The Chicken or the Egg – Forgiveness or Forgiving

Which came first: the chicken or the egg?  This is one of those questions that gives most evolutionists fits, but the intelligent ones like Richard Dawkins or Stephen Hawking, who really analyze the possibilities, come up with plausible solutions, though statistically phenomenal; along the lines of ten raised to the number of atoms in the universe.

Chicken or the Egg.jpgFor the creationist, this is not a problem.  After “The Big Bang” of Genesis 1:1-2, God went on a working binge and day by day created everything, noting that on the fifth day He made the birds.  Now whether He created chickens right then is anyone’s guess, but He created each creature “according to its kind.”  He may have made a generic bird that evolved into Rhode Island Reds, Cornish Game Hens and Butterball Turkeys, but it started with a bird who could lay eggs.

Forgiveness from The God Who Is There and forgiving those who offend us is not so clear.  Which comes first?  Jesus said very explicitly that if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14-15)

Forgiven SinsThen He goes around willy-nilly forgiving people without even asking them if they have forgiven those who offended them.  See Mark 2:1-5 and Luke 5:16-20, one of Jesus’ earlier miracles where He simply carte blanche forgives a paralyzed man prior to healing him.  In Luke 7:47-48 He forgives a prostitute; again, no questions about her forgiving of those who have abused her.  The preachers in Acts never once asked for psychological histories of their hearers; they simply told them to repent of their sins and they would be forgiven.  James, the half-brother of our Lord, later wrote instructions that connected physical healing to forgiveness of sins without any caveats.

Men as Trees
People Like Trees

So which comes first, the forgiveness of God or the forgiving others from our hearts?  To consider this we can look at another healing of Jesus in Mark 8:22-26.  Here Jesus spit on the man’s eyes (not very hygienic, but hey, He is the son of God!), laid His hands on him and asked, “Do you see anything?”  Really?  Did Jesus not know if He had healed the guy!?  So the guy said he could “see people, but they look like trees walking.”  Again, Really?  Did Jesus goof??!!  Well, He fixed it next, because He laid His hands on his eyes again, giving him a second touch, and the guy could see everything clearly.

You see, Jesus did not (nor does He now) “goof!”  So consider the reason for this phased in healing.  After the first touch, could the man see?  Well, sorta.  Well, not really, not functionally.  Yet he was no longer blind.  I suspect Jesus saw the future analysts of spiritual matters trying to fill in the details in their theologies and He wanted to say, “Not everything is so cut and dried as your theology; sometimes our relationship is a work in progress.”  Then He completed the work with a second touch!

In the same way, our question of which comes first, Forgiveness From God or Forgiving Others, is a work in progress, not so simple as whether God created chickens or eggs first.  Just as chickens and eggs are now inextricably intertwined, forgiveness from The God Who Is There is inextricably intertwined with forgiving those who have offended us.  But the working out of this is that sometimes we “see people, but they look like trees walking.”

When you experience the forgiveness of God it must work its way into your heart to such a depth that you cannot hold a grudge.  Or if you have an offender in need of forgiveness, and you forgive him/her, you will find yourself experiencing a level of forgiveness from God that you have not known before.  Whichever comes first, look for that “second touch” from Jesus!  Because in the end, He will look at our hearts, and if we have not forgiven those who have offended us, it will show that we have never fully understood (nor accepted) His forgiveness.  See Matthew 18:21-35 for a more complete picture of this.

Tramp for the Lord.jpgThe details of this works its way into our lives like in Corrie ten Boom’s meeting (reported in Tramp for the Lord).  After talking about God’s grace and forgiveness in one of her church presentations, she saw a smiling man at the back of the small auditorium coming forward and her heart went into her stomach.  She recognized him as one of the Nazi guards at the POW camp where she had been unjustly imprisoned.  Here was a man who had stood over the women of the camp as they were paraded nude into showers (which later were turned into gas chambers).  “The man who was making his way forward had been a guard — one of the most cruel guards. Now he was in front of me, hand thrust out. I was face to face with one of my captors and my blood seemed to freeze. ‘Fraulein, will you forgive me?’”  She prayed, Oh, God, I cannot forgive this man; You must forgive him through me.  And as she extended her hand she felt a wave of the Holy Spirit pass through her and the man was forgiven, by both God and Corrie!

So which comes first?  The Forgiveness of God or Forgiving Others.  They are inextricably intertwined, like the chicken and the egg.  God’s marvelous creation, you and I, are forgiven and forgiving, even when we “see people, but they look like trees.”  Keep looking and wait for His second touch.

Wondering While Wandering Through Time and Space

Off the usual moral themes of this blog, this is simply a logical discussion.  Time is an attribute of God.  You will not find this in any theological text and as far as I know I am the only one to espouse this idea, but it feels right, it appears logical, and common sense verifies it as true.

