PERSPECTIVE and CONSPECTUS
What however is presented in Holy Writ that can be more fully savoured ?
and in what way does the power of God provide for man in His image, in the beauty of holiness, with wisdom and wonder ? The question has been put, Can God abdicate ? The question moves to an understanding which it negates, and so we pursue it with interest.
God does not
Abdicate, but Man, not really a King,
must do so from his precarious delusion:
HOW God achieves
liberty in this,
without confusion or invalidity of His love or our freedom is Wonderful,
Unique and a Direct Derivative from His Infinitude
You may care, after this chapter, to refer to
Of the Earth, Earthy, or Celestial in Christ Ch. 14
A. First we shall ponder the excerpt from the cited volume below, and then apply the findings further.
from Acme, Alpha and Omega: Jesus Christ
(AAA - slightly revised for this presentation:
see also Of the Earth, Earthy, or Celestial in Christ Ch. 14, *1).
In the treatment of this excerpt:
A. First we
shall present the excerpt from the cited volume below, and then
B. Apply the
For all excerpts, should any internal reference happen not to function, simply utilise it on the original from which it is taken.
A The Excerpt
For the fullest answer to this question, one needs to read The Shadow of a Mighty Rock (SMR) Ch.1, and if need be, Ch.3, together with That Magnificent Rock Chs. 5,7 and Barbs, Arrows and Balms 7, for example.
The first should suffice, but the others carry one about in the realm. The last indicates with Ch.3 of SMR that to assert anything as true of ultimate reality, and not a mere response or reaction that satisfies the self, there must be 1) God and 2) the knowledge of Him which is operative, and not merely theoretical, so that the truth as such, is available FROM HIM. If this is not found, then the question which is in this chapter being relayed, pre-supposes that the topic or any such query about truth is valid, which however it would not be in such a case.
Only speechless confusion is possible, logically though not psychologically, for those who reject absolute truth and yet still want to know the fact about actual reality. Self-inflicted though their wound be, it is still fatal to their desire in such a case as this. To speak intelligibly is to invoke logic, which insists as SMR Chs.1,3 show, on the objective God, AND His revelation, the Bible, as the sole authorised, written communication from God to mankind. How this is so, is looked at from a slightly different perspective in That Magnificent Rock Ch.5. Without self-declaration of absolute truth, even relativity is not absolutely statable, with validity! To claim it as absolutely true, is to denounce it as operative, and self-contradiction.
let us revert to the simple beginning in the divine nature, which implicitly
in this question, is being approached. After all, in terms of the above, it is
the ONLY way to go for reason, and reason is one of the ingredients in giving
a reason for the faith, in which we are now engaged. The rationality of reason
is operative only where its validity is attested, and when God is found, the
sole possible ground for this is derived. To deny Him, is at the outset to
invalidate the relevance of reason, since its current task is then beyond the
nature of its capacities; to follow it without such denial is rational, and
when He is found, it is demonstrated to have been valid as well. It is the
only way which is not a cul de sac ab initio.
Procedurally, for validity and functionality, one must demonstrate what Paul calls in Romans 1:17ff. the MANIFEST reality of the divine power and eternal nature, as in SMR. Now however our question is in the APPLIED field: Granted that the God of the Bible exists, what is His nature ?
This too is answered to the point as above. He does not change (Malachi 3:6, James 1:17, Hebrews 13:8, Psalm 90:1) ; indeed, "in whom (Him) is no shadow of variation or turning". He is immutable; and hence a desire for radical departure from His sovereign sway would constitute just that, and is hence ruled out. Indeed, He is called the "blessed and only Potentate" ( I Timothy 6:16), and Paul apostrophises us thus:
"For who has known the kind of the LORD ?
Or who has become His counsellor ?
Or who has first given to Him ?
And it shall be repaid to him ?"
Moreover, we find: "For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen" (Romans 11:33).
As to Christ who does not change, "the same yesterday, today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8) and who with the Father has ONE throne (Revelation 22:3, cf. Isaiah 44:6, Rev. 2:8), we find that under the sovereign presence symbolised by that throne, the saints shall "reign forever" (Revelation 22:3-5). The designation 'servants' and that of 'throne' sufficiently show the immutable fact that "from everlasting to everlasting" He is God, and as to God, "He shall work, and who shall prevent it!" (Isaiah 43:13); and there is no God before Him, nor shall there be after Him (Isaiah 43:10-11). In fact, He does not give His glory to another (Isaiah 42:8) and "to HIM every knee shall bow" (Isaiah 45:23). "Of HIS kingdom there is no end" (Daniel 7:14,27). His reign is for ever (Micah 4:7, Psalm 146:10, Exodus 15:18).
"Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
And Your dominion endures throughout all generations" (Psalm 145:13).
Again it is stated that "from everlasting to everlasting You are God," and "His ways are everlasting" (Psalm 91, Habakkuk 3:6).
Looking from I Timothy 6:16 to Romans 11:33 to Isaiah, we find that God is immutable because
¨ 1) He is singular in power and scope, being and eternity
¨ 2) the Creator of the time-space limitation, which is not His own (Romans 8:37ff.), but one invented by Him. He is unduplicable, irreplaceable and without any remote comparison available, performing all His works in His own way with a power and knowledge that is not merely unique, but infinitely above all comparison.
¨ 3) His nature is uninvestigable by reporters for the simple reason that they lack the means (I Timothy 6:16); but His works signify His minimal capacities, in that they are required: hence Romans 1:17ff..
¨ 4) He does not change, being always what He wants to be and subjected and subjectible neither to development nor time restrictions or limits, so that assumptions of progressiveness are a contradiction in terms: they imply time and limit. Moreover if He had to progress, then He could not be God, for a SYSTEM would be impelling Him, and yet as to God, as shown in the above noted references: it is HE who makes systematic constraints possible, being their orderly resource, recourse and inventor.
The system maker then would be God, and the discussion would merely be moving under the wrong heading, if God were discussed as if in some system by nature. Some other name would apply.
REASON FOR THE FAITH
MOVING IN DIRECT LINE
In point 4, we are beginning to move from the question, WHAT IS THE BIBLICAL FAITH on this topic ? to what is the testimony of giving a reason for the faith. The first point is entirely clear, and when one proceeds in Ch. 1 of SMR one comes to the principles which just as Paul declares in Romans 1, are indeed manifest. The realities beyond these can be discovered only by revelation; the requisitions however from the works are apparent, and enable a discernment as manifest, of what Paul calls the eternal power and divine nature of God.
Now let us pursue the reason for the faith with all due restraint, in that it is enough to show the eternal power and divine nature of God, for our present purpose, and that the God of the Bible would contradict what is His necessarily divine nature if He were to do ... what ?
This bring us back to the actual
question put to one of us:
WHAT IF GOD WANTED TO RESIGN ?
The first answer is this:
1) show that the Bible contradicts this thought.
Then we can proceed to the next two steps.
2) show the divine nature, Biblically expressed, and its necessary wonders to be contrary to this. We can show not only a contradiction of the Bible, but in the process, that it reveals various principles which would be breached if this were so. Why ? Not least, it is because this involves change of administration, and since there is only one God, change of the disposition of things and of the ultimate veracities and priorities and values, either in that they are no longer HIS, or in this, that they are no longer in operation BECAUSE they are His, but an option without the constraints of reality. An option for what ? indeed, for what no longer has the intrinsic power over all reality.
The contradictions of any thought of resignation are so numerous that they could be classified in terms of the breaches involved. This has in outline been done above; but this could readily be extended if the desire for it, in terms of a reason for the faith, were expressed.
show that the divine nature as attested by reason, is contrary to this.
This moves back one step.
