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Vu Deja May Be Part of the Answer

DSC00181_SnapseedWhile wondering why trust is so important to God that he put a deadly tree in the middle of paradise; and then made “trust” not only the means of avoiding that tree—but the antidote for being born of the parents who didn’t—I’ve been thinking about a  short song (Psalm 131:1-3).

In the process I bumped into an ad for a book titled “Higher Unlearning”, a related blog called “Unlearning 101” and then a quote about “the practice of “Vu Deja”‘, the opposite of “Déjà vu” in which the author says, “We’ve all experienced déjà vu, looking at an unfamiliar situation and feeling like we’ve seen it before. It turns out the most successful and creative people flip this around and consciously practice “vu déjà”–looking at a familiar situation as if you’ve never seen it before.”

In that light, it looks like we’ve never seen this day before. Nor, on second look, can any of us clearly see the line between why we must trust our eyes (5 senses) as we step through it, and why we cannot afford to do so.

So would you agree that the dangerous tree in the middle of the garden must have been—not only an opportunity to experience the gift of freedom, but also a reality check? As much as we might live in the “likeness and image of God”… isn’t it such an understatement to say…We don’t see as God sees. We don’t know what God knows. We cannot really see beyond this present moment, just as we can barely begin to see or understand all that is in it (this moment)…

When we begin to think about what we don’t know—that we can so easily ignore while being preoccupied with the few things we do know—we can, I think, begin to see why trust is so important to God, and to ourselves.

It must have something to do with what the king of Israel was thinking when he wrote the lyrics of what we now call “Song 131”. He (that king) in turn foreshadows the One who brought trust to fullness of meaning. If Jesus had to pray… and if Jesus said that he didn’t do anything without depending on his Father’s eyes and words…

Psalm 131:1-3

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39 Responses to “Vu Deja May Be Part of the Answer”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    You know Mart I’ve always seen the *tree* in the garden as temptation, you have presented it interestingly as a mechanism for developing trust.

    I would suppose in the same way a young man might walk past a strip club or porno parlor.

    It also rises up in me the words of Jesus saying if we even *want* to *go to the tree* or in the illustration I posed, want stop in for a look, we already have gone too far past that *obedient* trust.

    I experience Déjà vu all the time; I won’t deny it is an experience that is very thought provoking. Vu Deja is how all the remainder of every waking moment is for me.

    Not knowing the future and trusting it to God is the more freeing position I can rest in.

    I believe, and I trust, especially when my eyes and the voices around me declare themselves in the opposite of trust; fear, worry, calamity….evil.


  2. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All —

    My take on Psalm 131, ever since the great blessing of motherhood, is that the child sleeping in his/her mother’s arms is not weaned once and for all. Rather, the baby has just nursed and is filled, content and completely relaxed and at rest right where the child belongs.

    Our Heavenly Father does give us “not only an opportunity to experience the gift of freedom, but also a reality check?” — as you put it, Mart. Does this not sound like a toddler’s first brave launching out from mothers and father’s arms? We always run back, just as a little child does. If you have not hit “close” in disgust, it may be that humility is a gift, not a curse — and freedom is a test, not a right.


  3. tracey5tgbtg says:

    One thing that I keep thinking about is that how could Adam and Eve know the difference between right and wrong, good and evil before they ate the fruit from the tree? How could they know the “evil” of following a temptor if they did not yet know the difference between good and evil?

    A new born infant has no concept of good and evil, and therefore we don’t judge infants of good or evil intent. An infant is totally dependent on others. His life is total trust in a caregiver, and the infant doesn’t even realize it.

    Everyone starts out that way, but to all comes the realization that we are capable of doing what we were told not to do, or vice versa. “I know Mom said to wait to have a cookie, but she won’t notice if I have just one.” Then we come to realize our hearts are evil. Romans 7:7-8 As soon as we know what we should or shouldn’t do, immediately it becomes a struggle.

    But why am I saying all this? The topic is trusting God even though we cannot understand perfectly or see Him clearly.

    Mart, you wrote: “Nor, on second look, can any of us clearly see the line between why we must trust our eyes (5 senses) as we step through it, and why we cannot afford to do so.”

    We have to trust our own abilities to see right and wrong, but we can’t trust in our own abilities to make ourselves right. (Did I understand that correctly?)

    Back to the kid with the cookie. What about the kid who thinks “Mom said I have to wait to have a cookie and I did. I’m better than my brother because he took one.”

