Chapter Two: God’s Nature in Nature

Chapter Two

“For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.  To Him be the glory forever, Amen!”   Romans 11:36

Having created the heavens and the earth, and all that dwelt within and upon them, God initiated the first…and still continuing…game of ‘Hide and Go Seek’.  I’m not talking about the incident in the garden with Adam and Eve, though that did employ both components of hiding and seeking (the cause of which we will examine later).  No, I’m referring to the hiding of God’s truths about His nature in the earth’s nature. To ensure mankind would seek Him, He left him with two things:  a questioning mind and a quarry of clues.  Surely, between the two, man would uncover the Creator of all that was, and is, and is to come; surely he would find, stretched between the beginning and the ending, the One who is the beginning and the ending, the Alpha and the Omega. (Revelation 1:8)

So God waited, and He watched, and He wooed; so man pondered, and he prodded, and he ‘pothesized.   What causes the changing of the seasons?  What makes the tides come in and go out?  What holds the planets in orbit?  What causes the formation of rainbows?   Yes, God gave man a questioning mind so that, through asking, He could show up and show out that man might grow up and grow out.  Just where did God place the answers to man’s questions?  He buried them in the earth’s crust and He tucked them into the heaven’s atmosphere and He scattered them across the ocean waves, the sound waves, and the light waves.

Over the years, men have been credited with discovering the clues God embedded in His creation.  Men whose names we recognize like Copernicus, Galilei, and Newton; and men whose names (unless we’re science geeks…or amateur writers who use Google) we don’t recognize like Aristarchus, Shen Kuo, and Theodoric of Freiberg.  Since the beginning of time, man has interacted with the world God created and he has sought to find the answers for the questions that explode like split atoms in his mind.  Though discoveries tend to bear the name of the ones who identified them, it is God who created and concealed them; man simply uncovered them.  Men like Sir Francis Bacon and George Washington Carver acknowledged that their discoveries came from God.  We know because their insights still waft through time and fall upon our inquisitive hearts.

“A little science estranges a man from God; a lot of science brings him back.” –Sir Francis Bacon

“I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.” –George Washington Carver

“Reading about nature is fine, but if a person walks in the woods and listens carefully, he can learn more than what is in books, for they speak with the voice of God.” –George Washington Carver

So, we shouldn’t be surprised to find that Newton’s laws of motion are actually Elohim’s laws of movement, and Kepler’s Laws of planetary motion originated as El Shaddai’s laws of celestial cohesion.

It is within this preface and upon this premise that the Law of Opposites continues to unfold.  Having created a world defined by opposites, God crammed it with attributes comprised of opposites.  Though they are found within the entire field of science, their existence is summarized in this one statement, in this one law:  for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.  In textbooks, this is known as Newton’s third law of motion; in Creation’s context, it is known as God’s first law of nature, and its evidence is everywhere.

When we interact with magnets, we learn of their push and their pull: of their polar opposites.  When we look at electricity, the light switch of revelation turns on as we note the presence of electrons and protons, the recognition of negative charges and positive charges.  And what about the buoyancy principle?  According to Archimedes, “the force acting on, or buoying, a submerged or partially submerged object equals the weight of the liquid that the object displaces.”  Here we see that force is calculated by the contrast that occurs when two objects have an opposite impact upon each other; one displaces while the other holds places!

Along with the laws of nature evident within our scientific world, there are also the laws of science evident within our natural world.  For example, when studying rocks and minerals we note their texture and their density.  Are they rough or smooth; are they hard or soft? We find temperatures at which liquids freeze and liquids boil and we manipulate items as they change from a solid, to a liquid, to a gas.  With every principle and with every law there lies at its core not only the grain of truth but the God of Truth.  That which is tested examines its contents; that which is proven exalts its Creator.

