Variable Reality

Our good brother Jay DiNitto mentioned something in a recent post about Quantum Mechanics and how our conception of time is probably all wrong.

Well, duh.

We weren’t designed for this world. This world is not the original plan. To be honest, we really don’t have the words and concepts for describing it, never mind those esoteric scientific theories. This is why we warn you that ultimate truth is not transmitted by words. You can’t describe it. Our best hope is indicating something about it using parables (or parabolic language). So when I say that our world is not what God planned for us, that’s a parabolic expression. God was ready to handle the Fall; that’s His moral character. But what we now have is not what He wanted for us, and certainly nothing like Eden.

A primary element in the Curse of the Fall is the time-space constraints on our human existence. The story linked at Cosmic Scientist leans on a previous post about electrons and how they act like both waves and particles. The whole thing disembowels the concrete logic inherent in Western Civilization. The articles struggle to explain that, if these quantum particle observations mean anything at all, it means your choice in the here and now can affect the past, while at the same time, your choices don’t bind the future.

We who are heart-led are not in the least bit troubled by any of this. Science is restricted to the intellect, but our sense of self and awareness is not limited to intellect. There is a component of awareness that can choose to move the focus into the heart-mind and it changes everything. By leaving behind the limitations of what the intellect can handle, we begin to see that all of Creation itself is alive and sentient on some level. The particles are not inanimate matter, but are creatures in their own right. And so it is with the larger things we encounter every day — trees, birds, grass, rocks, dirt, and yes, houses.05vacanthouse-a

One of those houses I shot with my camera today spoke to my heart. There’s not much I could write to tell you about the content, but it essentially asked me to take a picture so you could hear it, too. Just look at the two-story house with the empty glass windows and white board fence; if your awareness is in your heart, you’ll likely hear it.

Just as surely as we can commune directly with the material world around us, so also a part of us is designed to reach beyond that time-space barrier that defines what science is all about. They’ll keep poking and poking, but scientists will never discover the final answers because the answers aren’t available to the mind, but for the heart-mind. I can’t tell you what you’ll encounter on the other side, but I can tell you there is something there, and that we can reach across the boundary and touch that other realm.

Pray that your awareness can expand into your heart. Pray that God will allow you to believe what your heart knows, and that you can get used to the idea of ultimate reality beyond the Curse. When the end for each of us comes, we will leave behind the flesh and it’s intellect, but some other part of our awareness lives on to face God. He promised in His Law and in His Son (the Living Law) that we could ameliorate the Curse of the Fall while we yet live under that curse. He promised that we could taste the existence of the afterlife (see Hebrews 6) and that means warping our awareness past the limits of time-space boundaries.

Once you taste that, you suddenly recognize what quantum particle research encounters with time as variable forward and backward. We are able to say we know about that on some instinctive level of awareness. We realize that human history is not fixed, nor can it be. The whole thing is variable and iffy, and efforts to study it will yield inconsistent results because Creation itself cannot be nailed down like that.

Psalm 119: Aleph

Westerners get the impression the Hebrews weren’t too good at math, but that has more to do with a different attitude about when and where math matters. At 176 verses, this is the longest chapter in the Bible, and with few exceptions, each verse mentions the revelation of God directly. In English we see: law, testimony, statutes, ordinances, teaching, instructions, commandments, precepts, promises, ways and word, among others. It’s also an acrostic psalm in alphabetical order, 22 stanzas of 8 lines each, one for each letter, and each line in a stanza beginning with the same Hebrew letter of the alphabet.

Obviously the psalmist strives to get across his personal experience in devotion to God in terms of what we can know of God, what He allows us to see of Him through His self-disclosure. This is culturally challenging for us because Western Christians suffer the powerful influence of Hellenized Pharisaism and the resulting legalism. This is not a question of learning the Law as legislation, but as the manifestation of God’s personal character. The Law of God is not a mere record of statements and associated events, but the indicator of moral personality. The reason for the record is the Person behind it, so any obsessive legalistic focus on the record will never come up with the right answer. God’s revelation is also the very fundamental nature of reality itself. So we note that this psalm is an elongated celebration of Scripture as the tangible expression of God Himself.

We will examine this psalm one stanza at a time.

119: Aleph 1-8

The psalmist begins with a bold declaration: O, how blessed are those who are possessed of moral integrity! The image is a heart ruling over the entire being, directing all things in concert to conform to God’s divine moral character. This assertion is restated in different terms with twin Hebrew parallel statements. This is not legalism, since our notions of precision are not binding on God, but a celebration of how much power there is for living with a sincere commitment to pleasing God.

It’s the desire that matters, so God does not register their every miscalculation, but sees the heart of love and devotion. Thus, they are said to perform no evil, regardless of mistakes. These are people who do their best to walk in God’s footsteps. In the fourth verse, the word often translated “precept” actually has no English equivalent. It’s a reference to the substance of reality, arising from the concept that all of Creation reflects the moral nature of God. Clinging to whatever perception we have of that character makes our lives consistent with the very design of the universe.

The next verse (5) follows up by wishing mightily that his habits were built from God’s revelation. With that kind of character, reading the Scripture is a warming joy, not some kind of guilt-inducing embarrassment. Verse 7 looks forward to a life of worship that bubbles up irrepressibly from a heart that has an unalloyed commitment to God as personal Lord. Can you not see how our very existence takes on a blessed clarity when we order our commitments consistently? So the final verse is the psalmist’s resolve to build a thorny hedge of protection internally so that his habits of life create a moral hedge externally in his actions.

Finally, in accordance with courtly protocol, he asks that God keep a tight grip on his life and reserve His wrath for someone else.

Psalm 118

This is the final “Hallel Psalm” and we are altogether certain this is the one Jesus sang with His disciples on His way to the Garden of Gethsemane. It was originally composed as a processional and is plainly designed for antiphonal worship, with the congregation echoing in response to the leading lines of a solo cantor. It is loaded with phrases and declarations meant to easily memorize, and we see them echoed throughout the Bible.

The imagery here is highly expressive; the word for “thanks” depicts throwing the hands in the air and shaking them in ecstatic gratitude for uncountable blessings. There is a standard progression repeated: the people of Israel, the Levites leading the procession, and anyone else who feels drawn to honor the Lord. Each is encouraged to declare that God’s mercy outlasts Creation itself.

Then we come to a long section that may well have been composed originally as a separate work, but gains currency in corporate worship by virtue of including everyone individually. Each person is called up to celebrate and assert that they personally have experienced Jehovah’s divine favor.

The word for “distress” is a tight, narrow corner; the deliverance was God opening up space to maneuver or escape. If the place you stand is next to God, how can any force in Creation harm you? He made all things. In the long run, nothing can harm. Our cynicism about humanity is fully justified because no power on earth can match what God does for those who revere Him. So when humans buzz around us like a swarm of bees, we know that busy sound is also like thorns on fire, consumed quickly and gone. Whatever you might do to harm me must first be approved by my God. Maybe you don’t see His hand, but what it does is bigger than all of us.

This business of His powerful right hand becomes the focus of yet another fruitful branch of celebration. It was from ancient times the symbol of a man’s authority, power and his track record of accomplishments. If that hand chastens me, regardless how rough it gets, it will always be in my best interest. The celebrant declares his intent to live in whatever place God’s righteous glory shines. Show me the gate, Lord! And Jesus made a point that He was the stone the builders rejected, a reference to how humans cannot judge things with God’s wisdom. He was judged worthy of execution, but His rejection became the single biggest block on which the whole Kingdom of Heaven is founded. God does not operate as men do; they should strive to operate as He does.

The ancient phrase, “this is the day that the Lord has made,” is often misunderstood when translated. We would deceive ourselves longing for some golden time past, or some fantasy day to come. Right now is the appointed time to call on His name and seize the calling for what is in your hands already. The time is ripe — Ancient Near Eastern people always viewed time not as something to measure and schedule, but contemplated time as a matter of ripeness. So give us this day what is just due for Your divine calling on us, Lord. How blessed is the one who operates in this world as an ambassador of Jehovah.

The final verses call on the Levites to prepare the festal sacrifice unto the God who has enlightened us. It matters not what others may say or do, but we declare Him our God. The last words repeat the refrain of the first words in this psalm: His mercy outlasts Creation itself.

The Bath of Wrath

Context first: I don’t dispense truth for your consumption. At most, my writing exposes to your awareness things your heart already knows. Some of us are able to subject our minds to our hearts, and we get to a point where the mind pretty much knows better than try to resist. Instead, we discover the sweet security (shalom) of learning to trust something far higher than our own senses and reason. The mind receives it’s grandest purpose — organizing and implementing the practical requirements of God’s moral truth written in our convictions. What I write here is merely my own narrative, the story of my encounters in my own mind’s exploration of the Land Without Words.

Most of humanity manages to function with a certain amount of unconscious assumption about reality. There’s a kind of glue that holds together all the pieces. It doesn’t require absolute reliability, but enough that the surprises can be assimilated. It really does vary with the individual, but we can make some broad generalizations for the sake of common understanding. What we usually mean by the term “coping mechanism” signals that a certain amount of breakage is expected. Our mind maps out reality and has to make changes now and then, so the really smart people draw their maps in pencil. But the whole map dissolves without that glue to keep the paper intact.

As you probably know, neurosis is when the glue fails in spots. Psychosis is when the glue fails wholesale. There has to be a certain amount of space in the mind for drawing the map.

So our human function isn’t tied to the facts — the details we draw on the map — but to the existence of a map in the first place. And as noted, for most Westerners in particular, it’s seldom a conscious factor of awareness. For the most part, the mapping manifests in a body of assumptions about what is morally right and wrong. It’s the individual moral ground of assumptions that make up the material of the map of what “ought to be.” Drastic changes in the facts are tough to handle, but losing the structure of knowing will drive folks crazy.

The wrath of God is rather like a good soap-and-water bath. If your map is just cheap paper, it will come apart when God’s wrath rains down in your life. If you manage to weave in the threads of God’s moral character as the fabric that holds your map together, it’s a whole different experience. Instead of destruction in your life, His wrath is just a nice bit of laundering. Afterward you feel fresh and ready to start again. Western moral reasoning is just cheap paper, rather like the mass-produced rough stuff you get with dollar store coloring books.

When I prophesy that God is shifting reality, it’s not as if I’m saying the sky will turn green, or clouds will become mashed potatoes, or something noticeable like that. Rather, I’m warning that God will rain down His cleansing wrath on peoples’ maps. It’s too subtle for most of them to notice, but He’s taking away the temporal appearance of moral substance on which people have built their assumptions.

You see, Satan is the author of a lot of cheap garbage that passes for moral truth. God in His ineffable, inscrutable plans allows the Devil to do certain things for some limited time. It serves to entice and enslave folks who swallow the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. It’s not that the apparent facts of our existence here changes that much; it still looks the same. It’s much more subtle than that. The big lie is something people seldom think about consciously, a raft of assumptions what we should expect if we just push hard enough to figure it out.

For example, just about every person influenced by Western values assumes that we should be able to fold up space and travel across light years in seconds, if we can just figure out how. They assume we could, in theory, travel across time barriers and carry our conscious existence into the past or the future. And we have even been led to imagine that we humans have the power to make substantial changes in this earth, like change the climate.

Yet, if you can read between the lines in the Bible, you’d find those three things are flatly impossible. And failing that, your heart would kick your brain with the recognition that those things will never happen. The boundaries are not factual, but moral in nature. God is actively watching and won’t let it happen.

Thus, at least a portion of what God is doing in our days, right here and now, is reaffirming His revelation about those moral limits on us. He’s washing away those subtle lies under the very ground on which most minds stand and walk. While those minds are, for the most part, wholly unconscious of it, they can’t understand why everything they’ve built on those false assumptions is starting to come apart. God is actively watching and His hands are busy. It’s just the same as you and I shaping things with Playdough, though far less discernible to the human senses.

Obviously our Creator is wiser than to just make it too obvious. His revelation warns that there will always be plausible deniability of His handiwork. If you exclude His revelation, you cannot perceive full reality. If your heart is actively ruling your mind, then you can sense it these things directly. You know reality is shifting daily as people are struggling to keep things together. And failing. We know the truth of God’s wrath falling like soapy rain on all human works, and we look forward to a good bath for our lives.

Psalm 117

Some people find significance in the observation that this is the middle chapter in the entire Protestant canon, and also the shortest chapter. In a few manuscripts it is considered part of either the previous or succeeding psalms, but there seems no justification for that.

It is still used as part of the “Hallel Psalms” at Passover. Some English translations probably capture the more recent Talmudic Jewish attitude with a tinge of nationalism, perhaps even racism. However, it’s hardly any challenge to see beyond that when you consider the more consistent prophetic attitude from both ends of the Bible. That prophetic word says the only reason for the advantages of the Covenant was so that the light of truth could be shined on those who did not have the Covenant, and the blessings could be shed abroad to those who didn’t belong under it. The whole idea is a welcoming invitation, not exclusion.

So perhaps we would benefit from an alternative translation that captures more of the original Hebrew flavor:

“Let every human living celebrate Jehovah; cheer loudly His name everyone! For His kind mercy prevails over all our needs, and the certitude of His Lordship remains stable into infinity. O celebrate Jehovah!”

