Neo: I know you are trying to show that God is in control of everything and I generally agree that on specific things he is, like prophecies and miracles etc but he doesn't tinker with nature in the same - controlling it the way you trying to imply from these verses.
Neo, if God controls all design, functionality, the parameters allowed, intervenes when He wants, how He wants, controls all ultimate outcomes, authors history's conclusions, precisely as He desires, ending it precisely as He desires, raises up all manner of kings, presidents and dictators, then, pray tell, what does He NOT control??? Does He micromanage EVERTHING? No - clearly, we could not sin if that were the case. But the creation was not randomly assembled. God's ultimate creation on earth, man, wasn't happenstance that He didn't plan and control. He didn't plan to die for slugs or worms, but for men, and knew us before He created us. Throughout Scripture, we're told that God's word is true and trustworthy. Jesus confirms that. He confirms the entirety of The Law and The Prophets (the OT!). I think - and maybe I'm wrong - but you seem so enamored with the possibilities asserted by evolutionists, that you don't like the idea that God exerted control over the specifics over what came into existence, whether men or mice, etc.
Neo: ... you or me or anybody for that matter don't have a clue of when or what God does for what purposes whatsoever as you confess yourself its shrouded in mystery. A rather clean explanation to me is that he doesn't show favorites or interrupts the natural laws and mechanisms.
Neo, I don't know how you can't see that HOW and WHEN God created WHATEVER things, per their designs, functions, and the timing of their appearance and developments, while fully knowing what each things "seeds" would become, how they would behave, was and IS controlling outcomes. The only way God could get to other outcomes, than what exists/what has already occurred or developed, is to have made the "seeds" or building blocks differently, so that they interacted differently, or the timing and their engineering had been differently made. And that you are hung up on the HOW of what God did - really, nothing can be random to God. He can't create anything He doesn't ultimately control the outcomes of.
Neo: It's not that he can or can't, I say he just doesn't. And it shows. Our universe neither shows design nor any near enough positive capabilities nor incredible precision. It's a chaotic mess of which we are nothing but a dot on a million mile radius.
Sure, and that's why we're typing on a forum over the internet, and not two slugs farting in the mud. WHO is it a chaotic mess to???!!! WHO created the wiring while knowing all that would become of it? If God planned before mankind existed to choose us and to die for us, I'd say that shows He controls what kind of creatures He planned to die for - and KNEW He was going to die for. What you say makes absolute no sense, per Scripture, per what exists. Einstein saw "God's clock" - He wanted to know how it all worked. How many scientists speak of the astonishing precision and functionalities and designs of the universe? Oh, many may not like to say it was "designed, as if by an intelligent Being," but they speak in those terms nonetheless.
Neo: Even if I say God is in complete control, he, as far as I can see never really exerts his control over anything. From the Holocaust to modern-day earthquakes to churches falling on worshippers etc. etc. How can you tell a rape victim that God is in control?
Neo, in one breath you say you believe those Scriptures I quoted, but in the very next, you bring up rape victims. And you KNOW that God has allowed us, GIVEN us, free will. That means we can sin. And He definitely says in Scripture that He uses intentions of men meant for evil, yet for His good, ultimately. So, in the end, God will punish or forgive, depending upon our response to Him. Are you telling me your reactions to the idea that God is in control is actually an emotional issue you have - because that's an emotional argument. THIS world, this agony, is temporary. You are making the same mistakes so many atheists do, as because you can't make sense of a God of love allowing evil or natural disasters - if but for a brief point in eternity - then you insist God doesn't control ultimate outcomes. Of course, we have no idea how God uses certain very difficult-to-understand things. He intervenes as He desires, and when, as to what He desires and His purposes. NO one will ever have a handle upon such things - not in this lifetime. But the God who creates a universe, will control it as He desires, when He desires. What seems random to man is in no way random to God!
Neo: On the issue of inerrancy, we have differing views, I agree, God is all that you claim, powerful, all knowing etc. but does he intervene in anything? He doesn't. I don't know why, but he doesn't.
How many passages in Scripture show that to be untrue? Look at the entire history of Israel, in the OT, and tell me that.
Neo: So inerrancy is not a sacred cow so to speak. It can happen, it could have very weel happened that some of the details could be off, may be trivial but nonetheless. However, the core meanings may be the same. And we were both saying that it would be fine, but you are advocating for a word to word inerrant scripture, right?
Of course it''s not "word for word" accurate, and you know that. I've written prolifically with links to scholarly insights on this issue - do a search.
