Conclusion

Truth or Dare (Intro)

Cup 1 In this study, called Truth or Dare, we have been examining the various chalices that mankind may choose to drink from while searching out eternal life. We have explored seven of the more poisonous libations found in the world’s chalices, and compared them to the life giving liquid that exists in the cup of Christ.

The first three chalices were filled with three very similar toxicants:

Physical Wealth

Physical Power

Physical Pleasure

These three particular vices, we discovered, are very closely linked because any one of them will aid us in acquiring any one, or all, of the others listed.

In other words, if I were to suddenly become a billionaire, and had access to more physical wealth than any one person could spend in a lifetime, then I could use my money to acquire positions of power over others and enjoy any physical pleasure my mind could conceive. Also, if I managed to gain a position of power first, then I could begin to use my influence to gain the monetary wealth I desired and consume the pleasures of my worldly heart. Then again, if one intently chased after the numerous pleasures that this world has to offer, that overwhelming desire to find satisfaction in such things could goad one along until they were wealthy enough or powerful enough to access them.

Physical wealth, power, and pleasure — all three available to humanity. All three are a part of our human condition, but all three can be very toxic and deadly if consumed from Satan’s chalice. As each of these three articles showed, it’s only when we quench our thirst for physical wealth, power, and pleasure from the “cup of Christ” that we can really be satisfied and escape their harmful side effects. Poison 3 Why? Well, just like with any hard drink if you don’t regulate how much you consume (either by drinking very little of it or by “watering” it down) the potency of that beverage will eventually overtake you. In Christ’s cup, all of our natural, physical desires become mixed with spiritual living water — God’s divine “fruit of the vine” — the holy, blameless blood of Jesus Christ. Consuming this recipe ensures us of life; life filled with an abundance of real joy.

In the three articles that followed physical wealth, power, and pleasure, we discovered that there were other dangerous drinks awaiting our consumption. The three additional toxicants examined were:

Religion

Philosophy

Knowledge

Within these three special vices we saw traces of the first three toxins, but also examined some very dangerous ideologies specific to each of these issues.

For example, from within religion, philosophy, and knowledge you can find traces of our desire for physical power. Humanity’s lust for control will drive mankind to abuse their search for spiritual guidance, mental peace, and understanding of all things spiritual and physical. Thus the resulting concoctions reveal a variety of poisonous drinks, as false or legalistic religions appear, worldly ideologies that promote self-centeredness become our focus, and empty teachings that lack the wisdom of God ultimately destroy our lives.

Then our final article disclosed the main ingredient, the base substance, mixed into each drink served up in the chalice of Satan. What’s this staple element of potency? Selfishness. No matter what drink Satan chooses to tempt you with, it will always be heavily lined with a huge portion of selfishness.

Selfishness is the one ingredient certain to remove our gaze from God and His statutes, and place them inward towards our own desires and wants. As long as we continue to over indulge in the libation of selfishness, then Satan knows we will never successfully surrender our lives over to God (Proverbs 18:1; Romans 2:8; James 3:16). Yahweh will never be respected as our sovereign Creator, Jesus will never truly be our Lord, and the Holy Spirit will never really be our guide.

Humanity, as we stated in our introductory article, has a choice. We can embrace the dares that Satan dictates to us, and then experience eternal death, or we can choose to embrace God’s truth, and live forever.

Drunkeness 1 By drinking from Satan’s chalice, our spiritual senses become dulled, forcing us to look death in the face and act as if nothing is wrong; as if all is right and normal. Those that make this choice act on the lie that truth is relevant to their own wants and desires. They accept Satan’s lie that says absolute truth is really the biggest falsehood of the ages. The one really big problem with that — you can’t make the truth go away, and escape it’s consequences, by simply choosing to not believe in it. Famed American science-fiction author Philip K. Dick acknowledged this when he said, “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”

Merriam-Webster defines the chalice as a: (noun) a drinking cup — goblet. Wikipedia says a chalice is “a goblet or footed cup intended to hold a drink. In general . . . it is intended for drinking during a ceremony.” Most chalices are formed from a precious metal or made of crystal, then they are lined with precious stones and jewels. The reason is they are meant to “wow” and impress people. These aren’t cups for every day use. These are special vessels meant to be used for special occasions.

The term “poisoned chalice” exists, because somewhere in human history someone figured out that the glitz and the glamour of these goblets, used during a celebration or feast, is so distracting that no one would ever consider questioning the liquid being served in it. Today this term is applied to a thing or a situation which appears to be good, at first, but when it is received or experienced it becomes, or is eventually found to be, dangerous. This is why I refer to the lies humanity receives from Satan as a “chalice filled with poison.”

