The Vertical Spectrum-Line of Good and Evil 3

My point in this essay is not to adjudicate the relative light and darkness…the good or evil of these historical events…a worthy endeavor but outside the scope of this book…but rather to make the claim that these distinctive events in human history reveal a reality that does not support the worldview philosophy of naturalistic materialism…does not support the atheistic viewpoint that the natural world is all that there is.

The natural living world clearly displays the unmistakable program of animal instinct…universal amongst all living organisms…except human beings.

Elephants do not contemplate the rightness or wrongness of their life-scripts as they put-into-action lifestyle habits that are unique to elephants…defining their distinct and exclusive essence apart from all other animals.

Lions do not pause in mid-pursuit while chasing their prey of zebras, water buffalo, or wildebeest…in carefully measured contemplation over the light or darkness…the good or evil…of their natural instinct to catch and eat these very specific large mammals on the African plains…as their unique food source in order to survive…by instinct selecting mammals that are not hunted by other predators…being too large in size to be taken down and killed…other than by lions hunting as a group.

The human capacity for intellectual and moral reasoning…totally absent in the natural living world…is instead in nature occupied by the highly developed and brilliantly functional program of instinct…for all other living organisms.

Certainly there is an overlap between intelligence and instinct…in animals and people.  Humans do have instinctual qualities…and domesticated animals of many types exhibit the ability to understand right and wrong behaviors as trained by humans…as guided by human concepts of right and wrong in their interactions with humans.

But animals in the wild are guided solely by instinct…as different and as discontinuous from human intellectual and moral reasoning…as is imaginable.

The gulf between instinct and independent moral reasoning…might as well be as wide apart as the gulf between the two sides of the Grand Canyon.

Therefore the logical and obvious question presents itself: the question of how and why we can rationally and reasonably accept the false narrative of common descent…the concept that there is a continuous and unbroken, biological chain of sequences that connects all living organisms in a progression of development over time…including humans…the keystone concept of Darwinian macroevolution?

The three to four decades old discovery of the complex, specified, and coherently integrated systems of information in the natural world…as a result of the new Age of Information…strongly refutes the notion of the unguided, naturalistic process needed to support common descent.

 

This concept of the differentiation between light and darkness…between goodness and evil…that can be visually represented in our mind’s-eye to create a vertical spectrum-line…a graduated continuum…of absolute goodness and brilliant pure light at the top of this scale…and diminishing quantities of light as we go down this spectrum-line…enables us to separate good from evil in a comparative way…this concept being too complex and sophisticated for Mother Nature to produce…making the huge leap across from animal instinct to the independent freedom of human intellectual and moral reasoning.

In Part Two of this book, I will briefly touch upon the factual history of the modern Scientific Revolution…that the addition of new information arising over the span of decades and even centuries…revises and often overturns previously held theories that were based on incomplete information…regarding the more correct understanding of the phenomenon of the natural world…added to our knowledge-base through the scientific advance of investigative research and technological inventions…going forward in tandem over the previous four to five centuries.

When someone objects today that the biblical narrative stories of faith are “fairy tales” because they contain miracles…because they now live in the Age of Science when we have moved past the religious mythologies of the past…I would counter by saying that the complex, specified, and coherently integrated systems of information…that human scientific investigation has identified everywhere we look in the living and non-living natural world…has added a profoundly sophisticated element to our understanding of the natural world…that leaves miles behind in the dust of history any naturalistic explanation for the vast diversity of life…the initial origin of life…and the exquisitely coordinated non-living conditions in the universe that make the existence of complex life like ourselves…possible.

If the origin and existence of complex systems of information has displaced naturalistic materialism as a viable explanation for the workings of the phenomenon in the natural world…then the objection to miracles in the Bible…coming from the atheistic philosophy of scientism…now dissolves as a modern excuse for rejecting the Bible.

There is now no longer anything modern about rejecting the Biblical Narrative…based upon the discoveries of science…and everything modern about entering into our God-composed journeys of faith life-scripts…the only thing in all of human reality that postulates the direct participation of our Creator God in fashioning and crafting life-plans for the optimum human life.

These life-scripts are composed and directed by a Person located at the top-most point of the vertical spectrum-line of absolute goodness and the pure brilliant light of perfection…the two elements that are missing from our capacity of the knowledge of good and evil…that is inexplicable coming from the purely naturalistic origin of animal instinct.

Finally, Christianity today is not just forward-looking toward heaven.  God-composed journey of faith life-scripts are designed to actualize into human lives some portion of God’s character and divine love in service to other people…and to our planet earth…as God-appointed caretakers (Gen. 1:26-31).

This is what we see in the biblical narrative in the modern world.

The depth, complexity, and timeless relevance of the biblical narrative are encapsulated in Paul’s letter to the Colossian church in the New Testament in chapter one verses 9-14…transcending far above human invented mythology (italics mine):

9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord into all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;

11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;

12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:

13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sin.

The Vertical Spectrum-Line of Good and Evil 2

A classic example from the Bible reveals a more difficult determination and separation of light from darkness…of good from evil.

The revolt of Absalom against his father David the king (2 Sam. 15:1-6)…did not have a motivation coming from the top of the vertical spectrum-line of goodness and light…but rather was an attempted theft of the kingship of Israel (2 Sam. 15:6)…having an entirely false narrative that had the deceptive appearance of goodness and light…of Absalom claiming to potentially be a better ruler than his father David…when in fact this revolt was not based in the slightest upon the best of intentions of good governance for Israel…but instead was based upon Absalom’s self-centered ambition for power.

