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The lesser of two evils

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  • The lesser of two evils

    This thread is based on a conversation that came up in the shoutbox earlier. I'm not including the entire conversation, but I've tried to avoid taking anything out of context. Ben and ke7ejx can correct me as they see fit.


    Originally posted by Cow Poke
    the Bible says rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft

    1 Sam 15 [23]*For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

    There seems to be three different takes on this passage. The first is ke7ejx's:


    Originally posted by ke7ejx
    wow, to me that's like comparing theft to adultery

    I work in the legal field. And where law is concerned, the courts aren't going to hang someone for jaywalking.

    right, but let's put God in the mix as the highest court so to speak (this comes from the book of ke7ejx). God loves us and while he's a vengeful God, he's also a merciful one. Witchcraft is a more serious sin than jaywalking and the courts used to kill people for that. God didn't like it much either. However, rebellion is a lesser offense. God will still be ticked by it, but he isn't going to hang the person for it. Because while sin in itself is displeasing to God, he prioritizes them

    The second is Ben Zwycky's:

    Originally posted by Ben Zwycky
    the passage CP quoted is using poetic language to illustrate how seriously God takes sin. In terms of meeting god's moral standards for salvation, it's a binary question, any sin versus no sin, but some sins are worse than others, otherwse there'd be literally no way to choose 'the lesser of two evils'

    And mine is the third:

    Originally posted by Carrikature
    I haven't found anything that actually says God considers sins to be different; it's all just sin
    And in response to ke's comments about the law:

    Originally posted by Carrikature
    but those are human concepts, and the goals are different


    Is there such a thing as the lesser of two evils? Does God prioritize evils? Is there a binary standard which all fail, and a separate gradient by which people are punished? I think the answer is no to all of these questions. Ben and ke clearly disagree. What are your thoughts?




    For the record, I have requested and been granted permission to create this thread. My participation in this thread will be strictly under the framework that Christianity is true. If I stray from that, please correct me.
    I'm not here anymore.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Carrikature View Post
    This thread is based on a conversation that came up in the shoutbox earlier. I'm not including the entire conversation, but I've tried to avoid taking anything out of context. Ben and ke7ejx can correct me as they see fit.





    There seems to be three different takes on this passage. The first is ke7ejx's:





    The second is Ben Zwycky's:




    And mine is the third:



    And in response to ke's comments about the law:





    Is there such a thing as the lesser of two evils? Does God prioritize evils? Is there a binary standard which all fail, and a separate gradient by which people are punished? I think the answer is no to all of these questions. Ben and ke clearly disagree. What are your thoughts?




    For the record, I have requested and been granted permission to create this thread. My participation in this thread will be strictly under the framework that Christianity is true. If I stray from that, please correct me.
    I think this may be a vague answer to the topic:
    God’s Righteous Judgment

    2 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?

    5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 God “will repay each person according to what they have done.”[a] 7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9 There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10 but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11 For God does not show favoritism.
    "Kahahaha! Let's get lunatic!"-Add LP
    "And the Devil did grin, for his darling sin is pride that apes humility"-Samuel Taylor Coleridge
    Oh ye of little fiber. Do you not know what I've done for you? You will obey. ~Cerealman for Prez.

    Comment


    • #3
      Actually, I always said "the same author...." (20/02/2014 08:21)
      Last edited by Cow Poke; 02-20-2014, 05:23 PM.
      "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

      Comment


      • #4
        There is difference in the weight of sin, and there is difference in punishment.

        Luke 20:45-47
        Then in the audience of all the people he said unto his disciples, Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts; Which devour widows' houses, and for a shew make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation.


        Also, the punishment for witchcraft and idolatry was death. In the context of the passage you cited, Saul did not get killed right then. He was not actually guilty of witchcraft or idolatry. But he was the king, so his rebellion was a very serious issue. And in the end, he does wind up committing witchcraft and then dying for it. So he was sort of on a downward spiral.

        The main reason Christians (falsely) claim that all sin is equal is because even minor sin is enough to keep you out of heaven.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
          Actually, I always said "the same author...." (20/02/2014 08:21)
          What I was getting at, and was distracted, was that the same Author who said "thou shall not murder" also said "thou shall not bear false witness".

          Is murder, therefore, the same as lying? As to severity, no - as to punishment, yes. ANY sin separates us from God. Sin is sin. (not withstanding the fact that there is "the unpardonable sin".)

          For the record -- my position on sin: I'm again' it.
          "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Obsidian View Post
            There is difference in the weight of sin, and there is difference in punishment.

            Luke 20:45-47
            Then in the audience of all the people he said unto his disciples, Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts; Which devour widows' houses, and for a shew make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation.


            Also, the punishment for witchcraft and idolatry was death. In the context of the passage you cited, Saul did not get killed right then. He was not actually guilty of witchcraft or idolatry. But he was the king, so his rebellion was a very serious issue. And in the end, he does wind up committing witchcraft and then dying for it. So he was sort of on a downward spiral.