Scripture also compares the truth of God and the lies of Satan as drinks to be consumed by us. Paul wrote these words to the church in Corinth, “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too.” (1 Corinthians 10:21a) Real truth can only be consumed from the “cup of Christ.” Why? First, because Jesus spoke of Himself as being real truth (John 1:17, 14:6, 18:37) and second, because Christ calls us to consume His truth from His cup (John 4:1-26, 6:53, 7:37-38; 1 Corinthians 10:16).

People cannot find the way to experiencing everlasting life by partaking of any old drink from within any old vessel. Not even if the world decorates their vessels with precious metals, stones, and jewels. No matter how much gold and silver is shaped and formed; no matter how many fine and rare stones or jewels adorn the chalice, it won’t make the poison in it any safer for our consumption.

Cup 9 Christ’s cup appears simple. It’s not adorned with fancy jewels and other distractions. The “cup of Christ” is plain, understated, and accessible to all. Christ’s cup is absent of fancy decor, because it’s not the drink of selfish, pious, and pompous people. Christ’s cup is to be consumed by the selfless, sincere, and humble human. Men and women capable of surrendering their lives to God, in exchange for the substance that grants them eternal life — the blood of Christ. It’s only by drinking in the sufferings of Jesus — now, in this physical world — that we can be allowed access to the wondrous inheritance of God’s Son.

I’ll close with this thought concerning mankind’s endless search for truth and eternal life. It will require us to return to the chamber of the Holy Grail, that we spoke of in our introductory article. As we all stand there, contemplating the various chalices we could drink from, remember this phrase — low probability verses high impact.

No matter how many religions, doctrines, philosophies, ideologies, and studies perk your interests and pleasure your spirit, consider the probability of their being true verses God’s Word being true. Consider the impact these religions, doctrines, philosophies, ideologies, and studies will have on your eternal soul verses the impact that God will have on your soul. If you believe there is at least a one percent probability that, when you die, you will be judged by this holy God spoken of in the Holy Bible, and in this series, then you had better seriously consider the cup of Christ. It only requires that you look past the glitz and the glamour of all the other chalices in the chamber, and (as the guardian said) choosing your cup wisely.

Truth or Dare by J. Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.jasonmin.wordpress.com.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

If your church or organization would like to talk with J. Scott Harden about a speaking engagement, or a writing project, please get in touch with Mr. Harden through Jason MinistriesTwitter account or Facebook page.

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Article V, part 2

Truth or Dare (Article 5)

In our last article we began looking into the three main philosophies prevalent in the world today (Theism, Pantheism, and Atheism). We also looked at several of the worldviews directly connected to the three main philosophies Philosophy 5 (Biblical Theism, Monadic Monotheism, Eastern Mysticism, Spiritism, Occultism, Darwinism, Secular Humanism, and Existentialism). We also mentioned briefly about the multitude of ideologies in existence today, as a result of the three main philosophies being blended together. So many, in fact, that they were too numerous to list in our post, though we named a few.

In this article we will be tackling the issue of truth, where wisdom is concerned. We will attempt to show you why it is only the philosophy of Biblical Theism that can connect the human mind to the truth, because it’s only God’s wisdom that is truth. So for the next few moments let’s avoid pondering past the truth God has laid out before us, in His Word, and let’s open our minds up to the message of wisdom He has waiting for us to learn.

Scripture promises that if we ask for wisdom, God will give it to us (James 1:5). If we truly desire wisdom, and we all should, then we have only to ask. With God’s wisdom we find knowledge and understanding (Proverbs 2:6). Sir Isaac Newton, a devout Christian, became one of the most influential minds of his time in the fields of mechanics, mathematics, optics, philosophy, and physics. In fact, Sir Isaac Newton is regarded to this day as one of the most influential scientists of all time, and a key figure in the scientific revolution. There are others, as well.

Robert Boyle, was a biblical theist who became known for his advancements in the fields of chemistry, natural philosophy, physics, and theology. He is best known today as one of the pioneers of the modern experimental scientific method and “Boyle’s Law,” which states that the outcome of pressure and volume is continuous for a given mass of enclosed gas as long as the temperature is unchanged.

There is also Johannes Kepler, who was another key figure of the scientific revolution. This God fearing man is primarily remembered for his contributions in the fields of mathematics and astronomy. Mr. Kepler is best known, today, for his eponymous laws of planetary motion, which became codified by later astronomers.

And let’s not forget Galileo Galilei, a major influence regarding the scientific revolution. Galileo Galilei This biblical theist is remembered for his stellar contributions in the fields of astronomy, mathematics, philosophy, and physics. To this day, it is Galileo that academia considers to be the “father” of modern observational astronomy, modern science, and physics.

There are many more godly men listed in the annals of philosophy and science. Far too many to include in this post, but the point is this: modern science was revolutionized because these four very devout men dedicated themselves to pursuing God’s wisdom. The result was God’s revelation of knowledge and understanding in the areas of astronomy, chemistry, mechanics, mathematics, optics, philosophy, physics, and theology.

