If Jesus Christ is the One God, Why Did He Talk and Pray to the Father?

(Note: This post is an edited and expanded version of an answer I wrote and posted on Christianity StackExchange. You can see the original question on StackExchange here, and the StackExchange version of my answer here.)

Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) rejected the traditional Christian doctrine of a Trinity of Persons in God (see: “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit”).

But, traditional Christians commonly ask, if Jesus and the Father are not different persons of God, then why do the Gospels say that Jesus talked and prayed to the Father?

The Agony in the Garden, by William Blake (1757-1827)

The Agony in the Garden, by William Blake (1757-1827)

Also, why does Jesus sometimes say that the Father knows things that he doesn’t? Why, in the Gospel story, does Jesus sometimes seem to have his own personality, knowledge, and desires, distinct and even different from those of God the Father?

There is a simple answer and a complex answer to these questions.

  1. The simple answer is: When Jesus prayed to the Father, he was talking to himself.
  2. The complex answer requires a new understanding of exactly who Jesus was at birth, and of the process he went through during his lifetime on earth.

Let’s look at both of these answers in more detail, and get Swedenborg’s unique take on them.


Because learning Swedenborg’s powerful answer to these excellent questions clears up a whole raft of perplexity and confusion about the Gospel story—a perplexity that has bedeviled Christians for nearly two thousand years now, and introduced fallacy and chaos into traditional Christian doctrine.

Once we understand the true, infinitely loving, infinitely wise, and infinitely powerful nature of the One God, who is the Lord God Jesus Christ, everything else starts falling into place.

Knowing who God truly is brings clarity to our minds and peace to our hearts. As the perplexity falls away, this often dark and confusing universe finally starts to make sense. We gain a whole new understanding of why we are here, and what our purpose in life is.

For more on Jesus Christ and God the Father, please click here to read on.

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Posted in All About God, The Bible Re-Viewed

Is the Bible a Book about Men? What about Women?

Hagar and Ishmael, by Frederick Goodall (1822-1904)

Hagar and Ishmael, by Frederick Goodall (1822-1904)

So . . . apparently some women these days have just a few problems with the Bible:

“It’s all about men!”

“The Bible represents an archaic, male-dominated society.”

“In the Bible, women are basically men’s property.”

“Men do all the important things in the Bible. Women are just their servants and beasts of burden.”

“Most of the women in the Bible don’t even have names!”

Is it any wonder that many women today have serious problems with the Bible and with Christianity?

It doesn’t help that many large, traditional Christian denominations continue to shut women out of the highest positions in their organizations. But if the Bible itself supports gender inequality, how can we in the twenty-first century have any respect for it at all?

Does the Bible really represent how the Christian God views women? How can a modern, self-respecting, capable woman really look to the Bible for spiritual inspiration?

These are huge questions. We can’t deal with all of them in this article. However, we can set the record straight on at least a few points.

In particular, we can highlight some of the strong female characters in the Bible who wielded a decisive influence on Judaeo-Christian history and faith.

For more on women (and men) in the Bible, please click here to read on.

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Posted in The Bible Re-Viewed

Was Jesus Christ Human from Mary, or Human from God?

(Note: This is an edited version of a response I recently wrote to some questions on an LDS (Mormon) discussion site here.)

God is human. In fact, God is the only truly and fully human being. Genesis 1:26-27 says:

Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” So God created humankind in his image; in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them.

In other words, we physically mortal human beings are only a reflection of humanity. The true reality and source of humanity is God.

(In the future I plan to write a full article about the humanity of God. Meanwhile, please see this answer that I wrote on Christianity StackExchange: “Was Adam anatomically God’s image?”)

The humanity of God is mainly a matter of the divine characteristics of infinite love, infinite wisdom, and infinite power. These are what we humans on earth would call the mental characteristics of a human being. And these are the characteristics that make a being human rather than something else—such as an animal, plant, or rock. The physical characteristics of a human being are human only as a reflection of these mental (or really, spiritual) characteristics.

For more on the divine humanity of Jesus Christ, please click here to read on.

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Posted in All About God

When “Lying” is an Act of Love

Georgia State Trooper Nathan Bradley

Georgia State Trooper Nathan Bradley

Georgia State Trooper Nathan Bradley had a difficult task to perform. He had responded to a fatal car accident on Halloween evening, and now he and two other officers needed to notify relatives of the deaths of the couple who had died: Donald and Crystal Howard. As it turned out, their home was a mere quarter mile from the accident scene.

When Bradley and the other officers knocked on the door, they were greeted with a heart-breaking sight: four excited children all dressed up in their Halloween costumes, waiting for their parents to return home with a few more supplies so that they could go out trick-or-treating.

After consulting with his superior officer, Bradley made the decision not to tell the children immediately. He didn’t want to destroy Halloween for them. And he judged that it would be better if they heard the terrible news from a relative. The department did some quick research and contacted the children’s paternal grandmother, Stephanie Oliver, who lived eight hours away in Florida. She got on the road immediately.

