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The Cafe - Open Discussion > Don Johnson's worldview debate ministry.

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message 1: by Rod (new)

Rod Horncastle I stumbled across a Christian debate podcast that is incredibly entertaining and useful for us Apologetically minded folks.

the Don Johnson Show ( or Don Johnson Evangelistic Ministries) is seriously fun. He has numerous podcasts (and other resources) where he chats with people from numerous Religions.
Basically it's all about which religion is the most logical and answers the BIG questions of life and existence.

The guests on his show are an endless bewilderment of confused scholars and lazy philosophers. This stuff never gets old.

The only problem I have is that Don is not in agreement with the points of Calvinism and election: so often he can't even properly respond to some of the attacks against Christianity. He just throws out the LOVE CARD and assumes that is an adequate response.
But other than that Don is a great thinker.

Anyone else heard of this guy?

message 2: by Rod (new)

Rod Horncastle Okay, update.

I just found out that Don Johnson is NOW in the process of becoming a Catholic. ("Oh MY FREAKIN' GoodneSS!?") This is not really a surprise - especially since Peter Kreeft is a very impressive Apologetics scholar.

However, It's interesting how someone can miss an important part of theology (or reject it totally: like points of Calvinism) and then proceed to fall further into the abyss of bad theology and Biblical understandings.

I will gladly cheer on Don Johnson as the next Pope. It can't get any worse!

message 3: by Lee (new)

Lee Harmon (DubiousDisciple) | 2112 comments So to summarize, Don is a very smart guy except that he promotes love, leans toward the oldest version of Christianity, and doesn't think God is heartless?

message 4: by Rod (new)

Rod Horncastle But what does the Bible say Lee?

Is love all there is, or is justice and truth a huge part of that?
The 1st century church that Jesus, Paul and Peter started...and Catholicism are NOT the same thing.
God's love is not a hippy reality with no justice or protection.

message 5: by Joshua (new)

Joshua Woodward | 556 comments I'm going to butt in here because I can't help noticing this justice/love debate has surfaced again on this thread.
I perceive that there are some very intelligent people on this forum. I've been impressed and I'm enjoying it. So I would ask if you disagree with me that you could take a minute explain your position so I can learn from you.
In the garden of Eden God created mankind. There was no law and the option of the knowledge of good and evil was a choice given to mankind.
God warned Adam and Eve against eating the fruit and told them if they ate it they would die.
They were made in God's image. Love existed in the garden, law did not.
The debate of the century seems to be if our fundamental understanding of God is justice or love. I believe the latter.
At Sinai God declares His name with these adjectives. Merciful, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness and faithfulness, forgiving, but not clearing the guilty.
He then invited the Israelites to relationship. However they rejected the voice and asked for the law so God gave it to them.
However contained in the law God placed a concept that trumped perceived justice.
It was the law of the guilt offering. If a person broke any commandment and then recognised their guilt they were not to be punished, a lamb was sacrificed and the person went away free.
David was forgiven after committing adultery and murder and God said he was a man after his own heart. So it seems the interpretation of "segagah" was very loose.
Isaiah prophecied that the soul of the suffering servant would become the guilt offering. When John the baptist said behold the lamb of God the Israelites knew what he was talking about.
Luke records when a very sinful woman got a revelation of who Jesus was. She was so moved she pushed her way into a house where she wasn't welcome. She fell at his feet and wept, washed his feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.
The law was twice mans desire, the guilt offering was God's idea, God himself satisfied the justice men's hearts yearn, his life for ours, and all we have to do is say "I was wrong".
So Paul says that Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law.
God has more hippy love than we could imagine, sometimes it just wrecks me in all the right ways.

message 6: by Lee (new)

Lee Harmon (DubiousDisciple) | 2112 comments :) God the hippy.

There have been fascinating studies about emotional health, comparing those who see God as loving versus those who seem him as authoritarian. Clearly, there is scriptural backing for both.

message 7: by Rod (new)

Rod Horncastle In the garden God gave ONE law: it equaled death. Adam is now dead. God is sovereign and is not fooling around in this area.

message 8: by Rod (last edited Oct 26, 2014 08:22AM) (new)

Rod Horncastle God can now show his love, mercy, and grace through a perfect law.
"Go and sin no more."

