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IN THE TEMPORAL AND THE ETERNAL
There is a time and place for the temporal, and there is a love and grace for the eternal. God is not mocked by those who in the temporal, trifle with truth, are tedious with truculence, pugnacious with power, lowering with low rages and high talk, attempting to rule the world without ruling themselves, parading take-over gods aplenty, whose site is the world, whose base is the devil, gods newly arisen, old harridans done up, with the new lipsticks of the times (Deuteronomy 32, Isaiah 14, II Timothy 3-4, Romans 1, Revelation 12).
They mock, but are a mockery in themselves, declaring what does not happen and giving obeisance to what is not there. The human race has long come past all this (Jeremiah 16:19-20, John 8:12, 9:4), seen truth summed in Jesus Christ, peace from His pardon and power from His cross; for here is liberated the light of God for those who in Christ find Him. Yet broad is the path to reversion to former sins, wallowing without wisdom, power without glory, vanity without virtue.
Now you see things temporal, and many seek to make them eternal, but they are merely in the flow, caused and to be completed not with glory, but with the normal: dereliction. It has much capital, but try to live on that and you are committing a capital offence.
That time, the temporal aspect in this present creation, is now. By what does man live, within it ? By his wits, his own wisdom, as if the temporal came when a day off was appointed for wisdom, when logic bent beserk and was arrested ? but by whom or by what ? and how would it be shown, since by logic it WOULD be shown, but this now is deleted! In fact, let fancies die: nothing changes truth, nothing deletes reason, that of the LOGOS of God through whom all things were made (John 1;1-3).
If amid the made, you worship the things made, then madness tears at the tissues of your soul, aborts the meaning of your life, and you are merely flotsam and jetsam amid the waves, having no liner to board, no direction to go and no point in going at all, except to keep going, an illusory dream of nonsense. It cannot be reasoned so without self-contradiction; but a greater contradiction is to come for such as live not only IN the temporal but FOR it. It is that of judgment, WITH reason!
Hebrews 11:3 declares it with singular pertinacity: "By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of Go, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible."
Laws did not contrive to arrive; their formulations did not invent language with which to be formulated, nor did the functions they describe achieve regularity and definability by their own efforts. You need input, and for that the source of output, which having made that output for this temporal universe, ceased (Hebrews 4:11, Genesis 2). That is why you NEVER find it being created, upgradings of the commands in information on which much of the physical side of life rests. It does not now happen because WHEN it happened it was by decision of the One who is competent for all these things, and so able to produce them. When it stopped it was by another decision. We do the same in creating stories, essays, machinery and so on. We may take several stages; and then stop.
We are human; we may DEVELOP (NOT evolve, for that suggests at least that it happens by itself, which is contrary to the case) things, and rest a few years before by intelligence and vision making a new edition, or mark. God made all and then rested. There is no need for revision with God. Efforts to restart the program, as it may ludicrously be imagined (as if it made itself), are in vain. Nothing works. It is as in Hosea 10:4-5, when the priests shrieked*1 for their naturalistic idols. They don't work; they didn't make themselves and everything else, because they are after the event. They had to come first. It all has to come from competence, to make all that is. There are therefore laws in nature, but as Sir Karl Popper put it (SMR p.145), there is no law for evolution, by which it operates.
In fact, it is not about what happens, shows itself or the machinery or program for its occurrence. You can shriek even for this; but it does not come. It is not about happening, but hope. It is a religion, contrary to evidence. Christianity is a religion according to evidence, not from it, but from the source which made it, about it, and about us, and His words are independently testable, as well as by experience shown to be incontrovertible. That is the difference (cf. Deity and Design ..., TMR, SMR, Secular Myths and Sacred Truth, The gods of naturalism have no go, LIGHT DWELLS WITH THE LORD'S CHRIST).
