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Why did God treat the people of the Old Testament as "simple" people

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by Pah, Jun 3, 2005.

  1. Pah

    Pah Uber all member

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    The following exchange took place in "Do you believe that the flood actually happened". The quoted material may be deficient from the thread where it was taken but the essence is here. The exchange was getting to be, if not already there, off topic to the thread

    The question is Why did God treat the people of the Old Testament as "simple" people - in other words, as simpltons.


    Nope - not a brush off this time but the answer you owed me the first time I asked for it.

    Becuse he set out the explanation in his word and his word is defiecient for today.
    Just what purpose does character have with salvation? Just what character is to be delevoped from placing humanity in a hole, knowlege wise. Why should God give false information? to provide us pleasure when we correct his word? I have no need of mollification brought on a silver platter, I have need for truth and false scientific idata was given. I'm saying there was no need to give falsities becuase of the ability God was supposed to have given us. Simpletons indeed!

    Your example misses the point of the time involved. Given proper knowledge (it's called schooling) the stick is likely to be replace by a John Deere in 2 to 3 generations. That farmer is going to listen when you talk about the benefit of education to his children, his grandchildren and his great grandchildren. So don't give me that "slice of time" argument - it just doesn't apply

    And every society that we do not educate is going to wallow in ignorance. But apparently God and you don't see it that way - you'd rather have people pull them selves up by the bootstrap. It's not the first uneducated person that garners the most from being educated, it is the society in 40-60 years that prospers. And you and God, according to you, want them to take pleasure from the struggle of living. Yeah - that's a benificient God. Why bother with charity at all?

    It would also seem that society has done it without God.

    I bet that that you do not force your cat to hunt for food. I'll bet you show more charity to the cat than the grandchildren of the undeucted farmer.


    You will notice that my original prodding was because you would not explain your belief - you gave me a brush-off.. And I still do not vilify your belief - it's your view of your faith that is questioned.
     
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  2. Scuba Pete

    Scuba Pete Le plongeur avec attitude...

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    Perhaps we should call this the great Pah/NetDoc showdown part Deut! :D

    I do not pretend to fully comprehend God's plan. I never have and never will. It ain't my place.

    But you remind me of the parent who believes that his child should be doing calculus by age 4. What's the rush? Why do you think that the human race should be further along than it is? You don't think that God derives as much pleasure with society making advances as a parent has watching his child first learn to walk? My kids have grown up WAY too quickly, and they sound just like you... why didn't you let me stay up later sooner? Why couldn't I drive when I was 12 like you? Well like or not, there had to be a certain maturation before they were ready for these tasks.

    You might be able to teach a four year old calculus, but you can't teach them maturity at that age. In fact, you can't teach them maturity at all.

    As for the Bible, it was never meant to be a scientific reference. That you and others have taken it as such is not God's fault. That well intentioned Christians have pushed this to the extreme is not his fault either, though it has gotten people to read his book. God is a shrewd promoter.

    So I would suggest that God did not treat the Isrealites as simpletons, but as naive. He gave them a quick and facile brain that enabled them along with the rest of mankind to resolve so many issues. No other organism has exploited the earth quite like man has... can you imagine if he had a head start?

    Other than that, God has seen fit to let us mature as a culture at our own pace. Sure he has had a hand in there a few times, but that had a purpose to produce the anointed one. Now that we have the anointed one, there is little else to do but watch us wrestle with ourselves and mature. Let's look at a few milestones:

    Equality of the sexes.

    Equality of the races.

    Tolerance towards others.

    and the list can go on. We are constantly changing how we view right and wrong. Between you and me, I kinda like the direction we are going!
     
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  3. Stormygale

    Stormygale Member

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    I feel they were treated a bit odd because they had not yet reached the time of christ. They had not had a man come down and die for them, and free them of their sins, and show them an EXACT way to Heaven. In the old testament, you sort of bumped around, because you had no sure way of becoming the christian that would soon follow. God took this into consideration, I feel.
    After Jesus, the way was clear, people had a definite, solid justification to serve a higher power, and now they were held accountable to be more wise and set better goals. Jus my opinion....
     
  4. michel

    michel Administrator Emeritus
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    The great Pah/NetDoc showdown part Deut!

    There's a LOT of Sense in what you say, NetDoc;
    "I do not pretend to fully comprehend God's plan. I never have and never will. It ain't my place."
    Agreed.

