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When you come to think of it, it is decidedly strange. ALL of us who are reading this, unless some angels are looking, and other than the Lord, have been this one thing: little children. It does not in the least matter whether we were so in the Northern Hemisphere, or the Southern, where the Southern Aurora blooms with its magnetic thrills, splashing like colourful dots on some spotted orchid, in the jungle, or in the condominiums of suburbia, in the tax havens to the rich, the Penthouses of New York or by some polluted stream amid the masses of India. We have all been it - little children.
We are all experienced in this. We have thought about it, and thought while being it, and have grown and considered and experienced and contemplated and considered, AS little children, in little ways, and then in more considerable ones.
Gleams of understanding have crowned our tender brows, and the dismal hues of the extraordinarily unpleasant, as in the case of your author, when at 4 years of age, my left hand was crushed - through an accidental combination of rambunctious youth and dreaming childhood, on the cogs of a chaff-cutter. That may be part of the reason one loves words more than scissors and bodies.
Children are the particular subject of Christ's solicitous concern and interest. EXCEPT you become as one of these, whom He called to Himself, you CANNOT enter His kingdom (Matthew 18:3).
For SUCH a childlikeness as He desires, however, there must be first conversion, that radical and summary change which disestablishes the rule of autonomy, self, sin and society, with any increments, and provides for the soul turned to Him in repentance (Luke 13:1-3), the life that CAN so regard Him. Thus we read: "Assuredly, I tell you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven" - Matthew 18:3. How could you be God’s except you regarded Him in authority, your Father, and how do this, unless HE BECOME THIS, in Spirit, by your conversion (as in John 3:1ff.).
Again, anyone who receives
one of these little ones in His name, receives Him (Matthew 18:5).
What is the criterion of childhood ? It is smallness and growth, based on a model and ground-plan constructed for the use and exhibition of personality, in the sight and company of God. The considerations of thought and speech, agile action and co-operative work, dreams and fantasy, practicality and precision are all there to be developed. The spirit may be bruised with indifference or stirred with intelligence, while there proceed into fuller being, those patterned programs for walking and speaking, with that characteristically wonderful provision for part-operation of one's own, like someone learning to drive but NOT, decidedly not, MAKING the automobile, merely learning to use it.
THIS automobile however continues to change. It begins as a golf cart and continues through Morris Mini-Minor to Volkswagen status. It is changing so fast that it is something slightly different to ... handle; for as it goes, it grows.
Patterns of speech await investment with the pre-natal sounds clarified, the pre-natal logic provisions activated, the memory contribution at its peak, the grammatical forms alert with logic and inter-connection, poised like a chicken in an egg seconds before hatching, to come out into working format, together. Actuality, seizing the potentials, moves into the field as the connections of neurons and the probing response to demand arise with zest. How easy it is to learn several languages at such an age, and how much harder, later!
So is the provision made for naturalness, so the advantage for specificity, such as every nation provides, and so the outward forms link to the inward sounds, the structure of speech and the type of vocalisation, guttural or musical, as the case may be.
Children continue without
cease, to grow. They may lag lower than specifications, in the norm, or far
surpass them. Meanwhile the personality is becoming acute, and its form is
being expressed; albeit without God, in a smatter where there should be beauty,
and in a cohesion, where there should be design. Hence to receive one of these
little ones in Christ's name (and of course, as you see once and for all in Isaiah
1, this has NOTHING to do with mere ceremony), to lead just one of them to the
gate by which they come into the fourth environment, past mind, body and
spirit, that of God, the environment that counts more than any or all combined,
it is a matter of peculiar felicity.
It is in fact the first
environment, and only here termed fourth, in that mankind often thinks of the
components of the made, before the Maker. However, in and before time, HIS is
What then of the blessedness of bringing one little child to the Lord, receiving this one in His
It is a matter of wonder and joy; it is to prevent an infant crippling, to outlaw a paralysis of spirit in its own chief dimension, it is to prevent diversions innumerable, it is a holy and a lovely thing.
Small wonder then that this is to receive Him to whom one brings the child, when one receives a child in His name. One could not do it of course, if one did not HAVE His name, was not IN His name, for this is mere misuse of the name. But in His name! It is a thing of delight, like finding the first oak tree and watching it fulfil specifications of tassels, multitudinous, and marvels each one, in Spring. It is to introduce Spring at all, when all might have otherwise been but Winter and Summer, this reaction and that, in a meaningless milieu, ready for the pursuit of pleasure or duty, lie or ambition, or whatever other substitute may be found, lying about, and ready to hand.
Sin is the name for the ingredients of exclusions, chosen without the Maker, to take His place.
They include delusion, confusion and callow desire, carnality - the little array of little things with which the soul of the child can become occupied, pre-occupied and superficially content, above the water line of the ship of his soul. Sin does not begin with growth, but growth gives it its scope. In the life of the child, it can rain, mist, fog, pour, storm or sit with sullen dulness, ecstatic brightness that is mere dazzle as it crowns itself, or its cronies, or its class, or its concepts, or its people of choice, or its occupations, king.
