What is this class going to be about? It’s going to be about Jesus according to His words in John 14:6: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” This class is going to be about Jesus as the only possible fulfillment of desperate human need.
I titled this, “Jesus, Son of Man, Son of God.” Let me try to explain why. The Scriptures clearly teach that Jesus was fully human in every way, human in every way that it is essential to be human, and fully God. Passages such as Philippians 2:6-8 teach “the kenosis,” the emptying of Jesus as He laid aside aspects of His deity – WHILE REMAINING IN HIS NATURE GOD – in order to become fully human and experience the essence and the angst of human limitation. How was He able to do this? The short and simple answer is the Virgin Birth in fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14 and 9:6. Jesus, according to John 1:1-3, was the Word who was with God and was God. We’re taught that ALL THINGS CAME INTO BEING BY CHRIST. And so when we read Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” we now know that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” And so when we read Genesis 1:27 which says, “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”
God created man. But we can be even MORE specific: The Son of God created man. Christ created man. Christ, who would assume human image, created that very human image that He knew He would one day assume. How could Christ assume human image? Because Christ created man in His image, and more precisely because Christ created man in an image that He could one day assume Himself.
There’s a beautiful, simple poem: He came to die on a cross of wood, but made the hill on which it stood.”
Consider again John 14:6. No one comes to the Father except through Jesus. Jesus is the unique answer to the human condition, the only antidote to the fatal disease of sin. He is THE way, THE truth and THE life.
So the title: Jesus as the Son of Man, in His humanity, shows you what is necessary to live a life that is pleasing to God. Jesus as a human being showed us what kind of life – THE ONLY LIFE EVER LIVED – can earn/merit/deserve the reward of heaven rather than the judgment of hell. If anyone thinks he or she is good enough to deserve to go to heaven on their own merit, all he or she has to do is live as perfect a human life as Jesus did. What we find in studying Jesus’ life is that if you ever had so much as a single sinful THOUGHT, let alone act, you don’t measure up to God’s standard of a righteous life. Everything Jesus thought and said and did were in perfect alignment with the will of the Father. YOU try living up to that. But Jesus in His humanity, in coming to seek and to save us, lived a perfect human life on earth because He knew we could not in our fallen state live the sinless lives a perfect holy God demanded. As the Son of Man, Jesus lived a perfect human life in our place – the same way that Adam as the first man stood in our place and represented us (but led mankind into sin). And Jesus in His deity, Jesus as Son of God, showed us what kind of life – AGAIN THE ONLY LIFE EVER LIVED – can gain heaven for any other human being. In His deity as the Son of God, Jesus was able as GOD ALONE IS ABLE to save the entire human race by uniting in Himself as the Son of Man and the Son of God.
But having said that by way of introduction, let’s step back and consider the alternative to Jesus as “Son of Man, Son of God.” Let’s suppose that the human race were left to its own devices, and that we were the answer to our own salvation, as secular humanists and atheists claim. Let’s present the alternative scenario that the human race is the byproduct of meaningless, purposeless, random evolution and take some time to see where this scenario leads mankind in the question, “Where does morality come from?” I want to argue for God on the basis of the simple fact of moral laws and our resulting moral intuitions .
When I got out of the army my knee was ruined and I was broken more than merely physically. I was like many who couldn’t understand why God would have allowed me to go through such an ordeal or why He hadn’t healed me. Frankly, had I had a better grounding in the Scripture, I would have known that God never said that bad things would never happen to His people. I would have known that God has a plan that weaves things that we consider bad at the time to create an ultimately much greater good for us. But I was young in years and young in my faith. And I became bitter. I went from wondering where God was, to wondering if He cared, to wondering if He was even there at all.
It’s interesting that the Bible never really seriously addresses the objections raised by atheists, other than to say it is fools who say that there is no God.
Here’s a great quote about “intellectuals” and “fools” from George Orwell: “Some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals believe them.” It is amazing to contemplate how utterly divorced from reality many – if not most – intellectuals are.
