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Old 12-19-2006, 01:55 AM   #31
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Originally posted by Liesje


Point taken, but one could argue the opposite - that if God really IS the one and only supreme power, then we MUST accept that he COULD remove all power to chose, because if we insist on humanity's right to choice, then we're insisting on taking that power from God.

This is what Calvinism says - in order to believe that God really is the one and only power, you have to believe he could predestine everything. Now where people get confused is that Calvinist do not say that "GOD HAS PREDESTINED EVERYTHING", no we're just saying that because he is God, he could. Most Calvinists also understand the distinction between "freedom of the Will" and "freedom". You can believe that one's Will is not free and still believe people have been granted the power to make their own choices. The Will only refers to one thing - whether or not you have God's Grace in your heart. A Calvinist's concept of the Will does not refer to making choices like "what should I wear today?", "who should I ask to the dance?", "should I watch this movie?", etc.

Neo-Calvinists and surface level Calvinists who've never taken the time to study Calvinist theology at length will believe or allow people to believe that freedom and freedom of the Will are synonymous.
Fair enough. God could. But I don't think he did, because based on what we know of the nature of love, it must allow for free will, PARTICULARLY when it comes to making a decision about whether we choose Him or not.

I'll confess I'm one of those people who has a surface knowledge of Calvinism, but I'd love to learn more. . .

Perhaps you could elaborate or correct me on this understanding:

Are you saying that Calvinists believe that everyone is already predestined to salvation or to be lost, and that there is nothing you can really do about that other than perhaps figure out which group you belong to?

(Please forgive my butchering of Calvnists theology there--the only way to learn is to ask!)
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Old 12-19-2006, 01:57 AM   #32
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Originally posted by A_Wanderer
So God is living as a collectivist and satan is individualist, if it wasn't for the supernatural thing I think Satan is a better choice.
Only because I know you won't be take it is an insult (and it's not meant as one), I'll say that I'm not surprised you would view things that way. A kind of Ayn Rand approach to life, perhaps?
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Old 12-19-2006, 02:17 AM   #33
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Originally posted by edgeboy
So basically, satan is perhaps a sort of fallen angel? If satan exist what other spirits exsist besides him?
I get frustrated that God sort of left us a bit in the dark.
Perhaps it's better that way.
I would agree with Liesje in the sense that I don't think you are REQUIRED to have a certain "right" understanding in order to be a good Christian.

Based on my understanding there are other fallen angels that sided with Satan (formerly known as Lucifer). I believe there are angels that sided with God. Some denominations go to great efforts to parse out the various levels of demonic and angelic "hierarchy"--you know principlalities, powers, princes of the air etc. I personally don't find all that necessary or particularly productive and in some cases can actually be a distraction from the "things that really matter." (But then again that could be because I wasn't raised in such traditions so that kind of thing is a little foreign to me).

I guess I'm kind of inclined to wonder why God even mentions supernatural beings besides himself if they matter so little in terms of our actual daily spiritual experience. One possiblity is that they really DO matter (as taught by some Christian denominations) or that it is all metaphorical (as argued by others).

For me one possible reason why God perhaps chooses to give us a glimpse "behind the curtain" is because it reminds us that you and me are NOT the enemy. No human being can ever be considered "the bad guy." Which is not to say that no person is responsible for their evil actions. . .they are. But it is to say that no individual person is the "author of evil" or is inherently and completely unredeemable and darkhearted. The source of Evil and it's Absolute representation comes from somewhere else. Which ideally should keep us from ever "demonizing" (pun intended) another human being.

In practical application, I've found when I'm in a situation where someone is frustrating me or seems to be doing things that are damaging the church, the mission, etc, knowing that this person is not the sole source of this "badness", recognizing that there is "someone" out there beyond the two of us that doesnt' WANT us to work together in harmony, helps keep me from the very easy temptation of imagining this person to be horrible beyond hope. I don't know if that makes sense or not.

