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NEWS 199


The Australian March 8, 2002

IVF doubles risk of birth defects.

Ho hum! say the sophisticati (well, glitterati! and this is much nearer the base term), and turn back to their share prices, exchange dealing or street demonstrations, depending on time, taste and other considerations.

But IS it ? First take the rate. "A US study, also published in the journal found the risk of low birth weight - associated with a range of health and development problems - was 2.6 time higher" in IVF babes than the generality. The Journal ? New England Journal of Medicine. Number ? The latest. Any other studies ? Yes, one from Perth's Institute for Child Health Research. IVF or "more advanced" named procedures show double the risk of a few oddments ? Named ? Serious cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, chromosomal or other problems within their first year.

Dancing Dilemmas

We need not pursue the technicalities. Leave that to the physicians on the cases. The point, added to the arthritic hind leg of Dolly, the wonder clone sheep, and we are moving into interesting territory. The babes might not of course find the term 'interesting' interesting, but pathetic, bathetic or mellow- rather than melodramatic. Does this mean that scientific study of the human body with a view to lessening the impact of thousands of years of sin and exposure to a fallen world (cf. Biblical Blessing Ch. 7), are misplaced ?

Such would not follow. It does however mean this: that the intrusive use of knowledge which is partial and groping (not nice terms perhaps for the advanced academic promoters, but still apt, adequate and just), when applied to human beings who are NOT (as yet) in particular physiological or anatomical anguish, agony or dilemmas, is suspect; and considerations of the impact on the next generations of experiments (procedures is another word and another world is indexed by it, less than justly), are rightly indicated.

It may be argued that methods will improve. This is certainly to be hoped. One would not, for one's own part, if for the purposes of argument, conceived as a thoughtful baby in waiting, wish to contribute to the parental nest by being impaired or maimed in some way, on arrival; or to a parental desire to have a new baby. Being impaired is not nice, desirable, and especially unattractive, as one would tend to be an affliction to parents.

Is it then to be weighed, the satisfaction of parent against the increased likelihood (measured in terms of actual babes born defective) of dissatisfaction in the child, and less than excellence in the body accorded the babe ? How ?

These things can never be answered without a perspective. It is the same with visual things. If you have a spray of visual data, without perspective, it tends to be meaningless blur, or incomprehensible spatter. The perspective which on this site has been demonstrated to be just, solely valid, is that of the Bible (SMR). What is its indication in such a case as this ?

Dying daily is Paul's divinely guided dictum (I Cor. 2:9ff., 15:31 cf. Galatians 2:20). You are to be dead to the desires which emanate purely from yourself apart from God (cf. Romans 8:10ff.), and are instead to find the will of God and love it. What is the will of God in such a case as this, which is now before us ? Is it to increase risk of serious defect, substantial risk, in order to be parents when parenthood is not otherwise at risk ? or out of the question ? Is the child a neighbour ?  It would appear to be all this and more. Is it then to be loved as one loves onself ? Would one like suddenly to have such defects for one's own part ? to find them inscribed from without ? It would appear that in the vast majority of cases, one would not. How then would one so inflict affliction ?

This is not to rule out some special cases, but it is to establish a trend.

Dancing dilemmas ? This is how the thing might appear to those who do not find in the Bible the source of spiritual and hence personal value. There is less dancing in the afflicted.

Lagging Feet

But let us move to our opposite phenomenon: lagging feet.

In the same issue of The Australian, we come to "Stoush in the Greenhouse", the general impact of which is this: that the Kyoto accords are more clearly in the direction of adequacy to preserve some sort of earth that is viable in the long run, than is the other option, evidently favoured by both Australia and the US, which specialises on "defining the terms" in a quantitative fashion, and with due elegance, so that precisely what is happening, net and overall, all things taken into account and with just consideration to the aspects of each, in the sight of all, may be known. KNOWLEDGE FIRST! Research, research and more of it.

This is a very true point, in its way: it is just that in the interim, the lack of restraint may help to eliminate the earth as a viable organ for living, that is all. That in turn could vitiate opportunity ... for research. A contrivance of moderation seems expressly indicated!

There are in fact no other earths. If it is imagined that there are, perhaps the proponent of such a view could produce one ? If it is held that there are sure to be, perhaps the proponent could present the logical grounds of the expectation (cf. A Spiritual Potpourri Chs. 1-9), and begin by showing experimentally the way in which such things happen. As shown in Chs. 1-3 loc. cit, the Bible is quite clear on the situation. There are no other worlds up for grabs, and if you want to invade space for your living arrangements, or killing purposes, depending on the case, you are not where you are intended to be.

