Monday, April 09, 2007

What do you believe?


Have you ever really asked yourself that question?

I had a conversation last week with a person who was struggling with this concept simply because the people in thier world were on spiritual journeys. But, in this journey, there was no foundation and thier spirituality is based on their personal, subjective feelings on everything.
We live in a spiritual world. I say that all the time...but...yesterday was RESURRECTION SUNDAY! A huge day in our world....

This Resurrection Sunday we as a congregation recited the Apostle’s Creed at the end of the gathering.
And by my choice I picked the older version (I like the ancient stuff!)
I did not even think twice (my bad) as to what kind of ramifications that this would have on so many people. It has led me to have to teach on what I would call 'our Creed' or 'what we believe?'
And then there is that small word….we…what do ‘WE’ (a very inclusive word) really believe? What do we believe? What do we know? What if we differ? Can we say we believe? What do we study? What do we read? What shapes our values? What shapes our beliefs? What shapes our understand of GOD? What shapes our understanding of scripture? What about those who believe differently about GOD, Jesus, Holy Spirit? What about the History of Jesus? His birth, his Life, His death, His resurrection? Where is He now? What about our belief of the church? Saints? Eternal life?

The questions go on…

As a person of faith….what do we/you believe?

21 comments:

captivating said...

I really enjoyed having the creed at the Easter gathering. When I first heard the creed (several years ago) I was taken aback and probably a little offended. Actually to be totally honest, I didn't even stand up when the congregation read it aloud. That was my first time in a Lutheran church.

My offence came mostly because my Pentecostal tradition had never used this type of liturgy before. It was foreign and therefore not Christian. I didn't have a good understanding of the language being used. It was a different dialect of Christianese. : )

I had to study it out for myself and have found that my 'rich' heritage had been missing out on a few things.

God had a plan when he had us serve in ministry at an Evangelical Lutheran church. Go figure - God having a plan. LOL! I learned so much in our time there.

I can now go freely to the 'ancient stuff' (as you put it Gerry) and read it through very different lenses.

It's been a while, but I think I need to go back and read the Nicene creed as well.

Held Captive said...

It's funny, but this is a question we really should be asking ourselves on a regular basis. I find myself almost afraid to ask it because I don't know everything and admitting that is sometimes hard, but that leads to more learning and more learning to more wisdom...so really, what am I afraid of?

novice said...

Even in the Apostle's Creed there is some room for translation questions... I missed that part of the service, when you say you used the 'older' version, would that be the one with 'He descended into hell'?

Since 'Hades' or 'Sheol' can be translated a number of different ways that line has been the source of all sorts of debate. I like the versions that leave it a little more ambiguous, since it seems to me that the original text was a bit ambiguous. Of course, I am not a Biblical scholar so I could be wrong here.

I do love the Apostle's Creed. I grew up evangelical and when I was exposed to liturgical elements in worship I found them very meaningful. I've really enjoyed having 'the ancient stuff' as part of the services at Soul so keep it up!

filletofsoul said...

I love this question! I think about these things all time. The only problem for me is that there are so many things to consider and sometimes it gets tempting to just walk away because it can become frustrating when your previous views start changing and don't necessarily follow the majority any longer. Over the last year I have realized I don't believe in all of the standard set of "Christian" beliefs but I also know that I firmly believe in God and that keeps me reading, praying and asking. On the lighter side...here are some more general things that come to mind of things I believe...

I believe-

God is always right

Salvation is free, spiritual growth in costly.

True love does not exist independant of justice.

There is always something to thank God for.

"God save me from myself" should be my daily prayer request.

God is faithful.

Those are some of my personal "rules for living"

Who's next to share?!

Bonnie the Geek said...

"Doubt your doubts and believe your beliefs." - Switchfoot

I believe in a lot of things. My favorite one to focus on is that God is Love. I seems that when I am faced with issues in my life, just thinking about that fact helps me to figure out what the right answer is.

Which reminds me of the three P's. I forget if it was high school or college but when faced with problems or decisions there is always an answer that you can figure out. First are Precepts; specific rules like "Thou shalt not kill." Then there are Principals; like the parables Jesus told about giving to the poor and whatnot. Then there is Person. Basically "WWJD". Think about who God is what what that means to your situation.

That was off topic, sorry. God is violently working in my life right now but it would seem my random, abstract A.D.D is not one of the things He is changing right now...

