Is God Personal? A Letter to a Deist

 

 

Is God Personal? A Letter to a Deist

It would seem it is quite hard to say anything about the deity seeing that the sizes of the universe demonstrate that God is far advanced over us mere mortals.  It would seem presumptuous of us to say anything about him, especially if those ideas lessoned his character in any way. Therefore, to say that he is personal or impersonal would be a presumptuous statement limiting him by imposing a human characteristic upon him. It seems it would be closer to the truth to refer to Him as trans-personal or beyond personality,  personality being a human characteristic. Jesus hints at this when he said that the deity knows every hair on our heads. This would indicate that His personal knowledge must be far greater than any human being. This might raise the question does not a personal knowledge of someone infer in itself a degree of a personal relationship?

The bigger question is, Why would one want to believe that the deity is impersonal? Would believing in a universe with an impersonal God be any different than a universe without a God? It surely is more convenient and comfortable to live in the universe with an impersonal God than a trans-personal one that might hold men responsible for their behavior. It does seem to me that belief in an impersonal God is not much different from atheism on a pragmatic level. The benefit of such a belief or non-belief would simply be to avoid any uncomfortable conclusion about God. It also would give one the convenience and comfort of avoiding some hard questions and decisions about life and death.

Of course, the truth is, if there is a divine trans-personal God like the Biblical God it really does not matter what we believe about Him. We still will be judged by His will and our decisions or even the lack of them. It will not matter whether or not we ignore or dodge the questions. The safe position is to believe in a trans-personal God. If there is no trans-personal god, it really doesn’t matter. Does it? However, if there is that would open the possibility that we share in some of his characteristics like anger and love. It comes back to whether or not you believe that man created God in his image or God created man in his.

Moreover, to say that God is impersonal is to say that billions of people that claim to have a relationship with Him are delusional or simply liars. Such a belief would have to be totally subjective unless you could get into the skin of every one of those people that claim they have a relationship with God. The most that any person could say is I personally do not have a relationship with God. Of course, because an individual does not have a relationship with God does not mean or prove that God is impersonal and has no personal relationship with any humans. It also seems that a lack of faith in a personal God would slam the door shut on having any experience with God. Why would a person want to do that? If a person has the choice of living in a universe where there is a personal God or a universe where there is no trans-personal God why would anyone choose the impersonal? We all have reasons for our beliefs and it seldom reason.

Libertarianism A Christian Heresy?

Libertarianism A Christian Heresy?

It is common knowledge that Christianity has been the predominant worldview for 2000 years in the west.  Whether people like it or not you can see traces of its influence in every area of western life.  It has influenced every paradigm and ideology that has been created in the west from philosophy to political ideology.  Even its greatest critics have been influenced by it, such as Nietzsche and his idea of the Overman.

In this article, I’d like us to look at some of the strange similarities between libertarianism and early Christian thought.  However, before we can do this you must understand what the Bible, mainly the apostle Paul, says about the relationship of Christians to the law.  The apostle Paul in his writings sets forth the doctrine of salvation by grace, through faith, apart from keeping the laws of religion (Eph 2:8-10).   Paul taught that when a person accepts Christ as the Messiah, they would be given the Spirit of God which would be equal to giving them a new internal moral compass to live by, resulting in them no longer needing the law of Moses or the religious law.  In other words, in his thinking becoming a Christian would be similar to becoming a new person under a new constitution.  This experience was so dynamic that Jesus spoke about it as a new birth (John 3:5).  It was as though God would give a person a new heart or mind, on which the law was written.  This new spirit would change people’s will from their own self will, to desiring to do God’s will and the power to do it.  This is the reason why Paul could claim that Christians don’t live by the law, but by the Spirit.  He could say that the law kills, but the Spirit gives life.  He also could admonish Christians not to put themselves back under the law, but to live by the Spirit. Paul even went so far as to say that the law, or the Commandments, were abolished by the death of Christ (Eph 2:15-16).

It doesn’t take much thought to see the similarities between Christianity and the attitude that Libertarians have towards law. Their attitude is that the law is not sufficient because it does not change the person.

