Rather than reading the Bible through the eyes of modern secularism, this provocative six-part course teaches you to read the Bible through its own eyes—as a record of God’s dealing with the human race. When you read it at this level, you will discover reasons to worship God in areas of life you probably never before associated with “religion.”
© Charles A. Clough 1999
Charles A. Clough
Biblical Framework Series 1995–2003
Part 5: Confrontation with the King
Appendix A: The Doctrine of the Trinity
Lesson 119 – Trinity—Review
15 Apr 1999
Fellowship Chapel, Jarrettsville, MD
In each one of these chapters we’re going to deal with the Person of Christ. We started off in the fall saying that the series was approaching this whole doctrine of Christology sort of in the John 3 mode, where “this is the light that came into the world, men loved darkness rather than light, neither comes to the light lest their deeds be reproved.” The point being that we are actually concentrating on the negative unbelief response to the light that Jesus Christ brought. We’re doing that so we can understand our own flesh, our own sin, and understand the structure of the world system. That’s why there’s this design of chapters 2 and 3; it’s kind of negative, it’s all about the unbelieving response to the King. That’s because the world has judged itself by rejecting Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was rejected not because revelation from God was ineffective; it wasn’t because He didn’t follow all the church growth plans for His ministry. It was because He was the light of the world and men loved darkness rather than light. That’s the reason, it has nothing to do with logic; it has nothing to do with all kinds of other excuses that people come up with. It has to do very simply, with the fact that we don’t want fellowship with God, therefore when He extends the invitation through Christ we reject it. That’s the point that we’re making in chapter 1 and 2.
When all this revelation of the Second Person broke out in history, so that the light did come into the world, on a scale where men had never seen such intense revelation before. After all, this is God walking on the face of the earth. On page 37 we have the chart that we dealt with on the birth of the King, and in that chart, just to review the basic point of it all, was that when the revelation came into history, men had to digest it, they had to think about it. The Holy Spirit had to illuminate hearts to what really was going on here. The crux was that the Second Person of the Godhead showed up, and when the Second Person of the Godhead showed up, He was to be distinguished from the First Person of the Godhead, and He was to be distinguished from the Third Person of the Godhead. So immediately you have this complexity that Old Testament saints didn’t really have to confront in such detail.
What that did was it forced men to totally and radically review and rework theology proper, or the doctrine of God Himself. In the chart on page 37 in those underlying sections in column three, all those underlying things are the ideas that men entertained about the nature of God Himself that were insufficient, heretical, wrong, and failed to assimilate the revelation of Jesus Christ. In other words, when Christ walked the face of the earth, all this new revelation didn’t fit with those ideas. All those ideas had to be rejected and the doctrine of the Trinity arose out of this review and digestion, meditation and controversial argumentation over what’s going on here with Jesus Christ.
The solitary monotheism are the first two heresies, that has been repeated ad nauseam in history, modern Islam holds to the same concept, solitary monotheism. And solitary monotheism is totally incompatible with the God of the Scriptures. The God of the Scripture is not a solitary monotheistic deity, because He has personality and communication within Himself. A solitary monotheistic deity can’t do that. That’s why Allah has to create something external to himself before he can exercise the attribute of love; he can’t exercise it. But if he has to contribute or create something external to himself in order to exercise the attribute of love, it means that God develops with the universe. So Allah, the whole concept of the solitary monotheism, is an aberration, it’s really a fouled up idea of what monotheism is all about. It’s only in the Triune monotheism that you protect the self-sufficiency of God. Solitary monotheism doesn’t cut it; you either wind up with an unknown impersonal God or a God who is somehow less than person in his being.
We had in column 3 a number of other ideas that were circulating in the time of the New Testament. All these ideas were thrown out. One was this pure Ideal that was a Platonic affect; Plato deeply and profoundly influenced theology. He influenced Augustine; he influenced a lot of Christian theology down through the years. In fact, one of the great philosophers of the 20th century, John Whitehead, said that basically all of Western philosophy is a footnote to Plato, because Plato covered all the major issues in 400-500 BC. At that exilic time period men had already thought through this. I always get a laugh every once in a while, you read some historian of ideas who says that man, prior to the age of the enlightenment, never thought. Excuse me, what do you think this is all about. This is one of the greatest and most difficult intellectual exercises the human race has ever gone through. So don’t buy into that “nobody thought until the enlightenment.” A lot of thought happened. One could even argue that the enlightenment was the end of thinking, not the beginning. We have these ideas, and they were all thrown out.
If you’ll turn to page 43 we want to review some of the implications of this doctrine of the hypostatic union. Remember that the hypostatic union is the doctrinal label for the fact that Jesus Christ is God and man. He’s both, and the hypostatic union means the union of two hypostasis, or two beings, God and man. In the middle of page 43 we have summarized that in the dark print. That’s in a nutshell what the doctrine of the hypostatic union is, “undiminished deity united with true humanity without confusion in one person forever.” The philosophic fallout from this doctrine is enormous. It’s really sad that the Christian community keeps learning its philosophy from Plato and Aristotle, and their followers, and they don’t start with the hypostatic union. The whole issue of epistemology, for example, whether you can know truth or not is solved here, right here in the hypostatic union. Jesus Christ is the proper starting point, not Aristotle and Plato.
The implications of this doctrine; we said there were four implications, pages 43-45. These four implications, there are many other implications, I’m just citing four, and that is that the difference between the Creator/creature is preserved in the union of the hypostasis in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ doesn’t turn into a half-Creator half-creature mix. He is still the God-man, and the Creator/ creature distinction remains and abides in the person of Christ. If there was ever a place to break down this distinction, it would have been here. But the distinction is not broken down in the person of Christ, and if it’s not broken down in the person of Christ it shouldn’t be broken down in any other point. So the Creator/creature distinction is something fundamental. We stress that because all thinking starts with one of two premises. ALL thinking! The pagan worldview starts out thinking that all reality is one. It always does, it has to. The Christian who thinks Biblically starts out with all reality as two levels, the Creator and the creature.
So we don’t even agree at the first point in the whole discussion, we can’t even agree to that first point, and that colors everything else. It colors categories, it colors the attributes of God, all this falls out because of the Creator/creature distinction. So it’s fundamental that it is preserved in the hypostatic union.
So one implication is that the hypostatic union reinforces the Creator/creature distinction.
