Monday, June 30, 2014

Picking Piketty Apart (2) Income and Capital

Capital in the Twenty-first Century has four parts. Part 1 is called income and Capital. It introduced the concepts of national income and the capital income ratio.

National income is defined as the sum of all income available to the residents of a given country in a given years, regardless of the legal classification of that income. Nation income is close related to the idea of GDP… GDP measures the total of goods and serviced produced in a given year within the borders of a given county. In order calculate nation income, one must first subtract from GDP the depreciation of the capital that made this production possible. When depreciate is subtracted from GDP, once obtains net domestic product. Then one must add net income received from abroad (43).
The capital income ratio is an important analytical for assessing the importance of capital.
Income is a flow. It corresponds to the quantity of goods produced and distributed in a given period, (which we generally take to be a year).

Capital is a stock. It corresponds to the total wealth owned at a given point in time. This stock comes from the wealth appropriated or accumulated in all prior years combined.

The natural and useful way to measure the capital stock in a particular country is to divide that stock by the annual flow of income. This gives the capital /income ratio (46).
The capital/income ratio in most developed countries today is about 6. This indicates that the capital stock is about six times the size of national income.

After defining, his terms, the remainder of part one describes how growth in production and output that have evolved since the industrial revolution.
The global distribution of income is more unequal than the distribution of output, because the countries with the highest per capita output are also more likely to own part of the caporal of other countries and therefore receiving a positive flow of income from them… Rich countries are doubly wealthy. They produce more at home, and invest more abroad, so their natural income per head is greater than their output per head. The opposite is true for poor countries (68).
He also notes the increase in per capita incomes.
Much of this spectacular growth occurred in the twentieth century. Globally, the average growth in per capita output of 0.8 percent per year over the period 1700-2012 breaks down as follows: growth of barely to 0.1% in the 18th century, 0.9% in the 19th century and 1.6 % in the 20th century., This equals the multiplication of output by a factor of roughly ten over three centuries (86).
Economic growth led to a transformation of consumption from mostly foodstuffs to manufactured goods and services.

The big transition was from poverty to relative wealth. For all of history, most people have lived at subsistence levels, with no hope of escape. During the 19th century, a new standard of living was achieved for almost everyone. See the hockey stick.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Picking Piketty Apart (1)

I have been reading Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty. This book is currently causing a stir in economic circles. Piketty’s timing is perfect. The Occupy Movement sparked interest in the top one percent. He has statistics to support their concerns.

The book is 600 pages long and quite a hard read. It is packed with statistical information and covers many countries and three centuries of history. I suspect that more people have written articles about it than have actually read it.

I felt that he rambled on a times. He gives his first economic law on page 55, but does not get to his second one until p.130. There is a stack of statistics in between. He does not put the two laws together until p.199.

Every now and then a new book on Economics makes a big splash, claiming to be the next big thing, equivalent to Smith’s Wealth of Nations, Marx’s Capital or Keynes Treatise. I remember back in 1973, when I was studying economics, a book by Joan Robinson and Eatwell was published. Everyone raved about it, claiming that it represented a new paradigm in economics. However, it was quickly forgotten and is only available second hand on Amazon.

I suspect that Piketty will fair better. There will be continuing debate about his theoretical approach, his predictions for the future and his policy recommendations. However, the comprehensive statistical information about income distribution that he has unearthed is hard to argue with. Economic theories will have to be adjusted to deal the statistical information he has provided.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Pool Demoliton

An indoor swimming pool that was damaged by the Christchurch earthquake is being demolished.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Moving House

This house in Christchurch has been moved to the back of the section, so that the foundation damaged by the earthquake can be repaired. When a new foundation has been built, the house will be moved back.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Government Life Building Demoliton

The last building that needs to be demolished in the Cathedral Square at the centre of Christchurch is the Government Life building. It was built in the 1960s as the office of an insurance company. This was the time before computers, when insurance companies employed large numbers of clerical workers to manage their records.  It also housed some government offices.

When the various tenants moved out, the building sat empty for a long time. It needed refurbishment that seemed to be unaffordable. The building was damaged during the earthquake and is now being demolished.

The black thing on the top of the building is an excavator that was lifted their by the crane. It will be used to break up the floors, so they can be craned to the ground. The building contains asbestos that has to be removed, so it is being sheathed in a plastic cover to make sure that air is not contaminated.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


This is the site of the new justice precinct in Christchurch. A new building here will house the police, ambulance, the fire brigade and the courts.