As always - it's all about Jesus. Which hopefully was Joshua's point. Good stuff Josh.

message 9: by Lee (new)

Lee Harmon (DubiousDisciple) | 2112 comments Rod wrote: "In the garden God gave ONE law: it equaled death. Adam is now dead. God is sovereign and is not fooling around in this area."

Haha, Rod. You're aware that God told a little white lie when he said Adam would die the day he ate of the tree? What would you call that if not "fooling around?"

message 10: by Joshua (last edited Oct 26, 2014 06:04PM) (new)

Joshua Woodward | 556 comments Yes, thanks, it's all about Jesus. It's seems to me that the "knowledge of good and evil" describes a life lived by rules, which is a life lived under law of some sort, even if it is only the work of conscience. Paul describes it as the law in their hearts.
So I perceive God's statement more from a point of warning i.e. "I have given you the option to choose law, but if you do you will die."
God is our life and sin estranges us from him, so it seems to me this death is describing a spiritual dynamic more than an immediate physical event. So Paul says in Romans
"when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died."
So I would perhaps even be so bold as to say without the "knowledge of good and evil" there was no justice in garden! Justice wasn't even a thing.

message 11: by Rod (new)

Rod Horncastle But what is death Lee? Adam died twice: spiritually at first (separation from God's presence and Holiness) then physically (he died an earthly death a bit later).

God did not tell any lies.
Lee your god isn't worth worshiping - especially if he goes around telling little white lies. Maybe you should find a better one.

message 12: by Rod (new)

Rod Horncastle jOshua comment:
"So I would perhaps even be so bold as to say without the "knowledge of good and evil" there was no justice in garden! Justice wasn't even a thing. "

We are here because of Jesus Joshua, not for the sake of justice or law. I think we agree.
All of this human existence is so that Jesus can be a well earned King of Kings and lord of Lords. We could have just had Jesus as the King of the garden of eden - but that may be a questionable Kingship that we humans might not properly value. But after God's plan the Lamb has more than earned his worth and prize: We the chosen are the bride of Christ.

We are a gift from the Father to the Son. Heaven is not about us. But we are blessed to be adopted. Everything points to Jesus.

Do you agree joshua?

message 13: by Joshua (last edited Oct 26, 2014 10:36PM) (new)

Joshua Woodward | 556 comments Yes. Jesus is the face of God. Love must be chosen.

message 14: by Lee (last edited Oct 27, 2014 07:18AM) (new)

Lee Harmon (DubiousDisciple) | 2112 comments Rod wrote: "Lee your god isn't worth worshiping - especially if he goes around telling little white lies. Maybe you should find a better one. "

A joke, right? I'm quoting directly from the story of YOUR god. Read it yourself: "in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." So what happened on the day Adam ate?

Quit being silly and spiritualizing this. Are you not the guy who says you should be able to read the bible straightforwardly? It says "die", pure and simple, and anybody who thinks it means something different from what it says is grasping at straws so desperately to preserve their fragile belief system that to me they lose all credibility.

At the very least, if you're going to believe this myth literally, you should say that God changed his mind or maybe God was wrong. I still prefer the "white lie" scenario.

message 15: by Rod (new)

Rod Horncastle But What is death Lee? Expulsion from paradise perhaps? From a living to a dying corpse? Can a soul die?

Can God be a bit poetic? Jesus does it all the time. Is poetry a lie? That is like saying God has no beauty only hard cold facts.

Poetry or not: Adam did die twice.

And yes I take the bible literally; the spiritual parts are spiritual, the poetic parts are poetic, the historical parts are literally historical.

I have yet to meet anyone who thinks Jesus was literally a lamb.

message 16: by Rod (new)

Rod Horncastle Do we choose God and Jesus Joshua? Not really. God chooses us and hangs onto us. We desire everything BUT Jesus. That is why the world is full of religion.
That is why Christianity is divided into a 1000 parts - people want to abuse the truth without having the real thing.

message 17: by David (new)

David Isn't Don Johnson in Miami Vice?

That show was before my time but the name's familiar.

message 18: by Debbie (last edited Oct 27, 2014 09:54AM) (new)

Debbie Lee wrote: "So what happened on the day Adam ate?"

This is interesting. Thank you, Lee, you’ve introduced me to a "new" Old Testament objection (I consider myself fairly new to apologetics).

Reading Genesis 2:17 literally, and without looking beforehand at standard answers, I actually took “die” to refer not to an immediate death but a certain one. As it turns out, this is a standard answer. There might be others.

