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Genesis 1, John 1, 3, 6, Ephesians 2 and Ecclesiastes
REMEDY AND REALITY
"This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun,
that there is one event to all:
yes, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead."
"Fear God and keep His commandments,
"For this is man's all.
For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret ting,
Whether good or evil."
To be sure, the greatest COMMANDMENT is to LOVE God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength, and the second is like it, Love your neighbour as yourself (Matthew 22:37), and you could not know God unless you loved Him, since He is love (I John 4:7ff.), which means, since He is also the truth, the life and the way, that there is nothing contrary to love which is allowed to take the pre-eminence, eclipse it, discountenance it.
This does NOT mean that there is no judgment, for love's part is not to sacrifice truth, but to sustain it (I Corinthians 13:6) and pay the cost of redemption for those willing to share it. In the end, there is no combination of entering parties in heaven, when its completion is fulfilled (Revelation 6:9ff., 21-22), since all are for God and God is for all. Then, God being known as He knows, there is no room for the madnesses which so readily inhabit man, the chief one being sinfulness and its entire assemblage of resultants, the cure lying in the ultimate sanity of Christ, who captured it like a wild bull, and in killing its power, guilt, place and potency, sacrificed Himself. Being God, He then sacrificed death and gave to man free entry to His kingdom ( I Corinthians 15:53-57, Hosea 13:14).
Yet all this having been said, it is necessary to realise that the love of God does not mean a slouching laxity, any more than a martinet prissiness, but a goodly yoke in which is rest, and a humble heart, which does not parade (Matthew 11:27ff., Isaiah 66:2, I Corinthians 13:7ff.)..
We hear that the Australian PM is going to speak with a loud voice: she has said so. There is more effective the still, small voice of calm, of quietness and confidence, of truth like sunlight entering a darkened room, enlightening eyes to see what God has made.
Certainly one can rouse the troops, but one needs to know the key to arousal, not in political passion and diverse dogmas based on nothing, from a heart based in nothing, erected without basis, like a spirit in the air, before arousing. Here is indeed a common political touch! The world is full of rousing words and deeds of death, which also arouse many; but first one must know the truth, and in it, work in the love of the Lord, in whom alone is peace.
The initiative of God to make the universe, its intelligibility by the mind of man, the mind of man to have intelligence in order to descry this intelligibility, as given (cf. Let's Be Reasonable for God is Ch. 1), the liberty of man to follow madness and call it wisdom (cf. I Corinthians 1), or to find truth where it lives, however despoiled by the madness which longs and yearns to find place in him and utilise it fully for evil:
these things have not come from nowhere: any more than
any other co-ordinated repository of multiple,
interlocking and unified productions,
or coded linguistic commands as in DNA proceed from
no coding source,
or mental machinating power comes from thoughtless
or spiritual roving power in thought and planning
comes from nullity, obscurity or chaos.
It all neither comes from nor goes to nowhere. And nowhere does it go well, without God.
How could it ? Why should it ? Ignore health and expect it, ignore needs of the body and be amazed at disease ? There is origin for the creation, maintenance for its products and morality for its says. That is a beginning, but there is also repentance for its follies and faith for its restoration, which to ignore, is like laughing at revealed lung cancer.
In South Australia, there appears to be an appalling failure to have compulsory service checks on cars, unlike the usual case in Australian States. Hence shameless oil-breathing monsters, to say no more, pollute the roads, while a recent finding has it that a large percentage of perilous accidents include one car at least in collisions, over ten years old. Since powerful cars of cheap price often suit young purses and unbridled lust, these often are poorly maintained and contribute to death. It is not the age of the car (my - only - car was 33 years old before I purchased a later one 3 years old, now nearly 10) which is crucial, but its adequacy. Keeping it well has to be a discipline.
Keeping our own bodies, minds and spirits adequate, sound, in good running order, as far as may be, also involves discipline. When you have misused an item, always look for the needful care with wary and unwearying eyes. Man has misused his triad of equipment, body, mind and spirit, hideously for thousands of years; and yet they complain when the defects arise, even when the COMMANDMENTS of God are ignored, when God Himself is put to one side (like a brawling infant when a wilful man is playing cards), and hygiene is a bore. As to holy hygiene at the mental and spiritual level, and the blessed perspectives of the Sermon on the Mount and the Good Shepherd, who is not only example but ground of admission to the pastures of truth, it is becoming like the knowledge of ancient Assyrian: not on the normal agenda.
And yet they wonder at decline in the nation; nor is it only this one. Indeed, they despoil youth by teaching of worthless nullity, founded on nothing, in this arena of God, and break all rules of logic in order to maintain the riotous and rebellious attack, hiding it under the word 'curriculum' and maintaining bondage as far as may be (cf. TMR Ch. 8, Beauty of Holiness Ch. 3, Possess Your Possessions Vol. 7, Ch. 4. Hallowed Be Thy Name! Ch. 9 ). Australia is by no means the only nation thus spending its national capital, in a drive of capitulation at the spiritual level, astounding to see, revolting to behold, perilous to continue!
When God took initiative, and created, He gave us power to use our own. This does not mean that any mad thing is in order. Forgetfulness of the past does not augur well for the future.
After all, as Ecclesiastes also declares,
"Rejoice, O young man, in your youth,
And let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth:
Walk in the ways of your heart,
And in the light of your eyes;
But know that for all these
God will bring you into judgment.
Therefore remove sorrow form your heart,
And put away evil from you flesh,
For childhood and youth are vanity."
This advice is certainly to specify youth, but it is not to adversely singularise it, for without God ALL is vanity. Indeed, Ecclesiastes, in its review of man in himself and his world, has this dictum which many are finding inescapable, in ever expanding surges like waves from impact in a lake, as pride loosens and folly expands.
What then does it mean ? It is that God as source by commanding code of your bodily structure, and source by logical predilection of your mind, and source by fiat command of the rationality of the laws and systematic procedures of things natural, both their creation and the consequent curse when sin smiled, and source of your ability to review, consider, prioritise and overview things, is to be obeyed.
Some may say ? Why ? If I am ABLE to decide, I WILL!
Before however, like an airline pilot, committing yourself absolutely to a piece of equipment (here yourself), you need to be assured of its pertinence, adequacy and aptness for the purpose in hand. If truth is despised you can forget the rest. Reality does not budge. God back of the created reality has given it its program, and back of man's spirit, has given it its liberty, but did not make it a god! Thus if you do not like that of which you are fabricated in mind or spirit or body, you are at once at war with yourself as well as with God. We might admire your pugnacity and pertinacity were it not that it is not only doomed in the end, you being dependent absolutely on God, but there is no ground for it, except that madness that is so kin to the fallen state of the heart of man.
Would you have a tyrant ? We saw in the last Chapter something of the folly of that. Would you BE a tyrant over yourself ? What is the wisdom of shouting orders, to yourself or anyone else, unless they be true and sound and alert to reality. If you insist, like someone who scratches an itching member till it bleeds and becoming infected, leads on to his death, well; yet it is not wise, but a senseless squandering of resources.
Did God make us in miserable style ? For my part, I am constantly being astounded at the amount He has put into us, in visual, auditory, sensing, tactile, olfactory, rational, moral and spiritual power, and the amount He can deduct from this through the operation of that madness, so kin as we note again and again, to the state of the fallen heart of man.
