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Featured It is not possible to take all of the creation account in Genesis literally.

Discussion in 'Creation & Theistic Evolution' started by Chadrho, Sep 9, 2019.

  1. Bible Highlighter

    Bible Highlighter Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. Supporter

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    The Bible is true. All of it. Not just some of it.
    It's all true.

    For faith comes by hearing, and hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17).
     
  2. Chadrho

    Chadrho Active Member Supporter

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    I honestly appreciate your concern. Part of what concerns me is the idea of there being a "plain truth of God's word." There is no "plain truth," if by that you mean it doesn't need to be interpreted. Scripture must be interpreted, and it is in the interpretation of a part of the scriptures that you and I disagree. I am putting into question neither God's word nor God's Word. I am simply putting into question one way of interpreting a part of the scriptures. Chances are, you and I would agree on the vast majority of doctrines we as Christains believe, even if we disagree on how to interpret the creation account in Genesis.

    I believe God created all that is. I believe creation is not God. I believe Creation is good. I believe God created humanity in the divine image. I believe sin has corrupted creation, and that human rebellion is death dealing. I believe only God can redeem the sin situation that humanity is in, and I believe that God promised to do so. And...I believe all of that because of the creation account in Genesis.

    What is that you believe about the Genesis account, that I don't, that puts me in danger of being condemned by God? Keep in mind, I am a believer in the God who raises the dead, brings things into existence that did not exist prior. I am a believer in Jesus Christ, the risen Son of God. So, I don't make these statements lightly.
     
  3. Aabbie James

    Aabbie James A Slave of Christ Jesus

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    You're welcome.

    The truths that we are to obey are found in God's Word; beauty that is found only in God.

    Psalms 50:1-2 The Mighty One, God the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting. Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth.

    Ecclesiastes 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.

    Psalms 27:4 One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.​
     
  4. Chadrho

    Chadrho Active Member Supporter

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    I will check this out. Thank you for sharing it.
     
  5. RaymondG

    RaymondG Well-Known Member

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    If you wanted to explain to a child the intricacies of a strong solid foundation in life and in what ever they choose to do, would you open up an architectural books and histories of those who rose and fell in life.....Or would it be better to give them a story to read and memorize that is on their level......whose theme and purpose will be revealed as they grow older and more able to understand?

    Is it ok that they believe the stories true until they can grasp the concept and meaning behind them? Isnt memorable stories a great way to keep truths hidden in ones minds until a moment of revelation?

    Therefore, after this revelation, should one look down on the stories or those still captivated by them?
    Do all grown and mature at the same time?

    Should the ten year old, after learning that they can eat steak, now try and force the steak on the 1 year old, yet without teeth, because he feels they should be off milk now that they, themselves, are on meat?

    These stories are great tools to keep words hidden in minds and hearts until the Word is revealed.

    And we have no choice but to see them as literal until we are shown otherwise...
     
  6. Bible Highlighter

    Bible Highlighter Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. Supporter

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    You are most welcome.
    Blessings to you today in the Lord.
     
  7. Halbhh

    Halbhh The wonder and awe of "all things" Supporter

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    To take the text of Genesis chapter 1 literally involves faith, too, and if you rely more on faith than added ideas, it is not necessary to even modify the text at all for time sequences.

    Verse 1 happens and is finished before verse 2 happens.

    And verse 2 happens before verse 3.

    And continuing.

    With the verses already in correct time sequence -- the creation of the heavens, the stars, is already done before the moment of verse 2. That's the most literal interpretation possible.

    the heavens
    הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם (haš·šā·ma·yim)
    Article | Noun - masculine plural
    Strong's Hebrew 8064: Heaven, sky

    The stars already existing while the Earth is formless and void, a water world. So, they are then revealed on day 4. For more background on the text of the vision regarding the light and the days, see above posts I've been making.
     
