Friday, July 17, 2009

The False Temptation of Jesus Christ

What was God thinking? Some things in the Bible make you really wonder. This study covers one such enigma.

Immediately prior to where we will begin this study, Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, and the Holy Spirit descended on Him in the shape of a dove.

During this study we will encounter the first mention of Satan/the Devil in the New Testament (NT). It is important to keep in mind that, corresponding with the canonical Old Testament (OT), the majority of Jewish scholars would have considered Satan (“ha-Satan” in Hebrew, which means “the accuser”) as an agent of God who was permitted to do no more than what was God's will for him to do. The role of Satan was to test men to determine whether or not they would obey or trust in God.

And as far as the source of evil goes, references in Deuteronomy, Job, Ecclesiastes, and Isaiah all seem to suggest that God is the source of both good and evil. That is what the majority of Jews would have believed at the time when Jesus supposedly entered the scene.

The False Temptation of Jesus Christ
Suppose that you have many children and that you love your children very much, but for some reason you are not able to be with them for an extended period of time. You are, however, able to assign someone to rule over them in your absence. Would you give that authority to the most evil person that you knew? That is basically what the Christian God did. In this study we will take a closer look at the anecdote where Jesus is tempted by Satan, and will flesh out the implications of these passages.

In Mark 1:12-13 you will find a very brief account of how, immediately after His baptism, Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the desert where Jesus is tempted by Satan for forty days. (See the footnotes for the significance of 40 days.) While the passage is small, there are a couple of huge issues with this text.

The first issue involves this question: Why would God (via the Holy Spirit), the epitome of good, lead His beloved Son into evil temptation? (Perhaps this is why in the Lord's Prayer Jesus included a prayer to God that He would not lead you into temptation!) The commonly accepted answer to this question is both so that Jesus could sympathize with our temptations and so that His sinless state would be all the more significant, as best relayed in Hebrews 2:18 and Hebrews 4:15. However, this is not a good answer because it feeds right into the next issue.

The second issue involves Jesus' status. By definition, God is sinless because sin is a transgression of God's will. Because Jesus was supposedly God, anything Jesus did is an act of God's will. So if Jesus did what Satan wanted Him to do, it would still not be sin.

Or consider that God is said to be perfect in His morality, and therefore He finds any wrongdoing utterly repulsive and would have only good desires. Given that Jesus is God, how would it then be possible to entice Him to do some evil? We are tempted because whatever the evil action is (or the gains from that action) which we are considering is enticing to us. If there is no enticement, then there is no real temptation. Saying that Jesus was tempted to sin is like saying that Jesus was also tempted to run at full speed into a brick wall. To this effect (and contradicting Hebrews 2:18 and Hebrews 4:15), James 1:13-14 sums it up well:
When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. NIV
Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-13 cover the temptation of Jesus in more detail, although in Matthew's version it seems that Jesus just fasted for forty days and then was tempted by the Devil, as opposed to being tempted by Satan during His entire time in the desert the way that Mark and Luke suggest. Beyond that, these two accounts are nearly identical besides a discrepancy in the order of the temptations. In both accounts, Jesus is hungry after the forty days.

Matthew 4:3-4 and Luke 4:3-4 have Satan tell Jesus that if He is the Son of God, then He should turn a rock into bread to eat. Jesus replies by quoting from Deuteronomy 8:3 that man does not live by bread alone. There are several things to note here. Reportedly Satan knows that Jesus is the Son of God, thus lending inherent credibility to the Jesus story (or at least that was possibly part of the author's intent). Of course, this also implies that Satan was aware of the plan for Jesus, again lending credibility to the story of Jesus. It therefore also implies that Satan knew that Jesus was God, and so Satan should have known that it was pointless to try to tempt Jesus! Perhaps the oddest thing in this temptation is that changing a rock into bread would not have been a sin!

In Matthew 4:5-7 and Luke 4:9-12 Satan leads Jesus to the top of the Temple in Jerusalem and tells him to jump off because angels will protect Him, but Jesus refuses and quotes from Deuteronomy 6:16 that you should not test God. With regards to the angelic protection, Satan quoted from Psalm 91:11-12 as if it applied directly to Jesus. However, when you read Psalm 91, you will see that it is not so specific. Instead, Psalm 91 implies that anyone who puts their trust and love in God will be (in poetic language) protected from all harm and will be ensured a long (not eternal) life. (The bitter irony is that neither Jesus nor the Christian martyrs through the centuries were protected by God.) One question about this affair which demands an answer: Why would Jesus permit Himself to be led by Satan anywhere at any time?

