A BOOK FOR DONALD TRUMP, OTHER GREAT AMERICANS, AND ANYONE ELSE MATERIALLY BLESSED BY THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD: Ecclesiastes

Luca Giordano – Dream of Solomon – God promises Solomon Wisdom. (from here)
Luca Giordano – Dream of Solomon – God promises Solomon Wisdom. (from here)

Ecclesiastes is an odd book and a strange puzzle. Ecclesiastes begins by speaking of pointlessness of life. In fact, that seems to be the theme of the book. So we should expect godless souls would take delight that such a book is in the Bible. So why don’t they?

The answer comes when we finally solve the puzzle. We realize what an old king wants us to understand, that it is without God that life is pointless. Therefore, after we have read Ecclesiastes the first time, we have to go back and read it it again, wondering at the ease with which that old king fooled us!

Life itself almost fooled King Solomon. Ecclesiastes is his story. God blessed him greatly with riches, power, a long life, and most of all wisdom (1 Kings 3:1-15). Nevertheless, even though he was wise, power and riches corrupted King Solomon.

1 Kings 11:1-8 New King James Version (NKJV)

11 But King Solomon loved many foreign women, as well as the daughter of Pharaoh: women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites— from the nations of whom the Lord had said to the children of Israel, “You shall not intermarry with them, nor they with you. Surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines; and his wives turned away his heart. For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and did not fully follow the Lord, as did his father David. Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, on the hill that is east of Jerusalem, and for Molech the abomination of the people of Ammon. And he did likewise for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.

For the sake of his many wives, Solomon worshiped truly despicable idols, and this we must suppose was his greatest sin. Yet Ecclesiastes does not speak of worshiping ugly idols, and it only says a little about the trap of sexual diversions. With beautiful, carefully chosen words, Solomon tells us of mundane pursuits that entice us from knowing our Creator. He speaks wine, women, and song. He elaborates upon the vanity of earthly wisdom. He speaks of the futility of toiling greedily.  Through it all the old king seems to weep softly.

Did King Solomon ever repent and return to our Lord? It is something to wonder about.  Other than Ecclesiastes, what is our best clue? That was when God told the prophet Nathan to tell David that King Solomon would build a temple for the Ark of the Covenant.

1 Chronicles 17:10-14 New King James Version (NKJV)

10 “Furthermore I tell you that the Lord will build you a house. 11 And it shall be, when your days are fulfilled, when you must go to be with your fathers, that I will set up your seed after you, who will be of your sons; and I will establish his kingdom. 12 He shall build Me a house, and I will establish his throne forever. 13 I will be his Father, and he shall be My son; and I will not take My mercy away from him, as I took it from him who was before you. 14 And I will establish him in My house and in My kingdom forever; and his throne shall be established forever.”

Was God speaking of Solomon? It would seem so, at least in part.

Fabulously powerful, wealthy, and wise, what did King Solomon learn? Why did he repent of his sins. He tells us at the beginning.

Ecclesiastes 1:1-11 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Vanity of Life

The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.

“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher;
“Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”

What profit has a man from all his labor
In which he toils under the sun?
One generation passes away, and another generation comes;
But the earth abides forever.
The sun also rises, and the sun goes down,
And hastens to the place where it arose.
The wind goes toward the south,
And turns around to the north;
The wind whirls about continually,
And comes again on its circuit.
All the rivers run into the sea,
Yet the sea is not full;
To the place from which the rivers come,
There they return again.
All things are full of labor;
Man cannot express it.
The eye is not satisfied with seeing,
Nor the ear filled with hearing.

That which has been is what will be,
That which is done is what will be done,
And there is nothing new under the sun.
10 Is there anything of which it may be said,
“See, this is new”?
It has already been in ancient times before us.
11 There is no remembrance of former things,
Nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come
By those who will come after.

Without God, we live to no purpose. All is vanity. We can be materially rich beyond our wildest dreams. We can have every thing we wish for. We can make others our slaves. Yet all will still be meaningless vanity.

