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THE PLACE OF SURVIVAL
AND ITS SILLINESS
IN THE LIGHT OF LIFE
AND ITS GLORIOUS WONDER
The concept of survival has become a sacred cow. It is to be protected in case it does not survive.
The arrival of survival is not hard to find: people kill for it, lie for it, strive for it, hope for it and so forth; and Christ died to avoid it.
True, He was resurrected, but He still had to face death. Death is deletive. Resurrection is supernaturally profound, allied to creation, with the added constraint that it must be in the same format.
Who wants to survive ? Every Tom, Dick and Harry of self-importance, self-centrality, conceit and lust.
Who else ? Those who have a job to do and want it done.
Who else ? Those who love life and want it at any cost as it is.
Who else ? People who lack the knowledge of eternal life and so cling to this like weasels.
Why ? Fear of death, love of pleasure, desire to have a content from this world as long as possible, efforts to cram in what can be squeezed to fit before exit and the like.
Does the creation show this at a natural level ? Often it does, but mothers often do not, when the priority of the offspring is at stake, and many creatures succour others in various ways, sometimes in extraordinary ways; and dogs of course can protect their masters, at times, as any cost.
Romans 8:17ff., and 5:1ff. with Genesis 3 show why creation has this side. Man has this side too.
It is called 'the flesh' and in Paul's exposition found in Galatians 5, we learn that it strives with the spirit and vice versa.
Who admires the bullying, goading, self-protecting, lie as necessary, forsake as required kind of person ? Perhaps some do, but nobility of conscience, loyalty of heart, truthfulness of utterance, courage for what is found good, willingness to secure advance in knowledge and in reliability, these things tend always to incite admiration, if not conformity on the part of admirers, to emulation of such deeds, attitude and spirit.
What is to obtained by lying and grabbing and surviving at all costs ? It depends. It may be a ruined heart, a despicable conscience, a bruised spirit and a damaged condition of psyche. It may be a million dollars worth of purchasing power which will not change the purchaser, though it may alter certain of his or her experiences.
Does survival make a better man ? Hardly. It merely means that someone continues a little bit longer. Can it make, as an aim, a worse one ? Of course this is so, since the PRIORITY becomes the same as a derogation of nobility, faithfulness, truth and peaceableness, understanding or anything else that gets in the way. It sharpens the wits ? Perhaps it might do this, but no more than would be the case of the mother seeking to deliver her child: AIM is what tends to sharpen, and aim in accordance with our created nature, this works better since there is less friction, and more cohesion in the inward being.
Does the survival of an empire make it better ? Often it makes it worse, as with Rome and perhaps Britain, which had first Gilbert and Sullivan to lampoon weaknesses and then Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister to do the same at a later date. Were these things warranted ? They selected weaknesses and gloried in them (that is, delighted in showing how weak they were). Is self-derogation good for survival ? It may be: it depends on the spirit of the thing. If it is a debased cynicism without hope, it may do the opposite. If it is a sober challenge, couched in artifacts of comedy, it may remedy some things. It takes more, in man, to change the heart. Recently one met a young man decrying his inability to change his heart. This is of course true, though you may redistribute it; but God can change it.
Jeremiah 13 and Titus 3 speak on this topic.
"Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots?
Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil."
"But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior
toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness
which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration
and renewing of the Holy Spirit,
whom He poured out on us abundantly
through Jesus Christ our Savior,
that having been justified by His grace
we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life."
Man can neither make man nor remake him. God does both: or more accurately, DID the former and DOES the latter.
Why bother surviving by lying or being unfaithful or in servitude to some oddment or item without goodness, when eternal life is yours anyway, if you belong to the family of the Creator, via the Redeemer! Life without eternity is not worthy anything for man for the very simple reason that this is not what he is made for.
Hence he is either drab or diffident or disaster prone (dim-wits flowing from dimmed aim) or bellicose or animatedly irrelevant, or any other thing which is found to be a substitute for worthiness and understanding of life and its motif. A motive which reflects life's motif is getting nearer the point; but what is such a motif ?
In man, there is something beyond death: it is the nature of life. If you live to avoid death (surviving satisfactorily, even A grading for survival may be obtainable from some source or other), then the motive does not reflect the motif of life. It makes life worth nothing, a mere continuation for the sake of continuation, not of the nature of what life is. That is then prostituted; and although some like this sort of thing, it is unrealistic, ungrateful, unbecoming, unfruitful and finishes in ashes, because the fire of life has been flickering in vain.
Survival may continue your life in ageing flesh a little longer; but it does not CREATE LIFE or any part of it.
That is the supremely obvious, empirically factual, information-wise manifest fact. Staying there does not make inventions and brilliance and creations. It IS a creation and it stays put for a little. To imagine that this is a recipe for making life is like imagining that sitting at a desk in an examination long enough and engaging in automatic writing betimes will produce a first-rate essay. In this case, indeed, it would be better than anything that could be contrived by any man at any time, for no man can 'write' man, or invent his DNA; nor did any man do so. What it took to invent was an inventor; what it takes to create is a creator; and the dimensions of the dynamic and deliverance required are proportional to the consequences in output, product and its elevation or lack of it, in style, in facilities, in cohesion and competence as one whole (whatever that may be), and in its functionality (in other words, its non-dudness).
It is useless to ask nothing to serve in this role, since there is nothing to nothing, not even a future. Start with this alone and you end with it; contrary to fact.
It is useless to ask some one aspect of this or that to serve in this Creator role, since each aspect, itemisable or other, has its qualities, its qualifications for mentality and conception and concord of considerations to be selectively chosen and constructed into something or other that is integral and has some purpose of desire. A page does not write; ink is not an recipient imprint agency. Things are what they are. Endeavouring to invest matter with mind is like Midsummer Night's Dream when an ass is invested with lovability because of something put into the eye of the beholder. It was a dope. What else would induce such madness!
It was a mistake, a mischief. It is the same with evolutionism. Something seems to be put in the eye of the beholder of the drab little items of matter (brilliant in conception in order to be so usable of course), to let it imagine a capacity to produce the mentality which is needed to make conceptions and apply them coherently. It is blurred vision, perhaps creative vision; but creative fantasy. You need more than fantasy to get organised fact.
Matter just does not empirically do it; it can never show it, not even the institution of new information without intelligence*. Why ? It is because it does not reveal a capacity to engage in that line, the organs or the functionalities which belong to that realm. It neither does it nor shows means. What it DOES show is something different, capacity to be organised and to react in prescribed fashions in its own level. If it is programmed, the program makes the difference, a work of intelligence organising in the realm of whoever made the program. Instead of investing itself into realms where it shows no capacity, it is being moved about by forces and features in accord with whatever system is accorded it.
Again, mentality is not an offspring in conceptual formulation, of what merely acts in terms of discernible and to some extent observable laws. It is one thing to think them up; another to have to carry them out. The two being not the same, and elementally diverse, their confusion is not a work of art, but of artifice. Endeavouring to make concepts which OCCUR in symbolic code and are APPLICABLE, so that their material milieu becomes the SOURCE of concepts and imaginations and will is like imagining that a computer which has concepts inbuilt into effectuating media, is able to invent computers. It is better to be realistic.
It is the same with man's spirit. Making matter imagine the concepts and artifices and organisation and cohesion and mini-motors and maxi-results through magnificent miniaturisation of code and means is like asking a babe in the womb to write a thesis on mechanics because things in which it is involved involve certain principles of mechanics. From science and its methods, nothing could be further removed. Means, methods, principles, germaneness, germinal capacity, all are missing. Mind can tidy up the consequences of spirit's directive, but spirit itself must give those directives from the overview of thought and the institution of purpose.
There is much in man; ignoring it is like ignoring anything else in science: its antithesis.
Similarly, when one comes to surviving: it is better to be realistic. WHAT is surviving is what has been created. It is a creative creature, this man; and when it seeks to survive, if it denies the nature of what it is, in order to do so, it is simply sick. There is no grandeur in violating what you are. This is only the worse, when you do not have the power to make something elementally better, but are marvellously equipped with the facility to make it worse, or other items, men or women or children, worse as you survive.
WHY survive ? There is only one rational answer, short of suicide because of presumption, without knowledge, or in rebellion or spleen. It is in order to be what one is made to be. But you say, Is it so simple ?
Literally yes, but in depth no. We are, as a matter of fact, as demonstrated in SMR, for example, made by God for God. One can think of nothing better than freely loving and following Him, so wise and so great, so kind and so sacrificially exhibited through Jesus Christ, in life, in death and in resurrection: as shown in the Bible there demonstrated to be of God. It is He of whom God spoke so much before He came, who did precisely as attested WHEN He came; and it is from Him whose powers were such that nothing inhibited them, that the purposes of God for man have been minutely shown (Hebrews 1), expressing once and for all the very nature and character of God.
In need of nothing (for there are no limits), having all He wants, His is to give, whether goodness or discipline, and to create, and to judge as occasion requires. It is useless to play God, since we do not have either the knowledge or the power: children with keys to the car is always unacceptable.
It is necessary to co-operate or ruin life. Why NOT co-operate ? If it is in order to be God, this is impossible, as that on which all depends, without whom nothing would exist, who is eternal for the same reason, and without limit. Time IS a limit, an imposition, a necessity to wait. Indeed, it is BECAUSE OF HIM, we are very much equipped with limits, including power to select birth and death time, except in the latter case by default. The effects of power are not only to produce it, but to delimit it in creation by will.
If the reason why co-operation is put after survival as a motive is this, that one trusts in oneself more than in God, this is not rational. People can go mad without notice, die without a letter of warning, be smitten with spiritual, moral, intellectual and physical reminder notices of the folly of self-elevation continually. Why wait until you get one ? It is better to consider ahead.
Why not co-operate with the God who did it ? Did what ? Made you, created you by power and thought and conception and inceptions and novelty-making, and provided you with a spirit to rebel or love, a conscience to follow or bruise, and a heart to desire good or evil. To be sure, it is tainted now, but that is all the more reason to trust in the God who, having made it, knows how to untaint it.
But does He desire this ? Is the Creator one who makes mistakes and throws these into a terrestrial rubbish tin ?
That is not even possible, since this would require that He is bound to time, and does not know what it will do, whereas time is a creation, because it is a limit, so that you have to wait for it; but He has no limits. It is man, alas for the ego-centric, who makes mistakes. His biggest one was to leave the ways of God (Romans 1), and the improved version of that (qua mistake that is), is to refuse to come back.
Love provides first of all life. It is a gift. It is a gracious gift for man since it enables man to rove in thought in the domain of Creator and understanding and options. It provides secondly a remedy, so that the gift of such eminence that it can even at will decide to spoil itself (spoilt people often do, as they are never satisfied, and dissatisfaction with what you are can lead readily to defilement of its virtues, character and courage), able to be overcome in its entry into fallacies and follies, can be restored to acceptable and operational order and felicity.
While this is possible for such a Being as the Almighty, it is only from His SAYING so that His willingness can assuredly be known. Part of life is the facility to read. To be sure, it is an optional thing, and it has facilities inbuilt to enable a meaningful use of resources in acquiring this gift in operation; but without its programmatic and personal base, no amount of raw energy would bring up the relevant equipment. Man can read a book. He can survey many books. He can even read books about God. He can indeed readily differentiate between books about God and any book with a claim to be from Him.
Nothing is more probable than finding one. Man is filled with specifications, almost a veritable walking word book (as notably and often emphasised in terms of 1000 encyclopedic volumes of INFORMATION being inscribed in magnificent miniaturisation in each nucleated human cell). He then has facility to ACQUIRE CAPACITY, from inbuilt potential (like cars adaptable to the modes of the driver by computer) to make codes of his own, to speak language. Indeed and more, he can also make codes for machines, and give vocal orders to workers and in an entrepreneurial fashion, create factories on mineral sites and with various styles of codes, concepts, commands and speech, orders and organisation, with much labour get desired results (within limits).
Man is used to such things. He makes them. He has limits. He himself is well below these limits when it comes to making things: he himself is not one of the things he can make.
This is largely because - apart from knowledge and techniques which progress somewhat - he is a free spirit in his ultimate nature. This must be qualified at once. He WAS free, but by evacuation from his Maker, he has lost certain freedoms, such as knowing the point and purpose of his life, and the nature of his destiny. This leads to endless seeming disease, and not all of it ends in the asylums (the word is not so bad, as they may want an asylum from life). It leads to quests for purpose which some mistake for ego-centric, or race-centric, or class-centric, or nation-centric ('in our nation's interest...'), or earth-centric, or nature-centric, or will-centric efforts, and so spoil things by their superficiality, and non-factuality; for none of these things is either the centre or the ground of the universe, far less of man. They are components within it, not grounds specified for it.
Secondly, man has another limit: he is not even a god. How is this so ? He cannot regulate his life and death entry and ETA at judgment. He is limited by a bullet in some cases, a swipe of a knife in others. It is ludicrous to make himself great; but he has an enormous desire to do so, apparently derived not least from a compensation action, since as a race, he has left the One who IS great and so he likes to have the sunset of this phenomenon, in imagination. Hence he invents silly theories which cause wars both for their own sake, and in combat with each other, personal, pragmatic, diplomatic, militaristic, nationalistic, propositions of pride given guns, envying, vying, conniving in a disgusting and worthless pattern of assertions with assiduity but no clarity, urbanity perhaps but no charity, often with passionate folly but no pity.
If some resist, it is because there is much to resist, to protect against such wild ferocities of mind in -isms, or limb.
Is life to be exploited, given tenure as far as possible, then, at any cost, for this type of delusion ? Some might think so by ignoring the cause of it all. Made by One competent causally, man is incomplete without Him, since he is able to think about it all, but this in thrall to incompletion, and that partly initially, through not returning to the God who made him, and doing so with penitence and remorse; for there is needed a certin self-humbling into realism and repentance for whatever follies have replaced the due and necessary knowledge of God (Luke 13:1ff., Isaiah 53:1-6).
Man, in general, one was noting, can read. God can write.
Man can test. God has enabled it and asks man to perform this role (Isaiah 41, 43-45, 58). One book only is available in the domain of representing itself as the word and words of God, subject to extensive checking, testing, gauging and estimation by reason. That is the Bible*1. If this is followed, the form, formula... yes, rather the information therein, necessary for finding what man is to be and to do, man who in his own cells filled to magnificent extent with information allowing him to have a neurological base for storing information sought by his spirit: then there are indeed results. Just as the Bible is uniquely confirmed, so what is confirmed exceeds human capacity categorically.
It is at the level of regality.
Just as the aeronautical abilities of sea-gulls are glorious in their liberty in the winds, exceeding mere flying, or the beauties of colour and form composition of all but innumerable birds leaves one almost breathless at the sheer variety and munificence of its aesthetic wonder: so both the splendour of heart and sovereignty of verifiableinformation shown in the Bible leave one in unfiltered delight. It is so fine to have something go at its own level, when good; and to have God act at His level of infinite understanding, this with the nature of His lovingkindness, and depth, and to do that by word and deed in Christ, and not only before Him to lead the way, but after Him, to confirm it: this leaves even the glory of oceanic grandeur and Alpine loveliness far below.
Just as it has led in a combination of prophecy and actuality to Jesus Christ, so it leads onto His return, covering the contingencies, evacuating error and confirming the way.
In this, God attests - as He not only tells us but has shown us - His love for us, despite our excellent antics for the crown of the unlovable. Moreover, He provides a formula ? once again, more than this, but not less than information.
He gives a guarantee that LIFE, instead of surviving as an aim, can be found in its intrinsic greatness and beauty, in restoration to Himself and His ways, made available by His own meeting judgment and justice.
In this, He has given no mere remission because of feeling, but only because of fact. He did not forsake His own creation, as if He did not know, or needed some kind of satisfaction; He kept it and gave it opportunity amidst its judgments. That is precisely why it is still lhere. But the case is far deeper than that.
The long prepared opportunity (Galatians 4:4, cf. Highway of Holiness Ch. 4, Christ the Citadel ... Ch. 2) involved cost, replete and complete, and God paid. This has led, as predicted a millenium before He paid at Calvary, to the Gospel as defined in further detail in Isaiah and Zechariah, Hosea, the Psalms and others. As foretold, this Gospel has come and spread throughout the world capturing even kings; and history, as predicted, it has gone.
The glory of God is vindicated by both His words and His works, including history in His foreknowledge and proof of that fact, in this: that no single event is ever able to escape His wise disposition, and so spoil His precise predictions over the millenia in which He has been making them on things near and far in time.
In this, He has not been denying to man the power of evil, but organising how it impacts with a precision which nothing has shaken, does shake or can shake. It is indeed time to return to the realities of spirit, of the Spirit of God, the source of our own spirits, bodies and minds, by which spirits indeed we gather thoughts and desires, and erroneously or otherwise, seek to establish a liberty which only sin limits, apart from the delimitation of our beings, as men and not gods. Biblically the scope is provided; and to be a child of this, our God, it is a privilege and a joy beyond all estimation (cf. I Peter 1:5ff.).
These realities, they can be grossly ignored, hated or even verbally scarified by ignorant assault, that man may feel a variety of smug verbal satisfaction as he destroys himself (cf. Hosea 11:9, translation Keil, "You have destroyed yourself, but your hope is in me."). Yet the demonstration provided stands*1. That too, it is as made clear in Romans 1:17ff., II Corinthians 10:5, I Peter 3:21 and Luke 1. What God states about His word, is found true of His word, even in this! He states the standard (cf. Amos 3:7 to Israel) and THEN KEEPS TO IT!
For the rest: Dreams may not die young, but they die bereft without the food of reality.
The biblical fact is the death of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, as a punitive offering, a vicarious sacrifice, an exemplification and intimation both, of the reality of justice and truth, so that man might be received back not in a leisurely manner, but at cost to reality, now paid. With this is the provision as in Titus 2-3, from the kindness of God, for His creation to be given a re-creation within, for the past one is both soiled and spoiled.
In this, survival is not an issue: eternal life survives.
Life is and always has been a gift, of words, or programs, of mentality and especially of spirit. All desire to contradict and rebel, lie and speak nobly, love and delight in mercy, it comes through the spirit of a man. Degradation, debasement, silly substitutes for spirit, idol prevarications for non-peace, bases of war, on truth, on each other, these too have been manufactured by man; and penalties have been less than extinction, richly deserved. Now, increasingly obviously, it lies at least superficially within the power of man to secure for his race what hitherto he has kept to his enemies, national or other! That too was foretold by Christ (Matthew 24:22).
It is not something astonishing but the result of an experiment (as you could call it, if it were not for the fact that God knows the answer).. Yet it IS one marked for the powers of this world and of discontent, and its results for all creation, coming with experimental force! which the goodness of God mitigates not a little (cf. Ezekiel 20). The power given to human life includes, by its perversion, the power to destroy it. The power of God, by its grandeur, of the Creator, includes that to make it again, spiritually and in body. It is there, and cannot be shunted, but may be ignored.
It is revival which is to the point. No more will there be, when the Lord returns (cf. Isaiah 11, Acts 1, 3:19ff., Micah 7, Zechariah 14:5, II Thessalonians 1-2, Psalm 72, Isaiah 65), this infatuated madness of man in seeking to make bits of things his Creator, nature-worship, or to make himself, viewed as a product in bits of things, from bits of things, so sacred that it MUST survive. The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God as the waters cover the sea. Then it is to go (Habakkuk 2:14, Matthew 24:35). It is better so (II Peter 3:10ff.). Righteousness is the very foundation of the throne of God (Psalm 89), and mercy going before His face, snatches whom it may, from the upheavals of sin.
When these tides are past, what then ?
Reality resumes. God is the ultimate and creating reality, eternally as He is, and service of His majesty is the ultimate in loyalty and wisdom. As He hates dictatorial actions, so He does not SEIZE man, but invites. He gave life; in Christ He gave His own; he invites to life, and when this invitation is followed to its heart in the salvation of Jesus Christ, then this too is a gift, one of infinite value. It is a gift by grace to the race, but it is required to be received. Love is like that. A new heavens and a new earth (II Peter 3, Revelation 20-21) is a bounty, just as was the incarnation and resurrection. God is liberal.
To be sure He knows what He is doing and His battle plan, excruciatingly agonising as it has been in cost, is quite clear. He even knows who are His; but this reality has to be balanced in mind, by the fact that He has FOREKNOWN them and ENSURED that none is missed: for in His love that He MIGHT bring all back, He has ensured that those to be brought back DO COME (cf. John 1:12, Ephesians 1:4). Hell is not available to those who receive His life, spiritual and final (cf. I John 1:1-4, 5:11-12); and survival there without HIM, is not to be desired! The gift of God is the unsearchable riches to be found in sharing in His wisdom and knowledge, vitality and strength, creativity and wonder in His Eternal Word, Jesus Christ. There He wrought the incarnation.
In Him are all the riches of wisdom and knowledge. His people, sheep of His hand, knowing Him have access as needed, whether to cure or compassion, deliverance or patience, understanding or might, guidance or grace; and in His presence, His people are made, as is a sculpture, by patient perseverance on a base now made sound (II Corinthians 3:18)
If you want life, not survival of virtual death (a sort of virtual image of life), then it is there.
See also: LIFE, WHAT IS IT ?
and WHAT IS LIFE FOR ?
1) The Meaning of Liberty and the Message of Remedy
2) The gods of naturalism have no go!
3) SMR, TMR,
4) Deity and Design ...,
5) LIGHT DWELLS WITH THE LORD'S CHRIST
WHO ANSWERS RIDDLES
AND WHERE HE IS, DARKNESS DEPARTS.
See also Ch. 6 above, *3.