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BULLETIN FIFTY TWO
Many Phases and Features
Governance of God,
Freedom and Faith, Love and Mercy,
History and Destiny
Predestination is a harbour; foreknowledge is shipping lanes; faith is seeing them: for they are there. Today, we want to see predestination alive in its surrounding terms, conveying a broader perspective than mere specialisation.
Take a heart attack in analogy. There is one heart. It may stop beating, or beat far too fast, or be turgid. Because, when it fails, there is a result of great magnitude for the living body, the heart is at once in focus in the mind. But there are many ancillary features, all of which work, like the oil lines to the engine, or the battery in a car. Many features may have one result, but there is a large contributing framework of events and functions, which can only foolishly be ignored.
Thus there is the arterial condition, that of the electrical stimulus which generates rate of heart beat, and may become disruptive or dispersive when misgoverned, as it often is as the decrepitude of the body advances. There is even the firmness of resolve, for flights of fear and unintelligent reaction may complicate things likewise.
So with predestination. Not only is there the question of its absolute installation by the God of order and knowledge, who knows before it comes, what is to be (Isaiah 46:8 -10), but there is the wisdom of Him who acts according to His own "PURPOSE", even that of Him who "works all things after the counsel of His own will," Ephesians 1:11, and makes a point of high impact repeatedly of that fact.
Moreover, not only is there the relationship of foreknowledge, logically first in order (cf. Romans 9:29ff.), to it and its eventual application, but there are other questions, which have been shown in former features of our 6 volume work on Predestination and Freewill and adjoining themes.
WHY is predestination wrought ?,
HOW is predestination originated, by what means does
the Almighty make it as it is,
concerning whom it touches, as it does ?
WHAT is the nature of the God whose work it is ?
WHAT does the Bible have to say on all these issues ?
for though freedom is a vast marvel which God
invented for man,
from His own as basis, when He made man in His own image,
yet there are issues in its exercise which need biblical definition.
All this has been done, but the present Chapter or Bulletin, concerns a further question.
It is this. What correlatives, deeply involved or surrounding issues are there ? These need to be collared, and not allowed to disappear from the horizon of thought and biblical investigation, like a student who has moved away from things, who yet has something to contribute and work to do.
CONSIDERING RELEVANT THEMES
What effect does this certain knowledge of the outcome of all evangelisation have on the motivation of missionaries ? It depends on the man, of course, but in outline there are numbers of features; and this topic too has been considered earlier, in Bulletin 47. To my own mind, the fact that GOD will be honoured by having HIS love shown in my action is paramount, His glory being my major topic and theme and desire, because it IS so magnificent, and is that of my heavenly Father, who has nothing even remotely comparable, in His triune wonder, in heaven or on earth.
Missionary work of ANY kind, evangelising, glorifying God, making His Gospel clear and applying it, teaching His word, enabling understanding of it, all such endeavours have a force their own, a motivation beyond all normal incentives, and are wedded to fact, which never varies from its endorsement, though petty rebellions occur frequently, as this or that subject temporarily loses its head, and goes off like Darwin or Marx or Freud, into some human reductionism or other*1, centring all in the end, simply on a combination of nothing, the ultimate resource of the ungodly, and begging the question. This is habitually wedded to it, without apology, and made a resource in its own right; but logically it is simply invalid. Questions rationally have to be answered, not made a subject of begging. You have to search for what is there, not beg it like an irrational profligate, long unaccustomed to work.
GOD WORKS AT MANY LEVELS (as does a mechanic on a Boeing, for example), and it is well to associate what fits together in one.
The work of God sings, as in the current voyages of investigation of the genome, which have followed the investigations of the gene, and the appalling rubbish that has been taught about self-inventing order and power and system and communication and logic, in a flurry of folly which will ever demean the twentieth century in its callow modes and moods. It is not that all were involved; but many.
The exhibition of the seriously dangerous genetic entropy, in terms of which successive generations, instead of advancing, are declining as things normally do after manufacture, over time, merely adds lustre to the unloveliness of the fraud of advance to enhance, when the information has NEVER ONCE been seen so much as making itself in self-manufacturing DNA. The experimental work of Dr J.C. Sanford as exhibited in his Genetic Entropy (now in its fourth edition), has crystallised what was long pondered but slowly realised, as in the case of Stephen Jay Gould, who in his book, Wonderful Life, (pp. 49, 99, 227-234, 209, 260) shared with us his mystification concerning the problem of both the extreme and sudden implementation of design proliferation in the 'Cambrian', and the large LOSS of basic designs in living things since that time, and wondered "in heaven's name" what was going on!
