Comments: Forcing God's Hand

>Man cannot force or control the hand of God.

So what does praying for stuff do?

Posted by salvage at August 21, 2006 10:11 AM

It doesn't force the hand of God. A prayer is a request, or a plea for help and guidance.

Posted by Retired Navy at August 21, 2006 10:46 AM

Nothing new here...move along.

Khamenei and the Iranian's are definately on-a-roll, Supreme Leader Calls for Muslim Unity against US and while they feel they've the momentum, they almost certainly won't allow it let to lessen - not an iota.

Tomorrow? Eh...a dud. Beyond that? Hazarding a guess, if Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon...who all knows where else...can be made worse, they'll go-up in flames and the Iranian's will blame everything on the Great Satan's presence. Case-in-point - one they've been bombing into the Iraqi's.

For our part, we'd better not sit back in our saddle and underestimate their intent; when these SOB's threaten, they'll make good on that threat - something we somehow repeatedly forget.

Posted by Eg at August 21, 2006 11:23 AM

Wow, finally someone someone has the courageous humility remind us scheming humans of the big picture. Biblically, the Hebrew scriptures have long said "..I am God and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, 'My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure.'" To Islam which says they believe in the Torah but that they were corrupted, the verse I quoted is from Isaiah 46:9-10, which was found within a complete Isaiah Dead Sea Scroll, nearly identical to the more recent. Great point "Retired Navy" about prayer, seems unfathomable the relationship between sovereign control of a Creator outside a created time dimension and yet the many commands to pray, somehow human prayer must be enetered into His way of fulfilling prophecy--Daniel chapter 9, praying from Jewish exile, illustrates this clearly if you're interested. Jeremiah also was told "Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you." I know secular people don't like to hear about religious themes, but some of us truly believe prayer is part of the battle, something humans can do.

Posted by ER at August 21, 2006 11:45 AM

As scary and unbalanced as the mullahcracy are, I found this statement very interesting (provided it was translated accurately):

"Arrogant powers and the U.S. are putting their utmost pressure on Iran while knowing Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons," he said.

Why? Simply because the US was not included in the "arrogant powers". Now maybe we were excluded from this group because we are considered "worse than arrogant." Quite probably. But it also could be that Khamenei is trying to take a slightly different stance toward us than in the past. Intriguing possibility.

Nevertheless - should they be crazy enough to try to take out Israel or other allies, they would bring "glass parking lot" retribution upon themselves. Unfortunately - as we know from news events leaking out of Iran - there are an awful lot of people there who do not agree with the government. And they would suffer as well.

Posted by Specter at August 21, 2006 11:53 AM

Forcing the Hand of God? One would have the belief that God is on your side and would need your help in his decision process. And the other is the belief that what ever you do is ok with the Almighty, which includes, but not limited to the mass killing of innocent people. It is really scary to think that a country, any country would welcome the end of all things. This is totally different from the cold war. Guaranteed Mutual Destruction, when you were afraid of total destruction and these nutjob's look forward to it.

Posted by Faithful Patriot at August 21, 2006 12:17 PM

I don't place the Arabian pagan moon god allah on the same plane as God. Allah may be on the same plane as Baal but certainly not God. Mohammad claimed a vision delivered by Gabriel. I am more inclined to believe Mohammad was visited by Beelzebub.

I have no doubt that a religion that embraces death more than life would be arrogant enough to believe their human events could force the hand of their god. Fortunately, their god is not in control. The end times will occur in Gods time, not allah’s.

A smile crosses my lips everytime I think about Zarqawi et al, standing before God wondering what went wrong…

Posted by Old Soldier at August 21, 2006 12:46 PM

>A prayer is a request or a plea for help and guidance.

Okay, so can a prayer change your god's mind?

Posted by salvage at August 21, 2006 01:29 PM

salvage, to most people a prayer to God is communication. I have no idea what a prayer to god is...

Posted by Old Soldier at August 21, 2006 01:32 PM

So it's a communication... 'kay so the prayerer doesn't expect any reaction one way or the other? So if you pray to your god (or God, whatever you want to call it) you're not asking it to do anything?

Posted by salvage at August 21, 2006 03:29 PM

Obtuse....everybody understand what I'm sayin?

Posted by Specter at August 21, 2006 03:47 PM

I'm not being obtuse, can you or can you not change your god (or God)'s mind about something?

