OVERALL THEME FOR SEEMINGLY MEANDERING EXCURSIONS ON THE PLANET, "BLOGONIAN."
The meandering appearance by these posts using different approaches, directions, and conclusion results from a human search for truth. If we knew exactly all the details of the revelation of God, we could head straight for that destination. But, the reality is that God has provided for that destination; it called the narrow way or gate. But, first, we have to get ourselves, even including our own humanly defined search, out of the way.
We are created human, so that is where our minds naturally start. We think as logically as we are able, but we are clouded by our presumptions, presuppositions, and traditions, which are mostly transparent to ourselves but apparent to others. If we are willing to work together in eliminating these carryovers from the past, we can make faster progress, as long as personal or group selfishness, pride, ambition, and competition do not get in the way.
Starting from a human perspective, we look at truth as the divine nature of God revealed in the creation, studied and characterized by scientific research. We also look for the truth as the character of God is revealed in His Word. Both require interpretation, which is where human limitations play a role. There are elements of the "flesh" (human nature) that have to be conquered - competitiveness, pride, selfishness - even between groups of people who call themselves "Christian." Again, we have to get ourselves out of the way to see God more clearly.
The next step is to recognize that the revelation of God occurs through the things He has made (Rom. 1:20) as well as in His Word. Both must be explored to the max, realizing it is more important to ask, seek, and knock to open new understanding than it is to argue with one another about the "old" revelation already discovered.
Once the two avenues of the revelation of God are recognized as legitimate and valid paths to truth, then we begin trying to "put them together" instead of thinking they compete. They paths must be complementary, because they start from the author (Creator).
But, what if the information seems different or, even worse, contradictory between the two paths of discovery? Now, we have to reconcile this with our past - "I've always thought this passage meant ... a .... b .... c..., etc."
The next step is to realize that both paths of thinking - the one that seeks discovery through science and the one that seeks truth through theology - are generated from the human perspective. Humans are trying to find God by asking their humanly generated questions. We seek God in science and theology as we have defined the questions by our own knowledge, experience, and presuppositions. We hope that by using two paths, we might open more of the revelation of God than when using only one.
We are rewarded by discovering the similarities in principles between the spiritual laws and the physical. Just as Jesus used parables to illustrate principles in the kingdom of heaven (God), so we can better understand the interpretation of some scriptures by applying (in appropriate measure) the physical laws of motion, energy, thermodynamics, etc.
We can consider how we are limited in the physical by 3-dimensional space and time (except in Star-Trek episodes), but God is not. What difference could that make in our conceptual thinking? Then we can read in 1 Cor. 2:10-13) how the Spirit teaches us from the mind of God and we have the mind of Christ (vs.16).
We try almost aimlessly to make Biblical interpretation and scientific discoveries make sense together. Nothing seems to work; everything has fatal flaws. Some end up in frustration, blaming one another's traditional interpretations or labeling all religion as superstition.
But, what else can we mortals do?
One clue begins a new thought process. One of the oppositional points between science and religion is whether or not the history of the formation of earth and life on earth is mathematically random or does the sequence show evidence of design. There are calculations of time being insufficient to account for randomness of change; there are arguments of explanation of complexity; there are examples of the intricate balance of natural process and life. These are all extensions of our human questions. The answers found are indications from the data, but they all fail because the right question has not been asked to start with.
What is the perspective of God?
How could we dare to even suppose we could ask such a question. Some might say that almost seems blasphemous in its presumptuous supposition; others might respond with why ask a question of something that doesn't exist?
But, if we can get out of ourselves enough to ask that much bigger and greater question, it primes our attention to look for a previously undiscovered answer. Where do we look? In the revelation of God given in His Word. It has been in the Bible all along.
Does this involve an ancient mystery and hidden secret? Yes. Is it part of an Indiana Jones movie plot or the DaVinci code? No. If I call 1-800-MYS-TERY and give the password (operators standing by), will you send me the secret (have credit card ready-offer expires today)? No.
God's perspective has been revealed in His foreordained plan, made before the creation of time and the world. God purposed for His creation to be led full cycle from before the beginning into Him - His likeness - His image - His character - as revealed through Christ. God predestined that outcome by the plan He set into place and set the final execution of His plan through His Son into the hands of human beings making up the body of Jesus Christ - the kingdom of God on earth.
