What is “Truth”? p3 [v122]

APRIL 2009

WHAT IS TRUTH? (Part 3)

In the last few months, I’ve talked about the first six topics in the course. (For those just joining this ‘class’, here’s the list of all the topics:

1. Veritology: What is Truth? (Part 1-FEB09)
2. Philosophy and Ethics: Says Who? (Part 1-FEB09)
3. Anthropology: Who is Man? (Part 1-FEB09)
4. Theology: Who is God? (Part 1-FEB09)
5. Science: What is True? (Part 2-MAR09)
6. History: Whose Story? (Part 2-MAR09)
7. Sociology: The Divine Imprint
8. Unio Mystica: Am I Alone?
9. The State: Whose Law?
10. The American Experiment: Stepping Stones
11. Labor: Created to Create
12. Community and Involvement: God Cares, Do I?

I will be reviewing three sessions in this ‘post’—“Sociology: The Divine Imprint,” “Unio Mystica: Am I Alone?,” and “The State: Whose Law?”

SESSION #7 (Sociology: The Divine Imprint) During session five, we took a good look at a few of the miraculous ways in which the physical universe declares the ‘imprint’ of a Maker. Now we consider some of the amazingly detailed reflections of God’s nature inherent in the ‘social’ order. According to Dr. Tackett, the evidences of the divine imprint that we see in this realm are even ‘more’ awe-inspiring and ‘more’ indicative of the heart of the Creator than the marvels of DNA replication, or the complexities of the blood-clotting system. But for this very reason they also stand closer to the focal point of the “Cosmic Battle.”   This session starts off with the ‘voice’ of nature making loud and unmistakable statements about the nature and character of God. In this case, ‘order’ is one of the overwhelming messages with which creation bombards us. From the atom to the solar system, from photosynthesis to the cleansing tides, from the human body to the design of a chicken egg—everywhere we look we see obvious indications of purposeful design in the things God has made. This, of course, is a serious problem for those who argue that the universe is the product of “random, mindless forces.”

I was amazed by what Del said about how ‘complex’ the simple chicken egg was. As all of us have seen, it has three parts—the shell, the yolk, and the albumen (egg white). But probably most of us don’t know that the shell is porous—with over 10,000 pores to allow oxygen in and carbon dioxide out. In addition to that, there are two connections to the yolk for food transfer, and two connections to the outer membrane for the embryo to be able to breath.

The chick metabolizes the yolk, and in doing so, gives off carbon dioxide and water vapor through the connection to the shell. Then, on the 19th day, the chick needs more air. (Ever wonder why there’s a ‘flat’ end on an egg?—it’s not to be able to stand it up). The chick uses its “egg-tooth” on its beak to peck a hole in the air ‘sack’ at the end of the egg  for six more hours of air—enough to break a hole in the shell for all the oxygen it will need.

All this poses a ‘problem’—order and complexity. Random, purposeless, mindless forces should ‘produce’ a random, purposeless, and mindless cosmos. But that’s NOT what we have!

The same element of ‘order’ is apparent in the social systems God has instituted. Dr. Tackett lays out six that he finds in the Bible: Family, Labor, Church, State, Community, and the relationship between Man and God. But the order we detect in this area is not simply an expression of God’s creative design, instead, it ‘flows’ out of His very nature—it is a reflection of who He ‘IS’.

Speaking of the evolution of complex structures, here are a few quotations from Charles Darwin found in “The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin,” edited by his son, Francis Darwin:
“The eye to this day gives me a cold shudder, but when I think of the fine known gradations, my reason tells me I ought to conquer the cold shudder.” (Darwin to Asa Gray [a Christian minister] Feb. ?, 1860).

“…I remember well the time when the thought of the eye made me cold all over, but I have got over this stage of the complaint, and now small trifling particulars of structure often make me feel uncomfortable. The sight of a feather in a peacock’s tail, whenever I gaze at it, makes me sick!” (Darwin to Asa Gray Apr. 3, 1860)

It seems like Darwin was kind of agreeing with what the Bible says—that creation is amazing, and disorder is a ‘problem’ (“For where you have envy and selfish devotion, there you find disorder and every evil practice” [James 3:16] ).

The Triune God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,  embodies the ultimate resolution of the old philosophical problem of “the one and the many.” God exemplifies ‘diversity within unity’ and the answer to why it is “not good for man to be alone” is bound up in the Triune ‘essence’. Relationship, union, communion, intimacy, fellowship, love, and community—these things have existed from all eternity within the economy of the Godhead.