But what to do with the kids in the meantime?

Officer Bradley decided to give the kids a fun and exciting Halloween, and let them find out about their parents’ deaths the next morning, from their own grandmother. He took them out in his patrol car, lights flashing, to get their favorite fast food. And he arranged a party for them at the station, where they also spent the night in the bedrooms where the police officers usually slept.

Even while his own heart was breaking for these kids, whose world was about to be turned upside down, he put on a smiling face, and let them have a special Halloween celebration.

You can read the whole story at People.com: “Georgia Trooper Cares for Orphans After Their Parents Are Killed in Halloween Crash: ‘It Just Tore Me Apart’

Naturally, not everyone had a positive reaction to the officer’s decision and actions. Here’s the headline on the story at Gawker.com: “Should This Cop Have Lied to These Kids Whose Parents Just Died?

Well . . . Gawker’s gonna do what Gawker’s gonna do. For every parade, there’s a whole army of sad and cynical people out there who take special pleasure and pride in raining on it.

And yet, there is a valid question behind all the cynicism. Was the officer really justified in not telling those kids that their parents had just died? Doesn’t that amount to lying to them? Don’t they have a right to know? And isn’t there a commandment against lying?

For more on love and lying, please click here to read on.

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Posted in Current Events

A New Model of Manhood

Bible warriors

Bible warriors

For several decades now, the women’s movement has successfully challenged traditional notions of the proper roles of women and men. Women have made major inroads into areas of life that were once the exclusive province of men: business, finance, law, broadcasting; even military service is open to women, and women’s roles in combat are expanding.

There are still more men than women in most traditionally male professions, and more women doing traditionally female work. But in our society the gender barriers are no longer as rigid as they once were.

This has caused us to do much soul-searching about what it means to be a woman and what it means to be a man. In this article we’ll focus on changing views of men and masculinity.

Traditional models of manhood focus on strength and bravery. But there is more than one way to understand those qualities of character. A closer look at the essential nature of masculinity provides a new model of manhood that draws on the deeper realities of what it means to be a man.

This new model of manhood offers a more stable foundation for boys and men who are seeking to understand their identity as males in a time of gender confusion, when the roles of men and women in society are changing under our feet.

For more on men and masculinity, please click here to read on.

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Posted in Sex Marriage Relationships

Pray to God, but Row Away from the Rocks

Edgar Lungu, President of Zambia, January 2015

Edgar Lungu, President of Zambia

In recent news, Edgar Lungu, current president of the nation of Zambia, proclaimed Sunday, October 18, 2015, a day of prayer and fasting to save the kwacha. The kwacha is Zambia’s currency.

You see, since the start of 2015, the kwacha has fallen 45% in value against the U.S. dollar. This took place in the midst of a global drop in the price of copper, Zambia’s main export, and nationwide power shortages due to drought conditions hitting Zambia’s hydroelectric power plants hard.

You can read all about it in these articles:

As part of the day of prayer, sporting events would be postponed to another day, and bars would be closed until 6:00 PM.

But not everyone in Zambia was gung-ho about the idea . . .

For more on prayer for the kwacha, please click here to read on.

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Posted in Current Events, Money and Business

The World is Coming to an End! . . . Says . . . Stephen Hawking?!?

Okay, this isn’t exactly late-breaking news, but it’s too good to pass up!

Christians have been predicting the end of the world for, oh, about 2,000 years now.

Science fiction writers have been creating doomsday scenarios for over a century.

Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking

Scientists respond that these things just aren’t going to happen. The world is going to keep turning for several billion years to come, they say, and the universe will last even longer.

So I couldn’t help but chuckle when I heard that Stephen Hawking, one of the most famous scientists in the world, has his own doomsday scenario. And he says it could come at any time, with no warning.

For more Stephen Hawking’s doomsday scenario, please click here to read on.

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Posted in Science Philosophy and History

What is the biblical basis against Sola Fide (salvation by faith alone, apart from works)?

(Note: This post is an edited version of an answer I wrote and posted on Christianity StackExchange. You can see the original question on StackExchange here, and the StackExchange version of my answer here.)

Here is a question that was asked on Christianity StackExchange, as linked just above:

One of the key points of the Reformation was the doctrine of Sola Fide: that salvation is by faith alone, apart from works. The Reformers thought this was in contrast to the doctrines of the Catholic church.

What, then, is the biblical basis against the doctrine of Sola Fide?

Here is the answer I posted there, as also linked just above:

The doctrine of Sola fide (Latin for “by faith alone”) holds that:

God’s pardon for guilty sinners is granted to and received through faith alone, excluding all “works.”

And that:

God, on the basis of the life, death, and resurrection of his Son, Jesus Christ alone (solus Christus), grants sinners judicial pardon, or justification, which is received solely through faith.”

This doctrine is also commonly expressed as:

Justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ’s righteousness alone.

