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Does God evolve now ?

Andrew Halloway has reviewed ‘The Evolution of God’ by Robert Wright, published over at Science and Values blog.

Science and Values – So even God evolves now ?

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73 Responses to Does God evolve now ?

  1. “I am the LORD, I change not.”
    Malachi 3:6

  2. Proof texts are for simpletons.

    Having earned two degrees from a Southern Baptist institution, I can tell you from considerable experience that the vast majority of people who vest “faith in the authority of the Bible” have not studied the text critically. I did so as an undergrad planning on entering some form of full-time Christian service, sure in advance that the Bible could withstand any degree of scrutiny. I was sorely disappointed. There was no way for me conclude anything but that the Bible is a document of men attempting to apprehend God.

    The evolution of God — more accurately, the evolution of man’s apprehension of God — is manifest in the Bible itself. Our Father who loves us and forgives us is neither the God of the Prophets nor the God of Abraham. One needs only to compare the depiction of God in the Pentateuch and the Prophets and the Gospels. Trotting out a verse that says what you’ll find is a sad substitute for actually looking. It is theology that unifies the depictions of God in that anthology of books known the Bible, not the anthology itself.

    There are various books that say, “Everything in this Book is True.” Most book-believers have read only one of them, and thus there is no denying that there is ignorance in their claims, even if correct, that God is revealed in only one True Book. And I forgive that ignorance in very simple people. I have problems with others who are not simple, primarily because their ignorance of alternative “True Books” is rooted in indolence and cowardice. Which book such people assert is holy is almost always an accident of birth, not a matter of informed choice. (Spare me the rare exceptions.)

  3. T M English, “The evolution of God — more accurately, the evolution of man’s apprehension of God”

    I think that this is the point where evolution (change) does happen. I don’t have any reason to believe that God himself changes. In my 50 years of watching the evangelical church change, I can clearly see our apprehension of God changing almost like the wind.

  4. 4
    CannuckianYankee

    TM English

    I normally don’t get involved in religious dispustes on here, but your last post is the most pompous and insulting post I have seen on this blog.

    Why don’t you look in the mirror – if you’re going to call others ignorant and simpleminded? I take particular exception to this:

    “I have problems with others who are not simple, primarily because their ignorance of alternative “True Books” is rooted in indolence and cowardice.”

    I gues in all your “studies” of the bible the words meant nothing to you.

  5. bFast,

    Good point. Book-believers rarely vest as straightforward belief in their books as they would have us believe. They find elaborate ways of getting around what is inconvenient (e.g., it is harder for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven than…), and of assimilating mainstream culture.

    In contrast, the mystic traditions in religions and ways around the world seem to converge on one Ultimate Something. People separated by distance and time have had remarkably similar things to say about their direct experience of… it goes by many names, but that doesn’t mean it is many things.

    I’m not claiming that everyone is worshiping the same god. What I’m saying is that we all have direct access to what Tillich called the ground of all being, and that we must use the light we obtain through experience of it to illuminate the texts that have come down to us.

  6. Why don’t you look in the mirror – if you’re going to call others ignorant and simpleminded?

    You should read more closely if you’re going to respond as you are. I said that there was “ignorance in their claims,” and that there are some “very simple people.” I have made ignorant claims at times, and my mother is a very intelligent woman who is, for want of education, very simple in her beliefs.

    “I have problems with others who are not simple, primarily because their ignorance of alternative “True Books” is rooted in indolence and cowardice.”

    I gues in all your “studies” of the bible the words meant nothing to you.

    A major point of the New Atheists is that religious differences are a leading cause of war. One obvious meaning in the words of Jesus is that we should not harm others — not even in state-sponsored wars. The stupid invocation of proof texts to get around the clear message and “justify” violence is awful. There are many fine things in the Bible, but book-belief is dangerous, and I do not hesitate to say what accounts for most cases of it.

  7. T M English,

    If I understand at all what you’re saying I think I can sympathize in a small way. However, either the words of the Bible are true or they are not. I despise “proof texts” mostly because they totally disregard other “proof texts”. Truth, like a bird, needs two wings to fly, not just one.
    Nonetheless, if the Bible isn’t true and can’t be relied upon—”it’s just our evolving understanding of God, not necessarily the absolute truth”—then we are hopeless. That isn’t the argument for why I believe the Bible to be the inspired and true word of God, mind you.

    I guess a fairly clear way of looking at it is this: If the Bible is true, then in Christ we would necessarily be seeing the most perfect revelation and manifestation of God possible, at least in human bodily form. In the gospels we see not only the revelation of God, the sum of the parts as it were, but we can see some of the parts, as well. One thing we see is a method of God’s revelation of Himself. Christ didn’t seek to clearly lay out and explain things in detail. He taught in parables, for example, and then paradoxically said that “these things are hidden from the wise and prudent but revealed unto babes.” Here we see a method, and I believe we can glean a reason for the method as well, that those who are not predisposed to not want to see and believe because it is counter to some vested and cultivated interest, can see. Even the most simple(ton) and unlearned can see, if they want to. God leaves the burden of proof of our desire for Him to us. The whole journey, however, is the same; we must continually desire, and make effort, to see.

    The Bible is true, but we see in the Pharisees an ability to take truth and make it much less than true.

    “One obvious meaning in the words of Jesus is that we should not harm others — not even in state-sponsored wars. The stupid invocation of proof texts to get around the clear message and “justify” violence is awful.”

    How is this not being guilty of what you are railing against? Do you think because you don’t quote a text that you escape hypocrisy here? What exegesis can show that Jesus taught against state-sponsored war? Do you attempt to avoid violating your “proof text rule” by some “eisegesis rule”? And, what is your definition of violence? Some would say that Jesus was violent when overturning the moneychangers tables with whip in hand.

  8. TM English

    “One obvious meaning in the words of Jesus is that we should not harm others — not even in state-sponsored wars. The stupid invocation of proof texts to get around the clear message and “justify” violence is awful.”

    Remember, knowledge “puffeth up”.

    Have you heard the phrase “Scripture interprets Scripture”?

    Romans 13:2 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: 4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. 5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. 6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

    2 Timothy 3:16-17

    16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

    17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

  9. What has been commonly misinterpreted as do no violence is really thou shalt not murder.

    Man has built a tradition of passivity around this and has made God’s Word of no effect.

    It has, in today’s society become a useless, uninterpretable mass of words that offer for some “good moral teaching” but nothing more.

    Just the way Satan likes it.

    1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

  10. Not only that, but God is evolving into someone very much like Robert Wright!

  11. BTW, Wright is wrong about God. The theology of the Old Testament is perfectly consistent with the New. What evolved was the religious sensibility of the believers. Different thing altogether, and part of the story.

    More here:

    http://freshsensibility.com/Allanius/index.html

  12. Andrew Halloway’s book review demonstrates the scientific underpinnings of intelligent design design as discussed here. It ends: “Thankfully, the return of Christ himself will end the reign of this ultimate tyrant, and reveal the Truth in all his glory.

    Of course God has evolved. From His origin as a local mountain storm god (who had His own room in Solomon’s Temple where He could demonstrate His avatar of a storm cloud), Yahweh/Jehovah has evolved from the bloody-minded wrathful god of the Old Testament to the New Testament’s God of love. Anybody who reads the Bible can see this evolution.

  13. 13

    PaulBurnett,

    ——Of course God has evolved. From His origin as a local mountain storm god (who had His own room in Solomon’s Temple where He could demonstrate His avatar of a storm cloud), Yahweh/Jehovah has evolved from the bloody-minded wrathful god of the Old Testament to the New Testament’s God of love. Anybody who reads the Bible can see this evolution.

    That’s not evolution my friend. There was no replication nor mutation, but rather a conscious entity doing whatever it wills. If you’re saying that any change whatsoever is evolution, that would mean anything that ever did anything, and nothing would count against it. It would be vacuous. Besides, metaphysical or supernatural change is not evolution.

  14. Anybody who reads the Bible can see this evolution.

    Except, PaulBurnett, you’d be wrong in that this figment of your imagination “God of love of the New Testament” is really a God of wrath who promises next time He comes He isn’t going to be so nice.

    It’s glaringly simple: I love my children, even when I discipline them. I exercise wrath on my children’s bad behavior, and love them at the same time.

  15. 15

    Brent,

    I don’t know about you, but excercising wrath on children whether with love or without ain’t cool. Love the children so that they may know love….

