July 6, 2014

The Great Invasion – part 4: Victorious Defeat

Posted in Jesus, Salvation, Satan, Spiritual War, Spiritual Warfare, The Dispensations tagged , , , , , , , at 3:11 PM by E. M.

Victorious DefeatHaving failed to prevent the advent of Jesus as the Redeemer and meeting defeat when he tried physical and spiritual tactics to defeat his enemy, Satan turned to his pet Mystics as a second line of defense against the Great Invasion. But after they were met with utter defeat, Satan and his minions finally turned to the ultimate evil – they sought to kill Jesus.

The narrative of Jesus’ arrest, trials, and execution is a familiar one. First Jesus was betrayed by his disciple Judas -who, despite being an eye witness to three years of the most profound teaching and amazing supernatural feats in history – sold Jesus out for what in today’s money would be the equivalent of an iPad (worst student EVER!). He was then arrested by the temple soldiers, subjected to three illegal Jewish trials, and was finally sentenced by the Roman Governor to a brutal beating and execution by the most torturous method known to man at the time.

All in all it seemed like a very dark time for the good guys, and it appeared that Satan may finally have gotten his long awaited victory.

Yet, as has been the case every time the former light bearer has seemed poised to win, his supposed victory is just the precursor to a devastating defeat.

Even in the narrative of Jesus’ execution, we can already see signs that something’s amiss.

If we do a close examination of the events, it becomes clear that in spite of appearances to the contrary, it’s actually Jesus who is in control of the situation, and He is the one directing everyone’s actions!

Jesus is the one who commands Judas to complete the act of betraying Him! Thus it is Jesus who is in control of when and where He would be arrested.

When the temple soldiers arrived to take Him, Jesus questioned THEM! He made them state their will that they were sent to arrest Him, and when He identified himself, His words made the soldiers fall to the ground! He then commanded them to take Him and leave His disciples alone, and they obeyed!

The Mystics shuffled Jesus around to three different Jewish trials because He kept exposing the fact that they had no valid reason for arresting Him! Jesus forced them to logically defend THEIR rationale for their actions (and there’s nothing brain damaged people hate more than logic and reason).

When the Mystics went to Pilate to try to get Rome to do their dirty work, Jesus let the Governor know who really had the power in that situation.

It’s clear that Jesus was not the helpless victim of Satan’s clever machinations to have him killed.

Moreover, it was Jesus’ mission to be executed for man’s sake. His unjust death wasn’t a cruel surprise, or an unfortunate tragedy. It was the planned end-game that had been strategized by the Trinity from the beginning. Everything that was done to Jesus was according to scripture, down to the exact details of the death process. Among other things,

The Bible states that Jesus would be whipped and beatenfulfilled here

The Bible states that people would gamble for His garmentsfulfilled here

The Bible states that none of his bones would be brokenfulfilled here

(There are a bunch more in this post)

Most incredible of all, the Bible gives a detailed description (in first person) of the crucifixion 200 years before crucifixion was even invented by the Persians! (and 500 years before the Romans perfected it). This is more proof that God transcends time and knows the end from the beginning.

But even with all that said, it doesn’t take anything away from the magnitude of the suffering Jesus endured. Crucifixion is possibly the most agonizing form of execution ever invented. In fact, the Latin word for it, “crux”, is the root from which we get the English work “Excruciating”.

The effects of crucifixion on the human body are truly devastating. The nails in the hands and feet irreparably deform the limbs, and the position that the victim is forced into results in catastrophic system wide organ failures. The cardiac stress of the ordeal eventually causes the victim’s heart muscle to rupture!

Thus as He hung on a cross, being mock and ridiculed by the very people He came to redeem, Jesus of Nazareth literally died of a broken heart.

Jesus’ mission on earth had all lead up to this. As I wrote earlier, His death was part of the end game that had been planned from the beginning. It was a major key to fulfilling the Meaning of Life.

But how did Jesus’ death redeem man? How did His death allow us to have eternal life?

It all comes down to justice!

Of all the men who ever (and would ever) live, Jesus was the only man who NEVER deserved to die!

Like Adam, Jesus was born alive (connected to God). But unlike Adam, He never did anything to lose that connection. Jesus never sinned, thus he should never have lost his life – so His death was unjust!

However since God is always and completely right and just, He had to do several things to balance the scales of righteousness and justice.

  1. Jesus had to be “repaired”. Life is the ability to repair. Jesus’ life was taken unjustly. Justice demanded that His physical life be restored/repaired.
  2. Jesus had to be resurrected in a form that was no longer subject to physical death. Not only did Jesus not sin, he proved that He would NEVER sin. Satan tempted Him at ALL points and He didn’t succumb, so Satan gave up! Then human Mystics gave it their best shot and failed so miserably that they stated their will that they wouldn’t try anymore! Having overcome the worst that His enemies could throw at Him, Jesus showed that He was beyond external influence to sin and since He only did what God told Him to do, He was beyond internal influence all well. So He justly deserved a body beyond physical death.
  3. Jesus had to be given everlasting life. Since Jesus proved that He would never deserve death, He technically should live forever. He has infinite (everlasting) life. Since He possesses an infinite amount of “life”, He could grant it to whomever He wanted without ever running out. He could offer all men everlasting life!

And that is what “Salvation” is all about!

God loved man so much that He sacrificed Himself and died in our place so that we could justly have access to the infinite/everlasting life that He currently possesses, and we could choose to be with Him and take part in the Meaning of Life!

This is how God is able to get what He wants despite the fact that we are not born with His nature. If we choose to accept this gift, we are given a new heart. We become reconnected spiritually to God. We become spiritually alive eternally. And like Jesus, when we die physically, we will be resurrected with incorruptible bodies. But unlike Jesus we don’t have to live a perfect life (He did that for us and any vain attempt to do it on our own is religion). All we have to do is choose this gift ourselves. This is salvation.

When Jesus walked out of His tomb, He had all power over death (infinite life) and all power over evil (infinite repair of destruction).

By Accepting Jesus, we can be free from the power of death and evil. But since it’s a matter of love, it’s a matter of choice.

WE choose whether or not to accept the gift of Salvation. WE choose whether we are going to live or die eternally. WE choose between everlasting life and everlasting destruction. WE choose whether we will be Redeemed or perish.

We are going to examine the ramifications of Redemption when we look at the 6th Dispensation, but we will begin our wrap up of the 5th Dispensation with a series on some of the many myths surrounding Jesus’ life and mission- beginning with the resurrection – next time

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May 28, 2012

Know Thy Enemy – Part 1: The Devil You Say?

Posted in Satan, Spiritual War, Spiritual Warfare tagged , , , , , , , at 12:39 PM by E. M.

