Gnosticism and the divine

From Gnostic Cosmology:

Not all Gnostics considered themselves Christians and Gnosticism seems to have originated apart from Christianity, but those who did synthesize the two movements considered Jesus the divine being who delivered the gnosis that redeems humanity. As the messenger from the divine realm, though, Jesus had to be completely spirit; the divine could inhabit material flesh. So Gnostics had to explain why Jesus appeared human. One solution was to claim just that-he only appeared human. Referred to as docetism [5], this view held that Jesus put on act of seeming to hunger, to eat, to thirst, to bleed, to die, as he taught his disciples the saving gnosis. The insight was only for the elect who carried the divine spark and so Jesus feigned humanity-as Paul says, Christ came ?in the likeness of sinful flesh? (Romans 8:3)-to conceal the revelation from the non-Gnostics (Ehrman 167). For the same reason Jesus taught in parables, concluded them by saying ?Let he who has ears to hear, hear,? referring to the hidden truth that the elect could find in the parable; and later explained the meaning of the parables to his disciples in private. The parables themselves often depicted the ?kingdom of heaven? as something, such as yeast or a treasure, which one hides [6]. As the anti-Gnostic writings of ecclesiastics including Ireneaus and Tertullian reveal, proto-orthodox Christianity, which would eventually win-in terms of numbers of followers-the intense and polemical theological battles of the second and third centuries, defined much of its theology through conflict with other Christian groups (Filoramo 4). And it declared docetism a heresy at the Council of Chalcedon in 423, deciding that Christ was ?fully human, fully divine.?

Worship Sunday – Love At The End

Out of The Gaslight
Off the roads we’ve traveled on
Down by the wayside
Against the sheen of a Babylon
I’ve seen an empire
Taste the tempest of a gathering strong
But I found love at the end of the world
My rabbit’s running
On the street hot heels of Rome
My hour’s coming to reconcile with the dawn
I’m on the brink
I’m on the brink
I’m on the brink
But I found love at the end of the world
Tell the reaper
Tell the repo man
I’ve got nothing that belongs to him
Ruin pushes rubble in the city of sin
But I found love at the end of the world
Out of the goodnight
I was born into your arms
Like you’re my country
Like you’re the hills where I belong
Out of that goodnight (I’m on the brink)
I was born into your arms (I’m on the brink)
You are my country (I’m on the brink)
Like the hills where I found love at the end of the world
Tell the reaper
Tell the repo man
I’ve got nothing that belongs to him
Ruin pushes rubble in the city of sin
But I found love at the end of the world

Valentinus on Gnostic Regeneration

From Fragment H found in Clement of Alexandria:

For the many spirits dwelling in the heart do not permit it to become pure: rather, each of them performs its own acts, violating it in various ways with improper desires. And in my opinion the heart experiences something like what happens in a caravansary. For the latter is full of holes and dug up and often filled with dung, because while they are there, people live in an utterly vulgar way and take no forethought for the property since it belongs to someone else. Just so, a heart too is impure by being the habitation of many demons, until it experiences forethought.

Allogenes on God

From Allogenes:

Since it is impossible for the individuals to comprehend the Universal One situated in the place that is higher than perfect, they apprehend by means of a First Thought – not as Being alone, but it is along with the latency of Existence that he confers Being. He provides everything for himself, since it is he who shall come to be when he recognizes himself. And he is One who subsists as a cause and source of Being, and an immaterial material and an innumerable number and a formless form and a shapeless shape and a powerlessness and a power and an insubstantial substance and a motionless motion and an inactive activity. Yet he is a provider of provisions and a divinity of divinity…
But concerning the invisible, spiritual Triple-Powered-One, hear! He exists as an Invisible One who is incomprehensible to them all. He contains them all within himself, for they all exist because of him. He is perfect, and he is greater than perfect, and he is blessed. He is always One and he exists in them all, being ineffable, unnameable, being One who exists through them all – he whom, should one discern him, one would not desire anything that exists before him among those that possess existence, for he is the source from which they were all emitted. He is prior to perfection. He was prior to every divinity, and he is prior to every blessedness, since he provides for every power. And he a nonsubstantial substance, since he is a God over whom there is no divinity, the transcending of whose greatness and beauty …

Valentinians on God

From Zostrianos:

[…] enter […] the abundance […] those who […] I will speak my mystery to those who are mine and to those who will be mine. Moreover it is these who have known him who is, the Father, that is, the Root of the All, the Ineffable One who dwells in the Monad. He dwells alone in silence, and silence is tranquility since, after all, he was a Monad and no one was before him. He dwells in the Dyad and in the Pair, and his Pair is Silence. And he possessed the All dwelling within him. And as for Intention and Persistence, Love and Permanence, they are indeed unbegotten.

Worship Sunday – Rest Yes Indeed

Lord you know how often I’m confused
and you know how often I’ve been used
But I keep my mind on you unless
I should be disturbed and lose Your rest

Often I am robbed of peace of mind
Often I’m tempted to be unkind
Try to keep my mouth shut ’cause it’s best
focusing my mind on You means rest

kum-bah-yah-yay-ay-ay-ay (8x)

I have lived a life of careless ease
I’ve been doin’ whatever I please
ignoring what your Word says is best
and the things that You say will bring rest

now I’ve turned and I’m facing the light
and I’m living life with all my might
I know being near You is the best
Love God and your neighbor, be at rest

kum-bah-yah-yay-ay-ay-ay (8x)

I’m leaning on your arm, yes indeed Lord
Oh without your arm I can’t make it
no I won’t make it O Lord, no indeed, hmm.

I’m leaning on your love, yes indeed Lord
Oh without your love I can’t make it
no I won’t make it O Lord, no indeed, hmm.

I’m leaning on your arm, yes indeed Lord
Oh without your arm I can’t make it
no I won’t make it O Lord, no indeed, hmm.

I’m leaning on your joy, yes indeed Lord
Oh without your joy I can’t make it
no I won’t make it O Lord, no indeed, hmm.

I’m leaning on your arm, yes indeed Lord
Oh without your arm I can’t make it
no I won’t make it O Lord, no indeed, hmm.

I’m leaning on your Word, yes indeed Lord
Oh without your Word I can’t make it
no I won’t make it O Lord, no indeed, hmm.

I have lived a life of careless ease
I’ve been doin’ whatever I please
ignoring what your Word says is best
and the things that You say will bring rest

now I’ve turned and I’m facing the light
and I’m living life with all my might
I know being near You is the best
Love God and your neighbor, be at rest

Jeremiah 18:23 commentary

Jer 18:23  Yet you, O LORD, know all their plotting to kill me. Forgive not their iniquity, nor blot out their sin from your sight. Let them be overthrown before you; deal with them in the time of your anger. 

In Jeremiah 18, Jeremiah is sent to preach to a people group which hates him. He calls on God to judge these people. Interestingly, Jeremiah prays that God punish them “in your time of anger”. Dealing with them in God’s time of anger is meant to increase the severity of the punishment. This suggests that Jeremiah believes that God’s emotional disposition is one input into God’s actions. Jeremiah is highlighting God’s passions.

Calvinists in South Africa

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle talks about the Boer Calvinists:

while to their corruption they added such crass ignorance that they argue in the published reports of the Volksraad debates that using dynamite bombs to bring down rain was firing at God, that it is impious to destroy locusts, that the word ‘participate’ should not be used because it is not in the Bible, and that postal pillar boxes are extravagant and effeminate.

Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan. The Great Boer War . Kindle Edition.

Worship Sunday – Yahweh

Yahweh, Yahweh
Ancient One yet you’re here today
Ageless One, Changeless One
Showing love to all generations

Show us your glory, oh Lord
Let your goodness pass before us
Right before our eyes

And we will worship, and we will bow down
And we will call you Lord
And we will kneel before the maker of the universe
And we will call you Lord

Yahweh, Yahweh
Faithful One, you have shown us the way
Through the years, through all our lives
You have shown you are faithful to the end

You were faithful to Abraham you were faithful to Moses
You were Faithful to David and your faithful to us Today
We lift up are hearts to see your power and majesty
We open our eyes to see glory and your beauty
We worship you Yahweh
We worship you Yahweh

Psalms 55:23 commentary

Psa 55:23 But you, O God, will cast them down into the pit of destruction; men of blood and treachery shall not live out half their days. But I will trust in you.

In Psalms 55:23 David describes how God will bless the righteous and punish the wicked. An interesting phrase in employed against those who God will strike down. They will not “live out half their days.” In Job a similar phrase is used. Man’s days are determined and he cannot pass:

Job 14:5 Since his days are determined, and the number of his months is with you, and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass,

The figure of speech being employed in both these scenarios is that man has an upper limit on his lifespan. Man can grow old and die. No one is immortal. He lives out his days when he dies at old age. When he dies young, he does not live out his days. Neither phrase speaks towards determinism. The Israelites were not seeing a man’s life as fated and dying young as subverting that fate. Instead, the most natural take-away is that a fated lifespan was not an available position in Israelite theology so much so that it didn’t factor into their discussions of human life.

George Smith on Infallible Knowledge

There is another irritating problem with the idea of omniscience: it contradicts the attribute of omnipotence. If God knows the future with infallible certainty, he cannot change it— in which case he cannot be omnipotent. If God can change the future, however, he cannot have infallible knowledge of it prior to its actual happening— in which case he cannot be omniscient. (This is similar to the issue of in what sense, if any, God can be said to have free will. Does God know his own future decisions? If so, how can those decisions be free? Perhaps God does not make decisions. If so, how can the idea of volition apply to a being with no decisions— and hence no choices— to make?)

Smith, George H.. Atheism: The Case Against God (The Skeptic’s Bookshelf) (pp. 74-75). Prometheus Books. Kindle Edition.

George Smith on Fatalism and Omniscience

Theologians have devised a number of unsuccessful ways to reconcile omniscience and free will. One method is to argue that God’s foreknowledge does not “impose” itself on the course of events, and God knows a free action “according to the nature of the event itself— which is free.” This, of course, solves nothing, because it evades the central issue. How can an event be “free” in the first place, if God has infallible knowledge of it prior to its happening? Another approach has been to argue that “God does not exist in time at all” —but this serves only to strengthen agnosticism. Other attempts at reconciliation are similarly unimpressive, so it seems that the Christian is forever plagued with the dilemma of preaching a religion of salvation to a world of men who, according to the doctrine of omniscience, are nothing more than automatons.

Smith, George H.. Atheism: The Case Against God (The Skeptic’s Bookshelf) (p. 74). Prometheus Books. Kindle Edition.

Worship Sunday – Glorious Day

I was buried beneath my shame
Who could carry that kind of weight?
It was my tomb
‘Til I met You

I was breathing but not alive
All my failures I tried to hide
It was my tomb
‘Til I met You

You called my name
And I ran out of that grave
Out of the darkness
Into Your glorious day

Now Your mercy has saved my soul
Now Your freedom is all that I know
The old made new
Jesus, when I met You

I needed rescue, my sin was heavy
But chains break at the weight of Your glory
I needed shelter, I was an orphan
Now You call me a citizen of Heaven
When I was broken, You were my healing
Now Your love is the air that I’m breathing
I have a future, my eyes are open
‘Cause when You called my name
I ran out of that grave

Jeremiah 15:6 commentary

Jer 15:6 You have rejected me, declares the LORD; you keep going backward, so I have stretched out my hand against you and destroyed you— I am weary of relenting.

Jeremiah 15:6 portrays a sense of exasperation. The scene is that, like much of the Bible, God is preparing to judge Israel. This time God will carry through without showing mercy, because He is “weary” of “repenting”. He has been burned by leniency in the past. He has repented but Israel has not taken note and reformed in the long term. Jeremiah is an answer to this continual disappointment. This time is different. This time God will not listen to their pleas.

Not only does this verse show that God’s vision of the future is continuously thwarted by failed expectations in man, but it shows that these failed expectations are taking an emotional toll on God. God is not immutable, impassible, nor does He know the future in any exhaustive sense.

Oord on not Thinking of Ourselves as Machines

From Interiority over Mechanism:

Perhaps the best overall framework to make sense of creatures as possessing interiority is the organismic philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead.[2] Instead of regarding existence as comprised entirely of substances ricocheting off one another steel balls in an arcade game,

Whitehead believed we and all beings are fundamentally experiential. He agreed with William James who said existing beings are “drops of experience.”[3]

Thomas Berry identifies the interiority issue when he says, “the universe is composed of subjects to be communed with not objects to be exploited.”[4] Subjects have interiority.

We make better sense of both simple and complex creatures if we place priority upon mentality, response, choice, valuing, and more. The mechanization mentality ignores or even denies these capacities fundamental to organisms. We must place interiority before mechanism.

Worship Sunday – Is He Worthy?

Do you feel the world is broken?
Do you feel the shadows deepen?
But do you know that all the dark won’t stop the light from getting through?
Do you wish that you could see it all made new?
Is all creation groaning?
Is a new creation coming?
Is the glory of the Lord to be the light within our midst?
Is it good that we remind ourselves of this?
Is anyone worthy?
Is anyone whole?
Is anyone able to break the seal and open the scroll?
The Lion of Judah who conquered the grave
He is David’s root and the Lamb who died to ransom the slave
Is He worthy? Is He worthy?
Of all blessing and honor and glory
Is He worthy of this?
He is
Does the Father truly love us?
Does the Spirit move among us?
And does Jesus, our Messiah hold forever those He loves?
Does our God intend to dwell again with us?
Is anyone worthy?
Is anyone whole?
Is anyone able to break the seal and open the scroll?
The Lion of Judah who conquered the grave
He is David’s root and the Lamb who died to ransom the slave
From every people and tribe
Every nation and tongue
He has made us a kingdom and priests to God
To reign with the Son
Is He worthy?Is He worthy?
Of all blessing and honor and glory
Is He worthy? Is He worthy?
Is He worthy of this?
He is!
Is He worthy? Is He worthy?
He is!
He is!

NET Bible notes on Isaiah 57:15

Isaiah 57:15 New English Translation (NET Bible)
15 For this is what the high and exalted one says,
the one who rules forever, whose name is holy:
“I dwell in an exalted and holy place,
but also with the discouraged and humiliated,
in order to cheer up the humiliated
and to encourage the discouraged.

57:15 a tn Heb “the one who dwells forever.” שֹׁכֵן עַד (shokhen ‘ad) is sometimes translated “the one who lives forever,” and understood as a reference to God’s eternal existence. However, the immediately preceding and following descriptions (“high and exalted” and “holy”) emphasize his sovereign rule. In the next line, he declares, “I dwell in an exalted and holy [place],” which refers to the place from which he rules. Therefore it is more likely that שֹׁכֵן עַד (shokhen ‘ad) means “I dwell [in my lofty palace] forever” and refers to God’s eternal kingship.

