It begins with an awareness of a need for something more in life. An acknowledgement of a need for a savior from our own crap. Jesus offers this opportunity to be lifting out of the mud, or chasm it may be. The cross is here – representing a place of the persecution of innocence. It’s the starting point of new life. Continue reading
There has been no shortage of reference in the last six months, for a frame of temporal reference, as to the amount of times I have heard the Bible, or written word, called “The Word of God”. And I try as often as I can to insert all of the caveats that go along with the exclusivity of the Written, or “Logos” word being God’s Word alone. Continue reading
The picture of God is a multifaceted picture shrouded in mystery. His image is more on display in the image He made us in (Gen. 1:27). He made us like Him, but what does that look like? What does it mean to be “in the Image of God”? For one, what we look like now is a pale comparison to those He created in the garden. Continue reading
There is not a small amount of instances in which people have done different then God had intended. God had created them for relationship with Him. He knew all of the variables of how things could play out, Continue reading
“Life’s just tough” someone says. “It’s the way things are.”, or here’s my favorite one “It’s always been this way. So I find what looks like a roach in the cupboard one evening, but when I reach for it, “ouch!” It was a bee. I couldn’t believe it (partly because it February 1st at the time of this writing), and second, why in the cupboard?! So as I study theology, I get this returning nag of a feeling that something isn’t right here… Did God create this creatures to cause pain? To devour their prey, to lay eggs inside of the still-living corpses of caterpillars?1 What about sin, death, agony? I have left out a lot (not necessarily on purpose, but it is still a good show of proportional contrast). There is a lot of ugly things in our universe, and it was not always so (Gen. 1:31a, Rom. 5:12, 6:23). What did it look like before, and what changed? In chapter 3 of Genesis, there is a conversation that takes place – and it isn’t between God and man, or man and women. It is between the women and a serpent:
Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’” The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.
Genesis 3:1-7 (NASB)
Was the sin in the grasping of fruit? Was the sin in biting into an apple? What about the fact that Eve was talking to a serpent?! Now the Earth was still a new place, but I have a hunch that this would’ve still seemed a bit out of place for her. As a result, God put a curse (as a result of sin I suspect – their fault for God issuing said curse) on, in sequential order, the serpent, Eve, and then Adam. Notice though, the curse given to Adam:
Cursed is the ground because of you;
In toil you will eat of it
All the days of your life.
Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you;
And you will eat the plants of the field;
By the sweat of your face
You will eat bread,
Till you return to the ground,
Because from it you were taken;
For you are dust,
And to dust you shall return.”
(Genesis 3:17c-19 NASB)
Several points can be drawn from this. 1) The ground has now been cursed, 2) Though he was made from dust, it is only now dust is now the place he will return – this curse of “dust to dust” is in direct response to his particular involvement of the sin done here (and further thought, what if the other curses were given, but not the last?) Now what may have been missed is the first curse though. The curse given to the serpent, who represented the animal kingdom here, yes? (Gen. 3:1):
“Because you have done this,
Cursed are you more than all cattle,
And more than every beast of the field…”
Did you catch it? The animal kingdom (and the other kingdoms under man I presume) took the hit. So now they are following the Gen. 9:6 rule, or “self-preservation”. When trust is compromised, God allowed all creation to enter into a self-preservation mode. They could no longer trust mankind to take care of them without reservation. The Dominion mandate could still be carried out (Gen. 1:28; 2:19-20).
Creation groans (Rom. 8:22). But consider further what must have needed to take place, since Genesis records that Adam lived to be 930 years (Gen. 5:5)! So something changed after this point, even though death now limited our time on earth. It was the flood God sent (as a result of a nearly *perfect evil in all but one man (Gen 6:8). God would now restrict normal human life to 120 years (Gen. 6:3) Notice also, the present of angels (Gen. 6:2), just as in the garden. It is important to consider that the influence of sin was already present in the garden. The very first sin in creation is recorded in Ezekiel 28:12b-19, but in particular:
“You were the anointed cherub who covers,
And I placed you there.
You were on the Holy mountain of God…
By the abundance of your trade, your were internally filled with violence,
And you sinned; therefore I cast you as profane from the mountain of God.”
(Ezekiel 28:14, 16a NASB)
Lucifer, once a beautiful cherub on God’s holy mountain,
Committed the treacherous first sin of pride – in the very presence of God.
