I learned from Michael Wilson’s blog that the San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone had called on the Catholic Church to deny Communion to prominent pro-abortion Catholics.
I agree with Archbishop Cordileone, but would add a twist to his call making it relevant even for non-Catholics: All Christians should advisethose who are pro-abortion to refrain from Communion until they have repented.
Does that sound harsh?
What would be harsh would be Satan’s accusations full of finger-pointing and despair with no hope of forgiveness on the other side. However, this call is different. It is a call to the discomfort of repentance and the liberation of change where pardon replaces that crash into the brick wall.
Although Rebekah told Isaac of the prophecy she received that Jacob, the second-born of her twins and her favorite, was to receive the blessing, as the boys matured Esau, the first-born and Isaac’s favorite, seemed to Isaac better able to carry any burdens his blessing might require.
In his old age with failing eyesight, Isaac decided to give the blessing to Esau rather than Jacob without telling Rebekah, but she overheard his plan and improvised one of her own. She prepared the meal Isaac requested from Esau, covered Jacob’s arms with fur to imitate Esau’s hairy skin and dressed him in Esau’s clothing to deceive her husband. Not even Jacob, willing though he was to go along with it, thought her plan would work, but it did.
After realizing he had been fooled, Isaac reluctantly remembered the prophecy and remained faithful to it reaffirming the blessing he unwittingly gave to Jacob. Esau, however, wanted revenge and so Rebekah convinced Isaac to send Jacob off on the pretext of finding a suitable wife, not one like Esau found among the locals, knowing that she would likely never see Jacob again.
Rafael walked home with his daughter, Celia, to bring her back to her mother. Celia told him about Derek, and she wondered how he knew so much about him? Rafael didn’t think he knew much at all.
They climbed the stairs to the second story apartment wondering what Celia’s mother would say or do when she saw her daughter again after two years. The silence of their searching eyes overcame the hardened words and deeds from their memories. Then tears restored their lost connection.
If one has a closed natural system where nothing can enter to support it from the outside, the system will run down. Any order will become disorder in a finite amount of time. Entropy is a measure of disorder.
In naturalistic or materialistic worldviews the universe we live in is supposed to be such a closed system. There is nothing outside it. Or, if there is, that supernatural stuff can’t break through the boundaries of the closed system to offer support.
In the Christian worldview not only is there an outside to the universe but that outside is powerful, willing and intelligent enough to both create the universe and make an ongoing difference to it. The material universe is not closed in this worldview although it could be hypothetically viewed as closed to study what would happen to it assuming the outside did not intervene.
For example, if we assumed nothing would stop erosion, weathering and traffic from the outside, we could ask how long the hypothetically closed system of the rock formations in the photo above would remain intact? No one doubts that there is intelligence outside this system of rock formations. Just by studying the system we are that intelligence outside it. After a study is made other people powerful and willing enough could use the findings to implement policies to preserve the formations. All of that study and preservation comes from outside this system of rock formations intervening to alter what would happen to it if those formations were left alone.
If we supposed that our universe were closed with no outside support, the main mystery would be how our universe came to be. With entropy we cannot claim that our universe had always been here to avoid addressing its origin. If our universe were infinitely old, it would have run down by now. Furthermore, any popping of ordered reality out of nothing or even out of less ordered stuff would require an explanation how that popping could increase orderliness without the assistance of some outside intelligence.
In the past it was believed that random mutations filtered through natural selection could serve as the mechanism allowing living organisms within a closed universe to evolve into ever more complex organisms without help from the outside. The change coming from random mutations would be mindlessly directed by natural selection to achieve this. R. A. Fisher even offered a mathematical proof that it would work.
However, with further study of mutation-selection the opposite is now known to happen. This perpetual motion mechanism is not what we thought it was. Even Fisher’s Theorem has been flipped by William F. Basener and John C. Sanford. The following podcast with John Sanford puts this in perspective.