However, the problem with libertarianism in contrast to Christianity is not so much its teachings, as it is the raw material that it has to work with, i.e. people without the Spirit of God. The whole of Paul’s theology was based on the belief that believers had the Spirit of God that empowered them to will and to do God’s will.  What the Libertarians have is nothing more than philosophical dogma which has no power to change the hearts and minds of people which is the real problem to begin with. In actuality, the Libertarian movement has enshrined their philosophy as another law similar to how the Jews and other religious people have done with the 10 Commandments and the Bible.

In this, libertarianism is very much like many philosophical and religious cults that believe if you get the right doctrinal system you can fix the world.  However, many libertarians have no will to do the right thing or much less the will of God, though some strands of libertarianism lay more stress on the concept of responsibility than others, for the majority the emphasis is placed on liberty at the expense of responsibility.

Libertarianism also contains a millennial or utopian hope which reflects the belief of many early Christians.  The difference is that early Christians believed that Jesus Christ would usher in the millennium or utopia with the second coming of Jesus Christ when he sets up God’s kingdom on earth.  Libertarians, on the other hand, believe that humans can do it through embracing the Libertarian movement, mainly the free marked or by getting rid of all law and government, which also reflects the goal of communism as taught by Karl Marx.  Marx believed that government or some form of the state was a temporary state of mankind as he moved towards a fulfilled communism utopia. Marx in his own right was a copycat of Christianity in his views of egalitarianism and the future utopia.

When considered in its historical and Christian context the Libertarian movement must be considered somewhat of a cult.  Of course, some of the Libertarian’s dogma and attitudes are totally contrary to Christianity.  As a movement that was crystallized in the French Revolution, they tend to hate authority of all kinds, which includes the hatred of God’s authority.  If you remember, the slogan of the French Revolution was “no king, no God.”  Though in recent years, the idea of God has pretty much been stripped from Libertarianism making it the most secular form of Western politics.  In the past large numbers of Libertarians were non-believers and outspoken against God and religion.  Even today you will find in the left-wing of the Libertarian movement, huge numbers of unbelievers and many Libertines that have rejected traditional morality in general.

Is Libertarianism compatible with Christianity?  The answer is absolutely not.  Libertarianism not only has its roots in Christianity but also in Liberalism and libertinism.  In essence, it is nothing more than a hodgepodge of Christian doctrine and a radical form of Liberalism.  To see the similarity between it and Liberalism all you have to do is put the word radical before the foundational concepts of Liberalism; radical individualism, radical egalitarianism, which would include radical democracy, which would border on mob rule.  Its radical individualism has its source in Darwinism and the dogma of the survival of the fittest.  Therefore, its dogmas favor the rich and the strong.  I think it would be fair to say that American Libertarianism has been captured by the Koch brothers who control Reason Magazine and the Cato Foundation which in America are the leading mouthpieces for their brand of Libertarianism.

 

Two Kinds of Truth

Two Kinds of Truth

There are two kinds of truth: a truth that is developed by reason[i] and self-evident truth.  If we allow the latter to be pulled into the former, the latter and former are both lost. The very idea of knowing anything to any degree of certainty would be lost.

If a man denies that there is a cosmic order, i.e., a God, which I believe to be a self-evident truth,[ii] what grounds does he have to believe that his reasoning can be trusted?  If his reasoning is nothing more than a bundle of atoms interacting with each other in his brain, how can he trust it? Can he use reason to prove reason without first assuming that his reason can be trusted?  He may say that reasoning can be trusted because it was perfected by natural selection, but that is to say that a mindless force we called nature created reasoning and then perfected it by another mindless force, natural selection.  The atheist must trust or have faith in a blind force in order to trust his reasoning.  If he believes in reasoning, he must believe in it through a leap of faith in a blind force, which in my thinking begins to look a lot like a God hypothesis called by the name, reason.

To really be consistent with his atheism, he must maintain that everything (including his reasoning) is a mere illusion of his biological illusion maker that is in his brain. Then in order to function in the world, he must split the world into what is real and what is an illusion, and he must choose to live in and out of his illusions for it is impossible to live in the world he thinks is reality.  On top of this and at the same time, he must cling to the belief or the illusion that he and his beliefs are reasonable and everyone else’s (believers) are unreasonable.

