Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Endless Wars

Dr Stephen Wertheim is an historian with interesting thoughts about endless war.

American war-making will persist so long as the United States continues to seek military dominance across the globe. Dominance, assumed to ensure peace, in fact guarantees war. To get serious about stopping endless war, American leaders must do what they most resist: end America’s commitment to armed supremacy and embrace a world of pluralism and peace.

In theory, armed supremacy could foster peace. Facing overwhelming force, who would dare to defy American wishes? That was the hope of Pentagon planners in 1992; they reacted to the collapse of America’s Cold War adversary not by pulling back but by pursuing even greater military pre-eminence. But the quarter-century that followed showed the opposite to prevail in practice. Freed from one big enemy, the United States found many smaller enemies: It has launched far more military interventions since the Cold War than during the “twilight struggle” itself. Of all its interventions since 1946, roughly 80 percent have taken place after 1991.

Why have interventions proliferated as challengers have shrunk? The basic cause is America’s infatuation with military force. Its political class imagines that force will advance any aim, limiting debate to what that aim should be.

Armed domination has become an end in itself. Which means Americans face a choice: Either they should openly espouse endless war, or they should chart a new course.

Rather than chase an illusory dominance, the United States should pursue the safety and welfare of its people while respecting the rights and dignity of all. In the 21st century, finally rid of colonial empires and Cold War antagonism, America has the opportunity to practice responsible statecraft, directed toward the promotion of peace. Responsible statecraft will oppose the war-making of others, but it will make sure, first and foremost, that America is not fueling violence.

Shrinking the military’s footprint will deprive presidents of the temptation to answer every problem with a violent solution. It will enable genuine engagement in the world, making diplomacy more effective, not less. As the United States stops being a party to every conflict, it can start being a party to resolving conflicts.

Hawks also warn that restraint will produce chaos, dooming the “rules-based,” “liberal international order.” Ambassador James F. Jeffrey, President Trump’s envoy for Syria, recently told a version of this tale when he pounded the table in anger at Americans’ objections to “endless war.” “Literally scores and scores of American military operations,” he said, “undergird this global security regime and thus undergird the American and Western and U.N. values system.

But there’s a reason no one can connect the dots from unceasing interventions to a system of law and order. After decades of unilateral actions, crowned by the aggressive invasion of Iraq, it is U.S. military power that threatens international law and order. Rules should strengthen through cooperation, not wither through imposition.



Monday, September 16, 2019

My Approach

I have studied the Bible intently for more than forty years and tried to absorb its message, while seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit to discover everything he has hidden for our benefit. I prefer to read the Bible more than people writing about the Bible. Everything that I write comes out of my seeking.

I don’t develop a theme and then use a concordance to look up prooftexts to support a theory, as many writers do. I believe that is a flawed method, and dangerous too, because you can find a prooftext for almost anything if you look hard enough and are willing to twist a bit.

Accordingly, I am not very interested in responding to demands for proof texts from people who do not “know” the scriptures. I am wary of people who say “That is not in the Bible”, because that assumes that they have read the scriptures in their entirety and absorbed everything.
Nor am I interested in arguing about what I have written, because I find that it leads nowhere.

I share what I have discovered for the benefit of people who are interested in learning. I am not interested in persuading people those who disagree with me. If they do not like what I have written, they are free to ignore.

http://kingwatch.co.nz

Saturday, September 14, 2019

How Evil Spirits Operate (6) Angel’s Weapons

Angels work together in unity, so they usually outnumber the evil spirits, who are always competing with each other. The angels are guided by the Holy Spirit, so they always know exactly what to do. Their main weapon is words. Due to the cross, they have authority on their side. If the people they are working with have submitted to God’s will, then together they have authority over any evil spirits that are attacking. They can speak to them and tell them, “You are not allowed to do that”, and they have to obey.

Angels also have the power to restrain spiritually evil spirits. It is hard to imagine what that is like without thinking in physical terms. It seems they can offer spiritual restraint. For example, at the flood, some evil spirits were locked up by the holy angels in a spiritual prison (1 Pet 3:19).

God sometimes get his angels to deceive evil spirits by pretending to help them. Evil spirits are mostly followers, so they are not very creative or clever. They just keep doing the same things over and over again. The angels have the creativity of the Holy Spirit behind them, so they can come up with creative new ideas, that really appeal to the evil spirits. They adopt these ideas, because they like them, but do not realise that they will actually benefit.

Deceiving angels can easily stir them up to attack nations that are opposing God, because destroyer spirits like the idea of attacking and destroying other nations. They think it will give them greater power, but don’t realise that the same thing will happen to them, and they will all be defeated.

