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Is temptation, in and of itself, sin?

Discussion in 'Controversial Christian Theology' started by public hermit, Apr 7, 2021.

  1. public hermit

    public hermit social troglodyte Supporter

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    I just did a quick search and the same root is used in Matthew, Mark, and Hebrews: peirazo.

    The general meaning is to test, try, put one through the rigors to reveal one's character. "Test" in a good sense, "tempt" in a malicious sense. One might say the same event can be a testing by God and a temptation by Satan. The difference being the desired outcome.
     
  2. Halbhh

    Halbhh Everything You say is Life to me Supporter

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    I agree that best fits in that Christ is a model for us. He was tempted, as we are tempted. He resisted, as we are to do.

    But there was never anything wrong in asking that cup be taken away. He didn't demand. He said "but your will". (Luke ch 22, Mat ch 26)

    Feelings aren't ever sins. It's actions or choices that can be (such as choosing to follow on in the feeling over time).
     
  3. zippy2006

    zippy2006 Dragonsworn

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    I don't claim to have an answer to the puzzle, but I can illustrate some of the difficulties:

    Then we are involved in the claim that in some cases God wills that we oppose his will, which is problematic.

    According to the third Council of Constantinople Jesus' divine and human wills cannot be in opposition.

    The Patristics were happy to see Christ at Gethsemane as providing a model for us in the way you indicate, but they also managed to separate that from Christ's own authentic experience.

    I think you make a good point, though. Christ says, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I will but what you will" (Matthew 26:39). The request itself is subordinated in obedience, it provides a helpful model for us, and it helps illustrate the depth of God's love. Yet with respect to the question of the OP it remains tricky. :D
     
  4. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

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    Do you consider that an acceptable solution? I don’t.
     
  5. zippy2006

    zippy2006 Dragonsworn

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    Very true!

    I meant to imply that it is sub-par.
     
  6. Halbhh

    Halbhh Everything You say is Life to me Supporter

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    To me, the question is about time. (or choice)

    How long? (that is, what is the choice when it happens, after a little while)

    It seems that the nature of the body is to have some impulses or involuntary reactions that would lead to sin, in time, if indulged in.

    So, the question isn't whether the body might push in a different direction than the spirit (as we know it will), but instead what happens seconds or minutes later, by choice. What does one chose to do?

    But the involuntary impulse itself -- the initial feeling, lasting seconds...is merely the human body in its nature it seems, though we are changed, given a new heart, by Him, and so this tendency is less strong over time also.
     
  7. GDL

    GDL Well-Known Member

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    I like your use of "acquiesce." It seems a good word to use in this topic.

    Don't recall if I'd thought or read about the physical presence of satan. Probably always considered he was there.

    I think it's pretty clear that all first impulses are not our own. James says our desire is tempting us by means of dragging and luring us (like bait on a fish hook). So, our desire is ultimately not "us." This is where I was going in #129. I'm not sure if desires are actually attributed to the heart. They are to the flesh and the world.

    It is "fuzzy" until it's clear as glass. So for several thousand years we've studied and pondered. Keep the thread going and who knows what these minds will be given :). I think several have given some good thoughts.
     
  8. GDL

    GDL Well-Known Member

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    Another interesting comment.

    Brought to mind the concept of hierarchy built into God's Law. Jesus addressed this when He was challenged for His disciples picking and eating grain on Sabbath. When finished going through 3 points of Law with the lawyers, He ended up with how the Law is structured for the ultimate benefit of mankind, so His disciples' hunger trumped Sabbath.

    There is a hierarchy to all of this thinking and the ultimate good is always to love God, which is to do His will. This was clearly Jesus' prayer to our Father (and point for us) in regards to the cup vs. God's will being done. And this is clearly the matter in any temptation/test, no matter from where it originates.
     
  9. fhansen

    fhansen Oldbie

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    And yet in Jesus we see exactly what God would do in human flesh, because it's exactly what God did. So even God, after striking a tent of human flesh, could have desires, at least, in conflict. He suffered pain just as we do even though He could've easily mitigated it. So He wills the natural and healthy aversion to pain lest man supposes that He didn't really suffer after all, and then He takes on that very pain due to a greater and more important desire. The will to save man was united while the means to achieve it brought on a conflict of desires-and that's what made the sacrifice so great an act. It's a matter of the highest good-the best desire- for man being done.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2021
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  10. GDL

    GDL Well-Known Member

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    Was Jesus' prayer to the Father to take the cup from Him "to willfully take steps to avoid the suffering"?
     
