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THE TRUTH DIALOGUES: Episode 2

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“At the end of our last segment you stated that majority opinion means absolutely nothing as an arbiter of truth. Perhaps you can take up today’s discussion based on that belief.”

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“To begin, the Community of the Lord Jesus is not a democracy. It is not about majority rule and never has been. It could never operate effectively that way. But on the other hand it is certainly not a so-called benevolent dictatorship, as I have heard it referred to, since such is fundamentally a contradiction in terms. Actual dictatorships always operate, and this should be obvious, according to no respect whatsoever for individual rights or freedom. The Lord has never operated that way and never will.”

“But God is in charge, right?”

“Well, of course He’s in charge but He never violates free will.”

“How can one have an actual organization under such guidelines? And does not the existence of God’s overall authority mean He is in charge anyway regardless of semantic professions to the contrary?”

“God is always in charge. He created the universe. But He also created human beings with a free will. He did this because he wants us to excel.”

“Please explain.”

“Let me start by saying we know very well what happens when one person takes control over other persons in non-voluntary situations. The controller gains power by siphoning the liberty of those he controls. In most cases the one in control always operates according to purely selfish interests and will eventually do anything to maintain control once he has it. It is the control over others that gives him his power. He uses his power for personal gain. Even in so-called enlightened societies this is true. It is why people in power must have their power checked by law.”

“And this brings us to the fact that a nation of laws is a much better place to live within than a nation ruled by people, correct?”

“Yes. Laws are put in place, agreed to by the majority, that even the leaders must abide by, and this keeps leaders from becoming lawless tyrants, because the law inhibits the leaders ability to wrest control and thus violate individual rights.”

“Okay, we agree in general, but we still have the means with which laws are created that we must deal with, since you stated that potential laws must first be agreed to by a majority. Does not the same problem develop when laws must be established in this way?”

“Is there any other way to do it? The majority decides but with full respect for individual rights. Otherwise the voters vote against their own liberty. In the beginning God only had one law and that one law was designed for no other reason than to protect the first humans and their progeny.”

“From what?”

“From evil.”

“What evil?”

“The evil arising from an invisible sinister force that had taken residence on the planet before the creation of human beings.”

“Do you really believe that, the idea of an aboriginal sinister devil or serpent or whatever, that predated man? This flies in the face somewhat of scientific advances regarding the evolution of our species and appears as a scapegoat celestial bogeyman upon which we fix blame.”

“Instead of blaming ourselves?”

“Yes, but not in the way I think you mean it. The Genesis story created a bad guy on which to fix blame instead of addressing the actual guilty party.”

“So you believe guilt was involved.”

“Of course guilt was involved and it still is. Humans must find a way to blame someone other than themselves because the alternative implication is far too dark to deal with.”

“Meaning that human beings are actually very well aware of their propensity for evil.”

“We have many centuries and even millennia telling us all we need to know in that regard.”

“In that human beings are evil?”

“As a species we certainly have proven this over and again regardless of time or place. The record is there.”

“Yes, and it doesn’t matter if we are referring to common individuals with little or no control over others or not.”

“In that human beings have proven themselves to be evil because they perpetrate evil acts.”

“The Bible calls it sin. Non-Christians make fun of the concept. But sin is obviously real, as is evil.

“These are merely different terminologies for the same problem and the same potential darkness in people that people feel greatly uncomfortable acknowledging.”

“From a Biblical perspective, sin is defined as missing the mark. Philosophy calls it the problem of evil. Without going into great detail or falling into the trap of endless posturing and casuistry, let us simply acknowledge that evil exists and must have had a point of origin. From a purely amoral scientific perspective in which there is no God and everything exists as the byproduct of billion-year geologic and biological processes, evil still exists. It could be that we have affixed a label to undesirable actions but the undesirable actions still exist, and it is we humans who label such actions as undesirable. Most of us don’t like them. We say they are wrong. We get convicted when we do them, most of us anyway, and wish we had not. So regardless of terminology or belief systems, all human beings the world over have this exact conviction. We know evil exists and we wish it didn’t but we don’t know how to eliminate it.”

“But Christianity does, correct?”