NOT QUITE

“The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist” – Verbal Kint, “The Usual Suspects”

The seed plot of the entire Bible centers around a war between those who support God’s plan, (and the redemption of man from the effects of Original Sin), and those who oppose it.

The Bible takes for granted that we accept the existence of God.  This is because God’s existence is self-evident. But there is another supernatural personage whose existence the Bible also expects us to take for granted: man’s adversary; the personal, intelligent, powerful, and malevolent spiritual being called the Devil and Satan.

The very idea of “the devil” usually elicits eye rolling, and condescending smirks. Many people put him in the same category as Big Foot, unicorns, and the Loch Ness Monster – an insignificant figment of myth and legend embraced mostly by the lunatic fringe.

Even when Satan is acknowledged publically, it’s often in a satirical manner such as the depiction of a guy in a red suit with a goatee and pitchfork. Or he’s simply dismissed as a psychological boogeyman for weak-minded people.

Looking at the matter objectively, Satan’s place in the Biblical narrative appears to be that of a character necessary to complete the dramatis personæ of the story – the villainous plot device needed to create the drama – he’s the Bible’s arch villain, he’s perpetual boogeyman; the Darth Vader, the Moriarty, the Svengali, the Vodemort, the Hannibal Lecter, the Dick Cheney.

One could argue that with the inclusion of Satan, the writers of the Bible merely utilized the classic story telling components that have existed since man first tried to get his kids to go to sleep at night.  You have:

The protagonist (God)

The antagonist (Satan)

The theme (the viability of God’s Plan)

The journey (the Dispensations)

The conflict (Original Sin, and Justification)

The resolution (Redemption)

The prize (Heaven and Earth)

The MacGuffin (Us)

(However, I would contend that it is not the Bible that is mimicking man’s story, but rather all of man’s stories mimic THE story of God’s plan that began with the creation – the classic story telling elements that are present in every epic narrative we’ve ever told or heard appeal to our hearts and spirits on such a deep and fundamental level BECAUSE they reflect the story of our existence and destiny.  This is something I plan to explore in more detail after we finish with the Dispensations.)

With all this in mind, the question is, should we really give significant attention to the idea Satan?

I would say yes.  Why?  First of all, the Bible makes it clear that he IS real, and since we’ve already shown the validity of the Bible, then it would be safe to say that if it says he’s real, then we should take his existence seriously!

Secondly, we should pay attention to Satan because if you choose God, you are at war with him!

And even if you are not on God’s side, you’re not off the hook.  As we’ll see in upcoming posts, Satan hates humanity.  ALL of us.  Depending on your level of antipathy towards God, Satan will either consider you a pawn, a spoil, or a useful idiot.

The Bible clearly expects us to pay careful attention to Satan, and our understanding of his identity is the key to deciding our success or failure in our encounters with him.

We are expected to know that Satan is real and is the source of our struggles

Sin entered this world when Satan tempted the first man and woman to disobey God.  Since then, he has continually been the catalyst for spreading evil throughout the earth.  We must understand that our temptation to do evil comes from satanic influence on our fallen flesh.  But we have the will and the authority to resist.

We are expected to know that Satan is our enemy

The temptations that we receive from Satan are appealing.  They seem to be beneficial and pleasurable in the short term, but we have to understand that any temptation of our flesh will lead to negative consequences.

We are expected to know Satan’s method

We are all unique individuals with different strengths and weaknesses.  We need to be mindful of our vulnerable areas because these are the places that Satan attacks.  He has a specific and effective plan of attack tailored to our weak points.  We know Satan’s method of attack in these areas of our lives because he assaults us the same way over and over again!  How often do we find ourselves asking “Why do I keep making the same mistake again and again?”  The areas where we continually fall are our points of vulnerability.  We have to make the conscious effort to protect ourselves.  Speaking of which…

We are expected to resist Satan

Whether we like it or not, we are not passive participants in spiritual affairs.  God expects us to take an active role in defending ourselves and having victory over our adversary.  God gives us the authority, and the Bible tells us how.

Satan employs one of two deceptive strategies when it comes to our direct confrontation with him.  His primary strategy is the “I’m not really here” approach.  He tries to get us to think that all the negative thoughts and actions he uses to influence us are really coming from us instead of him!  The result is that we blame and condemn ourselves while ignoring him.

If the first strategy does not work, then he goes in the opposite direction.  He leads us to obsess on him and give him an undue amount of attention.  He tries to convince us that he is responsible for everything that goes wrong in our lives, including things we have caused ourselves, events that are merely happenstance, and even things that God initiates in our lives for the long term good.   The result is that we feel that Satan has more power over us than he really does.  We become fearful of him and think that we have no hope of overcoming him.

Why does Satan try to deceive us in these specific ways? Because if he is successful in getting us to believe either of his strategies, then we will fail to do the one thing the Bible tells us will defeat him – fight! (this is a war remember?)

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. – James 4:7

If we don’t acknowledge Satan, or feel that he is invincible, we won’t fight against him as the Bible command us to do and we will not have the victory over his machinations through God.

For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God – 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

The only way to lose the battle against our adversary is to not fight him.  Satan goes though great pains to make sure that he can execute his schemes without resistance because he knows that we have the ability to be victorious over him through the authority that God has given us.

But if everything I wrote in this post is true, it just leads to many more questions.  Where does Satan come from? What does he want? Why does he hate humanity? Why does God allow him to exist? How powerful is he?

The next few posts will further explore the origin, identity, and methodology of Satan as well as how to overcome him.

January 11, 2012

Dispensation 4 – Remedial Guidance

Posted in The Dispensations tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 3:43 PM by E. M.

The Dispensations are God’s contrastive way of proving that His plan for humanity is right.  Each dispensation allows man the opportunity to choose righteousness (God) on his own; outside of God’s plan.

In the first three dispensations, God pretty much gave men a free hand to choose Him over themselves.  God first gave them complete innocence with no knowledge of good and evil.  He then gave them great longevity in order to allow them to accumulate an abundance of knowledge.  Then He allowed them to have organization and unity to give them purpose in making the choice.

Not only did each of these dispensations fail, giving man a free hand to choose God over themselves without guidance resulted in men getting more evil in each successive dispensation!

I would be unjust for God to continue in the same vein.  The just thing to do would be to start giving men guidance.

The next dispensations should include and increasingly complex methodology to guide men into making the righteous choice.

The next dispensation should contain guidance that is simple, direct, and geared toward the current situation.

As the dispensation progressed, men went from being individuals, to being families, to being communities.  The Third Dispensation resulted in men being grouped into nations and governments.  Therefore, in the Fourth Dispensation, God dealt with men corporately  – as nations.

As such, God would need to form a nation to represent Him and offer men the opportunity to choose Him by choosing His nation (thankfully, the Third Dispensation did not end with men be grouped into communes or God would have had to form a competing drum circle to represent Himself).

