Class Notes: 6/8/2008
How mankind comes to God consciousness
In our study of the mandates for the believer in God's pre-determined plan we are presently examining the mandate found in 1Pet 3:15; for the believer to sanctify or set apart the TLJC in their hearts or stream of consciousness and as a result be focused on TLJC rather than the adversities in life and to be ready to give an answer of the "hope that is in them" that results from the believer's occupation with TLJC.
1Pet 3:15;b Because of this, (the sanctification of TLJC In their heart) believers will be ready to make a defense to everyone who asks...
Last time we saw Peter's apologetic to the Jews in Acts 2; and Paul's apologetic to the Greeks in Athens in Acts 17;.
We saw that God the Holy Spirit in common grace had brought the Greeks to God consciousness and that their God consciousness was the platform for Paul's presentation of the Gospel of grace through faith alone in TLJC alone. Acts 17:23;
God consciousness is necessary for the Gospel to be relevant. Because of this, God the Holy Spirit works via common grace to make consciousness of God a volitional choice for all mankind that leads to the second volitional choice of believing in TLJC. John 14:1; note 1
There are five logical approaches to the knowledge of the existence of God any one of which makes everyone accountable for their unbelief if they exhibit lack of interest in knowing more about God at the moment of God consciousness. Rom 1:20; Rom 3:3-6;
There is the Theological or Religious Argument which states that God must exist because man universally believes in His existence.
Awareness of the existence of God occurs because others believe He exists and talk of His existence.
In human history all cultures arrive at a concept of a supreme being, which manifests itself in the fact that they worship a god or gods.
In this case the human mind uses faith as the basis for the reality.
The creature does not crave what does not exist which indicates the reality of the Supreme Being.
We have seen from Paul's apologetic to the Greeks that Men do seek after god or gods.
Acts 17: 26-28; and He (Jesus) made from the source of one man (Adam) all nations of mankind to live on the face of the earth, and has predetermined their dispensations, and the boundaries of their habitation [nations and generations], with the purpose that they should seek after God [God-consciousness], if (4th class construction ...if and they may, but they probably won't) they grope in the dark after Him and find Him (through Gospel-hearing) (I wish all were but they aren't), and He exists not far from any one of us ( he is as close as anyone's positive volition ),for in Him we live, and move, and exist, as even some of your own poets (such as Aratus and perhaps Epimenides) have said, 'For we also are His children or descendants of a common ancestor, ( Adam).'"
We see that the Greeks had come to God consciousness through this process.
Another means of coming to God Consciousness is the Anthropological or Moral Argument:
To a greater or less degree man's soul possesses both volition and conscience with an urge to choose right from wrong. Rom 2:14-15;
The structure of society and the function of human government are based on human recognition of virtue and truth.
The phenomena of man's morality suggests the need and desire for a Supreme Being who is the basis for morality and who is the standard for right and wrong. There is no explanation for this apart from the existence of God who is perfect.
A material, ungoverned universe can know nothing of moral values and distinctions apart from the absolute righteousness of a Supreme Being.
The morality of mankind apart from the revelation of the Mosaic law demonstrates god consciousness.
Another approach to God consciousness is the Ontological Argument, which is an argument of the existence of God based simply on the meaning of the word "God"
The argument goes like this... Since the human mind possesses the idea of a perfect and absolute Being such a Being must exist.
Apart from theological or religious and anthropological or moral tendencies of mankind, the existence of God is necessary for the ideal of perfection to develop in the human mind.
Beyond the relative, which man measures and lives in, there is the absolute, which gives character, meaning and value to the relative,
The relative or dependent is based on the existence of the independent and absolute.
So when one is dealing with any phase of the relative or that which is dependent and they take it back far enough, logically, one comes to the absolute and thereby becomes aware of God's existence, which is God-consciousness.
In this case, the mind uses rationalism as the basis of determining of reality.
Some arrive at the conclusion that man evolved from a primordial sea over billions of years. But this ignores the rationale or the next argument.
The Teleological Argument is based on the understanding that the observation of the structure of the universe demands that it have a Designer. Rom 1:19-20;
Whether looking at the visible universe around us (telescopic) or at the invisible universe about us (microscopic) both possess order, design, arrangement, purpose, and adaptation causing us to conclude there is a Designer.
Whether the design of the galaxies or the structure of an atom, there is no such thing as accidental order.
In this case, the human mind uses empiricism as the basis of determining reality.
God is seen as the foundation of all knowledge, not just "spiritual" knowledge. He knows everything that there is to know, and He knows everything thoroughly and completely.
To God, every item of His creation, invisible and visible, reflects back to Him the beauty, wonder, and infinity of His attributes.
We see from these 5 arguments that God's witness within His creation is a trigger, stimulating most people to ask questions about the meaning of life or the reality of God. Those points of contact are already there, provided by God in his creation.
When the believer is making a "defense of the hope that lies within them" these ideas must be identified and exploited. They are placed there by God, and are meant to be used.
Eccles 3:11b; "He has set eternity in their heart" describes a divinely implanted sense of a purpose working through the ages which nothing under the sun but God alone can satisfy, - Amplified Translation
1Pet 3:15; The word translated 'account" is the Greek word "Logos" which refers to the spoken words or doctrinal content in the believer's soul that results from their occupation with TLJC that they speak of when asked of their hope.
The Greek word translated "hope" is "elpis" which we have learned means absolute confident future expectation of Divine good.
The translation of the literal word order in the original Greek is "word about the in you hope” So the believer is to communicate the word which is the source of their absolute confident future expectation of Divine good to those who ask.
The believer's absolute confident future expectation comes from their personal sense of destiny that is established from their understanding of their identity and union with TLJC as members of his body and the Royal Family of God and they are prepared and ready through their positive volition to the PMA of Bible Doctrine to make a spoken defense of their confident expectation or hope.
This requires an intelligent grasp of the reason for the hope and skill to present it.
In the context of our passage, this spoken response is prompted by and made in the midst of suffering. 1Pet 3:14;
The hope that the believer has which they are giving an account of is based on their view of eternity that is revealed in the word of God. God promises that if we honor His word through any bad situation we go through it will work out to our benefit and His glory. 2Cor 4:17-18;
Suffering always has an end result. Suffering be it self induced or undeserved can work out to our benefit if we stick with the plan and purpose of God and not seek to establish our own solutions as a means of handling the suffering.
The promise that God has made to believers enables them to have this absolute confidence in God regardless of how much the circumstances in their temporal life changes. TLJC has already told us that there would be difficulties. John 16:33;
Any suffering that the changes in circumstances may create is to be viewed as an opportunity to bring glory to God and which results in blessings to the believer in the midst of the suffering and we always have the reality that TLJC has already overcome the world and is simply waiting on the timing of God for his return. Heb 10:12-13;
For the church first, 1Thes 4:16-18; and then for Israel Zech 14:4;
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