Thus, what appears as random from a human perspective is out of design from God's perspective.
Once we understand that the foreordained plan of God takes absolute preeminence over everything in creation, including our purpose on earth and the purpose of the church, this new perspective literally changes everything.
This is an extremely high risk operation. It is not for the faint of heart or the insecure or the casual subscriber. All wimps stand aside.
What that realization brings is more than new and exciting, it is fearsome, threatening, and terrifying. Why? Because the entire traditional fabric of the Christian belief system has to be reevaluated in light of a totally new viewpoint. The seeming demolition to entrenched Christian traditional thinking will seem physically analogous to taking a wrecking ball to an ancient cathedral. People will be intensely defensive, because beliefs upon which rests their very salvation will be shaken. It will seem everything is turned over on its head. The repercussions of change could seem like a world-wide Pentecost all over again.
This is not your father's interpretation of the scripture. But, I believe, it is our Father's perspective of His revelation in His Word to His creation.
That is what these blogs are all about.
Yes, there are some underlying presuppositions in this blog, too.
God is righteous and holy. God is the definition of righteousness and holiness. God is love; God is peace; God is one. Love is the opposite of hate; peace is the opposite of disorder or chaos; unity is the opposite of division and separation. God is about mercy, grace, forgiveness, redemption, and reconciliation.
God is the creator of all things - the heavens above the earth, all physical elements of the earth, and all things under the earth. Everything created was called by God to be "good" or "very good," but was not yet called "perfect." The righteousness, holiness, love, peace, and unity of God can be seen in everything He has made. Everything in the universe submits to the authority of God, the creator. All of the natural creation speaks forth the praises of God in how everything was made. Christ holds all things together.
God is the author of our salvation according to His plan and design predestined before the creation of the world. We are to be like God in true righteousness and holiness -- and that is the most important and fundamental law in the universe to which everything in all of creation submits. It is the Unified Field Law of Everything. It is why the world as we know it was made; it is why we have been made and what we are to be about; it is why Jesus came to earth, died, and rose again; it is the fulfillment of the Promise of the Father designed before time began; it is why the power of God through the Holy Spirit was sent on Pentecost; it is the Prime Directive for the church (anything else is idolatry); it is our witness to the world of the love of the Father; it is the preparation for our destiny with God throughout eternity.
We propose that the "Unified Law" provides an explanation for the integration of the spiritual and physical realms, the revelation of God in scripture and through Christ and scientific physical observations and knowledge, and what the church is supposed to be doing today. In this proposal, there are three phases, or ages, or periods of evolution, or change - (1) the physical age from the beginning of creation (big bang) to the physical maturation of a human into which God could place His breath of life; (2) the social/religious evolution from the Garden of Eden to the coming of Christ, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ; (3) the age of spiritual evolution -- the fulfillment of the Promise of the Father by the arrival of the Holy Spirit poured into the hearts of all people on the Day of Pentecost.
The ideas in the above paragraph have been described as a type of dispensationalism. The similarity is only superficial, looking at changes over time in terms of periods. In dispensational thinking, the periods represent cycles of humanity going through God's interjection of renewal into the "system" followed by humankind's inevitable degeneration. Then, after the consequences, God interjects more divine power and humanity starts a cycle over again, only to end up at the bottom again. The idea of the previous paragraph is the each "age" takes the training of God's creation (the highest form = humankind) to a new height, ready for a "transfer" to a newer, higher, more spiritual type of training - all in keeping with the design of God plan as foreordained before creation. This sequence of "ages" is ordered and designed by the purpose of God; dispensationalism is more chaotic and under human control. Dispensationalism continues with the philosophical direction of the fall of mankind - i.e., man can mess up God's plans. This blog considers the "fall of man" doctrine to be a fraudulent fabrication at best, and possibly even blasphemous, proudly elevating the control of the created over the Creator's plan under the guise of how bad we are.
(As in, "We sure do need Jesus after we crushed God's plan under our human sinful feet.") Say, what??
