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Truth is Embracive
Man should not whinny at every wishful thought
But see what is in the bag
Continued in Ch. 8
FIASCOS FOUND IN THE FOOTHILLS OF FOLLY
There is not only in physics, but in theology/philosophy, that band-wagon of corruption, that synthesis of the immiscible, that bower of nestling lovers that do not even see each other, an awful enterprise. It is to dismember. It is like the murders, imbroglios in seraglios, the gnawing of cockroaches if you want it in more merely appalling terms, the erosion of acids. It is never satisfied. Its lusts are perpetual.
It MUST dismember. It is like some circus maestro, used to ostensibly cutting the lady in two in a box and saw combination, with her amazing escape then revealed, someone who has fallen on bad times. Now, forgetful, and with some dementia, he is failing to distinguish between illusion and reality, and cuts his companions in half, despite their disinclination, by deft moves, because he is ... used to it.
Thus in the theology of some, we have to have a strange sovereignty, as if it never heard of its possessor. It is like some king who, being told of his fabulous power, starts trying on for size, his voice and his authority, decreeing this and that with mysterious affinity for witlessness, esteeming the while his performances as awesome, even in his own eyes. There were times almost like that in the life of that poor, poor man of amazing wealth, Alexander the Great, who would perform exploits as a strut for the building of his attainments, and the testimony of his capacity for feat, it appears.
In any sane consideration however, where passion has not become pathological, there is always the relevant thought, WHOSE sovereignty ?
It is certainly true that the authority of God is not subject to human invention, contention or control (cf. Isaiah 40:19, 41:28). It is however not true that as far as man is concerned, there is question of His love, its scope from the heart, even if, in His knowledge, there is an ultimate end to continuing folly which stretches like burning smoke, from fire unquenched. The hills, as it were, of eternity, are free of the smoke, but it curls away from its heap undesired, as if to look for time as it was, in the everlasting destruction of the untrue who are likewise the unregretful (Revelation 14:11).
It is equally true, if you look at the illustration in Exodus 32:31ff., Numbers 14:11ff., that God is perfectly willing to have approach made, so that the mercy sought may be found. In these instances, it is not that God did not know His own mind, or find His own mercy, but it was put to one man, that God might well obliterate the mess of unbelief before Him. How then did Moses respond to this ? Tested Moses replied to the love of God in the love of his own heart, and persuaded Him to the point that His desire rested where the disposition of His love actually was. Thus was petition granted and intercession heard. Moses being one, the situation changed, and prayer being made, the totality was different. God did not destroy the people (Numbers 14:20).
Sovereignty is not merely NOT a strange mystery concerning God's mercy to man, except that He still shows it in such strength and at such length despite millenia of provocation; but it is rather something which belongs to One whose love is strong, whose compassion is intense, even now as in the days of Jesus Christ on this earth. He is not alterable. As He was, so He is. That is why II Timothy 3:16 can tell us that the former things yield profit to our understanding (cf. Malachi 3:6, Psalm 102).
God is accessible, when one comes in the prepared way, in the Redeemer whose sacrifice clears for ever the books against sin, thus enabling fellowship in truth (Hebrews 9:12ff.).
All these things we have often enough seen, but our present interest is this. God is SOMEONE WHO HAS SOVEREIGNTY, not a SOVEREIGN immersed in mysterious goings on for man, kept from view, so that one never knows what might be the way of it. To be sure, He is deep to infinity, and we are not; it is not a question of knowing Him as one knows the bottom of some crystal-clear stream. It IS however the case that He is not only LIGHT, filled with fearless and perfect radiance of truth, without shadow of turning or evil, but He projects it. When therefore HE SPEAKS, it is well to listen.
Useless is 'theology' which tells Him, now, and listens then, till some leopard result becomes a spotty exercise in philosophic inebriation. It would resemble those writers who, ostensibly giving a biography, so intersperse it with their own thoughts, and so elide little points of concern in the words of the original party, that there is a sinful synthesis too opaque to read with instruction.
