Divinely Timeless Foresight

Instantaneous revelations of the truths of John 16:13…”he will guide you into all truth” do not allow for first-hand experiences that are spread-out over the time intervals described in Hebrews 11:1…”Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” and inferred in John 16:13.

God is in a timeless reality (Isa. 46:9-10).

Psalm 22, Isaiah 9:6, and Isaiah 53 require divinely timeless foresight.

God created time at the Big-Bang beginning of the universe along with the laws of physics, chemistry, and mathematics…and with the material particles and energy that form our galaxies, stars, and planets.

God created time so that He would have a context…an environment…wherein He could compose life-scripts for us that enable us to have a personal relationship with Him…but also enable us to experience first-hand the lessons of a knowledge of good and evil…through durations of time having events and circumstances…rather than split-second, instantaneous revelations of “all truth.”

Where the confusion comes in is when we try to understand the timelessness of God from our perspective of our four dimensions of space and time…brilliantly and lovingly constructed for our benefit.

Abraham in his God-composed journey of faith life-script has total free-will choice…he can quit at any time…as can we…otherwise Abraham is in part a mechanical robot.

The resolution of the two seemingly unmixable realities of divine timeless foresight…and our lack of foresight as non-divine beings yet possessing the free-will capacity to love God…is found within the biblical narrative stories of faith that only God could compose and orchestrate to positive outcomes.

That God could blend together these seemingly disparate realities…His timeless foresight and foreknowledge…and our free-will…within the biblical narrative stories of faith and our Christian walks of faith today…is actually a compelling apologetic evidence for the existence of God, the divine origin of the Bible, and the truth of Christianity.

In my opinion…when articulated in this way…this seeming conflict disappears.

Going Our Own Way 2

I worked in building construction as my career.  Everyone who works in building construction knows that we have to get the concrete foundation, the structural embed hardware, and the framing layout correct in order for all of the future pieces to fit together.

If the concrete slab has a hump (is not perfectly flat), if a structural embed for a structural wood post is off by a few inches, or if a door or window rough opening is mistakenly framed the wrong size…this produces future corrections that surface later in the construction…that take time and cost money to repair.

Because humans are imperfect and lack foresight…the best way in building construction to approximate the beneficial features of foresight…is to record and document subtle building design and construction problems as they surface …compiling a generic checklist of photographic images, sketches, and explanatory text to use as proactive information in preventing future similar problems and mistakes from reoccurring.

One point I want to make in this section…is that even with a knowledge of the “law and the prophets” in Old Testament times…and even with a thorough knowledge of the New Testament today…the unfamiliarity of the pathway in a walk of faith with God…and the divine creative ingenuity in crafting life-scripts that take us from going our own way to God-sovereignty…without exception brings biblical faith (Heb. 11:1) into operation on our part.

Biblical journeys of faith universally have this as a built-in component.

What is uniquely original to Old Testament Judaism and New Testament Christianity…in all of literature and in all of human experience…is that the tribulations, challenges, disappointments, and heart-breaks written into God-composed journey of faith life-scripts are deliberately designed by God to separate us from going our own way.

We see this repeatedly throughout the Bible…as people of faith reach the divinely premeditated point of exasperation in not being able to “see” just around the corner in time in their particular calling and mission…and must abandon self-reliance in whole or in part…and exercise instead the hope…spread out over time…of Hebrews 11:1 faith in a God whose pinpoint accuracy is based upon timeless foresight into the future…and perfect moral character.

There are no “one size fits all” 3-point or 5-point plans in the Bible that we follow using our own abilities…that can substitute for a personal walk with God.

Even though we have the brilliant and informative backstory of the Bible…with all of its precepts and life-examples…every Christian today is called to experience biblical faith…within a scenario that is crafted by God.

Jesus Christ is the Word of God that we get to know through study and through a personal relationship (Jn. 14:8-9).

