W W W W World Wide Web Witness Inc. Home Page Contents Page for Volume What is New
Swift Witness 6
God is not up for Consideration, but Man
PRESUPPOSITIONS AND PRONOUNCEMENT
HEAVEN AND HELL
Recently in my travels, I found a man who made this proclamation.
Quoth he: It is ONLY YOUR PRESUPPOSITION that the statements in the Bible are true, that each pronouncement in it is correct. NO RELIGION is sure. We do not know. The Mormons then ? what of them ? It is all unclear.
Thus, as Virgil might put it, spake he.
But this error is now as common as sand, so that its grains blow with the wind. It is good to expose its fundamental fault.
In fact, there is a myriad of mistake in this statement.
(1) The statement is a presupposition itself, for it assumes that the only God has not spoken.
(2) To imagine that the Being of infinite wisdom and personal character is to be mixed like orchids with ageing cars, with man, is the height and very extravaganza of irrationality.
Will God who made speech and man with the elaborate equipment able to mouth it, and the mind to formulate it, the spirit to desire it, the understanding to contrive thoughts, will HE be on a par, in might and majesty, in depth and discernment, with his mere creation! (cf. Psalm 94:4-23, 50:20-23, Romans 1:17ff.)! Will ANYONE mouth words and say this, GOD SAID IT! (cf. Jeremiah 23), 'stealing' God's words, and imagining that the Lord is the creation of man, not man His creation, that the speech is the thought of man, and who knows the end or the beginning of it, in presuppositional analysis, and that God is silent, dumb before the dogs who trash and thrash His creation, murdering in millions and having stern UN bodies deplore the blood which comes like lakes down the mountains, while the children die of hunger, and pride of armies is established and man wags his tail and defies the Almighty as if he himself were some kind of a god!
What! The lord rather declares, "Will you still say before Him who slays you, I am a god!" (Ezekiel 28:9). To say that HE will do neither good nor evil, that He has no evil to pronounce against presumption is to mock Him - as indeed He Himself, we find declares!
Jeremiah 5:12-13 puts it in this manner:
"They have lied about the LORD,
"It is not He,
Neither will evil come upon us... And the prophets become wind, for the word is not in them..." ; and to depart from the words of the living God, like Israel before its destruction, in ancient time, this too is divinely characterised in this way (Jeremiah 11:9-10): "A conspiracy has been found among the men of Judah and among the inhabitants of Jerusalem. They have turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers who refused to hear My words, and they have gone after other gods..." It is not only to assault the name of the God of the Bible, but to dispense with reason itself.
RETROSPECT ON FOLLY (1)
Let us recall what was said*1A
on p. 100 of SMR (with slight addition) :
"One further element, which follows from the others, is this. If it were felt that God, the Almighty, the Creator had in fact not spoken, not merely would it be contrary to the justice which is from Him, who made all things in their relationships as they ought to be; not merely would it similarly conflict with His truth, by which all reality has an owner and a word. Not only would justice and truth lie dead, while injustice and lies and fraud abounded. (Cf. Isaiah 59:14-15, and the divine sequel in 59:16-19, as to judgment, and Isaiah 51:16 as to remedy. Here the scripture also implies by revelation, and concerning revelation, that to which we have reasoned in terms of His manifest, divine nature.) If, then, God had not spoken, while the world remained as it is, then God would also be insulted by the very thought that He would remain inactive in speech to direct and resolve the problems in His world, leaving in silence the insolence and madness of man, assaulting and offending each one the other.But HOW even would man KNOW that religion is so, or that God has not spoken, without GOD! Can relativity requisition reason and make it speak! Can it be true that when nothing is absolute, the absolute truth is this, that there is none! There are TWO contradictions in this. 1) It is stated to be absolutely true that nothing is absolutely true; and 2) if everything WERE merely relative, then to penetrate to this (alleged) fact would be impossible, since there would not be in EXISTENCE any absolute by which truth could be found! It is a contradiction of ITSELF and a contradiction of its presuppositional basis. It is both verbal and substantial.
It is not only blasphemy, that is a misuse of the very character of His glory; it would also be a denigration, a travesty and a direct personal offence so to speak or to think. A problem out of the power of God! a problem in the very world which He created, out of His depth, beyond His scope, when He had freely created all things, the whole set of abilities and of circumstances for all created life! It would be like telling a film star that she had no face, or a financier that he had no funds, or a real estate agent that he would not know a house if he saw one!
The concept that He would be willing, moreover, to let be such folly and filth, such wilful, wanton pain as we have just seen in Kuwait and with the Kurds, when, having a solution, He did not use it, this would be like telling a social hostess that she couldn't care less if her guests starved!
Thus there is not only the metaphysical madness of such assertions, such views, such positions: there is also the moral assault on God which is involved. If, indeed, we his creatures would be amazed at the madness of anyone suggesting such things about us, how much more should we be ashamed even to think such things about God, who gave us the power to think and the knowledge with which to know (cf. Psalm 94:8-11).
A solution He has indeed shown; and man, willing to move the blame for undoubtedly high-level immorality and actual agony, often sustained, onto God, wants Him a dumb dog, lying down and snoozing. Thus we, whom He created, are active, we think, we look for solutions, we can feel the horror of so much pain for others... but He, who made our hearts and our feelings and our moral thoughts in the beginning (however we misuse this equipment, yet it is there, in our hearts, however spoiled, leaving its residue at the worst), He does not feel ? God who made the heart, does He not feel? God who made the mouth, does not speak ? God who made the mind, does not think? To ask is to answer.
We have elsewhere traced the impossibility ontologically, the frank contradiction in having the all-powerful author of justice and ground of truth needlessly allowing flat and continual contradiction, when merely to apply His power removes the problem by removing the people who make it! Now we dwell on the incredible cheek, the irrational implicit assumptions on which any such notion is built.
