Why The Preborn have a Right to Life

Why The Preborn have a Right to Life

Why The Preborn have a Right to Life

The discussion of why Human Beings have a “right to life” or not has been discussed for a long time. In the Judeo-Christian worldview, a view that is reflected in the very beginning of The Declaration of Independence and is the presupposition of this article, it is maintained that the argument in favor of the “right to life” derives from the belief that God imbued mankind with such protections.

However, our discussions of the epistemology of the right to life and its implications tend to stop at God’s having granted it by fiat. As a result, it is often overlooked why this right exists. Therefore, understanding why the right to life ensures the continuation of pregnancy to term without premature termination is paramount.

First, right to life in particular must be defined in relation to another human being because nobody truly has a maximal “right to life” as is commonly understood since God can freely take that life as He sees fit without any trial; a Christian dies the same as a non-believer, even if they have their soul saved. In other words, God has no more obligation to sustain a man’s life than to take it since God owes man nothing; God may take our lives as freely as you might step on a cockroach. Thus, the “right to life” is not best understood as a positive right that someone has been bestowed, but rather it is the assertion that the taking of human life at will is an authority that we as a race do not have. This is argued by citing God’s bequeathing of dominion over all life within the world (Genesis 1:26; 1:28) but allotting for the caveat that this authority is not extended laterally (Exodus 20:13).

However, it should be noted that judicial sentencing of capital punishment for a crime such as adultery or murder is not an exception but rather an extension of this model: judicial executions derive their authority to take a sentenced man’s life by virtue of the authority of God via His prescribed punishment for that specific sin (Leviticus 24:17) and thus the executioner it is not a murderer as long as there is an accompanying due process via an appointed governmental authority (Romans 13:4).

Therefore, murder is not the infringement of some illusory or platonic “right to life” that is somehow applied uniquely to human beings, but rather it is the disordering of one’s proper authority within a divinely appointed chain of command. Hence, lynch mobs are evil while judicial executions moral. However, why capital punishment is prescribed by a Holy and perfect God as the legal and moral remedy for a murderer is of primary importance to this discussion, the justification of which is fortunately revealed explicitly: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.” (Genesis 9:6, emphasis mine).

The image of God places mankind uniquely into a protected class, unlike sheep or trees, that their lives are not impugned. However, to understand why being made in God’s image explains our “right to life”, an investigation of the divine image is necessary.

First, this topic has been discussed for a very long time. The problem, however, is that many of the attributes included within common definitions fall short of remaining exclusive to human beings. For example, while Humans have souls, ensoulment is likewise a property of animals (Gen 1:24) and thus cannot be a criteria for the imago dei. In fact, there is no robust set of attributes, combination of properties, or composition of abilities that can uniquely define what makes up an Image of God.

This is a photograph of my son, Eliezer Tarr, right after he was born.

Artificial intelligence will someday supersede our best geniuses while the love and devotion of dogs can often dwarf the love and devotion of fellow men, but neither the mind, body, nor spirit that compose a person can give that person their worth: personhood is irrelevant to the discussion. Michael S, Heiser says it best in His book Unseen Realm when he claimed: “The image is not something we have, but a status” (Heiser, 2019, pg. 43).

In his book, he argues that the word “in” is a loosely utilized word that can be more clearly translated as “as”– man was made as the image of God (Heiser, 2019). This view of man intrinsically being a representative of God shows that every distinct human life has the same legal status before God regardless of capability, capacity, or state of development (a child and adult are both entirely made bearing God’s Image).

The “right to life” is not the logical or legal result of possessing the proper set of constituents; it is solely the result of divine grace crystalized by legal fiat. Thus, it is not what one has but what one is. Moreover, the universality of this understanding of the divine imaging status implies that it is one’s stage in the developmental process is likewise irrelevant. This view is reflected explicitly by the Psalmist in Psalm 139:13-16, where the Psalmist discusses a continuity of their indivisible self both within the womb as they were being formed as well as prior to it via God’s foreknown plans (McQuilkin, & Copan, 2014). 

