July 8, 2014

Things That Can Be Seen and Things We Want To See, Part II

[Continued from Part I: Ongoing from my last post I continue to show how man is morally/spiritually depraved and how the mind and reasoning were distorted but not totally annihilated by the Fall and sin. Therefore man sees God, the world and himself through a distorted lens.]

So what we see in Scripture presupposes that man’s reason as it was originally created retained some functionality even after the Fall. Man can still be distinguished from beasts and can still understand the created world accurately enough to live and function. We can distinguish between things. We can farm. We can govern. We can make moral decisions based on somewhat accurate assessments of the world.

Jesus even hinted at the fact that this type of reasoning is possible for the unbeliever. They saw things…but they saw them unclearly.

Matthew 16:2-3 ~ “He answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.

Unbelievers can come to some knowledge of worldly things from observation of God’s creation. When it comes to the knowledge of heavenly things, however, unbelievers are blind. Totally blind and incapacitated. It's as if they stare from a dead man's eyes.

So what do we do when things of nature in science seem to contradict the Bible? Simple. The Bible is to be understood as inerrant and man is flawed by the Fall. Therefore man cannot be trusted to make an untainted thought or draw untainted conclusions. Scripture on the other hand has not been tainted by the Fall for it has been inspired by the Spirit of God which is infallible. If man guided by the Holy Spirit reads it, they will certainly come to the truth. If a theory or idea contradicts Scripture, that theory or idea is inescapably wrong. Scripture teaches, for example, that God is the Creator of heaven and earth, and all that is within them. Any theory that says the universe always existed or had a purely materialistic origin is therefore incorrect.

So…regardless  of how “perfect”, regimented or controlled an experiment or observation is…it is still being observed by a flawed observer in a flawed world. This is akin to looking through dirty glass with poor eyesight to make a positive identification. The observer might be sure of what they are seeing but couldn’t be more wrong because the observation has been made in a dim room. God through Scripture on the other hand is crystal-clear 20/20 vision. Sin creates an illusion of righteousness to a warped mind. This is why so many non-believers are so fond of saying, “I’ll go to heaven because I’m a good person and have lived a good life.” Eh, no they haven’t. The measure of Scripture has found them far short of where they need to be. 

In this way Scripture holds a mirror up to the person and when that reflection is seen it is a hideous deformity of what was once perfect humanity. We are now just a twisted perversion of what once was. We wish to see ourselves as whole but in reality we are eaten away by our own sin. We wish to think too highly of ourselves as good but we are rotten to the core. We are lost in total depravity and nothing can allow us to see this fact properly except God and Scripture. Scripture is like turning on a light in a pitch black room.

Psalm 119:105 ~ “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

Because God allows for these revelations we see God's restraining grace. God actually has a preventative measure or deterrent against sin in place to help abate or help reverse the Fall and the damage of sin. That reverse acts as vision correction. Those corrective lenses are Scripture and the incarnation of Christ. Scripture which points directly to Christ. So knowledge of Christ is also a restraining grace given man, not just salvation. By putting the Bible in the hands of men, God has limited sin by His Son and His Word. Those that 
would knowingly acknowledge this and then pursue sin are doubly condemned. There is no excuse.

Nowhere is the contrast of God's perfection revealed and man's depravity more evident than in the Incarnation of Jesus. Jesus who came in the shape of the fallen creation (man) but was in fact perfect. He came in this form to show that men at one time were indeed in God's image and could be again if only sin had not entered to crack and warp the perfect image. In Jesus we see what man could've been...but isn't. In Christ we see the benchmark of what every Christian is to be but can't be without His help. It is in Christ that a spiritual dichotomy becomes sameness. In Christ, fallen man is reconciled with holy God. The reality of what once was, becomes again. Jesus, the Son of God is God’s final revelation to us. He is the fullest revelation of God that we will ever have here on earth.

Hebrews 1:1-3 ~ Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature.... 

If we hold ourselves to a distorted version of Jesus that we've made up in our heads based on poor observations...we really aren't following Jesus then, are we? We end up chasing a false god. This is why we are exhorted so strongly to follow Jesus' example in the Bible as closely as possible. Otherwise we follow a patchwork quilt of theological odds-n-ends mixed with our warped perceptions. The Biblical account is untainted by the Fall. Stick to it! It is why we are so firmly exhorted that it is not our works that saves us. It is about alignment to Christ who was sinless. Alignment that allows us to sanctify our lives and introduce holiness back to where it once belonged through the proper channels set up by God. It is what we were made for. 

Even though we cannot always see things properly in faith, it does not mean things don't exist or are not possible. It might mean that we can't always recognize it and take hold of it. It is our birthright to take hold of holiness and righteousness as children of God. The Bible tells us to. We have been reborn into the image of God again through the saving power of the cross. We should at least recognize this fact and see this clearly. 

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