Thus we do not need to use a 'text' to tell us that there are 'secret things' with God, as if this 'sovereignty' could swallow up what He actually says on a given topic (cf. Deuteronomy 29:29). Of course we do not know Him in His own form, though we will one day know as we are known, the apostle tells us (I Corinthians 13:12). Nevertheless, the DEEP things of God are already given, and the nature of His love to man is not the subject of erudite obfuscation and obscurantism, with any need or propriety, since it is STATED over and over, and illustrated almost without cease (cf. SMR Appendix B, and Ch. 1 above in this volume).
Despite these facts, and God's own testimony (cf. Ch. 4 above), so sensationally clear and famously applied, many still seem to love to rove on the hills of an invented mystery which simply denies the road map already provided. Sovereign ? yes. But it is HE who is sovereign of sovereignty, not vice versa; and it is HE, the PERSONAL BEING, who has declared His heart. Just as there are results for any fiasco that asks for them, so is it here. Yet the results do not obscure the attitude. Just as there is a resultant known from eternity, yet this does not imply a lack of the means declared and needed concerning His heart. Beyond time (cf. Ephesians 1:4) merely the more makes clear the reality; it does nothing to change it!
In His wisdom, certainties based before this world was formed, do not falter into time, but rule it, and do not fail because foreseen, but the more surely are implemented. Such is it for His love in all its breadth as He has revealed it categorically (cf. Colossians 1:19ff., cf. Great Execrations, Great Enervations, Greater Grace ... Chs. 7 and 9).
Again, there are those who seem to love to segregate other features that properly belong to God. Thus Hume loved EVENTS, darling of many physicists in their ontological ramblings. We have seen the folly of this in SMR Ch. 3. He ignored the PERSON who watched them, so that if all were eventive, then there would in no event be anyone to survey and interpret events, however many would be the events associated with the interpretation, coming like children to have their hands washed. There has to be the one who washes.
Space-time became a sort of God. However, truncation, though fine for cones, is not good for reality. When you do this, you become confused. The part cut off merely mocks your then jaded improvisations and reductionisms until folly seems here to find its perfect partner, and mockery its proper butt.
It is a universe in which EVENTS OCCUR, just as it is one in which SOVEREIGNTY is EXERCISED. Never however do events constitute the maker of the system, nor does the creator subside into the turmoils of the little trifles He has spun out from His mind, and instituted into action in His creativity. As for trying to explain everything in terms of some part, as is so often done, and as Einstein naturally failed to do, since it is irrelevant, it is like taking the words, and, but, is and are, seeing how common they are, and then with nobly seraphic countenance, proposing that REALLY it is all a matter of just those words.
Firstly, it could clamorously be claimed, then acclaimed by Royal or Cosmic Societies, that clearly this great frequency of these words has significance! ha! Then it might be seen that these letters involve TWO TYPES of letter, vowels and consonants. This, it is impressive (Ph.D. No. 1). After a time, it might be found that there are however other letters in the alphabet than had been found (and in choice and fruity cases, it might be discovered that certain researchers had been aware of this for some time, but had hidden the results to enable their fame to spread - though they, in reply, affirm that in fact they were simply considering the significance of these things, before making them public ... so it goes).
The alphabet now being found, like a genome irruption into the Press, it is now obvious to the cognoscenti that all is revealed. It is only a matter of time before mysteries recede and maestro man in mastery, flicks the whip. However, some studious souls, with little flair it is felt by many, continue to point out that not only are there certain other terms in the alphabet - let's call the offensive seeming things other letters, they add, to pursue the analogy - and that although they are in fact apparently COMMON to the things called words, yet they do not seem to explain words.
There is no congregation or aggregation of these letters, they might confirm, which seems by mathematical constraints to be forced into being. It is becoming increasingly difficult, they wish to advise, to explain very much at all in terms of letters! They are USED, certainly, but then so are handkerchiefs when you have a cold; and this does not wholly explain noses.
The purpose of the letters, their meaning, their orders, when they contain orders, their intimations when they contain information only, the point of the information, the atmosphere surrounding its impartation in this or that case, it is all profoundly complex. Such is their imaginary submission, their presentation.
Ah yes! say some, how profound, complex - let's add 'mysterious', and all will be pleased.
