Unfounded DOUBTS About God

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Edward D. Andrews
EDWARD D. ANDREWS (AS in Criminal Justice, BS in Religion, MA in Biblical Studies, and MDiv in Theology) is CEO and President of Christian Publishing House. He has authored ninety-two books. Andrews is the Chief Translator of the Updated American Standard Version (UASV).

Certainly, we are on the safe side of things, if we honestly, humbly examine the facts of any situation, to arrive at the truth. However, this is not the same as, allowing unfounded, destructive doubts to grow in our mind and heart, doubts that can ruin our firmly established beliefs and relationships. Nevertheless, the objective way of believing certain Bible doctrines as being the truth is as follows. The biblical view of the doctrine __________ is ___________, and it is the truth, unless, enough evidence comes along to say otherwise. If we grow in knowledge and understanding, our conclusions based on previous knowledge may need to be revised. For increased knowledge can require adjustments in one’s thinking. We must remember the Apostle Paul studied under the renowned Pharisee Gamaliel, who was the grandson of Hillel, the Elder (110 B.C.E.[1] – 10 C.E.), the founder of one of the two schools within Judaism. Paul describes himself as “circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.” (Phil 3:5-6) He also states, “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake, I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ” (Phil. 3:7-8) Thus, we know that the Israelites were God’s chosen people and the only way to God for some 1,500 years. However, Jesus brought a new way, Christianity. Saul/Paul was slow to accept this because he could not see Jesus Christ as the long-awaited Messiah. Nevertheless, after Jesus visited Paul on the road to Damascus and Ananias, a Christian disciple of Damascus, visited Paul, he saw the Old Testament Scriptures pointing to the Messiah accurately, he was able to humble himself and accept a different belief, i.e., Christianity was the truth and the way.

REASONABLE FAITH BLESSED IN SATAN'S WORLD_02 FEARLESS-1 Why Me_

To believe without enough support, to believe in the face of contrary evidence is irrational. Therefore, we must humbly examine the facts behind what we believe, to establish the truth continually. Just as the apostle Paul exhorted the Christians at Corinth to “examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves” (2 Cor. 13:5); we could say the very same thing about our beliefs. We could say, ‘examine our beliefs, to see whether they are the truth, test our beliefs.’ Now, this is not to suggest that our beliefs are to be ever changing, but that they should be able to stand up to scrutiny when they are challenged by something we have heard or read. However, this refinement of our beliefs should not be confused with allowing unfounded, damaging doubts to grow in our hearts and minds, doubts that can destroy our confidently established beliefs and our relationship with our heavenly Father. Unfounded doubt is defined as something that is not supported by any evidence or a minuscule amount of evidence, to cause uncertainty of belief or opinion that often interferes with our decision-making skills.

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Let us go back to the first unfounded doubt in human history, Adam and Eve. Satan the Devil by way of the serpent caused Eve to question her beliefs,[2] i.e., by planting unfounded doubt in her mind. Satan said to Eve through the serpent, “Did God actually say, ‘You[3] shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” (Gen. 3:1) Without saying it, the insinuation here was that God was withholding something from Adam and Eve, and this was unbelievable that he would do such a thing. Satan placed uncertainty in the mind of Eve with this innocent-appearing question, which influenced her decision-making.[4] This is similar to a poison pen letter, which contains unpleasant, abusive or malicious statements or accusations about the recipient or a third party. It is usually sent anonymously. Poison pen letters are usually composed and sent to upset the recipient. They differ from blackmail, which is intended to obtain something, in that they are purely malicious. Saran is the father of the lie. (John 8:44) He will deceive with outright lies, half-truths, hint or an indirect remark or gesture that usually carries a suggestion. Now, we can recognize that the doubt placed in the mind of Eve is unfounded when we go back to what God really said. “God commanded the man, saying, “From every tree of the garden you may freely eat, 17 but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat,[5] for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die.”[6] (Gen 2:16-17) What Satan did was take Eve’s mind off the fact she had tens of thousands of fruit trees to eat from, meaning she lacked nothing, and place her focus on a supposed negative, God prohibiting one tree. Satan was asking an inferential question, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” First, he is overstating what he knows to be true, not “any tree,” just one tree. Second, Satan is inferring, ‘I can’t believe that God would say … how dare he say such a thing.’

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How did Eve respond? She said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat, but from the tree that is in the midst of the garden, God said, ‘You shall not eat from it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’” (Gen. 3:2) Notice that Eve has been told so thoroughly about the tree that she even goes beyond what Adam told her, not just that you ‘do not eat from it,’ no, ‘you do not even touch it!’ Then, Satan out and out lied and slandered God as a liar, saying that ‘they would not die.’ To make matters much worse, he infers that God is withholding good from them, and by rebelling they would be better off, being like God, ‘knowing good and bad.’[7] This knowing good and bad was the ability to choose for themselves what was good and what was bad, i.e., independence from God, rejecting his sovereignty.

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(1)  Satan called God a liar and said he was not to be trusted, as to the life or death issue.The Issues at Hand

(2) Satan’s challenge, therefore, took into question the right and legitimacy of God’s rightful place as the Universal Sovereign.

