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    Biblical Paradoxes

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    Hackmodford
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    Biblical Paradoxes

    Post  Hackmodford on April 18th 2012, 8:07 pm

    Has anyone come across what I've decided to call biblical paradoxes?

    Here's a couple examples off the top of my head.

    God hardens Pharaoh's heart and then has Moses ask for the israelites leave, but eventually God kills all the first born because pharaoh refuses because God hardened his heart...

    Another one would be.

    God told Adam/Eve not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, but there is no way they could have known this was a bad thing to do...

    Or Jesus telling us not to call anyone fools but then going on to do so himself.
    Luke 11:40
    Mat 23:17
    Luke 24:25
    Luke 12:20

    Has anyone else come across anything like this while reading?


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    ProfessorAlan

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    Re: Biblical Paradoxes

    Post  ProfessorAlan on April 19th 2012, 2:46 pm

    Christianity is full of contradictions and/or paradoxes. But that doesn't bother me, as far as the heavens are above the earth, that's how far above me are God's thoughts.

    My theory is that if I find two passages in the Bible that seem to contradict each other ... I believe them both.

    WhiteBoy
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    Re: Biblical Paradoxes

    Post  WhiteBoy on April 19th 2012, 4:46 pm

    I prefer the word paradox. "Contradiction" in my thinking means they are mutually exclusive. But "paradox" is that we don't (or maybe *can't*) understand the full meaning. So with that in mind, I agree with what the Professor said about there are some things we can't understand fully. But when there are things that don't seem to fully make sense, we have faith that they are both true, even if we don't understand how they can both be true.

    God hardens Pharaoh's heart and then has Moses ask for the israelites leave, but eventually God kills all the first born because pharaoh refuses because God hardened his heart...

    The answer to this lies in God's sovereignty. This is something I don't fully understand, but that I have come to believe in. God is in control of everything. He uses everything - good and bad - to accomplish His will. This is an excellent example. He ultimately wanted his people out of Egypt but He used people to accomplish that. Not only did he use Moses (obviously), but He also used Pharaoh. Yet at the same time, Pharaoh is still responsible for his actions. This is just as we are before we are saved.

    This example of Moses and Pharaoh is a very good one. Another great example of God's sovereignty is Joseph. In Gen 50 Joseph tells his brothers that they meant evil against him, but God used it for good. God was putting Joseph in place in Egypt to preserve a remnant of His people.

    God told Adam/Eve not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, but there is no way they could have known this was a bad thing to do...
    I don't view this as a paradox, or maybe I just don't understand what you are getting at. God telling them not to eat of the tree made it inherently wrong to do so. Just like when I tell my child to not touch a hot stove...I don't *owe* them an explanation. They should obey (heh...sound like my parents here) simply because I said so. If I choose to give an explanation that is my prerogative, but is not a condition of their obedience.


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    Re: Biblical Paradoxes

    Post  Hackmodford on April 19th 2012, 4:53 pm

    The difference is that in the story Adam & Eve have no knowledge of what good or evil is therefore they cannot make a decision wisely.

    I'm not convinced that the Joseph comparison to the Exodus one is a good one. Simply because it is clear that God is causing Pharaoh to act a certain way while, while Josephs brothers are responsible for their actions according to the account.


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    WhiteBoy
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    Re: Biblical Paradoxes

    Post  WhiteBoy on April 20th 2012, 10:24 am

    Hackmodford wrote:The difference is that in the story Adam & Eve have no knowledge of what good or evil is therefore they cannot make a decision wisely.

    I see your point, and it brings up a good question of how much did Adam and Eve know? I think they knew enough to know to obey God.


    I'm not convinced that the Joseph comparison to the Exodus one is a good one. Simply because it is clear that God is causing Pharaoh to act a certain way while, while Josephs brothers are responsible for their actions according to the account.

    I do see the distinction that you make. My intent was just to show another example of God's sovereignty and how he uses people to accomplish His will. A way that some (possibly most) look at is that God is just reacting to man's will, like the boy putting his finger in the dike. Like one day God thought "Oh, Joseph's brothers decided to sell him into slavery, so how can I work this out?" It was all part of God's plan from the beginning. As the old adage goes "Has it ever occurred to you that nothing has ever occurred to God?"

    In my mind, this is the biggest paradox in the Bible: the balance of human will and God's will. It's clear that He is the Potter and we are clay in His hands. Yet we have free will and aren't "mindless robots." I think our will may not be as free as I used to believe. I think He manipulates our will, so we are still doing what we choose to do, but it is accomplishing what He wants.

    This brings up all kinds of moral questions that I don't have the answers for. But that's what I believe right now. It has taken me a few years to come to this belief, but it was something I couldn't ignore any longer. For me, it goes back to what ProfessorAlan said: "if I find two passages in the Bible that seem to contradict each other ... I believe them both." The Bible seems to clearly say both, so I believe them both and know that God is big enough to somehow manipulate my will without violating it.

    Well, I've avoided this topic several times before because I don't think that my beliefs are very popular in American culture right now (though I've learned that they used to be much more the norm years ago). So, consider the can of worms opened. Smile


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    Re: Biblical Paradoxes

    Post  Paeter on April 24th 2012, 9:39 pm

    I'd also make the distinction between contradiction (irreconcilable truth claims) and paradoxes (SEEMINGLY irreconcilable truth claims).

    When I find two biblical statements that seem to contradict, I don't believe that both statements actually contradict each other AND that both are true. (A logical impossibility.) But I believe that I am missing some understanding that, when applied, reconciles the two statements.

    Hackmodford, you might like The Big Book Of Bible Difficulties. It's been a handy reference book for me.

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Big-Book-Bible-Difficulties/dp/0801071585/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1335317723&sr=1-1



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