Them vs Bible
I would like to respond t0 the posting by “Godless Liz” on Twitter. The first clue is her “handle.” Liz is apparently an atheist or agnostic. From Merriam Webster, “a person who does not believe in the existence of a god or any gods” or “a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (such as God) is unknown and probably unknowable — broadly : one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god” — or — “a person who is unwilling to commit to an opinion about something.”
Is Liz noncommittal? She is obviously a thinker, considering perplexing questions and confronting perceived infractions of common sense. Is Liz skeptical or completely cynical? I have no idea!
I have no idea who “Them” is, either. But Them or her recollection/understanding of what Them is saying is not the Bible’s teaching.
In the Bible book of James, the very first encouragement he gives is to the people of the Diaspora when the Jesus Sect had been chased out of Israel by the religious leaders.
They had been chased out of their homes and are in constant threat of persecution. Imagine, if you will, they must have been greatly dismayed and perplexed. They had done nothing wrong. Their crime was believing Jesus was the long awaited Messiah.
What does James tell them? “Rejoice! Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
The closest graphic example from modern Society that I can think of is Resistance Training. “If it doesn’t kill ya, it will only make you stronger.” Or so the saying goes. “One foot in front of the other” might be a better saying.
We live in a real world and real things happen — good and bad. We lost the Garden of Eden a long, long time ago. Why? Adam and Eve did it to themselves and today we continue that tradition. We have brought and are continuing to bring the calamities on ourselves. The real world has real consequences. Why? Because God chose to give Humanity this thing called free will. You see, if we don’t have free will, how would one define love? Love God. Love one another. Love family. What exactly would that look like? He did not create us to be mindless puppets on a string. We chose our way or His way. Think.
Understand that God is not the one intentionally hurting us. We do that all by ourselves. The original word for sin implies doing harm to ourselves or to others. God’s ways are not harmful but beneficial.
God is not out to just “teach us lessons, the “I’ll show you, man!” attitude.
God wants to rescue us from ourselves. In a nutshell this is the acorn that has the potential to grow into a magnificent Tree: Romans 5:6 “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person xrrsomeone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
No. God is not about “teaching us a lesson” in a spiteful or vengeful or heavy handed way. Otherwise why would Jesus say, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28)
It’s a choice.