TEMPORAL, FROM THE FIRST TO THE LAST
AND THE ETERNAL WHICH LASTS
Creation is after all, the great exhibit of mind, thought, understanding, artistry, mathematics, engineering, systems of thought, models of ideas; and in its midst is love, which leaps into reality as comprehension dawns, and realisation comes. Much more and worse than love can come, but love moves readily where creation has its abode, creation after the style of God.
In Jeremiah 4, in the woes to come, we are presented with an image of un-creation, the successive movement OUT of aspects of what when the world was created, was movement IN.
Michael Denton in his Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, notes of the staggering level of miniaturisation involved in life's underlying codes (1985, p. 338): "It is astonishing to think that this remarkable piece of machinery, which possesses the ultimate capacity to construct every living thing that ever existed on Earth, from a giant redwood to the human brain, can construct all its own components in a matter of minutes and weigh less than 10-16 grams. It is of the order of several thousand million million times smaller than the smallest piece of functional machinery ever constructed by man." This is this amazingly complex, brilliantly manageable protein-synthetic apparatus, DNA and RNA.
In similar vein, on p. 290, he notes: "It is now well established that the pattern of diversity at a molecular level conforms to a highly ordered hierarchic system. Each class at a molecular level is unique, isolated and unlinked by intermediates. Thus molecules, like fossils, have failed to provide the elusive intermediates so long sought by evolutionary biology ... At a molecular level, no organism is "ancestral" or "primitive" or "advanced compared with its relatives." Indeed, on p.288, he notes this: "when new types of organisms are occasionally discovered they never turn out to be ancestral to known groups but stand only as sister groups in keeping with the thesis that nature's basic order is circumferential rather than sequential."
In other words, things move out from the centre, where creation occurs, to their various assignments; and so we who are Christ's, new creations, sent with precise spiritual orders, commission, accepted freely (I Corinthians 3:17, Acts 16:7ff.), at the personal level, where hearts can know and love respond. Reborn in the image of Him who created us, now in Christ, we are able to be moulded to more and more felicity in this image (II Corinthians 3:18), in terms of Christ Himself.
Creation itself of the structure and contents of the cosmos, and its outer environment, is nothing to do with things adjusting upwards. Creation has its ways for the world and its outer environment, and a strong mind, an organising brilliance, a flexibility within kind, these are outstanding characteristics, as when a musician has like pieces, not growing out of each other, but related by modes of creation, inter-relationships within each, and different purpose, either with closer or further objectives for the 'family', be it symphonies, concertos or quartets.
You can try to imitate the creative efforts of someone with vaster understanding than yourself, but in vain. It takes much in conception, depth, vigour, vitality, imagination and self-control to create. Each work of art, like some others as it may be, like the molecular level in life, has its own signature, stamp, for each kind. There is nothing in between. We do not merge, we make; instant thought, like particular children, are not mergers, but distinctive, each one separate, even when made on the same mould. Thus creation can make billions of faces, on one mould; billions of brains, on one mould, masses of intelligence, which inhabit the creations, and spirits, which activate them, and creations come forth, whether they be books, children, stars of beauty.
Desecration ruins it, in thought, in mind, in body, in the world, in the cosmos. Sin spoils, judgment rebukes; but holy joy in God's salvation polishes it.
It as mini-creators that you and I live, because THE Creator in the beginning, made heaven and earth. In the Hebrew there is in the first few words of Genesis, a use of successive first letters to isolate and emphasis this statement. Then in Genesis 2, God refers to the generations of the heaven and the earth, all that made them to be, and all that would come forth from them: their family tree, and the coat of arms, is that of God. Then Genesis 5, for example, gives the generations of Adam, a living and personal product of God; and there we have reference back to his being created, he and Eve, and to what proceeded from them: all is CREATION, including that vast and tumultuous but precise and gloriously engineered exhibit which each one of us carries about in himself, herself, and THESE generations from life, human life, are then in Genesis seen moving to families, cities, nations..
