Selection and Defense!

I selected the second possibility;  the one with the comma after good.

The first possibility is out of the KJV.  Stating positively that all things work together for good to them that love God, it then goes on to add ‘to those who are called according to His purpose’.  It makes it sound as if only those who love God are called according to His purpose.  Wasn’t pharaoh called, raised up, set apart, to fulfill a purpose of God?  Did he love God? Not according to the Scriptures!  I jumped to the conclusion that called and raised up are basically synonymous in relating the idea that one is being set apart, used according to the purpose of God.  Does Strong’s bear out my conclusion?  Strong’s #2822 called, Kletos is appointment. Who makes the appointment?  Strong’s #5975 Raised, amad, is translated 15 times in Scripture as appointed.  Again, Who does the appointing?  God!  And He says all things work together for good.

The third possibility is from Holman’s and is definite:  All things work together only for the good of those who love God! And who might they be? ONLY those who are called according to His purpose!  I used pharaoh in the example above.  What about Jacob and Esau?  God said that before they were formed in the womb, before they had done anything good or bad, Jacob have I loved and Esau have I hated, that the purpose of God might be fulfilled!  I submit that both were called according to His purpose, and as such this translation written so that it is to be understood that all things work together for good only to those who love God shows how biased a translation can be.  The same denomination that initiated this translation insists that God is Good, God is Love, God loves everyone, God is all-powerful, and that  it is up to us to ask forgiveness BEFORE WE CAN BE SAVED.

Second Timothy 2:15 says ‘Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.’

My studies have led me to believe that the second possibility is the most correct.  Indeed God does work all things together for Good!  That is the whole purpose of this Creation!  HIS creation!  We are HIS creatures!  In Romans 9:21 Paul asks ‘Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?’  He asks that question to force us to face the FACTS of a Creator GOD!  He planned and created this entire universe.  Should we not face the fact that it is HIS to do with as HE pleases?  Should we not face the fact that all of it is created to serve HIS purpose and is called to do so?  Should we not face the fact that every vessel is made for a purpose either to honor or dishonor?  That being the case, all things work together for good because that is the ultimate purpose of God for His Creation!  Then we can understand that all things work together for good BOTH to those who love God AND to those who are called according to His purpose!

We can believe that in spite of the perceived evil around us, because the evil in this realm was banished from the eternity we are destined to share with Jesus Christ!

And one little comma is the difference.  God uses the small things to help us know Him if we are willing to look.  It is not our job to decide who is lost and who is not.  It is our job to live according to Micah 6:8.

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee,but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

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Exercise in Knowing God

In light of this translation of Matthew 5:43-46

43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?

 

Which of the following translations of Romans 8:28 is most correct:

28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

28 And we know that all things work together for good, to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

28 We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God:  those who are the called according to his purpose.

Defend your selection!

The Case for the Personification of Evil

Before making the case for the personification of evil, perhaps it would be best to define just what personification is:  http://www.dictionary.com has it:  the attribution of human nature or character to animals, inanimate objects, or abstract notions, especially as a rhetorical figure. | That is assigning personality traits and a name to something, in this case, evil.  i.e. Satan, Lucifer, father of lies, the serpent in the garden, Old Dragon, roaring lion, etc. so that it might be examined as another person with whom we may or may not want to associate ourselves.

Now that that is cleared up, these are questions that must be answered beyond a reasonable doubt to prove the existence of Satan as an individual spiritual being.  Unless it can be shown beyond a reasonable doubt that Satan is a person and not a personification, then our entire concept of the source of sin and death and evil in this world must be reexamined to get to the truth of its origin.

Beginning in Genesis 1:27-28:

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

God’s command to man must be defined if we are to understand his duty before God in the beginning.  Little has been done beyond the assumption that we know what being fruitful and multiplying means to God.  But do we?  (Strong’s #6509, ‘fruitful’ is  grow and #7235, ‘multiply’ is be in authority)

Next there has been some discussion of the term ‘replenish’.  (Strong’s #4390 consecrate) It has even been the basis of the idea that Satan destroyed the first creation and Adam was given the task of rebuilding it to its intended glory. But can that reasonably be?

Next is the command to ‘subdue it’. (Strong’s #3533 is conquer, subjugate which means to ‘overcome by force’)  Which (to me) utterly begs the question:

What was there in the creation God pronounced “very good” that required of Adam that he ‘overcome by force’  something in it?