  8. Chadrho

    Chadrho Active Member Supporter

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    Yes, absolutely. You're right and I wasn't really thinking about that in the original post. It would break my heart to think this one post caused another to stumble. That certainly was not at all my intention. In hindsight, I wish I would have worded the original post to reflect this sentiment. There was a time I took the account literally and that was right for me at the time.
     
  9. miamited

    miamited Ted Supporter

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    Hi halbhh,

    As I said, I don't see that God has actually given us any real understanding whereby we can know that we know, what the source of that first light is. I'm only willing to go as far as what God's word says with any confirmation of what is true. The rest is thinking and pondering of my own mind and may or may not be correct in its understanding of these things.

    Just as you're saying that this 'light' could have been some slow revealing of the solar sun, that's something that you cannot say that you know that you know because God's word says so. It's a conception that your mind has created to explain how it could be possible that there is obviously some source of light, but the sun isn't spoken of being created until day four. Is it the truth or not? I don't know. Could it be true? Yes, it could be the correct explanation, but I can't say that with any real conviction that it is the truth.

    All I know that is true. Is what God has caused to be written to me through the prophets and the scribes of Israel. God's word says that there was light of some kind when He first began His work of creating this realm. God's word says that it is He who divided and named the darkness and the light. Those two facts, I know to be true. 'How' God did it, or what the source of the light was on that first day of the earths rotating on its axis through the first day, is not known to me, although personally, I believe that since the Scriptures tell us that God is light, the He somehow walked into or came to exist in the black inkiness of what we know as our universe and His physical being in this new realm of His creating, was the light.

    Honestly, I don't think any of us really fully understands what it means, or the mechanics of, God creating a 'realm' of existence. What we might even describe as a new dimension that God created. There has always been God and He has always existed, but His physical existence, just as with the angels, seems to be on some other plane of existence, or the word that I choose to use, 'realm'.

    In his books, 'This Present Darkness' and 'Piercing the Darkness', Frank Peretti writes an account where we find that the angels exist among us, just as your neighbor might exist with you. But, we can't see with the eyes that God has created us to have, these creatures that are living all among us but in some other plane or realm of existence. Then, what happens when Mary sees an angel or Joseph sees an angel or the shepherds watching over their flocks see angels, is that God temporarily opens their eyes, gives them the special configuration that they need to see into the angelic realm. Or God, for a brief moment, gives the angel the ability to pierce that cloak that covers them from our eyes.

    When the angel spoke to Daniel, he said that he had been sent. Some have this idea that the angel was far off in some distant realm on the other side of the universe or something. Me, I think the angel was at the footstool of God's throne getting his instructions, and then walked over to where Daniel existed in this other realm, pulled back the cloak that hid him from Daniel's view or God gave Daniel those special eyes, momentarily to 'see' the angel as he spoke to Daniel. The point being, that just as it does mention in other places of the Scriptures, there seems to be an angelic realm that lies right along with our physical realm, but we can't see it.

    When Jesus drove out the demons. They were right there with the people, but the people couldn't 'see' them until Jesus made them, somehow, visible to the people for a moment. An entire legion of angels went into pigs that rushed headlong over a cliff. They were always there. Living right among us. We just couldn't see them until Jesus made them, momentarily visible to us.

    So, I see this created realm in which man lives, as merely some other sort of plane or realm of existence that exists in the same space that the angelic realm exists. When God said let there be light in this realm in which we exist, He may have merely pulled back this cloak that hides Him and the angelic realm from being seen with the physical properties that God gave our eyes, and light came into this realm. Can I give you a full and complete scientific explanation as to how that might have happened? No. But, as with your understanding, it is an understanding that comes from some Scriptural support based on other places that kind of give hints to us as to how the reality of existence might work. Hope all that makes sense to you and others that read it.

