“The Instability of the Pagan Society’s Foundation on Sand”
Why Would the Church Seek to Follow This Model?
“…God’s household, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.” –Paul (1 Timothy 3:15), 67 AD
“Go and tell this people: ‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’ Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes.” –Isaiah (Isaiah 6:9-10), 740 BC
“ ‘Look! I am preparing a disaster for you and devising a plan against you. So turn from your evil ways, each one of you, and reform your ways and your actions.’ But they will reply, ‘It’s no use. We will continue with our own plans; each of us will follow the stubbornness of his evil heart.’ ” –Jeremiah (Jeremiah 18:11-12), 603 BC
“Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man.” (Acts 27:29)
“The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 27:30-31)
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. (Colossians 2:6-10)
"Fullness of Christ" is the true philosophy.
Earlier in Colossians Paul had described Jesus Christ as “the image of the invisible God”. This description agrees with the rest of Scripture and gives a correct understanding of the Triune God. Jesus is the second member of the Trinity and is eternal God.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. (Colossians 1:15)
All of creation will come from and through Christ.
It was Christ, the eternal Son of God, who was the author of creation. Created reality came into existence from Christ’s “fullness of Deity”.
Creation came from Christ and demonstrates the glory of Christ, but creation cannot contain Christ.
All that Christ is cannot be adequately expressed by creation.
All of creation is in Christ. Jesus Christ is the fullness of Deity.
Notice that God, Christ and the “fullness of Christ” are outside of the box of creation. Creation reflects the Creator, but does not contain the fullness of the Creator. Creation cannot encompass the fullness of Christ who is himself the fullness of Deity. Creation clearly reveals the invisible qualities and the divine characteristics of God, but creation itself does not fully possess, communicate or understand the surpassing eternal nature of God or the “fullness of Christ.” This means that creation can reveal certain aspects of God, but the creation cannot reveal all that is God. Christ can contain all of creation, but creation cannot contain all of Christ.
Creation can exist and find the fullness of its being in God, but God cannot exist in his fullness in creation.
The heavens declare God’s glory and reveal God’s knowledge:
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world. (Psalm 19:1-4)
But, creation cannot contain God:
But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built! (1 Kings 8:27)
The heavens, even the highest heavens, cannot contain him.
(2 Chronicles 2:6 and 6:18)
God cannot be reduced to a temple built by human hands and cannot be limited by a human ideology. We, as creatures made by God, live our full lives in God. We cannot move anywhere in time or space that will be outside of God. Our entire being (spirit, soul and body) is always in God. This is the “fullness of Christ” in which we exist. This same “fullness of Christ”, though, cannot be confined or reduced to a place, a portion, or a time in creation:
The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands… ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ (Acts 17:24-28)
As a side note, this “fullness of Christ” or the “fullness of deity” did exist bodily in the man Jesus Christ according to:
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created; things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:15-16)
What can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. (Romans 1:19-32)
What can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (Romans 1:19-20)
A common thread to those cognitions is that they lead us to see the world as a place with an intentional design, created by someone or something. Young children, for example, tend to believe that even trivial aspects of the natural world were created with purpose, according to a series of studies by Boston University psychologist Deborah Keleman, PhD. If you ask children why a group of rocks are pointy, for example, they say something like, “It’s so that animals won’t sit on them and break them.” If you ask them why rivers exist, they say it’s so we can go fishing. Adults also tend to search for meaning, particularly during times of uncertainty, research suggests. A 2008 study in Science (Vol. 322, No. 5898) by Jennifer Whitson, PhD, and Adam Galinsky, PhD, found that people were more likely to see patterns in a random display of dots if the researchers first primed them to feel that the participants had no control. This finding suggests that people are primed to see signs and patterns in the world around them, the researchers conclude. People also have a bias for believing in the supernatural, says Barrett. In his work, he finds that children as young as age 3 naturally attribute supernatural abilities and immortality to “God,” even if they’ve never been taught about God…“What we’re showing is that our basic cognitive equipment biases us toward certain kinds of thinking and leads to thinking about a pre-life, an afterlife, gods, invisible beings that are doing things — themes common to most of the world’s religions,” says Barrett…this tendency also set us up to believe in an omnipresent God-like concept. Taken together, it’s easy to see how these cognitive tendencies could allow our minds to create religions built on the idea of supernatural beings that watch over our lives, says Atran, director of research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris. Such research also supports the notion that religious thought is in many ways an unavoidable byproduct of the way our minds work. …“We’ve had this long history of believing that the things of the spirit are in one camp and that science and technology are in another camp,” says Plante, professor and director of the Spirituality and Health Institute at Santa Clara University and president of APA’s Div. 36 (Psychology of Religion). “If anything, this work reiterates that we are whole people; the biological, psychological, social, cultural and spiritual are all connected.