If you have trouble solving the puzzle that is Ecclesiastes (and most people do), check out Rob Barkman‘s series on Ecclesiastes. Here is the Introduction. Barkman did not link to the subsequent posts in his series, however, his blog is searchable. Since Barkman uses the Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV), the easiest way to find a specific lesson is to search for the post that contains the text from the Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV) that you want to study. Note also that there are links at the bottom of each web page. These take you to the previous post and to the next post. So one or two clicks will usually get you to the next post in the series.

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29 thoughts on “A BOOK FOR DONALD TRUMP, OTHER GREAT AMERICANS, AND ANYONE ELSE MATERIALLY BLESSED BY THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD: Ecclesiastes

  1. One of the great bits of wisdom taught in the Bible’s books of wisdom concerns the atheist and their constant bleating for God to show himself.

    And this same bit of wisdom should truly frighten Christians.

    Though both King David and his son King Solomon saw physical signs from God for most of their lives, it really didn’t do them any good.

    Both turned away from God to favor their own personal, earthly appetites.

    How can that be?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. @silenceofmind

      Why do children disobey Mommy and Daddy? Surely they know Mommy and Daddy are real. Nevertheless, children will disobey even when they know they will be punished.

      Why did Adam and Eve disobey God? They wanted to be God. It is absurd to think we could be God, but the desire is still there, even in the best and wisest of men.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Citizen,

        There is no comparison between the divine, personal experience of God and the worldly experience of Mommy and Daddy.

        God is Lord of the Universe and Jesus His Son endows deep peace and happiness upon the disciple.

        Not to mention, the wonders of the Holy Spirit.

        Our turning away from the will of our parents is part of growing up.

        Our turning away from God is something else all together.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. @silenceofmind

          There is no comparison between the divine, personal experience of God and the worldly experience of Mommy and Daddy.

          If we truly understood that there is no comparison between the divine, personal experience of God and the worldly experience of Mommy and Daddy, I expect we would not have any problem being obedient to our Father in heaven. But it seems that we are still at the point where we have trouble grasping that concept.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Citizen,

          Adam and Eve were at one with God.

          David was God’s favorite and truly had divine knowledge of God.

          So did Solomon.

          But even though they truly understood the divine, they were disobedient in most grievous ways.

          This fundamental failing in human nature is the object of Jesus’ teaching that we are not to judge others.

          That teaching is much more than a moralism.

          It is a nuts and bolts behavior that the disciple absolutely must engage in.

          Otherwise, we cannot receive the grace necessary to overcome our human nature.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. @silenceofmind

          Let’s back up for a moment. Can you define a divine knowledge of God? Can you truly describe God in detail?

          We can say God is a spirit. We can say he has infinite power, wisdom, and holiness, but none of us has seen God. Understanding Him is beyond our capacity.

          If someone we could know God, retain what He is in our minds we would be terrified to disobey Him, except perhaps those few who would be so jealous of Him they would rebel in fury.

          Rebel in fury. That may be what Satan did once.

          Like

        4. Citizen,

          What I speak about I have experienced myself, and it is in the Bible.

          God appears before the disciple in overt, fantastic, physical ways.

          And God appears to the disciple internally, through insights which are mostly given in small doses but can also be mind boggling.

          Solomon’s great wisdom came from God.

          Wisdom is insight into the workings of things and all things are subject to God’s will.

          Consequently, wisdom is a direct connection to God.

          In the time of Jesus, his Apostles witnessed God in overt, fantastic and physical ways.

          Yet it didn’t do any good.

          Jesus was betrayed, denied and abandoned by this Apostles just as David and Solomon betrayed, denied and abandoned God in their life and times.

          Liked by 1 person

        5. Matthew 26:41 New King James Version (NKJV)

          41 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

          We may as well ask why is the flesh weak. We are as God made us, made for His glory, not our own.

          You know this passage.

          Ephesians 2:8-10 New King James Version (NKJV)

          8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

          Logic dictates that any creation of God, hence ourselves too, must be dependent upon Him.

          If God chooses to withdraw His Hand, we cease to exist. Yet our pride demands otherwise, and our fears spurns any power not visibly greater than our own.

          So it was that Adam and Eve, already gifted with power, sought more, and so it was that Gideon, weak, feared to leave his hiding place.

          We must remember Gideon and how he doubted. We must each remember how God built up Gideon’s faith and ask that he do the same for us — as He has apparently done for you.