An abstract comes out from the Society. We are making great progress, it declares. It has already been found that there is an alphabet, and that there are other words than the ones first found by our illustrious comrades who were so very clever as to have made notes about words other than and, but, are and is, near the first. How very clever our members are!
Now we know, they continue, that although no set formula is yet available, there can be no doubt one will be found. It is for example often found that the word 'oh' is associated with emotion and that it is 67.5% more often found in some negative indication, than in one which is positive. Doubtless these statistics (which were founded on some medieval French documents which someone happened to be studying, but it is felt that there may well be a more general application - Ph.D. No. 2) will show the rigorous mathematical certainties, or give us formula to enable proper degrees of prediction.
Indeed, they opine, some people have already taken such a step, though with no very clear results as yet.
Our parable of course presupposes that language is being found in some setting where it had not been known what was the operating governance to communication. You could apply it either where it was not humans but talking creations who were investigating humans, or perhaps better, humans investigating something ELSE which they fail to relate to the fact that in all this, they are TALKING THEMSELVES.
It is so with the 'event' complex which, perhaps in the interests of some ivory tower such as Lord Zuckerman contrasted so negatively with actual science, might seem to some to offer the only way out of this wicked world. Thus they might like to allow a 'place', a 'site' to sight, where 'real' means impersonal, statistical and so forth, despite the fact that it is mere predilection and reductionistic surrealism, imposed on reality by persons who, if impersonal, could not take such an action in the first place!.
There is, then, a brew in these things theological-philosophical (it does not really make too much difference which branch of philosophy is at it, in 'science' or other, since it is the same principle of knowledgeable nescience which infects all such groomings of facts into inventive conclaves which omit the people who are using them, as part of them). Letters explain all! ah but, there are more than we thought; ah but there are words, ah but there are sorts of words, ah but there is grammar, ah but there are felicities and infelicities of grammar, ah but some things work anyway, ah but other things work better, ah but there is style, ah but there are varieties of style, ah but these vary with the one using them ... ah but! It is messy and intoxicating to those who will not understand the concept of comprehension, creation and conveyance of thoughts, ideas and purposes by persons, who utilise what is adaptable to their purposes to explain the thrust of their minds.
In us, there is much that explains the SORT of personal being who wrote us, and gave us spirits, but there is no explanation of His ultimate heart's purpose except what He provides, who lacking nothing and being that One on whom all depends for its particulate, personal and spiritual being, and being not contrary to Himself, or in Himself to His dealings, tells us the way it in fact is, not leaving self-destruction as our only option, or self-limitation as our ultimate vanity, who creates nothing in vain, since He knows all things, needs no fulfilment and has nothing to achieve to satisfy a defect, since that would imply a constitution conferred and constraining, true only of a creation, not the Creator. Love on the other hand, makes donation. (Cf. Sparkling Life .... Ch. 4, Calibrating Myths ... Ch. 6, Barbs ... 6 -7, cf. Acme ... Chs. 8, 11, News 125.)
The existence and power, speech and action of God have been shown very often on this site, and this is not one conceived as one of those sections - cf. SMR Ch. 1, TMR Ch. 1-7, Repent or Perish Chs. 2, 7. What we now do is consider the mixtures which are inadequate and confused, in order to see the generic of which each reductionistic relish is a part.
CLIMBING THE MOUNTAINS OF NESCIENCE
No, God is not governed by sovereignty; He is WHO HE IS (He calls it, I am who I am), and what follows follows. It is not vice verse. What follows does not manipulate Him, as if some sovereignty worked Him over and made Him conform, for the better sleep of certain theological pundits. It is FROM HIM that it follows in the first place. Moreover, it follows as HE LEADS IT. HE is personal and what He is like and likes and does is what He declares, not what theologians wish to contort His words to 'mean'.
It reminds one of a certain lady whose son almost literally could do no wrong. If he was cheeky, or failed to do some task, we would hear that YOU REALLY MEANT ... or, YOU ONLY WANTED... didn't you Charles ? or some such words. Perhaps the psychological fashion of the day had taught here that self-esteem is good, must be increased, and that you never, but never, well hardly ever even suggest, nay you should not allow such a thought even to dwell privately in your own mind, that the child could have meant evil! Of course not! how could he desire a bad thing ?
