Speak to the Rock

He spoke about Moses striking the rock for the children of Israel. He seemed somewhat surprised. Why would God not let Moses into the Promised Land because of hitting a rock? It just seems a bit unfair. I could understand how such a question could arise and I spoke to him (Whose identity is kept secret) afterwards to give a quick thought on it, but it was only a quick one and I have had more time to ponder it.

My first thought immediately was of what Paul says about that rock in 1 Cor. 10. Paul says that they all drank from the rock and that rock was Christ. In other words then, what Moses did was to strike Christ, the very Messiah of Israel. Once we understand that, we can begin to understand the gravity of the act.

Now someone might say, “Ah. But this is a metaphor! How can we blame Moses for not understanding a metaphor?” Indeed, Moses might not have understood it. However, there is one thing he would have definitely understood. He would have understood the command to speak to the rock. The words are clear and they are clearly disobeyed.

What we must realize is that God is revealing himself and he takes that very seriously, even though it is in metaphor. While the metaphor is not the same as the message that it conveys or an object is not the same as that which it represents, it is still to be taken in a serious manner be it a holy or unholy metaphor.

So when we see Noah being told that because of the rainbow, he can be sure that God will never flood the world again, we must also realize that while the rainbow is not the same as the promise, we dare not disrespect the rainbow and doubt God whenever we do see that reminder.

Do we not see the same with other metaphors in the Bible? Indeed. We see that the ark of the covenant is to be the representation of God in the Israelite camp. When Uzzah touches the ark, he is struck dead immediately. When the ark is placed in the temple of Dagon, the idol of Dagon falls before it every morning. This is the metaphor, and it must be treated seriously.

Idols are a metaphor as well. The idol was a representation of a pagan god. Not even the representations were to be treated seriously by the Israelites due to their constant facing of polytheism and their constant giving into it. Of course, Paul knew what we knew and no doubt many others knew. Those idols are not anything at all. There is only one God so there is no other god to represent.

Many of the practices we cannot understand today in the OT are these same practices to remind people of God’s holiness. Why not wear clothing of mixed fabrics for instance? Why? Because God is totally pure so all in the Israelite camp was to be totally pure. Mixed fabrics are not pure.

This shows up in the NT also. Jesus tells us to eat and drink and do so in remembrance of him. Paul tells us though that some have taken of the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner and as a result, some have died. The supper was not to be disgraced as it is a representation of God.

The further we take this though, we see that we should have known this all along. All of creation is a metaphor of him on some level. All of it reveals him. It is not in propositions though so it must be understood analogically, which is ironically, the only way Aquinas and others have said that we can speak of God.

All things must be treated as they are then. If we treat sex as less than it is, we have disgraced a metaphor for the Trinity and the love of God. If we do no treat humanity well, we have treated badly the image of God. We are told to live lives where the truth speaks well of us. Would that we spoke well of it as well.

Perchance this is the answer to environmentalism as well? Please understand that I am not what would be considered an environmentalists. I do not believe in global warming and I do not believe in a lot of environmental nonsense that I see today. However, I believe the Earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.

Maybe if I and the rest of us recognized that, we would treat it the way it deserves. We do not treat it as the modern pantheists and new agers do and see it as God or my mother. However, we must treat it as a creation of God and realize that he made it the way that he made it for a reason and we should do what we can to maintain that design.

The same should be done of everything for though something is a metaphor, there is always a literal truth behind it. We do not discount the parables of Christ because they are parables. We recognize the literal truth behind them and woe to us if we memorize a parable and study the form and the syntax, but never look at the literal truth of it. We might as well study Shakespeare by counting how many letters Hamlet has.

Thus, the bottom line becomes that truth is to be taken seriously. In the end, isn’t this what we are to do? Are we not the followers of the one who claimed that he is the truth? Are we not to test everything and hold to what is good? (True) Are we not to be walking in the truth?

No. The metaphor is serious indeed. We dare not strike the rock for that rock is Christ. We dare not miss the truth, for he is the truth.

Ontology, masculinity, and femininity

I’d like to talk to you some today about masculinity and femininity and ontology. A lot of you might not know what the word ontology means. It simply refers to the state of being. When we discuss what something ultimately is, we are discussing its ontology. Too often, we confuse function though with ontology.

