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THE CREATION OF LIBERTY BY THE LORD
AND CHAINS OF CONSTRAINT LIFTED BY CHRIST,
HIMSELF WITHOUT CHAINS
CREATION AND THE STATUS QUO
God is He who over time, and before its creation as our chronological base, resolved to make liberty, so that man in the image of God, could enjoy it or endure its defilement.
He took a number of utterly sovereign steps. First, He resolved whether He would act to make such a created realm. Secondly, He chose on this topic, whether he would make man. With this, thirdly, He decided why He should make man, and how. Fourthly, He resolved what type of approach He would follow. Thus, He conceived what would be if man misused either the external cosmos created for him, or that internal cosmos, his spirit, within the external one, in man's own personal life, so polluting both himself and it, in which God placed him. Moreover, fifthly, the choice was concluded concerning how He should and would act, in detail, should man so fall; and why; and with what effect, concerning man, and how it would be administered. Sixthly, He resolved what should be the spiritual texture of it, its nature, its perspective, its characterisability, just as He had also already resolved what would be the nature of man. Moreover, He wrought the way for the individual, family, city, race and word, and the application of the criteria of His own principles in each case. That makes seven sovereign choices of Almighty and Eternal God.
Obviously, what is presented in a logical rather than a chronological heptad, but for examination it is set in this format. Moreover, with the use of time for us to envisage it, we gain merely an illustrative use, for God is not in time, but time is from God, who knows the modes and outcomes, and provides for all. This in no way eliminates the reality of the work required and the ingenuity bestowed: it is just not the way we do it, as to the form of it, though the logic applies, since God Himself IS the Word, as well as the Speaker as in John 1:1 and Isaiah 48:16ff., adumbrating, formulating and expressing beyond the limits of creation, for creation.
So all these resolutions, be their formation understood this way or that, are made. God thinks, formulates and does. Such provides the fabric for examination, eventuation. It is presented here not as the mode of action for God in the form of God, but as it substance. God is not casually inspectable, though He invites reason; His principles however are, and are biblically stated.
In all this, coming to the point of predestination and freewill, we find a model, scripturally bound and conformable to the revelation in it (cf. my thesis, Predestination and Freewill).This basic reality is all involved in the sovereign creation of liberty in the milieu of man.
It is not the creation of a sovereign, as if man were a mighty controller of man, except for the powers granted in his environment within the mandate of God, that there might BE liberty. It is not, on the other hand, the creation of a puppet or pliable robot, plasticity or structured being subject to internal force or compulsion, except insofar as liberty requires a basis, that it might be exercised. Man sovereignly made in terms of the choice of God to implement His will, is made at liberty concerning God Himself, a person and not a puppet; for God is no puppet and so to interpret the image is merely jocular, for that is its opposite.
How very sovereign is He who in majesty composed, comprehended and comprised a creation and in it, that of liberty for one called man. Therefore, man is surrounded, like a ship in a rock studded sea, in a maritime wonder, and given instructions, he is not forced to follow.
What then, concerning his use of a liberty so wonderful ? it is this: man is a personal being sovereignly created to be free. It was not autonomy that God here made, for there cannot be two absolutes, each absolute, unless identical, as is the Trinity, in a comprehensive and infinite intimacy. There is only one such Being, who reveals Himself and this testably (SMR, TMR). Man is not that being, but related to Him as an image, set within conditions and conferments, to relate.
Thus God decided
whether to create, and did it;
to create and all foreknown to Him (Isaiah 46:10),
to create, and what assembled components systematically to synthesise
operationally, giving them place and space and time and form,
It was not a minute point, a singularity, which contained the basis for every law that ever would be, every synthesis, all logic, all imagination (we ourselves are amazing in imagination), all compositions, all thought, the validity of thought, the powers of verification and the capacity to survey things material with conditions immaterial, functions not only conceptual concerning things material, but explicatory, and to know the truth. No point can do this; and the idea of putting all the powers which are needed to create all these things into a material thing is mere subterfuge. It is no better than the Greek concept that all was basically water, or fire, or variability, or invariability. It is just silly thought, the only redeeming feature of which is that it draws attention to different aspects of what sufficient thought, mentality, purpose and power has wrought, including the power to want to be wrong, to be contra-factual, to , and to want to deny the obvious, as well as the power to purpose to overthrow the very interstices of one's own being, or the Maker of it.
A point is heroic comedy for such results, and its contents would need to include all that God is, hidden in potential, irruptive in power, intrusive in disposition, except that a point is material, and matter in order even to be, has to have a causative basis (cf. Causes, Predestination and Freewill IV, SMR Ch. 5 ), including the grounds for its format, form, function, laws, interactive proponents, micro- and macro- performances, and subjectibility to mind in order not only to enable the constructive and imaginative powers of that cosmos to be, but to be mentally examinable, so that, being actualised, they might be examined, re-formulated by man and exposed in their naked intellectuality.
To have the basis is one thing, even though it be but illusion summarised in an irrelevant, surreptitiously packed model; but to pressurise it into a point, and to make this a singularity is almost a burlesque of a comedy, folly on folly, a marriage in the enchanted wood, of the blissful fairies of human imagination, a Midsummer Night's dream, substituting the casual luxury of creative fancy for anything remotely approaching actuality. Were it an opera, fine; but in reality, so blissfully and bountifully ignoring what logic actually requires, it is an iridescence of thought, fascinating he undisciplined mind, catering to evacuative thought. Needed is not some material point, but a spiritual unity, capable at every level without reductionism or question begging, itself not a created thing subjected to intensive laws, but their source whether seen in this way or that, sufficient, not itself merely generated, which ignores the point in proliferation.
Required is an extension creating Creator, foundational and eternal, self-sufficient since to import sufficiency is to ignore the logical requisite and be founded on fancy. It is He who in grace made space with all its multiplied ordered components, each singular and yet meldable with the rest, and time, with its wonders of ordered and ordained process, since law is neither the product of nothing nor of already created irregularity, but of what can and does formulate and fashion it, impart it and enable it in its own commanding constraints. We are not doing a dance of the fairies as in an opera for entertainment.
The universe is not for entertainment and needs to be taken seriously by the one whose spirit enables its surveyal, by transcending the tedium of events, and having power to assess logically, empirically, beyond what is, to what has to be for it to be, whether in things small or in things large, in things causative or in things consequential. These things, constantly employed and deployed by man, are not thrust in as a joke, to be ignored like an ill-mannered reference at a social gathering, but appreciated in dire reality. Operation requires operability, and relevant powers for this, and no invention of ANYTHING from nothing! whether the point be point or points, Picasso style, or anything else.
Not the mode but the reality comes first, and to make modes which ignore it is not only irrelevant, but an imposition out of sequence, like a blow-fly entering a kitchen, a buzzing intrusion that created neither the kitchen nor its contents nor its agents nor their thoughts nor their liberties nor the equipment with so much less of it as a mere token of the ridiculous!
Points, bits*1, butting in, it is like a picture of dots, each one of which has been carefully selected by an overview before the view, to enable their meaning to be discerned in terms which merely use formats to expose information, so that the depictable items which figure under direction, can be exposed to thought and discerned as to sense, as when a tape recording of particular items, is interpretable by decoding its code. This is code only because what is coded pre-exists the coding, so that the information becomes effectual, and not the ravings of an idiot. Why is this so ? It is BECAUSE the code has such susceptibilities, in the cosmos of synthetic action and analytical thought, and such outcomes in leading to understanding to which it is merely a symbolic attestation.