His horror of sudden, unintroduced impact prodigies of design types arriving in abundance, as in the Cambrian, is matched by that for decreasing design types over time, in one pregnant page. Though he does not seem happy to admit it, Darwin is shown simply wrong about method, and his grinding efforts to hypothesise do not conform to clear and precisely opposite fact! That is one of Gould's contentions based on evidence, and it is his willingness to think somewhat, instead of parrot, which helps to make him indeed a leading biological exponent.
How troubled he was! How came so much so soon, losing over time, and not gaining, much of the variety, and why: and how so very much stayed, of no observable, particular superiority amongst competitors! he wryly muses. Why decrease, not increase, of designs overall after the first explosion, why the explosion and why sudden impact of maximum diversity ? The theory calls for the opposite (the oddity becoming slowly the generality). The answers are simple: the WAY they come is by creation, like his own book, and the way they go is by the Second Law of Thermodynamics, with its emphasis on observable and testable entropy.
Creation normally involves much, with some pruning, or prodigies of action (as in Handel's Messiah), followed by a very different process, once the thing is done. Creation arrives from creative power, such as rests in man, though limited, and in his Founder, who being not limited, does act with prodigies very readily, whether of creation or despatch, whose patience is not to be confused with inertia. Creation was rather active! It is attested in the now suspended flow of vast DNA. As Genesis declared, His word of creation came, and then it finished; and that was that (Genesis 2:1ff.). As empirical science showed, the DNA came and stopped in its magnificent outpouring. This is biblical verification; and of the fantasy theory, it is refutation. Refuted theories should not be, but in this land are slavishly taught in schools, in this arena. It is indoctrination no less than in the case of the child-moulding Nazis. It is the principle that is wrong, before the material; and both fail, yet are held up!
Thus the truth, with clear and unmatched testimonies on all sides*2, is a vast impellent for those who tell of the Gospel of the grace of the Creator, as is the divine grace, and mercy, and the plight and the lively peril of many lapsing from reality into fairy tales, while harassing those who teach the truth: it is motivation to mission, evangelise, bring peace in the Lord; and the fact that His is personal thought, understood and formulated and of the stuff of understanding, and that in truth this God has promoted pardon and peace and wisdom and mercy, with an enthralling love for His people: this makes motivation to display these facts, yet more intense.
Motivation for missionaries includes the superb privilege of acquainting people with the nature of the world and reality in which they are involved, its source, its sequences and its meaning, its end and its beginning, so that they should not rely on it, which passes, but on the God who made it, and find in Him rest and reality and wonder and joy in all truth, instead of being conned into violence and confusion or languid vagueness.
Indeed, the knowledge that MANY WILL come to Him, and that the devil is an old artificer of barren hope in grabbing what God has made for oneself and others, from whom they need deliverance: this enters into the parallel systematics, if you will, of matters concerning freedom, predestination, its certainty and the MOTIVATION of missionaries. Predestination in this respect is propellant! and foreknowledge is like cream on strawberries, because of its infinite intimacy, and the results ? Ah, to consider that in His kingdom there will be NO careful self-promotion, forwarding of conformism because it simply pleases those in power, often improperly, no lying, no evil, no deceit! These two are propellants to lead one the more vigorously to seek in mission to exalt Jesus Christ.
Among then the surrounds, the environment of items and terms surrounding predestination and freewill for man (whose sinful failings to value God, the Lord readily overcomes as noted so often earlier - I Cor. 2:14, Hebrews 4 and 6, being well able to rescue from any state, and penetrate to the truth in His own perception, according to His word), there are varied features which ramify in many directions. Beautiful for simplicity, and pregnant with deep meaning is so much, so often, that it is necessary continually to refer all thoughts to the Bible, for vetting and considering in terms of its uniquely rational coverage of these issues. An excellent example is found in John 15, in the incident in which the FACT that Christ had performed in word and deed, wonders which the world had never before so much as seen, definitive of deity, directive of thought, welling with wisdom, staggering in physical and physiological power, in things simple or deep, is made critical.