Children are ‘born believers’ in God and do not simply acquire religious beliefs through indoctrination, according to an academic. Dr. Justin Barrett, a senior researcher at the University of Oxford's Centre for Anthropology and Mind, claims that young people have a predisposition to believe in a supreme being because they assume that everything in the world was created with a purpose. He says that young children have faith even when they have not been taught about it by family or at school, and argues that even those raised alone on a desert island would come to believe in God. ‘The preponderance of scientific evidence for the past 10 years or so has shown that a lot more seems to be built into the natural development of children's minds than we once thought, including a predisposition to see the natural world as designed and purposeful and that some kind of intelligent being is behind that purpose,’ he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. ‘If we threw a handful on an island and they raised themselves I think they would believe in God.’ … Dr. Barrett will cite psychological experiments carried out on children that he says show they instinctively believe that almost everything has been designed with a specific purpose. In one study, six and seven-year-olds who were asked why the first bird existed replied ‘to make nice music’ and ‘because it makes the world look nice’. Another experiment on 12-month-old babies suggested that they were surprised by a film in which a rolling ball apparently created a neat stack of blocks from a disordered heap. Dr. Barrett said there is evidence that even by the age of four, children understand that although some objects are made by humans, the natural world is different. He added that this means children are more likely to believe in creationism rather than evolution, despite what they may be told by parents or teachers. Dr. Barrett claimed anthropologists have found that in some cultures children believe in God even when religious teachings are withheld from them. ‘Children's normally and naturally developing minds make them prone to believe in divine creation and intelligent design. In contrast, evolution is unnatural for human minds; relatively difficult to believe.’ ” (underlining and bold type are mine)
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. (Romans 1:21-23)
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness… (Romans 1:24-29)
Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them, but give approval to those who practice them. (Romans 1:32)
If, on the other hand, I swallow the scientific cosmology as a whole, then not only can I not fit in Christianity, but I cannot even fit in science. If minds are wholly dependent on brains and brains on biochemistry, and biochemistry (in the long run) on the meaningless flux of the atoms, I cannot understand how the thought of those minds should have any more significance than the sound of the wind in the trees. “The Weight of Glory”, page 139; source
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves. (John 14:10-11)
Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins—he said to the paralytic— ‘I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.’ And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, ‘We never saw anything like this!’ (Mark 2:9-12)
For it is written: ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.’ Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. (1 Corinthians 1:19-21)
It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God — that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”
In his first letter to the Corinthians (1:25) he writes, ‘The wisdom of the world is foolishness to God.’ There is something of the mystic in Paul’s disregard of logic (and a paradox in the way he uses his considerable rhetorical skills to attack the very intellectual tradition of which rhetoric was part). This disregard had unfortunate consequences. As Paul’s writings came to be seen as authoritative, it became a mark of committed Christian to be able to reject rational thought, and even the evidence of empirical experience. Christians would often pride themselves on their lack of education, associating independent philosophical thinking with the sin of pride…By proposing that Christian faith (which exists in the world of muthos) might contain ‘truths’ superior to those achieved by rational argument (logoi) it was Paul, perhaps unwittingly in that he appears to have known virtually nothing of the Greek philosophical tradition he condemned, who declared the war and prepared the battle field. (Freeman, Charles, “The Closing of the Western Mind: The Rise of Faith and the Fall of Reason”; First Vintage Books Edition, February 2005, page 120)
What may be known about God is plain . . . . for since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made. . . .
All sorts of people are fond of repeating the Christian statement that ‘God is love,’ but they seem not to notice that the words ‘God is love’ have no real meaning unless God contains at least two persons. Love is something that one person has for another person. If God was a single person, then before the world was made, He was not love.
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17-19)
[2:136] Say (O Muslims): We believe in Allah and that which is revealed to us and that which was revealed to Abraham, and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the tribes, and that which Moses and Jesus received, and that which the prophets received from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and to Him we have surrendered. [Arabic "Muslimoon"]
Romans 1:24, 26, 28 “God gave them up” is repeated three time in these verses.
Psalm 44:11“You gave us up to be devoured like sheep and have scattered us among the nations.”
Deuteronomy 32:20 “I will hide my face from them," he said, "and see what their end will be; for they are a perverse generation, children who are unfaithful.”
Amos 8:11"The days are coming," declares the Sovereign LORD, "when I will send a famine through the land— not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD.”
John 9:4“As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.”
Psalm 115:4 and 8 “But their idols are silver and gold, made by human hands… Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.”
Psalm 135:15 “The idols of the nations are silver and gold, made by human hands.”
Ephesians 4:14“Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”
Colossians 2:8“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.”
Proverbs 1:24-32“Since you rejected me when I called and no one gave heed when I stretched out my hand, since you ignored all my advice and would not accept my rebuke, I in turn will laugh at your disaster; I will mock when calamity overtakes you -- when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you. Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me. Since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the LORD, since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes. For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them.”