Worship Sunday – When I’m with You

These are the things that I need to pray
Because I can’t find peace any other way
I’m a mess underneath and I’m just too scared to show it
Everything’s not fine
And I’m not okay
But it’s nice to know
I can come this way
When I’m with you
I feel the real me finally breaking through
It’s all because of you, Jesus
Anytime, anywhere, any heartache
I’m never too much for you to take
There’s only love
There’s only grace
When I’m with you
Yeah, when I’m with you, yeah
Nobody knows me like you do
No need for walls, you see right through
Every hurt, every scar, every secret you just love me
Everything’s not fine
And I’m not okay
But it’s nice to know
I can come this way
When I’m with you
I feel the real me finally breaking through
It’s all because of you, Jesus
Anytime, anywhere, any heartache
I’m never too much for you to take
There’s only love
There’s only grace
When I’m with you
I’m breathing in
I’m innocent
It’s like my heart’s on fire again
I’m not afraid
I’m not ashamed
I’m safe when I am with you
I’m breathing in
I’m innocent
It’s like my heart’s on fire again
I’m not afraid
I’m not ashamed
I’m safe when I am with you
And so I’m here just as I am
Bruised or broken
I don’t have to pretend
When I’m with you
I feel the real me finally breaking through
It’s all because of you, Jesus
Anytime, anywhere, any heartache
I’m never too much for you to take
There’s only love
There’s only grace
When I’m with you
When I’m with you
I’m breathing in
I’m innocent
It’s like my heart’s on fire again
I’m not afraid
I’m not ashamed
I’m safe when I am with you
I’m breathing in
I’m innocent
It’s like my heart’s on fire again
I’m not afraid
I’m not ashamed
I’m safe when I am with you

Malachi 2:17 commentary

Mal 2:17 You have wearied the LORD with your words. But you say, “How have we wearied him?” By saying, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delights in them.” Or by asking, “Where is the God of justice?”

In Malachi 2, the prophet implores the people to turn to God. The people have become faithless, being led by the priesthood. They have become partial in their judgments, exchanging the truth for a lie. God counters all of Israel, charging them to do good. God has been wearied by their continuous evil, and furthermore their misrepresentation of that evil as good. God is misrepresented to others, and this hurts God viscerally. This is a text of extreme mutability. God can be hurt by words.

Calvin Confirms There Were Many Open Theists in His Time

On the Providence of God, in so far as conducive to the solid instruction and consolation of believers, (for, as to satisfying the curiosity of foolish men, it is a thing which cannot be done, and ought not to be attempted,) enough would have been said, did not a few passages remain which seem to insinuate, contrary to the view which we have expounded, that the counsel of God is not firm and stable, but varies with the changes of sublunary affairs. First, in reference to the Providence of God, it is said that he repented of having made man, (Gen. 6:6,) and of having raised Saul to the kingdom, (1 Sam. 15:11,) and that he will repent of the evil which he had resolved to inflict on his people as soon as he shall have perceived some amendment in them, (Jer. 18:8.) Secondly, his decrees are sometimes said to be annulled. He had by Jonah proclaimed to the Ninevites, “Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown,” but, immediately on their repentance, he inclined to a more merciful sentence, (Jonah 3:4-10.) After he had, by the mouth of Isaiah, given Hezekiah intimation of his death, he was moved by his tears and prayers to defer it, (Is. 38:1,5; 2 Kings 20: 1,5 cf. II Chron. 32:34.) Hence many argue that God has not fixed human affairs by an eternal decree, but according to the merits of each individual, and as he deems right and just, disposes of each single year, and day, and hour.

Institutes 1.17.12
Calvin, John. The John Calvin Collection: 12 Classic Works . Waxkeep Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Calvin on God’s Purpose for Evil

Moreover, we must add, that although the paternal favour and beneficence, as well as the judicial severity of God, is often conspicuous in the whole course of his Providence, yet occasionally as the causes of events are concealed, the thought is apt to rise, that human affairs are whirled about by the blind impulse of Fortune, or our carnal nature inclines us to speak as if God were amusing himself by tossing men up and down like balls. It is true, indeed, that if with sedate and quiet minds we were disposed to learn, the issue would at length make it manifest, that the counsel of God was in accordance with the highest reason, that his purpose was either to train his people to patience, correct their depraved affections, tame their wantonness, inure them to self-denial, and arouse them from torpor; or, on the other hand, to cast down the proud, defeat the craftiness of the ungodly, and frustrate all their schemes.
Institutes 1.17.1

Calvin, John. The John Calvin Collection: 12 Classic Works . Waxkeep Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Exodus 33:5 Commentary

Exo 33:5  For the LORD had said to Moses, “Say to the people of Israel, ‘You are a stiff-necked people; if for a single moment I should go up among you, I would consume you. So now take off your ornaments, that I may know what to do with you.’” 

In Exodus 33:5, Israel has just rebelled against Yahweh at Mount Sinai. Israel was purged twice, once by sword (32:28) and once by divine plague (32:35). Those who are left do not wear ornaments because God commanded that they should not. The text indicates the purpose of refraining from ornamentation is that God might “know what to do with you”. This appears to be a test. God will further decide how to treat Israel based on their behavior. Will Israel show repentance and sorrow? Will they show hardheadedness?

Albert Barnes writes: That I may know … – By that sign of their repentance Yahweh would decide in what way they were to be punished.

Worship Sunday – Jesus Loves Me

Jesus loves me! This I know,
For the Bible tells me so;
Little ones to Him belong,
They are weak but He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!

The Bible tells me so.

Jesus loves me! He who died,
Heaven’s gate to open wide;
He will wash away my sin,
Let His little child come in.

Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!

The Bible tells me so.
The Bible tells me so.

Jeremiah 13:11 commentary

Jer 13:11  For as the loincloth clings to the waist of a man, so I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, declares the LORD, that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory, but they would not listen.

In Jeremiah 13, God commands Jeremiah to don a loincloth then bury it. When he digs up the loincloth later, it is ruined. This illustrates God’s relationship with Israel. In Jeremiah 13:11 God says He “made” Israel cling to Him. God attached Israel to Himself such that they would be His people, but they rejected God’s plan and God’s efforts. Relationships require two parties engaged in mutual free will relationships. Even God is unable to make someone love Him.

Augustine on Fate and Immutable Chain of Causes

Now, against the sacrilegious and impious darings of reason, we assert both that God knows all things before they come to pass, and that we do by our free will whatsoever we know and feel to be done by us only because we will it. But that all things come to pass by fate, we do not say; nay we affirm that nothing comes to pass by fate; for we demonstrate that the name of fate, as it is wont to be used by those who speak of fate, meaning thereby the position of the stars at the time of each one’s conception or birth, is an unmeaning word, for astrology itself is a delusion. But an order of causes in which the highest efficiency is attributed to the will of God, we neither deny nor do we designate it by the name of fate, unless, perhaps, we may understand fate to mean that which is spoken, deriving it from fari , to speak; for we cannot deny that it is written in the sacred Scriptures, God has spoken once; these two things have I heard, that power belongs unto God. Also unto You, O God, belongs mercy: for You will render unto every man according to his works. Now the expression, Once has He spoken, is to be understood as meaning immovably , that is, unchangeably has He spoken, inasmuch as He knows unchangeably all things which shall be, and all things which He will do. We might, then, use the word fate in the sense it bears when derived from fari , to speak, had it not already come to be understood in another sense, into which I am unwilling that the hearts of men should unconsciously slide. But it does not follow that, though there is for God a certain order of all causes, there must therefore be nothing depending on the free exercise of our own wills, for our wills themselves are included in that order of causes which is certain to God, and is embraced by His foreknowledge, for human wills are also causes of human actions; and He who foreknew all the causes of things would certainly among those causes not have been ignorant of our wills.
City of God (Book V)
Chapter 9.— Concerning the Foreknowledge of God and the Free Will of Man, in Opposition to the Definition of Cicero.

