I think Bruce Charlton is struggling here with theory over much. You either accept Christ and live for him, or you do not. There are plenty of people who say that they accept Christ but do not, and plenty who struggle with conventional theological language and do.
The other problem Bruce has is that reality is based on a creator, and that creator is external to us. He is God, and his works are clear to the stoics and noble pagans. We shall ignore the sophists and their idiot children, existentialists and the post moderns.
There is an external reality. If you drop boiling water on your foot, you will get scalded. Your ideology will not keep the bolts screwed together. The house will still need painting.
The big, bad fact of these times is that people actually do choose their reality; and they are (en masse) choosing the reality devised by the powers of evil.
If we consider meaning and purpose in life; then it can be seen that purpose dictates meaning; meaning derives-from purpose.
Meaning derives from purpose – and purpose is external.
We necessarily choose our purpose, because our purpose is outside us. Having chosen our purpose, we consciously derive meaning from that purpose.
Thus purpose is chosen. Therefore we actually-do choose the meaning in our lives; or more accurately we already have-chosen the meaning of our lives – but, that meaning can be changed if we change purpose.
There are only two purposes, into which all others may be classified: with God, or Against.
This has a precise meaning in that God is the Creator, and we live in divine creation insofar as our life has meaning (since the alternative is un-formed chaos, without knowledge or purpose).
And God’s creation is on-going, moment-by-moment – a living ‘process’. (i.e. God is create-ing.)
The purpose of a Christian is called ‘salvation’ – which means the choice of resurrected life eternal, in Heaven (with those others who have chosen salvation); to come after the transformation of biological-death.
This is the choice to become immortal mini-gods (Children of God), whose life is participation in the work of divine creation.
Therefore, salvation is bound-up-in affiliation to God the Creator – a wish to be part-of and harmonious-with ongoing divine creation.
What we – each as an individual – decide is whether harmoniously to affiliate-with creation (this is called Love of God); or else try to use creation for our own purposes (this is called pride).
If we pursue some other purpose than harmony with creation; then we are essentially subordinating divine creation to our-own-purposes. (Or trying-to…)
This is termed ‘pride’ and all other sins can be reduced to it – hence, for Christians, pride (in this meaning) is the master sin.
In other words, if we want to live in Heaven, then we will put-first the harmony of God’s creation and the people in it – and this virtue is called Love.
So we need to reverse the question and ask why are we justified? By our actions, we are damned. All of us. None of us ever attain enlightenment in perpetuity. Yes, we are sons of God, like Christ, but Christ was fully human.
We believe, instead, in God, who says we can do crazy, impossible things, and above all, that our sins are forgiven.
15 After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying,
“Do not fear, Abram,
I am a shield to you;
Your reward shall be very great.”
2 But Abram said, “Lord God, what will You give me, since I am childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 Abram also said, “Since You have given me no son, one who has been born in my house is my heir.” 4 Then behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “This man will not be your heir; but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.” 5 And He took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” 6 Then he believed in the Lord; and He credited it to him as righteousness.
Abram was offended by God. He expected to have sons, and by most accounts he was four if not five score old. His wife was not much different. One of his servants would inherit his land. Lot may have lived in Sodom and Gomorrah, but at least he had daughters.
Yet he trusted that he would have children from his body: his own. This has been taken further. The children of Abram, Abraham, are those who believe. They include all those of Christ, and that has extended from one end of the world to the other.
21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 but it is the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in God’s merciful restraint He let the sins previously committed go unpunished; 26 for the demonstration, that is, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
27 Where then is boasting? It has been excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. 28 For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 30 since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one.
31 Do we then nullify the Law through faith? Far from it! On the contrary, we establish the Law.
Those who are under the law and know they are damned are doing their level best not to die. They want to become post human. They want a more compliant population. They have not chosen love. They have chosen hate, and their ambition is to descend to the demonic.
As Big Tech continues to expand its control over all things on the internet, a new alarm is being sounded over what’s purported to be its next targets: the human body and soul. The warning is coming from Andrew Torba, the CEO of Gab.com, a free-speech alternative to the likes of Facebook and Twitter.
During an appearance Saturday on “War Room” with former President Trump aide Steve Bannon, Torba, an outspoken Christian, asserted the tech giants are looking at creating a “post-human race.”
“They’re talking about ascending the human race biologically,” Torba said. “They’re talking about chips in your brain or altering your DNA all sorts of things that apply technology to the human biology and try to take it to, I guess in their minds, the next level, essentially making them gods and having all of us, the rest of us, under their control. It’s fundamentally destroying our humanity by appending technology to our bodies and, they believe, to our souls. They want to live forever. They want to be gods, which, of course, God is not going to take lightly to and God will pass judgment on.”
This is where Bruce and I agree in practice. To fall into that rabbit hole — and I say this as a person who has an extensive collection of programming texts beginning with Knuth — you will start trying to be not what you were created for.
The experience of being what you are not is universally miserable.
Recall instead that you are created in the image of God and you are alive at this time so you can give glory to God with your life.
And this elite that would get us to worship their neuroses? We were never called to put ourselves under evil law.