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LET GOD BE GOD!
It is recommended in this case that Ch. 1 be read before Ch. 2.
One of the first things needed is this, that you realise that there are two points which you perhaps tend to conflate. One is what reason shows about pantheism, or what in any way moves in that direction or to any of its tenets, seeing God in everything, or everything in God as a trend; and the other what the Bible says.
Now one finds that you are not a pantheist, but have some term which is not to be found in the dictionaries at my disposal (and they are many, Oxford of various sizes, and the same with Webster). It is ‘substative’. Since there appears no such word, one has the option of assuming you mean ‘substantive’ or disregarding all that you say in this regard. As this term seems to be for you a kind of bridge between matter and spirit, it is however crucial.
MATTER AND SPIRIT
Let us suppose you meant ‘substantive’. The Webster definition of this term denotes existence, or depending on oneself, independent, enduring, solid, real (now rare), containing or relating to the essential part of something. It is not ‘material substance’.
Thus when you talk of spirit in terms of its ‘substative/material nature’ there is a very large question as to what you mean. If you mean ‘material’ then there is nothing material about spirit. It is contrary to the biblical depiction. Paul speaks of ‘your whole spirit, soul, and body’ being preserved blameless (I Thessalonians 5:23). They are not itemised because they are identities, but rather because they are diversities. These are items not to be confused. Again, when God made man of the (material) dust of the earth, He then gave him spirit. The one had one source, the other another.
Thus in Ecclesiastes likewise, we learn that at death the body returns to the (material) dust of which it was composed, and the spirit to God who made it, He Himself being, by contrast with the earth He made, Spirit. As Spirit and as God, He is the destination of spirit, in contradistinction to the case with earth, the bodily exit norm. THUS the spirit returns to God who made and the body to the earth from which it came, unmixed like cream and milk, by the separator of mortality, as at the first, put together by the compilation of the Creator (Ecclesiastes 12:7). Diverse in conception, disparate in creation, they are divergent in destination.
Again, if you talk in general about spirit, then as you say God IS a spirit, then your strange combination of ‘substative/material’ used for some wholly unknown reason, of spirit, becomes a question. Is it a logical slide by strange words ? One does not know. If it means material, it is not profound thought or surmise, but mere confusion of the highly distinct biblical and logical role of matter and spirit. Spirit returns FROM this earth to God; body returns to the earth of which it is made, and the earth consists in material elements, however many states they may have under various circumstances, which is entirely irrelevant to spirit, since matter is not its nature, but something other. Further matter is both made and not composed of what the entirely different term ‘spirit’ signifies. It is therefore doubly divorced from God.
What is made is not to be made part of what God is, by divine orders in Romans 1.
It is also by reason of the One who made it. In fact He preceded this made thing, its Source, leaving it no scope for any action of composition or other kind, until He acted as He was and is, and THEN made it.
If then we take your term ‘material’ as not repugnant to you at least, in reference to spirit, and spirit being what God is declared by Christ to BE, then that brings up matter, a creation of governed criteria from God, as if it were to plough into the realm of God. That confuses Creator and creation, precisely as in Romans 1:21,25. Creature and creator are infinitely distinct, and distinct by a matter of infinity. Their collation is forbidden, by reason and revelation alike.
It is also impossible since the composed, imposed has as its nature a donation and discipline, whereas God has no limits, and indeed, setting limits to Him is one of the special features to be avoided (Psalm 78:41).
FORMS AND ENTITIES WHICH USE THEM
God can USE various forms if He chooses, but as to what HE IS, that is different. I can use a car, without becoming automotive by nature. Form does not require nature, but is a mere vehicle for its expression which One with enough power, may select for an exhibition of His spiritual nature. To bring matter into God brings creation into the Creator, and in this respect moves towards pantheism.
God is NOT part of His creation; NO PART of His creation is part of God. One is what He IS; the other is what He DID. HE did it (John 1:3) so that EVERYTHING of a created nature, indeed visible OR invisible in kind, is SO DISTINCT from Himself, that He before it, makes it, being there to do so. It is HIS PRODUCT. HE is NOT His product, being eternal. That is the infinite difference. He is by nature eternal; it by nature is not. It arrives at His pleasure. He is the source for its arrival, constructing its delimited and defined structure with a power of His own, not limited, as is that of matter, not defined from without, or supervised from within.
A fortiori, we find in Colossians 1:15, I Timothy 1:17, Hebrews 11:27, the use of the Greek term aoratos.
This means not only NOT BEING SEEN, but of the category NOT SEEN. In terms of God, He is declared to be invisible, so that Moses went as SEEING THE INVISIBLE, in an oxymoron to indicate that faith penetrated to a knowledge which the eye could not see. He is referred to again, in I Timothy 1:17 as the king invisible. If it were POSSIBLE to see Him under ANY circumstances, in the sense of His being in the realm of the visible so that the thing was not per se outré, then this would be wrong, since He would only be for a time invisible, and not so BY NATURE as is asserted.
This is what He is like, whatever our powers or precepts, hopes or aspirations, knowledge or advance. This is the category: things NOT SEEN. This is scarcely surprising, since as Creator of all things He is by nature not any one of them or any part of them, but wholly contradistinct as Paul declares in Romans 1, the Creator and not the creation, the confusion of which categories is portrayed as deadly. As soon as you start worshipping the creation (which is done when any of it is assigned to 'God'), the wisdom is decreed folly, and the knowledge ignorance. Such is Romans 1; and such is the testimony in its normal glorious harmony with the word of Him who made reason, and then allows it to rove in His revelation with joy, finding there all its ways confirmed, and its place defined (cf. SMR Ch. 5).
What then ? Were I to lose part of myself in my creation, it would not be a creation but a transmission or even a segmentalisation of my person. That is not creation but butchery. The Bible however, as is the case with our own experience in creating in direction, speaks of creation (Colossians 1:15ff.), in the Greek, not an impartation of some of self, but an outburst of functional power. Creation is "from nothing", not a matter of material at all, as it is an act of making from a subjectivity which is not witness of divestment, but donor.
Thought, theme, cognition, concentration, symbol and command, word and way, all these things readily are the functions of creation, with its limits if supplied in a created spirit, and without any, when supplied in His own domain by the Spirit, uncreated because eternal: compiling all, compiled by none, the necessary condition of anything ever, and sufficient for all who are His, providing all that is required, and sufficing for every project. That is why Paul referred to God (II Corinthians 4) as his sufficiency. God is all-sufficient, independent of all, directive of any, and even in creating freedom, also He created its terms, times and consequences.
That is why Paul referred to God (II Corinthians 4) as his sufficiency. God is all-sufficient, independent of all, directive of any, and even in creating freedom, also He created its terms, times and consequences.
Nor is the SORT of thing which He is the SORT of thing which ANY creation is, as to subsistence, or rather as to the mode of its being as an entity, its ontological character or nature: for at once anything created is STARTED, and He is not, and it has a nature, of necessity, which relates to being a STARTED thing, and as we read also in scripture. Moreover, it has without divine intervention, a terminus (cf. Isaiah 51:6, Matthew 24:35), both in terms of its growing old and of judgment to come. What His form is like is hidden from all, and hence to try to enter what is both NOT of the mode of any creation, such as matter, and NOT available for such presumption (I Timothy 6:16), being unapproachable, is merely launching into the doubly impossible, not only because of logical restriction, but because of divine declaration. The infinite is not available for inspection except by invitation, and the declaration is Christ in person, and the Bible in propositions.
No, it is both scriptural and apparent that invasion of the deity in terms of His creation is merely a logical contradiction.
Let us illustrate the concept of creation.
I am not a part of any of my books; but I created them. To confuse the issue would be inconceivable! Now IN my books there are various degrees of difference in kind as well as ALL that is created being other than what I AM. Thus the paper is most unlike me; the structure of the paragraphs draws just a trifle closer, showing order and composition in style; the words are nearer, being conceptual units; the composition of the paragraphs is nearer, being grammatical and logical in character; the entire meaning of the words is far nearer, with the semantics and controlled verbal symbolism and its referents: these being the DIRECT and IMMEDIATE expression from what I am.
However even that, though meaningful in terms of what I am, is NOT AT ALL part of me. I may think differently tomorrow from a given thing, in the abstract, and GENERATE the words, and am not ANY ONE OF THEM, ALL OF THEM, or words by nature. Creator and creation are, and must always be, different, as function, operation and operator. This merely illustrates what has been set down in principle before.
