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THE ORIGINATING LOVE OF THE CREATOR FOR MANKIND
AND THE SUBSEQUENT PROVISIONS AVAILABLE TO THE UTTERMOST
THE FUNDAMENTAL FOUNDATIONS IN THE LOVE OF GOD
The Australian Dec. 29, 2014 Lead Article
It is not that God decided to be loving. He IS loving. He creates; man desecrates. He organises, man re-organises as much as he may, like a sick child battering his head against the wall and blaming the wall and/or the builder. Man says, Where is the love ? God in reply provides much as He declared to the remnant of Judah after the fearful devastations from a battering Babylon. This imperial power ruined the work of centuries in much of Judah, including the Temple, carrying out the command of God (though the invading nation did not know it - as in Jeremiah 42-44).
This invasion was in rebuke to a rebellious people, specialising in disobedience, and maintaining this delinquency with idolatries and immoralities for generations. They would not listen then - even after the devastations wrought, though at first they made a great show of willingness to follow the will of God. All this changed, when they learned that the Lord desired NO CHANGE, THAT THEY WERE TO STAY WHERE THEY WERE AND NOT FLEE TO EGYPT TO ESCAPE. Many of them insisted on going anyway, so inheriting further afflictions, instead of awaiting the Lord's promised deliverance in due time, where they were.
We, said they, having commissioned Jeremiah the prophet, to find from the Lord the next step and undertaken to follow it, will do exactly what comes out of our own mouths. They were not reticent!
We, said they, will NOT listen to you, as though our earlier commitment were a squeak in the wilderness, and the word of God had not been fulfilled consistently in their midst for more near to a millenium (cf. Jeremiah 42:5, 11, 18-22, 44:16-17). They even sought to shield their idolatry with worship to the 'queen of heaven', an idol of much appeal then and later for many. This was so like the apotheosis of the virgin Mary at the hand of some who fiddle against the word of God, with the faith once given to the saints (Galatians 1), where such additions are forbidden.
Indeed, things had gone evilly with them in the latter phases of their eclipsed worship of God, in the muddy pageantries of man-made religion; but as Isaiah 1 pointed out, the whole heart was sick. This, to use modern events, was like the spiralling before crash in a Flying Fortress as pursued by Messerschmitts, it fell from the formerly open skies. How often God had warned them sought to wean them from being fascinated with their own powers and imagination, to bring them back to the rock of reality, Himself their Creator.
It bears intense parallel to the present.
For how many years have the scudding yachts of splendiferous, philosophical and religious, moral and political thrust, with zest thrust into the wavering winds, to find rebellion against reality a stimulant, stirred further as the 18th to the 21st centuries ticked over, and the seas were wrought into fury for their impudence. Instead of using flowing bravura to exhibit the glory of God, as did Handel in his Messiah, to make His praise glorious as in Psalm 66, they used it to make man's own furious and inflated potencies great, the race of mankind elevated and nothing the mother of "mother nature''.
From time to time, they would invent staging houses, things simply drawn out of nowhere for no reason and with no evidence or basis, like pressure and available space and compression within it, and time for it, and such trifles, as well as the additional needs of potential in what is imagined on one popular but unverified hypothesis, to be too small to measure. All th is is wrought for no assignable cause, expands vastly and then stops for no known reason and with no evidence. This by begging the question is supplied this in staggering measure, before in explosion it leads, from nowhere as its own mother and basis, to revelatory realms of order, to a universe governed by laws, minds governed by logic able to investigate a universe of the same mould and therefore susceptible to man's mind, to originality of thought and creativity of spirit.
This fantasy has no logical basis, begs the question by bringing on a whole ontological realm from nowhere for no reason, and runs into endless anti-verifications, as Hartnett points out in his Dismantling the Big Bang (cf. Models and Marvels in TMR).
In terms of scientific method, you do not see how many laws of logic you can break in one place at the outset, as here, or how many antinomies you can briskly introduce. You avoid all this and try reason. Here however, this appears a religiously impelled antinomy. That is left to those who could not complete their schooling or would not apply it : who prefer here, to consider how to account for things without really finding anything! or worrying about the articulation of causality (cf. Causes, SMR Ch. 5).
In the discipline of logic and foraging of scientific method, however, instead of such vacuity, you look for what is
1) correlative in fields already known, whether in form or function or method or power or proclivity, in order to parallel if possible, or enlighten the way towards explanation.
2) pertinent to what meets the laws of logic, providing rationally investigable and sufficiently relevant cause for the consequence being investigated.
3) sufficient to account for the result, in a field of rational perception, theoretical soundness and lacking in the romance of undisciplined thought, unattested verifications, or negative findings in any field of application.