It is He who determined that He would make man, and so set about using the powers He always had; for if at any time ultimately they were not there, were missing, there was nothing at all, this the source, a null basis that would by definition always be the case. However, verifiably, this is not so. What lacks the power in invent the different observable and identifiable dimensions of life, physical, mental, spiritual, its optative side, its grisly, its gross and its distortive aspects, when this is ultimate and foundational, requires that these things never be. Remember we are talking of what is in the ultimate, before all came into being, that it might even be at all. Yet there are and absolute nothing was never so. Entire, eternal, self-sufficient sufficiency for all is the only logical option. It avoids the chaos, or more precisely antinomy, of reason providing by unreason what it reasons about.
Small wonder that this mythical point, obtained by imagining that what seems to be expanding, can for no reason be brought back to an imaginary start; but why start, and how stop, and why have anomalies strewn throughout*1A, whether in terms of magnetic aspects, or in terms of huge formations near the alleged beginning, or mathematical aspects constraining space, or inadequate time for temperature equality in space, or absence of negative energy, or notably unnoticeable anti-matter, supposed partner of matter in the arrival of these from energy and so forth. It is like a suit in which the buttons are at the back, the collar is at the trouser cuff, the pants are worn on the coat, and the coat serves as trousers, and cloth and sewing come from nowhere.
That it is amusing, and would be simply so, like a comic play, except that some who seem to thrive on antinomy, the ultimate clash of opposing principles, bringing in everything from nowhere, and yet insisting on being logical about it once it is there, only having the further problem that it does not perform as required by the myth, go further: they insist on teaching others, and even the young. It is therefore not just a sick society into which man has transmorphed, but a deceived on, and often, a deceitful one.
Returning to logical reality however, God decided also
with what body and mind He would create man, and
in what assemblage,
The result is always a resolution in terms of having
one synthetic, hierachically governed*1B whole,
one being, one psyche, one spiritual person,
spirit over mind, mind over means,
one only DNA language, as in parallel, effectually in the ordering outside it,
and instituted them, instated them, and set them in lively operation in this created space-time model, like a car, which being there, yet has to be started, and being set up, still has to be given the initial energy-form, dynamic direction which turns potential to actuality, as normally called creation.
in His own image, then, God made man, susceptible therefore to fellowship, to reason, exhortation, capable of receiving information, and being spoken into existence, through commands with correlative power, as with a CEO in our far lower level, formed as susceptible to internal management physically by law, program, and definition of terms at the programmatic level, that all becoming operational at a subsidiary level, should proceed to enable liberty in man to supervene. This in turn enabled love, not the response of equipment so drafted, but of a person who COULD and MIGHT love, but being free, might not. Known as man he is equally susceptible to hate, and with emotional outage and subterfuge, to malice, malevolence and madness. There is much to prevent this, but as with the Trade Towers, if you are sufficiently inflamed, things can happen. It is of course on the resultant side, the case that the Creator has be SOUGHT, as when towers are rebuilt...
Thus the personal realm was sovereignly instituted, and in all this man had no part, nor did anyone nor anything, but what was sovereignly selected for the purpose by the One who having no binding upon Him, yet binds His creation, and in the case of man, confers liberty, as well as the results of its misuse.
THE SOVEREIGN CREATION OF LIBERTY
Now at last, man could USE this liberty inherent in the image of God, for God being a Spirit, there is nothing simply geometrical about it, but spiritual, and in this the liberty consisted. He could not, this man, become God, since eternity does not commence, but man both did and does, in his generations, command-cast by the inscribed word of intelligence*2; and he could not compete with God, since divine comprehension and indeed source of eternal knowledge leaves no scope, though man could of course try to do the impossible, as an expression of liberty, if he so chose. It is then a type of rebellion, though it can be assigned more dashing names. It can come in the form of "unyielding despair," unattractive but to the hardened, an expression of autonomy where it does not exist, so creating an imaginary world, whereas it is necessary to live in the real one.
Like the universe, this situation had a beginning. Choice loomed like a cloud over the creation, and the sun of decision arose with its powers of perception ordered and organised, correlative to liberty, serviced by the Sovereign. Liberty is not law, and it can even aspire to break it, or to take it over; and often does just as it has done.
This sovereign creation of liberty in the midst of enabled will, made something lovable, but not necessarily lovely, for what would its choice be ? It could elect to love, to worship indeed; but it did not have to do it. Love is like that. It is an intensely private flower. What is unlovely can love with an unlovely love, if it has the feature of liberty and superadded, the grievous fact of fall or failure. What is unspoilt however, may love with a holy love; and such was man when created but not foiled or spoiled. Foiling becomes apposite when spoiling seeks folly.
Man then might have elected to worship or pretend, compete or become merely deceptively obedient; he might have aspired to greatness or resolved on waywardness. What then did this unfallen man do ?
He resolved to follow an alien and testing advice, which suggested evil concerning God, as to motive, and means of implementing the evil desire as to action.
Where did this evil arise ? It did not arise as part of the initial creation, all of which was good, nor is the image of God distorted or aborted. That 'ímage' is of Himself. It did not come from the very fabric of the sovereign creation of liberty, or it would not have been liberty which was created. It came, if we now regard this historical fact as a model, for testing and comprehending purposes. This lay with the use of the model that is man. HOW did he use this liberty, electing freely ? and in what, did he resolve to be led, as shown overall, when the deed was done and in the record of it as it was being done ? It was in a disparaging and competitive domain of illusory thought, toward God.
Such then was the way liberty was used. If it had not been possible to use it in this way, it would not have been liberty at all. It was energised and activated so that this was one of its options, and this was inherent, just as constraints may be inherent in things we make, as very different ingredients from what we can distil, re-organise, when we make things.
Some are so wedded to their soul-free determinism, that they choose and resolve in their imaginary non-liberty, to delete all conception of liberty from man, and so use what they deny. While indeed they attack it, and so use it to do so, they make a world where constraints are all, so that there is no truth, but only operations which control, none of which is beyond it, while nothing is there to give it basis, so making their contentions as liable to dismissal as any other oddity of antinomy.
Man however was not made by fallen man, but made by God, and having fallen in his use of liberty (Genesis 3, Romans 5), he hence became a creator of a kind, creating conflict and lie and illusion all in one step. This was not all that he created, but it was a special implementation in a forlorn field, to which he demanded and gained access.
He was made in entire and total morality, linked to liberty, so that it could BE morality and not mere program. The use of such a spirit as he thus was given, with its powers of creation of thought and impression and perspective and consideration, whether of his own or other thought, was something sovereignly engendered, as to its existence and function, and then in the model of freedom, used personally not to love, but to become a species of competitive lord, without foundation for the choice, and hence confounded in having made it, since it was like a choice to fall over an abyss. The choice is there; but the results are there too.
