He Is Not Silent

I want to use today to summarize the main thought of the past few weeks:   

Without the infinite-personal God, the God, who through His existence in the God-Trinity, Father/Son/Holy Spirit, the God of personal unity and diversity, there is no answer to the existence of what exists.  The infinite-personal God has spoken, He is there, and He is not silent.  There would be no use to having a silent God.  We would not know anything about Him.  He has spoken and told us what He is and that He existed before all else, and so we have the answer to the existence of what is.   

In the Bible, God has revealed to us the truth of existence and meaning to life.  He has spoken to us through the creation and existence of the universe and by creating us with unique awareness of the fact that we are created in His image…we are ‘aware’ of these realities.   

He is not silent.  The reason we have the answer is because the infinite-personal God, has not been silent.  He has told us who He is.  He is not silent.  That is the reason we know.  It is because He has spoken.  What has He told us?  Has He told us only about other things?  No, He has told us truth about Himself – and because He has told us truth about Himself – that He is the infinite-personal God – we have the answer to existence.   

Man, beginning with himself, can define the philosophical problem of existence, but he cannot generate from himself the answers to the questions.  The answer to the question of existence is that the infinite-personal God is there, and that the infinite-personal God is not silent.   

We, you and me, are made in His image ‘so that’ we can know Him at a personal level.  He has provided a way for us to come to Him and ‘know’ Him and ‘know’ the truth, purpose, and meaning of existence.  That ‘way’ is in and through the person of God-the-Son, Jesus Christ.  Jesus is the ‘way’ to know God.  😊 

Thoughts developed and/or taken from the works of Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer, Trilogy – He Is There and He Is Not Silent 

God is Love Does Not Mean ‘Love is God’

Yesterday we talked about God is love. He is love, at its fundamental essence. As we grow in knowing the God of the Bible, we grow in knowing love. He is the very definition of love. 

From the definition and understanding of ‘love’ as presented in the Bible, ‘God is love’ means that God is love personified. It means that we cannot properly understand love, or possess it, or love God and others, unless we understand it in terms of God – who He is, and what He has done. God’s love is manifested supremely in the giving of Christ as a sacrifice for sinners.  All true love will be consistent, in some way, with the love of God in Christ. It will be sacrificial, it will hurt, it will forgive sins, it will desire the best for the beloved, and it will care about the standard of holiness – God’s Law. But if we elevate love itself to the position of God, we have not only misunderstood love – we have misunderstood God as well.  

Now, on the other hand, a person who reads “God is love,” but inaccurately interprets it as “Love is god” is in a very different position. This person holds their personal definition of love above the God of the Bible. Their definition of love is treated as the concrete thing. God becomes fluid. 

I think this is how most people operate. They get their definition of love from the world: from friends, movies, music, books, and personal experience. Then they open the Bible and read it through that lens. Their idea of love is held with an iron grip. God is held loosely. 

If a particular passage of Scripture describes God in a way that fits their definition of love, they accept it. If, instead, it describes God in a way that seems unloving (to them) they ask, “How could a loving God say or do this?” Of course, when they say “loving God,” they mean a God who loves according to their definition of it. 

God is on the hot seat. Their definition of love is the judge. 

From this perspective, it becomes clear that a person who functionally believes that Love is god is operating in arrogance. The hidden assumption is that their definition of love is complete. God is expected to fit their bill – to conform to their limited understanding of what love is. 

In recent years, there has been an increasing emphasis on the importance of asking questions within Christianity. I think this is mostly good. This has primarily been encouraged by younger Christians who feel there is not a welcoming enough presence in the faith. They are not all wrong. 

Asking questions to better understand God so we may submit to Him is a wonderful thing. But I’m not so sure this is what most of them mean. I think they mean something quite different. I hear this from them: ‘What we’ve found in the Bible doesn’t sit well with us.’ So they essentially ask, “Can’t we make it mean something else?” 

Their own understanding of love, or freedom, or happiness is what drives them. That is their North Star. They have no interest in conforming themselves to the God of Scripture; they are far more interested in making adjustments to Him. 