In other words, you do the exact opposite of what inappositely has been done in this field for several centuries of
fibrillations of fancy,
reductionism of reality,
explanations of what is NOT found
(cf. "Wonderful Life" by Stephen Gould of Harvard University, e.g. pp. 215-239).
These are joined in a certain kind of negativity, if not outright rejection in method, of such liabilities of thought as the image-show of various organic evolutionary assumptions, by such critics of their method or methods, as the Parisian Professor of Mathematics, Professor Schűtzenberger, Løvtrup, Nilsson, Director W. R. Thompson and many others. In this or that aspect, they marvel at the sheer unsophistication of method, procedure, lapses of logic found there. Exasperation is found in each on various grounds, on what is being done.
But to be
a MAN in this or that century, with Aryan base,
or participant in the fancifully named dictatorship of the proletariat
(none ever had less than in that mulching of mankind in starvation and persecution,
torture and mental invasion,
induced famines and wanton self-elevation of rulers
unable to be dismissed,
or in vacuous theosophy, of vast imaginations and defective verification;
or war against (other) leadership as in Cambodia, with various excuses;
or war against God as increasingly apparent
in the USA, in Europe and Britain, in Australia,
by devious and diverse means,
such as teaching nothing and not God, as the source of mind,
or various substitutes which in turn arrive from nowhere,
equipped through a simple begging of the question,
with the background and potential to do ANYTHING,
but never with reason,
never with verification,
always totally contrary to all actual distinguishing evidence.
So the young are forced to learn myths, induced to serve false gods, and not to name them, as if the Innominate Idol were in some way any less obnoxious to rationality than any other, any less a demonstration against the ONLY SUFFICIENT LOGICAL source for mind, matter and spirit, whose verifications mount to the skies (cf. SMR, TMR, The gods of naturalism have no go!).
So horrific mismanagement of facts for reproduction of our race is frequently made a cause of offence, if corrected, though it is in itself an offence against design and thought's demands, against man himself. Indeed, sexual perversion is listed in the detritus of the utterly unlawful as in Romans 1:17ff., I Timothy 1:10, as in the annals of all that can merit the name of design, of which man is a superb example (cf. Deity and Design, Designation and Destiny esp. Sections 2 and 8). So in many library classifications, religion becomes a sub-section of society, of man, while God is forged as a site for his construction by man, in a reversal of rationality. So does man exalt inflamed thought, exclude causal connection, and like Hitler, demand a place for what consistently shows no power for what it is imagined to do.
As the world continues in the course appointed (cf. SMR Chs. 8 - 9), towards the time when it would become impossible for human life to continue on this earth (as foretold in Matthew 24), were it not that the Saviour from sin, of which the above are merely some strident examples, is also the Lord and Maker of Creation, and will return to rule what He paid to save. This occurs when the misuses of freedom reach their culmination, and the laboratory of history has displayed in its follies, the truth of His word and the futility of man's works without Him.
Indeed, this is what Israel's works displayed before the Babylonian invasion, foretold as in Isaiah 13, Jeremiah 25, as was the time of the resultant dispersion of 70 years. It is the Gentile era version of these things, so well exhibited in KIND, by Israel in its very old ways, in history (cf. Jeremiah 3:23, 4:14, Habakkuk 2:13, Zechariah 10:2).
Where you, may ask, is the love of God in this ?
It is found in our race not being despatched to the rubbish bin as conceited, aggressive, feebly folly-minded, refractory, an unrepenting output of abused liberty, of contused thought and confused aspirations. Why not make a new car, rather than repair the hideous relic of foolish driving ? Why worry about that smashed up remnant where so vastly in power pursuits, that the very spirit of man becomes a casualty ? There, and in that restraint, is the love that will not let go this masterpiece of kaleidoscopic rebellion, sited in the most amazing and accompllshed design available for physical inspection on this earth, fulfilling it as no other visible entity, the specifications for that term (cf. Design... op. cit).
Love of God ? It is found in pardon, available freely through a cost-effective provision of the Son of God, the only begotten Son, as payment for pardon, the just for the unjust, to bear the calamitous consequence of sin and mayhem, and produce the peace which reconstruction and redemption can being (cf. Titus 2-3). And that ? in love, it is not to be purchased with due interest payments, nor is it requiring the sale of the soul as payment, but rathe does it give the sold soul, deep in sin, the opportunity of free pardon, uncircumscribed peace and meaning, mission and method for life.