That's just my perspective, of course.
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Old 12-19-2006, 02:24 AM   #34
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there is no satan and there is no god. its only mindgames.
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Old 12-19-2006, 08:44 AM   #35
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Originally posted by maycocksean
Based on my understanding there are other fallen angels that sided with Satan (formerly known as Lucifer). I believe there are angels that sided with God. Some denominations go to great efforts to parse out the various levels of demonic and angelic "hierarchy"--you know principlalities, powers, princes of the air etc. I personally don't find all that necessary or particularly productive and in some cases can actually be a distraction from the "things that really matter." (But then again that could be because I wasn't raised in such traditions so that kind of thing is a little foreign to me).

I guess I'm kind of inclined to wonder why God even mentions supernatural beings besides himself if they matter so little in terms of our actual daily spiritual experience. One possiblity is that they really DO matter (as taught by some Christian denominations) or that it is all metaphorical (as argued by others).
The trouble with all this "angelology" and "demonology" is that much of it is borrowed from other religions, or, in some cases, the result of tradition being appended onto a mistranslation. A bit of everything is applicable to the concept of "Lucifer," as the original Hebrew, "heilel ben-schahar," meaning "Helel son of Shahar." Helel was a Babylonian / Canaanite god who was the son of another Babylonian / Canaanite god named Shahar. "Lucifer" originated out of the Latin Vulgate of Isaiah 14:12-14 using a Greek translation of the word "heosphorus," meaning "dawn-bearer," an epithet of Venus.

And there is a rather consistent pattern of this. "Beelzebub" was a deity worshipped by the Philistines--believed to be another name for "Baal." The word, "demon" and "devil" originated from "daeva," which started out as the name of the "good gods" in Vedic-era Hinduism, but were reviled by Zoroastrianism, an early schism from Hinduism that worshipped the "asuras," which were viewed as "bad gods" by Hindus. This game of musical chairs is why the word "deity," "demon," "devil" and "Deus" (Latin: "God") have the same Indo-European root, "*dyeus."

Generally, the logical problem with Satan--that is, having a subordinate creation of God responsible for all evil--is a result of this syncretism. As you can see above, "evil" was generally personified as a demonization of "false gods." This was apparently the case in very early Zoroastrianism, with clues indicating that Zoroaster himself did not view the Hindu daevas as "demons," but rather as false gods unworthy of worship. This would be in keeping with the Vedic Hindu tradition regarding the "asuras"--not "evil," but, rather, "unworthy of worship." However, it appears that later tradition eventually transformed them into supernatural beings of pure evil.

It's only when Judeo-Christianity "demoted" Satan from a god, as expected in comparative religions, to an angel, while keeping all of his god-like attributes, that we created this contradiction.
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Old 12-19-2006, 08:45 PM   #36
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Originally posted by Ormus


The trouble with all this "angelology" and "demonology" is that much of it is borrowed from other religions, or, in some cases, the result of tradition being appended onto a mistranslation. A bit of everything is applicable to the concept of "Lucifer," as the original Hebrew, "heilel ben-schahar," meaning "Helel son of Shahar." Helel was a Babylonian / Canaanite god who was the son of another Babylonian / Canaanite god named Shahar. "Lucifer" originated out of the Latin Vulgate of Isaiah 14:12-14 using a Greek translation of the word "heosphorus," meaning "dawn-bearer," an epithet of Venus.

And there is a rather consistent pattern of this. "Beelzebub" was a deity worshipped by the Philistines--believed to be another name for "Baal." The word, "demon" and "devil" originated from "daeva," which started out as the name of the "good gods" in Vedic-era Hinduism, but were reviled by Zoroastrianism, an early schism from Hinduism that worshipped the "asuras," which were viewed as "bad gods" by Hindus. This game of musical chairs is why the word "deity," "demon," "devil" and "Deus" (Latin: "God") have the same Indo-European root, "*dyeus."

Generally, the logical problem with Satan--that is, having a subordinate creation of God responsible for all evil--is a result of this syncretism. As you can see above, "evil" was generally personified as a demonization of "false gods." This was apparently the case in very early Zoroastrianism, with clues indicating that Zoroaster himself did not view the Hindu daevas as "demons," but rather as false gods unworthy of worship. This would be in keeping with the Vedic Hindu tradition regarding the "asuras"--not "evil," but, rather, "unworthy of worship." However, it appears that later tradition eventually transformed them into supernatural beings of pure evil.