The second implication, very important here too, and that is that since God’s place is to be with man, the Immanuel theme of the Old Testament, “God with us,” God cannot be revealed any more clearly than He has been in the person of Jesus Christ. That goes for Joseph Smith, it goes for the Watchtower Society, it goes for Mohammed, it goes for everybody else that’s come after Jesus Christ, because Jesus Christ as God and man is the revelation. God designed man in His image, Genesis 1. That means animals are not in His image. That means rocks and physical forces are not in His image. This thing we call “man” alone is in His image. That means when God chose to walk the face of the planet He didn’t choose to be a zoomorphic deity. What do we mean by a zoomorphic deity? Like you see in ancient history. What is the sphinx? The sphinx is a combination of man and animal, see the fluidity of the categories, man and nature is even broken down in the idea of the sphinx. The ancient world was trying to say something in those statues. They were trying to say that somehow man shares something with the animal kingdom, there is a character in the lion, for example, the crouching lion, that is taken over by man and they mix and mingle this altogether.
The Lord Jesus Christ, as perfect man, not an animal, is the final, the epitome of the revelation of God. For all eternity, when we look at the throne of God, we are going to see a man sitting there, the Lamb of God. We’re not going to learn anything about God the Father except through God the Son. We don’t come to Him any other way. So Jesus Christ is the epitome, and therefore the second implication of the doctrine is that the Creator cannot meet His creation any more fully than He does in man. This, by the way, this high value of man is what protects life, legally, in the Mosaic Law Code. This is why capital punishment is given.
Capital punishment was given to protect life. It’s always amusing to me to watch the opponents of capital punishment argue that it demeans life. They are the ones who demean life. Anybody that knocks capital punishment takes a very low view of human life, and that’s exactly opposite to what you usually hear. The reason is that when a person’s killed, when a person is murdered, you have assaulted the very image of God, and it’s not a light thing. Anybody that assaults the image of God is assaulting God. The first murder was in the first family, and it was an assault, really, against the righteousness of God. Cain and Abel; what was it that led Cain to murder his brother? It was a hatred for the righteousness of God expressed in Abel. So ultimately all murder is an expression of a sinful response toward God Himself, and we strike out and lash out at the nearest thing that reminds us of God, which is another person.
The third important result of this is that history has eternal significance. The person of Christ, this idea of the Second eternal Person in the Godhead, taking upon Himself a creature form and participating in creature history, authenticates that history. We could say that God the Son could have remained in eternity, but He didn’t. He chose to participate in history and when He, through the virgin birth, entered time and began His existence as a creature as well as a Creator, when He began that time line, at that point He participated, He affected history personally. He received the results of historical things, such that when John in the book of Revelation looks upon the throne he sees a Lamb as it has been slain, referring presumably to the marks on Jesus’ body. So even in the resurrection body He has disfigurement, a disfigurement that carries into eternity from actual historical space/time events.
Why is this third implication important? Because there’s a tendency in some circles, some hyper-Calvinist circles in the Christian faith, to so exalt the eternal sovereignty of God, and trying to be so Theocentric that genuine history is sort of a secondary thing, it’s sometimes hard to tell …, for example, a hyper-Calvinist will probably oppose evangelism. That’s traditionally one of the marks of hyper-Calvinism, and the reason they do that is because the elect are already elect, why evangelize. That being the case, the elect in their view exist prior to the gospel effect in history. That’s not true. The elect may exist in God’s mind, but the elect do not exist until a person believes in the Lord Jesus Christ and is saved. We do not have such a thing as unsaved elect walking abound. We don’t know who the elect are, who will become the elect. God does. But the point is, elect people walking around the earth don’t exist until after they trust in Jesus Christ, that’s how they come into historical existence. They no more exist than Jesus Christ in His flesh existed before the conception and virgin birth. Jesus didn’t exist—He existed as God the Son, but the Messiah did not exist. Was it certain in God’s mind? Yes, it was certain in God’s mind. Was He the elect one? Yes, He was the elect one. But did He exist in His humanity? No, He didn’t; He didn’t until He was born. So we don’t exist elect, soteriologically don’t exist, until we’re born again, till we’re regenerated.
History is important, and history is important for our lives because just as the Lord Jesus Christ generated righteousness by choices in His life, we generate this as we submit to Christ; we also generate a lot of crud in our lives, a lot of sin. This baggage has to be cleansed, and that’s what the cross is all about. That’s what the bema seat is all about. The cleansing of the debris that we create by our negative choices has to be dealt with in history. It’s not unimportant. It’s garbage that has to be taken care of. So the third implication, all this history is very, very important, it’s the domain and the place where the drama occurs. It doesn’t occur in heaven, it occurs on earth, that’s where Jesus was crucified.
The fourth thing, on page 45, deals with Colossians 2:8, and Paul says that we should shape the basic presuppositions of our thought after the person of Christ, not according to the elements of this world: fire, water, solid states, the three states of existence, etc. the whole idea that men use as intellectual building blocks, these basic categories and concepts. Paul says wrong, you start with the categories you get from Christ. What’s one of the categories you get from Christ? He’s God and He’s man, you have a Creator/creature distinction. That’s a parting of the ways right there. You get on one track if you take Creator/creature distinction seriously; you get on another track if you deny it. Those two tracks—there’s no switches back and forth, they just keep leading in a diversion pathway.
The smarter you and the more careful thinker you are the further you’re going to go down the railroad tracks, that’s all. Sloppy people pick up parts of it, etc. they don’t proceed very far. But there’s nothing like brilliant unbelief, and that’s why I’ve said if you want to learn unbelief, go to a good atheist, don’t go paying extra tuition to learn it from some apostate Christian faculty member. Learn it from the real thing, a real good atheist because they’re brilliant, and they’ll take it to the logical conclusion and you can see the fruit in the logical conclusion of this. It’ so hard for people to realize that there are people who are diabolically clever. We’re seeing one right now in Serbia, the man who heads Serbia has a very good grasp of history, and to understand the whole effect of the Muslims and the orthodox and the history that went into it, the ethnic cleansing to him is just a tool of history. Frankly, he’s done a very good job as far as his strategy; I’m not condoning the genocide, I’m simply say from a clever strategic point he’s thwarted everything in NATO. He’s thwarted our President and the people in Western Europe. Why? Because he has a strategy, he has thought it through. The West hasn’t, we’ve diddled, we play, we go half-heartedly into something, never think it through before we do anything. He thought it through and he’s triumphed. He’s not finished either. There’s an example of clever brilliance, cruel brilliance, evil brilliance, satanic brilliance.