In sum: To seek to bring the creation, matter into the Creator, who is spirit, therefore, is to bring something made into someone increate, and this so far from being a feasible biblical body of thought, is abhorrent to biblical presentation, and contrary to logical necessity. The UNIVERSE was created (Genesis 1, John 1, Colossians 1), and this includes all things visible and invisible. GOD the Creator, is NOT part of any of this (pantheism), but beyond ANY of it. It is not part of Him (movement towards one of pantheism’s confusions). What He IS, is scripturally wholly outside ANYTHING which He made.
He was there before it was made; it is there because He was not made, but eternal, contradistinct from His temporal products.
NATURE OF THE VISIBLE AND THE INVISIBLE PER SE
Hebrews 11 tells us that the things that are seen were not made of what appears. There are, to be sure, things not seen by the naked eye, but these are not for that reason of the nature of the invisible, merely of the ocularly unattainable, for instruments may render them visible, as in the case of an electron microscope. There are other things which by NATURE are invisible, since they are not of the nature of matter. To this fact, both in reason and in revelation, we have adverted above, with various scriptures to indicate the disparity of categories. Moreover, when you come to God, He is not in a category in this regard, that HE ALONE IS WHAT HE IS, and there is NONE LIKE HIM, and to what could you compare Him! (Isaiah 46:9, Jeremiah 49:19, Psalm 89:6, 86:10).
Even in heaven there is none to be compared to Him. Intrusion of created entities into the concept of God is therefore an act of rebellion, irrationality and unwisdom. Whoever does it denies absolute creation in implication (against John 1:3, Colossians 1:15ff., and reason, begging in this way PART of the question), and asks for trouble of mind and life. In other words, it is not only wrong, but perilous; not only contrary to reason but investing in the forbidden; not only astray, but holding parley with derogation of deity. If it is not seen, it is imperative it be realised. God is not mocked, whatever the intention. That is why He is to be served with reverence (Psalm 89:7), for great is the Lord, and in Him is nothing temporal or temporary. His excursion into the temporary by taking a form suitable for it therefore merely emphasises the glory of the self-humiliation, and should occasion wonder at His grace even further, in joy and delight of heart, not confusion of Creator with creation, in whole or in part. .
Now if anyone does these things, or does not, it is for the Lord to judge; but since this is the present occasion, one has as a pastor in Christ, to present the reality faithfully, as a doctor might speak of a new and dangerous strain of influenza. It is only a disease ? yes, but it has unkempt power to subdue the body. It is to be avoided, as a pathogen, with rigour.
Let us however now consider more the interaction between God and man, which He graciously enables at His will and wisdom.
Things invisible by nature, being non-material in kind, can indeed be seen and felt by man in his spirit directly (cf. II Corinthians 12:2ff.), since this too is of that kind. It is a created spirit in a created body with a created mind, and a created will; whereas God is an increate Spirit, infinitely beyond, but by grace making Himself accessible to the spirits of mankind, when they come as He appoints (cf. Romans 8:26ff.). Any attempt to read into God ANYTHING which He has made is in the flattest possible contradiction of scripture, whether in terms of this excursion into flesh WHICH He made, as a format for labour, or in any other way. His own form excludes all this (Philippians 2). Whatever matter is, therefore, is irrelevant to the nature of His being, merely a creation, like a book which I write. Even with myself with a created spirit, the book is no part in my genes!
Matter is made; God is not. Matter is disposable (Psalm 115). God is not. Matter is constrained by its nature. God does what He pleases, and follows His own counsel in entirety (Ephesians 1:11, Isaiah 40:14). Creation with its limits, He created alone (Isaiah 44:24, Colossians 1:15ff.).
Any research into the nature of matter has no bearing on the nature of God Himself, qua creation, and its Creator. All it shows is some of the intricacies of His creation, as a book would show something of the operation of my mind, but not have or possess ANY of its actual segments, sections or nature. Indeed, its binding is merely a collection method; some of it is simply instrumental. It reflects one of its functions, as an exercise of my will to create; it has nothing of my person. That, however, in principle, unlike the product, remains in effect the same before and after the creation of the book.
Let us be entirely clear about the scriptural side of this – from which you may or may not wish to depart – one hopes not; but it is there. If it is a created thing, GOD HAS NO PART OF HIMSELF IN IT. Changing the glory of the incorruptible God into the nature of corruptible creation, man’s mind or spirit or body, or the underlying elements, is forbidden in the Bible, and with the utmost energy condemned as basic error of the first order (Romans 1:17ff.).
As this sort of trend is biblically there depicted, is for this sort of reason that I have been concerned. You appear at least to be seeking to import some of the aspects of creation into God, being concerned about this or that facet of matter as if it had any bearing on what He is, a Spirit. If it reflects in any way one phase of His wisdom in operation, so be it; it is creation, not Creator; impermanent, not permanent; to go, not to stay; dependent on His pleasure, not Himself: who is from everlasting to everlasting BY NATURE. Thus the thing called matter and the Being called God are quintessentially diverse, immiscible, other, beyond comparison, displaced in time.
What then ? Man’s spirit too has a nature, contradistinct from the body from the creation, the body being made of elements before the spirit was inserted into its functionality. As God created the heaven and the earth, and the earth includes matter, matter is NOT God, has no PART in God, is a creation. Confusing creation with Creator has been for millennia one of the chief difficulties in people relating to God (cf. Jeremiah 2:27, Isaiah 31:1-3). As to man’s spirit, the word makes it clear that his part of man, this aspect of his total functionality, has affinity with that of God, though it is, as a creation, no part of God, merely built on His image, likewise or in terms of the way He is operative. Because of this, one may, if so enabled, commune with God.
THE SPIRIT, and
PUPPETS, CREATIONS, CONDUCT AND SITUATIONS
If I make a puppet, or even a more sophisticated creation of my own mind, it is no part of me. It would be ludicrous to imagine it were. But the nearer to personality I get it, the nearer it comes in style: though wholly OTHER than I in its nature, it grows more akin to me in its OPERATION. What it does can draw nearer to me, without there being any question of its having something of what I am! I remain intact, and whatever it does, I do not change. I can destroy it, change it. I am different from it as its creator, just as God is infinitely more so from man, whom death touches, who begins.
With God, He also can so act; and as to Him, He does not change, being forever aware of all things, and having nothing new to learn, to find out, as if He would alter His course, being always what He would be, beyond the limiting concept of created time: dependent on and derivative from nothing.
In this unlike all of creation, He its founder, and is able to be founded because and only because He, not temporal or of that nature at all, was, is and always will be there, and surpasses our time itself, this being His creation (cf. Romans 8:38-39).
What requires patience, like time, is a limit that only God could impose on any being claiming to be 'God'. Its imposition is the demonstration of two things, that God is back of it, and that it is a mere creation of God. Thus time, a system component of matter, is a limit excluded from the nature of God.
Thus we are forbidden to import into God ANYTHING of the creation*1; and the only part of man which has a directly stated operational similarity in some ways, to the ways of God, purposes, thought and understanding, is called by the same name as that given to what HE, the Lord IS, namely spirit.
God has NOTHING of any part of creation. While God works in a way in measure having similarities with man, in terms of the nature of spirit: yet man being created, and thus having a being in a style able to relate to God, yet possesses a nature nothing other than infinitely less (as all created things are to the one who made existence outside Himself, in total). Hence to God he must seek, from God listen, toward God direct his thought and find the revealed way to the presence of the infinitely personal and personally infinite God.
Let us now consider for a moment an excerpt from It Bubbles, It Howls, He Calls Ch. 9 ...
- It is far from immaterial
that He is immaterial,
for if He were material,
then precisely that environment of limits
and constraints, laws and programs
would be in place without Him,
and require their creator, merely forcing
us to go to God Himself, instead of
making a temporary logical way-station
of some non-rational substitute, some 'god'
of thought, construction, schema, order, principle or whatever,
unable to account for what in fact is,
being already merely in the interstices about him/it.
Any unit, system or series of systems is ALWAYS subject to rational demand for its genesis, basis and sufficient ground for existence. Name any, any compilation, any combination at all: it makes precisely no difference. For ANYTHING to be maintained without starting from nothing (which by definition excludes ANYTHING EVER, but we have something now), there always has to be a sufficiency for it before it; and the production of time in our sense, this too requires the same sufficiency, for it is not least an orderly accounting procedure for the impartation of impact of various sufficient kinds for various efficient results, in processes carved into actuality, constraints wrought upon it, and delays imposed.