This principle is applied even further in Hebrews 7:9-10, wherein the author argues that the Levitical priesthood paid tithes to Melchizedek by virtue of being within the loins of their ancestor Abraham when he paid his tithes. By implicitly accepting corporate agency, the bible thus argues in favor of a very strong continuity of any given person extending prior even to their own birth! It is this continuity of an individual identity is that explains why all individuals gain the protected status common to man at conception: by the Bible’s standard, all spermatozoa are considered a form of seed.

The relevance is as follows: by two witnesses, the Apostle Paul and the incarnate Lord Jesus, we know that the death of a seed creates the new life (1 Corinthians 15:36; John 12:24). This is a view of biology that conflicts with our current understanding, however as not only Paul but God incarnate himself asserts this biological paradigm, we must accept it wholesale. Moreover, we cannot dismiss Jesus’s usage as metaphorical as John 12:24 formulation relates directly to the literal crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus and in context of John’s gospel, Jesus uses mundane natural truths to explain deeper heavenly truths (John 3:12). Moreover, Paul labels those who reject this model of biological reproduction as fools (1 Corinthians 15:36). Therefore, when applied to human beings, we find that the new human life begins after the death of that seed: fertilization.

The bible lays out that seed that must die at conception for the new child to be produced, but after conception and into the posterior stages of human development any cessation of that biological life would be a considered either a stillborn and/or a miscarriage even by biblical standards (2 Samuel 12:22-23; Exodus 23:26). Moreover, all instances of a pre-born child posterior to conception are referred to as a child (Luke 1:44; Galatians 1:15; Genesis 25:21-22) with Job calling still-borns “infants who never see the light” (Job 3:16, ESV). Furthermore, a zygote (fertilized ovum) is undeniably a living cell (regardless of whether it’s a person, a part of the mother, a tumor, a parasite, etc.).

Therefore, the new life that results from the death of the seed of the man must begin immediately at fertilization/conception rather than implantation or later and as any death posterior is permanent, a human in the zygote stage of development as well as all later stages fully bears the Image of God. Given these facts, it is undeniable that taking of life at this stage is outside the domain of man unless the pre-born life can be given a due process for some crime and then sentenced to death. For this reason, abortion is the purposeful shedding of the blood of the Image of God and thus according to Genesis 9:5-6. Since it is impossible to legitimately convict a pre-born child of any wrongdoing, it is thus innocent blood being shed.

To summarize, Human life has the status of bearing God’s Image intrinsically at every stage of development as a result of divine fiat, and any death posterior to conception is referred to as a permanent death (biblically considered the death of a child). By God’s Law, taking the life of anyone who bears the Image of God is outside mankind’s authority unless it is prescribed by God. Finally, it is impossible to convict a pre-born child of any capital offense outlined by God. For these reasons, it is undeniable that Abortion is murder.

References

Heiser, Michael (2019). Unseen realm: Recovering the supernatural worldview of the bible. Lexham PR.

McQuilkin, R. & Copan, P. (2014). An introduction to Biblical Ethics: Walking in the Way of Wisdom. InterVarsity Press. ISBN 978-0-8308-6481-2 (digital). https://viewer.gcu.edu/QveWKa

 

Why The Preborn have a Right to Life

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Christianity Is An Uncompromising, Intolerant Religion

Christianity Is An Uncompromising, Intolerant Religion

Christianity Is An Uncompromising, Intolerant Religion

Diametrically opposed to Christianity and God are the concepts of “Tolerance” and “Compromise” and “Pride”.

Many times I’ve heard well meaning so-called Christians often attempt to extoll the value of tolerating differences, being willing to compromise to come to agreements, and taking pride in one’s work/accomplishments.

However, they can and will in the next breath proclaim the Lord Jesus as the only way to be saved from eternal damnation in Hell where the wicked are tormented consciously for all existence for their refusal to obey God, and that this offer of grace unto salvation is something an individual cannot work to earn but rather must be accepted as a free gift by faith alone.