So when Paul says in Colossians 2:8 if you want to get straight, start at the right starting point, and if you’re not going to start there, you’re going to have a mishmash of believe and unbelief the rest of your railroad track line. You’ll just always be derailed half the time because you’re not really consistent.
Now we want to come to the Appendix, to the Trinity because that follows logically from Colossians 2:8. If it’s true that we have to start with Christ, then we have to deal with this issue of the Trinity. To review that doctrine, look on page 10 of the Appendix, I’ve tried to state it in five points. Tonight we want to look at an illustration of the Trinity and we want to discuss some of the practical effects of the doctrine of the Trinity.
Number one is that “God is Absolutely One: God cannot be divided into parts.” That means that God is the source of His own attributes. The attributes aren’t qualities that God adheres to. This is a hard point to grasp, but it’s not true that there’s a standard of righteousness out there in space somewhere that’s independent of God, to which God adheres. Righteousness is the character of God Himself. He is the source of the category. Viewed this way this has powerful implications, powerful implications about love, about righteousness, about cause and effect. If you think that one through, you’ll be a long way advanced in your thinking. Qualities that we call qualities are emanations of God’s character; they come out of His character.
Let me give you an illustration of sloppy thinking that people get into. For example, Michael Martin, who is one of the atheists at Princeton, said that if logic is contingent upon God, which it is, we have to agree; if logic is contingent upon God then it is destroyed. Michael Martin’s argument is that if it were true that logic is continent on God, shaped by God, and God can do anything He wanted to, He could make true false, and He could dissolve the pattern of logic. If you think what Martin has done here, he’s grasped something. This is why I say it pays to read these guys because they’re brilliantly incisive. What is his real problem here? What is he saying?
Let’s look at his argument. His argument is that if logic is contingent and dependent upon God, then what we call logic can be threatened to be undone at any point by God, and if that’s so, then you could have nonsense existing in history. Do you see what Michael Martin wants to do? He wants to have an autonomous source of logic out there that’s independent of God because he feels threatened by the existence of God. If everything is contingent upon God, then I am totally dependent, including my logic, upon God. Martin, as an unbeliever, can’t take that. That is too deeply and profoundly offensive. Let me hasten to add that his logic is still wrong, even if he were right at his first premise.
It is not true that God can do anything, don’t get trapped into this. Someday somebody is going to come and try to pin your ears back by saying well, you believe God is omniscient and God is omnipotent, can He do anything, can He do this and they’ll cite some stupid thing. See, God can’t do everything so how can you Christians say He’s omnipotent. That’s because we have to accept the content of revelation, of the words omnipotent. We don’t invent them, we don’t come to the Scriptures with preconceived notions about what omnipotence means. The content of the word comes out of the Scriptures and if we do that, what do we notice? What does God say that He can’t do in the New Testament? I cannot lie. That’s one of the things that the New Testament says: God cannot lie; Numbers says it also. If God cannot lie then there’s something that God can’t do. Does that violate His omnipotence? No it doesn’t, it defines what it is. What is says is it gives character to history. God has an essence that He doesn’t change, He can’t change. He is, and it’s precisely the fact that He can’t change, that He can’t lie, that gives stability to everything else. That’s where the basis of logic is. So far from being a threat it’s actually the source of the comfort, the character of our God.
God is absolutely one, all qualities come from Him. But God is absolutely three, not four, not two, not one like solitary monotheism says, God has a threeness to Him. I cited Dr. Poythress on page 10, he’s talking about set theory but you could say all of mathematics… see, here’s where these qualities come in, we take all these qualities for granted, nobody ever discusses them, we plop them down on the blackboard, kids learn it for the test and go on, and nobody thinks about what they just learned. Where does number come from? What’s the basis of number, the numerical nature? The Trinity. The Trinity is the source of number. Outside of the Trinity if you have solitary monotheism like Allah, what happens to things like numbers, ultimately? They’re not rooted in ultimate reality; they’re just appearances of the great one. So actually it’s the Trinity that gives a profound nature to the number. All other positions treat a number as a mere label, as a mere social convenience, but it doesn’t have any ultimate significance. But the Trinity tells us number has an ultimate significance, because God is three, He’s not two and He’s not four. He has a numerical structure to Himself. That’s the origin and the source of mathematical truth.
The third point is that “God’s Threeness Refers to Modes of Being and Not Just Roles”. Items three and four here carry some very controversial implications in today’s modern debates so I want you to see very carefully what I’m saying here in point three and four, because some of you may be uncomfortable with an implication of point three or four. Point three is that God, the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit do take on different roles in the plan of salvation. God the Father planned salvation, God the Son executed salvation, God the Holy Spirit reveals and applies salvation. Never is a person saved apart from the work of the Holy Spirit in applying salvation. But, if the Son hadn’t executed the plan and died on the cross, there would be nothing for the Holy Spirit to apply. The Son could not have executed something apart from the Father’s plan. So the Father planned it, the Son executed the plan and the Holy Spirit reveals and applies it.
Those are roles, and theologians, when they talk about those roles use the term “the economic Trinity.” They’re not talking about Greenspan, they’re talking about an economy, a way the Trinity works its way in history, so they call that the economic Trinity. But having said that, there’s something behind the economic Trinity. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit take on those roles in the plan of salvation because of their nature, their constitution. So we have a situation where the Father, because of His nature, planned, and He loves the Son. It’s interesting, if you take the word “love” in the Scripture from within the Trinity, and you look up in a concordance every case where the Father loves, the Father loves, the Father loves, in relation to the Son, then you do a concordance study and you look up every time you see love, the Son for the Father, and write it all down. When you get done with your list, you’ll find a very interesting thing. The two loves aren’t the same. The love of the Father for the Son is not the same as the Son’s love for the Father. It’s expressed totally differently and consistently differently.
So here we have, in their beings, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, because of who they are, their constitution, their being, that’s why they have the roles they do. The roles flow out of something more deep, and that more deep is the ontological Trinity, meaning the word for the metaphysical Trinity or the being of the Trinity. The other word is for the roles of the Trinity.
Item four, “The Subordination Within the Trinity Does Not Refer to Essence.” What I mean by that, I just said there’s a difference in their being, and it’s expressed in Scripture as the “only begotten,” the “begotten Son,” the Holy Spirit that “proceeds” from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and Son together is worshiped and glorified. There’s this connection between the Father and the Son and the very fact they’re called Father and Son implies some sort of an authoritative response. But the Son is no less God than the Father, yet, even though they have the same essence, nevertheless there’s this relationship in the Trinity that’s very defined, very central.