What differentiates Judaism/Christianity from all other worldviews…is that unlike amassing a database of past mistakes to use for future proactive prevention in building construction…thus partially solving the human capability gap where timeless foresight does not exist…in God-composed journeys of faith…the missing ingredient of timeless foresight being identified as a fundamental deficiency in going our own way…is precisely the divine attribute that God uses to skillfully spread apart life-script events and circumstances to create the uniquely biblical faith of “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

A biblical example might be helpful here in understanding the wide gulf between the two tracks of biblical faith…contrasted with going our own way…and the real difficulty of changing from our thoughts to God’s higher thoughts having the benefit of timeless foresight.

In Matthew 11:9-11 and Luke 7:24-28…Jesus calls John the Baptist one of the greatest prophets who has ever lived.

John 1:29-37 records John the Baptist early on saying about Jesus: “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (Jn. 1:29)…and that while baptizing Jesus…John saw the Spirit shaped like a dove…descending upon Jesus.

But this is at the very start of the public ministry of Jesus.  John the Baptist has not at this point been able to view Jesus over a long period of time.

John the Baptist is no less than the very important person identified in scripture (Isa. 40:3-5)…called to be the forerunner to prepare the way ahead for the coming of the messiah to Israel.

Yet in prison, while contemplating the growing negative reception to the teaching and ministry of Jesus by the religious elites in Jerusalem…John the Baptist has trouble squaring this disappointing reality with what he knows with certainty early on about the divine identity of Jesus from their first meetings at the river Jordan.

The gap between the “going our own way” expectations and preconceptions on what the messiah would be like…normalized for hundreds of years in the Jewish culture…contrasts sharply with the life-script God has written for Jesus the Passover Lamb of God sacrifice for sin…slain before the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8)…causing John to send two of his disciples to ask Him the question: “Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?” (Mt. 11:3).

If over the course of this short interval of time…from the opening expectations for the messiah…of a great prophet John the Baptist…to the realization of the entirely different higher ways and thoughts of God (Mt. 11:4-6)…if the gap is this wide…this tells us that God is making an important point about His capacity to rule and reign…having timeless foresight, perfect character, free-will choice, the knowledge of good and evil, and a brilliantly creative imagination.

If the leap from going our own way to biblical faith is this far…for John the Baptist…for Mary the mother of Jesus (Lk. 2:34-35)…and for all of the people of faith in the Bible operating without possessing timeless foresight in their adventures of faith…this puts into clearer context the key issues of human life having eternal import.

This tells us this biblical and spiritual reality is not going to be easy or simplistic.

Whenever the timeless nature of God is brought into the discussion…atheists and skeptics rightly bring up the objection that a timeless God is being unjust and unfair in condemning people for unbelief…when He knows in advance that some people will not exercise faith in God or in Christ…and knows in advance who these people are as a result of possessing divinely timeless foresight and foreknowledge.

This seems on the surface to be a formidable challenge…until we observe that the self-sovereignty track that leads to the rejection and crucifixion of Jesus Christ extends backwards in time in a straight line to the decision of Adam and Eve to go their own way.

This produces the ripple-effect of faulty living running down through the course of human history…resulting in people so committed to the worldview of going our own way (Jn. 11:47-48)…so invested in self-sovereignty…they cannot make the conceptual leap across the gap to biblical faith…even though the outreach to them is simplified as much as possible (Jn. 10:38)

This is expressed succinctly in 1 Corinthians 2:7-8:

7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory.

8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

This is why Jesus responded to the inquiry of John the Baptist from prison: “And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me” (Mt. 11:6).

Biblical faith…invented by God when He invented time…allows God the opportunity to work out in our lives the real journey into the knowledge of good and evil…factoring in His timeless foresight and perfect character…two things that were missing in the impetuous and impatient decision by Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit.

This is why the faith of Abraham is accounted to him as righteousness (Rom. 4:3)…because he trusted God’s capacity to rule and reign…rather than the strong pull or worldly conventional normalcy and thinking to go our own way.

Hebrews 11:6 reads: “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

One of the most brilliantly insightful statements in all of human history is expressed in Isaiah 53:6…which explains how and why Jesus ends up on the cross: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

If the misguided decision in first-century Jerusalem to crucify Jesus Christ is based upon this Isaiah 53:6 prophetic appraisal of the iniquity of going our own way…extending all the way back to the Garden of Eden…and Jesus on the cross is the extreme demonstration of the negative outcome of departing from God…being the zenith…the epitome of the mindset of going our own way…then how can anyone justifiably blame God if we stubbornly continue to push God away using the very same mindset of going our own way that eventually crucified Jesus?

