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Omnipresence vs. Pantheism: A Heart in Search of Eternity

“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:15-17

hand tree branch light white photography sunlight morning leaf flower spring green autumn arm season close up raise photograph stretch emotionGod is omnipresent, that is, He is everywhere present. There is nowhere that we can go out of His presence, nowhere we can hide from Him.

Many other cultures, having the seed of eternity in their heart [Ecclesiastes 3:11], vaguely remembered this truth about God, but re-presented the idea through pantheism.

Pantheism comes from Greek word roots that translate everything is a god. The trees are each a god, or at least a manifestation of His physical presence. The rocks are gods. The water is god. The air we breathe. The ground we trod. Sun and moon and stars. All is god. And god is all.

Except that it isn’t so.

As we have already seen, God is distinct from His Creation. While He is omnipresent–ever here with all of us–He is also transcendent, or equally separate from everything His hands have made. Created things are not God, and God is not in any way created. While all things hold together in Him, He Himself has no need of sustenance from His creation.

Not only so, but the Creation is meant to draw our understanding back to God the Creator [Romans 1:20]. It groans under the strain of sin, longing for the return of our Savior just as we ought [Romans 8:19-23]. And if we refuse to acknowledge God and praise Him, then the Creation will do it for us [Luke 19:40].

Here it is so important to remember that God loves the pantheist, just as He loves you and me. And that the pantheist has a heart seeking after eternity, a heart waiting for the good news of Jesus Christ, but lost in a half-truth. Satan is happy to keep them spinning in their partial-understanding, but God is not willing that any should perish [2 Peter 3:9].

Are you ready to give an answer for the hope that you have within you [1 Peter 3:15]? Can you be a light to the pantheists of this world?



Unraveling the Distortion of Hope

“The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” Luke 1:35

Image result for mary mother of jesusAt the Creation, God made man in His image [Genesis 1:27 & 5:2]. About 4,000 years later God sends His Son, fully God and fully man–Creator in the form of the created.

Countless mythologies abounded around the days of Jesus’ life–Norse, Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Germanic, and many more. In each of these, Satan had contorted the hope of the God-man Savior that God intended [Genesis 3:15].

Each mythological pantheon consisted of dozens and sometimes hundreds of so-called deities who behaved worse than sinful man. They caroused with human women for their own good pleasure, then discarded them like broken toys. Their demigod children were only partially gods and partially humans–misfits whom their deity dads generally abhorred. And all of them were fictitious.

These stories couldn’t have been further from the truth of God.

God did not have physical relations with Mary [Luke 1:35]–Jesus’ mother. Nor did He Father multiple children, Jesus is the only begotten Son of God [John 3:16]. He is both fully God and fully man, loved by God [Matthew 3:17 & 17:5; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22] though rejected by the world [Mark 9:12].

If we are to understand God rightly, we must allow Him to purify and elevate our thoughts about all three of His persons who are in one accord–Father, Son and Spirit. So important is this triune truth that all three persons of the Godhead were present at the conception of Christ–Jesus alone taking on physical form–just as they were at the Creation.

Does the concept of the Trinity confuse you? Do you allow that uncertainty to compromise your faith? Pray to God the Father to send His Spirit into your mind–in the name of Jesus–to alleviate all doubts.


Truth Without God Is No Truth At All

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people–for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people.” 1 Timothy 2:1-6a

Blue and Orange Light Projeced on Left Hand of PersonAll of our human minds are limited–without question. But those who refuse to know God, those who do not seek to recognize or understand Him, frustrate their own understanding of the truth. Because all truth is God’s truth. Without Him, the rest of our perception is severely impaired–omissions, distortions, misappropriated truths and straight-up lies.

Satan is a liar and the father of lies [John 8:44]. He lied to Adam and Eve, through whom he ushered sin into God’s perfect Creation [Genesis 3:5 & 15]. He lied to the angels, seducing one-third of them to follow him to their doom [Revelation 12:4]. And he is not content to go to his destruction without taking human kind with him [Revelation 13:8, 17:8 & 20:15].

As short-term prince of this world, Satan is doing everything he can to constrain the human mind to reject the truth of God [John 14:30; Ephesians 2:2; Romans 1:25]. In fact, our schools today are not permitted to mention God’s name or anything about the truth of His Word. Instead, they require students to study stripped-down half-truths and even theoretical lies.

Almost all lies are built on some truth. And a truth divorced from God is no longer truth at all.

Just ask a court of law.

Witnesses take an oath to tell the truth–which is qualified as the whole truth [meaning nothing subtracted] and nothing but the truth [meaning nothing added]. This includes not twisting the presentation of the truth to make it appear other than it is. God is truth, and all truth is His truth. So subtracting God from any fact of the Creation or adding explanations other than our Creator God is no truth at all.

As Christians we are witnesses to God’s truth and the Holy Spirit stirs us to share the good news of our Creator God and Savior Jesus Christ to all the world. More than that, nothing in science, history, mathematics, linguistics or any other area of academics and art can be fully explained without God. When we understand who God is and what He has done, then all of the half-truths the world teaches begin to fall into perfect understanding.

Are you seeking the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth in God’s Word?


Seeing God with Human Eyes

“And the Lord said, ‘I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But,’ he said, ‘you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.’ Then the Lord said, ‘There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.'” Exodus 33:19-22

Image result for man sitting in rockIt is not permissible to see God’s being with our human eyes, because He wants us to live to tell about Him, and our sinfulness would altogether overwhelm us in His holy and glorious presence.

But Moses boldly petitioned to see God’s glory. And God, in His sovereign mercy and grace, granted that Moses see just His back. In fact, God covered Moses with His hand and only removed it at the first moment when it was safe for Moses to look upon Him.

Why would God not want everyone to see His face?

Can you imagine the world of trouble that human beings would cause creating and recreating the face of God? Painting. Sculpting. Duplicating. Publishing and posting. Especially in our very visual generation. The face of God would be reduced to an all too familiar, flawed representation that in no way compares to who He truly is. And people would come to replace the real God with a mere likeness.

Just the chapter before, the people of Israel demanded Aaron make them a golden calf to worship [Exodus 32]. They sang and made offerings to a piece of over-sized bovine jewelry!

The same danger existed with God showing His face to them. Wouldn’t these same hard-hearted people have desired to sculpt God’s portrait in gold and precious stones? But to whose glory and honor?

Not God’s.

He didn’t want an empty self-portrait. He didn’t need their offerings or to enslave them in religious rituals, prostrating themselves before His image. He wanted their hearts full of love for Him. Just as He wants us to passionately pursue a personal relationship with Him.

In every other world religion, the false god has a face, an image that the followers associate with their worship–because they are no god at all, just an image made by human hands. But the One True God is high and lifted up [Isaiah 6:1 & 57:15-17].

He is holy [Leviticus 19:2; Joshua 24:19; 1 Samuel 2:2; et al].

He is beyond understanding and compare [Exodus 15:11; 1 Kings 8:23; Job 36:26; et al].

And we will behold God when we stand redeemed before Him in heaven one day [1 Corinthians 13:12; 1 John 3:2].

Are you living to see God face to face?


The Heart of Idolatry

“And God spoke all these words: ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.” Exodus 20:1-4

Image result for heart statueWriters often use figurative language to help readers visualize their words by comparing one thing–possibly new or unknown–to something that is well known. Scriptures use many metaphors and similes to help us gain an understanding of who God–who is beyond human comprehension–is and what He is like.

A metaphor attributes a quality to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable, as in, guilty people, whose own strength is their god [Habakkuk 1:11]. Human strength is not God. And even if people choose to treat their brawn with the same worth-ship, as should belong to God alone, it does not make our muscle a god.

A simile describes an object or action by comparing it to something else using the words like or as. For example, we should not think that the divine is like gold or silver or stone–an image made by human design and skill [Acts 17:29]. Even though God’s feet are compared to polished bronze refined in a furnace [Revelation 1:14], He is not actually made of the metals and rocks that He created. Even the stones that we call precious gems can never begin to attain to the worth of our shared Creator God.

The human mind is so desirous to comprehend and appropriate Godhood, that we all too willingly accept metaphor and simile–figurative language for literal personage. We give our affections to created materials fashioned to represent the unportrayable Godhead. We accept Satan’s lie that we ourselves can be our own god [Genesis 3:5; Isaiah 14:14].

As A.W. Tozer put it, the heart of idolatry is assuming that God is something other than who and what He truly is. It is substituting an understanding of God that is made in the likeness of the Creation, rather than conforming our lives to His likeness as Creator.

But God said, don’t do it! Don’t have other gods ‘al pa-na-ya, literally, before the face of me. In other words, don’t have any other gods at all. Not, don’t prioritize or favor others over me. Don’t create anything at all to worship. Recognize me for Whom I Am, the One True God who created and loves you.

Are you guarding your heart against idolatrous notions? Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal God to you through His Word. Has Satan’s lie seared your conscious? Refuse to accept counterfeits and substitutes for the power and love of the One True God in your life.


Whose Image Is It Anyway?

“Moses said to God, ‘Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?’ God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.'” Exodus 3:13-14

See the source image‘Eh-yeh. The Hebrew word, translated I AM here also translates I have been/was [2 Samuel 15:34; Psalm 50:21] and I will be [Joshua 1:5; Isaiah 47:7; Hosea 14:5] in other scripture passages. Past, present and future. Eternally existent, in a word, is the Word through whom and by whom all things were created [John 1:1-3].