Accordingly, they serve as the basis for the smooth and ordered functioning of creation. It is for this very reason, Dr. Tackett argues, that basic social institutions such as marriage, family, and church have come under such heavy attack in our day. Just as the ‘world’, the ‘flesh’, and the Devil hate God with a fervently, so they also inevitably stand opposed to the social order that bears the ‘imprint’ of His divine nature.   The principles of order and relationship were examined specifically as we find them manifested in three of the social systems designed by God: the family, the church, and the union between God and man (“The Intimate Three”). During this session, Dr. Tackett explained how the threefold Trinitarian ‘pattern’ is reflected in and fundamental to the internal functioning of each of these ‘spheres’. Del gave the example of water, which can be a solid, a gas, and a liquid. [Note: There is also a condition called the “Triple Point” (0.01 degree Celsius and 6.1173 millibars of pressure), where water is a solid, gas, and liquid all at the same time].

Dr. Tackett also showed a graphic that had three ‘spheres’ intersecting: Physical laws; Social laws; and Spiritual laws—and that the social sphere is the ‘center’ of the family, the church, community, labor, the state, and the relationship between God and man. It’s ALL ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS—something that was ‘severed’ with God by Adam and Eve when they disobeyed God in the Garden.

Another ‘grouping’ of three spheres that Dr. Tackett showed was the one that depicted the family—Husband; Wife; and Children.

The video segments presented a broad range of popular definitions of ‘family’, and how many of them contradict God’s design for the family, and how they are destructive when all the ‘parts’ are not present, or they are not ‘working’ in harmony.

One must never lose sight of the reality that God is One—one in essence and being. He exists in three persons, yet each is fully and wholly God. The Son is fully God, not a separate God. The Holy Spirit is fully God, not a separate being. So God is truly one in essence because each person of the Trinity is one in essence with the other.   But, God is not only one in essence, but He is one in unity. The three persons of the Trinity exist in complete oneness. Each person of the Trinity carries out a unique role and performs unique operations, yet they remain one in essence and one in unity. This is the nature of the eternal God.

All this is a mystery—but not so mysterious that we cannot comprehend its reality. The “mystical union” that exists within the Triune nature of God has also been impressed upon His creation. I do not understand how the flesh and the spirit within me are joined together. I do not understand how my wife and I have become “one flesh.” I do not understand how the Spirit of God can dwell within me and somehow be united with me. The Apostle Paul cried out in reference to these matters and called this a “profound mystery.”   So, when we refer to the Son being in submission to the Father, we are referring to the relationship that exists between the second “person” of the Trinity and the first “person” of the Trinity. When we refer to the Holy Spirit “proceeding” from the Father and the Son, we are referring to the unique operation that the Father and the Son carry out and the implied relationship that exists between the Holy Spirit and the Father and the Son. Yet, we are dealing with one God, one Being, one in essence and unity.

SESSION #8 (Unio Mystica: Am I Alone?) In this session, Dr. Tackett characterizes the heart and soul of Christianity as the “Mystical Union” (Latin: “Unio Mystica”) between God and man. Here, in the most intimate and profoundly mysterious sphere of the “Intimate Three” (family, church, and the God-man relationship), we have the privilege of pondering exactly what it is that Christ has ‘purchased’ for us, at the price of His precious blood shed on the cross for our sins—not simply salvation from hell, but an invitation into the Godhead itself, where we may experience the incomprehensible wonder of ‘oneness’ with the Creator of the universe.

In session seven, we saw that the Apostle Paul likens the bond between Christ and the church to the ‘oneness’ shared between husband and wife [Ephesians 5:31-32]. This oneness, he concludes, is a “profound mystery”—a concept that is difficult to fully grasp.

In this session, we proceed to examine an even deeper and more mysterious aspect of this bond: namely, that it is experienced not only within marriage and the corporate context of the body of Christ, but also on an intimate, personal level by the individual ‘believer’. This, says Dr. Tackett, is the greatest of all the wonders that we will contemplate during this course—that the God of the universe has come to make His dwelling both WITH us and IN us!

Dr. Tackett marshals an impressive array of Biblical passages to illustrate both facets of this glorious truth. On the ‘corporate’ side, he draws our attention to Jesus’ discourse about the vine and the branches, and the importance of “abiding” in Him [John 15:5]; the high priestly prayer in John 17, in which Christ speaks again and again of the oneness shared between the Father, the Son, and the body of believers (“I in them and You in Me”); the several passages in which Paul emphasizes the importance of unity in the church and the mutual edification of the various members of the body [1 Corinthians 12:12-31; Ephesians 2:19-22, 4:11-16; Galatians 3:28-29]; and the many “one another” commandments with which Jesus and the apostles set forth their vision for our common life as Christians [ John 13:34-35, Romans 12:10, Ephesians 4:2, Colossians 3:16, and 1 Peter 1:22].

