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Sunday, March 30, 2008

God is EveryWhen

Have you ever thought about God and Time? Sure, all of us think about God and Eternity, but what about God and Time - It is a deeply philosophical subject. Unfortunately, I am taking Philosophy of Religion right now, so deeply philosophical subjects seem to be the norm these days. As part of this class, I had to write a research paper on something deeply philosophical. I had so many things to choose from that for the life of me, I can't possibly imagine why I would choose such a topic as God and Time. Nevertheless, that was the topic I chose...

In my wildest dreams, I never thought that time could be such a difficult concept to grasp. Some philosophers think that only the present is real - that neither the past nor the future are real. Hmmm... I distinctly remember working all day in my yard yesterday and the pains in my back and muscles clearly prove to me that yesterday was about as real as today's aches and pains. To be fair, they say that yesterday was once real but no longer and that tomorrow will be real but not yet. Sounds like philosophical mumbo-jumbo to me. If that is not bad enough, though, apparently some philosophers don't even really think time exists at all except in our minds. I guess time is just our minds way of dealing with the passage of ... um... time? Anyway, my aging body disagrees - as does my aging mind. They both tell me time is VERY real and it is passing by much faster than it used to.

If you think about it, though, knowing (if indeed this is something we can really know) how God relates to time can really help with certain questions such as foreknowledge and even predestination. Where I came to on this, however, is that God is Omni-Temporal - or stated a bit less eloquently that God is EveryWhen. Most of us would agree without question that God is omni-present (i.e. existing everywhere in the universe at the same time). Why wouldn't the same be true for time as it is true for space? That would make sense, since most scientists see time as little more than an extension of space - a fourth dimension - but that differs significantly from many (I won't say most) philosophers. Nevertheless, why wouldn't God exist everywhen? Why would we say that God is Omni-present, omnipotent, and omniscient, but not Omni-temporal? Why would we think that a limitless, omnipotent God would be limited by anything - including time? For that matter, if God created everything then he created time, too! Certainly an almighty God cannot be limited by his own creation!

Maybe it is not that big a deal, and maybe you are wondering what's the point. Good point. I can't say I disagree. However, when you are being forced to think philosophically, it is certainly an interesting thing to think about. And I was forced, so I did. By the way, if you want to read my 5000 words of philosophical whatnot about this, feel free to read my paper on the subject... you can check it out here.....

I just hope I get a decent grade.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Amazing Savior, Amazing Grace

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ said and did some pretty amazing things. Even his death was amazing. Nothing however, can compare to the Amazing Grace that resulted from his actions on the cross. With Easter approaching fast, we should probably take a few moments to stop and think about how amazing he really was. Rather than take him for granted, which we all do from time to time, we should fall down and worship him for his awesomeness. In this week's sermon, we remind ourselves just how amazing Jesus was, and maybe our response will be the same as the Centurian who presided over his crucifixion... Surely, this man was the Son of God. To hear the sermon, click the link below.

Surely This Man:

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Narrow Road Home

During his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said many shocking and interesting things. One of them that I have contemplated a great deal lately is found in Matthew 7:13-14.

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (NIV)

Lately, it seems to me as if the narrow road is getting narrower and narrower. I’m feeling my sinfulness more and more. Don’t get me wrong. I know it sounds like I’m saying the walls are closing in around me – but I don’t think that is the way it really is. In fact, it’s not like that at all. I’m not suggesting that I am feeling enslaved in any way by my sinfulness. I’m just more aware of it. That greater awareness make me want to live a life that is purer and more perfected by the Holy Spirit and less controlled by my sinful nature. In that sense, the road (which is really no more or less narrow than it has ever been) “seems” narrower than it has in times past. I am less tolerant of my own imperfections than I have been. I guess when you think about sanctification, that kind of thinking is to be expected. In his “Outlines of Theology”, A.A. Hodge says the following:

“The more holy a man is, the more humble, self-renouncing, self-abhorring, and the more sensitive to every sin he becomes, and the more closely he clings to Christ. The moral imperfections which cling to him he feels to be sins, which he laments and strives to overcome. Believers find that their life is a constant warfare, and they need to take the kingdom of heaven by storm, and watch while they pray. They are always subject to the constant chastisement of their Father’s loving hand, which can only be designed to correct their imperfections and to confirm their graces. And it has been notoriously the fact that the best Christians have been those who have been the least prone to claim the attainment of perfection for themselves”.

Believe you me. I have no delusions that I have reached some form of holiness state. Quite the opposite in fact. The closer I get to God, the more I see how holy he is and how unholy I am. I see myself for exactly what I am – a sinner saved by grace who deserves nothing short of eternal punishment, but who has been shown unbelievable mercy by a loving God.

I guess the reality of it is that the gate and road that leads to eternal life (aka – salvation) has always been and remains forever very narrow – One Way… JESUS… However, the road that leads to abundant life (aka – sanctification) begins very broadly and gets narrower ever day. When we first receive salvation, we are so thankful for the forgiveness of sins. We are legally deemed “not guilty” for all the horrible things we have done (and still do for that matter). As we grow spiritually, though, we desire not just to be deemed not guilty, but to be truly innocent. I want that for my life. I want to walk the narrow path of innocence and not to wander from it. I want to reach that point where the true condition of my heart matches my legal standing with God. I want to be at the place where justified by faith meets the reality of inner holiness. And while I realize that the two will never truly meet until after I die (aka glorification), maybe it is not such a bad thing that road seems like it is getting narrower. I am much happier on the narrow road than I could ever be on the broad one. It leads me home.