  4. BruceC says:

    Hope that I don’t get too “deep” in my thinking as when I do I usually go over my head.
    Sometimes I think that because God gave Adam and Eve free will that had they not chose to eat of the tree maybe they would have thought it was a good thing that “they had done”? Like pride? They kept themselves in their Eden because of “their” choice? I don’t know.
    I do know that many centuries later Jesus hung on a tree. And on that tree was all knowledge of good and evil. Good because Jesus was sinless; and evil because He carried in His body the sins of the world. But this tree was a choosing God and not of man; so all glory is His. He shares glory with no one.
    So when I think of trust I see one end of a rope in a tug of war . On the other end is our flesh; doing it our way. How wretched we are that even with the Holy Spirit in us we fall and fail. And then our loving Father that we place our trust in helps us up to our feet yet again. We trust God to do it; to live through us and in us by the Holy Spirit. To fight on our behalf in this battle with the flesh and the dark powers.
    Trust as has been said is a moment to moment thing and very tough to do. Just look at our original parents.
    Maybe I should be using the word yield instead of trust.

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  5. poohpity says:

    This seems also to be like the definition of insanity repeating the same behavior over and over and expecting different results. We know the familiar and the results but so very often we start in it again even knowing what the results are. Learning not to repeat the same mistakes means we have really learned.

    The familiarity of the Bible and reading the mistakes that many before us have made yet we think if we do something then it will be different. The things God asked us to be obedient to (milk) has the results of being like that weaned child secure knowing we have received and know what it is that pleases our God if we find our trust Him that is where we find our safety and security.

    This is a very great topic for me and very convicting. Showing that I have not learned all that I think I know because I continue to put my self in the same situations thinking it my be different but it never is.

  6. billystan454 says:

    “Let no one say when he is tempted’ ‘I am tempted by God”: for God cannot be temted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.” (James 1:13-14)
    In the garden God told Adam and Eve not to eat of the tree, that if we do it will bring death. If Adam and Eve had not eaten of that tree we would not be here. Over and over the Bible tells us God desires that all should be saved. “For this (prayer) is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of truth.” (1 Timothy 2:3-4)
    In Genesis 2:9, our tree is called two different names meaning the beginnng of free will. God refers to the tree as both the “tree of life” and the tree of “knowledge of good and evil.” He also warns Adam in verse 17; “surely you will die.” God was not telling them they would physically die but that they would spiritually die.
    Following along the next clue is in 3:1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field.” We got our sustenance from the field making us. “beasts of the field” Are we not constantly reminded, “that you are what you eat.”? Then using his intelect the serpent (Satan)says to Eve, “For God knows that in the day you eat of ityour eyes will be opened, and you will be like God knowing good and evil.
    My question is this: If we already had a dree will why does Satan tell us, “you will be like God knowing good and evil?

  7. poohpity says:

    billystan, are you saying there was only one tree in the garden known by different names? To your question; I think having free will we either make a choice to do what God tells us or not. Being tempted to be like God knowing and doing what is in the best interest in life without the omniscience of God without the wisdom needed to control those honors or power is what causes so much trouble in people lives. They want the Glory without really having the omnipresence or omnipotence the inability to see beyond the moment so they live in the moment never thinking or caring what the consequences of the actions will be to others or themselves.

  8. poohpity says:

    I have often wondered if Adam and Eve even knew what death was since all they seemed to have experienced with God thus far was life. If they had known would they still have eaten? We know what the consequences are for our behaviors yet we still do them, so I do not know for sure.

  9. fadingman says:

    Even today (and speaking of mankind in general), do any of us really know what death is? After all, mankind still eats all kinds of “forbidden fruit” today.

    In one sense, the only people who know what physical death is are the ones who have experienced it. And the only people who know what *spiritual* death is are the ones who have either been saved from it, or have passed on to the second death.

    I think Adam and Eve were the only humans who understood death. They started out spiritually alive and lost it. The rest of us began our lives spiritually dead, ignorant of what mankind lost at the beginning.

  10. SFDBWV says:

    Today we have information overload and worse we also with it have incorrect information overload. It takes work to ferret out which is which.

    In all of our libraries of collected information are the supposed facts and thoughts of generations of mankind. Yet in the scope of things we really know very little about the world and universe we live in.

    I just loved tracey5tgbtg’s comment concerning how was it possible for Adam and Eve to know the difference between right and wrong before partaking of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

    Is there a difference between knowing right from wrong and having a knowledge of good and evil?

