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does the glory go ? A Swimming Champion Episode
on creation, recalcitrance, man and mess
or mankind and divine kindness
TV News and Advertiser, last week of Winter, & Time Magazine August 23
GIVE GLORY ? WHERE!
We read/hear of Penny Heyns breaking 6 world records.
Down they went! The commentator was hoarse with a sense of glory. This was what ? words, he indicated, failed him. Fantastic - there was a muted sense of glory, bursting from the seams. How could such wonders be! Surely something must be done/said in response to such performances in the pool: such cool, such power, such confidence.
THEN she said it. With a sense of growing fervour, rather like that in Soccer matches - with the crowd coming more and more closely to that measured thrust of enthusiasm and jointness which we are more accustomed to find in church services - but here with an intensity of adulation more focussed on an individual, we awaited developments. The INTERVIEW: what was to be said ?
"All the glory goes to God!" There was no rhapsody. She might almost have been saying, all the bills go to Mrs Smith, except, to be accurate, there was perhaps a latent sense of definiteness, determination and finality about this announcement from the lips of the multiple champion, world record breaker, whose swims for some days seemed to know nothing if not world records. Reflect. It is one thing to win a gold medal at an extensive world meeting. It is another to make a record for the games type at which you are swimming. But a world record, then another and another and another ....
The air changed. The electricity was turned off. A simmer replaced the thrill of expectancy. What was NOT desired had replaced, it almost seemed, at least in the sense of obvious crowd noise, what was. The GLORY had gone where it belonged, and no more could MAN exult and glorify himself, the latent desire you see in the guru rapport, the military grandeur, the presidential princeliness and the soccer adulation. Without glory, where was the candle, where was the light, the sheer drive, the marvellous ambition!
WHY, said Hugo Wolf, that great musician whose life was so muddled amidst creation, WHY should I bear the cost of this thrust and this creativity ? Life can be pleasurable. Why do I not just enjoy it!
But where his creativity came from he did not know, that it drove him he did. There was undoubtedly some sense of glory, as the expensive paper and grandeur of his desires in music and publication became manifest. It was not necessarily, MERELY selfish glory; but there was a desire for something, somewhere to be glorified, for something somehow to have justice done to it, for some creation to reach where it should, some exaltation of something to occur.
WHERE THE GLORY ? God has said this: " My glory I shall not give to another" - Isaiah 42:8, and if you were a betting person, there is one thing you could bet the entire universe on, with complete certainty that this would be the case. What God has said is just what is going to happen. To give any glory elsewhere, in the domain of creation and creativity, existence of the universe and its grandeur is merely to lie. Christ as the truth and so co-Creator (Colossians 1:16, John 1:3) is antithetical to that. So God says in Isaiah (from Isaiah 45:5,12,18; 43:13, 43:10, 46:9-10, 48:12-13):
you see it (cf. p. 212 infra).
Indeed, He goes further:
"Come near to Me, hear this: I have not spoken in secret from the beginning: from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord God and His Spirit has sent Me" - Isaiah 48:16.
His servant Messiah is sent as One with Him from the beginning (cf. Micah 5:1-3), and there alone is the deliverance and salvation for the earth, or anyone upon it. (On all this, see Repent or Perish Ch.7, which gives exhibition in short format of the incredible grotesqueries of irrationality which would claim otherwise - cf. The Shadow of a Mighty Rock (SMR) Chs. 5-6, for logic and history also, with Ch.8).
Even our cat shows it: she will ponder, reflect, seem about to do this, obviously consider again, be moved this way and that, look about as if for inspiration perhaps, wash while uncertain, then, gripped by resolve go about her business with address. There are options. It is the case however, as with the cat, so with mankind for all his pretended glory, which Heyns for one, statedly a devout Christian, appeared to put truly where it belonged: the door may close.
One is quite capable of closing the door so that the cat CANNOT come in. There may be a time for resolution, and a time to learn the need of it, through lack of opportunity. How much more are we then subject to this sure and necessary God. He is not a piece of fish, that He should be chosen, like goods at market, far less bartered over - as one retired used car salesman, saddened at his former ways, seemed to think. Immutable (SMR Ch.1. pp. 19ff.) and indisputable (SMR Chs. 3,10), He does not wait on man for permission to be what He is. Man however does need to wait upon God to find where he is to be! NOT where HE is to be, but where he/she, a member of this race, is to be. Where God is - at the creation controls. Where man is - at the creature repository.
It is indeed true that God has done much to raise man -
first literally from the dust as a simple chemical basis for the impartation of life into a medium,
then by crediting to him a spirit
(cf. Joyful Jottings 6, 15, SMR pp. 348ff.,Ch.4 passim, 611ff., 620ff, A Spiritual Potpourri Ch.6, Repent or Perish Ch.7, Barbs, Arrows and Balms, Appendix 1, Predestination and Freewill Part 1) ,
that he might rove in imagination, postulate purposes and assess performances, including his own!
To ignore this facility, function and responsibility, is like ignoring breathing, but infinitely more dangerous. He has even sent His eternal word in human format to be crucified as He was, an atonement for those repenting of sin and seeking the peace of reality where it is to be found (Isaiah 55:1.6ff., 52:7); while for centuries now, the crucifixion has been transposed, as if by some skilled musician, to the virtual crucifixion of all logic - recently becoming much more blatant and pretentious.
Logical grounds are abused with simplicity, as the sun rises in the east; as if infantility had not stopped in Primary School: but that is the nature of the disease. Abuse logic and it exposes YOU - so they hide (John 3:20-21), and so does the Bible indicate the nature of the case with divine authority (Romans 1:17ff.).
Truth, life ? Truth in life, life in truth ? It is NOT
an option. It is a gift. It is an invitation. It is a gracious deliverance.
For as to what avoids Him, the Lord, Creator and Redeemer, darkness is
its domain; light it cannot bear. Would you imagine, then, that if someone
asked you to a party, in December, you could answer with confidence in
February - next! It is important to be clear. God is not mocked, and while
He IS near is the time to seek Him! It is NOT all the time.
FIND HIM AND YOU ARE FOUND
The world will go: it is no use selling yourself for it. Hugo Wolf was right in this. Why worry about it all, since the world will be annihilated. It is true. Of course, God will recreate a new heavens and a new earth, and what he ought to have added is so simple, and it is so sad that he seems to have gone downhill after this partial enlightenment: and after all, the appeal was largely just to pleasure as the other option. That too will go, if unbased, like so much else, given a little time!
If only he had said this: So I shall return to the creativity Creator, whose powers I feel, and the result of them I see, who made them and me, and without whom I am not only a mystery, but an uninterpretable mystery, except as garbage in waiting. So shall I seek my Redeemer, who understands my powers and frustration, and has made peace. But evidently like millions, no! One finds his case peculiarly affecting. It is almost illimitably sad. He had so much. He understood so little. His experience so ramified, and his light looked as if darkness swallowed it up; and then there is the judgment.
What may at length have happened, one can always hope, may not be known. He may have repented; but there, the Lord knows. What WE KNOW, is this: that the glory must go where it belongs, to God.
Meanwhile, the world is not worth it. It goes. God is worth it: He stays and His word remains and His love is inimitable, without evil or bending, the invisible stream of absolute purity and grace, given in total commitment and practicality of performance in Christ who lived, a light and the glorious light of the world; who died, an absorber of darkness and breach of the same, shining in His resurrection for ever.
The world ? The Lord made it come and will make it go. Even at that, you don't escape Him. IT has its appointments, and so do you! II Cor. 5:17ff. shows us that we must all appear before His judgment seat. Woe betide the one so foolish, so glory grabbing as to come unclothed with the glorious garment of divine righteousness, made available in Christ (see Matthew 22:1-14, Isaiah 61:10, I Peter 2:22ff.).
