Music, Rules, and Wandering

The tile of my blog ‘estrangewanderings’ conveys a traveler who is out of place. I have felt out of place for a long time, but seeking God made me want to be out of place for the right reasons. By this I mean people like MLK Jr, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the apostle Paul, and even Jesus did not fit societies mold. They stood apart beautifully, contrasted by their culture. This has come to mind in part because of the rapper NF who’s music has been near to my soul.

I was listening to him this morning while reading the Psalms. Psalm 119 is one of my favorites and feeling led to be encouraged by David’s words here, verse 54 stuck out: “Your statues have been my songs in the house of my sojourning”. This verse has much depth and could mean multiple things since David’s life went from a farmer to king Saul’s servent to king himself. 

Which stage of his life when writing this I do not know. However, I know me and others have often felt like a wandering traveler even among familiarity. I know others have the deep connection to music, where it becomes a part of their life blood. Given that David was a musician I am sure he felt that way about music too. 

But David is telling us that God’s law should be our music for it is the comfort in troubling times. God’s word should make us want to move and feel better because it brings life. 

I wanted to share this because I want us to reawaken to the life force in God word. I want us to reawaken to God’s calling. And I want us to reawaken to the Word becoming flesh. 

The Importance of the Old Testament

I am assuming that most Christians are not familiar with the Old Testament (hereafter, OT). In fact, I think many are not familiar with the New either. Both are really important, but it seems that the OT is ignored more because it feels outdated. However, the entire Old Testament is a reflection of Christ. All of it points to him. Seems strange from our point of view, but this is what the New Testament says.

Luke 24:27 : “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He [Jesus] explained to them [Disciples] what was written in all the Scriptures about Himself.” Notice that the revelation of Christ begins with Moses and that all the Prophets testify in some way to Jesus. 

John 5:39 “You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me!” Now, this is a great verse as well. Scripture points to Christ. And Christ, not scripture gives life. This is not to say that the Scriptures are unimportant, but that salvation isn’t found in them. Perhaps, they were thinking the of the following verse when looking for eternal life in the scriptures.

Joshua 1:8 “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”

The primary point that I want to bring up about this verse in Joshua is that their scripture was not nearly as much as ours. They had Gen-Det and maybe a few more (see, Joshua 10:13). This was their eternal life, yet these books, with the exception of Genesis, are probably the most ignored. I imagine this is because we both feel we know the important parts and don’t like a lot of what is written in it. However, it is suppose to reveal Jesus and I am still not sure how it exactly these books do that, but I know I won’t find out without reading them. Because of this, I believe all believers should familiarize themselves with the books they would rather ignore because it does reveal Jesus. Eternal life is only in Jesus, but scripture reveals who He is.

 

Possible Worlds: the Morally Good and the Best

The other day I found David Lewis’s book ‘Counterfactuals’ at a used book store for a cheaper price than can be found on Amazon. Pretty excited about the find, I started reading it right away. 

In the beginning of the book he briefly mention morally perfect worlds among the possible worlds. Possible world are universes which may exist, but are not our universe. There are possible worlds that are just like ours and one that are drastically different. 

 A morally perfect world would be a world quite a bit different than our own since our world clearer has plenty of evil. I am going to attempt to unpack what a morally perfect world is or could be. However, I wish to note that this is an area I am not as well versed in and should be taken with a grain of salt. 

One possible definition of a morally perfect world could be this: (1) df=morally perfect world: A world where there is no evil. (1) is readily grasped as something we might mean by a morally perfect world. If there is no evil, then certainly there is nothing blameworthy with that world. However, a world with no good may have no evil too. Imagine a world where only a spec of dust exists. Such a world doesn’t have evil, but lacks good as well. Intuitevly, a world with only a spec is amoral, not morally perfect. 