We have touched on all this above; but it may be profitable to pursue the question in terms of the nearest segment to this topic in SMR Ch.1. It assumes a knowledge of what proceeded, but for any wishing to operate at this staging post, here is a presentation.
If any wish to go back further, the commencement of Ch.1 of SMR is the place to go.
INTERNAL EXCERPT, in Acme ... Ch. 8, from SMR
slightly adapted for the current presentation and internal to our current AAA excerpt
# God is Changeless
God does not change, because if He did, it would signify that He had not - from all time or beyond any time, understood something. This is impossible, as He has no conferred constitution to understand, and no other constitution can withstand Him and all is made by Him; so that He is always the same, because that is the only thing consistent with the nature we find is obvious. (It would be of interest to refer to Malachi 3:6, which reads: "I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed"; at this level in our procedure, however, we refer to this without using it in our logical order.)
The divine being itself is not forwardable into any superior, more desired or essentially better situation or condition, all things being available from the first, and nothing limiting to the last, no growth in 'stature' being consistent with a non-created being whose existence is held in the power of none, neither of any nature nor of any other thing. To find out or have to experiment to ascertain, would imply the exercise of faculties or of facilities which had met limits within or outside their own being, thus being intra-systematic entities.
It follows with simplicity that God being always what He wants to be, and never hindered in being it, in anything, is it always; and nothing developing to summon His mind to new heights, all heights being His from the first, there is neither (from knowledge, from satisfaction, from desire or any other source) occasion for change, nor a way to it which does not contradict what He is. He is it and has it and stays it, possessing not a mere optimum (which implies limits) but the sheerest completeness at all times and, for that matter, before time. He needs nothing from His creation; it needs everything from Him. Now let us pursue further the related topic of limits.
Limits ? Suppose now that God were limited by a natural scene. Who made it ? If it is there without articulation in anything, then what are its characterisable features ? If it has none, it is not even definable. If it has some, does it work in accord with them or against them? If not in accord with them, how are they 'features' of it rather than nonsense words uttered in jest ? If it works in accord with them, it is articulated according to them, and is there for a cause. If the cause is personal, we may say 'reason'; but it is still a sufficiency of background as when an author, for example, creates a poem.
If then the 'natural' scene is made, the Maker is God; for He is the One without deriving grounds, being self-sufficient, the only logically viable option. Thus there is not a natural scene for God.
If it is thought He may have an
internal constitution, such that it is limiting to His freedom (material - or
other): then who made it, was sufficient, was the reason for it ? If nothing, we
end as before. If something, then that is God, for the same reason as
before with a 'natural' setting. He therefore can have no internal constitution
confronting Him, no essence to which
He is bound. What however if He were merely susceptible to something because of an internal potential drift ?
Then what is the reason for that drift ? If nothing then this is ruled out as before. If something, then as before, that would be God. Therefore He is not subject to it, but sovereign over it, always was, and always would be.
God is not subject to anything, confronted by anything, forced to do or be anything.
He is, in sum, illimitably free.
Neither time with its partial processes nor space with its constraints and confinements, nor matter which exhibits dependence on both is or can be to Him a restriction, therefore. Contrary in nature to His essence, they have existence conferred on them by creation, being caused to be for one reason only, this: that He wants them to be; and for as long as He wants them to be, they will be.
As limitations, they do not and cannot exist. They serve Him.
Neither within nor outside God can limitations rule, neither intrinsically nor extrinsically, except by decree at His will, which is balked by nothing; and even then their 'rule' is their subjection to Himself! Neither can they intimate to nor teach Him, who makes them serial and limited from His unlimited estate. Toys or contrivances, this trio of time, space and matter are derived at will, removed upon desire.
The creation of time in particular, of course, implies an episode originating the series, instituting the limit so that it might be applied wherever God saw fit; for an underived derivative is a contradiction in terms, and the partial cannot be co-extensive with the complete. What is arriving on the scene cannot already be totally present, consummate and unchanging. Beyond time, God is not subjectible to sequence or that special form of it called development. Or if He were to develop, what would be the base of potential which would realise itself in such consequences! That would be a dowered, a donated, a given nature or character, a simple contradiction in terms.
Take man. If God wanted to rule by violence, He need not have made him in the first place, or He could have made him without freedom, preserving His own principles in peace. He is what He wants to be and is limited by nothing, driven by no constitutional constraints, for no one constituted Him who, being self-existent and almighty, needs no 'completion' by man or anything else.
Conferring freedom out of the disposing of His own will, with freedom, God made man to be what he is, because that is how He wanted him to be, in his essential capacities. To man was given potency and potential. Responsibilities result; but these are not beyond God; He is beyond this phase of His creation, as beyond every other. He does not outdistance His wit, for that would imply a disparity between His desire and His ability, a constitutive limit, which contradicts a non-constituted being, someone not derived, contrived or set up within a situation and limits. It is necessary to remember that in consistency there is not and cannot be any system or constraint whatever above or over God, for if there were, the formulator, fashioner, creator, sustainer of that limit would be God's disposer, and that would be God! It is a contradiction in terms.
As for God, He always is what He wills to be, and is not subjectible to or limitable by sequence with its directions, institution, execution and directedness. He does not impact negatively upon Himself, in terms of some auto-militancy, schizophrenic squalor being the potion of incapacity; and knowing what He wills to be, He is not in two minds about what that is, since that would be mind limiting mind and a barrier or limit to freedom, a constitutive constraint impeding what He wants in an eternal duality of being. so that it would be polytheism. He does not have a 'nature' which controls or impels Him, since that would be an auxiliary supplied together with Himself, in a system, the cause of which would be God; all system He transcends, acting as He will.
Even if it were maintained that He wanted to be contrary to Himself, that would ultimately entail that His wants were those of two gods, each as God infinite, so that the duality would simply be a contradiction in terms; and further, there would need to be One, the maker of system for joint immersion in it; and even if that were ignored, as one might ignore an atomic bomb two inches from one’s face, it would mean also that His will was operative against itself, being moved eternally in two opposite directions, so that He was not free, but bound by constitutive incapacity for resolution, at war with a self, the second god: which is merely an anthropomorphic reflection of our own created conditions, whilst contrary to His necessary freedom.
He, moreover, and a 'self' then constitute two eternal entities, so that the case is essentially equivalent to the former one. There can be no war within when there is nothing to resist, present, past or future, over and before time, timelessly in eternity. (Cf. pp. 88ff., 92ff. infra.)
He awaits nothing for His completeness, and is dependent on His entirely derivative creation likewise for nothing: whether this be construed as material, psychological, social, existential or moral. So far from seeking to derive some need out of His creation, He puts into it. (Cf. Chapter 7, pp. 578-582 infra, "Topical Thought".) There is neither growth nor development in the nature of God, neither desperation nor aspiration for anything in His creation beyond the constituted powers of their dower and design. Unconstituted Himself, He constitutes His creation in harmony with His will and deals with it as He determines, prophetic declaration being the attestation of His irreformable will just as it is independently manifest.
Divine-Sovereignty-squeezing-from-creation hypotheses are therefore hallucinatory, just as are the 'constitutive limits', in self-contradiction.
Truth is constituted by His deeds, words and decision, His eternal will; and justice by His determinations and the configurations of that nature which He both made, and knows - His creation. Deeded no 'potential', God does not serve its fulfilment; complete, He does not change. (We add: UC - unchanging.)
Nothing is His inheritance, or able to be an obstacle to His constitution. You cannot inherit when there is nothing to provide the inheritance! He has not been constituted, lives in no system, has no confines, psychological, moral, ethical or personal. He is what He is by no control or disposing of His form. Nothing is there to dispose it, limit it, regulate it. Absolute freedom is His (AF), and this concept, necessary in our logical structure and in terms of the reasoning provided, must be realised. Because we do not have it, we may irrelevantly prefer it, or be moved to imagine it ours. This however must be unimagined if we are to be logical, not psychological.
