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Philosophy of the Adaptable Snake
and the Marching Orders of Man
August, ABC News Radio
You perhaps have heard of it. It is the "snake"*1, a slithery robot which is intended to avoid the silhouette of the erect by the means of the belly crawl. Like a real snake, it is to move in slippery lowness, to infest, invest, reach and breach the enemy position.
It is heralded in terms, of course, of 'survival of the fittest', a mythical term in biological cosmology, as sacred to this generation as the slaughter of its youth in the last 100 years in wars innumerable. The two are twins.
It is survival of the fittest that creates fitness ? Are we to be immersed in some kind of deluge of baptism into the billowing waters of wet thought ? As we saw in SMR, Parisian Professor Schϋtzenberger was horrified by the attenuation of mathematical reality in this guise, though an evolutionist at heart! Later efforts to pre-select the most appropriate for the ultimate quest are merely intelligent engineering wrought in computer mode! (cf. Earth Spasm... Ch. 1). Survival does NOT make equipment. Endurance doesn't create what endures. It is as simple as that.
What the snake should have been called needs thought. It is certainly not built on survival of the fittest principles, in the normal guise of our evolutionary thrill machine, to enable illicit avoidance of God. What really happens in this intelligently contrived hardware, then, this military robot in the making ? It is this, from the report. It is, quite simply, geared to find a way to get where it is intended to go, even if 'hurt', with provisions for adaptation, to sense what happens, to cut out what would cut it out on the way, and to subordinate liberty to performance.
It is clear, that this so far from being survival of the fittest, in the sloppy thought processes involved, is merely adaptation to objective. Aim is clear; means are to be sought to achieve it; it must be found. It is much the same in any machine, in principle. You know what you want; the machine is to do it.
Whether it does it by a series of inbuilt engineering feats,
as in the case of the computer in your car, responding to ever so many ingredients sent in by sensors, so that its inbuilt programmatic self may spew out the results intended, for action in the engine,
or there is some method of data-basing results from this or that performance, so that those pre-programmed to be 'best' are selected, and then performed:
it is in principle at least, not in the least challenging.
There is neither intelligence nor thought, neither 'survival' nor arrival. Something made does what it is made to so: end of story.
No intelligence, you ask, in the robot ? Yes, it is so. Intelligence might be defined as the ability to have a purpose, equipped with sensing equipment to assess means for it, cogitative ability to work out concepts and principles, with suitable imaginativeness to conceive the required components and how this equipment could be best utilised, to which is allied capacity to consider the dangers to the purpose in some of these while achieving in thought the best mix, or the pure elixir in analysis and facility for execution, so that when action comes, the thing reaches its desired end. It is not identical with spirit, though that uses it. It is distinct from imagination, though it employs it; from purpose though this controls it (even in the case when the purpose is to act AS IF you had no purpose); from will, though this activates it; from liberty, though this is a pre-condition for its evaluative and investigative techniques. No machine has it, or anything remotely like it. No machine has purpose.
No machine has evaluation techniques which are its own innate property and subject to evaluation AS such, so that the values are themselves an issue of thought. It merely does what it is told, and so is an intelligence parasite. (See also SMR pp. 211ff..)
BILLING AND COOING
When, then, we move to the actual 'snake', to slither its slavery into the robotic midst of some enemy, and continue its PURPOSE
(artificially programmed by those who actually have purpose, and limited by their imagination or lack of it, as to its clarity, need, means and the like, as is a drama by such qualities in a dramatist, irrespective of what he would really like!),
there is something rather less vainglorious to consider than the philosophy of 'survival'.
In fact, we see adaptation to circumstances (to a degree desired, in the maker's purpose), by program, to cut off null ways to secure it. It is action in terms of objective on the part of the manufacturer or the user who uses facilities provided by the manufacturer to express his or her personal purpose at a given time; or it is both in synthesis.
It is merely the heuristic plus the prioritisation plus the purpose.
The first is as the engineering, the electronic software or 'riding' ability for the user allows. It finds, it stores, it acts as directed on the results of both these actions; it cuts off what does not fit, slaving away, like some former negress consigned to the dishes, but without her intelligence! The heuristic side is set in the prioritisation, like an engagement ring in black velvet, to set it off in its elegance and beauty. WHAT it is to find is as directed in terms pre-set from due considerations, for the PURPOSE in view.
It is then not strictly purpose at all which is operative IN the machine (only THROUGH it, from human beings); or survival, and that on two counts. Firstly, it is not the intention of the maker-sender that the equipment should survive as number one priority. If it were, then you would be squandering resources on sustaining units rather than achieving objectives.
To be sure, you may wish to conserve your equipment AS FAR AS IS CONSISTENT with achieving the purpose for which it is MADE; but this is not what it is all about. This is a simple subsidiary of the end in view: GETTING the job done, achieving what you want, fulfilling YOUR purpose, whatever happens to the equipment. Even with a most expensive and scarce atomic bomb (in the days when this applied), the main objective is not to keep the bomb, but to remove something.
NOT SURVIVAL BUT ACHIEVEMENT:
THIS IS THE SITUATION AND AIM.
As to the 'snake' continuing when 'wounded' in a 'less elegant' way, but one which still brings it where you want it, this too is far removed from survival as the AIM. It is the better to achieve the objective for which the thing was first made. It is YOUR PLAN which is to survive, and that, only in one thing, its EFFECTIVENESS within the limits of your priorities, purposes, values and personal involvement. The 'wounded' snake situation therefore is an externally purposive plan wrought in internal adaptation according to pre-prepared program from the intelligence (that is YOU, the maker/user).