Certainly the non-believers of many fields have made significant discoveries too, but it’s not because they did so on their own merit. Both believers and non-believers are instruments of God’s work. Given to knowledge and understanding because the Spirit of God chose to reveal such things to the world through them. Note this passage of Scripture from the Apostle Paul, written in his first letter to the people of Corinth:

“However, as it is written: ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him’ — but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We [the believer] have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, 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, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment: ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him [mankind]?’ But we [the believer] have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:9-16)

In short, what Paul was communicating is this — all the things that mankind knows of has been made known to him by the Spirit of God. It’s only the true worshipers of the Almighty that are allowed to understand where this wisdom has come from and how that knowledge is related to God’s purpose for humanity. A non-believer may tap into this knowledge from time-to-time, as the Spirit of God allows, but he will not see it as divinely given and will not understand how God has purposed it for mankind and God’s glory.

So how does this godly form of knowledge and understanding produce assurance, and peace of mind? Wisdom 2 By the fact that true, godly wisdom is divine, and not from the mind of humanity. You see, God’s wisdom is pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive to the Almighty, full of mercy and beneficial to humanity, as well as impartial and sincere (James 3:17). God’s knowledge and understanding is true wisdom, because our Creator is all knowing and all understanding (Job 12:13, 36:5; Psalm 147:5; Proverbs 2:6; Isaiah 40:28; Daniel 2:20; Romans 11:33, 16:25-27), and mankind’s wisdom isn’t and can’t ever be.

Can you begin to see the logic behind why God’s wisdom is true wisdom? God is perfect, without flaw, but humanity is not perfect — humanity is flawed. Mankind does not know all there is to know, but God does. We cannot know true wisdom on our own, because we are the product of a rebellious choice (Genesis 3:1-24). A choice that removed us from God’s divine nature. Our rebellious spirit is equal to that of an occultic, black-hearted witch (1 Samuel 15:23). How can a rebellious creature, prone to doing evil, ever know the pure and perfect wisdom of its Creator? It can’t unless the knowledge and understanding that it seeks is given to it by the Creator, Himself. Whether that wisdom is of a scientific nature or of a spiritual nature, if wisdom is to be valid, right, and true then it must come from God.

An example of God’s Spirit revealing spiritual wisdom to humanity is found in the life of the Apostle Peter, as told in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter sixteen. Jesus was talking with His disciples about who the people of Israel thought He was. Several answers came back to Him from His followers, but none where correctly identifying Jesus as the appointed Messiah. So, Christ looks to the hearts of His chosen twelve, and asks them, “Who do you say I am?” (Matthew 16:15b) It’s Simon Peter who responds, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16b) Jesus then tells Peter, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but of my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 16:17) So even the revelation of Jesus Christ, as the Messiah, cannot be known merely by reading the Scriptures and knowing the prophecies unless God allows our “eyes to see,” our “ears to hear,” and our “minds to conceive.”

Still not convinced that all wisdom is from God? That it’s His wisdom that leads to real knowledge and understanding? Maybe the logic behind the perfection of divine wisdom verses the fallacy of humanity’s makes sense to you, but it’s the citing of Scripture that leaves you lacking. After all, the Holy Bible isn’t the only source of divine wisdom — is it? Actually it is, and I’ll explain why.

Though many of the world’s religions have their holy writings, none of these books bare the actual Word of God. The Vedas, and the Upanishads of the Hindu faith were all written by men trying to explain the wisdom of their enlightenment, as it relates to the “universal spirit.” The Qur’an was written by a man trying to explain the wisdom of his divine god, Allah, but it’s only the Holy Bible that holds the actual divinely inspired message of the Almighty to humanity (2 Timothy 3:16-17). How can we know that these holy writings are the very Word of God? There are many validations of the holy Scriptures.

The Holy Bible was written by approximately forty different men, all of them inspired by God, over a period that spans over fifteen-hundred years. Bible 7 The inerrant spiritual and physical truths contained within its sixty-six books are evidences of this, but before we accept this as truth we’ll need to understand the meanings of the words “inerrancy” and “inspired.”

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word “inerrancy” as: (noun) exemption from error; infallible. So for the Holy Bible to be inerrant it must be without flaw — perfect. As we have already stated, only something divine can be infallible. So, since we know people wrote the holy Scriptures, and since we know people are not perfect, the only way the Holy Bible could be inerrant is if God’s Spirit moved in these men and inspired them to write.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word “inspired” as: (adjective) outstanding or brilliant in a way or to a degree suggestive of divine [godly] inspiration. Did you get that? Something inspired is literally a work that is influenced by divinity. When these forty men began to write the holy Scriptures, they were moved by the Spirit of God to communicate His inerrant spiritual and physical truths (2 Peter 1:21). Not all Scripture is a direct recording of God’s message to mankind, in fact most of Scripture is a composition of God’s message, but all of Scripture is an outstanding and brilliant account of the Word of God.

