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It is best to be aware of them. In this chapter, that broken character, desperate philosophy with frustrated fury taking arms against God, or against the means of attesting Him, is considered: a macabre task required because of the devious appeal of rude power to the straying souls of men.
End-notes are progressively numbered for this chapter, but appear at the end of each separate Section, for that Section, as indicated by EN#.
As with other mirages, it may appear too obvious to require confutation of these verbal excursions. However both for completeness and for thoroughness, and indeed not least to give opportunity for the perspective of the word of God to operate in its stunning fashion, while errors are despatched through internal inconsistency and other inadequacies in all that would contest: the subtler talk of the serpent is now given attention.
The mere existence of such striking historical developments of thought and religion, as already briefly referred to, and shortly to be considered, is so droll at best and devastated by analysis and comparison with the word of God, that it provides in itself a strong attestation to the Biblical analysis of the spiritual syndrome. This depicts it, as the contortion it in turn shows itself to be. We see, as we survey the scene of antagonism to Biblical religion, just that hopeless virtuosity and grim endeavour that does not and cannot stand, of which the scripture so clearly speaks ... and this in turn is verification of what it says:
God has revealed Himself in His anger against the impiety and injustice of men who by their wicked ways suppress the truth. Indeed, what can be known about God has been made plain to them, for God Himself has made it plain. "Men have no excuse at all, for ever since the world was made, God's invisible attributes, such as His eternal power and divinity, have been clearly perceptible and understandable through the things He has made". (Romans 1:18-20...Norlie rendering.)
It may be noted that some of the analyses coming from slightly different directions, will yet tend to converge on one point, or in one area during refutation. This may have the advantage of showing more and more how by that same door, as the poem has it, these jostling philosophies-of-a-day which enter, outward must be propelled. Again, it may also indicate how many of the sheep jostle, with the extraordinary capacity of that noble creation for not seeing the entrance needed, baulk and reluctantly mill as if the dust of their feet were but a smokescreen for the obscuring of their path.
(In accord with this, many readers may find this chapter not needed, as strictly it is not, for the task in hand. Others, who like burrowing, may find it helpful; and some, caught in burrows, may find it like a ferret that brings them out. As far as burrows are concerned, it is better to be out of them: they are dark and confining, obscuring the heavens... for those caught in them. Some may wish to explore these recesses in order to help others, and in that sense, a burrow inspection has a broad value.)
As the vagrancies are considered, therefore, the terrain, the spiritual terrain in which they work will become perhaps more familiar to the reader, providing indirectly a lesson in spiritual, in Biblical topography. In the end, it is the word of God and not of assailants which will stand; and this appears in our coverage of the ploys, plots and pirouettes of those who cannot abide what alone does abide: the word of God.
Then nothing is absolute. Then the proposition, that everything is relative, cannot be presented as absolutely true; it cannot indeed be absolutely true that there is no absolute truth. That is a flat contradiction as distinct from a plausible opinion. To hold that, is to argue for the removal of logic; and that is to argue with the very thing which is being denied in the process.
To find that everything is relative, absolute truth is needed; and to find that would be impossible if indeed everything is relative.
If therefore, everything is not relative, then we can make statements which are better than nonsense about what IS and what is not. If something is absolute, then something may be said about some things which is not mere nonsense, internal self- contradiction.
If all were heredity and environment, then there would be no way to see beyond and to know it. If anything may be affirmed meaningfully, then the power to reach the actual standpoint in which truth is possible and indeed in which it is correctly seen and so no illusion, must be there. Such a standpoint requires a minimum of two conditions: first there must exist a truth to which one can attain (not mere reaction of reactors); and second, there must exist a way to find it (not mere interaction). There must be a true standpoint, a true perspective, a right way of viewing things; and there must be an opening to know it.
The unrelative is the absolute; and the absolute is necessary, if anything is to proceed. A series of related entities does not logically account for any entity; multiplication is not causation. "Nothing" is not a possible origin; for it has no potential or future (if indeed it be nothing). Something... therefore must always be, if anything can ever be; and some things are.
What must always be ? what is adequate for what-is-to-be, must always be; or we would be rankly asking for effects without adequate cause, which is to reason by denying reason; which is self contradiction.
