Wednesday, August 17, 2011

We are without excuse

For the invisible things of him {God} from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they {men} are without excuse {for NOT acknowledging God}. (Romans 1:20, KJV).

God’s defence, just look at creation
This verse is used to show how God can hold “innocent”, “uninformed” people accountable for NOT acknowledging Him as the God of the universe. Essentially, the verse gives God the defence for ultimately acting against men who acknowledged Him NOT.

The invisible can be seen from the created visible
This verse is saying we cannot claim innocence by arguing that we cannot see the invisible things of God, like His power and the Godhead. The verse is saying from the visible things, i.e. from His Creation of the world, the invisible things of God, including such things as His eternal power and divine nature (including, Godhead ), can be understood.

In what way is it really so, that from Creation (of the world), we could have understood of the invisible things of God, including such things as His eternal power and divine nature (godhead)?

Eternal power can be understood
The verse said from the things made in Creation, one can tell God’s eternal power, NOT just power, but eternal power. The point is that things created including such things as the heavens and skies; such existed from the beginning; in other words, it was NOT that it was ever Man was earlier, and then, such things as heavens and skies were created. Putting it in another way, nothing ever created by Man, as idols or gods, could have created such things as the heaven and the skies, including all the celestial bodies. That is why the verse even point to “eternal” power and NOT just power. In other words, there was already a “power” before Man came into being, being worked to produce the heavens and skies, and all of the universe. There was power executed from ever, ever, ever before Man. And today, after a long, long, long time, there are still the heavens and the skies, and all the celestial bodies; pointing to indeed, NOT just power but eternal power of the being, God. Ps 19:1-6 is an example of scripture passages telling us God’s such creation:

1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
3 There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.
4 Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun,
5 which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
6 It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is hidden from its heat. (Ps 19:1-6)

That was why the Apostle Paul went on to state, in verses 22 & 23 of Romans 1, that unbelieving men were fools, even though they might think they were wise, because they exchanged the glory of the eternal God (creation of the world pointed to the glory of God) with images/idols men made; what is made subsequent, cannot be responsible for the creation that came before, can it! Of course, NOT; what futility of mind when men acknowledge NOT God (neither glorifying Him or giving Him thanks {v21}).

God’s divine nature evident from Creation
Even God’s divine nature has all along being evident in His Creation, even the divine aspect of the Godhead. How best can one express this divine aspect of the Godhead? I will use the phrase, “harmonic threesome” to describe it; it is one with three, and three in one, and existing in perfect harmony. In other words, we should be able to find many fine examples in creation pointing to such a harmonic threesome existing in the Godhead. Before we look at the examples, of course, I must point out the harmonic threesome in the Godhead is referring to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

I will now mention a few harmonic threesomes in the created universe to illustrate that creation is pointing (pointing, NOT equal) to the Godhead, and we are without excuse to have NOT noticed any of it.

Firstly, we look at the harmonic threesome of the universe: the universe, in essence, is of space, matter and time, with each permeating and representing the whole. In fact, the universe is looked upon by scientists as a space-matter-time continuum.

If you like, you can do a parallel between the harmonic threesome of the universe and the triune Godhead; it will go like this: Space (like the Father) is the invisible, omnipresent background of everything. Matter (like the Son) reveals the universe (like the Godhead) visibly, the understandable form. Time (like the Spirit) is the entity by which the universe (like the Godhead) becomes applicable and understandable in events and experience. In Mathematical representation, one way of expressing the harmonic threesome is “1=1 x 1 x 1” – one with three and three in one.

Secondly, we can look within time itself, and we again see a form of harmonic threesome at work. Time is future, present and past. The future is the unseen of time, manifest moment-by-moment in the present, experienced and understood in the past; and time is a past-present-future continuum.

Thirdly, we turn to that which is closer to heart, Man; Man is body, soul and spirit, again a harmonic threesome, working together. Like matter is a “component” of universe, we can zoom in, and look at the body, a “component” of Man, and we will find some more examples of such harmonic threesome in place, in the body; these would include, for examples, the 3-parts arms or legs of Man, even the 3-parts fingers!