In the aftermath of Babel, God chose a local man named Abram (who would eventually be renamed Abraham), and gave him a pretty impressive “Go west young man!” speech:

Now the LORD had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” – Genesis 12:1-3

So God will form His representative nation from Abraham’s offspring.  God will bless Abraham and his offspring to the point that people will KNOW that they are God’s representatives.  Thus the success or failure of the Fourth Dispensation is based on whether or not the other nations choose to bless or curse Abraham and his descendants.

Although Abraham would become one of the most exemplary and revered men in the entire Biblical narrative, he didn’t start out that way.  Like many of his fellow post-Babel Mesopotamians, the erstwhile father of the Jews was likely an idol-worshipping gentile Bedouin before God gave him his new mission.   Some extra-Biblical sources paint a very colorful pre-“call” history of Abram, which include his father working for/with our old pal Nimrod, and Abram getting caught up in several conflicts with him.  Although the authenticity of these stories is dubious, they are still an interesting read.

What we do know from the Bible is that despite having the Architect of the Universe offering him a rather spectacular destiny, Abram was not immediately “all in”.  Instead of heading straight to the Promised Land as ordered, Abram and his sister-wife (seriously), took their dad and just moved up-river a bit.  It seems our hero was still a bit hesitant to give up his old life.

Once dad died, Abram, Sarai (soon to be renamed Sarah), and their nephew Lot finally settled in the Promised Land, and God renewed His promise them, gave Abraham his new name, and made him one of the richest and most famous people in the world.  But Abraham still wasn’t a model citizen.  He and Lot nearly came to blows over property rights, he essentially pimped out his wife to save his own neck (twice), and he impregnated his maid when he and Sarah got impatient waiting on God to give them a son.

Yet God continued to grow Abraham’s faith until he reached the point where he was willing to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac, believing that God would resurrect him.

Abraham’s immediate descendants had their own growth issues.  Isaac repeated his father’s strategy of hiding behind his wife’s skirt.  Abraham’s grandson Jacob was a scheming momma’s-boy who stole his brother’s blessing.

Jacob had 12 sons – 8 with his (two) wives, (who were using children as marital currency), and 4 with the wives’ maids.  Think those kids may have turned out a bit dysfunctional?  Yep!  Among other things they were involved in a near genocide, incest, prostitution, attempted fratricide, and slave trading (I hear Quentin Tarantino is negotiating for the movie rights)

Yet these 12 great-grandsons of Abraham would father the 12 tribes of God’s chosen nation – Israel.  God did not choose because they were of such exemplary character (obviously), He actually chose them BECAUSE they were rough around the edges.  God wanted to make sure that they did not take pride in their chosen status (even though they often did), but remained humble representatives of righteousness.

Eventually, a severe famine drove the family into Egypt, a growing empire where Jacob’s favorite (and least scummy) son Joseph was prime minister.  Joseph’s skill and wisdom resulted in Egypt being the only place that had a surplus of food during the famine and the nation’s wealth increased tremendously.

When the fledgling Jewish nation wanted to settle in Egypt, it was time for the representative of a gentile nation to make a choice.  Would Pharaoh bless or curse God’s nation?

It turns out Pharaoh made the right choice!  He gave the Jews some of the best real estate in the land, an elevated position in the government, and even declared a national period of mourning when Jacob died.  True to His word, God blessed Egypt in returned, as the nation became the dominant world empire for several centuries.

However a bit later, a new Pharaoh who was not familiar with Joseph (its possible that he was not even Egyptian…but that’s another story) saw the Jews as a national threat and enslaved them for over 400 years.

Despite their hardships, the Jewish nation continued to grow in population, and God tapped Charlton Heston,…er, I mean Moses to go to Pharaoh and tell him to let the Israelites go so that they could go out to the wilderness and worship Him.

Keep in mind, ALL God asked was for Israel to be released in order to make a three-day journey to worship Him.

Pharaoh had a choice to either bless or curse God’s nation.  What did he do?

1.    He got offended and refused to let the Jews go worship God

2.    He accused them of trying to shirk their slave duties by taking a three-day holiday

3.    Even though they didn’t leave (because he didn’t allow them to), Pharaoh punished them as if they did by taking away a primary resource and demanding that they produce the same amount of work as they did when they had the resource!

If Pharaoh had chosen to think contrastively, he could have asked Charlton Moses about God and his relationship with the Jewish nation, and why He wanted their worship. Maybe he could have learned about God’s promise to Abraham and about Joseph’s contribution to Egypt.

Instead, his fear of the Jews led him to think comparatively.  He saw God’s request as a threat.  He became defensive and offended.  He punished the Jews unjustly, and justified his treatment by falsely accusing the Jews of angling for a vacation.

Pharaoh justified himself over God and cursed God’s nation.  Thus the Fourth Dispensation failed like the previous three before it.

God responded to Pharaohs’ curse by cursing Egypt in return.  He unleashed the famous 10 plagues, which devastated the land, and people, forcing Pharaoh to release the Jews and give them back pay for their years of servitude.

In the next few posts, we will take a deeper look and some important aspects of the Fourth Dispensation.

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June 25, 2011

Dispensation 3 – A Stairway to Heaven

Posted in The Dispensations tagged , , , , , at 3:40 PM by E. M.

TOGETHER, WE CAN SCREW UP IN FAR MORE SPECTACULAR WAYS THAN WE EVER COULD APART

The Dispensations are God’s contrastive way of proving that His plan for humanity is right.  Each dispensation allows man the opportunity to choose righteousness (God) on his own; outside of God’s plan.

In the First Dispensation, innocence did not lead to man choosing God.  In the Second Dispensation, an abundance of knowledge and experience gained through extremely long lives did not lead to man choosing God.

The people in the second dispensation lacked a sense of urgency.  They were used to living a long time and relying on the knowledge they amassed to answer “What’s the point?”

What if man’s lifespan was significantly reduced?  Would their impending mortality and increased sense of urgency lead them to seek God?  These were the contrastive questions asked in the Third Dispensation.

How did God curtail lifespans? I supposed He could have just decreed it (He’s God after all), and the actions of the people in the Second Dispensation justified it.

Some creation scientists who’ve studied this period speculate that the pre-flood earth was covered by a “vapor canopy” (based on Genesis 1: 6-8), which would have produced an ecosystem conducive to extended longevity by blocking UV radiation and increasing air pressure and oxygen content.  It would also have been one of the sources of water for the Great Flood. Once the canopy was destroyed, the new climate would make repair more difficult and cells would age at a much faster rate. However there are many problems with this theory and it has become progressively less popular

Its also possible that the limited post-flood gene pool anteceded from Noah’s three son’s magnified genetic deficiencies, and increased susceptibility to disease and cellular degeneration, resulting in shortened lifespans. To be honest, I haven’t yet found an explanation that I’m fully satisfied with. Of course that doesn’t mean there isn’t a comprehensive explanation, just that I haven’t found one yet.