If Absalom had the good of the nation of Israel at heart…he would have followed in the biblical footsteps of his father David…of the Jewish heritage of walking in a journey of faith inaugurated for Abraham…by submitting himself to the unique God-composed journey of faith life-script destiny that God had envisioned specifically for Absalom…whatever that might have been…but which certainly would not have included an unjustified political revolt against the kingship of David…a kingship that God invested a lot of upfront time and effort into the preparation of David…to be the warrior/king of the nation during a critically perilous time in the history of Israel.

King David militarily subdued the threat of the surrounding enemy nations…bringing in a period of political stability and peace for Israel.

But evil…in this case…of Absalom coveting the throne of his father David the king…is not an example of pure, absolute evil for the sake of evil alone…located at the bottom of the vertical spectrum-line of goodness and light.

Absalom’s nearly successful revolt is an example of the putting forward of a cleverly crafted, false narrative…that would not have achieved the required objective of the need for a warrior/king on the throne and in power in Israel…instead placing an unqualified and untested…good looking smooth-talker…a non-military, wannabe ruler in charge as king…which would have been a disaster for Israel.

Unlike the clear-cut case of bank-robbery being morally evil…here in the political realm we can easily be deceived…today as then…because we are inclined to give the benefit-of-the-doubt to the candidate being the better talker…verbally presenting a more appealing package…being difficult to judge the relative light and darkness of the truth or falsity of the narrative being put forward for the populace to choose from…because the wrongly motivated appeal to obtain power is always wrapped in the deceptive clothing of promised and assumed good intentions.

This is one explanation for why we have this scenario of revolt and chaos repeated so often in human history…because the mixed motives of the use of power do not consist of the absolute goodness and brilliant pure light…located at the top of the vertical spectrum-line of goodness and light…that would produce the good governance we would like to conduct our lives within.

 

In hindsight…the Protestant Reformation is an easy determination between light and darkness…between good and evil…because selling salvation to raise money through indulgences…and the equally wrong doctrines of venerating religious relics and making pilgrimages to supposed “holy” sites…again for the purpose of raising money from the unwitting populace…were then and are now unbiblical, and have no support in scripture…and for that reason are no longer a part of the doctrines of the Roman Catholic church.

Yet at the time…indeed for nearly a century…this was a life-and-death struggle over light and darkness…a struggle over whether the Bible should be translated into the popular languages in Europe…enabling the common people to read and judge for themselves whether these doctrines of the Roman Catholic church were correct or not…giving ordinary people the worth and value to be able to exercise their God-given capacity for intellectual and moral reasoning…to courageously reject the false narrative being put forward by the established authority of the institution of Catholicism…in the 1500’s to the early 1600’s.

The American Revolution of breaking away from King George the third in England…can in hindsight be judged to be a good and justified move by the American colonies in terms of light and darkness…achieving political and economic independence from the despotic rule of a tyrant king.

But at the time…some colonists could not see the rightness of this war of independence from England…instead accepting the false narrative that staying connected to England was the right approach…no matter how misguided were the policies towards the American colonies at that time.

In the 1860’s…during the American Civil War…in hindsight the abolition of slavery is a clear-cut victory of light over darkness…of good triumphing over evil…but at the time many people did not see it that way…fighting and dying in large numbers for the cause of a false narrative of the state’s rights to perpetuate human slavery.

My own father fought in World War II aboard a B-17 bomber…as part of the 8th Air Force stationed in England.

The Allied Forces at the time fought against what they considered to be a great evil…but large numbers of men and women on the opposing side instead fiercely fought for the cause of fascism, racial prejudice, and the tribalism of national pride…all of which in hindsight we now judge to be a false narrative…based upon false and misleading information…having an enormously destructive outcome…basically started through the appeal of one smooth-talking man…Adolf Hitler…making worldly promises clothed in the deceptive appearance of light…yet in reality having the darkest of hidden intentions.

The Vertical Spectrum-Line of Good and Evil 1

Once we admit into reality the existence of good and evil…of light and darkness…then we create the opportunity to graphically illustrate this relative relationship…placing perfect light at the top of a vertical, graduated spectrum-line representing absolute goodness…with a decreasing, incremental absence of light…or increasing darkness…going down this vertical line…illustrating evil.

Evil is therefore not a stand-alone entity that is self-existent…that has its own independent beginning…that belongs on its own separate, vertical spectrum-line.

Evil is best defined as an absence of good…like darkness is the absence of light.

Evil derives its origin from goodness…and can never escape or leave its relationship with goodness.

Evil cannot break-away from goodness…it cannot rebel from goodness in an absolute sense…in pursuit of its own separateness.

Like we cannot produce a perfect vacuum…or reach an absolute zero Celsius temperature…or create a machine having zero friction…there is no such thing in reality as pure, absolute evil.

As difficult as this is to conceptually wrap our heads around…the darkness of nighttime is not something that can claim independent autonomy apart from sunlight…or apart from the light of a campfire…or the light of a flashlight…or the light of a street light.  The darkness of nighttime does not possess its own identify…but is simply and purely the absence of its opposite counterpart…light.

Darkness can never escape this relationship with light…because darkness is defined by…owes its existence solely and exclusively to…the presence or absence of light…and not by its own stand-alone essence.

