Sunday reflection: Matthew 11:25–30

posted at 10:31 am on July 6, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

“Sunday Reflection” is a regular feature, looking at the specific readings used in today’s Mass in Catholic parishes around the world. The reflection represents only my own point of view, intended to help prepare myself for the Lord’s day and perhaps spark a meaningful discussionPrevious Sunday Reflections from the main page can be found here For previous Green Room entries, click here.

This morning’s Gospel reading is Matthew 11:25–30:

At that time Jesus exclaimed:

“I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to little ones. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

“For I am meek and humble of heart.” Those words may strike us as puzzling, for wow often do we exalt the Lord? We praise Him for His mighty works, for the breadth of creation. We acknowledge His infinite power and His infinite wisdom. Yet here we have, and also in today’s first reading in Zechariah, the statement that our Savior, the Son of God, is meek and will come to us “riding on an ass, on a colt, the foal of an ass,” a picture of humility.

How do we resolve the apparent contradiction? First, we must understand that there is no contradiction, and that the confusion is caused by human nature rather than reality within God’s love. We are used to human projections of power and knowledge, where both are used to gain advantage and dominate others. The Pharisees and Sadducees of that time used their superior knowledge of Scripture and law to dominate the Israelites in Jesus’ time, for instance. We see numerous examples from the Gospels of the ruling classes attempting to derail Jesus’ ministry, especially in defense of the economy and power structure of the Temple.

They are hardly unique, though — we see plenty of other examples in every era and time, and not just from the ruling classes but within ourselves, as well. We laugh and point with scorn at those who attempt to dominate others with the “Do you know who I am?” retort when challenged, and others who point to degrees or awards as ways to put themselves above reproach. These impulses come naturally to us, because our fallen human nature finds power and domination attractive. We acquire these outward signs of knowledge and power in order to present ourselves shortcuts to authority and avoidance of engagement. It gives us a chance to dominate, which is the opposite of humility and charity.

There is nothing wrong with knowledge, of course, or wisdom. Those gifts can be put to great use, but in ways that benefit others and contribute to the common good rather than serve selfish desires. It’s the inordinate desire for power, fame, money, and/or honors that end up being sinful and move us away from God, and away from our own true identities.

God Himself does not seek to dominate, as the Gospel and the first reading indicate. God will rule in His kingdom, but will rule through love and the free-will choice of those who become His sons and daughters. C. S. Lewis offered this clear explanation in his indispensable book The Screwtape Letters:

You must have often wondered why the Enemy does not make more use of His power to be sensibly present to human souls in any degree He chooses and at any moment. But you now see that the Irresistible and the Indisputable are the two weapons which the very nature of His scheme forbids Him to use. Merely to override a human will (as His felt presence in any but the faintest and most mitigated degree would certainly do) would be for Him useless. He cannot ravish. He can only woo. For His ignoble idea is to eat the cake and have it; the creatures are to be one with Him, but yet themselves; merely to cancel them, or assimilate them, will not serve.

Could God dominate us and force us into abject slavery? Sure, He could if He so chose. His will could crush us into unchosen obedience, into a fear-filled existence that only promised more of the same throughout eternity. This, however, is just the opposite of love and charity. In fact, this is exactly what sin does to us. It insinuates itself through our fallen human nature and our need to become our own gods, and feeds us on our own lusts — for power, sex, vainglory, vanity, and so on. We become enslaved to sin while believing ourselves to have been liberated by it. We need more and more of it in order to feed the emptiness that it expands, until we finally become so lost to it that we no longer recognize ourselves.

Do you know who I am eventually becomes less a slogan of domination, and more a plea for help.

God does know who we are, and wants us to be ourselves — the best part of ourselves, but still distinct, unique, and free within His love. This is why Jesus emphasizes the point here that choosing the path of righteousness may look more difficult and more like servitude, but it is a true liberation.  Jesus tells the disciples and “all you who labor and are burdened” that “my yoke is easy, and my burden light,” and that “you will find rest for yourselves.” We can do this by taking His yoke upon us and setting down the yoke of sin. Furthermore, this is possible because Jesus is “meek and humble of heart.” That is not just a coincidental point, but the foundation for the lighter yoke, the truly refreshing rest.

The difficulty in choosing the yoke of Jesus is recognizing that it is a choice between two yokes, and not a choice between one yoke and the concept of self-liberation. Too often, we fall back into our sinful self-deception that we are the only God we will ever need, and that leads us back to the inevitable slavery of sin and the perpetual emptiness that first makes Do you know who I am? a brag and then into a wail of despair.

Even in those times, though, we can rest assured that God knows who we are, and is ready for us to set down the yoke of sin and self-adoration. All we need to do is pick up the yoke that Jesus gives us of charity and faith. When we do, we will finally recognize the burden of sin, and find rest in setting it down. And in doing so, we will finally find ourselves, rather than the illusory identities we have built up through our refusal to recognize the one true authority — and we won’t ever have the need to say Do you know who I am to anyone else, least of all to ourselves.

Today’s image is from a mid-3rd century fresco in the Catacomb of Callixtus in Rome, one of the earliest images of Jesus as the Good Shepherd yet discovered.


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Again, thank you Ed.

unclesmrgol on July 6, 2014 at 10:57 AM

“Do you know who I am?” is the question we ought to ask ourselves. If, after reflection, we do not like the answer, then we must work to change it, for that is one thing God has told us we must be about, all the way until we draw our last breath.

unclesmrgol on July 6, 2014 at 11:03 AM

I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to little ones.

Hey, AP, are your ears burning?

The Rogue Tomato on July 6, 2014 at 11:18 AM

Hey, AP, are your ears burning?

The Rogue Tomato on July 6, 2014 at 11:18 AM

I’m not sure that God the Father hides things from the wise and the learned, so much as they hide these things from themselves through the workings of their own minds. God, Who has given to them free will, does not interfere. When they make themselves the center of their universe — its creator, so to speak — what present-day need have they to believe the Word — to have faith?

