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BULLETIN ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTEEN
The Nature of Mankind is not a series of Nuts and Screws
There are in our lives and observations concerning them and their environment settings, of body, mind and spirit, a number of foci. First there is the organisation of matter in deft intricacy, then the acuity of mind in self-imposed and violable logical order, then the disposability of the will, in pondering analysis. The three blend, the imposed and the voluntary, the workable and the already worked, and the methods of the latter underlie those of the former. WE are each one, an operational entity imparted, and a willing assessor imposable to a point, in a measured but crucial degree of responsibility, which guilt attests, repentance faces and deliberations exhibit.
There are in the world, two religions. One is that God made our operational entities and deliberative-will capacities, hence our responsibilities and so summoned guilt amidst a profound disorder which misuse of will has not only initiated but consummates continually in this world, and being as concerned at the outcome of our creation as its institution, He has provided not only many remedies for disease in the immune, anti-disease system with which we are endowed, but for the mind and spirit of man, for his responsibility, its misuse and the outcome.
This is identified in the world's most published book, the Bible (several times more, and in total in billions, than the nearest other book in numbers sold in the last 50 years). Its author is not keen on additions and subtractions, since man neither made himself (Psalm 100, Colossians 1:15), nor his remedy and solution to the diseases of his mental and spiritual life - such as whether the text of the Bible REALLY matters and the general idea is enough, indeed not even enough, or whether it is a document as precise as the connection modes of the trillions of such in one single brain, with which we are endowed, being wrought by no known or plausible, far less noted physical process.
Are WE less precisely made in order to think and love and be, than the bodies which implement some of these things ? In practice we even DEMAND logical validity and correct most zealously for its absence or mistreatment, and write books about it!
Here there is no mere option for elements. It is NOT follow your feelings with an occasional glance at the Bible, or the Bible with no concern for details such as commandments, or envisage when under the influence of the Bible some scheme and schema of your own, which moves off tangentially here and there, now and then.
Nor is it a matter of a personal relationship with the god of your creation, glibly called Christ, who so transcends the Bible that it and its self-acclaim to the greatest precision, might as well never have been written. All these things deny what they assert and are lost in interminable subjectivities.
There is indeed a fundamental reality for those who follow the Bible (John 14:21-23), and it does as the salvation prescription therein contained is followed (like an atomic bomb in reverse, one as carefully prepared!), lead to a personal relationship with the God of creation, with whom ponderings can be shared, responsibilities met and who has provided a way open in its simplicity to all mankind, and vast in its depth for any. That as in the Bible (Galatians 1), is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, God as man, and man as representing all who come to Him, that by His stripes they may be healed, if they believe the report, that is, come and get it, what is offered.
It is not this or that element of the thing which is more important, any more than whether the paper to start a fire is more important, or the lighter, or the kindling. It is a composition of ingredients, not a competition of elements.
Thus in Matthew 5, Christ makes it clear that the precise text of the Bible is underwritten as given, and law and prophecy, and that their fulfilment is one of His criteria in making this solution an available and self-identifying gift to mankind (Isaiah 41, 43, 48, II Peter 1:18-21). You can add to it or subtract from it (as from anyone else's book) if you want to be a fraud. The credentials of fraudulence are easily obtained, and commonly sought! (Jeremiah 23, II Timothy 4), until it becomes a sort of trademark of pollution, a warning and a witness.
At the same time, as in John 14:21ff., the personal relationship is also available WHEN the goods offered are taken up (like a share issue), namely Christ crucified (Romans 8:31-39), yes rather risen bodily from the grave of death, from which He had earlier resurrected others. This is intimate, gracious, personal, awesome and of magnificent depth. Thus this is another composition: the words of God (as in Matthew 4:4), each one validated, the present of God, the Gospel gift at hand, and its personal outcomes, and in His presence, joy unspeakable and full of glory.
The immiscibility of His word and unfalsifiability of His predictions, the uniqueness of His fore-coverage of history, the grandeur of His offer and the grace that characterises it: it is all more than an ensemble. Rather, it is indeed not a series of options for emphasis, but an addition to the basic fact of creation, like an insurance policy for your car and a service manual and a roadside assist provision for your car, all in one, and that car is the one offered to mankind, each on an individual basis (John 6:50ff.).
Whether in the DNA of hosts of commands, correlated, given chronological continuity and serial apportionment, multiple meanings in multi-purpose formulations (depending on whether read forwards or backwards, or the alignment in space), meaningless without a vocabulary interpreter to deliver the meaning of these coded commands, and an instrumentality to carry them out; or it be in the heart to heart consultations with the Lord, or the aid of His Spirit in seeing into the depths and details of His word, or His commands to history in advance, which it always fulfils: it is all one magnificently multiple creation. Rebellion cannot alter it, though it alters what it pollutes and seizes, as a crazed and schizophrenic driver can ruin a car, spoil its environment and hit other cars during a rampage.
Men are now frankly changing their gods for convenience, making little burrows of fantasy when a skyscraper of grandeur confronts them, even ignoring DNA script though they did not and cannot write it, and could if ever, only do it by an intelligence far above anything they now have. They presume, they arrogate, they look and do not find company in space (like looking for an author within the covers of his book), they seethe, complain even as they make furrows in wet concrete to fix their frustrated desires in sight! It is all as foretold, but what is also foretold is the persistence of the Gospel, sustained in power and purpose by the One who created mankind in the first place.
God is very responsible; but are you ? THAT for everyone, that is the question. Held responsible, you may respond to the Gospel and cease to pretend yourself wiser than (any) god, or even than God; but to repent, relent and receive the sacrifice of Christ for such (and any other sin to be dumped and despatched), this remains a call that is not confounded by its rejection; but can cause unutterable confusion in the renegade.