Moody Bible Institute
. Flash Red, It looks like this is your first post here. Im afraid I have not given you a very cheerful welcome. Hopefully you are gifted in patiently bearing all things. I look forward to your valuable contributions.
Thanks for the ideas. Like I said, I am often times a little too optimistic with things and my local body always contains a similar "happy-go-lucky" attitude towards things of the serious nature. I often feel like I may miss signs of humanity within the church and even myself.
v.4 I believe is one of the many answers the Lord Jesus Christ gives for the existential question
It seems that Jesus' answer affirms that He finds no need to define His essence through an act in His earthly existence. He relies instead on Scripture (specifically Deuteronomy in all three answers to Satan) which is also known as the Word of God. Is not Jesus, himself, often called "The Word" (see John 1)? Perhaps I am grasping at straws, but his answer seems to point out that he does not need to act to define his essence, but instead that he "lives" because of himself, or in other words, because he is God. Being God requires no existential demonstration of essence to Satan, because God is self-existing and Satan is not.
| 2006/9/20 22:32||Profile|
I am now forced to answer my own question.
How fitting for a thread on existensialism. :-D
More seriously, would you mind expounding on the answer you find in Jesus' response? (Edit: Red Flash answered while I was posting this...I liked his thoughts. Is this what you were seeing as well? Just currious.)
| 2006/9/20 22:34||Profile|
Yes I like Flash red's comments. On reading his comments the following verse has been quicked in me.
(Exo 3:14 KJVR) And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
This shows that The Lord identifies Himself with His Essences rather than what He has accomplished. The existentialist usually I would believe identifies himself with what he/she does. Please correct me if the above statement is wrong.
My reasoning for using Luk 4:4 is because Jesus is showing the world that the bread which in my opionion represents a requirement based on the existential thinking, is not the paramount requirement for living, the word is essential. Bread is need for existence, Money is required for existence. Money cannot be equated to essence from a Christian worldview. So I believe Jesus is trying to show us beyond existence and unto essence which comes from what the word of God tells us about our essence rather than derriving our essence from our existence. Probably vague but Exo 3:14 really brings up the answer to the existential question
| 2006/9/21 3:28||Profile|
Being God requires no existential demonstration of essence to Satan, because God is self-existing and Satan is not.
Now that is pretty;-).
I have often been accused of complicating things that are intended to remain simple (and for the most part this accusation would be accurate). To me its like this, God is simplistic in His complexity (there I go again). By this I mean, He is so precise and original that He needs no explanation or definition, and yet He takes the trouble to explain and define Himself in Scripture.
Then along comes man with his grandoise ideas about himself. God says, "In the begining God...", man says, "If God made the world, then who made God?" and God is silent. God describes Himself as the "Lord God Omnipotent", and man asks, "Can God create a rock that He cannot lift?" and again God is silent. God says, "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me." and man echoes Luficer's claim to the Devine throne, and once again God is silent. Man says, "Can I sin?" and God gives him over to his sin, effectively saying, "Knock yourself out." with His silence. "Oh by the way," God says, "the wages of sin is death." to which man says, "That's okay, I'll worry about that later. After all, tomorrow I die." One of the things that stood out at me when I took a glance at the Book of Mormon, was the repeated challenges to refute those who deny God's existance. The Bible virtually states a smug, "Believe in Me or not, in the end, you'll find out Who's right and who isn't."
God keeps things extremely simple. To quote Winkie Pratney, "God is God, and your not." All these isms are mere human expressions of something to the contrary. The isms generally come along time after the people, whose names precede them, are dead and buried. They were just profound thoughts, men and their isms turned them into error.
Fact: We exist, and God exists before us, and after us, and it would be a tragedy to let sterile logic deny either or all of these facts. This is what I believe was on Kierkegaard's heart when he spoke of existential things, in a world that was being invaded by rationalism (there we go. Someone left there ism lying around again).