Before the building can be constructed, thousands of tons of soil are being dug out, screened, mixed with cement, put back and compacted. The weak soil can be seen in the hole in the foreground. This work is being done to prepare the ground to support a building. One of the problems of building a city on a swamp.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Trevor Hartwig

Trevor Hartwig has some really good insights into the word ekklesia in his book called My Sheep Hear His Voice.

The word ekklesia does not mean what we think of as church. Ekklesia, which is used around 115 times in the New Testament, means the called-out ones, an assembly.” In Jesus’ day, it was a secular word that was commonly understood, being used by the rulers and government of the day. The Romans even adopted from the Greeks this method of governing with the people.

The whole idea was to have the called-out ones assemble for the specific purpose of hearing what the business of the government or rulers was, then going and getting the job done. It is like a boss of a business assembling his workers in the morning to issue instruction and then setting the workers free to go and put legs on those instructions.

Jesus gathered his disciples, they heard and saw what to do, and then went and did it.

Jesus assembled his disciples for final instruction and told them to wait in Jerusalem for the gift of the Holy Spirit, which would empower them to live like Christ. That’s the ekklesia in action.

On the day of Pentecost, we see the people assembling in the marketplace because they heard the sound of a might rushing wind (the Holy Spirit). After hearing Peter proclaim the good news by the Holy Spirit, their response was “What should we do?” Hearing from God involves action—always action. Action is central to the life any ekklesia (pp76-78).
Paul and Silas were kingdom builders. They were dethroning rulers in the minds of the people and alienating them from the mental hold Caesar (the world and their government) had upon them. They were teaching the principles of Christian government (Christ’s kingdom). Jesus is King and it is His Domain.

They were putting forth the call of god to whomever would hear and obey, and those whose hearts responded to the call became citizens of Christ’s kingdom and joined themselves to the ekklesia, a common unit of believers.

When you consider the fact that an ekklesia was a civil body politic, this is a strong proof that the Christian ekklesia we read about in the New Testament were independent civil bodies of Christians under the headship of Christ, ruled by the theocratic government of God’s Spirit. They wanted freedom to serve King Jesus”.

We must allow ourselves to be formed into actual communities under the headship of Christ called out and separated from the world, with none other than Jesus Christ as our ruler and King (pp.141-142).

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


About three days late, the western media have caught up with events in Iraq. Many of the articles show maps of Iraq with numerous arrows going from West to East.

These reflect the current situation, but they do not reflect the longer term thrust of history in the Middle East. The real map has arrows going out from Iran, North South and West.

The biblical prophet Daniel received a vision for a long time into the future (Dan 8). He saw a two-horned Ram, standing beside a canal from the Euphrates River, and butting West, North and South. Daniel was told that this Ram is the Prince of Persia (Iran).

This vision has been being fulfilled since the Iranian revolution in 1978. The failure of Iraq war left a regime sympathetic to Iran in control of Iraq. The ISIS move from Syria west into Iraq will not stop the fulfilment of this vision. The Prince of Persia will continue to thrust West and South.

God has allowed the Prince of Persia to re-emerge to accomplish his purposes. The Beast of Revelation emerges in response to this powers shift. The Prince of Persia will also be a catalyst to the events that bring about the downfall of the Terrible Beast.

In the short term, the events will seriously change the geopolitical situation in the Middle East:
  1. The Iraqi army will struggle to retake much of the ground that has been lost, because ISIS has the support local Sunni communities. Some of the towns were actually taken by local Sunni militias, not ISIS.

  2. The Syrian government will not be able to recover territory taken by ISIS, now it has access to better weapons.

  3. US air strikes would be mostly a waste of time. This is an urban-based rebellion, so airstrikes would produce civilian casualties, which would strengthen support for ISIS.

  4. The ISIS rebellion may establish a new state straddling Eastern Syria and Western Iraq. This Islamic state will become a hotbed for terrorist activity and a thorn in the flesh for the nations of Europe, just across the Mediterranean Sea.

  5. The area controlled by the rebels is mostly desert and sparsely populated. However, it will be joined to Saudi Arabia, its financial sponsor. The people of the United States will wake up and realise that the Saudis are paymaster of violent groups all over the world.

  6. ISIS will not be able to conquer Baghdad and the Shia controlled areas of Iraq. The Shia militias that became very powerful during the Iraq war will get involved again to protect their interests.

  7. Most of the oil currently being pumped out of Iraq comes from oil fields in south of the country and goes out through the port of Basra, which are not threatened.