That was cool, reciting various old scripts... I like that stuff. It might be helpful to explain some of the stuff, though. My guess is that not everyone knows the difference between the holy catholic church and the Roman Catholic Church... Just a thought... One of the things I love about your 'preaching' style is that you teach in a way that is accessable to anyone who happened to walk off the street.

~ B

Anonymous said...

Who is immortal?

God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and the Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. 1 Timothy 6:15&16

If God alone is immortal, then mankind apart from God is not.

Can mankind gain immortality?

In the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality.
Proverbs 12:28


How is immortality possible?

So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life-not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Jesus Christ, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 2 Timothy 1:8-10

Immortality, thru the gift of eternal life has been made possible thru Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection.

Does everyone receive immortality?

To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. Romans 2:7&8

Not everyone chooses/is given immortality.

When does immortality take place and why?

Listen I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed – in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” 1 Corinthians 15:51-54

What is the difference between immortality and eternal life?

If only those who receive Christ gain immortality, then how do others burn in hell forever?

WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE?

Scott said...

"Who is immortal?"

Keith Richards, i have no idea why that guy is still living.

On a more serious note, a believe in the word that God sent me. And other than that I use these two pieces of ancient text from my childhood growing up in the Lutheran church.

1. I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
the Creator of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:

Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.

He descended into hell.

The third day He arose again from the dead.

He ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty,
whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting.

Amen.

2. We believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father by whom all things were made; who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, and was made man, and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried, and the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father. And he shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead, whose kingdom shall have no end.

And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets. And we believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. And we look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

And lastly I believe because of personal experiences where i have encountered God and he was real to me. And this reinforced the previous things here, the Bible, the Apostles Creed, and the Nicene Creed.

For me it is really quite simple. I believe now after years of thinking about it. Doubt is not an issue anymore I don't believe. How can I doubt something I took so long to finally believe? Something that I did the math over and over again for? Something that I studied and pondered for a long time? And even all this made no difference at all once I saw what God could do. So I believe without issue, without regret. Even when life is hard, it doesn't mean God doesn't exist, it means life is hard and thats life.

credulous said...

I believe in bumper stickers.

I believe what people write about themselves on the internet.

I believe in campaign promises.

I believe in reality television.

I believe that Madalyn Murray O'Hair is still trying to get "Touched by an Angel" cancelled, despite both her death and the show ending its run - and I believe that if I love Jesus I need to forward that to at least 10 people.

I believe that eating pop rocks and drinking diet coke will kill you.

I believe that Tinky Winky is gay.

I believe that personal peace and affluence is Christ's ultimate goal for His church.

I believe in non-conformity, but only because everybody else is doing it.

I believe in tolerance for all opinions that do not contradict my own.

I believe that there is a nice woman in Nigeria who will pay me handsomely to help her collect her late husband's estate.

I believe that celebrity endorsements are motivated solely by the quality of the product.

What I really believe is that I'm maybe a little bit too cynical but somewhere down the line I met God and found there was something real to the whole business. And if he is real, then defining a statement of faith is more than mere dogmatism... it's an adventure to be embarked upon with excitement.

Anonymous said...

I believe the creed we read together Sunday & looking outside our normal liturgy box & pulled out something new & hey, if Gerry want's to share a Creed or two, I personally don't think it will hurt any of us or you shouldn't feel offended but be built Up! That's how I felt after reading it together as a community.

Now that I've read it and proclaimed it from my own mouth for the first time, I guess I walked away thinking, mmmm...it would be a very wise thing that what a proclaim from my mouth is actually what I believe to be true in my heart & spirit.

There's a lot of liturgy from my Pentecostal tradition I am sure like so many other denomination's that we have never heard or demonstrated as a body, so I would have never guessed this being of another 'creed'.

That's what I believe.

Tony Myles said...

Perhaps faith is less defined by what we know... perhaps it's more defined by the questions we're asking.

novice said...

"Perhaps faith is less defined by what we know... perhaps it's more defined by the questions we're asking."

Don't get me wrong, I think asking questions is an integral and often ignored part of faith but it isn't enough. It's easy to become satisfied, maybe even self-satisfied, by sitting back and questioning everything - trading our faith for a sort of pseudo-intellectualism.

I would agree that our faith is defined by the questions we're asking, but that's only half of it - it is likewise defined by our willingness to accept and integrate what truth we find in response to those questions.

tongue-tied said...

I know what I believe!

The challenge for me lies in one of Gerry's questions posed yesterday (April 15-07) - Can I articulate what I believe? THerein lies my uncertainty.

