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God's Plan & The Flood

Discussion in 'Exploring Christianity' started by Gene Parmesan, Apr 28, 2021.

  1. EpicScore

    EpicScore Member

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    I suppose one way to put it is that "God may change His plans, but He will never change His purpose". He will always act consistently to his character and nature, that is good/righteous: He will judge the wicked and show mercy to those who are humble and faithful. He will always keep what he's promised, but while some promises are already foretold and set in stone (e.g. redemption of sin through Jesus's incarnation, death and resurrection), certain others seem to have an "if... then..." clause.

    Speaking about the Flood specifically, there is a theory that suggests that the Flood was not only to destroy wicked people, but also to eradicate the Nephilim, which some believe to be the offspring of human and (fallen) angels/demons that might taint the human line (through the daughters of Adam/men) from which the Messiah was to come. A lot of these theories are derived from the Apocrypha though (particularly the Book of Enoch), so the authenticity of the text is somewhat debatable.

    The book does present a more detailed description of what "the wicked people" were like during those pre-Flood days: "And they became pregnant, and they bare great giants, whose height was three thousand ells: Who consumed all the acquisitions of men. And when men could no longer sustain them, the giants turned against them and devoured mankind. And they began to sin against birds, and beasts, and reptiles, and fish, and to devour one another’s flesh, and drink the blood. Then the earth laid accusation against the lawless ones." (Enoch 7)

    So it was probably far more evil than simply drunken debauchery and wild/promiscuous lifestyle we tend to think about when we hear about a wicked generation.
     
  2. Gene Parmesan

    Gene Parmesan Active Member

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    Would you agree with some of the other Christians in this post that a God that has to change His plans is not all-knowing?
     
  3. mmarco

    mmarco Member

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    First of all, you must understand that the Old testament is not a faithfull account of historical facts; it contains important spiritual and moral teachings, which however are to be interpreted in the light of the New Testament teachings.

    John 1: 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ .

    The Bible provides a progressive understanding of God's nature, and in some verses of the Old Testament you can find wrong anthropomorphic ideas about God, which are expression of a certain spiritual immaturity. God has always known everything eternally and He has never changed His plans.
    You must understand that according to modern physics, time is relative, which means that what represents a future event in our system of reference, occured in the past in different systems of reference, and vice versa. Time is only a limit of our human nature; God is out of time, in a situation where there is no distinction between past, present and future.
    This does not mean that we have no free will; we have free will but God has always known eternally (from out of time) what we will freely choose.
     
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  4. Gene Parmesan

    Gene Parmesan Active Member

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    I'd enjoy getting into free will, but I think that's being discussed currently elsewhere.

    I think the part that stood out to me the most in your post was the suggestion that the old testament is errant. That the OT is wrong in how it represents God. I find that interesting.
     
  5. EpicScore

    EpicScore Member

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    Hmm, I wouldn't really go that far. My belief is that God knows what's in the human heart, and he allows their responses to his revelations to factor into his plan, rather than act regardless of the people's will and inclinations.

    An example of this is the story of Jonah, where God sends the prophet to preach about Niniveh's impending destruction; when Jonah eventually does so, the Ninivites repent, and God spared them from judgment. In one view, you can say that God "changed his plans" about Niniveh because he didn't destroy them as he said he would; but in a different view, his showing of mercy is still in line with his will. In fact, Jonah himself actually predicted this outcome and said that this was the reason he didn't want to go in the first place (Niniveh was Israel's enemy and he'd rather see them get destroyed).

    So it's less of God being, "I have this plan, but because the people aren't responding well to it, it's not going to work out; so let's try a different one," but more of, "this is what I want; if you respond A, I'll do X, if you respond B, I'll do Y," kind of thing.
     
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  6. Tellyontellyon

    Tellyontellyon Active Member

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    I think there is a parallel debate in the book of Job... ?
    Maybe there is an answer there for you?
     
  7. Gene Parmesan

    Gene Parmesan Active Member

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    If He doesn't know if it'll be A or B then He is not all-knowing though, right? If there is a future to be known and He doesn't know it, His knowledge would be lacking in that way, right?
     
  8. ApocalypticAdam

    ApocalypticAdam New Member

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    I have recently thought some about this question myself. Here is what I have landed on: I think I was conflating sin and curse. Adam and Eve sinned, but in the moment immediately following their sin, there was nothing wrong with Creation. Adam and Eve discovered what was inside of them, namely, the ability to disobey God. God is the one who cursed both man (with Death) and Creation (to fight against the purposes of man). I believe he did this to get us to come to terms with our need for him. The specific curses he pronounces over Eve and over Adam are for 'pain in childbirth' and for 'toil' in working the ground for sustenance (among other things).
    He also curses again in Genesis 6, with short life (verse 3)...so not only does mankind face death, but they also face short life and the immediacy of death (who hasn't thought about it?).

    The Flood is simply a judgement, a consequence, for disobedience and it is a foreshadow of what is to come in the Final Judgement on the Day of the Lord. We are all familiar with the verse that reads, "the wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23) and that has been true since the Garden. As for whether God knew whether he would Curse the Earth, and subsequently that there would be the unrepentant, and a need for punishment - I think He created the World with the mechanism there. Just as He created man with the ability to rebel against Him, he had to also create the mechanism for judgement/punishment in the event that Man chose to disobey. Hope this helps.
     
