from Ch. 6 Calibrating Myths, Machining Minds and Keeping Faith
THE LIBERTY OF GOD AND THE LICENCE OF MAN
We further explore the glory of the divine nature,
the basis of liberty and the necessity of
remedy, taking care to keep clear the blessed relationship between reason and
revelation, what God enables man to do
and what He elects to divulge.
Unqualified Machinists’ Miasma
Compulsive Machinists invading the Celestial
Are Low Achievers
Unlimited, God is Himself Alone
The Supreme Almighty Creator (SMR Ch. 1) cannot without contradiction of the concept per se, be inscribed, contained, by any immovable or directive system. Simply, the system is then his directive basis, and He would not be supreme, merely a manufacture of the mind of man. Nor can He be contained in machined premises, artfully constructed with the limitations of the mind of man, qualifying and calibrating Him this way or that. Against all such things, logic revolts, rationality wars and truth assails. Unlimited, He is One; unqualified He is yet what He is; unmoved, He is not removable; inexorable, He cannot be distanced, by means however artful; and though sin can distort His image, as on the Cross, as well as in the secular follies of self-contradictory philosophies, these can no more stand examination, than could death hold Christ (cf. Biblical Blessings Appendix IV, SMR Ch. 6).
As we have seen (SMR Ch.1, Repent or Perish Ch. 2), of God, He cannot lie (cf. Titus 1:3). This itself is not the result of such a system; but of its absence. If God could lie, He would be able to be internally self-contradictory – in verbal and executive powers – and as He is infinitely powerful, He would be obliterated. Since He is in fact necessary, immovable and immutable (SMR Chs. 1, 3, 10), this too is a self-contradiction, a conceptual non sequitur. Anything with irresistible forces compelling in opposite directions is not merely a contradiction in terms, for there cannot be two irresistibles in the same system in the same respect, but an equation with zero.
Indeed, it is adverse and contrary to the minimal requirements demonstrated for the concept, for God indeed. In God is not such discord, such almighty war on His very self to extinction; for the existence of irresolvable antinomies (and they would be that if they had been MADE to be so) is an expression of incapacity, incoherence and non-unity, so exploding any such almighty being into incompetence. The contrary ‘natures’ would then be a mere creation, and God left without a nature, or rather without being at all; and since He is necessary this is a mere outré hypothesis, jargon without logical ground, verbosity without virtue, contrariety to the necessities established.
From SMR p. 32, it would now be useful to add three paragraphs (notes may be traced by going to the original via this hyperlink).
Thus God has no system, confines, bounds or limits, internal (cf. *22) or external, in any sense of those terms, imposed upon Him, delimited before Him, impactive upon Him. As One, not two, He has nothing outside His control effectively to war with Him, create a compelling resistance to Him, within or without. Any thought of war involves two gods, at this level, for One is incapable of frustration by what has been worked either within Himself or outside Himself. Within, He works and that, as One always what He wants to be, as shown, illimitably pleased with what He does.(Cf. Barbs, Arrows and Balms, Item 6, and A Spiritual Potpourri, Ch.5, p. 90)
What then can limit His working! No code, element or contradiction.
Thus self-war is impossible, no constituent - constituent? no function being given; and internal distortion of, or resistance to what He either does or is, being an example of self-war (or auto-militancy, if you are psychologically minded, will do). Since He created all things as He will, including their systems, limitations, opportunities and potencies: it would be at His own discretion if He were embarrassed; but then that would be indiscreet, a lack of either ability or foresight, a limit! There is, quite simply, nothing fixed against Him, whether to thwart, divide, defile or contort, so that intimations of conflict, mutability ... self-assault and degeneration pre-suppose what is not.
At this point, a short citation from Barbs, Arrows and Balms Ch. 6 would be appropriate, and it follows, marked and slightly expanded for this case.
can readily understand this if we use the liberty the Lord has given us in
making us, to THINK. CAN a surgeon of major moral gentility and immense concern
and sympathy for his patients BY CHOICE cut their aortas for the flick of it,
the snip of it, the whim of it? You might say 'yes', and it is indeed true that
a temporary insanity might affect him and so forth. But TO THE EXTENT he is
definable as we started, and stays rational, that is, in character without
invasive disorders of the mind subverting his aims, ideals or nature, he might
very readily say, OH I COULD NOT DO THAT! We would at once understand what he
meant. Many others will say, OH, I COULD NEVER DO A THING LIKE THAT!
God, there is an unchanging nature as we showed (SMR loc.cit.) and of course,
as He affirms; and hence the fact that even the benevolent surgeon might be
drugged etc., does not apply as a parallel in this matter. God CANNOT lie. IF
He could , He would not be what God as a minimum, must be.
people seem at times to have some difficulty in realising that what may be
SHOWN NECESSARILY to be the case does not imply that the one to whom it refers
is BOUND FROM OUTSIDE, in some sort of forced action. Inability to act may be
BECAUSE of what one BOTH IS AND CHOOSES TO BE. When we speak of God, the nature
He has is no result of the making of another (who would, in that case, be God
if ultimate, while it is of course of GOD that we speaking - that would merely
represent a logical 'slide' as it is called). His nature is what He WANTS,
always wants: always knowing all things and their ends and being what He wishes
without conforming to new criteria since there is nothing new to Him. All this
was explained in SMR loc. cit..
COULD do anything if He wanted to; there are things He does not WANT to do, and
as to these, LYING is one which HE CANNOT do, being who He is. It would violate
His whole disposition so that if it were not so, this sovereignly ruled
non-lying, He would not be. However He IS, and this is NOT. His everlasting
vitality cannot abide it. It would contradict what He is, and as to Him, He
WILL not be contradicted with a word of power. There is no such word. The
ephemeral storm-tossings of little tongues en train to judgment do not alter
reality: merely the judgment they are to receive is in view.
would represent a DENYING OF HIMSELF (cf. II Timothy 2:13), an intra-divine war
on Himself, an omnipotently backed declaration against what, after all, HE had
brought to pass, directly or indirectly, through plan or other means; and this,
since He is what He wants to be, is myth-making nonsense. As a personal desire,
or will, it would spell death, whereas since He is always what He wants to be,
death and change are alike impossible, the attribution jointly of the
conditions of immaturity and time, to
the Maker of both, who is governed by neither. The attritions of incompetence
must not irrelevantly be applied to the domain of omnipotence.
comes when what is wanted cannot be obtained without it, or a nature at war
with itself expresses itself in this way. When there is NOTHING to force or
frustrate, it is ridiculous, and simply here would postulate contrary to the
As to a nature at war with itself, whether through will or otherwise, indeed, this represents components dissatisfied with each other, at the level of omnipotence. If either were effective, the other would be obliterated. If either is ineffective, it is no part of the will or mind of God. Such a nature is incompatible with the unity that He is, being a disruptive duality endued with omnipotence, a contradiction in terms. As distinct from His WILL, such a ‘nature’ is moreover otiose, an addition which is frankly anthropomorphic, creaturely in status. His nature is expressive of, not impactive against, His will.
Ø In mathematical terms, in strict parallel to usage there, we COULD say that asking whether GOD COULD LIE would be a meaningless question. This could be said. I prefer to say that it is a question incorporating a definition of God contrary to fact and hence a misdirected question. It is like asking whether elephants can fly. Of course they could if the hurricane were strong enough, but that is not what is meant. As to what is meant, no, they can't. That is not the way they are.