Genesis 1:27 tells us about the creation and says “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them.”

There’s something we can miss at this point because we know the passage so well. This is a great danger to us when we become familiar with the Bible. Of course, we should be familiar with it, but let us not get so familiar that we think we know all that there is to know about a particular text.

God creates them male and female. In our age of feminism and many women complaining about past oppression, to which there is a point granted, we should look at this text and realize exactly what place women had beforehand. Women are seen to have ontological equality with men in sharing the image of God.

Please note that I am not saying they are men. That is a distinction we must make. Women reflect the image just as much as men do, although I believe they emphasize qualities that the men do not and vice-versa. For the time being and even for today, this is a high rank to give to a female. What greater compliment to pay to the lady than to tell her that she is made in the image of God?

Yet so many of our modern feminists are in error. If they want to argue that women are equally human and should not be treated as less than human by men, well and good. I will support such a cause. If they argue though that women are superior to men or worse, that there is no difference, then we will have a problem.

If women are superior, then we will have the exact same problem as we do with chauvinism. If it’s wrong for men, I’d say it’s just as wrong for women. Men have often not treated women well in the past, but that is no justification for wrongs against men today. Women should not get special treatment simply for being women and men should not be treated wrongly simply because they are men.

My concern though is mainly with the feminism that wants to equate men and women and even at times make a man dispensable. A family could survive with a domineering wife or husband. However, there is no real family bond when it is two women or two men. It would be better I think to have a bad example than an anti-example.

I firmly believe that men and women are different. If anyone wants to look in a mirror and compare themselves with the opposite gender in a textbook on anatomy, they will notice differences. However, these differences also go beyond the flesh. The flesh, however, is as good a place as any to start.

Now some might claim that I am discriminating. My answer is, yes. I am definitely discriminating. There are some things you discriminate on because it’s right to do so. If I am fixing a sandwich in the morning, I reach for a knife instead of a fork to spread the peanut butter. That is discriminating, but it is not because I do not like forks. It is because I know the purpose of a knife and the purpose of a fork and the knife can better suit my purposes here.

Suppose you were a young man like myself in your mid-twenties who was single and desperately wanting to meet someone. A friend of yours sets you up on what he says is a blind date. Lo and behold, you get there and there’s another guy and your friend shows up and starts laughing that he really got you good by hooking you up with a guy. (If you’re worried I’m giving a personal account, rest assured, I’m not.)

No doubt, you would be planning a nasty revenge for your friend, but why would you be upset? Is it because you do not like guys? Not at all. You have several of them as friends. You would be upset because you know the goal of a dating relationship. It is to find a lady for the purpose of marriage if you’re a guy and you know what marriage entails. You also know that a man is not designed for that with you.

Thus, your response has nothing to do with your liking or not liking something. It has to do with recognizing the proper purpose even for something that you like. To say that a woman cannot do something or should not is not to discriminate wrongly against women. It is simply to recognize a fact. A woman cannot impregnate herself for instance. She needs something from the man. That is discrimination, but it is rightly done.

It is a good thing men and women are not the same in function. They are to complement one another and they do so quite well. They are designed to function in unity and when they do so, they fulfill a unique purpose in continuing the human race. It is our interdependence that should show that one is not better than the other. Woman needs man to become pregnant, but man needs woman to give him birth.

My hope is that men and women will both see themselves as they are. They are persons created in the image of God and designed to reflect him. I would also hope that those who are hostile to the Bible for feminist reasons will re-read the text. Understand the culture some and see how much female imagery is used in good ways. (The Bride of Christ for instance.)

And my fellow men, do honor the ladies. They’re image-bearers just as much as you are.

The Terracotta army

I meet with a group of friends every Tuesday night provided work doesn’t interfere for Bible Study. Our first Tuesday of each month though is usually just fellowship and takes place at a local coffeeshop. The organizer of our group had just come back from China and was showing us pictures of his vacation. At one point, he got to the Terracotta army.

