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Youth 4 -
and The Kingdom of Heaven
The Spirit of Envy -
The 'God' of this World
(II Corinthians 4:4) :
left for dead by ...
The Truth in its Beauty
Seeing it in Verse and Drama
(Children - Scene III)
have-have-not situation is that between God and the devil.
The devil has 'corrupted himself by reason of his brightness', a tragic situation which however, is thoroughly ratified in this, that the brightness was such, that there was no lack in the downfall: all was available.
In man, this spirit can
often behold itself as in a mirror, glorifying itself, or the world, or the
creation, or all and anything except ... the One who HAS the glory. What is
this spirit, initially in the devil - the spirit of envy, designing aspiration
and proud arrogation? Like a rogue virus, it has thrust and a lust for the
human creation ?
It is that of ...
Ambitious envy, envious ambition, unsettled desire,
vainglorious aspiration, greed for glory, thankless lust,
graceless grasping, blind desire,
aroused arrogance, rich-spirited gluttony,
leprosy of loveless self-seeking,
parasitical parade of pride,
lust for the place of God,
love for the divine nature of God,
with adoration of His grace,
delight in His splendour and worship of Him,
who is changeless, and incomparable
magnificence and righteousness.
Ø It is He who balms His adopted children with the wonder of His mercy,
Ø blesses them with His upright and holy presence,
Ø and invites all to His own family,
Ø through the free gift of eternal life in Jesus Christ,
Ø the first and the last, the light of the world,
Ø that paragon of the eternal beauty of holiness, the "I am" of eternity,
Ø sent by His Father into the world, that we though in it,
might not be of it, but of Him.
(See: Matthew 27:18, Mark , Matthew , Acts , 17:5, Philippians , I Timothy 6:3-4, Isaiah , Ezekiel 28:6,9,17, Genesis 3:5.)
ACTION BY ASTRONAUTS ALOFT
I want you to imagine two astronauts going aloft, higher, into space, and
looking back with intrigued interest on this earth. Their names ? James and
James: It is strange seeing it receding, like the recessive reductionism of materialists, or the Cheshire Cat of Alice in Wonderful, leaving only a blur compared with the reality.
John: Yes. Strange to see the globe God designed and crafted for life, invaded by that haughty and envious spirit, the devil, desecrated daily in the minds and bodies, not to say the spirits of its most liberally provided race.
James: Yes. Between them, they surely messed it.
John: The god of this world of whom Paul speaks, they serve him there, mostly anyway.
James: He is such a princely prince, prancing and dancing and answering ignorance with disaffection, till the bright spirits of men are almost customarily seduced, some of them forgetting themselves so far as to imagine the souls, by which they say this or that, are not even there; while imagining they would know this, if they were not.
John: To be God without having to have the position, status without reality, power without glory, this is always the way with the disaffected, from the devil down.
James: Down is the word: but we're going up!
John: Put differently, relative to us, the earth is going down; as it is also, relative to God.
current is getting stronger as the
John: They are always seeing some vision, some hope, some new way, till you would think the sheer novelty flavour would have lost some of its appeal.
James: The prince of this world is always full of bright thoughts, marvellous ambitions, famous dreams - give or take a few million people in the process, which is always the thing - I mean, the process.
John: Bright visions that never work. They can't. The prince of this world, the devil, didn't make either the world or man within it; and he doesn't love God who did create it all. He neither owns it nor understands it. His nose is permanently out of joint. He never gives up, nor do the fooled pawns of fiasco who follow him. Like surfers in a tumultuous wave, they see the foam but lose their balance.
James: Well he'll have his little moment with the devil's messiah to gloat and glory, strutting in the temple declaring - no, showing himself that he is God! I love that. Nothing else will show it, but his own devious and deceitful mind. That will be his little day.
John: What do you expect of the father of lies! Self-deception however is not reality, and nothing will save him.