In Revelation 1:8, God is called the Alpha and Omega, the Almighty, and in 22:13, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End, , and in 2:9, the Lamb gains the same name, the First and the Last, which of course is one of God's own names as in Isaiah 44:6; and "besides Me," He says, "there is no God." He is the beginning and the end of all creation. It is He who did not "create it in vain, who indeed formed it "to be inhabited", and in Genesis 1 you see He moulded what He had made with this idea, this purpose. Nor has He spoken in secret to man, His creation (Isaiah 44:19), nor has He wandered from the point, saying to the desecrated creation, man (Romans 5): "Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other." Every tongue will in the END acknowledge Him, every knee bow. This in Isaiah is to God alone, and hence they so bow to Jesus Christ (Philippians 2).
The Saviour, Jesus Christ, workman and Word of God, has created ALL THINGS, so not only is any thing at all that is made, HIS creation (not products of things made, but the things themselves), while equally, nothing that is not God is NOT His creation (John 1:3). He encompasses all things and to Him is their will to be directed, in Him their hearts found, f or Him their labours done and from Him the direction gained. Where they err, it is like a rupture; and mankind HAS erred (Romans 5, 6:23). Man is not insignificant, but without HIM, He is worse than insignificant: but he is judged, and becomes far worse than insignificant, even an outlandish alien, unreconciled and with many, irreconcilable, readily turning into tyrants who seek to increase their domain, tiny or vast, even to rule the truth; but it cannot be ruled and their lives like their logic, fail and cannot rise under its stamp. Repentance is no mere option!.
They talk of mystery, but this ignorant puzzlement outside God is then readily transformed into misery; for man MUST act, seek the stars, relish opportunity, seek challenge, try to overcome, because he is made to act, and when divorced from His reference and Redeemer, he still acts, but either on purpose or by default, does so devastatingly in the end, as at Babel. Alas, he is continually making follies for his power, his arrogant pride and his accomplishments. You see it in Psalm 107, they arise, they fall, they seek, they cry, they are heard, they flourish, they fail in weakness, forgetting. Oh that men WOULD praise the Lord for His goodness to man, for without this, it is to choke the channel in which it flows, like a water channel conveying moisture to the fields, but choked with weeds.
So creative is God, that He RE-creates what having fallen, is made to stand by His salvation. Thus in Colossians 3:10, we find that the Christian is one created, restored and being renewed after the image of God who made him. This is restoration; and for the one who has lived outside Jesus Christ, the Son of God, cut off from Him as a branch from the vine, ALL THINGS BECOME NEW. It is a new creation (II Cor. 5:17ff.), an irresistibly beautiful act, more than mere re-assemblage; for in the redemption He purchases, there is a regeneration, as if your car could be, not panel-beaten, but reduced to basics, these separated, and then these reformed, and built again into the car. Now the 'new creation' is spiritual, mental, moral; but then, in the resurrection it will be with a specialised and eternal personal passport, each one sustained in his or her place, in that body, of which Paul speaks, eternal in the heavens (II Corinthians 5,Philippians 3:20).
Not merely, however, will it be resurrected, this will be done with the same irresistible power by which God made the earth (Philippians 3:21), alone, as He declares in Isaiah 44:24, Isaiah 45:18: that God who speaks, for there is no other. Creation and resurrection are done by Himself, that glorious inventive, creative, undimmed and undimmable Creator. Though the creation is swept by the winds of sin, and the typhoons of judgment at many times, as in the Flood, and so wears out as Isaiah 51:6 tells us, this, thousands of years before Lord Kelvin popularised and showed the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which formulates the manner of it in one dimension; yet the opposite comes in its time. The resurrection is wrought by a power beyond sin, post-redemptive, so that as Paul declares in Philippians 3:20-21,
our citizenship is in heaven from which we also eagerly wait for the Saviour,
the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body
that it may be conformed to His glorious body,
according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself."