The solution is available; has been shown from the first, predicted for centuries, performed by Jesus Christ, published, proclaimed and preached for thousands of years concerning this same Jesus Christ, concerning whom no one has been able to show even one sin, and of whom even Muhammad had to admit the righteousness. To suggest that God has not spoken when His word circles the earth, His predictions noticeably control the whole direction and character of history, uniquely and utterly, and His Son went to the pain and anguish of bearing the sins of those who will forsake their own: this is to sustain, reinforce and add to the insults of the Cross, the calumnies of Calvary, the madness of the priests.
It is to stand, arrogant and upright, in the presence of love, and call it hate or indifference; it is to look, princely and pure, at one's Creator and call Him dumb; to posit oneself compassionate and sensitive (courtesy of being created by one's Creator) and to call Him heartless... this while all the time, ignoring the solution which He has constructed, the sacrifice which He has made, the pardon which is so needed, but so ignored.
What is it like ? It is like prisoners in a prison, cut-throats, immoral and dead in spirit, raging at their victims, buried as a result of their crimes against them. Thus Jesus Christ was made a sin-offering to take the burden, the blight and the bane of sin from all who come by faith to receive Him. But He is not dead, and this insult to the moral nature of God is similar to the studious blindness which also slanders His power, by which His people have for centuries lived, their hearts in His peace and their persons alight with His love and presence.
It is therefore one more sin, that God is so 'sentenced', as C.S. Lewis phrases it, God in the Dock, at the hands of man, His judges. But let us add this: He is being 'sentenced' by those sinners to whom He is offering pardon, who are meanwhile slandering His sacrifice and sentencing themselves. In their hearts, truth is contaminated twice: once by sin, and then by sneering at its solution! For all this, the Bible has provided."
In fact, to assert ANYTHING to be TRUE, as distinct from the reactive engagement of the mind of an observer, you need at least two things:
1) the existence of absolute truth and
2) the non-polluting access to it, so that it remains as pure when known, as it is in itself.
ONLY a personal and communicating God is able to provide these basal and preliminary necessities. To affirm ANYTHING about religion and God, in its validity and standing and status, without God is impossible, irrational and mere intellectual irresponsibility, self-contradiction, a presumption on the peaceableness and tolerance of God Almighty!
If however there is a PRESUPPOSITION that God does not exist; or that He exists and does not speak; or any other proposition which falls short of this: namely, that He exists AND has spoken, and that the speech is accessible moreover, then that is self-invalidating. Not only so, this failure focusses unbelief's folly in the very environment where the other and opposite result - the DEMONSTRATION of reason, that HE exists and HAS indeed spoken and that this speech IS accessible - is BOTH rational, in that it FOLLOWS reason, and valid, in that it confirms the propriety of having used it.
NOTHING ELSE is rational in the field
of approach to religion. It is
|because of this fact,|
|together with the
scientific availability of the most numerous Biblical statements and claims,
|both retrospectively in history, and prospectively in prophecy,|
|internally indeed in consistency and personally in reliability in the faith provided,|
that the term META-RELIGION has been used, to distinguish the faith of Christ from all else.
the Bible itself emphasises repeatedly (Isaiah 41,43,48). It is further
and pithily attested in Rest in Reality and Redemption, A
Spiritual Potpourri, Ch.15.
Let us see this matter as presented in SMR p. 101, in view of this aspect's importance:
What is it ? It is this. The creature, with his programmed systems alive and alight, attributes 'sacredness' to his own productions, and ignores the source of his power to construct (or misconstruct), to mini-create and to err, to have a responsibility correlative to this freedom, and to have a body written in language which embodies a brilliance beyond his thoughts... In 'seeing' this blindly, he continues to use a brilliance which, though less, is both akin to it, and gained by the operation of an instrument which he did not create. To do that is to live a myth.
But what a myth it is! All these multiplied billions of deft connections of cells, individually with the significance of highly organised cities, have no source but a 'chance' which has laws it could not cause in the first place, and which, though wholly unintelligent, constructs the most intelligent designs ever inspected on earth, leaving behind the greatest intelligence of man in the process... which does this with a language of the most concentrated and constant character, in what is to man still an unachievably minute form, while building ever anew the same prodigious constructions by a copying mechanism we have no way of paralleling. All this moreover is expressed in all living cells, with the direction of the code of one sole language... each human body living cell having the whole plan inscribed, as if for good measure, or an architect's signature. Exhausted, the myth looks away, drooling that all the laws underlying all of this have no cause. No law has any cause; they just stick around.
If this is not a myth, I would not know one. It has all the objective criteria of myth, such as self-contradiction, illusion, irrationality, desire and defective ramblings without rigour. Building on all that is now known, it despises what is known, ignoring every basic logical premiss.
The myth maker par excellence, perhaps surpassing all the former races and times in the scope of his unsophisticated verbal grandeurs, is this twentieth century man. This maestro, with his increasing technology is so advanced that he here denies everything he has ever seen, flouts the way all things are observable to proceed; and based on nothing, in torpid oblivion of reason, he proceeds to devise and cause to arise for himself, something from which everything has come, itself squarely - if self-effacingly, based on nothing. Here is inadequacy idolatrised.
The irrational virulence and absurd popularity of this myth together attest that style of degeneration, departure from the faith, that turning to fables, noted earlier as a verification of specific scriptural predictions (such as II Timothy 3, and 4 and II Thessalonians 2, Matthew 24). It is worth stressing that the other criteria Biblically predicted for the end of this Age are likewise simultaneously coming to pass; and that these things await us in Chapters 8 and 9 infra, where they are seen to be elaborately satisfied. Turned aside to fables is the verdict of the Bible on this time, and this in full knowledge, as Daniel 12 predicted, that knowledge would increase: something predicted for the same period. The great breadth and extreme shallows that would occur together are indeed noted; and are indeed visible at this day... Myths?
What world-sitting-on-a-turtle is worse than this very modern myth! What it lacks in subtlety, it gains in assurance.
