility.
       
      At any rate, you have revealed much about yourself and nothing true about me. That's alright. Why don't you rebut my ideas? I enjoy dialogue.
       

    • Jim Hamstra
      05 December 2013 @ 2:52 pm

      Does Peter's elavator also go down to the basement?

      • Bugs-Larry Boshell
        05 December 2013 @ 2:57 pm

        If so, I hope it is a walk-out with  great view, maybe the tree of life or something.

        • Jim Hamstra
          05 December 2013 @ 6:16 pm

          I have owned four houses with walk-out basements.  Three of them also had a furnace in the basement.

          Beam me up, Peter!

          • Bugs-Larry Boshell
            05 December 2013 @ 11:06 pm

            Splain to me, rich guy, how you're going to get into heaven since you have to pass through the eye of a needle, so to speak? So we may have a poor guy (me) and a rich guy (you) as a team transported to the lower levels where together we can search for a nice view! Hopefully the furnace will be off for the eternal season!
             

          • Jim Hamstra
            06 December 2013 @ 2:13 am

            I never said I owned all four at once.  I have moved several times in my life.  Not to mention that engineers are generally paid better than pastors (as opposed to TV entertainers posing as pastors).  Another reason you should have stuck with engineering.

            They will probably keep the furnaces going to prevent Hell from freezing over.

            Do NOT make a wrong turn in the basement!

          • Bugs-Larry Boshell
            06 December 2013 @ 8:00 pm

            So maybe you are a serial rich guy! Lots of needle eyes may be your obstacle course! At least I am in the line with the pooooooor pastors, some of my old buddies, walking around those needle eyes! 

          • Jim Hamstra
            07 December 2013 @ 1:38 pm

            I am neither poor nor rich.  I know plenty of people with far more than I have and also with far less.  God has been very good to me, better than I deserve.  I have made a reasonable amount of money but I have given a lot of it away.  I do not live a lavish life style.  I own multiple vehicles but I prefer to keep them until they have at least 150,000 miles, unless I give them away sooner.  I eat simple foods and wear simple clothes and fix old things before I buy new things.  God's antidote for greed is giving, not getting.

            Too much stuff is too much hassle.  Twice I have been paid to move.  The good news is someone else packs-up your stuff and moves it for you.  The bad news is they do not get rid of any of your stuff for you.  If you have cleaned-out someone's house after they have moved on you will understand this.  Hopefully I remember to clean-out my own house before it is too late.  Better to give the stuff away now if you can find someone who wants it.

            I empathize with poor pastors.  I am a PK as are many of my friends.  I manage the financial accounts for my aged parents.  I know the numbers.

             

          • Jim Hamstra
            06 December 2013 @ 2:15 am

            My daddy taught me how to identify a left-handed monkey wrench.  My mommy taught me how to thread a needle.

            Thank you Jesus for your saving grace!

  11. Stephen Foster
    05 December 2013 @ 2:28 pm

    I continue my challenge to the entire AT readership all over the world for anyone to make sense of Larry’s position.
     
    Of course, the challenge will go unmet; and the silence will surely remain deafening. Larry says that the Biblical Jesus revealed God to us (as Love), but (now) asserts that Jesus did not have to be divine in order to do so.
     
    Larry’s conclusion that the Biblical Jesus revealed God as Love is based on what?
     
    (Please, if you have nothing to contribute except scorn for my dogmatism or concomitant pity for Larry, save it for later. Larry wants his ideas challenged, and I’m giving him what he says he wants.)

    • Bugs-Larry Boshell
      05 December 2013 @ 3:39 pm

      Christ never referred to himself as the Son of God (an expression that was reserved for Israel's kings, one of which was David) only the "son of man," approximately eighty times in the New Testament. 

      • Elaine Nelson
        05 December 2013 @ 10:08 pm

        Bugs,  too many believe what they've been taught and never checked to see if that was what the Bible really recorded.  

         

        The disciples only believed that Jesus was a great teacher, or rabbi, and He always addressed God as His Father, and referred to himself as the Son of Man which was Jewish title given a great leader. Most of the titles and the doctrine of the Trinity; the human/divine nature of Christ were never believed or taught by the apostles.  Those only developed very gradually over centuries until they finally became accepted by most Christians simply because that was what they were taught (as is most of Christian beliefs:  they were taught for most of Christian history to illiterate people who could not read to verify what they were being told.

        • Bugs-Larry Boshell
          05 December 2013 @ 11:00 pm

          That monster, the papacy, the eventual devil death merchant arming itself to destroy Sabbath keepers, now known as the Catholic church, with Peter as the first Pope, is the developer of much of the theological lumber piled on Jesus. Shhhhh. Don't tell the SDA's.

      • Trevor Hammond [22oct1844]
        05 December 2013 @ 10:17 pm

        Jesus didn't deny being the Son of God either.

        Matt 16:15-17 He says unto them, But whom say all of you that I am?  And Simon Peter answered and said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed are you, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood has not revealed it unto you, but my Father which is in heaven.

         

        • Bugs-Larry Boshell
          05 December 2013 @ 11:17 pm

          If what He never said can be credited to him, He must be the embodiment of good and evil! And is Jesus name to be considered Peter in your text? Peter said it, Jesus didn't. You performed a mental dippy doodle in an attempt to deny the reality that he only called himself the Son of Man, not the Son of God.
           

        • Jim Hamstra
          06 December 2013 @ 2:22 am

          Trevor,

          You beat me to the draw on this one 8-).  Jesus told Peter that this declaration of faith came not from natural sources but from supernatural sources.  You and I would call this a Divine Revelation.

          Of course if one does not believe Jesus was a prophet then one must conclude that He was speaking in riddles that on the surface make no sense (nor in my opinion do they make much sense upon deeper consideration).  Kind of like the "spiritual" riddles spun by modern commenters who deny the existence of the supernatural today?

