Free Will; The Ultimate Procrustean Dilemma

The Greek myth of Procrustes is rife with application from the perspective of modern Arminian Evangelical theology regarding Man’s Free Will and the foreshortening of man’s will that is part and parcel to the Calvinist theological perspective.

Isaiah 45:7-9


I form light and create darkness;
    I make well-being and create calamity;
    I am the Lord, who does all these things.

“Shower, O heavens, from above,
    and let the clouds rain down righteousness;
let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit;
    let the earth cause them both to sprout;
    I the Lord have created it.

“Woe to him who strives with him who formed him,
    a pot among earthen pots!
Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’
    or ‘Your work has no handles’?


First, to the myth.

There are several versions, but all seem to hinge around certain details that are in agreement: Procrustes, the antagonist, runs a Greek inn, specializing in service to lone travelers. Procrustes seeks to make each guest of his inn to fit within his predetermined boundaries for human existence, these boundaries are symbolized by an iron bed that ironically does not fit anyone. If the guest exceeds the bed’s dimensions, his offending limbs and/or head are lopped-off in order to make him fit, and if he is too short, his body is brutalized with a hammer and rack to elongate him. Unfortunately, both such attempts at conforming the inn’s guests to Procrustes’ ideal dimensions always result in the death of the guest.

Often times the Procrustean Bed is used as a literary device to describe false dilemmas that are caused by the arbitrary assignment of conditions that are neither necessary nor even sufficient in defining the dilemma at hand. However, when it comes to the dilemma of sovereign free will, by it’s very definition, such does not allow us to falsely assume it is but a mere trifling false dilemma. Sovereignty must be resolved as ultimately applicable to only one person. Thus, either man or God must be made to lay down upon that bed, and thus have their free will conditionally modified to a superior, and thus ultimately-sovereign will of the other.

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What is “The Gospel”?

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

Romans1:16

We as a culture have truly fallen through the looking glass. Many ideas that I had once assumed as points of common ground throughout Western Culture have now proved to be shifting sands that have not only lost their original, classical – meanings, but have now been re-calcified in the common vernacular to mean the polar opposites of what they  had originally meant.

There are many such words that have fallen to this war on ideas. Perhaps more so than any other, nearly the entire lexicon of the Christian church has thus been transmogrified, but we all have limited time, so we will concern ourselves here with only one term. However, in this term lie all the seeds of both the City of Man, and the City of God. Bastardized as this term has been to benefit the City of Man, almost no one from the contemporary pulpit has laid hold of this word’s original meaning as it was coined over 2000 years ago. For your consideration then, what is “The Gospel?”

Now I know you are thinking, “Pshaw! What is the Gospel? Why, I could define that with half my brain tied behind my back!” Perhaps. But remember, there are forces at play in an unseen realm that are working, tirelessly; and with great efficiency, to annihilate any knowledge of The Gospel in its true, original context and meaning. We, as a people, are just now becoming aware of the absolute ruination of our university system. Yet, we are completely ignorant of the far worse destruction of the majority of our seminaries which preceded that.

Some how, in someway, we lost the meaning of The Gospel, and traded it for mere trinkets. Kind of like the deal for the island of Manhattan, but moving from a scale of terrestrial inequity to one of cosmic devastation.

Ask anyone, Christian or not, and they will have some idea of what they think The Gospel is. Ask a thousand people, get a thousand different ideas. However, effective communication rests upon a shared lexicon, and this is not what we have when the same terminology can mean a thousand different things. The enemy of humanity does not toil in vain. He and his ilk have spared nothing to bring about this most dire of circumstances. Not only can we humans not define the answer, we cannot even define the question! As a matter of fact, we cannot even understand any of the terminology upon which the question is founded. That, my friends, is a most impressive work, and we should give our adversary his due for having achieved it.

Thus, you see my difficulty in even discussing The Gospel. It is as if all of the necessary words to construct the idea have been maliciously excised from the dialect, and that is in fact what has happened. We must reclaim these words in order to continue:
 

Aseity –

The state or quality of existing in and of oneself, without external cause.

Aseity – definition of aseity by The Free Dictionary

Glory –

used to describe the manifestation of God’s presence as perceived by humans according to the Abrahamic religions.