It's a simple question that no one seems to want to answer.

Posted by salvage at August 21, 2006 05:13 PM

The pocket Catholic dictionary defines prayer as: The voluntary response to the awareness of God's presence. This response may be an acknowledgment of God's greatness and of a person's total dependence on him (adoration), or gratitude for his benefits to oneself and others (thanksgiving), or sorrow for sins committed and begging for mercy (expiation), or asking for graces needed (petition), or affection for God, who is all good (love).

salvage is asking about petition: asking for graces needed. Asking petition of God is not to change His mind. God wishes to bless his children. Matthew 7 : 7 - 11 indicates to me that blessings are available to those who ask. One of God's many roles is teacher. A truly humble prayer given freely and in deference to God will teach the petitioner a great deal. God will decide how to answer or not answer your prayer.

Posted by Bob at August 21, 2006 06:02 PM

Can a prayer change God's mind?

Consider this: we pray, not because we need to convince God of our wants or needs (He knows them already), but because he wants us to ask. Why? To help us learn and grow and exhibit our faith in Him, not to mention develop humility. Prayer is God's gift to us, not ours to him.

In the same vein, can we turn God's mind toward ours? No, the purpose of prayer is to turn ours to God's. A wise man once said, if God is the creator of all things, the only thing that is truly ours to give is our will. But he won't take it, we must ofter it willingly. I believe it was Abraham Lincoln who said, it is not so important to know if God is on our side, as it is to know if we are on His!

Food for thought.

Posted by Todd at August 21, 2006 06:11 PM

Hi and good night (evening, morining, afternoon or whatever you got there) to everyone.

To CY:

Do you expect any less of us (IDF) from what you've written (of course after the Lebanon disaster you might expect our command to prepare an airborne infantry raid agaist flying ballistic missiles)?
We are as ready as we can be, and more. Not only on the offense but on the defense too (since Mutual Assured Distruction is not a deterrent in this case, Weapons of Doom wouldn't scare the Iranians from launching their attack).
As for the defense - F16I "Sufa" (storm) could be used to take out incoming bombers, F15I "Ra'am" (thunder) carrying vacum bombs or GBU's would be used to preemptively take out missle launchers and missile silos. Also, one mustn't forget the "Hetz" (arrow) MK3, the best anti-balistic missile that exists today. As far as my knowlage goes, several batteries of those have been secretly and silently deployed in IAF bases throughout Israel.
And one more defensive/offensive thing - "The Jericho Sanction". It's a part of Israel's nuclear doctrine. It goes something like this: should Israel be threatened by nuclear weapons, Israel holds to herself the right to a PREEMPTIVE nuclear strike against the would-be enemy in order to eliminate their nuclear potential. Of course this will be used as a last resort, but as things go we might come even to that.
Also I wouldn't rule out a ground commando raid against launching sites under preparation for launch (though I do belive our command lacks the balls to order such a thing and I'd be quite surprised if my team [or any other SF team for that metter] will be called to prepare for such action any time soon).

But I guess we'l soon find out what will happen.

To salvage:
As far as I've been schooled in religion, both in Christianity and Jewdaism God is outside the golbal-mortal scheme of things. He is allmighty, all knowing, He stands before all time and after all time - meaning he's out of the loop of time we all liv in. He watches the world like an open book - only He can see it from the begining to the end at once. So in such a case He already knows what you asked for in your prayer (as much as He knows the fate of every single atom in your being from the beginning to the end) and decided whether to grant it to you or not even before the world was created (or after the world was destroyed) - since time is of no object to Him. SO if you go by this belief - one cannot tip God's hand by a prayer or any other action since God, being an all-knowing entity set out of time, has already decided on the metter of that individual's fate and should that individual be granted devine aid or not.

Regards F. Sgt. Alex

Posted by Fisrt Sergeant Alex at August 21, 2006 06:17 PM

AMEN

Posted by Mike Meyer at August 21, 2006 11:18 PM

F. Sgt. Alex

Okay so everything has been predetermined so what's the point? Since God knows the alpha and omega of the everything our choices are meaningless because they are not our choices are they? They’re a script written before we were born that we cannot (by your ideas) deviate from.

Seems rather meaningless to me, for a god to create a universe full of stuff that has already happened as far as he’s concerned.