As a result, they unwittingly become liars who exemplify the inconsistency of their beliefs and prove to the world that only by turning off one’s frontal lobe can one be a person of faith in the Son of God. What is happening here to facilitate this doublethink?

Well, from the occult perspective, Magick only gains its power by the degree by which it blasphemes, and the Dark Lord in his perpetual war on the Logos and thus language itself, redefines bitter for sweet, evil for good, and vice for virtue.

As with all totalitarian regimes, utilizing linguistic sleight of hand is a prerequisite to the vaulted achievement of complete societal control.

Anybody with the most elementary ability to contemplate moral concepts understands doubtlessly that patience is a virtue, sacrifice is admirable, that beauty is attractive, that murder reprehensible, and that humility is blameless.

It is only by double-think that we can reach conclusions counter to this.

Therefore, the enemy of souls, knowing even much better than Stalin or Biden, must mobilize his own ministry of truth to actualize a new reality in his own image.

Tolerance replaces patience, compromise replaces sacrifice, murder replaces mercy, realism replaces beauty, and humility replaces pride.

Moreover, the last group thrown into the everlasting pit of fire are not the prideful, which we are always told falsely is the prince of sins, but rather the dishonest: all liars.

This is why hot off satan’s printing press is the diabolical concept of “white lies”: lies for the benefit of the deceived; charitable lies; lies that save rather than harm.

Deception replaces honesty.

In this way, each virtue is effectively neutered and whose impotence is the point.

With virtue now made into a eunuch, the propaganda ministry of pandemonium begins its surgical transition it towards its opposite.

Where patience once expected an arrival at a good end with an extended timescale, the crossdressed counterpart that is tolerance now uncomfortably accepts incongruity for an unlimited timescale.

Where sacrifice once brought a charitable one-sided payment towards a consensual unity that leaves both content, compromise presents itself as an open market towards a mere restless cooperation. 

Beauty used to whisper to us glimpses of God’s ceaselessly creative mind; now she screams at us about grounded realism in the face of a brutal and bloody darwinian contest.

Finally, humility has been shamed into obscurity through accusations of being too self-righteous and thus prideful, while pride is now honest and thus humble.

Then, when the suffering inflicted upon our souls becomes too great, it becomes merciful to murder.

For this level of linguistic alchemy, the wicked one is careful to greatly dress it up with painted eyes and lavish garments.

Terms are thus created from his factory of words, and born from from the assembly lines are “euthanasia”, “assisted suicide”, and “abortion”: a variety of flavors to appeal to the widest audience.

This society is one whose children are wisest and should teach the bigoted and ignorant parents, whose prostitutes have been successfully remarketed as adult film actresses, whose adulterers are branded now as marriage and sex counselors, and whose murders are called doctors.

There is no arguing with a lion, and sin is a couching at the door. Excorcists do not negotiate terms of surrender with demons, and a struggle session will never get someone back into the good graces of the motherland.

Christ and his church are hated because, like God, there is no toleration of evil.

Compromise is always unacceptable, and it costs Saul his throne and Solomon a united kingdom.

The Church of Thyatira will be left behind at the rapture to go into the great tribulation for her toleration of Jezebel, and the Christians who turn back to the law to finish their sanctification by the flesh will be under its curse.

Compromise and toleration are the modus operandi of sin.

Pride is its wax seal.

Lies are its deliverer.

What a Christian ought to pursue is true virtue, not its counterfeit masquerading itself.

Instead of negotiating a compromise, the pursuit should be as leaders or obedient servants.

Be willing to sacrifice liberty or advantage for others, or ready to take charge to lead others where they are weak with fear and trembling before God.

A ceaseless endurance of sin or evil of any size is never acceptable, no matter how small.

Often, confusion between long-suffering patience for tolerance is promulgated, but it is imperative to distinguish to ourselves and others the unacceptability of sin and its only temporary endurance.

