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A God Made in Our Image?

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  • A God Made in Our Image?

    Sometimes when I read blogs or boards like this I'm overwhelmed by the amount of variation in secondary Christian beliefs, and while some of those belief have what seems to me very good pedigree, with plenty of scriptural backing, I'm sometimes left wondering if sometimes we adhere to certain doctrine because it aligns with our own views about the world, rather than the other way around (we aligning ourselves to, say, scripture's worldview).

    Here's an example, and this is JUST an example. I don't mean to make this the topic of the thread, and I don't mean to imply that anyone's views on the subject are wrong or are not Biblically sound. But let's take for instance the topic of hell. There are a number of views on hell that might include the view that people in hell are eternally damned by God against their will as a form of ultimate justice, and then there are those who believe that those who are in hell are in hell because they can't stand to be in God's company, and thus the doors of hell are locked from the inside, and then there are some who think that people who are in hell will eventually be drawn back to God and released from their torment, and there are some who believe that those in hell will eventually be annihilated, and their torment will cease because they will be destroyed, and then there are those who maybe have a view that combines a few from list a.) and a few from list b.), or maybe none of the above.

    Now, not all of these views can in reality be true, and probably most people are going to go with what seems to have the most scriptural backing, and makes the most logical sense from what we know about God. But is it at all possible that sometimes we take the view that seems to us more likely because it aligns with our own feelings, your own presuppositions? Is it possible for the guy who believes in a more universalist version of hell to hold that view because he considers the other views too harsh, too demanding for a God of grace, and he can't imagine a God who exists who is less benevolent, less forgiving than he is? Or the guy who believes God locks up the damned and throws away the key, does he hold that view because he can't believe in a God who is any less just, any less fair than he is?

    Now I don't really need an answer to the questions about hell, its just an example, and its just as likely that the universalist, and the guy who believes God throws away the key both have tremendous reasons for believing what they believe outside of their own feelings on the subject.

    But my question is, is it possible that we can get stuck making God in our own image, choosing the things that we like and/or don't like, less by reason, and more on maybe a gut or emotional level? And if so, how do we stop ourselves from doing that? Or how do we temper ourselves so we don't get in the way of coming to know who God is? Is maybe an apophatic view of God important for this very reason, or does the apophatic view come with its own picking and choosing what we don't want to believe?

    Your thoughts?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Adrift View Post
    But my question is, is it possible that we can get stuck making God in our own image, choosing the things that we like and/or don't like, less by reason, and more on maybe a gut or emotional level?
    When do we not?

    And if so, how do we stop ourselves from doing that?
    Ecclesia semper reformanda est. We should also cease using Hellenistic approaches.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Adrift View Post
      Sometimes when I read blogs or boards like this I'm overwhelmed by the amount of variation in secondary Christian beliefs, and while some of those belief have what seems to me very good pedigree, with plenty of scriptural backing, I'm sometimes left wondering if sometimes we adhere to certain doctrine because it aligns with our own views about the world, rather than the other way around (we aligning ourselves to, say, scripture's worldview).

      Here's an example, and this is JUST an example. I don't mean to make this the topic of the thread, and I don't mean to imply that anyone's views on the subject are wrong or are not Biblically sound. But let's take for instance the topic of hell. There are a number of views on hell that might include the view that people in hell are eternally damned by God against their will as a form of ultimate justice, and then there are those who believe that those who are in hell are in hell because they can't stand to be in God's company, and thus the doors of hell are locked from the inside, and then there are some who think that people who are in hell will eventually be drawn back to God and released from their torment, and there are some who believe that those in hell will eventually be annihilated, and their torment will cease because they will be destroyed, and then there are those who maybe have a view that combines a few from list a.) and a few from list b.), or maybe none of the above.

      Now, not all of these views can in reality be true, and probably most people are going to go with what seems to have the most scriptural backing, and makes the most logical sense from what we know about God. But is it at all possible that sometimes we take the view that seems to us more likely because it aligns with our own feelings, your own presuppositions? Is it possible for the guy who believes in a more universalist version of hell to hold that view because he considers the other views too harsh, too demanding for a God of grace, and he can't imagine a God who exists who is less benevolent, less forgiving than he is? Or the guy who believes God locks up the damned and throws away the key, does he hold that view because he can't believe in a God who is any less just, any less fair than he is?

      Now I don't really need an answer to the questions about hell, its just an example, and its just as likely that the universalist, and the guy who believes God throws away the key both have tremendous reasons for believing what they believe outside of their own feelings on the subject.