Rather to give entry to the light that does not dull, the speech that does not fade into child's young dreams, this is the work of grace in which Jesus Christ delights. From such a prospect, to give this, His gift, is more than a free holiday for an orphan. It is a free pass for life, in the ENVIRONMENT of the soul, the Spirit of God, in and with a spiritual status paid for and superintended by the Lord of Life, the Prince of Peace. He who does this, receives the Lord him/herself. For the Christian, it is a new and novel flight of beauty in the pathways of peace already known, or even a renewal of the first love (cf. Rev. 3:15,20). It is not that the one who wins the soul of a child to its home, alone and as distinct from the adult, is much blessed; but rather than in so doing there is a peculiar blessedness, since the need WITH OTHER GROWTH, to receive the foundation on which any growth should be placed, this is a wonder and a delight.
behold! is it not a little thing, this soul of a child; and is it not a marvel
of miniaturisation, in its ways and knowledge, its outreaches into family,
school, society, knowledge, emotion, understanding of things ? But for it to
find the milieu, the environment of GOD, who made it, for this growth, is like
giving to a sky-scraper about to be commissioned for the building, a
foundation. Surely it may mean some re-working, and must and will; but is this
not a far better cry than that of wasted years and misachieved successes from
HEREDITY AND ENVIRONMENT ?
Without the first of these, there is no beginning to the zygote, the conception is missing, the child is not there. Without the second, there is no womb at the first, no world to enter at the beginning of independence and so, there is no child on this earth at all. But wait! When the author was but a child of 9 or so, one remembers a vocational guidance specialist asking about some reading he had given, and one summed it up as to its meaning, that man was influenced by heredity and environment. Perhaps even then, the concept seemed a bit simplistic, too smooth. It is far more seriously at fault than that, for in the often used conceptualisation, it means that this is what makes the person to be what he or she is.
In that sense, it is a folly, most unwise, limited and godless. IF you defined environment to MEAN WHATEVER is NOT the child, with which it has ANY sort of correspondence or relationship, actual or potential (so that the things are there, whether or not the child adopts them or adapts to them, or proceeds to relate), then this would be both NOT what is normally meant, and far better.
In that case, the environment would FIRST be the Maker, and then the made things, persons and spaces, times and seasons, current and past (environmental through books), that offered themselves and were received, or might have been taken, within the structure of things. It would include the physiological expression of the DNA and its ilk, the skeletal, the neural niceties, the cranial capacities, the growth arrays, the selectivity where it applies to things not automatic or inaccessible, and so on. Things geographical and atmospheric, social and didactic, beautiful and ugly, of staggering immensity and grace and soaring size, or microscopic miniaturisation, yet effecting their contents' worth into the environment: all would be there. Friendship and enmity, pride and hate, envy and covetousness, beneficence and gaunt implacability, all would be in the realm of environment as we have now defined it for this purpose: not necessarily actualised, but present and freely available.
GOD is the master, the key, the planner, the one of infinite resource and understanding, and for whom recourse is the necessity of the life of the spirit, if it is alive in all dimensions. This is because we defined environment for this purpose, as the things that are there whether or not the child adopts them or adapts to them, or proceeds to relate. Human beings, great or small, CANNOT CHOOSE GOD, as Christ put it, Biblically, for Christ said, "You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you... " (John 15) and Paul in Romans 9 tells us the mode of the exercise relative to God and the human life is this: it is NOT of the one who wills it, but of God who shows mercy.
We have pursued these things in some depth in Predestination and Freewill and elsewhere, noticing as so often in such deep affairs, that the major extremes tend to ignore important aspects. Here the above is neither more nor less true than this: that God WOULD HAVE all men to be saved, that having made peace through the blood of the cross, through the Christ in whom it pleased the Father that all fulness (the whole extent of the godhead, as in Col. 2:9, John 8:58) should dwell, He would have all things to be reconciled to Himself, yes whether in heaven or on earth. We know this because in I Timothy 2 and Colossians 1, He SAYS SO.
Biblically then (and we have shown in SMR Chs. 1-3,10 that this is necessarily the word of God), the child CANNOT choose God; AND God would have this child to be saved. Without violating the integrity of the child, the Lord would have this child; but in His love He is not violent, and takes what is His with perfected knowledge. Neither frustrated, nor indolent, with the passion of the cross as the index of His resolve, He seeks for the lost and is satisfied with those who are His (Isaiah 53:10-11 cf. The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 9, No. 8). This is the disposition of His feeling, thought and good pleasure; but of course it not His decision to save all. He deals with these intricate, potentially exquisite productions called humankind with His own restraint and His own love, which never dictates, nor merely pleads. He KNOWS His own, and takes them.
Now of course the UTTERLY delightful part is this. IF the child WANTS the Lord, this being a divine mercy, and proceeds to Him, then the Lord is Lord of that child. If the child is not drawn, then there is no initiative FROM THE CHILD. The child is never frustrated for seeking the Lord with all the heart, and not finding. When you want gold, it is there. If you are double minded, then the gold is still there, but as in all prospecting, the will is in splints. It is ONLY GOD who can clear the confusion and make the donation, and blessed is the one who is so moved!
However, to TELL the child, and LEAD the child to the Lord is a thing of exquisite beauty because the Lord is
· a) natural to the child, since He made this little one.
· b) needful to the child, since there simply is no other foundation for life: it is made for and BY this Person, who is God.
· c) necessary for the child, since without Him, rich or poor, famous or infamous, the child is deprived of the light of life, and lives like someone with only one eye, but no, worse, like someone with colour draining glasses for all the 'long littleness of life', without being alert to reality.
Some imagine that a child who never hears of the Lord goes straight to hell, but as noted earlier, even the Westminster Confession notes that those to whom the normal modes of grace are denied, may find Christ where and how He pleases, but always of course, by the ONLY GOSPEL there is. As also observed, this is not a second chance, since there is not even a first one, all things being ordered, ordained and predestinated by God.
Nevertheless, rather than hoping, it is better knowing; and since millions know all too well of the Lord whom they ignore, blaspheme, treat lightly, and assuredly go to hell for just that, it is a wonderful thing at this level also, and most intensively indeed of all, to "receive one little child like this, in My name" as in Matthew 18.
