Is Free Will Biblical or Just a Mean Joke?

The Facts Will Scare, Upset, Anger You But You Will Know The Truth...

I am constantly chastised for saying that the New Testament is more geared toward predestination than free will. So, here are the verses to support my position. The New Testament verses consistent only with Calvinism, or the Doctrine of Predestination:

Matthew 2:6; 7:16-20; 9:37-38; 10:5-6; 11:25, 27; 13:24-30, 37-43; 15:13, 24; 20:23, 28; 22:2-14; 24:22; 25:32-34

Mark 4:11-12; 15-20

Luke 1:77; 3:17; 6:43-45; 8:5-15; 10:22; 13:23-30; 14:23; 16:31

John 1:12-13; 3:6; 6:44, 65; 10:14, 16, 26; 15:16; 17:2

Acts 2:39

Romans 8:29-30, 33; 9:15-16, 21-24; 10:20; 11:5

II Corinthians 10:7, 18

Galatians 1:15

Ephesians 1:4-5, 2:8

II Thessalonians 2:11-12

II Timothy 2:10, 19-20

I Peter 2:8

Jude 4

Revelation 7:3-15; 13:8; 22:11

The New Testament verses consistent only with Arminianism, or the Doctrine of Free Will:

Matthew 11:28

Luke 2:10; 11:9-10; 13:34; 20:38

Acts 2:17

Romans 10:9, 13

Galatians 5:13

Ephesians 4:6

Philipians 2:10-11

Colossians 1:28

I Timothy 2:4, 6

II Timothy 2:21

Titus 2:11

II Peter 3:9

Revelation 22:17-19, 21

As John Calvin recognized, it’s much easier to reconcile the free will verses with the predestination verses rather than the other way around. Jacobus Arminius, the main supporter of free will in the 16th century would not concede, however. That’s why to this day Christians believe they actually have a choice. And the rabid 19th century English and American ministers like Jonathan Edwards and others screamed the doctrine of free will, saying, in essence, that a loving God could never predestine anyone to hell. Wrong. If you're a serious student of the New Testament, you will take the time to study these passages for yourself.

The most interesting thing about these scriptures is, when you read them within the body of the entire text, they don’t stand out as much. But when you read them as individual treatises, as groups of scripture set apart by themselves, the contradictions stand out in sharp relief. The differences are startling.

There’s no escaping the irrefutable fact that the New Testament favors the Doctrine of Predestination. With all due respect to you evangelists and witnesses out there, you can do nothing to bring anyone to Christ. The Elect were elected before the foundation of the world. The case, then, is closed.

(Note: I have checked the above verses many times. Any possible errors are typos. If you find one, let me know and I will send you the correct one.)

A god to be feared is the most false of the gods. (The Old Philosopher)

The world is not condemned. Be grateful!
The world is not condemned. Be grateful!

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Comments 38 comments

Lance Hostetter 6 years ago

The same argument against free will is used by Univeralist. They argue that God's will is greater than man's, and His will is for all to be saved. Therefore everyone will eventally go to heaven. I would say if God was going to predestine us to something heaven would make a lot more sence. People have free will and choice.

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RichardSpeaks 6 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area Author

I agree with you. This article is to point out the BIBLICAL perspective. Not mine. But, nonetheless, we do not have complete free will on any level. Physically, we are bound by natural laws; psychologically, we are more that influenced by our personal family histories; socially, we are influenced by our particular culture, religion, state philosophy. So, we are not operating in complete free will. We only think we are. But that's a good start.

Sean 6 years ago

Excellent support biblically for determinism and free will, and yet the most potent verse in support of free will was left out: John 3:16.

In any case, simply for the sake of argument, how do you account for the presence of sin either biblically or logically? If sin is a transgression of God's will, but Adam and Eve were predestined to sin and fall, then does that not infer God's desire was for them to sin? But sin could not possibly be in God's will, in His very desire, could it?

