Thursday, February 6, 2014

Quantum Physics - Explains or Vexes?

I am not very knowledgeable in quantum studies, but for those interested like me, here is a fantastic documentary on quantum physics/mechanics and its peculiarities. It leads to lots of questions to chew over.
Such as:
Are there parallel universes?
Do things at a quantum level really have random qualities?
How does God fit in with these discoveries?
Does He or can He use a form of "randomness" in the workings of His creation?
If He doesn't use randomness, then what are the alternatives?

Personally, I am with Einstein :) ... everything has an explanation, random probably does not exist. I cannot venture very far in my mind to even conceive the possibility of randomness, and it would be incredibly vexing to comprehend how or why God would use methods that are out of His control in order to run nature. But I might be wrong.
BTW when I talk about "random" I mean "absolutely" random, not incalculable complexity.

All thoughts welcome, except for those comments that are too far above our human intellects for us to even begin to cognize :)


  1. Great post Daniel. To me it is a helpful analogy for a possible way to look at determinism vs freewill. At a individual particle level there is no way to predict behaviour, but overall there is a totally predictable pattern (as in the casino segment). I see the same thing in macro and micro-economics. In other words God is totally in control, yet he allows us to exercise complete freewill.
    The other comment I would make is that this way of looking at reality leaves a lot of space for miracles without crossing the "laws" of physics. Also the dimensionality of what we would call the "spiritual" or "heavenly" realms would seem to fit within this kind of thinking easily - that something that happens "there" directly and instantly affects "here" and vice versa (whatever you bind on earth is bound in heaven).
    Lots of parallels between quantum theory and post-modern philosophy also - not sure which came first, maybe they are entangled :)

  2. The quantum leap section in the first part of this video reminded me of my experience related in your previous post which reminded you, me also, of Philip's experience.
    Another experience which came to mind as I watched this video was a 'near death' experience that I had when I was 28 during which I was taken to a beautiful place with people I knew I had known before I was born. It was a garden with colours out of this world, and deer were around us and not afraid of us. My knowledge was increased and I knew all the answers to all the questions I has ever asked about life. It was as if my twenty eight years was a dream and this place was reality.
    Seven years after this experience I became born again in Christ, and soon after I read two things in the Bible which comforted me regarding my 'death experience', for I had grieved when I was told that I had to come back because it was not time yet. The increased knowledge had been taken away from me and for a whole week after my husband said that I was talking in a foreign language in my sleep each night..

    One of the things I read was in Jeremiah ch. 1 v. 5 'Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee;.....' and the other was in 2 Corinthians ch. 12 vs. 2-4 'I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knows;) such a one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knows;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
    I felt comforted then because I felt that God was telling me that He knew me before I had been formed in my mother's womb and I felt that I'd had the same experience as the person spoken of in Corinthians who had been carried away to the third heaven, Paradise (which means 'garden')

  3. Hey Clive, I can kind of see what you are getting at in using quantum physics to help distinguish between freewill and determinism. However, I am still not sure I see how it works together. I don't see how apparent uncertainty at a small scale constitutes "freewill". I agree in the large scale idea of God controlling outcomes, but how does the current uncertainty of quantum patterns challenge the idea that God determines even the causes and events of the movements of electrons? Let alone claiming that their uncertainty constitutes our "freewill"?
    To me, if our freewill consisted of the apparent uncertainty of small scale happenings, then we would more likely be free-agents of uncertainty.

    Yeah, excellent point about quantum physics opening up doors to other realms! It really is exciting where science leads to. We can learn more about this awesome universe that is so intricately connected to itself and its Designer.

    Wow Brenda, some amazing experiences you have had. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I just noticed you were using quantum physics as an "analogy" not an argument necessarily for freewill lol. But I hope you can see my point earlier. Just to add to it, freeWILL implies a freedom to act out a WILL. To me a will implies that it is not uncertain or random like a loose cannon, it has its consistencies following a particular character...

    What do you think of Open Theism, could quantum physics be an example of it?

  5. Hi Daniel,

    Yes I was using as an analogy - a way of gaining understanding of freewill vs determinism. Ever since I studied economics at University I have used the analogy of macro and micro-economics. At a micro-level people behave in seemingly random (not for them but from the observers perspective) ways. But at the macro level behaviour is entirely predictable - the larger the sample the more consistently predictable. Like the guy in the video spoke about the casino example. So each electron fired through the slots say seems random, but the outcome is a predicable pattern. I guess this is similar to an open theism model in that it is trying to describe how God can be flexible and allow us to have out own "not-God space" (Hebrew mystical concept of Tzimtzum) while at the same time remain truly sovereign.

    As I've mentioned in a previous post Cornelius Plantinga Jr (‘Engaging God’s World – A Christian Vision of Faith, Learning and Living’) uses our image-bearing to describe this. A significant part of what it means to be image-bearers is that we have authority and a degree of autonomy to also rule. He says “…to some extent we are all rulers just because God has created us in his own image to have “responsible dominion”. What follows is that we all have a little kingdom.” This authority was given so we would be God’s representatives or “sovereign emblem.” We are accountable for the creation’s good as commissioned. This authority is an essential part of our humanness and remains with us to be used for good if under God’s dominion or for potential great harm if exercised apart from the relationship we were created for. It seems that God was well aware of the potential for humankind to abuse their power. He made provision through his the sacrifice of his Jesus who is later called: “...the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.” (Revelation 13:8). His work on the cross is pictured even in the Garden as the ‘tree of life’.

    I think what quantum mechanics encourages me in is that even materialist scientists are admitting to the existence of mystery and apparent contradiction, humbling us into a state of awe and wonder and opening up the apparently finite universe into a place where there is rational space for faith again.

    Have you talked to Nathan about his theory of how fractals can be used to describe truth/reality/understanding? Briefly (and probably inaccurately): as we understand at one level an infinite array of new questions open before us - as predicted by the mathematics of fractals. All our cleverest deepest understanding are just a drop in the ocean of God's purposes.

    It makes me think of Psalm 131:
    O Lord, my heart is not lifted up, my eyes are not raised too high;
    I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.
    But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; my soul is like the weaned child that is with me.

  6. This freewill concept is a massive topic ay!

    No, I don't think I have heard Nathan talk specifically about "fractals" relating to truth. I have heard him describe how truth is out there, but we merely (as you said) see a part of it... put simply :)

    I am familiar with the concepts of God creating us with our own sphere of authority which gave us our "freewill", in fact I once believed it to be so in an Arminian way. But for me this example of "freewill" doesn't answer who we actually are and how we actually are. It is incomplete.
    What is described by our own authority spheres describes for me "free agency" not free-will. Yes I can see how we "choose" our own courses from within our own authoritative nature, but our choosing has to be based on something, some nature that we got ultimately from the first cause... God. Or else, if our choosing is not based on a particular nature then what is it based on? randomness?

    We have actually covered this in a previous post before... maybe I will try to do a proper post on it sometime.

    So from the sounds of it, you are quite soft towards the open theist ideas and embracing the fact that God could indeed use a type of randomness to develop the freewill of beings made in His own image?

    Thanks Clive, awesome stuff you bring :)

  7. Yes, good point, our choosing has to be based on something. I don't believe this is randomness though, but it is bigger than simply either predestination on God's part or an inherent bias toward good or evil within us (which in a way comes down to the same thing, as where would that bias come from but somehow in how we were created)?

    Throwing out a few questions around this:
    1/ How much to the actions of others affect our choices for good or evil (family systems, injustice done to us etc)?
    2/ How much does God hold us to account for things that were beyond our control that may have biased us towards evil behaviour (abuse, neglect, exploitive economic or political systems)?
    3/ How do we reconcile judgement "according to what we have done" (not just an OT concept) with salvation by faith alone?

    For me the bottom line is that God is totally just. There is no arbitrary judgement. We are judged not by outward appearance but by the direction and intent of the heart, and the direction and intent of the heart is what will produce fruit of good works, but these may not be evident to others as they may never get past seed form. Others with apparent great fruit may not have the same direction and intent of heart, doing what they do from quite perverse motives. But I do believe that there are consequences for actions, so I am not a universalist. There is such a thing as a choice to turn from light to darkness and there will be consequences for that actual free choice. This to me is the concept of the fear of the Lord. God has made a good world and our actions within this world are important to him, and the basis for judgement. This is not salvation by works, but a recognition of our own sinful tendencies and cry to God for good to spring up in our lives instead of corruption.

    A thought from Millard Erickson: "We become responsible and guilty when we accept or approve of our corrupt nature...when we become aware of our tendency toward sin. At that point we may abhor our sinful nature...But if we acquiesce in that sinful nature, we are in effect saying it is good."

  8. Even though I am fascinated by quantum mechanics and theoretical physics, methinks I ain't got enough edgumacation to understand even the simplest basics. Although, a rather interesting thought zipped through my head a few years back about everything that exists being an extension of our Heavenly Father. In other words, everything that exists is made up of Him.

    Now, I am not at all sure of that rather interesting thought being from our Heavenly Father, but it makes perfect sense to me. Oh, and as an added bonus, it would sure explain how it is possible for Him to be everywhere, all of the time.

    On the other hand, there is the little matter of there not being any darkness in our Heavenly Father, and some very dark somebodies (such as the devil and his demons) do indeed exist. This could be explained by employing a broader definition of darkness, in regards to darkness being confusion.

    There is another matter to address, which is that there is no unrighteousness about our Heavenly Father, and there is a whole lot of that in existence. Oh, but even what we only see as wickedness from our own ground-based points of view is meant for our Heavenly Father's glory and our ultimate good in one way or another.

    Again, I am not at all sure of that rather interesting thought being from our Heavenly Father. So, please do not think that I think that it was.

  9. My dear Clive, what do you think the Prophet Jonah and the Apostle Paul would have to say about our Heavenly Father allowing us to exercise complete freewill?

  10. Hi Jerry,

    It seems to me that God puts bounds on evil. He seems to allow us to exercise our "sovereignty" to a far greater degree than what I would if I were him! If he didn't I guess it would just a be great divine puppet show. He lets evil go to such a degree that we feel the full weight of it then he intervenes - the flood, the tower of Babel, the iniquity of the inhabitants of Canaan, the return of Christ etc. I think this is to show us that there are real consequences for our sinful actions - to ourselves and to others - we hurt ourselves, our world and other people and if we do so we are accountable to God who is just for our actions. The limits are there though to remind us that he is finally sovereign overall and that their is no threat to his Kingdom reign.

    But when he wants something done and wants to use us in his divine election he can also be very persuasive - as he did with Jonah and Paul as you mention. But maybe there were other Jonah's or Paul's who persisted in their wilfulness even after being dramatically called by God? Maybe they weren't recorded - maybe people like King Saul were like that and so God brings in a replacement like David?

    So what would Jonah say? I think he was pretty annoyed that God was so flexible as to let the repentance of the Ninevites change God's mind. He has a little tantrum about it: "That is why I fled to Tarshish at the beginning; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and ready to relent from punishing!" I think he was angry that God was easier on them that he had been on Jonah.

    As for Paul, he has much to say on the subject of election (which opens up a huge discussion beyond the scope of this post I'm sure). But I think he would say: "For God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may be merciful to all. O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” “Or who has given a gift to him, to receive a gift in return?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen." (Romans 11)

  11. Interesting discussion guys!

    "But I do believe that there are consequences for actions, so I am not a universalist"

    Clive, I think you may be surprised, but Biblical universalism doesn't necessarily get rid of consequences for actions. I aim to do a post on this in the future and discuss it.

    "Yes, good point, our choosing has to be based on something...
    1/ How much to the actions of others affect our choices for good or evil (family systems, injustice done to us etc)?
    2/ How much does God hold us to account for things that were beyond our control that may have biased us towards evil behaviour (abuse, neglect, exploitive economic or political systems)?
    3/ How do we reconcile judgement "according to what we have done" (not just an OT concept) with salvation by faith alone?"

    Excellent questions :)

    With me being a determinist/predestinationist, I believe God uses/determines evil to show us the way of righteousness. Evil that we do (with its consequences) and evil that others do. How can you have good without an understanding of bad? Evil enables a contrast to good in order to produce more value in what is good. Jesus said something very interesting along these lines.

    He said in Luke 6:27-36
    "27 "But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you. 32 "If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners,' expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36 Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful."

    If God made a perfect world, then we would not have experienced love to its fullest extent or value. There is so much value in experiencing true love, love that is not earned, love that is from God.

    As to how or why we are all made different, some with different circumstances and different natures; It could possibly be because God is orchestrating events in our lives in order to draw us to Himself (and to demonstrate His righteousness).
    Since we are all made different with our own natures (from God) some of us need different roads to take and different experiences/processes to bring us to Himself. Technically I guess He could just instantly manipulate our natures to make us choose Him, but then our natures would be changed rather than developed, we would cease to be ourselves as unique individuals. Our history of experiences that change us, also makes us who we are, not just how we come out of the womb.
    I think there is accuracy in claiming that God wants us to choose Him from our own natures (free agency), but only He knows how that is going to happen. Some people may be harder to win over than others, but God's mercies are new every morning :)

    Any way, that has been my musings lately.

  12. Jerry - "Although, a rather interesting thought zipped through my head a few years back about everything that exists being an extension of our Heavenly Father. In other words, everything that exists is made up of Him."