There is a crucial distinction between this -
Make sure you get data (information), or get to a site (to do things desired),
or whatever the purpose may be that
and for which you pay for the machine and its operating expenses:
and this -
Keep alive (operative in this case),
forget your purpose, any purpose, but this.
There is in short a billing which you PAY for YOUR purpose, and a COOING which is your expenditure of the machine, shortly or at length, to ACHIEVE your purpose, which is NOT the machine, but its designed objective/s. You pay, you achieve fulfilment of purpose with gratification perhaps, when you gain your objective for which you bought the goods.
In fact, survival of the machine COULD not be the objective, the aim, or the inventor would not have made the thing. It is, like all military hardware (software, wedded duos of the same), purpose-built, not with itself as centre but its mission.
NOT SURVIVAL BUT
NOT CONTINUATION BUT CONSUMMATION
The purpose is NOT AT ALL survival of the fittest, S of F, but A of A, achievement of AIM, and indeed, F of P, fulfilment of purpose.
Even if you construed it on an integral basis, the enemy and you, both in competition for mutual destruction, one before the other in order to avoid the complication of having nothing left: there is no change. Neither side wants the MACHINE to survive as the chief aim, but the enemy to be defeated and his own side to be victorious. The machine is wholly expendable in the long run. It is mere means.
WHEN you deal with troops, it my similarly be so, according as the government concerned is relatively inhuman. Thus when recently an SBS TV show (earlier in August, 2003) showed a review of USAF actions in terms of the possible tiring of pilots in high performance aircraft, on long missions, this case arose. The pilots, the review showed from multiple personalities interviewed, were given a drug to stimulate, a type of barbituate, and its effects were known to include some mind alteration, as it is called. In fact, some pilots took rather large doses (there was little policing, it was shown or claimed in the review), and this could induce a pseudo-schizophrenic division from the normal control, and indeed a paranoid indifference to the cost of the destruction, in usual prioritisation. It was even maintained that due to individual differences, such states of mind might come without undue dosage.
It was this, it was claimed by some, which led to a USAF attack on Canadian troops with disastrous consequences, and one pilot indicated, though his voice was altered for privacy ... that he had indeed attacked women and children in a way, and in terms which would normally not be followed. His mind lost its self-control. It may have been that the incitement (apprehension of attack) was over-responded to, so that what was not really so threatening was nevertheless taken as such with a degree of insouciance, a sense of partial unreality. Result, as one view claimed ? this, that the deaths arose needlessly, whether these were of allied soldiers, or women and children.
The response of the USAF party who replied was multiple. Let us consider their case. First, it was not proven that the drugs had this effect in practice. They were, secondly, meant to make the pilots stay awake, secure their objective and return to base WITH their equipment, more readily. Thirdly, it was stated, this was after all the OBJECTIVE.
It is this last point which is the more relevant here. The point seemed at least to be in diminuendo, that something OTHER than and IN ADDITION to this result, might be important ... such as women and children in the midst of the highly alerted flight!
Thus FULFILMENT OF PURPOSE was given its highest priority. Now if there had been a deeper response, it might have gone like this:
Our aim was to keep the pilots awake so that they could fulfil all the facets of their mission, moral and principial, military and personal, strategic and local, to the best possible degree, and return them safely, since they are persons, if possible with their equipment since it is expensive.
This was not said; but it might have been. If it had been said, then it would illustrate even more clearly the point that there is ALWAYS A PURPOSE with equipment; and that in the case of PERSONNEL which are MORE than equipment, but not less, there is an additional purpose to keep them alive BECAUSE they are persons, and not the mere product of our own imagination.
Is the purpose this, that they be kept alive AT ALL COSTS however ? Not normally in a war. It is a high purpose, but the driving, for example, of the Hitleresque enemy far from the shore in danger of invasion, the sacrifice of the strong for the weak, young fighting men for the civilisation and the children to come and such things, this is conceived the greater purpose. This does not devalue the soldiers, in such a case as just described, since it is their DUTY so to do, just as one might feel it necessary to help a woman being strangled, even if it should mean almost certain injury to oneself.
We have now moved from mere equipment, always expendable for a purpose, in the long run, invented for a purpose and not its own survival, to the topic of those persons, not always expendable for a purpose, since invented by another. It is then His will, purpose, intention, plan which needs to be considered (cf. TMR Chs. 1, 8, Earth Spasm ...Chs. 1, 7 and Secular Myths ... Chs. 7, 8, SMR Chs. 1 - 2, Wake Up World! ... Chs. 4, 5, Spiritual Refreshings ...Chs. 6, 13, 16). HIS purpose then is the point. It is ALWAYS the purpose of the maker however which is crucial, when the use of the object is concerned. Object is for objective. In the case of a subjective object, man, there is special and intense interest in the purpose, which will be personal in that this is part of the nature of the invention called mankind. To this we shall plan shortly to return.
In the meantime, let us continue with the simple case of non-personal made equipment, duly programmed, and unable to select its own purposes or objectives, merely to perform, unable to criticise its own programs, but only to fulfil them, unable to 'commit suicide' morally, intellectually, or physically, because it is not invested with spirit, and the internal evaluative, conceptual and discursive properties which inhere in us all by invention from God. (Cf. It Bubbles ... Ch. 9, Christ the Wisdom of God ... Ch. 6, with News 153, 166, Sparkling Life in Jesus Christ Ch. 6, Ancient Words, Modern Deeds Chs. 9, 13.)
SOFTENED SOFTWARE AND SEDUCTIVE SLITHER
What a 'spoiled brat' of hardware seeks its own survival! Certainly it helps for it to BE there in the end, for service, more service; but this is wholly overshadowed by securing your target, there or not. Prolonged provision for failure is not so important as able achievement of aim, which in such a case as this, is never the hardware itself, which is YOUR creation, or that of the one you pay, and not that of another. It is not survival but purpose; it is not continuance but completion which is to the point.