    Nearly everything written about the events in the Garden of Eden comes from the imagination of people who suffer from generational ignorance of the true events outside of the few accounts found in Genesis.

    I dare say many intellectual theologians discard the events as being literal and are only an overview the fall of man in story form.

    Being a Bible literalist I find my beliefs questioned and attacked all the time by people who want the Word of God to fit into their ability to understand things as they are. So it goes, one thing for certain there are more things in heaven and earth than dreamt of in our philosophies.

    More shoveling and plowing this morning, and it looks like even more on the way this week; we should be seeing Robins here pretty soon even with 11 inches of snow pack still on the ground.


  11. poohpity says:

    fadingman, that was really something to think about.

    To take the time like Jesus to pray and ask for the Father’s Will we can either do that will or make a choice to ignore it. With the written word we already know the will of the Father and we can also know the consequences of going our own way. Which will we choose? If we have made a bad choice before will we make the choice for the opposite? I can not begin to say how many times I have chosen to repeat without asking for strength to do things differently.

  12. SFDBWV says:

    What a very uncomfortable position to be in trying to figure out God. Knowing only what we have been given how ever can we rise above that?

    Actually I am experiencing a little déjà vu as I do believe this is a subject we have explored before.

    Information is given out from the top down on a *need to know* basis.

    We are given just enough information to take us where God wants us to be and no more.

    In the prayer Jesus gave us as a guide to proper prayer it is God’s will we ask for, not ever knowing for certain what it is, only *trusting* it to be a better plan than one we could devise.

    Speaking of déjà vu I was about shoveling and plowing snow again today and it looks like Wednesday is going to add insult to injury concerning the matter.

    I start each day here in my back yard with prayer asking for many things and trusting them all to He to whom I pray.

    I enjoyed some of the “Bible” series last night on “The History Channel”, but was only able to see the second hour as life and serving the needs of others always takes priority over my wants.


  13. billystan454 says:

    Stefve, I couldn’t adree with you more. When in prayer we ask God that His will and His alone be done in our lives. My most used prayer is simply God, allow me to do Your will today and Your’s alone.
    Thank you for your words.

  14. Bill says:

    Mart, you wrote:

    “While wondering why trust is so important to God that he put a deadly tree in the middle of paradise; and then made ‘trust’ not only the means of avoiding that tree—but the antidote for being born of the parents who didn’t—I’ve been thinking about a short song…”

    That tree. The choice. The results.

    I tend to be like Steve and Bruce. I think deeply, ponderously, but I use the Bible as my reference point.

    Given the Garden of Eden story, the biggest question that arises is this:

    “Why did God — knowing that we as a species, as His creation, would make the wrong choice in the Garden and plunge subsequent countless generations into darkness, death, despair, destruction, fear, war, anger, starvation, suffering — create us anyway?”

    The inevitable follow-up question is this:

    “On top of that, why would He then choose whom among the suffering masses He would save, and whom He would doom to an eternity of punishment in hell?”

    I know we speak a lot about God’s love. I write about it all the time. But, seriously, what kind of God would knowingly create that which He KNEW would cause unimaginable pain and suffering (think of Hitler, Mao, Stalin, the Japanese invasion of China and the Nanking Massacre, abortion) and then choose to save some…and doom others to eternity in hell? How much pain and suffering does God wish us to endure — in this life and throughout eternity?

    Following that line of reasoning comes the ultimate question: “How can we trust such a God?”

    This, I believe, is the fundamental argument atheists, agnostics, and even Christians have against God, trust, and the entire story of the Bible as we’ve come to believe it: It doesn’t make a lick of sense. Something about the narrative doesn’t add up. Either we’ve gotten the story wrong, or our God is no different from any other capricious Deity worshiped (and/or feared) from the beginning of time.

    So these questions Mart has been posting are such that have no answer regardless of how many times I read the Bible or books of theology. My friends who pose them to me merely get a shrug of my shoulders. I have no answers for them.



  15. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All –
    Mart, you pose the perspective/discernment problem: If we “consciously practice ‘vu déjà’ –looking at a familiar situation as if you’ve never seen it before.’” Thank-you for that!

    You continue: “In that light, it looks like we’ve never seen this day before. Nor, on second look, can any of us clearly see the line between why we must trust our eyes (5 senses) as we step through it, and why we cannot afford to do so.”

    The knife-edge of perception (5 senses) and judgment (moral discernment) is constantly at work in any individual. The value of suspending judgment, especially of what we think we know, is vital to a transparent witness in the world. Also, we must admit that the senses can be fooled. It seems to me, those who have “Christ in (us), the hope of glory,” (Colossians 1:27) are to receive each day with “vu déjà.”

