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If God told you directly that when you die that's the end...

RobS

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...would you feel cheated?
 

Asteriktos

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If it was the same God as the one described by the Bible, then I'd certainly feel lied to since a bunch of times the book has him and others saying the exact opposite. But if you're asking more generally whether I'd follow God if there was no promise of a heavenly reward... I don't know. That'd be a completely different God, so I'd basically have to start over and it'd probably take me another 15 years to wrap my head around it :p  I mean, in Orthodoxy, as I understand it, the deification of man was from the beginning our intended destiny. We messed up and Christ had to rescue us, sure, but even without that 'fall' Christ was still our archetype and savior, and we were always destined for whatever it is we'll find in the afterlife. Adam and Eve were infants and Eden was basically their nursery; likewise this earth is supposed to be for us just a place where we grow out of our spiritual infancy. If God said that an afterlife didn't exist, then so also falls the Christian ideas about who Christ was and why he came, who humans are and why we exist, and so on. I'm guessing you're asking if people are just in it for the sweet loot at the end, but at this point I can't separate that out from the rest of it.
 

Volnutt

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RobS said:
...would you feel cheated?
I'd feel disappointed and sad, but not really cheated due to the sovereignty of God. If He wants to jerk me around, it's His prerogative and there's not much I can do about it.

Of course, given how much theosis is supposed to change you, it's hard for me to perceive much continuity between the person I am currently and the person I'll be in eternity (assuming I'll be saved). I like me.

So I feel like in a sense the end of this life is a pretty definite end already, but I know that's kind of a selfish perspective.
 

LizaSymonenko

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RobS said:
...would you feel cheated?
No.  Why would I feel cheated? 

I am not living today, in order to guarantee a blissful eternity.  I am living today, for today.  To make this world a bit better for those around me.  To bring joy.  To add something to the world, today.

I do not look that far ahead, anticipating eternity, as I anticipate an upcoming vacation.  I am LIVING this life.  LIVING today....and not worrying too much about tomorrow.

It is in the Lord's hands to do as He will with me.  It is in my hands, what I do with me, today.
 

Ainnir

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Sounds like a trick question...
 

Luke

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I would be bummed if the Lord told me He only had strawberry ice-cream in heaven.  There are a lot of flavors that I like much better.
 

Asteriktos

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Volnutt said:
RobS said:
...would you feel cheated?
I'd feel disappointed and sad, but not really cheated due to the sovereignty of God. If He wants to jerk me around, it's His prerogative and there's not much I can do about it.
I have difficulties understanding this view of sovereignty. I mean, I think I get what you're saying. The sacrifice of Isaac for example--if that's what God says, then that's what goes. Would that be correct? The thing about it is, I feel like the scenario set up in the OP is of a different type, in which the question is about whether things are not at all what they seem. What is in question is not one beam or pillar, but enough to bring the whole structure down. In that case I'd think the relationship with this God was in need of reexamining. After all, many could say of Zeus that "If He wants to jerk me around, it's His prerogative and there's not much I can do about it."  If God is not a God unable to lie, if God is not love, etc., as the Bible says, then are we not talking about a different God?

Perhaps we should be obedient to God without question, but I think there should be at least one condition: that that God is who he says he is and not a fiction of someone else or a phantom in our own minds. Being obedient to the being of which it is said "God is love" and "God cannot lie" is different than being obedient to a God just because he's omnipotent and can do whatever he likes. I don't see anything wrong with, for example, doing what Abraham did when he basically haggled as a sort of challenge to God to be as holy as God claimed to be (Gen. 18). God will overcome such things if he is indeed who he says he is, or at least who the Bible writers and Church Fathers say he is. So we pray in the LXX version of Psalm 51 something that was later quoted by St. Paul, relating to how God remains steadfast despite our own problems:

"For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged." (Rom. 3:3-4)

God 'prevails when he is judged' (Ps. 51:4) not because he is omnipotent but moreso because he is holy, love, and truth. Even Jesus, when challenged, told them to 'search the Scripture'--in essence, to verify. (Jn. 5:39) I think this does leave open the possibility of being asked to believe or do many things that we find difficult--even extreme things like being told to sacrifice our only son--but this still seems quite different to me than discovering that a large portion of the structure is fraudulent.