      But my question is, is it possible that we can get stuck making God in our own image, choosing the things that we like and/or don't like, less by reason, and more on maybe a gut or emotional level? And if so, how do we stop ourselves from doing that? Or how do we temper ourselves so we don't get in the way of coming to know who God is? Is maybe an apophatic view of God important for this very reason, or does the apophatic view come with its own picking and choosing what we don't want to believe?

      Your thoughts?
      I think it really just comes down to submitting to Scripture. Of course there is an interpretive process we must go through, but clearly all interpretations are not created equal. I find the biblical text rather clear for the most part, and I think we need to submit to that clarity. Combining our Bible study with prayer and a Holy Spirit infused life, I think God will direct us to teachers he has appointed to expound upon the grey areas of Scripture. Eventually we will be able to discern when to maintain unity and when to divide on issues.
      Last edited by Scrawly; 11-18-2014, 02:01 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        We should focus on the stuff we're clearly told in the Bible to do, and not to do.
        "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

        Comment


        • #5
          I think that's one of the benefits that a discussion board like this can bring. It gives us exposure to people with different beliefs, and here they've usually got reasons for their belief. So we can discuss and learn about other approaches to beliefs like hell, and that allows us to modify, deepen, nuance and expand our own beliefs.

          Yay for TWeb!!!



          One possible problem I wonder about with apophatic theology is that (I believe) God has clearly and definitely revealed certain aspects of Himself. "God is love", for example. So while acknowledging that we can't (presently, in this world at least,) fully understand or describe God - or maybe even aspects of God - yet I think it is true that we can truthfully say certain things about Him. Some advocates of apophatic theology seem to me to be denying this altogether, which I think is both wrong and self-contradictory.
          ...>>> Witty remark or snarky quote of another poster goes here <<<...

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by MaxVel View Post
            One possible problem I wonder about with apophatic theology is that (I believe) God has clearly and definitely revealed certain aspects of Himself. "God is love", for example. So while acknowledging that we can't (presently, in this world at least,) fully understand or describe God - or maybe even aspects of God - yet I think it is true that we can truthfully say certain things about Him. Some advocates of apophatic theology seem to me to be denying this altogether, which I think is both wrong and self-contradictory.
            I think that happens a lot -- people fixate on certain attributes of God, failing to understand how complex and "all consuming" He is. Wrath, Love, Justice, Mercy, Judgement.... Blessed be the Name of the Lord!
            "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

            Comment


            • #7
              Moderator's note: Kelp is permitted to post in this thread.
              "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by MaxVel View Post
                I think that's one of the benefits that a discussion board like this can bring. It gives us exposure to people with different beliefs, and here they've usually got reasons for their belief. So we can discuss and learn about other approaches to beliefs like hell, and that allows us to modify, deepen, nuance and expand our own beliefs.

                Yay for TWeb!!!



                One possible problem I wonder about with apophatic theology is that (I believe) God has clearly and definitely revealed certain aspects of Himself. "God is love", for example. So while acknowledging that we can't (presently, in this world at least,) fully understand or describe God - or maybe even aspects of God - yet I think it is true that we can truthfully say certain things about Him. Some advocates of apophatic theology seem to me to be denying this altogether, which I think is both wrong and self-contradictory.
                I think you hit the nail on the head here.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                  We should focus on the stuff we're clearly told in the Bible to do, and not to do.
                  One of my favorite sayings goes something like, "We do not need to understand the Bible better as much as we need to put what we do understand into practice.
                  Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Jedidiah View Post
                    One of my favorite sayings goes something like, "We do not need to understand the Bible better as much as we need to put what we do understand into practice.
                    EGGzackly!
                    "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Adrift View Post
                      But my question is, is it possible that we can get stuck making God in our own image, choosing the things that we like and/or don't like, less by reason, and more on maybe a gut or emotional level? And if so, how do we stop ourselves from doing that? Or how do we temper ourselves so we don't get in the way of coming to know who God is? Is maybe an apophatic view of God important for this very reason, or does the apophatic view come with its own picking and choosing what we don't want to believe?

                      Your thoughts?
                      The Eastern Church tends toward an apophatic view of God, but does not typically have this problem. This is because the Church relies rather more on tradition than the individual to define belief.
                      Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

                      Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
                      sigpic
                      I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Paprika View Post
                        Ecclesia semper reformanda est.
                        Isn't that how the Western church got so divided in the first place? Reform usually means division because not everybody in the group is willing to reform.
                        Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

                        Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
                        sigpic
                        I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

                        Comment

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