    "But you remind me of the parent who believes that his child should be doing calculus by age 4. What's the rush? Why do you think that the human race should be further along than it is? You don't think that God derives as much pleasure with society making advances as a parent has watching his child first learn to walk? My kids have grown up WAY too quickly, and they sound just like you... why didn't you let me stay up later sooner? Why couldn't I drive when I was 12 like you? Well like or not, there had to be a certain maturation before they were ready for these tasks.

    You might be able to teach a four year old calculus, but you can't teach them maturity at that age. In fact, you can't teach them maturity at all."

    The maturation of a race, or a Country cannot be achieved in a shorter time that normal maturation would take. People have tried, in modern times, over and over again; it doesn't work.

    I can find no evidence on the Internet for the following; it is something I remember - but as I have no corroborative evidence, you may choose to dismiss it.

    In the 1960's South African scientist thought they had discovered something wonderful. Pregnant women were encouraged to wear a suit during the last months of pregnacy that were designed to ease the pressure from the mother's body on the unborn child. At first, they thought they had success; children were indeed born with signs of accellarated intellectual and physical grow. By the age of thirteen, virtually all of the children had 'slowed down' in their growth, and were on a par with 'normal children'. Nature cannot be evolved at a faster pace than it needs.

    "As for the Bible, it was never meant to be a scientific reference. That you and others have taken it as such is not God's fault. That well intentioned Christians have pushed this to the extreme is not his fault either, though it has gotten people to read his book. God is a shrewd promoter. "

    The touble is NetDoc, although I agree with you, You will never convince a non-theist to agree with you. They want and need proof for every facet of life.

    "So I would suggest that God did not treat the Isrealites as simpletons, but as naive. He gave them a quick and facile brain that enabled them along with the rest of mankind to resolve so many issues. No other organism has exploited the earth quite like man has... can you imagine if he had a head start? "

    A large part of the World population is still naive ; would it have been better had they been led in their naïveté by a human, with absolute power ?


    "Other than that, God has seen fit to let us mature as a culture at our own pace. Sure he has had a hand in there a few times, but that had a purpose to produce the anointed one. Now that we have the anointed one, there is little else to do but watch us wrestle with ourselves and mature. "

    That, Net Doc, is your province - as a Christian. I may agree with you in part, but I cannot accept that fully. But I respect your views.

    Let's look at a few milestones:

    Equality of the sexes.

    Equality of the races.

    Tolerance towards others.

    and the list can go on. We are constantly changing how we view right and wrong. Between you and me, I kinda like the direction we are going .


    Now, here I have a problem; I do not like the look of 'where we are going' (overall) , globally

    :)
     
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  5. Pah

    Pah Uber all member

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    You seemed to speak to God's plan before -
    Here in "Do you believe that the flood actually happened"
    and also here
    here in "Worst Bible quotes"
    here in "Do we have free will?"
    here in "Does God Hate?"
    In fact Doc, you're not shy about speaking about God's plan at all. So you must be saying that in this instance, you do not "fully comprehend God's plan". Strange that would argue for your comprehension of God making things simple without an understanding of it. It is exactly your comprehension that you presented and it is exactly that comprehension that is challanged. Your disqualifing statement carries no weight.

    There you go again struck in a "slice of time" and wrongly comparing me to that parent. I have twice mentioned time periods of many years. Thousands of years for God to teach and a meager few generations for humans to learn. Why do you insist on bringing up a counter-example that doesn't match my statements.

    Added: Ah, I knew there had to be a strawman - there it was.

    Maturity of an young individual has nothing to do with knowlege aquisition spread over generations. If you understood the time scale I have framed for this argument, you would know that. I blush to say "red herring?

    The Bible was meant to be God's word - nothing more, nothing less. With God's knowlege, the science should have been correct. You sound like you know God's plan again but the "science" in the Bible betrays you. God would seem to have a vested interest in providing truth, scientific truth as well, for if one part of the Bible can be doubted there is grave risk that other parts may also be doubted. Some hold this biblical inerrancy, including science, in the highest regard.

    The "wrong" science discredits most of Genesis. Without Genesis, you have no creation or creator, no original sin, no flood and thus nothing to contradict abiogenesis and nothing to provived a need for Christ's sacriface. God is certainly not shrewed when he introduces scientific error into his word. It sullies his claimed characteristics and bring dispute to his very existence.


