Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Nature of the Future

The future does not really exist (nor for that matter, does the past).

The past is merely the record of what used to be the present, and the future is only what will be the present when time unfolds to that point. It is the present where the action is and, essentially, is what produces either the past or the future. So the present is what is necessary for either the future or the past to have what existence they might, and never vice versa.

There are of course, circumstances which were in motion in the past and which determine the future to some degree. A huge asteroid could be hurtling toward us from ages past that will impact our future in very tangible ways. Celestial bodies move according to the laws of physics and their courses can be charted and accurately projected. Earthly bodies, and by that I mean humans, cannot--their responses to their environment, to one another, to God, or to themselves cannot be charted because their free actions are uncertain until taken (the Heisenberg principle of free agents?).

Therefore the future cannot be fixed in any real sense, because it is dependent upon a present which is in flux. A future which is dependent upon that which is in flux has to be in flux itself. It seems to me that if there is any truth at all to the notions of will, freedom and spirit (which produce flux) it is impossible for the future to be fixed. Nothing is actually written until it's written in its present.

That does not mean the future cannot be known. 

If an observer could view all of the presents that will ever exist from an observation platform outside of time, the future would be known to him, exhaustively, by observation. I see no other possible way than this for the future to be known and freedom for agents to exist in the present (see this). If that observer were infinitely wise and powerful, he could shape that panorama of time by an interposition here and there (or as often as he saw fit) without affecting the existence of freedom in any present. In being able to do so, I see no reason to posit that such a being would need a mental "trial run" (i.e middle knowledge or deterministic decrees) in order to do so.

The future, whatever it is, is made only in the present. That the future can be known by a timeless God does not make it fixed, for if some other reality obtained due to freedom in some present, that is the future that would be known by God from observation. For the future to be fixed, will and freedom would have to cease to exist in any true fashion. I see no biblical warrant to suggest such a course, and to posit such is to misunderstand the nature of the future and put the cart before the horse.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Why Neither Molinism nor Determinism Can Be True

"Because they have forsaken Me and have made this an alien place and have burned sacrifices in it to other gods, that neither they nor their forefathers nor the kings of Judah had ever known, and because they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent and have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, a thing which I never commanded or spoke of, nor did it ever enter My mind"    Jeremiah 19:4-5 NASB
Molinism and Theological Determinism suffer from the same scriptural and fatal flaw, in my mind. Either regimen has to say something about how God thinks that he doesn't say of himself. We don't know, nor can we know how God thinks. We have what he tells us about himself, and that is it.

In the passage above, God tells us something about how he thinks, namely that the brutal, idolatrous infanticide practiced by apostate Jews was something that never entered his cogitations. It was not something that found it's way into his thinking nor something that arose because of his thinking. This was solely existent because of the agency of the Jews in question. God had no prior involvement, as it were.

This depends, to a degree, on how one reads this text, there is some ambiguity in it. The general context of the passage is God's decrial through Jeremiah of a sin incomprehensibly out of place given Israel's history and God's word to them. As I see it, the extension in thought (v. 5) intended to be communicated by the author was something along the line of: "I did not command such a thing be done, I never spoke of such a thing, nor has such a thing ever even entered my mind." In other words, the antecedent of the understood "it" in that last phrase is the horrific act of infanticide, not the act of commanding or speaking.

Even if the antecedent of the understood "it" in that last phrase were to be seen to be referring to the action of God commanding or speaking (i.e., "nor did it ever enter my mind to command such, or speak of such"), there would still be an issue concerning God's decrees. If all is only as God decreed, as either Molinism or Calvinism would affirm, then the Israelites were, in effect, commanded (decreed) to burn their children from before time began and it did, in fact, enter God's mind to speak (decree) of it. His disclaimer through Jeremiah would be a disingenuous protest at best if Molinism or Calvinism were true.

On either Theological Determinism or Molinism, my reading, which I think reflects what was the original intent, could not possibly be true. In both regimens, "it" would have had to enter God's mind before this world was actualized (which would actually be the case regardless of how one interprets that "it"). Therefore, for either system to be true, this passage would have to be false. The Word says, "let God be true and everyman a liar," so Molinism, it seems to me, must be tossed aside.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

What if Greece Walks Alone?


 High Stakes Bailout Referendum

It is my understanding of biblical prophecy that Greece will be part of the Ten Horns associated with the rise of the Antichrist at the end of time. That would, it seems to me, require Greece break from its ties to Europe and turn to the Levant. That looks to be sooner rather than later. 

Now it may seem that what's going on now and is likely to unfold over the next several weeks doesn't rise to that level, and I'm jumping the gun. But if Greece bails on the European Community where are they going to go? They can't walk alone, so who will they turn to for a dance partner? As odd as it may seem given their history, fellow receiver or the cold-shoulder from the EC, Turkey, in the wing dressed to the nines, with spats on.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Image of God, Freedom, Depravity and Faith

There are those made in the image of God without the presence of God within, which are thereby bound to be sinners. Sin will be their very nature, for there is nothing truly good (godly) in them. They are depraved.