O.K., so the original writings were inerrant and inspired, but what about the fact that the original Scriptures are no longer in existence? Are the copies on file today trust worthy? Yes, and I’ll show you why. First, though, we must note that none of the original ancient writings being studied today are in existence. Plato’s writings, the works of Herodotus, the writings of Caesar and Tacitus, even those of William Shakespeare are no longer around. All we have to go by are the copies that were created, and most of them are no longer available. Only seven of Plato’s writings are on file; with Herodotus we only have eight. William Shakespeare’s folio contains about two-hundred and thirty-eight copies, but when it comes to the holy Scriptures we have over ten-thousand copies of the Old Testament texts and nearly twenty-five thousand copies of the New Testament texts.

So what makes these numerous copies of the Holy Bible so special? Well, the fact that these many copies on file are within only a few hundred years of the original writings is pretty amazing. Copies of Plato’s writings are nearly one-thousand years removed from their original compositions, as are the vast majority of the ancient manuscripts still on file. And as far as inconsistencies are concerned, the Holy Bible is considered by experts to be ninety-five percent accurate. What of that five percent? Experts agree that these inconsistencies are only regarding spelling and conjunctions, and none of what is in question has altered the facts and meanings of the overall texts.

There are other evidences, too. Such as the prophecies mentioned and fulfilled within its sixty-six books. bible 2 These prophecies aren’t general predictions either. The holy Scriptures make very specific and detailed forecasts concerning a variety of specified individuals, nations, and events. The Qur’an doesn’t do this, and neither do any other religious writings. In fact, all other religious prophecies made in any other spiritual composition only deals in very generalized guesses. It’s only in the Holy Bible that you find such intentional forecasts, and most were predicted hundreds of years before their occurrences, but all the fulfilled prophecies can be historically verified.

The holy Scriptures also contain a unified message regarding humanity’s need for redemption. As stated earlier, despite its having been written by forty or so authors over a span of fifteen-hundred years, the Holy Bible consistently deals with this theme of redemption. We see in the Old Testament writings the issue of humanity’s fall from God’s grace, the prophecies regarding mankind’s salvation, and predictions of God’s judgment for the non-believing world. Then in the New Testament we see the messianic prophecies fulfilled and further prophecies of God’s judgment for non-believers laid out. Other religious documents are not nearly so consistent, and most of them were written by only one author (example: the Qur’an, the Book of Mormon, etc.).

There’s also archeological evidence that helps to validate the historical accuracy of the holy texts. A vast amount of historical locations, names, and events have been confirmed by archeologists who have used Scripture as a sort of road map into history. One such archeologist/biblical investigator, named Bob Cornuke, has used the Holy Bible to discover strong evidence as to the true location of Noah’s ark. A piece of what appeared to be petrified wood was removed from the site, located in Iran, and analyzed by the University of Cambridge. The analysis came back stating that the subject was a petrified piece of unknown wood, and that it had been coated in some sort of pitch to make it waterproof, and that there was evidence of fossilized marine life found, too. He’s also found compelling evidence regarding the location of the real Mt. Sinai, and Mr. Cornuke has even unearthed an incredible amount of evidence concerning where the Israelites crossed through the Red Sea.

The science of astronomy also validates Scripture. Long before Copernicus, Plato, or Pythagoras ever began to discover that the earth was round, Scripture was already telling us it was (Job 26:10; Isaiah 40:22). In Job chapter twenty-six, verse seven, we read that God “suspends the earth over nothing,” which indicates the fact that our planet free-floats in space. The Scriptures declare time-and-again that the universe is ever expanding (Job 37:18; Isaiah 40:22; Jeremiah 10:12), which is exactly what the astronomers of the 1920s discovered. These and other astronomical evidences found through out the Holy Bible are proof of its inerrancy and inspiration. After all, how else would the authors of these Old Testament texts know of such things thousands of years before the science of astronomy was founded, unless they were told by God.

There are other evidences to support the infallible spiritual and physical truths found in the holy Scriptures, such as in biological science (we’ll get into this more deeply in Article Six), and the process in which its sixty-six book were canonized. Also how quickly the message of the New Testament was embraced as fact, due to the over five-hundred “eye witnesses” still living when the writings began to appear (1 Corinthians 15:3-8). All were able to help deny or validate any-and-all stories being told concerning the teachings of Christ.

There are also the internal claims made through out the texts. Some we have already named, but the claims most compelling are the verses that teach on the deity of Christ (Proverbs 8:22-36). Christ in Clouds Why? Because it is Jesus, the Christ, who is the very Word of God (Isaiah 55:11). The book we call the Holy Bible isn’t merely inerrant and inspired to teach us of God’s divine wisdom, but to actually give us a direct connection to God’s living, divine wisdom — His very own begotten Son. It is Jesus, the Christ, who God spoke through to make all of creation (Proverbs 8:30; John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:16). It is Jesus, the Christ, that God made into a man to live among humanity as His example of perfection (John 1:14). It is Jesus, the Christ, who sacrificed Himself so that we could be reconciled to God, and it is Jesus, the Christ, who conquered death so that all who believe could live forever (John 3:16-17).