Yet there is more. We have looked at environment, in its enormously expanded definition, but not so much as heredity, in an expanded definition. Before we do so, however, it is best to make it clear that one is not really considering the usage of this definition of environment, for the very good reason that one would have continually to TELL people that this is what one means, whereas this is NOT what they would normally mean, and perhaps not what anyone else would normally mean, so that the point being made might be lost. It is no use speaking to the air!
No rather, one would speak of the aspects of life which involve: environment (in its normally meant domains, and without touching at this point, the exact dimensions of impact of these), and heredity (to which we are about to relate in parallel with the above considerations on environment), and the Spirit of God, the word of God and the Christ of God, moving from the Father to the creation.
The value of the above becomes then this, that it helps one to realise that these things ARE IN FACT part of the environment, be one as insensitive as one may, to this part! There is no heredity+environment equation in the little physical, cultural, psychological and so on, sense. That is more than, worse than simplistic. It omits the MAIN THING, like someone having a fine and sustaining dinner, but omitting the main course. Verbally, however, we return to the combination of these varied aspects, without omitting the main one, so that at work are the Lord, the Christ, the Holy Spirit, the word of God written, the Father who sends, the heredity of the being in view, the child, and the normal environment. Even that, however, is often conceived reductionistically, as if there were far less facets and features than in fact exist.
Thus there is not merely the environment of society, and culture, and politics, and literature, and mathematics, and learning in general, and the psychological aspects, the physiological and so on. There is also the vitality, the vigour, the trend, the disposition, the sensitivity and the nature of the SPIRIT OF MAN or in this case, of the CHILD which is working away, as invisibly as peace, as unseen as beauty, as unfathomed as Loch Ness. This is not merely part of the environment, it is a crucial part of what HAS the environment.
But let us return now to the question of heredity. Again, we could define it as all those elements, aspects and ingressions, those works, features and plans which fall to the child in body, mind and spirit, so that what it is has existence. HOW does it have existence ? We have already noted the tendency to omit crucial features of the very item in view, the spirit of the child, with its perspectives, will, wishes, priorities, researches of hope, dreams and desires of heart, qualities and aspects. This remedied, however, we ask ourselves: HOW do these features of heredity proceed ? If then we again include every aspect to which the child may relate, and in terms of which as an entity, progress may be made, what is the determinant ?
This is a proper question for so often the heredity plus environment simplistic substitute for thought, verbal alternative to reality, is made the determinant (in mind, it cannot do so in fact, since it is not so, for God is not this, but a personal architect of personality in man cf. SMR Ch.1, That Magnificent Rock Ch. 1, Repent or Perish Ch. 7). What is the KEY, the CRITERION, or even the mode of progress of all of this. We have heard of the heredity in DNA, of genes and so forth, and of activation of genes by this or that, in which case the environment has a bearing even then, so delicate, multiple and remarkable is the provision for adaptation within kind, and individuation within capacities dowered. What however is it that makes it go this way, or that, in the individual case, when it comes to the more interesting, because higher level, capacities of spirit, and mind as its adjunct ?
Again, to be simplistic is mere waste. We need to consider the caste of thought, the direction of flow of the personality, the manner of development of the mind. Environment can intervene to some extent. Stimulus by parents in the intellectual, verbal, interactive veins may develop; and USE may bring forth, we are told, new neurone connections and disuse may leave things not developed in the way they might have been. Intriguing as this is, it yet does not touch the deeper question of direction, of developmental dynamics in the mind and in the spirit of the child.
Will the child become a keen student, an avid reader, a lout, one against the government whatever it be, a misfit, a leader, a maverick, narcissistic or weak ? Again, there are many features of some interest, without being in the least degree determinative. To be sure, some teacher may thwart and bring distaste for learning, but ONLY if the child takes it that way, instead, as so often, as a further spur to get beyond such incompetence or malice, as it can be in especially bad cases.
What determines this ? It is not determined, though it is both foreknown and sure. It is an aspect of life which manifests itself, and with growth partly programmed, and partly making gifts of various potencies and potentials, it is something secret to the child itself. This is not to say that NO ONE COULD see it and know it and understand it, in the last analysis; for God is so able. It takes God however, for no one with less knowledge can fathom the work of another's spirit, except in some cases to some extent, where sin makes a simplistic substitute for life, the object of research.
What this means is that when someone, some child, becomes greedy or impatient for 'success' or whatever, to the extent that such an appetite or desire is deep and fundamental, as in ambition for Macbeth and his lady, then comparatively comprehensible developments, growths and movements occur. Even here, however, remorse, and conscience, corrupted in part or altogether and in all things, gleams of better desire, compassion or the keen spray of realism, suddenly hitting the heart like the cold spray on a Winter's day as one walks on the seashore: these things are real to the individual, known to God, but far beyond the mere groping thought of the sinful onlooker.
Now one must again be clear. The 'sinful onlooker' does NOT mean an observer particularly or especially sinful, for such is not the intention or the statement. Biblically, and as we have demonstrated, therefore in truth, ALL humans being not the incarnate God (all but one, Jesus Christ when God took our form, Micah 5:1-3), fallen from the first and showing it to the last, are sinners, in the sense that they fall short of the glory of God, have failed in sentiment, sense, understanding, wit, wisdom, depth, heart or whatever, in this way and that, and are NOT of that delicious lustre of love and truth with mercy and nobility, courage and constancy, never varying, that they should be (cf. Isaiah 53:6).
with the diversification known in falls, where it strikes now here, now there, evidences itself in this phase, episode, aspect or feature, or in that!