The question posed in this essay…having the greatest importance for the modern world…is would and could Mother Nature “create” the natural living world with animal instinct perfectly articulated in the varied lifestyle habits of the tens of millions of living species…yet “create” human beings having the transcendent “operating system” of intellectual and moral reasoning…being stuck somewhere in the middle zone of the vertical spectrum-line of goodness and light…and not at all operating at the top-most point of this spectrum-line…to equally match the perfect articulation of animal instinct?

How and why would Mother Nature be so spot-on accurate and correct in assigning and achieving perfect performance of lifestyle habits utilizing instinct…yet come-up so short in not being able to actualize perfect goodness and pure light in her one “creation” of human beings desperately needing perfect goodness and pure light…in their free-will application of choice…transcendent and independent above instinct…exercising intellectual and moral reasoning?

The atheistic worldview of naturalistic materialism is a false narrative because it puts-out either the wrong information…that God does not exist…or incomplete and insufficient information that excludes serious consideration of the biblical narrative stories of faith in the calculus of human life.

Atheists and skeptics of the Bible question how an all-powerful and all-loving God would create a world that contained so much evil and suffering…but this same question turns back upon themselves…in how would or could a purely materialistic Mother Nature “create” a world that was not safely amoral…empty of goodness or evil…but instead was and is fixated upon morality as its central issue for human beings.

If the grand scheme of the purpose of this world is to have imperfect people who freely choose light over darkness…and good instead of evil…then this is the only possible world God could have created.

If love is the supreme ethic…as brilliantly articulated by Ravi Zacharias to audiences around the world…then once free-will choice is introduced within the capacity of human beings possessing intellectual and moral reasoning…this automatically sets-up the graphically illustrated relationship on a graduated vertical spectrum-line…that portrays and exhibits the extent…or lack thereof…of light and goodness in the actions and thoughts of people.

In the middle of the spectrum-line is where the ideas and actions are experimentally tested.

This is the empiricism of the biblical narrative in action in the modern world…that scientists demand as qualifying evidence for biblical faith…acted-out on a massive scale over the entirety of human experience…yet rejected by most people because of the initial impediment of skeptical unbelief…or rejected by our hearts desire to go our own way apart from God.

The God of the Bible…living at the top-most point of the spectrum-line of absolute goodness and brilliant pure light…also possessing timeless foresight…already knows the realities of darkness and evil located down the spectrum-line.

This is the reason for God-composed journey of faith life-scripts…demonstrated in the biblical narrative stories of faith…designed to impart some of His goodness and light into the lives of human beings…entered into by free-will choice…giving God the benefit-of-the-doubt regarding the quality of His word (Heb. 11:6).

Walking within our God-composed journey of faith life-script enables God to craft events and circumstances in life that will lift us up to a higher place on the vertical spectrum-line of light.

Becoming spiritually born-again through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ…having the Holy Spirit within us…enables us to hear God’s voice and respond to His calling to enter into this journey of faith…gives believers the added light to be able to correctly choose the biblical narrative…and to reject the sea of multiple competing narratives out there in the modern world.

 

People who rob a bank…breaking the law and taking the risk of being caught…do so with the intention of living “the good life” by successfully stealing and possessing other people’s money.  They plan-out and commit robberies with the positive outlook of obtaining wealth…by getting away with their bank heists.

The ancient profession of thievery as a “highwayman robber”…a stagecoach robber…and a modern-day bank robber…is not an example of pure, absolute evil for the sake of evil…but has the underlying motivation of procuring the good outcome of possessing and enjoying wealth…but obtained in the wrong way.

Being a thief is a social and cultural aberration…a morally bad mixture of good and evil…of light mixed with darkness…or more accurately a mindset put into action…that falls far below absolute goodness and brilliant pure light located at the top of the vertical spectrum-line of goodness and light…absolute goodness and brilliant pure light that contains no darkness (Jn. 1:9; Jas. 1:17; 1 Jn. 1:5).

But on what basis do we judge that stealing is wrong?  This requires an appeal to an independent standard for right and wrong…that people generally accept whether they know it consciously or not.

This independent standard for judging right and wrong…C. S. Lewis called the natural law.

One way, that we can easily determine…in this one particular case that being a thief is wrong…is that stealing other people’s money reveals a criminally self-centered, near-total lack of empathy for other people…that when placed lower down on the vertical spectrum-line of goodness and light…describes not pure evil for the sake of evil…not the evil of causing deliberate harm to other people for the sheer pleasure of it…an expression of evil that would place it at the extreme bottom end of the spectrum-line…but rather the absence of some quantitative amount of morally unselfish love…the absence of the quality of moral light that cares for others…more than for ourselves.

This is the grounds upon which we catch and put bank-robbers in jail…because the chaos caused by continued and unabated bank robberies threatens the economic and social structures of human society.

Good moral order cannot allow bank robbers…or thieves of any kind…to operate freely.

From this we can deduce that absolute moral goodness and the brilliant pure light of flawless character…would never take something away…that belonged to another person.

Absolute goodness and pure brilliant light extends value and worth to others…and therefore has a natural inclination…a bend of the heart…to give away what we have in surplus to others in need…rather than take from others the little that they may have…to wrongly and unjustly benefit ourselves.

The vast majority of people would agree that stealing is wrong…based upon an assent and an agreement with this independent standard for judging good and evil…for judging right and wrong.

Both Unbelief and Atheism are Simplistic

“Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”                                        (1 Cor. 1:25)

The religious leaders in Jerusalem in the first-century were partly right in their expectation for the coming Messiah.

