Re: the tradition that Abraham engaged in astronomical studies

From: George Murphy (
Date: Sat Jun 28 2003 - 12:44:28 EDT

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    Don Winterstein wrote:

    > George Murphy wrote in part:
    > "That of course raises the question of why God doesn't simply convert
    > all people.
    > Why aren't all saved? The standard answers are:
    > a) Some people don't contribute the activity of their "free will" to
    > believe -
    > problematic in view of what was said above.
    > b) God has not only predestined some to be saved but has predestined
    > others to
    > be condemned - which is hard to square with I Tim.2:4."
    > And I Tim. 2:4 is hard to square with Romans 9:11-24, unless you go
    > with a nonstandard answer that I've found to be quite satisfying:
    > Basically, there's something about people that makes it
    > impossible--even for God--to save all of them. That something is
    > ego. We wouldn't be human without ego, but it's an aspect of
    > ourselves that can get us into deep trouble. Because of ego it
    > is psychologically impossible for all humans to acknowledge allegiance
    > to the same lord, principle, idea, whatever. As soon as it looks like
    > a great many are about to acknowledge such allegiance, some will
    > refuse to do so just to be different. This is especially true if the
    > allegiance is of a sort that requires suppression of ego in submitting
    > to a person who one must acknowledge is greater than oneself.
    > Rev. 12:7-9 talks about a war of good angels against evil angels. Why
    > would angels in heaven who presumably have all the benefits that God
    > can provide want to rebel and fight against God? It's the ego
    > problem. If every human were saved and taken to heaven, wouldn't some
    > then rebel as those angels rebelled? So God can't save everyone, even
    > though it is in his nature to do so. Consequently, as long as he does
    > it reluctantly, he can predestine some to condemnation and still be
    > consistent with I Tim. 2:4.
    > Don
    > PS - I consider this rejection of God "to his face" to be the
    > unforgivable sin, the sin against the Spirit. One can commit this sin
    > only if one has "...been enlightened, ...tasted the heavenly gift,
    > ...shared in the Holy Spirit...." To refuse to submit to God in his
    > vivid presence is the ultimate sin of ego. But not many, I think,
    > ever have this temptation. It requires an unusually strong ego in an
    > unusually close relationship with God...........................

            There seem to be no limitations on the "all people" (/pantas anthropous/) Gof
    wants to be saved according to I Ti.2:4. Rom.9:11-24, OTOH, is in the context of Paul's
    discussion of why Israel appears to have been lost in chapters 9-11. The "hardening"
    that has come upon Israel (11:25) cannot mean ultimate rejection of all, for that's
    followed by the statement that "all Israel will be saved" - a puzzling claim but it
    suggests that in some sense the "hardening" cannot mean final condemnation for all. &
    even with the discussion of the "hardening" of Pharaoh in Chapter 9, there is no
    statement that he was finally damned. (Maybe he was, but that's not what Paul is
    explicitly concerned with here.)

            Note that I'm not saying that the verse in I Timothy implies universalism. But
    it does speak pretty strongly against double presdestination.

            I don't think you've really solved the problem of why some people resist
    conversion by appealing to the ego. All of us have egos, so the question becomes then,
    why is one person's ego more recalcitrant than another's?


    George L. Murphy

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