Moving on to Matthew 4:8-10 and Luke 4:5-8, Satan again led Jesus, this time up to a high mountain and he showed Him “in an instant all the kingdoms of the world” and offers them to Jesus if He will worship Satan, which Jesus refuses by quoting from Deuteronomy 6:16. In optimal conditions, the range of visibility in earth's atmosphere is about 62 miles (100 kilometers). If the world's tallest mountain was in Jerusalem, you could not even see all of Israel from its peak with that level of visibility, let alone all the kingdoms of the world. Also, given that Jesus is God, everything already belongs to Him, so this is not much a real temptation. Perhaps the most disturbing part of this temptation is from Luke 4:6:
And [Satan] said to [Jesus], "I will give You all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to." NIV
Simply put, God gave Satan the rule over all of the kingdoms of earth. In case you think that Satan is lying, consider that the theme of Satan ruling earth is repeated multiple times in the NT, such as with John 14:30, John 16:11, Ephesians 2:2, Ephesians 6:12, and 1 John 5:19. Now imagine, if you will, a re-writing of John 3:16 as:
“For God so loved the world that He gave its rule over to Satan, the evil one, that whoever believes in him shall perish in the fires of hell.”
You may be wondering what the Gospel of John says about this episode of temptation. Nothing. In fact, John goes from John the Baptist seeing the Holy Spirit settle on Jesus (John 1:32-34) to saying that stating that “the next day” Jesus started to collect disciples (John 1:35-39). So much for Jesus' forty days of desert wandering!

Perhaps even stranger than John's omission is that this tale is included in the Gospels at all. There were no eyewitnesses to this temptation other than Jesus and Satan. Jesus did not yet have disciples at that time. Yet none of the Gospels relay the account as if Jesus had told them about this episode of temptation while they were sitting around a campfire. Instead, the account is inserted into the Gospels as if Matthew, Mark, and Luke had been around when it happened, and Matthew and Luke even have record of the words spoken! However, if the story is fabricated, then the chronologically telling of it, replete with dialog, would be natural. Furthermore, it would be natural that John (who was supposedly one of the Apostles) would miss this event in his record, because he probably did not have access to it.

If this story is fabricated, as the issues above seem to suggest, the reference in this anecdote to 40 days of fasting is likely an intentional literary device used to make a connection between Jesus and Moses. When Moses received the commandments from God, he was with God fasting on a mountaintop for 40 days. Tying into the legend of Moses would have lent credibility in establishing Jesus as the prophet spoken of in Deuteronomy 18:14-22.

Other forty-day references in the Bible include how long...

the rains of the flood last - Genesis 7:4
it takes to embalm Jacob/Israel - Genesis 50:2-3
Moses is with God on the mountain - Exodus 24:18
Moses is with God on the mountain - Exodus 34:28
it takes to survey the land of Canaan - Numbers 13:25
Goliath taunted the Israelites - 1 Samuel 17:16
it took Elijah to flee to the mountain of God - 1 Kings 19:8
it would take for Nineveh to be overturned - Jonah 3:4
Jesus was seen proving that He was alive again - Acts 1:3


  1. Yes, you are correct. Jesus is also God and God cannot be tempted. But in the bible it also states that Jesus is both God and man. So it is merely the man in him being tempted, not God himself. This is why he is tempted. So in my opinion, don't write an entire message trying to disprove the Bible without including all the evidence.

  2. Thanks for your comment kyleraby. You are welcome to comment anytime.

    In defense to your comment, I pose a couple questions for you:

    1) Per the quote of James 1:13-14, it is one's own evil desire which tempts a man. Did Jesus, the man, have evil desire?
    2) As a man, which do you think Jesus was most tempted by; eating rock-bread, possibly jumping to your death, or gaining control of what you already own?

    I'm guessing that, as a man, the biggest temptation for Jesus would have been to eat the rock-bread after fasting for 40 days, but eating bread is not a sin, so how does that qualify as temptation?

    If you happen to stop by again, I'd love to get your opinion on these questions. Thanks!

  3. If I might add to the discussion, I think part of the point here is that Jesus was fully human. In the garden, he asked that the cup of suffering pass him by. He enjoyed life and wanted to keep on living. The temptation in the wilderness was an opportunity for the human side of Jesus to choose to take or reject the path of suffering that would save mankind.