    Wow, interesting you brought this up. Josh and I have been talking about this for a good while, especially in regard to God's experience of time.
    Anyway, logically, to me it makes sense to say that everything is an expression of Him. I wouldn't go so far to say that it is pantheism (all is God) but more like panentheism (All is in God, Colossians 1:16-17, Romans 11:36) rather than a very separate God creating something that wasn't really reflecting His nature. We are made in His image after all.

    Interesting questions I like to ponder also are:
    Can something whole and complete make something the opposite to itself?
    Can something "good" in essence make something "evil" in essence?
    Is God in essence good, but the best description/demonstration of good is in a necessity for a temporal or partial evil, in order for the highest good outcome... e.g. opportunity to love our enemies as Jesus did? Without evil we wouldn't have the opportunity to love our enemies.
    Hmmmm.... lol

  13. Nice post Dan!

    Although I have already studied this stuff as extensively as an amateur can (i.e. enough to feel lost), this introductory video was a refreshing summary! It kept true to its purpose of prompting interest, and showing that scientists are quite sane in asking the ridiculous questions that quantum physics demands!

    It fascinates me to see people’s world views come to the surface in their discussion of quantum physics. Secular physicists and various Christian schools of thought will ALL frequently cite it as proof of their worldview - simply because it COULD POTENTIALLY fit well with it, depending on your underlying preferred theories.

    The question of randomness is an excellent one. I prefer Einsteins approach as well, where every quantum fluctuation and uncertainty is in fact determined by God for a reason - thus not truly random. Secular scientists like the concept of parallel universes and truly random fluctuations because these ‘replace’ the need for ‘God’. But the evidence is simply this: we can define probabilities for various events, but we can’t YET define the exact event. Alternative approaches to this question including questioning our understanding of ‘randomness’ and probability (does it ever exist at all?), or questioning our understanding of sovereignty (which Clive alluded to). Pick your preferred flavour, but don’t claim the evidence supports it more than the others (yet)! I really like Clive’s point that quantum physics is humbling and opening up space for rational faith again!

    The claim that quantum physics supports God’s ‘extra-dimensionality’ needs to be balanced by a reminder that God is the creator and NOT part of creation. Quantum physics applies to our actual world and what we observe. I have no problem extending it into the ‘spiritual realm’ (i.e. angles, demons, etc) because it are created just like the ‘observable natural universe’, and separating them is a little too ‘Greek’ (and not ‘Hebrew’ enough). But if anything, quantum physics is itself an expression of God (as Jerry suggested), rather than limiting or defining Him and His interactions.

  14. "As for Paul, he has much to say on the subject of election (which opens up a huge discussion beyond the scope of this post I'm sure)"

    As with many topics we are raising lol

  15. Some really nice points you’ve made Clive. Thought I’d respond to them:

    The idea of God’s sovereignty being ‘macro’ instead of ‘micro’ has a lot of merit. But the scriptures define the level at which ‘macro’ starts. It includes the roll of the dice, each sparrow’s death, and the decisions and character of each person. Electrons and photons are not mentioned ;), but I have no reason (besides the fun of intellectual gymnastics) to think it does not extend to them. As Daniel said, extending true randomness into the realm of our ‘will’ or the development of our ‘character’, simply removes those ‘decisions’ or character changes from being based on anything. They are thus except from the execution of ‘justice’ as a demonstration against something with real substance. Why would God allow uncertainty for Himself and us, when it does no benefit, and doesn’t even allow us the ability to ‘express ourselves’ (expressing ourselves would be ‘based’ on who we are, excluding randomness and uncertainty.)

    Having the ability to make decisions outside the influence of God, doesn’t make sense to me. How can we ever be outside the influence of God? God defined the human nature, moulds our physical and spiritual environment and context, sees into our hearts and thoughts, and has been doing this right through the development / unfolding of our character. Being an ‘image-bearer’ in Scripture is based on bringing God’s own light, character, message, and authority into creation. God is fundamentally true to Himself, and everything else is an expression of Himself - this is his most fundamental purpose, and as image-bearers we are to follow the same purpose. This does not in any way require or imply having a similar nature as God!

    You raise some thorny questions about justice, which don’t have easy ready made answers! I like your points and agree with them. And I really like the quote by Millard Erickson!. My current thoughts on your questions:

    1) Our character makes real decisions of its own accord - but absolutely known by God and under his intimate control (since he commands human nature, our innate dispositions, external circumstances, and ongoing moulding of our personhood - along with spiritual perception via the Holy Spirit).

    2) God’s justice is less about retribution, and more about demonstration. He will treat decisions / characters in a way which best demonstrates who He is. Those with characters opposed to Him need ‘judgement’ regardless of the reason. Every character is subject to things beyond their control - either to deteriorate, improve, or fortify their current position. We tend to focus on those who deteriorate, but its not as if those who did well were somehow ‘better’ than the others, or those who did badly WITHOUT identifiable biases were ‘worse’. How then can God judge some more severely than others, when their characters reflect God’s moulding, and not something within their control? This seems ‘unfair’, but does God need to be ‘fair’?
    This is where some forms of universalism are appealing. Hell is obviously real and terrifying - any view of universalism that minimises your terror of Hell is wrong. But what if God were moulding all characters into various beautiful vessels of His glory? Some had a form of beauty which is demonstrated in their early faith, sanctification, glorification, and escape from Hell. Others had a form of beauty which required the horrors of Hell to mould. This means that God’s justice (as a demonstration) can still function on our ‘works’ and character, without compromising His love or a sense of ‘fairness’ (which seems good to us as humans).

    3) Faith then becomes the point at which heaven will delight us and glorify us. Faith is moulded by God in His undeserved mercy (on earth or in Hell), makes us fit for heaven, where we are glorified further by God and His justice finally ‘rewards’ our works with demonstrations of His love.

  16. I think we were all writing a comment at the same time :)

  17. Hi Daniel,

    Yes - I was guilty of oversimplification of Universalism. I was setting up straw man universalism where God is more generous than Santa and the answer to Romans 6:1 is "yes" :). I'm not that kind of Universalist :). I apologise for the generalisation but it is a common understanding. I agree that God uses evil to us the way of righteousness. Maybe we can talk about Universalism another time as its a great subject.

    Hi Josh,
    I agree the micro/macro thing breaks down when you talk about sparrows and grains of sand, but I would argue that humanity represents a different order of creation. I would argue the the idea of Image Bearing attributed to humankind only - not even angels - sets us apart and does give us an almost god-like status. God in his omnipotence creates us as kings with the ability to exercise independent authority and creativity (within limits of course) which allows the possibility of evil, but for an outcome that God in his wisdom determines is worth it. I see more in the scripture that supports this view than contradicts it - I think it fits better God's purposes to have loving submission - the casting of crowns before him - than any other explanation. As you say we cannot escape from God's influence (and of course this is exercised through the prayers of others) but I don't see that this influence equates in any way to control or determinism.

    I like your comments on Universalism - must talk more about this some time.

    Another point you raised above about God not being part of creation. I would argue that although he is creator, he is forever tied to his creation - as Jerry says - somehow creation is an outshining of God - the panenthiesm concept mentioned above I guess. So God isn't just a detached observer but deeply involved in his creation - as the incarnation demonstrates. I don't think this is Greek thinking - on the contrary it makes earth a place of holiness and God a participant in the drama along with us. I don't see Ouranus (God's domain, heaven or the heavens) as being not material, but material in perhaps quantum terms as another dimension. The Greeks as I understand it saw the physical/spiritual dichotomy which equated physicality to evil and the exalted spiritual non-physical state as desirable. Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you are saying here :). God created the heavens and the earth and at the end their will be a new heavens and new earth where righteousness dwells - in fact I believe the image of the new Jerusalem is the removal of the petition that was placed at the fall - the angel with the flaming sword image. That's my cosmology :)

    Great to talk,

  18. Since I claim to have been actually hearing from our Heavenly Father on a regular basis for the last 21 years or so, there might not much to debate about me losing my mind somewhere down the line. Anyway, what He has explained to me about our freewill is that we would do well to accept that it is actually very limited. For it is only in respect to the choice He gives each individual (who reaches their own age of accountability) concerning whether or not they want to truly accept Him as being their own Heavenly Father (including truly accepting His only begotten Son, who is the Lord Jesus Christ, as being their personal Savior) that we can be sure of Him not interfering. For what He is wanting to accomplish in this world is the receiving of love from us that is truly freely given. Therefore, anything He does to influence that decision too much just cheats Himself out of the full measure of glory He could receive.

    In regards to everything else, our Heavenly Father has much more to do with the decisions we make than what most want to accept. For it is written: The lot is cast into the lap, but the decision is wholly of the Lord (even the events that seem accidental are really ordered by Him). {Proverbs 16:33 AMP}

    It was your previous statement about us being allowed to exercise COMPLETE freewill that I was taking exception to, my dear Clive, and I fully agree with what you came back with. Be assured that I would have done a lot of things quite differently if I was the Creator of this world and as powerful as our Heavenly Father truly is, and we all should be most thankful that He is not like me by nature.

    I especially appreciated you bringing up Romans 11:32-36. Oh my, did my eyes ever bug out when I came across that passage for the first time after our Heavenly Father started making Himself real to me, as well as making some drastic changes in my way of seeing things. For it helped me to better understand that my natural unrighteousness was not my fault.

    Some (quite a few, actually) insist that it is just reinforcing the truth about everyone being physically born stained with sin, but in order for that to be true, Ezekiel 18:20 would have to be false. For it is written: The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them. {NIV}

  19. Hi Jerry,
    I like what you say here about the balance between free-will and sovereignty. As I get older I realise on the one hand how much free-will and responsibility God gives me, and yet on the other hand how deeply he is involved in the detail of my life - as you say - even the events that seem accidental are somehow ordered by him. To me this is a great source of peace - that God trusts me to make decisions that are increasingly to be filled with his wisdom, yet his arms are undergirding everything I do.

    This reminds me of Psalm 32:8-9 "I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, Whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check, otherwise they will not come near to you." in other words God wants us to have understanding of his ways and respond not just in forced obedience (like the bit and bridle) but in a relational way, doing what we do because we have taken his values as our own. I think, as you say "...what He is wanting to accomplish in this world is the receiving of love from us that is truly freely given. "

  20. Clive: I guess the idea of image bearing is a bug bear of mine. Obviously we are unique in God’s creation mainly because we are made in ‘God’s image’. But the Bible doesn’t explain what this means clearly. Most people assume it means we have some special innate qualities (such as creativity, autonomy, or even our own glory), but I usually find this is based more on a subtle, subconscious, elevated sense of self worth - essentially pride. Not meaning to criticise everyone who holds this belief - most of my friends also believe this and I wouldn’t call them prideful!

    The argument for an innate kind of autonomy I find falls apart when you consider angels and animals, who also both have a kind of autonomy (as much as their mental faculties allow). Besides, this is also not clearly taught in Scripture (many including myself contest it). However, the idea of image-bearing in the sense of exercising God’s authority and character in fullness on earth, makes sense since humans really are unique in this regard. Although the rest of creation display aspects of God’s character since they are expressions of Him, humanity alone has been given the mandate the manifest it fully as His representatives. This is not really contested in Scripture, and is most obviously borne out in the mandates given to Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and the church.

  21. Clive and Jerry: The idea of loving and free submission is nice, but generally poorly defined. Both you and I would state that it is necessary and wonderful, but mean different things! We need to ask what is actually special about our view of ‘free and loving submission’, and then consider if it actually makes sense, and if so whether it is really threatened by determinism and Free Agency.

    Freedom from God’s absolute control does not, in my opinion, increase His glory (i.e. show him to be more glorious). Why would it? Either way there are a variety of character (which He has been at least extensively involved in developing), some of whom will accept and some of whom will reject, for a variety of accurate and misguided reasons. If these are the result of non-interference, it doesn’t say so much about God as it does about us. What about love requiring freedom, then? Love does not, in fact, require non-interference. On the contrary, love demands that we pursue the other and speak directly to their current state of personhood to persuade them as much as possible to accept and return our love.

    On the other hand, love DOES require non-coercion. Coercion is different to persuasion and character development - because it works against the desires of the person, rather than attempting to mould or align them. Loving and free acceptance of Christ (as I understand it) is special because it indicates that, at that point in time, we really are a person who finds this a delightful thing to do. We are not being coerced by God, this is springing from deep within ourselves. But this does not require non-interference on God’s behalf, just non-coercion.

    I am not persuaded that freedom from God’s absolute control is even possible, let alone discernible. Our ability / desire to accept God is a culmination of previous character development, current contextual perceptions, and spiritual insight by the Holy Spirit - all of which are constantly known by God and in the hand of God. At the very least, God deliberately and knowingly moulds a person to a point where a particular decision is extremely probable, which surely removes the ‘glory’ he would get from non-interference, and contradicts the notion of maximising the ‘absolute freedom of love’.

    What would this mean about ‘fault’ when it comes to rejecting Christ, or sin? That depends - if you are talking about the immediate cause it is our fault. If you are talking about being a necessary link, it is our fault. If you are talking about exercising our will and desires to accomplish it, it is our fault. But most of these definitions of ‘fault’ can have multiple people involved, and I would argue it is also definitely God’s fault. God is also the ultimate cause. But God engages His will and desires to accomplish it in a different way to us, because He sees beyond it to His Great Good.

    BTW - I don’t think I was very clear about my views on the creation / creator distinction. I agree with both Jerry and Clive! I like the idea of panentheism. I like the idea of Quantum physics extending to the spiritual realm. I DON’T like the Greek-like separation of physical/spiritual. I merely wanted to emphasis that Quantum physics does not define God or constrain Him, but rather it is itself a part of creation and an expression of God. I guess I wanted to maintain the distinction between panentheism and pantheism, or going the other way and making God merely an object within the created realm.

