Why does God deal with his creation only through the Bible (Judeo/Christian model)?

I was raised in a “Christian” cult and have become somewhat disenchanted with “God/god” and especially turned off by the blood and gore we seem to readily accept of a loving creator “God” as expressed in the Old Testament, followed by the idea of eternal torment in the New Testament. I have run across this site in my ongoing search for answers. I see a similar question was raised on this site in 2016, but I’ll go there again if it is permissible.

It would seem logical to me that a creator of the universe in all its chaotic magnitude would find a better way to express "him"self to his creation than by setting us up for failure in a grand plan for redemption because of a “fallen angel” represented by a snake. Sounds awfully mythological to me and this “myth” is repeated in various forms in other non-Christian religions.

Bottom line: Why would BioLogos (and other Christian apologists) always use the Bible as the go-to explantion of God’s plan for his evolutionary creation. Where and how do all the other non-Christian billions fit into this belief in God and his purpose for this creation we live in?

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Welcome to the forum, Joann! Hopefully, you can find some answers to your questions here, but keep in mind that that the forum is open to anyone to comment, and you will get a lot of different opinions. BioLogos itself has a lot of articles and blogs available on the site that are relevent to your concerns, and express the position of Biologos itself.
You raise a lot of questions, but let me address the title question of your post, “Why does God only deal with his creation only through the Bible?”
My opinion is that this is not an accurate way to state how God deals with creation. The Bible records how God has dealt with creation in the past and gives some indication of how that looks in the present and in the future, but the Bible is not an instruction book for dealing with creation.
If you are not familar with the concept of God speaking through the two books of the Bible and creation, here is an from the site to look over:

Even that is incomplete, as God deals with creation today through the Holy Spirit, working through us as individuals and as a church, and through miraculous means.

It will take a while to absorb and integrate a lot of the information and opinions here before you can be comfortable and at peace with it. My suggestion is to continue to read and ask questions, and not be discouraged if it is a little overwhelming at first.

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Dear Joann,
Most everyone here are orthodox Christians, so you won’t get anything but the Bible here. I have tried to get people here to accept the words of Jesus:

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. John 16:13

The message that the spirit of truth taught prior to the Roman Empire and has taught since the age of enlightenment is not what the average Christian wants to hear. Feel free to message me if you want a different way.

Because that is the revelation of the Word of God recorded and preserved. There is no higher authority than God’s revelation – which includes creation (general revelation), of course, but the meaning and purpose thereof belongs to redemptive history which is disclosed in Scripture (special revelation).

Precisely the sort of question addressed by the Word of God.

Why does God deal with his creation only through the Bible (Judeo/Christian model)?

I see no reason whatsoever to believe that God is limited in this way. It is far far more likely that this limitation is the fantasy and bias of those in that particular religion.

Then perhaps it is time to rethink those presumptions as I have. I don’t see either of those as a necessary part of Christianity and they are certainly not what I believe. And those are only two of many presumptions which have rejected.

  1. I don’t believe God set us up for failure and I think the Bible is very much opposed to the idea that God even expected Adam and Eve to fail.
  2. I don’t think that an angel bears any real responsibility for the fall and I don’t believe in some previous rebellion in heaven in which angels fell or were cast out of it. Instead I see the story in Genesis 2-3 as being the explanation of what went wrong and that the angel was just acting within the limits of his job description.
  3. And think the names of those two trees shout symbolism louder than anything else in the whole Bible, so I don’t think this was about eating the wrong one of two magical fruits.
  4. And I don’t think humanity began with golems of dust and bone created by some kind of divine necromancy, or that a single couple is the sole genetic projenators of the human race.

Of course it is mythological. But myth is not the same as fiction. Just because we have this myth of a king Arthur doesn’t mean there was no such person. And just because Rome had this myth of the brothers Romulus and Remus doesn’t mean that there were no such brothers involved in the founding of the city of Rome. All it really means is that these are stories passed down orally for a considerable time before they were written down. And this was in a time when we didn’t have the modern specialization into the separate human activities of history, science, law, entertainment, philosophy, and bedtime stories, so there is a lot more going on in these accounts than literal history.

