This is the Inaugural Essay of Logotech. In it, I introduce the core ideas that inform and drive the most important content of this website. Please note that there are links to go to a specific page, and to the next and previous pages.
I apologize for its length and unusual style, which is not typical of a religiously oriented website. The style is more like a science article after the sytle of "Connections" or of Issac Asimov's popular science articles. The format to pose a question or puzzle, pursue it, and pursue any resulting rabbit trails. The goal is actually at the end of what looks like a rabbit trail, but turns out to be really important. The point of the style is to teach that appearances are deceiving, and to explore all avenues and angles.
A Celebration of Science and Humanity?
"A celebration of Science and Humanity" is how Darwin Day, February 12, is being promoted by the Secular Materialists as a holiday. It got started in 2004, and the linked website serves as a central registry for celebration events being planned and as an archive of past celebrations. The fact that the word "evolution" is being used in place of "life cycle" so as to permit an unwitting conflation of well accepted and undisputed concepts like stellar and galactic evolution with biological evolution by natural selection should give you an idea of the motivations behind the holiday. The wrapping of the whole of science about a specific theory of origins whose original proponent was flat-out wrong on every major prediction he made is equalled by Marxism's marketing of itself as a "scientific" uber-discipline encompassing history, sociology, and economics. Most intolerable is the deliberate association of Abraham Lincoln with Darwin Day, based solely on the fact that the date is also Lincoln's Birthday! Lincoln was the clearest, most explicit, and relentless expositor and advocate of an American brand of Civil Religion that urged a worship of the Judaeo-Christian God under the guise of Providence. In this, Lincoln was definitely a theist, because the answer to the question of whether God interacts with creation defines the difference between Theism and Deism, and the record is full of accounts of him petitioning Providence during the Civil War, and urging his fellow citizens to do the same. Indeed, if religion is to be tolerated during Darwin Day (and in a society urged to carry the spirit of Darwin Day into all other days), it would be of the Deistic persuasion. The effects of Lincoln's work in this area continue to this day, in which the citizens of the United States are consistently polled as one of the most religious populations in earth.
Holidays and Holy Days
How should the Theistic branch of the Christian Church respond to the establishment and promotion of Darwin Day? There are a multitude of ways to do so, and a complete reponse would require pursuing more than one avenue. The response I am proposing here is to take an existing celebration of some event in the Christian calendar and promote it as the Christian equivalent of "Darwin Day". This would require some re-interpretation of the event behind the "holy day".
The main problem with promoting the most appropriate event, Creation, is that it lacks a traditional and accepted date. Some wags would suggest that we use Lord Usser's date for creation, but I would tend to go with the Ancient Hebrews in this regard. Unfortunately, while each of the appointed feast days of the Jews had a specific purpose, such as celebrating the outcome of a specific event in history, or a religious exercise that prophetically pointed to a future event, none of them can be plausibly said to celebrate the act of Creation itself. There's the feast of First Fruits, which is a celebration-in-advance in the Spring of the promise of the harvest, which is celebrated as the feast of Trumpets in the Fall. However, those feasts would be the Jewish and Christian holy days that would best correspond to April 22, Earth Day, than Darwin Day. Even then, the correspondence is a bit forced between Trumpets and Earth Day, since Thanksgiving is the counterpart to Trumpets. (The highest "holy day" of Lincoln's Civil Religion would be Thanksgiving.)
Holy Days and the Right Reasons for Them
Another problem for picking a day that the Christian Church is going to put up against Darwin Day is that we've got to pick the day based on Christian criteria, not the world's. This means picking a day on which a significant event occurred that contributed significantly either to doctrine or practice. To illustrate this, let's look at the two most prominent days of the Christian Calendar: Christmas and Easter, after we define some terminology.
The main methodology of this website is to approach the problems and issues of Christian theology and practice "after the manner" of experimental scientists and engineers. Since terminology that is precise and consistently applied is necessary in every scientific and engineering endeavor, I will attempt to do the same here by following the practice of Biology in classifying the different kinds of living entities being discussed into separate species based on characteristics that display multiple manifestations. Thus, I will be using the word Homo as a synonym for Homo Sapiens, the entire race of mankind. I will be using the word Spiritus as a synonym for non-physical spirits, such as Angels and Demons. Deus will be a synonym for the subclass of Spiritus that is God. Thus, Trinitiarianism holds that there are three members of the species Deus, while unitarianism/monotheism states that there is only one member.
The "Why" of Christmas
The first significant day is Christmas, the day when Jesus was born. That birth represents a significant change in the nature of God that produced a large and lasting impact on the human race: God became a human being, injecting a new and significant element into the mix of Homo/Deus relationships. The descent of God into humanhood is the real reason why we celebrate Christmas. The way God and Humanity relate now, today, this very instant during which you are reading this article, is radically and substantially different than it was before because Deus is now also Homo. It enables things to be done now, today, that were not possible before that day. Giving the specific citations and reasoning to support this is the proper subject of a different essay, since a exposition worthy of the subject would have to address the entire Book of Hebrews for starters. The doctrine of the Trinity is essential to support the belief that Jesus was God, so consequenly, the implication is that Deus became/entered Homo. Judaism and Islam specifically repudate the idea that Deus would do this, while Secular Materialism, by denying any members to Deus, deny it as well.
Is Christmas "The Day"?
Should our understanding of Christmas, then, be expanded so that it can go up against Darwin Day?
There are two good reasons that Christmas shouldn't be our answer to Darwin Day. For starters, materialism and commercialism (let alone that of the secular sort) is doing a terrific job of hijacking Christmas from the Church and Christianity. Insert here the usual rants about commercialism and materialism dominating the holiday. We have enough trouble reclaiming the Holy Day from being a Holiday, so positioning it to go up against Darwin Day is adding to the burden of those who have set themselves to do the former. We should wish those crusaders well, join them when called upon, and refrain from piling more trouble on their aleady overflowing plate.
The second problem has to do with what happened on that day. To be sure, there was a significant change to the status of Homo with regard to Deus, but all the biological change happened to Jesus, not to us. It's that change in biology that will allow us to argue that the day is a legitmate answer to Darwin Day. Here's Philippians 2:5-8:
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
The incarnation was not a picnic or a day trip to Disney World. It was definitely good news to Homo, but it represented a devolution of a member of Deus. The point of the passage above is to emphasize how big Jesus Christ was before the Incarnation, and how far he, as Deus, sank down in status and nature to rescue Homo. The God who set up kings and puts down kings is dependent on a teenager for His care. The God whose voice establishes laws of nature, worlds, suns, and galaxies is reduced to bawling incoherently for milk, and being mis-understood by His teenage mother to boot. Fer cryin' out loud, the God who orders all things and upholds all things by the Word of His Power CAN'T CONTROL HIS OWN BOWEL MOVEMENTS. The Diety is in danger of diaper rash. Here's 2 Corinthians 8:9:
For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.