God's irresistible power mocks the tinny pretensions and tirades of dictators, domestic, professional or national. He does not dictate: as Creator however He DOES instruct, and as our students, with 12 years of school and 3 or more of University are used to being instructed, hopefully, about the nature of things, let us all learn. Is it so hard to learn then from God, who is gentle and lowly in heart, as seen in His coming as Christ Jesus (Matthew 11:28-30), not to judge, but that the world might be saved. Judgment has wrath; salvation has grace divine.
The power that cannot be resisted, however, both to create and to save, is so because God has foreknown each one of us before the creation (Ephesians 1:4), knows who are His, who receive Him, and makes sure of them so that not one is lost. This is THE MIDST, after the beginning, before the end: that time of application of the Gospel. In this, how gloriously free you are, because you have only to repent and call on His name for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:37-38), and you will be saved. Indeed, confess Jesus Christ as Lord (not some other entity) and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead and you will be saved (Romans 10:9). He the Creator, has been creative in freely supplying the means of RE-CREATION, in a Gospel where HE who did all the work of creating us, has already done that for saving (Romans 3:23-27, Ephesians 2, Titus 3).
WALK then in the Spirit, REJOICE in the new creation which is yours, if you are in Christ, be thankful and worship Him, not even dented by the impacts which Satan and Co. try to make: for resist him, and he will flee from you (I Peter 5). Wisdom and knowledge will be the stability of your times, says Isaiah 33:6, the fear of the Lord is His treasure. This is true both of HIS treasuring that clean fear of God in us, which nourishes our hearts and helps them to shine, and OUR treasuring it in His presence, as a thing like the waters of the sea, both clean and cleansing: such is the beauty of holiness, as we walk, in the midst.
Then comes the end (Matthew 24:14). When ? when the Gospel has been preached in all the world, as a witness to all nations. Currently, we face thermo-nuclear devastations, mounting earthquake instabilities, increasing oceanic disturbances, harsher sun rays with less ozone coverage, endless wars, not least concerning God's long stated intention to bring back a fallen Israel to its land, before He brings a multitude of them back to the Lord whom that nation once had crucified (with assistance from Rome!), near missing asteroids, endless infatuated terrorists, in love with death (as foretold in Revelation 6 as a passion), false gospels, shameless instruction in the myth of organic evolution, based on nothing that can be seen or made to happen.
Meanwhile increasingly, the atheists boast of their knowledgeable ignorance, reactors who can rise above it all by pure miracle and tell it like it is, which of course it isn't, nor on their model can they know; but Christians do not limit themselves so, and not only can, but do know God (John 17:1-3), the real wonder for life on this earth; for He is personal, intimate, courageous, strong, wise, inimitable, insuppressible, as pure as a torrent of ice water from the mountains, kind to call, swift to hear, incapable of manipulation, ready to hear the cry from the heart, when it is addressed and packaged in Christ's own name and merits (Psalm 71).
It began, and none can now make it continue, this creation of the universe. It will not, it refuses though they shriek*1 at it to show something*. It will not produce information*2, it will not budge. God made it and finished it and said so (Genesis 1-2). He stopped breaking into it with information. It stopped receiving it. The message delivery system at that level, is defunct. God did it; He is not doing it. That is the testimony of the Bible and of science, when it pauses from the invasive control of what ignores evidence and lives by a hope consistently denied. IT DOES NOT NOW DO IT; for God ceased it. It WILL END, just as it began, WHEN GOD HAS FINISHED WITH IT.
It DOES end, this Age of Gospel grace and trial (I Peter 4, II Peter 3, Acts 1), like other trials and tests. Always remember that. God who created the universe and man within it, and the Gospel for man, and man's creativity, alike, does not try for ever; for as He declares (Isaiah 57:15-16), the spirit (of man) would fail before Him. Therefore, the word to Christians is this: endure, be courageous, valiant, strong, fearless, valuing each day as an opportunity for the service of God, the testimony of Christ, that many might find rest in Him, release and commission, before the end. He creates "the fruit of the lips: Peace, peace to him who is far off and to him who is near"- Isaiah 57:19.