God will not strive with man forever, and neither can those in whom God indwells. 

Another trap is that humility is not thinking less of oneself but rather of oneself less.

Someone can be very prideful and think they are the worst of all sinners, just as someone can be humble and think likewise.

Downplaying one’s own skills and advantages is often rooted in pride as one flees the temptation to find self-esteem (a euphemism for pride) in the typical dedication it took to achieve them.

Instead, we should accept those attribute of ourselves as merely what they are in themselves, and praise God that he managed to form that into us despite ourselves.

Honesty is what produces humility, and being dishonest with one’s own abilities is pride whether they are impressive or lackluster. 

Finally and most important: Christians worship the Truth, the literal metaphysical object that is the Truth; that object is that personal, is deity in the ontological sense, and is the essence of language and epistemology.

The same became human flesh so that it could die on a cross for the sake of all mankind.

They have no authority to compromise from it, tolerate deviation from it, or outright lie about it in any capacity for any reason.

There is no justification for sin.

You cannot sit at the table of God and of devils, nor can those who speak the devil’s language proclaim God’s word.

The tongue is untamable, for from it is cursing and blessings.

Therefore, be Holy as he is Holy. Christ gave the standing order to no be deceived, therefore do not be part of the problem. 

Let he who has ears to hear, let him hear.

 

Christianity Is an Uncompromising, Intolerant Religion

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The Christian Life Alone Is Worth Living

The Christian Life Alone Is Worth Living

The Christian Life Alone Is Worth Living

One of the most enigmatic verses in the entire bible is also one of the most intuitively obvious once someone is honest with themselves about the state of this world, the great wickedness that we witness daily, the injustice of war, the corruption of authority, and all other horrors of humanity.

Indeed, this verse captures the natural, Holy, and true response to the violence, sexual perversion, and delusion that we see, experience, and sometimes even partake in in our own shame.

“And I thought the dead who are already dead more fortunate than the living who are still alive. But better than both is he who has not yet been and has not seen the evil deeds that are done under the sun.” (Eccelsiastes 4:2-3, ESV)

What an obvious statement–its almost a truism or a platitude. This verse, more importantly, completely cedes to the Atheist the most poignant criticism against God that there is: God should not have created at all, if the known result was that the elements of His creation would go on to form the molecules of evil and suffering whatsoever.

This criticism is still the strongest in academia today, and it was also my own greatest criticism of a good God. It was what I shook my fist at God for. It was why I cursed him whenever I saw injustice and evil. It was why I resented all that was comforting, sweet, kind, and charitable, because I “knew” it was a fantasy and a lie.

Ultimately was why I laid all of the world’s dysfunction at God’s feet to blame, rather than men. Worse of all, it led me to become a very, very bitter person.

Therefore, you could imagine my surprise when I find that the bible itself completely cedes the premise that it is better to not be born and experience life if that experience includes any form of evil. Moreover, it fascinated me that this book could be inspired, and thus considered infallibly true, by Christians! However, my experience with deep thinking Christians in life and throughout history spared me the foolish and intellectually dishonest exercise of merely chalking it all up to religious doublethink.

However, in my fascination with the book of ecclesiastes as a book considered to be inspired literature, I considered not that it was merely some contradiction or limited human musing as many biblical teachers often lazily claim (my thinking was and is that if the bible is true, ALL of it must be true–infallibility is nonnegotiable).

Now, for many other reasons, the book of Ecclesiastes was the book that led me to salvation in the resurrected Son of God, the Jewish Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth. However, this verse was the wrecking ball that shattered my criticism.

How so?

Well, as the late Dr. Chuck Missler was fond of claiming, whenever you find a supposed contradiction in the bible our reaction ought to be to rejoice because we are about to learn something!

Therefore, I turned to the only way of solving it that I could think of: making an equation.