    Naive is unsophisticated, artless, a simple definition and a definition of simple. A simpleton is a fool. Who but the early Isrealites were simply fooled? God gave them a great brain and filled it with error, fooled into believing God's Word was true. It is naive to think otherwise. God's error was not just the innate scientific error in his Word but the clamity of not correcting what he dictated or inspired or editted. Humanity was and is capable of being taught and God had plenty of time to do it. God could have been a contender as the greatest shoulder that scientists stand on but he blew the fight.

    I'm going to dismiss your fishy smelling red herring with the observation that God was championing both sides of those social issues according to the participants.

    Too much play on words? Sorry, I guess I'm no Deut
     
  6. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    Far more comfortable than dealing with theodicy, but none the less instructive.

    But, alas, not quick enough nor facile enough to make it possible to communicate by anything other than threat. Furthermore, the Fall of Adam and the Fall of the Watchers (Genesis 6:1-8 & the Enochic literature) - both of which blame woman and deal with forbidden knowledge - make it perfectly clear that YHWH was no big fan of learning beyond, of course, learning the dictate: obey or burn, because, as we are assured by NetDoc and others, we deserve nothing else.
     
  7. Melody

    Melody Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps God's objective is to separate those who would put their faith and trust in man and the works of man...and those who would put their faith and trust in Him.

    When God brings error into His word? That, to me, is an example of human arrogance when we blame God for error instead of admitting that we just don't quite understand. You believe that God introduced scientific error into His Word and use the faith of man (science) to try and explain God and His Creation. When the faith of man cannot reconcile what they "believe" based on their limited understanding, they say it's proof that God doesn't exist.

    I believe that the imperfect faith of man (science) will never explain God or His Creation. It would be like an ant trying to understand humans.

    I agree with NetDoc regarding the "simple" people. You translate simple into simpleton and being foolish. I translate it into being humble and lacking guile. Neither of which implies being foolish.
     
  8. Melody

    Melody Well-Known Member

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    I don't see how the fall of Adam and Eve blames women at all. They both sinned and, unless we're talking victim mentality here (she made me do it!) they sinned equally and were punished equally.

    Forbidding the tree of knowledge does not indicate that God was not "a big fan of learning." I believe it was a test of faith and obedience. Do they put their faith and trust in God...or do they choose to disobey when promised that they will be as knowledgeable as God if they would just eat of the tree. Adam and Eve did what man has been doing ever since. Choosing to put his faith in his own knowledge instead of trusting in God.
     
  9. Scuba Pete

    Scuba Pete Le plongeur avec attitude...

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    First... my alleged "disqualifying statement". My dear Pah, you have read way tooooooo much into my words. You have read "not fully" and have arrived at "not at all" and have taken me to task for something I did not say. "Not fully" could mean that I understand 1% of God's plan or 99% of God's plan, but it by no means implies that I don't understand his plan at all. However, in as much as I DO understand God's plan, I am not shy in declaring his grace. I don't feel a need to wait until I "fully understand" it to do so! At first glance, this little diatribe of yours also appears to be a "red herring", but in reality "over reading" of the scriptures is at the heart of the problem. (PS, my limited humility tells me that my actual understanding of God's Plan is proabably closer to the 1% side of the spectrum... I'll let him tell me how close I have come)

    You see, many read the Bible with the same sort of attitude. Rather than trying to understand God, they are merely trying to trap him in his words. They endeavor to assign blame to God for their own disbelief. That this contrivance is hollow seems to be lost on the participants. They gleefully accuse God of "biocide" or other atrocities and fail to realise that we exist merely at his discretion. This is the straw man fallacy at it's worst and Deut is their King.

    Now, let's look at societal maturity. You have indicated that a "loving God", would take all of the mystery out of life just to set the record straight. Obviously, you think he owes this to you and that he is only a mean spirited bully for not waving his sceptre and granting us knowledge. That is, if he exists at all. I am not sure that I understand the logic whereby God's existence is dictated by our approval nor am I comfortable in telling him that he needs to straighten up or we are voting him off of the island.

    I tried to point out that this knowledge is useless without maturity. (Could you imagine Ghengis Khan with nuclear powers?) Unfortunately, I seemed to have offended you instead. Rather than seeing my point, you have taken instead to calling them red herrings and even straw man. I am not sure how to make it any plainer without upsetting you further. So let me ask you a few questions... (I think you missed them in my earlier post)

    Do (or can) societies mature?

    If yes, what is the time frame for this maturation?

    If no, than why do they stay stagnant?

    Is the accumulation of knowledge the same as the accumulation of maturity or even wisdom?

    Why should God feel compelled to do our "homework" for us???
     