Don't get me wrong: Christmas is a fantastic holiday because it celebrates a God who sacrificed a lot to rescue mankind. No other religion in the world has a God that demonstrates that much care and concern for us, and who gets this far down and this dirty to rescue us because He couldn't trust the job of rescuing us to anyone else. A "celebration of humanity"? Does anyone have any idea how many rungs down the evolutionary ladder Deus had to drop to rescue the idiot species that motivated Him to do so in the first place? I sure don't!
The "Why" of Easter
Easter is a significant day in the Church Calendar because it was the day when Jesus Christ was resurrected from the dead, thus forever changing not only the relationship between Homo and Deus, but affecting the potential future destiny of every member of Homo: It is by the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ that we obtain salvation from sin now, and from eternal death later. This is standard Christian belief based on interpretation of Scriptures, and so will not be further defended here. What happened on Easter was so significant that the Apostles (by which I mean the Disciples of Jesus and Paul) took great pains to explain its implications, of which Paul's blunt diatribe to the Corinthians about those who doubted the Resurrection of the Dead is a worthy example.
Is Easter "The Day"?
At first blush, Easter looks good as a candidate to put up against Darwin Day. For starters, it partially reversed some of the downsides that happened to Jesus Christ from the Incarnation, so it does address a form of "biological evolution". Here's Philippians 2:9-11, which follows the passage cited previously:
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Our eternal fate is certainly different after the Resurrection, as Paul explains in the passage I cited previously from Second Corinthians. Without it, there's no guarantee of a future resurrection. It is seen as the authoritative defeat of death in verses 55 and 56. In contrast, the current model of Darwin's theory of Evolution by Natural Selection emphasizes the fact that the genes of the survivors are more likely to be passed on to descendants than those who die before propagating them. The concept of "survival" is seen as a means of "selection" that is natural, and which is a better (but not perfect) guarantee of passing those genes on to descendants. Inferior genes are less likely to be passed on because it is more likely that death would eliminate those who had them before they could reproduce. This is in contrast to Animal Husbandry, which is seen as "artificial" or "guided" selection. "Intelligent Selection", so to speak. There is a certain circularity that is persuasive, since it is suggested that "superior" genes are "superior" because they aid in survival. The spinning of "just so" stories that evolutionists indulge in is seen as justifiable science since they hold that they only need to show how a specific trait or behavior could have contributed to survival. Without death, there is no way to determine which genes are inferior or superior, because "inferior" and "superior" are cast in terms of being less or more able to survive, which is another way of saying that death didn't occur before reproduction. Death is the mechanism behind the evolutionary "pressure" to select between genes: no mechanism, no way to select, and thus no pressure to evolve. The lack of evolutionary pressure is cited as the reason why certain species have shown no evidence of having evolved over millions of years. The fact of Resurrection undercuts the key mechanism that drives evolution.
However, while not putting down the significance of the Resurrection (and Easter as a Holy Day celebrating that victory over death), one has to say that the outward and immediate 'benefits' are quite limited in scope. There is a single reference to some saints being resurrected and appearing to many, but that happened "too early", on Good Friday, not Easter Sunday. All but one of Jesus' post-resurrection miracles were demonstrations of what the resurrection body was like, and the exception was a deliberate replay of one done at the beginning of his ministry. Again, not to show disrespect or take anything away from the significance of the Resurrection for Homo, but all those miracles have the air of Jesus tooling around in a brand new Jag, yelling "Hey guys! GET A LOAD OF WHAT THIS BABY CAN DO!" just before he floors the gas pedal. Yes, we will get a Jag ourselves, but we won't get the keys in this lifetime. And no matter how good and wonderful and kind and gracious and loving and willing Jesus is, he can't loan us the keys to his Jag to give us a fore-taste of what to expect. If all you can do is smell the exhaust and watch the tail lights disappear into that exhaust, you'll eventually get bored and start thinking of doing something more interesting and constructive, like going fishing.
Yes, the fact of Resurrection had an enormous impact on Jesus' followers, including us, but it was primarily conceptual and relational, not physical. Jesus was able to take people's faith, or his own, and was able to work miracles with it, up to resusitating the dead. They had seen it themselves, and had done it themselves. From first hand experience they knew how this stuff worked. They knew they needed God's power to do all these miracles, they knew how it was done, and they did do it. How does an engineer prove that she knows what she claims to know? By her ability to do it consistently and at a high level of quality. That is competence, and the disciples had it in spades. Why didn't they have any faith to resusitate Jesus? Confusion? Fear? Or was it the very real fact that, at its base, they knew that all this stuff worked because their faith was in and on Jesus, and with Jesus gone, their faith was vain and useless? Dead men work no miracles, especially men who admitted to blasphemy, for the disciple John claimed that he was within earshot of the admission.
Simply put, they knew God would not permit the resusitation of a man who claimed to be Him, and so had no faith in their ability to resusitate Jesus.
But Jesus was not resusitated. He was resurrected. Every resuscitation the disciples had witnessed was a restoration of the person to life, but effected no change in the body. Jesus demonstrated after the resurrection abilities they never saw him do before that were tied to the resurrection body. If that isn't evolution, then what is?
And there is this: every resuscitation they had witnessed had been effected via a living human being. Every person able to effect a resuscitation alive at the time were present and accounted for on Easter morning. Yet, a man executed for blasphemy (claiming to be God) was resurrected. The caim that it was done against God's will is a claim that is, in itself, blasphemous. Blind Man's Logic forced the disciples the realization that Jesus' claim to be God therefore had to be true.
The impact this had on the disciple's thinking had to be revolutionary. Their lifestyle for the previous three years was that of moving about as a group, with occasional periods where they broke up into twos to serve as PR advance teams for Jesus. Did they know Jesus? Ya think? These guys knew so much about Jesus, they could authoritatively answer questions from teenager boys about Jesus' body emissions that would make their mothers cringe. These very Jewish men knew a man who was God to a level of detail that they could confidently boast "We know what makes God tick."
Is There Another?
It does look as if Easter is a fair candidate to put up against Darwin Day, although it does have some downsides. Even though there is a lot less commercialism associated with Easter than Christmas, the fate of countless ducks and chicks traditionally sold during that season puts a dismal twist on the concept of the "survival of the fittest", so expect some pithy comments along those lines.
To expand the doctrine of the resurrection to yield a counter-evolutionary, counter-secular materialist slant, will take some spin doctoring since it has been celebrated for centuries without such a spin being put on it. Spin doctoring works as long as no one notices that its being done, and as long as those who do notice do not point it out to those who have not noticed it yet. Personally, I believe the spin will be noticed: While Darwinists believe in truly foolish nonsense, they are among the brainiest and most influential people on the planet at the moment, and their ability to sell foolish nonsense as scientific truth is a testament to their braininess and influence. Do not underestimate them!
