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God s Two Arbitrary Commands? – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: God

Gods Two Arbitrary Commands?
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  • In the middle of the garden stood the tree that
    gives life and the tree that gives knowledge of
    what is good and what is badYou may eat the
    fruit of any tree in the garden, except the tree
    that gives knowledge of what is good and what is
    bad. You must not eat the fruit of that tree if
    you do, you will die the same day. (Genesis
    216-17 GNB)
  • The woman stared at the fruit. It looked
    beautiful and tasty. (Genesis 36 CEV)

  • Adam was but human - this explains it all.  He
    did not want the apple for the apple's sake, he
    wanted it only because it was forbidden.
  • Mark Twain

Irrational Command
  • Sheer irrationality of the command not to eat of
    the tree, and of the threat to deprive of life if
    it was eaten, has had great effect on the history
    of understanding for it has been read as if to
    mean that the slightest deviation from the
    slightest divine command, however devoid of
    perceptible ethical basis that command might be,
    was and must be a totally catastrophic sin which
    would estrange from God not only the immediate
    offender but also all future descendants and
    indeed all future humanity. - Barr, Garden of

Arbitrary Prohibition
  • It is God who is placed in a rather ambiguous
    light. He has made an ethically arbitrary
    prohibition, and backed it up with a threat to
    kill, which in the event, he does nothing to
    carry out.
  • The person who comes out of this story with a
    slightly shaky moral record is, of course, God.
    Why does he want to keep eternal life for himself
    and not let them share it? Even more seriously,
    why does he not want them to have knowledge of
    good and evil? - Barr, Garden of Eden, 12, 14.

Killer Tree
  • Since, then, the Garden in that place is one,
    why does the text say that each of the trees is
    to be treated as something separate, and that
    both of them are at the center, when the account
    which tells us that the works of God are very
    good teaches that the killer-tree is no part of
    Gods planting?
  • Gregory of Nyssa, Hom. in Cant., praef. (GNO
    610.17-11.5., quoted in Richard A. Norris, Jr.,
    Two Trees in the Midst of the Garden (Genesis
    29b) Gregory of Nyssa and the Puzzle of Human
    Evil, in In Dominico Eloquio Essays in
    Patristic Exegesis in Honor of Robert Louis
    Wilken, ed. Paul Blowers (Grand Rapids Eerdmans,
    2002), 220.

  • A simple test was given to Adam and Eve, to see
    whether they wouldin their freedomobey the
    Lord. (2Q 2011 SS Quarterly)
  • A trial of obedience that Adam, by observing it,
    might prove his willing submission to the command
    of God. (Calvin)

The Sabbath
  • A stern commandment (Luther)
  • The fourth commandment is, in a sense, a test
    commandmentIn a certain sense, the Sabbath is
    arbitrary. Why the seventh day over any other?
    Its because God said so, thats why. Theres a
    lot of obvious and apparent logic in not
    stealing, not killing, not coveting, and so
    forth. You dont have to be a Christian to follow
    those precepts many non-Christians do. But to
    obey the seventh-day Sabbath, which isnt rooted
    in any natural phenomena, is to reveal a
    willingness to obey simply because God tells us
    to. (1Q 2009 SS Quarterly)

Arbitrary - dictionary
  • despotic tyrannical, capricious unreasonable
  • marked by or resulting from the unrestrained and
    often tyrannical exercise of power
  • determined by chance, whim, or impulse, and not
    by necessity, reason, or principle
  • arbitrary is often used in a negative way to
    describe a set of rules or a ruling by a judge
    that doesn't seem to follow a logical or legal
    thought process.
  • actions that lack a meaningful goal or outcome
  • associated with Nihilism, the philosophy that
    believes that there is no purpose in the
    universe, and that every choice is arbitrary

  • The dress code ruling at our school was
    completely arbitrary. The principle would give no
    rationale for how the decisions were made.
  • The judge's ruling seemed arbitrary and not
    based on a rational interpretation of the law or
    of any precedent.

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Then war broke out in heaven (Rev. 127)
  • In the beginning God created the heavens and the
    earth. The earth was formless and void, and
    darkness was over the surface of the deep, and
    the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of
    the waters. Then God said, Let there be light
    and there was light. (Genesis 11-3 NASB)
  • Formless (tohu) a worthless thing, desert,
    chaos, confusion, empty place, void
  • Void (bohu) an undistinguishable ruin

  • Enemies are coming from a country far away.
    These enemies will shout against the cities of
    Judah and will surround Jerusalem like men
    guarding a field, because her people have
    rebelledThe LORD says, My people are stupid
    they dont know me. They are like foolish
    children they have no understanding. They are
    experts at doing what is evil, but failures at
    doing what is good. I looked at the earth---it
    was a barren waste (formless and void) at the
    sky---there was no light. (Jeremiah 416-18,
    22-28 GNB)

