Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Windows Into the Mind of God

How does God, with all his "omni" characteristics, think? We don't know, really, and can never know in this lifetime. We project upon him how we think, because it's the only approximation we have, but God has told us he doesn't think like we do. So, that doesn't really get us anywhere. Not being God ourselves, there is, in truth, no way for us to get inside the black box and see for ourselves.

Creation can clue us into the nature of God's power and his personal attributes analytically, even if invisible, but it cannot begin to unveil the thought processes involved in producing it. All we really have to go on in knowing the mind of God is a spattering of self-revelatory snippets scattered throughout his Word. Despite the fact that we are reflective of God (we're in his image), our suppositions and even educated guesses are of little help in gaining any insight into the mind of God because we have no "omni" characteristics. Any comparisons tend to be of the apples and oranges sort.

When we do extrapolate the results end up just plain weird. For instance, when we consider God's omniscience and his immutability and extrapolate to picture the mind of God, we can come up with some very strange constructs about what God's mind "must" be like. It is possible to conclude that God is incapable of making a decision, of forming an intention or otherwise acting mentally, because that would require a change in knowledge. Is that what God is really like?

Not at all! God's revelation in his Word blows such considerations out of the water. He made a decision to create "before" which he was not related to creation, after which he was. Change! He made a choice to interact with Abraham, thus becoming his God, before which he wasn't, after which he was. Change! He admits to having to see some things in order to know them. Change, at the very least, in regard to creation!

God reaches conclusions, God regrets, God is grieved, God becomes angry and has his anger placated. We can pass these things off as anthropomorphisms and extrapolate to utter weirdness, or we can accept these revelations as windows into the mind of God. I think that is what they were intended to be. Our LORD is not static, his "omni" characteristics don't reduce him to an all-knowing, all-seeing, ever unchanging amorphous blob. He does things which intrinsically necessitate change, even though he does not change, at least not in terms of who or what he is.

Monday, February 15, 2016

My Ideal Political Candidate Is...

-One who understands that government should protect the weak from the strong (and there is none weaker than a baby in utero)
-One who understands that immigration is as American as apple pie (just ask the indigenous people that are still here)
-One who understands that anyone who comes here must embrace being an American in language and culture (and particularly in adhering to the Bill of Rights) 
-One who understands that representative government is about protection of citizens, it's not a business and it should not be supplying anything that can effectively be supplied by private enterprise
-One who understands that the corporate world has protected the wealthiest while allowing them to expand their share of the economic pie at the expense of the rest (and it's time to re-slice that thing structurally through changes in corporate law rather taxing and spending)
-One who understands that American workers should not have to compete on an uneven playing ground with workers from nations that choke their air with pollution, poison their waters with impunity and do not protect their workers from the abuses Americans are protected from (just to sell a product for little less and make a little more for the folks at the top)
-One who understands courts are not here to make laws but to apply them to particular circumstances
-One who understands that poor people need safe environments every bit as much as those that are wealthier than they
-One who understands that warehousing non-violent offenders in prisons makes no sense economically or psychologically
-One who abides by the principal that his or her faith is not a campaign issue

Thursday, February 11, 2016

What Modern Statists Owe Joseph

So Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh, for ]every Egyptian sold his field, because the famine was severe upon them. Thus the land became Pharaoh’s. As for the people, he removed them to the cities from one end of Egypt’s border to the other. Only the land of the priests he did not buy, for the priests had an allotment from Pharaoh, and they lived off the allotment which Pharaoh gave them. Therefore, they did not sell their land. Then Joseph said to the people, “Behold, I have today bought you and your land for Pharaoh; now, here is seed for you, and you may sow the land. At the harvest you shall give a fifth to Pharaoh, and four-fifths shall be your own for seed of the field and for your food and for those of your households and as food for your little ones.” So they said, “You have saved our lives! Let us find favor in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh’s slaves.”    Genesis 47:20-25  NASB
Here in America, politicians (from the right and the left) attempt to gain political momentum by stirring up a majority of fear. Whether national defense and terrorism or social programs, the attempt is to have some crisis distill in the hearts of the nation that allows government to tax and spend outlandish sums, take over some area of independence and self-reliance, and to otherwise get the lot of us to be quiet and do what we're told. Once we've lost our independence and stand demurely begging like Oliver in the poor house, we're right in the spot statists want us. The elite, of course, will always find a way to profit from it and maintain their own options.

In this country over the last 50 years or so, in every area that government programs have filled a feeding trough through some program that propaganda sold as a helping hand, inflation has followed and made it nigh unto impossible for the average person to pay for his or her own way in that area. In '65 Medicaid and Medicare began spending billions, since then medical inflation has risen over four times the rate of the rest of the economy. Now most folk can't even begin to afford medical care. The same thing happened in post-secondary education.

The economic crisis we're still muddling through now is in no small measure the result of the same phenomenon. Government policy (not just from Bush and Republicans mind you) allowed the troughs in the housing economy to be filled by artful risk spreading, providing easy money and granting credit to the unworthy. Prices shot up far in advance of the rate in the broad economy (along with the debt to pay for them) inflating the bubble that burst and left us all struggling. Few here can afford to buy a home in the traditional sense anymore.

When we give up our freedom to fail in whatever crisis we fear for a governmental risk-free safety net the same pattern unfolds. Prices in whatever area that government is causing cash to be infused soon advance beyond our ability to do anything for ourselves in that area. Government then steps in to refine its fix and ratchets up its control over our lives another notch. It's subtle, it seems good, but I think it's devilish. Joseph and the Pharoah may have invented the rudiments of the method during a real crisis and genuine fear, but I think it's safe to say it sure didn't work to the benefit of the Egyptians in the end! 

In light of where we are in America today, maybe it's time to...