Friday, March 19, 2004

Wow, it has been a long time between postings. No excuses, but I was loaded down at work as well as debating what I wanted to post next. It has never been my intent to engage in debate so much as make personal observations about our culture and my relationship with God through Jesus Christ. This post will be an exception. The reconciliation of God’s sovereignty and our free will necessitates a specific response to comments made.

If God is sovereign are we really free? The answer from the Bible is yes. Does foreknowledge by God eliminate our ability to act independently? Is our free will merely illusion? The answer to both from the Bible is no. What about the supra/infra debate? (If you are not familiar with theological language, the debate essentially centers on the nature of foreknowledge; can you really have prior knowledge without making a decision to act. Some argue that decisions are based on foreknowledge while others insist the reverse.) The answer from the Bible seems to be both/and.

God clearly knows everything that will be and also what is possible. Psalm 139 gives testimony to the former and Matthew 11:23 demonstrates the latter. Therefore, He knew prior to the decision to create not only what He in fact created, but also all the variations available. The Bible is also clear that God has willingly taken responsibility for His decisions.

That is the message of the Cross. Jesus determined to die for our sins, to reconcile the world to God, before the creation. The events that took place in Jerusalem 2000 years ago were no accident. The question remaining is; will we take responsibility for our actions, admit our indifference to God, change our minds and accept the gift of life in His Son? The apostle Paul sees it this way. Check out 2 Corinthians 5:20,21. Paul seems to believe persuasion is proper in the Gospel presentation which indicates he believes we are free to act. Will you act?

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

That God is good is evidenced both in His granting us the freedom to act independently and in providing a predictable environment in which to do so. Those who want to complain about the evil that resulted neither understand the nature of free will, nor the natural restraints absolutes have on the bad that free will risks. We look at the world from an egocentric point of view desiring the freedom to act and protection from consequences at the same time. That guarding me from the painful outcomes of my decisions may cause injury to another is usually not considered.

I would say it is reasonable that God has some purpose of His own that is not build around me! I may benefit from it, but it is His plan and His outcome that is in play. The complexity of the universe’s design screams of purpose. We do not live in the whim of mindless chance. He, God, is moving towards some goal of personal expression. If the skeptic will for the moment allow that point it can be shown that independent actions by the creatures will at times conflict with God’s purpose. When they do, He is within His rights to set matters to right. That may include consequences for us.

This is what the Bible calls sin. Actions in conflict with God’s purpose are what caused the separation between us and Him. It was the consequences for these actions that God absorbed in the death that Jesus Christ suffered for us. This was the purpose of the cross. He desired to reconcile the actions of men to His purpose and heal the breech. This is goodness and mercy in action.

Friday, March 05, 2004

Having established, albeit briefly, the presence of verifiable absolutes in the observable universe; can we infer the same for the non-observable realms of existence? Granted, the materialistic naturalist denies any meta-physical components of reality, but denial is a philosophical position, not proof. Absolutes suggest design which in turn leads us to a designer. The designer by definition must exist outside the resultant structure which leads us to the super natural.

Now we have a new problem, how and what can we know of a super natural designer? Direct observation is beyond our means. Therefore, unless the designer takes the initiative and communicates directly we are left only with what is implicit from the visible universe. As I have stated in earlier postings, there is much to be learned from what we can see and measure.

We live in a very orderly creation. Yes, there are some apparent glitches in the system, but even these operate along predictable physical laws (absolutes rearing their ugly head again). Could we not safely assume the one who designed such a universe is also orderly and systematic? I am suggesting that God would not leave us to guess at how to approach Him.

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