Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Q1 The God Who Is vs The God We Might Think Would

10 Sincere Questions.

Please see the series introduction here.

Question 1:
Why would a truly all-encompassing, all-powerful, capital-G god need to condescend to hatching a scheme to get himself sacrificed in the form of a man in order to "forgive" humanity? It seems to me that these are the actions of a lowercase-g god.
If God really had the need to see the sins of humanity "placed" on himself, couldn't he have done it without playing out a strange little story here on Earth? As far as I can see, for every reason that can be given, there would be a way for God to accomplish those same ends without making himself seem so small and petty.
This question was asked by Kaelyn N. I will have to take her word for it that this is significant to her with regard to her coming to faith in Christ or rejecting Him. This is the first question anyone has posed since I have been asking for them.

Rejection of God is often caused by a fundamental misunderstanding about the nature of God. People think of God as a fairy tale and pay attention to the details about Him with as little concern as they would about the details of a character in such a tale. Then because their fairy tale version of God doesn't make sense to their intellect they simply reject Him. This is almost always a convenient misunderstanding for the person who does not want to worship God. Sometimes it is a sincere misunderstanding which is fostered by fairy tale Christendom being so popular in the media and sadly in many church buildings.
1Jn 1:5This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.

Let's assume the confusion is sincere and go through it to see if there are reasonable answers available for Kaelyn. My idea here is to answer completely, but briefly. Should deeper discussion be required we can do that in comments.
Why would a truly all-encompassing, all-powerful, capital-G god need to condescend to hatching a scheme to get himself sacrificed in the form of a man in order to "forgive" humanity?
While God is "all-powerful" He is not "all-encompassing" for He is light and in Him there is no darkness. (1Jn 1:5) it is clear from the Scriptures that He does not encompass sin or sinners or anything that is unrighteous whatsoever. What fellowship does light have with the darkness? (2Cor 6:14)

God doesn't "need" anything. As the Creator of all things (John 1) He is necessarily self-sufficient. God does not "need" but He does desire all to be saved. (1Tim 2:4; 2Pet 3:9)

Also God did not "hatch" anything to accomplish His desire. To "hatch" something implies, or necessitates rather, that it is a new plan which has come about within Time/History. The purpose of God that Christ would die for our sins, be buried and rise again the third day, didn't come about within Time/History. This was determined in Eternity Past - that is outside of our Space/Time Universe and logically (not actually chronologically) before Creation. (Tit 1:2)

This was accomplished according to God's determinate counsel and foreknowledge, it was not a "scheme." (Acts 2:22-24) He did not "get Himself" sacrificed He in fact sacrificed Himself. (Isa 53)

He did however condescend to accomplish this. The Creator of the Universe condescended to come in humility as a flesh & blood human man. He who was rich became poor so that we could become rich. (2Cor 8:9) This is the great enigma for religious and prideful man. What King would become a peasant for me?

God isn't the megalomaniac of atheism fair tales. He isn't a bully or power mad. He is is morally perfect, humble, self-sacrificing, and loving.

I'm not sure why Kaelyn puts quotations around the word forgive. It is almost as though she thinks that humans don't need to be forgiven. We were created, given life, fellowship with Holy God, and a beautiful universe to live in and take care of. Instead we wanted more. We believed a lie and thought we could make ourselves like God. We submitted to the enemy of our souls instead of to God. Adam did this in the beginning and we each do the very same thing in our own lives.

We took was was perfect and poisoned it intentionally (Gen 1-3) and none of us since have done any better than Adam did. (Rom 3:9-20)
It seems to me that these are the actions of a lowercase-g god.
Satan wanted to make himself like the Most High because of pride. He saw God's power and thought that is what defined Him. This is the same bait that Satan gave Adam & Even in the garden. Lower case g gods, that is idols who are not gods at all, need to oppress in order to impress. People server their lower case g gods to the end of themselves. Money, lust... people give up their lives in pursuit and service to them. In the end these idols can give nothing back. All they can do is take a person's life away. God is not like them at all.
If God really had the need to see the sins of humanity "placed" on himself, couldn't he have done it without playing out a strange little story here on Earth? As far as I can see, for every reason that can be given, there would be a way for God to accomplish those same ends without making himself seem so small and petty.
God didn't need anything, as we have now already discussed. We need our sins placed on Someone who had no sin of their own who could pay for our sin and take it away. God knew our need, and Him fulfilling our need expresses His humble, self-sacrificing, and loving nature in a way that excludes any other from trying to pretend they are like Him. The purposes of God are accomplished by this strange story. Man is free to love or not to love, God is shown to be perfectly righteous, perfectly just, and perfectly loving. His glory is manifest for all to see and He gets to fellowship with those who will love Him not just with robots He has programmed to act like they love Him.