          Like

        6. Citizen,

          Exactly true.

          And this explains the claim in my first comment about why the atheist demand that God show himself can’t work.

          It also shows that atheism is a denial of both God and man and is thus, dangerous, morbid and self-destructive.

          Liked by 1 person

        7. plainandsimplecatholicism

          “There is no comparison between the divine, personal experience of God and the worldly experience of Mommy and Daddy.” Which is why God reveals himself as “Father?” Really? THAT is really your argument?

          Like

    2. Tony

      silenceofmind – intriguing thought, but it seems to me that it takes more faith and superstition to NOT believe God than it does to believe in God. The Aethist has to explain away in unlikely infinite regressions so much of what is known and much more of what is unknown and so much far more still that can never be known than the believer does. The Aethist is like the ameba living in the elephant. And ameba says to his fellow amebas: “I will believe in this elephant if he would just show himself”. 😊

      Like

    3. theancients

      That’s a great point and reminder SOM. The example that I used to use in the past was the children of Israel.
      With all the signs and wonders God did for them daily: manna from heaven, a pillar of cloud by day to protect them from the desert sun; a pillar of fire by night to provide heat from the extreme cold plus light.. 3 million people where no was sick.. on and on…

      and yet they did not keep God in their awareness i.e. they constantly disobeyed and ignored Him, even turning to other gods.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, Ecclesiastes shows us what it is to live without God, ‘ all is vanity’.

    “And I poor sinner cast it all away
    To live for the tool and pleasure of each day,
    As if no Christ had shed His precious blood,
    As if I owed no homage to my God.

    Oh Holy Spirit with thy fire divine,
    Melt into tears this thankless heart of mine,
    Help me to love what once I seemed to hate
    And live to God before it be too late”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree that the book of Ecclesiastes is Solomon’s act of repentance. From the account in I Kings, we would not know if Solomon repented and received God’s forgiveness, but Ecclesiastes indicates to me that he did.
    I disagree that the house God promised to build for David was fulfilled, even in part, by Solomon or the Temple. Both Solomon and the Temple were pictures of the ultimate Son of David, but only Jesus matches God’s promise in every way. Jesus rules an eternal kingdom–Solomon ruled only forty years. Jesus was without sin yet “made to be sin” so he could bear the punishment for our sins (and Solomon’s sins); Solomon was spared the punishment he deserved–the kingdom was not even divided until Solomon had died. J.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @Salvageable

      We have an advantage that David and Solomon did not have. What David understood (and, obviously, what God expected him to understand) was that Solomon would build the Temple. That comes across in 1 Chronicles 22. However, as you say, only Jesus could fulfill that promise.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We have the advantage of believing in a Savior who has already come and fulfilled the promises; they believed in a Savior who would come to fulfill the promises. Jesus is the same Savior, and the promises are the same. (Otherwise, why would Paul stress Abraham’s salvation through faith in Romans 4?) I’m sure a lot of believers in Old Testament times missed the point of God’s pictures of salvation–a lot of Christians fail to understand the Bible today–but the pictures were there to give them faith. David wanted very much for God to have a Temple and made all the preparations for Solomon to oversee its construction. I don’t think that means that he misunderstood God’s promise spoken through Nathan, let alone that God expected David to misunderstand. J.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. @Salvageable

          Abraham trusted God. Did he expect a savior that would die for his sins? No, I don’t think so. Nevertheless, he trusted God, and God rewarded his faith.

          Precisely what David understood I can only guess sometimes. We do know he instructed Solomon to build the temple. In 1 Chronicles 22, David says the Word of the Lord came to him, and then he adds facts not found in 1 Chronicles 17, and I am left scratching my head. Where did he get that? Because the Bible just tells us what we need to know, not what we want to know, it can be baffling, but we would find God a puzzle in any event.

          We do know David instructed Solomon to build the temple. Some of the psalms certainly suggest that he may have expected a Messiah, but I don’t have the knowledge or the wit to know exactly how much David knew.

          If you have some thoughts on the matter, I expect it would make for an interesting post.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I will work on such a post. Meanwhile, I’m curious to know your understanding of Hebrews 11. Is the faith of all the people mentioned there something different from our faith, aside from the fact that they were looking ahead to the fulfillment and we look back in time to the fulfillment? J.