But we can pray to God that He will, in his mercy, open their minds, or that they, of their own will, will do the same.

unclesmrgol on July 6, 2014 at 11:33 AM

“…For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

God hides things in his word… because, as the bible says “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.”

He doesn’t throw His pearls before swine. If you really have a hunger… come and search, read and find the “knowledge of the truth which will set you free.”

Now I know what it means when he says “my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” We no longer have to struggle.. the work is finished. Jesus paid the whole price for my sin and God is no longer angry at me. The judgment and curse is behind.

Numbers 23:19 “God is not a man that he should lie, nor a son of man that he should repent.”

This is another one of those verses I have always heard preached in a hard way.. “God is not a man that he should lie, brother! God is holy so get ready to be judged! Your sin will seek you out! Repent!”

But lets read on and go to the next verse…… “Has he said, and will he not do? Or has he spoken, and will he not make it good?”

And what is this thing that God says he will not lie about or that he will not repent of? What is this thing he says he has spoken and will make good?

“Behold, I have received a command to bless; he has blessed and I cannot reverse it.”

What God blesses no man can curse! You are a blessing and you are highly favored in God’s eyes! Yes.. even in your weakness and in spite of your failings and mistakes.. God loves you and blesses you in spite of your faults!

Do you need more proof? Lets read the next verse..
Numbers 23:21 “He has not observed iniquity in Jacob, nor has he seen wickedness in Israel.”

You see.. does God say here there was no iniquity or wickedness? No! He says he does not observe it nor see it! And why? Because there was this thing going on in the middle of the camp of Israel called the burnt offering! As long as God saw the sacrifice He did not observe the sin!

And today it is not just the same.. it is better! The Father sees Jesus.. the perfect sacrifice and will never see your iniquity or sin ever again! And God has spoken it.. and will not reverse it or repent of it.. you are a blessing and what He has blessed no man will ever curse!

This is why his yoke is easy and his burden is light.. and why he calls all those who labor to try to please God with works and self denial… this is why the gospel is called the Good news!

JellyToast on July 6, 2014 at 11:45 AM

and we won’t ever have the need to say Do you know who I am to anyone else, least of all to ourselves.

Hopefully MD will read Ed’s statement.

Schadenfreude on July 6, 2014 at 12:04 PM

How do we resolve the apparent contradiction? First, we must understand that there is no contradiction, and that the confusion is caused by human nature rather than reality within God’s love.

Ed Morrissey on July 6, 2014 at 10:31 am

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Boy, does that ever apply to a lot of other scriptures, as well

listens2glenn on July 6, 2014 at 12:17 PM

“For I am meek and humble of heart.” Those words may strike us as puzzling, for how often do we exalt the Lord?

Ed Morrissey on July 6, 2014 at 10:31 am

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We have misused those words within our everyday, contemporary vernacular, and given the misperception that “meek” and “humble” imply ‘weak’.

listens2glenn on July 6, 2014 at 12:28 PM

Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.

“Be not afraid,
I go before you always.
Come follow me, and
I will give you rest.”

John Michael Talbot

Hope everyone had a great weekend…God Bless!

JetBoy on July 6, 2014 at 12:56 PM

Great point Ed — and there’s no getting around this by splitting hairs linguistically. The Greek word that is translated as “humble’ here is “tapeinos” which is defined as:

humble, lowly; poor, of humble circumstances; downcast, downhearted (2 Cor. 7:6); lacking confidence, meek and mild (2 Cor. 10:1).

Jesus CHOSE to humble himself.

Pythagoras on July 6, 2014 at 1:15 PM

Could God dominate us and force us into abject slavery? Sure, He could if He so chose. His will could crush us into unchosen obedience, into a fear-filled existence that only promised more of the same throughout eternity. This, however, is just the opposite of love and charity. In fact, this is exactly what sin does to us.

Ed Morrissey on July 6, 2014 at 10:31 am

.
He has already (past tense) made the choice to never “dominate” us. He made us (not just Adam and Eve) in His image, after His likeness. He can’t dominate any of us (now), without being in violation of Himself.
He could have chosen to design and create us in such a way as to enable Himself to dominate us. But He chose instead to make us as beings with a free will.
If God were to “dominate” any person of ‘human-kind’, He would be guilty of violating the same kind of oath He swore to Abraham [Heb 6:13-14], where it says “because He could swear by no greater, He sware by Himself …”
You don’t have to agree with me, but I take that to mean He would have to destroy Himself, if He ever violates the Covenant with Abraham, and by extension, the ‘free-will’ character trait He’s placed in us.

If God could “dominate” us, He would make us all get saved. [Matt 18:14, 2Pet 3:9]

listens2glenn on July 6, 2014 at 1:37 PM

JellyToast on July 6, 2014 at 11:45 AM

One of the best comments on Biblical fundamental truth that I’ve seen on this or any other thread dealing with Bible doctrine, in my humble opinion.

HiJack on July 6, 2014 at 2:17 PM

Amen JellyToast…..And oh how God uses wretched sinners to fulfill His work….The playing field is level at the foot of the Cross….

crosshugger on July 6, 2014 at 2:26 PM

There are a couple of versions of this scripture passage put to music

Come Unto Me – Bob Hurd

Come Unto Me – Chuck Wagon Gang (Gospel)

Come Unto Me – Jami Smith (Modern version)

lineholder on July 6, 2014 at 2:30 PM

Could God dominate us and force us into abject slavery? Sure, He could if He so chose. His will could crush us into unchosen obedience, into a fear-filled existence that only promised more of the same throughout eternity. This, however, is just the opposite of love and charity. In fact, this is exactly what sin does to us.