Once we get to any alleged pseudo-sufficiency, we then simply need to ask on what ground it is asserted that it, or its predecessors, all in due logical array, have come into existence. Always, for any system, you need the systematiser. Otherwise it is irrational, magic suitable for children of course; but God alone is suitable for adults.
Children should be helped to see, and often in fact may see more readily than those old in cultural conditioning dark glasses. IF they have come into existence, then the source must have preceded them or the time producer, have existed without the time ingredient at all. SINCE we have time, then either at time 1 or as the cause of it, there has to be the ADEQUATE SELF-SUFFICIENCY. Then there has to be the cause of time 1 being in existence, and so time comes from the capacity to impart chronology from what is beyond it, and matter its companion, with it.
Let us now turn to the aspect of spiritual existence given to man, that is, derivative spirit, created spirit. Susceptible to some correlation with the Almighty as spirit, he is of course even here wholly dependent on Him, and the access depends wholly on the permission and facilitation of the Lord. Even men will give grounds for admission to their fellowship; and far more so with the infinite God.
In I Corinthians 14, we learn that spirit in man, when divorced from mind, is utterly distinct from God (14:15-16), meaningless gabble, whereas God is clear – Proverbs 8:8). God has enabled man’s spirit to work with mind, and given him instrumentalities for this purpose, and this makes it possible for man to behave rationally or irrationally, spiritually if so be enabled, or unspiritually, wisely or foolishly. The body itself however is not meaningless gabble, but its DNA to the contrary is exceedingly precise in engineering and electronic specifications.
The spirit is other than body, from the first, and to the last. It purposes with imagination, the body is purposed with directive care. One is instrumental, one is purposive; and its domain is under the direction of God who, without annulling by any means its facilities so carefully wrought in creation, yet so minutely studies its ways, that He both can and does predict over millenia at a time, as with the Messiah and the rise and fall of nations (cf. SMR pp. 743ff., Overflight in Christ Ch. 7).
God is by nature, as to His form, unapproachable by man. His nature is not assessable by man. It is only what He says which tells the nature of the form in which He exists (I Timothy 6:16). Surmises as to the nature of the form of His spirit are therefore unproductive, and when these concern matter, they are contrary to both reason and to scripture as we have seen. This is not to say that concern about the spiritual power and divine character He has is in vain, but that any effort to assess His mode of existence is so. It is hidden in light unapproachable, we read.
It is immaterial, as we have seen; it is spiritual. It is glorious and leaves our merely visible constructions with their constraints far below its power and glory. It is operational without restraint; definitive without any other defining it; functional without being directed as to function. It is not made of made things, but precedes them in time, and is before our time: it exceeds these things infinitely in wonder.
Its functionalities are not limited to what our eyes can see, or what any physical eye could discern. These are limits. God is not so limited. We must not therefore, even inadvertently act as if to bring Him to our nursery.
We must therefore beware of all such things, even in the most remote of implications. He is to be worshipped, not dissected; there is nothing material to dissect. He is to be found as He is, not made into the nature of things made, in our minds, since then it would not be to God, but to our creation associated with that word, that thought was directed.
Eternal giver of existence to what subsists, He exists beyond the limited array of things which He creates. As I can rove, muse and meditate on works written - and with what profound assistance from my Maker has this been done, for which I do not cease to praise His name - I may invest this product with that, or divest the other: it is beneath me, expressive of me in some things, supervised; and I, my person is merely a creation although by massive blessedness, one brought to the friendship of my God. With Him, the supernal is normal, and the survey is entire.
AS TO GOD, COUNSEL IS HIS, NOT DEFINED CONTROL
Matter is law-girt, produced and controlled by specifications. God has no control, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. If there were control of God, the thing in view would be misnamed, not God at all, but a creation. God does whatever He pleases in heaven and earth, and satisfies no criteria but those of His own will (Ephesians 1:11, Psalm 115). Reason shows the same, since control requires the act of making it such, which implies a being outside God. Matter and God are scripturally and in terms of reason, so different that the concept of importing such things into ‘God’, is like importing a child’s slate into Einstein theses. It does not relate. Even to import man's created spirit to God's ontology, this too is as ludicrous as if to limit the setter of limits, by the limits He set!
Now you seem keen, in using the term which merely means something essential, or existent, along with a slash and material (substantive/material), to want to change the nature of the Creator into something akin to man, not merely in functionality but in actual nature or mode of existence, indeed, as it appears, even to matter, the least thoughtful and personal of the aspects in overview, of creation. This in trend, is trebly unscriptural, in proceeding towards confusing creator with creation, in researching the latter to establish the mode of existence of the former, and in so doing when He dwells in light, as to His nature and form, unapproachable. This, further, comes near to ignoring the very nature of the construction of man, matter on the one hand, and spirit on the other. It operates; man decides; God disposes.
Whatever spirit is, it is not matter, since that was the basis, and this was the addition.
THE NATURE OF SPIRIT
Leaving, then your musings in this unscriptural matter, we can however look or seek to look at what is your actual concern. WHAT IS THE NATURE OF SPIRIT ?
This seems to fascinate you, in a way that is not in itself at all wrong; it is only the apparent desire to incorporate that element of creation called matter into spirit, and into therefore the nature of God, which is forbidden and logically as far from possible as scriptural. This merely loses time in the irrelevant. It does not suppress the actual question however: What is spirit ?
Let us then focus on this. What IS spirit ? It obviously, from I Corinthians 14, is what can WORSHIP God, what can purpose, what can desire, what can choose to do something like worship therefore, and what can respond to love. Invisible, it can be rendered visible by divine operation for the senses which are accustomed to read in that way, its nature and dynamic, as in a painting, depicted in ways man can read. Projection however is not its principle, but an option for insight.
In itself, it is what differentiates man from mere program. It enables him to reach towards God, and if confused, even in some cases, as will be that for the “man of sin” (II Thessalonians 2), to imagine that he IS God! This is the pathology of will, a segment of the reality of spirit, which in being ABLE to love truth, but when freed from the blindness of sin, is therefore also able to love error. It is not programmed. Its operational milieu is not confined to the species of substratum for action which matter comprises, but from this, it is free.
The body is to different extents programmed, semi-programmed and free for use (like hands) in accord with the purposes of spirit, and the analysis of mind (which can be wrong, in error, through wrong motives or other means, whereas the body simply proceeds as built). Why then is there difficulty about that ? You use the term ‘substative’, which maybe is meant for ‘substantive’, and seem to confuse in this way, with the /material, the concept of SOMETHING THAT EXISTS (‘substantive’) which is what the term in its essence means, with something more specific - the material.
A substance is not necessarily material, merely existent.
In Repent or Perish Ch. 7, it is made clear how ludicrous the materialistic philosophy is, matter merely being a theory of mind, and dependent on mind’s validity for its own standing as thought by man. Matter is a simple thing, compared with mind, having no will of its own; and mind is a lesser thing, compared with spirit, being not the origin for purposes, including such as those which would try to make one’s creator in the mould of some of His creation, for example. Such is Paul’s usage, though of course, so long as you make clear what is our topic, you could use ‘mind’ to relate to spirit plus mind, simply implying the prior action of spirit in this context. Let us however move to the actual issue itself, away from these preliminaries.
We are accustomed, as you rightly indicate, to seeing some things, and not seeing others. You have no difficulty, it seems, in envisaging beyond things which are ‘there’ but too small, subtle to be seen in any ocular way, even at this time, by instruments. Very good, these things are all what Paul calls ‘visible’ in Colossians 1. God created, Christ created this type of thing, as also the invisible type, just as He would have all to reconciled to Himself, as in that same Chapter, both the visible and the invisible, both what COULD not be seen and what is seen.
As to the latter, that is their
nature. They are not by nature invisible,
God is not limited, does not
wear out, has intrinsically nothing to do with what does,
It will certainly help to banish
the irrelevant, and enable the reverence
Things invisible by nature are spirit; and for example include such elements as pride, humility, courage, worship, which do not revolve or have states of solid, liquid or gas. These latter are of another domain than the spiritual, which has another coat, the imaginative, the conceptual, the impartative, the directive, yes and often enough, the erroneous, since purpose desired and means chosen are often disparate. Matter however merely does. For it, mistake is irrelevant, meaningless. Not so for man, for spirit; and not so is the result, which is to be accountable.
These are things of the spirit, akin to the purposes and disposive nature of man for which HE IS ALTOGETHER RESPONSIBLE, because here we are outside the programmable visible, and in the unprogrammed invisible. This is the naked self without excuse from colic or headache. Nothing requires you to be proud, but sin, or to be reckless but sin, or to be arrogant but sin, or to be fearful and undutiful, but sin, or to be pusillanimous but sin. What then of such things of the spirit of man ?
