LIFE

FREE DOWNLOAD

For many years I have felt strongly that books and articles with the main purpose of presenting spiritual Christian teaching should not be sold but rather given free of charge to the reader.  I still believe that.  Therefore I am making my book called LIFE available for FREE to anyone who wishes to read it online or to download it.

Johnny Carlton

What LIFE is about

This book is for those who seek truth, and particularly for serious thinkers.  Thinking is good, and yet this activity can lead us into trouble, into mysterious dark realms where we can take wrong turns, get lost, and get so muddled that we become blind guides leading the blind.  But the person who sincerely wants truth will find it.

Although the author by no means claims to have found all the answers to life’s problems and mysteries, he can help the thinking reader to avoid some of the intellectual pitfalls, and, more importantly, he reveals some of the most helpful philosophical, spiritual keys.

But the reader will have to decide whether or not to use those keys–whether or not to open the doors that lead to enlightenment and freedom.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Most of Johnny Carlton’s books are suspense filled action thrillers; but with his spiritual, philosophical, and scientific bent, such bigger-picture insights are reflected in his fiction, giving his stories a satisfying depth seldom experienced in adventure thrillers.

His non-fiction books, however, are entirely intended to be a help to his fellow life-travelers seeking a better understanding of the universe we live in, so these writings more directly take on the challenge of seeking truth; and yet, because the search for truth is exciting, these works are also entertaining. Johnny Carlton lives in Saskatchewan, Canada, with his wife, Yvonne, and continues to write both fiction and non-fiction.

LIFE

JOHNNY CARLTON

 COPYRIGHT 2011 JOHNNY GIESBRECHT

 No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means without the prior written consent of the copyright holder, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review to be printed in a newspaper, magazine, journal, or presented on line.

Published by JOHNNY GIESBRECHT, Rosthern, Saskatchewan, Canada

Cover design by YVONNE GIESBRECHT

 

CONTENTS

 Note:  The chapters of this book should be read in their proper order; for each, except Chapter One, builds on the information of the previous ones.

 INTRODUCTION

PART ONE: THE SEARCH FOR THE DUNGEON’S EXIT

CHAPTER 1:  ROADBLOCK

CHAPTER 2: A WARNING ABOUT THE QUEST

CHAPTER 3: THE ABSTRACT CONCEPT OF TRUTH

CHAPTER 4: WHAT ARE REASONING AND LOGIC?

CHAPTER 5: THE MOST BASIC CONCEPT

CHAPTER 6:  THE INFINITY PRINCIPLE

CHAPTER 7: CAUSE AND EFFECT

CHAPTER 8: SUBJECTIVITY AND OBJECTIVITY–SOME OF THE PROBLEMS

CHAPTER 9: SUBJECTIVITY AND OBJECTIVITY–SOME SOLUTIONS AND MORE PROBLEMS

CHAPTER 10: SUBJECTIVITY AND OBJECTIVITY–MANY EXPERIENCES, ONLY ONE REALITY

CHAPTER 11: IS THERE A GOD?  PART A: MANY GODS AS OPPOSED TO ONE GOD

CHAPTER 12: IS THERE A GOD? PART B: THE BASIC QUESTION ANSWERED LOGICALLY

CHAPTER 13: AT THE ROOT OF LOGIC–DIRECT ACCESS TO TRUTH (A)

CHAPTER 14: AT THE ROOT OF LOGIC—DIRECT ACCESS TO TRUTH (B)

 

PART TWO:  THE SEARCH THROUGH THE OCCUPIED CASTLE

CHAPTER 15: INTRODUCTORY MATTERS FOR PART TWO

CHAPTER  16: A BRIEF DEFINITION OF CHRISTIANITY

CHAPTER 17:  IS THE BIBLE TRUE?

CHAPTER 18: LIFE IS ALL ABOUT GOD; AND WHAT DOES GOD REVEAL TO US ABOUT HIMSELF?

CHAPTER  19:  CREATION—ONE

CHAPTER 20: CREATION—TWO

CHAPTER 21: CREATION—THREE

CHAPTER 22: THE TRINITY

CHAPTER 23: EXTENSIONS

CHAPTER 24: ABOUT MARY, JESUS, AND ORIGINAL SIN

CHAPTER 25: NATURAL AND SUPERNATURAL, AND OTHER SUCH PAIRS

CHAPTER 26: SOME OF THE RULES

CHAPTER 27: FREEDOM

 

PART THREE: FROM THE CASTLE INTO THE GREAT OUTDOORS

CHAPTER 28: THE DESTINY OF GOD’S CHILDREN

 

To THE HUMAN RACE

LIFE

INTRODUCTION

THIS BOOK has three parts, and the titles used for the headings of these parts present a gothic sort of imagery to use as a framework for the book’s progression.

The image is of a beautiful world marred by one ugly, spooky looking castle, yet one with considerable beauty within it, along with many truly ugly things.  There is a dungeon under the castle where prisoners are kept.  Now and then some of them escape from the dungeon into the castle.  After that their object is to sneak or fight their way through the castle into the beautiful outside world where they will be free.

I propose that the above is a loosely accurate allegory of human life.

Although the framework is allegorical, I will not write in that way for the bulk of the book.  Only the first brief chapter is entirely allegorical; the rest is pretty much in plain English.

That first chapter, however, uses an allegory other than the one already mentioned, the dungeon, castle, and surrounding countryside.  The first chapter uses the allegory of a much traveled highway.  After that, I basically dispense with allegories except for the part-breakdown, which uses the castle, etc., illustrations.

The highway allegory is appropriate since a major purpose of the book is for it to be used as a bulldozer to clear debris off the almost impassible road of life on this planet.

 

PART ONE:

THE SEARCH FOR THE DUNGEON’S EXIT

CHAPTER 1:  ROADBLOCK

IMAGINE a road infested with stunted little dwarflike creatures, ugly beyond words yet with a certain pathetic charm, digging holes in the road, piling up dirt, building crude but troublesome barricades, living in the holes, swinging on the barricades.  Some of them are camped permanently, some are moving backwards and forwards down the road by turn, and a few are making considerable progress going forward; for the road has a distinct forward and a distinct backward.  All of these stunted creatures with their ugly faces and eyes crying out for help, while carrying on in the various ways described above, are also quite engaged in harassing one another by spitting out a foul smelling slime, and with pokes, and shoves–and quite often behaving more severely, even to the point of hacking at one another with the same tools they use for digging the holes in the road and for fashioning the lopsided barricades.

In fact, so much of the road is covered with hot blood and greasy slime that a dark cloud of putrid moisture has formed along the great length of road where these creatures live and work and breed and eat and fight.  The cloud hangs over the road cutting off most of the sun’s light, so that the creatures live in near-darkness.  They have, however, set up torches, fueled by the fat of their own dead, each torch throwing a flickering sick-green light over a small area and causing distorted shadows which only add to the confusion.  But the creatures are courageous little beasts, never ceasing in their work, digging pitfalls for one another, and sometimes helping one another out of those pitfalls, while others stand by and curse them for doing so.

Now and then one of their many magicians fans away some of the stinking mist and a little sunlight shines in, although they are always careful to protect themselves and others by reflecting the sunlight from a distorted mirror, because the unreflected, undistorted sunlight strikes fear into the depths of their evil souls.  Some hurry to the distorted light, and some run away even from that, as though it also would burn them to death at once.  But, in any case, the mist quickly closes over them all again, for the fans used by the magicians are pathetically inadequate–because they also use them as weapons, clobbering one another with them.  Particularly, one will find magicians clobbering other magicians.  This is because they have heated arguments about whose system of fans and mirror distortions will be the most beneficial.

A great deal of the fighting, among the magicians as well as the general populace, also involves a struggle for the fleeting pleasures and beautiful experiences that can be found amid the ugliness.  Tied in with this, much of the fighting is motivated by a desire for power, influence and prestige.  Some of the most respected of these pathetic creatures live in high buildings (one kind of barricade on the road) made out of the bones of those of their own kind whom they have killed in their struggle for power.

A small percentage of the creatures, having decided that they sincerely wish to go forward on the road, hoping to find a better scene around the next bend, have somehow come across a device that appears to help them in this regard–namely an undistorted mirror.  Such a mirror has the amazing ability of being able to pick up the light of the sun even in the deepest gloom of the roadway and to reflect it out as a bright piercing beam.  One would think that this would quickly help the possessor of the device to find his way along the road.  Unfortunately for them, it’s not that simple; also, they are partly to blame themselves for their lack of success.

First of all, the others all hate them, for, as already pointed out, most are terrified by direct sunlight, and that light, when reflected from a good smooth mirror, has the same terrifying effect on them.  Therefore the enemies of the smooth-mirror carriers have devised ingenious ways of secretly putting distorting filters on the smooth mirrors, usually simply by selling them these devices that they say will protect the glass but that really distort.  Some have also been hoodwinked into buying “polish” for their mirrors, which liquid, when applied, has the desired effect of distorting them.  For the enemies of the mirrors, however, a frustrating thing about them is that no amount of phony distorting polish can effect their centers, only the more outward areas.  Likewise, a distorting filter placed over them, quickly has its center demolished, leaving only a ragged circle of filter around the edge.  Still, this is enough to give the reflected beam a generally distorted character, thus making it more bearable to most inhabitants of the road.  It should also be mentioned that even the ones who carry these mirrors, have, over the years, come to like the partial distortion, even to the point of seeking out and buying new filters and so-called polish without anyone doing a hard sell.  And, following from that, it has even gotten to the point that many of the smooth-mirror carriers are now manufacturing their own distortion filters, apparently not liking the distortion effects of those filters that were available and wanting something more in character with their own group goals.  It should be noted though, that they never refer to the desired effect as being a distortion; but, rather, prefer to put the label of “light enhancers” on their own mirror filters.

These creatures, whether or not they’re carrying the basically smooth mirrors, are all insane, to varying degrees.  The ones with these mirrors do, however, make better progress down the road, which is not really saying much since all the others make hardly any progress at all.  But because of the often self-applied distortion rings on their mirrors, the beams lead them into particularly dark places on the road that the others, with their thoroughly distorted mirrors, but of a different kind of distortion, don’t ever get into.  The carriers of the basically smooth mirrors then, crawling along through dark mucky places, getting their mirrors dirty–although never at the very center–and seeing grotesque lying shadows created by their own partially distorted light beams, decide that they have to build bulwarks of defense, and dig pits to catch the shadow monsters.  So, while continuing to beam some true light from the untouched centers of their mirrors, and thus eventually seeing their way around their own ridiculous constructions and diggings and those of others, they also contribute much to the continuous growth of the messy obstacle course that retards, and for many of the creatures restricts, travel on the roadway.

CHAPTER 2:

A WARNING ABOUT THE QUEST

 

ARE YOU INVOLVED in a quest to find the meaning of life?

There are many creatures in existence who have not been interested and are not now interested in any kind of quest.  Even within the limited scope of our own planet we can find a lot of individuals who do not have any desire to even ask the question: what should we be questing for?

My cat, Willie, is one of them.  He’s a good friend, and I love him, but I have not been able to interest him in a philosophical discussion–and it isn’t only the language barrier.  I’m reasonably convinced, from observation and thought, that in his feline heart there is no desire to progress philosophically.  He is content with the pursuance of fascinating mysteries regarding whether or not there is a mouse on the other side of a pile of junk in my junky garage; and his artistic appreciation, which does add much to his life, does not, however, go far beyond his enjoyment of sitting outside in the veranda, listening to the juicy little birds singing in the nearby tree tops.  For human beings, however, art has much to do with philosophy; for great novels, like great pieces of music, stir within us chords of triumph and tragedy that cry out for answers in this strange, dark, and wonderful world in which we find ourselves.

Anyone who is not on a quest degrades himself to the level of a cat, mouse, bird, or bedbug, or some such creature who has no philosophical inclination.  It would be somewhat different if we already knew, when we came into this world, all the answers to the most meaningful questions that we might otherwise want to ask.  But then we would have been born into paradise, and even there, hopefully, we would have healthy curiosities that would search out mysteries and their answers–unless we were some kind of cats in a cat paradise.

You were once a baby.  You carried no great load of philosophical baggage–at least not on the surface of your mind–and so it would seem that you had a great opportunity to look at yourself and the universe you found yourself in from a fresh, honest perspective.  Seemingly unfortunately–but not really–you did not yet have the developed mental equipment, nor much of an experience base, to allow you to ask a lot of interesting questions.  But you probably did ask a wordless one.  I think this was the same for all of us.  Before our bodies were fully formed, while we were still in our mother’s comfortable wombs, at the first spark of awareness of this strange experience, we all asked the unavoidable question:  What is this?  This meaning our experience of awareness of being a particular individual in a particular environment.

Later, after we had emerged from the protection of our mother’s bodies but were still in the protection of her arms, and additional new experiences kept pouring in, the what-is-this question not only remained but became increasingly more fragmented and complex:  What’s this unpleasant feeling?  What’s this thing being pushed into my mouth?  What am I doing?  It seems to have something to do with this pleasant moist feeling coming into me.  And that unpleasant feeling is going away.  I get the feeling I’m not alone here.  I like that.  But the whole thing is weird.  Who or what am I anyhow?  Oh, who cares?  Whatever this all is, I think it’s okay.  Hope so.  I feel good now.  Of course, none of this is experienced in words, but, rather, in wordless concepts.

By the time you could begin to really think; that is, to actually willfully put two facts together and come up with the resulting conclusion of a third hopefully accurate fact, you were no longer quite as fresh and comparatively baggage-free as you were on the day you were born.  This is because during that first five years or so of your life you had already been educated daily, not only through your observance of nature, but by the beginnings of a forceful brainwashing by the culture in which you found yourself.  You had picked up a lot of stuff from your parents and other grown ups.  Still, your outlook was relatively fresh.  And being able to reason now, and daily experiencing the privilege and magic of a free will, you could choose to make logical decisions or illogical.

But why would a five year-old child ever choose to make an illogical decision?  For the same reason that grown-ups often choose to do so:  Among many other ramifications, this magical thing called free will (or simply will, since all will is free by its very nature), allows us to choose between telling ourselves the truth or telling ourselves lies.

What if some child used his will to make all the right decisions, never willfully deceiving himself, always seeking the truth?  Would he find the true answers to life that philosophers seek?–and that the rest of humanity has little interest in, to varying degrees.

This is a book about truth.  If you really care about the concept of truth you’ll be fascinated by this book, and you’ll be paying careful attention to see if what I say is to be believed or rejected and whether or not you can learn anything of value.  If you don’t care much about the concept of truth, reading on further may arouse in you more interest in the subject as you go along, so that you may soon be in that first category of caring intensely about truth.  But if you’ve already decided that the whole idea of truth is a troublesome pain that often prevents you from getting what you want (and if you’ve often made such decisions, you’ve likely effectively put these decisions out of your mind), you may not read on much further.  Possibly the only reason you might read on under those circumstances is that by then you may have learned to hate me, and you’ll decide to read as much of this book as you can stomach just to see if you can find any weaknesses in my writing or my character to use against me.

If a human being, born into this world, consistently cared about the concept of truth and never wavered from it, and thus employed logic and whatever else of value that was presented to him to help him in his search, he would, in fact, find the true answers to the deep philosophical questions of life, such as “Who are we?” and “What is this all about?” that bother sensitive people.  He would, in fact, not be able to escape from the unspeakably important conclusions he would reach; that is, he would not be able to escape from them so long as he retained his honesty–his caring about the concept of truth.

I feel obligated to warn the reader at this point:  To whatever extent you go on reading this book–carefully, understanding what it says–and particularly if you read it through to the end, you will never be the same.  If you skim through it, reading fast just so that you can say you’ve read it, or for whatever reason, you might not be changed much–but then, why bother?  You can have more fun reading fiction.  But if you read this book with interest and with an eye to understanding what I’m trying to say, and if you’ve been endowed with more or less normal or better intelligence, then the warning applies in full force:  You’ll never be the same.  If, because of your caring about truth, you accept even some of the major philosophical conclusions as presented, a great dark curtain will be ripped away from in front of your eyes and you’ll see reality in a blaze of light that will shock you and shake you to the depth of your soul.  It will be like waking up from a dream.

On the other hand, if, when you are led along carefully by logic and truth, you decide that you don’t like where the trail is leading, and you avail yourself of the only escape route, namely self deception, you will have willfully changed your own character in a drastic way–so drastic that you may never recover from that decision.  You may have doomed yourself to the state of never again being able to care sincerely about the concept of truth.

Don’t misunderstand me:  I’m not saying, believe what I write or be damned.  Rather, I’m saying: if and when you get to the point of recognizing the truth of this book, and then willfully reject what you know to be true because it doesn’t suit you, thus employing self deception to escape from the situation, you then will be degrading your character into a state of self-imposed ignorance, with all its negative ramifications, from which you may never recover.  Thus, should you read this book and honestly disagree with its conclusions, you would be in no danger of the above.  Likewise, if you read the book and failed to understand it and therefore did not accept its conclusions, you would thereby escape condemning yourself to a deep state of blindness.  But, again, I must warn you.  The book is clearly written so that a person of normal intelligence, paying close attention, can understand it.  And do not get up false hopes about reading it with an honest, open mind, and then being able to honestly reject it or even be able to honestly struggle with it a good deal before making up your mind.  If you retain your honesty as you read you will begin to realize that your honesty, in combination with what you’re reading, is pushing you along with a grip of steel toward inescapable conclusions–except for that one remaining escape hatch of self-deception.

Why would your decision to deceive yourself–if you did–be more drastic in this case than in the many times you’ve deceived yourself in the past?  (And we’ve all done that.)  Well, it may not be.  Some people have already reached very drastic and soul-changing conclusions.  It all depends on what decisions in regard to truth, error, honesty, and self-deception you’ve already made.  Nevertheless, the conclusions reached in this book are highly important and thus the matter of acceptance or rejection of them is highly important.  As well, the book takes you to the core and base of things–as best as can be for humans living in this place and time–so that acceptance or rejection at that point is more drastic and soul-changing than at a more shallow level.  Also, many people make decisions about philosophical beliefs, but usually, because they haven’t thought through the matter very well, they consciously and/or unconsciously acknowledge their own confusion and lack of knowledge in the matter, and so their conclusions are not that solid either; that is to say, they may have secret doubts and are leaving openings for possible re-evaluation.  But if someone with special insight should open their eyes to many new details of these matters and set it all before them in the form of solid, step-by-step logic, and they then made a decision either to accept or reject, that decision would be much more complete and deep-rooted and therefore much less likely to again be seriously questioned.

I have not overlooked the fact that deciding not to read on is a decision of no small importance and will certainly have an effect on your mind.  If you decide not to read on, it will be almost certainly because you fear truth, and, by making such a decision, you would be reinforcing that fear.  Such a decision however, would seem not to have the same powerful negative effect that will be produced in the mind of anyone who begins to see great and wonderful things and then turns his back on them, deceiving himself into thinking that he never saw them.  Thus, you basically have three alternatives in regard to this book.  (1) You decide that you care about truth for its own sake, and will search it out no matter where it leads.  My warnings cannot deter you from reading this book because your dislike of falsehood is greater than your fear of where truth might lead.  (2) You don’t really care about truth for itself, and are more interested in finding as much happiness as you can, for yourself, and maybe even for others, even if some or all of that happiness is possible only through self deceit.  You don’t intend to change in this regard, but decide to read my book anyhow, ignoring my warning and hoping that the book will turn out to be fanatical trash that won’t cause you any worries or interfere with your lifestyle.  When you’ve done reading it, you’ll just laugh about it and forget it.  It’s a gamble you’re willing to take, pe

rhaps to satisfy your curiosity about the book.  So you read it.  (3) Truth isn’t big on your agenda because you have a life to live.  You don’t really want to get mixed up in philosophical stuff that could perhaps be very convincing and change your beloved life style–if you gave in to the reasonings of the book, which you realize you might not.  So you heed the author’s warning about the consequences to yourself of rejecting truth on this colossal scale, and decide not to read any further.  This way at least you may not get into deeper trouble than you already have.  Yet a part of you wonders what you may be missing by deciding to keep on your blindfold.

The three above alternatives are just the three basics.  You may feel that you’re a mixture of two or three of them.  And you may bring factors into the matter that I haven’t thought of.

Take a break here and think about the warning.  Taking off a few days for this might be advisable.

Then, if you’ve decided to read on, the next chapter will take us into a matter of great importance to anyone searching for the answers to what life is all about.  We will look closely at the concept known as truth.

 

CHAPTER 3:

THE ABSTRACT CONCEPT OF TRUTH

A CHILD, born into life on Planet Earth is, throughout his growing-up years, bombarded with the traditions and culture of the time and place he lives in.  If he’s brought up in a non-communist, civilized part of the modern world, say in the pre-1960’s, he’s taught–at least in the free, democratic parts of that world–that there’s one God who created everything, that Jesus is the savior of mankind, that we should love our neighbors, and other Christian teachings as well.  Along with that he is taught by example, and sometimes by word, that he should take none of this too seriously, and that he should go out and try to get as much as he can out of life for himself.

If he’s born in India, he’s taught to worship a whole raft of gods, and that he can’t eat cows, and many other related doctrines, some similar to Christian teaching, some contrary.

If he’s born in North America before the white man came, he’s taught to believe in a lot of powerful super-beings closely related to nature, as well as in the Great Spirit, who is over all the others and who created the world.

If he’s brought up in a modern-day communist country or in an atheistic university professor’s home, he’s taught a fascinating philosophy about ongoing causes and effects and a lack of need for any one great controlling mind to integrate or guide these forces.

If he’s born into the post-1960’s modern world, then the larger the last two digits of that year are (with a change to a new start of lower numbers, of course, in the new century and new millennium), the more likely he is to be brought up under a confusing mixture of influences and attitudes about life that are often blatantly contradictory.  This is to be expected because of increased communication throughout most of the world, so that cultures previously isolated are overlapping, clashing, mixing.  And out of such mixtures new thoughts and beliefs arise.  For children living on Earth, what time or place they are born in and grow up in, is likely to have a profound effect on what they believe.

A completely logical child however, would carefully scrutinize whatever traditions and doctrines were handed to him.  He would do this because he simply wants to know the truth.  In order to be successful in this, he must be willing to accept that he may or may not like the truth when he finds it.  He must be determined that he will not be selective, accepting those truths that please him, and rejecting those that are contrary to his desires.

Our theoretical logical child finds that he has desires and fears like anyone else.  As a teenager he has a great desire to be accepted by the others, particularly by the opposite sex, and an equally great fear of being rejected or ignored by them.  Now let’s suppose that in the culture in which he finds himself, cocaine use among his peers is rampant, with obvious evidence of it’s negative results, such as unwanted pregnancies (people do things when they’re stoned that they wouldn’t do otherwise), venereal disease, addiction resulting in crime to support the cocaine habit, horrendous withdrawal symptoms when the supply becomes unavailable, mental disintegration, and a high percentage of suicides.  In the meantime, these kids do have some great parties with wild, intoxicating sex, and a sense of community and belonging.  Our child has a tremendous need for this togetherness.

What usually happens under circumstances such as these is that the child will tell himself that he’s not going to be seriously hurt by going along with the lifestyle required for him to get what he wants.  Someone looking at it from an outside viewpoint–that is, someone not desirous of that lifestyle–will find it hard to imagine how it can be possible for anyone to pull the wool over their own eyes when the obvious deceit of it is screaming in their faces.  But it quickly becomes a different matter when this outside viewer perhaps finds that being honest with himself in regard to some business practice might cause him to lose a couple of million dollars.

In big things and in small, the normal human practice is to be honest only part of the time, and to quite often deceive oneself when coming across a truth that would deprive us of something we want or bring us something we fear.

Our honest child, however, now a teenager, has decided that he likes truth.  He likes it as a concept.  He doesn’t just like this particular truth or that particular truth; he likes truth itself.  There’s something about it.  It’s true; it’s the real thing.  The opposite, falsehood, he sees as a twisted road leading away from reality to some kind of meaningless emptiness.  At this point he has not yet fully questioned himself on why he cares about truth so much, and determines to look into the matter further as he can; but in the meantime he feels rather satisfied that he has made the right choice; for acceptance of reality does seem to him to be a much better choice than acceptance of self-deception.  For one thing, he thinks, self-deception guarantees a loss of control:  If you no longer understand the situation, you cannot logically expect to make decisions regarding that situation that will be to your own best interests.  But he knows, deep inside, that there’s more to it than that.  The core of it is that he simply is attracted to the idea of truth.  And he thinks, “Why should I be?”  But, not knowing the answer, he lets the matter go for the time being, and, nevertheless feeling good about his decision to follow the concept of truth at all costs, goes on with his logical quest.

So, of course, he gives up being a party animal.  This is a serious price to pay for a horny young teenager.  He could have had all those delicious looking girls.  He could have felt the comradeship of the whole group.  But he’s not sorry he made the decision he did–particularly when a few days later one of those pretty girls hangs herself in a public washroom; another one has an abortion but, conscience-ridden insists on a funeral for the fetus and at the burial pukes on the baby’s grave because of withdrawal symptoms; and one of the guys–maybe the father–high on cocaine, claims he’s become a Satan worshipper and shoots a dozen people in the train station to prove his worthiness to the Lord of Darkness.

For a time, at least, our child lives a lonely life.  He doesn’t like the loneliness aspect of it, but it does give him more time to think–to think logically and reasonably about life.  And always he keeps as a constant guiding light that he wishes to know the truth.  He is not particularly interested in finding a philosophy that will suit him.  He has no great desire to find a belief system that will allow him to live the kind of life he wants to live.  Like anyone else, he has dreams of things he’d like to do with his life in various areas, such as work and play, and he works at them–so long as they don’t require him to compromise truth.  In regard to his philosophical searchings, he has, at this point, a simple and straightforward goal: to find truth–as much of it as he can.  Because he wants to know what’s really going on.

The most basic definition of the word truth as it applies to us as a concept, that I’ve been able to find in a dictionary is:  Conformity with fact or reality.  I doubt that anyone will care to argue much with that definition.  Falsehood, then, is lack of conformity with fact or reality.

I believe that most people in our world do not care a whole lot about truth.  This can be noticed during conversations and arguments, and is also expressed in action.  If one is observant in such matters it soon becomes obvious that what people care about is not truth for the sake of truth, but rather any knowledge that will enable them to gain or maintain the life-styles that they’ve set their hearts on.  So to them truth is not a master but a servant.  If any particular truth will serve their purpose, they’ll buy it; but if they encounter any particular truth that threatens to upset, or even sway, their apple carts, they’ll often soundly reject it.  They cannot change the truth: white is still white and black is still black, but they simply deceive themselves into believing a lie.  Fortunately there are many exceptions to this scenario.  People in general are not wholly bent on self deception, yet they are to an extent that severely hinders them from being in tune with reality.

It is not logically possible to find true answers to the mysteries of life without caring about truth; for it is not possible to recognize something that one refuses to look at.

It is important here to distinguish between particular truths and truth as an abstract concept.  Many decent people, when asked if they care about truth, will say that they do, and they think they do; but what they really mean by this is that they care about certain truths that they have accepted.  It’s like saying, “I believe that the world is a sphere moving in an orbit around the sun, and I believe that we should make peace, not war.  These things and other things I believe in are true, therefore it follows that I care about truth.”

Sorry, but that doesn’t necessarily follow.  The fact is that this person cares about some particular truths, possibly because of what he can get out of subscribing to them.  The setup also allows him to be deceiving himself on other particular matters.  He believes that the Earth is a sphere; he may also believe that the center of the Earth is made of Philadelphia cream cheese.  He believes that we should search for peace; he may also believe that it’s all right to steal towels out of a hotel room and cheat on his income tax and his wife, so long as certain people don’t find out and peace is maintained.  He may be deceiving himself by refusing to believe anything that doesn’t fit in with the way of life he has chosen.  Such a man should not claim that he cares about truth.

What it means, then, to care about truth, is to care about the abstract principle of truth–the idea of truth.  If you like the idea of conforming to reality, and hate the idea of deceiving yourself, then you care about truth.  Just caring about some particular truths doesn’t qualify.  To truly care about truth you must care about truth for the sake of truth.  If you do, you will learn and like many particular truths, but you will not like them only because of what they are in particular; you will like the fact about them that they are true.

If you decide to care about truth in this total way, you will also find that it is a struggle to consistently continue to do so.  Every time any particular truth threatens to take from you something you want, or to bring something on you that you don’t want, a part of you will rebel against that particular truth and thus against the whole principle of caring about the concept of truth.  What you decide in each such case will change your character, either bringing you more in line with reality, or more detached from it by self deception.

Most people think of the matter of truth and falsehood mainly in connection with telling someone else the truth or lying to them.  They seldom think of it in regard to telling themselves the truth or lying to themselves.  Which is more evil and harmful, lying to someone else or lying to oneself?  I venture to say that most would think that lying to others is more evil and harmful.  But that is not true.  And I’ll explain why, plainly and logically.

When you lie to others about some matter but keep the truth to yourself, you are deceiving a number of people about it, but are not lying to yourself about that particular matter.  When you lie to yourself, convincing yourself that something is true when it is not, you will also, after you’ve convinced yourself, spread that lie to everyone you relate to about it.  This, then, involves 100 percent falsehood in regard to how you handle the information in question.  If you retain the truth for yourself, the percentage improves, so that if there are 100 people involved, including yourself, the falsehood percentage is 99 percent instead of 100.

It could be argued that it’s more harmful to lie to others than to oneself because when one lies to others one is usually doing it for some selfish reason that will harm others.  Although it is true that such lies do harm people, the long range results of self deception are far more harmful to others.  This is because when one deceives oneself, one becomes an ongoing fountain of falsehood–on that particular point of deception–and many, although not all, of those who come to drink at this fountain will have their minds poisoned by this falsehood, believing it; and they, in turn, will become poisonous fountains themselves.  Dropping the illustration, it comes out like this.  If you deceive yourself, you will then spread around what you now think to be true, and a number of others will believe you.  Although this will also happen when you simply lie to others, but retain the truth for yourself, there is the hope in that case, that you will repent of your lies and inform people of the truth.  But the liar who has convinced himself that a falsehood is true, may have quenched the last light of that particular truth in his own mind, and so will add this new falsehood to whatever else he has lied to himself about in the past, and therefore go on contributing to this darkness of error in himself and others.

Someone has said, “To thine own self be true, and it will follow as sure as the day follows the night that to others you will be true as well.”  I don’t know who said that, but it figures.  And in the same way it could also be said, “Lie to yourself and it will follow as sure as the night follows the day that to others you will lie as well.”

A relatively few people reading this may be surprised at the very concept of self-deception.  Never having faced up to the matter, they may think that people don’t ever deceive themselves, that this is impossible.  Think again.  Self deception, as any psychologist will tell you, is rampant.  Alcoholics deny to themselves that they have a problem; many of those who live loose moral lives sexually and don’t use protective measures against disease transmission tell themselves that nothing will happen to them, or at least give themselves a much better chance of escaping infection than honesty would allow.  Etc.  Almost all quarrels that have ever taken place on our planet could have been stopped dead in the middle by one or both of the quarrelers suddenly deciding to quit deceiving themselves and really start caring about truth.  Human beings, unfortunately, are very good at pulling the wool over their own eyes.

If you are reading this book as part of your search for reality, then, of course, it becomes highly important that you make a conscious and sincere decision–or reinforce the decision if you’ve already made it–to fervently care about truth as an abstract concept, to care about truth for the sake of truth itself.  Without that determination, you will be open to self deception, or continue to be open to self-deception, at any point where you come in contact with any truths, including ideas expressed in this book, that conflict with what you want or support what you fear.

 

CHAPTER 4:

WHAT ARE REASONING AND LOGIC?

IN THE PREVIOUS CHAPTER the importance of caring about truth for the sake of truth was established.  So now we need to ask: how do we go about finding truth and avoiding falsehood?

There is a concept called logic by which it is said truth can be discovered.  Reasoning is the mental process of using logic.  So we can see that the two concepts are closely related, allowing us to put them together as one concept: logical reasoning.  But how does logical reasoning work?

Let’s try using logical reasoning to look at itself and try to determine how it works and if it’s trustworthy.  In all the ideas I present and conclusions I reach, your part is to examine it all carefully and see if it makes sense.  But when you make that judgement, please don’t make it on the foundation of what you have traditionally believed, or on what fits in with your present beliefs; because chances are you have never seriously examined the evidence to support many of your present beliefs, but continue to accept them because you’re more or less comfortable with them.  And do not base your judgement about what I come up with by whether or not it will hurt you or keep you from having what you want.  Such judgements are not reasonable.  Instead, judge what I say through careful step-by-step reasoning.  And that I will show you, reasonably, how to do.  There is only one other way–apart from accident–to be able to rightly arrive at a conclusion; but we won’t go into that until later.

Now, you can try to find out what logical reasoning is by looking up the words, logic and reason, in a dictionary, or you can try to get a hold of a law professor’s textbooks on the subject; but I wouldn’t advise that latter method as a starter.  The trouble is that the professors who write those books and articles have extremely analytical minds, and, although their work has value, they tend to get somewhat carried away with naming various aspects and methods of logic.  I will rather make an attempt to quickly cut to the core of the matter in an effort to find out what we really want to know:  What is logical reasoning and how does it work?  I’ll start with a new postulate.  As you read on, after that, you will likely see, more and more, through accurate reasoning, that the postulate is true.

POSTULATE:  Logical reasoning is a process by which beliefs–assumed to be true–are found to relate to one another in a cause-and-effect way; and such a study is for the purpose of discovering new truths, henceforth not known to the one doing the reasoning.  (I hope you noted the assumed to be true part.

Yes, I said cause and effect.  And, just as in the physical world we find the cause and effect principle at work, so it also works in the world of ideas and beliefs.

There are many beliefs.  Everyone has loads of them.  Some beliefs are true and some are false.

(Just as an inserted thought, there is a ridiculous philosophy afloat that has, as a totally unfounded doctrine, that all truth is relative, so that if you believe the sun has sex with the moon every six months, when no one’s looking, then that belief is just as true for you as is someone else’s belief that these sun-moon fun times are not happening.  This sort of truth-is-relative belief is based on a materialistic, finite-grounded base that I will show, throughout the course of this book, cannot logically be maintained.  Which takes us back to the subject matter of logical reasoning.)

If some beliefs are true and some are false, then we are justified in coining a helpful phrase here:  The fact-status of a belief.  According to logic, any particular belief arrived at through reasoning has the following fact-status ratings:

(A) Highly Probable

(B) Probable

(C) Possible

(D) Possible but Unlikely

(E) Highly Unlikely

 

You may think there should be two more situations added to the above list, namely Certainly True at the top of the list, and Certainly Not True at the bottom.  However, they don’t fit; and for those of you who haven’t yet figured it out for yourselves, I’ll explain that a little farther on.

So what is supposed to happen, essentially, during a go at logical reasoning, is for the reasoning person to determine the fact-status of a number of beliefs or potential beliefs that are available to him on the subject, and, then, carrying on from those conclusions, to arrive at a new conclusion.  The first set of conclusions arrived at have become the cause of the final conclusion, which is the effect.

For any conclusion considered to be (A) Highly Probable or (B) Probable, a great number of other beliefs, as probable facts, must have been in place to support or cause the conclusion reached.

Let’s try the following example:  A jar of pickles gets dislodged and falls out of a fourth-story window toward a cement sidewalk below.  Now let’s assume that this is told to someone who is not there to see the results.  But he’s asked, “Do you reasonably conclude that the jar of pickles broke?”   The man is allowed to ask questions, just as a detective would in a murder case, to help him reach a reasonable conclusion.  (And, if he wished to be quite thorough, he would have to do further investigation to determine whether or not the persons answering his questions were telling the truth.)  Lets assume that after doing all that, he concludes that the jar or pickles broke and splattered pickles all over the sidewalk.

For this conclusion to have been caused, a lot of beliefs with probable fact-status must be in place, such as:

— On this planet (at least), things that fall, and are not carrying a levitation device, almost always keep on falling until the course of their fall brings them in contact with some other object that is dense enough to stop the course of their downward progress.

— Nothing soft and shock absorbing was placed in between the falling jar of pickles and the cement sidewalk below.

— No earthquake or other phenomenon took place that split the sidewalk and the Earth and allowed the jar to splash down into a subterranean river.

— The jar did not have a string, rope, or bungi cord fastened to it to keep it from reaching the sidewalk.

— All other such scenarios, that one could readily think of, would need to be ruled out as reasonable possibilities.

The above points, along with the original information about the jar falling out of the window, would together make up the list of assumed facts that investigation–involving logical thinking–would show to be true beyond a reasonable doubt, as they say in court; or, in other words, found to be probably true, or even highly probably true.  These preliminary conclusions, then, when viewed together, would become the cause of another conclusion–namely that it is highly probable that the falling pickle jar hit the sidewalk, broke, and spilled its contents.

The above conclusion can then be used, if necessary, along with an entirely different set of conclusions, to cause a further new conclusion.  For instance, let’s assume that it could be reasonably concluded, using the same method as described above, that (1) the person who owned the pickles was about to serve them for supper, and (2) that she had no reasonable chance of getting pickles anywhere else to replace them, and (3) that she thought it wasn’t a good idea to scrape them off the sidewalk and use them anyhow.  These three conclusions (maybe we would actually need more), along with the conclusion that the jar of pickles did break, could cause at least one new conclusion:  It is probable that the Pickle Woman would not be serving pickles for supper.

 

The ramifications in regard to this intermingling of conclusions resulting in more conclusions are potentially endless.  In other words, there is literally no limit to the possibilities of new conclusions being reached.  That number is infinite.

 

Not only that, but infinity is just as surely involved in the other direction:  If we were to examine the assumed facts that caused a present conclusion, and then went farther back and examined the assumed facts that supported or caused that conclusion and looked for the assumed facts that supported each of those supporting conclusions, and then went back farther and …  well, you get the idea.  This process of logical reasoning, if we could carry it all the way, would necessarily, logically, go on into infinity, in both directions, past and future.

This logically supports or causes another conclusion, namely that knowledge is infinite.  Or, for those who haven’t yet discovered that there is no totally objective reality (we’ll look into that matter later), they would at least have to go along with this to the extent of concluding that knowledge is potentially infinite.

 

And it is because of the infinity factor that logical reasoning can be shown, logically, to be inadequate–in the experience of any finite mind–for the purpose of ever finding a certain answer to anything.

 

A finite mind can contain only a finite amount of information.  Theoretically one can keep adding new finite amounts of knowledge to the original amount, but a finite number added to a finite number still adds up to a finite number.  The point is that no matter how much we know about a subject, we can never know all there is to know about it.  No matter how many supporting conclusions we’ve reached, and no matter how many conclusions supported each of those conclusions we’ve discovered, we have to draw the line somewhere and admit that we just don’t have all the data needed to reach a one-hundred percent certain conclusion.  Somewhere, in this endless sea of facts, there could be some information, that, if known to us, would change our conclusion.  This deserves a more concise postulate than what has already been said:

 

Finite Logical reasoning, through finite logical reasoning, proves, to the limited degree that finite logical reasoning can prove anything, that finite logical reasoning cannot ever establish any completely certain conclusion.

 

The above can be demonstrated to some degree by concocting a theoretical murder case with evidence being presented to the jury so that they can reach a verdict that is correct beyond a reasonable doubt.  That can, in fact, be accomplished.  What the jury cannot accomplish through logical reasoning is to present a verdict that is one-hundred percent certain to be true.

Let’s say that a body has been discovered beaten to death by some blunt instrument.  The crime is investigated and reliable witnesses are found in the form of four people–strangers to one another–who were waiting at a bus stop beside the yard of the victim’s home on the night of the murder, while another reliable witness, on the day before the murder, claimed to have overheard a conversation between the victim and his next-door neighbor.  The neighbor was upset and was threatening the victim, saying, angrily, “If you don’t take care of it the right way, well, then it’ll be the permanent solution!”  The four people waiting for the bus agreed completely that they had heard screams coming from the victim’s house, as well as the sound of scuffling and banging.  Then, only seconds after this, they had heard a door slam and had then seen a man jogging across the victims yard from the direction of the house and heading for the house next door.  Although the four at the bus stop did not know one another, two of them knew the man trotting across the yard.  This was not too surprising, since the man progressing across the yard had recently been in trouble with the law in regard to an incident that showed him to have a violent temper, and they remembered his face and build.  Besides, they knew that the angry man of the news article lived in the house next door–the very house to which this man was now running.

The man was carrying a baseball bat, and the rays of light from the street lamp clearly showed that the bat looked to be smeared with blood.  Recognizing him as the angry man of the newscast, they stood quietly and watched him as he entered his home without, of course, ringing the bell and without hesitation.  They at once decided to call the police and did so.

The police arrived within twenty minutes, found the victim’s body obviously clubbed to death, and arrested his next-door neighbor.  He threw a temper fit and, because they were busy subduing him, neglected to immediately find the murder weapon–the bat.  They weren’t worried though, because they expected that he hadn’t had time to destroy it or hide it very well.  The suspect declared himself innocent and said that he had been in the house all evening reading the great western novel, SHANE; but, since he was a bachelor, he didn’t have even a wife to give him credence for this alibi.  Although the police were not able to find the bat, they felt that they had a solid case against the man and it went to court–particularly after they dusted the novel, SHANE, and found that the owner’s fingerprints were not on it.  They found a sales slip in the garbage that showed that the man had bought the book that afternoon at a nearby drugstore, where the clerk remembered the sale and that the buyer had been wearing expensive doeskin gloves.  It also came to light that the man often wore those gloves under unlikely circumstances because they helped him to identify with Western movie heroes who sometimes wore gloves, even when they handled their guns.  The suspect was a staunch fan of some of the most violent of these so-called heroes, having, of course, a particular liking for the violence-filled spaghetti-Western movies.  The upshot was that it was clear that he had not read the book as he had said he had, and this was verified when he was asked questions about the story and patently had no idea what it was about.  It was plain, therefore, that his alibi was false, and in no way availed against the testimony of the four witnesses at the bus stop.

Early during the trial the suspect became so enraged that he suffered a stroke which rendered him speechless and with his legs and arms paralyzed.  There was some delay because of this, but after the suspect was released from hospital, the trial went on.  Many thought this to be a mistake, however, for the suspect also seemed to have suffered permanent brain damage and could no longer communicate with his counsel.  Still, the matter needed to be concluded.

As expected, the jury found the suspect guilty of murder.

The evidence that was presented to them was overwhelming:

(1) The man was known to have a violent temper.

(2) One reliable witness had seen and heard the suspect angrily ranting against the victim on the day before the murder, warning him about a “permanent solution.”

(3) Four reliable witnesses had heard screams and bangings from the victim’s house and then had heard a door slam and a moment later had seen the suspect running across the yard from the victim’s house to his own; and all four claimed that the suspect had been carrying a baseball bat streaked with red.

(4) The suspect’s alibi about being home all evening reading a Western novel was shown to be false, since he was clueless as to the story’s contents.

The jury members did some logical reasoning (well, this is a fictitious case), and found that the four above well-checked-out conclusions caused another reasonable conclusion to form in their minds:  The suspect was guilty of murder beyond a reasonable doubt.

It was the only conclusion they could logically come up with.  And, by keeping within the court’s guidelines of proclaiming their verdict to be right beyond a reasonable doubt, they kept their credibility intact.  But if their conclusion had been: “Because of the overwhelming evidence against the defendant in this case, we can surely proclaim that the defendant is guilty of murder and that this conclusion is one-hundred percent certain to be correct” then the jury would have been guilty of being illogical.

They would also have been wrong in their verdict, for the next day a computer nerd from the university came out of cyberspace long enough to remember that he had seen the suspect beating a German Shepherd dog to death with a baseball bat, then running off around to the other side of the yard.  He had also seen a man opening the door of the victim’s house, and apparently frightened when the dog-and-man fight happened to move toward him, hastily slammed the door.  At about that time the man with the bat finished killing the dog, threw the carcass into the cesspool, and hurried away to the other side of the house and began to cross the yard where he disappeared from the student’s view because of foliage.  Further investigation revealed that the dog–the remains of which were found in the cesspool–had belonged to the victim and that there had been a month-long squabble between victim and suspect regarding the dog’s almost constant barking which annoyed the suspect and other neighbors as well; so it could now be reasonably assumed that the angry threat overheard by the one witness could have been in reference to the dog rather than to his owner.

When the baseball bat was eventually found it was discovered to have dog’s blood on it–not a corpuscle of human blood.

The defendant recovered partially from his stroke even before the case went back for a retrial because of the new evidence, and now able to speak, confessed to the killing of the dog, saying that he had originally thought that he could beat the murder wrap simply because he hadn’t done the deed, so why should he admit to another crime?  The reason why his fingerprints were not on the Shane book, was that he had been wearing gloves when he bought it and brought it home.  He had been lying when he said that he had been reading the book at the time of the murder, for he needed to say what he had been ostensibly doing at the time when he had actually been killing the dog.

The suspect eventually recovered completely from the stroke and joined an anger-management workshop, after which his life improved greatly.

With the help of a police artist, the computer nerd was able to work up an image of the man he had seen briefly in the doorway of the victim’s house.  A man who looked like the drawing was arrested, and it was found that he had possible motive for the murder.  He is presently in prison awaiting trial–except that he isn’t because the whole thing is fiction to illustrate a point.

The jury lacked information.  But we always lack information.  No matter how solid may be the evidence a reasonable person may have to support a particular conclusion, somewhere, in all the infinite realm of possibilities, there may be something unthought of by the reasoning person–something that, if he knew it, would totally upset his conclusion.

Nevertheless, logical reasoning is very important and very helpful.  Our brains are like computers–reasoning tools.  They were meant to be used and we should use them.  The benefits of doing so are enormous.  But we will use ability to reason logically in a more effective way when we realize its limitations.

Is there any other way of discovering truth than through reasoning?  Is there any way that we, with our always limited information, can ever be totally sure of anything?  I’ll answer those questions in a later chapter.  For the time being, I’ll go on with reasoning things out, hoping that you will reason along with me, logically checking and rechecking everything I say.

There is much understanding to be gained through careful and honest logical reasoning.  It will work well, but only if there is a sincere desire for truth on the part of the person doing the reasoning.

 

IN THE PREVIOUS CHAPTER the importance of caring about truth for the sake of truth was established.  So now we need to ask: how do we go about finding truth and avoiding falsehood?

There is a concept called logic by which it is said truth can be discovered.  Reasoning is the mental process of using logic.  So we can see that the two concepts are closely related, allowing us to put them together as one concept: logical reasoning.  But how does logical reasoning work?

Let’s try using logical reasoning to look at itself and try to determine how it works and if it’s trustworthy.  In all the ideas I present and conclusions I reach, your part is to examine it all carefully and see if it makes sense.  But when you make that judgement, please don’t make it on the foundation of what you have traditionally believed, or on what fits in with your present beliefs; because chances are you have never seriously examined the evidence to support many of your present beliefs, but continue to accept them because you’re more or less comfortable with them.  And do not base your judgement about what I come up with by whether or not it will hurt you or keep you from having what you want.  Such judgements are not reasonable.  Instead, judge what I say through careful step-by-step reasoning.  And that I will show you, reasonably, how to do.  There is only one other way–apart from accident–to be able to rightly arrive at a conclusion; but we won’t go into that until later.

Now, you can try to find out what logical reasoning is by looking up the words, logic and reason, in a dictionary, or you can try to get a hold of a law professor’s textbooks on the subject; but I wouldn’t advise that latter method as a starter.  The trouble is that the professors who write those books and articles have extremely analytical minds, and, although their work has value, they tend to get somewhat carried away with naming various aspects and methods of logic.  I will rather make an attempt to quickly cut to the core of the matter in an effort to find out what we really want to know:  What is logical reasoning and how does it work?  I’ll start with a new postulate.  As you read on, after that, you will likely see, more and more, through accurate reasoning, that the postulate is true.

POSTULATE:  Logical reasoning is a study of how beliefs–whether true or false–relate to one another in a cause-and-effect way; and such a study is for the purpose of discovering new truths, henceforth not known to the one doing the reasoning.

Yes, I said cause and effect.  And, just as in the physical world we find the cause and effect principle at work, so it also works in the world of ideas and beliefs.

There are many beliefs.  Everyone has loads of them.  Some beliefs are true and some are false.

(Just as an inserted thought, there is a ridiculous philosophy afloat that has, as a totally unfounded doctrine, that all truth is relative, so that if you believe the sun has sex with the moon every six months–when no one’s looking–then that belief is just as true for you as is someone else’s belief that these sun-moon fun times are not happening.  This sort of truth-is-relative belief is based on a materialistic, finite-grounded base that I will show, throughout the course of this book, cannot logically be maintained.  Which takes us back to the subject matter of logical reasoning.)

If some beliefs are true and some are false, then we are justified in coining a helpful phrase here:  The fact-status of a belief.  According to logic, any particular belief arrived at through reasoning has the following fact-status ratings:

 

(A) Highly Probable

(B) Probable

(C) Possible

(D) Possible but Unlikely

(E) Highly Unlikely

 

You may think there should be two more situations added to the above list, namely Certainly True at the top of the list, and Certainly Not True at the bottom.  However, they don’t fit; and for those of you who haven’t yet figured it out for yourselves, I’ll explain that a little farther on.

So what is supposed to happen, essentially, during a go at logical reasoning, is for the reasoning person to determine the fact-status of a number of beliefs or potential beliefs that are available to him on the subject, and, then, carrying on from those conclusions, to arrive at a new conclusion.  The first set of conclusions arrived at have become the cause of the final conclusion, which is the effect.

For any conclusion considered to be (A) Highly Probable or (B) Probable, a great number of other beliefs, as probable facts, must have been in place to support or cause the conclusion reached.

Let’s try the following example:  A jar of pickles gets dislodged and falls out of a fourth-story window toward a cement sidewalk below.  Now let’s assume that this is told to someone who is not there to see the results.  But he’s asked, “Do you reasonably conclude that the jar of pickles broke?”   The man is allowed to ask questions, just as a detective would in a murder case, to help him reach a reasonable conclusion.  (And, if he wished to be quite thorough, he would have to do further investigation to determine whether or not the persons answering his questions were telling the truth.)  Lets assume that after doing all that, he concludes that the jar or pickles broke and splattered pickles all over the sidewalk.

For this conclusion to have been caused, a lot of beliefs with probable fact-status must be in place, such as:

— On this planet (at least), things that fall, and are not carrying a levitation device, almost always keep on falling until the course of their fall brings them in contact with some other object that is dense enough to stop the course of their downward progress.

— Nothing soft and shock absorbing was placed in between the falling jar of pickles and the cement sidewalk below.

— No earthquake or other phenomenon took place that split the sidewalk and the Earth and allowed the jar to splash down into a subterranean river.

— The jar did not have a string, rope, or bungi cord fastened to it to keep it from reaching the sidewalk.

— All other such scenarios, that one could readily think of, would need to be ruled out as reasonable possibilities.

The above points, along with the original information about the jar falling out of the window, would together make up the list of assumed facts that investigation–involving logical thinking–would show to be true beyond a reasonable doubt, as they say in court; or, in other words, found to be probably true, or even highly probably true.  These preliminary conclusions, then, when viewed together, would become the cause of another conclusion–namely that it is highly probable that the falling pickle jar hit the sidewalk, broke, and spilled its contents.

The above conclusion can then be used, if necessary, along with an entirely different set of conclusions, to cause a further new conclusion.  For instance, let’s assume that it could be reasonably concluded, using the same method as described above, that (1) the person who owned the pickles was about to serve them for supper, and (2) that she had no reasonable chance of getting pickles anywhere else to replace them, and (3) that she thought it wasn’t a good idea to scrape them off the sidewalk and use them anyhow.  These three conclusions (maybe we would actually need more), along with the conclusion that the jar of pickles did break, could cause at least one new conclusion:  It is probable that the Pickle Woman would not be serving pickles for supper.

 

The ramifications in regard to this intermingling of conclusions resulting in more conclusions are potentially endless.  In other words, there is literally no limit to the possibilities of new conclusions being reached.  That number is infinite.

 

Not only that, but infinity is just as surely involved in the other direction:  If we were to examine the assumed facts that caused a present conclusion, and then went farther back and examined the assumed facts that supported or caused that conclusion and looked for the assumed facts that supported each of those supporting conclusions, and then went back farther and …  well, you get the idea.  This process of logical reasoning, if we could carry it all the way, would necessarily, logically, go on into infinity, in both directions, past and future.

This logically supports or causes another conclusion, namely that knowledge is infinite.  Or, for those who haven’t yet discovered that there is no totally objective reality (we’ll look into that matter later), they would at least have to go along with this to the extent of concluding that knowledge is potentially infinite.

 

And it is because of the infinity factor that logical reasoning can be shown, logically, to be inadequate–in the experience of any finite mind–for the purpose of ever finding a certain answer to anything.

 

A finite mind can contain only a finite amount of information.  Theoretically one can keep adding new finite amounts of knowledge to the original amount, but a finite number added to a finite number still adds up to a finite number.  The point is that no matter how much we know about a subject, we can never know all there is to know about it.  No matter how many supporting conclusions we’ve reached, and no matter how many conclusions supported each of those conclusions we’ve discovered, we have to draw the line somewhere and admit that we just don’t have all the data needed to reach a one-hundred percent certain conclusion.  Somewhere, in this endless sea of facts, there could be some information, that, if known to us, would change our conclusion.  This deserves a more concise postulate than what has already been said:

 

Finite Logical reasoning, through finite logical reasoning, proves, to the limited degree that finite logical reasoning can prove anything, that finite logical reasoning cannot ever establish any completely certain conclusion.

 

The above can be demonstrated to some degree by presenting a theoretical murder case with evidence being presented to the jury so that they can reach a verdict that is correct beyond a reasonable doubt.  That can, in fact, be accomplished.  What the jury cannot accomplish through logical reasoning is to present a verdict that is one-hundred percent certain to be true.

Let’s say that a body has been discovered beaten to death by some blunt instrument.  The crime is investigated and reliable witnesses are found in the form of four people–strangers to one another–who were waiting at a bus stop beside the yard of the victim’s home on the night of the murder, while another reliable witness, on the day before the murder, claimed to have overheard a conversation between the victim and his next-door neighbor.  The neighbor was upset and was threatening the victim, saying, angrily, “If you don’t take care of it the right way, well, then it’ll be the permanent solution!”  The four people waiting for the bus agreed completely that they had heard screams coming from the victim’s house, as well as the sound of scuffling and banging.  Then, only seconds after this, they had heard a door slam and had then seen a man jogging across the victims yard from the direction of the house and heading for the house next door.  Although the four at the bus stop did not know one another, two of them knew the man trotting across the yard.  This was not too surprising, since the man progressing across the yard had recently been in trouble with the law in regard to an incident that showed the man to have a violent temper, and they remembered his face and build.  Besides, they knew that the angry man of the news article lived in the house next door–the very house to which this man was now running.

The man was carrying a baseball bat, and the rays of light from the street lamp clearly showed that the bat looked to be smeared with blood.  Recognizing him as the angry man of the newscast, they stood quietly and watched him as he entered his home without, of course, ringing the bell and without hesitation.  They at once decided to call the police and did so.

The police arrived within twenty minutes, found the victim’s body obviously clubbed to death, and arrested his next-door neighbor.  He threw a temper fit and, because they were busy subduing him, neglected to immediately find the murder weapon–the bat.  They weren’t worried though, because they expected that he hadn’t had time to destroy it or hide it very well.  The suspect declared himself innocent and said that he had been in the house all evening reading the great western novel, SHANE; but, since he was a bachelor, he didn’t have even a wife to give him credence for this alibi.  Although the police were not able to find the bat, they felt that they had a solid case against the man and it went to court–particularly after they dusted the novel, SHANE, and found that the owner’s fingerprints were not on it.  They found a sales slip in the garbage that showed that the man had bought the book that afternoon at a nearby drugstore, where the clerk remembered the sale and that the buyer had been wearing expensive doeskin gloves.  It also came to light that the man often wore those gloves under unlikely circumstances because they helped him to identify with western movie heroes who sometimes wore gloves, even when they handled their guns.  The suspect was a staunch fan of some of the most violent of these so-called heroes, having, of course, a particular liking for the violence-filled spaghetti westerns.  The upshot was that it was clear that he had not read the book as he had said he had, and this was verified when he was asked questions about the story and patently had no idea what it was about.  It was plain, therefore, that his alibi was false, and in no way availed against the testimony of the four witnesses at the bus stop.