Neo: But you tie it to a matter of ultimate faith in God in an all or nothing approach which I think is unnecessary and thus we differ
It's not a salvation issue. But it certainly strikes to the heart of whether God is trustworthy, and whether we can know that. Many foundational truths are all across Scripture - we could never trust it if God had not protected it from the lies, distortions, and myth-making of men. Scripture makes many claims - how can we trust them? Did the Resurrection happen? Did Jesus really say we need to be born again? On and on. How do you know what is true? History and textual criticism shows that God HAS protected His word intact - the meanings, and with an extremely high level of accuracy, due to the practices of scribal methodologies, comparisons of old manuscripts across the world. Jesus confirmed the OT - and the Dead Sea Scrolls show we can know almost precisely what OT books Jesus and His contemporaries had in their hands. The NT so prolifically quotes the OT, that one can almost assemble the OT from quotes alone. Are we to throw out the NT as well? Where does that end? Look at so much of the OT that Jesus confirmed separately: https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/don_stewart/don_stewart_1239.cfm
. And then look at how He confirmed the entire OT categorically in Matthew 23:34-35 (explained here: http://www.bibleprophecyaswritten.com/trutherror/jesusandyourbible.html
Neo: You say God intends outcomes, ok I can agree to that, you say he is powerful, I agree, you say he is all-knowing and I still agree. I have never claimed anything otherwise.
But then you say: "as I can see never really exerts his control over anything" - um, how can God intend outcomes and they come true per ancient prophecies, and yet he "never exerts control over anything?" Think of all the prophecies concerning Christ - God just hoped they would work out without His control - per what??? Man's actions? Dumb luck? How about intentionality per orchestrating events as He desires them to work out? I'd call that CONTROL.
'Does God Control Random Events?' (from Bible Study Tools): http://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-study/topical-studies/does-god-control-random-events.html
Neo: The only difference is, you say he does take care of things like inerrant scriptures he actively protects its integrity, and I say he doesn't even save humans from natural or man-made disasters or atrocities, why would he care about a book more if someone wanted to change something into it or get something wrong in there. There are far more important things than that to take care of.
Because God's Word is true! Do you think we have Scriptures by accident, or by God's oversight? Do you think God does not care about what happens to His word - within those Who are His children and devoted to Him? I'm not speaking of what various pagans added to Scripture (Mormons, Muhammad). Neo, how do you believe ANYTHING in Scripture you didn't witness or have a way of knowing whether it is true? How do you know Jesus was God? What if the disciples made it up? What if salvation isn't necessary? How do you know what you believe? An all-powerful God who came to DIE for His word and prophecies cares about ALL of it! And that is what Scripture claims!
Neo: At best you can say God allows sin to happen for all the evil we see and I'd say then he must by that definition allow sin which is getting errant scriptures as well, surely they don't mean higher to him?
Either you are ignorant of what inerrant scholars believe and teach, or you are ignoring it. I can misspell and have the wrong word order, sometime synonyms mistakenly inserted into a paragraph, and with very poor grammar - but it can still be 100% factually true. The vast number of errors in Scripture are transcriptionist in nature. Do I think the Sermon on the Mount is word for word - or Jesus other teachings? NO! Hundreds, even thousand witnesses some of these - they broke for lunch, spent the day or longer - so, paraphrasing and eyewitness account can be 100% true. WHY, Neo, believe the disciples who wrote of seeing Jesus alive post Crucifixion? Does it sound scientific?
Neo: My contention is and always will be, evidence is the highest always. I really don't see how it is damaging to faith to accept what is rational and makes sense and is undeniable when evaluated.
Because God never intended that you would first need to perfectly understand everything before knowing it to be true. When God had the prophets write down prophecies about Christ - did they truly understand it before obeying to record it? Faith in a 2,000-year-old "dead" rabbi who claimed to be God? Is that entirely rational? And what of the Holy Spirit, teaching us the truth from within? Inspiring Scripture's writers, "bringing to mind" all Jesus had said. Neo, even scientists disagree over what can be known, or what is true. Earth is ancient. The evidences are diverse and often obscured by time. You have no idea that you have even the theological intentions (particularly parts of the Creation accounts) of key passages correct, much less the science. You're musch like the young-earthers, as you believe their narrative of what the text means MUST be the only rational way of viewing it. And yet, countless Bible Scholars disagree with that approach - do you know more then they do???
Neo: to me inerrancy isn't a faith issue, I have moved on.
Well, God hasn't moved on! And being able to trust God's word - what Christian doesn't think that is important? Think of all those prophecies about the Messiah - from ancient times - trustworthy for the 1st century and for our century! Why would we look to His return with anticipation and confidence - if His Word is filled with uncertainties. And, redundantly, don't you think subsequent prophets, the disciples, and especially Jesus would have carefully warned and emphasized that certain passages - particularly foundational ones, had been distorted, made up, or blended with pure fiction???!!! Much the opposite is how all of those viewed Scripture!
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. (Matthew 24:35)
"The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever." (Isaiah 40:8)