    John 10 says, "The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life--only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again."

    The point is that this is not some spiritual trick for God to "pretend" to be man in order to fulfill his own requirements. He is fully man, and could choose either way. Satan is trying to get him to choose human life over suffering. Just as angels in Gen 6:4 chose human women.

    I appreciate your article and your search through the scriptures, but I am not convinced by the arguments. For example, you seem to equate desires with sin. It is possible for him to have human desires that he does not give into and thus avoids sin.

    Regarding the bread, it would not be sin for him to make bread. However, if God had directed him to fast, the making bread to break a God-ordered fast would be sin.

  4. Thanks for your comments David. I can appreciate your viewpoint as being possibly valid, and you certainly did a better job than kylerby in explaining the human position of Jesus.

    Jesus as man and God is somewhat of an enigma. How can one being be fully man and fully God. Naturally there are different interpretations of what that means.

    As I see it, Jesus would have had all of the knowledge of God. So Jesus would have known that there was no possible way to short-circuit God's Plan, which was also Jesus' Plan. So while theoretically Jesus had a choice, technically Jesus did not have a choice.

    For example, my plan is to never cheat on my wife. To me, it's not even a possibility. I've had opportunities, but I have never even considered them because I am going to be faithful to my wife. And I am only human! I don't have the will, omniscience, or power of God at my disposal.

    You said "In the garden, he asked that the cup of suffering pass him by." Did you know that in John 12:27 Jesus says that he would never ask for God to change this plan, like what the other three Gospels say that he does in the garden as you point out?

    You said "He enjoyed life and wanted to keep on living." That's an interesting theory. Consider that no account of the Gospels says that Jesus loved living, or even smiled for that matter.

    Also, Jesus would have known precisely the splendor of Heaven and how much better it was than life on earth. To suggest that even Jesus was second-guessing his transition back into Heaven doesn't paint a good picture of the eternal afterlife.

    You said "For example, you seem to equate desires with sin." You could certainly make a case for this philosophy based on James 1:13-14, the "Thou Shalt Not Covet" commandment, Jesus saying that looking at a woman lustfully is equivalent to adultery, etc.

    Thanks for the comment. You are welcome to comment anytime. I definitely appreciate people who put thought and effort into their comments, even when they don't agree with me. :-)

  5. WF, you are right that understanding how Jesus can be both fully God and fully man is difficult. The entire concept of the trinity is very difficult for me, and I am looking forward to the "aha" moment when God can explain it to me.

    In coming to earth in human form, Jesus limited himself from his fully godly ability and knowledge. Does God hunger? Of course not, yet Jesus hungered. God knows everything, yet Jesus said in MT 24:36, "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." And again, when the weight of the sin of the world was put upon him, he experienced separation from God the father, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" So as God he SHOULD have been all-powerful and all-knowing, but while on earth he put on human limitations and weaknesses--including the possibility of being tempted.

    Did Jesus have a choice not to go to the cross. YES! Just as you have the choice to accept him or reject him. That is free will. That is what makes us fully human.

    On a separate note, I didn't understand your example of planning to not cheat on your wife. Are you saying that it is not possible because that is your plan?

  6. Hi David, thanks for stopping by again. It's a rare pleasure to have someone actually look at a rebuttal, let alone make a counter argument.

    I’m sorry about being so cryptic in my example of not cheating. Quickly, let me spell that out. There are billions of women out there; maybe several thousand or more of which whom would be interested in an intimate relationship with me. I am with one of them, so the rest of that subset represents choices to cheat. Yet before I even have the choice of cheating with any one of those women, there is another choice to make: do I allow myself to cheat, or in other words, is cheating an option? My plan is not to cheat, therefore the answer to that question is no. From that perspective, it changes how I look at other women. They go metaphorically from being Honda Civics to being Lamborghinis; while I can appreciate their beauty, they are so prohibitively expensive that the idea of having one is simply unrealistic.

    Yes, MT 24:36 seems to indicate that Jesus had limited knowledge as opposed to God, which really should blow your mind because they are part of the same being. However, it seems clear that Jesus retained some Godly knowledge. You perhaps remember the how Jesus knew the life-story of the woman at the well in Samaria before she told Him (John 4:4-30).

