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Originally posted by TheRedneck
I have heard of the paradox you speak of. I simply do not subscribe to it.
If man had free will, and if God had therefore agreed to not interfere in that free will, then how could God know whether man would sin or not? The only way He could have known was to break His own word and peek into man's will, thus negating the free will of man. Had He done this, man would have simply been another servant. I believe God did not want man to be a servant, but a companion.
I also believe that God loves His creations regardless of their sin. However, the Bible clearly says that God hates sin itself. Therefore God is great enough to separate the sin from the sinner, giving rise to the line "Hate the sin, love the sinner".
To deny that God even cares whether we sin or not, is to directly deny the book that tells us of God's very existence. No offense, but this sounds like the 'a'la carte' style of religion, wherein one takes what they want to be true and denies anything they do not want to be true. If you are comfortable with that approach, more power to you. I am not. I believe that truth is truth, regardless of whether one believes it or not, and it does not make sense to me to accept part of a whole as the whole with no more reason than 'I think that's how it should be'. It's a little like me saying I believe in Calculus but not Algebra. It doesn't change mathematics, it simply blinds me to the full potential of mathematics.
In the context of this thread, that is an apt statement. Many evangelicals do indeed use a carrot/stick approach. I do not listen to those, and I suggest anyone who does listen to what sounds like such an approach be wary.
If we are talking about the Biblical context we seem to have gotten into, then I see things differently. The Hebrew language is worded differently than the English we are accustomed to. A minor amount of research into the language will show that nowhere did God curse anyone with punishment; He warned them about the consequences of their own actions. A very different thing, IMO.