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Christians must support 3-gen rule re: North Korea

Postby Sorry Morry » Sun Jun 10, 2018 3:14 pm

Christians must support North Korea's "three generations of punishment rule"

If Adam and Eve's choice to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil all those years ago is justified in causing all the suffering we have in the world today, then Christians must support North Korea's three generations of punishment rule. There is no difference between sending a criminal's entire immediate family plus their two subsequent generations to jail, and God punishing the whole human species for the entirety of their existence just because two people made a choice thousands of years ago. Why not just punish those two people?
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Re: Christians must support 3-gen rule re: North Korea

Postby jimwalton » Sun Jun 10, 2018 3:15 pm

First of all, your juxtaposing what happened in the Garden of Eden and the political situation of North Korea is bad exegesis, shaking politics, and a misapplication of biblical principles. But, hey, let's talk.

You have misunderstood the Adam and Eve text. Adam & Eve are archetypes (please, I'm not saying they're metaphors or allegories)—they represent the human race. They do what any of us would have done in the same situation. You are not a sinner because of them. You're a sinner because of you. I'm a sinner because of me. Sin came into the world because of Adam, but all of the suffering we have in the world today is because of all of us, and each one of us.

> There is no difference between sending a criminal's entire immediate family plus their two subsequent generations to jail, and God punishing the whole human species for the entirety of their existence just because two people made a choice thousands of years ago.

There is a world of difference between the two situations. The Bible is clear that each one of us is punished for our own sins (2 Cor. 5.19; Rev. 20.13). Not one of us is punished for the sins of Adam and Eve.

Therefore, Christians are nowhere near having to support North Korea's three generations of punishment rule. God punishes people for what they have done, not for what their forebears have done.

Now, just to ward off another brewing possibility, someone may quote Exodus 20.5: "You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me," so I'll address that before it comes.

"Punishing" in this context is best read as "determine destiny." The sin of the parents refers to a destiny of calamity or destruction. "Punishing" the "sin" of the parents on the children, then, means "declare that the destiny decreed for the parents, which is the destiny of destruction, will also be the destiny of the children." In other words, the text is not saying that the children and grandchildren are being punished without any fault of their own. It is claiming that bad fathers often raise bad children. Children generally act the way they were taught to act. A child who is taught to be racist often grows up to be a racist. It's a bow to natural consequences, not an expression of God's unfairness. God doesn't penalize one individual for the wrongdoing of another (Ezekiel 18.2-24).

In addition to that, a paper published by Michael Skinner (molecular biologist at the Univ. of Washington) confirms epigenetic changes in sperm that are carried forward transgenerationally. Changes can become permanently programmed. "The life experiences of grandparents and even great-grandparents alter their eggs and sperm so indelibly that the change is passed on to their children, grandchildren, and beyond. It’s called transgenerational inheritance: the phenomenon in which something in the environment alters the health not only of the individual exposed to it, but also of that individual’s descendants." Life experiences alter the on/off switches that control DNA. Skinner's discovery showed that such marks are permanently modified at least to 4 generation. (Transgenerational effects do not have to be harmful. They can be as positive as easily as negative.)

But also don't miss the greater point of the text: God shows love to a thousand generations of those who love him (Ex. 20.6). While badness can have a temporary effect, God's blessings can carry on for millennia.

Again, Christians not only don't need to support North Korea's rule, but there's every reason not to.
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Re: Christians must support 3-gen rule re: North Korea

Postby Sorry Morryy » Sun Jun 10, 2018 4:36 pm

> Therefore, Christians are nowhere near having to support North Korea's three generations of punishment rule. God punishes people for what they have done, not for what their forebears have done.

What about Genesis 3:14-20?

> God shows love to a thousand generations of those who love him (Ex. 20.6). While badness can have a temporary effect, God's blessings can carry on for millennia.

What love? There are countless good, righteous people dying everyday due to disease, terrorism, car accidents, murders, etc. god has literally done nothing for anyone and has been very quiet recently considering the fact that he was active every decade or so 2,000 years ago.
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Re: Christians must support 3-gen rule re: North Korea

Postby jimwalton » Sun Jun 10, 2018 4:53 pm

> Genesis 3:14-20

Hmm. What about it? Let's see...the man blames Eve (wrongly, because he is just as guilty, v. 6), but he is still guilty. Eve is guilty for what she did (v. 13). In verse 14 the serpent is cursed. He's the only one cursed in the situation. He's guilty for what he did. The man and woman were deceived, and they aren't cursed—there is no "curse" terminology. The woman will experience greater pain and anguish, though the verse implies she could or did experience pain prior to the Fall ("increase"). Since the birth process is always a painful one (there's no other way to get the bambino out except by muscular contractions), the reference is probably to that emotional and spiritual pain are added ("increase") to what was already there (physical pain).