Did He abandon us, like parents who having had enough pleasure out of each other for a while, separate or divorce, so that what unity created can be contemptuously ridden of its inheritance in parents in whole or in part ? The opposite is true, as the cost of divorce from God not by mutual accord, but by specious sinfulness is met BY God, ready for free restoration, His love shown (II Corinthians 5:17ff.).
Did He give us no path of redemption in view of our pathological condition, which makes man subject to sin as a task master (though often rejoicing for a time in this despicable lot) ? Far from it as John 8:31-36. He who sins, said Christ, is the servant of sin, but if the Son makes you free, you will truly BE free! It comes WITH redemption as an additional facility! (Romans 3:23ff., 6:1ff.).
That has a certain dignity. You don't have to be morally comic, deciduously stripped, vainglorious, spiritually inert, morally equivocal in meaningless life, making the best of obscurity and taking pause for pleasure. Actual life as God made it and offers to restore it (Colossians 3:10) is utterly different from all this. It has a certain blessedness (John 10).
Did He keep aloof, that mankind might have to be philosophers and even then, because of sin, mess things up all the more ? Not at all! It is fine to use your intellect, by which, in terms of His word, you can see that there is no single question of substance for man, which does not agree in the perspective He has given, with no puzzles left.
Yet this is not the best part: the best is that He came and did personally what had to be done, and since the fall of man is as profound as his contemporary international, national, company and communal actions attest and show, it was no small thing that He did.
it came to His own smashing in human form, with what man deserves, so that instead of being smashed (as deserved - Matthew 21:44), we can find another result, which as the English used to put it, can be 'smashing', in the blessed sense of sensationally delightful.
Who better to know ? who better to serve ? who a greater Giver ? With whom is there a broader understanding, a deeper meaning, a more blessed way ? Therefore to obey Him is merely to abstract from false big-headedness, pig-headedness or wry mischief, as if we were gods, and to come to our senses, as when a straying person 'comes to himself'' as the idiom had it.
When the ultimate command is then to LOVE this our God, as Creator, and to keep His commandments, as when we repent as commanded (Luke 13:1-3), and put our trust in Him as commanded (Proverbs 3:3-5), and being redeemed rejoice in our Redeemer as in John 16, in I Thessalonians 5, then what is it that is desired that is better than this ? Just to live my own life! says one. What does this mean ? It is to use what is GIVEN to your from the WORK of God and to follow whatever seems good to you, without REFERENCE to what made you, why and what you are for.
If your destiny were slavery, to God, then what of that ? But when it is to be a child of God, as it is for the believer, then what is the complaint! Yet there is a madness to which man comes as readily as a calf to milk, but this alas more like a fool to his folly: for as Psalm 53 puts it, the fool has said in his heart that there is no God. Saying it does not do it! despite the efforts at Calvary!
It becomes necessary to realise that when (spiritually) diseased, there is something more demanding, more exacting which it is necessary to do: and that is to find the cure, instead of experience the curse of violation, and continue in negation of Maker, Speaker, Creator and King. If that is not rebellion whatever could be! Of this we read in Ephesians 4:17-19.
We can look at the developments in three readily understood stages.
THE BEGINNING - when GOD ACTED
Nothing produces nothing*1. Nothing is not the product. Nothing cannot be the cause, when you consider it as the original and till creation, eternal state. Void at the first is the mother of nothing.
Matter is not the product of nothing, so it had a precursor. It was a matter producer. Matter cannot produce itself when it is not there to do it. It cannot be a non-product since it is not sufficient for itself: it has laws, limits, traceable procedures. It is not self-sufficient. To imagine it eternal is to abandon logic, which ever demands a cause, just as causality cannot be dispensed with, without dispensing with logic, by which argument is made (cf. Causes). The only logical possibility*1 is a self-sufficient source, eternal and not subjected to imposition or contrivance, free. Then causality, and then alone, is satisfied, by an eternal causeless, unconstrained and unrestricted Being. Then only is the demand of scientific method for cause adequate for result and interface for its occurrence, to be met. The thought process does not stop because the universe is big, as though grandeur made its origin irrelevant, or its magnificence eliminated institution, as if magic rules where operation of scale occur! The opposite is true.
It is merely an issue of total, self-explanatory basis for everything. It is the ever-vernal reality.
It cannot be material, since matter has the aforementioned liability to reason's demands. It must be free therefore to make what it wishes, and not be any type of constricted, constrained, contained and directed being, by program (who made that ?) or other grounding.
Reason requires this Being and when reason is followed, it finds the testimony, testable to an exceedingly great degree, of the Bible. Thus reason requires God as in SMR, and a unique validity is attested for the result of reason, in this, that when you get there (as with a scene of a crime with finger-prints), your work of investigation receives its confirmation. You not only find what meets reason, but what confirms it, the ultimate validity. What reason insists on, God has given. What of this testable book claiming His Almighty origin ? (cf. II Peter 2:19ff., I Corinthians 2:9ff., Matthew 5:17ff.). In detail, it is verified, making the investigation scientific in those aspects of scientific method applicable, and a number of these are. There are many other lines of testimony leading to God, but in this case we are looking at one only.
Scientific method*2 insists that if a thing be deemed to be so, there must be no contrary testimony in the areas of verification, and there should be convergent testimony in those areas. As shown in many volumes, this is the case. There is hence a ground for the reality of God found in logical, causal, scientific and validation areas. There is no other option. The way to test lies open; and it shows that God has not left this world to roam like children at a nuclear control tower, with no adequate ideas about the powers, privileges and duties of being here. He does not allow the ruin of young lives, active minds, peaceable people by the artisans of war and crime, cruelty and dishonesty as a systematic gift to innocent man (cf. Repent or Perish Ch. 2, Barbs ... 6 -7); but has told mankind so often, so much, in so many ways, summed in the Bible, personified in Jesus Christ, that the mere continuance of this race at all, is a miracle of mercy. But its term is set, known only to God (Matthew 24:22).
Signals of its end, as a period of grace, with the remedial Gospel of grace purchased in Christ (cf. Romans 3:23ff.) are numerous (Answers to Questions Ch. 5).
He gave the time for the arrival of the Remedy, in the Redeemer (Christ the Citadel ... Ch. 2), but it is a matter of having the signals only for the arrival of the Royal Sovereign, who having suffered is to reign. It is a testing time, and why not ? Indeed, in this second case, that of His return, there is point in not telling, for that is part of the test. In mercy however, he does give multiplied signs and signals, when the time is near, as now (cf. Answers to Questions Ch. 5).
Let us review. In this, a number of somewhat parallel formulations will be given, enabling nuances and aspects to be keenly visualised, felt and discerned with considerable care.
Shortly: reason requires, unique validity attests, scientific method attests (and it refuses organic evolution - cf. SMR pp. 140ff.), results singularise (multi-faceted correlation of cause and consequence with the appropriate scope), and verification consummates. It is not necessary to distrust reason; it is necessary to use it and find its testimony at the level of attestation, of things done and explicable, and then to verify. In that sense, verification is icing on the cake; and its breach, as for other ideas, is fatal. There is nothing outside the God of creation and revelation, in the testable Bible, which conforms to its Author, to meet these tests. There is no competition; what reason requires, only this gives. Not only does it confirm itself, but provides what attests, in perspective and approach, everything else demanding explication. It is not so hard when convention and rebellion die down, like an evening fire, at last. It is not so very hard to find the Lord ...