To bring it all back to Flash_red's comment, may I quote John Sheasby, "Holiness isn't the absence of sin, but the presence of the Father, because God was holy before sin existed." See...simple.
| 2006/9/21 5:38||Profile|
Quote: The practical outworking of existentialism is to be seen in the novelists... [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Paul_Sartre]Sartre[/url], [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fyodor_Dostoevsky]Dostoeksy[/url] and [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernest_Hemingway]Hemingway[/url]. Life is random and any event is as significant as any other. To help an old lady across the street or to crush her head with a hammer are both equally valid. There is no good or evil, just existence. There is no big answer because there is no big question. To the existentialist morality is literally non-sense. I am my own point of reference. It is the mother and father of post-modernism.
A philosophy that emphasizes the uniqueness and isolation of the individual experience in a hostile or indifferent universe, regards human existence as unexplainable, and stresses freedom of choice and responsibility for the consequences of one's acts.
How does Christianity contrast itself with this? At just about every point, but perhaps wonderfully summed up by Paul as For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.
(2Cor 5:14-15 KJVS) and by John Donne as No man is an island, entire of itself
every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main
if a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were,
as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were
any man's death diminishes me, because [u]I am involved in mankind[/u]
and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls
it tolls for thee.
| 2006/9/21 6:14||Profile|
| Re: How the Bible addresses existentialism|
How does the bible answer the question of existentialism today
Human nature has not changed since Eden so Gods answers for the ancient people are totally relevant today. Praise God!
The tempter said: you will not surely die
.you will be like God (as gods)
.. Gen. 3:4
Solomon took some time out of his life to savor a big bite from the fruit of the tree, and lived by the principle: the end justifies the means. Life experiences helped him see that taking the fruit was a bad idea.
Everything is meaningless
All things are wearisome
the eye never has enough of seeing
nothing was gained under the sun
The more words, the less the meaning
The dust returns to the ground from where it came Ecclesiastes
I find it interesting that Solomons conclusions about man and God, learned through suffering caused by worldly gains was similar to Jobs conclusions learned through suffering caused by worldly losses.
Naked I come from my mothers womb,
and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
may the name of the Lord be praised.
(Im sure that Job had more than merely clothing in mind, but also all the other coverings that give one purpose, meaning, essence
I am unworthy how can I reply to you?
I put my hand over my mouth.
I spoke once, but I have no answer
- twice, but I will say no more. Job 40:4
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know
My ears have heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes. Job 41:3-6
Do not be quick with your mouth,
do not be hasty with your heart to utter anything before God.
God is in heaven and you are on earth,
so let your words be few.
Therefore stand in awe of God. Ecc 5:2-7
Solomon went after existential meaning whereas Job feared God. And yet in the end, they walked the same path. I find it exciting that both men were effective ministers of reconciliation.
Remember your creator in the days of your youth...
Fear God and keep his commandments
God will bring every deed into judgment. Ecc. 12:13
[God said,] My servant Job will pray for you [Jobs friends]
and I will accept his prayer
. Job 42:10
Life itself has a way of exposing truth. Praise God, some see it. Yet, most never do - even many who have practically memorized the entire Bible.
These Biblical testimonies make me wonder: Can anyone be an effective witness for Christ apart from discovering these same truths no matter what course their life is on?
"He must increase, but I must decrease" Jn 3:30
EDIT: I believe that God's plan of salvation, itself, is the antidote for existentialism: "For me to live is Christ..." Phil. 1:21
| 2006/9/21 8:27||Profile|
Santa Clara, CA
| Re: Sight evidence|
Since I feel that my question has not been adequately addressed and the dicussion has moved to a different tangent, I am now forced to answer my own question. I would appreciate if we could discuss this answer rather than getting carried away with philosphical worldviews. Thank you kindly
Thanks for the gentle proding, but keep in mind that you are in an open forum and that tangents will develop quite naturually if even unintentionaly.
How does the bible answer the question of existentialism today ?
From cover to cover.
