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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October 18, 2011

Human Government part 1: Chasing Eden

Posted in Government, Organized Religion tagged , , , , , at 12:39 PM by E. M.

Man was originally made for Eden.  And even though we fell from that position, we still long for the perfection of paradise.  In fact, I contend that man’s intrinsic desire to return to an Eden-like existence is the primary motivation for our actions, (both good and evil), and the root source of the world’s miseries.

In Eden, man had perfect fellowship with God, perfect fellowship with each other, and authority over creation.  That all ended with Original Sin and the fall.  Man is now born spiritually dead, our relationships are broken, and creation will no longer yield to our rule.  (All together now: “Thanks Adam!”)  The fall left us with a deep and abiding ache to get back what we lost.

God is not indifferent to our pain.  He wants us to be back in paradise with Him, and He has a righteous plan to bring it about.  But as a creature with free will, man can choose not to follow God’s plan and try to recreate Eden on his own.  However in a world that will no longer obey him, the only way man can attempt to reclaim Eden is by force;  forced fellowship with other men, and forced rulership over creation.  We call these attempts “government”.

The Third Dispensation was man’s first and most successful organized effort to recreate Eden in his own image, under the rule of Nimrod and Semiramis.  Instead of a connection to the true God, Semiramis elevated herself to godhood.  And as we saw in the last post, her heirs, the Mystics of Spirit, have carried her legacy forward.

Nimrod, on the other hand, ruled the world and the people in it through his strength.  He is the father of government, rulers, and politicians (for that alone he deserves a special place in Hell).  Babel functioned during its time because the people were of one mind and united in their purpose.  When God confused their languages, that unity was lost forever.

Flawed as it was, Babel was the closest to Eden that fallen man was (and could ever be) capable of achieving.  Since then, man’s comparative goal has been to recreate Babel.

Like the Mystics of Spirit, Nimrod’s philosophical heirs, the Mystics of Force, sought to rule over the new nations.  But instead of using religion, they used the sword.  Their goal was to recreate the unity of Babel by force.  Their method was the physical conquest and subjugation of men through war, occupation, intimidation, confiscation, and control.

We’ve known them through history by their various terms of rulership, from singular emperors and dictators, to oligarchies, councils, congresses, guilds, and ruling families.  The Bible simply refers to them as “kings”

The reason that Nimrod’s heirs can be considered “mystics” is because their ultimate weapon is the same tool of control used by the Mystics of Spirit – fear!  The Mystics of Spirit inspired fear of the spiritual, while the Mystics of Force relied on fear of the physical.

The Mystics of Spirit convinced people that disobedience to them would result in the wrath of the gods.  The Mystics of Force ruled by the threat of tangible retribution: war, executions, confiscation of land, denial of food and resources, incarceration, taxation, deportation, or social rejection and isolation (like being labeled a traitor or an “intolerant Christian”).

The goals of both groups of mystics have always been the same; the subjugation of others in order to create their own personal Eden – with themselves in the role of “God”.

As the Mystic of Spirit wanted men to be dependent on them as the replacement for God’s knowledge, the Mystics of Force want men to be dependent on them (and their government) as a replacement for God’s’ power and provision.  Governments seek to put men into a state of constant dependence on them, just as in Eden, Adam was in constant fellowship with God.

Because of their similar goals, the two groups of mystics have an adversarial, sycophantic, and symbiotic relationship with each other.  The Mystics of Spirit use the Mystics of Force to add muscle and physical intimidation to their machinations, and the Mystics of Force use the Mystics of Spirit to reinforce their physical rule by adding the subjugation of the minds of men to their subjugation of men’s bodies.

This is why kings often have priests and mystic councilors at court, who elevate the king to a level of godhood or divine appointment.  Or use religious retribution to discourage any challenge to the king’s edicts.

This is also evident in the rulers’ adoption of the clandestine and insular practices of the Mystics of Spirit, exemplified by “Royal Bloodlines”, political intrigue, and the various Secret Societies (both real and imagined), trumpeted by conspiracy theorists.