Whatever the process, the Bible shows that after the flood, lifespans gradually decreased to about 120 years as promised.  What was the result?  Did impending mortality motivate the people of the Third Dispensation to become more focused and purposeful in their pursuit of the answer to “What’s the Point?”

Actually, yes!  Once the flood waters subsided, Noah’s sons and their wives started cranking out kids and grandkids. Within a few generations, there was a pretty significant population building.  But these folks didn’t idly pursue knowledge and debauchery like their forefathers; they were organized, focused, and active.  They had a singleness of purpose and communication, and a common mindset.

And the whole earth was of one language and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there…And they said, Come, let us build us a city, and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven, and let us make a name for ourselves; lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. And Jehovah came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men built. And Jehovah said, Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is what they begin to do: and now nothing will be withholden from them, which they purpose to do. Genesis 11:1-2, 4-6

God Himself stated that under these conditions, man can do anything he set his mind to.  If the Second Dispensation was like the Age of Enlightenment, the Third Dispensation was the Dot Com boom.

A community with a singular focus had the ability to rule over creation.  They had found a way to reclaim what Adam lost!  The interesting thing is that this kind of community represents what God ultimately wants for humanity (to rule over creation), but not how or why He wants man to rule.  God’s plan is for man to be co-rulers with Him, in a community that continually grows, repairs, and lives forever, (we’ve already seen that eternal life is the ability to constantly repair) and this can only be done by a community that thinks contrastively.

Did the People of the Third Dispensation think contrastively? Did they use their extraordinary productiveness to focus on God and His plan for righteousness? Nope, they started jonesing for Eden! When they saw what their collectivist community was capable of, they began to think comparatively.  If nothing they set their minds to do was impossible for them, what did they need God for? So they focused on re-creating Eden without God.  Actually, they attempted to create a facsimile of the meaning of life, complete with their own version of God’s plan! (More on this in the next post).

The whole population gathered together in an area called Shinar (present day southern Iraq) and built a city called Babylon and a tower to the heavens called “Babel” (which means “Gate of God”).

But what’s so inherently bad about building a city and a tower?  Does God hate skyscrapers?

Like the section of Genesis 6 we examined in the last post, there is a lot of subtext in Gen 11 that requires a deeper examination.  The implications of what this tower was and why building it was “bad” is not made denotatively clear in the short passage.  The full story and the implications are only gleaned when looking at later commentary on Babylon.

In the book of Revelation, Babylon is called the “Mother of Harlots”, and the nations and kings of the earth are accused of “fornication” with her. The references to harlotry and fornication do not literally mean that the Babylon was the Mesopotamian version of Reno.  The passage is speaking of spiritual fornication and prostitution – being intimate with a spirituality that is not of God (and sacrificing something of yourself for the pleasure). Babel was where systematic alternatives to God’s plan (false religion) began. Babylon is used throughout the Bible as an idiom for idolatry and false religions.

With this knowledge of what Babylon was, we can better understand the key phrases of the passage:

Come (organization). Let us build a city (kingdom).  And tower to the heavens (religion).  Let us make a name for ourselves (an identity independent of God).  Lest we be scattered throughout the earth (in defiance of God’s command to replenish the earth).

In essence – “Let’s unite and build a kingdom and a religion on our terms, not God’s”

It’s possible that the Tower may have began as a monument to God, (which God never asked for), but as the people began to take pride in its construction, it became a monument to man.

It’s interesting that God stated that He had to “come down” to see the tower.  It may be an derisive play on words to convey the idea that this “great” monument of man is so comparative miniscule from the perspective of God’s glory, that He had to intentionally “lower Himself” to take notice of it.The people of the Third Dispensation were of one mind, and they made a collective choice.  They chose to try to create the Kingdom of God, without God.  They chose to pledge their devotion to a religion of their own creation instead of God.  So this dispensation ended the way the first two ended – in justified judgment:

Come, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. So Jehovah scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off building the city. Genesis 11:7-8

Because the people took pride in their unity and collectivism in defiance of God, He confused their languages.  Without the ability to universally communicate, the community dispersed.  Those groups who spoke the same language banded together and went on to form new societies, and nations – with ethnic and national enmity replacing the unity of Babylon.

Even though they were no longer united, the societies and nations that formed in the aftermath of the Third Dispensation still took much of the form and spirit of Babel with them – and what began at Babylon is quite significant.

Babel was the root of organized religion, human government, idol worship, priesthoods, totalitarianism, hereditary monarchies, imperialism, secret societies, political intrigue, global conspiracy theories, and social engineering – all the things that make our world the fun filled place that it is.

It all started with Noah’s ambitious grandson Nimrod, Nimrod’s equally ambitious (and skanky) wife Semiramis, their “son” Tammuz . . . and the Zodiac.  Seriously.  We’ll begin examining all this in the next post.

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December 28, 2010

Dispensation 2 – A Flood of Knowledge

Posted in The Dispensations tagged , , , , , , at 10:28 AM by E. M.

The dispensations are God’s process of contrastively showing that His plan for humanity is right.

The first dispensation asked the question,  – if man was completely innocent; with no knowledge of the long-term consequences of his actions (good and evil), would he choose to continue to rely on God for moment by moment direction, or would he choose his own way?

As we saw, Adam and Eve disobeyed God and chose to gain knowledge of the long-term.  And when they were confronted about their actions they chose comparative thinking and death instead of contrastive thinking, which would have led to repair and life.

Lack of knowledge did not lead to man choosing God.  The next logical step in the contrastive process would be to create the opposite situation.

Thus the  Second Dispensation asked the question – if man was given a long time to gain an abundance of knowledge, would he use that knowledge to choose God?

We know this dispensation was not successful because . . . well, there was that big ol’ flood and all.

But lets examine the events that led up to the Flood.

Although Adam and Eve failed to keep God’s commandment not to eat the forbidden fruit, they did obey Him when He told them to be “fruitful and multiply”.  Right after they got kicked out of Eden, the first couple put on some Marvin Gaye and started cranking out kids.

The first several generations after Adam and Eve lived a LONG time.  Looking at the genealogies in Genesis chapters 4 and 5, we see that their descendants, on average, lived to be well over 700 years old.

If the people during this time averaged one new birth every 10 years, and only actively produced children for 200 of their 700 years (which is VERY conservative), in the 1,656 years between the fall of man and the flood, the population of the world could have easily been in the tens of millions.

The pre-Flood folk had a lot of time to accumulate knowledge and a lot of people to learn from and compound that knowledge.  What was the effect of all this knowledge?  Did man pursue God?  Did abundant knowledge lead to an increase in goodness?