[i]For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse[/i]: Rom 1:20
To tangent off of this quite overlooked statement... What else can it be but denial to [i]look[/i] and not see? It is perfectly evident that there is a grand [i]must[/i] behind the universe and the excuse, [i]without[/i]. Death itself would seem enough for the masses to contemplate, the great recall of broken, damaged goods, human stupidity and 'free will' the culprits. We cause our own deaths, live in complete and total rebellion, arrogance, pass the buck and quite irrationaly often blaming the very God who is said not to exist for the very evil that the creatures do. Obviously the apprehended of God understand the great folly ... yet sometimes even that can be a wonder with so much misrepresentation out there.
Here is a piece that came off a search for a verse that came to mind:
[i]Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour[/i].
[i]And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart[/i].
[i]He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him[/i].
[i]Life eternal [is to] know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ[/i]....
Most of us fail to grasp the depths of depravity into which the United Statesand the worldare rapidly sinking, provoking a merciful and patient God to judgment. The evidence is so overwhelming that we're blinded to the truth like the proverbial frog in the pot imperceptibly being brought to a boil. Between 1960 and 1990 out-of-wedlock births in the USA increased more than 500 percent (from 5.3 percent to 28 percent), single-parent families tripled, about 50 million babies were murdered in the womb and violent crimes increased 500 percent. About 16,000 crimes occur on or around school campuses each day! Homosexuals now flaunt their sin in public, are fêted and wooed by politicians, thanked and indulged by our president for their part in voting him in, and their perversion rewarded with privileged status. It's Sodom and Gomorrah againor worse!
"You've come a long way, baby!" says the cigarette ad. And so today's woman has. She is free to smoke and destroy her lungs, arteries and heart like a man. She is also free to turn her womb into an execution chamber with the blessing of America's highest court of justice. Popular TV talk show hosts congratulate her for the "courage" to murder her own offspring to protect her "rights." And millions demonstrate in the streets for "the right of choice" not only for abortion but for all manner of "freedoms"homosexuality, bestiality, incest, pedophilia and drugs, brazenly flaunting perversions that would have made past generations blush with shame. Yes, she's come a long way and so have we all.
The liberal, humanist agenda is clear: to do away with God by denying the conscience He has given us. Virtue is ridiculed, evil is praised as good and liberating, and God-given moral standards are mocked as the narrow-minded thinking of a past generation. Inevitably, "negative" judgments about homosexuals, the government or other religions will be forbiddenand likely much sooner than most Christians suspect.
The seeds of this liberal totalitarianism are sprouting even in evangelical circles, where those who dare to oppose false teachings and sin are accused of division, are denied a voice from pulpits, radio and TV, and their books are refused display in many Christian bookstores. To fail to see the connection between the censoring of biblical reproof in the church and the rejection of corrective teaching as "negative," and the coming government ban upon any criticism of immorality, is to be blind indeed.
What is wrong with America is not complicated, nor will expensive government programs cure it. Mankind has rejected God and His standards and has deliberately determined to go its own way. Clinical psychologist Stanton E. Samenow, after studying hundreds of criminals firsthand, wrote in Inside the Criminal Mind, "I had to unlearn nearly everything I had learned in graduate school....We found conventional psychological and sociological formulations about crime and its causes to be erroneous and counterproductive because they provide excuses....From regarding criminals as victims [of past traumas and deprivations] we saw that instead they were victimizers who had freely chosen their way of life...."
Yet the lie persists. Typical is the following from the Tompkins County, New York Mental Health Association Journal: "The [psychological] healing process cannot be completed until the childhood memories that were stuffed into the subconscious during the abuse are remembered, talked about and openly acknowledged. 'The truth shall set us free' remains the basis for all deep psychotherapy...." What a perversion of Christ's words! The truth of which He spoke has no relation to psychotherapy, but sets free from sin by God's supernatural power working in those who repent and obey the gospel.