Myths, yes, but nothing can compare with the myths of atheism and the mimicries of agnosticism (*4), whereas truth, this is as we have shown, the prerogative of God, and His power to communicate is seen not least in His power to make communication units so vastly programmed, and yet so subtly free, as we are. Myths? Yes these there are, like the myth that this God has seen the ruthless folly of lies, deceit, injustice, murders, genocide, myth-making caricatures of His name and even at times in His name, and has done nothing about it, has not communicated so much as a "Whoa!".
There now, that is a myth to make the child's spine creep. Myths ? Yes such myths as this: That God did not make it clear what He wanted, and what it was He said, or that He did not send what it took to get what He wanted. Myths ? Yes, such as this: That Jesus Christ was not deity and yet was incapable of being successfully criticised and effectively confronted by brilliant and trained men with maximal motives, securely entrenched and surrounded by force, even when He claimed to be God Almighty; or that the people of that time were oafs barely able to think, and so failed to handle it, whereas as Hammurabi and Ebla and the ancient writings showed, in fact, man had a brilliance and the subtlety then, and long before. In what fields ? It is seen in law, imagination and commerce; while involved mathematics is displayed.
In communication and expression, man had capacities long before God sent Christ, which in subtlety and strength challenge the intellect of modern man. We have been at school longer, ever amassing; but the minds are the same. (I could wish for a congregation which would follow sermons of the complexity and challenge of those of Chrysostom, in the early part of the first millenium after Christ.)
What a lordly myth-making society modern man has become. Or if you want myths, take this of His disciples: that they forsook all because they believed nothing, and that they lost their lives to defend a pretence in order to reach hell for deceit, after suffering or torture on earth; or that they practised folly with an outlaw, when the necessary evidence required by the Bible for His authentication as the claimed Messiah, was clearly lacking, and all this despite their overpowering evidences of spiritual passion and the stakes for fraud.
Or again of His disciples, this: that His stalwart followers did not bother about the scriptural identikit, by which the Messiah was to be known, the predictions and requirements showing that He must perform miraculous healings... and just to finish it off, demanding that He must physically rise* from the dead, and His flesh not see corruption, or rot - Psalms 16, 22, and Isaiah 35 - after being fatally pierced; and accomplish that small thing, in 3 days. This He also personally declared repeatedly, like a supernatural Houdini, dealing not with difficulties, but with death. (* Points 13-15, p. 760; pp. 781, 788; 931-943; Ch. 6 infra.)
How arrogant can modern man become in his arrant myth-making! That, physical resurrection is really hard to do, especially after crucifixion. Try it some time if you have the mind; and are willing to be experimental; but make your will. As I believe British Prime Minister, Gladstone put it: If you want to found a new religion, just get yourself crucified and rise (according to prediction) in 3 days. It would help if the prediction had been out, specifying the rest of your identikit, for a few thousand years and, as we shall see in Chapter 9, the period of history in which this was to be done was also very precisely predicted, from hundreds of years before.
Myths? Yes these, society's current
cultural gods in their framework, these are myths: but Christ is irrevocably
rationally attested. He showed Himself the living laboratory, deity
Himself who sacrificed His body, but not His truth; One not merely
unmoulded by the conditions of culture, but directing the very history
of culture, according to scriptures He endorsed, or words He provided,
meeting all criteria of evidence, reason and morals, and handling contemporary
and coming history as though it were His obedient child.
But what does it satisfy ? C.S. Lewis seems to feel that literature shows evidence of certain myth-making features, such evolutionary thrust, brazenly left without the denouement of sad failure that the literary version can offer, in the heroics seized on by some scientists. Doubtless, he is well versed in his field. (Christian Reflections, pp 82 ff., The Funeral of a Great Myth ... that of evolution.)
Certainly, the making of vast thrusts of imagination is something people can do. The Greeks were particularly good at putting humans into godly garb and having them do fascinatingly fantastic things, sometimes for humour, or for comment on life. However, there are insuperable problems in any endeavour to put Christ into this category, either in the fact or the features of His life.
In Appendix C (infra), the fact and basic structure of His life is shown remorselessly, in terms of the evidence. Similarly in Chapter 6 (infra), the character, quality and identity of His life as the Son of God is demonstrated; while in Chapter 1 (supra), the generic necessity that God has spoken is demonstrated, and the Bible including the New Testament is exhibited, necessarily, to be what He said. And there also, is revealed that same Jesus Christ. The imitations and intimations of fraud are as natural to man as is the reality of what is genuine; and deception with fraud is correlative to the existence and awareness of the genuine. The genuine has simply to be found in its meeting the criteria, as in bank-notes.
One of the attestations of fraud in
this case is the point made by C.S. Lewis, the Cambridge Professor of such
renown; and the fraud is that of those who try to manufacture God, because
unwilling to worship the God who created them. Is it, one almost could
wonder, in 'vengeance' for their being so 'demeaned' - might we say? -
as to be created! Lewis notes the whole history and nature of literary
development is against any concept of concocted gospels, arising not from
history but from the creative imaginations of men, saying:
As to the matters recorded, then, in these gospels, this was no philosophy. The Church spent much time apprehending all the implications of this startling historical happening, and formulating the results as it met various challenges; though the power of God and the living presence of the physically resurrected and death breaching Lord Jesus Christ were always dominant, from the first. Nevertheless, Paul the apostle wrote, guided by the same Lord, within several years of Christ's resurrection, with wide acceptance and clear presentation of the deep things.
The triviality of the secular wit gave way to the awe of reality, and truth forged its own literary forms in the gospels of Jesus Christ. Reality released a realism in religious portraiture which taught the world a new form of biography. What would you expect, or as the French put it, que voulez-vous ?
When God was the subject, and God as a man, the format, uniqueness all through is, as it were, the formula: say better the very air and atmosphere. Thus even the form of writing carries its own force of verification. Like truth, and being truth itself, it exhibits its natural reality on every side: what we might call the natural verification of the supernatural, on earth.
