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THE CHILD WHO FORGETS HIS FATHER
OR WONDERS IF HE WOULD RATHER ...
The Australian February 20, 2008
That Oxford University should seek to find reasons in a natural setting why people believe in God is perhaps the acme of unbelief. They wish, we read from The Australian newspaper's report on it, February 20, 2008, to find if it comes from nature or nurture.
Assuredly it comes from nature. It is as has been repeatedly shown on this site, impossible logically to avoid God when you are duly equipped as a man. Education helps to destroy the natural response, as things now proceed, in the main. 'Nurture' is not likely to do much then, except where churches have more sway than anti-churches, which is the approximate status of many Universities, in biblical terms! Further, since university qualifications open professions and more, the fealty to this means may well make more negative nurture.
That a University should 'wonder' about this is a mark of the times. That it should enquire whether some part of the natural assemblage confers such 'belief' is interesting. What might do so ? If you call 'mind' part to it, then logic is a sufficient ground as we have been at some little pains to demonstrate. If, further, man's spirit which wills and conceives and decides and resolves, and knows whether it wants this or that perspective in research and so on, if this is deemed part of it, then it also is involved. Its nature is fashionable at this time, to find ways of disbelieving in God, or in His word, or in His work, or in His ways, or in their application, just so long as it can be rid of His guidance, grace, help, nurture, fatherly care and pastoral kindness.
This is often seen as dictatorial direction, oppressive governance, fearful intrusion and other things consistent with an autonomous-man approach which wants to get everything from nowhere (or nowhere to which one is answerable, except by 'decision'), and to take everything anywhere, and while at it, the children via educational duress (cf. Beauty for Ashes ... Ch. 3, TMR Ch. 8), as well.
There are of course restraints and constraints. Yet the autonomous man - a mixture of the brilliance of God in creation and the inane desires of this part of creation (and not this alone) to take over from God, if not in so many words, then in so many works, while viewing the latter with some lack of enthusiasm - seeks to take it as far as he can. He will talk of his rights, but less of his wrongs, of his ambition, significance, value, height of mind, disposition of heart, even this, though it would not seem a canny move in such a setting as this world provides; and he will talk at large. Indeed, it will seem to many as if capitulation, to talk of responsibility to the regality of God, response to the initiatives of God or even believing in Him IN SUCH A WAY that He has will, mind, word and work, and expects to have a relationship with man based on fact.
SECULAR LORDSHIP OVER THE LOST
IS A LOST CAUSE
One of the facts is this, that God is love. Man is continually trying to find self-interest, self-love, hard-headed enlightened self-interest, force-moulding tyranny or some other absurdity as a substitute. It works precisely as well as do worms on the dead body. Man is so made that ONLY love meets the configuration of his soul, the need of his heart and the alliance of his talents. Other things rise and fall - as with Hitler's Reich, self-centred racism and power with push - but they leave no trace for exultation.
Love however, when founded not in mere sentiment but in truth, lifts, dignifies, does not pretend, is practical, has aspirations based in reality, fits naturally, and in alliance with truth, is not deceived! That is the first advantage of finding God: truth and love meet (cf. Psalm 85). Instead of pride parading its lore and force seeking to implement, or guile: truth provides the resource most needed, most inbred, most readily alienated, most necessary for life.
This seems to many to be inane; but it is so - and to few does it seem, or rather did it seem - more clearly so than to Stephen J. Gould, who made this clear in his work, Wonderful Life. Indeed, life is, as he says, very wonderful, but to take it as a product of what is not even more wonderful, in the way of symbolically expressed, cohesively established, magnificently wrought, integrally correlated entities within an entity, which have an overall plan for procedure as well: this is the ultimate lie. The Bible does not hesitate to affirm this, even in most dramatic fashion referring to one who took a symbol of some inadequate entity to which life was being attributed, as having in his right hand "a lie"!
This is found in Isaiah 44:19-20:
"and shall I make the residue thereof an abomination?
shall I fall down to the stock of a tree? He feeds on ashes:
a deceived heart hath turned him aside,
that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?"