Exploration is one thing; living is another.

Missing Microcosm

There is one place for the present for man - the next is a duality, or division of the ways:
heaven on the one hand, for the lovers of the actual God, who find Him where is He, through His word and salvation; and hell for those who prefer darkness. You get what you order, in that latter case, and what you are given, in the former. Mercifully, there is a door which is perfectly clear and contradistinct from all the rest of the things on earth, through which one enters for heaven.

One recalls an instance in the years of pastorates, in which some were speaking with one who could not  seem to realise clearly and distinctly the fact of SALVATION being now and real as offered (John 4:14, 10:9,27-28): or else that one does not believe. It was a matter of  receiving by faith, Christ Jesus the Lord, as the door, and walking through Him into the life everlasting: what He offers. However, if you do not believe what He offers, how then do you believe HIM! Sometimes people are tested (I Peter 1:6), and there are needs (as in II Corinthians 13:5) which may arise when flagrant immorality may require radical assessment and self-investigation.

Nevertheless, though some areas of testing may thus arise, that concern faith,  this is not the norm, any more than is pneumonia. Thus it is in the very same place that the apostle Peter (1:6-9) says just this: "In this, you greatly rejoice, though if need be for a little while, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honour, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen, you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith - the salvation of your souls."

The test expresses the fact, the faith, and the faith is in normal operation is buoyantly believing,  joyously receiving. It is so in Romans 8:16 likewise, in a categorical affirmation regarding the spirit of adoption.

It is necessary to have the simplicity of children and not the professional sophistication of philosophers in dealing with such things, though they alone stand above all philosophies in validity and comprehensiveness, answering all questions and meeting all challenge.

That is one of the beauties of not dancing or lagging either, but waiting on the Lord. In profundity, He has no equal; in depth of counsel, He is non-pareil; in simplicity to the penitent, He is absolute, in directness for the seeking, He is incomparable, and in bounty of offer, He is liberal past all measure. You enter the door which is Christ, receiving Him as He is, and His work as done and completed (Hebrews 8-10), or you do not. If you do, then it is by faith or not; if by faith, eternal life is yours, and your faith requires it, since it IS faith. Hence it is perceived as received. If you do not, then your lack of faith denies it. It is this which may be examined and examined well!

The human mind can readily invent thousands of ways of making the clear unclear, the certain uncertain and the contradistinct, indistinct - to itself. The objective reality however does not vary for that, any more than a lamp-post varies because someone who is for some reason of obscured vision, sees it 'differently'. It IS where it is. Nothing changes that. It is the fact that matters. God is where He is, to be found, in repentance of the sin which is the world's inheritance and love, including the individual's own error and folly; and in reception of the Saviour provided IN this world FOR the people of this world, WITHOUT WHOM, there is no peace for this world.

Meanwhile, it is quite a good plan, in observing the gluttony of passion to wreck this world, the relative indifference to preventing this phenomenon and the tremendous advances in its devastation, because progress is SO important, and a negative sign is but small: it is indeed a very sound plan not to join it.

As proverbs 1921 puts it:

"There are many plans in a man's heart,
Nevertheless the LORD's counsel - that will stand."

That is simply a fact.

Meanwhile, the door lies open (John 10:9). You can quiver on the threshold, put through a dangling foot, play hide and seek about the lintel, try to project through mental projectiles as if in play, ponder the possibilities if you went through, like a dreaming sheep; but until you enter by faith, you are on the outside, and no amount of philosophy or psychology will alter it. If on the other hand, you pass through by faith, no amount of devil's counsel can alter it. The thing is done. Eternal life is the gift. It is then experienced in God's own way, leading to the certainty of KNOWING Him (John 17:3), which is so prodigious an event that you might as well say: I went past something or other, I don't know, it might have been Niagara Falls or some other stream.

If you so reacted, you would be aesthetically dead (forget the commercial aspect for the moment!).

If on the other hand, you specify the minimum requirements for you to recognise the passion of the falls, you might be so pre-occupied with yourself that you might indeed have only such a glimpse that you had no clear notion.

