Comments about ‘Defending the Faith: Two opposing errors about the love of God’

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Published: Thursday, July 3 2014 5:00 a.m. MDT

Updated: Wednesday, July 2 2014 4:02 p.m. MDT

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Dennis
Harwich, MA

It's going to be interesting in the "next" life when we find out there is no such thing as a "judgement". There are too many variables that make it impossible and frankly I were it not for mankind's constant effort to scare and control all this judgement silliness would never have existed.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Dennis,

Though I do not agree that there will be no judgement, I do agree that the variables would make the task impossible for any save the one perfect judge - imbued with perfect love, full of mercy, and a knowledge of all things and of us from beginning to end. And that is why he sits in that seat alone.

george of the jungle
goshen, UT

Humility isn't thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less. All the words in the world don't mean anything, it's what you do that shows your devotion to God.

RBA
Fairview, UT

Thanks for the straightforward look at God's love. Of course he loves us and is patient with us and all our sins, He is our Father. But like any good father He reprimands us for our sins and demands our repentance or suffer the consequences. We must be good as He is good, and clean as He is clean if we want the ultimate reward of immortality and eternal life. He will help us if we submit to his will, but He will not, He cannot, save us in our sins.

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

It’s easy and tempting to project a human psychosis onto God. Men have been doing that for thousands of years. Evidences for it are abundant in the pages of the Bible which was written not by God but entirely by the hand of man.

So if you find yourself torn between a God of wrath and judgment and a God of love and mercy, you need only search the Bible and selectively pick the passages that conform to your point of view. That’s how simple it is as Dr. Peterson has just demonstrated for us.

janette.yj
American Fork, UT

Jeffrey R. Holland, April 2014 said,
Sadly enough, my young friends, it is a characteristic of our age that if people want any gods at all, they want them to be gods who do not demand much, comfortable gods, smooth gods who not only don’t rock the boat but don’t even row it, gods who pat us on the head, make us giggle, then tell us to run along and pick marigolds.

Steve C. Warren
WEST VALLEY CITY, UT

In the apparent conflict between a loving God and an angry God, the greatest weight should be given to the actual appearances of Christ in the New Testament and the risen Lord in the Book of Mormon. In person, he frankly seems to be quite compassionate and to have no desire to kill people. On the contrary, people killed him. Even the whip that he braided was merely used to drive animals, not to strike people.

I suspect the angry-God syndrome is more a reflection of reprobate mankind getting what the laws of nature impose on those who need to learn the hard way. Frankly, I suspect that a lot of the atrocities attributed to God tell us little about God and more about people creating a God in their own image. Frankly, parts of the Old Testament are borderline nonsense anyway.

Tom Johnson
Spanish Fork, UT

Mercy cannot rob justice--this is the reminder that God is not always forgiving and those who ignore and rebel against His commandments will pay the price, either in this life or at the judgment day because it would be unfair of God to give the same blessings and rewards to those who do not keep His commandments as to those who do keep His commandments. The tension between mercy and justice is resolved in only one way--the atonement of Jesus Christ who pays the price required by justice for our sins on the condition that we obey His commandments to claim mercy.

Moontan
Roanoke, VA

Great piece, and very much needed in this Christian culture. Reminds me of the most frightening verse - for me - in the Bible: Matthew 22:14 - "For many are called, but few are chosen."

sharrona
layton, UT

Re: "God is love" (1 John 4:8). It’s not simply that God "loves," but that He is Love itself. Love is not merely one of His attributes, but His very nature.

God is light (1 John 1:5), which is the opposite of "darkness." In Scripture "darkness" stands for sin, evil, death; and "light" for holiness, goodness, life. God is light, means that He is the sum of all excellency.

RE: Twin Lights, "God is *a spirit"(John 4:24 KJV). "As translated correctly"=(God is spirit John 4:24 NIV), There is *no article’ in the Greek text before the word spirit. The word spirit is first in the sentence for emphasis. The literal idea would be like, “Absolutely spirit in His essence is God.” Jesus did not leave any doubt about this truth. God(The Father)= spirit!

RE: Moontan, but few are chosen." “… His mercy toward them that fear Him" (Ps. 103:11).