I was amazed looking at this picture of soldiers made out of clay. He told us about how an emperor had these built to be his army in the afterlife. The peasants apparently didn’t put a lot into making them though as some of them had their heads missing, to which I told the ladies at our table they could make whatever jokes they wished.

My friend said that the heads were made but they weren’t firmly attached to the soldiers. He also told me that their chests were hollow. The only real support was their legs. Their legs are solid and strong. As I looked at that, I realized that while I had made a joke, I had also seen the condition of the human race in our culture.

First off, let’s start with the head. The head is the point of thinking of course. In our society, our heads are not really attached either, and I plan to blog further on this at another time. Maybe I might even do so tomorrow. We have reached a point where thinking is optional. If anything, other people will think for us. We too often just digest thoughts and regurgitate them.

Keep in mind I have nothing against reading the thoughts of other people. If I did, I wouldn’t even be blogging. After all, you are reading my thoughts. I think there is much wisdom to learn from those who have gone before us. However, I do think we should examine all that we read or hear and check it for truth content.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen in our school system. I consider myself an intellectual and it didn’t happen with me. I was way too passive in school and while I knew the answers, I wasn’t really trained on how to think. It wasn’t until apologetics and philosophy that I learned how to do so.

How much more our children today? Our machines are doing everything for us. Middle Schoolers no longer learn mathematics. They learn how to use a calculator. A calculator is a good tool, but you should know how to get the answer on your own apart from the calculator. This is why the McDonald’s guy is so often stumped when you give him an extra penny.

However, that is again more for another day. Let’s move on to the chest. I think of C.S. Lewis’s chapter in his book “The Abolition of Man” where he talks about men without chests. As Ravi Zacharias says, he’s not talking about guys like myself that have nowhere near that Atlas build and don’t win awe at the beach or pool.

He speaks of it in the context of knowing right and wrong and how we have reduced everything to chemical reactions. Saving that child that is drowning is not really a good act. It’s just that when you do so, some glands start secreting juices that give you a feeling of goodness and you interpret the act as good even though it is not good in itself.

Has it had an effect? Yes. We live in a society where right and wrong have been reduced to feeling. I have seen people look at teenagers who murder another in an experiment and say there is nothing wrong with it. I have seen people look at the VTech shootings and say they cannot see any absolute wrong.

This gets us to the legs. I was surprised my friends took awhile to figure out what implications I wanted them to draw from strong legs. It’s not so much legs as simply lower parts. We are solid there for in our society, sex is our god and we have become quite proficient at ways of sex.

In our day and age, abortion, pre-marital sex and cohabitation, divorce, homosexuality, and contraception are all becoming commonplace and accepted. While it used to be the norm that you recognized these generally as wrong (I realize some might disagree with me on contraception), today, it is the ones who are against them that are seen as the oddballs of society.

Sex has become our god. If we spoke of an action that ended in the murder of children, then we would condemn it. However, that act is abortion and since it’s about sex, we do nothing. If we spoke of an act that tended to result in broken marriages down the line and suffering for children left behind, we would condemn it. However, those are pre-marital sex and cohabitation. Since they’re about sex, they’re allowed.

If we spoke of an action that cut a vow between two people that was supposed to last for life and instead made them break that vow and how that vow would leave their children with hideous emotional scars and turn them into pawns to be used against each parent, we would condemn it. It’s divorce though, and it’s about sex so it’s allowed.

If we spoke of an action that resulted in an early death of people who did it and an easy spread of disease as well as destroying the family unit, we would condemn it. However, this action is homosexuality and again, because the action is about sex, society looks the other way.

If we spoke of an action that separated the final cause of something and removed its main purpose and instead took the secondary results, I would hope most of us would condemn it. If we found out that it works to prevent life from taking place in the world, we might be stronger. That’s contraception, and we allow it. While I am a strong Protestant, by and large, I don’t support contraception. (Yes future wife, I hope for a lot of kids.)

All of these things are allowed because they’re about sex. It has left a society of confused people. A former president (I think we all know who) was allowed to do deplorable things in his office and it was excused because it was about sex. Even feminists like Gloria Steinem defended what he did. (Yeah guys. You can fondle a girl and if she doesn’t like it, it’s not sexual harrassment apparently! Who knew?!)