Early during the trial the suspect became so enraged that he suffered a stroke which rendered him speechless and with his legs and arms paralyzed.  There was some delay because of this, but after the suspect was released from hospital, the trial went on.  Many thought this to be a mistake, however, for the suspect also seemed to have suffered permanent brain damage and could no longer communicate with his counsel.  Still, the matter needed to be concluded.

As expected, the jury found the suspect guilty of murder.

The evidence that was presented to them was overwhelming:

(1) The man was known to have a violent temper.

(2) One reliable witness had seen and heard the suspect angrily ranting against the victim on the day before the murder, warning him about a “permanent solution.”

(3) Four reliable witnesses had heard screams and bangings from the victim’s house and then had heard a door slam and a moment later had seen the suspect running across the yard from the victim’s house to his own; and all four claimed that the suspect had been carrying a baseball bat streaked with red.

(4) The suspect’s alibi about being home all evening reading a western novel was shown to be false, since his fingerprints were not on the new book and he was clueless as to the story’s contents.

The jury members did some logical reasoning (well, this is a fictitious case), and found that the four above well-checked-out conclusions caused another reasonable conclusion to form in their minds:  The suspect was guilty of murder beyond a reasonable doubt.

It was the only conclusion they could logically come up with.  And, by keeping within the court’s guidelines of proclaiming their verdict to be right beyond a reasonable doubt, they kept their credibility intact.  But if their conclusion had been: “Because of the overwhelming evidence against the defendant in this case, we can surely proclaim that the defendant is guilty of murder and that this conclusion is one-hundred percent certain to be correct” then the jury would have been guilty of being illogical.

They would also have been wrong in their verdict, for the next day a computer nerd from the university came out of cyberspace long enough to remember that he had seen the suspect beating a German Shepherd dog to death with a baseball bat, then running off around to the other side of the yard.  He had also seen a man opening the door of the victim’s house, and apparently frightened when the dog-and-man fight happened to move toward him, hastily slammed the door.  At about that time the man with the bat finished killing the dog, threw the carcass into the cesspool, and hurried away to the other side of the house and began to cross the yard where he disappeared from the student’s view because of foliage.  Further investigation revealed that the dog–the remains of which were found in the cesspool–had belonged to the victim and that there had been a month-long squabble between victim and suspect regarding the dog’s almost constant barking which annoyed the suspect and other neighbors as well; so it could now be reasonably assumed that the angry threat overheard by the one witness could have been in reference to the dog rather than to his owner.

When the baseball bat was eventually found it was discovered to have dog’s blood on it–not a corpuscle of human blood.

The defendant recovered partially from his stroke even before the case went back for a retrial because of the new evidence, and now able to speak, confessed to the killing of the dog, saying that he had originally thought that he could beat the murder wrap simply because he hadn’t done the deed, so why should he admit to another crime?  The reason why his fingerprints were not on the Shane book, was that he had been wearing gloves when he bought it and brought it home.  He had been lying when he said that he had been reading the book at the time of the murder, for he needed to say what he had been ostensibly doing at the time when he had actually been killing the dog.

The suspect eventually recovered completely from the stroke and joined an anger-management workshop, after which his life improved greatly.

With the help of a police artist, the computer nerd was able to work up an image of the man he had seen briefly in the doorway of the victim’s house.  A man who looked like the drawing was arrested, and it was found that he had possible motive for the murder.  He is presently in prison awaiting trial–except that he isn’t because the whole thing is fiction to illustrate a point.

The jury lacked information.  But we always lack information.  No matter how solid may be the evidence a reasonable person may have to support a particular conclusion, somewhere, in all the infinite realm of possibilities, there may be something unthought of by the reasoning person–something that, if he knew it, would totally upset his conclusion.

Nevertheless, logical reasoning is very important and very helpful.  Our brains are like computers–reasoning tools.  They were meant to be used and we should use them.  The benefits of doing so are enormous.  But we will use ability to reason logically in a more effective way when we realize its limitations.

Is there any other way of discovering truth than through reasoning?  Is there any way that we, with our always limited information, can ever be totally sure of anything?  I’ll answer those questions in a later chapter.  For the time being, I’ll go on with reasoning things out, hoping that you will reason along with me, logically checking and rechecking everything I say.

There is much understanding to be gained through careful and honest logical reasoning.  It will work well, but only if there is a sincere desire for truth on the part of the person doing the reasoning.

CHAPTER 5: THE MOST BASIC CONCEPT

THE MOST obviously basic fact is consciousness.  It is also sometimes called sentience, and it means awareness of being.  Consciousness is the fact that no one can deny.  It is the starting point in philosophy; that is, the starting point in trying to understand what’s happening–what life is all about.

Consciousness cannot be denied because it is experienced.  No conscious or sentient being–assuming he has a basic sanity as well as sincerity–will ever say “I am not conscious,” or “I am not sentient,” or “I am not aware of being,” or “I don’t know if I am or am not aware of my own existence.”  No sane conscious being will ever say any of these things and mean them.  If he was not aware of being, “he” would not have any opinion or any desire to deny anything.  The very fact of being aware of one’s own existence is axiomatic proof of the fact of awareness of one’s own existence.  That is why consciousness, or awareness of being, is such an obvious fact which no one will ever have a problem in believing.

So someone can say, “All right, I know I exist; I know I’m aware of my own existence; I know I’m conscious.  This is totally axiomatic and needs no proof.  Is there anything else I can know from this?–or is this where sure knowledge ends?”

Well, we haven’t even started to reason yet.  Knowing you are conscious requires no reasoning.  Probably the most obvious next question that one could ask is, “How can I know if anyone other than myself is conscious?”  Or, “Am I the only conscious being in existence?”  These are lonely thoughts, but the questions are legitimate.  If we’re going to be reasonable, we can’t just make assumptions.  Probably many serious-minded philosophers have been horrified by considering this nightmare scenario–the fear of finding that they cannot prove to their satisfaction that there is anyone conscious other than themselves.  After all, knowing that you yourself are a conscious being is axiomatic, but knowing that someone else is, is not axiomatic.  I experience my own consciousness; I don’t experience yours.

If we are trying to be reasonable, than this is where we begin to reason.  In our consciousness, in our own experience, many things happen.  Other beings around us, many at least seemingly of our own species, do all kinds of things, and the weather changes, and the sun rises and sets, etc.  We find that we can make certain things happen.  We can pick up a pencil, move a mountain–if we try hard enough–and influence these other apparently conscious beings, or whatever they are, to laugh or to cry.  But there are a lot of things that happen that we know we have not initiated.  Many things that happen are totally unexpected to us.  We wake up to snow falling when we were told by the weather forecasters that the day would be sunny.  Our car gets a flat tire.  In fact, a great deal of what we experience is unexpected to us.  And even most of the expected–very close to one-hundred percent of it–are happenings that we have no reason for believing that we initiated them.

What this strongly suggests to the reasonable individual is that he himself is not writing the entire script, only a very small part of it.

So he begins to have hope that his family members, neighbors, and the politicians who run the country are, after all, not figments of his imagination, but conscious beings like himself–which, of course, is what he had assumed in the first place.

Before we go on any farther along this particular line of thought, we need to take a look at some other important matters.

The main thing to remember here, is that consciousness, or awareness of being, is for every individual the most basic, axiomatic, and incontrovertible fact.

CHAPTER 6:  THE INFINITY PRINCIPLE

 

DETERMINED TO BE LOGICAL, our logical kid decides that the only solid fact he has thus far, and from which he hopes to reason his way to more facts, is the fact of his own conscious existence.  But how can one reason with only one fact?  Reasoning is essentially the putting together of two or more facts and thus coming up with a new fact–like one plus one equals two.  Or, assumed fact one: water is wet; assumed fact two: I stick my head in the water; new fact: I’m a wet-head.  Of course if we were going to be as picky about all this as our kid is, we’d have to take a much closer look at the whole thing; but it will do for an illustration or sample.

So where to go from here, he thinks, with seemingly only one incontrovertible fact.  He says seemingly, because it would be illogical to make the assumption that he has no other hard facts to go by.  He already realizes that making unfounded assumptions is simply one form of self-deception.

He lets his active mind wander a bit and becomes less inclined to think that he has no other facts available to him than the one already mentioned.  After all, he has experienced many things in his short life, and, if he knows that he is experiencing, then he must have a logical right to break up that experience into segments and perhaps consider each segment as being something that is real in the sense that it’s part of a real experience.

He continues to question this matter, however.  For instance, if he sees a chicken crossing a road, does that mean that a chicken is, in fact, crossing a road?  Theoretically there are many possibilities.  For instance, he might be seeing a small monkey in a chicken suit, or a well-made chicken robot.  Or it might be a hologram.  Nevertheless, he can say with confidence that he is experiencing something that strikes him as being the same as or similar to something he recalls that had been indicated to him was something called a-chicken-crossing-a-road.  This is a breakthrough, for it means that he now has two facts to reason with:  (1) I am aware of my own existence, and (2) part of that awareness is made up of an experience that is like, or similar to, an earlier experience that was labeled chicken-crossing-a-road.

Now, of course, it becomes fairly obvious that this one basic known fact for each person–I exist–is brimming with parts, and as the child continues to live and grow, these parts continue to increase in number, for the child keeps seeing new things, doing things he hasn’t done before, going places he hasn’t gone to before, reading things he hasn’t read before, thinking thoughts he hasn’t thought before.  But can he logically know anything more about any of these experiences than that they are his personal experiences?

To be fair about this, our kid searches about in his mind for things he has experienced in the past and remembers–for some things give indication of being weightier than others, and he thinks it would be wise to work with those things that are at least seemingly the most important.

He soon remembers a fascinating concept that first came to him some years ago when he was a small boy and his family was still living on a farm.  One day when he was lying on his back in a meadow, looking up at the summer clouds changing shape as they drifted through a translucent blue sky, he began to wonder what, if anything, was beyond the sky.  No one had yet explained anything to him about space and planets and stars and galaxies.  He had always assumed that the sky was exactly what it looked like in the daytime–a blue dome, with a flat Earth as its base, and all of us inside this thing which was a large version of those ornaments with water and little white snowflakes in them, and you can make it snow by shaking the ornament.  What would happen, he thought, if he found a ladder long enough to reach up to the sky and he climbed it?  Then, what if he had brought along a saw and cut a hole in the sky so that he could see through to the other side?  What would he see?  He supposed there might be another dome, higher up, larger, enclosing the first one.  This was exciting.  Very well, he would get a longer ladder, or perhaps learn to fly, and would get up to that second dome, and he would again cut a nice round hole through it to see what there was above that.  He imagined there would be another dome still higher and bigger.

Now, being reasonable even at that early age, our child was not deceiving himself into thinking that there definitely were a series of domes above the earth.  It was only a theory, and it didn’t matter too much for his present line of thought in what form physical reality might be actually found up there by an explorer.

The shocking, marvelous discovery was that there had to be something beyond whatever there was.  If there were a series of domes, it seemed that they could not be limited.  At that age 100 seemed to be a very large number to him, so he thought, what if he got to the hundredth dome and sawed his way through?  More space to climb through on a long ladder?  Then what?  If not another dome, then what?  He tried to look at it from every angle.  Maybe when you got to the final hole, you looked through and there was nothing.

What would nothing look like?  He tried seeing it as pitch-black darkness, but that didn’t work, because darkness is still something–it’s darkness, and you could still climb up into it.  He tried thinking that it might be a solid black mass of something, blocking off his further progress, and something that you couldn’t cut into or get into in any way.  But that didn’t work either, because his imagination could still get into it as far as it wanted to, to see where it went.

Although not by any means satisfied with any of the particular scenarios he came up with in an attempt to solve the sky problem, he was not dissatisfied with the results of his imaginings.  In fact, he was quite happily excited, although a bit afraid as well.  It was reasonable that he should have felt that way, for he had just discovered the Infinity Principle.

In this discovery he was by no means unique.  All normal human children discover the Infinity Principle at an early age, and I would think very often from looking up at the sky.  But not all realize the value of what they’ve discovered; or perhaps they realize it at first, in an instinctive way, but soon run away from it for reasons that will be looked at later.

Our kid, however, in searching his mind for the most important parts of his life experience, so that he can have some place to start his reasoning process, remembers his discovery of the infinity principle, and how it has always fascinated him, and also, at times, frightened him.  He thinks that the infinity principle must be included in his reasonings, for it is the most strangely impressive thing that has ever come to his attention.

 

 

CHAPTER 7: CAUSE AND EFFECT

FROM AN EARLY AGE we all learn at least a little about cause and effect.  For the most part we learn it through experience, as when we push a glass of milk toward the edge of the table and it falls off and smashes to pieces on the floor, and the cat dives in and laps up the milk.  Even though we’re young, we begin to see a certain order in things:  If you push against a glass, a result (or an effect) is that it moves across the table.  If you push said glass all the way over the edge of the table, this action will result in the glass zooming down toward the floor, and sometimes when this happens another effect will be that the glass separates into many parts–more than you have thus far learned to count–and the milk spreads out in a fascinating, strangely shaped pattern to all sides on the floor.  And then there is that four legged, fuzzy creature.  If he’s in the room at the time, you can bet your alphabet blocks that he’s going to come to the puddle of milk and put his nose to it.

When you’re older, you’re taught more about cause and effect, probably in school, since many parents have for the most part abdicated the office of teaching their own children anything very weighty on a physics level.  So let’s now go into the matter a little more deeply.

Why should a cause have an effect?  When you push your hand against a glass of milk sitting on a tabletop, why should it move?  We take for granted that it does, but why should it?  In fact, why does one’s hand move when one wants it to?  And then, why does the hand not pass through the glass of milk without having any effect on it?  When the bottom of the glass has moved a certain percentage over the edge of the table, why does it not keep on moving farther in that direction, clear across to the other side of the room and beyond?  As we ask these questions, not only do we begin to see that the whole matter is highly complicated, but perhaps it might occur to us that cause and effect involves certain principles regarding the behavior of matter in time and space.  We are told a little about this in school; we are told that we are dealing with something scientists and thinkers have named laws of nature.

Unfortunately, when human beings name something, they feel that they need no longer question it.  Once a glass of milk has been named a glass of milk, and the force that propels it toward the floor has been named the law of gravity, most people, including educators, feel that the cause and effect problem of a falling glass of milk has been solved.  They go on with that to larger scenarios:  In cosmology, they see no problems with the big-bang theory; after all, in coming up with the designation, singularity, the person who did so has solved the problem of the origin of the universe.  Of course that person, who applied the word for that particular usage, did not think that he was solving such a basic problem (at least I hope not), but was only labeling a particular mysterious concept to give us a handle on it for further thinking.  But the average educated person, never having learned to think logically for more than a brief moment at a time, tends to accept designations as solutions–without really being aware that he’s doing so.

The upshot of all this is that people in general, including college professors, wade around in a sea of concepts that they accept without question.  College professors in particular begin to believe that they’re wise and knowledgeable in matters of science and philosophy, and so, with great confidence, teach the world about cause and effect and many other things.  In truth they are as laughable as the so-called wise men of ancient Mesopotamia who taught that the mice in the farmer’s fields were globs of mud from the Nile washed up on the banks and come alive.  Today’s “wise men” also don’t think very well.

They talk about laws of this and laws of that; they keep discovering laws of nature, but never seem to think it important to ask the question:  “What causes these laws to be in existence?”  By stupidly ignoring this question, they have missed–or perhaps purposely sidestepped–what should be an obviously basic and pertinent factor involved in the matter of cause and effect.

They have ignored the matter of will and motivation.

You would not have knocked the glass of milk off the table if you hadn’t been motivated to reach for it.

You would not hurry to bed with your hot-stuff wife if you weren’t motivated by your sexual desire.

None of the amazing technology in the world today would be in existence if there had been no will and no motivation to bring it into existence.

You can’t have the effect of reaching the other side of your large living room without a cause.  What cause?  You decide with your will that you want to get there; that’s the main cause.  You may have some particular reason or you may not; but if you decide with your will that you want to get there, and if that will is not overruled by a will stronger than your own, you will experience your will being carried out.  You will find yourself in one way or another moving your body across the room to the other side.

I here submit to the reader the postulate that–

 

Behind every effect there is a conscious will.

 

This holds true even for those effects that would seem on the surface to have no relationship to any desire of a conscious mind, as when a gust of wind dislodges a pebble and it rolls down a hillside.

My postulate may, for the moment, seem unreasonable to a lot of readers; but let’s examine the matter further, first by looking for alternatives.  If things do not happen in all cases as a result of will and conscious motivation, what are the alternatives, if any, with which we can replace said will and conscious motivation as the cause of happenings?

Let’s try it on the pebble already mentioned.  There it is on the edge of a cliff that farther down becomes a sloping hillside.  Assuming that the pebble has no will of its own, none of us really expect it to suddenly hop off the cliff and go rolling down the hillside.  Of course not; the action begins as the result of moving air molecules suddenly striking it, pushing it over a bit so that the law of gravity can be applied to the pebble in a different way because of the pebble’s sudden new relationship with its surrounding matter and space.  The pebble falls and rolls.  The moving air molecules were the cause; the falling pebble was the effect.

Well, then, do the air molecules have a will of their own?  Did the air molecules consciously decide that it would be fun to bump into the pebble to upset it?  Not likely.  They were bumped into by other air molecules, who were bumped into by still other air molecules, and so on, and some of those air molecules were set in motion by being drawn into a vacuum caused by still other air molecules getting hot and rising because of that.  The rising was an effect caused by the heat of the sun.

By now you should see where this is going; but in case you don’t, I’ll point it out plainly:  Every effect has a cause, and every cause is also an effect needing a cause.  In other words, no matter what particular cause and effect we choose to look at, we are always dealing with long chains of events connected in a cause-effect pattern.

Even if we accept, as I do, that I can cause, by my free will decision, to locomote myself across the room to create the effect of arriving at the other side of the room, I am by no means isolated from the cause-effect chain on either end of this particular cause and effect.  My arrival at the other end of the room will cause a number of new effects (e.g.–disturbing the dust on the floor at the far end of the room, and being able to see the world from a different perspective than I could before I got there); and I could not have made the causal decision to go to the other side of the room if, among many other things, my mom and dad had not had any interest in sex.  So my willful decision, which was a cause, was also an effect–yet only partly.  For I would not have had to decide to cross the room, just because my mother and father decided to have another baby.  This calls for a closer look at the matter of free will, but we’ll do that later on.

The big-bang theory of the origin of the universe deals with this cause-effect problem by suggesting that all the physical material now in space was once packed into an incredibly dense little entity called a singularity which then exploded in all directions, and, while it was doing that, because of particular laws adhered to by these bits of matter, moved into particular patterns eventually bringing about life forms which evolved on at least one of these bits of matter, namely the Earth.  Again, this all happened because of certain laws already in existence, and for which the big bang theory in itself does not supply any explanation.

Please don’t misunderstand me.  I’m not at all denying the big-bang theory.  I’m simply pointing out that according to current scientific and philosophical thought which incorporates the big-bang theory, the cause-and-effect chain when taken back into the past, ends at the concept known as a singularity.  If we’re going to be reasonable, we must ask the obvious question:  What caused the singularity?

Those who believe in God as the prime cause will have no great problem in seeing that all chains of cause and effect lead back to him, and that includes the pebble that the wind blew over the edge of the cliff.

For those who do not believe in God as the ultimate unquestionable creative force, what does this mean?  What are the reasonable alternatives, if any?

One alternative that would attempt to carry on with an effort at reasonability would be to suggest that something caused the singularity.  And whatever caused the singularity would, of course, need something to have caused it, and so on into infinity.

The atheist pursuing this line of thought–at first glance seeming to be the only one available to him as a reasonable person–would necessarily find himself believing in a concept called infinity, which scientific minds, including mathematicians, give credence to.  This reasonable atheist would have to accept that the infinity concept was thoroughly involved in the cause-and-effect matter as an explanation of the origin of the physical universe.  After all, he could not reasonably say that something came out of nothing.

Is there another reasonable alternative?  What if this reasonable atheist decides that at some point in the chain, going backwards into the past, there is a basic something (not God) that had no need of a cause?  He might think it was the singularity, or he might think it was something that caused the singularity, or something that caused whatever caused the thing that caused the singularity.  In any case, he decides that somewhere along the line there has to be a cause that needs no supporting cause for itself.  At this point he may or may not think of this something as being infinite.  Probably he will not think of it as being infinite, because it is partly to get away from the concept of infinity involved in the alternatives that he will have chosen this concept.  But whether or not he thinks of this something which needed no cause as being infinite, he now believes in a classic deaf and dumb god of cosmic power-proportions who doesn’t think or feel, who has no will, who cannot be motivated, but who unconsciously brings into being a vast universe elaborate beyond description.

This reasonable atheist may decide,
after reasonably thinking about it a bit, that he will go back to the other alternative open to him as a thinking atheist: that the singularity was caused by something which was caused by something which was caused by something which was caused by something, and so on into infinity.  But I doubt that this scenario will satisfy the need of his reasonable mind to explain why things have happened and still are happening.

This is because the whole setup lacks motivation.

What he sees is an infinitely long row of moving box cars filled with valuable commodities, but with no engine.  He would have to say that it needs no engine, because each car is being pushed or pulled by the one in front of it or the one to the rear.

No motivation to move the whole thing.  No will.  No power applied ever, anywhere.  The boxcars move.  Whether anyone cares or doesn’t care, they move.

To reiterate, this reasonable atheist has this choice:

Should he believe in this infinitely long cause-and-effect chain that moves without anyone wanting it to?

Or should he believe in a great something, somewhere back in time, that started the whole process and continues to keep it going?–and, of course, if he’s going to continue to be an atheist, he must believe that this something is an unconscious, none-sentient force, and therefore did all its wonders without wanting to–without the slightest motivation.

 

 

CHAPTER 8:

SUBJECTIVITY AND OBJECTIVITY–

SOME OF THE PROBLEMS

 

IN THIS CHAPTER I’ll guide you, reasonably, into a matter that most people have never thought about, yet that philosophers have struggled with, and that is profound and important to the understanding of life.  Whether you are one of the former, or one who has struggled with this particular mystery we’re about to explore, you may at times become a little giddy from the depth pressure and wish to surface.  That’s fine; do so.  But I hope you don’t become so frightened that you refuse to continue the dive after you’ve had a break.  Actually many people are too dull to become frightened by the concepts we’re going to look at.  Only sensitive people with active, inquiring minds are the ones prone to panic.

When I first became aware of some of the possible ramifications of the subjective-objective concept, I was about 11 years old.  My family was visiting at my uncle and aunt’s place; we were sitting at the dinner table, and I suppose I wasn’t listening much to the normal small-talk conversation of the grown-ups, but rather was thinking about what I had recently learned in school about how the human eye and the whole seeing mechanism works.

Suddenly I stopped eating and, after staring straight ahead for a bit as though I had just become aware of a one-eyed purple people-eater sauntering into the room, I got up and rushed outside.

I was trying to run away from some specific philosophical thoughts that my mental review of the school lessons on sight had triggered.  My parents–maybe the others too, I can’t remember–followed me outside and found me hanging on to the fence, pale and weak kneed.  I more or less recovered in a half hour or so and in a few days or weeks resumed my philosophical exploration, cautiously and steeling myself–and growing stronger.  However, I found that the knotty problems involved were hard to untangle, and it took about forty to fifty years before I began to find some of the most significant answers.

What was it that frightened me so much that day at the dinner table?  Well, I had always taken for granted that the world I could see around me was one of solid physical reality.  For your encouragement I’ll say now that I later found that I was right about this.  But at the time, when I began to think about what I had been taught in school, about how we see, that assumption was severely challenged.

We were taught that we see things as a result of light reflecting off objects, entering through the pupil of the eye, hitting the retina, and there activating nerve impulses.  These impulses are then said to be carried along the optic nerve to the “sight center of the brain,” whatever that means.  And it is in this sight center that the nerve impulses are deciphered into what we experience as sight.

At face value, working from the above explanation of seeing, it strikes any thinking person that what we experience as the world around us is not the world around us after all, but an image or copy of the world around us–an image inside of our heads.  At face value.  In actuality this school-room explanation of the sight process leaves out very significant matters, and these we’ll explore in due course.  But it was this sudden seeming revelation about the insubstantiality of what I was experiencing as sight that rocked me.  Suddenly I much doubted that anything around me–or that I had thought was around me–was real.  I began to think that maybe everything I had ever seen, was seeing, or ever would see, was nothing more than unreal images in my own head.  Even if, in a practical way, they represented some kind of a world around me, it was not that world I was experiencing, but only a projected image of it.  This bothered me greatly.  It was like suddenly learning, from a reliable source, that your mom and dad, whom you’ve always held in the highest regard, were serial killers.  Or the way I’ve been told first-time earthquake survivors feel when the surface of the earth, that they’ve always relied on as being a great stable factor, suddenly shifts about, cracks, and eats people and buildings.

There are those who, having come this far in this particular exploration, conclude that nothing is real, that everything is an illusion.  I even heard (but I don’t know if the story is true) about one person who jumped off a cliff to his death, because he thought that if everything is an illusion, it doesn’t really matter what you do.  Death also is then just an illusion and therefore not to be feared.  Actually he was all wrong.  And if he had continued to use his mind, he would eventually have found, through reasoning, that life is not an illusion, and that the things around him were solid reality just as he had originally assumed.

So then, if one naturally starts out with a correct assumption about the solidity and reality of the physical universe, and, in thinking it through carefully one first begins to doubt this reality and then comes full circle and believes in it again, what is gained?

For many people nothing much would be gained by such knowledge standing by itself.  But for those who wish to understand in greater depth what life is all about, there is much to be gained by such a round-trip excursion.  That’s because a deeper understanding of this matter of subjective and objective is an important piece of the puzzle.  When you put it together with other wonderful discoveries, you begin to see a wider, clearer, deeper picture of how things work and why.  Also, if you have a searching mind, and because the subjective-objective matter is a long-standing mystery previously unsolved by philosophers yet occasionally brought up by them, it tends to come along to kick you in the pants every now and then if you don’t have the answer to it.

My Thorndike-Barnhart has the following definitions for subjective and objective as they apply to this study:

Subjective: … existing in the mind; belonging to the person thinking rather than to the object thought of….”

Objective: … existing outside the mind as an actual object and not merely in the mind as an idea; real.  Actions are objective; ideas are subjective….”

Although the lexicographers at Barnhart likely were doing their best, only a little serious thought on the matter brings up confusing inconsistencies.  Are ideas not real?  According to the way we’ve been taught to believe that the sight mechanism works, are actions not in our minds?  Still, it’s as good a starting point as we’re going to get.

I now propose to demonstrate that although there is something that could probably best be labeled, limited objectivity, there is no such thing as an ultimate objectivity.  But, as I will show, it is this false concept of an ultimate objectivity that is believed in by most people.

Assuming that you are not the only conscious being in the universe, but one of many, it becomes clear that there are a great many things that you yourself are not experiencing and likely never will.  For instance, you are not having the experience of being Fidel Castro lighting up a cigar.  For you, then, the experience of being Castro and having to be careful to not set that particular famous beard on fire is objectivity, because it is not your personal experience.  But for Castro it is a personal experience and therefore is subjective.  In the same way, I am not experiencing what it is like to be you as you are reading this book.  For you that experience is subjective, but for me it’s objective.

Although the reality of the above kind of objectivity–which I call limited objectivity–is fairly easy to grasp, what I will now propose to demonstrate will be more difficult to bring to your acceptance.  This is because the concept is contrary to the brainwashing that we have been receiving in this regard for centuries.

At some point in time and place the human race began to be taught by misguided teachers that there is an ultimate objective reality.  By the time you and I went to school this doctrine was well entrenched.  No one was challenging it.  It was so accepted by both atheistic materialists and by religious leaders in general that no one–except a thinking philosopher here and there–even thought that there was an issue involved.

One of the most amazing things about it is how Christians, and probably adherents of some other religions, who claim to have a grasp on spiritual matters, could so easily incorporate–or think they were incorporating–this belief of an ultimate objectivity into their other spiritual beliefs.

It presents a perfect test case to help determine how much the average religious person–no, let’s modify that to the average religious leader–cares about the abstract concept of truth, a concept we have already discussed.  It also demonstrates how little thinking people do.  The leaders in particular score badly, for nothing could be more diametrically opposed to the concept of the ultimate God than the concept of an ultimate objectivity.  I modified the matter of who the test should be applied to because I’ve noticed that in this world there are sheep and shepherds.  The sheep also need to think, but the shepherds are better at it; and when the shepherds fail miserably in any area over a few centuries, it’s hardly fair to the sheep to accuse them of neglecting a search for truth–although this holds true to some extent.  But the guidance from the leaders has just not been there in this matter and in many others.

The concept of ultimate objective reality (never or seldom called ultimate–but I must distinguish it from limited objectivity) tries to picture a universe that is outside of conscious experience.  To best understand the concept it helps to first look at it from the more simple viewpoint of the atheistic materialist; for religion, as I’ve already indicated, complicates things here.

Many prestigious professors from the world’s most impressive universities are, as we all know, atheists and materialists.  Others of them believe in God as a creator of the universe, but we’ll leave them out of this for the time being.  The atheistic professors, like the others, cover a range of studies, including physics and cosmology.  Not believing in God as the ultimate source of all existence, they nevertheless grapple with the matter of the origin of the universe.

Most of them presently subscribe to the big-bang theory (as do most of the others who believe in God), and since the atheistic scientists and educators don’t believe that there was any conscious being around at the time when this happened–for, according to them, life came into being much later–it follows that these momentous things happened apart from anyone’s experience and therefore were totally objective.

The big-bang theory, very briefly stated, holds that at some point in time or at the beginning of time, all physical matter now in the universe was already compressed into an area smaller than a pinhead.  This object, dense beyond words, they call a singularity.  This singularity, with its tremendous inner pressure because of it’s density, reasonably explodes, sending bits and pieces out into space all around.

Many further laws of physics now come into play.  Interestingly enough, however, these professors never seem to find it necessary to grapple with the matter of finding a cause for these laws of nature; they just accept them as being there, ready to use.  How convenient.  Anyhow, they acknowledge that many such laws are in operation as the big bang unfolds.  For instance, the heated particles cool, and the law of gravity causes the moving particles to affect one another.  Because of many such factors, there eventually are swirling clouds of gas here and there in space.  The process continues, over billions of years, and some of these clouds of gaseous material, because of a variety of factors already mentioned in general, begin a circular movement that, over more billions of years, become a system of planets orbiting around a central star.  We can actually see one of these from rather close up–the Solar System–because we live in it; but it is reasonable to assume that many other similar systems may have developed elsewhere in the far reaches of space.

In any case, it is taught that on one of the planets in our solar system, namely Earth, conditions became right, after more millions of years, for “life to evolve,” as they put it.  This began as a simple one-celled form of life, which then, over more millions of years, became more complicated due to a “natural process of selection” which involved chance and the survival of the fittest.  In other words, the things that evolved and didn’t work well were soon destroyed by the natural array of dangers that threatened them; whereas the things that worked well were able to ward off these attacks to a greater extent and so continued to survive and become dominant as well as ever more complicated.  Eventually, they say, man evolved and has until the present time been the apex of evolved life on this planet–but needs by no means be the final product.

However, long before man evolved, perhaps at some stage of evolution just a little after the original single-cell life, or maybe later when life forms became more complicated, consciousness began.  Consciousness.  Sentience.  Awareness of being.  From that point on, according to this scenario, there could be subjectivity as well as objectivity; for the first creature to become aware of being was experiencing life, and for him or her (or it) that experience was an inner thing.  The outside objective world was, through the creature’s senses (whatever they were), brought into his mind as a subjective experience.

I’ll slightly digress from my main thrust for one paragraph to point out how this materialistic philosophy accounts for sentience.  According to this school of thought, what living creatures experience as sentience or consciousness is a chemical–or perhaps chemical and/or electrical–reaction, or the result of such a reaction, in the physical mechanism called the brain of said creature.  This, of course, supports their stand that when a creature dies–man included–there is no soul to leave the body and go to other realms.  They propose, rather, that when the brain quits functioning, quits producing chemical reactions and electrical brain waves, the consciousness–the awareness of being–fades out and becomes non-existent, like a light being turned down and out by a rheostat switch.  This concept has been widely accepted–strangely enough even by many who believe in God and life after death.  How is this latter contradiction possible?  In general, people are full of contradictions.  If one doesn’t care enough about truth to be disturbed by contradictions, they can exist in such a mind over many years without being seriously challenged.

Now, getting back to the point of this chapter, the matter of subjectivity-objectivity, let me point out that I am not here trying to say that the big-bang theory is false, nor am I saying that life forms don’t evolve.

What I am saying is that the concept of total objectivity, such as is envisioned by the atheistic materialists in their scenario for the origin of the universe–before conscious life evolved–is, to put it mildly, ludicrous.

When I say, “envisioned by” that should give it away.  If we try to envision something that is said to have existed before there was any vision, how can we envision it?  We can’t; and yet many of these scientists and their brainwashed followers have sat and envisioned those swirling clouds of gas that were to form the planets.  The swirling clouds of gas they conjured up in their minds were subjective, not objective.  They were in their own minds and entirely out of line with what they were proclaiming them to be.  In short, it is not possible to imagine what anything looked like in a time and place that had no one in it capable of looking.  The same can be said for the other four senses and any others that some other creatures might have.

According to the mindless version of the big-bang theory (mindless in the sense that there was no mind there to experience it), the place where it happened at the time that it happened had no one there to see it, hear it, feel it, taste it, touch it, imagine it, or be aware of it in any way.  The reason why you–yes, you–cannot logically believe in that happening is because there is no possible way that you can imagine it to have happened.  When you try to imagine what it might have looked like if someone had been there, you’re blowing the concept right out of the water.  The concept deals with no one being there.  If you try to imagine what it would have sounded like, or felt like, or tasted like, or smelled like, if someone had been there to experience it through those senses, you again fail in arriving at the real concept you’re looking for–that of a thing happening without anyone being there to experience it.  So you leave the senses out of it, and just try to believe in this cosmic happening as something that took place without anyone being there to experience it.  How do you see it?  See it?  Wait–the word see doesn’t apply.  Okay then, how do you imagine it?  Hold it; the word imagine doesn’t apply either, because in that so-called place at that so-called time there was no one to imagine anything, so if you imagine something it will be totally out of line with a so-called time and so-called place in which nothing can be imagined.

To iterate:  It is logically impossible to imagine the unimaginable.  It is logically impossible to mentally conceive a concept that is to have existence only outside of all minds.  That is because the mind can work only with elements available to it, and all these are, of course, sentient or awareness elements–they function in the mind.  So it is impossible for a conscious mind to logically believe in anything that is said to be totally separated from mind.

 

To better understand the above, I’ll help you to look at another piece of the puzzle that fits closely into the matter of subjectivity-objectivity.  Probably the greatest lie that has ever been foisted on the human race is the concept of nothingness.

This concept of nothingness is widely accepted by both philosophers and people in general.  But there is no such thing.  Don’t misunderstand me:  It’s not incorrect to say, “There’s nothing in the box,” if by that you mean that the box is empty of anything that one would normally expect to be in a box.  The concept that’s false is that of an absolute nothingness.  Now you may think that no one believes in that concept, but, in fact, almost everyone does.  I’ll explain.

Let’s start with the philosophers.  These are the people with minds alive enough to motivate them to want to understand more about the situation they find themselves in as living, conscious creatures.  They ask who?, what?, where?, when?, why?, and how?  They want to know what’s happening.  And as one or more of them have expressed it:  “The greatest problem in philosophy is why there should be anything at all.”

I also, as a young philosopher many years ago, fell into that dark pit, and struggled around in its ugly shadows for some time before I escaped.  Because my philosophical thinking had been carried out from a finite viewpoint (in spite of the fact that I had been thinking about cutting holes through the sky; yes, I did think about that as a child, much as my hypothetical logical kid did in an earlier part of this book), I was tempted to accept the same dark conclusion–although I never did so conclusively–probably reached by many other thinking people: that, according to logic, there should be nothing at all in existence.  This would take care of the cause-and-effect problems discussed in an earlier chapter.  However, logic or not, here we are.

The thinking that arrives at the conclusion that logically there should be nothing in existence is faulty because it fails to see a basic contradiction and so makes an illogical assumption.  And by that I don’t mean the obvious contradiction involved in that the notion of total nothingness is contradicted by the fact that we experience life.  Rather, the more subtle contradiction goes like this:

The concepts of emptiness and hollowness are logically acceptable if they are taken to mean empty of something in particular.  They are not logically acceptable if they are taken to mean empty of literally, totally, everything.  Here’s the contradiction:

If the concept of nothingness is real, then it’s not nothing.  If it is nothing, then how can anyone proclaim that it exists as a concept.

Imagine a box with nothing in it in this total sense.  You look at the box and you say, “There is a box with absolutely nothing in it.”  You can easily imagine–and rightfully so–that there’s no ham sandwich in it; and you can also imagine that there’s no air in it; no light; no stray molecules, atoms, or quarks.  But can you imagine that there’s no space in it?  Not really, right?  Why can’t you?

Because there is something axiomatic involved.  You immediately know that there has to be either space in the box or something else.  Why is this an axiomatic conclusion?

Because consciousness is real and cannot be logically denied.

Later on I’ll spend more time on that, but hopefully you’re beginning to get the drift.  The idea of absolute nothingness is a false concept that has been confusing people, particularly philosophers, for centuries.  Any time you begin to doubt that nothingness is a lie, just try to imagine the little box with absolutely nothing in it, not even space.

 

The opposite to absolute nothingness is absolute awareness.

 

And, although some philosophers have decided that absolute nothingness is the only scenario that makes sense, our experience tells us that this is not the way things really are–for we experience awareness, and that is not absolute nothingness.

Where these philosophers got sidetracked from good thinking was in that they were opposing absolute nothingness with limited awareness.  This, of course, is not a good balance of opposites.  They were thinking (as I was at one time) that absolute nothingness makes more sense than the limited awareness of the few billion creatures on Earth, or however many finite beings they accredit with awareness.  From this starting point, their conclusion is, in fact, logical, up to a point, because with absolute nothingness you would seem to not have to explain anything; but with a limited number of conscious beings around, you have to try to account for their existence; and this, as we’ve already seen, runs into problems because of the combination of the cause-and-effect concept combined with the infinity principle.

However, when you properly consider the concept of absolute nothingness as being the opposite to absolute awareness, the fog begins to roll away to reveal the true picture.  Absolute awareness is infinite awareness; if it’s not limited, it must be infinite.

So this is what emerges:  (1)  What we have is obviously not absolute nothingness, because by experience we know we exist as conscious beings.  (2)  Limited awareness doesn’t work because of the cause-and-effect principle combined with the infinity principle, which doesn’t allow us to find an origin of, and a reason for, our own existence and that of the universe we live in.  Not only does this stand leave us with an infinitely long chain of causes and effects with no motivation to bring them about, but it asks us to believe that there is a reality outside of the experience of the limited number of aware beings in existence.  And it is not logically possible for us to believe in a reality outside of all awareness, for awareness–when honesty is present–cannot fathom unawareness nor accept it as being real.  (3) The concept of absolute or infinite awareness, however, being the opposite to the false concept of absolute nothingness, fits with reality because it doesn’t contradict our own experiences of reality; and it also allows for an infinite motivation to account for the occurrence of an infinitely-long cause-and-effect chain of events.

We are now, of course, talking about God, for what word could better describe an infinite awareness with the will to motivate any number of cause-and-effect chains of infinite length.

In a coming chapter I’ll further help you to take a logical, reasonable look at the crucial and central matter of life that philosophers have been arguing about for centuries:  Does God exist?

But for now we need to spend a little more time on the matter of subjectivity-objectivity.

There is still this matter of our senses and the question of whether or not what we see, hear, touch, taste, and smell is solid reality or an illusion?–a copy only of an outside reality.  For atheists who accept the copy-only, illusion-inside-of-the-head theory, the real world is that objective reality that we’ve been trying to get a grip on.  It remains, however, that we can’t logically believe in such a reality any more than we can logically believe that a box can be absolutely empty–and for the same reason:  Consciousness cannot logically accept the existence of absolute unconsciousness.  In the case of trying to believe in an absolutely empty box, the absolute unconsciousness we strive to believe in is the false concept of absolute nothingness, in this case within the confines of a box.  In the case of our sight mechanism, the effort is to try to believe, logically, in an absolute objective reality outside of all conscious experience.  The box, in this case, is that mysterious “someplace” outside of the experience of all conscious beings.  It is, in a sense, the same box; in the first case we’re trying to fill it with absolute nothingness, and in the second case we’re trying to fill it with absolute objective reality; but in both cases we’re trying to fill it with something other than conscious experience.  That’s the key; that’s the common denominator.  The reason that you can’t come to grips with the absolutely empty box, if you’re being honest, is that you’re conscious mind will axiomatically not accept what is totally opposed to consciousness.  If we’re honest about the matter we accept that there has to be something in the box, even if that something is only empty space.  In the same way when we try to imagine a happening outside of anyone’s awareness, our minds keep presenting us with mental images not of what we’re trying to imagine, namely an experienceless reality, but rather of imagined experience.  We can’t help it; if we can scrape together enough honesty even for a moment, in that enlightening moment we’ll become aware of the axiom that consciousness will not, and cannot, accept the existence of absolute unconsciousness and nothingness.

But someone may ask:  “Is a stone conscious?  Is my car conscious–as in Disney’s The Love Bug?”  If these non-living things are not conscious, then how can I say that nothing outside of consciousness exists?  I can best explain this by first making the statement that they are, in fact, a part of conscious reality.  Living beings, like ourselves, are also a part of conscious reality.  What, then, sets a conscious, living being apart from a non-living object such as a rock?  Many things, of course; but in regard to the matter of consciousness, what sets a man apart from a rock?  You may have to think about the answer a bit before you comprehend it, but I’ll try to make it as clear as I can.  In answering this particular question, we will be starting on the solutions to the whole mind-boggling mystery of subjectivity and objectivity.

 

 

 

CHAPTER 9:

SUBJECTIVITY AND OBJECTIVITY–

SOME SOLUTIONS AND MORE PROBLEMS

I WILL BEGIN this chapter with an important philosophical break-through postulate:

 

In regard to consciousness, what sets a living conscious being apart from a non-living object is that the living conscious being is the CENTER OF THE AREA of that particular ARENA OF CONSCIOUSNESS.

 

To further illustrate:  Let’s assume that a particular living conscious being is standing somewhere looking at a rock on the ground.  The rock he sees is part of the surrounding area of his consciousness.  In other words, what is classified as the person himself, and what is classified as something that person experiences with his senses, is strictly a matter of perspective.

 

There, you’ve just had a great secret of understanding revealed to you.  Being centered in our conscious experience gives us the strong sense of being a distinct, separate entity within our experience.

By way of illustration, we can think of ourselves as existing in two different capacities, like a bright spark in the center of what we can think of basically as a sphere, like a strong bubble, yet with its shape changeable and flexible.  Please understand that this idea of a sphere is not a physical reality but an illustration used to explain the nature of subjectivity and objectivity.  There is a spark in the center of the sphere and we can think of ourselves as that spark, but we can also think of ourselves as the sphere or bubble.  All of these bubbles–one for each conscious individual–are in close contact with one another and many are overlapping and so are using the same space in those overlapping areas.  Each bubble retains its complete individual border or surface.  But There are many such spheres with bright sparks in the middle.  Every human being is one; every dog, cat, horse, and bedbug is one; every being from any other part of the universe or from any part of any other universe is one.

Each bubble represents, by way of illustration, the finite consciousness of an individual being.  There are many things within each bubble–the things that the individual is conscious of, the things that he is experiencing, including physical objects and empty space.

There can be no space between bubbles that is not filled with consciousness, for two reasons:  (1)  The concept of total unconsciousness, or total nothingness, or total objectivity is illogical.  (2)  Total consciousness or subjectivity or experience is the only alternative that explains the existence of the cause-and-effect relationships we experience as physical reality.  This, however, does not necessitate, logically, that there are no spaces between the finite bubbles; but it means that if there are, then those spaces must be filled with conscious experience as well–and if they’re not within a finite bubble, then they must logically be within an infinite one; for there are only two such categories: finite and infinite.

As already stated, each bubble has a special central area which we can think of, again by way of illustration only, as a bright spark.  Why a bright spark?  No particular reason except that a bright spark seems more appropriate to represent the center of our consciousness than, say, a black dot.  The essential element here is not whether it’s bright or dark, but its quality of being central.  With one category of exception, everything in the bubble is oriented entirely to the center.  Pay careful attention to the following paragraph:

The whole bubble is made up of consciousness, but this consciousness is experienced in a systematic way that divides it into two categories: center or non-center.  It further divides up non-center items into how close or how far, relatively, they are from the center, so that we can have a sense of being surrounded by things in an orderly pattern and can move about among them.

So now we have the answer to the knotty question of what constitutes the difference between a conscious individual and his experiences.  The question was formerly knotty to me because, since all things are experience, there didn’t seem to be any criteria or concept to enable us to differentiate between an individual and his conscious experience.  We can see now that the difference is not one of consciousness or unconsciousness, for there is no such thing as unconsciousness in the absolute sense.  Rather, the difference that separates the conscious individual himself from that which he is conscious of, is the concept of the item in question being either centered or not centered within his bubble of consciousness.

The experience of being centered identifies the individual within his own sphere of consciousness.

The experience of being not centered identifies the various other entities within that same individual’s sphere of consciousness.

 

Let’s go back now to one of the problems we started out with in this chapter: the matter of whether or not our experience of the world is real or, as some say, just an image in our heads.

Since we have already pointed out that we cannot logically conceive of any absolute objective reality, we find that we cannot logically compare our own experience against such a non-existent backdrop.

How can we say that subjectivity is unreal if there is no objectivity?  How can we say that we have in our minds an unreal impression of something “out there” if there is no “out there” to be copied?  For even the so called “out there” is a false concept.  This leaves us with only one physical reality–the experience itself.

Can we say, then, that physical things aren’t real?  Not at all.  Why should we believe that?  If you see a boulder in front of you and you kick it, you find that it’s hard.  The fact that this is an experience we are having, in no way belies its reality.

Once you begin to see this, you become amazed at the ridiculous scenario the human race has allowed itself to get into on this matter.  Just think:  We are asked to believe that when we experience kicking a rock, the rock we see isn’t real–it’s only an unreal image in our heads, so they say.  At the same time we’re expected to believe that something that no one can see, kick, or imagine in the slightest way, is the real thing.  This is the height of illogical folly.

But you may ask:  “What, then, about the evidence we have–through experience–of the seeing mechanism of the body?”  By looking at people and animals we can see that most have eyes with pupils to let the light in; and deeper examination will reveal the presence of many further parts of the seeing machinery of our bodies, like the retina, optic nerve, and a center in the brain where sight is processed.  Doesn’t this strongly indicate that there is an outer world with a light source striking its objects and bouncing off them into the eye and thus stimulating the optic nerve into sending a coded message to the brain where it is reconstructed into an inner image of the outside reality?

Well, first of all, I have not said that there is no outside reality.  Rather, I have said that (1) there is no such thing as an ultimate or total objective reality; in other words, a reality that no one is experiencing, (2) and, put in another way, there is no such thing as unconsciousness or lack of sentience or lack of awareness, anywhere, anytime, and, (3) put in still another way, there is no such thing as nothingness.

There is, however, an outside reality, which, together with the reality experienced by conscious creatures, makes up all reality.

We have already begun to explore the matter of an infinite or total awareness and have found in conjunction with other previous material, that such an infinite awareness–in other words, a limitless God–is the only logical way to overcome the cause/effect problem; for without such an awareness there can be no will or motivation to fuel the cause and effect chains that we know by experience and logic exist.

For us, who’s minds are finite, and thinking of ourselves as a group, the infinite experience of this Infinite Mind is the outer reality.  Our own limited experience, as a group, is the inner reality.  However, each of us as an individual can also think of the inner reality being only that which we ourselves experience, and the outer reality being that which the infinite mind of God, plus finite minds other than our own, experience.

The next important thing that I would like you to get a hold of is the postulate that our seeing mechanism, just like our other senses, is a limiting device.  That’s its purpose–to limit.

The normal way of looking at the operation of the sight process is as follows.  There’s a light source such as the sun or a candle or an incandescent lamp.  Light–which is a wave action in spite of what some say–waves out in all directions from the light source (unless some of the directions are cut off by some sort of shield that stops the light).  Basically light results from a chemical reaction in the form of an explosion, sometimes fast, knocking things down, sometimes slower as in various kinds of fire.  The point is that from the explosion’s center, the light moves out in all directions–that is, in an infinite number of directions, but basically always in a straight line away from the source.

This light bounces off (still only as a wave action, however) anything it hits, and bounces off in all directions it can, creating an infinite number of angles and degrees of angles at the points where it bounces.  If there is a creature around with seeing apparatus built in, some of the light will hit that creature on every part of him it can get at, and again go bouncing off in a great many directions.

But some of the light that strikes the creature strikes in a certain place called the pupil of the eye.  Therefore, of all the light bouncing around, only a very limited amount is allowed to impress us with vision for that moment in time.  And that is why the seeing mechanism is built as it is–to limit what we experience as sight.

The same thing is true of the other four senses, hearing, touch, taste, and smell.  The sexual orgasm, although a distinct experience, is generally considered to be part of the touch sensation, since it apparently is triggered by the same kind of nerve endings with which we normally feel objects, etc, when we touch them.

Let’s consider the sense of hearing.  Sound waves, like light waves, are usually bouncing around all over the place.  Our ears, however, can take in only a limited amount of it.  It is, however, controlled less precisely than is light.  Still, where you stand in a room full of talking people–say at a party–will make a big difference in what you hear, just as where you stand will make a big difference in what you see.  Then, too, there are some constant limiting factors built right in: we can’t hear sounds if they’re too high or too low; also we can’t hear sounds if they’re too far away.

With touch, we’re limited to feeling whatever we can make physical contact with.

The same applies to taste and smell, but involves different kind of cells at the contact point–namely taste buds and olfactory nerves.

The point is that all five senses are so constructed that they limit our intake of physical reality.  Why are we made this way?  Because our minds are finite and therefore not capable of dealing with infinity.  In other words, limited minds cannot deal with limitless reality.

The concept of time is heavily involved in this limitation, for all of the five senses depend on the matter of time to work their limitations.  For instance, we can see much more in an hour than we can see in a minute.  Even though an hour’s worth of seeing is an infinitesimal speck alongside of eternity (infinite time), we are not capable of seeing a one-hour dance recital “all at once” but must have it fragmented into tiny moments along with the strange ability to make sense of all those fragments so that, in a way, we end up seeing all those tiny fragments as a whole hour-long unit after all, so that after the show someone might say, “What a wonderful hour of enjoyment that was!” and will have no problem thinking of it as one unit.

I will talk more about the fascinating matter of time later, but for now I simply wanted to point out that time, along with the limiting structure of the senses, allows us to experience only infinitesimally small fragments of physical reality.

Limitation, then, is one of the key words in understanding–as much as we can ever understand anything–the purpose behind our seeing apparatus and the other four senses.  They are there primarily not to make us see, hear, touch, taste, and smell, but to limit our experience of these things so that our tiny minds can cope with them.

When we think of our experience of seeing, why do we always start out with thinking about light and the pupil that the light can enter through?  We should think more about light and the opaque material surrounding the pupil that keeps out 99.999 plus percent of the light, and hence that much of seeing experience.  Of course the rest of the mechanism’s involved with seeing are also built so that only this small amount of visual reality can be studied at a time.

All right, so how does all this affect the matter we were talking about?–namely that the way the eye and other parts of the seeing mechanisms are built suggests that we see an inner image of an outer reality.

Let’s change that statement a bit, mostly through italics, to read: that the way the eye and other parts of the sight limiting mechanisms are built suggests that we see an inner image of an outer reality.

Well, there is an outer reality not accessible to the creature mind (including human).  That outer reality is the infinite reality of God’s experience which is not limited by time or any kind of limiting sensory mechanisms.  God’s mind, being infinite, needs no such mechanisms, and sees all of infinity in one piece.  However, since his mind is infinite, he can see the details as well as the whole, which means that he can see everything that we see in our limited versions.

Now here’s an important point, already touched on earlier, but now needing emphasis:  Because an experience is limited does not make it any less real than the unlimited experience of the infinite God.  Much smaller, yes; less real, no.

Another point is that what we observe when we study the eyes, optic nerves, etc., of fellow conscious creatures, is basically a demonstration, for our benefit, of the fact that our experience is extremely limited.  We need to know this so that we can recognize how infinitesimally small we are in comparison to the infinite Creator.

Yes, there is an outer world, and, yes, something we can’t really see or understand because of our finiteness does something that we, in our limitations, interpret as light bouncing off things, coming through the pupil, striking the retina, triggering impulses along the optic nerve, etc., and being experienced by us as a very thin slice of physical reality.

There is an orthodox rule in science that states that no experiment that we can observe will ever give us the entirely true result of that experiment because the fact of observation intrudes and changes the result.  This rule applies powerfully to the matter of a creature studying his own powers and means of observation.  By attempting to observe how he observes, he is tempted to make assumptions about his own observing mechanisms so that he has a starting point.  He is going around in a circle, using his own still unstudied powers of observation to make decisions about his powers of observation, which, of course, doesn’t sound like a very reliable method.

Again: yes, there is an outer reality–one we can’t fathom, but that is known perfectly, in its infiniteness, by the infinite mind of God.  The observation process, which we can’t really ever understand because of the factor presented in the above paragraph, allows for finite creatures to have a limited experience that we can cope with.  This limited experience is shared by finite creatures provided they live within the same system of physical reality.  (We have no reason to assume that there is only one.)  However, being limited as we are, we see this same reality from many different angles.  In a moment I’ll tell you why it is the same reality, even though our positionings in time and space make the experience a bit different–sometimes a lot different–for each of us.  But first I need to re-emphasize some important points about the reality of each of these limited experiences which actually are all the same but seen from different angles.

All experience is real.

There is no reality outside of experience.

Some real experiences are unstable and only loosely connected with the basic, stable system of reality, and for that reason have been come to be called (erroneously) unreal.  One person’s private daydream (or night dream for that matter) is an example.  Because he is experiencing it alone (except for God), it is relatively insubstantial.  Somewhat more substantial is the shared experience of a theatre full of people watching a movie.  The story they see unfolding before their eyes is not real in the normal sense.  It is fiction.  It started out as a daydream in one man’s mind–the writer or producer–but now this fantasy is being shared by many people, giving it a somewhat more stable reality than it had when it was still only in the mind of one person.  Now, because it can be shared, viewers can later talk about it and will have memories about it that will be similar.  Yet, as I already mentioned, even one person’s dream at night is a shared experience, for God is aware of it.

God experiences an infinite reality.

As a study of the mechanisms involved in creature sight (and other senses) illustrates, God has allowed a way for finite minds to keep out the bulk of that experience and partake of a small part of it.

It has happened many times that whole communities, whole nations, and even whole larger areas of the world have, to an extent, manufactured their own reality by all (in general) believing the same things.  But any parts of it that do not line up with the greater and absolute reality as seen by God are a sort of second-grade reality and, as such, can last only for a time.  In the same way that one man waking up from his personal night dream and finding that what seemed so real to him a moment ago does not line up with his awake-world, a whole nation can wake up from the philosophical, perhaps ideological, fantasy they have been sustaining for decades or centuries.

The Hitler fantasy was one.

The communism fantasy was another, and still exists although weakened.  Many have awakened from that dream.

The so-called free world, and comparatively speaking we are free in many ways, is in the grip of a powerful ongoing fantasy of materialism and technology.

Although I have called these man-made philosophies fantasies, my point, ironically, is that they are actually reality to a degree.  One can think of them as inferior, relatively insubstantial and unstable no-name brands of reality, and, as such are doomed to disintegration.  This is because they have no infinite roots.  They do not line up with infinite reality which is completely solid and stable.