Now let us return to the divine Creator. With human beings, God (as in the above references shown) is the Inventor. Human beings are His inventions. When their recognition of that fact is lost (the equipment - here people - suffer injury to that extent), then it descends often to seeking SURVIVAL, the spoilt-brat syndrome, dyusunctional, meaningless, inane, hynotised by its own 'holiness' which is mere hollowness, a self-inflicted wound. For the spiritually dead it is a case of S.I.W., in war parlance, and the 'meaninglessness' is not actual, but pathological, because of severance from actual purpose (Cf. SMR Ch. 3*1 .)
This is the predictable consequence of divorce from G od; and modern man, head aloft and aloof, verifies his state by his obsession, with the meaningless, when delusion fails to serve as temporary anodyne (cf. *1 below).
What however does God require of man ? (Micah 6 gives a short answer!)
"With what shall I come before the Lord,
And bow myself before the High God?
Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings,
With calves a year old?
" Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
Ten thousand rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
"He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?"
What is this human trilogy
of mind, matter and spirit built for ? (cf. It Bubbles ...
Ch. 9, TMR Ch.
Clearly it is the inventor's purpose, a divine purpose, because of the Inventor's action; but what is that ?
Unless God told you, you could not know. When therefore, man, personal and knowledgeable, does not include in his knowledge, the knowledge of God, then he is doubly injured:
1) in defective knowledge of purpose
2) in defective knowledge of the personal Creator (cf. SMR Chs. 1, 10). This is equivalent to death: existence without he main ingredient.
It could be guessed, indeed shown with some rigour (see *1 below with SMR Chs. 1, 3,5, 10, Barbs... 6 -7, Repent or Perish Chs. 2, 7 for example) that the purpose is NOT to spoil God's creation, including oneself; that the property of another must be treated with care, that justice and virtue are minimal requisites, with truth. However only God COULD reveal the purpose of love, the remedy of man's pathological situation, the cure for the injury of ignorance of Himself, and so of His will; and He has in fact done this.
INJURY, RECOVERY AND REDEMPTION
Part of the injury suffered by man, for which grief surges - since it is the ultimate loss (physical parallel would be the heart) is irremediable by man. The situation is irresolvable by man. He tries endlessly, tires (that is post-modernism) but tries still (contemporary irrationalist*2 behaviour is much indebted to this base!); but in principle it is apparent that effort does not make of God a psychiatric patient for human probes. He has to tell or man does not know, beyond certain questions of initial respect and necessity to show respect to the work of another - or else, of course, declare war on Him.
That is precisely the situation envisaged in Revelation 19:19, and it is not as strange then, as might at first sight appear! It is envisaged in principle even in Micah 3:5. There we learned in some of the grossest errors of Israel, so parallel to our contemporary Gentile situation, that false prophets NOT ONLY spouted what God did not given them, but they DECLARED WAR on Him who put NOTHING into their (treacherous and self-exultant) mouths! This, incidentally, well illustrates the crucial importance of the study of the Old Testament, since in much it provides a trailer for contemporary events, depicting principles at work, in much the same way as now is to be seen amid the Gentiles in particular, who for their turn, their innings, go through many of the same motions as did Israel of old, in its mounting period of rebellion. That was to culminate in that crucifixion of Christ which Gentiles so often secure spiritually, in their own hearts.
To revert to the basic principle, then, what do we find ? It is this. Unless God states the purpose, man does not know it. Pathological severance from God brings this to the point of crisis, and then, as now, to impending catastrophe, precisely as Christ predicted (in Matthew 24, where much of what we now suffer is called 'the beginning of sorrows'!).
But is there a declaration, a divine one, a revelation as in a handbook for the equipment, which shows what is to be done with it ? It is special, assuredly, in this that the 'equipment' in this is a massive invention able to read the instructions for itself, and near the very acme of its powers, to reject it if it will, which it normally (but in moral terms, abnormally) does! That ? It is man.
Hence is the plight, power and position of this world, and its prince (John 14:30), not a particularly succulent dish in its systems and ways. Today's world follows from following idols, increasingly synthesised into that appalling horror which, though shortly, is to come. Its destruction by "the brightness of His coming" (II Thess. 2) is a delight to contemplate, like the removal of piled-up rubbish garbage.
This, it follows, because it did not follow Him!
Meanwhile, the manual ?
We have identified this, the Bible in SMR Ch. 1, with the other chapters of that trilogy filled with verifications, but our present point is perspective. This word has been available for nearly 3 and one half thousand years, over three millenia. That is a long time. That makes incredible nonsense, and merely warmongering rhetoric and indeed propaganda of the claim, albeit expressed as if humorous, that this life is a trial, it must be because the instructions are so poor.
It is a trial because those instructed are so bad!
The Bible is clear as a searchlight. Hiding from the light is a useless excuse for pretending that it is not there.
This divinely donated book over all that time, IT IS FOUND happily declaring that it is from God, that it is His word, showing that what He says goes, happens, instructing Israel for millenia to come on what it will do (as predicted that God Himself would do, in supplying such advance notice -Amos 3:7). This is illustrated from Genesis 12, 15, 22, 49, to Deuteronomy 26-33, Leviticus 26 for example, and in much more detail in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Micah and so on (cf. SMR Chs. 8 - 9).
He says it; He does it; He sys that He will operate in this advance notice way, He does so operate. In plan, program and performance alike, He acts as He says. His is the initiative, His the revelation, His the power, His the execution: apt since He is God! Prediction and fulfilment in many dimensions, concerning Himself, His ways, His intentions, His plans, man's ways, their results, God actions upon those results, on and on, it is like the sky, covering all.
