Love and Freedom – 3
By Fred Pruitt
Love Has Loftier Goals
God has much loftier goals for us than we can imagine. Plus, He knows He is the One Who will bring it all about, unaffected by our sight or lack of it. He is not busying Himself with worries about our foibles and lack of understanding, always ashamed of His children who continuously do such a lousy job. Think about that a moment. How many times have we moaned or lamented, or heard preachers do it, about the “sad state of the Church” and “God must be so disappointed with us all.”
Salami salami baloney! God is the opposite of disappointed! He works all things after the counsel of His own will (Eph 1:11), so how could He be disappointed with anything?
Isn’t that about the saddest thing ever? Poor, poor God? After that big start with Jesus’ three years of miracles and healings, then the Crucifixion, Resurrection, Ascension, the coming of the Holy Spirit, and Paul’s three missionary journeys, has it really been all downhill from there? Poor God!
We laugh at that but it is not that funny. And it is also wrong! Where do we come off having this “God is never fully pleased with us” attitude? I lived with that thought at the immediate sub-level of my consciousness for years! There is a BIG difference (so I thought), between God loving us unconditionally, which I knew He did, and being “pleased with what we do.” Like a parental figure who is never satisfied with us no matter what, so did I see God for years. I “knew” He loved me, but could not fully believe He was pleased with me – ever!
Where could such a thought possibly originate?
Because I saw my life in apparent “lack,” I almost never had the personal sense of God being “pleased” with me. I had a million reasons by which I could prove my case. If we knew of a family in which the parents made their children to feel shame and self-loathing everyday about themselves, we would not think highly of those parents. We would never accept that behavior and attitude in human parents. Why then, do so many of us see God that way?
God Himself came, in the Son, to still and cool the wrath in us, and to restore us to complete and full fellowship in the Spirit through Jesus Christ. Everything in the temporal created universe is geared toward that one end. And it is all love, anything and everything. God uses the negative energy of “evil” to bring forth those very sons for whom the whole creation is groaning daily with pains of labor. Do not misunderstand me. Evil remains evil and reaps the rewards of evil. But God uses the agitation brought on by evil to work in every case and every person to the glory of the Father, the Son and all the sons.
But let us make no mistake; God certainly uses that “wrath” card if necessary. There are no rules in love, and no right or wrong way to do things. Love uses any and every thing to accomplish its goal, which is to reproduce that same love in the “other.” Luther took holy orders because of the terror he felt in a thunderstorm, afraid it was the wrath of God and he feared he would be dragged into hell. So he became a monk through fear. And it was fear that drove him to go on his knees up the Roman steps to free his ancestors from purgatory, when he began to have the great revelation that changed the world: “the just shall live by faith!”
People are always trying to “put God in a box” according to how they think He should act. “God would never use fear or anything negative toward us, because He is love,” they say. I guess they want people to come to Christ for the right reasons! I don’t care why they come or what gets them there, and neither does the Father. Love uses whatever it has available to press its claims. Even people’s misunderstandings and fears, even wrong teaching. There are lots of Christian “works” out there with whom I have little agreement in some major things, yet they are bringing souls into the kingdom. How could I speak against that? God even uses sin, if necessary! There is no place Love will not go to rescue her beloved! Love sits with you while you vomit, wiping your brow with a damp cloth, and will not leave.
As I said above, the “will of God” is really not some elusive mumbo-jumbo, for which we have to genuflect or crawl on broken glass to understand. The “will of God” is just what happens in our lives, and in the lives of everyone else, each and every day.
It is not some static pre-thought-out plan, sitting in a filing cabinet in heaven, which I must adhere to in each successive step every day. There is no book that says, “Fred will go to Walmart at 3:00 today,” that if I fail to do, I will have somehow missed the boat and the will of God.
The “will of God” is simply that by which we function and find perfect direction, consciously or unconsciously, every single day. We do not “find” the will of God for our lives and then try to live it out. Instead, we are Spirit people, Holy Spirit people, and the life we are living IS the will of God, right now, THIS moment! We may not know what’s coming up tomorrow, or even in the next five minutes. But we DO KNOW that God performs His promises, and that He is doing that very thing in us!
“Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” (1 Thes 5:24)
How Can Love ‘Purpose’ Evil?
In a sense, what we are discussing in this moment is the key to everything! However, there seems to be an inherited aversion on the part of many Christians, for any statement or belief that seems to “link” God in any way with any responsibility toward evil. I have seen people get all hot and bothered over this, seemingly out to protect God’s “good” reputation. (We never need to “defend” God. He can take care of that quite nicely Himself.)