The key to this answer lies in the last phrase of the verse, ‘over every living thing that moveth upon the earth’.  We assume that understanding this to mean everything outside of himself is the intent.  The problem with that assumption is that it utterly fulfills the old wisdom of what assuming anything ends up doing:  it makes an ass out of u and me!  (Ass-u-me)  How so?

Man is the only morally accountable being God revealed in the creation account.  That is what it means to be created in the image of God and bear His likeness. We are morally accountable because we were given the laws: thou shalt and thou shalt not referring to the way we are to conduct our interaction with God and with man.  God revealed no other creature that was given such law.  All other creatures listed in the creation account are subject only to the laws of nature.

The Word of God, His revelation to us, concerning that accountability is the very first thing He revealed and the very first thing we reject in our understanding of that revelation!  We reject it by assuming that subduing all the rest of the creation is what was meant when in point of fact the only thing that really mattered was that we bring ourselves into absolute submission to the will of God each and every time we are tempted to defy Him.

He created us to be at the top of the list of ‘every living thing that moveth upon the earth’!  Not absent from it!  Adam failed.  He failed willfully and willingly to obey God’s command never to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  What is that fruit?  It is the idea that Adam could decide for himself what was good and what was evil.  Could it have been an ‘apple’ that he took a bite of?  Sure!  But taking the bite proved the condition of his heart and as Jesus said in Mark 7:

18 And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him;

19 Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?

20 And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.

21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,

22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:

23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

I know that this was given in answer to the objection to eating food sacrificed to idols.  But Jesus went beyond the physical to the spiritual truth of the matter.  That is what we are all called to do!  Eternal life is a spiritual truth!

How does this all apply to the ‘Personification of Evil’?

The answer to that does not begin with the Serpent in the Garden.  It begins with the creation of Eve!  I see the leap to conclusions and the name calling and the dismissal of everything up to this point that this fool has written!  Please, give me one more minute to make a point.

Genesis 2:

20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.

21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;

22 And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

We can imagine the physical activity here rather easily.  But what is the spiritual outcome?  Yes, there have been many commentaries that say Eve was taken out of the side of Adam indicating she was his equal, and all that is correct as far as it goes.  But let’s take it a step farther.

Eve was created.  But she was not created from the dust of the earth as was Adam.  She was created out of Adam.  She was a distillation of his nature and created to be his ‘help’, ‘meet’ for him.  (Strong’s #5858 for both!: aid, help)

It was Eve who saw that the fruit was good for food, pleasant to look upon, and good to make one wise.  She was deceived, Adam was not. (1st Tim. 2:14) Eve was in the transgression but it was Adam’s disobedience that brought the curse of sin upon all mankind.

Romans 5:13 states:

12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.

14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

(The parenthetical phrase begun in verse 13 continues through verse 17.)

Why?  Why did Adam sin?  Given the source of sin described by Jesus in Mark 7, how are we to understand God’s declaration of His creation as ‘very good’?  There are only two possibilities. One is that it was a moral certification.  If that was the case, then for Adam to sin against God, he would have to change his own nature from one of absolute moral submission, to one of utter moral rebellion.  Or two, it was a declaration of fitness for purpose.  As a declaration of fitness for purpose we have to trust God to reveal to us what that purpose is.  Did He?  Did God reveal what the purpose of His creation is?  Yes!  He did!

In the end, the bride of Christ will join Him in eternity.  The bride of Christ will exhibit one overwhelming character trait that cannot be denied.   We will be holy as He is holy.  Holy means separate. It means to set one’s self apart from something.  God reveals only one trait that He holds to the superlative, His holiness, and we are to be holy as He is holy.  So, what did he set Himself apart from in eternity?  Evil!  How does He define evil?  He defines evil as the ultimate worship of self.  He defines evil as pure selfishness.  The fruit of the Spirit, each of them, are manifestations of selflessness.

Adam sinned because he sought the throne for himself.  He did not care that if he said ‘No’ to Eve, God could and would forgive the transgression.  He cared only that he decide, and he would rather die than submit and obey.

The only way for man to be willingly and willfully holy, which is the purpose of God for his creation, is for man to see for himself, individually, first hand, leaving no room for doubt that to put self before everything else, is to reject the spiritual meaning of life.  That is the life that God blew into the nostrils of man.