  8. The ISIS rebels will gain control of some of the oilfields around Mosul. Most of these are not currently producing oil and the pipelines out of the area are shut down. They might be able to develop them with Saudi help.

  9. The Kurds, who are well organised militarily, will move in and get control of many of the oil fields in northern Iraq. They have already taken the disputed city of Kirkuk, which gives them control of the super-giant oil field to the East of the city.

  10. The Iranian influence in Iraq will be strengthened by these events. The US will need Iranian help to constrain the ISIS movement, so will make and uneasy peace with Iran. Iraq could be smaller, but Iran will be stronger.

  11. These events will appear to be a victory for the Saudis, but will end in disaster for them. ISIS will eventually threaten the corrupt rulers of Saudi Arabia, with who they will have a common border.

  12. At some time in the future, the United States will decide that it has to invade the ISIS controlled region from the north, but this will make the situation worse.

    For the king of the North will muster another army, larger than the first; and after several years, he will advance with a huge army fully equipped (Dan 11:13)

Monday, June 16, 2014

ReStart Mall

When the Christchurch CBD was destroyed by an earthquake in 2011, a container mall was created near the city centre. This allowed many retailers to get trading again. The container mall has become a bit of a tourist attraction.

The site of the container mall is now needed for the construction of a new building. The mall has been shifted across the street to a vacant site so it can operate for two more years.

This is the crane lifting the containers onto a truck. The large curved building behind the crane is a hotel that still needs to be repaired.

The photo below is the new site being prepared. The first containers have already arrived. They host a coffee shop. The parking building at the back is still waiting to be repaired.
I took these photos a week ago. The entire mall has now been transferred. We cycled in on Sunday and the new area was open.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Person (15) Unity

I presented this diagram for analytical purposes, but it is really a distortion. A human person is not many bits joined together. Each person is a unity.

Even the faculties that I have described are not as distinct as I have described them. My memory is not an external hard drive that can be unplugged and separated from the rest of my person. Memory cannot really be fully distinguished from the mind and the imagination. It actually exists in the cells of my brain, so is part of my physical body, to. The Holy Spirit can operate through my hands, not just my spirit.

Paul was a Hebrew, so he saw the human person a unity created in the likeness of God. Even when he refers two different aspects of a person, he stresses their oneness. Even the verse which is often quoted to justify a Greek tripartite view of the person is really about unity.
May the God of peace Himself sanctify you wholly (holoteleis); and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved whole and complete (holokleron), without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thes 5:23).
The use of two “holo” words is interesting. Holoteleis means whole or complete to the end. Holokleron means whole or complete in every part. The human person is one, and will be kept whole and complete until the end.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Person (14) Flesh

A character that is focused on serving Jesus has a good heart.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart (Matt 22:37).
Christians must guard their hearts carefully (Phil 4:7).
A corrupt heart is referred to in the New Testament as the “flesh”. Doing things by human strength is living by the flesh. The flesh is everything in our beings that is opposed to God.
When we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death (Rom 7:5).
The flesh opposes the Holy Spirit,
Do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit (Rom 8:4).
The flesh is hostile to God.
The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God (Rom 8:7-8).
Our flesh was crucified with Jesus. We put the flesh to death by walking in the Spirit.
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit (Gal 5:24-25).

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Syria and Iraq

George Bush blundered into Iraq to get rid of Al Qaida, that was not there. American troops did not know the difference between a Sunni and a Shia, so they oversaw the ethnic cleansing of Baghdad. When George withdrew, after pretending to win, he left a Shia democracy in control, and the Sunni people in Western Iraq shut out from the gravy train. A recipe for disaster.

Obama Barack blundered into Syria to get rid of another Baathist (secular) dictator, but ended up arming the descendants of Al Qaida called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). They quickly gained control of Eastern Syria.

The ISIS militia have now invaded Western Iraq. They have taken Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq, and are headed towards the capital city. They will probably not succeed in conquering Baghdad, but they will split the nation in half, to create a Caliphate stretching across a huge swath of the Middle East and controlling some of the oil in North Western Iraq.

Good one, George. Clever one, Obama.

You have given the Red Horse free rein.

Person (13) spirit

We think of our Spirit as the part of our person where the Holy Spirit dwells. It is like an antenna that enables us to link with God and operate in the spiritual realm.

