Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Ephesians 1

This is apparently another letter from Paul, although according to the Wikipedia article there is some debate that it might be a Paul groupie.

Greeting (v1-2)

Paul says hi and wishes the Ephesians grace from God.

Spiritual Blessings in Christ (v3-14)

Blessed be to God who has saved us. He predestined us since before the creation of the world to be followers of Christ and to be blessed.

This seems to be one of those things that is only good if you don't think about it too hard. It might sound great to be predestined to be one of the lucky ones. But then what about anyone who doesn't follow Christ? Doesn't it follow that they were also predestined to not follow him? You are basically being rewarded and they are being punished because of a decision God made long before you were even born. Even if you try to justify it by saying they are sinners and you are not, it still comes down to the fact that God decided before the earth was created that you would be saved (and therefore didn't sin) and they would not (and therefore did sin).

Thanksgiving and Prayer(v15-23)

Paul says that he is happy at the Ephesians faith and then talks about how awesome God is.

For the overview post (If you think I should add or remove stuff from this list please let me know, I think it would make good conversation) 


1:5,11 Who is and isn't a Christian is predestined by God (note: this is bad because of hell)


  1. I don't understand this idea of predestination either. If there was an all powerful all knowing God with this ability, who could create people that will only end up in Hell for eternity, how is that compatible with an all loving God? I could see the idea going along with a non omnibenevolent God, but not really with one.

    1. Yeah that is the thing, as long as God is omnibenevolent this makes no sense at all. If you remove omnibenevolent then sure, this becomes logically tenable, but then you have the situation where God is throwing people in hell for eternity because of things that god made them do. It seems to me that God is not simply "not omnibenevolent", seems to me he is evil.

  2. I think that even if he just used others as "tools" to test others and then just made them nonexistent anymore its still pretty messed up. Why make us conscious humans who can feel. Why not some "robot" like entities. On second thought some really messed up things have been said about athesits that have gone unchallenged with the general public like we are terrible, don't have "souls," or some other nasty things. Bush I said something along the lines that we shouldn't be citizens.

    Anyway, I say this because depending on what verses they want to use, I've talked to Christians who have been able to justify hell as being eternal and others who use different verses to say it is.

    1. Good question. I guess for me, the punishment is what makes the predestination thing really messed up. How can you punish people for doing things you forced them to do? But suppose there was no hell, like you said what if non-christians are just tools who just dissolve away when we die? That has other problems such as people who live their whole lives in pain, but all told my life (for example) is pretty good. Suppose God was real and I was put here by God for some greater purpose for his followers. If he has 2 options, 1. make me exactly like I am and when I die it's over, 2. make me some kind of robot who doesn't feel. Isn't 1 still a better option for me? Isn't it better for me to have this 1 life (even if I am missing out on the afterlife) compared to nothing at all?

      This is a little off the cuff and not necessarily well thought out, thoughts?

    2. In my view you are completely right.
      /rant. Being an atheist, I know that suffering in this world sucks, but it is what it is. It is our duty as decent human beings to alleviate that suffering any way we can on our fellow man. Any sort of planned cruelty on other humans is awful, no matter what your spin on it is. By this, I don't mean things like sending your kid to their room if they were bad. I hear analogies like that a lot when talking to Christians. "God puts these things here to test us and help make us better people." Really? Like genocides? People starving to death on massive scales? There is a big difference between doing something like making you wait long times for the bus to teach you patience and the above examples. It's strange that we hold a different standard to god. God wipes out every man woman, and child, on the whole planet, save a drunk asshole and his family, "its all good." When Pol Pot kills millions of people, we don't say, "well he has a plan for all of us." We call him out on being the horrible douche nozzle that he is. A good god should be held to a higher standard, particularly since he can fix it if he wanted too. How is killing someone teaching them a lesson? I think I mentioned earlier about the funeral mass I went to for a friend I knew in childhood that was killed by a drunk driver. The priest was telling the family that this was a test from God. They were eating it up. I was pretty pissed about and walked out the next time everyone stood. God had to kill him in order to teach his family forgiveness?! WTF!? I'm sure there could be another way. The friend sure didn't learn anything. He's dead. I think I got a little sidetracked in my point, but back to the punishment for predestination thing.. It's like forcing someone to do something they can't physically stop, but will result in them suffering. Coming to mind, some of the torture methods of the Inquisition.


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