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Saturday, 7 June 2014

As I Understand It.

OK, here is my understanding of things. It may be flawed, but, hey. I'm human.

In Genesis God's stated aim was to create mankind in His image. God Himself is a tripartite being (at least; Revelations says God has seven spirits) -  Father, Son and Holy Spirit - each part interacts with others by consent. This is similar to how our body, mind and will are separate but unified (our mind can override our bodily drives, and our will can override our mental desires). God's plan, as Jesus prayed, was that we should be one with God the Father just as He is one with God.

Mankind was supposed to willingly allow God to speak and act through them, as Jesus demonstrated ("The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works."). In this way, we allow God to operate in this universe through us.

As creations of God, He has full rights over us, as we have over anything we make. If we make a pot out of clay, we can use it for whatever purpose we want, and we can even destroy it, and no-one has the right to stop us. As created things, we have no rights, no say in what God chooses to do with us, any more than a pot has with a potter. When we talk about our sentience, our self-awareness, this is only important to us. Similar to those films about whether androids could be considered to be self aware or alive. The tests are those we devise, because we could never devise a test we would fail. However, before a storm or earthquake, it counts for nothing. Our sentience, our self awareness, does not cause the disaster to treat us any different than a rock or plant.

What is sometimes called Original Sin is an aspect of self awareness. We became content with our level of knowledge, wisdom and righteousness. We decided we were sufficient to control our lives and decide what is right and wrong without reference to God. In effect, we became our own gods. We covered up our limitations with opinions, assumptions and self-justification.

In order to complete His plan, God created two types of people. There are those whose name He put in the Book of Life. God has chosen them to be people of grace, to become aware of Him and receive His mercy, not because they deserve it, but because God chose to give it to them. Through the Holy Spirit, they are regenerated and perfected, but only as long as they allow God to do the work. If they choose not to continue on this path, then God cannot use them, and their name can be removed from the Book of Life.

The other group of people are totally unable to receive God's grace. No matter how things are explained to them, it is impossible for them to understand or accept it. These are the people of judgement. Their role is to demonstrate what Man is like without God, caring more for their own desires than the needs of others. Their purpose is to shape the people of grace, to refine them through challenges, tests, trials and persecution. Their actions cause the people of grace to become stronger, more faith focussed, and more driven to become what God wants them to become.

Natural disasters play a part in this, as does war, famine and sickness. In these circumstances, we have a choice, whether to think of ourselves, or to help other people. In an earthquake, we can just get ourselves to safety, or we can work to free those that are trapped. In sickness, we can focus on our own problems, or we can accept them and move on, becoming an encouragement to other sufferers.

Now, Jesus Christ's mission was to remove any excuse a person may have for rejecting God. By dying for the sins of all mankind, any justification we might have for our actions is removed. It is reduced to a single test - do we accept Christ or not? If we accept Christ, we learn to stop depending on our own faculties (dying to self), depend on God's resources, and become more focussed on the needs of others than our own desires. At least, we do as long as we choose to. God does not override our will.

The universe that we now experience is a testing ground, where God sorts the wheat from the chaff. It is the universe to come that is His true goal, a universe that operates in different ways to this one. God can only use the people that passed the test of this universe - who willingly allow God to operate through them, and who serve others with love and kindness, seeking the good of other people above themselves. These people will be fully transformed into the image of God in the same way Christ was transformed.

The people of judgement and those whose names are removed from the Book of Life will go to a kind of scrapheap. What that is, I cannot say. It may be annihilation -  a second death, or it may be a quarantine area where they cannot interact with the rest of the universe, or it may be something else. I believe that those that go there will clearly know why they have been put there - the choices they made, the things they did and the things they said - and will accept that God has treated them justly.

As I said. This is my understanding. I could be wrong.

3 comments:

  1. Hi Colin, I think it's better than that! Try 1 Tim 2 1-7...'who desires all people to be saved'..

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    1. See below (I accidentally posted it as a separate comment instead of a reply). Only those people whose names are in the Book of Life written before creation (these people are Christ's sheep), receive God's grace, but their names can be blotted out if they do not fulfil God's will for them - if they rebel against God, are lacking in mercy, forgiveness, kindness or love, or blaspheme against the Holy Spirit.

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  2. John 10:25-30 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand."
    Romans 9:13-24 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
    What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God's part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
    You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is moulded say to its moulder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honourable use and another for dishonourable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?
    Ephesoans 1:3-13 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

    In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

    Also, read references to The Book of Life, and that names can be blotted out of it.

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