This love ? It is to be felt in the forgiven heart which beats with joy at the prospect and experience of working with the living God, without prejudice, in a magnificence of grace, instead of being sent to some spiritual Siberia with no more hope. It is to be observed in the thousands of years for which this free grace from the once only sacrifice of the Maker Himself in the Person of His own living Word (cf. Hebrews 2) has already been available, that grant of God which no sin of man can countermand (cf. Galatians 1). It is further on display, in this, that even here, such is the transcendental provocation of mankind in millions, that new and fraudulent gospels arise, to deceive and as foretold (cf. II Peter 2). These are as readily found as in any other domain of rebellion against the God of creation and redemption. It was to be, foretold; it is as foretold (II Peter 2, I Timothy 4, II Timothy 3, 4, Jude, Revelation 6ff., II Thessalonians, Matthew 24). This is provocation as if to dump the only antibiotic in the dust. But it will not stay there, and divine patience proceeds till the end comes (cf. Matthew 24:14,29ff.).
There is the love of God. It is still seen in the wonders of floral magnificence, the glory of scenic majesty in the stars, the sunsets, the landscapes, the seascapes. More or less directly, it is to be seen in such exploits for goodness, such sacrifices for freedom as so startlingly shown for example by the US Air Force in its vast aid for the liberation of Europe as so well attested in works such as Mission to Berlin, by Robert F. Dorr. Here was a vast supply of what it meant to come from the USA to Europe for these multiplied afflictions, and this is but one episode in kind, where so many were so motivated by the necessity of overthrow of what could bring servitude to this world.
While motives could be many, not few were those who as Christians put such aims above all personal gain, facing a personal loss of whatever could be obtained in this life on earth, by its shedding, like a tear spent. Small wonder Eisenhower at D-day spoke of the blessing of God, sought for the enterprise ("And let us all beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking." ... (Order of the Day, 2 June 1944).
Whatever they inflicted on a would-be world ruler, deep in delusion about races and survivals and all that is the rind of the fruit of life, how vast were the inflictions on themselves, so many thousands dying, so many hundreds of Flying Fortresses with their calamitous susceptibility to cold, falling almost like Autumn leaves, to be replaced by a veritable prodigy of wealth dispersed, manufacturing on fire, and desire unfurled. Even then, at this distance from a full acknowledgement of the Saviour, there thus remained in a nation once highly religious, testimony of the lingering, not lost outcomes of its spiritual past, thrusting amid the active present.
However, Europe at no small cost in aid again from the USA, knows no more affiance with God than before, and seeks in its European Union, to have a 'common destiny' without too much indication of what kind and by what means and on what basis, as it rejected various formulations, all inadequate, of what it REALLY IS about, what are its aims, what is its nature! Britain, which bore the brunt for so long in wonders of patience, now moves not only to legitimisation of same-sex practices but their enshrinement as marriage, as if to slap the face of God, who has made such condemned practices in the Old Testament, a ground for death penalty, and in the New, a reason for exclusion from the kingdom of heaven (I Corinthians 5:9 - 6:9, Leviticus 18:22ff., 20:13). Such things were decreed part of the very things Israel was to displace, and in testimony to God, avoid. Gentile nations, facing the near approach of the judgment at the end of the Age, duly act as if puppets to failed policy, to pursue the forbidden, and achieve the departure even from the design given, with honour.
Efforts were made on the part of some advanced nations, to imagine that the disposal of 'unfit' persons would ensure the production of superior ones, though this would require a transformation of such intensively mingled orders of manufacture, commanded in the DNA, as to challenge the greatest of minds for adjustments and meaning in the same! Germany while a leader in this as the great war drew near and progressed, was not entirely alone. Yet, while removing the worst exam papers improves the residual average, it does not make a donation of anything new. That requires the power to appropriate, create, correlate the type of thing involved in information with its meaningfulness of symbol use, matched by the same in symbol reception, whether in person or by program. The latter merely makes its formulation to be the more systematically exacting.
Such things being NEVER found, and the construction of the DNA information being never discovered to proceed in the manner of institution of what has now ceased, as in the works by which this world was created, leaving its symbolic testimony embedded in our very bodies, it is merely unscientific to specify that such things made things. Nature did NOT make itself before there to do it. Such imaginations, apart from being frank and fundamental self-contradiction, exercises in antilogy, are mere circumnavigations of ignorance, never sighted, always sited in the imagination. It is all incognito, without testable law, residing in imagination, contrary to verification, requiring therefore scientific dismissal.
Not nothing but something is the basis of all these commands, which matter does not create, but obey. The something is not to be incompetent, or the result cannot occur. It is to be SO competent that ALL the smallest and greatest means of operation, integration, orientation, correlation are fully accounted for, as actually found to a degree staggering in its finesse in the programmatic aspect of our bodies, continued from generation to generation; this, along with the provision with the power to investigate and understand the result and the spirit to rove and reject, inspect, or give glory where it is due, the eminence of liberty. The spirit and mind of man accompany his exhibit of care, just as the Gospel shows divine concern to the uttermost, for the provision of remedy for the misuse of liberty.