    Please understand that I don't expect God to condemn us for things that He did not make clear to us. But a lot of things God has made clear to us and when we begin to teach against the reality of those things that He seems to have made pretty clear to us, I have issues. So, not knowing exactly what the light was on day one as to its source, is not clear. That God flooded the whole earth or parted a sea or turned back the sun or created this realm in six pretty regular spans of time that we know of as a day, seems to be fairly clear, to me.

    God bless,
    In Christ, ted
     
  10. Jonaitis

    Jonaitis Soli Deo Gloria

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    The title is a bit overstated. A more tempered, and personal, version would be, "I find it very difficult to believe those who say they take all of the creation account in Genesis literally."

    I don't find it difficult.

    Why do I say that? There are metaphors in the account that cannot be taken literally. And, if they are taken literally, the interpreter runs the risk of missing the true intent of the metaphor. I'll give a couple examples.

    Is it possible that it has a literal, metaphorical, and typological angle, instead of just one?

    1) In Genesis 1, God separates light from darkness. God calls one Day and the other Night. This is the 1st day. And yet, the luminaries of the sky (Sun, moon, and stars) have yet to be created. Now, I ask, "What is a literal day?" A literal day is, at the very least, a twenty four hour period in which the earth rotates on its axis-the sun being that which determines light or dark. One cannot form a literal concept of a day in regards to the first day of creation. In other words, a metaphor has creeped in somewhere. Someone might attempt to explain the separation of light from darkness by saying, "On the first day, God separated right from wrong, good from evil, good angels from fallen angels." Fine. Whatever. I have no problem someone interpreting the metaphor. That's what we are supposed to do with metaphors. But, let's at least be honest and admit it's a metaphor.


    If you say the creation of light is metaphorical, then the creation of the sun is too.

    Sure, it doesn't make sense to us if we take this account scientifically. However, we must remember that it was written to an audience who only understood the world around them through their natural senses. In Joshua, he prays for the sun to stay still in the sky and God listens to him. Obviously this is spoken in ground perspective, because simple-minded people in those days did not think that the earth orbited the sun. It is possible that we must take this literally in the limited perspective of Moses' audience.

    It says that the first day had no sun, we must take it as it is. God is not limited to physical science and the natural order. Sometimes God does things that contradict the nature of things such as a world-wide flood covering the tops of the highest mountains, or a bush on fire without consuming it, or feeding five thousand with a few loaves. We must be careful of restricting and restraining God from being God, and subjecting him to human rationalism and naturalism.

    2) In Genesis 2:17 we are told of the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil." I ask myself, "What kind of tree is that? How do I form a literal conception of that kind of tree?" I challenge anyone reading my words to try, at this moment, to form a literal conception in their minds of such a tree. I contend, without having to try really hard to do so, one cannot form such a conception. Why? Because it is a metaphor. What does that fruit look like in your mind?

    If the tree was a metaphor, then the garden was a metaphor, which means that Adam and the fall was a metaphor. This is dangerous, as it collides with original sin and the purpose of the atonement of Christ.

    The forbidden tree was so named that in eating of it, in violation of the commandment, one would know sin. It wasn't that there was anything in the nature of the fruit, but that the breaching of the commandment concerning that fruit lead to a knowledge of sin. If you ate it, you would fall from your state of purity and innocence.

    While we do not know what the forbidden fruit looked like, since there is not a tree like it today, Adam and Eve did cover themselves with "fig leaves." Is that metaphorical only? Why so specific? I admit, it is a picture of man attempting to cover their own shame with their own works of righteousness, and God making animal skins into clothing represents Christ's righteousness covering their shame the right way.

    Here is the important part. Even if someone were able to take all of the creation account in Genesis literally, it would do them no good. What matters is not affirming its historical reliability. What matters is grasping the spiritual truths being communicated in the account, e.g. God exists, God is Creator, creation is not God, creation is good, humanity is created in the divine image, sin is a killer, humanity is in need of redemption, a promise of redemption has been made, etc.

