Archive for March, 2010

I have some pages on this blog site. They provide access to the ideas I want to focus and build upon. I’m pasting a little in from “The Weakness of God.”

First Corinthians 1:25, …”The foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”  Practically any parent will tell you their greatest weakness is their children. God’s love for us is his weakness. He says in Matthew 25:40, “Inasmuch as you have done unto one of the least of these my brothers, you have done unto me.” His suffering on the cross answers many questions if we think about it. How much does it hurt God to hold the ones that he holds? How much does it hurt him to let the others go? You can see the answer upon the cross. Yet, in his weakness is the secret of his greatest strength. He could never have won the hearts of those he holds, without his crucifixion. It is as he said, “My strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2nd Cor. 12:9)

I believe God could put an end to the evil of this world any time he decided to, but to do so would mean stopping us in our tracks. God has a greater strength than that. He has the power to spare us, if we’ll accept his mercy. An atheist wrote this week that he had “killed God,” and in a way, that’s true. All of us have “killed God,” because he died for all of us on the cross. It’s also true that he laid his life down willingly, because he didn’t have to do it. Now he’s back alive though, and changing hearts forever by what he did.

I read some good news this weekend. You can find the article at http://www.tmatt.net. Peter Hitchens, the younger brother of Christopher Hitchens, has written a new book, “The Rage against God.” Peter Hitchens has returned to the Christian faith after years of being an atheist like his brother. I haven’t read the book, but it would have to have some good stuff in it. There may yet be hope for Christopher too, even though I don’t see it. After all, no one is this dimension can see what’s happening in other dimensions that scientists believe exist. In a dimension that the Bible calls “the third Heaven,” dwells God, who has the power to spare.

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In Matthew 6:10, Jesus told us to pray, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” ( NKJV ) Hebrews 2:8-9, speaking of Jesus says, “But now we do not yet see all things put under him.” At the time that I’m writing this, “the kingdom” exists only in an invisible sense. You can’t point to any one organization, or denomination, and call it the kingdom. His kingdom exists within the hearts of those who receive him.

Jesus told us to pray for God’s will to be done on earth, as it is in Heaven. That tells us that God’s will is not yet done, because he hasn’t yet told us to stop praying for it. It also tells us that God is not willing at this time to use his power to enforce his standards. He knows that most of the world would not be happy with that. He wants to win our hearts, not conquer us. You can’t force someone to love you. If he were like some religions claim, he would be holding a sword over our heads. That’s not the way he is. He lets us see the world, and hopes we see enough of it to begin to agree with him. When I saw enough of this world to make me sick of it, I became willing to pray for his will to be done, in my life. According to his promise, he has saved me, but I still have to wrestle with my own heart many times. I think that’s fair in a way, because of the way that God had to struggle with me.

I honestly believe the time will come when, “The wolf will dwell with the lamb…,” and, “…the lion will eat straw like the ox,” as the Bible says. That’s the way things were in the garden of Eden. If we want to be a part of that, we can, but we have to make our minds up in the here and now. A lot of people will want to come over to God’s side when they see no other choice. It wouldn’t be “real” though. It would be like someone staying with you, not because they love you, but because they have to. Who is really happy with that?

If you can pray the “Lord’s prayer,” and mean it, you will become part of his kingdom.

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We don’t know the whole story. The pieces that still exist are given to us in fragments, scattered throughout the pages of a colossal book. The book is so vast in scope, that no subject is left untouched. That fact alone means that it must come to us condensed, which would tend to leave some of it hard to understand. The book even says that about itself. ( 2nd Peter 3:15,16 ) Besides noting that parts of the Bible are hard to understand, those verses also contain a warning, about twisting words around, and distorting the meaning.

The Bible is not an unreadable length, but there are chapters that you may find yourself wanting to skip over. There are long genealogies that would be interesting only to historians. The main purpose of these, is to identify the human family that the Messiah ( Christ, in Greek ) would come from. There are other sections that contain information only of interest to certain groups, or perhaps even to one particular person. When it’s speaking of an individual, it tells the good, the bad, and the ugly about that person.  Sometimes, a particular act of a person may not be pointed out as being wrong, except in some other place in the book.  It’s alright to skim over some of these things in just reading, but you can’t throw them out; they are there for a reason.  Some people call the Bible, the “Scriptures,” but I think it should be called the Script, because it tells the true story of mankind, from beginning to end.

The very first thing that God warned mankind about was knowledge. ( Genesis 2:16,17 ) God wasn’t threatening Adam, but trying to protect him, and all of us. Knowledge can be very dangerous stuff, and some of the scientific experiments of today will inevitability lead to disaster. The science fiction of  “Frankenstein,” or “The Island of Doctor Moreau,” are nothing to what the real science of today can lead to. I’ve read where a certain scientist was honest enough to admit that the first attempts at cloning, created misshapen “monsters.” I’ve read of experiments injecting human DNA into the brains of mice.  The writer of the article was assured that if any mice began to display signs of human intelligence, they would be quickly destroyed.

As in the past, not all scientific knowledge is used in an evil way. There’s always the promise of enough good to keep the experiments going. The problem is that within the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, are the seeds of mankinds own destruction.

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The fruit of the Tree of Knowledge wasn’t simply an apple. That idea only obscures the meaning, except when used as a symbol for education. When Adam and Eve ate the fruit, it wasn’t just an act of disobedience. Mankind became the judges of the moral aspects of knowledge. It started mankinds long history of questioning God and doubting his word and authority. We became the judges of God.