This does not mean that real things can’t change.  In fact, from our finite viewpoint, change is an integral part of solid infinite reality; but there is an ongoing order to this ongoing change.  The past is never denied as in George Orwell’s novel, 1984, where the government decides that it can change history however it wants to, because, after all, they say, the past is gone and therefore doesn’t exist, and if it doesn’t exist, why can’t they make it anything they want it to be?  But the characters making those decisions in Orwell’s book apparently did not understand that there is an infinite reality, including past, present, and future, that is infinitely solid and cannot be changed.

You may be thinking that such a belief does not allow for individual freedom, a matter that has disturbed many philosophers who believe in God as the completely sovereign mind but also believe in the reality of free choice.  The two beliefs are not contradictory as many have assumed.  Just because God knows what’s going to happen before it happens, does not logically mean that there are no individual free choices made by his creatures.  Rather, the free-choosing God and his free-choosing creatures make free-willed decisions, and God knows what those free decisions will be ahead of time.  See?–there’s no contradiction.

Now we’ll get back to the helpful illustration, given a bit earlier, of finite creatures, such as humans, and of seeing them–for the sake of illustration–each as being like a sphere with a bright spark at the center.  The bright spark represents the core of the person’s consciousness, that part of his conscious experience that he considers to be himself within his experience.  Between the spark and the perimeter of the sphere is everything else that he is conscious of.  Everything within the sphere, including the bright spark at the center, is conscious experience; the factor that sets the bright spark apart from the rest is simply its positioning at the center.

There are many such spheres–each representing a finite, conscious creature–and the spheres overlap one another to varying degrees.  The spheres move about within what we might call a greater sphere that encloses them all, but that greater one perhaps can’t rightly be called a sphere because it has no perimeter; that is to say, it is of infinite size.  It represents God, the individual consciousness that contains total infinite reality.  The smaller, finite, spheres move about within the infinite sphere by three kinds of free will: the will of the infinite sphere, by the will of a finite sphere moving itself, and by the will of one or more other finite spheres; for the spheres have the power to move not only themselves, but to a considerable extent, one another as well.

Now, we must ask, where is the eye in this sphere illustration?–and where is “outside of the head” and “inside of the head”?  Where are the finite creature’s objective and subjective realities?

The first two questions in the above paragraph hinge on the third.  We can answer the third because we already have learned that, although there is no absolute objective reality, for a finite being there is a kind of objective reality–namely that which is outside of his own personal experience.  This will include what is inside spheres that he is not overlapping with, and, with a much greater magnitude, what is in the infinite surrounding sphere–the mind of God.

Now if something of the infinite surrounding reality is allowed inside of one of the finite spheres, how and where does it enter?  Well, here’s a surprise: according to the illustration it’s already inside and gets there simply by virtue of the finite sphere being located where it is–or, one could say, in many cases, by virtue of the finite sphere having moved into that area so that its perimeters included the reality of that area.  This does not really require anything to be let in, except as the finite sphere was moving into that place.  And all the rest of infinite reality is being kept out by the finite sphere’s perimeter.  However, when we think of it as above expressed, we are not remembering what the function of the eye really is: to limit our experience: to keep out infinity.  The eye is not just the pupil; the eye is also the surrounding tissue that keeps out light.  What this means is that, in our illustration, the whole perimeter of the sphere is the eye, most of it being that part of the eye that keeps out light.  But where is the pupil?–the opening.

There are two places in our illustration where we can locate the pupil.  Keeping in mind that the mechanism of the eye and related parts are a device to limit our visual experiencing of reality, we find that the first obvious place is at some particular point on the perimeter of the sphere.  In other words, that whole outer surface of the sphere represents our limiting seeing mechanism, from pupil and surrounding opaqueness to optic nerve to visual brain center.  An important point is that although this mechanism limits what we experience visually, in a sense there is a chunk of infinite reality within the finite sphere–for just because something is in the area of a finite sphere does not keep God from seeing every infinite detail within that little sphere.  But the person represented by that little sphere does not see all the detail within it.  The limiting ability of the perimeter–the eye–not only keeps out the outside infinity, but also has a limiting affect on the interior details.

I said there where two places where one can locate the pupil of the eye in this sphere illustration.  The second place is a difficult concept, because it involves the abstract in a way that we’re not used to thinking of ourselves.  If this becomes too mind-blowing, take a break and come back.  And, if you’re able, at this point in your philosophical journey, ask the great Infinite Mind–God–to help you not to lose your own mind, but to stay sane and to understand.  The rewards are great.

Each of us is really a person within a person.  The one person is represented by the whole finite sphere in this illustration.  The second person is represented by what I have called the bright spark at the center of the sphere.  I have already admitted, somewhere above, that calling the center a bright spark did not make a particular amount of sense, and I chose that only because it sounded better than a black dot, which blackness would also not make a particular amount of sense.  And I said, at that point, and now re-emphasize it, that the distinguishing factor is not dark or bright but location–namely, being centered in the sphere.

Do some of you need to go through the matter of what a center is?  Perhaps we should spend a little time on it.  Center is an abstract concept.  It is not physical.  If, in attempting to find the center of a rubber ball, you mark out a tiny center part, you have not really isolated the center, for no matter how small a piece of rubber you imagine as being the center, that small piece has the true center within it.  This involves infinity and therefore goes out of the bounds of our finite minds for solution; however, we can logically conclude that the true center of anything is never physical but rather an abstract concept.

I have said that the sphere illustration presents each of us as a person within a person.  The larger person is represented by the entire finite sphere.  The second person is represented by the abstract center of the sphere.  Both are entirely valid.  It may seem strange to you at first, but after a while of thinking about it–I suggest a little at a time–one can become quite at peace with the idea.  I have.  Besides, it is natural to basically think of yourself as the center, although without concentrating on or even knowing about the abstract side of it.

But once you get to this point it helps to know that the abstract is just as real as, and more basic than, the particular and physical.

So here you are, a person within a person–both really you.  Everything within your sphere of consciousness is you in a real sense, because its a part of your conscious experience.  If you’re sitting in a room looking at another chair against the wall, that chair is part of the first you, simply because it’s part of your conscious experience and nothing exists outside of conscious experience.  Every physical, so-called inanimate object is part of someone’s outer self.  Just as well, every living body you’ve ever seen, was, at the time of your seeing it (him, her) a part of your own outer self.  Everything you can experience in the physical is, as you’re experiencing it, a part of your mind–your outer-self mind.  Even your own body, although its positioning in the sphere brings it closer to your second, central self, than anything else, is still basically part of your outer self.

The second self is the abstract center of all this.  This allows you to move about delightfully within your own consciousness.  And here is the second logical place for the eye in our illustration: at some abstract point between the abstract center and all the things going on within the rest of the sphere.

Now, where is the light that gives us sight?  Where does it come in?  Is what we see within our own brains?

Everything starts out in God’s infinite mind, including physical light.  If someone looks at himself in the sense of his outer self–which is perfectly legitimate–he can rightly assume that there is an eye at his outer perimeter, letting in only a speck of light from the great infinity of God’s mind.  And this viewer can logically be assured that everything he’s experiencing visually within his own larger self, is there because his outer eye has not kept it out of his awareness.  Let’s say this person is a medical scientist, involved in bisecting the head of a human cadaver (to think that they really do such grizzly things!) and he examines the seeing mechanism of this subject.  The cadaver and the pupil and the retina and the optic nerve and the brain center where sight is processed are all real parts of the doctor’s own outer mind.

It all makes sense to the doctor as he studies the sight mechanism, and he thinks, “Now I know what the eye mechanism looks like and how it works.”  In a way he does and in a way he doesn’t.  He knows what this real eye in his own outer self looks like, but he doesn’t know what the eyes in the perimeters of spheres look like.  Only God knows that, for only God can see that.  The same is true for the outer light that only God can see.  We experience it only after it’s been cut down to fit into our finite experiences.

 

We have been exploring the matter of physical reality, and I have shown how the physical world exists as experience and only as experience, as do all things, physical and non-physical.  In regard to physical reality, it exists not only in the limited experience of each one of us finite beings, but also in the unlimited experience of the infinite mind of God.

The physical is always brought about by the non-physical; that is, by forces that cannot be seen by the five senses or any other senses tuned in to the physical world.  Physical creations and changes are brought about by unseen concepts such as the remarkable thing we call the will.  You have a cup of coffee in front of you; you desire to drink some of that coffee; you will your hand to lift the cup up to your lips; the change in the world of physical reality takes place just as you willed it: the cup rises and you drink some coffee.

Contrary to what the materialists believe–that life comes out of non-life–the cup of coffee moved because a non-physical entity was willing it to do so.  It did not move because physical brain cells were initiating the movement.  The brain certainly is involved, but only as a tool used by the mind, which is a totally non-physical entity.  I hope to spend more time on this later, to show logically the ridiculousness of the materialistic stand on how the living mind (to them it’s a brain) comes out of mindless, lifeless entities.  For now I will only say that in doing so, materialists lower themselves intellectually to the level of the ancient Egyptians who apparently believed that mice were formed by little blobs of mud being washed ashore from the Nile River.  It is ironic and contradictory that many of the scientists who teach us that life cannot come out of non-life, also insist that they believe the exact opposite when they put forward their theories on how the cosmos came to be without any life present, and then evolved life.

The point that I’ve been working my way toward is that behind all physical reality is something non-physical that could perhaps best be called a code.  It is some sort of mathematical structure in God’s experience, and could also be called physical laws.  These are themselves not physical but are laws that determine how physical things behave.  No laws and rules are ever physical.  We can have physical representations of them, as in laws written down with physical ink on physical paper, but those are not the laws themselves; the real laws exist only in the mind.  The infinite mind of God has produced many such laws (probably an infinite number of them) which effect physical reality.

Some of these are the “laws of nature” or “laws of physics” that the atheist-materialists so conveniently take for granted when they’re putting forward their theories on how things came to be:  “There were gases swirling around in space.  These gas particles, because of gravity, drew together, forming a denser ball of gas.”  How blatantly unscientific!  Space itself needs laws to support its existence.  Why should there be any space in the first place if there isn’t a “a law of nature” supporting its existence?  And why would gases swirl if there were no laws dictating that they must swirl?  And why would there be any gravity to draw the gas particles together if no law made this necessary?  Of course, these pretend scientists will agree that there are such “laws of nature” in existence.  But, unscientifically, they make no attempt to explain how these laws came to be.

I needed to draw attention to the existence of these many non-physical laws which determine physical reality without being a part of that physical reality.  Therefore, to add to our illustration of the spheres of experience of physical reality–some finite and one infinite one surrounding all the finite ones–we can now here point out that besides God’s experience of infinite physical reality his experience also includes an infinite array of non-physical reality–some of which dictates how the physical world behaves.  Each of us finite creatures also has a non-physical realm in our experience–things that we know exist but that do not take up physical space: these are things like love and hatred, and a variety of mental manipulations often involving the abstract, etc.

For the sake of clarity in further presenting the matter of subjectivity and objectivity, I will give a name to that portion of God’s infinite experience that is the laws he has made that present, control, and guide physical reality both in his experience of physical reality and ours.  I will call this system of laws the physical-reality code.  The physical-reality code, then, is a non-physical mathematical structure that underlies all physical reality and makes physical reality what it is in our experience of same and in God’s experience of the same physical reality.  For every physical object, then, there is a corresponding segment of code that brings it about.  We, as finite beings, can experience only one of these two entities–namely the physical reality–even though we can know about the code.  But God experiences both the code and the physical reality that results from it.

This now brings us to the point where we can attempt to look at the seeing mechanism of finite creatures with a greater insight so that we can find a solution to a problem stated earlier–that a study of the seeing mechanism seems to indicate that the light going into the pupil from the “real world outside” is creating an image inside the subjects head that is only a copy of the real thing.  Keeping in mind the necessity of the underlying code or structure of laws that bring about what we experience as the physical, we can now solve this problem.

 

When we see someone else’s sight mechanism we are not seeing the code in operation, for we’re not capable of seeing that.  It is outside of our own experience of physical reality.  Therefore, what we are seeing (when we look at someone’s sight mechanism in operation) is a piece of physical reality that is a sort of copy of the outside code that deals specifically with the portioning out of experience, which involves a limiting of experience for each individual creature.

This outside code, whether the specific part of it just mentioned or any other part, is not anything that can be seen in any way that we can imagine as physical seeing; rather it is a knowing, on the part of God, of the details of the code that exists (that he has made or set up) beyond physical reality, causing, supporting, and controlling physical reality so that it works and makes sense.

Is there, then, any basic difference in a person looking at say a house, and looking at another creature’s seeing mechanism in operation?

Yes and no.  In both cases the person doing the observing is experiencing (seeing, in this case) physical reality which is caused by a hidden code known and directly experienced only by God.

But in the case of looking at the seeing mechanism, one is seeing not only objects caused by the code, but objects that represent a particular and special part of the code–that part which is involved with portioning out physical experience to this individual so that he experiences no more and no less of physical reality than he should.

This idea is nicely demonstrated by our experience of seeing a pupil, retina, optic nerve, etc.  E.G:  The pupil, being a small hole, limits the amount of light that can enter and the direction from which it can enter.  From this we can know something about the actual process that goes on in the hidden realm of the code; however, we must keep in mind that it is an image of a process and not the process itself.

This is where the complication comes in:  Although it is an image of the process, rather than the process, it is an actual physical reality–for it is just as much a part of our experience of physical reality as is the experience of seeing a house.

This is not hard to accept when we realize that all physical reality is, in a sense, the outcome of the hidden code.

Once we have a grip on that, we can see that what we experience as sight is not “just an image of reality in our heads,” as has so often been suggested, but, rather, all physical reality, which is that which we experience in part, is a product of a hidden, unseeable code.

Again:  When we look at a house, a chair, a tree, etc., we experience them as physical reality–that is what they are–the tree, or whatever we’re looking at, is caused by the hidden code, but the hidden code is not the physical reality, only the cause of it.

However, when we look at a fellow creature’s seeing mechanism in operation, we see not only physical reality but a special and unique part of physical reality that demonstrates a hidden process going on.

When you look at a tree it doesn’t matter so much that the tree has a hidden, coded version of itself in a non-physical reality.  However, when you look at someone’s seeing mechanism in operation it becomes more meaningful that this apparatus that you see with light going into it is the physical-reality version of a process that is not physical reality.

The physical reality of the eye with its related parts, with light going into it, etc., is, then, not the real process; in that sense it’s a copy.  But (and this is important) even though it is a copy of a process, it is not a copy of any outer physical reality–it is the physical reality.  I repeat:  The eye and its parts that you see, along with light going into it is a copy of the process, but the real thing in regard to physical reality.

It is helpful for us to have in real physical matter an accurate explanation of how an unseen and unseeable non-physical process works.

In the following chapter we will wrap up the discussion of the objective and subjective by logically answering the question:  Is physical reality a single unit, or is it separated by the many minds who experience it?

 

 

 

CHAPTER 10:

SUBJECTIVITY AND OBJECTIVITY–

MANY EXPERIENCES, ONLY ONE REALITY

 

I HAVE SPENT a lot of time on subjectivity and objectivity because it is a matter of importance in understanding life.  It is important because life is conscious experience, and that is subjective for each one of us; and yet we can be aware that other beings are having subjective experiences of their own which we often don’t know anything in particular about and therefore is objective to us.  As many philosophers and spiritual leaders have learned, life deals a lot with sharing, and we need to know how this sharing works and what is real and what is imaginary.

In this chapter which is a short one and the final one dealing directly with subjectivity and objectivity–after which we can go on to other things–I wish to clarify a matter that might still be a concern to anyone who has thought a great deal about these fascinating things and may by now be getting the drift of what I’ve been saying up to this point.  The concern is as follows:  If all existence is experience, including the physical, then even if it is real (as I’ve pointed out) it still disconcertingly appears to be broken up into parts rather than being one whole physical reality; for each creature is experiencing only one small part of it.  Here is the solution which I’ll begin by stating that, in fact, physical reality is all in one piece.  Now I’ll show you why.

I have already established that everything is experience.  That is to say, there is no ultimate objective reality outside of subjective reality.  For each finite individual, however, there is an objective reality made up of all that is not within his own experience.  (But it must be within someone’s experience.)

Only the infinite mind of God comprehends the infinite scope of reality, so for God there is no objective reality–with one exception:  He does not experience being evil; that is experienced only by finite beings who have chosen to be evil.  (Not much later on in this book we’ll explore the whole fascinating, wonderful, and awful matter of good and evil at their roots.)  In any case, there is no objective reality outside of the experience of God and his creatures.

Here is a mental experiment that will begin to show that there is only one physical reality rather than many:  Imagine a lonely palm tree growing in a desert.  Now imagine two people, Man A and Man B, looking at the tree from somewhat different angles.  They are the only two persons in the desert (just to keep things simple) except for the presence of God.

The noon-day sun is shining down on everything including the palm tree, and some of that light (a very small amount of it) is being reflected into the pupils of the eyes of Man A, and, as well, into the eyes of Man B.  Keeping in mind the last part of the preceding chapter, we now realize that the happening I have just described can rightly be construed in a couple of ways:  What a third party observer (or fourth if we include God) would logically make of this situation would depend on whether he was looking for the actual process going on or if he was looking for physical reality.  If he was looking for the process he would realize that he was seeing only a copy or illustration of what was going on; but if he was looking to find physical reality, he would realize, logically, that he was experiencing the real thing right there in what he was observing.  But now let’s remove the extra observer from our concentration and go back to one tree with God and two men looking at it.

If all physical reality is experience, then the desert, the sun, the palm tree, and Man B are all a part of the experience of Man A; but keep in mind that he is seeing only a very small part of sun, desert, tree, and man, for he sees them only from his limited angle of viewpoint.  There are billions of billions of other angles he could be seeing these things from if he could cover all angles one after the other or all at once.  But he can’t.

The same thing applies to the experience of Man B.  As he looks about from his position, letting his gaze drift over sun, desert, tree, and Man A, he finds that a limited amount of each of these make up his experience of vision at that time and from that position.

He knows, for instance, that there are many parts of the tree that he cannot see from that angle.  Even though he can’t see them, he knows that, in some sense, they must be there.

Man A knows the same.  In fact, he knows approximately what part of the tree Man B can see that he (Man A) cannot see from his own position.  He accepts that what Man B sees is just as legitimately a part of the same tree as what he himself sees.

Then there are all the other parts of the tree that neither Man A nor Man B can see from their positions.  If these two men believe in the infinite mind of God, they will accept that all the parts of the tree the two of them cannot see are being seen by God.

Now here is what I propose:  Although in the past I have made the assumption that God sees all the parts including what everyone else sees (and, in a sense, he does, for he knows every detail of what everyone sees), I now take a different approach, or make an addition to that approach.  To explain it, I will have to jump ahead a bit into an area I will go into in greater detail in later chapters, but will here use without the detailed explanations of why I believe them–simply because I here need the conclusion to make my point on the present topic.

I already know that God’s central characteristic is love (caring about others), even to the point of self sacrifice, and that logically it works out that he “automatically” sacrifices when he brings into being a conscious entity other than himself–particularly if he gives this being a free will in regard to morality.

The truth of this can be easily understood when we consider a similar situation on another level:  A bachelor lives alone and does what he pleases.  He falls in love and gets married and now there are two minds, two wills, in the same house, and they don’t always want the same thing.  If there is to be peace, each often has to give up (sacrifice) what he or she wants for the sake of the other.  Then they decide to have a baby.  As soon as this third person arrives on the scene, both the first two have to make huge sacrifices, giving up sleep and a variety of pleasures in order to satisfy the needs and desires of the baby.  When the child is a little older he at least lets his parents sleep, but soon he wants a dog of his own and gets one as a birthday present.  Now there are four minds in the house, all with free wills, and those wills will often clash.  Sacrifices to varying degrees are required by all four, many of them on a daily basis.  God has a universe full of minds with free wills to deal with.  This requires sacrifice from all of them, but most of all from God himself; for, being infinite, his love is infinite; therefore he places this need to sacrifice upon himself in a way that deals lovingly with all the creatures that inhabit his universal household.

Therefore I propose that, in this self-sacrificing way, with each new conscious being created, God gives up that much of his own experience of the physical universe, but only so much as would prevent overlap in the particular physical senses that creature has.  That is to say, whatever the new conscious creature is able to see, or experience with other physical senses from his limited viewpoint, God no longer sees from that angle, having graciously, lovingly, given up that particular viewpoint, with all its changes of position as that new being moves around through life.

Thinking about it this way helps to further set apart Christian belief from the new-age doctrine that all conscious beings everywhere together make up the “universal mind” which some of them at least say is God.  Christians believe that there is God and there are God’s creatures; the two are not the same.  What I have proposed regarding God’s giving up some of his viewpoint of the physical universe to the conscious creatures he has made, falls in line with Christian belief, for it clearly differentiates between God and the beings he has made.

Now, if God makes this sacrifice of giving up some of his physical viewpoint to each creature’s individual mind, we can see a more clear picture of what physical reality is and what the relationship of each conscious being has to it–both the created finite minds and the infinite mind of the Creator.  Keep in mind that infinity cannot be made any smaller by subtractions.

To reiterate:  All physical reality is experience.

We find, now, according to the thinking as above presented, that all physical reality can be broken up into two main categories:  (1) That which is experienced from the location viewpoints of the infinite God (which viewpoints are infinite in number), and (2) that which is experienced from the many limited viewpoints of finite creatures.

If we accept that God sacrifices some of his own viewpoints, giving them over to his created beings, we find that we have a neat jigsaw puzzle with all the pieces fitting perfectly to create a whole picture of physical reality.

The biggest and infinitely most important piece of the puzzle is made up of all that God sees from the infinite number of viewpoints always available to him.  All the other pieces are infinitesimally tiny and are made up of all the viewpoints of created beings, each seeing things from a very limited viewpoint.  None of these small pieces ever overlap–not with one another, nor with the great viewpoint of God.

Just to get a clearer look at it, let’s go back to the desert scene, with Man A and Man B standing say fifty feet apart and one-hundred feet from the tree and looking at it; and with God looking at the whole physical universe in general, including at the tree, but not allowing himself to see the tree from the two particular angles and distances that he has given over to Man A and Man B.

Now, here’s the point:  Are we talking about three different trees (or parts of trees) or are we talking about only one tree?

Perhaps at first thought it would seem that there were three partial trees involved because God, Man A, and Man B were each having an experience, as they say, in their own minds.  But that notion results from the erroneous and ridiculous concept that there is an ultimate objective reality, against which backdrop we can then hold up that which is “only in our minds,” as seeming inferior; but there is no such backdrop.  Physical reality, like every other kind of reality, is in the experience of the mind, and any sense of solidity or realness that we’ve ever had has been in the experience of the mind–and in no way does being in the mind negate it’s solidity or realness.  Why should it?  Once we get that ultimate objectivity nonsense out of the way, a different picture emerges.

I propose that with Man A experiencing seeing part of the tree from his limited angle of viewpoint, and with Man B experiencing seeing part of the tree from his particular position, and with God seeing all the rest of the tree, so that all parts of “the tree” are covered by someone experiencing seeing it, that “it” is then, in fact, a single whole tree.

Yes, the experiences are in the minds of three separate persons, but the parts missing from the sight of each one are nevertheless accounted for in the minds of each.  Man A actually sees only a particular side of the tree, but he does not say to himself, “Well, well, isn’t this interesting: here I am looking at an empty half-sheath of rough palm-tree bark with no tree trunk behind it.”  No, rather his mind (usually without really thinking about it) accepts as a fact that all the other parts of the tree that he can’t see are, nevertheless, in existence.  And he’s right: they are in existence–in the experience of anyone/everyone else looking at “the tree.”

At this point, if Man A is an atheist he gets into necessary mental confusion, providing that he’s honest enough to add up his beliefs to their logical conclusions.  This is because he must try to make a real and complete tree out of what he sees without having anyone else, particularly God, to help him by seeing every other part of the tree that he, and Man B, can’t see themselves.  He has to either content himself with a partial tree or believe the ridiculous concept of an ultimate, non-experience, objective reality.  The latter, of course, is the erroneous choice that he’ll likely make.

On the other hand, if Man A believes in the logical alternative to the ultimate objectivity doctrine, which alternative is the ultimate consciousness (or infinite mind) belief, then he will have all the parts of the tree accounted for.  However, he must still deal with the matter of whether these parts of trees–in the minds of God, himself (Man A), and Man B–are one and the same tree, or if they cannot thus be reasonably joined.

It would seem rather unreasonable to me not to join them, since God obviously planned for “them” to be thought of as the same tree.  Still, we need to look at the matter more closely.

It appears to come out that to have an objection to the tentative conclusion of the first sentence in the preceding paragraph would be to have an objection to the idea that the minds of all conscious beings fit together to make up complete reality.

In fact, it is precisely the case that all reality, physical and otherwise, is made up of the many minds–including the infinite mind of God–that experience it.  The only way to think otherwise is to accept the ultimate objectivity theory, which, in a previous chapter, Chapter 8, I have thoroughly demolished through logic.  If you’re not yet convinced, go back to Chapter 8 and study that part again.  So the true reality of experience is the total infinite picture, and the true physical reality, as well, is the experience of an infinite array of physical things, with each finite mind accounting for a tiny part of it; with the infinite remainder being the experience of God.

If all these experiences together make up the total picture, then it logically follows that there is one picture, and, therefore, one complete real tree in that desert scene with two men and God looking at it.

The fact that the one tree is broken up into the experiences of three individuals doesn’t nullify the true concept of one tree.

If you take any picture of a tree and cut it up into three pieces, then lay the pieces together carefully so that you again have a picture of the tree, could anyone rightly say that there is no longer a representation of one tree?  Of course not.  The fact of the three pieces is valid.  But no more so than the fact of the completed picture of the tree.

And that is how it is with physical reality.  The fact that it is broken up into individual experiences of many minds does not negate the fact of the reality of the overall unity.  And whereas the picture of the tree that has been cut into three pieces with a clumsy scissors will have cut lines showing when the pieces are put together, in God’s flawless separation and fitting there are no cut lines, but each individual’s experience fits together so perfectly with the others that the total is a complete and perfect whole unit.

But what about the matter of impaired vision?  If even one person in this scenario is blind or has something even slightly wrong with his eyes so that, say, what he sees is blurred or distorted, doesn’t that spoil the perfect fit?  No, because anything lacking in one finite being’s vision is accounted for correctly in God’s vision.  Any distortion is not the reality; and God only gives up seeing another person’s reality.  The distortions caused by poor vision are not a part of reality, but an illusion, and therefore don’t count in this sharing of reality.

I have been using the sense of sight to show how this all works; but the same thing applies to the other four of the five physical senses we possess as humans, and to any number of still other senses enjoyed by other creatures in God’s probably infinite universe.

And so, miraculously, wonderfully, and entirely logically, we do all share the same universe even though we each have a personal hold on only a small part of it.  Only the infinite mind of God could work out something so ironic and yet true and reasonable.

A quick review to conclude the matter:

In the three chapters, 8, 9, and 10, dealing with the matter of subjectivity and objectivity, some of the most important conclusions are as follows:

There is no ultimate objectivity–no reality that is not experience; there is no nothing; there is no unconsciousness.  All reality is experience.

However, for each finite mind there is a limited objectivity made up of that which is not experienced by that particular person but is experienced by other conscious beings.  For the infinite mind of God there is no objectivity, unless we call his limited objective that which he refuses to experience–e.g. being evil, and seeing those parts of physical reality that he has given up to be seen by his created finite beings.  (But he never stops knowing about the details, just as he never stops knowing about every detail of evil that goes on; he just doesn’t experience them personally.  But all reality is experienced by someone–Creator or creature–or it does not exist.

The difference between a conscious individual and an object is not a matter of consciousness or non-consciousness, but rather of being centered within an area of individual consciousness or not being centered in it.  A living body, although part of the conscious person and being close to the center of the one experiencing said body, is not the exact center and therefore can also be thought of as an object.  Only the abstract center (which has no size) can rightly be considered the conscious mind of the individual.  (It should not be a surprise that a centered mind–or the center of an individual’s experience of physical reality–has no physical size.  Only physical things have physical size; the more important, non-physical things, such as love and truth, do not have any physical size.)

Since there is no ultimate objectivity, there is no such backdrop against which to hold up subjective experience as being something inferior or less real than objective reality.  Therefore it is illogical to say that a subjective experience is only an illusion in someone’s mind, a copy of the real thing.  If what we have been thinking of as “the real thing” does not exist but is a totally ludicrous concept, then there can be no copy of it.  Hence, what we thought of as the copy turns out to be the real and “only thing,” and is, therefore, as solid as anyone could wish for.  We still know what the words solid and substantial mean and can apply them with complete honesty to those parts of our experience that we find, by experience, to be so.  A rock or a brick is hard.  The fact that they are experience does not make them any less hard or insubstantial.  What is totally insubstantial is the unreasonable concept of ultimate objectivity.

The infinite mind of God shares the experience of physical reality with his creatures.  The experiences of all, God and creatures together, fitting together perfectly, makes up a complete and unified physical reality which is the real thing as far as physical reality goes.  There is something other behind it, in God’s experience, but that is a process–which I call the physical-reality code, a process that causes physical reality to happen and to operate.  But it is a process and not the physical reality itself.

Therefore we can know with confidence that what we see around us is not a flimsy copy of the real thing elsewhere, but is, in fact, the real thing.

 

If I had known all this when I was having dinner with my family at my uncle and aunt’s place, I could have kept my equilibrium much better.

 

In this matter, now concluded, of subjectivity and objectivity, I have been referring a lot to the existence of God, particularly in this last chapter.  I have already shown solid evidence, in Chapters 7, 8, 9, and 10 to support my logical belief in this infinite mind, but it was always in regard to some other matter under discussion, such as cause and effect in Chapter 7, and subjectivity and objectivity in Chapters 8, 9, and 10.  In the following chapter I will take up, more directly, the very basic philosophical matter of God’s existence.

 

 

 

CHAPTER 11:

IS THERE A GOD?

PART A: MANY GODS AS OPPOSED TO ONE GOD

 

ALTHOUGH I have already established that logic requires our belief in an infinite mind (see Chapters 6 and 7), the matter of whether or not God exists is one of such extreme philosophical importance that I decided to carefully review those parts and add more thoughts.  In those earlier chapters I was using the arguments supporting belief in God as support for some other points; but now I will take the approach of discussing the matter of God as the main issue for this chapter.  It is, in fact, a subject on which every other philosophical exploration hinges.  Therefore it is important to come to grips with it in a logical and conclusive manner so that we can then use that conclusion as a foundation for further reasonings.

This chapter’s heading should really be, “Is there the God?” but that would sound confusing without an explanation, so I used the article, a, rather than the.  There are, after all, many gods and goddesses, if by a god we mean some mighty personage, real or imagined, who, by his great power and glory elicits worship from his followers.  That type of god is an interesting subject in itself, but this is not the kind of person I wish to think about at present.

However, since individuals have varying concepts of who one is talking about when one says, “I believe in God,” it becomes important to clarify the matter somewhat, for the sake of good communication, even before discussing it at any depth.  If we would ask a number of people out on the street to tell us who God is, those of them who believed in God, would, nevertheless, present us with a variety of concepts.  Some of their definitions would be bizarre to the rest of us, but I think that the bulk of the answers–at least in a society based on Judeo-Christian teaching, as in most of North America, Australia, and much of Europe–could be divided into two groups.

Group A would describe God as (1) the creator of the universe, (2) the source of all good, and (3) the greatest and most powerful being in the universe.

Group B would say that God is (1) the creator of the universe, (2) the source of all good, and (3) the infinite mind.

They would have somewhat different ways of expressing the above two concepts, but in general it would likely be much as I’ve stated it.  If we asked the question in India where many gods are worshipped, or in parts of the orient where ancestors are worshipped as gods, the answers would be so far away from the North American and European concepts, that in order to write this chapter directly to them (the worshippers of many gods and ancestors) I would need to spend much more time explaining that this chapter is not basically about supernatural superpowers, but about the infinite sole source of life and meaning conceived of as a person.  Such a concept of the one and only God in that sense is much more easy to communicate to North Americans–including North American Indians who, although they have believed in many sub-deities, also believe in the Great Spirit–than it is to people of those parts of the world where the concept of one God as the source of all life has not been taught over many centuries.

Before I once again challenge the materialist-atheist, asking him to take a closer and tightly logical look at his own beliefs regarding the source and meaning of life, and to compare that to the belief in the infinite God as that source, I find that I also have to deal with the matter of the many-gods as compared to the one God.  The question one might ask in this regard is:  “Is it just as logical to believe in many gods as the common wellspring of life as it is to believe in one God as that wellspring?”

When we approach the matter from a philosophical, reasoning viewpoint, the many-god concept falls short.

This is because the reasonable philosopher tries to make sense out of things; he wants to know what caused what, and why things happened in the first place, if there is a first place.  Confronted with any religion that presents a number of gods, some of them in control of this and some in control of that (god of the harvest, god of war, etc., etc.), he can find no meaningful source of life, only a bunch of already living supermen and superwomen, who’s origin and reason for being is not even challenged by said multi-god religion adherents.  Although it’s true that monotheists also don’t normally challenge the matter of the origin of the one Creator-God, the reason for not doing so is different than it is for the believers in many gods.

An examination of the many-gods concept–from the viewpoint of the worshipper rather than in any theoretical sense–are not intended by those who have invented them (in those cases where they are invented rather than real) to seriously address the matter of the source of life and reality.  These fictitious gods, are, in fact, presented as beings with numerous flaws, but they always are understood to have great power in comparison to the lesser power of human beings; the power of these gods, however, is generally conceived of as being limited.  They are, in fact, understood to be finite beings, and, as such, are not serious contenders for the position of Prime Cause.  This is because a cause is required to explain the existence for anything finite.  It is only infinity in its most basic form that has no need of a cause–but I’ll spend more time on that very important point later.

I have been talking about invented gods.  Are there any real gods worshipped by persons following multi-god religions?  By investigating some of these religions–and there are thousands in primitive parts of the world–we might well find evidence that the gods of a particular religion are real beings.  Why not?  How can we say that these personages don’t exist if we haven’t seriously checked out the matter?  But say we did scientifically check out one of these jungle religions and their gods that they sacrifice animals to and fear and worship.  And say we discovered that, yes, there really are a number of shadowy beings who occasionally appear to their worshippers and who have great powers to do wonders, like flinging large rocks through the air, or causing a man’s heart to stop beating, etc.  Would we be any closer to getting some sort of grip on the basic mystery of life?  We would have added something interesting and important to our knowledge of life, but, essentially, we would simply have learned that there are a group of kids on the block that we weren’t aware of before.

There is plenty of evidence that such personages exist on our planet, but I will not get into that evidence and the reasoning to go with it at this point, for it would distract us too much from our present pursuit; but we may return to the matter in a later chapter.  For now it is enough to suggest–and I don’t think anyone will challenge this–that, in general, these real gods (if you wish you can here add, “if they exist”) are thought of by their worshippers in much the same way as are the fictitious deities.  In fact, for an outsider not having delved into a particular religion, it would be difficult to notice any difference between the real gods and the fictitious.  There is a big difference, however:  The real ones have real power.  But that does not greatly apply to our problem.  The point is that whether invented or real, these super beings are just that: super beings.  Perhaps some have claimed to be infinite, although I doubt it.  In general these factually worshipped many-gods are conceived of as being powerful but finite beings.  Thus their finiteness disqualifies them from being the source of all life–the source that needs no source.

But since I’m asking the question, “Are many gods just as logical an explanation of the existence of reality as one God?”, the logical thing to do here is to stop being restricted by the facts of how multi-god religious practitioners think of their deities.  If the limited needs and insights of these worshippers prevents them from even considering the possibility of any of their gods being infinite, then we must become theoretical if we wish to progress toward a true solution.  We must consider the concept of many infinite gods–maybe even an infinite number of infinite gods–as the fountainhead of all existence, and compare this to the concept of one God as that fountainhead.

To do this, we must resort to mathematics.

First of all, I must again emphasize how exceedingly important the concept of infinity is in all philosophical problem solving.  Here is an important postulate:

 

The strange and wonderful state of human beings is to be aware of infinity without being able to comprehend it.

 

Mankind is quite fearful of the concept, because when applied to the concept of God and faced honestly, it becomes unbearable.  That is, the thought of facing the infinite God, who is–as we will see later–infinite in his purity, goodness, and power, combined with the fact that we ourselves are anything but pure and good, becomes unbearable.  Some people, however, have a deep need to reason and to discover, for some in more limited areas, and for some in a wider philosophical field.  What has “helped” mankind considerably to be less terrified is the clever ploy of mentally separating the concept of infinity from the concept of God, or an infinite consciousness.  That’s Rule One.  Rule Two is that even after you have separated the concept from the Person, think as little as possible about the concept as well–because by thinking too much about the concept, you might start making the connection between the concept and the source of the concept.  These two rules have worked rather well for mankind, but, of course, at the expense of honesty.  And self-deception never renders any real gain.

Of all the various types of men of study and scientific explorers, it is probably mathematicians who have had the greatest stress in dealing with the uncomfortable matter of infinity.  So long as they kept to simple arithmetic and didn’t think too deeply even about that, they could get away without having to deal with the concept of boundlessness.  But if they were serious about their math, they could not get away from dealing with this incomprehensible and frightening concept.  Armed with their determination to keep infinity separated from any thoughts of God, they bravely proceeded.  And so, in fact, the serious mathematicians of the world deal a whole lot with the concept of infinity.  They have to, for it keeps staring them in the face at almost every turn.  If you have any doubts about how much infinity is involved in math, check it out for yourself.  Take books out of the library–not school textbooks that have a responsibility for trying to keep the young from going mad–but the real thing: the books and articles in encyclopedias that delve into the nuts and bolts of what mathematics is all about, and how it continues to progress as brave men and women forge ahead making wonderful discoveries involving numbers, areas, shapes, and sizes–etc.  Mathematics is one of the basic tools of the modern magician; and magic (in the broad, clean sense of the word) is what it certainly is.  But it has been used for both good and evil.

I intend to reveal some of this logic-magic to show that life and the universe cannot spring from a common source of many-gods, and that, in fact, the concept of many infinite gods–or even an infinite number of infinite gods–is not to be found in the script of logic.  Once I have cleared that out of the way, I will go back to comparing belief in the one infinite mind of God as the source of all else, to the atheistic materialists mistaken belief in a mindless, objective reality supporting itself.

 

We’ll start out in our mathematical mental experiments by imagining a 500 piece picture puzzle.  The picture as a whole represents a conscious mind, and each piece of the puzzle that makes it up represents one item of knowledge and/or experience in the mind of that individual.  The theoretical person being represented is obviously finite, for there is a limited number to his knowledge and experience–namely 500 items.

We next remove one of the pieces of the puzzle and lay it aside.  The puzzle will now have 499 pieces in it, and there will be one piece separate from it.  Let’s remove more pieces and lay them down separately.  We’ll find that the number of pieces in the puzzle still remaining unified will be less in the same amount that we’ve removed from it.

The finite number of 500 puzzle pieces can be subtracted from, added to, divided by, and multiplied by any finite number (although for some such numbers the answer would be a negative number, as when subtracting 1000 from 500 and coming up with the answer of minus 500.)

But what happens when there are an infinite number of puzzle pieces?

Before we go into that I must here re-emphasize–particularly for non-mathematicians–that the idea of an infinite number is not a fairy tale or some silly concept that really has no place in the real world.  It is totally real.  It is impossible to reasonably deny that infinity exists.  For instance, to deny that numbers carry on getting larger endlessly, one would have to explain what comes after the highest finite number, and why you couldn’t add any more numbers to it.  There is no such explanation logically possible; therefore infinity is real.  And therefore we must deal with it or loose our credibility as logical creatures and seekers of truth.

The infinite number is made up of finite numbers.  Or, put another way, all finite numbers are a part of the infinite number.  If we we’re looking at a puzzle with an infinite number of pieces, we, being finite, would be able to see only an infinitely small part of it, yet that small part might be made up of hundreds, thousands, millions, or even billions of pieces.  In any case, we would see many individual pieces.  There would be nothing to stop us from removing one of those pieces and throwing it into a gunny sack.  Now we would have one piece (the lowest finite number) separate from the rest.  And what about the puzzle?  Would it have decreased by one number?

Here we have a perfect example of the possibility of two reasoning processes: one using a finite foundation, and the other using an infinite foundation.

By looking at the problem from a finite viewpoint, and ignoring the matter of infinity, we would come up with the answer that if we removed a piece from the puzzle, then, of course, there would be one less piece left in the puzzle.

By looking at the matter honestly, however–that is, not ignoring the fact of infinity–we have to ask:  How can an infinite number be made less by one?  If this were possible, it would mean that there was a dividing point between the infinite number and the next smallest one.  In other words, it would be a situation in which you would count up to a large finite number, after which the addition of one more number would make it infinite.  But what would that next-to-infinite number be?  A quintillion quintillions?  No, of course not; because if you add the next number to that, you get one quintillion quintillions and one–still a finite number.  No matter how large you made the finite number, adding the next number to it would not create an infinite number, only a finite number one unit larger than the preceding one.  Therefore, it is logical to conclude that an infinite number could not be made anything less than infinite by removing one unit from it–or, for that matter–any number of units.

Therefore, the answer to the question, “If we removed one piece from a puzzle with an infinite number of pieces, would the number of pieces left in the puzzle have decreased by one?” is, “No, it would not have decreased.”  This is a totally reasonable conclusion, and I invite you to re-read my reasoning above to try to find a flaw in it.  And as you do, remember:  Infinity is real.  There is no escape from that fact.

One of the main reasons why so many false conclusions are reached in philosophy, physics, and in various other kinds of attempts at problem solving, is that those trying to solve the problems keep working at them from finite viewpoints only, ignoring entirely, or purposely avoiding to a large extent, the fact of infinity.

All right, so the pieces of the remaining puzzle–after one or more pieces have been removed–remain infinite in number.  Then you try adding one more piece to that.  What do you get?  Infinity plus one?  Infinity plus one is an impossibility as a unit for the same basic reasons that infinity minus one doesn’t work.  Not as a unit.  But infinity as a unit and one in the gunny sack does work.

 

Postulate:  The infinite number cannot be subtracted from nor added to by any finite number.  Yet any finite number can be removed from it if conceived of as an entity separate from the infinite number.

 

Now, can the infinite number be divided or multiplied by a finite number?  Let’s try multiplying it first.  Infinity multiplied by 10 equals what?  Let’s put it another way:  If we multiply infinity by 10, is the answer a number ten times larger than infinity?  How can any number designation be larger than infinity?  Obviously, it can’t.  Infinity, when used as a designation of numbers, is the ultimate such designation.  It is illogical and futile to try to imagine a number larger than the designation that already states endlessness in numbering.  Therefore, infinity multiplied by 10, or any other finite number, equals infinity.  In other words, it can’t be done.  Infinity remains infinity, no matter what finite number you try to multiply it with.

The same applies to division, for the same basic reasons:  If we try to divide infinity by 10, will we have ten segments of infinity with each segment being one tenth of the former size?  No, because infinity has endless resources.  Where would you draw the separation lines on a puzzle with an infinite number of pieces in an attempt to separate it into ten parts?  Or, put another way, how many pieces would you select to make up a tenth of the whole?  Any finite number that you would choose to make up the tenth, no matter how high you went, would fall infinitesimally short of being the right number to represent a tenth of infinity.  Therefore, it is impossible to divide infinity by any finite number.  This deserves another postulate:

 

Postulate:  The infinite number cannot be multiplied or divided by any finite number.

 

Before we apply all this reasoning to the many-god scenario, we need to do another interesting part of this mental experiment with numbers.  The question now is, can the infinite number be added to, subtracted from, multiplied by, or divided by, another infinite number?

Amazingly, there can be a multitude of infinities, as when we imagine a stack of pole wood with infinite magnitudes: the poles lying side by side can be imagined to be lying that way, horizontally, into infinity to both sides from any starting point; at the same time, the layers of poles thus laid can be imagined to extend up and down into infinity, and each pole can be imagined to be of infinite length.  Many other such infinities could be discovered in that theoretical stack of wood, such as imaginary diagonal lines drawn though the stack in various directions.  In fact, this one theoretical stack of wood allows an infinite number of co-existing infinities.  At first glance this seems contradictory to the logic we have just been through, and I will go more deeply into this matter shortly, within this chapter, in order to clear that up.  I bring up the matter to this extent now, because I’m asking the question, “Can the infinite number be added to, subtracted from, multiplied by, or divided by, another infinite number?”  With the woodpile mental experiment we have at least established that there can be more than one infinity co-existing.  (It is the subject matter that makes this separation possible–not the numbers.)

But can one infinity grouping be added to another?  Let’s try it.  If you add the number of an infinitely-long row of tin cans to the number of an infinitely-high stack of tin cans, how many tin cans to you have?  Obviously, the answer is:  An infinite number of tin cans.

The same can be applied to subtraction and multiplication, but let’s briefly try these two to make sure.

If you subtract the number of an infinitely-long row of tin cans from the number of an infinitely-high stack of tin cans, how many tin cans do you have?  Answer:  An infinite number of tin cans.  This is, of course, because the one infinite grouping still remains.  However, if you subtract infinity by infinity, I assume the answer would be 0.

In the same way, if you multiply one infinite grouping with another infinite grouping, the number of the two groupings together is still infinity.  Infinity times infinity equals infinity.

And, finally, division.  It seems that this category is particularly interesting.  In normal, finite arithmetic, if you divide a number by itself, you always get the number 1 for an answer: 10 divided by 10 equals 1; 100 divided by 100 equals 1; 562 divided by 562 equals 1; and so on.  Does infinity divided by infinity also equal 1?  And, if so, what are the ramifications of that?

Imagine ten soup cans in a row.  Divide them by 10 and the answer is 1 can.  Divide them by 1 and the answer is 10.

Now again imagine that puzzle with an infinite number of pieces.  Divide the infinite number of pieces by the infinite number, and this should equal 1 puzzle piece.  Divide infinity by 1 and you get infinity.  This works out in the same way as dividing 10 by 10, and 10 by 1.  In other words, you can divide either a finite number or the infinite number by 1, and the answer will be the same as the number you started out with; and you can divide either a finite number or the infinite number by itself and the answer will be 1.

Therefore, it would appear that it is possible to divide infinity by infinity and, unlike our results with addition, subtraction, and multiplication, come up with a number other than infinity, namely 1.  Keep in mind however, that even though you can divide infinity by infinity and get 1 for an answer, you cannot subtract 1 from infinity and get anything other than infinity.

Before we can go back to solving our basic problem regarding the concept of many gods as the source of all life and reality, we need to look at another concept, a very interesting one.  It is the concept of sameness.

What does it mean to be the same as?

When we use the expression or similar ones in a normal practical sense, saying that such is the same as such, or this is the same as that, we don’t really mean exact sameness.  After all, if we say that one empty soup can is the same as another empty soup can of the same brand, we don’t really mean that they are totally identical.  We know that a close inspection, even without a magnifying glass or microscope, would reveal a great number of small differences.  The paper label might be torn just a bit on the edge of one can, and not torn on the other, and there might be tiny soil marks here and there on both, but not in the same places.  On a magnifying-glass level we would see, perhaps with special lighting or other preparation, that although both cans were covered with fingerprints, they could be from various people and of varying patterns from can to can.  On a microscopic level, we would be overwhelmed with differences, from can to can, in configuration of the strands of fibers or cells or crystals (as the case may be), making up both paper label and metal of the can.  What we have, then, is cans that are not really the same, but similar.  Yet it is correct to call them the same because we know what we mean by that when we say it, and so does the person we’re speaking to, more or less.

What, then, is total sameness?  To try to solve the problem, we must, as usual, become theoretical and use mental experiments.  Let’s imagine two empty soup cans that are totally the same.  Every molecule, every atom, every quark, and every smaller designation after that into infinity are the same in one as in the other.  Okay, but they’re still not the same.  Why not?  Because one is on a table, and the other is lying on its side on a shelf in a cupboard.  No unit of reality exists by itself.  Everything is related to everything else.  The one can is on a table; the table is in a room; the room is one of several in a house; the house is in a town, and so on.  One can is different from the other by its different relationship to the rest of the universe.  This is a true difference, for the can’s relationship with the rest of reality is built into its own reality just as solidly as the color of its label.

No finite thing exists by itself–it cannot, for matter, space, and time are co-dependent upon one another for existence.  Try taking any one of those three away, leaving only the other two, and you have nothing.  Even space cannot exist without matter, because space is a division between matter, and without matter there is nothing for space to divide.  And even if you had nothing but two seemingly identical-to-the-infinite-quark empty cans alone together in empty space, they would still not be the same; for each would have a spatial relationship with the other.  If we assume that that relationship was different for each can, then they are different and not the same.  If we come to the conclusion that each has the same relationship with the other, then we cannot, in fact, really imagine there to be two cans, for we have no way of distinguishing “one” from the “other.”  That scenario equals one can.

Well, can’t we correct the can problem somehow, so the relationship of each can is definitely the same with the rest of the universe?  To do that we would have to put the two cans in exactly the same place in space, matter, and time.  It is theoretically possible to do this, and physically as well–providing one could remove or annul the natural law that dictates that when two objects come into close proximity they repel one another.  With that out of the way we could slide the cans together, gradually occupying more and more of the same space, but as soon as they occupied the same space entirely (in a manner of speaking) they would no longer be two cans but one can.  Well, we can at least imagine the two cans to be in exactly the same place, can’t we?  No, because if you’re imagining it properly and accurately you’re no longer able to imagine two cans–only one.  In fact, there is nothing to distinguish the so-called two.  Not even theoretically.  Logically, there is only one can because everything is “the same about them.”  I put the last four words in quotation marks because in such a case there really is no them.

What this amounts to is that the concept of complete sameness is a fallacy.  There are only similar things; but nothing in the whole of infinite reality is exactly like anything else.

 

How does all this apply to the many-gods-as-the-source-of-all-life problem?  We’ve already eliminated finite gods of any number as the well-spring of life, but what about the concept of many infinite gods–even an infinite number of infinite gods?  Could that be used to explain the source and meaning of all life and reality?

 

To get a grip on this we need to go back to the puzzle concept.  We have already identified the 500 piece puzzle as representing a conscious being with 500 items of knowledge and experience in his mind.  Limiting him to 500 pieces (or any finite number) makes him finite.

We can imagine another such finite puzzle person; he also has a finite number of items in his mind that he’s aware of, not necessarily all at the same time.  Maybe he also has 500 of them, maybe 600, maybe 721 or five billion and thirty-four; it doesn’t matter–so long as it’s a finite number, he’s also a finite being.  There can be any number of finite conscious beings–even an infinite number of them–some having larger numbers of conscious bits in their minds, some smaller, so long as the number of units in each of these being’s minds is finite.  There is an important logical requirement, however.  None of the bits of conscious knowledge/experience can be exactly the same as any other bit, whether in one person’s mind or in another’s.  Nothing in all reality can be the same as anything else.

In the segment above on the concept of sameness, we worked this out with a soup can.  But a soup can is physical.  Does the same apply to the abstract?

The center of a ball is abstract.  It has no size.  It is not physical.  Can there be two centers exactly the same?  Centers of what?  Immediately we see where this is going.  As soon as we answer the question, “centers of what?” by saying, “centers of ball A, and ball B,” we find that those centers cannot be the same because their very existence as centers of these two particular balls relates the centers to the balls irrevocably and prevents them from being the same.  And if you don’t relate them to anything?  Then you have only a single concept: a center.  And there is only one such concept.  To say that there are two, or any other number of them, is patently ridiculous.

Or let’s try the abstract concept of love–that is, the caring about another person’s welfare.  That, as purely abstract, is a single concept.  If we relate it to particular situations, we find the same thing happening as with the center concept.  Person A loves Person B in a particular degree in a particular time and place.  As well, Person C loves Person D to a particular degree in a particular time, place, and situation.  The love that Person A has for Person B is not exactly the same as the love that Person C has for Person D.  It can’t be because love A-B is tied in to it’s own situation with Persons A and B, just as love C-D is distinctly tied in with those two persons.

Therefore we can see that the abstract, the non-physical, is also included in the finding that nothing in all of reality is exactly like anything else.

Therefore we can now return with confidence to our illustration of any number of picture puzzles representing finite conscious beings, each puzzle having a finite number of pieces, each piece representing an item of conscious knowledge, ability, and experience in that person’s mind.  And each of these pieces, as we have seen, must logically be different from every other piece in that person’s mind, as well from every piece in every other person’s mind.

But can there be more than one puzzle with an infinite number of pieces for each puzzle?  To answer this, we need to take another and deeper look, as I promised earlier, into the matter of co-existing groupings, each of which contain an infinite number of units.  This is, after all, a very interesting and ironic philosophical matter.

 

If we imagine a row of tin cans that is made up of an infinite number of cans, we find that although we are dealing with infinity here, there is also, ironically, a limitation involved.  The grouping is limited to tin cans.

Beside the tin cans is a row of bowling balls, infinite in length to either end.  The number of bowling balls in the row is unlimited, infinite.  But the grouping is limited to bowling balls.

Theoretically there can be any number of such groupings; in fact, there is no logic that will stop us from imagining an infinite number of such groupings.  And, as we’ve already seen, these groupings need not be limited to the physical but can also include the abstract or non-physical.

We must now recall two factors from earlier parts of this study.  In the chapters on consciousness, subjectivity, and objectivity, we found that the difference between subjectivity and objectivity is one of being centered or non-centered.  All reality is experience, but some is centered and some is not.  The other point to recall is that no two entities can be the same.  “Complete sameness” is a contradiction of terms.  You may remember how we mentally slid two identical tin cans together in space so that their sameness would be complete by having the same relations to the rest of the universe; but when they slid together into the same space there was no way of distinguishing one can from the other; and so there was, in fact, only one.

The most basic concept of reality we can think of (if we think of concepts rather than the person of God) is the concept of consciousness, also sometimes called sentience, or more simply, awareness of being.

Now, we have already been through the matters of cause and effect, and have found that the atheistic materialist’s stand cannot be supported by logic.  There must be will and motivation involved for anything to happen.  The only reasonable conclusion, when keeping the infinity factor in mind, is that there is a Prime Cause behind all effects; and since this Prime Cause must have motivation and will, this Prime Cause must necessarily be a conscious being–for it is impossible to imagine will and motivation in anything other than a conscious state.  The Conscious State that can qualify as the Prime Cause must, logically, be infinite, for otherwise a further cause would be needed.

Now our question at the beginning of this chapter was:  Can there be more than one prime cause?–more than one infinite god, with creation being a group effort of said infinite gods.  We now have worked our way through enough material so that if we pull it all together, we can come to a reasonable conclusion.

To be the infinite Prime Cause requires being a conscious being of infinite knowledge and power, and with the will and motivation to do things, resulting in the universe as we see it–even though we must, logically, see only a small part of it because of the limiting factor of our finite minds.

The point for this chapter is that this infinite consciousness–the Prime Cause–cannot be duplicated.  Why not?  Because duplication goes against the anti-sameness rule that we’ve already discovered.  We did that mental experiment with a soup can, and we found that there can be no two (or any number of) soup cans (or anything else) exactly alike.  Now we’re humbly looking at the very core of existence–Infinite Consciousness.  If you try to imagine two such beings, you find that they must necessarily be identical; but, if they are, then they’re not two but one.

Why do I say that if there were two they must necessarily be identical?  Because in order to be the Prime Cause, this person must be complete.  Not just complete in any ordinary sense, but in the sense of being the Prime Cause.  This is true completeness.  After all, this person we’re considering here is not one who has been brought about by anything or anyone else.  He is self-existent.  For this he must be complete, for anything missing would bring about a dependence that would not allow him to be self-existent.

There is not room here for variations of character and abilities, the way there is among finite creatures who have been caused into existence.  The Prime Cause must have all the unique positive characteristics that make up the Prime Cause, with all of these characteristics being in infinite supply.  Any shortcoming anywhere, as a negative characteristic (which is the same as saying that something would be missing) would cause the whole concept of a self-existent Prime Cause to crumble.  And if a mental attempt is made to duplicate such completeness–to imagine two or three such beings–it cannot be done for they automatically coalesce into one.  There can be no such thing as total sameness.