These two things…going our own way and biblical faith coalesce at the same historical event of the cross at Calvary…preventing any excuse for unbelief.

People freely choosing to go their own way apart from God…automatically crucify Jesus Christ on a Roman cross of execution in the first-century…thus by their very choice condemning themselves…because God…using timeless foresight…has skillfully blended condemnation and salvation together…at the cross.

This is too brilliantly complex to be explainable as human literary invention.

Going Our Own Way 1

“Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; himself he cannot save.  If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.”                                                                              (Mt. 27:41-42)

In the Garden of Eden…allow me to start with the premise that God knew ahead of time that Adam and Eve would sin (Isa. 46:9-10; Rev. 13:8)…that eventually they would succumb to the alluring temptation to eat the forbidden fruit to obtain the knowledge of good and evil…the same thing I would do if I had been in their place.

One basic problem with this in a practical, applied sense is that humans do not have divinely timeless foresight.

Adam and Eve had no idea about the negative ripple-effect their imperfect decisions, choices, and actions would create over time…choices made independently outside of God’s input and participation…choices rendered imperfect through lack of foreknowledge…not being able to see far down the road in their own lives and in the upcoming, future history of mankind.

Like us today…Adam and Eve lacked the divine attribute of timeless foresight…a necessary ingredient to compliment free-will human beings having the capacity for moral reasoning.

Without being able to see into the future…without a roadmap spread-out over future time…choosing the right destination and how best to get there becomes problematic.

The three-legged stool of the knowledge of good and evil, free-will choice, and the capacity for moral reasoning…are not enough.  We also need timeless foresight and perfect moral character…to be able to produce optimum future outcomes.

This is one of the simplest and most basic reasons for why we need God.

God has timeless foresight…and is perfect.  God is absolute goodness and brilliant, pure light (Jas. 1:17).  God has all knowledge, is all powerful, and can be everywhere.  Doing the will of God therefore…staying within His directives…is in alignment with producing the best possible current and future outcomes in life.  The ways and thoughts of a perfect, timeless God by definition inform the best possible options and courses of action.

God’s will-and-way must reign supreme…for the best and highest practical, applied reasons imaginable.

In a timeless existence…there is no future block of time to sort things out…to learn and profit from past mistakes.  If we live in a timeless existence…literally in-the-moment all the time…then getting it right the first time and every time without exception…is imperative.

The issue in the Garden of Eden is not so much that Adam and Eve impulsively jumped at the chance to obtain the knowledge of good and evil…which otherwise might be considered a short-sighted, yet partially commendable enterprise…but that they did this against the commandment of God and without His timeless wisdom.

Going our own way, without the timeless wisdom and foresight of God…creates the never-ending, repetitive cycle of trial-and-error mistakes and problems that always has us in the reactive mode…one or two steps behind the current problem…and wishing through hindsight we could go back in time to be able to do things all over again…to have a second chance to do things differently and better.

God ingeniously and insightfully invented the fourth dimension of time…at the beginning creation of our universe…so that the two contrasting tracks…the self-sovereignty of going our own ways independent of God and without the benefit of timeless foresight…and the God-sovereignty of hearing God’s voice in the Spirit and following His lead through a well-defined journey of faith…could both play themselves out fully on a parallel timeline for everyone to see and consider.

The Bible makes brilliantly coordinated sense if we run with it all the way to its natural conclusion…that God exists, that the Bible has a divine origin, and that God wants to set up the context of events and circumstances in our lives with the purpose of being able to actualize a relationship with us…on His terms from the standpoint of timeless foresight and having perfect moral character…on a track different from the “broad way” of Matthew 7:13-14.

Conversely, the Bible makes no sense as a humanistic literary invention.  The beauty, elegance, and coherence of its highly complex and sophisticated God-ward trajectory…points us precisely in the opposite direction to going our own way…the fundamental question at issue in the temptation in the Garden of Eden.