  10. Pah

    Pah Uber all member

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    Why would he do that by withholding knowledge?
    I guess it really depends on who you consider the author of the Old Testament. If man is the author, then the presence of false science is understandable given the time of writing. If God has the powers assumed for him, then he would know, for example, the Big Bang and the structure of the universe, then, if you also think God is the author, why would he tell, through his Word, a contradictory story of a firmament.

    NetDoc's apologetics tells us that God considered his people "simple" - simple in the sense of not being educated enough to understand the real truth. I really find that an unpardonable insult to both the image of the God of the Bible and to his followers in those times. NetDoc's aplogetics is aslo an insult to our intelligence in thinking we would accept his shallow reasoning. NetDoc does not bring harmony to his harmonization of the contradictory science. In fairness to NetDoc, it is not an original apologetic - the "reasoning" has been "out there" in assorted form and occasionally pops up in one guise or another. He, and they, defned the segment of inerrancy that includes and accepts the science of the bible. It is no different than the hardline YEC creationists. Which places NetDoc in the uncomfortable position of acception evolution as God's method (I believe he does) and accepting the word of God as God's word.

    Althought NetDoc touched on another standard of inerrancy (that the Bible is only to be taken as truth in matters of spirit and salvation or somesuch wording - I couldn't find the verse, sorry) he continued, in several posts and now in this thread, to defend the reason why the science was wrong. Refusing to give up his rationalization, NetDoc distorted my argument and put forth inane reasons for why, in his thinking, that God did what God did. The inconsistency is mainly within NetDoc when he does not expound on this inerrancy standard.

    Dan Kent calls it "Limited inerrancy" . It is truth in "matters of faith and practice." and "salvation and ethics"
    http://www.christianethicstoday.com...entry Kent_034_13_.htm#Varieties of Inerrancy

    His, NetDoc's, statements of faith have become "throw away" epigrams and NetDoc is better than that - his faith, Christianity, deserves more. I think NetDoc is a terrific guy, worthy of the many times I gave frubals, but his argumentation needs adjusting.


    I agree, not withstanding my beliefs and conclusions.

    Ah Melody, it was just a play on words within the meaning of uneducated.
     
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  11. Scuba Pete

    Scuba Pete Le plongeur avec attitude...

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    To the best of my knowledge, I have never ever stated that "Science is wrong". Please show me where I said that. This is probably yet another "over simplification" of something I did say much as turning my "not fully" into a "not at all".

    Science indeed HAS been wrong. After all scientists once believed that "fire" was an element. We giggle at the notion today, but it was accepted as scientific truth at one point. But science embraces a self-correcting mechanism that is simply wonderful.

    I do not find evolution "uncomfortable". I do believe that many Christians and non-Christians alike have grossly over-simplified what the scriptures actually have said. God has never decreed that evolution is a heresy and niether do I.

    I would give you my cake analogy of evolution and creation both being the SAME, but you seem to take exceptions with my analogies. Even then, this discussion is not about evolution, but the incredibly harsh treatment of the Isrealites by God for being socially immature. I bet he's losing sleep over the outcome.
     
  12. Melody

    Melody Well-Known Member

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    In answer to the first question....I don't know. I just trust that there's a reason.

    In the case of the second, I'm not sold that He's telling a contradictory statement, so much as I think while we *think* we've got the explanation right within our limited understand, we really don't.
     
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  13. Pah

    Pah Uber all member

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    Again you distort my statements for your own purposes. I said
    I'd quote where I said "Science is wrong" and explain it, if I ever said it in that general tone. But alas, I can not because I did not. You don't win points by your oversimplification.
    Another red herring
    Another red herring. This is getting boring in it's redundancy

    And now a non sequitor with a passing statement of the purpose.

    I'd say there wasn't much content in your post pertaining to the point and I'm generous in saying that. I've made my points as clearly as I can. You ignore or distort them. I don't see any reason to continue a debate with that kind of response. Melody was reasonable and others may be too. I'll continue with them
    .
     
  14. Scuba Pete

    Scuba Pete Le plongeur avec attitude...

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    I didn't dream this. :D You ascribed this to me.

    As you wish. But I would have loved to read your response to my earlier post... you know the one with the questions you didn't answer. I am sorry you see me as a waste of time. Good day.
     
  15. Stormygale

    Stormygale Member

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    To tell you the truth...NetDoc has too much time on his hands...lol.
     