    Why can't we take it literally and spiritually? It does harm if we just turn every story and passage to a metaphor, for that is what the Jews today do. Most do not believe that even the historical books are literal, that David and Saul are just figures. I protested in that I said, How as Jews do you believe David was a metaphor of a good ruler but you are still awaiting a Messiah?

    Believing that something is historically true does not change anything. I believe Billie Holiday is the greatest jazz singer of all time, that doesn't somehow change my life. Arguments over taking the creation account in Genesis literally miss the point (including the argument I am now making). The point is the truths being communicated via the account. And, happily for those of us who accept the account, science can't communicate those truths to us, only the account in Genesis can do that.

    It distorts the gospel.

    Does what I am saying make sense?

    No.
     
  11. RaymondG

    RaymondG Well-Known Member

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    I saw no stumbling blocks in your post. Only what seems to be akin to a person, who graduated from one grade level to another......looking at those entering the grade they were once in and saying that they should not have to go through that grade.....but should be able to skip it......

    incidentally, these are seldom the view of those who has graduation from any particular level.
     
  12. miamited

    miamited Ted Supporter

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    Hi again chadrho,

    You responded to another post:
    I full understand and appreciate that it was not your intention to set out to teach against the truth of God. However, I'm asking you to consider that if you're wrong, if God really did create this realm of existence in 6 days about 6,000 years ago as the Scriptures seem, at least to me, explain, are you teaching against the truth of God when you open up a dialogue with "It is not possible to take all that is in the Genesis account literally"? Then, giving your evidence to explain why you, according to your profile, a christian, believe that God's word concerning the time of the creation event can't be taken at face value.

    Yes, I fully understand it never crossed your mind that what you were saying could be doing exactly what I'm saying that you are doing against the truth of God's word. But, I'm asking you to consider it. Because, and I have studied the Scriptures and diligently sought the wisdom of the Holy Spirit before beginning my studies, it could be seen by God as what you are 'actually' doing. When I began studying the Scriptures, I sat down, as Daniel tells us that he did and sought God's presence and blessing in studying His word. I don't say that to toot my horn, but to merely say that I haven't taken the study of God's word lightly. I have been impressed that the account of the creation, as to the how and when, are completely possible. Not only possible, the truth of what God has told us.

    I'm not one to open up discussions that God somehow didn't flood the entire earth and that it must have been just some local Mesopotamian area flood. Why? Because I think that first the reality of a flood that covered mountains for 6 months could hardly be contained in some local valley of some mountain range. Secondly, God clearly says that He opened up the springs of the deep as He also brought the rain that deluged the earth for 40 days and 40 nights, and flooded the 'whole' earth. Thirdly, because according to God's word the purpose of the flood was to wipe man and animals off the earth. That wouldn't have happened in some localized flood area.

    God's word says that He turned back a shadow cast by the sun the distance of 10 steps. I believe that was an actual event that actually happened just as any of us would think that a shadow would retreat 10 steps. Why? Because God's purpose was to show the king that the prophecy he had received was true. According to the account, the prophet even asked the king which he would take as proof. That the shadow go backwards or forwards. The king, knowing that for the shadow to go forward would just be a matter of waiting, told the prophet to have God make the shadow go backwards. The king understood quite clearly that having the shadow go backwards was only something that God could do.

    But, my point is that all of these things happened just as the creation account happened, just as God's word tells us that these things happened. But there are many 'christians' who expend their efforts to try and support some understanding that these things didn't really happen the way that God's word seems to clearly explain that they did.

    God's word says that Adam was created on the sixth day of His creating. As we read further into the Genesis account, God gives us a fairly detailed account of the generations as they came forth. One man lived so long before he had a child and then that child grew into a man and lived so long before he had a child, etc. If we follow out this genealogy, it pretty clearly shows that Adam lived about 6,000 years ago. I believe that there was a perfectly good reason for God to have included these genealogies and I believe that reason was for us to understand the approximate age of the created realm that God's word claims that He created in 6 days. I mean, if all he wanted to show us was how man came to be from Adam, He could have, just as He seems to have done in the lineage of Jesus, just said the so-and-so begot so-and-so, etc. No need for years of life or age of a father at the birth of his child. No, just as God was sure to include for us that each of the six days consisted of an evening and a morning to that we could know that they were pretty regular days, He included these ages that we might, with some sure conviction, know that what God has done is to create an entire realm of existence in a mere six days about six thousand years ago. That we are created beings.

