Monthly Archives: April 2017

“If God is All-powerful, Just, and Good, Why Does He Allow Evil?”

When the natural mind addresses this question, it is biased by its enmity against God. The world’s answer carelessly vilifies and slanders the Judge of all men.

Those who love God are often troubled by this question also. However, they realize that the true answer will vindicate Him with triumph!

“Let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, as it is written, `That Thou mightest be justified in Thy words, and mightest prevail when Thou art judged.'” (Romans 3:4)

God has done, is doing, and will do much about evil! Evil is the contradiction of His Name and character, of all that He is.

In that spirit, I would like to offer a few Biblical principles for understanding how evil can exist in God’s universe. May God use these principles to shepherd our minds. May we give honor to Him in seeking to grasp this mystery. I don’t pretend to have absolute answers. In fact, I do not believe we can attain a full comprehension now…

“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I shall know fully just as I also have been fully known.” (1 Corinthians. 13:12)Nevertheless, perhaps these principles can polish that the mirror. Perhaps by them we can gaze into it with more faith.

1) The Personal Principle.

We don’t like to think of ourselves as bad. Therefore we tend to regard evil as some sort of force or dark cloud, “out there” in the universe. Not so! We can begin to get a handle on the problem of evil by abandoning that idea. Evil resides only in the hearts and spirits of beings; persons are good or evil.

We can narrow down the good beings to Christ the sinless God/man, and the holy angels. The wicked include Satan, the fallen angels, and all of us sinners. That last group has the hope of salvation, full restoration to goodness. Adam and Eve were originally sinless. One day Christ’s salvation, already begun, will completely eradicate evil from the hearts and lives of His people.

Evil then, has no existence apart from the thoughts, words and deeds of sinful humans or devils. Granting this, let’s rephrase our original question as follows:

“Why does God allow wicked persons to prosper in their way?”

Do you see the difference? Our philosophical challenge is actually this: How does a God Who is both just and loving relate to sinful creatures? This is more graspable than relating abstract “goodness” to abstract “evil”. That leads us to a second principle:

2) The Potter Principle.

In Romans chapter 9, Paul the apostle argues that God does as He wills with His creatures, as a potter can do as he wills with clay. This alone should stop the mouth of any who would accuse God!

If we regard God as our moral and ethical peer, than His ways of dealing with evil persons might indeed seem questionable. However, He is NOT our moral and ethical peer!

The Egyptian Pharaoh opposed Moses, God’s servant. Pharaoh thought he could strong arm God. He made the error of regarding God as a peer when it came to strength. Costly, foolish mistake for Pharaoh! Like God’s strength, both His mercy and His justice are infinitely far above human mercy and justice. He is not like one of us.

This principle simply reminds us that God is the dread Sovereign of all mankind. What if He had ordained that every human being perish in his sins, and undergo everlasting punishment in the lake of fire? Would He be unjust? On the contrary, it would demonstrate His exacting, perfect justice. On what basis can we indict the Creator for His disposal of His creatures? He is the potter, we are the clay.

With that picture of a God Who is indeed God, let’s consider…

3) The Judas Principle

The wise Potter does not waste the clay not destined for holy use, that is, salvation. The wicked, albeit unwittingly, fulfill His purposes (Proverbs. 16:4). Of Judas our Lord said, “The Son of Man is to go, just as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.” (Matthew 26:24) Judas’ wicked betrayal is the circumstantial occasion of the offering of God’s Perfect Sacrifice on behalf of His elect.

God used the Pharaoh’s obstinate waffling to demonstrate His Divine power. Jehovah the Potter shaped that bit of clay, Pharaoh, to “make a Name for Himself” as the God of deliverance for the Hebrew slaves. That Name remains; earthen sphinxes and pyramids continue to crumble into oblivion.

Leave those thoughts in your mental kiln to cure, and step outside for another insight.