Take, for instance, the matter of infinite knowledge.  The true Prime Cause, being infinite, has infinite knowledge.  This means that he knows an infinite number of facts and sees them from every infinite angle and viewpoint.  If a second god that we might try to imagine has the same infinite number of facts in his mind and sees them from an infinite number of angles, how do we differentiate the two.

If the true Prime Cause, because of being infinite, is everywhere, as has often been expressed in spiritual doctrine, then the second one we try to imagine is also everywhere–which means that they are allegedly occupying the same infinite place, so how can we distinguish one from the other.  Or if we think of God as being purely spiritual and non-physical, thus not occupying space, it still comes out the same way:  We cannot logically imagine this infinitely complete spiritual person as having an infinitely complete spiritual duplicate.  If we try, they automatically and reasonably coalesce into one.

The upshot of it all is that the idea of more than one prime cause is ridiculous, for the uniqueness of the Prime Cause concept allows for only one infinite, self-supporting entity who has all the qualifications–self imposed–needed to be infinitely self supporting.  The infinite greatness and completeness of this Being allows no room for anyone else like him.  Any mental attempt at the concept of duplicating him fails because the second theoretical being must be just like the first, which means that he melds into the first, in our logical minds, leaving us to realize that there is only one.  I know that I’m repeating myself; but the point is important enough to justify that.

 

Having dealt with the matter of One Infinite God as opposed to the concept of many infinite gods, I will now, in the following chapter, summarize points made in earlier chapters and in this one, to logically answer the question:  Is there a God?

We will be striving for a truer and greater concept of who God is–to the extent that he allows us to know–and a truer, greater understanding of the things he has brought about–in which great category we humans are included.

 

 

 

CHAPTER 12:

IS THERE A GOD?

PART B: THE BASIC QUESTION ANSWERED LOGICALLY

 

IN THIS very important chapter, I will bring back to your attention some of the reasoning from earlier chapters, now focusing it all on one point:  Does God exist?  This question will be answered logically and reasonably, and will not allow for any reasonable alternative.  Therefore, if an atheist reads this and is able to follow my reasoning in the sense of knowing what I’m saying, he will have no reasonable choice but to accept my conclusion.  He will, however, be free to make a different choice–that of rejecting the conclusion–but only at the expense of honesty.  To not agree with me, he will have to deceive himself.  That is how clear cut the matter is according to logic.

This whole thing can be broken up into two areas of thought which work together to bring about the clear answer.  These areas are:  (1) The basic matter of consciousness, and (2) the matter of how free will relates to cause and effect.

First, the matter of consciousness:  Sentience, or consciousness, or awareness of being, is life.  There is nothing that we can imagine that is separate from consciousness.  If you don’t believe me, try it.  Try thinking about some place or event where there is no consciousness, no one to be aware of it–some distant unknown planet uninhabited even by bacteria.  There is a lagoon or pond of water, and rain is falling, causing the pond to have a pebbled look.  The gray-green sky has great, thick clouds moving about, and now and then a many-forked bolt of greenish lightning cuts through the wet atmosphere, as a dull, soggy-sounding thunder vibrates the air.

You already know what I’m going to say:  Where do you get all this visual stuff on this planet if there’s no one there to see anything?!  The same applies to the thunder that you imagined:  How do you imagine the existence of a sound that can’t be heard?!  The same would apply to any other of your senses that you involved in an imaginary way.  Even if you left your senses out of it, you’d still be in the same fix.  How do you imagine something when anything you try is always wiped out by the bottom line?   The bottom line, self imposed, is that there is no consciousness present in this so-called scenario.  How do you go about reasonably believing in something that can have no sense of belief attached to it?  If you bring belief into the equation, you bring consciousness; for believing is a conscious experience.  There is no belief on this so-called planet; if you, not being “there,” believe in even the possibility of its existence (or any such unconscious “place”) you automatically create it within your own consciousness.  But then it’s no longer where you want it to be–out where no one is experiencing it, and so it is not what you want it to be.

The long and short of it is that it’s impossible to logically, reasonably believe in something that you cannot imagine as an experience, no matter how hard you try.

Another way of putting it:  Consciousness cannot fathom the concept of unconsciousness.  When you think you are doing that (and materialist-atheists have often thought they were), you are always fooling yourself; because anything that you imagine as an unconscious situation is patently not really being conceived by you in that way.  It drives one to the point of saying that in order to truly imagine and believe in something that no one is conscious of would require the believer to be totally devoid of consciousness himself, so that he could grasp it.  But, of course, that’s ridiculous as well, because even those who have fooled themselves into believing in an unconscious reality would have to admit that a totally unconscious (not aware of existing; not aware of anything) mind could not be said to grasp anything, or even to be a mind.

The false concept of a place, time, or event of which no one is conscious, is tied to another false concept: the concept of nothingness.  Nothingness is a legitimate word when used to describe the lack of particulars, as when one says that there’s nothing left in the cupboard.  But when thought of in its absolute sense, it doesn’t fly.  A cupboard can be empty of food and cobwebs, but it can’t be absolutely empty.  Try imagining it.  This may not be the ultimate test, but try imagining a cupboard with no matter in it, and also with no space in it.

The idea of absolute nothingness is just another–although more basic–version of the planet-and-pond-that-no-one-is-aware-of scenario I gave you a moment ago.  For the same reasons that it is impossible to imagine a time, place, or event that no one is conscious of, it is also impossible to reasonably conceive of absolute nothingness.  It just can’t be done because the idea of absolute nothingness is totally off the board as something we can think or imagine about as a reality; which is the same as saying that it is impossible for a conscious mind to reasonably believe in absolute nothingness–even in a limited way, as in the interior of some magical cupboard.  Every time we try to believe in it, honestly, we find we don’t.

Another facet of the same nonentity is the false concept of absolute unconsciousness (as opposed to the particular place where we were trying to imagine there was no consciousness).  Going back to absolute nothingness for a moment, it could be thought of (falsely) as the total lack of physical, mental, spiritual something.  The false concept of absolute unconsciousness is the same thing, but seen from the more knowledgeable viewpoint of the person who has already come to understand that consciousness is basic to reality; in fact, is reality.

Only materialistic atheists believe in the concept of absolute unconsciousness.  The same pathetic professors who seem to have no trouble imagining the non-imaginable gases floating around in space before there was any consciousness, can also imagine (they think) a theoretical situation in which absolutely nothing exists, ever existed, or ever will exist, and so, of course, no consciousness either.  In fact, this concept is held, probably by many atheistic philosophers, as being the philosophical ideal.  In other words, in their viewpoint the deep philosophical problems they deal with could best be solved if there was nothing at all; and so they can’t quite resign themselves to the pesky notion–brought about by actual experience–that there is something.

The opposite to absolute nothingness is absolute somethingness; and put in another way: the opposite to  absolute unconsciousness is absolute consciousness.  This is a very deep, basic, and awesome matter.

The two concepts–absolute consciousness and absolute unconsciousness–are totally opposed to one another; but not as good and evil are opposed.  Good and evil both exist with good being basic and evil being a product (but more on that later); but absolute consciousness and absolute unconsciousness are opposed in such a basic manner that only one can exist.  It’s either one or the other.  We know which one exists and which one doesn’t by the fact of our own awareness of being.  In the impossible theoretical realm of absolute unconsciousness, no one is aware of anything.  That obviously is not the way things are, for each of us experiences consciousness.

If absolute unconsciousness cannot and does not exist, then let’s consider the opposite: absolute consciousness–in other words, GOD.

Surely I can expect that atheists, often being of high intelligence, having read thus far, must realize that (1)  absolute nothingness/absolute unconsciousness is not the reality that we find ourselves in.  (2)  Conversely, reality does involve consciousness.  The atheist, however, may draw the line after accepting limited consciousness; if he believed in absolute consciousness he would no longer be an atheist, for absolute consciousness is obviously another name for God.

 

What we need to do next, then, is have a close look at whether or not limited consciousness, to which concept the atheist subscribes, can stand up to the test of reasoning and logic.  If it can, then the atheist is on solid ground–at least as solid as human reasoning can make anything; but if it can’t stand up, then the reasonable ground will be whipped out from under the atheist’s feet and he will no longer be able to make out that he’s a legitimate professor type of person.

In Chapter 7 we looked at the matter of cause and effect, and we will now re-visit the concepts expressed there and bring them to focus directly on the concluding theological matter of this chapter.  I will keep it simple and to the point.  And entirely reasonable.

Each one of us lives in the middle of many long branching strings of cause and effect.  Everything that happens to us and around us has been caused by something; and everything that happens to us and around us causes many further things to happen.

You open a window.  That action becomes one of many causes for sunlight to enter the room.  (Another cause is the sun shining in the sky.)  Sunlight entering the room causes the temperature in the room to rise.  The rising temperature in the room causes the mercury in an indoor thermometer to rise.  The sight of the mercury rising is part of the cause that brings about the removal of a jacket by an occupant of the room.  The hanging of the jacket over a chair prevents further dust from settling on that chair.  As a result of that, certain bacteria and viruses in the air settle on the jacket instead of on the chair.  We could, of course, go on with this indefinitely, with some kid getting infected with a cold because he pulled at the jacket with his mouth as he was pretending to be a dog to make his friend laugh; then, later, he spreads the cold virus to his friend who spreads it to his family, which results in his dad missing a day of work, which results in his going to the corner store to buy some cold medicine, which results in his seeing some raffle tickets for sale, so he buys one and wins $3,000,000, which results in the whole family moving into a posh apartment in New York, which results in….  Okay, enough already.

Going in the other direction:  The action that “started it all” didn’t really start it all.  The person who opened the window was strongly influenced to do so by the fact that he heard a familiar voice outside and wanted to see if it really was the girl he had a crush on.  This would not have happened however, if he had not met her a week before and was impressed by her looks and unusual knowledge of mechanics.

But cause-and-effect strings are very branchy, with several causes bringing about an effect, and each effect then being a cause and causing a variety of further effects.  For instance, the opening of the window would not only have brought sunlight into the room, but also a slight movement of air–air that would set into motion a cleverly made mobile ornament and indoor wind chime hanging from the ceiling.  And each of these would branch out into further effects.

You may have noticed that as well as direct causes–as in: when this happens, that has to follow–there were also causes that depended on decisions made by conscious beings with free wills.  (As I pointed out once before, the term free will involves a redundancy; for will, by its very nature, is free.  And for those who have a problem with that, we’ll go into it again, two paragraphs later.)  The person who opened the window would not have had to open it; he could have, for instance, decided that getting caught ogling the object of his desire through a window might cause embarrassment and work against his plans.  And the dad with a cold could have decided he didn’t want to take a chance on spending money on a raffle ticket when the chances of winning were so slim.

My main point in this regard is that the will is a unique ingredient in the equation, putting a different spin on things than if all things happened in unending chains of this-causes-that-causes-this-causes that.  Every time a willful decision is made by a conscious creature who possesses a free will (there may well be conscious creatures without a will, but those can’t ever make a willful decision), it changes the course of events in a way different from the things that are simply in motion and causing results through the natural laws that are in place.

However, there are philosophers–and some of them physicists–who don’t believe that will is free.  It sounds like a contradiction to say that will isn’t free, but in the way that they mean it, its not a contradiction.  They’re simply saying that there is nothing about will that makes it any freer than anything else, and that, in fact, there is nothing free happening at all in anything that you could point a finger at.  The way this scenario goes is that at the time of the big bang, everything that would ever happen after that was already predetermined by the initial directions taken by the exploding particles.  There could be no chance involved, they say, because, according to that handy guide, “The Laws of Nature” that must have been around there somewhere too, everything that happens has to have a one-only-possible immediate effect in any particular direction, but can effect many directions–which sort of thing we see happening around us all the time.  Each of these new effects now cause precise only-thing-that-can happen effects in any number of new directions.  In other words, there is no possibility of anything other happening than what will happen.  And, they say, if a computer large enough to digest what had happened, say in the first three seconds after the big bang, from that point on this computer could accurately calculate what would be happening all over the cosmos 100 billion years later, or any further time later, including to the present time and on into the distant future.

But they mean only the outright physical things, don’t they?–those things controlled by the “Laws of Nature.”  No, because at least one version of this concept has as one of its components the atheistic materialism of believing that consciousness came out of the unconsciousness.  They believe that consciousness is a chemical, electrical product of the physical brain.  If this was true, they’d be right.  Because, as their scenario goes, the cause and effect strings thundering through space had no choice but to go where they were all headed, and some of that included getting the right materials together that would be the start of a simple form of life and that would carry on the cause-and-effect chains in that particular direction, so that eventually there was caused a simple brain that began to produce consciousness.  This brain, they say, at least at some point in this line of development through cause and effect, would have electrical, chemical working parts that would give the consciousness-product a sense of decision making.  It might seem like a free choice to the consciousness of the brain but, in actuality, they say, this seeming decision-making process is simply another extension of the whole uncontrollable, unchangeable, cause-and-effect program that started with the big bang.  In other words, so-called decisions are really forced on each conscious being, whether he’s a slimy thing crawling out of the ocean for the first time and deciding whether to turn right or left or go straight ahead, or whether he’s a business tycoon in an office making big-money decisions, or a romantically involved young woman deciding whether she should say yes or no to a marriage proposal.  She, like the other two, they say, have no choice.  She thinks she has a choice, but something is always there to trigger that choice–no, to actually cause it.

So, then, according to this concept just explored, there is no difference between results caused by will and results controlled by laws of nature.  In this scenario it’s all laws of nature, hard and fast, and philosophers who believe this could say that the concept of free-will is a non-concept, or false concept–as I have said that the idea of absolute nothingness is a false concept.

But they need, and we along with them, to take a closer look at this massive, no-will, everything predetermined scenario.  The philosophers who believe in it have been overlooking some things.

First of all, they have not allowed themselves to think about the matters of consciousness and unconsciousness, subjectivity and objectivity, as we have in Chapters 7, 8, 9, and 10, and in the beginning of this present chapter.  As a result they have been able to allow themselves to think that consciousness can be produced from out of a world of absolute unconsciousness.  We have already seen why it is totally impossible for a reasonable person to believe in absolute unconsciousness.  If you need to, please review that material.

If absolute unconsciousness is impossible, and if absolute nothingness is also impossible (and I have shown clearly that both are impossible) then it does not follow that consciousness can develop from an unconscious state.

The opposite, however, is the only reasonable choice we have.  This is the idea that everything in existence comes out of consciousness.  This we can believe, because we have already seen that consciousness is life.  There can be nothing imagined or believed outside of consciousness.

Another devastating weakness in the no-will, everything predetermined, scenario is the lack of any explanation for the initial directions taken by all the particles exploding outward at the start of the big bang.  If one was to say it was a matter of chance, this would be contrary to the whole thing since chance has no part in the rest of it, and is, apparently, considered a non-entity along with free will.  But if they should say that there was chance involved, but only at the beginning, one would at once want to know what tragedy had happened to chance to destroy it completely so early in the game?  If it was a workable entity at the beginning, why couldn’t or wouldn’t it continue to be a factor?

If neither chance nor free will can be involved, then what did determine the direction that the exploding particles took?

Well, here’s a further theory.  I’ve never heard of it in this particular relationship, but to try to help out with this ultimately unworkable no-will ideal, I’ll make this contribution, and then show why that doesn’t work either.

What if the original particles in the big bang were heading in all directions?–instead of being limited to particular but many directions?  All directions would be an infinite number of directions.  This, then, would be a solid mass of expanding material, and, as such, would not really be mass as we know it, which has many spaces in it–e.g., between the nucleus and the electrons of an atom, etc.  At what point, because of expanding, would it break up into having spaces between particles?  And, wherever that point was, why would the relationship between spaces and matter then be arranged in a particular way.  Chance is not allowed in this scenario of everything being cause and effect.  So we’re back where we started.  Since will is also not allowed, the whole idea that a big enough computer could predict everything falls short of truth–because there is no reasonable explanation for the particular directions taken at the beginning by the particles.

This should help us to see that things do not happen only as a result of the “laws of nature” manipulating endless cause and effect chains.  There has to be something more–some other force to account for why things go in particular directions.

There is a school of thought that puts its money on chance.  Elaborate experiments have been done.  The actions of churning waters and vapors have been observed, and claims have been made that these observations seem to show that not all of these motions can be explained as being directly caused in the normal cause-and-effect way that can have only one result.  But the experimenters seem to still believe that the whole thing–even this seemingly new-found element of uncontrolled chance–is somehow a physical matter that simply requires a slight rewriting of the laws of physics.  This involves contradictory, unreasonable thinking on their part.  If an action is not controlled by the laws of physics, then how can they think of it as a part of the laws of physics?  Chance, in the sense of true randomness, is not really chance or randomness unless it’s removed from the cause-and-effect laws of physics.

Therefore chance as a physical concept does not make any sense.  If there really is such a thing as randomness, it has nothing to do with the cause-and-effect workings of the physical world.

Now we arrive at the other concept to be considered:  Will.  If free will is a reality, then it too, must be free of the hard and fast laws of cause and effect in the physical world; otherwise it is anything but free.

The concept of free will can account for things that nothing else can.  For instance, if, after or during the big bang, God exerted his free will and directed the particles to take the particular courses that they did, then we would have an explanation for those directions.  Otherwise, as we have already seen, we don’t.

I will now close this chapter with the most straightforward and easy to understand logic to prove–as far as mankind’s limited logic can prove anything–that God, the Infinite Mind, does exist.  To not agree with this following reasoning, one would have to be totally stubborn, willfully blind, and quite determined not to know truth.  This final part of the chapter will draw on earlier parts of the chapter, and of previous chapters as well, for support.  It may well be necessary for the reader to go back and re-read some of this previous material in order to keep the lines of reasoning solid.  This is an ongoing rule for every subject dealt with in this book.  The chapter headings are a guide that can help the reader to review any part of any subject he needs to.

When those who believe in God are challenged in regard to that belief, probably the answer from believers most often forthcoming is:  “Look at creation.  Look at the Earth and all that’s in it.  Look at the sun and the moon and stars and the galaxies.  How could it be here if someone didn’t make it?”

And many times the atheist or agnostic answers this by asking, “But, then, who made God?”

Believer in God:  “No one made God; he always was.”

Unbeliever:  “If you say the universe has to be made by someone, then I can just as well say that God had to be made by someone; and if you say God didn’t have to be made by anyone but was always in existence, then I can just as well say that the universe didn’t have to be made by anyone but always was in existence.”

Most of the time the believer in God is then more or less stumped, at least on a reasonable level.  Unfortunately, many believers in God have not taken the time to learn how to think.  They believe only through faith, and, again unfortunately, are not able to give a true explanation of what faith is, so that their stand–during an encounter such as the one presented above–altogether falls far short of enlightening anyone.  If they had only been able to think a little further on the matter, they would not have been stuck and could have helped the agnostic or atheist to know that according to sound reasoning it is very plain that God exists.  It goes like this:

First of all, there is a very big essential difference between the concept of a Godless universe that was always in existence and the concept of the infinite God who was always in existence.  The essential difference is the twin matter of will and motivation.

We have already looked into the matter of how the atheist has a limited number of choices in explaining the fact of reality:  (1) He can stop being an atheist and believe that an Infinite Mind brought the universe into being by the exercise of his will and who continues to support and evolve that universe.  (2) He can go on being an atheist and believe that there is some prime cause other than God that has brought the universe into being and continues to support it.  (3) He can go on being an atheist and believe that there is no prime cause, but only infinitely-long chains of cause and effect–infinitely long both into the past and into the future.

Only the first of the above three alternatives involves consciousness and will.

In the second alternative–that of believing in a prime cause other than God, that prime cause cannot be conscious or have a will, because if it did, that would make “it” God; and the atheist can’t allow that.

The third alternative carries a contradiction within itself, for it is the belief that there is no prime cause, only infinitely long chains of cause and effect; but these chains of cause and effect of necessity take on the role of prime cause as a unit.  In other words, the whole endless universe must then be thought of as being its own prime cause.  And this third alternative, like the second, also does not allow for any basic creative conscience and will.  Consciousness for the atheist is something thought of as resulting from unconscious objects reacting with other unconscious objects (a totally ludicrous scenario as shown earlier in this chapter), and as such, these resulting conscious beings (whether man or beast) play a part, along with the unconscious objects in the proposed ongoing chains of cause and effect; but, being individual specks, none of the conscious beings can be credited with willing this proposed infinite universe into existence and keeping it that way.  Nor can the whole lot of conscious specks taken together be logically thought of as being the creative force that wills creation into existence and keeps it in existence.  This is because each one of them is entirely dependent for its own existence on something that came before.  And the atheist must always believe that the somethings that came before at some point were unconscious objects; because if he ever reverses it and says that unconscious objects result from consciousness, he is in peril of becoming a believer in God–well, first perhaps in many gods (all these finite specks of consciousness that he sees in existence), and, if he allows himself to reason correctly, he will soon see that the many-god scenario doesn’t work, pushing him into believing in the one Infinite Mind.  If you’re not quite clear on why the many-god concept doesn’t work, please check back to Chapter 11 which deals in detail with that matter.  My main point here is that for this second alternative open to the atheist there also is no consciousness nor will to which one can look as the prime cause for explaining the existence of the universe.

And the third alternative offers only non-conscious, non-will, endless chains of cause and effect as being its own prime cause.  This is not a reasonable proposition, because (1) it does not allow any explanation for why the chains of cause and effect are moving in the directions that they are rather than in some other directions in which we know they are not moving; as I’ve already pointed out: why did the particles bursting free from the singularity take the directions they did rather than other directions which they did not take?  Also, this third alternative again makes the ludicrous error of supposing that consciousness–the basis of all reality–could come out of unconsciousness, a non-entity.

Here are some basic, axiomatic facts.  Don’t just accept them–think about them honestly and carefully:

Things don’t just happen without a cause.  Ultimately there can be no other cause than conscious will.  Everything that happens needs some sort of driving force to make it happen.  Otherwise, why should it happen?  Anything short of will as a prime mover falls flat, because without will every cause always needs a further cause to support it.  Will, on the other hand, is basically causeless.  Think about it:  If will exists, it has to be free–otherwise it is not what we think of as will, but just part of the chains of cause and effect.  Will can be influenced, but if it is really will, it cannot be forced by any previous cause.  If it could be, it would not be will; it would simply be the effect of a cause.  Free will, therefore, is the only concept that can originate anything.  If someone refuses to accept the reality of free will, he must then believe that there is nothing that can originate anything.  Everything is then cause-and-effect pure and simple–and impossible; because if nothing can be truly originated, then the whole set-up of ongoing cause-and-effect chains as a whole has no origin and no reason for being in existence.

The Infinite Mind, on the contrary, has consciousness, free will, and motivation in infinite amounts–with which to support himself and with which to originate things and effect infinite changes.

Case closed–except for the following review, listing the main points that render it impossible for a reasonable person to not believe in God once he has understandingly read this book up to this point.

 

Reiterating the Concept of God — What I mean by the word, God, is the Infinite Mind.  I’m not just referring to some great being, bigger and more powerful than all of us.  Rather, I’m talking about the Absolute Consciousness, an awareness of infinite proportions so that he needs no foundation or cause to support him.  His absolute infinity leaves no room for a cause.  In other words, being absolute infinity, he needs no cause but is his own infinite cause.  Everything is infinite about him, including his motivation and his will.  That is why he supports himself without any deeper cause.  He is infinitely deep in his awareness and will.

Such a concept is frightening, particularly to any being who recognizes that he has not always been in alignment with the will of this Infinite Mind.  And that is why mankind has been hiding from the Infinite Mind behind a forest of self deception.  That is why I feel I must get ahead of myself a bit here by informing those readers who don’t already know it that we’re very fortunate that this Infinite Mind has as his central self-imposed nature the concept of infinite caring for the welfare of others, even when they’re quite out of line with his will.  I’ll show you later that this is true; I say it now only so that you won’t feel it necessary to go on hiding from the truth of God’s infinity.  Hopefully this will allow you to go on peeking, cautiously, through spaces among the trees where a little light is shining in on you.  I repeat:  By the word, God, I mean the concept of an Infinite Consciousness, who, because of that absolute infinity, is self supporting.

 

Review Point 1 — One of the greatest weaknesses in the stand of materialistic atheists–that is, the professors, the thinkers, the teachers of that kind–is their mysterious non-questioning reliance on the laws of nature.  The weakness is not in their belief in natural laws but in their illogical and seemingly utter disregard toward the matter of the origin of those laws.  None of this kind of scientific thinker ever seems to be concerned with this.  They all confidently talk and teach about the big bang and gasses floating around in space, and about those gasses being drawn together by the law of gravity, and about light behaving in certain ways–in fact, about everything in the physical universe consistently behaving in certain ways.  They claim to be searching for and finding answers to how everything came to be and how it goes on running, but never seem to want to come face to face with the question:  What is the origin of the laws of nature?  This question is just as legitimate as any question about the origin of the Earth or the moon or the universe; in fact, we could not ever have a satisfactory answer to the matter of the origin of the universe without being able to answer the question about the origin of the natural physical laws, which are a part of the universe.  Why do physical things behave the way they do in time and in space?  Those who believe in God (the great Infinite Mind) will, of course, say that God established the laws of nature.  Things behave as they do because he wills them to do so.

Those who do not believe in God as the prime cause have thus far made no serious attempt to deal with this very basic philosophical matter–and for good reason:  They’re afraid that delving into it will bring them face to face with an answer they don’t want.  When you look for the origin of laws, you should expect to find a lawgiver.  This kind of lawgiver, one dictating the movements and limitations and interactions of everything from quarks to galaxies, sounds like a lawgiver that could well be labeled with the word, God.  Therefore they subconsciously, and also consciously, shy away from asking questions about the origin of the laws of nature.

 

Review Point 2 — For the purposes of this review, I will put together the matters of (1) objectivity and subjectivity, (2) unconsciousness and consciousness, (3) and absolute nothingness and absolute somethingness, under this one heading (Review-Point 2); although in earlier parts of the book these concepts are explored more separately and perhaps in greater detail.  They are all closely connected in regard to the matter of the truth about the reality of God.

Absolute objectivity, absolute unconsciousness, and absolute nothingness are all false concepts that, when seriously examined, are not only false but the acme of ridiculousness.

Absolute objectivity, the first of these three false concepts, asks us to believe in a situation in which things are happening entirely outside of anyone’s experience, including God’s.  What they are asking, in short, is an impossibility.  Any time anyone tries to believe in such a situation, he is forced of necessity to think of it as an experience, for conscious creatures can imagine nothing other than as being of someone’s experience.  Materialists regularly and effortlessly think they can conceive of a place and a happening that no one has, is, or will experience; but each time they do it, they deceive themselves.  For, rather obviously, what they are imagining as that objective place and happening, is an imagined experience.  And an imagined experience is entirely contrary to the (false, unimaginable) concept of absolute objectivity.

This ridiculous notion under which they labor is, then, the foundation of their materialistic, Godless, philosophy; for they believe the farce that the whole universe originated within that absolute objectivity that they themselves cannot conceive of honestly no matter how hard they try.

The believers in absolute unconsciousness, the second of the above three false concepts, ask us to accept that it is possible for the consciousness (awareness, sentience) of an individual to be suddenly changed to a state of total unconsciousness, as in the case of a man or any creature dying.  They also ask us to believe that at the birth of a child or lower animal–or, more likely, at some point during the gestation of the mother–unconsciousness becomes consciousness in the fetus.  Or, put a different way, where there was nothing but absolute unconsciousness there is, suddenly, consciousness.

Let’s take a closer, sensible look at this.  What is this concept called unconsciousness?  We know, in a sense, what consciousness is because we continuously experience it; but the idea that there could be anything other than consciousness created by death, or a lack of consciousness before birth is a totally unworkable concept.  It may seem sensible to many if only a surface look is taken, but, in fact, it is a negative philosophy based on the atheistic-materialist’s inadequate outlook and can be shown to fall short of clear reasoning.  And this can be shown in a simple and straightforward manner:  As a conscious being it is impossible for you to believe in a state of total, absolute unconsciousness–if you face the matter honestly.  Again I say, try it.  Try imagining a state of unconsciousness.  What do you come up with?  A blackness?  An emptiness?  But both of those are conscious concepts.  Black is a color experienced as the absence of light.  Emptiness is a concept experienced as a place in which there is a lack of particulars.  You cannot imagine an empty box without space in it, for that would destroy the whole concept of what a box is; and you cannot imagine an empty universe without destroying the concept of what a universe is; and you cannot imagine a concept without a universe, without space–because if you do (or say you do) imagine that, you are then imagining a concept.  And if you are imagining a concept, you are not imagining absolute unconsciousness, for, obviously, it requires consciousness on your part in order for you to imagine a concept.

Exactly the same thing is true of the idea of absolute nothingness.  No matter how hard you try to see it as a concept, you always see something else.  And how can you say that you believe in something that you have never been aware of?  It’s worse than saying, “I believe in a pink, three-legged, six-headed animal called a plinkydink even though I’ve never seen one, never heard of one and never will, and no one else in all creation has ever seen one or heard of one and never will.”  Believing in absolute nothingness is infinitely more unreasonable than that, for it is like saying, “I believe in absolute nothingness, even though I cannot imagine it and therefore have never become aware of its existence.”  How can you believe in something you have never become aware of?  You think you have thought of it; you think, perhaps, that we are discussing it in this book; but you have not and we are not.  What we are really discussing is the fact that there are people saying confusing contradictory things and calling that absolute nothingness.  The best we can come up with is that when I am talking about what I call the non-entity, the false concept of absolute nothingness, I am talking about the edge of infinite reality; and, of course, infinity has no edge.  That is how ludicrous the whole concept is.  It is so ludicrous one cannot even discuss it properly.

And it is on this kind of a foundation that the atheist-materialist builds his philosophy.

 

Review Point 3 — This is the matter of cause and effect, and of the need for will and motivation to be present in order for anything to be in existence and to be happening.  Not only must there be will and motivation (both concepts unimaginable outside of consciousness), but those concepts must be of absolute infinite proportions; otherwise they would need a cause.

The atheistic philosophers have a point when they say that in their concept of a Godless universe the ideal situation would be if “there was nothing at all.”  They realize that effects need causes, and, apart from an infinite-mind prime cause, nothing could happen.

 Although we cannot explain God from a normal cause-and-effect standpoint, it is infinitely more logical to believe in a basic Power who consciously supports his own existence by his own will, and makes things by the power of will, and changes things by the power of will, than it is to believe in a non-conscious something that supports itself without any power of will, and makes things without any power of will, and changes things without any power of will.  A something without will would have no driving force to set anything in motion.

Without consciousness there can obviously be no will.  Will is an element of consciousness.  So if will is required to drive anything, the prime cause must be a conscious being.  Therefore we have a logical right to conclude that without a conscious mind willing things to happen there can be no universe–no anything.

In other words, the atheist’s self-creating material universe has no consciousness and therefore no will with which to motivate its support of itself or to effect changes; whereas, conversely, God has an infinite conscious mind and has a will of infinite magnitude with which to support his own existence, and with which to create, and with which to effect changes within the universe he has created.

 

 

CHAPTER 13:

AT THE ROOT OF LOGIC–DIRECT ACCESS TO TRUTH (A)

 

HAVING SHOWN that the great Infinite Mind, God, is a reality according to logic and sound reasoning, yet remembering that logic indicates that through limited human reasoning we can never be totally sure of anything, we go back to the question:  Is there some way of knowing anything with complete certainty.  If there is, it must, of necessity, be something other than reasoning.

Still, not to abandon reasoning, which has served us so well in the preceding chapters, let’s look at this matter logically and reasonably.  We won’t be able to reach a perfectly sure conclusion that way, but it should be very worthwhile all the same.

Since we already know, as far as we can know anything through reasoning, that God, the Infinite Mind, exists, we can use this as a good starting point.  An important question that comes to mind is:  Does God want us to know anything with one-hundred percent sureness, or does he want us to believe only to the extent that our limited reasoning allows?

The answer to this depends on what kind of a person God is.  In particular, it depends on whether he cares for our welfare, and how much or how little he cares for our welfare.  For instance, if he wants us to be very happy, then he must not want us to worry about what horrendous things might happen to us in the future.  A being who was not overly concerned about our peace of mind would not think it important that we have a solid knowledge regarding our future welfare.

In the same way, if God wants us to love him back–if he wants this very much–then he will not want us to be somewhat in doubt about (1) his existence, and (2) about the sincerity of his love for us and his desire for our love for him.

Although it doesn’t prove anything, it is noteworthy that people in general have never been satisfied with reasoning alone to guide them.  For instance, when a man and woman are deeply in love they are convinced that their trust in each other’s love is something beyond reasoning.  Each “just knows” that the other loves him/her with deep and real love.  The situation can change, of course, but I’m talking about such a time as when their love for one another is, in fact, real–and, hopefully, it will remain that way; but while it is, in fact, real, both members of the love relationship are usually convinced beyond any doubt that their deep love is mutual.  Unromantic, skeptical agnostics would go so far as to accept that this is how the lovers feel, but they would say that the pair are mistaken; they cannot really know with complete certainty how the other half of the duo feels.

Yet when something is so universal it makes one wonder whether the universality of the matter indicates reality.  Perhaps this is somewhat in the manner of the suggestion that the fact that people get hungry indicates the reality of the existence of food.  A great universal longing for knowing the absolute truth of some matters might indicate the reality of the ability to actually know such absolute truth.

Carrying on with logic and reasoning however–which are usually helpful but never certain in themselves–let’s go back to the matter of what this great Infinite Mind of God has revealed about his own character.  At this point let’s look at that much of it that is available to us through reasoning.  If we find that love is high on his agenda, it will become much easier to believe, logically, that he would want us to have some way of being totally sure about his love for us and about the love of others for us as well.

Later we’ll examine, with careful reasoning, a particular philosophy that has the support of reason in all its facets.  At present we’ll take a more direct and focused look at some of the philosophical basics that could throw some light on this question of whether this Infinite Mind who supports his existence and that of the worlds he has made with his own motivation and will, is a loving person.

In our earlier thinking about whether or not God is a reality, we got into the matter of how his existence is the only logical explanation of the universe we experience, including the awareness of ourselves.  We found that the only way anything could exist was as an experience and that for this experienced reality to be possible there had to be a Prime Cause that was so absolutely infinite that he needed no further cause to support himself.  And, we found, this prime cause had to be a conscious being, because without motivation and will there can be no force to create or change anything, and, by their very nature, motivation and will are necessarily conscious characteristics.  This God, then, must not be lacking in anything, for with any lack the whole concept would crumble.  To be God, he must be complete in his infinity.

But what does complete mean?  There have been some blasphemous philosophers who claim–quite illogically–that God must be both good and evil if he’s to be complete.  Probably the most well known of this ilk was the world renowned psychologist, Carl Gustav Jung, who, incredibly, taught that God has a nasty temper that he has a hard time to keep under control.  He subscribed to the unworkable notion that in order for God to be complete he had to be both good and evil.

This is why it’s unworkable:

We have seen enough of good and evil in this world to know that they are opposites.  Although we could disagree on particulars, the world in general agrees, in general, that on the side of good are love and kindness and truth, and on the side of evil are hatred and apathy and falsehood.  Since the concepts that make up good are totally contrary to the concepts that make up evil, it is rather strange, to say the least, to put the two together and call that completion.

A more thoughtful look at the situation will easily reveal that completeness has to lie in one or the other–good or evil–not in the two together.  In fact, when we imagine a God and his universe of complete good, and then add one little pinch of evil at any point, we find that what the evil does is to detract from the good.  There is subtraction involved; and subtraction is not the road to completeness.

As an example, let’s imagine an eating establishment with a good number of customers in it enjoying their evening meal.  Then let’s imagine that they are all perfect, loving, truth-seeking individuals.  The proprietor and staff of this paradise café are also like that–perfect in every way as finite beings.  The food is perfect too.  So is the decor and the comfort of the place.  Perfection all the way around.  As it stands, there is a completeness involved here–a completeness of the positive; a completeness of the desirable.

Now an evil man walks into the place, kicks over the nearest table, scoops up a handful of food off the floor and throws it into the face of one of the beautiful perfect women there.  Then he kicks her man in the head, breaking his jaw.

The positive, constructive completeness of the place is no longer there.  A lot of good is still present, but now there is also some evil.  There is still a good cook in the kitchen preparing good food (that’s positive and constructive), but now there is also someone throwing that food onto the floor, which is negative and destructive and is working contrary to the positive completeness we had before the evil man entered the place.  Almost all the people in the room are still loving one another, caring about one another’s welfare, but now there is one person present who is attempting to make the others in the room unhappy.  This is detracting from the positive completeness we had there before the rotten egg arrived.

The whole idea that an absolute completeness including both good and evil makes up the rightful complete fabric of the universe or of God himself, is a false concept.  The obvious truth is that evil subtracts from the completeness of good, within any framework where good and evil exist.

One would think that it could also be said that good subtracts from the completeness of evil, where the two are present; but to see why this is not possible, we first have to look further at the natures of good and of evil.

What I want to express here is really not all that complicated.  Good is constructive; evil is destructive.  The good cook is preparing good food that people need and will be happy to get; the evil man who comes into the cafe destroys the food by throwing it around.  A good person does things to make others happy; a bad person does things to make others miserable.  A good person builds wonderful and beautiful things, on spiritual, mental, and physical levels; an evil person tears down the beautiful things leaving stinking rubbish in his wake.  The good person is good to himself as well as to others; the evil person knows, deep inside, that he’s destroying himself along with others but does it anyhow.  Good builds up; evil tears down.  The two cannot rightly be considered a completeness together for they are opposites and detract from one another.  Although they detract from one another, evil has no completeness of its own; so nothing can subtract from such a non-existent completeness.  Evil is simply a lack of good in any particular situation.  But good is the complete entity that stands by itself.

It is relatively easy to imagine a perfect God and a perfect universe–a universe filled with love and kindness and sharing and honesty.  But it is not so easy to imagine the exact opposite.  That is because the two concepts are not equal entities sitting side by side with equal importance or prestige, as some envision them to be.

When you imagine a good, totally constructive universe, you see just that: a growing, beautiful situation where everyone cares about everyone else and everyone goes forward together in learning, discovering, building, experiencing ever greater things.  But when you try to imagine the opposite, a totally negative destructive situation, what do you see?  If evil is complete in this scenario then everything has already been destroyed.  If you start out at an earlier point and let it all go to hell from there on, you’re not really imagining a perfectly evil universe; you’re imagining a partly good universe with evil in the process of destroying it.

A completely good universe, already perfect, can still grow in size and even in spiritual, mental magnitude, for in infinity there is infinite room for growth; but a completely evil universe is impossible; for if it were complete in its evil it would at that point be self-destroyed and would no longer be a real concept; it would simply be non-existent.  Conversely, if there still was anything left in existence, that would show that the universe was not all evil, that there was still some good left to be destroyed.

After considering these thoughts, it should become plain to the reader that the kind of completion or totality needed by the infinite God to support himself as the prime cause is not made up of the contradictory elements of good and evil.  If God had any evil in his nature this would mean that he was in a self-destructive mode–hardly the way the Prime Cause could hope to support himself.

The only logical alternative here is that true completeness is complete goodness.  We could also call it complete positiveness or complete constructiveness.  This is the only kind of completeness that can be ascribed to God, for without it he would be self destructive and could not be the self-supporting Prime Cause that our logic demands in order to account for the existence of our experience of reality.

We have now established that God is completely good, completely constructive, completely positive, and, among an infinite number of other good things, completely loving.  Using that as a base, we can now move on to see where this logically leads us in regard to the matter of whether or not there is a way for finite beings like us to ever know any truth with 100 percent sureness.

CHAPTER 14:

AT THE ROOT OF LOGIC—

DIRECT ACCESS TO TRUTH (B)

 

IF GOD, having or being perfect love, is infinite in all his qualities–which he must be in order to be absolutely infinite and thus to support himself as reality without any cause other than himself–then it stands to reason that such infinite love would not be satisfied to have his creatures be worried about the reality of that love; it stands to reason that he would, in fact, want them to be sure that he loves each one with an infinite, undying love.  Otherwise they would always be afraid that at some time in the future God might turn against them and bring great suffering upon them.  God could, of course, make his creatures in such a way that they were unable to imagine that anything bad might happen to them.  Maybe he has made some like that; but human beings in our present situation here on Earth don’t fit into that category.  We know by experience and example that humans can imagine horrendous things.  We have actually experienced horrendous things and we can imagine any amount of horrendous things that we have never experienced; for we are sensitive, imaginative beings, some more so than others, but all to some degree.

 

The only logical solution that presents itself is that God has made us–and who knows how many other beings–in such a way that, under the proper circumstances, we cannot help but believe what is true when God presents us with a truth; and we cannot help but recognize falsehood, again, under certain circumstances, when he points out to us that something is false.  I realize this sounds wild on the surface, for don’t we all struggle with doubts about this and that?  The explanation lies in what I mean by under certain circumstances.

Since we’re finite beings with the ability to reason, and since not all things and situations we come in contact with are of ultimate importance to us, there is no good reason why we should need to believe every part of all that with complete conviction.  For instance, God, being God, knows whether or not you’ll be on time for some particular appointment.  You yourself can reason out that if you do everything right, giving yourself enough time to get ready and making sure you have enough gas in your car, you’ll likely get there in time.  But you can’t be sure; you could get a flat tire, or an infinite number of other unforeseen occurrences could make you be late.  The point is, there is usually no pressing good reason why God should give you a certainty that you will be on time, or late, for that matter.  In fact, it’s better if we don’t know the certain outcome of many things.  As finite beings living in time, we have the wonderful excitement of being challenged to do our best in all kinds of situations while not knowing for certain what the outcome will be.  This is adventure; this is the way our lives are supposed to be as finite beings and we should be grateful for it.

But, as I’ve already pointed out, there are some things we need to know with one-hundred percent sureness if we are to have the peace of mind that a loving God wants us to have.  To have peace of mind we need to know with certainty that God exists and that he loves us with an infinite, unfaltering love.

The “certain circumstances,” then, under which we can know something with complete certainty, includes that God wants us to know some particular thing with complete certainty.

The other requirement is that the finite individual whom God wants to enlighten in this particular way is open to receiving the message.  Why?  Why doesn’t God simply force us to believe him?  Because that would be contrary to the whole wonderful ironic matter of love.  God has set up some basics, and one of them is that goodness cannot be forced on anyone.  We cannot be made to love; for if Person A “makes” Person B love Person C, then it is not really Person B doing the loving; it is Person A.

God wants a loving relationship with each of his finite beings, and included in that loving relationship is the matter of believing in God, believing in his steadfast love for us, and believing everything he chooses to let us know about.  So, because it’s all about love, he doesn’t want to force us into believing something he tells us if we don’t really want to hear from him.  So he leaves us a way out.  But there’s a cost.

Since the only way we can know something with complete certainty is for God to actually impinge it upon our minds in such a way that we have no choice but to believe it (otherwise the lack of information in our finite minds about the subject would logically prevent such perfect belief), doesn’t this contradict what I just said in the preceding paragraph?  How can he leave us a way out that wouldn’t destroy the only way we can know a truth–by actually being forced into believing it?  In the following way:

The choice that he gives us is the choice to be honest or dishonest.  In other words, we are given the choice of caring about truth or not caring about truth.  If one decides, with his own free will, that he really wants to know the truth, then he opens himself up to a situation, from that point on imposed on him by God, that he cannot help but believe what God wants him to believe.  And yet, ironically, this is not forced on him.  This is because he freely decided to submit himself to this forcing of truth upon him.

And if he decides, rather, that he prefers to deceive himself so that he doesn’t have to face up to some truth that he doesn’t like, then God will not apply the certain knowledge of truth to him.

It is important to understand that the concept of truth is not something to be treated like a water tap–something to be turned on and off according to how one feels about particular truths.  Truth, at its roots, is God himself.  When you love God you love his character–you love everything about him.  You love him for being Infinite Love.  You love him for being Infinite Truth.  You love him for being Infinite Power.  The concepts of love and truth and power that radiate out from him become the concepts you live by.

So, then, when I say that in order to willingly throw the switch that connects you to God in an undeniable manner in regard to knowing something is true, and when I say that in order to have that happen one needs to care about truth, I’m not talking only about any particular truth that happens to be up for discussion at the time.  That wouldn’t do it, because that would be the pick-and-choose type of caring about truth–“I’ll pick this truth because it suits me, but I’ll reject that other truth because I don’t like it,” and if God is Truth then obviously that kind of sloppy, dishonest dealing with truth does not appeal to him.

Therefore, the kind of caring about truth that opens the door to knowing truth is not basically a caring about particular truths.

It is, rather, the caring about truth as an abstract concept.

There are particulars and there are abstracts.  For instance, you sit on a particular chair.  But when you say, “A chair is a wonderful invention,” you are using the word chair in its abstract sense.  In that sense it not only includes–in a sense–all chairs that exist, that have ever existed, and that will ever exist, but means the very idea of what a chair is without it being any particular chair.  The reason I said, just above: “In a sense” is because, more accurately, all the chairs in existence, past, present, and future, are not really chair in the abstract sense; they are still, taken all together, a particular; for they are the particular of all those chairs as a unit.  But the truly abstract sense of the word chair is not attached to any kind of particular individual chair or grouping; it is simply the idea of what a chair is.

Many people, if asked if they care about truth, will say they do; and then, if pressed, will go on to prove that they do by stating perhaps several particular truths that they care about; hence, according to them, they care about truth.  This does not, however, in any way prove that they really care about truth as an abstract concept, for if they are investigated further it may be found that they are willfully rejecting just as many particular truths as they are accepting.  Someone who uses self deception to reject the particular truths he doesn’t like, and only accepts and believes the ones he likes, is not a truth-loving person, even though the truths he accepts may be very good ones.

The way to open up to receiving a knowledge of those truths that God wants us to know in that sure way is to care about truth as an abstract concept.  Having that kind of love of truth is a willful decision that each free-willed individual can make or can also choose not to make.  If we do make it, and since it is a willful decision, it means that God can then force us–in a sense–to believe what he wants us to believe, ironically without having forced us; because the decision to be forced to believe truth was a free willful decision on our part.  It’s very clever, really; but, then, God, being infinite, is infinitely clever.

Are there any reasonable alternatives to this idea I’m presenting about how God can bring us into the state of having total piece of mind about a number of very important issues?  No.

The first unreasonable alternative and why it doesn’t work:  If God forced us to believe what is true without first checking to see if we really wanted to know the truth, he would be making robots out of us, and our “caring about truth” would not really be ours but his.  God wants us to be the kind of people who, by the free will he has given us, care about truth–which is really a part of loving him.

The second unreasonable alternative and why it doesn’t work:  If God just reasoned with us, and in that way won us over to believing what he was trying to get through to us, he could, of course, be very convincing.  But since our minds are finite, no matter how much evidence he brought to us, and no matter how well we reasoned under his guidance, we would still logically have to ask: “But what if there’s something out there in the infinity of God’s knowledge that would change my conclusion if I knew about it?”  Reasonably, apart from believing God according to the right concept I’ve already presented, one would have to ask that question in order to be totally honest.  And so this alternative of being reasoned by God into total believing doesn’t work either.

In fact, God does reason with us.  He expects us to use the ability to reason that he’s given us.  And with this reasoning we can get to believe many things–but never with one-hundred percent of sureness.

I cannot come up with any other alternative to the one that works.  The one that works is the one in which God allows us to use our free will to decide whether of not we want to know truth.  If we willingly decide that we want to know truth for the sake of truth, then God is not forcing us into anything, even though we will then, from the basis of our free decision, have no choice but to believe what God impinges upon us through a direct connection that leaves no room for honest doubt.

That last part about room for doubt requires a bit of further elaboration since doubt seems so easy to come by even by those who have willfully chosen to follow God.

I’ll get to that in a moment, but first a final look at the matter of the basis of the reasoning I’ve just brought you through.  Oh, yes, we’re still reasoning, but we have reasoned, and are reasoning, ourselves into a recognition that reasoning is not enough.  And, by making a wholehearted attempt to care about the concept of truth, are finding that there is a direct way of receiving it under the circumstances of (1) it being important to God and to us that we know something with complete certainty, and (2) that we are willing to make the decision to love truth as an abstract concept.  The final look, which I promised near the top of this paragraph, is simply to ask again the important question:  “Do we have a right to believe that God loves us enough to want to impinge some truths on us so that we can believe them totally in order to give us peace of mind?”

Well, if he does, then certainly that fact would be one of the things he’d want to pass on to us through the direct contact we’ve been discussing, so that there could be no doubt.  So, then, the way to find that out for certain is the same way as to find out anything else for certain–by caring about truth.  However, since logic and reasoning are still with us as gifts from God, we can hold up the situation again to the limited but useful light of logic.

And doing that is quit simple.  Actually, we already did that earlier on in this chapter and the conclusion is supported by everything we reasoned out about God in this book up to this point.  But a brief review as it applies here will help because it will give the basis for the reasoning in this chapter.

Earlier, when I was talking about good and evil, I showed clearly that these two concepts are not part and parcel of one another as some philosophers mistakenly believe.  If you don’t yet see the absurdity of that stand, please go back and review that part in the previous chapter, Chapter 13.  But to review that part briefly, I’ll just say that only good can stand as a completeness by itself; evil cannot.  We can imagine a thriving, growing, completely good universe, but, since evil is destructive, it is impossible to imagine a completely evil universe.  If there’s anything at all left of it, it’s not yet totally evil.  Also, and in connection with that, for God to be able to support himself as the prime cause, needing no other cause, he does not have even a speck of self-destructive evil in his nature.  As the Infinite God, he must be complete in the only kind of completeness that really is completeness–goodness.  Evil is a subtraction from the completeness of goodness, and in God there is no such subtraction, for all his qualities are of infinite proportions.

This, then, brings us to the basis of the reasoning we’ve come through in this chapter, which, if put into the form of a question, is the one I asked earlier:  “Do we have a right to believe that God loves us enough to want to impinge some truths on us so that we can believe them totally in order to give us peace of mind?”  The answer, even just on a totally reasonable level, is a solid yes.

Since God is the Infinite Mind who supports his own existence by the fact of his infinity, and since that infinity, to be self supporting, must be the completeness of infinite goodness (no subtraction by evil) it means that his love–his caring for us–is also infinite.  It is not reasonable to think that this God of infinite love would want anything less for his creatures than their own perfect peace of mind in regard to their eternal welfare.

I’ll add only one more thing before closing this chapter and also closing Part One of this book:  The matter of being directed personally by God into truth is a matter of degree.  To whatever extent we want to know the truth, to that same extent we will know it–when God is imparting that truth to us.  Conversely, to whatever degree we don’t care about truth, to that extent we’ll have doubts about the truth God is impinging upon us.  However, having some doubt will not negate the value of whatever amount of truth-caring belief we do have.  The trick, then, is to practice caring about truth on a daily basis, reinforcing it at every turn, recognizing when you’re trying to deceive yourself, consciously re-aligning yourself with truth again and again, thus making progress in clearing the channel between yourself and the Infinite Mind who designed you and the channel.

 

*     *     *

In an early part of this book I used the device of a perfectly logical boy, who, through his growing up years, continued to be so concerned about truth that he would not let tradition, or his own desires or fears, or anything else, detour him from his determination to reason things out logically.  He did find, however, that, as demonstrated in Chapter 4, logical reasoning itself comes to the conclusion that logical reasoning by a finite being can never arrive at a totally conclusive answer about anything; this is because a finite being can only be aware of a finite amount of information, thus always leaving the possibility open that somewhere out there in the infinite reaches of reality, facts exist that, if known, would change the conclusion.  However, there seemed to be an exception to that rule: it seemed that he could be perfectly sure about the fact of his own consciousness.  In his heart he could never really doubt the obvious fact of his own existence as an experiencing entity.  But, in regard to other things, there always seemed to be a totally logical sense of doubt.

Thus, our kid felt a sense of disappointment; but he also realized that he could not logically throw out the possibility that there might be some other method of gaining truth.  For, as has just been pointed out in a general way, if he concluded totally that logical reasoning was the only way he could gain truth, then he would be going against one particular truth that he had already logically discovered: namely that through logical reason you cannot ever know anything for certain.  Also, he cannot honestly conclude that logical reasoning is the only way he can know truth because he knows by experience that he exists, and that belief has nothing to do with logic and reasoning.

For a long time this left our kid with nothing more than a hope that, although reason and logic were serving him well if not giving him total satisfaction, he might some day somehow discover that there was some other way of becoming the possessor of truth–some way that would allow him to know at least some things with total certainty.

It seemed to him that there were some things he would very much like to know with total certainty if it was possible.  For instance, he would like to know without any doubt that his own future welfare would not be horrendous but, rather, pleasant.  He would also have liked to know that about the people around him, all of whom he had decided to love, although, unlike Will Rogers, he knew distinctly that he didn’t like them all.

We can imagine the excitement he felt when, through logical reasoning, he came to the conclusion I have led the honest reader to–the watershed conclusion that God, the Infinite Mind, is a fact.  Oh, yes, logically, our kid could still have some doubt about it because of the fact of his own finite mind possibly being short of some information; but he could be just as sure that God existed as he could be that the Earth is a sphere–more sure, in fact, because the matter about God is more basic and so has less complications to be dealt with.

This belief in God left him with many feelings.  For one thing, he now wanted more than ever to be completely sure.  But he had been battling with feelings all his life, keeping his eyes steadfastly on the matter of truth, so he began to feel a new turmoil within himself as something about his new belief in God was in conflict with his constant effort to not give in to his feelings.  With great determination, then, he went on, fighting the mysterious new feeling, along with old ones, and he asked himself what the next step was in his search for the meanings of life.

Now, it is important to point out here–as I did very near the beginning of this book–that what kind of a culture we’re brought up in has a powerful bearing on what we believe and also how we feel about things.  I have placed this fictitious philosopher-youth in the western free world which, of course, has been more influenced by the Christian religion than by any other kind of religion or philosophy.  If I had imagined him to be in some country or backwoods area where no one had ever heard of Christianity, I would have had to imagine his feelings at this point in his philosophical quest to be much different than the way I can imagine them to be in western-world society.

For someone born into a non-Christian, non-Judaic area, where there was not even a religion associated with Christianity in any way (Christianity springs out of Judaism, and Islam partly springs out of the other two, but mostly out of Mohammed), the feelings that would be associated with reaching a logical conclusion that the Infinite God exists, would be different than in a country where belief in God had been taught for centuries.

In either situation, the one who had discovered the existence of God would have a natural honest sense of fear.  But in an Islamic area, that fear would be somewhat softened by all the things that the philosopher in question would have been hearing all his life about what the religious people of that area believed God to be like, namely that he was just and willing to forgive the sins of someone who was willing to change his life by obeying his commands.

In the same way a non-religious Jewish philosopher, having logically arrived at the conclusion that God exists, would have his natural fear softened somewhat by having heard the religious Jews say over and over again that the God of Jacob and Moses is a God of mercy, and that those who obey his laws will be rewarded.

And, if the philosopher who discovered the logical truth of the existence of God was the product of a part of the world where Christianity had been the main religion for a couple of centuries or longer, his fear might be softened even more; for in the back of his mind would be all that he had heard preached and had read (and, as a seeker of truth he would surely have studied the area’s main religion) about how God came into this world as Jesus and made the amazing sacrifice of suffering and dying for the sins of the whole world; and about how he was willing to forgive anyone who came to him in humble repentance and accepted this mind-blowing gift of having God himself take the punishment for sin in the sinner’s place.

So, our young philosopher, having been born into such an environment, comes to the logical realization of the fact of an Infinite Mind having infinite power to do exactly as he pleases with all of his creatures.  And, in spite of himself, he finds that his logical terror in the face of such an almighty God is not as great as though he had been born into a place where nothing about God’s mercy had ever been taught.  Now, mind you, our kid is not by any means buying at this point what the religious people are saying about God; but he’s human and his feelings are influenced.  Although this softening of the fear makes it a bit easier for him to go on, it is by no means easy.  It is not easy for him to go on being honest.  This concept that he is, figuratively, in the palm of the hand of someone so great that he has no borders, is frightening beyond words.

