A Prayer of Jesus I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will.
Chapter IV: The Inhabitants
Our critics will say that we are engaging in circular logic. We know the characteristics of the natural world and human beings and we know the teaching of Jesus, and in that knowledge we simply design a system that matches them. This would be a valid critique if we were seeking, like a philosopher, to prove by the rules of logic that our ideas are true. This is not our purpose. To the contrary, it is our position that there is no logical proof of these matters that is accessible to human beings. We investigate only matters of faith and seek to show by a reasonable and logical line of thought that the natural world as we know it and human beings as we know them are consistent with the message of Jesus. This will serve both to strengthen our confidence in his message and our appreciation of the natural world. Whoever chooses to believe these things will discover, as I have, the wonderful joy and peace of Jesus that comes with finding the purpose of our existence. We will also rest in the confidence that the woman or man of faith has nothing to fear from science. We can also understand ourselves and accept ourselves, as we are, much better when we have a reasonable explanation for our existence and the circumstances thereof.
To this end we continue by turning the spotlight on ourselves as the unlikely inhabitants of this strange and amazing universe that science has only begun to discover. If we human beings in the world are candidates for divine childhood in the Glory of Father, then we should possess certain properties that enable us to realize our intended destiny. We have at least three sources informing us of these properties, and they are compatible. They are Jesus of Nazareth, modern science and experience.
1. The essential nature of the inhabitants
When the hostile Pharisees guilefully asked Jesus if it were lawful to pay tribute to Caesar (Matthew 22:17-21), his reply focused on the appearance of Caesar's image on the tribute money, and makes sense only when we realize that he was appealing to the Genesis account of Creation, wherein God made man in his own likeness (Genesis 1:26). Therefore man, who is in the likeness of God, should render himself only to God. We conclude that Jesus clearly accepted that human beings are in the image and likeness of their Creator as stated in Genesis, and this has a profound implication that we seldom acknowledge. It implies that every human being is of a divine nature and is, at least potentially, a god in his or her own right. The dog produces dogs in its likeness. The human being produces human beings in its likeness. God produces gods in his likeness!
In another confrontation with Jews, Jesus responded according to the following quotation from the Fourth Gospel (John 10:33-38)The Jews answered him, "It is not for a good work that we stone you but for blasphemy; because you, being a man, make yourself God." Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law, 'I said, you are gods'? If he called them gods to whom the word of God came (and scripture cannot be broken), do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God'? If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father."He was appealing here to one of the psalms. It may have more impact if you examine this in its context (Psalm 82:1-8):God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holdsIt was in the heart of the Old Testament all the time; Jesus has pointed us to it, and he has affirmed it. Men (all who "shall die like men") lack only one thing in being fully gods: "he called them gods to whom the word of God came." And, as the Word also affirmed,
judgment "How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? [Selah] Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked." They have neither knowledge nor understanding, they walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken. I say, "You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you; nevertheless, you shall die like men, and fall like any prince." Arise, O God, judge the earth; for to thee belong all the nations!Scripture cannot be broken.Here is the truth that Jesus promised to those who abide in his word. It is his word, which is the word of God, that inseminates human beings with the divine nature, making them to be gods. This insemination by the word is all we lack. When we receive the word of God, we are gods.
I do not mean to say that human beings are the equals of God. Jesus did not claim this status even for himself:John 14:28 . . . the Father is greater than I.What I mean to state is that the divine nature is our essential nature, just as it is the nature of God. This makes us to be gods, even though we are not equal with God. Just as the child is a human being in the likeness of its parent, and is also a human being, yet is not the equal of its parent -- so also the child of God is in the likeness of God, and is also a god, yet is not equal to God.