4) The Farmer Principle

In the 37th Psalm, David compares a wicked man to a luxuriantly flourishing plant who is suddenly snatched away and is no more. David encourages us not to fret about the exulting wicked man, nor envy his temporary success. Instead, we are to cultivate faithfulness, and to trust and delight in the Lord. David also says that the Lord laughs at the wicked, “seeing his day coming”.

In Jesus’ parable of the wheat and the tares, (Matthew 13), the farmer allows the tares to grow along with the wheat. The weeds are allowed to benefit from the sun and rain, sent from the Father above, as does the grain. The farmer’s strategy is to prevent the loss of precious yield. He knows that some of it would be uprooted and lost if the weeds were to be pulled immediately.

So it is in the kingdom of God. God has determined that He shall have His full produce of precious souls, the good measure of His covenant people. Should He convene His court for the final judgment before the full maturity of His crop, some of it would be lost.

Meanwhile, the tares are growing only that they might be ripe for judgment. It is as if they are being fattened for the kill! Their just, present punishment for sin is to be hardened in heart, that they may progress in sin. How terrifying! The tares become tougher, taking root deeper and deeper in the soil of sin with no thought of the consequences! God tells Abraham that the sin of the Amorite is not yet complete (Genesis 15:6). It will not be until Abraham’s descendants return, centuries later, that they will be ready for Moses’ and Joshua’s scythes of judgment to descend upon them.

5) The Pity Principle

Perhaps you are thinking, OK, it might be just for God to handle evil persons this way, but is it merciful? Where is God’s compassion in this? In Acts 17, the apostle Paul is brought to the Aereopagus where he proclaims “The unknown God” to the idle Aereopagites. He goes so far as to say that God overlooked previous times of sinful ignorance. Now, he exhorts them, men should repent.

God’s mercy is seen in His forbearance. He pities those dead in trespasses and sins, and gives to them a genuine opportunity to repent before it is too late. By His almighty grace, those hardened hearts can be changed. The sinner descending further and further into the pit can be delivered. The gospel of Jesus is the dazzling answer to our original question. Therein, evil is dealt with indeed! The punishment due to an evil person is taken upon God incarnate Himself, that the sinner might be saved!

“And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.” (Rev. 22:17)

What depths of patience and mercy! God, Who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, extends His offer of forgiveness and pardon! How marvelously He deals with the wicked, both in justice and love!

While we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly. If you know Him, thank God that He deals so wisely and gently with a desperately evil race!

6) The Great White Throne Principle

God may overlook sinful ignorance for a season, but He will certainly arise at last to bring every deed, every word, indeed every thought into judgment. When the Son of Man comes in His glory, all the nations will be gathered before Him. Books shall be opened. Every human being in every nation which has ever been will be judged. In that day, every evil person will give an account. Those outside of Christ will spend eternity making restitution.

Living in the midst of history as we do, we see what Solomon saw and lamented in Ecclesiastes. The wicked seem to go unpunished, the righteous seem to suffer unjustly. Upright Job endures what wicked King Ahab deserves. On that great day, all will be “made right”, finally and forever.

7) The Primary Principle.

Although mentioned last, this principle is perhaps the most God-honoring of the seven. Even as it is conceivable that God could have left all to perish, so He could have redeemed all. God could have prevented Judas from being born, if God’s highest purpose were keeping people out of hell. However, God’s plan was for Judas to be a tare sown among the apostolic wheat. He was a bit of clay not put to holy use. When his sinful course was complete, when he was ripe for judgment, he committed suicide. He will suffer hell for all eternity, to the glory of God. (John 17:12, Revelation 19:3)

The primary principle is that the supreme good, the “Summum Bonum”, is not keeping people out of hell. God’s great intent for His universe is that it manifest His Own glory. There is no higher design than this which God could have. This is, I suggest reverently, God’s zeal.

For His good pleasure, all things exist and were created. His great motive is to glorify His Name; to display all the perfections of His glory. Even as there is no one greater by whom He could swear (Hebrews 6:13), so there is no higher objective He could have. The value of even one human soul is incalculable. Nevertheless, the destiny of even all human souls is subordinate to this far loftier purpose. The display of God’s glory, not the happiness of creatures, is the heart of what is “good”.

