ANALOGIES CAN BE TRUE

I am only a human but capable of sending to “The Cloud”
all my computer data and intelligence to be retrieved at a future time.

I am God; and I have saved all your intelligence and memories to myself. At a future time, I will take you to myself, build you a recreated immortal body, and restore all of your intelligence and memories. I do not call this “The Cloud,” but the soul.

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BEFORE DUST AND TIME

(Shakespeare on Facebook)

Before dust and time, from all eternity, the triune God existed; there was nothing else; the cosmos, the universe, did not exist.

God stood, as it were, outside of everything, which was nothing. He was everything that was and not a part of anything. He was complete and sufficient within himself.

Then God spoke ex nihilo, and something was created out of nothing! He was the first force, the first cause of everything that would come into existence. And the logos, that potent spoken word, caused a great violent explosion of gas, energy and dust particles!

Of this intensely hot explosion were the elements necessary to provoke this cosmic fire to burn brighter expanding in gravitational shock waves initially beyond the speed of light; then after thousands of years it began to slow, then cool; that rippled expansion continues to this time.

The precise quality and quantity of gravity drew this initial explosion into a collection of random sub-particles, later, ordered atoms, electrons, protons and eventually into swirling mater slung throughout empty black space.

By intelligent design through billions of years these atoms collected, gave birth to an infinite number of stars and proto stars; then planets and moons formed from the atoms, gas and dust orbiting stars; the comets and asteroids are the remnants thereof.

This brilliant birth and burst of stars was shrouded in dense nebulae of interstellar dust. Then the curtain of clouds departed and like a giant Christmas tree, lights and bright colors lit up the vast dark in a dazzling array of pulsating sparkles. This birth and nursery of stars and planets continues to this day; their number is like the grains of sand of the sea.

The gravitational pull of stars into various locations throughout the cosmos became billions of brilliant galaxies. And in one of these flat spiral galaxies was a medium but adequately sized star of optimal heat located in the right region halfway from the core of the galaxy to its outer galactic edge of spiral arms and with her orbit of precisely positioned planets and moons.

And on one of those planets—extraordinaire, perfect in size and shape, with the right depth of crust, the proper number of tectonic plates, and in the necessary exact distance from its star, perfect in orbit and temperature, and in the necessary exact distance from its large orbiting moon, God entered the universe!

He visited that empty desolate planet to create salty oceans to enable gentile rains, fresh liquid cool water, life-sustaining rich oxygen and nitrogen, green and brown vegetation, tiny microorganism, great sea and land creatures, and human life—life of both genders.

And into that crafted carcass of blood and bones, God blew his warm breath, his spirit; and man, made in the Imago Dei, became, like God, an eternal soul. A man. Amen.

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ELECTION & REPROBATION

(Socrates on Facebook)

I’m a Reformed-Calvinist theologian (as opposed to Wesleyan-Arminian even though I’ve been educated in both). I’m also Southern Baptist and we are of the Reformed-Calvinist tradition. However, there are a few Wesleyan-Arminian doctrines that I appreciate.

I believe in Election but like my Wesleyan-Arminian brothers and sisters, I don’t (or can’t) believe in Reprobation. Both of these doctrines are taught and believed by my church tradition.

Allow me to define the two terms by L. Berkhof, a conservative Reformed-Calvinist theologian:

“That eternal decree of God whereby he has determined to pass some men by with the operation of his special grace, and to punish them for their sins, to the manifestation of his justice.”

Berkhof continues, “The decree of election inevitably implies the decree of reprobation…he purposed to save some, then he ipso facto also purposed not to save others.”

As I have written elsewhere, one of my primary guidelines for interpretation of scripture (with literal, figurative and symbolic language), and the ways of God, are his good, loving, just, and perfect moral character.

It seems incompressible that this good, loving, just and perfectly moral God would “determine” from the beginning that some people would not be selected for his “special grace” and he will “punish them for their sins” (with a literal burning fire for ever I may add).

I fully understand and appreciate interpreting scripture with the arts of Hermeneutics but we also must interpret scripture in the revealed light of God’s character.

Either we have a God who is perfectly good, loving, and just, with impeccable moral character or we do not. If we do not have such a God as described, then we have a capricious God whose actions cannot be predicted based on his character; and we all are in trouble.

It seems impossible that we have a God who has decided to allow millions to come into the world that he has “determined” to “punish them for their sins” and consign them to a literal fire burning hell to be tormented forever.

That is not the character of God that I have come to know in scripture.

And Bible scholars: please name for me the very scripture that informs us that God embraces this doctrine of Reprobation. I cannot find it.

Wesleyan-Arminian theology seems more in line with God’s good, loving, just, and perfect moral character.