    God sees to much more than we give God credit for – and we see much less than we believe we do. It is God who is the Master of our fate. Intellectual humility is a rare gift!


  16. poohpity says:

    Every human being has the propensity for degrees of good and evil. If God were a puppet master then He would control us and the world around us but instead made the choice to love us and to force that then it would not really be love.

    We can trust God in that when we make decisions that are harmful we can experience that He can turn them around for good but it does have a condition to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. To those who aren’t they really do not care who they harm or what the consequences are for their behaviors.

    We can read the Bible realizing that much of what we experience has already been seen (deja vu) and can continue to make those unwise decisions or we can trust God and use those things seen already (vu deja) as a basis for wise actions and thoughts knowing there can be a better way. Living a quiet, submissive life devoid of massive failures, no more gossip, rumors, anger, malice but trusting what we have learned through those already seen to live a better life. Not a perfect life but a life where drama is not a norm.

    If we trust God then we will give every effort in our lives to seek, honor and bring Glory to God alone. There will always be horrible people but we can trust them into God’s hand to administer their judgement and just pay attention to whether we each are doing what God has intended for us to do. To be that glimpse of light in a dark world.

  17. remarutho says:

    Hi Pooh —

    You wrote: “Not a perfect life but a life where drama is not a norm.”

    It seems to me you are speaking of “emotional maturity” as much as intellectual and spiritual humility here. The group of individuals who sit in the “driver’s seat” and seek to be noticed for their exercise of “personal freedom” is a big club in the world. (Just observing; no judgment intended.)

    Those who, as you put it, do not indulge in “high drama” are ones who have perhaps ripened on the tree a bit. I have recently taken to heart a piece of wisdom from the prophet Isaiah: “Therefore thus says the Lord God, ‘Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed.” (translated “will not make haste” in the KJV) Isaiah 28:16

    Thanks for the good word!

    PS I notice we have spell check on board at BTA now! Thanks! Very helpful for the likes of me. :0)

  18. kingdomkid7 says:

    We can fully trust a God who would condescend to our level and die an innocent death on a cross for us, while we were still sinners — very unloveable.
    “Vu déjà” says to me that if I apply the cross to every situation, I can find peace in the situations, because of the love underlying that magnificent sacrifice made for me, for all. And at that point, I realize that maybe I don’t need to have the answers to all of life’s thorny questions. I probably wouldn’t understand the answers anyway, because my thoughts and ways are simply lower than God’s. The bottom line for me is that the cross makes everything new. I trust a God who loves like that.

  19. SFDBWV says:

    Bill many people have *pondered* the same questions you have put forth and many have attempted to satisfy their own intellect with an answer that seems right to them. Never truly knowing whether their hypothesis is any more right than another’s.

    Even if we adopt a policy of never questioning things, still we aren’t the first to do so.

    It is said in Revelation as the world falls apart around them, men will curse God. Whereas when I was younger I thought how stupid they were for such an attitude, but the longer in the tooth I get the more I understand them. Yet they still won’t repent and come to terms with God whereas I have.

    An overview and partial answer from me for your questions is that this entire story is not about people, but rather about God and more importantly about the Son.

    If I were to believe that in the beginning God intended to forever only have one man in all of creation, then *after* seeing that he needed a companion brought Eve from him. I could say that God *learned* and that concept makes me set back and rethink my view.

    If I were to take the statement from God that He was sorry for having made man at all, once again I would have to believe that God erred in His judgment in creation.

    To begin to think that God is fallible creates an entire array of *human* possibilities in the nature of God.

    If I were to think that God never intended for there to be a world filled with humans only the one set of Adam and Eve, then I can begin to see how all the rest of creation in the earth could have moved along in perfect harmony. As the population of mankind could only continue to disrupt the natural way of things in the earth, with no way of balancing it out.

    If I were to imagine that God intended for there to be only two humans in all the earth then I could see that once they began to fill the earth with other human’s only calamity, disaster, trouble of every kind and yes all of the unfairness of living would follow.

    Something God never intended, but like a biological horror story once out of the confines of the lab, there was no stopping it.

    The earth and all of creation contaminated by the descendants of disobedient parents, who would continue to disobey and feed from the tree never filled always hungry for more.

