Monthly Archives: January 2017

Are All People Children of God?

It requires little awareness of commonly held ideas to surmise how some will respond to that question…

“How could it be otherwise?”

“Are you a racist or something! Of course we are!”

“Is this a trick question? What are you saying?”

What is being said is that there is more to be said! There is more to be known about God, the Giver of life to all us human beings, and His relationship to us. The objective here is not to burst anyone’s bubble. Instead, why not use bubbles allegorically. Please imagine two great bubbles, one inside the other. Now follow along with that idea in mind…

Did you know that the Bible directly assigns immediate, divine sonship to TWO men? Let’s consider two Scripture passages:

Luke 3:28 – “…the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.” This verse is the last clause in the ascending geneology of Christ which Luke provides. At the top of the list is Adam, the son of God by creation.

Through His mother Mary and her forebears, Jesus is among the physical descendants of that first of two men who had no human father, namely Adam. But Luke had previously written this about the second Man who had no human father, namely Jesus Who was born miraculously of a virgin:

“And the angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.’ ” (1:35)

That verse is one of many (Cf. the prophetic statement of Psalm 2:7, John 3:16 one of the most known and beloved texts of Scripture, Mark 1:1 and many others) designating Jesus as the Son of God in a unique way. Although Jesus is physically descended from Adam and is a true Man in every respect except sin, He is also the eternal Son of God incarnate. On account of His virgin birth, the Lord Christ does not share in the guilt and corruption with which all other descendants of Adam come into the world. More on that presently.

Returning to the two bubbles anaglogy and confessing that we are all descendants of the first man who has no ancestors, namely Adam the created son of God, we assert that the outer bubble circumscribes the general fatherhood of God. All human beings are born within that outer bubble. Yes, in that Adamic sense, all people are children of God.

But big, big trouble arose in the family.

It will require an open mind to gain understanding of what is being taught in such a passage as the following one, found in the same Bible which speaks in various places of God’s provision, tender mercies, and kindness to all mankind:

From the apostle Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (2:1-3) “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.”

What does dead in trespasses and sins mean? Who are the sons of disobedience? Who are the children of wrath? Am I one of them? Hopefully many will find such questions arising in their breasts after reading Paul’s inspired words.

Here is more Biblical food for thought, from another apostle who wrote it with reference to Jesus Christ the Son of God with a capital S. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” (John 1:12)

BECOME children of God? Yes! Now we begin to discern the nature and contents of the inner bubble. In the midst of the entire human race (the outer bubble) is what we might call a new humanity. The first humanity, the descendants of Adam, died in trespasses and sins and were disowned by the great Father. We all became children of wrath; in plain old fashioned language, sinners. An unbiased look at human history, an objective assessment of the present human condition, and an honest look into our own hearts bear out this truth.

Sin entered the world through our first ancestor who passed along to all of us, except One, sin’s guilt and corruption. No longer do we have a filial relationship with our Creator by nature. Now we stand before Him condemned as criminals before a perfectly righteous, all-knowing Judge.

But the Creator and Judge is also a Redeemer. He refuses to abandon the amazing goal He purposed primevally, namely to beget a vast family, an innumerable multitude of people made in His image and reflecting His glory. From all eternity, God had a plan!

Those who have received Jesus Christ and those who will receive Jesus Christ as He is offered in the Gospel are the inhabitants of the inner bubble.

Hebrews 9:14 is one of several Bible verses which succinctly describes just how Jesus Christ is offered in the Gospel: “…how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

Jesus is offered in the Gospel as the once for all sacrifice for sin Who died once but rose from the grave because He conquered death, now alive forevermore and mighty to save. He Himself is without sin, and uncorrupted not only because He is the eternal Father’s eternal Son, having with the Father the same eternal Holy Spirit, but also because through His virgin birth He does not share covenantally (“legally”, so to speak) in the misery that came upon all the rest of Adam’s physical descendants when Adam failed the probation of the garden of Eden.

Through the Lord Jesus Christ who is called the last Adam at 1 Corinthians 15:45, forgiveness and complete reconciliation to the heavenly Father is offered as a FREE GIFT. Whosoever will, whosoever believes on Him, moves from the outer bubble of rubble to the inner bubble where there is no more trouble.

Through the Lord Jesus Christ, the believer is no longer a descendant of Adam the disinherited first son of God. He or she is no longer an enemy under divine condemnation, awaiting dreadful sentencing by the Judge. Thanks to the greater and eternal Son of God, the believer in Him calls upon God the Father as Daddy.

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Do You “Believe in” Gravity!?

In late January A.D. 2017 a woman was escorted off an airplane before its flight from Baltimore to Seattle following her verbal assault on a fellow passenger who held political views which differed from her own. As seen in a video record of the incident the shrill attacker, who had initiated conversation with her victim, suggests that disbelieving in climate change is comparable to disbelieving in gravity.