Ed Morrissey on July 6, 2014 at 10:31 am

I disagree. This would go against God’s nature, and God is not able to do that. He may be all-powerful, but there are certain things he cannot do, and I believe this would be one of them.

HiJack on July 6, 2014 at 2:31 PM

I disagree. This would go against God’s nature, and God is not able to do that. He may be all-powerful, but there are certain things he cannot do, and I believe this would be one of them.

HiJack on July 6, 2014 at 2:31 PM

Change “cannot” to “would not” and I agree. There is little doubt that He has the power and might to do it. But would He choose to do it? Evidence of His character says “no”, He would not.

lineholder on July 6, 2014 at 2:36 PM

I disagree. This would go against God’s nature, and God is not able to do that. He may be all-powerful, but there are certain things he cannot do, and I believe this would be one of them.

HiJack on July 6, 2014 at 2:31 PM

There is nothing God cannot do. But there are things he would not do.

JetBoy on July 6, 2014 at 3:05 PM

Change “cannot” to “would not” and I agree. There is little doubt that He has the power and might to do it. But would He choose to do it? Evidence of His character says “no”, He would not.

lineholder on July 6, 2014 at 2:36 PM

No, God cannot go against His nature. In other words, He cannot sin. People are in error when they think there is nothing God cannot do. That’s simply not true. For God to force people to act against their will is against God’s nature. God’s nature is to allow us free will.

HiJack on July 6, 2014 at 3:19 PM

There is nothing God cannot do. But there are things he would not do.

JetBoy on July 6, 2014 at 3:05 PM

Can God sin? The answer to that question is at the heart of why Christ had to die for our sins rather than just having us believe in Him. Most people cannot explain why Christ had to die in order for us to be reconciled to God. If you think God can sin but simply chooses not to do so, then you don’t understand His nature. This notion that there is nothing that God cannot do allows detractors to challenge us by asking this question: Can God create a rock too big for Him to lift? No, he can’t, but that change the fact that He is all-powerful.

HiJack on July 6, 2014 at 3:25 PM

that DOESN’T change the fact that He is all-powerful.

HiJack on July 6, 2014 at 3:26 PM

No, God cannot go against His nature. In other words, He cannot sin. People are in error when they think there is nothing God cannot do. That’s simply not true. For God to force people to act against their will is against God’s nature. God’s nature is to allow us free will.

HiJack on July 6, 2014 at 3:19 PM

Can God sin? The answer to that question is at the heart of why Christ had to die for our sins rather than just having us believe in Him. Most people cannot explain why Christ had to die in order for us to be reconciled to God. If you think God can sin but simply chooses not to do so, then you don’t understand His nature. This notion that there is nothing that God cannot do allows detractors to challenge us by asking this question: Can God create a rock too big for Him to lift? No, he can’t, but that change the fact that He is all-powerful.

HiJack on July 6, 2014 at 3:25 PM

I respectfully disagree. If God is truly omnipotent, then it stands to reason he is capable of doing anything. Once you attribute limits to what God can or cannot do, then God ceases to be omnipotent.

And when you say God cannot sin, you apply limitations again on what God can or cannot do…and again, would show God not to be omnipotent. For example, I can walk into a store, grab a candy bar, and slip it in my pocket and walk out with it. That’s stealing, which is a sin. I am fully capable of doing that…but I choose not to.

If you say God cannot sin, then you’re saying God could not walk into the same store and walk out with a candy bar. You’ve applied another limitation on God, which means He is not omnipotent. In order for God to be omnipotent, He must be able to do anything. When you say “God can’t do that” you immediately take His omnipotence away from Him.

God is capable of anything. But God, in a way, limits Himself…to logic. Is it logical to think God would sin? No. Is it logical to believe God would enslave humanity? No…because He is a just and loving Creator. It’s through that logic, and not inability, where God would not sin, nor do evil to His creation.

JetBoy on July 6, 2014 at 4:27 PM

“The Son of God….will come to us riding on an ass.”

Obama is going to get down on all fours? Seriously? I hope I’m around for that. Thanks, Ed.

NoPain on July 6, 2014 at 4:44 PM

God is capable of anything. But God, in a way, limits Himself…to logic.

JetBoy on July 6, 2014 at 4:27 PM

If God limited Himself to logic we wouldn’t be here.

DarkCurrent on July 6, 2014 at 5:19 PM

It’s through that logic, and not inability, where God would not sin, nor do evil to His creation.

JetBoy on July 6, 2014 at 4:27 PM

God cannot sin, by definition. Even omniscient God’s creation of Satan was not and could not be a sin.

DarkCurrent on July 6, 2014 at 5:24 PM

The answer to that question is at the heart of why Christ had to die for our sins rather than just having us believe in Him. Most people cannot explain why Christ had to die in order for us to be reconciled to God.

HiJack on July 6, 2014 at 3:25 PM

I’d be very interested in hearing an explanation for that.

DarkCurrent on July 6, 2014 at 5:34 PM

The answer to that question is at the heart of why Christ had to die for our sins rather than just having us believe in Him. Most people cannot explain why Christ had to die in order for us to be reconciled to God.

HiJack on July 6, 2014 at 3:25 PM

I’d be very interested in hearing an explanation for that.

DarkCurrent on July 6, 2014 at 5:34 PM

“For the wages of sin is death.”

Adam sinned, but did not die, but when Adam sinned he sinned for all since his sin nature was passed on to all mankind. All except Christ since Christ was born of woman, not man. We inherited that sin nature, so we inherited spiritual death. Christ died to pay for the sin of Adam and all mankind, because the wages of sin is death. God has reconciled Himself to man, and Paul teaches us to now reconcile ourselves to God since the barrier has been remove by Christ’s sacrifice.

God himself declared to Adam the consequence of sinning (eating the forbidden fruit), and now he was forced to enforce it and chose to enforce Himself through Christ. Christ had to die to satisfy the penalty of death, because the wages of sin is death.