Thus God has no system, confines, bounds or limits, internal (cf. *22) or external, in any sense of those terms, imposed upon Him, delimited before Him, impactive upon Him. As One, not two, He has nothing outside His control effectively to war with Him, create a compelling resistance to Him, within or without. Any thought of war involves two gods, at this level, for One is incapable of frustration by what has been worked either within Himself or outside Himself. Within, He works and that, as One always what He wants to be, as shown, illimitably pleased with what He does.(Cf. Barbs, Arrows and Balms 6, and A Spiritual Potpourri, Ch. 5, p. 90.)
What then can limit His working! No code, element or contradiction.
Thus self-war is impossible, no constituent - constituent? no function being given; and internal distortion of, or resistance to what He either does or is, being an example of self-war (or auto-militancy, if you are psychologically minded, will do). Since He created all things as He will, including their systems, limitations, opportunities and potencies: it would be at His own discretion if He were embarrassed; but then that would be indiscreet, a lack of either ability or foresight, a limit! There is, quite simply, nothing fixed against Him, whether to thwart, divide, defile or contort, so that intimations of conflict, mutability ... self-assault and degeneration pre-suppose what is not.
If God desired something contrary to His will, this means two infinite powers aligned against each other, a contradiction in terms anterior to all discursive thought. If this is supposed to be concerning Himself, the case is not altered. Any internal ‘self’ supposed to be against His will, is merely a sub-case, a mental mandate for a two-fold god system instituted by God, and hence irrelevant to His actual nature.
v Thus to postulate that God wanted something totally contrary to His own will is to deprive words of the reality to which they refer, two contrary active infinite powers, vested in whatever and however, being a simple contradiction in terms, an adventure in mere misology, an exclusion for rational thought, a surrender of reasoning; or to postulate a desire for a partial inhibition of His own will is to oppose non-infinity to infinity, something wholly ineffectual. In Himself, indeed, time has neither limit nor relevance, being a delimiting provision for His creation (cf. Romans 8:38). If He infinitely desired what was infinite in power to oppose His infinitely powerful will, in whole or in part, it is again, mere contradiction in terms, the arousal to mind of terms mutually exclusive.
v From the first, He embraces the last, both being in the sway of His super-chronological survey of created time. With Him, there are no horizons.
Passenger Adrian: It really is so free up here. Not like the train - no rails, no clanging.
Passenger Robert: Yes, it is freer. Yet the engine is limited by the engineer who made it, the interior by the manufacturer who made it, even space by the God who formed it, by the astronomical system that lies in it, while the aeroplane is limited by both of these.
Passenger Adrian: It is also limited, if you come to think of it, by the passengers, pilot and engineers who are in it - their skills and the demands they make of it.
Passenger Robert: And now you mention it: The passengers too are limited by the form, the talents and above all, the spirit that each one has... except for this: that some know and freely love God.
For them, there are no absolute limits, except for the fact that they are creatures while God is their Creator. Yet that's the way they want it. It's no use being God, if you are not as good as He is. Besides, it is like walking in the Rocky Mountains. YOU are not these massive beauties, or soaring peaks, but you have access to them, and live with them.
They are your heritage. When God through Christ is freely your heritage, there is no limit to the glory of your inheritance: as He says, all the Father has is mine, and as Paul says, Christ is yours, all things are yours.
Passenger Adrian: The mountains below suggest the power, majesty and strength of our foundation in God, while the delicacy of the clouds and the sheer grandeur of the immensity of space recall to us the spiritual marvel of vertical ascent to ever wonderful heights, lateral movements to the refreshment of His provisions, varied in nature but profound in concept.
Passenger Robert: The solidity and security has its symbol, as does the freedom and the delightfulness of mobility. It is sad so many seem to want to destroy the majestic foundations and fly about with marvellous mobility without any spiritual encompassment at all. It is rather like ploughing with porcelain and running with plough-shares for shoes. For my part, I'll take the limits God gives me and experience the freedom they enable.
ILLUSTRATION AND DIALOGUE END
His peace is irrefragable, impenetrable, imperial, profound. Always what He would be - and deriving what He will, He neither changes nor has any need which is in the power or the gift of His creation, to provide Him. It subsists; He consists. What He is, what He does, is what He wants and what He gets. His will does not bend, either for things that assail Him, if it were possible, within, or without. No 'self' can assail, for nothing is inherited, nor desire can derail from the discipline of His all-knowing, end-embracing will, past all time and movement. Nor can there be any divorce between Him and reality; for He is its basis, engenderer without constraint, compulsion or control.
To Him it can add nothing, nor a fortiori is He nor could He be at war with Himself (cf. *22 and p. 581 infra), for that would necessarily imply an inherited, potentiated or processed power that was not His will, resisting Him, or a formulated characteristic opposing Him; nor can He be lacking knowledge, for such is a limit to His will: and that, as always, requires the cause beyond Him, to institute it, that it might be distinct from Him and distinctive against Him, which merely makes it clear that the Being called 'god' was not so; and that this Being behind is the one properly so called. It is all a matter of contradiction in terms, to gain such anomalous situations; and the terms are logically required in the first place, as has been shown. Let us then recapitulate.
Were His desire baulked by 'reality', the 'reality' could be changed: He thus always is independent, and what He does conforms to what He is, and what He is has no donor, disciplinarian or control. He is what He will be, and will be what He is. Beneficiary of none, He makes all. Nothing can force Him to deny Himself, abort His rules, or principles and ways even momentarily. This last point is, as we shall see, of great importance when we come to revelation into such a world as this one is, in comparison with what God is! (Cf. pp. 44-47 and endnote 22, pp. 88 ff. infra.)
God is, we say, illimitably free; nor could it be otherwise. Thus even self-contradiction in word or deed is self-assault. If now there were other 'gods' as we saw (or other things), they would with Him constitute a system, and the systematiser for that is then needed; and that is God. So God is One. If the other 'gods' (hypothesised for argument's sake) were defined as not being in God's system, then by definition, there are at least two systems, and we need the grounds for their susceptibility to the unitary thought (in being called 'systems' for example) we would be engaging in at this point, relative to them. Here we would, then, have systems of communication about them, thought involving them, subordinating them to one rational system.
If however the 'other god' were thought of as not being part of one rationally orientable system, then it could not be conceived of or construed in our rational system of thought, in which, however, it has just come. It is already here! Hence, as before, you would need God to invent the intimate correlation of capacities of the two 'gods'.
If it is, for all that, defined that the other 'god' must be in no way relatable to God or to our thought, then the definition at once violates the condition implied in the statement concerning the 'god', which starts with the correlation constituted by the very concept of 'goddishness' which is at once involved.
To fulfil the condition, such a thing literally could not even be thought; for if it is, then the correlation is established and the ground of it is God, as a basis for the duality. If we want to conceive a 'god' who is inconceivable in order to 'beat the system', then we are engaged in a flat contradiction of terms so that our thought attacks itself and destroys itself, before it can destroy or attack anything else. Like the Challenger spacecraft, it blows up... on the pad, or nearby.
There can be no correlation, no inter-relation and indeed no existence of any other than One God. If it so much as existed, it is at once within the confines of an existent system with another existent, God, so that the system of existences needs its creator, and some creator at that, when God is part of the scenario! that however would then be God.
Thus God is free, and our freedoms, which explain our behaviour of artistic creation, our alteration of heart (not necessarily for the right - the susceptibility is the point) as a race, or our recreation of heart by God - these relate to this (*7).