    As I watch all of the unfairness and wrongs of this life what I see is that all I can hope to do is ease the pain of life for the people I can one at a time and make their life a little more less unhappy and a little more less painful, but that I can’t fix anything, that I have to trust to God especially the things that I can not understand.

    Go into a children’s cancer hospital and if you won’t ask why God allows such suffering, it can only be because you just don’t believe there is a God.

    There is peace available, but only if we can just take a deep breath close our eyes and say in earnest “I trust you Father”, “I believe your Son, and I just trust you Father”.

    And leave it there.


  20. poohpity says:

    Steve, what about the people you cause emotional pain in their lives by angry retorts, accusing them of things that are not true, gossiping, name calling and put downs rather than having a discussion on the differences of opinion? So do not say you try and stop peoples pain because you never have to me but have injured me beyond what I can express just because I do not agree with you. I have always respected you for your parenting, all you do in your community and just because you are you and have considered you my friend.

    From what I understand from the very beginning Jesus was part of the plan because God knew that all people would be rebellious, stubborn, idol worshipers well just plain ol sinners. God knew what we would do to ourselves and to others along with the things that just naturally happen because He “Vu Deja” has already seen and has already seen what the next thousand years will be. His rules are applicable as long as time exists.

  21. Bill says:

    @Steve, thank you for your reply. I can see that you “get” what I wrote, and that you’ve pondered such questions at one time in your life as well. This was profound:

    “As I watch all of the unfairness and wrongs of this life what I see is that all I can hope to do is ease the pain of life for the people I can one at a time and make their life a little more less unhappy and a little more less painful, but that I can’t fix anything, that I have to trust to God especially the things that I can not understand.”

    You are right.

    @Pooh, do you need a group hug this evening?


  22. kingdomkid7 says:

    Bill, what do you tell your atheist and agnostic friends about the cross?

  23. narrowpathseeker says:

    It’s still cold here and we still have snow on the ground but I’ve been missing the river so I took a walk down there today. I noticed several long smooth blonde sticks scattered along the bank and in the river edge right in front of the glider. I was momentarily baffled as I couldn’t identify what type of tree they came from…

    When I saw one with a small portion of bark left on it I realized that the beavers are back!! One seems to be a baby as the teeth marks are very small and they are chomping on brush rather than the big trees..hope they continue doing the brush:-) There is about 1500- 2000 feet of river that runs through my daughter’s property and the Lord sent the Beaver right to the spot where I spend time with Him. While I am very aware of the damage they can do I am also aware that they are fascinating animals to watch. I get as excited over the free entertainment that God sends me as the concert goers and sports spectators get over theirs.

    I think the Lord wants me to share this with some one here. When struggling with some of the same old uglies that tend to resurface I am Reminded that the disciples fasted often. It seems that when I get a strong thought like that, the next chapter I read in the bible is on that thought, then I will come here or open a devotional at random with words on that same thought. “Fasting” has been popping up all over for me after that Thought. Could it be that the most difficult things we struggle with require fasting with the prayers? I know for certain it is my Directive at this time, but it may be for someone else as well…so as is usual for me, I am off topic but I am hoping this is helpful to someone.

    Sweet dreams everyone.

  24. s2inkzoo says:

    Interesting to thing of the tree in terms of trusting God. Isn’t it the choice we make to either try and gain the knowledge so we can ratify God’s decision, or not really need to consult Him on it, or maybe even just decide if He is doing the “right” thing or not. Or we can just trust Him, that he is making the right choice for us. Like Bill and Steve, I have thought about what was God doing in creating the Garden and putting man there, and the tree, didn’t he know what would happen. Came to the same conclusion as Bill — I don’t know, just have to trust God. I do think that God had created and set everything up so that Adam and Eve could have made the right choice, and if they had, things would have been different. But, that’s just my thought.

    fadingman’s comment did make me stop and think — what would it be like to experience spiritual death?

    Mart’s comment: “When we begin to think about what we don’t know— that we can so easily ignore while being preoccupied with the few things we do know—we can, I think, begin to see why trust is so important to God, and to ourselves.”
    really hit home to me. As I have studied the Bible and prayed more, instead of coming away feeling like I understand more, I just come away realizing how much I don’t know. So, I am thinking that the relationship with God is much more important than the knowledge of God.

  25. Bill says:

    @Kingdomkid7, great question. When I do bring up the subject, I likely say what everyone else here would say:

    “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 ESV)

    I have some angry friends, though. “Christianity” has really done a number on them. They have walked away from me (literally and metaphorically) several times over the years.