Avoid reality and the meaningless comes like a fever, fabricated but appealing as a symbol of the spiritual symptom of divorce from deity. Meaningless formulations then can madden till man becomes his own author, in some seemingly insane squandering of reason, and then may reach an epitome of this madness, as in Mao in China, whose erratic attempts to use the power of a god with the heart of confusion has been so well documented in detail in such works as Years of Blood & Tears, by the Chinese medical specialist, Dr Yu-Ming Chan. Solzhenitsyn did something parallel and profound for the USSR. The cause and the effect are correlatives, the West providing a Hitler for good measure, and the Mediterranean, a Mussolini. Divorced from reality, they dig deep and scheme high, but their dreams fail, in some cases with the millions of their countrymen whom they slay, with the light of day, though the hypnosis may take years to dispel.
This was situation two, whether seen in principle or particular practice, as a disease is seen: not the whole man, but a condition in which he is set and from which escape.
First he was an active, practically functional created being; then he used his function and fell into imaginative evil of a crucial and foul kind. This kind has never left man who, even when the next step in creation occurred, often resolves to follow on, and to ignore this restorative step, just as he chose at the first, to ignore the divine instruction, so depriving himself of pure morality. Liberty as model, and the assumption that the model is to be ignored in considering it is merely one more of man's inveterate tendency to mar and confuse. Because of the very insolence and insolvency of liberty abused, this is what is before us. Its result when so abused is the question.
God had resolved on whether to save man from such defilement, which of course, as he was a person, was a personal one with and before God; and He resolved why; and in what way, and in what perspective such a thing should be done. As Revelation 13:8 attests, not only had God prepared the plan for the covering of the human option of default, but it was as it were, before Him for whom time as we have it, is a mere creation, as an author creates a book, foreknown and available as is the end of a book before it is published. Thus Revelation here presents the result, the Lamb slain, the sacrificial mode of attainment of pardon and restoration for man, as something done "before the foundation of the world." When God is the topic, you have to become accustomed to speaking and thinking in those terms, as when you think of canoeing, and do not confuse this with a luxury liner, and vice versa. There is no use in investigating a model in terms of another model; each must stand or fall in its own terms. Confusion helps nobody but the deceived. We however have no interest in deception, but in truth. This is part of the Christian model, to express the reality in those terms, for the sake of providing a mode of testing and understanding.
Thus God had resolved before creation, whether to create, and why, and how, and in what terms, and in resolving on liberty for man, what to do if that created being should default, and how to do it, and with what perspective in mind: all this sovereignly, as an author to write a book. Yet it is far more so, in that an author on this earth has still to find paper and print and publication mode and has a limited mind and is subject to error of various grades and kinds, even in the will, where its liberty may become out of control, and hence lead to inhibitive confusions and constraints.
In all this, so far, the only action not sovereign to God, is that of man in falling, together with its motivation, type of perspective and results. That liberty of course, which man had so exercised, was something of a vast importance, providing a corruptive basis in itself, if misused, disruptive for love, companionship, able to substitute fiction for truth, in imagination though not in reality: these being available as it was a specific in the will and coverage for God Himself, from whose creation man came as an image-bearer. All of this had direct divine oversight, in that God made the liberty concerning Himself as an option for man, with other options made available in due course, amidst the flurry of results, reactions, over-reactions, secondary lusts and so forth.
God decided in and for this model, to make a free salvation, that is one which in love is provided entirely by the Maker, and the name 'grace' is accordingly accorded to it. It does not have to be created by man, as one works to make a forest or a garden, so that in time with effort the desired result is achieved. It is perfectly free (as in Romans 6:23 and Ephesians 2). Its achievement THEREFORE does not depend on differential powers in created man, which would not be freedom but mere eventuation. It cannot be created by man, who though an image, is not the substance, and has limited powers, though real liberty in constitutive powers. It is a gift.
It is created by God. It is like having an alternative automobile when you smashed the first; but it is obtained by unlimited power and wisdom, and made available. This is the regeneration (John 3, Titus 3:3-7, Hebrews 8:10). The cost is called REDEMPTION (Ephesians 1:7), and it covers all the corners of corruption in life, and by death absorbs these, in presenting new life at cost (I Corinthians 6:19-20). This is called RANSOM (as in Matthew 20:28) and involves curse on the Lamb or divine sacrifice provided to cover the case of man's wilful corruption, as in Galatians 3, Colossians 1:22, Hebrews 7-10.
God might have made the reception of this to be dependent on contributions to the creation of the ransom. He might have told man to go and get some of the saving mode for himself with the noted liability and loss of freedom just noted; but He resolved otherwise. He had made freedom and He did not dispense with it.
He could have made the restoration conditional, even the regeneration, but He resolved to do it differently, so that it is ALL of grace (Romans 9-10), man astray, being in the image of God, being too high-powered and evil a being (as in Jeremiah 17:9) to be entrusted with anything concerning his new status and function.
It is all sovereign in the divine resolutions of all things according to His own will (Ephesians 1:11). It is also all of grace -
the construction of creation,
of man, of liberty, of
opportunity, of salvation, because of love,
grant of free salvation, without man's works
being even relevant to the status,
divine desire for all,
refusal to employ mere direction in place of love,
susceptibility to rejection,
power of unerring understanding of each heart,
the gift of eternal life:
NOTHING does man contribute to the obtaining of salvation. It is God who knows his heart, who foreknows His own, who ensures in grace that preference is not usurped, nor mere universality made a result, moving past pathology by a divine grace, to a better result.
In eternity this was achieved by foreknowledge not of mere events, but of the essential result of liberty for each person (Romans 9:11), for mere works would attest what a man was, but the differential would then rely on this, and not on his preference (as in John 3:19), which is the stated divine ground, when negative, of condemnation. When a fortune is ignored as a remedy for ruin, ruin ensues (John 3:36). In history, these results may be seen as the information of the Gospel is paraded and placarded (as in Galatians 3:1). What the unspiritual man cannot see, as such, he may be made to perceive, as in Hebrews 6, where the results of toying with truth become apparent. It is in one sense like a piece of material which is susceptible to electricity. Without that additive, it is dull and undisclosed; but when the current is passed through it, its normal coded limits are surpassed and other things happen, relevant to this new source of transformative energy.
The foreknowledge of God is of REALITY, so that in seeking the unsaved person, God is seeking one whose disposition is not only known, but actual, and when it is actualised by the due salvation of the soul in point, there may indeed by leapings of heart and illuminations of mind, indeed the Bible insists that it is so in Hebrews, but the changing of the guard, the finale of faith, this comes with a divine sovereignty which avoids limitations by the defiled will of fallen man, but yet interprets it as it is in its individual actuality, beyond the pathology of creation. What God knows, is truth; and thus truth comes to rest as it is, whether in rest of man, or in the due fulfilment of the alternative fact, that of the resolution to rebel. So is man liable for what he is, and is shown to be; but God enables what in the image of Himself, may be wrought in love, rather than occasioned by devious moves, as in a kidnapping or psychiatric transformation, oblivious of the person in such an act.
In principle, the type of position is this. The components of experience may differ, but their basis and parameters are found clearly.
As the power of God enlivens and stirs to vitalised awareness the stricken soul (John 16:8-11, Hebrews 6:1-4), where that soul is foreknown to God as His before our time began, as rescuable in love that does not drive, and truth that does not twist, in reality that does not weave, then as the withered heart is quickened to the brink of life, so God acts. The reality of foreknown salvation is brought to relief, and in a simultaneity of grace and truth, the sins flee to Him, while the eyes are opened with that differential in grace, true before time, and thus witnessed in it. Neither force nor farce has done this, but God. He has vindicated the sovereignty of divinely instituted liberty, Himself the Judge of it, and its mover, in integrity that is willing to suffer, and in zeal that suffers no needless loss. God has sovereignly prevailed in His trustworthy jurisdiction over liberty, and enabling it, won many.