For one thing, “In the day” seems to be a projection or a forecasting of time (“in the day” you will die….but I didn't take it to mean “on THAT specific day” you will die).

That is, “in the day” or if you prefer something like “in the day of the LORD” which would mean something still to come, and by that I am thinking of Adam's physical death at 930 years.

I’m curious what you would consider Adam and Eve’s separation from God (being cast out of the garden) to be representative of? Forgive me if you've said it elsewhere.

message 19: by Rod (new)

Rod Horncastle David it appears there are at least 2 Don Johnson's in the universe. This is definitely Not the Miami Vice guy.

Good point Debbie. Glad you're here.

message 20: by Robert (new)

Robert Core | 1864 comments Jesus didn't come here to cover up our hate, but to cover up our sin (some of which emanate from "loving" inappropriately.)

message 21: by Joshua (new)

Joshua Woodward | 556 comments I think the early Christians used the explanation from the book of jubilees that a day is as a thousand years.

But perhaps an interesting side note on the confusing way God uses that death word is this. When Lazarus was dead Jesus said he was sleeping. This confused the disciples so when they started asking questions he said plainly "Lazarus is dead"

So I think to humans we think of dead as physical death. Perhaps God (since he is the source of life) considers separation from himself as death. This would explain why Jesus referred to Lazarus as sleeping.

Just to confuse things more Jesus says all live to God, including Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Paul said when the commandment came he died, though he was still clearly alive.

All this just to say why I feel comfortable holding the meaning of "death" a little loosely.

With regards to choice any covenant is the mutual choice of two people. So it is with God, that's my perception of the many called, few chosen thing.

I like your comment about emotional health Lee, it's bang on. It's why religion messes people up. Men use rejection to control people through fear and it just destroys some people. I don't believe God utterly rejects anybody.

message 22: by Lee (last edited Oct 27, 2014 03:49PM) (new)

Lee Harmon (DubiousDisciple) | 2112 comments What I'm hearing is that because people don't want to think God told a white lie, or changed his mind, or was wrong, they reinterpret a simple word like "die" and turn it into something spiritual?

Genesis 5:5 uses the same Hebrew word muwth:

And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.

So Adam died at 937 years old AND he died in the day he ate of the tree. Which leads to Joshua's interpretation: a day is a thousand years long.

If anybody needs a squillion more Bible references to show what "die" means, I guess I can cut-and-paste. But can you guys really not see how silly this is? You have predetermined beliefs that will not let you read the Bible as it is written, but you insist the Bible is inerrant, so you jump through hoops to make sense of it. This is why it's impossible to talk sensibly to conservative Christians about the Bible; it makes no difference whatsoever what the Bible says, it only matters what they believe.

message 23: by Joshua (last edited Oct 27, 2014 04:08PM) (new)

Joshua Woodward | 556 comments I guess I just have the same silly beliefs as Jesus and Paul. haha, I'm ok with that. oh and Peter and John.

I do see where you are coming from. It makes sense.

message 24: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Hello, Lee, yes -- it is the same Hebrew word in both verses.

Forgive me if I'm not addressing your actual question, but the way Genesis 2:17 unfolds for me is:

God only said that when Adam ate of the tree-- he would certainly die. But I do not see where God said precisely when that death would occur.

So you read it one way, I read it another, both of us using the same simple word for die and neither of us going through any hoops. Is it possible, though, that one reading adheres more with the rest of Scripture?

Rod, thank you...I've checked in from time to time.

message 25: by Lee (new)

Lee Harmon (DubiousDisciple) | 2112 comments Hi Debbie! The verse I'm quoting is Genesis 2:17

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

message 26: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Lee wrote: "Hi Debbie! The verse I'm quoting is Genesis 2:17"

:-) Hi Lee. I did know you were referring to Genesis 2:17.

message 27: by Debbie (new)

Debbie That is, regarding Gen 2:17, I still do not see where God said precisely when Adam would die -- but only that he would certainly die.

message 28: by Lee (new)

Lee Harmon (DubiousDisciple) | 2112 comments "In the day that thou eatest"...?