Basically, God is simply presented as a fact of reality in the Bible. And if you want to know why you should believe in God, all you have to do is look around you and see the purpose and beauty and design of creation (e.g. Romans chapter one). God is an obvious brute fact, and it is fools who entertain foolish speculations to suppress the truth in their wickedness. They can’t believe because they won’t believe. All the evidence in the world won’t change what amounts to a bitter, cynical, poisonous attitude. I think this is true, and as an example I think that the field of psychology backs it up: you can’t change a heart or mind that doesn’t want to be changed. Until someone is ready to change, all the logic, all the reason, all the facts in the world simply won’t matter. And I present myself and my weight as an example. Until I was ready to do what I had to do, NOBODY was going to be able to argue me into doing what I had to do to lose weight and get healthy.
There’s an appropriate line of dialogue that was said many times in Three Stooges episodes: “I can’t see, I can’t see!” “You’ve got your eyes closed.” “oh.” When you are finally ready to open your eyes, you can see all the light you want to. I was NEVER an atheist, but I had been spiritually traumatized into closing my eyes to God. And I simply couldn’t see all the reasons I had to believe because I wasn’t looking. Now I can see so many; but atheists won’t look at all those reasons. Their eyes are closed. 2 Cor 4:4 takes it even further, pointing out that Satan as “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel.” Open your eyes.
Last night on my walk, it occurred to me at a certain point as I walked in the dark that I’d better check for coyotes. Once a coyote had tried to come up from behind and ambush my dog at this point. So I turned on my flashlight and my blood pressure shot up as I saw a coyote moving toward us. Only it wasn’t a coyote; it was a plastic bag caught in a shrub at just the right height to fool me. We tend to see what we expect to see, don’t we?
But let me take you to a realization that I had during my quest for light (while like a “stooge” I was wandering around with my eyes shut). I realized something important: it occurred to me that if in fact there were no God, and if evolution were true, that there was no real, objective morality – and that I could literally do whatever I wanted no matter how “evil” society claimed it was. Murder, rape, you name it: there is no ultimate penalty for these things if there is no God who rewards or punishes.
I knew enough about the natural world at that point to understand that it is impossible to look at nature and find any grounds apart from God or religion for morality. As an example, many matings in the insect and even mammalian world would for us constitute acts of rape. And in the case of praying mantises or black widows, the females often get even by killing and eating the father of their children as soon as the mating is completed. I watched a documentary about higher primates that showed a dominant female chimpanzee’s baby dying because she couldn’t produce milk. As dominant female, what did she do? She seized the baby of a less-dominant female. And what happened? That baby died because the dominant female couldn’t produce milk. Is that wrong? That’s NATURE, baby. In the world of nature, do we arrest lions for crimes: “You murdered that zebra. We’re going to have to put you in prison for your crime.” It would be idiotic. Anyone who understands the nature that humans ostensibly come from according to evolution understands that nature is utterly cold, utterly cruel and utterly amoral.
You can’t give what you don’t got. Nature can’t “evolve” morality in humans because it never had it to give to begin with. And the entire history of the natural world screams that cold hard brutal fact.
Does morality come from nature? Not. Would you like to depend on the amorality of nature to save you from anything? I sure wouldn’t. What about “herd morality”??? Does morality depend on what society says? When we stand before God, will he turn to an opinion poll to judge us for our sins???
Where does morality come from, then? Does it come from human government? We can look at THE two most totalitarian forms of human government in history – communism and fascism – and see that theory get blown apart. Surely if morality comes from government, then the more control exercised by government the better, right? It turns out that the more government the WORSE. Communism is identical with “state atheism”; every officially state atheist government with the exception of the French Revolution has been communist, and every single communist regime has been officially state atheist. And no form of government has crushed the human spirit with more brutality than communism – which is responsible for the murder of more than 100 million of its own citizens just during peacetime alone. Communism is the closest thing humans can come to “a boot stomping on a human face – forever.” We can also consider the Darwinian and atheist project of Nazi fascism. One of the greatest scholars of fascism, Ernst Nolte, defined fascism as “the practical and violent resistance to transcendence.” I.e. a transcendent God and an objective, transcendent moral law. The great French thinker George Steiner noted that “By killing the Jews, Western culture could eradicate those who had ‘invented’ God.“
Proto-Nazi 19th century German scholars such as Julian Wellhausen and Friedrich Delitzsch began in the 19th century with the theological project to undermine God, undermine the Bible and undermine the Jews who wrote the Bible. Proto-Nazi 19th century German philosophers, such as Friedrich Nietzsche and then Martin Heidegger, savagely undermined any grounds for God, for Christianity, or for any kind of objective moral values.