Solomon as laid out the following dynamic: To be dead is better than being alive, and better is the one who experienced neither. Therefore I wrote the following:

Life < Death < Unbirth

However, the one who has died has also experienced life with evil, therefore death includes within it life with evil. So, I amended the equation as such:

Life < (Death + Life) < Unbirth

However, with not much else to go on, I left that to continue reading the rest of the book. When I got to the final verse, I found the following:

“For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.” (Ecclesiates 12:14, ESV).

Since I knew from childhood bible studies that Revelation described this judgment as a second death (Revelation 20:6; 20:14; 21:8), I realized that I could then amend the equation for those all man as the following:

Life < (2 x (Death) + Life) < Unbirth

However, all these really proved to me was that the situation was even worse than I originally contemplated. Not did evil make life not worth living, but this was death compounded on itself when all of us are eventually judged for the evil we ourselves did. I felt my despair and cynicism vindicated, but I still didn’t solve how in the right mind any Christian could happy believing this was true!?? And clearly they existed, but I could not find an answer that I found satisfying.

Discontent, I shelved it…and it wasn’t until I found myself reading the words of the Lord himself did I get my answer like a punch in the gut:

“Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.’” (John 3:3, ESV).

Aha! My equation, Solomon’s equation, was incomplete.

I quickly amended it:

Life < (2(Death) + Life) < Unbirth < (2(Death) + 2(Life))

It was the second birth that changed the math in favor of God’s impetus to create. The second birth was the death of the old wicked sin, and the promise of eternal life in the presence of the Holy. It was the same crucifixion of Christ that made the second birth possible that also paid the cost of the wickedness that tarnished life. Therefore, it is the Christian life alone that is worth living.

Bonus:

In case you are a math nerd like me and need proof that this is even possible, you can also plug in numbers whose value represents moral betterness:

Life = 2

Death = 3

Unbirth = 9

Life < (2(Death) + Life) < Unbirth < (2(Death) + 2(Life))

2 < (2(3) + 2) < 9 < (2(3) + 2(2))

2 < (6 + 2) < 9 < (6 + 4)

2 < 8 < 9 < 10

Living Life < The Judged Life < The Lifeless < Life in Christ

 

The Christian Life Alone Is Worth Living

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God Retakes His Throne

God Retakes His Throne

God Retakes His Throne

The most scandalous belief in all of Christianity is that of the incarnation: that God would decide to take on flesh and live the human life common to mankind.

It is not lost of Christian’s how outlandish, almost preposterous, the belief sounds. It has been the criticism of orthodoxy since the very beginning, and it’s this very claim that caused the crucifixion in the first place.

Muslims, for example, leverage this attack upon Christians often by claiming that Christian’s have abandoned God’s transcendence and indivisibility. However, Christians reject this criticism by virtue of God’s simplicity and personality. 

For example, a sphere is an astoundingly simple geometric shape.

It is as homogenous as a shape can be, yet it still nonetheless possesses 3 spatial dimensions. Analogously, God exists possessing 3 persons that, like length, width, and height, are all co-equal.

However, the 3 spatial dimensions are not actually independent “things”, like a platonist might argue, but rather are our descriptions for the dimensional differentiation that exists within the homogenous and unchanging space they describe.

Nonetheless, length is still distinct from height or width in its descriptive power even if it is referring to the same essence of space as the latter two. Similarly, The Father and The Son are different expressions of the multi-personal divine essence that is God. And, since God is personal rather than geometric, the expressions of his divine essence are likewise personal and distinct while sharing in that divine essence. This is the doctrine of Consubstantiality in a nutshell.

Now it would be a denial of God’s immutability to claim that God became man in the sense that we typically imagine becoming.

Rather, it is the Christian assertion not that God put up his divine hat one day and decided to retire on the planet he created, but rather that God put on flesh while unchangingly remaining God.

More specifically, that one of the persons of the divine essence decided to live as a human being.

I will spare you the long church history of debate and the ecumenical councils that arose as a result and remind you that this is partly still a mystery to me–grasping higher dimensions is a difficult skill when we are talking about only mathematics, let alone the creator of the universe.

 

However, I would like to at least posit one reconciliation: that of neo-apollinarianism. 

