Final Review And Conclusion
Rev 4:11.' "Thou art worthy, 0 Lord to receive glory and honor and power: far thou host created all things and for thy pleasure they ore and were created
Rev. 22:12-14: `And, behold, I come quickly and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall he I am Alpha and Omega. the beginning and the end, the first and the last Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree at life, and may enter in through the gates into the city."
As a convenient summary of this course we will now make an overall comparison of the biblical world view with the world view at unbelievers, and how each affects society. We will classify these two basic world-views under the heading "Biblical Creation versus Confusion." (*)The non-biblical world view, or world views, are literally "confusion," as ever since the tall when Adam and Eve chose to decide on their own, independently, whether God or Satan was right (Gen.3:5), they cut themselves off from God, the only source of true knowledge and wisdom (Jer. 8:9): Now man's "knowledge" is a mixture or confusion at bits of truth and error This contusion in its myriad forms is a way of death much though it may seem right to man (Prov.16:25). Only repentance and total submission to God in Christ can rescue us from this confusion (John 146). Only such repentance and submission by God's grace can restore us to our originally created image and likeness to God (Gen.1: 26, 28: 2 Cor.3:18, I John 3:2-3, etc) Those who persist in their would-be "independence" (not really possible as they still depend upon God for their very existence moment by moment!) are condemned to eternal death (John 3'18-20: Rom 1:18-20; Heb.9:27-28; Rev.22:12, etc.). The saved will look to Christ as their All, do His commandments, and be restored to access to the tree of life from which fallen man had been banned (Gen.2: 9: Gen.3:22-2t). Those unrepentant to the end will be barred from it forever.(*)
God, as we saw, is the personal Creator at all things out of nothing. and He created all things "far His pleasure" (Gen: John 1:1-12; RevAll). He is transcendent (not on a continuum with His creation, above it) and sovereign (the absolute Ruler over all things and totally independent of them). Unbelievers do not believe in O God who is personal, transcendent and sovereign all at once, and tar them God is NOT Creator out of nothing. The "Creator-creature distinction" means that God depends on no one and nothing, while His creatures totally depend on Him.
Only biblical Christianity among all world religions believes in God as the Trinity of three Persons in one Godhead (*)The Trinity was briefly explained in the church's ancient creeds (Apostles' Creed, Nicene Creed) as follows: The Father is "Almighty. Maker of heaven and earth" (that is. of all that is); Jesus Christ His only begotten Son, our Lord. Saviour and Redeemer; and God the Holy Spirit, "the Lord and Giver of Life," our Comforter and Sanctifier."(*)
Unbelievers have no real concept of God; he. or rather it. is a "spirit" or a "force." Unbelief is generally divided into two branches. (1) atheism (no deity at all) and (2) pantheism/"New Age ism" (all is divine or god). Unitarianism and deism are variations of a philosophical abstraction of monotheism, denying the Trinity and/or God's ever-present sustaining activity in the world. Judaism and Islam are unitarian, holding to salvation by man's own works and not Christ.
Biblical Christianity sees the origin of the world in God's personal creation by the Word. Jesus Christ (Gen 1. John 1).Man alone among all creatures was created in God's own image and likeness: all kinds of creatures were created fixed, that is, with variation within a kind but no change from one created kind to another (Genesis 1). Unbelievers hold to evolution by chance (Darwinism; "punctuated equilibrium' or else by '"forces" or "spirits" (New Age; vitalism; occultism etc.). (~)Since there is no personal God in the biblical sense, it is not possible for man to have been created by a personal act or in the personal biblical God's own image and likeness. Instead, man is but another "animal" and evolved from animals (usually seen as "lower").(*)
Biblical Christianity teaches that our first parents. Adam and Eve, fell by attempting to be as gods themselves and deciding independently what should count as right and wrong. good and evil (Gen.3:5). Their fall made man a sinner (rebel) before God. Man's would-be independence from God the Creator and Sustainer is still his root sin, and it is the cause of all that goes wrong with society. (*)Unbelievers do not believe in man's fall nor in sin. On the contrary, man's attempt to be god himself is part of his up-ward development within some sort of evolution (atheist random evolution. theistic evolution, cosmic evolution. process theology, etc ).(~) Biblical Christianity teaches God's providence from the beginning. As Acts 15:18 says: "Known unjo God are all his works from the beginning of the world." (Also see Ephesians I and our key Scripture. Rev. 22:13.) For unbelievers in the God of Scripture, of course, there is no providence in the Christian sense: for atheists no God exists, for pantheists everything is god and the divinity evolves in time along with the world.
