Our Limited Human Perspective

Our Limited Human Perspective August 9, 2012

A useful warning against the idolatry inherent in elevating our limited perspective to the level of absolute truth. It is disappointing that crusading with absolute confidence that one is right seems to have replaced humility and introspection in many Christian circles. It has happened before, but it is still sad to see it happening again.

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  • angievandemerwe

    Though we cannot see it all, nor understand it all, humans do have the need to categorize, judge, and seek for the “causes” and understand “effects”. This is what the Academy seeks to do, so I would not want to build my “world” upon “faith” in an unseen or transcendent reality….even though one can “prove” by analysis of nature, the falibility of man’s reason. Humility is acknowledging that we do not have the “whole answer”, but seeking for answers to questions and the questioning itself is an act of humility….

  • Dr. David Tee

    Why is it that when believers repeat what God has said they are automatically declared to be judging? No one gets upset when believers say murder is sin, but as soon as they proclaim that homosexuality is, people rise up in anger and use hate to combat the truth of their words.
    God has already declared what is or isn’t sin, thus HE is the one who has judged. The true believer is simply His messenger. Those who support homosexuality should listen as it is very wrong to say evil is good and homosexuality is evil. 1 Cor. 6:9 tells us that the homosexual will not enter the Kingdom of God–that tells you something right there.

    • Ian
    • That you have not bothered to check the linguistic and interpretative issues related to that verse tells you something right there. Perhaps so too does the fact that Paul chose to coin a term, or use one with a technical sense that is lost to us, when he could have written clearly and unambiguously with reference to same-sex intcourse. What should we take away from the fact that we use a term, “homosexuality,” which did not exist in Paul’s time, while Paul used a term that did not exist in his own? Is there not a slight chance that some translators and interpreters are retrojecting concerns of our time onto Paul? After all, male-male same-sex relations were all but universal in Greek society. Are we really to believe that Paul made only a couple of unclear references to it that are open to being understood as not referring to that at all, when in fact he was very concerned about the subject?

      • Dr. David Tee

        One question: Where does God say that we have to use the linguist and interpretive issues when reading His word and knowing what He said? How would the those who are not fortunate enough to study God’s word in seminary learn what to do and how to behave?
        i think you are using that attitude as an excuse to avoid the truth, which is that homosexuality is sin and same sex marriage is not the correct thing to do.
        Then, the existence/lack of the word ‘homosexual’ in Paul’s time doesn’t mean that homosexuals were not present and that the issue of same sex did not arise. Obviously, Paul had to address the issue so the early and subsequent believers would know that homosexuality was/is wrong and that God did not approve of same sex unions/practice.
        And look at what happened to the Greek nation if that statement of yours is true. It would be a wonder that any Greeks survived until today if it were.
        He didn’t make unclear references, some people just do not want to listen.

        • arcseconds

          One question: Where does God say that we have to use the linguist and
          interpretive issues when reading His word and knowing what He said?

          Well, to understand a written text, you need to know (a) how to read the script it’s written in and (b) how to understand the language the script renders. Do we need God to tell us such an obvious point?

          The new testament was written in Greek. I don’t read Greek. So can I take the Greek text, look over the page, and decide what I think the symbols mean? I’ve just looked at 1 Corinthians 6:9 in Greek and I think it’s actually talking about kitchen appliances (μοιχοὶ looks a bit like ‘mixer’ to me, and κληρονομήσουσιν looks like ‘can-opener’ ).

          Surely, that’s absurd, right? I actually do need to understand Greek to get anything meaningful out of this. So I need to get someone who understands Greek to read it for me, despite the fact that God doesn’t explicitly tell us ‘learn to read Greek’ anywhere.

          Here are a lot of translations of 1 Corinthians 6:9, presumably translated by people who know more Greek than me:


          There’s all sorts of translations of the last disjunct μαλακοὶ οὔτε ἀρσενοκοῖται, ranging from ‘nor male prostitutes, nor homosexuals’ (most anti-gay) to “nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind” (doesn’t even reference homosexuality).

          So should I be trying not to be gay, or trying not to be ‘effeminate’ or an ‘abuser of myself with mankind’ (whatever that means)? Do I just take it on faith that whatever translation of the Bible I come across first has the correct translation? That surely seems a little arbitrary…

          It would be a wonder that any Greeks survived until today if it were.

          Oh, there’s no problem here. He didn’t say only male-male same sex relationships were present. Men had wives whom they also had sex with. The homosexual relationships are recorded in a wide variety of sources, including Plato and Herodotus.

          • Dr. David Tee

            I am going to disagree with you as not everyone has access to biblical language books nor has the ability to discern what they say. if we cannot trust God to preserve His word, in any language then how can we trust Him with the Greek?
            The Bible says the Holy Spirit will lead us to the truth so we do not necessarily have to return to the original language to understand the text.
            As for the Greek comment, I doubt their same sex relationships were as numerous as people or that movie claimed. Some people just have sex on the brain. But as I said, if that were true, look what happened to a powerful nation that allowed same sex relationships to be legitimized and practiced. it was destroyed and lost its power. Kind of gives you a clue that God does not like it and it is sin.
            You need to remember that just because the ancients did it doesn’t mean it is/was right.

          • If your argument is valid, then I need not provide evidence that the Bible in the original languages does not support your claim. I can simply trust that, being a born-again Christian, God will guide me and so my conclusions about the text will be trustworthy. Therefore, you must be wrong, and not born again. Right?

          • arcseconds

            I’m not sure what you are disagreeing with me about?

            Someone had to translate the New Testament from the Greek in order for me to read it in English right? You agree with that? (so, you know, someone had to have access to the original language and be able to understand it — I’m not saying everyone has to do this)

            And actually several someones have. Agree? I mean, they’re right there on the link I gave, seems hard to disagree with that.

            And they don’t give the same translation of 1 Cor. 6:9. Again, right there. Surely you can’t disagree there.

            That’s all I’m claiming. All of that seems undeniably true, unless something really weird is going on.

            What I’m saying next is a question: which one of these translations am I to trust? In which has God preserved His word? All of them? None of them?

    • rmwilliamsjr

      9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived:Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men[a] 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

      when conservatives preach against greed and theft and swindling as often and as strongly as they preach against homosexuals i’ll take their cultural concerns seriously. as is they concentrate on sexual issues and neglect those economic sins which are enumerated exactly the same way…..
      straining at gnats they swallow camels, what is a greater sin, destroying millions of people’s lives by theft and manipulation or two men kissing?

      what is more timely for our age, preaching against greed which is destroying everything in it’s path or a few gays?

  • arcseconds
    • Gary

      Great reference! A new spin on Genesis. Monty Python always makes life seem more livable.

  • Ron

    On a serious note, the description of the science is not flawless, in that not all of the atoms in our bodies “originated in the belly of a star”. Hydrogen came into existence prior to the formation of stars, and some of the lightest elements and isotopes (e.g. lithium and deuterium) were synthesized in the early, very hot universe prior to the formation of stars as well. The rest, the heavier elements (carbon, oxygen, etc.) are indeed all manufactured inside stars.

  • “to animals without cones, the rainbow does not exist”. Wrong. To animals without color vision, the rainbow appears as a bright monochrome arc.

    Interesting that people are applying this mainly to homosexuality. If taken literally it’s an argument against making any moral judgment. Do we want that?

    • David, I didn’t take it that way, either as particularly about homosexuality (maybe the rainbow instinctively led some people to think about thsy?) or as eliminating moral judgment altogether. I took the point to be that there are limitations on what we can see, which affects what we perceive, and so we should be humble about our conclusions, keeping in mind that there is more that we don’t know than that we do.