Be the Solution

It’s really simple folks: Be the solution. Wherever you are, in whatever setting, by living a heart-led existence in the midst of rising turmoil and chaos, you are a solution to the problems everyone else is facing. Granted, that often means that we are not providing exactly what they believe they want, but when our very presence draws down into the world the blessings of God, people are going to sense it on some level. It’s not our power; it’s God’s power at work in us.

So strive mightily to overcome your own internal resistance to God’s truth. His truth is more valuable to us than life itself. If we have to delve into deception for the sake of safety, then safety is wrong. On the other hand, it’s too easy to mistake our reasonings for truth. Truth is rooted in the heart, and arises into our consciousness as conviction. It pays little heed to what our minds can grasp and control, so teach your mind to doubt the orthodoxy of a society that doesn’t recognize the wisdom of the heart.

When you realize that reality is fungible, you aren’t restricted to your senses and logic, but you rely on the eternal truth. This makes you into a rock of stability and trust in the center of a chaotic world. We are entering a time when people will go bonkers trying to pull reality back under their control, but God is shifting reality around us already. Be an island of truth.

Call on Him

It’s the biggest compliment you can offer.

Our culture arises from Western feudalism, where a man’s pride and glory was in the property he owned, and the power he wielded. The more important he is, the less important others are to him. Thus, we are all used to petty bureaucrats flexing their importance and reminding us of our impotence. Debase yourself and beg, and maybe they’ll pay attention when the mood strikes them.

That’s totally different from the culture of the Bible. In Ancient Near Eastern feudal culture, a man’s power and glory rested on the number of dependents who served in his household. More people calling on him to exercise his power meant higher prestige. It was blessing that others came to you for help. In fact, a man who had to train up servants to sift through all the petitions brought into his courts was very important, indeed.

Call on Him; He takes it as a blessing when we seek His face.

Psalm 116

Still reviewing the “Hallel Psalms” used with Passover, this one is unique in the collection — it was originally composed as an intensely personal individual experience. However, it’s not hard to see how it calls on the nation to enter into that experience as a reflection of all the trials of the Exodus.

Who could be unmoved by the devotion of others to our welfare? Well, Our God is a Person, as well, and He defines the quality of faithfulness we love in others. He is the source and ultimate symbol of what makes every child warmly embrace his or her own parents. When I cry, God hears. Why should I go to anyone else?

We might struggle to recount the sorrows we’ve seen, but God was there in the midst of them. He stands ready to deliver. We say these words often, but far too many people have their minds closed off to the deep moral awareness of their hearts. When your heart becomes the seat of your awareness, you cannot avoid sensing the full weight of His divine Presence. You know He’s there and will deliver you; there is no doubt that He cares beyond all comprehension.

And even if someone lacked the broad sense of worldly wisdom, when their hearts rule their minds, the pure simplicity of moral focus will carry them through. God watches of them as if they were the greatest men on this earth. There are times when all the erudition in the world won’t help you, but a pure heart that rules can carry you through Hell.

So the psalmist calls for his soul to stop panicking and just return to that place of peace, because the Lord’s redemption is so overwhelmingly generous and sure. Every flaw of our human existence is more than matched by His power and mercy. Death has to wait until God is ready for us; meanwhile, He wipes our tears and gives us traction to march on His mission. With such gracious provision, we are eager to carry His banner before the whole world.

In verse 10 the word for “I believed” is better translated as moral certainty. It comes from the image of nurturing something with constant long-term care; it’s a faith that is unshakable because God is the one who is faithful. With that kind of commitment binding us to the Lord, we would be eager to relate at length to anyone who will listen, how God carried us through our own personal exodus from slavery. By comparison, we are quick to confess our cynicism about human nature, even our own nature.

How could we possibly repay His kindness? What could we give that God did not give to us first? So in His divine Presence, we worship and share with Him the sweet wine of deliverance. Not merely for show, but we will humbly and publicly render to Him whatever offering and service is mentioned in the covenant by which we have vowed to serve Him. And typical of any real shepherd sheikh, God counts as His most precious resource the people of His living domain. When any of them perish, it’s a big loss.

How fortunate we are to count ourselves slaves born in His household, yet He adopted us as His own children. So the full accounting of what He demands is our minimum return to Him. We will gladly set the example for others, to encourage and provoke them to the same ardor in serving Him. Let us all keep each other honest in upholding the covenant.