  16. 16
    CannuckianYankee

    PaulBurnett,

    “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth by their unrighteousness,..” Romans 1:18

    “Then I looked when the Lamb opened the sixth seal, and a huge earthquake took place; the sun became as black as sackcloth made of hair, and the full moon became blood red; and the stars in the sky fell to the earth like a fig tree dropping its unripe figs when shaken by a fierce wind. The sky was split apart like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved from its place. Then the kings of the earth, the very important people, the generals, the rich, the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one who is seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb, because the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to withstand it?” Revelation 6:12-17

    Then Jesus began to criticize openly the cities in which he had done many of his miracles, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you! And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be thrown down to Hades! For if the miracles done among you had been done in Sodom, it would have continued to this day. But I tell you, it will be more bearable for the region of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you!” Matthew 11:20-24

    Still think the God of the Old Testament has evolved?

  17. 17

    CannuckianYankee,
    That was a cool post.

  18. 18

    In some what related interest: I have been told many times by agnostic/atheists that a “loving God” would never create a hell. To that I usually reply, “And exactly what did Christ die on the cross to save us from anyway if it was not to save us from being separated from God in hell?”

    Turin Shroud Hologram Reveals The Words – “The Lamb”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XLcdaFKzYg

    This following video is sobering in its description of hell

    HELL: A Warning To Atheists! ; Bill Weise
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pK5g6uCgNVE

    Though people may have a hard time accepting his testimony, Bill Weise is deadly serious in his testimony and backs his “visions” with numerous scripture.

    As well, To my common sense way of thinking, The fact there actually is evil in this world, powerfully suggests there must be a primary source and “place” for evil. The same goes for good.

    To deny this line of logic the atheist, who is consistent in his logic, must deny the existence of good and/or evil, while the non-consistent atheist will usually say God is both good and evil with extra heavy emphasis on trying to define Him as evil.

    I willingly believe that the damned are, in one sense, successful, rebels to the end; that the doors of hell are locked on the inside.
    —excerpted from The Problem of Pain and The Great Divorce, by C.S. Lewis

  19. Brent @ 14

    It’s glaringly simple: I love my children, even when I discipline them. I exercise wrath on my children’s bad behavior, and love them at the same time.

    You are missing the point.

    You express wrath over your children’s bad behavior and attempt to discipline them because you are, I assume, just a human being and your power to change the way others behave is very limited.

    God, on the other hand, is not a feeble and ignorant human being but the Almighty Creator of all things, a being of limitless power and knowledge. If He wants to discipline His creatures He is not restricted to shouting at them and sending them to bed without any supper; all He needs to do is wave His hand like a Jedi master and instantly they will be chastened, obedient even servile as He chooses.

    Any god who uses violent coercion against His creatures, even to the extent of genocide or “bioticide”, is implicitly a being of limited powers and most certainly not the loving God of the New Testament. Such a being might be terrifying but that does not make it worthy of worship, quite the opposite. In World War II, Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan were a terrifying threat to begin with but that did not mean that people bowed down and worshiped them; instead they opposed them in any way they could. That should be the response of any self-respecting being to any so-called god who behaves like a jealous and petty tyrant.

  20. 20

    while the non-consistent atheist will usually say God is both good and evil with extra heavy emphasis on trying to define Him as evil.

  21. bornagain77 @ 20

    while the non-consistent atheist will usually say God is both good and evil with extra heavy emphasis on trying to define Him as evil.

    What of the inconsistencies in the Bible?

    Right at the beginning, God warns Adam that he will die on the day he eats the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Yet Adam does not die on that day. Instead, he and Eve are cast out of the Garden of Eden and live on for several hundred years more.

    And what of the New Covenant? God promises Noah that He will never again wipe out almost all life on Earth in a great flood. So why do it in the first place? Why change His mind? A being of perfect knowledge and power does not make mistakes and has no need to change His mind by definition. He gets it right first time, every time. That is His nature. As you rightly quoted Malachi 3:6 in the first post in this thread:

    “I am the LORD, I change not.”

  22. 22

    Seversky,
    What makes you inconsistent as a atheist (unless you are just an atheist who rails only against the Judeo-Christian God as Dawkins and Meyers delight in doing) is that you, by default, become a materialist. And since you must argue, to stay consistent within your materialist framework, that there is no underlying purpose to life or the universe or anything in the universe, and that everything is the result of blind pitiless chance acting on some loosely defined material basis (multiverse-many world etc..) Then you lose any philosophical right to argue for the existence of Good or Evil in the first place, because according to your base philosophical stance, good and evil, right and wrong, love and hate, truth and lies, are merely illusions which have no real connection to the foundation of reality in the first place.
    Yet incredibly you want to make pronouncements of judgment on what you feel a good, holy, and just God should do. But since you must hold goodness and truth are ultimately illusions to be consistent within your framework, why do you not think that what you are thinking in this instance is in fact an illusion? Why should what you think about anything be considered any more relevant to truth and purpose than what I think since you truly can find no basis for purpose or truth within your materialistic framework? If you were actually consistent to your base philosophy of materialism you should really not even care what Christians think, or anybody else thinks, since you would “know the truth” that believing in truth and purpose was delusional to the highest degree. But alas you are on this site trying your damnedest to make us believe you have enough faculty of “the truth” as to take your objections to the Bible seriously. Maybe if you had a better grasp on exactly what your foundation was I would take you seriously, but alas I believe you really have some deeper unresolved issues with God that you are trying to placate by saying there is no God,,…I got a better idea for you, Why don’t you go to the living God in prayer and seek to iron out some of these underlying issues instead of railing against Him since, as sure as the sun does shine, God is really real and you, like me, are a mere mortal who must eventually answer to Him anyway?

  23. Seversky, you said:

    “God, on the other hand, is not a feeble and ignorant human being but the Almighty Creator of all things, a being of limitless power and knowledge. If He wants to discipline His creatures He is not restricted to shouting at them and sending them to bed without any supper; all He needs to do is wave His hand like a Jedi master and instantly they will be chastened, obedient even servile as He chooses.

    Any god who uses violent coercion against His creatures, even to the extent of genocide or “bioticide”, is implicitly a being of limited powers and most certainly not the loving God of the New Testament. Such a being might be terrifying but that does not make it worthy of worship, quite the opposite. In World War II, Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan were a terrifying threat to begin with but that did not mean that people bowed down and worshiped them; instead they opposed them in any way they could. That should be the response of any self-respecting being to any so-called god who behaves like a jealous and petty tyrant.”

    You prove my point above, that you must have a reason for not wanting to see in order to “not see”.

    I was going to explain this for you, but I won’t. You already know. You know your argument is your irrational defense mechanism erected to shield you from what you know you should do.

    I’ll explain one thing that, perhaps, you haven’t realized, however. God doesn’t pour out wrath so that people will fear and serve Him for selfish purposes. He is saying, like I’m saying to my children when I discipline them, that if they don’t listen to someone much wiser than them that it isn’t going to go well with them. They are headed down a path of trouble, and in our ultimate eternal end, utter destruction. I love them, as God loves us, and don’t want to see them suffer utter destruction, and so offer them “light affliction” which is not “joyful for the present, but painful”, because, “afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

    I’m not impressed with your weak excuses, and God will not be either.

  24. 90DegreeAngel,

    Love without discipline is not love.

    Mercy without judgment is not mercy.

    To say there is a contradiction with the God of wrath of the Old Testament and God of love of the New Testament is to disregard the necessary relation of wrath and mercy. You can’t have one without the other. “The Lord our God, the Lord is one.”

  25. Seversky @ 21 –
    “What of the inconsistencies in the Bible?”

    I see no inconsistencies. I see atheists who don’t understand what they’re reading. Their lack of reading comprehension does not equal an inconsistency.

    “Right at the beginning, God warns Adam that he will die on the day he eats the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Yet Adam does not die on that day. Instead, he and Eve are cast out of the Garden of Eden and live on for several hundred years more.”

    From God’s standpoint, they died that day. Why? Because two scriptures state that 1,000 years (a millenium to humans) is as a day to God.

    “For a thousand years are in your eyes but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch during the night.” (Ps 90:2, 4) Correspondingly, the apostle Peter writes that “one day is with Jehovah as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day.” (2Pe 3:8)

    “And what of the New Covenant? God promises Noah that He will never again wipe out almost all life on Earth in a great flood. So why do it in the first place? Why change His mind? A being of perfect knowledge and power does not make mistakes and has no need to change His mind by definition. He gets it right first time, every time. That is His nature.”

    I love it when atheists who don’t even understand the Bible claim to understand the nature of God.