As to Him, He is not placed in a series of possibilities, as an available and active system for His environment, nor does He have a ‘nature’ as something given, to have to wrestle with, for He is Creator, not created; but is who He is, His words and works derivative ONLY from Himself, not from a sea of embracive possibilities for His habitat, like some simple, rich human. As supreme and Almighty, He is what He is, so that what limits or defines Himself outside Himself is simply the embracement of a creature’s status, and a bypassing of the Personal Being about whom we speak. Mutually limiting and delimiting aspects of His ‘nature’ therefore are mere irrelevancies. His nature is what He wants, and it conforms to His will. Nothing internal or external is even possible in opposition to Him.
Possibility may be the god of the deluded, who forget what MAKES it so, but we are discussing the God who, as demonstrated in SMR, in fact is here. For Him to lie, is not to act as He is. It is for the conception, self-contradictory, like saying that the nature of man is not to be human. It is a disjunction from what is there, a denial of what is the case, and a use of a term and concept to bypass what it is, merely confusion of thought via nomenclature.
Now let us realise that for just such reasons, the Supreme Being will not distress, harass, squeeze and exact of His creatures , pain and simply squalid suffering, in order to complete Himself (like the Marquis of Sade, although he misread his cues in his infernal presumption and aggressive sadisms), in order to sate His needs, fulfil His being. He is not – if you want to use the term for that sort of motivation and behaviour – evil and cannot lie.
If however, it were so, that would mean, not ‘merely’ this time His immersion in a sea of possibilities surrounding Him as if one had forgotten that the actual and the possible is His INVENTION, not His master or limit, not His environment: for all environment other than His creation is Himself. The ‘possible’ is merely a creaturely limitation, definition. What He is, it is this which goes; and what moves or would be esteemed to move Him against it, His creation or anything at all, does not exist. It would be far worse conceptual error than that! It would involve the subjugation of ‘God’ ( for it is not so, and His name is best not used in vain!), to needs internally unmet, and this so that he might become a complete Being, so completing or tending to complete His potential.
Ø It would be worse than that contrapuntal misconception. This concept of evil would imply that without this, or some such creative access to creatures, this Being would be incomplete, unfulfilled, lacking in His nature. A Being with lacks, however, is not God, being merely one harassed by internal deficiency, something to be met only by his immersion in a system, so being a component of the total. It neither is nor can be God, but is a simple contradiction in terms, in the necessary minimum God has been demonstrated to be (cf. Lamentations -36).
EXTERNAL forces of evil, including fraud, lies, injustice, caricature of truth,
delusion and the like, suffer certain annihilation. The fact that this is not
IMMEDIATE appears to confuse many, but the wonder of freedom forgotten, the
capacity to love, not shove, to discriminate and erupt against righteousness, to
love distortion and to secure reward for breach of truth, precludes its
destruction from its Creator. If evil is removed, at once, then freedom goes
with it, since without the power to do evil, neither is there liberty. Where the
DESIRE for it is gone, there may indeed still be liberty, but if that were to be available
only in a select community, where the full force of liberty, lust and wickedness
has not been tested, where truth in life has not triumphed and lust been dispensed with, then liberty is not
attested in its fulness, merely in evacuative plausibility. It is when the
churning of challenge is met, in system and in principle for man, that liberty is not a mere
abstraction but a genuine reality.
Accordingly, EXTERNAL forces of evil, including fraud, lies, injustice, caricature of truth, delusion and the like, suffer certain annihilation. The fact that this is not IMMEDIATE appears to confuse many, but the wonder of freedom forgotten, the capacity to love, not shove, to discriminate and erupt against righteousness, to love distortion and to secure reward for breach of truth, precludes its destruction from its Creator. If evil is removed, at once, then freedom goes with it, since without the power to do evil, neither is there liberty. Where the DESIRE for it is gone, there may indeed still be liberty, but if that were to be available only in a select community, where the full force of liberty, lust and wickedness has not been tested, where truth in life has not triumphed and lust been dispensed with, then liberty is not attested in its fulness, merely in evacuative plausibility. It is when the churning of challenge is met, in system and in principle for man, that liberty is not a mere abstraction but a genuine reality.
The necessity for the elimination of evil or the provision of remedy so that evil has merely a temporary and a testing significance follows simply from the nature of God, complete in self-sufficiency and the truth itself, so that its presence is war against Him, His principles and His nature, which being omnipotent, can only prevail. While it does not, however, by strength immediately cause this triumph, it is necessary in the most stringent sense for a remedy for this evil to be available, known and declared with a certainty as to its Author which is indisputable to reason.
How God applies this is His business, just as it is for Him to tell us that He would have all to be reconciled, whilst not dictatorially enforcing this - for after all, reconcilation is from the heart! and the more His own quality underwrites and guarantees it, the less can anything detrimental to liberty's true result become insurgent. Since God is sovereign, brilliant in His provisions amidst human achievements, there is nothing whatsoever left to chance, circumstance or pathology. He knows, He acts, His is the quality control and the assurance of the resultant of His own love (cf. Great Execrations, Great Enervations, Greater Grace Chs. 7 and 9, The Glow of Predestinative Power Ch. 4).
Thus the provision of the testable work of several millenia's standing meets this requirement, just as its contents in verification satisfy the need to use the mind God has accorded to man. As part of a profound invasion into history, not with the force to humble it, but with the humility to force it to consider, the word of God works with the living Saviour who having come, has both shown what man should be, and who God is. Thus is the test and the provision made, and so does liberty meet its Lord.
His divine authority and evil mix only when the evil is on licence, in this case because of freedom of which love its companion and compatriot, and when the deliverance from it is both sure and available. This provision, found written only in the Bible, constitutes that combination of testability that exhibits, endurance over time which perennially meets the case, with its records back to the beginning, together with provision of remedy from God that His name requires. It is thus that evil is not able to prevail as though God were not there, but only as His way is explicitly denied and His remedy is not taken: until the plan is complete for eternity for that creation known as man, for as many as receive it.
There is a volitional option to disregard, discount, caricature, despise, ignore or derogate this remedy; but there is none logically.
TRUTH IS HIS NAME
Here it might help if we cited a short extract from pp. 580-581 in SMR Ch. 7, slightly adapted to our present point.
As for God, as demonstrated in Chapter 1, He is no grossly squirming, tormented molester of His works, creating them for deception while He acts out in their lives - the lives of His creatures - the restless inferiorities of His own nature. There being no inferiorities in His own nature, there is no restlessness, yearning or seeking or turning for the desired, but unattained: as we have already pointed out. He therefore would become a potential grower, if such were the situation, one for whom the initial DEPOSITION of this potential in his being, becomes a prior necessity, so making him a derivative of the One who IS GOD, a creature, and thus irrelevant to our current discussion!
Here we must pause a moment to consider the godless character of
such a conception, not merely to remind ourselves that it is excluded from
logical possibility, for the Creator, but to consider the implications for
those of this ilk who are creatures. Instead of realising potential with
delight, growing with joy, achieving - with fulfilment of divinely composed
task-equipment: people, through ambition or fear, may worry and weary out their
folly in a defilement of the wonder of life... before, as here, seeking to
project their own incompetent aspirations, impiously, impudently and
irrationally onto their Creator. But let us revert.