It is with ease that God can dismiss disease (here spiritual); but there is cost for the liberty of love, and wisdom for its integrity. Accordingly, Galatians 6:14 reminds us of truth.
So has God acted by grace, sovereignly, tenderly, triumphantly, both free and freeing; doing this by His own voluntary grace and securing what He has found in its own voluntary preference before time, to be His own. Salvation is indeed of the Lord; and responsibility is indeed of man, as John 1 and 3 state so very clearly. There is reason for the one - God is like that; there is reason for the other, God never fails, and what He desires within the parameters of love, He secures freely in three regards. Firstly, there is nothing to force Him. Secondly, there is nothing to force what He saves. Thirdly, there is no possibility of confusion or error in what God foreknows in love, and so predestines to secure what knowledge found, in ways profound and memorable.
Man was not slightly astray, but inherently grounded himself in evil, and so being divorced from God who is a Spirit, was not placed in such a style as to admit of his contribution. When all your timbers are rotted, you cannot contribute to a substitute house with any wisdom, or sound result. God, however, always knows what He is doing, since no situation is unforeseen, and nothing is other than what He Himself created, with infinite understanding. Hence grace prevailed, love was consummated, sovereignty was not dented, wisdom was to prevail and many souls were won, liberty realised in its individuality, reality exposed. In nothing did man contribute, even the knowledge of God being HIS OWN!
THE CRITERIA OF CHOICE
Thus down the sovereign track we have come, to the very point that God's decision to save, the manner of it, the results of it, the perspective in which it is done (since God as a Spirit has these things as substantial as to us is muscle in lifting weight). Does God decide for us ? Not at all, for knowledge, even foreknowledge, is coverage and not conditioning. But does He not predestine what He has foreknown, and so govern without allowance for liberty, as to in whom and what, and how the salvation is to be wrought ?
In part this is right. It does cover many things, but it is done in a WAY which He FREELY choses, in view of what He in the first place created, namely man-in-His-own-image. The predestining is merely the ensuring of the foreknowledge, for this is logically prior as you see in Romans 8:30, and must be, for God is not adventitious, but judicious, knowing what he is about in the realm He has authored.
In foreknowing, therefore, lies the choice. As Christ said, You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you. Does this not determine the mode of election ?
Far from it: it determines the mode of application of election as in John 6:65 and John 1:12. Man is rendered incapable in his fallen state, as such, to make choice of good since his warped being tends, like a nervous horse or a car with defective steering, to move from the open door (I Corinthians 2:14). Man in the flesh, in the world, as fallen, is of himself able to make no such choice as that to have God, when the God concerning is the living one and the Creator from the first, and not some succulent idol of man's own creation, conveniently making a god for oneself. To worship such a one, is merely to worship a man's own ideas!
Where was the matter actually resolved then, if not here and now ? The fundamental reality stems not from the due application of the foreknowledge, but in its discovery, if you like to use such a term, conditioned by our time concepts, or else in its exhibition if you do not; and such was before our time even began and HENCE before the fall of man occurred.
In this case, man is (rather as with an author in conception before writing as a partial parallel, for with God there is no absolute parallel in all points, He being unique) presented before God, as unfallen. There is no difference. Man can be divinely seen as sinless, and hence without inhibitive and distortive elements at work in him, so that one person sees better and another worse, or one is better, the other lower than another. HOW then is he estimated, and how is the matter to be understood ? God knows the use of liberty to be made, in its elemental reality. He does not rely on events (Romans 9:11), since someone may be murdered when very young, and oddities may occur in unequal ways. He knows before events even occur, and this includes what man chooses to present to God, in terms of his own pseudo-sovereign choice of methods of approach to his Creator! such as that of Cain...
God knows these things elementally. His method chosen, that of grace, does not allow contributions by man to qualify for acceptance by God. For one thing, perfection alone has peace in eternity, and Christ is the perfect man, being incarnate from the Trinity, and payor of the ransom. It all depends on the acceptance of Him and His salvation, direct from Himself, freely, or not at all. Romans 10 deals with the delusion of adding our own imperfect contribution to the massive wonder of entering the abode of God at last, as a saved sinner.
In what WAY, however, does God know these things. Now we, as already noted, do not know the precise mode of action of God in the form of God (as in Philippians 2:1ff.), but we can and do know the principles at work; for God has told us, and they are enmembered in the family of grace. God not only KNOWS what is the choice of man, discerned before time and fall alike, in the exercise of the liberty-image He has created for man, but He knows no less how this is to be ascertained. If God chose that man's choice for return was to be dependent on man's powers and virtue, then that would be a sovereign choice of God; but as seen already, this would be to deny man's incapacity in that his very spirit is fallen, and cannot engender mobility, but only crutches.
God has determined, in entire and perfect consistency, which nothing else can have in this realm, that HE would LIKE all persons to be saved, to come to the knowledge of the truth, to be reconciled to Himself (as in I Timothy 2 and Colossians 1:19ff.). He says so. That is the divine perspective concerning salvation. He has likewise decided that man's efforts are in NO way to be relevant to this salvation, from which such vast fruits follow, such as obedience and faith. It is of grace uninterrupted, like a view without obtrusive structures limiting it.
THE DOMAIN OF LOVE
TRUTH AND KNOWLEDGE
In the domain of liberty, God sees the operation relative to the salvation of man, and just as Christ wept for a Jerusalem which elected not to become even aware of its day of potential liberation, but thus to meet destruction (Luke 19:42ff.), so this liberty was not aborted by eternal foreknowledge, but allowed for as a fact, a datum, an expression of man, with its attendant results. To be sure, these grieved Him to the heart, since it is contrary to the divine perspective in love for ruin to obtain, to gain place, but it is not contrary to the divine judgment of evil, inveterate to all cry and appeal, in or before time. Where He is not received, He does not change. But His offer and heart remains true, even though every person should become a liar. God speaks; it is so (John 3, Colossians 1, I John 4:7ff., I Timothy 2, Jeremiah 48, Ezekiel 33:11). He mourns for the love disdained; He judges for the sin which remains..
Love is like that. It does not force, even when horror at error is in view. What God did was descend to the level of man and take the pollution of what was made in His own image, in amplitude of offer, for all, but in processing of the guilt, dealing only with what comes, what is admitted, submitted and transferred , the rest going with its owner (John 8:24) to its appointed place where illusion rests in restlessness (Daniel 12).
Thus is all wrought, freedom as part of man, is restored, in reality and in no mere form, so that it is the sinner who is found, not an image of it that is other, and so he rejoices that though once he was blind, now it is he, himself, who sees, the same being, and not some alternative. It is a new creation (II Corinthians 5), but this is found by its being planted and then raised, not displaced (Romans 6). So God bears the sin, as distinct from offering enough for all, of those for whom He is delivered up, for whom ALL THINGS COME (as in Romans 8:32) from this effectual cover in a salvation not a joint affair, but of God alone. Salvation is of the Lord, a fact seen at length by ... Jonah.