        • Jim Hamstra
          06 December 2013 @ 2:29 am

          Oops!  It just occurred to me that perhaps Jesus was commending Peter for coming up with such a fantastic delusion?  "Blessed are you for being totally delusional"?  Not!  I think He actually meant what He said.

          • Stephen Foster
            06 December 2013 @ 5:32 am

            Really Larry, you need to stop digging. Jesus referred to Himself as the “only begotten son” of Someone in John 3:16. (Here, now you can refer to it.)
             
            Or are you suggesting that Jesus wasn’t referring to Himself in this particular exchange? (That is a “yes” or “no” question. Elaine might 'help' you with this too.)

    • Jim Hamstra
      06 December 2013 @ 5:36 pm

      Stephen,

      In response to your plea for understanding, may I submit the following for your consderation 8-)?
         http://www.kpopstarz.com/articles/68391/20131205/planet-without-a-sun-found-by-astronomers.htm

      "We have never before seen an object free-floating in space that looks like this. It has all the characteristics of young planets found around other stars, but it is drifting out there all alone. I had often wondered if such solitary objects exist, and now we know they do."  (cf Dr Michael Liu)

      The rogue planet was identified from its "faint and unique heat signature."

      Bugs-Larry,

      Apparently you are truly unique!

      Fortunately, the gravitational pull of Jesus (the True Sun) is very strong.  But please stay away from all those infernal Black Holes 8-).

       

      • Stephen Foster
        06 December 2013 @ 7:15 pm

        Funny Jim! My man Larry’s position, from all appearances, seems to resemble a solitary extra-solar planet; floating adrift by its lonesome.
         
        I know that I have offered numerous open challenges for anyone, anywhere, to attempt to make sense of Larry’s (stated) position that the Biblical Jesus revealed God as Love, but not as The Loving Person who sent His Son to save us. (Not even Larry wants to take it.) As I say, the silence is deafening, as well it should be; because his was an utterly nonsensical position to take. (Again, for some, I know my dogmatism is hard to take. Get over it.)
         
        I guarantee you that Larry is now searching for a way to moonwalk his position; but alas, it is too late. Ah, but it’s certainly not too late to rethink it and change it altogether.

        • Jim Hamstra
          06 December 2013 @ 7:48 pm

          More likely our man Larry is laughing his head off.  He enjoys saying outrageous things that tie serious people in knots, then laughing as they try to dis-entangle themselves.  Gumby himself never feels tied-up in knots.  But people can feel like they are tied-up in knots when they attempt to straighten him.

          One reason I enjoy Gumby-Larry is that I have been fascinated by complex knots and how to untie them without using a knife or scissors since before I started school.  Turns out the theory of knots is a mathematical sub-specialty within topology. 

          On the other hand Ockham's Razor is an old and still very useful philiosophical tool.  Be warned that reason without love is like a knife or razor without a handle – it always cuts the hand that wields it.  Regardless of what you think of Gumby-Larry's blade, he still brags of teaching Academy students about the Love of Jesus.  Maybe he has not lost his handle, only his blade?

          • Bugs-Larry Boshell
            06 December 2013 @ 11:21 pm

            No moon walk necessary. God is not a person. That it is defunct Super Guy.
             
            My proposal is not done to be outrageous or challenge convention for the purpose of humor, or to "laugh my head off." (I do get a kick out of being gumbized)! It is an attempt to solve a Christian discourse language crisis that is symbolized by Super Guy, that is a potentially fatal threat to modern Christian thought. My solution is simple. God is Love. Love is not a person.
             
            Oh, you can call God a "person" and Jesus a son in a rhetorical sense, a mental construct, an allegory, to keep yourself content with a shallow anthropomorphic concept. Christ did that on a more legitimate level, bound, without alternatives, to the verbal currency of his time. I don't really have any problem even now, with that except that it is a concept constructed on a universe model that no longer supports the language. And it is also encrusted with two thousand years of human-fashioned barnacles based on continual remodeling of Super Guy to fit manufactured human and theological needs. A god that can be continually remodeled is not God.
             
            Yes, you can continue to mythologize all you want. But you end up with Grandpa Super Guy, a human construct, that is a limit to the size and power of God. A God, who runs around the world answering a prayer here and there, who provides a muddled, flawed and confusing Bible directory, who orders genocide, whose agents create strange theologies and clubs (churches) with opposing tenets, who floods the world to kill "bad" people but keeps rattle snakes alive, who six thousand years ago magically embedded leviathan animal bones in rock and then covered them with massive layers of stone, who is fabricating a really hot oven to bake the "evil" people who didn't choose to be born, whose absence is more profound than his presence, is just the worst nightmare of a fickle god, no different than the "heathen" gods.
             
            Love is not a person, but a principled experience. You are confounded by the simplicity and driven by your need to have arms, legs, and a torso to analyze, kind of an autopsy  of the divine. God as love encompasses everything you believe about God and his emissary, Jesus, the metaphors of father and son, all the good things you like as core beliefs about the goodness of God, but in a way that cannot be dissected. Love cannot be parsed. You want an idol, Super Guy so you can have an object of worship. You can't idolize love. To worship is an unnecessary psychological human need.
             
            See, I've cleared this up, once and for all! 
             

          • Stephen Foster
            07 December 2013 @ 6:02 am

            More convolutions do not clear it up! (And more excavation will not extricate your argument from its hole.)
             
            The problem again, is that you have cited Jesus as the revealer of God and therefore as the authority on that particular subject. (Something I’d bet that you now regret.) Jesus was unambiguous as to who and what God is; something you can’t circumnavigate. (Language? C’mon man, that’s a universal copout.)
             
            We apparently agree that God is Love and is not a human being like you and me. God is therefore not limited to time and space.
             
