God Hates the Subtle Lie

“And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.”  (1 Cor. 2:4)

What God particularly hates is the subtle lie…that stubbornly persists…that won’t admit it is wrong…that cunningly shifts itself to avoid exposure…that has the root of self-centered pride.  The subtle lie will sacrifice everyone and everything…truth, honor, righteousness, and the good of others…just to be right.

A biblical journey of faith life-script is the only thing in all of reality that will not allow any lie or untruth to persist.  This is unique amongst all human scenarios…fiction or real life…where the only through-line of the story is truth and the elimination of lies.

A biblical-quality journey of faith is composed by God Himself.  James 1:17 tells us that: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”  In John 14:6 Jesus says: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

I believe that in the fast approaching end-times every Spirit-born Christian will have the experience of an Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Elijah, Peter, or Paul, on some level.  When the actual end of time is loaming ahead in the near future, the time for the expectancy for conventional normalcy will have expired.  The last days is the time for God to finally and brilliantly expose the great and monstrous liar Satan (2 Thes. 2:3-12).

If as Christians we want normalcy to continue…it won’t…it can’t.  The two worldviews…one based in truth, and the other based in a lie about the character of God as ruler of the realm…crash against one another in the end-times with colossal and deadly impact.

If the philosophy of naturalism was true, everything would be simplistic.  Morally faulty material particles in a naturalistic scenario are incapable of generating the complexity of the worldview debate.  Material particles alone are incapable of producing the subtle lie.

The Christian church may stumble and bumble along leading up to the worldwide outpouring of the Holy Spirit prophesied in Joel 2:28-29.  But I believe the Holy Spirit will bring the Church upward and in-line like as occurred in the first century to meet the challenge.  This will all happen according to a script that is prewritten and premeditated by the Father of lights in whom is no shadow of turning…a God-composed journey of faith life-script where the only through-line is truth and the exposure and elimination of lies.

The Qualities Produced by God’s Love

“And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.  For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”  (1 Cor. 2:1-2)

The Christian’s sense of self-worth derives from God’s love.  God accepts us unconditionally because He individually created each one of us.  A God-composed journey of faith life-script is designed to create the optimum context for a personal relationship with God.

Conversely, the “pride of life” based upon wealth and material possessions divides out and separates winners and losers.  This in turn forms the destructive basis for chaos, envy, prejudices, snap negative judgments, partially informed opinions, and misinformed judgments about the future potential of people.

All of the things that make for a better world derive from a God-produced, higher self-worth and elevated self-image that sets people free from the chaos and confusion briefly described above.  Some of the products of liberated freedom “in Christ” energized by God’s love for us is tolerance, patience, moderation, inclusive non-prejudice, and concern and care for others (see Gal. 5:22-25).

All of these higher qualities of tone and tenor in the lives of Christians come from the God of the entire Bible.  Journeys of faith originate with Abraham first introduced way back in Genesis chapter 12 in the Bible, and continue in varied themes throughout the Bible, culminating in the classic statement of the cross in the believer’s life made by Jesus the night before His crucifixion: “…nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Lk. 22:44).

The Crusades, the Inquisition, the abuses of the middle centuries Roman Catholic Church using indulgences, pilgrimages, and relics, and religious revolts and wars in Europe during and after the Protestant Reformation…simply did not get it.  These things were not Holy Spirit led.

The higher qualities of biblical faith as exemplified in God-composed journeys of faith have no relation or correlation to Darwinian survival.  The characteristics of sin in this world are so adversely destructive it requires a more mature explanation than the simplemindedness of atheism.

Atheists critique the morality of the God of the Old Testament from the viewpoint of a philosophy that by definition has no standard for judging morality.  An independent standard of morality does not exist in the atheistic philosophy of naturalism.  Who cares about the Crusades if there is no moral standard by which to judge the Crusades?  If there is no God…then there is no fixed moral standard to go by.

Many of the complaints by atheists about Christianity are based upon moral judgments that are themselves meaningless in an absolute atheist reality.

This should be an indirect, left-handed motivation for all Christians to pick up their cross, to enter in at the narrow gate of Matthew 7:13-14, and to discover the journey of faith composed by God for each one of us.  The ongoing debate between belief and unbelief, between Christian theism and atheism, is fundamental…because we were designed for a purpose.

Some Circular Arguments Cut Both Ways

“All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.”  (Jn. 1:3)

The very things the atheist uses to argue against Christianity, actually cuts both ways.  The objections against the failures seen in religion also argue against the atheistic philosophy of naturalism.

The idea that mere material particles, composing the entire rationale for causation for everything in the universe according to naturalistic philosophy, could possibly be the explanation for the social/moral breakdown of the Crusades, the Inquisition, the various religious wars, the modern versions of slavery, and the Roman Catholic Church as a wholly repressive political entity prior to the Protestant Reformation, is thoroughly implausible.