If  freedom, or “free will” is to exist, then so must the Tree of Knowledge. It isn’t that the tree imparts so much knowledge to us that we wouldn’t have gained otherwise. The effect is to leave each of us as the interpreters of knowledge, right and wrong, true and false. This has led to all the argument and division of the world. We each interpret knowledge in light of our own feelings and experiences. It was the greatest possible deception, for to judge whether or not God was telling the truth, you would have to know more than he knows. Because of the tree of knowledge, (Daath in Hebrew, Gnosis in Greek, Scientia, or Science in Latin) we learn by experiment rather than by hearing God.

“In the beginning was the Word, ( Logos or Reason), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” “All things were made by him…” Those are excerpts from John 1:1, and 1:3. Verse 14 says,”And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us…” Second Corinthians 5:19 says,”God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself…” If you really want to see God as he is, look at Jesus. Especially, see him on the cross. There we can see what this world does to God. We can never become gods, or become like God by the endless quest for more knowledge. Only his love and sacrifice can take us there. The tree of life is Jesus Christ. Only by faith in him can we find life. He reaches into Heaven and eternal life, and by his sacrifice on the cross, he can reach us. The prophecy of Christ in Isaiah 53:11, says, “by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many…”

If you don’t believe the biblical history of the Garden of Eden, then your own knowledge is exactly what you’re trusting in. With every bit or byte of knowledge, comes the possibility of using it for good or evil. I’m not at all against knowledge, but we must be aware of its limitations. We can’t know everything; so we must believe some things. I don’t exalt my faith above all reason; I just hold God’s reason above mine. It would be impossible to write a complete book about the knowledge tree. The tree contains all the books that could ever be written. If not for intervention by God, the fruit would leave us, “Ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (2 Timothy 3:7) The truth of God would not be so mysterious, (teras, something strange, a sign), if it were not for all the trial and error that obscures it.

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The English word “true,” contains within itself a clue as to what the “truth” is. Please feel free to verify this; you can do so by looking at the word origins given in Webster’s New World Dictionary, College Edition. The words “tree,” and “true,” stem from the same IE. base, “derew.” Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate gives a Sanskrit origin, “daru.” (Both dictionaries that I’m using are ‘old,’ from the mid-sixties. I say this because meanings of words change, and dictionaries sometimes drop information when revised.) Some dictionaries give the Anglo-Saxon word, “treowth” (tree-owth) as the origin of the word “truth.”

In 1st. Peter 2:24, in the King James version of the Bible, Simon Peter uses the word ” tree,” instead of “cross.” Another Old English word for the cross is, “Rood,” (rod, or road) as in the poem, “Dream of the Rood.” The “Webster’s New World,” gives the IE. base for “cross” as “greu,” and from that come our words, “cruel, crucible, crude, crucial, gruel, gruesome, gross, rude, etc.” The English word “rue” means to wish undone, and comes from the Indo-European base “greu.” According to the Strong’s Concordance, the Hebrew name “Reu,” means friend. Add the cross shaped letter “t” and it reminds us how our treu friend has proven himself. ( see Zechariah 13:6, and Psalms 22:16 )

Some will think this is all coincidence, but I think so many “coincidences” point to something far deeper. I believe that the proponents of the Proto-World Language theory are onto something. I think they’ve been very conservative at this point, not wishing to offend their many detractors.

Christ is in the crucible of all human experimentation. In a sense, until he is accepted by us, he remains on a cross. So think of the tree where the Christ suffered, whenever you consider that old question, “What is truth?”

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Freewill is a complex subject, and there is no such thing as a complete discussion of it.  I’m aware that many Christians interpret God’s sovereignty to mean that he predetermines every detail of our lives, both good and bad.  They may consider their interpretation “meat, ” rather than “milk,” ( Hebrews 5:14 ) but I don’t think this is the teaching most of us need.  Romans 14:15, speaks of the possibility of “destroying,” someone with “meat.”  I don’t believe that either God or genetics dictate what our choices will be.

“And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.”  ( Genesis 1:31 )   God created everything, and we all exist because of him.  He remembers when we were small, and knows how the world has filled us, changed us, and shaped us.  That is the last thing that he wants, but he must allow the consequences of evil to exist for a time.  “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind,…” ( Rom. 1:28 ).  Ecclesiastes 7:29,”Lo, this only have I found, that God has made man upright, but they have sought out many inventions.”  We have found many ways to deviate from God’s desires.  There are many scriptures that acknowledge the freewill of man.  To correctly interpret the Bible, we must look at it as a whole, because it’s possible to read individual verses in a way he didn’t intend.

God has a relationship of some sort with all of us.  It is similar in many ways to our relationships with other people.  Life is kind of like a game of chess.  The move that one player makes is dependent upon the other, but the players each have freewill.  In Matthew 23:37, Jesus cried out, “Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem,…how often I WOULD HAVE gathered you together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but YOU WOULD NOT.  In the verses that follow, he spoke of some things that would happen, as a result of their choice.
We tend to think there must be something out there away from God, and away we go, chasing dreams.  Since mankind didn’t believe God, and trusted instead in the tree of Knowledge, he must allow us to reap the fruit of our own doing. Sometimes that will bring some of us to our senses, and to his cross.  He is dying to save us.

When Jesus was a little over a month old, an old man named Simeon recognized him as the “Christ,” foretold by the Old Testament.  Simeon warned Mary in veiled language about the crucifixion, “…That the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”  God has obviously allowed a great measure of freedom of thought, and speech.  We all have freewill, and we must each come to Christ of our own free will.  God does not force us.  Sometimes people try to force us to accept various ideologies, but that doesn’t change the heart, and it isn’t acceptable to God.

I went through a real battle in coming to trust in Jesus.  These thoughts would come to mind that I was not one of the “elect,” and that I had no freewill or choice in the matter.  I believe I would have been lost if I had not decided that the Lord’s cross enables anyone who will to come to God.

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