    The global Deluge was not a natural disaster. It was a judgment from God. Warning was given, but it was largely ignored. Why? Jesus explained: “In those days before the flood, [people were] eating and drinking, men marrying and women being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark; and they took no note until the flood came and swept them all away.”—Matthew 24:38, 39. (emphasis mine)

    The Bible says: “The badness of man was abundant in the earth and every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only bad all the time. . . . The earth became filled with violence.”—Genesis 6:5, 11.

    Why should God allow Noah and his family, righteous people, to suffer at the hands of those who either condoned or engaged in wicked behavior? And God did not change his mind, as you insinuate.

    In what sense can it be said that Jehovah “felt regrets” that he had made man? Here the Hebrew word translated “felt regrets” pertains to a change of attitude or intention. Jehovah is perfect and therefore did not make a mistake in creating man. However, he did have a change of mental attitude as regards the wicked pre-Flood generation. God turned from the attitude of the Creator of humans to that of a destroyer of them because of his displeasure with their wickedness. The fact that he preserved some humans shows that his regrets were confined to those who had become wicked.—2 Peter 2:5, 9.

    Seriously, Seversky, at least read the Bible before you criticize it.

  26. Seversky,

    So what if there are inconsistencies in the Bible? One of the things that the Bible teaches is that we should not idolize anything and this includes the Bible. I may not speak for all Christians but my faith does not rest on whether or not the Bible is fallible. In fact, I know of several such inconsistencies. Big deal. Do scientists deny science because scientific books are full of hogwash?

    We Christians are told to search the scriptures for clues and knowledge. We are not told to worhsip it. Besides, the Bible is a collection of books bundled together by fallible men. Some of these books were not even meant to be books by their authors. Many were just letters written by individuals and addressed to others. Jesus told his disciples to keep searching. He did not specify that they should restrict their search to certain books, some of which had not yet been written.

    If Biblical imperfection is your personal stumbling block, then, by all means, stumble and fall.

  27. However, he did have a change of mental attitude as regards the wicked pre-Flood generation. God turned from the attitude of the Creator of humans to that of a destroyer of them because of his displeasure with their wickedness. The fact that he preserved some humans shows that his regrets were confined to those who had become wicked.

    Funny guy, He is “not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent” – but change his mind like man; that he can?

    Also, one must wonder at the naivete he displays when in his regret he thinks that anything is gained by destroying the wicked? He created man, but did not know how man’s mind works? That is not the God that I know.

  28. bornagain77 @ 22

    Then you lose any philosophical right to argue for the existence of Good or Evil in the first place, because according to your base philosophical stance, good and evil, right and wrong, love and hate, truth and lies, are merely illusions which have no real connection to the foundation of reality in the first place.

    As a religion, Christianity offers a complete package: an account of how everything began, who did the creating, a potted history of what happened subsquently and a whole suite of moral guidelines and practices including object lessons on how they should be applied. Like anyone else, I have the right to study what is on offer and point out what appear to be inconsistencies and contradictions. Also, as an agnostic and atheist (agnatheist?) I am probably less likely to overlook or ignore those inconsistencies than some believers.

    As for my views, I believe that there is a world beyond me about which my senses can only acquire partial information. Human science has extended what we can learn by direct observation through a whole range of investigatory methods and instruments. Even so, there is much we still do not know and cannot yet explain. Whether this will always be so is one of the things we do not yet know. All we can do is to continue our exploration until we find the boundary, if there is one, to what we can know.

    As I said, while a believe that there is an objective reality being reported to me by my senses, I see no evidence for the existence of a God or Good or Evil except as constructs of human imaginations struggling to explain what is out there. Truth, for me, simply describes the degree to which our descriptions and explanations are found to correspond to what we observe to be out there.

    As far as morality is concerned, whatever the origin, it is apparent that moral codes function as a means of regulating human behavior within society. The claim that the only authoritative version is that decreed by a god raises an obvious question: either this god created them on a whim or they are the outcome of a rational process. If they are whimsical then what makes them any better than something we work out and if they are rational what is to prevent us, as rational creatures, from reasoning our way to similar conclusions?

    I am not here to proclaim any Ultimate Truth, I don’t know any. What I do believe is that history shows that, in some cases, those who do believe they are in possession of some such Truth, be it religious or ideological or political, have been led to do great harm to others in its furtherance. That is one reason why any such claim should be subjected to the closest scrutiny.

  29. 29

    Seversky,
    here is your atheism/paganism in its full glory:

    The “Fruit of Materialism/Atheism”

    Matthew 7:15-17
    “Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are savage wolves. You will know them by their fruit. Grapes aren’t gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles, are they? In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a rotten tree produces bad fruit.”

    The Fruit of Evolution – video
    http://edinburghcreationgroup.org/fruit.xml

    From Darwin To Hitler – Richard Weikart – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_5EwYpLD6A

    Stalin’s Brutal Faith
    http://www.icr.org/index.php?m.....038;ID=276

    The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression:
    Excerpt: Essentially a body count of communism’s victims in the 20th century, the book draws heavily from recently opened Soviet archives. The verdict: communism was responsible for between 85 million and 100 million, non-war related, deaths in the century. (Of Note: Atheistic Communism is defined as Dialectic Materialism)
    http://www.amazon.com/Black-Bo.....0674076087

    If you still want to live in a atheistic utopia seversky, completely free from us “blind evil Christians, I am sure we can take a collection up right here at UD and buy you a one way ticket to North Korea pronto.

  30. Brent @ 23

    I’ll explain one thing that, perhaps, you haven’t realized, however. God doesn’t pour out wrath so that people will fear and serve Him for selfish purposes. He is saying, like I’m saying to my children when I discipline them, that if they don’t listen to someone much wiser than them that it isn’t going to go well with them. They are headed down a path of trouble, and in our ultimate eternal end, utter destruction. I love them, as God loves us, and don’t want to see them suffer utter destruction, and so offer them “light affliction” which is not “joyful for the present, but painful”, because, “afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

    You are still being misled by the metaphor of God as a father. We nay have been made in God’s image but we are not gods ourselves, neither is the Christian God supposed to be a mortal human being.

    Being omnipotent, God is supposed to have created this Universe and everything in it; that includes all the evil out there which could not exist except by His will. Being omnipotent, He would have foreseen exactly how it was all going to turn out from the moment He created it. Being omnibenevolent, why would He punish us for being and behaving the way he created us, especially when, being omnipotent, He has the power to change us without all that killing and mayhem?

    I’m not impressed with your weak excuses, and God will not be either.

    If I am ever confronted by God, which I do not expect, then I will put those questions to Him. I hope you will do the same. We all deserve an answer.

  31. Well, Seversky, you seem more sincere than I first thought—still wrong—but at least sincere.

    I have to get to bed, but please think this over: How could God create man with any meaningful ability to commune with Him if He didn’t allow them freedom; both to do good or evil?

    And something else for you to think about: Evil isn’t something created at all. It is simply defined.

    With the above question and concept, you should be able to figure out the answers to your objections on your own.

  32. Barb @ 25

    “Right at the beginning, God warns Adam that he will die on the day he eats the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Yet Adam does not die on that day. Instead, he and Eve are cast out of the Garden of Eden and live on for several hundred years more.”

    From God’s standpoint, they died that day. Why? Because two scriptures state that 1,000 years (a millenium to humans) is as a day to God.

    “For a thousand years are in your eyes but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch during the night.” (Ps 90:2, 4) Correspondingly, the apostle Peter writes that “one day is with Jehovah as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day.” (2Pe 3:8)

    Yes, I know, that is the stock answer. But we are talking here about the Creator of all things who, presumably, is more than capable of expressing Himself with crystal clarity should He choose. What would have prevented Him from giving Adam a warning along the lines of: “On the day you eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil shall you be cast out of Eden to know suffering and eventually death like all mortal things.”?

    The global Deluge was not a natural disaster. It was a judgment from God. Warning was given, but it was largely ignored. Why? Jesus explained: “In those days before the flood, [people were] eating and drinking, men marrying and women being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark; and they took no note until the flood came and swept them all away.”—Matthew 24:38, 39. (emphasis mine)

    The Bible says: “The badness of man was abundant in the earth and every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only bad all the time. . . . The earth became filled with violence.”—Genesis 6:5, 11.

    Why should God allow Noah and his family, righteous people, to suffer at the hands of those who either condoned or engaged in wicked behavior? And God did not change his mind, as you insinuate.

    First, we only have the word of the killer that all those that were killed deserved everything they got. How likely is that?

    We know from our own times that, even in the worst cases like that of Nazi Germany, not everyone was equally guilty of the worst crimes. There were many who had no direct knowledge or involvement and some who did what they could to oppose it. Some arguably deserved to die for what they did but not all by any means. Is there any reason to suppose these antediluvian peoples were any worse than people today?