            The main reason Christians (falsely) claim that all sin is equal is because even minor sin is enough to keep you out of heaven.
            As much as I hate to agree with Obsidian, the "ultimate consequence" of sin is, indeed, separation from God, and I would agree that the EARTHLY punishment is different. ANY sin, however, can have the same consequence of keeping us out of heaven.
            "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

            Comment


            • #7
              I think that not only are there different levels of reward for good Christian behavior, but that there are different levels of punishment for the unbelieving:

              Matthew 10:14-15
              And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.

              Comment


              • #8
                The Westminster Larger Catechism summarizes this issue thusly:

                Q. 150. Are all transgressions of the law of God equally heinous in themselves, and in the sight of God?
                A. All transgressions of the law are not equally heinous; but some sins in themselves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others.

                Q. 151. What are those aggravations that make some sins more heinous than others?
                A. Sins receive their aggravations,
                1. From the persons offending; if they be of riper age, greater experience or grace, eminent for profession, gifts, place, office, guides to others, and whose example is likely to be followed by others.
                2. From the parties offended: if immediately against God, his attributes, and worship; against Christ, and his grace; the Holy Spirit, his witness, and workings; against superiors, men of eminency, and such as we stand especially related and engaged unto; against any of the saints, particularly weak brethren, the souls of them, or any other, and the common good of all or many.
                3. From the nature and quality of the offence: if it be against the express letter of the law, break many commandments, contain in it many sins: if not only conceived in the heart, but breaks forth in words and actions, scandalize others, and admit of no reparation: if against means, mercies, judgments, light of nature, conviction of conscience, public or private admonition, censures of the church, civil punishments; and our prayers, purposes, promises, vows, covenants, and engagements to God or men: if done deliberately, willfully, presumptuously, impudently, boastingly, maliciously, frequently, obstinately, with delight, continuance, or relapsing after repentance.
                4. From circumstances of time, and place: if on the Lord's day, or other times of divine worship; or immediately before or after these, or other helps to prevent or remedy such miscarriages: if in public, or in the presence of others, who are thereby likely to be provoked or defiled.

                Q. 152. What doth every sin deserve at the hands of God?
                A. Every sin, even the least, being against the sovereignty, goodness, and holiness of God, and against his righteous law, deserveth his wrath and curse, both in this life, and that which is to come; and cannot be expiated but by the blood of Christ.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Where I was going with my light-hearted soiree in the shoutbox* (before getting the call from my wife concerning her discussion with her oncologist) was the way we often perceive sin. It has always bothered me, for example, that a man can murder his wife, go to prison, write a book about it, and become a Baptist pastor. That man, however, if he had DIVORCED his wife has no hope whatsoever in most Baptist churches of being a pastor.

                  And, while I'm at it, I'll just toss in James' comment...
                  James 4:[17]*Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.



                  *I didn't think we were having a theological discussion -- I thought we were "keeping it light".
                  Last edited by Cow Poke; 02-20-2014, 06:13 PM.
                  "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Have you seen this thread? It seems to ask a similar, though much narrower, question.

                    http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/sh...ahab-and-lying

                    ETA: On second thought, the question raised isn't actually that similar. Sorry if this post ends up being clutter.
                    Last edited by Zymologist; 02-20-2014, 06:16 PM.
                    I DENOUNCE DONALD J. TRUMP AND ALL HIS IMMORAL ACTS.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Zymologist View Post
                      Have you seen this thread? It seems to ask a similar, though much narrower, question.

                      http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/sh...ahab-and-lying
                      yes, in that thread, I said...
                      Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                      You can lie to the enemy.
                      There should be no real expectation on the part of your enemy that you will tell them the truth.
                      "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        It came to mind that Solomon strikes a contrast between a thief who steals bread because he is hungry, and an adulterer.

                        Prov 6:[30]*Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry; [31]*But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his house. [32]*But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.
                        "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Carrikature View Post
                          rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft
                          Rebellion and witchcraft are just blatant rejections of God's authority just manifesting in different ways. I really don't see why one needs to read metaphor or hyperbole into it.

                          Is there such a thing as the lesser of two evils? Does God prioritize evils? Is there a binary standard which all fail, and a separate gradient by which people are punished? I think the answer is no to all of these questions. Ben and ke clearly disagree. What are your thoughts?
                          Yes to all. I don't see why this should be controversial. It's basic theology.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Good points have been made here, I'd like to throw in a couple of other passages:

                            James 3:1

                            (teachers will be judged more harshly)


                            2 Chronicles 30: 18-20

                            (heart attitude being more important than ritual obedience)
                            --------------------------------------------------------

                            Nakonec pravda vitezi (In the end the truth wins)

                            Nobility Among Us and Beyond the Mist are now on sale worldwide, as is my first poetry collection, Selected Verse - Faith and Family and my second, Selected Verse - Heroes and Wonders

                            Explore the Cinematic Superverse

                            A Hope That Burns

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Ok, I've read and understood so far. I'm curious why it should be the case that there are different levels of punishment. Why should God care?
                              I'm not here anymore.

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