Tag Archives: evidence

Intelligence

Studies in Genesis 1

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. (Genesis 1:26 ESV)

Creation is not haphazard or random, but detailed, complicated and purposeful. There are reasons why the term Intelligent Design is taking hold of the scientific and philosophical academic worlds. As we become more technologically advanced it becomes harder to ignore the evidence of intelligence behind the design of nature.

Considering the suggested age of the universe, the age of the Earth, the fossil record of the Earth and the huge variety of animal and plant life, the probability such diverse life occurring by mere chance is absurdly miniscule. All life arising from the primordial soup is close to impossible because of the presence of innumerable variations of DNA. Each life form has its own computer program, called DNA, written by an Intelligent Designer, not by random, uncontrolled mishaps of nature.

Man is intelligent. Intelligence is a marker of the image of God. Intelligence is the ability to comprehend ideas or concepts perceived through observation of the immediate world and the ability to communicate those ideas and concepts to others. It is thinking, understanding, knowledge, comprehension of every facet of life encountered. Limited intelligence is found in the lower animals through instinct and learned behavior. However, the ability to comprehend and think through the ramifications of a new experience is not an ability given any other Earth-bound creature.

With intelligence comes the ability to ascertain truth and believe what the evidence suggests or advocates as truth. Since Man is not omniscient, but limited by space and time, we must examine the evidence of history or the past to determine what truly happened. We do not have all of the evidence. We do not have the option of manufacturing evidence. We do have the limitation of possibly misinterpreting the evidence until more evidence is discovered which may demand we change our understanding. Truth is not constrained by the evidence, changing with each person or each interpretation. Truth is never changed by perception.

Thus, Man is given the ability to know God intellectually though examination of himself and of Creation. Man also has the ability to understand and know that which God reveals about Himself. Given this ability means Man is designed, as part of the physical function and eternal essence, to discover more and more about the universe, the Earth, himself and the God who created everything.

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The Light of Men

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. [John 1:1-5 ESV]

Mere words cannot describe eternity or God who lives in eternity. One of the pitfalls of theology is the tendency to think and write in absolutes when such absolute statements are built upon a foundation of incomplete knowledge of the incomprehensible. God has revealed Himself in Scripture and through His work of creation in ways we can understand, but our minds have a limited capacity, unable to comprehend an unlimited God. Had He not revealed Himself we would only be able to surmise certain of His qualities and characteristics. Even what we do know He had to reveal about Himself otherwise we would never know Him. He has not revealed all about Himself but what He has revealed is comprehendible to us with our created image.

One of the absolutes He has revealed is the eternal purpose of the incarnation, life, death and resurrection of His Son, God in the flesh. What we see in history about Jesus seems bizarre to the corrupted mind and heart. Only the evidence, once examined critically, shows truth. Only the moral-emotional decision to disbelieve the evidence and the willful decision to not trust God turns the unbeliever’s will to reject the evidence. They reject the evidence because the thinking of their hearts will not accept its truth.

God did not reveal Himself in Jesus in a mysterious way, but sin, compromising the whole person, obscures the obvious. Sin takes the truth and calls it a lie, and takes a lie and calls it truth. How backward and bent, upside-down and inside-out are people.

When God reveals Himself He does so obviously. Even the image of God contained in a corrupted vessel is enough to reveal what is needed for anyone to Him.

Jesus is the light of the world for all who live, have lived or will live. He, the Eternal Word, spoke words no created being could comprehend and the universe, in which we reside, a blue-brown speck of dust called Earth, came into existence. This is a knowable absolute. He created the smallest particle and the largest star and put them in their specific place. Within the vast expanse of the universe are areas of darkness He filled with light. He is the light which came and He is the One who separated light from darkness. Darkness cannot remain in His presence for the light of His presence swallows darkness. Nothing can hide from Him and His person moves in every physical and eternal thing. Even in the depths of hell God is, though He withholds His life from those there, who have rejected His gift of life.