MAN FINDING HIS PLACE
It is therefore of interest to find, as the domain of imagination meets increasingly in continuity the rebuke of more knowledge of the astute systematics on which human life even at the physical level is based, and of the entropy to decreasing workability which has been found (as in Cornell's Dr J.C. Sanford "Genetic Entropy and the Marvel of the Genome"), in marked diversion from the hopes of superman, an increasing frankness about the impasse facing the unscientific romancing about self-making objects. These are the more vacuous in being ultimately based on nothing and appearing in some sort of effusion from the non-existent, in total denial of causality*1 itself, without which nothing can be logically argued or attested.
Thus in The Australian, December 29, 2014, we find a series of admissions not normally given much space in the press, It is headed, under World Commentary, "Science turns to God as universe appears to be ultimate miracle."
Citing from such as Cambridge's former astronomer and famed academic, Fred Hoyle, and Oxford's academically adorned Dr John Lennox, along with Paul Davies, the summary is put that no way is to be found for a universe such as this, without the God competent for its formation and formulation. While zeros multiply against any such arrival in time (supplied) and in space (supplied) for any reason (logic supplied), as distinct from nothing continuing on its presumed way undisturbed, the facts of course remain. It is good to find such people admitting that the conditions required for this universe make chaff of common sense, hence pointing to a Creator. Yet the case remains, as it has been throughout the millenia, far worse for any equivocation, than even this latest increased versatility at beginning to face fact.
Nothing is no source for anything, having neither being nor potential. ANYTHING else has no ground, unless self-sufficient. Nothing is found able both to be and to create itself by experiment amid what is natural. What already has laws lacks their basis. What runs down as in entropy, lacks eternity. Matter lacks the observable capacity to create information, whatever you do to it. You have to intervene, intelligence to act.
Mind has the capacity. Spirit can engage all three, once they are given. Hence the eternally self-sufficient, not for one moment 'nothing' for then nothing could henceforth 'arise', leaving nothing as all: this is the only option. God is such. He gives independent testimony to His existence, power and proclamations to mankind, given in addition, the logic to understand, expressive thought to contemplate and will to respond (cf. SMR, TMR, Design and Deity, Designation and Destiny with LIGHT DWELLS WITH THE LORD'S CHRIST, who answers riddles and where He is, darkness departs).
In fact, not only is God necessary logically for the logical explanation of the universe, but as noted earlier, there is no necessary correlation between the process of creating and the procedure after it is over, as in writing a play.
To be sure, implements MAY be used, such as now exist, systems at least comparable, but the nature of creation which is an impartative action, should not wildly be confused with the norms after it is over. Even at a human level, there is the musician, engaging in the forms, formulations, descrying, lyric discernments and the like, and after it is over, there is the manuscript, which when an agent produces an actuality, is a result. One is an expressive assessment or invention, mental, spiritual, the other is a processive medium, only the symbols speaking of the formulation and forms within *2.
For millenia, this world has not been discarded; the validated news of the Gospel amid the first care to create it, this to create a clean heart and a place in the Lord of glory, has been sent like light into darkness, and many have found the meaning for man in his Maker, and the way out and on, in His mercy, based on love, shown in practice, epitomised on the Cross of Jesus Christ as predicted in date, meaning, grace and result. As we have been noting, also predicted has been the results of failing to receive it, and also, this has been found.
But the efforts to depart from deity, despite His grace, remain rumbling like distant and rather vacuous thunder in the distance, as devilries of horror unwind to make man marvel that he could sink so low towards not bestiality, but an active dynamism of pure horror. It is good to see some begin to turn back, and these things may become more and more cumulative, in some, as the light dawns; but the world continues in its zest for myth*3, now as in ancient Israel, which showed all too clearly, the end of such things, and the reason for that end; though for them, there is to be as a nation a new beginning, already geographical in part, and to become cumulative (as in Zechariah 12, Micah 7).
THE LOVE OF GOD FOR THE RACE
What then ? In view of such ludicrous twaddle, irrational parlance, horrific defilement of scientific method, gross abuse of the mind of millions, wars built on themes too childish to meet any rational thought, millions milling about the pits of death in consequence not only of the minor results of divorce from the Maker, but as with ancient Israel, the major ruptures and ructions made when the Creator is dismissed, and hence His wisdom with Him, it is a wonder that He continues with His patience. Here is beyond all expectation, a discovery past any (truly) scientific discovery, that God still loves the race. We are still here, still subject of appeal, of a Gospel to continue unchanged to the end (Galatians 1, Acts 4:11-12), and indeed God as in Revelation 22:17 continues His offers to the end: but there is an end.