Let us summarise a little. Not composed of fashioned and comprised units, such as is the case with matter, which exhibits that it has no power to create, God is thus a free Spirit. With no limits to His thought, and all things being not barriers, He knows all things and at all times is what He would be. Self-determining without limit and changeless without adjustment, for Him there is no state preferable to the one He adopts, itself intrinsically beyond time; though changes of form are matters of foreseen purpose and program from time to time, such as in the case of the incarnation.
END OF EXCERPT from SMR
Continuation from Acme ... Ch. 8
Continuing further the treatment of Item 2 from Ch. 1
Predestination and Freewill
Acme, Alpha and Omega Ch. 9
that can lead to a
1) the Direct Answer, preliminaries being in order
In simple terms then, God does not relieve Himself of the 'burden' of His affairs and His responsibilities because
1) He upholds all things by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:1-3), and
2) by Him all things consist (Colossians ), since neither logic nor order nor causality is anything if the power and the presentation of all the interfaces is not systematically invented and maintained. If God did not bother to operate, nothing else could manage to do so.
The equipment wears out; the energy runs down; the light of knowledge as distinct from the observation of interactions is extinguished; the meaning of soul departs; the unifying purpose of creation recedes into dimness of darkness, and nothing makes sense. Garbage is the offspring, and unless automatic controls were left on, incineration of concepts would follow.
Automatic controls ? Could He simply 'leave' those ? These cannot give the knowledge and the understanding which RESTING in the BEING of God, would not EXIST in order to be there, if He departed the scene, bag and baggage with Him - as the Russians put it, before they came to the bottom recently. But what if HE still being there, yet not in sovereign power, wanted to have things continue in His personal absence, by systematic provisions ?
Would that work ? With God nothing is impossible in terms of His will (what is contrary to His will is impossible because that very fact MAKES it so, for who can resist Him, on whose power, all power depends!). However that He should desire the change is impossible as noted, since it ruptures the aseity of God, it puts Him into time and developments situations which arise from His creation, into the configurations of limits which are bounds, which none can give to the Creator. To take a format for a purpose with NO change in His being, and power in andover the creation is one thing; to surrender the thing is quite another.
No more the mere observer of time, He would be planned into it, participant by sojourn, ruling and relenting, as if it were not a contrivance but an equal, and He would become for all the world like an author stumbling into the insane folly of imagining he could become one of his own (limited and circumscribed, invented) characters, and write the story as he went. It would be for a toymaker to become a toy, a pianist a piano. But God is not so limited; and he who is, is not God but a careerist in powers and plays, a casual worker, not the infinite inventor and executor of His will in all things, in all ways as long as they exist. Hence the abdication is merely a creaturely concept anomalously conveyed to the Creator. It is like 1 divided by nought, but worse, for not only is it meaningless in the abuse of symbolism, it is to divorce meaning itself from the arena being assessed for meaning.
Abdication ? What does it resemble ? It is like an attempt to draw interest from an account when the capital has been withdrawn; except that in this illustration, the bank is gone too, the active basis for any transactions at all.
To adopt such limits over a prepared creation as envisaged, this would be to change; it would be to change to the formula of the creation in its time and development programs; and moreover, even if such change did not deny His very nature, even to change at all the character of His Being from its essential sovereign majesty would be to breach the competency of His knowledge, who, knowing all from the first, is what He wants to be to the last. Free from all development, being not created in a system, but rather for all mere system, the Maker, He is not of the order of the investment planner; for HIS ARE the riches. That is their nature. Systems may come and go; the creator stays, and stays just the same.
Moreover, the departure of the Creator from a system designed by Him, for Him, is an infinite and ultimate decadence, since His status and power know no bounds.
Hence the concept is a contradiction in terms.
Indeed, it is a contradiction of presence, and His presence is the criterion of the operation of all things, in that they have only derivatives of His life, and His removal from the scene would remove the living reality, leaving but a hollow shell. Life formulator gone, living creator absent, the creation would be an orphan from the correlations of design.
Man, then, incapable of BEING the person he is without the Person he is not, being a dynamic derivative fitted for interpersonal relations, is one whose capacities in action are the repository for peace available to such of God's creations in His likeness. Bereft of fellowship with Him, his susceptibility for both blessedness and vital operation in the divine presence aborted, man would be like an unborn child, shrouded in the darkness of a vacated world. God and man are both personal, and the absence of His presence would be infinitely irreplaceable; for it, with His word, is the light of understanding. There is no other but His, who alone knows the whole of time and space and design and purpose. A dead understanding for a living being is a systematic deprivation, a collapse.
God however does not collapse: all limits to His power being alien and the stuff of mere creatures, with bounds set: and set by God.
Moreover if HE were to cease to operate, the creation would writhe into terminus, being terminal in quality and cursed to boot (cf. Biblical Blessings Ch.7); for the difference between the living originator of the power to will, and the dead working of system, is infinite. Abdicate ? The residue, the abandoned creation, depersonalised by the voiding of the participation of its creator and resource in living interaction, would be demeaned into a garbled and deprived collapse, and eventually be hurled into a sort of hell of vacuity, which is the ultimate in horror. On HIM, would devolve the responsibility, from HIM would be the irresponsibility of having made what He dumped, and to HIM would be the omission of foresight (impossible systematically as noted) and the lack of sustained purpose, implying ignorance from the start.
Further, His principles of justice, relating to what He has made in the format HE chose, because it seemed good to Him and in accord with His principles, in the relationship which He appointed, would be breached; and therefore HE HIMSELF would be a casualty. He knows, and He does as He is, wise and all-seeing, aware of the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10), and choosing wise ends, which relate to His powers and His self-sufficiency which needs nothing from any, but gives to all.
Many are the principles violated by the violation of the presence of God; and great is the downfall of what He does not uphold with what He IS, being the creator in this manner.
Of course when the creation in the form of mankind, erred in rebellion, using the conferred potential, grasped for a divine status in knowledge as shown in the Bible, then in JUST accord with His principles, the realities He made being defiled, He pronounced death.
In heaven, where any imperfection could ricochet and all quality can interact freely, sin is like a virus epidemic. It is a non-arrival (cf. Revelation 21:4-8). What was to be done therefore ? Death duly came and the atonement duly arrived, by long programmatics announced and illustrated, at the date duly pre-announced by several hundred years, in Christ (SMR pp. 886ff.). His total knowledge, sustained purpose and comprehensive understanding was now found to be allied with what logic cannot prove but revelation can show, once the Bible is proved (as in SMR Ch.1-3,10) to be the word of this One God Almighty, Immutable and Sovereign into eternity, always what He would be, what He could be, there being no limit and no time as we know it to impose itself on Him.
What then does it show (Romans 5) ? LOVE, so profound is it that the exacting work of the creation is complemented by a marvellous motivation: children of God, holy and blemish free, covered by the guilt bearing of the everlasting word of GOD, incarnate, Jesus Christ (Isaiah 53 gives the outline in advance also - cf. the vast preliminary coverage in the Biblical works - Barbs, Arrows and Balms 17).
Such a profound task, plan and wonder is called customarily the PLAN OF SALVATION, and it is not God, but sin which has to abdicate. Its power is such, however, that this is precisely what it WILL not do. The only way therefore is to ask the Lord to make it abdicate in repentance for one's having it, so that no longer does it reign.
How is this done ? God is willing that none should perish, and having acted once in Christ (II Corinthians 5:17ff.), now acts on this basis, having the power available. Thus the call is the word needed, the call on His name in the appointed channel of power, Jesus Christ (cf. Hosea 14, , Acts 2, esp. vv.21,37-38).