This is so, however, since we are not free minds roving in space, but sinful people, keeping to no totally perfect moral code, for the simple reason that divorced from God, man can find no such thing in the first place, but only subjective intimations, variable greatly. That of course is a predictable result of his rebellion, just as the degree of convergence, on the other hand, is a testimony to the underlying structure of man, in the image of God, but now sullied.
Thus the realm of the empirical merely confirms what reason requires. Without God, the absolute truth available, in any model of thought, no finding is possibly true. In any such case, theory then requires, but when the status of any such alleged finding be examined, the model insists that absolute truth be not available, so on this model, its affirmations are void. Instead, all things being mutually self-limiting, and in totality, self-inhibiting by the lack of an objective perspective: what is needed, is not there. It is a perpetual vacancy for such a model. If truth by your own model dies, then your own model cannot be defended. Omit it and you logically omit your talk.
With God, this impasse is avoided, and the positive features are confirmed. There is no problem. Since the Bible is essential as a ground for absolute truth (a non-communicative God does not improve man's position re truth, to have it, to speak it, to present it), and is utterly confirmed empirically and logically, and since it has no competitors at the validation and verification level, as has been presented numerous times, there is nothing more to be concerned about, but receiving the God of the Bible, His diagnosis of our affairs, world and universe and getting on with the remedy provided, which means Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.
This is the ultra-presuppositional method (passing beyond presupposition in mode):
rational, heuristic, investigatory-confirmatory,
It is as with Elijah at Mt Carmel: put things to the test. See what your gods can do, and we will show you what God does. The reason why it is NOT presuppositional, in any aspect, or does not depend on negations, in method is the great action of God in providing direct and directly testable testimony, found uniquely in the Bible.
This He has provided, step by step. First, then is the Bible; then in it, the predictions of Christ to come; then thirdly, Christ, within this world, testable then and indirectly as well as vitally, now; and fourthly His own Messianic word, like that of a relay runner, who is also the King, constraining history to do precisely what He has said, just as wind and word, life and death were in His power while here He lived (cf. Christ, the Wisdom and the Power of God Ch. 8).
Nothing else can validate past negation, with the affirmations of efficacy as reason applied. This is the point where the pursuit of what reason requires, proceeds to the point where empirical reality confirms it, and of course. The course of reason is confirmed in the findings when it is applied, in its ramifications. Thus this is not merely empirical, for it is systematic as well, leaving no confusion in its internal testimony, major gap in its coverage or alternative to the use of reason but incoherence, nor any blemish or irreconcilability, but the precise opposite in a honeyed harmony, not always so sweet, but not so sour either. It is the sin bin which as rubbish, tends to smell, and its odours are not purely olfactory... but significant!
Thus reason has no other testimony; revelation has no other testable path; logic has no other avenue; and the irrational is incapable of defence. THEN revelation provides the crown, the truth, the positivity in practice, the confirmation of intractability of reason, the conquest of the orientation need of man, and the knowledge of the very heart of God. Then all is explicable; not that there is nothing more, for when we see God, who know Him, then it is like noon after the dawn. However, even now, nothing systematic in principle, lies unresolved.
Here, at the gift of God, is the ultimate in self-consistency, since when it is found, not only is it attesting its rightness as a finding of reason, so that man is not a muddle of inconsistency (cf. Deity and Design ... 8), a self-obliterative void, but is given his place, diagnosis, prognosis, grounds for it, and testimony of its developments, often predicted, over the millenia. It has been a long, long day at the lab, but a good one, a nicely proportioned few thousand years, as shown in SMR Ch. 7.
In principle what then do we have ? it is yielding to reason, and an adornment with meta-reason, reason at work on the systematic self-consistency of what it has found, which also verification confirms. Reason to find, revelation as a finding, self-sufficiency of the word of God as testable, directive and testable again in that, as in the performance level of the crucial Word who came personally, and of His bequeathal of words about what would come, which has done so in large measure already, and is completing the tour as told, at a very fast clip at the present time. Instead of a query, it is a tour de force, like the Tour de France, each phase presenting the champion, always the same one, the whole sequence ending, this time not in Paris, but in objective, demonstrated, multi-tested truth.
As to the detail, the coverage, the fields of application, the verification crop: That is as found, for example, in the two-volume, over 2 million word work:
LIGHT DWELLS WITH THE LORD'S CHRIST
WHO ANSWERS RIDDLES AND WHERE HE IS, DARKNESS DEPARTS
Bible or Blight, Christ or Confusion:
The Comprehensive Resolution of Man's Intractable Problems
is Found Only in the Bible, the Word of God.
What then ? This method of Christian apologetics is not presuppositional but operational.
There is only one place where you can do that to the point of knowing God, and so solving all basic questions totally, in a configuration of themes fitting neatly together. Proceeding that way as to method; there is only one Bible to validate logically, and only one source to verify heuristically. Hence it incorporates as one phase, scientific method in a multi-relevant check-out.
If you did not have
the Bible and hence
Jesus Christ, the absence of whom would invalidate that book,
but whose presence confirmed it to the uttermost part:
a testable, verifiable, systematically confirmable, unique aggregate,
a totality in tandem with the reason of man,
you could not use this method.
But since you do, you can. Other methods might be used; this one is of this type however, utilising to the uttermost what God has provided.
What it devolves upon is testable reality, the incorporation of logical consistency which attests in pressing on, the work of one creator, together with the investigable universe, both exhibiting conceptual logistics in the field of logic and principle. Without the Bible's existence, this predicate for the procedure, this method could not be as effectively used. In this, however, the quarry is assuredly to be found, so you follow reason, and in this exclude what fails to meet its requirements and thus end with the Bible as the only result of reason for explication of all things. Even if it were not in existence, you would show that man could not even defend, rationally, any other proposition but that God is, and would in effect, have to undo his very self to refuse to occupy such a position, a form of spiritual suicide (cf. SMR, Barbs ... 6 -7, Repent or Perish Chs. 2, 7). Without it, however, what then ? Reason itself would be rebuked if God had not spoken, just as truth itself would not be available!
To be sure, you could remove all other approaches but this, as irrational; but for the positive side of the demonstration to be consummated, you need the positive step from God. In other words, the testimony of God's works is enough, viewed in strict logic, to remove any other source; but you need God to act toward man directly, to provide the permanently and finally productive result concerning Him.
You COULD then without this, go so far, to see His divine nature and godhead; but this, it is not far enough. He knows this and has acted FROM THE FIRST, to intimate revelation into the polluted pool of mankind (Genesis 3:1-18). You could, then, without this direct speech from God, remove any other way; but you still need this speech to find the fruit of this way, and to consummate the finding in testable truth.
In other words, without that, then, you could provide the necessity that He be there. Yet you would lack the distinguished and glorious finale, without the attestation of its objective validity, conjoined to its unique necessity at the outset (cf. Reason, Revelation and the Redeemer) and the knowledge of it in actuality, as culmination. While reason excludes everything which lacks absolute truth in its model, yet what God has given allows validation of the performance of reason, conveying not merely convergence of considerations in magnificent harmony, the one with the other, but communication. Thus, not only is this the only result, but it is one which attests itself. Given, it can be examined. Operative, it can be watched; informative it can be applied. Then revelation covers reason as the mountains cover the earth, and the sky the sea.