On the other side of the ledger, it is only sin that shuns Him and sin is a disease creating unease, justified unease. It is really a justified person (Romans 5:1) through the vicarious atonement, the sin-bearing advent of Christ into our life situation, or a justified unease. But think of the blessing! A justified life! (Romans 5:1-21, 8:1-11, Titus 2:11-3:8).
Unease ? Why note ? Sin is spiritual disease. For germs antiseptic is hell. It is deserved and designed. Hospital is its focus. Germs, if you will, hate antiseptic, but hospitals love it. Hospitals are for help. It is necessary to enter the doors of the hospital of faith, notwithstanding any reluctance.
YOUR antiseptic as a member of the human race is the GOSPEL;
ITS doctor is the LORD.
HIS charge is to give.
HE gives you life.
There are however some options for death - funerals spiritually can have variety, though the removal is not so simple, facing the remedy-less abyss which is no oblivion (Mark 9, cf. Barbs, Arrows and Balms 30, Repent or Perish Ch.1, pp. 27-30).
Where then does this leave naturalism, in the personal
side of things ?
That sets all Naturalism as a painful shadow, irrational, intoxicated, depersonalised, reductionist and designer-made for rubbish. Who designs to use it ? Why the architect of his fortune and master of his soul ? Who ? the recalcitrant, witless at the crucifixion cost of His Lord, wayward before the Gospel, writhing in logical torment, resisting the truth (Romans 1:17-21), and worshipping the creation more than its Creator (Romans 1:17ff.), so as the Bible expressly declares, "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools" - Romans 1:22. The drab too may fall here: a fallen nature prey to this world. But 'Nature' ?
NATURE ? Look at the evidences. It CANNOT CREATE, not even with enormous help from the interfering and intervening mind of man. It is RECIPIENT not creator; it is WE who are creators, but not of the domain of the stars, not of a universe! We are PART of the one whom the CREATOR created, and hence creatures. 'Creature' does not mean animal. It is means 'result of creation' in the case when there is life. Our life is accountable, responsible.
It is responsible to God and if it is not responsive to His redeeming graces and places, then it is self-outcast. HE made you for Himself. Without Him, you are rotting fruit. In Him is your seed for a planting that brings forth a tree that is NEVER chopped down (I John 3:1,9, Matthew 15:21, Isaiah 61:3,10) . Even Nebuchadnezzar had to learn that (Daniel Ch. 4:34-37). God is indeed the God who can deliver - a lesson taught to life BY Daniel, and received by Darius, who came later in royal power than Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 6:20, 26-27). It is indeed not merely from lions but from sin that God delivers, a far more dangerous beast.
Nature cannot create or redeem or bless. It is a recipient, not a donor.
The opposite of naturalism, is supernaturalism exhibiting the source of poor abused 'Nature' - which in men's mistreatment of it, is like some poor and preposterous guru, with words not deeds; for Nature has deeds only to follow, not to lead. 'Nature' is not a naturalist (cf. in detail, Scoop of the Universe 57). It is the Creator who gave it its limited powers, its programmed paths, its opportunities for the onset of intelligence or the inset of folly.
How is this last component found ? It is essentially through the creation of man amid the former, lower, ordered and organised creations of divine intelligence, and the product planning of wisdom: an orchestration made ready for man as conductor, but with a directed score, and an assessing divine audience.That is why 'Nature' does never, and by its very exhibited construction, cannot produce products, or conceive designs. It does not have it. It merely exhibits what is put in, and which must be defined (cf. SMR pp. 251-252C, 252Eff., 135ff., 211, 234, A Spiritual Potpourri Chs.1-3, That Magnificent Rock 1, 6), and it is we who exhibit the spirit that was put into us. But even this has its limits.
In fact, man has been set amid the former ordered and organised creations of divine intelligence, product planning, of wisdom, an orchestration ready for man as conductor, but with a directed score, and an assessing divine audience.
Nature does not have it. God does. It is useless to worship a fellow product, and far more so when you are so superior to it, and your God actually made it! It is a perversion of worship and an invitation for judgment.
You need God. For that you need the Gospel - there is (objectively) no other (cf. That Wonderful Gospel, That Magnificent Rock, Ch.3, SMR pp. 755ff., Barbs, Arrows and Balms 26, 29, 30). And it is everlasting (cf. Barbs, Arrows and Balms 17).
Only through the Redeemer who has defeated sin and death, can you find the blessedness for which you were created. It is not that your end is not known; but in the determination of it, the love of God was just as present as in the crucifixion of Christ, crying, "Father, forgive them, they do not know what they are doing!" GOD is one and Christ His eternal word, does everything the Father does in the same way, and hence has the same glory (John 5:19ff., 1:1, 8:58). Hence, Jesus Christ the same today, yesterday, forever (Hebrews 13:8), the beginning and the end, was there and was as full expression of His Father (Hebrews 1:1-3), expressing just that love which He showed.
It is necessary to remember two things once and for all.
It is in fact to curse God, to attribute to Him the gross outrages of 'Nature' as if, instead of being the evocative and instructive 'curse' (cf. Romans 8:20, Genesis 3), it were actually His mechanism of 'creation', so that not His judgment but His joy would be so to act! HE would then be responsible for the misuse of His creation to create more, He and not sin and judgment. Such an attitude implies a curse on His kindness. To curse God by treating Him ass an inarticulate idiot messing a miry universe when His intelligence serenely asserts itself in the glorious code in every cell of your very own body, is a buffoonery so intense as to deserve all it gets - a place in the garbage truck.
It is however radioactive garbage,
that is then your symbol - everlasting contempt is its awesome and endless
end (Daniel 12:2ff.).
BACK TO BEDROCK
Back to bedrock: it is time. Build in the Lord. As to Him, He does not move (Matthew 7:24ff, 7:21, Habakkuk 3:6, Malachi 3:6, James 1:17, Matthew 24:35). The world will, quite 'naturally', being for a time and being cursed, 'pass away' as Christ declared (Matthew 24:35, cf. Isaiah 51:6). Its energy is limited, its opportunities for destruction enormous, and like your very own body with its telomeres, it has its time to be and to go. It is assigned - II Peter 3:9 to end of chapter.
What then ? to ignore His gospel when its book asserts and attests itself without competitor or lapse over thousands of years, evidences itself sure at every test, and logic requires it, when to deny it is to assert an inept God, your moral inferior, fussing with freedom, but failing to end the folly or remedy it, this is an exercise in arrogance, a testimony to futility, an insult to deity (SMR pp. 100ff., *30, *31).
Return to Him, and He will return to you, draw near to Him and He will draw near to you (James 4:8). Past code, accept conversion: for this is not coded. Receive not a bane, but a blessing of brightness - His who is the light of life, even life for ever with heart purified, spirit chaste and love restored.
Redemption is the capsule not merely sent by love, but containing it. It not only saves your life, but sweetens it.
The One who paidIt is there, after all, not at the knees of 'Nature' that you need to be. She is no mother; and her matter cannot even think: think! Reflect.
(for all who come to Him)
lives in His purchase (Colossians 1:27) -
yes, and treats it (you when converted)
with the love that led Him to the Cross. Saviour and Shepherd are one and the same.
It is no wonder that so many find the universe so impersonal. IT IS!
It is a product by any definition (cf. SMR pp. 211, 252E-G, 251-252C, 135ff., 234). The definitional dilemma, in the references given multiply exhibited, then bedevils the erratic desire to escape reality, and merely attests that inescapable necessity of creation, independently shown (SMR Chs. 1, 3, 10, That Magnificent Rock Chs.1, 8).
There is no use making 'Nature' your adult dummy!