"He saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy."(Romans 9:15)

It is pure sovereign grace which alone determines the exercise of Divine mercy.
The elect are designated "vessels of mercy" (Rom. 9:23).

The Wraith
Kaysville, UT

Of course the Bible can used to support MTD. It can be used to support Catholicism,the tens of thousands of different forms of Protestantism, Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses, etc. While an exact number is impossible to find it has been calculated that there are well over 100,000 forms of Christianity and every one of them can successfully support their different beliefs by using the Bible. Every one of them can also use the Bible to show that all the others are wrong. So what is so different about MTD?

As the all wise Homer Simpson once said: "The Bible says a lot of things Lisa."

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

"The Old Testament story of Jonah memorably depicts God’s love for all the world’s peoples, but it also sends that prophet to Nineveh with the warning that its inhabitants must repent or be destroyed."
______________________________

What a pity Dr. Peterson stops there. I’ll recapitulate the ending.

Jonah preaches to the inhabitants of Ninevah fully expecting them to reject him. To his astonishment, they repent. Here is how the King James Bible describes what follows. ‘God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.’

It's what Jonah does in response that I find astonishing. He broods. He goes outside the city, sets up a shelter from the hot sun where he pouts, sulks, and prays to die because he thinks God has cheated him out of the satisfaction of seeing Ninevah and all its inhabitants destroyed.

Jonah is a short book of four chapters that doesn’t take long to read. Check it out and judge for yourselves whether the God of vengeance as parts of the Bible suggest might be a product of human imagination.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Sharrona,

I have no idea what this has to do with this discussion or what I commented above but thank you anyway.

The Bible gateway site shows a host of translations all at once. This citation goes back and forth depending on the translation referenced. I don't see much consensus.

hermounts
Pleasanton, CA

God is our father. Like human parents, his love is unconditional, but his approval is not.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

Is anyone ever troubled by the fact that there is not one word in the Bible that could not have been written by someone with only bronze-age knowledge?

The best evidence we have that the Bible is a collection of writings that on rare occasion depicts someone who has achieved an enlightened (i.e., found God) state of consciousness but is mostly a collection filled with all the ethics (such as they were), prejudices, peeves, war-like tendencies, and horrors of most bronze-age people, is the Bible itself.

Russell Spencer
Boise, ID

Dr. Peterson's article might have also referenced Hebrews 12, especially verse 6:

"For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth."

Contrary to the MTD, God's love is manifested in his merciful correction of our sinful natures, calling us back to repentance and allowing us to partake of Christ's atonement. The principle purpose of life is happiness--but not the temporary "happiness" prescribed by MTD that, frankly, looks a lot more like clinical denial. The purpose is eternal happiness--joy--born of divine approval from living one's life in harmony with the Gospel.

Michigander
Westland, MI

"For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son." (John 5:22).

We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ where every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. This applies to every soul that has ever been born on the face of the earth (50-100 billion? souls) no matter what their religious beliefs are, true or false, with the exception of babies and little children who died before the age of accountability.

Steve C. Warren
WEST VALLEY CITY, UT

Craig Clark wrote: "judge for yourselves whether the God of vengeance as parts of the Bible suggest might be a product of human imagination."

Tyler D wrote: "The Bible . . . is mostly a collection filled with all the ethics (such as they were), prejudices, peeves, war-like tendencies, and horrors of most bronze-age people, is the Bible itself."

Thanks for the excellent comments about the angry God that some see. This God simply is a God that people have created in their own image.

The real God is better represented by his actual appearances to man in the four gospels and in the Book of Mormon's 3rd Nephi. Even the whip he braided was not used on people; it was used to drive animals from the temple courts. And let's remember, the real God did not go about seeking to kill people but was killed by them.

Michigander
Westland, MI

... also those who were born with Downs Syndrome are included in the group of babies and little children.

The Wraith
Kaysville, UT

@Michigander

The correct name is either Down's syndrome or Down syndrome with the latter being the preferred. The Down part comes from English physician John Langdon Down who fully described they physical aspects of the syndrome in 1866. Not trying to be rude, just bringing awareness.

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