I am fairly at ease discussing matters of faith including what I believe with other believers. I'm a little less at ease discussing these matters with a non-believer or seeker who has a working knowledge of the bible and the "Christian language". Where I feel completely at a loss and incompetent is explaining what I believe to someone that is biblically illiterate and has no knowledge of the "christian language". I scramble to find words to articulate my beliefs in terms that are understandable to someone with no knowledge. I feel my reponses to simple questions are inadequate for the job.

I know that I need God to lead me in this - to provide me with the necessary words; to help me demonstrate my beliefs through my actions, my words, and my attitudes. I believe that God will help me in this as I look to Him for wisdom, for knowledge, and for understanding.

Gerry - thanks for taking us through this series on what we believe!

Lord, help me to learn, to grow, and to confidently speak your words to everyone you place in my life.

Karen said...

This is an interesting blog because the question is "what do you believe" and yet no one has really come out and stated what they believe!

I spent some time today reading over various churches, statements of beliefs. I actually called a church to ask a question about a point, and got an explanation from a staff member that contradicted what the churches statement of beliefs is. This got me to wondering if some or perhaps many people who go to church really believe the same things. Does it matter? Maybe not. I would hope that everyone would agree though, that you must believe that the God we read of in the Bible whose name is Yahweh is the only true God and that ONLY through Jesus can we be forgiven of our sins (by his death) and have the hope of eternal life (by his resurrection). Do any other points matter if we agree or disagree on them?

I am interested in where the reader’s minds are on this subject. (Yes, even you lurkers who read but don't want to get involved!)

1. Jesus Could Jesus have been created by God before the creation of this world or did he eternally exist?

I don’t know if it really matters. Couldn’t he be a suitable sacrifice for mankind’s sins either way?

2. How do you see the Trinity?
, God is a trinity of persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Father is not the same person as the Son; the Son is not the same person as the Holy Spirit; and the Holy Spirit is not the same person as Father. They are not three gods and not three beings. They are three distinct persons; yet, they are all the one God. Each has a will, can speak, can love, etc., and these are demonstrations of personhood. They are in absolute perfect harmony consisting of one substance. They are coeternal, coequal, and co powerful. If any one of the three were removed, there would be no God.

CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS & RESEARCH MINISTRY
www.carm.org

WHO REALLY GETS THAT! I personally don’t understand “If anyone of the three were removed there would be no God” I don’t think that Yahweh needed Jesus to exist to be God (great for us but not necessary for God) I’m not sure that I really believe in the whole Trinity idea.

3. Man Does everyone exist forever? I not convinced that they do. In other words do people just make a choice as to where they will live eternally (heaven or hell) Or is it that only some people receive eternal life like the Bible says through Jesus Christ.

4. Hell. I think a lot of people are confused and mixed up in their understanding of hell. In order to understand what the Bible really has to say on the subject you need to differentiate between Sheol, Hades and the Lake of Fire (Gehenna). How many people know that they are not all the same place?! Maybe the wicked can receive their conscious torment, suffering and agony before the final judgement (Rev 20) and then are annihilated in the lake of fire where the punishment (loss of their life) is eternal.

5. Satan This whole topic baffles me the most. How could a perfect God create an angel that decides to challenge His sovereignty? If God is the creator of all things and yet he didn’t create evil, where did it come from?

So now, PLEASE SOMEONE RESPOND! Does anyone know what they believe on any of these issues? (some scripture to back up what you believe would be nice too!)

Held Captive said...

Thanks for taking me out of my comfort zone! I believe I have a lot of reading to do here. I think I just believe that I believe, but I have never really thought about what that is completely. Yes I believe there is a God and that he is the only God and he sent his Son to die and to be raised. I also believe that he sent his Holy Spirit to guide us here on earth. As to how the whole trinity works; that is an almost mind-blowing entity (entities?) that I am still trying to wrap my head around. I understand that some things may be beyond our complete understanding, but does that mean that we can't keep trying to understand it? One thing I often wonder about is when the saints are mentioned in Revelation, they don't seem to be in heaven and are waiting for judgement to be let in. Maybe I am misinterpreting; maybe I'm way off in my confusion, but I'm not sure who is sure.

As for Hell, I am afraid I am quite ignorant on this issue. I have gone through life under the understanding that it is one or the other and am not familiar with Sheol, Hades and the Lake of Fire (I know of, but never really asked myself about them). I was under the understanding that Hell was (simply put, VERY simply) pure and total separation from God. The more I write here, the more I realize how little I know on my own beliefs. Scary.