While, then, God is the only and the eternal absolute One, whose power is His own, as are His resources, His nature, for whom to be is to rule: yet He DID one thing to which the question bears a slight relationship. God DID, for a short season, abdicate the FORM of God in the case of His eternal word, and took the FORM of a man, though without sin, in that form. In pursuance of His program of deliverance for many, He died the death on the cross, so that format-wise, He has undertaken far more than a holiday: He has evacuated from dignity of place, the form of eternity, to become though the One God, available for ridicule, test, query and healing; for death. He became available for leering, jeering, disgraceful and fatuous suppositions, to be shouted in His ears, for false practice of law, to be wrongly and ruthlessly condemned.
· But did He abdicate His responsibility,
· abort His plan,
· take vacation from His passion!
was it not rather that having for millenia deposited
before man in the book of the Lord,
· and having taken flesh as His walking space station,
was the precisely opposite course.
As to the Lord's Christ (Luke ),
· In the laboratory of history and in the testings of life as man,
· His gravity and grace,
· His strength in tempest,
· His fearlessness in peril,
· His consecration to duty (John ),
· His overpowering of fear (Hebrews 5:7),
· His contempt for mere weariness or hunger (John 4:6,32-34, Matthew 4:2-4),
His imperviousness to ridicule and His despatch
(Matthew 27:39-41) in the performance of duty,
· responsibly and indeed with the granite resolution of mountains:
all these things were
Indeed, poor Simon Peter even took Him aside to lecture Him against this dying program (Matthew -23), so concerned with solicitude for His disregard of the costs and penalties of His mission (Matthew ).
all this, HE did NOT forsake that unbreachable
capacity to relate to His Father for all the power needed to get the job done
(John 8:29, 11:42), nor did He forsake the honour of
His own name (John 5:19-23), for His is equality with the Father in heaven
(Philippians 2); but He was ready to be forsaken on earth, and was; that we who
believe might be found in heaven. He was willing to be slammed with the filth
of tongues that we might be washed with the grace of truth, through His blood,
our entry, for all who in faith receive Him (Titus 3:7-12, 2:11-14).
· "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people , zealous of good works" (2:11-14),
"But when the kindness and the love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according
to His mercy He saves us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of
the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour,
· that having been justified by His grace, we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is s faithful saying…" (from Titus 3:4-8).
The provision was not easy, nor was it mere physical torture, but mental assault, verbal contempt, the pulsation of inane pride assailing Him as victim, while its vainglory added piquancy to the piercings that were merely the outward scene of the inward load of sin which He bore, compassionate to the end.
Earthly power forsook Him, in its judicial form, in Pilate; in its ecclesiastical glory, in the high priestly party; imperviousness, in His suffering of normal pangs like thirst; and the very radiation of glory forsook Him when He cried, inundated with the sins of the many, "My God, My God why have You forsaken Me!" as predicted in Psalm 22. It was indeed there that His piercing and contemptuous despatch were in detail forecast, and covered closely almost as in some time machine! God changed form to deliver those who fouled form, as man to deliver mankind, all who would come to Him for such a purpose; but He did not change His truth, His intrinsic majesty, His mercy or His power of judgment which is to come, though deferring its impact on man, He took it upon Himself selectively, for as many as believed in Him (as in John 8:42,23-24, Isaiah 53:1,10).
· Small wonder is it then that this same Jesus Christ is the acme, the alpha and the omega of salvation, sent like an arrow from the ardent desire of His Father (Isaiah 49:2 51:16), fleet in His personal desire to do it (Psalm 40:1-3); and having secured the target, and still without violence, He secures His own, as it is written, "Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power" - Psalm 110:3, or 'volunteers' as the NKJV has it. The divine review of this glorious action speaks truth, with wonder*1.
· Instead of abdicating to the ruin of His creation, God has transmitted His eternal word into human format, for service in sacrifice, the most noble, profound and awe-inspiring of all, that of God as missive, sent from the Eternal Father (Isaiah 48:16, Zechariah 3:9, 2:8, Psalm 45, Hebrews 1), like a waterfall pouring out from a lake on a high mountain, leading upwards to its source (John 14:6).
· He relegated glory, but remained all glorious because of His identity, minus trappings; and it is now we who are required to relegate pretended glory, and receive a lesson in humility, for before honour comes humility, and before usefulness comes truth; for so is man made. Apt for truth, he is a danger to himself and to all, until he finds it.
· His compassion was immovable, His method undeterrable, His changeability zero, His accessibility by ONE way, in the "everlasting Gospel" (Revelation 14:6 cf. Barbs, Arrows and Balms 17, That Magnificent Rock Chs. 2 -3). Impervious to torture, He exempted those whom He freed with just and measured certainties, becoming to the captain of salvation, integral to the righteous immovability of the ways of God.
is scarcely surprising, then, that the "twenty-four
elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives
for ever and evern, adn
cast their crown before the throne, saying:
· 'You are worthy, O Lord,
· To receive glory and honour and power;
For You created all things,
And by Your will they exist and were created, " and again,
Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
To receive power and riches and wisdom,
And strength and honour and glory and blessing!"
and for the creation to resound:
'Blessing and honour and glory and
Be to Him who sits on the throne,
And to the Lamb, forever and ever ' " (from Revelation 5:9,12-13).
perceive the inflexible rectitude of God in the immovable compassion which met
the case with the felicity of the One who made all things, and knows the way
· The twin termini of heaven and hell are also coming remorselessly. It is time to repent. God has acted, if you are not yet born of God, you must return (cf. Hosea 14).
The coherence, consistency, insistence, majesty, planning,
righteousness, purity and provisions of the Lord, as shown in His book are all
that reason could relish in its grandest hopes, when examining this provision,
for it satisfies in system to the uttermost; but more, it is all that heart
could wish, for it abounds past all that hope could propound, being the balm to
the spirit which the disparities in this world with its sin abounding, make the
more apt (Rev. 7:16-17). It is the acme of that alpha and omega, Jesus Christ,
coming as a servant, returning as a sovereign most just; and now is the time
before the omegas of judgment to find Him, to serve Him, for as to Him, He is
past all comparison in grace and truth.
that is needed, is done. Christ came and did it. What
is done should be received.
1) ABDICATE ? WHO
? FROM WHAT ?
What then ? All this God HAS DONE, in Christ, abdicating glory but not reality; untouchability but not immutability of spirit; leaving scenes of splendour for the ruins of physical form, by murder, that the iniquities of those who have murdered the truth might justly, and vicariously be borne away. In this way, mercy and truth met, and righteousness and peace were friends (as in Psalm 85). But abdicate His power to run things, to rule things, to plan things, to deal with things, whether in love, humility and mercy, or from celestial magnificence, no, not that.
Incalculable vulnerabilities would then supervene for those whom He loves, has bought; inconceivable spiritual abrasions would claw at their hearts, and dim their minds, through lack, as one who gasps for air, but it is not there. Instead, innumerable graces conquer the hearts of His people, and all who come to Him come to certainty, a sovereign security not only present in the features of His divine nature of which Paul speaks; but in His divine performance, of which history is the repository.
What then is to abdicate, and what is to be changed intrinsically, transformed, given dismissal notice ?
It is SIN which must be changed for something better; and God is unchangeable in His eternal felicity of wisdom; so that the actual abdication in view in truth and in reality can only be one: to resign, surrender and come to the Lord as a sinner happily met with the Saviour and receiving Him, to witness His transforming power so that the sovereignty is now where it ought to be. Nor does it seem to strenuous when it is the authority over one as a son or daughter of God, a citizen of HIS kingdom; and the more especially since His infinite reliability has been shown to heart and eye as to mind and spirit, in His willingness to go so far as to suffer in the person of His son, eternal with Him (Micah 5:1-3) and inserted for deliverance, into temporal things in a love which is the basis and background to all human love.
THIS is the abdication practically available. As to God ?