HiJack on July 6, 2014 at 5:49 PM

If God limited Himself to logic we wouldn’t be here.

DarkCurrent on July 6, 2014 at 5:19 PM

Good point.

God cannot sin, by definition. Even omniscient God’s creation of Satan was not and could not be a sin.

DarkCurrent on July 6, 2014 at 5:24 PM

If God cannot sin, then He cannot be omnipotent.

God absolutely has the ability to sin…He can do anything…but logic dictates that He would not ever sin. Any time you place a restriction on God’s abilities, you take away His omnipotence.

JetBoy on July 6, 2014 at 6:04 PM

God is capable of anything. But God, in a way, limits Himself…to logic.

JetBoy on July 6, 2014 at 4:27 PM
.

If God limited Himself to logic we wouldn’t be here.

DarkCurrent on July 6, 2014 at 5:19 PM

.
Good point.

JetBoy on July 6, 2014 at 6:04 PM

.
Upon what “logical” basis do the two of you agree to that premise ?

listens2glenn on July 6, 2014 at 6:18 PM

Good point.

JetBoy on July 6, 2014 at 6:04 PM

.
Upon what “logical” basis do the two of you agree to that premise ?

listens2glenn on July 6, 2014 at 6:18 PM

.
I now see that you do NOT agree to that premise . . . . . **blush**

I read over it once, and missed the second part of it, somehow.

listens2glenn on July 6, 2014 at 6:22 PM

It’s through that logic, and not inability, where God would not sin, nor do evil to His creation.

JetBoy on July 6, 2014 at 4:27 PM

.
God cannot sin, by definition. Even omniscient God’s creation of Satan was not and could not be a sin.

DarkCurrent on July 6, 2014 at 5:24 PM

.
God is incapable of creating a being like Satan.

God is totally capable of creating a being (archangel) like Lucifer.

Lucifer perverted himself (by a cognitive decision), and became sin
[Ezekiel 28: 11-19, Isaiah 14: 3-20]

listens2glenn on July 6, 2014 at 6:38 PM

Can God sin? The answer to that question is at the heart of why Christ had to die for our sins rather than just having us believe in Him.

No, God cannot sin because He is not bound by the laws He imposes on us. When the firstborn of Egypt were all killed by God’s edict, He incurred no guilt even though the firstborn were not guilty of any capital offense related to the sentence they received. They were God’s creatures and He could do whatever He pleased with them.

…This notion that there is nothing that God cannot do allows detractors to challenge us by asking this question: Can God create a rock too big for Him to lift? No, he can’t, but that change the fact that He is all-powerful. HiJack on July 6, 2014 at 3:25 PM

The short answer is that God is not the author of absurdity. It’s a contradiction framed in the form of a question for the unwary, i.e., a lie.

Akzed on July 6, 2014 at 7:34 PM

The answer to that question is at the heart of why Christ had to die for our sins rather than just having us believe in Him. Most people cannot explain why Christ had to die in order for us to be reconciled to God.

HiJack on July 6, 2014 at 3:25 PM
.

I’d be very interested in hearing an explanation for that.

DarkCurrent on July 6, 2014 at 5:34 PM

.
“For the wages of sin is death.”

Adam sinned, but did not die, . . . . .

HiJack on July 6, 2014 at 5:49 PM

.
I can’t agree with you on that, HiJack.
If Adam didn’t die, when he disobeyed … then God is a liar.
[Gen 2:17]

“…But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die.”

Adam and Eve both did experience a “death”. It just wasn’t the ‘ceasing to function’ of the physical body, as we understand death, today.

A spirit being is what man is. The physical body is what man is inside of (and limited to) on this earth.

Man belonged to Satan, upon the his eating of the forbidden tree.
.

God himself declared to Adam the consequence of sinning (eating the forbidden fruit), and now he was forced to enforce it and chose to enforce Himself through Christ.

HiJack on July 6, 2014 at 5:49 PM

.
The crucifixion, and three days in the belly of the earth wasn’t God enforcing the penalty that He had described to Adam.

It was God forcibly redeeming us from Satan.

And I really mean “forcibly”, because this wasn’t a ‘mutual trade-off’ that Satan had agreed to. If Satan would have understood the trade-off, he would have rejected it.

Satan honestly believed that he had won, when Jesus died on the cross. He didn’t understand that he was about to lose the ownership/control (that Adam had given him) of anyone who would accept Jesus as Savior and LORD.

That is … until the end of the seventy-two hours that Jesus spent in the “pit of hell.” … Then the absolute LIFE, LIGHT, and LOVE of God entered back into Jesus. Then He rose up, and KICKED ASS !

All of the Old Testament saints, who were in a separated portion of hell, called ‘Paradise’, witnessed the “ass kicking”, first hand.

listens2glenn on July 6, 2014 at 7:45 PM

God is incapable of creating a being like Satan.

listens2glenn on July 6, 2014 at 6:38 PM

So you’re saying God is not omnipotent? That there are limits of what God can and cannot do?

JetBoy on July 6, 2014 at 7:49 PM

Can God sin? . . . . .

HiJack on July 6, 2014 at 3:25 PM

.
No, God cannot sin because He is not bound by the laws He imposes on us. When the firstborn of Egypt were all killed by God’s edict, He incurred no guilt even though the firstborn were not guilty of any capital offense related to the sentence they received. They were God’s creatures and He could do whatever He pleased with them.

Akzed on July 6, 2014 at 7:34 PM

.
Killing those babies was an “act of war”, and it didn’t please God to do it. He tried everything else first, before resorting to it.

The Ten Commandments weren’t simply God “telling the Jews (and us by extension) what to do, and not do.”
They were a revelation of God’s personality and character.

The sixth commandment says : “You shall not murder.”

