Ye Are Gods

As Jesus testifies to the Jews of His identity, that He and Father God are one (Jn 10:30), they take up stones to stone Him. (31) When He challenges them to explain why they’re trying to kill Him (32), they accuse Him of blasphemy (33a), offended that He, a mere mortal, is making Himself God. (33b) They’ve evidently decided a human being cannot possibly be God, that God would not present Himself that way.

Are they presuming God cannot present Himself in human form? That this is simply too difficult for God? (Ge 18:13-14a) Likely not; they understand God is omnipotent, capable of anything He wishes. (Ps 115:3)

They evidently presume God would never want to do so; that this would be inappropriate, too condescending, way beneath His majesty; He would never abase Himself in this manner. Perhaps they reason human beings are too weak and sinful, so far beneath God He would never humble Himself to appear in human form. (Php 2:7-8)

In response, Christ quotes from Psalm 82 and challenges the Jews with a question: If God Himself tells us we’re gods (Ps 82:6a), why is it blasphemy for Christ to claim to be the Son of God? (Jn 10:34-36) He appears to be addressing the root cause of their presupposition: that God would never take on a human body, and so identify Himself with us as to live as a Man among us.

In saying we are gods (lords, rulers) Christ is evidently pointing out a consequence of God making men in His own image (Ge 1:26a), charging us to subdue the earth (28a) as He gives us dominion over all of it. (26b) We not only bear His likeness, as kings we have a domain of authority and control resembling His. Christ appears to be demonstrating our value lies not in our behavior but in our image, design and calling. This is fundamental truth these Jews seem to have overlooked, exposing their presupposition as error.

Further, in the immediate context of His quote from Psalms, we find we are all children of the most High. (Ps 82:6b) God values us immensely and identifies with us as a Father, treating us as part of His family. Christ appears to be giving sufficient evidence Jehovah God is willing to walk among us as one of us (Ge 3:8-9); He loves us and values us dearly.

So, in His challenge, Christ effectively removes any and all grounds for presuming God is unwilling to take on human flesh, and exhorts the Jews to focus on the evidence: Do Christ’s works verify His claim to be divine? If so, they should be willing to accept Him as God rather than cling to arbitrary bias unsupported in Scripture. (Jn 10:37-38)

This seems exemplary of God’s dealings with Man; in receiving Him we must humble ourselves, receive the evidence He’s given us (1Jn 5:10-11), acknowledge Him as God and trust Him as Savior. (Jn 1:12)

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Being the Brightness

When Christ walked the earth He looked normal, like any other person, but on the Mount of Transfiguration His face became so bright it shone like the sun. (Mt 17:1-2) This is evidently His natural state, what He’s like when He isn’t veiled, disguised, subdued.

For example, when Jesus appears to Paul from Heaven His face is even brighter than the sun. (Ac 26:13) And we find the same when Jesus appears to John years later (Re 1:16); Christ is so overwhelming in His mere appearance our dear brother John faints dead away. (17a)

Further, when Christ returns to reign on Earth, His very brightness destroys His enemies. (2Th 2:8) So, He’s already toning it down a good bit when He appears to the apostles and to Paul.

Jesus is the brightness of God (He 1:1-3); He Who made the universe outshines all the stars together. (Co 1:16) When Jesus walks into a room, unless He gets out His dimmer switch and tones it down, we will not only be unable to look at Him — any more than we can stare directly into the sun — in our natural state we’ll need to take cover and/or shield ourselves from His brightness in order to survive… if anything actually could shield us from it. And this is when He’s in a kind, loving, gentle mood.

What then will it be like when He’s angry? When Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, rises up from His eternal throne in a full on, indignant rage? (Je 10:10) At the end of the age, when the King of Kings shows up in all His glory and splendor (Re 19:16), full of wrath and fury (2Co 5:11) we have no idea what that will be like – nothing in all Creation can endure His undiluted, unfiltered, angry presence (Re 6:16-17): Creation itself will try desperately to flee and find no cover. (Re 20:11)

When He came the first time, Jesus Christ of Nazareth was unimpressive, not much to look at. (Is 53:2b) Born in a stable among some animals, to a poor family from a very poor community, having no formal education, He essentially came to us incognito. If He hadn’t veiled His glory like this His enemies wouldn’t have been able to act like enemies; He was pleased to give them the opportunity to express their nature before the universe, which they certainly did, for all of us to ponder. (1Th 2:16)

And I suppose it’s reasonable to expect this is why He still seems to be mostly in hiding, not typically showing Himself in unmistakable, overwhelming ways just yet (He 12:18-21): it’s evidently to let us all show who and what we are before He throws open the doors of the Heavenly Courtroom. (Ro 9:22) He will do so, some day. (Ro 2:4-6)

So, it’s wisdom to kiss the Son lest He be angry, and we perish from the way, when His wrath is kindled just a little. (Ps 2:2) Let’s not trifle with Jesus (2Co 5:11); He’s been incredibly kind and merciful to deliver us from the wrath to come (1Th 1:10), but let’s not disrespect Him or take Him for granted; He’s to be feared as well as loved. So, let’s honor and revere Him as He deserves (Jn 5:23), serving and obeying Him with fear and trembling. (Php 2:12)

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My Father Worketh

Science, particularly the physical sciences, can be thought of as a search for causes. We want to understand how things work, the interactions and interdependencies between events so we can better understand and predict our world.