Ambrose on the Omniscience of Jesus

118. But if you are willing to learn that the Son of God knows all things, and has foreknowledge of all, see that those very things which you think to be unknown to the Son, the Holy Spirit received from the Son. He received them, however, through Unity of Substance, as the Son received from the Father. He, says He, shall glorify Me, for He shall receive of Mine and shall declare it unto you. All things whatsoever the Father has are Mine, therefore said I, He shall receive of Mine, and shall declare it unto you. [ John 16:14-15 ] What, then, is more clear than this Unity? What things the Father has pertain to the Son; what things the Son has the Holy Spirit also has received.
On the Holy Spirit, Book II

Ambrose on Active Omniscience

194. I ask then, whether He had this knowledge by reason of His Being, or by chance? For all knowledge comes to us either through nature, or by learning. It is supplied by nature, as for instance to a horse to enable it to run, or to a fish to enable it to swim. For they do this without learning. On the other hand, it is by learning that a man is enabled to swim. For he could not do so unless he had learned. Since therefore nature enables dumb animals to do and to know what they have not learned, why should you give an opinion on the Son of God, and say whether He has knowledge by instruction or by nature? If by instruction, then He was not begotten as Wisdom, and gradually began to be perfect, but was not always so. But if He has knowledge by nature, then He was perfect in the beginning, He came forth perfect from the Father; and so needed no foreknowledge of the future.

195. He therefore was not ignorant of the days; for it does not fall to the lot of the Wisdom of God to know in part and in part to be ignorant. For how can He who made all things be ignorant of a part, since it is a less thing to know than to make.
Exposition of the Christian Faith, Book V

Worship Sunday – I Will Fear No More

Every anxious thought that steals my breath
It’s a heavy weight upon my chest
As I lie awake and wonder what the future will hold
Help me to remember that You’re in control
You’re my courage when I worry in the dead of night
You’re my strength ’cause I’m not strong enough to win this fight
You are greater than the battle raging in my mind
I will trust You, Lord
I will fear no more
I will lift my eyes
I will lift my cares
Lay them in Your hands
I’ll leave them there
When the wind and waves are coming
You shelter me
Even though I’m in the storm, the storm is not in me
You’re my courage when I worry in the dead of night
You’re my strength ’cause I’m not strong enough to win this fight
You are greater than the battle raging in my mind
I will trust You, Lord
I will fear no more
I will fear no more
I will fear no more
No power can come against me
‘Cause You have overcome
No darkness can overwhelm me
‘Cause You’ve already won
No power can come against me
‘Cause You have overcome
(Oh-oh-oh-ohh, oh-oh-oh-ohh)
No darkness can overwhelm me
‘Cause You’ve already won
(Oh-oh-oh-ohh, oh-oh-oh-ohh)
You’re my courage when I worry in the dead of night
You’re my strength ’cause I’m not strong enough to win this fight
You are greater than the battle raging in my mind
I will trust You, Lord (Trust You, Lord)
I will fear no more (Fear no more)
I will fear no more (Fear no more)
I will fear no more
I will fear no more
I will fear no more

1 John 5:14 Commentary

1Jn 5:14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.

The consistent Biblical message is one of God hearing prayer. God responds and reacts to prayer. The one who prays can influence and get God to respond. This suggests active listening, real time recalculation, and a genuine care towards humanity in God.

Augustine on Omniscience

6. When the wicked man departed from me, I knew him not [ Psalm 100:4 ]. I approved him not, I praised him not, he pleased me not. For we find the word to know occasionally used in Scripture, in the sense of to be pleased. For what is hidden from God, brethren? Does He know the just, and does He not know the unjust? What do you think of, that He does not know? I say not, what do you think; but what will you ever think, that He will not have seen beforehand? God knows all things, then; and yet in the end, that is in judgment after mercy,
Expositions on the Psalms (Augustine)

Clement of Alexandria on Omniscience

For God knows all things— not those only which exist, but those also which shall be— and how each thing shall be. And foreseeing the particular movements, He surveys all things, and hears all things, seeing the soul naked within; and possesses from eternity the idea of each thing individually. And what applies to theatres, and to the parts of each object, in looking at, looking round, and taking in the whole in one view, applies also to God. For in one glance He views all things together, and each thing by itself; but not all things, by way of primary intent.
The Stromata (Book VI)

John of Damascus on Foreknowledge and Freewill

We ought to understand that while God knows all things beforehand, yet He does not predetermine all things. For He knows beforehand those things that are in our power, but He does not predetermine them. For it is not His will that there should be wickedness nor does He choose to compel virtue. So that predetermination is the work of the divine command based on fore-knowledge. But on the other hand God predetermines those things which are not within our power in accordance with His prescience. For already God in His prescience has prejudged all things in accordance with His goodness and justice.
An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith

Worship Sunday – A Song Of Confession

For the things we’ve done and left undone
For the ways we’ve wandered from your heart
Forgive us, we pray
Forgive us, we pray

For the idols we put on Your throne
For the loves we choose above Your own
Forgive us, we pray
Forgive us, we pray

Lord have mercy
Christ have mercy
Lord have mercy on us, on us

For the lies that we clutch to our chests
For the fear that wants to steal our breath
Forgive us, we pray
And give us Your grace

Forgiving God, forgiving us
Forgiving God, forgiving us
Forgiving God, forgiving us
Forgiving God, forgiving us

2 Chronicles 7:14 commentary

2Ch 7:14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14 is part of a larger narrative where Solomon completes the temple. God appears to Solomon in a dream (“by night”) and tells Solomon that God will respond to His people’s prayers now that a temple exists where His “eyes and heart will be perpetually”. God is confirming His commitment to His people to respond and listen to their prayers and act accordingly.

Heidl on Christian Platonism of Origen and Augustine

From The Influence of Origen on the Young Augustine:

Origen and Augustine are two giants – some would say the two giants – of the early Christian theological world. Each of them pondered fundamental questions of belief in a world marked by suffering and imperfection. For each the interplay of Divine justice, Providence, grace, human freedom and the love of the Creator for creatures was a problem that demanded a cosmic solution. Both addressed this problem with one eye on the Bible, the other on contemporaneous philosophical discussion. Addressing the most sophisticated critiques of Christianity, each contested the claim that later Platonism was most appropriately melded with traditional Greco-Roman religion rather than with Christianity.

Worship Sunday – Spirit of God

Spirit, gift from the Father, Spirit, fire of love
Come now, just like you promised
You said you’d come, Spirit of God

We are humbled before you, watching, waiting for you
Hungry with expectation
We know you’ll come, Spirit of God

Breathe on us Spirit of God
Breathe on us Spirit of God

You can come like the wind if you want to
You can burn like a fire in our hearts
You can shake everything til it trembles
You can whisper the songs of your love
We know you’ll come
Spirit of God

Luke 5:22 Commentary

Luk 5:22 But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, He answered and said to them, “Why are you reasoning in your hearts?

