Following up on yesterdays “quote of the day” I found it intriguing not only from a philosophical perspective (while self-deception is a real phenomenon that all philosophers must deal with) but from a Biblical perspective. What is the Biblical explanation for why self-deception occurs? At this point I can get into a lengthy epistemological explanation that won’t matter outside of the philosophical context but interestingly Paul the apostle shares some insight into the matter. He writes to the Church of Rome:
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.”
In short, the first step in the process of self-deception is to suppress the truth which God had revealed through “natural revelation” or things we come to understand by looking at the natural world. Paul even explains for us just some of the important things that we learn from nature like God’s attributes, And because of this the natural man is without an excuse. She / he knows the God of creation but works over time to suppress the truth about Him. The end result is futility in thought, their hearts were darkened, in short they became fools (describing a person who is dense not using God’s reason as he has given it). Like all Bible passages we can say that this is rich with insight. The bottom line is when the natural man refuses God’s wisdom he inevitably replaces it with something else. Hence the quote from yesterday by Demosthenes, “The easiest thing of all, is to deceive one’s self; for what a man wishes he generally believes to be true”. Random thought for the day 🙂
“The easiest thing of all,is to deceive one’s
self; for what a man wishes he generally believes to be true” (Olynthiaca iii.l9).
TITLE: Heaven, How I Got Here: The Story of the Thief on the Cross
AUTHOR: Colin S. Smith
PUBLISHER: Scotland, UK: Christian Focus, 2015, (96 pages).
“Rules! Morality! Where was this getting us? What could it all accomplish? Somewhere in these anxious and angry thoughts, a rebellion was born in my heart.” Sound familiar? The seed of rebellion has planted itself in many of us. Perhaps not as blatantly as quoted above but for each of us there is something that keeps us from accepting Christ as our Lord and Savior.
In his book Heaven How I Got Here Colin S. Smith tells the fictional story of the thief on the cross. While this book is fictional it speaks to the most fundamental question of mankind; how am I made right before God? While many dense theological treatises have been written to answer this question; Colin Smith answers it couched in a very interesting narrative coming from one who had a firsthand account of Jesus’ crucifixion.
Heaven How I Got Here was an enjoyable and interesting read. In a time when many books on heaven-that should never have been written-have missed the mark it is refreshing to read one that captures the authenticity of the Bible’s teaching. This is a good read for those who are churched but I think it’s good for someone considering the Christian faith since it speaks to our human condition but also provides us with a solution.
This book is provided to me courtesy of Christian Focus and Cross-Focused Reviewers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.
More Than Conquerors (MTC)by William Hendriksen was a great read (for the second time)providing insight on the book of Revelation with a pleasant prose making it enjoyable to read for just about anyone. Originally published in 1939 MTC has been able to demonstrate its worth and legitimacy by withstanding the test of time. Still relevant even today when compared to recent scholarship yet very accessible.
For those who come from my own church background-fundamentalist evangelical-MTC is going to read very different from what we are typically used to. Hendriksen’s purpose is to amplify the original message of the book of Revelation which is very applicable to the church today. Hendriksen takes seriously the hermeneutic of Scripture interpreting Scripture as he demonstrates how the message of Revelation would have been understood by its original audience.
MTC is very applicable and arguably one of the most applicable books on Revelation. The common approach to Revelation is to create a prophetic time line of end time scenarios by decoding Revelation through the grid current events. Hendriksen’s approach is much different as he views Revelation as a book that applies to the church in every age. He properly understands Revelation as book that gives us hope in Christ as we persevere and encourages us to draw closer to God.
What was new to me in Hendriksen is his view of the external architecture of Revelation. He explains that Revelation is not linear or chronological but consists of 7 parallel accounts (also known as “Progressive Parallelism” or “Recapitulation” theory of Revelation ) of the church age and the final day of the Lord. In this view each account speaks of the evil in the world using symbolism and ends showing that God will be victorious, judgment will come upon the evil, and the persecuted saints will be protected, vindicated, and saved. This is great encouragement for the persecuted church in every age.
Lastly Hendriksen properly explains the symbols that John uses in Revelation. The common approach to symbolism is to interpret the symbols literally. Hendriksen properly shows how many of the symbols used in Revelation are taken from Old Testament symbolism that point to specific truths for the church age.
Hendriksen comes from a historic Protestant background so his approach to Revelation will be different than what many readers are accustomed to. However, this shouldn’t be a reason not to give Hendriksen a fair reading. His book went through more than 25 publications since 1939 because it really is that good. For decades his was one of the few commentaries on the book of Revelation that carried with it a sense of legitimacy because of its candor and its Christ centered message. For this reason alone it ought to have a place on any Bible student’s book shelf.