It does not say : “You shall not kill.”

We are made in God’s image, after His likeness … everything that applies to us, applies to Him, first.

listens2glenn on July 6, 2014 at 8:13 PM

God is incapable of creating a being like Satan.

listens2glenn on July 6, 2014 at 6:38 PM

.
So you’re saying God is not omnipotent? That there are limits of what God can and cannot do?

JetBoy on July 6, 2014 at 7:49 PM

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The God who is Life, Light, and Love … in the strongest, most absolute sense of those words, is incapable of creating a being who is death, darkness, and hate.

That’s not really a “limitation” as I see it, but suit yourself.

listens2glenn on July 6, 2014 at 8:21 PM

The God who is Life, Light, and Love … in the strongest, most absolute sense of those words, is incapable of creating a being who is death, darkness, and hate.

That’s not really a “limitation” as I see it, but suit yourself.

listens2glenn on July 6, 2014 at 8:21 PM

You didn’t answer the question…Is God omnipotent? This goes well beyond a specific example like Satan.

The answer should be “yes”…God is omnipotent, and has the ability to do anything He wants to do. But, just to be clear on this, there are things God wouldn’t do because they are illogical for God, as we know Him from scripture, to do them.

And illogical is very different from inability.

JetBoy on July 6, 2014 at 8:33 PM

kustebs2glenn

Don’t want to put too fine a point on it, but you meant the 5th Commandment, which, in the New American Bible, Exodus, 20:13 does say, “you shall not kill.”

Yours in Christ,
Michael

Michael Harlin on July 6, 2014 at 8:42 PM

Sorry, I was writing to listens2glenn in my last post.
Michael.

Michael Harlin on July 6, 2014 at 8:47 PM

listens2glenn on July 6, 2014 at 8:21 PM

.
You didn’t answer the question…Is God omnipotent? This goes well beyond a specific example like Satan.

The answer should be “yes”…God is omnipotent, and has the ability to do anything He wants to do. But, just to be clear on this, there are things God wouldn’t do because they are illogical for God, as we know Him from scripture, to do them.

And illogical is very different from inability.

JetBoy on July 6, 2014 at 8:33 PM

.
This example has been “worn out” so many times, but . . . . .

God doesn’t want ANY of us going to the place prepared for Satan and his host of fallen angels … [Matthew 18:14, 2 Peter 3:9]

But Jesus said some persons are going to be damned, and he said exactly why they’re going to be damned … because they believed not … [John 3:18]

listens2glenn on July 6, 2014 at 9:25 PM

This example has been “worn out” so many times, but . . . . .

God doesn’t want ANY of us going to the place prepared for Satan and his host of fallen angels … [Matthew 18:14, 2 Peter 3:9]

But Jesus said some persons are going to be damned, and he said exactly why they’re going to be damned … because they believed not … [John 3:18]

listens2glenn on July 6, 2014 at 9:25 PM

Yes, that’s all fine and true…but totally off topic. We’re not discussing hell or damnation here.

And you still didn’t answer the question:

Is God omnipotent? It’s either a “yes” or a “no”.

JetBoy on July 6, 2014 at 9:35 PM

kustebs2glenn

Don’t want to put too fine a point on it, but you meant the 5th Commandment, which, in the New American Bible, Exodus, 20:13 does say, “you shall not kill.”

Yours in Christ,
Michael

Michael Harlin on July 6, 2014 at 8:42 PM

Sorry, I was writing to listens2glenn in my last post.
Michael.

Michael Harlin on July 6, 2014 at 8:47 PM

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After a mistake like that, I may want to change my username to “kustebs2glenn”, but in any event, here’s where I got the number “6″ from.
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Most English language translations use the word “kill”, but God doesn’t contradict Himself.

He told Israel more than once to kill entire cities of people. They went completely “scorched earth”.

They killed women and children (and babies) during these events.

listens2glenn on July 6, 2014 at 9:41 PM

listens2glenn on July 6, 2014 at 9:25 PM

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Yes, that’s all fine and true…but totally off topic. We’re not discussing hell or damnation here.

And you still didn’t answer the question:

Is God omnipotent? It’s either a “yes” or a “no”.

JetBoy on July 6, 2014 at 9:35 PM

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Yes.

listens2glenn on July 6, 2014 at 9:42 PM

Listes2glenn

I’m sorry but you sound so bitter. Catholics use the NAB bible as our guide. By the way, the 6th Commandment addresses adultery.

Michael Harlin on July 6, 2014 at 10:07 PM

Oh, sorry again. I meant liestes2glenn.

Michael Harlin on July 6, 2014 at 10:08 PM

Oh dear. listens2glenn!

Michael Harlin on July 6, 2014 at 10:10 PM

I’m sorry but you sound so bitter.

Michael Harlin on July 6, 2014 at 10:07 PM

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? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? ! ? !
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Catholics use the NAB bible as our guide. By the way, the 6th Commandment addresses adultery.

Michael Harlin on July 6, 2014 at 10:07 PM

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I won’t hold your use of the NAB Bible against you. You go with what you believe God wants you to.
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I do not criticize either you or that website over the correct “commandment sequence”, because (truthfully) I just don’t know.

I found that site on a search engine, and just went with it. But that doesn’t mean they’re right.

listens2glenn on July 6, 2014 at 11:08 PM

Read the Gospel of Thomas.

John the Libertarian on July 7, 2014 at 2:55 AM

Yes.

listens2glenn on July 6, 2014 at 9:42 PM

OK, so you agree that God is omnipotent. That means He can do anything…

Omnipotent

om·nip·o·tent

ämˈnipətənt/adjective

1. (of a deity) having unlimited power; able to do anything.

In order for God to be omnipotent, He must be able to sin, and be able to create evil. Because when you say God is “incapable” of doing something, He ceases to be omnipotent. God is absolutely capable of doing anything He wants to. It would simply be “illogical” for God to sin, etc.