In Luke 5:22 Jesus is described as acquiring knowledge. This is contrary to claims that Jesus was omniscient (often claimed from prooftexts such as John 16:30). Jesus, in Luke, “perceives” events and thoughts as they occur in real time. He learns about them. The text doesn’t give the method of acquiring the knowledge. Jesus could have read their body language, heard their murmurs, or even had direct access to their thoughts. In any case, Jesus gains the knowledge.

Enns on the Messy Parts of the Bible

From when God stops making sense (or, my favorite part of the Old Testament):

But for Psalms and wisdom literature, life isn’t black and white. Life is messy, unpredictable, and often makes no sense.

These books take issue with the storyline and its moral. They interrogate the black and white script and conclude, “Life isn’t that straightforward.”

Job loses everything he has except his life. The script (e.g., Deuteronomy) says that such calamities are by God’s hand, a response to disobedience. Yet we learn from Job that this is not the case.
Ecclesiastes questions the “world order” God has made: nothing we do matters, since we all die and are driven to the point of madness at the thought of our futile existence.
A number of psalms lament God’s absence in the world. Like Psalm 73–where the author can’t get his head around how a just God can allow the wicked to prosper.
Or Psalm 89–where God is in effect called a liar for promising that one of King David’s descendants would always be on the throne in Jerusalem and then allowing the Babylonians to kill off the last of David’s royal line and take the people captive.

Oord on God Creating Plans not Blueprints

From Providence as Improv, Jazz, or Family

Plans but No Blueprint
Many timeless theologies assume the God outside time predetermined creation’s current events and future outcomes. Or they assume this timeless God foreknows – in some mysterious way – precisely how history plays out.

Because God either foreordains or foreknows every occurrence, timeless God theologies typically think of providence like a detailed divine blueprint. This blueprint portrays all events in advance.

Theologies that believe God and creation are in process deny God foreordains or foreknows exhaustively. The future is open, they say, and the present becomes what a timefull God and creation decide. There is not detailed divine blueprint.

Worship Sunday – Forever You

Even in a world
Where nothing stays the same
There is still a truth
A truth that still remains

Forever You will always be
Our God on high, the Lord in me
The King of hope, the Lord of love
The Prince of peace, the Lamb of God

Even though the heart
Always seems to change
There is still a love
A love that stays the same

You will always be exalted
King of Kings and Holy Father

Secular Scholar on Yahweh being known through act

From Friedman, Richard Elliott, Who Wrote the Bible:

The chief pagan god in the region that was to become Israel was El. El was male, patriarchal, a ruler. Unlike the other major god of the region, Haddu (the storm wind), El was not identified with any particular force in nature. He sat at the head of the council of the
gods and pronounced the council’s decisions.

The God of Israel was Yahweh. He, too, was male, patriarchal, a ruler, and not identified with any one force in nature. Rather than
describing him in terms of nature or myths, the people of Israel spoke of Yahweh in terms of his acts in history—as we shall see.

Calvinist Prays for Something that Prayer Wont Help

From Beg God to Move Again:

History shows us that there is no exact prescription for revival. It is an act of the sovereign God, and we can’t dictate what he should do and when he should do it. I have been praying for revival in Sri Lanka since 1975. Only once, while attending a conference, have I seen something close to revival. But I continue to pray that, in my lifetime or after, the Lord would send his showers of blessing upon our people through revival.

Reknew on Active v Passive Knowledge

From How People Misunderstand Open Theism

I’m always puzzled as to why many defenders of the classical theism spin the debate with open theists as a disagreement over the perfection of God’s knowledge. For example, they publish books with titles like How Much Does God Know? (Steven Roy) and What Does God Know and When Does He Know It? (Millard Erickson). Since open theists believe God always knows everything, why do they continue to argue as if we don’t?

Part of the explanation, of course, may be simple propaganda. My sense is that, while spinning the debate as about God’s knowledge rather than the nature of reality certainly is advantageous for the purpose of propaganda, the critics who argue this way also seem to sincerely believe what they’re saying. How can this be?

While researching some ancient philosophers who influenced theologians like Augustine and Boethius, I uncovered something that may help explain this curious phenomenon. Let me briefly explain.

First, Plato argued that we see not by light entering our eyes (as we now know is the case) but by light proceeding out of our eyes (Timaeus 45b). For Plato, seeing is an active, not a passive, process. Since knowledge was considered to be a kind of seeing, Plato also construed knowing as acting on something rather than being acted upon (Sophist 248-49). I’ve discovered that this mistaken view of seeing and knowing is picked up and defended by a host of Hellenistic philosophers.

Second, several Neoplatonistic philosophers (Iamblichus, Proclus and Ammonius) used this theory of eyesight and knowing to explain how the gods can foreknow future free actions. They argued that the nature of divine knowledge is determined not by what is known but by the nature of the knower. Since they assumed the gods were absolutely unchanging, they concluded that the gods knew things in an absolutely unchanging manner, despite the fact that the reality the gods know is in fact perpetually changing. This allowed them to affirm that the future partly consisted of indefinite (aoristos) truths (viz. open possibilities) while nevertheless insisting that the gods knew the future in an exhaustively definite, unchanging way.

Mormon on the Insecurity of Calvinism

From Kwaku El, The Insecurity of Calvinism:

And perhaps such a personal insecurity resonates well with the God of Calvinism, a God that needed to prove his power, a God that created the world to boast in his own glory. A God that wasn’t secure in himself; and had to resort to bragging. A God that only loves the Calvinist or Christian, who’s theology the Calvinist approves of, and a God that only sent his son to die solely for the Calvinist or Christian, who’s theology the Calvinist approves of.
In this theology all naysayers can be disregarded. It isn’t that your theology is cruel, it isn’t that the beliefs hold a selfishness and anger toward the world, it’s just that God created them not to understand, and you’re simply better. All who disagree were made that way, but you were made to be one of the elect.

Isaiah 30:1 Commentary

Isa 30:1 “Ah, stubborn children,” declares the LORD, “who carry out a plan, but not mine, and who make an alliance, but not of my Spirit, that they may add sin to sin;

Throughout the Bible there is a reoccurring theme of people’s rejections of God’s plan and an implementation of their own. God laments Israel departing from His plan. In Isaiah 30, in exasperation, God reminds Israel of His work on their behalf in Egypt.

This verse overturns ideas of divine meticulous control of all events. Far from God controlling all things, God is thwarted. The people go their own way, and not God’s.

Rabbi Sacks on Hebrew Storytelling

We owe virtually all our abstract concepts to the Greeks. The Hebrew Bible knows nothing of such ideas. There is a creation narrative – in fact, more than one – but there is no theoretical discussion of what the basic elements of the universe are. There is an enthralling story about the birth of monarchy in Israel, but no discussion, such as is to be found in Plato and Aristotle, about the relative merits of monarchy as opposed to aristocracy or democracy. When the Hebrew Bible wants to explain something, it does not articulate a theory. It tells a story.