When He DOES come, it will be an end indeed to this earth's arrogance (Isaiah 2:27, 24), as with the servant, so with the master; but it will be the beginning of rest from trials for His servants. Therefore rejoice in infirmities, for these are opportunities for the Lord to show His power, and wonders to behold, when He acts (Isaiah 64:5), as He does always, doing what He has said (cf. SMR Ch.8-9). When He has shown the earth the better way (Revelation 20, Isaiah 11, Psalm 72), then it will go, no more space or time for it (Matthew 24:35. Yet a new heavens and a new earth will be CREATED (Revelation 20, Isaiah 65:17, II Peter 3), in which righteousness dwells.
THE LAST THAT LASTS
I look forward to this, in the end: a new earth and heavens CREATED. How staggeringly creative is the Lord! It will all be made new, until the final eternity surpasses all that has been. Then new bodies, themselves a new creation in a world where those so blessed in Christ are already spiritually restored to the image in which they were first created (Colossians 3:10), come with permanence of life attached.
Raised into sight at the resurrection, they will endure past all worlds. So does the restoration of life in the present, become resurrection of life, in the end. Such is the wit and wisdom, knowledge and power of God. Indeed, when the architect makes gifts of houses, whether bodies or spirits or worlds, it is always better to know Him personally, since He may give many worlds, when this passes, but when this world is past, relying on it leaves nothing.
Nothing, that is, except judgment for severance from God, when salvation is denied; and left no less, is everlasting life for His people, who have trusted in Him only and altogether (Jeremiah 17, Psalm 71), so that the end of the matter is eternity, end aborted, immortality released, with judgment tossed away like clouds in the morning sky, at mid-day.
To Paul the Lord gave this by most blessed inspiration ( II Timothy 1:8-10, bold added) -
"Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner,
but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God,
who has saved us and called us with a holy calling,
not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace
which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,
but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ,
who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,
to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.
For this reason I also suffer these things;
nevertheless I am not ashamed,
for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded
that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day."
What peace is created in our hearts by such foreknowledge and predestination, for if you are a believer, indeed surrendered and saved as in this passage, then from eternity your name is known, and to eternity your place is reserved in heaven (as I Peter 1:5-8) assures. Indeed, the Christian has this for strengthening: "The Spirit bears witness with our spirits that we are the children of God," declares Paul in Romans 8:16, and
"we have obtained an inheritance," he is inspired to relate, "being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things after the counsel of His own will."
Blessed be God.
It is He who gives existence to the temporal, opportunity to man within it, tests to the triumphant and the failed alike, so that many that appear first to be last; for the temporal has its own glories which are sodden masses of mischief, arrogance and pretension mixed with pretence, and the eternal is past mere time, lodged in the Creator of all who IS eternal so that eternal things have their meaning, source and power, truth and loveliness, in Him. They are not a park; HE IS IT. To be spiritually alive in Him, what is it like ? It resembles the beauties of exquisite gardens, since this is His gift (Psalm 27); and even in the temporal you can be like a well-watered garden - or else have a soul resembling a desert, because you have no ground in God (Jeremiah 17:5),according to the case.
How did He do it ? He did it as the Trinity who sent the eternal WORD, perfectly expressive of God, to become man so that from heaven to earth, from the eternal to the temporal, came the beauty of holiness in the form of a man, ready to die, a sacrifice for sin, that from the tests of temporality might come the gifts of eternity for which man is fitted, though now pitted with sin. The Christians, borne away from the blights of birth into a sinful world, by the grace of the Creator, those who are freely saved by faith (II TImothy 1:8-9, Titus 3:5), then being redeemed, know that their Redeemer lives; for He lives within not only history, but his own heart; and has shown Himself not only in detail, but dynamic. So does the Trinity usurp the role of death, for the wages of sin IS death, and grant back to man in greater measure, the life he lost.
