16 votes

Believing in Creation, and taking a literal position on the Bible is the beginning of persecution, again!

I would say, Dr. Benjamin Carson did indeed start something...timely!

Now, with the recent release of The Bible series on The History Channel; Bill O'Reilly is leading the mocking charge from the right! Oh great; here we go!

Here's MY position/observations at present...Those believers, who were not alarmed when...
1) public opinion was being aroused to be leary or cautious of "religious fundamentalists" after 9/11...
2) they dared not dig a little deeper into the arrest and imprisonment of creationist Kent Hovind, who was simply labeled a tax cheat, irrespective of the known facts that he diligently did his homework regarding how our United States Constitution, and the IRS tax code should/would impact his faithful execution of his creation ministry...
3) former Presidential candidate and former Southern Baptist Pastor Mike Huckabee DENIED the literal six day creation account of the Bible, on a national stage, when Wolf Blitzer asked him directly and specifically if he believed; saying "I don't know, I wasn't there"(denying God & Christ's own eyewitness accounts!)....those believers...they need to WAKE UP NOW...and petition God for discernment!

We are being marginalized, criticized, pressured, and mocked openly now(which often happens, but, Bill O'Reilly has decided he will take it mainstream on the right). Right before darkness truly befalls this nation, just as it has in every other world power THREATENED with so much evidence of hypocrisy, LOVE of MONEY, and the church/state marriage which is a compromise FOR silence of dissent; our light also is about to be put out!

See, what really prompted me to write this is, that Pastor, Dr. Jeffress from First Baptist Church of Dallas was not only on O'Reilly's show last week( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvMLcBGSvo0 )to be a punching bag for Bible-deniers but, for some reason he decided to join the growing faction of celebrity pastors who won't defend a young Earth position( listen here:
The question is, will we remain silent?
http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=3813832330&tar... )

Every last celebrity conservative Christian in America has been naming and claiming 2 Chronicles 7:14 for the past dozen years or so...but LOOK at what we've ended up with for political leadership! Does that mean God is NOT listening, no; I think we are still giving him lip service!(EXAMPLE: the May Day 2010 event at the Lincoln Memorial - listen to Pastor Ralph Ovadahl expose this fraud for what it was, beginning at the 32:00 of this broadcast - http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=57102226413 )

Fellow believers, those whose eyes find these words; let me forewarn you...God's enemies, Satan's counterfeits, the truly un-regenerated souls today who are professing a salvation they actually DO NOT possess; they look and speak more like you and I everyday...

Learn to discern; ask for strength, boldness, and courage in these days where compromise reigns and sin abounds...they want to shut us up...I am just one believer who has been quite alarmed since 9/11; I have been watching and pleading and standing tall in the face of so much deceit and sissy-britches mega-church ecumenism that has become intolerant of God's PLAIN truths that any elementary school child can understand(and was taught normally in public conversations, Sunday School, not mocked in our public schools up until about one generation ago!)

My exhortation to ALL, is to get discernment by using your senses and Holy Spirit led life experience to simply distrust, and VOICE that distrust of both political and clergy "leadership", those in this culture who get the MOST media facetime because they compromise the fundamentals of the faith ONCE delivered to the saints, those in society who occupy places of great influence, who clearly are nothing like the martyrs of our faith recorded in history; those who clearly are not sacrificing creature comforts derived from a bankrupted and immoral debt-based monetary system on the brink of collapse!

The latter half of Hebrews 5:14 suggests this is why we love strong teaching "... those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil." ... But beyond this ... Do as Romans 16:17-18 instruct, let's have a Matthew 23 exposure of the Christian charlatans who join the Fox News Channel and K-street pro-family groups in Washington that serve money; now casting DOUBT upon the truth of God's Word, especially as it relates to His account of the two great cataclysmic events we know as The Creation and The Flood of Noah's day!

Those verses of Romans 16 instruct; "17) Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 18) For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple."