Sacks, Jonathan. The Great Partnership: Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning (p. 44). Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Shed on the Decrees of God

From a Calvinist Systematic Theology:

The Divine decree is formed in eternity, but executed in time. There are sequences in the execution, but not in the formation of God’s eternal purpose. In his own mind and consciousness, God simultaneously because eternally decrees all that occurs in space and time; but the effects and results corresponding to the decree occur successively, not simultaneously. There were thirty-three years between the actual incarnation and the actual crucifixion, but not between the decree that the Logos should be incarnate and the decree that he should be crucified. In the Divine decree, Christ was simultaneously because eternally incarnate and crucified. “The Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world,”

William G. T. Shedd. Dogmatic Theology (Kindle Locations 5417-5422). Monergism Books. Kindle Edition.

Worship Sunday – Nothing but the Blood

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus
Come to us, Lord
You reward those who earnestly, diligently seek You
I wanna see Your face, I wanna know Your way
Come to us, Lord
We want You more than this life
More than our way Your way is higher
Your thoughts are higher
We surrender here tonight
What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus
Oh, precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow
No other fount I know
Nothing but the blood of Jesus
Oh, precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow
No other fount I know
Nothing but the blood of Jesus
Nothing but the blood of Jesus

Judges 9:56 Commentary

Jdg 9:56 Thus God repaid the wickedness of Abimelech, which he had done to his father by killing his seventy brothers.
Jdg 9:57 And all the evil of the men of Shechem God returned on their own heads, and on them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal.

The story of Abimelech is an interesting case of a divine curse being fulfilled. Abimelech was son of Gideon via a servant girl. He had his 70 brothers killed in order for him to remain as the sole claimant as tribal leader. One of the 70 sons escaped, cursing Abimelech as he left. This curse seems to have been honored by God, although the curse does not invoke God’s name.

God, after three years, sends a spirit to drive a wedge between Shechem (the city that appointed Abimelech as ruler) and Abimelech:

Jdg 9:23 And God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the leaders of Shechem, and the leaders of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech,
Jdg 9:24 that the violence done to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal might come, and their blood be laid on Abimelech their brother, who killed them, and on the men of Shechem, who strengthened his hands to kill his brothers.

Shechem soon turns to new leaders who challenge Abimelech. Abimelech crushes his new rivals. He then burns the leaders of Shechem alive (fulfilling the curse). Abimelech then turns against the city of Thebez, who had apparently joined the Shechem rebellion. It is here he is struck by a falling millstone and dies. This death is attributed to God. God repaid the wickedness of Abimelech.

The story reads as if God is the cause of the flow of the narrative, although there seems to be randomness and coincidence embedded throughout. God sends an “evil” spirit (probably better understood as a mischievous spirit). This spirit’s goal is to drive a wedge between the guilty people and the guilty Abimelech such that they turn their power against each other. God is pitting his enemies against his enemies.

This spirit causes a chain of events which kills not only the people of Shechem but also Abimelech. It could be that God guided the millstone which killed Abemelech, but any circumstance of death for Abimelech would likely be attributed to God repaying Abemelech. God is the reason Abimelech is involved in this civil war in the first place.

God seems to have had vested interest in Shechem’s rebellion failing, such that they receive punishment. God also seems to have vested interest in Abemelech dying in an extended campaign. Fire destroyed Shechem (per the curse) but not Abemelech (against the curse). The fire could be meant figuratively. The curse was that the relationship between Abemelech and Shechem would prove toxic. The evil spirit is explicitly attributed to causing this failed relationship, and no more. It is unclear the extent that God intervened other than this failed relationship, and surely the curse could have been fulfilled in diverse ways (e.g. Abemelech could have died in open combat while his troops defeated Shechem). The use of a spirit as an impetus (after 3 years of non-intervention) implies God is not controlling all things but intervenes where necessary to further the events of history.

Worship Sunday – My Lighthouse

In my wrestling and in my doubts
In my failures You won’t walk out
Your great love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea
You are the peace in my troubled sea
In the silence, You won’t let go
In the questions, Your truth will hold
Your great love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea
You are the peace in my troubled sea
My lighthouse, my lighthouse
Shining in the darkness. I will follow You
My lighthouse, my lighthouse
I will trust the promise
You will carry me safe to shore (oh-oh-oh-oh-oh)
Safe to shore (oh-oh-oh-oh-oh)
Safe to shore (oh-oh-oh-oh-oh)
Safe to shore
I won’t fear what tomorrow brings
With each morning I’ll rise and sing
My God’s love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea
You are the peace in my troubled sea
My lighthouse, my lighthouse
Shining in the darkness, I will follow You
My lighthouse, my lighthouse
I will trust the promise
You will carry me safe to shore (oh-oh-oh-oh-oh)
Safe to shore (oh-oh-oh-oh-oh)
Safe to shore (oh-oh-oh-oh-oh)
Safe to shore
Fire before us, You’re the brightest
You will lead us through the storms
Fire before us, You’re the brightest
You will lead us through the storms
Fire before us, You’re the brightest
You will lead us through the storms
Fire before us, You’re the brightest
You will lead us through the storms
My lighthouse, my lighthouse
Shining in the darkness, I will follow You
My lighthouse, my lighthouse
I will trust the promise
You will carry me safe to shore (oh-oh-oh-oh-oh)
Safe to shore (oh-oh-oh-oh-oh)
Safe to shore (oh-oh-oh-oh-oh)
Safe to shore

Cook on the Bible as Literature

From Studying and Interpreting Biblical Narratives:

Bible as Literature
The Bible is supernatural and extraordinary. Its theological and poetic, it’s prophetic and it wisdom. Our approach here is also about a correct understanding of the Word of God not just as literature but also as revealed truth. As we explore the genres of the Bible it does not take long to run into the stories which are called Biblical narratives. Biblical narratives are historical writing. That is, it is concern with the characters and events that takes place. Because the Bible is revealed truth there is a fundamental presuppositions that we take to the text. That is the Bible is rooted in time and space history. Biblical narratives are not just fictional stories but actual history that took place and are to be interpreted as literally true in all its parts and details unless the genre changes within the narratives, i.e., within a story there a vision, or it specifically says otherwise. That being said let’s take a look at some basics presupposition about Biblical narratives. Biblical narratives are to be taken at face value as historical fact. Historical writing wants to tell us what happened. Historical facts are often places into an interpretive moral and spiritual framework. Historical writings is not deconstructism where one attempt to distort history, but it affirms the truth about what took place. When you read the Bible as literature you detract the authority of the Bible by bring down to the same level as other secular literature. This not the case because the major difference in the two is in Biblical literature God is the hero of all narrative in the Scriptures not man as in secular literature. However we should very intentional and not throw away exegetical soundness. Because it is too easy to take things out of it context and distort the Word of God. This not the case either because once your learn to identify the different type of literature that is used throughout the Scriptures will assist you extracting the true intended meaning of it. We do have to continuously practice exegetical soundness but we do not have to give up out literary awareness.

New Open Theism Book

The opening paragraph:

God neither wanted nor anticipated evil (Jer. 7:31; 19:5; 32:35). His creative intentions were completely beneficent (Ps. 8:3-9; Isa. 45:18; Eze. 28:15). Yet the common idea that God is “outside of time” and dwells in an “eternal now” continues to prevail among Christians. He is said to see all of the past, present, and future simultaneously. If this is true then He is completely at fault for evil.

Edwards, Troy. Is the Future Set in Stone?: A Biblical study of God’s relation to time and knowledge of the future . Vindicating God Ministries. Kindle Edition.