An adequate something always in existence involves an adequacy for the provision of mind and spirit, as well as the laws of matter, which show no evidence of being self-creating; and if they did, would show a program at work, which requires an information technique to input it.
This adequate something requires to be dependent on nothing; for if it were otherwise, the problem would be retarded, but not removed. Absolute everlasting independence is the necessity for... dependence. You do not produce your cause by referring to this and that aspect of what is here (*1). Thus by analogy, a poem is not explained as to its origin by inspecting the semi-colons and the commas and considering their connections. Their causal origin and their causal content need analysis and specifiability.
An adequate cause is ontological as well as organisational; there must be cause for inter-active existence, as well as for inter-active mechanisms. Only that producer which is entirely, eternally self-sufficient and sufficient for all things meets the case, causally. Insufficiency, we recall, cannot produce; and derivability requires the system in which it occurs, for the power to be derivable to operate. The system requires its base, its cause; and more of the same does not produce that cause, but merely adds to the burden upon it. Hence the absolutely underivable and eternal is necessary for anything to be affirmable as true; including relativism. But since this contradicts relativism, this is possible only as an exercise in self- contradictory fantasy.
The ruin in moral or metaphysical relativity (Einstein, of course, in giving theories deemed apt for certain relationships, was laying down one more 'absolute' or definitive-type input concerning law)... this is often paralleled in religion, by two more rabbit tunnels, enticing to ferrets. To these, we now turn. Fascinating to students of foreign languages can be word studies. What however about our own language ? Let us dig and look briefly at two words with a view to studying the darkening tunnel-use often made of these areas.
Well that is quite a definition. It means this - (rectitude = uprightness honesty, truthfulness, soundness of life morally and so on): sneering at a life which is righteous, at the whole idea of having principles in your life so that you really do keep to a truthfully sound and morally upright way; holding that when someone says that he/she does not really have this as the basic motive, 'What is in it for me, how can I get pleasure and advantage or forwarding of myself out of this?'... that this is rubbish. Everyone, says the cynic, is self-serving or self-seeking, and goodness? Where is it?
You tend to find people rather like this in their attitude at times. Sometimes they may have been treated absolutely disgracefully by others, as children, or when young; power in politics, family, school or society may have been used to 'squash' them, rob them and so on. They may have a grudge, be raw, and perhaps unconsciously they are on a wave length of revenge by attacking anything which says it is pure, honest, upright, or possibly, anything which even seems so. Perhaps the basis is at times different from this; but it is not hard to conceive how such views could arise in some cases.
You even get to the point that the attack comes verbally: anything anyone does is called 'selfish', because it is done by a 'self'. In that way, you create horrible human beings, just by word-play.
Of course the answer is, firstly, that the 'self' may be motivated by God and goodness so that it is under him: may in fact, in particular be taken, forgiven, changed and charged by Christ so that it is his interest it serves; and as to Him, He gave His life in sacrifice when there was really no trouble with the standard of living in heaven... In fact, a self can be moral or immoral, good or bad, sacrificial of its own advantage, through love of another; and that love may be such that the mother, or soldier, in some cases (I do not say all!) gives up the chance to so much as stay near the loved one in the interests, through death, of conserving the other life, which is loved better than one's own ... to this we shall revert.
Yet it is interesting to see how the word 'cynic' changed its meaning. Amazingly, at first the cynics were Greeks who liked to stress that after virtue was the great or only real good, self-control and independence were the things to have which gave any standing at all. This, on the surface, was moral... so how does the word 'cynic' come to suggest a sneer at morality ? Surely this sounds like like definition by contradiction, by opposites!
It appears that in history the people like this, talking of virtue and so on, came to be most dissatisfied with other people who did not measure up, in their opinion; so they came to become social critics, negative about customs and other people's opinions; contempt for the views of others came to be their image. A harsh and strident note came into this morality emphasis. In the end, the trend was to deny the reality of other people's morality... and they themselves were, come to think of it, people...
Thus cynical comes to mean: having moroseness, contempt for the views of others, for morality.
With this distinction in mind, let us now examine four basic slips of scepticism, using as we proceed:
After all, if all to be known should be the happening of a series of images in your mind, how would you know that ? Is knowing this, itself a series of images ? A series of images, however, doesn't explain, without an interpreter; it rather requires explanation. That of course is where his sceptical theory breaks down. Knowing is not a mere series of images. In particular, happening has no pre-prepared tag saying, this is what I am, why I am happening, what happening really is, how it should be seen by happening evaluators.