Normal Apollinarianism is a heresy that argued that when the Logos, the Son, incarnated, Jesus possessed a human body, but that the human mind was replaced by the Logos.

However, this means Jesus was not fully man and thus denies the humanity of Christ.

Neo-apollinarianism, however, is a Christological model proposed by Dr William Lane Craig that argues that within the Logos are the components of humanity that allow the mind of the Logos to indwell the human body while maintaining the entire humanity of the person of Jesus.

He appeals to our having been made in the image of God, and thus the Logos’s personage can be conceived to be that of the archetypal man.

A way to perhaps understand this would be the difference between a working copy and an original. The working copy is degraded, used, written upon, ect., but the original is untouched, unchanged, and still holds all of its original meaning.

In the same way, God’s decision to make man in His image and likeness intrinsically facilitates the incarnation.

However, I heard a more recent objection to the incarnation by my Jewish mother.

It was not a theological or philosophical objection like I typically hear, but rather one that concerned motivation and ultimately legality: if God has appeared as a man in the past to Abraham before Sodom’s destruction, to Jacob when he wrestled til morning, or even when Moses when he asked to see Him, then why be born of a woman like Christians claim?

Surely an omnipotent God that wished to rule as a man like Christians claim could come down any time he wants, wave his hand in some displays of power, and then sit upon his throne uncontended.

He’s come in similar ways before, so why Jesus?

If all else was accepted, why should we accept that a perfect, Holy God would choose to endure the humiliation of human life in all of its ugliness. 

My first thought was: “How Jewish of an objection!”.

And I completely understand: Jesus had to be breastfed when he ate, he had to have his butt wiped when he defecated, he had to program his brain to learn to walk, and he had to endure the failure of his flesh when it would get tired and exhausted.

Surely the LORD of all creation need not take such a roundabout method to incarnate.

This is a really good contention, and one that I find particularly fascinating.

There is much to be said concerning atonement and salvation and the requirement of Jesus’s hypostatic union, but I would only get lost in the weeds getting into those discussions as there is a gap between Jewish and Christian understandings of sin and atonement.

If we accepted the plausibility of all Christian metaphysical claims about God, at the end of the day, why can’t God just take his throne?

Well, I responded, because the Jews rejected him as king!

No, not when Christ walked the shores of Galilee, but all the way back in Judges before Israel ever had a King: 

“And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them.” (1 Samuel 8:7,  ESV).

Israel in its desire to be like the other nations dethroned God Himself, however even though God in his grace and mercy granted the request, God desires to rule over His people.

Thus, God promised to king David:

“When your days are fulfilled to walk with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. I will not take my steadfast love from him, as I took it from him who was before you, but I will confirm him in my house and in my kingdom forever, and his throne shall be established forever.’” (1 Chronicles 17:11–14, ESV)

The Throne of David is to last forever and to be occupied by one of his offspring forever–an eternal dynasty.

This passage right here is the legal reason Jesus had to be born of a woman, because it was by birth that a King is given his throne.

In order to possess the birthright he promised to David;s line and fulfill his promise to the beloved King while also taking back His own throne, God thus had to be born in David’s line.

The only way this could happen is if He not only appeared as man once again, but appeared as the smallest and most humble form of man: an infant baby born of a woman.

With this plan, God is again King and Israel gets a human leader like the other nations. 

Everybody wins.

 

God Retakes His Throne

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Not Another Fish In the Sea

Not Another Fish In the Sea

Not Another Fish In The Sea

I have had an ongoing fish tank for the better part of 3 years.

It has been a very interesting journey of stewardship as this fish tank has gone through ups and downs in its history, generations of fish coming and going.

Recently, however, the switch that controls the power source of my fish tank accidentally disconnected.

This meant that the filters, the light, and the automatic filter all ceased to function.

What this caused was a massive near-extinction event of the population in my tank as nearly all my fish died.

This left only a handful of guppies left, my proverbial Adams and Eves, by which to restart my tank after giving it some TLC.

