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>God ordained cultural structures

2008 October 28 Leave a comment

>I currently don’t mind democracy, though I am not adverse to monarchy and possibly other governmental structures. Christians are called into a different kingdom and can live under any political or economic structure, although some are more pleasant than others. Nevertheless, it is good to understand the proper role of the state; and if one finds himself in a democracy then it is good to vote well (if one thinks he should vote).

How should we frame our ideas about the state? The state is a social structure where leaders oversee community. There are, however, several God ordained social structures in this world and we need to start with the central ones.

Prior to the Fall we have Adam relating to God which is the first and highest order relationship. I think that the individual relationship and the group relationship with God—Adam and Eve pre-Fall; God-worshippers, faithful Israel, righteous Gentiles, and the church post-Fall—are all part of what will become the Bride of Christ. This is the pre-eminent social/ spiritual relationship in the universe. All of this world is building toward that relationship.

Prior to the Fall we also have marriage and family:

So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man….

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2)

I have included family, however children, while very important and a blessing, are not as fundamental as marriage. They are temporary; given to us to train them to love God so they can depart to form a new unit—the son leaves his parents and joins with his wife.

These 2 relationships: God and man, and man and wife, are central to social order. Note that they both pre-date the Fall. Note also that the latter is a copy of the former:

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5)

And that marriage is temporary:

For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. (Matthew 22)

The other social structures are the community and the state, the state being the power that oversees the community as mentioned above. We are first introduced to the embryo of the state some 1600 years after creation. Earlier judgments are made directly by God; note the examples of Cain and the Deluge. Men take things into their own hands such as Lamech and the mighty men of old, but there is no evidence this is sanctioned by God. I am not certain if we can infer anything from the existence of antediluvian cities. After the Flood God gives specific commands to Noah and his sons:

But you* shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. And for your* lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man.

“Whoever sheds the blood of man,/
by man shall his blood be shed,

for God made man in his own image….” (Genesis 9)

God is the giver and owner of life, we are made in his image. Thus God gives commands concerning life: Men are to refrain from eating blood because of the life symbolism; and men are not to kill men.

The context suggests that it is murder that is forbidden here, as the murderer is to be subsequently put to death for his actions, capital punishment being commanded not condemned even though it removes life. These commands of God establish legality. Even if full government is not required, there needs be some community structure to deal with murderers; be that egalitarian, or community elders, or kingship, or some other structure.

So the state is enacted by God some centuries after the Fall and it is necessary because we are fallen creatures. If marriage is a temporary institution, how much more so then is the state! There is much the Bible teaches us about ideal government, what God intends leaders to do, what they should concern themselves with, how they should rule; but this is on the background of the above concepts. Our ideas about temporal government need to be tempered by thoughts on eternal relationship and our current fallen nature.

>Did God give us a false understanding of ourselves?

2007 December 31 2 comments

>A further argument for freewill is that men think that it exists. Within my mind I am certain that I have freedom of my own choices. I think it likely that others think the same way. Granted some cultures have a more fatalistic view of life, but even if their outlook is, “If God wills it,” they still think that they are making some decisions.

That I think I have freedom to make choices comes from God. If in reality I do not have that freedom, that is all my thoughts and actions are essentially God’s thru me, then I think this implies that God is deceitful. Of course God can do as he wills, but deceiving all men totally (thru general revelation) about an aspect of reality does not seem to be in God’s nature.

One may argue that my fallen nature prevents me fully understanding myself, let alone God. The problem with this argument is that it is not claiming that I do not fully understand my freewill, rather it is claiming that my belief I have freewill is completely incorrect. There are many attributes that we have because of God’s image, and these are broken because we are fallen; The more we take on the mind of Christ the more we can rightly understand these attributes; but I can think of none that are so broken that our view is completely the opposite of reality.

Take justice. Even though this can be very distorted such that gross injustices are done, the concept that there is an ought remains. And those doing injustice frequently do so claiming they are doing true justice, the appeal to justice (albeit false) is still there.

Take design. Even an extreme Darwinian, while accepting a false path to the complexity of life, acknowledges that proteins, structures, cells and organisms work. So they would deny design but can still see function.

Take truth. Even liars are usually aware that they speaking unreality. It takes a long legacy of deceit to no longer be able to tell the difference between truth and untruth in one’s own life, and even then there is an awareness of some aspects of reality.

The claim that freewill does not even exist but is only a false belief of our mind is not consistent with the other attributes. It is the odd one out. The claim is not that part of the image of God is broken, it is a claim that we think this way despite being completely incorrect. And even worse, freewill is an attribute that God does have, and we falsely think he has given it to us.

And those who are redeemed still have this sense of freedom within them. Even those who subscribe to no-freewill theology still feel they have some freedom of their decisions.

So we have a claim that humans think they have an attribute that God really has, yet they are incorrect in their thoughts (not just broken reasoning), and even redemption is not enough to alter these intrinsic thoughts.

Categories: depravity, freewill

>Babies lie

2007 August 11 3 comments

>Recent research shows that babies lie from as young as 6 months.

Until now, psychologists had thought the developing brains were not capable of the difficult art of lying until four years old.

Well obviously they did not know of or have any children under 4 years old.

Dr Vasudevi Reddy, of the University of Portsmouth’s psychology department, says she has identified seven categories of deception used between six months and three-years-old.

Infants quickly learnt that using tactics such as fake crying and pretend laughing could win them attention. By eight months, more difficult deceptions became apparent, such as concealing forbidden activities or trying to distract parents’ attention.

By the age of two, toddlers could use far more devious techniques, such as bluffing when threatened with a punishment.

Dr Reddy said: “Fake crying is one of the earliest forms of deception to emerge, and infants use it to get attention even though nothing is wrong. You can tell, as they will then pause while they wait to hear if their mother is responding, before crying again.

This is what we do know from this investigation but this does not preclude deception from a younger age that we have yet to identify.

Kind of gives more credence to those who think Adam’s sin had consequences.

Christianity: All men are intrinsically bad but treat them well anyway.

Both the axioms of Christian belief and the behaviour demanded of its adherents excel the secular humanists.

Categories: children, depravity