There are, we said, no inferiorities or restless elements in the
nature of God; this is to affirm what we have reasoned in Chapter 1, as being
clearly the case. Nor is there any question, in that supreme nature of
God, of embattled or embittered psychic components, alert to project themselves
into a quarrel with the texture of His creatures: there is no way His words
will work against His deeds, of which the creation is one. For God, truth is as
sure as His Being. For confirmation and pith, let us note again, the Scripture
says: God ... cannot lie.
What glorious inability; what omnipotent incapacity! How we
learn the supernal nature of omnipotence!: it does not deny itself. If it did,
it would not be omnipotent, but a writhing system, contorted in its set
conditions: and set, one must ask, by whom? Only by God; and since this
is He, then not set for Him. He sets what He will and makes all
what He would, there being no source or strength for any other action in
despite of this. That is the nature of the Almighty, as we have seen at length.
Necessarily the case, it is also given by revelation as we see.
We may add, for the sake of completeness, that it is also of
necessity true that God is no experimenter, vivisecting His toiling creation -
His pressured products - while gaining more knowledge for future divine
exploits. He already knows all, as shown in Chapter 1. The fulfillment of
potential is a simple, creaturely concept, implying its initial deposition, in
this case by what in fact IS God, and not an otiose mental misconstruction, as
such a misconception is.
Neither morally nor intellectually does God's very nature allow,
then, alliance with lies. Accordingly, He has spoken His truth, His word, His
remedy - provided His Redeemer to man, Jesus Christ, one infinitely pure,
wholly efficacious (SMR Ch.1 ). Creation is not a covert operation for divine
growth, development, catharsis or deception. In confirmation, what does the
Scripture say: God does ''not willingly afflict the children of men'' (Lamentations ); ''Thy word is truth'' (John ). It is good in this Chapter of John, to see this; as well as to reason to
it, as we do and have done.
Yet there is more. God is lie-less, we have earlier shown;
but truth also has in Him its only possible basis, an emphasis of Chapter 3,
above. In fact, without God, truth does not exist.
(Incidentally, this leads to the delightful absurdities that afflict the
atheist - and as we see, the agnostic. If God did not exist, then, we would not
truly say that He did not exist; for truth would not be available with which to
say any such thing. No statement that He does not exist is logically possible
even in terms of self-consistency. Much the same applies to those who decline
to know Him for any reason, at the ultimate!) If He were not there, there would
be only interaction with no basis of perspective beyond reaction. Shall a cog
designate the design ? Without a revealed God, truth is unattainable;
including any alleged truth that there is no God... or may not be one.
That too is an assertion, not equatable with nullity as an interpretative
medium. It requires knowledge to designate such a possibility.
Unless then, God is there and known, it would not be
possible to assert meaningfully that He is not. Your speech is then the
screeching of cogs as to eminence, and it incorporates the vision of the
viewless from the standpoint that is anything... and even that anything
is itself a situational squeak, with no station for survey. It is the standpoint
that does not stand.
It reminds one of the old War song: 'We're gunna hang up our
washing on the Siegfried line, when the Siegfried Line ain't there!' The
Siegfried Line ? the vaunted German line of armour.
Indeed, when men assert - this or that is the
truth, about the nature of things, whatever characterisation, it is not because
they are insane ( I speak of the unbeliever who here needs perhaps some
defence, in measure ). No, it is because statements about truth are natural
to image-bearers of the truth. This merely, once more, verifies in our own
human beings, whose products we are, and who has composed us.
Even in denying God, logically, men attest Him.
God is then at peace without the squirmings, warpings, turmoil
and triteness of little man, when sin controls him, defeat seduces him and
illusion controls him, seeking fulfilment in the illicit or derivative joys
from the misuse of other products of God, or, if possible, of God Himself, as
happened at Calvary.
Ø God is at rest, and has attained and will sustain all His good pleasure; everlastingly what He would be; but the opposite is true of the men, whose lives yearn, but do not attain; are harassed, vexed, but do not achieve their innermost designs (cf. pp. 30-34 supra). The psychiatry of paranoia and schizophrenia, melancholia and obsession has no cosmetic side.
End of Excerpt.
Hence a supreme supernatural being who deluded people, for example, into thinking non-truth, as an imposed necessity (a sort of grinning piece of active malevolence, as some seem to picture it as a ‘possibility’), and this because of its nature, and the need to sate its desire, or its desire for it, with it and through it, is not; nor can it be true of God. This, however, is far from saying that such a creature cannot exist, in creation’s forum.
There insatiable lust of one kind or another (such as to be ‘myself’ and to be given ‘credit’ for my performances, as if they were achieved by first creating oneself, and then acting) is far from impossible, indeed visible. In that creaturely arena, the misuse of created status, whether by due curse or undue will of man, is endemic to many, pandemic throughout the world, only few being delivered. Indeed such a being at the acme, the apex of creation, a created misfit, a foil and reactionary to God, can work and labour; and in fact it is biblically defined in its main concentrate as the devil, the Satan, the adversary, an evil aggressor opposed to the rest and peace of creation. He has many followers, and the spirit of the thing is more than manifest on earth: it is obstructive! (Cf. The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 8!, SMR pp. 590ff.).
If then, the devil or his ilk tries to do this to man, to act in such erosive and disruptive, devious and deceitful ways, and he does, then he has ample adversary to his woeful actions, in God. Confusion of light and darkness, however, of creaturely lust and Creator’s sufficiency, is rather like mistaking zero for infinity, or a scintilla for the substance.
The Relish of Rationality as it Rejoices in the Truth:
There is neither Cause nor Place for Causeless Excursions
Moreover, it is no mere slip of a code line in man’s mind as it works, that would be implied, were man to be successfully deluded (not by God as part of His exercises in fitness, but in fact by sin and the devil in that Unholy Alliance of which many are participants). Such a duping would concern the whole system of thought and its verifiable outcomes, over centuries, its massive correlations and corroborations and consequences, testable systematically and internally, empirically and externally, in things minute, or gross, in areas and arenas of diverse and synthetically inter-related kinds, in its problem-evacuative powers and its demonstrable cohesion, coherence and freedom from anti-logism (cf. Predestination and Freewill Section IV, and SMR Chs. 5, 10).
This is not to say that antilogisms aplenty do not disadorn that form and formula of thought which seeks to dispense with the living Creator, the available and accessible God, who made man in His image – and since His is immaterial, thus apt for fellowship with Himself. However, as demonstrated on this site repeatedly, there is NOTHING such when you act on the principles, reasons, propositions and rational groundwork provided in the Bible. It works whether on history, in history, in science (which often must change itself, but has to come back at last, because of the intractable facts, to where it belongs cf. TMR Chs. 1, 5, 7, and Ch. 1 above), in philosophy, in logic, in prophecy, retrospectively in archeology, prospectively in developing events. Nothing can stand or does stand against it, though its time is from millennia away. This is an INDEPENDENT attestation both to it, and to the validity of reason.
What of course breaches reason at the outset, by requiring truth to be in a theory propounded concerning such things, while denying that absolute truth so much as exists, is excluded from rational argument, just as is whatever enslaves to systems, being controls of mere segmental force (all forms of determinism, the materialistic, the psychological and so forth – cf. Repent or Perish Ch. 7, Little Things Ch. 5, It Bubbles … Ch. 9). To the contrary, what follows reason and its principles is forced to find the concept of God as the answer; and in the Bible as required in this case (SMR Ch. 1), is able to find all the answers to the problems of rationality without God.
