I don't KNOW God?

(Emily) #1

Because I don’t take every aspect of the Bible literally, I don’t know God. I don’t believe in a literal Adam and Eve, Garden of Eden, etc, but I do believe there is sin in the world. Not from Adam but because God gave each of us free will, and we sometimes we use free will to do evil. So Jesus’s sacrifice is still necessary imo. And I believe He died for me. And, yes, the Bible is God’s word but I believe it paints a broader picture that He created everything and that we all sin, cannot save ourselves, and need a Savior.

That some would claim others don’t’ know God just because they disagree with them. That makes me so mad I can’t even…Given my life history I’d say God and I know each other well.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #2

Emily, God is not the Bible. God is Jesus Christ. If you know Jesus, you know God.

John 1:1 (YLT)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God;

John 1:14 (YLT)
14 And the Word became flesh, and did tabernacle among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of an only Begotten of a Father, full of grace and truth.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #3

Emily can sure jump in to correct if I’m wrong about this, Roger, but it doesn’t seem that she was meaning that first statement as actually being her own, but rather an incredulous repetition of what others have been saying. If not, then I too would be (and was) confused about the opening sentence. But in the context of the rest of the paragraph (not to mention her closing sentence!) indicates that she doesn’t really believe that!

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #4


I certainly agree that Emily @Celticroots does not actually agree with that statement, however if you have read her many posts, you will see that notice that she is seems confused because unspecified people/person (clergy?) who are authority or act authoritatively claim that this is true.

What I am trying to do is show her precisely where in the Bible it demonstrates that the Bible is not divine, so she can refute this false belief once and for all. I have found others in this situation.

Perhaps she needs to accept once and for all Jesus Christ as her Savior and know the Holy Sprit in her heart, so she would know for sure that she knows God for herself.

(Emily) #5

I have accepted Christ as my Savior. In fact I felt the Holy Spirit telling me to do so. Admitted I was a sinner and that there was nothing I could do to save myself, and that I accepted His sacrifice as the only atonement for my sins.

I have OCD so I don’t want to falll into the trap of " did I really accept Him?" Then keep accepting Him over and over. That would fall under the definition of a compulsion which relieves the anxiety for a while but it always comes back. The what if question returns and before you know it your stuck in a vicious cycle. Others have reported the same thing. I think anxiety is at the core of this. OCD is the doubting disease. You cant reason with it. It will always find something to scare you over.

I figure it will crop up from time to time for the rest of my life. But God says He won’t cast away any who come to Him, so I try to believe that includes me. And that an imbalance of brain chemicals doesn’t change that.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #6

I rejoice to hear that, Emily – and not that I was trying to question or doubt it before. Don’t let anybody tell you that your salvation is in question when you already know and love Christ. And maybe what Roger says about the Bible not being itself divine might help (I agree with that – even if we all don’t agree about everything here). What a glorious mess of communities we all make, each with our hangups, doubts, and stubborn certainties. I’m glad Jesus reached out to everyone so indiscriminately – that’s a real comfort to me, as well as a call.

(Greg Rogers) #7

Celtic roots says: “Emily, God is not the Bible. God is Jesus Christ. If you know Jesus, you know God.”

I am not going to spend a lot of time on this but will say this: The reason I have made the argument over the last months that we must be much more careful to honor the Bible’s plain reading with right understanding for sure-but with reverence and care in the plain reading of the Bible is because of statements like this from Paul where he writes in 2 Cor. 11:3,4 “But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed…you put up with it easily enough.”

So what are the principles that we must grapple with here then? First, Paul believed in a literal Adam and Eve. Second, the apostle Paul was demanding that as one of many of God’s spokesmen at the time soon after Christ died, that one only acknowledges the true Jesus as it is the Jesus who is being defined by God’s very chosen spokesmen who indeed wrote the Bible. Study how a NT apostle is determined and defined sometime…very interesting study. There have been some who claim to be spokesmen today of new information about Jesus and I challenge you to study why this is impossible Biblically. From this, any time one suggests that Jesus is Jesus and with little regard to how He is defined in the Bible is suggesting the arrogant position that they are thereby capable of defining Him on their own.

