Compare Paul’s Concept Of God’s Sovereignty In Romans 9:1-23 With Justin’s Concept Of God’s Sovereignty In Chapter XLIII: Responsibility Asserted

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God’s sovereignty has been a subject of debate as long as time itself. This debate goes on between churches, Christians, atheists, and everything in between. Two figures have written on this subject, Paul the Apostle and Justin the martyr. These two may not be the ultimate source on this subject, but they definitely did discuss it. In the Epistle of Paul to the Romans, mainly in chapter 9 verses 1-23, Paul talks about his view on Gods sovereignty. At a later time period, Justin argues the same point in his work, Apology chapter XLIII. Although they both had similar beliefs, each varies a little from the other.

Paul talked about how God governs the whole earth and can provide for all of the needs of His people. He states that God is in control and is sovereign in many ways. He bases all of his teaching off of the doctrines that Jesus introduced to the world at that time. From his teachings we can conclude that God is in control. That He will help us and guide us through our lives, if we trust in Him. Justin stated a very similar argument in his work Apology. He starts by explaining that the world does not run by fate, and that nothing is really predestined. He tells us that if it was, we would have no responsibilities for our actions and decisions. He also states that there would also be no purpose to life. Then he goes on to explain that there are always consequences for our actions. For those who do good receive worthy rewards, those who do evil receive the opposite. Thus, he tells us because there is order, there must be a force or intelligence behind it.

These two have very similar views on this subject and are both great writers. The main difference that I got from reading from these two was that Paul tended to lean towards the ultimate control in this section. Also, that God is in some form of active control. Justin didn’t say that God was not in active control but he told use through his writings that God made an order and oversees the whole process. These two great Christian writers effectually said the same thing in there own words. To the point that many differences are nitpicking on style, not facts.

To sum this all up, Paul really told us that God is sovereign. Even though He does not govern every act, He does control many of the aspects in our lives. Paul also tell us that He has the power to protect and provide for His people. Justin really went into the order of our lives in regard to choices and consequences. He also sends the message that God set up the world to run that way. The impression that I got from these writings was that God is sovereign, and He created the world. In addition, each writer went into different parts of how God works in our lives.

Lesson 110, Western Literature @zbelles

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Compare The Ethical Behavior Of Zeus, With The Ethical Teaching Of Jesus

Jesus Vs. Zeus

It is no secret that Zeus was not as righteous as Jesus. At this point, everyone who is even remotely aware of either religion would say that Jesus is morally superior. This is according to our modern and humane standards. Some would disagree with this statement. The issue is, we must decide to whose morals we are comparing them. According to the widely held American morals, Jesus could do no wrong. However, according to Judaism, Jesus committed multiple minor sins. That was going against his own religion, which is the major disconnect between the old and new testament. The Christian and Jewish God provided clear and concise rules (and laws) for their followers to adhere. Zeus did not. Of course, there are many instances where someone did something Zeus did not like, and he punished them for those reasons. These instances of supposed “justice” are not posed as all-mighty laws, but rather retribution for some act. 

When looking at it from a Greek mythological perspective, Zeus was actually morally superior to Jesus. This sounds foolish at first, considering all the awful things Zeus reportedly did, but it really is all about perspective. For instance, male guppies frequently eat their newborn young as they pop out of the female guppy. If a human man today were to eat his child as it came out of his partner, we would all believe him to be a cannibalic loon. As we should, because humans have evolved with a different sense of humane morals, what is right and what is wrong. The point of this analogy is that humans have simply evolved since the days of Zeus’ worship. Therefore perspectives and acceptable behaviors have also evolved. 

From the dawn of man to today, humans have progressed exceptionally far. Some examples are technologically, physically, mentally, and morally. Greek mythology is an older religion, and it formed in a place and era with a different pre-existing culture than Christianity. Greek mythology did not have the time to develop as Christianity did. Though it existed far longer than Christianity, it was not as prevalent for as long, it likely lasted around 1,000 years. Thus, was not able to evolve as much. Christianity has been a dominant religion for almost 2,000 years. Giving it the opportunity to become the religion which laid the foundation for our society’s standards today.

The moral standard to which we hold ourselves is simply the foundation and structure of our society. If it was okay for people to go around raping, murdering, and torturing people the way Zeus did, our society would certainly collapse. Because these actions only produce chaos and demean others. What Jesus taught was morally right from the start. He taught that treating others respectfully and with kindness, will be given a better result than insulting, or using them. Jesus and Zeus were both prominent religious figures in their respective religions. They were both leaders in their faiths, and both frequently taught lessons to their followers. Their differences arise in the lessons they taught and how they taught them. Zeus emphasized his own vendettas, while Jesus converted and preached. Zeus is a faulted god figure, while Jesus is a faultless god figure.

