After so many weeks of considering the differences between two models of the world, how then shall we direct our thinking? If we see ourselves as souls regenerated in the image of Christ by the Word/Spirit of God living in Green V world, what are we doing in a body in Red Pyramid world?
Jesus said we are here to extend His love for others, neighbor and enemy. Paul describes us as ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20). An ambassador is a citizen of another nation (Green V world) who lives in an embassy (the body/family of Christ) in a foreign country (Red Pyramid world) for the care of fellow citizens who are passing through (or trapped) in that foreign country, which is everyone since Christ has redeemed all and means to reconcile all to Himself.
In the weeks to come I hope to explore the practical application of the truth and grace of God in view of our lives in this place.
We hear a lot of talk about love. But what is love? In Red Pyramid world the word love actually means hate—to sacrifice nothing for the sake of another. In Red Pyramid world, a desperate material human will do anything to consume anyone or anything that he suspects will provide happiness. In Red Pyramid world, people love food, drinks, sleep, entertainment, money, and most of all other people who can give them happiness. People will do anything for maximum privilege with minimum or ideally NO responsibility. The ability to “love” in Red Pyramid world is intensely competitive: who can get what they love? Thus “love” is also stressful, disappointing, elusive, fragile, unstable, and temporary.
In Green V world there are four kinds of love but all of them are a matter of inspired determination. The most important love is self-sacrificial, which is possible because God has given us material extension in time precisely so we can use it for the good of others. When we “lose” our lives for the sake of others we find our life in the absolute, according to the essence of our nature, our eternal soul.
For the past several weeks, we’ve defined some key words, based on world view. We’re down to our last two definitions in this series: next week we’ll consider love, but today, we’ll define sex. In Red Pyramid world, “sex” could mean gender, but since gender has become an artificially constructed notion open to anyone’s self-determination, “sex” has come to mean primarily activity intended to arouse sexual gratification. Sexual gratification has come to be the one aspect of human experience where everyone has a nearly equal opportunity to get happiness. Rich or poor, urban or remote, heterosexual or homosexual or alone, anyone can experience sexual gratification, any time. Sex is seen—like all things in Red Pyramid world—from an intensely selfish disposition, and thus commitments or responsibilities connected to sexual activity are held in contempt. Self-pleasure is the goal of sexual activity; the conception of children is an occasional side effect that progress has allowed us to eliminate in the absolute.
In Green V world, gender provides for procreation in a comprehensive way—not just the physiological ability to conceive and bear children, but an entire relationship called family in which profound, enduring, and durable happiness is found. Here, as above, happiness follows the ideal rather than being the only ideal. Love of others, as God loves us, is the design that directs our lives, and happiness very naturally and divinely comes to people so engaged. “Sex” is a relatively foreign word in Green V world because it is much too limited, isolating a particular expression of genuine love that by God’s design takes place in a broad context of love and kindness. Sexual intercourse is never taken or even pursued in self-interest, especially not by the man. When a husband’s providence for a wife inspires her to seek a relationship of providence in turn, she invites the singular form of physical intimacy that provides for conception that is supported by a constant, comprehensive love from God through the husband.
Last week, we considered how world view shaped your definition of what male is. So, how is female defined? In Red Pyramid world, being female means being either sad or angry. To be a woman in this model has always meant either suffering or fighting (which includes suffering). Held down, tyrannized, and forced about, the female human in this world has had enough. Feminism calls for revolution and full equality if not the reversal of traditional privileges. Happiness in Red Pyramid world depends on power, and that is what feminism seeks, according to a woman’s own desires. Bearing and raising children are also seen as threats to a woman’s autonomy and an unfair, unfortunate bit of bad luck in the evolutionary process.Now, take a look at the Green V world view: a female is supported, cared for, and uniquely gifted with an ability to be creative. Females mature to be mothers to whom children submit. Mature women are able and free to pursue command of every skill and endeavor that contributes to the support of the next generation of people—because they are fully supported by men. Conceiving, bearing, and raising children is neither accident nor burden, but the opportunity to reach every kind of human potential in providing life for her offspring. “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the nation.” In caring thus for children, a woman comes to appreciate what is provided for her by her husband, father, brothers, and any and all other men in general according to God’s design and will.