There’s also one other trait the Terracotta have that I hope we can prevent.

They all have no life in them.

I only hope we can stop the slide before we reach that point as well.

The Goal

I taught my Sunday School class yesterday. I had to make some admissions to begin though. First off, I don’t really study in preparation for a class other than mentally. You never know how long it will be since we start when everyone’s settled down and we can have discussion. Secondly, I tend to be lazy anyway. Overall though, it worked well. My first question was “What is the goal of the Christian life?”

This is an appropriate question we should ask of anything. However, there are a number of answers that I would like to say right off are the wrong answer. The first one is the one I thought would be first mentioned and yet, I had to supply it when I asked for possible answers and that was the goal of getting to Heaven.

I think getting to Heaven is a by-product of the goal, but it was never the aim in the evangelism of the apostles. Heaven is important, but we are in this for more than just the reward, although Jesus was there to tell the apostles when the rich man left that yes, there definitely is a reward.

Now someone might think that winning souls to Jesus is the goal. That’s an objective of the Christian life, but it is not the goal, and I think this helps shed insight into the problems with the naturalistic view of life. The view that we are to win souls to Jesus paints Christianity as a kind of club.

The goal of this club is to get other people to join the club. However, if the club is not going anywhere, what is the point of growing membership. Are we multiplying ourselves simply for the sake of multiplying ourselves? We can only view winning souls to Christ as a part of the mission on the way to the goal.

Yet is this not the problem of naturalism? What is the point of humanity? Well, we survive. Why? So the next generation can survive. Are we surviving merely to survive with no goal in mind? Are we Sisyphus rolling the boulder up the hill? Are we doing what Ecclesiastes says and just “Chasing after the wind?”

Why should survival even be a goal? If good and evil are merely illusions, then why should I care about them? Why should I care about the good of the human species. At least the wrong Christian answer has the betterment of the species in mind. The naturalistic answer will just be “Live.” Now some might prescribe ways to live, but there is no authority behind the doctor’s note.

But each of these answers doesn’t yet get us to the goal? What is the goal of the Christian life? Why are we running where we are running? The goal is quite clear really.

We are to be like Christ.

Our goal is to be perfect reflectors of God. We are made in his image and God is taking away everything from us that does not reflect that image. However, we must be willing in this act. This is the beauty of the process. God wants us to be like him, but he wants us to be us as well. His plan makes us more us than we were before. He will make us into the you we were meant to be.

This is pure excitement if we will think about it. The Christian title for the doctrine is perichoresis. It refers to us sharing in the life of God. When we are made totally Christlike, we will be participating in the life of God as much as we can. There will be nothing in us that hinders the love that we can receive from him.

To be sure, this is a far cry from the Mormon idea of becoming a separate god. This is to experience life from the source of all life. The Mormon idea I find unsupportable on so many levels anyway, but that would be a blog, or rather a few blogs, for another day. Today is on the goal.

Knowing this as our goal, how ought we to live? We ought to live each day with the goal in mind. We ought to look at each action and see if it will get us closer to the goal or farther from the goal. My concern here is that we will make this something legalistic though. It has been my tendency in the past. I don’t think this means we hesitate from enjoying other things though as even Christ did and the Bible says they are ours to enjoy.

So what do we do? We live as we ought. We practice Christlikeness, we pray, we study Scripture, and do as we ought. We have an exciting future ahead of us as God will ensure that we reach the goal as we keep trusting in him.

Teaching the Joy of Sex

I had a friend up here tonight and we were talking about issues in the church and eventually, we got to the topic of sex. We talked about a True Love Waits service we’d had at our church and I had to mention that I was honestly bored silly during a sermon on sex. There was nothing exciting presented during the service.

Now I know church isn’t a place to be “entertained” although I do think church services should excite us as we’re talking about the most exciting God of all, however, I do think sex should be a joyous and happy topic to talk about. Unfortunately, all we hear is doom and gloom and only “Don’t do it before marriage.” Nothing is said about the joy of it IN marriage.

This is more of a problem because very little can be said in the family life. My family didn’t really say much about sex. I can count the conversations I had with my Dad about it on one hand. Suppose someone else comes from a similar home and doesn’t hear the church say anything about sex either. You think the world is going to give him another message?