Now that it is unprogrammed does NOT mean that it is not structured: structure has no need to be physical or material, in order to exist. Assumptions of the necessary composition of things are merely that and an invasion of potential by dogma; and when there is no interface, nor construction mode, and the realm works in a way which bears on nothing but conception, management and priority, value and purpose, which matter lacks, being merely directed from within: it is then necessary to cease to bring in otiose and irrelevant data from what has other criteria and ways, which lack interface with their various reactions.
It is no good being on automatic pilot, when you think; for it is necessary to relate to what is, not to what is not, and in moving from one species of identity, to consider its nature, rather than import what has wholly diverse modes of operation, and lacks all subjection to such controls.
Further, liberty is not lassoed by matter, and is not to be escaped in its assessments, by any irrelevancies which would dismiss it, and with such, excise all rationality of thought and hence any capacity to argue. If matter were the construction of spirit, and the material its nature, and hence it controlled thought, and matter IS a controlled thing, then thought would be merely an adjunct of motion, space and time, direction and designation of procedure in its entirety, and as such could not know it! but then would only react, being excluded from conceptual survey which has other parameters, limited to action as ordered. Truth would become irrelevant. It could not meaningfully be discussed. Hence silence would be the only contribution logically of those on any such model. It is self-defeating before it begins, a contradiction in terms.
Visibility in KIND, in principle, expression of one's existence in terms which the eye can in principle appraise, within the limits of the temporal, the created, the contrived in the fleeting existence of space and time as dowered to us, this is not a condition by any logical need, of existence. It is merely one facet, one phase, one a priori possibility, that is all, before thought commences or revelation is consulted.
Spirit is God’s nature, and although He can make Himself visible by power and knowledge of our means of seeing in mind or eye or both, invisibility is the essence of what He is. Matter, being of the visible by nature, is a creation in the first place, is in the list of things to which He relates by direct supervision and maintenance (Hebrews 1:3), NOT relevant to what He is, but to what He does with His creation. As to what He is, rather is this spirit, and in derivative style, and created form, this is given in operational functionality, to man. To him it came, after all the visible means for his body aspect were created as in Genesis 1 -2:7, in the first place.
Visible things were not made from visible, but from invisible, says Hebrews. The nature of the one, the invisible type, is basic to the creation of the other, what is by nature visible. Similarly, even within the created venues, my imagination is not physically relevant, though it may make use, as may a singer, her voice on cassette, of things visible to record action or implement it. These two are of definable contradistinct types.
What is ONE THING by nature, material, subject to rational investigation by material means by that trilogy of mind, matter and spirit, man: this is made by what is ANOTHER BEING BY NATURE, namely GOD, spiritual, invisible, uncreated, eternal, not subject to anything! That is what the Bible states in Hebrews 11, and since God is spirit, not material, as shown in man’s creation, his donation of spirit to man opens vistas and opportunities, fields and wonders, as well as dooms and destinies not desired, through the wanton operation of will, and the unrepentant endeavours to manipulate, not to revere, to extort and not to import from God, the holiness which His sublime Spirit is able to impart to the redeemed.
He is by nature invisible; matter is by nature visible, whatever exploits may be needed to maximise this facet of its nature, and see more and more of it, in its so restricted and limited domain. Fascinating it may be; of the function of spirit, it is not..
You seem to have a very real difficulty, from which one would hope you could be delivered, in distinguishing NATURE from matter, CHARACTER from what is essentially visible, and EXISTENCE from that lower realm of things which, though a useful substratum, has nothing of GOD’s essential nature in it.
IT is the dust; this is NOT. He MADE DUST; He is its Maker, not a component, or fitted with components of what He made, having existed entirely as His changeless self, forever before it was so much as caused to be! He is not a construction, or made of what is not there until He makes.
There must be some limits to the arbitrary or the irrational if we are to reason! GOD IS A SPIRIT. The universe is a CREATION of SPIRIT, and has all that is of created type, and hence not of the Creator by nature, including material things of all types, and created spirits which by being such have the feasibility of relationship with God, depending on His mercy.
In accordance with that, does He not urgently declare with all these things before us, in Isaiah 55, that people should call upon Him WHILE HE MAY BE FOUND. His being which so calls, it is not anything like created nature; for He is personal, and is to be found when He may be! not at the leisure of man, as if He were spread out in the fashion of material things, available on inspection!
Accordingly, the first man is of the earth; the second is the Lord from heaven. They are categorically distinct and diverse, contrastable in nature. Paul so contrasts them in I Corinthians 15, in terms of the utterly disparate. When man is dowered with the Spirit of God, so that his own spirit is rendered spiritual rather than pathologically corrupted in kind, then there is a new creation (II Corinthians 5:17ff.), a begetting which has neither pangs nor placenta.
Created spirit is an operational entity which is by nature invisible to the physically created and operative eye of man; it is of creation (Colossians 1), in the sub-category of creation called ‘invisible’. This is not only a comment on what we do, but a depiction of its nature. This is what it IS. As created in US, and set in us, it involves a deployment of energy and power with the opportunity for mind, so that it may express values, purposes and fidelity, and even worship; or it may dispense even with rationality by an adverse action of will.
These things are among its powers (Romans 1:9, 8:2,11).
It may be tested as was Job, for reasons to display the love of God as more real than suffering (cf. The Christian Pilgrimage Ch. 9, SMR pp. 95ff.), it will be taught and instructed, being unlimited to mere material aspects, but by no means without reference to the current format (cf. I Peter 1:4ff.). ‘Good people’ like Job may be tested for many reasons, as noted, for example as an exhibition to all cynics, of the reality of love which is not simply in it for what it can get out of it, but for the glory of the most illustriously splendid and gracious, glorious God, who is loved for the Being that He is, not simply for donations a the lure (cf. Job 1, 2, 3, 4 in Hear the Word of God, Nos. 23, 24, 25, 26).
Others of them may enter into the labours of gaining more patience, to assist them to become a better illustration of the love of God, others again are being chastened as was David (cf. Psalm 51's spiritual exercises as a result!), for as Hebrews 12 tells us, if we were without discipline, we would be given a role like roving or illegitimate children, without parental charge.
You see something, incidentally, of the component of bringing to the contemporary world illustration of the love of God, as Paul did in his own missionary work , in Colossians 1:24, and how great can be that suffering, as we see in Gracia Burnham's experiences, exposed in "In the Presence of My Enemies" - 2003). Indeed, suffering's grounds are multiple indeed - cf. Pain and Suffering URL http://webwitness.org.au/pain,suffering,evil.html ).
As to the goodness of God (cf. Deuteronomy 32:4), He has need of nothing from His agents and artefacts which are in all respects, comprehensively His creation. To Him in Himself, the creation can contribute nothing. If He were in torment to grab something out of it psychologically, emotionally or in any other way, He would be an incomplete being, incapable of self-sufficiency, hence constrained by what is not adequate in and for Himself, in a system in which components compete (cf. Psalm 50:12). In such a situation, He would merely be one, taking His place and part; which is not the Creator, but some imagined creature. God is good (cf. Sparkling Spirituality Ch. 4), disposed to give, but while this is FOR us, it is not on our terms, but on His! one of the necessities of wisdom, and the limits for carnal impetuosity.
Incidentally, I may send you a disk of all these addresses on the URL, for it contains them, though they are all available at http://webwitness.org.au Nevertheless, if you cannot use that, so be it, that is why this letter has to take so long to answer your many musings and queries!
Here then we move into the realm of what God is, and how He works directly, being personal, with persons.
Matter is a type of construction material useful for some sorts of purposes, in the realm of the visible to the human eye; and it includes some things for which instrumentation is needed for visibility, and some which strain the ingenuity of man to render visible; but which for all that, are of this type, using the constituent elements of its type of entity in their construction. It is merely one special case of the sorts of things which the Creator can create and has created.
What is born of the flesh is flesh; of the spirit, is spiritual (John 3). There is no way to trace the movement of Spirit, it goes where it will (John 3:8); but matter is in principle able to be pursued for its parameters and constraints. These, they are different in quality, operation and character. Confusion of the two is to create a dissonance of nature and a divergence from scripture, alike. Degrees of liberty is part of the disjunction of these two, systematic insight and programmatic oversight with personal correlation, constitute further aspects of the reality which we know, being it, and which in our cases, is confined within a material location called the body, to which it is no more limited than is the ocean by the sand. It can rove beyond it, beyond an Age, beyond time itself, and is a fashioned entity wrought from God, for fellowship with Himself, and the delight of knowing the truth, and living in that love which God's innermost beauty of holiness, disperses (cf. Romans 5:5).