    Also, consider that clearly from the text, Jesus knew the plan, and knew that His death on the cross was essentially unavoidable. In Matthew 26:53-54 where Jesus says that He could call 12 legions of angels to help Him if He wanted to, yet He could not because then the Scriptures would not be fulfilled. Also take a look at John 12:27 where Jesus says although His heart is troubled about His upcoming death, He would not call on God to save Him because it was for that very reason why He was there. (By the way, that contradicts Matthew 26:39, Mark 14:36, and Luke 22:42 where Jesus prays for the cup to pass from Him.)

    From these verses, you can tell that while veering from the plan was technically an option, it was not realistically an option. Just like I could technically buy a Lamborghini, but realistically, that is never going to happen. Would you then say it is free will that has kept me from buying a Lamborghini? Would you even claim that I was tempted to by a Lamborghini? And bringing it all back together, I could not say that through free will I did not cheat with one particular woman or another because my free-will choice was that cheating was not an option. From that perspective, no woman is a temptation for me to cheat.

  7. WF... actually it seems strange to call you WF. Can I know your name?

    Anyway, I like your example of not cheating in marriage. It is your plan and as such, you have mentally removed other women as an option. However, you still do have that choice. You choose every day to stay with your plan and remain faithful to your wife.

    I think we are getting very close to being on the same side of this argument. The point is that even though Jesus knew the plan and would not call on God to change it. (I don't think this is a contradiction by the way, but that is a separate discussion). He COULD have changed it. He was human. He had choices. You might argue that as God he had the power to overcome temptation, so it is not a real test, and I will grant that since he was the only sinless human, he did have unique power over temptation that we do not have. But the fact that he is strong does not make the temptation false. It just made it easier for him. Maybe that is why he had to fast for 40 days. I would not want to fast for 40 days.

    There are men who are easily tempted by other women. It sounds like your commitment to your wife is strong enough that you are not easily tempted. Does that mean you cannot be tempted? Of course not. It just means that you have counted the costs and chosen what you believe to be the better path. You are of greater value to your wife because she knows you choose her and don't just have her by default without any other choices.

    I think that may be the point of the temptation of Christ. To show us that he chose us in the same way you choose your wife. It shows that he values us.

    By thaw way, I am also married and have made the same choice. But I still guard my heart against being led astray. Aside from our discussion, I would encourage you to protect your marriage and not assume your commitment is strong enough that you could, for example, develop a really close relationship with another woman without at least increasing the possibility that you will blow your own plan. I consider my wife to be the expensive Lamborghini. She is very high maintenance, but also worth the effort. When she asks about other women, I tell her I already have a Lamborghini, why would I look at a Volkswagen.

    I stumbled across your blog when doing my own study on the Temptation of Christ. If it won't be too annoying to have the same person commenting, I may look at and comment on your other posts.

  8. Hello again David. I'm sorry about the name thing, but I can't divulge that on the blog. Perhaps it is somewhat cowardly, but despite the modern rash of atheism spreading through the country, there are still many parts of the US where you can be persecuted for not believing. I've got people who depend on me for support, so I would hate to loose my job and thereby have them suffer just for my beliefs, or lack thereof.

    If you would like more-personal exchanges, please don't hesitate to email me at

    You are very welcome to look around and comment on my blog, or to strike up an email thread regarding a particular post. I really do value debate as a way of double-checking my work and keeping me honest.

    In my experience of debating with knowledgeable believers, they have really enjoyed the exchanges as it's helped them solidify their own belief in previously unexplored territory. Yet I must not be that good, because I haven't made any converts yet. ;-)

    On the blog, you may find the Bible chapter-by-chapter summaries very useful to you. I know I have.

    Back to the temptation, you and I are on the same page that Jesus technically had many choices. What I have tried to portray in this post, but perhaps not well enough, is that the degree of temptation to follow other paths would have been minimal at best, especially when looking at this particular series of temptations by Satan. So to me, it weakens the claim made in Hebrews 4:15 that he was tempted every way, just like we are. It seems to me that the degree of temptation would have been much different, if for no other reason than the fact that He came to the earth with the mindset of God. Human or not, God supposedly abhors sin much more than any of us mortals.

    So is it truly a "false" temptation, as I posit? Maybe, or maybe not. I could never actually know what went on in the mind of God-wrapped-in-flesh Jesus to know for sure. Yet as I see it, to be tempted, you have to want something. Naturally, Jesus would have wanted not to be hung on a cross, but also, Jesus would have wanted to obey God and follow the Plan. The question to ponder is: how much more would Jesus wanted to obey God than to save His own life, knowing full well that as a human He would have died at some point in time anyway? Do you think the "level of want" was anywhere near equal to make Jesus honestly consider both options?