Wonderfully, our happiness is completely wrapped up His glory. When we live for His glory, zealously desire His glory, worship His infinite majesty with all our being, our happiness is as great as it could be. This is the essence of the eternal, heavenly life, which life is already in the true Christian.

Conclusion

God “micro-manages” as well as “mega-manages” His universe. We see these principles more easily, perhaps, on the grand scale. The cosmic images of worship in Revelation 4 and 5 show us the great purpose of all things. The final judgment shows us that no sin is ultimately overlooked. The cross of Christ ever reminds us of God’s mercy. The nations of the Amorites are a great tare whose ripeness for destruction we readily see. How God used the wickedness of Pharaoh and Judas to effect major out workings of His great plan in history is fairly obvious. Persons are the evil opponents of the Personal, Triune God; abstract “evil” and abstract “goodness” do not exist in the real world.

The same principles obtain in lower courts, so to speak. In all His administrations, we can see God at work according to these principles. They are at work in individual lives.

If you are unconverted, God uses your evil treatment of your Christian neighbor to purify him. Yet, you yourself are storing up wrath for yourself; you are a tare in His field. At the same time, you are experiencing the same “overlooking” pity which the Aereopagites and the rest of the pagan world received before Messiah’s first advent. God’s forbearance gives the tare the opportunity for a miraculous change; it can become a blade of wheat! However, God is not mocked. He reminds the unconverted of the unbearable judgment to come by sending smaller, temporal judgments. He will be glorified forever in the just condemnation to endless torment of those who remain impenitent.

If you are a faithful, repentant believer in the wonderful Savior, “fret not yourself because of evildoers”. The Lord is not standing afar off, He is neither impotent nor uncaring! In the 73rd Psalm, Asaph complains of the painless, easy existence of the prospering wicked, until he perceives their end. Your immediate concern may be regarding a fiery trial of persecution you are enduring. It may be that you are experiencing doubts as you consider the violence and malice all around us in today’s world. Lord, can’t you do something? God, are you there?

Indeed He is! He is the omnipotent God of justice and love! We have seen that He has acted, is acting, and will act with regard to the wicked! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Traditional, Contemporary, or…

Dictionary dot com defines the word contemporary thus:

1. existing, occurring, or living at the same time; belonging to the same time:
2. of about the same age or date
3. of the present time; modern

The sayings, fashions in clothing, and cars of fifty years ago can no longer be called contemporary. Once upon a time, a good dog was called a rum buffer. In the mid-twentieth century, fedoras were contemporary head wear for men. Before the advent of Rock N Roll, swing bands provided popular music for young America.

Especially in the eyes of us of mature years, how quickly does the contemporary become passé! In fact strictly and literally speaking, what was contemporary last week is contemporary no longer!

The same dictionary defines tradition as:

1. the handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs, information, etc., from generation to generation, especially by word of mouth or by practice
2.something that is handed down
3.a long-established or inherited way of thinking or acting

For illustrative purposes, let’s consider the following statement. It might have been quite contemporary in the 19th century: “Every Lord’s day Pa hitches up the team, then we all go for a ride.”

What once was a contemporary activity would now be a very old tradition. To keep it going would require a lot of time and energy related to horses and wooden carriages. There are some, but few who would be willing or able to incur the expenses required to keep up with that tradition now.

The aim of this article is to bring these two ideas – contemporary and traditional – to bear upon Christian worship. Many churches today have two “styles” of worship service, designated by those two terms. Demonstrating how this helps all the members of one congregation to live in unity will be left to those who practice it, while this challenge is offered to all.

If we seek to be contemporary for contemporaneity’s sake, we are like a dog chasing its tail. That which is contemporary cannot be stopped from its fading into history. On the other hand, if we seek to be traditional for tradition’s sake, we are denying the spirit of “semper reformanda” – always reforming. We are doggedly clinging to our horse and buggy ways in the days of Interstate highways with speed limits of 70 MPH.