Satan. Now this is one that I have always had a tough time understanding. Could it be that he gave his angels the gift of free will as he gave to us? Even if he did, how did sin creep in without God creating it? Maybe this was planned from the beginning? I'm not sure.

I probably did not help anyone with this, I'm thinking out loud and I guess that's a start...

...?

Michael said...

I would be interested in a follow-up to this series, entitled "Why I believe it."

My biggest struggle of late has been trying to understand the bases for people's beliefs.

Of course, many Christians offer 'personal experience' as the basis for their belief. And yet, that same basis underlies my Sikh neighbours' beliefs in their Gods.

An earlier commenter put forward that they believe God is Love. My question would be, why do you believe this? Clearly, there are many examples where God's actions reflect anything BUT love. Gerry used a scripture on Sunday which indicated that God "causes destruction". Why do you hold this belief, despite evidence to the contrary?

So while I believe this conversation is a good start, I see value in moving beyond the 'what?', to the 'why?'

Thoughts?

Anonymous said...

Something that bothers me especially today with Virgina Tech and the bombings in Bagdad is the Why - is it God - or is it just people acting in their belief that it is what is wanted, needed...A God of love doesn't always shine through but then neither do a people of love seem to be acting in his behalf..How can anyone see killing as God's will or how can one accept a God which allows innocent people to be killed only for living their lives. I believe but some days it is hard to have faith in that belief.

Karen said...

Hi anonymous

I am not commenting on the tragedies in Virginia or Bagdad because I have no answers for you but I wanted to leave you something to look into regarding the end of your previous comment.

“‘See now that I, even I, am he,
and there is no god beside me;
I kill and I make alive;
I wound and I heal;
and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.
Deuteronomy 32:39

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version © 2001 Crossway Bibles

Think about….

All the people who died in the Flood (Genesis 8)
The people who had burning sulfur rain on them in Sodom & Gomorrah (Genesis 19)
The firstborn sons in Egypt who were killed during Passover (Exodus 11)
Pharaoh’s soldiers who drowned in the Red Sea chasing the Israelites (Genesis 14)

Who caused these people to die? We can reason that these were all nations opposed to God and therefore deserved God’s wrath; but were these people all bad and mean individuals?. What about the innocent babies who died during the Passover?

These were “God’s people”….

Exodus 32:27-29 about 3,000 people died because God ordered it
Numbers 16 all of Korah’s men and their families were killed by God

Check out the New Testament story of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5)

God is Love. The Bible also says that God is a jealous God and he is Just. Do we understand what love is? Maybe if we could see life in its entirety we would have a clearer picture of things. How does sin and its consequences affect us?

Keep believing.

Brad said...

In response to Karen's question regarding the Trinity:

When I first started exploring Christianity a year and a half ago, I didn't even know about the Holy Spirit or that it even existed. I had even read through the New Testament and still didn't differentiate between The Holy Spirit and what people refer to as "God the Father." It wasn't until I started attending the Soul Searching program put on at Soul that I learned about the idea of the Trinity and the Holy Spirit. The first time I heard about the Holy Spirit being different to God the Father my response was "Ahhh...baaaaaaa???? Whaaaa????"

Up to that point I had assumed that when the Bible referred to the Holy Spirit it was simply one of the many names referring to God (the Father.) So I can definitely relate to not being entirely sold on the Trinity...or at least having serious questions about it. It's a topic that I flip-flop on alot in my head as to what exactly I believe on this subject.

As for your other questions...they're not something I've thought about or explored too much yet. I'd love to offer my thoughts and ideas but I simply am not familiar enough with these subjects to offer anything else but a complete shot in the dark...so I'll bite my tongue.

Held Captive said...

In response to Why I believe. I guess first you have to understand what you believe if you are to answer why, but as for me, I believe because there is so much beauty that surrounds us. Look at anything in nature and tell me that it's not completely incredible! Even a mosquito, as annoying as they are, is amazing! When I take the time to think about the things I am seeing around me I find it impossible not to believe. People die because we are corrupted and yes it is horrible and sad, but still a baby is also beautiful. Yes some are destroyed, but never forget about everything that is given life every day...I know when my faith wavers I take a walk and usually I'm convinced.

So many questions; and there always will be more questions then answers here on earth, but the more we try to understand, the more wisdom we will find. Questions aren't bad!! Keep questioning what you believe and I believe faith will grow and grow...at least it seems to do so for me.

SoulPastor said...

