Re: [asa] (ancient theodicy, 'ancient theology') Deism, Apologetics, and Neglected Arguments

From: David Clounch <>
Date: Sat Aug 22 2009 - 13:32:55 EDT


If one looks at the biblical doctrine about man in his natural (unsaved)
state versus the redeemed man in his "adopted" state, it seems to me you are
correct. Jesus is not talking about differentiating between one natural man
who has sinned more versus some other natural man who has sinned less.
Rather Jesus is urging all men to seek adoption.
(Which is the motivation for repentance).

There isn't any ancient theology at play here.


On Sat, Aug 22, 2009 at 11:23 AM, Merv Bitikofer <>wrote:

> I too, am fascinated by Jesus 'repent or perish' passage you quote below.
> What comes through loud and clear to me is his message that "you who survive
> now" are no better than those who suffer misfortune. But beyond that, I'm
> not sure what we are supposed to make of the other things in the passage.
> "Unless you repent, you too will perish"?! What does that mean? Is Jesus
> switching the meaning of "perish" mid-lesson? Obviously all his audience are
> dead and perished now ---we all succumb to something, be it accident,
> disease, or time itself sooner or later. So what can he possibly mean by
> seeming to hint that repentance could save you in some physical sense? My
> guess is that this is a parable about a real situation where "perish" has
> multiple meanings. That is the only way I can make sense of it.
> Regarding your comments below where you summarize the ancient approach as
> "tragedy is due to sin" ( sure are good at spinning out these one
> sentence summaries of entire epochs of culture, Bernie, and I seem to be
> ever drawn to responding back to you with ...'yes, but what about...')
> So continuing in that flavor of exchange, I would point out that the
> ancients should at least be credited with having some nuance or further
> depth to their observations in these regards. To be sure, a large swath of
> passages from all over the O.T. do attribute calamity to sin, and prosperity
> to righteousness. But don't let it be thought that this sentiment remained
> always unchallenged even by their own ancient observations. Try some of
> these passages --I'm sure there are more, especially in the Psalms.
> Job 21:7 "Why do the wicked live, Become old, yes, and grow mighty in
> power?"
> Psalm 10 (the entire chapter)
> Or in Ecclesiastes, Solomon speaks of the race not being to the swift, the
> battle not to the warriors, nor bread to the wise, or wealth to the
> discerning, .... (dare we add 'blessing not always to the righteous?') but
> that time and chance overtake them all. Some may right this off as Solomon's
> existential musings of despair, but who will deny the wisdom of observation
> in these words?
> You may fairly say that the exception proves the rule, and also that while
> these ancient authors agonized over these situations they still often
> concluded that in the end, everybody will eventually get what they deserve.
> They also perceived that in these situations there was a "perversion" that
> they interpreted and agonized over as signaling God's absence. I.e. not all
> is well in the world, and they pleaded for God to attend to them again. So
> in these senses, I think you summary is a fair one, Bernie. But even back
> then they wrestled over the same obvious "exceptions" that we still struggle
> to come to terms with today. There is nothing new under the sun in these
> questions of theodicy.
> --Merv
> Dehler, Bernie wrote:
>> If only Jesus would have taught how to deal with things like the tsunami
>> or 911... Wait, I think He did!
>> I think this passage is the same thing:
>> *Luke 13*
>> /Repent or Perish /
>> 1Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the
>> Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2Jesus
>> answered, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the
>> other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3I tell you, no! But unless
>> you repent, you too will all perish. 4Or those eighteen who died when the
>> tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the
>> others living in Jerusalem? 5I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too
>> will all perish."
>> 6Then he told this parable: "A man had a fig tree, planted in his
>> vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. 7So he
>> said to the man who took care of the vineyard, 'For three years now I've
>> been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven't found any. Cut it
>> down! Why should it use up the soil?'
>> 8" 'Sir,' the man replied, 'leave it alone for one more year, and I'll dig
>> around it and fertilize it. 9If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then
>> cut it down.' "
>> People then knew about a terrible evil that Pilate had done. Jesus, how do
>> you explain that? Or when the tower fell and killed so many innocents-
>> everyone heard of it- how do you explain that?
>> I think ‘ancient theology’ explains it this way: these tragedies are due
>> to sin.
>> Jesus modifies it with saying those people probably died because of their
>> sin, but wait, you better take note and your use of a ‘second chance’
>> because you really aren’t much better. I think that is Jesus’ answer to
>> theodicy, but theologians don’t like it today.
>> Yes- I’m aware of the other passage (John 9:2) when Jesus was asked who
>> was responsible for the man’s blindness, the man or his parents, and Jesus
>> said neither because it was a set-up for Him to do a miracle and prove His
>> powers. I think that was a special case to the general theodicy (ancient
>> theology) answer of sin being the reason behind sickness. I think Jesus’
>> disciples where asking Jesus if the ‘ancient theology’ on theodicy applied
>> to this guy, verse 2 : “His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this
>> man or his parents, that he was born blind?"”
>> …Bernie
>> _
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Received on Sat Aug 22 13:33:51 2009

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