And if we address this issue in terms of what we glibly accept as an uncross-able generation gap among the people of God, is it possible that we are already defeated, and that in more ways than one? Does the Bible direct us to be contemporary in worship, traditional in worship, or does it lead us in another way?

Here are three precepts derived from the whole counsel of God in Scripture to guide us in answering that question:

1. God has given us 150 Holy Spirit inspired songs to use in our worship. They are called Psalms. In them the vast range of emotions, aspirations, fears, and joys (and more) experienced by a worshiper of God is expressed. Their words are infallibly orthodox in doctrine.

And according to Christ Himself and His apostles (cf. Luke 24, Acts 2:25-31 et. al.) they speak of Him! Let’s ask ourselves why there is so little use of this divinely appointed worship resource in many churches today? Many condemn the minority doctrinal position of exclusive psalmody (ONLY the psalms are to be sung in Christian worship). Has the majority, rejecting that viewpoint, become practitioners of exclusive hymnody or exclusive chorus singing?

2. The New Testament directs us to sing to one another in worship (Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:15). Three reasons this is thwarted in some circles will be offered. First, the amplification of vocal and/or instrumental accompaniment drowns out the voices of the other worshipers. Second, the lyrics used in some songs employ archaic language (can you say update?) or profound theology (can you say educate?) Third, worshipers are persuaded that having a good singing voice is requisite, and are ashamed to make a joyful noise to the LORD.

3. This last precept is offered in the form of another question. In our worship shall we do only those things God has mandated (such as the public reading and exposition of the Scriptures, prayers, singing, giving of tithes and offerings, the two sacraments), or are we free to do in worship anything that is not expressly forbidden (interpretive dance, dramatic presentations, light shows)?

For example, we know that God required many animal sacrifices under the old covenant. Under the new covenant in Jesus’ blood we have His once for all sacrifice of Himself which has fulfilled the purpose of all those animal sacrifices.

The Lord’s supper (a.k.a. the Lord’s table, communion, the eucharist – one of those two sacraments with baptism being the other) is commanded by Christ. We are to observe it in remembrance of Him. Are we also free to bring back animal sacrifices, not as denying Christ’s final sacrifice of Himself, but maintaining – no doubt with pious sincerity – that they are only memorials, aids like the divinely instituted communion elements themselves, which help us focus on Christ Who was typified by all those animal sacrifices?

What structure is best for our worship: contemporary, traditional, or Biblical?

“…the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23,24)

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Seven Reasons

Shortly before Pontius Pilate caved in to mob rule and turned Him over to be crucified, Jesus stood before Pilate who asked Jesus, “Are You a king then?”

Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” (John 18:37)

Thus Jesus Himself gave one reason for His coming. And He courageously proclaimed it before a representative of the greatest world power of the day, the Roman empire. It was under this man’s rule, as we confess in our ancient creed, that Christ was crucified.

On a previous occasion two brothers among Christ’s disciples, abetted by their mother, had approached Jesus to seek a glorious high position for themselves in His kingdom. Jesus used the occasion as a teaching moment. Included in His instruction was this statement:

“…the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28) He Who is the Truth came to bear witness to the truth, and to serve.

Another teaching moment arose when a Samaritan village refused to show hospitality to Jesus and His disciples. Indignant, the latter presumed that they could imitate the mighty prophet Elijah. At the word of Elijah, God had shown dreadful judgments; fire coming down from heaven to consume men who had been sent to hinder the prophet’s ministry (see 2 Kings 1).

The disciples asked Jesus if they too should command fire to come down from heaven and consume a village which was hindering a greater Prophet. But Jesus told the disciples, “…the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” (Luke 9:56). The true King, great High Priest, and final Prophet came to witness to truth, to serve, and to rescue not destroy.

Although some complained when Jesus went into the home of the notorious sinner Zacchaeus, Jesus rejoiced in that man’s evident repentance for his sin, and explained that “…the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10)

So why did Jesus come? He said He came to stand for truth, to render service to others, and to deliver those worthy of destruction from it. Here He gives us another reason for His coming. The good Shepherd came to seek His lost sheep.