Divine glory is an important motif throughout Christian theology, where God is regarded as the most glorious being in existence, and it is considered that human beings are created in the image of God and can share or participate, imperfectly, in divine glory as image-bearers. Thus Christians are instructed to “let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father in heaven”.

Glory (religion) – Wikipedia

Grace –

the opposite of karma, which is all about getting what you deserve. Grace is getting what you don’t deserve.

What is Grace? Understanding Christian Meaning (christianity.com)

Imputation –

refers to the way that Jesus’s full obedience that meets the demands for what is required for peace with God can count on behalf of his people. Imputation describes the legal means by which our perfect representative’s actions can benefit us by faith. Apart from the perfect obedience of Christ imputed to us, we are not able to meet the demands of a holy, just, and perfect God. Imputation is therefore at the heart of the gospel message: the requirements for acceptance with God cannot be met by sinful humanity, but the eternal Son of God—who condescended and took on flesh for our sake—has accomplished in the likeness of sinful flesh what sinful humanity could never do. Indeed, Adam’s first sin is imputed to all humanity descending from him naturally, and therefore Adam’s sin has legally binding consequences for all who are born “in him.” Likewise—but better—Christ’s entire righteousness has legal consequences for all those who are “in him,” and this is explained by means of imputation (cf. Rom. 5:12–21). The Bible’s “in him” language also points to the importance of union with Christ, which is another key piece of the puzzle that explains how Christ’s full righteousness benefits believers.

What Is Imputation? – Westminster Theological Seminary

Omniscient –

having complete or unlimited knowledge, awareness, or understanding; perceiving all things.

Omniscient | Definition of Omniscient at Dictionary.com

Sin –

described in the Bible as transgression of the law of God (1 John 3:4) and rebellion against God (Deuteronomy 9:7; Joshua 1:18). Sin had its beginning with Lucifer, probably the most beautiful and powerful of the angels.

What is the definition of sin? | GotQuestions.org

Starting at the beginning, because it’s a very good place to start, there once existed nothing, except for the one being who is the only manifestation of aseity. All you astrophysicists and evolutionary biologists, go ahead, knock yourselves out, you cannot get a here-and-now without the existence of a self existent being. Well you could, if you lied about several primary physical laws and violated the formal rules of Logic. Granted, I know that you have been doing just that, unabated, for about 300 years now. Don’t you think it’s time to come clean and admit that self-existent universes aren’t really “a thing?”

This self-existent being, let’s call Him God for short, though He does exist in three persons, but that’s a discussion for another time. Anyway, God, Who contains the very power of existence, conceived of a creative work by which His glory would be displayed through the creation of other beings – physical and non-physical, and realms – physical and non-physical where these created beings would in fact exist.

God, being omniscient, took into account all that He desired to occur within these realms for all the time of their existence. I would say eternity, but only God is eternal, everything else has a birthday. God accounted for every creature that He would create within His realms and their ultimate destinations. It was His plan from eternity that now places you right where you are at this very moment. This is not to say that God has ever forced your hand to do anything that you didn’t want to do of your own free will. Does your head hurt yet? No, this is not The Matrix, but there are allegorical red and blue pills that we will get to later.

The ultimate goal of Creation is the maximization of God’s glory. We aren’t personally consulted on the hows and whys of achieving this goal, but we are intimately involved in it as we are His magnum opus. We are the only ones created in His image.

The first member of our ancestral line was Adam and then Eve. Adam’s position in the family tree was both authoritative and representative for all of humanity that would come after him. Adam was the only human who ever possessed an utterly neutral free will, untainted by the natural proclivity toward sin that all of his children inherited from him. But even with that untainted free will, Adam disobeyed his Creator and launched us all on a trajectory to sin and death.

Contrary to some contemporary preaching, this is not where God initiated “Plan B.” God designed His one and only plan such that He would personally rescue this willfully disobedient creature. Our nature as physical beings plays into God’s plan, as death is a necessary component, because it is the only means adequate to pay for our sin. We are created as spiritual beings that have a body. When that body ceases its existence, the spirit continues on into the future. If our sins remain with us, unpaid for, our future is unending and horrible and will become even more horrible after resurrection as we will experience the realm of Hell as both physical and spiritual beings.

So why is it so horrible?

