#0112 The directive of self-righteousness is skewing God’s authentic nature
Scripture relevant to today’s posting…
The Man of Lawlessness
2 Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, 2 not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. 3 Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.
2Thessilonians 2:1-4 (NIV)
Today’s posting is part 2 of a series titled: “Self-righteousness 2.0”. This series is based upon material to be included in my new book. As I am inspired to write this, I am posting these ideas on-the-fly, so they will be fleshed out and edited more before they get incorporated into the book. Today we will look at the origins of religion itself and some reasons why our early human ancestors were trying to find out more about God. Rooted in myth and superstition, our understanding about God was bound to eventually bring us humans into a realm of self-righteousness.
We’ve been talking in the previous section of the book about the WORD. This reference is found in the 1st chapter of the gospel of John; here’s part of that scripture…
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 1:1-5 (NIV)
In that section we cited many differences between “the words of the Bible” and “the WORD”. We brought out the point that many protestant preachers seem to be very adept (and comfortable as well) at referring to the “words of the Bible” as the WORD. I went on at length about how this practice is not only a mistake; it is blasphemy. Referring to the Bible as the WORD—saying that they are the same thing—is akin to saying that righteousness is the same thing as self-righteousness. In both cases, they are not the same; and what’s more, they’re opposites and their energies originate from different—opposing—sources. Righteousness is a state or condition of Godliness: it refers to the nature of God and frames His/Her behavior. Self-righteousness is the perversion of this state or condition of Godliness and its directive is skewing God’s true and authentic nature. The practice of referring to “the words of the Bible” as the WORD is an example of this skewing practice.
In the time before Jesus, our understanding of God was based upon myths and superstitions. It emerged from our lack of scientific knowledge, shared, limited world experience and prowess and fears over our hostile natural environs in general. At that time, the objective in fashioning a divine narrative wasn’t so much to create an accurate depiction of God’s nature; but more specifically it was to create conceptualization of God that would give us humans a hedge against a plethora of evil which was apt to come at us out of the darkness without warning. The narrative undoubtedly originated with the cave-dwellers as they sat around their campfires at night, gazing up at the stars, scratching their heads and trying to piece together the rudimentary components of their little-known surroundings. This narrative took some twists and turns as they grappled to derive a theory about God which would serve them better and better. This evolution process eventuated into what became known as the Law of Moses. The spirituality of the Law of Moses has more in its DNA from myth and superstition than it has from the true nature of the Jesus God. The Mosaic Law was designed to keep those, who found themselves in the shadow cast by its cultural umbrella, safe and buffered against all manner of worldly evils. Among these were the threats posed by other people who were not of their kind. Outsiders. Thems. Although the Moses narrative spoke of a long, long history of bondage and misery endured by their ancestors (inflicted upon them by outsiders); it also held the notion that they were a chosen people, highly favored in God’s eyes. This status of being a chosen people meant that their hardships and grief would one day be rewarded; at least for those among them who remained steadfast in their beliefs. Being in compliance with the Law of Moses meant you conducted yourself well within the parameters of the Law. Being inside these parameters or borders of this realm enabled you to bask in the auspices and promises the Law provided you, you felt safe, you felt included. At the same time, as a citizen of this realm, you were held in the flux of accountability that the Law demanded of all its people and you were bound by its conditions.
The borders I’m referring to here weren’t physical; but psychological and spiritual in nature. Moving along the timeline described in its narrative, the Law of Moses had been evolving into this very large and looming psycho-spiritual realm. When Jesus showed up on the world stage, it was in the midst of this realm of the Law of Moses. The challenge before Him was that Jesus had a message of righteousness to share with His fellow countrymen who occupied this realm with Him; a realm built upon polytheism, myths and superstitions; whose narrative seemed to glorify a blood-thirsty deity and champion the gospel of self-righteousness!
If you have a question or a comment about this or other postings please feel free to send them in. As usual, thanks for reading.
TBC: Before the end of November, 2016