domingo, 15 de agosto de 2010
Fiquei pensando muito porque é que muitas pessoas acham tão difícil acreditar em Deus. Para mim parece uma coisa natural. Confesso que já houve um tempo em que eu não acreditava; mas digo que é natural porque apesar de negar por um tempo, de certa forma eu sabia que era eu quem negava a existência de Deus.
Senhor Deus, parece que quando se descobre a verdade é como se ela tivesse sempre existido. Uma vez que a luz dissipou as trevas, já não queremos, ou não "suportamos" mais as trevas.
O senhor poderia me responder?
de seu filho.
sábado, 7 de agosto de 2010
Esse é meu segundo trabalho, sobre a Vida e Morte do Cristão. Nele eu exploro a visão que o cristão deveria ter sobre a morte. O cristão não deve temer a morte pois a morte á o caminho para Deus.
Ao mesmo tempo, porque não buscamos ativamente a morte para estar com Jesus afinal?
Que Jesus seja louvado.
Life and Death of the Christian
One of the aspects of the Christian life is "living by faith". Faith is what gives the Christian strength to go on living. The one who has been born again experiences a new way of life, looking at pleasing God in everything one does. Faith and hope go together when the Christian puts his confidence in God; he trust that God will keep his promises, he trusts that God, because of His very nature cannot tell a lie and everything He does is right. With that though in mind the Christian "knows" that everything that happens in his life is part of a very well articulated plan created by God since the foundation of the world. Therefore, even in suffering, the Christian, through faith and hope, believes that everything will work together for his good and the glory of God. God is in charge and His will shall be done.
As human beings, creatures of God, we are in a constant search for happiness. Once, the search was motivated by earthly pleasures and the satisfaction of our instincts; but after we have been called by Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, so we could not resist His calling anymore, the pattern of this search changed. Many things that were pleasing to us are not pleasing anymore, and slowly, the things that belong to God's kingdom start to make way into our lives. We start to be satisfied in things that we do to satisfy God; in these things He is glorified. Also, we have now the ability to resist sin. Before Jesus, all we did was sin against God. We are in a process of sanctification; a process of becoming more and more like Jesus.
What would be the top of the search for happiness of someone who belongs to Christ? Nothing material nor anything not-related to our relationship with god could possibly be the answer to this question. Surely, we would be happier living in constant communion with Jesus; we would be happier if we were living in a world without suffering; we would be happier if we could not only resist sin but not sin at all; we would be happier if we would not only wish to please God but please him effectively.
Jesus Christ has promised that he would return to collect His church. In 1Co:15 Paul talks about the resurrection bodies we shall receive when Christ comes back; and there are many other passages that affirm we will live in His presence for eternity.
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when He shall appear we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in him, purifleth himself even as He is pure.” (I John III: v. 2, 3).
Therefore, the hope that we will be with Christ one day and that all suffering will cease, that we will be in his presence permanently should be the top of our search for happiness. There shall be nothing that would make us happier than living a life in constant communion with Jesus. Not only based on hope as is our present relationship but in true certainty.
Although we put our hope in God while we are on this Earth, as humans we are weak and our faith can become shaken, we may fall into sin. Being born of Christ does not guarantee that we will not sin. But once we are transported to his presence, to enjoy the promise of salvation in the son of God, everything bad will be "left behind" and our satisfaction in Him will be complete. Although we may live in relative happiness now that we are of Jesus, it is true that we are not completely happy. There are still many things that happen to us, to our families, to our loved ones, to our churches that result in deep suffering. God gives us ways of dealing with all these things so not to let them rule over us and destroy our lives, but they will continue to happen, given that we live in a fallen world. The world that God intended us to inhabit was a perfect world, before the fall of men.
Shall we not pursue the presence of Jesus Christ with all our might, then? When will we enjoy being is His presence forever?
Certainly, when we die. (if it happens before the coming of Christ)
The Bible teaches that when we die we are transported to the presence of Jesus Christ. In 2 Co 5:6-8 Paul says:
"Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord [the full intimacy we long for is not possible here]—for we walk by faith, not by sight—we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord." 2Co 5:6-8
When we die, living our bodies behind, we can finally be with the Lord in full intimacy.
