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The Word Logos Greek Origins

The Bible’s Gospel of John Chapter 1 reveals fundamental truths about God’s Nature describing God as “The Word” and explains “The Word Became Flesh and dwelt among us”, referring to Jesus Christ the Son of God entering Our World as a human.

John 1:1-5 (ESV):  1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1:14-18 (ESV): 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known

The Greek Language original word “Logos” typically translates to “The Word”, yet scholars reveal a more accurate historical understanding of “The Word” refers both to “Word” and “Reason”. (Reference: Bible Study Tools Encyclopedia, Logos, http://www.biblestudytools.com/encyclopedias/isbe/logos.html )

Logos Word & Reason in Technological Content

Let’s view the “Logos” concept embodied in the combination of “Word” & “Reason” through our modern programming technology lens (a lens focuses our ways of seeing & perceiving). Let’s view our own mind’s capabilities as integrated programs combining words & reasoning, and likewise God’s mind similarly. Today’s programming tools only augment our mental capabilities, as much of our minds capabilities still mysterious. Our human reasoning severely limited compared to God’s in Heaven.

Isaiah 55:6-11 (ESV): 6 “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; 7 let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. 8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

In the digital electronics context, programs conceptually use words eventually implemented via underlying logical machine code detailing what to do in certain order & circumstances. Likewise, our ability to reason & understand limited by the mental cognitive abilities inherent in our brain’s physical platform implementation, which also designed with reliance upon God for proper living.

Proverbs 3:1-6 (ESV): 3 My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, 2 for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. 3 Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths

Trinity Integrated & Distinct Three in One

Programmers who design & codify programs often create new programs by integrating distinct programs together. As a technical analogy, think about The Trinity encompassing God the Father, God the Son (Jesus The Christ), and God the Holy Spirit as distinct minds / persons each programmatically manifesting the divine character nature & operating together as a unified integrated whole.

Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV): 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Mark 12:28-32 (ESV): 28 And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him.

The Logos Word & Reason Dwelt Among Us

Christian Gospel writers eye-witnessed Jesus Christ personally in our world and recorded witnesses of others too, in their report of Jesus’ words, actions, obedience, love, grace, truth, and sacrifice to die on the cross for our sins.

John 1:6-7 (ESV): 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

Hebrews 12:1-3 (ESV): 12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

When God created humankind (male & female) in the image of God, God effectively created a mental physical platform capable of housing the essence of God’s character, even though that character became corrupted by sin. Because of God created people in his image, Jesus Christ the Son of God, able to come into the world with a human mind platform as an infant & grow into an adult.

Genesis 1:26-27 (ESV): 26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

1 Corinthians 15:22 (ESV): 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.

Jesus’ mental programming, the Logos of Jesus, implemented the essential reason & character of God, though limited physically by processing capabilities of just a few mere pounds of brain material. Jesus embraced human restricted capabilities yet with the divine nature, so Jesus increased in wisdom & knowledge as aged in years. Jesus likewise subjected to human weaknesses & even temptations & handled without sinning.

Luke 2:52 (ESV): 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.

Hebrews 4:14-16 (ESV): 14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 2:17-18 (ESV): 17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Jesus’ divine character never corrupted by sin, and Jesus came to lead us back to God, as the living example showcasing God’s love, holiness, and character.

Colossians 1:13-20 (ESV): 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

God ensured the physical incarnation of the Son of God received the divine mind character programmed into the brain of Jesus known as “God with us” (“Immanuel”) & “Son of the Most High” starting before birth though the Holy Spirit’s Divine Power. With Mary’s consent, the child in the virgin Mary not conceived by physical relations with God, since  Mary remained a virgin until after the child’s birth (References https://bibleopia.wordpress.com/2010/07/04/pointed-ponder-virgin-pregnancy/  and https://bibleopia.wordpress.com/2010/02/22/pointed-ponder-virgin-birth-and-in-vitro-fertilization-ivf/)

Luke 1:30-33 (ESV): 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” 35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Matthew 1:20-23 (ESV): 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).