It is you a person, a thinker, considering the images and so on ... not teasing them out, but discerning their intent, analysing their portent and so on. If you were not there, apart from the simply describable series of images, neither could this theory about images be there... It is really rather a humorous cut-down version of human nature, this Humian nature, through which Hume humoured his readers, perhaps more especially those who were a little weary of their responsibilities and, shall we say, were happy to forget themselves, even whilst exercising themselves, with his theory. There is gauntness in history; but also fun. This has some of both elements. So then, a series of images does not assess a series of images. It is entirely taken up with its definitional business of being that series of images. A substantive person must be there to do the evaluating, the thinking about what are series of images, and what are other categories, and that simply explodes the whole atomic, serial conception of pure action, with integral cohesion in a surveyor existing to survey what is surveyable... such as a series of images.
All this appears, then rather obvious; but it shows you how far a sceptical attitude can go in various subjects.
As to moral nature, perhaps you can see now that scepticism is going to have an effect on the concept of goodness (*3). If one were sceptical about that, one would be in this respect coming towards the same kind of end as the cynics did. If goodness is not from God, but a matter of little human reactors feeling and wanting and using words like 'good' about what they want, how do they then deceive one another ? Are they mad or merely mentally dead ? The facts of goodness and its power to draw us beyond ourselves, and the opinions of any culture, however vicious, in which we might be, are not explained by mere thoughts of wanting... little atoms of meaningless being. To tell meaning is meaningful! How could what itself is meaningless tell what the meaning is, or will it re-enter the arena, grab the meaning, rush out without acknowledging the visit... The case is far from fantasy. Without it, it is flat self-contradiction to present any meaning, positive or negative; and with it, it is fraud. The ability to deal in meaning implies access to meaning, which must therefore be. Without it, you cannot know; with it, things cannot be meaningless. Universal meaning- meters would have one of the most meaningful tasks, posts and functions, with potential supervisory powers, if action were added to the meter.
To revert, however: if one were sceptical about goodness, one would doubt it, and to stay sceptical about it, one would not accept it, one would continue to reflect on it negatively. Thus the two different words, cynical and sceptical, starting from different bases, end in some ways on inspection, in much the same areas! And that is one of miasma... As noted, in this sort of area, you need to be careful not to define anything, however sacrificial, as selfish, for then you merely use an etymological device to beg the question. While a 'self' is at work, the question is not that obvious fact, but why and how he/she is at work.
While all theories telling us how the mind really works, alleging it is deceiving itself on deterministic principles (see Ch. 4 infra), these make their propounders divorcees alsofrom reality with delusive-type minds, and hence quite systematically unable to advise us on such matters. A simple survey of actions, including one's own, shows the distinction and indeed the desire so many have both for themselves and for others, to see, feel, experience, contribute and execute goodness.
The delusive preoccupations of much psychology in determining the 'data' from self-contradictory theoretical bases is in hilarious contrast to the currently so modish emphasis on 'statistics' and 'raw data'. Such manifest opposites can live apparently without too much consciousness, the one of the other, in many a psychological breast. The reality of virtue may be opaque to many who obsessively dabble with data, unscientifically seeking to conform it by contrast or contradiction indeed to theories; but this is not so to those multiplied thousands who know the meaning of seeking the welfare of another at personal cost, even if, indeed, the cost is one of substitution in penalty with no known return, except the welfare of the one concerned. This may be for duty, love, charity, propriety, seemliness, a sense of responsibility or many other causes. To assume however that it is for one's own pleasure or satisfaction is to fail to distinguish between what is done for oneself and done for another: done with respect to one's fulfilment criteria, and done with respect to one's concern for the fulfilment of others.
One could do it for one or for the other. One's morals within oneself may be altruistic or selfish; but this is not to be determined by the philosophic device of misusing the concept of 'self' as if it were the noun from 'selfish'. (The whole point is that some selves are and some are not selfish in given matters, areas or concerns.)