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  9. Gene Parmesan

    Gene Parmesan Active Member

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    It does help, thank you. So He created the mechanism for judgement/punishment in case man chose to disobey; so I gather, based on this perspective, God didn't know what man would choose, only that they might disobey. God does not know what will happen, He only knows a set of possibilities. And if that's the case, He would not be all-knowing?
     
  10. ApocalypticAdam

    ApocalypticAdam New Member

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    I think he knows all permutations of all possibilities...which isn't to say that He has decided for us...but in the case of creating mankind with the possibility of rebellion, He must have had something in mind for if that happened. I saw a very interesting video not too long ago, by a man named David Pawson, who talks about the distinction between predestination and predetermination. Let me know if you want me to send you a link to it, very interesting stuff.
     
  11. ApocalypticAdam

    ApocalypticAdam New Member

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    I'll challenge you here just a bit - where does it say, Scripturally, that God is outside of time? I can think of a passage like 2 Peter 3:8 ('a day is like a thousand years') but I feel that passage has more to do with time in comparison to an Eternal God, and an underscoring of how Merciful and Patient God is. I feel that Genesis is very explicit that God created both the Earth AND the Heavens (Gen 1:1) and that God's dwelling place is the Heavens (Deut 26:15). Furthermore, the entire sweep of Scripture divides times into This Age (Olam Hazeh) and The Age to Come (Olam Haba), with the culmination of human history being "The Great and Terrible Day of the Lord". All this to say - God relates to time, seemingly, in a similar way to how we relate to time. Some things are past - some things are now, and some things are yet to come.
     
  12. Gene Parmesan

    Gene Parmesan Active Member

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    I'm always happy to check out some information! Thank you.
     
  13. ApocalypticAdam

    ApocalypticAdam New Member

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    Here's a link to the video: (fast-forward to 1:03:40 for the bit about predestination vs. predetermination)
     
  14. mmarco

    mmarco Member

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    First of all, I do not think that the Bible provides a complete theology.
    However, I may quote John 8:58 “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” Jesus does not say "I was" (past tense); He uses the present tense to refer to His out-of-time existence.
    On the other hand, time is a limit, and it is absurd to think that God is limited by time; God is indeed the Creator of time itself; He exists eternally before time itself began to exist. God is not subdued to time, He is the master of time.
    Besides, according to modern science there is no time, but there are infinite "times", one time for every different system of reference;an omnipresent Being cannot be inside a definite time.
     
  15. ApocalypticAdam

    ApocalypticAdam New Member

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    I ask because I am genuinely curious - why do you view time as a limit? In my view, time is a way of delineating what was, what is and what is yet future. You and I are eternal beings - all of us humans, in fact. I think God could still choose to place himself inside of time and yet be completely free because his ability to interact with time is different than ours; as you say, He is the Master of Time.
     
  16. mmarco

    mmarco Member

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    I think we are expressing the same concept with different words.
    Time is a limit for us because we cannot travel in the past or in the future and we cannot choose a specific time and to place ourselves in that time; time is a contraint we cannot remove.
    I perfectly agree that God can place Himself in time, which means that time is not a contraint for Him; God is omnipresent, which menas that He is everywhere and in every time, but He is also out of time, in the dimension of eternity
     
  17. TedT

    TedT Member since Job 38:7

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    Everything that happens on earth is for one reason - to redeem the sinful elect and to bring them to full holiness so the postponement of the judgement may end and the judgement day happens.

    All history is to help HIS sinful elect come to understand the absolute loving righteous necessity of damnation, the flood included.
     
  18. ApocalypticAdam

    ApocalypticAdam New Member

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    Isn't 'eternity' just un-ending time? I don't disagree with your earlier comment that the Bible does not provide a complete theology, but I also am hesitant to ascribe things/attributes to God that are not supported by Scripture. I agree that He has been there since the beginning of our world, but to say He can move in time, and thus violate the rules of the system He created...I just don't see that in Scripture. I think His 'knowing the end from the beginning' is not so much a commentary on his ability to manipulate time so much as it is a statement on the certainty of His will and purpose coming to pass. Anyway - we are splitting hairs, I think its an interesting idea to bat back and forth.
     
  19. Gene Parmesan

    Gene Parmesan Active Member

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    If He created the laws that govern our reality, surely he can manipulate them. Isn't that sort of the definition of a miracle? He broke many laws of physics while intervening, according to the Bible.

    If He existed "before" He created time, He would be outside the constraints of time, wouldn't He?
     
  20. TedT

    TedT Member since Job 38:7

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    I don't think so.

    Since the bible is clear that HE doesn't want anyone to die and be condemned but to repent and live, all HE had to do to fulfill HIS desire to keep hell empty was to NOT CREATE those HE knew would end there.

    Since HE did create them, the definition of HIS omniscience is wrong and must be reworked because it is impossible for the Person who is love to KNOWINGLY create those who will just go to hell without ever being able to fulfill HIS purpose for their creation, the heavenly marriage.

    My current effort at reconciliation of these ideas suggests that HE knows everything about what HE created but if HE did not create the results of the free will decisions and choices of HIS created people, then HE would not know what the results would be until we chose them by our free will and brought them into HIS reality.
     
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