The world of humanity, in denial, has conceived and applied a very effective deterrent for those human beings who subscribe to the truth of their real nature. It simply labels them as crazy. It is an old and time honored deterrent. The Jews used it against Jesus, but it didn't work in his case, which is our great blessing. They said,"He has a demon, and he is mad; why listen to him?" (John 10:20)The only reasonable conclusion that I can make here is that the Father is God, his eldest son, Jesus (the Word) is divine Son of God and all human beings who receive his word are his children and are gods. We are identified with Jesus and with the Father in his divinity. It is the Holy Spirit that unifies all through the Word. This has profound implications for our understanding of the the divine nature. It means that:1. Polytheistic doctrine is vain prattle. It cloaks its adherents in darkness as to their real nature by hardening the distinction between the human and the divine nature. By providing many gods distinct from humans but with human characteristics, it reveals ignorance of both the human and the divine. It means that:Jesus is the light of the world, who has removed the blinders from all who are able to abide in his words. In him we see the human persons and the person of the Father to be of a single essence. All human beings who have received the Words issued by the voice of Jesus are divine persons in their own right, together with the Father and the Son. As to our unity among ourselves and with the Father, everything depends upon the Choice that is the privilege of free will. All who choose life eternal as set forth in the Great Principle become one with the Father the Son, the Spirit and with one another. Those who choose to love life in this world have betrayed their divine nature and are therefore both lost and dead to the Father.
2. Trinitarian doctrine is vain prattle. It is but one more manifestation of the cloak of darkness that conceals from us our true nature and the nature of God. It reveals ignorance of both the human and the divine by denying the essential, potential divinity of human beings and still effectively maintaining a polytheistic stance -- the belief in three gods while unreasonably maintaining that the three are only one.
3. Monotheism, i.e., as represented in classical Unitarian doctrine, is vain prattle. It genuinely honors only one divine being, but in doing so it reveals its ignorance of human nature as also essentially divine.
4. Humanistic doctrine is vain prattle. It also blinds its adherents to their divine essence. By denying the supernatural and placing all values in the context of temporal life, it is a direct negation of Jesus.
From the point of view of Jesus, the issue is whether or not human beings are truly alive.
As to whether they are divine or merely human, this was not an issue with him and is a distinction that has no place in his thinking. For Jesus, the difference between human beings and God is not one of a difference in essential nature; it is rather a matter of life and death. Those who have not been inseminated by the Word are yet dead and remain so until they receive the Word as it issued from the lips of Jesus. Keeping in mind that Jesus identified his flesh with his Word, we see this plainly stated:So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; (John 6:53)Being inseminated with the Word is the first step towards the elimination of all distinctions, but this is only the implantation of the seed in the human heart, as indicated by the Parable of the Sower. In this comparison, the human heart alone is dead, since it will by itself never bear fruit. It is only when it receives the Word that it passes from death to life, per the utterance of John 5:24 above.
I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. (John 5:24)Jn.3:3 FNT Jesus answered and said to him: Truly truly I say to you, if someone not be begotten from above , he is not able to see the kingdom of God.
This begetting from above marks the point at which the Father above, through the implantation of his Living Word in the human heart, becomes the sole Father of the individual, and when the individual becomes a child of the Father. When this takes place, the link with the purely human is severed, and one no more possesses a human father. As such, the human has become divine. What remains is for this child of the Father to persevere and bear fruit for the Father at the harvest (see the Parables of the Sower and the Tares).
By listening carefully to the voice of Jesus we have uncovered the essential nature of human beings as potentially divine. The categorical distinction that humans themselves tend to make is therefore invalid. Few of us realize our intimate identification with the divine nature that springs from the Father through the implantation of the Word. We, the inhabitants of a temporary habitat, begin as lifeless images of God that come to life with the life of God on receiving the Word of Jesus.
For more on this, go to http://www.voiceofjesus.org/gender.htm
We must not leave this subject until we have specified the stance that the children of God in the world must take with regard to their essential divine nature. In no way does this give them leave to present themselves as "gods" to the world, or to claim the exaltation of the divine being while they remain in this world. Jesus set forth no principle with greater clarity than this:For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." (Luke 14:11)It follows that whoever seeks to exalt himself as a divine being, or as any other being, in the world will find in the world to come that he is not, after all, a divine being! That is the import of the humiliation that comes, then, to those who exalt themselves, now. it is obvious that Jesus, the divine Son of the Father, humbled himself to the max simply by condescending to come into this futile world to seek the lost souls of men. His followers, the children of God in the world, must do the same if they are to have any hope of sharing in the Glory of the Father. The principle becomes more vivid when we quote the complete text:7 Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he marked how they chose the places of honor, saying to them,The children of God, in the context of their divine being, will in this world always take the lowest place, so that in the world to come, they may be exalted to a higher place -- to the very place of the children of the King who have inherited the Kingdom.
