Dabar [theme]

He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Sunday, November 01, 2009

God's Revelation

God has revealed Himself to all men through creation. Taylor paraphrases Romans 1:19,20 as "Although the (people) had no written revelation, yet what may be known of God is every where manifest among them, God having made a clear discovery of Himself to them. For His being and perfections, invisible to our bodily eyes, have been, ever since the creation of the world, evidently to be seen, if attentively considered, in the visible beauty, order and operations observable in the constitution and parts of the universe; especially His eternal power and universal dominion and providence: so that (the world) cannot plead ignorance in excuse of their idolatry and wickedness."

A critical claim of existential thought is that individuals are always free to make choices and guide their own lives towards their own chosen goals and aspirations. The prominent distinction in this thought is that individuals cannot escape this freedom, even in overwhelming circumstances. At a point of decision, or any dilemma it must be determined that a course of action be taken. Even colonized victims possess choices: to submit; to negotiate; to act in complicity; to resist non-violently; or to become an insurgent. We must always make choices and they will always have consequences.

Although there are circumstances which limit, a person cannot be forced as a radical free-agent to assume one course of action over another. There are two significant views to the limiting aspects of our existence, known as facticity, one being what is part of our personality and character, that which is taken up in our existence and is preemptive in the decisions made, facticity is the unnoticed and possibly unattended thinking and willing by which we respond to life as disclosed by our actions, reactions, moods and emotions. The second view to facticity signifies all of the concrete details of life, age, parents, prior choices, the inevitability of death which provide the background against which all human freedom exists and is limited. This is why it is that individuals choose in anguish. There are variables which come as part and parcel of life whichhave influenced and formed the basis for our decisions and these variables can possibly be viewed as the excuse for the decisions made and the absolution from responsibility for the consequences. To claim in my defence that one decision among many possibilities takes undeniable precedence is to assume the role of an object in the world, meaning I am merely at the mercy of circumstance without option or recourse. This attitude is self-deceiving and in light of what I believe is inherent in all persons, denies the knowledge of God and man's faculty for passing judgements on their own actions. People convince themselves that they are bound to act by external forces in order to escape the anguish of freedom to chose. A man's consciousness testifies to the responsibility, and his conscience witnesses to the criminality of his actions.

Paul said so succinctly in 1 Cor. 15:10, " ... by the grace of God I am what I am, ..." My past, the memories, the influences, all of my life, God in His grace has provided these things I see as working out His purpose in my life and regardless of the mistakes that I have made I am not ignorant of that purpose and I recognize God's work in me. The reality is that I have participated in life and regardless of intent sin has caused distortion, it is grace which developes life into something wonderful in God's hands. It is not due to lack of God's power and grace, nor His refusal to coerce man, nor the substance of His revelation of Himself that is ever in question, it is a question of recognition of that grace and accountability for acting upon that knowledge. Psalm 110:3, " Your people shall be volunteers (willing; free-will gifts) in the day of Your power (strength); In the beauties (honours)of holiness, from the womb of the morning, ..." "Will is a free principle. Free will is as absurd a principle as bound will, it is not will if it is not free and if it is bound it is not will at all. Volition is essential to man acting as free agent. A power which forces obedience shows only the effect of an irresistible power. A man acting under overwhelming compulsion is incapable of facing condemnation. Philip. 2:13, "... work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works (grace) in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure." Grace furnishes the power and therefore creates the accountability for that power.

Can you imagine the abject horror of those who knew in their hearts the truth of the consequences of their actions, when in that final day of judgement their play-acting as objects of situation; having believed themselves "condemned to be free"; having never realized the potential of life and having denied all that is around them that tells of God and the wonderment of His purpose for their life come face-to-face with God? Romans 2:1, "Therefore you are inexcusable (without excuse) whoever you are who judge (make a decision), for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself;..." What anguish they will feel. When the obstinate attitude which bought into the mantra of Carl Jung that "the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being" becomes rhetoric. We all desire life to have meaning, however, God speaks to all mankind through the revelation of creation and contained in that revelation is the harbinger of His salvation provided by the life and death of His Son, Jesus Christ.
The pursuit of the individual's development and a man's manifestation of life is not dependant upon the conditions existing in the world. A man's meaning and purpose are found in relationship with God and my worth is found in the price God was willing to pay to have that relationship.

A person cannot escape from decisions whether they are deemed poor or wise. Our free-will demands that we have choice. Poor decision-making has as a possible outcome remorse. The conclusion of matters when all the factors have weighed in can possibly lead one to despair. When finally faced with the consequences of choice and action the responsibility for the wrongs that have occurred as a result may be overwhelming.
A person cannot escape from the underlying principles of accountability and responsibility. We are without excuse and denial of that fact is denial of God and His truth.

We must all deal with guilt. In the face of consequence we see our reflection, it is the condemnation of the choices we have made. It is the inner anguish over the moral uncertainty underlying our life. John 8:9, "Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing ..." Romans 2:13-15, "... (for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; for when (people), who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them)..."
In our choice, our freedom to will, we believe we have an entitlement, a right of privilege which asserts our human dignity and promotes pride in its contempt of God. We discern life's purposes and meanings by what we possess of knowledge; by what we see as intuitively inspired thought; by what throws 'light upon' or affirms our personal judgement of 'truth'; by our judgement of what is suitable or fits our needs, and in doing so we 'fly in the face' of all that is reasonable to conclude from the revelation of God and the discerning conscience of man.

And do you think this ... that you will escape the judgement of God? Do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance (tolerance) and long-suffering (patience), not knowing (understanding, recognizing) that the goodness of God leads to repentance? It leads to Him and changing the way you think and act? But continuing in stubborn denial; refusing to change the way you think and act; living a self-seeking life; rejecting the truth, even the limited knowledge of truth which your conscience proves, these are the evidence of your guilty standing before God. It is upon the basis of this, even if nothing else exists except your own heart knowledge, that your life and your behaviour will be judged.
"People have no excuse..."

People are condemned not for what they don't know, but for what they do with what they know.

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