Faith Does Not Compute

Here we take a short tour through the history of Western Christian theology. Our attention is focused on the business of fallen nature and human reason.

First, we have to understand that Hebrew Scriptures assume a wholly different anthropology from what is common in the West. On the one hand, both use figures of speech, but use them differently. In ancient Hebrew culture, human nature is divided up differently and associated with different parts of the body as mere symbolism. When it comes to understanding human behavior, it really didn’t matter whether the mind was literally rooted in the brain — there were too many other factors in human nature that affected how the brain worked. In other words, Hebrew culture downplayed the importance of intellect compared to the Western image of it.

Second, there was a radical difference in cosmology, too. While the particulars varied among the multiple Ancient Near Eastern (ANE) civilizations, of which Hebrew is one, there was a common thread of belief in a distinct and separate spirit realm that was invisible to the senses. We cannot overemphasize how radically different this is from the Western assumption that this universe is all there is. The Greeks had no trouble with the idea that deities and demons were invisible, but such beings were still confined to this universe. Greeks honestly believed that it was possible to find a physical entrance to both the homes of the gods and the abode of the dead.

So deeply does this stain Western thought that you can discern the influence in Western Christianity. Early in Church history we find the official church teaching that human reason is not fallen.

Let’s see how the ANE viewpoint is expressed in Jeremiah 17. Starting in verse 5 God is castigating Judah for departing from the Covenant (the Northern Kingdom was already long gone at this point). In particular, He refers to the “heart” as the center of one’s will, the seat of commitment or faith. There is a specific reference to the kidneys as the seat of human motives, and it’s often translated in English as “reins” or “mind.” His point comes right up front: cursed is the man who trusts in human capabilities alone. Blessed is the man who humbly trusts in God for moral truth. Without redemption, the heart of commitment is wicked. In that state, no one can subject their lesser faculties to the higher faculty that should be in the heart. There is no sense of conviction, so the heart is effectively just as fallen and broken as the rest of such a man.

This is echoed in Romans 3, particularly in verses 9-18. Paul indicates that a covenant identity never kept Jews from being just as wicked and sinful as the worst of heathens. Paul goes on to assert that without redemption, there is nothing good possible arising from human capabilities. It was always a matter of divine grace. Western Christians are completely mistaken in thinking Jesus introduced a new concept in John 3 when He spoke of spiritual birth. We can find references to that symbolism throughout ANE religious writings. Without “a spirit of the gods” within us, we are doomed. Nicodemas as so Hellenized that he had completely forgotten the mystical roots of Hebrew culture. For him, there was no separate realm of the Spirit; everything was confined to his universe. Redemption was merely to earthly Jewish identity.

Even when we find Western church teachings about spiritual birth, we find that the net effect it is merely a changed mind. Somehow being more spiritual means nothing more than a different cerebral track. It’s a conversion of mind only, in the sense that religious leaders are looking for symptoms of orthodoxy. We find them saying in effect that “Jesus in your heart” equals “right belief and practice.” And that right religion always seems to look like the one that the present leadership espouses. “If you don’t believe and act like me, you ain’t born-again.” For non-evangelical traditions, it’s more like, “We are the arbiters or what God says, so if you don’t agree with us, you haven’t heard from God.”

This is precisely the fatal flaw in Judaism, and it goes all the way back to Jeremiah’s prophecy. Judah was at that time facing Babylon’s rampaging conquest. The Judean leadership insisted that, since the Temple inside the walls was God’s House, they were safe. Would God allow heathens to dirty His carpet? Was not this Hebrew nation God’s Chosen? Jeremiah was telling them that it didn’t matter where the Temple stood. It also didn’t matter their proximity to it; the nation had moved too far away from God’s protection in their hearts. Their faith, their feudal loyalty, was in something other than Jehovah.

In Hebrew thinking, spiritual birth does not change what you are, but who you are. It opens the door for a personal communion with our Creator so that His power can mitigate the Fall. Thus, spiritual birth is not some magic that changes the ideas in your head; it changes your heart — it registers as a sense of identity and commitment. You aren’t buying into a different package of human identity, but leaving all of that behind for an identity rooted in the Spirit Realm. Christ said His kingdom is not of this world. There can be no earthly kingdom of Christ; there can be no Christian nation. In this world there can be only provisional associations of fellow believers, acting like family in an eastern feudal setting. We as Christians are brothers and sisters with no earthly father. We are away from Home working together in a foreign realm. We don’t colonize; we offer adoptions out of this world.

Meanwhile, the only people who actually understand this world are those who belong outside of it. The only people who hold a valid assessment of human nature are those who denounce and renounce it. Only when we are linked to the Spirit Realm do we find communion with the rest of Creation. We still face the same natural world, but now are friends with it, not alienated from it in some god-forsaken mythology of something must be defeated, tamed and enslaved to our will.

Reason cannot be reformed. It can be properly subjected to faith, but you won’t see that often in organized Christian religion. Instead, we see the whole matter of “faith” as better belief and action, and “spirituality” as mere education and training. Theology is data; faith is much more.

Set the Captives Free

The longer I look at it, the more I cannot imagine that my mission is pivotal in God’s work among humans.

Let me reiterate some things my regular readers already know. The gospel message is freedom. It’s the opposite of sectarianism. While a great many Christian denominations use terminology like that, what they mean is that there should be no sects other than their own. “Everyone should be free to do it our way. Who could want anything else?” The problem is that they keep religion a slave to reason. Thus, whatever “freedom” means, it has to pass through the filter of reason — and we all know that reason is the conscious cover story our minds offer for very unreasonable personal wishes.

It is utterly impossible for reason to fill in the blanks of ultimate moral purpose; reason must start from certain moral assumptions and those always rest on the individual’s personal collective mythology. Need we note again that said mythology is itself a moving target? It is simply not possible for any human to be objective. We are all born with an instinct to propagate our genes; most of us are born with a certain drive to propagate our personal mythology. But only a few of us are born with the talents to make either form of propagation happen on a wide scale (and those two talents are often found in the same person). These folks honestly believe: “My way is God’s way.” Thus is born a particular brand of religion that sweeps in larger numbers of people.

And people are taught to disregard some of their own personal mythology in order to participate in some grand vision of conquest. “Everyone should taste the privilege of living like I do.” We see this in secular politics; religion never escapes politics. Despite words to the contrary, nobody in the religious propagation business really wants to make room for significant variations in reasoning and explanation. This reluctance is wired into the culture itself. There is this a priori assumption that it can’t be worth the trouble unless the results bring in large numbers under one single Great Man’s leadership. A part of the Curse of the Fall is an endless supply of human demigods.

Instead of boring you with yet another recounting of my long journey through madness, I’ll cut to the chase and remind you that coming out the other end of the Valley of the Shadow of Death was possible for me only by tossing aside the primacy of human reason and the instinct to lead. Do not follow me. Don’t trade your old demigod for some dream of making me into another one. My mission is to destroy that very thing. What I really want to do is set you free to find Christ on your own path. I’m fully confident that Christ in your heart can lead you where He wants you to go without my interference. I’m just along for the ride.

But this is no small task. It’s made all the larger for all the cultural mythology that demands we cling to a false definition of “holiness.” If there’s one idea that comes from Satan, it’s the truculent insistence that “truth” has to result in one concrete intellectual construction. It’s the big lie that this concrete physical universe, which we experience through our senses and grasp through our reason, is the sum total of all that is. It’s that endless quest for more data so we can nail down what can be, and thus what ought to be. Whatever is meant by “truth” must be some static, dead and cold “reality.” Even when we get people to admit that there could be other realms of existence, they still insist that whatever we can learn from any other realm must result in one single concrete answer here.

And all the while, this “here” is not concrete in any way. That “concrete objective reality” is the ultimate lie of the Devil. The world seems to have somehow agreed to that one underlying assumption, even in the face of vast unresolvable disputes about how we shall define that concrete reality. So we have endless wars because we all agree that there can only be one definition of concrete reality, but we cannot agree on what it is. That’s crazy.

But because everyone buys that fundamental lie, we end up finding ourselves under threat of force to buy one or another false mythology. So we all band together with others, buying into one or another great myth so we can stand together and fight back. Nobody seems to notice how the New Testament taught that we should just nod our heads and salute whatever flag someone runs up the pole because we don’t really care. The reason we don’t care is that we are conscious that this whole thing is one big lie. We play along with the game because we aren’t in a position to reach inside other people’s heads and turn on the light of revelation. Only God does that.

And His chosen instrument for that process is each of us living by our own provisional reality, consciously aware that no two of us have the same answer. But most of all, we are aware that no two us should have the same answer, simply because we cannot. God reveals Himself differently and individually to each of us. We would not dare tell God what He has to show anyone else. Nor would we dare to demand that the net result of revelation in some soul should come out with a concrete reality that looks the same as ours.

Yet by the very miracle of agreeing that we should not see things alike, we are able to unite in a bond of faith stronger than any shared identity mere men can dream up. We find fellowship and communion, ties of compassion and affection, and we worship the same Creator and Savior and Power to live in this Shadowland of lies and deceit. This world is the prison of souls.

So if there’s one thing I want you to remember me for, it’s that I helped you break out of the prison.

The Taste of Truth

We are wired for narrative.

The Hebrew culture was mystical in nature; it was part of the Ancient Near East (ANE), which is a collection of cultures and civilizations that shared a mystical orientation. Westerners have struggled to make sense of that peculiar brand of mysticism because it is so very alien. Our language and culture makes mystical things “spooky” and dangerous, whereas the ANE folks took it for granted and were entirely comfortable with it. Their “unknown” was never threatening; it was where man could find God.

It’s further exceedingly difficult to get across to Westerners that there is a third level of awareness beyond first, fleshly wiring in appetites and emotions, or second, intellect and reason. This is why genuine faith and trust in God is so very difficult for Westerners. What Western Christianity ends up with is a requirement for orthodoxy (“right thinking”) to force pre-approved outcomes. We simply cannot have something open-ended like faith is meant to be. Thus, it provides a phony “faith” that is some form of iron logic, which is supposed to conquer the flesh. But it cannot conquer flesh because intellect is still flesh; it’s still man doing something the mind imagines is God’s work. To be “spiritual” means some better quality of cerebral exercise in reason.

The only real difference between that kind of belief versus atheism is simply a matter of starting assumptions. It rests entirely in the fallen flesh. It’s all the same kind of thing. People choose their assumptions on some grounds they cannot comprehend because reason cannot admit to dependency and need. The seeming power of reason is too enthralling to ignore; intellect cannot choose to surrender the myth of superiority in all things. It is the God-complex woven into the human soul. In other words, you cannot start from logic and arrive at truth because there is nothing on which to stand. Logic is a tool; it has no substance in itself. Thus, the choice to believe or not is nothing more than subconscious sentiment.

This remains the sad story for the vast majority of those seeking to practice Western Christian religion. Especially as the size of the organization grows, the portion of people in it who are simply believers without genuine commitment on that third level grows higher because the size of the crowd makes it easier to hide the weakness. There’s so much shared enthusiasm that it feels like it must be the power of God; it didn’t come from within the self.

This, despite the rather flatly literal teaching in Scripture that genuine faith in the individual defies the whole world if necessary; even the end of reality itself does not vanquish true faith. Move those individual members to a hostile environment and their belief suffers. Something nibbles away at the edges of the fragile belief. It requires a constant exposure to that mass enthusiasm to reinforce those cerebral boundaries. There’s no fountain of life welling up within.

Nobody says the mind cannot be strong; it’s never strong enough. It can’t bear you into God’s Presence. We don’t need more teaching. There is no truth in explanations that meet the tests of intellect. I use it here in our virtual parish only to deconstruct, to indicate how you shouldn’t rely on it. I use the tools of reason and intellect to poke holes in what the brain can do by itself.

The truth of God isn’t in teaching. The closest we come to divine revelation in human language is parable and narrative. Do you understand that two or more narratives can conflict on the facts and still tell the same truth? Two people can come away from a narrative with entirely different experiences, but still stand in the same faith. Narrative brings with it a whole raft of experiential truth that touches the places mere data cannot find. And it’s those other places in the soul where we can provoke or crush genuine faith. A well told story that rests on certain assumptions will convey those assumptions by drawing the listener into them. It becomes the reality in which that soul stands for a time.

Thus, the very concept of communication and language in the ANE was all about the narrative, drawing us into the place where we can find truth. We are wired to absorb that truth. Once we get used to this, we can detect lies because they bring us to the wrong place, a place that feels alien and hostile. But only if we are used to thinking in terms of the narrative and its purpose as communication. As long as we hang everything on the data, anyone can slip vast deceptions into the narrative and we’d never know it.

A morally strong narrative finds a witness in your convictions. It feels like home; it restores your faith. It tastes like something eternal.

The Norm of Miracles

Before anyone starts to ask the questions, the answer is mysticism.

We can wrap our answers in reason, but the fundamental issue remains, “Thus saith the Lord” who made all things and determines how reality works. Further, He has not been silent; there is a massive record of His dealings with humanity. But that record is opaque to the human intellect. It makes sense only when you read it with your heart. Without that heart-mind awareness, reality isn’t supposed to make sense.

Thus, we start with revelation and build out an understanding. Yet we also assert that no two of us will build the same understanding. We deny that there is an objective reality. The expectation that we could produce a consistent answer that fits all of us is just another deception of the fallen human reason. We answer that it’s utterly impossible to agree on everything and therefore a sign of healthy fellowship when there are at least some minor differences. We don’t school each other on the particulars, but encourage each other in the commitment to our convictions and our faith to trust in God.

It’s not that we use no reason at all, but that we use our reason as the means to dragging all the noise around us back to our faith. We submit everything to that mystical union with God Almighty and with the whole of His Creation. Because of that divine clarity of the heart-mind, our reasoning capacity is actually far better, at least potentially, than the sharpest minds of those who rely on reason alone. That doesn’t mean we can break through their moral blindness, but that we need not fear the power of their ideas. Our spiritual truth is greater than their best and brightest logic.

Again: The demands of faith are imminently unreasonable. We make no bones about it. At the same time, we have the all justification in the world we need to take this path because our God reigns and pours out His blessings so abundantly we have to leave stuff lying on the ground. He’s not wasteful, just generous.

It also means that in order to catch as much as we can, we discard a lot of things that He says aren’t necessary. The discernment is not a matter of reason and human need, but His glory. His glory is our ultimate good. There is nothing that can compete with that.

How many miracles does the Bible tell about? How often has God shown that He offers exceptions because there really aren’t any hard-n-fast rules? We know that, under most contexts, you don’t grab a poisonous snake with your bare hands. We also know Jesus promised that, when it serves the Father’s glory, we can do that anyway (Mark 16:18; Acts 28:1-6). It’s not that we would fling a challenge in God’s face and dare Him to let us die in the middle of our calling and mission, but that we simply allow Him to decide such things. We take our own demise in stride.

But when the time comes, we cast out demons, heal broken bodies, call fire down from heaven, walk on water, instantly move great distances without traveling, turn the clock backward in time, fill thousands of bellies from a handful of food, and all kinds of things we can’t even imagine. But we don’t do it casually as if we are somehow so very special and virtuous. It’s not frivolous and we don’t test it out just to prove a point. We receive these things when His glory shines, and we also don’t receive them for His glory at other times.

Learn the Law of God; learn how Creation works. Make Creation your best friend. No two of us will ever know exactly the same things about Creation, but we can all testify that God is not constrained by our human grasp on what’s “normal.”

The Failure of Evil

The problem with great evil is that it always rests on human frailty.

Review: God created all things according to His own moral character. Reality itself is consistent with God’s personality. Second, He created a universe that rests somewhere within Creation as a relatively small part. It also responds to His moral character. Then He created us humans as the agents of management with a built-in awareness of His character, same as the rest of Creation.

Somewhere in our response after everything was established, we chose to rely on our human intellect and talents. Granted, we were given these things to help us obey, but the ultimate question of what is and is not morally right is beyond the intellect. Only the heart-mind can handle this question, and whatever it was we get from the narrative of the Fall, we must understand that mankind made a choice to assert intellect over the heart. Sadly, that means the heart becomes silent and mind is left to face the task of living and making sense of our fallen existence, and it cannot possibly discern the true nature of things. So relying on human reason is, by definition, a rejection of God’s character.

With the intellect alone, it is virtually impossible to grasp that Creation is alive and is imbued with a moral quality from God. While great efforts have been made to reawaken some higher consciousness, the mind cannot make much sense of things without a heart directly connected to the Creator. Thus, we can go back into human history and dig up all kinds of records indicating people did have some awareness of the superiority of the heart-mind, but the answers they record from their efforts in that direction are all mutually inconsistent. There is a certain similarity across these various attempts, but each one contains noticeable flaws that leave the practitioners powerless at critical moments.

The failures are manifest in all flavors. One of the most significant failures leads people to attempt pulling their fellow humans under one centralized rule. In the Bible, individuality is not central, so that’s not the answer. The answer is the family, branching out across ties of kinship and covenant. We note in passing that the Bible makes it plain that covenant takes precedence over blood kinship, but that the ideal is to have both. However, it also requires keeping family stuff within the family. More authority over more people must of necessity mean less detail. It should be obvious even to those with mere intellect that a proper daily life of peace and stability requires keeping things on a manageable scale.

But mere intellect cannot see the ultimate value of social stability, and demands social conformity instead. It’s easier for the intellect to handle ruling that way. The problem is that without a heart-led awareness, the mind imagines all kinds of things it might accomplish, mostly things that the heart would know could never work. The intellect cannot understand peace and stability the way God promised to grant it, so it imagines efficiency and centralized control — such control has never worked. Whatever it is you want to make of the narrative about the Tower of Babel, you should at least understand that empires grate on God’s moral character. It’s not that He makes no allowance for them to rise, but He always ends them sooner or later with horrendous wrath, and totally humiliating the rulers. The empires with the best historical records are those that remembered there were limits to central authority. They allowed the folks closest to the subjects to make decisions that affected them the most, and always assumed an Eastern feudal social structure.

We don’t have space here to dig into all the details. The Law of Noah remains binding upon every government until there are no more rainbows in the sky. I’ve written whole books exploring that Law; what matters here is that we realize they apply as a formulation written to the heart, not the intellect. Without the heart-mind in the lead, you cannot really obey Noah; you cannot possibly get it right. That means every government lacking a presumption of heart-led moral orientation is, by definition, evil. It matters not what the rulers think of themselves; they are evil who rule outside the heart-mind.

Even when those who conspire to rule embrace that moral judgment for themselves, they are unable to keep it all working for very long. Whatever it is they do will always be crippled by the lack of heart-led moral conviction.

It is utterly impossible for any human to actually personify the Antichrist. Satan doesn’t work that way; he is not permitted to pull that stunt. The heart-led truth of the Bible means it’s all parable, metaphor and symbolism. The biblical image of Antichrist is an influence on fallen human nature, not a literal individual figure. The antihero is a legend of the West, not from the Bible. You can easily read such imagery back into the Bible if you ignore the vast wealth of Ancient Hebrew intellectual traditions of mysticism, but you’ll get the wrong answers. Someone determined to be evil has already bought into the lies of Satan, and they cannot come up with a plan to take over the world that would actually work. Satan doesn’t work that way; he doesn’t lead people to some diabolical truth about universal power in this realm of existence. They have to be heart-led to understand it, and turning to evil means you don’t get it.

So the visions of a literal or semi-literal Apocalypse are just Western fiction. What really happens is that God sends some tribulation now and then, and the classical Apocalypse is merely a symbol of what it’s like. And here we sit in our day and time facing a very real threat of people who think their human wisdom makes them fit to rule over the whole world, but it will never happen. It may even start to look like it, but it won’t really work. The only people who really understand how it all works are people who have no interest in ruling.

That’s you and me, along with a bunch of other folks out there who remain unknown because that’s an element of divine wisdom. Just how much attention do you think we get here at Kiln of the Soul? We have no idea in our heads, but I’m willing to bet your heart tells you there are lots of folks who are heart-led, either consciously like we are, or who somehow manage to stumble upon it as some of us did before we tried to make it conscious. And the only reason we have this much is because God called us to it. We aren’t better, wiser or more talented; we are available.

Meanwhile, the desire to rule is proof of an evil moral nature. It’s not the same as ambition, by the way, but ambition can be bad or good. Most of the time, ambition falls somewhere in between, perhaps ranging back and forth some in the human soul. Some ambitions are clearly much less dangerous than others when you see it with the eyes of your heart. And your heart will tell you not to fear some satanic evil ruler taking over some major portion of the world, because even if they succeed for a time, we aren’t tied to this world in the first place.

And because we are tied into Heaven, there is an awful lot of audacious prayer requests that God will answer. That includes some of the most radical shifts in human political trends. Think about how much God was willing to spare Sodom and Gomorrah for just a handful of righteous souls (Genesis 18). You and I as heart-led servants of God qualify as “righteous souls” by God’s definition, and the definition Abraham used in his intercession. Because living heart-led makes us humble, we struggle to imagine the massive things God will do when we find the faith to ask. So take a good look with your heart at the current situation in which you live and let faith dare to ask for great and mighty things no mere man can do.

Great evil always fails because it cannot see its own weakness.

More on Heart Logic

What happens when you have a vested interest in the outcome of a study or experiment? Perhaps you’ve heard that a lot published science turns out bogus. The explanation includes an awfully large burden on academic researchers to publish. Even if we remove the threat of employment sanctions, there remains a very large burden of peer pressure to make a name for yourself.

Do we not see a similar pressure in other lines of work? I can assure you I saw it in the military with the quarterly reviews by those in your chain of command. I cared, yet there were plenty of folks in the same position as I who didn’t care at all, but simply gamed the system to get the same rewards. It seemed there was a predatory instinct in leadership, a wacko reversal so that, if you really cared, you received a lot more pressure to conform to the mandatory ambition. If you didn’t really care, they left you alone and promoted you on an entirely different basis.

The question is not whether you care, but how you care.

Take a moment to reflect. We who seek the heart-led life are aware of life on multiple levels. We know that the world around us, the world that isn’t heart-led, cares about things on one level. We have to understand that materialistic level. We can’t defend against temptation to sin unless we understand what sin is, and it begins in the Garden of Eden with placing your reason on the throne of decision. So while we should understand Aristotelian logic somewhat better than most of the people we encounter, it’s only because we cannot otherwise properly handle the problems people make for themselves on just that level alone. We cannot avoid making the same mistakes on that level if we don’t understand that level.

Yet, as I’ve said many times before, when you live heart-led, you discover that Aristotle is no real challenge. Your heart already knows and can make pure logic seem elementary. Yes, heart-led means stuff like science and math tend to be easier if you need them. God handles that stuff through your heart guiding your intellect. It’s not magic; it’s the common miracles of walking in God’s calling for your life.

But because we are ruled by a higher level of heart-logic, we have little vested interest in the material existence that dominates the souls of most humans. We can afford to back off and seem truly objective as they think of it, even as we deny it’s possible for humans to be genuinely objective. That’s because the intellect is unable to be objective on its own; it needs help from a higher faculty. When we deny the importance of being objective, we can let things go and seem far more objective. We lose that vested interest only to better qualify in some ways to keep the job, or meet the systemic demands. We don’t take it seriously and can relax and find God’s power to perform for His glory, even if that means walking away from something everyone else is dying to obtain.

So you can go and get any job you feel called to do, and not find your soul running through a meat grinder. You are objective enough to see what is necessary and know whether you can participate on whatever terms it takes, because your sole objective is the glory of God. Whether it means acclaim or a glorious failure, it is His divine moral character that we show to the world, and it is winsome even when folks don’t understand what they are seeing. We know what they are looking for, but we also know what they actually need.

Feel free to infiltrate any human system to which your heart calls you. It’s your mission field. You will bring Him glory regardless how it turns out, just keep your heart-mind ascendant and don’t get bogged down in mere human cares.

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.

Divine Amplification

We can never accurately predict actual outcomes.

I am acquainted with the Social Sciences and the reasons they exist. It’s an attempt to analyze human behavior at large and quantify what goes in and what comes out. There is a broadly recognized imprecision, with constant effort to account for data that might have been missed. Meanwhile, we are acutely aware that some data is forever lost. These days, most of the effort is wasted on chasing new models to structure existing data. It symbolizes the frantic band-aids attempting to save the rotting structure of Western Civilization.

Fans of the classical Enlightenment view of Western Civilization — the true believers — lament the current trendy hostility to Western culture. You can find endless examples of people frankly agitating to kill it. For example, we see all the defiant political leaders forcing their subjects to absorb culturally hostile immigrants. It constitutes an invasion in effect. While those who promote this de facto invasion blather endlessly about diversity and enriching human culture, some of them know for a fact that’s a lie. Some of the folks pressing this trend have confessed that peaceful coexistence is not important in the long run. They’ll pay any price to destroy what they can’t control and reshape to their satisfaction.

You don’t have to be a member of the choir here at Kiln of the Soul parish to understand the moral blindness behind all of this crap. I’m hardly the only writer who presses the biblical teaching that we humans are hard-wired for tribal existence. Cosmopolitan is okay in the marketplace, but God Himself has warned us not to bring it home. We say that, not because we believe that there is one pure tribal culture, but because humans are inherently tribal regardless of the which flavor of culture you embrace. Pick one, but if you want to harvest God’s shalom, you must create a rather closed social enclave or you’ll waste time with all sorts of things that you cannot and should not pursue.

Nobody said you can’t mix diverse folk into a genuine covenant household of faith, but they do have to unify like a family. They do have to become their own unique social enclave; this must be the core your moral existence in this world. You can’t afford any competing claims on your loyalty. It’s a lie of Satan that clannish social barriers always result in hostility. The lie (in America, at least) arises from having only the one culture — Anglo-Saxon — as the model for tribal existence. Isn’t it funny how the agitators are buying into the same fundamental lie, presuming that Anglo-Saxon mythology is the sole/best inherent model of humanity? They keep designing solutions that presume the myth is true.

We could characterize something very fundamental to our faith: Arguing with God is the definition of sin. Granted, there can be problems with that if you rely on English Bible translations too much as accurate representations of God’s revelation. Rejecting a bad translation is not arguing with God. We will never completely understand the Bible. That’s not to say it’s an impossible task, but that we can never rest; we can thorough if not complete. The most important factor is not your intellectual acumen on the Scripture, but whether the Word within the words of Scripture holds your attention. God chose this means to reveal Himself in support of the long history of humans who knew Him and passed His truth one-on-one. The objective of Scripture isn’t factual knowledge, but personal acquaintance.

In my Bible study notes on Jeremiah, I wrote in reference to 1:11-12:

Two things were important for Jeremiah’s service. First was to understand the power of God’s Word as something alive, which the Lord stood behind and made it happen. So he gave Jeremiah a vision of an almond sapling (shaqed) to symbolize how God kept track of things. That God stood guard over His word (shoqed) was a play on words, but also we note the almond was the first plant to betray spring, by sprouting before any other.

Jesus taught His disciples a paradox of divine logic that is directly connected to this:

Also He said to them, “Is a lamp brought to be put under a basket or under a bed? Is it not to be set on a lampstand? For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Then He said to them, “Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given. For whoever has, to him more will be given; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.” (Mark 4:21-25 NKJV)

If you can listen to your heart and embrace His revelation, He will draw you closer to Himself for a stronger commitment. Your best viewpoint on Creation is standing as close to God as you can get. If you reject His Word, you will be driven out of His Presence. If you walk in His moral character, He will amplify the effects to pour out His blessings on you, to the point you are overwhelmed. If you pull away from His divine justice, He will pile up the curses to ensure you get more than you asked for.

Another element in this is divine polarization (Matthew 10:34-39). Holiness is based on the image of separation from confusion and sin. What we see subjectively, and what others could see in our lives, will gain moral clarity by the sheer force of distance. God drives us one way or another, based on our choices.

If all you know about history is what men can report from the evidence they find, you know very little, indeed. Having already written much on it, I could write more books on what I understand intellectually about the current decline of Western Civilization. I could post an endless stream of articles explaining how the economic and social chaos, much of which is still not accurately reported (or reported at all) in the mainstream media, will progress in some specifics. Still, that kind of analysis won’t do you much good in preparing for the actual effects you might experience. Even the critical analysis of leaked information and connecting the dots of information already hidden in plain sight won’t provide the full picture on any specific tragic event. (For example, the FBI introduced the Orlando shooter to their paid informants who act as handlers for patsies; they told his ex-wife not to publicize his gay tendencies.)

The facts won’t matter without a proper moral discernment. If people wanted to walk away from the lies, God would lead them farther than they could ever dream. The truth is there in plain sight if folks will just catch a glimmer of revelation. Yes, it’s a ton of work that won’t be finished by the time God takes us Home, but it’s better to go Home to Him with something to offer to His glory. The doom on America (or any other country) is because some minimum tipping point of the folks here never accepted their divine call to take the path anyone can take out of their moral blindness. You’d be amazed at how small the portion would have to be for God to offer mercy (Genesis 18:22-33). It varies with the context, but God is no bean-counter. And what a poor representative Lot was of God’s revelation, yet the Lord saved him from the worst of the disaster.

He has a plan to deliver us, too, if we cling to His truth. That’s all we need to really know as the Western world crumbles.

Ditch the Systematic Theology

“What must I do to be saved?”

We see this question from the Philippian Jailer in Acts 16:30. The question itself arose from Greek culture. It became a figure of speech, so the actual meaning varies with the context. It was intentionally ambiguous in the sense that it was seeking whatever divine rescue was available, asking what were the terms. The jailer was hardly unaware of the plethora of Eastern religions represented across the Mediterranean in those days. He knew that people connected to Judaism were also part of that broad collection of Eastern mystical religions. Since he saw the power of something beyond human ken and these men were confident and at peace, he wanted some of whatever it was that set them free but kept them from escaping and getting him in trouble.

In Western culture, the question has taken on a rather precise theological meaning that builds on a false foundation. Bear with me a moment while I try once again to untangle this.

Ancient Near Eastern thought presumes a Spirit Realm separate from this realm of existence. Western thought presumes this universe is it, in the sense that there could be no other kind of universe. In other words, Western thought negates any kind of Spirit Realm a priori. This assumption is not discussed in the existing ancient literature (so far as I know) that teaches Greek philosophy. They didn’t bother to argue against it for the most part. Thus, it is a part of the package of assumptions about reality on which the rest of their stuff stands. When this Hellenized approach collided with the already weakened moral reasoning of the rabbinical schools of Hebrew religion (they had already been influenced by Babylon and Persia during the Exile), they were overwhelmed by the sheer intellectual thrill of analytical reasoning. The mind was back on the throne, and it loves to rule. But it bore the poisoned root of rejecting the Spirit Realm.

Judaism is the result of this collision. It is not the Hebrew religion of ancient times. Mixing Hellenism with Hebrew traditions results in legalism. The mystical was trashed in favor of nit-picking over particulars. What to do with the Spirit Realm? It became by default a spooky place rather like the myths of River Styx and the place of the dead. And how many times have you read discussions of sheol that equate it wrongly with the Greek mythology? Instead of the mystical Hebrew approach, God and Heaven became something akin to Plato’s realm of the Ideal, an entirely cerebral construct. It was all objectified.

