All entries for November 2004

November 04, 2004

Comments on Human Nature thoughts

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Interesting Article.

Now let’s pick it apart shall we

Many religions teach the idea of a fall, the idea that humans were once perfect but through some reason or other now are imperfect. Religion, being pure and from God obviously should not be something which appeals to a side of humanity which only came into existence after the fall.
The bible teaches us that humans became "Security seekers" after the fall and before the fall, Adam walked in the sunshine with God without care.
Surely therefore if a religion is perfect and from God it should not appeal to the security seeking part of humanity in the way Islam and protestant Christianity do.

I see a problem here. Taking the second paragraph. If Adam walked with God without care in the garden, he was secure with God (though he may not have been consciously aware he was). After the fall he was not (He would die, something that would never occur before the fall) and needed the security of the previous relationship, as you say. Now follow this argument. The focus of any true religion must be the restoration of the original state of affairs. And guess what, this requires that all the wrong in the world be taken care of. This is what the cross is all about. The forgiveness of sins through the death of Jesus in our place.

Your arguments seem to fall apart around the third statement I have quoted. If a religion is from God, and therefore has the purpose of saving people and putting right what we mucked up, then it will surely appeal to our sense of security, because the end result will be a secure eternity with God.

I have a serious question to ask you. Why on earth should a religion not appeal to a sense of security? What is the reasoning for not appealing to an attribute of man whether it arose before or after the fall? Why should a religion or worldview or whatever you call it not give a sense of security. Why on earth not. You never give a good reason for this, apart from this assertion that we should not appeal to a “post-fall attribute” of man. This sounds very close to a Gnostic and other similar worldviews. If not why this apparent dislike for fallen man and his traits?

Further more, you seem to advocate views that are condemned in the bible. You seem to state that Catholics are actually justified by their works, a concept clearly condemned by the Apostle Paul, Jesus and James. If you are not actually saying this, could you please clarify what you actually mean (and therefore how Catholicism is different to protestant Christianity).

Your description of Islam is also, to my knowledge inaccurate, since to the best of my knowledge there is no security of salvation in Islam.

Think about it. How often in your life would you rather not having to make a decision if you knew that someone else was in an infallible position to make the decision for you. Wouldn't you just rather follow the person you knew was 100% right, I know I would. I would certainly rather this than be in a position where I would risk taking the wrong choice. This is why we like tools like calculators and computers.

Hehe. By the way, protestant Christians do follow a person who was 100% right. He’s called Jesus Christ if you weren’t sure. But he doesn’t make decision for us. Perhaps you’d care to glance at my review of “Decision Making and the Will of God” by Gary Friesen for an explanation of my view.

It seems that unlike so many other religions, Catholicism is not based on the human nature of the fall in providing some artificial security but rather on appealing to the real human nature, not the desire for security, but the desire to be in communion with God.

Neither is Christianity (note the switch, the Catholicism you are describing is so far from biblical that I cannot bring myself to call it Christian). Christianity is based on the actions of the Son of God, living and dieing on earth as a man, to bring about forgiveness by God.

Yes, that's right, Catholicism appeals to that bit in genesis "man walked in the evening sun with God" as Catholics believe that in the Eucharist they actually eat Christ's (who is God the son) flesh. They actually restore the communion and closeness they had with God before the fall.

Protestant Christians know that they will literally one day walk with God again. The security now is a mere reflection of the security and closeness to come.

It is precisely because the other religions and perspectives aim to fulfill the fallen element of human nature which we can see why they are ideologies of the fall.

Sorry, but you have completely failed to show this. You have offered no good reason why appealing to the fallen nature of man is bad. Your arguments seem to come so close to Gnotistic and similar thought.

Now to my reply. Man does indeed have a need for security. This comes from a deep seated remembrance of being with God. We find ourselves so lacking that initial relationship we had with God (the God shaped hole) that we desperately seek things to fulfill us. The seeking is not bad, but rather it is an indication that we are fallen and need God. The only way we will ever be secure is after this world has ended. This is what Jesus Christ came to accomplish, the way to God. Protestants feel a sense of security because they know that they will be with God. The security is an expectation of thing to come.
Sorry about the disconnected flow of this reply, but it is late.


Rich Cowan

P.S. could you possibly do a bit of experimenting with your themes? Your blog is difficult to read, and comments very difficult to read (white text on a grey background)

November 03, 2004

Holy, Holy

Writing about web page

Here we go, Randomness

I must write about the coolness for Rev on Tues night. Nearly a year after hearing Basil Meade teaching Holy, Holy to the choir I finally get to learn it myself. Class

I will praise the Lord Jesus always, for his goodness and his mercy, every day

how cool is the opening

Randomness Over

Book Review – Decision Making and the Will of God

5 out of 5 stars

As it’s that time of the year, when finalist scrabble around, trying to work out what to do next year. As a (possible) help during this time, I’d though that I’d post a review of this book, which I had found particularly helpful.

Are You a Christian? What do you understand God’s will to be? I’d be willing to bet that at least some of you think that God has a perfect will for your life that you are supposed to find out. A plan for you, which described all the major decisions of your life, your job, spouse and many other details. If this is so, you may be surprised to find that I (and this book) don’t agree with you on this.

The book starts by describing this view (termed the “traditional view”) that God has a plan for our lives and that we receive guidance through methods such as “open and closed doors”, “feeling led” and “the still, small, voice”. Once the view has been well explained, through the foil of a fictional seminar, the book continues to critique this view, explaining how it is based on a poor use and understanding of scriptures, and how some of the reasons given in support of the view do not apply. The author then presents an alternative to the “traditional method” called the “wisdom method”.

The “wisdom method” holds that God does not have an “individual will” for our lives, but rather that all of God’s will can be summed up within two categories, God’s sovereign will and God’s moral will. Basically God’s sovereign will is all the things that god decrees will happen. It is hidden (mostly) from us, and does not play an active part in our decision, although some of it is revealed in the bible. God’s moral will is the part that we must concern ourselves with in making decisions. It is fully revealed in the bible and our decisions must be made within it. We may use wisdom in applying god’s moral will to our lives, or we may be in an area not covered by god’s moral will. We must finally submit in advance to God’s sovereign will, being prepared for him to sovereignty intervene and redirect us through whatever means he wills (see James).

The book also examines the application of this viewpoint to many areas of life such as the decision about going into ministry or getting married. For this reason the sections of the book that actually apply to all people are considerably shorter than the whole book, so do not be out off by the large size. The book is also big because of the careful exegesis given to each of the relevant passages rather than a cursory evaluation.

Overall, this book is very useful, if you are seeking to understand how to follow God’s will for the rest of your life. If you read it you may just be surprised at the freedom we have in Christ to do what we desire.


P.S. if you want to borrow the book, or a set of CDs containing teaching based on the book, please ask me, I’d be happy to lend them out.

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