Without Jesus Christ there is no holy text; there is no knowledge and understanding, and there is no peace in wisdom, because without Jesus Christ there can be no philosophy — only foolishness.

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.’ Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know Him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength. Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things — and the things that are not — to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before Him. It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God — that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: ‘Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.’” (1 Corinthians 1:18-31)

Truth or Dare by J. Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.jasonmin.wordpress.com.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

If your church or organization would like to talk with J. Scott Harden about a speaking engagement, or a writing project, please get in touch with Mr. Harden through Jason MinistriesTwitter account or Facebook page.

Article V, part 1

Truth or Dare (Article 5)

One of my favorite literary characters of all time is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s infamous detective of 221B Baker Street, Mr. Sherlock Holmes, and my favorite adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories is the British Broadcasting Corporation’sSherlock.” Holmes & Watson 1 This small screen redesign of the classic Sherlock Holmes mysteries certainly delivers on fulfilling it’s slogan by making Mr. Holmes into “a new sleuth for the 21st century.”

There’s an old joke, that still surfaces from time-to-time, regarding Mr. Sherlock Holmes and his faithful friend Dr. John H. Watson. The yarn takes place on a camping trip, that the legendary duo have decided to enjoy. In the middle of the night, the ever alert Mr. Holmes nudges Dr. Watson awake, and says, “Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see.” Dr. Watson, though a bit lethargic, answers him, “I see millions of stars, my dear Holmes.”

“And what do you infer from these stars?” says Sherlock. “Well,” Dr. Watson begins to answer. But sensing that his friend is in one of his philosophical moods, he decides to think a moment before answering. “A number of things,” Dr. Watson retorts as he lights his cigarette. “Astronomically, Holmes, I observe that there are millions of galaxies and billions of stars and planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three in the a.m. Meteorologically, I expect that the weather will be fine and clear. Theologically, I see that God is all-powerful and man, His creation, small and insignificant. What about you, my dear Holmes? What is it that you infer?” Without a moments pause, Sherlock snaps back in a very agitated tone, “Watson, you fool — someone has stolen our tent!”

Often the answers to life’s many questions are setting there in plain sight, yet those who delve deep into the philosophical will somehow manage to miss them, and cause others to do the same. I like to say it this way:

Philosophers are the only people I know of that can sit on a haystack full of needles, and still manage to not get the point in the end.

Humanity’s infatuation with ideology, our romance with rationality, our intimacy with intelligence can be summed up in the word philosophy. “Philosophy” is a word deriving from two Greek words. Philos, is a Greek word meaning “beloved,” or “loving,” and Sophos is Greek for “knowledge,” or “wisdom.” So literally, philosophy means “beloved knowledge,” or “the love of wisdom.” As mankind has long enjoyed a deep tenderness towards discerning thoughts, and has worshiped a variety of worldviews, we will be addressing a few of the philosophies that have (and still do) preoccupied our minds.

Philosophy 2 There are three main worldviews influencing the various philosophies in existence today. These three worldviews are:

Theism — one deity, who made all things out of nothing.
Pantheism — the divine is everything, and everything is the divine.
Atheism — no deity exists, the universe simply occurred on its own.

“Theism” is made up of two main ideologies: Biblical Theism, and Monadic Monotheism. If you have a worldview that is based on the teachings of Jesus Christ, as explained in the Holy Bible, then you posses a belief system that is considered “Biblical Theism,” or Trinitarianism (one deity, but three separate personifications — God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit). This Christ-centered, theistic ideology is the philosophical foundation of the Christian faith.

It is the understanding that Yahweh and Jesus are the same God; that the Old Testament writings teach and prepare both the Hebrews of yesteryear and the reader of today for the coming Messiah, revealed in the New Testament writings. It is the awareness of the teachings that proclaim the deity of Jesus, His life as a man, His sacrificial death on the cross, and His resurrection and ascension into Heaven, as well as His return and millennial rule on earth. All of these pronouncements, plus the gift of the Holy Spirit to the believer, are essential in conveying the truths of redemption that this godly worldview seeks to convey.

“Monadic Monotheism” teaches of a singular, divine being (a.k.a.: a monad). This is the theistic belief system held mostly by Jews and Muslims. This singular, divine being is wholly separated from humanity, leaving them under the mandate that says mankind must obey the divine statutes and live a righteous life. In short, the divine is both just and vengeful; separated from humanity because this deity is perfect, and only piety and righteousness can present mankind with the chance to beg for divine forgiveness.