    Second, a Christian scholar, Henry Morris, estimated that the population of the Earth could have run into the hundreds of millions, maybe billions. Even if we allow that all the adults of that time were irredeemably evil, the same can surely not be said of the chidren and in a population of that size there would have been a substantial number of them.

    Instead of just reciting the text, try imagining what would have been involved. Think of all the children that would have been drowned, let alone all the other animal life that had presumably committed no offense either. This would have been mass slaughter on a planet-wide scale, a scale far greater than anything envisaged, let alone achieved, by any of the twentieth-century dictators.

    Are you really trying to tell us that this all-powerful God had no choice other than to commit what would have been the worst atrocity in recorded human history, that He could not have simply have changed them all to good people just with a wave of His hand?

    And, yes, it can be read as a change of mind. If He has still thought that mass-drowning was a good way to discipline recalcitrant creatures like us, He could have simply warned Noah and his people to heed the lesson or it would happen again. Instead, He offered a New Covenant and promised not to do it again. That, to me, is a change of mind.

  33. 33

    Seversky states:
    “I see no evidence for the existence of a God or Good or Evil except as constructs of human imaginations struggling to explain what is out there.”

    Thus in your mind (oh sorry, I mean brain) torturing animals, or even humans, for the sake of “having fun” is not evil since evil does not exist for you and is only a “construct of human imagination”?

    Thus since you have clearly stated your position, Once again I ask you to justify why you are even on this site making proclamations of what a Good God should do since you believe good is an illusion of “imaginary construct”? If good is truly an illusion as you insist then what gives you the any right at all to define what is good? Can’t you even see the blatant hypocrisy of what you are doing?

    As well,,,I think I was a little low on the body count for atheism:

    excerpt:
    With recent documents uncovered for the Maoist and Stalinist regimes, it now seems the high end of estimates of 250 million dead (between 1900-1987) are closer to the mark….What is so strange and odd that in spite of their outward rejection of religion and all its superstitions, they feel compelled to set up cults of personality and worship of the State and its leaders that is so totalitarian that the leaders are not satisfied with mere outward obedience; rather they insist on total mind control and control of thoughts, ideas and beliefs. They institute Gulags and “re-education” centers to indoctrinate anyone who even would dare question any action or declaration of the “Dear Leader.”
    http://www.scholarscorner.com/.....htoll.html

    Thus seversky, if you truly believed what you proselytize, why do you not go over to North Korea and live free from the shackles of what Christianity has wrought in this country?

  34. Seversky:

    “Yes, I know, that is the stock answer. But we are talking here about the Creator of all things who, presumably, is more than capable of expressing Himself with crystal clarity should He choose. What would have prevented Him from giving Adam a warning along the lines of: “On the day you eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil shall you be cast out of Eden to know suffering and eventually death like all mortal things.”?

    Because he gave mankind a brain and expects them to use it? Seriously, do you need everything spelled out to you as though you are a four-year-old?

    Adam lacked nothing. He had plenty of food, enjoyable work, and a loving companion in Eve. He had one simple restriction laid upon him. Compare that to the multiple restrictions, ordinances, and laws our society requires us to obey.

    “First, we only have the word of the killer that all those that were killed deserved everything they got. How likely is that?”

    You call God a killer, yet you refuse to acknowledge that people were free to choose whether or not to follow Noah’s lead. As Dr. House once said, are you being deliberately obtuse?

    “We know from our own times that, even in the worst cases like that of Nazi Germany, not everyone was equally guilty of the worst crimes. There were many who had no direct knowledge or involvement and some who did what they could to oppose it. Some arguably deserved to die for what they did but not all by any means. Is there any reason to suppose these antediluvian peoples were any worse than people today?”

    The Bible’s description of the antediluvian world is one of deep-rooted, worldwide corruption. Noah’s ancestor Enoch is also mentioned in Genesis as being righteous amidst a crooked generation. Can you prove to me or anyone else that the antediluvian people were all good? No, you can’t.

    Not everyone might have been equally guilty, but the Bible also indicates that Noah was a “preacher of righteousness.” He told people what was going to happen and how their lives could be spared. They ignored his warning to their own peril.

    Remember, too, that persons can be charged as accomplices or accessories after the fact even if they have little to do with the crime that has been committed.

    “Second, a Christian scholar, Henry Morris, estimated that the population of the Earth could have run into the hundreds of millions, maybe billions. Even if we allow that all the adults of that time were irredeemably evil, the same can surely not be said of the chidren and in a population of that size there would have been a substantial number of them.”

    Children are subject to their parents for the most part. If their parents failed to heed Noah’s warning, the children would suffer just as their parents did. Adolescents and young adults would have been able to choose for themselves possibly, but they obviously didn’t.

    “Instead of just reciting the text, try imagining what would have been involved. Think of all the children that would have been drowned, let alone all the other animal life that had presumably committed no offense either. This would have been mass slaughter on a planet-wide scale, a scale far greater than anything envisaged, let alone achieved, by any of the twentieth-century dictators.”

    Those people had a choice: get into the ark and be saved or die in the flood. It’s not like God simply caused rain to suddenly overwhelm the Earth. Noah built the ark over a period of several decades. That was plenty of time for people to save themselves and their families. They willfully chose not to. Whose fault is that?

    Interestingly, when Jesus referred to the days of Noah, he did not speak of the violence, the false religion, or the immorality—grievous as those were. The error that Jesus highlighted was the refusal of people to heed the warning being given. He said that they were “eating and drinking, men marrying and women being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark.” Eating, drinking, marrying, being given in marriage—what was wrong with that? They were just living “normal” lives! But a flood was coming, and Noah was preaching righteousness. His words and his conduct should have been a warning to them. Still, they “took no note until the flood came and swept them all away.”—Matthew 24:38, 39.

    “Are you really trying to tell us that this all-powerful God had no choice other than to commit what would have been the worst atrocity in recorded human history, that He could not have simply have changed them all to good people just with a wave of His hand?”

    Do you understand the concept of obedience? God wants his intelligent creation to obey his regulations and warnings in order that nobody will have to suffer at all.

    Those people had plenty of time, as mentioned before, to change their minds and attitudes. But they didn’t. That is part of the bargain when it comes to free will. You can choose to obey or disobey and you will face the consequences of your actions.

    And, yes, it can be read as a change of mind. If He has still thought that mass-drowning was a “good way to discipline recalcitrant creatures like us, He could have simply warned Noah and his people to heed the lesson or it would happen again. Instead, He offered a New Covenant and promised not to do it again. That, to me, is a change of mind.”

    Sorry, but you’re wrong here. God did not change his mind.

  35. 35

    Barb you said:

    “The error that Jesus highlighted was the refusal of people to heed the warning being given.”

    Which reminded me of these two videos:

    Is Jesus Coming Soon? – Solar And Lunar Eclipses of 2008 – 2015
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkOMMjAMOsY

    Mark Biltz Talks About The Return Of Christ On Sid Roth – Lunar Eclipses – 2014 – 2015
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AwKWAHR2KA

  36. How could God create man with any meaningful ability to commune with Him if He didn’t allow them freedom; both to do good or evil?

    Is there freedom to do both good and evil in Heaven? Has there ever been an evil act committed by a human being (i.e. not angels) in Heaven throughout all eternity? If not, then where does this freedom to commit evil go after we’ve only had it for the briefest instance of our existence (compared to an eternal afterlife) at a point when we don’t have a full (and may indeed have almost no) understanding of what it is to commit a sin?

    If there is no sin in Heaven then the nature of man is irrevocably changed and we no longer have the freedom to rebel against God. (If he just removed the desire to rebel then what good is the freedom to do it when you never want to?)

    So, apparently we have the freedom to do as we will for between 5 and 100 years, when we may only have the slightest of inklings that doing the right thing is important to our eternal future, but once we’re dead, and if we drew the correct number in the lottery of life (imaging if you had been born to an Imam in Saudi Arabia) and got to Heaven, then for the next trillion trillion years we no longer have the ability to do evil.

    Why is it possible to have meaningful communications with God in Heaven where there is no sin and not be able to have it on Earth?

  37. Is Jesus Coming Soon? – Solar And Lunar Eclipses of 2008 – 2015

    Numerology? You’ve got to be kidding! Are you a Bible Codes believer too?

  38. bornagain77 @ 33

    Thus in your mind (oh sorry, I mean brain) torturing animals, or even humans, for the sake of “having fun” is not evil since evil does not exist for you and is only a “construct of human imagination”?

