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HolyGround >> What is the nature of sin and heaven?


10/30/11 10:06 AM
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Stronghold
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The one thing that really bothers me the more I ponder it over the years is the entire nature of Christian heaven.

Okay, so we have adopted the VERY Jewish notion that we are all guilty and imperfect; like a Jewish mother nagging her children to sit up straight and how they are never good enough.

But, I get that. What good are goals of perfection if we don't constantly try to be better and are reminded that we are not?

But why is the Kingdom of Heaven ONLY open those people that are perfect? How does one sin, which our very imperfect nature demands of us, invalidate us and bar the way to God's loving, perfect Heaven?

We were made imperfect, we remain so, cannot be perfect, and yet will be punished for God's imperfection in creation...

I don't get that contradiction. What am I missing?
10/30/11 2:49 PM
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Workman
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Stronghold, since you are borrowing from the Judeo-Christian concept to ask your question; is it possible that you have based your question on a false premise.

If not, then I ask only one simple question; where in the Bible does it state, "We were made imperfect", as you have claimed?
10/30/11 4:02 PM
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Ridgeback
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Stronghold - The one thing that really bothers me the more I ponder it over the years is the entire nature of Christian heaven.

Okay, so we have adopted the VERY Jewish notion that we are all guilty and imperfect; like a Jewish mother nagging her children to sit up straight and how they are never good enough.

But, I get that. What good are goals of perfection if we don't constantly try to be better and are reminded that we are not?

But why is the Kingdom of Heaven ONLY open those people that are perfect? How does one sin, which our very imperfect nature demands of us, invalidate us and bar the way to God's loving, perfect Heaven?

We were made imperfect, we remain so, cannot be perfect, and yet will be punished for God's imperfection in creation...

I don't get that contradiction. What am I missing?

 Within a Christian narrative of creation humans aren't made "imperfect."  You have to take into consideration the concept of the Fall if you are going to talk about what we were made to be.  Now many theologians would argue that man was made initially without sin, but was not perfect in the sense of having fulfilled his potential as a human.  I think the call to perfection is the call to join in God's life so it is a functional issue.  You can't share in the triune life of God (and therefore you can't be at home in the Kingdom) unless you possess the kind of self-giving agape love that is the heart of God's existence.  But of course Christianity teaches that if you enter the Church and take the therapies of the Church then you will be made perfect.  You will be given the new life and power to be transformed into a true citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven.  It is taken for granted that no human could do this on his own.  
10/30/11 8:33 PM
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Stronghold
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Original sin = we are imperfect. I was taught that we ALL have that.
10/30/11 8:35 PM
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Stronghold
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So, basically, they don't let schmucks in to heaven and you cannot be 'a good person' on your own. That's kind of Catholic, imo.

Interesting; I will ponder this.
10/30/11 10:59 PM
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Workman
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Stronghold - Original sin = we are imperfect. I was taught that we ALL have that.


"we are imperfect" is far different than, "We were made imperfect".
10/30/11 11:15 PM
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Stronghold
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So, that porevents us from reaching heaven?
10/31/11 1:24 AM
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yusul
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^If we are made in God's image, it's difficult to defend the idea that we were made imperfect, or that our potential is limited to imperfection.

however, because of adam and the fall, technically we are imperfect as are all people after him. we don't do as we ought through choice, because like adam, our choice is follow our own thoughts instead of a perfect being's will.

I can see why you said we are made imperfect, but it's a fine distinction that we are not. however, the end result is the same.

so yes, the imperfect, cannot be in the presence of perfection, because the future kingdom is not just made of God, but his people as well.

If there were imperfect people in heaven, the people would still have qualities like insecurity, malice, jealously, selfishness, self-righteousness, egotism, pride, etc. in other words, how would it be different from the current earth? Heaven is supposed to be harmonous; the fellowship is referred to as the bride, or the body. This implies a spiritual unity.

''... How does one sin, which our very imperfect nature demands of us, invalidate us and bar the way to God's loving, perfect Heaven? ''

if you read the book of matthew, there is the parable of the weeds being taken out. the analogy is that that weeds are not desireable. it's easy to extrapolate that imperfection is not tolerated in the presence of perfection or what we consider Heaven.


''We were made imperfect, we remain so, cannot be perfect, and yet will be punished for God's imperfection in creation...

I don't get that contradiction. What am I missing?.."

It's not God's imperfectiin, it's ours. we aren't created imperfectly, but we are given free will. it's the free will and our choices which will to consequences.

