It's Wednesday, so here we go with the topics that I consider to be the "cement" or binding "mortar" (John Potes!) for establishing a strong, life-giving faith. I believe these things to be “true truth” and the essential foundation stones if you want to grow in maturity. The first foundation stone for me is this: “God has spoken to us and he still speaks…and he made us perfectly able to understand his speech.” In other words, I believe God really wants to communicate with us, and he isn't playing games with language; he speaks clearly and directly. I have a funny illustration that perfectly frames this discussion:
Last Wednesday, my original post generated many interesting comments on Facebook. In the back and forth dialogue there were a lot of “Highfalutin” (Def: seeming or trying to seem great or important) words used to sound intelligent. Words like “new hermeneutic”, “modern constructs”, “existentialism”, and “sophistry”. (Sadly, most of these words were used by me so I gave off the impression to those who also like to give off scholarly impressions, that I read and understand “highfalutin” words.) Well, later that day a person who was following the discussion came up to me and said, “I didn't understand half of what was being said. Can you dumb it down for some of us next time?” This humble request was both an appropriate and brilliant example of the desire of people to “truly connect when communicating.” In fact, all of us expect for other people to speak to us in a way that makes sense. If you didn't, you would never read blogs in the first place.
So if human beings can adjust their language so ideas are transmitted with accuracy and clarity, don’t you think God can exercise the same ability? Some post-modern scholars aren't too sure about this; they think God is so unlike us that he is unable to be properly understood. But my contention today is that since God made us, he knows exactly how to communicate with us! So when we are looking for meaning, purpose and clear explanations I believe God has spoken and still speaks - - he is not playing a game of “Hide-n-go-Seek” with us, he loves it when we seek for truth (Isaiah 55:6)
Psalm 19:1-9 discusses how God speaks through two clear vehicles: (1) Nature (verse 3) – “There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth.” The beauty of the earth, the wonder of the heavens, the brilliant fine-tuning of the ecosystem displays the mind of a genius. Sure, people try to explain it away by random chance, but deep down in the gut of a human’s soul…people know God did this. So why is there such a huge movement to push God out of public discourse, to mock “Intelligent Design,” to force a monolithic mind-meld concerning evolution? Simple: “Out of sight, out of mind.” God’s invisibility allows for the prideful man to believe his own lies about his delusion of "supposed" greatness. (Read Romans 1:18-25 if you don’t believe me).
That is why God communicated through (2) His Word (verse 7) – “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.” God’s word is perfect in that it accurately represents reality, as it is. And it is perfect in the sense that it speaks to us on our level - - it is designed to be understood. Yes, God is Infinite, Holy, and Transcendent (above us in every way); but he knows how we think because he made our brain. When a dad talks to his 2 year old daughter does he use words like “existentialism”, “sophistry”, and “hermenuetics”? Of course not, he speaks in a language that perfectly connects with the mind of his daughter, and they have a real relationship. (Sometimes it is easier to communicate with a 2 year old as compared to an 18 year old). So why don’t people understand God’s word? Why does it seem so confusing? Here is my simple, non-highfalutin reply: “People don’t want to communicate, they have better things to do.”
Very simply: (1) God’s Word can be understood (Luke 1:1-4); however, you must put forth some effort to understand it (2 Timothy 2:15). I don’t buy it when people say the words are too big, the concepts too fuzzy, it’s too confusing. Just ask them questions in their area of interest: Computer geeks use big words: “Gigabyte”,“Active-Matrix”, “Hexadecimal”. Social savvy teens have their own language: BTW, CUL8R, FOCL. Brainless football fans: “Line of Scrimmage”, “Intentional Grounding”, “2 Gap 3-4 Defensive Schemes.” To find gold you must dig.
(2) God’s Word is never presented as a fairy tale, it is meant to be read seriously. Peter says he didn’t invent this (2 Peter 1:16); John says he saw Jesus with his very own eyes (1 John 1:1-3); the Old Testament writers often didn’t want to speak but they had to (Jer. 20:7-9). Proper communication must respect the intent of the person speaking. If I told you something serious, “My dad died,” and you said that “I was speaking in a vague poetic genre that was open to a wide variety of interpretations dependent on the ‘cultural community’ of the time of my utterance”, I would punch you right in the nose. The reason I would punch you is that you were purposely not trying to understand me!
(3) Finally, and this must be heard, God’s word is dangerous; don’t play around with it. 2 Peter 3:16 says if you purposely distort it’s meaning you will be destroyed. Proverbs 30:6 says God will defend it’s trustworthiness, and Revelation 22:18-19 says that … well…read it for yourself, it scares me too much to talk about.
It isn't complicated: decay in society, destruction of families, explosion of perversity, moral and intellectual ruin, even poverty all begins with the “lack of delight in God’s Word”. (Jeremiah 6:10).
I want to close on a perfect example of how, when left alone to our own devices, humans use language to complicate things, not make them clear. Just recently Gwyneth Paltrow & Chris Martin separated after 10 years of marriage. Scripture is very clear on it’s warning: “God hates divorce.” But no, not in our sophisticated day and age; divorce is a much more complex issue. Listen to this article from Dr. Habib Sadeghi and Dr. Sherry Sami: "when the whole concept of marriage and divorce is reexamined, there’s actually something far more powerful—and positive—at play." The doctors consider how insects might be able to tell us something about divorce. They write:
“The misunderstandings involved in divorce also have much to do with the lack of intercourse between our own internal masculine and feminine energies. Choosing to hide within an endoskeleton and remain in attack mode requires a great imbalance of masculine energy. Feminine energy is the source of peacemaking, nurturing, and healing. Cultivating your feminine energy during this time is beneficial to the success of conscious uncoupling. When our masculine and feminine energies reach equilibrium once more, we can emerge from our old relationship and consciously call in someone who reflects our new world, not the old one.” That is why they called their divorce: “Conscious Uncoupling.”
So you tell me, who is easier to understand, God or our “enlightened” experts?