“Before I answer that I want to address the idea that human beings became aware of their sin from the beginning and tried to do whatever they could to eliminate it. At first they tried very hard to simply stop doing bad things. That didn’t work so well but it did slow it down somewhat by those who put forth the effort by simply not obeying the ever-present seemingly natural impulses or giving in to bad desires. Then they tried using ultra-discipline techniques which as a byproduct created like-minded groups, some of which grew into ancient philosophical schools, predating Greece by multiple centuries, of course, and also man-made religions. These did not work so well either. Then we entered into the advent of Law. Law did nothing about the presence of evil. All it did was define it specifically and attach penalties, some very severe, to practices deemed bad or evil which the majority labeled as such. Thus, the fear of violating the law and facing stiff penalties, which would grossly violate personal liberty, kept many people from breaking the law.”

“And this is still the case today. One wonders then, how many people would revert to evil actions characterized as ‘breaking the law’ indiscriminately if there was no longer any law.”

“We already know the answer to this from what happened before law and by the actions of those who refuse to obey the law now. Many such people today are imprisoned because they are a constant unrepentant threat to the law-abiders who wish to live morally in peace.”

“Meaning evil can be checked by disciplined personal choice.”

“Yes. This is what the majority is left with. Not a complete elimination of bad behavior but the choice to try one’s best to be an agent of good. Yet there are still people on the planet who engage in whatever bad behavior they want, including great evil, in that they unofficially violate the law as a matter of course and never have to pay for their crimes.”

“Because they are above the law?”

“No. But because they are beyond the reach of the law.”

© 2017 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.  


THE TRUTH DIALOGUES: Episode 1  

 

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Portals of Progress (Part 5)

         For those who have read the full series thus far, you may have noticed the roundabout nature of the subject matter, in that what started out in Part 1 as an urging to step forth through a portal of spiritual growth has gone full circle regarding what happened to our first parents.

         The devil fooled ‘em. No doubt about that. And for those who desire a real walk with God, the enemy will attempt to fool them too.

         As a result, for many, a wholesome healthy fear of getting it wrong has resulted in an unwholesome unhealthy paralysis brought on by fear that one will get it wrong. And rather than possibly mess up one’s life by seeking to climb a spiritual mountain by the Lord’s direction and fail, one will almost always obey the tendency to leave well enough alone and be satisfied with much less or dead religion.

         In that light, we must always remember that the Lord is trying to get us back to the Garden.

         This process, dubbed by the Lord as the narrow road with a small narrow entry, is mandatory for the real Christian, of course, but substitutes are much more comfortable. The majority of that which is called Christianity, which I call Unreal Christianity, has institutionalized the comfortable way, as a third way, of which none actually exists.

         The Lord called this comfortable way the broad way. It is the way of the world, the way so easy anyone can walk it, and the way leading in the direct opposite direction of the Garden. Due to such overpowering religious indoctrination and conditioning, most “Christians” fear the real road and thus see the real gate as the wrong gate.

         Here is the Lord’s instruction:

         “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” [Matthew 7:13-14]

         Sadly, Christians who drive down Broadway end up at the same place as unrepentant sinners. Imagine all the wasted effort that went into a Christian life that never included full obedience to the Lord, as if some could invent their own more suitable path, and one will understand better what Adam and Eve wasted. They had it all and then they blew it. Believe it or not, they got religious. The forbidden fruit was said to make them wise and be like God and the angels, but it did just the opposite.

         Faux Christians have a very hard time seeing this, but it was the exact problem embraced by the Pharisees. They ate the forbidden fruit. They continued to eat it. They turned eating it into religious practice. As a result they became children of the devil.

         This is why the Lord made the following curious statement to the religious hierarchy—the chief priests and elders:

         “But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go work today in the vineyard.’ And he answered, ‘I will not’; but afterward he regretted it and went.

         “The man came to the second and said the same thing; and he answered, ‘I will, sir’; but he did not go.

         “Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.”

         Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you.

         “For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him; but the tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him; and you, seeing this, did not even feel remorse afterward so as to believe him.” [Matthew 21:28-32] [1]

         These religious people were so bound up in religion they repeatedly rejected the kingdom, exactly the same way so many “Christians” reject the kingdom and the real portal to it.

         And remember, the Lord Jesus called Himself the Door, so He is the Real Portal.

         This rejection of the real road for the sake of honoring one’s religious tradition is the height of spiritual blindness, something the Lord talked about often.

         Adam and Eve saw everything from the opposite perspective of us and still got it wrong. They already had Paradise and went through a portal they thought would lead to greater paradise, which of course did not exist. Most Christians see the kingdom of heaven the Lord Jesus brought to this world as whatever they might currently possess even though the kingdom they claim to be within has none of the evidence the real kingdom possesses.

