Saturday, March 24, 2012

On ignorance

Hodge's word's struck me.
There are different kinds of ignorance. 
  1. There is the ignorance of the idiot, which is blank vacuity.  In him the statement of a proposition awakens no mental action whatsoever.
  2. There is the ignorance of a blind man, of color.  He does not know what color is; but he knows there is something which answers to that word and which produces a certain effect on the eyes of those who see.
  3. There is the ignorance under which the mind labors when it can prove contradictory propositions concerning the same object, as that the same figure is both square and round.
  4. There is the ignorance of the imperfect knowledge.
Animals possess the first. To them the concept of God is beyond understanding. The atheist holds the third type, God is like a square circle to them, they are first unwilling, then unable to grasp His nature.
The Christian as a fallen creature moves us into state two, being that we are a ruin but we have within us the inherent knowledge of God, because we have a knowledge of ourselves. We can draw a straight line out and see that if we are moral, personal, intelligent, then God must be all those things to a greater degree. It's imperfect, but it's not wrong.

Four however is the interesting one, because that is in essence the definition of a human- a finite, limited, dependent creature, because if we were not ignorant, and we did have perfect knowledge then we would be God.
Derek over at Theoparadox has made this his theme, his lens that he celebrates as the foundation of his knowledge.  For myself, I wouldn't pick it (well obviously), but reading Hodge I think I understand now what he meant with it. He didn't mean that difficult things resolve as a paradox to us, he meant that as Christians we live in type four knowledge, and to deny that there is a limit to our knowledge is to demand that we are God.  It's not a denial of knowledge, it's a confession of reality, it's like saying water is wet or plants need sunlight to grow.
But when the perfect comes, then we shall know Him as He is.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Proverbs always has the response

Today I see this in my inbox:
From: Tonya
Subject: My husband just left.
I didn't bother opening it up, it's obviously a SPAM advertisement for some site I don't want to visit from someone I don't know. What struck me upon reading it is how this is temptation is so clearly an invitation to hell. Behold the identical temptation:
 Proverbs 7:19-20,18- "For my husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey; he took a bag of money with him; at full moon he will come home." "Come, let us take our fill of love till morning; let us delight ourselves with love."

Solomon's answer to it is thus: "And now, O sons, listen to me,and be attentive to the words of my mouth. Let not your heart turn aside to her ways; do not stray into her paths, for many a victim has she laid low, and all her slain are a mighty throng. Her house is the way to Sheol, going down to the chambers of death"

Proverbs is sobering medicine for the believer to keep them from the paths of sin. And it's remarkable how exactly relevant it is in the small things of life.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Israel, churches, during the judges

There is a tremendously sad statement that happens in the judges and really in nowhere else, "In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes." Judges 17:26, 21:25

As I thought about this it became clear to me that because there was no king everyone decided what was best for themselves. There was no standard, no meaningful enforcement or national standard, so as a consequence everyone was their own king. Now, it wasn't really that there was no ruler, it was just that the mob ruled, or the local strong man ruled, typically by oppression and cruelty.

This is life in the Church of Christ. Everyone believes what is right in their own eyes.

When Campbell and Stone picked up anchor and launched away from the traditional creed based denominations they intended to forge the bonds of unity between presbyterians and baptists, "let's just focus on what we have in common." But pretty soon, with no guardrails or moor to tether their theology to, they began to drift, with the final result being that creeds and confessions became their enemy.
Everyone believes what is right in their own eyes. Some are open theists, others Pelagian, Liberal, or outright heretical as it strikes their fancy. Most speak nothing of the Spirit and few understand the cross other than it has the power to save those who believe. They speak of the Bible as fascinating stories with important moral lessons, but rarely of the inerrant word of God breathed out and handed down without error by the Apostles.

And so, because there is no standard of confession to train young minds to, they learn that everyone is for himself. The story will end the same way it did with Israel.  In the beginning they did what was right in their own eyes and in the end the best were deported to safety while the rest were obliterated. The Lord will save the Lots among His faithful and take away His lamp-stand from among the rest. Without them even being aware of it. This is a call to prayer.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Explination, or Reference?

Matthew 13:32- "Another parable put He forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof."

I've heard a number of commentaries saying that the birds of the air are emissaries of Satan because in the parable of the sower they come and take away the seed of the gospel. Therefore in this parable the meaning is that the birds are the invaders from Satan, making their home in the visible church.
I think this is a terrible interpretation.

It seems to me that Jesus is giving a reference to Ezekiel 17:22-24- "Thus says the Lord GOD: "I myself will take a sprig from the lofty top of the cedar and will set it out. I will break off from the topmost of its young twigs a tender one, and I myself will plant it on a high and lofty mountain.On the mountain height of Israel will I plant it, that it may bear branches and produce fruit and become a noble cedar. And under it will dwell every kind of bird; in the shade of its branches birds of every sort will nest. And all the trees of the field shall know that I am the LORD; I bring low the high tree, and make high the low tree, dry up the green tree, and make the dry tree flourish. I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it." 

The question then, is Jesus making a reference to the OT passage which would then flesh out His idea more fully, namely that He has taken the weak and smallest thing and made it to grow and thrive, or is His point to explain this tender gardening reference as a message of the power of the Gospel?
I don't know, but it seems that these are two verses that are very very similar and belong together.

Arrival, Humanity, and Jesus

I recently rented Arrival (a worthy movie about aliens coming to Earth to communicate with us) and was immediately struck by the forcef...