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Thread: Paradoxes in the Bible

  1. #1
    Partaker of Christ Guest

    Paradoxes in the Bible

    Do you think, that if the bible had been written by man (and not God), that they would not have been any paradoxes? Would not man try and square up these paradoxes, much like we often try and do in these forums.

    Is it not a fact, that because there are these wonderful paradoxes, that they are evidences of being inspired by God.

    Should we struggle with and to try and harmonize these paradoxes, like 'God's Sovereign will vs. mans free will', or that we are predestine chosen by God vs. mans responsibility to respond.

    I don't want this thread to turn into another discussion about those particular things. I just think that the bible was written is such a way, that we would have need to look, and pray for the Holy Spirit to guide us in all truth.

    Perhaps, just perhaps, the bible is written in such a way, that it would often (by the Spirit) speak to us personally, rather then corporately.

    Rom 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

    Rom 11:34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counselor?
    Rom 11:35 Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?
    Rom 11:36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen.

  2. #2
    Lamplighter Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Partaker of Christ View Post
    Perhaps, just perhaps, the bible is written in such a way, that it would often (by the Spirit) speak to us personally, rather then corporately.
    I agree. We will spend an eternal lifetime in New Jerusalem learning more and more about our God. The Bible does not come close to revealing all there is to know about God, but it gives us all we need to know to spend eternity with God. It gives us Christ, and that's all we need here on earth right now.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lamplighter View Post
    I agree. We will spend an eternal lifetime in New Jerusalem learning more and more about our God. The Bible does not come close to revealing all there is to know about God, but it gives us all we need to know to spend eternity with God. It gives us Christ, and that's all we need here on earth right now.
    I believe the Word of God reveals all there is to know about our Father.
    But our knowledge is limited because of our fallen nature.

    I believe there are statements in the Bible that seemingly contradict but harmonize when we understand all the truths.

    The problem is we get to certain levels of understanding then think we have arrived spiritually and quit seeking deeper truths.

    I agree with the poster. It's better to just say, "I don't understand" than to spend energy and time to understand things we don't. When we come to the place of telling God we don't understand then He will give more knowledge. It's when we think we have something figured out then attempt to understand everything based on what we think we understand is when we get in trouble.
    In Christ,
    Dave


    Revelations 21:7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

  4. #4
    Lamplighter Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by AliveinChristDave View Post
    I believe the Word of God reveals all there is to know about our Father.
    It sure is a short book.

    There are not enough books on earth to contain even a smidge of the totality of God. We will spend an eternity learning more and more about him.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lamplighter View Post
    It sure is a short book.

    There are not enough books on earth to contain even a smidge of the totality of God. We will spend an eternity learning more and more about him.
    Jesus Christ is the Word become flesh. We can know Him--- spiritually and physically (in the flesh)
    God doesn't hold back anything. We're only limited by our humanity. But as we put off this flesh and put on Christ, all that He is is revealed to us. To know the Son is to know the Father.

    Sadly, we won't know everything before eternity because as I said, we're limited by our flesh. But God has revealed all there is about Him in His Word. The more we grow the more we know. Being totally confromed to His Image results in us having all that Christ has, it means all that His is we are. Ephesians 4:13. The fullness of Christ is complete knowledge of Him
    Last edited by AliveinChristDave; Nov 14th 2008 at 12:57 PM. Reason: to correct a word
    In Christ,
    Dave


    Revelations 21:7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Partaker of Christ View Post
    Perhaps, just perhaps, the bible is written in such a way, that it would often (by the Spirit) speak to us personally, rather then corporately.
    Yes this is true. Once you find the words of God they can make such a real impact if you drink of them. The book of Jeremiah for example which brought me to tears.

    Yet I had not cried in many of years for anything and noone was able to make me ashamed.
    And having been reading many threads about how future sins were saved I began to wonder if it was true because that I was not ashamed of certain immoral sins I had commited.

    But as I read in Jeremiah and when the truth of it hit me it was as if I was in Jerusalem myself and hearing Jeremiah speak to me these things as if I was at fault (which I was). Something came over me that I had not known in many years and there was no doubt then to me I was guilty.