Item five, “With Respect to the Salvation of Man the Triunity is Perceived With Both Threeness and Oneness,” there’s both threeness and oneness, man sees both the threeness and the oneness.
On page 12 I deal with Dr. Nathan R. Wood’s illustration that he pointed out years and years ago, that’s probably one of the finest illustrations of the Trinity and it’s fine because it deals with the basic structure of creation. What Nathan R. Wood pointed out is that the reality in which we live, we have space, we have matter/energy, considered to be forms of the same thing, and we have time, and if you think about it, everything is expressed in these units. Everything is expressed as a velocity, or as a point in space, or in velocity it’s distanced by time. You have measurements of electrical things, etc. but they’re secondary and derivative, they’re defined in terms of these primary qualities. It’s striking that the basic forms of measurement themselves are a triune, show a triune structure. That’s what Nathan R. Wood is talking about. Then he points out that each one of these three themselves has a threeness. Space has three dimensions; he’s not talking about abstract algebra within dimensions, he’s talking about just normal, every day space; it has three dimensions. Time has three dimensions, past, present and future. And then he shows how space and matter have three dimensions.
He goes through the illustration and in the notes on pages 13 and 14 I take you through each of the five Trinitarian points and show how Wood’s illustration fits very well. It’s an illustration so there’s going to be some shortcomings, but it’s a good grasp of the Trinity, and it’s a mind stretching thing to think about. It’s an exercise, it’s good for our heads to think in terms of God’s thoughts after Him; why not the exercise of those kind of thoughts and other thoughts.
We want to conclude this session with the implications of the Trinity. We want to come back to “so what?” What does the Trinity do for us? What effects does the Trinity have? One of them, as we started this whole appendix on, we get back to the One and the Many problem. Nobody has solved the One and the Many problem. They either go to one solution or the other one, you either go in politics to a totalitarian solution or you go to an anarchy solution. You go to the One or you go to the Many. In accounting you’re going to do the same thing, you mess around with endless transactions and you never categorize them and go anywhere with them. You can do it with a filing system, just have a “piling” system and just throw stuff all around, categories mean nothing, etc. I generate lots of “piling” systems myself, but a filing system is a simple every day reminder of the One and the Many. You’ve got many things, and you’re categorizing them by categories that are supposed to be universal categories, so that when you get any given letter, memo or something else it fits in one of these categories. You don’t want categories changing on you, or your filing system goes away; you have to redo it every day. So the One and the Many are important.
On page 14 we want to press the One and the Many a little further. We want to look at social structures. We said, when we were dealing with creation, that God had created social structures, and we call those divine institutions. Of course, man in his arrogance thinks he devised the institutions and therefore he can change them. That’s one of the big debates today. The divine institutions, the first one deals with responsibility, in particular the Bible shows that responsibility in labor, in creating something historically, [can’t understand word/s] to do things, responsibility. That’s attacked today.
Where does sin attack responsibility? By denying it. One of the key satanic agendas is to deny the existence of responsibility because if I deny responsibility, what do I gain? What is a short-term gain in denying responsibility? Accountability for what I’ve done, I’m not accountable to anybody. That’s what denial of responsibility means. So if I can invent some end run, some fake out play that gets me to avoid responsibility, then I think I’ve insulated myself from the judgment of God. This is the sinner’s play here. Ultimately it’s an escape device to escape responsibility before God. There are various ways it’s done, psychological conditioning. We’re not denying that we’re affected in life by psychological conditioning. People who come out of a horrid family life are going to have scars for the rest of their life. We’re not denying that.
But what we’re saying is ultimately when we appear before the judgment seat of God we’re not going to be blowing smoke in His face about my mother dropped me on my head when I was three years old. That’s not going to cut it with the Lamb of God. So we’re going to be naked and open to Him who judges us. And He’s not going to accept biological determinism theory; well I can’t help my sexual orientation because I’m biologically determined by some fragment of a gene somewhere. That’s not going to cut it, He’s not going to buy that, He’s going to say I created your genes, don’t tell me about the design, I created your genes and I’m the one who can tell you. God will say you just sit back and I’ll tell you about your life and about the responsibilities you’ve forsaken, denied, and excused yourself around and all the rest of it. So responsibility is an important divine institution, we call that the first one, responsible labor. The first time God shows it’s as a blue collar worker in history, He’s creating something, He’s a craftsman.
The second one is marriage. This is not a social institution that men thought up pragmatically, anybody that struggles through marriage knows that nobody would invent this thing that fails half the time. Marriage is something that God instituted. The reason it’s difficult is because we are fallen creatures, and there’s nothing where sparks fly more than two sin natures close together. So marriage is a divine institution and therefore cannot be changed. It’s not tradition, it’s not convention, and in the modern debate over gender and all the rest of it…
I understand that the American center for law and justice has a big lawsuit because a Christian social worker in some state in the Midwest discovered that they were taking homosexuals to be foster parents for kids, and the kids were being abused, so the Christian reported it, and he gets sued. So good for him, he’s going to sue them right back. Now the other side’s got a multimillion dollar lawsuit on their hands. Watch this one go to court and have some fun with it, because now they’re going subpoena all the records in the welfare institution and it’s all going to be plopped out in the middle of the courtroom. So this is a trial that the other side isn’t really looking forward to with big thrills. But here’s a case of what is happening in our country. It happens because of a simple assumption that these are not divine institutions, they’re human institutions. Given that they can be changed; if man makes them, man designs them, can’t man modify them? Of course he can. But the problem is we don’t share the premise so we can’t share the conclusion.
The third institution is family. In the Bible the family is the institution to pass on culture. It’s the culture conserving, cultural pass on; education and all the rest of it emanate from basic family structures, not the state. Do you know why we know it’s not the state? When did the state first happen in history? Think biblically. It happened after the flood. That means the state is not inherently necessary for a society to function. It means that at one point in history society was functioning and had no civil authority, there was no government, the angels apparently administered human society. So at that point we have the three basic divine institutions.
Then we have number four, God added that one because that’s the power of the sword. It was taken away from the hands of angels and put in the hands of men at Genesis 9. The essence of the state, the essence of civil authority is the right to take life. What does a policeman walk around with? A lethal weapon. What is this for? Looks? I hope not. What is the military supposed to do? If you go into the fighter squadron down at Langley, go into their headquarters and … we kill people and break things. That’s exactly what the military is all about; it’s the two missions, kill people and break things. And why? Oh, that’s horrible, I don’t think you can be a Christian and be in the military. Of course you can, because that’s the power of the sword, Romans 13. So the essence of civil government is the sword and the right to take life.