Christians believe the unique Christian Gospel ("good news") that man may become regenerate in Christ, that is, die to his old fallen nature and be transformed into Christ's and God's likeness, partaking of His holy and perfect divine nature (2 Peter 1:2-4). Unbelievers are bound to an evolutionist determinism for them man is the product of heredity plus environment. and cannot be delivered from them. (*)Cosmic evolutionists, like Buddhists, Hindus. and New Age adherents. combine this determinism with belief in reincarnation. in which the soul must work out its Karma (accumulated evil works) aver eons of time, bound to the "wheel of fate." Nirvana - nothingness or oneness with Brahman, the pantheist All - alone offers deliverance. New Agers neglect the pessimistic aspects of reincarnation, in which even death - final dissolution of the soul is only postponed, not abolished.(~)
Christianity teaches that the world and man have a linear history. (`)They were created at the beginning of time, also created (God does not dwell in time). Then came man's fall, God's choice of the Jews as His own special people whom He taught His law (describing His holy and perfect character as much as possible), and from whom Jesus Christ the Redeemer would come in the flesh. Then came Christ and His crucifixion and resurrection; then the New Testament time in which the Gospel was preached to all nations, Finally there will be Christ's Second Coming, rind the Judgment at the end of created time, dividing men as sheep from the goats, regenerate from unrepentant lost. We look forward to a new heaven and a new earth, wherein dwells righteousness. (2 Peter 3:t3).(*) For unbelievers time, the here and now, has neither beginning nor end. because they do not believe in creation. They hold to cyclical history which essentially repeats itself over and over again and has no real meaning
Biblical Christianity teaches that man must live by absolute moral law reflecting God's own absolute righteousness God the Creator made man in His own image and likeness, which means that man must live as God lives in God's righteousness-- or die. Of this the first example was God's command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, or man would surely die (Gen.2:16-17), When man attempts to build society by precepts he makes up himself apart from God, he can only fail miserably. Unbelievers can make up only a relative morality which evolves within history from allegedly primitive ape-like man to the present. Having no God of the Bible, they have no standard of absolute good and evil. Because biblical Christianity stands upon God and His absolute righteousness, it alone offers lawful love of God and neighbor (Romans 13:8-In). Love is the fulfilling of the law; regenerate Christians are enabled to thus love truly by God's grace through Christ and the Holy Spirit in their hearts (Eph. 2:10, 13-22; Phil. 4:13; I Thess.t:l-7). Unbelievers pervert true love into self-love or lawless "love" in whose name anything is acceptable, including adultery and even murder (abortion defended by some because "I loved my baby too much to give it up for adoption, so I had it aborted").