God skillfully separates out these two contrasting dichotomies…by the use of God-composed journey of faith life-scripts…in the narrative stories of faith recorded in the Bible…and in our journey of faith callings today as Christians.

These life-scripts not only contain the telltale signs of divine origin as revealed first in the displacement of our ways with God’s higher ways…and second in the fine-tuned advance preparations that match perfectly with a person’s calling and mission…but also God’s use of time to separate out life events and circumstances over an interval of time…in the process inventing biblical faith (Heb. 11:1)

New Book—Commonsense Christian Apologetics

For those of you who are interested…I have a new book out called Commonsense Christian Apologetics…on Amazon…272 pages.

It is $10 in paperback, and $0.99 on Kindle.

I think this is my best book so far.

It has some issues that are not in the typical apologetics debate…which I think have inspirational and apologetics value…written from a commonsense viewpoint…and is therefore easy to read yet has some persuasive power and punch.

Thanks.  Hope you enjoy it.  Barton Jahn

The Displacement Element in Biblical Narrative Stories of Faith

As I read the biblical narrative stories of faith in both the Old and New Testaments…I see basically two things happening in terms of life-scripts, direction, purpose, and God speaking to us.

The first is the calling of people like Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Samuel, David, Ezra, Nehemiah, Peter, and Paul…who had promises of God…or clear missions, goals, or final outcomes…given to them at the beginning of their journeys of faith.

This causes a slight problem for many Christians who are faithfully following God and going about their normal Christian practices of prayer, reading and studying the Bible, being active in fellowship with other Christians, and sharing their faith with others…because God has not spoken directly with them yet regarding a specific calling upfront like the examples of the people listed above.

But the second thing that I see that is happening in the Bible…probably more often…is that God still works unseen in people’s lives who are trying to be faithful and do the right thing…even though God does not at first reveal to them directly by speaking to them in the Spirit…a major promise, missions, or goal upfront at the very beginning of their journey of faith.

This second type of biblical character can see God’s hand at work in hindsight…part-way through their journey of faith…or looking backwards after it has finished and all the dust has settled.

Examples of this type of experience with God…in the biblical narrative stories of faith…might include Ruth, Hannah, Esther and Mordecai, the three Hebrew young men in the fiery furnace of King Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel, and the ten apostles other than Peter and Judas Iscariot.

Ruth is interesting here…in that she does not even know that by marrying Boaz, she has become part of the royal line that produces the future King David in direct line to Jesus Christ the Son of God…born far ahead in the future in the first-century A.D.

In fact, I think that every positive biblical character did not have a full and complete understanding of the unique and critical role they played in the unfolding saga of God’s eternal plans and destiny for mankind.

It is safe to say that there is not a single person on the planet today that has a complete macro and micro grasp of the higher ways and thoughts of God.

The point I want to make here is that as Abraham gets his calling from God to go from the city of Haran to the Promised Land of Canaan…with each step that Abraham takes God is displacing whatever normative plans Abraham might have otherwise had back in Haran…with a new life-script beyond anything Abraham could or would have dreamed up…beyond anything Abraham could self-compose, contrive, or self-orchestrate.

This worldly unconventional element of displacement of our ways with God’s higher ways…illustrated in the biblical narrative stories of faith according to the two general patterns described above…contained within God-composed journey of faith life-scripts starting with the detailed and highly specific life-story calling of Abraham and continuing throughout the Bible all the way through to the New Testament first-century…is in my view as big as anything else in the history of mankind.

This is as big as the discovery by Copernicus that the earth revolves around the Sun, or Einstein’s theory of general relativity, or the discovery of Edwin Hubble of the Big Bang expansion of the universe, or the discovery and understanding of DNA.

This biblical concept is as big as the American Declaration of Independence…the American Constitution…the victory over tyranny during World War II.

This biblical concept of the displacement of our ways with God’s ways…integral and fundamental to a genuine journey of faith following Jehovah in the Old Testament and Jesus Christ in the New Testament…is as big as the discovery by Martin Luther that “the just shall live by faith” rather than pilgrimages, relics, and indulgences…and that common people should have access to the Bible translated into their own languages…that started the Protestant Reformation.