Then we have some other institutions that people have added, and I cite Dr. Krabbendam who adds to that the local church, the work place. He calls them, page 15, “authority structures” of “the One and the Many spheres.” In other words, each one of these institutions struggles with the One and the Many problem. In marriage it’s the many, the husband and the wife as personal individuals but then there’s also the institution of marriage that’s different from the two individuals. So you have individuals that have to live and exist as individuals, but they’re in union in this marriage thing. The same with the family, you have individual children, individual parents. So every one of these institutions can get out of hand by overemphasizing the One, where the authority of the family becomes everything, and people are crushed inside it, or we elevate everything to where the children are supposed to teach the parents and then the whole thing goes to pot that way, then you have chaos and that destroys the essence of the family.
The One and the Many have to be balanced in all these institutions. That’s what Krabbendam is pointing out. Look at his quote, “[They] are so endemic to created reality and are such an indelible part of its tapestry that any individual at any given place and at any given time finds himself without fail in one or more [of them]. Nobody can ever extricate himself from them…. The tapestry of created reality with [these spheres and structures] is a reflection of the Trinitarian God. Because God is God, He puts the stamp of His being inevitably and indelibly upon all of His creation…. Literally, every part, every aspect, every phase, every sphere, every structure reflects the being of God. All men ‘bump’ into God at all times, in all places, in all settings, and in all circumstances. Divine manifestation, in short, in spite of any and all attempts to hold it at arms’ length or to suppress it, is irrepressible.”
So all men deal with the One and the Many, in all kinds of areas, every day of their life, Christian, non-Christian, it doesn’t make a particle of difference, because ultimately we’re all creatures inside the creation.
Then he points out, to make these institutions work, the only way these institutions work is when the human beings involved in them act out in the same way that the Trinity acts with each other. This is why, for example, Jesus in the New Testament says “as the Father has loved Me, I have loved you.” Then He talks about I will put My love in your heart. The idea… where’s the love coming from? It’s first inside the Trinity and spills out of the Trinity, through salvation in Jesus Christ, but it precedes salvation, it existed inside the Trinity. What Krabbendam is pointing out is:
“Self centeredness in the one-and-many spheres, and self assertion in the authority structures are declarations of war against both God and the neighbor. They are marked by hate and conflict, and result in sin and chaos. On the other hand, the God-centeredness and neighbor-centeredness that image the Triune God in self-denial, self-sacrifice, and submission promote peace…. [Emphasis added]”
The idea is to mimic the way the Trinity gets along together, and then all these functions that the Trinity has designed will function also. It’s kind of simple, just hard to work out in the details. So the first thing is the One and the Many and it permeates all of our existence. That makes sense only if the Trinity is correct.
I have a little article that came out of Bibliotheca Sacra, which is the theological journal of Dallas Seminary. There’s a series of lectures this man gave in which he points out that the doctrine of the Trinity has been historically caught up in feminism. If you look at this paragraph on page 15, “When modern feminism began in the 1970s with its attack upon the divine institution of marriage (DI#2), some evangelical female authors tried to import it into the evangelical movement. To accept secular feminism, however, [blank spot, rest of quote reads: “required one to deny that equality of being could coexist with the classic husband-wife relationship. Yet if the classic marriage authority structure is grounded in the Trinity structure, then overturning it logically forces one to deny the Trinity! As I discuss in Chapter Three, these authors tried hard to get around this problem but in the end failed. They had become so confused about the subordination issue that they couldn’t comprehend the central doctrine of the Christian faith.”]
… the man is in a supposedly superior position which would negate the worth of the woman, so that the position of the woman in the second divine institution, the classic position, put her in a position where she wasn’t as valuable as the man. This is their argument. And the axiom that is operating in the background of that argument is that you cannot have equality of being when relationships are in certain modes, because if a relationship has a certain character and nature to it, for example in an authority structure, then what has happened is you negate the value of the people involved and you undercut the quality of being. That’s their axiom. But what’s wrong about that whole thinking in terms of the Trinity? What have we just got through saying about the Trinity? Have we said that the Son and the Holy Spirit are less God than the Father? But who is the Father? Who is the one who appears to call the shots? The Father. See, you can’t undercut this whole relationship thing without taking apart the Trinity. I think it’s very interesting.
I read that book by Scanzoni, [Letha Scanzoni and Nancy Hardesty, All We’re Meant to Be,] when it first came out, I was so anxious to see where these women, they were well-trained, well-educated evangelical ladies that wrote that book, and I was looking in vain throughout all the pages of their book, what are you going to do to support your argument here ladies. You’ve got this argument you’ve built up but you’ve borrowed it from the outside world; where’s the biblical support for your argument? And believe it or not, when they got into the issue of the Trinity and submission of Christ, if I recall, they actually admitted that they couldn’t get it together and that they would have to rethink the doctrine of the Trinity. I think that’s a startling admission. If you’re wrapped up in some sort of Christian position on some issue and in order to hold that position you’ve got to reexamine the doctrine of the Trinity, I think you’ve got a problem. So there are some serious ramifications that come into this One and the Many thing out of the Trinity.
The second implication is the “Primacy of Thought and Verbal Communication in Personal Relationships.” What is the essence of a personal relationship? Think about it. Hugging? Yes, we hug as creatures, but the Trinity, were they hugging in eternity past? So what was the Trinity doing, how were they sharing each other? They were speaking to one another; they were sharing their thoughts in their heart. So the essence of a personal relationship modeled off the Creation/ creature distinction is the primacy of verbal communication. Guess what area is being attacked in our society? We use the word, not believe any more, but how do you feel about something? It’s like Jay Adams once said, could I tell you how I believe about something instead of how I feel, because how I feel about something varies, it’s 8:42 now, at 10:43 I’m going to feel a lot differently. How I feel is not what the issue is, the issue is what do I know and do I believe. But the whole vocabulary of our culture is oriented against language.
Page 16, its practical “both at the philosophical level where language as a truth carrier is under tremendous attack and at the street level where emotional outbursts are substituted for thoughtful speech.” That includes TV. “In evangelical circles the same trend is occurring even with respect to the greatest of all personal relationships—that between God and man! God’s Word to man, the Bible, is no longer taught systematically and in depth; and man’s verbal response to God, prayer, often ranges from trite babble to unintelligible sounds mislabeled as ‘speaking in tongues.’ ” There is such a thing as speaking in tongues, but I’m talking about the babble that goes under the name of it. “Modern hymnbooks as tools of corporate worship reflect increasingly a substitution of the song writer’s private feelings for God’s publicly revealed truths.”
It’s fine to remote in response to God, I have no problem with that. The problem we’re saying is when you have a hymn book and you sing a constant diet of hymns out of a hymn book where it’s I feel this way about Jesus, that’s the hymn writer saying that; that’s second derivative testimony. The issue, if you got back to Isaac Watts and look at some of the content in his hymns, what is he talking about? The plan of salvation, he’s discussing objective acts of the Holy Spirit, objective acts of Jesus Christ, the whole plan of salvation. That’s the content of the hymn, and I respond to it. You respond to it differently, I respond to it differently. At different times in our life we’re going to respond to it differently. We can’t dictate how each of us is going to respond to the truth. But the one thing we can all agree on is let’s celebrate the truth, not what Charles Clough or what some hymn writer thinks of the truth. That’s interesting, but that’s autobiographical. Hymns today have become autobiographies, and that’s not what the early hymns were all about. They were historical testimonies, not autobiographies of the hymn writer. There’s a tremendous thing in our own culture against words, speech and thinking.
I give you a quote on page 16 that is just like Zen Buddhism. Dr. Lit-sen Chang is a converted Zen Buddhist, a priest actually, who teaches theology at Gordon-Conwell Seminary, and he wrote a book years ago about Zen Buddhism. He knows Zen because he was a Zen teacher, he taught the stuff and he knows what kind of garbage it is. He tells you right there: “To Zen, scriptures are only so-called ‘fingers pointing to the moon’ or ‘a ferry boat in which to cross a stream.’ As the finger and boat are simply the means and not the ends, so are the scriptures or words. [Zen teachers] never take them as the canon of truth.” Notice that statement, Zen teachers never take words as standards of truth. “Therefore, to Zen, neither logic nor metaphysics is to be relied upon for insight.”
Another area where words are being destroyed today is in literature classes. I quote from Francis Schaeffer who pointed this out 20 years ago, the emphasis of poetry over prose. Poetry is wonderful. Some of the greatest poetry in the English language was done by the minister of education of the Puritans, John Milton. We’re not knocking that. What we’re saying is today poetry becomes a vehicle for content-less emotion. It’s how you feel when you’re reciting the poetry. Poetry is obviously better than prose in the sense that it has emotion to it. That’s one of the beauties of poetry. It’s supposed to have that, but it’s supposed to have that on top of content. What they’ve done is take away the content and left the froth. That’s why Schaeffer says, the last part of that quotation, “However, if there is an absolute divorce between the defined verbalization rationally comprehended on the one hand and (for example) bare poetic form on the other, no certain communication comes across to the reader. The most…” and this is the important sentence, “The most the reader can do is to use the bare poetic form as a quarry out of which his own emotions can create something.”
Do you see what he’s saying here? Poetry becomes an emotional manipulation tool and it has no content, because you put the content into it by how you feel in response to it. That view of poetry is modern, not biblical. In the Bible…, the Bible has poetry, all the book of Psalms is poetry, so it has a poetic structure to it, but never, never, never is there a denial of a canon of truth in the poetry. So the whole point in number two here is that personal relationships are fundamentally verbal and thoughtful. What we have today is a fragmentation in a very primary area of human behavior. We’re going to continue to reap all kinds of problems out of this, because you can’t build personal relationships if you don’t honor words and speech. It’s not going to happen; you can’t do it.
Finally, and we’ll only touch on this because it gets into something we’ll have to deal with next week, that is the implications for logic. The Trinity establishes logical structure. Logical structure does not deny the Trinity. The point is that we deal as though logic is an abstraction. If you’re studied math you know the set symbols, and you’ve learned as an abstraction you can put members of a set, so on and so forth. Not always. On page 17, “Poythress has shown how the Trinity is the basis for all such logic in everyday life. Using such passages as John 5:19 (“The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do: for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise) he notes that it compares to the formal implication: “the Father does ‘x’ [symbol] means the Son does ‘x’. The symbol is the symbol for formal implication. Thus if the Father resurrects, the Son resurrects (John 5:21). Clearly, however, this formal implication doesn’t work for every imaginable ‘x’. If the Father begets the Son, it is not true that the Son begets the Son.” So then what’s happened to the logic? It doesn’t apply. So that means you can’t deal with logic as abstract truth, it is not an abstract logic machine. It only works in terms of concrete things.
Let me give an example; turn to John 1:1. Here’s Poythress’s point. Jehovah’s Witnesses just love to park on verse 1 because this is the verse that they use to deny the Trinity and teach that Jesus Christ is only “a” god. By their logic, they start in verse 1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” There are three clauses in that first verse, let’s look at each of the three. In the first one it uses W-o-r-d, Logos. Think what it’s saying in that first clause. In the beginning was the Word, the Logos. Are you talking about the Father, are you talking about the Holy Spirit here? No, that’s not in view. In this clause only one of the three personalities is in view, and it’s the Logos that’s in view. Right here we have what Poythress calls the instantiation, the instance, the specific example. So thought wise we’re talking about the Logos as an isolated Second Person to be discussed, we’re not talking about the Godhead, we’re not talking about the Father, it’s just the Logos. In the beginning the Word existed.
Move to the second clause, “and the Word was with God,” or the Word was face to face with God. This is describing something else. This is describing the relationship between the Second Person and presumably the First, maybe the First and Third, but at least the First. So the second clause is not like the first one; the first one picks out Logos and isolates it as an instance of one of the three Persons of the Trinity. The second clause takes the Second Person and puts Him in context with the rest of the Godhead, “the Word was with God.” John is not saying the Logos isn’t God, because the word “God” here is used for Father or the Godhead together. The Jehovah’s Witnesses, because they have an Aristotelian idea that the words don’t pick up subtleties as they move from clause to clause, keep on interpreting the Word the same, it’s like a mechanical computer. They just keep cranking and cranking and cranking, and they wind up with a cranked out buggered up theology. The first clause isolates the Word as an isolated specific instance of the Trinity. The second one defines the context of the Second Person. So whereas the first clause deals with what we call an instantiation, or an instance of a noun, the second one declares the context or the associational aspect of that noun.