James: Or the world either, for that matter. I am glad for the new heavens and new earth; but the fact is, this has been a magnificent design with incredible wonders to explore and find; if only man had been less fascinated with myths about his own mentality and spirituality, as if the whole of life were some great magic colouring book, so that it all 'came to life' when you put water on it.
John: I fear it is 'come to death' which is the fact. Look around you! Sorry, glance downward. It spins in mind as well as in orbit.
James: It is truly a wonderful answer God made: to invest what the devil invaded, to show where the devil deceived, to display what the devil didn't have to display, and once for all to demonstrate to man, suffering in ignominy for the ignominious, in pain for the suffering, in spirit for the oppressed, yet overcoming it all, and THEN putting the victory of His passion to the account of His believers.
Ø “Therefore, seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not faint. But we have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
“But if our gospel be hidden, it is hidden to those
who are lost; in whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of those who
do not believe, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the
image of God, should shine into them. For we do not preach ourselves , but
Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves our servants for Jesus' sake. For God who commanded the light to shine out of
darkness, has shone in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the
glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
On the way back, we meet our heroes again. Time has past.
John: I was reading Time Magazine,
James: What marvels of spirituality did you find ?
John: The usual number. The latest is some account of memory which includes this piece of simplistic reductionism that deserves a world-record: "We somehow manage to construct a sense of self from this welter of mercurial memories." Quoting Damasio, it continues: "The self is not a little person inside the brain. It is a perpetually recreated neurobiological state, so continuously and consistently reconstructed that the owner never knows it is being remade."
James: We ? How do we construct it, if we are not first there to do it ? That is like saying that a piano is a continuously and consistently reconstructed series of harmonies and dissonances so perpetually recreated that the pianist gradually and mysteriously acquires (?) a sense of self. I was looking at our Library on this point during training.
John: It is rather trivialising things, isn't it! Let's consider this sort of view in the abstract. It is based on the fallacious theory of organic evolution, that is marvellous for everything but testing, expression in events, verification and laws with which to induce the occurrence of what is never seen to happen!
James: Yes. It has that burrowing mentality which fails to realise that you do not create a line, then the concept of a line, then the concept of lines, then the concurrence of lines, then the imagery of design, then the awareness of design, then the capacity to criticise and evaluate design, then the power to find what reality is, then the power of breach it for reasons of the will, all from nothing. That is perhaps the essence of this world's worship of its prince, to pretend.
John: Those caught in this spiritual syndrome are so like children. Pretending that what is not there made what is, or that what did not have powers, secured them from what is not there; or that because various implements of personality and conscience and constructive thought, of soaring will and decadent impulses, of creativity and intelligence are here, that they must have been created without themselves, by what lacked them! The Wizard of Oz would have been proud of such deception.
James: It is not that the world is stupid. Its cleverness deceives it sometimes the prince of this world deceives by the same method he was deceived - "corrupted by reason of his brightness." However, it must be admitted that all this nothing as the ground and cause of everything, and inadequacy as the reason for anything is not merely in flat contradiction of scientific method which DEMANDS adequacy and attestation experimentally of the same.
John: No, it is also flat contradiction of the power to reason, making myth, properly so-called, and magic the grounds of thought, which in that case, is not valid. It is the ultimate in regressive, simplistic reductionism, which explains by ignoring.
James: Isn't it strange, though, that the more some people see what fulfils the definition of products and intelligence in our construction, the less they like the thought of the one who deployed the same in creating it, having what it took in order to do what it needed. This thinking Being is named, and we give the name, in English, God. They often prefer to call it 'Nature' and then to talk of it striving, meeting a need, being very wise and so on; when this is argument by phantasm. God is removed by will, and recalled by function, and then 'Nature' is the cloak for the smuggling back.
John: To pursue my earlier musical analogy which illustrates the principles: the way the sounds are disassembled in code, and re-constructed in concept or in mode is a marvel of the human spirit, working with this fantastic implement, the brain, the design of designs in material things. The contrivances we use of course do not create us any more than do any other contrivances, interior or external. They do however enable a vast expressive power for the thinker, the creator and the poet. It is certainly hard to do without the implement in this world; but the implement is still worse off without the manipulator. Merely dead.