Jesus’ light encompasses and incorporates all of the qualities, characteristics, personality, even essence of God. He is, even while living on earth as a man, the  morphe (that which makes something what it is) of God. He is also the morphe of a servant. God has revealed to us Jesus, enough information and evidence for us to know intimately who He is and what He has done in the thinking of our hearts.

Once revealed, and accepted by those who are His, we can then begin to know Him in a deeper, more mysterious way, obvious to us, hidden to the world. “In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” [John 1:4-5 ESV]. In this verse the word “overcome” means to overtake, to take eagerly or seize, to apprehend, comprehend, perceive. Jesus, the light of the world, demands obedience and submission to His superior position and authority. His whole, eternal being gives Him the right to expect our obedience and worship. Conversely, the world demands God submit to it and hates Him because He does not. Nothing created carries the authority to control anything eternal. Believing a lie will never make the lie true.

Jesus came so we might know Him with our whole person. Part of our task in this world is to cut away the lies which bombard us by immersing ourselves in His truth. We are surrounded by darkness, the sin of the world, but His light, His very being, seizes us for Himself.

Salt of the Earth

You are the salt of the earth… [Matthew 5:13 ESV]

This verse is a warning.

Throughout the Sermon on the Mount Jesus warns those who say they are His but are not. His first seven statements contain warnings. If you are this way you are blessed. Conversely, if you are not this way you are not blessed. You are rejected or cursed. His warnings are subtle, easily missed by those who cannot hear or who cannot see because their ears are stopped and their eyes closed. To those who are His, who through the indwelling Spirit are changed from slavery to sin to covered with His righteousness, the warnings are readily apparent. Here is the heart of the matter. There are those who are His and those who are not, yet claim to be.

Jesus uses an analogy to describe the essential evidence of those who are His. They are His, being recreated and made into His image, to the core of their eternal being.  Philippians 2:6-7 says Jesus has the form (morphe, that which makes something what it is) of God and a Servant, man as he was originally created, before the fall. So the Christian has the morphe of the true citizen of the kingdom of heaven. Just as the essence, the morphe, of salt is salt so the essence of the citizen of God’s kingdom is righteousness. Everything Jesus has said to this point, and continuing on, is the evidence of the righteousness of God working itself into the being of those who belong to God.

Jesus is speaking to the vital, eternal being of the Christian. He has defined that being in the first seven statements of this teaching. Christians are all of these things.  Just as salt has specific evidences of its presence so to the Christian exhibits the characteristics of a regenerated, changed, person.

Salt of the ancient world is quite different from the modern, processed and refined salt found on store shelves. Not that salt itself is different but the level of purity is considerably refined more now than it was then. It was hard to remove all the impurities from the salt of Jesus’ day. So too, it was easy to add impurity to salt through everyday living. It was not uncommon for the salt in “salt” to leech away leaving only the impurities. God refines the Christian, through conviction and persecution, removing the impurities and leaving just salt, something universally useful and necessary.

We are God’s righteousness in a world dominated by unrighteousness. Everyone knows the difference between right and wrong. We all have a witness, in ourselves, of the implications of the moral law of God. While many can, through sheer will power, live up to the outward standards which define the moral laws only those changed, recreated and filled with the Spirit of God, can live, as an essential part of their being, His moral law. His indwelling Spirit does not preclude temptation and sin but guarantees our place in eternity in spite of our surroundings and failures. God strategically places us to grow us and convict those in the world. The more we wrestle with sin, fine tuning our understanding and living of righteousness, the more effective we become as His witnesses, the less we will compromise who we are for what the world is. We leave the world behind and, used by God, draw those He is calling into His kingdom.

But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. [1 Peter 3:14-16 ESV]

Our lives, the deepest essence of our being, the morphe of the citizen of His kingdom, exposes His righteousness, His glory, His being, which impacts everything we do and everyone we meet.