Is the disconnect here just because I am approaching all this from a different place? Because I put too great an emphasis on forgiveness rather than the sovereignty of God?
 

Ainnir

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It doesn't compute in my mind, either.  A god who essentially proves his own existence by appearing to someone and then says such a thing is not the God of Holy Scripture.  Not in my mind, anyway.
 

Volnutt

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Asteriktos said:
Volnutt said:
RobS said:
...would you feel cheated?
I'd feel disappointed and sad, but not really cheated due to the sovereignty of God. If He wants to jerk me around, it's His prerogative and there's not much I can do about it.
I have difficulties understanding this view of sovereignty. I mean, I think I get what you're saying. The sacrifice of Isaac for example--if that's what God says, then that's what goes. Would that be correct? The thing about it is, I feel like the scenario set up in the OP is of a different type, in which the question is about whether things are not at all what they seem. What is in question is not one beam or pillar, but enough to bring the whole structure down. In that case I'd think the relationship with this God was in need of reexamining. After all, many could say of Zeus that "If He wants to jerk me around, it's His prerogative and there's not much I can do about it."  If God is not a God unable to lie, if God is not love, etc., as the Bible says, then are we not talking about a different God?

Perhaps we should be obedient to God without question, but I think there should be at least one condition: that that God is who he says he is and not a fiction of someone else or a phantom in our own minds. Being obedient to the being of which it is said "God is love" and "God cannot lie" is different than being obedient to a God just because he's omnipotent and can do whatever he likes. I don't see anything wrong with, for example, doing what Abraham did when he basically haggled as a sort of challenge to God to be as holy as God claimed to be (Gen. 18). God will overcome such things if he is indeed who he says he is, or at least who the Bible writers and Church Fathers say he is. So we pray in the LXX version of Psalm 51 something that was later quoted by St. Paul, relating to how God remains steadfast despite our own problems:

"For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged." (Rom. 3:3-4)

God 'prevails when he is judged' (Ps. 51:4) not because he is omnipotent but moreso because he is holy, love, and truth. Even Jesus, when challenged, told them to 'search the Scripture'--in essence, to verify. (Jn. 5:39) I think this does leave open the possibility of being asked to believe or do many things that we find difficult--even extreme things like being told to sacrifice our only son--but this still seems quite different to me than discovering that a large portion of the structure is fraudulent.

Is the disconnect here just because I am approaching all this from a different place? Because I put too great an emphasis on forgiveness rather than the sovereignty of God?
No, you're probably right. Even Abraham expected that the sacrifice of Isaac was not quite what it seemed (Hebrews 11:17). I'm just a natural pessimist who has a hard time having faith in anything that would be at all pleasing or beneficial to me.
 

Gebre Menfes Kidus

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I would agree with St. Paul:

"But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied." [I Corinthians 15:12-19]

"If Christ is risen, then nothing else matters. And if Christ is not risen, then nothing else matters." ~ Jaroslav Pelikan ~

Selam
 

Sharbel

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Living a life loving God is its own reward, regardless of whether it suddenly ceases or goes on to the ages of ages.
 

Volnutt

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Sharbel said:
Living a life loving God is its own reward, regardless of whether it suddenly ceases or goes on to the ages of ages.
I don't know if I agree with that. No offense intended, but it's easy to say that the journey is more important than the destination (whether one is a Christian or an atheist) when one gets to die in one's sleep old and full of years. But how can one say that to a child dying of cancer or an 18 year-old conscript bleeding to death in the mud far from home?
 

WPM

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If you believe that you're special or want to attach to special feelings.
 
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