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THE AGREEABLE DIALOGUE
Are you well, my friend ?
How are you ?
Not too bad - yourself ?
Fine. How bad is not too bad ?
Well, it is rather between being positively gloomy, with room for rumination about health problems, and being satisfied that one is the best one could be.
In what median or place is it to be found, towards the one or the other ?
Surely, it is hard to define, but I would say there is a general feeling that there is functionality of a kind, but that there are needless or at least undesirable limits to the vigours and rigours one ought to be able to stand.
Why ought one ?
It is just a feeling, perhaps, plus a survey result over past performance, and then a comparison with the powers of those like me, and then I suppose some sort of reference to design, what we are made able to do, might do and are found to have powers to perform.
Yes, we all design things at times, or have a design, that is a purpose, in some context. Life without design is like water without molecules. It is virtually inconceivable in our present milieu, it is to remove what is its basic nature.
Surely you do not mean to ascribe to design a place as our main working feature ?
Not the only one, but a pervasive one. It is like saying that God is love: certainly this is not even appearing to say that He is nothing else, for it does not say 'only love'. On the other hand, just as one does not need to go overboard about about the ONLY part, one needs to realise that a statement is made: If God were in any respect to breach the ascription that He IS love, then this would become untrue. Since one seeks understanding of the meaning, then one concludes that nothing in Him is to the contrary, that this is a motivation never lost in some counter-move, and that whatever else, like justice, is to be found within His being, this is not such as to vaunt itself against love, but that they live together in holy harmony, so that He is both just and loving, and may be called the truth as well as love.
I see, yes that's it. When He judges, it is only when love has to the uttermost intervened, so that it is not outmoded even when it is rejected; and since love is like that, subject to rejection in kind, therefore it is fulfilled when expressed and provided. Thus with God, His actions in judgment and justice so far from being athwart the bows of love, that they are in place, as is all, as His designs for man are fulfilled. They come in their place and at their time!
True. So my health is related to design. From the commands by the million in the DNA of each one of us, to the proportionalities of our limbs and functions; from the interchangeability of our minds and their processes and the creation spread out before us, obviously by the same mind as made our own, since the two are capable of intermingling, the one with its data and the other with its investigations in a cognate realm of the same; from the correlation of intimate bodily functions like nerve-blood-cell-defence-system, bone, balance and sight significations, to the functionalities which permit one to call on all as one, for its fulfilment, all being structured for such apposition: we are design*1.
Ah, so it is as with love. We ARE design, but this does not mean we are ONLY design, but that there is nothing ULTIMATELY contrary to it in us; and when design has been realised, other things also have place. Thus thought is realised in our design, and OUR thoughts that we make, are realisable in OUR designs which as created offspring of the LOGOS, are adapted to and adept at this If sin interferes with design, as when it tries wantonly to ignore it, then this is contrary to design in the sense of lying about it, seeking perhaps even to subvert it (cf. Romans 1:25): but it does not make it inapplicable.
After all, freedom to use design in a metaphysical way or a physical way, for example, thus in fornication of body or mind or spirit, in ways alien to the intimations of the Creator, this is PART of the design provision. It is allowed for : it is like being ABLE to put your foot right down on the accelerator in a busy city street, after a stop light. The car design ENABLES this, though the abuse is not intrinsic, merely extrinsic to the design, an aspect available to the driver, which in man is the spirit he has been given to enable such forays, folly or wisdom, like static if you MUST tune your radio badly.
Thus, on the other side, since the USE of liberty, as part of design, is in such cases contrary to the integrity of the design in its lawful intention, there is a slide from the operational felicity of the design to a sub-section, operator's mangling of the provisions enabled by design. This may be called grief, woe, misery or degradation.
What else are we then in addition to design ? We are free agents within specified domains. We cannot fly much except in contrivances. We are both limited and delimited, reminded of our created status and potentiated; but when we soar with reason and invest thought in the created domain, we find not only the assimilability of thought within that domain, and its functionality in understanding it, and so advance in 'knowledge' and seem sophisticated by simply exploiting other design features in creation which were placed there by the same LOGOS as gave us powers of logical thought, we reach further and find more. In fact, we find clarity of charity.
What on earth do you mean by that ?
Oh simply that a designer is either a torment of anguish, or an overreaching megalomaniac, or some other sort of disturbed personality, or is designing something for some good purpose.
What do you mean by 'good' ?
Not malign, not interested in doing evil, ruining designs that work well and not acting in such selfish interests as belong to those whose design is to make others a means of supplanting reality with a greatness that is that of theft and so on.
You mean there is a justice in things which needs to be observed.