Let’s consider the idea of “believing in” gravity…

Surely, every autumn every detaching leaf on every deciduous tree falls earthward. A skier pushing off from her starting platform will begin to move downhill one hundred out of one hundred times. In every case in all of human history when a lumberjack’s iron axe head flew off its handle into a nearby stream or pond, his axe head sank…except one time. More on that presently.

This writer has no reason to be skeptical of what Sir Isaac Newton articulated after careful observation, namely that every mass attracts every other mass in the universe. But as Newton’s  fellow creationist (as a young man, Isaac intended to become a minister), yours truly knows WHY gravity, electromagnetism, the nuclear and other so called natural forces exist and remain constant.

You might ask, “How can anyone possibly know that!” Thereby you reveal your persuasion that human knowledge is possible. That is, one can either know or not know X. That’s good because naturalism* snuffs out the very possibility of knowledge (or truth, or meaning). So since we agree that knowledge itself is real, since we both believe in knowledge, here’s your response to that question, “how do you know?”

Faithful, patient, and overwhelmingly perplexed Job having offered his lamenting discourses, God spoke to him out of a whirlwind. God’s majestic and beautiful responding discourse begins at the thirty eighth chapter of the Bible book bearing Job’s name. It includes many rhetorical questions. Here are just a few of them:

“Have you commanded the morning since your days began, and caused the dawn to know its place? Have you comprehended the breadth of the earth? Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you set their dominion over the earth?”

By these and many other questions and statements, God proclaims Himself the Upholder and Sustainer of the entire universe which He created. What we are seeing whenever we observe gravity in action is the perpetual, universal, unfailing faithfulness of our Creator. When we call these forces natural in the sense that they are not man made, no problem. But if we call them natural in the sense that God is irrelevant to their operation, we greatly err.

God is not the owner of a mechanical watch who wound it then went about his business without another thought. He is the abiding “mainspring of the mainspring” and the vigilant overseer of it and all the watch’s other components.

In another Bible book, Second Kings (chapter six) we have an account from the life of the prophet Elisha. The head of an axe wielded by a companion of the prophet came off the handle and fell into the Jordan river. By the power of God, Elisha made the solid iron axe head float to the surface so that it could be retrieved. The law of gravity was locally and temporarily suspended by the Maker of that law.

Of course, that is only one of many miraculous events in the Bible. These signs as they are called in Scripture don’t happen whimsically or capriciously as some imagine, but with very deliberate and exacting intent. But that’s a discussion for another day.

The point is, the naturalist* must deny that a miracle ever could occur because of the presuppositions of his basic world view – which is essentially his religion. For those who derive from the Bible the presuppositions of their basic world view, both the law of gravity and the referenced instance of its suspension are accounted for by the faithfulness of the almighty Creator. Our belief is in Him and His providence, not in forces which we affirm to exist without having the slightest clue why they exist.

Although it is doubtful that his arrogant attacker would have given him a tolerant hearing, what if that attacked airplane passenger had said:

“Yes ma’am, I acknowledge gravity, photosynthesis, gestation, and the diurnal cycle because I know that the almighty, faithful God of the Bible has given structure and order to his universe. Why do you ‘believe in’ gravity? How do you account for its existence?

In order to become Redeemer as well as Creator, God became incarnate in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, the Lord Christ.  Because He is faithful and true, the sun will continue to rise and set. What we call friction will continue to make it possible for landing airplanes to slowly come to a stop on runways. Lead weights will continue to cause fishing lines to sink. And the earth’s climate will continue to fluctuate, not only according to the annual seasons, but according to patterns that span centuries.”

With emphases added, following are a couple of New Testament statements declaring that because Jesus never fails we can be confident of these things:

“For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and IN HIM ALL THINGS CONSIST.” (Colossians 1:16,17)

“…Who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and UPHOLDING ALL THINGS BY THE WORD OF HIS POWER, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high…” (Hebrews 1:3)

* “In philosophy, naturalism is the ‘idea or belief that only natural (as opposed to supernatural or spiritual) laws and forces operate in the world.’ Adherents of naturalism (i.e., naturalists) assert that natural laws are the rules that govern the structure and behavior of the natural universe, that the changing universe at every stage is a product of these laws.” — Wikipedia article

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On Prayer

Prayer is not persuading God to act according to my will. Prayer is first affirming before my loving heavenly Father that I desire His will to be done, being assured that He is concerned already and deeply with all that concerns me.

Looking in faith to Him for my daily needs, ever mindful of the incalculable cost of my forgiveness in Christ (which enables me to be eager and prompt to forgive others), I go on to seek His help in my daily struggle against sin, and for deliverance from the devices of the evil one and those who serve his twisted purposes.