Inseparable from the lawful love of God and neighbor is the sanctity of the human person because made in God's own image and likeness Genesis 9:6 teaches us that "whosoever sheds man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made He man" Satan works through totalitarian, cruel societies to torment, debase and kill men because they are "the next best thing" to God Himself yet the blood of the innocent slain will cry to God, and He will avenge His saints (Gen.4:10, Maft.23:3t-35; Rev.&10). For unbelievers there is no sanctity of the human person, and that is why unbelieving societies from pagan antiquity to the present condone slavery, abortion, euthanasia, racism, etc. For Christians the Trinity is the model for human relations, with its unity of the Godhead and separateness of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Even so a truly Christian society would have oneness of purpose and fellowship, yet not lose the separateness or distinctness of each individual person within it. The unbelievers have no model for human relations in the Godhead, but see human ("interpersonal' relations as evolving in history by trial and error. For biblical Christianity the state and its office bearers are servants of God to execute God's law (Romans 13'1-8). The state is not the highest authority - God is. When the state allows or forbids anything contrary to God's law revealed in the Scriptures, then "we ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29; Acts 4:19-20). Unbelievers have no fixed concept of the state; they depart from the biblical concept into anarchy (lawlessness. Judges 21:25) or else tyranny and slavery. (*) A Christian society, of course, must make sure that the law it enforces is really God's law and not the law of men falsely claiming God's inspiration.(*)
Biblical Christianity based upon biblical creation sees man's economic activity including property ownership as stewardship (management, Vice-regency) under God pursuant to man's dominion mandate of Genesis 1:26. 28. Correctly speaking man does not possess anything absolutely. not even his own body, for by right of creation and providence moment by moment everything belongs absolutely to God (Ps.24:1-2: Rom.12:t~, There is no distinction between "sacred" and "secular" in our service to God all we do about the goods entrusted to our care wherever we are and at all times should be done to our Creator's and Sustainers glory (1 Cor.10:31; Col.t:23). This is what it means to live according to the Lord's Prayer: "Hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth. as it is in heaven."
Again, unbelievers have no true concept of what property ownership means; they either defend it as an absolute human right. or abolish it so that goods and services in practice belong to the elite ruling society (as under communism or other ancient or modern "socialist" societies). Science and technology must also be conducted as stewardship under God in accordance with man's dominion mandate given him by God at his creation (Gen.1:26, 28). Bible-believing Christians see science and technology as expressions of man's God-given creativity and thus, as Johann Kepler is reported to have said, as "thinking God's thoughts after Him." Of course science and technology must be used to God's glory according to His moral law. Research done in an immoral manner must be rejected, even if "useful" (~)(for instance, the abominable research on twins conducted by Nazi Dr Joseph Mengele in the Auschwitz concentration camp. or the research done on aborted babies for the purpose of harvesting their organs for transplant s).(~) Unbelievers, having rejected God. use science and technology falsely or else reject it, too, in the name of New Age/pantheistic rejection of man's dominion over the rest of creation. Thus nature is either exploited ruthlessly. or else idolized.
Our health is also stewardship over our own bodies under God. As Bible-believing Christians we must take with utter seriousness the admonition that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit and that we are not our own, for we "are bought with a price" and must therefore "glorify God in our body and in our spirit, which are God's" (I Cor.6:19-20). But of course unbelievers also belong to God and are responsible to Him although they deny this. (*)The Christian believer must therefore specifically "eat and drink" whatever he does to God's glory. and abstain from any substance that is shown to harm. his health On the other hand. we must not be like unbelievers today. to whom their health has become an idol. As usual unbelievers alternate between health as an idol which is veritably worshipped. and a contempt of health as their own business to do with as they choose.(*)
Finally. the created world is designed by the Creator for His purpose. As our key Scripture says. "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things. and for thy pleasure they are and were created" (Pev.4~1 1). Even the rebellious and unbelievers, even Satan and his fallen angels are used by God for His purpose As God said to Pharaoh who wanted to destroy God's people and exalt himself against God: "Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee. and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth" (Exodus 9:16: Romans 9.17). For God's own people. though they may not immediately understand their Father's and Lord's ultimate purpose. "all things work for good... according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28). For unbelievers. the God-less, uncreated. everlasting material universe evolved in long periods of time. It has no purpose: or else it exists for the "self-actualization" of spirits or "forces."