If sin is a transgression of God’s will, and we humans were created with the determined future to sin then sinning must have been God’s will. But sin could not possibly be God’s will because God’s very essence is the opposite of sin, a lack of a sin or an absence of evil—we base our idea of good on His will and our idea of evil on what is contrary to His will—for He is purely good. If He is purely good and cannot commit or even think of evil let alone plan out an evil act’s occurrence, such as the first sin and fall of man in this case, how could we be determined by Him to go through with any act opposite that which is His own will?

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RichardSpeaks 6 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area Author

Thanks for your obviously well considered comments. However, with respect, I submit that much of what you say is assumption, that the Bible itself is replete with instances of God doing what would usually be called evil acts. The Old Testament is full of such instances.

But, to give you the benefit of the doubt, let's say that God as you put it could not possibly be the cause of evil. Then where would evil come from? Two ways to view that conundrum: Sin is not evil, simply a mistake. The term actually derives from the Greek, meaning to miss the mark, an archery term. Or, there is no such thing as evil and is a term made up by humans to serve a purpose. What might that purpose be? Control, of course. Evil, it turns out, is just a word used to describe parts of human nature, which your god DID create. Good is another word used for similar purposes.

Comes down to semantics. The Creator of the universe is unknowable in any traditional sense. Pinpointing a God is both impossible and blasphemous. Idolatry, even.

Let's consider sin again. Why did Jesus come into the world? To free humanity from the curse of sin, not sin itself. We will always sin. It's our nature. Our kind of brain is suited for sin. So, what curse am I talking about? The curse that created the separation between god and man. Jesus took that to the cross, never to be remembered against humanity again. The so-called plan of salvation was between Jesus and god, not humanity and god. Jesus represented perfect humanity and was the true sacrifice since no one else was sinless. When he died and rose again. the curse was lifted. Everyone from Adam to the last person standing has been released. No one is condemned. All is as it was predetermined to be. God knew what he was doing. He wrote it, scripted it, acted it, played it, finished it. Nothing left to do but live our our lives in service to each other (which is what service to god actually is) and die peacefully, knowing that hell is a myth and Satan a pagan figure out of someone's deluded mind.

If you would rather it be the evangelical way, the 'they go to hell if they don't believe as I do' way, then you are free to believe so. But it isn't Biblical.

Blessings. All is well. Love is the only Power.

Sean 6 years ago

I was simply making a case for the other side because you're argument is full of holes, not because I believe . That is the first misunderstanding. The second is as such:

"...the Bible itself is replete with instances of God doing what would usually be called evil acts."

Evil in what sense? I feel like there is some equivocation going on here--I never specified evil in the sense of human terms, in fact I never specified evil at all. I specified sin first off, but sin in the sense that it is defined Biblically. You yourself suggest that there is no defining God, so you're in fact judging His acts based upon your own view of good and evil, something by your own standards is irrational and similarly impossible. If the Christian God exists, He is defined by those who follow Him as omnipotent, omniscient and omni-benevolent. In the most basic, logical sense, who are we to question someone who is all-knowledgeable, all-powerful and all-good?

In the Biblical sense, God's word is here as a message from Him to us, the main way He communicates to us how to live our lives (not to mention as an underestimated apologetic for His existence and a historical and sociological redemptive history), not to mention giving us an account of His son's death, the pathway to Salvation. If you will name one instance in the Old Testament where God, without good reason, threw down His iron fist of "justice" without any possibility for those being judged to change, repent and accept His mercy, you may have a case. And yet, even if there was an instance such as this, it still wouldn't be enough, as God's will is ultimate as you said--as Soren Kierkegaard once said, "He wills what He will." Our idea of good is based off of His will, so who are we to judge what is evil and what is good? By our definition, we cannot reasonably do this.

And I'm a little confused what you're arguing exactly. Calvinism argues the Limited Atonement idea; God has chosen an elect and only those of which His hearts He softens to follow Him are able to follow Him. It also contains the idea of Irresistible Grace, that once your heart has been softened, you have no choice to follow Him or not, you will ultimately follow Him, period.