LIMITATIONS THAT DISTORT
THE RESPONSIBILITY AS THE NATURE OF MAN
One must suggest that you try to envisage what the Bible and logic alike require. Just because you can see your hand or eye, is no REASON for being afraid to leave that realm, to that which created both from the dust and is that of spirit. Man’s spirit, like the dust, goes back to God, the material to the material, as Solomon states (Ecclesiastes 12:7). One returns to things created, the other to the Creator. God’s spirit is by biblical definition not composed of ANYTHING created (John 1, Colossians 1), one of which things being matter, as to be found in the stars and the universe, and the soil, is hence disparate and excluded. Such is His word.
In the process of this strange-seeming inability, unwillingness, or whatever it may in fact be, the Lord knows: you therefore run the risk of importing things specifically appropriate to matter, into spirit. You seem almost to have stricture where there is no structure to be seen; but structure is the consequence of impartation, and the investment with the forms of the temporal merely show how more limiting this is. There can be no lordship for such limitations, nor compulsions for such categories. What is, is, and it will not be change by the designations of preference.
Investments of this type are precisely contrary to the biblical requirement concerning created things and God, and its insistence on avoidance of the confusion of the two. The conjunction of this disjunction dissolves reality into the test-tube of imagination, and is of the species of dreams, which being unreal, leave those afflicted without the due and true access to the infinitude of the power of the eternal God, beyond all, able for all, confronted by nothing which does not depart as a dream when one awakes. How reckless can some of these not unpopular errors become.
Thus, in principle, through such an error as this which people sometimes make, there comes in many hope for excuse for error, as if genes did it (cf. News 45, 166, 153).
As to these: Genes show the bodily construction, but do not determine the spirit, for we are ACCOUNTABLE for that, not for our creation’s constructed architecture. A man may not make himself a mouse, but he can elect to become a spiritual midget.
This species of creation, the spirit of man, is what is free from mere generation to generation production. It is the essential self, free from the dictates of mere program, and THEREFORE able to be condemned. God is not condemning Himself or His mode of creation when He condemns the sinner, but the spirit of the person which, having the run of the options, MISUSED them. Guilt is not assigned even by man, on the assumption that options were absent, or that genes directed the traffic, being mere platforms for work, and provisions for options to be exercised thereby. Not from insanity, always at least, do men including even Communists, and indeed especially these, condemn men; for it is counter to all determinism: it is because they know in themselves what is the nature of option and deliberation, and what might have been has afflicted many more than poor Lady Macbeth (cf. Predestination and Freewill Section I).
Error is not in matter, which does what it is; it is in spirit which (within limits) does what it will. This is because it is capable in the realm of the invisible, of spirit, of values and purposes, will and wit, imagination and enterprise. That in turn is by reason of the fact that it is of the same name, though created and derivative, as that which concerns the being of God.
The effort to construct therefore some sort of material basis or contribution to spirit is not a research useful, but a departure from reason and revelation alike. It is only necessary to consider that what is seen is ONE sort of thing; what is not seen, but has non-ocular characteristics, not being limited to the sort of thing our eyes are made to be able to see, is not thereby less or difficult in some way. On the contrary, it is not so formatted that this becomes possible. It does not possess this constraint. What constraints may things not serving in that sort of creation have ? Whatever is provided.
To be able to be seen, is not the end of all things, or its beginning, or less or more; though when the spirit of man is concerned, limitation in this way, as we shall see, must be transformed before eternity is apt for the new creation so to be made, at resurrection (I Corinthians 15:50ff.). That is merely one of the critical criteria designating the immense diversity and divergence between the merely material, and the spiritually cognate to the mode of existence of God: not in eternity and omnipotence, but in purposeful thought, imaginative scope and power that is not tied to some string, such as that of temporal, temporary matter.
I have used my invisible spirit which is entirely accountable for its actions (genes may make things difficult in my equipment, but do not run my soul, so that it is possible to be tempted …) long enough to KNOW by EXPERIENCE as well as by reason, that its ways are of its own. Matter does one sort of thing, mind another, spirit another. In man, there is a coincidence which does not confuse the three, but enables their joint operation; but in this, if man misuses mind or spirit, he is accountable, as a son is to his father, if he takes his car.
He may elect to use spirit to misuse body or mind. Material constructions indeed are often the butt of his actions, whether in murder or fornication; but these are his desire, design, purpose or proclivity. He is not constructed so; but enabled to do so. If he were not, he could not love, could not know God. Moreover, often his thoughts and constructions are spiritual in domain, with spiritual intentions, whether for good or evil.
FUNCTIONALITY AND VISIBILITY
Functionality, in short, is not limited to visibility, in practice or in principle. That is no part either of reason or of scripture. Indeed, since things material are by nature contained and contrived and operative on a basis given, it is not possible for God to be of this kind in any degree; for as noted, if He were, it could not be He, but only a derivative, constrained by the very nature of the format and formulae attached to that sort of thing. In our spirits, however, we draw as close as may be to what He IS; but operationally only, and hence have fellowship openings.
Now you speak in a strange way indeed, as if my scriptural insistence on spirit as non-material in some way derogates material things, and you even employ the term ‘ascetic’ which has moral overtones, in a way which is entirely without foundation or relevance. You seem to confuse something of Plato with the Bible which is not wise (cf. I Corinthians 1 – for man by His wisdom FAILED TO FIND GOD). Certainly Plato tended to derogate matter; but then, I am not Plato. There is the point …
Matter is not BAD, but lower. It is lower in this, that it is a substratum, like a platform, very wonderful, but not at all the ISSUE. Do I hate or hinder beautiful carpentry because I look not at the platform but at the singers ? which it is after all, built to display! The platform may be great, but the singing it is which is judged in the concert! Christian Scientist ? It is, alas, this sort of thing which I regret to have to say, makes it appear unprofitable to continue to speak with you. That particular heresy rejects the trinity, which is the opposite of what I do, the substitutionary atonement, the opposite of what I do, and dismisses the bodily resurrection, the opposite of what I do. What they so deny, I affirm. Their excursions into vain philosophy are untenable, for one must let God be God, and declare Himself. How then do you use this heretical term ?
In fact, in my confrontation with the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand, where and when I was an ordained Minister in it, my emphasis on the scripturally attested bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ (which is also historically necessary cf. SMR Ch. 6), was enough to raise a cordial detestation which was quite eloquently put into words, and directed towards me from significant parts of that body! It is ironic that some strange and exotic imaginations are now directed at me from THE OTHER SIDE, as if this time one was too something else. It is like cake - too sweet for these, too bland for those! They are never satisfied.
As Jesus once said of this sort of fickle negativity, geared to rejection for wrong reasons (cf. John 7:17):
And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced;
"But to what shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets,
and calling unto their fellows,
The all but exquisite irony is this, that because it is true and biblical, one stresses the REALITY of the power of God in raising the ACTUAL body of Christ. Again, because of the glorious holiness of the increate Creator of matter and all other things, who in making it was not in the process of making Himself as if it were part of Himself, who is independent of His creations and their ground, one notes the barrier of exclusion raised to infinitude, against importation of product into Producer as if this were the form and nature of His existence. For the former, I am treated with horror, as not spiritual or spiritistic enough; for the latter, I now seem to suffer gross and ludicrous caricature, as if I am too spiritual.
WHEN will men and women realise that God is Spirit, Creator, with power to invest, control, use creation, in love even for its own advantage (though they killed the Christ who came from eternity to our material world), and that there is nothing physical in the least difficult for Him, who constructed it, Himself unconstructed and eternal, so that anything ELSE CAN be.
Accordingly, WHEN He comes to earth, as He did in the occasion of the Messiah, it is a mere action of His almighty, creator's power to raise the dead, actually, specifically, individually, precisely, physically. It seems that the mixture of man and God and God and man, spirit and matter and chaff and chatter is an almost irresistible attraction: but it leads away from truth, and then this is the point relative to God, that the cost can be horrific.
What then of your apparent stricture against me ? It would seem a red herring.
I follow the word of God concerning the complete separation of God from ALL of
His creation as to His being, to the point that this sort of confusion is
biblically defined in the gravest terms in terms of error as shown;
and if one likewise insists that SPIRIT is what He is stated to be, and is, and that we HAVE spirits, created, and that this is the term in common as to operation, and contrasted with the earth and its elements from the first:
is this not to your fancy ?
