Ravi Zacharias – Good and evil from back in the garden of Eden

RaviI’m a Christian apologist. Apologetics is a discipline that does two things:

  1. It clarifies truth claims
  2. It gives answers to the hard and the soft questions that people ask

So, we are surrounded, all around us in our ministry with questions. A few weeks ago I was doing an open forum at Princeton University, a gentleman stood up and he asked a very interesting question. And he said this, „What is the difference in the milieu, in the idea, in the original creation in the garden, over and against now?” I said, „Oh boy, that’s a long question, let me keep the answer brief.” I said 2 things:

  1. The presence of God
  2. If you remember, in the legal framework there was just one prohibition, and one temptation. Think about that. „You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Just one caution, one warning, one law to bear in mind. What happens? The enemy of our souls comes and what does he say? „Did God really say that?” Is this a propositional statement from God? And then the seduction, „In the day that you eat from it you shall be as God, knowing good and evil.”

I take that to mean: In the day that you define the one mandate of God- not to defy good and evil- everything wrong will ensue. So, all that happened in that garden was simply  the denial of God’s prerogative to be the definer of good and evil.  And when you look at the world now, I said to the student, you tell me, „What does the world look like now, with thousands of laws, thousands of footnotes, and even when you get on to the plane, they don’t just tell you ‘don’t mess with the smoke detector’, they have to tell you not to tamper, touch, disable or destroy.” Because you can have each word dying the death of a thousand qualifications. What’s really happened, ladies and gentlemen, we are living in a time in cultural history where our definitions have gone.

Malcolm Muckridge talked about this years ago, in the seventies. He said, „It is difficult to resist the conclusion that 20th century man has decided to abolish himself. Tired of the struggle to be himself, he has created boredom out of his own affluence, impotence out of his own erotomania, and vulnerability out of his own strength. He himself blows the trumpet, that brings the walls of his own cities crashing down. Until at last, having educated himself into imbecility, having drugged and polluted himself into stupefaction, he keels over a weary old brontosaurus and becomes extinct.

You know, the truth of the matter is, that when our definitions are gone, the minefield and the quicksand through which we walk is horrendous. Now you may say that Muckridge was on the verge of his own spiritual journey beginning. He was a humanist like Aldous Huxley: We are living today, not in the delicious intoxication  of the early successes of science, rather in the grizzly morning after, where it has become quite apparent that what science may have actually done is to introduce us to improved means, in order to obtain hither to unimproved, or rather, deteriorated ends.

In Moscow, last week, I told them the story of Natan Sharansky , who was a political prisoner there for many years, and went on to his homeland in Israel and became the Justice Minister. When he returned to Rusisia for the first time, he asked if he could go back to the prison where they kept him for so long. As he was about to enter that little cell, he asked his wife if she would please allow him the privilege  of being there alone for a few minutes. He went back alone and he came back with tears running down his face. He said, „It was here that I really found myself.” And he asked for the privilege to go and lay a wreath at the tomb, at the grave of Andrei Sakharov, the great Russian physicist, who gave to the Soviet Union the atomic bomb. And he quoted Sakharov, and he said this, „Sakharov told me before he died, ‘I always thought the most powerful weapon in the world is the bomb.’ He said, „It is not. The most powerful weapon in the world is the truth.'” Winston Churchill said the truth is the most valuable thing in the world. So valuable, that it is often protected by a bodyguard of lies.

Where do we go from here? What do we do, when those in their punditry have told us years ago where we were headed? Where is America now? Listen to Chesterton: Under the smooth, legal surface of our time, there are already moving very lawless things. We are always near the breaking point when we care only for what is legal, and nothing for what is lawful. Unless we have a moral principle about such delicate matters as marriage and murder, the whole world will become a welter of exceptions, with no rules, and there will be so many hard cases, that everything will go soft, unless we know the difference between what is lawful and what is legal. Where do we go?

I close with this thought: It was about 3 years ago, the first time I was given the awesome privilege of speaking at the opening day  of the United Nations, on the day of prayer. They asked me to speak on a very difficult subject: The finding of absolutes in a relativistic world. That’s tough on any given day. Even tougher for about 20 minutes at 7 o clock in the morning. What could you do when there is a plurality of worldviews sitting in front of you? So, I did this.I said, „We’re looking for absolutes in four areas.

  1. Evil, how to define evil.
  2. Justice, how do you define what is just.
  3. Love, how do you find the source of love and the absoluteness of love.
  4. and when we blow it, we look for the grounds of forgiveness.

These are the areas that govern our lives, for which we want definitions: evil, justice, love, and forgiveness. I said, „Ladies and Gentlemen, can I ask you this: Do you know of the one place in history where these 4 converge? The one place in history, where evil, justice, love and forgiveness come down to the end of that funnel – there is in the Christian worldview, it happened on a hill called Calvary. The evil that is in the heart of man, the justice that God has,  the love that He portrayed to the very end- ‘Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing’, the forgiveness that we found.” At the age of 17, I was on a bed of suicide in New Delhi, India, having lost all hope. Total failure. When a man brought me a Bible in my hospital room, something I had never opened in my own life, and he opened it to John chapter 14, I won’t go into details. He gave it to my mother, whose English was not that good, reading from the King James version cause he had to leave. Jesus said to Thomas, „Because  I live, you also shall live.I committed my life to Jesus Christ, and the Grand Weaver has drawn a great pattern in the life of somebody who had lost all hope, lost meaning, lost purpose.