When we were born from out of above as the New Creation, we were given the Gift of the Holy Spirit, which is the spiritual DNA of God, the same genes that Jesus Christ had on this earth. We allow the Holy Spirit to express these genes into the phenotype of Jesus Christ when we take off the old sins and put on Christ. To do this, we must run the race by keeping eyes on Jesus and not on the encumbrances of sin that are removed (Heb. 12:1-2). This is renewal of the mind, being transformed into the likeness of God by glory to glory, being sanctified by the Holy Spirit, and gradually filled from the inside out by the Holy Spirit. By this means we grow to become more like God in true righteousness and holiness. The church is to build itself up in love as each part does its work until all reach maturity, unity, and the full knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
There is nothing more important. When the body of Christ divides over issues, private interpretations, traditions, different cultures, jealousy, competitive spirit, envy, pride or anything else - it is placing its sinful nature above the Prime Directive given by God, and the church is in idolatry and is subjecting itself to the discipline of God.
There is nothing that exists in the spiritual or physical realm that does not testify of the Creator. There is no rebellion in the creation against God, except that which occurs by the choice of man -- the one component of creation that God made and predestined to be in His own image. Man has been given the right of choice, to either choose the way to the tree of life or to choose the path to destruction. The first choice was made in the Garden of Eden when the force of evil appeared on the scene. Human nature contains the capacity to know good and evil at the level of the "flesh" -- as symbolically represented by Adam making the choice to eat of the fruit of the tree of (human) knowledge of good and evil. That knowledge was trained to the human max by the tutelage from the Old Law. Christ came and closed that out that physical representation to bring the real entry into the heavenly realms by His sacrifice. Now, declared perfect and sin free by the blood of Christ, we are free to set eyes on Jesus and be transformed into the likeness of God by the power of the Holy Spirit. We are free to eat of the tree of life and, in the church, fulfill our purpose as foreordained before the creation of the world. But, again, that is a choice
There are no inconsistencies between the revealed word of God, the Bible, and the revealed word of God as the creation was spoken into existence. The physical universe points to God, the spiritual realm points to God, the logos Word gives the nature of God which was completely revealed through the coming of Christ Jesus and the infilling of the power of the Holy Spirit.
Any apparent inconsistencies in the revelation of God in the Word, by the Holy Spirit, or in the physical universe come from man's inadequate understanding and knowledge of God. That is why we must continue to search for the truth. The truth about God can be found by studying the scriptures, by praying for wisdom and revelation, and by studying all the intricacies of the physical realm. Those who study the physical world and conclude there is no God speak from assumptions from incomplete knowledge, and they need to keep searching to find more data and more observations until a relationship to God can be seen. Those who study the scriptures and interpret them in their limited backgrounds and presuppositions and who say that scientific evidence is false because it "conflicts" with what God said, that there cannot be any evolution of any species because God had to have created everything in six 24-hour days with our same time frame, that the earth cannot be 4.5 billion years old because it must be only 6000 years old, that the universe couldn't have started with a "big bang" because Genesis doesn't use those words speak without reality or wisdom, and they need to keep searching and praying for understanding of the scripture until a consistency between all of God's revelation can be seen.
The church, the body of Christ, the kingdom of God on earth is to show to the world what love, peace, and unity means in action, so that the love of God through Jesus Christ can be seen. The church is to fulfill the anointing of Jesus Christ (Luke 4:18-19) and has the responsibility to carry this message of glory and healing and freedom, including the freedom for those under both spiritual and physical oppression, and to correct all injustice in the entire world. The church is to show the manifold wisdom of the eternal plan of God to the world and to the authorities in the heavenly realms.
The gates of Hell cannot withstand an assault by the church that Jesus died for and empowered with the Holy Spirit dwelling within. But these gates will not even be challenged if the church cannot mount an assault. The church cannot do any of this while divided from internal disunity and chaos. The church over the ages has survived external attacks from ungodly leaders of men and rulers of governments, but today the Holy Spirit power within the church is being slowly eroded as the church adopts more of the values and conduct of the world, displays more subtleties of humanistic thinking, and shows more interest in self-endowment and self-perpetuation than in sacrifice. The church shows signs of removing itself away from the cross of Jesus Christ and crucifying the gospel instead so the church can become friends with the world standing around the cross and gawking at the scene.
