Catacomb Resident Blog

Variations Required

16 December 2022

Have you noticed that the Covenant was never very precise on most things? Legalism gave the impression one could nail things down, but the debate over details seemed to never end. There was always one more exception.

I teach as a doctrine that logic can never achieve objectivity. The basic flaw of human nature is the false belief in objectivity. It doesn't exist in reality. Precision is simply not possible, because the human mind cannot perceive all the relevant details and put them in place. Reality is more of a juggling act, because it tends to move and change like a person. I agree with Heraclitus: When you step into a river, it is a snapshot in time. The next time you approach the same spot, the water is different and so are you. You can never truly repeat the exact same experience, because time flows relentlessly.

That's not an explanation; that's a warning. Don't bother trusting in your perceptions so much that you form a false mental image of objectivity. Reality is not static. But like a real person, reality is consistent enough to be recognizable, just not consistent enough to nail down. Don't bother chasing that rabbit; by the time you think you understand where the boundary line is, something will have moved. The brain is not designed to keep up with that.

That doctrine I teach about objectivity rests in part on the truth that you simply cannot turn off your emotions; you cannot possibly exclude them from the mental process. They are woven into your very existence in the flesh. How you feel about something today can too easily change tomorrow, and your intellect does not have the ability to ignore it completely. Thus, you can nail down all the precision and logic, but it won't necessarily convince you tomorrow because you aren't the same person. Trying to be objective only goes just so far, and then it falls apart.

This is why two or more of the best minds cannot always come up with the same answers to every rational debate. The ability to agree on the answers will always be limted, because any two or more people will be moved by different feelings at any given time, and it is utterly impossible to avoid the influence. Each person is going to want from the exchange something different. Yes, there's far more to the process, but I'm describing the net result. It is utterly impossible to come up with an anchor in logic because logic never operates alone in the human soul.

The human intellect is inherently fallen. It assumes it can achieve a static frame of reference, and arrogantly declares that, through rigor and discipline, it could theoretically achieve objectivity. It cannot. It is utterly impossible for the flesh to inspect every detail of our mortal existence. Reality will not yield to even the most precise investigation imaginable. Science will never devise sufficient means to answer all relevant questions.

Only the heart is equipped to read reality consistently. The sensory data you can gather is not the ultimate truth of things. It's merely the appearance, and humans cannot possibly get a pure reception, nor a pure analysis beyond a certain functional threshold, which threshold in itself tends to move around a bit. The heart is rooted in your eternal nature, and so it is able to sense things your brain simply cannot process. Indeed, your physical heart is a sensing and processing organ, with it's own separate wavelength range and neural nodes that carry on "thinking" separately from the brain. Your brain does know how to hear from the heart, but it requires that the heart first rule, or it will not speak. The brain cannot receive until it bows the knee and surrenders dominance.

And what the heart senses from reality is inherently moral in nature, not factual. Everything is morally evaluated, and it's processed in the heart before it delivers to the brain its discernment and judgments. The mind is flatly incapable of that level of processing. The heart operates in terms of moral imperatives -- convictions -- and the mind cannot keep up. The brain can only report the implementation of what the heart judges. And that report is contextual; the brain needs constant reminding of that.

Thus, it's no surprise that all the well intentioned souls who seek to find a better path to peace with God will come up with different answers. No two of us can possible receive the exact same answer from God on any particular details. We can learn to hear the revealed Word, but it cannot possibly mean the same thing to any two of us. Your convictions and brain and feelings will result in a different implementation, because God Himself won't give any two of us the same convictions.

So, if we approach the question of fellowship and communion from the heart, we know better than to expect uniformity. Unity is possible, but it's a living thing in itself that moves and shifts around with the context. We cannot possibly synchronize our responses. Thus, we should know from the heart that a certain amount of flexibility is necessary. It has to meet a test of moral function, not precision in thought or practice. We allow some variation, and stop allowing it when our heart detects a conflict that cannot result in the real goal of community.

That real goal? Fellowship -- that's the only real concrete goal we can put into words. We need to be able to express affection and good will across the varied boundaries of flesh. The ultimate "goal" of Christian religion is to accomplish loving each other despite all the fleshly reasons we cannot love each other. It's a miracle. The Law of Christ is that we love Him first, and then each other; that's the whole sum of it, if we must put it into words. All the rest of the Bible is bound up in the details of doing it.

Love does not mean we must tolerate all the variations in proximity. It most certainly does not mean squelching the variations by static rules. It means a living and variable inclusion based on the operations of the moment. Some folks I can love best from far away, but the goal is to love them, to share God's peace with them.

A denomination is just a snapshot in time, an invalid attempt to lock down something that fit one bunch of people at one particular place and time. The more precision you try to invest in it, the more invalid it is. It's not that denominations are evil in themselves, but that they are the results of assumptions that are evil. Having rules is not evil; but the rules should be vested in a person, not on paper. The whole mental orientation of trying to pin down the precise application of biblical teaching is what's wrong.

Very few things in the Bible are nailed down with any precision. I think it's obvious that human sexuality gets a lot more wording than just about any other area of human existence. And the boundaries for sex are bigger and stiffer than almost any other human activity. I seriously doubt any of the existing Christian denominations get it right. From my experience, every one one of them is lax in one way or another, when tested by the more obvious requirements in the Bible.

Yet, once you codify something, you have locked out the wisdom of the heart, and the power of the Holy Spirit, in dealing with it.

Remember the lesson of the Tower of Babel: The Lord does not like the idea of having one single answer for all humanity. Uniformity is flatly contrary to His will for this fallen existence. He likes it when we break into tiny little clans scattered over the earth, with all kinds of customs, habits, ideas, languages, etc. Peace with God requires a high degree of variation across the human races.

This document is public domain; spread the message.