8 "When you are invited by any one to a marriage feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest a more eminent man than you be invited by him;
9 and he who invited you both will come and say to you, 'Give place to this man,' and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place.
10 But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, 'Friend, go up higher'; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you.
11 For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. (Luke 14:7-11)
There is one other thing that we must clarify before leaving this topic. We are not to conclude that all human beings are partakers of the divine nature as are the children of God the Father. To the contrary, no one is a child of God until receiving the Word of God. People who cannot hear the words that Jesus spoke are not the children of God. This is one of the clearest points that Jesus ever made, concerning the lineage of his enemies among the Jews:43 Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word.Plainly, their problem was an inability to hear and believe the Word. That is the difference, in the world, between the children of the devil and the children of God. Therefore Jesus said in an approving context,
44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
45 But, because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. (John 8:43-45)35 If he called them gods to whom the word of God came (and scripture cannot be broken),You see, absolutely everything pertaining to the divine nature in human beings must be confirmed by their having received the word of God. For he has called no one "gods" who has not received the word of God. It is and must ever be the simple reception of the Word of Jesus, in all its radical ramifications, that the image of the Father in human beings becomes real. And the immediate consequence? The lowest place!
36 do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God'? (John 10:35,36)
And in either case, it remains true, precisely as the Psalmist wrote,6 I say, "You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you;One of the conclusions we may draw from all this, as we ponder the factious history of the church and the many divisive doctrines men have conceived concerning the nature of God, is that they have made a great error in their radical distinctions between the divine and the human natures. They quarrel over the nature of God because they do not understand the nature of man.
7 nevertheless, you shall die like men, and fall like any prince." (Psalm 82:6,7)
2. Dominant Features of the Inhabitants
We have already derived, in Chapter 1 above, two of the dominant features of our inhabitants as required to render them in the likeness of God the Father. These are
(1) Free will and
(2) The desire to dominate.
We have said that it is their nature to rule. This means, first, to seek to have their way in any situation, and secondly, to arbitrarily realize the individual's desires when they conflict with the desires generated by the free will of other inhabitants. To these two we must now add others.
(3) Thirst for Glory
This thirst will arise in the inhabitants automatically from the fact that they are in the likeness of God, who in his Glory is perfectly suited to Glory. The inhabitants will, in his likeness, therefore thirst, by nature, for a glorious existence. We have already specified in Chapter III that the habitat must not be glorious in itself. It follows that the inhabitants must find themselves thirsting for Glory in a futile habitat that will forever frustrate their desires. The obvious immediate consequence is that the inhabitants will be continually striving for glory. They will manifest this in efforts to change the habitat and to exalt themselves. Jesus recognized this and responded:Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. (Matthew 23:12, Luke 14:11, 18:14)And yet Jesus recognized implicitly the innate desire for exaltation and glorification, and accepted it as valid, catering to it in his appeal. We see this in many utterances, especially in the Beatitudes, where the promise is that the meek will inherit the earth and those who are persecuted for righteousness sake will possess the kingdom. He specifically called upon all the inhabitants to strive for the highest glory:Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)What can one treasure that is more than heaven's Eternal Glory?
These utterances also exemplify the nature of the free will choices we have before us, even while we remain in this habitat. Will it be exaltation now or then, here or there? Again, the choice belongs to the inhabitants. Jesus stated the choice strictly in terms of glory in the following utterances:He who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but he who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood. (John 7:18)And in the following sayings he makes the specific promise of Glory for his disciples:
Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is One who seeks it and he will be the judge. (John 8:50)The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one. (John 17:22)The inhabitants are glory hounds by nature because they are essentially divine, and they seek the divine Glory. The darkness of the world has settled over them, cloaking them in ignorance of the fact that it is only the divine, eternal Glory that can satisfy their insatiable need. The result is that they are continually and futilely striving to realize this glorious state on the earthly habitat. It is only through Jesus that we learn the truth that sets us free from the habitat and its futile striving.