    Created by a loving God who not only created us but created a perfect realm of existence in which we could have life. Have all the food and air that we need to breathe. Have all the raw materials with which to make homes and shelters for us to live in. That we were created to have a loving and dependent relationship with Him and that He has made provision for our sin and that one day He is going to come back to us and clean all this mess up that we've made of it all. That for those who would believe Him and trust Him and repent of our sin and wickedness and rebellion against His authority, they would be given the right to be called children of God and the right to drink of the water of the fountain of life.

    In my studies of the Scriptures, that's the reality of life that I believe God's Spirit has convicted me is the truth of the matter. So again I ask, is it God's desire that His children throw doubt and aspersion at His word? The word, that according to Jesus, God's Son, is truth.

    God bless,
    In Christ, ted
     
  13. miamited

    miamited Ted Supporter

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    Hi again chadrho,

    I earlier asked you for some examples of the metaphorical construct that you claimed were found in the Genesis account. I haven't seen a response to that.

    Question: are there really metaphorical accounts? Or is it possible that this is some gospel that you have heard and have believed apart from the gospel of truth? Paul, and a number of the other new covenant writers, writes to us that we are among people who will not be telling us the truth of God, despite their describing themselves as believers. Peter, I believe says that we are among wolves in sheep's clothing.

    You wrote to another poster that there was a time that you believed the creation account as written. I'm curious to know what it was that changed your mind?

    God bless,
    In Christ, ted
     
  14. miamited

    miamited Ted Supporter

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    Hi chadrho,

    I'm not necessarily in agreement that there isn't a plain truth. We like to make it more difficult than it is and so one of the ways of doing that is to tell ourselves, "well, there isn't any plain truth, it must be interpreted". The Jews lived by that law and placed burdens on God's people for centuries with that understanding. The RCC still believes that the common man cannot understand the truths of the Scriptures. I disagree with that understanding.

    You say that you're merely putting into question some of the truths of God's word. No, that's not what I see that you're doing. Question would be: how can we trust that God really meant for us to understand that the creation really happened in six days? The reason I ask is that I've heard people say that the Genesis account is full of metaphorical construct. (I phrased it that way because you have yet to offer any valid metaphorical construct of your own understanding, and so I'm assuming that this is just something that you've heard, but haven't really checked out or sought the power of the Holy Spirit to understand.)

    But that's not what you did. You wrote a declarative statement: It is not possible to take all of the creation account in Genesis as literal. That isn't questioning. That is declaring a conviction of what you believe as truth.

    God bless,
    In Christ, ted
     
  15. Halbhh

    Halbhh The wonder and awe of "all things" Supporter

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    Hi Ted, I realize you are asking Chadrho this but if I may interject? The scripture does not say 6,000 years or any specific number of years, not anywhere, as we know. We can calculate the time duration using the given genealogies for after Adam and Eve had been ejected from the Garden where they had lived with the Tree of Life....

    That's where the well known 6 thousand something years comes from, from after Adam lost that Life he had enjoyed there, and entered the world of death as we know it here and began his ordinary mortal life numbered in finite years.