    And this is a whole other topic. “Why Trust?” applies to Christians as well. Why should non-Christians trust Christians? Have we given them any reason to do so?

  26. billystan454 says:

    Many, many times, Jesus Christ Our personal Lord and Savior, expressed His heart in the midst of a crowd.We are told to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Put another way to live our lives like His. None of us are perfect, And I believe that is the reason God created forgiveness.
    Personally I believe the pre-destination theory. I believe that while in the course of prepairing for creation God knew man and woman would follow their own path. He knew Eve would pick the forbidden fruit, and He knew Adam would not be very far behind her.
    Everything we do, say, or think God knew. Not saying I will, but say I went to one of our local banks, robbed it, and in the process killed someone. God knew all of that before hand, but in the same breath He did not make it happen, my gift of free will was the culprit. “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drwn away by his own desires and enticed.
    Poohpity, I have not been on this site often enough to know either you or Steve. Although if what you said is true what we are taught in the Word of God has begun. First we are to confront one on one, then if the behaivior continues, two or more, and as we all know finally the entire body. After that it would all be up to Steve, no we cannot kick him off the site, nor would I suggest that. For me, I know that, again if what you say is true, applying the principles Jesus laid out in His Word would be the most productive.
    1) If we are offended by someone else’s behaviour approach that person.
    2) If we have offended another, again approach that person and acknowledge our fault.

  27. Bill says:


    A couple of quick comments:

    1. The older I get and the more I study the Bible, the more I don’t see predestination and election (encapsulated as TULIP in Calvinism) as viable. Or biblical. Frankly, I think predestination and election make God a sadistic monster.

    You wrote:

    “I believe that while in the course of prepairing for creation God knew man and woman would follow their own path. He knew Eve would pick the forbidden fruit, and He knew Adam would not be very far behind her.”

    That’s all well and good, and it sounds very logical. Very reasonable. But you’re not taking your thoughts to their logical conclusion.

    If God knew ahead of time that — as you put it — “man and woman would follow their own path” then it’s really not relevant who’s fault it is that people sin. The unconscionable suffering in the world would not have existed had God not created us.

    Your bank robber analogy breaks down on many levels. Here’s a better analogy:

    I am a screenwriter. I create the world in which my characters live. All that happens to them within my world is because I wrote the screenplay. Had I not written the screenplay, the world and the characters would not exist.

    Even if I allow for inspiration to enable my characters to take on a life of their own (make their own choices), I still created the world in which they live. From Fade In: to Fade Out, it is my world and I am responsible for everything that happens within it.

    So, in effect, God created the world in which Hitler slaughtered six million Jews. He created the world in which the Japanese committed unspeakable atrocities against the Chinese during the Nanking invasion. He created the world that enabled Americans to drop the atomic bombs on Japan. He created the world that allows children to be molested and killed…for rape, murder, disease, starvation to exist…

    You get the picture.

    What does it matter if we have free will or not? God created us even though he KNEW all the horrors that would follow. He is the screenwriter. We are in his world. If he had not typed Fade In: none of this would have happened.

    To make things seem even worse, predestination and election relegate some to heaven and some to hell.

    So people — the very people that God created — suffer unspeakable pain and suffering here on earth…and then an eternity of agony in hell. All because God wills it to be thus.

    And we wonder why non-Christians despise the Gospel?!?!?!

    Regarding Pooh and Steve, you have to keep things in context. I haven’t seen Steve be unkind to Pooh. Steve is a very clear writer. Plus, he, like me, doesn’t waste words. So I don’t take what he writes personally, like he’s being mean to me on a personal level.

    It’s all good. No harm, no foul.


  28. kingdomkid7 says:

    Thanks for taking the time to respond to my question, Bill. Don’t be weary in your well doing. The Holy Spirit will quicken those to whom you are faithfully ministering, but we just never know when the Good News will “kick in” for them. We were all lost causes at one point! ;-)

  29. Bill says:


    Frankly, I’m thankful to you for wading through my posts and asking questions.

    Your posts are always insightful. And your patience is clearly Job-like.

    So…thank YOU. :)

    Have a great day!