This is the positive and the negative test provided in one: WITH reason you find God; FROM God you find reason validiated and its testing methods fulfilled empirically, and a postiori in such a robust uniqueness as in a tertiary manner reconfirms the validity. Without Him, you land in such a massive mess of antinomy as Kant conveniently propounded, himself not applying the biblical requisites. How the mess created by that philosopher is removed on biblical principles, is to be seen in Predestination and Freewill, Section IV, and how it is self-contradictory in its very formulation, is briefly also indicated in SMR Ch. 5. It is like taking a smashed car to the panel-beaters when you open the light of the word of God, and its principles, to such contrapuntal misconceptions and famished philosophies.
Ø Such an imagination, then, as this malign being at the helm, via a distortion of rationality, requires not merely an impossibility at the outset, in the nature of the Supreme Being, but equally a cloud to obscure the laid-out landscape of rationality (NOT rationalism), thus basking in bright sunshine where all the contours of the field are apparent. To suggest that this were the case, this intrusive deceit from the domain of the deceiver into man’s mind, is to require madness in all men, whereas madness, that state of disordered debility, that asthenic relic of mentality, is the PRECISE opposite to the verifiable rational, empirical yokage of the Ages: a non-sequitur extra-ordinary.
Ø It would also annul any validity in the presentation of the position, by those who holding such views, are subjecting their own output to such criteria, and hence at once ends all argument on such a basis. It would be self-annihilative.
To imagine that non-truth is the meed and marrow of man whether by supernatural invasion or personal deficiency in essence, is rather less than ludicrous: it is vacuous.
Again, as a particular example of the efforts to divorce God from human aspiration and evacuate the mind of man from sensible seeking, let us take the following. To imagine that man has one sort of ‘causation’ concept for his own mind, and that God has another, as an excuse for the vagrant thought that man may not be able to think clearly or even coherently about God, as if this were a necessary and natural attribute*1 of his own being: this is to require the construction à la Kant – of something like his noumena, or concept of what REALLY is, the actual and the REAL, apart from man’s conception. In such a case, what is imagined is an area of exclusion, verboten, inoperable, which in stringent reality therefore, it is impossible even to designate, for man as he thinks his supposedly denuded thought. If the real however MUST be absent in this field, then to designate its criteria at all becomes an exercise in the unreal. Thought seeking to indicate it, suffers rebuff; language aspiring to categorise is rejected. How then is it designated, except as an exercise in self-contradiction!
We however are examining what is real, to which such excursions are of necessity irrelevant.
And the thing is true more broadly. Let us take an illustration. Call it what you will, the real: if it were true that it were truly excluded, and human categories were thus excluded from the divine domain, via divergent causality concepts, for example, supposed to be in man as distinct from God, the former thus useless in the field: then man could not even putate, let alone cogitate concerning such a realm, supposedly intrinsically divorced from his human field. It would require the construction, as in Kant, or in some correlative fashion, of the noumena, or what REALLY is, as a part of man’s very statement of the formula concerning his supposed exclusion.
Yet how could you be told you were excluded from the former French Maginot Line if such a concept, by virtue of inapplicable categories of thought, were not attainable by your thought, and so inexpressible in words! Indeed, yet more generally, the very categories of causality and categories, characterisability and nature, are inextricably intermingled (cf. SMR Ch. 3).
If, therefore, there is a category, a characteristic, then there is a conduct that accords with it, in the thing so characterised. To divorce this simple causal coherence, is to remove the applicability of speech or thought. Hence such theorists of disjunction of causation are involved in an illicit antilogism, and are systematically excluded from coherent speech in their quest. What reason requires, they deny, and so lose their place and gain one as irrationalists; and without reason, and its correlatives, they cannot even speak, or present an issue. If they should still wish to do so, thus, they would need to abandon their premisses; and so their argument lapses.
You cannot even talk about what is supposedly excluded from your own categories of thought. Such duckings and weavings deny and defy reason, and present no problem for it, any more than someone coughing in a musical performance. It is a nuisance, but not any possible part of the music itself.
Such things may be sought to minister to the concept of delusion, systematic and necessary, for man re God, as if man were intrinsically incapacitated BY NATURE from such considerations. However they minister only to their own destruction. The concept of the deceptive, the devious, ingrained into man, or forced upon him by his very nature or the nature of his Creator, then, is mere void with words attached, exposed wherever it writhes.
It denies the necessary minima of the Creator, conceptually demonstrable; it denies the empirical-rational landscape over time in all domains; it plashes uselessly into self-contradiction on the wall of truth. It ignores the synthesis of divine revelation found - like treasure - by reason, but given by God, and the empirical, in its unique confirmations in all things over all time, for millennia, and the demise through irrationality of all other attempts to construct any explanation for man, as they welter in reductionist futilities, deterministic exclusion of truth in advance and virtually predictable antinomies, like litter left after some lustful supper.
Such concepts can be derivable from the wilful, arbitrary and irrational negation of God, or a distancing of Him to serve much the same purpose; and without Him the devious dumpings of delusion and self-contradiction abound, like Baudelaire’s fleurs de mal. Indeed, such flowers as those grow into trees, and the trees scrape the clouds, bringing man to richly deserved confusion, which is the normal secular inheritance of ever mutant philosophy. By contrast, the Biblical position (cf. SMR Ch. 5), not merely answers with healing every philosophic bog, having means for the hauling of those who follow it to freedom, but it is now some 3400 years old. Its principles and precepts remain throughout all ages, invulnerable: whereas man’s simple ‘science’ is often ludicrously out of date in just 50 years!
Not only however, is such a concept contrary to the logical necessities of minimal attributes of the Almighty (as attested also, one should note, by Paul in Romans -20, quite explicitly!), as to the empirical realities, both positive and negative, of the case. It is also a mockery and misdiagnosis of what actually is the case, without irrationality of concept, and WITH extremely present attestation empirically.
Yes, there is indeed a contusion of thought, a confusion of ideation, a distancing of availability of the things of God. It is not however in some imaginary exclusion of Himself from His creature by muddled mind, but by muddied spirit which is the observable and scripturally declared problem. What for example is written ? This: “through deceit, they refuse to know Me!” (Jeremiah 9:6). That is the scattering effect on logical system of the activities of sin in denying the structural necessities of thought, concerning the Almighty and His activities. It can occur equally even in some very religious premises! (cf. Isaiah 28:9-13, and esp. 11-12).
Without this Being and His depiction of truth, indeed, and obviously one received so that you can see with it, at least in principle, you cannot so much as account rationally for freedom, or guilt (cf. Christ Jesus: the Wisdom and the Power of God, Ch. 7, cf. It Bubbles … Ch. 9, Little Things Ch. 5). Further, the requirements for the answer of this problem point directly to what the Bible in fact declares. Such is the coherence of all truth. To this point, and to the discussion of what is the actual ground of antilogism for those whose misdirected systems require it, an intimately related concept, we shall plan to return shortly.
Meanwhile, let us discuss further this disastrously ill-fated proposition about deception, about another kind of causality proposed for the divine and for man, allegedly excluding man from thought that is coherent and correct, about God.
“A different sort of causation” has been the postulate, concerning the would-be barrier to thought about God. Yet “causation” is still thereby invoked. The minimum qualification for this term? an articulation in a system such that the minimum correlative means are required for definitive results (for Hume’s error, see SMR pp. 262ff.). That ? if that be present, it would not alter any of the reasoning at all! It is an irrelevant postulate, therefore, to the point. The very term ‘causation’ itself removes the effort at peregrination, vacation from the actual, which appears afoot! Indeed, as with the confused case earlier presented, regarding what is the devil’s subordinate and aggressive territory, misdirecting it to the majesty of God, this is in fact an erratic wandering into another but interesting realm.
