AussieStig

Explaining the tougher parts of the Bible

9 posts in this topic

So, this relates to a post Jegsy made in the Evolution vs Creationism thread, but I didn't wanna hijack Naturally's thread!

I personally think it's a cop out for people to say that many things in the Bible aren't meant to be taken literally, and I believe that with just a little research and digging most things can be explained. I do also believe however that there are some prophecies etc. that are well above our understanding.

This thread has two purposes; to discuss what your thoughts are on taking the Bible literally plus an invitation to challenge me with tough questions. I will attempt to explain the more 'difficult' aspects of the Bible, such as how the dinosaurs can possibly fit in with the seven day creation.

While I consider myself to have a very good understanding of the Bible, I don't guarantee I'll have all the answers, but I'll at least make an attempt! I may also take a few days to come up with my responses as I can get pretty detailed when researching/discussing the Bible.

Lastly a disclaimer, any views expressed here will be my own personal opinion after prayer and careful research - they certainly don't represent the views of all Christians or any specific organisation.

So, come at me!

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lol! Fair enough! Like I said, I'm not saying evolution definitely happened, just that if it did, it doesn't "prove" God doesn't exist, or that the Bible is wrong.

Well, I've given what I think about taking the creation story of the Bible literally! So what do you think?

(Oh, and I'll just add to clarify for people: I still believe in the existence of Adam and Eve. They were the first human beings and every human being is descended from them. Without them, Original Sin doesn't work, because it would mean some people wouldn't inherit it, and some would, which is silly...)

xxx

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I personally don't agree that Adam and Eve were the first humans. You see in the Bible that on the sixth day God created man AND woman:

Gen 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

Gen 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

The Hebrew word for create here is:

bârâ' - A primitive root; (absolutely) to create; (qualified) to cut down (a wood), select, feed (as formative processes): - choose, create (creator), cut down, dispatch, do, make (fat).

This Hebrew word is the same as was used when God created (literally spoke into being) the animals and other creatures. Notice also men and women were created on the same day, I'll come back to this later.

Now many churches will teach that chapter two, explaining Adam and Eve's creation is just a repeat of chapter one...not so in my opinion!

Chapter two describes that Adam was formed out of the dust of the ground:

Gen 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

The Hewbrew word for formed:

yâtsar - to mould into a form; especially as a potter; figuratively to determine (that is, form a resolution): - X earthen, fashion, form, frame, make (-r), potter, purpose.

So we see here that while the sixth day humans were created, Adam was formed out of the dust of the earth. Whether that was before the sixth day, the Bible isn't clear (although I personally don't think so). Eve was of course formed from one of Adam's ribs at a later time, not at the same time as the sixth day humans were created.

Your question about how the sixth day humans could have been given sin is an interesting one. But I believe that when Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden this was the start of the downfall of man, and that sin was spread throughout the earth from there. Whether it was from their influence, or Satan's, or simply God changing the way people thought, I don't know.

So, Jegsy...a question back at ya (and don't take this as me being malicious - I'm more curious what your opinion is). If Adam and Eve were the first humans, where did Cain get his wife from?

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So, Jegsy...a question back at ya (and don't take this as me being malicious - I'm more curious what your opinion is). If Adam and Eve were the first humans, where did Cain get his wife from?

Em...that would be his sister. It's icky, but sort of needed at the start to get the human race up in numbers a little. Then, when there were enough people to go around, there was no need for siblings to marry each other any more, so God disallowed it. Anyway, that's my opinion...

xxx

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2) How can God "create" gay people (no it is not learned) and then say that they are evil for being the way he "created" them?

Even scientists have a difference of opinion regarding homosexuality and whether it's something you're born with or develop afterwards. So, the fact that you're born w/it is not a 100% agreed upon fact, strictly from a non-religious scientific point of view.

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This wasn't really the intention of my thread (which was to try and explain the intricacies and common misconceptions of the Bible), but I'll give it my best shot.