Indeed, the message the world gives is “You only live once so go for all that you can get.” Now we hear that message constantly in our society. I don’t care if you disconnect cable TV even. Unless you live cut off from civilization, you probably receive messages about sex be they propositional or not.

Thus, we have the typical churchgoing youth who hears “Dirty, dirty, dirty” from the church and “fun, fun, fun” from the world. Is there any wonder that they’re so confused? The world actually has something right. I speak as a virgin of course, but I’m sure that it is fun. That fun though is reserved for the context of marriage.

Is it any wonder there’s so much confusion? Our world has more sex in it than ever before and we don’t even really know what sex is. Our youth are filled with so many desires and on the one hand, they want to live a good life, but then, they feel like they need to squelch their desires or that their desires are wrong.

To desire sex outside of marriage is wrong, yes. To desire sex though is not wrong. It’s good. We do know that it’s wrong to lust, but pity the young man who is not tempted to lust. He is devoid of desire. Resist the temptation of course, but the young man should definitely be tempted.

What would I like to see? I would like to see a minister actually get excited about this topic. I would especially like a married minister to get excited. That excitement is contagious after all. I think it’s a shame that the world has stolen the joy of sex away from us. It’s God’s idea. We have the rights to it.

To help us along though, I would like to see more accountability. My friend was telling me about a church with a men’s accountability group and what a blessing it was. I was thinking that I could really use such a group as well. This is a struggle and my friend did give me the lament tonight. We see so much today that we don’t even know how we’re supposed to feel as men any more. I believe we can change that.

Church. I think it’s time we rise up. We need to reclaim the joy of sex from the world. God gave us the principles on how to do it. If they think they’re enjoying it, let’s prove them wrong and show them how to enjoy it right.

Embracing the Truth

As I have pondered the last few days of writing, I have been pondering the truth of propositions and especially Scripture, which is propositional revelation. A lot of people in the past haven’t liked the idea of God revealing himself in propositional revelation. That’s not our issue today though. I’m going to take for granted that most of my readers believe that he has done so.

There are some basic truths that we all know about the gospel, but we so easily forget. We forget that salvation is by grace through faith. We forget that we are loved by God. We forget that our past sins have been forgotten. We forget that all things work together for good to those that love the Lord. I could go on, but I would like today to remind us that Scripture is true in what it says.

Of course, I must add a caveat. One can look at the words of Job’s friends and say that their description of God is true or that Bildad’s view of man in Job 25 is accurate. No. The Bible never says the lies of Satan are true for instance. It just records that they happened. In Job, for instance, God shows up at the end and tells Eliphaz and his friends, including Bildad naturally, that they have not spoken what is right about him.

However, we can approach each promise of Scripture and know that it is true. Again though, another caveat must be provided. For instance, if we read “Ask anything in my name and I will give it to you,” it must be understood that that would refer to us being within the will of God in our lives so that if we do ask, it will be given. To misunderstand that would mean God turns into a genie. Such is not promised.

I’m going to hope though that most of you will know not to make such basic errors. I’m going to hope that most of you also take Scripture seriously and are ones to “rightly divide the Word of truth.” With that in mind though, we must remember that exegesis is useless if we do not apply it. In fact, it is to our loss if we learn truth and do not apply it. I have told people that if they study apologetics and it makes no difference in how they live their lives, I would prefer they don’t do it at all.

How different our lives would be if we realized that it is all true. Then we could work to understand, “How does this work?” or “What difference does it make?” We are not under the naturalistic criteria to understand all of Scripture before we believe it of course. In fact, a wonder of the faith is knowing that all truth points to God and the more we study it, the more we will see of God.

This is also why belief in God cannot threaten science. In fact, I think it can make science more rewarding and enriching. The Christian scientist knows that he’s getting to study the work of God and he gets to marvel more at “How does this work?” and “Why did God create it like this?” and “What is the purpose overall of this in the grand scheme of things?”

Next time you read the Scriptures, ponder that you’re reading absolute truth, and see how that changes things for you.