To be sure, God, of course, has a system or mode or manner of causation different from our own, in important respects; but this, so far from implying a conflict with the veracity of our own, is implicit as an outcome from this!
Thus, our causalities are intra-systematic in much, and His operations in such a sphere, as Creator, are patently ultra- or supra-systematic, in that they are WHOLLY uncontained by the creation: since it is He by His own modes who does the containing as the creation, it all relying on Him, His power and His ways (cf. Hebrews 1:3, 11:1 and SMR Chs. 1, 3, 10, TMR Chs. 1, 5, 7). Thus our very system of causation, and that within creation (of mind, matter and spirit at this level) is an offshoot and a deployment of His adequate power, so that in conformity with Himself, not contrary to Him, it is caused to be, to work and to relate to Himself. From Himself, it is derivative; according to Himself, it is derived. For us, not according to our will, it is operative; but in accord with His deployed resources, conspicuous in our creation, it operates, and is made to operate, outside Himself, but yet from Himself.
It is His. He made it. We are His. He made us too. Our usage of causation is at the derivative level; His, for our form of creation, at the institutive. Our causes flow in chains, at some levels; in codes at others; in aspirations and co-ordinations moral, spiritual, personal, psychological at others. They are, however, not of our making. We use them.
Derived from His Being, they are constitutive in character for us; instituted for Him; and both we and these principles have one source, who has expressed Himself according to His own nature. It is not contrary to Him, this creation in kind, as if some kind of invention has overmastered His power! Nor is it an outcome of internal dissonance in Himself, since such is exclusive of His power and liberty, as also it would be explosive and deletive and hence impossible, when all power is present.
Quite to the contrary, it expresses Him, He being entirely what He would be, and knowing all things, always both the same and without defilement or deletion. It is, then, Himself, and not some systematic dalliance with uncertainty (deficient knowledge), with contrariety (deficient unity, and inoperable clash), or other intrusive and excluded intrusion which has worked. He has not made what is divorced as an expression of Himself. It is sin which divorces. The marriage did not start with divorce. Then it could never have begun. We are accounting however, for what is, not what is not, far less what could not be.
WORKS and WORKS of the ONE are INTEGRAL and AGREE
His works and His words are consonant; we are part of His works IN ESSENCE. He is One, not two members of a system which overarches both, which would imply a mere creature. We speak of the Creator, not some character of the mind. HE is the topic, not some device of thought, undisciplined by reality, and the certainties which follow from it. To take an extreme case for easier impact: If God were at war with Himself, evacuation of Himself would be the result; and since He has always known what He would be, He would never have lived. To live would be to die. To exist would be to cease! Hence the creation would not, and could not occur. But it did. End of road.
Again, evacuation of Himself implies change, which implies that He was not always what He would be, or could not find out what He might be, or had to experiment to ascertain what could be, so being deficient in knowledge, the now constantly excluded case of a god with potential, existing in a system, a mere construction of anthropomorphism: not the necessity of logic, which using minimal requirements, cannot be satisfied with less than His singular, unique, before creation existence, unchanging and assured, knowing all things. In this, He is found conducting all things from the established certainties of what He is, without flicker or diversion (cf. James 1:17), having all power, all knowledge and embracing all that is with His own power, able to obliterate at will, knowing all from the first, including the last, excluded by nothing far less, His own making.
Further, such a condition of ‘divine growth’ in knowledge, would imply once more the potential implant, hence the implanter, and so the result that the object under discussion has ceased to be God, and is a mere creation of the mind, in sharp contrariety to the necessities of the case, the mind wandering from its course. In other words, we would not in such a case as this, be talking of God at all, but of some mental construct of our own, in defiance of all reason.
Our causation is simply causation derived from His own, adapted to internality in systematics. This naturally does not exclude the supernatural. He can intrude at will, and we can operate in ANY sort of causality to ascertain causes, as able, and with the attestation of all data, including our own construction and ways. If God intrudes at will, it is as child can in a model railway: it does nothing to destroy the system, but may actually preserve it. The concept indeed of mere system is merely partial, for the personal can always – if able to do anything – directly relate to and communicate with the personal in any realm; and when ALL realms are under the unitary control of ONE GOD, then the concept of alienated principles dissonant and divisive, exclusive and misdirective, is merely a non sequitur on the one hand, and a dismissal of ANY sort of causality on the other.
This dismissal, in the level of explanatory research, as shown in SMR Ch. 3, and noted above, means no words and no communication, no thought and nothing to be said by any concerned. The intrusion into the train system is part of having it under control; the relevance of the child’s causation and the engineer’s causation are both on one plane, since otherwise the engineer COULD not act on the causation involved, having made it inert to His own. This simply illustrates the principle.
That would, moreover, deny Him control by His own action in the communicative realm, which is merely another way of saying that He is acting to destroy His omnipotence, which of course would be change it , which is excluded qua change. It would also mean that He would be immersed, for WHATEVER reason, in fact, in a situation with phases beyond His control, exclusive of His own operation within it, and hence would deny what He is, a mere passing delusion of thought in place of actual necessities.
One of the ways in which the Lord may use His control, make His incumbency apparent, is by personal approach, person to person action according to the mutual causation, diverse but not divergent, instituted, the realms cognate and co-operating, mutually intelligible in appropriate action. This interpersonal oversight, one of the oversights of the entire system, series and creation, involves a coherence of the concepts where conscious rationality is involved, to enable it. He directly therefore operates with His causative action within our own, which in turn involves all the other kinds or sub-categories, whether psychological, material, ideational or other. (Cf. Christ Jesus: the Wisdom and the Power of God Ch. 7, SMR pp. 348ff..)
THE MANY FIELDS THAT
IMPOSSIBLE WITHOUT GOD
IN VIGOROUS COMMERCE WITH MAN
For this reason, it is not the case that we are encased in a system, merely incorporated in one, which in turn has its own open door to God. How open will be considered a little later! It is indeed interesting as presented in detail elsewhere, that the minimum necessary requirements of reason for FREEDOM for man - and hence to cover guilt on the one hand, and the awareness of decision and direct, indirect or synthetic devices to avoid what is known to be right, or believed to be so, or to avoid it, void it or bypass it: are four fold.
1) First there must be a supernatural provision, or
presentability, of what is other than what any one of us IS! Otherwise, by
psychological compulsion, biological exclusion, mental impulsion: indeed by ANY
of our actual ingredients, qualities or conditions, or any combination of them,
integration of them, design totality of them, however it be conceived or
realised in particular, we are LIMITED to what we are.
For freedom, we have to be able to be OTHER than what we are. Any impulsion or movement or this or that way, without the super-nature provision, the available alternative: this is merely this or that expression of what we are, and hence does not provide freedom. Freedom to do what you will is only part; to be free, to induce guilt or joy, rationally you need to have access to what YOU ARE NOT.
2) Secondly, there has to be for this purpose, the supernatural provider of the U 2, the other you, of the alternative
which alone could be instrumental in giving you freedom, avoiding the mere
continuance with, in and through what you are.
