May 15, 2015

Faith By Reason Has Moved!

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:22 AM by E. M.

New Throne RoomAfter 5 years on WordPress.com, I’ve moved FBR to its own domain, FaithByReason.net!
Having a dedicated domain will make FBR better than ever with new blogging features and an enhanced reader experience.

IF YOU CURRENTLY SUBSCRIBE TO FAITH BY REASON (and why wouldn’t you?), be sure to subscribe to the new site through the “subscribe” feature in the right side-bar.

Go to the new site!

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December 20, 2013

The Redeemer – part 3: The Best of Both Worlds

Posted in Jesus, Salvation, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , at 12:09 PM by E. M.

The meaning of life is to spend eternity with God.  In order to be with God, you have to be like God  – you have to have God’s nature.  The problem of course is that man is NOT like God.  So how do we address than inequality?

HEY, I ADMITTED IT WAS A CRUDE ANALOGY!

HEY, I ADMITTED IT WAS A CRUDE ANALOGY!

Well, there are basically two ways to bridge this gap – either man can become more like God, or God can become more like man.

The possibility for us to “step up” into godhood is technically possible because man has free will and can choose to act outside of his nature by choosing to be always and completely right and just.  God actually gives man that chance through the Dispensations.  However, as we’ve seen so far, each dispensation has ended in failure as man has consistently chosen his own way over God’s way.

Moreover, Adam stacked the deck against man in the subsequent dispensations when he committed Original Sin in the First Dispensation. He died spiritually (severed his connection to God, the source of life), and all of his descendants (us) are born spiritually dead.  Its hard enough to choose to be always and completely right and just when its not your nature, but its nigh impossible when you are also born without a connection to the source of right and just.

The other way to bridge the gap would be for God to “step down” to manhood.  This solution is far less appealing to the practitioner than the first.  After all, to go from being a man to being God is a net gain.  However, for God to become a man involves an incredible amount of loss.

But that has been part of God’s plan from the beginning!  God knew that that the only way to get what He desired was for Him to become a man and do for us that which we could not do for ourselves (live an entire mortal life always and completely right and just), and then offer that life to man as a gift.  This was the mission of Jesus – the Redeemer.

As mentioned previously, in order to accomplish this task, Jesus would have to be both God and a man.  But how could He be fully God AND fully man at the same time?

Some say that Jesus was both God and man because the virgin Mary (a human) was his mother, and God was his father.  But technically, that would only make him half-man and half-God.

Other say that Jesus was born a regular man, but grew into Godhood by doing certain qualifying things (in fact, certain religions believe that is the way Godhood is achieved from the beginning, along with…other interesting stuff). But this would mean that man can become God on his own, and the Dispensations show that is not true.

The reason that people have a difficult time with this concept is because they do not have or embrace an objective, non-contradictory definition of both God and man”.  Fortunately we addressed this in the early days of the blog.  Both God and man are spirit.  Spirit is composed of principles that define one’s nature.  So in order for Jesus to be God and man, He’d have to have a nature that is always and completely right and just, AND have free will.  But the only way this would be possible is if He used his free will to ONLY choose to be always and completely right and just.

Here’s how it worked:  the Second Person of the Trinity – The Son – was incarnated in the womb of Mary in a physical form that was a direct creation of God (like Adam).  Since his physical body was a direct creation of God, as opposed to being  a blood descendant of Adam (like us), Jesus was born with a connection to God (alive).  And being God Himself, His nature was always and completely right and just.

Ok, so that takes care of the “God” part, but what about the “man” part?  As a physical man, He had free will, which means He technically had the ability to choose to act outside of His nature.

That presents us with an incredible conundrum.  If He act outside of His nature (always and completely right and just), He can’t be God.  But since contradictions don’t exist, He cant be God AND not be God.

So how did Jesus resolve this?  He did the only thing a person who is always and completely right and just would do with His free will choice – He chose to COMPLETELY give His will over to God (The Father)!