This too is of the love of God, for in some cases, to continue to ruin the lives of children by coming close to forcing idol worship, mythical marvels as now, and the destruction in desperation, drugs and hardness of hearts to which this most naturally leads, becomes more pain than discontinuance. The current images of ruin like an evil elixir for some imitating head-hunters of old, are sadly and grievously, yet clearly, a reflection of the evils within, the damage done to oncoming generations, but outgoing theories and spectacular collisions with fact.
God's initiating love for the race is shown as in Titus 2-3, where "the kindness and the love of God toward mankind" is shown, and it is revealed that "the grace of God which brings salvation has appeared to all men," so that His earnest care for parts and particles, to make them precisely serviceable for His grand design for body, and His brilliant invention in our creation, of mind and spirit in His rendering of what is made in His own image and so fit for friendship or rejection of Himself, continues without extinction. It is enfolded with His earnest concern for the same. It is likewise shown from the lips of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, in John 3 where GOD so LOVED the world that He took the infinitely beautiful and magnificent action of setting in flesh from infancy, His only begotten Son, to show the way, pay the price of sin, break the atrocious mortality inherent in sin's guilt, and bring free pardon. Freely available, it has NOT yet been withdrawn, and as to patient love, this is a zenith in itself!
It was the entire WORLD towards which this was displayed, we read in John 3:15ff.. Moreover, it was NOT to condemn the world that He came. Furthermore, it WAS that the world might be saved that He arranged, organised, took action and entered this His own world, as a man. Hence as in I Timothy 2 and Colossians 1:19ff., it is His WILL that all should come to a knowledge of the truth and be reconciled to Himself, with the motif, motive and movement of love the basis, as I John 4 confirms once more, and Ezekiel 33:11 does not cease to broadcast. It is NOT to condemn, that He came. He SO loved that receiving by faith this all-sufficient offering in ransom and resurrection suffices for entry, in its context of overcoming sin and advertising immortality freely from His deeds. It is not improvised but bought.
The universality of the love for man in terms of the reconciling blood of Christ is a clear manifest of divine export, and in that sense, God has loved every person. The misuse of that very gift, at the outset, may indeed spoil its applicability, and lead to rejection amid renegacy. But this is a derivative by no means masking the initial output, availability and divine disposition of love for all, in heaven or on earth. If you slice a box of chocolates long enough, you may indeed ruin them, that is, the one sent you. The thing to do is eat them, unsoiled, unspoiled. No wonder Paul was most grateful for inclusion in the kingdom of heaven by divine action (I Timothy 1:12-14, cf. I Corinthians 1:26ff.). It is necessary to remember at all times that God desires to save; it is not an incubus or incumbency of some foreign thing. He is just like that, and from the heart, it is so. Consider.
If Christ. had come to condemn some as a major overall purpose, it would have been different; but the stated butt of His issuance is that, out of love, the world might be saved, and the denial of some other intention is categorical. The divine desire is for ALL to be reconciled. The divine motivation is love.
THIS the divine desire, declares Colossians, He having made peace through the blood of the cross. God IS love, declares I John 4. He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, He repeatedly defines the position, in Ezekiel. What more does it take ? While darkness finds it incomprehensible, light shines. It is necessary to turn the head and to see. It is not necessary to create the light, either physical or mental or spiritual or moral. It is there already. Man is so made, and his race does not work in any other way, than in the transforming love which being shown in salvation, beams on in sanctification, sacrificial conduct and moral self-control.
It is necessary, as Christ makes so very clear in Matthew 13:15, to open the eyes; for they do not function so well when tightly closed, lest they admit light.
Thus God from the first has held love for all, given divine enterprise on behalf of all (cf. I John 2:1ff.), has held in His desire the reconciliation of all, so that every member of the human race has this, that God has loved that one.
Yet love may be despised, as human life attests by the billion at its own level. It is not less so at the divine. Made in the image of God, man readily understands and even displays, either in consummation or conflagration, the nature of the case. When this divine love is despised, then as in the end, foreknown as in the beginning, and this in essence, in spirit, in reality, the consequence is known to God from the first. It is important not to confuse with this the initial outgoing of love and the entreaties that proceed from it. Time is not a barrier to God, and He knows it altogether before it is at all (Romans 9:6-13). As with all the depths of foreknowledge, these things are enshrined in the certitudes of predestination, which ensures the conformity in fact to the foreknowledge in truth (Ephesians 1:4,11, I Peter 2:8), wrought in love reaching to all, available to all, restricted to receivers.