And, when curiosity evolves into questions and when questioning erupts into quarrying, the game of hide and seek begins…and continues…as theories emerge and principles equate and laws establish and God expounds:  and the created beholds its Creator.  What man mistook for intellect, God meant for insight; what science mislabeled as reasonable, God not only marked but manifested as revelation, for “from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.”  Within the realization of every scientific “discovery” lies the reality of the God who “hid” it.  In magnetism, poles with opposing forces work on objects to pull in and to push out; through magnetism, we uncover the attribute of God’s holiness: He pushes away sin and pulls in righteousness.  Then, there is the presence of magnetic fields which surround magnets.  Does God not have such a force around Him that also attracts and deflects?  While God desires that all men are drawn to Him through His Son (I Timothy 2:4), Jesus stated that many would push away from His teachings (John 6:66).

Through Andre-Marie Ampere’s curiosity, God revealed the relationship between magnetism and electricity.  Ampere found that magnetic fields have moving particles and that this movement, or current, can produce electricity.  Where there is no movement, there is no attraction.  Read that again.  Where there is no movement, there is no attraction.  Need I charge your Biblical worldview battery here, or do you already feel the force of that magnetic field?  We know we serve a living, moving, current-flowing God whose one intent is to draw all men to Him, but do we also realize that for Him to draw, we need to move?  Do we realize that our attraction to God will wane with the decrease or absence of His current, of His Spirit, flowing through us?  Science revealed it…God inhabits it.  And, as being made in the image of God, we also display the attributes of our Father.  But, lacking His holiness, we can use our magnetism, our “force fields”, to influence others positively or negatively.  We can pull them in that they too may learn about the God who first pulled us, or we can push them away and miss the connection…and increased current…God made available to us.

And what about our buoyancy principle?  Just how do we amass God’s presence in this?  (See the pun…oh, I love it when these float up!)  As Archimedes soaked in his tub, God’s truth rose to the surface.  Archimedes sat down and the water rose up; Archimedes rose up and the water sat down.  To keep from having to actually explain the law of displacement any further, for fear that I would have to plunge into waters deeper than any tub could hold…or my mind could contain, let me plug the drain right here:  that which is displaced can be measured by that which it replaced.  To relate this to God’s nature, we would say that which God removes can be measured by that which God replaces. In Joel 2:25, God introduces the law of displacement:  “The LORD says, “I will give you back what you lost to the swarming locusts, the hopping locusts, the stripping locusts, and the cutting locusts.”  Here we see God’s restorative nature as He promises to replace that which He removed.  When it feels like our losses are greater than our gains, we cling to the God who holds us up…the God who keeps us afloat in shallow tubs and in high seas.  (I fear I’ve held my breath too long pondering over the simplification of this principle and, as such, am now experiencing the cranial bends.   Therefore, if my accuracy has been displaced as my analogy submerged, please forgive me and seek the truth yourself as you soak in your own thoughts…or tub.)

While these are but a sampling of examples, I believe them to be accurately depictive of God’s created nature and of His revealed nature; I believe God’s creations bear not only His fingerprints but His DNA as well. Within the world that God created, He not only left visible signs of His omniscience but He also left invisible signs of His omnipotence and of His omnipresence; God inhabits the works of His hands and reveals Himself through its principles, its laws, and its truths.  And, when He set things in order and then in motion, He established the first law of nature:  for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. God is the God of opposites.  It was manifested when He separated light from dark, the heavens above from the earth below, the waters from the land, and when He created mankind:  male and female He created them.  And the evidence of opposites is apparent not only in the creation of the world but also in the sustaining of world for the law of opposites courses through the very laws through which God holds all things together.  The law of opposites pulses through creation and is as palpable as a heartbeat detected by a doctor’s stethoscope; it is the heartbeat of God:  for every rhythm, there is an equal and opposite rhythm…for from Him and through Him and to Him are all things…to God be the glory forever!  Amen.

newtons 3rd law cartoon

Next week…the law of opposites revealed first in heaven…and then in the garden.