Children of God

The Bible reveals the way people become Children of God through Jesus the Christ who is the Way, The Truth, and the Life.

John 14:6 (ESV): 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Romans 8:14-17 (ESV): 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Jesus followers embrace reprogramming our minds willingly by God the Father, God the Son (Jesus The Christ), and God the Holy Spirit, according to God’s Word in the Scriptures, and ongoing guidance by the Holy Spirit, as a new creation.

Psalm 51:10 (ESV): 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

Galatians 6:14-16 (ESV): 14 But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16 And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

A signature mark of true Christian followers of Jesus that even non-followers can recognize is exhibited by followers demonstrated love for one another, which witnesses becoming born as a new creation by God’s will.

John 13:34-36 (ESV): 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

John 1:9-13 (ESV): 9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

1 John 2:10-12 (ESV): 10 Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him[a] there is no cause for stumbling. 11 But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

The Temple of God:

As new creations, the followers of Jesus the Christ through faith individually & collectively are God’s temple inhabited by the Holy Spirit with responsibilities as service workers for God temple with divine help from God.

1 Corinthians 3:9-17 (ESV):  9 For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building. 10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. 11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. 16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

2 Corinthians 13:5 (ESV): 5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!

The Word of God:

Delve into The Word of God starting in The Bible’s Book of John Chapter 1 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john+1&version=ESV):

 

John 1:1-18 (ESV):In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known

 

 

 

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God's Sovereignty Control Chance ChoiceAcross the world, people wonder how much is predetermined & predestined (see related Ephesians 1 Audience article). What must happen that we can do nothing about? What is fate? Where does our free will come in during this life? The answer to these questions significantly impacts one’s world view and even how God‘s own scriptures are understood. In the Christian community, people agree that God is Sovereign, yet what does that mean in terms of God’s control, our choices, and chance itself? While there are over-simplificiations out there, what does the Bible have to say?

Chance Under the Sun:

What does the Bible say about Chance? Does it exist? Even if it exists, is it marginal? Does chance impact people’s life?

The Wise King Solomon shares in our Biblical Scriptures that chance happens to people in many areas of life.

Ecclesiastes 9:11 (ESV): 11 Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all.

The scripture shares from our viewpoint, from observing how the world works, that chance does exist, chance is not marginal, and chance impacts people’s lives.

Chance impacts the outcomes of battles within a war, who wins competitions, the food you have to eat, how wealthy or poor you will be, and whether you’ll be treated favorably in this life.

Chance Under the Son of God:

What did the Son of God say about Chance?

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who is one with God, who existed before Our Universe was created, who is greater than King Solomon, speaks to us about being a good neighbor, and about the presence of chance, in the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

Luke 10:29-37 (ESV): 29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

The Son of God revealed God the Father‘s divine message, and God’s divine message recognizes chance. Clearly Jesus could have revealed any other message, like that by the Divine Providence of God, the Priest was made to pass by there. Jesus clearly acknowledges chance was the reason. The Divine perspective by the co-creator of Our Universe is that chance is real, that chance definitely exists, and that chance influences who is in & out of our lives.

Chance under God’s Sovereignty:

Do you find the Wise Revelations of King Solomon and the Divine Revelation of Jesus Christ the Son of God concerning the presence of chance as disturbing? Even the highly respected scientist / theorist Albert Einstein found it unpalatable, saying:

“God does not play dice with the universe.” — Albert Einstein, The Born-Einstein Letters 1916-55, http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/2669-god-does-not-play-dice-with-the-universe

Does chance undermine God’s Sovereignty?  How can God be Sovereign even in the midst of chance?

Let’s consider a thought experiment, which is a common tool scientists use to understand complexity. This thought experiment will illustrate how chance exists without undermining God’s Sovereignty.

Most everyone is familiar with the game of tic tac toe. Imagine you were playing a game with an opponent who is invincible. Even if you made random moves, you would still be unable to win. The game itself at best results in a tie when playing with an invincible player. Think about God’s Sovereignty in the same way. No randomness in the game play undermines God’s Sovereignty in any way by design.