Father, I desire that they also, whom thou hast given me, may be with me where I am, to behold my glory which thou hast given me in thy love for me before the foundation of the world. (John 17:24)
(4) Love and hate
Jesus has told us that God loves the world (its human beings -- John 3:16). We read in
I John 4:8 that "God is love." the inhabitants of the world must therefore, in God's likeness, be capable of love, and its anticorollary, hate. This has a special significance when we apply it to the preservation of free will. What occurs when the inhabitants are bound together in love is that they take on a special concern for the desires of the beloved, even though those desires may be contrary to their own. When love is genuine, it has the strength to overcome and mollify the brute force of unregulated free will, by sacrificing one's own desires so that the beloved can realize their desires. In the ideal situation, say of marriage, each loves the other when each freely submits free will to the will of the beloved. Quarrels are few, compromises easy to realize and neither has anything to fear from the other. This love is truly a divine characteristic.
Marriage is only one of the obvious applications of love. Love must prevail among friends and it prevails among countrymen in the form of patriotism, which is love of country and all one's fellow citizens. However, it's primary applications are to the love of self and the love of life. Jesus accepted both of these applications of love, but he redirected them radically. By revealing that whoever loves "life in this world" (the habitat) loses it, and that whoever hates life in this world will keep it for life eternal, (The Great Principle) he has mandated that there can be no compromise of the claims of the temporal and the eternal. This shows clearly in its specific application to God and mammon:No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. (Matthew 6:24, Luke 16:13)It is for this reason that whoever loves life in this world hates God, and whoever loves God hates life in this world. This is the obvious consequence of the choice that the Father has set before the inhabitants, that they might exercise their free will to the end that they aspire only to the life of the Eternal Glory. Jesus has revealed that one truly loves the self only when one directs its aspirations away from the temporal habitat and toward the Eternal Glory. Therefore our inhabitants have, like God, the capacities to love and hate, and it is inevitable that they will apply them to self and to the habitat or to Glory in this way.
By listening carefully to Jesus we have learned that the inhabitants must have a nature that is essentially divine. They must have free will, and they will have a desire to dominate. They must also have a thirst for glory, and the capacity to love and hate. Keeping these things before us we now go on to examine some of the logical consequences of the ideal derived thus far. Remember also that we have the focus on the inhabitants.
(5) Ignorance of Glory
The habitat is not glorious. It contains only hints of glory. The inhabitants are imbued with a driving thirst for Glory. Now, if they know of or are able to perceive directly the Glory of the divine habitat transcending time and their own habitat, they will inevitably strive to achieve satisfaction of this foremost desire, the desire for glory, by transferring immediately from their temporal habitat into the Glory of the Father. Like the poor alcoholic who cannot pass up a bar, they will be so driven by their thirst that they cannot pass up heaven.
What is unacceptable about that? Isn't heaven exactly where the Father wants them to come?
Yes, absolutely! But, when they go, they must go from the motive of loving the Father and in free submission to his holy will. If they are permitted entry into Glory solely out of the desire for the Glory, the whole project collapses because they will not have learned to be submissive to the will of the Father in love. It follows that the inhabitants can have no direct knowledge of the Eternal Glory. They must be in ignorance of it.
(6) Spontaneous Generation
The Father cannot therefore either procreate or create the inhabitants in his Glory and then stuff them into the habitat for the exercise of free will. Even the existence of free will would be threatened should the knowledge of Glory be present to tempt them to assuage their thirst so readily. Like the alcoholic outside the bar, they might not want to go in, but their thirst would compel them.
It also follows that the Father cannot himself enter into the habitat and there create them for the same reason. The Father is glorious in his essence, and he must in that case glorify the habitat by his presence and, again, expose the newly created inhabitants to the experience and knowledge of Glory. In consequence, I conclude that the inhabitants must be generated spontaneously within the habitat, apart from the immediate presence of the Father and apart from the Eternal Glory.