There is a sense, indeed, in which the writers are following in writing the Lord whom they followed, in their own biological format, as men, on earth. The verb in Luke's expression, concerning the writing of the gospel of Luke, means to 'follow after someone so as to always at his side', as the dictionary puts it, or accurately to follow... all things, as the New King James translation puts it in the margin, as literal.
The disciples who were called to write were, like Mary at the preparation of the Christ in the womb, overshadowed by the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Truth as Christ called Him (John 16:13), who ministered to them the simplicity of the record (cf., Luke 1:2-3), as a tourist writes of the Niagra Falls, with conscious directness, but with the majesty of truth.
Now we may return to the observation of Professor C.S. Lewis, concerning the literary form of the gospels, review his statement and relate it to allied considerations concerning the historical life of Jesus Christ, and its consequences and implications, in terms of verification of the Bible.
As an imaginative construction, the gospel record would fail to meet the form for any ancient literary role, as would a brain surgeon if he were trying to become a romantic actor. In that role, he might well be clumsy, for it is not his. The roles, the reasons and the rationales are all different in entirety... He is not 'dealing' with audiences but with raw reality.
Lewis' point is that only as authentic history, claiming amazed accounts with full, frank and free records of events - which is indeed the stress - can explanation be found for the fact of the gospels. Except as record, says Lewis, it does not fit, into literary history. Indeed, like so much else, viewed contrary to fact it does not fit anywhere.
Just as literature does not admit such a testimony, in its historical setting, so history does not allow such a development in its literary setting... such a New Testament Canon so rapidly to 'arise', set almost at once among the prophetic Scriptures of the Old Testament, with their massive divine authority. (See Ch. 6 and Appendix C, Vol. 3, infra,).
Nor are such graphic constructions as the 4 gospels, reeking with individuality of utterance from each of the 4 writers, obviously more concerned to record fact than to mould a form, far less connive in its acceptance, to be admitted by common sense: except for what they are. Nor is the inability of man to overcome this God-claimant, except by plotting His death, able to fit into the professional setting of acute lawyers, always frustrated, against such a 'case'! - if a mere fraud. Nor, barring the authentic, does the record of Christ fit into the Old Testament predictive setting, where 'success' means death for the Messiah, and dispersion - as the ultimate covenant breaking penalty - for the Jewish people. (See in detail, Ch.s 8 & 9 infra, Zechariah 11:10-15, 12:10, Leviticus 26:27-35, and Scriptural Index on these verses; also cf. Ch. 6 infra.)
Still less does it fit for the Messiah who emphasised these things with a sombre realism alive with expectant joy; dwelling on the coming death, the ruin, the desolation and the scattering, with a fixity of purpose which might have seemed morbid: if it had not been truth. Nor for that matter does the power of a lifeless corpse fit into the life and the fearlessness in the face of death, of what would be frauds, daftly committed to deploy God's power without even their leader (cf. p. 470 infra): consigned to hell for deceit and blasphemy ... or liars, for whom infamy on earth would be followed by an abyss of folly, dug by their own hands. On the composite and complete data before us, nothing fits except the authentic one, who knew His place and His power. Authenticity fits all the requirements, of reason as well as of evidence, and it does so uniquely.
Here as elsewhere, different ideas merely emphasise the profound and consistent nature of the verification of the testimony of Jesus Christ, on every side.
Indeed, anyone who does not accept the self-revealing God has insuperable problems, in this lordly business of dispensing with history and logic, as used by Christians. As shown in Chapter 3 (supra), man in this situation, while even speaking with the most audacious assurance, does so quite illogically in such a matter as determining truth and reality. Walking myths, will they evaluate their substance ? For such makers or moulders or reviewers of myths and marvels as the godless, both of their own, and of those made or not made by other creatures: it is impossible to find any objective way in which logically to accord any significance whatever, systematically speaking, to anything at all declared. Once blowing up their own Houses of Spiritual Parliament, they are in no position to legislate; and to legislate is precisely what they do when they utter the myth that Christ is a myth.
With no basis of their own, to be distinct from meaningless meanders exhibiting their flimsy limits, they are not able to advance beyond myth to reality, in order to defy or define what is not! They need the self-revealing God as a prelude to attacking anything at this level. Theirs is the atheistic myth.
Atheistic myth? You might protest that it is really an anti-myth, but not so. It is part of a fiasco of human exaltation, in which gods and men are manipulated, 'handled' broadly, on the godlike basis of those who, being (by their view) mere meaninglessly, experientially limited human miasma, atoms of non-significance, assume (functionally) divine honours. The myth is most comic when, in a world not even possessing any objective viewpoint to confer on its denizens (on their own basis, by implication), such people esteem any perspective or view or concept of the truth which may happen to lap on their (mini-) shores, to be possessed of any reality value at all. All this has been extensively shown, and is merely succinctly recalled here. Such myths die before they are born; and science is not the place for their funeral.
There is nothing personal as such here. If Bible-affirming persons (anomalously) did what these do, their ungodly words would be just the same: they would have the same vacuous insignificance. It is a question of procedure. It is not personal to say on this (unbelieving) basis, that nothing personal is significant. It is significant however in the myth-making claim. The parties making it are systematically barred from having the perspective and power to make judgments involving truth at all; and meaningless mouthings do not deserve reply.
If they contradict themselves in removing their power to know and then using it, there is no need for any activity in response, except pity. The myth of achieving god-reaching powers, divinity status, merely for the thrill of it, the imagination of it, when neither God nor His powers are believed in; or even if believed in, are free from convenient bans on speech, having no way of being found by the controversialist concerned: this is real myth. What is it then ? It is the fulfilment without rationality of fundamental hopes of many humans; comparable to speed thrills with a motor-cyclist, as he roars to a cliff top. It does not mean anything, but that his life is deranged.
This myth must be laid to rest; for it is merely irrational. That done, the basis for myth review is removed. Based on myth, confusing it with reason, you are automatically excluded from having the power to review myths, which would require reason, just to start.