The fallacy of that position, attributing to God only those things that we consider “good,” leaves a great big giant hole in the universe, with billions of “loose ends,” that were made so by the incessant running around of the devil, running amok and unchecked in God’s “good” universe, with God rather impotent to keep him reigned in.
In practice people often use the word “dualism” to mean the “distinction” between God as universal and us as particular expressions of Him. But, actually the classical definition of dualism is that there are two separate and equal deities, one good and one evil. In other words, God and the devil are equal and in some sense cancel each other out, or to take it a step farther, they are like Yin and Yang, part of the “balance” of the universe. No Christian would sign his name on that dotted line if he saw it written out. Yet, many Christians are de-facto “dualists,” because even though they would not admit it, they see the devil as a contrary independent power running around doing His own thing, and the world is full of his unchecked works – sickness, war, famine, moral corruption, greed, etc. God seems “powerless” to put all that oozing evil back into the toothpaste tube!
That position also nullifies everybody’s (including mine) vital port-in-the-storm scripture, Romans 8:28. If God is not the instigator and mover of all, then He cannot make the promise that Paul recorded, because all those “loose ends” that the devil made are still out there, running amok, doing their own evil thing. If God is only in charge of “the good,” then the “evil” remains evil and still retains its evil effects, since God has nothing to do with either its cause or effects. It makes the universe a far more dangerous place, because there would be no place of safety in it, even in God! It actually puts “evil” on equal par with God. (Do not make the mistake of interpreting any of this to come out that God does, or that God, as He is God and Love, “wills” evil. Read on and I believe this will make sense.)
It has been the case for me, and for countless others, that I did not come into full liberty, until by grace through the Spirit I was able through faith to see God All in all – in light or darkness, in good or evil. That is what we mean by the “single eye” of faith: “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” (Matt 6:22,23)
“Single” means the eye sees only one thing, continuously penetrating all the way through every appearance and the lying assertions of self-will – to Christ (God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit)! Of course we are meaning an inner sight, in which we walk by faith, because the natural eyes cannot penetrate beyond the shell of outer appearances. The inner sight can penetrate beyond the external shell of appearances, and it does, because it is the Lord’s own sight within us, in which we walk by Spirit faith, and not by fleshly sight.
The Spirit unequivocally states that the Father works everything in the universe, everything, according to the “counsel” of His own will. “All things,” Paul wrote. Eph 1:11. From Whom did he receive counsel? Only from Himself, He says.
In man’s terms, I think the Lord has a plaque on his desk that reads, “The Buck stops here!” Everything is within His Divine Power. Nothing excepted.
Therefore, God is not sitting on His Throne in heaven wringing His hands, wondering what to do about all the stuff going on in the human world. He was not caught off-guard when Lucifer rebelled and took his legions, one-third of the angels, with him.
Nor was He behind a step when He just happened to not be close by (in perception) when the Serpent tempted Eve. Could not the Lord God have “stepped into” the situation with Eve and the Serpent, reminding Eve of her truth, and stopped the devil in his tracks, thus foiling his evil machinations at the outset, so that “The Fall” would have never occurred? Would that not have been better, so that we would not have had the sad, tragic and violent history of humanity we have had up until this present moment? Why didn’t He, many ask. I cannot number the people who have said to me, over the years, “How can a loving God allow war, violence, child molestation, poverty, etc.?”
We can give people the right answer, but it is an answer very few want to hear. “We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the wicked one.” (1 John 5:19 NASB). The “result” of that power in the world is this:
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Rom 3:10-18).
Yes, He could have intervened. Nothing is impossible to Him. However, He did not intervene. Instead, He was noticeably absent in their confrontation with the Serpent and the Tree. It is as if Adam and Eve were left to fend for themselves, to contend with a foe far superior in every way, for ALL the marbles! Considering the innocence and childish understanding in which Adam and Eve walked, and the crafty, subtle, “I’m your friend,” glad-handing of the devil, the outcome is a no-brainer! God may have rolled the dice with Adam and Eve, but He knew how it would go! (Which is why when they sinned, the Lord God already had the remedy ready “standing by,” so to speak – He Who Is the Bruiser of the Serpent, as the Seed of Eve, who would one day be born as Jesus of Nazareth and fulfill the role of crushing the Serpent’s head!!! [Gen 3:15])
While they did know the commandment, “Thou shalt not eat of that tree,” still, they did not have the “stuff” they needed to resist the temptation when it came. They neither knew themselves, nor God in themselves as their Life and Power, for if they had, they would have known the resources in the Spirit to overcome the temptation, and quite possibly could have done it. But they had never had a thought to eat from the other Tree in the midst of the Garden, the Tree of Life. For some reason, it had never been an attraction to them. Just that other one.