Deducing the role of the spirit from the New Testament is quite difficult. The Greek word “pneuma” is also the word for wind and breath. This word is used for the Holy Spirit, evil spirits and our human spirit. The Greek text is all in upper case so, we can only determine which of these the New Testament is referring by the context. It has far more about the Spirit than it does about our spirits.

The best references in the New Testament is those where God is said to dwell in our spirits.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit (Phil 4:23; Gal 6:18).
The Lord be with your spirit (2 Tim 4:22).
The Holy Spirit dwells in the Spirit of the person who believes. The spirit is probably the place where evil spirits dwell, if a person is possessed, but New Testament does not actually say that.

The spirit is closely connected to the heart (2 Cor 1:22).
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you (Ez 36:26).
The person with a new heart has a new spirit too.

Our spirit is the source of our life. In the beginning, God breathed life into Adam.
Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath (spirit) of life, and the man became a living being (Gen 2:7).
When Jesus touched the dead girl “her spirit returned” (Luke 8:55). When Jesus died on the cross, “he gave up his spirit” (Matt 26:41). When Stephen was stoned, he surrendered his spirit to Jesus (Acts 7:59). A body without a spirit is dead (James 2:26).

When we pray in the Spirit, it is our spirit that prays.
If I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful (1 Cor 14:14).
When prophets are prophesying, they receive the words spoken by the Holy Spirit in their spirits.
The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets (1 Cor 14:32).
The Holy Spirit speaks into our spirit.
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children (Rom 8:16).
Our spirit also knows our own thoughts.
For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them (1 Cor 2:11).
Christians should need to be strong in their Spirit. John the Baptist was strong in his spirit when he was a child.
And the child grew and became strong in spirit (Luke 1:80).
Our spirit can be easily crushed by events around us.
My spirit grew faint (Psalm 77:3).
Answer me quickly, Lord; my spirit fails (Psalm 143:7).
Grief and sadness weakens our spirit.
When the heart is sad, the spirit is crushed (Prov 15:13).
However God loves to restore a broken spirit (Is 15:17; 66:2).
We nourish our spirit by engaging in prayer and listening to the Holy Spirit. Jesus said to his disciples,
Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (Matt 26:41).
We are in the same situation as the disciples, except the Holy Spirit has been given to us. Our flesh is weak, but our spirits are willing. We must pray and seek the Spirit, so our spirits are strong.

Paul served God out of his spirit
God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness (Rom 1:9).
We do not want our spirit to be dead on the day of judgement (1 Cor 5:5).

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Person (12) Conscience/Decisions

We make decisions all the time. Some decisions are instinctive, whereas others are more reasoned. Humans have the ability to consider options and evaluate them before making a decision. The memory, imagination, emotions and mind interact to support the decision making process.

God created humans with the ability to distinguish between good and evil.
You will be like God, knowing good and evil (Gen 3:5).
I suspect that most of our knowledge of good and evil comes from the conviction of the Holy Spirit. The gift of discernment is one specific way that he does this (1 Cor 12:10). He also convicts us personally when we are going the wrong way.
He will convict the world of sin and righteousness (John 16:8).
The Holy Spirit can still do this for people who have rejected him.

However, because we were created in the image of God, we have an innate ability to distinguish good and evil that has survived the fall. We call this facility our conscience.

People who harden their hearts and choose to follow after evil can gradually silence than inner moral voice.
They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts (Eph 4:18).
This happened to Nebuchadnezzar.
His heart became arrogant and hardened with pride (Dan 5:20).
Those who have chosen to follow Jesus should treasure and nurture their ability to discern good and evil.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Person (11) Put Offs Put Ons

The New Testament lists various attitudes, motives and behaviour that we should “put off” and a matching list that we should “put on”. Our goal is to build the Put Ons into our character.


Put Offs

Put Ons

Gal 5:19-20

Sinful nature

Fruit of the Spirit




selfish ambition










Eph 4













Col 3
















(Love binds all these together)

James 3 13f



selfish ambition










1 Tim 3






Heb 6:12

Heb 4:11



Many of these attitudes are fruit of the Spirit. We can change our attitudes by rejecting the negative ones and deciding on the positive ones, but that will only take us so far. If we let the Holy Spirit work in our lives that better attitudes will emerge more easily and gradually become part of who we are.

The Holy Spirit judges thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Heb 4:12).

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Person (10) Character Traits

Some Character traits are more positive than others. We should practice the attitudes that produce positive character.

The following are some of the character traits mentioned in the New Testament

Character Traits




































Our eyes turn to the ones that we do best in. We should be asking the Holy Spirit which ones he would like to see more of in our lives.

