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NTS They do by nature what the law requires

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posted on Feb, 8 2019 @ 05:06 PM
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“When Gentiles who have not the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves” (Romans ch2 v 14).

The message of the New Testament centres upon what Christ has achieved.
That is, he died on the Cross, was raised from the dead, and was established as Lord and future judge.
We are included in what Christ has done, because we belong to him, and we are therefore “washed, sanctified, and justified”.
We have entered into a new relationship with God.

The implication is that salvation comes exclusively through the name of Christ.
The teaching is summed up in the judgement scene at the end of Revelation, where two kinds of books are brought out for the judgement of the dead.
One set of books records their deeds, which would be enough to condemn them all.
But those who belong to Christ have their names registered in the book of life, and they alone pass through into the new Jerusalem.

The question then arises, “What about those who were never told about Christ?” For that matter, what about those who were given a misleading and off-putting understanding of Christ, including those who died on the fires of the Inquisition?
On a strict interpretation of the gospel message, they would find no place.
However, the New Testament shows us a God who does not deal with us in a legalistic way.
The parable of the “labourers in the vineyard”, in which the short-term workers are not penalised, offers a picture of a God whose generosity does not limit itself to our strict entitlements.
Indeed that is the whole point of the doctrine of “grace”, that the offer of salvation to anybody is an act of generosity, more than we are entitled to expect.
So despite the clear central focus on the person of Christ, there may be grounds for hope that a God of this kind will interpret the conditions of salvation more broadly.

The theologian Karl Rahner is known for his concept of “anonymous Christianity”; that is, a state of belonging to Christ which is not explicitly identified even in the individual’s own mind.

There are glimpses of that possibility in three different New Testament passages.

Firstly, there is the listing of the Old Testament “men of faith” in Hebrews ch11.
According to Paul, Abraham was accounted righteous by virtue of his faith (Galatians ch3 v6). The implication is that all these men were also found righteous on account of the same faith.
We are told that they “did not receive what was promised”. But this was only because God was waiting for us to join them, “that apart from us they should not be made perfect”.
Yet their faith could not have been an explicit faith in Christ Jesus, by name.
Though Abraham “rejoiced that he was to see my day”, according to Jesus (John ch8 v56), we don’t know that even Abraham would have known him by name. Abraham’s trust was in the promise given “to your seed”.
The other men and women listed in this chapter would have had a more generalised faith in their God, which was unconsciously directed towards the Christ who would fulfil God’s promises.

The church of the Middle Ages developed the tradition of the “harrowing of hell”. That is, when Christ entered the realm of the dead, he found there these Old Testament men of faith, who had been waiting for him, and brought them out with him as part of his own resurrection.
For a more modern understanding, we might think of the atonement in Christ as retrospective in effect, not bound by the limitations of time but valid for those in faith who came before him as well as for those who were born afterwards.
Is it possible that Jews of the modern age might be found righteous, like Abraham, by virtue of their faith in our common God, even without the explicit reference to Christ?

Secondly, there is the parable of the Sheep and the Goats (Matthew ch25 vv31-46).
The “sheep” in that story are puzzled at being rewarded for serving the Son of Man, so he explains “As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me”.
This raises the question, who exactly are “these my brethren”?
The traditional application of the parable has tended to assume that he means everybody else in the crowd, humanity in general.
However, a growing school of thought believes that the Son of Man is pointing both sheep and goats towards a third group in the scene, his own followers.
This would be in keeping with other comments in the gospels, showing his interest in “these little ones who believe in me”;
“Whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he shall not lose his reward” (Matthew ch10 v42).
In other words, their attitude towards the followers of Christ becomes the test of their attitude towards Christ himself.
If this interpretation is correct, the implication is that people are being invited into the kingdom who have NOT been consciously members of the Christian body.
Even on the traditional interpretation, the fact remains that some of the sheep are surprised to find themselves in that body- which implies, again, that they had not been thinking of themselves as Christians.
In effect, they have been “anonymous” Christians.