Choice in Our Universe:

The Divine Word of God illustrates many choices people have, as already elaborated upon on the topic of “What Choice Do You Have?” .  To Summarize, People have Choices like the following:

God tells the truth and does not lie. God gives you legitimate choices. God wishes for you to pick blessings, but will let you pick curses. Pick Wisely!

Choice under God’s Sovereignty:

Does choice undermine God’s Sovereignty?  How can God be Sovereign even in the midst of choice?

Let’s consider the other side of that same thought experiment, except this time with choice rather than chance. A thought experiment is a common tool scientists use to understand complexity. This thought experiment will illustrate how choice exists without undermining God’s Sovereignty.

Most everyone is familiar with the game of tic tac toe. Imagine you were playing a game with an opponent who is invincible. Even if you use your intellect to makes the most intelligent move choices, you would still be unable to win. The game itself at best results in a tie when playing with an invincible player. Think about God’s Sovereignty in the same way. No deliberate choice in the game play undermines God’s Sovereignty in any way by design.

Control under God:

What are ways in which God institutes control in our world, to optimize the outcomes that result in the midst of chance, choice, and the fallen character & fallen culture of humankind?

The entire Bible’s testifies into the ways God has intervened with promises and with actions in the 66 Books of Bible. God promised to send his Son Jesus Christ into the world to bear our sins. Jesus Christ came and offers to bear the sins of all who become true believers & followers of his.

  • God intervened with the flood, saving Noah and his immediate family
  • God used Prophets to warn Kings
  • God intervened in battles & wars
  • God appointed & disciplined Kings
  • God sent Prophets who delivered God’s message and performed miracles to help people
  • God performed miracles to heal others, feed people in need, bring people back to life, and to teach deep theological lessons about forgiveness
  • God transforms the personal & eternal character of those who diligently seek him with all their heart, mind, body, soul, and strength
  • God reminds us of our choices & responsibilities
  • God determines the bounds of the length of our days & the locations of our journeys, though is open to change those bounds upon request, under the right circumstances
  • Jesus Christ came back to the Earth after his death to testify again to the Divine & Eternal Truth & Life found in The Way

Even though God rested from adding new physical rules governing Our Universe after the 6 days of creation (see Bible Genesis Creation Account), God still intervenes in Our Creation for the benefit of our souls.

The Wise King Solomon also acknowledges that although chance exists, God is able to intervene in chance.

Proverbs 16:33 (ESV): 33 The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.

This verse does not preclude God from deciding that the outcome is to be determined by chance, yet rather asserts God’s ability & right to intervene in a way that looks like it was just chance.

This means that just as many people have seen God acting in the world through what seemed like chance fluke outcomes, that at least in some of those cases, it was God acting, even though it’d be difficult to prove at times.

“Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.”, Albert Einstein, The World as I See It, http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/14140-coincidence-is-god-s-way-of-remaining-anonymous

Even though much encouragement can be gained from observing these events, make sure your faith rests on the firm foundation of God’s Word. Likewise, looking back at the Parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus does not reveal whether the Samaritan was there by chance, or by God’s intervention.

Control under the Son of God:

The ultimate control over all is in the process of being handed over by God the Father to God the Son, Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:20-28 (ESV): 20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. 28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.

Because all people have sinned, except for Jesus, all deserve death for their wrongdoing. Jesus’ life & death provided a way for those who were enemies of God, to become God’s friends, and to obtain forgiveness of sins and everlasting life (reference Hebrews 2 (ESV) at BibleGateway.com and Romans 6 (ESV))

God is Sovereign in the Midst of Chance & Choice:

The analogy to use Tic Tac Toe provides a simple way for people to understand these very complex and robust concepts about God’s Sovereignty & Control in the midst of Chance & Choice in our life.

English: Albert Einstein Français : Portrait d...