He is like an actor on stage pretending to live out an imaginary story but believing at the same time that backstage is reality, which is meaningless and chaotic.  Of course, if he pretends long enough, he may begin to believe that the play is real, or if he gets really caught up in the story, he may even forget that it is all just make-believe.  The paradox is that often while playing out the story, he holds his audience in contempt for not knowing that the story he is performing in, is not real, or for not knowing what’s going on behind the curtain.

I have found that few atheists have the courage to take their beliefs to their logical conclusion for fear of the life it would produce.  So, they proclaim one set of beliefs while living by another. They claim to find meaning in a universe, which they say has no meaning, and they claim to have a purpose in a cosmos that they claim has no purpose.  They claim to be rational, in fact, the most rational of humans; however, does not rationality demand a willingness to take your own thinking to its logical conclusions and in turn, live out those conclusions?  Yet, I have never met an atheist who has consistently lived out his own thinking. Now, this is not to say they do not exist, but rather I have never met any.

Without a cosmic order, does not reason take you to the point of questioning reason itself?  Does not pure skepticism demand that you become skeptical about your own skepticism?  Should not a true doubter, doubt his own doubts?  Without self-evident truth, reasoning will, in the end, chase its own tail.  You must have something to reason from; you cannot reason from doubt.  As William James said, “You must have a will to believe something.”  Reason must start with something and cannot start with nothing.  Even the atheist must start with something: “I believe there is no God.”  Here he starts with assuming that his reason is sound.  Then he moves to himself “I” and his belief there is no God.  However, he cuts off the limb he is sitting on when he says, “no God.” Can a finite “I” make such a statement without being the very thing that he denies exists, i.e., God? [iii]  Moreover, can he make such a statement without having blind faith in reason?

[i]  These are truths that are formed by deduction and inductive reasoning. However, these truths are not the facts in themselves but are ideas that are inferred from the facts. Believers believe they can trust reason because it is the reflection of a reasonable God in whom image, we are created.

[ii] Some might raise the objection, If the existence of God is self-evident, why are there so many who do not see it? Jesus said, “Some people have eyes but do not see.”  Sometimes overexposure deadens our sensitivity to a thing. We are often actually insensitive to our senses until they are impaired in some way. We seldom think about seeing or our eyes until something threatens our sight. When looking out a window, we will not often see the glass unless we focus on it. The reason for this is that we have given our full attention to the things that we are watching outside the window. However, if the window is dirty or has a crack in it, we see it immediately.  The problem with modern man is that he is too focused on things to see God. However, his lack of focus does not mean that God does not exist.

[iii] To make an absolute statement that there is no God, a person would have to know everything in this vast universe and be everywhere at the same time. For if he did not know everything, the thing he might not know is that there is a God, and if he was not everywhere at the same time, the place he was not at might be the very place God exists.

Revelation and Myth

Revelation and Myth

The word revelation simply means an unveiling or the lifting of the veil.  We often use the word in a religious sense as an unveiling of the Uncreated One or the essence we call God, but the word God is a metaphor that points beyond itself to what is beyond and transcends human intelligence.  The word God itself is a revelation because it brings that mystical essence a step closer to our consciousness.  The word God to some degree enables us to communicate with each other about this mystical essence and our experiences of it[1].  We men have been analyzing and refining our knowledge of this Totally Other since the dawn of human consciousness.  Some have even pretended to be that consciousness when men had a corporal view of God.  It was the nation of Israel that first codified that God could not be imaged by the human mind, a revelation that could be traced back to Moses and his encounter with God on the sacred mountain.  The Uncreated One is not a creature that man has the right to name, as Adam named the animals brought before Him.[2]  Be careful about speaking of God.

It’s not hard to figure out how revelation worked.  In the past men experienced the Totally Other in various ways.  When they talk to others about their experience there seems to be a thread that connected these experiences, a thread that basically said that there was something beyond the mere physical.  Something so lofty that the human mind could not comprehend it.  It was this something that primitive man gave the title God.