How can this come to pass? The habitat is so constructed and designed as to provide the essential materials of construction and the patterns of design. These, when provided with sufficient time and regulated by certain laws under certain conditions will spark the beginning of the process of spontaneous generation and, through the continued direction of these laws, will generate the essential inhabitants. The habitat is designed such that the laws prevail everywhere from the beginning, and laws of probability have worked to produce conditions in particular places and times so as to produce the desired inhabitants.
(7) Changing Things
Driven by the thirst for glory and ignorant of the true Glory, the inhabitants will set out to change their state of existence; They will seek to eliminate the bad, to enhance the good, to perfect it and to rebuild it more to their liking. They will seek to glorify their habitat. But, due to the freedom of the will, each individual will have unique and specific desires as to the details of the changes. They will often be in conflict as each seeks to realize a particular goal that is incompatible with the desires of others. On an individual level, fights will ensue. On a habitat wide level, groups will coalesce around certain similar goals and oppose other groups who seek contrary goals. The result will be war and destruction as each group seeks to impose its will on the others, and there is no hope for this condition short of glorification of the habitat, which absolutely cannot occur. We learn this also from Jesus when we really listen to hear him say:And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed; this must take place, but the end is not yet. (Mark 13:7, Matthew 24:6)Do you note how he says, "This must take place."? There is no help for it, and the introduction of the gospel into the world will only make it more intense as newly conflicting desires of individuals disrupt families. I have stated elsewhere that the very desire to change the world comes from evil.
Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's foes will be those of his own household. (Matthew 10:34-36, Luke 12:50-52)
There are other important features that can be discerned through this line of reasoning, but for the sake of brevity I am settling now for these seven dominant features of the inhabitants. We list them together as follows:(1) Free willAll these working together result in quarrels, fights, and wars that only intensify with the introduction of the gospel. Yet each feature is logically essential to the proposition that God has created the world for the purpose of birthing children for himself and for his Glory. Each is also consistent with, if not required by, the revelations of Jesus.
(2) The desire to dominate.
(3) Thirst for Glory
(4) Love and hate
(5) Ignorance of Glory
(6) Spontaneous Generation
(7) Changing Things
B. Modern Science
This is the second of the items listed above as sources of information about the properties of the inhabitants that must exist in the habitat. Science does not prove anything, but describes relationships within the habitat that help us better to understand the whole. I list it here in addition to the revelations of Jesus so that we can see that they are consistent within themselves. This will give us firmer grounds of confidence in both the revelations of Jesus and the findings of science. Should we desire, we can generate many different points of comparison, but for the sake of brevity I will here list only two.
1. The Second Law of Thermodynamics
This is a law of physics first defined by eminent physicists more than a hundred and fifty years ago. It is not appropriate to discuss it in detail here, but I refer the curious reader to the link www.panspermia.com/seconlaw.htm, from which I have selected this statement of the law:The second law is a straightforward law of physics with the consequence that, in a closed system, you can't finish any real physical process with as much useful energy as you had to start with — some is always wasted.It has also proved useful to scientists to express the second law in terms of the degree of disorder in a closed system, and we will here assume that our "habitat" of Chapter III is a close system. This first requires the introduction of the concept "entropy":The American Heritage Dictionary gives as the second definition of entropy, "a measure of disorder or randomness in a closed system."The statement of the second law then becomes:The entropy of a closed system cannot decrease.The entropy can and does increase, the result being an increase in the disorder or disorganization of the system, taken as a whole. This leads to the conclusion that our habitat, the universe, must be progressing constantly towards a greater disorder, and therefore away from the order that would be necessary to any state of glory. The habitat, and its inhabitants, must therefore be involved in a process that, in time, takes them away from the realization of glory and further in the direction of futility. Here it may have been noted by the reader that we are defining glory as a high state of order, and it should follow that the perfect and Eternal Glory is a state of perfect order from which it never changes, consistent with the unchangeableness of God and with the perfect peace of Jesus. The inhabitants of the habitat, striving to achieve glory, are confronted with an impossible task by the Second Law..