The Messiah would be all that Isaiah 9:6 prophesied…”For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

Jesus Christ of Nazareth was and is all of those things, but not in the way these religious leaders expected.  Their limited worldview was narrowly focused upon a coming Messiah who would be similar to how they viewed themselves in their passionate desire to be free from the current Roman political and military occupation of Israel.

Unbelief…like its sister atheism…is narrowly simplistic.

We have to dig deeper to discover real truth, and not just settle for worldly conventional thinking.

If we are worldly-minded like the religious leaders in Jerusalem in the first-century, then our vision cannot expand into the realm where the truth will set us free (Jn. 8:32).

The maliciously intentioned temptation put forward by Lucifer in Genesis 3:5…“your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” is purposely simplistic.

Simply eating the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is not enough.

It takes a full-blown, mature, God-composed journey of faith containing well-orchestrated challenge, struggle, and yes…suffering…to unearth and expose the real issues underlying good and evil.

In their journey with Jesus towards Jerusalem on one occasion, the disciples argued amongst themselves who should be the greatest in the expected upcoming new kingdom of Jesus in the capital city.

They were each in their own minds measuring window curtains for their large corner offices in the Temple.

Jesus, knowing their thoughts, places a small child in their midst and says: “Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

Yes, faith is childlike.

The gospel message of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ is simple enough for a child to understand and believe.

But what the disciples would face in the coming days ahead…leading to Calvary and beyond… was not simplistic.

Genuine Christian discipleship…a walk of faith with God…is not simplistic.  The true Christian life is intellectually thoughtful and morally demanding…at a level of depth and challenge that will take the measure of our very souls.

Isn’t this what we see in the biblical narrative stories of faith?

Atheists come across something in the Bible they don’t like, and they stop there.  They do not bother to dig any deeper.  This approach is simplistically shallow.  Unbelief is similarly simplistic.

A biblical-quality walk of faith is at the pinnacle…the peak…the height of character challenging lessons.

A God-composed journey of faith life-script is at the apex of the highest of human experience, because real truth about good and evil…is not simplistic.

Learned Values Worthy of Heaven 2

Human beings are created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26)…but for whatever reason…God did not…chose not to…or could not…create human beings having the capacity of divine foresight and foreknowledge.

This leads to one of the most important concepts in all of existence.

This explains why the central component within God-composed journey of faith life-scripts…in the Bible…is faith…and not an entirely opposite program of self-realization based upon self-performed good-works…using foresight we do not possess.

Human beings created in the image of God…lacking divine foresight…nonetheless have the capacity to successfully navigate through a God-composed journey of faith to fulfill our created destinies and to accomplish great things…but we were not created to be able to achieve self-salvation through a self-performed program of good-works…going our own way (Isa. 53:6)…precisely because we do not or cannot operate with divine foresight…combining hope and sight within individualistic autonomy…independent of God.

If humans currently live in a time-limited environment that enables the exercise of free-will choice tempered and informed by time-considered experiences…and a timeless God has pre-written, premeditated life-scripts already composed for every person…ready to step into by faith…this then explains on a very basic and fundamental level the concepts of election and predestination in all of the biblical narrative stories of faith…and also explains John 3:16 that says: “whosoever believeth in him should not perish,” 2 Peter 3:9 that says that God is “not willing that any should perish,” and the Hebrews 11:6 verse that says that it is impossible to please God…outside of faith.

It would be the narrow-gate faith of Matthew 7:13-14…not self-performed good-works…that willingly enters into our God-composed life-scripts…according to free-will choice…that makes the connection between the two dichotomies of a divine God having timeless foresight…and non-divine human beings living within the dimensions of time and space.

This is why earning our own way to heaven through good-works is nonsensical from the biblical perspective.

This explains why the life-scripts for Abraham through Paul are journeys of faith…rather than journeys of self.

Journeys of faith…come out of the timeless, eternally far-sighted wisdom of the creative mind of God.

Journeys of self…come out of the short-sighted vision of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking.

God created time so that we could have the opportunity to exercise faith in Him…a quality of perfect faith and far-sighted hope that already operates within the divine character of God for an eternity past and for an eternity to come.

This not only reveals the real truth about God…but within the actualizing of a journey of faith played-out over some interval of time…also creates the context to develop a personal relationship between people and God (Jer. 31:31-34)…and most important of all from an eternal viewpoint…this creates the joint-venture context within which to develop shared values.

If God cannot…or for good reasons would not…create human beings in His image that also possessed divine foresight…to be able to go-out on our own to become enumerable competing junior-gods…complicating reality through our own eternal, centrally un-coordinated life-plans…then the next best thing is to set-up an apprenticeship environment on this earth and through this temporary earthly life…that enables people to choose a higher-level journey of faith…rather than remain in the default mode of a substandard and defective journey of self.

If the key purpose and meaning in human life is to experience faith in God within a God-composed journey of faith written individually and specifically for each one of us…just waiting “ready-made” for us to respond to God’s universal call to accept Him into our lives…this then explains the “righteousness” of Abraham by faith accepting his calling of God to go to Canaan…the Promised Land (Heb. 11:8)…rather than earning his way to being called “righteous” …through good-works.

This explains biblical narrative stories of faith life-scripts that hold back…in-the-moment…some of the critical details in these life-scripts…setting-up the “walk by faith, not by sight” contexts for faith to actualize…to create the unique environments, the worldly unconventional milieu of events and circumstances for biblical-quality faith in God to operate.