While it is true as in John 6:65, that things do not wander out of control, and only if the Father grants salvation may it be found, this is not to alter His word, but to show its certainties, for the Father admits neither bogus pretender, nor chameleon fraud, neither this world abuser of the faith for gain, nor charming personality as a guise for subversion. But the love in the presence of God Almighty achieves its aim and none is lost who might be found, in those limits that love imposes, dismissing force with disdain, deception with dynamic and compulsion as ingloriously irrelevant, and hence not to be used.
Of course, some may so equivocate or worse, on the threshold that in the end their consciences may become "seared as with a hot iron," sinning, seeking, playing about, performing, abusing truth and life alike, as if the faith itself were a commercial proposition, not a divine gift (I Timothy 4:2), as if it were one subject to intrigue or human intervention as to kind. But GOD HAS LOVED all and if any depart by diverse ingenuities of folly, that does not alter the beginning of it, but merely illustrates that this love is not another name for force, manoeuvre or manipulation. The love of God is pure and in its purity is the precious flame which makes life not only meaningful amid mankind, but open to lustre and beauty from above.
Yet the love of God is yet more ample than this, and indeed Paul luxuriates in its magnificent munificence (Ephesians 3:14-21). Not only has God loved all, but He SEEKS all, and love is tougher than steel, as well as more delicate from flowers. Its nature is to be resilient; its expression is to resourceful and gentle. Thus if at any time any member of the human race should call on the name of the Lord (Acts 2), and put his/her faith in the Lord who came to be crucified, rose to be donor of immortality, the moral basis for man and the face of the Almighty sent among us that we be not deluded or ignorant, and in Him alone (Acts 4:11-12): then what ? Then the love comes in sealing confirmation. What is it like ?
It is like the thousands of bombers covering the skies in the liberation of Europe before and after D-day, not to bomb to destruction this time, but to build to instruction, rebuild what would have been, and must be (Colossians 3:10).
That is love on call! It is immediate; and when it is thus received in the regeneration of the human heart and the redemption of the spirit of a person, then it is forever confirmed, assured, vital and inveterate (cf. Romans 8:32-39). None so calling is passed by. Indeed, THAT soul who so believes, passes from a state of death to one of eternal life. So great is His love, that part of the gift is this: to KNOW that this is its lot (I John 5:11-12, John 5:24, Romans 4), eternity its measure, even for redeemed man.
Thus relishing the liberties of love, God has made it available even to find in the power of God the strength and facility for works of faith (Ephesians 1:19). The faith and the works resultant are like a hand-shake; but each hand lives on its own premises, and neither is to be confused with the other, just as a pen and writing through it, are by no means the same! God's mercy is unequivocal, pure and infinite, and receives no contributions from the dust or dealings of man (Romans 3:23ff., Ephesians 2:1-12). When man shows mercy in turn, it is a result, not cause! The cause has no limits. The grace has no bounds. God does the works of salvation; man is recipient, pride having downfall, and self-assertion its come-uppance.
Thus in the day of Jonah, the prophet, early issue was taken with this love of God, and history there showed what was to be consummated in due course (Galatians 4:4). WHY did Jonah, a friend of God it seems, and certainly well-known to Him as a prophet, in fact one SENT on mission in that field, refuse to go and attest the saving truth to a Nineveh which was one foot from the brink of a volcanic inferno of judgment ? He states that it was because he knew that God is so very merciful, and could not be sure that He would actually judge Nineveh, imperial colossus capital, at that time. He would be a prophet with a mission but without his concept of the fulfilment of that mission: destruction in burning intensity. What is not remedied may be rubbish, but what is remedied is not rubbish. The one certainty (as in John 3:36) is as sure as the other (Hebrews 6:19). There is no point in confusing them.
Man may be immune to the love of God, or even to its understanding. What however does God state ? It is that a way being found (in repentance on the part of Nineveh in a staggering response to the prophetic challenge - revival cannot be worked out in terms of mathematics!) to save them, God used it. He was delighted to do so; He had no pleasure in sacrifices of all these things, but in preservation, did not incline to devastation of all great and small, cattle and man, child and parent, but to liberation (Jonah 4:6-11).
In other words, God is NOT intent on destruction, but instruction. Vengeance is His, but He is not on fire to use it before it is necessary. Pardon is made both free and accessible. HE does the work for it (as in Galatians 6:14); we receive it. It could not be more searching or simple, as truth is; but mercy could not make it more penetrating or challenging, as reality is. The marvel, like the initial construction of the human mind-body-spirit trilogy, a masterpiece of prodigious complexity and operational simplicity as in good design, was that it was GIVEN. You had to receive it, as you did the body when born. You could later suicide; but it is there. Similarly, you could play the fool with grace, but it is there (Romans 5:20-21, on the basis of the preceding verses).