It's only when Judeo-Christianity "demoted" Satan from a god, as expected in comparative religions, to an angel, while keeping all of his god-like attributes, that we created this contradiction.
Meh. . .I dunno. For me, at least, that's not all that shattering. I don't have a problem with viewing Satan as a "rival god" in a sense. (I'm sure he likes to view himself that way). I always thought of the Baal's and what not as represenatitve of an actual supernatural power, and calling him/them "gods" doesn't really bother me. Even Jesus showed a certain flexiblity about the use of the word "gods" quoting scripture to illustrate that we as humans might be considered "gods." To me there is "gods" and there is God.

Furthermore, I think the earlier parts of the Old Testament make it clear that the authors (i.e. the books of Moses and so on) didn't seem aware of the existence of Satan. They attributed both evil and good to God at that time. There's a classic example of the story of King David's decsion to take a census of Israel. In one Biblical account it says the "the Spirit of the Lord" made him do it (this was something "wrong" for which David and Israel later reaped consequenfces), but in a later account of the exact same story it says that Satan tempted him to do it, portraying an evolving understanding of the nature of spiritual conflict.

So the whole idea that the God/Satan thing might have evolved over time, even involving the factors you described, doesn't inherently invalidate the concept for me.

Oh, and one more thing. I'm not a as well-versed in this stuff as you are, but didn't Zorastrianism develop in Persia? I didn't know the Hindu religion was practiced there.
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Old 12-19-2006, 09:16 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally posted by maycocksean
Oh, and one more thing. I'm not a as well-versed in this stuff as you are, but didn't Zorastrianism develop in Persia? I didn't know the Hindu religion was practiced there.
Well, religion is an evolving institution, and, at one point in prehistory, mostly everyone from Europe stretching to India (minus the Semitic tribes, which includes the Jews and Muslims) were "Indo-European." Their common language origin also indicates common cultural and spiritual heritages, and, at some point millennia ago, the two religions split and went on divergent paths.

Here's a map to illustrate my point about migration:



We could probably reveal a similar progression with early Semitic religion, if it weren't for the fact that their migration from Africa ended in prehistory, and no further migration occurs. This ends up in contrast to the Indo-European migration, where early Hinduism and the Vikings were essentially the beginning and the end of a long series of migrations.
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Old 12-19-2006, 09:48 PM   #38
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Originally posted by Ormus


Well, religion is an evolving institution, and, at one point in prehistory, mostly everyone from Europe stretching to India (minus the Semitic tribes, which includes the Jews and Muslims) were "Indo-European." Their common language origin also indicates common cultural and spiritual heritages, and, at some point millennia ago, the two religions split and went on divergent paths.

Here's a map to illustrate my point about migration:



We could probably reveal a similar progression with early Semitic religion, if it weren't for the fact that their migration from Africa ended in prehistory, and no further migration occurs. This ends up in contrast to the Indo-European migration, where early Hinduism and the Vikings were essentially the beginning and the end of a long series of migrations.
Hmmm. A key to go with the color coding on the map might help me a bit here.

But correct me if I'm wrong--you're saying that religion of the Persians at the time Zorastrianism developed was essentially a form of what we now know as Hinduism?
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Old 12-19-2006, 10:59 PM   #39
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Originally posted by maycocksean
Hmmm. A key to go with the color coding on the map might help me a bit here.
The only "key" is the time stamp. It's not meant to identify specific cultures.

Quote:
But correct me if I'm wrong--you're saying that religion of the Persians at the time Zorastrianism developed was essentially a form of what we now know as Hinduism?
Yes, more or less, although it split from Vedic Hinduism, which scholars date from the 1st-2nd millennium B.C. In other words, it has very little in common with modern Hinduism, as Hinduism itself has changed considerably over the last 3000 years. Back then, it was probably just a matter of switching sets of deities, as the "asuras" that Zoroastrians worshipped were derided as "false gods" by Vedic Hindus, and the "daevas" that the Hindus worshipped were derided as "false gods" by Zoroastrians.