But thanks for the answer.

Posted by salvage at August 22, 2006 07:11 AM

salvage,
For what it is worth, at the crux of all of this is that humanity (and many other works) seem to be instilled with the ability and will to make choices. God or whatever label you personally affix to that which is omnipotent and responsible for all is assumed to know your tendencies much as a parent can watch the wheels going around in their kids head as they work towards a conclusion and subsequent action.
When you make a choice that runs against the grain of the desired grand schema, the same displeasure you would feel as your kid beat his sister and set the house on fire is assumed to be present on a massive scale. The kids are subsequently dealt with, hopefully lessons are learned but you still have a bruised sister standing amongst burnt up Barbies and a lingering displeasure remains in memories for some time to come.
So while outcomes are likely known by God, the decisions that bring them about appear to be largely ours so that we can hopefully learn that which is necessary to arrive at the proper conclusions pleasing to God.

I have no doubt that this explanation makes a thorough hash of many faiths but perhaps the above may help answer some of your questions.

I have to ask this; are you on paTroll using the time honored technique recognized by parents from all points - "But why?...."
And if so Why?

Posted by Brian at August 22, 2006 08:25 AM

But back to your first question salvage, what is prayer for?
Go ask your parent.
See?

Posted by Brian at August 22, 2006 08:29 AM

While others have made some excellent points, I'd like to offer up my own answer to salvage. While I may be wrong in what I infer from his comments, he seems to confuse prayer with begging or demanding things from God.

He asks:

So what does praying for stuff do?
Okay, so can a prayer change your god's mind?
So it's a communication... 'kay so the prayerer doesn't expect any reaction one way or the other? So if you pray to your god (or God, whatever you want to call it) you're not asking it to do anything?
I'm not being obtuse, can you or can you not change your god (or God)'s mind about something?

It's a simple question that no one seems to want to answer.

Okay so everything has been predetermined so what's the point? Since God knows the alpha and omega of the everything our choices are meaningless because they are not our choices are they? They’re a script written before we were born that we cannot (by your ideas) deviate from.

Seems rather meaningless to me, for a god to create a universe full of stuff that has already happened as far as he’s concerned.

But thanks for the answer.

According to my faith (and we are not all of the same faith, I don't think, so your mileage may vary), God knew us and loved us (warts and all) before we were ever born, and will love us no matter what. What God wants from us more than anything is an individual relationship with each and every one of us, one-on one. That's pretty heady stuff once you get your mind around it. He cares very much about you, salvage, believes in you, and wants to have a relationship with you.

But you know something else?

God granted each of us free will.

He will not force you to accept him, and will not force you to pursue him. He wants to have a relationship with you, but he won't make up your mind for you. He'll simply welcome you with open arms when and if you do decided you want to seek him.

I'm personally quite convinced that he isn't too keen on religion itself, as the process and formalities and rules imposed by people get in the way of the individual relationship. Religion screws a lot of things up (simply pick up a history book), leading to all sorts of manmade problems that get blamed on God. We really screw things up quiet a bit. Because of this, for a lot of years, I got away from God because I confused the relationship I wanted with religion I was a part of. Once I learned to push the rules and the process set down by man for a direct relationship, I felt a much stronger connection. God doesn't want to talk down to you. I believe he is your creator, savior and friend.


So to answer your questions more directly from my point of view, "what does prayer do?"

Prayer exists as an "always on" communication channel between me and God (and I speak of the Trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit when I say God here). I don't have to be in church, or kneeling with my hands clasped to talk to God. It isn't about a position of a tone or specific subjects. I talk to him much as I would anyone I love or am friends with. I speak to him in reverence and passion, with want, wonder, laughter and even anger at times, about all sorts of things. Nothing is off limits. How can it be, when he's omnipotent?

Another thing about God is the many hats he wears. It goes with the omnipotence thing, but often people get bogged down in the thought that God should be addressed solely as a King, and (the King of Kings), and there is a time and a place for that, but He is also known as the wonderful Counselor.

Prayer to God isn't about asking for things to happen or not happen. If that is all you use prayer for, in my opinion, you're missing the point. Prayer is a back and forth between you and the best friend you will ever have, the One who loves you more than any human on this planet possibility could. What does prayer do? It soothes the soul, helps you find answers, and provides guidance and inner peace.