They didn’t yet know their “need,” did they? Instead, they were more like Peter who thought by his own determined will he could keep himself from denying being with Jesus, but did it anyway because he could not help himself. His fear overcame his determination. Peter did not yet know the Spirit that night in Gethsemane, and neither did Adam and Eve on that day in the Garden. And just as Peter “went down,” so did they.
It could not have been any other way. I do not say that because they were “made” to conform to this plan to bring forth the sons of God, which included at its beginning their Fall. I say it could not have been any other way because it did not happen any other way. What they did, they did. All the parties – the Lord God, the serpent, Adam and Eve – simply did what the situation brought in the moment. I can say it works with God’s “overall plan” simply because it happened, and because, “He works all things after the counsel of His own will.” “What ifs” have no weight, nor rarely any need of consideration.
Our Personal Liberation
“Our” (yours and my) personal story actually begins with Adam and Eve cast out of the Garden. We know firsthand the effects of the Fall, but have no imagination of the true nature of the Eden-Paradise out of which we came. After we have seen that the first major “choice” our forebears made was to disobey the commandment to not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, now we can ask, was the temptation by the serpent, and their subsequent disobedience, “God’s will?”
Let’s look first at the setting into which Adam and Eve were introduced, and the things “behind the scenes” of which they were most likely unaware.
The first thing I want to mention is the will of the Father. And the primary will of the Father is to beget the Son, “The LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.” (Ps 2:7). And this Son is the “the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power.” (Heb 1:3). All the manifest “potential” the Father sees in invisibility, all creation and His Eternal Purpose, comes via, out of, The Son. He is the first point of expression, the foundation of all the universe, Whom Paul says in Colossians is the One in Whom the whole creation is sustained, even saying, “by Him all things consist,” (Col 1:17). Said another way, everything is “made of” Him! And He is the Same One Who came to us as the Man Jesus Who is called Christ, in the fullness of the Godhead in a human body, to accomplish everything the Father purposed from the Eternal.
The Father, in Paul’s terms, is “invisible,” and Christ, “is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature.” (Col 1:15). Paul writes it again to Timothy: “God [the Father], who quickeneth all things … dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting.” (1 Tim 6:16).
What this means is that there is no “manifestation” of the Father except the Son. There is nothing the Father wills except the Son. He is the WORD, the LOGOS, of God, and all “particularity” (individual being) is out from Him, the Son, as further “words” contained in THE WORD. In the One WORD God spoke, the Son, was the opening of all things through the Son. The Son is the brightness of His glory, meaning that all that He, the Father, is, He expresses by this Son. There is no reserve; everything the Son has the Father has given Him, and the Father has given Him all things without exception.
If we could step back from that picture a moment, I think it would be helpful to consider what is this “Son” that the Father desires to manifest with such a great desire, that He moves Himself within Himself out of the quietude of eternal stillness, where He is sufficient in Himself in all things, and has no maker or source before Him nor is there anything that could move or influence Him for He has no need of anything, since He is Himself All, in all.
Jacob Boehme says there are certain things that we are not to consider of the Godhead, because, as he said, “It confuses us.” One, is to consider, “Where did God come from?” or, “How did He come to be?” It breaks the mind. Too much consideration of those questions could make the mind permanently broken. The one that puts me in that spin of confusion is, “Why is there anything at all?”
We cannot penetrate beyond the simple statement, “God Is.” Or, as He described Himself to Moses and through Jesus, “I AM that I AM.”
Still, He has not only told us that “He is,” but by His mercy and grace He has made known to us what “kind” of God He is. He is Love, the God of “other-love,” that is. The Love of God is outgoing, not seeking to elevate itself but to elevate its object, to reproduce that same outward-going love generation after generation without end. As such He is blessing, light, wisdom, loving-kindness, grace, mercy, and all other “attributes” of God, manifest in and through the Son.
He is the Omniscient, Omnipresent, All-wise All-loving and All-powerful God, Whom nothing can withstand, but – He has a limitation! I had always believed God could do anything, but the scripture says He has a limitation – He cannot lie! (Titus 1:2). He “cannot” lie, because He is Love.
We might respond, well, sure, that’s one of His attributes, but this “attribute” limits Him. Why? Because it implies a choice, a division. When one says yes to one thing, one also says no to another. To lie is to be for oneself, which is the kingdom of darkness, the kingdom of “I am for me.” To lie is to twist truth for one’s own gratification with no regard of any other but oneself. God eternally spoke, “I will not be that. I will not lie. I AM Truth!” Therefore, He cannot lie!
We must conclude that this limitation is Self-Imposed (in the crudity of my human understanding). What other influences were there, except that which He knew only in Himself? What counsel did He receive, except that which came from Himself only?