Every evil in today's world is a continuation of the rebellion against God which began in the Garden of Eden. "[R]epentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 20:21) is the only remedy. Yet the church is diluting the gospel and devoting itself to social and political activism in alliance with the ungodly. Saving the world has replaced saving souls. Those "dead in sin" (Eph 2:1; Col 2:13) are being embalmed, even by Christians, with toxic sociological and psychological formulas instead of being raised to new life in Christ. Through redefining as mental illness what the Bible labels sin, modern man, like Adam and Eve, still hides from God. Consequently, God is hidden from His creature.
For a generation now the pens and pulpits of prominent evangelicals, following the heretical lead of Norman Vincent Peale and his protégé Robert Schuller, have poured forth an ever- increasing flood of sincere but misguided advice rooted in selfist psychology. Multitudes of Christians have been persuaded thereby that they do not love themselves enough, when, in fact, their real problem is that they do not love God as they ought. Instead of seeking God they are seeking to know themselves. The gospel of self-love and self-esteem, unheard in the church for 1,900 years, was not discovered at this late date through diligent Bible study and Spirit-inspired insight into Scripture. In fact, far from being taught in God's Word, this "new truth" is condemned therein. It has another source.
The facts are undeniable. Christian psychology sprang from godless theories foisted upon society as a rival gospel by psychologists determined to destroy Christianity. Typical was Freud, who was motivated, as research psychiatrist Thomas Szasz reminds us, by "the desire to inflict vengeance upon Christianity." Inexplicably, the enticing speculations of anti-Christiansthough so clearly contradictory to God's Wordhave been welcomed by the church as a new source of "God's truth." Christian psychologist Bruce Narramore has unashamedly admitted that the theory (now popularly accepted as evangelical truth) that self-love and self-esteem are desirable originated with humanists and only recently has begun to be embraced by Christians:
Under the influence of humanistic psychologists like Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow, many of us Christians have begun to see our need for self-love and self-esteem.
That Maslow reversed Christ's "seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness"(Mt 6:33) and put spiritual needs last did not deter Christian leaders from proclaiming his "hierarchy of needs" as a newly discovered part of "God's truth." Nor did it concern Christian psychologists who built upon his theories that Rogers called self the "god within" and advocated worshiping at its altar. Christian psychology brazenly turned Christ's "deny self" into "love, esteem, accept, develop, assert and highly value self"and almost no one seemed to notice the contradiction. That Robert Schuller would declare that Christ had endured the cross to sanctify His and our self-esteem was not surprising. But it was shocking how many evangelical leaders would endorse his books and ministry and how eagerly unbiblical humanistic theories were embraced by Bible scholar/shepherds and taught to trusting sheep. (See "Q&A.")
Inspired with anti-Christian ideas, an ever-growing number of today's prominent evangelicals preach sermons and write books glorifying selfand Christians love it. Leading Christian publishers eagerly use their presses and prestige to proclaim the popular new gospel. Christian psychologists and psychiatrists, the new infallible authorities on spiritual problems affecting individuals and families, with their new source of "God's truth" (Freud, Jung, Maslow, Rogers, et al.), are the most sought-after conference speakers, while the growing budget to advertise their expanding and lucrative empires of clinics and counseling centers has sparked an explosion in Christian radio. The two top-rated programs are hosted, not by Bible teachers, but by a psychologist and two psychiatrists. "America's foremost authority on the family," the most trusted advisor in the church, is a psychologist who (according to his office) deliberately avoids an emphasis upon God's Word, and bases his counsel upon humanistic psychology, especially the theory of self-esteem. A psychologized view of Scripture has become the standard belief in evangelical churches, seminaries and universities. Those who oppose it as unbiblical are dismissed as ignorant, narrowminded and unscholarly.
The greatest growth in both the world and the church has been in the numbers of those dispensing and those receiving psychological counsel. At the same time, the number of Christians involved in immorality, divorce and the living of frustrated, unhappy lives has kept pace with exploding wickedness among the ungodly. And why not, since both follow the same theories? Like the unsaved, most Christians are convinced of an urgent need to esteem and value themselves more highlywhen, in reality, they already esteem and value themselves too highly and care too little for others and God!