  22. Very well said, my dear Clive, but I cringe every time I hear/read someone saying that our Heavenly Father has entrusted them with something. In all fairness, I do not believe that you are talking about the Lord God Almighty trusting you to do what He wants you to in the same way as we trust one another, but since I have been completely crushed and left without any reason to have confidence in myself at all, I am rather sensitive to this. On the other hand, far too many really want to believe that He does indeed entrust them with this or that when we would do well to accept that we are really nothing more than small children (regardless of how spiritually-mature someone may be) helping their dad with the chores, which involves us merely riding along on the lawn mower as our Heavenly Father cuts the grass. Ah, but He does want His children by faith to want to participate in His work, and it is a great shame when ones falls prey to Satan urging them to believe that what we do and say does not really matter.

  23. Thank you for pointing out that there is a difference between interfering and coercion, my dear Joshua. Now, the reason why our Heavenly Father allowing us to freely choose to love Him or not is so glorifying is that He chose to risk losing those who would not want to love Him back so that He could honestly receive genuine love. For He could have programmed us (so to speak) to love Him, but unless we had the freedom to not love Him, the kind of love that He could receive from us would not be nearly as satisfying.

    Be assured that it is in that respect that the very close and personal relationship we can have with our Heavenly Father is actually more like a marriage where either party can call it quits whenever they want to. Whereas, no one is given a choice of who their biological parents are.

    Now, I have had my heart shattered in a million pieces more times than I care to think about by ladies who did not want me to have and to hold. So, I can see the advantages to having a relationship with a love-bot, but if she had no choice but to love me, the love that I would receive from her would not be real--let alone truly satisfying.

    By the way, the wrath that our Heavenly Father will pour out upon the wicked, come Judgment Day, has little to do with righteous indignation. For it comes from a broken heart over all of the ones who rejected His love for them and did not consider Him worthy of receiving all of their love and trust. Now, that makes our Heavenly Father sound rather petty in the opinions of some, but anyone who has had their heart torn asunder by someone they loved with all of their heart, soul and mind should have some insight to how He feels--only with His agony being billions of times over what they have been given some experience with, of course.

  24. This discussion is rapidly refining how I explain my understanding of God's absolute sovereignty! Good job guys :)

    In short, not only do I agree that God's sovereignty does not coerce people, I also agree that it maintains the 'ability' (in some sense) to choose to reject His sovereign decree. But there are multiple ways to define 'ability' (again!), and (again) we need to ask exactly what we mean, whether it makes sense, and whether God's absolute sovereignty actually threatens it.

    First, I repeat my earlier statement that real love requires efforts to minimise (in some sense) the ability of the object of affection to refuse love. This is what wooing is - attempting to make the psycho-emotional decision AGAINST love much more impossible than the decision FOR love. God must also do this if He truly loves us (and He does) - but why would He go so far, and not go all the way? Going 'so far' has already reduced the 'glory' of 'freely' accepting His love, and any rejection now would only be hyper-destructive to his reputation (they rejected you DESPITE all you did???!! You must be really lame...).

    Anyway, I don't think this 'part way' manipulation concept even makes sense with God - there is no undecided/uncertain/almost middle ground when God is omniscient. He either does enough that He knows will secure acceptance, or He does not (thus securing rejection).

    So if I don't believe we will ever surprise God in our 'freedom', how do I think we are still 'able' to reject Him? True love (in my understanding) requires an accurate perception of available choices, the required faculties (mental, physical, spiritual, etc) to carry them out once chosen, and freedom from coercion against your desires (at least from coercion arising from the object of your love). These can all be preserved with God in absolute control of your character and how it moulds. Imagine a marriage where the husband had such a character and desires that it is not possible for Him (unless He is coerced) to reject the relationship he has with his wife. This does not weaken the case for his love, instead it strengthens it. And, despite the impossibility (from a character perspective), he still has the 'ability' to reject love (from a perception and faculty perspective).

    Keep the conversation coming guys! Let me know what you think...

  25. This is a great post Daniel!

    One of my favorite subjects.

    I agree with Clive and his first statement. Quantum physics gives us a great analogy into reconciling and understanding God's existence and sovereignty and man's existence and sovereignty. Can we say a unifying theory? :-)

    I believe Quantum Physics shows that God has a great sense of humor. With man's ever continuing search for a unifying theory to reconcile all theories from Relativity to String, God pops in to give us a glimpse into his reality.

    As you have already stated, in our reality and at the macro level, every action has a 99.9% predictable reaction within a controlled environment. However, at the micro level, we see a "breakdown" of this observation, which we call randomness.

    I find it very interesting and edifying that even at the macro level we have .01% randomness observed. This randomness can be attributed to God's miracles. I believe this is what you Clive were discussing in the first couple of comments. Correct me if I'm wrong.

    Now, at the micro level, this randomness cannot be explained by the models that now exist in physics. Enter parallel universes or realities. This is right down my alley. I believe the randomness can be explained by alternate Realities or Universes and their effect on each other.

    This is amazing because the Bible tells us the exact same thing. God inhabits eternity and alone knows the beginning from the end.

    Since God inhabits eternity and is outside the time space of each individual universe or reality and yet God over all, he's revealed as Elohim but yet echad, one God. The Micro level is the point at which God is intimate with all realities or universes of his creation. This also gives us a glimpse into what was meant by God separating the light from the darkness, as mentioned in Genesis. I will not go off on that tangent.

    What appears as randomness, from our side of the window, is a perfect harmonized reality in Gods. What is free will on our side window, is predestination or determination on Gods.

    To be totally honest and at the risk of ruffling somebody's feathers, I never understood how people could believe in predestination on our side.

    The belief that God is in control of all things including our actions is totally against what the whole counsel of God teaches. Predestination is the result of people reading God's scriptures out of context, while ignoring the full counsel of God.

    However, God IS in command. You might think that is the same thing but it is not. God is in command and make corrections, minor corrections, to our reality to fit his will. Other than that, we are left to our own free will to choose God and his ways or not.

    Believing in predestination lend's one to think that God leads us around like little robots. If that is so, then God causes us to sin, which would be very hypocritical. I hope that we all can agree that is against God's nature and just is not so.

    A real quick comment on "Open Theism" and "Tzimtzum". I am not big on putting labels on things. However, "Open theism has one flaw, in that it states that God's goals are random. That is not taught in God scriptures.

    Tzimtzum shouldn't even be discussed because true believers do not believe in, Tzimtzum or contradictions in God's word, divine power, etc. Kaballah have the same problems as modern-day Christianity.

    On one side, there are correct interpretations while on the other side, there are misinterpretations and traditions because man has to reconcile their perceived reality with what they perceive God's word as saying.

  26. Hi there no doubt :) Great to have your input.

    I'm really keen to hear you expand a bit more on your ideas. Especially how God can inhabit multiple parallel realities, how these can effect each other, how this enables free-will and predestination to coincide. Could't quite wrap my head around what you were meaning or how this works... but I'm definitely intrigued!

    I'm also interested to hear why you think predestination is against the full counsel of God, requires us to think we are 'robots' (I've been trying to argue against that), and that it is against God's nature to 'cause' us to sin. Obviously I disagree, but am always open to learning, or at least understanding people's concerns.

    I really like your comment that God's goals are not random. And your general emphasis (I think!) that God is big enough to weave multiple complexities into his sovereign control.

  27. Hey Josh,

    First of all I like the fact that your mother and father gave you our Lords name. :-)

    Within quantum physics, specifically the string theory, we find that we live in 10 dimensions, four detectable by our human senses and six that are rolled up in 10 -32 cm and is only detectable by indirect means.

    At the risk of going off on a tangent, I think we can inject dark matter and dark energy into the equation at this point. Dark energy and dark matter have similar characteristics to the six dimensions. They cannot be physically measured and can only be detectable by indirect means.

    The energy level of Dark Matter and Energy remains constant, regardless of the work being performed, thereby going against the laws of physics. They also appear to be responsible for maintaining the balance in order for humans to exist in our little corner of the universe, a fact that is never expounded upon in our mainstream culture. They power and permeate our entire universe but it cannot be physically measured. Outside our secular society, those are characteristics attributed to God. :-)

    As I mentioned in the earlier comment, elemental reaction began to take upon an unpredictable behavior at the micro level. We call this randomness within our reality and cannot be explained within the limitations of our current models.

    With that said, Quantum Physics tells us that gravity can cause the randomness that we observe at the micro level. An explanation for the gravity effect causing randomness at the micro level could be parallel universes or realities. One theory also surmises that the six dimensions are most likely common to all other universes or realities. I find this very intriguing.

    My mind automatically goes to the possible relationship between dark energy and the six dimensions and their characteristics being the same as God. Is what we are seeing here in the six dimensions, dark matter and dark energy, God?

    Obviously, there is no undeniable proof to this effect. However, isn't that the way God works. Maybe, I have "bought the vein", as the old saying goes and I see all evidence pointing to my conclusions.

    In quantum physics, we see randomness as a problem. However, I see randomness as the solution. Could randomness be the result of God's intervention or intimacy with all possible universe and realities? What we see on our side is unpredictable reactions but in real reality, it is a calculated design by God.

    I believe randomness is analogous to free will. As we live our lives, some of us do what we feel is right or some do what is according to God's will. These daily interactions are sometimes predictable and sometimes random and unpredictable. However, on God side or within the six dimensions common to all universe and realities, our random decisions in life are predictable and determined by God from the beginning to the end.

    I also believe that the .01% randomness observed, on the macro level, are tiny corrections that God makes in his relationship with his people according to his will.

    continued below

  28. This goes back to something Clive and Jerry said and an earlier comment. I believe that God gives us free will to do what ever we want in our reality. God also knew what those decisions would be from the beginning of the time dimension within our reality because God existence is outside our time space reality.

    When we become true believers, we automatically fall under God's protection and tutelage. God does not intervene in our reality unless his will is in peril or we ask him to intervene. That is why randomness, on the macro level, is so rare.

    I believe God only intervenes when asked and if it edifies or strengthens the faith of the believer requesting the intervention. That is also why Gods intervention doesn't occur every time we ask.

    Clive and Jerry stated that they believe that God prevents you from doing things at times. This is not a limited free will but the protection they asked for when they became believers.

    Finally, predestination, I believe, is the belief that everything that will happen has already been decided by God and cannot be changed. In my mind, that says that God is in total control of everything that we do. Regardless of what we think or try to do, God will not allow you to do anything that he does not want you to do.

    If you read God's word, from beginning to end, you will find that the picture becomes clear. Unfortunately, non-middle eastern cultures tend to read into God's word what they want and that is where the problem lies.

    If you investigate into the Jewish beliefs at the time Y'shua and his apostles were alive on this earth, you will find that God's position on free will and predestination is exactly what I have noted above. It is our cultural differences that causes us to misinterpret them or read our own ideas into what God meant when he inspired the B'rit Hadashah or New Testament.

    If predestination, as defined above, is correct, then God causes us to do everything that we do. I have a major problem with that since we sin on a daily basis. Does God cause us to sin? The obvious answer to that is no.

    I have been told many times that I'm way out there in my beliefs. However I try to reconcile what God shows us in nature and what he says in his word. Am I perfect? Again, the obvious answer to that is no. I am always open to learning too as you have stated.

    However, there are many things that I am hard headed about and one of them is predestination as commonly defined. It doesn't take much research to find that predestination, as commonly defined, is a recent, the past 1500 years, misinterpretation of God's word and is not supported by all of his scripture, historical rabbinic writings or history itself.

    Shabbat Shalom my brother,


  29. I stand as a witness to the absolute truth of the matter truly being that our Heavenly Father most definitely does not have to wait until we give Him permission to intervene in our daily lives, my dear Keith. For He has done all sorts of things for me when I did not even realize it was needed at the time--let alone ask for it.

    Please do not take this the wrong way, but our Heavenly Father is not like a government agency where all of the proper forms must be filed before we can receive any assistance. In fact, it is as it is written: In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. {Romans 8:26-27 NIV}

  30. Hi no doubt - thanks for explaining that all so well!

    I have always liked string theory (and its variants like super-string theory and Brane theory) since it wraps up so much of quantum physics and Einstein’s relativity into a nice consistent and elegant bundle, as well as saying interesting things about the fundamental nature of everything… However unfortunately it still falls firmly the realm of theoretical physics, with no direct proof of its ‘truth’ above and beyond other theories.

    As you say it also fits nicely with the idea of parallel universes. Particularly if you consider Branes, with our known universe being one big Brane. Certainly interactions between Branes (including gravity, potentially) could result in seemingly ‘random’ events (especially at the micro level). Though we then have to ask are these truly ‘parallel’ universes as defined by popular culture (i.e. we have another life going on in a parallel universe where we make different choices), or as science thinks of them (operating under a different set of physical laws), or simply part of the same ‘greater reality’ which obeys a common set of physical laws.

    Random fluctuations do not require ‘parallel universes’, as they can also possibly be due to existing physical laws within our universe which relate only to the extra 6 dimensions (tightly wrapped up), which the strings theoretically interact with but which we know so little about.

    The idea of dark energy and matter is less theoretical than string theory but still extremely controversial (not so much its existence, but its nature and consistency, how it behaves and/or changes, and what it means about our universe). As you say, one theory puts weight on its apparent constancy, its fine tuning for human advanced life, and its possible relationship to those 6 tightly-wrapped undedectable extra dimensions. But none of this is by any means settled!