It predicted the future, retrodicted the past, including the creation, and challenged roundly any to invalidate any of this, to falsify it, or to compare with its accuracy over all this time, yes even from ancient days (cf. Isaiah 41, 43, 48 where the challenge is repeatedly divinely made to man!). Scientific method should rejoice; but those who manipulate it and prefer the invalidated theories of their own mind (cf. TMR Ch. 1), in defiance of scientific method merely illustrate the accuracy of the divine diagnosis, that against all reason, works treason against the Maker. On this, see for example Romans 1:17ff., which levels this charge and details the consequences, as this chapter ends, which is very like our present End of the Age syndrome observable constantly now in the news.
Not only is this predictive and retrodictive Book of the Lord a clear attestation to those who test (cf. SMR pp. 973A, 50ff.). It is also a FOCUSSING MEDIUM for the REMEDY for man, and this is the Redeemer, the Remedy as a Person, expendable (as in the nature of purpose-sent servants), and yet conservable (as in the case of persons loved). How this is jointly done is a marvel, and it involved the extreme use of divine power which makes the atomic bomb appear both a menace and a paltry thing by comparison.
God overcame destruction, instead of leaving it as a visiting card, as the USA did with the highly inciting Japan of that day.
How did He do this ? In several ways, so let us look at the positive and negative features at once perceptible.
1) He removed the root cause of
destruction, in man, sin.
2)This was not generic in ACTION but in PROVISION.
3) ALL who come to receive the remedy are cured, in the usual way with remedies.
4) There being no
other remedy but that of the Divine for the creation, the failure to take this
5) The case for the grant of hell is not small (cf.
John 3:16-19,35). It is by fiat like creation.
Whether the time concept for hell be different from ours (as it may be, since 'time' for man is an invention of God also as in Romans 8, where we learn that 'things to come' are a creation, this whole category of patient waiting for time, an invention for the creation of which man is part), or whether it be like it: hell is at least a conscious awareness of contempt, chagrin, a condition of destruction which, as C.S. Lewis pointed out, makes of its precise condition an unknown, but yet, as with all rubbish, the case is not at all indistinct in kind!
When it has 'no rest' and 'shame and everlasting contempt' (NASB - “an everlasting horror and disgrace”, Daniel 12:2), it is unnecessary to ponder further the 'smoke of its torment' (Revelation 14:11). What CAN torment better than the awareness of stylishly lost opportunities, dimly relinquished remedies, potent wilfulness and intoxication of spirit, when at last, despite all grace and mercy prolonged, there is the condition of hopelessness, duly deserved and gained!
6) It is in love that this Bible has
told man of
his need; and in wisdom of its necessity
7) The FOCUS ON THE REMEDY, who is a
PERSON, whose name is Jesus Christ, who became incarnate in a definitive manner,
the express image of the divine Being, His eternal word (Hebrews 1, Isaiah
48:16) is profound in the Bible, and covers ALL
of its books in scope of time, from the first (Genesis 3:15*3)
to the last.
8) This forecast was with great and
even mathematical precision (cf. SMR Ch. 6, pp.
9) Since it involved sacrifice in a death portraying sin, and
echoing almost the bowels of hell,
Campaign! you expostulate. Yes, it is rather like military campaign in its rigour, its expenditure of precious resources, its provision for the actual death of the PERSON who was in the combat, allied with the FINAL SOLUTION in matters of expenditure of persons in war, namely His resurrection. It was not merely an exhibition of the vast power of the Creator (cf. SMR Ch. 6, and pp. 931ff.), right down to the date the preceding death would occur on the one hand, and to the 3 days before resurrection would displace crucifixion, on the other, but in one sense, a needful exhibit; for SINCE He IS the Creator, and since death is a crushing terminal for life to reach, when it is so much in His image that it feels and pines and yearns and hopes, even with knowledge and impetus of understanding, then the overthrow of death was a decisive index to His own presence.
Further, death's overthrow with mathematical precision in Christ's resurrection, added something of the panache appropriate, while the lack of cannon fire and the like (as yet) made its simplicity in His power, and its cost in His love (for who likes His son dead in loathsome contempt!) likewise manifest.
10) The Book of the Lord
(Isaiah 34), then, has all these ingredients for the exhibition of the Remedy
THE RANK DISORDER
AND THE RICH REMEDY FOR THIS CONDITION
A rank disorder of persons becomes the expectation of many, as more and more illustrate the sickness and more and more forget that health is! Psychology constantly by statistics tries to assert what man is, as if ANY terminally ill patients in hospital had ANYTHING to do with the vigour of life, except by contrast. Man is out of place, out of assignment, out of breath increasingly, not least because he has too much to say concerning himself, an absorbing pastime, leaving him a study in ignorance, self-imposed.
In the process likewise, God continues to show us that there is simply no other source of knowledge, of reality, of the truth (as shown from Job 29, Romans 1 cf. News 152, SMR Ch. 3, TMR Ch. 5); and as man continues to assert that this or that is the truth, while constructing a mental model of himself which excludes absolute truth, his smashing of his head on the rocks in this vain contradiction continues. He wants to NEGATE GOD, but he wants to AFFIRM THE TRUTH, so that as master he can crow and have conquest and be very high, PRECISELY the PREMISS put to Eve by Satan at the first (Genesis 3:5). TO be as God without having to actually BE HIM ... why not have a go, as English idiom has it! In so doing, man becomes the most blatantly scurrilous, stupendously confused, logically illiterate, scandalously seduced piece of futile flotsam one could wish, with this exception.