WHEN you find God, there is no other teacher (I John 2:27). Ministers serve, God is Master, Christ the Principal, the faithful one, the pure one: the One with a heart. Pastors are under-studies, who may help fill up the sufferings of Christ, not redemptively, but in illustration of the grace and strength of His presence (Colossians 1:24).
As to that Master, there is none other to redeem (Isaiah 43:11-12, 52:12-53:13, Acts 4:11-12).
There is no other need (Psalm 73:25).
Other ways are like idle dreams, malevolent, vain or just inane (cf. Jeremiah
2:11-13, 19, 27-28, Isaiah 1:3, Deuteronomy 32:6):
"Oh foolish people and unwise!," says Moses in the last verse cited. "Do you thus requite the Lord!"
Reality has a rock, and that Rock is Christ (Matthew 7, Psalm 62:1-3, I Corinthians 10:1-5). Any other rock is sandstone. This one makes granite look weak.
Taste and see that the Lord is good. He really is. He made the worlds, you and the blessed destiny in which alone man has meaning, and His meaning is grace, love and truth, peace and His blessing, Himself amidst the children of God. As to the stupendous character of that grace, see News 79.
I had rather be a child of God,
than the devil's Lord, meaningless clay, clayey spirit; and be sure,
means NO Lord. It for himself that he pleads, without basis but hatred, without hope but aspiration in an abyss. He has many followers - and that destiny is no dream, wish as they may that it would go away.
The glory to God! said the swimmer.
THAT IS WHERE IT BELONGS: and you too!
THE UNFINISHED SYMPHONY
? In one sense, man looks like an unfinished symphony. The conductor is
there, as is the score; but man in multiplied millions wilfully refuses
to know the score. It is always rather sad to think of an unfinished symphony.
It had inspiration perhaps at first, was even loved by its composer, but
time did not permit, or it developed internal problems, inaccuracy or variability.
It was not fulfilled. Clumsily contrived, conceived, encapsulated or expressed, it is consigned to the unfinished box. In this case, the failure lies not in the contrivance, but in the wanton abandon of the score.
It is like gambling. NOT SATISFIED, the SA Government in its day put much money into real estate and various projects. It was not satisfied with what it had; it had to be clever with money and develop it to make of itself something different. It lost. The State sags, the services are in some respects all but under siege. Its excellent opportunities with the technical city of the future somehow sagged also. There is a feeling of the unfinished.
Pokie Place seems to be one of the perils. (Pokies is the insidiously intimate term for the instruments of self-torture for many - poker machines, installed in profusion and confusion not a little).
The government has led and the people in astonishing measure, follow. Indeed Australia has perhaps the highest gambling rate on earth.
But this is as nothing compared with the God-gamble of so many. Transfer one glory from heaven to earth. Alas it will not fit, any more than a lake into stone containers.
Transfer one glory to Nature. It will not move! Then whip it! Come you cursed thing! get going! they cry, jagging in the spurs into the poor creation which has served them so well. SHOW evolution, GET going, COME ON MARS, get people or something. WHERE IS IT! and they worship still, looking here for all that they cannot attain to, and receiving not; but plenty of disease, this they receive in their consummate knowledge of 'Nature', so that Africa looks almost courting death, and many nations blench with it; while wars wrench the fabric of earth, and environment mocks the grandeur of the plans of man.
But Nature is filled with causality, reason suffuses it; it does not become illogical, it is not irrational, it does not have invisible, non-existence as its way of being, as if all causality were suspended, so that no characteristics could be asserted of anything, from which results would flow from given causes. Sufficient cause guides scientific method, not magic. Nature is so made. Not in it is this plastic perception, as if reality and virtue had vanished and the rules of Alice in Wonderland were in place (Cf. SMR Ch.3, pp. 284ff., 264ff).
Further, even code production units are not seen, merely code-transfer units (apart from man and his work, man who is not the creator, having had to be put in place himself, and assuredly not making himself!) That unit-system observably runs ONLY DOWN, like all the rest. DNA is damaged, not created de novo. Contemporary creation in this field does not manifest itself, nor does any relevant part of any material system manifest the capacity to relate to it. Nor has any test ever shown the contrary, but only conformity in this, as in other things indeed, to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, itself a resultant of logic as much as of observation.
In general, to go UP in specificity, in creation, you need relevant causes. Results require SUFFICIENT CAUSES. Science always needs to display the interfaces for specific results to come from specific causes. Neither relevant causes nor relevant interfaces are discernible. What is discernible systematically lacks these. What then ?
Deny the operation of causation ? It could not then be thought of, for anything taken into thought would be denied at once, its basis in the scheme of sufficient causation removed, so that NOTHING could be determinate, asserted; and even if it could be conceived, NOTHING of ANY qualities distinguishable from nothing could be, thought of or not; for whatever qualities - be they clothed in words or thoughts or not - should be asserted, at once the necessities of denying causation would lead to their negation. So it would be, lest THIS or THAT be asserted of ANYTHING, and it would then ACT AND REACT accordingly, in a proper, due and observable way, according to causation.
No Nature, poor, poor thing is not the butt of erratic imagination. It is what it shows, and it is not what it cannot be. It gets what it is given, and acts as it is made. It is accessible to reason, and a tribute to thought. It needs what it takes to give it what it has got; and it does not show the causal basis for making its own! Nature does not make itself. What does ? It is a product.
Whether it be world or false church, misled religionist or atheist, it is all one in this: remove causation and you remove thought, and try presenting your case without it! Then you remove the field of thought, as we have reminded the reader above. Provide sufficient causation and you require the minder of matter, the lawyer of law, the constructionist of engineering, the exponent of mathematics and the matrix-moulder of invested conceptions in code.
Indeed, you require the institutor of mind and the fabricator of spirit. A system not in existence is not there; one in existence needs a cause. A material one needs a cause of its laws in particular. If it is to advance to mind, it needs an upward cause; to spirit, purpose, cogitation, you need again, an upward cause. The extent is irrelevant, the quality is essential.
Large as an elephant, or small as a mouse, all requires its cause, qualitatively, step by step, universe or multiplied universes, level by level, quality by quality. This is what logic requires; and what the Second Law of Thermodynamics observes in operational procedures of all kinds in all places, and this is science. This is what information theory also finds for its own field.
even in this case naming the Lord and praying, but not really obeying in a sort of neo-evangelical superior vision and wisdom or philosophy as one has heard it called -
the religion of the world largely stumbles, that it should fall. Many camps arise, contentions ensue among the transients, the vultures and the misled. Looking beyond what is written to what is ... felt to be expedient or prudent or somehow, 'acceptable', they turn like a roast on a spit. Did not Jeremiah expose the pretty pretence of this looking away from God to other sources (whether they be psychic with gurus or biological with 'Nature' - which is only one of the many natures which the Lord has made, by many foolishly selected, as with Egypt of old, for veneration) ?
"Saying to a tree, 'You are my father'; and to a stone, 'You have brought me forth'; for they have turned their back to Me, and not their face, but in the time of their trouble, they will say, 'Arise, and save us!' "
They did of course do this, in World War II in Britain, despite its falling into strange paths, not those of the forefathers (cf. A Question of Gifts pp. 65ff., News 73, and The Other News 13).
This is not time for Time magazine or anybody else to tell us how you must read your Bible and Shakespeare to be educated, but that, really, Naturalism is the thing!