The point, as in Jeremiah 2:26-29, which this is taken:
"So is the house of Israel ashamed;
They and their kings and their princes, and their priests and their prophets,
Saying to a tree, ‘You are my father,’
And to a stone, ‘You gave birth to me.’
For they have turned their back to Me, and not their face.
"But in the time of their trouble
They will say, ‘Arise and save us.’
But where are your gods that you have made for yourselves?
Let them arise,
If they can save you in the time of your trouble;
For according to the number of your cities
Are your gods, O Judah.
'Why will you plead with Me?... ' "
|The endeavour to find from 'nature' en bloc
or any part of it,
the ultimate provider of life, non-life in its ordered consequence,
their interfaces, mind and spirit,
and their mutual and expanding interfaces with many realms,
the logical integrity of the total inter-relationship: this
is as demonstrable a tilt at God as any other.
We have, as mankind, powers of thought enabling us to some not insignificant extent to understand, apprehend and comprehend the entirety of the medley of mixed and marvellous systems and entities which populate that array of productions known as creation. That these have precisely such attributes has been shown in , then in SMR, and in TMR -
REASON, REVELATION and the REDEEMER
SCIENTIFIC METHOD, SATANIC METHOD
AND THE MODEL OF SALVATION
DEITY AND DESIGN, DESIGNATION AND DESTINY
LIGHT DWELLS WITH THE LORD'S CHRIST.
The continually unfolding realms of ever more refined details, ever more miniaturised marvels is merely the icing on the cake, the nutriment of which, and the deliciousness has already been established.
It rhymes with God, not sod. It exhibits His word, the Bible, not man's, the libel.
It has been shown logically, in terms of the empirical, the verificatory, the unique possessor of validity, in the fields of knowledge and in their inter-relationship. It has been shown that it is not even possible that anything less could do this, while nothing else has done it. As shown in the Bible, so is the solution; as applied to the world, so is the solution; as reviewed in the place of reason, so is the solution: but it is more than that, for it is elegantly sufficient and stupendously efficient.
Yet man prefers to leave the victorious brilliance of both the creation and its inter-locking intimacy with the word of God, the Bible, and its perfect harmony with it, and to digress from the Lord Jesus Christ, with His impeccable fulfilment and projection of what was to be, and would then be and now is. He prefers - and this Oxford matter merely epitomises it - to have what Isaiah calls a 'lie' in the right hand. That is, there is in terms of the Hebrew, a vanity, a thing of no consequence, an illusion, a vapidity, in the very midst of his operative thought and designed actions: and indeed this 'lie' is one which is so not only by despite to the dynamic of God, but respite from the responses needed to Him, and responsibilities toward Him. .
Such is the biblical depiction of man's ways both then and now, in such enterprises as start on a secular basis, a naturalistic basis, a nothing-to-all basis (Romans 1). This is so whether or not this is admitted; for all of that approach assumes, merely begging the question concerning what has to be accounted for. and is irrational, while all that starts with nothing, ends with it, and all that insists on some distinct and delimited thing always being there instead of nothing, is merely etiologically evasive. Vacating the self-sufficient and eternal God leaves nothing, the results of which are nothing much! and nothing at all like what we have). On this, see Evidence and Reality, Chs. 3-4, 7-8. On its results, see the world.
ADVANTAGE of some Hypothetical Kind ?
Evolutionary advantage, the report tells us, is what Oxford is seeking to find - or perhaps the contrary but some relationship - in terms of religion. In other words, ASSUMING naturalism with its innnate distortions (cf. The gods of naturalism have no go!), it seeks to find whether, omitting the God of creation, the ideas of nothing to nature, or the irrational to nature, will nurture some advantage, or whether contrarily, the opposite is the case: that belief in God does just this. Help or hinder 'survival' ?
It seeks in other words, to find this: that if you neglect the Designer (logically impossible as in DEITY AND DESIGN, DESIGNATION AND DESTINY, but open to will), does the concept of Him help you to survive!
Now to be sure, we are told that those at Oxford bent on this task, are acting without trying to resolve the point, IS GOD ?