    I like your idea of seeing ‘God’ as the explanation for these strange indirectly-detectable concepts, and also the ‘randomness’ we observe at the quantum level. If God were the explanation, however, this implies they are not ‘truly random’. They would be obeying God as direct decisions, or some higher law.

    I have taken this further in my head (as you probably have also). It is possible that God deliberately created a universe of such complexity, and one in which the process of existing itself has value as part of its beauty, that He is limited in his methods of attaining his goals. I do NOT believe He is limited in His goals (that would be an oxymoron), but in order to maintain the universe and process He desires, He has chosen methods which we think seem prolonged, overly complex, and (at times) random. And of course this extends into the macro realm as well! This idea can be applied to the questions of life in general (including sin and suffering, slow sanctification, why does Satan still exist, why does God allow ‘free will’, etc).

  31. However I still don’t see that this analogy applies to ‘free will’ (if you interpret this as a contrast to pre-destination). In fact, it seems to limit it. If God is in absolute control of quantum randomness, parallel universes, 10 dimensions, etc, the analogy suggests the same for free-will. And, just as God attempts to maintain a particular kind of universe and process which REQUIRES indirect methods, I would say the same of ‘free-will’. God IS in absolute control of every individual decision and character, but NOT in conflict with their desires or decisions. These spring from within them and really reflect who they are, but God unpholds it all. He works through the complexity of our souls and interactions and history, with complete foreknowledge, so that everything is pre-determined (not simply foreseen), but not forced. Im not sure if we agree or disagree on this? Maybe we just emphasise different points :)

    One point of difference between us is our concept of intervention. I believe EVERYTHING that happens in the universe (including quantum fluctuations) is ‘intervention’ by God, or intimately sustained by His power. In other words, the universe exists in whatever state because of God’s direct involvement - this fits well with dark energy / six dimensions / quantum randomness. The distinction is not between ‘intervention’ or not, but rather between obvious unexpected violation of ‘normal’ physical laws, or not. Usually God upholds things in a way which makes it possible to live and study and learn about Him and His universe - i.e. the physical laws. But He breaks these IF required - and never to fix some problem He didn’t foresee. Its always to demonstrate something to humanity (i.e. to edify his saints). I would say the same about free will - we are constantly upheld in one form of character or another, and in one context or another - i.e. God always knows and can manipulate our decisions and future character. But He doesn’t violate the normal ‘laws’ of our soul UNLESS it is to demonstrate something to humanity.

    This brings us to another point of difference we have, which is the ‘cause’ of our daily sin. I have absolutely no problem with God pre-destining this, upholding my soul in a state of only partial sanctification (i.e. with remaining sin), and deciding which things I will sin in and which I will not. Obviously this is rarely ‘against’ my own character or soul or ‘free will’, just like sanctification is rarely against my own character or ‘free will’. I’d like to hear more about this concept in particular, and why you think as you do.

  32. Jerry, my friend, I say this with love and respect for you my brother in the Messiah. First, I sense a level of indignation from you which I don't understand. I apologize if I stirred that up inside you by my comment that you appear to be referencing. Secondly, if I understand your comment correctly, you totally misunderstood or misread my comment. If you will, let's address this comment again.

    I am assuming that you are referencing the following comment I made:

    "When we become true believers, we automatically fall under God's protection and tutelage. God does not intervene in our reality unless his will is in peril or we ask him to intervene."

    In response, you said:

    "...our Heavenly Father most definitely does not have to wait until we give Him permission to intervene in our daily lives,..."

    I have to ask you. Where did I say that the Father waits for permission? I don't see it nor did I intend it.

    You went on to say, "For He has done all sorts of things for me when I did not even realize it was needed at the time--let alone ask for it."

    You then went on to quote one of my favorite scriptures in order to chastise me, unjustly, I have to say. For within Romans 8:26-27, it is written:

    "... for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit...And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God"

    This verse is saying that since we are believers, we have God's protection and he knows what is in our hearts and what we need even when we don't know how to ask for it ourselves with the correct words. That's what intercession means. When we don't ask for it ourselves, the Spirit asks for us.

    That's exactly what I said. That is God's protection, a gift given to all believers.

    I hope that clears it up for you.

    Shabbat Shalom my friend.

  33. Josh,

    Nice discussion.

    I totally agree that none of this has been scientifically proven. It just nice to dwell within the possibilities, especially when the characteristics are the same or similar to God attributes. However, as I said earlier, I wouldn't be surprised if it was God's way of winking at us. ;-)

    " If God were the explanation, however, this implies they are not ‘truly random’. They would be obeying God as direct decisions, or some higher law."

    I agree. We must look at God's totally different reality and imagine how it would interact with ours. That's why I inferred the question, "Could randomness be analogous to free will on our side and predestination or determination on his side.

    On the question of complexity. I think that God and his creation naturally appears complex to us. I believe that is expected from an infinite God.

    You mentioned limited goals and limited methods. I believe that God is deliberately limited in his approach to us. This is because sin exists in this reality and God will not deliberately and directly relate to the sinful nature within this universe or at least this solar system of planets. That is why only a limited dimensional representation of him has ever been seen by man. Even Y'shua was the Word of God exhibited in the flesh, not the God's fullness or presence.

    As for your limited free will comment, I'll give you limited from God's point of view. However, within the ten dimensions that define our free will is unlimited. I hope I said that correctly. :-)

    As for your comment about God being in control, I do believe we are arriving at the same conclusion but getting there differently. That's why we need to continue to discuss and break down the traditional barriers that Satan has set up to lead us down a different path than God's. The more intimate we are with God's Word and how his creation shouts out the fact that he is there, the more intimate we become with God. The more intimate we are with God, the more intimate we naturally become with each other.

    As for intervention, I think we agree for the most part. However, you have to admit that God deliberately keeps his distance from us for only one reason and that is faith. The most important relational characteristic that God desires from us is that we have faith in a God of which we do not have direct proof, only evidence in his Word and his Creation.

    Shabbat Shalom

  34. Please forgive me for upsetting you, my dear Keith. Be assured that I was being held back. For a great many in the Christian community have been led to believe that our Heavenly Father's righteousness prevents Him from coming to our aid unless we specifically ask Him to on account of our freewill, and when you added "or we ask him to intervene" to the end of "God does not intervene in our reality unless his will is in peril," it sounded like that was exactly what you were alluding to. Alas, if it was better understood just how proactive our Heavenly Father has been in this world in order to accomplish His purposes, there would be far less confusion concerning our freewill, but since it has been so widely taught that things went terribly wrong in the Garden of Eden because of Adam and Eve being given the freedom to make what seems to be the wrong choice from our own ground-based points of view, it is far too often assumed that He has been reacting to our actions ever since.

  35. No problem, Jerry. No Harm. No Foul. Also, you did not upset me. LOL We have been doing this for a long time. I believe God just wanted me to let you know that you need to hold off on that trigger finger and assess what you are about to say and how you are going to say it before saying it. There are too many times people respond negatively "unnecessarily". May I suggest that you ask for clarification before sending off a negative comment or chastisement.

    With that said, if anyone needs corrected, then by all means, let the Spirit flow. Back in 2011, Daniel initiated this site for Believers like you to discuss, be taught and corrected. Look back at our archives and alternate sites, you'll find that we don't always see eye to eye and that the discussions have gotten heated. Our discussion here has come no where near that. I think you'll know when that happens. :-)

    With that said, you wrote:

    "For a great many in the Christian community have been led to believe that our Heavenly Father's righteousness prevents Him from coming to our aid unless we specifically ask Him to on account of our freewill, and when you added "or we ask him to intervene" to the end of "God does not intervene in our reality unless his will is in peril,"

    Again, may I suggest reading the whole comment in context. Also, where did I write or allude to that our, "...Heavenly Father's righteousness prevents Him from coming to our aid unless we specifically ask Him to..."

    What I said was that God deliberately holds back his intervention, outside of his day to day protection of the true believers. His intervention is rare, again, outside of his day to day protection of the true believers. If his intervention was common place, then we wouldn't need Faith. As I said, in the previous comment, Faith is a necessary and fundamental part of our relationship with God. This is the main reason that Y'shua said, "...because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." I think we can both agree that Faith is paramount.

    Before I finish, I would like to ask you to please expound on what you mean by, "...Adam and Eve being given the freedom to make WHAT SEEMS TO BE THE WRONG CHOICE from our own ground-based points of view"

    Finally, both my Jewish brothers and the Gentiles have make a horrible mess of God's teachings. Satan has done a fantastic job in infiltrating the church. Many teachings are way off base from both the Tanakh and the B'rit Hadashah and how they were originally presented by God and Y'shua. This is why the my Jewish brothers did not recognize the day of the Messiah's visitation and a lot of us why get it explained to them on the way up. :-)

    Shabbat Shalom

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  37. Thank you so very much for being so understanding, my dear Keith. I would contend that our Heavenly Father has been "intervening" to a much greater extent than what most are willing to accept. He considers it to be guiding us in the direction that He would have each of us to go. This direction may be different for some in comparison to others, with it depending upon what He wants to accomplish in and through each individual, but the destination is the same for us all--as in all of mankind. This destination is for us to want to truly be one of His children by faith, and this most certainly includes accepting His only begotten Son, who truly is Christ Jesus, as being our own personal Lord and Savior.

    What really happened in the Garden of Eden serves as the clearest example of our Heavenly Father guiding us in the direction that He would have us to go. For He did not want any of us to think that they are entitled--despite the absolute truth of the matter truly being that He created each of us to spend all of eternity with Him in His Kingdom of Heaven as an heir to all that is His in glory. Therefore, He bound all of mankind over to disobedience so that no one could honestly think more highly of themselves than they should {Romans 11:32-36}, which started with the sin of Adam in the Garden of Eden.

    Most certainly a part of Him not wanting any of us to feel entitled is requiring a need for a Savior, but there is more to that than what most (even in the Christian community) want to accept. For instead of just claiming that He loves us enough to die for us if the need arose, our Heavenly Father went ahead and did it by sending a full and equal part of Himself to die a horrible death upon that cruel, cruel Roman cross at Calvary.

    Be assured that there is even more to what our Heavenly Father did for us through Christ Jesus than just paying the price in full for all of our sins. For in order for Him to fulfill the full requirement of His Law, Christ Jesus had to actually Spiritually die. For just the death of the flesh He had put on at the time was not enough, and for the few seconds they were truly separated from one another, our Heavenly Father, Christ Jesus, and His Holy Spirit were in more agony that we can even start to naturally comprehend. This was done to prove even more clearly that He has not been unscathed while putting us through the misery of having to live as we naturally do in this world.

    Now, no one should think that our Heavenly Father binding all of mankind over to disobedience let us off the hook for sin. For there would be no true need for a Savoir if everyone was blameless, and we do indeed bring more hardships down upon ourselves than would be absolutely necessary to accomplish our Heavenly Father’s purposes by sinning.

    Yes, it sure seems much more likely that our Heavenly Father created most (if not all) of us to be the objects of His scorn—certainly not His affections, and the purpose for this is to give us opportunities to give Him the full benefit of our considerable doubts, as well as opportunities to hope that He is telling the truth when He promises to more than make up for the suffering we were subjected to in this world {Romans 8:18-21}. Be assured that it is in this hope that we are saved from spending all of eternity separated from Him {Romans 8:22-25}.

    Be assured that I believe that you are well aware of most (if not all) of that, and it is has been for the benefit of others, who will be guided to read want was placed into written form on this site, that I have went into so much detail. Again, thank you for being so understanding toward me, and for wanting our Heavenly Father’s Light shine so brightly through you.

  38. Hi Keith and Jerry.

    Yes I see what you mean about Free-Will being limited / unlimited from the different perspectives. Its not wrong to claim it is 'unlimited' from our perspective, its just an incomplete description. Just like most most scientific models...

    Regarding God's intervention, I think some of the disparity of views can be solved as I mentioned earlier, by recognising God's constant intimate involvement, and instead discussing his 'deliberate obvious deviations' from 'natural law' (i.e. the way He usually does things, for our benefit in its consistency). So I can agree with Jerry that God does infinitely more than we can ask or imagine, without our asking for it, and not necessarily because his will is threatened (I don't think it is ever threatened in one situation more than another) but rather TO bring about his will. But I can also agree with No Doubt, that God does not routinely break his 'natural law' in an obvious fashion - when He does, it is always a deliberate decision to use such obvious 'supernatural' means rather than subtle 'natural' means.

    At risk of stating the obvious, I would argue that He simply does this whenever He WANTS people to notice the 'supernatural' - for varied reasons, one of which is to strengthen the faith and love and joy of those Saints who were praying for his intervention.

    No Doubt raises an interesting point about faith, which I know Dan has quoted C.S. Lewis on before... Could it be that God has deliberately chosen to remain obscure enough that those who WANT to reject Christ can do so (without committing total intellectual suicide), while those who WANT to find Him can also easily do so? That's a fine balance to maintain!

  39. Thank you for the encouragement, my dear Joshua. I think your question about our Heavenly Father making it easy for both those who do not want to find Him and those who do is answered by: We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”—the things God has prepared for those who love him—these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. {1 Corinthians 2:6-16 NIV}

    In other words, those who want to stick with scientific means of proving the existence of our Heavenly Father will not find Him while those who are willing to accept the help of His Holy Spirit will find Him, along with more than they can even start to naturally comprehend—let alone explain in scientific terms.

