Month 2:08, Week 1:7 (Shibi'i/Sukkot), Year:Day 5936:037 AM|
SHABBAT 2:1, Omer Count Sabbath #3
Gregorian Calendar: Saturday 28 April 2012
Made in His Image
Here Your Proud Waves Must Stop
Shabbat shalom kol beit Yisra'el!
"Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know" (Jer.33:3, NKJV).
Yesterday evening I immersed myself in a lengthy debate in the British Guardian newspaper that took place 6 years ago between liberal Christians and atheists in response to an article entitled, Science Does Not Challenge My Faith - It Strengthens It by Richard Harries, the liberal Anglican Bishop of Oxford. I occasionally dip into Harries' books (like Prayer and the Pursuit of Happiness - Archbishop of Canterbury's Lent Books, Fount Paperbacks, London: 1985) and have been impressed by some of his insights into human nature. I am convinced, no matter whether we are fundamentalist Christian/Messianic, liberal Christian, atheists or of other beliefs that we are all experiencing Elohim (God) to some degree and in some form, however much we may be in denial about His existence or otherwise distort His reality because of our traditions. I believe this is inevitable because the Universe is literally saturated with Him. And in spite of active demonic opposition, Yahweh touches everyone somehow and in some way no matter what view they may have of Him.
For one thing, we are all built in the same way. Our mental, emotional and biochemical makeup, which is a reflection of the metaphorical hand of its Maker, is basically the same. We have the same sensory mechanisms, we all dream, we all have feelings that we can relate to because we all share a common origin. Even atheists don't deny this though you would think, if evolution is true, that human kind would have evolved in multiple directions and that we would be diverging from one another in the way we process information and sense our environment. Why, for example, haven't some human beings evolved more accute olefactory or smelling abilities like dogs? Those who are blind tend to have more accute hearing, a great advantage in some environments, so why hasn't this characteristic appeared by other means and been passed on to form a new sub-species of human so that they can occupy another 'niche' in the environment? Why do we always somehow revert to one essential form and make-up?
I expect some of you know that all kinds of diseased and mutant marine life is currently being fished out of the Gulf of Mexico in the wake of the BP oil rig diaster and all the so-called 'cleaning up' operations a year or so ago. Shrimp are being born without eyes. If these manage somehow to survive and pass on their mutant genes then we should expect a new species of blind shrimp to appear eventually, perhaps occupying some underwater marine niche where light is sparse or absent. Though this fact seems to have escaped liberal Christians and atheists alike, the fact of the matter is that beneficial mutations are not forming and I doubt ever will. Living organisms assaulted by the environment filled with human-made poisons are not evolving into higher types any more than computers which are bashed about develop better hardware of software. Indeed, when I was teaching IT back in the late 1980s and early 1990s a slight impact on a 286 or 386 PC was usually enough to immobilise a harddrive permanently and we had to treat machines as though they were the most fragile of poppies. Today haddrives are more robust but only because intelligent human design has been introduced into their construction.
Harries, like liberal Christians and his hostile atheist 'allies' do, of course, regard all creationists like myself as fundamentalist extremists as though we were on a parr with irrational, gun-touting suicide bombers without an ounce of scientific know-how, reason, or basic intelligence. It is actually quite amazing to me that liberal believers are able to make common cause with the very people who want an end to all religious people, liberal and conservative alike. Now to be sure, there are some very weird fundamentalist Bible-belters and Koran-belters out there, who haven't much of a clue about logic or the scientific method, and whose religious attitudes are sometimes as murderous as the atheists they would sometimes rather see dead than converted. There are all sorts out there behind various dividing lines engaging in all kinds of meaningless battles. I try to stay above them and away from them as I hope you do too.
In fact yesterday someone tried to involve me in an Arminian-Calvinist debate which I politely declined. I am not in the point-scoring business but believe in simply laying our the emet (truth) as best I can and letting people take it or leave it. Most people who engage in debate aren't interested in having an open mind but in simply bloodying the noses of their opponents to bolster their public image and to quicken their egos.
I am a firm believer in finding common ground with everyone I meet. We have more in common than we realise, I suspect. Meeting someone with a drawn sword, as many religious people and atheists do, does not make for peaceful co-existence in society. We are commanded in Scripture to live in peace with one another wherever that is possible. I'll only draw my sword if a hostile draws his, and then only to parry and disarm him in the hope he will calm down and abandon the notion that he is some Darwinian or liberal Don Quixote out to save the world by muscling his own views in. The emet (truth) is never established with the sword, whether of aggressive steel or forcefulness of voice, but by attraction because the only way a soul can be genuinely converted is when we share in the Five Principles of truth, love, goodness, righteousness, and wisdom.
There is no true conversion with the sword of aggression - that is only for parrying the enemy until you can get the one you are witnessing to to calm down and become objective, or leave him to his own folly. Many atheists who think they are 'objective' like the 18th century Scottish philosopher and historian, Dave Hume, mock the idea of miracles because, they claim, such things defy the laws of nature. But do they? Let me give you an example.
Let us imagine that you are sitting under an apple tree waiting to catch an apple before it falls to the ground under the law of gravity. When you reach out and catch such an apple on its downward path, all that is happening is that you, as a person with free will, are intervening to override the natural causes operative in that particular circumstance. You are not defying or bending the laws of physics, are you? You are not altering or reversing gravity. The law of gravity is still there. You are merely interposing yourself between the apple and the ground. That, essentially, is what Yahweh does when he makes a miracle to occur .