Occasionally a theist will also relate a philosophy that denigrates the value of mankind’s physical existence, and they’ll teach either that the spiritual side of humanity takes precedence over the physical side, or possibly the opposite. This ideology is called Dualism. Though generally associated with “Pantheism,” this Greek rooted philosophy generally depicts the physical world in a negative light and encourages mankind to neglect their physical needs for the gain of spiritual enlightenment.

“Pantheism” is made up of three main ideologies: Eastern Mysticism, Spiritism, and Occultism. If your worldview states that the ultimate expression of reality consists of a “universal divine spirit,” galaxy 4 and that there is no singular, deity for humanity to relate to, or to reveal himself to, then you posses a pantheistic belief system that is considered “Eastern Mysticism.” Philosophically speaking, this worldview does not separate the secular and the divine, and teaches that all of reality is composed of, and reduced to, a single substance/”energy.”

“Spiritism” teaches that this world is inhabited by a variety of spirits. These spirits take on many characteristics too, as some are seen as angry, mean, comical, or kind. This pantheistic worldview, now known as Animism, states that humanity must appease evil spirits and attract good ones through rituals, liturgies, idols, or ceremonies. Voodoo is an example of a religion that is based on just such a belief system.

“Occultism” is the study of things that are hidden (paranormal), such as magic, alchemy, extrasensory perception (a.k.a.: ESP), astrology, spiritualism, and divination. Many religious belief systems are rooted in this pantheistic ideology. For example Gnosticism, Hermeticism, Theosophy, Wicca, Thelema, Satanism, and Neopaganism are all rooted in occultism. The sciences have mistakenly been connected to the occult, from time-to-time, as mankind has sought to understand the unknown, both within and without. Occultism, you see, attempts to understand a deeper spiritual reality, by way of superstitious and demonic rituals, that extend beyond human logic and academic science.

“Atheism” is basically the refusal to believe that there is a spiritual side to humanity. An atheist will not accept any deity, nor will they accept that mankind has an immortal soul. Atheism 2 “Atheism” is made up of three main ideologies: Darwinism, Secular Humanism, and Existentialism. The term “atheism” originated from the Greek word atheos, and literally means “without gods.” Most atheists believe that their worldview is an ideology of absolute truths, even more so than most theists, and therefore the burden of proof lies not on the atheist to disprove the existence of the divine, but on the theist to provide solid evidence for the divine.

“Darwinism” is the study of the origin of life, and is committed to the atheistic ideology that states that all of life is the result of natural selection and random causes. This belief system is founded on the scientific theory of evolution. Mr. Charles Darwin, the founder of “Darwinism,” had observed in his worldwide travels that the animal kingdom, within species, adapted to various conditions that made them better equipped to survive and thrive in an ever changing environment. It’s based on this scientific evidence, known as micro-evolution, that Mr. Darwin theorized that, given enough time and the right environment, a transformation of one species into another could occur. This process of successive mutations within a species, that ends in the existence of a new species, is known to Scientists as macro-evolution. Unfortunately for Charles Darwin, and all of his colleagues since, there has never been an observed macro-evolution mutation. Paleontologists can’t even find a transitional or mutated species in the fossil records. The result is that Scientists who commit themselves to the study of evolution generally refuse to understand their scientific findings, wholly, and stay committed to their atheistic ideology of “Darwinism.”

“Secular Humanism” is the study of the humanities, with the focus being on the glorification of human accomplishment. This atheistic worldview is in stark contrast to that of “Classical Humanism” which gives glory to the divine when taking notice of human accomplishments. A secular humanist will give no credit to a deity, but will wallow in the idea that mankind can rise to, and capture, the moment with his/her own greatness. People with this atheistic ideology are very much in the present, and slaves to history. This philosophy reduces humanity to being nothing more than a glorified animal which seeks to fulfill its own selfish desires, and passions, at any cost.

“Existentialism” is simply all about living in the moment. People who adhere to this atheistic philosophy generally do not bother with questioning how or why something began, or ended, they will even oppose the reasons behind why something exists. They simply choose to embracing the fact that it is. Their three core beliefs are as follows:

Individualism (me, myself, and I)
“Carpe diem” (a Latin phrase for “seize the day”)
Freedom to do whatever, whenever, and however (anarchy).

Oddly enough, you can occasionally find theists who follow and live by this worldview, but primarily it is the atheists that adhere to this belief system. Why? Because such an ideology cannot have a divine entity telling it that there is an absolute right and wrong. An existentialist must be free to live life passionately and without any kind of inward or outward constraint.

I realize that when it comes to a subject as vast and as deep as “philosophy” it is hard for most of us to stay focused and retain the information that is being presented. I know that I certainly struggle with knowing and understanding them all. Comprehension, though key, can be hard to attain for some, thus the reason I have tried to present this to you in small portions; only giving you the essential information for understanding the various belief systems directly connected to the three main worldviews (Theism, Pantheism, and Atheism). Just know that for every one of these ideologies mentioned there are multiple worldviews that intersect and continue from them.