  30. kingdomkid7 says:

    My dear brother Bill: Your intelligence and logical gifts far outshine mine, I am sure, but I have a couple of comments (or question??) about your comments to Billystan. Why would we ever blame God for Hitler, when it was people who elected him, people who gave him his authority to set in motion his dastardly plans, and people who continually propped him up? So should God not have created those people either, because he “knew beforehand” that all of those people would err on the side of supporting a dictator and giving him the platform to kill and destroy? Where does that slippery slope end? What is a sovereign God who understands that this world is only a training ground to do? Not create anyone? We all fall short in some ways. We have “murderers” in our spiritual bloodline (David and Moses some to mind). That potential is in each and every one of us. But Jesus . . . is our way of escape. From ourselves. I trust God even with His extravagance in allowing us to “create” and prop up monsters. God is not the monster. We are. That’s how I see it at least. So I agree with Billystan in the end. Sorry Brother!

  31. poohpity says:

    Thank you billystan, I did take those steps and it made things worse. :-(

  32. Bill says:

    Hi Kingdomkid7,


    You wrote:

    “Why would we ever blame God for Hitler, when it was people who elected him, people who gave him his authority to set in motion his dastardly plans, and people who continually propped him up?”

    Who created the human race even though He knew beforehand Hitler would arise a few thousand years later? Or Sodom and Gomorrah before that? Or Cain and Abel before that?

    You wrote:

    “So should God not have created those people either, because he ‘knew beforehand’ that all of those people would err on the side of supporting a dictator and giving him the platform to kill and destroy? Where does that slippery slope end?”

    I’m not sure what you mean by a “slippery slope.”

    And I can’t answer your question. Or, I should say, you can answer it as well as I can.

    Is Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Sodom and Gomorrah, the Nanking Invasion, atomic bombs, rape, murder, starvation, divorce, disease, depression, death, corruption worth creating Adam and Eve for?

    Before you answer, factor in predestination and election (some to heaven, some to hell).

    Wait. Before you answer, go to Wikipedia. Read about the Nanking Invasion. If you can stomach those atrocities, you’re a stronger person than I am. My mind recoils in horror.

    Now, imagine those young Chinese girls raped, tortured, and murdered suffering unspeakable pain and suffering here on earth…and then an eternity of it in hell after they die.

    Now you can answer the question: Was creating Adam and Eve worth that?

    I know how I would answer that question.

    Creating a world that would fall into horror, but saving a few from it, is like a father who rapes his daughter…but makes it up to her buy buying her ice cream afterwards.

    I am not “blaming God” for anything. I’m laying out the facts. The Nanking Invasion would not have occurred had not God created Adam and Even with the capacity to sin and cast all subsequent humanity into darkness.

    It doesn’t matter how evil Hitler was, how stupid the German people were who voted for him, or how gullible the Jewish people were for climbing into the rail cars on the way to Auschwitz. If God truly loves us — enough, in fact, to send His Son to die for us — then why create Adam and Eve with the capacity to sin? And why, after that, predestine some to heaven and some to hell?

    Or, to think of it another way, why waste Jesus’ precious life on saving just some people? Why not save *all* from the pain and suffering of life? Or why create us in the first place?

    To be absolutely honest, I feel incredibly selfish. Sure, I’m glad I get to go to heaven. But my heart is unbelievably heavy for all those who had to suffer now…and then suffer later…just so I could make it past the Pearly Gates. Why am I worthy, but the Chinese girls in Nanking were not? It makes no sense.

    And this is why I cannot explain this point to people who challenge me on it. Because it truly makes no sense.

    Do you see what I mean?

  33. poohpity says:

    If I remember the Bible right God’s plan was that none should perish; John 3:15-16. It seems the way I look at it is that God already knew, not that He picked those who would go to hell and to heaven.

  34. Bill says:

    Absolutely right, Pooh. Although I believe you meant 2 Peter 3:9.

    I’m referring to the hardline Calvinists who believe in Predestination and Election, that God ordained before the beginning of time who would go to heaven, and who would spend eternity hell. There are entire denominations, entire doctrines, that teach and believe that very thing.

    But Predestination and Election are massive cans of worms that cannot be opened. There are no clear answers from Scripture. Some verses indicate He picked who would be saved. Some verses indicate He did not pick who would be saved.

    Yet, even your verse opens up a whole line of discussion that would be fascinating on Steve’s porch watching the clouds roll overhead. If God desires that none should perish, does that mean none should perish and all go to heaven? Or does it mean what God desires doesn’t come to pass?

    Either way, what we call salvation is not a simple thing to explain to people who think very deeply about the Bible.

    Some people believe one can lose his/her salvation.

    Others believe some people are chosen to salvation before the beginning of time.

    Others believe it’s a combination of the two, that we choose God, but that we then have to maintain our salvation through works.

    There are no easy answers.