Some thoughts to the question of immortality....

When considering the concept of immortality there have come a lot of questions…..

Does an adopted child have the same inheritance as a biological child of the parents? Or, to put it another way: Are the adopted children entitled to receive the same inheritance as the natural children of the parents?

Jesus, as God’s Son, received from his Father the glory of resurrection. Christians, brothers and sisters of Christ, adopted children of God, expect to
inherit the same glory of resurrection.

We are asked if we believed in the immortality of the soul.
After research, I would have to answer NO. Here is why…
The theory of immortality of the soul is a theory of the Greeks, not of the Bible. The Greeks believed death was defined as "the separation of the soul from the body, but was not the end of the soul.” Plato, for instance, believed in metempsychosis, the transmigration of souls from one living thing to another, and in reincarnation, the rebirth of the soul in new bodies. Simply put, by immortality the Greeks meant the soul existed before it took home in a body, and then, after death, continued to exist forever independent of a body.

So as believers, according to the brief above, believers cannot believe in the immortality of the soul. RATHER, we believe in the resurrection of the body. We believe our souls live on, not by their inherent worth, but only as gift of our gracious God. Hope this helps….

Julie said...

hi , I just happened upon this blog and my interest was caught by your comment, Karen!
You have excellent questions that are difficult to answer fully in a few words but I tried! I copied your comment and inserted my answers... Hope my thoughts help you at least a little ! Keep searching!

Karen:
This is an interesting blog because the question is "what do you believe" and yet no one has really come out and stated what they believe!

I spent some time today reading over various churches, statements of beliefs. I actually called a church to ask a question about a point, and got an explanation from a staff member that contradicted what the churches statement of beliefs is. This got me to wondering if some or perhaps many people who go to church really believe the same things. Does it matter? Maybe not. I would hope that everyone would agree though, that you must believe that the God we read of in the Bible whose name is Yahweh is the only true God and that ONLY through Jesus can we be forgiven of our sins (by his death) and have the hope of eternal life (by his resurrection). Do any other points matter if we agree or disagree on them?

I am interested in where the reader’s minds are on this subject. (Yes, even you lurkers who read but don't want to get involved!)

My answer:
Karen, I love your searching mind! I would love to sit down and talk to you for a whole day!
I believe it is totally important to know and be able to articulate what you believe (Col.4:6)
And I believe there is only ONE truth… not many truths that you can choose from. The bible is clear if we take the time to study it, that all believers should be of ONE MIND and believe the same thing. Granted we are all on a journey , at different points on our journey, but we need to continue always to have an open mind , listening and thinking and discerning what is true.
I believe it matters on EVERY point whether we agree or not – not to cause strive or be forceful with our point of view – but I feel if I find someone I am in disagreement with it is an opportunity to learn!! The obvious is ‘we are not both right’, we may both be wrong, or one of us is right and one is wrong… If we can together search for the truth and find it WE ARE BOTH THE WINNERS ! No one is the loser.
How can we decide that one thing God says is true and important but some other things He says are not important!! The more we love someone the more important even the smaller details are!

Karen:
1. Jesus Could Jesus have been created by God before the creation of this world or did he eternally exist?

I don’t know if it really matters. Couldn’t he be a suitable sacrifice for mankind’s sins either way?

My Answer:
It does matter – everything matters. I don’t think we have to go beyond what scripture clearly tells us. The bible tells us that the ‘Son’ was in the bosom of the Father before He came to earth. Jesus was the ‘Word’ of God made flesh.
In my mind the clearest way to understand the relationship between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is by looking at our understanding of cloning. You take the DNA of one person and it has all the information in it to create a ‘clone’ of the original.
God is God – ‘Hear O Israel, the Lord your God is One’.
I believe in One God , the Father, who sent ‘Himself’ through His ‘Son’ to earth to represent Him to man. Jesus was a real man but He was also God – yet the time He was here on earth he did not diminish in the least the Father who was still in Heaven. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God – not a separate ‘person’, otherwise there would be need to be many Spirits- God the Father is Spirit, the Son has a Spirit and the Holy Spirit would be another Spirit. Doesn’t work , does it? I believe there is ONE Spirit of God who is not limited by space – it is the self same Spirit of God that was in Christ and is in us as believers. (Romans 8:9 – in talking about the Spirit that dwells in us refers to it as both the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ )
We are body, soul and spirit but ONE person – made in the image of God – God the Father is invisible, Jesus put a body on the invisible God so we could see Him and the Spirit is everywhere!
We can’t understand it fully now, but I think taking scripture at face value makes it as clear as it needs to be == for now.
There is also the verse that says when Jesus has conquered the last enemy, which is death he will also be subject to the Father so God will be all in all!
I Cor. 15:28