Knowing that is the case, Paul affirms in Philippians 1:21 "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Paul affirms that there is more value in dying and going to be with Christ than living in this world.
This is justified if we think of the nature of this world and the nature of the world we shall enter when we die. The Bible has beautiful words to describe heaven and the relationship we will have with Jesus Christ after we die and after the second coming of Christ when we will receive our glorified bodies. There is no possible comparison between these worlds when happiness is concerned. The book of Revelation tells us:
"He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Rev 21:4
Trusting these words shall give us great encouragement when facing death. Indeed, death is the greatest fear mankind has always have. It is mysterious and confusing. It should not be like that for the Christian, because he knows where he is going when he dies and who is waiting for him when he gets there. Christians should not fear death.
Should the Christian long for death, then?
Although it may sound strange it is a pertinent question. By dying, the Christian would enter a new world in the presence of Jesus, a world with no suffering, a world in permanent communion with God, a world with no tears where we would glorify God with perfection, we would love and please Him with perfection.
Let's examine some topics related to the matter:
1. It is a sin.
Taking your own life or someone else's life is a sin. There is no question about it. There is also no question we commit sins everyday and no sin is greater than other. Although we don't want to sin it is true that we do. We repent and ask god for forgiveness. This time you would be committing a sin on purpose, as part of a plan. Ironically, a plan to transport you to the presence of Christ forever. Would you still go to heaven if you died without confessing your sins?
2. Have you really been born again?
Are you sure you belong to Christ? What if you took your own life only to discover you were never His to begin with? You were not one of the elect of Christ. That would mean eternal separation between you and God. What are the evidences in your life that you are truly a Christian? Do you experience the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life? Do you recognize quickly when you have sinned and repent? Have you put away your old self and enter the way of sanctification? Have you developed a life with intimacy with God? Who is the Lord of your life? Jesus Christ? Do you fear death or you know what is waiting for you when you die?
3. Do you believe in the promise?
Do you believe the Bible is the word of God revealed to us? Do you believe it is heavenly inspired? Do you believe Jesus Christ has died for you and washed away your sins so you could be justified before God? If you believe some of the Bible is true you should also believe that the Bible as a whole is true; and believe also in the promises it contains. If you believe in the Bible, you should believe also you will be with Christ when you die.
Do you believe you could lose your salvation? That seems to be the strongest objection for someone considering longing for death to be with Jesus. The bible clearly teaches that Salvation is a gift from God and it cannot be taken away.
"All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:37-40
So, even if you commit that sin of taking your own life, if you are truly His, you can be sure you will keep your salvation.
Given the arguments above it is hard to find reasons why the Christian would not long for death or even take his own life to enter the presence of Jesus. It appears to be the logical thing to do.
Why don't we do it, then?
It is hard to imagine anything more joyful than living a life with Jesus in heaven. Indeed so hard that it cannot be imagined. Looking for a way that could not just spare us from all the suffering we see in this world but, at the same time, unite us with our Lord is something we cannot afford not to consider. Although it may seem logical it does not seem natural, after all there are millions of Christians alive and it would be a mistake to assume they are not born again Christians.
But once we know that our salvation is secured, rejecting the arguments presented would be to doubt the very promises of the Bible. Therefore, there must be another reason, outside the logical word, that prevents the Christian from realizing this lead of action.
John 10:7-10 teaches us that the Lord wants us to choose life:
"So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." Jo 10:7-10
The will of the Lord is stronger than any action we can perform against Him. It is the will of the Lord that we choose life, even if we think death is gain. Paul knew that a life with the Lord would be wonderful, much more than living in this word, yet he waited for God to exercise His prerogative of dealing with life and death. It is His will that we live in this world until the hour He planned comes. Therefore, even if it seems logical to anticipate our death, committing a sin for a greater good, a longing to be with God, the will of God is preventing us from carrying it out.
"For who can resist his will?" Rom 9:19
We do not take our lives to be with our God because He wants us to live.
It will come to us someday; it is true, it is a matter of time.
Murdoch Campbell, M.A. The God of Bethel,
John Piper, What Happens When You Die? http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByDate/1993/845_What_Happens_When_You_Die_At_Home_With_the_Lord/
John Piper, Do we receive our resurrection bodies when we die, or at the end of the age?
Louvado seja o seu filho Jesus Cristo.