They sought to ensnare the simple, they prey upon our children in public schools..."instructing them in the way they should go, so that when they are old,"; they want this social order to DENY a Creator higher than Caesar...it's all "yea hath God said?"...and "ye shall be as gods"...same old trick from the garden.

I have ALWAYS said, I am NOT in favor of a Christian theocratic state; I have personally come out of that...but...the obvious mockery of the Godly, and their core beliefs as they TRUST in God's Word with respect to moral absolutes, natural laws, and the creation and the flood; this we MUST no longer remain silent about, nor hide from the public and start re-writing Christian apologetics while we are steamrolled by Zionist Sadducees, Scribes, and Pharisees!

C'mon folks; the PTB 501c3'd the churches because the KNEW their most ardent criticisms would originate and grow from within them!
Atheists and agnostics can AGREE with Bible-thumpers on this one point, can't they?



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Really

You need to Beleive Geneisis .. so the first book is wrong . .then all books are wrong

Why?

Why cant one book be wrong and others be right?

Genesis can be believed

without subscribing to young earth creationism.

"Once you become knowledgeable, you have an obligation to do something about it."- Ron Paul

is the believer ACCOUNTABLE to God's truth once it's revealed?

How else would they come to accept the Gospel? ...how can one be an effective witness for Christ, the Creator, if they DOUBT? Or, bring God's accounting of events, or His holiness and perfection, down to man's finite and limited, sin-tainted reasonings?

Like Jeffress said, "where does it stop?"(before he took the populist opinion that repudiates scripture and Romans 5; the whole death by Adam's sin part)

I prefer to sit under the preaching and teaching of FAITHFUL witnesses, and expositors of God's Word; and as I read my bible more(as you recommend), "ye shall know them by their fruits" becomes more apparent during this nation's moral and fiscal slide into bankruptcy, then vulnerability to our enemies.

Who is a better witness for Christ? The creation-denying Mike Huckabee, with all his exterior success; or me, a student of young Earth creationist evidences and arguments, suffering through the consequences of NOT doing things God's way for sixteen years after having prayed a "sinner's prayer" in high school at Young Life camp?

Is Mike Huckabee clearly "blessed of God", and I am "cursed of God"? Who exhibits the evidence, or fruit of trusting in God's Word being the power unto salvation? If I'm such a rotten witness, saved but stupid or misguided for clinging to young Earth theories and explanations; then why do I question the physics of 9/11, support Ron Paul, frolic with libertarians hostile to all religions; rather than hide inside the four walls of a church to remain brainwashed and unstained by the filthy world around me?

Are my beliefs just a crutch, as Jesse Ventura would tell me? Who am I to criticize the nobility; is that what you're really asking? Is young earth creationism a religion inside a religion?

Isn't a Bill O'Reilly smart enough to investigate/know all the sacraments,.veneration of Mary, and "hidden" stuff that the Vatican keeps just a total ruse of the OPEN trust/faith in God that Christ preached?

Making up a Christianity to suit one's intellect is really idolatry, and, that's a clear violation of the 1st commandment..I think it easier to take God at His Word, seeing that science does say the creation and the flood of Noah's day are indeed very plausible...so...I have a problem with false prophets telling me to conform to the state-supported majority opinion!

The problem...

...is when the reader of Scripture labels his particular interpretation as THE official 'God's Word' and then proceeds to bash everyone else who doesn't conform with that interpretation as denying 'God's Word' or having a dubious faith.

I'm with you on taking the Bible literally (unless it's obviously using a metaphor, etc.), but even with that stance there is a lot of room for interpretation and speculation on the details of things. Are you really suggesting that someone who posits that the earth could have been around a while in the formless and void state in Gen 1:1,2 before a literal six day cycle begins in verse 3 (i.e. they agree with you except on the overall age of the earth prior to it being lit up with Day/Night), is unaccountable to God's truth and a doubtful witness of His Gospel? Would you say the same thing about Christians who don't hold the exact same view as you on the timing of the rapture/second coming? Do you have any grace towards others on these secondary matters, without condescension?