The third misunderstanding I believe is how you seem to only appeal to the Bible in instances that agree with your own beliefs. You argue this in your original post, but in your most recent post you maintain that "hell is a myth and Satan a pagan figure..." which is certainly not Biblical. It seems you only appeal to the Bible in aspects that agree with your opinions.

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RichardSpeaks 6 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area Author

Let's start at the last paragraph first. You are right. I only go by my opinion of Scripture. Let me be as blunt as possible. I do not believe for a moment that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. I do not believe in the God of the Bible. I do not believe in virgin births, dying and rising savior gods, and predestination of any kind, even genetic determinism, which is also currently on the chopping block. I do not believe in angels and demons and devils; nor do I believe in Second Comings and Armageddons. I do not believe that the Bible we now have is an exact replica of the original Autographs. We don't know what those Autographs even contained.

Everything I just mentioned are major tenets of Christianity. Major. And Christians cannot even agree on them. Why? Because we're human. We are afraid of death. And we need to make up fairy tales that help us get from here to the grave with the hope of some kind of eternal afterlife. Believing that we just end when the body dies is too much for most people.

Having said all that, I say this: I understand those who need that kind of comfort. Muslims need it. Hindus need it. Taoists need it, even Buddhists need. I need it. You obviously need it.

So what do we do? Here we are, humans, creatures, perhaps alone in all the universe. Maybe not. We don't yet know.

What else can we do but take what we believe on faith since there is no proof, one way or the other.

But my argument for predestination as Biblical in opposition to free will has been argued for more that five centuries. The Bible still supports Calvin more that it does Arminius. The free willers need to have a God who wouldn't do what the Calvinists insist He has done. So they made Him up.

The God of the Bible, all knowledge, all power, everywhere present, cannot help but know the outcome--and here's the kicker--before He even creates.

Sean 6 years ago

Does His knowledge of the outcome adjust our actual choice in the matter? Surely not. Just because I knew you were going to read this post didn't affect the fact that you actual read it, did it? In actuality, we base most of our decisions daily on certainty of outcome. I'm not going to do action X--say, jump off of the Eiffel Tower head first without any means to stop myself--if I know it's going to kill me and there is no greater good that becomes of it because, yes, I am scared of death.

And because I may as well argue the point, I recently finished a semester long class called Composition of the Old Testament where we discussed and learned whether or not the Bible's word can be trusted. I'm not sure how much you know about the subject, as you probably know just as much or more than I do, so I won't go into it too thoroughly. However, just based on the accuracy of the Massoretic scribes as well as findings such as the Dead Sea Scrolls which coincided directly with our current version which was taken from the original Hebrew, passed down through the Massoretes, canonized and became the Leningrad Codex (currently our Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia), I would say it's reasonable to assume that the Bible is actually significantly more accurate than you're willing to give it credit for.

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RichardSpeaks 6 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area Author

I have heard your assessment more times than I can count. Remember, we're talking about the Biblical god here, not you and me. You didn't know for certain that I would read this; you assumed it. You did not create HubPages. You did not put the fingers to keyboard. You had no idea I had written these posts until you stumbled across them. God knew I would write them before I was born, before the universe was born. That is, according to Scripture.

You cannot compare your knowledge of future events to the knowledge of the One who created them. The outcome was guaranteed by predestination, not free expression.

Sorry. It stands. The Bible supports predestination, not free will.

Thanks again for your comments. I appreciate them.

Sean 6 years ago

Still Richie, pure knowledge of the future does not entail that free will doesn't exist. It simply means that you know what is going to happen, not that you're affecting those future events. So you're actually saying that God decides what we are going to do in every situation, not just that He knows about them. My example, while crude, still got the point through: knowledge does not determine action.

Furthermore, it is impossible for you to appeal to the Bible concerning God while maintaining it is not the divine word of God. That mere fact makes your argument unsound and invalid.