However, I'm approaching this as an engineer, and a good one would be thorough and go over all the options. Thus, we ought to look around and see if there is a lesser known event that would be as effective as Easter, but with fewer drawbacks.
Qualifications, and the Holy Days that Don't
If we are going to talk about "better" or "worse", then we will have to use some standard of quality by which to judge the candidates.
For starters, I think it should be a "sleeper". That is, it should be one that isn't celebrated as much as Easter or Christianity, so that the charge of "spin doctoring" would be harder to make. This eliminates Good Friday, because its tied to Easter "at the hip" so to speak.
It would be necessary that the day be KNOWN relative to the calendar year, just as Passover, Good Friday, and Easter are located within the year. This was what eliminated Creation Week, and any attempt to come up with a day of celebration for Creation, such as selecting the first week of the Jewish New Year, is going to have a air of "crockiness" hanging around it if it doesn't have a firm scriptural foundation.
The day must celebrate some significant event in Christianity, otherwise we would be creating something out of whole cloth and asking Christians to celebrate something that has little to no biblical basis. The Darwinists picked Darwin's Birthday for very logical reasons, and we should also for our competing day. This eliminates Ash Wednesday, since there is utterly no scriptural basis for this date other than it being 40 days before Easter. Why 40? Its a numerologically significant number obtained from the Old Testament. A further drawback is that, to put it bluntly, the counting of "Lenten" days is a real crock: Why are Sundays, which are perfectly good and proper days, not counted as part of the 40 before Good Friday, but the Sunday after Good Friday is counted? We need a day and an event that makes logical sense from a theological standpoint, not something that can be easily associated with primitive notions of mystical arithmetic that we already grant are irrelevant.
It would be great if the event the day is celebrating is a pivot on which a great biblical doctrine or truth turns, implying that it is firmly founded on the Scriptures. The more verses the better, and if it tied together related scriptures that are otherwise obscure or regarded as separate, that'd be a bonus since the ability to unify various scriptures scattered throughout the Bible is a hallmark of the truly great doctrines of the Church. The claim for Darwin Day is that evolution is just such a unifying principle (even though a lot of the practical work and research in biology doesn't rely on it one bit). To be honest, this is going to be a bit of a stretch for any existing doctrine to meet, since the ones currently used to refute Evolution by Natural Selection don't have a day associated with them.
What would be wonderful would be a hidden doctrine or truth that nobody's noticed before, but when revealed would make people slap their foreheads and exclaim "Wow! I didn't realize that, but it makes sense!" This, of course, leaves the doctrine open to accusations of being Gnostic or a possible heresy. This is where the I must re-emphasize the need of an event that has a firm scriptural foundation: to have real impact, the doctrine we're talking about should be understandable by anyone and everyone if everyone is going to buy into the need to celebrate the day that stands in for that doctrine, in the same way that Christmas "stands in" for the Incarnation and Easter for the Resurrection. Needless to say, this hidden doctrine's supporting verses should be numerous enough and simple enough to deflect charges of Heresy, and the supporting commentary shouldn't "wrest" the scriptures. Gnostic heresies rely on obscure and perverse interpretations of scriptures that appear simple and straight-forward enough to us normal people. A true biblical doctrine does not contradict any generally accepted ones that also have a firm biblical foundation, while Gnostic heresies usually contradict at least one key orthodox (generally accepted) doctrine.
What would be ideal would be a doctrine or truth that actually affects human beings in this day and age, not just Jesus (Christmas, Good Friday, Easter). This would eliminate Ascension, an event whose dating relative to Easter is known, but the impact is strictly limited to Jesus. To really pass muster, it should have real potential to affect people's behavior, making them better Christians and better members of churches. It should make Pastors and Evangelists add new sermons to their repretoire, and make them as important to preach for the betterment of the Church as sermons on stewardship, personal evangelism, and stifling gossip. Of course, this means it has the potential of goring some sacred cows, so that's going to be a drawback to implement in real life. We'll have to count on those "who have not bowed the knee to Baal" to take up the challenge, if such a doctrine or truth exists.
And while we are fantasizing, we may as well go "whole hog": to be perfect for our purpose of opposing Darwin Day, the doctrine should steal Darwin's fire. It would somehow give us the ability or permission to seize all of the facts and some of the theories, speculations, and justifications used to promote and and defend Darwinian Evolution, and harness them to either the service of Christ, His Church, or his followers. It should hit them in the spot that'll make the Darwinists squeal "Hey! That's our turf! Our Gig!" Right now, they're thinking "Should this research be published, since it would support (fill in the blank)?" After our adoption of the "perfect" doctrine, event, and day, the smarter ones will be worrying "Are they gonna grab this interpretation of my research and use it against us? Will they be able to use the evolutionary strategy I'm giving to explain these findings in ways that will oppose us?" I've remarked that Darwinists are among the brainiest on the planet so hijacking their output would be a coup.
Quite an order! Can there possibly be an event, recounted in the scriptures, whose day is known, that fits all of the above criteria?
Why YES. There DOES happen to be such a day that meets all of the criteria mentioned above.
Pentecost meets all of the low-level, nuts and bolts requirements I've laid out above. Firstly, we know it is 50 days (counted Roman style) from Easter. Jesus is in heaven, so the only people involved are his followers. The day began with 120 followers of Christ, and ended with over 3000, so what happened definitely impacted the people of that day. And any Evangelism coordinator who has tried to get church members to hit the pavement and witness for Christ should appreciate the fact that something very significant had to happen to the 120 individuals who were out there witnessing to the Pentecost crowds.
It certainly is a "sleeper", having no organized celebration other than a nod from the occasional pulpit toward the fact that it happened before the subject is changed to evangelism. Everyone has definite ideas of how to celebrate Christmas and Easter, based on traditions that go back centuries and span multiple cultures. In contrast, when I asked my pastor what our church was going to do to celebrate Pentecost, he gave a few vague suggestions about decorating the sanctuary in red and gave a look toward his wife (the choir director) that said "I have no idea. Do YOU?" The look on her face testified that both of them were of the same mind. One would think that Pentecost would be celebrated in, well, Pentecostal and Charismatic oriented churches with some vigor, but I attended the Vidalia Church of God for many years and, other than that occasional mention from the pulpit that's made on the way to that sermon on evangelism, I never saw any productions celebrating Pentecost that equalled those thrown for Christmas or Easter.