So here: it is to be deplored if anyone speaks in terms of events and authority, sovereignty and personality, will and meaning, liberty and responsibility. This is forbidden, because ? for some, perhaps, for this reason, that when you do, you are forced by the very amplitude of the evidence, to find the actual cause of all this created universe, and to find in this sufficient and only sufficient ground for the diversity on the one hand, and the integrality on the other, so systematically jutting into the face, a result: that you find God. This is for special reasons not to be discussed, the culture puts out its ticker-tape message, is undesirable. So does the social juggernaut forget it is cutting its own throat.
It is NEVER wrong to be guilty of reductionism .. you ONLY MEANT ... didn't you! So do such people try to explain away with desultory explanations that do not explain, but merely hide. So it goes. As it flirts with fancy, so it crushes with obduracy.
Again, there is the other extreme in the arena of reductionism. There have even been those for whom WILL is it! For them, say Schopenhauer, the will is the wonder. Now it is delightful that this philosopher had a few things to say about this necessary facet of reality, though his initial concept that 'the world is my idea' does not appeal. You get something of a parallel in Sartre in this, that although he knows all about meaning, so that he can tell us where it is and where it is not, and illustrates for us, yet in his schema, there is none but what is internal. How one so gifted as to be able to TELL us, can KNOW what is not there, and what it is like so that he could know the difference is perhaps the eighth wonder of the world. It is what YOU mean that matters.
Perhaps he MEANS well ? However, to divide things in this way requires a knowledge of absolute truth which is not even possible, unless it exists, and which cannot exist unless there is an absolutely knowledgeable person who can convey it, since mere reactors, or those subservient to systems, with only will to help, are mere departments, not overlords or surveyors of scenes. IF this were all, then nothing of man's meaning or of meaning itself could be known. However, his point is important in this, that intention DOES matter, and that there are personal aspects in man so important that to ignore them is to slight the substance!
We know we do not know the great final reality, says Kant, making his gloomy pronouncement with that absolute knowledge which he denies, and even inventing a compartment, and telling us about it, of which nothing can be known except its emissions, and of course the fact that it makes them, whilst supposedly it is divorced from our knowledgeability, though for all that, it can be descried and described, with it! In this way, he keeps on call the things he distances, even if he lapses into rational anaesthesia in the process.
Then a later generation cuts it down, and says, there is none to know, only a vast sweep of what is to be found, though no one can know more than this, thus making his noumena, his profundities, profoundly irrational in concept at first, utterly dissolved at the last. Into this charming dance, making the most important things to live on a peninsula, and then cutting it off, you have one more contrariety.
'Causation' was manipulated by Kant, whose mind preferred to make it a mental byproduct; and it ruined his point, since in that case, he is postulating a cause for it, working through the mind, so that there has to be a causal process at work before the mind 'invents' causation, making nonsense of it all.
From the swoons of this dance, many seem never to have recovered. Ignoring causation, except when they want it, they act as if blind at will. Another way of putting it, is this: wilfully blind. In fact, of course, causation DOES work at all levels, being of whatever type is apt for the system, since without it, reason itself is blind, being unable to categorise the qualities which on action, become causative and have results, so being identifiable for speech to exist at all. Causality*1 works at this level, in the material, it works purposively where purpose lies, executively where command is in point, in styles and symbols, in inter-personal contact and communication, in glances and in indirections, tactful or tactless, an undergirding to the very process, procedure and vitality of life.
Here it does not execute liberty, as if an assassin, but tends rather to execute it as in performance, where love and righteousness in God brings it into conformity with the omnipotent, and sin does not arrest it in its ways (John 8:35-36, II Corinthian 3:17)!
It is no more possible to isolate it, than to make a universe without qualities! When you speak of greater scale causation, it is still there; and when you ignore it, what it portends does not cease to exist.
Escape hatches have been diligently sought, but always tend to yield opposition from the area they defile, defy or omit.
Thus we have these contrarieties, these opposing reductionisms, often both with some point, but both without much point, each blind in part, each assertive with just that enthusiasm by which philosophers so often seek to carry the ridiculous into common usage, and not seldom have succeeded for a generation or two.