He being WHO He is and the ONE He is, God remains as He always has done, being aware of what is good in His sight, and learning
nothing, knowing all. He is as He was and will be as He has been. He does what
He will, and He does it as Himself, invincible, unmanoeuvrable,
unteachable, but eminently reachable, in view of His
terrestrial excursion, by the simplest of means, procedures, the call in
Christ's name, for His mercy's sake, in repentance, on the basis of His actual
wrongs borne, that wrongs being cancelled by atonement, righteousness should
arise as a gift of grace (Romans 5:1-12).
2) The Implications
which Can Relate
However the question must now arise from our own side, from the reality of the Lord and the wonder of His word and power: WHY ASK THIS ?
One possible reason is psychological. If a person is weary of being confined by religion, and by God, then the concept of God abdicating might appeal, since if ONLY He would do so, then the soul could feel it would be as nice and religious as you like, and still be ITS VERY OWN SELF, lorded over by none, afflicted by no limits, in control, capable of securing almost ANYTHING by mere intelligence, craft, guile or some other thing attractive in the particular case.
That is one possible psychological source for any thought of divine abdication! Let us however be clear, for the heart without God is by Biblical standards "deceitful above all things and desperately wicked" (Jeremiah 17:9). WHO can know it! asks Jeremiah. ONLY the Lord, he answers.
Hence it is quite vain to expect to KNOW what the motive, conscious or perhaps more likely, unconscious could be, for this. Yes, indeed, it might simply be the roving of an enquiring mind. We are looking at the sort of thing which COULD occur, since in any disciplined discourse and activity, it is well to look where and WHY you are going.
a Christian were weary of being obedient (as Jonah was to his enormous subsequent,
and wholly deserved distress, from which however the Lord delivered him in
highly dramatic style) then such a proposition as the Lord abdicating might,
some would say, have some appeal. But would it ? It
would seem assuredly not: for the Christian is REGENERATED, and CONVEYED into
What, however, if someone is merely interested in considering the nature of God, and of power, and of authority, and of limits, and of what is available, and hence were simply researching the case ? It is entirely possible that there is no larger motive than this, if one is already at peace with God, in which case however, the above does apply; but other possibilities bear investigation by anyone interested in the question. An insatiable desire for devising might arise from an unmet desire for the knowledge of God, like the child’s desire for ice-cream, the more when appetite is not sagely met. Absolam, for example, that attractive son of King David's, was certainly asking JUST this sort of question about the power, dominion and authority of his earthly father, when he began his political campaign, at first cleverly. He was mistaken. He lost it in various senses... What God appointed in the crown of his father, David, was not for sale to greed or for availability for the purposes of pumped up power.
Similarly, many try to remove Christ, or to misuse the name, or to glorify the natural products God invented, or the human mind; but it is all in vain. None of them has intrinsic power and capacity; all are limited, devised; all need service; all run down unless enlivened, given meaning and place by the manufacturer, like car bits wearing out when nothing more is manufactured, and the roads are bombed... (cf. for interest Isaiah 51:6).
It is in fact a glorious reality that God is by nature, power, work and quality without any facility to become what He is not, but is He who is, was and is to come, as Revelation puts it, the "I AM" (John 8:58, Exodus 3:14, A Question of Gifts VII) ,whose independence, incapacity for entrammelment, being deceived or dumped is far greater than the same applied to the power of the oceans in the presence of a voracious bath: it would wear out before it made much impact on the seas! In this case, however, the 'bath' is the product of the seas, to follow the analogy: and to tangle with them ? a bath ? the concept is ludicrous.
What would it be like in terms of the car ? it would be like tangling with the manufacturers, service personnel and spare parts representatives, by using your car as a battering ram, a weapon for defiance against them. Yes, but there is more, for in this case, the knowledge which God has, would precede the operations against Him; for He is aware of the whole constitutive capacities, natures and movements of His created equipment and system, much more than the computers which dead in mind, but alive to direction, are being used increasingly to resort to the resources of information and enable increasing control.
Actually, it is this information capacity, not least, which will misdirect man in his aspiration in due course as shown in Revelation 13, when the systematising powers will reach the point of virtually complete economic control through data and system. God however, being neither slave nor limited in any way by anything, and always alert to all that He desires, is what He desires with time a mere capsule for the creation.
· Accordingly, He does not abdicate, that is, resign His intrinsic creative power so that there would be nothing for anyone; and having been what He is from everlasting because this is to His infinite, non-time restricted will, what is good, He continues for more of the same, investing time systems at will, creating at will.
· Having sent His Son ONCE to die for the MANY sins committed by our race OFTEN, He is without CHANGE in this also, the desire to degrade the work of His only begotten Son, and to make it all a mere bubble. Hence the Gospel (Galatians 1:6-9) is also timeless, immutable and in this case, as with some chemist fouling up carefully researched effective medicines, there is a dire penalty announced for the tampering!
God, however, has on the contrary resolved, we read in that book which is called "the book of the Lord" (Isaiah 34:16) to the last part what He shall do; and He has constrained all things to this end, that they should be gathered together in this same Jesus Christ, incarnate from heaven, to return to earth (Ephesians 3:10, Acts 1:11). What is it like ? It is like a practice green, and after this, its short course finished, golf, if you like, the game is played on another and far better fairway. This one was for trial and practice; that one is for those who have accepted His green jacket (to follow the analogy). It is so very different: for THAT jacket is a gift, from an attainment of that same Jesus Christ who died, the just for the unjust to bring us to God.
If this topic is to your mind, then you would do well to look up Matthew 22:1-14, especially verse 12, and Isaiah 61:10, and then Romans 5:1-12.
Abdication is a very good word, therefore, in this context; but its point of application is not God, but man. When he refuses this, it is merely the continuation of illusion; for he is not sovereign anyway, though his desires often lead him to imagine that he is, since arrest is so long in being performed, and termination (cf. Luke 14:31, 13:1-3) ? that is not till the Age ends.
Again, it is rather like a grain of wheat, as Christ put it (John ):
"Unless it falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves me, him My Father will honour" - -26.
See this parable extended if you will, in Barbs, Arrows and Balms 3.
End of TOTAL EXCERPT from Acme, Alpha and Omega
B. To our Present Point
Thus God does not abdicate for good reason, being perfect and complete, with His wishes not implemented by demise! Man must abdicate from his illusory sovereignty, which though comprehensible in terms of a desire to prevent TYRANTS from among his own kind, from disposing of that precious liberty which he so rightly cherishes, is not meaningful against God.
It is so for the simplest of reasons. If you fight Him who constructed you, you are vulnerable on ALL points. There is no scope or capacity for resistance. It is like having made the equipment for a nation with which you then go to war, and having final say and control through your own constructive efforts of all that happens in its weaponry.
However, it is also true that God in making us gave such a capacity to seek righteousness and truth, that He limits Himself from mere invasion. This is the same neither as rendering Himself impotent, like some teacher of the 1960s, with social science eviscerating the powers of his mind in mushy illusions, nor as rendering man omnipotent, for of such a repository of power, there can be but one!
How could God then possibly NOT abdicate, REMAIN precisely as He is, and so be exhibited as God indeed, shield man from mere invasion, rendering His creation meaningless, a pretence and indeed, worse, a hypocrisy, like some foul head of State pretending to honour principles of human rights, but in fact fouling them like an incontinent fowl.
First, let it be realised that there are no rights when you are a derivative. It is ONLY to the extent that what you are is valued and consigned aptly by the Maker that ‘rights’ may occur, but even here, it is graces that they constitute, not something to be demanded on any extraneous basis. On the other hand, it is not and never could be an extraneous basis, since God made man in His own image, correlative though derivative, apt for His standards (though not of course for His increate status, which having no beginning, cannot be imitated by what has!), so that man can indeed appeal to those very things which, when not distorted or cavorting in simple sin, are in his own heart justly and available in the Lord who made Him, for appeal. God did not create in vain.
