Love Wins The Culture War

What is the culture war? It is the struggle between Christianity, European progressivism, and Islam for the hearts and minds of humanity.

Love is the answer to the culture war.

God is Love and Love is the greatest power in the universe, and if we choose to love something more than Love, we start the path to destruction anew and begin to hate ourselves and the rest of creation alike. How can we choose to love in the midst of this world? By staying apart from the world by coming to understand the destructiveness inherent in its obsession with sin.

Love

What is love? The love that I am referring to is unselfish action on the behalf of another due to valuing them more highly than you value yourself, not passionate love (which looks for fulfillment in another), or even love because you like someone (friendship), or love because you have to for some reason (familial love). This unselfish action due to valuing another is the strongest power in the universe. If it is to last in human beings, it must spring from the fact that God is that way toward us. God is Love, and our love for Him will show itself in our ability to value others properly.

How is Love the answer to the culture war? Love is the antidote to apathy and hatred. If we choose to value people as human beings who were created in the image of God, they will not know what to do with it. However, if we choose not to do that, it will become a viciously destructive circle which is exactly what the Enemy wants. I am not saying that we should run around like a bunch of hippies trying to like people into the Kingdom, because that is not the kind of love that we are called to. We are called to acting positively toward someone who you may not have positive feelings toward even when you are having those negative feelings toward them. This love will also lead us into purity, and cause us to be examples, shining like stars in the universe (Philippians 2:15).

Purity from the World

How can we be pure then? We must choose to forsake our liking of the things of the world and replace it with a properly ordered love (value system [agapan]), with God at the top, then others, then ourselves. If we put the proper value on things and other people in relation to God, think of Plato’s structure of the tri-partite soul and you will begin to get where I am coming from.

If our love for God is paramount in our lives, we will desire to do what is pious, that is what it is that pleases Him; which is for more consistent than that which might have pleased the Greek gods that Socrates and Euthyphro discussed those 3500 years ago in Athens before Socrates’ trial for “corrupting the minds of the youth”. We know what it is that pleases Him because He has told us what that is in His Word. We certainly know what does not please him because that is what is commanded against in the 10 commandments, and the reason why He told us not to do those things is that He knew that those actions would hurt us in the end. So, love God above all, with all your heart, mind, and strength, and you will become more sanctified over time.

What does it look like to love God with your whole person? To prioritize time with him over all other things in life, and through that time to become more present with him and with those whom we are called to live alongside of. Presence is the key to holy living, and to living in purity while in the midst of the World. If we are present, we will have the clarity to know what the wisest course of action will be. Wisdom is righteousness, which is holiness in the context of relationship.

Humanity’s Obsession with Sin

Sin is to improperly love a person or thing that is lesser than our Creator. We become addicted to these lesser loves after we are hurt and lied to by people or circumstances and become convinced that these lesser things are what will fulfill us and heal our hurts rather than the One Proper Love. The root of these obsessions is often pride. Pride is the thought that I know better what will fulfill me than my creator does. The problem with pride is that it is self-worship. We were designed to worship something, thus we have that colloquially termed “God-shaped hole” in our hearts, and there is only one person or thing that can truly fill that space in each of us without causing harm to us in the long-run. We are not the answer to that equation, in that we are contingent beings. We were designed to seek the only being who is self-sufficient, and that is God, the God who is Love.

We were designed to love Love, and when we try to place any other person or thing in the place of Love, it hurts us in the long-run. We will worship anything on the altar that should be filled with all that we are as an offering to Love. The trouble is that when we replace Love with something other than Itself as the object of our love, that thing will destroy us, whether quickly or rot us slowly from the inside out. Addiction and obsession are large parts of what the path of destruction is, and they reduce the value of the soul of any person caught up in it to far less than it should be. This destruction is what is fuelling the culture war, both here at home and abroad.

Finally

The culture war is the fight for the hearts and minds of humanity. Destruction is fuelled by improper loves, which ultimately return to their source in the pits of Hell. Those who have become set in their foolish ways and have committed to the path of destruction will look to drag more onto that path to the pit, because misery loves company. Thus what we do with Love is the answer to the culture war, do we spread it all over the world or keep it to ourselves, ever so quietly? Do we allow Love to radically change us as only He can, that we would be conduits of Him into His world or do we hide our lights under a bushel, not letting Love do what He desires to do?

