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Discussion 17 to Talk Back 95
Response to PsiCop
(Discussion 12 to Talk Back 95) 

by: Michael Frank

Sorry I'm a little slow in answering. I have been so busy on tour with my band (Fresh Anointing), and now I'm hosting a tv program too called "Not Religion"; the theme song is "white man" by Michael Gungor (check the song out on YouTube). I will be answering some of the other discussion comments soon.

To add to this exchange of views (or any other,) please use the Contact form. This discussion has been continued.

PsiCop

In your last article, you questioned/challenged me in 3 areas:

- Isn’t it inconsistent to claim that God is omnipotent, omniscient, and infinite, yet later state that He was surprised, challenged, or constrained by certain circumstances or actions?

- Perhaps Satan and the angels who followed him rejected God intentionally because of something they saw in His character that they did not like.

- Does God speak to us and grant us faith only through the Christian Bible?  What about other “sacred texts” or directly speaking to us through revelation, visions, or physical appearances?

I appreciate these challenges, and I certainly don’t take offence to them.  I welcome the opportunity to be challenged.  In order to clearly explain what I believe it causes me to dig deeper and learn and grow in my own understanding of the world, both physical and spiritual.  The last thing I want is to believe something just because I heard it somewhere or because it’s convenient to.  This correspondence has made me research and clarify my foundations in order to explain them.  Thank you all.

Question 1:

How can an all-powerful (omnipotent), all-knowing (omniscient), everywhere-at-once (omnipresent), infinite God be challenged by our sin?  It’s as though our sin forced Him to be separated from us, and then He had to find a way around it (through the sacrifice of Jesus). 

Just because God is all-powerful certainly doesn’t mean that He can’t set up boundaries or limit his involvement in an area if He chooses to.  Now, why would He choose to limit His control when it comes to his involvement with man?  Because He wanted us to have free will, so that we could choose to love and worship Him.  He could, no doubt, have designed us without free will so that we had no choice whether or not to obey Him.  But then we’d have been little more than just robots.  Besides, why would an all powerful God need servants anyways?  He certainly wouldn’t!  So He made us in his image and then stepped back and let us choose how to act; with love or with selfishness, with gratefulness or with pride.

So if an all-powerful God doesn’t need servants, then why did He create the angels or man at all?  I think it’s about true love, and companionship.  A being without free-will, no matter how devoted or capable, really cannot be a companion, nor can you experience true love or be loved by such a being, as it’s only obeying you and serving you because it has no choice.  It’s just the sum of its parts. 

Alright, let’s look at what true love or true friendship is.  Love is a word that we throw around all the time these days and so it has many definitions.  Few people differentiate between love, likes, desires, and lust.  We “love” our favorite foods, we “love” our pets, we “love” our favorite ball team, our friends, our parents, our children and of course we “love” our spouse (sometimes <*L*).

What I’m talking about is true love (greek: agape).  True love is selfless.  True love gives without expecting anything in return.  True love is not something that you receive, instead you can only really experience it when you exercise love on someone who doesn’t deserve it.

It’s been said

“Give a man riches, power, houses, and land but not true love and he will never find contentment, but give a man true love and respect but nothing else, not even food and clothes and, he can live or even die with peace.”

There is no substitute for the value of finding true love; nothing that’s worth the cost.  How many men have looked back at the end of their lives of power and prosperity and wished they could trade it all for a relationship of true love?

God made us with the freedom to choose right or wrong, obedience or disobedience, relationship or separation.  For us to have free will, that means that God decided not to control how we choose to act.  Of course He can at any moment, just by speaking it, do anything He chooses, including make us not sin, but then we wouldn’t have the choice to love Him.  We would obey Him, but it wouldn’t be out of love.  It’s only companionship if we participate because we choose to.  He even made it extremely easy for Adam to choose right.  God created a life with no worries, no sickness, plenty of food, and blessing after blessing in the Garden of Eden.  He didn’t even have any rules to obey, or any concept of right and wrong except for one small thing he was told not to do, and that one thing was to eat fruit from the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil”.  Yet this was, of course, what he and Eve did (Gen 2:6-3:24).  Satan too was extremely blessed.  God made him the highest being in heaven, beautiful and powerful, second only to God.  He was given dominion over all the other angels, yet it wasn’t enough, and he was the very one who led the rebellion against God.

So here we might ask, “Wouldn’t a timeless and omniscient God know before He ever created us that we would all choose to disobey?”  Of course He knew what we would choose.  He would have liked for us to appreciate Him and all the beautiful Creation that He made for us and gave us dominion over.  But it seems that no one ever appreciates any thing they are given unless they know what it’s like to be without it.  And so, having given us free will, He knew we wouldn’t appreciate all He gave us.  He knew ahead of time that He would have to sacrifice of Himself; by giving His only begotten Son to be slain by our hatred in order to show us how much He really loves us.  But that was a sacrifice He was willing to make, even before he ever created us.  And the love that He exercised by sacrificing Jesus allows us and Him to experience a far greater love than we would have had otherwise!  It was a totally selfless, sacrificial, undeserved, true act of love.  “Greater love hath no man than this; that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) And it was totally selfless.  He had nothing to gain from it, because it still didn’t ensure Him a relationship with us.  Although it demonstrated His love for us, and it broke the separation caused by our sin that made us unable to enter into His presence, we still have the free will whether or not to accept His forgiveness and enter into a relationship with Him.