A second, better definition, is this: (2) df= a morally perfect world: is a world where only good thing happen. Thus, a world with only a spec of dust is now filled out because there is nothing good. Again, a morally perfect world would seem to suggest only good things happening. However, this definition may still be lacking. Imagine a world where there exist only the universe. There are no living things, plants or animals, just planets and stars. There is a kind of beauty to this universe and beauty is a kind of good. The beauty is the universe dancing as it usually does. Or the sun setting as it usually does. if these are goods as we usually take them to be, then this universe has only good things happening. I still think intuitevly this universe is lacking from being morally perfect though. Morally perfect just seems to imply more substances than this universe can give.
One may object that these goods are not real in that world because there is no one there to appreciate them. However, I don’t think music or a painting loses it goodness or beauty just because three is no observer. A third definition that may be as close as we can get is this: (3) df=a morally perfect world: is a world where there are living creatures who experience pleasure, whom never chooses evil, and no evil falls upon them. 

Dear (3) does encompass what I think we intuitively believe about a morally perfect world. My doubt here is not the definition, but rather if such a world is possible. Can agents be free and always choose what is good? Maybe. Can the physical universe exist with consistent natural laws and not hurt anything? Doubtful. 

Take this example from Lewis abiut changing too much,

 “We might think it best to confined our attention to worlds where kangaroos have no tails and everything else is as it actually is; but there are no such worlds. Are we to suppose that kangaroos have no tails but that their tracks in the sand are as they actually are? Then we shall have to suppose that these tracks are produced in a way quite different from the actual way. Are we to suppose that the genes control growth in a way quite different from the actual way…”(p 9) Lewis’s point is if we try to hard to change only one thing, other things will have to change. This problem would only escalate on the natural law level. 

Thus, each definition has problems. Thus, I am not certain that a morally perfect world exists. If one does, the definition needs to be teased out quite a bit more. 

Worship and Jesus: another problem for JW

This is yet another post showing a problem for Jehovah Witnesses’ theology regarding Jesus. They believe Jesus to be an angel, a god, but not God. Here we will show that Jesus was worshipped in a way reserved for God alone. 

In Luke 4:8 Jesus tells Satan that we must only worship God.

 “It is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'” 

The Greek word used for worship here is proskynēseis. Thus, if any person is offering proskynēseis to something other than God it is idolatry. For example, Acts 10:25-26 “When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and proskynēsen him. But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am a man.” 

Therefore, proskynēseis cannot be offered to man. Later in Revelation we see John make a similar mistake with an angel, Rev 19:9-10 “And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” Then I down at his feet to proskynēsai him, but he said to me, “You must not do that!”

However Jesus receives this worship reserved for God alone and does not rebuke those giving it.

Luke 24: 50-52 Then he [Jesus] led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting his hands he blessed them. While he blessed them, he parted from and was carried to heaven. And they proskynēsantes him…” 

Rev 5:14 “And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the elders fell down and proskynēsantes” (The context before and after is all about the Lamb) 

Worship is reserved for God alone, even Jesus said so. When disciples and elders worship Jesus, he did not rebuke them like Peter and the angel did to their respective worshippers. The only conclusion to make is that Jesus thinks himself to be God, which is great news. Immanuel! 

1. How God became Jesus chapter 5, of 101 was used heavily in this post. Simon Gathercole wrote chapter 5. 

Only one Savior? A problem for Jehovah Witnesses’ concept of Jesus

The primary difference between Jehovah Witnesses (hereafter, JW) and orthodox Christianity is that JW believe Jesus is a created being while orthodox Christians believe he is God. JW claim that Jesus is a god, but not thee God. However, the bible is clear that Jesus is God. Previously, I have examined JW reasoning on John 1:1, here I will give a different example of why we know Jesus is God.

Isaiah 43:11 states, “I—I am Jehovah, and besides me there is no savior.” (New World Translation)

This means that Jehovah is the only Saviour. There are no others that can fulfill the role as savior. But we will see that Jesus is also a savior. Luke 2:11 states, “For today there was born to you in David’s city a savior, who is Christ the Lord” (NWT). Now, a savior was born. If a savior was born only two conclusion can be made. Either the bible contradicts itself or Jesus Christ is Jehovah.