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RichardSpeaks 6 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area Author

The God of the Bible not only created everything; he knew what everything would do and be before creating it. If you knew that by creating humanity, 90% of them would go to hell, would you create humanity anyway? God didn't just create and let flow. He created, knowing the full outcome. But he created it anyway. That's sadism of the worst kind.

Second, I can critique the Bible without believing it is divine. I am not appealing to it; I am just laying it out as it is.

Bibles and documents of every kind, when accepted as literal truth, become idols. The only place where the Spirit actually resides is within each of us. It takes no book to know that.

Sean 6 years ago

You are appealing to the Bible in fact, as you are making your case based on only SOME things the Bible says even though the Bible seems to say other things simultaneously. That's called appealing to the Bible to support your own argument.

I certainly don't think the God of the Bible is a sadist either, even in knowing what we would become and creating us. Does He have to save any of us? Certainly not. It seems fair that He would, be again, who are we to judge what is fair and unfair, as God is the ultimate judge? A couple of your verses at the top in context even point to God only hardening one's heart after they themselves have hardened it. Can you blame God for not forcibly changing our mind when the evidence has been placed around us so obviously that it's difficult to believe anything else?

He also DID "create and let flow" as knowledge, again, does not entail action. No matter how much you know without uncertainty, it does not dictate what actually happens. Have you ever seen Back to the Future Richard? When Michael J. Fox leaves that betting book in his Delorean and the old Biff takes it out, gives it to the young biff, he then bets on it and then "changes" the future? In such a case, Biff knew the actual outcome without doubt, and his knowledge did not change the actual outcome.

He created the world knowing Adam and Eve, if you believe the Biblical story, would choose the "bad" choice, the wrong decision, the original sin. This was the choice that changed history for the infinitely worse. But it was a CHOICE, wasn't it? God's not sadistic for allowing us freedom, He's fair. That's fair. Why create us without choice or free will? What would be the point in creating us at all?

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RichardSpeaks 6 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area Author

"This was the choice that changed history for the infinitely worse..." And here is where I disagree with your position the most. When you really understand the story of Adam and Eve, you realize they HAD to eat the fruit. It was the way to free will, which you seem to think is so wonderful. If they had not eaten, they would still be there and we would not exist. Anyway, that whole story is metaphorical. It is not to be taken literally. It's a Jewish teaching story and Christians stole it, turned into a literal history, and ruined everything.

One last thing: If God was so annoyed with the disobedience of his first humans, why did he not simply destroy them all in the Flood instead of saving a remnant (Noah and family) of the same sinful creature and start all over again, having to eventually send another savior? What was his point?

You see, he set it up this way. It's all predestined.

Sean 6 years ago

Eating the fruit did not give them free will; they still had the choice to eat the apple or not before eating the apple. Had they not eaten the apple, perfection would still exist, but instead, because of man's disobedience to God, God had to alter His plan and save us anyway.

And Richard if the entire Garden scene, for lack of a better description, is metaphorical, why then even address the issue at all? And what of any of the subsequent stories? Real or metaphorical? In reading the original Hebrew, there is no evidence that infers the creation story is a metaphorical story. In fact, I have a good friend who is a traditional Jew who also says that the Jews believe the Biblical creation story literally.

Not all were disobedient, which was the point He was making in saving Noah and his family--the righteous are saved while those who go against Him perish.

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RichardSpeaks 6 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area Author

It seems you may not understand to whole point of Original Sin and necessary salvation. No one is without blemish, including Noah. According to the NT, we cannot be righteous enough on our own. And if God had to alter his plans, well, poor him. He should have known better.

Taking any of the stories in the Old Testament as literal is a fool's game. No one was there; even the writers were far removed from any historical reality.

Sean 6 years ago

I'm not saying Noah was perfect, but he was righteous, and even if he made sinful mistakes, which all humans are unable to live without--there's where your original sin comes in--he was still righteous. What of David? A man after God's own heart sleeping with Bathsheba? A sin, yet still a repentant, righteous man in the end who trusted in God and, though obviously not righteous on his own, was righteous with God's grace and forgiveness. The same goes for Noah.