There have always been two hallmarks of the rule of the mystics throughout history:

  1. Comparative thinking that allows them to justify any means – no matter how evil or abhorrent – to their Edenistic ends
  2. Abject failure

Despite the best efforts of man, he can never overcome the curse of Adam.  Every attempt to rule the world ultimately fails.  Every empire, be it “holy” or secular, eventually collapses.

There is an intrinsic reason why kings and clerics can never successfully rule the masses:  the desire to rule doesn’t just exist in the few who appoint themselves kings and priests.  We ALL share Adam’s genetic predisposition.  ALL men desire to rule!  Thus men will only succumb to the subjugation of the mind or by the sword for only so long.  Then our inherent desire to be the kings of our own world leads to rebellion against the rulers.

In response, the mystics increase their tyranny, but that only increases the desire of men to throw off their yoke.  Eventually the masses rebel.  Civil wars, revolutions, and invasions are the result.  Then the one government is replaced by another, and the cycle of futility continues.

Man’s attempt to recreate Eden epitomizes the classic definition of insanity.  In spite of his unbroken string of failure, man keeps trying over and over, expecting a different result.  Such is the result of rampant brain damage.

If man was willing to be contrastive, he’d admit the glaringly obvious fact that he cannot govern himself perfectly, and only a perfect being could do so.  That kind of contrastive thinking could actually lead to world peace.  But such is not the case.

In the next post, we will conclude our examination of the Third Dispensation by looking at the defining characteristic of man’s nature that makes it impossible for us to be ruled by other men, but is intrinsic to our ability to be ruled by God – our individual uniqueness.

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June 22, 2010

Dispensation 1 – Paradise Lost

Posted in The Dispensations tagged , , , , , , , at 1:18 PM by E. M.

Shortly after God made Adam, he took him on a tour of the rest of creation.  “This is all amazing,” Adam said, “What are you going to do next?”  “I’ve decided to make you a companion,” God replied, “I’m going to make her from your body, so you’ll be completely compatible in every way.  She’ll always respect and admire you.  She will always say exactly what she means at all times. She’ll respond to every situation with logic and rationality, and she will quickly accept accountability when she is wrong.  She will have faith in you, be supportive, and always give you the benefit of the doubt.  She will consistently be on time for events, she’ll never hide her insecurities behind vanity and when you have a conflict, she will always let you have the last word.  “Wow”, Adam said, “She sounds great!  What will this cost me?”  “In order to create her” God replied. “I’ll need a lung, your left foot, a piece of your heart and liver, a kidney, and three vertebrae.”  “That’s an awful lot to give up” Adam said, ”What can I get for a rib?”

(yeah, I know its corny joke, but its my blog so I can be corny if I want)

Our history on this planet can be seen as the story of God contrastively showing that His plan for man’s righteousness is the only one that will work by presenting every reasonable scenario in which man could choose righteousness on his own.  These scenarios are called dispensations.  In each dispensation, man is given the opportunity to choose God’s way or his own – to either justify God or justify himself.

The first dispensation would logically be a “pure” scenario in which man was in a state of complete innocence – A state in which he had no “baggage”, no preconceived notions, no historical influences, no childhood trauma or growing pains, etc.  This first dispensation should address the question, “If man was a completely innocent being with a volitional will, but no knowledge of good or evil and no moral biases, would he, of his own volition, choose righteousness (God)?”

This of course is the familiar narrative of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis chapter 3).  God creates the first man and woman in His own image and places them in paradise.  They have just one rule: they are not to eat the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  The result would be death.

They now have a choice – don’t eat the fruit and live forever in blissful innocence/ignorance, or come to know good and evil with the result being death.  (This whole situation seems odd at first glance, but it is actually logical and just.  We’ll explore it in an upcoming post.)

Of course, in order to make it a fair choice, you’d have to have someone present a counter-argument to God’s position.  Thus enters the serpent.  Now some people get hung up on the idea of the talking snake.  But considering the fact that in the previous two chapters of Genesis God creates the entire universe by just thinking about it, a talking snake seems like a comparatively minor phenomenon.  And for the record, there is reason to believe that it wasn’t a “snake” per se.