In such cases, there is the ultimate and the intimate. Thus God from the first, before sin or sluggishness, foreknew His own; but in practical events, He penetrates to any level, dependent on none, aware of all, and His love is thus applied without skewing, ignorance or deviation, without degenerating into force.
How is this illustrated ?
Take John 15:21ff.. Christ's ways and works, and His words and wisdom were alike by that time on show and well known, and in particular to those of whom He here spoke. IF they had not heard and seen such things, those in view, as these, then they would be "without sin," (relevant to the case), but now, because they had not merely heard and seen them, but not taken them to faith in Christ, the anointed, appointed, predicted, arriving-on-time Messiah (Christ the Citadel Ch. 2, Isaiah 7, 9, 11, 22, 32, 35, 40, 42, 49-55, Micah 5:1-3, Psalm 40, Luke 24 for example), THEREFORE results accrued. NOW, in view of this profound negation, there was no hiding for their sin, and it remained. WITHOUT this, their destiny was not stark; perhaps developments of knowledge concerning Him would make a difference, even yet. But with the CRITERION for faith before them, KNOWLEDGE of His works and words, and His own presence by them, why then such failure was both intimate and ultimate, and nothing now stood in their way to hell, where such attitudes, if not repented, can find their correct environment.
This is a basic principle, in whatever mode the wisdom of the God of creation may choose to make it applicable. The Gospel, the grace, the power, the testimony is all necessary; and the eventuation apart from the foreknowledge is applied precisely as the Lord wills, so that man is responsible. He Himself is not wrapped in some parcel of human construction, but rather the opposite applies, in the tremors of man's sin or in the lethargy of his indifference; but God is baulked by no tremors, nor is He deceived by even the most munificent equivocations, intentional or otherwise. Time does not short-circuit His principles, nor does difficulty abort them. There is no limit either to the power or the depth of the will of God.
Indeed, it is God, infinitely knowledgeable (Hebrews 4), who chooses His own (John 15:16), for not only did He craft man in His image, giving the perspective and capacity to choose, His own being unlimited since no one donated to Him a constitution, but in mercy He appointed the Gospel, its terms of grace without merit as ground of choice (Romans 3:23ff., Ephesians 2), and found for Himself those whose lives came to Him in all liberty before sin curtailed this function. Desiring all, He thus found some to whom His love reached, and and on whom His choice settled. But what of the rest, who will not find in Him, their rest ?
Heaven with such barren bravura and sightless seeing, rebellion and unrealism would only in itself, become hell if such things found place there, for those alien to it all; nor would the cantankerous, or the imperious, or the obfuscatory find in heaven itself, what pleased them, since the very 'stuffiness' or rule or ways of heaven were not to their taste, but an offence to the heart, a muted challenge or an ultimate and foreknown source of rejection.
THE SUPPLY OF DESTINY
But we look further at the surrounding systematics about predestination apart from the very nature of the love of God (as in Bulletin 44, The Circuit of Love). There is the grand vision of the righteousness of God, which will, like His salvation, never passes away (Isaiah 51:6), and which is integral within Him (Psalm 89:8,14-18). He does not bend laws, or make small numbers of people, industrial or aristocratic, the one or the other, virtual rulers; for all are before His law, and all equally need mercy for deliverance from the impact of its magnificence on their loathsome unloveliness of heart, whether it be self-pride, self-congratulation, self-acclaim, hiding of sin, rationalisation, paranoia, or any other off the scale model, which is suppressed as if it did not really matter, or as if only other people's sins really needed to be addressed, undressed, condemned and retired in pardon or given divinely the weight they possess.
WITH this righteousness, judgment is either cancelled in Christ crucified, or un-annulled and inescapable. How beautiful is predestination then, on the basis of the foreknowledge of God, who WOULD HAVE ALL reconciled to Himself (Colossians 1:19ff.), having made peace through the blood of the cross, so that NONE is exempt from virtual exposure such pardon, among mankind, nor does the willingness of God give a tree to hide behind; for His desire for reconciliation is not only to what is on earth, but towards what is in heaven! and He says so. Since He has all power (Matthew 28), and this desire, it is apparent that NO ONE will reach hell through oversight, divine impotence or other pathology among our own race, God Himself being mentor; nor will bureaucracy bend towards some and not others, in some blur of high-paid bumble.