On the ‘personal’ side of things, Del cites Jesus’ statement to Nicodemus about being “born again” [John 3:7]; His promise of the indwelling Spirit [John 14:16-17]; Paul’s declaration that “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation” [2 Corinthians 5:17]; and the apostle’s astounding claim that “Christ lives in me” [Galatians 2:20]. In connection with this discussion, Dr. Tackett points out that we must be careful not to “blur the spheres” by applying the unique and particular social laws of one realm to another realm. For example, by assuming that we can meet our need for Christian fellowship by worshiping God individually, or that we can enter into the wonder of the “Unio Mystica” simply by attending services at the local church.   As with all of the social spheres, there is potential here for the emergence of dysfunctions and pathologies as the effects of the “Cosmic Battle” make themselves felt at the very core of man’s relationship with God. Interestingly enough, marital imagery arises again in this connection—the Lord warns His people many times in the Bible against the danger of “prostituting” themselves or “going a-whoring” after other gods and idols [see Numbers 15:38-39]. Just as spouses are to seek fulfillment of the sexual drive exclusively within the bonds of the marriage covenant, so we as believers are to confine our quest for ‘significance’ to the covenant relationship with God. For it is this powerful human hunger for significance, says Dr. Tackett, when directed outside of God’s covenant relationships, that constitutes the single most formidable barrier to intimacy, communion, and oneness. All too often, we forsake the Lord and cut ourselves off from others in attempt to puff up our own sense of self-importance.

Especially important to the overall message of this lesson is the idea that ‘oneness’ with God represents the ‘heart’ of the Christian Gospel. In other words, Christianity is not primarily a moral, philosophical, or religious system, but rather a deep, intimate, and living RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD. This is the essence of “eternal life”—i.e., to know God and enjoy Him forever, just as intimately as Adam knew Eve (before the “Fall”). The other point Del made was that there are no longer any barriers within the ‘family’ of believers—no racial barriers (neither “Jew nor Greek”); no economic class barriers (“Slave or free”); and no gender barriers (“Male nor female”)—meaning everyone that puts their trust in Jesus, that He calls the “church.”

Jesus gave us His ‘vision’ for the church when He said, “I have given them the glory that You gave Me, that they may be one as we are one; I in them and You in Me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me” [John 17:20-23].

Revisiting the topic of ‘significance’, Dr. Tackett used a quote of Augustine to give us a perspective on man’s need in this area: “God has made us for Himself and our hearts are restless until we find our rest in Him” [see Psalm 42:1-2].

SESSION #9 (The State: Whose Law?) This session gave special attention to the design, structure, and role of the “state,” its place in God’s plan for human society, and the ‘rightful’ extent and limits of its power. The state, as we will see, has the capacity to exert a tremendous power for good in the affairs of mankind as long as it operates within its proper boundaries; but it also has the potential to become the most horrendously pathological and abusive of all the social spheres if not kept in check (i.e. “firing” GM CEO Rick Wagner without the agreement of the Board of Directors and/or stockholders, or telling Chrysler that they “have to” merge with Fiat within the next 30 days, just because they are lending both of them money—a bit ‘overreaching’ in my opinion).

Dr. Tackett begins this session with a look at older ideas about the relationship between the state and the ‘ethical’ realm. According to Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, law, politics, and the state are, among other things, concerned with the “preservation and improvement” of a people’s morals. Though few today would be inclined to accept this definition, a moment’s reflection is sufficient to demonstrate how important it really is.

Dr. Tackett illustrates this by considering a very simple question: “Can the state steal?” Human governments are capable of error and transgression and must be held accountable to a higher ethical law if they are to be prevented from wreaking havoc in the lives of the citizens entrusted to their oversight and care.

God’s perspective on the state, as we discovered through a careful examination of the relevant Biblical passages, is that it is strictly subordinate to God’s sovereign dominion and control. Just as Jesus, the Son, is subject to the Father, the wife to the husband, and the elders of the church to the headship of Christ, so the authority of the state, within the economy of the divine design for the political sphere, is subject to and dependent upon the authority of God Himself. Governors and magistrates hold their power purely as delegates and representatives of the King of all kings. They are appointed and armed with the sword in order that they might 1) punish evil and 2) condone good. Those who forget these principles and become puffed up with a sense of their own importance are, (like Ahab in 1 Kings 21), Nebuchadnezzar (in Daniel 4:20-30), Uzziah (in 2 Chronicles 26), and Herod (in Acts 12:21-23), liable to swift and severe judgment. In the Bible, the Book of Proverbs reminds us of this: “The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.”