Because God is justifiably angry with sinful man. The biblical word we never hear today is wrath, God’s wrath. It is upon every human from Adam on down because we are all willfully disobedient. However, We cannot look at this from a human perspective and hope to make any sense of it.

To more accurately perceive our circumstances we have to understand Who God is, and He is the ultimate exemplification of all of His attributes. Perfect in every way. There are none like God. He is holy, holy, holy – and the physical manifestation of His very presence as we perceive it is His glory. We cannot even begin to approach Him in His perfection and glory. Even His angelic creatures cannot approach Him, and they are sinless. God goes to great trouble to communicate the insurmountable separation that exists between us and Him as a result of our sin. So as mere creaturely beings, our sin debt to our Creator requires an eternal punishment that we will never be able to fully repay.

Why is this even important to the question of The Gospel?

The Gospel requires that we know what is at stake in order that we can appreciate the full meaning of The Gospel. What is at stake for us is eternal damnation vs. eternal happiness as completed creatures that God intends for us to be. Please do not confuse this with “the gospel” according to Joe Olsteen.  This isn’t about your best life now. Although, if you follow that path, then this will most certainly be your best life now.

OK. So what about this insurmountable debt that I’ve racked-up for myself?

Well, you can’t pay for it. An entire world full of people just like you couldn’t pay for it. As a matter of fact, the more people like you and me who are involved in this exchange, the deeper our collective debt gets. Sounds like an unwinnable situation, doesn’t it? This is where The Gospel enters in. We, as sinners, have nothing to offer in payment. All of our best works are comparatively “filthy rags” as regards to payment. We need a Hero. One who is both worthy and willing to pay the debt that we never could.

Jesus, as one of those three persons Who are God, volunteered and became your Hero. Without Him, you and I would be eternally lost. In proving his worth, Jesus was born as a human, Adam 2.0. He set aside all of His power as God and chose to live as man. He was tempted in all things. Far more so than any one of us will ever experience, but He did not fail to remain obedient in all things. So He lived the life of Adam, only under far more oppression, and did so without a single failure – perfect obedience. God the Father granted to His Son, Jesus, the authority to take up all of the sins of all the people who would trust in Him and follow Him. Jesus took these sins upon Himself, and died the most inglorious death imaginable while carrying the sin-debt of all who would believe in Him.

For us who believe in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we have the righteousness of Jesus imputed to us, just as Jesus had the debt for our sins imputed to Him. The payment is complete. As believers, we are adopted children into the family of God, along with all believers for all time. This is the saving grace of God.

Jesus was physically resurrected, after enduring God’s wrath that was meant for us. His resurrection is a sign to us that His payment was accepted and His mission was achieved. In His resurrection we also have the promise of our own resurrections according to being covered in His righteousness. Additionally, we have the promise of being sanctified throughout this life, culminating in leaving behind our sin natures when we die. Life in communion with God, true happiness, no tears, and a great family of believers awaits us.

So, The Gospel is the full knowledge of our sin debt, understanding and choosing to live under the completed saving works of Jesus, our justified hope in a blissful existence with our Lord and family of fellow believers into eternity.

This is The Gospel that we, as believers, are bound to communicate to a dying world.

Anything else is a false gospel.
 

I know, you thought I forgot about the allegorical reference to the red and blue pills.

In the scene of The Matrix where Morpheus explains to Neo the two choices available to him. He can take the blue pill and continue on, oblivious to reality, but secure in his cocoon of ignorance. This is the choice of the atheist, the agnostic, the adherents to godless religions and the adherents to religions submitted to false gods. They are blinded to all reality that is clearly communicated through God’s Word. Neo chooses the red pill and thereby his life is changed forever. God’s Word is that power that transforms. It is available to all, but few will take it. We don’t have a Morpheus. We have someone far greater, the Holy Spirit, the third person who is God, who will give wisdom to all who diligently seek it by the Word of God. 

God’s Righteous Judgement Against America

The proclamation of God’s Word. Proof that America, as a nation, is in the third depth of God’s righteous judgement. He has forsaken this nation, but He will still keep His elect as a testimony to the power of His sovereignty. He is Holy, Holy, Holy. We are sinful and unrighteous and deserving only of His wrath. Seek Him now, while you still may, for the time is rapidly approaching when even repentance is no longer in play. I say this as an American. It may not be the time of God’s ultimate judgement over the entire world, but it is most certainly the time of His judgement against America. There is nothing that will stem the tide of this judgement. Repent now while He may still hear you.