Sin has been with us for *almost* the dawn of creation. It was there in the garden, when Eve took the bite from the apple right? Well, technically, it was the intention in her mind to forego the loving instructions of the Father God. Sin is, as some would define it, an intention of the heart. And sin produces death, but this was not in the heart of God, and continues to be His mission to remove sin from existence (Rev. 21:4). So, while sin and death are presently an inevitable reality, don’t presuppose it defines reality. Your worldview hangs in the balance. It wasn’t something God planned in order to save us from it with more death in some brutal way, meticulously orchestrating it into His own justice system so we can escape with a cool memory of “life from scars”. This is a deception mentality that reaches as far back as the garden, and the words of the serpent:
…you will be like God, knowing both good and evil…”
God meant us to grow upwards in intimacy, not downwards in order to double back upwards. He has been calling us to remember that life ever since that day….
The oldest written languages ironically share a similar name to one supreme God. For the Israelites, it is Yahwey, but another name for Him, articulating His high, supreme status is El-Shaddai. Continue reading
“Has all of the tribute come in?”, Arapachi asked one of the tribute collectors. “Nearly; there are some regions that are still being negotiated with.” The elaborate Inca capital of Cuzco had been the central gearbox of the empire. Plans were in place to extend the empire through the generous offering of gifts, diplomatic alliance, and marriage partnerships. Region acquisition was not a massive strategy of the Inca ruler family, however the advancement of civilization made the strategy prudent.
“Are the ceremonial preparations in motion?” Arapachi had asked his sister Merapachi. “They are brother, and the spiritual leaders are informing us of new revelations when we gather for the ceremony in 7 days time.” “What revelations?”, asked Arapachi. While Riapachi was the elder male of the pachi family, and his reign has been one of conquest and expansion, he was now full of years. His eldest son Arapachi was in prime position to make executive decisions regarding the expansion of civilization. There was, from the perspective of the royal family of the Pachi, a chance to advance the empire and enter into a society of peace.
Sacrifices to the gods were becoming monotonous, and speculation that paying tribute to these mysterious figures of the dark world was a cost too great. Contemplation among the spiritual leaders and the royal family had led to a possible new way of interacting with the spiritual realm.
“And you say that, rather than just being a dark realm, where vengeful gods must be appeased, there is another realm, where a supreme God reigns superior to all others?” Arapachi stood in a state of stark skepticism. He had long been taught that the gods must always be appeased, or they would wipe out the land. “That is what the alien has spoken to us. The spiritual council has gathered already three time to discuss the matter, and most are unconvinced that this is a wise course of action.” “And what do you think?” Imerapachi had the special gift of being highly objective, but when his personal opinion, he wasn’t cautious of his dialogue. “I think there must be something better then our present approach. The death of our convicts, while being worthy of the sentence, should not be the basis of our society’s prosperity. I do indeed lean towards an existence of a light realm, with a supreme deity.” Arapachi stared with an unaffected impression on his face. “Thank you Imerapachi. We await the council’s update at the next ceremony.”
In the far north, out of the awareness of the Inca, the Nahua allegiance was considering their arsenal in preparation of an allied conquest to vanquish the neighboring regions.
“Are the warriors set to head out for the South.” “Yes King. Our force will unite with Azcapotzalco, and then head further south. “We will take stock of their forces, and break apart any organized structure.”
As Arapachi, Meripachi, and the rest of the royal family assembled in the city center for the ceremonial gathering, the spiritual leaders in their sacrificial dress stood before the vast populace of Cuzco. The surroundings were that of legends. Hillsides will little red with the mining and refining of Gold ore, and several ornate edifices were constructed with gold ornaments, and in some circumstances, shimmering refined gold. It was sunrise, as was the tradition, so as to offer the gods sacrifice with first light.
“Greetings people of Quechua Qusqu! There has been no little amount of discussion on the of appeasement of the gods.” As Imerapachi said this, he dropped a decibel in volume, both out of tradition, and respect of the people’s long-held superstition. And as he spoke, a solemn and reverent whisper echoed speedily through the audience.
The council has received a message from a visiting alien. He was very persuasive, and made mention of another god that may be worshiped. But this God is not like the other gods. He does not require our worship, nor will he wreck havoc on our way of life if we fail to please Him.