God is love. He is the concrete reality from which love flows. He defines it. He is it. God is the sentient being; love is one of His qualities. To know love, we must know the God of the Bible. And if He seems to contradict our definition of love, we must revise our definition – not Him. 

Otherwise, let us be honest and just say, “Love, as I define it, is my god.” And, of course, worshiping something we can define is just another clever way of adoring the sovereign self. 

Thoughts developed or taken from an article written by Ryan McCoskey, Pastor, Wichita, KS 

God ‘is’ Love

The answer to the metaphysical question of existence is that the infinite-personal God is there; and the answer to the origin and source and existence of ‘personality’ (personal) is that God, presents Himself as a God of unity and diversity in the form of the God-Trinity…God the Father – God the Son – and God the Holy Spirit who dwell in harmony, and love, and communication which each other.  The God Trinity relationship exists in love.  In the Apostle John’s written record of his witness of the life of Jesus, John wrote that Jesus was praying to His Father God and He/Jesus said “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.  O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me.  I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” (John 17:24-26 ESV)    

God loves because that is what He is…God is love.  It is not that love is simply one of His attributes.  No.  God ‘is’ love.  God and love are one.  John wrote this to present it as an equivalent..God is love.  Thus He is the source of love.  Love is a manifestation of ‘personal’.  Love is demonstration of personality.  Man was created in the image of God and is thus personal and has personality and can know love and know the source of love…God.   

The Apostle John also wrote “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.  Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”  (John 4:7-9 ESV) 

The truth of God as presented in the Bible, is that it is true to what exists, to what is truly there.  You can go to the end of the world and you never need be afraid, like the ancients, that you will fall off the end and the dragons will eat you up.  You can carry out your intellectual discussion to the ends of the discussion because Christianity is not only true to the dogmas, it is not only true to what God has said in the bible, but it is also true to what is there, and you will never fall of the end of the world!  And when you ‘catch’ this truth…it will rock your world and you will have a real and solid answer to the truth of ‘why’ you are here.  We were made to know the love of God…and this revelation…this truth…this experience… comes to us through believing in the one and only God-the-Son, Jesus Christ.   

Thoughts developed and/or taken from the works of Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer, Trilogy – He Is There and He Is Not Silent 

Infinite, But Personal

Let us return again to the ‘personal-infinite.’  On the side of God’s infinity, there is a complete chasm between God on one side and man, the animal, the flower, and the machine on the other.  On the side of God’s infinity, He stands alone.  He is the other.  He is, in His infinity, contrary to all else.  He is differentiated from all else because only He is infinite.  He is the Creator; all else was created.  He is infinite; all else is finite.  All else is brought forth by creation; so all else is dependent and only He is independent.  This is absolute on the side of His infinity.  Therefore, concerning God’s infinity, man is as separated from God as is the atom or any other machine-portion of the universe.   

But on the side of God being personal, the chasm is between man and the animal, the plant, and the machine.  Why?  Because man was made in the image of God.  This is not just ‘doctrine.’ It is not dogma that needs just to be repeated as a proper doctrinal statement.  This is really down in the base and core of the whole problem.  Man is made in the image of God; therefore, on the side of the fact that God is a personal God the chasm stands not between God and man, but between man and all else.  But on the side of God’s infinity, man is as separated from God as the atom or any other finite of the universe.  So we have the answer to man’s being finite and yet personal.   

It is not that this is the best answer to existence; it is the only answer.  That is why we may hold our ‘faith in God’ with intellectual integrity. The only answer for what exists is that He, the infinite -personal God, really is there.   

Thoughts developed and/or taken from the works of Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer, Trilogy – He Is There and He Is Not Silent 

It’s Awesome

Let’s take a minute this morning and make notice of the word god.  There is no word as meaningless as is the word god, without providing it with content and definition.  Of itself it means nothing.  Like any other word, it is only a linguistic symbol –g—o—d—until content is put into it.  This is especially so for the word god, because no other word has been used to convey such absolutely opposite meanings.  The mere use of the word god proves nothing.  You must put content into it.  The word god as such is no answer to the philosophic problem of existence, but the Judeo-Christian content to the word God as given in the Old and New Testaments does meet the need of what exists – the existence of the universe in its complexity and of man as man.  And what is that content?  It relates to an infinite-personal God who is author and creator of all life and existence, of all things that are.  He is there and He is personal and ‘we’ are created to know Him and have a relationship with Him.  And ‘that’ is awesome.   