''But, I get that. What good are goals of perfection if we don't constantly try to be better and are reminded that we are not?''

God created Adam perfect; however, Adam, through his own choice, disobeyed God and fell, and as a result, we are his descendants and inherit that will. Modern science, has an equivalent idea of inheritence through genetics, so the idea of inheriting traits personality wise or spiritually isn't that far fetched.

The ten commandments show what perfection is and remind us that we are not perfect, if we choose to be honest.

Therefore we are left with a choice: do we do our best to act perfectly in the eyes of the God and follow this unrelenting ethical code, or do we it admit it is a task impossible within our personal capacity?
10/31/11 8:07 AM
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Workman
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Well said Yusul, I'd only add that it is our realization that we fall infinitely short of perfection, this should bring us to the understanding that we cannot possibly do it, and therefore require a saviour.

For life is not about knowing how to live, but rather, it is about how you die.

Did you die with Christ, or without Him and His righteousness to cover you, and your sins?
10/31/11 8:42 AM
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Stronghold
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Interesting but, still, the whole idea of 'sin' and 'blind guilt' are very Jewish and don't fit well in to our modern society (nor post Renaissance European) very well. Also, the need to be saved through others higher up on an imaginary food chain is very Catholic and doesn't fly with Protestants (see 11/01/1517).

But, I agree that if Heaven is perfect and its inhabitants are not, then it isn't Heaven. How Christ took that away from us and yet we are still petty bastards is another discussion... but I am currently studying to come to grips with that.
11/1/11 11:35 PM
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Ridgeback
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Stronghold - Interesting but, still, the whole idea of 'sin' and 'blind guilt' are very Jewish and don't fit well in to our modern society (nor post Renaissance European) very well. Also, the need to be saved through others higher up on an imaginary food chain is very Catholic and doesn't fly with Protestants (see 11/01/1517).

But, I agree that if Heaven is perfect and its inhabitants are not, then it isn't Heaven. How Christ took that away from us and yet we are still petty bastards is another discussion... but I am currently studying to come to grips with that.

 I would argue that traditional Christianity (which was called "The Way") always posited salvation as a process of transformation.  The idea was that the Church was a spiritual hospital that had the therapies that turned people into the types of people who would make heaven an actual heaven (we call these people saints and we revere them because we see Christ in them).  This is an empirical result of Christianity.  It works if the goal is to make saints, which is the whole reason the Church exists.  
11/2/11 4:20 PM
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mmanthebay
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Ridgeback -
Stronghold - Interesting but, still, the whole idea of 'sin' and 'blind guilt' are very Jewish and don't fit well in to our modern society (nor post Renaissance European) very well. Also, the need to be saved through others higher up on an imaginary food chain is very Catholic and doesn't fly with Protestants (see 11/01/1517).

But, I agree that if Heaven is perfect and its inhabitants are not, then it isn't Heaven. How Christ took that away from us and yet we are still petty bastards is another discussion... but I am currently studying to come to grips with that.

 I would argue that traditional Christianity (which was called "The Way") always posited salvation as a process of transformation.  The idea was that the Church was a spiritual hospital that had the therapies that turned people into the types of people who would make heaven an actual heaven (we call these people saints and we revere them because we see Christ in them).  This is an empirical result of Christianity.  It works if the goal is to make saints, which is the whole reason the Church exists.  
That which is imperfect will be made perfect... Phone Post
11/2/11 4:22 PM
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Stronghold
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I have never believed that perfection exists and that isn't my idea of Heaven anyway... so confusing. I'll study on it some more but I'll probably just go back to not worrying about the afterlife at all.

I mean, it's not like we get to choose what happens to us anyway. It's beyond our means; all we can do is life a Christly life... but so few people do that it seems like.
11/4/11 1:43 AM
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yusul
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''But, I agree that if Heaven is perfect and its inhabitants are not, then it isn't Heaven. How Christ took that away from us and yet we are still petty bastards is another discussion... but I am currently studying to come to grips with that.''

Stronghold, as you and every honest human knows, we will never act perfectly while in this flesh and world. but as followers it is still our path to live as best as we can once we received the Spirit: the difference is now we are inspired from within to want to live perfectly while not being able to achieve it. That's one result of Christ taking away our sins, the desire and appetite for goodness beyond the world's understanding.

Christ perfects us by being with us, guiding us and letting us be justified in front of God, however, we ourselves without him cannot be counted as perfect.

we are guilty, but it's like having an advocate in court convincing the judge to find us not guilty.