But, as the foreigner has spoken, this God will guide us and protect us. He will bring us peace we have never known, and all He asks is that we cease the worship of all other gods.” This met with loud and indignant retorting of men, and cries of despair out of fear of the gods. “The council has discussed this greatly, and we are prepared to make the great transition to this supreme God. Our first ceremony since this decision will be today, and it is asked that we accept this supreme God with joy and great celebration without death.”
One of the elders stepped forward and skeptically glared at Imerapachi, and commenced in a prayer to this great God.
“Oh great Viracocha, we cry out to you as creatures of your creation. We confess our evil deeds to you, and ask for your grand redemption. We are sorry great Father of heaven. Will you accept us as we are? We wish to return to a loving covenant with you, but we ask that you protect us from the other gods and their wrath. Please now treat us justly, and if you permit, show us a small measure of peace.”
The people reverently arose from their low, bowed position. Many looked up, and a warming sun was complemented with a short, soothing mist. A feast had been prepared, and the Kingdom of Cuzco gathered around the feast. While few were in stark rebellion of this brass disobedience of the gods, other were in a mild fear of what might come. But half of the Kingdom embraced the transition, grateful to not have to witness the great spilling of blood.
Meanwhile, to the north, Civil wars were reshaping regional boundaries, ethnic relationships, and the Nashua’s warrior moral was steering growing. Nahua was advancing out of the fear of their brutality. Their city-states were holding together enough to continue the conquest, but with such different beliefs, goals and lusts, allegiance wouldn’t last beyond the acquisition of the northern regions of the great southern island. It was a wonder if the onslaught would make it as far as the Nahua warlords had described.
The kingdom of Cuzco experienced some mild tremors as a result of rejecting all the other gods, but there was an overall sense of release. People went back to their daily activities, and the royal family to the royal house. Later, the sun god Inti, challenged this new monotheistic allegiance to Viracocha. There were rumors the people seeing visions of some of the stones begin to walk and forbid the exclusive worship of Viracocha. Others, who may have been snuffing the traditional yupo, or drinking ayahuasca, encountered more several visions and visitations in the heavy vegetation on the outskirts of the city. It would seem that the peace promised was being threatened, and the easy solution would be to return to the worship of Inti and the other gods for their rays of light.
Nashua packs were making their way aggressively south to make war with the organized people to their south. They had easily overtaken the Mayan people, as their aggressive fear tactics were a powerful persuasion.
“We will sleep here tonight, and ask the gods in the morning for speed in travel to reach our enemies in battle in the morning.” One of the Nashua war packs communicated to a nearby pack leader.
“The warriors are hungry. We will hunt tonight.” The pack leader simply looks at the other chieftain.
“What is it to us what you do?” He murmured, with a mixed look of disinterest and disdain.
It was at Nariocanco, where the upper class and Arapanchi himself met to discuss the matter originally, that the greatest disturbances took place. During the meeting among the elders, several points of theological depth were discussed. They came to the conclusion that the since all-but-forgotten god Viracocha had not merely been one of the gods, but the creator God of all other things. Their cherished sun god Inti, for which shrines were built, gold was smelt, ceremonies commemorated, and sacrifices committed was simply a creation of this evidently great Viracocha. It had become all too real for Arapanchi that Viracocha was worthy of all worship!
As Arapanchi stood among the high walls of Nariocanco, a semi-familiar feeling of dread descended in the atmosphere, and it wasn’t the previously-pleasant experience he had known from the worship of the sun god. He heard and felt whispers of angst, aggression, and deception pressing in on him, to such an extent that he felt intoxicated. He wanted to run, but he could remember the right direction, and he simply collapsed to the ground.
“Viracocha, Creator of all, please protect me from evil, and bring peace!”
There was a turbulence in the air, vibrations of rebellion and dissent. He felt compelled to repeat his request to the great Viracocha. He also felt driven to call out the emotions he felt by name.
“In the name of the great Viracocha, Rebellion must leave! Aggression must leave in the name of Viracocha, and deception, LEAVE IN THE NAME OF OUR GREAT CREATOR VIRACOCHA!”