    About marriage, you are definitely right! We do agree about that! :-) We do need to be on guard from being led astray. I'm not sure what kind of car I would liken the love of my life to, but rest assured I'm not trading in for any other model!

  9. spalms 32 eyes ezekiel 7 eye reference duetonomy 11 eye reference jeremiah 16 eye reference isaiah 65 eye reference jeremia 2 eye reference.
    how does this man know scripture havfing never studied/LEARned. AMAZING feat for someone that doesn't read. READINg old testimate prooves he is a fraud. john 7 JESUS ADMITS to not being GOD and john 10 he ATTEMPTS to make himself appear to be GOD.

  10. Hi Anonymous. I am having some difficulty parsing your cryptic comment. Are you calling me a fraud or are you calling Jesus a fraud? Also, would you please explain a little more about what you mean with the “eyes” references you give? Thanks.

  11. Hi there, I just stumbled upon this blog while doing some research for my Christian Doctrine class. I found some things very interesting. I would like to comment on some of them:

    (Your words) Per the quote of James 1:13-14, it is one's own evil desire which tempts a man. Did Jesus, the man, have evil desire?

    It is the Christian belief that Jesus was fully God and fully man. Because he was fully man, he suffered all of the same limitations that humans suffer. He had to eat and sleep and he felt pain and whatnot. Part of being human is dealing with the issue of sin. Before The Fall (Adam and Eve's first sin in the Garden of Eden) sin was not an issue that humans had to deal with. But because of that first sin, it is part of our nature. Or perhaps, the first sin happened because it is part of our nature. A good question to ask here is: WHAT IS SIN? Some people think that sin means doing bad things. But in reality, it is much deeper than that. Doing bad things is a byproduct of it, but sin is really living in a way that denies that God is who he is. Because Jesus was man he had to struggle with this. I think it's also important to note that temptation itself is not sin. How we deal with temptation can LEAD TO sin. This leads into your next question...

    (Your words) As a man, which do you think Jesus was most tempted by; eating rock-bread, possibly jumping to your death, or gaining control of what you already own?

    I think it's safe to say that jumping off of the roof of the Temple would not be a temptation for any of us! Not me anyway! Neither would it be a temptation to take the kingdom for our own. Eating however, would be a big temptation for us. We can relate to that one. I think the other ones would be a very big temptation for Jesus. To know you are the Son of God, but to have the world look at you with derision and hatred would be a very hard thing indeed. If I had been in his shoes, I would have been very tempted to show them just what was what. However, that was not part of the plan. (And that is also why I am not Jesus!) God wants us to come to him because we make a choice to. Because he loves us he gives us free will. Also, taking hold of the kingdom that was already his?...It's the manner of the taking. Satan was offering Jesus an earthly kingdom, whereas the true kingdom of Christ is a heavenly kingdom. John 14:30 talks about the 'Prince of this World.' That prince is Satan. And Satan can only offer us what is of this world. He cannot offer us anything in the hereafter but death.

    (Your words) I'm guessing that, as a man, the biggest temptation for Jesus would have been to eat the rock-bread after fasting for 40 days, but eating bread is not a sin, so how does that qualify as temptation?

    Also, eating would not have been a sin. The manner in which he would have gone about it would have been the sin. He was fasting which means he was relying on God to provide for all his needs. If he were to have eaten at that moment, it would have been as if he was saying that God was not sufficient enough. That...would have been a sin.

    I think it's good to get the questions out there. It's good to know why you believe what you believe rather than just a blind belief passed down through tradition. I don't think enough people really take their faith out of the drawer, dust it off, and examine it.

    Also, I'd like to point out...that most of the New Testament is highly contextual. It was written by certain people, to certain people, in a certain era, who lived in a certain culture. It is important to see the New Testament through the lens of first century cultures and people and to decide what it means for us today. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that it is antiquated or that it does not apply to us. I am saying that to truly understand the heart of it, we must understand the people who wrote and read it. Most of the New Testament consists of letters written to the church and was intended to be read during their church services.

    Just a thought.

  12. Thanks for your comment Anonymous. I appreciate the time you put into your answers.

    In response to your response to Jesus having evil desires:
    That seems to make an interesting paradox: God has no desire for sin. Jesus had desire for sin. What's the difference? Flesh, the same flesh you and I have. What do you make of that?