If Yahweh the Creator designed the universe and natural law, then He has the power to intervene and perform miracles whenever and however He chooses just like you and I can intervene to catch apples, fly in aeroplanes or send a man to the moon:
I can design and build an model electric train so that it runs on plastic rails. That is what I created it for. But if I want to pick it up off the rails and fly it through the air with my hands, I can do so without violating any natural laws. The difference between the free running model train on the railway track and the train suddenly doing the 'impossible' is quite simply me. And so it is with Elohim (God) and His creation. He exists therefore He can intervene in any way He chooses.
"[Elohim (God] may command natural things such as water, wind, or trees to behave according to their natures or against them. In both cases their action and end depend on Him" .
That does, of course, upset the atheist view of reality. Things like the resurrection then make no sense to him because this is not something that is ordinarily viewed in nature. Yahweh's dominance over nature and indeed the entire cosmos with its little devils riding around in little UFOs, is perfectly illustrated in the Bible:
If an Elohim (God) exists who could create and sustain this incredible universe of ours, what is so illogical about Him performing relatively tiny miracles here on earth? And is it so incredible, in this light, that He could have inspired the Scriptures to provide us with the necessary guidance for life, and to keep it scientific?
"[Yahweh] shut in the sea with doors, when it burst forth and issued from the womb; when I made the clouds its garment, and thick darkness its swaddling band; when I fixed My limit for it, and set bars and doors; when I said, 'This far you may come, but no farther, and here your proud waves must stop!'" (Job 38:8-11, NKJV).
Liberal theologians like Harries accept that Yahweh started the cosmos off and designed it so that it would make itself through a process of evolution over vast aeons of time! Sadly, millions of liberal Christians believe it the same way. But, seriously, ask yourself this question: if we are truly made in His image, having a nature and disposition similar to His own albeit on a reduced human level, would we not, then, also, if we could, go about creating things in the same way? Would we not, if Yahweh created the great cosmos in the way Harries insists, in our heart of hearts also have the drive to design and build in the same way? Wouldn't we, like Elohim (God), prefer to 'create' a modern supersonic airliner through millions of tiny evolutionary steps, giving the first aeroplane of the Wright brothers the ability to permutate itself through millions of trials and errors, crashing new prototypes more often than having sucecssful ones, rather than having flashes of inspiration at the designing board and making quantum leap forwards? If I were made in the image of Harries' liberal God that is how I would go about it, but I am not. I am, like you, made in an entirely different image altogether.
When I look at my theological growth over the last three decades I see that most of the progress was made by sudden leaps and bounds. Discovering the tavnith (pattern) begind the Mystical Marriage of Messiah threw open multitudes of doors simultaneously and caused the light of understanding to flood in. Discovering that the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) was our Heavenly Mother threw open floods more, and then, upon discovering the Torah and the festivals, more were flung open and everything suddenly and dramatically changed. No gradual 'evolution' here - perhaps, at a stretch, 'punctuated evolution' as Stephen Jay Gould et al (and others) would have us believe, but no gradual uniformitarianism over zillions of years, and certainly not by randomness or chance.
Every day Yahweh shows me something new and the panorama expands suddenly. Last night Yahweh showed me the general structure of sin by showing me a vision of the cross-section of a Swiss roll. He said that sin is not so much multiple discontinuous layers but simply a core element stretched out wrapping around itself again and again making itself appear much 'bigger' than it really is. In the vision the swiss roll section was 'unwound' revealing this long brown snake-like thing (the lie) covered in a layer of white cream (the truth). Sin is a Swiss roll, a lie coated in creamy emet (truth) and then wrapped around itself. It is simply a repeating fractal around an original lie and the longer it is left unresolved, the more it grows following a uniform tavnith (pattern). The root of all sin is traceable to an original lie, and indeed all lies trace back to the original pair of lies (the two sides of the Swiss roll element) told by the serpent to Eve: Yahweh's Davar (Word) is unreliable and in reality you can become an independent goddess. You can be 'great'...like the Devil. Simple as that. All other lies are fractals of this two-sided untruth.
Once you build your life on the double-truth that Yahweh's Davar (Word) is reliable and that there is no way we are 'gods' or capable of independent existence, you are on a firm foundation. Try to build on anything else and it will crumble, no matter how desperately you try to prop it up.
Yahweh imparts revelation line-upon-line to those who are open to Him in an intelligent sequence and not randomly. He follows a recipe book, not randomness. His Torah is intelligently designed just as we are. Indeed, we are identical in form to the first humans - Adam and Eve - and all emet (truth) is given and received on the same basis. That is the image we are built in.
This morning a complete stranger sent me an extract in Hebrew which is the heading of this teaching today, the 33rd verse of the 3rd chapter (333) of Jeremiah:
This is a cast-iron promise that Yahweh gives to all who ask Him and it applies continuously for all of this life and the next. He may not give you the answers that you expect, or even answer you in the way you want, but answer you He will, and show you "great and mighty things". But you have got to search, and He will reveal in proportion to the chayim (life) you throw into your search.
"Call to Me (Yahweh), and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know" (Jer.33:3, NKJV).
I am, and always have been, hungry for emet (truth) and I pray I always remain so, for there is no end to it. I feel I know so little but that does not stop me from pursuing Him. Everything leads back to Him, His character, His lev (heart) and His mind. Should we desire anything less? I am made in His image and I try to pursue as He purses. I want, ultimately, only Him, and everything and everyone that is to be a part of my life in that pursuit, that we may pursue Him together.
May you truly have a blessed Shabbat! Amen.
 Strobel, The Case for Faith, quoting Dr.William Craig
 David Lindberg & Ronald Numbers, God and Nature: 1986, p.177.
 Noel Hornor, Do Science and the Bible Conflict? in The Good News (UCG, Milford, Ohio: Vol.17, No.2, March-April 2012).
Comments from Readers
"Beautiful!" (SW, Germany, 28 April 2012)