Board index Specific Bible verses, texts, and passages 2 Thessalonians

Re: 2 Thessalonians 2:11 - God lies to us

Postby Great King of Heaven » Tue Mar 12, 2019 3:38 pm

> Despite the miracle-working power of the Great Deceiver, "Christians should resist being misled (v. 9). Only the unbelievers who don't know any better will fall for his ruse. They will only receive the lies they've been determined to believe all along (v. 11)."

But who sends the lies that these people receive because they wish to believe the lies? YHVH, as the text says. And once one admits that YHVH will send delusions to group X, any argument about why YHVH cannot send delusions upon group Y would be denying that YHVH is omnipotent. This does not involve rhetoric along the lines of "If YHVH were omnipotent, he could create a rock that he could not lift", which addresses a scenario not found in the Bible. Rather, this uses the text of the Bible, which clearly states that YHVH is omnipotent and that YHVH can and will delude people.

As for your interpretation of YHVH's actions in Exodus, I admit that it is possible if what you say about Egyptian idiom be true. But would you spend so much effort trying to make a text mean its opposite if it were not the Bible?
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Re: 2 Thessalonians 2:11 - God lies to us

Postby jimwalton » Tue Mar 12, 2019 3:38 pm

> But who sends the lies that these people receive because they wish to believe the lies? YHVH, as the text says.

As you intimated in your own post a few posts ago, we let Paul interpret Paul. He is not of the position that God sends lies. In Paul's own writings...

* God gives them over to their own desires (Rom. 1.24), and that's where they exchange the truth for a lie (Rom. 1.25)
* God gives them over to their own lusts (Rom. 1.26), and that's where they bring the penalty for their own perversion upon themselves (Rom. 1.27).
* Since they themselves did not consider it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God (Rom. 1.28), God gives them over to a depraved mind, and they do what they have been dedicated to do (Rom. 1.28-31).
* Though they know the truth and what is right, they choose in themselves to do things that deserve death (Rom. 1.32).
* This is consistent with what is written in Psalm 81.11-12: "But my people would not listen to me; Israel would not submit to me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices."

The only sense in which God is "sending a powerful delusion" is in that He won't interfere with their free will. Those who close their minds to the truth become the victims of delusions. They fail because they refused to heed the truth (2 Thes. 2.5). This agent of deceit has always been at work in the world, but God restrained it (2 Thes. 2.7). In the end times God will stop holding it back; his deceit will be in full swing (2 Thes. 2.9-10), and then Jesus Himself will destroy all such deceit (2 Thes. 2.8). God is the one who holds back deceit (2.7) and who destroys it (2.8). The only sense in which God sends it, according to the text itself, is in removing his hand of restraint and protection. And even in that case, those who know the truth and pursue the truth will still know it and find it (2 Thes. 2.13). Only those who refused to acknowledge the truth anyway will succumb to it (2 Thes. 2.12).

> And once one admits that YHVH will send delusions to group X

This is your 3rd time saying this, and my 3rd time denying it. I am not admitting, nor ever will, that YHWH sends delusions to group X. That is not what this text is saying or meaning.

> I admit that it is possible if what you say about Egyptian idiom be true. But would you spend so much effort trying to make a text mean its opposite if it were not the Bible?

I only spend so much time explaining it because you have failed to grasp what the Bible is saying. All I'm doing is showing you what the Bible itself says in clear print.
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Re: 2 Thessalonians 2:11 - God lies to us

Postby Great King of Heaven » Wed Mar 13, 2019 11:28 am

But surely the phase "give them over" means that YHVH is playing a more active role than merely letting them fall into wrong patterns of thought and behaviour. After all, to give someone over to something suggests that the person who does the giving over is actively doing something rather than simply letting something happen to the other person.
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Re: 2 Thessalonians 2:11 - God lies to us

Postby jimwalton » Wed Mar 13, 2019 11:29 am

Thanks for asking for clarification. The phrase "give them over" does not indicate that God is playing a more active role. Here's the flow of the Romans text:

    * God revealed Himself accurately so that people could know Him (Rom. 1.18-20)
    * People actively suppressed that truth (1.18)
    * People actively turned against God despite their knowledge, which darkened their own hearts and corrupted their own minds (1.21), becoming fools (1.22).
    * People actively exchanged what they knew about God and exchanged it for other ideas (1.23).
    * Therefore God gave them over to it (1.24ff.)

In v. 24 we see the first of three mentions of "God gave them over" (24, 26, 28). It starts with "therefore," indicating a cause-and-effect relationship. What was the cause? Human sin, the deliberate turning away, the refusal to see the truth. God had opened His hands and made Himself known. But instead of holding them against their will, He allowed them their own choice of a self-determined course. They chose to abandon Him, so God opened His hands and let them go to their own devices. Since He gave them moral freedom, He can't forbid them to use it. The punishment of sin lies not in any direct intervention by which God disciplines the rebels, but in the consequences that naturally follow from a lawless life.

It is an active sense: God is letting them go to their own devices.
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Re: 2 Thessalonians 2:11 - God lies to us

Postby Great King of Heaven » Thu Mar 14, 2019 1:09 pm

There is a big difference between a being's giving over and a being's letting people suffer from the consequences of their actions.

The text does not say "He allowed them their own choice of a self-determined course", but rather that God gave them over to something. Why do you go against the literal meaning of the text in this series of passages? This series of passages, interpreted literally, is evidence that YHVH actively punishes people who disobey him through his actions.
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Re: 2 Thessalonians 2:11 - God lies to us

Postby jimwalton » Thu Mar 14, 2019 1:19 pm

> There is a big difference between a being's giving over and a being's letting people suffer from the consequences of their actions.