Thing and thingummy indeed, is this 'Nature':
without knowledge, but rather inscribed with law;Nature! It is however not merely a recipient of gifts; it is also an engine of rebuke (cf. Genesis 3). The curse is not for nothing. The mosquito, for example, that delightfully apt little war weapon, has one of the most persistently mobile, heightened agilities you could wish. It seems to see, to sense, to swerve and to accomplish evasion tactics of the very first order, to buzz to let you know, and to avoid to let you know something more, that it is small but significant, like so much of sin. Its medical equipment includes a whole series of instruments of which the brilliant surgeon might be proud, its heat sensors help, its piercing assists, its injection mobilises the 'eats' and it is a nuisance; and again, like so much sin.
without personality, but rather inspired from the Lord;
without gift, but rather the recipient;
without progress, but rather the Second Law of Thermodynamics;
without gear for architectural planning, but rather showing itself as
the spectacle of the same, from the hand of the Lord;
without progressive variation, but always the same in kind,
since the creation it continues, while much of mankind
kneeling to the naïveté of naturalism, to gods that do not save,
looks for inane gobbles of grace,
then all but perennially, in great numbers, spits it out!
It is a parody of pomp, an imitator of avarice, an expression of our littleness through the success of its own, on target, able to spread disease if we do not stamp it out, it is a part of our 'problem' while, ignoring God, we seek not His aid, but more to bomb, more to oppress. Are not the data on Afghanistan women almost beyond belief, in that Moslem setting of repression ? Is this not increasingly typical of an unfeeling buzz that penetrates the human family with a fever worse than the worst of the mosquito!
We read of closing of professions to women, acute depression of those removed from their work, of pasted windows, of veils and places where parts of these must be just so, of no naked arm to appear, of a woman stoned to death while seeking to escape the graces of the land with a 'man', of almost total disposability on the part of the male! It is like an ulcer undressed. In terms of human agony, this oppression would appear to be like a new fever of the mosquito, bred locally and exported all around, with excessive, repetitive fever.
God is not snoozing or asleep, but very active, while man brings the cyclotron of judgment ever nearer (cf. Revelation 9:20ff.). When it is come, it is too late. Much is asking for it, and using a bull horn in the process.
"HOW LONG WILL YOU HALT BETWEEN TWO OPINIONS!" cried Elijah (I Kings 18:13), to the facile and easily swayed people of his day - as in the bulk they appeared, with their slithery king, strong in battle but weak in self-control.
It was Ahab who, using slander and scheming as a weapon to slay a man whose field he wanted, had his own death blood licked by dogs, as given PROPHETIC PRE-ANNOUNCEMENT by Elijah. Be sure that God cares! It cost the prophet to do this faithful act of challenge to the nation, but it did give the people opportunity, as does this site with many, more, oral and written, reminding of the two ways, truth and lying; God, and not god; of new gods arising empty, novel from the ground (Deuteronomy 32:17), or the living Saviour, apt, available and glowing with truth and grace (cf. John 1:14, II Peter 1:16-17).
HOW LONG ? The answer does not have hinges. It turns as history turns, and behold, in a moment, it is done. Perhaps you have lived your life in a rubber boat, and it is neither safe nor deep, but it turns nicely, from this opinion to that, and you have NO FAITH ! If so, if this be your case - leave such a boat and build your spiritual premises on the Rock which does not move.
But how will you enter ? The Lord is the door (John 10:9). He is there already. But what must you take with you ? NOTHING! or you will not pass through. Luke 14:27,33 tells us that UNLESS you forsake all that you have and follow Him, you CANNOT be HIS DISCIPLE! This is inward and devotional, with whatever outward manifestation your case may require. Your SPIRIT must be free in Him.
Of course: if you wanted to train as an electrician, and insisted on keeping some of your own understanding gained from inexpert sources, and welding this into your trade, you might kill many. Consistent high standards are required. You must acknowledge the Lord and follow Him, not attempt to lead Him; follow His word, not try your utmost to pour treacle into it and then say how sticky it is, as if to move the pages with sweetness, and bind them up, unreadable through your philosophic substitutes, pasted over its content or imbued into its matrix.
Enter by Him, and THEN you will find what you are for; since man is not merely for money, or fame, power or name; these things by themselves are childish. It is like driving a car to eat up the petrol, and using it to buy petrol, but never being able to answer THIS QUESTION: WHERE ARE YOU DRIVING! WHAT IS THE PREPARED DESTINATION!
Without that, you are an unfinished symphony - a shame and a pity. You do not stand. With it, you stand fast (Ephesians 6:13, II Thessalonians 2:15). In every buffeting, having stood, you stand; for the divine power which raised Christ from the dead is with you, as you serve Him (Matthew 28:18ff., Ephesians 6:19).
In this way, holding to what the Bible teaches, you avoid the plagues of philosophy, the torrents of false spirits and the ignominy of sacrifice for what is not even there. Truth is available, a delightful resolution of all things.
Thus it is wisdom to leave the 3 major international conspiracies (see News 69, pp. 25ff.).
You do not, for example, worship a god (Allah) who is not there, as shown in The Shadow of a Mighty Rock (see Index, and esp. pp. 989ff.,1080ff., 1088Dff., 831, 625ff., 50ff., and add Barbs, Arrows and Balms 30, Biblical Blessings, Appendix 3). He is not there, but they, who have used force in such ways as we have indicated, in such close association with their religion and its book, these are there, who nearly captured Europe in the Battle of Tours in 732. These with whom is now a newly liberated array with much of the Moslem mode in the area of Armenia, Kazakhstan, Dagestan, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Georgia, Chechnya, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria: yes they are there; and now perhaps not without some nuclear arms.
God denied the largely Moslem Arabs and associated nations of like religion, the victories they sought against the Jews, having long ago made His items of discipline and recovery for the Jews plain, and carrying out His word, as He always does (cf. SMR Appendix A, pp. 776-802, Barbs, Arrows and Balms 13).
If this is violence where faith is, you may well ask, was not the Inquisition the same, were not the Papal Armies that molested the Waldensians in their mountain resorts, much the same, and was not the contrivance of powers in Europe under the Pope, and the Holy Roman Empire much the same ?
Yes, indeed. These two modes are false gods, gods which in various ways endorse violence in the faith, in its time and place, for the faith and against what might be called faith (cf. SMR pp. 1088G, 1032ff., 912ff., 920ff., 977ff., 1039ff.,1058ff., 1065ff., 1078-1079).
You do not need to worship idols whose original is not there (RC), whatever they be named.
Thus the transformed Mary, with immaculate conception contrary to Scripture, 'queen of heaven', 'redemptrix', 'only hope of Sinners', all contrary to scripture but according to the Roman view; the bread which is to become the Christ who is reserved in heaven till the end of things (Acts 3:19-21), which could only have been Christ's body if He committed suicide in the Last Supper as one of the martyrs to Rome's famous religion pointed out (as in Fox's Book of Martyrs); the pope who could only be 'Master', able to make new doctrine if he were indeed Christ, and hence both sinless and uncreated: these three are as far as the Biblical God is concerned, not there. Rather they intrude, being created without warrant, while unjustified by the word of God, but rather contrary to it. (Cf. SMR pp. 1086-1088G, 924ff., 977ff., 1053ff., 1061ff., 98-99 ).
of these idols is not there (with its transubstantiation, mariolatry and
papacy); but they are there who follow them, and their designs in the arena
of world power are stated expressly (cf. SMR 903,
for p. 903, 933).
do you need to worship the program of a god (system) who is not there
(as in Communism's sacred rites from the faceless and logically farcical program of forces - the face comes later when the Party is in! cf. pp. 862ff., 1079ff., 656, 707-708, 814, 925-926).
Nor need you follow the gods of Naturalism - whether into a New Age mutual consciousness genesis of divine power, a life force, a libido stream, or an anti-punctuator of the celebrated 'news on how to start from stoppage', punctuated equilibrium schema. This one is good on brakes, but ... lacks an accelerator.
you follow some other example: some sovereign system that makes
more from what is less, needing only time to produce what it does not have,
unlike all other systems; or chance system that creates laws. These
are all hidden mystical beings, shrouded in mystery, not really knowable
because ... you have guessed ?