    As I wrote before, in my view ‘good’ and ‘evil’ are judgements we make about the acts and thoughts of others. Agnostics and atheists are quite capable of deciding for themselves what is ‘good’ and what is ‘evil’. They do not need someone else to tell them.

    What is odd about your response is that it implies you do not know what is good or evil unless your god sets it out in black and white for you. In other words you – or, rather, your ancestors – would have sat and watched one person kill another in the most violent fashion and not known what to make of it until the tablet of stone came down from the mountain inscribed with the words “Thou shalt not kill”.

    Thus since you have clearly stated your position, Once again I ask you to justify why you are even on this site making proclamations of what a Good God should do since you believe good is an illusion of “imaginary construct”? If good is truly an illusion as you insist then what gives you the any right at all to define what is good? Can’t you even see the blatant hypocrisy of what you are doing?

    It is not just me, theologians and scholars have been arguing about what the Christian God could or could not do for centuries. For example, could a necessary and perfect being like God create a contingent and imperfect Universe such as the one we find ourselves in now? If they had that right then so do I and so do you.

    As for good and evil, are you saying that we do not have the right to think for ourselves and work out what they are?

    Thus seversky, if you truly believed what you proselytize, why do you not go over to North Korea and live free from the shackles of what Christianity has wrought in this country?

    Why should I want to live there? It is a classic example of a secular religion centered on the personality cult built around the political figureheads of Kim Jong-Il and previously Kim Il-Sung. It is as oppressive and restrictive as a fundamentalist Islamic state.

    One of the great strengths of the US Constitution is that it is designed to guarantee the right to practice any religion or not believe as you choose and to prevent any one particular faith gaining political control of the state. Are you saying you would be happy with a theocracy as long as it was Christian?

  39. 39

    Tyke,
    I don’t know your exact disposition in regards to Christ, but here is evidence Christ rose from the grave:

    Shroud Of Turin’s Unique 3 Dimensionality – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B8RVPdHMUtc

    Turin Shroud Hologram Reveals The Words “The Lamb” – short video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XLcdaFKzYg

    Shroud Of Turin Carbon Dating Overturned By Scientific Peer Review – Robert Villarreal – Press Release video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEJPrMGksUg

    A Particle Physicist Looks At The Turin Shroud Image – 4:25 minute mark of video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cgvEDfkuhGg

    A Quantum Hologram of Christ’s Resurrection?
    http://www.khouse.org/articles/2008/847

    Here some pretty strong evidence that we do indeed have a spirit:

    The Day I Died – Part 4 of 6 – The NDE of Pam Reynolds – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WA37uNa3VGU

    — As to the lunar eclipses, I put substantial weight on them because of the “precisely fulfilled prophetic” background in which they are occurring:

    The Scientific Method Proves Bible Prophecy and Authenticity – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1MdNLj0hPo

  40. 40

    Seversky you stated:

    “I see no evidence for the existence of a God or Good or Evil except as constructs of human imaginations struggling to explain what is out there.”

    Thus it is hypocricy for you to state you can decide what is good or evil since you do not believe they are real in the first place..If you can’t see that I am sorry, there is not much else I can do for you.

  41. Controversies about the date of a shroud and anecdotes about NDEs are hardly conclusive evidence for anything. Anyway, sorry I distracted you on that — it wasn’t necessary.

    I would like to know why you think it’s possible to commune with God in Heaven without the freedom to commit evil when you claim we can’t do that on Earth.

  42. Barb @ 34

    Because he gave mankind a brain and expects them to use it? Seriously, do you need everything spelled out to you as though you are a four-year-old?

    I thought He was supposed to be a loving father. Is it too much to expect that He expresses Himself plainly and honestly?

    You call God a killer, yet you refuse to acknowledge that people were free to choose whether or not to follow Noah’s lead. As Dr. House once said, are you being deliberately obtuse?

    I call God a killer because, according to the Bible, He killed a lot of people. If an atheist dictator kills millions it is called mass murder or genocide or a Holocaust. If God does even worse, it is somehow a loving father expressing righteous anger and disciplining His children. Can you imagine what an atheist like Dr House would say about that?

    The Bible’s description of the antediluvian world is one of deep-rooted, worldwide corruption. Noah’s ancestor Enoch is also mentioned in Genesis as being righteous amidst a crooked generation. Can you prove to me or anyone else that the antediluvian people were all good? No, you can’t.

    Need I remind you of the presumption of innocence? And even if they were as bad as they are painted are you seriously telling me that it is beyond the power of an Almighty God to reform them rather than drowning them all like a litter of unwanted kittens?

    Children are subject to their parents for the most part. If their parents failed to heed Noah’s warning, the children would suffer just as their parents did. Adolescents and young adults would have been able to choose for themselves possibly, but they obviously didn’t.

    So the death of millions of children is just collateral damage? I am just astonished that anyone could think that this is a defensible act just because it was an Act of God. The fact is that He could have chosen to do otherwise. He could have just chosen not to do it at all. We can certainly assume that as an all-powerful deity He had the knowledge and the power to achieve His ends in a way that did not involve so much killing.

    Those people had a choice: get into the ark and be saved or die in the flood. It’s not like God simply caused rain to suddenly overwhelm the Earth. Noah built the ark over a period of several decades. That was plenty of time for people to save themselves and their families. They willfully chose not to. Whose fault is that?

    Whoever sent the flood in the first place since He didn’t have to do that.

    If people are warned of a natural disaster but are dumb enough to do nothing to prevent it or at least get out of the way then they have only themselves to blame for what happens to them. But if the disaster is not natural but a deliberate act of destruction by an irate deity then who is to blame?

    Do you understand the concept of obedience? God wants his intelligent creation to obey his regulations and warnings in order that nobody will have to suffer at all.

    I understand that the Founding Fathers of this country fought a war to escape compulsory obedience to a state that they believed no longer had the right to expect it because of its oppressive and unjust behavior. We also allow that parents are no longer entitled to expect absolute obedience from their children once they have become independent adults. Mutual respect based on love, compassion and understanding are usually thought to be a better basis for a relationship than subservience compelled by fear.

    Sorry, but you’re wrong here. God did not change his mind.

    We will have to agree to disagree.

  43. 43

    Hmm Tyke you stated:

    “Controversies about the date of a shroud and anecdotes about NDEs are hardly conclusive evidence for anything.”

    Now this is funny, We can say for an absolute fact that the carbon date of the shroud is “conclusively” overturned and is no longer valid as an argument for the atheists to use against the shroud’s authenticity, and though that issue of carbon dating is secondary to the issue of the unique 3-Dimensionality of the Shroud in the first place, which we cannot reproduce by any known means, you completely ignored that “conclusive” fact so as to say it is “hardly conclusive evidence”.

    The only thing that has any “hardly conclusive evidence” in this matter is the very selective way in which you have practiced science with this evidence. If you were fair with the evidence you would have looked for what could be known with a fair amount of certainty, such as the shroud’s 3-Dimensionality, instead of clung to what was “conclusively” overturned.

  44. bornagain77,

    Okay, we get the point with the shroud. You use it as a litmus test for belief. Too bad it isn’t mentioned in the Gospels or in the letters (indeed, it’s presence is contradicted in John 20:5-7). Also, it wasn’t the practice of the Jews to wrap their dead in shrouds (see same verses above and John 11:44). Corpses were washed, packed with 75 or so pounds or spices, and wrapped in strips like a mummy.

  45. 45

    Riddick accuses:
    “You use it (the shroud) as a litmus test for belief.”

    No Riddick, in this instance I am using the shroud as a litmus test for the ability to practice unbiased science on the evidence which is set in front of you, of which you have also failed to address the primary matter of what could be known for sure of the evidence, but instead have appealed to outside “historical” sources to discredit the hard empirical evidence set before you before you have even thoroughly examined it. You have clearly shown me you could care less what the truth of the matter is on this topic (no doubt because, for whatever severely misguided reason, you don’t want it to be true that Christ defeated death), on top of the fact of showing me you know nothing of practicing pure science from empirics.

  46. It doesn’t matter even if the shroud was conclusively dated to 2000 years. The very best you could say was that it wouldn’t rule out possibility that it was the funeral shroud of Jesus.

    The known chain of custody only goes back to 1357 and, at best, there is still a period of over 900 years where there is nothing but rumor and unverifiable claims of a shroud (and none claiming to have a full body image imprinted upon it, which is notable given how remarkable it would have been).

    So, you have a gap of almost 1,000 years (at best) with no conclusive evidence about the age of the cloth (even if the original carbon dating studies were flawed, there has not been a definitive study conducted since) or that the cloth’s image is a genuine imprint of a body.

