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I Saw a Butterfly
I did during a walk, discern this sudden sight: a butterfly quite still, quite crisp of wing, perfect in artistic coloration, with various geometrical intricacies exploited to the full on its wings, its tiny, tidy disposition all in order, but there was something different.
It was on the ground, or more precisely, it was nestled or set in some way in or on some grass fibres, proceeding from a tiny tussock. It was at about ground level. It looked as if someone had frightened it to such a place, or it had fallen, dizzy; but there it was, wings held pertly and precisely, upward.
The ground beneath it was reddish in colour, not rich, a track on a hillside, lightly covered with mist. There was no form or comeliness about the setting, tending a little towards aridity, but there was this thing, save the mist, all but down in the dust, beautiful to behold, a work of maxi-precision, like a painting on the ground, except it seems, it lived.
How difficult at first to consider it alive! Was not this delicacy near the dust, this precision near to weeds, to the rocky, gravelly base of the surface of the hill! How do you keep washing clean in a dust storm, or such a thing as this so pure looking, in such a site! It seemed almost unnatural that it should be so, a sort of atypical contrast. It impelled thought.
Does our washing stay clean in a dusty wind ? or do surgical instruments stay sterile in a crowd ? or does a painting retain its texture when tossed about by manual labourers or hurricanes ? Does food not rot if one fails to preserve it, and does not a cell unguarded by its membrane, constitute an invasion site!
Do things not run down when artistries and graces, delicacies and intricate systems, set without hardened covers, are given time without much care ? Is not the Second Law of Thermodynamics a law because there are no exceptions known to its stipulation ? Do not things, without domain of diligence applied, tend to dissipate the more as they are vulnerable the more ?
Yet here amid the rough and tumble of weather, wind, sea, oceans, storms, pollution, earthquakes, vast earthworks and clouds of dust, vibrant heat stirring much of the globe, intense cold afflicting much of the rest, here prodigies of artistry and delicacy continue to arrive and proceed to endure. When one generation is gone, another arrives, fresh from the bakeries of confection, run by the DNA and associated structural engineering components.
Life, it is like that.
Delicacy is preserved, for there is a cell membrane. Kinds are kept intact, for there are duplicating editing facilities, to correct errors which might afflict the next generation, reducing copy faults greatly so that over thousands of years, the most fastidiously intricate and delicate things are enabled to happen with immense complexity, and people still come with their ten little toes and fingers, hearts and lungs, nervous systems and pathology repellants, all intact, still vigorous, still discernible as kind. What a feat! what a feature!
Life lifts the dull materials of its usage to higher planes of created creativity; it is vigorous, it commandeers materials, groups them, remakes and remoulds them, deploys and forms them, assigns and covers them with this or that, makes diligent provisions for energy supply from a specialised centre, thrusts out new births, seeds, containers, in a myriad of modes of impulsion and distribution.
The results come, they are commanded; they grow: they preserve their form and are meticulously conserved in geometry as limbs enlarge, enabled proportionate curvature or modified modelling as strength grows. Tiny motors, we are informed, activate such marvels as protein folding, and nothing happens for nothing. Cause is deployed with precision, activates with reason, and being grounded makes its grounds felt, and effects flourish: so do small shoots become limbs over time, and tiny babies mature into wrestlers or footballers, scientists or philosophers.
What dynamic drives this creative masterpiece, what results attest the co-ordination of causation, and what a mind the latter requires for its utilisation in such a schema of integrality, and a meaningful measure of functionality, all assembled to become one; for things with billions of components, pressured by command into service, with chronological, physiological and neurological arrivals and provisions, matching the needs and the entire system, are governed, groomed, commanded and constructed into single entity marvels, living chariots of composition, minded with minds, encompassed with determination, yet given the scope of life.
It is thus that the mind of man can then uncover the laws, the modes, the means and the models, as best he can, and marvel at the measures which the LOGOS instilled into its creations, just as it created logic in him. Not nothing, not mechanical items of no cause, but the eternal LOGOS created mental emblems and ordered motions in nature, and they match, and man can even hatch theories, not always wrong about the ways they work and the requisites of their ordered operation!
The source is both reason and cause, expression and expressiveness, creativity and modelling, mathematical and engineering in designation; just as the LOGOS has such features in its very meaning as a word. Word governs. God speaks the word, whether to make the witness of creation or when it is in the Bible as a testable text, with all the difference between the infinite God and finite man as the ground of its reliability and testability and triumphant success.
God even makes the challenge to the mind of man, as in Isaiah 48, where He mocks man's desire to resist the inevitable, ignore the impassable and turn from the actual; and the same theme runs through Isaiah 41-48. Man's gods and oblivion to truth do not alter it, the One who made both man and his world, and put His word and Messiah into it. WHO else ? NAME anyone else. WHERE is the contender, where is the competition ? Let us see the works and compare.