To give credit where credit is due, my raising the question prompted my church's choir director to schedule an appropriate choral piece for Pentecost, and referred to it, during Sunday evening choir practice, as "the birthday of the Church". Initially, it sounded to me like a cop-out, but after some reflection, I have come to appreciate that insight: February 12 was selected as Darwin Day because it is Darwin's birthday, so there is an air of symmetry about selecting another Birthday (that of the Church) as a counterweight. As a bonus, it implies that the church should celebrate Pentecost after the manner that the local culture celebrates birthdays. ("LET'S PAR-TAY!")
So much for the "surface" qualifications. How does the day stack up with regard to the deep qualification of representing a significant, but hidden, doctrine that affects human behavior today?
And it is here, at the start, that we hit a serious roadblock. For Pentecost to be accepted by Christians as a viable candidate, they must buy into the same argument for it that will be made to the Darwinists. That means it has to be supported by the scriptures. In going about proving that, we immediately run into a very real and very inconvenient fact: There is no scriptural support for the assertion that Pentecost is the date of the birthday of the Church.
"We Missed your Birthday? OH NO!"
The events of Pentecost take place in Acts 2. However, the following passage comes from Acts 1:12-25:
12 Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey. 13 And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. 14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.
15 And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples, and said, (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty,) 16 Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. 17 For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. 18 Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. 19 And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood. 20 For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick F2 let another take. 21 Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. 23 And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. 24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, 25 That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. 26 And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
The term used for "church" in the New Testament is Ekklesia,and is defined as "a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place, an assembly". In verse 15, we see that there were 120 disciples of Jesus gathered together, which is what we expect church members to do on Sunday mornings. They were meeting in Jerusalem, in accordance to what Jesus told them, which is what we expect followers of Jesus to do. In verse 14, we see them praying together, which is what we expect church members to do on Sunday mornings. They have a leader who addresses them in verses 15 through 22, which is what we expect church leaders to do on Sunday mornings. That leader quotes from Scriptures during that address, which is what we expect church leaders to do all the time when it comes to discussing church issues. A problem is pointed out, two candidates are put forth, and a choice via lot is made, which is what we expect Churches to do when faced with a vacant position.
Per The Duck Test, this IS a church. Since this meeting is taking place before the events of Acts 2, it follows that Pentecost is NOT the birthday of the Church.
Wondering What Happened
There's a joke that I will tweak that may help make things clearer: "You can divide the world into four groups of people: those who make things happen, those who understand what happened, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened."
Those who state that Pentecost was the birthday of the Church thought they were in group #2 (those who understood what happened), but are now in group #4 (those who wonder what happened). This may seem a big step backwards, but it is really a step forward. Will Rogers pointed out: "It isn't what we know that gets us into trouble, it's what we know that ain't so." We are now free to look for "what really happened" so we can get on with the business of understanding it and move back to group #2. In other words, this was a "red herring": an error that diverted us from our search for the truth.
There are two further reasons why disabusing ourselves of this error is a good thing. Firstly, putting Pentecost up against Darwin Day because it is a birthday is missing the point: our real beef is not with the date, but with the "doctrine" and the mindset that motivated the selection and promoted the day in the first place. Attaching our attention to the tag "birthday" is to focus on a non-essential surface detail while ignoring that the really deep issues have not been addressed. How many people have been driven from the church because the church attached the label "sin" to a surface detail? How many with real sins don't see the church as a "hospital for sinners" where they can go to for serious surgery, when the church seems to act like the office of a cosmetologist, dermatologist, or cosmetic surgeon, which are able to help you with what's on the surface, but can't handle anything deep inside?
The second reason is far more important: being in group #2 (understanding what happened) is necessary to get into group #1 (those who make things happen). However, for things like birthdays, the membership of group #1 is limited to that which is born. The birth of the Church is a one time thing, so nobody has any reason to believe that moving into group #1 is necessary because it is impossible: how could the church repeat the birth of itself after it is born? "How can a man be born when he is old?" is a perfectly logical question if the subject is physical or organizational birth. But if the event of Pentecost is something else other than a birth, then duplication might possible. If so, then working to move from group #2 (understanders) to group #1 (makers) is not only possible, but quite desirable: being able to end a day with 3000 members in your church when you started the day with only 120 would be worth any amount of hard work, would it not?
Another Red Herring
Those who assert that Pentecost was the day of the first evangelistic crusade are quite correct, and I will not waste time or space to belabor the obvious. My beef will be with the belief that this event is significant, both in general and for our purpose in particular.
First, the particular. For our purpose of opposing Darwin Day, pushing Pentecost because it was the first evangelistic crusade suffers from the error of confusing purpose with goals. The goal is to get people to become Christians, but the reason for becoming a Christian isn't to become a Christian. The question "Why do you want to be a Christian?" is a good question to ask any candidate for membership, but "because I want to be a Christian" is not a good answer. What we want and expect to hear is something more along the lines of "because I'm a sinner and Jesus saved me," or "I love Jesus and want to obey what he said to do," or "I need help to live the way God wants me to live," or "I love Jesus and want to join those who love him too," or "Jesus is the Son of God, and I'm joining with those who agree with me." Joining just to join is to ask for trouble and heartbreak further down the line. Joining just to join is a great reason for joining a club, but a bad reason for going to the hospital.
Those pushing Darwin Day also want to win "converts" to evolution, and they know that a good answer to the question of "why should I believe evolution?" is "Because evolution happened, and here's the proof and here are the benefits," not "because we want you to join us." Pushing Pentecost to oppose Darwin Day means answering the question "why should I become a Christian?" with "Because X happened, and here's the proof and here are the benefits," not "because a bunch of people a long time ago joined the church on this day, and we want you to join us too." For Christmas, "X" is the Incarnation, and the Ressurrection for Easter. If the "X" for Pentecost is "it was the first evangelistic crusade", then our response becomes "Because a bunch of people a long time ago joined the church, and here's the proof and here are the benefits." Bad answer, for the logical response is going to be "Why should I believe that those religious ignoramuses back then were right? How do I benefit if I waste a weekend morning every week listening to someone chew me out whose salary is paid by the money coming out of my pocket?"
Now I will address the more general objection to holding the event of the first evangelistic crusade as significant enough to warrant celebration of Pentecost as a worthy contender against Darwin Day: it is unworthy spiritually.
We must remember that the alternative candidate was Easter, the day of the resurrection. We are essentially ranking something the church did against something God did. The "X" of Easter is the resurrection, making our response be "Because a mortal man who died came back to life again, and demonstrated the acquisition of powers and abilities afterwards that are superior to current human capabilities, including being able to live forever in fellowship with God. Here's the proof and here are the benefits. If that isn't REAL evolution, then what is?"
