One Size Does Not Fit All in the Complexity of Life

            One size does not fit all in the instinctual lifestyle habits in the natural living world. 

            There are no 3-step or 5-step plans that functionally apply to the lifestyle habits of lions, cheetahs, and leopards in the same cat family…much less to elephants, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, giraffes, and wildebeest on the African savanna plains.

            Cheetahs instinctively know not to chase zebras, which they can easily run after and catch, because zebras are too large in size for a single cheetah to wrestle to the ground.  Lions do not bother to hunt Thompson’s gazelles because lions cannot run fast enough to catch them.  Lions instinctively know that their larger sized body-plans and strength rather than running speed…are not suited to chasing after the swift-footed Thompson’s gazelle. 

            When we consider the ten-million living species on the earth, the diversity of the biological and ecological systems are so complex, highly specified, and coherently integrated that a one size fits all approach to survival is instead brilliantly divided into unique architectural body-plans and lifestyle habits that reveal a creative imagination for innovative thinking that is truly mind-boggling.

            We also see this same high quality of creative imagination for innovative thinking in the biblical narrative stories of faith.

            Because the complexity of the biological and ecological systems in the natural living world support the diversity of life-forms we see on our planet earth, this has a similar parallel to the reality of the events and circumstances of this current fallen world that is likewise too complex for simplistic, one size fits all solutions.

            The life-script for Abraham is different from the life-script for Joseph in Egypt, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, Ruth, Hannah, Samuel, David, Elijah, Daniel, John the Baptist, Joseph and Mary, Peter, James, Paul, and of course for Jesus Christ the Son of God.

            Joseph cannot live Abraham’s life.  David’s calling is not to deliver the Israelites from Egypt and to part the Red Sea.  No one else can perform the unique role of John the Baptist.  Only one person…Mary…can be the mother of Jesus Christ.  Only the blemish-free and morally perfect Jesus Christ can be the Passover Lamb of God atoning sacrifice for sin, walking within a singularly unique life-script divinely composed before the foundation of the earth (Rev. 13:8).   

            There are two important lessons we can draw from this comparison of the diversity we see in the natural living world and the diversity we see in the biblical narrative stories of faith.

            First, the redemptive salvation in the Bible comes by grace through faith and not through a program of self-performed good works…the faith of Abraham actualized in his life-script four hundred years before the introduction of the Law of Moses (Gal. 3:17-18).

            By having a diversity of life-scripts for journeys of faith, not only does the God of the Bible match our unique talents and abilities to very specific callings and mission-plans, but uniquely diverse life-scripts for believers excludes our tendency to co-op a simplistic 3-point or 5-point plan and apply it to our lives using the humanistic self-reliance of self-sovereignty.

            Salvation by grace through faith enables the diversity of uniquely composed journey of faith life-scripts that engender a personal relationship with God (Jer. 31:31-34) that is not attainable through the individual autonomy of self-sovereignty sitting atop the thrones of our lives.

            Second, salvation by grace through faith sets-up the unimaginably counterintuitive reality whereby we can enter into a research program into the discovery of the knowledge of good and evil…inhabiting the 4-wheel drive vehicle of a fallen moral nature (2 Cor. 4:7)…redeemed and sanctified through the cross and resurrection of Christ to be able to traverse over the rough terrain of this equally fallen world.

            The brilliance of this scheme of salvation is the recognition that an understanding of the broad array of moral concepts contained within the knowledge of good and evil can only be achieved through the microscopic and telescopic lens of a fallen yet redeemed nature, possessing the humility of repentance in order to be open and teachable, but also coming at the massive complexity of the knowledge of good and evil while occupying the “earthen vessel” of a fallen nature to be able to comprehend the subtle nuances of the issues involved.

            Human life in reality is every bit as complex as the biological and ecological systems in the natural living world, and therefore required a diversity of life-scripts for human beings in the same way that lions need their own unique instinctual approach to survival and reproduction that is entirely different from the instinctual lifestyle approach for their related cousins the cheetah and leopard, and even more diverse from that of elephants, hippopotamus, and giraffes.

            The modern recognition of the correlation between the two innovative realities of the architectural body-plans and lifestyle habits of the ten-million species in the living world, with the architectural body-plans and lifestyle habits of God-composed journey of faith life-scripts patterned for us in the biblical narrative stories of faith, and experienced by Christians today…lifts these two realities above a causal explanation coming from the atheistic worldview of naturalistic materialism.

            The complex, highly specified, and coherently integrated God-composed journey of faith life-scripts that precisely match the talents and abilities of individually diverse people…is a concept that could not be the product of human literary invented mythology.

            The vast diversity we see in both the natural living world and the events and circumstances of human life, reveals a universe of reality that is at the opposite end of the spectrum-line from one size fits all.