    That’s why I keep harping on two things: (1) we cannot know for certain what every verse of the BIble means, which ought to make us humble — especially toward each other, and (2) love trumps all.

    But what do I know? I’m just a guy sitting in Michigan looking out a window at a gray winter afternoon.

  35. kingdomkid7 says:

    I don’t have time to respond point for point Bill. But I do know that I do not compare our good God to a Father who rapes his daughter and then buys her ice cream. Either God is good or He is not. I say that He is. A rapist, ice-cream buying God is not good.

    And I also say that the atrocities you list are things He knew would happen, but, again, He did not cause them. And yes, I do have a stomach for atrocity, because I have personally suffered a few from the list. So, yes, I know what it is like to wonder “why God, why”? At first, the darkness in my life actually ran me away from God, but then, by His grace, I was drawn toward Him.

    Here is what I know now: It is not mine to question why. Either I am the clay or I am the potter. Not being the potter, I trust Him enough to work it all out in the end. It is a distraction from living life in the call God has made on our lives to waste our time calling God to account for His salvation plan which looks strange, or mean, or unfair to us. With all due respect, that is a bit arrogant. More importantly, it opens us up to the enemy who will be sure to send us even more doubts about God — when He has called us to lives of FAITH. Calvinism/Schmalvinism. Whatever. Just trust God with those who suffer. Trust Him with heaven and with hell. Trust Him as though your life depends on it — because it does.

  36. Bill says:

    Kingdomkid7, you wrote:

    “But I do know that I do not compare our good God to a Father who rapes his daughter and then buys her ice cream. Either God is good or He is not. I say that He is. A rapist, ice-cream buying God is not good.”

    That made me laugh.

    You know that. And I know that. But there are angry people out there who do not know that.

    I should have put that part of my post in quote marks. A guy I know said that when our discussion started to heat up, as conversations about religion often do.

    It just goes to show you that things aren’t the way they used to be. Thanks to the Internet, contemporary music, television, movies, books, and other people, non-Christians (atheists, agnostics, and those of other traditions), as well as disenfranchised Christians, think differently now from how they used to. Their arguments are just as angry, just as confused as they always were. But now they’re infused with an inundation of information.

    People today are drowning in information. But they’re starving for understanding.

    That’s why Been Thinking About is a great resource.

  37. kingdomkid7 says:

    Glad to make you laugh,Bill! But,seriously,the quotation marks are not needed. I knew you were drawing an absurd analogy. What I am trying to let you know is that I do understand the confusion and anger of the nonbeliever. I was raised around Muslims. I know what it is to be confused. I was stuck in both anger and confusion for years. But I think the Internet is fantastic for helping people out of it. Please do not underestimate the power of God to reach the lost. He knows what He is doing. I saw on a website the other day something that was so simple, but it made me giggle. It was a response to the critique that Jesus’s birth could not be a virgin bith. The person (I assume it was a Christian) asked “why do we find it so hard to believe that God can arrange a virgin birth, when idiots down here can do it now, with the current technology?” That really made me laugh, because it is so true. We can do it, but God can’t. Is that what we really think? We need to worship a bigger God. I recently read Tozer’s “The Attributes of God,” which you have probably already read. After reading it, I was happy to be able to say that my God is so awesomely big and good (words fail here), that I have absolutely nothing to worry about in this life or the next. God’s got this.

  38. billystan454 says:

    Concerning predestination; If there was an error anywhere it was mankinds misuse of his free will. God hates sin, he won’t go near it and with the brillience of His love He extinguishes darkness completely. Man by giving into his desires and lusts, meted out by Satan himself, are the causes of sin. Yes God does know, but He also is disgusted by the evil in the world.
    From the beginning of time the human race has attempted to live and accomplish our goals as quickly and easily as possible. What else could come about but sin as a result of the rush we all seem to be in at times.
    Jesus said it all in Matthew 6:25-34. And what do we do worry, worry, worry: worry about the past, worry about the future, worry about now, and where does it get us deeper and deeper into sins clutches.
    There is no way I would say Hitler, Or Big Daddy Edi Amin, or Osama Bin Laden, just to mention a few, had God’s will or hHis knowledge in mind when they murdered their own countrymen and half of the human race. But Hitler was not the biggest evil of his time Stalin annihilated more people durring the war years than Hitler did. In my mind to murder for any reason is blasphemy, at its strongest.

  39. poohpity says:

    Yes, Bill, that was the verse I was looking for, thank you!

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