There can be no doubt that we are in the "perilous times" which Paul warned would be characterized by men being "lovers of their own selves" (2 Tm 3:1,2). Men have always been narcissistic, but for the first time in history self-love is praised and promotedand selfishly "looking out for Number 1" is a virtue! Even among evangelicals God commands little reverence and is generally treated as though He exists primarily to fulfill man's desires.
Multitudes of Christians uncritically accept heresy from a Benny Hinn who promises physical healing, but they refuse correction which would bring desperately needed spiritual healing. Millions seek happiness, but few desire holiness. The gifts are eagerly sought; the Giver is slighted. The pursuit is of blessings rather than the Blesser. Paul's desire "That I may know him" (Phil 3:10) has been exchanged for "That I might know myself and have my plans blessed by Him." Yet the Bible plainly states that God "is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him" (Heb 11:6).
Many Christians selfishly think this verse provides a formula for getting a car, house, good job and other things from God. Yet what a bad bargain it would be to receive the whole world instead of Him! God wants to reward us with Himself, but most Christians are seeking everything else. Yes, we do have needs in this life and He has promised to meet them. But He has told us to seek first the kingdom of God (which is "not meat and drink" [Rom 14:17] but Himself reigning in our hearts) and His righteousness (Mt 6:33), and whatever needs we have will be supplied. Those who seek God with the whole heart have no anxieties! This, not psychological therapy, is the antidote for unhappy or fearful souls.
Today's world is rushing headlong to judgment. Many Christians, caught up in the mad pace, find little time for the one worthwhile pursuit both for this life and the next: knowing God. Christianity has been formularized: a few songs, some prayers, a brief, uplifting sermon, hasty parking lot greetings; then, conscience too easily appeased, a hurried departure to the real world of earthly pursuits and pleasures. How paradoxical that the lives of His followers leave so little room for God! It is not our natural bent to seek Him but rather to hide from Him. We can only seek God as He first has sought us and draws us to Himself through the wooing of His Holy Spirit in our hearts. This He will do if it is our true and deep desire.
What does it mean to seek Godand, after all, what is the use? Is He not "a God who hides Himself"? Where is God in Sarajevo? In Somalia? In the Midwest floods, and recent hurricane devastation in Florida? Where is God when we pray and have no sense that anyone is hearing or even cares? Where and why does He hide when we need Him most? Has He no pity for the weeping widow or orphan?
God is not mocked. He is too loving and wise to jump to the aid of those who, having turned a deaf ear to the witness of creation and conscience, now suddenly cry out in disaster for His help. The very tragedy prolonged may prove to be the only means of causing a stubborn heart to turn to Him at last. The cry must be deeper than a plea for mere rescue from trouble. One's utter hopelessness without Godthe opposite of self-esteem, self-worth etc.must be seen and the sin of self-importance and self-will confessed. And one's desperate need of Him, not only in the present circumstances but for eternity, must be confessed if God is to be known.
It is not easy for God to reveal Himself. It requires a passion to know Him on our part. How can He help those who, if He worked a miracle in response to their cry, would give credit to Buddha, to Allah, or to some "spirit" or idol or occult force? Reinforcing faith in false gods would not be a kindness but would only grease the road to hell. God hides Himselfyet not from those who can see, only from those who cannot. The ego of man is so inflated that it obscures the God who fills the universe, whose infinite wisdom and power are conspicuous in every leaf and star.
Men are blinded because of their own false ideas. Most people are not interested in knowing the true God but a "god" who suits their taste, with whom they feel comfortable, and who gives them their desires. Masons, New Agers and members of many of the numerous Twelve Step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous insist that any concept of a "higher power" will do; just believe in "God as you conceive Him to be." God will not reveal Himself to that false faithbut Satan will happily oblige to foster such delusion.
