A response to the comments posted here, by t.f.

God decides to make a universe (for whatever reason)

Actually, He says why He created it.

For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created through Him and for Him.
~ Col. 1:16

God created everything – for Himself.

God decides to create free moral agents (ditto)

Well, that’s exlained as well: Everyone who is called by My name, And whom I have created for My glory, Whom I have formed, even whom I have made.
~ Isaiah 43:7

It’s to God’s own glory everything exists.

God decides to create some rules (to, supposedly, give them moral choices)

Well, I’d have to disagree with you, there. They aren’t rules He “created” – they are the essence of God’s own character. Things are, because God is. God is holy – thus, sin cannot be permitted – unholiness is, by definition, wrong.

It’s not arbitrary. It is in keeping with the character and person of God.

God arbitrarily decides to assign the punishment of “death” for ALL SIN, and specifically, “without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin”

First: Where is your backing for “arbitrarily”? Where is that said, implied, or mentioned?

Second: Why not? If every sin is a specific violation of the very character of God – His holiness, shouldn’t He set the penalty?

Since man, by virtue of his free will, chooses at *ANY* point to disobey, god must punish man with death/require blood, in order to be “just” or consistent

With Himself, correct.

However, since god is love/good, god decides to give man an “escape hatch” from this system of justice by offering mercy/grace


god decides to pay the penalty of sin in the place of man
those men who “accept it” get to have grace


(god is not “just” in this sense, since punishing the innocent for the crime of the guilty is a tortured logical exercise in demonstrating “justice”)

By who’s standard? Yours, or God’s? God’s ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts, correct?

(Isaiah 55:8-9)

those men who do not believe it, for whatever reason, still get what is coming to them – death and hell

Well, it’s not believing *it*, per se – it’s believing *in* God as Savior – and your own need for such a Savior – and turning away from the sin that required you to need a Savior.

in summary:
god dies because god decided death was necessary to pay for what god determined was sin because man committed sin and god dies for man and if man accepts it he gets eternal bliss and if he doesn’t he gets eternal hellfire

…sound about right to you?

Eh. To some extent. Obviously, it’s more complex than that – but that’s a decent synopsis – aside from one thing. God doesn’t precisely “decide” that death was necessary. It *is* necessary, because of God’s holiness.

and do you really wonder why paul said the gospel was foolishness to people like myself?

No, I don’t. At all. It’s very clear it is, and there is a reson for that, which is grounded in what you mean by “foolishness” – and from what perspective that determination is made.

That series of verses has much more to it than just “the gospel is foolishness”.

For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void. For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE, AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE.” Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”

And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.

Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; but just as it is written, “THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.” For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ.

~ 1 Corinthians 1:17-2:16

Basically, this passage says that God’s wisdom is totally different from our wisdom. We have only so much information to go on – and He has it all. God shows us what is right, directly. This is moral wisdom, as well – not just intellectual wisdom. When you try to filter God’s principle through your own, it won’t work. You have not been shown what is correct about the world around you, because you insist on insisting that your way is correct – and something which does not conform to your way of thinking must, (dare I say it?) for some reason, be inconsistent.

This is not logical. If there is a transcendent being – God – his ways, necessarily, as Isaiah mentions earlier, will be much higher than our ways – and different. We haven’t even got to the point of our intrinsic sinful nature, or our egocentricity. Basically, Paul is saying that regardless of what men *think* is wise – God will show us, like Paul does later in this letter to the Corinthians, “a more excellent way”. God’s way of doing things may not jive with our sensibilities. I think, before we rush to say “it isn’t logical”, we ask ourselves “how in the world am I qualified to judge that?” Are you eminently logical? Do you have the answer to everything? God asks Job that, in a serious of pointed questions.

Job’s answer is excellent.

Then Job answered the LORD and said, “I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ “Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.” ‘Hear, now, and I will speak; I will ask You, and You instruct me.’ “I have heard6 of You by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees You; Therefore I retract, And I repent in dust and ashes.”

When we encounter the Living God, we too, repent in dust and ashes – and we learn a new kind of wisdom. Not the wisdom which we thought was wisdom – the same wisdom anyone else deems themselves as possessing. This wisdom is the wisdom of God, which surpasses everything we thought we knew before. It’s a new way to look at things, because we have more of the information – and we have the Author to explain His book to us.

Wouldn’t that be the best way to go about understanding what an author meant, when He wrote a book?

That’s the kind of wisdom God shares with those who are His. It’s not “based on nothing”. It’s based on MORE. It’s a fundamental paradigm shift, which leaves you looking at things a completely different way. The “wisdom” people think they have looks foolish, in comparison to God’s. God’s “foolishness”, as they call it, looks like transcendent profundity. That is the meaning. God gives, and we receive. His wisdom, not ours. We’re not as smart, or as profound, as we think we are.