Dear Dan Bongino RE: Parler

Dear Brother, I applaud the attempt at providing an alternative to the Leftist propaganda that emanates from the engines of Social Media.

But Man! You are missing the boat! We cannot overcome the propaganda by merely producing more propaganda. It is not about “owning the Libs.”

Take a page from Reagan:

State the case of your opposition, not a straw-man. Crush their case with incontrovertible facts, not opinions or differences in point of view. Present your own case without slipping into the rose-colored-glasses of nostalgia and nationalistic rhetoric. And then knock it out of the park with more incontrovertible facts.

What comes at me from Parler, incessantly, sounds more like propaganda and less like the reasoned arguments we need in order to defeat an alien worldview that seeks to destroy the very foundation upon which this country rests.

It’s not about clicks. It’s not about generating more upvotes than the next guy. It is about evangelism. We have the Truth. We must argue the Truth wherever it leads. Even, and maybe especially, when it crushes members of our own team. Right now we are playing by the Left’s rules. Those rules only work for a worldview that seeks power as the only objective. We must pursue Truth as our only objective or we will only further the objectives of our opponents.

Stand ONLY on the Truth as you can define it to the best of your ability. Let the rest of this baseless tit-for-tat argumentation go back to Hell where it came from.

Your friend in the fight, John Showalter

At the Resurrection, What Will Differentiate the Elect from the Un-Elect?

John 5:28-29 Do not be amazed at this, for the hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear His voice and come out—those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.

It recently occurred to me that there are far more commonalities between the elect and the un-elect than I had previously recognized. Perhaps I am alone in this realization and most every other believer has already tied up these issues with a neat little bow to their own satisfaction. I am, however, a very slow learner. From here onward I would like to share with you some of my thoughts on this subject.

Thoughts on what differentiates the elect and the un-elect, post-resurrection:

Here I am not discussing the differences in location or blessedness. Christian reflections upon these themes are rather limited in subject matter and overwrought in their quantities of published works.

What I want to discuss with you is the differences in states of existence: physical or spiritual only, ability to perceive reality, possessing a sense of time or unable to discern a day from a thousand years?

We know from scripture that the un-elect shall face judgement. That they will post-facto recognize Jesus Christ was their only potential source of saving grace (every knee, every tongue). That they will give glory to God in recognizing the justness of their punishments – meaning that they will also recognize the depths of their own acts of sin and their complete lack of repentance. That their punishment is eternal, thus that they are eternal in nature themselves. That the great resurrection physically occurs for all of mankind prior to the judgement.

We know from scripture that the elect have in-life recognized Jesus Christ as their only hope and saving grace and that it is only Christ’s perfect payment for their sins that keeps them from the judgement and damnation that would be due them if not for Christ’s interceding on their behalf. We know that in-life the elect have been given new hearts, eyes to see, and ears to hear (if somewhat imperfectly); and that this has been denied to the un-elect. Intentionally so.

So, what is the cause of this differentiation? It is only that God chose for Himself to save some of the lost for His own good pleasure. All men were by nature lost – in and of their own transgressions. Men had no power nor ability to change themselves, only the triune God of Scripture has the power, ability, wisdom, and love to accomplish such an operation.

After the first death and resurrection, the resurrected – both elect or un-elect – are from the perspective of their own self-analysis, practically the same with only one difference – whether or not they had in-life placed their trust wholly in Jesus Christ as their Savior. In all other respects, they are indistinguishable. The resurrection does not distinguish between elect and un-elect. It is a process of physical regeneration which adds to it the complete healing of the individual – perfect bodies, perfect souls.

All very good.

So where does the difference between elect and un-elect enter in?

The germane difference is in how they are perceived by God. God knows every sin committed by every individual. But the sins of the elect He knows much more personally. Those sins, Christ paid for completely at the time of His crucifixion. He was laden according to His own choice with the complete litany of sins that had ever been and would ever be committed by the elect, once and for all. In this sense, Jesus did descend into Hell. With a human mind and soul completely untarnished by sin, and with the absolute ethos of Justice and Mercy that He shares as God with the Father and Spirit, He intentionally, consciously bore the sins of His bride, that she might upon her resurrection be pure in all contexts. Her sins having been paid for. The un-elect have yet to have their sins dealt with, but when they do, they must bear that burden alone. Sadly, they will bear that burden with minds and souls that are fully informed on God’s perspective of Good and Evil and they will spend Eternity in repentance thereof.