         Unreal Christianity is a faux spiritual kingdom and its leaders warn their subjects to never venture outside it, just as the Lord teaches we must do the opposite. Hence, such unreal Christians are afraid to enter the Real Portal and travel the straight and narrow road as commanded by the Lord. They routinely violate His commands, and have been taught to refuse the full instruction of the Lord and the original apostles, just as the Pharisees did.

         But the disparaged tax collectors and prostitutes were not burdened with any religious yokes and were thus able to enter the kingdom relatively quickly compared to the religionists, who for all practical purposes in this day and age are predominantly “Christian,” since such people claim to already have the full Gospel when they don’t, and religious pride keeps them bound up in grave clothes even though the Lord continually tries to call them forth from their respective tombs.

         © 2014 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued.]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Portals of Progress? (Part 4)

         Adam obeyed his wife.

         In this there was a role reversal.

         Eve had taken the lead that day by the evil tree, having submitted to the devil’s deception.

         One thing Christians must always be aware of to a much greater degree than usual is that the devil is a great deceiver. He is an awesome deceiver. He is the greatest liar of all time. He can lie, deceive, and manipulate like no one else.

         “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” [John 8:44] [1]

         In fact, the devil invented the entire lying and deception process, turned it into a masterful manipulation program, and has been spreading his thick propaganda upon the minds of humans ever since like a hundred foot layer of dinosaur dung.

         “What the heck is this?!” cried the geologist upon analyzing samples of a viscous smelly mass found thousands of feet deep in the earth.

         “Yeah, weird,” said the driller. “We hit that dude and the bit went to nothin.’ Thought we lost our lower drill pipe ‘cause it felt like the floor gave out.”

         “I’ve heard about this formation layer in other parts of the world, strangely though, about this depth. What the devil…”

         “Yeah. It felt like we suddenly drilled straight into an open sewer.”

         And so it goes in attempting to make sense of deliberate and artful lie-making done stealthily and with much guile in the effort to hoodwink and thereby gain control of unsuspecting marks.

         The devil, quite simply, is full of BS. He is the greatest BSer of all time.

         Does anyone still preach about temptation? Do we really know what real temptation is? Do we get the big idea that temptation was deliberately designed by a slimy propagandist to get us all to believe lies and fake stories in order to for him to gain control of our souls?

         This is no game, people. The devil does not need nuclear weapons or even a shotgun. All he needs is his ability to lie, cheat, rob, steal, manipulate, murder, make up a bunch of ridiculous garbage and pass it off as truth, and do it all with a straight innocent-appearing face in order to take control of minds and hearts. Sadly, many play right into his hands not knowing they are being conned. Submitting to his lies is submitting to death.

         For a select few of those who have submitted, they have been granted what the devil attempted to grant the Lord Jesus. There are powerful people running this world of fallen mankind due to being granted power, influence, and authority by the devil. The devil is the king of this fallen world and such people are his underlings who appear as overlings.

         Our culture and so many others continue to tell this story in so many ways though most people cannot make the connection between the sagas and reality. We know all about evil forces and yet relegate them to the fictional realm not seeing they are a reflection of an actual realm.

         And without recognizing such as being very real, one will inevitably be hoodwinked by the master deceiver and submit to his kingdom without even knowing he or she submitted. This is the very nature of deception—being deceived but not knowing one is deceived and thinking one is not deceived.

         This is what happened to Eve. She rejected the truth and the warning. She believed the devil. He deceived her. It mattered not that later on she realized she had been lied to and sold a false bill of goods, and that she looked inside her Halloween bag and found nothing but a rock and a week-old dirty popcorn ball. She had already agreed to the contract that cut her off from God and everything good. Her spirit died at that moment just as the Lord said would happen. Though she lived in absolute perfection and had the very best of everything the devil convinced her there was something better.

         Not so with Adam, however. The devil never touched him. He saw through the devil and had successfully resisted temptation from day one. Though the Genesis narrative seems to imply that Adam was standing right there next to Eve when all the temptation business was happening, there is no way that can be true. And though some Bible versions translate the ancient Hebrew as Adam being with Eve when she initially ate the fruit, this is certainly not the case with all versions, and no such word is found in the Hebrew stating such a fact.

         Eve was alone with the devil. How or why that happened is anyone’s guesstimate, but the devil was certainly talking only to Eve:

         Now the serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild beasts that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say: You shall not eat of any tree of the garden?”

         The woman replied to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the other trees of the garden. It is only about fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden that God said: ‘You shall not eat of it or touch it, lest you die.’”