Nothing to restart my tank but 2 young pairs of guppies in a glass bowl on my table until I restored the tank to livable conditions.

I am in charge of their world.

Bring them food.

I defined the times they have light.

Laid the soil that brings nutrients to their plants.

I provide for them.

By removing my provision for the tank, most perished as the tank decayed.

Our world likewise is having the majority perishing, however the removal of provision from this world is not by the accidental flipping of a switch like in the case of my tank.

In our world, it is judicial as mankind dives further into his sin, making it evermore like the days of Noah.

This period of time is heavily documented, more than the time that Jesus walked the shores of Galilee.

Those who are saved will not go through this period of time; instead they will be like the survivors of my fish tank, resting safely away from the tank as it is sifted clean.

This sifting, the Day of the Lord, the Time of Jacob’s trouble, this Great Tribulation is not a mere warning or threat.

We are going into darker times, and our world is experiencing changes and technologies that will change everything about life (more than even the last 100 years).

And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened (Matthew 24:22, KJV)

But why would it be that the elect should care if those days not be shortened?

For the same reason that the days of my fish tank were shortened when, nearing certain death, those who were still alive were taken up and out.

God is intervening.

However, God didn’t set up a clockwork universe that is slowing losing its momentum.

No, God set up a paradise and then, unlike me who accidentally doomed a fish tank, cursed mankind’s world when Adam sinned.

God then intervened to save some from the certain death of his world through the patriarchs down to Moses, then Moses to Christ who died on the cross for our sins.

There was the first Adam and the second Adam.

While the first brought death to the entire world, the second brought life.

It is Jesus Christ, preeminent in all things, who brings salvation and judgement to the world.

To Him all will bow and confess, whether they like it or not. Unlike my fish, we are not some frustratingly replicable pet.

God knows each and every one of us by name, and he calls his own to him.

And he asks the very simple question:

Do you want to be in the decaying tank or in the bowl outside?

 

Not Another Fish In the Sea

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The Law and The Redemptive Process

The Law and The Redemptive Process

The Law and The Redemptive Process

A brief overview of the book of Romans

General and special revelation have very strong differences that are easily distinguishable: revelation given by direct divine intervention is special revelation and general revelation is accessible to all by virtue of living in the world.

General revelation is available universally and was pursued by means such as Philosophy wherein geniuses like Plato and Aristotle were able to make great strides in the realm of theology by utilizing philosophy to develop arguments like the Argument from Contingency (Aristotle’s unmoved mover), the Teleological argument, and others.

They, however, fell short of knowing God quite like the Hebrew did to whom God made special effort to reveal himself: “despite Aristotle’s remarkable moral sensitivity in many ways, he still despised the idea of humility and the idea of being in anyone’s debt.” (McQuilken, & Copan, 2014, pg.72).

Another philosophical argument for God, the argument from morality, is used by the Apostle Paul when he makes this a major premise in the beginning of Romans to lay out his argument of the inexcusability of all the gentile world before God (Romans 1:18-32). He goes on to liken this general moral understanding of right and wrong (Romans 2:14-15), of which has been seared with a hot iron (1 Timothy 4:2), to the Law of Moses in that he explains how the Jew is likewise doomed despite being divinely given the correct moral understanding of right and wrong by divine fiat (Romans 2:17-29).

Thus, both general revelation and special revelation are impotent for dealing with the great problem of evil and suffering faced by all mankind (Romans 3:9-20). 

This problem, of course, goes back to the very beginning wherein Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, giving them the ability to know both (Genesis 3:22) something which the Law of Moses serves an identical purpose: “law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless” (1 Timothy 1:9, ESV). That is why Paul spoke of the law as a curse to those who are under it in Galatians 3:10-14.