            Again, even more unlike you and me, God is an Intelligence. The Bible—from which you derived the idea that God is Love—indicates that God is a creative, intentional Spirit.  Why do you feel a need to deny that God is an Intelligent Spirit? (Now, I hope that you don’t also feel a need to deny that you have such a need.) Is it that all other intelligent living beings are fallible and/or have failed (you) at some point?
             
            (It isn’t the rest of us who ascribe our attributes to God. It’s you.)  
             
            Anyway, please answer this question for me; why was Lazarus resurrected; and by whom? I submit that Lazarus was resurrected intentionally by Jesus as a means of demonstrating who sent Him in the first place. What say you (“once and for all!”)?

      • Bugs-Larry Boshell
        06 December 2013 @ 8:31 pm

        Too late, Jim, I have already passed through a black hole and now there is an explanation for my "entanglement" with facts. That may be why I as "such solitary object(s) exist. . ." And the magnetic power of love passed through unabated, God as Love survives and thrives. Speed of light was necessairly violated.

        • Stephen Foster
          06 December 2013 @ 9:40 pm

          “[Larry] enjoys saying outrageous things that tie serious people in knots, then laughing as they try to dis-entangle themselves.”
           
          It is probably a good thing, then, that I do not consider myself to be “serious.” Anyway, Larry, we all love you; but the Super Guy loves you much more. Besides the fact that He created us, that’s what makes Him the Super Guy (as inconvenient though that truth may be)—and/or certainly what makes Him praise worthy.

          • Bugs-Larry Boshell
            07 December 2013 @ 1:48 am

            Stephen, I'm very happy with your statement that Super Guy loves me. Being loved and showered with blessings is the best part of life. Thank you for your sense of it. However, I am suspicious, not of you, of Super Guy since I have no way of knowing which version of him supposedly loves me. He has many versions, not all savory. If it is the one that ordered genocide, the one that "created" the earth and left it the target of all kinds of natural disasters, the one that let my fifty four year old SDA sister die, the one whose answer to payers is affirmed only by interpretation, the one who can't be located, the one who is quickly angered by minutia, who is so dumb he has to hang out in a building in "heaven" to try to list the good folks to save, who created the world in seven days but can't show up in two thousand years in spite of his promise, and a host of other evidence of his fickle nature, please pass me by.
             
            He did a lousy job of creating us. I just got word today my brother has throat cancer. If he was such a great Super Guy why is cancer a part of his scheme? My version of Super Guy would have nipped that potential in the bud! Please don't make excuses for him. I already know them all, they're wimpy and wouldn't be allowed to apply to fickle humans with the same behavior.
             
            I'll stick with God is Love. No questions there. Steady as the rock, no excuses needed. No bad side.
             
            Guess what? I don't know you, but I like you better than Super Guy and I think your are more attuned to God as Love than the unstable, capricious, unsavory  humanized character masquerading as a nice god. 
             

          • Stephen Foster
            07 December 2013 @ 6:06 am

            I can only say that I can empathize somewhat in that we have also suffered through numerous deaths and illnesses in my family over the past few years. Please accept my condolences on your loss, even if it has not been recent. I will be praying for your brother.
             
            It sounds very much that it wasn’t just Seventh-day Adventism that you have rejected but the whole idea of a sovereign Creator and the related Biblical narrative (‘great controversy’) themes of rebellion and ultimate restoration.
             
            Given the results of sin, otherwise known as what we see of the earthly human condition, you don’t like or trust God because He clearly hasn’t set things up the way that you would have. Thus, your need to deny that God is an intelligent and intentional spirit Being.
             
            You want God to be more humane; which is saying that you want God to be more human. But then He really would be “unstable, capricious, and unsavory.” On the other hand, what kind of God would essentially send Himself to die for those who don’t even know/love/trust Him?

          • Bugs-Larry Boshell
            08 December 2013 @ 1:39 pm

            Thanks, Stephen for your kind remarks. I don't know your age, but when you reach mine, seventy three, experiencing falling leaves from your friend and family tree is an inescapable part of the journey. I wasn't intending a lamentation for my experience in my post, was attempting to be inclusive of all people, including you, of the vexing of death.
             
            Your affirmation you were praying for my brother brought tears to me eyes. I sensed the God of Love as being revealed and expressed in your concern.
             
            My issue is about language. How does one talk about ultimate issues when words, the alignment of them called language, has lost its/their meaning? I know, for you, and most others I encounter, you aren't convinced the meaning is gone. To me, Super Guy is the talisman created by needy humans to answer ultimate questions. He didn't start out that way. Not necessarily that he wasn't created by men, but that he was a good answer to questions for which there were no others. Now we have different answers. The universe is a death and resurrection machine with e=mc(squared) the conversion explanation for nothing gained or lost, just recycled, with gravity as the mix master. In this scenario a creator isn't necessary. Yes, you can say it begs the question, shoves it back somewhere to a time when it wasn't there and someone created it. I'm not sure, but I think the element of death in our lives creates a beginning and ending complex in our minds that doesn't operate outside of it. So my suspicion of a "creator" is not from a desire to "reject the whole idea of a sovereign Creator," but from an encounter with the facts.
             
            And in this scenario the concept of a "great controversy" can't operate. The concepts of this battle royal made sense when thinking and explanations involved mental construction of unseen beings manipulating the real world from behind the scenes. Hail doesn't spill from a reservoir hidden in the sky, epilepsy is not devil possession, thunder and lightening are not spewed from the mouth of an angry God.
             
            You ask, how do I account for evil? I can't. No one actually can. It is in that closet of unexplainable stuff along with such things as the laws of physics, the "goldilocks" universe, and the million other inexplicable features of life.
             
            Yes, I want God to be more humane. If I were to reconstruct Super Guy in my specific image, I could and would certainly fix that problem. However, my efforts, and all others, to create a solution collected in Super Guy is doomed. We can create him, but we can't force him to do anything because he is an imaginary figure.
             