Doug Gibson on the Name of God

From the God is Open Facebook group:

Ever think about why people name animals? We become attached to some animals we call ‘pets’ and we attribute a kind of personal value to them that we do not do to other animals that we might kill for food. There is a kind of personification that takes places, an anthropomorphization (is that a word?) that people do, so to speak, and I think it is good to do so. Pets are awesome and they help us psychologically and in other ways. They become attached to us and see us as family. While we are anthropomorphizing our dogs, they in turn are ‘canine-izing’ us. They see similarities and we are seen as part of their pack. There is somewhat of a social, relational and personal aspect to our lesser than human friends.

Adam gave -not necessarily personal names to all the animals because that is a lot of names to call every elephant a specific name, but he created a NOMENCLATURE. He made a log of the different types of animals. When he first saw Eve, he CALLED her ‘woman’.

But he NAMED her ‘Eve’. There is something personal there. He calls her woman, but NAMES her ‘Eve’. What is God telling us?

But the Bible tells us, even in Genesis, names of God. Hey wait now! That’s like something a REAL PERSON would have! God has names. How many names is not the issue, whether you call him Yaweh or Jesus. But we have God both calling and naming Adam, and we have the woman named Eve. One of the facts about Personhood is that persons have names. For God to have a name, isn’t that to bring God down to the level of a mere man? Naming is something personal and intelligent beings do. It is a recognition of the ‘I’ and the ‘thou’.

Rest assured, Plato’s ‘God’ did not have a name. Only real persons have names. Is your God a mere personification or is there something familiar and personal about him to you so that God is not only loving but is inherently lovable?

Worship Sunday – Grace and Love

Many things in life are hard for me
Many things can pull us down
I don’t understand why I do what I do
How could I take my eyes off you
After all You’ve done for me
And after all You’ve done for me

It’s by Your grace and love I am saved
It’s by Your grace and love You’ve forgiven me, hey
And by that love and grace, I’m amazed
It’s by Your grace and love I am free
I am free

And it’s by grace and love that I am free
I’ll live with you eternally
I thank you Lord that I am free
I thank you Lord for loving me
I thank you Lord for dying upon the tree of Calvary
I thank you Lord for loving me
I thank you Lord for dying for me

Because it’s by grace and love I am saved
It’s by Your grace and love You’ve forgiven me, hey
And by that love and grace, I’m amazed
It’s by Your grace and love I am free
I am free

Many things in life are hard for me
Byt my grace and love You’ve forgiven me
And by grace and love we are free

Psalms 89:25 Commentary

Psa 89:25  I will set his hand on the sea and his right hand on the rivers. 

In Psalms 89:25, God promises to give David control over vast tracks of land. A metaphor is employed. God will set David’s “hand” on the sea and set his “hand” on the river. Idiomatically this means David will have military control over the land between both locations.

Of interest is the use of language in this verse. It is a metaphor, but if the language was used of God it would be called “anthropomorphic”. The metaphor is not inherently about if King David has hands or doesn’t hand hands. King David could have lost his hands in combat and the metaphor still holds.

When using metaphors, about God or man, the language of the metaphor is not automatically false (i.e. God repenting). The language is about the meaning behind the metaphor (i.e. hands being a stand-in for power). To use metaphors (“anthropomorphisms”) to prove or not prove the face value language of the metaphor is besides the point. Language has meaning. The idiomatic meaning is what matters.

Worship Sunday – Reckless Love

https://youtu.be/Sc6SSHuZvQE

Before I spoke a word, You were singing over me

You have been so, so good to me
Before I took a breath, You breathed Your life in me
You have been so, so kind to me

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah

When I was Your foe, still Your love fought for me
You have been so, so good to me
When I felt no worth, You paid it all for me
You have been so, so kind to me

And oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
And I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah

There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
Lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me
There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
Lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me
There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
Lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me
There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
Lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
And I couldn’t earn it, I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah

1 Samuel 23:12 commentary

1Sa 23:12 Then David said, “Will the men of Keilah surrender me and my men into the hand of Saul?” And the LORD said, “They will surrender you.”

In 1Sa 23:12, King David has just saved the city of Keilah from the Philistines. King Saul hears about this and is delighted that David has picked a static location for Saul to attack. Saul has been jealous of David for some time and finally sees his opportunity to be rid of David. David, knowing of Saul’s pending attack consults God: Will the city of Keilah surrender David over to Saul if Saul appears. To whom do they show loyalty? God answers that Keilah will surrender David to Saul.

One way to read this passage is that God has in His mind every single path and outcome that can and will occur based on the free actions of human beings. If King David stays, he will be turned over to Saul (absent some other choice or intervention).

Another way to read this passage is that God is merely telling David to whom the city is loyal. The question functions in the same way as “is the city loyal to Saul or David?”. If this is the case, the question would be a current survey of the intentions of the key players in the city.

Both these readings are in contrast to any omniscience of all future events. God states what will happen. It does not happen. David was able to use knowledge of possible events to subvert those events, much like God leading Israel out of Egypt by a certain route which avoided the Philistines in case they would decide to return to Egypt (Exo 13:17).

1 Kings 3:13 Commentary

1Ki 3:13  I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days. 

1 Kings 3:13 implores the language of comparability. This is the same language used to establish negative attributes of God such as immutability, simplicity, perfection, and class difference.

It is overlooked by Kant and Fischer, and by all who reason upon this line of analogy, that the idea of God, or the absolutely Perfect, is unique and solitary. God is not only unus but unicus. There is no parallel to him. No true analogue can be found. “To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him?” Isa. 40:18. To employ analogical reasoning in a case where all analogies fail, was the error of Gaunilo, and has been repeated from his day to this.

William G. T. Shedd. Dogmatic Theology (Kindle Locations 3121-3124). Monergism Books. Kindle Edition.

In 1 Kings 3:13, this is not the meaning God is attributing to Solomon. God is using the language to establish a quality difference. Solomon will be incomparable in the sense of scale. No one will be his equal. The language of comparability does not necessitate the meaning that is typically attributed to it.

Abasciano Accuss White of Misrepresentation

In conclusion, I found James White’s reply to my article concerning his faulty treatment of the Greek and context of Acts 13:48 to be thoroughly flawed, vindicating most of my original comments. He did correct my false impression that he implied that the pluperfect positively indicates that the action of the verb does not continue into the present. But from criticizing my article for not making a positive case for tasso meaning “disposed” in Acts 13:48 when that was not its purpose (its purpose was to document some errors in White’s case for it meaning “appointed” and against it meaning “disposed”), to overestimating the amount and force of the argumentation in favor of his view, to denying the misleading (though not intentionally so I am sure) character of his comments that gave the impression that tasso means “appoint” in Acts 13:48 because it means “appoint” at a couple other places in Acts, to multiple grammatical errors, to answering grammatical points raised against his argument with Calvinist theology rather than Greek grammar, all the while ridiculing my views and accusing me of eisegesis, White’s response misfired at almost every level. To reword the conclusion to my article a little, White’s argument is very weak. There is a danger that some might be convinced by arguments like his because an author gives concrete reasons and mentions Greek when those arguments are not correct. In the midst of White talking about the mysterious sounding Greek pluperfect, he says it would have to apply to such and such a point in the narrative, though without any foundation for doing so, and those who do not know Greek might be inclined to believe it. But the argument is not sound. Neither is White’s reply to my article

From A Reply to James White Concerning His Faulty Treatment of the Greek and Context of Acts 13:48

