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Sunday: The Question of Questions — 24 Comments

  1. Of course, I wanted to jump right into the question, "Who is my neighbour? and give a scintillating, mind-blowing, character-transforming answer. But the author starts off slowly, dragging it out a bit. Obviously, they have another 6 days of lessons to fill in so they have got to make it last the distance. Then I slept on the issue and this morning my perspective changed and I saw the hill from the other side.

    We cannot answer the question of who our neighbour is if we do not know who we are. So, I had a little conversation with Bard an AI heap of disinterested code. I told Bard that I believed in God and wanted to answer the question of who we are and why we are here. The conversation went back and forth and ultimately produced this:

    We are the sparks of the Divine, the whispers of God's creation, the echoes of His eternal love. We are the children of the universe, born from the breath of the Almighty, shaped by His guiding hand. We are the bearers of His light, the instruments of His grace, the dancers of His cosmic symphony. We are the seekers of His wisdom, the pilgrims on His path, the lovers of His presence.

    We are here to learn, to grow, to love, to create. We are here to experience the vastness of His creation, to feel the depths of His compassion, to discover the boundless possibilities of our souls. We are here to leave our mark on the world, to make a difference in His name, to leave it better than we found it.

    Phew! Bard will be composing sermons next, but it has given me something to think about. I am not going to try and convince you that AI is inspired but a conversation about who we are and why we are here sets a really great background for answering the question, "Who is my neighbour?"

    • Dear Maurice - Phew - indeed! If you would have asked the Holy Spirit to reveal our Creator God to you, would you consider that He may have discribed Him to you in a similar way? And, reading this AI generated answer, will it increase the love for your neighbor?

      I know that you know that AI uses sources when composing its answeres that are based on what the comuter programmers enter into its technical memory - the more the better. It benefits from information drawn from all backgrounds - religion, poetry, philosophy, theology, anything and everything that fills the libraries of this world, selecting for its answer that which fits best the context of the question.

      But what if it leaves something vital out, something that can not be dublicated by a machine but would tweek the response-experience one way or the other? OK - I accept that this is how AI's mechanical 'guts' - I refuse to call it 'heart or mind' - has answerd the question, but has its answer brought God personally closer to your heart and mind, opened them to love Him more intensely?

      Or, acting like a thief and robber, coming into the sheepfold by some other way, garners your appreciation of the marvel of science to increase your being in 'awe' of 'what man can say to express God's grandeur and its usefulness to request its counsel?

      AI is a soulless machine which can only convey what already has been said by others, though, who knows, they might have asked God to reveal this Truth to them. Would you dare and ask Him to reveal it to you? The Holy Spirit will reveal eternal Truth to any seeking heart and mind. Do you believe this?

      • How do you know that I did not ask the Holy Spirit to quide my AI conversation? Can the Holy Spirit not work using AI?

        I think that you need to understand that AI is not intelligent. It is a statistical machine that creates language based on probability. People who use AI dumbly will get dumb responses. If you want a really good discussion about Artifical Intelligence in a Christian framework i suggest that you view the conversation here: The Big Conversation: Will AI Replace Humans

        For the record, I spend a fair bit of time working with AI just to keep up with computer technology and understanding where it is going and what moral issues arise from their use. One of my experiments was to ask an AI entity to write an assignment for my 16 year old grandson. Then we sat down together and discussed the issue of why we could not hand it in. What followed was a learning experience blending the unique features that AI offered together with intelligent input from my grandson. The real danger with AI is that we stop and the first response.

        A discussion of AI is outside of the current lesson study but I will investigate the possiblity of writing a feature article on it at some stage.

        • Thank you kindly for responding to my comment, Maurice. I am glad to find that you asked the Holy Spirit to guide your conversation with AI, though my question at the end was about if you believe that He can inspire and reveal eternal Truth to any seeking heart and mind in the same ‘quality/value’ which you 'accepted' from AI. I might find out when you write a feature article on the usefulness of consulting AI. 🙂

        • Maurice,
          I would be interested in learning more about AI. It is my assumption that AI is the greatest plagiarizer of all time. However, it hast the potential draw from so many different resources. This interests me because I search may works such as Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, Josephus, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and various history books to broaden my knowledge and understanding. AI seems like a tool that could be used to find sources easier. Kind of like my computer concordance is so much faster than my Strong's in hardback. I realize this is not the topic of this forum but let me know if you write that article.

  2. What shall I do to inherit eternal life ?

    One word: Repent. Our sins are what separate us from Him.

    King Jesus' words in Matthew 4:17 KJV.

