Answer me something without the idiot bloggers and historians, and philosophy, if God is omnipotent, and knows what will happen, why allow the snake to delve in the garden? Why tempt the originals when you know they will fail? What do you think?
It's a circular question
I suggest you read Milton's "Paradise Lost". He gets right in that one.
Your question intrigues me too.
I ponder biblical stuff constantly due to my desire to better understand God and my faith better (doesn't work all that well .
I've concluded (and this will piss off fundamentalists---
but I don't care) that the Bible is a like a guidebook.
I was raised Christian, thus will talk of Christ here
even though I believe that each faith has it own Messiah and I completely respect others' faiths---
Jesus talked in parables so I think the Bible can be seen as one big metaphor.
What is the metaphor about and what does that attempt teach?
I don't know---that's how I make sense of things so that I can sleep nights.
Like babies, maybe man was naive to evil until he first encountered it.
Once you encounter anything, you can't be naive ever again
and are forced to deal with it.
So then you might ask, why did God create evil if he loved man?
I don't know---I'm a stupid poet just trying to make sense of the day-to-day
and maybe that's why we have the day-to-day---
like if God was so smart why didn't he make us like Samantha
so we wouldn't have to clean house or brush our teeth or eat broccoli
and other antioxidants---
well I don't know---cuz all that keeps us going and busy.
I have a friend who lives in a pretty much constant sunny climate
who says its awful because the change of temp is necessary for one's mental state to fluctuate, that constancy gets dull and one get's lazy about it all,
so who knows. Maybe change and conflict make us work and think harder thus helping develop our spirits for the next life, assuming there is one.
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 07/02/2005 12:32PM by LRye.
When it becomes personal, events change
Joe was a sailor on the U.S.S. Indianapolis, which was sunk by a Japanese Submarine.
The American Sailors were in the ocean for seventy-two hours.
Joe was in a cluster of sailors banded together to provide protection against shark attacks.
Joe did not have on a life preserver. He, and other sailors within the circle, saw a sailor,
with a life preserver drifting alone, some distance from other sailors.
The sailor with the life preserver had a bloodied head.
Joe left the group of sailors in the circle, swam over to the wounded sailor, removed his life
jacket and put it on. There were several eyewitnesses to this event. The group of sailors
drifted away and contact was lost. The question of the wounded sailor-did Joe let the
sailor slip beneath the waves after he had removed his life preserver? The question could
not be answered by the eyewitnesses.
A psychiatrist interviewed many of the traumatized sailors; however, it was only a precursory
interview. Joe told the psychiatrist he had removed the life preserver
from the injured sailor. “I though he was dead.” The psychiatrist obtained a contract from
Joe he would present himself, every five years, to a group of psychologist that were investigating
(What pressures the psychiatrist used to obtain this agreement is unknown.)
Joe’s story as told to the psychologist five years later:
“I swam to the sailor with the life preserver-he was bleeding from his head.”
Joe was NOT ASKED, “Was the sailor alive?” No direct question that would injury Joe’s
psyche were asked. Joe was allowed to tell his own story, in his own words.
Joe felt a need to answer the unasked question: Was the sailor alive? Joe presented this statement. “I’m not sure he was alive, if he was, he would not be live long, I removed his life jacket
and let him slip under the waves.”
Ten years later:
“I swam over to a wounded sailor; he was alone, bleeding from the head. He was defenseless, having no way to protect himself from shark attacks. I stayed with him, trying to protect him. I was with him several hours. I supported his head, keeping it out of the water, when he died I removed his life preserver and put it on.
Fifteen years later-the final interview:
‘I was with a group of sailors; we were cluster together to protect ourselves against the sharks
attacks. I noticed a wounded sailor by himself some distance from the cluster. He was wounded
and could not protect himself. I swam over to him. I removed my life preserver that I had on,
and put it on the unconscious sailor. He was bleeding from the head and unconscious…I stayed with him fighting off the sharks, trying to keep his head above water. In his unconscious state his head would dip beneath the waves. I supported his head until he died in the night. I then removed my life preserver, but it back on and let him slip beneath the waves.’
This came from a psychology textbook many years ago. I have used it to interpret many events
in the years that have followed. It made me very wary of philosophers and other that wish
their murmurs to be accepted as truth.
Your interpretation should differ, whatever this story is, it contains powerful tools for interpretive analysis, applicable in many situations.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/06/2005 05:52PM by jerrygarner7.
Hey, if you don't have anyone to lord it over, how can you be God?
"In fact, no gods anywhere play chess. They prefer simple, vicious games, where you Do Not Achieve Transcendence but Go Straight to Oblivion; a key to the understanding of all religion is that a god's idea of amusement is Snakes and Ladders with greased rungs."
-- (Terry Pratchett, Wyrd Sisters)
"If God is omnipotent, and knows what will happen, why allow the snake to delve in the garden?"
If you come at this question with the assumption that God exists and is omnipotent, then you have to get into questions of Free Will and Choice and how can there be salvation unless there's something to be saved FROM. To borrow a line from Albee's ZOO STORY, "Sometimes you have to go a long way out of your way in order to come back a short distance correctly." Scripture says that God rejoices more in a sinner who repents than in someone who never sinned to begin with, and if that's true, then the serpent was very important. (Which begs a related question: If the serpent done good, why was he punished?)
On the other hand, if you approach Genesis as a myth generated by humans to address some deep need, then you can infer that humans (Judeo-Christian ones, anyway) NEED (1) to believe that God is omnipotent, but at the same time (2) to explain why we, God's creations, are so utterly messed up, while (3) blaming someone other than ourselves.