And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart – Genesis 6:5-6 KJV

Increased time and knowledge led to man becoming MORE evil!  The more knowledge man got, the worse he became.  The pre-Flood generations continued the pattern set by Adam and Eve.  When they gained knowledge, they chose to be comparative instead of contrastive. They repeated Original Sin!

Since comparative thinking leads to brain damage, imagine the effects of hundreds of years of compounded brain damage.  The result was that by the end of the second dispensation every thought that people had was evil!  They were irredeemably brain damaged!

Adam’s first son, Cain, murdered his brother Abel.  Five generations later, murdering people had reached the stage where Cain’s descendent Lamech thought it was something cool to brag about!

This dispensation was obviously a failure.  Instead of leading man to God, excessive time and knowledge had the opposite effect.  It would have been unjust of God to continue to allow man such longevity and knowledge if the result was total corruption.

God justly ended this dispensation by curtailing man’s lifespan, wiping out the corrupt generation, and starting over with the only guy left on earth who was still on His side.

And of course we’re all familiar with the story of the Great Flood.  God commanded Noah to build the Ark, take his family and a sampling of land animals on it, and then God (literally) opened up the flood gates and performed the first world-wide deep cleaning.

Why did this dispensation fail?  They obviously had knowledge of God.  God apparently spoke verbally to people during this time as He did with Cain, plus Adam lived for 930 years after the fall, so he would have been around for most of this dispensation as another source knowledge.

The pre-Flood generations had plenty of knowledge of God, but they did not act on that knowledge.  They never let that knowledge serve as a guide in order to be better, to grow, to become more righteous and just – to choose God.

Apparently, they had knowledge of God, but they did not believe in God – they had knowledge of the long-term, but they did not believe that God would always be completely right and just in the future (the long term), so they did not follow Him.  They chose their own way.

They failed because they did not believe.  They were missing something.  They lacked the thing that serves as a bridge between knowledge and belief.  They lacked FAITH.

Faith is without a doubt an extremely important part of Christian philosophy (this blog would not have a title without it).  Although it is one of the terms that the Bible gives a direct definition for, it is still very misunderstood.  In the next post we will begin an examination of faith.

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December 4, 2010

Tragedy and Hope

Posted in The Dispensations tagged , , , , , , at 2:23 PM by E. M.

THE CURSE: BAD FOR MANKIND, GREAT FOR TELEVISION

The last few posts have dealt with the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and why eating the fruit of that tree led to death.  This week, we will look at the wider implications of Adam and Eve eating the fruit, as well as the “what”, “why”, and “how” of the curses God pronounced on Adam, Eve, and the Serpent as part of the judgment for Original Sin.

As advertised, the end result of eating from the tree was the entrance of death into existence – not only for humanity, but for all of creation.

Adam was given rulership over the entire world.  When he embraced death, his kingdom became subject to death as well.  All of creation lost the ability to sustainably repair.  Everything started to wear down.  I believe that this is when the Second Law of Thermodynamics came into being.  If nothing happens to stop it, the entire universe will lose all its energy and suffer a Heat Death.

In addition to death, Genesis 3 chronicles specific curses that God pronounced on Adam, Eve, and the Serpent:

And the LORD God said unto the serpent, “Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field. Upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life. And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her Seed; It shall crush thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel.”

Unto the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception. In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.”

And unto Adam He said, “Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree of which I commanded thee, saying, `Thou shalt not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life. Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee, and thou shalt eat the herb of the field.  In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread till thou return unto the ground, for out of it wast thou taken; for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” –  Genesis 3:14-19 KJV

These curses are so well known that they are often taken for granted and do not receive the analysis they deserve.

The popular (i.e. easy/comparative) way to look at it, is to see God waving His mighty scepter and decreeing curses on Adam and Eve based on His arbitrary judgment; a thought process which is so far beyond our understanding that we need not think about the “why’s” behind these particular curses.  He’s God.  He can do whatever He wants.  Move along, nothing to see here.

However, since we know God’s nature, we can no longer get away with being intellectually lazy when examining His actions.  God is always and completely right and just, which means He does not do anything randomly or arbitrarily.  Everything He does has a right and just reason behind it.  It would be unjust to pronounce a curse which was divorced form the thoughts, actions, and decisions Adam and Eve made, as well as a big-picture perspective of the events.

If you recall the Eden narrative, Eve ate the fruit first, but God did not intervene until after Adam ate the fruit.  Why?  Because Eve did not directly disobey God, she disobeyed Adam!  Let me explain:

A fundamental aspect of God’s methodology seems to be “order” and “hierarchy”.  For example, while each member of the Trinity is equally “God”, they have agreed to a hierarchy – the Son gives deference to the Father, and the Holy Spirit gives deference to the Son.  This ensures perfect love and harmony.

God also established an orderly and profitable hierarchy in His creation.  God was to lead Adam.  Adam was to follow God and lead Eve.  Adam and Eve were to lead and rule over the rest of creation.  While this hierarchy was in place and functioning, there was perfection and harmony in the world.  It was paradise.

But paradise was undone when the hierarchy was violated.

I’ve let it be known that my opinion is that Satan was the serpent and/or spoke through a serpent. All of creation – including the Angels, were supposed to be subject to man (I believe that Satan’s aversion to this subordination was the motivation behind the temptation of Eve).

The serpent/Satan knew that the best way to kick Adam off the throne was to reverse the hierarchical order.  Instead of leadership being initiated from the “top down”, it was initiated from the “bottom up”: Eve followed the serpent,  Adam followed Eve,  (and by thinking comparatively, and blaming God for his disobedience, Adam tried to get God to follow him).

The Bible says that Eve was fooled into eating the fruit.  The only way she could be fooled is if she didn’t fully understand the admonition not to eat the fruit, or if it wasn’t appropriately explained to her.  I believe this was the case because during the temptation, she misquoted the rules!

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” Genesis 3:2-3 [emphasis mine]

God did not say anything about not touching the fruit.  Eve either intentionally lied about the “touching” part (which would not be possible since she was still free from sin at this point), or Adam failed to make sure she had the proper understanding of the rules, which means he failed as a leader!  Once the Serpent saw this chink in the armor, he knew that Eve was vulnerable to deception.

After she ate the fruit, nothing happened to Eve because she had NOT yet gained the knowledge of good and evil.  Why?  Because as we saw in the last post, the knowledge of good and evil comes when you are forced to think long-term.  Even after eating the fruit, Eve did not have to think long-term because her source of constant information and direction (Adam) was still available to her! 

But the Bible makes it clear that Adam was NOT fooled when he ate the fruit.  He understood the rules and intentionally broke them.  Instead of leading Eve to repentance for her disobedience, he decided that he would rather be with his wife in sin than with God in righteousness.  He chose to follow Eve over God.  He intentionally reversed the hierarchy and gave up his role as leader!