It is in accord with God’s will, because derived directly from His word, however to have written such things. Our spirits are what are NOT of this earth, but these are, though merely created, akin in functionality, to God. ALL of creation is in form NOT in the mode of existence of God, since it IS creation, and He preceded ALL of it, and does not change.
The spirit part however,
where emotion and purpose,
lust and love,
delight and sorrow,
grief and its assuagement,
inter-personal relationships and perception,
comprehension and apprehension occur
and are reviewed with light,
where rebellion brews,
where laws are broken and many foolishly made,
where man acts as if in some measure a god, and finding that he is not,
suffers decay and even devastation of his wanton civilisations repetitively,
as with Sodom and Gomorrah,
now by the weight of his spiritual aspirations to a glory which is only divine,
now by the direct intervention of God to tie off the eruption of blasphemy at its end:
this is not directed, but detected (Proverbs 20:27),
not slavish but often arrogant,
does not have to obey and often does not (Matthew 23:37),
will cordially confront God so long that remedy is vanishing (II Chronicles 36:16),
will even languish in lordly sin and delight in confronting the consequences with derring-do,
as if obsessed, possessed, which often it is (cf. II Thessalonians 2:10-12).
Matter for its part has no personality, shows no apprehension, is a sub-structure for personal action, a field for the game on which one walks. It cannot help man, for it is helpless. It cannot advise for it is merely founded on advice, and no counsellor. It has received its 'counsel', where God is the One to have counselled it! (cf. Isaiah 40:13-14, Ephesians 1:11).
To confuse the two, spirit and matter is like confusing sin and necessity, law and lust. It is an arbitrary action, contrary to the specifications shown in the functionalities. Matter merely demands a Maker (cf. Repent or Perish Ch. 7, SMR pp. 3ff., 80ff.), and He having made it, precedes it. But in confusion much follows, and it is unwise to be confused in these most ultimate of disparities, as if there were any evidence to the contrary, any stirring to show not so, any basis for such disfaiths from the biblical declarations, or any escape from the antinomies of causeless matter in a causal system where to escape the implications men are fond of abandoning causality themselves, while using it as they argue.
But God is not mocked by these aberrations, wayward in more or in less, and the facts remain; as does His word, which directs our minds, whether, because we have unbound spirits, we choose to follow or not (cf. Proverbs 1:24-33, 8:33-36). Here you see the liberties and responsibilities on the one hand, and the spiritual conflict and confrontation on the other, with the provision for exit from the evils of the errors which have come, do come and continue to come in mankind.
There is no hole to hide in matter; no does this creation have any part in the Creator, since NOTHING of creation has any part in Him. CHRIST INDEED MADE ALL CREATION, the visible and invisible (Colossians 1), and as John 1:3 tells us, what is made is what He did. He did not make Himself, for then He would not be there to do it. The MADE things of which matter is one, as part of this universe, in which all research on it occurs, are one; GOD is another. He, before any of them, made them all, visible and invisible creation alike, disparate from all, sufficient for all, judge of all.
They are FROM Him, and He is not OF them, but they OF HIM! ( Romans 11:36).
There is the made and the unmade; the universe is the one, God is the other. That is what the Bible teaches. That is what the position is, reason herself clapping her hands in exquisite joy that here, and here alone is the consistency of concept which allows all things in principle, which likewise are to be found in practice.
THE MADE AND THE UNMADE,
THE MAKER AND THE REVERENCE
The UNMADE is a different field. God has this; creation, matter and the universe is the other. Never the twain shall meet IN TERMS OF THE NATURE OF THEIR ESSENTIAL BEING. Let God be God! Mormons get mixed up on this, but it is so.
God does not become what He makes, and what He makes does not become God. It is as simple as that. Matter is one of the things that He makes. It is no part of His nature as such. MAN is not part of His nature as such, though it bears a similarity in some functional regards, susceptible to fellowship with Him. God never changes (Malachi 3:6), and was (the same) before all creation, and has been the same since it was done. If it chooses to use it for display or to procure pardon, this is a change of form for a purpose, not a change in God, who DOES NOT CHANGE. Again, it is as simple as that!
There is little more fundamental about God’s being in the Bible, than this; and there is nothing much more abhorrent in His strictures, than this type of confusion, putative import of created things, types, modes into His being.
The specification then, of spirit as what is the purposive, willing aspect of man, and what inherits the guilt of misuse of the will, is biblical, necessary and sure.
It neither decries matter nor exalts that particular aspect of creation, which is NOT the function in man which has fellowship with God (the SPIRIT of man is the candle of the Lord, as Solomon declares, in Proverbs 20:27). There is no question of wattage, but wisdom in this!
It does however realistically note that it is here that the action is. This is the crux. The body is wonderful and a means granted; but it decays, and grows old, yes and its place remembers it no more unless the Lord intervene. If it be resurrected by the infinite power of God, this is intervention; but as to the spirit of man, it returns to God, unlike the body. IT is accountable, and hence higher in the order of estimation, the reference point, the criterion for assessment.
The body is passing and temporal. But the spirit of man is what Stephen commended to God (Acts 7), as also seen in terms of Ecclesiastes. It is what Christ committed into His Father’s hands, when it was FINISHED, His saving work (Luke 23:46). It is THIS which is more directly akin in kind, as to function, though as stressed, when it is a case of man’s spirit as a mere creation, it is NO PART of God, merely operationally able to communicate.
To be sure, there are limits to it, to spirit (cf. Isaiah 57:16): yes spirit as in man, it is a creation also. But it is the term which shows the specific cast for interchange with God. Accordingly, not only is it terminologically apposite, but characterisable by the Lord Himself. Thus in Isaiah 57:15, we read this: “For thus says the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy. ‘I dwell in the high and holy place with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.’ ”
Spirits are derivative, these also from the Spirit of God, and for those with them, God has His personal criteria of truth and equity, grace and goodness which are for all mankind to follow, whether it will or will not. Yet, having come to earth in the form and format of a man, and having empathised not only in thought but in deed, taking the body through the grave to the grace of resurrection, bearing the pangs of death and taking on Himself the cause, the sin itself, though and indeed because without it for His own part (I Peter 2:22ff.), He is so far from indifferent to the destiny of the body, that He made it by using His own for this purpose! He even had it transmuted, and then glorified (cf. I John 3).
What then of His resurrection ?
RESURRECTION IS OF THE FORM
WHICH GOD CHOSE TO USE FOR SALVATION
In this act, He will be using the created for the making of an eternal creation from then forwards.
Thus again, we find that the matter of Christ’s bodily resurrection disturbed Thomas, so that to dispel any possibility that any might have thought it was A SPIRIT which was walking in the room, Christ took action to dismiss such a notion. Why did He do this ? Clearly it was because spirit is not subject to the laws of matter, being that non-material additive to man, superimposed on and enabled to act in the body, which by contrast was specifically and definitionally derived from matter (Genesis 1, 3), such as is the substratum of the heavens and the earth which God created, here in that special and specific enclave known as this earth (John 20).
Hence to SHOW that it was not a spirit which was being seen, but a body, something of wholly disparate characteristics, participating in some of the characteristics of matter, Christ invited Thomas to poke his fingers into his side, to make tangible contact with the wounds. A spirit, He declared, does not have flesh and bones as you see Me to have (Luke 24:39). One of these entities had its own characteristics; the other, likewise, its own. IT was a question, of which one. That had to be determined. It was.
On the one hand, there is Spirit, which God is, and as such, He created what is spirit (in derivative created style, for man in particular) and non-spirit, material things. The latter are a kind to which spirit may on design, be added, but they are equally a kind not akin to God, merely a creation. Spirit on the other hand is akin to God, in this, that it bears the same specific for its nature, though where it is a created spirit, it is neither eternal as such, being started in time, nor increate. When it is given body, however, the question is this, What will happen to the body, of such disparate characteristics ?
In answer to this, it is important to ponder a basic fact. It is this, that God is God, and not a man (as He states); and that when, in order to institute pardon for man’s sin, yes a cover for any sin (Colossians 1:19ff.), He took it upon Himself to display before man in a way which allowed visible expression in a body, to illustrate and exhibit His thoughts and ways: this was not a derogation of His nature.
Rather was it a voluntary humiliation for a purpose! Let God be God! (cf. I Corinthians 15, where we find in the end, Christ returns to the trinity, His messianic mission complete, though of course He is the Lamb for ever, having wrought that in which His pardon is forever placed, His name forever enshrined, His will always exhibited cf. Revelation 22:23, 22:3, 5:13).