There are those made in the image of God within the presence of God (as were Adam and Eve) which thereby are capable of choosing a course contrary to God and thus becoming sinners. Though they were created good, it's hard not see that sin, for them, was inevitable.

There are those made in the image of God who actually participate in the divine nature (as the redeemed do in earnest now but who will not fully, or perfectly, do so until raptured) who thereby can do as God would at every opportunity to do anything, without fail. They, like Jesus, will never sin.

It seems to me, faith is the operative element and the status of spirit the conditional element in each category which determines the outcome.

Those in the first category are born separated from God and therefore have no inclination to, nor capability of seeing him as he truly is. They do as they want, and what they want does not factor in God as he truly is. Faith in God as he truly is (without which it is impossible to please him) could not arise in those in such a condition. They suffer an incapacity, as a result, to do anything truly good (i.e. of God) with no desire to do according to God as he truly is or wants.

Those in the second category (in which only Adam and Eve ever existed, and then only until The Fall) are made to do as they chose, for that is what being in God's image entails. As long as they chose to do as God wished things were splendid. When they chose to do otherwise sin was conceived, to be born when the choice was enacted. Faith (trusting in God's rather than their own judgment) would have been the thing which could have averted disaster, but they acted without faith and threw themselves and their heirs into Depravity.

Those in the third category are actually the other categories made anew without the taint of separation and are granted participation in the divine nature. They are like Jesus. They have a complete trust in God which does not have to compete with evil drives within nor evil enticements from without, and thereby they are enabled to walk in perfect agreement with God throughout eternity.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Once Saved, Not Always Saved

As addressed in the Apocalypse, the churches at Ephesus and Thyatira were such that apart from Christ's penetrating gaze below the surface, they would look to be fantastic churches. But Christ found fault with the believers there, and not of a minor nature. The churches at Ephesus and Thyatira were threatened with eternal loss (though veiled in figurative language) because of what Christ saw. I would think these threatening statements would go a long way toward destroying the conception of once-saved-always-saved.

In the case of the Church at Sardis or Laodicea, even though neither church had much to commend them for, the threat to ultimate salvation was as clear, maybe even clearer. There were in those congregations folk who were just not persisting in the obedience of faith. That is not a situation Christ is willing to overlook. What I infer from this is that true faith can become the sort that isn't, and if it isn't, it holds no weight in the eyes of him who matters.

Who would argue that the letters are not written to what Christ considered genuine churches? What he could commend in them he did, what he couldn't, he sought to amend. The assumption seems to have been that the members of these churches were part of the kingdom, but that their status as such was in danger. Those considered presently part of the body of Christ by Christ could end up not retaining that status if repentance was not forthcoming. Their status could be considered Once-Saved-Not-Necessarily-Saved-Thereafter, it seems to me.

If Adam and Eve, pristinely, immaculately made by God, can fall from belief into estrangement with God and sin, then anyone with less wholeness (i.e. all the rest of us, even the born-again) can fall too. If those born-again would fall, they'd be just as lost as Adam and Eve and the host born to them afterwards. If humans as perfect as they can be this side of eternity fell from a state that was deemed "good" in God's sight into unbelief and separation from God, then why would anyone in Christ think he or she could not?

Monday, November 3, 2014

The End-times Gel



This, this and this make an interesting coalescing of circumstances. The revival of the King of the North, the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem, and the arrival of the False Prophet are all significant occurrences within the framework of end-times prophecy, and all will occur within a relatively short span of real-time.  It is interesting, at least, that there are stirrings on all three fields at the same time.

Friday, October 24, 2014

How Does Apostasy Occur?

"For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law."   Romans 3:28 NIV 

Justified, in regard to the verse above, means to be declared righteous or acceptable to God. Guilty humans at trial under a magnifying glass in a cosmic court need a verdict of "not guilty" in order to be freed from the consequences of sin. Without being justified by God they will be bound over to judgment, which in a cosmic context, unfortunately, can only be cosmically ultimate. For someone actually guilty (as are all humans before God) there can be no escape in such a court on the basis of technicalities, obfuscation, ignorance, prejudice or character (i.e. good works).

Faith, as used in the above verse and as generally understood as "saving faith", is an apprehension of who Jesus is and what he has done which moves a person to trust Christ as his or her savior and follow Christ as his or her leader. As long as a person has faith that Jesus came from God, died for his or her sins, rose bodily from the dead victorious over sin and death, and is his or her Lord, that person is justified without the possibility of change in status. However, if such faith is lost or reversed, then so too is the condition for justification, and hence salvation, and the result is apostasy or falling away. We can lose our salvation, therefore, if we lose our faith.

