Author Topic: Is God Now a "Ze"?  (Read 15465 times)

Daniel L. Gard

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #195 on: May 07, 2018, 08:24:51 PM »

How can there be different Gods if there is only one God. Either there was nothing that led Israel out of slavery and gave them the law; or it has to be the one, true God that Christians also worship, but through the understanding of the Trinity.


Suppose I'm not interested in glimpsing the truth about God "through the understanding" (my understanding, your understanding, anybody's understanding)?  Suppose I want to see God purely as He manifests Himself to human beings, without going "through the understanding"?  No filters, no constructs, no cognitive middlemen?  He is the Word, I am the hearer.  What then?


As preachers come to understand, from one sermon, people will hear different things. Words cannot enter into our heads without going through our own filters.


Even with the written word, the way some people respond to what I've posted makes it clear that what they read isn't at all what I intended to communicate.


Do we not believe that the one true God reveal himself to Abraham and his offspring? This God revealed himself to Moses in the bush and on the mountain? Do we not still believe that this God's word comes to his through the revelations given to the prophets? As I argued elsewhere, the early Christian confession, "Jesus is Lord," comes from the Greek translation of the Jewish scriptures where the one God's name is, κυρίος.


Conversely, we do not believe that God revealed himself to Mohammed or to Joseph Smith.

Do you accept or reject the Athanasian Creed in its entirety?

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #196 on: May 07, 2018, 08:37:13 PM »

Words cannot enter into our heads without going through our own filters.


Suppose this is the case.  If it is, we ought to be able to defend such a position (because it seems important).  How would we do that?  Why should I believe such a claim -- "Words cannot enter into our heads without going through our own filters"?  How might we have confidence that such a claim is not just the result of another filter?  Why would anyone think it makes sense to say this -- "Words cannot enter into our heads without going through our own filters"?


Do we not believe that the one true God reveal himself to Abraham and his offspring? This God revealed himself to Moses in the bush and on the mountain? Do we not still believe that this God's word comes to his through the revelations given to the prophets? As I argued elsewhere, the early Christian confession, "Jesus is Lord," comes from the Greek translation of the Jewish scriptures where the one God's name is, κυρίος.


This all seems right to me.


Conversely, we do not believe that God revealed himself to Mohammed or to Joseph Smith.


How come?  Because we're missing the requisite filters?  Because we've been seduced by our culture and upbringing into discarding that particular belief?  Because it's just not true?  Can you help me here?

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #197 on: May 07, 2018, 08:43:55 PM »
While wanting to spend (waste?) time arguing about the first section of your post, I will content myself with just the last paragraph, in particular, this: "All the stuff in the Book of Concord is helpful and important, but it doesn't save. The simple gospel that even an infant can receive brings salvation."

Does that mean you don't believe that the teaching -- the DOCTRINE -- of Article IV of the AC is "necessary"?  Or the teaching -- the DOCTRINE -- of Article III?  What gospel do you have if you don't teach of Christ or the forgiveness of sins? 

Really, Rev. Stoffregen, sometimes you outdo yourself.  And not in a good way.


Articles III and IV are wonderful expressions and explanations of the simple Gospel. It tells us that even infants, who cannot yet read all those wonderful words, are saved by God's grace given to them in baptism. If they grow up and never read those wonderful words, they are still saved by God's grace that was given to them in baptism.


It wasn't until I was in college (an LCMS one) that I even knew that there was a Book of Concord. I then checked. We didn't even have one in our church library. If the pastors I had ever mentioned it, it didn't register with me. I don't think that I was an uncommon Lutheran lay folk. A vast majority of them will never read the Augsburg Confession - and many don't even know it exists. I am not willing to say that God will not save them because they haven't read and understood and believe what's in Articles III and IV.

OK, so now some of the teaching -- DOCTRINE -- contained in the Book of Concord are "wonderful expressions and explanations of the simple Gospel"?  You talk out of both sides of your mouth....