    King Jesus used the word "hypocrite" many times over to describe the Pharisees. One definition of a hypocrite is: "a person who claims or pretends to have certain beliefs about what is right but who behaves in a way that disagrees with those beliefs." (Brittanica Dictionary)

    No mission work should be done if we still hold sin because we are trying to bring someone to repentance: this would make us hypocrites like the Pharisees.

    • Indeed, we should repent(Luke 5:32). Jesus died to save us from our sins and not to keep us in them. We should not squander Christ's great sacrifice. God forbid that we should be hypocrites (Mark 7:6). God abhors hypocrisy, and we should live what we preach.

      Still, I wonder: Is it only sinless people who can testify about God's love? Must we wait to be perfect before we can tell people what God has done for us? Can God use sinful people to do his mission?

      • I would like to add some food for thought regarding the word “sin”.

        Our English translation does not always perfectly reflect the original words. For example in the English bible the translation is only “love” but the original Greek had other forms of love such as “agape” or “phileo” which give more specific and deeper meaning to the text.

        Now I am not a language expert as I only speak one and have not training in Greek or Hebrew, but I do have a concordance and an interlinear bible that I like to study.

        I have found it interesting that there are also many words that are translated for sin. And these words in some places may be translated sin or transgression or iniquity. Take for instance the seventy week prophecy in Daniel 9:24. I have often wondered what is the difference between transgression, sin, and iniquity? Here we find 3 words that all could have been translated sin. These are all synonyms for sin so why differentiate?
        The word transgression was translated from “pesha” means revolt
        The word sins was translated from “chattaah” which comes from the root “chata” meaning to miss or lack.
        The word iniquity was translated from “avon” meaning perversity or moral evil

        While each of these words is associated with sin they have to do with different aspects of sin. In my thinking iniquity in the heart and mind leads to actions that miss the mark. Transgression however is a rebellion against God or the covenant that He will be your God and you will be his.

        I no longer am in rebellion against God but I do still have thought processes that are not correct and lead me to miss the mark. By the grace of God He is teaching me and guiding me to a better understanding so that my actions can be appropriate.

        I testify of His love all the time even though I am far from "perfect" in my understanding and actions.

        Just thoughts I have been exploring in my studies that I thought you may find interesting. 🙂

        • J Petersen 🙂

          I prefer the word debt as used by King Jesus in Matthew 6:12 KJV rather than transgression, sin or iniquity (but sin is the most prevalent in use these days)

          "And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.", King Jesus in Matthew 6:12 KJV.

          I love the accounting analogy ... our wrong doings are recorded in a General Ledger, until we repent of them and He writes them off, and the bonus: He gives us His Holy Spirit with which we can authentically profess His love.

          • Brendan,
            Thank you for your added insight. The accounting analogy does provide another great perspective in that Jesus pardoned our debt, and He gave the parable of the unjust servant in Matthew 18:21-35 to illustrate our debt and the need of forgiving our debtors because He forgave us.

            I think it is interesting because in this parable I see a link between the analogy of debt and transgression, sin, and iniquity found in the 70 week prophecy (Daniel 9:24) Jesus tell Peter not to forgive 7 times but 70 x 7 which is the calculation for the number of years He (God) has been forgiving them. Starting from the time that decree to restore Jerusalem, to their current time of the Messiah, and even past until the gospel would be taken unto the Gentiles.

            Makes seven times seem insignificant to greater length of time and sacrifice Jesus gave to forgive us / pay our debt.

            I agree great analogy of accounting especially when we consider how great a debt He has pardoned for us 🙂 Jesus is a great teacher!

            • "Jesus is a great teacher!"

              Amen to that !

              Oh, how I love our King Jesus.

              I wish you well in your studies J Petersen 🙏 Treasure every moment that you spend with Him as you delve into the scriptures. It is heavenly treasure. He will feed you well and you will not be in want. He loves you.

      • Jocelyn 🙂

        I offer these words:
        Without having received The Holy Spirit, results in what King Jesus says in Matthew 15:14 KJV. The Holy Spirit can only be received through complete repentance.

        • However, you actually need the Holy Spirit to repent as John 16:8,9 emphasizes. Also my understanding is that the word translated as "repent" in the gospels has more to do with a turning around and a reorienting oneself to God's way. It's not about confessing a list of sins. That may be part of it, but we don't even recognize all our sins when we come to Jesus. He reveals the deficits in our lives gradually and if we are reoriented to His ways, He can then work in us to change us.

          • Great point:) Proverbs has a lot to say about how we receive instruction and correction. We should not despise it because God Loves who He corrects (Prov 3:12). I must say that correction can be painful for me and is not something I tend to enjoy. I often remind myself that while correction and instruction in righteousness may be painful the pain of the consequences later would be more painful. It helps me remember to be thankful for God's instruction and be able to work through the pain of the rebuke remembering that God loves me enough to tell me the truth. This helps me in my own times of repentance.