So I absolutely do not agree with the idea that God is separate from how He is defined by the Bible. That makes Him possible to be living in my cat if I think so, right?

A friend of mine asked my just today if “Bishop” Eddie Long is in heaven when he died at the early age of 63 recently (supposedly from AIDS) because he believed in grace by faith in Christ yet lived an unbiblical life of arrogance, immorality, exploitive financial dealings etc. I told my friend that Eddie Long could very well be in hell because the jesus he claimed to be following and the jesus who supposedly died for his sins was, judging by Eddie Longs behavior in the long haul which was one of vanity and arrogance, was a very different Jesus than the one in the Bible.

Of course one can go to heaven if they don’t believe in a literal Adam. But this is a slippery slope is it not? And how can we prove today that there was never a literal Adam and Eve anyway? Can one prove this scientifically? Really scientifically? To suggest this is without a doubt a proclamation of self-apostleship. Paul in this very passage shared with us that he sure did believe in a literal Adam and Eve. For us to not believe this, then paves the way to deny Paul’s declaration of an apostle’s definition of who Jesus is and thus have the ability to fashion a Jesus of our own imagination instead of the one defined and proclaimed by His spokesmen…

We will never have all the answers this side of heaven and we will all be surprised by the errors of our puny human assumptions this side of heaven on the number of issues. That is why I find it almost amusing how serious many folks feel about their scientific understandings about the world and universe on this website. And that is why I pay more close attention to those who have for centuries been considered God’s spokespeople and less to my assumption.

For every hunch on how something came to be billions is years yadidadida must have a hundred assumptions. On the other hand, I can tell you that God makes Himself real and reveals power, yet deep humility in Him by His Spirit in my life when I abide in the Jesus Christ who is defining Himself plainly from the books of Genesis to Revelations in the Bible.

Faith is not the tv preacher’s, like Eddie Long’s, version of self empowering inner strength in myself. It is believing and trusting is what is put forth by God in His Word about salvation and about Himself and nothing more. Please consider this my friends. The real Jesus is very much dependent upon the Word of God called the Bible!

Blessings always.

(Emily) #8

No I don’t believe so. I don’t believe this is a slippery slope at all. Why? I go where science leads. I am not scared of it and have no reason to be. Science has shown that we DID NOT descend from just two people. The earth is billions of years old. Dinosaurs and humans did not co-exist together and I can’t believe that.

I believe in evidence that is in concordance with reality. Just because some people think the evidence doesn’t exist make it any less true.

And yes scientifically we can prove there was no literal Adam and Eve. It’s clear in the fossil record in the evolution of humans. Other believers who know about this stuff much more in depth can provide you with good information. BioLogos also has some good articles worth a look.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #9


Thank you for identifying yourself as Emily’s @Celticroots interlocutor.

Your slippery slope is a very bad argument The Holy Spirit is our defense against the wiles of Satan, not belief in a literal understanding of the Bible.

You really do not know that Paul believed in a literal Adam. The understanding of the meaning of the OT of the people in the NT is different than the meaning that people have today. Paul saw much representational meaning in the OT.

Emily has a medical problem that we need to respect. The last thing she needs is to try to make her medical problem into a theological problem.

She believes in Jesus and knows God. Case closed once and for all. That means that she is a Christian and has no fear of losing her faith, which is rooted in God and not in herself. Nothing can separate us believers from the Love (Spirit) of the Father through the Son.

God (Jesus Christ) is not dependent upon the Bible. Jesus is the Alpha and Omega of our faith. “I believe in God the Father Almighty… and in Jesus Christ…” Nowhere do we say “I believe in the Bible …” Where did you learn your understanding of the Faith and the Bible?


I believe that God will never require me to believe something that is not true!