Many who imagine themselves to be something, are in fact, as Revelation notes so clearly, blind and naked. Their moral dress is without knowledge of the most important part of their environment in the special sense here noted, God Himself, in His word and His covenant and His offer to man, and His desire for mankind, and each member of this race. Parading themselves as somewhat, they do not even begin to please, far less appease the wrath of God against the presumption and pride, no less than the folly and falling of man.
One merely, then, means, that since even those redeemed by God, are yet sinners, though not under its sway and sovereignty, being set for and walking with the Lord, and none has omniscience but God, none indeed that perfection of never varying and never inadequate understanding and wisdom which is God's own prerogative, therefore NONE but God can fully and accurately, justly and truly understand the way the child grows to become this or that in his/her spirit, and mind in conjunction with that spirit. It is not determinate by natural means. It is a spiritual development known in full and without possibility of prejudice or presumption, by God Himself.
That however is not the same as saying that it is a chance phenomenon. It is rather a SPIRITUAL venue, since spirit is its nature, and it is a personal responsibility how one permits things to develop, as a child, in one's spirit, that touch of defiance (when roused), of vain independence, or weak submissiveness to sin, whether of one's neighbours, friends, culture or school or whatever. The spectrum of possibility is near to infinite, since God Himself is one of the aspects of the environment, and it is not He who forces; but it is He who knows, has always known, and has indeed CHOSEN His own people before He even instituted the thing WE call time, when you have to wait to find out the things that will eventuate. HE is not so limited (see Romans ), time and space being simply material creations of His, in a fascinating trilogy for man, of matter, mind and spirit.
Heredity then can be defined, like environment, to mean the entire gamut of one's nature in each and every dimension, and in each inter-relation structurally, including if one wishes so do add, one's spirit. If one does this however, there is a double danger. Thus it could seem to be implied, for some who do not probe adequately in these things, having been mistaught, or merely absorbed social customs of thought which were shallow, unspiritual and amiss, that the spirit of the child is QUA heredity, hence determinate in some fashion making responsibility IN the child, meaningless.
It is therefore necessary if, in parallel to 'environment', one adds here the spirit of the child to 'heredity' to make this clear. There is no such implication, since spirit is not matter, and the ingredients of possibility of equipment, are not the same as those for what HAS the equipment, the personality made in form by God, and provided in features, as the child lives and grows.
Once again, the danger of
such an inclusive definition is this: that except when as here one majors in
definitional matters, one is likely to be misunderstood, and to speak to the
air. Hence the use of this analysis is mainly this, that it is convenient as a
method of spreading forth what IS the total nature of the child, the words
becoming by concentration on them, a vehicle of shocking into awareness to the
realities to which, in any case and on any definition, they do and must refer,
one way or another, if one is to cover the case.
BEYOND TIME AND SPACE
Since there has been a discussion of these things with such purposes however, let us complete it.
Heredity, then, includes the spirit of the child, the composite spirit-mind ensemble and many other more normally included things, though not necessarily correctly conceived, as in deterministic modes, when you have, as one has often pointed out, the enormity that the thinker is said to be determined in some way beyond all responsibility, and yet, this being the limit of liberty and the indictment of objectivity, thought being captive, the one who SAYS so, who presents the view of determinism, is imagined to be valid in the very act of presentation. He/she becomes the exception to the rule being expressed, in order to express it!
If you deny such objectivity and reality and validity to others, it is hopeless then to imagine that you, as one of them, abort your own theory just long enough to indict others accurately, and then resume your own part with them as a witless intellectual adventurer, determined in thought by events which do not rest on the criteria of reality, validity and objective truth (cf. That Magnificent Rock - TMR - Ch. 5, SMR Chs. 3 and 10, Barbs, Arrows and Balms 6, and 7 ). That of course is the folly of Darwin, Freud and Marx, as has been noted in its site, and it applies more generally no less. (Cf. SMR pp. 611ff..)
Heredity of the child, therefore, with all these elements, is to be conceived with the reality of spirit, as well as with all the aspects which make for determination, such as programs, often responsive to conditions which in turn often relate not a little to the spirit and its own adventures. This done, we can at least use the term. However we are still so far short of covering the case, that it resembles a doctor operating on a leg, without knowing whether, or perhaps believing that it is there.
That is the wonder of much modern psychiatry, that often, it does not believe in the nature of the spirit of man, and yet treats it. Small wonder as seen in SMR Ch. 4, that the effectuality of much of the expensive treatment has been so often, so low (in one hospital case, deemed NOT to make a statistical difference, whether given or not), and chemotherapy has brought in its sullen face to the ills of the soul, often as a substitute for the understanding, though sometimes as due medication for disturbed equipment (a wholly different matter).
We are, then, for all that, far short of covering the case because, quite simply, the highest level of heredity is found in that of the spirit of the child itself, not its mere operation, but its origin and the work of that Origin in personal correlation, correspondence or disposition, illumination, elimination or attestation. IS the child a child of God ? If so, then there is a dynamic of a grace and profundity, superbly above that of the parents, yet not wholly unrelated, since it is someone who is there who is so adopted by God, and it is this which supervenes. The pastor enters in, since he can bring to the child the considerations apt for the spirit, and present the word of God in ways, like a doctor with an influenza case using some medicament, which help and are to the point.
Christian friends can also intervene, and the whole society of Christians in their church relationship have a bearing, whether in their fragrance and love, their example and testimony in word and deed, or in the case of false churches, their folly and superficiality, their departure from the faith, and tragic misuse of the terms of the faith, to mean other things (like arsenic given under the label of an antibiotic).