Compare the two answers that are highlighted above by mentally posing each one in turn to someone who believes in evolution enough to celebrate Darwin Day. Which response would make them laugh, and which would provoke a hissy fit and the start of a vigorous debate? My friends, if you shoot a gun in the jungle and there is no response, then you can only say that your gun made some noise, having only blanks in it. If you hear a loud roar of anguished pain, then I'd say that you not only hit something, but also proved that your gun had real bullets in it.
So What Happened at Pentecost?
The key to discovering the significant event and doctrine behind Pentecost requires that we strip away the incidental from the essential, distinguish between cause and effect, and apply the principles of taxonomic classification, as embodied in the Duck Test, consistently and steadily. Here's Luke's account of what happened at the beginning of Pentecost:
1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
I am aware that Acts 2 is 47 verses long, not 4 verses. I am aware that I am leaving out the surprise of the crowd, the sermon of Peter, the 3000 saved, the joy of their fellowship, and the testimony of God adding to their membership daily that closes the chapter. I submit that verses 1 through 4 are the cause, of which verses 5 through 47 are the effect. Effects are for those who watch things happen. Causes are for the people who understand why things happen and who make things happen.
Now, like everything in the Scriptures, the record of the event is usually separated from the texts used as part of the teachings that interpret what happened. Luke records the bare facts of Pentecost with as much economy as he does the Crucifixion and Resurrection, being content, as did the other gospel writers, to leave interpretation of what happened to later writers and preachers. We should not expect a detailed discussion and dissection of the meaning behind Acts 2:1-4 to be embedded within Acts 2 or 3 because we not find massive sections of Romans inserted within the Gospel accounts of the Crucifixion and Resurrection as well.
Thus, to understand Pentecost, we have to look elsewhere in the scriptures. The account states that the Holy Spirit came and entered into them, to the point of affecting their speech patterns, taking control of the one thing that puts us head and shoulders above all the other species on this planet. Using that as a "search key", I suggest we look at what John's record of what Jesus said about the coming of the Holy Spirit into human hearts:
16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
There are five observations in this passage that are relevant. Firstly, this Comforter will be in us. Secondly, it will dwell with us. Thirdly, it will be with us forever. And fourthly, we will know Him. This fits with the knowledge that the believers' speech was affected, the ability of which is mental and internal.
The fifth point is that of the meaning of the name "comforter". The greek word in the original language is "parakletos", which means "advocate" or "one who comes alongside", and had a legal connotation of someone who argues a legal case on your behalf before a judge. The concept is that of someone who is for you, sold out for you, and is on your side as an active defender and protagonist. It is unfortunate indeed that the current day embodiment of what the term "parakletos" should be are Lawyers, who give the impression of being mostly or wholly on the side of themselves, and only incidentally to their clients. Perhaps the better image is, ironically, that of the Chivalric concept of the Champion. While the biblical basis for Trial by Combat is nonexistent, being nowhere mentioned, suggested, or hinted in the scriptures that refer to civil trials of individuals, the abilty to name a Champion who would fight on one's behalf was justified by this passage. The Champion performed this service without pay because it was deemed an honor, or movitated out of love or devotion to the accused or someone closely associated with the accused.
In verse 26 of the same chapter, we read:
26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
The Comforter is here identified as the Holy Ghost, and the usage of the masculine pronoun ("he") is suggestive of personality and individuality. The Comforter will teach us all things and help us remember, implying that some of the benefits are mental and intellectual. Support for this is in 1 John 2:27, which is the verse upon which I dare to propose the existence of an unknown doctrine:
But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
Jesus said the following in John 16:7-15:
7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. 12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
The above passage expands on what the Comforter does: he guides us unto all truth to the point of empowering us to see the future ("shew you things to come"). This identifies the Comforter as the Spirit of God that was bestowed upon the prophets of old. It is this aspect of the coming of the Holy Spirit that Peter emphasized when he quoted the passage from Joel in his Pentecost sermon. To Peter, it was essential that the first verse from the Old Testament quoted in the first Gospel sermon of the Church Age identified the phenomenon they were seeing with Jewish prophetic tradition. This is exemplified in verses 8 through 11 of the above passage, where the Comforter repoves the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment.
Verses 8 through 11 is not a statement of how the Comforter interacts with the believer, but indicates that the Comforter interacts with the world outside of the believer. I cannot tell from the statement whether this is mediated through the believer in some way, or by a direct interaction of Comforter and the world, but some interaction is indicated to take place. The Comforter takes on the duties of The Champion, taking on all comers from the outside world.
In this day where "insider trading" of financial information is a hot topic, verses 14 through 15 should ring some bells. Essentially, everything that Jesus knows the Holy Spirit knows, and what the Holy Spirit knows, he intends to inform us. This explains why Jesus has to be kept ignorant of the time of the Second Coming: If Jesus knew, then the Holy Spirit would also know, and the extent of his advocacy for us is such that he would then immediately tell us. Any secret of which Jesus is a keeper does not remain a secret. Those involved in politics and espionage know the value of having "someone on the inside who's on our side".
Let's address the aspect of "for ever" Jesus mentioned in John 16:16, and ask how "forever" that "forever" is. In 2 Corinthians 1:22, Paul says:
Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
And in 2 Corinthians 5:5 he says:
Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.
In Ephesians 1:13-14, Paul states
In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
The word earnest that I bolded is arrhabon, a Hebrew word that has been "greekified", and directly maps to the word "earnest" that is used in the real estate financial mechanism of "earnest money". It is money given to the seller as a down payment on property that the buyer is purchasing, and which is given to assure the seller that the buyer intends to complete the purchase. If the buyer does not follow through, the "earnest money" is kept by the seller, and the purchase is nullified: no portion of that being sold is transferred to the buyer, because the purchase is an all or nothing proposition. This is not the same as a down payment, which is also a partial payment applied toward the purchase of something, but the phrase is used to assure the buyer that the money will be returned if the buyer decides not to complete the purchase. If the seller does not want to return the money that is prepaid, they must use the term "earnest money" instead of "down payment" to describe it.
Although the passage uses the concept behind earnest money, its turned around in a way that makes the message more difficult to understand. It is God who gives the Spirit, and we who receive it. It is the Spirit that is the earnest. In the bible passage, the seller (God) is making a promise about a future transaction that he needs the Buyer (us) to believe. Picture a man trying to get financial backers to develop a diamond mine he has discovered. To assure them that it is not a scam, he gives them raw, uncut diamonds that he claims are from the mine. If the investors are not fools, they'll get those stones to a lab for testing. If the man is not a fool, he'll tell the men to keep the diamonds, since "there are plenty where those came from". If the stones are for real, an investor would take the man at his word and give him the money he needs to develop the mine and make them both wealthy. If the investor took the man at his word with regard to the earnest diamonds, he'd get them cut, put them in jewelry, and give them to his wife to celebrate their good fortune and bright future.