It doesn't take page after page to say, "You are saved by God's grace in Jesus Christ." That's the simple gospel. That's what saves us. When we further explain that, we end up with pages and pages of stuff. It's wonderful to help better understand it all (for those who want to try and understand the finer details of the simple Gospel, but the explanation doesn't replace the simple gospel. One mouth. One side. Two topics: simple gospel and our confessional expressions and explanation of that simple gospel.

1. Article III is not page after page.  It is relatively short.  Same with Article IV.
 


The further explanation of Article IV in the Apology is not relatively short.

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2. Your statement was "All the stuff in the Book of Concord is helpful and important, but it doesn't save. The simple gospel that even an infant can receive brings salvation."  Article III and IV are in the Book of Concord.  So, according to your claim, the doctrine they proclaim does not save.


Nope, doctrine does not save. God saves. Doctrine is our attempt to describe what God is doing.


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3. You show yourself to be the ultimate Gospel reductionist.  And that is not a good thing.


Thank you. I take that as a complement. To me it is a good thing. It means that I am centered on the Gospel. It's an even worse thing to add requirements to the Gospel. It then ceases to be the Gospel.

So, in your opinion, what IS the Gospel?  (By the way, I think you mean that you take being called a Gospel reductionist as a compliment. not complement -- although I am not really sure if you do.)

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #198 on: May 07, 2018, 09:05:36 PM »
My pastor told us last night  about a meeting he had with the Rabbi down the street from our church.  She said, "So you are the Lutheran Pastor up the street?   At least we worship the same God".   Our Pastor said, "No, we don't worship the same God since you do not believe Jesus is God".   Her reply, "You really believe that Jesus is God?"

I am thankful I have a Pastor that is brave enough to speak the truth.

Hmm . . . wouldn't it be more accurate, in talking with a Jew, to acknowledge that we worship the same God, even though the Jewish understanding of that God (as Father, Son, Holy Spirit) is incomplete? To say "we don't worship the same God" seems to push the differences a bit too far.
They do not worship the Trinity.  Ask them.  But you do worship the Trinity.  Different Gods.  Is Jesus God?  You say so and worship Him.  They say no and do not.  Different Gods.  Not "incomplete" understanding but DIFFERENT understanding, different Gods.


How can there be different Gods if there is only one God. Either there was nothing that led Israel out of slavery and gave them the law; or it has to be the one, true God that Christians also worship, but through the understanding of the Trinity.

So, if there are no other Gods, what is the point of the First Commandment?  Why did God get angry with Aaron and the Israelites over the golden calf?


Scriptures offers two quite distinct answers.


1. There are no other gods, but humans will create idols that they believe are gods. The golden calf certainly was not a god. It had no power to do anything for those who worshiped it.


2. Psalm 82:1 (among a few others): "God [אֱלֹהִים] has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods [אֱלֹהִים] he holds judgment:" There are psalms and prophets that picture a council of gods in the heavens. One interpretation is that these are text borrowed from Canaanite religion that had multiple gods. Another interpretation is that אֱלֹהִים should be understood as "heavenly" or "divine beings" and includes all the beings in the heavenly realm, e.g., angels, and perhaps, cherubim, seraphim, demons. Of those beings, "El" or "יהוה" is superior to those other beings. So, while we use the word "gods" for these other lesser divine beings, they are not equal to the one God.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #199 on: May 07, 2018, 09:09:50 PM »
Do you accept or reject the Athanasian Creed in its entirety?


I accept the Athanasian Creed as our human attempt to try and understand the incomprehensible Triune God.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #200 on: May 07, 2018, 09:29:45 PM »
Do you accept or reject the Athanasian Creed in its entirety?


I accept the Athanasian Creed as our human attempt to try and understand the incomprehensible Triune God.

This could probably use some unpacking, particularly as it does not appear to address the question. 
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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #201 on: May 07, 2018, 09:37:55 PM »

Words cannot enter into our heads without going through our own filters.