Nazism was inseparable with the “Gottglaubiger,” the Nazi Party member who declared that he had officially rejected Christianity. The men closest to Adolf Hitler noted in their personal journals that Hitler was an atheist. Consider Joseph Goebbels, who in a 1939 diary entry noted a conversation in which Hitler had “expressed his revulsion against Christianity. He wished that the time were ripe for him to be able to openly express that. Christianity had corrupted and infected the entire world of antiquity.” Hitler said, “Our epoch will certainly see the end of the disease of Christianity.” And just as Hitler wanted to solve “the Jewish problem,” we find that he also intended to solve “the Christian problem.” In 1941 Hitler declared: “The war is going to be over. The last great task of our age will be to solve the church problem. It is only then that the nation will be wholly secure.”
Adolf Hitler summed up the ultimate Darwinian philosophy, saying, “If the German Volk is not strong enough and is not sufficiently prepared to offer its own blood for its existence, it should cease to exist and be destroyed by a stronger power.”
What else is Darwinism if not the struggle for survival in which the stronger kill or replace the weaker???
Does morality flow from the power of human government? Adolf Hitler certainly believed it did. He said, “We do not want any other god than Germany itself. It is essential to have fanatical faith and hope and love in and for Germany.” Chairman Mao certainly believed that it did. He said, “Our God is none other than the masses of the Chinese people. If they stand up and dig together with us, why can’t these two mountains be cleared away?” God is the State. The State is God. And whatever the State decides is moral is moral and whatever the State decides is immoral is immoral. Does that work for you???
The Bible reveals a big problem with “human morality” from the LAST TIME God judged man’s sins: “The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time” (Gen 6:5). I see this as something that neither nature nor governance can solve.
One of my problems with morality coming from government or human culture is the way morality “evolves.” I think of the United States and homosexuality. On April 17, 2008, as epitomized in Barack Obama, morality was the view that: “I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Now, for me as a Christian — for me — for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix.” But that view is no longer “moral”: now a person holding to that view is intolerant, bigoted, narrow-minded and cruel. Now the moral thing to believe according to our culture and recognize that homosexuals’ relationships are every bit as valid as those relationships between a man and a woman and that the moral person must respect the full and equal rights of gay citizens.
I mentioned Nazism’s project to destroy objective, transcendent morality: such morality holds that objective moral laws apply to all times, to all cultures, period. It is wrong to torture a baby for fun. It has always been wrong. It has always been wrong no matter what any culture or any group of people thought about it. And it will always be wrong even if the whole world says otherwise. That view of morality has largely been destroyed as much in our world as it was in the world of Nazi Germany. And it has been replaced with the secular humanist/atheist concept that morality (like everything else) “evolves.”
What makes something “right” or “wrong”? What makes something “moral” or “immoral”??? If something isn’t moral just because Adolf Hitler or Joseph Stalin said so, why would it be different if Barack Obama – or ANY leader ANYWHERE – said so??? Who makes human rules for humanity? If it’s some group of humans, just what is it that makes them so superior to the rest of us that they get to make the rules for the rest of us? And if there is no group of humans that gets to make the rules, then where else would any true moral laws come from???
Is it human nature to merely be a herd animal, which chews its cud and does what the rest of the herd does? That doesn’t seem to be the way we are, given all the arguing and discussion rather than all the cud-chewing and mindlessly following.
In my own case, to return to my realization as an adrift young man, if there is no God, there ARE no moral rules. I could do anything I wanted. No one had the right to tell me that something was right or that something was wrong. They were merely imposing their own values on me and they didn’t have any more right to make the rules than anybody else. The Bible described such thinking: “every man did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25).
What kind of world do we invariably end up with when it is up to human minds to decide what is right and what is wrong??? I think history has already declared that it is a very ugly world.
Is mass human death a tragedy? Not according to the leaders of big government, who don’t care how many of their own people die as long as they have enough others to continue to do their bidding:
“The atom bomb is nothing to be afraid of,” Mao told Nehru, “China has many people. . . . The deaths of ten or twenty million people is nothing to be afraid of.” A witness said Nehru showed shock. Later, speaking in Moscow, Mao displayed yet more generosity: he boasted that he was willing to lose 300 million people, half of China’s population.”
LEE EDWARDS, CHAIRMAN, VICTIMS OF COMMUNISM MEMORIAL FOUNDATION: In 1959 to 1961 was the so-called “great leap forward” which was actually a gigantic leap backwards in which he tried to collectivize and communize agriculture.