Let me point out here that if you’re saying to yourself, “What’s so frightening about that?” then you either haven’t looked squarely at the matter of infinity, or you haven’t followed my reasoning in regard to the clear-cut way logical reasoning proves the existence of this great Infinite Mind; and so, not believing in God, and not even taking an honest look at what it would be like if you did believe in this Infinite Mind, you therefore feel no fear, or very little.  But this is based on self-induced ignorance.

There are other possibilities of why someone might think fear in this scenario is not necessary.  For instance, one might be mentally ill.  We have all heard the cliche dialogue, usually in a movie, I think, in which a soldier approaching the front lines of battle says, “Captain … I’m … I’m scared!”  And the captain looks at him for a moment and then says, “Look, I’m scared too.  And if you can find anyone here who isn’t scared, look out for him, because he’s crazy.”

Now the captain could well have made an overstatement, because there are some people who have overcome many fears, such as the fear of dying, without being crazy.  But in the case of someone believing even a little in the entity that has all power, that is, infinite (no-boundaries) power, and doesn’t greatly fear him, is either a total unreasoning lunatic, or his belief in the possibility of such a being is so small that he can push that fear aside and bury it.  And after that he no longer believes in God, so why should he fear him?

Our philosopher kid is not of this stripe.  He’s a sincere seeker of truth, and so he faces up to the fact that believing in an Infinite Mind is, logically and basically, the most frightening thought that could come into his mind.  This is true for several reasons:  (1)  The very idea of infinity is overwhelming, since, being finite we can’t hope to comprehend it, (2) since infinity is, at its roots, a conscious being, God, it follows that this infinite conscious being has infinite power; there is no one or anything higher or greater than him and he can and does do whatever he wants to, (3) our kid feels deeply–whether reasonably or not–that he has done things in his life, with his own free will, that have not been in line with the will of this infinite mind.  And he also feels deeply–again, struggling with whether the feeling is based on truth–that the Infinite Mind of God is infinite in purity and goodness, and that, therefore, his own failure to live up to this perfect standard of goodness is ugly beyond words to describe it.  Why?  Because the fact of God’s infinity means that our kid is not only guilty, but guilty to an infinite degree, for it is God he has sinned against.  His mind reels at the grossness of the situation.  Unlike those around him who, when confronted by this concept, react by quickly putting it out of their minds and replacing it with something commonplace, he would rather suffer this almost unbearable suffering of the mind.  Why?  Because he has determined long ago to be honest–to not kid himself about anything.

And so it is these strong feelings that the young philosopher must now deal with.  He wants to know if these feelings are just like any other, not necessarily true; or if there is something special about them.

Although he already knows that logic proves that by logic we can never be totally sure of anything, his self training in reasoning inclines him to delve into reasoning in order to learn the answer to these two things:  Is the Infinite Mind of God totally pure?–and, if so, has he (the kid) been out of line with that purity?  If the answers to both questions are yes, then our kid knows that he himself is rotten to an infinite degree.

By this time in his life he has already studied what have been called the “great religions” of the world–Islam, Hinduism, Voodoo, Satanism, a raft of many-god religions, Christianity, Judaism, as well as many cults and branches of Christianity.  Having arrived at belief in the Infinite God through logical thinking, he is able to discard any religion that worships more than one god, and concentrates, after that, on monotheistic religions along with his ongoing philosophical thinking.

He finds that all of these varied religions, except one, fall short on a particular point–a very depressing particular point.  They admit to sin (meaning disobedience to God) in all members of the human race, more or less, and then proclaim some method of rectifying the situation–always through some sort of self-improvement program.  In other words, it’s like God through his priests of various kinds, is saying: “You have been bad.  Now, stop being bad and be good, and, if I decide that you’re good enough, then you can be happy together with me forever.”

This so-called message from God makes our logical kid strongly suspect that the various so-called spokesmen of God from whom the message is issuing, are not talking about the same God whom our kid has discovered through logic.  This is not the God that frightens our kid so much.  It makes our kid strongly suspect that these spokesmen, although they fear God as a very great person–the greatest in the universe–do not see him as the Infinite Mind.  They do not see him as Infinite Purity.  They do not see him as being the Absolute Infinity.

For if they did, they would not think that this Infinitely Pure and Good God could ever put up with a rotten piece of human rubbish that had of his own free will decided to be contrary to the unblemished purity of the Infinite God, and then, after being scared of what the results might be, decided to reform and do somewhat better.

Only somewhat better is all that is reasonably possible, for experience shows that once evil has set in, it is practically impossible to root it out of the subconscious mind.  God, then, would be in the position of having to live with this spiritually diseased scum for the rest of eternity, or destroy the beasts.  According to the spokesmen of these “great world religions” God is willing to forgive such puke-buckets (and the kid logically includes himself as being one of them) simply because they decide, under threat of punishment, to improve their lives.  In other words, to upgrade from being big puke buckets to being little puke buckets.

Clearly, thinks the kid, these spokesmen don’t see God as Infinite Purity.  The kid leans strongly toward seeing God that way, as total goodness and purity, but is honest with himself in admitting that he has not yet entirely proven that by logic–as far as logic can prove anything.

There is one religion, the kid has found, that puts an entirely different spin on the whole matter–different from all the other religions.  He has studied this common religion before, but one night as his pursuit of the subject brings him to a Christian evangelistic meeting, he has what has been called an epiphany experience.

He finds that early on in the sermon his own logical reasoning is supported in the following regard:  The preacher proclaims that if God is completely holy he will never accept sinners into his close presence, but will destroy them.

He then goes on to say that God is completely holy (meaning completely good in every way).  He goes on to tell about how God has found the only way acceptable to himself to save individual members of the human race–to save them from their own spiritually filthy state of being and to make them completely pure and fit to spend eternity with himself.

The kid has heard it before–the story of Jesus; God, in Christ, suffering and dying in our place.  Being logical, the kid has never totally rejected this and never totally accepted it.  It has been just something to keep adding to his philosophical gristmill and to keep looking at from time to time from various angles to see if it fits any better today than it did yesterday.

But tonight is different.  Something that he can’t explain is happening to him.  He feels a deep sense of peace come over him … along with a deep somberness and foreboding.  When he thinks about the infinite purity of God, he feels peace; but suddenly he knows with a frightful clarity that if he rejects this Infinite God of peace and truth he will condemn himself to something that could figuratively be called a pit … a pit so black he cannot stand looking into it, even though he doesn’t know exactly what it is.  Then he realizes what it is:  It is the prospect of being cast out forever away from the truth and presence of the Infinite God.

But his logical mind has not forsaken him.  A part of it yells out:  “How do you know any of this feeling is true?”

Another part of his logical mind answers back:  “Logic can never prove anything completely.  Logic itself admits to that.  I’ve been looking for a way to know some things for certain.  I can feel deep inside of me that this is it.  It’s not the preacher; he’s just an ordinary man talking in an ordinary tone of voice, fortunately not like some of those bellowing TV evangelists, although they say much the same things, and I’ve heard this all before … but something is happening here tonight because I came in here honestly looking for truth.  I believe that God himself is speaking to me–not with words I can hear with my ears, but with something much more direct … some kind of direct touch deep inside.  Yes, this is God!”

But then the part of the kid’s logical mind that’s taking the other side of the argument comes back to say, “All right, so you think it’s God talking to you.  But how do you know it’s God?–this wordless feeling.  Couldn’t it just be a feeling like any other?”

The kid thinks about it.  As he moves a bit toward the position of doubting that the beautiful, brilliant guidance within himself is God, he feels himself sliding toward that terrible blackness.  He knows he must make up his mind.  It is the most terrible and wonderful moment of his life.

Logic and reasoning cannot tell him what to do, for although a part of his logical mind is telling him that he could be being deluded by feelings, another part of his logical mind is telling him just as clearly that logic cannot logically prove that this inner guidance is not from God.  Logic cannot help him, but neither is it opposing him.  But the thought of denying this bright and powerful new guidance in his soul is pure horror….  On second thought, it’s not really new–just more powerful tonight.  And then, as he slides still closer to the abyss of dark horror–the horror being the realization that if he denies that this inner guidance is the voice of God he will lose God forever–he knows that it is, in fact, God communicating with him.

And he says in his mind, “God, help me!  I believe in you!  I know this is you talking to me!”

And he feels himself being gently pulled back from the brink of that unspeakably horrible pit of foul blackness–that situation where one day, when he had fallen deep enough, God would no longer be in his knowledge or consciousness.

And the kid is no longer weighing this experience against logic; for he knows he is now at the very roots of logic–at truth Himself.  The question, “How do you know this isn’t just a misleading emotion?” has become as stupid as asking oneself if one is aware of being, or asking oneself to prove that a sunset is beautiful.  The kid has now realized the great philosophical truths that: (1) Reasoning is the act of making sense of the wiring that comes out of the fuse box.  (2) Truth is the Infinite Fuse Box.  (3) While your tracing the various wires to the fuse box you begin to get some idea of what it’s all about, but when you find the fuse box and plug into it directly yourself, the other wiring takes on a much less significant role.

As the kid was being pulled away from the brink of the pit of spiritual ignorance and into God’s accepting love, he began to feel better, but not at all perfectly happy.  He still was not clear on how God, in his purity, could want to pull him back.  He knew and he didn’t know.  He knew without a doubt now that God was loving him and helping him.  But even though he had read, in the Bible, and in Christian magazine articles based on the Bible, how God’s saving of human beings worked, it had never really crystallized into full understanding in his mind, maybe because he had been distracted by other areas of philosophical searching.

But he was happy that he had made an Earth-shaking discovery:  He had wanted to know if there was a superior way to gain knowledge–superior to human logical reasoning which never allows us, logically, to know anything for certain–and he now knew that there was.  All you needed to do was to open up to the Source of all knowledge, and whatever he wanted you to know, you would know.  It was so clear to him now–and he was sure God was making it clear to him–that when God creates conscious beings he doesn’t make them and then cut them loose from all communication with himself.  Getting back to logic for a moment, it was logical that God, being a God of love–and the kid knew now that God’s love is infinite–would want to have this kind of solid communication set up with each conscious creature that he made.  Of course he would want it.  Why would a God of love make people and then not want to communicate with them?  Not only would he want to communicate with them, but he would do it in such a way that there would be no doubt in the mind of the finite being as to the reality of the Infinite God, his maker.  It was as though God put a radio receiver in each person, a radio tuned in to God, but with a dial so that it could, in fact, be tuned in to God or tuned away from God.  The dial insures that no one is forced to listen to God.  Although it was some time later that the details of this clarified for the kid, he eventually knew that the radio dial’s secret is that when its set on (1) loving God, and (2) caring about truth, God comes in loud and clear–figuratively speaking; actually the guidance of God is a quiet inner thing.  The bad side of the coin is that people have trained themselves into dishonesty to the point where the dial keeps slipping from its proper setting and needs much attention and re-setting over and over again.  Eventually it begins to stay in place more.

Fortunately for the kid, he had been training himself to be honest–to care about truth–for a long time; yet he too was plagued with dishonest programming in his subconscious mind; nevertheless, his training in honesty helped him that night, so that when God sent out a very strong signal–with a terrible “now or never” message–the kid was able to hear it and to know that he was at the core, or, one could say, where the rubber meets the road.  So long as he remained honest he could not help but know that he was hearing from God.  He remained honest that night; he knew he was hearing from God; he did not believe everything the preacher said; he only believed those statements that, when spoken, were approved of by the inner voice of God.

And so it turned out that the kid, that night, made the longest trip that any human being can make–a trip from one place to another that are as far apart as space toward the east in a straight line is from space toward the west in a straight line–and he made the trip in less than a second.

He traveled from the land of the dead to the land of the living.

 

*     *     *

We will return to our introductory allegorical guideline here for a moment by saying that our philosopher boy moved from out of the dark dungeon into the castle above; but he was not yet in the beautiful world outside of the castle.

And the castle was occupied and largely controlled by the evil beings whose goals were to prevent others from getting out of the dungeon, as well as to impede the progress through the castle of those who had already escaped from the dungeon.

Now, these escapees had what in warfare is called an underground.  I’m not referring to the dungeon they had escaped from, but rather to their underground activities in the castle.  These activities involved helping prisoners in the dungeon to escape as well as helping them and one another to get through the castle and into the beautiful world outside.  It was sort of like the famous underground railroad that, during the days of slavery in North America, helped slaves to escape from the South to the North and to Canada.  And just as it was not only the escaping slaves who were helped, those who helped them also grew spiritually through their putting love into action and thus becoming better people.  That’s how it is in God’s economy:  You get helped = you get helped; but you help someone else = someone gets helped and you get helped.  So, everyone who has made it out of the dungeon into the castle is there to help others and themselves and so to become prepared for life in the great beautiful outdoors.

In my allegorical set up, the dungeon represents the dark world of spiritual ignorance that people live in before they find peace with God.

The castle above the dungeon represents the lives of those who escape, through acceptance of God’s sacrifice in Jesus, from spiritual ignorance and sin-slavery, but are still living on this planet which is presently occupied by evil forces.  Here they have the great opportunity to help others to escape and to grow in goodness themselves.

The beautiful world outside of the castle represents the state of those who are no longer living in a world occupied by evil forces.  This has taken place for them either because their bodies have died and their souls have moved on to a happier environment, or (still to come) the evil forces presently occupying this world have been defeated and the planet Earth has been taken over by God in a special way.

 

In Part One of this book we looked at the situation of living in the dungeon and of finding the escape-exit and using it.  Many have a hard time finding that escape hatch because evil beings, both human and non-human, have set up roadblocks and all sorts of confusing road signs and barriers to try to prevent people from finding the doorway to freedom.  Therefore much of Part One dealt with destroying those barriers and confusing, lying road signs.  This opens the way for truth seekers to have their minds cleared of the confusing lies so that, if they want to, they can tune in to the guidance of God by setting their inner radio dials to:  “I love God,” and “I care about truth.”  If they do so they will find that God has provided a way for them to escape.

Part Two of this book will look further into that plan of escape along with many things related to it.  Therefore Part Two will speak to those who are still in the dungeon but also to those who are already in the castle.

For those who are still in the dark dungeon of spiritual ignorance and hopelessness it will attack the matter not so much by revealing lies and bulldozing away barricades–for we have already done a fair amount of that–but, rather, by following the truth as revealed directly by God’s guidance and also by logic and reasoning.

For those who have already escaped from the dungeon into the castle, Part Two will supply some guidance about the castle which will help in operating the underground activity of rescuing people from the dungeon and for guiding them on their way through the castle toward the greater freedom of the outdoors.

There is much deceit in the castle and some of it has infected even those who have escaped from the dungeon.  The reader must be wary.  Part One has helped you to understand the importance of logic and of honest reasoning.  It has also shown you that logical reasoning can only go so far and never far enough to totally prove anything; and that there is an additional way of gaining truth, for those areas that need a complete and sure answer, which is direct soul-to-soul guidance from the infinite source of all life, God.  Therefore you need to check everything you hear and read against that inner Guide by setting your radio-receiver dials to love of God and caring about truth–and the reader needs to use that checking system in regard to what I will present in the next section of this book, Part Two.

PART TWO:

 THE SEARCH THROUGH THE OCCUPIED CASTLE

 

CHAPTER 15:

 INTRODUCTORY MATTERS FOR PART TWO

 

I WILL here do a little reiteration for the sake of emphasis:

Part One of this book presented life in the dungeon; that is, life before finding peace with God through Jesus; so at the end of Part One, and on into Part Two, I have, and will, lead you through the matter of how to get out of the dungeon and into the castle above it–which latter represents life here on Earth in our flesh and blood bodies as Christians.  The idea here is not that we stay in the castle, although it is a great improvement over the dungeon, but that we spend our time in the castle doing two things: (1) helping others to escape from the dungeon into the castle, and (2) helping to prepare ourselves and others for life outside of the castle in the great and beautiful outdoors.  The outdoors represents the amazing sequences of places and situations that followers of Christ will find themselves in after the present age has passed and Jesus has come back for his own.

We will begin to explore how a Christian is to fulfil those two purposes stated in the paragraph above.  In other words, how are Christians, spiritually born into God’s family, supposed to live, in soul and body, while still in this present age in this evil world?

Today’s leaders of Christianity, along with the leaders of today’s pseudo Christianity, offer a lot of guidance.  Much of the guidance from the true leaders is good.  But there is some confusion coming from them, and a lot of confusion coming from the phony elements of so-called Christianity.  Particularly in the large liberal churches, there is a mixture of truth and falsehood being taught.  In the Bible-believing churches who try harder to follow true, historical Christianity, there is more truth being taught and less falsehood.

One of the biggest problems in both kinds of churches today (more so in the liberal churches but also in the conservative), is that the congregations are not being taught the importance of truth.  I won’t elaborate much on the matter here, because I’ve already dealt with it in earlier chapters.  Here, I’ll simply iterate that we need to care about the basic, abstract concept of truth, rather than this particular truth or that particular truth, as important as some of these are.  If you don’t yet have a hold on this principle, please go back to Chapter 3 and read it again.

This principle of the importance of caring about the basic, abstract concept of truth should be taught by Christian pastors to their flocks.  It amazes me to find that there are so many church-going Christians who don’t have a good grip on this basic principle; and without it, they can’t hope to be fully in tune with God so that they can feel his guidance.  I think I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again:  It’s a matter of degree.  To whatever degree we love God and care about the basic concept of truth (which, at its roots, is God), the more we’ll be in tune with his “voice” in our hearts and minds–that sense of awareness of God’s personal guidance.

You may have wondered if the boy whose philosophical struggles we have followed in Part One is me.  Well, only sort of.  He’s fictitious and I’m real, and his experience and mine differ in many details although the main flow is the same.

One difference is that I did not find my way into peace with God at an evangelistic meeting the way he did.  Also, his transfer from the world of death to the world of life happened almost instantaneously.  This is, by the way, what Christians call the new birth or the second birth, meaning a spiritual birth into a new life.  This way of putting it is taken from a passage in the Gospel According to John, in the New Testament of the Bible, in which Jesus tells a truth-seeking man that to get into the kingdom of God he must be born again, or born anew.

Just as physical birth is relatively short (although a lot of women who have experienced birth pains might not agree), spiritual birth is usually very brief.  Still, just as there are difficult and more lengthy physical births, there are also some of those on the spiritual level.  Mine might be a record; it may have taken about four years.

Now I realize that most born-again Christians reading this will have an initial reaction of thinking that’s impossible–because, well, either you believe or you don’t believe.  After all, how long does it take to repent of your sins and accept Jesus as the one who suffered and died in your place and rose from the dead?  It usually goes with a prayer of repentance and a prayer of acceptance, which in most cases might take about thirty seconds or so.  Maybe four years isn’t a reasonable length of time; why I think it might be the case, though, is because I made a very important decision at the beginning of that time and another very important decision at the end of it.  When I’ve related the details of it to some of my spiritual siblings, I’ve encountered the opinion that I passed over the line from death to life during the first of those two decisions, while others have accepted that it happened, or was completed, during the second decision at the end of the four years.

The first decision was pretty straight forward and came as a result of miraculous answer to prayer.  I asked God for a near-impossible sign and he delivered it in no uncertain terms.  The deal was that if he delivered it, I’d become a Christian.  He did and I did.  The trouble was, I didn’t understand clearly enough what Christianity really was all about.

So I had intense first-hand experiences involving some of the lying signposts and barriers set up to get me off the right track.  This went on for the approximate four years–during which time I steadfastly hung on to my faith in Christ, but also during which time the evil road signs tried mightily to confuse me about who Jesus is.  Then came the second decision at which time I became quite clear on who Jesus is and the other essentials involved.  That decision should have come a lot sooner, and would have if I hadn’t been so stubborn.  I refused to set my radio receiver dials right in the most important areas.  In my first decision God blessed me with a miraculous sign.  After four years of dealing with my stubbornness and self-imposed (with the help of others) confusion, God blessed me with having me face the prospect of sudden death.  Sometimes it takes a severe shock to help us to do a reality check.  Maybe later on in the book I’ll provide more details about both the miraculous sign and the shocking reality check.  And maybe I won’t.

So, whether I had the born-again experience at the beginning of the four years or at the end, or whether, as I rather suspect, the whole four years of it was my new-birth experience, the important thing is that it happened, giving me the peace and ability to move forward through the occupied castle of this present world situation toward a much better world that God has promised to all those who accept his deep, self-sacrificing love through Jesus.

 

I will start into the main material of Part Two by giving a brief outline of what the Christian religion is. There will be surprises–some shocking enough to cause upheaval in both the Christian community and among non–Christians.

CHAPTER 16:

A BRIEF DEFINITION OF CHRISTIANITY

I SHOULD SAY at the start that the Christianity I will here describe is what has been labeled historical Christianity, as opposed to some modern and/or liberal concoctions.  Historical is a useful choice of word, indicating a faith as presented according to (1) historical documents about it, and (2) it’s general and basic course through history.  This still allows for considerable difference of opinion about what historical Christianity is in detail; yet labeling this version as historical certainly leaves out all the slants that could not reasonably be put under that label.

The historical documents involved are mainly the various books of the Bible, including both the Old Testament and the New Testament.  Christians think of the Bible as being more than historical documents; many of us have found it to be a very special book inspired by God himself.  However, even those who don’t accept it as such and don’t necessarily believe that it’s all true, should have no problem in accepting it as they would any other historical writings.  After all, students of history don’t believe everything that any number of historians of the past wrote.  They don’t necessarily believe everything that was written by Herodotus, Julius Caesar, Flavius Josephus, and other early historians, but that doesn’t mean they don’t consider their writings to be important historical documents.  In fact, historians in general do include the Bible in their catalogues of the most important historical documents available to us.

So, from a Christian viewpoint, what does the Bible say that Christianity is?  (Scripture quotes will be from a widely accepted translation, the New International Version, unless otherwise stated.)

 

The Bible starts out with an account of God creating things, going into more detail on the matter of his creation of Earth and the heavenly bodies as seen from Earth, plus his creation of sea life, land animals, birds, and, lastly, human beings.  Later parts of the Bible clearly show that other beings and worlds (for instance, Heaven) had already been created before God started on the animals and humans of Earth.

The first man and woman, Adam and Eve, were given a choice.  One choice involved obedience to God; the other choice involved disobedience to him.  The first choice, involving obedience, allowed them to have access to non-ending life, and prevented them from having a knowledge of good and evil.  The second choice, involving disobedience, allowed them to gain the knowledge of good and evil, but cut off their access to what they needed to keep them alive.

One of the creatures that God had made earlier and who had not allowed himself to turn out very well, was motivated to induce the newly created human beings to make the choice of disobedience.  He worked on Eve first, then Adam, through Eve.  This was clever since Adam, no doubt, was infatuated with the first woman’s beauty and attractive feminine personality.  In any case, the man and the woman both were swayed into making the second choice.

Eve first, and then Adam, disobeyed God in the particular way they had been warned about.  As a result they became possessors of the knowledge of good and evil, and they were cut off from access to what they needed to go on living.  Later on we’ll explore the matter of what was meant by a knowledge of good and evil, and what it was that would have kept them alive if they had not been denied access to it; but, for now, we’ll continue with our brief outline.

Adam and Eve had been put in a very comfortable position where life was easy and fun and where they had conversations and friendship with their loving Creator.  When they disobeyed God, that nice situation changed.  As soon as they had what the Bible calls the knowledge of good and evil, they began to fear God, feeling naked and vulnerable and trying to hide from him.  But no one can hide successfully from God, since he knows about everything.

God then saw fit to put Adam and Eve out of their plush environment into the not-so-nice environment as it existed on the face of the Earth in general.  They had to struggle for a living, with Adam getting the brunt of this, and Eve was informed that not only would she be subjugated severely to her man, but giving birth to children would be painful.

The creature who had influenced Adam and Eve to disobey God was also given a punishment.  He was to be degraded into crawling around in the dust.

Now, a very interesting and philosophically important fact is that the knowledge of good and evil, along with the loss of eternal life, plus the punishment for disobedience as rendered to the man and woman, was all to be passed on to the offspring of Adam and Eve.  A thinking mind at once wants to know how this can be fair.  It is, but at this point I won’t give you the surprising answer to that riddle.  We’ll go into that later along with many other surprising insights.  However, you might start to figure it out for yourself when you consider that of the three sons Adam and Eve are reported to have given birth to, one of them grew up to be a murderer.  Think of it!  One out of three plunging into one of the worlds very worst crimes before creation hardly had time to cool off.  And in regard to that sort of thing, we all know the rest of the story.  Not one generation of humanity has ever let up in its blood lust garnished with a great variety of other kinds of crimes and sins hatched out by the fertile human mind and executed by busy human hands.  Not that we’ve been bad all the time; but, then, neither were Adam and Eve.

The three sons of Adam and Eve were Cain, Abel, and Seth.  Cain killed Abel.  Cain and Seth had children of their own.  Later we’ll get into the fascinating matter of who they married, which is a bit of a problem since the Bible does not give us the names of their wives, nor tell us very openly where they came from; for there is nothing recorded about Adam and Eve having any daughters.  There are some fascinating possibilities, some of which you may well have heard of, and some which you probably have not.  That’s for later.

The Bible relates how the offspring of Adam and Eve began to spread out over the face of the world, and how they carried on being selfish and cruel, often engaging in the bloodshed of warfare.  Eventually God decreed that enough was enough and wiped them out in the great flood, saving only one man, Noah, his wife, his sons, and their wives, plus a male and female of a great variety of animal species.

Those wishing to do serious research on the matter of Noah’s ark will find it interesting to discover that there is weighty evidence that the ark has been seen by modern man, although the broken remains of the ship were, at last report, covered by snow and ice.  This is on a slope of Mount Ararat in Turkey near the border of Iran.  Information available on the search for Noah’s ark is available in libraries, and, of course, on the internet.

After the great flood had receded, the offspring of Noah and his sons multiplied and spread out.  Obviously if God had been done with the human race he wouldn’t have saved Noah and his clan; but, unfortunately, Noah’s descendants fell into evil ways much as the pre-flood humans had done.

As we study the Bible, we find that God has a way of bringing a segment of humans out of particular groups of humans before he destroys the rest for their sins.  There was Noah and his family who escaped the flood; later there was Lot and his family who escaped the destruction of the evil twin cities called Sodom and Gomorrah; and there were other such judgements and saving of a special few after that as well.  In all cases the persons who were saved were far from perfect; but they did all show a sincere interest in doing God’s will.

The world continued to be wicked, but God had a plan for saving as many individuals of the human race as would allow themselves to be saved.  This plan began to manifest itself more clearly with the arrival on the scene of a man by the name of Abram, later called Abraham.  This was fairly early on in the ugly history of the human race, but after the great flood.

Like Noah and Lot, Abraham was a relatively righteous man.  He had a wife called Sarah, but she and he were getting old and still had no children.  Sarah, knowing that she was barren because of her age, thought it would be a good idea that Abraham have sex with their servant girl, Hagar, and try to have a child that way.  So they did it and the result was a boy named Ishmael.

But God had never intended that the great nation he proposed to make out of Abraham should come from this union he had with his housemaid.  It was to come from the marriage union between Abraham and his wife, Sarah.  Nevertheless, God watched over Hagar in spite of cruelty to her by the relatively righteous Abraham and by his wife.  And God prophesied that Hagar’s son, Ishmael, would be a “wild donkey of a man” whose hand would be against everyone and everyone’s hand would be against him.  Just as Abraham was the father of the Jewish nation–the promise being carried on through Isaac who was eventually born to Abraham and Sarah in spite of their old age–Ishmael was the father of the Arabs.  There has been a general ongoing animosity between the Jews and the Arabs throughout history; and in modern times that animosity has heated up into a world-wide battle, its center being, at the time of this writing, Palestine; but it is also reaching out toward anyone who supports Israel, such as the United States of America, and anywhere that the most militant of the Ishmaelite descendants decide to vent their rage.

God, having big plans for Abraham, tested him as no ordinary human being before or since has ever been tested. God commanded Abraham to kill his son, Isaac, to offer him as a sacrifice.  Abraham loved his son–who possibly was a teenager at the time–very much, but he loved God even more; so he forced himself to prepare for the killing.  At the very last suspenseful moment, as Abraham’s hand was already lifting a knife to plunge it into Isaac, God called out to Abraham, telling him to not kill his son.

“Do not lay a hand on the boy,” said God. “Do not do anything to him.  Now I know that you fear God, for you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”  It had been a test, and a test only.

Then, not much later, God told Abraham that because he had passed this extremely severe testing for obedience, his descendants would be “… as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore.  Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”  (Genesis 22:1-18.  The translation is the New International Version–NIV.)

Abraham’s offspring became a great nation, as God had promised–the nation of Israel, also known as the Hebrews, and as the Jews.  The Bible follows the history of the Hebrews in considerable detail and over the centuries.  Many momentous things happened.

Through some strange happenings, some of them quite sinful, one of the descendants of Abraham, namely Jacob, found himself and his sons in the land of Egypt.  God worked out something wonderful from this in that the youngest of Jacob’s sons, Joseph, rose high in the ranks of the Egyptian ruling class and through that saved not only his family but also the Egyptians from a severe famine.

Joseph was greatly honored; however, after he died a new pharaoh came to power and before long enslaved the descendants of Jacob’s sons.  These had multiplied greatly and had become a distinct people within Egypt.  Their slavery kept them even more surely distinct.  Their hard work and plain food kept them strong and healthy.

God then raised up a Hebrew called Moses, working things out so that this one was not a slave but a man who grew up in the palace as the adopted son of the Pharaoh’s daughter.  Angered at the way one of the Egyptians was cruelly harassing a Hebrew slave, Moses killed the man.  Guilty of murder, Moses fled the country.

Later God instructed Moses to go back to Egypt on a mission to lead all of the Hebrews out of Egypt to freedom.  Moses was reluctant to take on the job, but obeyed God and went back.  With great miracles performed by God through Moses, the Pharaoh was eventually convinced, after a lot of flip-flopping, that he had better release the Hebrew slaves and let them go their way.  He flipped once more after they were already on their way, sending his army after them.  But through another great miracle the Hebrews escaped and the Pharaoh’s army drowned in the Red Sea.

The Bible carries on with the story of Moses leading his people toward the land that God wished to give to them to be their national home.  That trek, which lasted forty years because the Hebrews kept sinning against God, and during which time God was working at refining them into an obedient people, is a tragic story in itself.  But eventually the survivors, now led by a man called Joshua, made their way into an area inhabited by a corrupt and fierce people.  With God’s help the Hebrews fought against them and won the land for themselves.

In the centuries that followed, during which time the Hebrew nation wavered between good and evil, there were a number of prophets who were sent by God with messages to the Jews.  The most important of these messages was about God’s plan for saving humankind, pointing out that a messiah, a savior, would arise.

It is important to note, here–although this is common knowledge–that those who belong to the Jewish religion today are still waiting for that particular prophecy to be fulfilled.  Christians, on the other hand, believe that the messiah came in the person of Jesus, somewhat over two thousand years ago.

All of the prophesies in the Old Testament about the Messiah fit the recorded events in regard to the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  It must be possible, however, to insist on reading some other meaning into them, otherwise the religious Jews of today would also be Christian, for they say they believe in the truth of the entire Old Testament.

But when Christians read, for instance, in the Old Testament Book of Isaiah, they have no problem seeing its prophesies about the coming Messiah as being about Jesus.  Possibly the most obvious one is the whole chapter of Isaiah 53.  Scholars agree that this was written about 750 years before Jesus was born, and yet it describes his life and death with amazing detail.  If you already know how the life of Jesus is described in the New Testament, you should read Isaiah 53 and see for yourself how well this part of the Old Testament supports the new in regard to who the Messiah is.  But unless you have read at least one of the four accounts of the life of Christ in the New Testament–or heard from others what is written there–it would do no good to read Isaiah 53 in this regard, for you would then not be able to compare the two.

About six centuries after Isaiah passed on (there is no record of the year of his death), Jesus was born of a Jewish mother who claimed that she had received a message from an angel, prior to the conception, that the father of the child would be God.

Jesus grew up to live a remarkable life of doing good to those around him, working amazing miracles of healing, and teaching about what God wanted of human beings.  His was a philosophy of love–love from God toward men, women, and children, love from humanity toward God, and love from human to human.  This is how God wanted things to be, but human beings so often chose to exchange love for either cruelty or apathy, and to give a cold shoulder to the Infinite God who had made them.

The New Testament writings report that this God-man called Jesus was tempted by sin just as we all are, but that, unlike the rest of us, he never gave in to even one temptation, thus becoming the first human being to ever live a completely sinless life.  God then manipulated events–and this included manipulating evil people against their own plans, as well as some non-human ones–in such a way that there occurred the greatest demonstration the world has ever seen or ever will see.

The demonstration was to show two things: (1) how much God hates sin, and (2) how much God loves the sinner.

The above mentioned manipulation came about in that the enemies of Jesus, both non-human and human, feared that the teachings and life of Jesus would interfere with their own plans and so decided to use their considerable powers to have him killed.  They succeeded in having him killed, but it was a trap for them.  God, who knows everything ahead of time, had made that very death the great demonstration as defined by the two points in the preceding paragraph.

Jesus was accused of crimes he did not commit and was sentenced to death by crucifixion.  Then God declared that this terrible death of his innocent son was experienced in the place of every sinner who had ever lived.  Having made this atonement, Jesus showed his Godly power by coming back to life and being seen by many before he went to Heaven to be with his father.  But he promised to return.

God’s offer was this:  You can pay for your own sins, or you can accept the payment made for you by Jesus.  Nothing is required of you but to be sorry for your own sins and to no longer want to sin, and that you accept Jesus as your savior, as the one who took the punishment in your place.

The message proclaimed did not end there.  A further part of it is that those who put their trust in Jesus receive a part of his victorious nature so that they too, like Jesus, can overcome sin and eventually be perfected for the purpose of spending eternity together with God.

Those who reject this great gift of God’s sacrificing love, basically get what they want–an existence without God, and all that that entails.  The Bible describes it both as outer darkness and as torment in the lake of fire.  Since God is spiritual light and the source of the spiritual light that radiates from him, outer darkness refers to a state of not being in that light, thus being ignorant of God and his ways.  The torment in the lake of fire refers to the suffering that automatically, logically, results from being in spiritual darkness.  Those who live in that world, not being enlightened by the love of God, do much to hurt one another.  Put in a more simple way, for the more simple minded, it remains yet entirely true and also in line with what I just said above.  The simple way of putting it is:  Those who reject Christ’s love, by their own decision to get God out of their lives as much as they can, are cast into outer darkness and into a tormenting lake of fire where they are destined–again, by their own desire and choice–to remain forever.

Conversely, those who have a desire to be close to God, and who avail themselves of the one means to that end–forgiveness and spiritual rebirth through Jesus–are given the fulfillment of that desire:  They can spend eternity in the spiritual light which is the knowledge of God, and in a state of happiness which comes about logically as those who have the love of God in their hearts go about doing good to one another.

The New Testament part of the Bible also teaches clearly that after one has put his trust in Jesus, he must usually pass a considerable amount of time in preparation for the better life to come.  In other words, he is given time in which to use the new nature given to him as a free gift to defeat, to whatever degree he chooses, the old nature which is still there through force of habit.  Basically, the only ones who are denied this very useful time of preparation are those who wait until they’re dying before reaching out to take Christ’s hand.  Such people, the Bible teaches, are saved, but, since they have not taken the opportunity to grow they are smaller spiritually.  The same thing happens to a lesser extent by those who accept God’s love through Christ, are given the new nature, but then do not do very much in regard to using that new nature to fight the old, even though they’ve been granted the time to do so.  It’s a matter of degree, and there is much in the New Testament about the importance of fighting this battle with the evil old nature.  In the Bible the old nature is often referred to as the flesh because it resides in the brain, which, of course, is made of physical matter, or flesh.

The preparation period works out well together with two other reasons for believers to remain on this evil planet for a time before going to Heaven, which makes three reasons:  Not only are Christians expected to (1) use the time on Earth after being saved by Christ to grow spiritually, but (2) to help other Christians to grow spiritually, and (3) to help those who are not yet Christians to become followers of Christ.  In God’s economy the three work together perfectly.

Contrary to what many Christians seem to believe, the destiny of believers is not simply to go to Heaven after the body dies.  But it’s amazing how many preachers seem to try to give the impression, in their sermons, that this is the case.  Unbelievers go to hell; believers go to Heaven.  But this is not what the Bible teaches.  Hell, in the Bible, is almost always a reference to a prison for wicked souls where they await Judgement Day.  In fact, in the Book of Revelation–the final book of the New Testament–it is stated that hell will be thrown into the lake of fire, no doubt meaning that the occupants of hell will be thrown into the lake of fire to join its other residents.

Heaven, in the Bible, is shown to be the special home of God from which he rules the universe.  As well as God, there are a great many created beings there who live in holiness and closeness to their Creator.  It seems fairly clear that when a follower of Christ leaves his dying body, he goes to Heaven, but the Bible is just as clear on the fact that Heaven is not the final home of Christians, as seems to be so often taught.

The New Testament, and particularly the Book of Revelation, prophesies a series of momentous events, some already fulfilled today and others still to come.  Of those still to come, one is that near the last days of Earth as we presently know it, there will be what the Bible calls the resurrection of the dead.  The Christian souls who have left their bodies earlier due to the death of their bodies, will now be reunited with their bodies.  Those bodies, however, will be vastly improved.

Another thing that will happen is that Jesus will return from Heaven to Earth, this time as a mighty warrior.  He will defeat the enemy armies of Earth and set up his kingdom right here on this planet.  For one-thousand years he will rule the Earth.  With him will be all those who have totally put their trust in him and have submitted themselves to him as their Lord, ruler and savior.

Near the end of the thousand years some more momentous events are prophesied to happen–we’ll go into those in greater detail later–and after that God will unveil a new Earth, along with a new heaven (a new cosmos) and redeemed mankind’s final home will be on that new Earth.

So, you see, according to the Bible, the Heaven and hell thing is not nearly as simple as some preachers preach and some congregations believe.  And neither of the two are permanent habitations for the saved and the unsaved.

 

The above has been a very brief yet to-the-point outline of what historical Christianity is.  Any so-called Christianity other than historical doesn’t deserve the name, since, by definition, it has to be something later and different.  So, to avoid confusion, anything like that should not be called Christianity but have a name of its own.

 

As this book goes on, I will help you to explore the Christian philosophy in much greater detail.

I have presented to you my belief that logic and reasoning are not entirely sufficient to arrive at some of the truths we need to know with complete certainty, and that there is a way of gaining truth, namely directly from God through an ability to care about truth and to love God, an ability that he has given us.  And I have indicated my belief, based on such an experience of my own, that an honest search for truth in this manner will lead the searcher to find peace with God through Jesus.

Nevertheless, logic and reasoning still have their place and can be quite useful as guides to those who have still not found the God-given answers that they need to find peace and eternal happiness.  Therefore, in my more detailed study of life and its mysteries as presented under the brilliant illumination of the Christian philosophy, I will use logic and reasoning just as I did in Part One of this book; but I will also–in accordance with the principle that logic cannot completely prove anything–rely upon the way that I have experienced can, in fact, be completely convincing.  But this the reader must experience for himself.  I can only repeat that to experience it you must consistently set your inbuilt radio dials on loving God and caring about the abstract concept of truth.

This exploration of what Christianity really is, when we go into it in greater detail, will be very exciting and full of surprises, to both Christians and non-Christians.  In fact, it will be a ride that will shake you up.

For both Christians and non-Christians it will be a severe shake up for the simple reason that both groups don’t know nearly as much about Christianity as they think they do, and as they should, and not as much as they would know if the right information had been forthcoming.  So why hasn’t it been?

As far as I can make out, one of the big reasons is a lack of leadership within the Christian church world wide and through the centuries.  Although there have been some great Christian leaders in the past and although there are some in the present, yet I think there must have been many a time when some individuals were called by God to be leaders and teachers of the truth and then those persons simply refused to go along with God’s direction.  They probably allowed their minds to become entangled in traditions and cultures, and their desires to serve God and to know truth were just not strong enough to overcome the pressures to do and believe what others around them (other Christians) were doing and believing.

Christians in general do this sort of thing a lot, and that’s bad, but when those who were chosen by God to be leaders do that, it’s extra bad; for then the sheep are left without qualified shepherds and the pasture, to some extent, becomes poisoned with loco weed, and blood-smelling wolves move in to harass and to kill.

So something has to be done.  Let’s do it.

CHAPTER 17:  IS THE BIBLE TRUE?

 

MANY CHRISTIANS who believe in historical Christianity, as outlined in the previous chapter, believe that the Bible is God’s special book and that it’s all true.  Is it?  Is there any way of knowing if it’s partly true, mostly true, or completely true?

Well, how can we know anything?  According to the Christian philosophy I’ve thus far presented, the only way we can know anything for certain is by getting it straight from God, soul to soul–that is, Infinite Soul to finite soul.  The other way of learning things is through finite logic and reasoning.  This second way has its place of usefulness and is very helpful in putting us on the right track, even though it falls short of ever being able to settle anything with absolute certainty.

In trying to answer the important question of whether or not the Bible is a true presentation of the way things are, we can use both methods.  To start with, then, the reader needs to decide whether or not he or she wants to know the truth.  Assuming that the reader does have a sincere desire to do so, he can then begin to look into the matter in a reasonable manner, hoping that God will guide these reasonings so that progress in understanding can be made.  And eventually, maybe sooner and maybe later, God will guide that person with complete directness in the  matter, so that the searcher for truth no longer has any doubt about the truth of the Bible.

You can never learn more than God wants and allows you to know; and, within that limitation, you cannot learn more than you yourself want to learn.  The only exception to that last part is in the rare circumstance when God sees fit to force some information on someone even though that someone doesn’t want it.  This, however, is not God’s usual way of doing things, for he does not like to force people, particularly when they’re letting him help them to learn.  So, if you really don’t want to know something, chances are excellent that you won’t.

In regard to evidence (of the reasoning kind) that the Bible is true, there are two categories that I would like you to consider.  These might be a guide for you to follow if you embark on a serious study of the Bible.

(1) The first one is the matter of corroboration of the Bible accounts by other documents and findings, including archeological discoveries, historical writings other than the books of the Bible, and any such scientific research that can be brought into play.

(2) The second is possibly the most important one.  It involves the consideration of the Bible as a whole and the asking of questions about it, such as:  Since scholars agree that the Bible was written over a lengthy period of time–namely from about 1200 BC to 90 AD, is there any message or meaning running through the whole compilation that would justify calling it more than the normal historical writings, over twelve or thirteen hundred years, of a particular people?  Is there something holding it all together from start to finish?  If there is, then this is truly amazing; for as hundreds of years roll by, people change, ideas change, writers change, reasons for writing change.

So, could the Jews, over hundreds of years, write one book (made up of many books) that would stand as a unit with a beginning, middle, and ending, all working together to express something distinct?  If this is the case, then that is strong evidence that a higher, guiding intelligence was involved in keeping the whole thing on track.

I believe that an honest study of the Bible, Old and New Testaments, will reveal that there is such a strange and wonderful unity in that book:  It is all about God creating humans, humans falling from God’s favor, and God working out a plan to save humanity through Jesus, the Messiah.

I have also found by listening to the direction of God in my soul, that the Bible is all true.  However, when I say all true I’m referring to the original manuscripts, none of which are available to us anymore.  The many copies and translations may have minor mistakes, slight deviations from the originals, but nothing very serious.  This is because those who for hundreds of years copied the Scriptures by hand (before the printing press was invented) were extremely and religiously careful to not make any mistakes.  An honest study of the matter will verify this for you.  The people who copied them and also translated them, feared God, and didn’t dare to make any willful changes.  It is only in very recent times that a danger has come about of heretical pseudo-Christians working out translations to suit their own teachings.  But the standard, non-cult translations, including the modern English ones, are quite reliable, having been translated by sincere scholars.

 

It is my belief, and I hope it is yours too or soon will be, that the Bible is a very special book, the writers of which have been guided by God in what they set down, and that this book has the purpose of helping us to understand what life is all about.

We will now use the Bible, along with logical reasoning and available scientific data, and with as much direct guidance from God as we allow ourselves through our love of God and the desire to know the truth, to learn many things of great importance.

CHAPTER 18: LIFE IS ALL ABOUT GOD;

AND WHAT DOES GOD REVEAL TO US ABOUT HIMSELF?

IF THE READER has been following me thus far, he or she should be convinced by now that life is all about God.  In chapters 11 and 12 of Part One I used logical reasoning to show that there is no sensible explanation for existence other than the Infinite Mind of God.

Although it sounds strange, one can also say, truthfully and logically, that there is no other explanation for the existence of the Infinite Mind of God, than the existence of the Infinite Mind of God.

In other words, the absolute infinity of God means that he needs no cause; in his infinity there is no room for a cause other than himself; he is his own cause.

When God contacted Moses to assign him to the work of bringing the Hebrews out of Egypt, God identified himself in a descriptive way.  God called himself I Am.  He expanded this a little further by calling himself (in the King James Version translation) I am that I am.  (Exodus 3: 13-15)

We can never fully understand who God is because our finite minds cannot contain the infinity that is God.  But we can learn as much about him as he reveals to us and gives us the ability to absorb.

In the Bible, God reveals that his central characteristic is love.  He has other qualities, and they’re all infinite, but love is the one that the others apparently are centered around, or, at least, love is the characteristic that he emphasizes the most.  The Bible also makes the straight-out statement that “God is love.”  (1 John 4:8 and also 1 John 4:16.)

This great emphasis on God’s love for us is very important for people to know about, particularly since knowing about his infinity and power strikes fear into our hearts, as well it should.  Finding out that God loves us all with an undying infinite love helps some of us to eventually quit running away from him; or, at least, to look back over our shoulders while we’re still running so we can get a glimpse of the hope that we need to quit running.

It’s important that we’re clear on what we’re talking about here when we use the word, love.  You may have heard that in the original languages in which the Bible was written, there are several words that mean love; and, so far as I know, this is true.  The idea is that a different love-word is used for different applications, such as our love for God, our love for a son or daughter, etc., and God’s sacrificing love for us.  We don’t have all those words in English, so the translators use the word love to cover most of them.  The King James Version uses the word, charity, in some places.

However, a study of the Bible will convince the student that there is a core meaning to the word love, and that the other meanings involved are surrounding layers of related matters.

Today’s usage of the word, along with Webster’s definitions, are confusing.  Either the English word has always been confusing, or, more likely, it once had a clear important meaning and has been badly mutilated.  We all know about “loving” chocolate, cars, and other inanimate objects, and my Webster lists a whole string of meanings for the word including sex and the joys of gardening.  However, Webster does bring out the most important aspect of the core meaning when it includes:  “God’s regard for his creatures,” and “charity.”

As used in the Bible, and as I use the word in this book, the core of the word, love, always means to care about someone’s welfare.

We can elaborate on that only a little to say that to love someone means to want that person to be happy rather than unhappy.  Therefore, if we truly love, then the sufferings of others bother us; we do what we can to take away that suffering and to replace it with happiness.

Since the Bible is so much about love, showing us that God’s love motivates him to create beings so that there are other beings than himself, and since we will be shortly going into detail in regard to the creation account as presented in the Bible, it is a good idea to here bring out the fascinating matter of the irony of love.

Why irony?  Because love is about wanting others to be happy; and yet the moment love is brought onto the scene, the possibility for unhappiness is there too.  They go together.  This is because love, by its very nature, must be freely given.  You can’t be forced into loving someone.  You can be forced into going through the actions, or saying the words, that will bring happiness to someone; but it is illogical to think that you can be forced to feel a desire for someone else’s happiness and then to assume that you are loving.

To further clarify this, imagine three men, A, B, and C.  A has great powers to control the minds and actions of others.  A loves both B and C and he decides that he wants B and C to love each other as well.  B, however, does not love C, so A decides that he will force B to love C.  Let’s say that C is suffering from a headache.  So A forces B to give C an aspirin and to say, “I love you so I want you to get over your headache.  Here, take this aspirin.”  So C takes the aspirin and gets over his headache and is happy about it.  Not knowing that B was forced into the giving of the aspirin, he thanks B for his kindness.

Was A able to cause B to love C?  B did give the aspirin to C and spoke words indicating that he loved C, but, since he was being forced into this by A, it was obviously A who was loving C.  B was nothing more than an instrument in the hand of A to extend love to C.

No one can make anyone love anyone.  In the same way no one can make anyone hate anyone or be apathetic toward anyone.  It is always a matter of the incomprehensible fact of free will.

So, then, if there was ever a first time that God contemplated creating a being other than himself so that there could be love expressed and dealt between God and that creature, it follows, logically, that God knew he was opening up the possibility of his own infinite love toward that creature being rejected by that creature, and of that creature either hating God or being uncaring toward him.  Even so, God obviously went ahead with it anyhow, and many times over.

We have no choice but to conclude that God considers love to be so important that he creates beings so they can love and be loved, even if this allows them the option of rejecting love and refusing to love.

Since God is total love at the core of his infinite being, and since, being infinite, he knows all things, we can see clearly that the very decision to create free-willed beings who can love or not love, is a painful sacrifice on God’s part right from the start.

What holy irony this is!–infinitely grand beyond any words we have to describe it!

This helps us to understand that God is a God of sacrificing love–the deepest of all degrees of love.  It helps us to understand just a little better how this sacrificing love culminated in the mind-blowing concept of God himself suffering for our sins on the cross of Calvary, as the Bible relates.  Why would God be motivated to go through so much personal suffering when he could avoid it all by simply not creating any conscious free-willed beings?  Again, we are left with no other logical conclusion other than this: that God feels love is so wonderful that it’s worth all the suffering, ours and even his own, which is by far greater than ours.

Therefore, as the Bible teaches, he is working on a plan to bring about a world saturated with the happiness of love–a world inhabited by free-willed beings who have decided to love.  In such a world of love, God loves these creatures with a special love because they have drawn close to him.  In such a world of love, these free-willed beings love and worship God with all their hearts and souls.  In such a world of love, all the beings love one another and trust one another completely.  In such a world of love there are many exciting and creative things that God does to show his love for these beings and to give them happiness, and there are many things for these beings to do to show their love for God and to bring him happiness, and there are many things for these beings to do to show their love toward one another and so to bring one another happiness through that.

But what about those of God’s free-willed creatures who decide not to love?–or who have decided not to love to the degree that is necessary?  And what degree is necessary?

Here’s where the situation becomes even more amazing, along with frightening and wonderful.

The fact of the matter is that, according to the Bible, the beings who are fit to be part of that love world, must be perfect.  Totally loving.  They must have no spiritual flaws at all, for, if some had even small amounts of wickedness in them, they would be like a disease infecting that world, destroying its perfection.  God has no intention of drawing such people into that perfect world of love and closeness to himself.

So, apart from the plan of salvation through Jesus, as expressed in the Bible, there is no hope for any human being.  The Bible teaches that Jesus was tempted by sin but never gave in to it.  The rest of us have sinned.  The Bible states that “… all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God …”  So, when Jesus had completed his sinless life, humanity had, in a sense, already been saved, for there was now one human being with a clean record and therefore fit to live in that perfect world of love close to God.

But we’ve already seen that God is all about sacrificing love.  Therefore God’s plan from the start was to suffer and die in the place of sinful mankind.  He did this by coming into the world as a true human being, Jesus, living a perfect life by being victorious over sin and evil, and then suffering and dying as though he was as bad as the rest of us actually are.  God promises that whoever wants help and wants God to change them, and accepts this sacrifice on the part of God, is totally forgiven for all sin, and is given a new nature (the nature of Jesus) with which to defeat the old sinful nature and thus eventually become totally clean and free of all evil–thus being fit to live forever in God’s perfect world of love.

Those who reject this free gift (but very expensive to God) also get what they want.  They want to be free of God and that’s what they get.  Although they can’t get away from God’s love completely, they want to get as far away from him as possible.  Since human destiny is to live close to God, and since that destiny can now be fulfilled because of Christ’s sacrifice, it figures that those who reject Christ also reject being human.  We’ll look into that aspect some more later, but I’m certain that those who turn their backs on God and his plans for humanity, in so doing eventually give up being part of the human race.

In Part One of this book I dealt with the matter of who God is, particularly in Chapters 11 and 12, and that included the fact that we, as finite human beings, can never understand fully who the infinite God is.  But he reveals some fascinating things about himself to those who want to learn.  How much you can absorb depends on where you are in your philosophical journey–how far you have let him lead you along the paths of truth and knowledge.  For some of you who will be investigating the Biblical account of creation together with me, the time has come for you to expand your concept of God.  In the Book of Job, in the Old Testament, God called Job a righteous man, and yet a time came when God wanted Job to expand his awareness of who God is.

My own studies of physics have led me to believe that physical reality is manifested in three ways, each being dependant on the other two.  These three are space, matter, and time.  But the Infinite Mind of God, who created these three manifestations and made them work together, is over and above them.  Therefore, when we think of God only as living in space, we actually make space greater than God.  If we think of God only as a physical being, then we actually think of the sum total of physical matter as being greater than God.  When we think of God only as moving about in time as we do, then we make a greater god out of time.

God as the Infinite Mind is greater than time or space or matter or anything.  Nevertheless, he does, in fact, also live within the world of space, matter, and time.  As we study the creation account I will show how God can do both.  Explaining this will also throw much-needed light on the Christian doctrine of the Trinity.

Before going into the next chapter, in which we’ll study the creation account in the Bible, I would like the reader to be prepared by first looking into one more concept–that of the matter of good and evil.

What is good?  What is evil?  Those who are totally materialistic often deny that there are any such real concepts.  Those of them who think the words do have some useful meaning, nevertheless don’t think of those meanings as anything over and above the materialism that they’ve got their minds stuck in.  Yet simple experience tells us plainly, every day of our lives, that there is good and there is evil.  A teenager who gets angry and calls his mother a bitch, knows deep in his heart that he’s done something evil.  A woman who comforts her little child after he’s had a bad dream knows that she’s doing something good.

There are two ways to approach the matter of what is goodness.  In Part One, Chapters 11 and 12, dealing with who God is, we saw that an imperfect God is an illogical concept, which means that only an infinite God who is perfectly good can support himself without any other cause.  Goodness, at its roots, is God himself.  But it also radiates out from God as a concept.  The same can be said about love and truth and power and all of God’s qualities.  Since, at their source, these are all God, and have no other basic source, the first way to approach the matter of what is goodness is to say that:

Goodness is God and all that is in accordance with God’s character.

The second approach is to ask what are God’s qualities, and to list the ones God reveals to us, and then to say, Goodness is those qualities, basically love, truth and power, but also any of God’s qualities that can be manifested in his finite creatures.

A little thought into the matter will show that the fact that God is the Infinite Mind, and his creatures are finite, make a difference in how these basic qualities can be manifested.  First of all, one big difference is that with God they’re all infinite in magnitude; with creatures they’re all of finite proportions.  Also, with one of them at least, and probably more, a kind of reverse polarity takes place simply because of God being the Independent, Infinite Creator and the creature being the totally dependant finite entity.  A good example of this is that for a finite creature humbleness is appropriate, but for the infinitely glorious God the Creator, the concept of him being humble is inappropriate, even ridiculous.

But love is the basic constant; love means caring about the welfare of someone:  God wants us to be happy; we want him to be happy; creatures want other creatures to be happy.  Yet the fact of God being God, and we being his creatures does make a difference in the sense that our love for God is mingled with worship and fearful respect; whereas God’s love for us is the tender love of the powerful toward the powerless.  With one creature loving another, it’s a matter of equality and mutual respect.

 

We will now go into a study of the creation account as given in Genesis, but also taking into account other parts of the Bible that throw light on the matter.  I will use logical reasoning and hope that the reader will do the same.  Also, I hope and pray that the reader will open up to God and have a desire for truth, thus opening up the natural channel for truth to flow from God to the individual in the natural manner that God intended.