(Christy Hemphill) #11

Yes, thank you for this Roger.

(Greg Rogers) #12

Well, I meant to respond to comments someone made about God not being His Word. I just disagree with every inch of this statement within my soul. And please understand that I am completely uninterested about a theological argument here. I know people who are into theology for theology sake and this in and of itself is foolish. But I am completely interested to have a discussion about the One and only God of the universe who, according to the Bible loves us and according to the Bible can take a broken and sick body and heal it, and according to the Bible through Christ gives us eternal life where our greatest gift is God who loves us more than be can know. If you want to call this theology, this is fine. But let’s cut to the chase-if Christianity is a matter of eternal life and death and is about the Only Creator God, then lets treat the text that speaks of it with reverence and care and stop disassociating God from His Word.

The issue of faith. I am again disinterested to have a theological argument for theology sake, but completely interested to share the goodnews of God and His Son according to the only means we have to learn about this in the Bible. Faith, again is seen by many in particular in mega churches and tv preachers in America as self empowerment…belief in self for doing well in business etc-this is garbage. In Hebrews 11, faith is a very different sort. Faith is first defined as “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” So you see, faith has a basis. It is not a blind fuzzy feeling. It is trusting in that which we know can be trusted and the thing that can be trusted is based on what is said by an authority figure who can be trusted. I believe that the authority figure is God and He instituted men to communicate what He authorizes. In the case of many in that Hebrews set of verses, they heard from God directly. Today we hear from Him from His Word.

So the assortment of historical characters who heard from the authority and chose to believe and trust the authority who was God. And they acted upon what they heard. Ro 10:17 says, “So faith comes from hearing and hearing through the word of Christ.” Faith is not a feeling and it is not blind. It has its basis in God’s Word.

Listen, I have had cancer a couple of times that were not serious, but gave life perspective. I have had difficulties in life. I have had stresses in business life. The One who gave me relief from this is not the Jesus of my imagination, but the Jesus who saves me from myself, my imagination, my decaying body, this sinful planet and for eternal life with Him in a place of perfection and I could have only known about this from His Word. And this same God whom I know is a God who can raise a man dead after 4 days or who can change water into a fermented drink in a split second is very much able to do pretty much anything He wants to do including creating the whole universe that probably could fit on the tip of His finger…And He does not need you or I to explain it scientifically either so please stop the back and forth about details you learned that “proves” such and such billions of years ago. This might make one feel important, but in the scheme, none of us are really brilliant or even necessarily important and needed…but we are loved with an abounding love anyway by God our Father who sent His Son to die in our place!

A number of years ago, I had a revival of sorts where I came into a renewal in my soul where I sensed God and His love on such a profound level. I felt small and frail and unholy. I sensed God to be so beyond understanding magnificent but who loved me nonetheless with a love more profound than any I have ever experienced. The joy in my soul so profound-especially knowing that this joy would be even greater in a place beyond this life. And I could know this to be true because I trust that God said it and I learned that God said it in His Word.

For any suffering medically or otherwise, yes ask Jesus to be a forgiver and start a relationship with Him by reading His perfect Word as it is absolutely amazing beyond anything one can imagine! If one questions the age of the earth, realize that there is a realm of scientific understanding that most likely has not been attained thusfar by little human beings that may place the Bible as much more of an accurate source of truth on how things came to be in the physical universe than many would want to admit today.

(Emily) #13

I’ve had my fair share of struggles too. But, I believe the Bible but I don’t’ believe it has to be interepretated as literally true in all aspects. I am not defending myself anymore because I know I believe God created all things, including people. but through evolution. What I take issue with is people seemingly not seeing the bigger picture. That my views aren’t valid simply because I choose to not be scientifically illiterate.

Science has shown there was no Adam and Eve. No death before the Fall as the fossil record clearly indicates. That’s just thew way it is and as a Christian I am not sticking my head in the sand. The ignorance about basic science but SOME Christians is unbelievable. It makes all other Christians look like fools and drives those away from the faith rather than toward it.

Genesis clearly states it’s not how we were created but WHY we were created. That interpretation does not make it any less valid.

Honestly I get really sick of creationist insisting that the Bible must be interpretated literally. It IS His word I don’t doubt that. Anyone else who shares the same views as me want to weigh in on this?

(Christy Hemphill) #14

(Greg Rogers) #17

Science says that it is impossible for Jesus to turn water into wine and to raise dead people to life. And turning a couple of fish and bread slices into thousands? Come on. Science says that it is impossible for something to come from nothing. Science says that conrads human skull fossil found in PA dates 350 million years old. Science changed its stance on evolution from small steps to mutant leaps. Theories on even the most basic of levels will change overnight let alone trusting what science declares as fact things that occurred billions of years ago. Science is supposed to be the application of the scientific method, yet we cannot duplicate what occurred billions of years ago. Many scientists suggest that our solar system would have collapsed in this timeframe anyway. And many are beginning to admit that there is a mystery element of our existence that we should never be able to try to explain.

I am choosing to trust God and the Bible more and remain an agnostics towards the whims of science. That is just me now. Please don’t throw rocks.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #18

That’s great advice for all of us! Hopefully our discourse here can be edifying and corrective; both in the giving and receiving. Truth is worth discussing --and is always in a context of relationship. Both are indispensable. In that spirit, let me push back on this:[quote=“grog, post:17, topic:30381”]
Science says that it is impossible for Jesus to turn water into wine and to raise dead people to life. And turning a couple of fish and bread slices into thousands? Come on. Science says that it is impossible for something to come from nothing.

Science, (properly construed), claims nothing of the sort. What it does claim is that water does not ordinarily turn into wine --at least not so dramatically. It is not the regular course of things that anybody should come back to life after being dead three days. And if you want to feed 5000 people, you would be foolish to plan on accomplishing that with only a few fish and loaves. That’s what rational thought along with science shows us. So if or when any of those things happen, that would make them … well … miraculous! Imagine that!

You are right that science has included a lot of wild and changing claims. It is a human enterprise. It also includes a lot that has increasingly been based off of being attentive to God’s creation, which is also his handiwork. Even the rocks, trees, ice cores, lake varves, geologic strata … all of that continues to cry out its truth and praises to God. Even if you could silence everybody who attends to these things, the rocks themselves could never be silenced. Attending to both God’s word and God’s works together, allowing ourselves to be informed by both, and always with humility is a good way forward.

(Greg Rogers) #19

If you think of the word science as something different than the mainstream definition, then we are going to have a hard time communicating because we speak different languages. Science to me by its mainstream nature and definition does indeed claim that it is impossible for water to be turned into wine in an instant. Such an occurrence has never been viewed as reasonable and possible. It takes so many days to ferment grapes to become wine…Therefore it cannot be accounted as possible by the scientist by mainstream definition. The miraculous and science must must must butt heads because scientific aim is to try to determine a rationalistic cause and effect for something using human perception and past natural circumstance as the ultimate judge and jury. The miraculous is outside of this all together. So many times I hear from folks, well, the world isn’t flat Greg…it says this in the Bible. This is irrelevant. In that case the Bible is not making a point of the science of the earth, but about something else. On the other hand, to push against God the Creator of kinds and referenced as “Creator” mentioned hundreds of times through all the rest of the Bible for instead God needing a basis of evolution over billions of years as theorized by scientists today-seemingly to appease those in rationalistic thinking scenarios such as within a science field is something different all together. To appeal to them is to potentially appeal to a different Jesus. This is dangerous.

If I believe that Jesus can turn water into wine and I believe that Jesus can still a storm, then this very Jesus who created all things and who has all things created for Himself is the very Jesus who could have interjected at any point of the formation of our existence which necessarily throws a wrench into the cogs of the importance of the philosophy of scientific determination on how things come to be. And this Jesus is outside of the boundaries of the laws of physics. Could He have created rocks in an instant that, like a fermented wine appear to have age? Perhaps. Does God confound the wise man in his own eyes? Yes yes yes because this is in the Bible.