Rather than describing a means by which evolution could occur mutation-selection describes the mechanism behind genetic entropy. Without outside help, living species in a closed system not only do not evolve into super-species, they run down just like everything else does. At some point in their genome degeneration they go extinct.
Helen heard an infant crying, slid down to the river and found a newborn, an expendable pawn, abandoned to die and be washed away near a drain outlet. She wrapped the baby in her coat and then almost fell when the ground shook from the explosion while hearing Bill yell from above, “Helen, get out of there!” The water from the burst dam crushed her against vegetation on the bank as she protected the infant until her team reached them.
Bill and Rose adopted the child Helen rescued and invited Helen to stay with them indefinitely since she lived alone and could no longer take care of herself given her injuries which gave Helen days, months and then years to read to and guide Little Helen from her wheelchair.
When Little Helen was three years old a man gave her a permanent marker to write a message while Rose held her so she could reach the top of the casket. As she carefully made her marks she suddenly looked up with astonishment and proclaimed loud enough for all to hear, “Mommy, Auntie Helen is dancing with Jesus!“
Predestination is God’s plan for us for responsible service as slaves of Jesus and yet children of God (Matthew 6:9, 1 John 3:2). There is nothing more meaningful or fulfilling in one’s life than coming to repentance and accepting that destiny. He wills it for all of us (2 Peter 3:9, 1 Timothy 2:4).
However, predestination is overshadowed within some traditions by adding on the notion of predeterminism. These traditions contain conceptions of the nature of God that pit our free will against God’s glory.
Starting at 28:00 for about 13 minutes David Pawson described two views of predestination, the Arminian and the Calvinist (Reformed) views.
This video is part of Pawson’s introduction to the Bible covering the books from Genesis to Revelation. After going through this series I began to see myself and those around me as living within an historical drama leading to a wedding the significance of which I had not appreciated before. The Christian worldview came to life. It is from within that worldview revealed by the Bible that I now consider issues such as predestination.
In section D6 of Election and Reprobation at Monergism, Wayne Grudem made summary observations that I agree with: “So in a Reformed system God’s highest value is his own glory, and in an Arminian system God’s highest value is the free will of man. These are two distinctly different conceptions of the nature of God….”
Given these two distinctly different conceptions of the nature of God, I ask myself: If God’s highest value were really his own glory, why the crucifixion? If God’s highest value were not the free will of man, how did sin and the resulting evil enter the historical narrative of the Christian worldview as revealed by the Bible?
Eventually Bill stopped giving Rafael excuses and entered the revival tent hoping his doubts wouldn’t dampen the effervescent joy in others should a miracle occur. He stood at the back where he met a missionary who had scars across her cheeks, lips, ears and nose. She explained that the militia overpowering her town a decade ago carried off the pretty girls for prostitution and mutilated the ugly ones or killed them, like her sister, to demoralize the surrounding communities.
Bill went back often and at one point disclosed to her as a warning that his work was dangerous. In turn she reminded him that she was one of the ugly ones.
She loved it when he called her Rose and they were married under the revival tent.
Mary Hood (tqhousecat) at mehflowers linked to MercyMe’s song I Can Only Imagine in her post, Wake Up Dreaming, contrasting it with John Lennon’s Imagine. What a contrast! I can’t even imagine what must have been going through Lennon’s mind when he wrote what he did.
This beautiful song has been around for some time, but it is the first time I’ve heard it. I am grateful to Mary for sharing it. I may never have heard it otherwise.
Celia’s boyfriend, Derek, with two of his friends helping, removed his things from her apartment the morning she met her father, Rafael, at the café. How did her father know Derek could not be trusted? Since the arguments with her mother she had not spoken to either of them. How did her father even know there was a Derek?
Rafael remained in the café for some time after Celia ran off and then decided to walk by the ocean before going home. He was wondering what their next move should be and how he would tell his wife that his meeting with their daughter failed when he heard footsteps running from behind and Celia shouting, “Dad, wait!”