I got a great question in the “comments” section. Is it a problem, humanity being free, and God not being all knowing? After all, we do seem to see evidence in numerous place in which God is not all knowing.
In fact, the fundamental premise of christianity is that God does not know whether we will “accept” him or ‘reject” him. But that is where we immediately run into a problem, not only with Paul’s teaching, but with those teachings attributed to Jesus, as in Matthew 13:11. Whatever “it” was that the people of Israel were supposed to know, “it” was not given. Paul says pretty much the same thing in Romans 11:7.
The flaw in christianity that stares us in the face is that if it is necessary to “choose Christ”, there should be something we can choose and know for a fact that we have chosen correctly, yet Jesus(or somebody) gives us the ONE obvious and truthful answer: follow none of them?
Why? Simply because we have no logical reasonable, rational criteria by which we can choose. Any attempt to do so, based on the condition of human ignorance, would only produce increasing chaos and confusion, and we are told that God is not the author of confusion.
If you believe in confusion, therefore, you don;t believe in God. But by the same token(for the atheist’s benefit), if you believe in truth, you cannot believe in confusion, since truth must be consistent with all truth. Therefore, if you believe in “God” and “truth” as a basis of anything worth believing in, you would have to assume that one is basically the same as the other.
EXCEPT for one big problem: Paul says the natural mind is enmity against God and cannot be subject to God’s laws. Jesus himself(allegedly) refers to truth in that same sense when he speaks of the “spirit of truth” in John 14:17: “Even the spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive…”
Truth is not “received”, nor is it a ‘given”. We see this indicated in Matthew 7:14. “Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it”.
Notice, it didn’t say “choose it”. It said “find it”.
How would one know when they have found truth? They would know when they realized that other humans can no more tap into the truth in any absolute sense than they, the individual, can.
That is exactly consistent with the quote I gave of Ayn Rand in my other post.
Are we free from God? First, is there even a God? How do we possibly define God? What process of choices can we assume that leads us to God? We simply don’t know. But we CAN test the limits of the knowledge of man! We know now mathematically that it is simply impossible to contain all truth in one single package, and any attempt to organize truth will only lead to an infinity of undecidable propositions!
Look at “christianity” around you today. What do you see? Over 38,000 versions estimated within christianity, and who knows how many religious ideas outside of christianity.
Is the natural mind, therefore, subject to God? Every scrap of physical evidence says no! Romans 8:7, therefore, must have been correct, and if that was correct, then so must Romans 9:16-22 be correct. We simply have no process of choice as to the “one true way” to God!
Like the punchline of the old joke says, you can’t get there from here!
So, in what context are you free? It means you’re free from men(or women) who try to tell you “this way to God!”. As “Ex-Android” pointed out, “belief is not akin to truth”. However, if I get an idea that something is true, then I must believe that if I pursue it, it can be proven one way or another. I may not know it to be true, but I can believe it to be true and seek to prove it or disprove it. Or to put it in more scientific terms, in order to prove something, it must be falsifiable. If it can be proven true, you must also have the ability to prove it false.
Can I prove there is a God? No. Can I prove there is not a God? No. In order to prove either conclusion, I must have some way of showing the possibility of a belief being false, and we simply do not have that kind of knowledge.
Consequently, we must prove what is true in terms of physical evidence. If “God” is shown to be inconsistent with physical evidence, then we must reject “God” to the extent we can show inconsistency. But keep in mind that in absolute terms of “infinity”, there is no way to demonstrate the consistency of our thinking from within that system itself!
What odes it mean? Again, it means we can’t get from “here” to “truth” in any ABSOLUTE SENSE, nor can we get from “here” to “God” as an absolute representation of truth!
Therefore, our freedom, whether atheist or “christian”, must consist of being free from ALL authority structures of men! 1 Cor 7:23: “..be ye not the servants of men”.
1Cor 9:19: “For though I be free from all men…”
2 Peter 2:19: “While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage”.
The RSV says “he is ENSLAVED”. So what did Jesus say? “If any man says to you, Lo, here is Christ, or there, believe it not”(Matthew 24;23).
The atheist and the TRUE christian find unity in that statement. If you would follow truth, you cannot follow men, and that definitely includes religions of men(and they ALL are religions of men or women). If you would be free, you must learn to think for yourselves!
proselytizing? See what Jesus said about the dominant religious leaders of his day: “For ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more a child of hell than yourselves(Matt.23:15)”.
As Hebrews 4:12 tells us, the truth is like a two edged sword. It cuts collectivism both ways. The statements in Romans 8:7, 8:29-30, and 9:16-22, cuts collectivism both in terms of christianity AND in terms of the collectivism of atheism. There is no “us” and “them”, because no person can have a monopoly on truth.
“ye shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free”. You can’t have two “truths”. Truth is consistent with all truth.