Having then used the verbal method of alerting to the realities, we can now forget it, except for the simplicity and ease of definition which it allows, only noting the existence of many spiritual and mental-spiritual considerations, conceptions and dynamics, and bringing these in the end, to God Himself, the living God, more influential than any environment, more commanding than any heredity, but never a dictator. A dictator who gave His own life in the flesh for a sacrifice for sin ? That would be like calling a philanthropist mean or penurious in his dealings with humanity: meaningless abuse.
But you say, What if God for all His great love and benevolence, sacrificial intensity and absolute wonder of compassion, will have it no way but His own, inflexible, unreasonable and exclusivist, uncompassionate, unrealistic and without understanding; where then is the liberty and where the wonder and the beauty of it all, and how then would if differ from what might, if such were the case, even be called SPIRITUAL determinism!
If the square root of minus one were not an unreal number, then so be it. That is the case. To endeavour to build a philosophy of mathematics, however, on the concept that it IS a perfectly attainable number would be a waste of time. It is not so.
God could if He would, have made mankind NOT in His image, NOT with such a wonder of what could almost be called dignity, but which, in case there should be misunderstanding, one might better call measured independence. He could have made man a clock like mechanism, or a responsive spiritual entity, whose ways are calibrated to the force, like a sock in the wind, and which could be moved in this manner.
He chose not to do so. He Himself is told by NONE. His own counsel is personal to Himself as Isaiah 40 makes eminently and dramatically clear. History is long in thousands of years, a prodigious time for wickedness, and vain assertions of knowledgeability or compassion above that of the Maker, to illustrate their claims by their performance, and for the declarations of God, all but innumerable in detail, multiplied in historical settings and domains, to be attested, verified and to leave their wake in the form of facts paralleling with precision the preceding prophetic words. In a contrast most pathetic and marked, the opposite applies to the kaleidoscopic mass of refuted assertions, calamitous claims and vain repetitions of human contrivance in philosophy, politics and the whole gamut of human personality.
As logic demonstrates and history confirms (SMR, TMR), God only CAN and does understand all things, being not limited by organic mould, calibration of capacity and knowledgeability of human and other construction and qualities (cf. SMR pp. 25ff., Repent or Perish Ch. 7). Hence He can and characteristically DOES, in the prophets, indicate precisely what is going to be (cf. SMR Chs. 8 and 9 , Divine Agenda, Galloping Events, and index at Bible). He knows and understands, but this is not the same as sealing it by mere force. Nor is it by any means as little a thing as merely observing in advance. He measures and makes many things (as He does in fact in our own bodies); in some things control is total, in some direct control is partial, and in some He permits the follies of the wicked to be blown, eroded of all dignity, like chaff in the wind (Psalm 1:6).
This if you like, is almost the REFUSE EQUATION. Rubbish is like that. But rubbish is not defined by its prenatal heritage from this world, but ONLY in terms of having the light, and preferring darkness (John 3:127ff.). "THIS IS THE CONDEMNATION." Again in John 15:21-23, Christ makes it clear that if HE had not come, as no other, and done what no other did, and said what no other did, and if He had not shown and provided in this stunning personal way the very habiliments of God (as in John 8), then they would not have had sin. Since He had come and they elected to reject Him, THEREFORE THEIR SIN REMAINED!
It is a consequential matter. It is a predestinate matter. It is a personal matter. It is a spiritual matter, free to God, and for man, for the God of all knowledge and wisdom, power and love does not abuse that love, by making it violence (cf. SMR pp. 30ff., 65ff.), but rather calls as in Matthew 23:37 (see SMR Appendix B), and speaks as in Ezekiel 33:11 and as in Isaiah 55, calling people to come. It is providing for them to come, but not bringing them against their preference. That is the humbling thing: YOU CAN refuse. No trouble. The pit is easy. But you CANNOT of your own self, COME. HE is the one who KNOWS, and it is the stated case that it pleased Him that ALL THINGS in heaven and earth should be reconciled. This is simply not compatible with being a dictator. If it were, ALL THINGS would be reconciled. Having made mankind what it is, however, the Lord does not so act.
IF accordingly, you come to His kingdom, it is in mercy and truth, by Him and not by the ignorant, the presumptuous or the violent, who so often would seize its name and take it to themselves, in anomalous and false church format, or other guise.
The child so grows, and the
spirit of the child, the mind, the vitality, the increments of understanding,
the modes and moods of the child, the enlistings and proficiencies, the
imagination and imaginations of the child, the responses of the child to all
things, are not free from the spiritual domain, in the first awakenings of its
powers. Even where the spirit is dead to God, it has a species of function
still residual, however distorted the environment of terms, and this the more
so, when as in many places, the teachers teach folly in spiritual terms, preach
power and struggle as the way of creation, or deny it altogether, while
wimpishly acting as if they were beings of sympathy, contrary to their own
production mode, bugling the horrors of strife as creator, and presenting peace
for the world as their void, detached and vain choice. Based on nothing, they
accomplish nothing that stands, except to contribute to the fall of many, in
deluded self-contradiction, ascribing to what they detest, the powers they
utilise in speaking.
confused, they imagine that in the grip of, and as the mould of such forces,
they can dispense with them; and inventing what is never found, contrary to all
science, as the very genesis of philosophy, they concoct a world of wonderful
man, seeing so nobly the good things, coming out of the filth of plain and
unspeakable evil, which they imagine as the very basis of man, and condemn. At
merely their OWN preference, contrary to the method of science and the
requisitions of reason alike*1, they so
invent evil, preach it, imbue the child with its ways, and then in some things
inconsistently and vainly, imagine that man can master the imagined genesis of
his own soul, and 'do good' as a kind of fantasy invoked by desire.