 

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Merciful Hellfire

What is Hell? Is it a place of fire and brimstone, a literal place of burning judgment? Or is it something else? I suggest that it is both.

Whereas God’s presence is there, it is qualitatively different than it is elsewhere in creation, and due to that difference, it is more merciful to those who chose Hell than it would be for them to exist for an eternity in the full presence of the Glory of the God-head in Heaven. There are many passages in scripture that discuss the nature of the Glory of God and that support this notion.  There is also some support for the notion that it is merciful to the believer for the unregenerate to go to Hell rather than everyone winding up in heaven (the Universalist heresy).

Hell exists. End of Story. Some of the few passages that discuss Hell are in terms of Gehenna (the garbage heap that was perpetually burning outside of Jerusalem, also seen as the Lake of Fire that was made in reservation for the Devil and his angels.  If scripture is to be believed, those who are currently in torment in Sheol will join them after the white throne judgment).  Others are just about the Grave in terms of either Hades or Sheol. Hades is the Greek term that roughly equates to Sheol. Sheol is the term for “The Pit,” and is frequently referenced in the Psalms.

In its essence, Hell is torment, as seen in Luke 16 in the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus, whether a literal flame or a sense of loneliness or an eternal loop of one’s favorite sin here on earth but without any satisfaction at the conclusion of it. The issue is that the latter two visions do not appear in scripture, other than in a few places where it refers to Hell as a place of darkness, which could potentially support the idea of loneliness.  Despite the absence of such conjecture in scripture, it is possible to infer these conclusions based on the information scripture does provide.

How can there be mercy in this?  God’s Glory. The glory of God is something that cannot be reduced to adequate terms in any human language, but there are passages that discuss it throughout scripture, and typically with imagery of burning fire, unapproachable light, and sometimes as a perfume or something radiantly beautiful.

God did not show himself fully to Moses on Sinai because he knew that his glory would kill Moses due to the nature of Sin, so God hid him in the cleft of the rock and covered his face with his hand that Moses would not see his face, but only his back as he passed. That lesser piece of God’s glory caused Moses’ face to glow for over a week; Moses had to veil his face because the Israelites could not suffer to see his face because it was shining so brightly. The burning bush is another picture of God’s glory, and that is the way that a fire could not consume a living bush, and indeed leave it green. Think of the pillars of cloud and fire during the Exodus, those were each manifestations of his Glory above the tabernacle. Indeed, his glory was why the Holy of Holies was inaccessible except for to the High Priest on the Day of Atonement; if any others dared to enter, they would die.

The same can be said for the Ark of the Covenant itself: As it was recounted in the time of the Judges, Saul and David understood that the ark could not be touched without death resulting.  The Glory of God is also why when the ark was captured, the gods of the Philistines fell prostrate before it when placed in their temples. The glory of God will not suffer sin to be near it, because it is his perfection, his holiness and ultimate Love encapsulated (for lack of a better way to put it).

In 2nd Thessalonians 1:7, Jesus is shown as a blazing fire on Judgment Day.  Indeed, even in Saul’s conversion experience on the Damascus Road, Jesus appeared as in a blinding light.  This is a manifestation of God’s glory, as was the transfiguration in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Those who do not ascribe God the glory due him because of who he is arguably choose to go to Hell, and finally to the Lake of Fire. That choice is merciful in and of itself, because it gives us the ability to accept grace and be prepared for heaven, or to reject it completely and to not be able to bear the weight and heat of His unfathomable beauty, and to go to the place where it is not the same as the rest of creation, and nowhere near the intensity that exists in Heaven.

Hell is that place, not that His glory is not present there at all, but indeed it is what manifests as the torment to those who are there for eternity. It might be said that Hell is not as bad for those who are there as Heaven would be for that same demographic. The intensity and quality of God’s glory in heaven is too great for one who is unprepared through a life of accepted tenderness here on earth to bear. It is too bright, much like the illustration of the Omnibus that C.S. Lewis uses in The Great Divorce, for those denizens of Hell to bear.

Mercy In Hell? Yes. By allowing man to choose not to be with him, God grants mercy. The Father’s heart is that all men should be saved. However, there are those who, according to Paul, were created for destruction. How can this be?  We may never fully understand.  Hell is merciful in the sense that His glory is of a different intensity than in Heaven, and the suffering of the damned is somehow different if not lesser than if they had their free will revoked when they died and were forced to worship God for eternity in the seat of his Glory in heaven.   Hell is a form of mercy.

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