That neutrally bland, morally-empty material particles could, through mutation and natural selection, rise to the current state of conscious thought and the complex and subtle sophistries of the creation/evolution debate, stretches all credibility.

Even if we have zero idea at this point in time how creation was accomplished, at least to this Christian the concept of fiat creation by an Intelligent Designer God is vastly superior to Darwinian evolution.  The notion that all of the complexity that we see in the physical universe from the cosmos to the living biological cell, should have self-assembled itself into its current functionality according to any imaginable or unimaginable purely unguided program requires an atheistic faith in materialism that can in my opinion be characterized as simplistic and childish.

The Bible presents to us a living God who is not subject to or limited by the dimension of time.  God therefore has infinity of time at any one moment to answer multitudes of prayers spoken daily across the globe, manage individual journeys of faith large and small, oversee the minutest details of the ecological balance of the planet, and to have spent unlimited time in the design and creation of every living and nonliving thing we observe and study today.

As a Christian, I like the concept of the Anthropic Principle first introduced in a paper submitted by the British physicist Brandon Carter in 1973 at a scientific conference.  It identifies scores of mathematical “constants” in the equations that describe the physics of the universe that had to be in place during the first few split-seconds of the Big Bang to allow for complex life like ourselves billions of years later.

The argument made by atheists that “because we are here as observers” supports the notion of a naturalistic explanation for the apparent design we perceive in nature, only works if a person is already convinced of naturalism.  Again, this argument cuts both ways.  “We just happen to be here as observers” just as easily can be explained as a result of fiat creation as well.

The Power of a Journey of Faith

“For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.”  (1 Cor. 1:17)

The idea of a God-composed journey of faith life-script is even above, even more radically novel, than the great American ideal of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” so brilliantly articulated in the Declaration of Independence.

A God-composed journey of faith can function in any political, economic, and religious environment.  It is not dependent upon outwardly favorable worldly conditions.  Being “in Christ” is an eternally secure place in the palm of God’s hand, which is unassailable by anything anywhere in existence.

People can be missionaries in the deepest regions of the Amazon rainforest, or in the jungles of New Guinea, or in the most repressive political and social regimes, and be as physically and spiritually safe as anywhere else on the globe if we are in God’s will and way.

The Christian faith and life began in the most hostile environment imaginable in the heart of the city of Jerusalem, where only weeks before, Jesus Christ was crucified by the religious and civil authorities.  The Christian faith spread out into the first-century Greco-Roman empire that was saturated with classical philosophy, polytheism, and idol-worship.

The works of God require very specific life-plans that are above our capacity to compose, initiate, or self-orchestrate.  No matter how small or large, the plans of God succeed spectacularly because they are divinely conceived and energized.  Whether it is the salvation and transformation of the person living next door as a result of our Christian witness, or a Christian revival movement that transforms an entire culture and generation of people, it is through God-composed journey of faith life-scripts that the supernatural works of God are accomplished.

This simple and basic concept of God displacing our way with His way, starting with Abraham and continuing throughout all of the journeys of faith recorded in the Bible, is in my opinion one of the last major pieces of biblical truth to be recovered following the Protestant Reformation.  I think this will be one of the central themes in the upcoming last-days challenges.

The Bell-Shaped Curve of Religious Experience

“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.”  (1 Cor. 2:12)

It is safe to say that in our experience and observation there are some excellent parents, some very poor parents, but with the vast majority of parents falling within the fat central portion of the standard bell-shaped curve.

The excellent parent exercises some amount of wise discipline.  Children cannot rule the house.  Children should not grow up spoiled or be self-centered.  The excellent parent helps their children to discover their talents and interests, provides support and validation, and engenders in their children a sense of self-worth, confidence, and direction balanced with caring for the rights and feelings of others.

A biblical-quality journey of faith life-script composed by God is a part of the salvation package for every Spirit-born believer.  God-composed  journeys of faith, by definition and without exception, fall at the extreme optimum, positive, right-side portion of the standard bell-curve graph.  This is the narrow gate of Matthew 7:13-14 that the cross and the resurrection open up for the Christian.

Although no Christians come close to perfection, the divinely crafted journeys of faith that God individually crafts for each believer are perfect.  All else is where we find the explanations for the Crusades, the Inquisition, religious wars, and all un-Christ like behavior.

When atheists criticize Christianity, they are criticizing that portion of the standard bell curve to the left of God-composed journeys of faith.  Most of what the atheist says negatively about “religion” is true.

It is my contention in the 21st century that a biblical-quality journey of faith, with the cross of Christ baked in, is at the pinnacle of rational thought, moral challenge, purpose, meaning, and direction.  All other religions can be considered childish in their human invented rituals and beliefs…but not a God-composed journey of faith containing the element of the cross of Christ.