I don't consider it condescending...

..to challenge a professing believer to dig deeper, take in OTHER positions that are less.kind, even dismissive of so much inch-deep, mile-wide popular views on creation, eschatology, and false teachers....

From the Old Testament, to the New Testament; biblical Christianity is a THINKING faith...

Deuteronomy 6:5 " And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might."

Matthew 22:37 "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind."

Once you're in the media fishbowl, as a professing Christian "leader", or just a prominent representative of the faith(irrespective of denomination affiliation), you best have.personally studied and be ready to explain WHY you doubt clear and traditionally doctinal positions...

The appeal to authority(denominational headquarters, degreed clergymen, majority opinion, or the popularity of a famous church "father"/apologist) doesn't hold as much weight in the face of a simple reading of the text oftentimes, and, examples Christ gave of SIMPLE people who had more faith than the learned, questioning, debating among Him!

Great points...

...and I don't disagree in general with what you say.

Here's an example, though --

I appreciate that you have an admiration for Kent Hovind regarding his defense of young-earth creationism. I'm sure you're aware, though, that prior to him beginning to serve his sentence, he held a pre-tribulation view of the rapture, while he has now stated that after further study, he supports the post-trib/mid-week view of the rapture.

So, I guess I'm wondering -- has your respect for him lessened or increased based on this eschatological view of his shifting? Or do you see it as a grey area, such that you were/are willing to graciously cut him some slack, whether the position you disagree with was the former or latter one he has held?

There's nothing wrong with challenging folks on primary and even secondary topics, but my concern is if we make the secondary topics sound like they are non-negotiable, primary topics, and end up being overly insistent that others have to see it our way to be genuine.

If someone believes the Bible literally supports the possibility of an old Earth, not out of trying to perform linguistic acrobatics that stretch the text beyond credulity in order to match it up with a pre-conceived notion, but because they honestly, actually believe they see the possibility of it being a natural, literal meaning of the text, why can't we just debate that in Love, without necessarily calling into question the integrity of someone's faith in the core Gospel?

Regarding reading the text in a simple manner, I agree; on the other hand, is it not a source of divergent views when different people start off with taking different passages in the English at face-value without digging deeper, and then trying to fit whatever more difficult 'problem texts' seem to conflict with that view into the framework. One area where I've personally experienced this a lot recently is in discussions and studies on the topic of the destiny of those in hell: eternal, conscious torment vs annihilationism vs universal reconciliation. Each view starts off with certain passages as cornerstones that seem to support them with a surface reading in the English, but then have to explain how other verses fit in. The traditional view starts off with the hell texts, and then has to explain why Colossians 1 talking about all things in heaven and earth being reconciled through the peace of Christ doesn't really mean what it sounds like it means. And then the universalist view starts off with reconciliation passages like Colossians 1, etc., taking them at face value, and finds itself having to explain the 'problem' hell texts, why they don't really mean what they sound like they mean (i.e. 'aionion' in the Greek is better interpreted 'age-lasting' than 'eternal', etc., etc.)

As long as these different views hold to the core Gospel of salvation through Christ (I am the way, the truth, the life, etc.), I am willing to cut people a lot of slack, because it is understandable how they can end up with each of these views, using Scripture with face-value, surface readings, from one perspective or another.

If people start denying basic tenets of the faith, though, like Creation (in the broader sense of the word), the deity of Christ, the Virgin Birth/Incarnation, the crucifixion and resurrection, etc., that's another matter, because that is crossing into core Gospel territory.

Anyway, blabbing on here. I don't mean to sound condescending, myself, as if I'm in a position to lecture you. I certainly need to take the beams out of my own eyes in this regard...

Stop making sense already

Just like Hovind, I bought into the pre trib rapture deception, and why not, it was preached from every pulpit of every church I ever attended growing up along with being a frequent dinner table topic. And then I met Yeshua. This so called doctrine is such a flimsy contrivance that anyone who honestly approaches the issue should need about 15 minutes of serious study to discover the truth, you don't even need to crack a lexicon for Pete's sake. I'm not saying that you can't be saved and believe this garbage, many do. I am saying however, that it's a dangerous lie straight out of the pit of hell. Now who's rambling?