And as we saw in the last post, Adam’s disobedience disconnected him from God and both he and Eve had to start thinking long-term

God took the actions and decisions of Adam, Eve, and the Serpent and essentially cursed them to live with the extrapolated ramifications of them.  And because God is just, He gave a reason (a “because”) for the specifics of each curse.

Because Adam voluntarily gave up his leadership of the world, God made it so that creation would no longer obey him.  He would have to struggle and fight nature in order for it to yield its sustenance to him.  To this day man is still frustrated by this curse.  Be it in his occupation, his home, his society, or nature – man can never fully make the world bend to his will.

Because Eve decided to reverse the hierarchy of her relationship, she was cursed to experience pain and frustration in all her most intimate relationships.  The original language implies that not only would she experience physical pain in bearing children, emotional pain and heart break would be a hallmark of rearing the child.  As men are cursed to be frustrated by seeking but never finding perfection in the world, women are to constantly seek but never find perfection in relationships.

It’s also VERY enlightening to note that most Bible translations make a prepositional error in these verses.  The original language does not say that the wife’s desire will be to her husband (desiring your husband isn’t much of a curse unless you’re married to an oaf), It actually says that her desire will be to the husband – or rather to the position of husband.  In other words, women will seek to be the head of the relationship, BUT God has ordained that the man be the ruler.  This conflict is the source of much of the antagonism between men and women (as well as the plot-line of most television comedies).

Now, on to the serpent.   Because the serpent “rose up” beyond its station in life when it reversed the hierarchy by leading humanity to temptation, it was physically cursed by being “brought down” to crawling on its belly (which obviously means it was a very different critter before the curse).

One of the reasons that I believe we are dealing with more than just a snake, are the subsequent parts of the curse.  God said the serpent would eat dust the rest of its life, yet we know that snakes don’t eat dust (that would be a waste of venom).  In the context of the verses, “dust” is referenced as the man’s body – specifically, his dead body. Satan is cursed to “hunger” for the death of man.

Part of the curse on Adam was that he lost rulership of the world.  As his despoiler, Satan now has that role.  But instead of man being subservient to Satan as he had hoped, through the curse, man became his enemy.  I believe this is where Satan lost his free will.  He was cursed with the irrational and irreversible desire to destroy those whom he wanted to rule.  But this antagonistic relationship will turn out to be the catalyst for man’s redemption.

The last part of the curse on the serpent contains the seed plot (no pun intended – you’ll see) for the rest of the Bible and the next six dispensations, and includes mankind’s greatest Hope.

God stated that He would make “The Seed of the woman” and “the seed of the serpent” enemies (we’ll address this when we examine dispensations 5 and 6).  He also said that the Satan would “bruise the heel” of (cause physical damage to) the Seed of the woman, but the Seed of the woman would “crush his head” (deliver a mortal wound).

This portion of the curse is actually the first prophesy of the redemption of man, and gives the first descriptors of the redeemer.  The “seed” (sperm) naturally comes from the man, so whoever this “Seed of the woman” is, He would have to come into being through a woman without natural “input” from a man.  And while Satan will cause Him to suffer, He will ultimately completely defeat Satan and reclaim the kingdom that Adam lost.

We’ve spent a lot of time examining the First Dispensation, much longer than I had planned. But it is absolutely crucial that these foundational events be understood.  This understanding is key to unlocking the rest of the Bible as well as the essential psychology of man. In the next post, we will finally conclude our study of the first dispensation by looking at how the desire for Eden shapes our existence.

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July 8, 2010

Religion – Acts of Justification

Posted in Religion tagged , , , , , , at 12:31 PM by E. M.

In the last post, we saw that when we do something wrong, we feel guilt which drives us to seek some type of justification for our wrongs.  We can either choose the “Justification of God”, which begins with contrastive thinking and can lead to God’s righteousness, or we can choose the “Justification of Man” which begins with comparative thinking.  This week I want to examine another aspect of Justification of Man.

The last post also showed that Justification of Man consists primarily of denial or rationalizations; thing we say or think to justify ourselves.  This other aspect consists of things we do to justify ourselves.  I call them “Acts of Justification” – more commonly known as “Religion”.

One of the most controversial pages on this blog seems to be the “About Me” page.  (I never thought my identity would stir up so much trouble).  I’ve received several public and private comments deriding my statement that I am not religious. Some people think I’m delusional (which is fine, I’ve been accused of worse).  Or they superimpose their own definition of religion (ignoring the one I give), and accuse me of heresy.  The truth is, the reason I am not religious is because I want to go to Heaven, and religion won’t get me there.  Hopefully this post will add some clarity to my position.

If you ask the average person how you get to heaven or earn God’s favor, they will probably tell you that have to be a “good person” (a good person being someone who behaves in a socially acceptable manner and performs some degree of charitable actions or “good works”).

There are a couple of huge problems with this idea.  The first problem is that “good”, in this case, is an extremely subjective measurement.  What one person considers good may not be good or even acceptable by the standards of another person or culture.  Furthermore, just how “good” do you have to be to please God?  Its not like we have a cosmic “goodness meter” we can check.

That’s where religion starts to come in.  Islam tells us that if our good works outnumber our bad works at the end of life, then we go to Heaven.  Hinduism tells us that by doing enough good works and earning good Karma during our lives, we will be reincarnated as a higher being (and if we earn bad Karma we’ll come back as a dung beetle or a Jonas Brother).  Buddhists . . . well, they believe that the meaning of life is to achieve “nothingness” so their opinions are irrelevant.

Even some Christian groups teach that we can only reach Heaven by being a part of their specific congregation, abiding by their definitions of good works, and performing their rituals in order to please God.  So there is not much of a consensus on how to be “good enough” to get to Heaven.

The other huge problem is that the Meaning of Life post showed that you only get to Heaven by being like God.  You don’t get there by racking up “goodness points”, you get there by being righteous, and being right begins with contrastive thinking.

Religion is not contrastive it is comparative.

Remember, when we do wrong, we have a guilt-debt to pay.  We inherently know that we owe that debt because of the existence of Right and Just. Those of us who acknowledge God as the embodiment of righteousness and justice understand that the debt we owe is to God.  Performing good works in order to try to please God is the act of attempting to balance the scales of justice with our own efforts.

This is Religion.  The insidious thing about this kind of justification is that it seems like you’re being contrastive at first.  You do acknowledge your wrongs, but instead of turning to God for righteousness, you try to cover your bad actions with good actions. This is the opposite of Justification of God.  This is another form of Justification of Man.  Justification of Man is comparative thinking.  Comparative thinking is Pride.  Religion is an act of pride.  It is impossible to be like God when you act in pride.