Jesus reversed Adam’s choice!  Recognizing that He was now in a (temporarily) lower state of existence, He chose to defer completely to a superior being.  For every decision in His life, for every moment in His life, He totally submitted Himself to God.

Jesus said that He did NOTHING of Himself but ONLY did what God told Him to do and say.

When you heard Him, you heard God, when you saw Him, you saw God.  Because when you saw and heard Him, you saw and heard God’s nature and all the effects thereof – love, joy, peace, perseverance, gentleness, patience, humility, holiness, etc.

So was Jesus capable of sin?  Well, He had arms and legs so He was technically able to grab a rock and bash somebody’s head in.  But He wouldn’t ever do that.  Why?  Because He ONLY did what God told Him to do and God would (and could) never tell Him to do anything unrighteous or unjust!

An admittedly crude analogy would be that of a video game.  In most contemporary video games (which I’m frankly not very good at), you interact with the game through a digital character, or “in-game personality” (as gamers call them) that you control.

This character is essentially your avatar in the game environment .  The people who programed the game made it so that the character is capable of going anywhere and doing anything that the rules of the software allow.  However, since you are in control, the character can only do what you command.  Its “will” has been completely surrendered to you.  It is your representative in the game environment.  It expresses your nature.  In a sense, its “you”.

As someone  who only did what God commanded, Jesus was in a similar situation.  So when He told people that He was one with God, and that seeing Him was the same as seeing God, is was being truthful in every practical sense.

As a being who was fully and and fully God, Jesus was able to bridge the gap between Gad and men.  Through Jesus, man would gain the opportunity to receive the gift of life, the ability t to become like God, and spend eternity with God.

The physical advent of Jesus on earth conjures images of a gentle nativity scene, humble shepherds, rejoicing angels, and reverential wise men.  But in the spirit word of Satan and his minions, it was quite a different story.  In the spiritual battle for the souls of men and possession of the earth that began in Eden, the advent of Jesus was a military invasion by a hostile force!   The nativity was not an idyllic barnyard motif, it was a beachhead established by the enemy they knew had come to defeat them and reclaim the earthly kingdom for God and man.

In the next post, we will begin to look at the advent of Jesus as the Great Invasion of Satan’s kingdom by exploring the spiritual battles that took place in man’s history as Satan and his forces attempted to thwart God’s plan and prevent the coming of the Redeemer.

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September 16, 2012

Know Thy Enemy – Part 3: Speak of the Devil

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:49 PM by E. M.

Before the being called Satan rebelled against God and fell from Heaven, he was “Lucifer – the light bearer”, the most exalted of God’s angels .  As Lucifer, he led all angelic worship and had access to the throne of Heaven.  He was gifted by God with great beauty, wisdom, knowledge, and power.  He basked in the very presence of God as His Anointed Cherub.  God said he was “Perfect (complete) in all his ways”.  But Lucifer’s pride led him to covet the worship that he brought before God, and he waged a futile war for the throne of Heaven.

When Satan was cast out of Heaven, all of his Godly splendor was gone. He became imperfect and incomplete.  All he was left with were corrupt and Godless remnants of his Heavenly gifts.  In the Bible, Satan is described as deceitful, vain, lying, wrathful, and an imitator.  These character traits are all corruptions of his original position and gifts.

Satan is in fact, he’s our first case study, and ultimate example of what we can become if we are given over to pride/comparative thinking.  As a helpful adjunct, I’ve added contemporary personages that exemplify a mindset ruled comparative thinking as points of comparison.

Satan is a deceiver

TELEVANGELISTS

And the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” – Genesis 3: 13

God gave Lucifer great wisdom.  Godly wisdom is the use of knowledge to enhance growth.  But without Godly influence, that wisdom results in destruction instead of growth.  Corrupted wisdom yields deception.  Satan is a deceiver by nature and all his strategies are based on deception.  He constantly tries to deceive men about his existence, his identity, his power, his role, and his destiny.  In addition, he attempts to deceive us in the same way about God and ourselves.  Deception is pairing corrects facts, with in incorrect or incomplete explanation of the facts.  A perfect example is Satan’s first interaction with men.  Satan deceived the first man and woman to doubt God’s character, and he deceived them about their potential for wisdom. This deception, like all others led to destruction.