Suppose this is the case.  If it is, we ought to be able to defend such a position (because it seems important).  How would we do that?  Why should I believe such a claim -- "Words cannot enter into our heads without going through our own filters"?  How might we have confidence that such a claim is not just the result of another filter?  Why would anyone think it makes sense to say this -- "Words cannot enter into our heads without going through our own filters"?


What happens in your head if a speaker is speaking in Chinese? Most of us have no way of filtering those sounds into meaningful images. We need something in our heads that will decode the sounds that enter into our ears. Even with words we do understand, the decoding process is based on our own experiences and our understanding of the meaning of the words. We just picked up some "stressless chairs" we had ordered. If your decoding filter hasn't heard of or seen "stressless chairs" you can't fully understand what I mean by that phrase.


However, if I said: "The president was on valium so he was a stressless chair," both you and I would know that I'm not talking about something to sit on.

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Conversely, we do not believe that God revealed himself to Mohammed or to Joseph Smith.


How come?  Because we're missing the requisite filters?  Because we've been seduced by our culture and upbringing into discarding that particular belief?  Because it's just not true?  Can you help me here?


There is certainly something about us that causes us to disbelieve what millions of others do believe. "Filter" seems as good a term as others to describe that difference.


We might call it a skeptical filter. We're skeptical about claims of God speaking to people - even Christians who claim "God spoke to me."


We, speaking of Christians, use the Bible and our understanding of the faith to filter new information that comes to us. What "God" said to Mohammed and to Joseph Smith doesn't sound like things the God we believe through scriptures would say. Similarly, we don't believe what is written in the pseudepigrapha even if they claim to be written by apostles because they portray a God who is foreign to the filters our beliefs about God have created in our thinking.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #202 on: May 07, 2018, 09:39:57 PM »
Do you accept or reject the Athanasian Creed in its entirety?


I accept the Athanasian Creed as our human attempt to try and understand the incomprehensible Triune God.

This could probably use some unpacking, particularly as it does not appear to address the question.


I've used it. I confess it. I teach it. I also believe that it can be misunderstood and become heretical. (Misunderstandings of scriptures also lead to heresies. It's not just this creed.)
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #203 on: May 07, 2018, 09:50:37 PM »
Do you accept or reject the Athanasian Creed in its entirety?


I accept the Athanasian Creed as our human attempt to try and understand the incomprehensible Triune God.

This could probably use some unpacking, particularly as it does not appear to address the question.


I've used it. I confess it. I teach it. I also believe that it can be misunderstood and become heretical. (Misunderstandings of scriptures also lead to heresies. It's not just this creed.)

Thank you for elaborating.  I appreciate it. 
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pearson

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #204 on: May 07, 2018, 11:34:27 PM »

What happens in your head if a speaker is speaking in Chinese? Most of us have no way of filtering those sounds into meaningful images. We need something in our heads that will decode the sounds that enter into our ears. Even with words we do understand, the decoding process is based on our own experiences and our understanding of the meaning of the words. We just picked up some "stressless chairs" we had ordered. If your decoding filter hasn't heard of or seen "stressless chairs" you can't fully understand what I mean by that phrase.


Here's my problem: you are assuming the very thing that I asked you to defend.  You are saying, in effect, that these "filters" must be there because they do the very things that "filters" would do, if there were any.  They are an invention that allow us to explain things according to the way we now favor how explanations should go.  What leaves me astonished (and makes me grumpy) is the way that, for instance, we have assembled a vastly inflated psychological apparatus that we are content to accept as defining how persons function.  And then we employ that apparatus and its various dimensions -- whether it is linguistic "filters," sexual "orientations," or cognitive "structures" -- to craft explanations that we find comforting.  The perplexing thing is that these explanatory ingredients themselves resist explanation; we need them to fill out our satisfying accounts of how things work, so we ignore the fact that they are mere inventions.

Pr. Stoffregen, you mention above "our own experiences" and "the meaning of the words."  Fine.  Go with that.  Don't go to all the trouble to manufacture a "decoding filter."  Who needs it?