Karen:
2. How do you see the Trinity?
, God is a trinity of persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Father is not the same person as the Son; the Son is not the same person as the Holy Spirit; and the Holy Spirit is not the same person as Father. They are not three gods and not three beings. They are three distinct persons; yet, they are all the one God. Each has a will, can speak, can love, etc., and these are demonstrations of personhood. They are in absolute perfect harmony consisting of one substance. They are coeternal, coequal, and co powerful. If any one of the three were removed, there would be no God.
CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS & RESEARCH MINISTRY
WHO REALLY GETS THAT! I personally don’t understand “If anyone of the three were removed there would be no God” I don’t think that Yahweh needed Jesus to exist to be God (great for us but not necessary for God) I’m not sure that I really believe in the whole Trinity idea.

My answer ( included in above)

Karen:
3. Man Does everyone exist forever? I not convinced that they do. In other words do people just make a choice as to where they will live eternally (heaven or hell) Or is it that only some people receive eternal life like the Bible says through Jesus Christ.

My Answer:
Every one lives forever … some to eternal life and some to shame and everlasting contempt…( Dan. 12:2)
Only those who accept the gift that God has freely offered to ALL people will be saved – it is every man’s choice. (John 1:12) For God so loved ‘the world’ that WHOSOEVER believeth will be saved..( John 3:16)

Karen:
4. Hell. I think a lot of people are confused and mixed up in their understanding of hell. In order to understand what the Bible really has to say on the subject you need to differentiate between Sheol, Hades and the Lake of Fire (Gehenna). How many people know that they are not all the same place?! Maybe the wicked can receive their conscious torment, suffering and agony before the final judgement (Rev 20) and then are annihilated in the lake of fire where the punishment (loss of their life) is eternal.

My Answer
There are different words used in the Hebrew for ‘the grave’ and ‘the eternal place of torment’ but hell is still hell - where all souls go who refuse to accept the ‘free gift of salvation’. It is not the loss of ‘life’ in the sense that someone no longer exists – it is their separation from God that is eternal. Man is a ‘spirit’ being. Spirits CANNOT be annihilated because ‘life’ is eternal – God gave us the freedom to choose where we will spent it.
(Luke 16:23) In the story of Lazarus, Jesus clearly explains the two eternal places – one a good place – one bad – people in both were very alive! Jesus was talking about reality in this story – it is not a parable as some say. Jesus never named people in his parables and even if it was Jesus never ‘made up’ something that was not true.

Karen:
5. Satan This whole topic baffles me the most. How could a perfect God create an angel that decides to challenge His sovereignty? If God is the creator of all things and yet he didn’t create evil, where did it come from?

My Answer:
God created Lucifer beautiful and perfect – but he also had freedom of choice and he choose badly!! Freedom of choice is a wonderful gift of God but it carries with it dire consequences if we make the wrong choices. If God did not give freedom of choice to His created beings then we would all be robots. What God wanted was beings who would ‘choose’ to love Him, to worship Him , who would delight in being in His presence!!
If you are a parent would you choose to have a child that you could pre-program to do and say whatever you told it to every moment of every day? You would not be able to have a relationship with such a child – it would be a technical piece of software.
Evil did not need to be ‘created’. God is good ! Evil is the absence of God. Just as darkness does not need to be created - it is the absence of light! Cold did not need to be created – it is the absence of heat!
Isaiah 45:7 – God Himself declares that there is no God beside Him – in Him forming the Light, darkness was also created…. In making ‘peace’ – calamity was self-created outside of His peace!
Think about evil – where it is – what it is – and it is easy to see evil abounds where God is not. When we choose to turn away from God we choose the opposite of God. Everything that is good is from God – everything we enjoy, whether it be food, or breath, or sunshine or warmth or health or love , or nature or the ability to enjoy our senses – it all comes from God. Take away God and His provisions and laws and commandments – and all you have left is evil. If a person walks contrary to the rules God has given for our well being – his actions will be evil.

Karen:
So now, PLEASE SOMEONE RESPOND! Does anyone know what they believe on any of these issues? (some scripture to back up what you believe would be nice too!)

My Answer:
(Karen, I have only touched on the answers to your questions, but I hope it helps!)
5:39 PM