Finally I ask the Lord to give me an ever increasing, passionate desire for the advance of His kingdom and for the manifestation of His glory and saving power. I order all lesser petitions according to that, for it is God’s high, eternal purpose for all He has made and all that He does; there could be no greater purpose!

Insofar as I pray by the light of the written word of God, I can trust that I am praying under the guidance of the blessed Spirit of God Who inspired that infallible written word, and Whom the Father and the Son have sent to dwell in the children of God and help them in prayer.

All the while I rejoice to know that the Almighty One will respond to my feeble prayers in wondrous ways, doing above and beyond all I could ever ask or think or see in this earthly life.

Jesus saw a poor widow give away all that she had and commended her for it. Two millennia later, she remains an example of sacrificial giving. Christ’s account of her deed (Mark 12 and Luke 21) has abided as the text for thousands of teachers over all those centuries. That poor widow never asked for, or thought of, or saw any of this. What a return on her two mites!

What return will be given by the God who makes mighty oaks out of acorns when you offer your “two mites of prayer?”

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Extension cord equality

According to a CNN article by Nick Glass and Matthew Ponsford (March 2014), a break through in applied science is on the horizon. The article is titled, Wireless Electricity? It’s Here.

But until household wires become obsolete we must muddle along with those easily tangled, often unsightly, conventional means to illumine our dwellings, power our appliances, and charge our mobile devices.

Sometimes electrical cords are too short to reach outlets. Some motels seem determined both to take a spartan approach to the number of outlets per room and to position them where only gymnasts can access them. And who hasn’t been exasperated at some point with a socket obstructed by hardened paint?

So until we have the power conveying counterpart of Wi-Fi, extension cords also will abide, and in some cases there will be a need to string two or more of them together: be careful!

Now let’s use those link-able cords to illustrate the absurdity of what is called marriage equality, namely the idea that just as one man and one woman can be married, so two men or two women can have that same relationship, as lauded by the outgoing American president in his January 10, A.D. 2017 farewell speech.

Based on what is obvious in the physiology of man and beast, the two different ends of a common electrical extension cord are called male and female. Suppose that someone profoundly ignorant of the principles of conductivity somehow soldered, glued, or duct taped together the prongs of the male ends of two cords, thus creating something greater in overall length.

The monstrosity would indeed be longer, but incapable of being plugged into an electric socket. You might coin another term (useless union?) for that serpentine assemblage of metal and plastic, but why call it an electrical cord since it cannot connect a power source and a power consuming device?

Will any reader respond to this illustrative argument from the absurd by rising up to declare, “You are a hateful, voltophobic bigot!”

Amplify that accusation with all the shocking vitriol you can generate, O tolerant one. This writer replies that he only recognizes the worthlessness of the absurdity we have copper…er, cobbled together in our minds’ eyes. Should there be such a confused cobbler in real life, he would not be the object of anyone’s hatred. He would be someone greatly in need of some basic instruction about the birds and the bees…about how and watt…

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Dedicated to the Rev. Dr. M.L.K.

Like his 16th century namesake who spoke boldly and rightly in his time, Dr. Martin Luther King was bold and right when he preached these words on an Alabama bridge in A.D. 1965:

“A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true.”

Especially you who would be real men, read on…

The divine precept of male headship without female oppression was established primevally with our first parents, who each and equally had the weighty dignity of bearing the divine image. Looking carefully at the account of the great Lapse, Genesis chapter three, we see that unoppressive precept being ignored.

Though Eve first ate of the forbidden fruit, Scripture consistently attributes the entrance of sin into the once perfect world to her husband, her covenant head. Adam was right there at Eve’s side, but failed to protect his help mate from the enemy. He did not play the man like Bishop Latimer would encourage Master Ridley to do much later in history. Adam’s entire life up to that fatal moment had been passed in a blissful garden, and he had been given leave to fill his belly with a delightful variety of fruit at will…

“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.’ ” (Genesis 2:16,17)

But the man succumbed. How unlike the second Adam, Jesus our Lord! Christ, the Man of sorrows, was hungry and thirsty in that howling wilderness into which the Holy Spirit had led Him forth to do battle with the ancient adversary. The Son of God was capable of turning that stone into hot, tasty, nutritious bread had that been pleasing to His Father. He Who turned water into wine could have whipped Himself up some butter to go with it. But He Whom we might reverently call the Alpha and Omega Male, though most sorely tempted, repelled all three attacks of the vicious and evil one.

Eve’s snowflake husband had caved after only one assault. Another precept, articulated by an Israelite shepherd who prophesied about a God Who roars and quoted by Dr. King, did not prevail on the day of the Fall of Man: “…let justice run down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.” (Amos 5:24)

Adam did not stand up for what God Almighty declared to be right when the devil advocated autonomy. Adam the world’s first magistrate didn’t stand up for God’s standard of justice in that first tiny society of two. Like today’s cowardly compromisers of certain truths of God’s word which are hated by the unbelieving world (such as male headship), Adam didn’t take a stand for what is true. And so he, and all those over whom he is covenant head, DIED. For death is not the cessation of existence, but the only alternative to blessed communion with the Source of life. Those who are “in Adam” are born dead in trespasses and sins.

The second Adam is the prince of life, mighty to redeem His people from that state and its hell-deserving guilt. Dr. King had the honorific ‘Reverend’ because he called upon that Name above all names. By that Name many who once were dead in Adam already have received the free gift of forgiveness of sins and with it abundant and eternal life.

Are you with Him, men? Do you also call upon that great and glorious name,  Jesus? Then these concluding apostolic words are for you:

“I have written to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one.” (1 John 2:14)

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Fake News and Good News

False narrative began in the garden of Eden. “Thou shalt surely die” was the truth, originally recorded in ancient Hebrew, thereafter rendered into English and many other tongues.

Paraphrased, that truth was: “Adam, if you ignore this emblematic prohibition, given to you within the context of a glorious freedom that has no other boundary, you will become guilty of all the emblem represents…you will have high handedly defied the good and just authority of your infinitely majestic Creator and will incur a debt you can never repay, a penalty you cannot bear.”

“Thou shalt NOT surely die” was the brazen deception, and the serpentine spin proceeded from there, verbally assaulting his wife as Adam who should have protected her stood by: “Rather, you will become like gods! You see how good for food this fruit is, how pleasant to your eyes…don’t you know that the Gardener is out to keep you down?  How wise and knowledgeable you will become if you eat from this one fine tree!”

And thus did that ancient dragon, the deceiver of the nations, begin a criminal career which presently has a rap sheet longer than any human arm. That first fabrication begot every false religion, all a-Theism, all folly, all lies. The hoodwinking endures to this day as that first pair’s descendants swallow all the swill and slop the devil concocts.

And make no mistake, he has the help of many hapless tools, some useful idiots dead in trespasses and sins, and a few willing accomplices like the son of perdition of whom the Son of God spoke and by whom He was betrayed. And so this saying is attributed to Athanasius, hero of orthodoxy at the Council of Nicaea, A.D. 325: “The floor of hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.”

But there is good news for sinners, whether they be whitewashed “religious leaders” with their concealed apostasy or those who wallow shamelessly in their irreverence and profanity. This news report has its origin in a breathtakingly unmerited promise made to guilty Adam and Eve in Eden itself.

The grandeur and scope of the divine purpose contained in that promise, declared to them in brief, was foreshadowed, explained, and testified to over about fifteen centuries by  various servants of the Promise Maker. Three slightly more recent journalists of impeccable integrity by the name of Matthew, Mark, John provide many eyewitness accounts of its essential accomplishment; a fourth by the name of Luke does the same and adds a helpful follow up chronicle.

A panel of equally reliable commentators gives us solid analysis in the form of communications formerly called epistles, now commonly known as letters. A concluding document depicts the promise’s final glorious fulfillment.

Anyone interested can find documentation of this good news and a great deal of additional commentary on it (some good, some not) by googling key words bible, jesus, gospel, salvation, forgiveness, eternal life.

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Now That’s an Assumption!

The assumption of Elijah was a glorious spectacle. After several preceding miraculous signs, “suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.” The Tishbite’s servant and successor was a witness to these divine pyrotechnics. He cried out, tearing his clothes then going on to assume his master’s mantle.

It stands to reason that the inspired account known to English Bible students as Second Kings chapter two faithfully records Elisha’s eyewitness testimony about God’s almost unique dealing with Elijah.

Why only almost unique? Consider Enoch. This prophet of the antediluvian age (Jude 14) “walked with God and was not, for God took him.” Was that assumption done in a corner, sans fiery chariot and horses? Or was it accompanied by signs seen by at least one witness, perhaps one like the man who per 2 Kings 3:11 “…poured water on the hands of Elijah,” and who went on to wear effectively for God Elijah’s mantle which he had taken up?

Would the God Who once walked in the primeval garden He Himself planted suddenly frighten His humble walking companion, the godly descendant of Eden’s pair? Were there preceding declarations to Enoch of the divine intent? Did bright angels announce to the patriarch what was about to become of him, comforting Enoch with joyful admonitions against fear, as they did much later in the case of the awed shepherds of Bethlehem?

We do not know. “Our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases,” Psalm 115:3. Yet we have an even more ancient, equally faithful and inspired record of Enoch’s assumption in Genesis chapter five. We have a brief, inspired exposition of it in Hebrews chapter eleven. And we know that Enoch and Elijah walked with the same forebearing and gracious Lord.

Whether we review the cases of these two who went to Heaven without an encounter with the grim reaper, or the cases of the many who enter glory by the ordinary portal, that victorious and mighty Lord has “abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” Swing low, sweet chariot!

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