God's challenge - it remains to this day, and increases as more and more comes to pass, precisely as He has spoken it). As to the LOGOS, as we saw in Chapter 8 above, He is the eternal expression of the eternal God; for with God there is an infinitude of wonder, and His very expression is Himself endowed as a Person, operative in equality, bringing magnificence to view, while His Spirit applies these things as seems good. Indeed, as seen in
LIGHT DWELLS WITH THE LORD'S CHRIST
WHO ANSWERS RIDDLES AND WHERE HE IS, DARKNESS DEPARTS.
every phase and facet, feature and essential element that may be summoned bows to witness in verification, to the Lord; and whatever contends, bends (cf. II Corinthians 10:5). So one finds, and has found; and the more one looks, over millions of words in testimony, the more one finds it so.
What vitality then is to be found in this same LOGOS, who as John's Gospel informs us, came as Jesus the Christ, intimately enshrined in flesh through a virgin as Matthew attests and Isaiah foretold, just as Hosea 13:14 implied it! Here is the resource and source alike; for His is that eternal life which He gives (I John 1:1-4, Hebrews 7:16, John 8:58). Man soars in thought, but stops at barriers.
The last barrier is God, and this is impassable (I Timothy 6:16), but made possible through His divine grace (John 1:18) by which He has revealed His mind, purpose, design and designation for man (cf. I Corinthians 2:9ff.), appointing His eternal Word to take the form but not the sin of man, in order that He might bear the sin with none of His own, so removing it where faith receives His gift, and leading to life that is life indeed, and not a soiled residue.
Invitation replaces supplication and enables its fulfulment (cf. John 15:7. I John 5:15). Access to God is via His word (cf. John 1:1-14), and as to Him, He has already sent Him.
We do not now await His coming to save, but His return for those who ARE saved, as His Gospel, in Isaiah foretold it (cf. SMR Ch. 9), and Christ enunciated it, as Paul and Peter prescribed it through the power of the Spirit of God (cf. I Corinthians 2:9ff.). With this soaking into the very surface of this planet, all peoples hear, and the time moves to its final parade past the eyes of man, and this Age comes to its conclusion.
Everything comes: that is one of the master concepts in life. Creation comes; test comes; preservation comes; judgment comes; salvation comes; the Gospel comes: the time to receive it comes and it goes. Today it is still here.
So are we. Let us rejoice in the vitality of life, the victory of His wisdom and power, purity and love over sin, and ensure that we are participants in His provisions, already received for physical, mental and spiritual action, but needed in a further layer for spiritual life, to replace the marring and scarring of sin.
It is this same vitality and vigour, unremitting capacity and splendid innocence in infinite wisdom which in God brings forth once the myriad forms of life and their myriads of exemplifications and productions for every season, in the first place.
That is creation.
It is He who similarly produces the liberation from sin which obscures the truth and rebels at duty for Him; and pays for it, and He HAS paid (Hebrews 9:12, 9:27-10:14), never to pay again (Galatians 1).
This too, long foretold (as in Isaiah 49-55,61) He has done. His Spirit has been long applying these payments and this life to those who receive it (I John 1:1-4, John 3, 5:11-12). When He comes, when the resurrection of the life first made and then re-made and paid for, duly arrives, then His resurgent vitality, acting a third time, brings vital and new models for life, not only within, but outside as well. The resurrection has been accomplished THROUGH HIM, achieved BY Him, and will be applied when He comes! THAT, that is a vitality surpassing, that in love He restores and even culminates what was done at the first so that at the last, on a selective basis where faith lives, in Him and these HIS works, it is better than it was before man fell.
Praise God for such unequalled mercy, love and utter grandeur of Spirit, mind and heart.
Paul expresses the wonder of it all in Titus, an excerpt from which appears below.
"For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,
Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts,
we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
"Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing
of the great God and our Saviour, Jesus Christ*;
Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity,
and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
*Literally: 'the glorious appearing of the great God and Saviour of us, Jesus Christ,
who gave Himself for us...' The point is that the 'the' which introduces this figure who redeemed us, Jesus Christ, introduces God with just the same article, 'the great God and Saviour'. It is as seen in Chapter Eight : there is no Saviour who is NOT GOD who can help man, for as God says in Isaiah 43:10-11, "besides ME, there IS no Saviour."
"These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.
"Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers,
to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,
To speak evil of no man,
to be no brawlers, but gentle,
showing all meekness unto all men.
"For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish,
serving divers lusts and pleasures,
living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.
"But after the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
Not by works of righteousness which we have done,
but according to His mercy He saved us,
by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
That being justified by his grace,
we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
"This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that you affirm constantly,
that they who have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works.
These things are good and profitable to men."