The grammatical root of the word translated “serpent” is “nachash” in Hebrew, which means “one who whispers an enchantment”, or “to shine”.  As a proper noun, it would be translated “The Shining One”.  I believe this is an allusion to the being known as Satan, who was also called Lucifer (Isaiah 14:12-15) the “light bearer”.  This idea is also referenced in Revelation 12:9.   “Nachash” later became synonymous with slithery reptile in Hebrew vernacular.

Of course I may be overcomplicating the whole matter and it could very well have just been a tree snake with an excellent vocabulary.  Either way, for our purposes its taxonomy is not as relevant as what it said.  It basically implied that God was wrong.  Adam and Eve would not die if they ate the fruit.  In fact they would be more like God in that they would know what good and evil was.  This was a clever mix of facts and lies that we we’ll discuss later.

In any case, Eve bought the spiel and ate the fruit.  She gave some to Adam who followed suit.  And presto!  Original sin.  Right?

Not so fast.  While this is the traditional view of what constitutes original sin (i.e., the transgression that got the first couple booted from paradise and made all their descendants the rebellious miscreants that we are today), there is reason to believe that eating the forbidden fruit was only a part of original sin – and not even the most significant part.  I base this on three things.

1.  God did not immediately bring judgment and end the dispensation after the fruit was eaten.

2.  In and of itself, eating the fruit didn’t offer a just opportunity for Adam and Eve to choose to be comparative or contrastive, because they didn’t know what good and evil were until after they eat it.

3.  God’s actions immediately after they ate the fruit show that he was much more interested in their reaction to the sin that the sin itself.

So what happened after the fruit was eaten?  Adam and Eve suddenly had knowledge of good and evil (and public nudity) and they hid from God.  Did God immediately rain down wrath?  Nope, he asked them questions.

God asked Adam where he was and what he did.  God was not looking for information.  He obviously knew where Adam was, what he did, and what the ramifications were.

Adam and God both knew Adam was wrong.  The only variable in this situation, was how would Adam react?  Would he be comparative or contrastive?  God asked questions in order to give Adam the opportunity to either justify himself, or justify God – to keep his new red jellybean or replace it with a blue one.

Adam could have said, “God, I messed up.  You told me not to eat the fruit and I did.  It was all my fault.   I promise not to do it again.  Um, could you make me a pair of shorts?”

But instead, Adam justified himself and blamed God for creating Eve! He basically said, “yeah, I screwed up, but it’s your fault God!  If you hadn’t given me this harpy, I never would have been tempted to eat the fruit and I’d still have my rib!”

God then turned to Eve who also justified herself and threw the snake under the bus.  God didn’t ask the snake anything because, lets face it, no one likes snakes.

Once both of our progenitors showed themselves completely unwilling to accept a shred of responsibility (way to set an example for the kids Mom and Dad), God declared the first dispensation a failure by bringing judgment and an eviction notice on the first couple.  So it’s on to the next dispensation.

Now I’ll admit that many of the elements in the Eden narrative seem a bit incredible, (no more incredible than the whole “speaking the universe into existence” preamble, but still).  So what do we do with this story?  We basically have two options, its either symbolic/allegorical, or it literally happened.

If it’s an allegory, then no further analysis is necessary.  It’s just a nice little moral fairy tale about resisting temptation, the corruption of the innocent yadda, yadda.  No different than Pandora’s Box or any similar fable.  It presents universal wisdom that we can interpret or euphemize in any way we choose.  Some religious traditions do just that.  The problem is that some of those same religious traditions also believe in a literal Jesus, and according to Luke 3:23-38, Adam is a part of Jesus’ genealogy.  Not sure how they navigate that contradiction.

But if the narrative is literal (and I have no reason to believe it is not) then the ramifications of this first dispensation are staggering and give us a lot of terms and ideas that need to be defined and analyzed before we can move on to the next dispensation.  These include, good, evil, life, death, knowledge, sin, curse, etc.  We’ll start the analysis next week by looking at why doing wrong requires justification.

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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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