There was a whirlwind of activity, a thick spiral of black moving backwards towards the high cliff of the Andean mountains. It crested the wall, and then dropped over the edge with a menacing shriek of violent defeat. Arapanchi was dazed for a time. He made it to his feet, and as he did, it was clear that a new power was over the atmosphere. He felt a new kind of peace. He turned and returned to the royal house with a sense of governance from the heavens.
Nashua packs descended down through the narrow bridge of land that separated the great islands. They tore through the indigenous villages, breaking any signs of relationship or diplomatic allegiance. They were nearly at the gates of the Incan empire!
Arapachi walked slowly and methodically through the village region, observing the people. As a result of the change of worship for Indi (creation), to Viracocha (Creator), there was a new interest in trade and commerce. The Incans had been a purely socialistic society, and only the royal family and the high class had any kind of wealth, or even property. But now Arapachi watched people, engaging in oral negotiations, vying for a mutually good deal. People were appearing to show signs of industry. It was evident that putting Viracocha in His proper place changed a great many other elements of the people. Arapachi smiled as he crested the final step into his royal house.
Nashua packs were showing signs of mild sleep deprivation. Thier pack leaders were anxious to get to the greatest areas of concentration of allegiance, in order to dispel any future struggles. The packs (when they all arrived), would be some 200,000 strong, and they came with arrowhead spears. They entered the outer regions of the Incan empire, passing through smaller villages who showed no signs of resistance. “There need be no violence here if there is none given”, one of the pack leaders said in-stride as three packs pushed through the village.
The Nashua hit Cusco, the capital. They met the guards in semi-guerrilla warfare tactics. But hid in the bushes, and caught them off guard. They made their way through the gate, and then warriors nearby saw the invasion, and quickly ran the message back to the royal house.
“And they had hate in their eyes?” Arapachi asked the runner?
“Yes King.” Then we must try to arrive at an agreement before we do battle.
Arapachi sent the runner, and two of the spiritual leaders with him holding a symbol of negotiation: Gold. Incans had a substantial amount of it, as it was a symbol of their former god Inti, and thus they had mined and smelt it for religious ceremony, now it was just aesthetics. When the spiritual leaders and two armed warriors neared the advanced Nashua forces, they uncovered the gold edifice. The forces appeared unaffected.
“We want to evade a war. What will it take for your tribes and ours to negotiate peace?”,
one of the warriors in front said in a diplomatic tone.
“We would have no resistance from you. Our tribes up north are struggling to develop a strong society, and any measure of progress has only come through conquest. We will dismantle any allegiance here that wants to expand an empire north.”
The subordinate warriors seemed nearly non-coherent with the message conveyed by the the leader. But the tone they perceived to be that of evading battle, and that brought disagreement to their faces. The goal of the Nashua tribes had not been war for war’s sake, but to cultivate an eventually-viable society. And the reputation of the Incan empire was certainly one not to be taken without reservations. The Incan warriors (once rallied) could meet the Nashua in battle, and the bloodshed would be immense.
“As a token of our respect for the prosperity of your society, please accept our gift.”
“The priests moved forward and transferred the edifice into the lustful eyes of two Nashua warriors at signal of their pack leader.”
The pack leaders seemed appeased by the diplomatic proposal and covenant of uninterrupted expansion and alliance. But then one of the warriors seemed to go AWOL and attack and kill the other diplomatic warrior. This started a chain reaction among the other warriors. The Incan warriors emerged from their hiding places to meet the aggressors in full battle array. The priests found shelter from the onslaught. The pack leaders reached those who had blood lust and attempted to still their rage. When that didn’t work, several pack leaders began cutting down their own warriors in order to return with more than a desolate path of carnage. When all the dust had settled, 50 men had been slain.
* * *
Arapachi had a couple of the sane pack leaders escorted to the royal house steps and given them written pictographic treaty terms for their return trip.
“When your empire shows signs of confusion, we have a special revelation to reveal to you, when you are ready. As for now, return home in peace, and remember that our great God Viracocha has helped us today avert a great loss. May Viracocha bring you peaceful travels.
The first perspective is what is presently available in the information known to man. Intellectual discoveries and observations. Continue reading
How does technology fit in with God? Is it only a means to present God? Or is technology itself a marvel of God’s creation revealed in the discovery and imagination He put in man?
Is mankind capable of thinking of something that could out them him, and if the software is then able to think for itself, would it care to interact with man? Where is God in man’s intelligence discovery? Continue reading