In other words, when the unredeemed are resurrected and judged, they will experience all of the anguish that Jesus would have experienced on their behalf if they had been redeemed from the beginning of Creation.

I have another thought that parallels this regarding why this had to be worked out as it did.

We know from Scripture that Adam did sin in the garden and fell from God’s grace – that would be the denial of God’s special blessing. In addition, transgression warranted the penalty of death. Yet, Man did not die. Or did he?

Prior to sin, Man was in harmony with God in all respects. After transgressing, although Man did not physically die, he was physically, emotionally, and spiritually separated from God – this was similar in type though quantitatively incomparable with Christ’s experience at the cross.

God did curse Man and all of Creation because of Man’s sin. Yet, God provided a means of redemption that directly required the curse. Had God simply exterminated Man after eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, Man would have eternally born the judgement for His sin – forever separated from God, forever knowing the righteous judgement for his disobedience. Yet, the curse prolonged Man’s existence within Creation, and provided a path to redemption, the promise of a Savior who was able and who would redeem a chosen race unto His own.

It is the curse of sin that destines all men to eternal judgement and it may be that they, who do not belong to Christ, will act as their own chief tormentors. How is this?

They will be perfectly aware of their sins. They will be perfectly aware of the Grace that was offered. They will be perfectly aware of their willful refusal to repent. They will be perfectly aware of the eternality of their sentence and they will be perfectly aware of the justice of all these things. Would the metaphorical burning in a lake of fire be any more punishment, or any more just?

I had previously conceived of sinners in Hell as being of the same mindset that they were plagued with while they lived their lives in sin, but then it occurred to me that that would be incomplete justice, and such would be incompatible with the nature of God. Perfect justice requires the convicted to be fully aware of the transgressions for which they are paying. Unfortunately, I had allowed my limited understanding of our imperfect penal systems on earth to color my understanding of Hell.

(My thoughts on this point may be incorrect and I welcome any lucid discussion based on scripture to the contrary.)

In life, the elect are motivated not to sin and to good works by many things: God’s commandments, the encouragement of fellow believers, and a sincere love of God. But, there is perhaps another commonly overlooked motivation:

My sins are not simply ignored by God because He likes me. God doesn’t work that way. He cannot. It is not in His nature. His nature is both Just and Merciful. Justice requires ALL of the debt to be paid, either by the debtor himself of by his Benefactor. Jesus, as my Benefactor, must pay for each and every sin debt that I earn. Though His sacrificial death took place in History, my running tab was brought to bare upon Him. Even the debts that I have yet to incur. Given the punishment that I alluded to above, which discussed the horror of having to bare the knowledge of every specific sin with a mind and soul that are painfully sensitive and responsive to the knowledge of Good and Evil, how could I cause “just one more” sin to be levied against my Savior?

And this thought brings a refortified purpose to avoid sin, so as not to hurt the One who loves me.

In the Midst of an Unconstitutional Government, What about Romans 13?

In the event that Romans 13 is not ringing in our ears like a claxon’s call, let us renew our understanding of God’s word by reading from it:

1Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

8Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

11Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. 12The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

For many of my fellow believers, this is where the argument over obedience to the authorities begins and ends. And it is here that I wish I could likewise bury my head along with them. Although, in so doing, we would all have to repent of the historical fact that America exists at all, as well as the fact that the Jewish race still graces this planet. For America was born of conflict with its originating authorities, and it was because of that conflict with its authorities that the saving of the Jewish race could even be accomplished by the actions of this revolutionary American nation/state.

Granted, God could have made a saving nation out of the rocks inhabiting the shores of Normandy. But that was not His will. He used His fallen creatures, in conflict, and war, to achieve His purposes. But let us not lay this governmental fiasco at God’s doorstep. Certainly He has ordained its coming to pass, as he did Hitler’s rise to power. But to what end did He allow for these things? That we will not fully realize an answer to these questions this side of heaven, suffice it to say, that He did allow it, and that it will all in the end ascribe to Him greater glory, for that is the very purpose of History.