Nineveh in the day of Jonah was for all time the index. IF man relents and repents, and if he heeds, listens to and receives the grace given, the pardon proffered, than God is utterly delighted (cf. Luke 15:7). To find one more ? it is that delicious delight which thrills a man or woman, and to which God is not oblivious. He wants to save all, does not save all because love has restraint with faith and truth, but is exuberant at each one to be found, when solitary or a city, and to such His love arises like a torrent following a huge snow-fall, and rushes down to water the plains of spiritual life (cf. Jeremiah 18:13-15).
Thus historically also, there is to pack with the case of Jonah, that of the Canaanites in the land which because of their sin and folly, was to be removed from them, and given to Israel as 'the promised land.' There it was to show forth the other way, the moral, the principial, the lawful, the revealed, the blessed and integral way of God (cf. Isaiah 43:21). In Genesis 15, we learn that God concerning these people, those of Canaan, had a time-table. It was clear-cut and precise. Though their wickedness (since archeologically confirmed) was great, yet God was NOT prepared to punish them totally and WOULD NOT do so for several hundred years. Then, the judgment would be as it later was from time to time, on Israel, a thing of great tribulation. Israel itself, would come through finally (as in Deuteronomy 30-33), but Canaan was waiting for a consummation of its corruption.
God COULD have acted at once, but did not; envisaged but did not so act, and WOULD not till centuries of moral horror and religious abomination had consumed the people and made them as tinder for the fire in their scrappiness and insubstantial roamings amid spiritual shadows.
Love looked, and knowledge did not dispossess it. In Canaan, they were given much time; and historically many are those who are given a time to repent. This is featured in Revelation 2-3 among churches when those entities are in view for judgment for hypocrisy, and grow autocratic and self-willed, before the judgment comes. They smile wryly at God's patience, and do not realise, wilfully ignorant, that God is not mocked, and that their self-delight is bogus, a substitute for truth. At last, they meet reality as hard as does a skier, when left for long on a precipitous slope: it is a thing of joy for the moment, but disaster if misconceived!
Again, God COULD have arranged for Jerusalem of Christ's day to be smashed suddenly and early, as if to protest; but He waited a whole 40 year generation with many movements in the land following their smiting the Judge of Israel on the cheek with a rod (as Micah 3 puts it in its prediction of their coming exile - 5:3). Nineveh indeed in due course, much later, was destroyed, for its repentance was not elemental and categorical in the end; and so was Jerusalem after that generation to draw breath. What they had done was then reflected in rather obvious ways in themselves, as Rome struck in devastating thoroughness!
In this, ancient Israel even became the prototype for Gentile nations as in Europe and its derivatives, who would similarly take delight in themselves as they moved from Christ, and made for themselves graves in the clay, as if this were their destiny, and falling into debt, made a mockery of the days of their prosperity. To exalt yourself is a prelude to being humbled, and to trust in your nation or notion is a form of exaltation, leading to temporary exultation frequently till all shrivels, like a good crop of grapes in a succession of hot, dry winds and rain. Paul tells the Gentiles about this and its results in Romans 11:17ff.), while foretelling the eventual spiritual restoration of Israel, cut off only for regrafting purposes, as well as the testimony of truth.
You see the underlying love of God, always available on such free and glorious terms, in parallel with John 4, 5, 6, I Corinthians 15, Romans 3, 5, 10, in Jeremiah 31. Here, amid predictions of the coming virgin birth and New Covenant, there equally appears a dramatised version of the return of Israel, to come, to the love of God. It is most moving and instructive. Hear a little from verse 18 onwards.
I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus:
Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised,
as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke:
turn me, and I shall be turned; for You are the LORD my God.
"Surely after I was turned, I repented; and after I was instructed,
I struck on my thigh:
I was ashamed, yes, even confounded,
because I did bear the reproach of my youth.
" 'Is Ephraim my dear son? is he a pleasant child?
for since I spoke against him,
I do earnestly remember him still.
Therefore my bowels are troubled for him;
I will surely have mercy upon him, says the LORD.'
"Set up waymarks, make high heaps: set your heart toward the highway,
even the way you went.
Turn again, O virgin of Israel, turn again to these your cities.
How long will you go about, O you backsliding daughter?
for the LORD hath created a new thing in the earth,
A woman shall compass a man.
"Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel.
'They will again speak this word in the land of Judah and in its cities,
when I bring again their captivity:
The LORD bless you, O habitation of justice, and mountain of holiness.