Thus at the positive level, you find a result in terms of the divine nature of God, from reason, but unless He spoke, there would be no positive way of confirming that this reason itself was reliable, beyond its assessable performance and necessity for speech and thought. To be sure, this means that you would have to uncreate yourself, in theoretical terms, or else, following reason find the necessity of God. There is a virtual dilemma.
You don't need to presuppose that it will work, since as shown in particular, in Light Dwells in the Lord's Christ, you can use it and show in its very use, the impotence of what cannot account for the very reason you use, or its success in investigating and understanding this world (when used on a biblical basis, another attestation of truth); and so, you let it work. You find moreover, that reason itself is positively demonstrated as true only on the same basis (as in SMR Chs. l1, 3, 5, 10). But now you both use it and use the testimony of truth to which it points, in a mutual hand clasp.
Here, then, presupposition, you do not need it. God is and His works in word and deed leave no alternative. You operate heuristically with reason. You pursue it experimentally, then, and see where it leads. When as in SMR for example, shown in detail, you see that it is to God Almighty, and to the Bible, and thus to Jesus Christ, that becomes just an experimental fact, and if you like, a result of an intellectual experiment as Einstein liked to conceive.
Consider then the elements and the focus.
Reason requires. Then the practical reality for testing what is thus attested, God has given. It is thus one thing to find what this reason is like: certainly it does and will exclude whatever takes away its validity; but it does not in itself make absolute truth absolutely sure. It is certain in its result if you follow what you always follow in any open and honest investigation of fact, that is: reason. It is not all. It is an essential component.
That leaves only one rational result, but does not in itself make this the determinative truth, only the indicated truth. It goes far, but God in His own action takes you from a place to look, to the operation of Him who has it. IF you look, that is where you find Him. IF you take His presentation, that is how you know Him. When you do, that is how you verify all over again at this, the personally operational level.
Certainly, if its result were not true, if in fact God were not there, then you could never know truth, or argue for it, only note sequences, thus becoming self-invalidating in your reasoning. Hume is right there, to question objectivity; but invalidates himself by omitting himself as in fact NOT a series of sequences, but a presenter of overview of the theory of a series of sequences. This, himself, is not in itself a series of sequences, but a ground of static affirmation and insight, the personal basis of his whole theory, exhibited in its making. In that sense, Hume was the grand example of forgetting oneself, except in his case it was a blight and not a merit!
You can however take one further step. USE reason and you have God, delete reason's validity and you lack the ground of your normal operation and even speech, since the latter includes delimitations, verbally expressed, characterisations, qualities in connotation. Let us consider this.
Words are symbolic coat-hangers for ideas, and these include definitional items, congregations of qualities which are not stated as vacuous but meaningful. Causally consequential, in that the items are deemed adequate for their testimony, and HENCE characterisable, words enlisting a basis in reason for results. If it were not so, we would have only patterns and particulars, not items to attest in their actual colours, contours, configurations and actualities. Words are not suggestions, but affirmations, and nothing can be affirmed if nothing is true, let alone the truth itself. We have words for hypothesis, but the realm of words as such is not hypothetical, but revelatory.
Thus in Jesus Christ, Defaced, Undefiled ... Ch. 4, we have this:
It is in fact, in principle, SO ridiculous, to look at ANY 'nature' and to begin to be inspiring it with powers it does not have, whether it be a book or a cell, and to imagine that because it has marvellous and brilliant stuff in it, whether verbal or vital, it is self-creating! It is always necessary to find the cause of the laws, the ground of the existence, and to honour the reality on which such things are based. To contest with truth, is to be bound by lie.
What then is it like to do so ? Then a person may readily become like a baseless proposition, circling the planet in chosen anonymity, charging about without knowledge, ready to be impaled in his own fantasies, by what is real. Psalm 1 declares just that. It occurs to individuals, nations and empires, cultures and theories, cluttering the skies of history, demeaning the scope of geography, as the freedom bowl of this earth is abused beyond all recognition.
As to the concept of such 'natures' and their sufficiency, naturalistic natures, founded on nothing, aspiring to anything and everything, as if they could with wisdom meet life: nothing could be further from the truth.
Whatever the 'nature' of anything, it is a matter of characteristics and whatever further integralities may be present. Thus a chemical has such and such boiling point, combining characteristics, is placed if an element in such a spot on the periodic table, is to be seen as an individual in a series of correlated possibilities or actualities, depending on the case. In turn, it may be part of an item for use, and thus may be put together with other chemicals, some derived from living objects, and some from the world of the inanimate. This may be made subservient to various shapings and additives for the comfort of the one to handle the object, and so there may be further chemicals, with their physical attributes carefully chosen, and combined, in order to prepare the final product for convenient usage for a purpose.
We do not even begin to imagine it doing this of itself, for all the components have their known and testable features, their limits and their designations. The fact that all of these things are combined with due regard to an overall constituency does nothing to endow or endue it with power to make itself; for it merely attests that the various items of designable natures may be combined for a purpose, to achieve it.
It is to the designer we look, to his knowledge, fashionings, skills, imagination and powers. If they are strong mentally, then we may expect that there may be combinations of chemicals, organic or inorganic, elemental or compounded, normally occurring in the broader world of 'nature' or synthetically produced, and that this entrepreneurial action will have increased the options available, with cost in view. This is for the fulfilment of the purpose of the thing, whether it be a man's sandal which we may find on the beach, or a biro. They do not because they cannot make themselves, simple though they be. They are designs.
'Nature' is a most unfortunate thing to endow with imagination, creativity and intelligible because intelligent productions. It depends on one thing: the nature of WHAT!
If it is the nature of the designer of the sandal (and some have marvellous proficient thought put into them, and others do not), then his nature will have what it takes to investigate, understand and manipulate, according to their characteristics and the relevant laws in that domain of the broader realm of the creation, and then to execute what is imagined or desired.
If it is the nature of his dog, this 'nature' of his as a designer, will prove inadequate, though it is a most complex and wonderful nature at that! If it is the nature of a moron, that too will prove alas, though having some intelligence, to be too deficient to contrive even more minor things. If it is the nature of things inanimate, then intelligence and imagination may indeed be made manifest in their CONSTRUCTION, but not in its power of action. They SHOW the creation; they do not possess that particular form of skill.
Again, if it is a car, then its 'nature' may be such that it has multiple purpose-built equipment, possibly costing a good fraction of the price of the car, when it is a marvellous one, which may be activated (such as light headlights coming on and going off depending on conditions, automatically) by events, environment, or touch controls. This makes if you will, a sub-order of the car; but this is within the design. It may also have an accident; yet this may be partially covered by automatically and extensively, yes and expensively inbuilt equipment (such as air-bags, or architecturally designed pockets of space), which may protect certain features.
Although the residue after the impact may seem different from the original car, depending on the case, the car may still be stable and able to act; indeed depending on the use desired, it may be quite viable, though of course VULNERABLE now under certain circumstances. The design is harmed, maybe mutilated; but it is not dispersed.