This concept that God and people are not both equally operating in ever-growing and unfolding faith…is one of the most important explanations of the reality of human life.

If God is trying to give to us…to impart to us some measure of Himself…of His already perfected nature of all-knowing faith and timeless hope…exhibited through divine love…at the peak and pinnacle of the vertical spectrum-line of absolute goodness…it is by entering into our God-composed journeys of faith life-scripts that this can occur…and not through a self-realization program of self-performed good-works…lacking the perspective of divine foresight.

If God’s goal is to set-up the commonality of shared values…for future citizens of heaven (Heb. 11:12-16)…through the experiential vehicle of journeys of faith…this is simply above and outside of any plausible origin coming from human literary imagination…of human literary fiction-writing.

It is totally inconsistent with worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…the widely and popularly held notion of creating our own reality through autonomous individualism.

This is the simplicity of the biblical message that breaks down into two clear-cut choices…having enormous eternal consequences.

God living in a timeless reality…has pre-written life-scripts that are perfect in their scope and outreach…to match to each of our individual, created talents, abilities, and time-periods we live in…designed for the purpose of developing faith and trust in Jesus Christ as King and Ruler…in heaven and on earth…and to experience unselfish service to other people on a divine level…all contained within unique, one-of-a-kind, God-composed journeys of faith that we could not invent in our wildest imagination.

These journey of faith life-scripts are “all-ready” and waiting for contemporary Christian believers to step-into…listening to God’s voice and responding in faith.

This is an alternative worldview approach to the broad road of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…described by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7:13-14.

This alternative lifestyle argues for a divine origin of the Bible…above and outside of the capacity of human literary imagination to invent as a new speculative religion…starting around 1,450 B.C. with the writing of the first five books of the Old Testament…recording the first God-composed journeys of faith in human history.

Within the marketplace of ideas and the broad array of moral concepts…this reality of God-composed journey of faith life-scripts unique to the Bible…reveals an important part of the real Christian life.

Learned Values Worthy of Heaven 1

“…for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord…”                                                    (Jer. 31:34)

During the Big Bang creation of the universe dated 13.7- billion years ago…God created time and the three dimensions of space…length, width, and height…along with all of the material particles and energy in just the right quantities and proportions…that brought into existence an expanding universe that billions of years later was capable of supporting complex life like ourselves.

God created the fourth dimension of time for a definite and deliberate reason…one of the highest reasons imaginable.

In Isaiah 46:9-10 and 2 Peter 3:8…God tells us directly that His reality is a timeless reality.

Throughout the entire Bible, God indirectly infers that He lives in a timeless environment…evidenced by the precise and penetrating foresight God exhibits in crafting and guiding the life-scripts of the people of faith in the Bible…to successful conclusions.

The biblical narrative stories of faith…having end-point goals not fully known or entirely understood by its main participants at the outset of their callings…make sense only if they were written by a divine Author having premeditated foresight and timeless foreknowledge at His disposal…in other words a God outside of time writing exceptionally brilliant life-scripts for people locked into the course of unfolding events engineered through the steady and orderly medium of time.

The goals-targeted transcendence of the biblical narrative stories of faith…having God’s higher ways and thoughts experientially baked-into their storylines…and the timeless nature of prophetic predictions in the Bible…reveals that God intentionally and purposely works with time as an invaluable tool…to shape and channel the context of events played-out within intervals of time…to manufacture novel and innovative journeys of faith singularly unique to the Bible…that defines biblical faith as articulated in Hebrews 11:1, 11:6, and 11:12-16.

The key point here…regarding the element of time…is that throughout the Bible we do not see or detect the slightest hint of God exercising less-than-perfect faith…that contains some partial degree of doubt or uncertainty in the outcomes of His life-scripts and mission-plans composed for people…and for the world-at-large.

In the Bible…God is not in suspense in the reactive mode waiting to see how human free-will decisions and actions will play-out…contemplating in-the-moment His next trial-and-error, reactive move…in response to events on-the-ground.

In the biblical narrative stories of faith…of Abraham through Paul…the outcomes are not a product of serendipity…of random-chance…of good or bad luck…because the same quality of faith is not in operation on both sides of the equation.

            God and people are not both operating in the same mode of discovery…in the brave new world of unfolding, ever-growing, and improving faith. 

As discussed elsewhere in this book…God lives in a timeless environment…revisited here in this essay in more detail.

The God-composed journeys of faith life-scripts…for Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Samuel, Ruth, Esther, Hannah (including Noah) all the way through the New Testament to Paul…are totally pre-meditated on God’s part and do not entail doubtful, unsure “faith” in us…in the time-limited, to-be-determined sense that we normally experience…when the final positive outcomes of these journeys of faith…are in doubt in-the-present-moment.

Learned faith and trust in God within the context of this world is a brilliantly designed, created reality…for our benefit…using the four dimensions of space and time…to be able to discover the character and trustworthiness of the living God…to be able to parse and divide-out the one true worldview narrative amidst a sea of multiple competing narratives…to discover truth through experience.

I perceive this is somewhat of a revolutionary concept…in the divine blending…in the humanly inconceivable and seemingly irreconcilable mixing…of these two disparate dichotomies of the timeless nature of God…and our dimension of time.