For example, where “Theism” and “Pantheism” intersect Polytheism (the belief of more than one god) and Postmodern Spirituality (the belief that no one religion will connect you to the divine; just believe what you wish) appear. Where “Pantheism” and “Atheism” cross paths Monism (the belief that humanity can become one with the “universal divine force,” and escape the illusion of this physical life) prevails, and where “Atheism” and “Theism” blend Agnosticism (the belief that mankind cannot know anything with certainty, especially the divine) and Deism (the belief that logic and the examination of nature are significant in determining the existence of the divine, as well as the rejection of religious authority and knowledge) exist. Yet, even these philosophies are only a few of the many worldviews that dwell in the minds of humanity.

So what does this all mean? What do we do with the information presented here? Philosophy 3 First, we must give a conscious effort toward knowing why it is only “Biblical Theism” that will give peace of mind to mankind (Philippians 4:7). Second, we must take note of what it is that makes God’s worldview the only ideology worth dedicating our lives to (Proverbs 8). Just as Dr. Watson was too busy waxing wise to notice the obvious fact that his, and Mr. Holmes’, tent had been stolen, so too do philosophers miss the truth of God because they are too deep in love with the pursuit of wisdom to actually receive the wisdom they are so obsessed with finding. (Proverbs 14:6, 17:24, 24:7; 1 Corinthians 1:20).

In our next post we will delve further into why the wisdom of God prevails over the philosophies of humanity, and help you understand how you can rest peacefully knowing that God’s wisdom is truth you can put your trust in.

Truth or Dare by J. Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://www.jasonmin.wordpress.com.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

Sherlock © 2010, 2011, 2012 BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

If your church or organization would like to talk with J. Scott Harden about a speaking engagement, or a writing project, please get in touch with Mr. Harden through Jason MinistriesTwitter account or Facebook page.

Article 5

Have you ever heard or sung a song and wondered about how it came to be? What burned inside the songwriter’s soul so intensely that it just had to be written down on paper? I know I have — often, too.

Maybe it’s just my curious nature, mixed with my own musical bent, that causes me to think along these lines. Then again, music does move, manipulate, and touch people; no matter our background, education, status in society, or talents. Especially the music that represents our faith; music that calls us to worship the one true, living God.

Recently, I looked into the life of hymnodist Reginald Heber (1783-1826), who was the second Bishop to represent the Church of England in Calcutta (a.k.a. Kolkata). Reginald was born the son of an Anglican rector, and it has been said that he was an incredibly gifted child. Some accounts of Reginald’s childhood even state that, by the age of 5, he had read the entire Bible and comprehended its meaning. Consider that for a moment.

Later in life, while attending Brasenose College, Mr. Heber proved to be a scholar of theology, Latin, Greek, and an exceptional poet. In 1807, Reginald was ordained and began his quest to improve the congregational singing taking place in the Church of England. His dream was to write and collect a group of hymns that would follow the liturgical calendar, thus moving the Anglican’s away from simply singing the Psalms. Of the known 14 hymns still in circulation today, none have crossed denominational lines like the timeless hymn Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty.

Written in India, in the year of Bishop Heber’s death at age 43, Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty was heralded by Alfred Lord Tennyson as the finest hymn ever written. What moved Reginald to write it? No one knows the whole story behind this hymn, but its obvious reference to Scriptures found in both Isaiah 6:3 and Revelation 4:8 are certainly the hymn’s foundation. In these verses of Scripture, as in the Bishop’s hymn, we read of a call to worship that is so overwhelming that the two author’s, Isaiah and John, can’t help but absorb the moment — like a dry, brittle, thin sponge that can’t get enough water and, once it does, just continues to expand and expand until it can hold no more and overflowing begins. Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD (Adonai) God, almighty (El Shaddai)! Let’s look at the word “holy” a bit more deeply to understand why the Creator, Elohim, is called by this title.

The word “holy,” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is defined as:
(adjective) dedicated or consecrated to God or a religious purpose; divine, sacred: the Holy Bible.
• (of a person) devoted to the service of God: saints and holy men.
• morally and spiritually excellent.

I want to point out the last statement in the above definition, “morally and spiritually excellent.” In other words, morally and spiritually perfect! When God is called “holy,” or “kaddosh” in the original Hebrew, He is being called perfect, flawless, pure. God is without blemish, without anything that is considered wrong, both morally and spiritually. You and I can’t even begin to fathom the depth of what this word “holy” means because we are a fallen race, so far from perfection. Yes, it is true that through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ we, as believers, are made holy (a.k.a. set apart, consecrated, sacred, purified, etc.), but to truly know holiness as God is holy — until we are truly in the presence of Elohim we will always fall short of just what “holy” is.