James: It IS remarkable how God wedded, melded the means and the spirit; and amazing how the spirit of man can soar or be sink into perversely sought squalor, use sorrows to rise above weakness, or philosophise about sorrows, defy or deify them, then fall down before them in defeat or worship, in its exuberance of partial independence. It is really such a perfect assemblage for testing, whether for example we would worship the contrivances accorded us, or despise them, or misuse them, or deny the One who constructed them.
John: Or imagine these things created us because, like us, they exhibit the fundamental properties of intelligence in their schedules, integration of concept and performance and conformity to the needs of their users; though they don't really seem good at doing so.
This is another world, another instrument, that makes first itself and then its employer.
James: It will certainly come to nothing so long as it imagines that is where it came from. From nullity, a concept denoting null potential, by definition, comes the source of potential and they call this thought! It is mere self-contradiction.
John: Or, impotent, it 'achieves' potency, illiterate it 'achieves' literacy, unconceptual, it 'contrives' thought, bound, it 'secures' freedom: it has certainly been amusing how Paul Davies' philosophy comes in its reductionism back to the irreducible minimum: nothing. People often want something for nothing; now they want something from nothing. It is the same problem: output without input.
James: The whole farcical auto-developmental concept, as The Shadow of a Mighty Rock puts it, of "elements prodded by force into persons goaded by guilt, of reagents into agents, jostled particles into judges of particularity, asserting obligation and denying it both in theory and in practice": all this may satisfy 'God' mechanics, though they never in thousands of years, actually make their product! It is however merely myth, assigning powers to a field which does not display them.
Ø For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest to them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood of the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools. (Cf. II Thessalonians 2.)
See: SMR pp. 307-310, esp. 315A-316G, 329-332H, then the rest of Ch.3 - also
pp. 252E-G, 113-116, 100 , 348-353, 422E-W. Also you may wish to consult to the point: That Magnificent Rock, Ch.7, Models and Marvels. Then see SMR Chs. 1,6,8-9.
James: There it is, that massive globe, in the universe like a globule, but how it teems.
John: With life, and with death. Talking of death, did you see in Time Magazine, this week, reference to Kasparov and the chess game ?
James: No! I didn't have time.
John: Well, he is somewhat thwarted, seems to think he should have had more access to the programming of the Deep Blue Computer Antagonist (or is it protagonist for IBM?) ; while they maintain that is their game. However, they admit to adjusting the thing in the midst of the play-offs.
James: That, then, is a simple case. Can man with an instrument made by man, do better than man without such an instrument.
John: Depends on the instrument, obviously. There is nothing new in that. Can a man go faster in an aeroplane, a travel instrument, than without one. Can a smart bomb get there faster, with a program and a man to adjust it with intelligence, having made both the bomb and the program with intelligence, his own!
James: Depends on the program, the situation, what it calls for, what has and has not been foreseen, whether the 'enemy' has access to faster, better, more perceptive counter-intelligence than the bomb pliers, fliers, contrivers!
John: Yet they seem to be treating the little matter as all but epochal!
James: It is often that way with science. With intelligence and personality and wit and imagination, man makes something non-living to deploy, employ, use as a ploy, whatever, and then he marvels at 'Nature' or some other non-existent personification of an abstraction, and worships it or himself or something somewhere, so long as the thrust of the adoration is irrational.
John: Certainly that is historically the trend. By the way, as we come nearer to earth, doesn't it remind you with those brown patches of smog mingling with the austere beauty of its vastness, of Swift's "Gulliver's Travels". You know, the idiocy of pomp, self-importance, little kings and horsemen using a handkerchief as their martial arts field, while 'giant' Gulliver looks on with withering scorn mingled with delighted amusement at their intricate little antics.