Adam, the man of flesh, the elder, must be subdued by the younger Adam the man of Spirit, to live in holiness.  That is what Adam the elder, rejected and by doing so brought death to the younger.  It is the younger that must then be born again in each of us.  It is the younger that must learn and exercise holiness against the strength and wiles of the elder.  In doing so the purpose of God is served in this creation.  In doing so the ultimate plan of God will come to fruition. It is in trying to understand this that the question of ‘free will’ must be addressed and the truth of it accepted.

The revelation of evil as the serpent in the garden, Satan in the book of Job, the devil tempting Jesus,  all of its manifestations in this world, form the personification used in Scripture to allow us to externalize who we are in the flesh.  Who of us wants to admit that we absolutely would have been screaming, “Crucify Him!” with wholehearted enthusiasm had we been standing in the crowd when Pilate said he could find no fault in this man?  Which of us wants to believe as Paul did that ‘I am the chiefest of sinners’?

Personification is the only reasonable way to rightly understand the evil spirit of this world.  Evil must be subdued within and shunned without.  It must begin in our own hearts and minds.  It must be given no quarter in precisely the same way Jesus gave it no quarter.  He answered His temptation the same way we must:  It Is Written…!  Holiness puts God on His throne.

Every argument for the person-hood of Satan, demons, the devil, evil, et al. can be better answered,  and its presence in Scripture understood, by seeing the idea personified. Describing them as a persons is used by God to convey spiritual truth just as using the four types of ground in the parable of the sower conveys the spiritual truth of the four types of  reception the Word gets in the hearts of men.  We do it all the time in plays and stories to make concepts of good and evil easier for children to understand.

I close with these words of Jesus so that those of you with ears to hear may begin to understand: Matthew 13:10-13

10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?

11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.

13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:

15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.

17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.

Externalizing evil is always easier than facing its truth within us.  God knows that, Satan does too!

Also, you may, as you read the passages above in light of the Strong’s definitions I have inserted, come to the shocking conclusion that God’s revelation becomes much more revealing of His ultimate plan!

The question you must ask yourself at this point (if you really care) is:  Do I still believe beyond a reasonable doubt that Satan is a person?

The sequel to this is examining the truth of how regeneration must, of necessity and beyond a reasonable doubt,  precede faith!

May all who read this be blessed.

 

 

 

Objections to Commentary w/Answers

I appreciate your response!  But you start off saying, “Your way believes that God can use evil tactics and deeds and hold humans accountable for them and not be blamed Himself.”  What evil tactics and deeds am I saying God uses?  He eradicated all mankind from earth save 8!  Because every intention of their heart was only evil continually!  Is that one of the evil tactics I am saying He uses?  Is that where you go when considering the power of the potter over the clay of the same lump to make one vessel to honor and another to dishonor?  That if God makes a vessel to dishonor it makes Him the ultimate Author of evil?  No.  That is why one must seek to understand His ultimate Purpose for us! SO,
Let me ask this:  What is the ultimate purpose God has in The Creation, given that man is indeed the acme of it? To me, our purpose is to be holy as He is holy, because we cannot live in His eternal kingdom unless we are. I am certainly not there yet and when Paul said in 1st Tim 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.   There are two parts of the saying, one Christ came to save sinners, and two, every sinner should consider himself chief among them.  That leaves no room for me to claim I am better than anyone else.  Off the subject!

You said, “Second, scripture no where says or teaches that we are free in the sense of being outside of God’s control, we live on the earth and are subject to all of its laws and sciences including death and have no control over those matters, but we are indeed free to make willing choices that have real effects. Sin is a choice and you are free to do so, including rejecting Jesus as Lord,. If we don’t have a choice, then we are basically fatalists and that our decisions and choices do not matter.” 
Is God’s control absolute?  Yes or No.  I do not claim God forces me to do evil.  Jeremiah 17:9 and Mark 7:18-21 speak very clearly of the condition of the unregenerate heart.  But throughout Scriptures It is made very clear that what man means for evil God can and does use to produce ultimate good.  We can’t outsmart God, we can’t outguess God, we can’t outmaneuver God.  Either He is in absolute control of man’s eternal destiny, or He has ceded control of that eternal destiny to a creature that has all the inate holiness of the serpent in the garden!  Since our relationship with Jesus is personal my eternal destiny is between me and Him.  It is not a corporate endeavor.  Unless of course you believe one must be a member of a church to be saved.  I do not, nor do I believe Scripture teaches that.