    So, yes, it’s hardly conclusive evidence. In fact, it’s extremely shaky evidence that convinces no one but the true believer.

    Anyway, how about answering why you believe it’s necessary to have the freedom to commit sin to commune with God when there is no such necessity once you get to Heaven?

  47. 47

    Tyke dodges again with:
    “The known chain of custody only goes back to 1357 and, at best, there is still a period of over 900 years where there is nothing but rumor and unverifiable claims of a shroud”

    You are outside of the empirical evidence once again.

  48. 48

    Tyke,
    Even though you are leaving pure empirical science and trying to mount atheistic defense against the authenticity of the shroud from historical evidence, even in this route you are defeated:

    The Sudarium of Oviedo
    http://www.shroudstory.com/sudarium.htm

    Shroud Of Turin – Historical Proof And 1978 STURP Findings – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SaDV_QmLre4

    THE SHROUD AS AN ANCIENT TEXTILE – Evidence of Authenticity
    http://www.newgeology.us/presentation24.html

  49. Well, of course, if you select all the studies that support the shrouds authenticity and reject all the studies that cast it in doubt then you will not doubt believe that the shroud is the real thing, but empirical science doesn’t work that way.

    Am I given to believe there is going to be another carbon dating study on the shroud? If so, if it conclusively dates it to the Middle Ages, will you then accept the findings? (Somehow I doubt it.)

    Anyway, talking of “dodging”, you still are dodging the question I asked of you three times already:

    Anyway, how about answering why you believe it’s necessary to have the freedom to commit sin to commune with God when there is no such necessity once you get to Heaven?

  50. 50

    Tyke,
    Do you want to go through the peer reviewed papers one by one?

    Peer Reviewed Articles on the Shroud:

    Journal: Chemistry Today (Vol 26, Num 4, Jul/Aug 2008), “Discrepancies in the radiocarbon dating area of the Turin shroud”, Benford M.S., Marino J.G.
    http://www.shroudofturin4journalists.com/

    “Analytical Results on Thread Samples Taken from the Raes Sampling Area (Corner) of the Shroud Cloth” (Aug 2008)
    Excerpt: The age-dating process failed to recognize one of the first rules of analytical chemistry that any sample taken for characterization of an area or population must necessarily be representative of the whole. The part must be representative of the whole. Our analyses of the three thread samples taken from the Raes and C-14 sampling corner showed that this was not the case……. LANL’s work confirms the research published in Thermochimica Acta (Jan. 2005) by the late Raymond Rogers, a chemist who had studied actual C-14 samples and concluded the sample was not part of the original cloth possibly due to the area having been repaired.
    Robert Villarreal
    http://www.ohioshroudconference.com/

    Thermochimica Acta – Raymond N. Rogers, Los Alamos National Laboratory, University of California (Volume 425 2005 Issue 1-2, pp 189-194). The article is available on Elsevier BV’s ScienceDirect® online information site.
    A determination of the kinetics of vanillin loss suggests that the shroud is between 1300- and 3000-years old. Even allowing for errors in the measurements and assumptions about storage conditions, the cloth is unlikely to be as young as 840 years.
    http://www.ntskeptics.org/issu.....oudold.htm

    Carbon 14 Dating Mistakes with the Shroud of Turin (Updated in 2008):
    It may well go down as the biggest radiocarbon dating mistake in history;
    http://www.innoval.com/C14/

    Journal of Optics A: Pure and Applied Optics – Fanti, Giulio and Maggiolo, Roberto. “The double superficiality of the frontal image of the Turin Shroud.” (2004: pp 491-503)
    The face and probably also the hands are visible on the back of the Turin Shroud, but not features related to the dorsal image.
    http://www.iop.org/EJ/abstract/1464-4258/6/6/001/

    New Analysis Confirms Second Face on Shroud of Turin and Raises Questions About Other Images:
    Giulio Fanti and Roberto Maggiolo of the University of Padua in Italy, reported finding a faint second face on the backside of the cloth.
    http://www.shroudstory.com/enhanced.htm

    Journal of Imaging Science and Technology – Fanti, G. and Moroni, M. “Comparison of Luminance Between Face of Turin Shroud Man and Experimental Results.” 46: 142-154 (2002);
    All the photographs except that of the Edessa Mandylion show some 3D characteristics and the Shroud photographs, although disturbed by many defects, seem to correlate well with the sheet-face distance.
    http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=a.....t=13657013

    Bibliography of Published STURP Papers
    http://www.shroud.com/78papers.htm

    More Shroud Peer Review references:
    http://shroud.wikispaces.com/REFERENCES

    Here Are Some Excellent Shroud Books That Covers The Remarkable History, and Much Of The Science, That Has Surrounded The Shroud:

    Portrait of Jesus?: The Illustrated Story of the Shroud of Turin: by Frank C. Tribbe – 2006
    http://www.amazon.com/Portrait.....1557788545

    The Blood and the Shroud – New Evidence That the World’s Most Sacred Relic Is Real by Ian Wilson – 1999
    http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Sh....._rech_dp_4

    The Shroud Of Turin: An Adventure Of Discovery by Mary and Alan Whagner – 1998
    http://www.amazon.com/Shroud-T.....1577360796

    The Turin Shroud by Ian Wilson – 1979
    All the expert evidence gathered by the official research team is pretty much presented in this text….also,, presentation of the evidence that traces the Shroud back to the 1st Century.
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Turin-.....0140050647

  51. 51

    Tyke, Do you want to go through the peer reviewed papers o the shroud one by one?

    Peer Reviewed Articles on the Shroud:

    Journal: Chemistry Today (Vol 26, Num 4, Jul/Aug 2008), “Discrepancies in the radiocarbon dating area of the Turin shroud”, Benford M.S., Marino J.G.
    http://www.shroudofturin4journalists.com/

    “Analytical Results on Thread Samples Taken from the Raes Sampling Area (Corner) of the Shroud Cloth” (Aug 2008)
    Excerpt: The age-dating process failed to recognize one of the first rules of analytical chemistry that any sample taken for characterization of an area or population must necessarily be representative of the whole. The part must be representative of the whole. Our analyses of the three thread samples taken from the Raes and C-14 sampling corner showed that this was not the case……. LANL’s work confirms the research published in Thermochimica Acta (Jan. 2005) by the late Raymond Rogers, a chemist who had studied actual C-14 samples and concluded the sample was not part of the original cloth possibly due to the area having been repaired.
    Robert Villarreal
    http://www.ohioshroudconference.com/

    Thermochimica Acta – Raymond N. Rogers, Los Alamos National Laboratory, University of California (Volume 425 2005 Issue 1-2, pp 189-194). The article is available on Elsevier BV’s ScienceDirect® online information site.
    A determination of the kinetics of vanillin loss suggests that the shroud is between 1300- and 3000-years old. Even allowing for errors in the measurements and assumptions about storage conditions, the cloth is unlikely to be as young as 840 years.
    http://www.ntskeptics.org/issu.....oudold.htm

    Carbon 14 Dating Mistakes with the Shroud of Turin (Updated in 2008):
    It may well go down as the biggest radiocarbon dating mistake in history;
    http://www.innoval.com/C14/

    Journal of Optics A: Pure and Applied Optics – Fanti, Giulio and Maggiolo, Roberto. “The double superficiality of the frontal image of the Turin Shroud.” (2004: pp 491-503)
    The face and probably also the hands are visible on the back of the Turin Shroud, but not features related to the dorsal image.
    http://www.iop.org/EJ/abstract/1464-4258/6/6/001/

    New Analysis Confirms Second Face on Shroud of Turin and Raises Questions About Other Images:
    Giulio Fanti and Roberto Maggiolo of the University of Padua in Italy, reported finding a faint second face on the backside of the cloth.
    http://www.shroudstory.com/enhanced.htm

    Journal of Imaging Science and Technology – Fanti, G. and Moroni, M. “Comparison of Luminance Between Face of Turin Shroud Man and Experimental Results.” 46: 142-154 (2002);
    All the photographs except that of the Edessa Mandylion show some 3D characteristics and the Shroud photographs, although disturbed by many defects, seem to correlate well with the sheet-face distance.
    http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=a.....t=13657013

    Bibliography of Published STURP Papers
    http://www.shroud.com/78papers.htm

    More Shroud Peer Review references:
    http://shroud.wikispaces.com/REFERENCES

  52. 52

    Here Are Some Excellent Shroud Books That Covers The Remarkable History, and Much Of The Science, That Has Surrounded The Shroud:

    Portrait of Jesus?: The Illustrated Story of the Shroud of Turin: by Frank C. Tribbe – 2006
    http://www.amazon.com/Portrait.....1557788545

    The Blood and the Shroud – New Evidence That the World’s Most Sacred Relic Is Real by Ian Wilson – 1999
    http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Sh....._rech_dp_4

    The Shroud Of Turin: An Adventure Of Discovery by Mary and Alan Whagner – 1998
    http://www.amazon.com/Shroud-T.....1577360796

    The Turin Shroud by Ian Wilson – 1979
    All the expert evidence gathered by the official research team is pretty much presented in this text….also,, presentation of the evidence that traces the Shroud back to the 1st Century.
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Turin-.....0140050647

  53. 53

    The following is the Lecture Video, from a Scientist, on the recent work that was done at Los Alamos National Laboratory to overturn the flawed carbon dating of 1989:
    Shroud of Turin Ohio State University – Robert Villarreal:
    Part 1 of 5 – 2008
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OGWPO41qzI
    Part 2 of 5
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bG4ODAB8sXs
    Part 3 of 5
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kBpplTK044
    Part 4 of 5
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LfITmjQZHv4
    Part 5 of 5
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMord0YLlLE

  54. Just in case some of you don’t have a Bible handy, I’ll quote one of the “outside ‘historical’ sources” which bornagain77 claims I have wrongly appealed to for my heretical thoughts.

    Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus at night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. John 19: 39-40

  55. I repeat, for the 4th time:

    Anyway, how about answering why you believe it’s necessary to have the freedom to commit sin to commune with God when there is no such necessity once you get to Heaven?

  56. Tyke,

    In heaven, the ‘freedom’ to sin is always there. It is the ‘desire’ to sin that is lacking.

    Hell is the inability to ‘give up’ on that desire. It’s like addiction. You wanna give it up so bad, but in the end it consumes you.

    Sin is a worm program. Christ’s Mercy is the only anti-virus program that can restore your spiritual software to its original state.

    Anyway, how about answering why you believe it’s necessary to have the freedom to commit sin to commune with God when there is no such necessity once you get to Heaven?

  57. 57

    Riddick and what is your point?

    BURIAL CONSISTENT WITH ANCIENT JEWISH BURIAL CUSTOM

    The burial is consistent with ancient Jewish burial customs in all respects, including the use of cave-tombs, attitude of the body (hands folded over loins), and types of burial cloths. The Sindon (Shroud) enveloped the body. The Sudarium was a face-cloth used to cover the face out of respect, from removal from the cross to entombment. It was then removed and placed to one side. There was also a chin-band holding the mouth closed. The Othonia were bandages used to bind the wrists and legs. All are mentioned in the New Testament and evidenced on the Cloth. Such cloths are mentioned in the New Testament and are spoken of in the Misnah – oral traditions of the Rabbis written down in the second and third century. The Cave-Tombs were carved out of sides of limestone hills. The presence of Calcium Carbonate (limestone dust) was noted by Dr. Eugenia Nitowski (Utah archaeologist) in her studies of the cave tombs of Jerusalem on the Cloth. Optical Engineer Sam Pellicori noted in 1978 the presence of dirt particles on the nose as well as on the left knee and heel. Prof. Giovanni Riggi noted burial mites. Dr. Garza-Valdes discovered oak tubules (microscopic splinters) in the blood of the occipital area (back of the head) as well as natron salts. Traces of aloe and myrrh have also been identified on the Cloth. All of these are consistent with Jewish burial customs of antiquity.

  58. tyke,

    “Anyway, how about answering why you believe it’s necessary to have the freedom to commit sin to commune with God when there is no such necessity once you get to Heaven?”

    This question should have been directed at me, not ba77.

    It is a problem of rebellion. Sin is rebellion. Faith is willing submission. Willing submission is what we exercise to achieve communion with God and get into Heaven, and is what will be found throughout Heaven in order to sustain purity there.

    The purity which will be found in Heaven hasn’t anything to do with freedom to rebel or the lack thereof, it’s that those who have made the journey have decided to stop rebelling and willingly give the right of their lives over to Christ. In heaven it becomes a moot point. It’s like saying to a sane person, “Hey, you are fee to jump off this building. Why don’t you?” They would just look at you as if you were nuts.

    C.S. Lewis touches on this idea in, I think, The Screwtape Letters.

    Willing submission. Truly a hard concept for the Western mind.

  59. ba77,

    Consider the following description, and note the absence of a shroud of any kind.

    At Jesus’ burial, 75 pounds of spices mixed with a gummy substance made from myrrh and aloes were used in between the folds of the linen cloths which were wrapped around His body (John 19:39-40). According to Jewish custom, the body was washed and straightened, then wrapped tightly from the armpits to the ankles in strips of linen about a foot wide. The gummy aromatic spices were placed between the wrappings or folds of the linen partly as a preservative and partly as a cement to glue the linen cloths into a solid covering which adhered so closely to the body that it would not easily be removed. The aloes were a fragrant wood which was pounded to a dry dust, and the myrrh was an aromatic gum which was mixed in with the dry aloes. The powder immediately around the myrrh would become sticky and would cement the linen cloths to each other and to the body, but the bulk of the aloe powder would most likely remain dry. The face was covered with a cloth napkin or handkerchief which was sometimes wrapped fully around the head.

    Sources:
    The Resurrection Factor by Josh McDowell
    Who Moved The Stone? by Frank Morison
    Knowing the Truth About the Resurrection by John Ankerberg and John Weldon
    Evidence That Demands A Verdict – Vol. I by Josh McDowell
    He Walked Among Us by Josh McDowell and Bill Wilson
    More Than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell
    Who Is This Jesus? by Michael Green
    Josephus: The Essential Writings by Paul L. Maier

  60. 60
    CannuckianYankee

    riddick,

    While a lot of the evidence surrounding the shroud is “shrouded” in myth, there is evidence that a face cloth associated with the shroud – the Sudarium may be authentic and have scientifically verified ties to the shroud. I, like you am still skeptical. I don’t rest my faith on a religious relic.

    I think the shroud is the most fascinating relic in the history of the church. I think it is the one closest to being authenticated, because it fits so well with the crucifixion and burial accounts, and it’s image is so striking and yet mysterious. I think the most convincing evidence is the photographic image. We can’t explain it. It violates what we know about our understanding of photography at that time.

    Other Christian relics, like the “true cross,” and various supposed grails are not so convincing.

  61. riddick,

    I really don’t know much about this subject, but one thing that must not be forgotten is that the “burial” of Jesus was a hasty one so as not to violate the Sabbath. One would have to assume too much to simply attach the traditional burial procedure to Jesus in that situation. Although, I assume that the authors you are citing would have taken these things into account, so…

  62. 62
    CannuckianYankee

    Brent, riddick, BA77,

    All or most of the authors mentioned by riddick are Protestants, who might not put much weight in the authenticity of the shroud, since it is overseen by Catholics. Morison did not live to see the evidence.

    McDowell’s “Evidence That Demands a Verdict” was written more than 20 years ago (with a recent update of course), as was his “More Than A Carpenter.” The shroud evidence is relatively recent.

  63. In heaven, the ‘freedom’ to sin is always there. It is the ‘desire’ to sin that is lacking.

    I understand that’s the explanation, but if it’s possible to have free will without committing sin in Heaven then it’s not true that to be able to commune with God there must be evil in the world (as a direct consequence of free will) as bornagain77 claims, right?

  64. Brent:

    This question should have been directed at me, not ba77.

    Hmm. I could have sworn it was ba77 comment, but it does appear I was mistaken — thanks for the correction.

    It is a problem of rebellion. Sin is rebellion. Faith is willing submission. Willing submission is what we exercise to achieve communion with God and get into Heaven, and is what will be found throughout Heaven in order to sustain purity there.

    Let’s look at your original comment:

    How could God create man with any meaningful ability to commune with Him if He didn’t allow them freedom; both to do good or evil?

    This is your explanation for why God allows evil in the world and why people must be allowed the freedom to do evil things. Yet, within barely an instantaneous moment in time (as compared with eternity) that freedom is completely removed from them when they enter Heaven—removing the desire to sin obviously has the exact same effect as removing the ability to sin (unless they can still accidentally sin, of course!)

    Claiming that people in Heaven still have the ability to do evil is simply wordplay. If there is no sin in Heaven (not one single sin, ever, at all) then there is no ability to sin or to rebel. Yet obviously communing with God is entirely possible, and while I grant that the creator of the Universe (assuming there is one) can do whatever he pleases, if in fact communing with God without the freedom to sin is possible in Heaven, it’s simply not true to say that you can’t commune with God without the ability to do sin.