Eu quero compartilhar como Senhor o primeiro trabalho do meu curso de teologia. Fiquei feliz por ter tirado uma boa nota.
É interessante que seja a seu respeito e que uma das maneiras de conseguir material para ideias seja através da Bíblia. Digo interessante, porque não existem outros textos com autoridade além da própria Bíblia, não é?
Que tudo seja sempre para a sua honra e glória.
God as a Timeless Being
Amongst the subjects in theology that have been discussed recently is God's relation to time. Although the position held during centuries from Augustine through Aquinas is one where God is atemporal, most present day philosophers disagree. While affirming that God is eternal, they understand Him to be everlasting in time. Rather than being outside time, God, in this view, exists through all times at all times, therefore He experiences time.
The other view is one where God is atemporal, He does not experience time at all, he is completely outside time, He is a timeless being and does not exist at any temporal location or at any time at all. God is beyond time altogether and does not experience temporal succession. The relation of God with past or future events is the same as His relation to any other event. There is no before or after for God in this view. He sees all events at once from an "eternal now".
Another possibility has been suggested by Dr. William Lane Craig, where God would be a timeless being before the creation of the universe and then became a temporal being after the creation of the universe in order to interact with the universe inside time.
I intend to show that although God has created the universe and at the same time space-time, the idea of God as a timeless being does not prevent God from interacting with the universe from His timeless stage. God would be timeless and personal simultaneously, before and after the creation.
In order to present the argument for God's timelessness we need to establish the ground for our reasoning. God being timeless means that for God time does not elapse, He is in a changeless state where there is no past, present or future. In this state time does not exist in the same sense it exists for us inside our universe.
No matter which theory we are going to create about the timeless nature of God, some assumptions concerning God's attributes need to be maintained:
1. God is omnipotent.
2. God is omniscient.
3. God is omnipresent.
4. God is sovereign. He acts as He so pleases, according to His own will, independent of any other factors.
5. God is the only uncaused cause, changeless and that has always existed.
6. God is infinite and not constrained by time or space.
Is God Timeless?
God decided to create our universe. It was when all matter, space and time began to exist, at t=0. At some point in time we came into the scene as modern human beings that perceive what we call time as a sequence of events, thus we have also created concepts such as past, present and future in order to establish our position in time. The notion of time is very real to us and it is clear that whatever is in our past is gone and cannot be brought to existence again, not even through the most detailed memories one might have about a past event. That “time” is gone. The future, in turn, is yet to come and there is no way we can predict what is yet to come. So, the present is the only place in the time-continuum we can really grasp and modify, even if the present itself is constrained to a brief subjective lapse of time.
The problem we are faced with is when God created our universe creating also time. That, in conjunction with the fact that God is a personal being, thus He relating to His creatures in a personal way: we can pray to God and He can respond, He can intervene in the way nature takes its course. These are examples of God interacting with us, human temporal beings. If God has created the universe and time, and if God also interacts with this temporal universe, than God must be inside time, God must be a temporal being.
This is what Dr. Craig suggests in his book Time and Eternity – Exploring God’s Relationship to Time – Crossway. He writes on page 241:
“It therefore follows from our arguments that God is (present tense) in time. He exists now. But on the Christian doctrine of creation, the world had a beginning though God did not. Did time exist before the moment of creation? Is God, existing alone without creation, timeless or temporal in such a state? I presented three arguments to show that (metric) time is finite in the past, so God existing without the world must exist either in an amorphous time or, more plausibly, timelessly. In short, given the reality of tense and temporal becoming, the most plausible construal of divine eternity is the God is timeless without creation and temporal since creation”
The challenges I see in this argumentation are as follows:
1. God being in a timeless stage would have to, at some point, create our universe, at least one universe, and that alone would imply temporality inside a timeless stage. God would have to pick up the right time according to His plan to make our universe come into being.
2. God, by creating our universe, creates at t=0 the space-time continuum as well and “enters” it becoming a temporal being. Wouldn’t God be bound by time in this new arrangement? Would not time constraint God?
3. God becoming temporal in our universe would not prevent Him becoming temporal in other universes parallel to ours that He might have decided to create in His timeless stage? Could He be temporal inside our universe and temporal inside other universes as well? Could God experience time in more than one universe simultaneously?