However, the transaction God is proposing is somewhat difficult for members of western civilization to process, since we usually do not take permanent receipt of the first or second born son of the seller of the property being purchased to ensure that they follow through on its sale to us. The better metaphor would liken this to an arranged marriage to seal an alliance between families or kingdoms. Since The Church is viewed as the bride of Jesus Christ the Bridegroom, this is not a stretch, but we'll have to tweak the metaphor to factor in the individual aspect of the coming of the Holy Spirit into an individual believer. In our modified metaphor, the individual Christian is the Bride, while Christ remains the Bridegroom. The Bridegroom has to go away to prepare for the wedding, but is understandably concerned with the fact that the Bride is in a hostile environment that contains spiritual, emotional, and physical threats. Thus, while he is away, the Bridgroom leaves someone who acts as the Bride's advocate, counselor, champion, guardian, and confidante. Clearly, this Champion's loyalties lie totally with the Bridegroom, but by command of the Bridegroom, the Bride becomes the recipient of the Champion's attention and loyalty to an extent second only to that rendered to the Bridegroom. As I write this, I get the mental image of the Champion as the Bridegroom's tomboy Princess kid sister, chewing a large wad of gum very loudly, making pointed remarks about how the Bride could improve herself for her Brother. I picture a more modern version of Mark Twain's Joan of Arc, having a heart of gold, but not someone you'd want coming after you on the battlefield, sword drawn and at the head of the Hosts of Her Father's Kingdom.
One final characteristic requires noting because it comes in the form of a warning from Jesus himself:
22 Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. 23 And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? 24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. 25 And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: 26 And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? 27 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. 28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. 29 Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house. 30 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad. 31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. 32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.
And Paul warns in Ephesians 4:30, in the middle of a chapter filled with moral injuctions regarding Christian living:
30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
Serious business indeed! King David, while wrestling with his sin against Uriah with regard to Bathsheba, worried about the loss of the Holy Spirit within him. The Holy Spirit departed from his predecessor, King Saul, with an evil spirit coming in to take its place. And consider the individual whom Paul delivered over to Satan, and who Paul urged the Corinthian church to forgive after he came crawling back. Whatever happened to him, it appeared to be something so dreadful that they isolated themselves from him, and needed assurance from Paul that what caused the punishment was lifted. Paul's birth name was Saul, and so doubtless the hard lessons learned by his biblical namesake were a constant theme while he was growing up, accounting for his zeal for the Temple and the faith of his Fathers that King Saul had abandoned. It is probable that the "handing over" of this individual was affected by a temporary lifting of the Holy Spirit from him, thus removing any protections they had from demonic invasion.
From these passages, we can conclude that the Holy Spirit can be grieved and driven away, with serious consequences ranging up to death. The punishments are not inflicted by the Spirit, for they are affected by hostiles who enter in when the Champion has departed. I am aware of the teaching of "Once saved, always saved", and am hesitant to suggest that a doctrine that has been a great comfort to many, of whom I number myself the most grateful of all, is false. However, it does look as if it requires some modification, for if salvation is effected by the presence of the Holy Spirit, then salvation is dependent on maintaining the presence of the Spirit within, and which can be driven away according to these passages. There is no avoiding the text or the implications. Without doubt the loving bridegroom is very forgiving for the faults of the bride, but he's not here, having gone ahead to prepare the wedding feast. Guess who he has left behind to guard the bride? Tomboy Princess kid sister, who is the last person on earth that the bride wants to tick off, and about which the Bridegroom himself gave her prior warning.
I think we have enough pertinent and salient facts taken from scriptures that were read and interpreted respectfully within their contexts to permit us to classify what happened at Pentecost in modern terms.
I submit that the data shows that the event that happened on Pentecost was the voluntary fusion of Deus with Homo to form a new, symbiotically based, human being. The characteristic that the human in the union suffers if it is broken ("grieving the Holy Spirit") supports the idea that the union is strongly obligate. The language used by Jesus and the Apostles that describe the Holy Spirit as internally resident in Homo ("abides in you", "...shall be in you", etc.) indicates that it is endosymbiotic. The union is permanent ("...with you for ever") to the point of total ownership ("given us the earnest of the Spirit"), further confirming the identification. This is an event worthy of celebration, it being a sovereign act of God that significantly benefits us.
The metaphor of "Tomboy Princess kid sister" is thus inadequate, as are most metaphors: the imagery of the metaphor is one of two individuals side by side engaging in a cooperative activity that can be superficially compared to a business venture. The kind of symbiosis here is mutualistic, and is easily mistaken for a form of cooperation. The metaphor is inadequate because it understates the level of involvement, interdependence, and commitment in the true relationship. The imagery suggests that either can walk away with only hurt feelings being the consequence. That imagery is false. It is mutualistic, but the connectivity is at a very deep level.
The use of metaphors, in which we attempt to understand an object or idea by comparing it to another object or idea, is shaky because it fails when it comes to thinking about this kind of symbiosis, mainly due to having very few examples of this kind of symbiosis that we easily recognize today, and which was doubtless impossible to recognize in the first century AD. The concept has been explored in science fiction, and it has been only since the invention of the microscope, that lichen was recognized as a symbiotic entity. There is some debate in taxonomic circles whether lichen are a separate species, but it appears that the current compromise is to consider lichen as a species separate from its component species because not every species of algae and fungus can symbiotically combine into a lichen, and some algae species cannot survive at all apart from its fungal host. Also, every fungus that can join with algae to form lichen has distinct and different non-lichen and lichen forms that facilitate taxonomic classification.
I mentioned the impossiblity of detecting symbiosis in the first century AD. Although they lacked the mental concept of symbiosis, it is interesting to note how the Holy Spirit, in accordance to Jesus' promise of teaching them all things after he came, tried to get the idea across. In Second Corinthians 5:17, Paul states:
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
And in Galatians 6:15, Paul writes:
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
The word "species" did exist in Greek, but as a philosophical cateogory, not as a distinct classification level of living organisms. The greek word for "creature" is "ktisis", referring to a living organism that appears equivalent to the term "animal". The greek word for "new" is "kainos", and can be used to describe something that is novel, uncommon, and of a new kind. Thus, the case can be made that Paul, if living today and familiar with scientific terminology, might have elected to use "new species" in these passages in place of "new creature". In the taxonomic debate, he'd probably would have argued for lichens to be classified as distinct species.
Now that we have a collection of scriptural texts and an interpretation, we need to readdress a problem posed earlier in this essay.