    That passage is also critical for countering arguments against the absolute truth of the matter truly being that everyone in the Christian community should be of the same mind—the mind of Christ, to be exact. For unless one is willing to concede that our Heavenly Father may have a split personality, there is no reason for why there are so many different denominations with their varied beliefs, other than far too many have relied upon their own understanding instead of humbly accepting what our Heavenly Father actually says is absolutely true.

    To be clear, since I appeared to switch from Christ Jesus to our Heavenly Father in the last paragraph, is that one of the things our Heavenly Father personally revealed while He was making Himself real to me (as opposed to just being the main character in an ancient book) is that He and His only begotten Son, who truly is the Lord Jesus Christ, and His Holy Spirit truly are One and the same with each other, and that this is something He wants me to emphasize as part of my calling to introduce Him to those who merely have a semblance of knowledge about Him. For far too many have been led to believe as I was, which is to be literally afraid of Him (as the Lord God Almighty) and to take comfort in the grace that can be found in Christ Jesus when Christ Jesus is the Lord God Almighty (just in a different form) and that the wrath that will be poured out upon the wicked, come Judgment Day, is Christ Jesus’ wrath, as well as the wrath of our Heavenly Father and His Holy Spirit—just as the grace that can be found in Christ Jesus is the grace of our Heavenly Father and His Holy Spirit.

  40. Yes that's an excellent verse to demonstrate the point Jerry! Thanks for that.

    I'm hoping to write a post on Christian unity at some point, because I am very passionate about it. So much damage has been done by false concepts of 'unity' - both by elevating doctrinal 'sameness', and by elevating spiritual 'tolerance'. Instead, I am persuaded by the Scriptures that real unity is about spiritual 'sameness' and doctrinal 'tolerance'.

  41. Whether we believe in limited or full hands on intervention, free-will, predestination or both, there is one thing I believe we can agree on. There is only one God and that he loves us so much that he was willing to provide himself, a sin offering, so we may tabernacle with him forever.

    Presently his Spirit draws us toward him and leads us into all truth. His Word is his testimony and our salvation, whether it is on paper or in the flesh. His Creation testifies of his Glory and Power. We need to look to all these things, the full counsel of God in order to be edified.

    The beautiful thing about our discussion is that we see God in all things, his Word, His Creation, from the Macro to Micro level and give him the Glory and Praise. Also,regardless of our beliefs, we are able to discuss them and continue to be civil, remembering we are our brothers and sisters in the Messiah.

    Finally, there is only one truth. If we are in disagreement, then one or all of us are wrong. We must pray for one another to cast down traditional thought, teachings and all earthly denominational barriers and get back to the scriptures alone for our doctrine. Then and only then can we be led into the whole truth by God's Spirit and finally come together in complete agreement. If we fail to do that, then God will have to explain it to us on the way up. :-)

    Beruch attah Y'shua B'shem Adonai Ad bi'at ha-go'el,
    Shalom Aleichem,

  42. I look forward to reading your piece on Christian unity, my dear Joshua, and I am excited to hear about this being of such importance to you. For it makes it too easy for doubters to doubt when so many different versions of our Heavenly Father's absolute truth exists. No, this is really not something that "Christians" should agree to disagree upon. For as Keith so eloquently stated, when we are in disagreement, one or all of us are wrong, and this should be taken quite seriously by anyone who is serious about truly being one of our Heavenly Father's children by faith. After all, would it not make you think that neither one of us really knew our dad if my little brother insisted that he served as a U.S. Marine in the Pacific Theater while I insisted that he landed on Omaha Beach as part of the second wave of the U.S. Army's 1st Infantry Division coming ashore on D-Day during WWII?

    In regards to doctrine, our Heavenly Father has made it clear to me that we should be careful to not throw the baby out with the bathwater (so to speak). For the use of doctrine is ordained by Him to serve as an added help to those who do not know Him yet and so-called babes in Christ, but the problem is that almost all of the doctrines of almost all of the major Christian denominations are based (in one way or another) upon the premise that sin was never meant to enter into this world. A good example of this is the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ being generally presented as being just about saving us from having to pay for our own sins when the true Message of the Cross is much more about our Heavenly Father demonstrating just how worthy He is to receive all of our love and trust. For He could have simply issued a general pardon if His only concern was a way to “legally” save us from having to serve out a sentence of eternal damnation.

  43. Hi Jerry, sorry for the late reply.

    I believe in absolute truth, and I believe that God wants all Christians to be excited about discovering it, and to make efforts to attain to it. However I disagree that doctrine per se is the main aspect of this truth, or that unity requires agreement in doctrine. Rather the incarnation of Christ and the character of God are the main aspects of truth. And unity is commanded DESPITE acknowledgement of differences of opinion regarding doctrine. Unity is commanded on the basis of shared spirit and love, so these two things must also be possible WITHOUT exact shared doctrine. What ultimately matters is the love of your heart, something the Holy Spirit works within us, and something which often escapes notice or full mental awareness. In other words, it is possible for two people to love the same things, without being aware of it, and with different mental constructs about what the THINK they love (and why, how, etc). This matters more to God than right doctrine, although we should never stop pursuing perfect doctrine.

    Regarding 'knowing' God in the same way as knowing our physical father, I don't think this is a fair comparison. If our father had disappeared and left only a couple of letters about where he had gone, and we disagreed over our interpretation of these letters, this would be a more fair comparison. What would matter then would not be our exact conclusion, but how well we knew the character of our father, and how well this informed our interpretation of his letters - people would rely on this rather than exact factual details, to determine if we really knew him.

    Regarding the idea that sin was never meant to enter the world - we have to be so careful with our language! What does 'meant to' mean? God planned it and it is a necessary part of the process that enables him to fully express Himself. But most people will think you mean that God condones sin, or doesn't care about the destruction it causes, or that because of God's hand it it humanity can't merit any just punishment - all of which are false. I fully agree with what you said about the primary purpose of the Cross though - it is more of a demonstration than a requirement God is bound to meet. Likewise with all he does!

  44. It is good to hear from you again, my dear Joshua. You touched upon a critical point in your last reply. For the absolute truth of the matter truly is that our Heavenly Father has not disappeared and only left us with a book about Himself that is subject to our interpretations. For He is just as much in this world at this time as He ever has been, and it is on account of this that all of us can have the exact same understanding about everything.

    The trouble is that we often do not want to humbly accept what our Heavenly Father actually says is absolutely true for a myriad of reasons, and He allows this in order to show just how immeasurable His grace truly is. Nonetheless, there comes a time when a person no longer has the option of believing what they want to, which depends upon what our Heavenly Father wants to accomplish in and through them.

    In regards to doctrine, the closer someone wants to draw near to our Heavenly Father, the more doctrine ceases to become a bunch of rules, such as in a good marriage between a husband and a wife. For there are certain things that a good wife knows that her husband wants from her, and she tries to do them out of love instead of just because she has to in order to avoid upsetting him. Of course, it works the other way in a good marriage, but our Heavenly Father is under no obligation to do as we would have Him to. In fact, we would do well to always want His will to be done. For He truly is perfect in all of His most awesome ways while we are not.

  45. Hi Jerry.
    I'm struggling to understand what you mean by 'doctrine' and 'unity'! Maybe you agree with me, but I get the sense you don't. Let me clarify what I mean in case its helpful :)

    Doctrine is a set of beliefs about reality (including God). It can branch into strict knowledge (i.e. mathematics), into descriptive knowledge (i.e. this is what an angel is, this is what happened during the creation events in Genesis, this is how God is sovereign), and into relational knowledge (this is what God is like, this is what I should do now, etc). Christians rely on God to bring them this knowledge, and he has multiple methods for this (including Scripture and direct revelation).

    Three points that make unity a separate idea to doctrinal 'sameness'. Firstly, relational knowledge is of primary importance, and forms an intimate part of saving faith (unlike most other doctrines, although one could argue that a limited amount is required for saving faith). Unfortunately it is associated with emotional responses and desires more so than other kinds of doctrine, and is also the least clearly defined (as characters and relationships are dynamic and complex) - indeed many think that defining them perfectly would deny a fundamental aspect of their nature, which is the relativistic and dynamic aspect. In other words, of primary importance is a type of doctrine which is difficult to define and is largely about emotional responses rather than specific thoughts. All Christians are commanded to love eachother and have unity - in other words, if they are united in a small set of doctrines (most of which are relational and NOT specific mental thoughts), it doesn't matter about other doctrines, we are supposed to have unity and love. That makes no sense if unity was the same as having identical doctrine.

    Second, although there is a technical possibility that God can lead two individuals to identical doctrine in every way, this is practically impossible, and an expectation of it encourages sin and division. God has NOT revealed the absolute fullness of his goodness to every person in a way that they can immediately grasp. He has chosen to remain obscure to a degree in this life (that's what it means to have evil and sin still existing, and its why we need faith). He gives what is necessary for us to know ENOUGH and love ENOUGH to be happy in Him, to be accountable to Him, and to fulfill his purposes. But not as much as it will be in heaven. I can accept the possibility of identical doctrine in heaven, but not on earth.

    Third, in a disagreement how are we to decide who is right or wrong? Inevitably both sides will have to admit they have at least SOME degree of sin or insubmission in their mindset (even the most holy of saints), and some degree of distance from intimate contact with the Holy Spirit - which removes any authority for them to say 'we should all agree with my doctrine, and not with yours'.

    I believe God wants us to love, look forward to, and pursue heavenly realities (such as healing, holiness, perfect doctrine), but to not stress out that he has ordained them to be inaccessible for now. We should also not place any individual pursuit above the others. Our pursuit of perfect doctrine should not inhibit our pursuit of unity or love. And vice versa! Instead, both pursuits should enhance eachother - as we humbly consider the insights God has given our brothers and sisters in Christ, loving eachother and being united in our loves and pursuits (even when their doctrines disagree with our own), we can grow in doctrine together. I believe this is a far greater witness to God than having identical doctrine - what kind of God enables such organic and powerful love to persist in the face of such important disagreements?

  46. Thanks for getting back to me again, my dear Joshua. For it is written: The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. {1 Corinthians 2:14-16 NIV}

    Now, there are different stages of spiritual maturity, but even so-called “babes in Christ” should be able to recognize what is actually coming from our Heavenly Father and what is not—even if they do not fully understand it at the time. The presenting of sound/correct doctrine by His chosen servants from among us is meant to help with our understanding, and there are many doctrines that actually come from demons—certainly not our Heavenly Father, which should be done away with.

    Alas, the absolute truth of the matter truly is that almost all of the doctrines of almost all of the major Christian denominations are based (in one way or another) upon the false premise that sin was never meant to enter into this world, which portrays our Heavenly Father as being reactive instead of proactive. In effect, these doctrines help to lead to the belief that our Heavenly Father’s perfect plan went terribly awry in the Garden of Eden, and that He has been working to clean up the mess ever since. After all, has it not been preached far and wide that Christ Jesus HAD to die upon that cruel, cruel Roman cross at Calvary in order to save us from our sins instead of it being something that He wanted to do in order to prove just how much He has always loved us?

    Aside from being quite insulting to our Heavenly Father, does that not make spending all of eternity with Him in His Kingdom of Heaven as an heir to all that is His in glory far less secure—regardless of how much faith one may want to have in Him? For if it was possible for things to go terribly wrong before, who can say for sure that it could not happy again? Certainly not our Creator! For if it is indeed true that things went terribly wrong before, it must be that He either did not see it coming or could not do anything to prevent it from happening in the first place, and if that is indeed true, it must also be true that He will not be able to see what will go wrong again beforehand, nor be able to do anything to prevent it from happening in the first place.

    Would that not be something that the devil and his demons want us to believe? I think it would be. For it is their work to exploit our natural weaknesses against sin, and it is quite natural for us to want to believe that our Heavenly Father needs His children by faith to make a difference so that things will never go wrong again.

    Be assured that the devil and his demons also want us to believe that true like-mindedness is an impossibility, which is something that far too many in the Christian community are perfectly willing to accept. For that leaves them free to believe as they like.

  47. I agree with all you say about sin and God's intentions for it. But it is important to draw a distinction - good and evil both come from God and express his character, but they do it in different ways. God is both good and holy and graceful and faithful (etc) as we know well, but He is more than simply not-evil. he is ANTI-evil. He is actively opposed to unfaithfulness, for example. Any expression of His character is incomplete without expressing this part of his character also - which requires the existence of unfaithfulness for it to make any sense. Thus 'good' and 'evil' are different in their display.

    Regarding like-mindedness - I did not say that true likemindedness is impossible. I said identical doctrine is impossible. I believe the scripture teaches these are quite different. I also did not say they will always be impossible or that we should not pursue them, or that God does not work toward them in a limited sense. As a comparison, I believe full perpetual healing is impossible on earth, but that we should pursue it because it WILL be real in heaven, and God gives us glimpses on earth. Likewise with true doctrine. Sure, as we all grow in our 'perfection' in Christ we will agree more an more on doctrine (I don't think this is taught in scripture, but it makes sense to me). But that will never be complete on earth. And FAR before that occurs (and more importantly) comes real 'like mindedness' and love and spiritual unity.

    I'm curious as to how you see true doctrinal sameness actually developing? I mean practically, in concrete examples, given the reality of the world and the Holy Spirit and our ongoing sinfulness. For example, how would you decide in a practical example, that you were wrong in one agreement but right in another? And what makes you sure your decision is the right one? Or what makes you sure that the process will lead to doctrinal sameness, and not be hijacked by our own sin or immaturity or by another persons sin?

