BIBLE STUDY SERIES #371, 372 and 373

3 January, 1999

THE LOGICAL PLAN - PART II

By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.

About the end of the year, in order to mark the occasion with some thoughts of a wider or more general perspective than can normally be accommodated on a week-by-week basis in our ongoing series of Bible Studies, we have generally made it a custom, for one or two broadcasts, to try to take a break from the usual style of study which we generally follow.

Last week, noting the common experience which many have about this season of the year with the surge of Christmas purchases, which include among them a certain percentage which must, for one reason or another, be re-packaged and returned to the dealer, or transported home under the difficult circumstances encountered in the use of public transport, we had initiated our little diversion into the study of God's overall Great Plan with the comparison of the problems which one encounters in the inability of many to perfectly re-package something which had arrived in one's hands neatly fitted together like a completed jigsaw puzzle. Comparing the situation to the Divine Great Plan, with its perfection of intricate design at all points in time and space, we had proceeded to give the first portion of what I hope will, together, present a sketch outline of God's logic behind the Plan of Creation.

This is not an easy enterprise upon which to launch, as we may all understand, but it is especially so when broken into a two part study set, to be delivered on two successive broadcasts.

I explained that I felt led to put in sequence the reasons, as I understand them, why things were, and are, and indeed had to be, brought into existence, in the Grand Design of the whole of Creation.

I had begun with the general assumption that I would select as a starting point the fundamental axiom that a Design from Deity, rather than the Dance of a chaotic myriad of the dice of unguided chance was the more logical option. I said that a Creator would love His designed Universe, and desire to cultivate a reciprocal love among the creatures He has fathered, both towards Himself, and mirroring His love, towards one another.

"Love" is one manner of describing a choice, and the alternative, which is in consequence rejected is, by contrast, described using the term "Hate." As an example, the choice "I love my pet" can also be restated as "I hate to lose my pet." Choice, to be logical, requires an environment responding in all its aspects in accordance with the Natural Laws of cause and effect. The Creator God, in order to facilitate the production of Love, (which is a choice) must needs, then, create a Universe displaying a consistent law of cause and effect, implanted within it. Such a consistent all-pervading law places great power in the immature hands of the created beings, with, in some cases, quite disastrous results.

It is a fact that the very predictability which is essential to the making of any logical choice mandates Natural Laws of cause and effect throughout the entire structure of the Created Universe. Unpredictable chaos in the results would defeat all attempts at making rational choices, and result in the almost hallucinogenic nightmare of panic and total inability to attempt any exercise of that freedom.

So far we have built the following sequence: God loves His creation and expects reciprocal love from His creatures to mirror His own. Love, an aspect of free-will choice, demands that Man's environment be one totally subject to the rigid rules of cause and effect which we term "Laws of Nature." Thus far we can, I think, see how logical is the sequence in the unfolding Great Plan which we are examining if we begin at the proper first priority in the Plan. We must now, however, note one consequence which cannot be avoided if the unfolding Plan is to be followed.

This almost universal experience with Natural Law brings with it a two-fold opportunity; one beneficial, the other only apparently so. While Natural Laws can provide to mankind the ability to make beneficial use of these laws, through understanding and creative enterprise to exploit the natural wonders of the world, an ever-present danger is also unavoidably created through the same power. It is that inquisitive people, with a deplorable degree of superficiality and lack of insight, dismiss the concept of God as being the product of another age created by superstitious and unlearned folk. Observing the widespread unchecked disasters, in nature and human affairs which appear to cry out in vain for relief from that quarter, arguably, a loving God does not, in fact, exist at all, or else He must be either caring but impotent to stop the damage and turmoil, or else distant and uncaring, and thus effectively a non-existent entity.

Humanism, thus produced, moves ahead in self-will, unmindful of religious restraints, to discover and tabulate those Natural Laws by trial-and-error laboratory experimentation, and then decide that this is all that there is to Creation. This resultant materialism, combined with the assumption that the concept of a revealed God is an irrelevant product of philosophy in a dark age of history removes all restraints upon their choices. They are "as gods, knowing (that is to say, deciding what will be classed as) good and evil." This can lead eventually to proud rebellion. It has, in the past, spawned as its tyrant child the philosophy of Communism.

We need, in deciding our choices, to be constantly conscious of probable long-term results, and the wisdom required in seeing the outcome of ones choice far down the road of life. Here, we must move into the whole question of the interaction of a loving God with His creatures, in order to impart His loving wisdom as Law to be accepted and followed implicitly so that, using such a guidebook and map, we might avoid as many of the rocks and shoals as possible as we seek to navigate our course of years.

The need, then, in the overall design, is to do two things. First, the love of God demands the gift of His wisdom in the form of a code of Law. This must be done in a manner which will present it authoritatively, and also preserve it through many generations. Such a gift must needs be imposed by divine authority and draws in its train the need for reprimand for its dismissal or mis-application. Briefly, it must be observed, and its giver shown every evidence of deference and respect, if not for the sake of the individual, then at least for the very sake of avoiding damage to the rest of creation imperiled through unguided misuse of power.

Human recipients are then brought towards the concept of ethical choices, which are based on Biblical Law. One ramification which we might detail here is the fact that "Love" and "Hate" are not, of themselves, in isolation from God's Law, either ethically good or ethically reprehensible. Considering this, one who makes a choice, holding both the love and hate descriptive labels, is making a decision for, or alternatively, against, following God's Law. If the choice is ethical, or in other words God-guided, then the choice which involves those Love and Hate labels is good, and both labels together are acceptable. If it is not, then both, as a unit are, together, to be condemned. This may surprise some who have not previously examined the matter for current "politically correct" wisdom holds before the public the vague notion that "Hate" is always reprehensible and "Love" always acceptable!

Contemplate the logic of the whole Plan. Presentation and preservation of the Law requires first, that there be a means of interacting with the creatures, and a means of validating that interaction. Select individuals, prophets, must be receivers of God-imparted directions.

Second, there must be a core, a cohesive body of people, a "called-out" family of one culture and religion, who receive and are corporately willing to preserve and teach the Law throughout the whole course of unfolding history. Historically, Abram was called apart with Sarai, his wife, to initiate that stage of history. Isaac, then Jacob-Israel, Abraham's progeny followed, and in their train, the concourse of the Tribes of historic Israel. Moses brought God's Law to the nation at Sinai, and subsequent Prophets gave direction concerning that Law and decried its violation.

There must be penalty for violation of the Law, and punishment appropriate to such insolence. But transgression, which we call Sin, is unavoidable in practical terms, where free-will choice is cultivated. A righteous God must extinguish evil, but love demands there be a channel for repentance, a "Doorway of Escape", and foreseeing the "Fall of Mankind" this must be a part of the Plan from the very first instant of Creation, else Judgment, enforcing Justice will defeat the priority of loving interaction before the seed-bed of civilization has matured.

Here we insert the whole plan of Redemption of Israel herself, and the free offer of Salvation to whomsoever will come. The Christ of Bethlehem, Galilee and Golgotha, was the "suffering servant" on a separate occasion from the Kingly Return to bring the Divine Law into the hearts of His people, that they may have that Law written on their hearts.

The plan of The Almighty is only gently sketched here. We have much to say, but not the time remaining on today's programme. May we, as we enter the gate of this new year, as Paul wrote to the Ephesians, "all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." (Ephesians 4:13)

10 January, 1999

THE LOGICAL PLAN - PART III

By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.

About the end of the year, in order to mark the occasion with some thoughts of a wider or more general perspective than can normally be accommodated on a week-by-week basis in our ongoing series of Bible Studies, we have generally made it a custom, for one or two broadcasts, to try to take a break from the usual style of study which we generally follow.

For the last two Studies we took advantage of the opportunity offered by such a year-end change of pace to turn our attention to some insights which highlight the logic in God's Great Plan of Creation. By way of introduction, we mentioned that about this season of the year when gift packages abound, there is a common experience which often seems to occur, in which a certain percentage of these parcels must, for one reason or another, be re-packaged with great difficulty in their original packing and restricted containers. I pointed out that the difficulty wherein that re-packing takes place is due to the very close tolerance between the container and what is to be lodged therein, which is, of course, due to the need to keep costs down by making the most effective use of the packaging and packing. To shrink the size, careful geometrical thought by some designer has doubtless been employed in such cases. The calculated designing which went into the preparation of those packing cases, I compared to the comprehensive equivalent on the grand scale by which The Almighty God's overall Great Plan was knit together. The constituent parts are so well fitted to form the whole of time and space that the exactitude allows for no chance occurrence in the over-all picture. All parts fit, so to speak, the exact requirements of the mechanism.

The Divine Great Plan, with its perfection of intricate design at all points in time and space, shows clear logical exactitude, and we saw how, granted the option of acceptance of a designer where design is operative, and the projected fact that a Divine Artist has been at work, we can attempt thereupon, to outline the scenario in which all parts form a logical chain of events.

I spoke, when giving my impressions of this scenario, of the need for recognition of a starting link to the chain, although that was not the term which I used. That starting link is Love. The Divine Artist must feel satisfaction with, or in other words love, the Creation, in giving it form, and we can see this revealed in a number of references in Genesis 1, wherein we find the phrase "God saw that it was good." He spoke thus of the light, v. 4, earth and seas, v. 10, vegetation, v. 12, heavenly bodies, v. 18, creatures inhabiting sea and air, v. 21, land creatures, v. 25, and man, v. 31.

Now when The Almighty God, as an artist, thus states that the creation is "very good", this expresses a love for what has been accomplished. However, it must be realised that being "very good" does not mean the same thing as "for evermore to stay exactly as it began, perfect without sin, pain, sorrow, or any other of the apparent ills or blemishes which we know to exist." We might express the difference in comparing a ceramic of each category of artistic creation, beautiful but unchanging; having no life capability within it, with a living creation capable of expressing developmental progression through the stages of life.

We could say that a doll that is described as "very good" or "perfect" in appearance would look like a perfect baby, yet, not being alive, it would never grow and mature. By contrast, there will be, implicit within a living baby, that might be described as "beautiful", the potential for change through time, physically, and in mental concepts and abilities, all of which requires parental care and oversight, character training and education, and eventual maturity to a loving correspondence with the parent in attributes and understanding. The creative act, in the case of a living being, is not finished when pronounced to be "very good." There is yet more to come in the fulfilment of the creative act, and that "yet more" requires that the creatures be made capable of expressing choice and learning of the detrimental results of making wrong choices. Power must be placed at the disposal of the creatures for that development, although it will be obvious that the creatures will, at first, bring no maturity of knowledge or wisdom to the process.

What mother, having given birth to a beautiful child, would "trade it in" for a shop-window mannequin of similar appearance? The joy of seeing growth in the child is the heritage of both the child and the parent. The creation is based upon the concept of such development to a future fulfilment of personality. Granted that God requires love to reciprocate His own to develop among the created beings for Himself and for one another, this makes mandatory in the whole design the operation of Natural Laws of cause and effect, or the lessons learned, if any, would be senseless, being non-repetitive "one-time only" experiences, having thus no value at all in stimulating progress to the desired character developments.

Further, the parent guides the child by teaching or in some manner imparting mature wisdom, during the educative process and this, on occasion, may involve what we could describe as "tough-love", or "pain with a purpose." For example, a parent may caution a child regarding an unwise use of a carpentry tool, but every so often, the slip of a sharp blade may be the only thing which will cause realization of the truth of parental injunction as it cuts the skin and causes pain. The trauma may be the only way by which to cultivate a firm resolve that the unwise act will not be repeated. Thus it is with mankind as individuals, and as nations.

In the case of a God Who is not a part of His Creation, but Who wishes to interact therewith, there must be, reserved for the purpose of establishing the credentials of the authority, some manner of variance from those natural laws of cause and effect which will be at the same time both logical in their operation and yet beyond the ability of the creatures themselves to duplicate. In other words, a reserve we might term "miracle power" must be built into the Natural system, but of which the key is available to the Deity alone. To ignore attested miracle is the height of folly, for miracle is the credential of Deity. When challenged, Jesus thus spoke, stating in John 14:11 "Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake." These works were miraculous, and beyond repetition of other human beings who were out of touch with The Father's authority and power.

On the last study I attempted, briefly, to extend the concept of injunction through God's Law as a component input to the historic development of the world. The presentation of the wisdom of God to the creatures is most effectively done through preaching. Paul, in I Corinthians 1:21 writes "For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." This involves revelation by God to selected individuals entrusted to preserve and relate truthfully what God wants to convey throughout humanity. With the limitation placed on the years of an individual's life by reason of primal corruption, we see that it was necessary to preserve the preached message by a continuation of preachers down the centuries and millennia, and that also required preservation of knowledge of a language and a cultural unity of purpose, which would not, without severe penalty. fall victim to subversive false religious influences, and such an arrangement is apparently best facilitated through the sense of unity cultivated in a racial line of descent. God chose Abram and Sarai in Ur to initiate a sequence of this sort. In Genesis 18:17-19, God's words express the thought: "And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him." Hence a racial core of people descended from, and culturally unified in, the teaching of Abraham would serve such a purpose. They would thus be less inclined to diffusion or corruption of this Godly religious and cultural heritage.

But what of the problem of law-breaking, with attendant suffering, and the related defiance of God's Own authority, and the need to establish and preserve this authority? How must the Great Plan encompass that aspect of the unfolding development of the Creation through time?

We shall have to reserve for the next study a summary account of those aspects of the design.

17 January, 1999

THE LOGICAL PLAN - PART IV

By Douglas C. Nesbit, B.A.

About the end of the year, in order to mark the occasion with some thoughts of a wider or more general perspective than can normally be accommodated on a week-by-week basis in our ongoing series of Bible Studies, we have generally made it a custom, for a few broadcasts, to try to take a break from the usual style of study which we generally follow.

For the last three Studies we have taken advantage of the opportunity offered by such a year-end change of pace to turn our attention to some insights which highlight the logic in God's Great Plan of Creation. Introducing the subject, we mentioned that about this season of the year when gift packages abound, there is a common experience wherein certain parcels must, for one reason or another, be re-packaged with difficulty in their original packing and containers. The careful design matching the container to its original contents makes little allowance for sloppy re-packing. I compared this situation to the comprehensive equivalent on the grand scale by which The Almighty God's overall Great Plan was knit together. The constituent parts are so well fitted to form the whole of time and space that the exactitude allows for no chance occurrence in the over-all picture. All parts fit, so to speak, the exact requirements of the mechanism.

We had stated that the Love of The Creator for His handiwork was projected into the desire to see reciprocal love emanating from the created beings for one another and towards Himself. As Love is a component of choice, and as any choice requires a meaningful means of projecting consequences, Natural Law had to extend throughout the Creation. This is in order to ensure the repetitive experiences of our environment which are needed in order to assure stability of thought and activity and the development of understanding of how things "work."

I further explained that the mercy of a loving Creator must provide a guide book and map, so to speak, for the immature beings whom He created, and who are lacking in wisdom, knowledge, and resolution to yield obedience, and that this must be formed and packaged as a gift of His instructions through a Code of Laws, all of which, in appropriate time and manner are to be followed "for best results" in our encounters with life.

The means by which such Law was imparted is through Divine insertion of His Own Person, in one aspect or another, into the human experience. Thus, He came to walk with Adam, and to talk with Abraham. He came in fire and cloud at Sinai, and as Warrior Chieftain before Jericho. He came in flesh at what we term the First Advent, which, in light of the aforesaid is perhaps a bit of a misnomer, and as a kinsman-redeemer, which event requires more explanation than we can devote to it today, and infused the Disciples in the upper room at Pentecost. At His Second Advent, He is to arrive as a King in glory to take the throne of David, and to reign over the house of Jacob for ever.