2 Corinthians 5:7 tells us: “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”

But in the biblical narrative stories of faith…and in prophetic predictions regarding the future…it is clearly apparent that God walks by the timeless vision of foresight, and not by faith that is a work-in-progress over time…that is an ever-growing and unfolding faith through time.

Our faith must overcome doubt and uncertainty in-the-moment as the result of discouraging outward appearances…that are purposely and ingeniously written into our God-composed journeys of faith life-scripts…for the express purpose of creating and building previously non-existent faith in God…a new quality of faith transferred from being solely placed in ourselves…to instead being placed toward and in God (Acts 14:22; 1 Pet. 5:10).

A God who is brilliant pure light and absolute goodness…at the very top of the vertical spectrum-line of goodness and light…already possesses perfect faith exhibited in divine love…and does not require the passage of time to perfect His faith through experiential lessons-learned.

When combined with divine foresight and foreknowledge in a timeless reality…this reveals a God walking by sight.

The Most Important Issue

“Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.”   (Luke 12:15)

The argument that the biblical narrative stories of faith cannot plausibly have any other origin…other than through the creative, premeditated, and timeless thinking of God (Isa. 46:9-10, 55:8-9)…based upon the sheer novelty and unconventionality of their goals, themes, and outcomes…is the single most important issue to be considered in all of human history, reality, and experience…of human life on this planet.

I think this is a true statement…when viewed in the grand scheme of things (Mk. 8:36-37).

However we define the positive aspects of the American Dream…currently or projected backwards in time…of a great education, good job, big house, happy marriage, European vacations, sending our kids to college, good health, financial security, achieving worthwhile accomplishments…in comparison the biblical narrative stories of faith are completely unconventional and worldly-contrary…in that they do not directly pursue any of these things as being the primary targets in life to aim for.

In the biblical narrative stories of faith…achieving worldly success is a secondary outcome…a derivative of “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Mt. 6:33).

This is a revolutionary concept.

The goals, themes, and aspirations of a God-composed journey of faith life-script…as recorded in the Bible…do not take us anywhere within worldly conventional normalcy and thinking.

They are on a different track altogether (Mt. 7:13-14)…because by necessity they must be on a different track.

The biblical narrative stories of faith have nothing to do with any modern or ancient versions of the American Dream…because God cannot and will not compete for our affections by pandering to the lower worldly level of offering material wealth and success to us…if we will follow Him…like Satan tried to entice Jesus with the power and glory of the kingdoms of this world…in the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness (Lk. 4:5-8).

The positive aspects of the American Dream are commendable and admirable…when their pursuit involves utilizing the God-created and endowed talents and abilities we possess…which entails some measure of humility in the recognition that we cannot claim the credit for the existence of these personal talents and abilities.

But the key biblical point is not to go it alone…on our own…without God our creator (Gen. 3:1-6).

The biblical narrative stories of faith are on a higher level…above the lower zone of worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…up at the elevated realm of the higher ways and thoughts of God…precisely where Satan is unwilling and incapable of competing with God…because their two natures…the character of God and the character of Satan…are vastly different.

The detailed, specified direction of the biblical narrative stories of faith have the highest goals and aspirations…which bypass any random-chance serendipity of other possible storyline plots…sweeping away along with everything else the repetitious mediocrity of the pursuit of the goals, themes, and aspirations of the worldly conventionality portions of the American Dream…a dream more often than not…never achieved by the vast majority of people in the world.

For these reasons, this book argues…in every essay…that the biblical narrative stories of faith would never be imagined, conceived of, or invented…by human fiction-writers.

The biblical narrative stories of faith would never be imagined and composed by authors like John Steinbeck, or Ernest Hemingway, or Mark Twain, or Jane Austin, or William Shakespeare, or an exceptionally gifted and far-sighted assortment of roughly forty Jewish writers…excepting the Greek Gentile author Luke…composing the Bible over a 1,500-year period.

This may be one of the most important arguments made in all of human reality and experience…because a personal relationship with our Creator God (Jn. 14:6)…has fundamental, universal application to every person on the planet…regardless of geographical location, cultural background, economic status, career path, education level, or personal circumstances.

In the biblical narrative stories of faith…God crafts journey of faith life-scripts to match our created gifts, talents, and abilities…perfectly in the realms of purpose and direction…because God created each one of us.

Abraham cannot be David.  David cannot be Joseph in Egypt.  No one else can be the apostle Paul…except Paul.  The mission-plan for Joseph and Mary…beautifully composed by God and faithfully carried-out by Joseph and Mary…cannot conceivably be occupied by anyone else.

The new covenant strategy of God prophesied by Jeremiah (Jer. 31:31-34) that every believer shall know Him from the least to the greatest…is part of the personal relationships that God can capably initiate and bring to successful completion…within the vast infinity of possible specifics and performance levels…from the thief on the cross alongside Jesus…to the apostle Paul called to start new Christian churches throughout the Greco-Roman world in the first-century, and to write the New Testament letters to these churches that have blessed Christians down through the centuries of the Church Age.

The point here is that the biblical narrative stories of faith universally apply to Christians today who are elementary school teachers, building construction painting contractors, stay-at-home moms, professional athletes, concert pianists, Broadway theater actors in New York City, lawyers, accountants, politicians, engineers, business managers, farmers, stock-brokers, journalists, soldiers, church pastors, Christian foreign missionaries, Christian book writers, grandparents, and every other conceivable, positive lifestyle and career path.