    Obviously no one should feel 'free' to believe as they like. We are bound to believe GOD, which means we are bound to seek his words and seek to understand them fully. We also have no need to despair, because the Holy Spirit helps us in our weaknesses. Not only will he be gracious in our doctrinal deficiencies, he will actually help us (in a limited sense) grow more in true doctrine. We also have no need to sit in apathy, waiting for God to act - we must seek God's voice (primarily in Scripture), but also work to minimise any quenching of the Holy spirit that may occur in our lives due to sin, business, etc. But the fact remains that, just like perfect holiness, perfect doctrine will only occur in heaven. In the meantime, love and unity is expected in the absence of both perfect holiness and perfect doctrinal sameness.

  48. Thank you for getting back to me again, my dear Joshua. Please forgive me for being rather simple-minded about likemindedness, but I truly believe that nothing is impossible for our Heavenly Father to accomplish—regardless of whether in this world or in the world to come.

    When it comes to a difference in doctrine that encompasses more than merely a different way of saying the same thing between two very sincere believers in our Heavenly Father, which is not the same as being a sincere believer in the religious traditions one has come to honor, our Heavenly Father will be relentless in His efforts to convince the one in the wrong that they are in the wrong and lead them to fully accept what He actually says is absolutely true about the matter while easing any doubts of the one in the right. Well, at least that is what He has done for me. For when I have been in the wrong about something, His explanations have consumed my mind—even while I sleep, and it is often during the time between when I wake up and actually get out of bed that it becomes the most clear in my mind. This also applies to when He has wanted me to be of added help to someone in the wrong, with the information being about what to say to help them to fully accept what He wants them to know and understand about a particular matter (or maybe many matters).

    A good example of what I am trying to convey is that I used to be of the opinion that the practice of infant water baptism (or baby sprinkling) should be completely abandoned because of it having nothing to do with making the child a member of our Heavenly Father’s church—let alone the salvation of their soul. I cannot remember just how long it took, but I finally came to accept that there is nothing wrong with the practice as long as the ceremony is only held as a matter of tradition.

    In all fairness to my initial stance, even holding infant water baptism ceremonies as a matter of tradition offers opportunities for abuse. For it is quite natural for some parents to think more highly of themselves than they should for wanting their children to be sprinkled with sanctified water before the eyes of the church congregation as a symbol of their desire for their child to belong to our Heavenly Father, and some pastors and deacons would undoubtedly want only members of their own congregation in good standing to be eligible for their babies to be sprinkled, with good standing being based upon how often they attended church services and how much they tithed. In answer to my concerns, our Heavenly Father reminded me of the absolute truth of the matter truly being that giving us enough rope to hang ourselves in order to make it abundantly clear that there is nothing good about any of us apart from Him is an important part of the plan that He set in motion long before He created Adam and Eve, and leaving room for self-righteousness and abuse of religious power helps to form a good noose.

    I have been given another book to publish, and I would greatly appreciate what you (and anyone else, who comes across this) thinks about it. THE GOD BOX is a very short book of only around eight pages in length, and it is about four things to our Heavenly Father that no Christian doctrine should contradict in any way. It is available on the Amazon Kindle platform for $1.00, and it can be read for free at:

    1. Hi there Jerry :)

      I read 'the God Box'. I like the concept - we may not know every detail of the content of the box, but we can talk about its 'limits' because God Himself has told us! However, even the limits are not 'hard lines' as we are lead to believe. There are in-depth Scriptural arguments for various ways in which God can be 'all powerful' / 'all knowing' / 'all present', some of which are mutually exclusive. Not to mention the huge subjectivity regarding what God's 'perfection' actually is. So we can talk about the concepts, and know that there are boundaries, but the exact line is still blurred to our eyes. Its rather like quantum physics actually - we can't define the exact location of an electron in its orbit, but we can talk about its general characteristics, and where its most likely to be. And such 'fuzzy' descriptions are still useful and practical when we discuss the implications of an electron's orbit, or of God's nature.

      I'm interested in your approach to infant baptism. Obviously we don't agree with e.g. Catholics that baptism adds an eternal mark / character / change to your soul, destining you for sanctification and salvation. So I don't see the point in baptizing those who have yet to be born again. But I'm open to the idea of allowing it for the sake of tradition... might need a little more persuading though! Must talk more about it.

    2. Regarding unity (again). I really admire your sincerity and faith in God's ability to do whatever He wants. I have heard similar sentiment from those who argue that God always wants to heal every sick Christian, and that illness is always the result of sin or some spiritual lack within us. Or that God wants all people to speak in tongues. Or to be happy all the time. Or to be perfectly holy without sin. But while the underlying sentiment is admirable, I think the beliefs are wrong and anti-scriptural, and potentially very damaging. Regarding unity, I have friends who have been told to break fellowship with me or else leave their church, on the basis that I disagree with the church's doctrine (on what I consider minor points), and we discuss my beliefs when we are together. This is a terrible witness and is offensive, but is an outcome of a similar 'doctrinal sameness' concept of unity (though I'm sure you would never do this yourself!).

      Scripture teaches that God does NOT actually want these things in absolute perfection here and now in this life, when all his desires are considered together. Otherwise, we would HAVE them - nothing can stop God's plans. But sin, evil, suffering, and error / disagreements / uncertainty are REQUIRED in this life - Universalists / Calvinists / Arminianists / Open Theists all argue about why (to allow free will, diversity of character development, glory to God), but they all admit this fact. Obviously God can desire it in certain ways, and make steps towards it now, and expect the same from us - but it is not yet here because God is not willing to take the required steps to make it here NOW. When all is considered, God doesn't actually want it in fullness NOW. Our experience confirms this nicely, and while experience shouldn't over-ride Scripture in informing our theology, it can certainly prompt us to re-consider our current interpretation of Scripture itself.

      Another thing - you yourself have admitted to being corrected in faulty beliefs (as have I). Did you believe you were faulty prior to being corrected? Probably not - in which case my belief that I am right now is not a reliable test of whether I am actually right. Sincerely believed falsehoods are common in ALL believers, so even if one of us obtained perfect doctrine, unity (on the basis of doctrinal sameness) would be impossible. Could you (or I) be wrong currently about your belief of doctrinal sameness - and if so, can we really expect God to make every effort to correct this mistake right NOW? I think God does whatever is necessary for our good, which sometimes includes illness and sin and even doctrinal error. IF God were to correct errors, I'd like to think discussions like this were helpful, however :) Which is why we have them.

      What God wants is not perfect holiness / health / doctrine / faith / love, but ECHOs of these eternal values, which have seeded in our lives, and which are ROBUST in the face of ongoing sin / illness / error / uncertainty / etc. If the church requires perfection right now in order to present a united loving front for Christ, it is a shame and a loss.

  49. (Part 1 of 3) Thanks for getting back to me again, my dear Joshua. I think we may be able to kill two birds with one stone (so to speak) in regards to understanding the nature of our Heavenly Father and unity (or uniformity) among His children by faith. For it is through Him still actually speaking to us, with His Holy Scriptures being given to serve as written confirmation of what He actually says is absolutely true, that someone born and raised in Outer Mongolia (without any access to books, radio, television, etc.) can look at things in the same way as someone born and raised with access to all of those sources of information, with both of them actually seeing things as our Heavenly Father does. In fact, it is entirely possible for someone to be able to quote every line of Scripture perfectly without ever actually reading them or hearing them being quoted by someone else from among us. For it would really be our Heavenly Father (albeit through one of His angels) quoting those lines of Scripture through that person—regardless of them being aware of it or not. The same applies to all knowledge and understanding about everything from the most simple to the most complex—both in the natural and spiritual realms, with it all depending upon what our Heavenly Father wants to accomplish in and through someone that determines when (and to what extent) He will allow and enable them to enter into His absolute truth, which covers both the natural and spiritual realms.

    It is in regards to being of the same mind—His mind, to be exact, that should be true of all of our Heavenly Father’s children by faith. Now, there are different levels of spiritual maturity, but even the so-called babes in Christ should be able to recognize what is actually coming from our Heavenly Father and what is not, even though they may not fully understand it at the time.

    Be assured that being of the same nature is different, and it is just plain cruel to teach/preach that all who are truly in Christ Jesus will act like Him in every way. For it helps to foster doubts and fears in the hearts of those, who are not yet quite sure about what having the witness of our Heavenly Father’s Holy Spirit living within and without them really means.

    Promoting the false notion that all truly in Christ Jesus should be of the same holy and righteous nature can also inflict great pain upon even those who do know what our Heavenly Father’s voice sounds like. I know this from all too painfully personal experience. For I now want to be more perfect in all of my ways than I ever did while preaching Hellfire and brimstone as the pastor of a small Southern Baptist church years ago, and it greaves me deeply whenever I fail to do as our Heavenly Father does. Hearing it said that all truly in Christ Jesus should be as holy and righteous as He is adds all the more to my pain.

  50. (Part 2 of 3) Thankfully, our Heavenly Father saw fit to provide written confirmation to help address such doubts and fears through the Apostle Paul. For it is written: We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. {Romans 7:14-8:4 NIV}

    On the other hand, woe be it unto all who would use that to justify unrighteous behavior. For everyone who has been allowed and enabled to know better through being given the mind of Christ Jesus should be as horrified by their failures at righteousness as the Apostle Paul was, but understanding that our Heavenly Father is more responsible for our actions than we are should be of great comfort to those who can accept it. By the way, please forgive me for seldom recognizing when I should shut up, but I have received the message.

    In summation, it would do us all well to understand that it is the same with our Heavenly Father allowing and enabling His children by faith to participate in His Diving nature while they are still a part of this world as it is with Him allowing and enabling them to have His mind, with it all depending upon what He wants to accomplish in and through each individual. There is a general difference, however. For He wants as many as will to want to truly have a very close and personal relationship with Him. Therefore, He is much more willing to allow and enable as many as will but want to accept it to have His mind while severely limiting participation in His Divine nature gives us more opportunities to give Him the full measurement of our considerable doubts, which gives Him more opportunities to receive a very special kind of love from us. For I would naturally consider it grossly unfair of Him to allow and enable you to always treat people in exactly the right way while I keep messing up relationships when neither one of us has a done a thing to prove ourselves worthy or unworthy of His favor. Subsequently, it would be made harder for me to want to love our Heavenly Father as much as I should, but on the other hand, it would be made easier for you to believe that you must have been doing pretty good on your own or He would not have bestowed such a great blessing upon you, which is what the devil and his demons would want you to believe.

  51. (Part 3 of 3) In regards to infant baptism, be assured that there is nothing wrong with observing the practice as a matter of tradition as long as it is made abundantly clear that it has nothing to do with making the child more acceptable to our Heavenly Father. However, since far too many parents would still want to believe that they are being more pleasing in His sight by having their child sprinkled than those who did not, along with far too many leaders of churches wanting to exploit the practice for power and profit, it would be better for the practice to be completely abandoned.

    Oh yeah, I was just reminded of your question about me being corrected about doctrinal beliefs, and since our Heavenly Father started making Himself real to me, it has been made hard for me to cling too tightly to something wrong. For He will place the matter in the forefront of my mind, and it will stay there, along with a very uneasy feeling—even while I am sleeping, until I want to fully accept what He actually says is absolutely true about it.

    Another very interesting thing (at least to me) about allowing and enabling me to see things as He does involves giving me multiple sides to an issue. For it is often said there are two sides to an argument, but the information He often provides to me is more like a diamond with multiple facets, which helps me to better understand where another is coming from when I am given an opportunity to address something.

    Alas, I still often fail to be as clear as I should be, which you-all here on this site already realize all too painfully well, I am sure. Thankfully, it is not up to me to convince anyone of anything, and it does give me comfort to know and understand that even what I mess up still contains nuggets of our Heavenly Father’s absolute truth. I would rather always make a perfect presentation, though. Woe is me.

  52. Hi Jerry, thankyou for the discussion. It has helped me to clarify my thoughts on unity. I actually agree with the sentiment you keep pushing, that God is fully able to bring about doctrinal correction and that he does this regularly. But I use this as a justification for my own belief, which I think does more justice to Scripture.

    1) God has NEVER given anyone full perfect doctrine all at once. Rather he works in steps to bring about growth in truth as He sees fit. He does not lie, but that does not mean the truth he reveals in time is not allowed to remain mixed with error in our minds. And again, believers are not given the ability to tell all truth from all error, or to feel comfort with one and discomfort with the other. This is evidenced by the fact that we develop NEW discomfort with wrong doctrines over time, and did not have it all at once upon conversion. Rather God gives us the ability to hear Him WHEN He calls us.

    2) A relationship with God does NOT require perfect doctrine, although it is facilitated by doctrine. God grants whatever is required in His timing. Likewise, true like mindedness in Scripture is NEVER referred to as relating to doctrine, but rather to attitudes / postures / desires and decisions about those desires. Likewise with having the 'mind of Christ'. Love is actually contrasted with having full doctrine. Unity (based on love, likemindedness, and being filled with the spirit) has no reasons to require full doctrinal sameness.

    3) In contrast to perfect doctrinal sameness, perfect holiness, and full health - unity is dealt with as a realistic expectation in this life. Sure it might be facilitated by doctrinal sameness, holiness, etc. But it is expected regardless. And, following the same vein of thought as above, God WILL or HAS granted whatever is required, so refusing unity on the basis of doctrinal differences alone is rebellion.