THE VERIFIABLE POWER OF IMPOTENCE,
WED TO IRRATIONALITY,
HAS THIS WORLD FOR ITS PLAYGROUND
What reason however is this ? How can the leopard change its spots ? What is the universe transforming potion or power which can remake man, if the fiction of his coming from nowhere in particular for no reason in particular, but with every horror of filth and evil imaginable as his historical basinette, were to be entertained! Where is the evidence of this humanistic potion or power ? Where is its splendour and where is its temple, but in the dust of millions of dying children, annually, millions maimed over the years, not only physically, but spiritually through misleading bigotry that usurps the truth, bellowing its belligerent themes, while in more lucid moments, wondering why youth is so confused. It is so confused because it is so abused; but it has also its own sin, of its own spirit.
It is only God who can make the child, a child of God. The mockery of God inherent in the confusion of His curse on the earth with His mode of creation, a mere nightmare effort contrary to all reason and evidence, is the sermon of our times*2. The spiritual squalor of children increasingly, is merely an aggravation of their own inherent sin, by those who attack God, directly or indirectly, then in their teaching abuse, transfer their militant negativity to His products, the children, and so beg for the millstone which Christ indicated was for those who offend little ones who believe in Him (Matthew 18:6-7).
Outside Christ, already condemned (John 3:17ff.), the entrepreneur in education who makes children the witless butts of his/her philosophy that mocks the God of creation, in His ways and His works, blind to the facts, feeding on fiction, is indeed making supplication for disaster, just as constituting a cause for it, in the lives of many. That it is not a certain cause in no way removes the dangers and perils, the horror morally and the ethical blight which such arrogation of truth and scientific method, both, must and does constitute.
That is one reason why the South Australian government, to name but one, would have been far wiser had it listened to the presentations so often made to it, and made science in these areas, to have the dignity of scientific method, using facts and accurate observation as its base, and building on that with hypothesis, instead, as is done in this case, making philosophies wholly estranged from verifiable evidence, the basis, and then acting, in the absence of verification, as if the only purpose were to show that what does not happen, must have reasons.
Precisely as in the case of the square root of minus one, it is a waste of time. It does not happen. It needs no explanation. Creation shows nothing but a finished plan*3, equipped with variability within kind leading to individuation. That is what the Bible says. That is what the world does. Alas, the children, in the meantime, little ones not yet mature in their thought, are sequestrated from the divine parentage which offers, with alien thoughts, alienated models, philosophies of violence, irrationally combined, at times, with the hopeful contradictions of aborting the alleged base.
Thus does humanism, obsequious to what it deems not to be there, want man to be different from what in the first place, is not there, this surging squalor of merely dire and dominating forces, reductionist unrealities, from what does not happen; but which, if it did, could not thus be removed from one's ways, as integumental with it, determined through it or given directive by it; nor could it be disjoined from the source motif by wishing it. To remake involves and indeed requires the facility and the power, the base and the thrust, the understanding of the thing to be remade, and access to, with the dominion over the ingredients of the remaking!
Thus, if one's ways were NOT determined by it, and determinism were dropped, then the responsibility of man for his own paths still leads to the necessity for an environment which is more potent than sin, than the ways of dis-splendour which envelop the earth, mock the perfections, alike weak and invaded with sin themselves. That environment is God. There is indeed an answer, as man gropes and hopes and seeks; but it is not found by mockery of one's Maker, libel on His lordly methods in creation, and living by imagination instead of following the always verified word of God, necessary by reason, splendid in fulfilment in all things.
In this way only is there
rational ground for responsibility, warrant for liberty at its base,
power for transformation, explanation of the vast wisdom in creation, reason
for man's aspirations, devoid of inane chatter and ceaseless invalidity.
There is no irrational poignancy in the lot of man. He is not a god in the making, drawing from nothing everything needed; he is a rebel unmade, and unwilling to be remade. This is his universal post, his unillustrious destiny, from which some evacuating, find the reason for, the reality of and the source of man's moral desires, spiritual pining and arrested development alike. In finding Him, they find also the due resolution of the pining, the consummation of every aspiration and the wisdom of the departure from what being lost, is merely a miasma of fraud, fecklessness and recklessness, spiced with confusion, and endowed with profusion, like a queen ant which never seems to stop laying her millions.
they are little things - almost angels with grubby wings. To slight them, in their
slenderness, with the malodorous mix of rebellion and unreason, that
helped mould the twentieth century in the pride of its glory, chained to
misconception, riotous in sour developments, dying amidst grandeur, and hating
amidst dreams, mad with murder, this is the insignia of the lost.
The delicious delights of snowflakes, like the little, to the naked eye invisible desert flowers, seem so much integumental to the mind of childhood, that one is constrained to add this reflection here. Almost fastidious fancy is inherent.
Dr Werner Gitt, the notable
information scientists who lectures and writes so broadly, has in his little
work, "Stars and their Purpose in Space", a reference
to the notable symmetries and geometrical specifications of snow-flakes. Facing
p. 29, he sets out such structures visually.
The appearance is of
|b) facility with tiny things|
|c) compression of thought notionally in elaborate features of ornament|
|d) extraordinary similarity of structure mixed with equal diversity in detail and|
|e) work so fine as to be daunting to the nimblest fingers.|
What does NOT appear to the appreciating eye, however, is this interesting reflection from Gitt. He notes: "All snowflakes are hexagonal, varying in size from one to three mm." That, it is interesting in terms of cognition: a cognitive device has this sort of characteristic. He continues: "Their weight varies from one-half milligram down to one-200th of a mg. It has been proved mathematically that every single snowflake is unique; the same pattern is never repeated."