    Willing submission is only freedom for as long as you are making a conscious decision to submit. That’s not what’s happening in Heaven. They have willingly submitted, once, and then for the rest of eternity they are slaves to that decision. (Willing slaves, to be sure.) The desire to sin, and hence the ability to sin, has been removed from them, forever.

    There are plenty of sins/evils that I have absolutely no desire to commit, even though I know I could get away with them. I assume you don’t believe that in any way reduces my ability to commune with God.

    I have no desire to abuse alcohol, for example. Other people have a terrible time staying off the drink, having both a genetic disposition and parents who were alcoholics. Is my ability to commune with God impaired in any way because I do not desire to commit the sin of drunkenness?

    If not, then God could easily ratchet down the desire to sin to a bare minimum (or zero, as in Heaven) and still allow us the ability to have free will. It’s just that we wouldn’t be as evil as often, and many people’s lives would be much better as a result.

    If God rules the show and created everything that does exist and ever has existed, there is no ground-state, no absence of intervention that is the ultimate freedom to do what we will, it’s all an intervention. So even the freedom to sin is just one of the rules of the game God set up, a rule that could be different, and we would be none the wiser if it were.

  65. 65

    Riddick, I really don’t know what to make of your comment, it doesn’t seem to bare any weight at all as to relevance,,,Are you trying to say a full compliment of burial practices is exactly how Jesus was placed in the tomb???? I thought it was commonly accepted that the setting of the sun, which signaled the beginning of the sabbath, was at hand, thus the inability to fully prepare the body. In fact the reason the women went to the tomb was to finish the “proper Jewish burial”;

    Excerpt:
    “There was heaviness in the hearts of several women who had risen early that morning to prepare burial spices. Jesus’ body had been quickly removed from the cross before sundown and laid in a tomb without having been prepared for burial. So, on the first day of the week, before the sun had risen, these women made their way to the tomb.”
    http://www.faithclipart.com/gu.....-tomb.html

    Anyway if you are very weakly trying to say a full burial practice took place, Then as to how a “congealed liquid” should have acted on the shroud, the blood indicates we are not dealing with a “normal” event.

    “However, the act of removing the body, some parts of which would be stuck to the cloth by the dried blood, would tear the blood impregnated fibrils. The absence of torn fibrils suggests that the body was not taken out of the Shroud.”
    http://www.shroud.com/pdfs/wiebe.pdf

    The bloodstains, as forensic scientists and chemists now know, were created by real blood.

    Blood on the Shroud of Turin
    http://www.factsplusfacts.com/.....-blood.htm

    The blood residues on the Shroud are different than the color variations that form the main image, and these have high levels of bilirubin in them (Wilson 1998: 88-89). Bilirubin is a chemical that turns the bile pigments reddish-orange in color, and is indicative of severe jaundice. It is unlikely that a medieval forger thought of adding bilirubin, whose existence was only discovered in the twentieth century, to give the image a lifelike quality.

    Yet this is all beside the point, and really is very dubious science on your part! Let’s get to the issue you are trying your damnedest to dodge,,,HOW DID THE IMAGE FORM???

  66. ba77@64:

    “Are you trying to say a full compliment of burial practices is exactly how Jesus was placed in the tomb???? I thought it was commonly accepted that the setting of the sun, which signaled the beginning of the sabbath, was at hand, thus the inability to fully prepare the body.”

    ba, from whom do you get the idea that Jesus’ body was not buried in the proper or complete way? The biblical record mitigates against this. I will take John’s testimony of the events over your or anyone else’s speculations. If John says that Jesus’ body was prepared “in accordance with Jewish burial customs” (John 19: 40), then that’s good enough for me.

  67. “I will take John’s testimony of the events over your or anyone else’s speculations. If John says that Jesus’ body was prepared ‘in accordance with Jewish burial customs’ (John 19:40), then that’s good enough for me”

    This is rich. And what do you make of everything else he said about Jesus?

  68. 68

    That is rich!!! An atheist, or maybe a VERY dubious Christian, suddenly finds religion when he needs it to refute the Resurrection of Christ!!!

    So riddick, what do you make of this blowing a hole in your multiple strips argument:

    “Q. Doesn’t the Shroud conflict with Scripture? a) John 20:5-7 mentions linens and at the very least implies there were a minimum of two cloths. Many have suggested that the linens were `strips,’ however the Shroud is merely one piece of cloth. …

    http://creationevolutiondesign.....rin-1.html

    Shroud Was Sewn Together From Two Pieces Of Linen – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXHn8BvGlLc

    Excerpt:
    The cloth measures 4.35 metres by 1.09 metres.

    It is made from two pieces, one wide, the other very narrow, sewn together edgewise. The wide piece, (92 % of the surface) measures 4.35 by 1.00 metres. The narrow piece, shown in yellow in the diagram below, (8 percent of the surface), is a strip 4 metres by 9 cms. The date that the two pieces were sewn together is unknown. Certainly it was before 1357, because the join is already visible in the representation of the Shroud at Lirey at that time.
    http://pagesperso-orange.fr/gi.....l_look.htm

    as well I repeat:

    BURIAL CONSISTENT WITH ANCIENT JEWISH BURIAL CUSTOM

    The burial is consistent with ancient Jewish burial customs in all respects, including the use of cave-tombs, attitude of the body (hands folded over loins), and types of burial cloths. The Sindon (Shroud) enveloped the body. The Sudarium was a face-cloth used to cover the face out of respect, from removal from the cross to entombment. It was then removed and placed to one side. There was also a chin-band holding the mouth closed. The Othonia were bandages used to bind the wrists and legs. All are mentioned in the New Testament and evidenced on the Cloth. Such cloths are mentioned in the New Testament and are spoken of in the Misnah – oral traditions of the Rabbis written down in the second and third century. The Cave-Tombs were carved out of sides of limestone hills. The presence of Calcium Carbonate (limestone dust) was noted by Dr. Eugenia Nitowski (Utah archaeologist) in her studies of the cave tombs of Jerusalem on the Cloth. Optical Engineer Sam Pellicori noted in 1978 the presence of dirt particles on the nose as well as on the left knee and heel. Prof. Giovanni Riggi noted burial mites. Dr. Garza-Valdes discovered oak tubules (microscopic splinters) in the blood of the occipital area (back of the head) as well as natron salts. Traces of aloe and myrrh have also been identified on the Cloth. All of these are consistent with Jewish burial customs of antiquity.

    But this is all beside the point of you being on a science site practicing shoddy science,,,, quit playing stupid games and tell me HOW DID THE IMAGE FORM?

  69. 69

    Here’s a totally non-scientific point to consider: Christians were to worship by faith, not using artifacts or the like. That was the nature of the preceding and surrounding pagan religions.
    Why then, would God deliberately create exactly the sort of artifact that men would be inclined to venerate?
    Didn’t the apostles already consider the resurrection already well established without such a shroud?
    I don’t know the answer to this one, but if everyone was buried that way, where are the other shrouds with face imprints?
    There’s a lot of evidence already cited against it, and we have no need for it to be real.

  70. Well Scott,
    I find that since God places such a high importance of our salvation in us actually believing and accepting the atoning sacrifice of Christ and that He actually rose from the dead and is alive forevermore, (which is a VERY fantastic claim at first glance) then it is very likely God would provide substantial evidence of the resurrection so as to solidify this necessary foundation of faith He requires for such a fantastic claim.
    As to worshiping the shroud, I think it is very self evident that the Shroud is not actually the body of Christ and am thus very perplexed that you would even confuse it with idol worship and suggest that it be as such.

  71. 71

    BA77,
    I’m going to tread carefully because I don’t like getting into scriptural discussions on the internet.
    But wasn’t there already substantial evidence of the resurrection before the late 19th century?
    As for the tendency to venerate objects, consider the statue of St. Peter in Rome – some of its toes are worn away from people kissing them. Think about it – men and women, created in God’s image, told to guard against idolatry, sucking the toes off a man-made statue. Why would God give them something else to venerate?

  72. Well Scott,
    Though I have never been tempted to kiss the toes of a statue, you very well may have a point in the ability of man’s imagination to create “false idols”. This fact is well testified to by the fact that evolutionists will draw on practically any conjecture of imagination in place of what sober analysis of the evidence in screaming at us…So yes Scott, I am afraid you indeed may have a valid point, though I admit this point grudgingly.

  73. 73

    Wow, I don’t even know what to do when that happens. :)

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