(3) Satan also suggested that people would remain obedient to God only as long as their submitting to God was to their benefit.

(4) Satan all but said that humankind was able to walk on his own, there being no need for dependence on God.

(5) Satan argued that man could be like God, choosing for himself what is right and wrong.

(6) Satan claimed that God’s way of ruling was not in the best interests of humans, and they could do better without God.

We can turn to the disciple James to understand how Eve; a perfect human could choose to sin. How she could be so easily influenced. James warns, “The one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.” One who doubts is “a double-minded[8] man, unstable in all his ways.”[9] (Jam. 1:6-8) How did this doubt come about in the perfect woman’s mind? Satan offered her unfounded doubt, by suggesting, inferring, supposing certain things, which were not supported by any evidence, and it caused uncertainty of belief or opinion that interfered with our decision-making skills. James goes on to write, “each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own desire.[10] Then the desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” (Jam. 1:14-15) Just as it happened to Eve, a perfect human, with her uncertainty of belief, we can become vulnerable to all sorts of false teachings and “empty, deceitful philosophy that is according to human traditions and the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” – Colossians 2:8.

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[1] B.C.E. years ran down toward zero, although the Romans had no zero, and C.E. years ran up from zero. (100, 10, 3, 2, 1 ◄B.C.E. |  C.E.►  1, 2, 3, 10, and 100)

[2] As we can see from most English translations at Genesis 3:16, the plain sense of the text is, Adam was with her, which creates a real Bible difficulty. The reason for the difficulty is this, they are taking it as though Adam and Eve are standing before the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and the serpent, Satan, starts to speak to Eve. They carry on a conversation, with Adam simply passively listening. Satan deceives Eve, but Adam is not deceived, yet he does not argue with the serpent, snatch the fruit from Eve, but rather just stands there letting Eve eat the fruit, knowing she will die. Really? I just cannot see how that can rationally be the case. I would argue that Eve was alone before Adam joined her.

Was Adam standing beside Eve when she had the conversation with the serpent, was deceived and chose to rebel against God? The Bible shows no indication that this is the case. The translations above make it appear as though that is the case, “she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.”

The Hebrew verb translated “gave” is in the imperfect waw consecutive, as a result, it points to a temporal or logical sequence (usually called an “imperfect sequential”). Hence, a Bible translator or committee can translate the several occurrences of the waw, which tie together the chain of events in verse 6, with “and” as well as other transitional words, such as “subsequently,” “then,” “after that,” afterward,” and “so.”

Genesis 3:6 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desirable to make one wise, and she took of its fruit and ate, then she also gave some to her husband when with her, and he ate.

[3] In Hebrew you is plural in verses 1–5

[4] Eve was the newest person to the Garden of Eden, which is why Satan chose her instead of Adam. Moreover, serpents could not talk, which is why Eve likely felt that what the serpent was saying might not be true. Imagine, she was walking by the tree of knowledge and a serpent that cannot speak is hanging from a limb, eating the fruit, and it turns its head and begins to speak to Eve. The fact Eve is not surprised makes some commentators believe the Serpent must have been able to speak. No, rather Eve is not surprised because it seems the fruit of the tree can give you special knowledge, for the snake is likely eating of the fruit from this tree of knowledge. Satan is actually using the serpent as a modern day ventriloquist uses a dummy when he projects his voice. Satan was and is a very powerful demon.

[5] Lit eat from it

[6] Lit., dying you [singular] shall die. Heb., moth tamuth; the first reference to death in the Scriptures

[7] This latter point is not knowledge of; it is the self-sovereignty of choosing good and bad for oneself and act of rebellion for created creatures. What was symbolized by the tree is well expressed in a footnote on Genesis 2:17, in The Jerusalem Bible (1966):

This knowledge is a privilege which God reserves to himself and which man, by sinning, is to lay hands on, 3:5, 22. Hence it does not mean omniscience, which fallen man does not possess; nor is it moral discrimination, for unfallen man already had it and God could not refuse it to a rational being. It is the power of deciding for himself what is good and what is evil and of acting accordingly, a claim to complete moral independence by which man refuses to recognize his status as a created being. The first sin was an attack on God’s sovereignty, a sin of pride.

[8] Or “indecisive,” i.e., wavering in mind

[9]With no doubting. This refers to having one’s thinking divided within himself, not merely because of mental indecision but an inner moral conflict or distrust in God (see note on v. 8 ). Wave of the sea. The person who doubts God’s ability or willingness to provide this wisdom is like the billowing, restless sea, moving back and forth with its endless tides, never able to settle (cf. Josh. 24:15; 1 Kin. 18:21; Rev. 3:16). 1:8 double-minded man. A literal translation of the Greek expression that denotes having one’s mind or soul divided between God and the world (see note on 4:4 ). This man is a hypocrite who occasionally believes in God but fails to trust Him when trials come, and thus receives nothing. The use of this expression in 4:8 makes it clear that it refers to an unbeliever. unstable.” – MacArthur, John (2005-05-09). The MacArthur Bible Commentary (Kindle Locations 63042-63049). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

[10] Or “own lust

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