And they came to him after the first year and they said, “Chairman, five million people have died of famine.” He said, “No matter, keep going.” In the second year, they came back and they said, “Ten million Chinese have died.” He said, “No matter, continue.” The third year, 20 million Chinese have died. And he said finally, “Well, perhaps this is not the best idea that I’ve ever had.”
CHANG: When he was told that, you know, his people were dying of starvation, Mao said, “Educate the peasants to eat less. Thus they can benefit – they can fertilize the land.”
I submit to you that we’re seeing the exact same demonically ideological disregard for the lives of one’s own people in Barack Obama with his ObamaCare rollout. There was no question that the website was not ready, that it would crash, that it was unsafe and that people who trusted its use would be subject to widespread identity theft and hacking. Obama didn’t care; he cared only about getting the turkey to fly whether it was ready to fly or not out of pure political considerations rather than any concern for the American people.
We’re seeing pure lies pumping out of the Obama White House to justify the fact that the president of the United States lied to the American people and became, in effect due to all his exposure, the most documented liar in the history of the entire human race. White House officials and their spinners are claiming that there’s nothing about the Affordable Care Act that is causing millions of people to lose their insurance, and they demonize the greedy insurance companies and say that Obama can’t do anything about what the insurance companies do. That is – just like Obama’s promise ,”If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what.” – a complete lie. Not only are 15 million Americans finding that out right now, but 93 million more Americans are set to learn it the hard way in January 2014. The insurance companies are cancelling millions of Americans’ insurance policies because ObamaCare loaded up policies with required regulations that none of these plans can meet. Again, the White House knew in 2010 that ObamaCare would FORCE insurance companies to cancel over 70% of individual insurance plans within three years of ObamaCare’s implementation. And so we are now seeing horror stories such as a woman with severe cancer who had not “substandard insurance” but “WORLD CLASS INSURANCE” in mortal danger of losing her insurance and therefore her LIFE because of ObamaCare.
Obama: “No matter, keep going.” And none of the catastrophe he’s created matters because like Mao Obama is a rabid ideologue who demands his “signature legislation” be implemented now matter how awful it is or how terrible its consequences will be on America and its people.
What I’m trying to tell you is that when it comes to looking to your government for morality, you can’t look at the communists and the fascists – who ought to have THE most moral governments if morality in any way, shape or form comes from government – and say, “that’s just them.” No government is moral, and morality comes from no government. Least of all our own as we have now nearly completely abandoned the Judeo-Christian worldview that gave the United States a chance at becoming a moral city on a hill. No nation that has mindlessly spent itself into well over $200 trillion in unsustainable and unpayable debt has any right to call itself “moral.”
I previously told you how bloody and dark and amoral and indifferent “the world of nature” apart from God was. Does the morality of human government seem any better? It has been frequently pointed out that any government that can give rights can just as easily take them away. Now we are living in a time when what was right has become wrong and what was wrong has become right.
I think of some of Jesus’ most powerful words: “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). What did He mean? Is He referring to people that nature lost? Is He referring to people who aren’t yet eligible for some government program to help them? Or is He referring to a far deeper and more fundamental problem with human nature that can’t be transformed by Nature and can’t be transformed by Nurture (i.e. a government nanny state)???
The Bible reveals something that we should all know from our self-introspection: “ He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end” (Ecc 3:11). That is that we have eternal souls. No temporary fix will work for beings that live on forever long after our bodies are dust. The only solution is an eternal solution; and therefore the only one who can save us is an eternal God.
Nature cannot save us because amoral nature cannot give us what it never had to begin with. Herd morality, society says morality, or government morality can’t save us because human beings are individuals and not herd animals and because governments are THE most immoral entities on earth rather than the most moral. And human beings cannot save us because no matter how they present themselves as messiahs, the fact of the matter is that they are fallen human beings tainted by sin and they are merely liars and charlatans and demagogues.
We are a world in desperate need of salvation. My generation was literally born into a world that had become capable of utterly destroying itself within a matter of minutes with nuclear annihilation. And that threat continues to hang over this world that common sense assures will one day erupt into WW3. We need a Savior. We need a Messiah. And no human government and no human leader can take the place of the true Savior of the world that the world needs – Jesus of Nazareth.