Not only does the good Shepherd look for His lost human flock and deliver them from evil, but He works proactively to give them life which is life indeed. He said, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)

And so from Jesus’ own lips we learn five reasons for His coming. When Jesus had ascended to His Father’s right hand, the Spirit of truth (John 14:7, 15:26, 16:13) came in Christ’s stead. Writing under the inspiration of that blessed Holy Spirit, Christ’s spokesmen the apostles added at least two more reasons. One has to do with the evil one.

The ancient serpent’s wicked work of temptation and deception became the occasion for Adam’s willful and high handed disobedience which ruined him and all who came from him. BUT! “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8)

The Truth Himself witnessed of truth and sent the Spirit of Truth. He is the great Servant. He is the Deliverer. He is the good Shepherd Who seeks His lost sheep and gives them life. He came to destroy the devil, who already has suffered a fatal wound. The day is coming when Christ will finally and fully destroy that that wily snake, who is also compared to a prowling lion ever seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).

Another apostle both confessed his need of this One, and succinctly articulated our seventh  reason for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ:

“This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” (1 Timothy 1:15)

Who is the Truth and truth Speaker, the Washer of His disciples’ feet, the One Who diverts certain destruction, the Finder of the lost, the life Giver, the righteous Enemy and ultimate Doom of God’s and mankind’s greatest enemy, Who came to save to the most unworthy to the uttermost?

His name is wonderful. He is the great I AM. He is the One designated by the original language of the New Testament’s word for “fish,” used from ancient times an acronym and transliterated into English as  IXTHUS  — Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

On the Existence of God

Scuba diving was a youthful pursuit of this writer. Even before ever donning Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus, he was astounded by that wondrous realm beneath the waves via snorkel and mask. Imagine a deep sea diver asking for proof that the ocean exists.

Surely, that would be a case of insanely denying the obvious. Some who ask for evidence of God’s existence are like such an insane visitor to the submarine arena.

Corrupt attorneys exist in real life and in lots of fiction. They deliberately hide, twist, and manipulate evidence as they craftily prosecute the innocent or defend the guilty. Others who ask for proof of God’s existence play just as fast and loose with evidence, and to their own hurt.

Then of course there is the arrogant philosopher. His mind is already made up and he will not even consider whether there might be any evidence. Many who ask for proof of God’s existence are not really seeking it. They are already disposed to reject any cogent argument contradicting a belief system which has no place for God or deems Him a marginal irrelevancy.

So the problem is not with the evidence for God’s existence. The evidence is literally everywhere. God not only exists, but lives from everlasting to everlasting and is the source of all created life. His fingerprints are all over the world. The problem is with our responses to this.

God does not come to man like the spirit of a departed loved one allegedly making contact with his survivors. He is not weakly and desperately trying to prove His presence by fleeting, ghostly apparitions. The One who holds the stars in their courses does not eerily move or manipulate physical objects in order to get our attention. Such things are the stock-in-trade of the evil one, a.k.a. satan. That name was deliberately not capitalized, and the existence of that being is a discussion for another day. Flee mediums and spiritualists like the plague.

Through His creation the majestic Sovereign, the great Judge, the omnipotent Dweller in everlasting light to Whom all lesser lights owe their existence does far more than barely assert His own existence. The entire cosmos is like a theatrical production which always directs our attention to God Who is perpetually at center stage. No one else is worthy of that role.

Anyone in the audience (all of us) is without excuse not only for denying the existence of the one true God, but for failing to be thankful to Him. That is because His self-revelation by way of created things includes the good things we enjoy. “…He left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” (Acts 14:17)

Everything of which we can be aware by way of our senses screams out the divine nature and glory of God. We are swimming in an ocean of evidence. The courtroom is filled with exhibits A through Z and more. Philosophical arguments against God disintegrate into foolishness as they are being uttered, for He is the only grounds for reasonable argument itself; without Him one cannot argue for or against anything!