    In response to your response to what Jesus was tempted by:
    I get that Jesus might want to prove Himself to the world, but 1) He was alone with Satan and 2) He went on to prove Himself anyway with miracles. So I'm not sure your argument stands up.
    Also, you do know that Jesus became the Prince of this World according to Matthew 28:18, right?

    In response to your response to why eating rock-bread was a sin:
    You've got a good argument here. However, there are a couple of oddities to it. If you had fasted for 40 days in the desert, you would most likely be dead. So if Jesus made it the 40 days, it was obvious that He was living through God's help. The point had been proven already, and this was the end of the fast (you can tell by the significant numerology of 40).

    Your closing thought is a good one. Again, thanks for commenting.

  13. I would think the greatest temptation, were this event to ever have actually occurred, would be the temptation to jump from the parapet. The bible spends so much time promising that God will catch us if we fall, and there was the opportunity to prove it, or test the ideal out. The chance to truly take a leap of faith would have been the greatest temptation, again, presuming it was a real event.

  14. Hello second Anonymous:
    Thanks for the comment. That would be tempting, but it would be painful, and maybe deadly, to jump off of the Temple if God did not act. But I tell you what I would do instead: I would find progressively higher jumps to make. Start with maybe a one foot jump, then two, then three, etc. If I ever jumped and felt pain, then I would know that God was not there. :-)

  15. Hi, I know I'm late to the party, not sure if anyone is reading this or not. Perhaps you will think I am dodging the question at issue, but I don't believe I am. I believe you are misusing the bible. In the bible there are many places where the text indicates that man comes into relationship with God because God makes himself known irresistibly to that man. I do not have a proof for God's existence other than his making himself known to me, just as I have no way to prove to anyone else that my brother is alive (he is) or even exists unless my brother is made directly known to that person. The bible certainly doesn't function as proof of God's existence, as you have rightfully shown. Nor does it claim to. What it does claim to do is contain truth, and to describe God. But just as if I wrote a comment to you describing my brother, and saying it is true, that comment would not function as proof of his existence, neither does the biblical text function, or should be construed to function as PROOF of God.

    But for those who believe in God, it is powerful and beautiful and enlightening indeed.

  16. Hello Third Anonymous,

    Sorry for the delayed reply.

    Indeed, there is no way to prove whether or not God exists to everyone. It largely seems to depend on personal revelation.

    However, I would argue that we can use the Bible to determine if the God described in the Bible matches the reality of the world we see. We can also use the Bible to see if the God of the Bible is self-consistent throughout it; do the descriptions, behaviors, and attributes reportedly held by God actually get represented in the text of the Bible. Based on my studies, I've come to the conclusion that God is not self-consistent throughout the Bible, and does not match His reported attributes. Furthermore, while there are certain aspects of the Bible story which align with reality, there are also significant portions which do not.

    In other words, we cannot use the Bible to prove God's existence, but we can use the Bible to prove (or disprove) the existence of the God of the Bible specifically. Based on the text of the Bible, there appears to be considerable evidence proving that the God of the Bible does not exist, as can be seen on this blog and others.

    Perhaps the God you are in relationship with is not the one of the Bible? Similar, but different?

    1. Perhaps it is the Same God from the Bible, but many accounts are misinterpreted by the Writer First, then by Language barriers, and also time-period, and Tradition. Then by your own interpretation of Such Stories and testimonies.

      When I say,

      "Then, a Voice came from the clouds like thunder."

      someone else could interpret that as.

      There was a Cloud in the Sky, and it spoke, it sounded like thunder.
      There was Thunder that sounded like a voice and it spoke to me.
      The Clouds thundered, and I heard a Voice from within the Clouds.
      A Cloud spoke in booming voice.
      The Sky was angry.
      God was angry.

    2. Hello Fred,

      Sorry for the delayed reply to you as well. It seems commenters have a way on knowing when I'm not available. :-)

      Anyway, yes, you raise a good point, Fred. That's why nobody should rely on a single verse for establishing a dogma, one way or another. Even a small collection of self-supporting verses should be treated with some care to avoid misinterpretation.

      The best practise is to look at as many verses as possible to develop the most robust stance on any given point, and even then there will be some subjectivity involved.

      I've worked diligently to look at the picture of God as presented by the entire Bible for a sense of consistency throughout, but I have not been successful, and have drawn my conclusion accordingly. You may have a different perspective based on what you find. Either way, the truth will eventually present itself, regardless of what we may think of it. ;-)