However, the concept that nurture or nature may bring on the belief in God and that organic evolution is a participant in the creation of man, from nature, this is in itself naturalism, or humanism, or both. The world logically requires God as has been shown, so that the assumption that we can proceed without this as a basis, in itself, will merely be a matter of seeing whether in this or in that, in a milieu of confusion, clarity will come, a loitering spark in an enterprise in darkness that swallows itself up in entire irrelevance.
In the beginning, the empirical evidence attests that
no primitive cell is to be found
(you can imagine, but then what is the use of science ?
no primitive grammar matches less
developed people, but often the opposite;
no primitive stars (Population
III stars, simple ones as de rigueur for big bangs
no primitive early part of the 'Big
Bang' as imagined, is to be found,
No negative energy has provided its
no unstructured universe is seen but rather
quantized red shifts appear in due array (
no, nor have the many supernovas
required for the self-making universe been found
no predictable or even apparent correlation of
merger or gliding appears in micro-biological findings in terms of external features appear, with
the macro- and the micro- in parallel
in Dr Sarfatis' Science, Creation and Evolutionism,
we see a recent example
At the molecular level, logically arranged structure,
deposited not developed is the reading
Thus there is as close a resemblance to
ordered input per se in the microbiological realm,
Mind over matter, unification over oddities,
unitary complementarity of diverse schedules
Thus Denton speaks of another NO: it is this.
no exceptions to total missing links
between types of molecules in the micro-biological field.
No required amount of anti-matter is
to be found, correlative to matter, but only traces,
Indeed, the individuality, the 'kind' configuration, as distinct from gradualistic conformist character of things, is shown by the fact that even among frog varieties, in form most similar, the degree of molecular divergence is as great as that between mammals, in form most diverse. Facts do not attend gradualism at all, but rather there is with all the diversity which originality pens, an amazing degree of order, says Denton (Ch. 12, esp. pp. 294ff.). The thing bespeaks, says Denton, hierarchical imposition, not gradualistic occurrence.
Mind is indicated in this as in the spheres of action in the collated cosmoi of symbolism and action: order, hierarchy, originality all together precisely as mind performs. That is how it works, and these are the conceptual intimations correlative to commands. We return to Evolution in Crisis.
Further, on pp. 284ff. in Denton (op. cit.) we find that in terms of the per cent sequence difference between haemoglobin of the lamprey (cyclostome) and various jawed vertebrates, taken from a relevant atlas listing such figures, "man is as close to lamprey as are fish!" There is not a trace, says that writer, "at a molecular level of the traditional evolutionary series: Cyclostome → fish → amphibian →reptile → mammal."
He pursues the topic (p. 293), noting that as far as biochemistry is concerned, none of the alleged series so familiar to evolutionary advocates, show "any sign of their supposed intermediate status. Thus cyclostomes are not only NOT PRIMITIVE biochemically, their place is no closer to any of the invertebrate species than any other vertebrate group. Here the whole idea of gradual sequence is irrelevant.
There is order, and it is typological in category, not progressively upward mounting at the molecular level. There is no urge to surge. There are precise divisions mathematically, illustrated by the fact that kangaroo and chicken per cent difference from the lamprey, at the haemoglobin level, are posted as EQUAL and these with other differentiae are normative and exact. There is mathematical and typological deployment, not progressivist and gradualistic. Boundaries are clear-cut, sustained, organisational and depositional.
Indeed, on pp. 290-291 we find an assessment of this microbiological specialist that
"if the molecular
evidence had been available one century ago
The whole idea of organic evolution, he asserts, might then NEVER HAVE BEEN ACCEPTED!
Perhaps at that time, the lulling into the lordship of the immaterial and its magical 'arising' was inadequate to achieve total deafness to the voice of evidence and occlusion to its sight. Such is the biblical depiction of this area of thought and knowledge (Romans 1:17ff.), and such is the fulfilment. It is categorical more than personal, and transcends individual barriers (cf. Matthew 13:14ff.).
Moreover, Denton points out that in terms
of evolutionary theory, lungfish are millions of years old as a type, yet have
changed hardly at all in that time (pp. 302ff., op.cit.). Is one to suppose, he asks, that though the
proteins of this living fossil, found anew, over such periods of time, being
apparently subject to the forces for change supposed for parallel creatures, yet
did not move while those in other creatures changed out of all sight! The
empirical is soundly and constantly converted! Only the evolutionary theories
change and indeed inveterately contradict each other (cf. SMR
Ch. 2, TMR
Ch. 1), and that, both in the change
and in the hostile interchanges, it is because when you are wrong, and facts
accumulate, you have to do the one and may be confronted with the other!