This is eminently surprising. Like individuals in face, the difference may be slight, but it is there. Conformity is not the mode; type is; within the type there is an industry of differentiation startling to behold. Thus it is with so much of nature, that to ignore it is anti-scientific (not merely unscientific), it is to dismiss primary attestation so viable and vigorous, that it would resemble a judge who, being told that the bullet in the victim was slightly different from the one which could come from the standard gun of the presumed assailant, went on to emphasise the sameness!
These hidden marvels, like much more now continually being found about the nature of creation, attest its finesse of construction, abundance of capacity in design beyond any need of any kind, except as a spectacle of wonder and an ingenuity of thought; but then, when one IS ingenious, as is the case with the Creator, who created both the capacity for it in man and for verbalising and conceptualising it, and co-ordinating all three, THAT is what one would expect, and constitutes just one more of the myriads, ever expanding in thought, of such verifications. Patterns can be cognitive or apparent, submerged or obvious.
Thus the similarity in construction in wing and limb, by contrast, shows the co-ordinating thought back of it all, for this is precisely what thought tends to do: to see similarities for adaptation, and to render them thriftily in moving from thought to detailed action, in making a co-ordinated series. They do not however move splendidly from one to the other in engineering, or in anything but thought; for the commotion required to co-ordinate and specify for material, living things more than for the mechancial and not the less because of the intricacies of DNA: this does not waft in like some Summer breeze. It requires honest toil and new prototypes to be constructed, depending for their challenge, on the material.
This tendency for patterns
to be related in an authoritative sort of way, as sub-types under a cover-type,
is noted by
He notes that the new more clinical method of emphasising "the defining diagnostic characters of different groups" also is helping to highlight the distinctives of different classes of biological beings, and the discontinuity aspect in nature.
This, as he affirms so
realistically and robustly, is the real empirical fact; for continuity (as over
all different kinds of creatures, and as over all creation indeed) is present
ONLY IN THE MIND OF MAN. Thus he concludes: "The concept of the continuity
of nature has existed in the mind of man, never in the facts of nature.
"(pp. 353-354). In fact, the diseased and frustrated desire for a unity OF
and IN creation, of a generative kind, makes nonsense of the facts of
invention, and vice versa. The unity is in the mind and thought of the creator,
where, as in creation even in man, many things are basic considerations, and
many more are imaginative and diverse in the extreme, relating to things highly
varied, with diverse purposes and comprehensibility in full, only when those
are known. See Divine Agenda Ch. 4,
Spiritual Refreshings for the Digital Millenium Ch. 13, Ch. 8 (News
100), That Magnificent Rock Ch. 7, SMR pp. 620ff..
For those who would like to
consider the phenomenon of the child further, there is added here an excerpt
from The Shadow of a Mighty
Lessons in The Lord from The Child,
And from Childishness: A Matter of Marvels
A child is not necessarily childish; far from it: the term often rather refers to adults who, despite the appearance of maturity, act though without small years - yet in small-minded ways.
As a matter of fact, more than mere childishness, the spiritual obesity, the heavy-mindedness of so much of the human race never ceases to amaze me. I do not refer to technical slowness, but to spiritual sloth. True it is foretold, the Bible analyses it; but the extent of it is a marvel! What a confirmation of the scripture that man without Christ is dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:8, , Romans 1).
Of course the whole world, with its hundreds of millions of Moslems, Romanists and sects relating in various ways as heresies of Christianity (the Jews, according to the apostles, being also added in general terms through their rejection of their Messiah), makes an enormous percentage testimony to one God, but which ?
Except for the Jews (*1), those above do attest Jesus Christ in one way or another; indeed cannot escape Him (while the Jews for their part cannot escape the predicted consequences). As Paul says, some preach Christ out of contention: that is, their relationship is not spiritual, pure; but they still relate to and forward the name, even if by devious means.
But why did we earlier refer to 'obesity' ? Why is this term used ?
Consider one fact. Here is a human being, an infant, unfolding, yes more than that, developing machinery (but self-repairing to an extraordinary measure, as well), growing equipment before our very eyes, integrated circuits, synthesised operations; and on top of the physical marvels of minute members performing microscopic or sub-microscopic programs at supra-human levels of miniaturisation, there is the fascinating fact of learning. Impressive as are the computers, with their parameters, their 'tasks', their 'methods' of 'learning', this is dead, sterile, merely a matter of performing labour to detail and deliver someone's brain child, some conception already held in principle and programmed into fulfilment.
With human beings, learning is more, far more than this. It involves the development in mind, as automatically in body, of what was not there. Thoughts arise which are novel, parameters not implicit in earlier ones: Creation in the thought world, in fact occurs. Think of making what can create! genuinely and utterly, create! It does not create that with which it is to create, it is true; but with what it is given, it does create.
More than that! It can resist, oppose, and do so irrationally or with ostensible logic, carefully shrouded in distancing mechanisms, directed to keeping the... Maker at bay! Think of creating what did that, and did it in ways not programmed! Creative obstruction, what a testimony, what a witness to the Maker's skill with freedom, is that.
But the mechanisms, the programs, the developments decay. Behold, what had been wrapped and unwrapped, potential and then actualised if you will, now here and now there: it warps, it wanders, it runs down - but not before it has created folly and ruin, brilliance and wonder, rationalisations and woes, banes and blessings or whatever may be its line. It changes the surface of the earth, investigates and distorts or develops and exhibits; but it runs down. This it does, unless God picks it up, restoring, renewing or redeeming, as it is written, and as it is found by Christians, operationally:
But they who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wing like eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint (Isaiah 40:31 - cf. Isaiah 51:6!).
