Systematic Vegetarian Theology
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Sin and the Fallenness of
Creation (Part 7)
A commentary by: Michael Shaw
Let us take a moment and compare what tradition teaches verses what the Bible really says, regarding Satan's origins, and look at this comparison from a philosophical point of view. If, as tradition tell us, Satan was an Archangel named Lucifer, prior to his fall, we would still have the problem as to the source of Evil. For where did Satan get the evil that allowed him to rebel against God?
For if we say that Satan created evil, then we make him a God, for only a God can create something out of nothing, and that is exactly what Satan would have been doing if we state that God's universe prior to Satan's rebellion was void of evil. So as we said, this would make Satan a God, and not only would he be a God, but he would be a God who possessed something that the original God did not...EVIL.
There you have it, not only does the Bible say that God creates evil but even logic shows that Satan could not be the source of this dreaded universal energy.
Jesus knew that evil powers came from God, he even told Pilate so... "Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above." (John 19:11)
"Adam and Eve" Let us return to Adam and Eve and the so called "Fall" in the garden of Eden. Accepted Christianity would have us believe that Adam and Eve fell because of their disobedience to God's demand that they not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. True, they did disobey God, but, did they go against His will as tradition teaches?
We have already shown that God is the creator of evil, therefore, Adam and Eve's disobedience must also be from God. (We now enter into Free Will and Predestination, which we really don't have time for. Simply note that what I am about to say needs some qualifying, but non-the-less it is true.) Disobedience is just as much an evil as going against God's other laws. If we murder, lie, or steal, we are disobeying God. All these things mentioned are wrong or evil according the Bible. Therefore, God must be the cause of Adam and Eve's disobedience. Like the Jews in Jesus' time it was God who locked them up in stubbornness. (Romans 11:32) We can safely conclude that God is the source of Adam's disobedience.
Further, since Adam and Eve did not possess any knowledge of Good and Evil, they could not be held responsible for disobeying God's demand that they not eat from the tree, since they would have had the minds of infants in that regard. They would have had no intelligent idea that what they were doing was wrong, outside of knowing they were told not to. Concepts of Good and Evil were not yet developed in their minds, therefore, they could not be held accountable.
"Does God Cause Disobedience?" Perhaps the next question should be; Is there a Bible story that in fact shows or states that God is the source of disobedience against Himself? The answer is YES!! It is the story of the burning bush. If you remember, Moses had left Egypt for fear that Pharaoh would find out that he had killed an Egyptian, the one who struck the fellow Hebrew.
After leaving Egypt Moses settled in the land of Midian. It was here in Midian that Moses started to work for a priest by the name of Jethro, who's seven daughters Moses had defended at a nearby well. One day while Moses was watching over Jethro's flock he noticed a burning bush, and though on fire it was not consumed. God's voice called out that he should not come closer for he stood on Holy ground.
The reason God appeared to Moses was to give him a mission - a mission where Moses would go back to Egypt and tell the Pharaoh to let the Hebrews go. At first Moses was somewhat hesitant to go, so God assured him that He (God), would go with him. God also gave him a staff with which Moses was to work miracles to add to his credibility.
Now we come to the part of the story in which we find scriptural proof that God does in fact cause people to disobey Him.
Exodus 4:21 "And the Lord said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go."
Why would God cause Pharaoh's heart to harden and thus disobey God? The answer to that question is found in the following passage.
Exodus 10:1-2 "Then the Lord said to Moses, Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these miraculous signs of mine among them that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the Lord."
God wanted to show his power, to reveal himself to mankind. In particular, God wanted to be made manifest to the Hebrews by his mighty powers so that he would both be know and remembered by his followers throughout the generations. This was done by causing the Pharaoh to disobey his commands.
Let's look at another passage. In Paul's letter to the Romans, we find that in chapter 9 verse 30 he speaks of Israel's UNBELIEF or rejection of Jesus as the Messiah or Christ. However, the important passage, as it pertains to our question, is found in chapter 11, for here we are told why the Israelites have rejected Jesus. "According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear; unto this day." Romans 11:8. The passage is clear God has caused the Israelites not to believe and thus to reject the Messiah; but why?
Without going into too much detail or quoting the entire chapter, let me say that God caused the Jews not to recognize Jesus, so that the Gentiles would have a chance to come into the family of God. We are also reassured that the Jews will eventually accept Jesus as the Christ after all the Gentiles have entered the Kingdom. We read this starting half way into verse 25 and the first part of verse 26. "....Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written. (NIV)
Finally in verses 30-32 everything is made crystal clear. "..Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may receive mercy as a result of God's mercy to you. For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he might have mercy on them all." (NIV)
We can now conclude that God is not only the creator of evil, but also, he is the source of our own disobedience to him. God is teaching us many things and we must be put through many trials. Just as the saying goes, "you can't learn to swim if you don't go in the water", so also, we can not learn love, kindness and obedience until we have experienced hate, meanness and disobedience.
Returning to Adam and Eve. We can see that tradition is in err when it teaches that Adam and Eve fell and that they marred the image of God. Tradition is also in err when it teaches that somehow this fall interrupted God's plans and caused him to come up with a remedy, i.e. Jesus.
End of part seven. If anyone has questions, I will be glad to answer, but I am not
posting to argue.
Mike Shaw firstname.lastname@example.org
Or you may send your comments to all-creatures email@example.com
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