English: Albert Einstein Français : Portrait d’Albert Einstein (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am optimistic that many who are presently secular will be able to understand this mystery, since a very similar analogy is present in the 1983 science fiction movie War Games. The basic premise is that a self-aware computer gets the codes necessary to start nuclear war, and only by running several simulations of Nuclear War and Tic Tac Toe does the self-aware computer grasp finally that there is no guaranteed way to win.

In the context of religion, understand that there is no way to win against God, yet the way to win, is with God, through his Son Jesus Christ.

Isaiah 54:16-17 (ESV): 16 Behold, I have created the smith who blows the fire of coals and produces a weapon for its purpose. I have also created the ravager to destroy; 17 no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, declares the Lord.”

God ran the necessary calculations & setup the appropriate controls & contingency plans ahead of time to ensure it, even though the calculations are more complex than Tic Tac Toe or Global Nuclear War scenarios. To understand more how creation & calculations are intertwined, refer to the Genesis Creation Account Universe Tools Paradigm.

Games like Tic Tac Toe and even more advanced games like Chess are generally understood to lead to ties, if neither side made any mistakes. Satan the Devil will  will face final defeat, having already made a mistake by rebelling against God (Ezekiel 28 (ESV), and by tempting humankind to fall away from God (see Genesis 3 (ESV)). God is Sovereign, and worthy to receive all the honor, power, and glory (see Revelation 4 (ESV))

For those who find chance and choice distasteful, rest in this assurance, that God is Sovereign whether or not you accept the realities of chance and choice. You can also comfort yourself, knowing you are in well-respected company, as even the honored scientist Albert Einstein found that concept distasteful, despite investigations of Our Universe pointing to the conclusion that God does play dice with the Universe. The thought experiments introduced complement scriptural illustrations to show God plays dice with the Universe responsibly. 

Each person has the responsibility to seek God and his righteousness to live in faith, being faithful to God.

Romans 5:1-4 (ESV): 1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

Seeking always to do what is right out of faith is expected of everyone, regardless of your viewpoints on God’s Sovereignty, Chance, Choice, Predestination, Election, and Calling. While people might want to debate these Paradigms, never miss your own personal responsibility, so you’ll accompany fellow believers in the New Heaven and New Earth for eternity.

The Wise King Solomon recognized that many aspects in life are subject to time & _________________.

Jesus, the Son of God, revealed that ______________ exists in life.

You have the responsibility to ___________ good or evil.

You have a ___________ to seek God’s righteousness.

God plays dice with the Universe _____________.

There is no way to ______ against God, yet the way to ________, is with God, through his Son _______ _______.

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The Greatest Commandments

The Greatest Commandments:

Mark 12:28-31 (ESV):
28 One of the teachers of the law  came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus,  “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no commandment greater than these.”

The Ten Commandments:

Exodus 20:1-18 (ESV): 

1 And God spoke all these words: 2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

3 “You shall have no other gods before me.

4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

7 “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

13 “You shall not murder.

14 “You shall not commit adultery.

15 “You shall not steal.

16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

18 When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance 19 and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.”

Further References:

Andy Stanley has an informative video on God’s Commandments applying on two levels: (1) One level is to love your neighbor, which is the horizontal, and (2)  the other level is to love God, which is the vertical level. The visual above reinforces this message using the imagery of the cross.

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Life Parallels Courses & Course Tests & Course Coaching

There are many types of tests in courses, just as there are many types of tests in life. A few test types will be explored to gain insight into God’s expectations for us. As many subject matters are complex and tests are challenging, many schools & instructors utilize a variety of test taking approaches when assessing their students applied proficiency. Often even before taking a course, a vetting takes place to ensure proper background exists to maximize the chance to do well. Even during a course, often instructors and even others act as a coaches, furthering everyone’s ability to learn the material and pass.

Illustrative Test Types

Several instructors grade on a curve. Grading on a curve typically involves elevating the achieved grades’ assessment, relative to one’s peers. In other courses, grades received are without a curve, so scores relate directly to your own individual performance regardless of others’ current performance. When the class performance is low, some instructors allow more time study materials to re-take exams.