3) Thirdly, there
has to be the action of this
supernatural provider, since otherwise YOU will be filtering and handling,
operating the levers according to YOU, and it is this same old you which will
be determinative; and being only what it is, you cannot escape to liberty from
the life that is your own. You are yourself. That is all. Your decision
determines that you remain so, according to what you are.
4) This same action of the Supernatural Provider of the U 2, for you, must be loving. If not, and it were merely a matter of manipulation, even if for good, as He defines and constitutes it, still it would not be LIBERTY which you had, merely power acting on you. You would be a manipulee. ONLY when the motive for action is not to satisfy desire on the one changing you, but to implement liberty for you where it is to be found, do you become free.
Yet how would this occur, this change which implies and permits liberty ? It is and cannot be the mere operation of your own will (as, in fact, the Bible emphatically announces in John 15:16, John 1:12-14, Romans 9:16, and here as always, it meets the case, never varies from truth, always covers every situation, meets any need, stands because it CANNOT fall, as science constantly does in much, over the generations of its action!). It would then need to be the action of ONE WHO KNOWS ALL, can make no mistakes, FOREKNOWS the one whom He predestinates, so that as Romans 8:29ff. in fact declares, Whom He foreknew, these He predestinated. It goes on: whom He predestinated, He called, justified, glorifies.
These are the minimal conditions for liberty; and only where the All-knowing God, with All Power, works with All Love, and no manipulation, but does so sovereignly according to His own (stated – I Timothy 2, Colossians 1:19ff.) will, can they be met. NOWHERE else but in the Bible is this found. Further, it must be with a provision for the NEW, the U 2, the “new creation” as II Corinthians 5:17ff., expresses it, to be acceptable for fellowship, since without this, it would merely be liable to, and certain of the failures which NON-KNOWLEDGE of the personal God, as He is, thus personally, requires. (It would be like stumbling in the dark, while trying to do a small, technical surgical operation. Trying is not enough in such a case; you need light!)
This slight diversion has brought to us simply once more, the exact cohesion, the all-embracive coherence of biblical truth and reason. Reason can never create it; but it can savour it, and see how it does everything well. Of course from this source, revelation from the divine Being such that man is not available to limit or distort it, is the very will of God, which no reason could penetrate as to His thought, though it can find minimal features. Of this too, the Bible speaks categorically, and again shows its total coverage, covering things thought of and unthought of, of all (cf. Galatians 1:6-9).
The discovery of this then, a still further new field for investigation, provides once more not only the (independently SMR Chs. 1,3) demonstrable veracity of the Bible in every field in all time, but the power of God which it mentions and applies, to provide, and to do what is written, when the freedom is granted (cf. John 8:34-36, Ephesians 3:20).
Thus, then, with a liberty limited but not demolished in principle by sin, we are not encased in system, but incorporated in it, and there is the system maker Himself with His own access by His own ways, He having made us along His own procedures, and in accord with His own unchanging nature.
TWO MORE THINGS REMAIN:
1) The FAILURE to see SIN as the SCRAMBLING AGENT,
2) The Validation, Ratification and Verification both of Reason and of Revelation,
in the nature of the Bible, of Christ, when Found.
1) First, sin is only one aspect of the defilement of liberty.
It is however quite vital. To have liberty, we need the three provisions just noted. We also need the removal of what in fact is the cause of the confusion in logic and philosophy which has marred the Ages, and given to man in such endeavours, often a very bad, and quite deserved name! (Cf. SMR pp. 422E-W, S 1-32.)
Its name is sin, and all are familiar with it, by whatever name. It is seen in the child who insists on having its own way, long past the time when it is evident it is not in its own interests (known as obstinacy), in the youth who seeing the wreckage about to be made of his life in drugs and cars and companions, hotly refuses to change, feeling a sense of incompetence being imputed which he irrationally dismisses as inadmissible! You see it in nations insisting on vengeance when it is quite obvious that the final payment will thereby be considerably augmented, and there is no desire to pay this. It is endemic to man, a pathological condition which can be overcome, which is definable, and which of course involves for its full reign, the dismissal of God, so that there is no intrusion into its domain – or more accurately, the greatest prevention available of this happening!
This makes FREEDOM for man the harder. It means that the desire for liberty may be so suppressed that like a patient fearful of learning whether or not he has cancer, the very name of God is fled from, sometimes with the provision of expletively or in caricature misusing it, as if a further alienation and distancing could thereby be achieved.
This sin component, empirically obvious, is multiple like other diseases. Sin limits and erodes the capacities of man, so enabling secular and all autonomous philosophy to dither over the Ages, sterile in its desire, and anti-desire for the truth. (Cf. anti-philosophy SMR p. 321).
The open door to God, logically, is thus also fractured by sin, as well as by the limitations of a self which is definable. This is frequently confused, this total situation, or part of it, with the concept of difference, of unattainability, of incapacity to speak of God, and so on, which though logically illicit, is experientially not without foundation. Man in sin can indeed not think straight about God: he may get so far away, then, as in a divorce case of some acrimony, that something of his own vested interests, special pleading or autonomy desire, intrudes, quite systematically, and he is off the track like a train that hits a group of cows!
The track is fine; the cows are not! In this illustration, the cows are sin, and the herder PUTS them in the way. By the time they are cleared away, a person in sin often likes the pressure of events to make him too weary, exhausted, frustrated, annoyed or whatever, to proceed, and so fulfils his enslavement to sin.
This alienated state (described precisely as seen empirically, in Ephesians 4:17ff., cf. John -36), is the pathological and factual base, incoherently mixed with irrationalities of system. The patient is SURE that his eyes are the trouble; when it fact they are fine, merely closed by a fever (as in Matthew 13:14ff.).
Just as, on the one hand, God is able to enter at will, not frustrating Himself by divergences outside His control, or denying Himself by excluding Himself from what is His desire and domain, so on the other, sin is therefore merely a discord, not an inalienable master for man. However, it is, this disease, what in the above erroneous putations, has been confused with logic! You see the same sort of pathology in some cases where people try to avoid their wage-winning work through sickness. They may be convinced that the pain in their stomachs, backs and so on, is the result of oppression at work, when in fact it is possible in some cases that it is engendered through an exaggeration of symptoms in the milieu of strong desire, together with the pangs of resentment and the aches of desire!
Causality is eminently intimate, and its movements are of great complexity in the CASE OF PATHOLOGY, to whichever master the case may be applied! In such cases, endless in fact irrelevant hypotheses are often made with a sort of virulence or venom, that is in fact a mere defence. The disease is multiple in application, though one in origin.
Tiresome trivialities have thus become a common feature in the hospitals of philosophy; and their removal, generation by generation, is almost for some, a game! It is however a game with a high risk factor…
Thus sin is wider than being an operating factor in the dismemberment, functionally, of man’s mind, with emphasis on areas and arenas where will is lurking with illicit desire; for it moves into many domains. On the other hand, it is narrower than the large spread it often desires for itself – cf. Romans 7, since it has no INTRINSIC control over anything.
Why is this ? It is for the simple reason that God has entry at will; but since His will is not to remove the freedom which we indeed in significant measure have, but to fulfil it, this being no small part of the creation of man and its consummation, as seen at the outset in Genesis 3 (which includes the proto-evangelion): God acts with restraint. Yet He acts.