            Allegory and metaphor are the tools of language used as non specific devices to inject and extract meaning where it is perceived to be needed. Is God really a dad and Jesus really a son? [too long already, more sometime]

          • Lynn
            08 December 2013 @ 1:42 am

            These are only words on a blog but, their meaning is what matters to us sending messages. Before we deconstruct why Super Guy matters and God as a 3-letter word- lets stay in the realm of reality. But to be fair– we don't have to stay in the same realm, space, or metaphysical being. We don't need to be on same page. We don't need to make sense. We don't have to respond. We don't need to care about a shared reality. 

            There may be no  "us" or "we" to speak of. I know little of universal needs.

            HOWEVER we all must die. Our world, existence, and even these fading words are shaped by death. And its mortal passengers waste most their journey on words of being "moral".There is nothing moral or immoral about death, its a human being fading into nothingness. Death is a human thing and is eternally human and the only salvation we don't need to pray for. Life, meaning, and freedom are lofty, super, and ageless and we're taunted by these ideas like gods and demigods that joyously live forever taunting and flaunting. People are promised a corpse, beautiful b/c it's ordinary, and so we make our due w/ that, decide what this small sample of life is all about, or don't, it matters little.

          • Jim Hamstra
            08 December 2013 @ 3:07 pm

            I am beginning to suspect that part of Larry's objection to any notion of Super Guy is the implicit assumption that Super Guy would be some kind of ultimate Control Freak.  The only limits to the damage that a Control Freak can and will inflict are the limits to the power it can wield.  A Control Freak with unlimited power can inflict unlimited damage.  Larry prefers to focus on Love Guy who is not a Control Freak.  Perhaps the consequences of Super Guy are too terrifying to contemplate.

            I have commented elsewhere on the sub-surface tension between pastors and Bible teachers I  encountered, who operated as Indoctrinators vs Lovers.  Might the Indoctrinators have viewed God as Super Guy whereas the Lovers viewed God as Love Guy?  Did they teach God like they viewed Him or did they come to view God like they taught Him?  Were they trapped in their own feedback / reinforcement systems – created in the image of God and creating God in their image?  Might their students similarly be trapped – emulating our teachers regardless of whether we like them?

            Larry says that he taught his students about Love Guy.  So it is not surprising that he would be very wary of Super Guy.  How can Love Guy be all-powerful in a frequently un-lovely cosmos?

            This philosophical debate is very ancient.  One could cite many Biblical and extra-Biblical examples going back at least as far as Job.

            Could it be that the foundation of Love is Freedom of Choice?  Could it be that an all-powerful God might choose not to be a Control Freak?  Could or would Love Guy choose to accept the ultimate responsibility for, and consequences of, our (not His) poor choices?  Would such love be beyond our comprehension?

            Could it be that Super Guy and Love Guy both exist?  If both exist then they could not both have unlimited power.  Otherwise they would annihilate each other like matter and anti-matter.  In order for both to exist, at least one of the two must be confined.  I postulate that if Super Guy had greater power it would quickly annihilate Love Guy.  On the other hand if Love Guy had greater power then it could conceivably confine the scope of activity of Super Guy, and limit its own activity within that scope.  Super Guy could have Freedom of Choice without annihilating Love Guy, and Love Guy could have unlimited power without annihilating Super Guy. 

            How would such a system play-out in practice?  Would Super Guy eventually destroy everything within its scope, perhaps even including Super Guy itself?  Or would Love Guy avert this by confining and/or restoring the damage that Super Guy could inflict?  Or some combination of both outcomes?

          • Bugs-Larry Boshell
            09 December 2013 @ 8:37 pm

            Jim, your Neville Chamberlin mission for "peace in our time" is a disaster!  You sullied your Sabbath School Prime Minister post and have missed the target entirely. There is no Love Guy. Love is not a person and cannot be imaged (or imagined) in any sense. Neither can there be a Great Controversy, even a coalition, involving Super Guy. Why? Super Guy is a person, God of Love isn't. No matter +- annihilation possible. End of story.
             
            God as love is impossible to verbalize. There are really no words to express God in this form. I know that is a problem because Super Guy seems real, has a legacy of million and million and millions (just an estimate) of words, articles and books describing him. Super Guy's ego needs all this adulation, apparently, and his creators forever seek his favor by "adjulating" him. His improvement project at the hands of his creators is ongoing, with daily adjustments endlessly made to improve his appearance and function.
             
            I'm not surprised most people aren't about to surrender Super Guy (SG) in exchange for some non-descript God of Love. SG is knowable, comfortable, easily manipulated, looks like Grandpa, has a checkered history akin to humans, favors each persons specific beliefs in spite of the intrinsic contradiction, enjoys beggars, listens to millions and millions and millions of daily prayers (that's an estimate) and answers a few and dismisses the rest on his whim. He is comfortable, like an old shoe.
             
            SG is a controlled freak. God as Love isn't and no war or armistice is possible. Neither is there a possible Marshall Plan for SGs' rehabilitation since, as his decrepit model, we would have the impossible task of fixing ourselves first.
             
            Get over it! Nothing, not even the ultimate engineering tool, math, is useful in peacefully parsing the God of Love. And we'll pretend your "Munich" trip never happened!  
             

          • Stephen Foster
            10 December 2013 @ 2:24 am

            “However, my efforts, and all others, to create a solution collected in Super Guy is doomed. We can create him, but we can't force him to do anything because he is an imaginary figure.”
             
            You are trying to have it both ways. What is this, heads you win tails we lose? If we can, and have, created an imaginary figure, of course we can “force him to then do anything” that we can imagine precisely “because he is an imaginary figure.” If the Super Guy is made in our image then He is whatever we say He is.
             