When some particular behavior or event (effect) is observed there’s an implicit assumption it was caused. We call this the Law of Causality (Cause and Effect); it’s so fundamental to the rational mind that violating it is absurd. It’s not only true — it’s formally true by definition: an effect is by definition something caused.

However, as we pursue probable causes to find an initial root cause, especially when examining historical events which we cannot replicate, we inevitably go back in time until we reach an event or state where there seems to be no possible natural cause: we then deduce that there must be an uncaused Cause. We call this observation the Kalam Cosmological Argument; it is formal proof of God’s existence.

One need not go all the way back to the beginning of Creation to find God causing effects: God has continued acting since Creation. (Jn5:17) While we should not presume God is the cause when we don’t yet understand how something works (God of the Gaps logical fallacy), we should be willing to acknowledge God as the Cause (a miracle) when this is implied by science itself: when any other probable cause violates scientific law.

Certainly, if we conclude a miracle has indeed occurred, we might later develop further scientific understanding and be able to explain it naturally, but this does not mean concluding an event is miraculous is unscientific any more than if we provide a plausible naturalistic explanation which later turns out to be false. In either case, we are being reasonable and honest based on our current understanding of science.

For example, a personal friend was shot in the chest multiple times at point blank range and survived. In analyzing his wounds, the attending surgeon found multiple instances where a bullet track terminated at the surface of a vital organ and the organ was undamaged; there was no bullet anywhere in the track, nor any alternate route found where the bullet might have exited the body. How does one explain the cause of such an event?

We may deduce the following: either [1] the surgeon lied (or was careless in his examination, which seems unlikely given his expertise, character and willingness to document and testify of the result – the x-rays are still available), [2] bullets ricocheted off vital organs and exited the body through the same path they entered (violating the physics of bullets fired at bodily organs), [3] the bullets vanished (violating the Law of Conservation Energy), or [4] this is a miracle.

Once we eliminate [1] by having multiple, authoritative witnesses interview the surgeon and examine the x-rays (which should be done with rigor, given the significance of the event), we must either conclude the laws of physics have been violated or accept this event as a miracle. (Jn 3:2)

Refusing to acknowledge the miraculous based on an a priori presumption of Philosophical Materialism is dishonest and irrational (Jn 12:37-38); it is simply a stubborn, willful refusal to acknowledge evidence, which is unscientific. Such bias will eventually be exposed as enmity against God by God Himself and punished accordingly. (Ro 1:18-21)

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That Perfect Will

As God’s children, we desire to know the will of God for our lives; we want our lives to count for God; we long to be living in His perfect will. How do we find this? how do we know what His unique will is for us as individuals and in spiritual community?

Is knowing God’s will a matter of being still and listening for His voice? the “leading of the Spirit” to guide us and show us what to do? Are we to look inside ourselves for good feelings triggered by potential activity? or thoughts appearing in our heads or hearts telling us to do or not do this or that? This sounds spiritual enough on the surface, but Scripture disagrees: God’s way is quite different.

To find God’s will for our lives, God says we need to be transformed by the renewing of our mind: we are to prove what is His good, and acceptable and perfect will by changing how we think about Him, ourselves and the world. (Ro 12:2) We need to stop listening to what others are saying about how to find and follow God, about how to live life; we need to stop following their lead, stop thinking like the world and aligning with its philosophy. (Co 2:8)

We all start out thinking the wrong way about God, about ourselves and others, even life itself, so our way of thinking needs to be cleaned up, fixed, corrected. The carnal mind, the natural way of thinking, is largely opposed to God and His ways, at enmity with Him (Ro 8:7), broken. What seems right at first glance (Pr 14:12) is ultimately the way of Death. (Ro 8:6) To be free, we align our thinking with God’s, with Truth itself. (2Ti 2:25-26) God calls it repentance. (Lk 13:3-5)

This should be expected, really: God should be more interested in who we are becoming than what we happen to be doing along the way. We can’t very well do God’s work if we aren’t becoming more and more like Him. It’s all about the heart: the core of who we are, seated in our mind, how we think, which drives how we feel and what we do. (Pr 4:23)

To renew our mind, to have a sound mind, we must discover where it’s misaligned with God’s Way and ask God to help us correct it. This is how we cleanse our way, by paying attention to where we’re deviating from God’s Word. (Ps 119:9) It’s why we’re hiding God’s Word in our heart, memorizing and meditating on Scripture, constantly recalibrating ourselves with His Word.

As we get our mind right, our thoughts, beliefs and inclinations, as well as our emotions will follow and align with God’s; then our behavior will tend more toward godliness (1Ti 4:7), honoring God and bringing Him glory rather than grieving Him. (Ep 4:30)

As God transforms us more into His image, we begin to realize God’s will for us is to become holy (1Pe 1:13-16), partakers of His holiness (He 12:10), that we may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. (Co 4:12)

A desire to do great things for God may in fact be a desire to be recognized and rewarded by God, ultimately rooted in a spirit of self-exaltation rather than a desire to serve God and please Him. It turns out God measures greatness, not by our exploits and achievements before Him, but by our obedience to Him – to Torah. (Mt 5:19)

As we’re seeking to be transformed more and more into His image (2Co 3:18), into the likeness of Christ, seeking to obey and honor Him in all we do, God will be working in us to will and to do according to His good pleasure (Php 2:13), and we will find ourselves in the will of God, right where we belong.

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