CLARITY AND CHARITY ARE FRIENDS
When THEREFORE God comes in love for pardon in such a bodily form, it is not that people should become confused as to what He is, but see His nature in action, His love in consummation. He remains God, a Spirit, and creation remains mind, matter and spirit, the last named alone in the nature of God, not in infinitude but in name and hence analogy of function.
Everlasting, His is not the nature of the temporal (II Corinthians 4:17-18), a mere creation, together with time and space (as shown in Romans 8:37ff.), nor does He consist in any manner or mode, with such things of His products. The things that are unseen are eternal (II Corinthians 4:18); creation STARTS. Matter is part of it, not even after the analogy of spirit, not even bearing its name, not even doing so in the COMPANIONSHIP of what does, namely the spirit in man! Creator, unlike creation, is by nature eternal; creation is by nature made, crafted and delimited. God is the opposite in each case to His product, in whole and in part. Far removed from God Himself, are all things created as components, for all of them He preceded, and heaven and earth will flee (Revelation 20), but He, He will remain (Zechariah 9:7, Isaiah 51:6).
As Isaiah 51:6 puts it, all that stuff will grow old and be cast off, but this is not so with the salvation of God, and His righteousness. These being a spiritual things, the former wrought by the Spirit which is God, through a body which is of the nature of form of a thing created, though He who inhabited it was never created (Micah 5:1-3). Quite to the contrary, it is only the voluntarily adopted form and format for this occasion and purpose (Psalm 40:1-3 cf. Joyful Jottings 22).
There is one body and one spirit (Ephesians 4), and the one is not the other, nor the other the one. There are things eternal and things temporal, and the one is not the other, nor is the other the one. Of things temporal, the entire universe in its material forms, for example, is one; it grows old and it goes; and by scriptural contrast, spiritual things in terms of the Eternal Spirit are eternal, do not participate in that which inherently has its limits and its term, nor do they go. That is what is written. It is only possible to have eternity from Him who is eternal (I John 1:1-4), and even then, from the time He specifies ONWARDS, since He in His nature is other than His creation, without beginning, eternally contradistinct from all that began, the creation. It is the confusion of this with what is eternal by nature, as we have seen, that is a fundamental failure of enormous significance.
Hence when man has A SPIRIT, he has a combination of what is a creation, via the body possessing material form, and via the spirit, immaterial function; and there is in the latter, something of a nature which is susceptible to participation, if God so elect to elevate it, in what is eternal from then onwards, yes in the very presence of God (II Corinthians 3:18, 4:2ff.).
As to that, it is not of the nature of the temporary, the temporal, the time-reduced minimalities of the creation, but of the spiritual. If therefore he receives what is freely offered in Christ in that sphere which is that of God Himself, in that He IS a spirit (not merely HAS one cf. John 4:22-24), the man, in terms of his contrite and humble spirit, may be in companionship with his Eternal Creator. That is Isaiah 66:2, and here let us look at it.
“For all those things My hand has made,
And all those things exist,”
Says the Lord.
“But on this one will I look:
On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit,
And who trembles at My word.”
It is vital not to confuse the voluntary condescension of God to adopt human form for incarnation for a saving purpose, with the FORM of God (Philippians 2). It is equally vital not to act as if we were below what we are, and merely materially invaded units, rather than spirits with a provision of specially constructed material facilities, in which we display what we are, and for what we must be held responsible (cf. SMR pp. 348ff.).
As Philippians 2 shows us, the FORM of God is what Christ had, but by an act of humiliation, He took a FORM of a servant, like that which we all have, except without sin (Romans 8:1ff.). The two are as diverse as infinity and finitude, eternity and temporality, God and creation. To PERFORM SERVICE for creation, God, in this way, took a created form; and when Christ’s body was physically resurrected, in that death could not hold Him (Acts 2:24) and He remonstrated and demonstrated His bodily form, it is not that it might be imagined that His body became in some way eternal in nature, since it statedly began (cf. Luke 1).
Instead, He shattered death’s lethal, penal dynamic, being just (Romans 3:24ff.), and the justifier of the one who puts trust in Him as He is, the living God as man; and He showed for man the objectivity in visible form to make it easy and indisputable, of the resurrection of the body born from a womb, beyond death!
Thus the case is this, that man, given a body as a part of creation at the first, will be given a body based on a physical format, but transcending it, with less limits and a spiritual body indeed (I Corinthians 15).
Here we adapt some excerpts from our site, for this purpose.
Let us see how I Corinthians 15:50-57 puts this matter.
This brings up an important point. We CANNOT, constituted as we are, inherit eternity, in some merely natural way. It is to be in our resurrection format, just as our trial life was in our fleshly format. Flesh with its heritage of ills is not the only natural thing, the only nature that God creates! There was nothing merely natural about Christ’s resurrection, nor was it limited in any merely natural way, when upon this earth.
Thus “flesh and blood” CANNOT inherit the kingdom of God. To BE THERE, you have to HAVE WHAT IT TAKES. That is what the word of God says: temporal things by nature are not eternal. There is a transmutation required. God is spirit, not flesh, spirit, not material. Things of this category are not susceptible to eternity. A new sort of creation, the resurrection body has to transform utterly the old body, limited as it had been to the ways of matter in its normal function, susceptible to the nature of the temporary.
How is this to be done ? Paul now divulges a crucial aspect of the truth. We shall not all, who now live, die. Often has this author considered the sheer delight of skipping the death that is still waiting, and being transformed on the spot, and lifted to the life celestial in the general resurrection. It does, in a purely imaginative way, remind one of skiing! Certainly, says Paul, SOME will be in that position, for Christ is to come as He did as a babe, now a King, at a TIME.
Again (cf. once more, Earth Spasm Ch. 1): Thus in I Corinthians 15, we find not that there is to be a body which is
· fusikos (1) and one which is
· pneumatikos (2) , but one which is
· yeukikos (3) and one pneumatikos.
Not the natural, but the nature of life as it is, it is which is to go. The yeukh not the fusis is to become obsolete. Things do not lose the state of being created in a realm, an order with a nature donated to them, in order to become spiritual, as far as the body is concerned, we find therefore in I Cor. 15. Rather it is the natural man, which is paralleled in this chapter by such expressions 'in corruption' (I Cor. 15:42), 'in dishonour' (I Cor. 15:43), before we find our interest in v. 45, "It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body."
It is not therefore a natural order which is to be omitted (as in 1 above). It is not this term concerning 'nature', which is used in his exclusion. Rather, it is the term depicting a debased, dishonoured and potentially carnal body, one not by nature eternal, which is to be omitted. It is not a body of individuality and coherence, reality and distinguishing features which is to go; it is one which is inherently susceptible to decay, pain, mortality, corruption and death. Hence we read later (I Cor. 15:50): "... corruption does not inherit incorruption." Note moreover, that it is not only what HAS been corrupted, but what is CORRUPTIBLE which is to be replaced! Flesh and blood therefore CANNOT inherit the kingdom of heaven (I Corinthians 15:50).
In other words, there is to be a generation when some will be changed on the spot, transformed and transmuted; for when Christ comes, this is the order of events. As I Thessalonians 4 tells us, the dead in Christ, those already passed on from this earth, these will be resurrected first, then those who remain at that time, Christians still alive on earth will follow in that divine thrust known as the general resurrection. HIS ? It was particular. This ? it is general.
The transformation is to be instantaneous, announced by trumpet, says I Corinthians 15. This is far better than those wailing air-raid sirens of the endless procession of wars on earth; and then ? Then the “dead shall be raised incorruptible”. We hear of incorruptible people on earth, and marvel with joy if they seem honest all their lives, though there is not one who is without sin; but this to which the Christian through Christ’s labours is heir, it is not mere failure to fall into some specially vicious moral pit, some clear-cut and manifest failure. No, it is to be FREE from FALLING altogether. Its nature is different, transmuted, changed utterly into something intrinsically more glorious (I Corinthians 15:43).
“We shall all be changed” as is clear, for since there is no man who does not sin, it is given to men to die once (to be raised in immediate, spectacular instantaneity for those alive at His coming, or this following waiting before He come, yet still in His spiritual presence – Philippians 1:23), and after that the judgment (Hebrews 9). This resurrection is wrought, a massive transformative work in kind, so that this is its kind: that He “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” – Philippians 3:21.