As noted once before, it is conceivable that it may even benefit the use of the car, in some circumstances: thus a projecting piece of the car which hitherto had always scraped on the side of the garage when being parked there, may be knocked off, so increasingly the facility of parking, though decreasing the beauty of the design for purposes other than the immediate transport function, and increasing wind resistance!
The 'nature' of everything has to be quite strictly, stringently and scientifically considered and construed when you look for its viable products. When we as mankind come to mind, you have the designable features to institute its products, functions and fulfilments; when it is will, you have the arena of purpose and imagination, allied in the case of man, to ultimate purpose FOR man, as a product with a nature. For each, you need what it calls for, the domain dominance required, to create, to institute, to constitute, to combine in the triad of mind, matter and spirit, each forged and formed for the particular case of man.
An irrational universe would not be stateable but by self-contradiction, since reason for it would be impossible, and the method of its enunciation would be unsustainable in the flux without grounding, leaving but a series of chaotic sounds in an uninstructed universe, at which one could chuck ideas, which could not be in accord with reason for that is on such a model, not the natural operational medium of propositional. because actual. exchange. You might get back results, except that nothing could cause them, and nothing is unproductive.
Reason is intrinsic to words, since they relay rationally constructed concepts and correlations between what is designated by words, and the concepts in the words themselves, assigning to items in view features which are verifiable; and man can then seek the results in reason, from the thing specified, for the things which are its features, powers and products. Words themselves involve reason for expression.
Avoid reason and this is one way (but it is only one of a suite needed, and that also does not work) that you end without God; and this avoidance precludes relevant use of anything else you might have and use, but dreams, themselves to be scorned if not scourged. Unless you want to live in this way, God is, and there is no escape. Irrationality can give no reason, find no truth, and find operational felicity only by self-contradiction, giving grounds in making affirmation of itself, in precisely the way which it denies toward all.
Some then prefer to invoke reason or intelligibility as an hypothesis.
We do not. This however does give two methods of Christian Apologetics, inter alia, instead of one. Ours depends on God's HAVING TAKEN THE INITIATIVE, and if He had not done so, we would have only a negative to enable us to avoid any other way, with a positivity which would stop short of pronouncement. This way, however, we FOLLOW reason, find God, and THEN test the things reason has shown, and finding the treasure to fit the motion of reason, to be one which confirms, amplifies and consummates it, in the Bible, we have an objectively present attestation of the validity already noted, and thus we gain in consummation of validation what we had lacked at the outset.
God's initiative is wonderful. His work in making us is one initiative, and only by making unworkable hypotheses can you avoid it; so then you may take reason as presupposition. In this other way however, as has been just described, you do not even need to that; for you follow what you customarily use, when arguing this or that in science, philosophy or negotiating this or that in the fish market, or the share market, and finding what it provides accept it. Good. Then what God has done IN ADDITION to making, creating you, leaving no rational option but Himself, no workable option (Romans 1:17ff.), becomes a second and literally miraculous addition.
That is, it is something which CANNOT take place unless God does it. He did it. That was a necessary perfection for the testimony of absolute truth. It has no only to pass every challenge on the way, thus removing in reality all but one avenue, but then confirm itself when this is found, as it is. This it does.
God did not hang back, but acted. Man acted; He acted. At once (Genesis 3), He creates revelation, and as time proceeds, codifies it in the Bible, invents a nation, Israel, for the manufacturing establishment, not of its content, but for the discovery of its arrival and the preservation of its content, declares*3 history including the diagnosis and prognosis for man (depending on the outcome for His remedy, NOT whether or not it worked, but whether or not any man receives it, like medicine), and then consummates this by taking a THIRD INITIATIVE. It is this: that He sends His only begotten Son to deliver a personal revelation, both in word and power, correlative with that which created man in the first place, and precisely indefeasible concerning the specifications for this saving act, given in that same Bible.
THE MID-TERM INSPECTION - when MAN REACTED
MAN, self-revelatory*4 in his condition and powers, which show themselves, is also revelatory of his non-self-sufficiency. Matter is no less, but far simpler (cf. Repent or Perish Ch. 7, The Bible ... Ch. 6), and is utilised in man in various aspects. Nature in life is revelatory of language (loc. cit.) and life, and powers of impression, suppression, expression. Logic is revelatory of God, but not intimately. Revelation from God is expressive of God, in the paths firstly, designated and defined within it, and secondly with the grounds and bases which it not only provides, but requires to be used. In this, it is self-attesting, and you follow the instructions to try it out, and check it out (Isaiah 41, 43, 48).
Then Jesus Christ came. If this living Word of God in one day heals multitudes of people who could find no relief otherwise, who are willing to go public with their onerous conditions, and no failure is noted in the specialisation in the pathologically spectacular, resistant, insistent, for Christ's healing of the body: then you are getting in that one day the kind of time-despising dynamic which came in the creation of the world and man within it, in the first place. Here is what is parallel, a virtual further day, not of creation however, but for recreation.
In the case of any one of the high-profile cures wrought by the Messiah, Jesus, one failure would show it was not God. In the case of any of His socially-evocative confrontations with learned scholars, one debacle for Christ would have done no less. In knowledge and history, in understanding and depth of perception, conception and comprehension, one howler would have been the end, not the beginning, as the experimental reality of His mission attested. Only death could stop Him (John 11:48ff.). and even this, He had in wisdom decided in advance, by His foreknowledge, would be part of the plan, an essential step in bringing deliverance not to mankind, but for it, not to all, but in outreach to all: to those who received it (John 1:12ff.).
How did He heal, this same Jesus Christ ?
It was not a question of founding a hospital or a hospice, and gently imbuing the power of positive thinking, but of founding an act like that of any other day of the founding of the universe in 6 stages, when creation was the scope of the day, and since He had the power, getting the thing done was the outcome. In any day, God could tap the power of the illimitable resources which are His, and perform as He wished: whether to create the stage, the cast, or the remedy for the outcast.
That is one of the prerogatives, if you could put it that way, of being God. To make God in our own image would be to project the WAY what is created works AS created, into the resources of Him who DID the creation so that it might work in ANY way. This, defining it at His own will, He prescribed. Trying to work back from nature now in operation, to nature in formation is not merely logically to be an atheist, which cannot even be presented rationally, since it has a model where absolute truth cannot exist, there being nothing outside and beyond to render reality in words, or suffer it to be found in thought, all being circumscribed by its nature, and natures being all. It is also an enormity and miscarriage of thought, for the way any items behaves when made, is not at all identical or even comparable with the way it is made. When derivative existence itself is in view, the error is merely magnified.
As noted in Possess Your Possessions Vol. 8, Ch. 5:
There is no scope for revision of the terse, staccato, action-briefing just made in Chapter 1 of Genesis, and in the summary to follow in 2:1, for making it a story, an imagination, a teaching episode. It may have many useful features in application, but it has nothing to offer to gainsayers. This is the way it is, and is the way it was. That is the instruction. So far from there being any appearance of licence for flights of imagination to change the mode or order or meaning or action in any way, in this case that would amount to a know-all instructing the Creator: NO, it was rather this that you had in mind.