In view is love, for God is love (I John 4:7-10) - that is, there is nothing in Him and in His ways which is contrary to this divine desire to give and gain even everyone, but not at the expense of truth, or in terms of living a lie. Therefore God IMPLEMENTS, in the divine model for man, the liberty of man by His KNOWLEDGE, this love being in force, but not forcing, and this truth being in eye, but not blinding. WHY will you die! He exhorts (Ezekiel 33:11); but while He so exhorts and so provides (as in Jeremiah 17 in the midst of the thrall of approaching judgment), He does not prevent the actions which lead to death. He created man in His own image, and love is not to be short-circuited by mere ostensibility and appearance.
Truth is involved no less, for God cannot lie*2A - in the sense that if it were possible to Him to do so, He would not BE God, but a being capable of divorcing deeds from actuality, and hence one motivated contrary to Himself (who both elects to do and to speak), so making Him one subject to external constraint, or an internal one as a given datum and limitation. That could only be the work of God, the injection of limitation, and thus such a Being as is imagined to be so subjected, is not God. In other words, God is free and knows how to preserve the basis of love, and to redeem freely.
In other words, if He were able to lie, it would be a contradiction in terms. It is like that with spirit: its domain is reality and not mere appearance. That is where it moves. In granting redemption to a free being (though not an autonomous one), He does redeem, not bypass; and in doing so, He has plan of His own entire sovereignty, which elects to safeguard freedom and so saves by grace only, through faith, free of man's contribution, in accord with divine knowledge.
IN this KNOWLEDGE of God, in fact foreknowledge, but still in the domain of knowledge, then, it is discerned by God who is who, who is His and who is not, to whom applies the reception of a free salvation, and to whom it does not so apply. This foreknowledge on which predestination is based in logical order, is the guarantee that nothing is confused, convened by mere circumstance, unjust or misplaced: He knows it all beyond time and it is merely invested into time. Eternity is too massive a thing to be allowed to have its habitations based on circumstances, or subject to oddities. Trials are numerous, but knowledge is one.
This does not mean that those who are SHOWN the truth about salvation in Christ, and THEN reject it are of uncertain disposition. You see that in John 15:22ff.. There was no excuse, no way out for their sin, Christ indicated in considering their destiny and disposition. This was their case. But WHY was this so ? Christ told them the answer to such a question. It was BECAUSE they had SEEN and HEARD quite directly what He had done and said, and still did not repent. IF THE CASE HAD BEEN OTHER, in other words, excuse might appear to love in its massive kindness and spectacular compassion; for the compassion of God does not fail (Lamentations 3), and His ways are eternal (Habakkuk 3:6), everlasting.
Thus if any man be ashamed of Him (and hence knowing enough of Him to have a base for such shame as the above case emphasises), of him will He not be the Saviour, and in judgment, of such a person He will be ashamed (Luke 9:26). What knowing does not confess on earth, is not confessed by Christ in heaven. History is not irrelevant, and in cases of certainty, the result is certain. Where ignorance obtains, God can still talk of excuse: not as if the case changes or the method of salvation or the love of God or the nature of His justice, but that the application is MADE on other grounds: namely DIVINE KNOWLEDGE on the part of the the Creator-Redeemer, concerning the one to be admitted or dismissed.
He would have all and so will lose none, except the case be open and shut. as with those so seeing and hearing and yet not believing (John 15:22ff.). Dynamising their souls, investing their spirits (Hebrews 6), God not merely activates the spiritually dead, but intimates what He will; while yet making the finality to be that which in heaven was foreknown as the Bible declares (Ephesians 1:4), and this not as mere outcome in works, but income in knowledge on the part of God.
In the end, as at the beginning, it is so; but history lies in between.
Where it is so open and shut, that is that, history exhibiting what is already foreknown. Where it is not, foreknowledge has it all covered in any case, and covered, as befits knowledge, IN TRUTH. No one will be lost who might have been saved (not in abstract possibility, but in foreknown reality), and none will be saved who in principle duly applied, is lost. Reality rules even in divine choice, for God is the base of all reality, and from what He is, has sovereignly proceeded the creation, the restoration, the redemption, the capacious means of it and the application. In His sovereignty, then, it is HE who is ruler, not ruling in terms which really rule even Him! He is the sovereign of sovereignty and not vice versa. He is the God of wisdom and knowledge, and not a mere perceiver. He is the God of love who SO loved the world that He SO gave, and this not to condemn but to save the world, and not a deceiver. His part is supernal, and it is He who rescues from the infernal, in integrity and truth, in a pervasive love which while it is much aborted, is never eviscerated in kind, nor sidetracked by desire. Great is our God and greatly to be praised, and His works are sought out diligently by those who fear Him.
WHAT MANNER OF SPIRIT GOD IS!
AND HOW TRUTH IS NOT VIOLATED
This is the sort of sovereign, the kind of creator, the manner of spirit which He is! He is like that. If He were otherwise, so would be the nature of man and of liberty and of salvation. But He is as He is, as He reminds us whether in Exodus 3 or in John 8:58. He is not other. He does not feel as might another, or act on another basis. He WOULD have all, but in love, He does not force, nor rely on the ways of man's fallen will, but knowing it beyond itself, He provides for it as it is. It is not a matter of superior character, since before the fall, nothing is inferior. It IS a matter of the use of the liberty sovereignly created for man, and God's own way of sovereignly interpreting this, on sovereign principles of His own.
It is not as if He called that liberty which is no liberty, as if in some mysterious manner He chose some sinner and left another, based on their character or nature in some way; for this would be a matter of rewarding some for being created as they were; whereas if this were all, all would be saved. Liberty being in the model, this is irrelevant as well as wrong.
Thus He does not regenerate some because He simply desires this, or else He would not weep or bemoan as in Isaiah 48:16ff., Luke 19 or Matthew 23; moreover He makes it clear that the sovereignty though very real (as in Romans 9), as we have seen, is not mere meretricious mastery (as in Romans 9:22). He refuses direction but provides protection. He will not be told how and whom to save, but He INSISTS over and again on telling us the principles of salvation, so that all is clear, nothing confused, there are no hidden complexities or anomalies.
What then ? He would have all. Man's preference is the distinguishing differentiation. He handles this in His own way before time; He gains all who in freedom are to be gained, desiring all with a determination so massive that incarnation and sacrifice ring like universal toll bells, louder than space to contain them. Providing for them with an amplitude irrepressible (I John 2:1-2), He gains all who do not desire something or anything else by divinely discerned preference, and thus is sated His lustrous passion. Thus is maintained the character of His creation, of mercy, of love, with its deeds beyond even magnificent words, and then supplied with words to cover such deeds.
He LOVES and SEEKS even what is not found, for He has restraint, not carting people out of the byways, but thoroughly searching for them, even there (Matthew 22), with His invitation. There is no limit to His love, but neither is there any abortion of liberty which love respects, not judging till the criteria are found and found applicable as in John 15:21-23. He WILL be satisfied; and hence it may truthfully be said that no one can get to hell except over the dead body of Christ (that is, in image of what it takes, for in fact He rose bodily from the dead, but the relevant point here is what He did before that!).