In the same contrapuntal, confrontation mode, we find the point presented (p. 109, Denton, op. cit.), that though lung fish do indeed have some systems in the fish mode, and some in the amphibian model, BOTH of these systems in that fish are perfected, and normal, with no shadow of transitional form or force. The use of various components in original combinations is called in SMR, Deliberative Design (pp. 252H-J), another of the foci of mind, seeking to deploy on the one hand, what has various uses, amid the differential, on the other, of what has specialised purposes to create the complex which realises a new design, with thrift of method. In sheer abundance of living designs, such as Gould attested for the Cambrian level, there is yet this consistent mental attestation. It all pours out with mental specifications, groupings, completeness, efficiency, abundance of creation conception and wisdom of creative method.
It heaves to with aptitude, despises mere turmoil of merging and makes masterpieces of differentiation by categorical methods which yet produce marvels of individuation and differentiation. When we have finished, and this is just a beginning, we are coming to resemble an article on creativity of mind and person AS SUCH. It is the case, however, that we are simply providing what has been discovered, relative to the results of the institution of the universe in the land of the living. The two are brothers, the correlatives of personal creativity and the character of the creation. The two terms have an intimate and unique correlation, justly mutually apposed. .
Our minds need experiment; the mind of God has neither such a need, nor such a testimony! It diversifies systematically, acts categorically, entwines intelligently, inter-relates with prodigious originality and brilliance, and keeps things exactly as He said in His word, the Bible.
In this, as in all things, facts are real friends of creationism, consistently anointing, whereas for evolutionary nostrums, at war with each other, they contradict facts in confrontation and confusion.
Again, the almost audacious exuberance of creation is a constant feature, both in brilliant solutions to problems and marvellous studies in diversification, not for clammy climbing amid horrific misfits, but with the definitive, detailed, directive certitude that mind normally shows when healthy and eminently equipped with power. The prodigies of sustained continuity with methods to secure this brilliantly inherent in the DNA, these complete the picture with the editing procedures to the fore amid the translation techniques for copying.
This is just one more system effective in maintaining the 'kind'
consideration, with its strong limits and orderly flexibility about a norm,
precisely as the biblical depiction required (cf. The Defining Drama
What then is to be found in the oppressive list of contradictions of fact and evolutionary theory ? There is attested:
No protein evolution, no molecular
evolution, no language evolution shown among tribes,
It is a message.
When you have quite
finished gropings for what is not found, and dismissals of what is,
Then those who for these reasons,
find themselves with a lie in the right hand,
Then it is time to repent and to seek the Lord.
Let us however continue to consider the report before us, and consider the question of advantage given to people, if they believe in God.
As to advantage ? There is no
evolutionary advantage since the concept of creation by evolution is contra-indicated and
constitutes a mere barrage of
false claims never verified. You do not create by removing things. It is not
enough. You need to move in a line of thought, with imagination and address,
knowledge and power, and of the last, enough for the scope and intricacy of the
task, in DNA of supreme exaction.
But what of mere advantage, not improperly defined, simply finding things better in some way because of belief in God ?
This is in this world, a double
sided-sword. Believing truth is always an advantage, but whether this advantage
will have the particular effect of helping you live longer on this earth or
provide more assiduously for its population, this is a complex question
depending on many issues. Firstly, you may be killed as were many Hebrew
infants, as part of a next generation occlusion program noted in
Exodus. Secondly, you might be killed as an exercise in militant political
Islam, as happens often in many countries to this day, or as a member of a tribe not in tune
with the militant views on life and its disposition, which some vehement group
or other wish to embrace.
Genocide might embrace you with its octopus arms, stretching far as do those of some of those vastly intrusive creation, their sucking grapplers spread out like nets; and this could result from your being with others, unamenable to direction to 'believe' something or other which someone or some group or other thinks might be good for you.