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        3. @Salvageable

          Hebrews speaks of the same faith, and oddly enough, I think we are still looking ahead. Consider three major virtues: faith, hope, and charity. Hope looks ahead.

          With the death and resurrection of our Lord, the promise has been fulfilled, but it has yet to be fully realized.

          The Apostle Paul, although he knew he was saved, most certainly looked ahead. He had run the race. He looked forward to the prize and knowing our Lord in the life to come.

          Like

  4. Great article on my favorite subject. I read a post that I wish our political leaders would read and included it on my post today. It adds credence to your post.

    Timeless Wisdom for modern leaders. HERE

    Regards and goodwill blogging.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Tony

    Tom,

    Although this post concentrates on leadership, your posts often dance around the same problem: What does it really mean to be “good”? And by “good”, I mean “good” in the human and moral sense of the word.

    Moral good is indeed an individual interprise, as you often point out. What you seem to not completely investigate is that, besides being individual, moral goodness is also necessarily relational. Certainly one can be morally good (or not) in the privacy of one’s own room or one’s own private thoughts, however, it is impossible to be morally good to any real human extent without the help of others and without regard to others.

    As you know, we learn how to be morally good from our parents and our other relationships, from our society and our culture, and from every level of social enterprise, be they churches, schools, our work apprenticeships, and yes, even from our forms of government.

    A sign of moral maturity in any individual is the expression in practice of this inculcation of moral goodness that the individual has learned relationally from very many sources. And the manifest expression of moral goodness is mostly also relational to those varying groups of others and those levels of societal grouping. A sign of moral maturity of a given relational situation, whether you are talking about a family, a church, a town, a state, a country or humanity as a whole, is that group’s expression in general practice and continuing reverence for moral goods.

    As the individual grows, he or she morally matures (or not) by learning to forgo immediate gratification in order to pursue moral goods that are more important and distant in time to the individual. He or she learns to put off play in order to do homework. He or she learns to forgo sugary sweets and eat vegetables. He or she learns to forgo immediate sexual gratification for the sake of having a more lasting relationship. More importantly, the morally maturing individual learns that moral goods (courage, industriousness, knowledge, wisdom) are actually more valuable and more mentally satisfying than the gratification of material desires – that such moral goods are to be valued for their own sake, not just as a means to an end.

    However, at the final stage the moral maturity, the moral individual not only learns to be morally “independent” in making rational moral choices for moral goods (meaning he or she learns to make such choices without the help of parents and teachers), he or she also learns that he or she remains “dependent” upon others. And in understanding that relational dependence, he or she learns that moral goods can only be gained when he or she puts others before himself or herself, and when he or she exercises selflessness in showing moral virtues toward others that are now dependent upon that morally mature individual.

    The point of all this is the exploration of the relational quality of morality and virtue. Human relational situations are numerous and evolving. Obviously, the core unit is the family. For most of human existence until the advent of civilization, the next relational unit would have been the hunter-gatherer group and then the tribe. Now it is the school, the church, the business, the community, the city, the state, and the modern federal state. As changing technology and economics shrinks the world, the necessary relational quality of moral interactions with all of humanity becomes more apparent.

    There is no doubting the importance of the core family to early moral development. Depending upon a given family unit’s reverence of moral goods, the child’s development to value moral goods over material gratification will either be successful or stunted. All the other relational levels, if they value moral goods, can help offset moral deficiencies in a given family unit. Obviously, the importance of each relational level an individual’s growth in valuing moral goods changes as the person grows older, but no level, including and perhaps especially the family unit, is necessarily morally superior or inferior to any other. You can have a family that values or does not value moral goods just as you can have a church or a culture or a government that idolizes material gain over moral goods.

    Tom, you focus on government, particularly the modern state, as if it is the source of all evil, but the moral corruption of any given relational level,including the state, is really only a reflection of the sum of its lower level parts all the way down to the famiies, schools, churches and ultimately the individuals that make it up. If every individual in our world grew up to be independent moral rational thinkers who each recognized their moral dependence on others and others dependence on each of them, then the government of the world would likely be nothing more than some form of perfectly voluntary socialism. But such is not the case.