The third example is the verse quoted at the beginning.
Paul is rebuking those Jews who believe that their knowledge of the Law is indispensable for the teaching of the world.
Not so, he says. The Gentiles may not have the written Law of Moses, but a version of the Law is available to them.
Later in the epistle, when Paul is addressing the Christians, he offers the guidance of the Holy Spirit as a better way of understanding God’s will; “We serve not under the old written code, but in the new life of the Spirit” (ch7 v6).
But here he speaks of what the Gentiles in general have “by nature”.
The basic principles of God’s law, at least, are “written on their hearts”.
Thus they may be capable of doing the right thing, provided only that they have sufficient faith in God to motivate them to do so.
On the day of judgement, therefore, their consciences will be able to “accuse them or perhaps excuse them” for what they have done.

One of the scenes of “The Last Battle”, by C.S. Lewis, presents the character Emeth, who is a Calormene and therefore a life-long follower of the god Tash. He describes how he encountered Aslan, and was surprised to find himself made welcome.
“But I said, Alas, Lord, I am no servant of thine but the servant of Tash. He answered, Child, all the service thou hast done to Tash, I account as service done to me… “(ch15)
As Aslan specifies a moment later, he is talking about the good services. Everything of that kind is really a service done to Aslan, whether consciously or not.
So Emeth has been an “anonymous” Aslan follower, like the “sheep”, doing the right thing by virtue of the law that was “written on his heart”.

This question is really just one of the facets of the old “problem of evil”. It comes down to whether God can be trusted to do what is right.
We find ourselves, like Job, not fully understanding how everything can be reconciled.
As in the case of Job, we need to allow the areas which we don’t understand to be covered by our faith.
We are not in a position to judge whether it is right to extend salvation beyond “the main door”, the explicit name of Christ.
But if it is the right thing to do, faith says that God will do it.

“All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well"- Julian of Norwich




posted on Feb, 8 2019 @ 05:07 PM
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My knowledge of Rahner’s thinking comes from his book “Foundations of Christian Faith”, which a university reading-list placed on my bookshelves.
Rahner takes the philosophical approach, and I will summarise his argument to the extent that I can understand it;
His claim is that man’s knowledge of God is always present “un-thematically” (that is, inexplicitly and unconsciously), because he is the absolute mystery of infinite reality which lies at the back of our “transcendental experience” (the experience of self-conscious awareness)
So the question at issue is our “orientation” towards this mystery.
Saving faith is the orientation which rests upon trust;
“… a faith which is simply the obedient acceptance of man’s supernaturally elevated self-transcendence, the obedient acceptance of his transcendental orientation to the God of eternal life” (p152)
“Consequently, anyone who, though still far from any revelation explicitly formulated in words, accepts his existence in patient silence (or, better, in faith, hope, and love), accepts it as the mystery which lies hidden in the mystery of eternal love and which bears life in the womb of death, is saying “Yes” to Christ even if he does not know it” (p228).
In short, faith in Christ is present in that fundamental trust which is the opposite of self-sufficiency.



posted on Feb, 8 2019 @ 05:28 PM
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originally posted by: DISRAELI
“When Gentiles who have not the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves” (Romans ch2 v 14).

The message of the New Testament centres upon what Christ has achieved.
That is, he died on the Cross, was raised from the dead, and was established as Lord and future judge.
We are included in what Christ has done, because we belong to him, and we are therefore “washed, sanctified, and justified”.
We have entered into a new relationship with God.

The implication is that salvation comes exclusively through the name of Christ.
The teaching is summed up in the judgement scene at the end of Revelation, where two kinds of books are brought out for the judgement of the dead.
One set of books records their deeds, which would be enough to condemn them all.
But those who belong to Christ have their names registered in the book of life, and they alone pass through into the new Jerusalem.