In such cases, belief in God (the
actual empirically attested One, not some invention of the mind - that puts
things back to front), would tend to be a negative for 'survival' on this earth.
Egypt in the era of Moses is JUST such a case. The people, Hebrews, were
becoming threateningly numerous. Best USE them and kill the boys! That was the
thought. Its negativity is apparent for
'survival' (on which see What is life for ? ).
It would also be negative in this respect, if you gave your life in a disease prone country, in order to bring people to God. Again, it would tend that way if you gave up your fortune to serve God with it, and so became poor and more exposed to disease and so on. In all these cases, it is a matter of 'other things equal', since God Himself intervenes at will, delivering as He delivered Elijah on an individual basis. As to general trend, however, though Israel as a nation departed from the living God, yet one can see in their case how the racial-religious difference in whatever amalgamation,
had a negative resultant. One also sees how God has for all that, since we are talking of survival,
ENSURED that as a race they DID survive, and did so in a wholly distinctive fashion. That is an
example of a macro-counter movement, though it does not remove the downward force altogether, rather setting a limit.
That too, as always, relates to His word in its premises and promises. Thus in the case of Israel God ensured that they would continue to be (Matthew 24:34), their existence as such not passing
away until the entire gamut of divine operations leading up to the return of Jesus Christ as King
occurs (Matthew 24:38ff., cf. Revelation 1:7-8). It also relates to Genesis 17:7-8, since what was dowered to a race needs to race for its enduement; and it is apparent in Micah 7 with great drama as in Isaiah 59. Further, the distinctiveness of this people is guaranteed, for God explicitly advised them that despite their desire to share international gods and ways, HE would see to it that they
would not be allowed to flow into a unitary merger in this way. Theirs being a distinctive task (Isaiah 43:21), even if they rebelled, they would remain a distinctive people. If ANY people, racially, has been distinctive and viewed as such, it is that of the Jews! Thus the survival aspect has various
facets, some positive, some negative.
The reason for this is quite clear.
You have here an inseparable mix of divine discipline, promise,
human action in sin whether in unbelief or persecution, opportunities in democracy and importunities of wicked rulers and religions which kill as an objective for securing submission and the like. The diversities are inbuilt. In speaking of survival in such a situation, your terminology is too limited for the grand scale of historical dynamics.
Indeed, as TRUTH, belief in God would help you to continue on this earth longer, because of wisdom and understanding, so it might do the opposite, IF the truth required you to give, as God gave in Christ, what is most precious to you, even your life, as a means of serving Him. If the need is vast danger or voluntary deprivation, the trend is similar. Yet it is not final and fatal, but subject to divine intervention.
This earth, in terms of the Bible's inspiration and declaration, is not a rest home or cure; it is a place of spiritual warfare in which the truth is presented to the ears of many (Ephesians 6), and responses, both direct and indirect, vary. Accordingly, the scimitar, torture implements of the Roman Catholic Inquisition, the atomic bomb or other pleasant enterprises are presented to the life of others. These may come uninhibited in a degradation of life, or in retribution. It is not a natural matter, in the sense that negative or positive approach to God makes for incisive, personal, intimate, variable impact depending on the INDIVIDUAL in question.
In this, that health and wisdom and restraint and prudence and discretion and correct perspective are operative in the ones who believe the self-attesting, always self-verifying God of the Bible (it is no use discussing myths, since the topic is belief in God, not in myths - cf. The gods of naturalism ... op. cit., SMR pp. 378-385, Secular Myths and Sacred Truth), there is significant ground for longevity. In that the exercise of these things, and in love, the presentation of them may on the other hand, incite violence, or ill-will, or discrimination, there is at once a negative counterpart.
In some centuries, as in England, there has been a vehement violence which for example shed the blood of whole swathes of Protestants openly in an inglorious, but population-reducing shame and sham, just as in France, Romanist Louis XIV prodded Protestants of diligence and address towards the movement so famous in its time, to America, a matter involving some peril. In other times, however, there has been a remarkable toleration relative to violence against non-preferred religions, so that this variable will be quite notable as non-standard. It may move in multiple directions, and with tones and undertones. It can give a big plus or minus, depending on where one is living in the Divine Drama called history. In the case of the Scotch Covenanters, as you see in Archbishop Loan's volume, Men of the Covenant, it can become not only a non-survival thrust, but one which becomes anti-life at numerous levels, to impoverish, harass, hunt, torture, dispossess and so forth, ultimately of life itself.