JetBoy on July 7, 2014 at 8:31 AM

JetBoy on July 7, 2014 at 8:31 AM

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You are trying to take the ‘mental picture/concept’ that you get from the dictionary definition of “omnipotent”, and apply it to the spiritual dimension of ‘absolute(s?)’.
I’m saying that mental picture/concept that you have, from the definition of omnipotent, does not … can not … apply to the spiritual dimension of ‘absolute(s?)’.
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Having said that, I restate what I said above :

The God who is Life, Light, and Love … in the strongest, most absolute sense of those words, is incapable of creating a being who is death, darkness, and hate.

That’s not really a “limitation” as I see it, but suit yourself.

listens2glenn on July 6, 2014 at 8:21 PM

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We aren’t taught to mentally process information (think) in terms of “absolutes”.
Within the subject of science, we have an understanding of “absolute” cold. We call it “absolute zero”.

There are probably other examples of “absolutes” that our institutions of science have a grasp of but that’s the only one I remember from high school.

The point is that … because we aren’t taught to think in terms of “absolutes”, we aren’t prepared to grasp how the God who is absolute, Life, Light, and Love, can’t make/create a being who is “death, darkness, and hate”, while simultaneously qualifying for the definition of ‘omnipotent.’

listens2glenn on July 7, 2014 at 10:06 AM

listens2glenn on July 7, 2014 at 10:06 AM

If you say God cannot do this thing or that thing, then He ceases to be omnipotent by definition. Does “omnipotent” change definitions when applied to God? He cannot be omnipotent…all powerful…and be unable to do even one thing. If God cannot sin, then God is not omnipotent.

I can’t understand why this keeps eluding you. You’ve now begun to say God isn’t a dictionary definition of omnipotent. So by what other definition is God omnipotent?

JetBoy on July 7, 2014 at 11:15 AM

listens2glenn on July 7, 2014 at 10:06 AM

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If you say God cannot do this thing or that thing, then He ceases to be omnipotent by definition. Does “omnipotent” change definitions when applied to God? He cannot be omnipotent…all powerful…and be unable to do even one thing. If God cannot sin, then God is not omnipotent.

I can’t understand why this keeps eluding you. You’ve now begun to say God isn’t a dictionary definition of omnipotent. So by what other definition is God omnipotent?

JetBoy on July 7, 2014 at 11:15 AM

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What do you see as being the proper/more accurate interpretation of I John 3:1-10 ?

Verse 9 is the “punchline”, but verse 9 can be theologically obscured … without first having verses 1 and 2.
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1Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
4Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. 5And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. 6Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. 7Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. 8He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 9Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

listens2glenn on July 7, 2014 at 12:50 PM

God is λόγος; logic. To do something illogical would be to violate His immutable nature: “I change not.”

Sin is irrational. Choosing to disobey the precepts God has for us is an action leading to death.

Adam and Eve’s sin caused them immediate spiritual death and, eventually, physical death. Sin, not following God’s life directions, in any area will cause death in that area, e. g., finances, marriage, sexuality. Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.

(God created us. He knows what is good for us.)

Sinning is de facto saying, “I know better than God. I am my own God, ‘knowing good and evil.’”

R. C. Sproul writes, “The moral deformity is dynamic: sin is an energy of irrational, negative, and rebellious reaction to God.”

God cannot sin.

davidk on July 7, 2014 at 1:00 PM

The trite, “Can God make a rock so big He can’t move it?” is illogical

God is pure logic. He cannot do the illogical.

That does not take anything away from Him. Quite the opposite.

It gives us comfort to know that God is an unchanging, rational being Who cannot violate His essence.

davidk on July 7, 2014 at 1:06 PM

God cannot sin.

davidk on July 7, 2014 at 1:00 PM

If so, then God is not omnipotent.

JetBoy on July 7, 2014 at 1:12 PM

God cannot sin.

davidk on July 7, 2014 at 1:00 PM

If so, then God is not omnipotent.

JetBoy on July 7, 2014 at 1:12 PM

If God can violate His nature, then we cannot trust Him.

davidk on July 7, 2014 at 1:40 PM

God cannot sin.

davidk on July 7, 2014 at 1:00 PM

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If so, then God is not omnipotent.

JetBoy on July 7, 2014 at 1:12 PM

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Then you need to … what? … Stop believing the Bible?

listens2glenn on July 7, 2014 at 1:57 PM

If God can violate His nature, then we cannot trust Him.

davidk on July 7, 2014 at 1:40 PM

If God is incapable of doing something, then He is not omnipotent.

We can trust God, because it wouldn’t be logical for God to violate His nature…it wouldn’t make sense for Him to do so.

Then you need to … what? … Stop believing the Bible?

listens2glenn on July 7, 2014 at 1:57 PM

Why would I stop believing the bible? Because I believe God to be omnipotent?

JetBoy on July 7, 2014 at 2:15 PM

If God is incapable of doing something, then He is not omnipotent.

JetBoy on July 7, 2014 at 2:15 PM

Can God will Himself to not exist? Can He make it be true that He never existed?

If He can’t possibly do those acts, does this mean that He is really isn’t omnipotent, or does it mean that the way you are defining “omnipotent” is absurd?

non-nonpartisan on July 7, 2014 at 3:19 PM

Then you need to … what? … Stop believing the Bible?

listens2glenn on July 7, 2014 at 1:57 PM

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Why would I stop believing the bible? Because I believe God to be omnipotent?

JetBoy on July 7, 2014 at 2:15 PM

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I also believe God is “omnipotent”, but yet here we are . . . . .