THEY ARE NOT THERE -
(cf. SMR pp. 209-235, S1-S34, 422Eff.,Joyful Jottings1-2-3, A Spiritual Potpourri Chs.1-9; and for an Evolutionary Worship Service, see The Kingdom of Heaven, Ch. 10, Part 2; see also religions of negativity, evolutionism and religion and idolatry in Index).
These gods, they neither create nor speak, help nor respond as the wearied organic evolutionists and their more spiritual kin, dance about demanding an action which they never get, flogging a dead horse, one indeed never alive, for it is the living God who made the horse. Horses procreate; they do not create kinds.
Apart from this notable bunch of peril places*2, there is also the devil, attracted like a moth to power and glory, but not to God, whose name relates here to Jesus the Christ, in whose honour and praise this entire set is written. THERE and there only is the power and the glory for ever, and there is the Amen (Revelation 3:14), through and with whom the Father has created, who with the Father has equal honour (John 5:19-23), will judge, having been judged by man before exercising His assignment to BE the judge OF mankind (cf. Acts 17:31). This will come.
And how lovely to have the One who AS MAN was a paragon, to be FOR MAN the judge; and how inexpressibly more glorious, that this should be: that those who in Him accept the judgment they deserve, from Him receive the pardon they do not, but which mercy contrived and love enabled (Psalm 85).
It is this AMEN of God, who finishes the unfinished symphony of and for man, able to save to the uttermost those who come to God by Him (Hebrews 7:25), bringing us who love Him to our place reserved, that fades not away (I Peter 1), in the environs of the immutable grandeur of the glorious God. His signature, for those who find Him and so can read, is peace; His savour love; His look grace; His word law. Yet is He the most kindly of sovereigns.
the symphony for individual persons - the man, woman, the child - who receive
His direction, the score of salvation, the readings of redemption; as also
for the race. This is not the human race, which is largely
in a tantrum of rebellion (Matthew 13:14-16, 25:1-10, John 8:24,42ff.,
Romans 2:1ff., Ephesians 4:18ff.), but that special race, that royal priesthood
(I Peter 2:9-10) called the church, people spiritually awakened and therefore
aware (Hebrews 12:12-24, Ephesians 4:13-16). This is the church as biblically
defined (cf. Biblical Blessings, Appendix IV, *2)
, and not what the world may see fit to call its 'church'; it is believers
justified, on the road of sanctification by the indwelling power of the
Holy Spirit, recognising the authority of the living
Lord, that Prince of Life bodily resurrected and powerfully present, and
therefore that of His word, from which He emphatically suffered no divorce
(Matthew 5:19ff., 24:35, I Cor. 2:9-13, I Peter 2:8-12, II Peter 1:16-21,
I John 2:27).
and HEALING OF SPIRIT
The narrow way ? The way of the word of God, of the Lord incarnate, resurrected, returning, present and available, powerful and legitimate, redeemer and friend (cf. John 15:14-15) ? There are few who enter it (Matthew 7:13ff.).
Alas for man! His glory is gone when he seizes it, and like a light globe, it shines only when attached to its source. Many is the time we have dwelt on this rejection syndrome, and the Index has accordingly a large entry here (cf. SMR Index). It is seen in action in such places as Romans 1:17ff.. It is the depth of horror which refuses even redemption, even freely given. It is the zenith of negativity, the lion of laxity.
Yet, dwelling now on the glory of God, let us now look carefully at the capacity for companionship with Him that man has been given, because in him is also, a spirit. He is dependent; God is independent. Man is limited, God is unlimited, His qualities being as He would, His power without number, His word without alteration or erosion, His prophecies without interruption, His majesty without loss and His love without equal. This spirit, this spiritual facility has been dwelt on in such places as SMR pp. 16ff., 348ff., but now we shall look at its expression in symbolic form. For this, we here consider Ezekiel 1.
Indeed, Ezekiel's first vision (Ch.1 of the prophet) has been discussed and exposed in Ch.4 of Biblical Blessings. The interested reader for background could consult this.
Meanwhile let us take for our present purpose of kinship in spirit with the Lord, from this vision. First notice that the vision of the four living creatures which symbolise different aspects of the created world of living things, with man in charge under the Lord, a singular feature of the vision.
These each have four faces, one human; and theirs are the hands of a man. They do not turn as they go, but go straightforwardly, rather like the manner of procedure Christ enjoined on His disciples when they went on missionary ministry and crusade, as seen in Luke 10:4. Despite the additives, these four living creatures have the "likeness of a man" (Ezekiel 1:5), so that man in the midst of the creation is to worship the Lord.
The sparkling of their feet (cf. Isaiah 52:7) betokens the beauty of their tasks, the joining of their wings when they stand (Ezekiel 1:9), the teamwork and fervent brotherly love. The faces suggest courage, dominion, enduring toil and multi-faceted character (1:10).
our interest centres on just one feature. It is this:
"wherever the spirit was to go, they went; and they did not turn when they went" - 1:12.
With this is the background of 1:20: "For the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels."
The wheels (1:15-20) represent material means, mental means, the expedients for the transmission of purpose and its fulfilment. Hence they are full of eyes: as our DNA is full of code, our minds full of thought and our methods full of invention. The rims are so high as to be awesome, for the universe is a huge creation and while it is merely a mobilisation of art work and something the Lord has produced in His grandeur (Psalm 8), nevertheless something of His majesty is symbolised and artistically expressed in it.
Very well: SPIRIT is not only prominent, it is dominant. WHEREVER the spirit goes, THERE the creatures with their wheels go. Man is not culturally dominated, psychically dominated, environmentally dominated, commercially dominated except in pathology ward. It is his spirit which is the candle of the Lord who observes deep within (cf. Proverbs 20:27). It is for our whole soul, spirit and body that Paul is seeking sanctification (that is, for the Christians of Thessalonica, I Thess. 5:23).
Again, these living creatures "ran and returned like the appearance of a flash of lightning" - 1:14. It is amazing how fast thought can travel, spirit can conceive, mind can furrow into things. In a moment, the work of an hour's discussion can arise as if unseen. In a flash, the device needed in an emergency flits on the screen of mind, and the spirit surveying this, considers and acts.
Next we learn that "the wheels were lifted up beside" these creatures, and find the reason: "for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels" - 1:20. Thus there is this strange mix, these amazing synthesis so that mind, spirit and body can correlate, converge, yet each remain perfectly distinct, almost like a little lesson, an analogy in our own diminutive and derivative format, on the trinity. On this synthesis, see Joyful Jottings 7; SMR Ch.4, and pp. 316Dff..
Now in Ezekiel 1:21-23 we see a new aspect. The spirit is utterly the taker of the initiative. The whole concoction is dependent at all times on just one thing: "Where the spirit wanted to go..."
This is at the human level only of course. The next phase, which in fact enables this one, is the divine. Man can only be human when he is borne by the divine. Without that, the spirit of man comes to be imbued and embraced, if not seduced and inveigled, but certainly sold and subject to much in the world or of it. When God is the Physician, the spirit is strong; when the Lord is the Shepherd, the bogs are overcome.
Thus in Ezekiel 1:24 tells us that when they went, the noise of their wings was like the voice of the Almighty, for HE is the author and sustainer (Hebrews 1:3, 11:1). A VOICE THEN CAME FROM THE EXPANSE above, where the sapphire shining throne helped focus on the "likeness with the appearance of a man high above it"- 1:26. His radiant brilliance of light, His fire, with its rainbow of mercy, yielded then to clear speech, directed to the prophet.
So was their spirit before Him.