“But what about Romans 13?” I hear you say. Yes, that is a conundrum, indeed.

I believe that the issue in question revolves upon governmental types. Truly, if America were a formal monarchy, that fulfilled the right responsibilities of government, then there would be no righteous contention against that government, and Romans 13 would indeed be the beginning and the end of the discussion for all Christians. However, that is not the government we have by constitutional law. Our constitutional government is a Representative Republic and it exists, or doesn’t exist, by the consent of the governed. In case you’ve forgotten; We, the People, are the governed.

The manifold Tyranny that is now unfolding around us is, from my point of view, in complete dereliction of its authorized, constitutional limits; and it has set itself up such that the normal course of airing grievances, by means of redress through our representatives, assembly, and protests has been conveniently curtailed through petty police action and the contrived assistance of all the major social media platforms.

Thus, we no longer are being governed by a legitimate or recognized authority. We are under a Tyranny, in the classical sense of the word.

Let us investigate a portion of the document that announced America’s birth:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

I may not add anything to what has been stated above. We, as a nation, are no longer being governed, even under sufferable evils, but insufferable. Romans 13 is no longer applicable to these “authorities” for they have, of their own minds, sought to reign according to a power that is not given to them by men and therefore not ascribed to them by God either.

Where was God?

Providence. It is a word that has now been rendered archaic by its exclusion from the common lexicon. It’s banishment being mandated by the secular-humanist aristocracy that now pervades every last square-inch of Western thought. In these days of mass executions occurring on our streets, we are want to cry-out, “but where was God in this”?

And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way?  No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem?  No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

If one really wants to know the answer to this, and is not just agonizing over a false dilemma for dramatic effect, the answer is available. It always has been, but it may not be found by gazing ever more deeply into the abyss of human nature. We have been given a gift in this modern age; even in places where it is banned under penalty of death. The answer may be readily found, because it is not confined, destroyed, or in anyway subverted by the will of men. The answer is found in the word of God. Sixty-six books, by various authors, who all wrote directly under God’s influence to communicate His thoughts, His story, His will – directly to us.

Knowing that few, if any, will read this, and fewer still will pick-up God’s word, ala Augustine, allow me to cut to the chase:
 

Man was directly created by God. God has no need of man. God is quite content in a trinitarian relationship in which harmony of purpose, mutual love, and ultimate respect within the members of the Godhead already exists. Man adds nothing to this equation of sufficiency between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

God created everything, except for Himself. He is the only uncreated being. Existence must be tied to something which is in itself self-existent. Even matter, as we barely are capable of discerning it, cannot be self-existent. All matter has a point of origin. As such, there must be a self-existent source of power, intellect, and will to bring matter into existence. We strictly-avoid personalizing this self-existent source because in recognizing such a person we would acknowledge our own dependence and subjection to him.

In times of calamity, we still seek out this God that is confirmed to exist by all that we know to be true and by every experience we are party to. We fight within ourselves, knowing that if we give-in to what our own senses tell us to be true, we will have to abandon the false ideology that allows us to do whatever we want to do with impunity, because if such a God exists, we are no longer our own.

God is intimately involved in everything that transpires within His creation. All that comes to pass, does so by nature of His ordination or His allowance of it. He is not the creator of evil. However, He did create the Universe and all of its inhabitants with the full knowledge that His creation would itself succumb to evil, and this He has allowed. This would perhaps seem grossly unjust if not for the fact that He, in the person of Jesus, the Christ, did bear the punishment for all of the sin committed by all of the persons God the Father gave to His Son to be His People from the beginning of time, on into eternity.

Man, as individual, is not given to decide for himself to belong to Jesus. Man must first be transformed by God’s direct intervention upon man’s will. Man’s will, left to itself, will only redound to Hell. It is God’s own intervention that first gives man the freedom to choose without sin’s imposition of enslavement. That enslavement will remain unless and until God sets him free. Once free of sin’s enslavement, man will unsurprising choose to belong to Jesus. There is no third option, no carnal Christianity. If one belongs to Christ, it is because of the work of the entire Godhead, and God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit will see each of His people safely home to be His for eternity. False professions of faith do raise questions for the outside world, but Christ has sworn upon Himself that He will not lose one who was given to Him by the Father.