Even many professing Christians have been deceived by popular formulas taught in the church for knowing God. One of the most deadly is the belief that God or Christ can be known by visualizing them as one imagines them. These visual images conjured up in "inner healing" or "two-way prayer" sometimes even speak, and this is the fastest way to pick up an "inner" or "spirit guide"literally a demon masquerading as "God" or "Christ" or "Mary" or whomever one visualizes. The demonization that takes place is not entered into deliberately but is a form of entrapment about which the visualizer cannot complain since he has involved himself in unbiblical techniques which cheapen God and lead in a direction that common sense ought to recognize as deadly.
The Ayatollah Khomeini declared, "The purest joy in Islam is to kill and to be killed for God!" Such is not the God of the Bible, who is love and whose followers He empowers to love even their enemies in His name. Yet the time is coming when God, no longer hiding Himself, will come forth in judgment and all flesh will know that He is God! May our passion be to know and love Him now. May our lives be characterized by a reverent fear of Him. And may we persuade those about us to know, through Jesus Christ, the only true God, whom to know is life eternal.
[i]The God Who Hides Himself[/i]
[url=http://www.thebereancall.org/]The Berean Call[/url]
| 2006/9/21 10:32||Profile|
The Christian answer is remarkable simple. God is, or, God is 'I am that I am' (Exod 3v14). Because God is (being is a key concept in existentialism), it is He that defines existence. As a non-christian, by Adam's sin, I am cut-off from a knowledge of God (John 17v3), therefore I do not have any knowledge of true existence, though strive by many means to understand my own existence (if I want to, most don't bother). However, I cannot (1 Cor 1v21), which is what drives some philosophers insane. Once I have received the Holy Spirit, I am once again connected, joined (1Cor 6v17) etc to God (Eph2v18) and now understand, in my spirit, not what my existence is, but what existence is, in the sense of who God is. It is critical to remember that the Holy Spirit is part of the Godhead, and is one Spirit (1 Cor12v13). That is, we are not all indwelt by different holy spirits, but by the same Spirit (1Cor 12v4 etc), which remains forever part of the Godhead, making us aware, not of ourselves (self), but of God, and in that existence. Where most philosphy goes wrong, understandably, is to define God based on our existence, whereas we need to understand our existence is define (better created) by God.....and worship.
Now being filled with the Spirit may not immediately provide the full understanding for a person, because the mind needs to be renewed (Rom12v2), but that will come with time.
| 2006/9/21 12:52||Profile|
| Re: lot of answers but then what?|
.. if we could discuss this answer rather than getting carried away with philosphical worldviews.
And yet... how can one know which answers to provide without going through the untidy process of trying to understand the problem? I found the various responses most enlightening. It sure got me thinking, not that I yet understand it by a long shot.
I have come to see that answers are in abundance not merely in the Bible, but in creation itself. (Rom 1:20) God sure has no problem making himself known.
In my opinion, we have plenty of definitions of the problem and plenty of answers to the problem. Yet there is a big gap between the two (a typical dilemma of ours). Applying ideal answers all too often ends up like water off a ducks back.
Perhaps it is not more answers that we need, but the ability to see where and how existentialism subtly infiltrates our culture and lives, and how to bring it into conscious awareness (conviction). I once read the term, existential evangelicalism. Now that may be something worth exploring. It brings the problem from out there to in here not a bad idea. After all, its hard to remove the speck when we are blinded by a log.
I recently heard about the book, The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist, which seems to relate closely to your point:
Bread is need for existence, Money is required for existence. Money cannot be equated to essence from a Christian worldview.
The writer does not aim to present a Christian view per se but from the explanation given me, it may very well be one tiny, but effective step in breaking through the illusion barrier.
| 2006/9/22 9:31||Profile|
| Re: existentialism|
Quote:Fear of failure?
Applying ideal answers all too often ends up like water off a ducks back.
| 2006/9/22 9:35|