There is here a very interesting correlation of science and religion. Taking entropy as the measure of disorder in a closed system, we can from one perspective define glory as the measure of the order in such a system -- or the inverse of entropy. This is not a very useful conception because, like entropy, glory is very difficult to quantify. It does imply, however, that its measure increases towards a maximum value at the highest possible degree of order, which we can take as being the perfect order of the Eternal Glory.
In any case, the Second Law of Thermodynamics is in perfect accord with the revelations of Jesus, according to which peace on earth is a declining property. They mutually confirm one another.
2. The Theory of Evolution
Everyone is familiar with this theory, according to which human beings, who are the inhabitants on which this chapter focusses, have evolved from very rudimentary forms of life. This idea strongly contradicts the Creationist view, drawn from a very literal reading of Genesis, that human beings sprang suddenly and full blown from the dust by the hand of God. But it is in perfect step with Jesus and the logical deductions listed above, according to which only a spontaneous generation of the inhabitants can meet the conditions imposed by free will. This can only strengthen our confidence in both the scientific method and the revelations of Jesus.
The Theory of Evolution is not independent of the Second Law. Evolution requires an increase in order, whereas the Second Law requires an increase in disorder of a closed system. The obvious reconciliation of the two is in the realization that evolution occurs only in a restricted area of our habitat, the closed system, but must draw heavily on the order of other areas of the system, resulting in a decrease in order of the total consistent with the Second Law. Another, less attractive way to reconcile the two is in the supposition that, while the closed system everywhere tends to disorder, the rate of disordering is less in some areas than in others, resulting in the illusion of an increase in order by comparison. In any case, I have great confidence that the Second Law is valid because it is consistent with Jesus and it provides for the spontaneous generation of the inhabitants that are the subject of this chapter. This generation is a logical deduction from the requirement that the candidates for the divine childhood must have free will in the likeness of the Father.
I do not see that the revelations of Jesus require that the cosmos, our habitat, be perfectly closed. It must be closed such that the inhabitants' free will is not drowned in Glory, but we can allow for some openness. It seems that it may be necessary that very brief glimpses of Glory appear from time to time. These "glimpses" serve the function of preventing the race from collapsing in a pit of total despair.
In fact, I have allowed for this in the belief that human beings became distinguished from animals by the breath of God, metaphorically described in Genesis as God breathing into the nostrils of Adam. It also admits limited forms of communication. The prophets are examples and Jesus is the prime example! But these activities are always such as to veil the divine Glory that lies behind them. Jesus did manifest the Glory of God on numerous occasions, by the wisdom of his words and by the miracles that he performed. This was all offset, however, by the death that he died. With the exception of a very few disciples who saw the resurrected Jesus, he seemed to have come to a very ignominious and inglorious end. And even they, after it was all done and they looked around them, saw everything pertaining to the habitat and its inhabitants as unchanged and therefore yet futile.Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, "So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!" In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. "He saved others," they said, "but he can't save himself! Let this Christ, this King of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe." Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him. (Mark 15:29-32)
The Second Law of Thermodynamics and the Theory of Evolution are two of the most fundamental tenets of modern science. We have stated briefly that each is consistent with the Revelation of Jesus and with free will. The Second Law defines a prime characteristic of the universe, our habitat, and of human beings, our inhabitants, as subject of increasing disorder. The Theory of Evolution describes how the inhabitants have arisen spontaneously within the habitat. This is required for the protection and preservation of their free will.
1. The Second Law
Our ancestors have always been aware of the universal effects of this law, which are as ubiquitous as the effects of the Law of Gravity. We experience these effects every day as we become aware of the increasing disorder within our habitat. The Second Law has always been there, wreaking its havoc. We see its effects in the "wearing out" or the "rusting away" of all functional entities, from blue jeans to automobiles; from private homes to castles. Yes, it applies also to all living entities from the bodies of animals to the bodies of humans. An appropriate scriptural statement of this law is that found in Genesis 3:19:In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return."But the most appropriate scriptural statement is this one by Jesus from Matthew 6:19:"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, . . ."The law as stated by physicists has application only to the physical constituents of the universe and its contents. However, our experience confirms that some law, the same or similar, also applies to social structures and their constituent elements. To be more specific, it applies to governmental entities. Kingdoms, dictatorships, republics, nations and states come . . . and they also go. Peace, the precious aspiration of all men, is tenuous at best. Just when human beings think they have made progress -- have fought and won the war to end wars -- everything collapses into worldwide hostility. When men think they have developed an ideal form of government, it begins to become frayed as with by age and eventually either collapses into anarchy or is replaced by another form.