Creation as a parabolē
Please understand that I am NOT here saying such reasonable deductions of eternal power creation and presence of harmonic threesomes are proving all of what God is; rather what I am saying is that Romans 1:20 is pointing to Creation as a kind of parabolē (Greek word for parable) of God. Proper interpretation of a parable is that the metaphor (Creation, in this case) points to certain aspects of the object (God, in this case), and it is NOT the metaphor is equated as the object, or we should NOT be literally looking at every aspect of the metaphor, NOT referred to, in a parable, and said that the object must be like that (in all aspects), as well. In fact, even in the relevant aspects, the likeness is only metaphorical, NOT identical.

We pattern after God, NOT the other way round
Another way of putting it is that there is a patterning of the metaphor of certain aspects of the object, and is NOT the other way round. For example, on the subject of begetting, just because begetting in Man suggested a counterpart, it does NOT mean that the Holy Spirit is a female. It also does NOT mean that since there is the Father, and the Son, there must be the Mother, or that the Holy Spirit is the Mother or the Holy Spirit must be a female. We are created in the image of God, we are a creation given a certain manner of multiplication in numbers or pro-creation, but it does NOT mean that when we, as a child, have father and mother, it necessarily means that the Triune is Father, Son and Mother. We have to be very careful in using Romans 1:20 to back our argument for saying, erroneously, that the Holy Spirit is the Mother or is female, for God is gender-neutral (Those interested in understanding of the gender-neutrality of God, can read my separate article – “God is gender-neutral, He is spirit”).

Please pardon me for being crude; that God created man to shit the way we shit does NOT mean that God likewise shit the way we shit or even shit at all. We are His creation, created in His image, in some respect, we pattern after God, but God does NOT pattern after us.

I am NOT saying there is no relevance of Romans 1:20 even in a matter of shitting. This is how I will look at it: Wow! Look how wonderfully the whole digestive system of man is. We consume food by the mouth; the food passes through our body, yet is still outside of our body. Various secretions come out of our body to digest the food; and the nutrients then get absorbed into our body, leaving the waste, which passes along, without its decay hurting the lining of our body, and eventually leave our body in controlled fashion. How can such a system just happened, someone must have “engineered” it. How great are His wisdom and knowledge! What great power He has! And that someone, is the Divine God. This is how men are without excuse; not because we shit, God also must shit!

How can we NOT recognise God in what have been created? Creation has been declaring the glory and majesty of God. By observing how specific and exact the interworking of all of creation, one can only come to the conclusion that there is a God, right from the beginning.

God's glory is displayed by the things around us. God's invisible qualities, eternal power and divine nature are shown to us in how we are made, in the world in which we live, and the universe surrounding us. God has made himself clearly known to us. All of humankind is without an excuse before Him, because enough aspects of who He is, has been revealed in Creation.

Much like examining an art work reveals aspects of the artist, looking at our world reveals to a certain extent God’s nature. The size and expanse of the universe and the uniformity of its physical laws clearly reveal God’s power and authority over all creation, and the extraordinary complexity and ingenuity of life reveal God’s indescribable intelligence and wisdom.

In fact, Science has shown that details of earth’s design and natural processes were perfectly crafted for the benefit of life; had our planet were of a different size or resided at a different distance from the sun or if liquid water was not present or light traveled at a different speed, life might NOT exist.

Therefore, people who deny God’s existence cannot claim ignorance, since they must actively ignore the voice of nature all around them (Ps 19:4)

While Romans 1:20 pointed to the conclusion that we have just stated, we still have to remember that creation only testifies to her Creator, God. Such testimonies were and are enough for Men to acknowledge God. Regardless of the Word, there were enough grounds for God to expect men to acknowledge Him, by glorifying Him and by giving Him thanksgiving.

With the Word, the facts about God and truths of God are further revealed to us. In other words, doctrines and theologies concerning God are in the Word, and from the Word. Creation and manifestations, events or experiences only testify to facts and truths of the Word. Since given the Word, men are expected to properly handle the Word, and NOT forming doctrines and theologies from creation, manifestations, events or experiences, per se. May this also be a timely reminder for all (that theology must be Word-based), even as we recognize that just from looking at His Creation, we are already without excuse of NOT acknowledging Him.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions - Lord, may more of your children realised that they have to go pass mere acknowledgment of you from their viewing of your Creation, and move into understanding you through your given written Word, and even further, through a personal relationship with you while according to you the highest reverence, for you are NOT just Father, NOT just Creator, but is first of all, the Holy Almighty God.