  16. Mr Spinkles

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    This discussion has not, and will not, go anywhere. Here's why:
    In other words, even if they don't make sense, Melody and NetDoc's beliefs are still true--we just lack the ability to make sense of them. Or God is mysterious. Or some scripture wasn't translated/interpreted properly. Anything and everything is considered a possibility, except of course the possibility that the beliefs themselves are untrue.

    Why did God treat the people of the Old Testament as "simple" people?
    Because the Old Testament was written by humans, and the ideas in it came from humans--not God. YHWH is a fictional character, and as such does not have any better knowledge of nature/the universe than the authors. Hey.....what do you know, suddenly things make sense!

    Don't even try to argue with it though......even if you can show that it doesn't make sense, I'll just say that "I don't pretend to fully comprehend my belief, but I know it's true." :rolleyes:
     
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  17. BUDDY

    BUDDY User of Aspercreme

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    Who says he still doesn't? The only difference between our understanding now and theirs then is that in Old Testament days God either spoke directly to people or through a prophet who would prove that he was speaking for God through many different ways. Now, we have the bible which is to show us the ways in which we are supposed to live. God wants our obedience to Him to be our goal, not investigating whether what He told us is right. In that way, nothing has changed between now and then.

    Deficient for what? Certainly not salvation from sin, which is the point of the book. If I wrote a book about the native people of Alaska, but didn't include information about the native people of Australia, would you call such a book deficient? The Bible never declared itself as a book to answer every question that could ever be posed. It did declare itself as a book that could save a person from sin, and in that capacity I believe it is sufficient.

    What does having scientific knowledge have to do with salvation? In my opinion, building a strong character is important if one is to be a strong christian and stand up to the attacks that are thrown their way. Strong character is important if I am to stand up to a public that tells me I believe in a book with too much false information to be true. A strong character enables me to look beyond anyone that hates and despises my God and my belief in my God, and lets me see that all people have good in them, and I should not try to take things personally. If I can succeed in that, you can call me a simpleton anytime.:)

    Well, I can't answer for ND on this point, but God does expect us to work to take care of our families, and not to worry. In the American society that requires at least some education, so obviously we have to go to school and get edumacated.:D In other societies it is not necessary, but it is advised. Now, that doesn't mean that I have to know scientifically ever single thing that goes on in our universe in order to be obedient to the commandment to take care of my family. Does it?

    I don't have a cat, but I do have a dog and I feed her when she is hungry because I have the ability to do so. I am sure if any of us could we would be so inclined to help out our fellow man, but unfortunately I don't have the means to do that myself. God has never said that he would create us and we would never have to take care of ourselves. Are you upset because God lets us fend for ourselves and doesn't hand everything to us on a silver platter? That would be taking away free will, wouldn't it?
     
  18. Tawn

    Tawn Active Member

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    So let me get this straight.. the bible says certain things about the world, which science has shown to be otherwise. Now we can make one of two assumptions - but if we are to be rational we have to analyse both and make a comparison.

    1. We assume there is no God. The bible was written by ancient mankind and therefore reflects their knowledge of the world at that time. This makes perfect sense.

    2. We assume there is a God. God therefore passed falsehoods down to mankind OR science is wrong. I dont think anyone is saying science is wrong.. so therefore God purposefully passed down falsehoods. When asked why, the Christians say that we cannot hope to understand God.. there might be a reason which is unclear.
    Sorry, but this is silly. Youre resorting to ignorance to explain your claims. It is a self supporting argument which places trust in something which we cannot be sure we can place trust in - real or not.

    If God has passed own falsehoods regarding materialistic claims, who is to say that he has not passed down other falsehoods?
     
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  19. BUDDY

    BUDDY User of Aspercreme

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    What falsehoods scientifically are you talking about? Did the Bible ever claim itself to be the scientific explanation to any and all questions you may come up with? Or, do you think so highly of yourself that if you can not understand it, then therfore it must not have happened. That's what we are really talking about isn't it? We're really just talking about trying to find a way for you to reinforce your own egocentric reality. The only truth is knowing that you know nothing.
     
  20. EnhancedSpirit

    EnhancedSpirit High Priestess

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    The question is Why did God treat the people of the Old Testament as "simple" people

    God's message has remained the same. It is man's interpretation that has changed.

    When John recieved his vision of 'the end of time', he describes a scene where fire falls from the sky. There was no way for him to understand what meteors are. And there is no way he could comprehend that in the future there would be airplanes that could drop bombs from the sky. He described the event the best way he could.

    I would have to say that God did not treat the people simplistically. The information was actually way beyond their complete comprehension.
     
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