Since I seem to be the last one in the universe to get the Journal, I just finished the last edition. It was sort of a doubled up edition. A “two fer” you might call it.
I’ve been wondering what I would write based upon what was in it. There was a lot about the “One God Seminars” that occur every year. Frankly, most of the arguments they make for unitarianism (belief in “One God” verses the trinitarian or “One God Family” views) don’t make a whole lot of sense.
Well, my writing colleague Kim Linton published a worthy article titled “Sermon Outlines: The Divinity of Jesus”. Most of us in the Church of God would object to one particular sentence she wrote, as she is coming from a much more mainstream view. However, her Scripture references show the clear teaching that Jesus was and is Divine.
Let me just state that some seem to confuse “divine” and “god” to extremes. Jesus was “divine” in every sense of the word. “God” is a much more general term, however. The Hebrew word “elohim” is even more general, and it can even refer to a group of judges (“judge” in the Biblical sense, not our modern usage).
Why would God allow such ambiguity? I don’t know. However, I do know that God has chosen to reveal Himself a little at a time. In fact, even though we are destined to live eternally with Him, we seem to be created to live specifically within time. However, since we have a beginning and we die so soon, a little time seems like a whole lot of time to us. It seems that God has intentionally created a situation where we are constantly learning more about Him and each other.
Maybe if we learned too much too soon, boredom would set in.
Some would say that Jesus was God, and so He knew everything while on the earth. Frankly, I am not sure that is possible because He was also fully man. More than that, however, He chose to live an entire life as a man. He even had to learn how to walk and talk. He “emptied” Himself in order to experience life as we live it.
And yet, some of the most bizarre arguments are put forward to suggest otherwise.
Some would say even He existed before He was born, but not physically. Um, OK, I guess that is what being Divine really means, a “spirit”. However, they are once again abusing the notion of “spirit” to really mean “nothing”.
Spirit is not “nothing”! God is a Spirit, and God is very real. Angels are spirits, and they are very real.
Yet, they twist it into a weird meaning that Jesus existed, but only in the mind of God. I had a Christadelphian friend once who argued this with me. It was obvious to me at that point that further discussion of the point was just plain pointless. After all, the argument basically says God is insane!
It’s just another way of saying He existed but He didn’t. It’s double-talk. Saying He only existed in Someone’s mind means He is not real but imaginary!
“But,” the argument goes, “God is so far high above us, that even when He thinks of something, it is real.”
Really? From that argument, no one is going into the Lake of Fire, then. I realize full well that there are some who would argue that no one perishes (“universalism”, I think it is called), but they are wrong. They would use 2Pe 3:9 to back up their argument.
9The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9, King James Version)
God does not desire “any” to perish. God then has imagined that all would willingly come into His family. Therefore, since God is so far above us, none will perish and go into the Lake of Fire.
Anyone see any flaws with that argument? Well, I’ll give you one: It isn’t Biblical.
20And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. (Revelation 19:20, King James Version)
This contradicts that whole notion that just because God can imagine something makes it real. In fact, the theory that God imagines it and therefore it automatically comes into being contradicts the whole notion of free will.
Why do we have temptations? We have to learn to pull back. We humans have to learn self-control. We learn that just going for what we want doesn’t necessarily lead to the desired outcome.
Well, if we are indeed children of God, and if we indeed are to be born into His family, then wouldn’t we need to learn self-control? Can you imagine the carnage if some of the world’s greatest dictators had the power of God? Can you imagine Korea’s Kim Jong-il with the power to wipe out nations with a thought? Can you imagine Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with the power to spread pestilence and disease through a desire? Can you imagine the chaos weilded by a drug addict with omnipotence?
Now, stretch this line of thinking in the other direction. If we are to become like God and learn self-control, then doesn’t it make sense that God has more self-control than anyone else alive? How many of us sitting on Heaven’s throne wouldn’t be sending down lightning bolts upon rebellious people?
If you want to argue for “One God” as they call it, then at least put forward logical arguments. Saying that Jesus pre-existed but only in God the Father’s mind is the same thing as saying Jesus was God’s imaginary friend.