FAITH is not works, whether those of merit or aesthetics. It is only when FAITH is there, that the RESULTS CAN come. Thus those who want a better spiritual world for themselves, and testing, trying, wondering, experimenting in their psyches, do not achieve what they want, are not believing. They are being dependent on their own internal works. This produces the heavy irony: you do not get what you want, because your want is your god, guide and criterion. That is the peril by all means to be avoided. It is only when you BELIEVE IN HIM, that He manifests Himself. Faith tolerates NO works. It is a reception of the gift of eternal life which is required, by faith through grace, not by estimation and consideration. Leave that to the mathematicians.

That then is the WORLD which is first needed, the world of your own psyche, the microcosm of your very life as an individual. It is only then that any other world can come for you, in its way and day. In 2000 years, the world itself has been experimenting and tasting, inventing hideous idols in the name of Christ and false options, now surging into some spiritual splendour, now cashing in on it, now trying something, now compromising it, using the name of Christ not a little for its follies; and it too is coming to the end of itself. It will end (II Peter 310ff.), and this Age itself will first end (Matthew 24:12); but the end of the whole matter is Christ (Ephesians 1:10), not to surmise concerning His word, but to believe it, for it is HIS, and He is the Word of God eternal, incarnate, and the final, solemn sacrificial word from God to man (Hebrews 1).

The world is going, but to help it to do so is unwise. Judgment is coming, and to fail to be covered is folly. God is loving and to caricature His love, as if 'sovereignty' were in some way a requisition for a limitation on His love, is mere philosophy, as illogical as it is contrary to Biblical revelation. Colossians 1:19ff. makes it for ever clear, that God is pleased to reconcile all things, yes whether in heaven or on earth to Himself.

That is what it says, without qualification. To qualify the word of another is to become co-author. It is in categories, if you will, God and man. It is in terms of desire, that of God. It is to cover all dimensions of creation, heavenly and earthly. It is in this vein that He speaks, in those dimensions. It is to be believed or not believed; if not believed, then you are a philosopher on your own. For our part, we are considering the testimony of the word of God as defined and demonstrated to be His. What does it say ? THIS then is what it says. It says it to one, to all. All includes, of course, you.

If you believe the Bible, you have no option not to believe that amplitude of the desire of God. In that case, Colossians 1, as in John 1-3, it is ONLY when man in the face of God so loving the world, and in the face of the LIGHT which has come into the world, from the heart and mind of God, His fellow, Christ the Lord (Zech. 12:10, 13:7, John 8:58, 5:19ff.), that man can find hell. HE, we read did not come to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

These things being so, the Bible then offers comfort and condemnation. The former is in the ready provision for each little world, each cosmos of the psyche, every man, woman and child, of salvation, pardon and peace in the presence of the living God, presenting to the faith which accepts it from His hand, a non-perishing, and an adoption as children of God (John 1:12). In fact, it is eternal life.

That is the comfort. What then of the residual condemnation, when PLAN A is not met ?

The latter - it is not just condemnation for sinning - Christ has come to remedy that. It is a specialised kind of sin and a special kind of condemnation which is the other arm of the river of life. THIS, says the Lord, is their condemnation that light has come into the world, and men have preferred darkness. That is summary, definitive and unarguable. Hence we come to the concept that the chief thing missing for this world is the microcosm, the psychic microcosm, the life of man, and it is missing where it ought to be, in the friendship and salvation of God. Its absenteeism is chronic, often devious and always in the end, disastrous. There are many such on this earth, and it is littered with their litter.

Against this futile failure, is the majestic truth.

GOD SO loved that He gave His only begotten so that whoever believes might not perish. God DID NOT come to condemn, but to save, yes the world. It is not selective in the actuating love, in the issuance of offer, in the sincerity and the passion of the provision (cf. I John 2:2). It is however most selective
as to destiny. IF you do NOT receive this light so offered, then you are THEREFORE condemned. Therefore ? Yes, it is BECAUSE they preferred otherwise, and without God there is spiritual darkness of course, since HE is the light of meaning, the basis of matter, the significance of spirit, the ground of judgment and the source of wisdom.

Does God then ensure that you cannot come so that He may condemn you anyway ? This is one of the greatest of the follies of theology, when it is pathologically wedded to philosophy. That is virtually to call God a liar. HE is saying relative to the world, which He so loved, that it is NOT to condemn that He came, and that if YOU do not come to Him in this salvation offer, then you are condemned BECAUSE you rejected IT. On the contrary, the philosophic perversion of the gospel says, He did not really want you anyway, did not so love you, and your condemnation is a contradiction of the principle that He did not come to condemn the world, and that He so loved the world, and that He would have all to be reconciled to Himself. In all this, this philosophic folly masquerading as Christian proceeds (and if it does not, the implication is not other), He lies. It is really just outward appearance. In fact, He precludes your coming to Him!