Those who believe the Bible, and in One self- revealing God, may consistently affirm what the truth is, for God Himself assuredly has the power of it (Chapter 1 supra). Those who reject Him-as-revealed, equally assuredly have no way of getting the truth (cf. Chapter 3 supra); and so action pre-supposing they have it, is merely a frivolous frothing of uncontrolled and undisciplined imagination. It is perhaps not quite so bad or comic if this is realised, and its day-dream and contradictory elements are perceived. From this, we are led to:
The mythopoeic implications if God had not spoken
(Cf. Ch. 1, pp. 42 ff. and 88 ff. supra.)
One of the more aspiring actions of the mythopoeic powers of man is this: to invade heaven, or, if you wish, to construct his own without materials, situation or adhesives. Thus he may decide to evict God from heaven, or mythopoeically manufacture some heaven or haven without God - the result is the same, mythical; and then legislate that it is really no good, this system, this universe, this state of things, divinity and all that.
He, man, has said so; and lo, so it is. Forget his metaphysical monstrosity of irrationality in any such assertion (Chapter 3 supra). Let us, for the moment, concentrate on the pure ethics of it. Thus man is thereby saying that he has examined the nature of things, and it simply isn't good enough. If the management can't do any better, then he will for that reason, despite all logic, disbelieve in the management; or sometimes, he will utter this 'judgment' as a sort of threat like this: very well, if this is the way God acts, I shall simply disbelieve in Him.
In this case, the logic of the matter, the inescapable logic which we have already examined, is a little more acknowledged. God will be confronted by not being believed in, so there! It is rather like a divorce: Very well, if you will not measure up, I shall voluntarily and officially sever all ties, and you will be to me as if you were not. The 'as if' is the important part here...
Yet there is value for us here. If God had not spoken, and if there were all these judgments on the earth (that God has in fact spoken of, as we see and have seen): then the one speaking would in principle, be able to point out to God, ways of improving on His performance.
A silent God confronting man, with a noisy planet filled with ethical horrors, would then be subject to a noisy man telling Him why and where it is wrong, and how it could be improved and that, if he, man, were almighty, he would solve the problems in this and that way in short order ... indeed, to be frank and of course humble, he, man, would never have let them happen.
The monstrous absurdity of a wholly constructed exhibit called man, initially and always dependent on God, being wiser than He, having access to more resolving power, greater intrinsic knowledge of all things and more apt provisions for the use of God's creation, using only the powers God donated, is of course a sort of logical insanity. It is one which seems chiefly confined to areas like religion, philosophy, psychology and its cognates, and at times, politics. There man is at risk and in hope, and often acts as if he were god, God indeed, without much thought beyond his desire. So here. The petty distinction between the finite and the infinite, the derivative and the Deriver seems lost in the winds of appetite.
Yet, as we have reasoned, if God had not spoken in such a world as this, with His construction of man, exhibiting His own truth and justice (Chapter 1), so leaving such a world remedy-less: there would be a flat contradiction between what He is and what is. Silence, in these circumstances, would allow the ludicrous irrationality just traced, to be true. Indeed, the point is this: it is this myth that God lacked in unlocking the right and good solution for man, so that man could himself envisage improvements, both radical and assured. (Cf. *7, p. 1163A; *1, p. 1174B infra.)
That does indeed follow if God had not spoken. Those who 'prefer to think' this, despite the necessities of logic and the perennial verifications in scientific method shown, and this so often in this work, are in fact guilty of the utmost blasphemy, as well as irrationality: One reason ... for judgment at the bar of God. (Thus self-disciplined love providing ransom is despised.) Avoiding both errors, we simply affirm His speech, as does He, with consistent and sustained verification, culminating in the elegant and articulate provisions of the incarnate Word (John 1:1-14, Colossians 1:19-21, 2:9), by which the needs of logic were so surpassed as to make it like first seeing the ocean, when only of a puddle was needed."
and come to reality, to reason, to logic, to absolute truth,
Then we find that the Bible indicates the VERIFICATORY FACT that EITHER GOD SPEAKS OR TRUTH IS NOT KNOWN (cf. John 14:6).
Some shadow of knowledge of divine things is retained, from our created status; but its valid, sure and absolute character is no longer there (Ephesians 4:17ff.). This is because SIN has intervened, and reality is distorted by it; and because, unless God speaks, we do not know His heart (Amos 4:11ff., 3:7, Isaiah 41:21ff., Luke 19:42ff., Isaiah 8:19ff., II Corinthians 10:12). Even WHEN He speaks, such is the sin of the flesh, of mankind, that major prevarications can enter with zeal, to suppress what He has said, while seeming to accept it! (as in Isaiah 29:11-13). People 'precisionise' it, making pitiful grammatical excursions with which to preoccupy themselves, with tradition and honouring of themselves as 'interpreters' , with the net result that the clear teaching is denied. This too Christ confirmed (Mark 7:7, Luke 11:52). Moreover, if this is not enough, they shut their eyes in the very midst of the work of God, lest they should see and He should convert them, as Christ also declared (Matthew 13:14-15).
You cannot tele-psychiatrise
GOD and read HIS heart without HIS declaration of it; you cannot EVEN do
it to one another! no, not even at nearness!
is still incompatible with knowledge. Wisdom is still denied you (Proverbs
8:30-36 makes it clear that your position is still one of spiritual death,
sinning against your own soul, that "all who
hate Me love death", whereas the only way
not to do so, is to HEED HIS WORDS - as in Proverbs 1:20-33).
WITHOUT COMING TO CHRIST, one is still without hope, without God and without truth (cf. Ephesians 2:12, John 14:6). To mouth or 'accept' as satisfactory, even the Bible, is not to know God. People can "draw near Me with their mouths, and honour Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me" - the Lord declares in Isaiah 29:13. Certainly to BELIEVE these things concerning Jesus Christ, and His deity incarnate in His commission to be a sacrifice for sin and arise bodily from the dead (I Cor. 15) is to know God (I John 5:1); but Biblical FAITH is not mere acceptance. Rather it is a conviction of things unseen and a persuasion of things hoped (Hebrews 11:1), categorically attested, surely provided, which cannot happen without action. "Faith without works is dead" (James 2:20). If you believe it, you do it. God is a spirit, and He knows the heart, the spirit and the intentions of man.