How does world view affect how you define male and female? This week we’ll consider male, and next week, we’ll take a look at female. In Red Pyramid world, everything is either accidental (arbitrary) or artificially imposed by other people who came to power before us. “Male” is considered only on a material basis, but even male physiology is considered accidental, i.e., you can change that if you want. Gender terms and relationships are a social construct. “Male” means whatever anyone’s evolutionary, Freudian, virtual imagination can make of it in the pursuit of self-gratification. Feminism looks at men and history and concludes that “male” has usually meant tyranny and abuse: claiming privileges of power and authority as given by God, which are used to keep women in their place as servants to the men. Today, “male” tends to mean either a powerful competitor or a lazy, pathetic, burden.
Take a close look at the Green V world chart below. In Green V world, “male” is fundamentally concerned with responsibility and providence for others and only by extension a matter of physiology. Babies mature into adults; maturation meaning the ability to care for others because you are cared for by others, most ultimately by God. When all of humanity comes to full maturation at God’s recreation, the physiology of gender will have served its purpose. All people, made in the image of God, are essentially a soul, having a body as a temporary means of experiencing and learning, animated by God’s Spirit. Responsibility for others is complimented by submission to Christ, who submits to God though He is Lord over all creation. Male means to bear others’ burdens, which press us more fully into relationship with and conformity to Christ, who provides for others through us.
We now know what evil means. What about WICKEDNESS? Most people assume that “wicked” is just evil of greater magnitude. In Red Pyramid world, because “evil” is what gets in the way of my happiness, wickedness is a kind of evil that really gets in the way or stays in the way, like a god who fails to make me happy according to my will or people who stubbornly refuse to affirm my assertions and preferences.
Wickedness in Green V world is neither logical nor a necessity. Wickedness is of corrupt human invention: evil people who oppose God’s design and think, speak, and do wickedness. Wickedness is a categorical shift beyond evil. Natural disasters are evil and a hardship but nothing like the horrible, abhorrent, despicable, dastardly, unthinkable kinds of harm that people invent to inflict on each other. Falling down and scraping your knee is evil. Consciously inflicting suffering on another person is wicked. A surgeon’s knife does evil but it works for good; a murderer’s knife only does harm, wickedly. Wickedness is hated by God, opposed by God, and will eventually be overcome by God, either by redemption or abandonment.
Last week, I presented the definition of good, based on your world view. Now, how about evil? Good and evil are parallel to and inseparable from life and death. In Red Pyramid world, whatever keeps me from being happy is evil, most of all other people’s contrary opinions and rules. What is especially evil in Red Pyramid world is any disposition that does not affirm, fight for, and fund my claims to and methods of taking happiness. Here is a powerful source of conflict in Red Pyramid world, where some people call others evil for opposing them, but refuse to consider themselves evil for their opposition to others. People in Red Pyramid world demand a world without evil, which results in burdening everyone and everything else with the task of always, only, ever supplying happiness according to each demanding person’s preferences.
In Green V world, evil simply means the opposite or opposing force, like gravity. Evil is a necessary and unavoidable opposite of good. Light and darkness, heat and cold, thirst and drink, fatigue and rest. There is, at least in theory, the possibility of the opposite or absence of anything good that God created. If life is good, what should we call death? Evil. If God designed creation to work in a certain way, anything that opposes or corrupts that design is evil. The beauty of Green V world is that we have time in a material place in which to learn how good “good” really is and why, and also by experiencing how bad evil really is and why. And all this learning happens within God’s gracious and wise providence, so that all things work together for good.