Then the last or third clause in John 1:1, “and the Word was God,” classifies the Word as divine, as God. So here you have classification. You have the instance, the specific; you have a classificational aspect, and you have a relation aspect. There are always those three aspects to every logical proposition. What Poythress is pointing out is that on a pagan basis the subtleties are lost, because pagans like to crank logic like it’s a logic machine and they get hold of a category, a classification, like Jehovah’s Witnesses take the third clause, and they rightly recognize it’s classificational, but they make the word “Word” and the word “God” in the third clause identical in every way to the way it’s used in the first and second clauses. You can’t do that. There are subtleties as to how words are used, and it’s very naïve to think that logic is going to crank this out.
Another example, mathematically you can take a quadratic equation from motion and solve it and get a minus root. What’s a minus root is? I don’t know what a minus root is; tell me, how does a minus root solve a falling ball problem? I never saw a minus root, but yet it’s there in the math, the computer says it’s there. Yeah, it’s there, just because the rules are there, but the rules may be meaningless in a particular case. So it’s not true that logic is inherently true. Logic works sometimes, depending on the context.
If you go back to the notes a good example is in John, it is true that when the Father resurrects, the Son resurrects. It is not true that when the Father begets, the Son begets. The rule of logic doesn’t apply. Why? Because there’s a different situation. Logic is situational that way; it has to be fed from the specifics. And that’s just a long way around of saying that logic, basically, is dependent on the Triune structure.
The last quote on page 18, “The point of these observations is that derivation by substitution is never the merely mechanical process that many specialists in logic imagine it to be …. We must always judge whether a given case has the right sorts of instantiation, classification, and association. The judgment relies on appeal to a standard. And the ultimate standard is no other than God Himself, in his Triunal character …. Within a Christian framework, the analogical character of categories makes it necessary to check on the content or meaning of each statement, and to evaluate it within a larger network of contexts, including the context of persons who are reasoning, the situation being reasoned about, and ultimately the context of God Himself …. Within a biblical world view, logic is … Trinitarian.”
We could go on and explain the details; don’t worry about it if you’re not catching this. The basic idea in this third point is just this: logic itself doesn’t work in actual practice unless it functions as it does with the Trinity. Logic in actual practice never works mechanically, it does not work mechanically. That’s why you can get nonsense. One of my favorite cartoons at work was taken off of this computing room, back in the days when they had those big rooms full of computers instead of desktops, and there were piles and piles of paper all over the place. And there was this depressed looking mathematician looking down at waist high paper, and the other guy said to him, “Cheer up, before computers you couldn’t make mistakes this fast.”
We finished the Trinity so we’re going to go back to the life of Christ. There’s a lot of Scripture, if you’ll just look at the notes and look at some of the Scripture references. There are some incidents there that you want to remind yourself of that Jesus Christ had confrontations with the Pharisees about. We’re going to into that next week because we want to watch what happens when He reveals Himself and the response that people have to that revelation. Are there any questions on the hypostatic union and Trinity?
Question asked: Clough replies: The question was about the predestination debate and how it seems to ebb and flow and it seems to be flowing right now in some areas. We covered some of the predestination when we dealt with the doctrine of election in Abraham, when Abraham was called out of Ur, that’s the primary picture you want to have in your head, the primary historical example of what election means. Remember when I said that God elected Abraham He chose Abraham out from among all people to do a work, and it wasn’t that Abraham was the only believer, at least there was Melchizedek, so it was because God had a sovereign thing that He was going to pull off in history that He chose Abraham. Nobody in the Bible, that I know, can tell you why He chose Abraham. There’s not a shred of Scripture about it, I don’t know one Scripture that says gee, Abraham, you were such a good little boy, and I picked you out. You don’t get that out of Scripture. All you get out of Scripture is I picked you out because I picked you out, that’s the way I want to run history.
So predestination and election have fine scale meanings. We might get into some of it when we get into the doctrine of the church because we’re elect in Christ and we want to deal with what that term means. But we’re going to unavoidably get into a lot of it when we get to the death of Christ, because the issue is for whom did Christ die? Did He die just for the elect? Or did He die for the whole world? And the debate is going to be that if He died for the whole world and the whole world isn’t saved, does that mean that His death work on the cross was ineffective and has to be supplemented? Or, if He died only for the elect, then how do you reconcile that with John 3:16 where the Scripture clearly says He died for the world? “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” That will come up in that context.
But what I would encourage you to do when you get involved in those kind of things is what people mostly don’t do, and that is go back to thinking about the Creator/creature distinction again. Predestination is ultimately a manifestation of what attribute of God? Omniscience and sovereignty. Remember, you have to be careful here because we often, and I’ve done this myself, we often mentally think of election and predestination as something like this: God looks down through the corridors of time and He sees those who respond to Christ and He elects those that responds. That sometimes makes for good teaching material; the problem is when you ask the next question, why is it that some respond and some don’t? When you go to Chorazin in Matt. 11 Jesus said if the works done in you, O Chorazin, had been done in Sodom and Gomorrah they would have repented. So clearly it was possible that had more grace been extended to Sodom and Gomorrah, Jesus is saying, and had they had more revelation, they would have repented. But God so chose to restrict revelation and did not give them that much. So in the final analysis you’re stuck right back at why did some people get saved and some don’t? Because God just creates history that way, I don’t know why.
But what we have to be careful of, having said that God is absolutely sovereign is that He has character. His character is not arbitrary. He is loving and He is righteous. So however history works out it has a righteous and loving component that can’t be divorced from His sovereignty. God loves, He sovereignly loves, and however it’s done, we can’t argue with how He handled Sodom and Gomorrah. Matthew 11 is very interesting, because Jesus has gone around the Sea of Galilee and He’s been rejected by these people, and what He’s telling them is look, you have rejected the greatest revelation that Israel has ever seen, ME! Sodom and Gomorrah didn’t have half the chance you people have. If they’d had the chance you people had, they would have repented. That implies Jesus, as God, as omniscient, knew very well that had Sodom and Gomorrah been given more information they would have repented. That’s what the statement says. Well, then why didn’t they get more revelation? Because God didn’t give it to them. So how come they didn’t believe. They are held responsible for the revelation they were given. Every man is held responsible for the revelation given, but it seems that if God had kind of jacked up the revelation more people would have been saved in Sodom and Gomorrah and He chose not to do it that way.