There is certainly something about us that causes us to disbelieve what millions of others do believe. "Filter" seems as good a term as others to describe that difference.


Maybe those others are just wrong?
 

We, speaking of Christians, use the Bible and our understanding of the faith to filter new information that comes to us. What "God" said to Mohammed and to Joseph Smith doesn't sound like things the God we believe through scriptures would say. Similarly, we don't believe what is written in the pseudepigrapha even if they claim to be written by apostles because they portray a God who is foreign to the filters our beliefs about God have created in our thinking.


"the filters our beliefs about God have created in our thinking"?  So our filters are not part of the inherent furniture of the mind, but are created?  And they are created by our beliefs?  What, then, creates our beliefs?  And these belief-created filters do whatever they do in our "thinking"?  I could not have asked for a better phrase to describe the incoherence of an overly-psychologized attempt at an explanation.

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #205 on: May 08, 2018, 03:07:14 AM »

What happens in your head if a speaker is speaking in Chinese? Most of us have no way of filtering those sounds into meaningful images. We need something in our heads that will decode the sounds that enter into our ears. Even with words we do understand, the decoding process is based on our own experiences and our understanding of the meaning of the words. We just picked up some "stressless chairs" we had ordered. If your decoding filter hasn't heard of or seen "stressless chairs" you can't fully understand what I mean by that phrase.


Here's my problem: you are assuming the very thing that I asked you to defend.  You are saying, in effect, that these "filters" must be there because they do the very things that "filters" would do, if there were any.


"Filters" might not be the best term to describe what I'm trying to describe. What I'm referring to is the something that allows us to make sense out of what we hear. I've suggested that knowing English is a filter that allows us to put meaning to what an English speaker is saying. We know English because of our experiences and training. Some of us have also learned that there are some differences between American English and Canadian and British English.


You didn't respond to my example about hearing a Chinese speaker. We don't have the equipment in our brains to make sense of those words. It is meaningless gibberish. I'm saying that the something that allows a hearer to make sense of those sounds is a type of filter that transfers sounds into something meaningful. 


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They are an invention that allow us to explain things according to the way we now favor how explanations should go.  What leaves me astonished (and makes me grumpy) is the way that, for instance, we have assembled a vastly inflated psychological apparatus that we are content to accept as defining how persons function.  And then we employ that apparatus and its various dimensions -- whether it is linguistic "filters," sexual "orientations," or cognitive "structures" -- to craft explanations that we find comforting.  The perplexing thing is that these explanatory ingredients themselves resist explanation; we need them to fill out our satisfying accounts of how things work, so we ignore the fact that they are mere inventions.


What I'm trying to describe is basic communication. What I remember from a long-ago book on communications:
that person A has an idea or picture in her head,
she encodes that idea or picture into language
the language is sent to person B
person B decodes the language to create the idea or picture in his head.


If both persons were using similar coding patterns, the idea or picture in person B's head should be the same as in person A's head. If they were using different coding patterns or filters, then the two pictures could be quite different.


Quote
Pr. Stoffregen, you mention above "our own experiences" and "the meaning of the words."  Fine.  Go with that.  Don't go to all the trouble to manufacture a "decoding filter."  Who needs it?


Communication folks need it. I would think that teachers would need it. If your students aren't grasping what you are trying to tell them, it is either because you've coded it in language that is foreign to them and you might have to change your language; or they haven't got the tools to properly decode it to turn it into an idea or picture in their own minds in which case you might have to train them in the meaning of words so that they can decode the proper language you want to use.

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There is certainly something about us that causes us to disbelieve what millions of others do believe. "Filter" seems as good a term as others to describe that difference.


Maybe those others are just wrong?


What would make them wrong? What criteria do you use to judge them to be wrong? Maybe a more simple issue is when you are grading papers, what determines a wrong answer? or a right answer? That's easy with math problems; but probably not as easy with philosophical essays.