I do not claim that everything I write is true–only that it is my sincere desire to write nothing but the truth; but sincere desire is a matter of degree, and I am still in the developing stage.  There are certain things that I can say are definitely true–such as the fact of the Infinite God, and of the saving power of Jesus, and there are other things too that I have found to be certain truths.  As for what those beliefs are, and which thoughts expressed in this book are on a somewhat more speculative level, the important thing for you, the reader, is to draw your own conclusions.  But you should draw them according to two guidelines.  (1)  Use logical reasoning.  (2)  Open your heart and mind to the Infinite God, loving him, respecting him, fearing him, and trusting him; and care about truth–for God is truth.  And believe God when he touches your inner being with his truth.  This is simply a matter of recognition of truth, for God has given each one of us the ability to recognize his presence and his truth.

Now get set for an exciting voyage of discovery that will often surprise you, and sometimes shock you.

 

CHAPTER  19:  CREATION—ONE

 

BEFORE LETTING ME lead you into a serious study of the creation account–deeper than any you’ve likely ever heard of before–you need to have a Bible.  Maybe you already have one handy.  If you don’t, get one.  I’m not greatly concerned about which translation you use, so long as you don’t use one that has been done by some shifty cult members who have translated so that the Bible fits their creed.  But those translations that have been done by real scholars and are reasonably well accepted in the world of theology should do.  This would include the King James Version (although it’s hard to read because the English language has changed considerably since it was translated), the American Standard, the New American Standard, the New International Version, and there are others as well.  The one called The Living Bible, although popular, is valuable only as an interpretation by one man, so it can be summoned for possible insights, but it’s too loose a translation to reasonably qualify as anyone’s basic Bible.  My own choice as a basic (but I like to compare a variety of translations) is the New International Version.  My quotes from the Bible will be from that version unless I indicate otherwise.

Don’t go on reading my book until you have a Bible, containing both The Old Testament and The New Testament, at your side.  If you don’t have one, go out and get one.  I’ll wait for you.

*     *     *

 

All right, assuming you have a Bible now, let’s carry on.   

The first two lines in the Bible are:  “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”

One of the questions that might at once come to a thinking person’s mind in regard to the above, is:  “In the beginning of what?”  God has no beginning, so it cannot be referring to his beginning.  Well, maybe it simply means what we’ve all been assuming–the beginning of creation.  Physical creation?  Could it be referring to the beginning of time?  Does time have a beginning?

If it means the beginning of physical creation, it means the simultaneous beginning of space, matter, and motion-time.  In order to better understand this, let’s have a look at some very basic theoretical physics.  I don’t mean basic in the sense of being totally accepted by all theoretical physicists, but basic in the sense that we will be here getting to the roots of physics.

But first I must explain why I put motion and time together as a unit (motion-time).  The two are very related, and I use the word fragmentation to help explain the relationship.  Fragmentation, in this context, is any perceived segment of a motion in relationship with other segments of that same motion.

Since motion is theoretically infinite, a finite mind, such as that of a human being, is unable to perceive it as a whole.  Fragmentation of motion allows finite minds to perceive it.  That is the purpose of fragmentation.

Fragmentation of motion–which is usually thought of as time–is one of the most difficult concepts we can find to grapple with, even though we experience it all the time.  In fact, it may be impossible for us, with our finite minds, to learn much more about it than that which we already know axiomatically through simple perception and experience.

The following shows why, logically, these three manifestations of physical reality–space, matter, and motion-time–cannot exist independently.  As a believer in God, one can understand that what logically cannot be and what logically can be, are determined by God; for there are no laws of logic, or any kind, above him.  If there were, he would not be God.

 

 

1 – Motion-Time cannot exist without matter and space because without matter there is nothing to be in motion; and without space there is nothing for matter to move through in relationship to other matter.

 

2 – Space cannot exist without matter and motion-time because without matter there is nothing for space to divide; and without motion-time there can be no matter to be in motion in space, and thus nothing to divide space which exists only as a division of matter in motion.

 

3 – Matter cannot exist without space and motion-time because without space there would be nowhere in which matter could change its position in relationship to other matter; and it is only through motion-time that matter becomes separated from matter so that it can be in space.

 

Another thing to go into here, related to the above, is the often discussed subject of how long it took God to accomplish creation or that segment of creation that the Book of Genesis deals with.  The account gives a six-day division of happenings, with a seventh day being pointed out as the day God rested from all his work of the creating he had just done.

Haley’s Bible Handbook presents a theory probably held by many Christians, although possibly not by the majority:  The Handbook’s segment on this seems to make a fairly good case out of the idea that the word day is used throughout the Bible in a rather malleable way, sometimes meaning simply a division.  For instance, when the Bible says, “… in that day …” something happened or will happen, it is referring to a time period during which the stated thing happens.  He has other such examples–you can check it out for yourself and see what you think.

Haley also seems to believe that Genesis approaches the matter of creation from what might be called an Earth perspective rather than from the viewpoint of someone situated elsewhere in the cosmos.  This is brought out in his interpretation of the passages about the creation of light first and the sun later.  He suggests that at first the sun, moon, and stars were hidden by the water vapors which are mentioned in the Bible, and that on the fourth day, when God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night…” he accomplished this by clearing away enough of the mists so that the sun, moon, and stars became visible to anyone who might have been on the face of the Earth.  Keep in mind, though, that at this time no man nor any other of Earth’s creatures had yet been created.  This, however, does not quash the theory, for God could have been presenting it from an Earth point of view in an anticipating sense, for he would soon have creatures in place to experience the spectacle of the sun and other heavenly lights that were revealed; or, since there are Scriptures that clearly show that man and animals were not the first of God’s creatures, and at least one Scripture in the Book of Job indicates that some of these earlier creatures were enjoying seeing the Earth’s creation taking place, we should not have too hard a time imagining the possibility that some of these earlier beings were on the surface of Earth when God swept the mists away and the sun came out.

In regard to the mists covering up the sun, moon, and stars for a time, it is a fairly well known theory among Christians that the events of Day Two describe water being separated from the Earth in such a way that there was a layer of water surrounding the whole planet but with some space between that water and the surface of Earth. (Read Genesis 1:6-8)  Although I have not heard a theory on what laws of physics (which, of course, are God’s laws) were involved in holding this layer of moisture above and surrounding the Earth, the whole theory fits well with the theory that the sun didn’t appear until later.  Certainly the idea shouldn’t be thrown out just because we don’t presently understand how God worked it.  After all, Saturn has its rings of particles, probably ice crystals, with space between them and the planet surface, possibly not so different in regard to the laws of physics as the idea of a sheath of water separated from the surface of the Earth.

The theory has another interesting connection in that the Bible lets us know that the early Earth had no rain, but that moisture came out of the soil.  Genesis 2:5,6 states that “… no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up; the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no man to work the ground, but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground.”

If you read Chapters One and Two of Genesis, you’ll find that Chapter Two is a sort of second look at Chapter One, leaving out some to the details of the first chapter, but adding some new ones of its own.  Where it says, in the above quoted verses, that there was no man to work the ground, I’m not clear on whether that means this was before or after Adam had been created, and the same in regard to shrubs and “plants of the field,” or if it means, rather, that Adam and Eve were still in the Garden of Eden where they may not have needed to work the ground, and that shrubs and plants of the field had not yet developed and maybe showed up later.

In any case, there was no rain for a time.  I should also mention that a footnote in the NIV gives an alternative for the word streams, namely mist.  One would expect that if the planet was surrounded by a canopy of water, there could well be plenty of mist on the face of the Earth.  But, then, it may have had nothing to do with that, and the source of the mists could be the streams that “came up from the ground and watered the whole surface of the ground.”

A branch of the above theories goes on to suggest that when the great flood came in the days of Noah, what happened was that the force holding the canopy of water above the Earth was negated, thus releasing all that water which Genesis 1:6,7,8 says was separated from the water on the Earth.

I will leave these credible seeming theories to the fascinating realm of speculation until I learn more about them, should that be God’s will; and, in the meantime, I’ll carry on with some insights into the creation account that I’m more clear on.

However, in doing so I will begin by presenting another theory that–although I’m not entirely clear on it–seems to me to be a true enlightenment.

 

Possibility:  Some have suggested that millions of years may have passed between the first sentence in the Bible and the rest of it; or, perhaps, between the first and second sentences together and the rest of the Bible.  The idea here is that God created the heavens and the Earth, as the first sentence relates, and that for some reason–likely sin on the part of creatures inhabiting the Earth–the Earth was destroyed to quite an extent, becoming “formless and empty,” with darkness over its surface, and with this darkness probably being much more extensive than the surface of the Earth, for verse two says that this darkness was “on the surface of the deep.”  Does the deep mean space?

I would like to add to this whole speculative theory that the deep may refer not only to space but to a former space, or perhaps a parallel space, in which the whole cosmos was destroyed.  I find this credible because I believe that the Bible teaches that eventually our present cosmos will also be destroyed completely.  Since that event is spoken about in the last book of the Bible and we’re still studying the first, I won’t go into that in detail here.  Still, it should not be hard for us to accept that since we’re studying theology about the Infinite Mind, who’s creativity must certainly be infinite, our cosmos with its story of life and good and evil need not have been the first.

Also, the idea of a previous totally-destroyed cosmos fits in well with Genesis 1:3,4, in which “God said ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.  God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.”  Theoretical physicists seem agreed that our expanding universe fits the concept of the big bang theory–the theory that has the whole cosmos starting out from a tiny bit of compressed matter exploding into space. (I would add here that space, matter, and motion-time would thus rightly come into existence together and interdependently.)

The big bang, being the most massive explosion to ever have occurred in our universe, would produce light, spreading out into innumerable particles (the stuff of the whole universe) many of these particles becoming the blazing stars (suns) still burning in the sky, some of them having thrown off masses that have gone into orbit around them, as Earth and other planets orbit Sol.

Now, read again the account of the first day of creation:  “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.  God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness.  God called the light ‘day’ and the darkness he called ‘night,’ and there was evening, and there was morning–the first day.”

With the big bang having taken place at God’s command, an old cosmos destroyed and a new one begun, with both light and darkness now mingled through the heavenly bodies of the universe, the suns, the planets, and the galaxies, the first time period of God’s new creation is completed.

This is followed by the second time period, in which the separating of waters takes place, leaving some on Earth and some forming a canopy around the Earth, as already discussed.

During the third time period the account tells us that God did a further separation, this time separating the water on the face of the Earth from the land.  This brought about dry land masses and oceans, lakes, rivers.  Next, during this same period, God caused the land to produce vegetation.  Plants need light, so we can rightly assume that the sun was already in existence and that Haley’s interpretation is likely the truth.

During the fourth time period the mists rolled away, revealing the sun, moon, and other heavenly bodies to anyone located on the face of the Earth.

Now it gets even more interesting in that during the fifth time period God says, “Let the water team with living creatures, and let birds fly above the Earth across the expanse of the sky.”  Many of today’s scientists believe that life, particularly intelligent life, began in the oceans.  They have also presented the theory that after some of these life forms had developed to the point where they could crawl up onto land, some of them developed further into flying creatures such as the pterodactyl.

Next comes the sixth time period in which God says, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.”  Please note that God says, “Let the land produce,” rather than “let there be.”  This indicates a creative process rather than a single creative act.  When God created light he said, “Let there be light.”  But here he says, “Let the land produce living creatures.”  Let’s remind ourselves here that the bodies of animals, like those of man, are made up of the elements of the Earth.

It is also interesting that God did not use a separate time period for his final act of creation–mankind–but included Adam and Eve in this sixth time period in which the land produced living creatures.  In describing the creative process involved in making Adam, the account gets even more specific on the earth-soil connection than it does with the animals.  In Genesis 2:7, the Bible says, “And the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being.”  So we see that Adam was also produced by the land, as were the lower animals.

The big difference, however, is that we are told that God breathed the breath of life into Adam.  This is not said of the previous lower animals and therefore is very significant.

 

To better understand the creation account we must now go into a matter that Christians have been turning a blind eye to during past centuries right up to the present.  Maybe the matter has never been dealt with as it would have been had the leadership been there along with a sincere desire for truth on the part of Christians in general.  This is the basic matter of the meaning of good and evil and how it relates to a number of things such as guilt, generations of offspring, man’s obvious tendency to do evil as well as good, and the doctrine of original sin.

We have already started on this by earlier realizing that love, which is at the heart of all goodness, cannot be forced on anyone–that is to say, no one can be forced to be loving.  It is a matter of free will.  It is the same with the matter of good in general.  No one can be forced to be good.  No one can be forced to be evil.  To say that this can be done is to make the words, good and evil meaningless.

We also saw that God has decreed what is good and what is evil.  Love is good; hatred and apathy are evil.  Kindness is good; cruelty is evil; truth is good; falsehood is evil.  There are further breakdowns and ramifications, but we know the basic differences between good and evil.  Now it is important, if the reader is to follow my reasoning, to accept the above as being a good defining of the meaning of good and evil; for I have found, particularly with Christians, that they have a problem with the definition of evil once it challenges certain previously held beliefs.

I am thinking specifically of the belief of many of them that animals are not evil.  I love animals very much.  This does not prevent me from being honest about the rather obvious fact that many species are very evil indeed.  An honest study of nature will assure anyone that, according to any sensible definition of evil, there is no way that animals can be called entirely good.  Like human beings, they are a mixture of good and evil, but some species are more evil than others.

For those who have doubts, let’s be more specific.  What do you call it when a pack of wolves brings down a deer, rips its guts out, and feeds on the poor beast while it’s still alive?  How about the thorn bird?  He preys on smaller birds, catches them and then impales them on thorns for later eating–a sort of bird crucifixion; maybe that’s where the Romans got the idea.  I could go on and on pointing out the cruelties done by animals.  Cats don’t just kill mice or birds and eat them; they wound them and then play with them, tormenting them for lengthy periods of time before eating them.  If someone thinks that these horrendous acts are not evil, then I would like to hear that someone’s definition of evil.

I think that most people who say that animals are not evil, particularly Christians, do so at least in part because they don’t want to come face to face with what then becomes a difficult philosophical problem:  God created the animals.  God would not create something evil, for God is good.  How, then, can the animals be evil?  Compounding the problem is the obvious fact that animals are well equipped in their bodily design to carry out their dastardly deeds.  The wolf has fangs; some snakes have not only fangs but fangs that ejaculate poison into their victims.  Etc.

Rather than ridiculously trying to snuff out the problem by declaring that animals are good little beasts who can tear one another to shreds without being labeled evil monsters, we should look for truthful answers.  I have found that doing so casts much light on the meanings of the creation account which then, in turn, helps us to understand life in general–for the Bible was meant to do that for those of us who look for truth.

All right; where does this take us?

We’ve already found that God, to be God, must be completely good.  (See Chapter 13.)

We can see clearly that animals have much evil in them–are born that way and come equipped with the physical means to carry out that evil.

No one can make anyone be evil; it must be a choice of a creature with a free will.

Logic decrees that if an animal is born evil he must necessarily have had a previous existence in which he had a choice to be good or evil and chose to be evil–or at least chose to be partly evil.

There is no escape from the above logic, for to say that God created an evil animal would be both blasphemous toward God, and illogical as well in the sense that we already know that no one forces anyone to be evil.  If (and this is totally wrong) God made wolves to tear apart deer and eat parts of them while they are still alive, and gave the wolves no choice in the matter, it would be God who was doing the cruelty.  I would never give any credibility to such a blasphemous thought.

Standard Christian theology on this and related matters, however, has painted Christians into an uncomfortable corner.  One belief that keeps them there is strong teaching against reincarnation of any kind.  This has come about because false religions have embraced this doctrine and so Christian teachers have rejected it out of hand.

Reincarnation as taught by the non-Christian religions is quite false, as is the bulk of their teaching, and there is not one frog hopping around that was once your great aunt.  We will likely go into this misleading stuff in greater detail later on, but right now I would like to keep our concentration on the logic of recognizing that:

(1) God is completely good and would not create an evil being, and yet (2) there are many evil creatures around who were born evil and who no longer have a choice in the matter.  (3)  Since all life ultimately comes from God, and since God is completely good, evil must originate in the creatures he has made and given a free choice in the matter of whether they want to be good or evil and how good or how evil.  (4)  If a creature is born already evil, we have no logical choice but to conclude that if he didn’t make his choice in his present body he must of necessity have made it in a previous existence.

 

Another way in which Christian teachers have helped to paint their flocks into a corner is by propagating a particular phony battle–that of the argument between the evolutionists on the one side, and the creationists on the other.  It’s a phony battle because according to the creation account in the Bible, evolution is an integral part of creation.  The two are not at all opposed.

The argument, then, should not be between creation and evolution, but between creation, which involves evolution, and materialistic, Godless evolution (which latter I’ve already shown in Part One to be a ludicrous concept).  But many Christians, deceived into thinking that the controversy is between evolution and creation, come up with all kinds of straw-grasping to try to disprove evolution.  The result is that their lack of clear thinking is observed by non-Christians and so works against the cause of Christ rather than for it.

I will now start putting things together in a way that will give new insights into the creation account and so will help to solve problems that Christians have not been willing to face up to even though these problems have concerned them.

 

Since God is infinite, there is no sense in assuming that our cosmos, and our various species of creatures on the planet Earth, including humans, are the first of such worlds that God has ever created.  In fact, for those of us who believe in the truth of the entire Bible, there is at least one Scripture segment that tells us about previous creation.  In the Book of Job, 38:4-7, God is expanding Job’s concept of the greatness of God as compared to the relative smallness of Job.  God says, “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?  Tell me, if you understand.  Who marked off its dimensions?  Surely you know?  Who stretched a measuring line across it?  On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone–while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?”  A footnote tells us that the word angels is really, in the Hebrew, sons of God.  (So they should have translated it that way, because that would have made it more meaningful and accurate. The word angels means messengers of God, not sons of God.)

The fact remains that the Bible states that God said that when he was laying the foundations of the Earth, there were created beings there shouting for joy at what was happening.  They were part of a previous world and had a front-row seat at watching the creation of a new one.  The belief in the existence of previous worlds, supported by Scripture, is important to our understanding of the creation account in Genesis of this present world.

This is a good place to point out another misconception held by many Christians:  We have been taught that there are angels in Heaven, who also do some good works on Earth–usually invisibly–and that these angels were each created individually and do not have the power to have offspring.  Yes, there are angels, and, according to the Bible, they can be found in Heaven and also on Earth, sometimes invisible and sometimes visible.

But there is nothing in the Bible that says they can’t regenerate–have offspring–nor that they are all of the same kind, nor that Heaven and Earth are the only two places where they can be found.  In the Old Testament, as we’ve already seen, they are sometimes referred to as the sons of God.  The thing about them not being able to regenerate comes from humankind’s feelings of discomfort in regard to sexuality (and there’s good reason for that discomfort as we’ll see shortly).  Angels, after all, are holy beings (except for the fallen ones) and since sex has a bad reputation on Earth, Christians have thought it irreverent to think of angels engaged in sexual activities.  And there is the Scripture section in the Gospel According to Matthew 22:23-30, in which Jesus tells someone that there is no marriage in the Kingdom of God.  He says that those who are or will be considered worthy of being in that kingdom will be like the angels, neither giving nor being given in marriage.  We must be honest however, realizing that Jesus was talking about marriage; there is really nothing there to indicate that he was including all possibilities of righteous sex taking place in some other context.

If you are shocked at the thought of the possibility of sex without marriage, you need to take a look at the beginning of marriage and its reasons.  We will do that when we look more closely at the creation of Adam and Eve and their fall from grace.  That angels, or sons of God, have the ability to have offspring is more than suggested by Genesis 6:1,2:  “When men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose.”  This part of the Bible goes on to say that the offspring resulting from this union between the sons of God and the daughters of men were “the heroes of old, men of renown.”

(Although this is not the main issue here, I should point out that although the NIV translation uses the word marriage, thus seeming contradictory to the Scripture in Matthew 22:23-30 in which Jesus states that angels don’t marry, the King James Version of Genesis 6:1,2 is translated as “… took them wives …” casting doubt on both of these translations, for this particular part of the Bible.  This is because the Hebrew word translated as wives (ishshah) in the King James Version basically means woman.  Therefore that part of Genesis 6:1,2 should probably read, “ … the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful and they took of them women for themselves of any of them they chose.”)

There is no mention made as to whether or not God approved of this cross breeding, only that the human race in general was becoming very wicked.  Some Bible interpreters have gone into (what seems to me) rather wild speculation on who these particular sons of God were.  They assume that they had to be evil, apparently because otherwise they wouldn’t have been involved in sex!–and they conjecture about whether they had the magical power of temporarily being able to manifest physical bodies so they could do the sex act.  This seemed necessary to these interpreters, because they have convinced themselves, without any Scriptures to support them, that angels or sons of God do not have physical bodies, but, rather, spiritual bodies.

They seem to find some evidence, in regard to this physical, spiritual difference in some verses in the New Testament written by the Apostle Paul.  This is 1 Corinthians 15:44, where he says that Christians, at the resurrection, will receive new bodies and that they will be spiritual bodies.  I believe the problem here is that what the average person of today means by the words physical and spiritual is quite different from what Paul intended.  We can see this because of what the Bible says about what these spiritual bodies can do–both those of angels written about throughout the Old and New Testaments, and in prophesies of what human beings will do in the future in the new spiritual bodies that followers of Christ will receive at the resurrection.

For instance, in Genesis 32:24-30, Jacob wrestles all night with an apparently supernatural being, yet referred to as “a man.”  Jacob had a physical body, so how could he wrestle with this supernatural being if such beings do not have physical bodies as we understand the word physical today?  And in Revelation 19:11-20:6, after the resurrection in which Christians receive these new “spiritual” bodies, Jesus defeats the physical armies of Earth, sets up his kingdom on this physical planet, and, together with his followers, rules the Earth for a thousand years.

Today, we use the word physical as referring to material things made up of molecules, atoms, etc.; and we use the word spiritual to refer to non-material things such as love and hatred.  It seems quite clear that whatever word Paul was using in his original Greek manuscript when he said that we would one day have spiritual bodies, he did not mean immaterial bodies.  The bodies of heavenly angels and the future bodies of resurrected humans will be made of different and superior stuff than what constitutes the bodies of humans today, for God has declared that “… flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God …” (1 Corinthians 15:50); but the Bible does not give any indication that angel bodies or resurrected bodies are lacking in material solidity.

I should also point out here that the phrase, “flesh and blood,” is more of a label than a careful description.  This can be seen in that after Jesus had died on the cross in his flesh and blood body and was resurrected in his new body, he told his frightened disciples, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?  Look at my hands and my feet.  It is I myself!  Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” (Luke 24:38,39)  The label that God uses for the normal, present human body is “flesh and blood,” and Jesus referred to his resurrected body as “flesh and bone.”  This does not mean that resurrected bodies don’t have any circulation; it means that “flesh and blood” as used in the Bible is a label referring to the material that Adam and Eve and their descendant’s bodies were/are made of, and that Jesus was speaking descriptively, revealing that the resurrected bodies (that Paul later referred to as spiritual bodies) have both a skeleton and flesh (although of a different makeup), and also likely a variety of organs at least somewhat similar to today’s human bodies.  To support that last point with Scripture we need only to go on from where we were reading to the next four verses:  “When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet.  And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, ‘Do you have anything here to eat?’  They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate in their presence.”  This should clearly settle the matter for anyone who believes in the Bible; after all, what could be more indicative of physical organs–such as a stomach–than the ability to eat a physical fish.  The Bible calls Jesus the firstfruits of the resurrection, meaning that he was the first to be resurrected and the rest of us–his followers–have to wait until later when we’ve been made spiritually ready for it.  So we too will be able to eat in our new bodies.

 

 

CHAPTER 20: CREATION—TWO

 

LET’S GO BACK to the beginning of the creation account and go on from there, keeping in mind some of the philosophical matters we’ve already come through, and looking for answers to the difficult issues that Christians have not been willing to look at honestly.  The matters covered in the previous chapter will help us much in understanding the creation account; so, when necessary, please check back to that chapter, or to any earlier part of the book.

 

As we’ve already seen, the creation account in the Bible begins as follows:  “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  Now the earth was formless and empty and darkness was over the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”  The Bible then carries on with the six days of creation.

On the first day God created light.

Here is what I propose as an interpretation:

God, being infinite, may have created any number of worlds, universes, reality systems, before the cosmos we live in came into being.  I think the first line of the Bible may be telling about a previous cosmos.  It also had stars (“… the heavens …”) and at least one planet enough like Earth to be called that (“… and the earth …”)

Since the earth, or matter, is then described as being “formless and empty,” and since darkness was over the surface of the deep, we could think that this might be a description of one of God’s universes in a state of destruction or collapse.  There are other interpretations, and God knows the truth about it, but for now it does not seem hard to believe that we are reading about a kind of destruction that today’s theoretical physicists have sometimes speculated could happen to our own universe:  It could quit expanding and collapse.  Eventually not only all the matter but also all light would be drawn into the predominant black hole and there would be absolute darkness.  This situation might also easily qualify as “formless and empty.”

Physicists speculate about what would eventually happen to the ever shrinking black hole as it grows more and more dense.  I think some have proposed, among other things, that the dense material might eventually reach a point of allowing no further compression and explode in another big bang–thus starting another cosmos.

I would add, and they would probably agree, that some even more awesome and basic changes might take place during this transition from imploding into greater and greater density to exploding all over a new cosmos.  The reason I say this is because if all the particles being compressed in the black hole eventually became so compressed that they lost their individual identities and became truly one thing (no longer atoms, electrons, quarks, or anything else), it would at that point cease to exist.  Why?  Logically, one object cannot exist by itself because (1) there can be no motion-time if there is only one object, for with only one object it has no other object to go to or to go away from.  (2) With no motion-time there can be no space for an object to move through.  (3) With no space there can be no matter (no object) to separate.  Hence, I reiterate, one object cannot exist by itself.

I suggest that if and when a cosmos collapsed into a black hole, at the sort of “timeless moment” when the many particles would become one object or were about to, something drastic would happen.  Since God’s rules of logic do not seem to allow one object to exist by itself, the highly compressed material would cease to exist in the space/matter/motion-time continuum it was in and would transfer to a new one, under God’s direction.  This new one, however, would have to be entirely new, being a new set of space/matter/ and motion-time, yet based on the old.  And now, since at its very creation this new set would include matter that was highly compressed, it would explode in a tremendous primal burst of light, heat, and energy, all according to laws of physics that God had decreed.

“And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.”

Then,
as the heavenly bodies swirled about into the forms of galaxies, suns, and planets, etc., some parts would be bright and some dark, separating the light from the darkness, just as the Bible says.

 

We’ve already sufficiently covered the next day of  creation–the second day–adopting the theory expressed in Haley’s Handbook (and probably elsewhere) that during this time period God used his laws of nature to form a canopy of water around the planet called Earth, with a space between the canopy and the surface of the Earth.  The canopy of water would have the visual effect of a heavily overcast sky so that the sun, moon, and stars, already created, could not be seen as objects in the sky from a viewpoint on the surface of the Earth.  Their light would be very diffused.  At this time there was no rain, and the ground, as the Bible relates, was watered with streams and/or mists.

 

On the third day, or time period, of creation, after God has separated the oceans from the land masses, he said, “Let the land produce vegetation: …”

Now here we find a possible divergence from the doctrines of standard evolution theory.  I think the standard is that plant life first formed in or on the ocean and that eventually some of that (perhaps a kind of plankton) formed the right combinations to develop toward eventually becoming some simple life form that eventually evolved into a fishlike creature.  But the creation chronology of the Bible indicates that land plant life evolved before any kind of life evolved in the oceans.  Of course, there may have been overlap; but land vegetation must have been started before any other kind of life came into being.

However, we know that plants of any kind require moisture to live, so to come into being they would also require moisture.  We have already seen that the Earth was well watered at this time, with the streams or mists, so evolutionists should not have too hard a time with this.  If plant life could start in the ocean, it could just as easily start in the moisture of soil.  Under God’s guiding hand, this simple original plant life–whatever it was–evolved into a great variety of forms.  As God said in Genesis, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.”

 

We have already discussed the fourth day of creation in which God cleared away the mists enough so that the sun, moon, and stars became visible to an observer on Earth.  We can learn, from this segment of the account that the revealing of these lights in the sky had some particular purposes other than just allowing more sunlight to reach Earth.  Not only would they clearly separate day from night, allowing a waking and sleeping pattern for the soon-to-be inhabitants of Earth, but would also help by indicating an orderly, easy to follow, way of keeping track of the cycle of things.  God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.”  This puts more meaning into the way the creation account presents God as first creating the actual sun as part of the light sources in the universe, along with other burning stars and reflecting planets and satellites (“Let there be light”), and then later reveals one of these suns and one satellite to the surface of the Earth where (once the Earth is inhabited by creatures) they will be able to see the two light-giving heavenly bodies that will be by far the most significant to them.

 

On the fifth day animal life began in the oceans, lakes, rivers, and streams, and from there moved into the skies.  This tells me that lower-intelligent animal life began in the water (probably in the ocean water since there’s so much of it), just as scientists who delve into the evolution theory have been saying.  But it also tells me that these scientists are wrong in thinking that the first such creature to leave the ocean crawled out to become some sort of lizard, stuck close to the Earth’s surface by gravity.  Rather, I see that when life left the ocean it did so on wings.  This makes sense too in that if life first came about somewhere in the middle of the ocean, an evolutionary attempt to get out of the ocean would be easier going directly to the air perhaps only a few feet above them, than to work toward getting out on a shore that might be thousands of miles away.  One could speculate that these first winged creatures initially made only short “leaps” through the air, but in time (after many generations) developed the ability to fly longer distances.

 

In Part One we discussed how ridiculous the concept is that conscious, sentient life could come out of the physical or material.  That is like the ancient Egyptian belief that mice running around on the banks of the Nile were lumps of mud come to life.  It is the physical that comes out of sentient life, namely that of God.

You could have all the ingredients needed for physical life coming together in some spot in the primeval ocean, and you could shake them up any way you wanted to, but there would be no sentient or conscious life resulting.  If you had the know-how you might create a robot fish, or a robot swimming or flying lizard.  This thing might be flesh and blood and it might move about according to programming that you fed into its flesh-and-blood “computer” brain.  But it would not have any awareness of being.  Nor would it have any freedom of will.  It would behave only according to programming, chance (if there is such a thing), and strict laws of cause and effect.  It would not have a mind of its own nor any sense of being.  Yet the animals of this Earth, whether in the ocean or on land, give every indication of being conscious beings, and the higher ones–such as dogs and cats, for instance–show evidence of having free wills.

If animal life began in the ocean, where did their conscious minds come from.  (By minds I don’t mean brains; the brains are physical, like the rest of the body, but the mind is not physical; consciousness is not physical; character is not physical; freedom of choice is not physical–and so on.)  So where did all these non-physical animal minds come from?

I propose that they came from some previous world that God had created, and that, in that world, they had been given a choice, by God, to do good or evil and had chosen evil.

I believe that God gives many of his creatures the privilege of playing a part in creating who they eventually become.  Certainly to some degree all Christians would agree with this: if we insist on doing bad things we become worse.  A sweet old lady who has lived most of her life trying to please God and being good to those around her, is not the same as an old hag who has been selfish and evil and cruel throughout her life.  They each played a part in becoming what they are.  They each had a choice in what they wanted to be.  So you can see that we are all somewhat involved in the creative process, actually helping God to create ourselves.

As we studied earlier, love is very important to God, and the irony of love is that it must be freely done or it is meaningless.  For it to be freely done, the doer must have a choice of doing or not doing.  This opens up a can of worms:  If the person in question chooses not to love, he becomes either apathetic and selfish or cruel and selfish, either of which bring degrees of unhappiness to God and others and to himself.  Since free choice is so involved in all this, I think God has worked out a system that allows free-willed beings to basically have what they want.

I also believe that, since the physical comes out of the spiritual, God has worked out a system so that the body of a free-willed being is appropriate to the mind of that individual.  That is why wolves have fangs.  That is why deer have lithe bodies and slender but powerful legs.  The mind of a wolf is set on hunting and killing and filling his belly at the expense of some other being.  The mind of a deer, in this regard, is set on running fast, escaping, and hiding.

I believe–and have found nothing in the Bible to contradict this belief–that every member of every conscious life form on this planet, from elephants to potato bugs, etc., (other than human), are what they are because in a previous universe they made choices that turned their souls into what they are today.  When their souls were transferred to this present universe and to this planet, they received bodies that were appropriate to what their souls had become.

Maybe they had to wait in some in-between world or prison of the soul.  As bodies became available, first in the oceans, then in the air, and then on land, the souls found homes–bodies–that suited their needs.

We don’t know what their previous bodies were like as they lived in their previous worlds and made choices that determined their future states, but one thing we can be sure of:  Those bodies were not designed for selfishness and cruelty, for God makes only good things.  But by rejecting God’s love and direction, they chose to be wicked, to varying degrees, and God saw fit to set up a system through which they would have bodies appropriate to the minds and characters they had chosen for themselves.

We can make some intelligent guesses, rather generalized, about what kind of being some of our animal friends were in a previous world.  The main thing to consider here is in regard to what species this particular animal belongs to.  Some species are easier to get opinions on than others.  In fact, the easiest way of all to come to some opinions in this matter is to break up Earth’s animals into two groups–the beasts of prey, and those preyed upon.  But there are many other distinctions, some very subtle.

The animals who prey on other animals for food at once suggest that in their previous higher lives they willingly chose to take advantage of others for their own gain.  Some of them were courageous and daring in this selfishness (which makes us think of a lion), while others were sneaky and fearful, but still took advantage of others for their own selfish gain (like a hyena or a snake).  Some chose to be stupid, others preferred to exercise their wits.

But one thing they all had in common:  They didn’t want anything to do with God.

In spite of what many animal lovers think when they write poems about birds praising God in song, etc., there is not one real indication that any of the animals on Earth (apart from humans) have ever done anything to suggest that they are aware of God.

However, I think that all dogs were once idol worshippers in the worlds that their souls came from.  I say this because they do, in fact, worship humans.  At one time they had the choice of worshipping the true God who made them, or worshipping some lesser god or idol or power or wealth; something that was more important to them than God.  So they got what they wanted.  Now they have no awareness of God and replace him in their self-limited souls with worshipping human beings.  This is an unspeakably great loss to them, but it’s what they wanted and its what they got.

 

There is a repeated line in the creation account which has been used by some Christians to try to prove that there was no evolution involved in creation.  The line is, “… after their kind,” or “according to their kind.”  This is used in the Bible as follows:  “So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind.”  (Genesis 1:21)  Then, again:  “And God said, ‘Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.’  And it was so.  God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds.  And God saw that it was good.”  (Genesis 1:24,25.  In this above paragraph, the italics are mine.)

It has been said that this shows that God created each species separately (each according to their kinds) rather than that one evolved out of another.  I propose another interpretation, and one that is more in line with the creation-account line that says, “… let the land produce …”

Keeping in mind the logic I’ve already presented in regard to the problem of how animals could be born evil when created by God who is completely good–namely that they chose to be evil in another life in some other world–let me propose that “according to their own kinds” means that they were given bodies that were appropriate to their souls.  The previous being who, in some other world, disregarded God and trampled over his fellows for his own ends, hurting and killing for his own physical enrichment, was given a body “after his own kind,” possibly that of a flesh-hungry lion or tiger.  And a cowardly being, also rejecting God in his life, and fleeing from danger rather than bravely standing up to protect himself and his family and friends, could well find himself inhabiting the body of a deer or grub, depending on other factors or what was important to him.  He also would receive a body “according to his kind.”  He would receive a body according to the kind of person he had chosen to be in his previous life in another world.  (I think that some even became plant life and that plants are conscious beings although their sentience is on a very low level.)

 

I also believe that other parts of the Bible, including the Book of Revelation, show that the same system is in place for human beings presently living on this planet.  Those who continue to reject God until their minds are fully made up about that, and do not avail themselves of God’s forgiveness and renewal through Jesus, will, in fact, get what they want.  The day will come when they will find themselves in some newly created world, with no knowledge or memory of God, and with bodies that suit what they have made of their souls.

The Bible’s Book of Revelation teaches plainly that there will be at least two resurrections–the first for followers of Jesus, and another for those who have rejected him.  Read Revelation 20, the whole chapter.  And do not make the assumption that the bodies received in the second resurrection are human bodies.  The Bible does not say that they are.  It seems appropriate that they are not, for why would God allow these persons who have consistently rejected him and the destiny of humanity to have the honor of living in human bodies or of being called human?

The non-human animals of Earth are the damned of some other world or worlds.

This world that we call Earth is a part–only a part–of the great Lake of Fire so well described in the Book of Revelation.  The rest of it is made up of a number of other worlds in other systems of reality in God’s creation.  The number of them may be infinite, just as the number of God’s beautiful, happy worlds may be infinite.  After all, God is infinite, so can we rightly assume a limit to his creativity?

I expect that many or all of the bad worlds, including Earth, have some things in common.  One of such things is likely the refining aspect.  Revelation 19:20 says that the lake of fire burns with sulfur.  The King James version uses the word brimstone for sulfur, but a quick look into chemistry tells us that brimstone is a type of sulfur, which was what the King James translators preferred to call it.  There is likely significance to the naming of this ingredient, which I have not yet become totally aware of, but, in any case, we all know what fire is.

Fire destroys; fire refines; fire cleanses.  And fire is painful.  If we look at what is happening here on Earth, it is easy to find these four things going on; but to see it one must interpret it through Christian teachings–the teachings of the Bible.  And so, to understand it, and many other things, we must now go back to Day Six of creation.

 

 

CHAPTER 21: CREATION—THREE

WE HAVE ALREADY SEEN that God used a process to create Adam and Eve.  He did not say, “Let there be Adam; let there be Eve.”  According to the creation account in the Bible, he shaped Adam out of the dust of the Earth until Adam was ready for the next stage of the operation:  God breathed into Adam the breath of life, and Adam became a living being.  That is found in Genesis 2:7b.

Then God took a part of Adam’s side and made Eve out of it.  Knowing what we know today about DNA, it is pretty safe to say that God took a cell from Adam and made a modified clone out of it–modified to be female.  Eve was the last part of God’s Earthly creation and his masterpiece of beauty for that time and place.

So the overview is that God made a cosmos and in that cosmos he featured at least one planet in a particular galaxy and solar system and prepared it to be part of his great plan to have, or to add to, what God is all about–love.  This love expresses itself in God’s making of creatures with a free will who can freely choose to love and so become a part of a great family with God as their father.  These creatures receive his love, love him and worship him, and love one another.

We have already seen that this matter of love is highly ironic in that in order for love to be real, the individual who loves must logically be free to love or not to love.  Because of this necessary freedom, some of God’s creatures have freely chosen to reject God and his plan of love.

But God, being completely loving himself, has come up with a way to rescue those members of the human race who have made unloving decisions but who are willing to let God rescue them.

God, knowing all things, had this rescue plan in place before he made Adam; it was always there in God’s loving mind.

The creation of Planet Earth was a part of that plan.

The creation of plant life on Earth was a part of that plan.

The creation of non-human animal life on Earth, which involved homes (bodies) for some of the souls who had totally rejected him in another world, or worlds, was a part of that plan.

When Adam and Eve sinned, willfully choosing the path of not loving (of hurting God, hurting each other, hurting themselves) the stage was already set by God for their redemption, if they chose to accept it.

This stage involved a lot of things, which we’ll go into in further detail as we carry on with this study, but one of the things it involved was the evil of the lost souls from previous worlds who found themselves in animal bodies on the face of the Earth, in its holes and burrows in the ground, in the sky, and in the oceans and other bodies of water.  This included the great lumbering elephants, down to insects, and smaller.

When God first created Adam and Eve, he protected them from all this above-mentioned evil by putting them in a special controlled environment called The Garden of Eden, where they would not be overwhelmed or harmed by all the evil of the creatures (some a lot worse than others) that inhabited the planet.

However, in order for Adam and Eve to be allowed a true free choice between following good or following evil, it was, of course, necessary for them to come in contact with both.  From the very start they had contact with God, their loving creator, and God gave them a pleasant environment with everything they needed for a happy life at that time.

But they were not robots; they had a free will and needed to make that all-important choice:  Would they choose to follow good by returning love to God who was lavishing love on them, or would they choose evil by rejecting the all-wise God who had made them?

The Garden of Eden, as beautiful as it was, needed to have within it the means by which the free will of Adam and Eve could be tested.  This brings us to the fascinating matters of (1) the Tree of Life, (2) the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and (3) the serpent.  These matters are covered in Genesis 2 and 3, in the account of the temptation and testing of the first humans.

The Bible often speaks in plain, literal ways, but often, also, in parables and symbolism.  Sometimes it seems that certain passages have double meanings–one literal, the other symbolic.  It becomes important to know when the Bible is speaking literally and when symbolically, and when both.  As in all search for truth, by Christians, the way to go about this is to be led by the guiding Spirit of God, directly, and also through logic, and through the written word of God, the Bible.

The student of the Bible will find that there are certain similarities between the Garden of Eden in the first book of the Bible in Genesis, and the New Earth as described in the last book of the Bible, Revelation.  A river flows through both of them, and the Tree of Life is in both of them.  Only one Tree of Life is mentioned as being in the Garden of Eden.  In the New Earth, however, the Tree of Life grows along both sides of the river, being nourished by its waters.  This water comes from the heart of God himself and is called, The River of Life.  Since the trees of life are on the river banks, obviously to be nourished by the river, it would seem that these trees of life are none other than those who are a part of God’s loving family.

If so, then The Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden must be the same.  Also, there are places in the Bible where a tree is used as a symbol of a kingdom.  Read Ezekiel 31, in which Assyria and Egypt are symbolically referred to as trees, and, toward the end of the chapter even the trees of Eden are mentioned in this same tree-kingdom symbolism.  This all shapes up to suggest that all the trees in the Garden of Eden are symbolic of kingdoms.

Now, if you read about the matter in Genesis, you’ll find that God said that Adam and Eve were allowed to eat of the fruit of every tree in the garden except one–the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

So, there were three kinds of trees in the garden: (1) the regular trees, (2) the Tree of Life, and (3) the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Now, carrying on with the theory that tree, in all these usages–including the tree mentioned in the New-Earth account in the Book of Revelation–is symbolic of kingdom, what do we have?

It would seem that the Garden of Eden was not just a little patch with a few fruit trees, but an area large enough to accommodate several kingdoms.  Here is my theory on what types of kingdoms were there:

I think that the “regular trees” were kingdoms or communities of free-choice individuals (not human, and not the animals of the Earth we’ve already discussed) who had at some point been given much the same choice that Adam and Eve had been given–the choice between good and evil–and, contrary to what Adam and Eve did, they had made the choice to obey God.

The Tree of Life kingdom, I think, was made up of free-will creatures of God who had fallen into sin but had then been redeemed by the grace and sacrificial love of God, just as the human race would one day have the opportunity to have their sins forgiven in that way.  I know this has amazing ramifications, which I’ll try to go into later.

I think that the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was a kingdom made up of those free-will creatures who made the wrong choice in the first place and then made another wrong choice in rejecting God’s sacrificial forgiveness and salvation.  However, since this would seem to throw them in with all the animals on the face of the Earth, there must be something to distinguish them from those; for all those animals are not in a kingdom within the Garden of Eden.

I here put forward the theory that they were what could be called the Snake People.  It sounds a bit fantastic, so why did I come up with that?  For the following reasons:

The Bible, in Genesis, includes snakes along with the other creatures.  “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made.”  (Genesis 3:1-a)  And in Genesis 3:14 when God curses the serpent for having lied to and tempted Adam and Eve, the curse seems to be on a whole species:  “Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals!  You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.”  To this day we have creatures with us that crawl on their bellies and we call some of them snakes or serpents.  Since this was the curse, it stands to reason that before the curse they did not crawl on their bellies–hence a kind of creature that I have ventured to call snake people.

In connection with such a theory, it is relevant to read further in regard to the curse.  Genesis 3:15 continues with this:  “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”  There is surely double prophetic meaning here.

First of all, with these mutated creatures crawling about through many parts of the planet, poison dripping from their fangs, it is easy to see the fulfillment of the prophesy about enmity between the serpent’s offspring and Eve’s.  In the same way the part of the curse about head and heel is easy to see, for mankind has been bitten by snakes (having his heel struck) ever since and has been trampling on snakes to kill them (crushing their heads) at just about every opportunity.

The head-heel part of the prophecy has also been taken by Bible scholars to refer to Jesus being tormented by Satan and Jesus defeating Satan by his death and resurrection.  I believe this to be a correct interpretation.

If you read the prophecy carefully you will see that God says the snake’s offspring will be at enmity with the woman’s offspring; but then, that “He (the woman’s offspring) will crush your head (the snake himself, not his offspring) and “you (the snake himself, not his offspring) will strike his (Eve’s offspring) heel.”

Let’s look into the overall matter a little more.  Whereas the other animals were outside of the Garden of Eden (perhaps sometimes brought in under control–the account doesn’t really tell us anything about that, but, at least, we get the impression that they weren’t running amuck within the garden), the snake people, I think, were basically located within the garden.  One of them certainly was; later parts of the Bible identify him by the name of Satan.  In the theory I’m putting forward, he was the leader, or king, of the snake-people who had a kingdom within the Garden of Eden–one of the number of kingdoms (symbolically trees) in the garden.

So, how was it that these particular animals–the snake people–were living aloof from the other animals?  Genesis 3:1-a, which I’ve already quoted, says, “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals that the Lord God had made.”  The serpents were more intelligent.

Among animals on Earth today, as then, there are varying degrees of intelligence among the species.  At that time, one species stood out as being much more intelligent than the others of the lost-souls category.  They may also have been more intelligent than the humans–Adam and Eve.

In any case, it appears that it was their high intelligence, along with a particular plan of God, that set them apart and allowed them to live in their own civilized kingdom within the Garden of Eden.

Remember that God was giving Adam and Eve a chance to make a free-willed choice in regard to whether they would follow God, obeying him and following all his ways of love, or disobeying him and following selfish, anti-love evil.  God communicated with them in the Garden of Eden, showed them love; and they knew he was their Creator.  The irony was that if they too could love, they needed a choice: to love or not to love; to follow truth or to follow falsehood; to obey God or to disobey him.

They needed to be challenged so that they would make their decisions.  They needed to be presented with something evil so that they could use their free will to reject it.  In God’s economy, he could bring Adam’s and Eve’s attention to some evil already in existence and so challenge them with it.  That, I believe, was why he allowed the damned community of the serpent-people to be right there in what otherwise was a paradise.

The other exceptional community in the Garden of Eden was the Kingdom of Life, made up of individuals who had, in some previous world, chosen to disobey God, but had then accepted his forgiveness through his sacrificing love and therefore been granted eternal life and great glory.

In other words, it had all happened before.  Every member of the Kingdom of Life had once, like Adam and Eve, been faced with making a decision between eating of the Tree of Life or the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  They had chosen wrongly, had been sentenced to spiritual death, but later, after much tribulation, had been redeemed by the sacrificial love of God.

So, here stood Adam and Eve, facing the same test as those others had once faced.  They could eat of any tree in the garden, including that of the Tree of Life, or they could eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil if they preferred to disobey God.  And they were warned that if they ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil they would die.

Now, according to this interpretation, what does it really mean to have a knowledge of good and evil, in the context of this part of the Book of Genesis?  And what does it mean to “eat the fruit of”?

If the trees are kingdoms, what is eating the fruit?

In Genesis 3:6, in regard to the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, we read:  “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for obtaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.  She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.”  (It is important to note that the Hebrew word here translated as husband is a word that just as well means man, without any necessary connection to marriage.  This is important if, as I believe, marriage was instituted by God after the fall of Adam and Eve rather than before.)

So Eve saw that the fruit (from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil) was good for food, and pleasing to the eye, and desirable for obtaining wisdom.  One could say that it was capable of being absorbed into one’s being (as food is and becomes part of the body), was beautiful, and allowed one to learn something new, although that something was forbidden knowledge.

Now let’s look at another Scripture about something Adam and Eve did after they had eaten of the forbidden fruit.  Genesis 3:7, in the NIV reads:  “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.”  However, a check with Strong’s Concordance shows that the Hebrew word translated as coverings is really much more specific than that.  The word means something in the nature of a belt for the waist, an apron, or armor (apparently for that middle part of the body).  The King James’ translation uses the word apron, thus being a more accurate translation than the NIV in this instance.

According to the meanings of the word used, I think it’s pretty safe to say that Adam and Eve were covering up their genitals.  After all, they did not make hats out of fig leaves to cover their heads, nor shirts to cover their breasts, nor shoes to cover their feet.  They made something like a belt or apron to cover whatever that would cover.  Their male and female normally-exposed main sexual equipment would be the obvious answer as to what they wished to cover.  And members of mankind over almost all of the world, ever since, have shown a strange inclination to keep their genitals covered.

Why were Adam and Eve suddenly ashamed of these natural body parts?  It would seem–wouldn’t it?–that they had done something with them that they shouldn’t have.

What had they done?  If their sin was eating of the fruit of the forbidden Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and if this eating involved their sexual parts, what did they do?  We already read that the fruit of the tree was pleasing to the eye.

It looks to me that Eve was presented with a male member of one of the snake people, a humanoid biped, very beautiful and exciting to Eve’s eyes, and that she had sex with him.  He need not have been Satan, their leader, but he might have been; if not, at least it was Satan who tempted her to go ahead with the act, as we read in Genesis 3:1-5.

Eve, in turn, presented a female member of the snake people to Adam, probably because she (Eve) didn’t want to be alone in this forbidden sexual adventure.  Adam accepted the invitation, had sex with this beautiful, intelligent, but wicked creature, and the damage was done.  Adam and Eve, having made their choices, were expelled from the Garden of Eden and there were many ramifications.

But let’s go back a bit to before the act was committed.  If eating of the fruit means having sex, then this must also apply to the other trees in the garden.  In other words, at that point in time, before Adam and Eve had fallen into sin, marriage had not yet been instituted by God, and Adam and Eve were free to eat from any tree in the garden–except, of course, that one forbidden tree.

As wild as is seems, it would appear that sexual activity for the newly created man and woman was not restricted to being intimate with one another.  I’m assuming that–because natural, healthy-minded men and women are sexually attracted only to members of the opposite sex within the human species–the members of all the kingdoms in the Garden of Eden were humanoid in appearance.  They probably had some slight differences, but not anything different enough from species to species to inhibit sexual desire.

In a perfect world, or even a near perfect one, there would seem to be no reason for marriage; but in an evil, dangerous world, marriage becomes very important in order that children may be brought up within the security of families.

For some people reading this, that may be hard to see, for in our modern times marriage has become so degraded and abused that it may be hard for some to think of marriage as being able to provide security.  But when marriage is what it’s meant to be, with a dad and mother remaining faithful to one another and dedicated to the wellbeing of their offspring, it becomes a mighty fortress for the growing children and one of the biggest pillars of a successful society.

Our natural inclinations agree with the concept that the restrictions of marriage have been superimposed, by God, over what would have been the situation if Adam and Eve had not been disobedient.  Any normal man is attracted sexually to attractive women in general–not to just one, nor even to just half a dozen.  And women, although they are much more content with the concept of having only one sexual partner, also have times when they are sexually attracted to other men.  There are reasons for this slight difference in the sexuality between men and women, which we’ll soon go into; but the point here is that both men and woman are born into this world with an inbuilt programming that urges them to unite sexually with spiritually, mentally, and physically attractive members of the opposite sex in general.

If God had originally intended human beings to be sexually restricted to one partner, it doesn’t seem likely that he would have saddled Adam and Eve with this powerful desire to unite sexually with any number of persons of the opposite sex.

When they rebelled against God, however, they were put out of the Garden of Eden into a very different situation.  No longer were they in a safe, paradise place.  Now marriage was needed as a fortress for those fallen humans who would make an effort to follow love and goodness (even in their fallen state) and so be able to bring up their children within the loving confines of a family.  And even those who have followed a more evil road have, until recently, been under the influence of this belief in marriage and so have benefited greatly from it.  Well, actually, they’re still benefiting from it, but less and less as Christian morals, including belief in the sanctity of marriage, are no longer followed very closely by non-Christians.

One of the questions I put forward was, “What is the meaning of eating the fruit of?”  I’ve answered that according to my theory.  The other question was, “What does it mean to receive the knowledge of Good and Evil?”  I’ll present my thoughts on that now.

From reading Genesis 3:22, we learn that having a knowledge of good and evil is not bad in itself, for God possesses this knowledge, and God is completely good.  We also find that when Adam and Eve received the knowledge themselves, it shook them up tremendously.  They felt ashamed and naked and tried to hide themselves from God (Genesis 3:7,8).  The Bible teaches (Genesis 2:25) that before they had this knowledge, Adam and Eve were naked but were not ashamed.  Once they did the deed they knew they were naked and felt bad about it.  Hence, having the knowledge of good and evil meant, or at least included, having the knowledge that they were naked.

God, having a knowledge of good and evil, knew that they were naked all along, but Adam and Eve realized that they were naked only after they had disobeyed in the particular way that they did.

If the matter of nakedness is so significant here, then I submit for your consideration that being naked can have a spiritual meaning as well as a physical.  So, what does it mean to be spiritually naked?

If, after gaining this forbidden knowledge, Adam and Eve tried to hide from God (which they did), and if it was basically because of a realization of their spiritual nakedness that they hid, then what could we conclude that spiritual nakedness is?

I believe that all of mankind, having inherited the knowledge of good and evil from Adam and Eve (we’ll later go into how that inheriting process might work), have been hiding from God ever since.  So it could help us to know what spiritual nakedness is by thinking about why so many of today’s people hide from God.

People hide from God in more ways than one.  Some hide from him by denying his existence.  Some, although admitting to the existence of God, insist that he’s far away and that he doesn’t take a personal hand in anything–he has just wound up the clock, they say, and now he’s letting it run.  There are even some who worship God religiously but refuse to get close enough to him to enable them to submit to his personal guidance.  The sameness in all of these types is that they’re all terrified, as Adam was, of a close encounter with God.  Just thinking about closeness with God is enough to drive humans into hiding among the bushes of false philosophies that teach either that God doesn’t exist or that he’s far away.  Of course they can’t really admit that they’re terrified, for that would reveal the lies that they’re hiding behind; and, after a while, they have deceived themselves into believing their own lies, and so then they no longer feel fear (at least not so much on the surface) because they’ve buried it.

But Adam didn’t feel this terrible fear of God before he ate of the forbidden tree, and yet he knew that God was the Creator and more powerful than anyone else.  What was the new and fearful attitude about?

Why was this particular knowledge called the knowledge of good and evil?  Before Adam ate of the forbidden fruit didn’t he know the difference between good and evil?  We seem to accept that both he and Eve had some sense of right and wrong, otherwise how could they have made a responsible choice?  While contemplating these problems we should also consider that good and evil can also mean pleasant and unpleasant.  Did Adam and Eve, before eating of the forbidden fruit, have no concept of anything unpleasant?–no pain, no sorrow, no disappointments, etc.

That’s not likely the case.  For instance, we have no reason to believe that they could not feel pain, because pain is built right into the body for the good purpose of protecting us from hurting ourselves.  We hit our thumb with a hammer and know immediately that we should take more careful aim at the nail we’re trying to drive into the wood.  If it wasn’t for pain we would still take some care, but not enough; our thumbs would soon look like small fly swatters.

In the same way it seems reasonable that Adam and Eve, living in the garden, were vulnerable to at least mild disappointments on mental and spiritual levels.  Eve may on occasion have wanted something other than what Adam wanted, in which case one needed to make a small sacrifice of inconvenience in order to please the other and get over the hump.  However, so long as they continued to rely on their Creator for guidance, none of these small hurts and disappointments would have been enough to seriously interfere with their happy lives in paradise.

Getting back to a more basic slant on the meaning of the knowledge of good and evil, it seems to me that Adam and Eve had no clear understanding of the distinct separation between the two–between good and evil.  I think they just sort of saw it as a one-concept thing: a world in which you were usually quite happy, but sometimes stubbed your toe and felt a bit of pain; a world in which this Great Person who was your creator could be displeased with some of your doings and punish you to straighten you out; a world in which you might hurt someone’s feelings on occasion and then be sorry for it and then you and the person you hurt could be happy again.  It was a world in which you felt pretty much at one with everyone and everything around you.  This included God who you knew was a lot bigger than you, more powerful and smarter, but otherwise just a part of the whole scene.  You had respect for him though–rather great respect–for he was, without a doubt, the top person, and he kept you and everything else in line.  He gave you a lot of good things, and if you opposed him you got into trouble.  He was really quite wonderful, so you loved him.  He had shown himself to be nice, so you trusted him.  Since he was so powerful you were kind of careful to not do anything to make him displeased with you.