I disagree. I have faith in a omnipotent God of unconditional love. With unconditional love, in my view, everyone is allowed to enter through the gates of heaven to Experience eternal heavenly bliss no matter what our Earthly sins may be or how we practiced for NOT practiced our religion. Which is really good news for most people since even being good Christian is more than just saying the magic words about being a slave to Jesus. You can't have a lord without slaves in the same way you can't have up without down. I think Loki said it best about kneeling to a God in authority:



I just think the way I love my sons is the way God loves each of us. It's unconditional and has nothing to do with their behavior. Although there are times I am very unhappy with my son's behaviors, when it comes to big stake items like eternity, my love for them is unconditional and forever.

I very much doubt our omnipotent God has any desire for our praise and devotion. That would imply God is weak or has limitations. I do not worship a lesser God than one that is almighty.


edit on 8-2-2019 by dfnj2015 because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 8 2019 @ 05:42 PM
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originally posted by: dfnj2015
I disagree. I have faith in a omnipotent God of unconditional love. With unconditional love, in my view, everyone is allowed to enter through the gates of heaven

This is an exercise in New Testament theology, which is about learning what the New Testament is saying.
In this field of study, our personal preferences have no more relevance than they wouid in map-making.
There is a very consistent message all the way through the New Testament that some people get left out, or leave themselves out.
When you make your own universe, that's when you can have it running the way you would like it to run.



posted on Feb, 8 2019 @ 06:01 PM
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This has always been my hope. That there are those who know Him without realizing it. Or perhaps know Him while following Him under a different name and tradition.

If we can establish and admit that there are those who call themselves Christian who don't understand what salvation is, then can we understand and establish that there may also be those who aren't Christian who do know Him?



posted on Feb, 8 2019 @ 06:10 PM
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a reply to: ketsuko
Indeed, but the tricky part is to support that hope without imposing our own preferences on God.
I've tried to be careful to confine myself to what he might be willing to do, rather than what we want him to do.


edit on 8-2-2019 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 8 2019 @ 06:18 PM
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originally posted by: ketsuko
This has always been my hope. That there are those who know Him without realizing it. Or perhaps know Him while following Him under a different name and tradition.

If we can establish and admit that there are those who call themselves Christian who don't understand what salvation is, then can we understand and establish that there may also be those who aren't Christian who do know Him?


There is a whole debate that is about inclusivism and exclusivism, about who belongs and who doesn't.

People with mental disabilities, infants who die young, people that even do bad things because their brains have stopped working properly - like with Dementia, all must be welcomed and accounted for.

What about a hypothetical good person who does good all their life and then suffers Dementia which makes them say and do very nasty things in their confusion? When people get very poorly and near to death they can get very frightened and act in very strange ways. This is all down to earth reality and Jesus was a very down to earth soul and practical.

I believe that Jesus is like a Stargate. He says He is the "Way" to eternal life, through Him only. i think He has achieved that regardless of individual belief. The gateway has been opened at "The Crossroad". The individual has to find the gate.

In the Bible it is made clear in the OT and NT that G-D forgives and can turn a killer into a Saint. This shows how mighty HE is, that HE can turn a soul full face back to good and wipe them clean if they repent. Moses killed an Egyptian. Paul held the coats of the stoners of Stephen and other early Christians and went door to door like a storm trooper to seek them out yet became the mouthpiece for most of the NT as its main Scribe. Samuel thrust a King through with a sword while a Prophet and is a very important major Prophet in the OT. David did the dirty and went off with Bathsheba when she was married (adultery) and deliberately sent her husband out to die on the battlefield. He knows that we are sinners and that is why we all need Christ so that those sins can be forgiven. Even HIS best have been to depths of lowness and committed terrible deeds. Their weaknesses are clearly demonstrated as with Peter being too scared and denying he knew Christ, his disciples arguing with each other like Peter and Paul disagreeing on doctrine, Moses running away from his mission and being punished, Jonah running away from his mission and being punished and so many other examples.

