Saturday, March 7, 2015

It Only Happens When I Think - Part 2

image used under Creative Commons license, courtesy of
commons.wikimedia.org, picture by D Ramey Logan
We started our previous post with the idea that I mess up and "It only happens when I think.". That's true.  And not just for me.  But good things can happen when we think, too -- at least if our thought patterns are with God's thoughts or about Him.  

Last time, we said, "God has three essential qualities: His perfection, He is just, and He is love.". Being perfect, God could almost be described as omni-everything, although there are some qualities that don't fit who God is.  And it leads to an interesting analogy.

God is the standard by which all other things are measured.  We, on the other hand, are like our illustration of the US capitol building.  Our dome is damaged by the years, in need of repair, and we can't do much of anything to repair ourselves.  God, like a repair service, can surround our dome with scaffolding, which will partly protect the dome from the elements.  But it mostly allows everything to happen to restore the dome to original condition -- a state much closer to the standard. Sound familiar?

Isaiah 46:9 (KJV)  Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,

None like Him -- God is the standard.  And don't think God has any expectation that we'll match the standard.  But He does make it clear that we'll experience more joy and happiness the more we become like the standard.  There's a shorter distance to the right stuff.

None like Him -- God is the standard.  Being like Him may not be a 100% attainable goal, but it's an approachable goal.  And the closer we get, the less effort is required to maintain our spirituality, our joy, our happiness.  Think of a car.  It takes less gas and less wear and tear to travel 100 miles than to travel 1,000 miles.  So, the closer we become to the standard, the easier it is to maintain that position, with all its benefits,  and grow even closer.

One of the laws of science says that, for every action there's a reaction.  Anything acting in the physical world creates a response.  That's a reflection of the intellectual and spiritual realms. And a recognition of God's justice.  Whether temporal or eternal, there are consequences to our thoughts and deeds.

In the court system, if you're convicted of a crime, there's some level of punishment.  That could merely be probation, some length of time in jail, or even execution, depending on the nature and severity of the crime.  Compare that to God's economy, where love mediates justice.  We see a difference.  The goal is not retribution, but rehabilitation -- drawing people back to God.  There may, indeed, be earthly consequences to our thinking and behavior.  But those are intended to draw us closer, not as a form of punishment.  Neither is Hell intended to punish man.

Matthew 25:41b (KJV)  Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

Ezekiel 33:11 (KJV)  Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

Romans 8:4-8 (KJV)  That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.  For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.  So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

That trilogy of passages lays it out:

  1. Hell was intended only for the fallen angels, including Satan.
  2. God takes no pleasure in sending people to spiritual, eternal death.
  3. The flesh feeding the carnal mind chooses separation from God and, in fact opposes Him.
What that comes down to is we were never supposed to be aimed at Hell, but wrong choices change that.  Our free will determines going to Heaven or Hell.  God doesn't send people there.  He loves us too much.  Which makes me think that the fire and brimstone isn't real, but descriptive of the self torment created by those in Hell.

We have to remember that the main component of Hell is separation from God.  It's something those in Hell chose.  But, at that point, there's no guessing, no faith, it's all fully understood.  I can recall, when I wasn't walking with God, times when I anguished over things happening in my life.  It was sometimes to the point where there was great physical and mental discomfort, I shut others out, and I was immobilized instead of moving to fix the problem.  Picture Hell like that.  Those going there are eternally separated from God, with there no longer being any way to change that.  

Consider the immensity of the realization of what they willingly gave up forever.  The anguish and regret are so strong that they create both mental and physical pain.  Though the saying goes that "misery loves company", the pain and distress are so great that it immobilizes Hell's residents from gathering together, and it cuts each off from the others.  So, even though each is aware of the wailings of others, they're so focused on their own torment that the wailing from the others is only noticed in how it intensifies their own pain.  So, there's searing mental and physical anguish, the inability to function, and the huge sense of separation not only from God, but from everyone else, too.  

That description of Hell is speculation, but it fits God's justice and love.  He gave us the gift of free will.  If it's abused by choosing other than God, then God not violating our free will leaves no other option than eternal separation from Him.  And the results of the realization of that fact.

We can't blame God's justice for that.  It gives everyone exactly the eternity they choose.  We can't fault His love.  It gives opportunities to choose well.  We can't deny God's mercy.  It gives us till the very last earthly breath to choose correctly.

Isaiah 46:9 (KJV)  Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,

Matthew 6:33 (KJV)  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 

Deuteronomy 30:19 (KJV)  I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

What's your choice, today?  Who God is or some other lesser standard?

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