    4) Someone will argue about 'essential doctrines' (meaning things such as the deity of Christ, etc). I understand but would put a different spin on it. I think God is more interested in what the heart loves - he will provide the necessary doctrine / revelation to demonstrate his handiwork in the heart. So the 'essential doctrines' are not so much about a limited set of doctrines required for unity, as a limited set of heart attitudes and loves which are required for unity. You must love and trust Christ!

  53. Yes, I do believe that you are very close to defining the kind of likemindedness (unity) our Heavenly Father wants His children by faith to have, my dear Joshua, but claiming that likemindedness in Scripture never refers to doctrine causes me to pause a bit. For doctrine helps to define just who our Heavenly Father is and what He is all about, which all of His children by faith should know and understand—much in the same way as all good children should be able to give details about their own earthly parents when asked about them.

    I suppose it all depends upon what doctrine is to an individual, and the closer one is drawn into a truly personal relationship with our Heavenly Father, the more they should understand that what He considers to be doctrine is not meant as a set of rules. For it is meant to help the less spiritually-mature to discern between what is truly from Him and what is merely stuff made up by those who do not really know Him, with the aid of the devil and his demons.

    Hey, He just pointed to where you said basically the same thing in your fourth point! Be assured that I consider Him bringing us together as being a great blessing. If you have a personal site or two, I would sure love to find them.

    By the way, if you are interested in when our Heavenly Father started making Himself real to me in 1993, the last two crumbs/chapters of The Crackerhead Chronicles might prove interesting. I am in the process of uploading a new cover for the Amazon version, as well as trying to make it a little more palatable for the consumption of grammatical purists. I hope this will be accomplished sometime this weekend, but in any event, you (and everyone else) can read the book for free on FishHawk Droppings. The links below are to the last two crumbs.

  54. Jerry and Joshua,

    I like your conversation so far. However, there are a few items on which I would like clarification.

    First, Jerry said, " is just plain cruel to teach/preach that all who are truly in Christ Jesus will act like Him in every way. For it helps to foster doubts and fears in the hearts of those, who are not yet quite sure about what having the witness of our Heavenly Father’s Holy Spirit living within and without them really means."

    Are you saying that we don't have the capacity to emulate our Messiah in every aspect? If so, this is not true and not Biblical. If we fail to emulate, it is representative of our refusal to commit fully to God, not our ability. Just because we do not emulate Christ's nature fully doesn't mean we do not have the ability to do so through his Spirit, which is a part of us. Denying that, denies the potential power of the his Spirit.

    The Torah was given unto to follow. It is perfect. We are fully capable of following the Torah. However, it is through our ownselves by which we refuse to follow. Please expound if I misread your comment.

  55. Second, I read both your comments, a couple of times. I'm sure it was a mistake. However, you used baptism multiple times to explain or discribe three different events.

    As seen in the Scriptures, the three separate events are child dedication, the age of accountability (Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah) and baptism. They are totally different and should be performed.

    As with Yeshua, child dedication is done as a parents commitment to raise the child within the will of God.

    There is no scriptural support, but I can assure you that our Messiah went through Bar Mitzvah, the age of accountability to the Torah, even though it wasn't called that at that time.

    Baptism is a symbolic and public display of our desire to be obedient to the will of God, the Torah. This is when Yeshua was baptized by Yoḥanan as a transference from the Torah Sacrificial Obedience to the Messianic Torah Sacrificial Obedience.

    Again, all of these should be part of our lives.

    After all these years, I still don't understand gentile refusal to follow scripture and the Messiah's example just because there is a Jewish flavor to it.

    Please correct me if I misunderstood you.

  56. No doubt:
    I'm sure others will answer differently, but here's my answer :)

    We have the ability to follow the Torah in one sense, but not in another. Our natural abilities (along with the current activity of God's indwelling Holy Spirit) are necessary for our complete holiness, but not sufficient - if they were sufficient, we would be perfectly holy right now. Something else is required. It is certainly true that part of this is our cooperation and submission to God's Holy Spirit. But Scripture goes further than this, teaching that our cooperation is based on God's work on our character, which takes time and process in His hands. Therefore we can simultaneously affirm our responsibility and the necessity of trying, AND take comfort in God's sovereignty and turn to Him for help and power and understanding.

    Regarding baptism, I agree that child dedication and age of accountability and wonderful traditions. However they definitely take a secondary place to water baptism in the Scriptures. I would add that there are other 'baptisms' which are also more important - baptism in the Spirit and in the sufferings of Christ, for example. But none of these things identify what we were discussing - the practice of infant water baptism.

    With all these things there is an important balance to get right, which I think we can learn from the Jerusalem Council's letter to the Gentile churches in Acts. We must do EVERYTHING in our power to remove obstacles or distractions from Christ. Even the 'perfect' Torah can function as a distraction and obstacle, especially to the early Gentiles - hence 'why should we burden them with something we and our father's could not bear?' However, selectively applying rules / traditions can be useful in removing other distractions (e.g. pagan worship techniques) - hence 'obtain from drinking blood and sexual immorality'. The Torah is 'perfect' in that it reveals God's character to us, but Christ is more perfect - and even the Torah should be submissive to this purpose. Back to infant baptism, for many people this is a distraction from Christ and becomes a works-based salvation technique (e.g. Roman Catholicism). But I see no harm in allowing it as part of the dedication / age of accountability traditions IF they do not distract from Christ.

  57. Joshua,

    "But Scripture goes further than this, teaching that our cooperation is based on God's work on our character, which takes time and process in His hands"

    With the gift of God's Holy Spirit being the same upon everyone, the only difference is our level of Agape, committed love. As for it taking time, I'm sorry but that's our human side talking. There is no limit or time constraints to what God can do for us if we only submit to him fully. It could be instantaneous or take as long as we live. Again, it's all about our level of submission, not limits we place on the Spirit of God.

    As for Baptism, I must have misunderstood. I thought you and Jerry were discussing the our side of the equation, whereas the Baptism of the Spirit comes automatically from God when we submit and perform our first public act of obedience when we are baptized in the water/blood.

    As far as your comment concerning that none of this identifies with the practice of infant water baptism, it shows why the gentile side of the Body gets it wrong. If you read my comment thoroughly, you will find that I said that you are confusing the practices. I also went on to show you the differences. There is no scriptural basis for infant immersion. The only scriptural support for an infant is a parent/child dedication. Again, this was done with every Jew, IE. Samuel and Yeshua. The Scriptures are quite clear on this matter. Now are they required, the answer is no. However, that says more about the parents than anything else.

    "With all these things there is an important balance to get right, which I think we can learn from the Jerusalem Council's letter to the Gentile churches in Acts. We must do EVERYTHING in our power to remove obstacles or distractions from Christ."

    Why is it that gentiles always read things out of context? This is talking about salvation requirements, not doing away with the law. Yeshua, himself, said that not one yod nor one title shall in no ways pass from Torah or Nevi’im till all be fulfilled. Yeshua is the Torah, The Torah is Yeshua...Always has and always will be. We can not get around that. The ONLY DIFFERENCE is that now we have a permanent and perfect sacrifice to cover our sins. There are noted exceptions where Yeshua tells us that they were fulfilled IE: Kosher Mitzvah, but obviously not all. Until then, we follow the Torah (Yeshua).

    Please show me some scriptural support for saying Yeshua is more perfect. I know of the one most gentiles misquote and that is Hebrews 8:6 where they misinterpret the Greek word "kreittōn" as more perfect, when in reality, the word means more servicable or may I say more user friendly? Other than that, you need to enlighten me.

    I think it also funny how gentiles are so eager to point out the "so called" erroneous Judaic Traditions, that they miss the pagan traditions they hold so dearly as doctrine such as celebrating the Messiah's birth on the sun god birth and chasing Ishtar's celebration when celebrating the Pasach or Easter.

    Let me finish by saying that sometimes the written word comes across as curt or discourteous. This comment is not intended as such. Just trying to get my point across.

    1. No Doubt:

      Your comment certainly does come across as curt, not mainly to me but to all Gentiles. Christ doesn’t call us to have a ‘Jewish mindset’ - he calls us to be like Himself, who was very different to the ‘traditional Jew’ - enough that they hated and killed Him (along with Gentiles cooperation, to our shame). The Torah as an extremely valuable gift from God via the Jews - it reveals God, points us to Christ for even fuller revelation, and tells the story of redemptive history (putting Christ in context). I see value in understanding the ‘Jewish mindset’ because the Scriptures are mostly tailored to address Jews. But ultimately I want to know Christ’s mind, and mind He INTENDED Jews (and Gentiles) to have all along, but which sadly very few of us demonstrate with any power.

      I’m still writing my full reply regarding the Torah and how Christ ‘changes’ our relationship to it. Its a huge topic and very sensitive topic that I’ve studied a lot. Bear with me! In the meantime just a few comments about some other points you made.

      1) The gift of the Holy Spirit may be the same for everyone, but its effect on them certainly is not the same. This is taught in Scripture but is also evident throughout history and our lives. It is not true that the difference can be explained fully by ONLY addressing the difference in our agape love. This is the ‘final’ or ‘immediate’ cause, but as I said the effect of the Spirit is ultimately undergirding it.

      2) Stating that God desires to take time and process, is different to placing constraints on Him. He can do what He likes. Everyone admits that, for some reason, God DESIRES to take time and process - Arminianists would say it is to preserve free will and allow as much time for as many people to receive Him as possible. Calvinists say it is to glorify Himself in some other way. I say both - He desires to preserve free agency (subtly different to free will as I have discussed) AND He is bringing Himself glory.

      3) I find it sad to imagine anyone saying to anyone struggling hard with sin: “Look, its only because you haven’t submitted enough yet!" In fact, often those who are delivered from bondage immediately on conversion, are surprised at the lack of effort and submission they had to do. They definitely don't feel its because they were more 'submitted' to God. And often the those who struggle will end up much more humble and loving, and very useful in serving similar sinners in the future. Usually those who struggle more with certain sins have good reason to do so (past experiences, upbringing, lack of understanding, role models, cultural norms, etc) - this doesn't remove responsibility, it just makes it understandable and based on more than simple 'agape love' or 'submission'. In fact, a lot of these factors are determined by God, with full knowledge of the outcome. Are we really proud enough to say the only reason we don't struggle with than sin as much, is because we 'submit more' to God? Its not ‘simply’ a matter of more or less submission, its a lot more nuanced than that with many overlays.

    2. 4) I realise now what you were saying in your first post about baptism :) I think we agree - infant baptism is not found in Scripture, but other traditions are (the three you mentioned). Because I am open to other non-scriptural traditions (if they truly serve to focus us on Christ), I still want to discuss infant baptism. However, I do NOT believe it does anything to the soul as the Roman Catholics believe, or as you seem to (when done appropriately on a believing adult). This is a subtle belief that needs guarding against in ALL traditions - that they have some mystical power outside God's free grace and power, to 'earn' a step toward salvation.

      5) I’d like to see support for your view that spirit baptism occurs at water baptism. I think Scripture teaches that the Holy Spirit is at work on our hearts to lead us to conversion, at New Birth the Holy Spirit indwells us and fills us to a degree and we are converted into faith, after that the filling of the Spirit is a dynamic interplay between God’s sovereign power and our submission. Baptism in the spirit refers to any display of spiritual power - this can be without spiritual filling (i.e. Balaam) or with spiritual filling, and it can happen multiple times throughout life. I don’t think there’s any necessary relationship to water baptism, although an ideal sequence of events would be conversion leading to water baptism and spirit baptism as soon as possible (possibly together).

    3. Joshua,

      "Your comment certainly does come across as curt, not mainly to me but to all Gentiles."

      Now there's the reason why you have acted the way you have in the other post. I wish you would have referenced this post instead of blind siding me with your comments.

      The fact is that the Church consists of Jew and Gentile. If the Jew typically gets something wrong, then you and other Christians have no problem saying saying that it was the Jew that killed our savior. Yes, I accept that even though it was not me. However, when I make an innocent comment that the Gentile side misinterpretes something consistantly, you consider it curt. I'll leave it at that and let you and others evaluate it.

      "Christ doesn’t call us to have a ‘Jewish mindset’ - he calls us to be like Himself, who was very different to the ‘traditional Jew’ - enough that they hated and killed Him (along with Gentiles cooperation, to our shame)."

      Wrong, Wrong , Wrong. Y'shua himself said that he did not come to destroy the law but to fulfill it. Not one yot or title shall in no ways pass from the law or prophets till heaven and earth pass away.

      "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished" Matt 5:17

      "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets." Matt 7:12

      Paul also taught the Jewishness of our faith.

      "Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law. " Romans 3:31

      Paul does go on to tell us that certain parts of the Law was fulfilled as seen in

      "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes. " Romans 10:4

      Every time Y'shua confronted the Jewish leadership, it was not to tell them that Judaism is wrong, but their strict interpretation of it is wrong. Other than that, Christianity should have been a continuation of Judaism, not a new religion as it has grown into today.


    4. I do agree with your description of the Torah with one addition. It not only pointed to the need for the Messiah but also the show the futility of trying to go it alone.

      "The gift of the Holy Spirit may be the same for everyone, but its effect on them certainly is not the same."

      On the surface, this is true, but not because of the available power of God's Holy Spirit. It is our resistance to God guidance.

      "Stating that God desires to take time and process, is different to placing constraints on Him.

      Show me scriptural support for this. I can't find it.

      "I find it sad to imagine anyone saying to anyone struggling hard with sin: “Look, its only because you haven’t submitted enough yet!"

      The simple fact that the evidence of the Spirit being different in everyone shows you that the problem is in the person, not the Spirit. Why not be truthful with them?