    And it is foolish of me to require a reminder yet at times I hide myself. I think that if anyone is stumbling then they need the word on a personal level if they just take someone elses word for it they aren't getting as much out of the bible as they could.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Partaker of Christ View Post
    D

    Should we struggle with and to try and harmonize these paradoxes, like 'God's Sovereign will vs. mans free will', or that we are predestine chosen by God vs. mans responsibility to respond.
    Couldn't god's Soverign will be to allow man to come of his own Free Will?

  8. #8

    Who can understand the mind of the Lord, or who has been His counselor ...

    Dear Partaker of Christ,
    (Your name sort of reminds me of II Peter 1:4 as well as John 6 and Mark 15:22-23. What a terrific name!)

    But what I really wanted to say was: what a terrific post! Thank you!
    Quote Originally Posted by Partaker of Christ View Post
    Paradoxes in the Bible
    Do you think, that if the bible had been written by man (and not God), that they would not have been any paradoxes? Would not man try and square up these paradoxes, much like we often try and do in these forums.

    Is it not a fact, that because there are these wonderful paradoxes, that they are evidences of being inspired by God.

    Should we struggle with and to try and harmonize these paradoxes, like 'God's Sovereign will vs. mans free will', or that we are predestine chosen by God vs. mans responsibility to respond.

    I don't want this thread to turn into another discussion about those particular things. I just think that the bible was written is such a way, that we would have need to look, and pray for the Holy Spirit to guide us in all truth.

    Perhaps, just perhaps, the bible is written in such a way, that it would often (by the Spirit) speak to us personally, rather then corporately.

    Rom 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

    Rom 11:34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counselor?
    Rom 11:35 Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?
    Rom 11:36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen.
    Sometimes non-Christians come in to CA (Christians Answer forum) raising what they see as "contradictions" in the Bible. Usually I reply pointing out places (e.g. Prov. 26:4 vs 26:5; I John 2:7 vs 2:8) where a book contradicts what was said in two successive verses, and thus, obviously, deliberately. While these are "little" instances of contradiction, there are larger, more diffuse cases, too. God knows the end from the beginning, yet he "regrets" making humanity in the Noah account, etc. You give other examples. And the answer is, as you say, that the truth, and especially the truths concerning God and His works, are larger than fits into the human mind, so that God's (to be sure, perfect and perspicuous) communication to us is -- to us -- full of things hard to understand, and even contradictory. That arises not from any contradiction within God, but from the inevitable limitations of ourselves as hearers -- not just because we are sinners, but also because we are finite, limited, beings, too small to fully apprehend the fullness and depth of God's truth, and of the various truths He communicates to us.

    As lamplighter rightly says -- in a sense paraphrasing John 21:25 ("If all were written down ... even the whole world could not contain" the truth of Christ), or Is. 55:8-9 ("As the heaven in higher than the earth, even so are my thoughts higher than your thoughts"), or even Exod. 33:20 ("Man shall not see me and live.") -- "There are not enough books on earth to contain even a smidge of the totality of God."

    So I really appreciate this thread!

  9. #9
    Partaker of Christ Guest
    What gain is it to have all knowledge, but not have love?

    1Co 13:1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
    1Co 13:2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
    1Co 13:3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
    1Co 13:4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant
    1Co 13:5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
    1Co 13:6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
    1Co 13:7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
    1Co 13:8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.
    1Co 13:9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part,
    1Co 13:10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.
    1Co 13:11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
    1Co 13:12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

    1Co 13:13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love

  10. #10
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    Nice post,

    It reminds me line in a book I read, Frank Herbert's "Heritics of Dune". Quite the secular book but much truth to the quote I think.

    "A Paradox is a pointer telling you to look beyond it. If paradox bothers you, that betrays your deep desire for absolutes. The relativist treats a paradox merely as interesting, perhaps amusing or even, dreadful thought, educational."

    Heretics of Dune, New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1984.


    Joe

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Partaker of Christ View Post
    Perhaps, just perhaps, the bible is written in such a way, that it would often (by the Spirit) speak to us personally, rather then corporately.
    Greetings Partaker,

    Can you elaborate a bit on what you mean here? I ask because I see an inherent danger in individualism. In other words I find it necessary that other believers, draw the same conclusions as I have through our independent studies, basically for confirmation.