Even if the phrase ISN'T there, one would still assume it. For example, if I said to you "If you eat oysters, you'll die," you'd never imagine I meant 900 years later.

message 29: by Debbie (new)

Debbie No, I wouldn't imagine that. Who would? :-)

“In the day” seems to be a projection or a forecasting of time, or an introduction to a time period (“in the day” you will die….but I didn't take it to mean “on THAT specific day” you will die).

message 30: by Joshua (new)

Joshua Woodward | 556 comments can I point out we are discussing a nuance that is possibly too complex for the ancient language it is translated from? the original text reads something like "not eat day eat die"

message 31: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Thanks, Joshua. I'll be the first to admit I'm not a Hebrew scholar :-)

message 32: by Joshua (new)

Joshua Woodward | 556 comments Whats more interesting is I'm not either haha! But I aspire to be. The word "yom" which is translated day here refers to a time period which (and Brent would love this) needs to be translated from context.
When Genesis speak of Adam's life it says his "yom" was 930 years.
But I do think it's correctly translated day. I'm not sure that the word applies simultaneously to both "eat" and "die" is all. CJ should know, he has a good handle on these Hebrew nuances as far as I can tell.

message 33: by Lee (new)

Lee Harmon (DubiousDisciple) | 2112 comments Alright. But even if we assume the translators screwed this one up by saying "in the day you eat you'll die," it sounds like we all agree that a common sense reading implies quick death with or without that phrase. The only logical reason for any other interpretation is a desire to preserve our beliefs about the Bible.

message 34: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Lee, I’m only agreeing that you have an interpretation and that I have a different interpretation, and that, as Joshua said, Genesis 2:17 should not be isolated from its context.

message 35: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Lee, I’m curious what you would consider Adam and Eve’s separation from God (being cast out of the garden) to be representative of? Forgive me if you've said it elsewhere.

message 36: by Debbie (last edited Oct 28, 2014 07:11AM) (new)

Debbie Lee wrote: “The only logical reason for any other interpretation is a desire to preserve our beliefs about the Bible.”

Do you mean predetermined beliefs?

I wanted to say that I did not grow up in the church.

I actually had come from an academic background that claimed Christianity was a myth.

By the time I came to believe that the Bible is actually the word of God -- well, I wasn't aware I had any predetermined Christian beliefs.

message 37: by Lee (new)

Lee Harmon (DubiousDisciple) | 2112 comments Debbie, here is a reference to the Adam and Eve seal, which predates the writing of Hebrew scripture by a thousand years or more.

I don't know what the original Babylonian myth was meant to convey, nor do I know what the Hebrew twist on the story was meant to mean, but I believe folklore can have many meaningful messages. But being "cast out of the presence of God" may mean humanity's decision to go it on our own, eschewing paradise for our own experience and development. Have you seen The Truman Show? I loved it!!

Question for you: If Christianity is built atop mythology, does that mean it is more true or less true? What makes a myth true?

message 38: by Lee (last edited Oct 28, 2014 08:46AM) (new)

Lee Harmon (DubiousDisciple) | 2112 comments Some speculation about the promise that Adam would die when he ate the fruit: It seems quite logical that in whatever story the Hebrews built upon, the main character was told this very thing. The promise was then preserved in the Adam and Eve story, even though he didn't die. I imagine he didn't die in the earlier story either, but was deceived...we may never know.

message 39: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Hi Lee,

Thank you for the article.

I have one question at this point: What prevents Adam and Eve (assuming for a moment they were real people) from predating the Adam and Eve seal?

Your question "what makes a myth true?" interests me and I will ponder/respond later...

I agree with you about folklore; it can carry meaningful messages regardless of why a certain story was created.

I've not seen The Truman Show. Is there a good reason I should watch it? Is it relevant to folklore or Adam and Eve?

message 40: by Debbie (last edited Oct 28, 2014 10:53AM) (new)

Debbie Lee, I read the article. You might want to check out what the British Museum itself claims to be a more satisfying interpretation of this "Adam and Eve" cylinder seal.

I'd be interested in reading your thoughts as to why some people claim the male figure depicted is associated with Adam rather than a god, as the museum is claiming.

message 41: by Lee (new)

Lee Harmon (DubiousDisciple) | 2112 comments The Truman Show is about a man who lives in a make-believe world, constructed for a TV show. He is the unknowing star of the show. His world is constructed similar to ancient cosmology, as described in Genesis 1, with a dome overhead for the sun to track across the sky, etc. "God" talks to him from the sky. I presume it's meant to draw attention to the Bible story.

The man eventually figures out there is more to life than his little paradise, and escapes to reality.