  3. More important than "What shall I do to inherit eternal life?" is "How do I develop a relationship with my Savior?" Because it is necessary to accept God's most precious declaration of Love to humanity, His Son Jesus, our Redeemer, to achieve eternal life.

  4. Why are we here? This seems to be a popular question of our time. More than ever people are talking about purpose. I know we are here to serve God! But how do we know are individual purpose? Any Takers?

    • Our common purpose is defined by King Jesus in Matthew 4:19 KJV : "fishers of men".

      After receiving The Holy Spirit, we each then have individual & corporate roles in this common purpose. You need to engage with Him to discover your individual & corporate roles.

  5. What does "Who am I?" Have to do with, "Who is my neighbour?" Or the all important question about how to inherit eternal life? Well I am a child of God and He expects me to love Him with all of me. And since this is my Father's world, I've got billions of brothers and sisters, and neighbours, literally. Some are next door; others are oceans away, but I'm called to love them all.If they live in corners of the cosmos where there's no light, that concerns me because I'm called to love my neighbour as I love myself(Matt 22:37). That's a command right there! I obey out of love for my Father, and my obedience to this and other commands are crucial to my eternal destiny (Luke 10:25). All of this is too wonderful for me as the Psalmist exclaimed!

  6. If we say we love the Lord and are disobedient then the truth is not in us. These days I question how people perceive loving themselves. In my clinical practice it is blatant how skewed the concept of loving oneself is. This is also evident in Christian circles. One can only love their neighbor if they have Christ love of self in them.
    The lawyer asked Jesus the question to trap and test Him and Jesus in His wisdom asked him a question to answer his own question. May we continue to be wise in our answers, especially when the motives are wrong.

  7. I sometimes wonder if Christians categorize people by groups - the spiritual 'haves’ and the ‘have-nots’. Because of their lack of …. , do we also ascribe a lesser value/standing compared to those who are among the ‘haves’, or are we genuinely loving and caring when we reach out to them when talking about Jesus? Those who ‘have’ are part of a special group of people, but not better than those without the knowledge of the 'Goodness of God' in us.

    Yes, who are we – why are we here? Do not all religious teachings in all the world revolve around resolving the question of how not to die; learning how to achieve to 'live eternally'? The lawyer asked this question of Jesus using the term ‘to inherit’ eternal life. Inherit from whom, and what makes him eligible to inherit? Did he consider himself to be a child of God, therefore eligible to inherit eternal life?

    Does this question not open up the most crucial point of first having to believe that man has a Creator, a God who made man for His purpose, His ‘good pleasure’, and Jesus Christ to be His Son who teaches us about Him?
    Phil.2:13 – AMP ”For it is not your strength, but it is God who is effectively at work in you, both to will and to work [that is, strengthening, energizing, and creating in you the longing and the ability to fulfill your purpose] for His good pleasure.”

    What makes our Christian Faith unique compared with others that we can easily answer this question? Matt.16:16-17 – ”v. 17: “Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by My Father in heaven.” All humanity is equally ‘special’ in God’s eyes, but ‘no one can come to Jesus unless the Father draw him .. – John 6:44. This gives us pause to express our humility and thankfulness whenever we speak of our heavenly Father !

    • Brigitte,
      I do believe that at times I can be guilty of categorizing differently the God does. There are those who have accepted Jesus and those who have not, but God is the creator of all and not willing that any should perish (2 Peter 3:9). Jesus said that if He was lifted up He would draw all men unto Himself (John 12:32). The great commission was to teach all nations (Matt 28:19 / Rev 14:6). If the gospel is to all then God does not nor should I categorize people, but they categorize themselves based on the acceptance or rejection of Jesus.

      I probably have not expressed what I want to say here... I am only trying to show that God is merciful to all and that the gospel is for all people. Whether they are saved or lost is their freedom of choice. I apologize if I have now taken us way off topic and down a rabbit trail.

      • J Petersen 🙂

        We are all called to: "Love our enemies" (King Jesus' words in Matthew 5:44 KJV)

        I am pretty binary in my thinking, so I use the categorisation presented by King Jesus in Matthew 13:38-39 KJV to know the seed that I am dealing with on an individual-by-individual basis:

        "...the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil...", King Jesus in Matthew 13:38-39 KJV.

        The view that "God is the creator of all" is widely held, however based on His words above, this is not the case.

        Having said this, I hold Matthew 5:44 KJV close & your words: "...they categorize themselves based on the acceptance or rejection of Jesus." (which is in alignment with Matthew 7:13-14 KJV & Matthew 12:31-32 KJV).

    • I read this the other day: If we categorise an "us" and "them", we need to remember that Jesus is on the "them" side of the line. It's not original but I don't know the source.


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