i am a believer but i have two questions

Before Jesus christ came to the world where did people like Abraham, Moses, and Elisha go because technically they were not born again.

When a person hears God, usually one is told to check if it corrolates with the bible so as to make sure it is not one’s evil mind that is trying to manipulate the person but in Genesis, Abraham is told by God to kill his son, Issac as a test of faith but it also say in the bible thou shall not kill. Was it right for Abraham to have obeyed God without a second thought?

They died and rotted, just like everyone before and since.

No, it wasn’t. Regardless of whether or not it was God, Satan, or anything else telling him to do so. “I was just following orders” isn’t an excuse for committing an act of blatant, unmitigated evil like that regardless of who the order-giver is.

What I was taught (southern Baptist) is that everyone will be judged at the same time. Judgment day is the same for everyone, and on that day Jesus will decide whether they go to heaven or get cast into the lake of fire. You don’t go anywhere when you die, you’re just dead, until Judgment day when everyone is resurrected and judged.

In that case, Abraham and Moses would end up standing before Jesus in judgment just like everyone else. Maybe they’d have a chance to be born again in that moment? I don’t know, never made much sense to me.

In my humble opinion, no it was not right. It’s wrong to obey voices in your head that tell you to commit murder. The story of Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac has been told a thousand times with a thousand different protagonists, and nine hundred and ninety nine times it ended up being a tragedy. Abraham got lucky. Everyone else just ended up murdering their kid because they were nuts and didn’t get treatment.

Unquestioning obedience is the moral of that particular bible story. It’s more useful as a way to condition people to be able to stretch their minds around the idea that they should obey religious authority even when it seems wrong to do so. There are lots of such stories in the bible, but Isaac’s sacrifice is the one that challenges sensibility the most.

I don’t understand your first question. Are you asking if they went to Heaven?

Your second question is based on an assumption that you haven’t established. I’ve never been told to check the bible to verify what God is telling me.

Finally, since it’s the topic, the story of Abraham and Isaac is the most horrifying story I’ve heard in my life. And it’s been over 50 years since I first heard it. I’m not killing my son even if God tells me to. I might kill him if he borrows my car and doesn’t bring it back when he said we would one more time, but that’s a different matter altogether.

In the Bible, a handful of people are borne away to heaven bodily. Golden chariots, if memory serves. It never says that they died, bodily. Maybe they were only given the cook’s tour, then brought back again, to live happy lives and die in the flesh. The Good Book doesn’t say.

What about the Good Thief, crucified by Jesus’ side? Jesus said that he would be in heaven with him that day. Same thing? The Good Thief’s spirit (his body was dead) visits heaven, walks around, grooves on the pearlen gates, then is sent back to lie in his grave, like everyone else, pending Judgement Day? It isn’t made clear.

As for obedience, yes, the point of the Abraham and Isaac story is that obedience to God is the higher morality. God gave Abraham a way out of the horror of obedience, but Abraham was ready and willing to do something we would all shudder at…because God said to. That’s the lesson. God knows more than we do. God is always right. Reason and morality are of no importance to God. If God says to slaughter than Canaanites and rape their women and dash their babies’ heads onto their gateposts, well, that’s GOOD. That’s what God wants, and God is good and right and noble and perfect. By definition.

Screwy damn religion, but there you have it.

  1. Those people are dead and no longer exist, just like Jesus is dead and no longer exists, just like everyone who is “born again” eventually dies and no longer exists after that.

  2. That particular piece of mythology is supposed to show how praiseworthy it is to obey the voices in your head. How do you know if it’s not last night’s rancid goat’s milk rather than God that’s telling you to kill your son?

Ultimately various people in this thread are going to give you various answers but they will fall into two categories:

1/ answers along the lines of “there are no good answers because the religion you believe in is illogical”; or

2/ “[insert highly implausible and unsatisfactory retcon or attempt at rationalisation here]”

Really, ask the people who told you to believe in this stuff, not us. If they can’t give you a good answer, question your belief. And if you aren’t prepared to do that, then what are you worrying about? Just get on with believing and stop worrying about answers to pesky questions.

Your preacher/pastor/whatever will likely have a different answer depending on which denomination you are and his personal interpretation.

Personally, I would view it as that God isn’t an idiot nor a machine. If you presume that God is able to watch you and care about what you are doing, then he’s also bright enough to put you in the right place after you die. If he changes the rules midway through the history of mankind, he should be able to go back and move people to the right place if he feels that he was placing them wrongly before.

Almost certainly not.

Of course, I could find plenty of scripture - like the above - to support almost any idea under the sun. There was a recent thread, for example, about slavery and one poster commented that when he was in college, his class had been asked to review all of the pro- and anti-slavery arguments made leading up to the Civil War and how they used the Bible to support their arguments. Clearly, both sides were fully able to do so and - in his opinion - the pro-slavery side had a better set of quotes to work from.

If you insist on being religious (I’m not religious), I wouldn’t turn to the word of the Bible - because there’s too many words with too many ways to interpret it. Boil it down to some basic rules:

  1. God isn’t a moron. What he does or doesn’t want can almost certainly be arrived at by deep consideration of the morality of things than by reading one guys interpretation of God’s word, 2000 years ago. He created the universe; does he really care whether my penis is fully intact or whether I eat beef or ham?

  2. God cares about me and everyone else. I’m no more special than them and have no right to choose anything for anyone else, only myself.

Well, duh.
Abraham was told to kill his son BEFORE Moses got the “Don’t Kill” directive. You can’t hold a man accountable for a rule that wasn’t in place while he was alive.
[/oversimplistic theology]

The state of other people’s souls is a matter between them and the Almighty. I have enough to worry about in my own relationship with God; I don’t need to spend any time wondering about how those who have gone before me have managed.

Personally, I will follow my conscience as it pertains to my interactions with other people. I am finding that empathising with others makes for a good starting point. If God tells me to do something which I feel is evil, incorrect, or even just impolite, I will refuse. I could then face Judgement with a clear conscience, and if it turns out that “Unquestioning Obedience and Form of Worship” actually do make up 80% of our final grades, so be it.

I would rather be damned for holding to principles than be Saved through grovelling. (Let’s see, that’s Pride, right? Only six more to go and I will have collected the entire set.)

It all boils down to the proven fact, that No one can prove anyhing was ever written, spoke or thought that was from God,it is a belief in the human that made the statement, wrote it or thought it or taught it.

I would love to know this- How old are you? How much church experience have you had? What have you heard at church on these questions?

Now, I am a believer & I have way more than two questions for God, but regarding your questions, I’ll make an attempt at them-

First- I think they went to the Paradise part of Sheol which is where Jesus also went when He died & was transferred into Heaven at His Resurrection. I believe this is indicated in I Peter 3:18-4:6. It was certainly an early tradition of the Church. Alas, Protestants often ignore it but Catholicism & Orthodoxy do not.

Second- I think Abraham had lots of second thoughts, as well he should have. And I think that if he had said to God “No God worth worshipping would ask this of me!”, God would have high-fived him & said “You got the lesson! Attaboy!” But he didn’t. Why? He may have realized that since God had promised him that a great people would come from him through Isaac, God had something up His sleeve- either a reprieve or a resurrection. The Christian writer of the Letter to the Hebrews supposes this in Chapter 11. Or Abraham may have been playing chicken with God & won when God said “Oh My Me! The nut’s actually gonna do it!” and swerved. Or it may have been that Abe took God’s command at face value. After all, he was surrounded by tribes in which human sacrifice, especially of a valued child, was occasionally practiced. And so God went a long way to make a point- From now on, be sure that I don’t accept human sacrifices!

One thing about Mosier’s comment- and no critique of him- but the teaching that souls are dormant until the Resurrection at Judgment Day is not typical in Southern Baptist churches.

I guess I feel up to having my faith ridiculed one more time today, so I’ll have at it:

  1. I reason thus: I would not see the sense in leaving Abraham, Moses and Elisha in eternal oblivion while such as me enjoyed God’s presence for eternity simply because I was born after the Incarnation and they were not. Since God is indescribably more just and more benevolent than me, I feel sure I can trust him to deal both justly and well by them as by countless others. Tales and traditions tell of Limbo, of the First Circle of Hell (where the righteous pagans dwell in, all said and done, perpetual gloom but a deliberate absence of actual torment), of the Harrowing of Hell (in which the crucified Christ rescued all the pre-Christians who merited it) and so on. But I don’t have any more factual idea of the afterlife than the rest of us, and I can find plenty to concern myself without it. God’s in charge and He does not have to justify Himself to me.

  2. Abraham, obviously, was not in a position to check a book that had not been written; and who is to say that he obeyed God “without a second thought”? But it would be very foolish to imagine oneself in Abraham’s shoes were we to receive a similar voice in our head today. It is worth considering that the affair with Isaac quite definitively drew a line under the practice of sacrificing your own son to God, for all time; and even if not, it is time enough to be sure that the call is coming from God when the son in question was born to you when you were already a hundred and your wife past ninety, and perhaps a few other miraculous signs thrown in as well. Let’s not be too hasty, and further remember that Samuel, no less, thought he was hearing things when God first spoke to him.