One of the best examples of this is with the deity, Indra. Indra is the chief deity in the "Rigveda," the holiest book in Vedic Hinduism. In Zoroastrianism, however, Indra is the leader of the "false gods," equated as "devils." In the Vendidad, one of the books of the Avesta (Zoroastrian scriptures), Indra is one of six chief demons.

Essentially, this shows a common pattern in religion, where a neighboring religion's "gods" become "devils" in the other. The "Lucifer/Beelzebub" example illustrates how this occurred in Judaism, where neighboring Semitic deities became equated with evil.

Just to note, just as Hinduism evolved further from Vedic Hinduism, Zoroastrianism evolved substantially from its early heritage. It ventured away from polytheism in its earliest years, eventually to dualism (Ahura Mazda, god of light; Angra Mainyu, god of darkness) by the time of the Persian Empire by demoting all those "gods" into supernatural sub-deities like angels and demons (and, yes, they have a full angelology and demonology, comparable to Christian traditions). Presently, the few Zoroastrians still in existence are monotheistic, having demoted Angra Mainyu to an evil being comparable to a "Holy Spirit," which, in practice, is not all that different from Satan's relationship to God in Christian tradition. The latter occurred in the 19th century, as a defense against Christian missionaries, interestingly enough.
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Old 12-20-2006, 08:32 AM   #40
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Thanks for the elaboration, Melon. As always I'm impressed by your scholarship.

Again Satan's relative standing in the "hierarchy" through history whether represented by the gods of the neighbors or some sort of "opposite but equal" god is really neither here nor there for me. But it is interesting.
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Old 12-21-2006, 01:55 PM   #41
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Who needs Satan? The human race itself has proven time and time again that it is capable of every evil deed with no prompting from The Man in Red Horns
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Old 12-21-2006, 02:00 PM   #42
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Originally posted by Laird/Bono
Who needs Satan? The human race itself has proven time and time again that it is capable of every evil deed with no prompting from The Man in Red Horns
I think the thread is asking if there even is a difference between the evil we do and the man with red horns. "Satan" is not exclusively the devil man with red horns.
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Old 12-21-2006, 04:32 PM   #43
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The only thing that bothers me is the concept is so logically wrong. To say that some how this rogue force or spirit somehow found it's way into our universe even though god creates everything. The only evil in the world comes from humans. I believe someone in this forum says humans aren't the authors of sin. So i guess this means we no longer have freewill huh?
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Old 12-21-2006, 05:15 PM   #44
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Originally posted by edgeboy
The only thing that bothers me is the concept is so logically wrong. To say that some how this rogue force or spirit somehow found it's way into our universe even though god creates everything. The only evil in the world comes from humans. I believe someone in this forum says humans aren't the authors of sin. So i guess this means we no longer have freewill huh?
I believe God = Everything.
I don't believe in Satan or Hell

Why would an unconditional loving God send humans to hell to burn in eternal damnation?
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Old 12-21-2006, 09:39 PM   #45
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The only thing that bothers me is the concept is so logically wrong. To say that some how this rogue force or spirit somehow found it's way into our universe even though god creates everything.
What bothers you about this?

a God of perfect love cannot create a being without free choice which would necessarily include the freedom to choose not to follow God's way of love. So in fact a perfect God HAD to create someone who could choose to be the opposite of who God is. Based on my understanding of Scripture, Satan wasn't created "evil"--he was good at first, but chose evil.


Quote:
Originally posted by edgeboy
I believe someone in this forum says humans aren't the authors of sin. So i guess this means we no longer have freewill huh?
I believe I was the one that said humans aren't the authors of sin. Just because someone else, besides a human being developed an alternative system to God's--one based on selfishness and pride-- and offered that system to humanity, how does that affect or take away our freedom of choice? We still have the freedom to choose whether to embrace selfishness or love.

I'm not the author of the ipod. It doesn't mean I am therefore compelled to use one.

I think you're mixing up the concepts of the "originator" of sin, who I believe is Satan (He's the one who came up with the "idea." I'm sure if he hadn't someone else would have, perhaps even a human being), and the "author" of specific "sins" in our daily lives which obviously come from us, from our own choices. (Note that I don't believe that sin can exist in the absence of choice).
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