But look! says Bergson, do you not see the dynamic integrality of it all! See, it is not mere parts and aspects, it has thrust and scope, it has wholeness and meaning in its own reality. This far he goes, but much further in feverish imagination that never finds help (cf. TMR Ch. 1); but in this, he is contradicted.
Very true, then, on his first point; but no! says another, it has participating parts and they control everything. Why on earth should this obvious invasion of prejudice into reality be tolerated ? It helps, you see, because if you demand the meaning of integrality, it leads to an integrationist, and since the point is indeed true that there is not so much integration but dynamic totality, just as in a design, then obviously for any due confusion, it is NECESSARY to ignore this. But there is irreducible complexity, says Michael Behe. To be sure, but this is only ONE facet of the totality which is CREATIVE COMPOSURE. (Cf. Stepping Out for Christ Ch. 9, Repent or Perish Ch. 7, It Bubbles ... Ch. 9.)
Philosophy/theology in its woeful ways is so attuned to being selectively blind, as if the term 'one-eyed' were to be demonstrated and they were showing so many examples, that some perhaps find some sense of rest and comfort in their restless continuity! It is almost like irreducible irrationality. That however, being the analysis of the Bible itself (Romans 1:18ff.), it is mere verification of its accuracy in so overviewing history in its religious/philosophic thought trend. Indeed, history shows this done with BRIO, and the word of God, the Bible, exposes it with brightness. Consider this assessment, therefore.
"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven
against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men,
who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
because what may be known of God is manifest in them,
for God has shown it to them.
"For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen,
being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead,
so that they are without excuse,
because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God,
nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts,
and their foolish hearts were darkened.
"Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man -
and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
"Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts,
to dishonor their bodies among themselves,
who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator,
who is blessed forever. Amen.
"For this reason God gave them up to vile passions.
"For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature.
Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman,
burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful,
and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
"And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge,
God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;
being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness;
they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters,
inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful;
who, knowing the righteous judgment of God,
that those who practise such things are deserving of death,
not only do the same
but also approve of those who practise them.
This even incorporates that so frequently found addendum to philosophic flux substituting for eternal permanence, namely sexual folly. South Africa, for example, has obtained its political independence, only to become so conspicuously concerned about its AIDS epidemic, that it has been the subject of direct coverage from the mouth and reflections of Mandela. WHY did he not act sooner ? That, it was a question posed in the TV documentary review and interview. Process does not tell you, but divine principles do! and they do not vary.
FALLING IS NOT ENTHRALLING
Ignoring the actualities of God is but one step from ignoring the actualities of created life, which is next door to invoking the tyrannies of pathology as a consideration for the feckless footloose prodigies of the 'liberated'. Liberated thought does not meet logic; liberated life runs into the simple fact that, being created, it has its own specifications, purposes and uses, and to use it for something else is merely asking for a dose of mercy for a while. The advantage of the life case is this, that it may turn the person from reductionism for long enough to induce thought, and even repentance for voluntary blindness.
You do of course often get paid for this, in that your academic/professional body may by implication, examination or elevation, show what it thinks of those who do not conform to the need for disconformity to reality.
Thus, to take only one aspect, there are those who
"knowing the righteous judgment of God,
that those who practise such things are deserving of death,
not only do the same
BUT ALSO APPROVE OF THOSE WHO PRACTISE THEM."
Of course, as the above analysis shows, from Romans, there are also SOCIAL consequences of this obliterative passion, towards reality. You could survey those in the last paragraph above; and these we are finding to be most costly. But no! for culture, there can be no return to reality, morality and the Creator, for there is a PASSIONATE PRIESTHOOD OF POLLUTION which is determined that man must stand alone, and become in his empty isolation, what is his true meaning. What that is, when no truth on this model is in existence concerning the actual nature of things, would be interesting to know. It is like saying, Now zero is the nature of our situation, and it will soon be found what its number actually is.
It is already held, determined for the spasms of wandering mind. It is of course not possibly right, since zero has nothing to offer; but that is the model's trouble, not ours! In overview, it is zero. There is nowhere to go, for this oddment of thought, this model.