This last point is worthy of special attention; for, as the Bible and history demonstrate, when human rulers overstep their bounds, deny the sovereignty of the various social spheres, and seek to establish state control over every other area of human life, tyranny, oppression, and violence are sure to follow. The godless expansion of the power of the state has reared its ugly head many times in the past, most notably in the 20th century regimes of rulers like Stalin, Lenin, Hitler, Mao, and Pol Pot.

This concept that the ‘state’ should be the ‘supplier’ of every human need, was started by Georg W. F. Hegel, a German philosopher in the 1830’s: “The Universal is to be found in the State…The State is the Divine Idea as it exists on earth…We must therefore worship the State as the manifestation of the Divine on earth, and consider that, if it is difficult to comprehend Nature, it is harder to grasp the Essence of the State…the State is the march of God through the world.” This was codified recently by the “Humanist Manifesto II” (1973), that cited “no diety will save us, and that we must save ourselves.” Hegel went on to say that, “When a society reject God, it will increasingly look for someone else to save them. That “savior” often becomes the “king” (remember what happened to the Israelites when they ‘demanded’ a King [1 Samuel 8] ).

With the state raising its ‘head’ again in our own time, says Dr. Tackett, without God, truth, or any higher moral standard, people are increasingly looking to the state as savior and the supplier of every human need. In the face of this trend, Bible-believing Christians must have the courage to resist what Dr. Tackett calls “The Rise of the State”—to stand firm, draw a line in the sand, and say, “This far and no more.”

Dr. Tackett noted that the five attributes that marked the Roman empire at its end, are eerily similar to what is happening to the American culture:

– A mounting love of show and luxury
– An obsession with sex, including homosexuality
– Freakishness in the arts, masquerading as originality, and enthusiasms pretending to be creativity
– An increasing desire to live off the state
– Rejecting God as our King

God’s ‘design’ for the state was shown in another ‘triune’ graphic depicting God at the head, with the ‘King’ (state) submitted to Him, and the citizens submitted to the King and to God. In the Bible, Romans 13:1-6 defines the delegation of authority (Jesus was given all authority by the Father), submission (the Son made Himself subject to the Father’s wishes), and purpose (punish evil and condone good) of the ‘state’.

All this shows us that as a result of the raging of the “Cosmic Battle,” many people in our day have been ‘taken captive’ by the lie that the state, and not God, is to “go before us” as our ‘savior,’ ‘sustainer,’ and the ‘source’ of all good things.

So, my question to you is, do you believe that God is the Creator, and His Son, Jesus, is the only ‘way’ we can get to heaven, and enjoy eternal life?
If not, I would like to encourage you to place your faith in Jesus and receive Him as your Lord and Savior—something the ‘state’ can’t control or take away from you!

[For more info on if Jesus is the only way to God, visit this link:
http://www.thesearchformeaning.net/sfm_pres/sp_q6_d1_1of10.html ].

[Excerpts from: Dr. Del Tackett; The Truth Project]

If you would like to investigate further “The Truth Project,” visit the following link: http://www.thetruthproject.org/
Blessings, Mark

LIFE’S DEEP THOUGHTS (v122) for APRIL 2009

If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@comcast.net   *****************************
Since Spring is upon us…

A CHURCH GARDEN
First, plant five rows of peas:
Presence
Promptness
Preparation
Purity
Perseverance

Next to those, plant three rows of squash:
Squash gossip
Squash criticism
Squash indifference

No garden is complete without turnips:
Turn up for the meetings
Turn up with a smile
Turn up with new ideas
Turn up with determination to make everything count for something good and worthwhile.
[“Sharing Our Best,” the cookbook of First Christian Church, Decatur, IL., 1991]

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When our children have a birthday, we forget about the tantrum they threw last week in the middle of the grocery store, put out of our mind the memory of the kitchen floor completely covered in apple juice, and resolve to think about something other than the countless times we’ve heard “No” and “Mine!” from our little ones. Somehow, all of that fades away, and we celebrate our children with a cake, gifts, and a party because we love them.

We are [ed. can be] the children of a perfect Father; and despite our many shortcomings, He loves us and gives us good things (Matthew 7:11). Why then do we often fail to give something back to Him? Why is it such a struggle to give ourselves to Him when He lovingly and sacrificially gave us the ultimate gift of His Son?
If we truly love our Heavenly Father, then let’s begin demonstrating that love by offering our very lives as a living sacrifice, not withholding anything. After all, it was Christ Himself who set the example when He gave up His life that we might live.
[Dr. David Jeremiah]

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DEEP THOUGHT: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
[Jim Elliot]
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Hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from, and more to share with! Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

“But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD. And the LORD told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do.”

Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking him for a king. He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the LORD will not answer you in that day.”
[1 Samuel 8:6-18]
Mark

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Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

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