You see, when you find your definitions in God, you find the very purpose for which you were created. „You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless, until they find their rest in Him.” Can I close with this quote? In 1939, the world was on the brink of a lot of darkness. King George VI went to speak to the world, and he said, „I said to the man at the gate of the year”Give me a light, that I may walk into the unknown.” He said to me, „Go out into the darkness, and put your hand into the hand of God. It shall be to you better than the light, and safer than the known.” Graduates, you’re going out into a pretty dark world. Put your hand into God’s hand. Know His absolutes, demonstrate His love, present His truth and the message of redemption, and transformation will take hold. The story is to be told to many. And the experience and joy of transformation is unique. The Gospel alone has that story.

Tim Keller – A Call to Justice

Tim Keller speaks in Durham North Carolina June 2012 from Deuteronomy 15:

When you try to take the Gospel out of your private ice and even out of the church and out into the world, there’s basically two ways to do that: word and deed. You talk to people about the love of God (evangelism) and you can embody, you can show the love of God in deeds. Take a look at Luke 10. The first half is Gospel messaging- it’s talking about the love of God. Te second half of Luke 10 is Gospel neighboring; it’s doing deeds of love, it’s showing the love of God.

When you go out into the world to do evangelism, first of all nobody but christians are going to help you. And even if all christian churches come together to do evangelism in a big place, it’s actually tricky because you’re trying to get people into the churches and which churches do they go to? But when it comes to doing justice… sometimes the Bible talks about doing mercy, which is really the motivation, or doing service, which is really the form of the action and justice is the effect of the action.

Whenever the Bible says to go out into the world and show in deed, like the Good Samaritan did… go out there and do justice, it brings , first of all non christians who say, „Let’s do this with you and the churches have got to come together. There is no better way for churches to come together than to do justice and show the world the love of Christ.

Tim Keller preaches a sermon on Deutoronomy 15 that talks about a call to justice, then the power for doing justice and the testimony of justice.

Uploaded by  June 2012

Tim Keller – Generous Justice (Essential sermon)

Tim Keller speaks on  Justification by faith.

Generous Justice from The Gospel Coalition on Vimeo.

Related articles

Is God Glad Osama Bin Laden’s Dead? John Piper

 from DesiringGod.org
God’s emotions are complex—like yours, only a million times more. Right now, your emotions about bin Laden are not simple, i.e. not single. There are several, and they intermingle. That is a good thing. You are God-like.In response to Osama bin Laden’s death, quite a few tweets and blogs have cited the biblical truth that “God does not delight in the death of the wicked.” That is true.It is also true that God doesdelight in the death of the wicked. There are things about every death that God approves in themselves and things about every death that God disapproves in themselves.

Is God Double-Minded?

This is not double talk. All thoughtful people make such distinctions. For example, if my daughter asks me if I like a movie, I might say yes or no to the same movie. Why? Because a movie can be assessed for its 1) acting, 2) plot, 3) cinematography, 4) nudity, 5) profanity, 6) suspense, 7) complexity, 8. faithfulness to the source, 9) reverence for God, 11) accurate picture of human nature, etc., etc., etc.

So my answer is almost always “yes, in some ways, and no in other ways.” But sometimes I will simply say yes, and sometimes no, because of extenuating circumstances.

Here is why I say God approves and disapproves the death of Osama bin Laden:

In one sense, human death is not God’s pleasure:

Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live? . . .  For I do not pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live. (Ezekiel 18:23, 32).

In another sense, the death and judgment of the unrepentant is God’s pleasure:

Thus shall my anger spend itself, and I will vent my fury upon them and satisfy myself.(Ezekiel 5:13][Wisdom calls out:] Because you have ignored all my counsel and would have none of my reproof, I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when terror strikes you. (Proverbs 1:25–26)

Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, for God has given judgment for you against her! (Revelation 18:20)

As the Lord took delight in doing you good . . . so the Lord will take delight in bringing ruin upon you and destroying you. (Deuteronomy 28:63)

We should not cancel out any of these passages but think our way through to how they can all be true.

God is Not Malicious or Bloodthirsty

My suggestion is that the death and misery of the unrepentant is in and of itself not a pleasure to God. God is not a sadist. He is not malicious or bloodthirsty. The death and suffering considered for itself alone is not his delight.

Rather, when a rebellious, wicked, unbelieving person is judged, what God has pleasure in is the exaltation of truth and righteousness, and the vindication of his own honor and glory. (For further discussion of God’s heart in judgment see the section in The Pleasures of God called “How Is God Like George Washington?”, pp. 147–149.)

When Moses warns Israel that the Lord will take pleasure in bringing ruin upon them and destroying them if they do not repent (Deuteronomy 28:63), he means that those who have rebelled against the Lord and moved beyond repentance will not be able to gloat that they have made the Almighty miserable.

God is not defeated in the triumphs of his righteous judgment. Quite the contrary. Moses says that when they are judged they will unwittingly provide an occasion for God to rejoice in the demonstration of his justice and his power and the infinite worth of his glory (see also Romans 9:22–23).

A Warning

Let this be a warning to us: God is not mocked. He is not trapped or cornered or coerced. Even on the way to Calvary he had legions of angels at his disposal: “No one takes my life from me; I lay it down of my own accord”—of his own good pleasure, for the joy that was set before him.

At the one point in the history of the universe where God looked trapped, he was in charge, doing precisely what he pleased—dying to justify the ungodly like you and me.

(Adapted from The Pleasures of God, pp. 66-74.)

Blogosfera Evanghelică

Vizite unicate din Martie 6,2011

free counters

Va multumim ca ne-ati vizitat azi!


România – LIVE webcams de la orase mari