We keep fighting it, this Second Law. We make clothes that last longer, cars that last longer, establish governments that, we hope, will last longer, build houses that will last longer and establish peace that will last longer. We attempt to rejuvenate our bodies so as to make them last longer -- be more durable. In the end, it all comes apart and disorder somehow always prevails. If we appear to be making great strides in a certain limited area, watch out. While our attention is distracted, the fraying accelerates in some other area. The crime rate and illiteracy increase, drug addiction and dependency increase, some previously unknown or little known malady breaks out spreading death and disorder around the globe. The literacy rate goes down. Disorder always prevails.
This is the Second Law that, strange though it may seem, is essential to the protection and preservation of free will. Every day we fight against it with all our might; in the end we bow to it as to a divine potentate. This is the universal experience of the human race, an experience from which, as a race, we learn nothing.
2. The Theory of Evolution
Evolution is an exceedingly slow process. It is subject to reversals as well as advances. For both of these reasons human beings have been very slow to define and accept it. The fact is, however, that we are all experiencing it every day. Once recognized and acknowledged, it is not difficult to place ourselves within it and to realize it as an experience. From the Big Bang to the atom bomb it has been the operating principle of the creation and it is on going.
How do we experience evolution? I list just five observations.1. We experience it through exposure to the myriad species and varieties that evolution has produced, with our specie being one of many. This experience, enhanced by his travels and studies, greatly assisted Charles Darwin in his development of the Theory.3. The Essential Nature of the Inhabitants
2. We experience it through adaptation to changing environment. If a habitat becomes more desert like its inhabitants will adapt to whatever new food supply is available. Many will of course not survive, but this is a key to evolution, the survival of the fittest. We in the developed nations are currently adapting to a more sedentary lifestyle that has resulted from the technological society and its increasing affluence. Only time, much time, will tell if this is an advance or a retreat.
3. We should also recognize that some of the changes we are experiencing as a race are not evolutionary but only the physiological responses to changed circumstances. These include our increasing life span and body fat! But these changes can contribute to evolution if they are maintained for a sufficient span of time encompassing thousands of years.
4. We experience it whenever a child is born that is destined to be taller, more robust or more intelligent than any of its forebears, and that is able to pass its improved status along to its descendants. This is occurring repeatedly throughout nature and within our race, but it is seldom noticeable because the evolutionary advance is in each case very small. A remarkably bright child may only be a fluke, as may a seemingly dull child that later becomes a genius. Has anyone made the case that Einstein's offspring have inherited his genius? This experience of evolution, that is constant and on going, could only be established by comparing sets of vital statistics taken thousands of years apart. We have no sets of statistics taken thousands of years ago so that no such comparisons can be made. Comparisons of the average heights of draftees in the First and Second World Wars show differences, but these are too close in time to give us confidence that they are evolution driven.
5. There is one domain of evolution that we are able to experience through observation - that of the evolution of the universe as discerned by modern cosmologists. Probing outer space with modern telescopes of a variety of types, combined with mathematical treatment of the resulting data according to observed physical laws, we have discovered not only how the universe is evolving, but how it looked ages ago and will look in ages to come.
As explained above, Jesus has clearly taught that human beings are by nature divine. If we examine the full spectrum of human experience, we may miss this fact because so much of what we experience is futile, brutal, feudal, and vain.1. Look at the inevitable deterioration of the human physique. Every one of us slowly fades away, or suddenly dies and decomposes. What is divine in this perception or experience?But, if we examine only the limited spectrum of experience that can be characterized by the words "happy" or "blessed" we may come to a different conclusion.