Yes, simply because it is there. Things are what they are, one person invents this or that, and another exploits without warrant or licence. Again, someone loves someone, but is supplanted by an arrogant deceiver who wants no GOOD for the wife to be, but merely to use her for various self-centred purposes. All this is contrary to justice and the nature of the created things, so that we need charity, a willingness to look on all things with justice and even understanding, to be felicitous in relationships.
How does this differ then from mere indulgence ?
Indulgence is unjust. It allows what is weak to penetrate where it does not belong, and so disturbs the realities of creation, just as self-will does. We are made, not in order to indulge madness in ourselves or in others. That is part of the design, not to presume as if gods and do whatever comes to mind and imagination. That is simply to live a lie.
In the end, you know, there is nothing good but the will of the Designer.
In this sense, yes, that is so: HIS designs have their ambits and natures and, we must add, purposes. What aborts or distorts these, it is not good.
This is true in part.
I know, it comes back to the next stage: Is the Designer good ?
Does He design in order to exercise self-will, that is, some kind of approach which distorts what is the actual case with a view to self-elevation beyond reality and so forth ?
Yes, but of course, He does not do this, since as the Creator (and all patterns of beings short of this need the supply of their common communication apparatus, logical realities and intimate powers), He is the ultimate, and has need of nothing; for if He had, there would be whatever impelled such differences and limits upon Him, so that He could will beyond His means, the latter limiting the former. That implies a structurer past and beyond Him, which is only another way of saying this: that we were not really talking of God in the first place, but of some derivative. Moving back to God, we find that this lack of limits is and has to be the case.
In that case, then, you would argue ...
I do argue, yes, you see it: there is no way for Him to seek satisfaction for His own advancement, or feeling or whatever, from creation as a need or even whim, since HE ALREADY BY DEFINITION has all this. Hence He is good, giving and not ruining.
Yet there are many desolations of land and heart, in this world which work on an opposite, meretriciously chosen, liberty-abusing path.
True. When what He has made decides, BEING LIMITED, to do what He does not desire or to act contrary to His ethos, construction or its own capacities, but abusing them, and so to SPOIL design, by using its glorious properties for inglorious purposes, then there are consequences. Will He abort what aborts itself ? He could. Will He seek to deliver what He has designed with LIBERTY to abort itself if it will, over centuries, millenia or moments, by some means ? It is His option. However since He DID make it and it is staggeringly demanding in its called for requisites and requisitions as design, as a work of divine imagination, therefore one would expect through His knowledge of the beginning and end of all things (for He has no limits) that there might be an answer to folly.
It could only be from His own lips, if one may of a Spirit speak in such imagery.
Why not ? The point is clear: the point is communication of dedicated purpose to designated hearers or heeders (or those who junk whatever comes, as liberty created, enables in its exponents).
Well, we were talking about my being well or not. I specified things which in the end had to relate to purpose and functionality and what is good. But the question arises: Good for WHAT ? Well, for WHAT one is designated to be. So come the questions: What is that ? As one wit had it in a Punch cartoon decades ago: An aged uncle speaks to a young thing, a young man of small purpose in life, going to play tennis, who has just announced that one has to keep fit. FIT FOR WHAT ? asks the uncle.
Indeed. That is to the point. Well are you then well ?
I am well for my God-given purposes in life, but not as well as would enable me to adorn them as much as I would.
So you are so-so ?
No, more than that: I am operationally efficient, and sufficient in the power of the God whom I serve, but not vivaciously exuberant ...
Is that fitting for what you are fit for ?
It may be. David speaks of shouting for joy, Peter of joy unspeakable and full of glory.
Do you have this kind of joy in your current state of health ?
Well, that is the spiritual side of health.
To the point please ...
And I would say that while I could at the moment freely raise a good cry about joy, it could be better if it WERE in the shout area.
In other words, without being spiritually jaded, you are not as energetically full of spiritual zest as you could be. But what about spiritual quest ?
Yes, this is intact. You know, I really ought to give myself to more prayer, for while I am joyful in a meek and quiet sort of way, the shout part is rather distant. Perhaps I am in some small danger of becoming quiescent, and in this world, that if not fatal, is perilous. It is the JOY OF THE LORD which is ONE'S STRENGTH, as Nehemiah 8:10 says, and weakness is not a fit thing for the energetic pursuit of the will of God.
I concur absolutely.
You know, people often talk of God the way we have spoken of health. I KNOW whom I serve and why and in what ways (II Timothy 1:12), and wait on HIM for more directions according to His written word, the Bible, which is His demonstrable chosen remedial coverage for the human race (for He has not forgotten what He has made, nor yet destroyed it as contrary to designated outcomes, while letting it flow where it is to go)*1A. I do not have to wonder if I wander; for His word makes His mind clear, the one that made me, and in this and by His Spirit which applies it and opens the way, I discover His mind for Me and His will: for light is sown for the righteous as Psalm 97 advises, and one finds. His mind made clear, this becomes in impact: my mind made informed; and so I go.