And concerning everything in the Old Testament being analogical or whatever it is that you're inferring, how do you take into account all of the historical accuracies in the Old Testament? So many of the recorded historical accounts in the Old Testament coincide perfectly with other historical records. Ezekial, Jeremiah, etc. What then?

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RichardSpeaks 6 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area Author

Two things: First, even fairy tales often use geographical or historical references.

Second, you missed the point about Noah. If God was so annoyed with humanity that he wanted to destroy everything and start over, couldn't he have made new humans who weren't all coated in sin? That way, there would have been no need for a later savior. I mean, he was wiping out virtually everything anyway. Why not just go all the way?

It doesn't make any sense. An angry God, mad at his own creation, a creation he set up to be just as it is, then destroys most of it but leaves a portion of the very reason he's angry. Looking at it from the outside, it was a stupid move on God's part. He seems to have wanted a sinful humanity for some odd reason or he would have wiped every one of us out in the Flood, don't you think?

But he didn't. Go figure.

Sean 6 years ago

No actually, I don't think, else what would have been the satisfaction gained from our turning from sin to goodness in following Him?

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RichardSpeaks 6 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area Author

Now you're saying it was for our satisfaction. But remember, only a handful will make it. The rest, as good a people as they are, will not. And simply because they don't believe a certain way, not because they're bad people. Also, not only were people condemned; all of creation fell with them. According to that thinking, the entire universe is corrupt.

Such silliness. Don't you think?

Sean 6 years ago

No no Rich, I'm talking about God's sovereign satisfaction gained form out choosing Him, not in our own.

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RichardSpeaks 6 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area Author

I guess I'm not certain what you're trying to say. Try again. Sorry.

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Lady Guinevere 6 years ago from West By God

Not everything perished in the flood. That is a myth. Fish had a field day when all the land animals slide into the sea. Yes there are three varieties of fishes that can survive very well in both salt and fresh water. One is the Bull Shark and that shark can also target humans for food from the depths of the rivers they reside in.

When Jesus said that EVERYTHING is WITHIN us he meant EVERYTHING--God, Heaven, Hell, Satan, the laws and everything else. God also said that he made everything and that everything was good. It was MAN and his lack of understanding who brought in the good and evil, not God. He made it so that we would be responsible for our own thoughts actions and deeds. He doesn't care what we do because he put the reactions and the conditions of our thoughts and actions on us. So we do have FREE WILL but we will get a reaction to it. So you reap what you sow is but one verse of the Bible that explains this.

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RichardSpeaks 6 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area Author

In order for humans to be 'imperfect,' to be able to create sin, or to lack understanding, they must have be made that way. Either God made a mistake, or we are simply playing out the role that was intended.

There is, of course, one other answer. There is no Bible God, there never was a worldwide flood, and humans are simply one stage of evolution between ape and angel. I like that one best. We're on our way, if we don't kill ourselves off first. But I bet we won't. If we can withstand the Black Plague, we can withstand anything.

I have faith in the universe, that it is unfolding as it should, and that I am part of the process. For this experience, I am eternally grateful to the Great Mystery, the Source of All That Is.

Trinidad49 6 years ago

Though the hub is about free will,let me add judaism,from which christianity has its roots,there is nothing called 'original sin'.it's an invention by the fact they believe man is born originally pure and they wonder what man has to be saved from as the christians teach and assume it's the 100 % truth.Religion is so confusing and none has the absolute truth coz they are all wanting n go around in circles trying to answer life's questions and explaining the creator .we are all seekers and spectators of whatever could be unfolding in this world or the one coming which is foggy.for me free will pertains to the ability to make the everyday choices we make and doesn't have r/ship with choosing where to spend eternity,that's my 2 cents worth take on free will.

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RichardSpeaks 6 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area Author

Trinidad49: Well said. All is ultimately Mystery. The rest is guesswork.

