Quotes from The Lies We Believe About God, by Paul Young

by Matt Slick The Lies We Believe About God, by Paul Young
3/19/2017

Following is a list of quotes I extracted from Paul Young's book The Lies We Believe About God, (Atria Books, 2017).  I Use them in my book review. I present these quotes here so that others can more fully see, with documentation, what Paul Young teaches.  The underlines are my emphasis.

 

  • INTRODUCTION
    • Paul Young was raised in a "Western evangelical Protestant tradition" (p. 17)
    • "Growing up with my father was too often terrifying. Being around him was like walking through a minefield, with the explosive devices changing positions every night while I slept." (p. 31).
    • "...when he [Paul Young's father] went from absent to furiously present, I felt as if I were being torn apart and scattered to the winds. My father was a missionary. He was the righteous man who was never wrong, and he was a strict disciplinarian." (p. 31).
    • "...this book is laid out as a series of essays exploring interconnected concepts that I propose are lies—lies that I once believed, lies that continue to affect many of us." (p. 20)
  • Lie # 2: GOD IS GOOD.  I AM NOT.
    • “God is good. I am not.” (p. 29).
    • “I am not good.” (p. 32).
    • "They [youth gathering] opened with a song that I am familiar with. Many of the lyrics are truth, but it begins with a massive lie. [God] You are good, when there’s nothing good in me. The truth is that we have inherent value because we are made in the image of God. "(p. 32).
    • "What would you think if you happened on a parent berating his or her child with these words: “The truth about you is that there is nothing good about you. You are sick and twisted and totally and utterly depraved. You have always been and always will be worthless." (p. 34).
    • "I am fundamentally good because I am created “in Christ” as an expression of God, an image bearer, imago dei (see Ephesians 2:10)." (p. 35).
      • Paul fails to understand the nature of the fall. We are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26), but we are also fallen. That is, we have a sinful nature and are by nature children of wrath  (Ephesians 2:3).
  • Lie # 3: GOD IS IN CONTROL
    • "Do we actually believe we honor God by declaring God the author of all this mess [a woman's paralysis] in the name of Sovereignty and Omnipotent Control?" (p. 37).
    • " What if there is no “plan” for your life but rather a relationship in which God constantly invites us to co-create, respectfully submitting to the choices we bring to the table?" (p. 39).
    • "The sovereignty of God is not about deterministic control. So how does God reign? By being who God is: love and relationship." (p. 41).
    • "I don’t believe that the word control, in the sense of deterministic power, is part of God’s vocabulary." (p. 42).
    • "Control does not originate in God, but submission does. Domination does not find its source in God, but other-centered, self-giving love does." (p. 42).
    • "God submits rather than controls and joins us in the resulting mess of relationship, to participate in co-creating the possibility of life, even in the face of death." (p. 44).
  • Lie # 4: GOD DOES NOT SUBMIT
    • "God is relational and therefore submits because God’s nature is other-centered and self-giving love." (p. 47).
    • Instead, God submits to the decisions I make, climbs into them, and begins to craft something living and useful and good..." (p. 48).
    • "What is the incarnation—God becoming fully human—if not complete and utter submission to us? What about the cross, in which God submits to our anger, rage, and wrath?" (p. 48).
  • Lie # 5:  GOD IS A CHRISTIAN
    • "The Scripture states that all things were created in and through and by Jesus, and it emphasizes that not one single thing has come into existence apart from Jesus. But our religions assume separation—being apart—so when we hear the word Christian, we think of someone who started on the outside but then prayed a prayer or did something special that moved him or her from outside to inside. However, as the creator and redeemer and sustainer of all things (and this includes every single human being), Jesus challenges every religious category. If we take Jesus seriously, then we are not dealing with outsiders and insiders; we are dealing with those who are seeing and those who are not seeing, trusting and not trusting. So is God a Christian? If you are asking if God is about separation and treats people of different denominations, faiths, and ways of thinking as outsiders until they pray a special prayer to “get in” . . . then, of course not." (pp. 54-55).
  • Lie # 6: GOD WANTS TO USE ME
    • "God is a relational being; that is who God is. The language of God is about partnering, co-creating, and participating; it’s about an invitation to dance and play and work and grow. If God uses us, then we are nothing but objects or commodities to God. Even in our human relationships, we know this is wrong." (pp. 62-64).
  • Lie # 10:  GOD IS A PRUDE
    • "agape, a Greek word that means other-centered, self-giving, committed love." (p. 95).
  • Lie # 12: GOD CREATED (MY) RELIGION
    • "But God did not start religion. Rather, religion is among a whole host of things that God did not originate but submits to because we human beings have brought them to the table." (p. 109).
    • "Jesus is not the founder of any religion. He did not come to start a new religion to compete with the myriad of other religions that already existed. Rather, Jesus indwelt an inclusive family of faith—in which we are learning to celebrate the presence of God (contemplation and action) and the presence of each other (community)."(pp. 110-111).