God is capable of inserting a biblical narrative story of faith life-script…having worldwide mega-impact or moderated to a lesser extent to match our unique abilities and talents (Jn. 21:20-24)…into the lives of every person who will through faith…pick up their cross, listen in the Spirit, and follow Jesus (Mk. 8:34-37).

The biblical narrative stories of faith are God’s presentation to mankind of revolutionary life-scripts that cannot be defeated by anything coming from worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…because God-composed journey of faith life-scripts are on a higher plane altogether.

The biblical narrative stories of faith define for us what human life is supposed to be about.  They define for us what are the purpose and the meaning of human life.

How could anything be more important than this?

For today’s Christian…sharing our faith…sharing our testimony about our salvation and our subsequent journey of faith…to family, friends, co-workers, and to the world-at-large…we sometimes have to argue uphill to first dispel some of the modern cultural biases, misconceptions, and factual mistruths regarding the Bible and Christianity…before we can even reach the point of being able to discuss who Jesus Christ is, what He has to offer, and to tell our story of what He has done for us (Acts 28:23).

The apostle Paul’s sermon on the Areopagus in the city of Athens, Greece…is an argument primarily addressed and tailored to philosophers…Greek citizens who from the time of Aristotle had been debating the pros and cons of the apparent design observable in nature…versus the naturalistic viewpoint of non-theistic materialism…that there is no god outside of our natural world.

The classical design argument…versus the opposing common descent argument articulated specifically in Darwinian macroevolution…a discussion critical and of immense importance in our modern debate into the ultimate, underlying purpose behind our universe and the existence of complex, thinking beings like ourselves…is now part of the mix at this time…in Christian evangelism…in the modern iteration of the Great Commission to take the gospel message to all the nations of the earth…discussed in Part Two of this book.

The issues raised in the biblical narrative stories of faith pre-date the modern Christian apologetics topics debated today…yet are so basic and fundamental to the purpose and meaning of human life…that they are as fresh and applicable for us today…as they were for the great characters of faith in the biblical Old and New Testaments.

The High Price of Salvation

“Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”                (1 Cor. 2:8)

To the religious elites in Jerusalem in the first-century…the Messiah was merely a “means to an end”…a useful deliverer to set the nation of Israel free from Roman political and military occupation.

These leaders could not see any value in a relationship with God through faith in Jesus the Christ…leading to an adventurous and liberating journey of faith after the pattern of Abraham, Moses, David, and the other great men and women of faith in the Hebrew Bible (the Christian Old Testament)…novel and innovative journeys of faith which God did in fact create for the new members of the early Christian church in the first-century.

The Jewish religious leaders in Jerusalem were users of other people…users of worldliness.  They were adept at bending people to their will.  They were masters at spinning-the-narrative to suit themselves…to obtain their own ends.

In this mindset, they were incapable of an open, teachable, give-and-take personal relationship with God…exercising their free-will choice in combination with the leading of God in a biblical-quality journey of faith.

They did not want to follow God to dig deeper…to discover first-hand through real-life experience…the meaning of Proverbs 3:5-6 or Jeremiah 31:31-34.

Self-confident, pride-filled resistance to personal reformation, genuine repentance, spiritual character growth, and the universally dreaded word—change—sadly blocked this out of their consciousness.

The new covenant Christian life is the diametric opposite of this worldly mindset.

We are not a “means to an end” for God.  God is not “using” us as a disposable asset or an expendable entity in our journeys of faith.

God-composed journey of faith life-scripts are designed to establish and solidify a personal relationship with God…so valuable to God that Jesus went to the cross to purchase this relationship with His own blood.  Jesus said: “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

Jesus Christ offers deliverance in the deepest and fullest sense imaginable.  Christianity and God-composed journeys of faith are all about radical change of the heart in the highest and best possible way.

Roman crucifixion is what the Pharisees, Sadducees, lawyers, and scribes in first-century Jerusalem thought of this concept…this concept of a biblical-quality walk of faith following Jesus Christ…of a change of heart (John 3)…into personal and national deliverance…a concept that would and did change the world through the early Christian church.

The rejection of Jesus the Son of God…based partly upon worldly perceptions and calculations…is factored into the equation of the cross (Isaiah 53).

God brilliantly makes this rejection of a personal relationship with Him…condensed, focused, and exaggerated out of all sensible proportion…at the cross of Calvary…the portal through which salvation and eternal life comes to people of faith through Christ.

But the rejection of a personal relationship with God through a journey of faith…culminating in the cross…is not just one small factor.  It is the main component in the social, political, and religious reality that sends Jesus of Nazareth to a brutal and ignominious death on the cross.

Jesus encourages the disciples in John 16:33 by saying: “be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

This forever emphatically places worldly conventional normalcy and thinking in the subordinate position it merits in relation to a God-composed adventure of faith.

An old saying aptly applies here: “If we aim for nothing, we are sure to hit it.”

Our new covenant Christian life is not a cheaply purchased, cheaply gained…means to an end.

The value to God of a joint-venture journey of faith with us is seen in the high purchase price of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Son of God.

Hard is What Makes It Great

“For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.”                                      (2 Pet. 1:16)

The characters of Abraham, Joseph, Moses, and David are not myths…because no human literary genius could invent them.

The biblical lives of faith are so unconventional compared to worldly horizontal, temporal, here-and-now thinking…that their life storylines lay far outside of humanistic imaginative invention.

It takes a divine worldview…outside of time and conventional thinking…to create the life-scripts of the people of faith in the Bible.