The Naming Problem Revisited
It should be obvious by now that Pentecost is not just a better day than Easter to go up against Darwin Day. It is perfect. Here we have an event that is indistinguishable from Evolution, in that two existing species of being have joined themselves together in an indisputably high degree of symbiotic union that qualifies it as a new species due to the acquisition of characteristics mutually beneficial to both. Recall that Jesus acquired the Holy Spirit at his water baptism at the hands of John the Baptist, and afterwards worked miracles during his ministry. After his resurrection, he then sends the Holy Spirit to the disciples to replicate in them the state he had before his death. In Darwin's book, that's surviving to reproduce. Deus gains in the transaction by getting sons and daughters united and locked to him by biological and spiritual bonds that are permanent and eternal. Homo gains everything: Life, healing, knowledge, wisdom, power, defensive and offensive capabilities. Read again the first few chapters of the Book of Acts, not as a believer, but as a field biologist asking the standard set of questions that are asked upon discovery of a new species: What are the characteristics of the new species? What is its natural history? What characteristics are unique to it, and which are shared by others? What are its identifying features that allow biologists to identify members of this species and avoid misclassification with other species? How does it reproduce? How does it interact within its eco-system and the other occupants? How does it defend itself? What is its range? How does it expand its niche in the eco-system, and who is impacted by its arrival? What other species can we compare it to? How does the ecosystem support a growth rate where 120 members become 3000 members in the span of a day? What do we call it?
I said that what happened at Pentecost does not have a name, and neither does the collection of scriptures that constitutes its doctrine. Let's address these shortcomings here, so that later discussion of the above questions can be better categorized.
The names given to doctrines and events associated with Christmas and Easter are based on Latin, being given by the Roman Catholic Church. I think this event, the symbiotic union of Deus with Homo, which not only happened once, but happens every time a human being is saved, as well as the doctrine, deserves a name of its own, don't you?
Now for the Event name. "Incarnation" is the event-name associated with Christmas. "Ressurrection" is the "event-name" associated with Easter. "Crucifixion" is the event-name associated with Good Friday. We even have event names for events with no days, such as the Annunciation and The Visitation. So the event name associated with Pentecost, the coming in of Deus into the repentant member of Homo, is...what?
I struggled with it, delaying the publishing of this article, drawing a blank. I was about to turn to the Roman Catholics, who seem to have a good track record for things like this, when the Spirit within me (more on that later) told me to be bold. Really bold. Being bold means breaking out of the mold. We will need a bold name to go with a claim that goes something like this: "You should celebrate Pentecost with me, because the last great leap upward of Human evolution took place on that day. Darwin Day-style evolution is for your descendants, although it really is for the birds, but Pentecost-style Evolution is happening now, and you can experience it. Here's the proof, and here are the benefits! If that's not REAL evolution, then what is? Wanna sign up?"
The word used by evolutionists to describe big jumps of evolutionary development in the fossil record is "saltation", a word derived from the latin word "Jump". It perfectly describes what happens when the Holy Spirit enters the believing sinner. I believe appropriating it is sufficiently agressive enough to provoke discussion and debate. I should point out that evidence of saltation in the fossil record is the rule, not the exception, and is one of the skeletons in Darwin's evolutionary closet, so claiming the word is appropriate. When its usage is challenged, I recommend being bold and agressive, as befits a representative of the newest, biggest, and most powerful species in the ecosystem, and tell them that its a free country. If they cry "racism!" point out that a sizeable majority of Christians are black.
In fact, there is probably only one argument that the savvy evolutionist will make that may stump you if you're not prepared.
How will you answer if they demand: "If you really are a member of a new and advanced species that is symbiotically linked with God, why doesn't your life show it?"
Limits of the Old Covenant Promises
Long before I started thinking along the lines recounted in this essay, the intended purpose of this website was quite different. I had intended for this website to contain my guidance and experience in claiming the promises of God (logos) by applying engineering and scientific methodologies to get consistent results (technology). To be blunt, I've gotten very consistent results when it comes to praying for material things such as money, scholarships, assistantships, and legal advice. This is not due to any special virtue or righteousness in me, but is due to treating the Scriptures with as much respect as that putative Atheist Engineer and his CRC handbook to whom I referred earlier. Treating the text literally unless the context and text indicates a metaphorical vision or a literary device has gotten me far.
However, I had a problem: when I tell you that my success is not due to any special virtue or righteousness in me, I really mean it, because I was miserably failing when it came to using prayer to improve my thought life. By every measure that I used to measure success and failure, I'm succeeding about 85 percent of the time when it comes to praying for material things and wisdom, while consistently striking out (97+ percent) when it came to anger, impatience, gluttony, and lust.
This is a real problem for a Christian, because by the measure of the Mosaic Law, I have no reason to fail, while by the measure of the Law of Love, which Jesus instituted as the greatest commandment of all, I am a miserable failure. If I have enough money, I have no reason to steal. If I exercise some wisdom by taking "time-outs" and retreating from certain situations, I can avoid killing and committing adultery. A wise man can reason himself out of covetousness. Keep the Mosaic Law? A challenge, but doable, since it confined itself to judging that which a man does. The Law of Love? That's much harder, since it permits itself to judge how a man feels and thinks.
In retrospect, my failure should have been obvious: When God commanded the keeping of the Mosaic Law, He also gave promises that men could claim that would enable them to keep them. For instance, tithing is not commanded in the New Testament, but a promise of blessing is given in the Old Testament if it is given. The blessings would help keep men from covetousness, thievery, and murder by removing the financial pressure that forces men to do those things. To handle adultery, fornication, and covetousness, God gave the promise of wisdom: by promising long life, riches, and honor, Wisdom was made enticing enough for men to seek, and in that seeking, the counsel of wisdom would be kept, which is to avoid adultery, fornication, and covetousness. The Old Covenant Promises were given so that men could use them to keep the Old Covenant (Mosaic) Law.
But we now are under the Law of the New Testament, that of the Law of Love, which judges the hearts and thoughts of men. The new law is more demanding, requiring better promises to enable men to keep them. The new wine is much stronger than the old , and the old wineskins cannot handle the new. New wineskins are required. Here is 2 Peter 1:3-4:
3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
For years, I thought that the promises Peter was talking about were the Old Covenant promises and the promises given by Jesus that were like them. Fool that I was, I didn't catch the limitations of the Old Covenant promises: they promised that you could be partakers of Divine bounty, Divine protection, and Divine Wisdom, but NOT the Divine Nature. That would be blasphemy! The promises were the promises of the New Covenant, capable of handling weaknesses of the spirit that were susceptible to lust, and so avoid the corruption of the mind that comes with lust.
The promises of the New Covenant, which Peter speaks of, are the promises made by Jesus Christ, who promised to pray that the Comforter would be sent into our hearts. If the phrase "partakers of the divine nature" does not refer to members of Homo who have symbiotically united with Deus, then what does?