James: Did you know that he was a Protestant Church Minister. I guess he saw through enough in his travels.
John: My computer last night nearly caught a macro virus from a disk I had. Fortunately my anti-virus program caught it as I was downloading it. It could have removed a letter here, displaced a word there in my work, and made it a mixture of the comic and the idiotic, slowly or quickly, depending on the art of the artificer who made it and tried to 'get it across' to me.
James: One thing that 'gets across' to me is this. If a little macro could ruin the intelligence of a set of symbols connoting concepts and activating thought, how pure and controlling must be the code contriver and contrivance that gives us the orderly organisation in our genes and mental muscle, our neural equipment, that allows US to create language and thought conveyers in symbolic form, even convey thought within ourselves, without language at times, but with language lurking in the background and able to be brought up at a moment - a sort of economy mode during deep thought. Bug-less beauty, that is, ruinable in a moment by any alien intrusion that doesn't know the rules, an exquisite work of art and contrivance without parallel in this material earth.
John: Jumbled symbols are insignificant. Did I tell you of my dream last night ?
James: You seem to have been busy last night.
John: It is amazing. Can I tell it to you ?
James: Depends on my aural co-operation, in the sense of 'tell' you have in mind.
John: Fascinating what we 'mean' often beyond our words, but so clearly understand.
James: That the comprehension factor in speech, the personality interchange module.
John: Why speak in formatting terms ? ... Actually, there is an interpretive interaction which has a personality base.
James: You mean a 'spirit'.
John: It is not for nothing we refer to 'spirited discourse'. There is more to meaning than concepts. Personal domains are sui generis.
James: They certainly have a quality which is inimitable; for the very effort to imitate them is fashioned in a stolid state.
John: Whatever do you mean by that ?
James: In computer parallels, and in some social 'masks', where the persona is the crux, not the person, there is a concretising of the spectacular fluidity of imagination and entente at a point. It is that however, here so literally manhandled, which is a chief function of the 'person'. In its absence, you are dealing with a snapshot, not a person.
In the computer case, the person is lacking; in the social one, it is bound. In either case, to varying extents in the latter, utterly in the former, there is lacking that dimension of imagination and enterprise which is instantaneous, inventive, creative - which is what God made as a 'person' when He made man in His image.
In these puny parallels to person, what do you have instead? Something debased. Even if it can vary, it is mono-dimensional - the sky, so to speak, is no longer the limit.
John: My dream! It will be lost if we go on. Can I, or may I tell it ?
James: I won't guarantee to listen, but reduce it to a dialogue and I shall try.
John: You are too gracious. By the way, can you think of a program loving ? No! because it is simply doing what it is told, and lacks both depth and dimension.
James: Dream away!
John: Dialogue included. The management takes no responsibility for dreams.
James:Well understood. My attention is being drawn elsewhere, and only by a personal effort am I keeping it on track, without program, and contrary to all my programs except the aspiration of my spirit to be ... well, anyway, go on.
I was there too.
"Why?", I asked a particularly clear-eyed youngster, "are you always laughing ?"
"Because," he replied, "there is so much fun."
"How did you manufacture that view ?", I enquired.
"It is just a fact of life for me," he replied ingenuously. "The birds laugh as they flick hither and thither in the wind, scooping the air with their wings as they cavort in free abandon of delight..."
"Yes," I musingly replied, "go on."
"The stars twinkle for very merriment, the waves look out from their ripples with joy, and cascade with rollicking laughter, their very crests tipping this way and that, in uproarious fun," he continued. "The woods laugh at the squirrels, and the squirrels laugh at themselves, with glinting eyes and mischievous grins, while often aspiring men, climbing and clinging to government or other places of power, would seem to act as if created - not least - to create pompous products and pronouncements, fit only to be laughed at. Why look what they do to Government teachers! it seems to me, they have all but placed them in chains, some of them perhaps trying without laughing to do what they're paid for; yet they exact laughter from us in sympathy at their absurd position."