         And the serpent said to the woman, “You are not going to die, but God knows that as soon as you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like divine beings who know good and bad.”

         When the woman saw that the tree was good for eating and a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable as a source of wisdom, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave some to her husband, and he ate… [Genesis 3:1-6 JPS Tanakh 1985]

         Eve had somehow gravitated over to the evil tree by herself where she met up with the devil. The entire narrative illustrates a conversation between the devil and Eve. If Adam was there, he would have been included in the conversation.

         It is impossible to perceive Adam standing idly by twiddling his thumbs and remaining silent as all this was going on, unless he had already given in to his wife and tagged along. That possibility certainly exists and even makes sense though the Genesis account never mentions such and it can only be considered speculation.

         It was only later therefore, after Eve ate the forbidden fruit that she went to Adam and offered it to him.

         And this is how it happens for men. This is how a strong backbone becomes a wet noodle. Since Eve had already fallen, she partook of the lying manipulative nature of the devil and used said power upon Adam, whose defenses were lowered both because he had never had to defend himself spiritually from anything coming forth from his wife, but also because he did not see Eve as his enemy. He trusted her. He believed her and believed in her. He loved Eve unconditionally. His love for her made him defenseless against what she had become.

         To refuse the fruit she offered and had already partaken of meant Adam must refuse Eve. To refuse Eve meant losing Eve. He could not fathom that. He could never imagine such a horrific scenario. Eve was, in all aspects and intents of the word, his soul mate. She was a great strength to him, the love of his life, the perfect and desired companion, bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. They were meant to live together forever. The fruit she excitedly offered to him must somehow be good.

         In Adam’s thinking, this must be a new portal of progress through which he must enter, even though he remained quizzical since not everything was adding up correctly.

         It was at this juncture that an even more critical decision was made than the one made by Eve earlier. Adam decided he could not live without Eve and would rather have her, regardless of her new condition, no matter what that might portend.

         God must have been wrong. Adam was confused. He chose Eve over God, though he probably did not realize the full implications of such at the time. He ate the fruit. He disobeyed the clear commandment of the Lord, meant to protect him, meant to keep him within the Life realm.

         He also, like his wife, took on the nature of sin. He obeyed the devil. Yet, rather than outright strident rebellion against the Lord, it was instead a wimpy act of capitulation by a compromised man and a surrendering of everything he was and possessed. He essentially went from being completely free and having charge of the planet to being the devil’s servant. 

         And reading between the lines, prior to his great fall when Eve had chosen to be alone with the devil, Adam had chosen to not be alone with God, but simply alone.        

         © 2014 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued.]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Portals of Progress (Part 3)

         Adam had become extremely productive. His garden was flourishing. There are two reasons for this.

         First, he loved, honored, and trusted God.

         Second, he worked very hard.

         Is real success this simple? Actually, though the proceeding reasons may appear simple, they are more along the lines of being straightforward and concise. They are in a sense the zip file version of deeper truths, in that there is lot more there than initially meets the eye.

         Take the first statement, for example. Have you noticed there is absolutely no hint of rebellion, disobedience, stubbornness, bad attitude, sin, or anger? The three verbs used are each positive affirmations toward God and characterize God as being good, and thus completely worthy of love, honor, and trust.

         This is how Adam saw God. This is how he knew Him.

         God had never violated Adam’s trust. God never lied to him. Adam knew not only that the Lord God was his Creator, but also that God was his Father. It was not a distant relationship. Adam learned to respect God chiefly because God respected Adam.

         He blessed him with a great life, awesome work, and a wonderful place. Adam had no reason to second-guess anything.

         Was he ever tempted? Well, we know that the devil was in the garden at a later time. There is no reason to think he was not there earlier. Maybe Adam was given time before the tempter showed up. Maybe the Lord allowed Adam to mature. But it is pretty much certain that Adam was indeed tempted, though he refused to turn his back on his Father.

         In this, he proved himself.

         He was faithful in the little things.

         He was faithful in the greater things.

         The time came for Adam’s greatest gift. This gift would again prove that God is good. The Word states that all good things come from God. As far as Adam was concerned, God saved His best for last.

         Eve!

         For the evolutionist, Eve was a hairy monkey type, stoop-shouldered and ignorant—unbright, unattractive, uninspiring, and unevolved. In reality, though, since creation has greatly devolved over time as a result of humanity’s incredible fall from grace and perfection, Eve was the opposite: Beautiful. Lovely. Awesome. Needless to say, Adam was immensely impressed.