The Bible lists many sins, of which homosexuality is included. I don't shy away from that for one minute, and yes, my own personal belief is that a homosexual relationship is a sin, because the Bible says so and I believe it to be the word of God.

You make the point that it occurs in the wild, and you are correct. But there are many behaviours that animals exhibit that are still seen as wrong. Consider some animals that kill and eat their own kind in times of starvation. I am by no means comparing homosexuality to cannibalism, but I don't agree that you can use the principle of "animals do this, therefore it is natural for humans to do so too".

God created humans with a free will choice. He created them with the capacity to sin, some would argue that he even created us pre-programmed to sin (the Bible says that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God). That is why God delights in those who follow him, because we are shunning the evil ways of mankind. You could also ask why God made humans desire sex before marriage, or why he made us capable of killing each other.

Sorry, I can't explain how and why it is a sin - God knows and his thoughts are higher than mine.

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How do you decide which parts of the Bible to take literally and which ones not to?

Romans 16:16 says that we should greet everyone with a holy kiss.

I Corithians 11 teaches that women should cover their head when they pray.

Deuteronomy 25:5-6 teaches that if a huband dies and has no children then his wife should marry his brother. And when Jesus is confronted with this practice in Mark 12 he does not speak against it.

Many passages in the Bible seem to condone slavery. (Exodus 21:21, Lev 25:46 are two examples)

Psalm 137:9 says that God is happy when he dashes babies against the rocks.

You can't take the whole Bible literally. It just doesn't work. And I don't think God meant for us to take it literally.

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Romans 16:16 My own belief of this scripture is that times were different then, and it was culturally acceptable for men to greet each other with a kiss on the cheek. Nowadays it is perfectly acceptable to greet each other with a handshake, or a hug, as most cultures do not have men kissing each other on the cheek as a greeting.

1 Corinthians 11 - I'll have to get back to you on this one - to be honest I've never come across it before.

Deuteronomy 25/Mark 12 - You must remember here that the Sadducees were trying to trip up Jesus, as they did not believe in resurrection. Their question was more relative to who the seven times widow would be married to following the resurrection, not knowing that when they shall rise from the dead there will be no marriage etc. As we are living in the New Testament, we are no longer under the law - see Galatians 2:16 in particular (but most of the book of Galatians deals with the law Christ's sacrifice fulfilling the law)

Slavery - slavery was a much more common practice in the days of the Old Testament. Often slaves would be captives from previous lands conquered by Israel, in which case slavery for the captives was a merciful occupation. Once again, this is Old Testament law, and New Testament instruction tells masters to treat their servants with love and compassion.

Psalm 137:9 - Nowhere does it say that God condones this action - the Psalmist is lamenting of the destruction by Babylon in which many atrocities were committed. The Psalmist was praying to God for an 'eye for an eye' revenge of some of those atrocities, this does not mean that God agreed with it!

What can you follow if not the Bible? How does Christianity even work without the Bible, which is after all the Word of God?

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AussieStig, you did exactly what I was hoping you would do. You explained some things by saying they were cultural (like the kissing) and in doing so you aren't taking the Bible literally. And that's my point. I totally agree with you that there are many things in the Bible that describe the culture at the time. We don't apply those ideas or commands literally. There are no Christians who are true Bible literalists. It just comes down to how we pick and choose what we think we should take literally and what we shouldn't.

I totally think that we should follow the Bible. It is the Word of God. But rather than looking at it all literally I think we need to understand it within the culture of the time it was written. Then we need to ask what the underlying principles were behind the stories and commands. And then we need to ask how do we apply those principles in our culture. It's a challenging process because it involves thinking and studying. And at times Christians will disagree with each other on how to apply the principles in our culture. But that's why we desperately need the Holy Spirit who Jesus promised would guide us into all truth. And we also need to humbly admit that at times we will be wrong and we have misunderstood what God intended.

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