However He did not say so; but rather indicated that this is how it was created. Indeed, the rough-house treatment often given to these clear, organised, logically successive and orderly statements in Genesis 1, almost suffice to make one wonder why they have not with a similar apparent nonchalance suggested that when Christ healed a multitude, before evening, of course, what it REALLY meant was that He spent a few years on site, built a hospital and waiting while nature effected a gradual healing, with some saying the people were REALLY well first, for the order is not important, and become sick later. There would be the same apparent indifference both to simplicity, explanation and logical constraints and system, the same apparent eisegetical compulsion.
In any one day, Christ was well able to tap the resources of ultimate creative power, and perform in moments, on a basis as secure as the operation of normal programmatic healing, without difficulty what was miraculous. Why ? It is because, in the super-dynamised time-scape of Creator in creation, the sort of thing which is the initial creation can be done at that level upon it, to restore. Thus the sort of thing which brings restitution to creation is in the same stratum as what put it into being in the first instance.
The respective powers are ultra-natural, and what invests the natural with its nature so that it might have it, is readily able to reinvest it by remedy. This however is not necessarily easy, for it involves the personal Being, God and the personal derivative beings called mankind. We are now, as it were, in the spiritually stratospheric.
It is so with creative enterprise very frequently. It is, firstly they say, simple if you know how. It is simple if you are the CEO of a vast organisation of collated and prepared power, relatively speaking, to get things done. It is no hard thing if yours is vast wealth, to help millions in a few days. When God Himself is at work, it is no great thing to make a multitude healthy, who were pathologically oppressed, fed who were hungry, corrected who were culturally conditioned, or to dismiss and demit sin in a moment, and give a sensational healing as attestation of the power to provide forgiveness AS GOD (cf. Mark 2).
To do it in hundreds at a time is still well within the divine domain, when the man concerned is God as man, the Son of Man and Son of God. Here we have the ultimate in visitation, manifestation, orientation, demonstration. It is appalling that it came to grief; but the grief was a good grief, since it led to the object of the journey, salvation from sin, through sacrifice, carefully provided by those thus extending the curse on the race. Yet it also provided the Age of Grace for deliverance from that curse where this was taken as given! Wisdom does not require force in personal relationships; but it does know how to give.
God took the initiative to make us, to instruct us, to meet with us, to provide healing, salvation, pardon, grace and understanding so that life becomes a divinely blessed adventure, not to find who one is, but to live what He is, by becoming an adopted child of His. Then you know whose you are, and rejoice. If it is fine to find a good employer, kind, careful considerate, how much more to find the goodness of your own Creator, and to become part of the household of faith, with your own abode prepared! (cf. I John 3:1ff.).
Thus there is a self-attesting reality, rational, redemptive, revelatory, biblical, unique, divine.
It is when this is realised that all the conundrums of philosophy, those things which don't because they cannot add up, lacking basis and reason, evaporate like mists when the sun rises (cf. Light Dwells with the Lord's Christ...). Instead, everything adds up, is summed up, awaits application of biblical perspective to open like a Spring flower. Indeed, then all things work together, attest each one the other, and mystery becomes NOT why all this is so, but how wonderful its Maker is, a sublime and healthy mystery of continuing discovery, that He has made it so.
Thus for the Messiah, were wisdom and materially organised power His, mental athletics, knowledgeable refutations, brief and pithy analyses, leadership with love, exposures without fear, invitations without limit, except in this, that faith is the pre-requisite (with repentance) and He, the Son of God, is the route to reality. It is He who, with His Father and Spirit, is the ultimate, the first as well as the last (Isaiah 48:12,16-17, Revelation 2:8), the repository for trust. Not by might of main, but by inherent power as of the order of deity, He acted in every realm, cosmos of thought and action, level.
... and GOD OVER-RULED
It was the same with that entire restoration and regeneration indeed of the human spirit which He required. You MUST be born again was an invitation certainly, but an order also, the omission of which from the camp of mankind in large measure, has made of damaged and diminished man, object of sin and its lacerations, a misfit and a maze, enveloping his own thought with a refined delusion (cf. SMR Chs . 3, 5 - by contrast, 10), in which he often takes an invidious, perfidious and anomalous pride, which intensifies his downfall to this hour.
In what way however was it the same ? It was in this, that it was
|a material matter at all,|
it was a
personally overseen work from the very
Spirit of the living God,
wrought through faith without works,
by the sovereign
majesty of God,
invited by faith,
restorative with the heart and faith alike,
by the grace of God.
It took no assignable time; it was an episode and an event that could and often did occur in moment (as with the Roman centurion, Cornelius in Acts 10, the Philippian jailor, Acts 16), and would become fully operational without delay (as with Paul - Acts 9). It is not at all a matter of human effort. Just as a baby is born FROM the mother because of preparation, with the preliminaries in place, so here does God act. It is the act of God as with human birth, which makes all the difference. WHEN He acts (as with the mother), THEN is the babe born, and not before, and the difference between His doing so and not doing so is total, irrevocable, indefeasible. HIS dynamic does it. It is
not a matter of barren hope,
but of a babe,
a spiritual babe,
a suckling to grow in strength from the sincere milk of the word of God
(I Peter I:22-23, 2:22).
Here is the most important change in man since creation, based in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, wrought by the Holy Spirit, on those whom the Father so draws that they come, having been both foreknown and predestinated thus: not on the basis however of their genes, good works or good inclinations, but on the knowledge of God who, desiring to save all, saves some to whom His knowledge reached, where love could with integrity in God, actually dwell.
He has no turncoats, hypocrites and persuasion artists: He KNOWS who are His (II Timothy 2:19), and on them this lively, dynamic, swift work is wrought. While many may be deceived by wolves in sheep's clothing, nothing deceives Him, who exhorts His people to watch and pray, and not to be assimilated into a vulpine, or lupine culture (Luke 13:32, Matthew 7:15, II Corinthians 11, 5-6, Romans 16:17). Those who loiter where God has disbanded through hypocrisy sustained, derelict in doctrine, not only risk their own souls, since faith that does not work does not exist (James 2), but the lambs of the flock whom they help to be confident, by their presence in the slaughter house.
What God does, He does forever, and when He acts, His people not only know Him, but He knows them, as a Shepherd His sheep, calling them by name, one by one, for everyone in Zion appears before the Lord (Psalm 84:7). They are His and His Spirit, having brought them to the birth, attests them (Romans 8:16).
It has nothing to do, in itself, with years of preludes such as were the case with John Bunyan, and may be with many others, in the toils of seeking and longing. Being prepared by God is an option of His own, and this may be consciously shared, in depths of repentance to which a person at last comes by the grace of God, or suddenly occur; but its time is not to the point. It is like a vast edifice. You have to have the ground ready. It may takes micro-seconds or a millenium; but when it is ready, the building can now come, and if the demolition is removed, which here may again be in seconds, then it proceeds. Like the birth of a child, when it happens, it is not slow. Here it is even more lively, since no process is required.
WHEN repentance is proceeding apace, and when faith is imbibed generously (James 1:17-18), as this happens so also is regeneration actualised. Here is that change of nature of man, the opposite of that at Eden, which is no less dynamic and speedy. The fall was not, and then it was: all in minutes. So the regeneration is not, and then when God acts, you either have this new nature or you do not; but when God acts in regeneration, it comes. It is not of works, as to its grounds (Ephesians 2:1-12, Titus 2-3), its procedures, its time-frame (John 3:8): it is of God who made time, and is not at all bound by it.