    If there is moral corruption in government, it is not because government is necessarily morally bankrupting (any more than churches or private businesses are), it is because we do not understand and value moral virtue over moral vices as individuals and at every other relational level.

    And what does this have to do with Donald Trump and King Solomon? You would know better about Solomon than I, but don’t you see that everything that Trump stands for is the opposite of valuing moral goods for their own sake over his glorification of the accumulation of material goods for their own sake? The man is quite obviously morally arrested, but he reflects the immaturity of far too much of every level of society. Why would we want to make an unabashed prince of the moral corruption that is the worst part of the American soul right now the leader of our government?

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    1. @Tony

      Your comment bit of a force fit, I think. The title of this post was a bit of a lark. I included Donald Trump in the title mostly because he has made himself a symbol of great wealth. I wish he and and lot of other people would read Ecclesiastes.

      America has become materialistic, to say the least, and the point of Ecclesiastes is that we need to focus on God, not this world. God defines what is good, not man.

      Remember the story of the Garden of Eden. What was the sin of Adam and Eve?

      Anyway, I have an errand to run. So I will have to get back to you. I warn you, however, I will have nothing to say with respect to your empty rhetoric about Donald Trump. Expel all the hot air you want. You cannot find anything good to say about Hillary Clinton. That is more damning than anything you have said about Donald Trump.

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      1. Tony

        Tom – actually, I have said good things about Secretary Clinton – she is the most experienced candidate in the race by far. She has a better temperment. And she is not crazy. But that is not the real point here.

        The point is: What do both candidates say about the problem that we agree on – that is that Americans and America have become “too materialist” (as opposed to honoring the moral goods of being virtuous)?

        You may believe she is lying or being secretly deceptive, but Secretary Clinton’s life and words do honor to the concepts of virtue. On the other hand, Mr. Trump openly advocates winning at any cost, and if he does not win, it is not because he is wrong, it’s because the system is rigged. Trump openly advocates decedance and materialism as the ultimate virtues.

        Even viewing Clinton in the worst light of scurrilousness and false witness of Republican partisans, and Trump at the face value of what he has said and done in life, Clinton would have a presidency that pays lip service to moral goods while secretly being corrupt and materialistic while, on the other hand, a Trump presidency would honor corruption and materialism openly. The supposed hypocrisy of a Clinton regime would eventually be outed and history would dishonor her. On the other hand, with Trump you openly glorify the corruption and materialism that you claim to abhor.

        For that matter, have you thought about how most of your arguments here are based upon materialistic concerns such as what form of government or nongovernment best distributes materialistic goods and services? If we all really were a spiritually virtuous people, would the form of government really matter? Don’t you think that was kind of what Jesus was trying to say over and over again?

        By the way, because it’s one of my favorite stories in the Bible, I’m curious. What do you think was the “literal” sin of Adam and Eve in the “story” of the Garden of Eden? Apple eating? What was the true meaning if the tree of knowledge of good and evil? What did the “tree of life” represent? What was the metaphorical original sin? Why a talking snake rather than a spider or a bunny rabbit? How did the original pre-Biblical Garden of Eden story differ from the Biblical version? Or for that matter, how does it differ from similar creation metaphors from cultures around the world? And more importantly, how does the incarnation of Jesus Christ resolve the Eden story? What have been the various theories on the purposes of the incarnation throughout the history of the Christian church?

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        1. @Tony

          You have said good things about H. Clinton? Are you trying to be funny?

          I believe H. Clinton is lying? Is there any doubt that she lies and about things that are truly important? She is a highly experienced liar. She is not a good liar, but she does have lots of experience stonewalling. With lots of help from the news media, she is good at stonewalling. She just has to say as little as possible.

          A secretly corrupt presidency under Clinton? After an openly corrupt presidency under Obama? Executive order after executive order, and a corrupt Congress who won’t do its job and stop him.

          Let’s assume H. Clinton gets elected. After we voted for someone we know should be in jail, why should she keep her corrupt activities a secret? So we can keep on pretending we don’t know? When the best response you can come up with is Trump is worst, you basically just admitted you do know. How blind then do you have be not to know H. Clinton would sell us out? What other kinds of people make 10’s of millions in public service?