Christians, for example, do not live for their standards and ideals, but for those of someone called Jesus Christ. While it is hard at times to know who is who, and a cause for concern to find hypocrites, yet Christ provided for this element, saying- "Why do you call me, Lord, Lord and not do the things I say!" and "Many will say to me in that day, in your name, I..." (did this, did that), "but I will profess to them..." in short, that He never knew them. It was an oafish, ludicrous, fraud! It never deceived Him. He looks on the heart (Matthew 7:22-23).
It is of course possible to do things in order to get a reward, in which case it is possible a selfish motivation exists. It is equally possible to appreciate the reward and do the task because of the issue itself, with or without reward. It is quite useless to legislate, using theories of the mind which pre-suppose that there is no absolute standpoint by which truth could be discerned; for that, involving as noted above, the theory itself, and making the proposer blind as others in making it, is a self-destruct entry into the arena. Determining issues in scientific areas by impossibly self- contradictory theories which start by denying the data is amusing, interesting, revealing, but not logical. It is also rather commonplace.
Well then, in the area of Jesus Christ Himself, you will find some will argue that He is nothing but a splendid man and great, wise teacher, and that nothing special in the deepest sense is here.
But one must ask, as we have seen: how could someone be such as this approach takes Christ to be, be this and a great teacher, with the greatest body of literature from His time to now of any ancient figure concerning Him and His teaching, and a body carrying it on in the midst of the civilised world for thousands of years in the broadest scope ? How could He be One performing miracles according to records circulated within living memory of His doing them (Appendix C infra), and this in the most public and repeated manner in central, civilised locations: and yet be wholly insane ? Insane ? Of course, that it is to which we must return on such a basis. He would be so if He were not the Christ.
As C.S. Lewis, Professor at Cambridge University pointed out, if Christ thought He was God when He was not, this would be rather like someone thinking he was a poached egg.
From the first, as in Paul's writings, it was clear He claimed to be the Messiah, the Christ of Scripture (see Ch. 6 infra), predicted for thousands of years to be coming to earth. Now He in fact claimed to be God, as both the contemporary writings and the identikit of prophetic predictions to be fulfilled by any credible Messiah, made clear.
How then could He be a great teacher and a wise, if He made a little mistake in His central concepts ... like imagining He was God, thinking He was God when ... He was not! Did He err a little or did He imagine He had been present before coming to earth in human form, in creating the world... ? Was He wrong in a little trifle like that ? And was He yet a great and wise man and good teacher as is admitted in this approach, as by the vast body of evidence ?
Could you be a wonderful teacher, let us be clear, to enlighten and uplift men and show them life (and this was a major focus), and yet have your own life a tatterdemalion delusion, be insane indeed, thinking you were God when you were not ? not knowing the difference between performing whatever seemed necessary with appropriate power with no exceptions, and the reality! Could you moreover predict the thrust and trend of coming human history and provide detail with marked precision (Ch.'s 8-9 infra) while in such an infantile and pitiable delusion!
Insanity is divorce from reality, and the teaching of Christ is about what Is the nature of reality. A great teacher who is wrong altogether about the life and truth on which He focusses, mixing a fundamental like Man and Maker of man ... this would make lunatics look sound by comparison, in millions of cases! In the circumstances of His own precise depiction of the omnipotence of God and His action, it would make the case of a yet graver dimension.
We have here then, a magnificent expression of the spirit of scepticism. It ignores every variety of fact; it doubts by contradiction; it makes theories unharassed by data; it proposes propositions not merely incredible, but those which make a sound contribution to the world of fantasy ... at its heights!
It can even have a man who is a great teacher about God, yet who does not know the difference between Himself and God, when that difference is, in terms of creature and Creator, by His own standards, not less than infinite. Indeed, He held Himself to be the Son of God, in whom as such one must believe (John 3:16 ff.), and that is precisely why His disjunction between mortal man and eternal God becomes vital in the matter!
This then gives some idea of a major tenor of thought in the phenomenon of scepticism, so often and so well explained in terms of a frantic and desperate desire to escape this man, whom so many do not want to rule over them. As in marriage, it is remarkable the lengths to which some will go... to escape. But here the case is far deeper, transcending marriage. When, therefore, it is a basis of life itself that is in view, and physical divorce is impossible, then delusion sets in (cf. II Thessalonians 2:10).
This occurs in ways which almost beggar the imagination; but which, in terms of the predictions of the Bible, are under the direct and meaningful control of God Himself. It all comes to pass, without exception, as written ... by a realist (*4) if ... a realist is one who sees things as they are! That is the exact contradiction of the theory. That is the only point of precision that it has achieved: an exact contradiction of reality.