Worship Sunday – Yahweh

Gaze, I want to Gaze at You
Soak, soak in all You do
Sit so simply at Your feet
Listen to Your voice so sweet
And let time pass away as I simply praise
Yahweh, my Lord I cry
Jehovah Elohim, the Lord Most High
And when my hands are raised, my knees, they fall
As I simply praise, Jehovah
Cry as I see Your blood stains
Overwhelmed as I see Your pain
And I’ll dance, dance, dance because I am set free
You are my conqueror, Jehovah Nissi
So let time pass away as I simply praise
Yahweh, my Lord I cry
Jehovah Elohim, the Lord Most High
And when my hands are raised, my knees, they fall
As I simply praise, Jehovah
Do I believe that You’re my God
That You’re all I need, that you’re all I need?
Do I believe that You’ll sit down
And be crowned my king for eternity?
Do I believe that You’re my God
That You’re all I need, that you’re all I need?
Do I believe that You’ll sit down
And be crowned my king for eternity?
Do I believe that You’re my God
That You’re all I need, that you’re all I need?
Do I believe that You’ll sit down
And be crowned my king for eternity?
So let time pass away as I simply praise
Yahweh, my Lord I cry
Jehovah Elohim, the Lord Most High
And when my hands are raised, my knees, they fall
As I simply praise, Jehovah
My Daddy, my Abba, my Best Friend
Yahweh

Isaiah 14:24 Commentary

Isa 14:24  The LORD of hosts has sworn: “As I have planned, so shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand, 

Isaiah 14:24 often appears in prooftext lists for verses claiming God controls all things:

God’s counsel is his determinate thought and fixed decree pertaining to all things (Isa. 14: 24– 27; Dan. 4: 24).
Bavinck, Herman. Reformed Dogmatics : Volume 2: God and Creation (p. 318). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

The context is an oracle against the Assyrians. God declares that He will destroy them in the hills of Israel. The passage ends emphatically:

Isa 14:27  For the LORD of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back? 

Those who would use this as a prooftext for God causing all things do not have a contextual basis for the claim. In context Yahweh declares what He is planning. Extending this to all things that ever happen is not warranted. General rules in the Bible state that when God is going to do something, to prove He is the actor, He will declare it before it happens. In This way people can know that it was God who did it, and not happenstance. The idea is not that God generally does all things ever, but specific major acts with spectacle.

Dead does not mean Dead

From Leighton Flowers:

Let’s look at the uses of the term “DEAD” in the scripture for you to decide:

1) Jesus referred to the church in Sardis as “DEAD” and called them to “wake up” (Rev 3). Given Christ’s use of the idiomatic term “DEAD” in reference to this church, should we presume that his hearers cannot respond positively to Christ’s appeal in this passage as well?

2) The Prodigal was “DEAD/lost” then “alive/found” demonstrating that the term “DEAD” is idiomatic for “separated by rebellion” not “innate moral inability” (Luke 15:24).

3) “When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”‭‭ – James‬ ‭1:13-15‬ ‭

The Hebrew View of Sin

By Henry Preserved Smith:

A large number of Old Testament passages show that a sin is anything which puts a man in the wrong with reference to another man, which offends him. Pharaoh’s butler and baker offend their master, and are put into prison. Laban pursues Jacob and reminds him that he is able to do him an injury. Jacob expostulates: ” What is my trespass? What is my sin that thou hast hotly pursued me ?” Similarly Abimelech to Abraham: “What have I done to thee, and what have I sinned against thee, that thou hast brought upon me and my kingdom a great sin ?” David raises the same question when convinced of Saul’s enmity. Jephthah’s argument with the Ammonites turns on the point whether there has been actual injury (sin) to justify the war. Judah will be a
sinner against his father if he does not bring Benjamin back to him, and Bathsheba asserts that if Adonijah comes to the throne she and Solomon will be sinners. In no one of these cases is there a question of violation of positive law, or of deviation from a moral standard. The only thing which the writer has in mind is that there has been offense of one person by another. Similarly, when Hezekiah confesses to Sennacherib that he has sinned, he
does not mean that he did not act in good conscience in revolting, but that events have put him in the power of his adversary. To this extent only is he in the wrong.”

Offenses against the divinity are regarded from the same point of view with offenses against men. Direct infringement of his rights will of course call out his anger. Uzzah’s well-meant grasping of the Ark was a sin. So was David’s intrusion into the sphere of the divine knowledge in taking the census.

Worship Sunday – All My Worship

I will stay here for a little while
Until I look
Like the One, I behold
And I will, pour out my fight
Until all of me, is on the floor
And at YOUR feet, I will sing
At YOUR feet, I will sing
YOUR Name is sweet like honey
Your voice it sounds like the waters
Your eyes are full of fire
Fairer than the suns of men
YOUR name is pure and Holy
For YOU alone are worthy
There is none beside YOU
LORD of lord’s and KING of King’s
I will stay here for a little while
Until I look like the ONE I behold
I will pour out my fight
Until all of me, is on the floor
And at YOUR feet, I will sing
At YOUR feet, I will sing
At YOUR feet, I will sing
At YOUR feet, I will sing
At YOUR feet, I will sing
YOUR name is sweet like honey
YOUR voice it sounds like the waters
YOUR eyes are full of fire
Fairer than the suns of men
YOUR Name is Pure and HOLY
For YOU alone are worthy
There is none beside you LORD of lords and KING of Kings
SO, I give YOU all my worship
I give YOU all my worship
I give YOU all my worship
Oh For YOU alone are GOD
I will stay here for a little while
Until I look like the ONE I behold
(And I will, pour out my fire
Until all of me, is on the floor
And at YOUR feet, I will sing
At YOUR feet, I will sing
At YOUR feet I will sing
At YOUR feet, I will sing
At YOUR feet, I will sing)
YOUR name is sweet like Honey
YOUR voice sounds like the waters
(YOUR eyes are full of fire
Fairer than the suns of men
YOUR Name is pure and Holy
For YOU alone are worthy
There is none beside YOU
LORD of lord’s and KING of kings
SO I give you all my worship
I give YOU all my worship
I give you all my worship
For YOU alone are GOD)

2 Samuel 24:12 Commentary

2Sa 24:12 “Go and tell David, ‘Thus says the LORD: “I offer you three things; choose one of them for yourself, that I may do it to you.” ‘ “

In the context of 2 Samuel 24, God is judging King David. God has found offense in David performing a census. Assumedly this action shows a lack of faith in God’s providence. God decides to punish King David and gives David three options: Famine, violent enemies, or plague.

God tells David that God will do whatever David chooses to do. Not only does this illustrate contingent future events, but also shows God delegating decisions. God is not determining everything, but even allows His punishment to be subject to human input.

Worship Sunday – Grace and Love

Many things in life are hard for me
Many things can pull us down
I don’t understand why I do what I do
How could I take my eyes off you
After all You’ve done for me
And after all You’ve done for me

It’s by Your grace and love I am saved
It’s by Your grace and love You’ve forgiven me, hey
And by that love and grace, I’m amazed
It’s by Your grace and love I am free
I am free

And it’s by grace and love that I am free
I’ll live with you eternally
I thank you Lord that I am free
I thank you Lord for loving me
I thank you Lord for dying upon the tree of Calvary
I thank you Lord for loving me
I thank you Lord for dying for me

Because it’s by grace and love I am saved
It’s by Your grace and love You’ve forgiven me, hey
And by that love and grace, I’m amazed
It’s by Your grace and love I am free
I am free

Many things in life are hard for me
Byt my grace and love You’ve forgiven me
And by grace and love we are free