Yes, but as you were beginning to indicate, many do indeed speak in that sort of inadequately analysed way about God. You know, you ask - Do you believe in God ? and they reply, Oh in some sort of way...
Then, I know, you ask, In what sort of way ? and then they wonder and wander about, and say that there is this and that view about God, but you ask if they believe in the Creator, and they say yes but they do not know if ... and so on.
In other words, they fail, just as you were at first verbally failing to make the obvious clear. When we went into your health in depth and detail, we found that it was BECAUSE we came to God of necessity, that we could even define what we meant by good health. So it is only because ...
Yes, of course, it is only because we define what we mean by God, going into the depths and alertly seeking for and finding His word when it comes as it must and has evidenced itself to have done - that we are even coherent.
Indeed, for He has not destroyed what destroys itself, and can seek Him, and can find just what it is that HE is. His patience is not witless or self-contradictory; for He has chosen His design, informed it, and delays judgment for a reason. His word specifies it*2, and His life demonstrates it*3.Without this, one cannot really speak with any final significance at all, apart from the knowledge of His divine nature and unlimited power. With it, we know whom we have believed and are persuaded that He who has foreknown from the first, will keep to the last (II Timothy 1:12,4:8).
So you are well, because enabled to do what is His purpose for you, and He is good being without need of any kind, psychic or other, and giving, and because He has evidenced His will in His validated and verified word*4, and His remedy in Jesus Christ*5, and this is free*6, as is life in the first place (you do not pay your mother to be born), and you both know WHO He is and WHAT He wants and WHAT you are and WHAT HE wants of you ...
All good of course, but you know, there is love.
I know, you could know your employer and what he wants of you, and be fit to perform it and still there is a vast comprehensible gap. And that ...
It is this: Do you WANT to do what he desires, like it, see its point, its purpose ...
Yes, we are purposive beings, being made to be so.
Many do not like the purpose of the ones they work for, is it not so ?
Yes, but for me, if there were a MORAL element wrong, I would not work there.
As a worker for God, you work not where it is pleasant (who said anything about its being pleasant to labour for what is good, but it may be, and in spirit underneath it all, is because it is the chosen purpose of the one you love ...).
This brings us back to love. I'd love to come MAY means pleasure is sated or delight is met or admiration is accruing or that the purpose in hand is to be desired and so on.
Sad it is when people do not love the One who assigns first gifts and then talents and then tasks.
Sadder yet when people do not even know Him, and so rejecting the deliverance in Jesus Christ, the sin-killer and death-vanquisher, do not even know what they should be doing.
Saddest perhaps of all, it is when, though knowing something of Him, they do love Him. Hence like broken clocks they whine and do not proceed smoothly. With hearts capable of love, and spirits of its admission (Romans 5:5), man is usually without that overarching love which emanates from God the giver and is exhibited in the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ as the Bible propounds it and history exhibits it*7. Hence he gets paranoid or depressed or superficial, and looks for this or that panacea or support or basis, like money, or pleasure, or money-fied pleasure, or pleasurably disposed money, or power for glory, or power for the gory (being filled with hatred of this or that or the race or God or any combination), or the illustrious before men (though abomination in many cases before God) or the unillustrious (as a sort of hate gambit), and becomes at times like some tail end of a dying meteor, flaming into nothing because it is not well attuned to the atmosphere.
And our atmosphere is God, who is a consuming fire.
Nice to meet you this morning, and to hear that you are well.
It is well with my soul, for while the fire burns the dross, the intimacy of the personal God gives quiet feeding to inward peace that endures, not as a rite for survival, but as the right of those who having received Christ as Lord and Saviour for their entire lives, the right to become, the authority indeed to received, arrayed, organised and sent as the children of God, whose end is never and whose life is eternal (I John 1:1-4, 5:11-12, 5:25, John 1:12).
See Deity and Design ...
Barbs, Arrows and Balms 6 -7, Repent or Perish Ch. 2, Ch. 7 , SMR pp. 43ff.,
That Magnificent Rock, Ch. 5. See also Sparkling Life ... Ch. 4.
*2 This is shown in II Peter 3:9.
*3 See, for example:
Christ the Wisdom and the Power of God Ch. 8,
Repent or Perish Ch. 2, SMR Ch. 6, It Bubbles ... Ch. 9.
*4 This is provided in:
LIGHT DWELLS WITH THE LORD'S CHRIST
WHO ANSWERS RIDDLES
AND WHERE HE IS, DARKNESS DEPARTS
The Meaning of Liberty and the Message of Remedy
See Romans 3:23ff., 5:15ff., Galatians 3, 5, Isaiah 55, Romans 10.
See SMR Chs. 6, 8, 9, Appendix C and D and *1A and *3 above in different aspects.