For extra credit: Amongst the books of the Bible, let me suggest reading the Gospel of John, Paul’s Letter to the Romans, and the Book of Hebrews. These do not mince words, but give an accurate synopsis of the world as we find it and our relationship to it and to our Creator.

May God bless you to be truly free according to Truth that is found exclusively in His word.

From Whence Cometh Evil?

There is no demilitarized zone in the war between worldviews. The battle line is drawn, and the warfare is geographically all encompassing, with no place of respite from the battle.

“None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”

Sure, there are plenty of intermural skirmishes that occur on both sides of the battle over minor issues that deal more with personal feelings and pride than with actual issues of ethical significance. But when you boil it all down, what is truly at issue is how one views the natural state of man. Is he born evil, or are environmental factors, and societal influences involved that turn him from an original state of goodness, or at least neutrality, to a state of evil.

Few if any would disagree that there is bona fide evil at work in the hearts of men. We may disagree on how to define what is evil, but we will find common cause in acknowledging its very existence and that the place it lives and thrives is in the hearts of men. Evil actions do not simply spring-forth in moments of misplaced passion. They are birthed first in the heart, and then coddled in the mind, and finally acted upon to bring physical evil into existence.

So most on both sides of the worldview divide will agree: there is evil, it exists in the hearts of men, and when acted upon it manifests physical evil. What divides us is our differences in belief regarding man’s natural state of origin.

What difference this makes has everything to do with our perspective on God, our perspective on government, and our perspective on our fellow man as well as ourselves.

If we perceive man as naturally good, we will attribute to man an innate capacity to find the good, the true, and the beautiful by virtue of his own internal compass. Also by this view, man is the ultimate judge of goodness, thus eliminating any differences between what is ethical (ultimate good) and what is moral (goodness conscribed by social contract).

If, on the other hand, we perceive man as inherently flawed such that his predilection is toward evil rather than good, we must find another source by which goodness can be discerned. Man is, by this view, a worthless judge of goodness, and thus the classical definitions of ethical and moral can be seen as both necessary and useful.

Side note: I’ve been tracking Webster’s Dictionary for many years on definitions of moral and ethical. I think it was Frank Pastore who first put me onto this issue. Though Webster has as of yet stayed away from making the words ethical and moral synonyms of each other, if you correlate the synonyms that are given for moral and those given for ethical, you will find them nearly identical lists. This seems to speak volumes for the direction of our dominant culture’s perception of man being inherently good.

Needless to say, one’s perspective on God, and if there even is one, is deeply tied to one’s perspective on the inherent goodness of man. If man by his own course seeks to do good and only errs toward evil when influenced by outside forces, then man sees any relationship with his creator as more of a social contract between equals, somewhat similar to how adolescent children might view their parents – yeah, you made me and all that, but now that I’m here, what else can you do for me? Thus, God is loaded off to the retirement community, while we men get down to doing the good that we are all about.

For those who view man as inherently evil, not ultimately evil of course, but given to evil when left to our own devices; God forms the bedrock of all that we understand as good. Even for those who cannot bring themselves to truly believe in God, they must still acknowledge that the mythos of God remains the basis for how we understand goodness. It is not an accident that the Judeo Christian Bible is replete with human failure after human failure. Nobody, and I mean nobody is righteous, with the single exception of the Messiah. Even the best of us are helplessly broken and sinful. Because of our sinful state, the Bible confers special responsibilities upon the government to police and protect the people from lawlessness.

Our government (America) was originally framed with the perception that man is inherently evil, or sinful. As such, the founders conscribed the actions of government by laws limiting the government’s activities to only those judged to be essential and then placed the three functional elements within the government in adversarial positions to one another so that each, coveting its own power, would keep watch over the other two. This form of government, though barely recognizable today from its original form, still deeply chafes those who view man as naturally good. To them, our governmental system stands in the way of progress toward further goodness through its inherent inefficiencies which seem designed in direct opposition to getting anything done. They are quite correct. It was because the founders didn’t trust any man with such power that they designed those specific inefficiencies into our government.

Man’s relationship with his fellows, if he believes he is inherently good, should be one of celebration of anything that his fellow man may be about, and thus the only true evil that remains and must be severely dealt with is that which seeks to curtail man’s freedom to openly express his goodness, however he might find it. The conscriptions against such behavioral freedoms come most assuredly from the Judeo Christian Bible, and for more than a millennia of Western Civilization these were the laws that divided acceptable behavior from unacceptable. Thus, those who define man as naturally good also find themselves at war with traditional morals, and more importantly, with the Bible itself.