         The two became inseparable. Lost in each other, they drifted from God.

         A portal presented itself. Adam had previously rejected it, but it looked pretty good to Eve. Why had he not warned her? But wait. He did:

         The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’” [Genesis 3:2-3]

         Someone had already told Eve about the bad tree. Perhaps many assume it was God. In reality, though, it must have been Adam. God made Eve for Adam and would not step between them.

         The apostle Paul, whom one must assume remains respected by most Christians, said this:

         For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man. [1Corinthians 11:8-9]

         It was therefore Adam’s responsibility to teach Eve everything that God had taught him.

         But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. [1Corinthians 11:3] [1]

         Christ is in no way diminished by God being His head. Our Lord Jesus is obviously God, as is the Father. But the Son subjected Himself to the authority of the Father. Without such submission, He could not have been who He was, done what He did, or achieved His mission.

         God in flesh is a tough field of study, but suffice it to say that proper submission is very powerful. It affects great change. It makes incredible things possible. It destroys the devastating disease of pride.

         And this is how Eve was taken in. The devil told her that God was a liar and that she could be just like God by eating the forbidden fruit.

         Eve questioned Adam’s instruction. She lost faith in her husband. She stepped out of her position of strength. She assumed the role of another. She rebelled.

         From all of this it is obvious that Adam did not do as good a job instructing Eve as God had done instructing him. For whatever reason (not hard to grasp), he also stepped out of his position of strength. He also assumed the role of another.

         This often happens when one arrives at what appears to be a spiritual portal of potential progress, but is sometimes no such thing.

         One must assume the role of another to get through.

         © 2014 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued.]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Portals of Progress (Part 2)

         Hesiod’s story of Pandora’s Box was an obvious take on the Genesis account.

         Pandora had been granted authority.

         She possessed the freedom to choose.

         Freedom allows for the making of evil choices.

         Eve discovered evil in exactly this manner.

         Evil gives clear perspective to goodness.

         Before people know evil, however, they are only vaguely aware of evil in an abstract sense.

         This is how God presented evil to Adam—in the abstract. He never taught Adam about evil directly, because Adam could not possibly have known what He was talking about.

         There he was—fresh from creation—Adam! Bright and pure and strong, perfectly innocent, with large open eyes and a big smile. He was astounded by the beauty around him and most especially by the majesty of the Lord before him, his Creator.

         The Lord and Adam were very close, a very loving Father and son. Though Adam was made of earthly elements in the physical realm, he was filled with the Spirit of God. The very life and presence of God lived within Adam. He was a true son of his Father, and as his Father, the Lord did all possible to teach Adam properly and protect him.

         Regarding evil though, the only option God had was a commandment:

         The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.” [Genesis 2:16-17]

         Commandments are just that—they are commands. The reason commands regarding evil must be presented as commands is because the recipient of the command has no understanding of the far-reaching consequences of its violation.

         In this, Adam had to learn obedience, and in that He had to trust God.

         And this is what faith is.

         Of course, Adam had no reason whatsoever to doubt God. He did not blindly obey, either. He knew He was loved. God created him and gave him a great place to live and work.

         Adam chose to obey God. He loved his Father.

         He must have also understood that his Father should and must be respected, and that his Father knew a whole lot more than he did. He knew the command he received against evil was for his own benefit and protection, though he had no understanding of what those things—evil and death—were. As in the hearts of innocent children, evil and death were only abstractions to him.

         In Genesis 2, God reveals Adam’s initial purpose:

         Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. [Genesis 2:15] [1]

         Adam obeyed the Lord regarding his purpose also. He took good care of the garden in which he lived. As a result of his work, the garden was very fruitful. It grew. It produced.

         As Adam continued on he saw the good consequences of his choices, that good things happened as a result, and he saw good fruit come forth that he had never previously seen. It was all new—astoundingly and wonderfully new—and abundant.

         But Adam also had to grow. He had to progress. And he did. He became more knowledgeable though remaining in a state of perfect innocence.

         There were often times he had to do things, however, that he had never done before. He had to choose. It was always a new portal for him, one in which there was the usual trepidation. Like any of us, he had to figure things out. He put two and two together. He no doubt sometimes learned by trial and error, error being not an evil thing but simply an unfruitful thing. In academic terms, it is referred to as gaining knowledge empirically.

         Without making correct decisions, there is no possibility of progress.

