He Has Done it

“My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus’ last words on the cross have stuck in my mind for years. Yesterday, I was watching a debate between Jimmy Akin and Bart Ehrman about the reliability of the Gospels, when I heard that Jesus was simply quoting Psalm 22 when he spoke these last words.

And yes, this Psalm is very appropriate. Jimmy Akin talks about it in the debate.

My point here is as simple as it is unqualified. I think that perhaps Jesus spoke only these first words of the Psalm so we would be led to the last words of the same Psalm: “He has done it.”

That may be the most important theme of the Bible, certainly the New Testament. He overcame sin and death gave us eternal communion with God.

Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but I think it may at least be an Easter Egg left to shed light on the situation. Jesus knew that he had done it.

All are not saved

I was reintroduced to Christian Universalism on Reddit this evening. If true, this belief system is a game changer: something that should change everything about how you view your life and afterlife. But if false, it could be one of the most widespread and damning heresies of all time.

First off, think about the teachings of Jesus: about the narrow gate, the Parable of the Sower, and even the Great Commission. If all are eventually saved, what is the point of spreading the gospel?

I think it’s a heresy. What is the point of Paul talking about the elect if we are all, in fact, elect? What is the purpose of salvation if there isn’t something that we are being saved from?

So while it’s a very powerful idea, I’m afraid that universal salvation is just that: an idea. I don’t think the Bible supports it. The Bible seems to be very clear in its language that not all make it to the finish line.

Now and Forever

You hear these words throughout the Bible. And all this time I thought it was just a catchy salutation. But it’s much deeper than that. 

Since we know that the present moment is all that there is. That the past is history and the future is unknown. God is with us in the present. Here and now.

In this world, you can only be absolutely certain of the present moment. Perhaps you have a bad memory, or no memory. And you could die before the sun rises tomorrow. But right now just is. There is no escaping it.

But the promise of the Gospel is eternal life. That after our life on earth, we will continue to live with God for all eternity. So that, in Christianity,  what we know for sure is the present moment and forever.

Now and forever.

The Biblical Hierarchy

In my model of the Trinity, God the Father is the head of Christ. I think there is Scripture to support it. 

And Christ is head of the Church. [Colossians 1:18]

For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. [Ephesians 5:23]

The church is made of families. And the husband is the head of the wife in marriage, which is the foundation of a Christian household.

And the children are called to honor and obey their parents. [Colossians 3:20, Ephesians 6:1]

So you see, everyone has a place in the hierarchy: God the Father, Christ, man, woman, and children.

Dragon In My Garage

Preliminary Reading: We Are The Evidence

Carl Sagan equated the existence of God to the existence of a dragon living in someone’s garage.

Instead of having Carl Sagan or someone else try to scientifically validate the existence of this dragon, what if we just asked those people who knew a dragon was in their garage to leave their lights on? That way, if the dragon was not something that could be scientifically tested, we could still have data to look at.

The number of houses with lights on continues to grow as we zoom out from the neighborhood, to the town, state, country, and world. One thing we can know for certain is that people think that there are dragons in their garages.

So each house [with the lights on] amounts to a single claim that a dragon exists. So if a type of dragon does exist that science cannot validate, we appear to have good evidence backing that claim.

Of course, if the only type of dragons that can exist are those that science tells us that it can test, we simply miss out on any dragons of the sort that science cannot test. Obviously, there are two types of possible dragons: those that science can test, and those that science cannot test.

And if we are looking for dragons that science cannot tell us whether they are in a garage or not, I think one of the best ways of testing is to ask the resident if there is a dragon in their garage.

This, though, is not really convincing as evidence.

If all these dragons are different, they could all be made up or mistaken. What becomes good evidence is when we see that there are many dragons of the same type. Or that many homes are occupied by the exact same dragon. Alongside a book that predicts the existence of this dragon.

So yes, a dragon does live in my garage. But don’t take my word for it.


Moral Cascade

In my work on the Fall, I’ve already gone into Eve’s unnecessary boundary around God’s command. And how this could have doomed her, Adam, and humankind. I want to take a closer look at this process because I think it’s worth further exploration.

In telling herself not to touch the fruit instead of to not eat it, she added to the command, and made herself much more vulnerable to sin. Not because the definition of sin changed, but because her definition of sin changed.

Taking the idea a step further, you can imagine a scenario where even wouldn’t allow herself to think about eating the fruit. And then, thinking about touching the fruit. Or even thinking about the fruit at all. But when something exists, and you see it from time to time, how could you not think about it?

moral cascadeLet’s say that cake is your vice. You don’t want to ever eat cake again. That’s it. But instead, you decide also to not buy cake. And to not touch cake. Because both of those things could lead to eating cake. And from there, you decide that you won’t even think about eating cake. So you avoid aisles in the grocery with cake on them. You turn away when you see someone eating cake. Your one vice snowballed into something impossible, what I like to think of as a moral cascade. 

So you see, these boundaries that one would think would protect someone from doing wrong, actually make it easier to do wrong in the mind of the doer. There is only one wrong in Eden: eating the fruit.



Shadows prove the sun

Sometimes I struggle with intrusive thoughts. Things I would never do, and never want to do trigger over and over again in my mind. While some people may just let these pass, I engage them. Question them. Reason with them. 

While I’d prefer just not to have the thoughts, I cannot guarantee that. But what I can do is take the thought and test it against my philosophy. And in this, I can make a case against the thought. Reasons that I won’t or can’t do whatever the thought is. Bible verses really seem to help here, too.

I got out of the shower at almost eleven tonight, and it occurred to me: this battle that I have-this conversation, this struggle- was proof of evil. And evil proof of good.