Question asked: Clough replies: It’s perceptive that you use the words circular argument because when you deal with the worldview, all worldviews are circular. The reason all worldviews are circular is because they’re finite. Now we’re not talking about circular argument in the narrow sense, we’re talking about on the large scale every belief system; every worldview is a circular argument. Unbelief is a circular argument because it starts and ends with the same proposition, autonomous thinking, autonomous character, Aristotelian logic. The Bible begins and ends with the authenticating self-authenticating Word of God that comes to us in passages like Romans, “I harden whom I will.” There’s no apology made for the fact that God does that. It’s also said, and there’s a sensitive thing that goes on in these passages; if you look at the passage on the potter and the clay, He’s talking about I harden whom I harden and I call whom I call, etc. it’s interesting that He switches the voice of the verb. He says vessels who have fitted themselves for wrath versus the vessels who are called to glory. One is the middle voice and one is a passive voice.
This is what I call asymmetry in God’s plan; you’ll see it all over the place. The Ten Commandments—I visit the iniquity of the fathers unto the children to the third and fourth generations of them that hate Me. But then it says and I visit the grace of God upon the thousands of generations that love Me. Why does He use three or four in the negative side and the word thousands on the positive side? Isn’t that revealing something about the character of God in His sovereignty? I think it is. There is an asymmetry to His sovereignty. He doesn’t handle evil the way He handles good. You see a number of cases. When we get into the death of Christ we really have to scratch and dig into this thing a little bit more. But the argument ultimately flows back to the fact that sovereignty in God cannot be conceived as voluntarism. That means that He arbitrarily does whatever He feels like doing, because He cannot lie. That’s why I brought that out tonight. There are things that God cannot do; even though He’s sovereign He can’t do it because of His character. Sovereignty is just a part of His character and it can’t be broken away from as often happens, as this thing, and then down here we have His love, His righteousness, etc. we fragment it. It can’t be fragmented, it all hooks together.
The problem with free will is this; that’s a bad term for us to use. I think a better term is responsibility, all men are accountable, all men will be judged, all men are responsible to respond to the revelation of God. Free will is quite another story. Free will has been philosophically argued that man is God, that the word “free will” is equivalent to sovereignty, that man has sovereignty. Well I beg to differ; man does not have sovereignty. We have another complication in that after the fall of man, we have the sin nature; Paul says I do what I don’t want to do. So in addition to creature limitations on our so-called free will, we have hamartiological limitations on our free will. We can’t be freed until the Holy Spirit frees us in order to obey. We can’t even obey God, so we don’t really have free will in the bad sense of the word.
You have to be careful here because we no sooner say something like that than the homosexual comes along and says he doesn’t have free will because of his genes. But the argument over here about free will there is a different argument. Here we’re talking the relationship of the sovereign Creator to a finite creature, this relationship. In this relationship this thing down here isn’t free to do anything it wants to, not in this relationship. But over here when we’re talking about genes in a homosexual’s brain, we’re talking about man/nature relationship. There we have to argue that there’s a boundary and man is free. Man is free to choose, stimulus response you know, if you put a needle on you get a certain response. There’s a break in the stimulus response chain the Bible says that makes us responsibility. That’s where responsibility is located; just because you stimulate me I don’t automatically respond, I choose to respond. There’s an element, an area of choice. That may a big area, it might be a small area, but there’s always an area of choice involved.
So we have to assert over against the people who want to make us deterministic, biological determinism that we have free will. They’re willing to use the word “free will,” because it’s a strong term to cut off that determinism. But having said the word “free will” over here, I’m not willing to import it when I get over into the other relationship between the Creator and the creature because now I’ve got a problem with sovereignty, the choice at the Creator level versus choice of the creature level, and the two aren’t the same. One is sovereign and this one isn’t. But this one is responsible, we’re held responsible. Paul honors that. The very epistle of Romans talks about the potter, Romans 3 talks about the fact that of course we have choice, how would God judge us if we didn’t have choice. That’s Paul.
Question asked: Clough replies: We can’t handle that in four minutes. I couldn’t even start to answer that one tonight. The issue was raised about the dying of an unborn child and what’s the status of the child, vis a vis the predestination issue, etc. The church has dealt with that in a number of different ways. All I can say is that the control, the large scale control on how you solve the problem is Psalm 139. Psalm 139 is a central passage, and every pregnant woman… when I was in the ministry I always emphasized, whenever a lady got pregnant, to go through Psalm 139 because Psalm 139 is the whole theology of pregnancy. It tells you what God is doing; it tells you why He’s doing what He’s doing in the life of that child that’s being woven together in the womb. So it’s a very important passage.
Another key passage is in Exodus 4 because Moses has some sort of speech impediment, and he complains to God that he can’t speak right, whether he lisped or whatever, he had a speech problem of some sort. God doesn’t deny that Moses was born with a congenital defect; it’s very interesting. This passage was brought to me by a woman who had about 25 operations on her son with a very severe cleft palate and in her coaching her son through the painful operations she would go back again and again to Exodus 4 because in there God says to Moses I made your mouth, now I’m going to use you, and you’re going to do it My way, but don’t give me the excuse that you can’t speak because I made your mouth wrong. It’s very interesting, a small passage, but it’s a powerful implication. That deals more with a birth defect.
You’ve got Exodus 4, you’ve got Psalm 139, you’ve got the overall sovereignty of God, you’ve got the passage in David’s life where the baby dies, and David says I’ll go to be with the child but the child won’t stay alive, that sort of thing. Those are the passages and how you build them from there gets really involved.
Question asked: Clough replies: You see His use of the child as for believers and His deep and profound anger at people who mess with them. He’s very protective of children, and I don’t think I mentioned in the notes but that was one of the friction points. Jesus lived His life in such a way, almost like it was designed to antagonize people. One of the things was that the children didn’t go romping all over rabbis, that was considered rude and impolite, etc. and when Jesus opened up… yeah, sure, come on, come here, this really blew the minds of some of the disciples even, because they were not used to seeing a Jewish rabbi, a teacher, act that way toward children. So those are little clues you want to pick up because after all, this is God the Son talking here. There’s His heart toward children. Remember what He says, beware of anybody causing one of these little ones to stumble. True He’s talking about believers there but He’s also using as the base of the metaphor children, real physical literal children, so just bug off, you see! Severe judgments for people who mess with children.
That’s what’s so interesting about this lawsuit with the homosexuals trying to adopt kids; they’ll screw their lives up with mommy and mommy. You can imagine what happens here. Of course, their arguing back to us, well classic marriage has failed, look how many divorces there are, and we have to say yes, that’s right, but you can’t destroy the institution for the failure of the people in the institution.
Time’s up, next week we’ll get into the life of Christ.