He ACTS like it, but still must ANSWER FOR IT! for this, it is not what he is by creation, but what he makes himself to be by desecration!
Man without God is a living antinomy; and not least through the glorious meaninglessness which he invents and feels in his diseased condition; yet does he carry the residue of that created state in which he began. So does he make the foolish fiasco of "survival" the innate attestation that man is dead, the ultimate in atrophy, a cantankerous cadaver, spouting alone, his fascination with himself. For all this, the decline and the declination, the dead phrases and the dying actions, denying light, there is an end.
God is here; man is there. Restoration is by remedy, remedy is by the Redeemer, and as to Him, His saving work is done. As to its application, as natural for all important operations, it is by appointment. He came ON TIME (Highway of Holiness Ch. 4), rose on time, and as to the one who reads, man, woman or child, you need to keep the appointment. If you have done so, and know Him, your joy is full (I Peter 1:8). If you have not, your sorrow is but to increase. It is incurable without the remedy; and like cancer, it shows it the more as time moves to its appointed end.
But what of the one who does not keep the appointment with the Redeemer ? If a person does not keep this, the life that might have been, stays absent. Since we are persons, there is judgment in that.
Acts 17 puts it most succinctly:
"Therefore, since we are the offspring of God,
we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone,
something shaped by art and man’s devising.
"Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead."
As man comes to the Niagara Falls of the river of his life, the whole race to the episode of judgment, the drama becomes defining. Even amid the deafening roar of the event to come, like the descent through the tempestuous falls, many will recede into their innermost beings and declare themselves in favour of themselves, and believing in nothing but themselves, for which they have neither the power to generate nor understand, and in which without God there IS no understanding, as philosophy so adequately bears its age-long witness (cf. SMR Chs. 3, 5), they will become living irrationalities, walking woes, teeming tirades of confusion. Survival for many becomes the creed, as if crass rubbish, grasping its bin, dysfunctional, self-absorbed.
So be it. It is there if it is wanted, remedy, Redeemer and appointment: all are there; for as Paul puts it, NOW is the DAY! The call is continual. The time to respond is on hearing it (cf. Isaiah 55:6); for it is wise to seek Him while He is near. On the other side, it is wonderful to reflect, that HIS PURPOSE of Creator's love is IMPLEMENTED already in the ACTION, Christ crucified, yes rather risen (Romans 8:32ff.), and His call is from a heart and a plan and a purpose so benevolent that in considering coming, one does not consult the adverse wind, but the wonderful thrust of mercy, coming from the God of all, who would have all men come to a knowledge of the truth, to repent and be His own people (Colossians 1:19ff., Matthew 23:37ff., Luke 19:42ff., Lamentations 3:33, Titus 2-3).
He does not thrust into your drawing room; He knocks. He also knows His own will, and who are His. He knows them, He foreknew them, the culmination of His love, and the accomplishment of His passion.
He is never deceived; but His sincerity in asking is marked on the cross. The blood is no more. The life is. The call continues till the End has come. It is then too late, as with any operation in dire setting. That, it is the way that it is. Isaiah 55 is terse, tender and realistic ...
"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.
Surely you shall call a nation you do not know,
And nations who do not know you shall run to you,
Because of the Lord your God,
And the Holy One of Israel;
For He has glorified you.
"Seek the Lord while He may be found,
Call upon Him while He is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way,
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
Let him return to the Lord,
And He will have mercy on him;
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon.
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways," says the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts."
DEFINITION IS NOT MERELY ACADEMIC
The world moves like grain down a shute. There is no power to resist. Truth is irresistible. Deception of the Divine One is impossible, and self-deception and mutual deception among men, it is futile. The divine drama continues to its conclusion. Husks are blown away. Wheat is kept. The image ? It is His own - Luke 3:17, from John the Baptist. Christ ? His word is this, in close parallel, using yet more imagery, with only one underlying message (Matthew 13:37-43, (New American Bible):
"He said in reply,
'He who sows good seed is the Son of Man,
the field is the world, the good seed the children of the kingdom.
The weeds are the children of the evil one,
and the enemy who sows them is the devil.
The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
Just as weeds are collected and burned (up) with fire, so will it be at the end of the age.
The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom
all who cause others to sin and all evildoers.
They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.
Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.
Whoever has ears ought to hear."
Definition ? The drama is full of it. Do not therefore define away on the basis of undefinable, your own very clear position. Smudging is not extant in the Divine Books (cf. Revelation 20); and fudge factors, so dear to many engineers as part of their mode, these too have no place.
Knowledge needs nothing such, and truth tolerates it not at all. Judgment is according to truth (Romans 2), and truth must be found, and that not as a mere intellectual exercise, for the mind needs food to find the nourishment that truth is: it is as the Spiritual Proponent, Prince and Creator, the Redeemer and Judge that it must be found. It is good, surpassingly good, that this Judge is also the Barrister, and that the payment is free because it is already given, effective ONLY on application, and of no avail without it; and it is in blood, HIS! (Romans 3:23-27).
It covers NOTHING but what is in faith put under it. It pays for NOTHING that is not by faith in His hands. It provides purchase for NO ONE but the person who is healed, as Isaiah 53 so clearly shows. There is definition with precision, and conclusion with consummation that is glorious on the one hand, and vainglorious on the other, depending on the definition. Definition of terms in this case ? It is favourable only through faith, in the Lord's Christ (Luke 2:26), for there is no other to save (II Corinthians 11), and NO OTHER NAME (Acts 4:11-12).
*1A EXCURSION INTO SNAKE INFESTED TERRITORY AND PREFERRED NARROW PATHS
Whether or not the use of 'snake' has ontological significance, symbolic intent past the slither and subdued silhouette side of things is an interesting question. It assuredly has symbolic application!