            You say that He is unreliable, but that’s only because everybody else is—and you have 'concluded' that He has been made by us, and in our image; so He must then be unreliable too.
             
            In actuality He is the Creator who, in keeping with His nature, is in the process of restoring free willed creatures to the image in which He created us. He is and does what love is and does; and He is intelligent.
             
            By intelligent, of course, I mean informed and intentional in whatever He has done and in whatever He will subsequently do.
             
            Your argument falls completely apart because you made the irreversible ‘mistake’ of correctly identifying the Biblical Jesus Christ as the Person who revealed God as love to us. Once that was acknowledged you were toast. This is a hole from which all the digging in the world will never extricate your argument; and that is clear. (But you’ll keep digging anyway, no doubt.)

          • Jim Hamstra
            10 December 2013 @ 6:22 am

            Very well then Adolph.  I guess I must needs fold-up my umbrella and slink quietly back to Oregon 8-).

            But I am still convinced that Love Guy exists.  He is the source of that Tractor Beam you keep resisting.

            "If I be lifted up from the earth I will draw all humans unto me." (cf Jesus Christ)

        • Jim Hamstra
          07 December 2013 @ 12:57 am

          Love is a enormously powerful tractor beam.  You can feel the tug even though you are not close enough to discern the Source of the beam.

          The beam may yet reel you in-range so the Chief Engineer can begin His salvage operation.

          • Bugs-Larry Boshell
            07 December 2013 @ 2:05 am

            Looks like I might end up with a salvage title. Not so good.

          • Jim Hamstra
            07 December 2013 @ 5:34 pm

            I think we all will end-up with a Salvage / Remanufactured mark on our title (good news).  Otherwise we end-up in the scrap baler (not good news).

          • Jim Hamstra
            07 December 2013 @ 5:35 pm

            A possible clue regarding the Source of the Tractor Beam?

            "If I be lifted up from the earth I will draw all humans to me."

  12. earl calahan
    05 December 2013 @ 7:19 pm

    "Holler down my rain barrel" "la da de da""slide down my cellar door" "la da de da"
    and this is where we sadly part company,"hey", did someone turn up the thermostat?
    i'll put a good word in for you, for your 5th chance parole, now if you'll just forget
    that Superguy stuff, you may make that elevator that only ascends this time.

    • Bugs-Larry Boshell
      05 December 2013 @ 11:40 pm

      Earl, you and your buddies know so much about the future and fate of so many. How do you know that? And you know exactly what is true and what isn't, how is that?  Elevators, and rain doors, and cellar doors and Frankie, too, not to mention thermostats, you know all that stuff and where I fit in? Awesome, just awesome!!! Oh, and Super Guy is all I have, please don't make me evict him to enact my 5th chance parole! He's really no trouble for me,

      • Jim Hamstra
        06 December 2013 @ 2:25 am

        And I suppose that Psalm 14 is the rant of a deranged mind?

        • Bugs-Larry Boshell
          06 December 2013 @ 2:58 pm

          Psalm means "song." None of the hundred fifty songs from the past are the rant of a deranged mind! Psalm Fourteen is the creation of a poetic mind attached to a world view with the light of heaven shining through holes in the canopy above (one interpretation available at that time). Like him, one cannot stand outside at night and not be awed by the view. The difference is, we see gravity at work lighting "fires" on each of those pins of light.
           
          And I agree with the awed (not odd!) Psalmist, singing about three thousand years ago, one is a fool to think there is no God. 
           

          • Jim Hamstra
            06 December 2013 @ 4:25 pm

            Well as someone who has studied both Astronomy and the Bible since the age of 5, I do not read this Psalm as a statement about cosmology (how the cosmos works).  I read it as a statement about cosmogeny (where the cosmos came from).  Nothing I have learned about Cosmology has change my view of Cosmogeny.  I may think I know more about How it happened and perhaps even Why.  But I totally agree with the Psalmist regarding Who did it.

            I joyfully sing classical settings of this Psalm by Haydn and Beethoven, with conviction and without apology.

          • Bugs-Larry Boshell
            06 December 2013 @ 6:32 pm

            I, too, love the music you mention. Drat, it is painful to agree with you on anything, oh well! A few years ago my wife and I sat in the ornate, wood crafted choir loft, in St George's Chapel in Windsor Palace in England at Evensong (it was November, few visitors, less than twenty, the guides invited us to part of the  loft), where a boys choir sang the Hundred Eighteenth Psalm. Brought tears to my eyes. Later, had a similar experience in the Ministry (no cardinal there, not therefore a cathedral) in York (different choir, song, but also in the loft).  The plucking of my heart strings resonates my heart with the God of Love. Religious poetry and music, akin to any religious discourse, is not anchored in fact but in feeling. "Fact" is the cosmology, cosmogony is the infinite (one definition) where the imagination is free to roam whithersoever it will, and one is free to contemplate a "creator," (but no Super Guy, por favor). Mine knows no bounds with great music, including the Messiah and even some of those evil Catholic (not the music, just the papal persecutors in waiting!) chants.
             
             Please don't get all worked up, Jim. I don't what you to falsely assume I am "salvageable" just because of my musical appreciations. Contradiction continues, I like the old gospel hymns and songs, too. So there!
             
            I think you are partly (notice the limiting qualification) correct about my boat-missing at the USS Engineer dock. But I have no regrets at my detour into Adventist ministry. In spite of some misdirected, false charges by some that I was a rogue miss user of tithing funds, a skunk at the Adventist garden party, I participated whole heartedly and left when my ethics required it. And I gained a lot of knowledge and experience, left behind, surprisingly perhaps, some good will and a positive influence on the lives of some people.

             

          • Jim Hamstra
            06 December 2013 @ 8:04 pm

            From before recorded history God has been the master Salvage Engineer.  Regardless of how and why it broke, He made it and He can fix it.  Trust me – He is still working on me and has a long way to go.