2. Look at the grandiose but vain endeavors of human history. Nations rise and fall, civilizations collapse, cultures decline. What is divine in this perception or experience?
3. Look at collapse of individual aspirations. The youth typically begins with great enthusiasm, but somewhere along the way the zest departs and hope declines. What is divine in this perception or experience?1. Consider the capacity to love. Not perfect, but when it is dominantly active it tends to cause us to realize that we are more than the sum of our parts. There is something divine about that.All this, and more, is the essential nature that every human being experiences every day. It is attempting to awaken every living soul to the simple fact of its divinity.
2. Consider the capacity to learn, to know. Again, not perfect, but as a race it is constantly growing towards perfection. The fact that natural science is constantly learning new things and expanding our horizons to fantastic extents, far beyond what we need, as individuals, to know to survive -- there is something divine about that.
3. Consider the capacity to imagine. Limited only by our state of knowledge, we can perceive almost anything real or unreal in our imaginations. This leads directly to dreams and high aspirations. There is something divine about that.
4. Consider the capacity to desire, or freely will. This results from the realizations of options within existence that become objects of desire. There is something divine about that.
4. The Dominant Features of the Inhabitants
We listed above seven dominant features of our inhabitants as defined by Jesus. They are:(1) Free willDoesn't our race of human beings experience them all, and more also? Don't you, as an individual human being, have the experience of each feature?
(2) The desire to dominate.
(3) Thirst for Glory
(4) Love and hate
(5) Ignorance of Glory
(6) Spontaneous Generation
(7) Changing Things1. You surely have experienced free will as a self-contained desire not dictated by anyone or anything outside yourself. What about your innate desire to be an independent adult individual expressed through adolescent rebellion against parental control?You see, therefore, how we experience all the dominant features of the inhabitants of this habitat, the universe, that Jesus defined? So, yet again, we confirm the Word of Jesus and discover that we, the inhabitants, are perfectly suited to the purposes of God who desires to be our only Father.
2. You surely have experienced the desire to dominate, even if only at a limited place and time. I have recently observed a two year old child determined to dominate by insisting, against all the desire of the attending adults, that the exterior door to the home remain open. So, it is at so young an age that the desire to dominate arises in us, and it never really departs, does it?
3. You surely have experience this thirst for glory that manifests itself as a drive for higher things, more success, finer homes, greater respect from others, longer life, more power or just plain ambition.
4. You surely have experienced both love and hate, as they inevitably go together. Love, which is the desire for oneness with other persons or things; hate, which is a desire for removal from other persons or things. For a good demonstration, consider that you are either loving or hating what your are reading at this moment, or you are loving or hating the writer.
5. You are surely experiencing ignorance of true glory, although you may not have a sense of that ignorance at the moment. The evidence lies in the manner in which you define your treasures, which are your values and that are basic to your value system. If you but knew the true glory, you surely would count everything in this world as of little if any value.
6. You also experience spontaneous generation but you may not recognize it as such. You did not come to awareness in the presence of Him who has crafted you. Instead, you came to awareness in the presence of parents who, like you, are only single links in the long and continuing chain of evolution. But it was through his experiences in the world that Charles Darwin and others first came to frame the Theory of Evolution that explains your existence as possibly having a spontaneous beginning.
7. You have surely experienced the desire to change things and have been motivated in your activities by this desire. Most immediately, it manifests itself in such simple changes as that of a new hairdo. Ultimately, however, it manifests itself as a desire to change our environment and our world. This feature of "changing things" finds its ultimate drive in the desire for glory, a desire that is constantly frustrated in the experience of life in the world.
Free will is among the essential features of any population of inhabitants that may qualify ultimately as children of God. Perhaps, among them all, it is the indispensable feature, as all the others seem designed to protect and preserve free will, or free desire. Jesus has declared it, modern science has affirmed it, and experience has confirmed it.
Note: John 3:3 is from The Faitful New Testament. This differs from the RSV in the expression "begotten from above" that replaces "born anew' in the RSV. "Born anew" does not represent the fullness of what Jesus is stating here, which in the Greek is gennethe anothen (gennhqh a()nwqen).
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