From the Inside Out
My pastor, Larry Rollins of Grace United Methodist Church, is the organizer of a summer camp for youth. At the 2007 summer camp, the kids were taught a new song "From the Inside Out". It made its way into the church praise band's repretoire, and has been sung two or three times since. I recall hearing and singing it twice, the words affecting me strongly. I loved the song, but was frustrated. Read the verses: nice words, but how do you do them? How do you make them active in your life? And why is the song affecting me so strongly? So much more than a simply good song would? What was going ON?
At the time, I was treating the doctrine of Saltation, and the associated idea of the new christian being a symbiosis of Homo with Deus. as a metaphor. That is, I saw it as a useful comparison to explain the role that the Holy Spirit was playing in the Christian's life. Metaphors have limits, and I was looking for them in that "metaphor". I wasn't finding them: Many verses I read seemed to make more sense when viewed as supporting Saltation and Symbiosis, and I wasn't finding any that unambiguously contradicted it. I was beginning to suspect that maybe the "metaphor" of Symbiosis was more than a metaphor: it might be the real thing. How to prove it? I am an engineer and an experimental scientist. I needed an observation or a successful experiment to determine if the suspicion was true, and cannot vouch for anything's reality unless I personally experienced it or was convinced of its reality to the point of personal commitment.
I don't recall when I connected the dots, but it then hit me: If the Christian life is really Symbiotically based, then the Holy Spirit was actually inside. If the symbiotic union is real, then He would know that I was suspecting He was really "down there", and that I needed proof. But I needed more than proof of existence. I needed proof of symbiosis. And the nature of symbiosis is cooperation between the partners.
Here is my reasoning: If symbiosis is false, then the Holy Spirit would not cooperate to "prove" a falsehood, and the lack of cooperation itself disproves symbiosis. But if symbiosis is true, then cooperation in conveying the fact of symbiosis proves symbiosis, since symbiosis requires cooperation between the two partners. The cooperation to prove symbiosis is itself cooperation, which is the nature of symbiosis. (This seems a bit twisty and complicated. This is standard reasoning used in the mathematical field of Game Theory.)
The "proof" was in my reaction to "From the inside out". The song says nothing about the Holy Spirit, and the idea of "living from the inside out" meant you have to be convinced in your heart of something before you can live it. That's the surface message of the text.
But what if the whole purpose of the Symbiosis is to enable the person to live according to Jesus' will and desires "from the inside out?" That is, for the Homo partner to literally and consciously cooperate with the Deus partner within? If so, then communicating the desire to cooperate is the necessary first step in such a cooperative venture. Could it be that how I was reacting tio the song was actually coming from the Deus partner within? What better way could the Deus partner communicate the message "Hey! I'm REALLY down in you, and I can help you live better by working within you, from the inside out" by doing the spiritual equivalent of banging a tin cup on the walls, bars, and water pipes of the heart of the Homo partner every time the latter hears the phrase "To love you from the inside out"?
Okay, call it a confirmation from a pilot test. I believed it enough to divert time from entertainment to pursue the new line of research.
I've learned that all the guidance and wisdom I thought I was getting from God the Father up in heaven (and not in the inside of me) actually was "from the inside out". I haven't totally subjected all of my thought life to Christ, but I'm making definite progress. I've lost two hangups and a phobia that has plagued me for decades. Heck, this article should have been on the web 24 hours earlier, but wasn't because every time I took a break, I'd get a sudden insight into the nature of Symbiosis. The realization of the limitations of the Old Covenant promises came to me two hours ago. My friends, Symbiosis is really real.
So before you go confronting that evolutionist on Darwin Day to say that Pentecost is better, do yourself a favor and start living from the inside out, so you can say to that evolutionist, "Yes, I do. And here's the proof in my own life!"
You don't know how? Read on!
The Road Ahead
To be blunt, I'm not sure how to fully work this symbiosis thing myself: We've lived so long as individuals, and have very little experience with symbionts who are tied together at the level that we Christians are with the Holy Spirit. I tried calling the Lichen Embassy to get advice from someone who's been living that kind of Symbiotic life style a lot longer than I have, but nobody picked up the phone.
But here's how I think we should proceed to learn: as Scientists and engineers learn, using ourselves as the guinea pigs in the laboratory of the real world. Half of the scriptures in this paper were understood in terms of existing scientific concepts produced in the scientific fields of Biology, Evolutionary theory, mathematics, Game theory, Secure Computer theory, and Physics. In short, in order to get to where I am, I had to hijack Darwin. Modern Science and its findings can help us find clues and evaluate them.
Like a scientist, I'll put on this website what I learn. I hope to get feedback from you, and will soon get an e-mail address you can use to report back what you've learned, or to answer questions you have.
Obviously, progress will be initially slow, but consider this: A grave problem in Evolution is the problem of instincts. If Evolution succeeds in "giving" an animal a new trait that enables it to survive better, how does it acquire the instinct to use it effectively? A new instinct happens in the brain, while the new trait may be in the legs, abdomen, or arms. How could genes that express the form also affect behavior?
The problem is relevant to us, but not from the point of view of the genetics of instincts: we don't need instincts, because we are intelligent and can learn so that instincts can be replaced. But if Symbiosis with Deus gives us new capabilities, we can't expect to be given instincts to enable us to use them immediately, because instincts force behavior, and God gave man free choice, which implies no forced behavior. We gotta learn that the new capability exists, then learn how to use it. That'll take time, wisdom, an maybe inspiration.
We'll need to study the scriptures even more: I've identified verses that address Saltation and symbiosis, and there are more that I had no time or space to put into this article, so I'll be publishing those and my analyses of them on this site as well. There are doubtless others. A study of the Gospels and the book of Acts will be useful in identifying traits particular to Christian Symbionts: all members of a species behave similarly and have similar capabilities, but those capabilities may or may not be invoked, and thus observable, if the circumstances don't warrant it. If Peter and Jesus could walk on water, then Philip and Paul could too, but if there was no reason to do it, there would be no record of them doing it. Walking on water may prove useful to you one day, so being aware that you can do it too, because it is a Christian Symbiont trait, may be all that's needed for you to pull it off when you need it.
There are some serious questions that need answering: there were 120 baptized with fire and the Holy Spirit, but the record shows that only the Disciples, Paul, Stephen, and Philip worked miracles. What happened? Here's a more pertinent puzzler: only Christians of Jewish heritage are recorded to have worked miracles. No Gentile Greek Believer is recorded to have worked miracles. If God is not a respecter of persons, then what caused the Gentile Greek believers to not manifest miracles?
I'll try to publish once a week, Saturday night, so you can have something to read and ponder Sunday afternoon. Until then, think and pray about how you can learn how to touch base with the Holy Spirit within, so you can live from the inside out.
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