            I do get worked-up (sometimes teared-up or torn-up) about great music.  Back when I was foot-loose I used to work as a paid musician in the oldest and grandest Sunday churches in the nearest major city.  Loved the music but couldn't stand the hours.  The body so much wanted to sleep-in on Sunday mornings.  The great cathedrals of Europe are museums of the history of Christianity.  They showcase the best of the culture but most of the visitors take a quick look-around and then leave.  I on the other hand can spend hours or even days in good museums.

            Never underestimate the power of God (or of the Devil) to speak directly to your inner soul through music.

          • Jim Hamstra
            06 December 2013 @ 8:08 pm

            Did I mention that Engineers have a much easier time getting paid than Musicians?

          • Bugs-Larry Boshell
            06 December 2013 @ 11:50 pm

            See. Just what I thought. Your perceived love for riches is matched only by your thrill of jousting with the eye of the needle! 
             
            And now I am anxious over the Sinatra song that I like, That Old Devil Moon. Is that a threat to my soul?

            "Just when I think, I'm, Free as a dove, Old Devil Moon, Deep in your eyes, Blinds me with love"

             

          • Jim Hamstra
            07 December 2013 @ 1:23 am

            The parable of the talents teaches me that Jesus wants us to apply whatever we have to maximum advantage.  The tough challenge is to avoid hoarding.  In my case a large chunk of my cash flow has gone into the Bank of Heaven.  That particular bank does not make loans on earthly storage barns.  A lot simpler to thread the needle without all the excess baggage.  My mommy taught me not to try to push too much thread through a needle.  Among other things I will probably have to toss my dad's left-handed monkey wrench at some point 8-(.  Guess they just don't make em like they used to.

             

          • Jim Hamstra
            07 December 2013 @ 1:32 am

            Re your last question I am not a big fan of Sinatra.  I prefer the Old Masters.  So I cannot give you an informed opinion.

            Maybe you could ask the Great Musician for an opinion?  If you can't hear Him then try backing-down your Reverse Thrusters a bit so the Love Beam can pull you back within range.

          • Bugs-Larry Boshell
            07 December 2013 @ 2:03 am

            I just realized, you aren't really an engineer, but a preacher. I'm not saying you are liar, just that you should have been a priest, I should have been an engineer. So I'm just going to lay back and throw a couple of '78s on the spinner and medicate my soul with Sinatra That's Life and followed by Strangers in the Night.  
             

          • Jim Hamstra
            07 December 2013 @ 1:49 pm

            Nope – nobody would pay me to preach – certainly not the SDA Church.  I am too prone to blurt-out things that people do not want to hear.  I hate to wear suits (I keep one in the closet strictly for weddings and funerals) and I don't cut my hair often enough (if you can grow it, show it).  On the other hand people have kindly paid me to figure-out how to make things work – even if they didn't like my clothes or my beard or the way I talked.

            It is much tougher to be a pastor than to preach.  That particular gene skipped-over me and went straight from my father to my son.

          • Jim Hamstra
            07 December 2013 @ 1:53 pm

            Couldn't be a priest either.  I do not have the spiritual gift of celibacy.  I prefer shorts and a tee shirt and sandals.  I hate baptismal robes.  I could not stand to have one of those stiff collars choking me.  And I am not very big on rituals.

  13. Bill Garber
    06 December 2013 @ 6:00 am

    When it comes to soteriology, the study of being saved or the lost, if you will, it is not surprising that many tend to be taken with avoiding hell.

    That is the nature of pain.  

    We are designed this way.

    Well, the study of the lost in Scripture is the study of human failure.  There are any number of descriptions of human failure resulting in being lost. The temptation in reading these passages is to believe that one, by understanding human failaure can somehow avoid such failure.  However, taken as a whole, the study of the lost confirms the utter inability of humanity to escape the pain of the lost on one's merrits or effort or even belief.

    However, there is something quite different arising when one studies salvation.

    After 16 years of solid Seventh-day Adventist education, I found myself with a job and a life ahead of me and a sense that it would be smart of me to live a life that qualified me for eternal life. I understood the ratio of 60 to infinity. For whatever reason, I didn't start by studying the lost.  I went looking for what it takes to be saved.

    Indeed, I checked all 104 instances of the word 'saved' in the KJV using an exhaustive concordence.  It is much easier today.  Just click here:  http://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=saved&qs_version=KJV  What I found is quite unlike the description of the the lost.

    The description of the saved consistently confirms that salvation is not in any way the result of what I know or do or believe.  I was surprised.  Stunned.  And then an amazing sense of liberation arose.  This I was caught up with the sense of, Now what?!  (I'll leave to another time and place that answer.)

    So being wrong, mistaken, or wicked even, in no way interfears with God's grace.  It can't.  Or as Ellen White noted, the Creator is not to be 'obligated' to the creature for the creature's salvation.  (See her compilation:  Faith and Works, pp 19-20)

    As consistent as Scripture is with regard to salavation being by God's grace, Scripture is nearly as consistent with respect to its description of the pain and suffering of being lost as describing the present life experience.  There are some passages that are not so easily resolved, I admit, though almost none by comparison.
     
    The result of mistaking one's personal efforts to avoid pain as the path to peace is vividly described in Revelation 14:6-12. 
     
    One might think that Seventh-day Adventists, in light of revearing the Three Angels Message, would have long ago dismissed the fear of being mistaken, wrong, or wicked as having any threat to their salvation.  Alas, the Three Angels Message is for us, it seems still.  I know it is for me, at least.

     

    • Bugs-Larry Boshell
      06 December 2013 @ 3:40 pm

      "Being qualified for eternal life," in spite of your contrary allegation, appears to require some special, correct, knowledge.
       