Parallels to Cain killing Abel

There are several parallels in taking a test, to the precursors to Cain killing Abel. Let’s examine them one by one to maximize our learning.

God Permits Retake over Curve

When Cain killed Abel, it was as if Cain thought God’s approval was curve based. As Cain learned directly from God, God allowed a re-take. God cheered for Cain’s success on the re-take, for Cain to pass life’s test with flying colors. As many addicts know, in some cases a re-take means staying several steps away from temptation, and from those people who’d bring them down. When you make a poor choice, remember God is cheering for you in this lifetime, to repent and re-focus on making choices in a way consistent with Jesus’ life & character.

God Ensures Appropriate Material Difficulty

God vetted the test, to ensure it was the appropriate level of challenge for Cain. God vets life’s tests, to ensure none are above our ability to meet them with a God-centered character. Jesus’ life shows us how to meet obstacles, enemies, hypocrisy, and even death with the proper mindset and care, even for those meaning one harm.

Coaches Availability & Encouragement

God also coached Cain, to maximize Cain’s chance to do what is right. God encouraged Cain by assuring Cain that Cain had the capability to pass the re-take, because God knew Cain did. Because Cain ignored God’s advice, Cain replaced a bad score, with an even worse one. When facing life’s challenges, this is an adverse outcome all of us must work to avoid, deriving assistance God put out for us to see.

Fellow Learners

Cain’s brother Abel actually provided benefits for Cain that were left untapped. What were these untapped benefits? They were (1) the added illustration on what God expected, and (2) the opportunity to seek to understand how Abel’s view of the world & God lead to a better decision & outcome.

Fellow Learners as Illustrations

Abel’s life example showed Cain what God expected. Our mind typically learns materials best when real world illustrations & stories accompany other instruction to enhance learning. God expected Cain to cheerfully give a portion of the best, trusting in God & showing appreciation for God. What can we learn from this? When looking at those in life whom God approves, look to learn from their example. God has provided many examples in life, from those listed in the Bible, to Jesus’ own life, to the life of the apostles, to those following God in our lives.

Fellow Learners as Fellow Helpers

When learning new materials, an instructors’ first pass often brings the learner a long way. This lays the important groundwork for a fellow learner to help get a classmate a step closer to successfully knowing the materials. Abel was there to be Cain’s helper. If only Cain had tapped Abel’s expertise too, to learn not only from Abel’s example, but also from the thought process than enabled Abel to make a better decision to achieve a superior outcome. Today, besides those you might personally know in life, God has provided life examples in blogs, podcasts, webcasts, books, conferences, seminars, and even by organizations helping out many in this world.

Extracting Insights

As you read the account of Cain & Abel, what other insights & parallels do you see? Which perspectives help you to come back and do better on life’s next re-take? Which viewpoints increase your likelihood to get God’s approval, which comes with an active living Faith in Jesus Christ?

Genesis 4:1-16 English Standard Version (ESV):

1 Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord.” And again, she bore his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground. In the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen?  If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”

Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said,“I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” 10 And the Lord said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. 11 And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.12 When you work the ground, it shall no longer yield to you its strength. You shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth.” 13 Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. 14 Behold, you have driven me today away from the ground, and from your face I shall be hidden. I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.”15 Then the Lord said to him, “Not so! If anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord put a mark on Cain, lest any who found him should attack him.16 Then Cain went away from the presence of the Lord and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden.

Reference:

Bible, Genesis 4:1-16, ESV Translation: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+4&version=ESV

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A lens.

A lens. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Viral Lens to Perceive Devil’s Work

Viewing the Devil’s influence via a “thought virus” lens adds insights into the Devil’s destructive nature. The effects of the Devil’s interference starting with Adam & Eve rippled throughout humanity, leading to massive waves of death, lying, steeling, infidelity, bribery, abuse, despair, bitterness, hostility, disease propagation, warfare, envy, and many more problematic behaviors, intents, and mindsets.