Chapter Four: The Opposites of Yes and No

  Chapter Four:  The Opposites of Yes and No

 “No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”       Luke 16:13

 When last we met, we were under the Opposite Tree, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.  It was the tree that split Eve’s world in two and our history in two.  Before she ate, Eve walked with God; after she ate, Eve walked from God.  Before Adam ate, the world was upright; after Adam ate, the world was upside-down.  As believers, we refer to this event as The Fall.  So many things in our lives, in our world, are traced back to The Fall, the time when sin entered through the door of choice.  Not only did Adam and Eve receive parting gifts of difficult labor and physical death as they were escorted out of the garden, but the earth also received some baggage of its own.  From this time on, new words were added to those which Adam had compiled for the first dictionary; words like weeds and thorns, drought and famine, poisonous and carnivorous, malignant and inoperable…sin and judgment.  When we look around at our world today, we trace every hurtful, harmful, hell-bent event back to The Fall.  It is one of our turning points in history.  And, because its hinges swing two ways, it too reveals the Law of Opposites.

As stated in the last chapter, (what we will now refer to as) The Fall came about because God created a world in which man could choose Him.  When God created Adam and Eve, He also created choice.  He did not desire programmed but preferential praise…and for that man would need a free will.  It was a daring move, but we serve a dauntless God…and a sovereign God, for He already knew the outcome of such an offer so that before Eve said, “Yes,” to the produce, His Son had said, “Yes,” to the plan.  It is in these yeses that we continue (or should I say continuum?) our look at the Law of Opposites, for where there is a yes, there is also a no.

In Matthew 5:37, Jesus said to let our yes be yes and our no be no.  The context is that of keeping one’s word; we are to mean what we say and to say what we mean.  But there is another application we can surmise from Jesus’ advice about our yeses and our nos, and it’s found in the Law of Opposites.

Surely we would all agree that yes and no are opposites.   They lie as direct contradictions to one another.  I can say yes or no to something, but I cannot say yes and no to the same thing.  If I were to place yes and no on a ‘decision line’, then one would lie to the extreme right and the other would lie to the extreme left; they would be opposite one another.  With this image of a yes/no line of continuum, it is easy to visualize this next statement:  every move toward one end is a move away from the other end.  If I take a step toward yes, I move away from no, and if I take a step toward no, I move away from yes.  That’s a simple presentation…with a compound application.

When Eve said yes to the serpent, she said no to God; when Adam said yes to Eve, he said no to Elohim.  And since that day, since that yes, we’ve been following in their footsteps…right out of the garden and right into the gulley.  With every yes we emit to the world, we utter a no to The Way (John 14:6); with every choice we make for, we make a decision against.  We say yes to a promotion, we say no to Saturdays at home; we say yes to a new boat, we say no to Sundays at church; we say yes to every activity, we say no to suppers at home.  It’s the truth of the yes/no continuum; we can’t move in two directions at the same time, though we often feel pulled in two directions!  “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other,” (Luke 16:13); we cannot please both God and the flesh, we cannot go left and right at the same time.

So how do we “walk the line”?  How do we let our yes, or our no, move us in the right direction?  We take one step at a time, we make one decision at a time.  The good news is, being opposites, the same principle applies to both ends of the continuum.  Therefore, for every no we reply to the world, there is a yes we release to The Way.  This seems so elementary, but it can be enlightening when it comes to the decisions we make.  If I can keep my mental eye on both ends of the yes/no continuum, then I can look to see not only what I am moving toward but also what I am moving from.  It’s a valuable perspective because, without it, I lose my peripheral vision; without it, I become myopic and see all movement as productive.  But, when I step back far enough to see what lies in each direction, then I can “let my yes be yes, and my no be no” for I know not only what I am moving toward, but also what I am moving from.