"You possibly refer to those philosophic chains, brought in, for South Australia - over there on the right, as we descend - in that 1988 Circular to Principals ?"... I enquired, amazed that the child could have access to such things.
"Whatever. That is an example for sure," he said. "Naturally, scads leave so seduced a system. By the way, I can't see the thing on the right because I am not in a spaceship," he added.
"Where you are, I am," I replied.
"Are you out of your mind," he dreamily responded. "We're both in a dream."
"How do you know that ?", I enquired, fascinated.
"Well, if you don't know a dream when you see one, what are you!" he demanded.
"Go on!", I encouraged, remembering in my dream that I work as a spirit with equipment, and had better live up to this - while at the same time, wondering what school he could be going to ... He can't have been more than 15, but then some are intelligent indeed. He knew intuitively something of the essential design characteristics of a person, someone made in the image of God.
" 'It all started because there was need!!', they say, as if a need was sitting there examining itself with a microscope, and ever afterward decided to do what was needed to get anything done. I think they called it "evolution", but I call it "unscientific evolutionism" because it is a devil's own philosophy of absurdity. Needs inventing responses ? NOT on this earth. Yet this is how they make it develop, when, as usual, they get stuck."
"You are a fascinating child," I gasped.
"Evolution," he pursued it, "is what I think it was called, but it is as full of nothing as an empty bag..."
At this, they chuckled, he and his mates, and sped off saying, "When are you going to liberate the schools, those places sporting spiritual torment, bureaucratically induced ? That's how we have come to think of them, anyway. We go to private schools - I left the State one a year ago - but we are sorry for our companions in the State-run camps of the Department of Enervation and Caesium Enrichment!"
"Caesium enrichment ?" I exclaimed. "Whatever do you mean ?"
"Oh! it's a radioactive isotope that they wear on their heads. It helps to destroy thought and is prone to kill the wearer. It has to be Caesium, because Caesar does the damage."
"But is there a radioactive isotope of Caesium ?" I asked.
"Is there a Need that feeds in plans for creation, and makes it happen ? If that's science, let's use it!" they replied, for they were gathering together.
Then they changed, and honestly, James, I've never heard anything freer and more gleeful; yet it had a sober and sobering background to its spirit, if you catch what I mean.
James: Is it nearly through ?
John: They chanted this:
"There's nothing in it,
nothing in it,
nothing around that really could do it.
Be sure the Caesars
Will rue it.
It's 'much ado about nothing'
Will come to nothing,
Is a lazy, layabout
Nodding for nothing."
"Nothing like a good laugh," I exclaimed, delighted with their rhapsodic liberties; nor could I help feeling there were some rather searching comments here.
"But how do you know such things or have words with which to say them, at your age - why! You can't be over 15, or 16, or so..."
"Oh! we've been taught to think. It's a church school...They also teach us that English is not just a servant, but a God-given instrument to express things. So we learn it, and use it, as an implement - with delight."
"But how many church schools are still free from Nothing-itis or else the vacuous gods of evolutionism - gods as devils creating by wickedness, the god of survival, rather than the God of revival! That wonderful scenario, such a soul-booster to the prince of this world, who loves invading churches!"
This I felt I had to ask, feeling this was really a bit deep for them; but persisting in the delightful hope that such laughing, liberated children might really be awake.
"Oh ours has just started!", they replied, rather more gently. "You know sir - "...
I could hardly believe my ears at this form of address, a fact they realised while explaining that they had been taught courtesy too.
"You know, sir," he continued, when the explanations were over, "we love God and His grand creative powers, and it really is a shame that so many like us are or have been taught grimly and drably to survive, like stuffed rats, like junior thugs - which so many in fact become - and such children as they do grow ... Many may respond by stuffing themselves with food or fat or smoke or drugs or crime or speed, or rough and ragged sounds called music, or go gay for the fray, though with us its called gloom and doom, partly because it doesn't create and partly because that is the way it often ends physically, in Aids that have no aid for them. Tragic loss for us, to see our own friends of not long ago, sometimes in this....'