This helps us to understand the ancient myths.  Myths mediated the presence of God to mankind through story and poetry.  It was through these forms of mediation that the foundation of all being began to reveal himself to mankind.  This is why we see a thread, though sometimes thin, of the same themes in myth and story throughout the world[3].

You could say that myths were the temples God used as a meeting places with men.  They were the bridge that spanned the chasm between the spiritual and the physical.  Myths are metaphors that come alive in story form.  Unfortunately, some men are metaphorically disadvantaged because of their concrete thinking which came about by a scientism that denies anything other than our sensorial experiences.

What about Jesus and revelation?  Well, Jesus is the image or revelation of God.  He said if you have seen me, you have seen the Father.  The apostle Paul refers to Jesus as “the image of the invisible God.”  Paul goes on to say that God packed into Jesus everything that humans could possibly know about God.  So, in that sense Jesus is THE revelation of God.  Jesus became a living metaphor that pointed to God.  That’s why John could say the Word (revelation) became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14).  He goes to say, “No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known (John 1:17-18).  In the Word, the Forms and the Archetypes all took on a bodily form in Jesus.

[1] In his book “The Idea of The Holy: An inquiry into the Non-rational Factor in the idea of the Divine and its’ Relation to the Rational” Rudolf Otto gives an excellent overview of these mystical experiences and encounters with the Totally Other.

[2] Heb 1:1-3 “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways,  but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe”.

[3] “The Varieties of Religious Experience” by William James. Also, note the works of Joseph Campbell.

Liberalism and the Cult of Personal Opinion

Liberalism and the Cult of Personal Opinion

In talking to ordinary people who have embraced Liberalism knowingly or unknowingly, I have found a common belief.  The majority seem to have embraced what I call the “cult of personal opinion.”  It seems that they have an opinion on everything; an opinion that is more often than not grounded in nothing but their own minds and reinforced by the information that they have received over the television—a very poor source of information.  We can contribute some of this thinking to arrogance, and I would have to admit I have found this attitude prominent among males, but I think it goes much deeper.  I believe this mindset is rooted in a basic attitude that one has toward knowledge and truth

I believe that this attitude toward knowledge can be traced to the philosophy called Liberalism and two of the principles espoused by that philosophy.  The first of these principles is the belief in the autonomy or self-governing of the individual.  This principle basically says, that there is no authority outside of the individual that he must submit to.  What does this doctrine do to the individual?  It causes him to look within for knowledge instead of looking to authorities outside of himself.  After all, if the truth is within, why look outside for it?  It also instills in the individual a rebellious hubris spirit, which tends to cause him to rebel against anything or anyone that he views to have authority over him.  This is especially evident in his attitude toward religion, schools, and government.  I believe this is one of the reasons that many young males drop out of school.

Now here is the problem.  All of human knowledge is both individual and corporate.  All disciplines have a body of knowledge that has been built over a period of time which forms the authority of that discipline.  Without this body of knowledge an individual would not have a discipline or an authority to draw on.  In fact, even language must have an authority that people can appeal to as a source beyond themselves.  We call that authority a dictionary.

But what happens when people begin to question all authority and the individuals became an authority unto themselves?  The answer is educational anarchy or the dumbing down of the entire culture.  In order for education to take place, there must be a sense of authority (respect) for the body of knowledge that is being studied and submission to that authority.  In fact, a case can be made that every discipline that has accepted the Liberal doctrine of the autonomy of the individual has ended in or is on the road to anarchy.  In philosophy, it has led to relativism and idealism.  In science, it has led to positivism.  All of these “isms” represent the denial of true knowledge and rebellion against the authority of true knowledge.

The second doctrine of Liberalism that has infected reason and learning is the doctrine of egalitarianism, which in short is the equality of all men.  Before I point out how the Liberal view of this doctrine has corrupted education and learning in general, let me point out that Liberals have no grounds on which to make this claim and in the end have proven that they really do not believe it.  Can Liberals rationally demonstrate from nature that all men are equal?  No!   So, where does this idea come from? It simply is a part of the Liberal faith that they infer as a self-evident truth.  But the concept of a self-evident truth sounds more like a religious revelation than a reasonable fact.  The truth is that the equality of mankind is a Christian truth that is based on the scriptural doctrine (revelation) that all men are created in the image of God, However, the Christian belief in the equality of men is much different than the liberal one. For the Christian, equality among men is their standing with God and his law.