Applying a proposition on anxiety

I’ve been talking a lot this week about knowing the role propositions should play in our lives as Christians. I’ve also written about how we need to be grounded in Scripture in order to know these propositions. I would like to give an example of applying such a proposition tonight that struck me as reading the Philippians 4 passage which I was reading mainly to remind myself of the kind of things I’m to think about.

I haven’t completely thought this through yet. I sometimes see that as an advantage though as I’m one who best sees by writing. In writing, you can also get to see the way my mind is working and how I come to the conclusions I come to from the premises that I start with.

Right before the main verses in Philippians 4, Paul gives a simple admonition. “Be anxious for nothing.” It’s so short that you could skip over it if you weren’t really thinking about what you were reading, and isn’t that too often a problem for us whenever we do read anything?

But let us suppose we took that commandment and we did something amazing. What if we actually obeyed it? Paul tells us to be anxious for nothing. You might be tempted to say “Paul doesn’t know what kind of life I live!” Go read 2 Corinthians 11 first though and see what kind of life he lived!

What do we really have to be anxious about? I generally am anxiety-ridden, so I can think of several things to be anxious about, but in the light of the great picture of God’s hand working in the universe, are any of them really something to be anxious about? I get anxious about marriage for instance and wonder if it will ever happen. Does getting anxious about such help me get closer? It sure hasn’t so far and if anything, by making me nervous about any presentation to a lady, it drags me further away.

Maybe you’re anxious about money. Don’t we remember what Christ said in Matthew 6? Don’t we know that we are worth more than many sparrows and that if God clothes beautifully flowers, how much more will he take care of us? Do we not remember that Luk 12:32 says that we, the little flock, should not fear. It is the Father’s GOOD PLEASURE to GIVE US the KINGDOM!

How about the future? Whose hand is it in? Do you trust the hand of God? Your future on Earth will probably not be perfect. So what? Your future in Heaven is guaranteed to be awesome. Has worrying about the future ever really helped change the future or has it made you more nervous in approaching it?

Equally absurd is worrying about the past. Actually, it’s more absurd in a way. We can work to do something about the future. Can we change the past? Now I could go back and edit anything I wanted to in this blog before I published it, but I couldn’t go back and edit the time I spent writing it.

Why do we worry so much about what we can’t change? Do we regret a lot. Yeah. We all do. Do we not realize though how we’re making out God to be? We’re making him out to be one who is holding our sins over our heads from the past and eager to punish us for them. Do we really think we serve a God like that? The more we’re anxious about the past, the more we will think like that.

Then there’s also the present. Time spent in anxiety could be better spent in prayer or study or doing good to your neighbor or just relaxing and having some fun. Worrying only shuts us down in the present. It doesn’t enable us to act in any way that is more godly.

So why not take this and realize the propositions behind it. Be anxious for nothing. Why? Because God is sovereign and in control. The same one who wrote this wrote Romans 8, another passage that should be reviewed to understand how all things do work for good to those that love the Lord.

Indeed they do. Do we believe it though?

Knowing the Propositions

Last night, I wrote about reality and propositions and how some propositions are false and we need to realize the true propositions. I suggested that a good place to go would be Scripture. As I went about my day though since writing that, I had the thought in my mind that sadly, maybe we don’t know enough Scripture to get the true propositions.

I have often worked with several other young apologists. Most of them tend to be younger. One thing I have stressed is a problem I see in many. They are reading many books and that is excellent. I think we should all be well-read. However, THE BOOK is the one that has not been read.

Friends. We need those true propositions in our lives. We need to be in the Scripture absorbing it so we can be thinking God’s thoughts after him. If you consider what Jesus said in his ministry, we fall short. He would go to the Pharisees and say “Have you not read?” Of course they had! These guys knew the OT as we call it backwards and forwards. Do we even treat that text as seriously? Many of us have read the NT, but few have read the NT and the OT.

In Islamic nations, it is not uncommon to meet Muslims who have memorized the Qu’ran. There are even blind men who have the whole text memorized. Think about that. Men who have to read it in braille or have someone read it to them have the whole text memorized. Those of us who can see often aren’t even reading our text.