So am I saying that it is wrong to do good works?  Or course not.  Being charitable, helping others, and being kind are all great things.  Even performing religious rituals is not bad in and of itself.  Its not so much what you do, it’s the motivation behind what you do.

If your good works are performed to justify your wrongs, appease God’s justice, or earn salvation, then it is Justification of Man.  Nothing we do, no effort we make on our own, can ever undo the wrong we committed.  Believing that it can, will lead you away from God because anything you do to justify yourself is pride.

The meaning of life is to be like God.  To be like God, you have to be righteous.  To be righteous, you have to be contrastive.  Religion twists contrastive thinking and increases comparative thinking.  Religion is Acts of Justification that lead away from God’s plan.

And that is why I am not religious.

In the last post I mentioned that religion has the most damaging effects of any form of justification.  I’ll explain why next week.

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June 30, 2010

Justifiable Guilt

Posted in Terminology tagged , , , , , , , at 1:44 PM by E. M.

BRAIN DAMAGE RUN AMOK

We’ve been examining how the dispensations are God’s contrastive process of showing how His plan of righteousness is the correct one.  In the last post, we saw that Adam and Eve failed in the first dispensation primarily because they chose to justify themselves over God when they committed a wrong act.

Our history on earth is played out through the dispensations.  But why does it have to be this way? We’re human beings with a free will right?  What if we decide we don’t want to play God’s dispensation game?  Can’t we just ignore our wrongs and refuse to justify anyone?   (In other words, can’t we all just take on the mentality of politicians?)

Well, for better or worse, that isn’t really an option.  When God created Adam and Eve in His image, certain traits and knowledge about existence were irrevocably passed on to us.  For example, we inherently know that existence exists.  We know that contradictions cannot exist.  We know that every effect has a cause, and we know that the concepts of right and just are absolutes.

Though while we tacitly acknowledge that righteousness and justice are optimal, also we know that we are not always and completely right and just.  Therefore, we know that at some point we’ll screw up.

We inherently know when we do something wrong because our brains are wired to detect contradictions.  Even if we try to deny it consciously, our subconscious  (or “unaware brain”) still detects contradictions and inconsistencies whether we want it to or not.  Our subconscious makes sure we know when we do wrong by making us feel guilt.

We feel guilt because our inherent awareness of justice tells us that the “wrong” we just did unbalanced the scales and we’re on the wrong side of justice.  We’re at a deficit.  We owe something.  Guilt is our “you need to pay” alert.

But we don’t like feeling guilty, so we want to make it go away.  The problem is that we can’t make the “wrong” we committed go away (because it already happened), so the only relief from guilt that we can hope for is some kind of justification.

Justification is the act of rendering an action “just”.  If an action is justified, then it is considered fair and appropriate.  No one owes anyone anything.  The scales are balanced.

There are essentially two categories of justification, which I call the “Justification of God”, and the “Justification of Man”.  Justification of God means that we get justification God’s way by being contrastive and/or allowing God to guide us into righteousness.  We justify righteousness (God) over ourselves when we are wrong by acknowledging the “wrong”, and then turning from it and embracing “right”.  This is called repentance.  Repentance leads to “salvation” which is the process by which God renders us justified. We will examine salvation in detail when we look at the sixth dispensation.

But as we discussed earlier, being contrastive is painful, perhaps just as painful as the guilt we’re trying to get rid of.  That’s where “Justification of Man” comes in.  Justification of Man means we render ourselves just in spite of our wrongs.  When we justify ourselves, we are being intentionally comparative.  We create some rationalization for our wrongness that allows us to unilaterally declare that either the “wrong” we did wasn’t really wrong, or that we had a just reason for committing it.

Lets say, for example that I make a mean or hurtful comment to someone who doesn’t deserve it.  Instead of apologizing, I justify myself by saying that I’ve been under a lot of stress, or that I get irritable without my morning coffee, or that the remark wasn’t really hurtful and the person I offended needs to “lighten up”.

The problem is that Justification of Man is a contradiction.  The “wrong” really happened.  The scales are still unbalanced and a penalty is still owed, thus the guilt is still there.  Self-justification is self-delusion.

Although we can try (with great effort) to deny this reality with our conscious mind, we cannot fool our subconscious.  The subconscious only sees reality.  It is immune to our delusions, skewed perspectives, rationalizations, social constructs and irrational views. The subconscious is the source of our feeling of guilt because it always sees the reality of our wrongs.

Since our brains function according to electro-chemical feedback loops, this internal conflict between our conscious and subconscious minds can result in actual physical degradation of the brain.  So technically, when we engage in Justification of Man, we are intentionally causing ourselves brain damage (this actually goes a long way toward explaining the mentality of politicians).

There is one other category of justification that is a hybrid of Justification of God and Justification of Man.  In this form of justification, man acknowledges his wrongness and guilt to varying degrees, but instead of contrastively seeking God’s righteousness, man attempts to make things right by balancing the scales through his own efforts.  He tries to make his guilt go away and appease righteousness (God) by performing “good works”.  This type of justification is called “religion”.  In many ways, it is the worst and most damaging justification of all.  We’ll discuss it next week.

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April 26, 2010

Its All Your Fault

Posted in What's the Point? tagged , , , , , , , at 12:15 PM by E. M.

In the last post we looked at the mechanics behind the origin of the universe and used all kinds of science-y concepts to explain how something can come from nothing (with the explanation that what we think of as “something” really is “nothing” because…oh, just read the last post. I don’t want to go over it again).

We have an explanation of all the “stuff” in the universe, but what about us? Apparently there is something special and unique about man.  The Bible spends a couple chapters and verses here and there about the creation of the universe, but it has volumes of information about the make up of humanity.  In Genesis 1:27, it is said that we are made in God’s image (well actually it only says that the first man and woman were made in God’s image.  Technically, the rest of us are in their image.  I’ll deal with that in a future post).

What is it that makes humanity so special?  What do we have over the rest of creation?  The ability (that most of us have) to think – understand and apply knowledge – definitely puts us in a different category than the vast majority of matter in the universe.  But many animals also have the ability to think.  Some people even believe that dolphins are more intelligent than humans.  Of course that doesn’t explain why they keep getting caught in those tuna nets.  How smart do you have to be to swim around a net?

If we bear any “resemblance” to a being whose nature is composed of principles (God), then that means our true nature – the real“us”, is made of principles (we discussed this a few posts ago). Unlike God however, our principles are NOT always and completely Right and Just (listening to a politician or lawyer for two minutes will bear that out).

The principles that make up our nature are unique to the individual.  Your principles are the first cause of your personality.  Everything that makes up your personality, temperament, reactions, values, and psychology are an effect of your core principles.  I can think of few causes more worthwhile than discovering and living out your individual principles.  Here is a link that will greatly aid you in this endeavor.