The action in view at once is simply this, that they COME to the ANSWER to the sin which obscures truth, to the presumption which would deny it and to the pollution which would distort it, which IS Jesus Christ the righteous. They do not find the necessities of life in order to junk it; unless of course, gripped with despair, they LOVE and DESIRE death, just as Proverbs 8:36 implies. This love of death may be implicit or explicit: its rule is in its action.
Thus the Lord
Jesus Christ declared this:
It is ACCORDING to this very Bible, this Christ, that one should COME TO HIM in a personal fashion, in order to be forgiven, accepted, changed, transformed, to be given eyes that see and ears that hear, so that one can grow in truth and in faith and grace and knowledge and understanding: BY FAITH.
Faith is not reason and reason is not faith. There is a reason for the faith, and why one should have faith; but the reason is not the faith. Without the faith, you do not KNOW the God whom you may 'accept' in some fashion short of that confidence which compels to ACT. In all of life, opinions wax strong; but only when it is conviction does one act. Without the action of removing the obscuration of sin, one CANNOT know God (cf. John 3:1-13), and without that , one does not know the truth, and without that one is not merely still bathed in irrationality in ANY assertion concerning the nature of truth, but one is still alien in the presence of God, excluded from His kingdom (Ephesians 4:17ff.).
ONE of the things which this Bible teaches, which as has been demonstrated on this site, is necessarily His word, is this: that WHEN HE SPEAKS, ALL OTHERS SHOULD BE SILENT (cf. Habakkuk 2:20, Jeremiah 23); and again, that when He speaks, His words have a power to prevail to the UTTERMOST PARTICLE, wholly unlike the case with that special creation of his, called mankind (Matthew 5:17ff., John 14:6, Joel 2:11, Isaiah 44:24-28, 34:16, Jeremiah 8:19-20).
Indeed, IF you do NOT receive Christ's words as categorical truth, then you reject Him, for He comes AS the word of God (John 1:1, 8:26ff., 38-47, 48-50). You cannot accept an ambassador as an honest MAN who comes as a LIAR or FOOL not really sent from the one whom he professes as his sender. It was PRECISELY Christ's claims to be God which so affronted the religious leaders whose traditions had so overthrown the word of the God whom they professed, that made the murder sure (cf. John 8:12-37). This is integumental to His mission, to His place and to His personal being. WHAT HE IS, He declared, is ONE with God, so that to SEE HIM is to SEE THE FATHER, and what HE does, He declared, is what GOD does and further, HE does it in the same WAY as does His Father.
God is not definable by man - His being is attested as to its minimal powers, to be sure, by His works; but His nature is His own. Further, while the truth is necessary as we have shown (SMR Ch.1, Barbs, Arrows and Balms 6, 7, That Magnificent Rock 5), His inward heart is not disclosable by peering but by hearing (Cf. Romans 10:11-15). It is ONLY when you not merely accept that yes, God is and has spoken, but accept CHRIST, the Christ of verifiable history (SMR Appendix C, Ch.6), as truth, that you have either logical standing or spiritual place. The world's myriads of false prophets (cf. Matthew 24:24, which these now fulfil) do not constitute an assemblage for parade; but a coffin for truth. Thus since Christ is already murdered and already risen (cf. SMR pp. 931ff., Stepping out for Christ Ch. 5 ), He can die no more (Revelation 1:18ff.), it is only the shadow of truth they inter; and it is themselves who inhabit their own decease spiritually (cf. Isaiah 59).
God declares that ANY OTHER CHRIST*1 (naturally enough, to use the NAME for some other thing, not historically verifiable, is mere fantasy) is the work of apostles of deceit, any other gospel is irreparably impaired (Galatians 1:6-9, II Corinthians 11), and that any other word (Jeremiah 23, 11, II Timothy 4:3, Revelation 22, Proverbs 30:6) is the very acme of presumption and of folly. It involves self-deception and damnation when it becomes the rebellious choice in the face of divine truth. God is not mocked. He is not invented. He is not manipulated.
Christs are not two-a-penny for pleasant survey, but soul destroying for presumptuous use of the name which was EARNED by the ONE
who did the deeds,
first fulfilling every prediction concerning His actions (SMR Ch.6, Repent or Perish 2) and
then predicting what was to come,
while dying in the midst of it all, in the date predicted (SRM pp. 886ff.),
with the Gospel predicted,
rejected by the Jews as predicted (Isaiah 49:7),
and received into the Gentile world as predicted (Isaiah 49:6),
even the precise Gospel which was predicted (Isaiah 52-55).
"They have turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers who refused to hear My words and they have gone after other gods to serve them" - says Jeremiah 11:10 - and in our time ? these are the gods of naturalism, secularism, relativism and humanism, existentialism and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine. We are profuse, as a race in this new millenium, in our abuse. As Christ declared:
The penalty for
this rejection, whether straightforward and simple, or sophisticated and
devious, is the junking of life instead of its fulfilment. YOU CANNOT be
saved by another Christ. THIS ONE has done the works and left the record,
which is even to JUDGE IN THAT DAY (John 12:48-50), for as He says,
"My words shall not pass away." By all means construct a new Christ and worship, but know that for all this you are merely an idle idolater, and none such CAN inherit the kingdom (I Corinthians 6:9-10). LABELS do not save. The GOODS do.
While reason is one index to the necessity of truth, and faith is the avenue by which the OBJECTIVE reality of God is received, on the positive side, unbelief is not merely irrational and unbelieving; for it is also fatal to life. We who think and believe, do we not live ? And if then the criteria of life, instead of being received with gratitude are rejected on self-contradictory presuppositions, instead of received as reason demands with no presuppositions: then the suppositional becomes the actual, and since GOD IS THERE and HAS SPOKEN and HAS SENT THE ONLY SAVIOUR for mankind (Acts 4:11-12), then the neglect of this is merely the deliverance of life to what is called damnation.