Because the authority of the Bible is part of the definition of the Christian religion and those who are Christian have experienced God speaking to them in this book. To be sure, if you have not, then you should look elsewhere and I have little doubt that you will find God elsewhere because I have considerable faith that God is much much bigger than the Christian religion.

It is probably best to ask them. One of the great challenges of comparative religion is that they do not provide different answers to the same questions. On the contrary, they only answer the questions which they themselves choose to ask.

But… before you do that, you also might consider the following… Christianity is very far from a singular group with a single set of beliefs. There are a few core beliefs but the statement of faith by the first council of Nicea in 325AD is pretty short and minimal. Thus there is a vast spectrum of different beliefs and practices all under the name of Christianity.

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Joann, I was raised in the Roman Catholic faith, but as I reached maturity, I was assailed by the same doubts you experienced. In pursuing a career in science, I soon appreciated the overwhelming evidence for evolution; i.e.,:

  1. humankind evolved from animal ancestors;
  2. there is much evidence supporting Dawkin’s claim that Selfish Genes (and a desire for power) guide much of animal evolution; i.e., animals are essentially amoral.
  3. But God wanted something in His creation to freely express the important elements in His Morality (love, empathy) and thus He ‘saw to it’ that, in the primate, Homo sapiens, the brain became capable of consciousness and, with freedom, could act as a conscience. Morality was truly a Gift, a Blessing from a loving God.
  4. The other side of the morality coin is that, with freedom, Sin had entered the World: i.e.,refusal of God’s Gift.

The idea of replacing Original Sin with Original Blessing is not new with me, of course. Most recently (early 20th century) a Jesuit scientist/priest, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and later, a Dominican priest Mathew Fox proposed this change in dogma to the Vatican but were rebuffed and punished. Granted that it is no small change in the Nicene Creed that would be required (and I won’t live to see it), but at least Christians could accept Jesus’ claim that we should think of our Creator as a Loving Father, Abba.
Hope to hear more from you.
Al Leo

Not all Christians believe the conquest of Joshua is really God’s idea or that all non-believers will experience eternal conscious torment after death. There is some latitude there.

You might be interested in the latest BioLogos podcast interviewing progressive Old Testament scholar Pete Enn’s: https://biologos.org/podcast-episodes/pete-enns-god-is-not-a-helicopter-parent

There is a current discussion of the gory bits of the OT here: Inerrancy and mass slaughter

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I will check the site out. However, I still have a problem reconciling the message in the OT with a loving God as presented in the NT, regardless of any interpretation of “eternal torment” that softens the blow. Christianity has used that literal threat for centuries. (Oddly enough, I was never taught to believe in hell fire in my cult, just eternal oblivion if we didn’t buy into the mind-control message.) Exactly what purpose does the OT serve except to provide a supposed reason for another blood sacrifice on behalf of mankind (if they’re Christian)?

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Appreciate your thoughts. Yes, I am tending to accept the idea of evolutionary creation since I have reached a roadblock in my head when it comes to the idea that the intricacies of the human brain developing over any number of billions of years without some supernatural intervention at some point is hard to swallow. Have some misgivings about animals being amoral, being an inveterate animal lover with many pets. Why animals prey upon one another instead of just evolving as herbivores with God’s fine tuning I’ll not try to comprehend. But can accept that a supernatural creator of the universe (multiverse?) could fine-tune the process of evolution. I’m not really sure how and when and why sin entered into it if the conscience we were given came from a perfect God who would know this was a recipe for the disaster we see around us. And what’s to keep it from happening all over again in “paradise”?

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@jeddle, nice to meet you. I agree in many respects. Rachel Held Evans’ “Faith Unraveled,”, Pete Enns (peteenns.com), Brian Zahnd’s “Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God,” Randal Rauser’s “What’s So Confusing About Grace?” (randalrauser.com), Greg Boyd’s “Crucifixion of the Warrior God,” “Cross Vision,” and “Benefit of the Doubt,” Austin Fischer’s “Young, Restless and No Longer Reformed,” all chime in with your views. Brad Jersak’s “A More Christlike God,” Thomas Jay Oord, “The Uncontrolling Love of God,” and Rob Bell’s “Love Wins” are books I have yet to read that I understand are in the same vein.

The desire to make one thesis or belief the only criterion for salvation–to the detriment of justice–de facto makes that belief not of God; for God must be just, I think. It also would fit into an evolved theory of religion being only for the survival of the fittest, if cohesion of a unit (based on a given idea) is the foundation, rather than true search for truth.

George Macdonald wrote, “You doubt because you love truth.” Austin Fischer also wrote, “People don’t abandon faith because they have doubts. People abandon faith because they think they’re not allowed to have doubts.”

I personally find comfort in George Macdonald’s (a universalist’s) writings.: “If it be said by any that God does a thing which seems to me unjust, then either I do not know what the thing is, or God does not do it…Least of all must we accept some low notion of justice in a man, and argue that God is just in doing after that notion.”

His unspoken sermon on Justice showed that the purpose of punishment is, as with every good parent, correction; not vindication. God is not a jealous warrior god, looking for his image to be glorified. I think he showed in his Son’s gift that he’s willing to give all to identify with us.

I look forward to your thoughts.

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First of all - I add my own welcome to the glad chorus above, Joann.

And second of all, let me second everything Randy wrote above. Macdonald’s work is rife with fruitful themes and spiritual promptings. Any searching and doubting believer or unbeliever will do well to pick up just about any MacDonald novel and take it in.

And finally just to pick one small snippet for a response of my own…

I think it a common reflection for many of us to wonder how heaven works. Popular culture and humor/entertainment likes to revel in the cliches of standing on clouds with harps or laugh along with pearly gates humor and anecdotes. And while we all know those aren’t serious pictures of heaven, I think believers do still find their imaginations stymied or perhaps with just a tad of worry over whether we really could endure thousands of years of hymn singing - or whatever blissful adventure without just a tad of boredom creeping in after a bit.

Perhaps part of our problem in this is that our only model of comparison is this life and the things that we so enjoy here. But given how little we could possibly know (even given hints from scriptures) about our post-resurrection lives, this may be a bit like asking a 4-year old to fantasize about what his ideal “grown-up” life might look like. His visions of the “good life” may involve an unlimited supply of candy and endless playing of some favorite childish game or two - all stuff that would quickly turn from ‘heaven’ to ‘hell’ to a more mature mind subjected to such fare for hours, much less eternity. I suggest that our position in seriously trying to pre-analyze what heaven could be like is probably comparable to the 4-year old’s analysis, except that we probably wouldn’t be nearly as far along as the youngster.

Probably our best bet for anticipation of the eternal is to get a head-start on looking for it and recognizing shadows of it here already (shadows of both heaven and hell). “The kingdom has come near you… or is among you…” kind of stuff. And then not trying to multiply our experiences up to infinity as if our temporally bound selves could have any fix or foundation for speculation about the hereafter. Trust in a loving God has to carry the day eventually.

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Dear Mervin,
You bring up many good points about the modern illusions of Heaven and I am glad that you point to the fact that Heaven is among us. Heaven is truly the best of everything we have here in the shadows, including creativity, music, and laughter. There are plenty of visions of Heaven if you are really interested, but many people think they are too simplistic. But for me, they are totally logical. Why would God create something totally different than Heaven? The only difference between Heaven and our material world is that there is no money in Heaven - we carry our spiritual earnings in our soul for everyone to see.

Here is an excerpt of the homecoming of worthy soul that I can offer for context:

“The godmother told her: “Heaven has greeted you. However, you haven’t yet reached the point where you may experience such glory immediately on entering eternity. Come with me while I fulfil my tasks.” Our sister was very interested in the work of her godmother. She was also very curious to find out where she lived. She imagined that she would live in a beautiful world as well since one was located in the vicinity of such a splendid house with such wonderful surroundings.

Her godmother led her to her home which was situated by the edge of a road. There were mostly individual buildings, one as pretty as the other. Therefore, for the time being, she had eyes only for the home of her former godmother where she was now allowed to live together with her and other spiritual brothers and sisters. The outside of the house was entwined all over with flowers; she couldn’t see the walls the way she could while in her human life. No doubt, there was a spiritual wall behind this wall of flowers which reached to the top floor; oddly enough there were also just two stories. “The sister was full of admiration for this house. “Where is the entrance then?” she asked because the flowers covered it. Her godmother took her by the hand and walked with her through the flowers into the house!”