A parent sometimes lets their child make mistakes, and sometimes very painful mistakes, because that's perhaps the best way to teach them the error of their ways, or sometimes the ONLY way to teach them the error of their ways. When a teenager acts rebellious, sometimes the parent just backs down from the fight and says, "Go ahead. Do what you want. But don't say I didn't warn you." This scenario plays out thousands of times in the lives of teens. In this text in Romans, that is exactly the spirit of the "giving over." God lets go, says, "You're intent on doing this no matter what I say. Go ahead, but don't say I didn't warn you that you won't like where it takes you."

> The text does not say "He allowed them their own choice of a self-determined course", but rather that God gave them over to something.

You have to read the whole text, not just a sentence. You have to capture what Paul is saying, not just look superficially at words on a page. C'mon.

> Why do you go against the literal meaning of the text in this series of passages?

I have shown you repeatedly, by mentioning numerous verses from this text as well as other of Paul's writings, that you are distorting the text with superficial readings and not taking into account all of what Paul is saying.

> This series of passages, interpreted literally, is evidence that YHVH actively punishes people who disobey him through his actions.

The Bible is a rich literary collection containing music, poetry, metaphor, allegory, archetypes, parable, hyperbole, metonymy, irony, simile, and many other literary forms, as well as genres such as prayer, prophecy, blessing, covenant language, legal language, etc. "Literally" quickly becomes a word with very little meaning or helpfulness. If a poet says the trees of the field will clap their hands and the mountains will jump for joy, is that literal? Of course not, it's poetry. If a man prays, "God, kill all those people", we may all understand that his prayer is inappropriate, and is not blessed by God, but is it literal? Well, how does that word even apply? And how does it apply to archetype, allegory, parable, and all the others? It's a word that should be dropped from the discussion because it doesn't take us anywhere except to the Land of Misunderstanding.

It's better to think that the Bible should be taken the way the author intended it to be taken. If he was using hyperbole, we're to take it that way. So also allegorically, historically, parabolic, poetic, etc. Our quest is to understand the intent of the author. In that case we'll take the Bible *seriously*, but "literally" doesn't take us anywhere.

Current slang English has many examples. When someone likes something, they say it's "wicked." When they're impressed and taken off guard, they say, "Oh, shut up!" What do we mean when we say something is "lit" or that someone is "killing it"?

We go back to the context and the intent of the author. I have proved to you in about 3 different ways that there is NO evidence that YHWH actively punishes people by sending them a lie. All you have to hang on to is, "Well, that's what it says." Remember, there is more to the world than there seems on the surface, and there is always more to the story. I'll assume you're astute enough to grasp that.
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Re: 2 Thessalonians 2:11 - God lies to us

Postby Great King of Heaven » Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:37 pm

> A parent sometimes lets their child make mistakes, and sometimes very painful mistakes, because that's perhaps the best way to teach them the error of their ways, or sometimes the ONLY way to teach them the error of their ways. When a teenager acts rebellious, sometimes the parent just backs down from the fight and says, "Go ahead. Do what you want. But don't say I didn't warn you." This scenario plays out thousands of times in the lives of teens. In this text in Romans, that is exactly the spirit of the "giving over." God lets go, says, "You're intent on doing this no matter what I say. Go ahead, but don't say I didn't warn you that you won't like where it takes you."

I would classify what you describe not as "giving over to" but as giving up, as in surrendering to apathy.

Still, I guess that we disagree, and I say that we must agree to disagree.

My question for you, then, is where does one stop with non-literal readings of the Bible? There is one non-literal interpretation of the Bible that claims that Jesus was really preaching Buddhism (which I, a Buddhist, disagree with).
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Re: 2 Thessalonians 2:11 - God lies to us

Postby jimwalton » Thu Apr 04, 2019 4:38 am

> I would classify what you describe not as "giving over to" but as giving up, as in surrendering to apathy.

The Bible describes it as a giving over. I'm only going by what the Bible says. But it's not a surrender to apathy or a giving up, but sometimes the best mechanism to use to teach someone the realities and dangers of life as well as the error of their ways. I believe it is in the latter sense that Romans means it. In His continuing effort to bring individuals to Himself, sometimes the only course of action is to let them experience the error of their ways, hoping that their self-chosen sorrow will wake them up and turn their lives around.

> My question for you, then, is where does one stop with non-literal readings of the Bible?

We never just assume a baseline ("literal") about the written text. We approach it neutrally and objectively, and let the text guide us to its proper interpretation. We take into account the culture and worldview of the author, the intent of the book, the literary style of the author and the book, and we interpret as wisely as we can.

    * We let the Bible interpret itself. Scripture is its own best interpreter.
    * Biblical examples are only authoritative when they are supported by a command.
    * Since Scripture originated in a historical context, it can be understood only in the light of Biblical history.
    * You must understand the Bible grammatically before you can understand it theologically.
    * Interpret words in harmony with their meaning in the times of the author.
    * Interpret a word in relation to its sentence and context.
    * Interpret a passage in harmony with its context.
    * When an inanimate object is used to describe a living being, we can understand that to be figurative, not literal.
    * When an expression is out of character with the thing described, the statement may be considered to be figurative.

Stuff like this.

> There is one non-literal interpretation of the Bible that claims that Jesus was really preaching Buddhism (which I, a Buddhist, disagree with).

Yeah, I disagree with this as well. It yanks Jesus out of all historical and theological context to read him and all his teaching as metaphorical. It's not responsible exegesis or hermeneutics.


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