Thus WILL must be stressed, and some suitable reductionism, and history must be ignored (in my own Diploma of Education Course at Melbourne University, my only recourse for History of Education, was to take it by my own initiative and read, analyse and survey it personally as an elective - it was fascinating!). What matters must be the future. Everything must be instrumental. That will be the meaning.
But instrumental to WHAT! In service to WHAT! On this model, it will be to MAN HIMSELF, in the philosophy called humanism. It will be without God as we have seen the lay of the new European Land in its 2004 Constitution. Yet there are to be mysterious opportunities for wonderful unknowns, so MYSTERY will be the other impact. Into this mystery, anything can then be conveniently fed at any time.
It will then, as with Hitler on the Right, and Lenin on the Left, be available for whatever manipulation non-truth prefers for its own RIGHTS! These will be strong. When God is mocked, however, man is rocked. Radioactivity and Aids are merely two of the counters, going rather rapidly just now. All but infinite folly in a finite world DOES create a few problems, and the world is writhing and squirming the more, as it considers whether a few million Sudanese without houses is really a very big problem, maybe a part of genocide (when you consider tens of thousands of murders by government authority), or whether it is something else, yet to be given a name.
This world considers whether really, it matters that the Palestinians do a Hitler II on little Israel, instead of being absorbed as Jordan offered to do for them in the 1980 era, or whether oil is upset when there is some other solution than making Israel yet smaller. It considers how important it is for Putin to be nice, and so as he removes this or that resource from private hands to his own, by this or that interesting and original seeming method, and independently closes down independent radio or TV, it wonders whether there really is any pattern to it, since he is saying good things. What does it mean ? What ought it to mean ?
Is it a reversion to power at the mercy of the world, so that the world might again suffer ?
There is no meaning for man without God, and so gods become invested into the machinery, almost anything being acceptable, while the Games go on, and the world at least seems to remember how to spin.
There is however no spin on this situation which even COULD save it, since the Saviour has been rejected by this world, which is spinning out of control like some space-rocket, having difficulty as it enters the earth. Man is having prodigious difficulty trying to come back to factuality, and reality, and above all, regality, to God who made all the parts and has given them the integrality of design, and posted the only valid and verified word concerning it all. He really would rather not come where you get suddenly back into your frame. Ambition flares like an Alexandrian passion free of basis, a devotee of drive.
Some millions may secede from this rebellion against reality, rationality and the God who made all; but this world has its little ways, and they ARE little, even diminutive. It is like insisting on living in the plains, when ocean, lake and mountain offer themselves, on the plains where tornadoes roam. Yet it will have its will, however vacuous.
|When however you see events
as the mere passage of interchange in the realm of the systematised,
and personal experience as the summit over necessitated nature,
that evaluates itself and nature,
and then God as the summit,
nay the Creator over man, in terms of whom alone, even possibly,
man can and must find the meaning of his own thoughts and their place;
|and so find predestination as the assurance of God's total
and freewill as a subordinate but glorious thing, injured by collision with God,
and ironically made far less significant through such abuse,
though it try to expand it, not contract it;
|when you see duty as the
derivative of creatureliness,
and responsibility as its inner core,
creativity as the parallel to liberty,
and thought in its meaning as the upward approach to God
and the downward coverage in the light of that truth, of all things:
then there is only meaning.
Nothing is without it.
All is explained; nothing lacks its place*2. And no place is for nothing. Even the curse has a cause, and human love in its breadth and sacrificial scope, has its explanation, stimulus and glory. The despicable has its category because love is available; the immoral has its place since design has reality; the foolish is such since ignoring reality means collision with it.
Yet this race increasingly comes to worship itself, though it is only a thing formed! Thus, childhood needs correction because of sin, with moderation because of love; and a meaningless worship of children simplistically debasing them into units of wilfulnesss, which ought to be expressions of persons growing to full meaning, becomes merely the death-knell to a generation refusing to liaise with God, not only directly, but even in terms of traditional restraints.
So the world sinks. That's what liners do in mid-ocean when their captains forgets that they are made, made for a purpose, and have limitations.