Thus, to take the parallel with Genesis, there is in both cases a desire to be subversive. Certainly, the subversion is of the enemy in the military case, and this may be good or bad, depending on who makes the 'snake' robot. When it comes to God,
who made spirits, man and serpents alike, the former with that liberty
which made of the serpent an interesting biological robot, for the personal adversary of God
Satan, a debauchee of freedom,
a rebel against right, an aspirant to divine status - Matthew 4):
then the case is clear.
Let us consider it. A personally adopted exploration unit is used by an adversary of the Lord, in a permitted test in the original habitat. Later there was a vast test of Job (cf. Job 1, 2, 3, 4), but this was the initial test. It was thorough. It held within it the ground of victory; for had not God indeed SAID that man should rule the creation and TOLD man the conditions. Here, in this test via the serpent as model and weapon for use, there was ADVICE accepted from a creature (even if it was used), and there was drift from the trust in the word of God, which this creature at once disputed! THAT in itself should have shown the need to dismiss this approach; just as Christ dismissed it (Matthew 4), thousands of years later. Christ prevailed; the first couple failed. Yet, let us resume our comparison between the 'serpent' of the army and the serpent of the adversary at the start. There is a vast difference, though the concept of test is common to both, as is the slithering method used.
God constitutes the standard of and for His creation. Without Him, there is no creation. With the creation, there is no other Creator. No option exists. What of war on Him ?
Replacement of the only Eternal Being is impossible, since it would need to start during time, and hence is not 'old' enough. Overthrow of God is impossible since all systems that could be used to attempt to disturb Him depend for their initial existence, their longevity, limitations, vulnerabilities and very ontology, on Him. The Bible states in Hebrews 1 that He upholds all things by the word of His power.
Without that power, things would not exist in the beginning, and then could not continue in the end; for the power to create being comprehensive of the laws, the order, the materials, the beginning and the end, and God being incapable of being taught, since all things are known to Him, all outcomes, all plans, all contrivances, all exits, all entrants, all thrusts, all analyses, all syntheses, all aspirations, as absolute and only source of all creation, then nothing has possible continuation without the Divine Plan back of it.
That is the advantage of a power which not only creates, but creates the means of creation at the derivative level as well. Indeed, He not only creates the materials and the methods, but the wills, the liberties, the limits and the destinies.
Offensive against Him cannot succeed. That stimulates some people, not least Satan, who as an invisible spirit is merely one more creation gone astray, different from pure ho-hum only in this, that his former eminence makes of him the most singular of traitors and the most ardent of power bases for evil. Evil ? To attack the source of right, the Maker of means, the institutor of the mind, spirit and nature of personal beings, is to attack yourself, since you cannot remake yourself, except in defilement, destruction of resources, withering of equipment, dysfunction of attributes: as in any design.
Even if you were wiser than God (cf. the irony in Ezekiel 28:2,9), which is literally impossible since His wisdom is the sole source of your own, and is comprehensive whilst yours is limited, and that by Him in the first place: you could not do it. What you ARE, the resources which you would tap, the plans that you would make, all would depend on what He not only made for you and gave, but defined and delimited with destiny in view.
It is to attack yourself, and the source of yourself, and of your wisdom and its nature, and simply to defile your nature. This is evil. It is counter-creation, counter-constructive, cannot be wise, and cannot yield sound products.
The Satan, devil, Adversary,
and all who love his ways, are evil. They are in a way just like the terrorists
in this, that the thrust is to destroy what they did not create. They assure you
of liberty, but provide destruction, and then autocratic rule: as in
the case of the Taliban, with suppression of women, of life, insistence on
absurd requirements of a false god, which is merely a mental pawn created with
whatever intention, but apart from the living and self-attesting God, whose word
has no rational competitors (cf. SMR,
TMR), so that it becomes a surrogate
rebel. There may come to be more than that in the equation.
Yet this is the nature of the case.
Such derivatives of man, himself a derivative from God's own action, become therefore double derivatives, defective from the outset, manufactured in pride, made in rebellion, dreams from their origin (cf. Jeremiah 23:9, 16ff., 21ff.). Indeed, they are triple derivatives, derived from man, derived from God, and derived from deceit in the heart of man. They smoulder, and meet their Maker with their proponents in the end (Jeremiah 10:11).
Thus the Satan of course is interested in false gods, for THEY, unlike the true one, are susceptible to take-over, and murder and mayhem may be wrought (and are) in their name. They can lead to rebellion against the true God, so that their captives (though they are in fact mere creations, which intimidate man though he erects them!) become subduable (cf. II Timothy 2:26), available, possible candidates for the Devil's rule, that glorious power he loves, as if to imitate God. You might as well, however, rule a rubbish dump.
This thrust is often seen in man. It is a licentious, a libertine flurry in the spirit, which is not so much directed at any specific desire, such as sex, gambling or speed, as to DOMINATION or ABSOLUTE LIBERTY without God or anyone else. The Hitlers have it, the Stalins, the Maos, with whatever additives of this or that ideological consideration. THEY MUST RULE. Their ideas MUST be on the throne. It matters not at all if tens of millions (as by report was the cost) must die; the idea must live, and just as important, and apparently often MORE important is this, that the leader must live and must have the power to re-model the model (as did the Russians, and as now the Chinese to the point of the ludicrous), to re-fashion the mould the pattern at will, and ... need.
It was this Satan which USED an actual serpent, before the Fall and the curse from God, as a stalking horse ... but let us tidy the metaphorical parade, as a slithering substitute for God, at his own will, to investigate not physical territory - as in our contemporary robot case now being invented for another type of war - but spiritual domain. He spoke to Eve through that living - you could almost say bionic - model of a robot; and thus, using his serpentine means, he sought to attain his ends. In this, it is quite like the case in the 'serpent' now being made, the military one. They probe; they seek; they survey; they investigate; they enquire; they gain data; they store it; they act on it; their aim is destruction or control.