Remember that repetition was the biblical way to bold-type, italicize, highlight or otherwise emphasize an idea. So in giving His name to Moses, ‘Eh-yeh aser ‘eh-yeh, God emphasizes His existence. Not just the eternality, but the primacy or preeminence of Him. God was the first [Genesis 1:1; Revelation21:6 & 22:13]. All existence comes from Him alone, and without Him nothing and no one exists [John 1:1-3].

Not only so, but He created human beings in His image [Genesis 1:26-27]–our existence derived from His. So why is it that in 1637, French philosopher, Rene Descartes, coined the popular phrase, Cogito, ergo sum–I think, therefore I am? Satan’s perpetual lie to humankind is that we can somehow attain to God-status–or at least shed our need for Him–by attaining mere knowledge [Genesis 3:5; Isaiah 14:14].

Such thinking denies the truth of who God truly is. It tricks our finite minds into believing that we can reject His image in us and remake Him after our own image instead–that we can live, whether wholly or in part, of our own accord without any consideration that there is an infinite, sovereign God in heaven.

Through Asaph, the psalmist, God wrote that those who forget God are guilty of thinking that God, in His patient silence, is somehow like themselves [Psalm 50:21]. His quietude condoning their unrepentant sinfulness. But Paul says, they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator [Romans 1:25]. An offense for which we can be forgiven, but for which we need to wholeheartedly repent.

God is not like you or like me. He is God. If we are to rightly know Him, we must start by putting ourselves aside and learning to understand Him for who He truly is. We mustn’t shade or in anyway manipulate His person to ease our conscious. Rather, we must allow Him to shape us and to purify us from all the unrighteousness that weighs down our consciousness before Him, the Holy God [1 John 1:9].

Are you remaking God to fit your image of who you need/want Him to be? Or have you surrendered everything to the Divine Potter’s hand, allowing Him to form you once again in His image?


God’s Morality Check

“But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” Revelation 21:8

See the source imageBecause the Word is double-edged [Hebrews 4:12], scriptures often list those who will not inherit the kingdom of God in contrast to those who will [i.e. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Galatians 5:19-25]. Just as light would not be understood without the contrast of darkness, the life that God desires for us is not always clear to the human mind without looking at that which is in opposition to God’s will.

Since God is holy–meaning no impurity or sin is in Him–and since He is the sovereign of heaven–the authority before whom we will stand judgment–it is imperative that we understand what God expects of us, both to do and not to do.

So why does cowardliness make the list? Remember that this letter of Revelation is being circulated among the churches in the Roman province of Asia Minor. Jesus, through John’s writing, tells the churches that they were going to face persecution, hardship, imprisonment and even death for His name’s sake [Revelation 2:3 & 8, 9-11 & 13; 3:8-9]. In each instance, if they held boldly to their faith, if they did not cower from the physical, social and cultural threats of the world [Matthew 10:28], they would be called victorious and receive the inheritance of eternal life. We are not of those who shrink back from the world in fear, renouncing our faith to save our skin [Hebrews 10:39]. Rather we are to stand firm in our faith [1 Corinthians 6:13; Ephesians 6:11-14], boldly proclaiming salvation through Jesus Christ. The cowardly turn their back on God when times get tough. They do not acknowledge Jesus before others; in turn, they will not be acknowledged before God [Matthew 10:32-33].

Obviously, those who do not believe in God will not be saved. For it is, by grace we are saved through faith [Romans 1:5 & 5:2; Ephesians 2:8]. And even if we continue to struggle against sin we can experience God’s grace and, by faith, salvation in our lives. But if we do not have faith, then we will never see heaven.

Vile means morally corrupt. Since morals–standards of belief and behavior–are established by God who is holy, corrupted morals are anything that deviate from His norm. It makes sense then that those who buy into Satan’s lie that we can be our own God and make our own morals [Genesis 3:5; Isaiah 14:14], will never inherit the kingdom of God.

This corrupted moral system includes murdering, any sexual behavior that deviates from God’s plan of one man and one woman within the confines of marriage for life, trying to summon magical powers rather than rightly seeking the power of God, creating images of false gods and praying to/worshiping them, and telling lies. Many of these were addressed in the well-known 10-commandments [Exodus 20:1-17]. All of these are natural desires of sinful people, but can be overcome by the power of the Holy Spirit living in us, and are completely forgiven us through the blood of Jesus Christ.

Who is God in your life? You or God? Not sure? Well, whose standard of right and wrong are you living by? Yours, the world’s or God’s?