Anyhow, I really liked your answer above, you managed to be gracious and yet uncomprising. I met Christ as a young man of 23, He delivered me from alcoholism, drug addiction, an overwhelming and constant fear of death, and I could go on but you get the idea. I went from a total basket case to preaching on street corners nearly overnight. To make a long story short, I allowed a really bad marriage to come between me and the Lord, I walked away from my family and my God. I never lost my faith but I did spend the next 15 or so years on the run.

I recently recommitted my life to Christ and let me tell you, it's a struggle. But it's inspiring to see fellow brothers and sisters who clearly know the Word working to advance the truth of the gospel with love, and not hung up on matters like KJV only or young earth nonsense etc. The days are dark, keep shining that light. : )

πολλα γαρ πταιομεν απαντες ει τις εν λογω ου πταιει ουτος τελειος ανηρ δυνατος χαλιναγωγησαι και ολον το σωμα

The journey...

...certainly is a struggle, oftentimes from our own doing, as I can certainly attest to as well. That's encouraging to hear how you are finding your way back to Him. Recently, I've been trying to focus a little less intensely on the political realm (while still keeping a watchful eye on it), because I've found that it was distracting me too much from spending time internally, spiritually with my Creator. Ever had a season in life where you wish you could just hit pause and go spend a year in quiet contemplation, and then return? Unfortunately, as dark as the times are, I suppose we might not have that kind of luxury.

Blessings on your journey :)

Do Not

Tempt the Lord God.

donvino

Can he not RESIST temptation?

So much for "all powerful."

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West of 89
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Looks like the bad spirit is in some people

And they want to redefine what persecution is.

But as posted below, Jesus Christ, the Word of God, says:

Matthew 5:11
11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

So no, reviling and saying all manner of evil against you for being a Christian witness is not only persecution in the eyes of the Lord, but it means you've been blessed.

I wouldn't want to be in the place of someone envying someone else for being saved. Having no reason other than envying SALVATION instead of turning yourself and being saved.

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

Very true...

It gets a bit tricky sometimes, though, when every particular view within the Christian fold gets reviled by those who hold every other particular view within the Christian fold. It's like a circular firing squad sometimes. But I guess history is replete with not only non-Christians persecuting Christians and vice-versa, but also Christians persecuting each other. Somewhere in that, of course, is the core Gospel of Christ (represented well in the early creeds, I think); but I think we can get too dogmatic with each other over secondary matters, as if they were the core. It all gets back to speaking the truth in Love.

Even if you take...

...the Bible literally (which I do, unless there is obvious metaphor or such being used as an illustration), I'm not sure I quite understand how anyone can be utterly dogmatic about the age of the Earth.

Look at verses 1-10 of Genesis Chapter 1, again:

[1] In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

[2] And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

[3] And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

[4] And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from darkness.

[5] And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

[6] And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

[7] And God made the firmament, and divided the waters were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

[8] And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.

[9] And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

[10] And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called He Seas: and God saw that it was good.

Notice that although the heaven and the earth are created and present in verse 1, the specific labeling of Heaven and Earth as applied to the firmament and dry land occurs on Days 2 and 3, respectively. How long exactly was the initial state of the heaven and earth (formless and void) prior to the 'let there be light' statement in verse 3? Can we say for sure that verses 1 through 5 are supposed to comprise Day One? Perhaps Day One starts with verse 3?

I realize that other passages such as Exodus 20:11 say things like 'For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day...'; but perhaps this refers to the Heaven and Earth, or firmament and dry land in the state of Day 2 and Day 3, not the formless and void state of the earth in verse 1?

I am not dogmatic about what I just posited, just throwing it out there; but can we really be dogmatic and insist there is nothing beyond a strict six 24-hour days period possible here, when considering verses 1 and 2?