Eve was the first combatant met. Her territory he explored. HAS GOD SAID ? (Genesis 3:1 - "has God indeed said!"): this was one of the devil's first propaganda moves. With this, propaganda entered this world. It has been used with peculiar vigour, especially since about 1900 widely in Australia in the attempt to destroy major churches, which has been inordinately successful, leading to justifiable splits in many cases, and of course, the same pattern has occurred in the USA, in Canada and in Europe, where the flurry started rather earlier in violence and vehemence. In Europe indeed, another 'serpent' was earlier used, and still continues. Serpents fascinate many; but they do not change their nature for that. It is indeed PART of their nature to have such effects!
This misleader did not so much ask 'Has God said ?' as 'Why not have another god who says, and joining forces with what God has said, make a synthesis of speech, a medley of words, a concoction of conversation, a joint command ?" and this is precisely what Romanism did with its 'tradition', detested in that role by Jesus Christ, who claimed rightly and justly of course, that this made null the word of God (Mark 7:7ff.). As for even having a model to do this, it too quite naturally is forbidden (Matthew 23:8-10), and that for two very good reasons.
Firstly, YOU ARE ALL BROTHERS, Christ declared. Not one of the Christian Church has not needed redemption, for all have sinned (Romans 3), and not one has power over the others (I Peter 5), but only the capacity to apply the word of God (Titus 1-2, II Timothy 4:2), purely as it is, without swank authority or rank power, rather as living examples, says the scripture: NOT AS MASTERS, says Christ (cf. SMR pp. 1042ff.). All brothers, no master but One. It is an appealing proposition: it is Christ's Church which so governs itself. That is His rule: His rule is that the rule is His! ... only, by His word (John 14:21-23). Do not add to His words lest He rebuke you and you be found a liar (Proverbs 30:6). So be it.
After all, we are all merely redeemed; and He who redeems is really God (Hosea 13:14), and indeed NO OTHER SAVIOUR BUT GOD exists (Isaiah 43:10-11), and Christ is very precisely the Saviour (Isaiah 53:4-12, Acts 4:11-12). Christ saves, only God saves, Christ is God, as He claimed (John 8:58) come to earth as the incarnation of the eternal word of God, by the nature of this occurrence of One as one man, in an unduplicable performance (Ephesians 1:10).
Secondly, ONE is your MASTER is a matter not only of ontological fact, since God alone is God, and rules all, but of Redemption account, since only One paid! Satan loves the concept of having layers and means and many mediators, so long as it all serves his innately rebellious spirit, contorted through voluntary sin; and indeed, to Eve his other word was this, that the pair would be as gods, knowing good and evil. His insinuation: that God did not want such exalted company. How sin reveals itself in what it attributes to others! Nothing COULD be as God, since He is infinite and the sole Creator with a power nothing can resist, and a truth which constitutes the criterion of creation; without whom, truth would not exist.
Thus whether the lurk be to have another contestant who openly tries to encourage doubt of the word of God, or deviously acts to pollute it by adding his own utterances (and many Protestant theologians added their part to this act, during the assault noted above, such as the case in Barthianism, Liberalism and the like - see indexes): the case is one. God is not trusted as God. He needs neither adversary or a helper, and since He accepts no 'help' in His rule, merely administration of His word in faithfulness, humility and grace such as the papacy and the misled Protestant Bible-attacking 'theologians' round on, and that vigorously, these become like the 'snake' robot, spies on liberty. You may care to take one or two salient references on this (SMR pp. 946ff., 1032ff., 686ff.).
It must be acknowledged freely that people become confused, and one of the penalties for presumption against the word of God is delusion as specifically declared in II Thessalonians 2:10ff., a sad and grievous disease of the spirit. Assuredly many who KILL Christians will be thinking that they are doing God a service. You object to such a statement ? Call Christ then and make complaint, for these words are HIS! (John 16:2). That is precisely what many of the Islamic hordes of jihad deludees (one can coin a word while these coin death) are doing, thinking they serve God, while following a self-contradictory book (cf. SMR pp. 1080ff., 1088Dff., 988ff., Barbs ... 30) and ignoring the only Book which develops with reason the grounds for its acceptance, scientifically, logically and empirically, extant for more than three millenia, filled with features and prescriptions, predictions and surveys, never wrong. Moreover, this God DOES what He says, and does not have, as does 'Allah', the Middle East a decisive, demonstrable arena of failure over half a century, to say no more (SMR Ch. 9 and above loc. cit.).
It is as He said, the Lord, in His word. It is not, history, an exhibit for any 'Allah' dubbed almighty, as has long been demonstrated. Shown is the opposite; the word of God prevails and the word of any other does not. It prevailed in the removal of the Jews from their land, in their return, in the manner of their return, in the military victories after their return, in the failure of any contestant to make it otherwise, whether gullible governments, arrogant lands, false religions, violence or any other means. That is the way with the word of the Lord: since He knows, nothing surprises Him, nothing 'arises', nothing circumvents Him.
What then ? These, they are other 'snakes', other investigative techniques which allow power to devolve where it does not belong.
What follows ? THis: Naturally the earth writhes. Naturally blood flows. Naturally hatreds mount. Human pride mixes with acute spiritual delusion to produce an irresolvable situation. It is rather like having a cancer, and calling it the embodiment of health. If you fought it instead, you might live; but if you worship it, you will die. The earth is dying from a whole pantheon of false gods, which masquerade, parade and kill, and not least has been Communism, with its law of forces, in an allegedly chance world, governing all things in one of the most ludicrous self-contradictions of all. It could not even govern its own finances, far less the spirit of man which rebelled (cf. SMR pp. 925ff., 127ff., 307-308, Biblical Blessings Appendix III).