We do not need ancient archaeological evidence to corroborate their existence or their storylines, although this certainly helps in the field of biblical apologetics.

The uniqueness and originality of God-composed life-script adventures of faith…validate the existence and reality of the biblical people of faith.

The unbelieving skeptic must explain the uniquely singular origin of the cross of Christ…God displacing our ways with His higher ways…uniformly and consistently embedded within these biblical storylines…starting in the book of Genesis and proceeding throughout the entire Bible.

This has been said repeatedly throughout this book.

Mankind needed the initiation of a journey of faith…starting with Abraham roughly around 2,100 B.C., and we need biblical-quality journeys of faith today.

Abraham did not suggest to God that he needed a change of scenery and that a move to Canaan would be beneficial.  Abraham probably would have been happy to stay right where he was in the city of Haran.

God’s higher plans…the way of the cross…displaced what Abraham might otherwise have wanted to do according to conventional norms…with a brilliantly imaginative and totally unconventional life-story for the benefit of mankind and the fulfillment of an incredible joint-venture journey of faith with God.

But it was not easy.

Joseph could never have dreamed up the cascade of events that led to him becoming governor of Egypt during a famine crisis, resulting in his family coming to reside in Egypt.

The future nation of Israel needed a secure place to grow in numbers…and then a strong positive motivation to leave Egypt when the right time came.

But Joseph’s adventure of faith was not easy.

The growing nation of Israel in Egypt needed a deliverer.  At the time of the calling of Moses at the burning bush, Moses probably would have been happy to live-out the rest of his life as a shepherd in Midian.

Moses certainly did not suggest or volunteer for the mission to deliver his people from Egypt…at the time of the burning bush.

Moses at that point in his life did not want to go to Egypt and to take-on the daunting task of confronting Pharaoh for the release of the Israelites.

But looking back in hindsight, after the miraculous delivery of the people and the parting of the Red Sea, and after forty years in the wilderness in preparation for the conquering of the promised Land…I think that Moses would be glad beyond measure that God displaced his plans with God’s higher plans.

After the up-and-down period of the judges, Israel needed the combination of both a godly king and a military leader to bring stability to the nation of Israel and to solidify its borders.

The challenging pathway of preparation and apprenticeship to becoming the king of Israel…for David…was beyond his creative imagination…beyond his ability to contrive and orchestrate…and outside of what he would have chosen for himself according to worldly conventional normalcy (Ps. 23:4).

Yet we see in the account of the life of David and read in his beautifully inspired psalms…the story of a man who would not exchange his difficult yet purpose-filled life for anything else…not for all the world.

What makes a journey of faith hard is also what makes it great.

No one would want all of the challenges and hardships of a genuine journey of faith as recorded in the Bible.

This is one feature that authenticates the divine origin of the biblical narrative stories of faith.

The cross of Christ is difficult…it comes with a cost.

Yet we honor the great men and women of faith in the Bible for their personal sacrifices for a higher good…for following their God-composed life-scripts to meet a specific need…against the grain of worldly conventional thinking and normalcy.

This is the Christian life in the risk-filled zone of a God-composed journey of faith.

A Calling to a Higher Level

“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.  For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”               (Col. 3:2-3)

If the things that underlie the cross of Christ seem complex, it is now the time in human redemptive history to unpack the cross and divide its meaning into the various parts that make up the rejection of Jesus Christ…now and in the first-century A.D.

It is very important for the Christian church today to be able to understand the costs and the benefits of Christian discipleship.

Proverbs 3:5-6 reads…”Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

This is worldly unconventional and completely contrary to the self-direction, self-reliance, and autonomous individualism of the modern philosophical worldview of humanism.

Galatians 2:20 reads…”I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

This is worldly unconventional in the extreme.

The new covenant relationship with God as spelled-out in Jeremiah 31:31-34 is as opposite to our culturally modern thinking of naturalism and our post-modern thinking of the relative equality of ideas…as can be.

All new covenant believers knowing God personally…through God-composed journeys of faith…is supernatural to the core and at the same time politically incorrect in its exclusivity regarding true-life experience.

Every word in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Mt. 5-7) is worldly unconventional…creating a philosophically moral paradigm shift in the cultural thinking of the ancient world (see the book God: The Evidence, by Patrick Glynn, Chapter 5 for an excellent discussion of this concept) and setting a high standard for a modern, liberating worldview that is only accessible through the divinely crafted specifications of picking up our cross and following Jesus Christ for the sake of the gospel.

What if…in the very near future…the prophecy of Joel 2:28-29 energizes the widespread preaching of the gospel message that many people…because of worldly conventional thinking…again do not want to hear?

What if people who are stuck in horizontally conventional normalcy…only wanting solutions to worldly conventional problems…creates again a culture-dividing collision between the Holy Spirit inspired salvation, priceless in its eternal impact, contrasted with the horizontally flat, worldly salvation of temporary solutions to our current world problems?

This would again…for many people…set-up a rejection of Jesus Christ for some of the same repeat reasons He was rejected in the first-century.

The unconventionality of a God-composed journey of faith introduces a concept into human experience that is disruptive and divisive at a fundamental level (Mt. 10:34).

The Christian life in the risk-filled zone of faith is a call to a higher level of thinking and living built upon actionable faith and trust in God…to match the example of faith began in the life-script of Abraham and continued in variations-on-a-common-theme in the great men and women of faith recorded throughout the Bible.