Where civilised ethics are in place,
restoring the righteousness of true religion, Christians have more opportunity
to live, since it is not their mandate to FIGHT with blood for their religion
(as in John 18:36), and it matters not at all that Roman Catholicism has done
the precise opposite; for not only is this vastly contrary to the Bible (SMR pp.
950ff., 1032ff.), but it is
specifically so in its massive and long sustained use of force over saddened
centuries. We are discussing God, the verified and validated God of the
Bible, not something else. While people may be conscripted to fight by their
government, as when Hitler threatened freedom, this is not a work of religion,
although those who fought had to determine whether this was a war of
just defence, or not. In that case, there was no great problem in this respect.
ADVANTAGE OF LIFE
Truth is always advantageous, because God is it!
Defamed, Misnamed He is Incandescent in Life and Love
What can be asserted with all simplicity is this, that there is an advantage for life in believing in the God of creation and redemption, because (abandoning presuppositions limiting discussion to naturalism) in its own terms, you then live for ever. It is to be sure NOT an evolutionary advantage, since all the evidence is conclusive that this does not affect the arrival of man, merely showing the limits of variation in the vital design for him. Hence nothing assists his arrival but God.
As to his survival, it is this which we have been discussing, but to live for ever is certainly the ultimate masterpiece of continuation of life, though the term 'survival' has in context something amiss in it, as if this were a known ground and objective, relevant to life itself. This world is merely a primer.
To mistake it for the text of life is as foolish as imagining that what one sees in life, is the work of what
cannot speak, though it acts by symbolic commands,
cannot understand, though it
institutes a maze of correlative commands,
cannot act, though all enactions are
shown to be under His control
has no mind,
though it has produced what can interpret itself, given a book of instructions,
fails to possess any spirit, though His will is never breached in works of His own announced
Is there not a lie in your right hand ?
Nothing seems to change very much in this realm, except its nearness to its non-survival, as a 'lie', indeed as 'the lie' to use the terms found in Romans 1 and in II Thessalonians 2. What defrauds truth in its presuppositions cannot survive in the end, since reality hungers, actuality thunders and what-is does not in the end suffer myth and magic, shadowy substitutes for necessary power. It does not work that way.
A confrontation with reality may have two possible outcomes. You are beaten, or you submit. The conflict is wise depending on whether you are better than it or less; and in this case, in love man is inferior to its source, in power not even comparable, in integrity not up there, in mercy, is one to be instructed, in patience has much to learn, in beauty of holiness is for much of the race, scarcely on the ledger. There is no point in resisting this ultimate reality whose is the creation. Nor is there wisdom in defamation. His word stands as it has stood simply because it is true (cf. Light Dwells with the Lord's Christ).
What then, the script is rebel or submit, and in biblical terms, rather rebel or surrender (Luke 14), a term less opprobrious, and more ample in construction. If the latter, then you live for ever (John 6:47, 13:1ff., John 5:24). If you don't, then life is not something you can resign. You have to live and die in a mordant shame, with your imaginations. You might survive quite a time in the shadows of illusion, brightly lit by this world, and may be a hit in it (Psalm 37:14, 32-36. 5:9ff., 57:4ff.). Indeed, Psalm 73 expresses something of this facet of the affair most vigorously and with a vitality that impacts at once.
It provides us with a message of
mercy amid sacrifice, strength amid vileness and endurance amid the endeavours
of the strong to plant their strength in sacred paths, ignorant though they be
that their sacred is sacrilege, and their gods are but dust, or its mental
"Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart.
"But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.
For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm. They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men.
"Therefore pride compasses them about as a chain; violence covers them as a garment. Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish. They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily. They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walks through the earth.
"Therefore his people return hither: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them."