On a third hand (mine), my take on the story is: It's an allegory about the point in human evolution when our intelligence underwent a growth spurt and we were suddenly able to comprehend things that did us no good, and do things as individuals that were contrary to our own interests AS A SPECIES. We gave evolution the slip, as it were. When we were essentially animals, our needs and our wants were identical: OUR survival, OUR propogation. US meant humans; THEM meant other species. When we became people, we became capable of considering options, adopting other priorities. Everything became a matter of CHOICE, which meant that for the first time in earth history, WRONG CHOICES could exist.
Viewed (by me) this way, the serpent story is nostalgia for an evolutionary time when there were absoluted and no choices to make, or make wrong.
It is ALSO analagous to the corresponding point in an INDIVIDUAL'S life. It's said that "a baby's wants are a baby's needs." Then there comes a point where a baby is capable of wanting things that are not NEEDS... of having preferences (that is, preferences more sophisitated than "I'd rather not be in pain"). And then we become capable of knowingly doing things we know -- or have been told -- are wrong. A person's expulsion from "the garden" is the point where it's no longer possible to be forgiven for ANYTHING because you're "just a baby."
So what is the serpent? He's the OTHER VOICE we can think with. When we have two thoughts at the same time ("I want the cookie" and "Mommy said not to eat it"), we want to attribute the "bad" one to some OTHER entity. A Freudian might (MIGHT!) say that the serpent is the ID at the developmental point where we become able to separate ID from integrated SELF.
Johhny- No doubt, but most relating to this subject are. I remember discussing this topic with a baptist preacher and starting with the lines "assuming this is true" which tends to hit a nerve with "believers.
Talia- Read it, no it does not. It mereley tells one what they want to here in the above mentioned assumtion. Much like "A Case for Christ" does.
Lrye- I too was raised Christain but have the tendency to anger fundamentalists lol. Maybe due to enviroment or possibly that "self" I here about all the time, but our paths diverge. Interesting points, however.
jerrygarner7- Agreed, that is one of the first things that they tell you in psychology 101. I would assume to that the disciples were rather close? lol
Pam- Or if you have no one to be lord then how can you be God? Very Voltaire there, lol
Marian- And now to the very interesting one. The outlook that you are giving is very well thought out, and even with its own reference(Huxley), but to me still sounds like an allegory for creation, or as I would assume would be put in this context, realization. This also when looked at through the other side would coincide directly with the creation myth. They did come to a certain realization after eating that tainted fruit, right? As I have said, this is a very good response to that small question, but to me sounds sincerely like another religion, one based loosely on science, and more heavy on the out of context allusions, thank you though, it was by far the most interesting thing that I have read today. Have you read any of Howard Blooms work, I believe he thinks about things the same way that you seem to. Lucifer Principle was one of my favorite books.
Thanks for the responses by the way, and keep them coming, we could go a eternity with this one lol.
Though Milton had a definite purpose in it, he talks about freewill and choice as mentioned by Marion. I have read it.
if a parent is omnipotent, and knows what will happen, why allow the child to play with a candle?
What are you talking about, a lit candle? My daughter cannot play with one if that is what you mean.
Parnets are not omnipotent either. Allusions and metaphors shouldn't be aloud in conversations like this I would think.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/12/2005 11:27AM by Satirical.
If I would be a parent (I'm not, so maybe the example is a bit extreme), would I want my children to do everything exactly as I told them? No, I would want them to have free will. But if I see they are about to do something that is going to hurt them for sure, would I stop them? That depends:
a) they are only going to get hurt slightly, and will learn better that it is dangerous by hurting themselves
b) it is very very dangerous, and I stop them
In my interpretation of God, he is not very afraid, and may see consequences different than we do, so he (almost?) always goes for option A. And the snake was a necessity to create free will.
You say that but what if the danger is not so slight, like an eternity in hell? Don't you think that as a parent we would stop the child from commiting any act that would lead to that outcome?
These are the questions that come up when we make God in our own image, instead of the other way around
Bertrand Russell: A Free Man's worship:
Still an interesting read.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/13/2005 06:38AM by Veronika.
" You say that but what if the danger is not so slight, like an eternity in hell? Don't you think that as a parent we would stop the child from commiting any act that would lead to that outcome? "
Thank you. I've been pondering on this question most of the evening.
I think parents are always inclined to stop children from any acts that are harmful for them. However, by stopping children from doing any acts, even harmful ones, you limit their freedom.
And now, to go back go Humankind and God, I think humankind chose (the apple) to be free to make the choice between right or wrong. So, also the choice to do something that will make you spend eternity in hell. I believe, if God would stop us from making mistakes, we would
a) no longer be free
b) as humankind never learn. Because if our mess is cleared up every time we blunder, we don't have a real reason to improve ourselves.
So, I think that with the freedom comes responsibility for ourselves.
I think that there comes a point when you have to let the 'children' learn from their mistakes. Leave your bike unlocked, it gets stolen- sorry, the bike fairy will not leave a new one under your pillow. Otherwise, people stay children forever more.
Perhaps God decided that she didn't want to be nannying humankind for eternity.
Deciding, implies change, if it changes than it is not unchangeble, but this is another topic.
I would say then what a parent it turns out to be Desi. But that is just begging the question. It has to be faith in this matter for a very good reason that being there is but one tautology and Wittgenstein is its prophet. If you make god into a logical proof then you've eliminated god by taking away all his content and thus the atheist wins. If you don't reduce him to tautology, then you can debate the evidence. All of which being metaphysics.
On a personal level, I really don't think that we are meant to improve, and are not really that special. Yet that in itself is for another thread lol!
This thread made me think of my favourite Shakespeare quote:
"There's a special providence in the fall of a sparrow.If be now, t'is not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come: the readiness is all: since no man has aught of what he leaves, what is't to leave betimes?"
Nicely put I love S.