Lesson 105, Western Literature @zbelles

How Were Adoption & Inheritance Related In Paul’s Thought?

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Paul wrote many New Testament books in the Bible. Some of which are Romans, Acts, Galatians, Ephesians, etc. He wrote them to churches in different cities throughout his life. Some of these books (some are called letters) he wrote while he was in prison. In his letters to churches, he gave words of encouragement, warning, and wisdom. He even taught them through his letters. He uses very persuasive language to persuade the people he is writing the letter to, to listen to his teachings of Christianity. This method was very effective. He made sure that his letters were easy to understand. They were understood at that time, and they have been very important tools to help people understand Christianity. How were adoption and inheritance related in Paul’s thought? Paul makes this very clear in his letters, adoption of Christianity. This means that if you turn to Christianity, God adopts you. This leads to the inheritance of the kingdom of God.

People are not heirs to the kingdom of God because of Adam’s sin. We are all born sinners. We as being sinful humans are not worthy of inheriting the kingdom of God. However, people can be adopted by God. Therefore we are worthy enough to be able to inherit His kingdom. It says in Romans 6:23, For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” It also says in Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” In Acts 16:31 it says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.” So you see, even though we are sinners, God sent his son Jesus Christ to die for us. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16.

Paul persecuted Christians and he, himself, was a great sinner. Although, he also explains that God opened his eyes. Paul also adopted the faith. He started to preach the word of God to many people. He was recruited by God. He states that, like Paul, many people must accept the faith and become adopted by God. In order to become “heirs” and receive the inheritance of His kingdom. Because of Adam’s sin’s, we are not automatically heirs to the kingdom of God. However, if we accept and pursue the faith of Christianity, we can become heirs His kingdom. He sent His son to die for us so that we can become heirs to the kingdom.

Lesson 101, Western Literature @zbelles

Why The Sadducees & The Apostles Were Unable To Find A Way To Reconcile Their Opinions

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In the book of Acts, there was a conflict between the Sadducees and the apostles. This conflict was repeated throughout the book of Acts, and they were ultimately unable to reconcile their rival opinions. Why? The Sadducees practiced and taught the Mosaic law, while the apostles were preaching the new ways of Christianity. The apostles were introducing new ways, and reforming old Mosaic law. This was a threat to the teachings of the Sadducees and priests. The Sadducees, and other religious officials, were doing everything in their power to prevent the message of Christianity from being spread. They attempted to arrest and threaten the apostles, so that they could quiet the bearers of the message. This included the Martyrdom of St. Stephen, and the imprisonment of the disciples.

The Sadducees were the group of Jews in charge of maintaining the temple. The Sadducees appointed new priests, and managed multiple affairs that were political and religious. However, they expressed major opposition toward the message spread by the apostles. They opposed the shift of attention that was happening from Mosaic law, toward the teachings of Christ spread by the apostles. This issue was not something that could be taken in council and reconciled, because of the nature of the apostles’ message. The Sadducees and priests believed in ancient Mosaic law, and they were not open to any kind of change or reform. The apostles on the other hand, preached in the name of Jesus. Who the religious officials had crucified. It was the religious officials who had persecuted Christ, and prophets before his time. St. Stephen challenged them with this before they stoned him to death.

The Sadducees had arrested the apostles, twice. Both times, they warned them to stop preaching in the name of Jesus Christ. They continued to preach in the name of Jesus, and continued to perform miracles. The apostles were engaging in a transition away from Mosaic law, and religious officials could not come to accept this. Ultimately, Christian leaders pursued in preaching the message, and Christianity survived this conflict. However, the religious leaders, primarily the Sadducees, and the apostles were unable to reconcile this conflict. In my opinion, the Christian leaders had valid reason to avoid the Sadducees and other religious leaders at all costs.

The religious leaders were the ones persecuting the Christians. It wasn’t that these people weren’t allowed to join Christianity. Saul, who was a persecutor of Christians, was converted and became a very influential Christian leader. The Sadducees, opposed the teaching and forbade it in the region. The apostles would not conform to this restriction given to them by the Sadducees. From the point of view of the Sadducees, they believed in the teachings of the Mosaic laws. They were not open to the new messages that contradicted, or “updated” their life-long beliefs. They would not reconcile with the people who spread the message that they believed, was in a sense, contradicting their ancient tradition.

Lesson 95, Western Literature @zbelles