Monday, April 27, 2009

Love this Quote!

“The Bible’s purpose is not so much to show you how to live a good life. The Bible’s purpose is to show you how God’s grace breaks into your life against your will and saves you from the sin and brokenness otherwise you would never be able to overcome… religion is ‘if you obey, then you will be accepted’. But the Gospel is, ‘if you are absolutely accepted, and sure you’re accepted, only then will you ever begin to obey’. Those are two utterly different things. Every page of the Bible shows the difference.”

- Timothy Keller

(HT: Tim Keller Wiki)


D said...

“The Bible’s purpose is not so much to show you how to live a good life."

Do you think it's possible at all for the Bible to show you how to be good? Or do you think it is even possible for god to show you how to be good?


Eowyn's Heir said...

There are a lot of ways to answer your question, and I'm really not sure which one to take... Here goes. :)

It's possible for the Bible to show you how to be good. It does do that. There are two problems with that, though. The first is that we already know, deep down, what is right and what is wrong. That's called our conscience, and the Bible teaches that it's the left-over, twisted but still audible imprint of God's Image in our souls (Genesis 1). Why, then, doesn't everyone do what is right? I encourage you to read Romans 1(v 18ff espec.). It amazes me every time with its accurate portrayal of people and people groups around the world. We know what is right & we don't want to do it. We want what WE want. So we, from our earliest "NO! MINE!", "suppress the truth."

The second problem is that even if and when we realize that we're doing what's wrong, and we want to change, we find ourselves incapable of so doing. Let's say you decide to read the Bible, and you're like "Dude! This stuff makes sense! If everyone lived like this, the world would totally work!" (which would be an appropriate answer) So, you decide from here on out, you'll obey its every command... you won't be able to. You will find yourself hopelessly, shamefully unable. God's Word tells us not just to do outward things, but to do inward things, like love certain things and hate other things, or find joy in certain things (worship) and be angered by others (idols)-- these do not come naturally. As Romans 8:7-8 puts it, "For natural mind is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God." Woah!

So, where does this leave humanity? Utterly in need of a Savior. We have all known the truth of what is right and not done it, and we are all so crooked so deep down that we can't even get right if we wanted to. That is why Jesus came in and why He still has to come in if a person is to know any Life. He takes over a heart, and then that person not only wants but can do "good." That person now can obey God, the Giver of life and the Maker of right... Delight Himself; the Fountain of Joy (Psalm 16).

D said...

Would you agree then that it is wrong to lie?

Eowyn's Heir said...

why don't you read the Bible and tell me?

Righteous men swear to their own hurt, do not bear false witness against their neighbor, and honor Truth.

Have righteous men ever lied in the face of treachery or endangerment of their neighbor? Yes- Exodus 1-2 tells us of the midwives who refused to do as the king bid and murder the infant boys of their people (the Hebrews). Were they wrong to lie as a part of that? We are not told. We are told that they did what they did BECAUSE they feared God and not because they feared man. Because of that right ordering of priorities, God blessed them.

how about this one-- is it wrong to assign anything more value than the True God?

D said...

So, breaking the law is alright if you are doing it for the right reason. Did I get that right? If so, then it would be morally acceptable to kill a child or a pregnant woman if god told me to do so. Is this correct?

Eowyn's Heir said...

You have an interesting sense of "logic." Nowhere in my past answer did I say "it's ok to break the law if you do it for the right reason."

I gave an example of one person's refusal to obey man in favor of obedience to God. Not the same as giving us a license to break laws as we see fit.

God is the one who created logic and morality. He does not call individuals to break His own law. He has in the past called nations to a holy war in which woman and children were among the casualties of His wrath. But His Word now reveals that time is clearly passed now. God does not call individuals to kill. His Law is very very clear. No easy outs there.

And you never did answer my question. :) I'd also encourage you to think about what I'm actually saying, instead of looking for a loophole or some way to show how Christians are wrong- if that is what you're doing-- I can only guess. :) My first answer was about the Bible showing us how to be "good." There wasn't anything about lying in it.

D said...

I would say I have higher moral and ethical standards than any god, especially the god of Abraham. So, I take you think god is omni-benevolent. Tell me then, is it right for god to allow children to starve to death or even to order his creation to kill children and pregnant women? Because from the sound of your last response, you seemed content with the idea that god orders the murder of women and children (these women and children were not just accidental casualties, see: . I presume that you don't think it's ok to commit those atrocities, but some clarification on your last comment would be appreciated.

Also, thanks for sticking around. I don't get to debate as much as I would like to. This has been fun for me.

Wakenda said...

OH, D. I guess your real question is can anyone or anything influence an individual? If you read a science text book and believe that it is teaching you something then you are influenced intellectually by the book. In the same way, if you read any book on a particular form of morality, it influences your individual world view as to whether or not you agree with it's principles. This goes for any book on morality from the Bible to the Koran and the various writing of the Dali Lama. Now, if you accept that premise of intellectuals being able to process information and that information providing a new perspective to an individual able to logically process that it whether or not there is agreement, then your question is answered-an individual understanding the Bible to be a good moral compass to provide perspective for their personal view would consider it as one way to point them toward a good life. One the other hand another individual could read it's contents and determine it to be not such a good compass and therefore say that it is not a "good" influence in their life.

Beyond that you are asking the question of what is good verses not good, and that is for every individual to decide. Yes, there are societal standards to ensure that all people have the right to make such decisions. For example, if you kill someone for whatever reason, you have eliminated their opportunity for logical decision making, thus the societal standard that murder/manslaughter for any reason is unacceptable. Beyond the legal standards however, each individual is left to determine their own standards based upon the various influences their experience have provided.

On a side note, as the quote states that the Bible is not necessarily written to show someone how to live a good life, your question seems unfortunately repetitive.

Eowyn's Heir said...

"Higher ethical and moral standards," hmmm? You sound almost like a Christian. Anytime someone starts talking morals; oughts and right v. wrong and absolutes, he is using something that is firmly outside the camp of the atheist/naturalist. Only if there is a Being outside ourselves who determined an objective moral standard and gave us a conscience & the responsibility to follow its twinges, can there be morals. Saying that you are better than God is like a little boy climbing in his Daddy's lap to slap him in the face; you have to have His system holding you up in order to critisize Him. Or it's like a child stealing one friend's money to pay a bully to beat him up... totally inconsistent. The minute you start using morals and ethics, you have crossed over into my camp. I would urge you to pick up a Bible and start examining what Standard it actually presents; the God of the Bible is indeed Holy, Righteous, and Good-- and so is His Law.

The number 1 aim of all God has ordained and spoken is His glory-- as it should be. God IS the greatest Being in existence, the Creator, the most Beautiful, the All-Wise Amazing Joy-giver. To NOT honor Him supremely would be not only ludicrous but obscene and unjust. The minute God starts making much of something else; I mean making more of anything above Himself, that thing becomes the functioning god... and the universe collapses. There is no Titan struggle for power here; no Greek lesser gods duking it out in our cosmos. No, there is only One God, and He has and always will be Supreme. That's why some of the most offensive things you can do are 1) worship another god (like yourself) or 2) kill or wrong another person made in God's image. God is passionate about the Glory of His Name. Read Isaiah and find it stamped all over. And if you don't like it-- think about what it is you're saying you think is better.

If you really are concerned about the ethics of the Conquest of Canaan, my pastor Ryan Fullerton has preached a marvelous series through Joshua, and had one entire sermon devoted to that issue. I highly reccomend it. You can access it for streaming audio or download here: The particular sermon is here (Entitled "Is God Guilty of Genocide?"):
Check it out! I am praying for you.