When we list the principles outlined above in two side-by-side columns, under the headings "Biblical Creation" and "Confusion." we see that the "Biblical Creation" side contains the basic teaching of biblical Christianity. (*)which has always been shared by all biblical churches and confessions. It is "mere Christianity." as the great Christian writer C. S. Lewis has called it. in which all true Christian believers are united.(") and it begins with the Bible's first words "In the beginning God created ... " (Genesis 1:1). To the extent religious teaching adopts the "Confusion" concepts --or rather lack of concepts it is not Christian, though if may claim to be so. "Confusion" teaching goes along with belief in an everlasting world with no beginning, with its main process evolution and its main principle monism ("all is one; there is nothing beyond this world").
The initial concepts in each set constitute the basic teaching of biblical Christianity and have always been shared by all biblical churches and confessions. To the extent religious teaching adopts the latter concepts (or absence of concepts) in each set, it is not Christian.
|1. God: the personal Crector of all things out of nothing, transcendent and sovereign (Rev. 4:11)
||1. No personal, transcendent, sovereign God.
|2. Creator-creature distinction God needs and depends on nothing, creation depends on God (Acts 17:25)
||2. No Creator-creature distinction - all is one ("monism").
|3. The Trinity of Father "Almighty, Maker of heaven and eorth"; Jesus Christ "His only Son our Lord and Redeemer from sin, the Holy Spirit' the "Lord and Giver of Life," Comforter and Sanctifier (cf. Apostles' Creed, Nicene Creed)
||3. no real concept of God - a "spirit" or "force," pantheism / "New Age" (the worid is god); no god at all (atheism); unitarianism, deism, Judaism, Islam - no Redeemer from sin; wlvation by works
|4. Man alone crected in God's own image and likeness; fixed kinds in orderly universe (Genesis 1)
||4. man evolved from animals; evolution by chance or by "forces" or "spirits"
|5. Man's fall; man a sinner before God (Gen. 3)
||5. No fall; no sin (theistic evolution; process theology)
|6. God's providence from the beginning (Acts 15:18)
||6. no providence
|7. Man may become regenerate in Christ (2 Pet. 1:2-4) "from above" (John 3:3; 3:5; 3:7)
||7. evolutionist determinism in monistic ("all is one") world
|8. Judgment at end of created time/linear history (2 Pet. 3:13)
||8. time is eternal bacause no creation / cyclical history
|9. Absolute moral low reflecting God's own changeless, righieous character (2 Tim. 2:11-13; Heb. 1 3:8)
||9. relative, evolving morality; utilitarianism ("good" is that which is "useful')|
|10. Lawful love of God and neighbor (Mt.22:37-40; Rom. 13:8-10)
||10. Iawless "love" or "selfism"
|11. sanctity of human person because made in God's image (Gen.9:6)
||11. no sanctity of human person; man only a highly evolved animal: slavery, abortion, euthanasia, racism
|12. Trinity is model for society (Jn.16:13-15; 17:20-23; Mt. 28:19-20)
||12. no model for society, which evolves by trial and error
|13. The state is God's servant to enable God's people to "live a pecceful life in godliness and holiness" (Romans 13:1-7; 1 nm 2:1 -2)
||13. no fixed concept of state: state will tend either towards anarchy or tyranny.
|14. Property ownership as stewerdship under God (Ps.24:1; 1 Cor.10:31)
||14. no concept of property ownership: either absolute individual ownership or communism
|15. Science and all human creativity stewardship under God, dependent upon God (1 Cor.4:7)
||15. science and human creativity used in supposed independence
|16. Dominion over rest of world under God (Gen 1 :28)
||16. world exploited, or idolized as in panthelsm
|17. Family consists of husband. wife, their children as God's basic social institution (Mt. 19:4-6)
||17. "family" is what society makes it
|18. Parents in authority over children (Ex.20: 12)
||18. state in authority over children
|19. The world is created and sustained by the Creator for His purpose (Rom.8:28: Rom.9:17; Rev.4:11)||19. the world has no purpose: it exists for its "self-actualization'|
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