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Switch to Forum Live View Is God's touching stone test really fair?
3 years ago  ::  Apr 16, 2012 - 6:18PM #1
Knowsnothing
Posts: 1,150

Genesis 3:17-19


 17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’


   “Cursed is the ground because of you;
   through painful toil you will eat food from it
   all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
   and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your brow
   you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
   since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
   and to dust you will return.”



According to JW doctrine, part of the reason for suffering is that God had to allow humanity to rule without God, and show that such rule would end in disaster.


Ok.


What I don't understand is that God wasn't merely satisfied with seeing humanity fail on its own.  God had to additionally curse the ground to prove his point.  Does anyone find that a bit.... unfair?  The odds are stacked against human rule.


1.) imperfection/sin


2.) death


3.) disease


4.) famine


5.) God cursing the ground, making the ground more unproductive I'm assuming


6.) Satan's influence



Honestly, can God truly use this as the standard to show that humanity doesn't deserve to rule on its own?

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3 years ago  ::  Apr 16, 2012 - 6:22PM #2
Knowsnothing
Posts: 1,150

Apr 16, 2012 -- 6:18PM, Knowsnothing wrote:


1.) imperfection/sin


2.) death


3.) disease


4.) famine


5.) God cursing the ground, making the ground more unproductive I'm assuming


6.) Satan's influence


7.) Natural disasters


8.) Time and unforseen occurence


9.) Predation


I'll add to the list as more difficulties come to mind.






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3 years ago  ::  Apr 16, 2012 - 7:22PM #3
cherubino
Posts: 7,277

Do you really think the authors of a primitive, didactic folk tale gave any thought to how 21st century theologians would analyze their story? Like it or not, the so-called Word of God was written in a literary idiom that has been out of use for centuries. We don't convey moral or theological principles with stories any more; instead, we do it with abstract ideas. The result is like putting a geometric grid over a Monet landscape and anaylzing the painting's aesthetic impact square by square. The method of inquiry is entirely inappropriate to the artistic medium.

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3 years ago  ::  Apr 16, 2012 - 8:09PM #4
Knowsnothing
Posts: 1,150

Apr 16, 2012 -- 7:22PM, cherubino wrote:


Do you really think the authors of a primitive, didactic folk tale gave any thought to how 21st century theologians would analyze their story? Like it or not, the so-called Word of God was written in a literary idiom that has been out of use for centuries. We don't convey moral or theological principles with stories any more; instead, we do it with abstract ideas. The result is like putting a geometric grid over a Monet landscape and anaylzing the painting's aesthetic impact square by square. The method of inquiry is entirely inappropriate to the artistic medium.




"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."


Aristotle.

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3 years ago  ::  Apr 16, 2012 - 8:31PM #5
cherubino
Posts: 7,277

Apr 16, 2012 -- 8:09PM, Knowsnothing wrote:


Apr 16, 2012 -- 7:22PM, cherubino wrote:


Do you really think the authors of a primitive, didactic folk tale gave any thought to how 21st century theologians would analyze their story? Like it or not, the so-called Word of God was written in a literary idiom that has been out of use for centuries. We don't convey moral or theological principles with stories any more; instead, we do it with abstract ideas. The result is like putting a geometric grid over a Monet landscape and anaylzing the painting's aesthetic impact square by square. The method of inquiry is entirely inappropriate to the artistic medium.




"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."


Aristotle.




Oh, please don't get me wrong. There is a great deal of insight into human nature in Genesis, and I say the way to comprehend it is to enter into the author's thought process.


I found this piece on he web a few years ago, but now it seems to have disappeared and I can't give it proper credit.


Let's pretend it's the year 4000 and anthropologists have begun doing some serious research into the cultural ephemera of ancient civilizations, including the United States in the early twenty-first century. Buried deep under the accumulated rubble of two thousand years they find ancient documents and compare and analyze them until they can begin to translate English from that era into their own language. In one dig, the archaeologists discover some fragmented pieces of newspaper. They eventually decipher a front page story about a robbery: "Guard guns down bandit caught trying to steal company's payroll." What they read is illustrated by a picture of the bandit lying in a pool of blood.