“Third, Why pray? God’s Word says to do so but if all is predetermined by God then what’s the use?
We are commanded to pray by a Sovereign God.  That should be enough of a reason.  But we are told in no uncertain terms that mostly we pray for the wrong stuff.  So what should we pray for? It isn’t as much what we should pray for as how we are to pray: in the spirit.  It is only then that we are in full accord with the will of God in what we are seeking.  It says those are groanings of the spirit that cannot be uttered.  That means they most likely do not have a vocal component.  I’m by no means an expert in prayer and I’m sure people are comforted by prayers offered up for them. Does God answer prayer that is contrary to His Will? No. Well, yes, but the answer is NO!

“Fourth, you quote Jeremiah 18:4-6 as a basis for the making of a man, the the true text is about the nation Israel. God sent him there to give him an object lesson for what was going to happen to them as a nation, not individuals.
I was not referring to Jer. 18:4-6 at all.  I was referring to Romans 9:20-22
Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?  22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:

Just Who fit those vessels of wrath for destruction?  When you worked construction, didn’t you use ‘expendables’?  Those were tools and bits and files and stuff that were good for their purposes, but were meant to be used up or destroyed so the ultimate plan could be completed.  Indeed the end result could not be achieved without them.  Do you believe God, in order to achieve His ultimate goal would not have need of anything like that?  It is not up to us to decide which is which.  Our job is to carry out the Great Commission.  In John chapter 6 it says hundreds turned away and followed Him no more.  But of all those He was given by the Father, He would lose none. So I did not give myself to Him until after the Father gave me to Him.  That decision was made before the foundation of the world!!
I think there is little doubt this passage is precisely about someone who questions the Sovereignty of God in His absolute right to use any part or piece of His creation according to the good pleasure of His will alone re:Judas and Pharaoh, re Jacob and Esau.  And it is no different for one to question the right of God in how He uses someone else.   i.e. It would not be fair of Him to decide if John Doe is saved or not without John Doe having a voice in it before He does either.  The problem with that line of thinking is it is refuted in the choice of Jacob over Esau: before they had done anything god or bad God chose re Romans 9:11.  If God can sovereignly choose in their cases, why can He not sovereignly choose in mine?  
My response to the call proves His choice. My choice does not force His response.
‘My response proves His choice. My choice does not force His response.’ also answers your fifth statement.  “It is the responsibility of man to repent and trust Jesus as Savior and Lord, God’s Word places the responsibility on the person in numerous places.  Ezekiel 18:23, 32, John 3:16 – 18, 2, Acts 16:31, Romans10:9-10, 13, 2 Thess. 2: 10 – 12, Rev. 22:17”
Regeneration precedes faith!
And it is only in faith one comes to Christ.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
By faith He IS Lord and Savior to us as we walk this sod!
The Book of Romans is our theological primer concerning the power of God over man and many other topics. It seeks to teach the proper use of reason in understanding God; an extremely lofty goal considering the depths to which its readership has fallen,

Again thanks for your response. Iron sharpens iron. 

Short Commentary on Nicodemus

Jesus appealed to reason when seeking to make his followers and even the scribes and pharisees see and understand God and His righteousness.  Many, many Christians absolutely believe that God does not save anyone who does not come seeking Him and His forgiveness in Jesus Christ. We must make the first move then He takes over.  We must come to Him of our own free will; He does not force Himself on anyone.  Is this Truth?  Is this what the conversation with Nicodemus bears out?  Jesus appealed to reason for Nicodemus to understand about being born again, which most agree is the first step in a person’s salvation.

In the story of Nicodemus this is especially evident.  The story is quoted below with Q&A. John 3:1

 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:

The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Jesus doesn’t acknowledge the flattery of Nicodemus. Instead he tells us outright that unless a man is born again he cannot even SEE the Kingdom of God.  If one cannot even see something it means two things.  One cannot physically discern with the eye and one cannot comprehend the meaning of something or someone with the mind.  Their thinking simply cannot make sense of the truth presented to it.  It is like looking at a chalk board covered with the mathematical equations leading to the expression of the theory of relativity.  Unless one has some idea of what all the letters and symbols mean there is no way to understand what they say or refer to.  Or looking at the Lord’s Prayer written in Cyrillic or Greek when one has no comprehension of the Russian or Greek alphabet or language.  One cannot even see the Lord’s Prayer.  All one sees is meaningless marks on a page.  Being suddenly infused with the ability to read and understand Russian or Greek would give one the ability to see (read understand) what one was looking at.  

Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?

Nicodemus appeals to reason as he sees it.  He asks can a man enter again into the womb and be born again.  This is an absolute impossibility and he knows it.  But he is not taking into account the state of the man’s spirit which is what Jesus was talking about.  Scripture gives us the condition of all men since The Fall of  Adam–dead in trespass and sin.  All if us save Jesus alone, since that Fall have inherited that nature from Adam–Dead in trespass and sin.  This is the appeal to reason Jesus asks Nicodemus to recognize.  Of Course a man cannot reenter his mother’s womb, that is ridiculous!  It is the Spirit that must be born again because it was stillborn at conception and born dead in trespass and sin.  Think, Nicodemus, of yourspiritual condition!

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Jesus said a man must be born of water and of the Spirit–born of water, born into the world as a child of Adam, and of the Spirit, the dead spirit must be regenerated, brought back to life by the Holy Spirit of God.  All, every human who has ever lived save one alone was conceived a fallen child of Adam, spiritually dead. at some point after conception, the Spirit can, in the Providence of God, reanimate the dead. Case in point John the Baptist who leapt with joy in the womb when Mary, who was pregnant with Jesus, visited them.  That reaction of the baby John the Baptist must be considered the reaction of one born again who sees the Kingdom through spiritual eyes. 

That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Flesh begets only flesh.  John 6:63 says the flesh profiteth nothing, it is the spirit that quickeneth!  There is no reasonable way to defend the idea that the spirit quickens itself, or that the flesh begets any spiritual good.  In Scripture God uses truths of the physical realm to help us understand spiritual truth. In this case the physical truth is no one dies and then wills themselves back to life.  The dead do not come back from the grave of their own volition.  The dead do not call out for new life.  The dead do not sit up and take medicine to cure themselves. The dead do not reach out for the paddles to shock their heart back to life.  The dead do not bury themselves or come back to rewrite their wills after they are buried.   The dead are utterly and absolutely helpless and at the mercy of others to be thrown into a ditch unmourned and unremembered or to be honored and remembered for generations to come.  SO, since this is the absolute truth of the physical realm, the absolute truth as it applies to the spiritual realm is that the dead spirit that every child of Adam is conceived with is at the mercy of the Spirit for reanimation.  The dead spirit does not cry out for help.  The dead spirit does not seek a way out or a way to know God.  The dead spirit is dead, incapable of any action of its own volition, it has no volition, it is dead. It is Completely at the mercy of God the merciful Creator of all that is and Giver of Life itself, while we were yet enemies He died for us and while we are still enemies in the flesh, He brings life to the spirit of each and every one of whom He chose to be in HIM from before the foundation of the world:  His choice by His Sovereign power according to the good pleasure of His own will!

Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

Reason says you should NOT be surprised that you need to be born again, spiritually, in order to have spiritual life!

The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

No more than our physical senses can tell us where the wind comes from or where it goes, they do not feel the work of the Holy Spirit.  Just as we do not remember our physical birth Jesus is saying it is unreasonable to expect that we can know the moment the Spirit does his work of regeneration or how long it has been since it happened. Man makes his plans but God orders his steps to show the outworking of redemption.  The man born blind that Jesus healed was forty years old before God showed His power in healing him.  Did the man ask why He waited so long?

Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?

Nicodemus had learned his theology at the hands of the Scribes and Pharisees.  He knew only what they taught him because he never sought to apply reason to their teaching!  He did not question everything and hold to that which was good.

10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?

Again Jesus appeals to reason that as a master of Israel, Nicodemus should know that God is the potter that hath absolute power over the clay(clay being all mankind) of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor(to be used unto the glory of God in this realm i.e. John  the Baptist) and another unto dishonor(to be used to dishonor God and the body in this realm i.e. Judas).

11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.

12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?

Again appealing to reason as to how!  We are asked to use reason to understand truth.  The truth is the flesh profiteth nothing.  