Thus the Lord is not giving way in BEING what He is. Again, man is not being simply invaded, to defile what he has been made to be.
Where then is the solution ? HOW CAN man be possessed of genuine liberty, such as he freely dies for, and yet attainable by God, who does not defile His being by making cheap compromises with man, and so ceasing to be what He is ?
The answer is profoundly simple. HE MAKES MAN SO THAT, when the suitable conditions are met (as when you make an aircraft which can operate with various optional functional equipment fitting it for diverse situations, without sacrificing its integrity and viability), he is attainable by God Himself, who seeking him in love, yet does not command his love where it is withheld, while yet commanding it in terms of obligation, not terrorism, in the terms of principle.
What OUGHT to be is clear; that it is not FORCED is clear; that man is delivered from the mere confusions of psychological fits and starts, is clear, since God assures that before all time HE CHOSE His own people (Ephesians 1:4), so that infinite knowledge and wisdom applies the matter. Man is not moreover, and therefore, being predestinated (Romans 8:28ff.), limited by his own ignorance, prejudice and blindness that necessarily results, at the spiritual level, through his NOT KNOWING GOD. It is like being deaf. It does not matter what sounds you imagine or what theses you write about sound and music, you simply DO NOT HEAR what is in fact acting as sound outside. If you did, you would not be deaf (cf. Ephesians 4:17ff.).
Man is not what he should be. He is in fact fallen. His liberty is most frequently obviously aborted by drugs, of mind or body or spirit, delusions and confusions actively promoted, whether in desire or desperation. Further, until YOU DO KNOW GOD how can you have the perspective and understanding of the truth in which to choose Him ? Hence GOD does the choosing, but in so doing, He is so far from circumventing your own will, perfectly grasped, understood and known, indeed foreknown as all these things are before Him as is a house before an ingenious architect even before it is built – that He emphatically and repeatedly declares that it is OUR OWN responsibility where we do not believe, that it is HIS love which we deter when we reject Him, and that He WOULD have all men to be saved (cf. I Timothy 2, Mathew 23:37, Luke 19:42ff., II Chronicles 36, SMR Appendix B, The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 4).
IF He did not do it, then liberty being functionally absent to the point at issue, the matter would be a simple contradiction. You do not exercise what you do not have. If HE did it by force, like some dictator, it would be neither love nor true that we loved Him. The resultant emotion would be contrived, hypocritical and an excess of force invading the spiritual tissue of man.
If HE did not enact what He has chosen, then man could not do it; hence He does so, declaring that UNLESS you are born again, you can neither SEE nor ENTER His kingdom! (John 3). The wind blows from where it will, said Christ. In other words, from a merely and purely human point of view, you do not know enough to be able to determine what is the movement of God toward your heart. It is not, as if some sort of meteorological science, determinable by our limited investigations. Even now, that particular science in any case is far from having the precision of adequate coverage!
If God were not there, then there would be no truth, since no absolute would be there to give the perspective in the knowledge which constitutes truth, and hence NO ONE could have liberty. Various wills and workings and procedural psychological forces and interactions and so on, would evince the nature of the equipment, and obstinacy or weakness would ensue; but the actual nature of things would of necessity remain unknown, and man of equal and correlative necessity, unpossessed of liberty, merely following what he did not make, and is having its outcome, namely … himself.
God CAN grant the change, and if, again, it were not that He is there, NO change could be achieved which categorically put man where currently he is not, so avoiding the impasse noted in the last paragraph. A self-filter does not evade the self.
Hence a CHANGE from what one actually IS, in the most total sense, can be made; and it can be made without the LIMITS OF what one is, constituting a sort of fraud, for the liberty is then so circumscribed by what one is and did not opt to receive in the first place, namely, once again, oneself, that it is mere outcome. When God makes such a change, knowing the heart, and not forcing it, beyond that second area which indeed is ground for the first, its own damaged and pathological limitations, then the change is free. ONLY IF and because God loves without seeking His own by force, but with everything short of or other than it that is good, can HIS choice constitute freedom for man; for otherwise, the mere implementation of HIS OWN WILL would prevent any implementation of that of man, he being subjectible. Similarly, any mere implementation of man’s darkness would be as futile for freedom.
However ONLY if God met the conditions of man’s sin could this be done without arrogation of His truth by His love so that pretence would accept what is not acceptable. Hence God in meeting the cost of sin in offering His only begotten Son, fresh from the celestial eternity, His eternal Word, on the Cross of condemnation, has met justice, so avoiding something parallel to abdication, and just as potentially impactive in change of the divine nature. That being impossible for God, contrary to what He is and merely an attestation of someone not God, masquerading as Him, a mere being of conditions, not the creator of all: it would not solve anything, but present the problem celestially, to avoid it humanly!
Yet GOD DID MEET these conditions, and so justice is satisfied, truth is unharassed, mercy is fulfilled and love is met. As pointed out before, it is no frustration to love to lose its object when that is contrary to it, though it cause grief; since love DOES NOT SEEK ITS OWN. This is the Biblical definition component, and in this the whole harmony of the Biblical presentation with the entire gamut of the human situation, and its perfect meeting of it is shown not merely in fact, but in terms of principles which, by their very nature, CANNOT be met by any other, or in any other way.
Now let us look at another excerpt, our first category of action in this Chapter.
from The Power of Christ’s Resurrection and
the Fellowship of His Sufferings,
COMPREHENSION BY OPPOSITES IS NOT APPOSITE –
PLUS DOES NOT MEAN MINUS, NEVER DID AND NEVER WILL
What was the cause of the love drawn forth from Christ ? It seems that the ruler’s diligent desire for the commandments and zealous seeking after them all his life was basic to it. Alas, the habit of obedience was not enlightened with the motif of love in the time of the young man’s challenge to find life, so that when this was focussed in isolation, he went from it. He went sorrowing, for he realised the loss through financial/social lust.
Love seeks the redemption of its object when it is lost; and what would one expect ? that it would calmly contemplate its loss without concern! So too it seeks good for its object. When therefore Jesus wept, in that shortest of the verses it is depicted, why was this so? It was because, as the people realised, He loved him, Lazarus, dead now and in the tomb! (John 11). Here was to be depicted and rehearsed the very resurrection of Christ Himself, with the same impelling love by His Father, when the time should come; with this difference, that that love was not redemptive, for in Christ there was nothing to redeem; and with this similarity, that love it all was, applied in the dimensions of resurrecting the sinner, or the Saviour Himself, that His salvation might be to all the earth, inflamed as with the colours of Spring, perfumed with her scents and outlaid with the source of her abundance.
Love was prepared to pay to redeem, to act to resurrect the redeemed, to face and overcome death in order to make the payment; but it did not stop there. It stooped without stopping to show this love in the very presence of personality, and even portraited that personality from itself, by having the Word of God made incarnate. In so doing, Christ is shown wishing redemption and life for His people, yes, but also that that they might have resident within themselves, in experience and dynamic, that same love of the Father with which He loved His Son.
Thus, in John 17 we find this, that Christ is praying that “the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” What HE has He is seeking to impart to them; the love of the Father for Him, He desires this for them! The love of God is not competitive, but dispersive: that is love. He is seeking that “they may be made perfect in one,” and why ?
It is for this reason: “That the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me!” He is not concerned about retention of priority, for His is an indisposable, indispensable and eternal immutability; but His desire is the dispersal of this love, not with pre-eminence but with ardent pursuit of its donation, not with parading power but with their exaltation in mind, and in this He exults. That, it is love: it does not make a parade, nor chat in specious charade, but eminently desires the good of its object.