Frankly, I have come to believe that the doctrine of Reprobation is, if not a horrible doctrine, certainly a disingenuous one to characterize the God I have come to know.

Like Wesleyan-Arminians, I believe all people are called and offered salvation. This salvation is made known to them and offered, as I have recently written, by Special & General Revelation.

However, this God designed his humans with free will! Therefore, most will not acknowledge either of those two revelations, and will not positively answer God’s call; they will be lost forever.

 

 

 

 

 

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EVIL

How can any Muslim take a knife into his hand, slide it along the neck of a tied up man and methodically and bloodily cut off his head? How?

How can any Christian enslave a black man, exploit him economically, whip and beat him, rape his wife and daughter, and hang him from a tree for all to see? How?

How can any man order or follow orders by locking up millions and poisoning them with gas until they die of suffocation just because they are Jews? How?

How can any human being in the 21st Century torture to death another human being? How?

How can one people execute genocide on another people?

Where did this metaphysical entity we call moral evil come from? What is its origin? Where is it going?

What has happen to the human species whereby they commit such heinous evil acts upon their fellow human species? What other animal does this to their own species?
Aren’t we the higher animals?

For those who believe in macroevolution, what happened to the gradual evolution and higher development and knowledge over time of the human species?

For Judeo-Christians, moral evil is the consequences of sin.
Perhaps this sin, though very real, is even more enigmatic than we thought. I cannot comprehend evil and obviously cannot explain what I cannot comprehend.

However, the Atonement teaches Christians that God is dealing with moral evil and this sin by bearing these metaphysical entities into his son’s sacrifice for us.

So, we do not have, I believe, an adequate explanation of moral evil, but we are given the cure for it if we accept the cure by faith.

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I Walked Among Giants

I walked among giants,
Men of renown,
Great ones they were,
Some, were women.
These men of might
Walked the earth
And communed with us.
They were brave when bravery
Had to make a difference.
Daily, they die.
Soon, they will be extinct.
They left their mark, though,
For all time.
During the great disruption,
They performed gargantuan feats.
These titans saved the planet
And preserved a way of existence.
Daily, they die.
Some were killed in the fight,
Others captured, tortured.
The remains of some were never found.
Some were maimed in body and mind.
Most lived to see a new day, a new world.
Now, these colossal men
Serve as pallbearers for their own.
They barely carry the load.
Some hobble with canes.
Some are bent over with years.
Some can only watch
With dim eyes from wheelchairs.
Their eyes see three colors blur as one
And slowly fall into the ground.
Daily, they die.
They are almost a lost breed.
Some are written about,
Most are not.
Some, were my uncles,
Others, my countrymen.
One was my father.
I can tell my children
And their children,
That for a time on earth
I was privileged,
To walk among the giants.

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Acts of Ought

I submit that one of the most powerful words in the English language (or any language) is the five letter word—ought!

Think about it. We ought to be good, do good; we ought not to be bad, do bad. We ought to perform acts of kindness; we ought not to diminish any human.

The word, ought, is pregnant with moral and ethical import. We ought to share a portion of our blessing with humanity. Why, because we love humanity. Is this not the root of philanthropy?

The word philanthropy is a combination of two Greek words: philos, “love,” and anthropos, “mankind.” We ought to love humankind.

The practice of prudent philanthropy, for the Judo-Christian, is an inescapable obligation. This ethic is probably true for other major religions as well. And philanthropy does not have to germinate out of any religious foundation. However, philanthropy ought to derive not from shame, blame or coercion but from benevolent, if not spiritual, motives.
“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us…So we also ought to love one another.” (Jesus)

Gifts of service can take the form of goods, time, or money.

These acts of ought can help to meet basic human needs like food, clothing, shelter, and medical care; or acts of ought can foster human excellence like support of art, culture, research, parks, museums, public buildings, education and more.

Brand philanthropy is a call on companies to dedicate a portion of their hard earned profits toward basic human needs as well as toward human excellence. Brand philanthropy is a call, a philanthropic witness to society that both the giver and the receiver are lifted to the highest level of humanity. Brand philanthropy is simply a plea for acts of ought! Yes, “our giving ought to count.” Count me in.

Paul Chrisstarlon Wesselhöft

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A Drop of Oil

For over a half century
A drop of oil
Lifts to the surface of the water.
A drop of oil
Reflects the suns’ rays
In a colorful symmetrical pattern.
A drop of oil
Is a balm for fading grief
And constant vigilance.
A drop of oil
Anoints a great nation
And serves as a living memorial.
A drop of oil draped
Over the entombed fallen.
A drop of oil
Spreads across the ocean
From a place
Once called the Pearl.

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