Next they discover parts of the sports section: "Crowd cheers as New York catcher guns down St. Louis runner trying to steal second base." Imagine their shock as they come to the conclusion that Americans enjoyed sporting events where contestants fought with firearms to the death. Further confusion ensues when they find a section of the comics. They wonder, "Did dogs talk in the old days and did cats boss their owners around?" They remain baffled until further finds of newspapers, magazines and books give them an improved knowledge of English usage as it was actually spoken and written in American culture. They discover that "gunning down a runner" on the sports page means something quite different from what "gunning down a fleeing bandit" meant on the front page. The task of the fortieth century archaeologist would be to enter into the minds of twenty-first century Americans, to learn our culture, to understand our language and to find out what each writer had intended to say in a wide variety of contexts. Obviously, much study would be required before they could interpret our writings, but one advantage they'd have is that they would be looking at the original documents instead of having to sift through 20 centuries of translations, re-translations and commentaries.

Understanding how we twentieth century Americans connected the dots without thinking would no doubt be a rather daunting chore after the passage of two thousand years. Everything from our cutting-edge scientific lore to our petroleum wars to our roughly 40,000 different religious denominations would no doubt strike them as mired in primitive symbolism and blurred by culturally reinforced superstition.

So, why can't we do the same thing with the Bible?
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3 years ago  ::  Apr 16, 2012 - 8:50PM #6
cherubino
Posts: 7,277

You might also be interested to know that there are actually scholars who study the Bible in its cultural and linguistic context and who have no dog in the theological fight that consumes the various denominations. They even have their own sense of humor about it all.

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3 years ago  ::  Apr 17, 2012 - 6:04AM #7
DNT
Posts: 1,514

Apr 16, 2012 -- 8:31PM, cherubino wrote:

Apr 16, 2012 -- 8:09PM, Knowsnothing wrote:


Apr 16, 2012 -- 7:22PM, cherubino wrote:


Do you really think the authors of a primitive, didactic folk tale gave any thought to how 21st century theologians would analyze their story? Like it or not, the so-called Word of God was written in a literary idiom that has been out of use for centuries. We don't convey moral or theological principles with stories any more; instead, we do it with abstract ideas. The result is like putting a geometric grid over a Monet landscape and anaylzing the painting's aesthetic impact square by square. The method of inquiry is entirely inappropriate to the artistic medium.




"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."


Aristotle.




Oh, please don't get me wrong. There is a great deal of insight into human nature in Genesis, and I say the way to comprehend it is to enter into the author's thought process.


I found this piece on he web a few years ago, but now it seems to have disappeared and I can't give it proper credit.


Let's pretend it's the year 4000 and anthropologists have begun doing some serious research into the cultural ephemera of ancient civilizations, including the United States in the early twenty-first century. Buried deep under the accumulated rubble of two thousand years they find ancient documents and compare and analyze them until they can begin to translate English from that era into their own language. In one dig, the archaeologists discover some fragmented pieces of newspaper. They eventually decipher a front page story about a robbery: "Guard guns down bandit caught trying to steal company's payroll." What they read is illustrated by a picture of the bandit lying in a pool of blood.

Next they discover parts of the sports section: "Crowd cheers as New York catcher guns down St. Louis runner trying to steal second base." Imagine their shock as they come to the conclusion that Americans enjoyed sporting events where contestants fought with firearms to the death. Further confusion ensues when they find a section of the comics. They wonder, "Did dogs talk in the old days and did cats boss their owners around?" They remain baffled until further finds of newspapers, magazines and books give them an improved knowledge of English usage as it was actually spoken and written in American culture. They discover that "gunning down a runner" on the sports page means something quite different from what "gunning down a fleeing bandit" meant on the front page. The task of the fortieth century archaeologist would be to enter into the minds of twenty-first century Americans, to learn our culture, to understand our language and to find out what each writer had intended to say in a wide variety of contexts. Obviously, much study would be required before they could interpret our writings, but one advantage they'd have is that they would be looking at the original documents instead of having to sift through 20 centuries of translations, re-translations and commentaries.