    When we are alone in our understanding of Scripture, we need to be very cautious, because Scripture does not permit each of us to come to our own conclusions in isolation. We can become Gnostic in our opinions, believing that some things that God speaks to His people can only be discerned by those of greater spiritual awareness. This is much like the Roman Catholics, who believe(ed) that God had given only the Pope and his priests the ability to understand Scripture. But God has promised that if we (believers) seek (whoever we may be) with all our hearts, we will find truth.

    I don't mean to imply this is what you believe, but the statement is a little vague, and leaves one wondering.

    Many Blessings,
    RW

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Partaker of Christ View Post
    Perhaps, just perhaps, the bible is written in such a way, that it would often (by the Spirit) speak to us personally, rather then corporately.
    Quote Originally Posted by RogerW View Post
    Can you elaborate a bit on what you mean here? I ask because I see an inherent danger in individualism. In other words I find it necessary that other believers, draw the same conclusions as I have through our independent studies, basically for confirmation.
    Does not saying "by the Spirit" eliminate the need for elaboration? Sure confirming it is alwasy good/edifying but if it is by the Sprit it is by the Spirit.

    Or from a different angle as I like extreams. The desert island senario. If a saved person is isolated with no bible and no people, can they still grow in the knowlege of God? Is "nessesity" the right word for your point?

    Peace,

    Joe

  13. #13
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    Roger,

    I am sure we agree more than the way I assembled my post. I'm sure we are saying the same thing and I was being nit-picky over words instead of the big picture.

    Sorry,

    Joe

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Walstib View Post
    Roger,

    I am sure we agree more than the way I assembled my post. I'm sure we are saying the same thing and I was being nit-picky over words instead of the big picture.

    Sorry,

    Joe
    Not a problem at all Joe. We simply seem to have been focusing on different aspects of the OP. My response was in trying to harmonize the seeming paradoxes in these forums. Which was why I focused on having confirmation from others regarding specific doctrine we espouse.

    Many Blessings,
    RW

  15. #15
    Partaker of Christ Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by RogerW View Post
    Greetings Partaker,

    Can you elaborate a bit on what you mean here? I ask because I see an inherent danger in individualism. In other words I find it necessary that other believers, draw the same conclusions as I have through our independent studies, basically for confirmation.

    When we are alone in our understanding of Scripture, we need to be very cautious, because Scripture does not permit each of us to come to our own conclusions in isolation. We can become Gnostic in our opinions, believing that some things that God speaks to His people can only be discerned by those of greater spiritual awareness. This is much like the Roman Catholics, who believe(ed) that God had given only the Pope and his priests the ability to understand Scripture. But God has promised that if we (believers) seek (whoever we may be) with all our hearts, we will find truth.

    I don't mean to imply this is what you believe, but the statement is a little vague, and leaves one wondering.

    Many Blessings,
    RW
    Hi Roger!

    I don't say He speaks differently to the individual, but personally.

    If I can put it something like this:

    John 3 :16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son.

    Now, from a knowledge point of view, I could convince myself and try to convince others, that God loves us, and gave His only begotten Son. Then someone could say 'but' did not God hate Esau? or God loves us 'if' we do this we do that etc:

    So, when I try and gain understanding of knowledge, I see some 'if's' and 'but's' that seem paradoxical. That should get me to pray and seek God, for He say's in His word, how much more will He give the Holy Spirit to those who ask.

    Then the Lord by the Holy Spirit would speak to me personally (not differently)

    Jer 31:3 The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

    I think that often we to much fear having some 'doubt', but I sometimes believe it can be a good thing, as long as we don't remain in doubt. I think it is (or should be) a means to lead us to prayer.
    Doubt is not unbelief, but a process of going from unbelief, to belief. It is like we can be cold one day, and then become hot, but at some stage we pass through luke warm. As long as we don't stick at luke warm, then it can be healthy.

    We can have understanding without much knowledge. I can understand that God very much does love me, far beyond what I can even begin to imagine, but I might not know why.

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