Thus, a non-insane Christ has to be really what He claimed; but an insane quasi-Christ is a contradiction of the terms of reference. What then did Christ rightly claim to be His nature ? The nature of the Creator Himself in human form by divine appointment for specified purposes.
While Chapter 6 infra will give more detail, this preliminary coverage looks into burrows of escape from reality, and the matter is cast in this ... subterranean perspective, for our current purpose.
How then is a series one ? How does it perform one task relative to itself ? In mechanical things ? Why! By the purpose and design built into it, by which an integral thought for an integral purpose has a meaningful result, in terms of the integrated machinations of the maker of the machine. The series of events is co-ordinated by the architect, the designer, the thinker; the oneness of the series is derivative from the inaugurating conceptions of its contriver.
But what if you are playing coy with cause ? Why then, if you refuse with irrational charm (perhaps with a dash of existential derring-do, which possibly IS good for the liver but not for the logic), to have a cause for the consequences observable: then there IS no unitary character to the sequences in purpose, meaning or machination. There is not even any machination. Silently go the results, while the causes go to the tombs of elephants, hidden and dying with non-acknowledgement!
There is, quite simply nothing to integrate the series of series of which the orphaned human being would consist. These elbow rubbing, perchance jostling series will be serial for all they are worth, but meaning surpasses even the imagination. They just are. There is no unitary mind to assess; there is no purpose for them to satisfy, no scheme to which to refer them: their existence cannot arise from ontological actuality, to make any judgments, for the simple reason that there would be nothing to judge by.
No, not even happenstances of often-associated-series would rise above what is, to become those principles and perceptions, founded in reality and gifted with articulation, so that what is becomes what is known and what is known becomes an actuality-measurer. You can't get above it by being it. Without access to reality and its self-interpretation, you are a dancing derivative embraced by process, processed by items and constituted by nothing. You are dis-integrated happenings, that happen to occur simultaneously.
But what would it take to be an actuality measurer, to know ?
Such an actuality-measurer must, for the case, be vested with words, a being with a purpose, power and perspective for inspecting sequences - or anything else for that matter - with cognitive overview. From the series, there jumps the saviour who is not a series but a series evaluator, holding the series in an epistemological envelope which has on it the address, the I.D. specifications... of the thing called a series. (Cf. pp. 148 ff. supra, and Chapter 5, Section 1; 3 Section 5; 10, Section 1 and pp. 327 ff., infra.) Alas, on Hume's basis, and on all similar, there is simply no one to write it. As the song has it: who catches me, catches but air!
Just as ideals are not facts in the sense that the latter is what is and the former is what ought to be, so series are not significances. What goes is not how it goes, or why it goes or analysis of what goes or communication concerning what goes.
The first involves a standard of value, which mere existence cannot create, nor a chronological sequence snare. A natural world cannot have the advantage of standards by which to assess it, for it is (by the atheistic hypothesis) all there is. It just is; it has to be left morally alone for there is simply no place from which to touch whatever it is.
Similarly, in the second case just noted, what-is - acting has no place from which its action can be assessed. The play has no critical audience, for all there is, for the atheist, is in these terms, the play itself. It happens.
The hypothetical 'theatre-goer' in this case comes into the situation on a free pass, an irrationally free pass bought from... nowhere, (for there is for them nowhere to buy it), and used by no-one (for no-one can have an integral purpose when series constitutes all). There would have to be: a series-co-ordinator, a series to series-assessor interface, an interface provider, a series assessor, a series reviewer, an interpreter analyst of system or sequence - none of which could simply be series without having these ultra-serial potencies, plenary powers.
Indeed, prescribing what reality is, is not being it; except in the 'case' where it is an all-knowing self-sufficient, being; but this, if men were merely series would be - if it were possible - even more infinitely beyond their condition then, than it already is! hardly a helpful imposture.
If personality were simply a series of series with no intrinsic powers of signification, then its products in the area of theory have all the signification it has: zero. Participation is not understanding and interaction is not review. Such theories therefore destroy themselves. (See Extension 1, pp. 931-943; and pp. 1011-1026 infra.)