Salvage then asked if prayer change God's mind. The short answer? I doubt it. The simple fact is that God I believe in is omnipotent, which means he knows all, and therefore, how could our puny human minds come up with an angle he hasn't thought of? We may not like what our lives bring us, but to steal a bit from Garth Brooks, "just because he doesn't answer doesn't mean he don't care. some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers."

Salvage then asks.. and I think he's being quite honest when he asks:

So it's a communication... 'kay so the prayerer doesn't expect any reaction one way or the other? So if you pray to your god (or God, whatever you want to call it) you're not asking it to do anything?

Of course we expect a reaction. Not quite the answer you were probably expecting, but when I talk with God, most times I get a response, and quite frequently sooner rather than later, but it is always was worth the wait. The immediate reaction one might get is personal. Not "private" personal, but it effects each one of us differently, it is individualized. The problem is that we've spent so much of our lives pushing away from God, that we tend to have a hard time listening to what he is trying to tell us. Learning to talk to God is like learning a new language. It isn't always easy to pick up, but it is worth the effort, and once you understand it, you won't easily forget it.

And ask for what I discuss during my prayers, certainly, I do ask for things. I ask for guidance, and pray to help others frequently, but asking for stuff isn't all there is to prayer. AS Bob notes above there are all kinds of prayers, and I think most of mine are thanking God for various blessings, and asking for forgiveness (which he always grants) when I've screwed something up, which being a normal flawed human, I do quite often. I'm in love with and in awe of God, of how much he cares for us, for me and you as individuals. That the Almighty truly cares for each of us is a lot to get your head around, but once you start to get that--in my case at least--I'm constantly humbled that a being so powerful could care so much about my lil’ old soul. It's heady stuff.

I'm not being obtuse, can you or can you not change your god (or God)'s mind about something?

It's a simple question that no one seems to want to answer.

Todd nailed the answer:

Consider this: we pray, not because we need to convince God of our wants or needs (He knows them already), but because he wants us to ask. Why? To help us learn and grow and exhibit our faith in Him, not to mention develop humility. Prayer is God's gift to us, not ours to him.

In the same vein, can we turn God's mind toward ours? No, the purpose of prayer is to turn ours to God's. A wise man once said, if God is the creator of all things, the only thing that is truly ours to give is our will. But he won't take it, we must offer it willingly. I believe it was Abraham Lincoln who said, it is not so important to know if God is on our side, as it is to know if we are on His!

Salvage then asks:

Okay so everything has been predetermined so what's the point? Since God knows the alpha and omega of the everything our choices are meaningless because they are not our choices are they? They’re a script written before we were born that we cannot (by your ideas) deviate from.

Seems rather meaningless to me, for a god to create a universe full of stuff that has already happened as far as he’s concerned.

I disagree with my esteemed Israeli friend when he says God is "outside the global/mortal scheme of things." Not that that is incorrect because God certainly has the long view, but He's also close enough to touch, and even inside you once you invite him in to your life. He's a constant companion, with you always.

And while God knows how your life begins and ends, he does not preordain your path. Again, he granted us free will to make our own decisions. It is because of this free will that Bad Things as well as good things can happen, because people were freed by God to make their own way and follow their own paths. It is the journey that you take that matters. Life is a "choose your own adventure" story with the greatest Author of all there for guidance on how to write it, if you only ask for his help.

Salvage, if you really want questions to your questions I can offer up a wonderful book recommendation to get you started on your way. There is a book called Dinner with a Perfect Stranger that is a very quick read, and should only take you a couple of hours. I just got done with the sequel to that book last night in about an hour, but I read faster than most. I sincerely hope you find the answers you are looking for.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at August 22, 2006 09:56 AM

>So while outcomes are likely known by God,

Likely? How can there be an uncertainty factor with an omnipotent being?

>I have to ask this; are you on paTroll using the time honored technique recognized by parents from all points - "But why?...."
And if so Why?

Because I’m trying to understand, the more and more I learn about religions the less and less sense it makes. I’m trying to see what you see to better understand the mentality behind it. I’ll be honest, I mock the heck out of it because it strikes me as terribly silly but at the same time I’m genuinely curious as to the whys.