            In my opinion, this reality requires a mature explanation for its origin that far exceeds the hopelessly simplistic explanation that matter/energy alone can produce the organized complexity we see in the natural world and in human life.

            Only intelligent agency could produce the broad diversity of the architectural body-plans and instinctual lifestyle habits in the natural living world, and only an intelligent agent God could compose life-scripts for human beings that enable them to investigate first-hand the nuances of the knowledge of good and evil…made possible by the redemptive salvation of grace by faith that enables me to enter into the risk of an adventure of faith following the leading of Jesus Christ…without jeopardizing my salvation through my own imperfect performance along the way.

            One size does not fit all in the natural living world, and one size does not fit all in the biblical narrative stories of faith from Enoch through Paul.  This argues for the same creative God active in both these spheres of reality.

One Purpose of Redemptive Salvation

            God told Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden, not because He did not want them to have the knowledge of good and evil…but profoundly at the deepest level of brilliant foresight and perfect divine love…God knew that eating a piece of fruit from a special tree could not possibly impart the depth of a genuine knowledge of good and evil.

            A timeless and eternal God in Revelation 13:8 tells us that Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world, meaning that God anticipated the fall of man and the need for redemptive salvation by grace through faith…rather than self-salvation through a program of reformation by self-performance of good works…far ahead of time.

            Eating the fruit only gave Adam and Eve the recognition and awareness that they were naked. 

            It did not add virtue to their characters.

            The temptation in the Garden of Eden by Satan in the beguiling spiritualized apparition of a beautiful talking serpent was in the form of two subtly destructive lies that are at the low, corrupt bottom of the vertical spectrum-line of goodness and light.

            The first subtle lie was that eating this fruit would make Adam and Eve “as gods knowing good and evil,” which is a classic half-truth lacking the fine-print details. 

            Knowing we are morally imperfect (naked) by itself is only one leg of the three-legged stool required as a minimum to be “as gods”…missing the other two legs of divinely timeless foresight and perfect moral goodness.

            The second subtle lie was that this temptation contained the character assassination of God, questioning the motivation, reliability, and trustworthiness of God’s word.

            We do not understand redemptive salvation rightly.

            Yes, the cross and the resurrection of Jesus Christ eternally redeem believers from our sins by grace through faith.

            This is as orthodox as can be…central to the Christian gospel message.

            But there is an even higher underlying principle that we talk around the edges of but do not fully understand, the power of which is not only overwhelming in revealing the brilliance of the God of the Bible…but also may answer the single fundamental question of this life and why we are here.

            Every Spirit-born Christian understands the basics that Jesus took upon Himself our sins so that the Father can view us through Christ…in our still fallen yet redeemed nature…so that we can experience a relationship with God purchased for us through the cross and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

            This is the simplicity of the Christian gospel message that can and does launch the new life of faith free from the bondage to sin.

            But in my opinion there are two important connecting dots that have been missing until now.

            The first dot is the recognition that the people of faith in the Bible and modern Christians today…pursue our callings through the vehicle of a fallen nature…the “earthen vessel” described by Paul in 2 Corinthians 4:7).

            This is the God redeemed and sanctioned 4-wheel drive vehicle that transports us over the rough terrain of this life in the one-and-only research program that opens up our understanding of the knowledge of good and evil…enabled by grace through faith and not self-performed good works.

            The second missing dot until now is the recent discovery in the past few decades by modern science of complex, highly specified, and coherently integrated systems of information everywhere we look in the natural world.

            This second dot points towards an intelligent designer God having unimaginably precise architectural and engineering acumen…which then carries over into the biblical narrative stories of faith revealing a composer of life-scripts having equally purposeful direction and creatively brilliant insight.

            These two dots further connect our understanding of the temptation in the Garden of Eden…with the cross and the resurrection…a through-line constructed of pure love and brilliant light, entirely for our benefit in a narrow way that could never have been the product of human literary mythological fiction.

            The difficulties of life are not comeuppance for our rebellion and fall in the Garden of Eden, universally applied to the human race.

            The challenges in this life, the things that continue to knock us down and have the appearance of fighting against our obtaining the “good life of ease” (Gen. 16:2, 43:14; Est. 4:16; Mt. 16:22) are not payback for our shortcomings.

            This is truly and simply the only way we could through empirical first-hand experience obtain a workable knowledge of good and evil…to be able to comprehend the subtle nuances of the broad array of moral concepts using the microscopic and telescopic lens of the humility of an “earthen vessel” to venture out into a research program in this likewise fallen and broken world.

            How is Paul going to be able from Damascus onward to research the real truth that becomes his New Testament letters to the early churches…without being buffeted along the road of a research program that by the divine intention of God has many pitfalls, obstacles, and pot-holes along the way?