Now how does free will fit into this?  Is the will of the flesh free?  Well even if it is what good is it?  The flesh profiteth what? Nothing!   So what  does Jesus say?  Seek reason!  The flesh presents its works to God and the spirit is dead in trespass and sin. Those who have ears to hear, have spiritual ears to hear the heavenly things of God.  The ears of a corpse, physical or spiritual,  hear nothing.  They do not hear the truth that one must be born again until after one is born again!.  Can the flesh’s sense of self-preservation want to try to imitate the life that is only available by the mercy of God?  Sure?  Does the flesh want to take credit for accepting the good news of the forgiveness of Christ? Sure!   It is only the will of the regenerate spirit that can hear the gospel, that can choose Christ, that can demonstrate the gift of true faith that is the gift of God.  Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God in giving one ears to hear which are the spiritual ears of the regenerate spirit.  Is it possible I am wrong about this? Sure.  Is it reasonable?  No.  What is proven by Scripture beyond a reasonable doubt is that regeneration must precede faith.  The exercise of true faith, the faith that reaches out from spirit to Spirit cannot occur any other way.

How is the Absolute Sovereignty of God denied by the theory of free will?  If God decided who was chosen from before the foundation of the world, and then even one of those who were chosen decided during their life on earth that they were not going to comply with God’s plan, then the Decree of God that called that person would be rendered moot.  The will of the creature would overrule the will of the Creator.  God would not be The Sovereign Lawgiver but only the Big Man in the sky who’s plan may or may not work.

 

The Trinity Considered

We have tried to decipher the Trinity from what the Bible says about God.  In one place it says He is One God.  In another Jesus says He is God and in another the Holy Spirit is God and in another we have God the Father  and in Genesis He uses the plural when referring to Himself.

We have been through several ways to explain the One and the Three, but I’ve not seen any effort to describe the revelation of God from God’s point of view.

Consider this:  God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit exist in Eternity.  Their cooperation in the Creation is absolute.  There is not one particle of difference in the Plan of God between them.  The only difference is the role and purpose each assumes in fulfilling the plan.  Every detail from one subatomic particle to the absolute ends of the universe is agreed upon.  Every being, rock and tree, is here for a purpose in that plan.  In the outworking of that purpose and in the unity of that purpose They are ONE!  In their moral code and perfection of coordination of their revealed individual persons They are AS One.  As Jesus said you have seen Me, you have seen My Father also.

The revelation of God to us in terms of absolute unity of final purpose for Creation teaches He is One.  In terms of accomplishing those individual goals as revealed of His plan in time the Three Persons each have individual actions and activities.

We have ruled out modalism but cannot seem to wrap our heads around how three persons can be One God.  If we conceive of God’s unity of purpose as binding the three persons together so perfectly that from our point of view He IS One in Three, what have we lost?  What violence have we done to our understanding of the Trinity as three persons, One God?  Need there be factionalism and discord over accepting such a simple understanding?  After all, aren’t we dealing with a God who is capable of such perfect alignment of purpose between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit that they are One?

Defining Infinite!

That which is without limits—infinite!  Literally Not Finite!

In practical application, for instance in trying to describe the nature of the Creator God, it is vital that we understand who we are!  We are the creature with the finite mind who was created by the Creator to accomplish that for which the Creation was created in the first place!

A proper understanding of God must be reasonable to us even if hard to comprehend!  So I have this opportunity to posit a view on the “Infinite”:

The Creator God that we worship, Who is the Father of Jesus Christ, Who Created all that is in this realm, while totally able to affect this realm as He sees fit, exists outside of it.  He knows the end of it from the beginning of it because He truly comprehends its entirety, beginning to end, top to bottom, front to back, and has total access to it anywhere and any-when He chooses.  To us His being and power truly are infinite, without limits, because from our point of view they are.  BUT:

Our God exists in ETERNITY!  Where He lives we have no clue concerning its structure except that Christ has assured us that He has gone ahead to prepare a place for us so that where He is we may be also!!

On this celebration of The Resurrection , I would like to say that His Word is good enough for me!  When we join Him in the air and begin to comprehend the Purpose of God and see the place for which we were created to have fellowship with Him!!!!  THAT will be when we begin to understand the infinite, maybe!

God bless ALL who believe in the One Who defeated death and the grave, paid the debt to justice for us that we could never pay, and loved us more than we can comprehend.  To Him be the Glory now and forever, Amen.