See to me if there really was a god there would be no questions, how can a perfect being that created something like a universe leave behind any confusion? That’s why I cannot accept the Judaeo-Christian beliefs; the Bible is a whole raft of contradictions and inconsistencies. I find it hard to believe the same hand that made something as clever as an eyeball or a humming bird would express itself in such a clumsy and convoluted manner. The Bible is such a hodgepodge that it could only come from the maelstrom that is the human mind.

For instance the whole thing about Job has always bugged me, even when I was a kid. Why would God need to prove anything to the Devil? Wouldn’t God already know the outcome of any test of his creation? Why would he care what his evil opponent thought about anything? Putting someone through misery just to prove a point to a rival? Doesn’t that strike anyone else as being terribly human and very far from divine?

Anyway, the whole “forcing the hand of god” thing reminded me of one of the questions I have, that is can your god’s mind be changed?

And if the answer is no than I wonder what people pray to their gods for when they make a specific request as from what I understand religious people are prone to do.

If the answer is yes than that calls into question the whole omnipotent thing.

I’ve stopped talking to my parents about religion, it never goes well.

Thanks for you answers tho!

Posted by salvage at August 22, 2006 10:07 AM

To correct a misunderstanding....

I didn't mean that our path in life is predetermined, simply God, being omnipotent, allmighty and set out of the loop which we call time knows everything that has been, is and will be, forever. But still - our destiny is ours to forge it and unfold a new chapter of our lives every day as we advance through time making our choices for the good or for the bad. The fact that God knows it all doesn't make it any less real for us mortals. We have our will and we make our fate by our own hands, the prayer is one of the aspects of this will, but our needs, problems and struggles are known to him already. That was my point.

And to CY - I did say that God stands out of our 4 dimetional universe, but I do agree with you that he is close to us, clother then anything else in the world ever could be. The two things don't contredict each other.

And one more thing - there IS wrong and right in a religion and in our relationship with God.
Religion is just a set of man-made rules to solidify that relationship. But ANY such relationship must be based on the rules of common sense (like that killing is wrong, children should be protected, anyone has the right to belive in what they want and etc.).
One a religion strays too far from this common sense it can't be treated as legitimate by sane people with healthy common sense. That means that religions that contredict those basic rules of common sense (like religions that allow pedofilia, call for murder of unbelivers and etc.) should be BANNED. Not only because they endanger innocents, but also because they are an affront to God and all that He stands for.

Regards, F. Sgt. Alex

Posted by First Sergeant Alex at August 22, 2006 08:15 PM

Do the Hojjatieh seek to end the world on their terms? If is is indeed their plan, I pray that they now reconsider.

It worked! Oh, thank you, just and powerful God! We are spared!

Posted by bad attitude at August 23, 2006 01:52 AM

Good morning. Well salvage, much of what you have said could have come out of my mouth along the way.
The uncertainty of the world and your understanding does not spring from a lack of God's omnipotence but rather from the lack of ours. That fact really is pretty self evident if you give it some thought. Having spent a few years working away at it, I'll share a few aspects of where my faith has lead me:
You see, as we delve farther into real world knowledge, yet more mysteries unfold. Cosmologists have a running joke. As scientists climb the mountain of knowledge and approach the summit, they are stunned to find a handful of holy men at the top. When asked how they could possibly understand the origins of the universe the holy men respond; "Simple, we have faith".
We are finite vessels. It would be the mother of all blivets (ten pounds of crap, meet mister five pound bag) to fit the knowledge of the universe within us so faith is like that box drawn on the blackboard in the middle of the equation that simply says "and here the miracle occurs".
The real mystery is within the box but since that is to big to get your head around, we'll argue about the wording. Of real concern to many should be what is in the black box but our limitations shift the focus to the syntax of the writing on it. And oh by the way, even when we marginally agree on what the writing should say, what font to use, etc, we'll still write it down wrong amongst ourselves.
As for the confusion, well your children don't/won't learn without being confused and making mistakes and since we're grown up children....
So relax. Continue to ask questions and try to avoid a great deal of frustration - yours and others. This advice springs from someone wound so tightly he makes springs scream but hey, it's a goal. You aren't going to get it all and that which you think you have a handle on is going to be in conflict with what others think. Sometimes that conflict is going to lead to heads rolling.
At that point your questions should probably be whose?
Hope that helps to address some of the issues that underlie the specifics you have mentioned.

Posted by Brian at August 23, 2006 06:39 AM