Just this am-I will spare you the details but they are really great-My wife, my kids who are homeschooled and I experience an absolutely miraculous turn of events that one cannot explain by happenstance. I have goosebumps writing this. God is a God who loves us and is intertwined in our lives in so many ways and produces miracle after miracle after miracle. And He does so as we draw near to Him and His Word thus potentially distancing ourselves from self reliance, self perceptions, self understanding and self rationale.

True blessings and the love of God our Creator who accurately and simply describes Himself in His Word to all in earshot!

(Mervin Bitikofer) #20

I’m excited with and for you – whatever the details happen to be. When part of the body rejoices, it does not rejoice alone! Our family too has felt God’s blessing and provision in special ways the last few days.

In reference to science (which version of it might be the question), you wrote …

I quite agree.

I don’t have a philosophy degree so I won’t recall the correct technical terms at the moment to apply to these two categories. But there are those who feel that “natural laws” are absolute, eternal, unbreakable … and brittle in that status, meaning that any exception to them shatters them. They preempt and govern all activity in the universe from its formation and for all time. And it is the job of science to try to uncover and reveal what these laws are.

Then there is a camp that thinks more along the lines of observed regularity. And what we carelessly or glibly label as “natural law” is really just a very consistently observed regularity. Maybe it’s a law, maybe it isn’t — but it is the way things are whenever and wherever we’ve looked. But in any case, this latter category of people allow that there may be other contingencies, whether rare or not, that are not necessarily governed or bound by any law such as we might formulate.

The former sort see laws in a prescriptive sense. The latter see the same things as more descriptive. I’m in the latter camp. Where “mainstream science” puts itself (as if that was some monolithic entity) is a whole ‘nother’ question. In fact its not a scientific question at all, but a philosophical one – so I don’t imagine most scientists are any more equipped to answer it than you or me. There will be faith involved on either side.

You propose that miraculous events and natural laws must not ‘butt heads’. It would seem to me then that you are in the position of needing to deny either one or the other – that is, if you’ve already decided that natural laws such as we know them preclude any miraculous activity. But maybe I still misunderstand where you’re at?

(Phil) #21

Good discussion, but just a reminder that it is possible to believe both in a literal Adam and Eve and to believe in a population of homo sapiens that never went below a couple of thousand, and were probably more numerous. Adam and Eve may have just been a representative couple. You could even argue that they were uniquely created apart from the rest of humanity at that time. Of course, those positions are theological musings, not scientific assertions.

(Christy Hemphill) #22

Not really. Have you seen Ted’s current blog series on the conflict thesis? http://biologos.org/blogs/ted-davis-reading-the-book-of-nature

I totally disagree with you about creation, but I can still affirm everything you say about miracles and divine intervention. My reasons for accepting evolution don’t have anything to do with an inability to believe another explanation is possible.

Sure, God could have snapped everything into being or created unique kinds at different points in history. The question is not about what God does or doesn’t have the power to do, it’s about where the evidence points.

In many of your descriptions of people who have a different take than you do, (i.e. BioLogos), you to imply that people’s beliefs about the hows of creation are predicated on their faith or lack of faith. People who have lots of faith can believe what you believe, but people who don’t have as much just can’t accept the supernatural-ness of your explanation and are forced to look for something more “scientific” or “rational.” I think this is an unfair characterization. I believe in miracles and have personally experienced them. I don’t have any need to explain away any of Jesus’s supernatural activity, and the fact that the resurrection is not 'scientifically possible" doesn’t bother me at all. There is no one I am trying to “appease” with my beliefs. It would be a lot easier to have a conversation if you would stop attributing incorrect motivations and mindsets to people, and then insisting they are in a dangerous position based on your incorrect assumptions.