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Re: People who haven't heard of Jesus

Postby Regnis Numis » Fri Jun 29, 2018 12:14 am

I'm deeply concerned that my attempts to clarify my point would only confuse you further. Nevertheless, let me ask: Do you understand what I mean by the existence of disproportionate degrees of separation? If, for instance, a thief belonged to the 3rd degree of separation, then any degree below or above a 3rd degree would be disproportionate for the thief. Since we know degrees below and above the 3rd degree exist, we can say disproportionate degrees of separation for the thief exist. Do you follow?

Moreover, I'm aware that God, by His righteous nature, could never condemn anyone to a disproportionate degree of separation, but I don't believe it follows that there aren't disproportionate degrees of separation for any particular sin. For example, if a robot that has been programmed to walk in a straight line eventually stumbles across three branching paths, the robot will naturally walk the path directly in front of it. The robot cannot defy its programming, and thus there couldn't have been any other outcome. Despite this, the other two paths still exist. I’m simply referring to the paths themselves, not the possibility of the robot taking them.That's how I view disproportionate degrees of separation. Even though God cannot contradict His nature and condemn somebody to a disproportionate degree of separation, disproportionate degrees of separation still exist, just like any degree beyond the 3rd degree for the thief in my example above.

> He is not leaving them alone, per se, but rather not forcing them into a love relationship with Him, which would be a contradiction in terms. He is instead allowing them to reject Him and thereby sentence themselves to hell, and His righteousness and omniscience places the appropriate amount of separation for their context and warrant.

So are you saying human souls decide whether to separate from God, while God decides the degree of separation for those who ultimately choose to do so?
Regnis Numis
 

Re: People who haven't heard of Jesus

Postby jimwalton » Fri Jun 29, 2018 12:15 am

> Do you follow?

Yeah, I'm with you. I get it.

> So are you saying human souls decide whether to separate from God, while God decides the degree of separation for those who ultimately choose to do so?

That sounds fair, like an accurate rendition of what I'm saying.
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Re: People who haven't heard of Jesus

Postby Regnis Numis » Sun Jul 01, 2018 2:53 pm

> Yeah, I'm with you. I get it.

That's a relief to hear; I was worried if there was anything I seemed unclear about.

> That sounds fair, like an accurate rendition of what I'm saying.

I'm glad we're on the same page. Just one more loose end: when I asked you earlier whether God decides how far He wants to be from human souls who want nothing to do with Him, or they decide how far they want to be from God, you wagered the latter, so I assumed you believed that human souls decided their own degrees of separation. To me, this presented a major contradiction: If human souls could decide whether to separate from God and how far they wanted to be from Him, then there wasn't any room left for God to operate as a judge. In retrospect, perhaps it was inaccurate of me to ask whether God decides how far He wants to be from them, since we know God would rather not be separated from any of His creations in the first place, hence why He attempts to reconcile mankind back to Him. But I digress; my main point is this: Are you retracting your answer to my earlier question, specifically that human souls decide how far they want to be from God? Because it seems to contradict the notion that God decides their degree of separation.

Sorry for asking a few more questions, but I was wondering: While God will not force people into a loving relationship with Him, is it reasonable to believe He will rectify people's negative misconceptions about Him in the afterlife to give them an opportunity to decide whether they still want to separate from Him upon realizing His true nature? If so, then among those who do change their minds about Him, how will God judge them? I assume God isn't solely judging those who want to separate from Him, but also those who want to coexist with Him. You mentioned that there are different rewards in addition to different punishments. Hence, should I presume human souls who rejected God in life but experience a change of heart in the afterlife (and souls who've only discovered Christ's existence in the afterlife and decide to accept Him) receive a lesser reward than pious Christians who've worshiped God their entire lives?

As for those who've separated from God, if God decides their degree of separation, then how does He enforce it? Does He withdraw His presence from these human souls according to the appropriate degree, or does He expel them from His presence according to the appropriate degree?
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Re: People who haven't heard of Jesus

Postby jimwalton » Tue Jul 31, 2018 5:45 pm

> Are you retracting your answer to my earlier question, specifically that human souls decide how far they want to be from God? Because it seems to contradict the notion that God decides their degree of separation.

Human souls decide that they want to be separated from God, and their convictions and behavior create a certain demand for what is just, but it is ultimately God that is the judge who sets a fair punishment.

> While God will not force people into a loving relationship with Him, is it reasonable to believe He will rectify people's negative misconceptions about Him in the afterlife to give them an opportunity to decide whether they still want to separate from Him upon realizing His true nature?

It's a great question, and is subject only to speculation (therefore, any answer I give would be more opinion than theology). This goes along with C.S. Lewis's ideas, though, that if it were possible for someone's mind to change when they see him, God rightly would have to allow for that to be totally fair. The other possibility is that people's minds are not as fluid as we might wish, and, as Jesus said, "even if someone were to rise from the dead it wouldn't convince them." Possibly even when people see God face to face their minds will not change from whatever they were during life. It's simply impossible to know, and so we revert back to rule #1: God will be fair.

> As for those who've separated from God, if God decides their degree of separation, then how does He enforce it? Does He withdraw His presence from these human souls according to the appropriate degree, or does He expel them from His presence according to the appropriate degree?

According to Jesus's parables, the latter is the more likely.


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