In that sense, this is the Titanic generation, using that little event, as a code for space and culture, education and academic persecutions which would be hilarious, were they not so lethal to the race. It becomes inveterate with illusion and haste. It moves to its end.
Yet in the predestining power of God there is in fact a glow, that of power and warmth. It is PART of a whole, where compassion never dies, love continually shows it brilliant face, the thrust of events carries the test of man to new dimensions, where the meaning of life is moving into his very face like heavy spray on a ship's prow, as you watch it on high seas. By His foreknowledge, God alerts man to the ice-bergs just below the surface of the sea. These, however, man almost routinely refuses to see in their reality, since he is too proud.
The vital power of the life of the Creator proclaims, teaches, instructs, arrests, foretells, judges nations and leaves their ruins as testimony, sends the Saviour, knows from of old who are His, draws man to Himself, grants salvation freely and nothing without reason, turns the tyrant into an instructor when his number comes, the proud nation into a tutor when it falls, the offices of corruption into the worms of destruction and yet loves, missing none, and as the cyclotron of judgment mounts, man increasing the velocity of his evil deeds, yet God has a word for His people.
It is this: LIFT UP YOUR HEARTS, for the time is near for His return who is that same Jesus who died, rose again and justifies the ungodly (Luke 21:28). IN PATIENCE, He exhorts, POSSESS YOUR SOULS.
It is not this or that: with God it is ALL that He is and it is not lost or submersible by wishing it so. As to God, He remains, molested in Christ, triumphant in the resurrection; ingested in philosophic theologies and vice versa, suggested by licence, caricatured by idiocies innumerable, like larrikins stalking their teacher, and yet He is the same (cf. Psalm 102:27-28, Malachi 3:6). His word simply does what it says, as history nears the end of this Age (cf. Answers to Questions Ch. 5). His Gospel simply continues till He is satisfied its coverage is complete as He foretold (Matthew 24:12).
This Gospel of God, being not merely informative but remedial, 'resolves the problem of evil', providing both the ground of its arrival and the result of its lax continuance, if this be chosen. This remedy in place is the only solution for the race, as for its thought. It is vital, dynamic and analytical, it answers the meaning of life with the message for life, and the obscurity with the rebellion of sin which not only creates the problem at the outset of life on this earth, but seeks to avoid its own come-uppance. Hence the world in large measure continues to seethe, the pan grows hotter, and the rebellion more awful to behold.
Yet the word of God created, solved, sent; and it operates at each basic level.
Thus His word in our every living cell continues to give out the orders, and then to copy them in cell division, for the next generation of our living flesh. He created by His word, and it conserves the creation in kind, as He said. We find no variation that is unkind to the concept of kind.
It is not a little thing. Leaving the Maker of our kind is not a little thing. Truth is embracive; Christ much more so, but in this case, as for someone being cleaned up after an automobile accident, He INSISTS on a ready heart for such a cleansing. This means a repentant one, since repetitive alienation is not to the point. He provides even a clean heart and a renewed mind (cf. Jeremiah 31:31ff.); but it is to be found by faith in Him, not in this world's reductionistic romancings, or your own delusive substitutes.
As to cleansing, even soap does not cleanse what keeps apart from it. Nor is there any point in pretending. If soap can clean and you do not become cleansed because of aversion to it, it is your own little world. It is not the one created for you. He never fails to hear the cry for mercy in the name of Christ because of His sacrifice, the cry of faith (Psalm 145). In all things, in every and any thing, His is the faithfulness which neither turmoil nor rebellion can overcome.
THE MOUNTAINS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS STAY PUT,
SPLENDID, AVAILABLE AND GLORIOUS
Such is the richness of His ardour, the grant of His mercy, the torrent of His pity, the cascade of His love, the liberty He grants on pardon, and the price of peace which He has paid, such is the knowledge which knows who will do what, who will fall, who will enthrall, will deceive, and what will test will be passed by whom: that the world proceeds not as a wild stallion on roaring demonstration, but as a mule, foolishly retaining its load as it moves, remorseless in wilfulness, over the edge of the cliff by the ocean.
Yet this very arena, by another approach, might have brought maritime pastures of rest. Thus consider Isaiah 48:16:
"Come near to Me, hear this:
'I have not spoken in secret from the beginning;
From the time that it was, I was there.