            The divine love and brilliant pure light of God uniquely manages to combine the redemptive salvation of grace by faith with God-composed journey of faith life-scripts after the pattern of the biblical narrative stories of faith…so that we can not only experience a personal relationship with God…but also so that we can in the most counterintuitive and divinely created way pursue a real understanding of good and evil that was inaccessible through the rebellious route of going our own way by eating the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden.

The Sin Which Doth So Easily Beset Us

            “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” (2 Cor. 4:7).

            Nothing on this earth can defeat virtue, integrity, courage, and selflessness.

            The humility of fallen imperfect natures combined with the love of God living inside the believer is the essence of redemptive salvation that conquers the world.

            Peter and John testifying before the Sanhedrin Council (Acts 4:8-12) exhibits this…virtue, integrity, courage, and selflessness while still inhabiting imperfect fallen natures.

            Exploring the knowledge of good and evil through the God-sanctioned vehicle of our fallen nature, makes redemptive salvation and a journey of faith following Christ within reach of everyone.   

            To enter into redemptive, salvation God does not ask us to run an obstacle course, to “jump through hoops,” to go on a spiritual pilgrimage to some holy place, or to embark on a program of self-reformation.

            When we become Spirit-born Christians, God instantly flips our fallen, imperfect moral nature into this 4-wheel drive vehicle to investigate the knowledge of good and evil in this equally fallen and broken world, when we allow God to displace our ways with His higher ways…when we pick up our cross to follow Jesus.

            God then inserts a God-composed journey of faith life-script into our lives as the precise individualized route for our good and for the benefit of others…after the pattern of the biblical narrative stories of faith.

            When I became a Christian at age 18, I was not instantly transformed into a perfect moral being, capable of living my life flawlessly from that point forward.

            The people of faith in the Bible universally carry-out their unique callings and mission-plans while still inhabiting their imperfect fallen natures.

            There is no disagreement in our culture that Christians and nonbelievers are all human…are non-divine, flawed beings.

            But few people (none that I have ever heard) ask the basic question why do not Christians become divinely perfect after conversion, having the Holy Spirit now also living inside them.

            The Bible says that on Judgment Day the lost will weep and lament, partly because there is no going back for a second chance, but also I believe because on that day everyone will realize clearly what little actual difference there was between the destructive sin that separated people from God for the coming eternity…and this same sin, our imperfect fallen nature…that the God of the Bible through the redemptive salvation by grace through faith is and was able to flip into the perfectly designed vehicle wherein believers can enter into divinely sanctioned research programs to discover and understand the subtle nuances of the knowledge of good and evil.

            This occurs through the narrow gate (Mt. 7:13-14) of faith and trust in redemptive salvation…again by grace through faith in Christ…that makes this possible not through self-salvation by our performance of good works (Tit. 3:5; Eph. 2:8-9) but by the entirely counterintuitive method of pursuing this research program while occupying the humility of an “earthen vessel.”

            The microscopic and telescopic lens needed to comprehend the broad array of moral concepts in the knowledge of good and evil, and the rare capacity to be able to evaluate the qualifications of Jesus Christ to be the blemish-free, Passover Lamb of God sacrifice for sin…this is the very thing in the great debate in human history that is so closely separated between the thin line of belief and unbelief…that divides forever eternal salvation from eternal damnation, the difference between one small step putting one leg forward in faith across this line…giving God the benefit-of-the-doubt that through redemptive salvation He can flip our imperfect nature into the positive of the one and only way we could discover and comprehend the knowledge of good and evil through first-hand empirical experience.

            Paul’s dual-purpose calling of spreading the gospel message and researching the truth that would compose his letters to the New Testament churches…occurred while he occupied his fallen nature (Rom. 7:15-8:4).

            The realization of the reality of how close salvation was in reach all the time on this earth…to the lost on Judgment Day…will be a large part of the unimaginable regret for those people pushing the God of the Bible out of their lives today.

            But the one tentative and courageous small step over the line that separates skeptical and indifferent unbelief…into redemptive salvation by grace through faith in Christ, inaugurates the God-intended potential for this adventure of faith to separate into the condition of being lost in our sins (Jn. 8:24) through unbelief, or into a redeemed fallen nature now capable of comprehending the knowledge of good and evil…into a gulf as wide apart as the Grand Canyon.

            This reality could only be creatively invented through the brilliance of the mind of God, and could never be the product of human literary imaginative mythology.

            To take the very thing that separates us from fellowship with a perfect God…and craft it into a positive that is the one and only way in which we could understand the issues at stake…through a redemptive salvation that only He could provide by bearing the penalty for sin Himself through the cross and resurrection…is a spiritual engineering feat that could only come from the same God who created this universe.

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