While this yes/no principle succumbs to the Law of Opposites and, therefore, stands true, God has provided many examples for our benefit…for our encouragement.  Let’s start with Noah; he gave God a resounding yes that lasted for 120 years as he committed to the task of building an ark…at a time when the earth had yet to know rain, much less a flood.  That yes to building a boat resulted in a no to building an admirable reputation…at least until the rain came.  Then, there’s Abraham; he said yes to a new land and no to an established homestead.  His yes led to the formation of a nation, which, by and large, is bigger and larger than a homestead.  Want another one?  How about Rahab?  She said yes to hiding some spies and no to those who were looking for them.  In doing this, she said yes to Jehovah and no to Jericho; yes to a scarlet line out her window, yes to a bloodline with her Savior.  Then, there are some infamous no-givers.  How about Joseph who said no to Potiphar’s wife?  It was a costly no at first, but its dividends paid off in the end as Joseph went from working in the palace to leading from the palace.  Ruth serves as an example of one whose no landed her in a new land…and yielded her a new husband.  When told by her mother-in-law to stay in Moab following the death of her husband, Ruth said no and followed Naomi to Bethlehem.  There, she met Boaz…and from their lineage the second king of Israel would arise; he too would say no.  David was his name; waiting was his game.  He’d been anointed as Israel’s future king in his youth, but waiting for God’s plans to unfold kept him walking the fine line of yeses and nos.  While he waited for a yes on God’s timing, David had to say a few nos to man’s timing.  No to killing Saul when he came into David’s cave and no to killing Saul when David came into his camp.  David’s no to taking matters into his own hands led him toward the yes of waiting for God to take matters into His own hands…and He did, and David, in time, became Israel’s second king.  The list goes on…Andrew and Peter, James and John, Paul and Silas, (John) Newton and (Charles) Wesley, (Charles) Spurgeon and (D.L.) Moody.  Each of these individuals said no to their plans and yes to God’s purpose; each of them had to turn their back to some things that they might turn their heart to one thing, and with each directional step, they let their no be no and their yes be yes.

It’s the Law of Opposites.  While practically we can only move in one direction at a time, positionally we can move in two directions as we realize each step toward is also a step from; with each pronounced yes, we are also proclaiming a no.  So let’s rightly position ourselves on the yes/no continuum.  Let’s look to see where our next step lands us; will we be closer to God or further from Him?  Will we say yes to our goals or yes to God’s glory?  Will we say no to our plans or no to God’s perfection?  We cannot serve two masters; we cannot walk in two directions; we cannot say yes without also saying no.


Chapter Eight: Son of Man, Son of God

Chapter Eight:  Son of God…Son of Man

Who do people say the Son of Man is?…Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.  Matthew 16: 13,16

               In moving from the written word of God to the incarnate Word of God, let us now examine two titles by which Jesus referred to Himself: the Son of Man and the Son of God.  The first name denotes Jesus’ earthly lineage and the second declares His eternal heritage.  One name embraces humanity, while the other encapsulates deity.  And yet, both are completely accurate in their depiction of Jesus, the Christ.  How can this be?  How can Jesus be fully flesh and entirely without form, tangible and intangible, anchored to time and space and yet be before and beyond all time and space?  How is the Son of Man also the Son of God?

We’re informed of this transformation in the first and fourteenth verses of the Gospel of John.  “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God…and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…and we beheld His glory.”  Because Jesus took on flesh that we might behold Him, in His visibility He became the Son of Man.  But because flesh could not contain the entirety of who He was, He remained the Son of God.  In essence, as one-third of the Trinity, Jesus stepped from before time, to complete in time, that which would be needed beyond time, once and for all time.  And because what He came to do required a tangible sacrifice, Jesus became visible as the Son of Man; but because what He came to do required a sinless offering, Jesus never ceased to be the Spotless Son of God.

What a dichotomy in these two names:  Jesus of Nazareth and Jesus the Christ.  In the first, we behold the Son of Man; in the second, we bow down to the Son of God.  But make no mistake, in both we encounter deity; One is clothed in garments while One is clothed in glory.  And, while their roles are as inextricably woven together as are their identities, each is presented separately in Scripture that we might, but for a moment, delight in the delusion of “understanding” God.  So, just when did Jesus present Himself as the Son of Man?  Let us listen in on some conversations in which He identified Himself in such a manner.

To the scribe who said he’d follow Jesus:

In Matthew 8:19-20, a seemingly convicted scribe proclaims that he will follow Jesus wherever He goes, but in response he hears, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”

 To the paralytic & the skeptics:

In Mark 2:1-12, a paralyzed man is brought to Jesus for healing.  When Jesus informs the lame man that his sins are forgiven, the noses of some of the “by the scroll” scribes are disjointed.  They wonder how this Man can forgive sins when only God is able to do that.  Reading their thoughts, as well as their hearts, Jesus responds, “Which is easier to say…your sins are forgiven…or to say…take up your bed and walk?  But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins…I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”

To the disciples in Caesarea Philippi:

In Matthew 16:13-17, Jesus asks His disciples a revealing question:  “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”  The answers that came forward included John the Baptist, Elijah, and Jeremiah.  Then, Jesus asked the disciples who they thought He was.  Peter spoke up and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” to which Jesus said he was blessed for only the Father could have revealed His true identity to Peter.