Let’s analyze these challenges to see if we can arrive at any conclusions about them.
It is my suggestion that if God is timeless, the decision He has made to create any universes has been done in eternity. So, even the word “decided”, I have used before, is just for us, humans beings to better understand the flow of this reasoning. There are no facts before God “decided” to do anything in His timeless stage, every fact about the history of any universes, any beings in these universes and any intervention of God in these universes have been defined in eternity.
Even before the creation of our universe at t=0, God already knew the entire history of our universe, even if this history extends to infinity, in the case our universe will expand forever in time.
In order to avoid the problems caused by a temporal God and also to defend the position that God can deal with temporal events in our universe without having to experience time, or in any universe for that matter, it is my intention to introduce the idea that in this timeless stage God has the knowledge of all the events, the entire history of our universe and others, not in a temporal way, but in a timeless way. God knows all the events, but can look at them from a timeless perspective not needing to experience time the way we do in order to interact with these events. And for that, I will use a simple analogy of a set that is not ordered in time. First: a computer database.
A computer database is a set of records that store information. This can be information about a certain individual, object or fact. Every database has an index that allows users of the database to retrieve its records in order to view or modify them. Although the records are numbered they are not related in time necessarily. So, if the user wants to look at record number 1024, the database application looks the record up in the index, finds the record and displays it to the user on a computer screen.
Making the analogy work for our timeless God, He would have a database of the entire history of all His universes and all the facts that took place in these universes including His own interventions, like answering prayers, dealing with natural disasters, sending missionaries to proclaim the gospel and so on; these would be analogous to the records. Like in the database, these events are not timely ordered from God’s timeless perspective but because of His omniscience and omnipotence He knows what event comes in succession or precedes another and can access them at any time. Not because He needs to experience time to know that, but because of his attributes of omnipotence and omniscience.
At this point I would like to introduce an illustration that although very simple is suitable to give us more insight into this matter: the jukebox illustration.
In and old Jukebox, the records are lined-up, indexed according to a list of albums and tracks. The pick-up arm actuates choosing a record according to instructions from a user. The arm must first find the appropriate record and them play the corresponding track.
Figure 1. Jukebox Schema
Similar to the Jukebox Schema, we can think about events in the timeless realm as records. These records are the actual occurrences that have "taken place" (depending where one wants to put the vantage point: future or past). They are the result of our own choices, acts, but also related to God's intervention, may He so desire. Examples would be "On December 31st of 2009 John said a prayer asking for a new job in 2010", or "Mary has thanked God for the blessings she received in 2009", or yet "Susan is going to school in 10 minutes".
God can address these records at His discretion; they have been decided from the eternity.
When looked at from a timeless perspective, these events, although ordered in time in our universe, are individual events in the timeless realm. The relationship among them is maintained because of God's omniscience, but God doesn't need to experience time to establish the time relationship for these events. On the other hand, we are time bound and that's the only way for us, to go through the events on a timely manner.
Figure 2. GOD in the timeless realm
Notice that this view doesn’t interfere with our freewill or our capacity to make free choices. God, in His omniscience, knows all that facts in our future, but that doesn’t mean that God determines all of these facts, but only those that are essential to His plans to be carried out in our lives. In other words, we are not constrained because God knows the facts in our future, we are free to make our own choices, but God knows every choice we make; He has always known.
The proposition alone that God is a temporal being having to experience time, therefore subject to laws that govern time such as special relativity seems to constrain the infinitude of God and also limit Him to exist only inside our universe.
The notion that God might have created other universes is very possible, therefore suppositions that relate God and time need to take that into consideration.
By creating the notion of time-independent events in the timeless realm, we can accept the concept of a timeless God without evoking the need for God to experience time, or enter time after the creation of our universe.
"And Jesus looking upon them said to them, With men this is impossible; but with God, all things are possible." Mt 19:26
The Net Bible - First Edition - www.bible.org
William Lane Craig, Time and Eternity - Exploring God´s Relationship to Time - Crossway
William Lane Craig, The Only Wise God - The Compatibility of Divine Foreknowledge and Human Freedom - Wipf and Stock Publishers
William Lane Craig Debates on the Internet
Typed on a Macintosh Colour Classic running Apple System 7.1