All the people who do not get the chance to know Him in this life will be given access to the Kingdom if they want it. The Way has been opened as an eternal moment in time. Jesus has done all this for us. We just have to find it and know about it.

I truly believe Him that He did rise again, seriously. It was real. I believe Him when He said we can live eternally. He said that He would have told us if it wasn't like that.


edit on 8-2-2019 by Malak777 because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 8 2019 @ 06:28 PM
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a reply to: Malak777

No. We are not given access. Access is there and it is up to you to seek it, seek Him. He wants you to seek that relationship. And I believe that is the key. You are seeking whether you know it or not.

Of course, it's much, much harder to seek when you don't even know you are looking or when the path you're on is advertised as something much different than the one you actually wind up following which is why the church and Gospel have such important roles.
edit on 8-2-2019 by ketsuko because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 8 2019 @ 06:40 PM
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Lol, you just said no to me then said the same thing as I did. "Access is there"! I am saying the same thing as you.

There are people who have lived on this earth that never get to hear of the gospels. Before the Protestants the Bible was only ever read out in Latin and the congregation were kept ignorant and had to accept what the priests said as an interpretation and they brought all kinds of strange ideas to it all like Purgatory and being able to buy your way out of sin. There is no Purgatory in the Bible mentioned. The priests only ever quoted in Latin so the people didn't have a clue what was written or being spoken other than what the priests decided to tell them.

Only in very recent times do we get "access" to the Word in our native language and can interpret for ourselves.

Yes, "access" is there and we have to seek it. I am not sure if we can seek without knowing it. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt with that one.

Personally, I don' think G-D intends to lose any soul, eventually not even people like Hitler. I think HE even wants the Fallen Angels back. The chances HE gives to Satan to repent! Even at the end of the Millenium of the Messiah the Dragon will be allowed free for a time.

I am on the fence about this. Either the Dragon, the Adversary, the Enemy and Sin is really something G-D put there as a stumbling block to evolve us and test us or it is a rebel Angel literally who HE has patience with. Remember the Prodigal Son Parable? There is nothing more G-D would love than for the rebels to come home to HIM as Christ explained it in that parable. There are still mysteries we do not know and more to be revealed. G-D can do anything. He could even make a Third Covenant with us if that is what HE wants to do. He showed us how HE can change things when the time is right; going from one Covenant to another.

Even sin is still a mystery. I do not know what sin really is. I would be like G-D if I did know. Would I dare presume certain souls are damned? That is G-D's business and not mine. Why are we told to be polite to Satan and to admonish Him very politely and gently? We are not told to throw stones at Him or swear at Him are we. The response we are told is the right one is "Get behind me" and "The Lord rebukes you", as simple as that. We are told to test spirits when they come to us and ask them if they accept that Christ rose again. If they accept Him then they are true. All this instruction is in the Bible.


edit on 8-2-2019 by Malak777 because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 8 2019 @ 06:52 PM
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originally posted by: Malak777
Even sin is still a mystery. I do not know what sin really is. I would be like G-D if I did know.

Let me quote what I was posting on the earlier threads in the series;


"This series is a sequel to, and the consummation of, the older series on Old Testament remedies for sin.
In that series, sin is defined as a relationship problem; the human will is out of alignment with the will of God."

This series, being about how the New Testament deals with sin, is based on that definition.



posted on Feb, 8 2019 @ 07:07 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

Yes, but that is not the whole definition of sin or we would not have needed Jesus. It would have all been answered by some basic wisdom. It is a lot more than that. I agree with your definition as much as that is one symptom, but it is not the whole.

I am not as confident as you are by claiming I know what sin is. Is it about your series or G-D's? You could very easily make the same mistakes as others making up your own idea of the Word according to your version, but it is not your version is it. It is G-D's version. I was interested enough in what you wrote as Christian comment on Scripture, but your words will never explain it like those guys who wrote the texts do. They told me "Let the teachers be few".