Thus in Luke 1:80 and 2:40 we read of John the Baptist - "The child became strong in spirit", and of Jesus the Christ, a true man, though God-as-man, these things: "The child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him." I Cor. 5:3ff. shows Paul active IN SPIRIT relative to a decline happening in a certain church, and saying this: "For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ deliver such a one...".
It is the wistful longing of spirits dispossessed, like truncated cones, dismembered aircraft, now spectacles not performers, which looks to Nature for succour. This they do, though the thing is useless; for if the Lord has left them, what can 'Nature' do! Did not even Samuel indicate this to Saul, when roused from the dead in spirit to speak with the doomed man: If the Lord has left you, what can I do! (I Samuel 28).
the agitation of some (cf. Repent or Perish 7),
in their long, long journey, far from home, from truth and evidence, from
spiritual orders and revelations in the Bible, when their Nature myth is
seen as just that. What idol ever was readily left! What crutch is willingly
left, except proper strength has returned, and where is there strength
fitting for OUR spirits, but from the Lord, who made them FOR Himself.
Otherwise, they are like knives that do not cut, or if they do, are blunt
and things are not sharp, keen and clean. They look to 'Nature'.
However, all they find is
packages and inserts,
programs and ingenuities,
the diverse divergencies and
imaginative brilliances of design,
the deft diversifications and humorous/grave/instructive/fascinating/beautiful/warning appearances
of completed and complete biological units,
equipped with a multitude and multiplicity of devices,
the smallest of which overall created units (the cell)
is still essentially beyond them -
NOW, at the end of the Age, as it was from the first.
Even when all this has been laid before their eyes for some 7000 or more years, they have the hide to tell the mind that made all this:
He isn't there, or
He doesn't understand.
How deadly the medley,
if poignant regret and boastful pride ally themselves in unholy wedlock,
the mood swinging now here now there.
Indeed the human heart, who can know it but the Lord; yet in some of these ways is its career often found. What indeed does the word of God say ?
One thing is, by Biblical definition, common to all such cases, who rejecting the Lord in the face of the realities brought before them, find His word not at all silent:
Nor does use of the term ‘God’ stay the derogation of His reality, when His power is assailed, His truth is denied and His word*3 is despised, rejected or spurned! (cf. Isaiah 8:12-20, Jeremiah 8:4-9, Isaiah 44:24-26, Jeremiah 23:9-30, Psalm 2:3ff., Isaiah 5:20, 2:10-22, 9:8-13, Jeremiah 13:15-17).
- "Professing to be wise, they became fools" - Romans 1:18-22.
Never was a more arrogant, outrageous and disastrous impudence
ever consigned by a people to any great teacher -
unless perhaps to Jesus Christ,
when He appeared personally on earth,
who had constructed all this, commanding sickness, death, wind, waves to do His bidding.
He invented completed programmed packages in that amazing and intriguing, dynamic of understanding, called life, like a genius painter, whose vast scale of products come from his brilliant and artistic mind, like an express train - and yet they say, 'Practical experiments, transitions!'
But they are not seen these things. His handiwork is seen and obvious (Psalm 8, Romans 1, Isaiah 40:26, 44:24, 45:12 cf. p. 194), as He vigorously proclaims, with Him the only Maker (Isaiah but the eyes He made to see, are tightly closed, just as he said, lest they should see with their eyes, lest also hear with their ears, lest understanding with their hearts, they should be converted. That is the divine diagnosis of the Judge, on His own generation whose eyes were closed to His presence in salvation, just as, both in creation and salvation, millions now loll off to spiritual sleep, as if death were the surest way to live.
This they say; but the creation is done, the works are completed. They simply do not happen now. The methods are absent. The laws are not present; the designs do not come, the information does not increase, it is all just as the word of God has said: COMPLETE.
Only the restless mind of man, in utter and pure defiance of the methods of science says, BUT PERHAPS ... as the hundreds of years pass.
|Yet it is not so:|
|neither is the apparatus to do it presented, nor the mind that does it, doing it now.|
|It does not happen. Creation is complete. Here they are misled: it is SALVATION which continues, as fresh today as ever, ever producing just the same cast, however, children of God in all their sub-kind variety!|
Meanwhile, blindness becomes like a plague to end all plagues, as if a fighter pilot ALWAYS shut his eyes after take-off, for there was simply too much to face.
There is no meaning, they say, after He has come and shown that meaning. There is no way, they say, after He has exhibited a super-highway in four lanes, sacrifice, power, love and peace on this very earth. Let us have space men! they declare, but the God who made space has already visited.
Not with the pangs of philosophy, nor in the whirls of poetry; neither in the distances of mere command, nor in the singular lairs of imagery has He come: He came as man, in the flesh and started as a babe, the most thorough of visitations, the most intense of exposures, the most intimate and compelling of provisions (Luke 1:35, Matthew 1:22-23, SMR pp. 770ff. at *2).
He tells of this plan in detail, the plan of salvation, 1000 years ahead of implementing its necessary structures and accomplishing its planned constructive works, through His own apparent destruction. His breach ? not in birth, but of death itself, in explicit accord with the forecasts - the date of His death (SMR 886ff.) on the one hand, the number of days before He should rise, on the other (SMR Ch.6). It was all specific, exact, polished and like granite, having the grain of reality and the strength of stability.
He showed Himself as impenetrable by the wise as impermeable by death
(cf. Repent or Perish 2, incl. pp. 41ff., Barbs, Arrows and Balms Appendix III, Biblical Blessings Appendix IV, esp. Endnote *1, Joyful Jottings 25, SMR pp. 936ff. with 931ff.).
As they disdained His heart to help (Matthew 12:1-14, 14:13ff., 11:5, 15:22ff.), so they disrelished His power to meet any test, verbal or practical, scriptural or other. He even met practical needs for food, when teaching multitudes, with order and power as required (Matthew14:3-19). Indeed He THEN even turned THAT to spiritual account in preaching/ teaching mode (John 6:26-54), and as if this were inadequate, deployed THAT to issue to an alert concerning His predicted crucifixion, a necessary teaching focus (John 6:53-70), while adding a note on the betrayal procedure, as ordained a millenium before (cf. Joyful Jottings 21, 22, 23, 25).
In creation, and in salvation alike, His mastery is total*4, His work is complete (cf. Ephesians 1:4, Romans 8:29ff., 3:23ff., 5:1ff., Titus 2:14-3:7, John 19:30). Yet they look for another, invent theories of an outrageous contradiction of the facts, and pine to discover for human series, unannounced voices, powerless voices that invent disorder, propagate shame, are interested in survival not sanctity, not salvation but shame. This they have done, while the body count rises in multiplied millions of despatched souls, in a world system that conscientiously knows not Christ.
It is, now as them, not because they have not heard.
In the days of the British Empire alone, on which it was said that the sun never set, when political/naval power moved from one centre, to the ends of the earth, and missions were to some extent protected, the nature - at least formally - of this Protestant-based Empire was known. Its Bibles were scattered like Autumn leaves, reflecting the beauty of His death, in the colour of their fall. After World War II, General MacArthur made another prodigious move in Bible distribution, for the US, in Japan.
The Empire dismantled itself, like that other Empire, the Roman in the 4th century A.D.; but the Gospel has continued, now as then. Unsubduable, the constantly attested and verified faith (SMR Ch.8) proceeds by ever new technical means, to diversify its methods of coverage over an often literally hungry world, worshipping the gods of Naturalism and the rest, against fact, and the method of science; of Communism against history and logic; of Romanist against the Bible, as are the multitude of sects, which like imitation Rembrandts, pay tribute to the Master who, by callow imitations, they defame.
The world has heard; but it does not want this uniquely valid scriptural truth, confirmed exhaustively and again, inimitably by scientific method, as by the power in the lives of those who follow the Lord. It prefers the mounting penalties, the rising riots of its people and planet, to the settled - if challenging - peace of its Prince. There is no princeless Peace, for this Prince is priceless, perfect, pure, higher than the heavens, and has done business for His people, lower than the earth.