    But about the time that passed on the ordinary outside Earth while Adam had Life in the special Garden -- containing the Tree of Life, no less! -- and with the Eternal One for whom even a thousand years is practically nothing, there, walking there with him.... We do not know in scripture any number for that time duration for the outside Earth while Adam had Life in the Garden. It's just the plain truth of that, for anyone taking the text literally, so far as I know, having read fully through all the Bible, though if someone can come up with a plain wording somewhere to tell that unknown time duration, I would certainly look at it! Otherwise we know only that time duration from after Adam no longer had Life, and was in the ordinary mortal world we know. That leaves an unknown amount of time for Earth while the Garden had Adam in it, to add with the unknown amount of time in verse 1:1 of Genesis when all the heavens were created, the whole Universe, and the infant water world Earth, formless, 'void', before the moment when the spirit hovered over the waters.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2019
  16. miamited

    miamited Ted Supporter

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    Hi again chadhro,

    You wrote in a post to someone else:
    I'd just like to clarify that I don't think anyone here is talking about 'worshiping' the Scriptures. It's merely a matter of believing them or not.

    God bless,
    In Christ, ted
     
  17. Chadrho

    Chadrho Active Member Supporter

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    I would say so, Yes.

    Again, I don't disagree.

    I'm not suggesting taking the whole as a metaphor. Did God literally create? Yes. Does God have a mouth by which God spoke creation into existence. I would say, "No" not literal. John Calvin used the analogy of how we speak baby talk to babies. In a similar way, God speaks to us in ways we can understand.

    That's quite a charge, which I reject.
     
  18. miamited

    miamited Ted Supporter

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    Hi halbhh,

    Thanks for your response. You responded:
    The Scriptures tell us: After Adam lived 130 years he fathered a son like himself and named him Seth.

    What in that gives you some indication that all those 130 years were only accounted to Adam's life after the fall? Did the earth not go around the sun before the fall? Honestly, this seems to be more of the, "well, this is how my rational mind understands it." While I'm perfectly agreeable that we all have minds that work to rationalize a lot of things, it certainly seems to me that if the earth traveled around the sun before the fall, then years of life for Adam did pass before the fall. While I'm willing to look at and study your premise, I do want everyone to understand that there is no foundation found in the Scriptures to support someone saying, I know that I know, that Adam's 130 years of life only came after the fall.

    My understanding, honestly, is that the fall of Adam and Eve likely came fairly soon after the creation event. By soon, I mean within a small number of years, at most. Adam and Eve lived with God. Walking in the garden with Him. But there isn't any indication as to this existence without sin entering into the creation being a particularly long time. There isn't any indication, that I can find, that the 130 years of Adam's living before Seth was born, not including the days in which Adam and Eve walked in the garden with God. After all, we do know that the fall came because of the temptation of Eve by Satan. Is there really any reason to believe that Satan wasn't angered at God's ability to create a whole new realm of beings and didn't, therefore, immediately start his quest to bring them into his little party of rebellion? Is there really any Scriptural foundation on which to support that Adam and Eve lived their perfect life in God's presence for some hundreds or thousands or millions of years, again merely counting years as the time it takes the earth to go around the sun, before Satan appeared to tempt Eve to rebel against God's authority?

    What if the truth is that Adam's 930 years of life were all accounted for as the earth's trips around the sun since God formed Adam out of the dust of the ground?

    God bless,
    In Christ, ted
     
  19. Halbhh

    Halbhh The wonder and awe of "all things" Supporter

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    Ted, I'm thinking that Life isn't the same as this mortal life we have here, where we live only so long, and then these bodies die. Adam was not in this ordinary mortal world at first, but in a different kind of place, under a profoundly different condition.

    The Tree of Life was there. (It's worthwhile to read chapters 2 and 3 fully through if one has not very recently, to refresh).

    One of the reasons given for why Adam was ejected from the Garden is in order that he would no longer be able to access the Tree of Life.

    So, Adam's mortal years of life (930 mortal years) are not the same as the Life (capital L to signify the difference) to come we look forward to, and which Adam lost his original access to there when he broke trust with our Lord.
     
  20. Jonaitis

    Jonaitis Soli Deo Gloria

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    I prefer John Owen's analogies of a father speaking to his child or that of Moses viewing the back of God on Sinai.
     
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