Their gods ? They exact penalties. The last century has been filled with the blood flow diagnosed in the disease, and set in the prognosis around two millenia ago, by the apostle John in Revelation 6. It is demonic, demeaning, disruptive and dismal, an assault on man's resources, human and material, and it will come to the point that unless Christ returned, there WOULD BE no resolution (predicted case for this world, when without Christ, when it ... matures - Matthew 24:22,27). God insists on not invading the heart of man, made in His image. Time has spanned millenia for man to think, to repent, to consider, to mediate, to contemplate; but he has often used it simply to simmer with philosophies neither rational nor valid, with gods neither extant nor worth-while, flouncing with fantasies, fondling newly made serpents, constructing the things as if they were pets, theological models, metaphysical muddles, giving them arms and legs, and military arms as in the two World Wars.
Since God is gracious, however, instead of the situation being SIMPLY irresolvable, it is resolvable ONLY in Christ, and in particular, in His return. He has shown His heart; now He will show His hand. THAT IN ITSELF will BE the resolution; for NOTHING is beyond God. The resolution has always been, and will now be ONLY BY HIS METHOD. It is Himself, crucified, resurrected and returning. Even the Lord's Supper has that point: UNTIL HE COMES (I Corinthians 11); and what could conceivably be clearer than this (Acts 1), that as He left, so He will return. One is reminded in a minor military way, of MacArthur's vow to return to the Philippines. In his absence, the Japanese revelling in power for some years, they might have thought of this as mere myth. Military theologians in the West might even have thought of it as needing 'interpretation'. But returning to the site of battle ... and I WILL ... is not at all unclear, except where the glasses are tar coated.
As Creator He has His own ways, and His own solutions.
There is absolutely, in fact, for God, NO OTHER SOLUTION, since there is no other God. You take it or leave it; and if you leave it, and it leaves you, you opt for the self-inflicted wound. What is this wound ? what is this Satan-induced substitute for spiritual life and health ? It is that of unbelief, the blocking agent to prevent health, to which, in such a case, a person subscribes. The eyes are then blinded as in II Corinthians 4, by the god of this world; for here is the complication even now. OPT for ocular films and you GET optical blindness. Your choice in the negative is not in a vacuum: the user of the serpent at the start is the active agent. He is like the crow: carrion attracts. Evacuees from God are unprotected.
Thus we have seen the parallel. Actually there are two. We have seen the two model serpent cases, one biological, one perhaps even to be bionic ? Now the other. It is Christ who is the other model, not made, but incarnate for service.
God suffered the test of man at the first by a (would-be) bionic model, used by Satan, as a probe. It found man out.
Then God suffered the worst for man, to give him the best, in the form of an incarnate man, sent from eternity where as Spirit He was with God and was God, the Word (there being only one God, to be divine is to BE GOD). This Man found man out.
This is the holy, the constructive, the divine probe.
In this case, the result was constructive. HAS GOD SAID ? YOU, said Peter, are the Christ, the Son of the Living God! He was right. Not flesh and blood but My Father has revealed this to you, said Christ (the actual words appear in Matthew 16). Here was the right answer to the probe which was equally the problem solution and the Saviour. Here the investigation yielded a better fruit, the intervention discovered a better result and the ministration was for a better purpose. Fallen man become curable before the very eyes, since God had elected to use not a serpent this time (via the odious treachery of Satan), but the Saviour, His fellow from eternity.
The results of these two actions, the model as serpent used by Satan and the format as man used for salvation, are the openings of the doors for mankind. One has long been open and all went in; one has been predicted from the first, paid for in the midst and is open to the last. That is Christ who said as in John 10:9: "I am the door. By Me, if any man enter, he will be saved and go in and out and find pasture." Moreover, "they shall never perish" and indeed NONE shall snatch them from His hand. Also in John 10:27-28, He LEADS them and they FOLLOW Him. HIS sheep do that. They are not perfect but they KNOW the boss, the Lord, the Shepherd, their God. He is that to them. They are His sheep. They KNOW Him.
Man cannot live alone; he needs God. It the living God or a serpentine and slithering substitute in the end.
No one can say it is not simple. You come to your Creator or you do not. You come by the way He has appointed for mercy to sinners, or you do not. You are taken captive and stay in prison (cf. Isaiah 61:1-3), or you do not. You trust in yourself or your self-appointed surrogate (cf. Romans 10), or you do not. Your destiny is God or it is not (cf. Amos 4:12-13).
If it is not, it is a grief unremitting; and it is the more acute since the love back of the door is rejected. Christ wept (Luke 19:42ff.), but HE, He did not make robots but man.
The joy is this, that this grief is unnecessary. If you want it, take it. If you do not, it is ... in that case, your choice. Yes you CAN choose NOT GOD! just as the young man can choose drink or suicide. It is easy, and wide, that road. The right one is narrow, as narrow as truth (Matthew 7:15ff., 24ff., John 3:19).
Repent or Perish Ch. 7, SMR Ch. 3,
LITTLE THINGS Ch. 5,
TMR 9, Epilogue,
It Bubbles ... Ch. 9;
Secular Myths ... Ch. 8
When the rational refuses to yield and forces one to God (cf. SMR), the irrationalism has a certain appeal for some, like the 'nose' in wine.
It intoxicates, the liquid concerned; but then, what is the purpose ?
Barbs, Arrows and Balms 17,
Great Execrations Ch. 9.