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Discussion 9 to Talk Back 95
A Reply to PsiCop

by: Michael Frank

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PsiCop (Discussion 5 to Talk Back 95 "An agnostic's review")

First of all, thanks for the thorough reply!  You challenged me in two main areas: 

One:  the rationality and scriptural accuracy of the origins and purpose of faith.

Two:  the veracity and historical integrity of the Bible.

Let me first address the part about the origins and purpose of faith. 

Here are a few quotes from the first half of your letter:

…You explained the reason God wants us to have faith, as follows:

“Why do we need faith? It’s more than just a way to believe in something without proof. It is actually essential to God’s plan of salvation that we receive such salvation through faith. For indeed the Devil and the other fallen angels don’t have faith, nor can they, because they KNOW that God is real. They have seen Him in person. They lived in Heaven with Him until they rebelled and were thrown out.”

Another way of saying this is: God demands that we know about him only on “faith,” because some other beings who actually knew and lived with him, rejected him. So he created humanity specifically to never “know” him, but to have to learn to accept him only on faith…

…God did not originally create humanity to be ignorant of him. He put Adam and Eve in Eden, and he went there in person from time to time2, so they knew him, just as the angels before them. So the idea that God set up humanity as a new class of being who never knew him in person, isn’t scriptural...

…what you suggest is that God specified the relationship he would have with humanity, and has withheld himself from us, based solely on his bad experience with Satan and his minions…

It seems that you thought I was saying that God originally created us to be only able to come to Him through faith.  That is certainly not what I meant.  We were originally created to have direct one-on-one, face-to-face, personal communication with God.  It is our sins that caused us to be separated.  Sinful beings can never be in the presence of a Holy and perfect and wonderful God. And so, after “the fall” into sin, God had to offer Christ to be sacrificed in our place, in order to ultimately restore that original relationship.  Even now, we are physically separated but we can be spiritually connected with Him through faith.

It will not be until His return and our judgment that we will be totally restored in every way (transfigured).  And it’s faith and the subsequent spiritual relationship that will allow us to receive vindication on that Day of Judgment instead of having to hear “I never knew you: depart from me, you that are sinful”. (Matt 7)

___________________

Now I will address the second part of your reply; the veracity and historical integrity of the Bible:

You did quite a detailed job of outlining theories on how some of the different portions of the Bible have been passed down, written, assembled, modified, revised, and so on.  I, myself, have learned a lot from what you wrote and from some of your sources and other research you have inspired me to do.

I admit that I was somewhat incorrect in making this statement.

“(the Bible is) mostly historical accounts, that is to say first-person accounts of things that happened.  It’s also accounts of prophesies that people received, or visions that people had…”

Much of the Bible may not be first-person accounts, especially in the Old Testament, much of it may have been passed down before eventually being written down by third-parties.

The Bible indeed comes from many different sources of many kinds, and has undergone many changes. And so, its literary originations are certainly questionable and its verifiability is indeed limited. 

All of this, however, still doesn’t have much bearing on the point of my letter. My point is that faith comes by allowing Him to grant it to you when you hear His word(s).

I am NOT saying that we should accept the authenticity of the Bible just because of its literary reputability.

I am NOT even saying that the Bible itself is the basis for belief in God.

I AM saying that the Bible is the best source of faith in God (and thusly in His word).

And, (as I told J.T. in “Discussion 4”)

You can find faith through God's word even without faith in it.

Best wishes to you in your journey – Mike