Satan is vain

CELEBRITIES

 

 “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor – Ezekiel 28:17

 Lucifer fell because of his pride.  He felt that his God-given beauty and splendor made him worthy of worship meant only for God.  Without God’s grace, Satan’s beauty and splendor has been corrupted into vanity.  This corruption became so complete that it was ultimately expressed by Satan’s trying to temp Jesus into worshipping him.

Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” Matthew 4:8-9

Only vanity pushed to the point of insanity would cause one to demand worship from his creator (or demand a reality TV series about your daily life).

 Satan is a liar

POLITICIANS

 

You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. John 8:44

God is the source of all truth. When Lucifer was in the presence of God, he had access to that truth, but cut off from God, he has none.  Satan doesn’t just tell lies as a part of his various strategies, he lies because he has no other choice[free will]; Satan is incapable of telling the truth!  It’s important here to differentiate “facts” and “truth”.  Facts are data; truth is the profitable application of data.  Satan can quote facts, but only in a deceptive manner.  For example, in the Garden of Eden when Satan told Eve that if she ate the forbidden fruit she would have knowledge of good and evil.  That was a fact, however the result was not what Satan promised (the wisdom of God), so he used a fact to perpetrate a lie.

Satan is full of wrath

TEENAGERS

But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. “There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.” – Isaiah 57:20-21

 Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.” – Revelation 12:12

Peace is only possible in the presence of God.  God is the author of peace.   With no access to God’s presence, the peace once enjoyed by Lucifer has been replaced with a turmoil of unstable emotions that ultimately results in irrational wrath toward God and man (and probably a bad case of acne).

Satan is an imitator

MARKETING AGENCY

All the knowledge Satan previously had came from God.  With no new original knowledge to draw on, Satan has no choice but to continually act in the same way he has in the past and to mimic what he has observed from God.  Satan is the great imitator.  He is most effective in his temptations when he disguises his motives by twisting our more noble desires into evil results, or taking and evil action and putting a positive label on it

Like calling government enforced mediocrity “equality” or morbidly obese women “curvy”.

Contrary to popular notions, Satan rarely tempts us to do evil for the sake of being evil; he tempts us to do evil under the guise of doing “good”.  That is why his temptations are so seductive.  If we are tempted to do something wrong and we know it is wrong, it is much more difficult to rationalize than if we are tempted to do wrong and are led to believe that it is good.  Great evil has been done throughout history in the name of “good”.  Even Adolph Hitler did not do evil for its own sake; he genuinely believed that his Third Reich would usher in a golden age for the planet (FYI, he was wrong about that one).

So what does this mean for us? That truth is, Satan’s corrupt characteristics will emerge in anyone who cuts themselves off from God – more specifically, by choosing ourselves over God.   Once you begin to think that you can function without God and no longer rely on Him to influence your life, you will begin to be corrupted by pride and we will start manifest some of the negative characteristics of Satan. You may become deceptive, vain, untruthful, banal, and emotionally unstable (but on the positive side, you’ll probably have a bright future in Hollywood).

We’ve looked at Satan’s history, before and after his rebellion.  All things considered, it’s obvious why he hates God and opposes Him.  But why does Satan hate us so much?  Why is he so bent on our destruction?  What did we ever do to him?  We’ll explore those questions next time.

September 17, 2011

Getting hitched, expect delays

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:31 PM by E. M.

I know I haven’t put up a new post in . . . well, a month, but I’ve been fairly preoccupied with the preparations for my upcoming wedding.  I hope to get back on track after the blessed (and ludicrously expensive) event is over.

May 11, 2010

No post this week

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:48 PM by E. M.

Sorry folks, between my travel schedule and studying for final exams, I won’t be able to put up a post this week.  I’ll have a new one out next Tuesday.  Promise