The extent to which the church follows the natural way of the world is the extent to which the church subjects itself to the laws of the physical realm. Sowing to the Spirit reaps life; sowing to the flesh reaps destruction. In the physical realm, ruled by the laws of thermodynamics, "destruction" can be equated with "entropy." The universe was created to run by cycles - everything from the entire expanse of time and space operates according to cycles - from the entire universe and celestial mechanics to the strings of energy and quantum mechanics -- all operate by cycles. All cycles that exist operate in a coordinated fashion with periodicities from the most infinitesimal instant of time to the 13.6 billion years of the existence of the universe. God created it that way. Life cycles, group cycles, economic cycles, sociological cycles, cultural cycles, organizational cycles - everything cycles under the physical laws of the universe and their own physical energy builds and wanes. But, God has made a power available to His church that is from outside this physical realm and that is not subject to physical law, just as He is not subject. The church can choose to follow the guidance of the Spirit to life, or the church can choose to follow the ways of the world and reap the same consequences as the world. The church, the worldly systems, and human societies can cycle together as they all follow the path of the flesh. The church in the United States is increasingly reaping what it is sowing together with the American society -- to the extent that both follow the path of entropy which leads to death of the organism.
We have been declared to be in the heavenly realms beside Christ, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of God (Eph. 1:4, 20; 2:6). We exist in the "seen" temporal realm, but see into the "unseen" eternal realm by faith. Abraham by faith left his known home to a land to be shown to him. Abraham believed that God would give him a son of promise even in his and Sarah's old age. Abraham's faith in God's "unseen" was counted to him as righteousness. In like manner, our faith in the promise of God through Jesus Christ that we are now perfect and declared to be in the heavenly realms, even though it is not fully realized, is counted to us as righteousness. So, God does not look down from heaven and see Jesus in place of our very own nasty selves - God has said our nasty selves no longer exist and Jesus Christ exists within us instead. We do not stay in the flesh and try to stomp out our human nature, fighting flesh with flesh. Rather, we are renewed day by day into the Jesus Christ that we have already been declared to be. If God said we are not sinners, who are we to say anything different?
Christians cannot claim that they are sinners, which is done many times to make others feel better about themselves after receiving a condemnation for their (worse) sins. God has declared we are free from sin; our declaration must by faith be the same as His. Otherwise, we become what we set our minds on - we become what we declare. If we claim that we are sinners, God lets us choose to overrule His authority while on earth, as did Adam. However, we should repent and get in the will of God while there is opportunity, because when we arrive in the spiritual realms in our spiritual body, we will find that our human authority is non-existent.
The church does many things that are evident of it deep roots in the physical, "seen" realm - attention to the morality of the world, changing to attract the world, preaching against sin instead of living Jesus, preaching from depravity leading to salvation instead of showing the purpose of salvation, living by the worldly standards of property, money, ownership, pride, productivity, attendance, human-based respect, greed, selfishness, and even lying. Consider even the liturgies of the church - how the songs, prayer, sermons, Lord's Supper (Eucharist) are centered around forgiveness of our sins, which has already happened. The church recycles the elementary teachings of Christ about sin instead of growing on into maturity (Heb. 6:1-3).
The church is what Jesus died for; the church operates on the authority of the name of Jesus; the church glorifies God by showing on earth what the kingdom of God in heaven looks like; the church, consisting of the members of the body of Christ, is growing into the full knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ; who fills everything in every way. The church can do these things only if it operates by the power cycle of the love of God, the peace of Christ, and the unity of the Spirit. The church is a living organism. Jesus did not die to establish a humanly defined and managed organization.
The church grows into the fullness of Christ as the members of the body grow to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. This complementary and symbiotic relationship is mandatory. Unity builds in love by power; division destroys by chaos and disorder. Uniformity is powerless, power potential is in diversity. Power is released by unity, which is diversity that is focused on the same thing. The different gifts (offices) that work together in unity build the church up in love and into the fullness of the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 4:13). A diversity of gifts that compete and fight with each other produces chaos and disorder and accomplishes nothing.
The above discussion gives the premise and direction for this blog and the companion web sites "in the image of the creator" and the "Imago Dei Research Initiative" We hope to explore as much of the universe and the scripture as time on this earth and remaining health and brain function permit, believing that all knowledge illuminated by the wisdom and guidance of the Holy Spirit will direct our path of understanding to the truth of the revelation of God, who created us to become like Him in true righteousness and holiness (Eph. 4:24).
To God be the glory; great things He has done.
[Last revised, and made even more verbose, on Nov. 05, 2016]