And that ? it is Biblically, the irreparable, final defilement of the mercies of God by presumption, from which - like a black hole from which no rays can come - no light comes, into which no light goes (Mark 9). Justice, judgment and truth are all together: truth either by mercy showing the way to liberation (John 8:30ff.), or by its defilement in unbelief (historically acted out in the murder of the crucifixion), so revealing the pathway to doom.
Logic must first
be crucified, to be sure (Repent or Perish Ch.7);
but when the blood of Christ is trodden under foot (Hebrews 10:17-29m 12:23-28)
as occurs when HE is NOT accepted and so called a liar s the scripture
attests, for His words demand acceptance in the name of TRUTH - (I John
then there is no more opportunity, but a certain fearful, fiery looking forward (Hebrews 10:27).
This land has been all but immersed in the Gospel; but if its people will not be thankful, and turn to foolishness of worshipping the creature rather than the creator (Romans 1:25), making man the measure (II Corinthians 10:12), the truth, the judge, the arbiter, the absolute - as if God were up for consideration, but man himself were the truth: then for this presumption which even logic repels, there can be only one end. It goes to its own place, where light is not in vogue (Romans 1:18-19).
THE REFRESHMENT OF THE MILLENIA
So then God is
the Lord is God,
the Christ is the Truth,
the Peace is available,
it is already procured and simply needs reception (Ephesians 2:14, Romans 3:23ff.); and
that peace is irrevocable
just as it is irretrievable if the source is at last despised: and
damnation is irreparable (Mark 9), when it should ever occur.
Yes and the Lord has with His everlasting strength, eternal joy (Romans 5:1-11, Isaiah 51:11), available through the Gospel, in the name of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Life (Acts 3:14) and Lord of glory (I Corinthians 2:8), source of ALL made things, apart from ANY made thing therefore (John 1:3). It in the source that the strength is found, the way and the life.
The incredible spiritual Mardi Gras in which the parades of flesh substitute spiritually for the declarations of the mind of God, who despises and rejects ANY additions by man (Proverbs 30:6), these are legion; but the Lord is ONE (cf. . His word shall not pass away (I Peter 1:24-25) BECAUSE it is His.
IT will be fulfilled to the smallest particle BECAUSE it is His speech and HE KNOWS and indeed, FOREKNOWS all things (Romans 8:29ff., I Timothy 1:4, Ephesians 1:11, Acts 15:18, John 8:58, Isaiah 46:8-10). NO ONE else CAN do this. Science changes CONTINUALLY, unlike the word of God, which has neither the need to do so, nor the possibility, being HIS.
THIS is what the Bible, demonstrated earlier to be His word, demonstrates continually day by day; and it is what it DECLARES CONCERNING ITSELF (cf. Psalm 119, I Corinthians 2:9-13, 14:37, Matthew 5:17ff., Isaiah 8:19ff., 34), performing as it attests, and attesting as it performs. Accordingly, this is the condition of BELIEF, that one does not reject but accepts what the Lord has said, not confusing those categories, infinity (God) and the finite (mankind), declarer and receptor, Creator and creature, and the Maker and the made, the Speech of God and the thoughts of man (Isaiah 55:8ff.).
If, nevertheless, one should in entire wilfulness insist on this, then one is simply at war with God Almighty Himself (cf. Micah 3:5-6), as well as with logic and truth.
COMING OUT OF THE NOSE DIVE
But why such a prognosis when the Lord may be received, the objectively valid, the logically required, the sinner's need, the saints' delight (Isaiah 11:10); and all this as predicted from the millenia that are past, with the power for pardon and provision for life abundant in the Lord, which are still ready in His mercy, even now! Why not die to the delights of sin, and live to the abundance of Christ, and being refreshed by His mercy, delighted with His singularity of truth , one LORD, one faith, one God and Father of all (Ephesians 4:4), with ONE GOSPEL (Galatians 1:6-10), see the parade of philosophy and religion as the mere eccentricities of the flesh; and not sharing the plague, receive the pardon.
It IS refreshing like the geysers of cool water in the midst of aridity, both powerful and pure; it IS delightful to know the Lord, whatever the endlessly provocative, absolutely impermissible and wholly irrational thoughts of man may be, in the centuries, over the millenia of his destructions, which now mount till the very world is beginning to turn its back on him (Matthew 24:22), also as predicted. His very environment is now a witless entrant for destruction, despite the moans of many, and the provocations of more.
It is Christ or chaos, as Peter Marshall put it; it is God or grief; it is the Bible or irrationality; it is truth or invalid presuppositionalism, which neither stands nor could stand, and which is exhibited for its own doom in the light of the truth of the word of God: which is both valid, and virtuous, both strong and fulfilled, both unique in this and in all else, for it is HIS! As Christ put it, "He who is of God hears My words!" and again, "No man comes to the Father but by Me!" and again: "If you love Me you will keep My words", or this, "He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him - the word which I have spoken will judge him in the last day" (John 8:47, 14:6, 12:48). But of course! HE who is the truth speaks what is the truth, and this is the judgment.
Would judgment then NOT be in truth; would it be in inequity, or in fraud or falsity or irrationality or unreason! Of course not, for that is not judgment but imposition. His word is not merely the ONLY basis for truth, but the actual necessity for judgment. It is as declared. He speaks only truth*2.To FAIL TO RECEIVE IT, BY HIS OWN WORD IS TO FAIL TO RECEIVE HIM (John 7:17, Matthew 5:17ff., John 8:26,31,40,42,43,45,47; 8:24).
On other hand: "He who hears My word and believes on Him who sent Me, has everlasting life, does not come into condemnation, but is passed from (a state of death) to (a state of) life."