To be sure, it is possible so dynamically to mishandle His love, mercy, truth and saving work, that the conscience may be seared as with a hot iron (II Timothy 4); but this is not beyond God, rather a result of His merciful dealings, and merely one way in which to join with those in John 15:22ff., who WOULD NOT respond even to the most momentous attestation (cf. Hebrews 6 and 10).
Much is made of the sin-darkened souls which CANNOT respond to the divine mercy (and sin can do this as in John 1:12), but as in so much, this depends (as in the case in I Corinthians 2:14) on the state of the case, as do organic matters in the presence of divine healing, as it is. No pathological ill is in itself a barrier when God Himself moves onto the marred premisses and transforms the situation. Moreover, before all this, there is the predestination before all time, and fall, and sin, and occlusion, and blinding and anything else destructive of His power and word, which anyone may care irrelevantly to think of.
What God wants, He will get (Psalm 115, Ephesians 1:11); but that INCLUDES WHO He is and what it is that this is! With Him, as is also felt by most of the human race, LOVE AND PREDATION are not the same. Love is voluntary, personal, intimate, stronger than mere power of arm, reciprocal in any fulfilment. When it is not reciprocated, it does not force, cover up, make pretences. As the Song of Solomon declares, love is as strong as death (Song ... 8:6-7), and a man giving (instead of it) all the wealth of his house, "would be utterly despised." How much more he who gives merely orders, and regards a woman as less than a man in very essence! (as in much in Islam, but not there alone). It is an affront, a violation of the heart, a misuse of the emotions, a ruin of the tender, like battering a bud.
So does that book, the Song of Solomon, where there is no reference to God at all, except through the figure of the beloved, in the eyes of the bride, show even in allegory the realities. Love is robust in tenacity, but it is also tender in disposition, and it must be recognised, for God is love (self-defined), as in I John 4.
Does God lament because He COULD not save Jerusalem ? No, it is because, as He says on the place in view, THEY did not heed when they had the opportunity (Luke 19:42). Truth wins; love provides; mercy acts, but untruth has no place, and love in the form of mere force, is self-contradiction. It does not even CARE to cover by compulsion, the alleged object of force, heedless of the protests or even horror involved! It is not like that.
No, not really; He Himself lets the matter go when it is duly tested, for love is not coherent with force, and when it is done, has neither place nor entry where there is that fundamental blockage. This is as shown when it moves through the One who brought love categorically into the world, and finding many who do not receive it, which does not deal in pretence, but in preference' domain, does not expel them from their negative response. If it must be so, let it be so. Let not love be misnamed, because of desire!
It hurts enormously that it is so (Matthew 23:37, Jeremiah 9, Ezekiel 33:11, Luke 19:42), but God is far from hedonism, and His lament for the lost is testimony of the tenderness of His love towards those who do not reject His suit (cf. Jeremiah 31:15-20, John 3:19).
God indeed, may appear in many ways to those being drawn, whether in stressing the necessity of action and not meaningless maundering, or sincerity and not mixed motives, or depth and not superficial substitutes, and many may have different paths leading to the gate, the door of salvation; but the door does not change, nor does what it discloses when it is entered!
Many more are the surrounding 'systems' or themes for this field of topics, and many the areas of impact, outcome and correlation, like a body with many co-operating systems and aspects, not just matters in isolation; but this will suffice to give the perspective in which it sits, and the profound significance of every word of God, as in Matthew 4:4, for each one builds truly and stably, and in sum, there is no other building that can even stand!
See for example:
Ch. 3, and *1,
THE WORD AND THE WISDOM OF GOD
AND THE WAYS OF MAN
See for example:
LIGHT DWELLS WITH THE LORD'S CHRIST
WHO ANSWERS RIDDLES
AND WHERE HE IS, DARKNESS DEPARTS
Bible or Blight,
Christ or Confusion:
The Comprehensive Resolution of Man's Intractable Problems
is Found Only in the Bible, the Word of God
A Pair of Volumes: Opus 128 and 129, of some 2.3 million words