To me this is a similar debate as with the different views on the end times: pre-trib rapture, post-trib/mid-week rapture; pre-millenial, post-millenial, amillenial second coming; etc. Sometimes people in each of these camps will point the bony finger of indignation at the other camps and claim that there is no way the other has a leg to stand on Scripturally.

I think there's nothing wrong, of course, with having a personal conviction about which view is correct; but we also have to have a lot of grace in allowing folks to hold to the core Gospel of Christ, yet seeing room there, even literally, for multiple interpretations of the details of the the origins of everything and also the destinies of everything.

I don't think the millions of years debate is similar to

the end times debate since the latter stays scripture based (regardless of theology) compared to the former which was fomented by secular writings and uses secular writings to bolster arguments.

But that's my...

...point about the origins debate -- even if you stick to a literalist six-day reading of Scripture, there is still some murkiness there which allows much speculation; and people should be humble and admit that the image they have built up in their mind of these things could be wrong in many ways. We get so used to the Sunday-school versions of these events, that our minds can become closed to the possibilities that things were a bit different, while yet conforming with Scripture.

Unwarranted dogmatism on particulars vs humility and not restricting God or His Word to stay within the confines of our particular box of allowable opinions.

Thanks for the reply! I think the murkiness and speculation was

proportional to the increasing dominance of long ages from natural philosophy during the late 1800's. Furthermore, I'm not aware of any rabbis, scribes, or theologians previous to this time mentioning millions or thousands of years for creation. Interestingly, the very few that did not subscribe to 6 days of creation seemed to think it may have happened instantaneously.

But yes, after much creation study, I am open to hear other Christians' alternate interpretations. However, if their interpretations put death (human or animal), disease or suffering before Adam & Eve, then that belief system is clearly at odds with alot of Scripture and is dangerous to the Gospel.

No doubt...

...the desire to accommodate the uniformitarian, naturalist trends in the society had an influence on people trying to read these things into the narrative. (Thanks for the replies, too, by the way. :) ) But on the other hand, unless any rabbi, scribe, or theologian was actually present at the Creation (obviously not), then they, too, are subject to a certain amount of reading into the account, based on what they have traditionally thought and interpreted it to mean.

For example, each of us has a mental picture of what Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 might have looked like -- how it would have unfolded in time and space. Obviously, each one of our visualizations is going to be to some extent erroneous, since there isn't much detail in the description to go by.

And again, even if you stick to the literal 6 days, who's to say that the 1st day begins in verse 1 and not in verse 3, with the creation of the light?

Eventually, in the age to come, I'd think that the amount of revelation and clarity we have will transcend the murkiness of the Scriptures, so that it will be seen even more as having been 'looking through a glass darkly'.

That's not too say that the limited revelation we have now is untrue -- just that it is indeed limited, as the vision of God in cloud and fire over Mt. Sinai was later illumined by the deeper revelation of God the Son in the flesh, walking among us, emphasizing Love as greatest...layers of deeper truth beyond the apparent truth we now behold, or beyond what we were previously ready to receive.

Use of yom

Outside Genesis 1, yom is used with a number 359 times, and each time it means an ordinary day. Why would Genesis 1 be the exception?

There are words in biblical Hebrew (such as olam or qedem) that are very suitable for communicating long periods of time, or indefinite time, but none of these words are used in Genesis 1. Alternatively, the days or years could have been compared with grains of sand if long periods were meant.

Yeah...

...my question, though, was even with taking that as a 24-hour 'yom', what's to say that the beginning of that period was verse 1, as opposed to verse 3 when the light is created? It's not clear, at least from what I can tell, that verses 1 and 2 would even be within the first 'yom' -- they could have been before, perhaps, for who knows how long a period. The first 'yom' could then begin when this particular light was created to divide Day and Night.

Then the author would have put in an olam or qedem

to indicate that. You also have Jesus saying that from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female'. (Mark 10:6)

Can you...