But for all that: are we worse than was Israel in the time of Isaiah ? The race would be hard, but the two seem at least parallel. And the Lord spoke to them, in those appalling days, tricky days of Ahaz, wanton days of inward rebellion, and told them these gracious words for all that (1:18):
" 'Come now, let us reason together', says the Lord,
'Though your sins be as scarlet,
They shall be white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool.' "
is not the sins committed which bite the bullet. It is the ones unrepentant,
the heart not merely stricken with iniquity, but preferring its shame to
His glory. It is the murderers of mercy - which however can only be removed
in effigy - who are their own executioners.
God speaks, as shown, in Isaiah as Creator of man and all that is. For what God has said on this, further, consult specifications found in That Magnificent Rock, Ch. 8 Appendix; and further to the point may be found in A Spiritual Potpourri Chs. 1-9.
Three matters require attention here in terms of Biblical responsibility.
1. It is necessary to alert one's hearers to these things. Having shown from Biblical exposition, the nature of the case, one comes to the Biblical result, which is that one must advise, warn in the love of Christ.
If one does not, it is a vain show of concern in Christ to leave things to manifest their perils without warning. In fact the Bible REQUIRES such warning as we see in Proverbs 24:11 declares:
those who are drawn toward death,
And hold back those stumbling to the slaughter."
in verse 12, we find this:
"If you say, 'Surely we did not know this,'
Does not He who weighs the hearts consider it ?
He who keeps your soul does He not know it ?
And will He not render to each man according to his deeds ?"
The matter is divinely actionable if one does not warn. Duty therefore requires it, and love inspires it (cf. II Cor. 5:17ff.).
2. The welfare of those afflicted is a proper concern of Christians. It is the affliction which is the danger and the people are to be loved, and therefore warned if they will hear. Such would one desire for oneself; and this is the Biblical perspective.
Thus Ezekiel 7 shows the words of the prophet,
so like those of God to this Age in the New Testament era
in Matthew 24, Luke 21, II Timothy 3, II Peter 2-3:
"And end! The end has come upon the four corners of the land.
Now the end has come upon you.
And I will send My anger against you:
I will judge you according to your ways,
And I will repay you for all your abominations.
My eye will not spare you,
Nor will I have pity;
But I will repay your ways,
And your abominations will be in your midst:
Then you shall know that I am the Lord.
Thus says the Lord God:
A disaster, a singular disaster:
Behold, it has come!
An end has come:
It has dawned for you:
Behold it has come!
Doom has come to you, you who dwell in the land;
The time has come.
A day of trouble is near
And not of rejoicing in the mountains.
Now upon you I will soon pour out My fury,
And spend My anger upon you;
I will judge you according to your ways,
And I will repay you for all your abominations..." (from Ezekiel 7:2-8).
It proceeds in vv.10-12:
"Behold the day!
Behold it has come!
Doom has gone out:
The rod has blossomed,
Pride has budded
Violence has risen up into a rod of wickedness.
None of them shall remain,
None of their multitude,
None of them:
Nor shall there be wailing for them.
The time has come,
The day draws near."
Hence as before shown, just as that Age drew near to its due and calamitous end after hundreds of years of divine forbearance, so does this one. The parallel is instructive. The needs are not dissimilar (see SMR Ch.8, The Biblical Workman Ch.1). The end is now not national (in the case of ancient Israel, it led to a preliminary exile in Babylon with vast destruction and tragedy, over 70 years, in that case reduced if they heeded the warning and accepted it). It is international. It leads to a vast turmoil and convulsion of nations and the return of Christ for His people and then WITH them. It is good to be prepared.
Biblically defined idolatry is a peril amongst perils, in vast parallel to the exposures of Ezekiel for his people (cf. Ezekiel 7:23ff. - 8:18). Showing the prophet the popular idols, the Lord says (8:18) : "Therefore I also will act in fury. My eye will not spare nor will I have pity; and though they cry in My ears with a loud voice, I will not hear them."
There is a point of no return; it is well to be advised before it is ... reached. The Lord is merciful, and that mercy needs urgently to be sought. It is He who is to be feared. His grace does not indulge wickedness, and though He suffer long, it is unwise to trade on His mercy. Idolatry is fatal if unrepented (I Corinthians 5:11, 6:9).
3. In fact, Ezekiel 33 shows a combination of the zeal required of the one who must tell because he knows, the 'watchman', with the love of God as motivation and the splendour of His mercy as driving force. Thus first the watchman is enjoined - TELL THEM, or YOU will be responsible; but IF YOU DO and they do not hear, THEY will bear their sin. This is brought out in considerable length and detail.
Then in the famous 33:11, the wonder of divine motivation is shown:
them: 'As I live,' says the Lord GOD,
'I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked,
but that the wicked turn form his way and live.
Turn, turn from your evil way!
For why should you die, O house of Israel ?' "
we see, along the lines Professor John Murray of Westminster Seminary so
well expounded it, there is asseveration ('As I live'), there is negation,
affirmation, exhortation, protestation, and it is in fact all in the interests
of mercy (cf. I Tim. 2:1-3, Col. 1:19ff.), which moves like a breeze in
spring, bringing the perfumes of divine love. If it is rejected, it is
rejected; but that it be told is responsibility and the required path for
love for those concerned.
of the word and the word of power ...
the company of the expressive, Creator and created,
and the attestations of each
continually impact the world,
as it continues to spin on course physically, but in wanton disregard of direction morally and spiritually.
The power of God is seen in prophetic fulfilment in history, in moral passion, in judgments on the earth according to pre-announced plan, in the Messianic judgments on the earth, both in delivering the afflicted and in His being delivered up for affliction to bear the sins of those who believe in Him, while no less in delivering further prophetic coverage of the history of the world, which is fulfilled better than any scientific theory. How is this so ? In this, that the prediction is from thousands of years ago, and covers the most minute circumstances and the whole tapestry of the conspectus forecast as well, with ZERO allowance for error, revision or alteration.
HIS words are not altered every few months, and radically changed every century, as in our science. He laughs at 'difficulties' because He knows.
His power is seen too in the personal direction of His saints, in the attestation of the gifts He gives whether in healing or other for specified purposes, in His answer to the detractors for which He raises up whom He will, when He will, over the centuries to make a veritable orchestra of attestation, a torrent of logic, so that the faith stands when all else fails, even in validity (cf. SMR Ch.3, That Magnificent Rock Ch.5).
These are His words ASCRIBED. His power however is also evidenced in HIS WORDS INSCRIBED.
IN-scribed ? Look at the art and science of the creation, in terms first of all, of living exhibits, of which there are multiplied thousands, constantly diminishing with time, as is appropriate in general for creations exposed to non-coddling circumstances (and the curse, Biblical Blessings 7, & The Divine Symphony, Ch.19 below, is certain not coddling!). In all of these, there is a conclave of expression, like a room full of computers.
Each living cell is like an aerodrome of activity, a space base for direction of satellites, a combination of coding and doing, creating and continuing, organising and constructing, energising and editing. It is a museum of symbols from antiquity, with this stunning difference, that as we seek, as with other ancient writings, to FIND the way it signifies and acts, it yet is WORKING like a modern construction site, whether we understand or not!
Symbols work by the power of the reality to which they conceptually relate, being not integral but assignations, representations for thought, references to referends. Created life teems and reeks with the exuberance of expression, with expressive units whether source codes or translational media. They come in particles of pronouncement, sentences, with semantic sourcing and analytical consequences, depicted and then generative with work.