What then is it like, this change ? It is rather like putting on an overcoat (the image underlying II Corinthians 5), so this “corruptible must put on incorruption” , and not only so, but this vast human enemy, the seal on sin, death itself, it has to go. Thus this “mortal shall put on immortality” so that no more is it accessible, this death, this vulnerability, this fatality. The kind of situation and construction is radically changed. It is like putting in a space suit, so that the cold is excluded, but this in an order of and for life itself, which is categorically different, not just in degree, but in kind.
When all this has happened, the prediction of Isaiah will be fulfilled, “Death is swallowed up in victory” (Isaiah 25:8). In fact, this with Isaiah 26:19 shows the case that Christ is to cover, envelop and provide for those who are believers who have passed on, for “My dead body shall they arise”. So did the prophets show these things; but it is only when the appointed one, the anointed one, the Messiah has done them that it is necessary to indicate with new detail the whole implications and schema involved.
Thus the able to die has to become the unable to die; the able to be corrupted, the not able, the temporal to become changed in its format to that which inhabits the eternity for which eternal life is given, having here its abode in the very presence of God Himself (Revelation 22:4).
Such is the gulf between the physical, the temporal and the eternal. The nature of nature has to be categorically changed from capacity to die, to be corrupted, from material and time-set conditions, to those not so limited, different in kind to the point that the former COULD not inherit heaven, even BE WITH God. It is not entitlement here which is in view, but PRESENCE in a form fit for eternity.
Temporary components of life have to be wholly changed before eternal life can proceed. We must all be changed, and the corruptible must put on the incorruptible. It is a transformation entire; but it merely enhances what had its beginning in a material format, with a spirit involved; it merely increases the individuality, severing what severs, removing what limits to time’s crushing rod. A new nature, not no nature, is given; an eternal nature, not a temporal nature is created; immortality replaces mortality, and form gains permanence without the ways of a world which itself, entirely departs.
Rescued is what is ready to be lifted, just as God condescended, descended, took the form of the temporal, even actually taking flesh that DIED, to live forevermore (Revelation 1:18-19), this even for Him who so left eternity for such a purpose. In this way, Christ was not only SHOWING but BECOMING the way in Himself, that what is NOT temporal being conferred, He who IS spiritual (by nature), God Himself, might have the company of His redeemed people.
Let us consider then.
God as Spirit deals with spirit. He is aware of body, He made it; He made it for a great purpose, but while it is an exhibit for spirit (HE took a body and manifested Himself through it), it is not spirit. It enables the spirit of man to express itself in word or deed, in bodily posture or usage; but it is the spirit which must give account, for as a man thinks in his heart, so IS HE! God is spirit, man has spirit: the former is infinite, the latter finite; the former is increate, the latter created, but this is the aspect in which man has immediate likeness to God. Matter is not God, and it IS creation; so it is both excluded in principle as not being part of God and in practice, as of a diverse depiction. Something utterly transformatory must occur before a body of flesh and blood COULD inherit the kingdom.
He, the Spirit of eternity, deals with the spirit of man, and while He may heal the body, this is not His own essential nature, but Spirit, which He defines Himself to BE (John 4). Using the spirit of man as a candle, the Lord sees all that is going on. God holds man accountable for what he does in the body ( II Corinthians 5:10) ... IN the body: this is the site. MAN, this is the agent. HE does it IN the body, which is where, not what, therefore, He is! It is HE who is accountable, according to his being poor in spirit, or otherwise. Man answers for his use of body, residing in it and deploying it.
It is an instrument of assignment, and a site for assessment, but the one to be assessed is the man who uses it this way or that, abuses it, employs it spiritually. Born of flesh, it is not born of spirit; when born of spirit, then the spirit of man, so regenerated, becomes the new operating theatre of God (John 3). In his body, again, he will express the nature of his spirit, a haughty one or otherwise.
The hand is not responsible for its being given a dagger; but the spirit which so determines, this is. It is here that the crucial action is. The body is no excuse, but rather an exhibit! Preference for darkness is not from the genes but from the gracelessness of man. All salvation is miraculous, involving a new spirit (Ezekiel 11:19, 18:31ff., 36:26-27).
Here we find that God will not only put a NEW SPIRIT in them, but HIS OWN SPIRIT as well!
Accordingly, we read in Psalm 51:10-17:
“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
“Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall show forth thy praise. For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”
As to the resurrection body, yes it is like that of Christ. His - as you rightly point out, to my great delight, had less limits than those normal for those unresurrected, and though He was in the form of God, equal with God (Philippians 2), yet in taking a body and then having it resurrected, He showed what is to be for the Christian (cf. Isaiah 26:19). It is – and perhaps this is one thing for which you aptly yearn – PERSONAL, and INDIVIDUAL, and DISTINCT, has FORM and NATURE, and as a body, of course was physical. It was that same body which was raised (Acts 2:36), and as such, it was expanded in power, and NOT YET GLORIFIED when Christ so spoke to them (John 7:30, cf. 20:17).
That is why John did not precisely know its exact specifications for heaven (I John 3), since the glorification part is to be seen. Yet as with Moses and Elijah at the transfiguration, the resurrected speak, are recognisable, reason and discuss. Obviously, their estate is greater than the physical, but derived from it; and without corruption or corruptibility (I Corinthians 15), there is to be a heavenly form and format which does nothing to remove or reduce, but only enhance its actual individuality, specificity and distinctness. With Moses and Elijah, even before the general resurrection, their spirits which had returned to God who made them, were rendered visible and operative in such a depiction.
Well, I think that covers the most important points which you have made.
DISCUSSION IS GOOD, BUT MOST
AT THE PERSONAL LEVEL
LEST THIS BECOME A DIVERSION
WHICH DISHONOURS THE LORD
There is no slightest difficulty in discussing these things, but both reason (as an approach) and revelation (as a declaration of God that is final) must not be breached, in making the created things a determinant, component or aspect of God; or the material an aspect of what is both scripturally and functionally contradistinct, spirit. The term ‘spirit’ is not used in order that it may be ignored, but understood, and its operations being scripturally defined, and these being personal, purposive and individual, guilt-assessable and contrary in formation and destiny to what is material, are not to be imagined in terms of the essentially visible matter.
Do I disdain the floor, because it is not the ceiling ? I think not; but then, neither do I confuse it.
May God bless you and help you to avoid any trend or tendency to imbibe from the materialist culture, in its irrationality, without realising it, so that an amalgam with scripture becomes a source of wonderment to you. What CANNOT see the spiritual things is always wanting to subdue them to material things; but these CANNOT do what spirit does, are not part of God but of His creation, and are simply not understood by the culture of today in vast academic areas, as I have repeatedly found in my work. Not so for the Christian. Keep then yourself, one would exhort, from these things, and you will do well. We do not judge you or condemn you, for who are we!
It is for the Lord to judge all things and all people; but this thing one must judge, that the sort of theory which has been in view before us, and analysed, cannot stand to reason or with revelation from the Bible. If in some way, you are misunderstood, so be it; we do not judge at all. If on the other hand, any of these things as might appear, do apply to your thinking, it is the word of God which judges and will judge, reason itself unable to relate except by contradiction, for by such things this too is contradicted.
In this way, we have sought to obey the biblical injunction to give a reason for the faith (I Peter 3:15), which stands before reason, though reason can only applaud it.
It is of His divine mercy that any find Him (Isaiah 55:6), and when He is found, it is He who is from everlasting to everlasting, who has not hidden His words or ways from man (cf. Isaiah 45:18-19), but who rather with great grace has designated truth to man, and reason to savour it, spirit to embrace it, and a heart with which to believe Him.
May the Lord bless you, that you may enjoy Him with reverence for ever!
Goodbye for the present time.
Efforts to avoid and remake, sink God in something or smuggle Him into something, or something into Him, these are common, ephemeral, repetitive, despatched decisively, tend at times towards the comic (cf. SMR pp. 422Eff., 418ff.), are biblically unwise as in Romans 1, and conceptually self-immolative!
Scientific method is readily flouted in the interims before the meretricious popularity declines for each of the philosophic sallies into creation in this way or that, as history moves towards its conclusion. The sallies continue in escapades from the Creator until each phase of retrograde philosophy or theology finds its partisans fazed with it. This is in parallel to the efforts of many to bypass Him (cf. SMR pp. 140ff., TMR Chs. 1, 8), on whose increate ontology all must rest, or suffer the peril of irresponsibility irrationality as their new mythicism falls to make its way (cf. SMR pp. 378ff.), darkly digging in His products to find Him.