However, being stuck in our flesh and under the dominion of the enemy, we will fall short continuously and act like petty bastards. as you know, the grace is in the fact that even when we do this, we are loved and will be saved. if we are able to live up to God's ethical and spiritual expectations, then we wouldn't need Christ.
11/4/11 8:27 AM
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Workman
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Stronghold, I think the fundamental problem in why you have difficulty wrestling with the after life is due to your lack of understanding about life and death.

The Bible makes it clear that in your natural / physical state it is impossible to please God.

"Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised." (Hebrews 11:6)

"And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;" (Eph 2:1)

"Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:" (Eph 2:2)

"Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others." (Eph 2:3)

These passages confirm that man in his natural state is spiritually dead.

In a nutshell, this means that the only to be in union, and or heaven with God is that you must be 'Born Again' Spiritually.

Stronghold, there was biblical figure in the New Testament that asked a similar question as you to Jesus, in that he wanted to know how to enter heaven.

His name was Nicodemus, and here is what Jesus told him:

"Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (John 3:5)

See also 2 Corinthians 3:6 & Titus 3:5 which confirms that God imparts His Spirit to us in order to give us New Life, and it is this New Life that washes, cleanses, purifies, Justifies, Sanctifies, and Glorifies so we can then be in the presence of God forever.
11/5/11 6:41 PM
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Stronghold
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That does explain a lot. I still have to think that faith is not just faith in Jesus but in his ideals also. This is still missing in 'receiving the spirit' alone. I never had that highly emotional moment a lot of people do, at my age and disposition it is doubtful i ever will. So, i have to figure out how to be a Christian without losing my own hard won moral center. Faith in ideals over men or even gods is a part of that. Fortunately, i think Christ's ideals are great. They are just not focused on at all and the miraculous is extolled almost singularly so there is much work to be done to bring faith in to a more refined state of mind. Maybe it cannot be done though. I am still studying that.
11/5/11 10:25 PM
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Workman
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Stronghold, in a nutshell, I am trying to convey to you that Nicodemus, a learned Jewish man seem to asking a similar question about 'entrance into heaven", such as yourself.

Yet, while you incorrectly seem to be implying that one must become perfect through their works and deeds, Jesus tells Nicodemus and everyone else who has ears to hear in John chapter 3, that all one must do is believe.

Not once does Jesus attach any kind of individual work to attainment of heaven / salvation.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." (John 3:36)

Rather than seeking a solution for why you find it impossible to be perfect, I think you will find your answer in placing your focus, trust, reliance, and belief in Jesus alone and His finished work.
11/5/11 10:57 PM
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Stronghold
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Yet, while you incorrectly seem to be implying that one must become perfect through their works and deeds, Jesus tells Nicodemus and everyone else who has ears to hear in John chapter 3, that all one must do is believe.

I'm not trying to be perfect; but I think every Christian must live their life according to Christian ideals. Otherwise, we might as all just live like Heathens and then, on our deathbeds, claim a great faith and be saved. There's nothing preventing that if all we need is faith in Jesus's afterlife and salvation. If deeds do not matter, then soemthing is seriously wrong with Christianity. Maybe that goes far to explain the Inquisition and such... but I refuse to buy in to that way of thinking.

I do not believe deeds get us to heaven or whatever is out there; but I do believe that Christ's Beatitudes were talking about more than just life after death. What if the meek were put in charge? What if the peacemakers were universally listened to? Salvation, then, might just begin for us all before we die. This isn't exactly a Utopia, Heaven on Earth type of hippie stuff, but something a great deal more. That message, the ONLY sermon we have from Christ must be important for it to have survived.

Honestly, I don't really care what happens to me after I die. I have no say in the matter. It's not up to me to decide what happens then. But, I have chosen to make my life and my world better by my action. I really do think this was Christ's big message. I think that when he said to have faith in himself, it was in his ideals of charity and universal love as much as anything else... because when he said those things he might not have been certain he was going to be crucified at that time. Who knows? Those books were written sometime after his death so the timeline of events isn't certain.

I hope I'm not wrong about all of this. If I am, then I'll have to become a Buddhist or something. If all it takes is the taking in of the Spirit and believing in life after death, then one can easily see why fewer young people are embracing the church. Belief in life is as important as a belief in the afterlife otherwise what's the point? I think Christ was saying that all along but preachers are missing a lot by not preaching that as well.

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