There is no domain of undisputed territorial invasion for sin. It is always vulnerable to God. You see this repeatedly in the New Testament and almost endlessly since, whether the conversions be like that of Paul (Acts 9), or of John Bunyan, which he has so rigorously documented, or that of John Wesley, or those in the amazing Welsh and American revivals in the mid to late nineteenth century, where the continuing results are well documented over time (cf. Sprague, Lectures on Revivals).
Relative to his liberty, from Christ’s lips we see that He has resolved to restore some (John 3), and has willingness towards all (I Timothy 2, Colossians 1). He does not however rupture (Luke 19:42ff., Matthew 23:37, Ezekiel 33:11, Hosea 7:1ff.), but restores the image of Himself which He made for man, of the functional fellowship unit called man (Ephesians 4:21-24, Colossians 3:10). Thus reason and revelation rejoice in each other, when liberation removes the artificial and irrational obstructions; and with revelation, reason can only clap its hands and rejoice.
It is thus, in the restraint of love, that you see the dimensions of authenticity, as in Jeremiah 9:1ff. together with Lamentations!
Before we proceed to further consideration of the testimony of truth, let us pause for clarification. In dealing with God, you do not approach a super-market shelves. You approach a personal Being. Nor do you approach another creature; you approach your Creator. He has His ways, and they do not change, being always perfect and infinitely desirable to Him, consummate and perfect. You thus cannot enter into His presence at will (John , Romans , John ). You have to be invited. In Christ there is invitation (Matthew -30), which is not limited. Yet it is invitation which IS SPECIFIC. Thus you need to repent (Luke 13:1-3) and the aspects of the case are presented from His word in SMR pp. 520ff.. Sin blinds, light awakens. There is a shedding and a re-creation (II Corinthians 5:17ff.). These things here are presented to prevent misunderstanding, and hence are expository.
The biblical case, then, assuredly excludes man from simple entry into the divine presence by an act of mere will (I Timothy !). There is a vast gulf from sin and alienation. Light is presented in its available form in Christ; and HE IS the Truth, not a derivative or downgrading (John 14:6, -50). There is a door into the house, which bridges the gulf, and conveys to the stability beyond (cf. Isaiah 33:6). In that we grow. Until the gulf of sin is passed, in its dominating dynamic, yes and judgment is covered (John -19,36, Romans 3;23-27), there is no spiritual life which would grow. Birth precedes both youth and maturity!
However, mere desire to enter is inadequate. God in His own form has been made available to man in the form of a man; but the Man declares the truth, and the truth is that man is to come and see God face to face, while as yet knowing only in part: but in part, KNOWING. There is a time to be awakened by and to truth; and there is a time for its replete completion of intimation (I Corinthians 13:9-13), though all the principles already are truth, and the way is truth.
This having been said, it is an avenue not at all to do with causality, with misconception, with exclusion, but instead with laying the groundwork, and then building up the stories. Sand is not good foundation material, and we have to find the rock before we build, however blinded by the sandstorms of philosophy, which have for so many and for so long, swept many to doom, where no rock is, though it is conspicuous like Gibraltar at the opening of the Mediterranean. It is grace that is needed, not further confusion.
We are to be founded in Christ, but not confounded; as to us who are His, once in Him, we grow (II Peter ), yet not from error to truth, but from truth to truth (Psalm 84:4-5, Ephesians -16). It is our natural, necessary habitat, the divorce from which has been filled with futility and fatality alike for man (cf. Ephesians 4:17-19, 2:1-6, Colossians 2:7-8, I Corinthians 1:20-25).
For that truth, the liberation is in terms of it, for what is contrary to reality always harasses and distorts, and in removing truth, dashes liberty in it. On the contrary, the stronger the light, the greater the liberty: you see more, and “light is sown for the righteous” (Psalm 97:11, Proverbs ). Indeed, from this, a vast crop appears, prolific, reaching to every horizon.
2) The Validation, Ratification and Verification both of Reason and of Revelation,
in the nature of the Bible, of Christ, when Found.
Thus have we seen the Christian Gospel present what liberty requires, independently attested (cf. He Calls… Ch. 9, Little Things Ch. 5, Christ Jesus: the Wisdom and the Power of God, Ch. 7, SMR pp. 348ff., Predestination and Freewill Sections 1 and 3, Licence for Liberty). We have considered the confusion of ‘causality’ with something other, through the device of a misused terminology, through this alienative program, the callow substitution of this pretext for sin, the actual device of division from knowing God and understanding Him (cf. Jeremiah 9:22-23, Isaiah 59:1-2, 6:23).
Man’s failure to know God is a distemper for which no excuse, terminological or other exists, and its remedy is provided for with a munificence available from no other source. That is the nature of the case! We have even noticed the confusion of God with the devil, and of the Supreme Being with creatures.
All this: It is not a bad haul for a short fishing excursion!
However sin is so dense that in this water you almost HAVE to catch it with readiness! It for its own part, catches its prey vehemently. It is as docile as radioactive waste. Those won by it, they even come to thirst for it, though it destroys their digestion, like a sort of spiritual alcohol, as if it were necessary for life; when in fact, and naturally, it is the stuff of death, disorientative: seemingly indulgent, but actually destructive. Most welcome are those who, like compulsive smokers, desire it; but most sad is their case, like those of the other invaded indulgers.
Before our eyes, also, have been the U 2 image of the recreated man, the other you (II Cor. 5:17ff., John 3, Titus 3:5ff.), essential for freedom, the person restored to reality, according to the image of Him who created man (Colossians 3:10); the love of God, with all its integrity and lack of manipulation, as necessary for liberty as the rest; the Gospel replete with these very things; the sovereignty of God, inexorably needed to delimit truth and prevent either time or tide from interfering with things eternal and without limit to their value; the harmony of reason with revelation, and the exclusion of the divergence imagined between the way of God for Himself and for man, as if they were in perpetual and created divorce, whereas they are - without Christ in the heart, His word in the mind - in merely functional and not integral divorce. And that ? it is through the sin of man. We have further seen the necessity of these things.
We have been blessed with a productive journey.
Finally, we notice with
the coherence of
reason and revelation*2, the originality of revelation, the grandeur of the
compassion within it and the NEED for it, if man is to be with God, again as in
Ø the amazing fact that God in His word, thus attested and in all other ways in every empirical field (cf. SMR, TMR, not excluding that of logic as well), actually acted.
Needs are not feeds.
Requirements are not availabilities. The categories are not only not identical;
the difference can spell death to millions, from starvation, for example, as
they wander in the deserts of arid religions and acrid wars. That Christ
Himself further attests and exhibits in power,
all these things at the precisely personal level is one of the
undisparagable facts of history (cf. SMR
In every way, when we follow reason to the Bible, to the Gospel, as demonstrated in SMR, we find in turn what validates the rationality by its empirical correlation of the very WORD of God with the history of man (cf. SMR Ch. 9, Answers to Questions Ch. 5, Highway of Holiness Ch. 4), as tightly efficient in that realm, as exclusively valid in the logical.
The Biblical CLAIM that both the eternal power AND THE DIVINE NATURE of God are manifest (Romans 1:17ff.), is thus attested, reason itself refusing any divorce! Man’s current, largely Kantian, pre-occupation with himself as centre, has made him sensitive to seeing all truth as one, from One, who being One, has made it like Himself, whether to rebuke, to educate, for reproof, to exhort, to alert or to judge, to appeal or to reach. In so doing, His ultimate expression of affinity and intimacy, unity, is that in crossing the way from infinitude to the finite, He was still gloriously apt in expressing Himself, yes not another (John 8:58, Philippians 2), not merely in human modalilty, but AS A MAN!