Here God opens their eyes, revives their hearts, encourages their spirits, restores perspective where it was frayed or began to be dishevelled, and imparted blessing fitting for His servants, needed for fainting sons and daughters, pilgrims in a world of force, walking by faith in the God who made it, not in line with its misuse, but with its Creator, not oblivious of the Redeemer, but abiding in His light. What however induced in Psalm 73, the feeling of oppression, it was this: the apparent ease of the odious. Ease however and survival alike, on this earth, that is not to the point. Contrary as the ways of worldliness are, to the ways of wisdom, in the end, their appeal is delusive and their glory is their shame.
You see things of this non-survival, persecutory, lofty and oppressive type in the case of the imprisonment of John Bunyan, whose Pilgrim's Progress has been such a prolific seller and was for centuries. His little work, A Relation of My Imprisonment, allows one to savour the whole spectrum of anti-survivor techniques used, from social power, to political oppression, from self-contented indifference to establishment oriented insensitivity, from selfish desire to imprisonment for preference.
You see it wrought on a sensitive soul who in that very environment
made his work, which in the providence of God, became for long the second best
seller after the Bible. His survival ... was tenuous, but prolific in result!
Such is the action of God who moves in His own wisdom, allowing Stephen to make
perhaps no less impact by the manner of his death (Acts 7), and in all these
things putting not survival on this earth, but worth and work for Him, in the
life of faith and the lore of love, more fundamental.
Thus does man live and on this earth, die, suffer and prevail or gain quick exit, the perspective in terms of believing in the God who is there, as Schaeffer puts it, being of a different kind. It is in some ways like being in an army. The whole point is not how long you live, but what may be wrought, and why, and for whom! Some do not join it. The time passes, and life tends to ebb.
Life goes on, yet the time is sufficiently limited and rebellion has its own paths. A great thing is this, imagination, but when it shoves its prow into the marina of God, it does not fit. It becomes only fit for the pit.
The case is mordant and memorable; but also devastatingly sad.
Thus here is our second message.
What makes it so is this, that the God of power and eternity is He who both loves and lives, judges and directs, appeals and exhorts, having made us in His own image, equipped for fellowship. Without this, our world is a mighty maestro of calamity set in a sky of eruption and a dynamic of devastation, contrarily equipped with what requires none of this, but the direct opposite.
What it requires, that direct opposite, is what it has and does not recognise, the God of creation and redemption. In power, He is immovable; in mercy, He is unbounded, in truth He is unconfounded, in joy He is elemental and to know Him is by His OWN method: payment at the Cross BY HIM, and repentance at it BY US, with faith in the cover in Christ, immortal over death, unmanipulable and to those who serve Him, a Friend of incomparable dimension.
The great thing is this, that it is impossible to be found in the eternal darkness that has satisfied itself with a reality which was not there, without treading on the blood of Christ (Hebrews 10). That is the place of lack of ETERNAL life, where shame and sham make its very being a darkness. In contrast, there is the simplicity of faith because of the substance of the work done in Christ. What is its pith ?
That is GOD SO loved the world that WHOEVER believes in Christ enters eternity. The love is of this dimension, and it is not compressed. Christ's coming is not to be confused with a work directed at judgment (John 3:17 negates this possibility, which hence becomes simply incorrect).
On the contrary, it is implementing a love which is correlative with sacrifice, even of His only begotten Son, coming as incarnate into this world (Micah 5:1-3). Having all power back of and through and in it, does not fail in the end. (Cf. To Know God, the Power of Christ's Resurrection and the Fellowship of His Sufferings Ch. 1, The Christian Pilgrimage Ch. 3 with Chs. 7, and 9, The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 2, p. 32, Ch. 4 , Predestination and Freewill Section 2, p. 92.)
Such life continues. It does not cease. It is personal, intimate, a fellowship with God, fastened to Him who has beaten death, a just penalty, and accorded grace, a loving gift, to faith in Him. How then do people wreck themselves, bent on destruction ?
As you see in John 15:21ff., it is NECESSARY in some direct way, or its equivalent in the mind of God, for a person to have seen and heard the words and works of Christ, and reject them, in order to manage to gain that spot in hell. It is not easy. Still, some try very hard, you have to give them that. They manage! (cf. KH op. cit. Ch. 4).
*1 For more on Denton, see News 57.