(Source for these three quotes: the Wikipedia article on Sola fide)

Belief in Sola fide is confined almost entirely to Protestants, who constitute about 37% of the world’s Christian population (Source: Global Christianity – A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World’s Christian Population – Pew Research Center). In fact, it was the defining doctrine by which Martin Luther distinguished his new form of Christianity from the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church, with which he was making a decisive break. Luther said:

This one and firm rock, which we call the doctrine of justification, is the chief article of the whole Christian doctrine, which comprehends the understanding of all godliness. (In Commentary on Galatians)

He said, further, that:

If this article stands, the Church stands; if it falls, the Church falls. (In In Quindecim Psalmos Graduum Commentarii)

The doctrine of Sola fide has therefore been adopted as an essential doctrine, if not the essential doctrine of Christianity by Lutherans and by Protestants in general.

However, the Biblical basis for this doctrine is exceedingly thin. Further, key parts of it are explicitly rejected by the Bible. Its adoption depends upon an ahistorical reading of the Bible, anachronistic definitions of key Biblical words, and hair-splitting ratiocination that has no clear basis in the Bible.

For more on the Biblical case against faith alone, please click here to read on.

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Posted in The Bible Re-Viewed

If We Don’t Have Children while Alive, Will We Be Able to Have Children in the Afterlife?

Here is a Spiritual Conundrum submitted to Spiritual Insights for Everyday Life by a reader named Giselle:

If we don’t have children while alive, will we be able to have children in the afterlife?

Thanks for the good question, Giselle! It is one that lies heavy on the hearts of many women and men who wish for children, but do not have them for reasons that are often beyond their control. Some are able to adopt children and satisfy their longing to be parents in that way. For others, it is a dream that is never fulfilled during their lifetime on earth.

Mother and Child

Mother and Child

For those who wish for children but never have them here on earth, does this mean they have missed their opportunity, and will never have children, even in the afterlife?

I have good news, and I have bad news.

First the bad news:

No children are born in heaven. If you long for children who carry your genes and are your own flesh and blood, then your only opportunity is to have children here on earth.

Now for the good news:

Even if you don’t have children on earth, that doesn’t mean you can never be a parent and raise children.

Every day, tens of thousands of children die all around the world. That’s millions of children every year, year after year.

Every single one of those children needs parents in the afterlife.

You see, children who die don’t just automatically become angels. They must still grow up in heaven. And that means they need parents to raise them.

For more on having children in heaven, please click here to read on.

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Posted in Sex Marriage Relationships, The Afterlife

What about Violent Religions? Is God Really Bloodthirsty and Vengeful?

A reader named Jen left this comment on the recent article, What is the Wrath of God?

Michelangelo, Creation of the Sun and Moon (detail from the Sistine Chapel)

Is God bloodthirsty and violent?

So here is my question: You believe the parts in the Bible about God’s love and God is Love, and all the feel good parts about God. But when it comes to the anger of God and all the terrible curses and mass slaughter and such, it is either “this is only what people thought God was like and have attributed to Him” or it is explained by evil doers not liking the light. We are only supposed believe the good things about God and cherry pick over the unpleasant stuff that doesn’t make sense?

On the spiritual plane the hiding from the light and sending yourself to hell makes sense. But when you read in the Bible that supposedly God told his people to go into a city and kill everyone right down to the infants and the cows, it is kind of hard to accept.

So why do you believe the Love stuff and not the vengeance and physical violence stuff about God in the Bible?

Jen is not overstating the case about the violent marching orders given by God in the Bible. Here are just two of many examples:

However, in the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites—as the Lord your God has commanded you. Otherwise, they will teach you to follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods, and you will sin against the Lord your God. (Deuteronomy 20:16–18)

This is what the Lord Almighty says: “I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.” (1 Samuel 15:2–3)

Sometimes the women and children were spared. Usually the livestock was taken as booty. Regardless, the God of the Old Testament is presented as a warlike and bloodthirsty God, who commands the wholesale destruction of Israel’s enemies. And as with the commandment to destroy the Amalekites, the stated motivation is often vengeance for previous attacks and wrongs against the Israelites.

How is this compatible with a God of love?

Did God really command the Israelites to commit genocide?

It is indisputable that the Bible says that God did so.

And can people who adhere to such violent, bloodthirsty religions really be considered God’s children? Are warlike, murderous, and genocidal people really living in the spirit of a God of love?

Or is God not always loving? Does God actually want whole clans and even whole races of people to be wiped out, as the Bible says?

And finally, can people who commit horrible acts of violence as commanded by their religion really go to heaven?

For more on violent religion and a bloodthirsty God, please click here to read on.

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Posted in All About God, The Bible Re-Viewed
Lee & Annette Woofenden

Lee & Annette Woofenden

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Earlier Posts
Lee Woofenden speaking at Fryeburg New Church Assembly, Fryeburg, Maine, August 2012

Lee Woofenden speaking at Fryeburg New Church Assembly


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