What a shocking lampoon, this is, what a gross and grace caricature it is of the love of God, and however unconsciously, of the lament of Christ over Jerusalem, and His pledge, How often I would have gathered you, but you would not! (Matthew 23:37 cf. SMR Appendix B). NOT, I WOULD NOT! The pronoun is not obscure.

Moreover, to call or imply, or to so speak as to imply that God a liar, is not truth (cf. Barbs, Arrows and Balms 6 -7 and Repent or Perish Ch. 2 with SMR pp. 25ff.). HIS is the truth and He has made all things as He will and not otherwise, for His purposes, and not contrarily. To be sure, some get confused, and do not intend to call God a liar by any means, but the defilement of their contradiction is still present. The reason that the declared love of God to the world, which is visited with a negative, as far as condemnation is concerned, results in condemnation anyway is that in the very face of it, the ache of unbelief rejects it, the anguish of non-acceptance. THEN comes consequential condemnation, because the pardon being parlayed, the grace despised, the end is now certain.

Are they then condemned "because their deeds were evil" (John 3:19) ? Not at all. This is not the scriptural statement. They are condemned because "the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil."

Did it say that God so loved some of the world ? Did it say that He would like to reconcile some things to Himself, or ALL things ? Does it say in I Timothy 2, that He would have all men to come to a knowledge of the truth, or some ? Is it in the presence of absence of the light that their condemnation is stated in principle to become determinate ? Is the light stated to be one intent on condemnation or salvation of the world ? Is the loved stated to be SUCH (so) that the pre-loved might come, the special elect, or is the field the world ? It is of course true that GOD KNOWS who are His; it is equally true that He seeks the lost. It is true that God never changes and that Christ is definitive of God as His word (express in Hebrews 1), so that in whatever, however, wherever, whenever, God is the same, and the longing yearning love of Christ is the same, and there is nothing true of God that contradicts it (despite Calvin's error on this - see Tender Times for Timely Truths -TTT - Ch. 2).

Be you as predestinative as you like (and predestination is a glorious scriptural fact), it makes not a whit of difference. The God who predestines is the God who yearned, pled (as He pled in the Old Testament, Ezekiel 33:11), lamented (as He lamented in the Old Testament, even over non-Israel (cf. Jeremiah 48:30-35, Isaiah 30:15, 48:18ff., Jeremiah 9, Lamentations 3:33, Luke 19:42ff.). If any difference is made, the predestination is the guarantee that the love of God in NOTHING will miss its mark, nothing can overtake it, minimise, no circumstance control or qualify it. Knowing in advance is NOT knowing differently!

Hence reference to predestination as if it in some way curtailed the adequacy, accuracy or precision of the statements of the word of God, or that of the manifestation of Christ, is sheer waywardness. It is, on the contrary,  the ensuring that the principles of God work perfectly, and one of these is this, that He would have all men to be saved, to come to a knowledge of the truth, to be reconciled to God, and that He WEPT over Jerusalem, pondering mournfully with a combination truly His own, of tender passion, judicial realism and reflection on the morbid refusals of His people (Luke 19:42ff., Matthew 23:37ff., cf. SMR Appendix B), on their now assured fate, DESPITE His immense, intense efforts to arouse, to awaken, that they might know the day of their visitation, as He declared.

The intention of God in love is clear; the desire to deliver is clear; the profundity of the sorrow of rejection, for those doing it, is clear; the sure knowledge of the outcomes is clear, and of the souls who are His before all time and with no reference to any merit, since none has any before the pure and incandescent standards of God (Ephesians 1;4, Romans 9, Psalm 71:16, 51:1ff., Ephesians 2). Indeed, it is only by condescension that He considers any, and only through the funnel of faith in His prior redemption that on this earth, they come.

Love is not rambunctious and God acts as He will, in His love, and uses power only as befits love. How many stumble over these patently obvious realities of love, of which God is the author, source and definition!