...elaborate on where the olam or qedem would go in verses 1 and 2 to indicate this? I'm not a Hebrew scholar by any means. :)

I'm not convinced yet, though, that the 'beresheth' word for beginning in verse 1 is the start of the first 'yom'.

Notice that in the English, the marker that starts each day's activity is the phrase 'And God said...', the first of which occurs in verse 3, with the creation of the light. This seems to me to leave it uncertain what the duration of the period before that first day would have been, in verses 1 and 2.

Whatever word Christ used that is translated 'beginning' there obviously would not be pointing to the absolute beginning of time, since it wasn't until day six that humanity was made.

You may be right -- but see what I mean? There is enough murkiness and vagueness there to allow multiple speculations on the exact timing of things, even with six, 24-hour days being accepted.

I'm no Hebrew scholar either but am simply looking

for the time related words. And I agree that day 6 is not the 'absolute' beginning (t0) but Christ's usage indicates that thousands of years are not between t0 and day 6.

Oh...and...

as to the question about death and suffering before the Fall, this has always bothered me about the theistic evolutionary theories as well.

Sometimes I wonder, though --

- obviously God realized that the creation of genuine persons, with genuine free wills to choose to participate in Love or not, came with the likelihood, or even the certainty, that (many, most, all) humanity would have to go through the consequences of non-Love being chosen, as part of their development and ultimate reconciliation to the Love they were created for.

- God predestined each and every one of us to be created, knowing that this spiritual 'evolution' would entail suffering, death, evils, pain

- yet the final good of the eventual outcome would be worth it, even with the darkness of the journey to get there

- so a process of suffering, pain and death was fully realized as being a likely/essential part of the development of Creation into what it's meant to be, given the nature of genuine free wills, in genuine persons

But still, the thought of pain and suffering being there prior to any person choosing non-Love does bother me; although, persons such as the fallen angels had already chosen this -- so maybe this would have been repercussions from that earlier Fall?

Your post is beautifully put.

Your post is beautifully put. Why does the pain and suffering being there before the person chooses non love bother you? It seems like you've already answered that in your earlier points? Free will is why the pain and suffering is here in the fallen world, before the first sin there was no pain and suffering, God saw it was all very good. And is this not Satan and his angels world for but a short time?, because of their rebellion against the one true God, maker of all things People have to choose to love God, if they were forced then it wouldn't be love and as such if they choose to follow Satan and a life of sin their actions bring harm. But no pain and suffering is too strong for a person to handle if they give themselves to the Creator. God will not test you beyond your limits.

Thanks :)

Yeah, it is precisely because God called His Creation 'very good' that I have a hard time envisioning a bloody arena of tooth and claw being the backdrop to such a declaration.

Even then, though, God knew that the bloody carnage would shortly ensue, so I guess that 'very good' would be a bit odd, unless there is confidence that despite all that, reconciliation to Love would bring a truly good state for all things, on the other side.

In Genesis 1:31 when

"God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day." there was not any death, disease or suffering. Then notice in Genesis 3:17-18 that even the ground gets cursed and we get thorns and thistles (and death) because of Adam's sin. Romans 5:20 echoes this point that creation was subjected to futility and is currently in bondage to decay.

So we have:
- Adam and Eve were created with the divine image of God (Gen 1:27)
- initial creation was very good (no death, disease, pain, suffering)
- Adam's sin brought death, disease, pain & suffering into creation
- creation is in bondage to decay
- but creation will be set free from this bondage (Romans 8:21)
- man is an enemy of God (Romans 5:10)
- but man has been reconciled to God thru his Son (Romans 5:10)
- if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation (2Cor 5:17)
- and this new self is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its Creator (Col 3:10)
- death is an enemy of both God and man
- but death will be the last enemy to be abolished (1Cor 15:26)

What that shows is that creation currently is not in the very good condition that it started out as. And the only death that will correct it's ultimate condition and mankind's hearts is the death and resurrection of Christ.

Yes, well-said...

...and I do agree with all that.