I John 3:9 – Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
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If “whosoever is born of God cannot sin”, then God can’t sin … and it doesn’t cost Him His status as “omnipotent”.

listens2glenn on July 7, 2014 at 3:30 PM

If “whosoever is born of God cannot sin”, then God can’t sin … and it doesn’t cost Him His status as “omnipotent”.

listens2glenn on July 7, 2014 at 3:30 PM

Jesus was born of God. He, according to the verse you cite, cannot sin.

Is it your understanding that Jesus also in His humanity could not sin? If He could not, does that not flirt with docetism?

Jesus was fully God and fully man without the two natures mixing.

davidk on July 7, 2014 at 6:52 PM

Sorry about the strike.

davidk on July 7, 2014 at 6:54 PM

Jesus was born of God. He, according to the verse you cite, cannot sin.

Is it your understanding that Jesus also in His humanity could not sin? If He could not, does that not flirt with docetism?

Jesus was fully God and fully man without the two natures mixing.

davidk on July 7, 2014 at 6:52 PM

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No, I’m not flirting with docetism.

Jesus wasn’t “full of the Holy Spirit”, when he conducted His earthly ministry. His spiritual capabilities were as an Old Testament prophet, specifically so that He would experience all of the temptations common to man. I’m pretty sure we agree there.

Where we might not agree, is over whether I John 3:1-10 applies to us, here and now.
I’m claiming that it does … literally.
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It has been the source of much debating … I mean arguing, with various believers, over Bible interpretation and meaning, over the years.

listens2glenn on July 7, 2014 at 10:07 PM

Sorry about the strike.

davidk on July 7, 2014 at 6:54 PM

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I believe I’m gonna hafta hold that against you for a couple o’ days.

listens2glenn on July 7, 2014 at 10:09 PM

Can God will Himself to not exist? Can He make it be true that He never existed?

If He can’t possibly do those acts, does this mean that He is really isn’t omnipotent, or does it mean that the way you are defining “omnipotent” is absurd?

non-nonpartisan on July 7, 2014 at 3:19 PM

Yes, God could will Himself to not exist…and make it as if He never existed. God has the power to create, and also the power to destroy. He has done both.

There is nothing God cannot do, if He wanted to. And as far as I’m aware, the term “omnipotent” means having unlimited power, and able to do anything. So again, by saying “God cannot _______” you’re placing limitations to God’s power.

And limitations are contrary to the term “omnipotent”. If you know about some definition of “omnipotent” that means “can do most things” instead of “all things”, I’d love to see it.

JetBoy on July 8, 2014 at 8:13 AM

Yes, God could will Himself to not exist…and make it as if He never existed. God has the power to create, and also the power to destroy. He has done both.

I didn’t say “make it as if,” I said, “Can He make it be true that He never existed?” Sorry for what you are trying to argue, but it’s not possible for Him to undo what has already existed in time. Water which has already passed under the bridge cannot ever truthfully be said to never have passed under it. Wiping out memories doesn’t change the actual past.

So no, He can’t make it so He never existed, and you didn’t reasonably deny it, because you know you can’t. And not being God, how do you know He could will Himself to not exist? lol You have an irrational definition of omnipotent.

There is nothing God cannot do, if He wanted to. And as far as I’m aware, the term “omnipotent” means having unlimited power, and able to do anything. So again, by saying “God cannot _______” you’re placing limitations to God’s power.

And limitations are contrary to the term “omnipotent”. If you know about some definition of “omnipotent” that means “can do most things” instead of “all things”, I’d love to see it.

JetBoy on July 8, 2014 at 8:13 AM

God “can do anything” conceivable. This means He can’t do nonsense, or do things which can’t be, like existing and not existing at the same time.

God Himself is limited by this kind of logic. This doesn’t mean He’s not omnipotent. Not all definitions of “omnipotent” are equal, or rational. And if you don’t believe that God has logical limitations, there is no point in us discussing it because I’d interpret that you don’t understand the difference between “true” and “false,” “sense” and “nonsense.”

non-nonpartisan on July 8, 2014 at 9:46 AM

listens2glenn on July 7, 2014 at 10:07 PM

I am sure we agree more often than not.

davidk on July 8, 2014 at 2:13 PM

listens2glenn on July 7, 2014 at 10:07 PM

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I am sure we agree more often than not.

davidk on July 8, 2014 at 2:13 PM

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For that, I’m going to stop holding that accidental “strike”, against you … : )

listens2glenn on July 8, 2014 at 3:16 PM

Sorry for what you are trying to argue, but it’s not possible for Him to undo what has already existed in time. Water which has already passed under the bridge cannot ever truthfully be said to never have passed under it. Wiping out memories doesn’t change the actual past.

non-nonpartisan on July 8, 2014 at 9:46 AM

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Just a “minor” point . . . . . linear time and distance (the time/space continuum) is non-existent in the ‘spirit dimension.’
One of the most scientifically revealing statements from Jesus is, “…before Abraham was, I am…” [John 8:58].
Made the crowd He was addressing sooo MAD … they tried to ‘stone’ Him !

The word “stone” as a verb, has a different meaning there, than how Bob Dylan used it in that song.
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But I really like your point about “nonsense”.

listens2glenn on July 8, 2014 at 3:44 PM

Just a “minor” point . . . . . linear time and distance (the time/space continuum) is non-existent in the ‘spirit dimension.’
One of the most scientifically revealing statements from Jesus is, “…before Abraham was, I am…” [John 8:58].
Made the crowd He was addressing sooo MAD … they tried to ‘stone’ Him !