You felt you had a pretty good working knowledge of the way things were in the world you found yourself in and were comfortable not only mentally and physically, but also spiritually.

And then, one day, that changed.  It happened because you did one specific thing that you had been told not to do and warned about what would happen if you did it.

You had received the knowledge of good and evil.

Suddenly you felt naked–physically too, but even more so in your spirit.  Suddenly you wanted to hide from God.  You had never wanted to hide from him before, even when you had done things that he didn’t approve of, because he would talk to you about it, straighten it out, and tell you to behave yourself in the future.  But now you wanted to hide from him.

This is why:  The concept of good and evil is entirely tied in with who God is.  God has the knowledge of good and evil because he knows who he is and who he is not.  If the concept of good and evil is entirely tied in with who God is, then to have that knowledge, Adam and Eve would have to learn something basic about God that they didn’t know before.  What that something was, made them feel spiritually naked when they acquired that knowledge.

When Eve ignored God’s warning that to acquire the knowledge of good and evil meant death, she was thinking that it would be a pleasant experience to learn something that would make her wiser.  She, and Adam too, after he had given in to the same temptation, got quite a surprise.  Instead of feeling pleasantly wise in the possession of some delicious nugget of forbidden information, a great sense of spiritual nakedness came over them so that they were terrified of God and did their best to hide themselves from him.

What had happened to their image of God?–this greatest person in their world who had made everything and could always be relied on to fix problems.

They had a new understanding of who God is.  The knowledge of good and evil is all about who God is.  Their minds were opened to something about God that they had not been aware of before.

Although they may not have put it into words, when their minds were opened they knew the following:

They knew that GOD IS THE ABSOLUTE INFINITY.

Infinity, of course, means endlessness.  This can refer to time, space, content.  We already have covered that subject in earlier chapters, including parts that dealt with how human logic, as far as human logic can go, proves that God exists and that to be self supporting he must be infinite, for absolute infinity needs no supporting cause nor has room for it.

Here, however, we are looking at what this concept means in regard to the matter of the knowledge of good and evil.

When Adam and Eve suddenly realized that God is infinite, they also realized that they themselves were finite.  The two concepts go together.  If you don’t know what infinity is you also don’t know what finiteness is.

Before they partook of the knowledge of good and evil, Adam and Eve believed that if and when they disobeyed God they were going against the will of the greatest person they knew.  That sounds bad enough, because they knew he was quite great to have made themselves and the animals and the whole world and the heavenly bodies.

After they had partaken of the knowledge of good and evil they knew they had gone against the will of not just the greatest person they knew, or the greatest person in their whole world, but against the will of God the Absolute Infinity.

If God is infinite it means that every one of his qualities is infinite.  It means that his love is infinite; it means that his justice is infinite.  It means that his consciousness is infinite.  It means that his purity and goodness are of infinite depth.

Any sin against this infinite person logically means that the sin committed is of infinite magnitude.

There is no other true answer.  The terrible truth is that when we sin against God–no matter how minor we might consider it on our stupid limited scale of values–that sin is something going contrary to the infinite purity and righteousness of God.  Therefore that sin is INFINITE in its spiritual filth.

Adam and Eve suddenly saw what they were and what they had done.  They were finite specks with the power of free will who had used that free will to hurt the infinite God, and so that sin was of infinite proportion or weight.

Is it any wonder that Adam and Eve felt naked and tried to hide from God?  They had become horribly impure and knew it.  With their minds thus contaminated by the combination of their new knowledge and what they had done–disobeyed the infinite God–they could no longer be close to God.  Also, the disobedience they had committed was grooved into their subconscious minds, provoking them into further acts of disobedience.

Had they made the right decision, to obey God, then that would have been grooved into their subconscious minds, helping them much to make further good decisions.  In fact, that groove might have been so deep that they would have found it virtually impossible–according to their own free-will decision–to do anything contrary to God; for the subconscious is there to help us stick to the decisions we’ve made.  This is a very helpful device when used for good rather than for evil.

But Adam and Eve had made the wrong decision, and as a result learned of the horrible position into which they had put themselves.  They were put out of the Garden of Eden into the surrounding harsh world inhabited by animals, the evil creatures who had, in a former existence, been separated from any knowledge of God and had been condemned to live in this world of basic selfishness–the world of nature.

Although God, in his great love, already had a plan to save humanity at his own cost, it was a part of that plan that Adam and Eve, and their descendents, should first recognize that they had willingly lowered themselves greatly toward the state of being like animals.  They were not yet entirely like them, for they still had a knowledge of God; but by having degraded themselves as they had by disobeying God, they could now see the downward track they were on.

It was at this time that God pronounced that they should eat the flesh of animals.  Adam and Eve and their descendents would, like the savage beasts around them, kill for food.  It was not wrong for them to do so now, for they had become enough like the lower animals so that this savage behavior was appropriate to them.

 

 

CHAPTER 22: THE TRINITY

THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY is well established in Christian belief and has much Scripture to support it.  However, I believe–for good Scriptural reasons–that the standard interpretations of those Scriptures are not entirely right.

As taught by all or most of the main Christian denominations, including Roman Catholicism and the mainline Protestant churches, and by most of the others as well, the doctrine states the following:  There is one God and he is manifested in three persons–the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  All three are said to be equal and eternally coexistent.

The Bible does not support the eternally coexistent part, for it declares that Jesus, as God’s son, had a beginning by being born of Mary and the Holy Spirit–God.

Certainly Jesus had a previous existence in Heaven, for there is plenty enough Scripture to convince us of that; however, he could not have been Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, in that previous existence, for at that time he had not yet been begotten as Jesus.

In the very first part of the Gospel according to John (the fourth book of the New Testament part of the Bible), we are given important information that relates to the Trinity doctrine.

It reads:  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.” (John 1:1,2)  Please note that there are two entities mentioned here, not three.  If the three persons of the Trinity are eternally coexistent, why aren’t three mentioned here?  Two are mentioned and it is emphasized that although there are two, they, together, are also one:  “… and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

As John goes on with this deep theology, he makes it clear that when he’s talking about the Word he’s also referring to Jesus.  Read John 1:1-18 to see that this is the case.

Now let’s go to the first book of the Bible, Genesis, where we read:  “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.  And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” (Genesis 1:1-3)

This is the first mention that we have of God speaking.  In speaking he brought a new universe into being, for the light, I believe, was what today’s theoretical physicists refer to as the big bang.  Light, along with matter, exploded into the beginnings of God’s new creation.  But that’s not all that happened.

When you or I speak a word, what happens?  Something from inside of us, from our inner thoughts and feelings, extends out from us.  Every time we say something we extend ourselves into the space surrounding us, and doing so can have powerful effects.  Are the words we speak, after they have left us, a part of us, or are they now something separate from us?  Imagine a wife telling her husband she loves him.  As the husband hears these beautiful words, is he hearing words, or is he hearing his wife?  It’s both, really.  The wife, in saying those words, is extending a part of herself into her husband’s mind.  You could say, the word was with the wife, and the word was the wife, just as it says in the beginning of John’s Gospel, only there it’s about God:  “… and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

I believe that in the beginning of the new creation, God, the Infinite Mind, extended himself into that new creation of time, space, and matter, so that he could also live in it and guide it and go on with his creation.  In this way, as the Infinite Mind, he could remain over and above space, matter, and time; while at the same time, as the Word, he could live within space, matter, and time, sharing that experience with the creatures he would make there.

Again, as at the beginning of John’s Gospel, we have two, not three.  We have God and the Word of God.  The two are really two aspects of the same person, just as the wife and the words she speaks to her husband are two aspects of the same person.

So we have God and the Word of God, two persons of the Trinity.  In both the beginning of Genesis and the beginning of the Gospel according to John, both of which deal with the beginning of creation, there are only two aspects of God mentioned–that is, until we get to Verses 4 and 5 of John’s Gospel, and then especially starting in Verse 9:  “The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.”

Yes, John was talking about Jesus, but keep in mind that he started out talking about the Word.  Read the whole section from Verse 1 through to and including Verse 18 to see how John is saying that:

In the beginning there was the Word and the word was with God and the Word was God, and that through the Word all things were created, and in the Word was life which is the light of men, and that this light came and dwelt among us (as Jesus), and that in general people rejected that light, but that those who accepted it became children of God.

First God the Infinite Mind extended himself into time, space and matter.  Then God, as the Word, living in time, space, and matter, extended himself into humanity by being born as Jesus, the only begotten Son of God.  Now we have the Trinity.

We’ve had a look at the first extension of God–the Infinite Mind of God having extended himself into time, space, and matter–now let’s look at the second extension.

We find information on this in the first four books of the New Testament in which each, in their own way, present the story of the life of Jesus on Earth, two of them starting with how he came to be born.  In Matthew 1:18—25 we’re told about how the young woman, Mary, who was pledged to be married to a man called Joseph, was “found to be with child through the Holy Spirit,” and how God dealt with Joseph about the matter.

The Gospel according to Mark starts in with Jesus already being a grown man and just beginning his ministry.

The third book of the New Testament, the Gospel according to Luke, gives the most detail in regard to the matter we’re dealing with, for he relates a scene in which the angel, Gabriel, appears to Mary and has a conversation with her regarding the soon-to-happen miracle of the birth of Jesus.  This is recorded in Luke 1:26-38.  You should read all of that, but for our present purposes take particular notice of Luke 1: 34,35, which starts out with Mary asking about how this great event can be possible:

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.  So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.”

I think that the most accepted interpretation regarding a certain aspect of this Scripture–namely whether or not the angel is talking about a holy sexual union–is that it was not, and that Mary was still a virgin after she had become pregnant; but the Bible, so far as I know, doesn’t give us any more detail on this.  For the purpose of our present study, however, this doesn’t matter.  What matters is that we are here being told clearly that the father of Jesus is the Holy Spirit.

In the first chapter of the Gospel according to John we read that “The Word became flesh and lived for a while among us.” (John 1:14-a)  It becomes reasonably clear that the Word and the Holy Spirit are one and the same, and that at the conception of Jesus another extension of God took place, this time from the second person of the Trinity (and there were only two at that time) into humanity in the form of one particular human being–Jesus, the son of a human mother and the Son of God.  That second extension brought about the completion of the Trinity, with the Infinite Mind of God being the first person, the Word or the Holy Spirit being the second, and the Son of God being the third.

What about the designation of Father?  Jesus often referred to his Heavenly Father, so that designation is perfectly valid.  When Jesus used it, which person of the Trinity was he referring to, the first or the second?  Both, actually.  The second person of the Trinity, the Word or the Holy Spirit, was obviously the Father of Jesus, as we’ve seen from the Gospels of John and Luke:  John: “The Word became flesh and lived for a while among us.”  Luke:  “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.”  The Word of God, also called the Spirit of God, is an extension of God the Infinite Mind, who therefore is the Father of Jesus.  Whether we think in particular of the Father of Jesus as being God above time, matter, and space, or as being his extension into time, matter, and space, doesn’t matter, for both are true.  God is his Father.

After this, God made one more amazing extension of himself.  To see what it was, we will go back briefly to the creation account in Genesis and from that beginning further explore the wonderful plan God has set into motion to rescue fallen humanity.

 

 

 

CHAPTER 23: EXTENSIONS

 

WE COME NOW TO two mind-boggling concepts.  The first is about how Adam, the first human being, became “a living soul” as the Bible puts it; and the second deals with the problem of why all the descendants of Adam and Eve should find themselves in such serious trouble with God even though it was not they who ate of the forbidden fruit.

First, let’s go back to Day Six of the creation account, which was the time period during which all life on Earth, other than plant life, was created.

As we have already seen, the creation account in Genesis does not really allow us to believe that God made the first man without any progressive process involved.  With the matter of the creation of light, we could perhaps think that there was no process involved, for “God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.”  But in the case of making the first human being, we are told that God formed him from the dust of the Earth.  That tells us clearly enough not only that there was a progressive process involved, but that the elements of the Earth are what the human body is made of–which agrees totally with today’s scientific understanding of the body’s composition.

So let’s try to work out some details.  You have God using an evolutionary process to work the dust of the Earth into mankind.  He forms Adam from the dust of the Earth.  To do this, he brings the right elements together, using his laws of nature (meaning laws that he has decreed) to begin life at some microscopic level out of the materials of the earth (“dust of the earth”) and keeps working it until living creatures move about in the oceans and eventually fly above water and land; and some crawl out of the rivers and lakes onto land; and from there they become a diverse collection of crawling things, flying things, galloping things, and eventually, two-legged, more or less walking things.  And all of them are made out of the materials of the earth, just as the Bible says.

In God’s economy all of this works out very well, not only because it’s moving toward the creation of human beings, but because along the way it’s providing bodies for souls who need bodies suited to their natures–those souls who in some other, previous worlds have rejected God’s love and knowledge of him.

The immensity of it is staggering.  Here on this planet, over millions of years of time, there have been trillions and trillions of creatures ranging from everything from bacteria to elephants, and then some, each species suited in body and brain to the strata they live in.  Some are maggots wallowing around in shit; some are ferocious beasts with fangs, hunting less aggressive beings and tearing them apart for food; some are of a nature to run and hide; some are smarter than others; some are more evil than others.  Each after their own kind.  Each species provides many bodies for the souls of the damned from some previous world or worlds according to the requirements of each of these souls.

So do the best of them gradually become human?  No, not according to the Bible.  The Bible tells us that humankind had a very distinct beginning of soul.  And I believe this, even though I also believe that God had been working on their bodies for millions of years.  So, how did this beginning take place?

The Bible tells us: “And the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7)

This, along with other Scriptures that point out that humanity first came into being as one man, clearly lets us know that the first human came into being instantly–and here is the mind-blowing part: he came into being as a result of God inserting life into him from God’s very own being.

This is amazing beyond words, for what is human life?  Certainly it is consciousness or sentience–awareness of being.  And who knows what all else goes with that?  Is it any wonder that the Bible says, in Genesis 1:27-a?:  “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him….”  Yes, he inserted some of his very own being into the body shell he had built.

Was man once an apelike creature?  No, because when God breathed life into the body of Adam, that body had already progressed to the form it is in today–probably had been that way for more or less a million years or so.  I’m just guessing at the time length here, but, in any case, God was satisfied that the forming of Adam’s body from the dust of the Earth had reached completion.  There was in existence a type of non-human creature that looked much or entirely as humans look today, with more or less the same amount of intelligence.  But they were not human.  Like all the other species on Earth, they provided flesh and blood homes for the Godless souls from some previous world or worlds.

When God chose one of these bodies to be the home not for another lost soul but for a new being, the first human being, it is likely that he did not choose an adult male and remove the damned soul from that one to make room for the new soul.  I think it much more likely that he used a fetus–a baby in the womb of a female of one of these creatures, said baby having been fathered by a male of the species, and that the start of humanity took place in that fetus before it had been inhabited by a fallen soul.

God breathed the breath of life into that fetus, and that fetus, being Adam, became a living soul–the first human being.  He came right out of God.  He was new and totally clean.

At this point I would like to draw your attention to my belief that God breathing life into Adam was somehow different than the other extensions of God–namely from God the Infinite Mind into God the Word, and then from God the Word into God the Son, completing the Trinity.  I say somehow because I don’t know how to explain the difference.  This is made particularly difficult because in 1 Corinthians 15:45 the Apostle Paul states: “So it is written: ‘The first man Adam became a living being’; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit.”  Something similar is shown to have happened in that both men are called Adam–one being the first and the other, Jesus, being the last; the difference between the two is that, unlike the first, the last became a life-giving spirit.  This, no doubt, ties in with another difference: the first Adam was created from the dust of the Earth and God breathed into him the breath of life, whereas the last Adam, Jesus, was God’s only begotten Son.  In either case there was some kind of extension from God’s soul into the new being.  In the first case that extension created the new man who was the beginning of a new species, humans; and in the second case the extension was one of God extending himself in some very special way into humanity that already existed, creating one very special person of that humanity who would be so Godly that he would be the first human being to never sin.  I don’t pretend to understand this difference between how Adam came to be and how Jesus came to be; nevertheless, I believe there is enough obvious difference between the two to justify my belief that the last Adam, Jesus, is a part of the Trinity, the Godhead, as it has been called, and that the first Adam is not.

Was the first Adam intended to be that?  I don’t think so, but it’s an interesting speculation.  In any case, what Adam actually became was fallen mankind.  What Jesus became was the perfection of humanity, the Savior of humanity, and the Ruler of the Universe as the Only Begotten Son of God.  This still leaves us with the Concept of the Trinity: God the Infinite, God the Word or Spirit, and God the Son.

Now, getting back to Day Six of the creation account, we have the only human being, Adam, raised by non-human “parents” (parents of his body only; not his soul), with no other human being to communicate with.  In Genesis 2:18 we read: “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone.  I will make a helper suitable for him.’”

Likely Eve did not come into being until after Adam was a grown man.  Then God anesthetized him, removed a part of him–some DNA from out of his side (see Genesis 2:21-22)–and used that to make a modified clone, modified into being a female.  This was Eve, the first human woman.  The matter is covered in Genesis 2:21,22:  “So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh.  Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.”  The NIV has a footnote giving “part of the man’s side” as an alternative translation for rib.  Either way, it was the DNA that counted.

But was Eve a living soul like Adam?  She gave every indication of being one, yet there is no record of God breathing into her nostrils the breath of life.

According to the system I’m presenting, we know where the animal souls came from.  They came from fallen creatures of some previous world or worlds.  And we know where Adam’s soul came from.  God breathed it into him.  But what about Eve?

I would here like to present a solution to that which also, in its ramifications, presents a solution to the problem faced by many theologians:  Why are the descendents of Adam and Eve dealt with by God as though having shared with them the guilt of having eaten of the forbidden fruit?  And why do all human beings ever born (with the single exception of Jesus) fall into sin early on in life as though they actually are born with a strong leaning toward being sinful.  After all, it doesn’t take very long before little Jimmy gets into a fight with little Johnny.

The thinking leaders of Christianity have struggled with this and come up with something they call “original sin.”  They say that when Adam and Eve had offspring, their sinfulness, which was the eating of the forbidden fruit, was passed on.  Their children passed it on to the next generation and so on.  But these writers of doctrines have never been able to explain the justice of this.  After all, they agree that God is just, and yet here are these millions of souls who apparently did not eat of the forbidden fruit and yet come into life guilty and bent on increasing that guilt with their own evil doings.  As the writer of Psalm 51 says in Verse 5, “Surely I have been a sinner from birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.”  And in Romans 3:23 we read: “… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God….”

There is a solution to this, as well as to the question of where Eve’s soul came from, if we allow ourselves to consider a particular possibility.  And I have never come across any other workable solution.

This is the possibility to consider:  Consciousness can be separated or split, so that whereas at one point you have only one conscious being (a being aware of his own existence), parts can be separated from that conscious mind so that then there are more than one conscious being.

In fact, as awesome and mind blowing as it seems, isn’t this what the Bible tells us happened when God breathed into Adam the breath of life?  God is alive, conscious, infinitely aware of being.  He separates one little finite particle of that infinite self (leaving himself as infinite as ever, for, mathematically, infinity cannot be subtracted from) and inserts it into a flesh and blood body he calls Adam, and Adam becomes a living being.

Then God makes a modified clone out of a cell of Adam’s body so that Adam can have a mate with which to generate offspring.  But God doesn’t breath the breath of life into Eve as his did into Adam.  Instead, just as he took a part of Adam’s body to make Eve’s body, he takes a part of Adam’s soul to make Eve’s soul.

In other words, before Eve was Eve, she was Adam.  Now Adam and Eve have at least three children, Cain, Abel, and Seth, their bodies obviously coming from out of their parents.  And just as Eve got her soul out of Adam’s, in the same way the souls of Cain, Abel, and Seth came out of the souls of Adam and Eve.

There is room for speculation here as to whether Cain’s soul, for instance, came entirely from Adam, entirely from Eve, or whether the melding of two parts into one is just as feasible as the separating of one into two.  If melding works, then it’s possible that Cain’s soul was a combination of two soul parts, one from Adam and one from Eve.

So you can see that according to this solution every human being who ever lived on this planet was once Adam.  That’s why we’re all guilty of the original sin.  As Adam, we all decided, way back there in the Garden of Eden, to disobey God and eat of the forbidden fruit.  Adam made himself evil; we’re all split-offs of Adam so we’re all evil.  “Surely I have been a sinner from birth” now suddenly makes more sense.  Not only are we sinners from birth but we’re sinners all the way back to and including as Adam.

In designing us, God included in our makeup a powerful tool which we today call the subconscious mind, or the unconscious mind.  It’s good purpose is to record decisions we make and engrave them deeply enough so that the next time a similar situation comes up that requires a decision, we don’t have to start from scratch and figure it out all over again as though it was the first time.  Instead our subconscious minds quickly send up the message to our surface minds that a decision has already been made by the surface mind earlier, and “therefore,” says the subconscious mind, “get to it.  No need to think further about it, just do it.  You already made that decision.”

This is how we learn to ride bicycles and drive cars and use a keyboard; but it is also why, once having firmly decided that we don’t want to be a shoplifter, we’re no longer tempted when we see nice things in a store.  However it also means that if at some point we did shoplift, that decision will instruct us to do it again, and again, and again.  And unless, at some point, the shoplifter begins to seriously work at erasing that old groove, he’ll be a shoplifter for the rest of his life–because that’s what his subconscious will be throwing up at him as his self-chosen answer to the matter of whether to steal or not to steal.

When Adam, and Eve as well, made that first decision to disobey God, that decision was grooved into their subconscious minds as something that they really wanted to do.  Until that decision their minds were clean and they were fit to communicate closely with God.  After they had carved that evil groove into their minds, they were spoiled goods.  Nor did they have the power to completely erase that very serious bad groove.  It was a decision they had willfully made, and it at once made it easier for them to make further bad decisions.

When they had offspring and parts of their own souls became the souls of their children, those evil grooves were part and parcel of who the children were.  Cain had once been Adam.  As Cain he added to the evil grooves by murdering his brother–and so on down the line to a world filled with people who do the things that people do: good things and bad things, making love and making war, blessing and cursing, setting up hospitals and setting off bombs.  We do all this according to the good grooves and the bad grooves we’ve established in our subconscious minds along with new decisions, good and bad, that we daily add.

 

 

CHAPTER 24: ABOUT MARY, JESUS,

 AND ORIGINAL SIN

 

GOD PROVIDED a way for us to get out of our mess of sin and guilt by doing that second extension we explored earlier.  He extended himself into the womb of a young woman called Mary, there becoming God the Son.

Jesus lived a perfect life, entirely overcoming the bad subconscious grooves he had received (like anyone else) from his human ancestry, and then dying as though a sinner.  In thus dying in place of the world’s sinners, the innocent for the guilty, God demonstrated to the world his hatred of sin and his love for the sinner.  He made it a free gift–not free to himself but to everyone else–so that any sinner who would accept that Jesus had suffered and died for him and rose from the dead, would not only be forgiven completely, but would be given the power to overcome sin and thus be fit to have eternal life together with God.

The Roman Catholic theologians, and possibly theologians of other Christian movements as well, having struggled with the problem of original sin, mankind’s innate sinfulness on the one hand and Christ’s perfect sinlessness on the other, came up with the doctrine that Jesus was born exempt from original sin because his mother, Mary, was also exempt and totally pure.

Some problems with this are that they have no explanation as to why it would be justice for Mary to have been made an exception, nor why there is no part of the Bible saying that she is an exception.  In fact, one of the limited ways for her to have been an exception would have necessitated that she was never Adam and therefor never did eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  And if she was never Adam, then where did her soul come from:  Did God breath into her the breath of life as he did with Adam?  There is no record of that.  Also, if he had in any way created Mary as a sinless being with the power to resist sin all her life, then why have her give birth to Jesus?  Wouldn’t Mary herself then have been fit to be our Savior?  Well, not really, because without the bad grooves of original sin in her subconscious she would not have been able to overcome them.  You can’t overcome some weakness if you don’t have it.  And for God’s plan to work, it was necessary for the Savior to have been “… tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)  This is a very important point and we’ll go into it more deeply just a little further on.

The Roman Catholic theologians, in their understandable desire to show Jesus to be free of “original sin,” have made Mary into a sort of fourth person of the trinity–a goddess-like personage with goddess-like powers.  It is quite accepted in Catholic teaching that sinners can come to Mary and ask her to intercede for them, to be a mediator between them and Jesus.  But 1 Timothy 2:5,6-a says, “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men….”  Not two mediators, nor three or four (the Catholics use the “saints” as mediators too), but one.  The Bible nowhere teaches that we are to have or need any mediator other than Jesus.  Praying for one another is good, but does not constitute mediation in the sense that we are not fit to come before God and need someone to stand in between.  Through Christ each believing individual is brought directly into the holy presence of God the Father.

The Old Testament way of doing things, some of which we are told about in Hebrews 9, was a shadow of the reality to come.  The Jewish tabernacle (like a temple, or house of God) had one room called the Holy of Holies into which, by God’s laws, the High Priest could enter only once a year.  This room was partitioned off from the rest by a great curtain.  When Jesus died on the cross for us, this curtain was physically and supernaturally torn open from the top to the bottom (indicating that God was doing it, not man) and showing that now the way was open for all who trusted in Christ to freely come into God’s holy presence.

Now to get back to the matter of how the overcoming of original sin plays a part in our salvation:

God is interested in saving the human race by saving those individual members of the human race who want to be saved and who will let themselves be saved.  Adam and his descendants have proven ourselves to be incapable or unwilling to erase the deep grooves of sin that we  ourselves have engraved upon our subconscious minds.  This is why humans are damned.  Looking at this from a sort of basic viewpoint: for one individual human to be saved, two things would be required:  He would need to live entirely without sinning, thus erasing the old sin grooves, and he would need to be forgiven for his past sins.

The Roman Catholic theologians, and many protestant ones as well, try to rescue Jesus from the very essentials of what he needed to be in order to be our Savior.  He needed to fight sin and overcome it completely.  How could he overcome the deep grooves of original sin and of the sins of Adam’s descendants, if he was not confronted with those grooves?   The Bible tells us that Jesus had been “… tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin.” (Hebrews 4:15b)  We are all tempted to sin by the deep-cut sin grooves that we’re born with.  If Jesus didn’t have them, how could he be tempted as we are?

Jesus certainly did not get those grooves from his Father, God.  No, he got them from his mother, Mary, who was a total human being like the rest of us, with the same sin problem.

If God had wanted to give us a Savior who did not have to meet the challenge of overcoming the original sin bent, he would have given us a totally non-human savior, born entirely of God with no humanity involved.  But this would have defeated God’s purpose.  For humanity to be saved, something had to be done to give humans power over sin.  Human beings themselves had to be able to overcome the deep sin grooves in their subconscious minds.  And, as well, they would have to be forgiven for all their past sins.

However, the whole Old Testament shows that human beings were not forthcoming in presenting any sons and daughters of Adam and Eve as candidates to be the one who overcomes the sin bent.  “… all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God …” (Romans 3:23)  Some of us lived pretty good lives, like Methuselah, Moses, Job, and others, but we always messed up somewhere.  If one person could have made it, not sinning at all in his or her individual life, that person would have been saved.  God might have destroyed the rest of us and somehow carried on the human race from there, from that one perfect human being.  Yet I can’t really presume to say what God would have done.  The fact is that not one of Adam and Eve’s straight-out descendents has ever lived a sinless life.

What do I mean be straight-out descendants?  Well, I say straight-out in contrast to what Jesus was.  All the straight-out descendants had human fathers and human mothers.  Jesus did not fall into that category because whereas he did have a human mother, he did not have a human father.

He was the Son of God, fathered directly by God–God’s only begotten Son.  This was God, the Word, becoming flesh and dwelling among us.  This was a mighty injection of power into the human race–the birth of this God-man, Jesus, who would bridge the gap between God and fallen humanity.

This God-man, Jesus, then, was also truly human (he often referred to himself as the son of man, likely to emphasize the important fact that he was truly human, without which fact God’s plan of salvation would not have worked).

In becoming a human being, God, the Word, in that part of himself that became Jesus, gave up the glories of Heaven and the great power he held.  He took with him his Godliness, however, which fused together with true and complete humanity into the one person called Jesus; and then the greatest battle that the world has ever known began to take place.  The Godliness received from his Father at once engaged in battle with the worldliness received from his human mother.  The Bible tells us that Jesus was tempted in every way that we are, but that he remained victorious and sinless.

This temptation caused him great suffering of mind, of soul, just as it does us.  We are told in Hebrews 5:7-9 that Jesus offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears, and that through the temptation and his overcoming of it, he became perfect.

This Scripture has caused theologians a lot of trouble in that they struggled with the problem of how Jesus could become perfect at some point in his life if he was already perfect to start with, since we are told plainly that he never sinned.

It’s really not that difficult, not if we understand that this reference to being perfected was what happened when he passed from the state of (1) victoriously fighting against the temptations of sin to (2) having totally conquered sin so that he was no longer tempted.

I think that it’s fairly plain as to when this final victory took place.  It happened in the Garden of Gethsemane on that terrible night when Jesus struggled with the matter of whether or not to go through with suffering and dying on the cross for us.  He prayed, “Abba, Father, everything is possible for you.  Take this cup from me.  Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (Mark 14:36)

I believe that once Jesus had firmly made this decision, and by the making of it, he totally defeated the battle against the old nature he had inherited from his human side.  He had been fighting against it successfully all his life, never sinning, always delivering it a stunning blow that weakened it further each time.  In the garden, firmly making that final decision that would bring him such terrible suffering, he dealt the old nature the killing thrust that finished it off for good.  I believe that after that Jesus could no longer be tempted and went to his horrible death without any further indecision.  He was completely free forever from being tempted by sin and evil.

He had become the first human being to ever be this way.  In him humanity was saved.

One might think that God could have taken this perfect Jesus, after raising him from the dead, and started a new line of human beings from him, leaving the rest of us to the eternal punishment we deserve; but such a plan was completely off the board, for the very purpose of the suffering and death of Jesus was for the righteous Jesus to sacrificially pay for the sins of the rest of us–the righteous suffering and dying for the unrighteous, demonstrating forever and conclusively how God hates sin but loves the sinner.  For when Jesus was tormented on the cross, that was God himself suffering and dying for us.  The second extension brought about God as a human being, God the Son.

And here comes the third extension.  In 1 Peter 1:23 we read:  “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abidith for ever.”

I propose to you, and will point out Scriptures to support what I say, that this new nature that is given to us is a split-off from Christ’s own soul.

First God the Infinite Mind extends himself by becoming the Word; then the Word becomes flesh, as Jesus, and dwells among us; then, in the third extension, Jesus gives a part of himself to everyone who accepts his love.  That new nature, by which we are born again, melds into our own consciousness and becomes one with that, so that the new nature of Christ given to us is then a part of us.  After that we are capable of defeating sin in our lives just as Jesus did, for we have that same nature.

This third extension does not make us a fourth person in the Godhead, for there are millions of us and we are the rescued sinners, not the rescuing God; but it does–and this is mind blowing–make us children of God.

 

 

 

CHAPTER 25: NATURAL AND SUPERNATURAL,

AND OTHER SUCH PAIRS

THERE’S A LOT OF CONFUSION about what is natural and what is supernatural, and about what the difference is between the two if there is any.

One place where this confusion often shows is when two people discuss the matter of whether or not ghosts exist, and one of them believes in them and the other is a materialist “realist” who doesn’t believe that any kind of supernatural events or things exist, including ghosts and hauntings.  This man will probably say something like, “I know people say they’ve heard strange noises and seen strange things in that old house, but I’m sure there’s a reasonable explanation for all that.”

Think, for a moment, about what he’s actually saying:  He’s sure there’s a reasonable explanation for the so-called hauntings.  Does he think that the person who believes in ghosts disagrees with him on that?  Does he think the person he’s talking to is a babbling idiot who actually thinks that something can happen without there being a reasonable cause?  It seems to me that the disbeliever in ghosts is the one who is sliding toward becoming a babbling idiot, not because he doesn’t believe in ghosts, but because he appears to believe that anyone more or less in his right mind could believe that something could happen without a reasonable cause.

Put in another way:  “Yeah, I believe in ghosts,” says Jim.  “I know the people who lived in that house and they’re not liars.  And they told me that they heard voices and saw apparitions floating about.”

“I’m not saying that your friends are liars,” says Fred.  “It’s just that there must be some kind of explanation for what they saw and heard–something that would prove that it was natural and not impossible.”

You can see that he is saying (1) that Jim believes something unnatural could happen, and (2) that Jim believes something impossible could happen.

Now, hold on here.  Maybe Jim could believe, in some sort of sense, that something unnatural could happen (like a man being sexually attracted to persons of his own gender); but could Jim believe that something impossible could happen?  Let’s give the guy a little credit for brains.  After all, he holds down a job, supports a wife and two kids, and comes in out of the rain.  And he’s not in a mental institution gibbering contradictions about, let’s say, knowing that he doesn’t exist.  But that’s exactly what Fred is trying to push on him–saying that because Jim believes in ghosts, it’s to be taken for granted that Jim actually believes the impossible can happen.

It is a blatant contradiction to say that the impossible is possible.  (But that is not at all the same as saying anything is possible.  In a sense that last sentence is true, for “… with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)  The only things that are, in a sense, impossible, are the things that God does not allow.)

Jim, being of reasonably sound mind, as are many people who believe in the existence of something they call the supernatural (ghosts included or not included, as the case may be) has not twisted his brain into such a bizarre shape that he would believe in the impossible.  No, he simply believes that there are things happening in our world about which we don’t know all the details (and what an understatement that is).  He also thinks he has come across sufficient evidence to indicate that ghosts exist, and that if presently unavailable information became available to the general public about what ghosts are and how they function, then they would cease to be thought of as supernatural and “impossible” and maybe would then be thought of as another type of pesky rodent.

No, people who believe in the supernatural do not believe in the ridiculously contradictory concept that the impossible can be possible.  They do believe that when something unusual, mysterious, amazing, and seemingly unexplainable happens, then the how of it, although it certainly exists, is simply not available to our knowledge.  Some mysteries eventually are solved.  Some are not.  But behind every seemingly unexplainable and mysterious event there obviously is a supporting structure of facts and things that make the event work.  If ghosts are real, then they’re simply a part of overall reality–no more real, and no less real, than the rest of the universe.

This brings us face to face with the question: if the above is the case, then is there any real difference between what we call natural and what we call supernatural?

Basically there is no difference, because, after all, everything is a part of reality.  A concept is either in existence as a reality or it is not.  If it is, then who is to say that it is not a part of the natural universe.  If it exists it is part of reality like everything else.

However, if we want to we can give different and less basic meanings to the words natural and supernatural.  For instance, we can think of natural as being everyday ordinary stuff that we’re used to, and supernatural as referring to happenings that we find more mysterious and amazing than everyday occurrences.

The disciples of Jesus saw him walking on water.  They called that a miracle, and, at least in two senses they were right.  First of all, it was not something that they saw every day, and, secondly, everything that God does is a miracle.  But in a basic sense it was a natural part of reality, for it was a part of existence.

Now if all the disciples had been given the ability to walk on water (Peter actually did it for a brief time), and then people in general were given that ability, and this carried on for say a hundred years or so, you can be almost certain that most people would no longer consider it a miracle to walk on water, even though they knew no more about how they were doing it than they do now.

Only those who realize that everything is miraculous would continue to think that walking on water is a miracle.

Look at it this way: you see one man walking on water and another one walking on the ground.  Basically one walk is as miraculous as the other.  We don’t know what was involved, in detail, in supporting Jesus when he walked on water; nor do we know what is involved, in detail, to support a man walking on ground.

We know it was the power of God that supported Jesus on the water.

We know it’s the power of God supporting a man when he walks on the ground.

So what’s the big difference?  There really is no big difference.

Spiritually ignorant and half-educated people think they know a great deal about what holds up a man from sinking into the ground he walks on, but a closer examination will reveal that they know very little.  What they’re really doing is just taking things for granted.  They see people walking on ground and other hard surfaces daily, and do it themselves, and so they think, “This is the way things are; it’s just natural.”  No problem.  They know all about it.

People with inquiring minds, like physicists, go more deeply into the matter and discover what they call laws of nature, and some of them soon recognize that laws don’t exist that aren’t made by someone, and so rightly see them as God’s laws of nature.  Some of their peers, on the other hand, are very spiritually blind and can go on looking at the obvious intelligent design that their studies uncover, and incredibly still leave God out of it.  In any case, the general public gets to absorb a little of what these scientists learn and so–in regard to the matter we’re dealing with–begin to talk about the law of gravity, mass, weight, etc., and fool themselves into thinking that they know why a man walking on solid ground doesn’t sink into it.  They are even more sure of this than the physicists, some of whom are quite aware that they don’t really know how anything works, ultimately.  This is because the more one learns, the more new mysteries one sees.

First we learned about atoms, then about electrons, neutrons, nucleuses, and molecules, and then about quantum mechanics, which has electrons disappearing in one place and reappearing in another.  Surely that makes everything simple, natural, and easy to understand!

The fact of the matter is that we really don’t at all understand what keeps a man from sinking into the solid ground he walks on, or, for that matter, what keeps him from flying off into space.  Saying that it’s the power of gravity, and mass resisting mass, is only putting names on some of the observable processes involved.  No one, except God, really understands any of it, so that the situation is basically the same as it was thousands of years ago:  We see people walking on solid ground every day of the year so we say that’s natural; we see a man walking on water once in a long time so we say that’s supernatural.  Everything in existence is either all natural or all supernatural, whichever word one wishes to use, but it’s really all the same: to creatures an endless mystery, understood only by the infinite mind of God.

 

What about the matter of magic and non-magic?–where does that come in?  So far as I can determine, the word magic started out referring specifically to the dark arts, with a magician being one who plugged in to occult (hidden) knowledge, and did bad things with it; then later it included the doing of slight-of-hand tricks; and presently, although it still means the above two things, it also refers to anything that is wonderful and romantically enchanting.  For instance, we might say that the moon is casting a magical glow over the meadow.  And who hasn’t heard of the Magic Kingdom of Disneyland?  So now magic isn’t always used as a bad word referring to actual evil powers or imagined evil powers, but is used just as often to tell about beautiful things, as in the magic of falling in love, or the magical days of childhood.

The word, magic, supported by the above meanings, has also been used to refer to anything–good or evil–that can’t be explained or isn’t thought to be part of the normal laws of nature.  In this sense the situation is the same as that of the words natural and supernatural.  Either there is no magic or everything is magic.  The rising of the sun every morning, for instance, is about as magical a happening as anyone could dream up.  Although certain things have been learned about sunrises, the way heavenly bodies function in space continues to be a great mystery to thinking minds.

There is no basic difference between the supernatural and magic on the one hand, and natural and non-magical happenings on the other.  However, the original meaning of the word magic–meaning evil mysterious stuff–directs one’s attention to some important differences.

You have a Christian praying for the healing of a sick person who then recovers, and you have a witchdoctor casting a spell that has the effect of putting a curse of sickness on an enemy.  The first is good, the second is evil.  Both are a natural part of life in one sense, because these things actually happen, but we here need to look into the differences that involve the matter of source.

 

There is only one ultimate source of power and that is God.  The idea that there are two basic sources of power, one good, the other evil, is thoroughly wrong.  The earlier theological chapters of this book prove that.  There is only one ultimate power and that is the power of God, and it is the power of good.

God makes creatures and gives them limited amounts of power, all of it good.  Since love (caring about others) is what it’s all about, and since love can’t exist without free choice of will, these creatures to whom God has given some good power have a choice of using that power for the cause of love, or using it for cruelty, apathy and selfishness.  The power of being able to start a fire is a good power, for fire can be used to warm us and to cook food; but fire can also be used to burn down houses and to willfully torture and kill people.

As we’ve already seen, human beings aren’t the first free-willed creatures that God has made.  Before he created the Earth and the animals and humans on it, he made creatures that generally get the blanket-coverage designation of “angels,” but a study of that subject in the Bible reveals that angels are servants and messengers of God and not necessarily one particular species or type.

Some of these earlier-than-human creatures went bad, participating in a rebellion against God and those who served God.  The Bible tells us that there was war in Heaven (read Revelation 12:7), and the angel Satan (the dragon) and his evil followers fought against Michael and his army who remained true to God.  Satan lost and, together with his group, was expelled from Heaven.

It seems that the planet Earth, and possibly other worlds like it, were created expressly to be the home of Satan and his followers, for in Matthew 25:41 we read that the eternal fire was created as the destined place for that fallen angel and his group.  But we can see that it is also to be used as a home for other fallen creatures, for we are told in the Book of Revelation that all those whose names are not written in the book of life–those who have rejected Christ as their savior–will be put into the Lake of Fire.

Also, we have reasoned that since animals of this planet are evil to varying degrees, and since God does not make evil beings, we can reach no other conclusion but that the animals of Earth are the damned souls of some other previous world or worlds, having willfully made the decision to rebel against God.  As it says in the creation account in Genesis, the animals of Earth were made “after their own kind,” in other words, receiving bodies suitable to what their souls had become.

All of these received a certain amount of power.  A fish has the power to swim, etc., a dog has the power to bite and to run and chase rabbits, etc., etc.

Humans have greater powers.

Some types of angels, good and bad, have likely received powers from God much greater that human powers.

Power can be used by one creature to help or hurt some other creature.  Powers can also be rented out, in the manner of a hired gun.  One human can go to another human and ask him to use his particular powers (since powers vary from human to human) and in return pay him somehow for this service.

In much the same way, a human being can go to some non-human (good or evil) and ask that entity to do something that the human doesn’t feel up to.  Those who believe in God and love him, go to him with many requests.  God can agree or disagree to help them, as he chooses.  If he agrees he can take care of the situation himself or send someone else to do the job, angel or human.

People who want some evil done that they don’t feel up to themselves, will try to hire someone else to do it, and that someone else need not always be human.  In primitive societies even today, witchcraft is rampant–and often quite effective.  Witchdoctors get in touch with demons (fallen beings) who prowl the Earth looking to do harm and receive “honor” from those who will follow them.  They like being worshipped.  Cruel sacrifices please them.

In the civilized world these things are more under cover, because here the demonic scheme is to make people believe that nothing so-called supernatural exists, and so attempt to keep people from following God.  (However, that situation is changing, as more and more people are becoming interested in the unseen world behind everything.  So the forces of evil are changing their plan again and once more are attempting to get people in the western civilized world involved in the evil side of the hidden reality.  Keep in mind also that “hidden” reality is just as much a part of reality as are the non-hidden things.)

The upshot of what I’m getting at is that (1) all power comes from God who has infinite power, and who reserves that infinite power for himself, (2) but gives limited amounts of power to each of his free-willed creatures, and (3) those creatures can then use that power for either good or evil as they choose, and (4) can use their powers in the employ of others, again for either good or evil.

Power is supernatural, magical, impossible to explain completely by any finite reasoning (the only kind we have), and is basically an entirely Godly thing.  “God said, ‘Let there be light and there was light.’”  Power is willing things into existence.  Ultimately all power is mind power.  When two minds want opposing things, the strongest, most powerful mind wins out.  No one can win out over God’s infinite mind.

Among his creatures, with their finite minds, some stronger than others, there can be, and often are, power duels.  So long as God only referees the duel, the strongest mind of the two opposing minds will win; but if and when God steps in as a contender, then whoever’s side he takes will be the winning side.

 

Having discussed the matters of natural and supernatural, magic and non-magic, and sources of power, I think this chapter should also here touch on what the difference is between what we call physical and what we call spiritual.

Physical is that which can be seen, heard, felt, tasted, and smelled (all or one or more of the above) by creatures with the five senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell.  For creatures with more or other than these five senses the physical includes whatever they can sense with those.

The physical universe is made up of three basic manifestations: space, matter, and motion-time.  As we’ve explored earlier, God has set things up so that these three are interdependent on one another.  Each can exist only along with the other two.

The spiritual is made up of things that cannot be seen with the physical eyes, nor can it be heard with physical ears or touched with physical bodies, tasted or smelled with nose and tongue, or in any way sensed with any other such material senses.  Some examples of spiritual things are love, hatred and apathy, truth and falsehood, good and evil.  Consciousness or sentience (awareness) seems to be the most basic Godly concept and is spiritual.

Everything that is physical comes out of (is produced by) that which is spiritual–not the other way around.  The materialists have it all wrong.  Physical gases swirling around in space cannot produce consciousness.  Rather it is consciousness (that of God) which has produced gases swirling around in space, and everything else that is physical.

The above is true, but then it gets more complicated.  Since it is utterly ridiculous to imagine anything existing outside of consciousness, it would seem that the whole physical universe is a part of consciousness, which is spiritual; so where is the distinction?

There is, in fact, a distinction.  I’ve already pointed out what it is in saying that the physical is that which can be sensed by the physical senses; and the spiritual is that which cannot be sensed physically, but of which we are aware through spiritual perception, as when one experiences the concept of love by loving someone (caring about their welfare).  However, in a deeper sense, the physical is actually a part of the spiritual for the physical can exist only in someone’s consciousness which is spiritual.

So it starts out with the spiritual, namely the infinite consciousness of God, in which he creates the category of the physical, a unique part of spiritual consciousness.  He shares consciousness with his creatures and so shares the physical aspects of consciousness as well, and, as well, the purely spiritual aspects of consciousness.

 

Another pair:  What is the difference between possible and impossible?

God, being the absolute infinity, can do anything he wants to.  That’s why the Bible says, “… with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)  In a sense some things are impossible, but they are that way for only one reason:  They are the things that God doesn’t allow to happen or cause to happen.  He could if he wanted to, but there are, because of his self-formed character, things he rejects from ever becoming a part of reality.

Possible, then, is everything that God causes or allows or might allow, and impossible is everything that God refuses to cause or allow to happen.

 

One more pair:  Realism and romance.

Many people have come to think of these two as being opposites.  Webster explains that a romantic person is one who comes up with things that have no basis in fact and are “impractical in conception or plan.”  Also, Webster says that the concept of romantic is “marked by the imaginative or emotional appeal of the heroic, adventurous, remote, mysterious, or idealized.”  These two definitions put together would seem to imply that most people consider imagination, emotion, heroism, adventure, remoteness, mystery, and idealism to be impractical.  (Dictionaries, to quite an extent, present how the general public defines words.)

About Realism, Webster defines: “Preoccupation with fact or reality and rejection of the impractical or visionary.”  Here reality and visionary are set as opposites.

So Webster, in supporting what normal educated people think about the words realism and romance, is saying that a realist is a person who sees things as they really are in the light of harsh reality without letting himself be influenced by an idealistic belief in heroic good things happening.  A romantic, on the other hand, is, according to the dictionaries and the general public along with the linguistic professors, a person who sees life through rose-colored glasses and actually believes in happiness and that good wins out over evil.  The romantic believes that the cavalry will always come galloping in near the end, and that those who are on the good side will live happily ever after.

Sounds simple.  The only trouble is that in real life the cavalry actually does come galloping in at the end, and those who are on the good side actually do live happily ever after with God.  This applies not only to the overall story and the end times, but with any number of smaller episodes that people experience in life.  But to experience the romance, one must be on the right side of the conflicts of life–on God’s side.

The trouble with the dictionary definitions is that God himself is a romantic.  Therefore life is romantic.  Therefore the world’s concept of realism is hogwash.

True realism is romance.

CHAPTER 26: SOME OF THE RULES

 

SOME RELIGIONS have very many rules, Christianity not so many; and that difference is because God’s way of dealing with the sin problem is not to overload us with rules and regulations but rather to change us inside so that we then want to do everything God wants us to.  I’ll go into that in the next chapter, but in this one will point out some of the dos-and-donts problems that have caused confusion among followers of Christ.

 

First, let’s look at the matter of submission to authority and how this can seem to be a contradictory matter in this present world where we are told to be law-abiding citizens and yet sometimes find ourselves under governments that make evil laws and tell us to do things we shouldn’t do.

In regard to the paying of taxes, Jesus said, “… Then give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”  (Luke 20:25)  Yes, the citizens under that wicked government were to pay the taxes that the government demanded.

In Romans 13:1,2, the Apostle Paul writes, “Everyone must submit themselves to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.  The authorities that exist have been established by God.  Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgement upon themselves.”

The verse following needs special attention:  “For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong.”  We must not lose sight of the fact that evil rulers in Paul’s time as well as in modern times, and during all the years in between, have severely persecuted Christians; and Christians have, in fact, often done God’s will by refusing to obey these rulers.

Verse 3 is one of those general statements not meant to be an all conclusive, never-to-be-diverged-from rule or statement, just as, for instance, the Scripture verse where Jesus says that those who take up the sword will die by the sword, (Matthew 26:52), and Matthew 7:1&2 where Jesus says that we are not to judge others, for with whatever judgement we judge, we also will be judged.  We can know that both of these statements were not intended to be all inclusive, for there are soldiers and policemen who take up weapons in their work and later die of old age; and the same holy book, in 1 Corinthians 6:1-6, instructs the early Christians to judge their own adherents.

Therefore we can assume that some statements in the Bible are meant to be taken in a general sense rather than in an ultimate sense.  God used human language to give us the Bible, not some perfect heavenly language that would have been mathematically accurate and never needed any thoughtful interpretation.

Jesus used language just as we do; simply trying to get a message across as he looked for the right words to use for that.  Remember that as a true human being he was saddled with our own intellectual and physical limitations.  The Bible says that he was willing to give up the great advantages he had in Heaven to become a human being to rescue us (Philippians 2:5-8).  Paul and other writers of the Holy Scriptures also used frail human language to get God’s message across to us.

When Jesus said that those who take up the sword will die by the sword, he was just bringing out the warning that when you use violence, look out!–you’re opening yourself up to violence being done to yourself.

And when Jesus said “Do not judge, or you too will be judged,” (Matthew 7:1) he wasn’t saying that we should never under any circumstances judge anyone.  For in 1 Corinthians 6:1-6 we are told that the early Christians were to set up judges instead of taking one another into secular courts.  So, Rather, the thought of, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged,” is, “The less you judge the less you’ll be judged yourself.”

Obviously this matter of seeing some statements in the Bible as being general rather than ultimate could be abused, but the true seeker of truth, guided by God, will be able to learn which statements in the Bible are not to be taken as ultimate without-exception rules, and which are.  As always, it is those whose hearts are surrendered to God who are able to learn what they need to know.

So Romans 13:3, “For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong,” in the light of the oftentimes severe persecution of Christians, cannot be seen as intended in an ultimate sense.  Rather is has to be meant in the general sense of “Obey the authorities if you want to stay out of trouble with them.”

Paul says that all governments in power have been established by God, therefore we should not rebel against them.  But here’s something to keep in mind.  All power and authority comes in tiers, with God himself at the very top of the power pyramid.  There are times when a higher power vetoes a lower power, as when some governor of a territory is removed because of his evil doings and is replaced by a better man.

Sometimes God himself prepares some groups to overthrow a worldly government to change the course of history.  For instance, Joshua, under the blessing of God, led the Hebrews in victorious battle against the Hittites, overthrowing their established government.  When a leader and his followers are called by God to unseat a government, they are not (obviously) doing wrong to rebel against that government, for to refuse to do so would be to rebel against God himself.

Therefore the Scripture at the start of Romans 13, which tells us that those who rebel against authority are rebelling against God, must logically allow for the exception of the circumstance of someone being raised up by God to overthrow a government.

This same principle applies in many ways to the everyday life of a Christian.  We’re called upon to obey the laws of the secular government we live under.  We should, for instance, pay our taxes (“Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”) but if a special tax is instituted to support the killing of unborn babies in abortion clinics, most Christians are likely to feel the guidance of God forbidding them to pay into that fund.  By refusing to pay this particular tax, they are not rejecting rightful authority, but simply obeying a higher authority, in this case the highest of all.

The conclusion on this particular subject is fairly simple:  All power ultimately comes from God and he has complete and rightful authority over everything; God gives limited powers to individuals and governments; God sets up and overthrows governments as he wills; As followers of Christ, we are obligated to respect and obey the various levels of government that we find ourselves under, and if there is conflict between one level and another, so that we get mixed signals, then we are to obey the higher level.  For instance, if your town makes a bylaw that conflicts with a law of the federal government, you are to do what the federal government says.  If you’re a child in school and your teacher tells you to do something that your parents forbid, do what your parents say.  If your federal government passes a law that is contrary to what God wants you to do, do what God wants you to do.

As a born-again Christian, you have the ability to be guided personally by God.  He is the ultimate, absolute government of all reality.  Obey him.

 

Then there is the matter of violence and pacifism.  Pacifism, taken as a pure concept, is, of course, a wonderful thing.  There are Christian groups, such as branches of the Mennonite denomination, that not only recognize the basic goodness of the concept, but apply it without any exceptions.  Adherents to this group, and others of similar thinking, will not, among other things, serve in the military (unless in some non-violent way as perhaps serving in a medical corps), and will not ever lift a physical finger or a physical weapon against another human being.  This means that if someone attacks the wife or child of such a pacifist, he must stand by and pray while his family is being raped and murdered.

But if any pacifist has ever done this (and I suppose it has happened) it is safe to say that that person will have a very guilty conscience, maybe for the rest of his life–unless he seeks and finds forgiveness and peace by repenting and admitting that he was on the wrong track.

The prayer for God to intervene and stop the monster who was attacking his wife and child was good.  The prayer was good, but when God sent in help–namely the man who was praying, the husband and father himself–that individual said, “No, God, not me.  I’ll pray for help, but I don’t do violence.”

The extreme pacifists try to use Scripture to support their stand, so we need to look at such verses that come to mind.  One is the Scripture (Matthew 5:39) where Jesus says that if someone strikes one on the right cheek, the recipient is to turn to him the left also.  Another is just before that where Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’  But I tell you, do not resist an evil person.”  (Matthew 5:38,39)  And a third is where Jesus tells Peter to put away his sword, and that those who take up the sword die by the sword (Matthew 26:52).

As already indicated, the first and the second of the above go together, so let’s read them that way:  “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’  But I tell you, do not resist an evil person.  If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.  And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.  If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.”  (Matthew 5:38-41)

This starts out with Jesus saying that we should not resist an evil person, then he goes on to explain what he means by giving some examples.  Please note that in none of these examples is there any real physical violence involved.  The closest he comes to that is in the first example about the cheek striking, but this gives every indication–from the way it’s worded–that Jesus is talking about a slap in the face, really nothing more than a slightly painful insult.  If he had intended to make an all-inclusive statement about never resisting evil attacks of any kind, he would have given an example something like, “If someone intends to run a sword through you, stand there meekly and let him do it.”  But that’s not what he said.  He also could have said, “If someone knocks you down and then starts jumping up and down on your back, turn over and let him jump on your belly too.”  But he didn’t say that.  Instead he spoke of a painful insult, a slap in the face, as an example of how we are not supposed to resist an evil person.  He then followed with other examples to make his point.

He never intended for us to believe that we are never called upon to physically resist evil.  He is our example, and remember how he angrily used physical force to drive the thieves and money-lenders out of the temple?  He upset their tables and chased them and their animals out of the place.  He was, in fact, resisting evil persons, but not in the way that he meant when he said that we are not to resist evil persons.  In that case he gave samples of what he meant by that.

Then there is the Scripture about the sword.  Matthew tells us about how, as Jesus was being arrested, Peter drew his sword and wounded the High Priest’s servant.  Jesus brought a stop to this violence.  “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.”  (Matthew 26:52)

As I said earlier, some statements in the Bible, particularly because human language with all its frailties was used, are meant to be taken in a general sort of way, with their true meaning to be found through frame of reference and the intention of the speaker or writer as can be deciphered by many things including common sense.  When Jesus referred to Herod as being a fox (Luke 13:32), we know, by common sense, that it was a figure of speech, rather than that Jesus was saying Herod was actually a four legged animal.