Friday, June 06, 2014

Election Connoisseur

Life was simple under George W Bush. Democracy was to the solution every problem in the world, so everyone could just get on with it.

But things have changed. Any old election will no longer do. These days an election has to be signed off by John Kerry, before it is valid.

The world should be grateful for this godlike man, who can assess the quality of an election anywhere in the world without leaving Washington.

  • The election in Crimea was bad, because it happened before the US democracy builders good get their.

  • The election in East Ukraine was bad, because people who can only speak Russian do not deserve a vote.

  • The presidential election in Egypt was good, despite being manipulated by the military, because Sisi is a man who will do what the US wants.

  • The presidential election in the Ukraine was good, because the people voted for the person hand-picked by Ambassador Nuland.

  • The election in Syria is bad, because the Islamic terrorists opposing President Assad did not get a chance to vote.

  • The election in Afghanistan is good, despite the Pashtun people being disenfranchised, because the people elected can be trusted cream off US aid.

All this would be really confusing if we did not have John Kerry to tell us which elections are good and which are bad.

The Australian government is currently paralysed and GDP is declining, because Kerry has not yet given his verdict on the election of Tony Abbott.

New Zealand has an election later this year. A German millionaire, wanted by the FBI for ripping of the masters of Hollywood, is funding a minor political party. I hope that Kerry will give our elections his tick, despite the shenanigans.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Person (9) Character/Attitudes

An attitude is a thought that reflects a decision. I have decided to think about things in a particular way. Whereas we cannot control our emotions, we can control our attitudes. We can respond to a negative or corrupted emotion, by deciding to have an opposite attitude. In the table below, positive attitudes are on the left and negative on the right.

Attitudes can be directed towards people, things, events, and life in general.

When we choose a particular attitude frequently, it becomes a habit. Attitudes that have become habits make our character. Our character is not something that can be seen. It is a set of attitudes that have become part of us, because we have made them part of us.

Virtues are attitudes that have made a home in our lives. The most frequently used word in the New Testament is "heart".
Do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink (Luke 12:29).




















































Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Person (8) Emotions Analysis

I have identified five core emotions. Each one has a positive form and a negative form. This makes ten in all. There will be some blurring across the boundaries.

The table should be read as follows.

The positive emotions are on the top half of the table. The negative emotions are on the bottom half. God created us to experience both the positive and the negative emotions, so they are both good. Joy is the natural emotion when things have gone well. The opposite of joy is sadness. It is good to be sad when you have lost someone that you love.

Compassion is good if you see someone suffering. The opposite of compassion is anger. It is good to be angry when you see injustice, because it motivates you to action.

The scripture reference points to one example from the Bible.

Other Words are just that: they list other words that describe roughly the same emotion.

Although these emotions were created good, they have all been corrupted into something negative. When we get trapped in wrong thinking, a good emotion gets corrupted. These are shown under the heading Corrupted For example, compassion is good when directed to others, but when directed to myself, it becomes self pity which is destructive. Fear is good if a grizzly bear is coming down the road, because it motivates you to flee. But if you start living in fear, without faith, you get trapped in worry, which is a corrupted form of fear. Sadness is good, if you have lost someone you love, but it can get corrupted into bitterness, if you are not careful.

The Response To row explains what produces the emotion. Sadness is produced by loss. Peace comes from acceptance. Love produces joy.

Emotions are often associated with a particular physical response. Fear causes us to flee or freeze. Freezing is good, if you realise you are about to step into danger, because it gives you time to think. The corrupted form of the emotion often produces a different physical response, which is not as healthy. Bitterness can produce stomach illness.

A mood is a cluster of emotions. A mood can be influenced by attitudes.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Person (7) Emotions

Emotions get a really bad rap from Christians. When I became a Christian, I was told to walk by faith and not feelings, because feelings are tricky and unreliable. This is partly true, but it is also confusing. For a start, faith has the emotion of peace attached to it. If am walking in faith, I will experience feelings of peace.

When I was in theological college, I studied some of the catholic mystics. I read everything written by John of the Cross and some of Teresa of Avila. This proved to be a fairly dry well, but I learnt one really useful thing. These Christians referred to their emotions as their internal senses. That is a really helpful way to understand emotions. Emotions are not problems that we have to deal with. They are internal senses that are just as helpful as our five external senses.