Thoughts developed and/or taken from the works of Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer, Trilogy – He Is There and He Is Not Silent 

Truth That Makes Me Smile

This week we have talked a bit about the philosophic questions and answers in the area of Being and existence, of the fact that God is there.  That is what it is all about:  He is there.  The personal, infinite God of creation is there.

There just is no other sufficient philosophical answer than the one we outlined.  You can search through university philosophy, social-media philosophy, coffee-shop philosophy – it does not matter – there is no other sufficient philosophical answer to existence, to Being, than the one we have outlined.  There is only one philosophy, one religion, that fills this need in all the world’s thought, whether the East, the West, the ancient, the modern, the new, the old.  Only one fills the philosophical need of existence, of Being, and it is the Judeo-Christian God – not just an abstract concept, but rather that this God is really there.  He exists.  There is no other answer, and orthodox Christians need not be ashamed or afraid to present the good news of His existence.  It is the answer, source, meaning, purpose of life…to know this God who is there.  To be in a relationship with Him that lasts for eternity.    

Too often I see Christians only share what they believe from a ‘defensive’ position.  I encourage such dear ones to shift their mindset…reposition their view.   Put a big smile on your face and boldly, yet lovingly, proactively, share the best news that the people on planet earth have ever heard…that God has sent Jesus Christ to draw them into a relationship with Him ‘so that’ they can enjoy Him now and for eternity.  (The truth of that just makes me have a deep smile.)    

Thoughts developed and/or taken from the works of Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer, Trilogy – He Is There and He Is Not Silent 

It’s Personal

This week we are considering the primary philosophic questions and answers related to ‘existence’ …of being.

The third possible answer is to begin with a personal beginning.  This is the very opposite of beginning with the impersonal. And this is our answer, that which is personal began everything else.  In this case man, being personal, does have meaning.   

The dilemma of modern man is simple:  he does not know why man has meaning.  He is lost and searching for meaning and identity.  Not understanding the origin and source of existence means that you cannot accurately come to the true revelation of man’s purpose and intention for meaningful being.  And ‘this’ is the heart of modern man’s problem.  But if we begin with a personal and this is the origin of all else, then the personal does have meaning, and man and his aspirations are not meaningless.  Man’s aspirations to the reality of personality are in line with what was originally there and what has always intrinsically been.   

Personality does have meaning because it is not alienated from what has always been, and what is, and what always will be.  The story in the Bible of a personal God creating man in his image, infusing man with personality, uniqueness, is the most realistic and logical answer to existence.  The answers to existence as stated in the Bible provide not only the answers to existence of bare being and its complexity – but also for man’s being different, with a personality which distinguishes him from non-man.   Purpose, significance, and meaning are only found through being connected to the God who is truly there.  He is the personal God who is love and loves.  He describes His love for us in this way… ‘I love you so much that I have created a way for you to know me and be with me for eternity.  The ‘way’ is through the finished work of my son Jesus Christ .  We keep the light on and the door open 24 hours a day 365 days a year…come home to truth and light and love.’  (My interpretation of John 3:16-21 😊)

Thoughts developed and/or taken from the works of Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer, Trilogy – He Is There and He Is Not Silent

You Are Not Impersonal

This week we are considering the primary philosophic questions and answers related to ‘existence’ …of being.

A second possible answer in the area of ‘existence’ is that all that now is had an impersonal beginning.  This impersonality may be mass, energy, or motion, but they are all impersonal, and all equally impersonal.  Many modern men have implied that because they are beginning with energy particles rather than old-fashioned mass, they have a better answer.  Salvador Dali did this as he moved from his surrealistic period into his new mysticism.  But such men do not have a better answer.  It is still impersonal. Energy is just as impersonal as mass or motion.  As soon as you accept the impersonal beginning of all things, you are faced with some form of reductionism.  (Reductionism argues that everything which exists, from the stars to man himself, is finally to be understood by reducing it to the original, impersonal factor or factors).   