The statement that Jesus made about the sword, if taken literally, would mean that anyone who ever drew a sword (or in later history, a gun) would die a violent death by the same kind of weapon or (if stretching things a bit) at least by some sort of weapon.  As I said earlier, many soldiers, in the days of swords and in the days of guns, have returned from bloody battlefields to die natural deaths.

In no way does this contradict what Jesus said, but it certainly indicates that Jesus was not making a literal, no-exception-to-the-rule statement.  Then what did he mean by it?  As far as I can make out, he was giving a warning: violence breeds violence.  Pull out your sword against your fellow man–be he good or evil–and you are opening up yourself to violence being done against your own person.

I realize that the statement made by Jesus, at least as given in the translations available to me, and maybe in all, does sound like a no-exception statement.  But using logic and a desire to go by the teachings of the whole Bible–particularly about love and responsibility–one has no choice but to accept that Jesus was simply giving a general statement against violence and a warning to steer clear of it as much as possible:  Pick up a sword and aim its tip at someone and someone will pick up a sword and aim its tip at you.

Some years ago there was a story in the news about a violent man who broke into a home and attacked the widowed woman who lived there.  Her twelve-year-old son, desperate to help his mother, found a butcher knife in a kitchen drawer and headed for the rescue.  He stabbed the villain who then staggered out of the building to his car.  He drove away but didn’t get far, was picked up by police, arrested and hospitalized.  I think he lived.

The boy had rescued his mother.  How thankful she must have been to God and how proud of her brave young son.

Can anyone with any understanding of what the Bible is all about deny that the boy did a good thing?

There are times when violence by a good person is necessary; but we should avoid it as much as possible.

 

Let’s have a look at the matters of sex and sexuality.  There has been a lot of spiritual confusion about this dynamic subject.  Christians have fallen prey to this confusion, more so in the fairly recent past–particularly, I think, in the last half of the nineteenth century and even reaching into the first half of the twentieth.  But  then, in the last half of the twentieth century and now, in the beginning of the twenty-first, there is a new kind of confusion–an extreme liberalization that results at least partly from the extreme earlier inhibitions.

Christians should want to know what God teaches us about the matter and live accordingly.  This also means, as part of that, that we should want to be free from man-made rules and concepts that are not in line with God’s teachings.  These man-made rules can be particularly difficult to deal with if they come from religious sources, masquerading as being gospel truths.

The Victorian age teachings on sex, from both churches and secular sources, had so much nonsense mixed in with their truth, that it’s almost a wonder that the human race survived.  In spite of the anything-goes sexual philosophy rampant today, people in general (in the western, civilized world) are still being strongly influenced by the mind set of the Victorian age.  Even the most liberal minded are, although they probably don’t realize it.

For instance:  “Sexually liberated” people will sometimes refer to a couple “getting dirty,” and they could even be married to each other and having totally clean sex.  In spite of all the liberation, people still think of sex as being basically dirty.

Today’s born-again Christians are also not free of man-made chains and attitudes about sex.  Not so long ago I was talking to a Christian woman who brought up the matter of a scene she had seen in a movie in which a man’s wife excites her husband by dancing for him.  When I pointed out that the movie did, in fact, clearly show that the couple, in the story, was married, she said something like, “There should have been emphasis on their love, rather than on their lust.”

She could have pointed out that the woman’s costume was  brief and that at one point in the dance she revealed a naked buttock, so she could have worked on making a case against nudity in movies and against actors playing sexy roles, and I think she did make some effort in that direction; but my point here is that she felt that an emphasis on physical attraction between a man and his wife was lust and dirtied their sexual relationship rather than enhanced it.  The couple in this movie actually showed much love for one another, but it simply bothered this particular Christian viewer that a married couple should get excited about each other in any physical sort of way.  This lady was very much of a mind that physical sexual attraction, even between a married couple, is non-Christian and should be de-emphasized as much as possible.

Her attitude is in line with that of a Roman Catholic priest who appeared on a TV talk show some years ago, teaching that married couples should have sex in a dark room because that way they’d be more likely to concentrate on love and less on physical attraction.  (By the way, so far as I know this is not an official Catholic teaching, but just the opinion of this one particular priest.)

It’s hard to figure how that priest, and the Christian lady I talked to, and the many other Christians trapped, to whatever extent, in this way of thinking, can come up with such an illogical and non-Biblical way of looking at things.

The Bible teaches clearly that God invented sex.  He made Adam and Eve, “… male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27)  And it does not take a great deal of brains to figure out that in order for sex to work, there has to be a special sexual attraction between men and woman.  We know, from experience, that some of this attraction works through the physical senses–particularly through sight, hearing, and touch.  That was the way God intended it to be, and there is nothing in the Bible that indicates that he ever changed his mind about this.

True, Adam and Eve abused their gift of sexuality–as we’ve seen in Chapter 21–and as a result God put certain tough restrictions on sex.  By instituting marriage and the family system, he forbade that sexual intercourse should take place outside of marriage, thus bringing about two new concepts, fornication and adultery, which were forbidden and sinful.  But God did not change the wiring in men and woman that in general attracted males to females and females to males.  He left that in us for its basic original reasons: so that the world would be populated and so that love could be expressed between a man and a woman in a very pleasurable way.

People have all kinds of hang-ups and misconceptions about sexual matters, sometimes allowing things that shouldn’t be allowed and sometimes not allowing things that should be allowed.

Take masturbation for instance.  For some fairly recent decades, that perfectly normal and necessary substitute for sexual intercourse was proclaimed by many morally minded people to be wicked; and some doctors and psychologists added their nonsense by stating with great confidence that masturbation was harmful to one’s physical health.  Some writers wrote books on sexual education for children, apparently to spare parents from having to talk to their offspring about something as outrageously wicked as sex.

These writers would say things like, “When a boy feels the urge to masturbate coming on he may find it helpful to take a cold shower.  Any kind of physical workout also helps to put the mind on a different track.”  This anti-masturbation ranting was generally aimed at boys, since girls were thought to have little interest in playing with themselves.  (Obviously Kinsey’s reports hadn’t sunk in yet.)  The result of this kind of teaching was that thousands of boys and girls were given a guilt complex for doing what they more or less had to do.  It was like telling them, “We know you have a craving for food but it’s sinful to eat, so don’t do it.  When you find hunger coming on you might find it helpful to take some extra-deep breaths.”

This was truly a horrendous kind of torture that grown-ups laid on children, and on themselves.  While teaching children and young men and women that they were supposed to wait until they were married before they had sexual intercourse (a true Biblical teaching), and insisting that they should not get married too young (usually the early twenties was acceptable for men and a little younger than that for women), they also taught them that they were not supposed to find any sexual relief through masturbation.  Since the need for sexual release begins seriously around ten, eleven, or twelve years old (often younger), this means that these morality teachers were asking young people to go through at least ten years of torment and of being like a walking bomb ready to explode into truly bad sexual behavior, along with a very good chance of developing severe mental problems.

One of the strange things about all this is that these moral teachers–often Christians or nominal Christians–did not have anything in the Bible to support their stand.  They thought they did, for they thought that 1 Corinthians 6:9 referred to masturbation.  That verse lists some things that wicked people do, and, in the King James Version, includes, “… abusers of themselves with mankind.”  I don’t know if the translators thought that referred to masturbation, but certainly a lot of pastors and their congregations did.  But, in fact, Bible scholars in general seem to agree that the passage refers not to masturbation but to homosexuality.  For instance, the NIV translation reads:  “… homosexual offenders …”

Masturbation, for boys and girls, men and women, is basically and obviously a natural substitute to be used when sexual intercourse is not available.  And since the Bible strongly indicates that sexual intercourse is to be indulged in only by a man and woman married to each other, it leaves quite a large need to be covered by masturbation.  In other words, there are many people who over long periods of time are unmarried but have strong, healthy sex drives.  Also, the Bible nowhere says that married men and women should not masturbate.  There may be times when they wish to do it alone, but doing it together on occasion adds an exciting kind of thrill, as does petting; that is, masturbating one another.

But particularly to the unmarried, masturbation is a wonderful substitute to keep boys and girls, men and women, as healthy and sexually satisfied as possible until they can get to the real thing.

What about pornography?  It is thought of by many as being wicked and dirty, and yet it is a tremendous help to the unmarried as a masturbation accessory in keeping themselves on a healthy track.  There is pornography for arousing males, usually photos of beautiful naked women in arousing poses; and there is pornography for women, the most used seeming to be romance novels.  However there is some overlap: men can get turned on to some extent by reading romantic stories, and woman sometimes like to use pictures of men, naked or otherwise, to help them have healthy orgasms.

The trouble with masturbating too much without the opposite-sex stimulation of pornography is, I suppose, the danger of developing an auto-erotic fetish.  A certain amount of auto-eroticism is natural, but, like anything else, it can become warped out of proportion.  Masturbating with pornography can also become warped and out of proportion, so care should be taken to remember that it’s only a substitute.

Webster defines pornography as “the depiction of erotic behavior (as in pictures or writing) intended to cause sexual excitement.”  (Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary)  An interesting observation is that if we should extend this definition to include anything, not just pictures and writings) “intended to cause sexual excitement,” it would turn out that basically all men and women are pornography–living, breathing, pornography, for when God created men and women he intended for them, by their appearances and body language, etc., to cause sexual excitement to one another.

Some would bring up the matter of moderation in all things being taught by the Bible, which is true for it’s taught in Philippians 4:5.  Some use this Scripture to try to convince women to lower their hemlines two or three inches and to bring up their necklines a little.  Whatever the fashion happens to be in whatever place and time they’re living in, they demand that Christians look a little less sexy than everyone else.

There’s some sense to this, because, as fashions go, there are always those taking the middle road, those plunging ahead daringly, and those lagging behind a little, being moderate and modest to varying degrees, right into what could be called prudish.

With sexual morals being as loose as they are today, there may be some validity in Christians being on the distinctly modest side in matters of dress, but keep in mind that the Bible does not give any absolute instructions–such as proper length of hemlines and so on–and so we have no choice but to assume that moderation and modesty are entirely related to the worldly fashions of any particular time and place on this planet.  In other words, what’s modest in a fundamentalist Muslim village, and what’s modest among the African Bushmen, is entirely different.

Among the Bushmen you can be completely modest by running around naked, or at least almost naked; but in some Muslim places a woman would be offensive wearing a calf-length skirt so that men could see her ankles.

In the same way, in the western civilized part of the world, what’s moderate and what isn’t depends on where you live and changes from decade to decade, and even from year to year.  When longer hair styles for men first came out in the late fifties and especially in the sixties, a lot of older folks considered those cuts to be immoderate, even if the ears were only slightly covered and the hair was a bit over the collar at the back.  Many of the old timers were used to men looking almost bald above the ears and at the back of the head, particularly just after stepping down from a barber’s chair.  The pre-sixties barbers, with some exceptions, seemed to do only one kind of haircut for men.  Although they were actually using a comb and clipper, it seemed, by the result, that they were putting a small soup bowl on one’s head and shaving around it, and then doing the finishing touch by means of a shotgun blast at close range.  It was hard for me (during those times) to think of this kind of a haircut as being moderate, for I liked movies, and the male stars of those years obviously went to a different breed of barbers.  But I’m sure that most men of the time considered their regular cuts to be moderate.  Then, in the seventies, male hair styles were so long that a Clark Gable haircut appeared to be immoderately short to many.

So that’s what moderation (at least in regard to hair and clothing) is all about.  What is moderate and what isn’t–and this includes what is modest and what isn’t–is entirely dependent upon what the standard happens to be in any particular time and place.

The Bible tells us to be moderate in all things.  So we shouldn’t be too daring.  Also, we shouldn’t be too conservative, because that can make us look backward and stupid, which is no way to represent Christ in this world.  The best we can do is to stay within the standard borders of fashion and style that are accepted in the grouping or community that we move around in.

 

So, leaving man-made rules out of it, what does the Bible actually say is prohibited sexually.  I have found only five things that the Bible clearly says we are not to do in regard to sexual matters:

(1) We are not to commit adultery.  Adultery is strictly marriage related and could not exist even as a concept without God first having instituted marriage.  Adultery happens when a married person has sexual intercourse with someone they are not married to, whether that person is married or not.  “You shall not commit adultery,” is one of the ten commandments in the Old Testament (Exodus 20:14), and is also presented as a sin in the New Testament, as for instance in Luke 18:20.

 (2) Incest, sexual intercourse between members of the same family and between other kinds of close relatives, is forbidden.  1 Corinthians 5:1 gives one example of this.  Leviticus 18 talks about the sin of incest.

It is interesting to note that Abraham, that important Biblical figure, was married to his half sister, which in Leviticus 18 is forbidden; but we must keep in mind that Abraham lived earlier in the history of mankind, rather close to Adam, and it is likely that the newness of humanity still allowed for closer breeding in Abraham’s time without any negative effects, such as mentally retarded offspring, than later on when the details of prohibition on incest were given.  For someone wanting to know where we should draw the line today–as in, should I marry my second cousin?–the best thing would be to study Leviticus 18, and stay clear of anything that is forbidden there.  Because the human race is older now than it was when those rules were given, maybe we need to be even more strict now, so it might be helpful to check this out with medical and scientific authorities.

(3) Homosexuality and lesbianism are forbidden.  No matter how much the homo community, including many churchgoing people and “gay” pastors object (I put gay in quotation marks because it still angers me that this good and useful word has been mutilated to now describe a person with a sexual orientation problem), the fact remains that God, in the Bible, clearly forbids homosexuality, calling it an abomination.  (Leviticus 18:22 KJV)

Homosexuality, of course, is sexual attraction and activity between members of the same sex, particularly between men.  Sexual attraction between women is more directly called lesbianism.  Both are presented as sins in the Bible.  In Romans 1:26,27 it says, “… even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones.  In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another.  Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.”  I don’t know what that last part means about receiving in themselves the due penalty, but the whole section certainly leaves no doubt that God forbids homosexuality and lesbianism because they are unnatural and indecent.

So far it seems clear, but when we go into the matter a little more deeply it gets more complicated.  This is because there are some serious differences among people who would seem to fall under the heading of homosexuals and lesbians–differences within each category.  For instance, there are bisexuals–persons attracted to both sexes.  Also, with homosexual partners, one often finds that one of the two presents a more masculine exterior in general appearances and mannerisms, etc., and the other will be more effeminate.

This brings us to the well-discussed but possibly inconclusive matter of whether homosexuals are born that way or willfully choose to follow a same-sex orientation.  Actually I think it’s pretty obvious that some people are born with sexual orientation problems and some are not, yet some of these latter choose to experiment with same sex activity.

Many people are born with physical aberrations of one kind or another, and since sexual orientation is probably coded in the physical brain, I have no problem accepting that things can go wrong in that department in the same way that someone can be born with a limb missing or even with an extra limb, etc.  When you add to this that some boys and young men have distinctly feminine facial expressions, mannerisms, and ways of talking, which usually continue on for the rest of their lives unless they make some kind of heroic effort to modify this, it seems clear that they are not entirely masculine.  The same can be said of some girls and woman who behave a lot like men.  Observation reveals that some of these types are sexually attracted to members of the gender that at least on the surface appears to be opposite to them, and some appear to be attracted to their own gender, and some to both.  It’s not a clear and distinct thing, and one wouldn’t expect it to be; after all, things can go a little wrong or very wrong.  A baby can be born with one finger missing or with a whole arm missing.  So it seems reasonable to assume that a person can be born with a slightly wrong sexual orientation, or with a very warped one.  This would account for at least some of the bisexuals (a partial sexual disorientation).  In very pronounced cases of sexual disorientation, it could produce a man who looked entirely normal, with masculine musculature and genitals, but who from early on was attracted to other men, and this due to no decisions of his own.

The question that comes to me, however, is whether such a “man” is really a man.  What is more important in constituting and defining male gender?–the outward physical anatomy, including male genitals, or the inward wiring that determines sexual traits of personality, mannerisms, and the orientation of sexual desire.

It could be argued, rather reasonably, that a person with all the inner configuration of a woman but with the outer configuration of a man, is not really a man at all, but, rather, a woman trapped in a man’s body.

And it works the other way to.  That woman who likes to go to bed with other women, but not with men, should perhaps not be thought of as a woman, but as a man in a woman’s body.

And then we can go back again to the in-betweeners (more often the case, I think) whose inner birth defect makes them neither distinctly male nor distinctly female, but whose outer bodies are one or the other.

But not all cases of sexual disorientation can be blamed on birth defects.  I think there is plenty of evidence that some men, with nothing wrong with them sexually at birth, later on–sometimes in boyhood and sometime in early manhood–willfully choose to experiment with same sex, just to get a new kind of thrill.  At first a same-sex sexual partner must be quite revolting to them, but if they are persistent enough, they can twist their minds out of shape so that they actually begin to like it.

Again, the same thing applies to women, and woman are actually more susceptible to same-sex perversion than men are.  This is because women have a special function in caring for babies and young children, which means that they need to hug and hold them.  A little thought on the matter will convince anyone that babies and young children, no matter what their sex, have much more of characteristics that are feminine than masculine–they’re soft, round, and petite.  And, as I indicated, women must not be repulsed by this, for they need to hug children and physically fuss over them and take care of their needs.  This concept is supported further by the rather obvious fact that women, in general, have less trouble with socially hugging one another as a sign of friendship than do men.  One often sees normal women giving each other hugs without any sign of discomfort; but, although there are, apparently, normal men who like to socially hug other men, most men–including yours truly–feel like puking when we see a man coming toward us with arms outstretched.

Women should probably be more on guard than men in the matter of getting snared into same-sex stuff.

The Bible totally condemns homosexuality and lesbianism, but we must be honest and ask, what are homosexuality and lesbianism?  We can easily conclude that men and women who are born normally and then willfully twist their minds out of shape so that they like same sex, are clearly homosexuals and lesbians and that their unnatural behavior is condemned by the Bible.  It is more difficult, I think, to form an opinion on whether a person born with his or her sexual wiring mixed up falls under the Biblical categories of homosexuality and lesbianism.  After all, if that type of “homosexual” is really a woman trapped in a man’s body, how can we say that he is a man lusting after men; “he” would seem to be rather a woman (in a man’s body) being sexually attracted to men.

One would think that such people, men and women born into bodies opposite to their true sexual nature, should be allowed to form sexual unions, but only with their own kind, assuming that this would not be forbidden by the Biblical condemning of homosexuality.  Why might it not be?  Because although they seem to be men (or women) on the surface, they are not really.

And yet, as though all that isn’t complicated enough, here’s another twist:  We have two “men,” both with mixed-up wiring so that they’re not really men but women in men’s bodies.  They’re attracted to each other–well, to each other’s bodies.  But, since they’re both really women, they’re actually two women having sex–which is lesbianism.

One thing that all of this is not, is natural.  This unnaturalness includes people born with mixed-up sexual orientation and it includes those born normally and who then become homosexuals and lesbians.  The two categories are very different, but both are highly unnatural.

Of those born with healthy sexual wiring in place and then later twist their minds out of shape sexually by getting involved in same-sex activities, there is another important distinction to be made.  (a) Some of them willfully twist their minds out of shape just to have a new kind of thrill or because they’re offered something by the seducer (money, a chance to be a star, etc.) so that they give in and eventually, if they keep it up, get twisted out of shape so that they keep on wanting same sex.  (b) Some who are born normally are forced as children to participate in homosexual or lesbian behavior; as a result, if the abuse is prolonged, they may become homosexuals or lesbians themselves.

So how should Christians feel and react toward obvious homosexuals and lesbians, and how should we feel and react toward those born with sexual orientation problems?

With compassion, of course.  The Bible teaches that we are to love even our enemies (Matthew 5:43-45), so certainly we should also love homosexuals and lesbians.  While each of us Christians were still living in sin, God loved us and, in Christ, died for us. (Romans 5:8)

However, having compassion on them does not mean that we should take no steps to protect ourselves and children from the evil of homosexuality and lesbianism.  Allowing known homosexuals and lesbians to be teachers, pastors, and Sunday school teachers and to be in other such positions of influence is ridiculous and irresponsible.  It’s considerably worse than sending children to school to be taught by a teacher who suffers from some communicable disease that can’t be cured.  He or she may say they’ll be careful not to infect the children, but should parents really want to take that chance?  In the same way, the sick sexual orientation of the homosexual or lesbian can rub off on the children in all kinds of little ways even if it isn’t taught directly.

(4) Bestiality, humans having sex with animals, is straightforwardly condemned by the Bible.  Leviticus 18:23 speaks of this degrading practice:  “Do not have sexual relations with an animal and defile yourself with it.  A woman must not present herself to an animal to have sexual relations with it; that is a perversion.”  It is the ugliest sexual sin of all those pointed out in the Bible.

(5) Prostitution, the selling and buying of sex, is condemned throughout the Bible in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.  You can read about this yourself by looking up the words, prostitute, harlot, and other related words in a Bible concordance and then reading the Scriptures that those will guide you to.

This can also bring you to a couple of true harlot stories, one in the Old Testament and one in the New Testament, about prostitutes who received mercy from God.  The one from the Old Testament is found in Joshua 2:1-24 and carries on in Joshua 6:12-17.  The one in the New Testament is in John 8:1-11.  (Note:  Some translating authorities say that the earliest and most reliable manuscripts do not have John 7:53-8:11)

In 1 Corinthians 6:15,16 we find a definite New Testament command about prostitution:  “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself?  Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute?  Never!  Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body?  For it is said, ‘The two will become one flesh.’”

 

So here is the list of the five sexual sins clearly condemned in the Bible:

n    Adultery

n    Incest

n    Homosexuality and Lesbianism

n    Bestiality

n    Prostitution

 

Originally, I was going to include fornication in this list, for I was thinking, as many people do–and rightly so in a sense–that the word means sexual intercourse outside of marriage.  My Webster, in fact, gives that kind of a definition, so in modern usage that is correct; the trouble is that the Greek words used in the New Testament, which are translated in the King James Version as fornication, do not appear to specifically mean sexual intercourse outside of marriage.

The first of the three words is porneia, meaning harlotry, including adultery and incest, and, figuratively, idolatry.

The second is porneou, meaning harlotry, the indulging of unlawful sex (in either gender), and idolatry.

The third is ekporneuo, which means to be utterly unchaste.

So we can see that the word fornication as used in the King James Version has a broader, more general, and much less specific meaning than that of the word’s modern definition.  The three words translated as fornication in the KJV all mean something that could better be labeled as sexual immorality, more or less all-inclusive, and that, in fact, is more or less how the New International Version translates it.

But sexual immorality is a non-specific definition, and we want to know exactly what is sexual immorality as forbidden by the Bible?  For that we can only go back to the five items that are on the list.

This is not to say that sexual intercourse outside of marriage is not forbidden in the Bible, for it could be included in “sexual immorality.”  It’s just that I have not been able, so far, to find a specific reference to that.

However, that sexual intercourse, copulation, outside of marriage is forbidden by the teachings of the Bible is fairly obvious because it is totally related to the marriage institution.  The purpose of marriage is to give children a family to grow up in.  For men and women to copulate outside of marriage would (and does) bring about a great many pregnancies without the kind of father-mother families that God wants.  Birth control methods are better today than they were when the Bible was written, yet not perfect; and we also have the specter of venereal disease hanging over any kind of “free-love” activity.  All things considered, including the holiness of marriage as expressed in the Bible, I think we should stick to the guidance of that old hit song, Love and Marriage:  “Love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage,” or, more precisely put:  Don’t fuck anyone you’re not married to.

 

There is another sexual sin, but as far as I know it is covered indirectly in passages where the Bible condemns violence.  I’m thinking of the violent sin and crime of rape.  Although it may not be mentioned specifically, it is totally contrary to everything the Bible teaches about love, gentleness, and being kind to everyone.

 

 

 

CHAPTER 27: FREEDOM

 

IN THIS FINAL CHAPTER of Part Two, I would like to point out some differences between Christianity and the concept of religion in general; and right from the start I will say that religion enslaves people, but Christianity sets us free.  So isn’t Christianity a religion?  I suppose that in a sense it is, but it is also very different from what most people’s concept is of religion.

Even the true religion given to the Hebrews by God enslaved them.  However, at the time this was better than what they would have had without it, namely a heathen, Godless life as experienced by the rest of the world around them.  Besides, the religion given to the Jews by God was a stepping stone–a part of the holy path leading to Christ and freedom.

There are now and always have been, forces at work attempting to enslave the human race as a whole and individuals in particular.  In contrast to this, God, the creator of humanity, has been working at giving mankind freedom.

It will be good if we stop here to take a careful look at what freedom really is.  One of my Websters gives, as its first definition: “The quality or state of being free: as: the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action (b) liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another.”  My Thorndike-Barnhart Comprehensive Desk Dictionary says, in part, that freedom is “… not being under another’s control; power to do, say, or think as one pleases ….”

Considering those definitions, it is not hard to see that freedom is almost always a matter of degree.  Only God has complete freedom; all creatures have rightful limitations placed on what they are allowed to do and what they are not allowed to do.  Anything short of that would be chaos.

The ideal kind of freedom then, is the freedom that God allows within the bounds he chooses.  He sets certain limitations beyond which he does not want us to go, but is very willing to give us lots of elbow room within those borders.  We can think of it as being set free in a beautiful vast area with everything in it that we need to be happy and fulfilled.  On the far side of the borders lies heartache and ugliness, and slavery.

As finite creatures–as not being the infinite God ourselves–we must be subject to higher powers, ultimately to the highest power of all, God.  And having been given freedom of choice in spiritual matters, we can choose who we will be willingly subject to: to God, or to forces contrary to God.  If we choose to disobey God, we automatically fall into subservience to the forces of evil, which are made up of a hierarchy of power that includes many individual evil beings, and has been roughly summed up as being the world, the flesh, and the devil.

The world, in this sense, is made up of the human beings of this world who follow evil rather than God.

The flesh is the old nature in us that is contrary to God.

The devil, in this sense, includes Satan–who is the devil–and his non-human followers who work together at enslaving mankind in sin.

A human being has no choice but to choose a master; we can’t do without one for the simple reason that we’re finite creatures, very limited in our power and knowledge and need someone more powerful and knowledgeable than us to tell us what to do.  God is the natural choice for who we should follow.  He made us and he is all-wise, all-knowing, and he loves us.  To follow him is to experience the greatest freedom that a human being is capable of, for God wants us to have expansive lives with plenty of opportunity to make choices between good things and other good things.  To be free under God means to be free from slavery to the world, the flesh, and the devil, or, put in another way, to be free from sin and all its ugly results.  If we’re free from sin, then, as I’ve already said, we’re free to move around freely in God’s wide plain of endless good choices, and to have the joy of living close to the most loving person of all–God.

To reject God as our master means to immediately fall under another master–some form of the triune evil entity of the world, the flesh, and the devil.  People who turn against God should stop and think about who they’re replacing him with.  Will this new master give them a greater and better freedom?

These evil forces try to give the impression that there is a desirable freedom to be gained by getting out from under God’s authority.  After all, they say, you will be free from having to obey God; you can “freely” commit any sin you want.  They try to give the impression that total freedom to do whatever you want is desirable and possible.

Well, that’s a lie and a highly illogical one.  We’ve already seen that any creature, by the fact of his finiteness, cannot be totally free.  All finite creatures (and all creatures are finite) need someone higher than themselves to guide their lives, and, in fact, to keep them living.  The highest power is God himself; he is the only one who is completely free.  In his absolute infinity he supports himself and does whatever he wants to do.

So, if a creature can never be totally free like God, it is false to think that there is any kind of better freedom to be gained by being free of God.  What happens when a person refuses to submit to God’s authority is that such a person immediately falls under the authority of some evil power or powers that are above him in the power hierarchy.  In short, as has often been said, such a person becomes a slave of sin.  He becomes a slave of the world, the flesh, and the devil.

In a sense Christians could be said to be slaves to God.  After all, we know we’re totally in his power and we do whatever he wants us to.

So, if we must be slaves, one way or the other, we should take a careful look at what the differences are in being a slave to God or being a slave to the forces of evil.

It has been said, and rightly, that the devil doesn’t pay very good wages.  For serving him he offers a few immediate pleasures, and then eternal damnation in a cruel world where the love of God is not known, and where damned creatures are cruel to one another.

Submission to God, on the other hand, gives us the joy of living close to the infinite loving Creator, sharing in his wonderful ways, having his loving arms around us, and (after being made ready) ultimately living forever in a beautiful world peopled by those who love one another and have become completely trustworthy.

The other situation, submission to evil, offers a tawdry kind of freedom (freedom from God) that is replaced by much slavery and the sufferings brought about by harsh masters.

Submitting oneself to God brings about a truly beautiful kind of freedom that is right for us and that we can enjoy.

So, now that we’ve had a look at what freedom is and isn’t, let’s see how this matter applies to the situation that Christians, here on Earth, find ourselves in today.

According to many Christians it would seem that followers of Christ are to be, to some extent, slaves to religion rather than to enjoy the great freedom that Jesus has provided for us through his death and resurrection.  They have not quite grasped what Jesus has done in this regard.

Before Christ came, the heathen (meaning those who did not follow God) peoples of Earth made up their own rules of conduct and were in outright slavery to their sinful passions.  Feeling a need to serve someone higher than themselves, they made idols and worshipped them.

The Hebrews/Jews, however, had been chosen by God to carry out his plan of redemption for the human race; he gave them a religion which was a start in that direction, promising them that the Messiah (meaning the Anointed One, in Greek called the Christ) would come to them and save them.  The religion God gave the Hebrews had a lot of rules and regulations, and the killing of animals as temporary sacrifices (foreshadowing the sacrifice of Christ on the cross).  Although these sacrifices and ceremonies were the best the Hebrews could handle at the time, it was not really what God wanted for them.  In Hosea 6:6 God tells them through that prophet, Hosea:  “For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.”

Paul the Apostle, in Romans 3:19-24, points out that “the law” (basically the Hebrew religion) was given to the Jews not to save them by itself, but to point out to them clearly what helpless sinners members of the human race are.  They were given a lot of good rules by God, but because of their sinful hearts (the old nature, called the flesh) the Hebrews found that they did not follow the rules.  God then sent them the Messiah, born in Bethlehem as prophesied in their holy writings.

He was the Son of God who lived a perfectly sinless life and then suffered and died not only for the Jewish people, but for the whole world.  And God proclaimed that whoever would put his trust in Jesus as his own savior, would be forgiven for his sins and would receive the power to overcome sin.  For such a person all the complicated rules and ceremonies of the Old Testament were no longer necessary; rather, such a person would find that he now had the law of God written on his heart.  Romans 6:14 says, “For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.”

This new nature (a part of the very nature of Christ) enables the believer to actually resist and overcome any temptation to sin, every time that he applies it.  A great battle then proceeds to take place within this new-born follower of Christ.  It is the battle between the new nature given him by Christ, and the old nature of slavery to sin seated in the subconscious mind.  The more we apply the new nature and say no to the old nature, the more Christlike we become and the more fit we are to spend eternity with God.

But the point I’m making here is that the person accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior no longer needs to live according to religion–no longer needs a long list of rules and regulations, no longer needs the observance of special holy days and the fulfillment of ceremonial obligations.  The person who has been born anew of Christ’s Spirit has received a powerful inclination to love and obey God, and also an inner guidance system that makes this possible.  Born-again Christians receive direct, personal guidance from God and that in full supply as needed.  It is that “gentle whisper” that Elijah talks about in 1 Kings 19:11-16.  This is a voice not heard with the ears but rather with the heart–an inner knowing of what is right and God’s will in all circumstances.  That is, he will let us know as much as we need to know at any time.

How different this is from living according to the complications of religion!

When a gentile (a non-Jew) becomes a Christian, he is freed from the Godlessness of the world and from his own overpowering bent toward evil.

When a Jew becomes a follower of Jesus, the awaited for Messiah, he is freed from all the complications of the Mosaic religion, and, like the gentile, from his bent for evil.

Both Jew and gentile find forgiveness for their sins through the sacrificial suffering and death of the Messiah, and they find that they now love God with a new passion and have received a mighty, Godly power to defeat sin in their lives.  The complications, ceremonies, and rules of religion have been replaced with a new heart that fervently wants to do God’s will and has the power to do so.

What a wonderful relief it is to experience not only losing the burden of sin but along with it the energy-draining burdens of religion!  Now it has become so simple:  Christ has saved us; we love God and fervently want to be pleasing to him; he guides us directly, in our inner selves, so that we can always do his will and know we’re doing his will.

Unfortunately, many Christians today do not fully realize what has happened to them–do not fully experience this wonderful liberation, because, along with our leaders, we have allowed some confusion to set in.  This partial slavery is somewhat different among the various groupings of Christians–Roman Catholics, Protestants, Greek Orthodox, and various groupings within each of those.  Actually I don’t know if the Greek Orthodox church has any important distinctions of groupings within itself, but the Roman Catholics, formerly all-in-one-piece over the centuries, now has various schools of thought within it, some of them leaning strongly toward a more evangelical and fundamentalistic approach.  The Protestants, of course, have always had a wider range of stances and interpretations of the Bible.  But it seems that virtually all of these groupings within groupings have fallen, to some extent or another, into slavery to man-made philosophical paraphernalia.

The Roman Catholic groups make a big thing out of ceremonial trappings including fancy robes, life-size crucifixes, elaborate pre-written prayers, rigid confessional systems, sainthood systems, and a get-to-heaven system that sometimes seems to come close to by-passing what Christ has done for us on the cross.  Catholics will fervently deny this last part, and I’ll admit that many of them really do trust in God’s grace through Christ’s atonement on the cross.  But it must be kind of hard to hang on to the simple purity of this when they are bombarded with instructions to pray to Mary and the saints, say Hale Marys while meticulously handling beads, are told that they better have a good reason for missing mass if they don’t want to go to hell for it, and so on and on.

Martin Luther was one of the leaders who tried to free Christians from this sort of thing.  He was partially successful, but, ironically, the large denomination named after him has of late fallen into liberalism and is presently denying much of the truths of historical Christianity, thus plunging its members into deeper slavery than the Catholics ever were in.

What about the Bible-believing, evangelical and fundamentalist denominations?  Have they managed to keep from falling into slavery to man-made traditions?  Not entirely.

You have, for instance, many church-going Christians who believe fervently that the denomination they belong to is the best.  The Lutherans are strong on this; so are the Mennonites.  They can’t all be right, right?

Many of the serious Protestant church goers, particularly of the evangelical and fundamentalist groupings, are almost as concerned about missing a Sunday church service as the Catholics are.  Both kinds seem to think that God will be very displeased with them if they miss a Sunday morning worship service to sleep in late or go for a ride in the countryside.  Where do they get this idea?

Well, the Catholics have been enslaved to this, probably for centuries, because at some meeting of some high-ranking pontiffs it was decided that missing a church service was a sin, and then they passed this on to the layman as being a law straight from God.  The Protestants, with their leaders not trying so much to speak directly for God, became slaves to this belief about the tremendous importance of regular church attendance in a more slow and subtle manner.  Even now that the go-to-church-on-Sunday slavery is well rooted in some Protestant groups, no one comes right out and says that it’s a sin to miss a service.  Yet plenty of things are said, by the pastors and by the congregation members, to indicate strongly that anyone missing Sunday morning church services is on a slippery slope to falling away from Christ.  Although I fully agree that we all (Christians) need to encourage one another to stay on the right track, I know of no command from God that summons us to weekly worship services, and that warns us to be very diligent about the regularity of such attendance.

What does the Bible tell us?  In Hebrews 10:24,25 we read that we should not give up “meeting together.”  That’s it.  No details are given, no warning about regular or weekly or monthly attendance of such gatherings, no mention of special church buildings to be used for worship services.

Now, the idea of the special buildings and having weekly services is all right–although I think living rooms would do nicely for Christian get-togethers and would allow the church-building money to be used for more important things like feeding the hungry in the name of Christ–but even if it’s a basically sound idea, that doesn’t mean it should be taken as a command of God, or something very close to that.  I’m afraid there are many Christians who actually choose to disobey God rather than miss a Sunday morning worship service.

Here is a fictitious example of something that has probably happened many times in one form or another:  A Christian wakes up Sunday morning and feels that God is urging him to hurry and go visit a particular patient in a hospital, a friend.  But after thinking for a moment about the matter this Christian makes a strange decision.  It’s almost as though he says, “Sorry, Lord, but I can’t do that because this is Sunday morning, and on Sunday morning I have to go to church and worship you together with other Christians.”  Although that’s what he’s more or less actually saying deep down inside, on the surface it comes out more like, “Lord, this can’t really be you telling me to go visit my sick friend, because you know how important it is for me to go to church every Sunday morning, so I must have been imagining that you wanted me to go to the hospital.”

I here used something serious–the command to the man that he should visit a sick patient–to better make my point; but what if God had told this Christian that instead of going to church that morning he should pack up his family for an enjoyable full day at the lake?  Would that have given the Christian any more of an excuse to disobey God?  Of course not.

But so many Christians are so enslaved with man-made religious rules and traditions that these things interfere with their reception and acceptance of God’s guidance.  Even their interpretations of the Scriptures are often faulty because before they can accept anything from God they have to run it by what their Almighty church group thinks about the matter.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  It’s good that we help one another to understand the meanings of the Bible, and it’s particularly good when we get the help of some leaders (pastors, scholars, etc.) that God guides us to.  But then, as we listen to what they have to say, we need to keep checking it out with God himself, relying most of all on his guidance.  But that’s a whole lot different than the Christian who falls into the idolatry of letting his church group–congregation, pastor, and church building all included–be his main guiding light.

There are also Christians who refuse to do any kind of work on Sunday (which they think of, rightly or wrongly, as the Sabbath), even when circumstances would seem to call for an exception.  A classic example is the farmer who won’t bring in the last of his crop during harvest even though he sees a big storm coming up that will destroy many bushels of grain needed by a hungry world–because it’s Sunday and we’re not supposed to work on Sunday.  (If you’re a Seventh Day Adventist, substitute the Sabbath for Sunday in the preceding sentence.)  Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27)

 

There are too many man-made chains enslaving Christians today for me to attempt to list all of them.  It is better that each Christian get the knack of being able to separate fact from fiction, true commands of God from tradition, Christianity from churchianity.  How do you do this?  It’s really very simple.

If you’re already a born-again Christian, settle down to the fact that God guides his children personally.  He also uses his written word, the Holy Bible.  And he expects us to use logic and reasoning.  However, in this, just remember that our finite reasoning can be flawed; so if your reasoning is telling you one thing and God, by his Holy Spirit and by his written word, tells you something else, by all means follow what God is saying.  God also raises up teachers, preachers, leaders, shepherds of the flock to guide followers of Christ.  This latter is a good thing of course, but as can be expected, teachers are not entirely infallible and don’t always get everything right; but as you listen to God you’ll find that the Holy Bible is all true, but needs the guidance of God’s Spirit to enable us understand it.  The personal guidance of God’s Spirit is where the rubber meets the road–there’s no higher or more sure way to get the truth.

So here’s what you do when you have a problem about what’s right or wrong, as, for instance, when you’re not sure if something is really God’s will or just a man-made tradition.  First ask God to guide you in the matter.  And think the matter through logically.  If God guides you to search in the Bible for the answer (which is highly likely since the Bible is God’s written word), do so.  If you can’t find what you’re looking for, or even if you can, you might find it helpful to go to your pastor and ask him to help you.  (I’m hoping, here, that your pastor is, or will be, a born-again, Bible-believing Christian.)

If the matter at hand is a strongly held tradition but not an actual command from God, you might find that your pastor is unable to support, with Scripture, what he and his congregation believe.  Don’t let that throw you.  Just keep praying about the matter, thinking about it logically under God’s guidance, searching out what the Bible has to say about it, and being patient.  God will help you to come to whatever conclusion you need to come to, when you need to come to it.  Sometimes the answer comes quickly, sometimes it takes years to get clear on a matter.  On some things we might have to wait until Jesus comes back for us.  The important thing is to love God and to be honest, to care about truth.  Do that and you’ll learn from God all that you need to know.

Determine in your heart that you will not be misled by “churchianity” and human traditions.  Determine in your heart that you want God’s truth and keep reinforcing that decision every day.  As you learn to do this, you will find more and more the joy of being liberated from religion and of living in the wonderful freedom that Christ grants.

In John 8:31,32, we read:  “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’”

He carries on telling about slavery to sin, then says, in verse 36:  “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

If God really does not want to enslave us in reams of rules, ceremonial obligations, and traditions, what does he want?  Matthew 22:34-40 is a good place to start:  “Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together.  One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?’

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’”

And in Luke 10:25-37 Jesus gives the parable of the good Samaritan–who found a wounded man on the road and helped him–to show that anyone we demonstrate love to is our neighbor.  The person the Samaritan helped was a stranger to him, and apparently of a different political/philosophical camp than that of the Samaritan, for it seems that the Samaritans were looked down on by the regular Jews, which was why Jesus employed a Samaritan in his illustration.  The illustration clearly shows that we are to love everyone.

Another Scripture, Matthew 5:44, tells us to: “… love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you …”

The highest kind of love is self-sacrificing love.  God has that kind of love and has fully demonstrated it in the greatest of all sacrifices made for us in Jesus on the cross.  As children adopted into his family, he gives us a nature that is like his; he gives us the ability–and it’s a requirement too–to love sacrificially.  Sometimes we need to do this in what for us are big ways, but usually in smaller ways.

In many small ways it happens every day without us hardly thinking about it.  If you live alone in a house, you can pretty well do what you want.  But as soon as you bring another conscious being into the house with you–even a cat or a dog–the situation changes, providing you love (care about the happiness) of that being.  The cat or the dog has wants and needs of his own, and you’ll find yourself making all kinds of little sacrifices for your pet’s sake.  For instance, you might be hungry and just about to eat, when along comes Fluffy, meowing for cat food.  So you postpone your own eating for a few seconds while you open a can for him.  A small sacrifice, but a sacrifice nevertheless.

Then you get married and have a spouse in the house with you, along with the cat.  Now you’ll find yourself making larger sacrifices, and more of them, because now there are three conscious minds, all capable of being happy and unhappy, and all three with wants and needs.

But you also have contact with the world outside of your house–with thousands of conscious minds with needs that often cross your path in ways that require you to make decisions: should I think only of my own needs or should I put aside some particular need for a bit while I help this other conscious creature to have what he or she needs.

God has given us all this kind of responsibility so that we can develop meaningful love toward one another and toward God.

Paul the Apostle tells us, in 1 Corinthians 13:13, “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love.  But the greatest of these is love.”

Faith and hope, then, according to what Jesus has already told us, hang on the greatest two commandments which are about love–about caring for God and for our neighbors (everyone) as for ourselves.  Faith and hope, then, although not the two greatest commandments, are right next to them in Paul’s listing of the three greatest spiritual concepts.  Therefore we should have a closer look at them.

Faith means believing God.  Having faith does not mean believing anything without a good reason, as people of this world in general seem to think.  Having faith means becoming aware of our own inner spiritual wiring that allows us to see truth as God reveals it to us–becoming aware of it and using it.  It’s like discovering a window in one’s soul–a window to truth–and throwing open the shutters.  These shutters are opened wider in proportion to how much we love God and care about truth.  No one can be wise or find peace with God without faith.

“Have hope” is another way of saying, “be positive.”  To be positive means to not expect bad things to happen but rather to expect good things to happen.  Of course we know that bad things happen because of sin and evil, and God doesn’t expect us to deny that.  But he does want us to believe in his overall victory with a happy ending, as well as in a long string of personal victories and happy things that we can have daily as a result of following God.  To have hope means to trust in God.  No one can be positive without that.

There are atheists and humanists who try to be positive, but it’s a sham.  Deep inside they’re afraid and negative, sensing doom coming upon them and others like them.  Their philosophy really is, “… eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”  (1 Corinthians 15:32)  The only way that you can have peace and be a positive person is to trust in the infinite God, knowing that he’s in control of all things and that he loves you.

God loves you and wants you to be free and happy.  But you’ve sinned, as we all have, and God’s justice demands spiritual and physical death to sinners.  The reason that sin is so terrible and demands such harsh retribution from God is because God, in his holiness, is infinite.  That means that our sins against him are infinite in their magnitude.  But God’s love for us is also infinite, so he has implemented his plan to save us through his sacrificial love.  The only thing that will satisfy his infinite justice, other then giving us the punishment we deserve, is for himself, in Jesus, to suffer for our sins, in our place.

But he has determined not to force this overwhelmingly great gift on us.  For it to apply we must be sorry for our sins and gratefully accept that gift of sacrificial love.

God is not out to get us, even though we deserve the worst.  God’s purpose, in regard to us, is to help us to find eternal peace and happiness.  So he draws us to Christ.  If we accept the gift of forgiveness through Christ’s suffering, death, and resurrection, he then seriously begins work on us to prepare us for eternal life with him.

This preparing involves both hardships and joys, and God knows the right mix of that for each of us.  He gently, and sometimes not so gently, helps us to give up our old sinful ways and thought-and-feeling patterns, and to replace them with the new nature that we’ve received from Christ.  This isn’t always real easy, and yet it’s easy enough for Jesus to be able to encourage us by saying, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  (Matthew 11:28-30)

The burdens of both sin and religion are not light, and God does not want us to be loaded down with either one of them.  Galatians 5:1 tells us:  “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

 

We have now come to the end of Part Two of this volume.  In Part One we sometimes followed the spiritual searchings of a young man, not yet a Christian, being led by God toward truth.  He was in the dungeon of darkness, a prisoner of sin, looking for a light to lead him to escape from the dungeon.

In the transition from Part One to Part Two he found that escape through faith in Jesus, and so came up out of the dungeon into the castle above, said castle symbolizing the state of a saved Christian but one still in his flesh-and-blood body living here on Earth.  So in Part Two we explored the basics of what Christianity is and how a Christian living here on Earth can avoid pitfalls and fight a victorious battle against his own old nature, against the world, and against the devil, and in so doing become prepared for the next stage, which is life outside of the castle–namely that situation which God teaches we can look forward to, as born-again Christians, when our stay in this present world comes to an end.

The Holy Bible, God’s written word, tells us quite a lot about what will happen to us, and it’s wonderfully exciting–and rather different from what many Christians think.

 

 

 

 

PART THREE:

 FROM THE CASTLE INTO THE GREAT OUTDOORS

CHAPTER 28:

THE DESTINY OF GOD’S CHILDREN

THERE IS ONLY this one chapter to Part Three, the final part of this book.

Many Christians have an extremely oversimplified view of what the destinies are of believers and of unrepentant sinners.  They believe that when a person dies, if he’s a Christian he goes to Heaven and lives there forever, and if he’s one who has rejected Christ he goes to hell and stays there forever.

The Bible tells us that Heaven and hell are real, but the non-Biblical, oversimplified concept as presented in the sentence just above, is not supported by God’s written word.  It is strange that so many Christians should believe in this erroneous simplification, when the Bible says so much to disprove it.  Surely the pastors have to carry some of the blame.  They must learn the truth in Bible school and seminary, so why don’t they enlighten their congregations with a few sermons on what the Bible really teaches about what is to come?

The Bible has much to say about the last days of the present age as well as about what comes after that.  I won’t attempt to quote all Scriptures referring to these matters, but rather point out some very interesting and revealing ones.

First of all, in spite of what I’ve just said, I find nothing in the Bible that contradicts the following: When a believer in Christ dies, his soul (his essential real self minus his flesh and blood body) goes to be with God in Heaven.  And the soul of anyone who dies after having totally and irrevocably rejected Christ’s love is put into an unpleasant prison called hell, there to await a final judgement.  It has to be unpleasant because its evil inhabitants no doubt make it unpleasant for one another.

Most Christians accept, I think, the rather amazing Biblical truth that not all Christians will experience physical death.  And since they’ve already passed from death to life in a spiritual sense after accepting Christ as their Savior, it means that they won’t experience death in any form.  Who are these fortunate people?  They’re the Christians who will be living here on Earth at the time when Jesus returns to take his own out of this world.

In 1 Corinthians: 51-53, we read:  “Listen, I tell you a mystery:  We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed–in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.”

The word sleep here refers to death, and Paul the Apostle is teaching about the resurrection of the dead which is to come when Christ returns for his own.

In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, the apostle says, “Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.  We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.  According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.  For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.  And so we will be with the Lord forever.  Therefore encourage each other with these words.”

Please note that at one point in the above, Paul says that “God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.”  My italics.  This means that those who have “fallen asleep” (died physically) previously, will return to Earth with Jesus at the time of the resurrection and receive their new or changed bodies.  So their bodies have been sleeping, but not their souls; their souls have been with God in Heaven.

Very near the end of this age (the age we’re living in now), Jesus, with his human followers from Heaven with him, will return to retrieve his remaining followers out of this world–those of them still alive on Earth at that time.  This does not appear to be a time when the world in general will see him, only those who belong to him.  He will come for us, and those who have passed on and been with him in Heaven will be reunited with their bodies, only those bodies will be wonderfully changed, now being beautiful and immortal.  Next, those Christians who are still living on Earth at the time will be changed more or less instantaneously (“in the twinkling of an eye,” which is something like saying, in the blink of an eye), and, together with those already changed, will be caught up to Jesus.

It wouldn’t surprise me at all if there will be a space ship involved, or maybe many spaceships, to transport all these Christians to Heaven, but God may have some other way of doing it.  If he uses spaceships, it may be that the people of the world will see them and attribute the missing Christians to an abduction by space aliens.

Once the Christians have been taken off this planet things will get very nasty here.  I won’t go into that in detail, but there is much in the Bible about it, including that the world will be run by an evil man referred to in the Bible as the Beast who has an identifying number: 666.  He and a helper called the False Prophet will, with the help of Satan, make the Earth a truly miserable place to be.

It will be very bad for those who become Christians at that time; they will be relentlessly hunted down and killed.  No doubt they will wish very much that they had become Christians before the resurrection took place so that they could have been part of that and been taken away to Heaven before this terrible tribulation was released on Earth.  Now they will have to endure that until Christ comes back to defeat his enemies and set up his own kingdom here on Earth.  Some Bible scholars believe that from the time of the resurrection to the time of Christ coming back to set up his kingdom will be seven years; others believe it will be three and a half years.  In any case, it will be a relatively short but terrible time.

Now, some of you who have been led to believe that it’s all so simple–believers to Heaven, unbelievers to hell, end of story–are surprised to hear about Jesus setting up his kingdom here on Earth.  You think, why would he want to do that?

I don’t know all the reasons, but I think one of them is to give us Christians a chance to fulfil our good Earthly dreams.  We all have things we’d like to do here on Earth, but presently, with the world, the flesh, and the devil giving us a bad time, the years go by and a lot of our dreams go unrealized.  The reign of Jesus on Earth, which will last one-thousand years, will allow us to enjoy those things here on Earth that we always wanted.

It may also be a time for those who became Christians during the three-and-a-half or seven years of very bad times, and missed the resurrection, to get straightened out with God.

I believe the thousand years will also give the non-Christians of that time a final chance to become Christians.  The idea that there could be non-Christians around during Christ’s reign on Earth may surprise some, but the Bible gives rather strong indications that this will be the case.  In fact, there’s a strong indication that there’ll be a lot of them, but with Christ ruling the planet, they won’t be able to get away with anything or cause too much trouble.

During the present age Christians have been and are persecuted by the world; we’ve been made fun of, and in general given a rough time.  When Christ governs the world, things will be very different.  Once downtrodden and ridiculed, we will then be in positions of authority and have respect.  As we’ll be reading in a moment, the Bible says that the resurrected Christians will reign with Christ.

I don’t expect that all the non-Christians of that time will see Christ for who he really is–the Son of God and Savior of the world.  The stubborn ones will see him as an alien from space who has come to take over the world, occupying it as a foreign power.  One great plus for the world at that time will be that the leader of the evil forces, Satan, will be imprisoned and so long as he remains that way won’t be able to stir up any trouble.  But there will likely be other, lesser, powers who will do so.  But Jesus will be in control and will head-up the greatest government that his world has ever seen or ever will see, meting out justice and mercy and helping non-believers to turn to him.

When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison for a short while, and will, in fact, stir up some serious trouble.  But no one can win out against the infinite God, so Satan will be defeated and a whole new creation will come into being from the hand of God.

The Bible tells us that there will be a new heaven and a new Earth, and that followers of Christ will live on that new Earth surrounded by the light of God.  I expect we’ll have access to Heaven as well, and perhaps move about, adventuring through great areas of God’s space and see many, many of his wonderful worlds.  That’s a speculation, but the Bible does say that our home will be on the new Earth.

Let’s check out all this by reading about it in the Holy Bible, God’s written word, and with that I will end this book.

The copyright holders of the New International Version allow the use of this long quote–almost all of the four last chapters in the Bible, namely from Revelation 19:11 through to the end.

Please be aware that there can be symbolism involved, but much of these last four Bible chapters is very plain and easy to understand.  In regard to symbolism, some examples might be horses representing some other means of travel, a sword coming out of the mouth of Christ being a powerful way of saying that things happen–in this case death and destruction of his enemies–at his spoken command; and we are told in chapter 21, Verse 2, that the Holy City is prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.  We already know from other Scriptures that the bride of Christ is the Christian church made up of born-again followers of Jesus.  This is made even more plain in verses 9 and 10 of the same chapter.  The detailed description given of the Holy City that follows those verses must be full of wonderful meanings just waiting to be revealed when someone has the God-given insight to decipher them.  At this time I can’t do that, and maybe never will be able to–it may be for someone else to do–but as I recognize that the Holy City is really Christians, I’m thrilled to see how wonderfully that works out.  In Chapter 21:23,24, it says that “The city does not need the sun nor the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb (Jesus) is its lamp.  The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.”  This is saying that God himself will reside within Christians, giving us light and giving light to the surrounding universe.

Now, here it is from God’s holy written word, as told to us by the early Christian-era prophet, John.  Where this part of the prophesy starts, the resurrection has already taken place either seven years or three and a half years earlier, and Jesus is coming back from Heaven to Earth, bringing his followers with him.  If you’re a born-again believer, you’ll be riding in that army with Christ.

 

 

REVELATION Chapter 19—22 NIV

 

Chapter 19, starting at Verse 11

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True.  With justice he judges and makes war.  His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns.  He has a name written on him that no one but he himself knows.  He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.  The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.  Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations.  He will rule them with an iron scepter.  He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.  On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:

KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, “Come, gather together for the great supper of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and mighty men, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, small and great.”

Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army.  But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf.  With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshipped his image.  The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.  The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.

Chapter 20

And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the abyss and holding in his hand a great chain.  He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.  He threw him into the abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations any more until the thousand years were ended.  After that, he must be set free for a short time.

I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge.  And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God.  They had not worshipped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands.  They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.  (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.)  This is the first resurrection.  Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection.  The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.

When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth–Gog and Magog–to gather them for battle.  In number they are like the sand on the seashore.

They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves.  But fire came down from heaven and devoured them.  And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown.  They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it.  Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them.  And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and the books were opened.  Another book was opened, which is the book of life.  The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.  The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done.  Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire.  The lake of fire is the second death.  If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Chapter 21

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.  I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them.  They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”  Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

He said to me:  “It is done.  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.  To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.  He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.  But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur.  This is the second death.”

One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”  And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.  It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like jasper, clear as crystal.  It had a great, high wall with twelve gates.  On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel.  There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west.

The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the lamb.

The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its wall.  The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide.  He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long.  He measured its wall and it was 144 cubits thick, by man’s measurement, which the angel was using.  The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass.

The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone.  The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.  The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl.  The street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass.

I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.  The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.  The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.  On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there.  The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it.  Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the lamb’s book of life.

Chapter 22

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city.  On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month.  And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.  No longer will there be any curse.  The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.  They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.  There will be no more night.  They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light.  And they will reign for ever and ever.

The angel said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true.  The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place.”

“Behold, I am coming soon!  Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book.”

I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things.  And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me.  But he said to me, “Do not do it!  I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers the prophets and all who keep the words of this book.  Worship God!”

Then he told me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, because the time is near.  Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do  right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy.”

“Behold, I am coming soon!  My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the Beginning and the End.

“Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.  Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches.  I am the root and offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”

I warn everyone who hears the prophecy of this book:  If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book.  And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”

Amen.  Come, Lord Jesus.

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people.  Amen.

 

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