Because of what the man did, the ground is cursed (not the man). The earth was already a rough place (Gn. 2.5). What the man brought to the situation was put nature in disequilibrium. Nature reflects spiritual truth. Again, there would be increased hardship until humans figured out little by little how to harness nature. We're actually now in better shape than Adam (technology, irrigation, meteorology), thanks to God's gifting us with reason and giving us rule over nature (Gn. 1.28). It was not an eternal curse of the ground except in the sense that nature is not automatically our friend (as the volcanoes in Hawaii and Guatemala and the wildfires in Colorado make quite clear).

> There are countless good, righteous people dying everyday due to disease, terrorism, car accidents, murders, etc.

Your pessimism has skewed the facts. First of all, the world was never said (in the Bible) to work according to the Retribution Principle (good people get rewarded, bad people get punished). Secondly, many millions of people in the world are quite blessed. Many are healthy. Many are wealthy. Many are educated. We have hospitals, schools, governments. The love of God is everywhere. We have happiness, friendships, food, cars. You'd have to live in a hole to think everything is awful and that "God has literally nothing for anyone." You can't be serious. There are many healthy, happy, comfortable people on the planet. And, for the record, the terrorism, car accidents and murders are because of people's decisions and awfulness, not God's.
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Re: Christians must support 3-gen rule re: North Korea

Postby Sorano » Sun Jun 10, 2018 5:17 pm

> "declare that the destiny decreed for the parents, which is the destiny of destruction, will also be the destiny of the children."

Assuming god has the knowledge and power to avoid unnecessairy suffering for the kid, why not stop it?

> "Not one of us is punished for the sins of Adam and Eve."

Where does it say it? From Genesis, we can conclude our struggles are due to the 'original sin.' Why does it not clarify that? If it does, why is that written in Genesis at all, then?
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Re: Christians must support 3-gen rule re: North Korea

Postby jimwalton » Sun Jun 10, 2018 5:35 pm

> Assuming god has the knowledge and power to avoid unnecessairy suffering for the kid, why not stop it?

This is possibly an unwarranted assumption. One of the characteristics of God's omnipotence is that He cannot interfere with our free will (just as He cannot change the past, He cannot sin, He cannot lie, and many other things). When people choose to train their children to be racists, haters, or murderers, as we see in some places in the world, God's role is to redeem those crimes but not to stop them. The Bible is clear that God works to redeem evil, not to stop it. People make their choices.

Secondly, if you want God to stop all (what you call) "unnecessary suffering," we would have to have a conversation about what counts as "unnecessary." A certain amount of suffering is essential to health (as any surgeon will tell you). Other suffering builds character and fortitude. Other suffering teaches us important lessons in life. Some suffering is just an issue of cause and effect. Do you want to take all these away, or just some? Where will you draw the lines and why? Can you be confident that God isn't doing exactly the same thing, but has more wisdom in drawing the lines than you do?

And if you want to take away cause and effect, you have just taken away science and reasoning.

And if you want God to insure there is no unnecessary suffering, he will have to start controlling our bodies so we don't do anything unnecessary, and even controlling our minds so we hurt anyone unnecessarily. Take this far enough and we won't even be human anymore.

I'm not sure it's as simple as "Assuming god has the knowledge and power to avoid unnecessairy suffering for the kid, why not stop it?"

And it seems you are implying also that there is such a thing a necessary suffering as distinguished from unnecessary suffering. I'm guessing that if you think your comment through a little further you may want to revise it.

> "Not one of us is punished for the sins of Adam and Eve."
Where does it say it?

Ezekiel 18.2-24, 2 Corinthians 5.10, and Revelation 20.13, among others.

> From Genesis, we can conclude our struggles are due to the 'original sin.'

Genesis doesn't specifically say that, but Romans 5.12-21 does. Sin entered the world through one man. The death we experienced was a spiritual one, but the gift to undo it was also available to every man. It's as if your parents renounced their citizenship in their country of birth and moved to another country and you were born as a citizen of country #2. Sure, you can blame your parents that you're, say, French rather than, say, Spanish, but anytime you want you can return to Spain and become a citizen. The gift of God undoes the "original sin" so that no one need to remain in it. If you don't want to be punished for your own sins (you are not being punished for the sins of A&E), then come to Christ, who will willingly and gladly accept you into his family.