Outside it all, we find as a matter of course: personality, the unseen guest for every series assessment, mind, the unseen critic on the unseen platform inspecting beyond the mere motion of passing events, the value and meaning and actualities which these comprise. This it does rightly or wrongly, but very much discriminatingly, and believe it or not, surveying with these discriminations of series and of their very nature... the thing called series! The kaleidoscopic fragments have their character assessable by the personalities which, it is claimed, are in the last analysis, a mere series. Even a series of ideas, however, is not a judgment place for ideas; even a series of thoughts, is not a critical platform for the thoughts.
Happening (*6) is not assessable by happenings, unless the happenings happen to be in a formulated form, and in a congregated unity beyond events which can allocate events in their mental images (rightly) before an entity which is a court of review that can regard both items and motion as visualisable entities, without merely having a full-time occupation of being them. Well then, we might call this exhumian nature, for it is exhumed from Hume, and put into a laboratory assistant's nice modern white coat. But behold, after all this time, it stinketh. It is no more than Humian nature in grave clothes, decidedly not fit for resurrection.
Freedom may become a love, not to say a lust such that people who do not understand or consider its necessary minimal basis may proceed to views hostile no only to their own consistency, but even to common sense, a relative rarity in this area. (As we see and shall see, rebellion is the rationale for this, not stupidity per se.)
The friend of chaos may say, then: Give me events that are causeless, true manly events, not pushed around by etiological sovereignty or anything like that. Give me pure randomness. Like the waves upon the shore, its play thrills my soul. (With apologies to the non-souls which are not allowable on the atheistic premise of series.)
What then ? Do these random items have qualities or not ? If not, they are not definable, for as soon as you would assign anything to them, it is by definition not assignable. How then define them ? They are wholly uncharacterisable, unspeakable, and undefinable. What is the good of such a schema, where its heroes cannot so much as be verbalised and defined! (Cf. p. 30 supra.)
Ah, but you say we will have something there. Let them, behold, be characterisable thus and so: but then you are in ruins for your own premises. No more are they so random. They have qualities. But should they operate in terms of these, or not in terms of them ? In terms, since they are asserted. Then: they are not random...
Randomness is simply the name we assign for something of which we do not know the purpose, or which does not have an integral relation to some purpose which we devise or desire. If however we wish to advance to the concept of no causal activity at this level, we run into the squalls of our solipsisms as noted, and are driven by the kindly wind of reason back to meaningful assertions.
If then we see an etiologically competent material system (of course it is only a theory of our minds, they are what we know at the more primary level, and if they were invalid, any theory of matter would be doubly so - materialism is, in all charity, an idiotic (*7) hypothesis): we look for its systematiser. There we have nothing programmed, for that requires a programmer. In the last analysis however, there has to be a being whose existence is not dependent on the assignment of a constitution, the conferment of a character, the creation of a duality.
It has to be self-existent, a simple logical possibility which, as we have seen, is the only one left. Eternal existence of non-self-sufficient, character-imparted beings: this simply ignores causality, is anti-mind, yet while being a theory made by mind, constitutes a contradiction of the validity of its own basis. If now you remove the ground on which you stand, then of course you fall... Eternal self-existence of the One who is self-sufficient, unlike matter with its limitations and its enduements which it does not create, ignores nothing. It covers everything. Thus this unprogrammed being is the very place and platform of freedom. Our existence will have freedom, precisely as we relate either existentially, or morally, or intellectually, or spiritually to the unprogrammed.
Determinism creates the need for the determiner, and this creates the necessity of His freedom in the last analysis, as argued; and this creates the reality of freedom in the system as and because he is not bound to it or by it. Determinism (of the material universe) requires freedom (of its ultimate etiological originator, the One who caused it) and confers freedom on its potential.
Freedom has its place and God is the Father of it. Looking for it lurking in statistics, or matter, is a futile errand, like that of biological evolutionists rocking the cradle of life and hoping thereby to evolve further children. Neither can freedom nor can creation be found simply by looking at what is: to be found is the One who made it, who provides what ought to be, and thus what might be, and with both, at creation, what was to be with the built-in, internal adaptive powers normal to many complex designs, and part of them.
They do not however re-design themselves! We do not see it nor do we find laws to enshrine it nor, for that matter do we read it. In fact, what we do read sings with delightful brevity and pith: "It is by faith that we understand that the world was created by the Word of God, so that the things that we see did not evolve out of existing matter" (i.e. gain their being, thus - Norlie translation of Hebrews 11:3.)
