Second entry in two days. Gotta keep up with Dave.
I was put in a really good mood last night. I think it’s because some things that I believe intellectually are proving to be true experientially. Like, everything I’ve been learning about how God initiates and stuff like that.
Another thing that really encouraged me was the realization that Christians honestly are different from the world. I don’t know. Jesus said that how Christians are with each other will be a witness to the world. But like, I don’t know, I hang out with Christians so much, and we’re such goobers (at least the ones I know) that it’s hard to believe the way we are could show anything encouraging to the world. But, it was shown to me that there really is a difference. It was shocking. And incredibly encouraging.
So I really believe that a critical aspect of Christianity is humility. I a was reading a secular commentary once who mentioned that the best aspect of religion is humility. But anyway, it’s a critical part of Christianity. And I really feel that when you lose that, you distort the faith in a way that’s terrible. I really feel like those people who say stuff like “God hates gays”, or “sinners burn in hell” or that kill abortion doctors have this self-righteousness that is simply wrong and they are pretty much idiots.
Someone asked me how, if humility is important, Christians can insist on believing that they have the sole truth, and deny that anyone else is “right”. But, I don’t know, I was thinking about it, and maybe it’s not totally compelling, but it makes sense to me. Just, a special thing about Christianity is that it’s one of the only (if not the only) religion that doesn’t involve someone discovering something.
What I mean is this. I just think that it’s arrogant to believe that finite man could be able to figure out anything significant about an infinite God, if one exists, on his own. That just doesn’t make sense to me. And Christianity affirms this. The only thing we could know about God is what He tells us. And that’s what Jesus is. Jesus is the word of God. All we claim to know about God is what He tells us.
That makes sense to me. A lot of religions involve someone special achieving enlightenment or something like that. And to me, that’s absurd, in the literal sense of the word, that the finite could grasp the infinite on its own. And that’s what many religions claim. And that’s inconsistent with humility (in my view) and logically difficult to accept.
So you may not buy it, but I feel that Christianity is consistent with humility. Despite making claims to being the sole truth. Much more so than most other religions, and more so than secularists, who essentially believe that they, finite men, can determine what’s objectively true. It’s humble because it recognizes that we could only know about the infinite what the infinite tells us.
Uh, just some random things on my mind.
So, I’ve been going to Perspectives. I’m hesitant to write about it because I feel like everyone and their goat has been to it already so I’m way behind on things. But whatever.
Anyway, the first class was fascinating. The biggest thing that hit me was just the most interesting interpretation of the Tower of Babel story I had ever heard. Just, they said that the men wanting to build a tower was an act of rebellion. That they could make a name for themselves. But also, interestingly, that it was an act of not trusting God.
God had flooded the earth before, but promised never to do that again. This interpretation views the building of the Tower of Babel as not believing the promise. The tower is so they can survive any flood. And supposedly, the materials they used are waterproof and stuff like that.
Anyway, even more interesting, and the crux of it, is that what God ends up doing is an act of mercy, as much as it is an act of judgment. What God sees is that if the men are united, “there is nothing they can’t do.” The thing is, they’re united against God. In sending them everywhere and confusing their tongues, He prevents them from being united against Him. So it’s an act of mercy. That’s just a fascinating way of seeing it. But it makes sense to me.
Anyway, so the second class was really good, in my opinion. The thesis was that God had a purpose and plan for missions from the very beginning, and it was encouraging to me because it was pretty compelling.
What it consisted of was just a bunch of references to the Old Testament, where God or someone else says that this should happen so that the world will know God. And, as it turns out, that happens a lot. Too much to ignore. So that’s compelling.
What’s more, there are passages that talk about including foreigners. For example, when Israel leaves Egypt, some Egyptians go with them. And their most important ritual, Passover, includes provisions for foreigners. So it’s clear that there’s a place for them. And there are of course stories of foreigners becoming an integral part of the story, and becoming part of the line to David and Jesus.
So in the end the impression you get is that although it may seem like God was just thinking of Israel, if you examine the Bible, you see that God had a plan for the world from the beginning. He consistently did things for the purpose of the world knowing that He is God. And He consistently had a plan for the foreigner to be a part of His people. So He clearly had a plan for the world from the beginning. I don’t know, just seeing the repetition of the Bible texts, it’s encouraging because it’s compelling.
That’s what I like in a Bible study. Well one of the things I like. When you just look at the texts to support an argument and in the end just find that there’s so much Biblical support, it’s hard to reject. I like that.
Someone asked an interesting question. If God’s plan was for the world to know Him, why does He instruct the Israelites to wipe out everyone in Canaan in the book of Joshua? The speaker gave some response about how the tribes there weren’t innocent and some other stuff that I didn’t really think was compelling.
I don’t know, I thought the answer was a lot more simple. Just, a lesson Peter Chung reminded me of well is that you have to look at the whole of Scripture. So, yeah, the Joshua stuff is confusing, but the fact that it’s confusing can’t negate what’s a clear, redundant theme in the Bible, something God Himself repeatedly states. That He does things so that the world will know that He is God. Like I said, to me at least, this argument was compelling.
So regardless of what the story of Joshua means, the fact that God had a plan for the world knowing Him is indisputable. In the context of this lesson, it’s not even necessary to address the Joshua story. There’s no way it could negate the clear message in the Word.
Another guy asked a great question that literally came out of nowhere. “Do you believe in predestination?” I don’t know what he expected the speaker to say. “Yeah, I’ve got 10 minutes left. Let me settle this issue that’s been discussed for millenia once and for all.” It was bizarre.
And that’s what’s been on my mind.