The "strange little story" is a infinitely specific set of information which was foretold and accomplished exactly in accordance with that foretelling. In types, pictures, and explicitly stated the Christ was explained ahead of time so that when He came at the appointed day (yes the very day April 6th AD32) He would be unmistakeable to any who had taken the very little trouble of reading the Scriptures. Those there on that day were without excuse the same as we today are without excuse because of how clearly God has demonstrated Himself through this "strange little story."

People call God "small and petty" because they don't understand Him, they don't understand themselves, and they don't understand sin.

One single lie which was designed to inspire a man to desire to become more than he was already is the reason cancer kills people, the reason cars rust, the reason ALS exists, the reason why children suffer.... and so on and so on. (Gen 3)This just scratches the surface of why lying is atrocious.

Lying is truly evil because Holy God, that is "Perfect God", cannot lie.  Yet we lie without thinking about it. I have heard thousands of individuals tell me that "everybody lies." That's a cool phrase when Dr. House utters it on TV but it is a disgusting truth when we realize it is true of mankind who is suffering because of one single lie even today. We play in the poison that is killing us and call it normal. God cannot lie, and will have no fellowship with liars. (Tit 1:2; Rev 21:8)

Do we call the local judge "small and petty" for exacting justice against murders? Liars are no better than the worst murder. Sin is evil. The wages of sin - that is what you earn for sinning - is death.

WE NEED our sin to be born away from us. WE NEED to be saved from the just judgment of our sinful practices that we all do.

How can we call the perfectly righteous God "small and petty" when He humbles Himself to pay the price we cannot pay and to do it in the complete open where all can see so that we who deserve nothing but death for our murderous ways may have life?
Rom 5:6-11For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

Kaelyn the God who is, is not very much like the god that atheism argues against. He is not like the god we hear about from talking heads on CNN, or the god we hear about in popular TV shows, or even in the anti-Creation books by the most popular authors. He is however completely unique in His perfection and power - yet He condescended to become a man to WILLINGLY take on your guilt and shame, die in your place the death that you deserve in accordance with the Scriptures, was buried, and rose again the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. (1Cor 15:1-11)

This happened exactly as the Scriptures required and foretold, completely out in the open for all to see, so that you are without excuse if you reject it.

Today is the day of salvation Kaelyn. Humble yourself. Agree with God about your sin (repent) and believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ whose death on the Cross has been accepted as payment for your sins so that God would be just and the justifier of you if you believe on Him. (Rom 3:21-26)

You can can perfect standing before Holy God based on what He has done, and there is no other way this could have been accomplished or ever will there be.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

10 Sincere Questions From Those Who Do Not Believe in Christ the Lord

I'm seeking 10 questions to answer. Here is what I wrote in a Facebook group I frequent.

I am looking for 10 sincere questions that matter significantly from those who do not believe in Christ the Lord, Creator of everything which has been created.
I am not looking for debate. By entering your question you are already stating that you don't have faith in Christ, you don't have to convince me further.
I am also not looking for questions that don't significantly matter to you as you consider whether Christ is Lord or not.
As I am able I will pick 10 questions which I believe are sincere and matter to the subject for the one asking it and answer them individually.
I have been in the work of street evangelism since the spring of 2006 after it dawned on me that sinners were not actually attracted to Christ by clever church signs and warm handshakes at the door. These things have their place, but the command of the Great Commission is to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. In this work I have had thousands of personal conversations with people of all walks of life, from politicians and rich men, to beggars; from philosophers and science instructors to lay persons; from muslims and roman catholics to new agers. Over these years I have heard many many sincere questions, and many many more cleverly devised or adopted objections.
I don't know if I've "heard it all" but I've heard a lot of it.
As I pick these 10 questions from the submissions - should any be presented - I will be making a blog series and I will post the individual answers here as well.
So if you have a sincere question please ask it. If you want to debate there are probably discussions here which are more suited to that.
Looking forward to reading these! BTW don't be shy if you think your question is too easy or too hard. Just be sincere.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

I'm thinking about answering questions I find from Agnostics

The whole Calvinism debate thing really tired me out from blogging, but I miss it now. I miss it a lot. So I think I'll start a series answering questions that I find from Agnostics. I suspect no one is even checking the blog any more but that's OK. Ya'll come back!