> If it does, why is that written in Genesis at all, then?

Genesis was written to begin the story of the covenant, which was the mechanism by which He would reveal Himself to humanity. The covenant represents God's plan to correct the distortions and disorder humanity creates.

Genesis as a whole is intended to show that the miserable condition of humanity that motivates the Covenant in chapter 12 is not the result of some defect in God’s creative work. On the contrary, God made everything just right and set it up to function properly within his purposes. The Bible claims the sovereign work of God, who maintains and sustains the functions of the cosmos and his own purposes within it.
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Re: Christians must support 3-gen rule re: North Korea

Postby Sorry Morry » Mon Jun 11, 2018 4:01 pm

> the world was never said (in the Bible) to work according to the Retribution Principle (good people get rewarded, bad people get punished)

Galatians 6:7 Exodus 21:23-25

>And, for the record, the terrorism, car accidents and murders are because of people's decisions and awfulness, not God's.

god created all things and made them the way they are. if god made a human being knowing that they will grow up to be a terrorist, murderer, drunk driver, etc. it is his fault for creating him that way, not the fault of the human themself
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Re: Christians must support 3-gen rule re: North Korea

Postby jimwalton » Mon Jun 11, 2018 4:14 pm

> Galatians 6.7

"Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows." This is not teaching the retribution principle, but that God is the ultimate judge and He will be fair. God won't be fooled by religious pretense or good works. He won't be deceived by the masks anyone wears or the hypocrisy that fools others. God cannot be defied with impunity, but that doesn't mean that judgment will come during one's lifetime. Everyone is accountable to God and is ultimately responsible for how he or she acts. You can see clearly from Galatians 6.8 that Paul is speaking of the judgment in the afterlife, not retribution during life.

> Exodus 21.23-25

This set of verses is the *lex talionis,* not the retribution principle. it is casuistic legal wisdom to let a judge know that the punishment should fit the crime. The principle is based on the idea of just reciprocity in the courts, limiting the punishment to the extent of the damage done. It's a principle of personal liability.

> god created all things and made them the way they are

God created all things, yes, but he did not make them the way they are. Genesis 3 and Romans 5 are very clear that "the way they are" is manmade, not created by God.

> if god made a human being knowing that they will grow up to be a terrorist, murderer, drunk driver, etc. it is his fault for creating him that way, not the fault of the human themself

You are confusing knowledge and power. Knowledge doesn't cause anyone to do anything. Only power can cause. Just because God is not subject to time and therefore can see all things as if they are in the present doesn't mean by any stretch that the choices people make are God's fault. People are free agents, and they make their own decisions. For instance, because (let's say) I know you'll disagree with me on this doesn't mean I'm at fault for your disagreement. And it's no different with omniscience. Knowledge is not causative.
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Re: Christians must support 3-gen rule re: North Korea

Postby Sorano » Mon Jun 11, 2018 4:27 pm

> One of the characteristics of God's omnipotence is that He cannot interfere with our free will The Bible is clear that God works to redeem evil, not to stop it. People make their choices.

But does he ultimately care about free will, or is that just a limitation? Because one's choice to be evil confronts others' free will, and yet god doesn't stop that.

> Other suffering builds character and fortitude. Other suffering teaches us important lessons in life.

What do we need to 'build character' for? If there's a need, it's not unnecessairy.

> Where will you draw the lines and why?

Just wanted to point out that's the kind of question I like, and that's probaly why I like reddit so much. I mentioned that we should find a 'need.' There is a grey area, like how necessairy are the phones we use to communicate with the police about an emergency, after those phones were made by chinese people working under inhumane conditions. But I'm not the one saying suffering must go. Suffering sucks because that's how we work as living beings. And one idea I try my best to stick to is the one that I can't claim to have ultimate morality, so I can't alone dictate, in this case, what is and what is not unnecessairy suffering.

> Can you be confident that God isn't doing exactly the same thing, but has more wisdom in drawing the lines than you do?

Of course not. Can you? Can god expect me to be convinced of his intentions?

> Genesis as a whole is intended to show that the miserable condition of humanity that motivates the Covenant in chapter 12 is not the result of some defect in God’s creative work.