So again, the problem is not with the evidence itself. The problem is with us to whom that evidence is more than simply exhibited. And that inescapable, surrounding, incontrovertible evidence is also chock full of benefits for us which should make us overwhelmingly thankful.

“For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” (Romans 1:20,21)

Which brings us to what the Creator has done to deliver us from the foolish denial, deliberate twisting, and arrogant rejection which inheres in our fallen nature. He became our Redeemer, our Savior. The same God Who hung those cosmic timepieces the sun and moon and Who flung an unimaginable array of lesser lights out to inconceivable distances…Who created the depths of the sea and the breadth of the earth with all the life that teems in them became One of us in order to bring back to Himself those with ears to hear His redeeming good news.

No one has legitimate grounds for claiming God does not exist. The bottom line is that those who culpably do so are already dead spiritually, under divine condemnation. And anyone who hears the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and rejects it only adds to his or her condemnation. The essence of that Gospel?

Jesus the Lamb of God lived a sinless life, through His sacrificial death by crucifixion became the once for all, final satisfaction for sin, and rose from the dead because that sacrifice perfectly and eternally satisfied God’s justice. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

Many have heard it, are you among those who really know it? Is it just a Bible verse you happen to remember, or is it your most prized possession? Will you seek to grow in faith and divine knowledge, or foolishly continue to demand proof for what is already proven?

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

a-Theism Nuked!

The following essay is adapted from a private letter of mine. It was to an a-Theist whom I had asked, “as an a-Theist, how do you account for the existence of truth?

The a-Theist responded, “I would have to agree with Ayn Rand and many other philosophers, that A=A is the fundamental law of the universe. It needs no accounting for. Or, in the words of South Central LA, `What is, is’.”

Thus is demonstrated the fatal inconsistency of a-Theism. The materialistic a-Theist madly asserts that relativism and chaos are the ultimate reality. From chaos random forces emerge that erect the phenomena we see, as well as ourselves, via the alleged big bang, the ridiculous idea of evolution, etc. However, those very ideas, and the equation A=A, and the streetwise saying “What is, is” are all concepts entertained by beings capable of knowledge. But conceptualization itself, as well as the very existence of sentient beings, are utterly inconsistent with ultimate relativism and chaos! There could be no logic, meaning, or communication in that universe.

In the real universe, the knowledge of the true God is inescapable. The real universe is the creative, revelatory work of the eternal, personal, living God Who made sentient beings in His image – beings capable of knowledge and hence of predication. It is only here that the equation A=A can even exist! The feet of a-Theism must be held to the proverbial fire at this point. One can not say A=A and be a consistent a-Theist at the same time! In fact, a-Theism cannot be consistent, because it is a delusion.

All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are in Christ. His Divine being and purposes are the ultimate ground of all created things, visible and invisible. His creation speaks perpetually, consistently, and to all mankind not of God’s bare existence, but articulately of His eternal power and Divine nature. In addition to this revelation of Himself which God has given to all men (through His creation) is the Bible: the documentation for God’s elect of His redemptive plan and purposes, all devolving upon Christ, by Whose Divine workings the whole coheres.

Apart from Him there is no wisdom and knowledge. If a-Theism brings forth an alleged alternate foundation, it can be dismantled by demonstrating its hopeless inconsistency. God has shut up all men to unavoidable knowledge of Him. Men are absolutely without excuse for not recognizing God and worshiping Him. Knowledge itself disintegrates without Him. The a-Theist’s denial of God is only possible because God mercifully upholds the a-Theist’s very existence!

Perhaps the brothers Grimm would have allowed the suggestion of a bizarre extra episode to Gulliver’s Travels to illustrate this last point. Finding himself in Lilliput, the land of the tiny people, Gulliver picked up a Lilliputian – as he often did – so that the Lilliputian could converse with him. Held in Gulliver’s strong hand and looking into kind, condescending Gulliver’s amiable face, the perverse Lilliputian shouted, “I’m an a-Gulliverist! You don’t exist, Gulliver!” Thus it is with the a-Theist who is always in God’s hand (preserved by His mercy) and always looking into His face (His Self-revelation through creation).