He lapsed into near silence.
"It's sad they do not find the fraternity in Christ, the redeemer, and see how the Creator is marvellous, and makes deep problems for deep solution-finding in His presence. You don't solve anything by ignoring what it is!"
Then seemingly unaccountably, they burst out laughing, for they had just noticed the swallows flitting with such an energy of desperate contortion that they themselves exploded like iridescent soap bubbles. I watched another thrust of birds, in their hundreds, rising and dancing, ballet-dancing, in teams and in arms of bird-flight, then re-assembling in what makes ballet look ignominious by comparison, soaring up hundreds of yards in luminous artistry, regrouping, separating into elements, geometrical in display, then collating themselves in glorious vigour and indifference to 'technical problems'. Life! What exuberance.
But the children. They had gone. I was so pleased to see them gradually form again, as if colours had drained back from the air into their faces. Their thoughts had such a glow of innocent candour and charitable concern, such a penetrating glisten, like penetrating oil, that I was delighted to see them re-form and become materially visible again.
The a little girl came to us, skipping like a lamb.
"Who are you?" I asked.
"Oh, I am the sister of that little girl in The Shadow of a Mighty Rock, you know, the one in the front where the atom bomb is exploding," she replied. "I feel happy now. The Saviour has covered my sins and is ready to cover any others that are given to Him in a letter of sorrow and happy faith, at His wonderful gift on the Cross."
"Yes, one written in the heart!", she replied, smiling.
That seemed quite a speech for such a little girl, but I saw she had not grown very much but would now be around thirteen.
"I didn't grow very much because I was so sad!" she cried, her cheeks flushing, "but now...", she continued as she jumped on a passing deer's back and galloped frantically, "now...", she called back as they circled nearer, and the deer jauntily spiralled in narrowing and narrower tracks, "now I am so happy I could fly..."
At this, wings appeared at her sides, and she vanished into a nearby cloud, while the boys rolled down a grassy slope right into the lake where they for a moment became spears of light, arrows of mobility, surging through its peace.
They paused momentarily, absorbed in the quiet beauty of the surrounding still waters reaching as far as eye could see.
"We are washed, you see," said they, as the sun glowed on the lake's surface, "washed in the blood of the Lamb."
Such intelligent children, already at peace in the depths, I thought. It made me reflect that not seldom out of the mouths of babes and sucklings comes perfected praise, just as Jesus Christ said. Children are not scribes, but they can be very perceptive.
James: Hmm! What an action packed globe this is, to which we are coming. It is as well God made not only the action we inherit, and the inheritance with which we act, but the power and the personality provision for our agencies.
John: Reflective this morning!
James: Who would not be, with this earth turning so solemnly amidst such amazing beauty and such appalling follies. 'Fools for Christ' may seem a strange phrase, but it is the only wisdom in such a world as this.
John: Amen! Christ took a small step into the world, but a giant leap forward for faith, in providing the entry into the kingdom of heaven.
There simply is no other name, no other face, no other work, no other claim, no other plenary power in life that has ever shown itself in history as in heart, than His; no other written testimony of definitive truth than that in the Bible, that fortress of evidence, word of God; no other way to God who, sending His Son, made His own way to us that we might be saved, than Jesus Christ the Righteous and the Just. God as man He died in agony, the just for the unjust, to bring us to God.
For us, James, it is as simple as entering a capsule,
though this of Christ is one provided at enormous cost, for He made it in Himself:
yet it requires faith,
not because it is uncertain,
but because all acceptable personal action with God,
who is a Spirit,
is on that basis
(Hebrews 11:6, John 10:9, Romans 5:1, 3:23-25,28). ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“For the preaching of the cross is to those who are
but to those being saved,
it is the power of God.
”For it is written:
I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing
the understanding of the prudent.
”Where is the wise, where is the scribe ? where is the disputer of this world ? has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world ?”
(I Corinthians 1)