To the disciples towards the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry:

In Mark 10:35-45, a little dispute occurs among Jesus’ disciples.  James and John approach Jesus with a request to sit on His right hand and on His left hand when His kingdom is established.  Not surprisingly, the other ten disciples get a bit miffed about the whole matter…perhaps because they didn’t get their bids in first…at any rate, discord ensues and distrust is just around the corner.   So what does Jesus, the Master Teacher, do?  He calls the class to order and reminds them of who they are…because of who He is.  “Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant.  And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all.  For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

To the high priest while on trial:

Again in Mark, this time in chapter 14:61-62, Jesus identifies Himself while on trial before the Sanhedrin.  The high priest asks Him if He is “the Christ, the Son of the Blessed”, to which Jesus replies, “I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”  It was enough to condemn Him before the council.  For them, the Son of Man was synonymous with the Son of God.

               These are but a handful of examples of when Jesus referred to Himself as the Son of Man.  In all, there are 83 occurrences of this title in the New Testament, and all of them come from the mouth of Jesus.  Who better knew His role or His purpose than Jesus, and therefore could more accurately identify Himself as the Son of Man, than Jesus? Within these five dialogues, Jesus discloses that this earth is not His home, that He has power to heal and to forgive, that the Son’s true identity can only be revealed by the Father, that the greatest place of honor is in the seat of service, and that the highest seat in glory will be filled by the Son of Man…which leads us to Jesus’ other namesake:  Son of God.

Again, we will look to the Scriptures that reveal Jesus as the Son of God.  Notice that while Jesus refers to Himself as the Son of God, those to whom His true identify has been revealed proclaim Him as the Son of God.  First on the scene is John the Baptist.  He knew Him at a glance.

Through John the Baptist:

In John 1:29-30 and 34, we hear John the Baptist say, “Behold!  The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!  This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.’  And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.”

Through Nathanael:

Upon meeting and hearing from Jesus, Nathanael said, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God!  You are the King of Israel!”

To the Jews:

In John 8, Jesus is talking with a group of Jews who do not believe that He is the Messiah, the Son of God. In the course of the conversation, Jesus aligns Himself with the Father, revealing that, though He is the Son of Man, He is also the Son of God.  In His conversation, Jesus says the following:  “I am with the Father who sent Me (John 8:16); I am from above (John 8:23); I am He (John 8:24); Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” (John 8:58).

In John 10:27-30, Jesus again makes the connection between Himself and the Father, showing that the Son of Man is also the Son of God.  Here, Jesus shares His relationship with, and protection over, those whom the Father has given Him when He says, “My sheep hear My voice and I know them, and they follow Me. And I will give eternal life to them that they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand…I and the Father are one.”

               While the title, Son of God, is not used as frequently as Son of Man, its implication cannot be denied.  The Jews heard it and they wanted to stone Him; the Pharisees heard it and they wanted to silence Him; but His flock heard it and they chose to follow Him.  It was a name that extracted Him from the Jewish sect, excluded Him from the religious sect, but exalted Him over the earthly sect.  Upon His death, the earth shook, the heavens rumbled, and the cross that connected the two bore both the Son of Man and the Son of God.

A paradox?  Yes.  A pair of Saviors?   No.  One God; one purpose; one Savior.  Two names; two realms; two victories (over Satan and over death).  Jesus, Son of Man, the Word made flesh; Jesus, Son of God, the Sacred made Savior.

It’s a God thing, this Law of Opposites, as evidenced in the Person of Jesus Christ:  the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power and coming with the clouds of heaven (Mark 14:61); the only begotten Son of God through whom all who believe are saved (John 3:18).  Thank You, Son of God, for leaving Heaven to come to earth; thank you Son of Man for leaving earth to return to Heaven…to prepare a place for us.