In the face of this, the rejection of Christ is deadly. The absence of faith in His offer, when made, is fatal if continued. The tremulous horror of it is this, that since He has such love, such PRACTICAL and necessarily sacrificial love, that any do not accept it, or act as if it were in some way in doubt, hence not according trust to Him, hence to His word, hence to His promises and hence finding the peace of realisation in Christ, of who He is, and so KNOWING GOD, an unforgettable marvel to the Christian!

Having the keys of death and hell (Revelation 1:18-19), Christ does not turn to the latter without mourning. Such is His love, statedly, experientally and expressly. To believe other is in this, to invent God, an unwise procedure.

Thus neither with the dancing feet of ignoring His limits for man, nor with the slack feet of hoping for the best while doing the worst, yes, and assuredly not in a missing microcosm, his own heart in the love of God, is man to find peace. He is first to find God, then only will He find the priorities, the perspectives and the power to live in this world.

Certainly, He will not do it as a race. Certainly the final bell will show the disaster in the last quarter all too clearly (cf. SMR Ch. 8*1). SO be it. This in no way alters the love, the offer or the necessity now and here, in all things and in all ways, to live by, with and for God, through the only appointed way to Him, His way to us, the Lord Jesus Christ. If you do not find God, it is not because He lacks love, but you do not enter the door of love provided. As to His willingness, it is stated repeatedly. As to yours, forget the stench of philosophy, ignorant in its many wisdoms, and simply realise the love is there and stated, that He is on record, and it is time you put yourself there. It is by grace ? Of course. Only ? That is express.

IF it depended at all on you, you COULD not do anything. It does not depend on you, however. In knowledge past your knowledge, He knows all. If HE were not able, or willing, it would be different. He is statedly both, demonstrably both. Then come or be damned, because you love the dark.

It is not a lark, this love of God. It is adequate in all things. It is not, on the other hand, a licence provision for unlimited folly. If you do not want, so be it; if you do, drink the water, enter the door and be thankful, that God who is verbally omnipotent has spoken saying,

"Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden: and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light" - Matthew 11:29-30.

He is not enticing you for a comedy, or a perversity, for all things are His, including His will, works and powers, and nothing wanders with Him. He is calling you to come. Refuse at your peril, come to your comfort.

To be sure, the microcosm which is your soul, your psyche, will no more be (pretendedly and pretentiously) autonomous. What would you ? Is it a lie which you wish to live ? But then, the liberty in the Creator is the designed one: you are not going to be able to fly like a bird, but you WILL be able to have the kind of independence, mixed with underlying dependence for which you are designed*2. For my own part, to be dependent on God is far better than being dependent on man, who is unpredictable (for us), unreliable (in multiplied instances, often astonishing in quality and extent), or on oneself (a man in kind after all).

This other way, the way of God: It is thrilling, inspiring and RIGHT! THEN and then only can the sort of independence which is filial and not foul, become functional. Then one can work with one's Father (by adoption - Ephesians 1), in a way which makes new delight roses in fragrance and multiplicity, whatever be the suffering which truth requires and love desires.

By this time, one has love oneself, the very love of God, not seeking acclaim, arrogance, or puerile pretences of humility for social gain, but seeking good because God is good, and His will because HE knows HOW! Moreover, by then, one has Christ as a brother (Hebrews 2), and there is NO sense of strangeness and alien things. He after all, became man, that He might bring us to God. When the new heavens and earth come (making these things is no great thing to God! and though it may seem so to some, so does it seem to a child, impossible to make a ... house!), then there is to be a righteousness like God, as standard issue. That, that will be a glorious and holy combination of just humility, true holiness and liberty of the most amazing kind, for it is sin which limits, its potential which calls for guards, and its action which defiles.

A macrocosm for non-missing microcosms! Heavenly indeed. Meanwhile on this earth, neither haven nor heaven, responsibility is called for, in the will of God, for each of His people. This pilgrimage is no less than that; its terminus is glorious when the God of glory is your own Father; but even its passage is sublime in this, that you can  serve this God of glory, NOW. That, it is a privilege indeed!


For further on Christian love, assurance and faith, see especially The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 4 and TTT 11, with Predestination and Freewill, Biblical Blessings Ch. 16 .

In this Chapter 8, there is at first material on predestination and prophecy, to which the reader may wish to refer. If not, the next section continues with the immediate character of the coming events in the world, many now past ones, which signal the end of the Age and the Coming of Christ. Answers to Questions Ch. 5 also deals with this.

See on this Little Things Ch. 5, and Licence for Liberty.