Reason is the pointer; and revelation is its confirmation; transcending it, it meets it in the way, rejoicing. To be sure, sin defiles reason; but purified by reality, reason has no other place or reward but God - any more than does anything else in this, His image, which God has appointed us to bear. It is in fact this fact which with all the others, constantly yodels to yawing man.
And what are some of the consequences ? Let us list them. Indecision in fear; guilt in retrospect; the disposability of the will (*8), quivering in uncertain prospect with dimly discerned residues of godly principles; shame in guilt; roving adventure over centuries of thought, spectra of ideologies and values, and selection therefrom with a sense sometimes of vacuity, of what one will have or adopt; denial of freedom without ceasing to condemn either oneself or others with that practical zest which attests our own experience and makes mockery of the pagan theory and indeed of the theorist who, Communist-like, proceeds to use and apply the freedom denied with excessive liberties, while repudiating its base... the list could go on.
These, rather than total insanity, are some of the consequences.
Consequences of what ? Of divorce from God, the Father of freedom, whose wholly unprogrammed, and systematically unprogrammable essence and nature, in itself is the only guide to freedom, ground for freedom and rationale which will suffer one to be or to become other than what one is, and so be free. (See in this work: pp. 188-201, 423-453, 482-498, 1137, Appendix B infra; pp. 19-36.)
Having freedom because of God (whose nature is not constituted by any other, and who is self-sufficient and necessarily so, as not a mere component of any system): WE may reject Him. But if we receive Him on His terms, through the appointed Jesus Christ, then we may have freedom in Him: that is, a power to seek Him and to be devoted to Him and to wait upon Him, and to use what He provides. We are never merely automated: this Christ being not only sent, but exclusively and exquisitely, appointed, as having life-in-Himself (John 5:19-27), the very expression of God Himself. Rather, when we are Christ's, we are rightly directed whilst still gifted with vast areas of responsibility: for the spiritual image of God in which we were created is by Him restored, not quashed.
Then, God being entirely free, in Him, we have freedom limited by His total freedom, but vast indeed as derived from His... it is like the freedom for a young person in his father's house, or on his father's property; not absolute, but where there is love, entirely considerable, and able to be most challenging. God, moreover is so great, that freedom on His plan, and in His presence, is more enthralling than the scheming little pettiness of the thrust and lust of evacuees from God, ignoring their design as also their Designer, confusedly assertive of they know not what, stricken and stunted in stature, by growing in an autonomy they do not, in fact, possess: mythical lives. It is not least for this reason that many people who become mad have odd lucidities, as if they broke from some of their follies, and momentarily saw this, before sinking under the next set.
Let us then revert to the consideration and conceptualisation of freedom in God, and what it entails.
It is in these areas that originality can arise, as image-bearers of God exert their creativity. Then imagination can pour out its extravaganzas in the person-beyond-programming that God has made: man. Programs in man may be proffered and in some aspects, such as certain biological ones, be present; but the specific power to proceed in the desired dimension and setting is freedom indeed; and to this many programs as well as the entirety whose formation is beyond all mortal genius, minister to the spirit of man, like a sports car to the young blood. It is not necessary to use it badly, despite the slants of the news, the libertine tolerance of much in the education system and the confusion of loveliness for licence which so hypnotises many of the decayed, disillusioned and dissipated.
The testimony of practice links hand-in-hand with the fruits of reason, and the gifts of revelation, by which man may become in fact a child of God. Such practical considerations in Christian living are one of the major stresses of that notable survivor of the German concentration camp horrors, Corrie ten Boom, who took decades after the war, showing the life and inviting to it, the life of freedom that loves, forgives, understands and is converted... to Christ, the exclusive way to God; who, after all, is not indifferent as to where He may be found. He is found where He is!
Indeed, like so many sicknesses, that of Macbeth - we might almost call it 'Macbethitis'- this falling into the irrationalism and meaninglessness, is itself not without meaning. It has modern counterparts or representatives, as a movement: some are explicit, some implicit. Some embrace it, whilst others think to kiss the vacuous mouth, unaware it is but a corpse of their own creation. (Contrast Psalm 1:6, 2:12.)
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