THEREFORE the model of liberty in the midst of divine love is a multi-sovereign matter from the nature of man to that of salvation, and even to that of the application of salvation. It is not vitiated by mysterious and contrary majesty and power, but given victory by the same as expression of itself, for THIS is THAT sovereign who sovereignly thus exposes and brings to light the kind of spirit that He is! (cf. Luke 9:55). He is NOT interested in spectacular oversight which justifies His power at the expense of His love, kindness, compassion, with which He pleads, through which He exhorts, in which He acts. There are results of the abortion of love, but there is nothing contrary to it in its provision; it is in those terms that God acts as in I John 4:7ff.. If He pleads for a nation for centuries before acting, so be it. If He presents the crux in acting, so be it. There is nothing left undone that might be done, and mere ignorance while not excusing sin, is no method of consigning to eternity.
Such are the divinely declared constraints of sovereignty in the model of liberty. ALL is as resolved by God, including the domain of liberty for man, and its sustenance by divine oversight, even when it is, like an invalid with bandaged arms, for a time dysfunctional. He knows beyond the bandages, beyond the affliction, and He SOVEREIGNLY knows, not as some would pump it into His heart, as if to justify mysterious oddity that is not based on love; but as He really is, who as He is revealed in nature, so appeals in words. The love is not snuffed out by sin, but penetrates like liniment, and proceeds to no bureaucratic use-by date, as if the frayed nerves of man were behind it, but until there is nothing left but ruin. So do we find in Isaiah 57:15; for the spirit would fail before Him, if He for ever sought, and holiness would descend into mere harassment.
Thus does He declare, saying that it PLEASED Him, the sacrifice of the Cross made, to reconcile all things to Himself (Colossians 1:19ff.). He does not distort the case to gain an anomalous and contra-model result. He STOPS when the option is to destroy the nature of man whom He made. He neither approves human prostitution, the use of what relates to love to abort it, nor practices spiritual prostitution, the gaining of what, even in HIS knowledge, is averse. Nor does He fail to condemn what aborts mercy, for when all is done, the features of justice remain, in truth.
What would it mean, mere coercive correction, a strangulated soul crying as it enters the hated heaven of His loving presence ? Is this not merely a substitute paradigm for hell! Or would it rather be someone who has a psychiatrist do over the one he loves, so that, inwardly taught, she now can hardly wait for him! Is that love ? Is lost liberty the lord of love ?
Not if you care for the Bible, is that so. As man had liberty at the first, so even now, where the Spirit of God is, there is liberty (II Corinthians 3:17). It is neither the liberty of the libertine nor is it yet the liberty of compulsion. God does not twiddle with words, but speaks the truth, that He would have, in the configuration of God on the one hand, and man on the other, ALL men to be saved (I Timothy 2). Indeed, He SO loved even this world, that He gave not only His Son but His ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, with the express intention that the world should not be judged, but saved. Who lies when God is contradicted, and the topic is the heart of God! Is philosophy to pillage His pity, or soaring irrelevance to dismiss His own declarations concerning Himself! Is a man to marry his mind to the infinite Creator and beget, in synthesis, truth! Is he even to do it in conflict, not co-operation!
The embrace of the love was statedly total, the motivation entirely positive in the outreach of redeeming love; and though the result is that some, having an internal and sovereignly granted liberty in the image of God, their constitutive construction, which fouled or not remains true (just as a car in a crash does not become an aeroplane, but remains a savaged car), are foreknown lost, yet in His truth and love, by His own witness, they are STILL desired. He is not seduced by a PLAN, but moved by PITY. His love is not open to traducing, nor yet His pity to pollution, nor yet again, is it hidden.
So does He confess with His prodigious mercy (Ezekiel 33:11,13, Jeremiah 51:9, Hosea 7:1,10,13, 15). Treachery upon treachery, this plays against His plans of heart, and love is never short-circuited; but it is as with wire which, long frayed, comes to the snapping point (Ezekiel 20). Amazingly, in the process, how MANY like Manasseh are found! So does God encourage by such discoveries where hope might be lost, and so are many drawn the more in desire for the Lord.
This is nothing atrophied in divine mercy, nor are there limits of mere will, for His personal principles speak otherwise, and these principles pervade. Even though some be lost, He yet wants them and seeks on earth, and He STILL warns and exhorts, and leaves to destruction what duly warned, even to the point of total confrontation with reality, yet wills to wander. His own knowledge does not deaden His heart, nor does His perfection allow the reek of the lost to forestall mercy. History is not dead, nor is its office simply to register mortality, for as to God, what He IS, is invariable, incorruptible, from eternity to time and on to the fulfilment.
When Israel would not come (as a nation, and many in it), at Christ's arrival as Saviour, there were yet scavengings for salvation, His servants seeking if ANY might be found (Matthew 22:8-9, Isaiah 48:16ff., Jeremiah 48:29-31). Thus, in terms of the parable, as in the direct broadcast of the heart of God even as judgment is seen to strike (Matthew 23:37, Luke 19:42ff.), the thrust of desire is still toward them, they are still wanted, so that His heart wails like pipes! (Jeremiah 48:31,36), or His tears stream.
Why pretend as if it were upsetting that the love of God were so profound, unsubdued by protocol, that His mercy is so lively, that the thrust of His desire, even for the unlovely, is so lively! Who loves like that!
Of whatever category, even in this supernatural occasion of total confrontation, is the folly, yet the ruin is grievous to Him; and even when vengeance comes like a locust plague, the matter at last past the onset of His love to preclude judgment, how much went on before, and with what depth, and with what an historical profundity was it shown on the Cross, carved out not only from the wood, but from the wisdom of God, an everlasting testimony of the Lamb, and of the preference of divine love for receiving a curse, in logical order, RATHER than giving one! When judgment at length comes, therefore, we find but the intensity of reality which the immensity of love in its understanding, planned and provided, that it might be overcome, exposed in wrath. Where it is not borne by Christ, how vast it is, and how unlovely is the bypass of redemption which went so far!
NOTHING limits God as to power and ability, though humanly, desiccated love makes some things not only odious, but revolting. The final evidencing on earth becomes indeed the severance of the cords of mercy, though as you see in the case of Manasseh, hopeless-seeming cases of outrageous proportions, may still be found. Yet they are not simply drafted by mystery; rather by divine regality, they are redeemed as known beforehand to God, known in His love which never ceases to be characterisably alive in His ultimate reality, their preference manifest under total test, whether on earth or in heaven, as history proceeds and all is revealed. That merciful lovingkindness is apparent in the tenderness of the heart of the Saviour, who as the Word of God was active even in divine foreknowledge, as on earth. Dire was the cost; dire is the loss; direct was the provision; insufferable that mercy be dulled, even when salvation was, to use the imagery of depiction, itself mulled.
That mercy moved far and long, suffusing from the outset in His sovereign choice of man initially made in his image, through salvation and its nature, through outreach and its type, even through redemption and its liberty, application of salvation and its conditions, till all is brought to life and to light. Without human desperation, but with divine determination, He ensures that ALL that He is, is operative in the final consideration of each one, so all that each is, is before Him. What may in love be picked, is picked, even to the last one of the 100, which strays, being searched for, research propelling, till it is found.
It is not character but will which God cites; it is not mysterious diversities which are His ground: it is stated criteria on which He operates, from which He will not depart, and which in the very precise connotations of John 3, are defined. In the conspectus of God and this world. There is a love from the former to the latter. In the domain of this love, there is a motivation and an end in view. It is that the world be not condemned but saved, and this in a context which each one is in view, whosoever believes not perishing. For all that as in John 3:36, many do not so believe, so receive the dregs, and are lost.
With salvation gone, there is no drug, but dregs. Truth does not lose its composure. Judgment falls. This is because the gift of the only begotten Son of God was needed to deliver, and when it is delivered BY God to man, but not in surrender followed by man to God, it is as a mighty rain on a plastic cover. It is God who gave and not man, as you see in John 3, so that when man in his own preference is declared ruined in rejection of the amplitude of the divine motivation in love, this moves through grief to condemnation. THAT is its divinely charged ground: differential rejection even of the Gospel, as before God, on the part of those who so act (John 3:16-19, 30).
How remarkable! How desolatory! It must be realised what is the intensity of it all, through the immensity of the gift and the vastness emotional expositions which come, almost at times like explosions, from a maximally moved heart.
Then it comes! That is statedly contrary to the soaring initial outthrust of the love of God, which was as wide as the world, in the conspectus created world and Creator God. It is not only statedly contrary to God in this defiling rejection, but onerous to His heart. When judgment comes, then it is as if creation holds its breath. It bears fury like a volcano, for reality is so pure and perfection so precious that the loss has a measure in the immeasurable, what Christ was willing to suffer and to provide.
When God acts in this domain of constitutional if defiled liberty, and so the desire of God for action in this sovereignly created domain of human liberty, is fulfilled to the uttermost, in the reaching of any, there is more joy in just one more, than in mere consolidation. He does not pounce to secure better sales figures, for there is gift, not sale. With some or many, IN THIS WAY, He is self-limiting, since love is ... like that. To be sure, God foreknew it; but this in no way makes it less momentous even in heaven, when a soul comes home, or less appalling when liberty is squandered, love is lost and lust divorces, even from God. The cost to God to provide salvation, is measure both of the pang of loss notwithstanding, and of the enormous thrust of judgment (Jeremiah 51:9 moves on to 51:24-26). God is not ignorant of what has been done by all and by any, by nations including those who remorselessly sacked His people (cf. Obadiah). Justice, if long delayed, is itself not frayed; and thus the cup of sorrows in the hand of Israel is transferred to her oppressors (Isaiah 51:21-23).
Thus, just as Jesus loved the rich young ruler, He did not run after him. Just as He gave a sop of bread to Judas, He did not forbid him to betray Himself. It is not in the quality of divine love that there are limits, but in its self-control! The mourning of Isaiah 48 attests this as do all the lamentations from the very heart of God.
Christ who so gave, who so mourned, who so lamented, who so restrained Himself, who so invited, who so stated His will and way and the parameters and conditions of it, He is not in chains. There is not as in Calvin*3 some divergence of will between Him and the Father so that in noting how often He would have liked to have gathered the chicks to Himself as if a hen in her concern, He differed from the reality of the will of God. What appalling confusion, as if He were diversified from the fundamental will of the Father!
On the contrary, He and His Father are indeed one, and He even did what the Father was doing in the SAME WAY (John 5:19ff.,10:30), and is the speech of the Father to the very point of command in His messianic mission (John 12:48-50). There is an exclusion specifically stated on going beyond (John 12:49). Mourning, He gave voice to the lament for the lost, in precise conjunction with the review of the vast offering made before them, in time! (Luke 19:42ff.). He spoke with authority, because it was His, and all things that the Father has, are His (John 16:15), to be used on His mission at His call. It is His form and not His heart, His format for service and not His will, His lowliness and not His word, which is changed at His advent.
Thus, indeed, in attesting the ground of something else happening (John 3:36), namely judgment, despite the scope and nature of the divine declaration of love to the world, in a most intensive character, He gave the ground for non-effectuality, for some being lost. It is stated as before Himself, to be something in His own differential knowledge of some on the one hand, and of others, by contrast. There is not a generality here, but a particularity.
Those lost have this differential divinely determined and cited in the very face of His declaration concerning His initiative and desire concerning the world and each soul, in perspective. They have preferred otherwise. Alternative preference in man was the differential which divided some from others, and the cited occasion of their default, of spiritual demise, in condemnation.
For the negative case, then, despite His coming NOT to judge but to save the world, the situation as divinely defined for some, for the city for example, was this, that they would not move, were not willing. In this, lay the divergence. HIS own desire, motivation, intent is stated; the contrary intent of some in this domain is contra-indication, and it is differential in character. Blame lies for loss, not in the extent of the desire of saving love, but in the nature of its human rejection, eternally discerned by God, temporary permitted realisation where His light had shone.
It is that preference otherwise, NOT to be founded in God, as found by God, then despite the love, leads on to judgment. This is on perpetual display, day after day, in diverse ways, throughout history. This is what God has said. It is there in outreach and in lament, in John 3, Colossians 1, I Timothy 2, Isaiah 48, Jeremiah 31:20, 48, Ezekiel 33, its intensity reflected in the coals of judgment on the residual renegacy (Matthew 23:35-39). It is not a matter of poetry or philosophy or politics or phraseology, but of practicality.
When God speaks, who is man to utter differently.
The divine attestation is not really very difficult: it is just that you have to be willing to let God be God, and not immerse His uniqueness in the fouled waters of human invention, or place the love of Christ in chains.
So did God as in Hose 12:10, multiply the presentations, the aspects to be understood, like an expert teacher, touching now this facet, now that, with slightly diverse intimations that if not one formulation fitted the flirtatious and flitting fancy of man, then another might. Such indeed were Christ's parables, for though they were needed to penetrate an imperious heart, yet with some as in the case of the Syro-Phoenician woman, the light shone into effect.
Liberty, love and responsibility, wisdom power and the movement of the celestial to the terrestrial, in word, in Person, in foreknowledge, in confrontation in history, all are in harmony of thought, beauty of completeness, and divine sovereignty has indeed ensured in the end, by His very depth AS GOD, the reality of human liberty and accountability. Yet it is not accomplished meanly, but in a spiritual grandeur of which the greatest mountains and rivers, altitudinous marvels and valleys, are but a physical manifestation.
ULTIMATELY ALWAYS FROM GOD,
WHOSE WORD ALONE
HAS THE NECESSARY PERSPECTIVE
TO ENABLE THIS
This indeed is but one of the philosophical problems solved uniquely in the Bible, and not only so, but solved in its TERMS, namely of a God of love who actually desires all but does not force, and knowing man beyond the limitations of his soiled SELF, is able to grant and sustain the liberty for man, not only of being what he wills, but willing as he wills, impossible where the self is the ultimate involved. Since it is God who so knows, preference not only in the field of gaining one's will, seeking to have as one will, but in that of willing as one will, where it is entirely beyond one, what is in view, becomes the norm. It is the reality of God and not in the mere internalisations of the psychic situation, that action occurs. One can thus be enabled to transcend the trivial, and through such divine intervention in truth, ascend to the wonderful. Eternity has realised it; history has mobilised it; love has secured it by wisdom.
Only thus can the liberty of man for what he wants, itself be transcended, and meaningful liberty obtain, for what is not so limited. Thus there are realms in the model, as in the world, of liberty and guilt, apprehension and failure, survey for choice on the basis of chosen principle and grief at failure, hope and holiness, pride and falsification, knowledge of this and unrepentance or repentance, love and force, all explained, all coherent, without disharmony or any part missing.
Without FREE salvation, what differential is left for liberty in those given more, using it, and so aborting liberty by their nature as given, thus becoming mere exponents of superior construction. There is no liberty in that. Without God's foreknowledge, man in various estates is moved often by forces and constraints as flotsam in a whirl-pool; but with it, the appearance is seen in the reality beyond circumstance, but not beyond truth.
It is, let us be very clear, the sovereign will of God which elected the nature of the creation, of the conditions, of the consequence of liberty's abuse, of the means for restoration, of the scope of desired restoration, of the manner of achieving this and of the application of this knowledge. Further talk of 'sovereignty' is merely in the way of inventing a different God, so fouling truth and explanation, and merely showing us by contrast, how marvellous it is that the sovereign God is the loving God, and the King who is God, is also compassionate, and that in having His own will, He respects what it has already done, as in making man in His own image, so leaving the testimony that the Bible provides.
If man seen in liberty as if autonomy, is equally a myth as is the super-sovereign God who becomes what man desires in order to have another sovereignty than that which He assigns to Himself, the one error does not alter, or atone for, the fault of its opposite. A merely imperial God without the character which He assigns to Himself, or a superb man without limit though limitations are the mode of his construction, both become ludicrous inventions of man, or susceptible to such estimate.
The point here is that moving from one ludicrous extreme does not in itself justify its opposite. Opposites are not all.
The Bible vigorously depreciates both enormities, both extremes. It is ultimately the choice of God, but His choice is that the nature of man is not aborted, but consummated, not by violating its constitutive kind and character, but in fulfilling it at divine expense, through divine enterprise, in love esteeming man as he is. This is such that not mystery in divine dispositions, but negation of salvation by man with His offer, is the bondage on the one hand; and illimitable lordliness in man is the bondage on the other. Returning to biblical revelation, in its unique coverage and consistency, there is no failure is to be found in this application, since God never fails, and knows entirely what He is doing. He knows who are His and achieves their salvation sovereignly and freely, both as to the nature of it as gift, and as to the vehicle, the saved, to whom it is given.
The discerning deity knows where His desire is met, who are His own. NO ONE should therefore EVER imagine that God is the obstacle, being drawn to His salvation. He is all for it, and paid mightily for it, to be used, though not abused by pretence or pettifogging (cf. Hebrews 6 and 10).
What IS needed, is repentance before the sovereign, gracious, pitiful, seeking, exhorting, appealing God, who is as He is, and may be reached by acting in the domain given, and receiving Him who is not limited by what limits man, and can and does deal with him so that the principles of liberty, love and sovereignty are jointly satisfied, and truth wins, love is satiated and longing does not distemper reality.
Surely we have much to learn about God, but one thing we will never learn, is that He does not mean what He says, ALL of it, and that it is wise to ignore it in terms of certain philosophic or other extremes, which bold-faced, man may substitute for the scripture, belittling the Bible for the good pleasure of his own will, whether confusedly or otherwise. Nor will we learn that He has withheld the deep things (I Corinthians 2:9-13), for it is expressly stated that the opposite is the case. God in Christ has shown Himself definitively (Hebrews 1), and Christ in God has shown the reliability of His written word, just as He showed that of the Smitten Word in the flesh.
He who thirsts, then, let him drink of the water of life freely (Revelation 22:17) as exhorted to the last, in the Bible. He who will admit to no thirst, let him ponder his path, for self-sufficiency is not actual, but a mere myth of mental enterprise, neither birth nor death, neither comprehensive knowledge nor potency of power belonging to any man, all being up for assessment. There is rest only in Him who created man and gave him an image, and enshrined salvation in flesh, and sent Him on mission so that man might find Him, even nations groping for Him (Acts 17:26-27), as a pilot finds a mountain soaring above him without difficulty, and lands there, on the high plateau of divine gift, solemnly provided.
See Waiting for Wonder Appendix,
Reflections Ch. 4, The gods of naturalism have no go! including Ch. 14
and in the Index, under man or spirit.
Message ... Chs. 5, 4,
Christ Incomparable, Lord Indomitable Ch. 2,
Evidence and Reality ... Chs. 2, 5, 6, 7
Impossible to Men, Open to God Ch. 3,
Dig Deeper, Soar Higher ... Ch. 1,
The Kingdoms of This World and the Kingdom of Christ Ch. 8,
The Holocaust of Morality Ch. 3,
Glory, Vainglory and Goodness Ch. 1,
God's Gift of Grace in Christ Jesus Ch. 7,
History, Review and Overview Ch. 5,
It Bubbles ... He Calls Ch. 9,
Spiritual Food and Spiritual Drink Ch. 4,
Repent or Perish Ch. 7, Possess Your Possessions Ch. 3, 3, esp. *2, *3.
(See also, more broadly:
The Majestic Might of the Merciful Messiah Ch. 5,
The Track of Truth Ch. 1,
The Bible ... The Doctrine of Deity Ch. 4,
The gods of naturalism have no go! Ch. 1,
Spiritual Food and Spiritual Drink Ch. 11.)
The Defining Drama Ch. 3,
Christ, the Cumulative and the Culmination
Ch. 9, Cascade of Truth, Torrent of Mercy Ch.
6, Lively Lessons in Spiritual
Service Ch. 5, Dig Deeper, Higher
1. See also TMR Ch. 7,
Section E, and
astrophysicist, Dr Jason Lisle's Taking Back Astronomy.
See SMR pp. 332Gff..
See Message ... Ch. 7 re the extensive work of Denton on this aspect in his Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, and again Evidence and Reality ... Ch. 6. On the impact of symbols of command deployment, operational words, and all that is involved, see News 94 with The Wit and Wisdom of the Word of God ... Ch. 2. On the musings in futility of evolutionists themselves in their barren domain, see Dancers ... Ch. 5.
Information is able to inform the mind, lends itself to categorisation, compilation, constructive effort, so that it is not just blind data, but organised expression. Naturally, this service is not provided by what simply does what it has to do, in being itself; for this is an oversight office, outside the mere buffeting of this by that, events, singular or other wise!
Accordingly, Professor Gitt of Germany has long issued the challenge: there is no case in which genuinely new material of this kind is invented without intelligence. You may have systems going awry, or activated in this way or that; but you need to have the operational criteria of such kinds of assorting and consorting as those in which information consists, these met by the powers that do this sort of thing. It involves imagination, conceptualisation, coding, symbol-fact accuracy, symbolic systems of interpretable reality (the more so when man happily investigates the DNA and sees what it says so effectually). Indeed, intelligence is itself only part of what produces all this; but it IS a necessary part, its definable functions being included in the necessities of logic for the case (cf. Jesus Christ, Defaced, Unfazed: Barrister of Bliss ... Ch. 4).
The Desire of the Nations ... Ch. 2, Epilogue,
Little Things Ch. 3, esp. *3.
On this, see:
The Meaning of Liberty and the Message of Remedy Ch. 11,
Sparkling Life in Jesus Christ, hCh. 4
(certainty of biblical truth, divine rule and Israel's place),
Barbs, Arrows and Balms 6 -7, Let's Be Reasonable, for God Is Ch. 2;
The Glow of Predestination Ch. 7,
Little Angel Ch. 11, as marked
On Calvin here, see:
The Christian Pilgrimage Ch. 3
Celestial Harmony for the Terrestrial Host Ch. 2