          And no, Trump is not what you think. He can be an awful jerk, but he doesn’t openly advocate winning at any cost. He doesn’t even blame the Mexicans or the Chinese for pulling fast ones on us. He blames our incompetent leadership. Instead of just listening to the sound bites offered up by the news media, have you ever bothered to listen to a complete speech?

          Anyway, when you can’t find anything nice about H. Clinton (except she is not as bad as that rich, mean Donald Trump), I am not going to discuss the election with you. All you are doing saying you don’t like the man, and repeating stupid nonsense. The news media has repeatedly twisted Trump’s words to make him look ridiculous. I don’t believe those people anymore, and I have better things to do than to put every sound bite that conniving reporters have misused into a its proper context. Do your own homework.

          You say I have danced around a problem. Seriously?

          “What does it really mean to be “good”?” Good is defined by God. To be good, we must be Godly. We must be obedient to our Father in heaven. That is why Christians seek to imitate Jesus as best we can. Jesus obeyed the Father perfectly. That is why Christians study the Bible, God’s Word. If we are going to be obedient to God, then we must know what God has said about the nature of wisdom, how a Christian is suppose live a good life.

          Let’s consider how you defined “good”. Instead of referring to God, you talk about “the human and moral sense of the word”. Should we define “good” with respect to some sort human and moral sense? Not exactly. If God does not think what we are doing is good, then it is not good. It may “feel” good, but it is still not good.

          Nevertheless, parents must attempt to properly develop the consciences of their children. Therefore, there is some truth in what you said. We do learn what is “good” from other people. In THE THEORY OF MORAL SENTIMENTS, Adam Smith wrote about how a person forms a good and proper conscience. I have a blog post that uses an excerpt (see => https://citizentom.com/2010/02/28/an-occasion-for-a-humbling-comparison/. Please read that.

          Why do I focus on government? This is a political blog that talks about Christian values with respect to government. So I usually talk about good and evil with respect to government. When scatterwisdom asked me a question (here => https://citizentom.com/2016/08/21/the-growing-power-of-government-and-the-threat-to-liberty-election-2016/#comment-70539), I gave him an answer. The answer is here => https://citizentom.com/2016/08/21/the-growing-power-of-government-and-the-threat-to-liberty-election-2016/#comment-70543.

          What was the question? It basically boiled down to this: why is our government becoming so corrupt? Please consider those comments.

          Here is a little context for the comments I just referred you to. In a successful, thriving republic, the morality of the people drives the morality of their government. That is because only a highly moral people can make a republic work. Unless the leaders of a nation know they are accountable to the people they lead, the temptations of power will lead almost inevitably to abuse, the sort of abuse we are seeing today.

          What about the Garden of Eden? What was the sin? Genesis is quite clear, but here is an explanation => https://familyallianceonline.org/2013/10/03/doubt-denial-deception-and-disobediance/.

          Your other questions? You are better educated than I am. Why don’t you know? Why do you complicate matters so much you cannot understand?

          Have you carefully read the books of John, Romans, and Hebrews? In the Gospel that bears his name, the Apostle John describes Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. The Apostle Paul wrote the Book of Romans. He may have written the Book of Hebrews too. The Gospels describe how Jesus fulfilled prophecies going all the way back to Adam and Eve. Acts and other books give us a clue as to how the first Christians struggled to spread the Gospel. Romans and Hebrew, however, focus specifically on how our savior redeemed us. If you really want to understand the reason for the incarnation (as best we can), then read the whole Bible, but Romans and Hebrews provide the theology.

          My answer? I sinned. I still backslide sometimes and sin. Jesus, the One who is perfect, paid for my sins with His blood. And so I look to Him for my salvation.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Tony

    My comments as to a Clinton presidency being “secretly corrupt” were addressed to the farfetched hypothetical that she is as secretly corrupt as the worst demagoguing Republicans are arguing, not because I actually believe the sexist political hit job of piling on of bull that the Republicans have been doing with Clinton for years. Even independents and moderate conservatives who don’t trust Clinton in many ways are beginning to think that screaming “emails” and “Benghazi” all the time is getting tired and unfair. You can do so only by refusing to recognize that Clinton is being held to a ridiculously unfair standard that we have never held any other Secretary of State to.