What makes Pentecostals wrong to use the book of Acts as their guide for baptisms in Jesus' name and a separate baptism in the Holy Spirit with speaking in tongues? It happened a number of times in Acts. Why are we right to look at Romans 6 for our understanding of baptism; or that "baptism with water and the Spirit" from John 3 happens at the same time rather than two separate events?


Quote

We, speaking of Christians, use the Bible and our understanding of the faith to filter new information that comes to us. What "God" said to Mohammed and to Joseph Smith doesn't sound like things the God we believe through scriptures would say. Similarly, we don't believe what is written in the pseudepigrapha even if they claim to be written by apostles because they portray a God who is foreign to the filters our beliefs about God have created in our thinking.


"the filters our beliefs about God have created in our thinking"?  So our filters are not part of the inherent furniture of the mind, but are created?  And they are created by our beliefs?  What, then, creates our beliefs?  And these belief-created filters do whatever they do in our "thinking"?  I could not have asked for a better phrase to describe the incoherence of an overly-psychologized attempt at an explanation.


The filters, at least as I'm talking about them, are no more inherent furniture in our minds than the English or the Chinese languages are. They are learned. Are there some moral absolutes that are innate? It's difficult to test for such things in young infants.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Harry Edmon

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #206 on: May 08, 2018, 06:59:59 PM »
My pastor told us last night  about a meeting he had with the Rabbi down the street from our church.  She said, "So you are the Lutheran Pastor up the street?   At least we worship the same God".   Our Pastor said, "No, we don't worship the same God since you do not believe Jesus is God".   Her reply, "You really believe that Jesus is God?"

I am thankful I have a Pastor that is brave enough to speak the truth.

Hmm . . . wouldn't it be more accurate, in talking with a Jew, to acknowledge that we worship the same God, even though the Jewish understanding of that God (as Father, Son, Holy Spirit) is incomplete? To say "we don't worship the same God" seems to push the differences a bit too far.
They do not worship the Trinity.  Ask them.  But you do worship the Trinity.  Different Gods.  Is Jesus God?  You say so and worship Him.  They say no and do not.  Different Gods.  Not "incomplete" understanding but DIFFERENT understanding, different Gods.


How can there be different Gods if there is only one God. Either there was nothing that led Israel out of slavery and gave them the law; or it has to be the one, true God that Christians also worship, but through the understanding of the Trinity.
There is only one true God.   The Jews have rejected Him, and thus therir "god" is something other than the one true God who lead them out of Egypt.   John 8:12-59.
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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #207 on: May 08, 2018, 10:24:44 PM »
There is only one true God.   The Jews have rejected Him, and thus therir "god" is something other than the one true God who lead them out of Egypt.   John 8:12-59.

Going by the proof-text being used, it's not the implication their "god" is something other than the one true God - it's the Devil.
You're effectively saying the Jews are Devil worshipers. 

That may be a theological truth for some, but I don't think the text works for this particular discussion. 
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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #208 on: May 08, 2018, 11:30:52 PM »
There is only one true God.   The Jews have rejected Him, and thus therir "god" is something other than the one true God who lead them out of Egypt.   John 8:12-59.

Going by the proof-text being used, it's not the implication their "god" is something other than the one true God - it's the Devil.
You're effectively saying the Jews are Devil worshipers. 

That may be a theological truth for some, but I don't think the text works for this particular discussion.

42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. 43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46 Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” (John 8:42-46)

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Re: Is God Now a "Ze"?
« Reply #209 on: May 09, 2018, 12:05:38 AM »
There is only one true God.   The Jews have rejected Him, and thus therir "god" is something other than the one true God who lead them out of Egypt.   John 8:12-59.

Going by the proof-text being used, it's not the implication their "god" is something other than the one true God - it's the Devil.
You're effectively saying the Jews are Devil worshipers. 

That may be a theological truth for some, but I don't think the text works for this particular discussion.

42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. 43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46 Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.” (John 8:42-46)

Yes.  Exactly. 
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