~ Hell, It’s Really Not About You ~

For those who are driven by a desire to inform the rest of mankind that the consequences of selfishness may not be as bad as their native intuitions portend I say, right out of the gate – you are speaking way over your pay grade. For some it may seem a credible theodicy to focus on the “bottom line” of what can be “proved” from Scripture but in the end there is no “proof” either way.

That is not to say that I am insensitive to the question and it’s outcome. I don’t think any will deny that the thought of endless punishment period strikes constitutional dread in the heart. But I have noted that there is a tendency in such discussions to lose sight of the intrinsic evil of those who make “Me-First” the modus operandi of life. 

End run’s on the question take the form of the denial of human dualism as “body and spirit”. If the the matrix of life is merely a phenomenal “hum”of neurons then the question of the persistence of identity after death becomes contingent and the issue of eternal damnation is removed from first order dread to “manageable” from the perspective of the living.

But debates on this topic these are inevitable. And the “inconvenient truth” that sin is much more than man ever imagines and is willing to be confronted with, seem easily set aside.

My bleat has been partially heard in what I’ve said, but I have sounded the unwelcome timbre of objection to buy a further moment. And that to point out the really bad part. And its not about you. Sorry.

It’s about the callous disregard for infinite capacity of experience of God in whose heart and mind the evil of sin is deeply most felt. The finite view and its concerns even at the end of consideration of a topic like this never seems to glance heavenward with the question, “what has sin done to You”?

“Mine Own Familiar Friend Has Lifted HIs Heel Against Me” – Meant For Judas?

IT should be pointed out in the case’s concerning Judas that a little known aspect in the use of a certain particle ( hina ) in subjunctive clauses (expressing contingency) show that Jesus and the Apostles understood two kinds of fulfillment of prophecy. The “telic” or primarily predictive prophecy where the present even occured because it was spoken, and the “ecbatic” or coincidentally resultant correlation with a well known event of Scripture in the past.   And in the title verse the “scripture was fulfilled ” about Judas ecbatically.  Meaning he became to Jesus what Ahithophel became to David. Fulfilled incidentally, dramatically, but not as preknown actuality. 

“The Words so frequently used in the Scriptures, ‘that it might be fulfilled’, very often signify that we have here only another illustration os something uttered on a different occasion; or that the language of Scripture here finds a pertinent application. ‘Everywhere through the Scriptures the catastrophes of a later date are described in symbolical languages drawn from the literal facts of earlier times’.’The phrase .. sometimes means, not that the passage was intended to apply to the particular thing or event spoken of but that the words do aptly and appropriately express the thing referred to, and may be applied to it! (Albert Barnes)

‘This Scriptural expression sometimes means that such a thing so happened that this or that passage would appear quite suitable or applicable to it’. ‘The N.T. writers often use O.T. phraseology, which originally was applied in a very difference connection. And they do this because such phraseology expresses, in an apt and forcible manner, the thought which they desired them to convey’. (Moses Stuart).

“Scholars no longer question the frequent use, in an ecbatic sense, of the particle translated that; and , therefore they very often translate the phrase under consideration ‘so was fulfilled’, or ‘thus was fulfilled’. This Greek particle often means so that or that merely ‘Something took place, not in order that a prophecy might be fulfilled, but so that it was fulfilled; not in order to make the event correspond to the prophecy, but so that the event would and did correspond to the prophecy. The phrase is ofter used to express historical and typical parallelism’. ” (From MCabe, p. 119).

ἵνα – Especially as often used in relating a N. T. event with an O. T. prophecy or writing, ( ἵνα πληρωθῇ , aor. subj. pass. of πληρoω, to make full; to bring to pass, ratify, accomplish. “A conjunction is a word that connects sentences, clauses, phrases, and words.” The translation of ἵνα may be described by two words: telic and ecbatic. The ecbatic use, “relating to an event that has happened; denoting a mere result or consequence, as distinguished from telic, which implies purpose or intention or final end. ‘ Events were arranged in order that the prophecy might be fulfilled’, is telic. (Cent. Dict.).

“Its most common occurrence is in purpose or final clauses, and it occurs regularly with the subjunctive mood ( the mood of mild contingency of probability). We find ἵνα used in result clauses,… (Dana & Mantey).

“According to the very ancient tenet of the grammarians, ..ἵνα is alleged to be used not only telikos, i.e. of design and end, but also frequently ekbatikos i.e. of the result, signifying with the issue, that; with the result, that; so that …” (Thayer’s lex.). 

(I compiled these notes in 1974 from auxiliary reference material that Gordon Olson brought to his lecture series, “Sharing Your Faith.” )

~ Even An Infinite Intelligence Can Be Surprised By Evil ~

“Nor did it enter My mind” Jer. 7:31, 19:5

Reason, that innate faculty of the mind that “knows” the nature of things as soon as they come within the field of its vision (i.e., ‘a priori intuition) and “get’s it” that God would not use His imagination to conceptualize infinite permutations of evil prior to the suggestion of selfish patterns of thought that inclined in that direction.

When you hear a chessmaster analogy of God’s knowledge of the future for the first time you may consider it a positive apologetic for an open future for both God and man that seems to preserve the contingency of future moral action. But as soon as your read the verse quoted above you should begin to feel a sickening apprehension to settle over that analogy.

Recall what that paradigm actual posits as the scenario where God runs through all bi-valent possibilities for every move that can be made at this moment and prehends every possible combinatorial option that could conceivably follow in consequence. Then God develops an infinite set of options resulting in the highest possible good that He can perform for you at each juncture. That activity is based on the innate infinite intelligence of God. But, does He therefore, based on that innate ability, also prehend the possible options of selfish minds?

What that view fails to introduce into it’s outworking is the kind of God that possesses that innate infinite intelligence. In the endeavor to posit a new and “superior” metaphysical hermeneutic that affirms that “God” knows all the options of every conceivable future, thus overcoming the objection of traditionalists who claim “open theists” profess a “lesser god”. At the same time it intends to affirm a credible over arching strong overarching Providence depicted. But there is no accounting for the Moral Nature of God. Only a single solution set is considered for the demonstration of the suitability of the chessmaster paradigm.
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The awareness of God’s Moral Nature, that loves righteousness and hates unrighteousness, does not figure in the the outworking of the theory. God is not portrayed as being grieved, outraged or repulsed by the insanity of abuse while following up with logical alternative to truly wicked ideas. Ideas that He would have to create in prehending the convoluted bifurcations of evil people before they think of them themselves. The “chessmaster” theorizing disappears too quickly into the the cloud of abstract and “ideal” conditions and seems supremely interested in showing the maximal nature of God’s metaphysical ability, seemingly at the expense of all other attributes.

The verse quoted above brings us back into the concrete world of real existence and testifies to our finite minds that how ever far back the awareness of “inclined evil natures” goes there is a place where the Divine Mind in Trinitarian eternal fellowship was serenely undisturbed by the presence of specific plans of gratuitous evil.
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If it shocks you to think there are some things God never thought of before because it seemingly detracts from the perfections of God’s metaphysical abilities, it is hoped that it will only be a momentary concen. It is rather hoped that you value by an inestimable magnitude the perfections of God’s Moral Nature and that the thought of ascribing incipient evil in His thoughts is so reprehensible that you will sacrifice any notion of metaphysical perfection in the abstract for the reverence for Holiness in the concrete.