And there will dwell in Judah itself, and in all its cities together,
husbandmen, and they who go forth with flocks.
For I have satiated the weary soul,
and I have replenished every sorrowful soul.'
"Upon this I awaked, and beheld; and my sleep was sweet unto me."
When the time comes, so it will be when Israel, no longer blinded to the Gospel as a nation, at last receives Him who the nation slew (in conjunction with Rome!), with relish and repentance (as foretold in Zechariah 12:10 - 13:1 cf. Romans 11:25ff., Isaiah 59:16-21). They will cry, repent and turn to the Lord with understanding, and so saved, inherit the promises with all the believing Gentiles as in Romans 11, and find them fulfilled as specifically declaimed by the Lord from the first (Genesis 17, Micah 4, 7). Indeed, that ONE site for worship, made so clear to Israel, Jerusalem, and even yet clearer when Christ was crucified and rose there, the site God chose to use for this unique and glorious purpose, will figure once more as a symbol of singularity and a centralised site, though it is the Lord of all who thus will show that He by no means massages His messages, but fulfils all that He says, even if some go to this and to that extreme in refusing to believe Him, or that everything matters to Him (Matthew 5:17-20).
It also matters that none be exalted, for we are a fallen race (cf. Isaiah 2:17), a very satisfying development; for God is God, inimitable, infinite, glorious in nature, and man is not so, and needs like the moon to find his place, not as some competitor with his Maker, but as a derivative. In truth we are given enough at that, in the facilities of our own creations, the penetrations of our own minds and the disposition of the loyalties of our hearts before God.
Such is the love of God; there is no shortage of it in heaven, nor of its availability on earth. God is, His love is, His Gospel is and its rejection is the site for the ski-slopes of sin to take you to the depths of depravity, whether in pride, vainglory, vacuity of thought, mischief of spirit, vengeance of heart or any other thing available to lawlessness, spiritual poverty and self-imposed transient status.
Predestination and Freewill Section 4.
SMR Ch. 5.
See also *2 below.
On this topic of creation and its ways, and the resultant product and its ways, see for example The Way of Truth and the Way of Error Ch. 8.
For a very broad coverage of related issues, including point form presentations,
see Dig Deeper, Soar Higher ... Ch. 1, *3, below; and for further analysis, see Lively Lessons ... Ch. 5.
Cf. The Divine Sublimity ...Ch. 2, where overview is provided, and Department of Bible ... Volume 10, Ch. 5. Here contrast is made between the failure of reductionist ramblings, avoiding the issues to be resolved, together with ignorings of the question, and beggings of it in a species of alternation: this on the one hand, and on the other, something infinitely better. That is the power of God in the Bible, of Jesus the Christ in the flesh, to meet the challenges to be made, and the tests: for these are not always inept, for truth proves itself, and wrong motives do not alter that fact. Thus Christ habitually met direct and without inward or outward bloc or blockade, ANY sort of challenge, physical, mental, meteorological, transmutation from death to life, doctrinal confrontation, scholarly efforts to engulf Him, with a natural authority, since to One who IS a supernatural being, to be natural is to be what He is in Himself, sovereign (cf. Ch. 6 above).
His suffering for sacrificial purposes not only did not alter this, but made it the more remarkable that even in His lowly and vulnerable dress of flesh, the same overwhelming and total sufficiency for every point of test was present, to the point only murder seemed to His abominators (cf. Isaiah 49:7), as a solution (John 11:45-53). And even that did not work! That failure in bumbling confusion (cf. I Corinthians2:6-9) had indeed been in the mind of God (cf. Psalm 69), as He triumphed through His manifestation as a man, even to the point of death and resurrection of that self-same body (Luke 24), just as He had said, both in the flesh and in the predictions (Psalm 16:22).
The sheer magnificence of the facility and brilliance of what God has made, quite apart from the abuses through sin and the abrasions through judgment, the decisiveness of the purposes and precepts, principles and morals, glory and promises of God, the demonstration of His love unmangled by the vicious self-interest so commonly found, the sheer candour of His dealings, the kindness of His promises and the simplicity of trust, all make the Christian Gospel meaningfully applicable to and effective even for children, who may remain steadfast, unmoved throughout their lives. They may become children of God as early as at three years. Indeed, while Christ has answer to the most contorted questions, the simplicity of the realities without twisting, has that sure ring of truth, so readily recognised even by the young, as the Lord works. Thus indeed, even when the stern disciples sought to drive away the children who might impede Christ's works, they may have thought, yet Christ asked them to let the little ones come to Him, for of such is the kingdom of heaven (Mark 10:14).