Liberals have taken their egalitarianism (all are equal) to such an extreme that they have begun to even question parents having authority over their children. Children are now equal to parents.  Link this with their questioning of authority, and what do you have?  Children who question their parents’ authority and believe that they know more than their parents.  But it does not stop there.  Those who embrace Liberalism also question the authority of their teachers.  The unpinning attitude (a Liberal one) is that children should not be required to learn anything, for this would invalidate their autonomy.  They should be left to themselves to learn what they want to learn.  There should be no outward force (authority) to compel them to learn.  This is the educational system of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, one of the fathers of Liberalism.  His ideas on education are set forth in his book Emile.  Like the majority of true Liberals, he believed educational institutions are a part of the bourgeois that corrupts children rather than teaching them.  His disdain for traditional schools and the traditional teacher-student relationship is found in every chapter of his book.  Excuse my vulgarity, but he was a nut.  If you don’t believe me, listen to what one of his lovers, Sophe d’ Houdetot, said about him.  “He was ugly enough to frighten me, and love did not make him more attractive.  But he was a pathetic figure, and I treated him with gentleness and kindness.  He was an interesting madman.”  (My emphasis)  It is this madman’s thinking that many Liberal educators hold as the paradigm of the modern education system.  It is no wonder that our schools are failing.

But now let us return to the subject of education and equality.  The doctrine of egalitarianism, when taken to the extreme, reinforces the questioning and the weakening of the authority of teachers and scholars by putting the student on an equal plane with the teacher.  Not only does this diminish the authority of the teacher, but it also diminishes the authority of knowledge itself.  If everyone is equal why should I listen to any man?  My opinion is as good as anyone else.  How many times have you heard in a discussion with people of a lesser degree of knowledge that their opinion was as good as yours?  That may be true if we are talking about matters of opinion and not matters of fact.  The problem is that Liberalism in its more vulgar form has led people to the place where they cannot discern matters of opinion from matters of fact.  For most, everything is a matter of opinion.

If everyone is equal, the scholar’s and the teacher’s knowledge is no better than the students.  In fact, maybe we should do away with the teachers altogether and call everyone students.  This would surely help the students’ self-esteem and make them feel good and equal to the teacher.  They could share their knowledge as equals.  We would not want the student to feel inferior to the teachers.  We do not want to hurt their self-esteem.  Of course, we can avoid this by getting the students together and letting them pool their ignorance (knowledge) and out of ignorance and error will come true knowledge.  This is the faith of Liberalism.   This is why our culture is filled with “know-it-alls” that know nothing.  This is the source of the cult of personal opinion, the fastest-growing religion in our culture.

But even worse is the general dumbing down that all of this is doing to our culture.  If the knower is no better off than the ignorant, the question then must be raised–why study?  Why study and read factual books?  If there is no truth, why seek the truth?  The smart thing to do is just question all knowledge and all authority.  Questioning and doubting then becomes the goal of education.  The perception then becomes that the educated man is not the man who knows the answers through years of study, but rather the one who doubts and raises questions the most.  In philosophy, we have a name for these endless questioners and doubters.  We call them deconstructionists.  If they are brave enough, they may come to a point where they will begin to doubt their doubts.  However, most will remain ignorant of their ignorance, for to doubt your doubts can only lead to nihilism.  When you believe your doubts, you are no longer a doubter, but rather a believer with a negative faith.  You must learn to doubt your doubts before you can be a true doubter.  Most men don’t have the courage of doubting their doubts.  Doubting your doubts is the very thing Nietzsche chivied his contemporaries for not doing.  He inferred that they did not have the courage to face the conclusion of their doubting.  He believed that if a man did, he would have to commit suicide or go mad.  He chose the latter.  Of course, there is another option, which was just too simple for Nietzsche.  That is simply, to believe.  To believe is to know and to know is to love knowledge and learning.

An Article for Believer’s on Abortion

An Article for Believer’s on Abortion

A Call for Repentance

The Bible says that God created mankind in his image and no one images God more perfectly than an innocent baby born or unborn.  Jesus said they always behold the face of the father. In view of this, I must take the position that abortion is an attack on the image of God. The scriptures portrayed God as a God of life who hates death.  Therefore, I find it incredible that people who claim to be believers can believe that it is God’s will to put a new life to death.

It is obvious to a clear-thinking believer that the men and women that commit abortions are ideologically possessed and cannot be justified for any reason other than the life of the mother is clearly threatened by the pregnancy[1].  In the Christian world view all life is sacred and the taking of any life without justification is murder and reflects the spirit of Cain who was a murder from the beginning. I hereby define murder as unjustified killing. Therefore, I must define the majority of abortions as premeditated murder.

Now, God has given the right to categorize all life[2] except human life which he specifically says was created in his image. To put human life in another category or downgraded it to a lesser form of life is stepping over the line that God has created, which is sin. No man has the authority to do this and that is exactly what men do when they start debating over when life begins and the right and wrong of abortion. Shortly after conception takes place the life of a human being is marked genetically as an individual and the image of God and therefore it is a grave sin to destroy it.

Moreover, there is absolutely nothing in the Bible to justify the idea that the unborn child is something less or different than a child after its birth.  Before the birth of Jesus, Jesus is referred to as a child and John the Baptist responded when still a fetus to the voice of Mary when still in the womb, demonstrating that even a fetus has a consciousness which is the main characteristic of God.

Some among us do not believe that an unborn fetus is a life, but if it’s not life what is it? Science believes it’s a life and Christians from the beginning have considered it a life.[3] All the women I have known during their pregnancy talk as though it’s a life so you could say language makes it a life. In most states, if someone murders a pregnant woman, they are indicted for two murders. So, in most states, the law says that the unborn are people that have a right to live. Again, If it is not a life what is it? Just a blog of cells and flash? If that is what it is the only difference with an adult and the unborn is the size of the blog of cells because it has all the same genetic makeup as an adult human being.  The only difference is its age and size.

When a people no longer can discern that abortion is contrary to nature and to the God of nature, there is something deeply wrong. In order to accept abortion, people must be ideology possessed[4] and demonically influenced. If God is to judge the world in righteousness and justice, there must be self-evident truths. His existence is self-evident and there are certain sins that are self-evident, otherwise God could not be justified in his judgment. I think it is evident that abortion is one of those truths that is self-evident because it is contrary to nature and to the God of nature. It is one of the natural laws that God has written on the hearts of all men.

This also raises the question of a corporate guild. Do people who support abortion share in the guilt of those directly responsible for preforming abortion? The indication from Scripture is yes.  The apostle Paul says, “Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.  They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.  Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them” (Rom 1:28-32).  “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.  For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said:

Wake up, O sleeper,

rise from the dead,

and Christ will shine on you.”

Eph 5:11-14

If you are a believer and are practicing abortion or supporting it in any fashion, I would strongly suggest that you change your mind and repent.

[1] With modern technology and methods, it is extremely unlikely that a child would have to be aborted to save the life of the mother.

[2] This is what is depicted in the story of God bringing all the animals before Adam to be named.

[3] The early Christian father that wrote in the few centuries clearly state and shared the belief that abortion is nothing less than murder. Note “A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs” by David W. Bercot, Editor.

[4] Most people who claim to be Christians and endorse abortions have been influenced by materialistic humanism or the advanced liberalism of the West. Both these ideologies are grounded in atheism which is the denial of God.

He Came Down From Heaven

He Came Down From Heaven

“He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all. He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony”. The Apostle John. 

In the above passage, John says there are two ways of seeing.  There is an earthly way and there is a heavenly way.  The earthly way views everything from the bottom up.  It begins with man and ends with man; man is the sum of all things.  From this point of view man begins with his own thinking, and in this, he creates his own world, a world filled with illusions.  He creates his religions, his science and his philosophy.  Then he falls down and worships them and in turn, looks to them for his salvation.

The other way of looking at things is the heavenly.  This point of view looks at everything from the top down and begins with the Wholly Other.  However, the problem is how can a human start with God?  It is obvious that he cannot.  The initiative must be of God.  God must make Himself known to man.  But how?  In the above words of Jesus, we hear him claiming to be that initiative.  In other words, God through and in Christ entered space and time to show us Gods viewpoint and to reveal the truth about God.  “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.”

This helps us to understand religion and revelation.  Religion is man trying to find God from the bottom up, revelation is God revealing himself from the top down.  In making this statement, I am not saying that man by his own effort cannot know anything about God, to the contrary man is a powerful being and a most remarkable creature that can and does create worlds and gods in his mind.

It also obvious, that God has given clues to his existence and his nature.  He gives these clues that men might seek him and find him (Acts 17:24-28).  However, man must interpret the clues and it is here where the problem begins, for in the deciphering of the clues, the divine often gets mixed with the human.  Only the Spirit of Truth can then separate the human from the divine (Heb.4:12).

This helps us to understand Scripture.  Scripture is both human and divine.  It is written by men, wishing to communicate God’s point of view to humanity.  However, they must use the medium of human language.  So, in Scripture, you have both a divine element and a human element.  You might say that God’s Spirit hides in the words of Scripture and is revealed and released by faith.

This may help us to understand the Old Testament God.  He revealed himself as the true God, the great “I Am” but the people viewed him and interpreted him from an earthly or human point of view.  Therefore, they saw him as a tribal God committed only to Israel and hating all other nations.  When in fact he wanted to use them to be a blessing to the other nations (Gen. 12:1-3). If the Old Testament Scripture could have given us a complete or even adequate view of God, there would have been no need for the Logos to take up flesh and give the Spirit to reveal the Father.  This is why John tells us that, “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17-18).

 

The Old Testament scripture was given as a mediator[1] between God and the Hebrews, and like most mediators, they both enlighten and darkened the thing they mediate.  The reason for this is that people tend to view or focus on the mediator instead of the thing which the mediator points too.  An old seer once said, “When a prophet points at the moon most people look at his thumb”. However, there is one mediator (Christ) who truly mediates the complete and full image of God, i.e. as much as humans can understand while in the flesh.  Of course, while in the flesh we look at everything as through a veil (1 Cor. 13:12).

How are Christians to view the Old Testament Scriptures?  Well, the New Testament tells us.

The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy “that from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:14-17).  The purpose of Scripture here is clear, it is to impart the wisdom of God for righteous living that leads to salvation and eternal life.

When a Christian views the Old  Testament scriptures they should view them in faith and in the light of the words of Jesus and the Spirit of Christ, for He is the fulfillment of both the law and the prophet which in turn bear witness to him.  We also need to remember that as God was hidden in Jesus of Nazareth, so is He hid in scriptures to a larger degree.  As said above, in Jesus the Christ we see both the human and the divine.  However, for those who do not have the eyes to see the divine, he is veiled or hidden in his humanity.  The same is true of scripture, without faith a person will not see the divine in scripture.  Therefore, to the person without the Spirit, the scriptures are veiled and represent nothing more than a dead letter.

In Christ, the redemptive purpose of scripture is completed.  On the cross, Jesus said of the old covenant it is “finished” in the death of Christ the old covenant was fulfilled,[2] the shadow had become reality in the person of Jesus Christ.  In Jesus of Nazareth, you see a man of flesh and blood in all of its weakness.  Yet, in his Spirit, he was the power of God.  So, it is the same with the scriptures, in the written word we see all the weakness of any written word, but on a different level, the spiritual, it is the bearer of the Spirit and the power of God.  One proof of this is that all true Christians find that when they read and study scripture there is a ring of truth there that inspires them and stirs their spirits to be more like Jesus.

In Jesus, the Christ, the Word of God became flesh and blood (He came down from heaven) and it is to that Word (Logos) that we, and scripture, bear witness to.  In fact, all those who have the Spirit are truly becoming living scripture as their Lord was while in the flesh (2 Cor. 3:1-18).

[1] Gal 3:18,19

[2] Heb 10:9-10 “then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God. “He takes away the first that He may establish the second. 10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all”. NKJV