For this reason the Bible stands alone and above the fray.  The cross of Christ applied to our lives has to be considered factual because this falls outside of human imaginative invention.  God displacing our way with His way in an adventurous and risky journey of faith, pervasive throughout the positive stories of faith in the Bible, is so contrary to worldly conventional normalcy that no one other than God would or could invent this totally novel concept.

A God-led expedition into the discovery of “all truth” is not an arbitrary enterprise.  It is not a product of geography or culture.  It is not a made-up, arm chair, non-factual belief.

It is also my contention that the cross of Jesus Christ contained with the biblical narrative stories of faith withstands the acid test of critical analysis.  This I believe is one of the last remaining major components of faith to be fully recovered following the Protestant Reformation.

A Journey of Faith is a Divine Creation

“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness: but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”  (1 Cor. 1:18)

In the account of mankind’s fall in the Garden of Eden, recorded in the Bible in Genesis 3:1-13, Adam and Eve did not have to rush headlong into eating the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  They could have instead said to the serpent: “What you say is intriguing, but there is no hurry.  We will discuss this with God, and then get back to you shortly.”

This ancient account has too much pinpoint accuracy about human nature, this early in human history, to be fiction.  Judging by the speed of acceleration and momentum generated by the Scientific Revolution of the last 400 years, the God-given character trait of a thirst and drive for knowledge confirms the ill-fated, hastily impatient jump that Adam and Eve took when offered a shortcut to a knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 3:6).

A biblical-quality adventure of faith is the God invented, ordained, functionally correct vehicle to take us into the knowledge of good and evil.  A God-composed journey of faith life-script divinely inserts God into the conversation of our lives.  This is not simplistic, juvenile, or childish.

An adventure of faith resides at the uppermost apex of thought, truth, and reasoning…so uniquely challenging that a God-composed and led adventure of faith lies outside of human invention.

The worldly conventional outlook of “me, myself, and I” is in direct contradiction to venturing out into a journey of faith following God’s lead…picking up our cross to follow Jesus.

I do not care what form the tempter took in the Garden of Eden.  I accept the account as it is written.  This confrontation in Genesis 3 is too profoundly deep to show up this early in human history, according to some humanistic or naturalistic explanation.  It “hits the nail on the head” long before anything so profound could have self-assembled and fallen into place on its own.

A God-invented journey of faith shows up with the introduction of Abraham in Genesis 12.  This is ancient, premeditated, front-loaded, information-rich, divine revelation inexplicable by humanistic accounting.  There is nothing gradualistic or progressively incremental about it.  Journeys of faith are a fiat creation of God, complete and fully assembled with no tools required.

No matter what the benefits are from “evolutionary psychology” in the social sciences, the biblically recorded adventures of faith reside far above and outside of worldly conventional thinking.

If the above arguments ring true to today’s Christians, then stepping into our individually crafted adventures of faith following Jesus is paramount.

Both Unbelief and Atheism are Simplistic

“Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”  (1 Cor. 1:25)

The religious leaders in Jerusalem in the first century were partly right in their expectation for the coming messiah.  The messiah would be all that Isaiah 9:6 prophesied…”For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

Jesus Christ of Nazareth was and is all of those things, but not in the way these religious leaders expected.  Their limited worldview was narrowly focused upon a coming messiah who would be similar to how they viewed themselves in their passionate desire to be free from the current Roman political and military occupation of Israel.

Unbelief, like its sister atheism, is narrowly simplistic.  We have to dig deeper to discover real truth, and not just settle for worldly conventional thinking.  If we are worldly-minded like the religious leaders in Jerusalem in the first century, then our vision cannot expand into the realm where the truth will set us free (Jn. 8:32).

The maliciously intentioned temptation of Lucifer in Genesis 3:5…“your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” is purposely simplistic.  Simply eating the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is not enough.  It takes a full-blown, mature, God-composed journey of faith containing well-orchestrated challenge, struggle, and yes…suffering…to unearth and expose the real issues underlying good and evil.

In their journey with Jesus towards Jerusalem on one occasion, the disciples argued amongst themselves who should be the greatest in the expected upcoming new kingdom of Jesus in the capital city.  They were each in their own minds measuring window curtains for their large corner offices in the temple.  Jesus, knowing their thoughts, places a small child in their midst and says: “Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”  Yes, faith is childlike.  But what the disciples would face in the coming days ahead…leading to Calvary and beyond… was not simplistic.

Atheists come across something in the Bible they don’t like, and they stop there.  They do not bother to dig any deeper.  This approach is simplistically shallow.  Unbelief is similarly simplistic.

A biblical-quality walk of faith is at the pinnacle of character challenging lessons.  A God-composed journey of faith life-script is at the apex of the highest of human experience, because real truth about good and evil is not simplistic.