There are two approaches to life.
1. Life is an enigma wrapped in a paradox.
2. Life is a possibility wrapped in a deception.
Both views can´t be right. One is based on revelation, the other on observation. One leads to independence and the other leads to relationship. One is rooted in pride and arrogance, the other is rooted in self-awareness and humility. One leads to hell and the other leads to everlasting life. What is your approach to life?
The Desert Warrior
Reflections by Bert A. Amsing
Copyright © 2012 by vanKregten Publishers. All rights reserved.
Your Approach to Life
There are two approaches to life.
0 thoughts on “Your Approach to Life”
Didn’t understand the thought process, it was very confusing to me. So at the risk of confusing you also, I would simply say that in this world of duality which God created (light vs dark, matter vs anti-matter and good vs evil) that evil exists so that we can know good (God). To quote Neale Donald Walsch, “Hitler went to heaven. When you understand this, you will understand God.”
No problem. The post was short and concise which sometimes can lead to confusion. I see where you are coming from but I don´t agree. Remember that my commitment is to look at things from the point of view of God as revealed in the Bible. So the only two questions that can really engage with this discussion is, first, why are you committed apriori to the biblical point of view and assume that it is God´s point of view (well, yes, that is two questions) and the other question is simply, what does the Bible say on any given subject. Yes, as individuals in the context of the community of believers, with lots of back and forth and sharpening of insight and learning together, we can understand both the basics and the majority of what the Bible teaches about God. That is a discussion among people who already have a commitment to the authority of the Bible as the primary source of truth about God and about us and our relationship with Him. Yes, creation itself is also a source of truth about reality but it is limited with regards to the relational aspects of how we relate to God (or not). Still, let me say this……from my point of view, of course, (which I try to base on the biblical point of view as much as I can)…..we do not believe that light is “vs” (versus, over against etc) dark. They are opposites but not conflictive if that makes sense….both of them were made by God for different purposes….the same with matter and anti-matter….different, opposites even, but not conflictive but rather fulfilling different even radically different purposes in God´s world……both of those things are created realities……good and evil are a different thing altogether……they refer not to circumstances, nor to earthquakes, hurricanes or the like, in and of themselves….they are moral categories to describe action, intentions and motivations of morally capable beings (such as humans, angels, demons and God). In that case, there is good vs. evil but the conflict is superficial since God is more than capable of overcoming evil in an instant…..the only reason that He doesn´t is not first of all so that we can know good (God) as you say….but He doesn´t overcome evil because we humans have aligned ourselves with evil (defined as rejecting the necessary and essential authority of God in our lives as a relational reality). In order to save us, He has to allow evil to continue for awhile until He can overcome evil and save us. What we don´t realize is that when Satan accuses us (after decieving us), he is absolutely right and the justice of God must recognize his accusations as accurate. We have rebelled. We have rejected the primal authority of God in our lives….hence the existence of evil as the result of morally capable humans making decisions against the will of God. Rather than dealing with us the way we deserve, God takes the punishment upon himself in Jesus Christ and allows us to go free but on one condition and for one purpose, a new relationship with Him. It is not cheap grace and it is grace with a purpose. Love does not overcome evil without a cost. Justice must be fulfilled not ignored. The truth is, from the point of view of the Bible, that “Hitler went to hell. When you understand this, you will understand yourself.” Evil is within. The cross is necessary. Grace is everything. Life is NOT an enigma (an unknowable mystery) wrapped in a paradox (dark vs light, matter vs anti-matter, good vs. evil), it is a possibility (the future can be different, we can be different in our heart, in our essence, evil can be overcome at it´s source in the heart of man) wrapped in a deception (about ourselves, about the source and motivation for evil, about the solution, and about the Deciever). Of course, admittedly, you come from the point of view of observing life and making an interpretation (or accepting an interpretation that you think has merit)….and that´s great. We come from the point of view of studying the revelation of God and THEN observing life and we see things very differently. The problem, of course, is that God´s point of view is humbling and we don´t like it. If the cross is necessary, central, valuable, perhaps we are worse that we think. Either God is bad and we are good or God is good and we are bad, even evil…all of us….in a hundred different ways….evil because we refuse to allow God to have ultimate authority in our lives……hope that helps…..I went on a bit too long….sorry. Let´s keep talking…….Bert
Thank you for the thoughtful response. I can see that you’re a very deep thinker, however, as you said, you only look at things with respect to God as revealed in the Bible. On the other hand, I look at God based upon how he is revealed to me in my life. When I was in college, I spent time serving the church in the capacity of a Sunday school teacher. That experience forced me to reexamine my faith so that I could effectively teach my students. After 50 years of researching the Bible, I have come to the conclusion that the Bible and Christian theology (assuming that there is just one Christian theology, which there isn’t) do have some significant differences. Among other things, different people, and in particular different Christian denominations, interpret the Bible differently. In some cases, I believe that the Bible has been misunderstood (poor translation, the change in word usage over 2,000 years etc.). It’s always good to see someone like yourself who has a strong sense of faith, but we shouldn’t be so arrogant as to assume that we know the truth (even if it is based on the Bible). I am always willing to discuss the Bible with anyone who has an open mind. I look forward to hearing from you.