As Paul continues in Romans, he shows how God was fulfilling His prophecy of writing the law on our hearts through faith in Jesus Christ by referencing Abraham’s actionable faith in chapter 4, showing that it was the patriarch’s circumcised heart being lived out through faith that led to a circumcised flesh as a sign, proving circumcision of the flesh alone to be useless (Romans 4:9-16; Jeremiah 4:4; Deuteronomy 10:14-16; 30:6).

 

Abraham had, however, only general revelation to work from (Romans 4:10).

Paul argues from thus that it is faith in Christ that brings a total death to one’s own old moral framework of right and wrong, which he has shown in the earlier chapters to be inadequate and marred, via faith and baptism and (Romans 6:3-4).

This is because by being under grace, no longer have we any incentive to refuse repentance since the punishment that would discourage repentance (like admitting one was wrong, sinful, or wicked) has been entirely paid for. By this, the Law does not bind us (Romans 7:1-5) but rather just incites sin to war against us in the death throes of a soon-to-be-conquered kingdom (Romans 7:25; Matthew 16:17-19).

In a sense, this makes life much easier for the Gentile Christian who has never gotten the conscious correcting Law of Moses and thus has only to fight the battles against sin as they progressively learn more from the schoolmaster that is the law (Galatians 3:24; Acts 15:24-29), while Jewish converts have full knowledge of the law and thus have to combat sin in every part of life as soon as they are within Christ (Hebrews 2:19, Hebrews 1-12). 

Paul goes on to encourage believers that this life of internal war is worth the persisting battles that sin wages against us when we come to faith in Christ (Romans 8:18-25) because we have been made “…more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Romans 8:37, ESV).

In chapter 9…

…Paul shows that God’s not done with those who received God’s special revelation, arguing that it was because of their over-reliance on that very special revelation that they allowed themselves to stumble and that we Christians allow Israel to persist in existence by becoming the new child of promise that bears her birthright, replacing not Israel but rather those wicked generations that embody Esau.

Paul’s conclusion defeats the heresy of replacement theology in his quotation of Isaiah: Christians became the faithful remnant within apostate Israel, just like she was apostate back in Isaiah’s time, so that through the Christians Israel might be reconciled and saved (Romans 9:27-29).

Paul’s multiple quotations of the prophet Isaiah in Romans 10:18-21 shows how God going unto the Gentiles to punish Israel was specifically prophesied of and should come as no surprise. Thus, the Jewish rejection of Jesus is not evidence of the falsehood of Christianity but rather proof of it. 

In case it was not at this point already clear, Paul gives a useful illustration to explain how this process works: there is a breaking off of the branches of apostate Israel to graft on new wild branches of Gentile Christians; the tree is still the same tree meaning Israel never got replaced but rather only some of her branches. Moreover, there are even today Jewish-Christian believers.

Paul concludes that once this process is complete, then Israel will finally desire her king (Romans 11:25).

Paul spends the final 2 chapters of Romans describing how Christians rest in a sort of general-special revelation wherein the Holy Spirit renews our minds and empowers us with various gifts by which we can fulfill the law through love (Romans 12:10).

General, because it is universal to Christians; special, because He indwells only those whom He set apart.

Olive Tree in the Holy Land

To summarize…

…Humanity had a general-special revelation in the beginning but forsook it for a false, or anti-revelation that marred our ability to live by faith and caused us to live by a mental framework of what is right and wrong cursed to maintain it perpetually as it progressive degrades in our sinfulness.

Abraham was a unique man who lived by a similar kind of faith, via his general revelation, as from the beginning and so God decided that because of his faithful lifestyle He would save the world through him. From there, God gave mankind the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil again, intellectually repairing that lost knowledge of good and evil through special revelation. Then, through His son Jesus Christ, God repaired that spiritual loss of knowledge of good and evil so that we may live by faith one again and grant us a general-special revelation through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

With renewed minds and renewed spirits, one day soon the Lord Jesus will return to renew our flesh in the resurrection at the end of days so that we may once again live as we did in Eden.

References:

McQuilken, R; & Copan, P. (2014). Introduction to Biblical Ethics: Walking in the way of wisdom. Intervarsity Press.


 

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