See also Acme, Alpha and Omega – Jesus Christ, Ch. 8, on an allied theme.
That is: this concept is attributing to man as such, such incapacity, rather than to non-created sin, a defilement of his nature, as in Romans 1:17ff., one all too visible, in empirical life in the pathological spiritual condition to which man has made himself heir. This however is remediable, so that the passions of impurity of mind, body and thought do not lie in the nature of man, but in the pollution of his premisses volitionally.
To be sure, there is an
inherited consequence (Psalm 51, and
observationally!); but again, like some other hereditary diseases, it is in
this case curable. The result, in terms of the Biblical principles, is that
clarity and availability concerning God which allows the resolution of all
philosophic knots (cf. SMR
Ch. 5), the dismissal of all antinomies and the bright shining of truth as of day, after darkness. It is the performance of these things which is one of the blessed works of apologetics, and they are made one of the features of this work, through the grace of that God who not only provides the principles but the power to bring such blessings to mankind (Ephesians 1).
As Christ said, “I am the truth” – John 14:6. Man cannot of himself SEE God, but as John declares in , “the only begotten Son … has declared Him.” Christ the eternal word of God (Micah 5:3, John 1:1, Hebrews 1) has done this; and that, it is what WORD does.
It is when such claims manifest themselves in power and clarity that many are impressed, being willing to be persuaded by facts. As Christ put it, “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the seek of the works themselves.” (Cf. Repent or Perish Chs. 2, 7, TMR Ch. 7, It Bubbles … Ch. 9.)
REASON, REVELATION and RIGHTEOUSNESS
John Bunyan in his work, Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, Ch. 6, pp. 45, 48, contrasts conviction wrought by the Spirit of God with the strivings of the wits of man, for the faith; and to this extent, he does rightly. What is wrought by man by itself, is limited by man. How then should man achieve the things of God!
However, Bunyan also shows in this same chapter, how God helped, led, wrought in him in his own researches as he sought to get beyond the mere efflorescences of men, to the true word of God. From this standpoint, let us briefly review the issue. Here indeed is touched an area of much complexity to many, so let us review some of its conspicuous elements, in consistency.
First, God is manifest in eternal power and divine nature, says Paul in Romans 1:17ff.. Man wishes to divert, contort; but it is for all that, clear, despite his futile wrestling. The fool, says David in the Psalm, has said in his heart that there is no God. Casting down imaginations, says Paul in II Corinthians 10, and bringing every thought into captivity to Christ. There is the relevance of reason, yet the probe of pollutants, like sickening green gases, is swirling along the industrial valley floor.
The thoughts of man, scarred by sin, can bring but small solace. Yet the glory of God, like the sun in its radiance, being looked for with tired eyes, is not too difficult to detect. Even for closed eyes, its radiance suffuses, if indirectly, the optical gear of man.
If, again, man be in the image of God, who is to say that he functions not at all thus, but in garbled, gabbling irrelevance, as he intones his idiot speech ? As always in such attacks, so here the weary contention that this is so, then itself qualifies as idiot speech and so is incapable of logical recognition, even as a charge or challenge!
Reason and revelation alike, in the Bible (Romans ), declare God’s divine nature and eternal power to be manifest (cf. SMR), and the latter the need to present grounds (I Peter ). Our present point is that the demonstrability of these things not only contradicts neither scripture nor reason, as each is presented in the Bible and found in fact, but implements both, the one as sound description of validity, the other, revelation as donated, as confirmation of reason’s cry.
It is but unbiblical to cry otherwise, as well as rationally unsustainable. How much greater God is than we might at first construe, does nothing to invalidate the understanding reached; just as reason’s insistence on the Bible as the word of God, EXPOSES what He has said, and does not replace it. As Christ declared, the Scripture points to HIM, and those who stop even at its words, instead of following them to Him, these also miss Him! (John 5:39ff.)! There is available a progression from reason to the DISCOVERY of the Bible as necessarily His, and thence to the FINDING of the Saviour as actually there indicated, and necessary. God may use any method He pleases, but His insistence on the soundness of reason in its true premisses, is dismissible only by dismissing what He Himself has said, the consistency of which is our present concern. It is not consistent with His word, to dismiss it!
To take Bunyan’s point, we must ask this: Can not the Spirit of God strive and move also in reason, as well as in discernment ? is the mind unnaturally to be excluded where its correlative work well ? Can not the Lord, in instructing to give a reason FOR the faith, also bring POWER to bear on those who, called, are called also to obey this instruction ? and does not God statedly give His Spirit to those who obey Him (Acts 5:31ff.). What sanctity is it, speaking to Christians, which denies His word, limits His power (Psalm 78:41), or twiddles the dials on His orders, as though they were not clear ?
The wonder of His nature is indeed manifest, as is the inveterate desire of sin to obliterate that clarity (Romans 1, 7, Eph. 2, 4); but the victory is the Lord’s and there is nothing too hard for the Lord (Luke 1:37), even to definitive incarnation (Hebrews 1), and decisive corporeal raising from the dead (Acts 2, Luke 24).
Again, the Gospel is not predictable, for who knows the heart of a man, but – after God – the spirit of a man (I Cor. 2); and how much less the heart of God, is it available to intrusive inspection. Yet this disclosure is of His thoughts, plans and will, not the reality of the splendid power and awesome eternity which He has as resplendent deity. Indeed, Paul ALSO makes this point. The Gospel (I Corinthians 1) is decisively a step of divine initiative and an act of divine love.
Thus the intrusive presumptions of man could not attain to it, any more than can the chastened intellect of man escape His presence. Everything in its time and place, is what it is; and the confusion of divine aspects, as if to fuse them, is as indefensible as would be some act of a mechanic, confusing the manufacture and maintenance of a car. They are related; but equally manifestly, they are not identical, and each has its place.
Indeed, with Revelation to man, Paul makes it clear that there are two incisive elements: the revelation of the substance, the character of the matters, and the supply of the word or diction with which to convey to comprehension, the things seen, exposed and revealed thus comprehensively in and as the word of the living God in the Bible (I Corinthians 2:9-13 cf. SMR pp. 1166ff.).
Each aspect, the ineluctable light of reason in man, made in the image of God, showing God’s eternal power and divine nature, and the dowered imprimatur on the thoughts of His heart, His love, programs, plan of salvation, spiritual longing in the beauty of holiness, and scenario for man, comprised in the Bible, functions in place.
To confuse such things is understandable; to persist in such a confusion, however, is inexcusable, a blight on the Christian horizon, falsely pursued, a confounding of concepts, a contradiction of the word of God.
It is convenient to Satan so to confuse the issue, and to impel those who aid this disastrous cause (not that all so confused by any means to serve him), so that he might reduce the gravity of the offence of the atheist, the flightiness of the agnostic and the fear of God in all, while he renews his attacks elsewhere.
In fact, however, each aspect, integrity of reason, itself given by God, and decisive finality of revelation, His own word, is true just as found apt are all other phases of Christian life (applied word, prayer, illuminations, due and true organization, all in their place). Every aspect is not only to be sustained, but declared, in place, as part of the whole counsel of God for man; for slackness whether in aircraft maintenance or in Christian duty and conformity to the word of God, merely fosters ruin for some. In human terms, it is like a festering in an infection, one but imperfectly treated with antiseptic. The health of the body requires better than this.