When God takes the initiative, whether in creation of the universe, of judgment, or of regeneration, of healing by the hand of Christ, then time is no limit. If when a general asks his 1000 divisions of armour and airplanes of might to move, having prepared all, as you see in World War II on a large if not quite so large scale, in such places as Holland, things happen, nations can fall in days, how much more can and does a new heart arise with time no inhibitor. This, said Christ, is the work of God, that you should believe in Him whom He sent (John 6:19).
Yet if it be not so, and the yearning of God is not met by the foreknowledge of truth, where love being always constant in God who IS love, knows its integrity, then comes the case of the rich young ruler, unspeakably sad, who in earnest of heart, some conviction of spirit, vast desire sought the Lord, only to find the cost too high (Mark 10:17ff.): then there is not that irrevocable drawing (John 6:44, 64-65).
Then ? Then
|slave trader has become mission-minded saint,
|criminals have become men of integrity,
|the fallen have become wise,
asthenic activated in power to become spiritually athletic,
|moral paupers can
become people of pruned and empowered
living in purifying grace,
|those in the ditch those on the hills, and
|those depraved in iniquity, mental, spiritual, moral, physical, social, military, have become people of living grace, ennobling vigour and understanding, knowing their new mission, new empowerment and everlasting Creator-Redeemer intimately.|
Their characters, once regenerated, then, as in the manufacture of a car, being made in a little while, endure for a long while, and receive service, called sanctification, or the rendering in holiness as in II Corinthians 3:18, and find a vigour and desire to grow (just as a child does physically) as in II Peter 2. Moreover if they tend to become spiritually big-headed, amid all this grace, God knows how to humble them again, that they do not become in their new realm, cases of gumption without grace (II Corinthians 12:4-10). God knows precisely what He is doing, and as in grace He is munificent, so in discipline He is reliable; for foolishness would ever seek its own, and in contest, God knows how to bring His people up short (cf. II Samuel 11-12, in linkage with Psalm 51).
As in Proverbs 20:30, so it is: "The blueness of a wound cleanses away evil: so do stripes the inward parts of the belly." Children of God are as subject to necessary discipline as the waves of the sea to the winds. When you are a child of God you come to regard this as part of the inward service of the Shepherd, for the aim is not pleasure but purity. So does the Lord care for His sheep, those who having entered by the door (and not sought to break open a window - John 10), go in and out and find pasture. Which shepherd worthy of the name does not look out for foot-rot, liver fluke or fly-blown rears ? Total care is given by God only for only God knows all, and being in spiritual health is like being in the perfumed air of Spring.
But on what was based this extraordinary power ? It is in God as infinite, unlimited Creator whose heart is for His creation, but not to be fooled by them. Indeed, to man He has given a liberty which did not stand test; and while He sustains His image in structure in man, in function it can be harassed (John 8:34-36), and falling it announces in its own folly. Thus shown, there comes the second lesson. This, it is man's inability to run either himself his world without the fresh initiative of God, for his regeneration. Indeed, mocked by a degenerating world (cf. SMR Ch. 8 b, c, d), man in his moral and spiritual degeneracy, increasing vile and vivid in its presumption, arrogance and proclamation of perversion, murder, plague and violence alike, joins with the curse when without the cure of redemption, divine regeneration and adoption (Ephesians 1).
What then ? The Second Law of Thermodynamics is a process in the creation (cf. News 94,TMR Ch. 1 as marked); but in man it has a categorical parallel, not in ground but in type. It is in this: that he too, in his microcosm, like the universe in its magnitude, is moving further from his source, not only in the deterioration of his genes*5, a physical process, but of his ways, to the point his tenure on this earth is becoming increasingly tenuous. Christ indicated two millenia ago, that his would be so to the point that UNLESS He taking the initiative, should intervene, should in fact return, NO LIFE could endure on this earth (Matthew 24:22). It nearly happened in the flood; in the latter days, His intervention will save it, and His power will restore it for a time, and His righteousness will be vindicated, before the entire surrounds of the race for this, our race, are removed, and all stand before the judgment seat of God (II Peter 2, Revelation 20, II Corinthians 5:9-11.
It is well that there are two books, one that of grace, of the Gospel, of life, and those who are His, whom He has reaped by His foreknowledge applied, where grace reached (cf. Ezekiel 47), and that here the sentence has been remitted and annulled, rather than life in the child so saved (Revelation 20:12, Romans 8:29ff., 3:23ff., John 6:50ff.).
The end is the result of the beginning and of the middle, and the latter, it is the arrival of the Messiah, His work, His satisfaction for sin in crucifixion and His resurrection in vigorous affirmation of life unsnuffable, that of the Creator whose love destroyed pleasure on the cross, but could not destroy Him, who indeed broke death, and became the first-born from it, not raised by another, but coming as out of a womb; for God has indeed become the destruction of death by enduring its just onset to sinner, and granting absolution to the saint whom He has saved by grace through faith, a work not of oneself, but of God alone.
Thus the Word of God came, and just as He healed thousands in a day or so, many in verified immediacy, so earlier He created the world, in some ways easier than recreating a mess, the universe itself in 6 days. Nor is the degree of complexity the point - though healing has its complexities - but the issuance in ANY realm is to the point, when creation is the objective and unlimited power is the means, with unlimited wisdom and skill. How much skill is being constantly expanded for man's sight, as works of micro-molecular kind investigate our genetic structure and physiological systems (cf. Thy Word is Wonderful, Appendix).
His work is intricate and vast, intensive and extensive, intimate and expansive, having thrusting out creation in majesty and facility.
The massive matches the Majesty. When thus we come to ultimate creative power, and when we find the Generator generated into flesh, and healing it and restoring in regeneration the lives of those lost, we are in a realm of trinitarian action beautiful to behold: it is like seeing the Twin Towers demolish (cf. Jeremiah 4 on a larger scale), but in reverse. Here we see the heaven and earth (in mind's eye, as revealed in the word of God and confirmed in the world He made - TMR Chs. 1 and 7, The gods of naturalism have no go!), as they were invented. We see them fabricated, furnished in days, and then man, sublime creation in style and image-bearing, ruined in a day: we see the Creator arrive and heal thousands in hours, raise the dead in minutes and send His Spirit so that many are entirely re-created in moments.
There are two realms: there is that of creation and maintenance, fabrication and renovation, institution and restitution. In both, the power of God is manifest. In Christ, God took on in reconstruction in the field of man, what He left off in construction, with the same fiat, the same WORD-means-DEED power. Here is the second phase of the unique exemplification on this earth of the power and initiative of God.
He creates in days, dies in one day in substitutionary sacrifice for repentant believers, offering heartily to all (Matthew 11:28ff.), rises after 3 days as foretold in Person and in prophecy (cf. SMR Ch. 6), moving out in a thrust of power as the world moved in initially with the same power.
For 6 centuries the day had been foretold, and the date of the death which He accomplished (cf. Christ the Citadel ... Ch. 2); for more centuries the 3 day arising was forecast, and for a millenium many of the multiple details of these events, from the Psalms to Malachi were inscribed in the scriptures, donated to the Old Testament prophets. Man was well informed. His heart however was deformed. The power of God had often restored it as it were on credit, full many becoming the Lord's (cf. Malachi 3), with the great day of the Messiah a cover, and the sacrificial animals a picture, a depiction of the work of deity to come (cf. Hebrews Chs. 2, 7-10).