       The concept of "pain avoidance" implies the necessity of the serendipitous presence of a peculiar terminology advanced from the normal. That is, one has to know the prospect of pain and how to avoid it. Salvation, actually another term for pain avoidance, then, requires one to be at the point of special knowledge when and where it intersects a persons life. This effectively limits "salvation" and escape from "hell" to good luck, being at the right place at the right time.
       
      If I understand you, Bill, you are saying special knowledge is not needed to be saved but is required for the avoidance of the pain of hell. It seems to me your Revelation 14:6-12 quote scuttles that assertion. Both counts are faulty as they are buddies riding in the same car.
       
      That is because your implied application of the Revelation quote requires a knowledge of Adventism. That is, to avoid the dire straits of verses 9-12, one has to have the good fortune of not only having the triplet angels swishing overhead but to be blessed with the inside knowledge their identity is known only to Adventists.
       
      Your EGW quote is not helpful. If a human creature (most in the world) doesn't happen to luckily step in that tiny beam of light for learning about eternal pain ands its avoidance, why shouldn't the "creator" be obligated "to the creature for the creature's salvation." Or at least, providing an equal opportunity for the same. Appears to be another foible of Super Guy, to me.
       
      "Heaven," on those terms, will be very lonely place. Vacant.
       
      If I have misused or misunderstood your post, I expect you to set my wheels properly on the straight track!
       

      • Bill Garber
        07 December 2013 @ 4:22 am

        Bugs 

        “If I understand you, Bill …”  

        Unfortunately there are some barriers to your understanding, perhaps in general, Bugs.  No problem with regard to eternity, and no need with regard to me.

        Communication is certainly a collaborative undertaking.  Salvation, like creation, is not.  

        I’m not a theologian nor the son of one.  So when it comes to helping you understand, let me defer to Karl Barth, acknowledged by more than one fellow theologian as the most accomplished student of God in the 20th century.  When asked to summarize what he had come to understand after authoring more than a million words of theology, he smiled and recited the opening lines to a poem first published in an 1860’s novel that referenced them as spoken by a comforting parent to a dying child.  

        ‘Jesus Loves Me, This I Know, For The Bible Tells Me So.’

    • Jim Hamstra
      06 December 2013 @ 5:03 pm

      If you study Revelation 4 and 5 you will find the two authentic bases for worship – –

      4:  God is our Creator – we are eternally grateful for what He has done with no help from us.

      5:  Christ is our Redeemer – we are eternally grateful for what He has done with no help from us.

      If you neglect either 4 or 5 you only half-worship God.  If you neglect both 4 and 5 you are not worshiping God. 

      Worshiping to gain advantage or avert pain is paganism.  These motives for worship arise from instincts of self-preservation and self-improvement.  Though we all start out as pagans, our pagan motives can lead us to feel our need, preparing us to respond affirmatively when the Spirit reaches out to us.  Some pagans are learning to worship God in this life (though I have yet to meet a human worshipper who has fully transcended their pagan motives).  Other pagans will experience with us, the pure and unfettered worship of God in the life to come. 

      The Three Angels Messages are not calls To paganism, they are calls From paganism.  To what extent the dire consequences accrue in this life vs the life to come is an interesting question.  Virtue may not always be its own reward but vice is ultimately and inevitably its own punishment, which is the point of all of the Plagues visited upon Egypt in Exodus and Babylon in Revelation.  (Those who value Ellen might wish to re-read her comments about the role of evil angels doing what God permits, in her introduction to the Plagues in the Big Red Book.)

      Personally I expect to meet many saved pagans in heaven.  Otherwise it will, as Larry has already suggested, be a very empty place.
       

  14. Bill Garber
    07 December 2013 @ 4:29 am

    Jim

    Very insightful.  I am naturally attracted to your pagan interpretation.  It is novel in what feels like an enlightening way.

    As for meeting pagans in heaven, I like the liberty you exhibt in expecting there to be pagans in heaven.  I'm pretty sure all the pagans will be there.  Otherwise how can we expect to be there?  
     

  15. Stephen Ferguson
    07 December 2013 @ 8:34 am

    Jim: 'Worshiping to gain advantage or avert pain is paganism.'

    It is also arguably 'magickal', which is just another name I guess for paganism.  Magick is about controlling the deity to get it to do what you want according to your human will; true worship is about subordinating the personal ego to the divine. 

    Arguably these false magick and true submission approaches is found in all religions.  True Judaism is about not attempting to control God (which is what the 4 four of the Decalogue about); true Islam is about submission (the literal meaning of Islam); true Buddhism is about subordinating the ego (best seen in the proverb, "if you see the Buddha go kill him"); and true Christianity is about full submission to God's will, which Jesus showed in accepting the Cross.

    There are plenty of Christians who are scarred of Hary Potter yet practitioners of Christian magick.  Bugs' fear of the 'Super Guy', and I do share some of his concerns, is about making God in our own image – in subordinating God to our will, and our control, rather than subordinating our will to the Divine.  Christians magick is probably best seen in the example of the Sons of Sceva mentioned in Acts, who tried to use Jesus name as a magickal talisman. 

    • Stephen Foster
      07 December 2013 @ 12:54 pm

      I disagree, Stephen Ferguson; Larry’s “fear of the ‘Super Guy’” is precisely because Larry himself has misinterpreted God’s nature to be essentially indistinguishable from ours. Larry is deceived. He says that ‘Super Guy’ is made in our image; which is totally backwards. (This inevitably occurs whenever we don’t accept that God created us in His image and that sin has completely altered/changed/distorted/removed this.)
       
      Larry is deceived because he does not wish to accept the Bible as true. Deception inevitably/invariably occurs whenever truth is rejected. (Again, I'm aware how dogmatic this sounds/is.) 
       
      Since you say that you “share some of his concerns,” why don’t you try to make sense of Larry’s position that the Biblical Jesus revealed God as Love but that the same Biblical Jesus either did not or could not reveal God to be the loving Person who intentionally sent His only begotten Son in order that mankind (“the world”) can be saved?