Hence, loving them, He loved them to the end (John 13:1) and WHAT an end! If it takes that, it will be paid! It took that and it was paid in love. I, said Christ, and my Father are ONE! (John 10:30). They saw it, feeling it made Him equal with God, so seeking to stone Him: they were right, not in their perception of His intention, but in their response. God had so loved that He sent His Son as a Servant, and they had so contrived it in their hearts that they despised the love and delighted not at all in being its objective, only instead, in themselves.
What a farcical sin twist is this, that they resist and resent the love which is bent to straighten them, and scorn its impact, hating its donor and providing in the end, for His death in an ignominy amounting to passion. It reminds one of a patient detesting the doctor whose work despised, continues diseased as before.
Christ however continued till it was completed, to the end, both in the mission, the program of redemption, and in the love for His people. He did not expand it to include the world, the system of those who did not receive Him, this redemption, nor did He turn hurt from His rejection and its surreal recalcitrance. However, He did not limit it to those who were His in that generation, but expanding it to the whole of His creation, declared: “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word…” (John 17:20).
So do we have that glorious equality between the totality of the creation, all things visible and invisible, in Colossians 1:15ff., and the redemptive proclivity and outreach, which follows in Colossians 1:19ff., one of the most manifest possible dramatic, verbal equivalents in scripture. ALL He created; ALL He would bring to reconciliation to Himself. To say otherwise, is flat contradiction of the Bible, distortion of the love of Christ, and attenuation of the scope of the Saviour’s passion and compassion.
Love is not constrictive or restrictive, except in reality in terms of restoration; for it is not posited where it is not preferred, and that is why THIS IS THE CONDEMNATION, “that light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” – John 3:19. It was not limited because it felt like being limited; this is the precise opposite of the affirmation. It was embracive of the world, but the world was not embracive of it; and in the face of such love, the condemnation is read out accordingly that it was the human preference for darkness which constitutes the divine ground of condemnation despite the celestial compassion, even to the uttermost.
Does God then so love that He does nothing to penetrate that darkness ? Is this then the message ? The precise opposite (John and Chs. 1-3 cf. The Kingdom of Heaven … Ch. 4). DESPITE a love embracive of the world, and in the face of it, so that ANYONE who believes does NOT perish, which is the stated outcome sought, there is a contrary episode in man which does not like this love. It does not want it.
It is this which is the ground of condemnation, not a secret counsel affirmed in utter denial of Colossians 1, I Timothy 2 and John’s Gospel, to note just a few. Did then God really mean that He did NOT so love the world that He gave so that anyone who believed should not perish, but that He so loved a part of the world that if He chose to liberate anyone’s mind by mere will, without respect to the affirmed scope of the love, that anyone on whom He so operated would be saved ? That is not at all what is written.
Delighting to DO what the Father DESIRED, He did it in one Spirit with one heart, locked in an incandescence of love in which purity and truth, peace and joy inhered, as mountains in a range, crested with Alpine lake, covered with the snows of purity, with the azure skies above, filmed with the mist as of compassion, looking down with a serenity that seems paternal: but with God, this is precisely what it is.
WHY are some condemned ? STATEDLY it is because of their preference. WHAT is the attitude of God ? STATEDLY it is one of so loving the world that the case provides for the difference. God is not a liar, and it is impossible for Him to lie (Titus 1:2 cf. SMR Ch. 1, Acme, Alpha and Omega Ch. 8, Repent or Perish Ch. 2, Barbs, Arrows and Balms 6 - 7).
How sad it is that so many, so perversely wanting to PROTECT the sovereignty of God, which NEEDS NO PROTECTION for it is just as absolute as His love, make His love to be short-circuited and His statements to be contravened! Of course, it is in one way, quite as sad that others so short-circuit if it were possible, the sovereignty of God, that salvation is made a consequence of a mode of the human heart at some moment, of the vast scope attributed to the damaged and sinful human will, when this is JUST AS SECURELY denied in the Bible, just as expressly, just as explicitly, as in Romans 9:16, John 1:12, John 15.
YOU did NOT choose Me, I chose you, said Christ. NOT of him who wills, say Paul. Born NOT of the flesh or the will of man, says John.
Why is it that the clearest of words are in a thing called
theology so often made into utter wastelands, as if a Boeing 767 were smashed
into them, to destroy the twin towers of TRUTH! It is the sin of man. God does
not need help in articulation: HE SAYS what He means, that He would have ALL to be
reconciled whether in heaven or on earth! (cf. Predestination and Freewill,
Tender Times for Timely Truths
And that ? it is equally categorically affirmed that it is BY HIM, by Christ, and not another, that this must be done, implemented, this passion given its fashion and this fullness its income: it is by this love and by this practical expression of it in redemption, not by some other way (Galatians 6:14, Colossians 1:22ff.).
God is not thwarted in His heart by not forcing what He does not wish to force, for it would mean abdication from love, and distortion of its very being, which being His own, is a sort of spiritual suicide! He is entirely sovereign; man is entirely dependent on God’s entirely gratuitous grace for his salvation, and none of His own are lost. As shown in Predestination and Freewill and Tender Times for Timely Truths Ch. 11, so far from these facts constituting, with all the rest of the scriptural revelation on this topic, a problem, they provide the ONLY solution and in their principles, the ONLY POSSIBLE solution to what philosophy could never solve, the relationship between human responsibility and will, and divine sovereignty and power. Further the ‘solution’ being simply reality, has all the choice loveliness of flowers, the chaste beauty of grace and the tender-heartedly reality that is His from eternity.
It is not now however this glorious harmony and symphony of divinity that we pursue, but another: the effectiveness of this love of God, when received, and the necessity for its reception for the mere continuation of human life. Hell is not merely a censure, a judgment; it is the negative summit, the inverted mountain of folly, the end of the way marked, without the God of Revelation in Person in Christ, and in writing in the Bible, without the God of Redemption and the Creator, the Truth.
The consistency and coherence of all these things is to be found on all sides, in all ways, merely awaiting, like some flower farm, the attention to be placed in order to reward the enquirer with the solicitous savour of the beauties of holiness, of God.
Let us then once more, following this excerpt, consider the situation.
It is always to be expected, when Truth talks, when the Spirit of God speaks, that not only will the result be valid and where subjectible to verification - whether in empirical fact or intellectual experiments in consistency and depth, will it be wholly indefeasible, though unbelief will always have a go and always fail. That is but part. Three and more millenia simply illustrate the fact.
It will be all of this. Yet it will also have greater height and depth than that. It is to be found with that majesty of conception, that concurrence of thought, that scope of coverage and that adequacy for all inspection, which as in sport its parallel is called FLAIR, so here it is WISDOM. According to the mind, so the speech.
In this area of predestination and freewill, then, we are left
neither with some mysterious horror
as in Calvin's short-circuit
nor with an autonomous midget
mimicking God in some exotic fashion,
There is no mysterious horror, only sin which is not so mysterious. There is no latent love, only the Cross, adequate for all, wrought on behalf of all (I John 2:1-2), but requiring action in its reception as the divinely deposited and wrought cover for sin.
We have an utter sovereignty whereby God both knows and selects what and whom He wishes, and an utter love, whereby God acts and suffers whatever He wishes, that He might redeem in a categorical way, not the best, or the brightest, or the most appealing, the richest or the worse (I Corinthians 1:26ff.. It is none of these. It is those who receive Him, and as to that, though psychic tremolos and pathological blindness, gift per sin, can make man no adequate 'chooser': yet this is not a problem, for the choice is of God not man (John 1:12).
Yet in MAKING His choice before time, God has chosen to make man to be foreknown, not as to His actions, but as to himself. Whom He predestined, those He FOREKNEW! He knows, sin apart, what man is, and where love is to be located, and He locates. Love is simply like that; and God IS love.