The word “stone” as a verb, has a different meaning there, than how Bob Dylan used it in that song.
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But I really like your point about “nonsense”.

listens2glenn on July 8, 2014 at 3:44 PM

We may have to disagree, because time is linear everywhere, in every conceivable reality. Time works like this: “once and done.” For God to “go back and redo what’s already happened” would be the “second time” for whatever He’d redo, not the first. And for a pertinent example, Jesus isn’t still dying on the Cross in the spirit world, is He? That’s a past event there, too. =)

As to my point to JetBoy about “nonsense,” people like him believe “omnipotence” must mean that God can do anything which can be formulated in sentence, even if the expressed concept is physically/practically unworkable, which truly is a silly way to define the word. You and I understand logically that God can’t violate His own nature. This does not mean He isn’t omnipotent.

non-nonpartisan on July 8, 2014 at 5:37 PM

Late getting back to you, because a !!#@!*&$#!! thunderstorm took out our power, from about 6:30 PM till almost 01:00 AM … : (

listens2glenn on July 8, 2014 at 3:44 PM

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We may have to disagree, because time is linear everywhere, in every conceivable reality. Time works like this: “once and done.” For God to “go back and redo what’s already happened” would be the “second time” for whatever He’d redo, not the first. And for a pertinent example, Jesus isn’t still dying on the Cross in the spirit world, is He? That’s a past event there, too. =)

non-nonpartisan on July 8, 2014 at 5:37 PM

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Okay … I should have said it altogether differently–

In the spirit world/dimension, time as we understand it doesn’t exist.

If you disagree, fine … it shouldn’t affect our relationship with the LORD, so I’ll let it go at that.
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As to my point to JetBoy about “nonsense,” people like him believe “omnipotence” must mean that God can do anything which can be formulated in sentence, even if the expressed concept is physically/practically unworkable, which truly is a silly way to define the word. You and I understand logically that God can’t violate His own nature. This does not mean He isn’t omnipotent.

non-nonpartisan on July 8, 2014 at 5:37 PM

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I understand totally … I last spoke to him about it, here :

listens2glenn on July 7, 2014 at 3:30 PM

…and he hasn’t got back to me since.

listens2glenn on July 9, 2014 at 1:42 AM

Jesus isn’t still dying on the Cross in the spirit world, is He? That’s a past event there, too. =)

non-nonpartisan on July 8, 2014 at 5:37 PM

Sacrament of Reconciliation. Yes, he is and ever shall be.

ericdijon on July 9, 2014 at 9:55 AM

Jesus isn’t still dying on the Cross in the spirit world, is He? That’s a past event there, too. =)

non-nonpartisan on July 8, 2014 at 5:37 PM

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Sacrament of Reconciliation. Yes, he is and ever shall be.

ericdijon on July 9, 2014 at 9:55 AM

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How or why does our need for the “Sacrament of Reconciliation” require Him to be in a perpetual state of “dying on the cross”?

listens2glenn on July 9, 2014 at 8:29 PM

Okay … I should have said it altogether differently–

In the spirit world/dimension, time as we understand it doesn’t exist.

Yes, time as we know it is very different there. It isn’t measured/measurable, but because God isn’t a static being with unchanging consciousness, it still must exist in some form.

If you disagree, fine … it shouldn’t affect our relationship with the LORD, so I’ll let it go at that.

listens2glenn on July 9, 2014 at 1:42 AM

You hate God, and are bound for Hell if you disgree with me! =)

non-nonpartisan on July 9, 2014 at 9:46 PM

Sacrament of Reconciliation. Yes, he is and ever shall be.

ericdijon on July 9, 2014 at 9:55 AM

So Jesus is physically and emotionally still dying on the Cross, and at the very same time living physically and emotionally after the Resurrection? If that is what you believe, I’m sorry, but that is insane.

Time only moves forward; it can’t remain in one spot, or be reversed. Jesus isn’t still dying, and His pre-resurrected dead body isn’t on the Cross eternally, either.

non-nonpartisan on July 9, 2014 at 9:51 PM

listens2glenn on July 9, 2014 at 8:29 PM

non-nonpartisan on July 9, 2014 at 9:51 PM

My mistake then. I didn’t realize that all sin for all future generations was taken away on Good Friday. Doh. Further, I thought that a steady loss of blood led to dying and mistakenly equated the Lamb of God in Revelations with Jesus. I’m hitting myself for regarding typography so seriously – sheesh – prophecy and fulfillment – I am mixed up. I suppose I was being a bad Catholic.

You are guessing at time. You are standing on your heads trying to understand and express it in a worldly sense. You will be gods – keep after it.

ericdijon on July 10, 2014 at 5:00 PM

My mistake then. I didn’t realize that all sin for all future generations was taken away on Good Friday. Doh. Further, I thought that a steady loss of blood led to dying and mistakenly equated the Lamb of God in Revelations with Jesus. I’m hitting myself for regarding typography so seriously – sheesh – prophecy and fulfillment – I am mixed up. I suppose I was being a bad Catholic.

It was your mistake. =)

You are guessing at time. You are standing on your heads trying to understand and express it in a worldly sense.

Let me rewrite this for accuracy: “I’m guessing that Yyou are guessing at time. It’s my belief that Yyou are standing on your heads trying to understand and express it in a worldly sense. I cannot truthfully say that you are wrong, because I myself don’t know that you are.

You will be gods – keep after it.

ericdijon on July 10, 2014 at 5:00 PM

You don’t know what I know about God, or through Him, you only know what you believe you know. You should learn how opinions work. Otherwise, you’ll continue to come off too much like Obama.

non-nonpartisan on July 10, 2014 at 10:19 PM

nailed it.

ericdijon on July 11, 2014 at 9:24 AM

nailed it.

ericdijon on July 11, 2014 at 9:24 AM

lol

non-nonpartisan on July 11, 2014 at 7:35 PM

You will be gods – keep after it.

ericdijon on July 10, 2014 at 5:00 PM

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You don’t know what I know about God, or through Him, you only know what you believe you know. You should learn how opinions work. Otherwise, you’ll continue to come off too much like Obama.

non-nonpartisan on July 10, 2014 at 10:19 PM

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Ain’t a single one of us perfect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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listens2glenn on July 11, 2014 at 8:08 PM