That had been from the first, developed, developing, growing as the day of His coming drew near. But now at last, in the precise fulness of time as planned (Galatians 4:4), He was present. In one day, before the eyes of many, then people would be born again, not by 30 years gradualistic education, and just as the earth was formed in 7 days, not in a billion year program of hate, horror and cruelty, so new born babes awoke on this earth, to find new bearings, new orientation, new life and liberty, the ever fresh love of God and their part in His family, kingdom and care (Acts 2, 6).
The contest of the flesh, the world and the devil continues, man attacked from the outside and the inside, often simultaneously. Many fall, flout the laws of God, fly in the face of the Lord, like mosquitoes hoping to escape the slap, but destined to disaster. That, it is man's contribution, with the devil typified by the Iranian connection, if one takes the parallel to Iran's efforts at bribing or diverting action on Pakistan, now revealed clearly, or in Iraq, or planned as impending against Israel. Facilitators of evil can become strong and act; but it is God who makes the format and the finale, as many have learned to their cost whether in Rome, Nineveh or Babylon, in Jerusalem or Edom, in atheistic communism or in breach-birth Napoleonic glory (cf. The Pitter-Patter of Prophetic Feet Ch. 4).
Indeed, in one day they killed this flowering of divine favour in the Messianic glory of Christ, and for one whole 24 hour day His body lay in the grave (with parts of two other days to make three in the relevant inclusivistic counting), before its arising as arranged.
In one thrust in time, death, tomb, decay were vacated, as in 6 thrusts heaven and earth were made and furnished. Even as the sun rose in first light on the third day, the Light of the World arose to shine forever, just as He had lived in eternity (Micah 5:1-3, John 17:1-3, Isaiah 48:16, John 1:1 cf. The Bright Light ... Ch. 10 ), as the sunlight kissed the earth.
Since then, the stomach rumbles
of a world that eats a stone
instead of standing on a Rock;
that smashed a body
instead of receiving a life;
that churns out Empires
instead of entering His kingdom who came;
that threatens to destroy itself as well,
instead of accepting His rebuke and repenting:
that has smashed itself and rebuilt
and smashed itself again... and again:
there comes an end, as there did for Judas (Acts 1:18).
It is as foretold in Matthew 24, that such would be the vast increase of iniquity, of lawlessness in this present world, that the time would come that UNLESS Christ Himself returned, once rejected, now Ruler, no life could remain.
So has this world moved,
with serpents parading as angels as before,
but in great numbers with great serpentine power
(as in II Corinthians 11, where their source is specified)
till it has demonstrated with ever increasing manifest spiritual madness,
that its only remedy
is the one it refused,
and the cost of the demonstration has been dramatic.
While man has sought to subdue with Empires, Roman, British, Holy Roman,
or to subdue by Empires, till dynamised disaster, world-wide,
exhibits that it must deal directly with Him,
as it should but does not,
and not rebel, as it should not, but has done,
incendiary militants multiply like weeds without wisdom.
As in Revelation 6, killing becomes a disease,
an epoch, a pathological panache; and in this false religions indulge,
for it is easier than truth, to shout, to play the lout, to kill.
God has acted, and His will has meaning;
does act, and His work has results,
will act, and His ways have wisdom.
Thus the provision of the working week
is not a figure but a fact,
a matter of day in seven for rest:
for the Creator acted as stated,
and then rested FROM what He had been here doing,
in one mighty motion of thrust and cessation.
It symbolises His action, but also provides for man's health of life.
God remains, His word remains, His saving work continues in the Age of grace:
that is now.
The ground of all derivative and non-self-sufficient existence
is not a tremor but a truth,
not a symbol but a sovereign,
for what is the use of symbol
unless what it symbolises acts:
and how can it act,
unless it is there!
But it is there, and has in a three-phase operation
enacted heaven and earth,
met man's fall in word
and then in deed,
and covered man's condition
where love is bred
and truth finds place:
known from eternity.
Possess Your Possessions Vol. 8, Ch. 2, *2, has this on the point, here cited. The Chapter may conveniently be considered in parallel with the current one. It has numerous references listed to add to the availability. These include:
Wake up World! ... Ch.
5, End-Note 1A, Tender
Times for Timely Truth Ch.
Perish Ch. 7, pp.
Serenity, Not Serendipity Ch. 6;
Christ the Wisdom and the Power of God Ch. 6;
The Bright Light ... Ch. 7,
Deity and Design ... 3, *3, 8,
Let's Be Reasonable, for God is Ch. 2),
Deity and Design ...
Ch. 2, Delusive Drift or Divine Dynamic ... Chs.
Sparkling Life ... Ch. 8,
The Bible: Not the Declamations or Distillations of Man, but the Doctrine of Deity Ch. 6,
The gods of naturalism have no go! 21, 23
Thy Word is Wonderful Appendix, History, Review and Overview Ch. 5,
Sums, Summits and in Sum Appendix,
Scientific Method ...
Quite simply, existence is NOT a given. NOTHING is given in investigation. You have to find CAUSE for ANYTHING, including space, time, laws, be they as with the Hawking affair, those of gravitation set in the jewel-like interacting totality of rationally formulable interacting schemes and schemas of operation, or varied domains of operation (cf. Lively Lessons in Spiritual Service Ch. 5). You can beg the question more or less, in bits or in particles, laws and forms, but in principle, beggars have no place here. It is necessary to PROVIDE.
ANYTHING must either be eternal and self-sufficient, or have a derivation from what is so; or else logic is forsaken, causation (cf. Causes) is lost and magic is the order of the game, not really responsible in view of the stakes. Start with nothing and ever more that is all for you, and you yourself, you would not be there to enjoy the solitude. Start with something and it must be adequate for all that follows, including the derivation of time and space, and anything else non-self-sufficient. What is eternal and self-sufficient has the name 'God', and with this there is only one other major question. What is He like ? what if you prefer, are the ontological aspects which enable one to know this Being ?
These are quite simply found from four sources.
For these, see Ch. 2, *2, Vol. 8.
See Scientific Method ...
God's declarations, like those of a Principal in a particularly disorderly school, where privilege and renegacy are a strong mix, are often amid the nations, ignored ceremoniously, by braggarts, insolently by denigrators, sometimes surreptitiously by hypocrites, but with a combination of poles, treated with indifference or belligerence.
In Isaiah 48 you see the divine revelation on the topic, as to type, and Israel, the nation chosen as recipient and disperser of the divine information in the format of revelation, is far from being the sole occupant of the rebellious category. Indeed, other persons and peoples, seeing its lapses and history, are the more guilty in this, that they have Israel's example so stretched before them, what God said, what the nation did, and the outcome, that one king is reputed to have asked a courtier to give in 2 words the reason for believing God, and to have received this answer: THE JEWS.
Hence it is well to look at Isaiah 48 here. The most relevant points to the above are in red:
"Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer,
The Bible: Not the Declamations or Distillations of Man, but the
Doctrine of Deity
See Waiting for Wonder, Appendix. The findings on genetic deterioration and the relevance of time from a Cornell University Professor, are of intriguing interest: found here also.