Is it any wonder we’re also unprepared when the JWs and Mormons come by? These groups are wrong, no doubt, but they are very well-read in the text! It is a shame when those outside of our faith are treating their texts and sometimes our texts more seriously than we are.

Friends. We need truth. The only way to get that though is to seek it. The Scriptures should always be in the mind of the Christian. Learn them well.

Thoughts on Reality and Propositions

If you enjoy philosophy, going to bed can be a dangerous time. Why? Your mind will start racing with an idea wanting to find a conclusion to it and you’ll toss and turn just hoping that that solution will reveal itself. There are many times also when you’ll get that great idea but unfortunately when you wake up, it’s gone.

Last night, I was thinking about reality and truth and falsehood and propositions. Now this is still in the making. I’m just writing out my thoughts so you can have them also as well as with the realization that writing out one’s thoughts can often times be a great aid in coming to further understanding of them.

Christian theologians have held for some time in many cases, and I agree with them, that evil has no real existence. Evil is simply the absence of that which is good. Evil is thus not the presence of something that is real but the lack of that which is supposed to be there, the presence of good.

I thought about this some after reading Plato’s Sophist on how the Sophist speaks of that which is not and came to thinking about propositions. Do false propositions have any real substance? I began debating back and forth in my mind the idea of reality and contingent truths and necessary truths.

Contingent truths is the toughest one as I think about it. It seems like nonsense in many ways. What I simply mean is that for any possible world that could have been, God knows what all propositions would have been true in that world. I got out of the pool at my apartment complex today at 8:15 for instance. Thus, God knew true the proposition that I would get out of the pool at 8:30. However, if I had chosen to get out at 8:30, God would have known that as a true proposition as well. In another possible world, that could be one.

Such a statement is contingent It could have been X and Y. There are some truths that I think are necessary truths in that they are true in every possible world. The laws of logic are necessary truths. Statements about the nature of God are necessary truths. This would also include moral statements such as “murder is wrong.” Even in a possible world where there were no human beings, these would all be true statements.

Of course, this gets interesting in fact we can speak truth about that which is not real as far as we know. For instance, I could say that it is true that unicorns only have one horn on their head. That is a true proposition, but it only refers to an idea as far as we know. I have yet to see evidence that such a creature as a unicorn exists. (For the record, I do believe there are more things in Heaven and Earth than are dreamt of in my philosophy and for all I know, we could find a place someday where such creatures exist. I don’t consider it likely, but I am not one like our skeptical friends who wants to rule out the existence of something simply because I’ve never seen it.)

So the proposition in this case is true, but the referent is not real. However, this only means as far as we know, real to the external world. It still does match our idea of the unicorn and propositions can be spoken of about ideas as much as they can about anything else. Why else would we tell someone they have good ideas and stupid ideas?

But let us suppose something else. Let us suppose that someone made a proposition about the 52 states of the U.S. at the end of 2006. That proposition is different because it speaks of a referent that contradicts reality. The proposition would be considered false, but not meaningless. Thus, the proposition would have no real substance in the world as there is nothing it corresponds to.

Now there is such a thing as a meaningless proposition. We could say for instance, “My colorless green dreams sleep furiously.” That would be meaningless. Speaking of a married bachelor or a square circle would be just as meaningless for such statements contradict reality. A square by definition cannot be circular and a bachelor by definition cannot be married.

For this reason, I believe God could affirm the proposition that a unicorn only has one horn. However, he could not affirm the proposition that at the end of the year 2006, the U.S. only had 52 states. This is a statement that does contradict the reality about the nature of the United States while the statement about the unicorn doesn’t. Supposing unicorns are just mythological, God could affirm “The unicorn, a creature that exists only in myth, has one horn.”

Now is there any implication of this to our lives? YES!

What about the propositions we tell ourselves often? Do they correspond to reality? For instance, an obvious one would be, “The writer of this blog is not a diehard Smallville fan.” That is a false proposition and it is not one God affirms. Now if God does not affirm a proposition, is there any reason you should?

Let’s take another situation. Let’s suppose that we have a psychotic personality who comes up with the idea, “Murder is good and fun.” Does God know about this proposition as well? Certainly. You cannot think of the proposition God does not know about beforehand. However, God does not affirm this proposition even if he knew about its existence long before the person uttered it.