Do you see how the story of our existence is all about God’s desire to commune with us and love us?  Even if it costs Him having to die a humiliating excruciating death at the very hands of those He was dying to save, it was worth it to Him.  For in this act He was finally able to show His true-love, maybe for the first time ever.  It has been a long and painful process from the Garden of Eden until today for both Him and for mankind, but one day, Oh, one day this era will end, and after Armageddon and Judgment and whatever else He has planned, we’ll finally be able to have a society of peace, and righteousness, and fairness, and love, and fellowship with each other and God.  “…Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven!..”

Question 2:

Do you think that perhaps Satan and the angels who followed him rejected God intentionally because of something they saw in His character that they did not like?

 There is very little that is written about what happened between God and the Satan.   For the most part we have enough injustice and issues to be concerned about in our own lives and in this world around us to worry about the ancient spirit world’s drama.  But for the sake of argument, let’s consider this one passage in Isaiah (14:12-14 kjv)

How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer (Day Star), Son of the Morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!  For thou hast said in thine heart, “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God.  I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north.  I will ascend above the heights of the clouds.  I will be like the most High”

As I mentioned earlier God blessed Satan with beauty, power, and respect.  God made him the highest being in heaven, second only to God.  He was given dominion over all the other angels.  From all indications I believe he, like man, didn’t appreciate what he was given.  Instead he wanted to be “Like the most High”, like God.  And so he rallied together many of the other angels and attempted to overthrow God.  This of course wasn’t successful and he and the other angels that had left their places were cast down into the earth some time before the creation of man.

And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.  And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.  And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.  And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.  Therefore rejoice, [ye] heavens, and ye that dwell in them.  Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.  And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man [child]. (Rev 12:7-13)

There is certainly some truth to your statement that Satan did not like God.  He and his followers came to resent God.  Because of their selfishness and pride they didn’t appreciate what they were given. (Like most humans) they just wanted more.  But if what you are really inferring is that maybe God is the evil one and so Satan and his followers didn’t like Him.  I strongly disagree, and I’ll tell you why.  I think that Satan and his followers were just short-sited and selfish and didn’t appreciate God’s love, fellowship, and blessings.  Just consider that Satan thought he was powerful enough to overthrow God!  That seems absurd to us. God is way too powerful right?  But what it goes to show is that God must have acted humble and gentle in heaven, not bragging or displaying his power, or else Satan would have known he couldn’t win!  Satan was the one trying to be all powerful-and-mighty, ruler-of-all-the-universe!  Which one do you think is the good guy? *L* Enough said.

Question 3:

- Does God speak and grant us faith only through the Christian Bible?  What about other “sacred texts” or directly speaking to us through revelation, visions, or physical appearances?

On a personal note, God speaks to me not only through The Bible, but also through direct revelation on a regular basis, but I’ve had to learn to know His voice, and I still struggle sometimes to discern it from mine or others’.

Let me start by repeating two quotes that I have already written, the first was in reply to Kristine, the other to J.T.:

“Faith in God can be found outside The Bible.  Perhaps in the magnificence of this universe (which was made by His words), or perhaps by hearing the voice of God directly speaking to you (obviously still His words).  However, the Bible is the best collection we have of the words of God, which were written down by many different people.  And I think it’s definitely the best way for intelligent and educated people who don't want just simple faith to receive some insight into the greater reality of the workings of the spiritual world.”

“I positively believe that the Christian Bible is the divinely inspired collection of books which is collectively and conclusively God’s revelation to man.  I cannot honestly say, however, that the spiritual books of other religions are all false or are not divinely inspired.  They indeed may contain truth, in large or in part about some spiritual things, and I certainly don’t doubt that they lead you to spiritual awareness and even to some level of faith.  When I write, I sometimes feel divine inspiration, but I certainly don’t consider any of my writings to be of Biblical stature *L*.  And I don’t feel the need to judge other people or to insult their texts.”

Let me further clarify that when I talk of “The Word” I’m not exclusively referring to The Holy Bible.   When I say that faith comes through hearing the Word of God, I don’t mean just His words that are in the Bible.   That includes direct revelation, visions, or even supernatural appearances by angels or God himself.  The Bible is, as I said, the best collection we have of God’s speaking to man.  Also note that much of it is not directly through the face meaning of the texts, but through symbolism, and parity, and other ways that God’s Holy Spirit reveals as you read and seek for revelation.