      • Jim Hamstra
        10 December 2013 @ 1:46 pm

        One of the many paradoxes I have observed is that God made us in His image.  But we must each re-make God in our own individual image (some call this moral or character development).  Since we cannot directly observe and manipulate God we have to visualize Him in some manner in our minds, and we do.  So there is indeed a sense in which God is a fantasy we each carry around inside our heads.  O course the same can be said for much of the rest of our perception of reality beyond our ability to directly observe and manipulate (consider how much we "know" from books, videos, hearsay, etc).

        The danger comes from failing to realize that God, along with much of the rest of external reality, is much larger and more complex than can be reduced into our minds.  And then there is the matter of which sources of external information we draw upon to model our particular God or gods.

        Our amazingly flexible friend Gumby-Larry, being well-schooled (like me) in SDA dogma of God as an objective external reality, has nevertheless come to the realization (like me) the he has made-up his own God inside his own mind.  Like me, he has recognized that the authentic essence of God is Love.  Unlike me he has proceeded to reduced the concept of God to this single essence and detached it from external objective reality (as best I can determine). 

        Having constructed God in his own mind, and by his own admission helped many impressionable Academy students construct God in their minds, Larry appears to have turned-around and almost totally deconstructed God in his mind.  (cf Earl Calahan)

  16. Lynn
    07 December 2013 @ 3:20 pm

    It's shocking that we find ourselves as our own worst spiritual enemy. Our earthliness moves us into righteous and evil instead of the throwness of simply being. Yes, a throwness of being is tied to spiritually claiming a personal and willful relationship w/ God.

    Inevitably our wills clash w/ God's divinity and our mortal timeline is shamed by God's infinitude. Yet, here we are squabbliing over righteousness and lording our limiting powers of manipulation. Righteousness is continuously dying as we demean it to relative comparisons, exacting punishments and underwhelming atonement. And earthly masters are veiled in guise of permanence and infallibility despite the contradiction of using manipulative, conditional, and non-direct ways to exert authority.

    People cannot do as they think, say what they mean, or take part in what is free. That is the human condition of finding little meanings and holding to small freedoms.

    God is NOT a human object but people exist as His figurative subjects. And He is intangible to the world and reveal in a personal and subjective way. The absolute to God is a forgiving absolution b/c only an absolute entity could do so. And objective truth is not in histories of Ancient Israel, pioneers in Adventism, or the creation of blessed Americana- but that Christ so man could live.

    So if one sees objectively that they do NOT make mistakes or even worse solely seeks not to do so, their figurative hell is anybody finding a personal and subjective relationship w/ God. Anybody finding forgiveness is hellish concept to the vain righteous. And masters of the earth look upon obedient followers as shameful servants bound to misery. But there is no manipulation that Christ died so that others may live and find the grace to obey by giving God the glory. So if one says they do NOT struggle to obey or serve and worse yet, ruthlessly shame others into non-personal obedience- then a mortal life is their and decay is the only thing that waits upon them. Imagine obedience coming from the abundance of the heart won by graceful blessings and it is too intangible for the powerbrokers to let go of their earthly promises of death.

    "Good and bad and right and wrong" are too objective and earthly to have any spiritual value to the person claimed by Christ's death and thrown into being in a personal and subjective relationship w/ Him.

  17. earl calahan
    08 December 2013 @ 6:27 pm

    BUGS LARRY,

                                                        GOD
                                                        GOD
                                                        GOD
                                                        GOD
                                                        GOD
                                                        GOD
                                              JESUSTHECHRIST
                                                          H
                                                          O
                                                          L
                                                          Y
                                                          S
                                                          P
                                                          I
                                                          R                                                  
                                                          I
                                                          T

      What the eyes can see, the ears hear, the blood message dna describe, the heart
      can accept, the cross reveal, the cross reveal, the cross reveal,blood, the blood.
                                                                                                       G 
                                                                                                       O 
                                                                                                       D
                                                                                                  CHRIST
                                                                                                   BLOOD
                                                                                                        B
                                                                                                        L                   
                                                                                                        O
                                                                                                        O
                                                                                                        O
                                                                                                        O
                                                                                                        O
                                                                                                        O   
                                                                                                        O
                                                                                                        O                                        
                                                                                                        O
                                                                                                        D  

    Stop the fear. Stop the pain. Stop the suffering. Take off the mask that imprisons.Look up for your Redeemer, Super Son, your redemption draws near, and will flood your soul with the Light that dispels all darkness, and sets you free of the father of lies.                                                                                                                                                  

                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                                                                       
     

  18. Trevor Hammond [22oct1844]
    09 December 2013 @ 10:27 pm

    The 'Super Guy' name used by Mr Boshell in referring to God mischaracterises who God is.  Mr Boshell's unbelief is much deeper than what would usually be expected from someone who has left Adventism for whatever reason.  His position is a purely humanist one.  His Super Guy concept refers to man and not God.

  19. earl calahan
    10 December 2013 @ 6:41 am

    Construction and deconstruction are both actions, and every action has a reverse action. With reference to the Creator they are both destructive actions to those who attempt to put the Almighty in a box. It is silly to postulate human feelings about the Almighty God, in the sense of making Him or breaking Him. He is, as He is. You cannot change Him. i don't want to change Him. i accept Him, as revealed to me by the Holy Spirit, God Himself.  A human can't fathom what motivates God. He doesn't suffer the one attempting to correct His actions, or lack of actions. He doesn't suffer the ones who attempt demystification or destructs. It's impossible for mere physical Earthly creatures to know or understand the mind of God, or have any influence as to His eternal plans or modus operandi. He is God. Your choice, His Way, or as they say, the highway.
    For me, i accept Him joyfully, and rest in His peace which i receive from God the Holy Spirit.