Do you see what I'm getting at, though?:

- God was willing to create, knowing full well that such Creation would have to go through a spiritual evolution involving struggle, pain, suffering, death before eventually being reconciled to Love, to Himself.

- so the idea of God using or allowing such a painful process for the purposes of achieving His ultimate ends, is accepted by both theistic evolutionist and the six-day creationist, even though they disagree on whether this painful struggle was there from the beginning

- if God created, knowing that pain and death would ensue, He is ultimately responsible for that reality emerging -- and is responsible for coming behind and cleaning up the mess so-to-speak. And thanks be to Him that He is indeed reconciling all things in heaven and earth through the peace of Christ established on the cross -- His Love will be triumphant when He is truly All-in-All. :)

Reconciliation is not dependent upon man's pain, suffering or

death. God with His grace certainly uses tribulations and suffering to build our endurance (Romans 5:3), but our salvation is dependent on Christ's suffering, death and resurrection and not our own. In Acts 5, you can see where Peter and the Apostles are preaching Christ crucified and then are flogged by the Pharisees. The Apostles rejoiced that they were worthy to suffer dishonor but obviously they had already been reconciled to God.

To your second point, we know that even God's ultimate ends are frustrated because "God desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:4) but we know from Scripture that this will not happen. Nevertheless, we continue to pray His will be done on {our pain, disease and death filled} Earth as it is in {no pain, disease or death} Heaven.

To your third point, I don't agree that God's foreknowledge makes Him responsible for pain and death since Romans 6:23 says that the wages of sin is death. Obviously, God didn't allow his foreknowledge to stop his creative powers and I'm glad he didn't because than I wouldn't exist.

Reconciliation is...

...not even necessary, unless there are fallen people to reconcile -- which, unfortunately, seems to be a likely or unavoidable byproduct of the act of making genuine persons at all, who have genuine free wills. It seems like there would not be a way to create such genuine persons without pain, death, suffering resulting from that ability to choose -- otherwise a loving God would certainly have foregone all that to achieve His will for all to be in Him, for none to perish.

I don't mean to suggest that we are not individually responsible for our particular responses to Love -- we most certainly are. And I don't mean to suggest that we are not reliant on the grace and gift of God's salvation through Christ to be reconciled -- we most certainly are. However, God as Creator is responsible for the decision to go ahead with creating people despite the unavoidable consequences that would result. This is not a criticism of God; I am glad He created us all to participate in Love as our own persons.

My own views have swung more universalist in recent years -- I hold to reconciliation only being through the Way, Truth, Life that is Christ; but I don't believe in a God of Love ever giving up on any person, any lost sheep. I don't believe that where sin abounds, grace abounds only a little (i.e. only a small fraction of Creation will be reconciled). I don't believe that most of God's purposes will be eternally frustrated, because He throws up His hands and says 'oh well'. I don't believe that the 'eternal' sentence of outer darkness or whatever form hell may take cannot therefore be, upon repentance, commuted by the One Who holds the key to hell, by the One who is our very ground of being. I do concur with the Apostle Paul in Colossians 1 that all things in heaven and earth will be reconciled through Christ, completing the beginning of the grand story of Creation: we come from Him, we are reconciled through Him, and are restored to Him.

If this is not the case, then I don't see how we can truly say that death itself will be conquered in the end -- the vast majority of personage still bound to it. Nor do I see how we can say that God would then be All-in-All, if Love has not indeed secured the victory in all, so that all are participating in His Love, through Love Himself -- through Christ.

So I guess I agree with you and the Arminians that free will does stymie the will of God -- He is frustrated. But I agree with the Calvinists that God's will is still sovereign and will not be eternally stymied -- the frustration is only temporary. Over time, I believe His grace will break through to even the most hardened of hearts in the furthest recesses of outer darkness, such that this Love will bring about a 'Road to Damascus' moment in even them.

But, obviously, this is an area where again there is murkiness. :) Both origins and destiny have much speculation and debate that come with the territory.

Blessings, brother (sister?)...

Micah