“Here she was greeted by the other spiritual brothers and sisters who had surprises prepared for the returned sister. They asked her if she felt tired or hungry or thirsty. “No”, she said, “I’m neither hungry nor thirsty but full of curiosity because I’d like to look at this world, I cannot see enough of this splendour.” Then she was invited to sit down at the table and share a meal with them consisting of spiritual bread and spiritual wine. There was just one kind of bread for all of them and just one cup filled with divine wine from which all were to partake. The former godmother greeted her on behalf of all of them, broke this bread sharing it out to all of them, though first to the newly arrived. Then she picked up this cup and gave her to drink and then passed it on to the others. The former godmother asked her: “Do you know this meal?” “Yes”, she answered, “this is in memory of the Lord, known among human beings as the Last Supper or the love-feast of the Lord.” “Yes, indeed”, they said, “we celebrate this meal in honour of the Lord[…]”

Excerpt From: GL Zürich. “The Spiritual World 2018.06.”

It seems to me that visions have various (or sometimes maybe even just one very important) truth to teach us, so long as we don’t then try to turn them (even the ones in the bible) into formulas or analyses (like trying to press a metaphor or analogy far past its intended point).

Another “vision” (or story) I once heard shared was that a visitor to hell once observed that a lot of sad and hungry people were sitting at a long table with steaming kettles of wholesome soup sitting right there in front of them. Their problem was that the only spoons they had access to had such long handles that each sufferer there was unable to make the spoon reach his own mouth. Then the visitor observed heaven, and saw exactly the same room, soup, and spoons, but here the happy, well-fed people were using the long-handled spoons to feed the soup to each other.

Of course this is “just a parable” (and obviously an extra-biblical one at that). But it has a lesson to teach (that has nothing to do with what heaven or hell would be literally like). The lesson contained, though, probably has some good truth for us to learn. In the same way parables taught by our Lord have something important to teach us. For example, perhaps from the rich man and Lazarus, we had best learn to focus on what the parable tells us about each person’s respective plight and what brought them there, rather than trying to wonder about mechanical facts such as chasms in the hereafter or whether or not people will be able to yell to each other across them. I suspect that when we shift our focus toward the periphery of any parable, it means we are desperately trying to avoid the central thrust of its pointed message.

You seem to be thinking in a historical vacuum. Science grew out of Christianity and philosophy. Our understanding of the nature of reality is called Western dualism, which was shaped by philosophy, Christianity, and science.
Other worldviews are Eastern and are monistic and mystical in structure, so they are not scientific.

There are problems with Western dualism for both Christianity and science, which is much of the reason they are sometimes uncomfortable with each other. Some people advocate for monism of the scientific or religious variety, but monism makes the problems worse.

The fact is Westerners have not found an adequate replacement for Western dualism, even we really need to do so because it is the cause of the serious Left/Right conflict in our world that is tearing us apart.

You reject the Biblical understanding of sin without understanding it. Do you have a better understanding sin, evil, and salvation? It seems strange to me that you and many others reject this basic understanding of the nature of Reality on such a superficial basis.

You reject eternal punishment, but what is the alternative if people are to be held accountable for their actions. How cannot one not have freedom to choose if one does not have the ability to say No to God or the Good?

Dear Roger,
Science and Philosophy existed long before Christianity. The historical progression started with a unified science and philosophy that both embraced dualism. Early Christianity embraced this until the Roman’s got involved, stating in 325 AD.

There is a logical, pre-Justinian alternative to eternal punishment. For it was Justinian that created eternal damnation. Prior to the Roman’s, the early Christians believed in measured punishment - punishment to fit the crime.

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God is not interested in punishment. God is interested in repentance. Justinian has nothing to do with it.

Dear Roger,
Yes, the goal is repentance, but the tools include punishment throughout the Bible. Eternal punishment does not lead to repentance and this is what Justinian forced on Christianity.

The fact is that some people enjoy being evil. They live for doing evil. They live on hatred, including self hatred.

Yes Roger, but isn’t it those that Jesus specifically came to save? Not the righteous.

Shawn, you completely misunderstand the words of Jesus.

The primary mission of Jesus is not to save the SELF righteous people who never admit a mistake and therefore are evil, but do not admit it.

Do not cry over Lucifer. Cry over the folk that Lucifer has deceived into thinking that that they are saved by false religion or they do not need salvation.