  • If temptation exists, evil exists.
  • If the evil exists, good exists.
  • And if good exists, God exists.
  • If God exists, the afterlife exists. 

So next time you are tempted, let that be your reminder that there is an afterlife. Because the shadows prove the sun. 

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21

There is no sin in heaven

That’s what you need to know. Perhaps you believe God doesn’t exist, or heaven isn’t real. But regardless, in this world, real or imaginary, there is no sin. 

There is also no desire to sin. If people desired sin, there would be want in heaven. But we know that there is no want in heaven. Because it is a perfect place.

Let’s just say that there is no pizza in heaven. But it’s not a problem because no one in heaven wants pizza. So there is no shortage of pizza there either. 

Those that prefer sin go somewhere else. Let’s just say that heaven is preferable to this other place.

God’s will be done. God’s will is the opposite of sin. Thus in heaven, there is only God’s will. If you prefer your own will over God’s, heaven would be hell, anyways. And we can’t have people in heaven that think it’s hell. 

So the question becomes, if there is no sin in heaven, and we are born sinners, how do we get into heaven? 

Jesus is the only way. Remember, we cannot be good without God. So if we cannot be good without God, we need God to be good. And Jesus is the method that God comes to us. And if this goodness is the opposite of sin and comes from God, Jesus is not only the way to God, but also the only way to heaven. 

I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except by me. John 14:6



Overcoming Narcissism

On my highs, I am everyone else is beneath me. There is no one worthy of me. My confidence is so high that it feels like a waste of time to talk to my friends and family.

On the lows, everyone is above me.
My life and everyone in it is so much better than me that I can’t get words out. Afraid to take action. Afraid to be myself.

Nothing has changed except my view of self. And the only reason my view of self has changed, is because I am looking at a metric that is changing. I am comparing myself to different people.

The only time I am content is when I feel like I have accomplished something great or I am hanging around people that I think I am better than. 

This is what I think narcissism is. It’s sometimes called self love. And it’s associated with all sorts of negative traits, including:

  • Grandiosity with expectations of superior treatment from other people
  • Continually demeaning, bullying and belittling others
  • Exploiting others to achieve personal gain
  • Lack of empathy for the negative impact they have on the feelings, wishes, and needs of other people
  • Fixation on fantasies of power, success, intelligence, attractiveness, etc.
  • Self-perception of being unique, superior, and associated with high-status people and institutions
  • Need for continual admiration from others
  • Sense of entitlement to special treatment and to obedience from others
  • Intense envy of others, and the belief that others are equally envious of them
So many correlate narcissism to manic depression because of the narcissistic supply. Essentially, as long as a narcissist gets ample praise, they are elevated above everyone else. And I posit that this elevation is what they love. This is where they establish their sense of self.

So as the supply weans, they begin to doubt their superiority. And because their personality is built on that, they fall into depression. If who they are is dependent of feeling like they are better than everyone else, who are they when they don’t? 

Their sense of self is not based on truth, but on praise. And praise ebbs and flows. As does the mental state of a narcissist.
But you see, nothing actually changes in the world. The narcissist is still right where he was before, but he was never where he thought he was.

Thus, the personality cannot be built on others. Or an false elevated view of self. As long as you think that you are better than you are, you are living a false reality. So while in the narcissist’s mind he is deserving of praise, in reality, he is not. So when there is a shortage of praise, they fall into the realm of other people, where they were all along.

To him, it’s a shortage of something deserved. He believes he is better, so he expects additional praise. If the praise is there, he believes he is better. If the praise isn’t there, he starts to doubt his superiority.

The question is whether he is lacking praise or superiority. If he is lacking superiority, he is probably not lacking praise. If he is lacking praise, he is probably not lacking superiority.

If I am the standard, and I compare everyone to myself, of course no one will measure up. But when I realize that I am not the standard, I can see that I am not superior. And if I am not superior, I am not lacking in praise.

Also, if I am the standard I would expect special treatment. You can see where the list of attributes above would follow. 

The solution then, is simple. We need a new standard. A true standard. 

There is only one person I am supposed to compare myself to. And I will always fall short. Everyone falls short. Which makes me equal to everyone else. Always.

I can look at myself and compare myself yesterday to myself today. And in this comparison strive to be better. More like Jesus.

If I stray, I dip below my former self and further away from Jesus. There is no reason to despair, because I am still the same in relation to the standard that I was before.

So I am wedged in between my former self and Jesus, permanently. I can never do anything to eclipse his glory. I am a sinner in need of salvation, just like everyone else. Any gifts I have are not mine, but God’s. Therefore the praise is not mine, but God’s. As I take my proper place between my former self and Jesus, I can be confident that this is where I’ll stay.

On Hating Life

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26
In my last book, I looked at love and hate at depth, from a new perspective.  With those definitions in mind, what does this verse mean? Simply that we prefer the love of God and truth of Christ to that of anything else, even our own families. If you are perfectly in love with the life you have, why would you be willing to walk with Jesus?

If right now is the pinnacle of your existence, why would you look forward? 

It’s really just about comparing love. If I love my life more than I love Jesus, I will simply keep doing what I am doing. But if I start choosing the will of God over my own, if God’s will is the main priority in my life, and my eyes are forward, looking toward eternity, I hate this life. Because I value what is next more than I value what is now.

Clearly we are being called to put our stock in the next world. 

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. Matthew 16:25

Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. John 12:25
It’s really simple. If God exists, and the Bible is true, heaven is real. And if heaven is real, and you are going, you prefer that world to this world. Therefore, you hate this world. And your existence in this world is your life.

As long as you believe that heaven exists, and you are saved, why would you not prefer that world to this one? And once you do, do you not hate your life?