Works, as spoken about in that verse, are actions of mind or body which accrue toward the worker's justification. In this instance, they are specified to be in the context of the law, i.e. the Mosaic Code. However, works of the law cannot possibly effect justification because: 1) good works have no power to erase or nullify bad works; 2) even the works of law associated with sacrifices intended to remit sins cannot undo the sin nature of the sinner, which has him or her in sin, virtually, before the last whiff of smoke has dissipated; and 3) it is impossible for the blood of animals to cleanse a guilty human conscience. [How could they? Neither party (God or the sinner) has any "skin in the game."]

Since salvation is not founded upon nor attributable to works then neither can a loss of salvation be the result of such. Our works, in themselves, good or evil, do not have the power to engage, alter or to unravel what Jesus Christ has already done on the cross and in rising from the grave. Whereas keeping a clean conscience is a boon to faith, keeping or not keeping a clean conscience can neither keep one saved nor cause him or her to lose salvation. Sin, though it doubtless arises out of some sort of unbelief, cannot be the source of apostasy anymore than it is the source of salvation; otherwise, virtually every Christian would eventually apostatize.

Apostasy is departing from the faith. It starts with some disappointment or disillusionment with Christ and ends with one abandoning the trust he or she has in who Christ is and what he has done. If one does not trust in Christ as the Son of God, nor rely upon his death and resurrection for justification before God, that one cannot possibly be saved so long as he or she remains in such unbelief. It matters not that he or she believed at one time or even that he or she was baptized.

Sin is not and never can be the cause of apostasy!  Faith is what effects justification, and a departure from faith is the only thing that could effect a loss of salvation.  

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Turkey on the Brink

This is interesting...



And this makes it more so...


I am watching this very closely now, since with the advance of ISIL from Syria into Iraq, the revival of the Kingdom of the North (the Seleucid Empire) would be accomplished in one fell swoop if Turkey moved and took over ISIS. The door would then be open for the contemptible one to step forward.

If Turkey did invade and secure the area, it's not like any territory won is going to be returned to Assad (especially from a NATO ally). Furthermore, the U.S. would likely welcome such, since it would then finally have the means of keeping allied boots on the ground in Iraq to quell the contentious Sunni population.

The Antichrist would not have to immediately thereafter come to the fore, but nothing prophesied would stand in his way except, perhaps, the breaking of the sixth seal. If Turkey invades and takes over the Islamic State, it can only be a matter of days, weeks, maybe a couple of years until the Antichrist arises.

There is one wrinkle I should at least acknowledge: it is possible that ISIS could instead take over vast swaths of Turkey and thus produce the revival of the Kingdom of the North. This is much less likely at this point, but ISIS is growing in every way every day. I could see the potential of an ISIS surge which ended up gaining fifth-column Turkish support. Stranger things have happened!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Indestructible Souls and Irresistible Grace

"Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being."     Genesis 2:7 (NASB)

The breath of God is a precious thing.

God's breath imparts that something that makes a human soul, that makes one a person. Not that every person animated by that breath is the person of God, but it is God's breath that infuses all of the capacities of soul that personhood builds on and without which there would be no person. It communicates those characteristics of personhood that are analogous to God's personhood. That breath is spirit, and more than anything else in all creation represents something directly emanated from God's being. 

Think about that: something within humans that makes them persons represents a direct input from the person of God. Some repercussions of that astounding fact are easily enough perceived--humans exercise choice (freewill), are creative (even to the extant of bringing something out of nothing), love, and... wait for it... humans are eternal. Once God invested his own breath in humanity, the persons that result have an essence that will never pass away. What an astonishing thought!

God's breath may exist eternally, but that does not translate into those infused by that breath living eternally. Breath that is separated from God does not respire, it does not go out and come in (as it were). God's breath must be actively with God, in tune with God, in contact with and in the presence of God to live. Cut off from God, separated, it merely exists. It projects some measure of its capacity for personhood, but it is dark, really, lifeless.

In order for one in whom God has breathed the breath of life to live, he or she must walk in agreement with God; however, even God cannot make creatures who possess his image but who do not exercise creaturely freedom thereby. His image makes such freedom necessary and irresistible grace impossible. Creatures made in God's image, by the capacity of choice in that nature, must freely choose agreement with God. That is an action of faith (i.e. trustful reliance) without which it is impossible to please God--faith is what it takes for free creatures to live in agreement with God.

Whereas it is very true that God loves everyone he's made, those made in his image with the capacity of choice have no future without faith. The Gordian knot is that no one born since the Fall of Man can make that choice of faith unless the Spirit has enabled him or her. However, if the enablement was such that one was rewired to make that choice without the possibility of not making it, that one would cease being in the image of God. The breath that confers such is indestructible, so it is impossible for the grace that underlies enablement to be irresistible and enablement to be a guarantee.