Incidentally, my principles are “understanding” and “sharing” – At my core is the desire to understand things and then to share what I understand with others.  Hence, this blog.

Whatever our individual principles are though, it is important to keep in mind that our basic nature is NOT always and completely right and just.

We are also different from God in another very important way: God gave us free will.  Free will (or volitional will) means that we have the ability to intentionally act outside of, or contrary to our nature.   So while it is not in our nature to be right and just, we can choose to be.

Interestingly, this is not an ability that God has.  That’s right; God does not have free will.  Before you accuse me of sacrilege, consider the implications.  If God could choose to not be always and completely right and just, then He would no longer be the First Cause of creation.  Which is impossible according to the law of non-contradiction.

Ok, so why would God create humanity this way?  Apparently God has some special purpose for us.  We intrinsically know this.  We know that we have a “higher purpose”.  It causes us to ask, “what’s the point?” and not be satisfied until we get the answer.

God wants something from us.  Dare I say, He desires something from us.  But how can a perfect being have desires?  Does that mean that God is lacking something?  Isn’t God “complete”?

Yes, He is complete, but there is something that a being who lacks nothing can desire without diminishing His completeness – He can desire more of what He already has! (I’ll address this next week)

The Biblical narrative makes it clear that God wants us to choose Him.  More specifically, He wants us to choose to love Him.  We’ll explore why God wants us to love Him and why our love is so important to Him in next week’s post.  But for now, we’ll go with the supposition that God wants us to love Him, and that this desire is Right (since that’s God’s nature).  Let’s look at the mechanics and implications of God creating us with the ability to love Him.

As we saw in this post, love is not an emotion; it is not an involuntary feeling or reaction.  Love is a choice.  In order for a choice to exist, there has to be at least two options in existence, as well as a being of volitional will to make the choice.

So God, being Just, must present a just situation in which His creation can exercise the choice to love Him.  For this situation to exist, God would have to:

  1. Create a being with free will.
  2. Present the choice to love or not love Him.
  3. In the purest sense, not interfere with, or act on the choice until after the choice is made. (There are circumstances where God can intervene prior to a choice being carried out in response to justice, but the vast majority of the time, He has to allow the choice to be carried out before He can act).

The only way we can truly love God is if we have the option not to love Him.  This is a choice we constantly make.

This situation offers an answer to the classic question that many skeptics (and believers) have about God which I promised to address in the post on love: “If God is a God of love, how can He allow [universally acknowledged “bad thing”] to happen?”  In light of what we understand about God’s nature and ours, a more valid question would be, “how could a God of love not allow them to happen?”

In addressing this question, I am excluding “natural” calamities such as hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, getting mauled by a bear etc.  There is a reason for these situations that we’ll tackle later, but for now I’m limiting the answers to evil initiated by man, against man.

All evil and abhorrent actions that people commit – war, violence, assault, molestation, theft, betrayal, cruelty etc, are all the result of choices; specifically the choice to act in an unloving manner to others.  And God cannot justly intervene (in most cases) until after the choice is carried out, because anytime before the choice is executed, the person has an opportunity to intentionally change his or her mind and not commit the act!

If God does not allow them that opportunity, then He is interfering with free will.  If He interferes with free will, He is nullifying choice and preventing love (which a God of love cannot do).

Furthermore, if God punishes someone before they do evil, He is being unjust.  If He is unjust, then He is not God (the First Cause).  God cannot act outside of His nature (right and just), so He cannot punish evil before evil happens.  Just like a police officer cannot arrest you for murder when you decide to murder someone.  You are not a murderer until you actually kill someone.  Only after you commit the act can you be judged.

So, the reason why God allows evil to be committed is that He wants us to choose love, and He can’t justly interfere with our opportunity to make the right choice.  However, He can, does, and will justly and completely punish all the evil that has ever been committed in due time – as only a just judge would do.

As for the reason there is evil in the world – you see the reason every morning when you look in the mirror.  All the evil in the world is the result of choices people make to not love each other and God.  Evil is not God’s fault.  It’s ours’.

Next week we’ll look at why God wants us to love Him.  The reason behind this desire is not only the answer to “what’s the point?” it is also the answer to the meaning of life.  No big deal.

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March 22, 2010

And now, a Word from our sponsor

Posted in What's the Point? tagged , , , , , , at 9:48 AM by E. M.

The First Cause of existence is made up of the causeless principles of “Right” and “Just”.  That is all we can know about the nature of the First Cause based solely on human understanding.  Anything else we come to know about the First Cause has to come from a source beyond human understanding; that source would preferably and most accurately be the First Cause itself.

IF the First Cause was to give information about itself to humanity, how would we be able to know that it was authentically from the First Cause and not just some mindless gibberish that someone made up and introduced to a naïve and susceptible portion of the population, turning them into irrationally devoted fanatics (you know, like the “Twilight” books)?

First of all, the information source would have to accurately and consistently reflect what we already know about the First Cause.  It would have to acknowledge that the universe is finite (had a definitive beginning), and that the First Cause is greater than and outside of the physical universe.  The information source would describe the First Cause as immaterial (spirit), supernatural, transcendent, and eternal.  It would have to present the First Cause as possessing all the information in existence (all-knowing).  It would also have to show that the First Cause is always and completely right and just (that righteousness and justice form the core of all else that the First Cause claims to be).

The second, and perhaps most important criteria from an authentication standpoint, is that the information source would have to have self evident proof that it has a supernatural origin, so that no one could claim that it was the result of natural (human) volition.

It just so happens that one such information source exists.  This information source claims to originate from the First Cause itself.  It presents the First Cause with all the attributes that we understand it must have. This information source authenticates its supernatural origin by presenting information that originates from outside of time and space.

This information source is commonly known as the Judeo-Christian Bible. The Bible refers to the First Cause as “God”

The Bible presents God as a transcendent, eternal, all-knowing spirit whose nature is always and completely right and just.  The Bible proves that it has a unique supernatural origin because it does something that no other book can do – it tells history before it happens with 100% accuracy.  Examples of some of the many sites that explain this in detail are here and here.

Now I know what a few of you are thinking right now – “AHA! I was wondering how long it would be before this Bible-thumping Jesus freak abandoned all pretense of reason and rationality and started trying to force God to fit into the logic of existence!  Release the hounds!”

Well, please remember that I spent seven posts proving the existence of God without using the Bible.  Why? Because as my “About Me” page says, I believe that God is true, and if He is, then He should be provable using objective measures.

Of course the Bible is not without controversy, and while it is not the express purpose of this blog to serve as an extensive source of textual criticism, it would only be fair to address some of the common concerns that many people have about the Bible.  And I’ll begin doing just that in the next post.

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