Yes, I also enjoy talking with someone who likes to think deeply and clearly about things. Forgive me if I came off as arrogant in assuming that I know the truth (even if it is based on the Bible). The Bible, itself, teaches me to be gentle and humble even while I am firm and resolute about what I believe. On the one hand, when it comes to the basics of Christianity (the uniqueness of Christ, the existence of God, the ministry of the Holy Spirit and the authority of the Word of God) I am bold to claim the truth as based on the testimony of the Bible. Those basics are agreed to by all Christian denominations with only minor differences. Oh, you say, but there are many who call themselves Christians who do NOT agree on those basic issues. Many who would say that the Bible is flawed and that God is unknowable, that salvation is not exclusive to followers of Christ and that he did not rise from the dead and was not born of a virgin or proved his message with his miracles. The question is whether they can legitimately be called Christians. I would say not. The Apostle´s Creed is rather basic but it is a dividing line for Christians. I think that is reasonable but many others do not. If Christianity is a private thing, a personal faith, a self-assessment, then who is to say that someone is a Christian or not other than yourself. Do you feel that you are a Christian? Yes, well, then you are. Who is to say you aren´t even if you don´t believe in the historic truths of the faith. Of course, if God actually does exist, He may have an opinion. In fact, the Bible says exactly that….Jesus said that many would come and say to him, Lord, Lord, and he will say….I never KNEW you…..so maybe it isn´t about our self-assessment but about God´s assessment of us. That might be a scary thought, but it is the biblical perspective. Now we are forced to find out from the Bible, what God´s standard of assessment is and what are the consequences of not passing that very intimate scrutiny that we call the Last Judgment. So, yes, when you make an observation about the church that there are differences, even important differences, that is true. The question is “What is the correct interpretation of that truth?” What do the differences mean? How should they be evaluated? Are some differences more important than others and is there a core group of beliefs that make up the basic Christian worldview? And more importantly, who is evaluating whom? Yes, I believe that on these basic, historical beliefs of Christianity that I am speaking the truth and I do so boldly but also in humility and gentleness. We CAN know the truth and the truth CAN set us free. But it is not MY truth, but the truth of the Christian community, ultimately GOD´s truth, His revelation, which He made available to those who believe in Him. So, yes, I know the TRUTH (his name is Jesus) and I know him every day better….because he taught me the truth about myself….that without him, I am a rebel in God´s world, destined to everlasting life without God (which we call Hell) but with him (we say “in Christ” i.e. fully identified with Christ and his work on the cross and resurrection and empowered by the Holy Spirit), with him I am destined (already now starting) to everlasting life with God (which we call Heaven and which we already have a taste of in this life through the experience of God´s power, presence, passion and purposes in our lives). John, I get where you are coming from and it is reasonable and understandable….but it is also misguided. The differences in theology on the basic issues means that some are within historical Christianity and others are not. The differences in theology and biblical interpretation on less than basic issues means that we are still learning and growing together as followers of God. But there is even more. You can have the right theology and believe in the historic truths of Christianity and still not be a Christian. It is more than belief (but it is not less). It is a relationship and requires not only the mind but the heart and the will, attitudes, dispositions and desires. It is more like marriage than a business relationship. It is not about what I get out of it but rather how I can please him. He actually likes me, go figure. And I actually want to please him, even if it costs me everything. I trust him with my life, my children, my wife, my resources, everything and that isn´t always easy to do. The point is that it is a relationship. Every relationship is based on beliefs, but even more, it is based on value. You value your wife, your children, your job, your friends, maybe in different ways and amounts but with God it is about valuing God above all, no matter what. He is God after all and He died for you. He loved you with everything he had and he did it while you and I were still rebels…still doing things our own way….still sinners….that is the kind of God we have. Just like falling in love, this kind of faith in God is not reasonable or even acceptable for most people, but it is the nature of the relationship. The reason that we are rebels is that we don´t trust him. Learning to trust him again is obviously the solution. That relationship became possible because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. Yes, I have an open mind and I love to talk to everyone and anyone about my relationship with God. But I also have a closed mind. Just like a married man who is truly happy and in love with his wife, he is open to talking about WHY he loves his wife but he is closed to proposals or suggestions that place any blocks or barriers in his relationship with the love of his life. Christianity, in that sense, is closed minded….MUST be closed minded….because it isn´t just about truth or knowledge, but about value and love….hope that helps. Stay in touch. Bert