You said it, friend. Didn’t you have a walk-on part in The Great Divorce? :stuck_out_tongue:

I have given up everything to seek out God, and I believe I have found Him and know Him. The scriptures ‘seek God with all your heart’ is true and is the only requirement as I have found. I have found a much more Loving God then I have ever heard, yet totally consistant with scriptures.

You say you are a believer. I take it as you believe in God. I don’t believe that is what that means however in terms of salvation, as even the demons and Satan believe in God as we see in scriptures. What I take is the requirement for salvation is to know God, and believe that God has the power to save you from this world, that latter part is to me what the scriptural definition of believing is.

To answer your questions.
1 - God does not change - EVER, He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. The path (the Way) that Jesus taught was always available. Reading scriptures it is clear to me that King David knew Jesus and was under grace - this is just one of many examples but perhaps the easiest. This doesn’t make sense from our minds’s conventional concept of time, but God is not bound by our concepts. So the old testament people had the same path as the New Testament, seek God, find Jesus and be saved from this world.

Why is the scriptures divided OT and NT then? I believe it is to show our lives procession. In the OT times we depend on a priest for our relationship with God, then Jesus is born, we learn from Him in others, then we continue the work of Jesus ourselves. What about the flood and preflood times? I believe that is the time we spend in the womb where things run a bit differently - from the time we are created and know God in the beginning.

2 - I believe, and this is through revelation, Abraham did not have a choice and this has to do with spiritual contracts. Abraham gave up the free will decision at a early time and surrendered that to Satan (a deal with the devil). Satan was calling Abraham on that deal and Abraham had to comply unless Satan released him. What was that deal? I believe it had to do with Abraham and Sarah wanting a child so bad that they asked ‘any god’ to give them a child - Satan took them up on it - for a price.

How did God rescue Isaac. God could not act on behalf of Abraham due to the deal, but God could act on behalf of Isaac, which I do believe Isaac when he saw was not going to deter Abraham, cried out to God and God answered and stopped it as God will listen to the cry of a child and Satan needed to accept something else.

Now these are my answers after a long and painful search for God, I am not saying take my word, but I suggest seeking God on your own, coming up with your own explanation not from priests but from God, then come back and let us know and bring pie :slight_smile:


Have you read Hebrews? The author of Hebrews lists a lot of OT heroes, how they responded to God’s will, and says that they were “justified by faith” even though Christ had not yet come into the world. And that Christ’s saving atonement applied not only to his contemporaries, but to all humankind past, present and future. Just as you are justified by your faith, so too were the ancients.

As for Abraham - I don’t know if I can give a satisfactory explanation other than Abraham knew that the command was from God, and he trusted God enough to follow through with faith that He knew what He was doing. Maybe Abraham guessed (or hoped) that God would stop him at the last minute, or raise his son from the dead, or whatever – remember that God had promised him innumerable descendants. There’s just a lot in the story that we are not told.

Yes? You have a question?

There is nothing in any of what you just wrote that is backed up by scripture. Literally not one thing.

Could you be more specific to what you mean by a believer.

There are some 690 different christian church denominations over the world, so don’t just assume everyone will know which one you belong to and what you believe.

Your second one isn’t a widely encountered statement. So please state your subsect of christianity.

I only have the experience from the one I went to as a kid, so it could definitely be true that my church wasn’t typical in that teaching. I did some googling and came across some evidence that the “soul sleep” belief is more in line with Seventh Day Adventists than southern baptists, so it looks like you’re probably right.

However, I foundthislink describing the requirements for professorship at a Southern Baptist Seminary. In section “XX. The Judgment” you find that the concept of Jesus judging everyone on one appointed day, when the decision will be made for whether you go to heaven or hell. People will be literally resurrected for judgment day.

One theory is that when Jesus died, he spent the time he was dead Harrowing Hell, that is, releasing good spirits who were willing to follow him.

I’ve also heard that the point was:

and that the unquestioning obedience was just sort of assumed background to the story. Since modern audiences don’t have current stories about human sacrifices, the ‘don’t make human sacrifices’ part seems like the background instead.

Don’t you think that Bible teachers are doing a terrible job? It took quite a while for anyone in this thread to point out that there was no Bible of any sort at the time of Abraham. It seems to me that most believers seem to get their knowledge from Biblical highlights from sermons and bible story books.
This is not irrelevant. It is telling that even after Moses no one mentions the law until around the time of Jeremiah - which is strong support for the Bible actually being written much later than claimed.

As to your point, from where do you think morality comes? Abraham got a direct command from God. What would the justification be for his refusing it? Why do you suppose he should have thought he could outsmart god? Even if he saw a contradiction, why do you suppose God would be bound by such things?
This is the portion read during Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year, and the meaning I was taught was very clear - obeying in the expectation that God will make things work out.