Another very vital thing we can see here, which is in some sense the foundation of everything else, is the issue of “alternative” choices, sets of mind, eternal will, whatever anyone wants to call it. To say God cannot lie, implies an eternal unmanifest possibility that He “could” lie. It is a possibility to which He forever says, “No!”
If the opposite does not exist as a possibility, there is no need to say “no” to it! Because of His “Eternal Yes,” to other-love, and, “Eternal No,” to self-for-self, in Him it is a possibility that forever cannot come to manifestation. Not ever ever ever! But it nevertheless remains as a possibility in all the sentient creatures of God, especially men and to a degree, angels, that all the “negatives” to which God has forever declared in Himself, “No,” still exist in the mystery of possibility for any creature born in the freedom of God.
Which is why Lucifer could rebel and become Satan, which God foreknew and foresaw. In the heart of God the issue had been eternally settled, from eternal to eternal, through all the ages and eons that He is love and He cannot lie.
But it nevertheless remained in the inner freedom of God as an alternative possibility, and Satan seized on the opportunity in his own freedom as a creature of the God Who is Love and not the God of compulsion, to attempt to supplant God from His place in his own being, by self-willing to “be like Him,” and to ascend above God, in self-might, not in other-love but in self-love, which did not exist in the Godhead but was awakened in the creature by his own self-imagining and self-hypnosis to his own beauty and glory. (Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28:13-15).
(The name, “Lucifer,” is only used in this one scripture in the KJV. It is variously translated in other versions, most often as “Day Star.” The reason Lucifer is used is because the monk called St. Jerome, who translated the Bible from its original Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek into Latin in the 4th century, used the Latin word, “Lucifere,” which means light bringer or light bearer, in the Isaiah 14 passage. Jerome identified Lucifer as the devil, and it became part of Christian tradition if not official doctrine, that Lucifer was synonymous with Satan. It is not universally accepted among Christians that this is so, but that is hardly unusual. After considering all this, I can only continue to see the Isaiah 14 passage as a look into the mystery of where evil came from in its beginnings. To me, the 5 “I will’s” in Isaiah 14:13-14, are part of the universal manifesto of eternal evil.)
I think this is the very heart of things, not just with God in this “Grand scale” picture, but also in our being as well, because what it is getting to is the self itself, the human self and its coming into its true “own” (a gift of God), which is a finding and living of the “life hidden with God in Christ,” (Col 3:3), while at the same time finding full acceptance of our humanity also in Christ, which we will see more as we progress in this.
If we see that the Father is eternally begetting the Son as the Express Image of Who the Father is, then we can also begin to see that the Image the Father expresses in the Son, is out of this same Self-imposed limitation, and the desire in the Father toward the manifestation of this eternally begotten Son, begins to bring to substance the purpose, desire, and drive in the Father, not just to be “a” Son, but a particular Son, One Who is His Image of Love, and therefore the expression (the Son) must have form and definition to express the invisibility of the Father – by the Spirit.
Form and definition then require some molding and shaping and using this and discarding that. Two things we easily see that describes the Father’s inner truth toward the manifestation of the Son: first, that He cannot lie, and second, that in the heart of God in the Throne from the foundations of the earth there is a “Lamb as it had been slain.” (Rev 5:6).
Both of these are indicative of what “kind” of God we have. A GOD WHO ALREADY HAD THE SOLUTION AT HAND BEFORE ANY OFFENSE OCCURRED!
Not only that, but even more astounding, is that this High Almighty Omnipresent God, who dwells above all things where nothing can touch Him nor can He be moved by anything to either His detriment or His good, for He already Is All and nothing can be added to Him nor taken away from Him – that GOD took it upon Himself to BE the answer!
He did not create a new creature and assign His New Super Creature to accomplish the salvation of the world. Angels could not handle it, either. Nor did He look among fallen men to see which one could do the job. None of them were qualified. And yet, salvation had been lost by man, because the First Man could not stand in the test and fell. However, since by Man, man fell, it had to be by Man, that man was raised again. There had to be a second Man, Who would come to restore the First into the Second. (The last shall be first.)
In what I can only say crudely because of my human limitation, God knew that the only way to be what He had decided to be, the Son as the “Lamb slain,” who cannot lie, Who is eternally given for blessing and light and joy and the eternal purposes of Love, was to bring forth the Son in visible form, as a real man among men, in our world, to redeem and restore those who had been lost in Adam’s fall.
All of this we have been discussing, is really just the setup for one of the goals of this writing. And that is to explain, according to our understanding, how we can say God accomplishes His loving will in all things, when to us we cannot see how God could “mean” or “purpose” the evil. How can evil be “justified,” so to speak?
End Part 3