What about the examples I gave you where G-D chose some seriously shady characters as HIS best? Paul was a very nasty piece of work before his conversion. He was the first to tell us that. That is why I never judge. One moment a human being can be a criminal and the next, by G-D's grace, a Saint. The Bible tells me not to lock people up in my own condemnation and dungeon. We have to accept that G-D is not just some old dude with a big white beard being a "loved up" hippy on ecstasy. Even with His Chosen people HE made them homeless for two thousand years and let their Temple be destroyed twice. He can be fierce and wrathful. HE is the G-D of Abraham! Revelation is full of HIS Wrath and judgement and a lot of people get mangled in His Winepress, do they not?


edit on 8-2-2019 by Malak777 because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 8 2019 @ 07:24 PM
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a reply to: Malak777

Not precisely. You explained it as if access is something given or handed over or provided. It isn't.

Access comes through a relationship and that is something you have to seek and find and then cultivate.

I guess the difference is that you make it sound like a passive process on our part. We receive.

But instead, it's active on our part. We seek.



posted on Feb, 8 2019 @ 07:35 PM
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a reply to: dfnj2015

But what if your children say and act in a way they never want to see you again

NEver visit, push you away, ignore, act in a way they don’t want you in their lives, do you force them?
That’s not love

The story of the prodigal is very clear
God allows us choice but awaits, always awaits



posted on Feb, 8 2019 @ 10:32 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

We can speculate about what Abraham believed. The Bible tells us a few things but it also says he tithed to Melchizedek who was his priest. Now we are told Christ is high priest of the order of Melchizedek. So if Christ and Melchizedek are of the same order, we can believe they shared and taught the same faith. This would make Abraham a Christian.
edit on 8-2-2019 by toms54 because: correction



posted on Feb, 8 2019 @ 10:49 PM
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originally posted by: DISRAELI
“When Gentiles who have not the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves” (Romans ch2 v 14).The message of the New Testament centres upon what Christ has achieved.
That is, he died on the Cross, was raised from the dead, and was established as Lord and future judge.

Jesus is no Lord or Judge of anything and would be the first to proclaim this.

Disraeli We are included in what Christ has done, because we bfrelong to him, and we are therefore “washed, sanctified, and justified”. We have entered into a new relationship with God.

We are God; just as Jesus is our Brother in this sanctity would not agree we are in any NEW relationship. We are in a very old one fraught with discosure problems...(should we tell them or not).


Disreali The implication is that salvation comes exclusively through the name of Christ.

No; it does not realistically as salvation by Jesus or any of the other 9th dimentional teacher beings is TOTALLY unnessary. All things happening/to happen/or have happened are willed and perfectly constructed to achieve a perfect outcome to advance a system or an indivindual souls growth is SET (will happen or already has, while you were blinking).
edit on 8-2-2019 by vethumanbeing because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 8 2019 @ 11:20 PM
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originally posted by: ketsuko
a reply to: Malak777

Not precisely. You explained it as if access is something given or handed over or provided. It isn't.

Access comes through a relationship and that is something you have to seek and find and then cultivate.

I guess the difference is that you make it sound like a passive process on our part. We receive.

But instead, it's active on our part. We seek.


I'm with you Ketsuko...but I think it's BOTH. He offers and we seek. I say this because Jeus came after me. I was raised in a fundamentalist church, and abandoned it all in my 30's. I even tried to be an atheist. Then a few years ago my brother-in-law said somethng to me, he asked me to keep an open mind about a certain issue, and because of my respect for him (my bro-in-law), I agreed. And that led me to some things that got me re-thinking about God, Jesus, the bible. And I'm here a few years later, more of a believer in Jesus than I ever had been, in my 18 years of being soaked in church. I'm eager to know God more, know Jesus more.