Again to the free will question: does this condition of ours affect our free will? Can I live in a perfect world if I decide to? Can god let me live in the perfect conditions he made for us, and then he will see if I'll have the same behavior as Eve and be deserving of the consequences?
within his purposes.

Are we dools with a purpose for our fabricator, or are we people with our own aspirations? One can decide to do as another one wants, but that should be as valid as my choice to have my own intentions in life.
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Re: Christians must support 3-gen rule re: North Korea

Postby jimwalton » Mon Jun 11, 2018 5:00 pm

> But does he ultimately care about free will, or is that just a limitation?

He most certainly does care about our free will.

- Genesis 3: A choice against God will be a tragic choice. Don't use your free will to make the wrong choice!
- Genesis 4.7: "If you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door; it desires to have you, but you must master it."
- Genesis 6: Noah had a choice whether to follow God or the ways of the world. Thankfully (v. 22), he chose to do everything as God had commanded.

And so it goes. We could trace this pattern through the whole Bible. God cares greatly about our free will, and reveals Himself to us to influence us in the right direction. He can't force us, or it wouldn't be free will.

> Because one's choice to be evil confronts others' free will, and yet god doesn't stop that.

I've thought about this regarding the issue of tolerance and rights in our society. We have a right to free speech, but if I use my right to free speech to make sure you can't use your right to free speech (if I shout you down), then do I really believe in free speech? If I believe people should have freedom of religion, but your religion tells you to stifle and ultimately kill all people who don't believe in your religion, then where are we? Suppose I tolerate your views, but your view is to silence me? There are obviously thousands of examples, but I hope you catch my drift. So you're asking if one person exercises his free will to suppress another person's free will, shouldn't God use His free will to suppress the suppressor's free will? It tangles quickly, doesn't it, and can become not only self-contradictory but absurd. Instead, God allows people to use their free will, and God is always at work (often behind the scenes) to redeem bad choices, to counsel for good choices, to warn against mistakes, and to make things right after humans screw them up. If God interfered up front, we'd scream "WRONG!" because He would be constantly interfering in people's free will. But if He waits, people scream "WRONG!" because he allows evil. So it's either that you have it in for God no matter what He does—you'll find fault with Him, or we accept that God can't interfere with free will, that He is at work in lives redeeming and advising, and we trust His wisdom. Obviously Christians choose the latter, and atheists choose the former. But certainly God can't be interfering and non-interfering at the same time.

> What do we need to 'build character' for?

Good character is one of the most noble human traits.

> Of course not. Can you? Can god expect me to be convinced of his intentions?

We can only know about God what He chooses to reveal to us. Thankfully we have the Bible as special revelation to show us that I can be confident that God is drawing the lines wisely. And He can expect you (or anyone) to be convinced of his intentions, because we have a 1600-page text to study and learn about his intentions and His activity.

> Again to the free will question: does this condition of ours affect our free will?

Yes. Our environment and our experiences both affect our free will. We are the product of the context and flow of our lives.

> Can I live in a perfect world if I decide to?

No, because free will has its logical parameters. I can't beam myself to Mars just because I will it. I can't pass through a solid wall like a ghost just because I will it. Nor can I live in a perfect world if I decide to.

> Can god let me live in the perfect conditions he made for us, and then he will see if I'll have the same behavior as Eve and be deserving of the consequences?

That ship has sailed. But the door is always open for you (or anyone) to return to God, to become part of His family, to share His life and to have a relationship with Him. That offer stands even today. The choice you have is essentially the same as hers: will you insist on being autonomous and seek wisdom outside of God, or will you trust His wisdom and be found in Him? And the consequences for you are the same as for her: to align with God is the path to life, and to rebel against Him is the path to death. It's not that God has decided that, but it's the only game on the table. God is life, so to join Him is to have life. To reject Him can only lead in one direction—to death. You get to choose your path and the consequences that go with it.

> Are we dools with a purpose for our fabricator, or are we people with our own aspirations? One can decide to do as another one wants, but that should be as valid as my choice to have my own intentions in life.

You were created for a purpose. We do the same thing. We create doors to be doors, cars to be cars, and computers to compute. You can try to use a door to drive to Chicago, and good luck with that. Objects are designed for a purpose. You were designed to be a child of God. Within that purpose, you could have aspirations for science, business, art, music, law, philosophy, or a thousand other things. God doesn't limit your aspirations, He just created you to find completion in Him. In Him you are free. You bind yourself to this relationship (not a whole lot unlike marriage, as an analogy), and they you are free to pursue your own intentions in life within the ballpark of that relationship.
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