Understanding how we twentieth century Americans connected the dots without thinking would no doubt be a rather daunting chore after the passage of two thousand years. Everything from our cutting-edge scientific lore to our petroleum wars to our roughly 40,000 different religious denominations would no doubt strike them as mired in primitive symbolism and blurred by culturally reinforced superstition.

So, why can't we do the same thing with the Bible?


Hey cherubino


We cant do this with the Bible because it is Historically accurate,  and more importantly it is prophetically accurate, as i have said before there is a point where you have to choose which is accurate and which is not and that choice will have to be a step of faith unless there is empirical evidence to say otherwise which there is not unfortunately.


God Bless You


Denis.

1Ti 3:16  And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
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3 years ago  ::  Apr 17, 2012 - 8:46AM #8
cherubino
Posts: 7,277

Apr 17, 2012 -- 6:04AM, DNT wrote:

Apr 16, 2012 -- 8:31PM, cherubino wrote:



Hey cherubino


We cant do this with the Bible because it is Historically accurate,  and more importantly it is prophetically accurate, as i have said before there is a point where you have to choose which is accurate and which is not and that choice will have to be a step of faith unless there is empirical evidence to say otherwise which there is not unfortunately.


God Bless You


Denis.




Denis,


In any spoken or written language, accuracy depeds entirely on the meanings of words and these meanings are approximate, flexible, nuanced and subject to constant change with time and usage. And that's just within our own 21st century English. The problem is exacerbated when translating from another language in another era.


Except in strictly symbolic logic systems such as mathematics or chess, pinning down the exact and immutable meanings of words is generally an exercise in futility. The problems arise in communication when we try to specify that truth in verbal terms, and that's owing to what Michael Polanyi called "the poverty of language," by which he meant the inadequacy of words themselves to fully encompass all the nuances of meaning that the various participants in any conversation bring to it and strive to convey.

So words like prophecy always carry a heavy load of idiosyncratic personal and cultural baggage from previous usage, the non-universality of which of which each speaker is often blissfully unaware. And the harder we try to stabilize, standardize or objectify these meanings, the more elusive, controversial and sometimes oxymoronic they actually become.

Here's my favorite example of a failed attempt to govern or control the meaning of a word, and in this case the word is actually "Christian" itself. In about the 14th century, the French nobility decided that words like "idiot" and "imbecile" were cruel and unnecessarily demeaning to one's mentally challenged neighbor. Henceforth, they decreed, the proper way to refer to such a person was to be, "Il est bon Chrétien" or, in very rough translation, "He's a good Christian, now leave him alone." Time, usage and some innate human distaste for enforced civility eventually changed that, and now in its shortened form, both we and the French just say "cretin."

For another example, if I told you that I have a friend who is tiny, no doubt you would imagine a small person. But if I told you I have a friend whose nickname is Tiny, your sense of the oxymoronic would intuitively kick in and you would probably imagine a 300 lb. linebacker who eats whole hams for lunch. If I said of someone that I obviously admire, "He's a gem," you would rightly interpret that I think highly of the fellow. But with a very slight change of inflection in my voice, it would be equally clear to you that my real intent was to imply that I think he's a jerk.

The moral of the story is that language is uncontrollably democratic, and today's official, well-mannered euphemism is tomorrow's biting epithet-- not in spite of any prohibition or attempts to stabilize the meaning, but precisely because of these efforts to control. And that, as they say, is literally the hell of it.Foot in Mouth

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3 years ago  ::  Apr 17, 2012 - 9:47AM #9
Kemmer
Posts: 16,649

"Uh-huh" can be a casually positive affirmation, or a statement of annoyed incredulity depending on inflection.

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3 years ago  ::  Apr 17, 2012 - 9:52AM #10
cherubino
Posts: 7,277

Apr 17, 2012 -- 9:47AM, Kemmer wrote:


"Uh-huh" can be a casually positive affirmation, or a statement of annoyed incredulity depending on inflection.




Uh huh.

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