    That said, you think that Trump is not an unabashed and self proclaimed materialist? Seriously? You’re the one who apparently has not been listening to his speeches or reading anything objective about his business career. Don’t believe the liberals if you don’t want to. Listen to the mass of the conservatives in your own party. Listen to Ted Cruz.

    Your wrote

    “Good is defined by God. To be good, we must be Godly. We must be obedient to our Father in heaven. That is why Christians seek to imitate Jesus as best we can. Jesus obeyed the Father perfectly. That is why Christians study the Bible, God’s Word. If we are going to be obedient to God, then we must know what God has said about the nature of wisdom, how a Christian is suppose live a good life.

    “Let’s consider how you defined “good”. Instead of referring to God, you talk about “the human and moral sense of the word”. Should we define “good” with respect to some sort human and moral sense? Not exactly. If God does not think what we are doing is good, then it is not good. It may “feel” good, but it is still not good.””

    The reason that I defined “good” in moral human terms is exactly because good is a universal that comes from God. As such, moral goodness is a truth that surpasses time, place, and theism or lack thereof. Because moral goodness is God derived and God suspended, to the extent that theists and polytheists from every religion honor that moral truth, then it is still morally true. It is even true to the extent that Aethists recognize it as true, even though those Aethists may fail to attribute to God the premises of their moral beliefs – those beliefs are still sound, although vastly incomplete.

    As Christians, we must feel that biblical Scripture culminating in Jesus Christ provides the most perfect revelation of God’s moral universals, but even we Christians have theological interpretive differences. I was trying to focus on the agreed upon universals rather than those, often minor and perhaps ultimately unknowable, differences. This is the reason why I asked about necessarily mysterious areas (such incarnation theologies). Not because I think that you can definitively answer these questions. I don’t think you can and I can’t either. Although the study of the many theories throughout history (on things like the incarnation) are fascinating and a necessary part of any genuine theological or philosophical investigation, most of those who say they definitively understand many of God’s most unfathomable mysteries are either ignorant, deluded or lying. Still, thousands have died in religious wars over such unknowables.

    Wisdom is not just knowing and studying things. It is perhaps most importantly recognizing that we don’t know everything, and that, in many cases, absent some personal revelation from the Holy Spirit, we perhaps never will adequately understand many things. You are definitely better educated and often much wiser in this regard than I am. In other areas, not so much though.

    You wrote:

    “Nevertheless, parents must attempt to properly develop the consciences of their children. Therefore, there is some truth in what you said. We do learn what is “good” from other people. In THE THEORY OF MORAL SENTIMENTS, Adam Smith wrote about how a person forms a good and proper conscience. I have a blog post that uses an excerpt (see => https://citizentom.com/2010/02/28/an-occasion-for-a-humbling-comparison/. Please read that.”

    I will read it and get back to you later. Personally, I think Adam Smith, as did most of the enlightenment philosophers, got terribly off course when Protestant dualist Christianity abandoned its Greek philosophical and Thomist roots, but that is a much longer discussion, and a topic that I am still too ignorant on to have much of an opinion.

    You wrote:

    “Why do I focus on government? This is a political blog that talks about Christian values with respect to government. So I usually talk about good and evil with respect to government.”

    Fair enough. However, as I pointed out, government is just one relational moral level. Why is it that government in particular is the only relational institution too be limited and controlled in the promotion of human virtue? Why is this one level of human relations somehow inherently more corrupting of moral goods than say the family or certain religious schools that promote moral falsity? If government institutions are inherently corrupt and in need of limiting reform, why not these other institutions? Even if government were somehow more inherently corruptible, why wouldn’t businesses (mere relational legal frictions created by law and government) also be inherently morally bankrupting? Shouldn’t they be limited as well?

    If we can reach moral common ground, we should be able to agree that every level of human relation needs to be refocused and returned to honoring basic universal human virtues. As I said, if we all really matured in virtue and valued moral goods over material goods at every human relational level, then the relational level of government and every other relational institution would almost take care of themselves. Almost, not that we would not have plenty still to argue about. 😉

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