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Old 09-07-2005, 12:36 PM   #16
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I appreciate the discussion, because we approach this from very different angles.

Instead of "create a sense of need” if would characterize it as identifying a real existing need.

Perfection is a way of summarizing many of God's attributes: all knowing, all-powerful, etc. and recognizes God's sovereignty.


i appreciate the distinction.

i'm curious, and perhaps this is better left to a PM, but how do you picture god? can you picture god?

when you imagine what god must be "like" (for lack of a better word), what do you see, think, feel, and hear?
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Old 09-07-2005, 12:50 PM   #17
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But, you see, a lot of the doctrine of salvation ("divine grace") is Augustinian in nature.

Interestingly enough, the Western Church (which became Roman Catholicism) declared Pelagius a heretic at the insistence of St. Augustine, while the Eastern Church (which became Eastern Orthodox) rebuffed Augustine and accepted Pelagius. This was one of the starting moments of the rift between the two Christian churches, and is undoubtedly one reason why Catholic priests are expected to be celibate (in keeping with Augustinian philosophy), while Orthodox priests can marry.

A lot of these moral questions are a matter of what came first: the chicken or the egg? Did Augustine reflect existing Christian doctrine or did he, instead, create it?

Either way, a lot of Catholicism and Protestantism hinges, unknowingly, on Augustinian philosophy. But his theology is highly Manichean, a declared heresy, rather than Christian. So should we call the modern church "Christian" or "Manichean"?

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And that's the crux of the matter for me. Like NB said, for me and my teachings in the church it comes down to being able to divide what is Biblical and what's "Biblically based." There's a lot of theology to weigh against the source material, and I think that most Christians at some point have to judge what they do and don't believe.

But, for the record, my theological standpoint of Jesus' sinless nature has more to do with Biblical reasoning than Augustine's conclusions. And I've never agreed with original sin.
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Old 09-07-2005, 01:53 PM   #18
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This is a good question too. I think one of the questions we have to ask is how much of Christian tradition is built upon the Bible or merely extracted from Christian theologians, which we assume to be Biblical in nature. After all, St. Augustine believed in the power of "divine revelation" to the point that it superceded the Bible and Jesus, if need be.

In fact, a lot of the theology of "original sin"--that is, presuming that man is born in sin, due to the sin of Adam--is not particularly Biblically supported. In fact, the Bible does say the opposite:

"Only the father, since he violated rights, and robbed, and did what was not good among his people, shall in truth die for his sins. You ask: 'Why is not the son charged with the guilt of his father?' Because the son has done what is right and just, and has been careful to observe all my statutes, he shall surely live. Only the one who sins shall die. The son shall not be charged with the guilt of his father, nor shall the father be charged with the guilt of his son. The virtuous man's virtue shall be his own, as the wicked man's wickedness shall be his own." -- Ezekiel 18:18-20

Who knows. Maybe Pelagius reflected what early Christianity believed before Augustinian influences.

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I think the Ezekiel passage address that old notion that children would be punished by God for the sins of their father.

In my opinion, there is Scripture that addresses Original Sin directly:

Romans 5:12-13 “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned— for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law.”

And again in Romans 5:18-19 “Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.”

Psalm 58:3 “Even from birth the wicked go astray; from the womb they are wayward and speak lies.”

And Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”

It is interesting to read how the early Church wrestled with these concepts, just as we do today.
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Old 09-07-2005, 02:12 PM   #19
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Originally posted by Irvine511
i appreciate the distinction.

i'm curious, and perhaps this is better left to a PM, but how do you picture god? can you picture god?

when you imagine what god must be "like" (for lack of a better word), what do you see, think, feel, and hear?
Not an easy question, but I'll give it a crack. There are few description for picturing God, and that is probably a good thing (so we don't worship the image instead of God Himself).

From Scripture, we know that we are all made in God's image (not the other way around), so there is infinite diversity in His Image. We know that at some point we will not need the sun or moon for light. We will live in the light of God's Glory. We know that God does not speak with a loud voice, but uses a quiet whisper.

For me, the only way I can begin to scratch the surface in trying to imagine what God is like is to look at my relationship with my children (especially when there were very young). I would enjoy watching over them, looking out for them, caring for them (whether they could see me or not). There is joy just watching them breathe while they sleep, discover new things, or simply looking at you. God wants/has that relationship with us.
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Old 09-07-2005, 02:13 PM   #20
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The situation changes over time, I think. Things happened in a particular century and then completely different things happened in a different century. Why was Pelgaius declared a heretic and not St. Augustine? The temper of the times, I'd guess, I'm not an expert on Augustine, to put it mildly, even though I've read his Confessions, that was a long time ago. What with the history of corruption in the Catholic Church, and I say this as a practicing Catholic, you might want to say that its power structure has lent itself to corruption at certain times. So for awhile in Europe it seemed like the people might have supported corruption, but after the Cluniac reform the moral climate of the church improved because of the acts of a few people.
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Old 09-07-2005, 02:19 PM   #21
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Originally posted by nbcrusader


Not an easy question, but I'll give it a crack. There are few description for picturing God, and that is probably a good thing (so we don't worship the image instead of God Himself).

From Scripture, we know that we are all made in God's image (not the other way around), so there is infinite diversity in His Image. We know that at some point we will not need the sun or moon for light. We will live in the light of God's Glory. We know that God does not speak with a loud voice, but uses a quiet whisper.

For me, the only way I can begin to scratch the surface in trying to imagine what God is like is to look at my relationship with my children (especially when there were very young). I would enjoy watching over them, looking out for them, caring for them (whether they could see me or not). There is joy just watching them breathe while they sleep, discover new things, or simply looking at you. God wants/has that relationship with us.


very interesting, thank you for your response.

i appreciate the clarity and logic.
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