Such is the blessed work of God in the heart which trusts not in gods that are not there, but in Him, and who moves in Him at His direction with the brotherly love which He induces, and His grace produces.
"And the LORD shall guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought,
and make fat your bones: and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water,
whose waters do not fail."
"Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose
hope is the Lord; for he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which
spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes;
but its leaf will be green and it will not be anxious in the year of drought,
nor will cease from yielding fruit."
From the temporal to the eternal is but a step: whether to loosing it from one's heart, to play with the temporal as a toy, worship it a a god or live by it as a rule; or else to find everlasting life. What MAKES it so is the bridge of Jesus Christ, who in converting your soul and life to understanding and receiving His pardon, peace and power for life, brings you, translates you, transfers you, transforms you into a member of His kingdom. This work is done courtesy of Christ by His Spirit, for Him who did the work for the bridge, and now IS it, being endowed and able to endower (Ephesians 1:3-14). What a glory is this; and indeed God Himself magnifies it above all, that this is the gift of eternal life through the cross of Christ. There is even a prohibition on the point (Galatians 6:14):
"But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,
by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world."
While the temporal lasts, therefore, use it, and while eternal life invites, receive it; for the time is short, and eternity long; and God who made the temporal, and sin which makes it ephemeral, have placed you where, when without Christ in you (Colossians 1:27), you wander in a wayless wilderness of life. Content though you may be for a time with yourself, nothing can alter that need, the bridge to the way of life, to its truth and to that life from God in His peace and presence, for which having been born in the temporal, man longs. Yet he does not have automatically have this thrust down his throat, for it is not of that kind; and he needs to swallow willingly, that which is its good (Psalm 81:10, John 6:47-54).
Spiritually and structurally, you need that bridge, the One who bridged the gap between acceptability in God (Ephesians 1:6) and rejection. All pretence of being acceptable on your own, like other arrogance and presumption, merely is for burning (Romans 10:1ff., Titus 3:3-7).
Weeds or wisdom ? Love or self-assertion ? Grace or ungovernability ?
The temporal gives scope; the eternal makes invitation. It is personal, for God is shown in Jesus Christ, incarnate for the purpose of securing just and due grounds for the salvation for man, to be rich in reality. He is disruptive of death for man (Titus 1:1-3), exquisite in spiritual beauty, the heart's desire, the desire of the nations (Haggai 2:7), the way back to God. What is He like ? It is like a vast prong of the sun's energy, thrust out into space; but He who saves from sin for eternity, He is the very exact image, eternal, expressive, of God Himself (Hebrews `). It is He who, thrust to earth that we might avoid the deadness of a run-down universe, or the heat of its extinction, the temporal, provides for us to inhabit the place God in mercy prepared, eternal, by the side of Him who made us in His image and so able to appreciate, to desire and to delight in these things.
"If it were not so," Christ declared, "I would have told you," John 14:1-3.God is most reasonable.Light shows, it does not conceal; and in this way we are shown the beginning and the end, the temporal and the eternal, the grace and the goodness, from which many turning, find but the disgrace of the interminable termination of everlasting destruction (II Thessalonians 1). Alas, the heights give measure for the depths; but be glad, for the depths are plumbed by Christ, so let Him be engineer of your salvation, rather than becoming just one of those deemed, 'condemned dwellings' (John 3:16-19).
Take, eat abundantly, He appeals. Take His sacrifice, like that of a lamb, this the first and last Lamb (John 1:29), the Lamb of God whose blood was shed for the sin of the world (I John 2:1-2), and let it not be shed in vain for you (John 6:53. 3:36).
See The gods of naturalism have no go! Ch. 31
See The Desire of the Nations Ch. 2, Epilogue. See also Spiritual Food and Spiritual Drink Ch. 12.