Man’s relationship with his fellows and himself, if he acknowledges man’s inherent sinfulness is one that seeks to make the best of a difficult situation. He cannot trust himself or others to do what is right unless guided to do so by a transcendent reference for goodness. Traditionally, governments encoded laws that bounded man to behave in accordance with those laws initially established in the Torah. Man could then either chose evil, to disobey those laws, or civic good, to abide by them. And man could, by his own self examination, know that he was not inherently good, because his natural inclination was not to abide by the law.

Rather than acknowledging the transcendence of the rules and the Rule Maker, present day culture seeks to change those rules that a man simply doesn’t want to abide by. He redefines the rules in order to make himself righteous in his own eyes, and this is the fracture point between worldviews.

Man the Measure?

Human enlightenment, as far as it has gone to promote practical competency in fields of actual Scientific inquiry, has incredibly benefited  man’s productivity, comfort, and survival.

For the LORD is our judge; the LORD is our lawgiver; the LORD is our king; he will save us.

To many persons, that is all there is. Let’s simply celebrate our achievements and call it a day. And if we could believe the New Atheists who champion the notion that all that there is has created itself ex nihilo; you know the drill – so many monkeys, so many typewriters, so many Eons… well then, we could all call it a day.

Eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die. End of story.

Problem is, we can’t, and they can’t. At least, not without taking a flying leap of faith that is grounded on nothing more than the avoidance of our own fear that there really is a God, that He created all that there is, and that our hubris has not endeared us to our Creator.

These modern apostles of the Enlightenment posit, nothing beyond the limits of naturally occurring phenomena is possible, which incidentally is not a provable statement by virtue of their own philosophy. This is the beginning of the ultimate degradation of Humanity through the philosophy of Skepticism. It makes Man and his physical senses the only arbiter of Truth. And when two or more men disagree, well then, we have ourselves a real problem. To solve that problem, we cut the bottom out of the crucible so that no measure of Truth is even possible. This left mankind awash in the sea of Relativism where Truth does not exist. Everyone’s truth is determined by their own personal experience and their resultant feelings.

In very short order, humankind has descended from a sure understanding of basic transcendent truths, to the acquiescence of all truth as relative to the individual, the culture, and the circumstances. This is no way to run a civilization, and perhaps you’ve noticed, it doesn’t seem to be working nearly as well as many had hoped that it would.

What is the next step along the path of our enlightened sojourn? Well, if History is our guide, it’s not a pretty one. Commonly held social mores are the foundation for societal stability. Without them, chaos ensues. Inescapable chaos cannot be tolerated by any society, and eventually chaos  must be dealt with.

Society’s various forms of governance evolve in a way that is analogous to the game of rock, paper, scissors, the most base form being tyranny. Also in the running are enlightened oligarchies, and republics. Republics require social mores and are antithetical to inescapable chaos, though they may suffer through periods of chaos while shaking-off vestiges of tyranny from their past that yet remain (see American Civil War). Enlightened oligarchies are less stable than republics and generally devolve back to tyranny in short order (see French Revolution).

The disaster of the enlightened oligarchy is that it has no real underpinnings. Its social mores, such as they are, are ethereal at best. When the oligarchy realizes that its center cannot hold, it chooses to devolve itself into a tyranny in order to implement its preferred vision of culture through all the force that it can muster. The only thing that will supplant such force is a greater opposing force. Mustering a superior force usually depends upon the transcendent aspects of the cause far more than it does the logistical aspects of the two sides in conflict. A man will fight and die for that which he believes. The foot soldiers of tyrants are rarely committed believers in the cultural vision of the tyranny.

Greater Western Civilization now functions as an enlightened oligarchy, quickly moving towards tyranny. Any notion that truth is knowable will be met with extreme prejudice.

“The faith of the Enlightenment – if one may call it that – is that the process of enlightenment, of becoming progressively self-directed in thought and action through the awakening of one’s intellectual powers, leads ultimately to a better, more fulfilled human existence.”

From <https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/enlightenment/>

I wouldn’t bet on that.