Moreover, since the inescapable God is good and righteous, the ethical dimension of the beings made in His image can not be eradicated. One can no more shuck it off than maintain the length and width of a block of wood but eliminate its height. Witness the axe which a-Theists often grind against Christianity. In ethical indignation, they denounce religion as the opiate of the masses, as superstition, as charlatanism. But according to a-Theism’s own view of reality, that indignation is impotent and meaningless!

The ideas of error and deception are no more meaningful than the ideas of truth, beauty, or knowledge in the universe which the a-Theist claims to inhabit. What difference will it all make ultimately whether one is truthful or dishonest? What do those words mean in the world of the a-Theist? How can there be a quest for truth in an a-Theistic, a-moral universe? We are inescapably both rational and ethical creatures. Knowledge of ourselves brings irrepressible knowledge of God, because God is revealed by what He has made, and He made us! The universe which the a-Theist imagines to exist never could have spawned him.

Confronted with these observations, many a-Theists simply ignore the hopeless inconsistency in which they dwell, and take a pragmatic approach. They in effect steal the ideas of knowledge and meaningfulness from God’s universe (in which of course they actually live), and glibly go on pretending the universe is ultimately Godless, i.e. relativistic and chaotic. They base their ethics on pleasure seeking, altruistic humanitarianism, or on some autonomous idea of what is good. This pragmatism is the classical dishonesty of the “a-Theist fundamentalist”.

It is itself a demonstration of what the Bible proclaims about natural man, that rebel sinner culpably alienated from his Creator: he “suppresses the truth in unrighteousness”. He tries to ignore and avoid what he must and will ultimately face. To ignore hopeless inconsistency is both illogical and unethical. The fool has said in his heart “there is no God”. In the Bible, the term fool does not refer to persons of deficient mental ability, but to the proud, the complacent, those who refuse to accept the plain truth and behave as if they can do so with impunity.

Seeing the ever imploding absurdity of thinking chaos and relativism could be ultimate reduces the a-Theist fundamentalist position to ashes. Assuming a quasi a-Theistic position such as a-Gnosticism gains nothing. In maintaining that he does not know if God or gods exist or not, the a-Gnostic also has presumed some valid epistemological platform upon which he can stand and make this sweeping, stentorian predication: “I who use ten percent of my gray matter, and see an infinitesimal portion of the universe even when I use the most sophisticated microscopes and telescopes, hereby proclaim – God might or might not exist”. It’s just like the case of the mighty worm ….

Finding his subterranean domain constantly and persistently invaded by certain bright yellow, living, swiftly moving objects the worm boldly asserted, “birds might or might not exist!” Then the earthworm felt itself suddenly lifted with gripping force into a rarefied, unearthly medium. This ethereal substance was full of a luminescence brighter than a slithery dweller in shadowy regions ever could have imagined.

Dangling helplessly, it was heard to say in a subdued voice, “Maybe birds DO exist, but I don’t know. It’s irrelevant to my empirical understanding of reality. How do I know any SPECIFIC bird exists?” Immediately, the worm was plunged into a darkness far greater than even that of his recent underground home. Very shortly and quite ironically thereafter, the earthworm became eternally confirmed as what it had proclaimed itself to be: WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE.

Thus the a-Gnostic has 1) made his wormish ken the measure of all things, and 2) actually proclaimed himself as so full of his own knowledge as to deny the existence of the God the knowledge of Whom is inescapable! In other words, he has imagined himself wiser than God. His arrogance and folly are apparent to all, and the a-Gnostic is back to square one with the ordinary materialistic a-Theist.

What foundation for all predication can the a-Theist or a-Gnostic put forth? Without stealing concepts that can only exist in the world the Bible describes, can he consistently affirm that truth, beauty, or goodness even have a real, transcendent existence?

WHAT IS…TELLS US THAT HE LIVES!!!

Previously published elsewhere, August A.D. 1988

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized