21 October 2021
Why is our fallen reality so deceptive? It was our choice as humans. In the Garden, Adam and Eve conducted themselves based on an intimate communion with the Creator. At the provocation of Satan, they chose to eat the Forbidden Fruit. The imagery portrays a decision to use human capability to judge what is good and evil without reference to divine revelation. It meant shutting off a divine faculty built into our souls. God knew that this path would be hostile to His design and intention. It was destructive to both the Garden and the humans.
Kicking them out of the Garden and denying access to the Tree of Life was a gracious protective measure. The only way to coax people back into trusting and living by that higher faculty was to insure that they lived in a world where their capabilities couldn't change anything that mattered. In the Garden, they didn't have to work by the sweat of their brows, because revelation enabled them to see how reality was designed, and to use it's own built in powers to manage things. Outside the Garden and away from the Tree of Life, they lacked that ability to see those powers because they couldn't see ultimate reality any more. All they could see was what mere human capabilities could show them.
Reality itself had not changed; the natural world was just the same as before. It didn't fall; humans alone fell. Nature was always mortal, and now mankind is, too. But that means there are no chosen servants capable of using those natural powers to manage things. Nature now manifests an unguided chaotic existence, and mankind's lack of divine knowledge makes it seem hostile. Without the divine faculty, we are prone to the same chaotic forces in our mortal frame. We are immersed in that frame, unable to tap into our God-given divine nature.
Through the process of revelation, the Lord gave hints as to how we can come back into the Garden. The image of the Flaming Sword represents divine revelation. More to the point, it requires killing the mortal fleshly nature that resulted from the Fall so that the divine nature can be revealed. Paul refers to that as dying on the Cross with Christ, but it's the same ineffable truth hidden in a different parable. The Cross simply updates the image of the Flaming Sword. The divine nature must dominate or we cannot approach the Garden.
Jesus had no trouble accessing His divine nature, so using the built-in powers of nature to stop storms, heal diseases and drive out demons was quite natural to Him. Those powers are absolutely inaccessible to human capabilities. They are available only to that divine faculty we left behind in the Garden. In the end, He said that those who followed His teaching could do those same miracles and much more. Why do we see none of that today?
We have long thrown away the Hebrew intellectual approach that grants access to the divine nature. It's not just a matter of the written Law of Moses and the New Testament teaching. The revelation includes a whole range of assumptions about reality that are absent in today's Western Civilization. What's missing? We can start with one critical concept.
You'll learn from modern theologians that, in the Bible, the heart is the seat of the will. What they mean is that it's the seat of faith and conviction, a link to the divine faculty. Even science has found that the heart has its own sensory field and a means to process what that field can sense, but that science can't explain how to bring that stuff into your conscious awareness. About the closest it comes is some silly blather about emotional intelligence. The heart's separate facutly is not part of the other senses and is not processed by reason. It's not even accessible to the mind until the mind is subjected to the heart.
This is quite unlike the modern Western cultural notion that the heart is the seat of sentiment, and perhaps some portion of the value system. If the heart remains disconnected from divine revelation, then the mind can choose to ignore what's in the heart. The arrogance of the fallen intellect presumes itself as the premier faculty, and objects strenuously to being made the servant. But in the Bible, the heart must rule or God cannot speak to the individual. Again, "faith" is not a word for some intellectual and sentimental commitments. Faith is a divine faculty that restores some measure of what we had in the Garden of Eden. It's how Jesus was able to manipulate the natural world; it's not just the power, but the guidance of divine justice in knowing what ought to be.
Built into Western Civilization is this philosophical thread, held onto by a poorly organized group of elite thinkers, that enthrones the fallen nature of mankind. It makes a virtue of rejecting divine revelation until the divine can be brought down to mere proposition. Here's an outline of the assumptions of that philosophical position:
It all sounds good if you cling to human capability and ignore the long history of divine revelation. Oddly enough, this same rational approach has brought a wealth of study into the philosophical assumptions of Hebrew culture. It may be a rather obscure branch of academic study, but scholars can tell you that this rational orientation is not at all how the Bible approaches things. The net result of the Western philosophical approach leaves us confirmed in the Fall. It limits the influence of spiritual things. Indeed, "spiritual" is defined as a force that can be grasped because of it's measurable effects on the world. It can't be actually known, but only inferred. In other words, the spiritual becomes captive to what fallen humans can perceive with their senses, and process with their reason.
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