When the Law was imparted, chosen Prophets, individuals, were granted messages which they must thereafter transmit, frequently at cost of their own lives, to others. As Amos wrote in Amos 3:7, "Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets." Miracle is reserved to The Almighty as a form of certification that the Law or message is from Himself

You will notice that, a few moments ago when speaking of the problems we meet in re-packaging, and specifically when I was comparing the tight fit of contents to package with the Creator's exactitude of design in the formation of His Creation, I included the concept of packing to fit the container of time, as well as space. This is important inasmuch as it will offer proof to the observant Bible researcher regarding the over-riding authorship of the whole Creative process, through all time as well as space, and indeed also of the production of the Scriptures which give us the clues in connection with time cycles as in the Jubilees, and Sabbath Years, and periods of duration of certain systems and the points of history whereon precise events happen to augment certainty and confirm the promises of God. The Divine Great Plan, with its perfection of intricate design at all those points in time and space, gives evidence of its Creator. Psalm 19:1 states "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork."

Immature beings, however, when handed the immense power to make life-threatening decisions having age-long repercussions, are bound, even when in possession of God's Laws, to mis-interpret these, to be ignorant of some of the details, or just to flout them in immature eagerness to arrive at the satisfaction of lust.

To further complicate their lot, the Satanic suggestion is "I can get it for you wholesale", or I can deliver the desired result without the necessity of patience, obligation to serve others, or simply to show respect for the statements of God, the designer and producer. All these were foreseen at the first instant of the Creation.

Possession of the Law, however brings the obligation to obey or to suffer consequences, for a law without authority is soon no law worth considering at all. The actual consequence of breaking a law will be damage and death, immediate or in the long term projected ramifications, to oneself and perhaps others. In Love, the Creator must impart legal consequence for transgression of each law so that one must bear two punishments. First, the actual physical consequence will follow through the stern rigidity of those Laws of Nature, by which we do damage. Second, by spurning God's Love in that Law, we receive the destined curse because we have rebelled, claimed independence from His wisdom, and jeopardised all in our vicinity. Take a traffic infraction as an example to see how this works. We run a red light and hit another car. Physically, we may wind up, if we are lucky, with only a few broken teeth, or perhaps a lot worse, for ourselves, and for some innocent fellow driver. Second, we must face a judge in a court set to exact penalty for breaking the civic traffic code, which may take a great deal out of our bank account, or ourselves out of circulation in the local lock-up for some extended stay.

The plan which involved the giving of God's Law also thereby added to the consequences of departure from God's wisdom. With the physical crumbling of the human body, the sicknesses, the catastrophic results of bad management, and all such ills there was added the weight of opprobrium in cases where a human being, in resolution to revolt against all restraints and to sneer at God's Laws as archaic, and not adapted to modern conditions, and to defy God Himself and spurn His evident Love in the provision of such wise Laws, must encounter the additional punishments which are designed to preserve God's over-riding authority, and His Own honour and insistence on respect. The penalty for contempt of court will be far more severe than just that penalty imposed by the Judge for an infraction.

Knowing that the immature understanding of consequence, when granted freedom to grasp the power of choice, would eventually bring every law-breaker, that is to say, every Sinner, to self and mutual destruction, God's plan from the first instant required a door of escape from ultimate deadly consequences. This was provided in The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world - Revelation 13:8. Legally, a death was required to satisfy the Judgment upon law-breakers. In Christ, a death was procured which by His Grace was imparted to every member attached legally to Himself, as a member of His Body. Hence the bloody Crucifixion scene some abhor is actually, by proxy, our legal death, required to serve Justice, and bestowed by infinite Mercy. Thus, to teach its operation down the centuries, and to provide an interim act of identification with this Grace, the Old Testament ordinances of animal sacrifice had to be implemented and perpetuated down to Golgotha, following which, our service of these Ordinances is by transfer, the substitution of that One Sacrifice nailed to the Cross. It is the Ordinances of animal sacrifice which were nailed to the Cross, not the Law in the Commandments, which, in order to be beneficial, are still to be obeyed and taught (Matthew 5:17-19).

We have not time today to expand upon such matters as the penalty for continuous law-breaking, the system of Jubilees and year of return, the concept of Cities of Refuge, the Concept of a Kinsman Redeemer, the Seven times periods of punishments, national and individual, and the Babylonian system's period of power. These we must leave for another time. However, enough has been covered to give substance for your consideration in your meditations for this week

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