Swallows of San Juan Capistrano

The “brains” of this world, the intellectuals, are fond of making things very complicated.  “Instinct” is an invented word that means “we do not really have any idea.”  The dictionary defines “instinct” as “an inborn pattern of activity or tendency to action common to a given biological species.”  Why do birds fly south in the winter before it turns cold?  Why do the swallows fly from Argentina over the same pattern to San Juan Capistrano every year?  Why does a dog chase its tail?  Actually, we have no idea, so we ascribe these behaviors to “instinct.”

Hawking A Brief History of Time

In the same way, the late Stephen Hawkings, the brilliant and modest physics genius had problems explaining how life could evolve in the universe without God, so he came up with the idea of a “multiverse,” an infinite number of possible universes in which one, ours, could possibly have evolved life without Outside interference.  A pretty idea, but sounding an awful lot like Star Trek, it is basically absurd intellectualism to disguise his lack of evidence shrouded in complex mathematical formulae that he claimed “proved” there was no need for God.  The amazing thing about truth, or Truth if you prefer, is that it is usually self-evident.  “The king is not wearing any clothes” is a statement only a child would make in a kingdom that could not bear royal embarrassment.  No need for complicated conspiracy theories or complex equations.

So let’s get back to Time, a feature of our universe that I believe to be an attribute of God, like Space (yeah, that one, too, but maybe for another blog).  Time stretches back into eternity past and forward to an eternal future.  It, like God, is immutable; that is, it never changes in spite of Einstein’s ideas.  It is beyond the pale of man’s imagination to figure out a “time” when Time did not exist.  There is no reference of the Bible that says Time had a beginning.  The created universe had one, but “when” did that happen?

There are other things about God that our little minds cannot fully understand.  Remember, HE is God, we are not!  Thus, we have to rely on what He has revealed about Himself.  Somehow, He is Three-In-One, a single being with three persons.  We followers of Jesus are not tri-theists.  There is One God, and He is ONE.  Yet Father blesses the Son at His baptism and the Holy Spirit descends like a dove over Him (Luke 3:21-22); all “parts” of God, yet each is fully God and sort of like . . . well, there is no adequate illustration of God, because He IS God and there is only ONE of Him, and no one and nothing else in the universe is like Him.

So let’s get back to Time, again.  The Bible never says, “Time will be no more.”  That’s a line from a nice song about spending eternity with Him, but not a theological reality.  When will we be with Him?  When we leave this world by death or the Lord’s return.  How long will we be with Him?  For all the Time of eternity.  Clearly the Bible does not teach that we will somehow lose personality or identity; mystically absorbed into the infinite (Buddhism).  Hinduism and Jainism teach there is a personal soul but its blissfulness is very close to Buddhism’s loss of personality by the time you reach that state.

Einstein

The Bible shows individuals around the Throne of God worshiping Him, not in some ethereal sphere of timelessness, but in Eternal Time (Revelation 4 and 22).  It is the measuring of Time that changes, not time itself.  Einstein pictured a train passing at some distance from an observer, and it seemed to go slower than it appeared to someone on the train.  We see this when we watch a jet slowly traversing the sky; we can trace its travel with our finger, but if we were in a balloon up next to it, it would be whizzing by!  But the time and speed it is traveling does not change; only our perception of it.  So Time does not bend, but our measurement of it does.  We have all experienced this in the way we perceive time, sometimes happening very quickly, sometimes very slowly.  But Time is constant and does not change.

There was a time when God was alone . . . as the Three-In-One who had communion within Himself.  Then at some time in the Eternity past, He decided to share His existence with others, so He created amazing beings (to humans) of light and majesty, that if we were to encounter one of them, we would be inclined to worship him (Revelation 19:9-10).  Like God, He gave them free will, intelligence and emotions.

Then at another point in Time, Lucifer (Light-Bearer), one of the chief three angels came up with an absurd and twisted idea that he wanted to be God (Isaiah 14:14).  However, the insanity of his thought was that he was a created being, not eternally existent in the past; not omniscient, not omnipresent, not omnipotent, not containing Time and Space in himself.  So God kicked him out of Heaven, i.e. left him out of relationship, and separated him and the third of angels who followed him from the Life, Light, and Love that is God.

At another time, God decided to create another being, after creating the Earth, the planets, the stars and the galaxies of our universe.  He made this one with free will, intelligence and emotion as well.  Only this time He limited how much of Himself He would show to these created beings.  So Adam and Eve walked and talked with God, who apparently took on a form that they could comprehend.  Now we live in the in-between Time, between Eternity Past and Eternity Future, but actually part of the Eternal Time: “In Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

Emperors New Clothes.jpg

So in my childlike view of The Emperor’s New Clothes, my little brain just figures Time is an attribute of God.  What difference does this make?  Very little for our spiritual lives.  Like arguments between the Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday crucifixion of our Lord, the important issue is that He was crucified and raised from the dead.  The important thing about Time is that it is in His hands and He has numbered the days for each of us before we appear before Him (Psalm 139:16).

As for Space, besides the Acts 17 reference, you can look at Colossians 1:16-17:For IN him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and IN him all things hold together.”  He inhabits the “Colossian Space.”  (see https://www.physicsoftheuniverse.com/topics_relativity_spacetime.html)
Just wondering while wandering through Time and Space.