  11. fhansen

    fhansen Oldbie

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    I agree-the time factor must be included here I think. Man lives in and so is sort of given time-within which to work out his salvation with God, and so the desires were experienced and acted out chronologically, so to speak, simply because that would be an unavoidably human sequence of events. Maybe
     
  12. GDL

    GDL Well-Known Member

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    I also wonder if it was just the aversion to physical pain that He was agonizing over. Knowing His hatred for unrighteousness, and His knowledge that He could call down angels to fight, and His knowledge of who He is, what about other things going through His mind, e.g. having to submit Himself to His creation to be unjustly abused, tortured, and nailed to a tree.

    It's not as if we see Him being a pacifist in regards to dealing with evil.

    There are so many things in play here.
     
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  13. GDL

    GDL Well-Known Member

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    I did the same earlier. 35 verses, 39 hits, 12 NT books. I quickly glanced through the verses and saw no direct tie to the heart.

    One of the possibly tricky verses is the one in James that says God does not tempt anyone (likely to evil as just previously stated in the verse). But I'm not sure that God does not test - like the Spirit leading Jesus into the wilderness. I've looked at all this in some detail some time ago. As I recall, my conclusion at the time was that one had to pay very close attention to all contexts and consider other similar words in the study. You seem to be picking up some of the same considerations re: tempt vs. test in translating the same word.

    There's another thread currently running OP'd by an atheist trying to make a case against inerrancy based upon a supposed conflict with jealousy pertaining to God and love. It's clearly a matter of context and what meaning we apply to the word.

    Maybe/likely the same thing here, although a bit more difficult to make sense of it.
     
  14. Cormack

    Cormack “I bet you're a real hulk on the internet...”

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    That does sound like something I’d believe. :thumbsup: Like any good topic, it’s something we could revisit again and return with fresh insight.

    Rethinking the whole point now, we are more often than not wrapped up in defending the deity of Christ, since that’s what people find objectionable.

    So in a sense, enemies of the church are the driving force behind much of the content in our thought life, in the meantime, Christ’s humanity goes largely unexplored by the mainstream. Nobody finds Jesus’ humanity objectionable or worth exploring, and as a result neither do we.

    Not exploring the greatness of God becoming truly man is a collective mistake on our part.

    If we start at Jesus being man, then we begin arguing up to His divine status, we are viewing the whole divine drama in reverse.

    It’s retarding our awe, because if we go the right way round and start our thoughts at the divine, then do our best to picture divine condescension, God becoming man, human, male, truly in every way, that’s worthy of being in awe of or worthy of being called a great mystery.

    God becoming what we often describe as an ugly, lower creature should really explode most of the man hating “Christian” theologies out there. If we really followed their train of thought to its logical conclusion, the incarnation either couldn’t or wouldn’t have happened.
     
  15. GDL

    GDL Well-Known Member

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    Nicely stated. Succinct.
     
  16. GDL

    GDL Well-Known Member

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    Point taken & a good one IMO. This is what I was driving at in #98.

    Awhile back I did a study on just how much Jesus points to and glorifies our Father. Coupled with this Hebrews 5 talks of His learning obedience and Romans 8 speaks of Him as our first-born brother.

    Part of the mindset that resulted for me was to similarly focus on our how Father is raising us in Christ by His Spirit to be like our first-born brother and Lord. He is forming Christ in us. He is perfecting us in love. He's done it perfectly with His first-born and He's caused us to be born again/from above to raise and train us in Christ.

    Some of us, if not most of us, tend to be too compartmentalized. There is so much to speak of re: Christ Himself, but following His lead, the focus on our Father who sent Him and gave Him a human existence, raised, taught and trained Him, all brings another realization of what is taking place with us. For me anyway.
     
  17. Clare73

    Clare73 Blood-bought

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    No internal struggle?

    You don' think internally his human nature was calling for preservation of itself, contrary to the cross?

    How could he be sorrowful unto death, sweat drops of blood and ask the Father if there were any other way to get the job done, without struggling with something internally, right?
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2021
  18. sawdust

    sawdust Well-Known Member

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    I didn't read this thread all the way through so forgive me if this has been brought up but ...

    What of Christ in the garden? His desire was not to suffer and there can be no question He had to struggle to get to the "not my will" place. I think that instance definitely counts as "being tempted as we are".
     
  19. Clare73

    Clare73 Blood-bought

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    Not all temptation is to sin and, therefore, not all temptation is evil.
     
  20. public hermit

    public hermit social troglodyte Supporter

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    No, I definitely do think he struggled. I was just stating what I thought their positions were (though I could be wrong on that, too. I'm generally wrong 18.5 times a day, so...).
     
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