The word of the creator is written like an artist's signature
not only ON the work, but integrally INTO it, with speaking particles,
if you will, of paint, paint that alerts new motions in the sublime deposit,
to create new sublimities of expression, which being fabricated WITH code,
are operative IN code, and in the last cases, ourselves, fabricate code
themselves, with all the dignity of liberty, which includes the power to
make 'silly' errors, when concentration lapses. It is like paintings of
Raphael, far beyond the brush of modern man (and in this actual case, ANY
mortal man), making new ones to the astonishment of the would-be imitators,
even while they watch. Their work is undone, for how sell what imitates
itself! millions of new ones pour out while they watch. Babes are
born, not mere sentimental objects of cuddlesome quietness (on occasion!),
but artistic prodigies, each one.
With input into atoms, activation into electrons, there comes even, in measure, enablement in man so that he may make his inspection and reflection on the universe so made, and response to God who likewise, in the format of this same artisan and author, by His living word, Jesus Christ provides salvation (Isaiah 43:10-11, 52, Luke 2:10-11). Proceeding from His Father (John 8:42,58), this word ever with His Father (John 17, John 1), who knows NO OTHER GOD OR LIKENESS (Isaiah 45, Psalm 89:6-7), this WORD OF GOD has imparted life, just as He Himself IS the eternal life of God (I John 1:1-4), the expressive reality of the divine Being. He has always been WITH the FATHER, and WAS AND IS GOD, the "I AM" - as Thomas put it, "the God of me" (Exodus 3:14, John 20:28, 8:58.).
Symphonies of expression pour out from the expressive hand of the Creator, while his creation is so creative as to make its own symphonic poems, and program music, not always sweet, but capable of enduring tenderness and stark truth when linked where it came from, to the word of God, the Prince of Life. Without its prince, life is never princely. But let us look further at His princely constructions in life on earth.
Thus to the simpler specifications of matter and the vitality of life per se, has been added the cognitive sensors, pre-set, to enable individually assessed response to changing circumstances. In some models of life, thus, consciousness becomes an individuality recipient, a survey assessment centre, a function of spirit and with this, a focus for perspective with error and enhancement possibilities, conceived and conducted with effort and ardour; while in others again, the provision extends to the moral, the invention of the symbolically rational and the exercise of the spiritually active interfaces and reciprocities of thought and direct perception. In this case, person surveys the work of Person, and man the creation looks at the features and functions of the work of His own matrix manufacturer, personality creator and software sovereign.
These provisions are full of words, coded expressive symbols that work through other symbols, in logical screeds of successive dictation in an integrated multi-processor synthesis. The symbols feature direction of flow, the collation expresses concepts, the concepts thought. Clad in working words, command conveyors, consistency orders, the design operates as full of words as works (cf. SMR pp. 211ff., 224, 135, 252E-G, Repent or Perish 7, Excursions 1-3, A Spiritual Potpourri Ch.6, Life, what is it?, That Magnificent Rock, What is Life for ?).
In the summit, it is even worded to witness within its speaker, that talking 'image of God', man, whose gifts include that of spirit (SMR pp. 18ff., 26ff., 39ff., 348ff., A Spiritual Potpourri Ch.16, Flashing Falls of Freedom, That Magnificent Rock Ch.6), the invisible capacity to examine the visible and to relate to the eternal and invisible God, who made visibility as a child makes castles in the sand. Thus our race is so fabricated in growth-conveying, specification-keeping hardware, and spiritual habitation, as to enable the individual to attest in his own words, the Speaker of the spoken. Thus man who yet speaks, even himself is responding to his Speaker!
Creation in general, and man in a masterpiece of wonder: What a prodigy of words is this! Expression pours like a waterfall in torrents of grandeur, enabling, calling into being, activating, inscribing, inspiriting, reciprocating.
In such depiction and reciprocation, man expresses himself in turn, bringing the height and quintessence of his being in words, integral to his being, so conveying and communicating the heart of his life. In this also, man is in the image or fellowship kind, in creation, of God, whose eternal Word is one Person of the very originating Godhead. (Cf. A Spiritual Potpourri 12, 15, SMR pp. 96ff..)
This same Speaker continues in the aeon long provision (take an aeon as a few thousand years, and be realistic - see dates in SMR Index) to provide for the growing on site of new code-equipped machinery, like machine-tools, to pro-create new units in old paths to life in new circumstances, with old parameters for adaptation within the kind. Like an umbrella, such specifications can open and shut to meet the case, automated. Yet beyond this in more complex forms, provided with instinct, there is scope for some individuality of estimation; then more demanding still, comes the added moral excursus capacity, with the spiritual interface. Because of this, man may, given opportunity, even speak words with God, manufacture words, with thought, express the will of his spirit: that vast function of aspiration, capacity for error and emplacement of ultimate, personal and individual contrivance, control and commitment (cf. SMR pp. 348ff.).
Some words man, then, is enabled to originate by oversight, and insight; for he is equipped to program on his own part, to synthesise and particularise, to create and grow, to ponder and develop with intelligence penetration and knowledge, as the very emblem and mascot of the Master who made the power to do the things man does, first inscribing FOR man what man is then able to inscribe on his own procreative part, whether with children or with the children of thought! And these, they are not prohibited by any manufacturing necessity, from speaking rebellion and irrationality! (Cf. A Spiritual Potpourri 12, 15, 16.) So the daring delight of liberty is born, misused as it is, yet a crux the profundity of the beauty of the image of God that man wears.
Like the rims of the wheels "full of eyes all around", of Ezekiel's vision of creation under the sublimity of the Creator (Ezekiel 1 cf. Biblical Blessings Ch.4), there is the provision on the one hand of the seeing and overseeing work of the Almighty", in profound detail and discrimination WITHIN His creation, and again, the power to 'see' and construct, consider and create on the part of the summit of creation, man, with numerous mini-capacities and styles of origination provided for the multiple choristers on the way, such as the imitative but creative songs of the lyre bird, and yes (as you see in Stepping out for Christ Ch.9 ), even the magpie! What expressive ironies even the cockatoo can create by too faithful representations and interpretations of what he hears, reflecting in one case audited, a growing series of cries of the name of his mistress, first quiet, then caressing, then impatient, then outraged in a glorious and almost operative vocal account! Was this what he first HEARD ?
What greater ironies does man himself create, in the torrents
and turmoils of his increasingly illicit discourses that would usurp the
work of the Lord. While using the word of the Lord inscribed in his being,
he may be found brazening and trumpeting his superficiality, arising not
from poor construction, but construction of the most faithful. Thus the
liberty which love requires, in diseases aplenty of spirit, becomes the
licence which truth despises, the degradation of the fallen and lost creation
it yet loves if by any means it might be healed (cf. Ezekiel 47's stream
which brings life, but not to the marshy places!).
Stop-Press (from March 2000)
The superb mastery of the word of God who created, is shown not merely in the microscopic miniaturisation on which Denton reflects (SMR pp. 119-120), so that all living specifications for the myriads of creatures and multiplied myriads of cells and operational directives for the interstices between cells, could be fitted into a teaspoon. It is exhibited also in bionics which for its part is looking at the power of DNA in view of its unparalleled mastery, for use in human computer contrivances as a carrier and conveyor; because of its superlative capabilities in speed.
Thus in Creation magazine (March -May 2000)
on p. 7, we learn that a planned super-computer is in view, at a cost of
US $100 million, to perform protein folding. This is specified to run at
about 500 times the speed of the current fastest computer! At that, if
all goes to plan, it is reported that it will take this master computer
about a year to simulate the folding of ONE PROTEIN. This is a simplicity
itself in view of the profound complexities of all the many creations and
movements in the actual cell. For comparison: the time for the cell to
do what the yet-to-be-built computer is to attempt in a year: about one