“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.
Essentially we don’t know how the brain works. We can’t cure neurological diseases. We can’t cure all depression. We can’t really improve intelligence.
But what if a worldview has an untapped resource of explanation? Christian theism offers just that. Although it seems farfetched, and it is slightly terrifying.
Anyways, in Christianity humans are the battlefield. Constantly encountering spirits. And in this spiritual world, we are introduced to the explanatory power of the Christian worldview in the area of psychology.
What’s more important is that in subscribing to this model, we no longer need explanations about miracle healings of Alzheimer’s, because we know that if the presence of a spirit is causing the malady, the absence of it would lead to a miracle healing.
Not to mention, probably the scariest part: schizophrenia. If there is a spirit world, people that hear voices are actually hearing spirits. And we know that spirits can be cast out. Thus, schizophrenia is curable. But not by any pill or treatment, by the sovereign grace of God. Thus, the unexpected mitigation of this disease becomes less farfetched and more realistic.
So everywhere we look at the world, Christianity has answers, including the human mind. Perhaps the best answer to some of the biggest questions of medicine and science have been right under our nose this whole time. Maybe our biggest problem was trying to reconcile the complete with the incomplete, trying to merge modern psychology and psychiatry with the Christian narrative.
As society changes, we begin to accept new norms. For instance, homosexuality is now not taboo or a mental illness, but an expression of self that is celebrated. Same with transsexuality.
To be frank, if the Bible is true, these thoughts are sinful. But the problem is that society teaches us that they are OK. So instead of labeling the thoughts as wrong, begin to accept them as a part of ourselves.
So you see, as society works one way, God works another. In this case, norms train our developing youth to label thoughts as good or normal that are anything but. So instead of being a troubled kid or someone going through a hard time or trying to find himself, he finds himself in something he shouldn’t.
If we can’t identify the sin, there is no way to overcome it. If you can’t see the devil, you can’t defeat him.
I think I missed the mark on my post about Quantifying Character. In that post, I essentially rank actions as positive or negative, with having inaction labeled as zero. But I don’t think that’s quite right.
See neglect is inaction, and it’s negative. The opposite of neglect is kindness. But since Paul tells us that love is kind. Love is the opposite of neglect. Love is action. Neglect is inaction.
It’s similar to a sin of omission. I think most people can agree that lying is wrong. And telling the truth is right. But when it comes to omitting an important part of the truth, while still telling the truth, it’s wrong. The devil’s lies are full of bits of truth.
I’ve personally struggled with neglect, thinking that since I wasn’t doing anything, I wasn’t doing anything wrong. Well, I was wrong.
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.
If God is love and is imagining future realities with us, a belief that God doesn’t exist is logically equivalent to a belief that love doesn’t exist. By imagining no future realities with God, they’re imagining no future realities with love. And if God’s love is perfect, this is perfect hate.
If God doesn’t exist in any of their potential future realities, then how could God be with them? Their future only exists where God doesn’t exist, because they do not believe he exists. And if he is literally this love that is the imagining of realities with us, how can someone that denies that exists experience it? Their denial of his existence doesn’t mean he doesn’t exist. Just like me denying walruses exist doesn’t mean that they aren’t real.
By our definition of love and hate, Atheists hate God. And God is love [I John 4:16]. So they also hate love.
How does perfect love cast out all fear? Perfect love would be imagining all realities with God. So if you’re with him now, you’ll be with him tomorrow, and you’ll be with him on the day you die. And for all eternity. There’s no negative reality there. How could you fear? All realities are positive. We call that hope.
How do we fear God? Fear is focusing on a potential negative reality. If we fear God we focus on a potential negative reality. We fear him by realizing that he can allow time apart from Him in his universe, because he controls it. We fear him by imagining those realities without him [in the universe that he governs] and preferring those with him. We prefer his love as opposed to his wrath.
If I fear something bad, then I would be directed towards something good. If I’m scared of spiders, I won’t lead a hike through a cave a night. That will minimize my chance of encountering one. My dad is terrified of lighting, so he may not go on a walk if it’s cloudy outside. While definitely over-the-top, he’s probably not going to get struck by lighting. That’s exactly how I think we should fear God. We should take steps to insure that he’s with us, and minimize the chances that we’ll be apart from him.
If I acknowledge the power of God, and fear time apart from him, I guide myself toward his will. The love of God is good. But the wrath of God is bad. I fear God by acknowledging that time apart from him is negative, and avoiding that. But if God is all-powerful, then he would also have control over the darkness. It may be the absence of his presence, but he created light and darkness. And would we even know light without the presence of darkness?
We can choose to love him, fear him and have a personal relationship with him, or we can choose to live apart from him, in darkness.
And his mercy is upon generation after generation toward those who fear Him. Luke 1:50
Walk by faith and not by sight. – 2 Corinthians 5:7
For shorthand, let’s define sight as imagining future realities.
This would mean to continue on your path by your belief based on knowledge and truth, not by what you imagine about the future. Hopes and fears would both require seeing in this capacity, where you look forward to either a good or bad event.
Faith would be based on truth, while sight is just looking at potential outcomes.
But if our goal is truth, seeing is not how we live the truest lives. If we walk by sight, we are constantly imaging future realities which may or may not be true.
Remember: The truest sight is the present. We can’t be present if we’re worrying about tomorrow or dreaming about what’s next.