  • There are several aspects of the Genesis
    narrative that indicate that, while the creation
    of Genesis 12 onwards is good, it is set in
    the context of a broader environment that is not
    altogether good.
  • Boyd, God at War

tohu wabohu
  • The forces that oppose Yahweh and his acts of
    creationthe forces of disorder, injustice,
    affliction, and chaos, which are, in the
    Israelite worldview, one.
  • Jon Levenson, Persistence of Evil

  • In the beginning God created the heavens and the
    earth. The earth was formless and void, and
    darkness was over the surface of the deep, and
    the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of
    the waters. Then God said, Let there be light
    and there was light. (Genesis 11-3 NASB)
  • choshek figuratively misery, destruction,
    death, ignorance, sorrow, wickedness

NET Bible footnotes
  • The Hebrew word simply means darkness but in
    the Bible it has come to symbolize what opposes
    God, such as judgment (Exodus 1021), death
    (Psalm 8813), oppression (Isaiah 91), the
    wicked (1 Samuel 29) and in general, sin.
  • He will protect His faithful ones, but the
    wicked will disappear in darkness. (1 Samuel 29

  • God blessed them and God said to them, Be
    fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and
    subdue it (Genesis 128 NASB, NKJV, ESV)
  • bring it under your control (GNB, CEV)
  • Subdue to enslave, to conquer

  • Then the LORD God placed the man in the Garden
    of Eden to cultivate it and guard it. (Genesis
    215 GNB)

  • This is usually interpreted to mean that Adam
    was simply to till the garden -- as though
    protecting the garden from weeds was his greatest
    concern. But in light of the fact that the
    broader narrative suggests that the ground did
    not become resistant to Adam or produce things
    like weeds until after the rebellion, and in
    light of the fact that a malevolent serpent
    appears in the next chapter with the intent of
    bringing Adam and Eves paradise to ruin (Gen.
    31-5), one could easily argue that Adams charge
    to guard the garden concerned more than weeds.
    He was supposed to protect Eden from malevolent
    forces, represented by the serpent.
  • Greg Boyd, God at War

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  • Now the snake was the most cunning animal that
    the LORD God had made. The snake asked the woman,
    Did God really tell you not to eat fruit from
    any tree in the garden? (Genesis 31 GNB)
  • You may freely eat fruit from every tree of the
    orchard (Genesis 216 NET)

  • We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,
    the woman replied. Its only the fruit from the
    tree in the middle of the garden that we are not
    allowed to eat. God said, You must not eat it or
    even touch it if you do, you will die.
    (Genesis 32-3 NLT)
  • There is a notable change between what the Lord
    God had said and what the woman says. God said
    you may freely eat, but the woman omits the
    emphatic infinitive, saying simply, we may eat.
    Her words do not reflect the sense of eating to
    her hearts content. - NET Bible footnotes

  • The snake replied, Thats not true you will
    not die.. (Genesis 32-4)
  • A blatant negation equal to saying Not you
    will surely die. (NET Bible footnote)

  • God said that because he knows that when you eat
    it, you will be like God and know what is good
    and what is bad. (Genesis 35 GNB)

  • When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the
    man and his wife heard the LORD God walking about
    in the garden. So they hid from the LORD God
    among the trees. Then the LORD God called to the
    man, Where are you? He replied, I heard You
    walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid
    because I was naked. (Genesis 38-10 NLT)

  • Adam The woman you put here with me gave me the
    fruit, and I ate it.
  • The LORD God asked the woman, Why did you do
    this? She replied, The snake tricked me into
    eating it. (Genesis 311-13 GNB)

Punishment or natural consequence?
The punishment for breaking an arbitrary rule
  • Arbitrary rules arbitrary punishment

  • Eve believed the words of Satan, and the belief
    of that falsehood in regard to God's character,
    changed the condition and character of both
    herself and husband. They were changed from good
    and obedient children into transgressors... RH,
    January 5, 1886 par. 8

The tree as a reflection of the war in heaven
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  • From the very beginning he was a murderer and
    has never been on the side of truth, because
    there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie, he
    is only doing what is natural to him, because he
    is a liar and the father of all lies. (John 844)

  • Freedom is the most general of all the laws of
    the universe (Origin)

  • Omnipotence is not to be understood as the power
    of unlimited coercion, but as the power of
    infinite persuasion, the invincible power of
    self-negating, self-sacrificial love. C.B.

  • Evil arose in the context of freedom there
    could not be evil in the absence of freedom. And
    yet freedom only provides the opportunity and is
    not the cause of evil. Freedom is the value that
    God will not surrender even in the face of
    sin...in the Christian account freedom is
    seamlessly tied to the character of God.
  • Sigve Tonstad

  • The angel also showed me the river of the water
    of life, sparkling like crystal, and coming from
    the throne of God and of the Lamb and flowing
    down the middle of the city's street. On each
    side of the river was the tree of life,
    which bears fruit twelve times a year,
    once each month and its
    leaves are for the
    healing of the nations.
    (Revelation 221-2 GNB)
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