Electron micrograph of monkeypox virus.

Electron micrograph of monkeypox virus. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Propagation of Viruses

Just like a virus can make a person sick, the Devil’s way of approaching the world harms peoples’ mental & spiritual health, and in several circumstances their physical health too via resulting unhealthy living. As a virus can spread from host to host, so the Devil’s influence spreads from person to person.

Virus Types

While only some viruses are harmful to healthy people, the D

evil’s influence is like a harmful virus type. The Devil’s ways destroy people’s lives, leading people to contribute to their own downfall, from the rich to middle class to poor. Partial impacts are often seen in this lifetime, where people’s behaviors lead to addictions, broken relationships, and mistreatment of others. Without intervention, this ultimately presents a bleak outlook for one’s eternal destination & rewards.

Brain scanning technology is quickly approachi...

Brain scanning technology is quickly approaching levels of detail that will have serious implications (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thought Virus Medicine

Ultimately, the Devil seeks to have people remain in rebellion to God’s ways to deprive them of the medicine God offers. God’s “thought virus medicine” comes through following Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Jesus Christ’s message and life show us the way to live according to God’s wisdom & expectations. Jesus’ message enables people to confront their destructive “thought viruses” and seek God’s power to challenge and evict them.

Love Leads to Virus Intervention

Jesus is the Son of God, and is one with God, because Jesus’ character is the essence of God’s character. God loves and cares for others and sees their potential. Just like a parent cares for their children, God wishes all people to be adopted as children, and constructs good plans. People who rebel undermine those good plans, just like wicked children find themselves in trouble, even with parents wanting the best for their children. Because God is loving, God sent his son Jesus Christ to intervene, to pull the willing away from the Devil’s dominance.

Blaster Virus

Blaster Virus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anti-Virus Protection

Jesus Christ lived this love by willingly coming to Earth to tell everyday people the truth and expose the hypocrisy and injustice often found in people & political & religious institutions and alliances. Jesus did this, despite the cost to his life via a brutal death on the cross. The Devil tempted the human-bound Jesus, who is the essence of God’s character in our bodily form, and Jesus won. Jesus chose what was right, even though limited like us. Jesus’ character is like a powerful anti-virus able to defeat the Devil’s temptations. When Christians are born again, it’s like installing this powerful anti-virus protection.

Genesis 3:3-5 (ESV):

3 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.

Job 1:6-12 (ESV):

6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. 7 The Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” 8 And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” 9 Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? 10 Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” 12 And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord

Matthew 4:1-11 (ESV):

4  Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written,  “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” 5  Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple 6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” 7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” 11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.

1 Peter 5:8 (ESV):

8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

 

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Truth has Power.

Learn the Truth.

Practice the Truth.

Teach the Truth.

Preach the Truth.

Spread the Truth.

Truth Breeds Freedom.

Teach the World to be Free.

John 8:31-38 (ESV): So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”

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Challenging Misconceptions:
How are you doing on this life’s top mission and purpose to find, follow, and live in and live out an enduring faith in God?

People were made in God’s image to have the opportunity to become increasingly like God, who is known through Jesus the Son of God, who is God, and reveals God.

The air craft carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) a...

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God is knowable, yet unknown by many.
God is truth, but often obscured by so-called facts.
God is love, though misunderstood due to worldly misguided love.
God is wise, despite lofty specks of dust unwisely perceiving foolishness.
God is righteous, even as accused of  unrighteousness by people who do evil.

Have you found God despite the war of ideas to designed to obscure truth?
Have you located love of God, though life fosters hatred and misplaced love?
Have you uncovered the ultimate wisdom, despite lesser wisdom’s appeal?
Have you sought Jesus’ righteousness, even as one’s own ways seem right?
Have you pursued knowing the knowable God, and yet must continue chasing?

Have you allowed your own strongholds against God to be liberated by the only Savior able to liberate one’s soul?

2 Corinthians 10:3-6 (ESV):

3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 6 being ready to punish every disobedience,  when your obedience is complete.

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