  • Lie # 13: YOU NEED TO GET SAVED
    • "What is the Gospel? The Good News is not that Jesus has opened up the possibility of salvation and you have been invited to receive Jesus into your life. The Gospel is that Jesus has already included you into His life, into His relationship with God the Father, and into His anointing in the Holy Spirit. The Good News is that Jesus did this without your vote, and whether you believe it or not won’t make it any less or more true." (pp. 117-118).
    • "Are you suggesting that everyone is saved? That you believe in universal salvation? That is exactly what I am saying!" (p. 118).
    • "When Jesus was lifted up, God “dragged” all human beings to Himself (John 12:32). Jesus is the Savior of all humankind, especially believers (1 Timothy 4:10). Further, every single human being is in Christ (John 1:3), and Christ is in them, and Christ is in the Father (John 14:20). When Christ—the Creator in whom the cosmos was created—died, we all died. When Christ rose, we rose (2 Corinthians 5)." (p. 119).
    • "...prior to the foundation of the world, we were all included; we were all saved in eternity (2 Timothy 1:9). Second, we were all included in the birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:19). Third, within the context of our own present-tense, ongoing experience, we actively participate to work out what God has worked in (Philippians 2:12–13)." (p. 119).
  • Lie # 15: HELL IS SEPARATION FROM GOD
    • "Doesn’t it seem intuitively wrong to be desperately afraid of a torture-devising God and yet hope to spend eternity with this God?" (p. 132).
    • "Consider this simple line of reasoning. Either hell is a created place or thing or it is not. If it is not created, then it must by definition be God, who alone is uncreated. In this sense, hell would be God, who is a consuming fire. Your destiny would not be apart from God but directly into God, who is Love, Light, Goodness. The other alternative is that hell is a created place or thing. Consider this passage: “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38–39, emphasis added). This is a list of all the realities that cannot separate you from the love of God. What isn’t in the list, keeping in mind that it includes “any created thing” or any “thing to come”? Nothing. There is nothing absent from the list. You are a “created thing,” so therefore you do not have the power to separate yourself from the love of God. And whatever hell is, if it is a created thing, it cannot separate you from the love of God." (pp. 134-135).
    • "Consider with me: Anyone who speaks of separation from God assumes that a person can still exist while separated—as if our life is not contingent upon the presence of God, who is Life. Does that mean we have eternal existence apart from Jesus and the Father and the Holy Spirit? Scripture is emphatic: not one thing has come into being apart from Jesus, and the existence of everything is completely dependent upon the sustaining life of Jesus. So, if we continue this thought . . . perhaps hell is hell not because of the absence of God, but because of the presence of God, the continuous and confrontational presence of fiery Love and Goodness and Freedom that intends to destroy every vestige of evil and darkness that prevents us from being fully free and fully alive. This is a fire of Love that now and forever is “for” us, not against us. Only if we posit that we have existence apart from Jesus can we believe that hell is a form of punishment that comes to us in our separation from Jesus. I propose the possibility that hell is not separation from Jesus but that it is the pain of resisting our salvation in Jesus while not being able to escape Him who is True Love." (pp. 136-138).
  • Lie # 17: THE CROSS WAS GOD'S IDEA
    • "Who originated the Cross? If God did, then we worship a cosmic abuser, who in Divine Wisdom created a means to torture human beings in the most painful and abhorrent manner. Frankly, it is often this very cruel and monstrous god that the atheist refuses to acknowledge or grant credibility in any sense. And rightly so. Better no god at all, than this one. The alternative is that the Cross originated with us human beings. This deviant device is the iconic manifestation of our blind commitment to darkness. It is our ultimate desecration of the goodness and loving intent of God to create, an intent that is focused on the human creation. It is the ultimate fist raised against God. And how did God respond to this profound brokenness? God submitted to it. God climbed willingly onto our torture device and met us at the deepest and darkest place of our diabolical imprisonment to our own lies, and by submitting once and for all, God destroyed its power. Jesus is God’s best, given willingly and in opposition to our worst, the Cross. When did God submit? Not only in Jesus incarnate but before the creation of the world, according to Scriptures (Revelation 13:8). God knew going into the activity of creation what the cost would be. That God’s own children, this highest order of creation, would one day make the final attempt to kill Life. And how would we religious people interpret this sacrifice? We would declare that it was God who killed Jesus, slaughtering Him as a necessary appeasement for His bloodthirsty need for justice." (pp. 149-151).
  •  Lie # 19:  GOD REQUIRES CHILD SACRIFICE
    • "One of the narratives about God is that because of sin, God required child sacrifice to appease a sense of righteous indignation and the fury of holiness—Jesus being the ultimate child sacrifice. Well, if God is like that, then doesn’t it make sense that we would follow in God’s footsteps?" (p. 169).