And now the Lord God and His Spirit
Have sent Me.'
"Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer,
The Holy One of Israel:
'I am the Lord your God,
Who teaches you to profit,
Who leads you by the way you should go.
'Oh, that you had heeded My commandments!
Then your peace would have been like a river,
And your righteousness like the waves of the sea.
Your descendants also would have been like the sand,
And the offspring of your body like the grains of sand;
His name would not have been cut off
Nor destroyed from before Me.
'Go forth from Babylon!
Flee from the Chaldeans! ...' "
Thus not only is it wise and good to find His salvation, but it is necessary to leave what defiles it, that Babylon of admixture of religions, mere impudence before His royal power and admirably clear word in the Bible (Revelation 17:5 cf. Biblical Blessings Ch. 2 ). Not only is His truth embracive, covering all that man needs, solving all problems, but He in love seeks to restore man to Himself, and does not cease or suffer the overthrow of His Gospel, while time lasts. Does He not say it, while He stays to the end, and calls as He has done, not in vain these millenia, as in Isaiah 55:1-4:
"Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
Come to the waters;
And you who have no money,
Come, buy and eat.
Yes, come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without price.
"Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
"Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And let your soul delight itself in abundance.
Incline your ear, and come to Me.
Hear, and your soul shall live;
And I will make an everlasting covenant with you—
The sure mercies of David.
Indeed I have given him as a witness to the people,
A leader and commander for the people."
Before HE came, the Gospel was the same (cf. Barbs, Arrows and Balms 17, TMR Ch. 3), and in Isaiah 52-5 you see its beauty, like reflections before the day came. It was just as now, that same Gospel with nothing less than it held in preview, but rather more in performance. It continues till the last soul finds rest, and the universe, that stage, is dismissed, being now redundant as the old heavens and earth depart, and eternity shows its own marvels.
In all matters, and in all ways, by foreknowledge, by predestination, by the system of events, the power of His Spirit applying the Gospel, saving souls, healing the sick, indeed the style of His own input where and as He sees fit, by His answers to prayers, His control so that this might be while He yet secures this and that other judgment or relief, opportunity or restoration as He will: the love of God is never deceived, His truth is never overthrown. Like vast mountains, it remains, soaring into infinity, spanning all depths, in righteousness that never moves, in mercy that shines with the radiance of the sun.
Instead of immersion in events, His word is only implemented and His passion, demonstrated at Calvary, becomes the transit plane, not of Venus, but of a world beyond this test, one in which righteousness will at last endure without iniquity, where sin being covered, will be an absentee for ever, where worship will be in truth, and the river of truth will be free to all.
On the way, foreknowledge covers, predestination ensures, and liberty is thus safeguarded not by a fixity that compromises, but by an authority which ensures it. What a marvel and a wonder, that sovereignty has no more assaulted the reality of the image of God in man, than has love discounted the beauty of His truth, or mercy harassed the solemnity of purity! In all things, God has wrought as becomes His infinite wisdom, His peace and His integrity.
As Christ came and declared, demonstrated and made manifest the nature of God by BECOMING a man, so on His return, and the completion of the events accompanying this, when the universe is at length dismissed, will His same power reveal the new creation, the eternal magnificence that God has prepared for His people (John 14:1ff., II Corinthians 5:1ff.).
Just as He first showed the Gospel, and then DID what it required HIMSELF, after some two millennia from Abraham, so He has likewise first shown the nature of what He is preparing for those who love Him, which afterwards, He will make it manifest following what is now seen as some two millennia after he came and performed His first works at Galilee. In beautiful harmony of word and work, the Bible shows us that the time for this return is near (Answers to Questions Ch. 5, SMR Ch. 8). May it be hastened!
Truth performs what love achieves, and mercy loves to have it so.
Now continue our theme in the next chapter.
*1 See Causes, and SMR Ch. 5. See also Predestination and Freewill Section IV.
See here more of the wonder of the ways of the Lord, their interwoven splendour and their coverage of matters in unique and exhaustive wonder, in What is the Chaff to the Wheat! Ch. 4, at A.