Anyway...yes, I'll read what the British Museum says, thanks! I'm curious to know more. But it still seems pretty clear that the Adam and Eve story is patterned after an older myth, and the seal seems like an eerie coincidence if it isn't related. Kinda like how the flood story is surely related to the older Gilgamesh myth (that relationship is even more convincing!)

message 42: by Joshua (new)

Joshua Woodward | 556 comments Eternity in their hearts is a fantastic book by Don Richardson that explores tribal folklore. The Adam and Eve story as well as the Great flood story exists in folklore throughout the world.

I think it's safe to assume that it's worldwide presence points to some level of truth in these stories.

But being a Christian fundamentally requires some acknowledgement that there is truth and this is found in Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ was clearly supportive of the Jewish scripture as being true. Which in turn precludes acceptance that Moses actually did meet with God.

Now how scripture was influenced over time can be subject to debate but Christianity is a matter of faith.

I myself do believe that Jesus was God, manifest as an ordinary man.

message 43: by Joshua (new)

Joshua Woodward | 556 comments just a note the correct scriptural description for this phenomenon is the "face of God". This stunning dynamic is one the things that have been, sadly, lost in translation.

message 44: by Lee (new)

Lee Harmon (DubiousDisciple) | 2112 comments I tend to agree, Joshua, that the stories are rooted in actual events. When speaking of historicity, the word "legend" may be more accurate than "myth." "Myth" speaks more to the perceived meaning of the legend.

message 45: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Lee asked “What makes a myth true?"

I know one could probably talk for hours about this or that definition, but one I like for myth is from the OED: “A widespread but untrue or erroneous story or belief.”

And when I think of truth (apart from Jesus), I think of whatever is true in all places at all times for all persons.

So what, if anything, makes a widely held untrue belief true in all places at all times for all persons?

My simple answer would have to be nothing.

Now if you’d asked about meaningfulness rather than truth, I would have said something different.

message 46: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Joshua, the study of the "face of God" in Scripture fascinates me. Which verse are you talking about?

message 47: by Lee (new)

Lee Harmon (DubiousDisciple) | 2112 comments ugh, Debbie, I think your definition is so base! No wonder you feel more comfortable in a conservative belief system, haha.

A myth is true if it describes the way things are. A myth is false if it does not describe the way things are.

For example, maybe the expulsion from Eden speaks to us about growing up and having to leave home. Life outside the nest is painful, is hard work, is scary and uncertain.

Is that how it feels to leave home? Then the story of Adam and Eve is true.

message 48: by Debbie (new)

Debbie Lee, I was using the definition of absolute truth, whereas it seems you are speaking of truth in relative terms: maybe leaving home is painful for one person but not painful for someone else. The value of the story of Adam and Eve would then change according to one's association of leaving home.

The "value" of a story is not the same thing as its truth.

I am sorry if "conservative Christians" have hurt you in some way. I'm not saying they have, but that merely appears to me to be the case.

message 49: by Lee (new)

Lee Harmon (DubiousDisciple) | 2112 comments It seems odd to me to speak of ANY myth in terms of "absolute truth." They will all fail at that level, for their purpose is on a higher level.

Thanks for your concern, Debbie, no conservative Christian has hurt me personally. They are in general a good lot!

message 50: by Joshua (last edited Oct 29, 2014 04:21AM) (new)

Joshua Woodward | 556 comments Debbie,

The word "lipney" in the hebrew literally means face. The way they would speak there was no word for presence or in front of it was actually face. So if you stood before someone they would say you stood in their face!

The word is used thousands of times. It is translated face many times for people but in our bibles "lipney" is always translated presence for God. But a more literal rendering would be face. So when God said

"my presence will go with you" the hebrew is my face will go with you!

Why this is of particular interest to me is that the term trinity is not a biblical term. The Father (Elohiym), the Holy Spirit (YWHW) and the Word are all contained in the Jewish scripture, but to Jews the word trinity is offensive. They understand these manifestations as the "face" of God since Deuteronomy declares that God is one.

What is stunning to me is that though the word trinity is not in scripture Paul writes this in 2 Cor 4:6

"For God, who said, "Let light shine out of the darkness, has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."

"of" is not in the greek.

I find the concept of "face" makes a million times more sense than the catholic trinity doctrine. (no offense intended, God Bless the Catholics!! haha)

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