         He discovered that as long as he kept choosing correctly, good stuff kept happening. In time, he became somewhat less concerned about walking through such new portals, and even began to approach apparent risk with much fervor. He was, after all, obeying God.

         Through obedience, faithfulness, personal experience, hard work, dedication, and seeing the fruitful results of planting good seed, he learned that life kept producing good fruit as long as he stayed true to the Lord in his heart and in his work. He saw how fruitful the garden was, and was thankful that every tree was acceptable and good, except one.

         And because he trusted his Father, he refused to go down that path.

         © 2014 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued.]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Portals of Progress (Part 1)

         The Lord sometimes sets a door before us through which we must pass. It often arrives as a result of much prayer and searching. Upon arrival, we sometimes do not recognize the door as the answer we seek because it doesn’t necessarily appear as an opportunity, but something to avoid.

         Walking through such a portal begins a journey into the unknown.

         It portends a Door of Discipleship—an Avenue of Advancement—a Portal of Progress.

         Going through such a door will cause one to surrender one’s supposed security. It will demand the leaving of one’s safe and guarded sanctuary composed of the known, where all is seemingly predictable and routine, and head into uncharted territory.

         This moment will demand great faith. Though one must receive clear confirmation that such a move is God’s will and though one may feel a great tug in the spirit and the Lord’s leading, the much greater tug must actually be a push, in that even though we feel something drawing us forward, it is never enough to force us or carry us along.

         We must act. We must choose. We must compel ourselves. We must obey. We must step through.

         I wrote a post two years ago entitled He Steadfastly Set His Face To Go To Jerusalem. The Lord knew all along the cross was His fate. It was a portal through which He had to pass. None of His loved ones agreed with His choice, though the choice was made eons before.

         We know that God had already integrated the cross into His master plan before He began creating anything.

         Regarding the fate of humanity, long before He created Adam, God planned His own crucifixion.

         …Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. [1Peter 1:18-21]   

         The Lord knew in advance of His creation that a sacrifice would be called for. He knew as soon as He began planning to create free-willed beings like Himself that such beings must be allowed to choose, even to the point of choosing against Him, or they would have no such thing as a free will. In this—choosing against God—choice allows for the opposite of what God intends.

         We know what Adam and Eve eventually did. We know that at some point they both violated the command against choosing evil. But we also know that prior to their spiritual fall, Adam and Eve spent an undetermined age in perfect purity and union with the Lord, a time in which they continually chose correctly. It was their time of obedience, and thus, innocence.

         The Word of God says that Adam and Eve were made in His image. God had created two people who were like He was, with the ability to choose as He did, and thus with a completely free will. He had granted them the ability to make their own choices.

         They were thus not robots. Robots, no matter the level of sophistication, are programmed. They are built and programmed by a higher intelligence. Human beings, as the creators of robots, continue to make them as “intelligent” as possible. But regardless of appearances, robots will forever be the result of programming—robots cannot possess free will.

         Even so, people who think deeply about such things have long speculated about the possibility of robots eventually gaining the upper hand and becoming so intelligent and pervasive they will somehow take over. After a century or so of such speculation, of predicting the future, and of science-fiction writers coming up with all manner of end results regarding the subject, we can now fully appreciate just how far-thinking many of them were. Most people back then never believed our present was possible and had very little to do with its arrival.

         And this is the problem with humanity. People in general have a strong tendency to remain with the tried and true and traditional, to remain in their zones of comfort, to lasso life to their liking and drive it into a small and crude corral. In this they can control their lives, as rudimentary and small as they are.

         Now, in their defense, there are certainly good traditional things to establish and limits one knows will cause great problems if transgressed. There is a reason the ancient Greek writer Hesiod penned the tale of Pandora’s Box (actually a jar), in which all the evils of the world were contained. As long as the large jar remained unopened all would be okay. For those who have not heard of the story, it’s not hard to figure out the ending.

         This is why some people insist on a low level of progress or none at all. They fear the bad consequences of wrong choices. They see the terrible results of sin in the world and some human beings becoming total idiots as a result of stupid choices. They know well that stupid is as stupid does and would rather do nothing regarding progress for fear of doing something wrong.

         They’ve also seen much “progress” that was not progress at all, but the opposite. Thus, they’re content with less instead of risking an advance toward better things and possibly upsetting their small gains. Fear of failure has shanghaied their necessary discipleship, progress, and advancement.

         In their effort to stay a million miles away from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they also stay a million miles away from the Tree of Life.

         © 2014 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [To Be Continued.]