External senses tell us what is happening in the external world. Our emotions tell us what is happening in our internal person. They are like the dashboard on a car. The various gauges tell us what is happening in the engine under the bonnet. In the same way, emotions are gauges or indicators telling us what is happening in our inner person.
  • If I am always at peace, it is probably because my internal life is in good shape.

  • If I am always over the top happy, something in my thinking may be wrong.

  • If I am always feeling fear, something may be wrong internally. I may have a bad memory with fear attached that always pops out. I may be overusing my imagination and seeing a fearful future. My mind may be thinking wrong thoughts that cause me to fear.

Suppressing these emotions does not help. If the temperature gauge on your car dashboard is in the red, it does not help to paint it green. You need to look at the car engine, identify the fault, and put it right. The same is true of emotions. If I am continually sad, it is no use taking a pill to make me happy. That is like painting a temperature gauge green. I need to identify the reason for the sadness, and put it right.

There can be any number of reasons for sadness. It could be a bad memory associated with sadness that keeps popping out. It could be I am reading too many sad novels, and sadness is filling my imagination. It could be because my mother died a month ago, and I miss her. That feeling of sadness is good, and honours my mother, so I should not want to remove it.

Supressing our emotions prevents us from learning about what is happening in our inner person. We should study our emotions and learn to understand what they are telling us, in the same way as we respond to what we perceive with our physical senses. If I see a bear coming down the road, I go into my house. In the same, if we get the messages our internal senses are conveying to us, we can use them to grow in faith.

This skill is really important, but few Christian know how to do it. David cried out,
O my my soul, why are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me (Ps 42:5)?
This is a really great question that the Holy Spirit is glad to answer. When David had an answer from God, he knew what to do next. Often the answer was to focus on the goodness of God and praise him.

Once we get the messages our internal senses are conveying, we must to learn to work with the Holy Spirit, and other Christians, to find the cause of the problem, and if appropriate resolve it. (More on emotions to come).

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Person (6) Imagination

Our imagination is an amazing facility. It has tended to get a bad rap from Christians, who say, “Daydreaming is dangerous”. But that bad rap is unfair and limiting.

God created our imaginations good. They have been corrupted by sin, but he can renew our imaginations, so that we can benefit.

The imagination is like the memory, but whereas the memory relates to the past, imagination focuses on the future.

Our imagination is a bit like a television or monitor on a computer. We can use our imaginations to see pictures and hear sounds. We can smell the aromas, taste the flavours, and feel the textures in our imaginations. Just like the memory, our imagination can play the emotions that go with the events that we imagine.

The imagination itself is morally neutral. We can imagine good things and we can imagine evil things. Christians should be careful about how we use our imaginations because what we imagine affects the way we behave.
  • We can imagine the future that God has promised for us. Filling our imagination with the things that he has promised and prophesied for us, increases our Hope and Faith.

  • Imagination comes before creation. Architects imagine the house or building they are designing before they produce their drawings and plans. God imagined the world, before he spoke it into being.

  • Books and literature are received through our imaginations. They inspire us to imagine worlds and people that do not exist. This can be great entertainment, but too much can be dangerous if we escape from the real world to much.

  • Television and film bypass our imagination by communicating directly though our external senses. This may have had the effect of weakening our imaginations, which may have had a negative effect on our hope and faith.

  • Dreams appear in our imagination. So do our daydreams. If they are from God, they can be powerful motivators. If they are from the devil, they can scare and cripple us.

  • The imaginations of evil men are full of evil.

    The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every imaginations of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time (Gen 6:5).
    From their callous hearts comes iniquity; their evil imaginations have no limits (Ps 37:7).
    People who fill their imaginations with the benefits of evil will end up enjoying evil.

  • The spiritual powers of evil can put things into our imagination. When the devil appeared to Jesus, he may actually have appeared through Jesus imagination, because he does not have a physical body. We need to deny those false imaginations as soon as they come, by declaring the word of God.

  • When we are living in the Spirit, our imagination can perceive what is happening in the spiritual world. Understanding what is happening in the spiritual realms is really important for the Christian life. A few Christians perceive what is happening in the spiritual realms through their external senses. Most of us perceive it in through our imagination when the Holy Spirit displays what is happening there in our imaginations for us. More about this in Spiritual Realms.

  • Imagination create empathy. If we can understand what life is like for another person, we can understand why they are behaving the way that we do. “Walk a mile in their shoes”. We should use our imaginations to increase our empathy for other people.

The imagination is a wonderful tool. We should use it for God, to increase our faith and hope, and grow our awareness of events in the spiritual realms.