Just as the unwrapping revealed incredible splendour, as the babe matured, the child grew, so the wearing out exposes incredible vulnerability, sensitivity, emphasising the marvel of the balanced, self-protective procedures inbuilt, and reminding the growing adult that he or she is not a 'god' but a product; yet what a product... one that can think and oppose, even wilfully! One wonders in retrospect how it all was accomplished, whatever for good or evil the little midget human being did, after infancy, and before wearing out! That little weakling, eminently vulnerable, did this!
Have you never considered just what it does, from mushroom clouds to penetration of space... ? but then: it withers, and it is gone from the surface of the earth which it attacked, for wonders or woes, with such vigour. If you have not, it is high time to ponder.
This particle, this potential,
this human property, this self-activated potentate,
this semi-automated marvel,
so precious that people may want to adopt one, bring it up, feed it and educate it, learn from it, listen to it, consult it... ?
This devastator, this procrastinator,
this aspirant to divine glories
in many cases: it dies.
It stops breathing.
You look for its place and it is not.
You consider its future, and it has departed from your sight.
You reflect on its past and look how it mounts; but now that is past.
Where did it come from, whose was it, from what did it come, whose construction was this invisibly manufactured being, this imaginative creation, this creative product, this mentality, this will, this purposeful performer!... it appeared without the noise of its construction, and wore out as it used itself, or was used, whatever was the case.
One can never cease marvelling at the blindness of man, the simple fat-heartedness, that so many do not face this simple fact, nor seek to know the One who made this manufactured being, this highest of all designs amid creations visible; nor find it a desirable, an intensely desirable thing, a consuming passion indeed, to know that Being, and to be acquainted closely with that person.
They may line up at the dead body of... Lenin, a gross murderer, or seek an audience with this or that man of fame and name; but as to the Maker of themselves, the One who thought them up, contrived them: man in millions seems urbanely indifferent, confused or simply rebellious. Why know Him ? But He is there. Why approach ? but the blind are leading more and more of them to rejoice, before they die, in their blindness; and to be 'liberated'... that is, to use the wonder of created will with which to rebel against this Maker, ignore Him, and act as if totally... mad, recklessly irresponsible.
The other striking marvel here in view, is simply this: that men despite all this, often loudly marvel that things 'don't go right' and complain, or use this to rationalise disbelief, or reject the Maker. Yet anyone should be able to see that this is just what to expect: to reject the Maker of this magnificent midget, this often prayerless and careless particle, this not quite automatic and frequently lustfully autonomous agent of antics: to do that... it must require ruin, just because He is the Maker, and He does not abdicate every time a wonderful prodigy of His creation goes berserk through will and desire.
He provides for the particle, makes concession to the person, makes communication to the communicator, man, whom He created, sends Jesus Christ for the redemption of this spoiled serviceable unit, and condemns what will not come to this same Lord Jesus Christ. (Amos 4:13, Isaiah 48:16, Zechariah 2:8, 12:1, John 5:39-40.)
Indeed, are there not superabundant grounds for this. Firstly, that condemnation was what it deserved anyway, being fallen short of the standards on which alone heaven is haven - the standards of God; and because, secondly, to refuse remedy is to be unremedied, and to be unremedied- it is ruin. To reject remedy is to requisition ruin. (Cf. John -19 - notice the crux of the condemnation, its elemental principle.)
Further, there is another marvel which remains. It is this: that these persons, these pondering particles, these magnificent midgets, when they come to Christ and accept His cancellation of their conduct by the Cross on which He suffered, bearing the sins of all His own, securing the ultimate justice and providing grounds for restoration, making available to all, this remedy which is applied and active only for those who do so come: what ? then they have joy.
There is no more this other kind of marvel: the sadly unsuitable, the grossly unspiritual, the madly immoral, the intemperately trifling, the tediously self-preoccupied, the deliriously confused little midget, sad in the midst of the wonder of its creation. Instead, there is cohesion instead of confusion, confession for repression, and a beautiful code of conduct for a morass of immorality: there is relief instead of ruin, and acceptance instead of divorce ... acceptance by its maker. Not only does Romans 3:21-26, -5:1, 10:9 and John 10:9, say so; but people find it so, as it is written.
And that involves perhaps the greatest marvel of all, of which we are reminded in Romans 10:9 and John 3:16: that God, beyond any most understandable interest in His prodigy, His fascinating but often repulsive freedom-man: God actually loved enough to take action, investing in the format of the product personally, dying for the misdeeds of those to be covered - and all are invited - and being resurrected from the dead. Not leaving the deceased body around to rot, but before the eyes of hundreds, showing Himself, He demonstrated the truth that He Himself is the Lord of Life (Acts 3:14-15, 2:23-24). Able and willing to defeat the woes, wanderings and wickedness of His creation, He does not impose the remedy by force, but provides it by favour.
Nor did the Lord stop at demonstration. Just as His Cross provided redemption through His offering of Himself as the ransom for believing sinners, so His resurrection is the foretaste of the same work to come, and for His people, it will be in keeping with His own:
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself (Philippians 3:20-21).
The remaining marvel ? it is that so many, in the very presence of such love and sanity, prefer to ignore God as if He lacked the wit to speak to His wayward product, and so, implicitly dub Him an imbecile of inattention, indifference or inarticulation.
Yet many imagine that any God would find this satisfactory. A marvellous being, man, but marvellously prone to be... obese, spiritually obese; and such fatness kills.