The Preacher Says....  
  God's Creation  
  Where do we look to find meaning in God’s purpose with the earth and all its people? Can it be found in nature? No plan is discernible. His greatness is seen there, but His purpose is not evident. However, if you listen for the still, small voice of God, who has spoken His truth and revealed His plan for the earth in the holy Bible, and listen to His words, "I am God and there is none else" (Is. 45. 22), you’ll come to realize His plan can never be found in diverse revelation. This tortured introduction to an explanation of God’s promises would not have been necessary 100 years ago–before the appearance of Freud, Darwin & Marx on the secular front, and before the spread through the western world of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam on the religious front. Theological discussion in former days would then have been limited to quarrels about Christian dogma. But today we have learned so much, yet we know so little. Said differently, we are bloated with information, the truth of which we have neither the resources nor the time to test. Do we probably know a lot that isn’t true? This is worse than ignorance. One of the things that many of us think we know is that the Bible is a mixture of fact and fiction; collected ancient legends supporting a religious creed. One of many creeds that are buttressed by a comparable literature. That all such literary collections and the "belief systems" that they support are entitled to equal weight, and if any of them leads to divine truth, then perhaps they all do. All roads lead to Rome, so to speak. One hears this pronouncement all the time when the subject of religion makes its timid entrance into conversations with friends. A serious Bible discussion today would send everyone into a stressed silence, as if an elephant suddenly made an appearance at an afternoon tea.

That the Bible stands unique as the only inspired religious text known to man, this argument is more defensible than the lazy conclusion that all religious texts are equally valid. (Even though paradoxically each of them claims to possess the exclusive path to salvation–Nirvana, etc.) Logically speaking, truth is more likely spoken by one voice than a cacophony of tongues. But a belief in an inspired Bible is founded on stronger grounds than pure logic, one being that the Bible was written over a period of 1600 years by at least 40 authors. It reveals a consistent purpose with the earth and its inhabitants. And by the way, ‘divinely inspired’ does not mean that every sentence is literally true. Rather, the truth is revealed through many literary devices–parable, allegory, fable, history, prophecy and symbolism. Please be willing to suspend your lack of belief in the Bible long enough to hear its truths, many of which are obscured by the detractors of the ages, and by glosses superimposed over centuries by men and institutions seeking to mold a religion more to their own liking. Time and again since its canonization, the truth has been re-discovered only to have it again obscured by doctrines more pleasing to our sensibilities. Can we save Christian truth from the fate of all sects? What is that fate? Death by suffocation. Once a catechism is found there is an unwillingness to re-examine it. And so, although it is the work of fallible men, it is treated as though divinely inspired. It’s all very understandable–we’re set in our ways–our lives have been bound by it. It is as though we had thought we had built our house on a rock, when somebody’s trying to tell us that it is built on sand. Our relentless search for truth must continue until the day we die.

God’s purpose revealed in the Bible is not wishful thinking or a flighty theological fairy tale created out of metaphysical speculation condoned with mysticism of every tongue. What are God’s promises? He promises a glorified earth, with all flaws and imperfections swept away in the Kingdom of God. He promises that those He has chosen will inherit that earth. Note two promises that God did not make: to send man to heaven or hell at death, and that he would destroy the earth. These promises cannot be found in the Book. These un-promises lead Christendom astray. In most traditional Christian denominations the future of the earth and its inhabitants plays little part in its theological pronouncements. This is so because of the widespread preaching that men and women and children have immortal souls. This pervasive belief, that all are born with immortal souls, makes it necessary that something be done with those souls. Logically their reward and punishment must be dealt with immediately upon death of the body, either in ‘regions beyond the sky’ or in some fiendish netherworld. (not much talk about that these days.) In the Bible the soul is just another word for a living being, applied to animals as well as men. The Bible has been re-written, so to speak, in much the same way that the U.S. constitution has been re-written by the judiciary under the pretext that it is a ‘living document’, to be read to conform to the judicial philosophy in vogue at the time.

At book 1, page 1 the Bible sets forth the human condition and thus the human dilemma–"In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread until thou return unto the earth. . " .for dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return". Clearly our ancestors did not possess immortal souls (a phrase not found in the Bible), and it stands to reason that none has been transmitted to their progeny. The introduction of the heretical belief of inherent immortality into Christianity (and modern Judaism) has had the effect of obscuring the plain message of the Bible which says that the wages of sin is death. This belief renders meaningless straightforward statements like "the meek shall inherit the earth" (not heaven), or "When the son of man comes, shall he find faith on the earth?", or the simple statement by Peter that "David has not ascended into heaven". Plain Bible teaching makes mans hope for a future life to be lived on the earth. God, speaking to the prophet Isaiah said, "I did not create the earth in vain; I created it to be inhabited."

Who has God chosen to inherit the earth? He has chosen the seed of Abraham. And who is Abraham’s seed? They are the people who will inhabit this glorified planet. This promise by God is made in Genesis, the first book of the Old Testament. "I will make of you a great nation and will give you and your seed the land to inherit for an everlasting possession." (Gen 12. 2, 3) But the beneficiary of this promise was not limited to Abraham and his descendants, for he was told he would be the father of ‘ many nations’ (Gen 17. 3) In Matthew, the first book of the New Testament , Jesus Christ is introduced as the seed of Abraham and seed of David. Jesus said, ‘salvation is of the Jews. Also Paul , in his famous speech before Agrippa, "For the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain." Some wag once said, ‘How odd of God to choose the Jew’. Odd, indeed. In fact, everything that God has done can be called ‘odd’, even arbitrary. The hardest lesson we may ever learn is that God intends to rule His world. God saves us, we don’t save ourselves. We are saved by faith, not works, lest any man should boast. And so we learn that the promise is not only to Israel (Abraham’s literal descendants), but to his seed–a prophetic reference to Christ and to those who would become ‘spiritual’ Israel by baptism into Christ. (Gal 3) Jews have no natural, exclusive inheritance of eternal life. In order to receive the promise of eternal life on earth, faith in His promises is required by both Jew and Gentile.

What is acceptable faith? The writer to the Hebrews says that one comes to God believing that He is, and that he will reward them that diligently seek Him. First, it is a belief in God as He has revealed Himself to us. Second, faith is not a belief in a God which we ourselves create. Third, If the conditions which He imposes on unbelievers seem arbitrary and unfair, then so be it; to believe in a God who is the Creator of the universe, and by definition responsible to no higher authority, then so be it. He is by nature arbitrary because there is no standard by which to judge Him. How is his word accomplished? It is as plain as the last sentence in the Apostles Creed–when Christ shall come to raise the quick and the dead. The new dispensation begins–the kingdom of God has come to earth .

Back to the big question. Can we know God? Only to the extent that He has revealed Himself. "His ways are higher than our ways, etc" The more important question is, what can we do to be known of Him, and thus one day be beneficiaries of His promises? Seek the Lord while He may be found. As the wise man said in his Proverbs,

"My son, if you will receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee : so you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding; if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hid treasures; then you shall understand the fear of the Lord,  and find the knowledge of God." (Proverbs 2. 1 - 5).


From notes found on a tablet, in pencil, 2008