I didn't initiate that! At all. And it only even started because of my love for my brother-in-law; not my desire to please God. (Heartwarming factoid about this story: the open mind I agreed to keep for my brother-in-law? We had no idea then that a few months later we would discover grade 4 glioblastoma multiforme in his brain and he would only be with us for another 4 [awful] months after that. So his request of me was truly truly a gift)



posted on Feb, 8 2019 @ 11:35 PM
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a reply to: KansasGirl

John 6:44 KJV - No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.



posted on Feb, 9 2019 @ 01:36 AM
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originally posted by: toms54
a reply to: KansasGirl

John 6:44 KJV - No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.


Spoken like a true Calvinist but
God has placed on every human persons heart a desire to know Him
Even the bible states clearly that there is a burden for Him on our hearts

You might need more than one single, simple, vague verse to convert people to Calvinism



posted on Feb, 9 2019 @ 01:50 AM
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originally posted by: Malak777
Yes, but that is not the whole definition of sin or we would not have needed Jesus. It would have all been answered by some basic wisdom. It is a lot more than that. I agree with your definition as much as that is one symptom, but it is not the whole.

I have already answered that point in the two series taken tpgether.
Firstly, the conclusion taken from the Old Testament was that we are not capable of re-aligning ourselves with God, in our own strength. The laws of Moses don't do it, because they are an imperfect expression of God's will, and people don't obey them anyway. Sacrfices don't do it either.

Secondly, the whole of this series has been dedicated to the proposition that we are re-aligned with God's will through the death and resurrection of Christ, and, hopefully, giving some idea of how that works
I suggest reading through the threads I put up in the weeks leading up to Christmas, culminaating in "He shall save his people from their sins".

Based on Paul's teaching that we are "in Christ", the line of argument is deceptively simple;
a) Christ came and acted in obedience to his Father. In other words, he has never been out of alignment with his Father's will.
b) But we now belong to Christ, which means that we are brought into what he has done and share his experience, As Paul says, we have "died, and have been buried,together with Christ", and we have also been "raised with Christ".
c) Therefore, as belonging to Christ, we SHARE IN his full alignment with his Father's will. Which meanss we are now in full alignment with his Father's will. QED.


What about the examples I gave you where G-D chose some seriously shady characters as HIS best

All this is true, and I have written a thread myself about David as a serial breaker of the laws of Moses. The moral was that David must have been approved by God because of his trust, not because of his obedience to the law. In other words, even the worthies of the Old Terstament were saved by their faith, not by their works.
So the key to the whole thing is TRUST (which is what "faith" means).
The question being discusssed in the OP was how much it might be possible to trust in Christ without knowing him by name.

He can be fierce and wrathful. HE is the G-D of Abraham! Revelation is full of HIS Wrath and judgement and a lot of people get mangled in His Winepress, do they not?

Yes, I have never argued against the New Testament teaching that there will be judgement, and if you look at the beginning of the thread you will see me defending it against a universalist.
My previous thread was making the point that the basic meaning of "salvation" is "not coming under the wrath of God".
edit on 9-2-2019 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 9 2019 @ 02:04 AM
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originally posted by: vethumanbeing
Jesus is no Lord or Judge of anything and would be the first to proclaim this.

The New Testament calls him Lord, and this is an exercise in understanding what the New Testament says.
Jesus said that the Son of man would come in judgement, and identified himself as the Son of man.
Paul, in Acts, calls him the one appointed by God to judge the world.

We are God; just as Jesus is our Brother in this sanctity would not agree we are in any NEW relationship. We are in a very old one fraught with discosure problems...(should we tell them or not).

That is not what the New Testament says, and this is an exercise in understanding what the New Testament says.

No; it does not realistically as salvation by Jesus or any of the other 9th dimentional teacher beings is TOTALLY unnessary. All things happening/to happen/or have happened are willed and perfectly constructed to achieve a perfect outcome to advance a system or an indivindual souls growth is SET (will happen or already has, while you were blinking).

That is not what the New Teatament says, and this is an exercise in understanding what the New Testament says.
The fact that you feel more comfortable with a non-Biblical outlook is not relevant.
edit on 9-2-2019 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)




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