[Added on 20 March 2012: If you want to know more of how to enter into a personal relationship with God, leave me a comment {yes, even now} or send me a note at the email address given below]

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  1. Jesus said, "He who has ears to hear; let him hear." Which of these people did not have ears created for hearing? Of course, they all did. He was speaking to those whose heart was open to Him. They would be able to hear what He was saying.
    Paul looks at creation and knows that God's glory can be seen in His creation. He knows that people will be without excuse but that they will try to make an excuse at the judgment. Of course, they would have been able to see God's glory if their hearts were open to Him.
    People see what they want or will to see. Each one needs the Holy Spirit leading them to the things of God. They will never be able to allow the Spirit to lead until they open their hearts.
    Very godly blog. Prentis

  2. Prentis, thank you for your comment and kind word.

    Indeed, all have ears, and some did not (and some do not, even till present time) hear. Isaiah prophesied (Isaiah 6:9, 10) concerning this:

    In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: “‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. (Matt 13:14)

    Accepting that there were and will be extenuating times, where God might and may carve out specific plans for specific individuals of specific moments or times, and it is well within His sovereignty to do that, without being unjust, without being inconsistent, with being unreliable and undependable, there was and is a drawing of men by God.

    And the role of the Holy Spirit in that process of drawing is to give understanding. The Word of God is clear that unregenerate men lack, if not without, understanding of spiritual matters (1 Cor 2:14). It is the Holy Spirit of God that gives the understanding required for one to enter into salvation. That is why we pray for the Holy Spirit to bring conviction to people when the Word of God is released.

    The Holy Spirit, first of all, gives understanding to spiritual matters. It is NOT a mere mental ascent. Without the work of the Holy Spirit, one’s understanding is a pure mental ascent. One does NOT enter into salvation by a mere or pure mental ascent; that is why Scripture in John 6:44a is NOT INcorrect to say, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him”.

    The core of a person’s soul comprised, reason, emotion and desires or passion; a mere mental ascent is insufficient, and the understanding by the Holy Spirit goes beyond that mere mental ascent; the understanding needs to go down to the heart of the soul (NOT our biological pump!), to the level of the soul’s reason (The brain and the soul’s reason is NOT the same; I believe when one dies, the brain is gone, but NOT the soul and therefore, the reason thereof).

    The reason why we speak the Word is because it is the “thing” that the Holy Spirit could use to bring the understanding required. Even receiving understanding past pure mental ascent is NOT enough; the soul, through its reason, must now CHOOSE to believe what has been revealed to it. Does God NOT draw men unto Him when His Word was preached? He does; it is NOT “everything God must do”, and it is NOT GENERAL predestination of PERSONAL salvation. If it were so, in the former, we can push all responsibility and blame to God; why didn’t He draw me to be a Christian; not my fault; it is His fault as HE was supposed to do everything! As to the latter, it is also NOT true – there is no GENERAL predestination of PERSONAL salvation; if it were so, well, we can tell God, “Don’t waste my time, since whatever will be, will be; you already decided, it matters NOT I speak/preach your Word or NOT!”

    The Holy Spirit is doing His job all the time (in that time of Jesus, a certain exception was made by God, so that Jesus’ death would go as planned and prophesied, but without being unjust, etc, as I have said at the beginning of this comment); He draws by giving the understanding, but it is the individual who must still CHOOSE (freedom of choice) to believe at the soul level. I shan’t elaborate here, the other conviction roles of the Holy Spirit.

    The Holy Spirit, of course, could use more than the written Word; the “statements” from God’s Creation, too, He uses; but indeed, there is a definite role of the written Word (which we read and hear it preached), to augment the whole arsenal of “data” (which includes prophecies from God’s prophets, as was more prevalent in the past when the written Word was NOT so commonplace), which He (the Holy Spirit) could use to convict people.

    Indeed, one needs to open his heart to allow the Holy Spirit to repeatedly work there.


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