The concept that the living God…the brilliant Creator of the universe…can play a pivotal role…indeed take the lead to craft and shape a journey of faith for each one of us…that bears the stamp of divinity in being 100 percent contrary to the opposite worldview of pursuing on our own our self-validation and acceptance according to worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…entirely outside of the zone of human literary invention…how can this biblical concept not be as large or larger than any other concept or event in the history of mankind?

For those of you who are regular readers of this blog…and for new readers…what do you think of this idea of the relative importance…in terms of an apologetic argument for the existence of God and the truth of the Bible…and as inspiration in our own walks of faith following Jesus…in the larger scheme of the history of mankind?

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Two Free Christian Books on Kindle 10/13-10/15

For those of you who have a Kindle and are interested…I am having a free Kindle book giveaway through Amazon on Friday 10/13 through Sunday 10/15.

The two books this week are:

The Cross in the End-Times

The Christian Church in the Last Days

In these books I make the case for a rapture that occurs sometime towards the middle of the Great Tribulation…based on the cross of Christ that is central to the calling of every positive person in the biblical narrative stories of faith.

I take a non-dogmatic view…asking the reader to simply add this viewpoint to their end-times calculus.























A Journey of Faith Displaces Our Plans

One of the proofs that validates the divine inspiration of the Bible is the front-and-center presence of God-composed journey of faith life-scripts…creating the narrative stories of faith…having the core, integral element of the cross of Jesus Christ…foreglimpsed throughout the Old Testament (Prov. 3:5-6; Isa. 53:6) and encountered at the very beginning of the New Testament (Lk. 1:34).

This concept of God-composed life-scripts displacing our worldly conventional, normative plans is not intellectually discerned, even by leading theologians, evangelists, and apologists who otherwise have everything doctrinally correct yet still only manage to skirt around the heart of this concept.  The Bible tells us through the narrative stories of faith that the one, true, living God has brilliantly conceived life-scripts written for each one of us that in part or in whole runs rough-shod over horizontally conventional, worldly thinking.

This is a concept that is revealed by revelation through the experience of an adventure of faith itself.  It is a radical, worldview changing concept excavated only through a God-led, experiential campaign into an adventure of faith.  If and when every Spirit-born Christian discovers this first-hand through the outpouring of God’s Spirit in the end-times prophesied in Joel 2:28-29, it will impact the world (Rom. 13:10; Mt. 24:14)

As Abraham walks from the city of Haran to Canaan the Promised Land, with each step he takes forward God is displacing the conventionally normative life-plans Abraham would have implemented in Haran, with a life-script grander and more impactful than anything Abraham could have imagined or contrived.  Abraham is called the “father of faith” because God first initiates a journey of faith, having the cross of Christ as its core element, starting with Abraham.

As “children of Abraham” today, grafted into the true vine by faith in Christ, modern-day Christians are supposed to be walking in these same steps in our God-composed journey of faith life-scripts to match on some level this experience of Abraham and all of the people of faith recorded in the Bible.

Is this a key foundational truth of new covenant Christian discipleship that has, and is being experienced by large numbers of Christians engaged in various callings and ministries, which deserves elevation into widespread recognition as a universal heritage of  Christian principles and practices (Jer. 31:31-34)?

Is listening in the Spirit, and following Jesus Christ into a risky adventure of faith…which runs outside of and contrary to worldly conventional normalcy…too jarring, too radical, too novel, too unthinkable, and too costly a proposition for Christians to contemplate in abandonment of our own life-plans and schemes?

This is the core of what taking up our cross for the sake of Jesus and the gospel means.  The Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapters five through seven…from start to finish…is about the do’s and don’ts within actual, experiential journeys of faith…not hypothetical, theoretical, humanistic experience.  Becoming Spiritually born-again…receiving a new heart…is the starting point, the stepping off point into an adventure of faith following God.

This is the key that separates Christians from conformity to worldly conventional thinking.  It has enormous apologetic force…creatively unimaginable and fundamentally anathema to humanistic invention…and a huge potential for powerfully evangelizing the world through Christian example and speech.