Now let’s suppose we took harder propositions about ourselves though. Suppose you uttered the proposition “I am utterly worthless and no one could ever love me.” Does God know about that proposition? Yes. Of course he does. Does God affirm it though? Not at all. However, if that is the case, then it is because that proposition contradicts reality. Thus, there is a true proposition in the mind of God that needs to be affirmed instead.

Such a proposition could be one based on Scripture passages. For instance, you could go to Psalm 8 and read “What is man that you are mindful of him, the Son of man that you care for him? You have made him a little lower than the angels and crowned him with glory and honor,” as well as going to John 3:16 and saying “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believes on him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” From those, you could get the true proposition of “I have great value and am loved by God”, and that would be a proposition that he affirms.

The point is that for every false proposition you have about yourself, there is a true one out there to counter it. Now some propositions about you could be true and you don’t like them. For instance, “I have a problem with pride” could be a proposition that is affirmed about you at this time. If such is the case, then it is best to work on it so that the proposition “I am a humble person” will be one that can be affirmed someday.

Ultimately, we need to start getting our thoughts in agreement with God’s. In a way, we need to be thinking God’s thoughts after him. If God does not think proposition A is true, then why should I? If God does not think I am a loser, for instance, why should I even bother entertaining such a thought? Do I think I know more than the God of all truth?

Finally, when that proposition comes that is false, I need to think about the defeater. The defeater would be that which contradicts that proposition and ask which one is the one that God affirms. In such, I can start fulfilling the Philippians 4 command about the things that I am to think about. What could be better to think about than the truth of God after all?

Josiah Rips

In the book of 2 Kings, good king Josiah orders that the temple be repaired with the funds that have been received. While the temple is being repaired, one of the men finds a scroll and brings it to Josiah. It is the Law of the Lord (What portion it is, I am not discussing now. Some say part of the Deuteronomy. Others say the whole Torah.) The words are read in the king’s presence and he rips his clothes because he realizes how much the people have done against YHWH.

I read that recently and really thought about it. I wonder how many times I have ever got to that point in reading the Law. We usually read the OT so calmly. Do we not realize that the God of the OT is still the God of the NT? Do we not see the strong requirements he has of holiness?

I wonder how often we realize that. Now I know we’re not to beat ourselves up for our sins. That’s definitely true. I wonder though how often we realize just how great those sins we’ve been forgiven of are. Can we truly appreciate the depths of his grace if we do not realize the depths of our sin?

Those standards in the OT are tough and the same God applies them to us. Is it not he who said “Be perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect?” Do we not realize that if we are going to be in the presence of God, we must be a perfect reflection of him? Now I am not advocating Christian perfectionism here, but I am wanting us to see the gravity of the requirements God has.

Yes. It is time we read the Law seriously. No. I’m not saying we’re under the Law either. God has revealed himself in the Law though and his nature is there. We need to read those passages and see in them not just rules we don’t often see the purpose of, but clear revelation on who God is and how seriously he takes holiness.

The Israelites requested that God not speak to them for fear that they would die. Today, we tend to treat God like he’s buddy-buddy with us. Yes. I do believe that we have friendship with God, but you don’t treat God the same way you treat all your other friends. He is absolutely holy and you must revere that.

I would even suggest that we look at his reason for our being holy. Is it so we can live long? No. Is it so we will walk lives of virtue? No. Is it because he wants to see who will be good and who won’t? No. It is quite simple. He says throughout Leviticus, “Be holy, because I am holy.”

Friends. I will confess that as I read the Scriptures, I realize I do not take the concept seriously enough. This is concerning because if we do not take sin seriously, we will not take grace seriously. Martin Luther’s account of his conversion and how he acted should be revealing to all of us. He spent hours in confessing before God. This was someone who knew how serious sin was.

How did Josiah respond? Rightfully! He cleaned up his kingdom. In fact, the valley that he trashed was the same valley that Jesus used as an example of Hell. Josiah trashed it so much and put all the garbage from everywhere there that it became the town garbage dump.

Yes. We need another Josiah revolution today.