06 March 2023
If this life is all you have, then a longer and better life is the obvious highest good. The "longer" part is obvious, so the only question is how to define "better". It boils down to what pleases you, and then comes the question of pleasing yourself without harming others. We are in this together, and we all want more and better. That's pretty much the logic of "human rights" as defined by humans.
The alternative is to view things from the Creator's perspective. Life itself in this world is a punishment, and the only real relief is to restore the sovereign will of the Creator. Whatever God wants is, by definition, the ultimate good for all living things. On the one hand, leaving this life is a good thing, but on the other hand, pursuing His whims while we are here is also a good thing.
In the alternative view, living longer is not necessarily a blessing. It becomes simply another kind of testimony of God's power, among many other ways to testify of His goodness. You give Him credit either way. And "living better" is already well defined by obedience to His wishes for whatever happens in this life.
Obviously, your flesh won't take the latter view. Rather, it is your flesh that is responsible for the former assumptions. It's very hard for some believers to understand that the flesh is not you; it's an alien creature you are forced to drag around and try to keep under control. But catching a break from that burdensome task means dying. Until death, your flesh is going to make constant demands based on a very false logic of ignoring God.
You have to decide whether you are going to invest your conscious awareness in your flesh or in your soul. There is a very real difference, never mind all the rhetoric and word games that fleshly humans play. You have that choice between listening to the flesh or to your soul, whether you are Elect or not. It's the one thing God has given every human born. Whole civilizations have been built on this truth, but our Western Civilization ignores it.
Those other civilizations were not inherently materialistic, though a great many people within them were. The civilizations themselves assumed a higher importance on transcendent things, and the power for these civilizations to stand was based on something other than mere physical reality. Some of them still built great things, but they took it as a mere symbol of something more important than the things themselves. Then again, some simply never bothered with building much. Because they didn't generate a vast physical material legacy, we know very little about them. All we have are mythical mentions of things for which there is no physical evidence.
We'll never know how great they may have been. Then again, we do have some very puzzling things left behind. How would a civilization that focused on transcendent values leave a message of their values and concerns? You should understand that a transcendent system is inherently interested in transmitting its fundamental claims. Well, that collection of oddities that nobody can explain under the current civilization is probably a part of that very thing -- someone trying to leave a message for those who followed.
The primary reason we don't understand is that the West has rejected the underlying transcendent orientation, something those civilizations could not have imagined. All we know is the material world, and our basic assumption that this is all there is. The one thing those previous civilizations all shared is something we do not have. We cannot receive the message because we cannot imagine the underlying language and the values on which it is based. They all would have less trouble understanding each other, but the West is unique in its materialistic assumptions.
Western people evaluate all things in a circular logic, that what we value is the only true value, and therefore any other value system is regarded as having no values at all. Westerners believe their way is not simply the best way; it's the only way. The other ways simply do not exist. This is why we have no clue about things like the Nazca Lines or the pyramids found all over the world. We will never understand Göbekli Tepe or other mysteries. We utterly lack the means to grasp the context.
And should people today stumble across the old ways of understanding, they'll be discounted by the "experts" who have built a mythology of their own based on the materialistic approach to human knowledge. The transcendent orientation is dismissed as inherently wrong and wrong-headed. Of late, our highest cultural expressions celebrate materialism.
The Bible arose in a transcendent atmosphere, toward the fraying end of previous civilizations. It's strongest message was the very act of confronting the birth of a materialistic civilization: the Greco-Roman. The problem Jesus addressed was in part based on the way His people had embraced the materialistic approach, and had completely lost their transcendent understanding. His kingdom is transcendent, and merely uses the material realm as a means of expressing its truth. His kingdom won't leave any significant marks on the planet, because the planet is just a means to a higher end.
This is the biggest problem we have: That word "faith" refers to a transcendent approach to life. It rests wholly on rejecting the material and physical as of little consequence. Faith is not a matter of what's in your head; it's what's in your heart. And your heart is the interface to your eternal soul. Christian faith is a very personal connection to a transcendent God. If you get lost in the physical material reality, you have no good connection with Him. Faith is exercising a transcendent awareness.
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