I’m amazed every time I read an article, blog, or book, or hear a song, or some statement where people pass judgment on God because of something they misread, or misunderstood in the Bible, or because of some tragedy that occurred in their life, or in history. As if somehow humanity affords enough holiness or self-righteousness to do so. It’s ridiculous enough that there are people in this world who believe they can somehow attain enough holiness, enough perfection, on their own merit to somehow achieve a place in heaven with God or even achieve godlike status, themselves, in the here after. But seriously, people — judgement of God!? Really!? What is it that makes humanity think we have the authority to judge the Creator of all things physical and spiritual? That is one of the greatest lies Lucifer ever passed off on mankind. Such foolishness!

Read these lyrics, penned by Bishop Reginald Heber, with me and let’s ponder them together; verses one and two are as follows:

Holy, holy, holy, LORD God, almighty! Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee.
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty; God in three persons, blessed Trinity!

Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore Thee; casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea.
Cherubim and Seraphim, falling down before Thee, which were, and art, and evermore shalt be.

In these first two verses we see Bishop Heber painting a word picture, direct from Scripture, that depicts what should happen daily when physical creation acknowledges the holiness of its Creator. Depicting, plainly, what does happen and what will always happen when spiritual creation enters into the presence of the Masters, three-in-one — true worship!

I defy anyone to come close to understanding the pure holiness of God and not worship Him! I defy anyone to begin to grasp the awesome perfection of God, and the depth of our fallen state, and still choose to pass judgement upon Him, who IS! Read with me the final two verses of Reginald’s hymn:

Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide Thee, though the eye of sinfulness Thy glory may not see.
Only Thou art holy; there is none beside Thee, perfect in power, in love, and purity.

Holy, holy, holy, LORD God, almighty! All Thy works shall praise Thy name in earth and sky and sea.
Holy, holy, holy, merciful and mighty; God in three persons, blessed Trinity!

Here in these final two verses we see truth laid out in “plain English.” God, in His triune perfection, cannot be seen by us, in our imperfection. Our sin nature blinds us, prevents us from seeing and knowing El Hakkadosh — the Holy God! Why? Because sin separated us from God. Not because God pushed us away, but because the natural cause and affect of perfection and imperfection is that they cannot coexist. It’s just like light cannot coexist with darkness. The moment light hits darkness, the darkness flees. You see? The moment God’s holiness hits sin, the sin must flee. Imperfection can’t remain in the presence of perfection without consequence of death (Romans 5:12-21; 6:1-23).

Were it not for God’s merciful sacrifice of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, we would never have the hope of returning to Him as the true worshipers He created us to be. Only the covering of Christ’s holy blood can remove the imperfection from our souls and allow us to return to the presence of El Hakkadosh. So stop ignoring the fault inside yourself, and begin the process of allowing God to deal with that fault. Cease trying to foolishly “shop around” for a version of God that fits what you think a god should be. God (Elohim) is LORD (Adonai), because He IS — despite what humanity wants to think.

Modern day Judaism isn’t the answer, and neither is the destructive teachings of Islam! The Mormon’s and the Jehovah’s Witnesses teachings of Christ and the triune God are nothing more than perversions of the truth! Also, don’t allow yourself to remain in the lie that you can somehow achieve perfection on your own. Sitting on a mountain top, all of your life, meditating does nothing for you except remove you from reality. It’s time western culture and the rest of the world woke up to the false philosophies of Buddhism and Hinduism! Lastly, evolution and atheism are probably the most ridiculous lie of all the lies spoken to humanity by Satan. The Creator, IS God, and always will be God whether you choose to believe in Him or not! What humanity thinks is not of importance, what God says IS — period! After all, when considering all the wonderful things God has created, what significance does mankind really hold? None, when separated from God.

Humanity’s significance, our glory and honor, comes only from achieving God’s original purpose; that purpose is to be true worshipers of the Holy God (El Hakkadosh). When we are able to see God as holy and ourselves as unholy, apart from Him, then we can begin to realize our significance and cease being foolish in believing we can pass judgment on God or “shop around” for a god of our own liking.

I’d like to leave you with this last reading from Psalm chapter 8. Meditate with me on verses 3-9, which states:

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is man that You are mindful of him, the son of man that You care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler over the works of Your hands; You put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!

Ponder these verses. Reflect upon what is being said here, and begin to allow yourself to experience God as He really is — El Hakkadosh — The Holy One.

His Name Is . . . by J. Scott Harden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://jasonmin.wordpress.com/.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

The “NIV” and “New International Version” trademarks are registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by International Bible Society. Use of either trademark requires the permission of International Bible Society.

Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty lyrics by Bishop Reginald Heber and music written by John B. Dykes. Public Domain. Copyright contingent upon arrangement and publishing company rights.

If your church or organization would like to talk with J. Scott Harden about a speaking engagement, or a writing project, please get in touch with Mr. Harden through Jason MinistriesTwitter account or Facebook page.