It’s Monday and this is late. I had plans this morning, and had to instead deal with something that could not wait, then the day took off. So instead of programming this the night before Monday I am doing the evening of Monday. Which is probably very early for those in the UK, so no matter.
At the end of today we drove along the waterfront at one of the Kiwi resorts and then back towards where we are staying. We are very familiar with this area. it is the beginning of the school holidays and the first day of the “bubble opening” with Australia. There were no kids around — at 4 PM. There were no caravans or tents or people in the local campground, the pizza & coffee joint was closed.
I would expect all to be busy during a school holiday. This is the economic consequences of fear, of a synthetic plague, and a series of fictional threats. We would do better to look to Jeremiah, who was facing an imperial destruction of the temple and sacrifice —as predicted by Moses if the people of Israel chose to forsake the God who made them and rescued them from slavery.
Instead of knowing the law they would know the LORD. What that looks like is something that they could not imagine. It was not veageance. It was love.
30 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Write in a book all the words that I have spoken to you. 3 For behold, days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will restore the fortunes of my people, Israel and Judah, says the Lord, and I will bring them back to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall take possession of it.”
4 These are the words that the Lord spoke concerning Israel and Judah:
5 “Thus says the Lord:
We have heard a cry of panic,
of terror, and no peace.
6 Ask now, and see,
can a man bear a child?
Why then do I see every man
with his hands on his stomach like a woman in labor?
Why has every face turned pale?
7 Alas! That day is so great
there is none like it;
it is a time of distress for Jacob;
yet he shall be saved out of it.
8 “And it shall come to pass in that day, declares the Lord of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off your neck, and I will burst your bonds, and foreigners shall no more make a servant of him.
9 But they shall serve the Lord their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.
10 “Then fear not, O Jacob my servant, declares the Lord, nor be dismayed, O Israel;
for behold, I will save you from far away,
and your offspring from the land of their captivity.
Jacob shall return and have quiet and ease,
and none shall make him afraid.
11 For I am with you to save you,
declares the Lord;
I will make a full end of all the nations
among whom I scattered you,
but of you I will not make a full end.
I will discipline you in just measure,
and I will by no means leave you unpunished.
What this freedom, this time of mercy, when we can, by the grace of God, do good and not evil, gives us time to either glorify God or curse him. Pray that you do not die with curses on your lips, as you take pride in your shame. For the children of God are shown by how they act, more than the words they say.
1 John 3:10-16
10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
Love One Another
11 For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, brothers,that the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
I cannot, ever, in this life attain the full measure of the quality of God. Mr Wright, who is one of the best writers of this generation, reflects on this when asked what is the proper philosophical substance of God.
The short answer is that I do not know what the schoolmen call this: my reading in philosophy is weak when it comes to Aquinas, despite that, now that I am a Christian, he has more clarity and truth than that I find in any other philosopher.
Answering, then, only for myself, let me offer that God is pure being and perfect being, which means He has no accidental nor contingent properties, nor any potential to degrade nor change. His other aspects, such as His eternity, omnipresence, omnipotence, and omniscience are deduced from his essential being.
God’s substance is Being itself. He is the Unmoved Mover, the Uncaused First Cause.
When He tells Moses His name is “I am who am” He is speaking literally.
He is the Supreme Being, that is, He is the necessary being on whom all entities that have the property “being” — that is, all objects of which it can be said “it is” — depend for their being. If He did not exist, they would not exist.
He is existence. He is what is.
Hence, God is truth, since truth is what is. Falsehood is a corruption, a void or vacuum of truth.
Hence, God is love, since all existence was created in love and for the sake of love, and hate is a corruption, a void or a vacuum in existence.
Hence, God is life, since life is existence and death is non-existence.
Likewise, God is the source of virtue, truth and beauty, since virtue is the power by which living things propose to stay alive, as vice is self-destruction, either direct or indirect; truth is thought and word that conforms to being, as falsehood is nonconformity with being; beauty is nonliteral expressions of being, as when one sees the Hand of the Creator in the sublime symmetries and perfections reflected in creation.
I would suggest that the questioner got it wrong, for all things come from God, and the proper stuff of philosophy is not around defining some ether — I will include natural philosophy or what is crudely now called science here — but providing a toolkit: data, logic, reason, that allow us to approach the shadow of truth when it comes to the nature of God. It is us who need definitions of the proper philosophical role for humanity.
I would also say that John does not let us off the hook. The way we are to love within the church is sacrifically: laying down our lives for each other. This is more than mutual coaching, encouragement, or an increase in self esteem. It is a continual reminder that we have a long way to go, and we need to get on with it.
For Christ will correct all our theological speculation in time, and we shall, to our glory, be with him, and we will deeply know our errors.
And how he used even us.