The great problem with beginning with the impersonal is to find any meaning for the particulars.  A particular is any individual factor, any individual thing – the separate parts of the whole.  A drop of water is particular, and so is a man.  If we begin with the impersonal, then how do any of the particulars that now exist – including man – have any meaning, any significance?  Nobody has given us an answer to that.  In all the history of philosophical thought, whether from the East or the West, no one has given us an adequate answer. 

Beginning with the impersonal, everything, including man, must be explained in terms of the impersonal plus time plus chance.  Do not let anyone divert your mind at this point.  There are no other factors in the formula, because there are no other factors that exist.  No one has ever demonstrated how time plus chance, beginning with an impersonal, can produce the needed complexity of the universe, let alone the personality of man.  No one has given us a clue to this…except for… the Bible…the story of a personal God and His creation and man being created in His image.  

Thoughts developed and/or taken from the works of Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer, Trilogy – He Is There and He Is Not Silent 

Something and Nothing

Let’s consider the primary philosophic questions and answers related to ‘existence’ …of being.   There are actually few questions related to this area.  The primary question is…’that something is there rather than nothing being there’.  The first basic answer is that everything that exists has come out of absolutely nothing.  In other words, you begin with nothing.  Now, to hold this view, it must be absolutely nothing.  It must be what I call nothing nothing.  It cannot be nothing something or something nothing.  If one is to accept this answer, it must be nothing nothing, which means there must be no energy, no mass, no motion, and no personality.  

A description of nothing nothing runs like this.  Suppose we had a very black blackboard which had never been used.  On this blackboard we drew a circle, and inside that circle there was everything that was – and there was nothing within the circle.  Then we erase the circle.  This is nothing nothing.  It is not really an answer to give an answer beginning with nothing and then really begin with something: energy, mass, motion, or personality.  That would be something, and something is not nothing.   

Following a basic process of logical thinking…it is unthinkable that all that now ‘is’ has come out of utter nothing.   

The God of creation is ‘there’ and He is not silent.  He is not a ‘far-off’ God.  He has manifest himself to us in our awareness of things that exist around us in the natural order and in our awareness of ‘self’.  And He has manifest Himself to us in the person of His God son…Jesus Christ.  We were created ‘in His image’ so that we can know the God who is there. 

Thoughts developed and/or taken from the works of Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer, Trilogy – He Is There and He Is Not Silent 

Source and Truth

The Bible teaches that though man is hopelessly lost, he is not nothing.  Man is lost because he is separated from God, his true reference point, by true moral guilt.  But he will never be nothing.  Therein lies the tragedy of his lostness.   For man to be lost, in all his uniqueness and wonder, is truly tragic. 

We must not belittle man’s achievements.  In science for instance, man’s achievements demonstrate that he is not junk, though the ends to which he often puts them show how lost he is.  Man is special and significant.  Man can influence history, including his own eternity and that of others.  The Christian view sees man, as man, as something wonderful.   

In contrast to this there is the rationalist who has determinedly put himself at the center of the universe and insists on beginning autonomously with only the knowledge he can gather, and has ended up finding himself quite meaningless.  It comes to the same thing as Zen-Buddhism, which expresses so accurately the view of modern man:  “Man enters the water and causes no ripple.”  The Bible says he causes ripples that never end.  As a sinner, man cannot be selective in his significance, so he leaves behind bad as well as good marks in history; but he certainly is not zero.   

Christianity is a system which is composed of a set of ideas which can be discussed.  By system we do not mean a scholastic abstraction.  We mean a total, from beginning to end, system with cause and effect and answers and solutions.  The Bible does not set out unrelated thoughts.  The system it sets forth has a beginning and moves from that beginning in a noncontradictory way.  The beginning is the existence of the infinite-personal God as Creator of all else.  Christianity is not just a vague set of incommunicable experiences, based on a totally unverifiable ‘leap in the dark.’  Neither conversion (the beginning of the Chrisitan life), nor spirituality (the growth) should be such a leap.  Both are firmly related to the God who is there and the knowledge He has given us – and both involve the whole man.   

Thoughts developed and/or taken from the works of Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer, Trilogy – Escape From Reason