On other hand: "He who hears My word and believes on Him who sent Me, has everlasting life, does not come into condemnation, but is passed from (a state of) death to (a state of) life." It works both ways: you accept HIM, and that includes HIS MOUTH - for YOU do not make HIS speech, conditions, covenant or will. IF you accept Him, and so His words, then you have the Christ who ACTS, who SAVES, who is not organically grown, but the gift from God.
The word of God and the living Christ are wholly inseparable as He declares. You believe not a vague medley of ideas, but the word of God which endures forever, or you believe in your own false, weak and irrational and that ? It is, the ideas of the heart, the cogitations of the flesh, the impossibilities of the relative as the source for your absolute assurance; and even if you were to say, "I do not know", you are hereby affirming by inference, that it is, this word of God, NOT SURE ABSOLUTELY AND OBJECTIVELY ( as if some personal equation could exclude it); but this is precisely what it is, so in denying this, you affirm what you cannot know without absolute truth. Indeed, if you so much as use reason to make speech, you use what cannot end but in God (SMR Chs.1,3,10); and so abuse what you use, and accept what you deny. There is no place to hide. It is Christ or peace. It is refreshment or hunger which, when the gastric juices no longer flow, is eternal.
It is on the other hand, the access to the reliability of what does not, cannot change, of God the Father according to His spoken and highly testable word, alone such; of Christ the Son, who alone can never be shown to have sin (cf. I Peter 2:22, Hebrews 7:26), who has done all things well, and has come to show us the way, which HE IS, saying, Before Abraham was, I am (John 8:58); of the Spirit of God who ennobles and enables (John 15:26, Ephesians 3:16, II Cor. 3:18).
against HIM, then! This it is the ultimate comedy; and its result is the
ultimate tragedy, the worse in this, that it is then deserved. Yes, it
is then doubly deserved, for requiring from sin, mercy, and for forsaking
the mercy supplied, from God who knows His own business, part of which
we are, and provides as He will. THAT He would supply at such personal
cost, intensifies the SIGNIFICANCE of the sin presented, and of the fracture
persisted in, when help is refused, or confused, or abused by ignoring
or replacing the cure, with one of the same label - effectively a libel
on God, but different ... content.
Minor editings may be given to material drawn from other volumes of the 27 volume apologetic series of which this is part.
The case is one not only concerning the word of God as such, but the actions of God as such.
Thus in our preceding chapter, we have this to the point now at hand:
What then DOES the angel say to Mary ? This: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you: THEREFORE also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called he Son of God" - Luke 2:35. Note the ADDED emphasis. It is BECAUSE of this act of originating the embryo, that the Son will be the name of the Father who begot Him! That is WHY He bears this title, Son of God. The Church does not require us to believe it, says William Barclay. WHICH church! The ONLY church which is the Christian Church (cf. Refreshings 8) is the one which declares what GOD has declared, hence receives the BIBLE as His utterance, His SON as His only begotten and His sovereignty as final. Any 'other' church merely preaches some other gospel, or has some other spirit or has some other Jesus, NOT so begotten.
If YOU were begotten by James Smith, then someone of whom we need not affirm that, is NOT YOU! Now another Jesus is the production of false apostles, Paul declares in II Corinthians 11. Anyone who wants one, can have one, with the little football dolls and the striped hats of parties. Anyone who wants God cannot have one. God's children follow God's ways. The church which is the church of God is the pillar and ground of the truth, like a candlestick HOLDING UP the light of life, not extinguishing it by hiding it under a 'bushel' as Christ put it!
It is quite vital to realise WHO Jesus the Christ IS. HOW can you believe in Him if you do not know who He is!
In other words, to our current point, when GOD took action and SENT His Son in the format of man, this was something which is not gradable, only categorisable. If you REJECT it, then Christianity is rejected; for this is the criterion of the entire revelation, the summit proceeded to for thousands of years (Barbs, Arrows and Balms17), fulfilled in agony, completed in power, issuing in the gospel predicted and the national situation of the Jews as predicted (SMR Ch.9). Here is the word which for generations was given to man in writing, set in the print of blood.
There is no alternative. There is no Christianity without Christ, no Christ without the Old Testament which He entirely and most severely endorsed (Matthew 5:17ff.), and the only way to be deceived as to who Christ is (II Cor.11, II Peter 2, II Timothy 3), is to have "itching ears", a vagrant spirit, an unbelieving heart and to have contempt for the predicted judgments of God on those who roll their own, smoke their own Christ, instead of having the fires of invention put out, at least when it comes to making your own gods (since Christ is God - John 8:58, cf. Ch.15 above). Then to make a new one, a composite, self-produced or 'church' contrived production of some 'Christ' from the imagination, this is in the strictest possible definition of the term, simple idolatry, an object of worship carved by the hand of your own mentality.
His word, His actions and His gospel alike are HIS: plagiarism, inventiveness about another person's credit is of course a moral crime, a dishonest action and a seizure of another's property. It is what God calls in Jeremiah, 'stealing' His words (Jeremiah 23:30). It matters not what you SAY, it is a question of what you are doing. Thus, if you say, 'All religions are relative', this implies that the Christian faith is relative, which implies that it is not absolute, which implicates the writers in lying or being confused madmen or the like, when they proclaimed as FROM GOD the very words which they spoke (cf. Isaiah Chs.34, 59), which implicates Christ who said no jot or tittle would pass from the law till all was FULFILLED, the apostles who attributed to GOD the words of David (Acts 2:30, 4:25), and indeed to God the epistles of Paul (II Peter 3:16).
This destroys the church, revises Christ, removes the
integrity of the entire Bible, changes God into a dumb dog monitor if that,
and does so against all reason, invalidating itself as it goes as shown
above, reconstructing the love of God into indifference or worse, indeed
against evidence, history, testability and reason, reconstructing what
attests itself scientifically, rationally, historically and continually,
for the sake of what is systematically invalid in its own presuppositions,
constructing reality from an acknowledged basis of non-absolute relativity.
Our point at this moment, however, is this: