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Why did God create the world knowing that it would fall into sin? (from a private conversation, by kind permission)


Victor Berrjod
Davey, why did God create the world knowing that it would fall into sin?

Because through fall and redemption man achieves a oneness and intimacy with God that no angel ever had. As Jesus put it “he who is forgiven much, loves much”.
But what about those who don’t believe?
If they don’t believe that they need forgiveness, then they won’t ask for it or believe that they can have it, and then neither will they love.
It’s definitely a better deal to believe.
I was about to say that if there was no Fall, then everybody could know God forever, but then I remembered Satan.
So why did God create Satan knowing that he would betray Him?
In the main people disbelieve because they choose to disbelieve, because they love something else, usually a sin, more than God and wish to continue in the rebellion against God, and the biggest rebellion against God is to disacknowledge Him entirely by unbelief.
Why did God make Satan or angels capable of falling? A precursor probably to human redemption. Angels are from the beginning supposed to minister to the heirs of salvation. Human believers will judge angels. If Satan was made fallible, it was also for our good.
When it says “all things work together for good to them that love God, to those that are called according to his promises” I take it literally.
Even what Satan determines for our ill becomes good, just as Joseph said to his brothers that they intended him harm, but God intended it for good.
Do you think I should share these explanations with a broader public on HTV?
Yes. They are important topics
And it’s a good answer.
Do you mind being quoted or shall I say “one friend asks”?
You can quote me.
Since you are open about answering, I can be open about asking.

A Psalm of Christ


Jesus is Alpha and Jesus is Omega
Jesus is Allah and Jesus is Jehovah

Our Jehovah-Jireh, our Ebenezer, our Emmanuel
He is the sacrifice and He the temple

King, Prophet, Priest, Advocate, Brother, Friend
Jesus is the Beginning and Jesus is the End

He is All in All, All things made by and for Him
There is none like Him nor beside nor before Him

Both our Creator and Kinsman Redeemer
Second Adam who came before the first

There is now other Name given, a Name above every Name
That at the Name of Jesus every knee shall bow.

And so He is Baruch Hashem Adonai to whom we bow
At head and knee, saying the Amidah.

The Vine, the Door, The Way, The Truth The Life,
Living Bread, Water of Life, and Wine cup, saying LaChaim

The Lion of the Tribe of Judah, and Lamb of God
In Him the lion lies next to the lamb.

Son of David, Branch of Jesse, Seed of Abraham
In whom all the nations of the earth are blessed

Offspring of Eve whose heel bruises the Serpent’s Head,
Son of True God with no Achilles’ heel

How lovely on the Mountain shall be the feet of Him
On the Mount of Olives when it cleaves in twain!

And the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Glory of Christ
As the waters cover the sea. For He is God.

Almighty, all-sufficient all-in-all God,
With the Father and the Holy Spirit, Blessed for ever.

Amen.

For richer, for poorer…


St Augustine's Commentary on THE SERMON ON THE...

Image by Fergal of Claddagh

God tries our faith in different ways. For one person, He wants to know, ‘will this person stay faithful to Me if he is poor?’ and for another the question is more ‘will this person stay faithful to Me if he is rich?’.

In this life, poverty isn’t really poverty and richness isn’t really richness. Both our riches and our poverty are transient and will pass away. They are not illusionary, but to the Christian they may as well be. Neither riches nor poverty, neither sickness nor health are issues to get carried away by. To be the least in the Kingdom of Heaven is to be rich beyond measure, and to be the richest in hell is to be poor beyond pity.

So seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.

Sinning as a Christian? Aren’t Christians beyond sinning now?


Cover of "Singin' in the Rain (Two-Disc S...

Sinning in the Reign?

In repentance, we define sin as a failure. This is a change of mind and heart (a ‘metanoia’ as repentance is in Greek) because before our repentance we would not have acknowledged our sins as failures before God. The same thoughts and activities would have been a normal part of our day and would not have bothered us.

Let us now take an instance of such failure, such as getting annoyed and saying a filthy word, because something bad has happened and before we could control ourselves out came the word. An unrepentant person will regard that as perfectly justifiable although in order to show breeding if they are in company they may show some embarrassment at it, or try not to do it, but if they were alone an unrepentant person wouldn’t give it a second thought.

A penitent person, a believer, even if he was alone and nobody heard his cuss word, will know that in that moment he failed.

There are now two opposite and equally wrong things the believer can then do with this failure.

The first is to bagatellize it and not earnestly strive to do better the next time, to make out that it was no sin and nothing to be upset about. This is a wrong approach and to use grace to justify poor discipleship is decried in scripture. However, there are those who think they have no sin any more as Christians precisely because they have unfortunately taught themselves to ignore these slip-ups, and forget that a mere cuss-word like that would be enough to damn someone for eternity even if they had no other sin, even if they only thought it and managed not even to say it, but it was there in their heads, tarnishing their holiness.

The second error is to get into such despair over the failure to be perfect when God has said “be ye perfect, as I am perfect” that they begin to doubt their salvation over it. They need to remember that Jesus warned the believers that the flesh is weak and that Paul warned us that we could not do as well as we wanted to. The flesh, or the world, or the devil may have provoked the sin of the cuss word, but it is mainly the whisperings of the devil in our ears that because we did that sin, and are not as good as we should be, that we are not God’s own and might as well give up.

Between these opposites is the correct attitude of acknowledging the sin and admitting it was a sin to God, asking for His forgiveness, knowing that it is given that very instant as promised, expressing gratitude to God for the forgiveness Jesus earned and granted for us, and getting back on the programme with more care to avoid that sin in the future, as we know that God wants better for us and from us than that.

So Camping was talking out of his ‘left behind’…


Portrait of Martin Luther

A bit of tree planting wouldn't have done him any harm...

I actually stopped the car at the time when Camping said it was going to happen so as not to cause an accident. I didn’t believe that anyone knew the time of the Rapture, and said as much to people who asked me – namely that the End will come when we don’t expect it to, as Jesus said. Nevertheless, one tries to be humble even in one’s non-dogmaticness about it, and so just in case Camping was correct, I did park up in Berlin with my daughter.

The time went by and we were both still there, as we expected to be. If I had been on my own I would have been worried that God had rejected me as not faithful enough, but as my daughter was still there I knew that it simply hadn’t happened, as she certainly would have gone. I was worried about being left there next to her clothes. But when six o clock came and went, we both just felt sad because we were hoping that our Saviour might have come and taking His own to be with him, but as it is we are still waiting.

Luther is accredited with saying (whether he said it or not I don’t know but it’s not in his writings, which is more than you can say about a lot of nastier things like his Antisemitism) that “If I knew the world would end tomorrow, I’d plant a tree today”. I hope that there are lots of new trees planted this month, and that they grow on anyway. I hope as well that Mr Camping will do his best to relieve the sufferings of those who gave away their possessions in anticipation of 21st May. It’s reported that Camping himself made 80 million dollars out of it. I don’t know whether this is true or a lie but the fact is that the accusation has been levelled in the press and now it’s up to Camping to explain himself, his finances, and make what amends he can.

Those who lived more godly lives in anticipation of 21st May, I hope they manage to keep up the new, higher standard, and don’t go back to old sloppy ways now that the heat is off. Especially me.

Why do Christians eat pork?


Pot bellied pig at Lisbon Zoo

Image via Wikipedia

I received a question on Christianity, which is a welcome change from receiving all linguistic questions, from YouTube viewer JInks232, who writes:

I viewed your “Basket case” video and an old question came to mind. How is that Christians eat pork despite the injunction in the bible against its consumption?

We traditional eat a nice ham for Easter Sunday. I am just curious and you seem to be knowledgeable.

Many thanks for that compliment, friend.

The fact is not all Christians eat pork – Seventh Day Adventists do not, I believe most Messianic Jews do not and there may well be others who do not. Nevertheless, the overwhelming majority of Gentile Christians do not observe the shunning of pork, even though hopefully most of us are aware that Jesus Christ himself certainly must have refused to eat it, by way of His living out the whole Law.

The placing of pigs, and with them a whole series of other animals, on the list of unclean animals takes place in the context of Levitical law. This comes from when Israel was called aside as a nation after arriving in Israel and the priesthood of the Levites was instituted.

When Noah lands the Ark after the Flood, God gives an instruction in Genesis 9 v 3, that he can eat any of the animals, just as before he could have eaten any of the plants.

There is mention in Genesis 7, before Noah goes into the Ark, of taking seven pairs of clean animals, one pair of unclean, but this has nothing to do with not eating them, as mankind was not allowed to eat animals at all until Genesis 9, after the Flood. So it presumably refers to some animals being regarded as sacrificial animals even before people consumed the animals.

Nothing more is said about some animals not being eaten or being regarded as dirty until we get to Levitical law. Especially Leviticus chapter 11. In the meantime we have had Abraham, Isaac and Jacob needing to be circumcised in order to be in the covenant, but no word about them shunning pork.

Some people talk about pork being regarded as unclean because of tapeworms. In this case people simply would have not kept pigs at all, and yet we know that pigs were kept in the region because of the Gadarean swine and also the fact that the prodigal son in Jesus’ parable ends up in a pigsty.

So circumcision was earlier by some generations in the Old Testament than dietary laws. Anyway Jesus kept all of the Levitical laws perfectly.

The Levitical law was a law for a special holy nation to be set aside to see if they could follow a set of precepts reflecting the perfection of God, and was there as Paul says as a schoolmaster, to lead us to the doctrine of grace. If righteousness comes by the law, he wrote, then Christ is dead in vain. Only Christ, out of all the men who sought to keep the law, actually managed it in thought, word and deed, despite being subjected to all temptations that man is prone to. This level of holiness is inconceivable to anyone who was normally conceived. The heritage from Adam through the male line precludes any such righteousness by works as we have a flesh that is in bondage to sin. So the only claim to such a righteousness we can have is for that man Jesus to have died on our behalf and to have offered himself as propitiation on the basis of simple belief in Him, repentance and calling on Him for salvation.

The experiment that the human can achieve righteousness by the law was done by God with the Jews as the chosen nation. It failed. Christ was the answer.

The experiment that the human can achieve political fairness and equality by communism was done by men with the Soviet peoples and some others as the chosen ones for that, but it was something God had never asked them to do. Still Christ is the answer.

Jesus Christ sent his disciples to the lost sheep of the house of Israel and ministered to Israel almost exclsuively. He did however respond in kindness to those coming who recognised that they were outside and ready to pick up crumbs that fell from the masters’ table.

Even after His resurrection, when at the end of Matthew’s Gospel He finally instructs the disciples to go into the whole world, not just Israel, He himself still gives one more chance to Israel. Look how the Acts of Apostles is structured, It is very important, these first few chapters tell a lot of how Gentiles started to be included.

in Acts 2 we have Pentecost, and the tongues enabling the message to go out into the whole world.

In Acts 3, we still have Peter addressing the men of Israel, though, and in Acts 4, and Stephen in Acts 7 addresses also the Jews.

Stephen the Martyr sees Christ in His resurrected state above the Jews to whom he offers the Gospel, and when they stone him it s like the final rejection. The garments already go to Saul, shortly to become Paul and the one who will be the apostle to the gentiles. Peter receives his vision in Acts 10 vv 14-15 where God commands him to eat of the unclean beasts, he says he has never eaten anything unclean, and God says “what God hath cleansed, that call not thou common”. The chapter goes on to show how now God has opened the way for the gentiles to join the covenant of Christ, and Paul to be the Apostle to them.

Later Paul deals with the issues of Jewish Christians trying to impose circumcision (as I already said above, a more core aspect of OT righteousness even than the dietary laws) on Christians and the Letter to Galatians is mainly all about that, and Christian liberty from Levitical laws. If a person sees righteousness as needing to involve one part of the law, such as circumcision, and not all by grace alone through faith, then they are a debtor to do the whole law.

So the New testament gives us every reason to understand that as we are gentiles and brought in to the grace of Christ, we are nevertheless not expected to behave like Jews. We should honour Jews and not do what the Church did to the Jews through so much of history, but we are not expected to be Jews. We are not converting to Judaism, we are experiencing an extension to pagans of the grace that at first belonged to the Jews. We are cleansed, our food is cleansed, and God is not calling is unclean. He washed us.

If we deny that washing by trying to obey works righteousness then we are outside the covenant of grace and back under the necessity to obey the whole law, because the Levitical law was not a loose leaf law, you didn’t pick or choose the things you liked. If you wanted access to the Holiest of Holies under the Levitical system, that’s how you did it. And the nation was a Theocracy, it wasn’t a secular state like today’s Israel.

We don’t have to become Jewish to by loved and included in a Saviour who was Jewish. We should certainly not be Anti-Semitic or offend Jews. I am not going to sit around without a yarmulka on if I go to a synagogue, nor am I going to sit around eating tasty food if someone in my team is eating only matzos at Passover. But that is by way of acknowledging the specialness of God’s special people, and not by way of saying that my salvation is incomplete if I don’t do these things. If I am working on a project even with Muslims then I will do them the courtesy of ensuring the pizza ordered for lunch has no pork, so how much more am I willing to accommodate the people of the Abrahamic Covenant.

Salvation is by grace, through faith, not of works, lest any man should boast. And even Abraham believed God, and it was that believing, not his act of circumcision, that was accounted to him as righteousness.

If a Christian doesn’t want to eat pork, he can shun pork. But if he thinks that he has earned any of his salvation by doing so, it would be better for him to wallow in a pigsty for a thousand years than get that wrong idea about what the following of Levitical law can do for him.

Atheist chats with theist. (Some Skype chat from this evening – experimental piece)


Blaise Pascal first explained his wager in Pennsylvania

In my search for new blogging and media techniques, tonight, while chatting to a radio friend Fat Steve and noticing that the chat had become a nice cameo piece, I got his permission as you will see to try the following:

[22:44:09] Fat Steve: Davey, I was reading a thread on Amazon and this guy on there reminded me of you

[22:44:54] David J. James: In what way? Read the rest of this entry

Something I’ve never talked about…


Non-citizen, diplomatic, travel document, and ...

Pieces of paper or emblems of state?

Yesterday I looked at the Postaday2011 blog – the ones who set the challenge to WordPress bloggers to post at least once every day in this year, to see what sort of topics they have been suggesting to help unblock bloggers’ writers block (something I don’t tend to suffer from, but then I don’t really ‘suffer from’ that much quality either, so maybe it comes as no surprise to you that this nonsense of mine flows fairly freely) and the topic for the day, or challenge for the day yesterday (and you don’t have to follow all the challenges, they are there to help get the creative juices flowing only – you can also give suggestions via the comments there or by mailing them to the blogging community – or at least those who took up the postaday2011 challenge) was to talk about something you’ve never talked about before.

Well, I still can’t think of anything that I’ve never told a living soul, but there are a couple of topics that I haven’t written or broadcast on youtube or spoken about on radio shows until now. So I’ll make those two things the topic of today.

One of them is very apposite, as it is 12th January, this being the birthday of my great grandma. I will not say her name as she was from a generation (Victorians) who did not bandy first names about much, but she was my mother’s mother’s mother. However, owing to a certain accident it was really her and great grandad who brought up my mother. But my mother and I used to call her “Grandma”.

She was like a second mother to me all through my childhood. She was always kind and faithful to Jesus, the epitome of a Christian, I can remember nothing bad about her. She died while I was still at school, but just going into the final year, so I was 17 years of age, and she lived in the granny annexe behind our house. It took me a long time to get over it, for my mother also, and I don’t think we will really be over it until we see her again in the next world.

I always think about her on the 12th of January as it was her birthday. She was 92 when she died, so if she were alive today she would be 122 today. She lives on in our hearts, and more importantly at the feet of her Saviour.

This is a private topic, and so I don’t refer to it much, but today I would like to do so.

A less wholesome memory, one that I haven’t spoken about or written about before but which also came into my mind since yesterday when I wrote that and I thought I would also write about it is that one of my already out-of-date passports (they cut the corners off and give them back when you get the next one as a keepsake of your travels) is very dirty. It has encrusted mud in it, most but not all of which I was able to clean out of it.

These days I only show my passport at hotels and airports as a means of identity proof but it is strictly speaking not needed and a number of other documents could serve, but in the days before Schengen you used to have to show your passport almost at every border crossing. And sometimes at border crossings you have to get out, and a passport of mine has been dropped accidently on the Latvian/Lithuanian border onto wet ground and got a bit muddy, but that is not the incident I am referring to.

In the incident I am referring to I was stopped in the mid 1990s for driving above the speed limit in a Polish town called Klodawa (it is known for its salt mine). I got into the usual discussion with the police person but this chap was unusually aggressive, and started to insult the British for our failure, in his eyes, to prevent Poland from being taken over by the Soviet Union. I have to admit that it was a personal failure on my part to fail to get Rooseveldt to listen to Churchill and to cajole Churchill into not capitulating too readily to Rooseveldt’s eagerness to withdraw American troops from any further hostile European engagement.  I shall have to try harder next time I’m there, and while I’m about it I shall try to get the Americans into the war before 1941, and maybe I’ll have a crack at showing Hitler the error of his ways so that war doesn’t start at all. That probably would involve me in going back to the Versailles Treaty Room and getting them to allow Germany more lenient terms, but then if I had done that then that Klodawa policeman would only have gone and blamed the British for the loss of Gdansk/Danzig.

Either way, he showed his rage against our Queen and country by pretending to spit on my passport, tear it and throw it in the mud. Now I couldn’t find any of his spittle or other saliva/mucus-based products in the passport afterwards, nor any actual tears, but it certainly had a lot of mud on it from where he flung it into the mud puddle.

I have a theory that he was intending to only pretend to throw it just like he pretended to spit and tear it, but got a bit carried away and it actually left his hand without him really intending it to.

If he was astonished he didn’t show it, although I might have missed that as I ducked down to retrieve my document. But he simply walked off after that and there was no fine, so I assume he was cutting his losses.

I didn’t think to complain at the time, but people who I have told about it since have said that it could have raised a lot of a media stink and even a diplomatic incident, that it’s actually a serious matter what he did to my passport, an insult and offense against the state.

But I thought then as I think now, that far too much is made of these silly pieces of paper anyway, and that the real insult and offense is that depending on where you are born various states can limit your freedom to travel through this world that you were born into, and which belongs to the One who made you. And so I was just happy to have avoided the fine.

And that’s probably also the main reason why I haven’t really spoken about it.

 

 

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