Hmmm... 6 years ago

Not to hop in the midde of this but, how could man be guilty of a sin if he was made with no knowledge of good OR evil by an ALL knowing God? Does the potter ever take the blame for what he does with the clay or is it possible that this is just a book some people take a bit too seriously.

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RichardSpeaks 6 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area Author

Hmmm... Yeah, we've been through this little dilemma. And no matter what anyone says, the literalists will have some sort of twisted come-back, like, God knows what he's doing; who are we to question him; what right do you have to say God made a mistake, or the writers didn't get it right, or someone edited it wrong, or... and so on.

Anyone who uses intellect to study these stories runs up against a big wall when the literalist emotions come into play. But then, you know that already, don't you?? Thanks for your comments.

ketch22 5 years ago

Wow... so much ignorance regarding God and His character.

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RichardSpeaks 5 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area Author

ketch22: Perhaps you could enlighten us....

James 4 years ago

You are kinda right in saying that your predestine for heaven or not. But it's like this: Since God made you and formed you, He knows everything about you. He knows everyone's future, so in a sense you are predestined. But you have free will/choice, though God already knows what you're gonna choose.

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RichardSpeaks 4 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area Author

James: Except for on major flaw in the logic. If I create something, knowing exactly how it will react and respond (because I have programmed it to do so), then I am responsible for the outcome. I cannot blame my robot for being a robot. God cannot blame humans for being the humans he created them to be. That's insane. Besides, the Bible is so full of contradictions about God that it makes no sense to make blanket statements, which we may be guilty of doing right here in this thread!! Thanks for the comments.

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RichardSpeaks 4 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area Author

Oh, one more thing... Free will suggests that the choice has not yet been made. And since it has not yet been made, how can God know it? If he does, he made it, not the person. If he doesn't know it, then he's not all knowing. God cannot both know everything and make the creature responsible. God knew what the creature would do before creating him/her... And then created them anyway. Really, now. Who bears the blame here? Certainly not the persons.

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rt1045 4 years ago

The absence of light is dark. The absence of good is evil. The absence of truth is untruth. You decide where you want to be....for eternity. No one can decide that for you. As for me and mine I choose the truth and the light.

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RichardSpeaks 4 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area Author

Ah, but light can only shine in darkness. Darkness is essential. And we are as blind in all light as we are in all darkness. One cannot exist without the other. And, unless you have all knowledge, you cannot make an informed decision. Not a single person that has ever lived has all knowledge. And if anyone did, they did not share it.

Nothing is absent, nothing is missing. All is well, as was planned.

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rt1045 4 years ago

I will pray for you but I doubt you will ever learn but what is in front of your face. Obviously you have never spoken to God. That saddens me but you don't seem to care for anything except your own voice. I would suggest you read about Lazarus and the rich man. Don't be a fool. You have everything to lose. People like me will lose nothing but instead have gained eternal life. Believe or not...its your call.

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RichardSpeaks 4 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area Author

Ha. That old fear of hell. You diminish yourself by clinging to such an outdated, scary version of the creator. Am I afraid of God? Hardly. The Demon Yahweh of the Old Testament is myth and not even a very good one. Pray all you want. I would rather spend eternity in a hell than a single moment with a god who would prepare a hell for creatures who simply believe differently. That isn't love, that isn't salvation. That's idiotic. But mostly, it's false. Of course, you're free to believe as you choose. I respect your right to do so.

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RichardSpeaks 4 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area Author

For those of you reading this apart from the two commenters, remember that the Bible is not the Word of God; rather, it is Word of Man claiming to be the Word of God. Humans wrote it, edited it, changed it over the centuries, and believers still fight about who has the right interpretation. How can a thinking person ever accept such nonsense, eh?

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rt1045 4 years ago

Then I hope you get your wish.

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RichardSpeaks 4 years ago from Portland, OR Metro Area Author

I know you do. That's the typical, hate-filled fundy response to everything. "Believe my way or burn in hell, you sinner!!!!" You need to study your Bible more closely. If you have not love, you are as tinkling brass or a sounding gong, signifying nothing. For God is Love.

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