What is good? What does that word mean? Red Pyramid world is the product of evolution and is therefore accidental. There is no God or design in creation by which to know what is good. Might makes right. A person has very little time in a strictly material and intensely competitive world; everyone is trying to gather more stuff under them to keep from drowning, even though they know drowning is inevitable. Whatever makes me happy with the greatest intensity more of the time with the least cost or commitment from me is good in Red Pyramid World. What of it?
In Green V world, God’s design in creation determines what and explains why things are good. Good is comprehensive, including all things material and immaterial, in time and in eternity. We have time in a material world to spend on learning that love is the greatest good. We have biblical history and especially a history of the life of Jesus that records and explains goodness. Here one saves one’s life by losing it, finds the greatest gratification in self-sacrifice, and discovers what real power is by subjecting oneself to the service of others according to God’s design.
The last definition we considered is the meaning of life. Now, let’s define death. Death is the opposite of life, in both world views. As you may recall, Red Pyramid world assumes that the only reality is physical and accidental. Therefore, death is assumed to mean the cessation of physiological function, then decay and one’s return to dust. You die, you’re dead, it’s over. Dying, then, also has to do with the absence of or frustration in getting happiness for oneself. A Red Pyramid person would rather be dead than unhappy, which is why abortion, euthanasia, and mercy killing makes sense in this world. Delaying gratification is like being dead while you wait . . . and what if waiting isn’t worth it? Consider the sensation of a drowning person sinking: unable to climb up out of the water or worse, in spite of all the climbing and things/people climbed upon, sinking still.
In Green V world “death” means “negative relationship.” Therefore, there are only two deaths. One is the death that Adam introduced and passed on to all human beings—the negative relationships that come from pretending to be god—contrary to God, one another, and all truth. The only other death is the one that Jesus died in place of everyone and from which He delivers us. In John 11 Jesus said, “Whoever lives (that is to say, is honest about dependence on Me), will never suffer negative relationships” for at least two reasons. First, God makes all things work together for good to those who love Him. Second, only a soul regenerated in the image of Christ loves God and this soul thrives in loving others. Love turns every potentially negative relationship to positive because God has given us a soul that can never die and a human nature in time to spend freely in pursuing what is positive, what is best for others. Consider what it means to never actually know death (absolute permanent negative relationships) because Jesus has known it in our place.
Note: People who claim Christianity betray the fact that they assume Red Pyramid world in the way they speak about death and dying. For example, when “Christians” claim a right to grieve because a loved one has died, they indicate disappointment with God’s failure rather than gratitude for God having delivered loved ones and survivors from death.
How is life defined, based on world view? The Red Pyramid world assumes that the only reality is physical and accidental. Therefore, life is reduced to the ability of our body to please itself – which is why modern “life” is also primarily about instant gratification of every kind of appetite, especially sexual. A person “living” in this world is like a person drowning, frantic to get up and out of the threat of sinking down into death. Accumulating material things seems like it would lift one higher above the threat of death while also increasing the amount of happiness drawn from those things. But everyone in this world sinks down just the same, sooner or later. And that sense of impending doom is like a heavy, dark cloud bearing down on the person who is already terrified of drowning … so what becomes of happiness here?
In Green V world, “life” has to do with positive relationships. A person’s physical being is called “living” only to the extent that it is in positive relationship with nature (including its own health) and with other people. In this world view, the eternal soul is the essence of the person, which means it can be happy all the time because it recognizes the value of all relationships, whether pleasing or challenging (notice these terms replace “good” and “bad”).
Thus, Jesus said that whoever is honest about dependence on Him will never die. Thus, God makes all things work together for good for those whose souls are regenerated from above, from the Word. And these souls live always and forever. Now we can make sense of Jesus’ command to love our enemies since we have a physical nature to use in the service of and for the benefit of all, especially those who consider themselves most opposed to us. Jesus is life itself; we see Him living in the gospel history, and we experience His life as He continually wakes us up to realize the truth.