      We agree on Infant Baptism.

      Even though it is the spirit that leads us to salvation, I believe that the indwelling or spirit baptism occurs at the water baptism as the following scriptures document.

      "And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. Acts 19:1-6

  58. (Part 1 of 2) Please forgive me for taking so long to get back to you, my dear Keith. Be assured that what I was trying to say before, is that it is just plain cruel to preach/teach (or even hint at) that all truly in Christ are fully changed into His likeness (in respect to character or nature) as soon as they are born again in Him.

    Belief in being given the nature of Christ Jesus as soon as one becomes born-again in Him is generally based upon the false premise that our Heavenly Father cannot be in the very presence of sin, which also applies to His only begotten Son, who truly is the Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit. Whereas, the absolute truth of the matter truly is that it all depends upon what our Heavenly Father wants to accomplish in and through each individual that determines just how much they will be transformed into His likeness while they are still a part of this world, which most certainly could be completely changed in a twinkling of an eye, but many are not changed to any significant degree until after they leave this world. For being given the nature of Christ Jesus is another gift from our Heavenly Father, which would be most beneficial to us all in countless ways, but it is not necessary to accomplish our Heavenly Father’s purposes.

    Now, in regards to us (as in all of mankind) having the natural capacity to be Christ-like in our own ways (and fully capable of following our Heavenly Father’s Commandments) let us not be deceived. For there is nothing good about any of us, apart from our Heavenly Father, and the true purpose of His Law is to make it abundantly clear to us all that we are completely incapable of following His Commandments in order to encourage as many as will to humbly accept that they are in desperate need of a Savior, and to keep wanting to have faith in His grace, in spite of it appearing in the eyes of this world that most (if not all) of us were created to be the objects of our Heavenly Father’s scorn—certainly not His affections.

    No, that is not what most want to hear, especially those, who want to believe that they are strong enough (in and of themselves) to prove that they are worthy of receiving our Creator’s favor, and His Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ just plain sounds too good to be true to the weak. Hence, the devil and his demons at work. For it is their job (so to speak) to exploit our natural desires and fears, which is also part of the plan our Heavenly Father set into motion long before He created this world and us to live in it as we naturally are. For woe be it unto all who would want to stand before Him, come Judgment Day, and be judged upon their own merits.

  59. (Part 2 of 2) In regards to infant water baptism, I fully agree with what Joshua so eloquently conveyed to you. Of course, I am probably just another very foolish Gentile. Since I do not know who my biological parents are, I cannot be absolutely sure about not having any Hebrew blood running through my veins, but even if I did, I would do well to want to be a child of the true promise given to Abraham, which includes all of the races of mankind {Galatians 3:1-29}.

    Please, do not take this as being condescending, my dear Keith, but when you start wanting to truly hear our Heavenly Father’s voice, which is not the same as Him speaking through His Holy Scriptures as one reads/studies them, you will stop wanting to say so much about the significance of the Torah. That is, unless you cannot accept what He actually says is absolutely true, which is quite contrary to most of what has been presented as being the truth in His name by far too many, for far too long.

    One of those untrue things is that a new believer will not receive the baptism of His Holy Spirit until after they have submitted to being baptized in water. For the absolute truth of the matter truly is that what the Apostle Peter was proclaiming, when it was being said through him, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” {Acts 2:38 NIV} is acceptance of the Spiritual change that is what being born-again in Christ Jesus is really all about, which most certainly does not require being baptized in water to effect. For His Holy Spirit has been with each and every one of us since conception, but it is not until we are born-again in Christ Jesus that we are made more and more acutely aware of His presence (both in the present and the past). This is part of being allowed and enabled to see things through His eyes, and since nothing looks the same to us afterward, it is as if we were born-again.

    Getting back to the significance of the Torah, be assured that it still has a very important part to play in our Heavenly Father’s plan. For we, now being under His grace, as part of the New Covenant, are still just as much also under His Law as those under His Law, as part of the Old Covenant, were also under His grace.

    The Torah/Law is most certainly not what everything is based upon, however. For this would be what our Heavenly Father has always wanted to accomplish in this world, which is for as many as will from among us to want to truly accept Him as being their own Heavenly Father and truly become one of His children by faith, which starts with (under the New Covenant) truly accepting Christ Jesus as being their own personal Lord and Savior, with all of this leading to truly having a very close and personal relationship with Him.

  60. Jerry,

    My response to your part 1 of 2 is:

    "He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God."

    The Greek word here, ginomai, translated as become, means, of miracles, to be performed, wrought, to come into existence, begin to be, receive being. This means that you have to power to become as Christ miraculously and instantly. However, it is our resistance to Spirit that hinders us.

    You can deny it all you want but your can't get any simpler than that my friend.

    Please, don't take this wrong and I say it out of love, agape love. But, one day, I am hopeful that you and I completely give ourselves over to the Spirit. Until that day, please don't blame God's Spirit, but yourself.

  61. Jerry,

    Response to Part 2 of 2

    Joshua and I agree on infant baptism. Therefore, you must agree with me. So what's your point?

    As for the foolish gentile, I am going to tell you the same thing I told Joshua. There is Jew and Gentile within the Church. If one does something, you dont point out that all do it, only those who do it. The fact that both of you took offense to that shows your immaturity. I'm sure when you get older, you will understand what I mean. Just because I point out something wrong, doesn't mean I am slamming you....just pointing out the facts.

    "Please, do not take this as being condescending, my dear Keith, but when you start wanting to truly hear our Heavenly Father’s voice, which is not the same as Him speaking through His Holy Scriptures as one reads/studies them, you will stop wanting to say so much about the significance of the Torah."

    I can honestly say that if you are rejecting your Jewish roots and you are hearing God's voice, your not listening.

    "One of those untrue things is that a new believer will not receive the baptism of His Holy Spirit until after they have submitted to being baptized in water.

    Scriptures don't lie my friend. Acts 19:1-6

    "Getting back to the significance of the Torah, be assured that it still has a very important part to play in our Heavenly Father’s plan. For we, now being under His grace, as part of the New Covenant, are still just as much also under His Law as those under His Law, as part of the Old Covenant, were also under His grace."

    I hope and pray that one day you will understand the concept of the Full Counsel of God. Y'shua even said that the Torah will not pass away until all be fulfilled. If you embraced your Jewish roots, then you would understand that Y'shua is the Torah. Y'shua and Paul even told us that the new covenant was not a new one to replace the old but to allow access through our dependence on God alone.

    "The Torah/Law is most certainly not what everything is based upon..."

    Sure it is! Our whole existence depends on the promises of the Torah which culminates in our Lord and Messiah, Y'shua. For you to deny that, you would have to rewrite the Gospel. To gain a more intimate relationship with God, you will have to understand or attempt to understand the scriptures from the beginning to the end. You can't just grab and choose which ones suits your theology.

    As I said before, you will have to understand by what is meant by the Full Counsel of God before you can begin to fully understand what God has in store for you.

    By your words and demeanor, I take it that your are somewhere in your twenties or thirties. By no means am I implying that you are immature in the faith and Timothy was young also.

    What I am saying is that you are going to have to break out of your youthful shell and start reading the original text and rely on the Spirit to lead you into all Truth. Y'shua gave us that promise in John 16:13.

    I know that you probably have gone through seminary or something like that but there is so much more than what your traditions and relatives lead you to believe. There is so much more to God than you are experiencing right now. I implore you to break down those walls that separate you from experiencing God fully. I encourage you to do it. Don't let others teach you, but only the scriptures and the Spirit leads you into all Truth.

    I know it's scary letting go of what you have been leaning on your entire life. However, I promise you that God that you have so much more to live for.

    If you need any help, please contact me. I am always more than willing to make time to mentor you. My email address if

    I know that I come across sometimes as mean, But once you mature, you will be able to discern the Spirit. I wait for that day. I alson know that if you are a child of God that I will meet both you and Joshua at the southern gate of paradise.

    God Bless and Shalom Aleichem!

  62. What say you, my dear Keith, in response to John 5:39-40 addressing your insistence that everything is based upon the Torah/Law instead upon our Heavenly Father and what He wants to accomplish? For it is written: You search and investigate and pore over the Scriptures diligently, because you suppose and trust that you have eternal life through them. And these (very Scriptures) testify about Me! And still you are not willing (but refuse) to come to Me, so that you might have life. {AMP} Be assured that the entire related passage is even more telling {John 5:31-47.

    Alas, you clearly have a great deal of knowledge about Orthodox (and even Messianic) Judaism, but of what value is this without truly having a very close and personal relationship with the One who knows everything about everything? Moreover, when you insist that everything is based upon the Torah/Law, are you not making it quite clear that you do not want to listen to what our Heavenly Father actually says (directly, and not just through His Holy Scriptures) is absolutely true? For those who truly listen to and humbly accept what He actually says is absolutely true know and understand that the purpose of His Law is to make it even more abundantly clear that we are all in need of a Savior—not as a means for us to save ourselves, nor even as a means for us to draw closer to our Heavenly Father through strict obedience {Romans 5:12-21; Hebrews 7:18-20}. After all, has not our Heavenly Father bound us all over to disobedience so that He could have mercy upon us all {Romans 11:32}?

  63. Jerry,

    I am actually overjoyed that you did not respond as you have previously, discerning my heart correctly and and my intent of my response to you.

    With that said, I ask you to reread my comments. I have never said that it is only about just the Torah. It is not only about just the Torah but it's common mission as our Lord and Savior Y'shua, Jesus Christ.

    In the same way that the Word of God is Y'shua, the Torah is Y'shua.

    Without knowing the Torah or the complete Word of God, it is impossible to have the close intimate relationship with God of which you are speaking.

    When this subject comes up with others, I am often reminded of the account of Cleopas and his friend walking with Y'shua on the road to Emmaus. Luke 24

    If you remember, they were downhearted because it was the third day after the crucifixion and they were worried about the redemption of Israel. Y'shua went on to tell them about himself using just the Torah and the prophets.

    Also, in John 5:39, Jesus says you study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me.

    Aren't the scriptures, that he is referencing, the Torah and Prophets?

    How can we proclaim the Gospel of the Lord without knowing the full and complete story?

    How can we expect to know him and have an intimate relationship with him without knowing all about him?

    Wouldn't our testimony be a whole lot better if you could reference the Torah and the prophets the way that Y'shua did on the road to Emmaus?

  64. I have waited a little over 36 hours after I first read your last comment, Keith, to make sure of where my initial thoughts were coming from. For my initial thoughts were pointing out that you were trying to be slick by complimenting me on having a better attitude and denying that you said something you clearly did. For in an earlier response to me saying, "The Torah/Law is most certainly not what everything is based upon...," you said, “Sure it is! Our whole existence depends on the promises of the Torah which culminates in our Lord and Messiah, Y'shua. For you to deny that, you would have to rewrite the Gospel. To gain a more intimate relationship with God, you will have to understand or attempt to understand the scriptures from the beginning to the end. You can't just grab and choose which ones suits your theology.”

    In all fairness, I am still not sure of your intent, but there is no mistaking the absolute truth of the matter truly being that you just don’t get it yet. For even if the point you are trying to make is shifted from everything being based upon our Heavenly Father’s Law in particular to everything being based upon His Holy Scriptures in general, the point remains basically the same. For the true Word of God is the Lord Jesus Christ—not the book that He Authored to serve as written confirmation of what He wants to personally reveal to us, on an individual basis and without exception.

    No, I have not been sent to declare that diligent study of our Heavenly Father’s Holy Scriptures is a huge waste of time. In fact, it has been given to me to make as clear as possible that His Holy Bible does indeed contain the sum-total of His Holy Scriptures, and that becoming as familiar with them as He will allow and enable one to be often makes it much, much easier for them to better understand what He actually says is absolutely true, with a big part of that being discerning between what comes from Him and what comes from the devil and his demons, when they are allowed to whisper sweet nothings into their ears. For what our Heavenly Father actually says is absolutely true will not contradict what He had placed into written form long ago for our benefit.

    Speaking of such, one of the most accepted demonic doctrines is that our Heavenly Father stopped seeking to speak directly to us after the canon of Scripture was closed. For even in cases where it can be accepted that our Heavenly Father sends His Holy Spirit to illuminate Scripture, everything is still based upon His Scriptures instead of solely upon Him, which you keep demonstrating a strong belief in.

    Please, be assured that there is a big difference between just knowing about our Heavenly Father and actually knowing Him, and all who believe that He only speaks to us through His Holy Scriptures merely have a semblance of knowledge about Him (at best). For His ways truly are much, much higher than our own, and only those, who have been allowed and enabled to see things as He does {1 Corinthians 2:14-16} can understand what He means by this or that in His Holy Scriptures, which involves actually hearing His voice (even if only in our thoughts) and even carrying on an actual conversation with Him at times (also in our thoughts).

    Alas, can you imagine the level of our Heavenly Father’s anguish as He hears millions of questions being directed at Him each and every day by those who have no expectation of Him actually answering them? I can. For this is one of the things we talk about, and it is much to my shame when I am more concerned about my comfort than His grief {Ecclesiastes 1:18}.

  65. Jerry,

    Honestly, I am tired of you and others questioning my intent, especially when my witness is clear of ever questioning yours or others intent.

    As for not getting it, we'll explain it to you on the way up.

    Have a good life my friend.

  66. Yes, my dear Keith, it most certainly will be as it should be in the end, and what we say in the meantime matters. For it is written: “The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” {Matthew 12:35-37 NAS}