Now, we are naturally unable to explain a mystical truth, but in the Hebrew mind, there is a sense in which the Spirit Realm has continuity with our realm of existence here. The Spirit Realm is ultimate reality, as it were, while our existence is the Realm of Shadows. We are forced to use parabolic language, but we do know that your manner of life here reflects something about your eternal destiny with God. Insofar as you are damned here, you are damned eternally. Even then, I’m using a figure of speech. What the Hellenized approach does is break that continuity and substitutes a false conceptual continuity that yields to reason.

So we see all kinds of a prior assumptions that attempt to force God into the boundaries of reason. Common Western (Protestant-Catholic) conceptions of Heaven are persistently Platonic in nature. Theologians can hardly break out of that track without a lot of study in what it means to be Western and what Western thought looks like from the perspective of non-Western intellectual traditions.

But this a priori assumption that equates God with Plato’s Ideal means all Western theology is infected with the notion that God has to make sense. Thus, we have a duty to reason about God and create Theology. We have to explore all the possible particulars by analysis and explain everything. And so we have a theology of how people are “saved” — soteriology. And we have this rational delineation of logical steps that ends up making God the creator of evil. Most Western theologians deny this because it breaks some of the other rules of logic, but the paradox is inevitable if you approach God from a rational foundation.

I can tell you how I backed out of that hellhole; that’s what some of my books are about. Maybe some of it will echo your own situation and I can help you escape. The Hebrew word most often translated as “saved” is rooted in the idea of escaping something.

The fundamental concept of moral human sorrow in the Hebrew Scripture is “separation.” You are separated from God. We were meant to be fit for His Presence, but somehow humanity got off on the wrong foot. So we start out alienated from Him. The mystical truth of how that problem is solved was never meant to be reduced to descriptive language. There are no steps to salvation that everyone can follow. All any of us can do is demonstrate what it’s like to live in peace with God. We allow Him to work things His way from His end and hope that means you find a path to peace. We don’t pretend to tell folks “how” to be saved, only to demonstrate what it looks like. We already know that there is no “how.” If you are going to get it at all, it has to come from something unique to you and God. Nobody has a clue what-when-why-how He decides to offer terms of peace, only that He does.

So the answer the Apostles gave to the Philippian Jailer was symbolic, not a precise HOWTO. He would have understood it that way soon enough, if not already. Despite his being bathed directly in Hellenist culture, the historical context included a lot of stuff we no longer have around.

And do you know how hard Western theologians struggle over that business of “you and your household”? When you objectify “salvation,” you are forced into cerebral gymnastics. How can one man’s decision affect the eternal salvation of his family members? Ditch the objectification of salvation and the whole thing takes on a different meaning. Since the man clearly worried about his moral standing, the Apostles presumed he was primed to take the heart-led moral path to God’s character. If he takes that path, it must include his entire household over which he holds moral dominion. That word “salvation” means walking in a heart-led moral truth, not some objectified status change in the Ideal. If someone begins instituting the changes inherent in heart-led moral commitment, who on earth could suggest that man is not at peace with God? So we are back to that mystical continuity I mentioned earlier.

That’s how we are saved.

Factions and Sects

After the initial opening in 1 Corinthians 1, Paul immediately jumps into condemning sectarian divisions in verse 10 and following.

It’s not hard to understand. The Corinthians detected intellectual variations in how the different apostles taught and preached. And why not? Paul was a bilingual PhD Pharisee, Apollos was an Alexandrian scholar, Peter was no kind of scholar at all, and Christ clung to Ancient Hebrew thinking. But in the cerebral approach of the Corinthians to matters of religion, different styles meant different doctrines.

When you get any mainstream Christian leader to read this same passage and he starts talking about how we need to end sectarianism. But what he really mean is that everyone should dissolve their clubs and join his. “Well, isn’t it obvious? Our way is the right one!” Should any of those actually make it to Heaven, I think they’ll be shocked at who else is there waiting for them.

This is the standard human-oriented tribalism. When you shift from your head to your heart in matters of faith, you automatically start looking for common threads that tie it all together. That’s how the heart-mind works. Feel free to choose any styling and flavor that meets your human needs and offers the best tools for living your faith. What really matters is the power of your faith visible to the eyes of the heart. Heart-led people will always recognize each other — or at least they could if they progress far enough away from the dominance of their intellects.

Too many folks reading Paul’s Corinthian Letters are too much Corinthians themselves.