    • "But one of the stories that seem to justify it is that of Abraham and the almost-sacrifice of his son Isaac. The larger context is a series of missteps on the part of Abraham, in which he tries to help God out of one predicament after another. And each time he “helps,” disaster results, and with each misfortune, God submits to Abraham’s choices and creatively works to build something good out of the rubble." (p. 170).
  • Lie # 20: GOD IS A DIVINE SANTA CLAUS
    • "Author and speaker Brian McLaren once stated something that goes like this: “Every authentic move toward God has to go through atheism.” (p. 173).
    • "To understand who God really is, you can begin by looking at yourself, since you are made in God’s image. All the things you long to be true about who you are—authenticity, kindness, patience, integration, goodness, purity of heart—these are qualities of the God in whose image you were created." (p. 178).
  • Lie # 21:  DEATH IS MORE POWERFUL THAN GOD
    • “I [Paul Young] mean that I don’t think God would ever say that once you die, your fate is sealed and there is nothing that God can do for you.” (p. 182).
    • "Personally, I do believe that the idea that we lose our ability to choose at the event of physical death is a significant lie and needs to be exposed; its implications are myriad and far-reaching. I am not proposing that life and death are equally opposing forces. Death is nothing compared to Life; in fact, it is the absence of Life."
       (pp. 185-186).
    • "I think evil exists because of our turning from face-to-face-to-face relationship with God, and because we chose to say no to God, to Life and Light and Truth and Good. God, with utmost respect and reverence, submits to our choice even while utterly opposing it." (p. 186).
    • "If God (who is Life) has gone to such great lengths to protect our ability to say no, why would we think that the event of death would have the power to take away our ability to say yes?" (pp. 186-188).
    • "I propose that the event of death introduces a crisis (krisis—the Greek word, as in “Day of . . . judgment”), a restorative process intended to free us to run into the arms of Love." (p. 188).
  • Lie # 24:  NOT EVERYONE IS A CHILD OF GOD
    • "Here is the basic question: Is every human being a child of God or only certain ones?" (p. 203).
    • "Turns out Matt [an atheist] not only believes in Love, but in Life and in Truth. Not bad for an unbeliever. But does that make him a child of God? No, it doesn’t. He already was a child of God." (pp. 204-205).
    • "Every human being you meet, interact with, react and respond to, treat rudely or with kindness and mercy: every one is a child of God." (p. 206).
    • "God is never disappointed in you; God has no expectations." (pp. 214-216).
  •  Lie # 27:  SIN SEPARATES US FROM GOD
    • "Expecting perfection is a denial of our humanity," (p. 226).
    • "Do we really think that Jesus never made a mistake on His homework, or never forgot someone’s name, or as a carpenter always made accurate measurements? Jesus didn’t have a reputation for being the “best carpenter” in Nazareth, making perfect doors and always-level tables." (p. 226).
    • "Pride is a sin because it is a denial of being human. Humility is always a celebration of being human." (p. 227).
    • "But if the essence of God’s nature is relationship, then sin must be defined and understood as missing a relational reality, a distortion of the image of God in us." (p. 228).
    • "Hamartia [sin] is made up of two parts: ha- (an aspirated alpha), which is a negation (like un- or dis-), and -martia, from the Greek root meros, which means “form, origin, or being.” The fundamental meaning is “negation of origin or being” or “formlessness.” Yes, it is about “missing the mark,” but the mark is not perfect moral behavior. The “mark” is the Truth of your being." (pp. 228-229).
    • "Sin, then, is anything that negates or diminishes or misrepresents the truth of who you are, no matter how pretty or ugly that is." (p. 229).
    • "And this brings us to separation. Does sin separate us from God? Separation is the fundamental building block of religion. Once you assume separation, you are at the mercy of any and every good-intentioned or evilly intentioned person who has found the “secret” formula to getting across the chasm to God. Once division and separation are established as real, entire religious systems, institutions, and hierarchies can be built as the path to salvation or enlightenment, and people will pay blood, sweat, tears, and money to get from the damned side to the saved. We Christians have long espoused a theology of separation. A lot of “my people” will believe that the following statement is in the Bible, but it isn’t: “You have sinned, and you are separated from God.” (pp. 230-231).
    • "If separation is a lie, does it mean that no one has ever been separated from God? That is exactly what it means. Nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38–39)." (p. 232).
    • "There is “nothing” outside God. There is only God, and Creation is created “in” God; and according to John 1, Creation is specifically created “inside” Jesus, the Word who is God (see verses 3–4)." (p. 232).
    • "There is no separation." (p. 234).
  •  Lie # 28: GOD IS ONE ALONE
    • “Let me tell you about the God who actually showed up and healed my broken heart, not the god I grew up with in my modern evangelical Christian fundamentalism.” (p. 236).
    • "...the God I grew up with was of little comfort. In fact, that God was considered the originator of evil, a distant deity who had a plan that included the torture of a child. One can’t run to God if God is the perpetrator." (p. 238).

 

 

 
 

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.