Friday, September 13, 2019

How Evil Spirits Operate (5) Gog

A spirit called Gog is described in Ezekiel 38,39 and in Revelation 20. I assume that Gog is a spirit who has developed a skill at commanding big groups of government-spirits to work together to do evil. They commit to following him, because he offers them opportunities to enhance their power. He uses violence and power to keep them in line. If one tries to pull out of an alliance, Gog would set destroyer spirits against. Of course, if they all rebel against his leadership, he would be powerless to keep them in line.

These spirits are all using stolen authority, so they are always vulnerable, because their power over others depends on them being more violent, or more clever than those they control. Other spirits will always be stepping up to have a go against them. This is why the spirits in control have changed throughout history. Satan (accuser) has had times on top, but Death and Destruction have been on top at other times. I guess Gog will have a time on top of the heap, but it does not last.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

How Evil Spirits Operate (4) Destroyer Spirits

Destroyers-spirits are spirits who love destroying things. They have developed skills in stealing, destroying and killing people and things. They form gangs with a leader who is the best destroyer rising to the top. This destroyer leader looks for opportunities for the gang to do it stuff.

The destroyer leader forms a gang of destructive spirits to work together and take the destruction of God's creation to a new level. It becomes their leader, because it is the most ruthless and effective at destroying things. Once spirits join his gang, they are afraid to leave, because the leader is so ruthless and violent. The destroyer leader looks for opportunities for his gang to do its stuff. Whenever there is big violence going down, they will be there. They enjoy murder and any other kind of destruction that they can think of.

The book in Revelation describes a spirit called Abaddon (Destroyer), who is released from the abyss, to bring some of the destructions on earth. The gang of destroyer spirits he leads attempt to destroy and kill everything. They try to destroy God’s created world. Wrecking rivers and seas, and destroying the land. They also attempt to kill and torment people by inflicting them with sickness and starting destructive wars. Abaddon tried to destroy the earth at the time of the flood, but was restrained.

Leaders of destroyer spirits will often join them up with Gog because he provides good opportunities for violence and destruction.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

How Evil Spirits Operate (3) Government-spirits

Government-spirits are often called “principalities and powers”, but those names do not explain much, so I prefer to call them what they are. A government-spirit controls the leaders of a city or nation. It get controls by leading a group of spirits that work in the hearts and minds of the leaders. The spirits would include spirits of pride, control, love of power, anger, etc. These spirits submit to the government-spirit for the benefit of getting to manipulate a nation. This gives the government-spirit great power.

A government-spirit leads a gang of spirts and uses them to control the political leaders of a nation or city. They will use whatever will work with the particular leaders they are dealing with. Spirits encouraging pride, love of power, control, hatred, anger and deception will often be part of the gang.

When a government-spirit is spiritually defeated and loses power, it will keep on trying to be a government-spirit without any success, because it has lost his supporters, who made it powerful. It will mope around talking about its past glories, but totally confused about how it might get its power back. This forlorn spirit will become powerless and feeble.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

How Evil Spirits Operate (2) Same but Different

I presume that evil spirits are all the same as each other. When they were created, there was no hierarchy amongst them, but after the fall, they established roles and a hierarchy to go with it. They get a role when they discover a particular way of operating. Some spirits develop skills at promoting a particular sin, so that gives them a name. Others get a place in the hierarchy of spirits that gives them additional power and authority. This place establishes their role.

Without the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, evil spirits are cut off from the wisdom that angels need to operate effectively. The Holy Spirit ensured that they worked together in unity. Cut off from his wisdom, evil spirits fall into disunity and struggle to escape it. They only way that can avoid disunity and confusion is forming hierarchies and allowing themselves to be bullied by the spirit that leads the hierarchy.

These groups and hierarchies are always fluid, because spirits are always rebelling against their leaders, and trying to take their place.

Monday, September 09, 2019

How Do Evil Spirits Operate (1)

Evil spirits mostly work by putting thoughts and ideas in the mind of a person and stirring up their desires. They can also effect changes in their physical bodies, mostly sickness.

When an evil spirit gains control of the persons will, it enables them to control the person's choices and manipulate their body. They can make a person exhausted or tired.

Some spirits prefer to remain detached. They can then move from person to person and have a go at them all at the same time. A deceiving spirit might find this a convenient way to operate, because they could deceive a group of people moving around them and planting the same lie in them all, so they are deceived together.

Evil spirits can move from person to person. They are always looking for an opportunity to do greater evil, so if they see a better opportunity in another person, they will take it, and enter them. Of course, if they have control of a person, they may be reluctant to leave, because they do not know if they will be able to get control of the new person. There are benefits for them in having control, but they are free to go to another person, if they think they can benefit.

In principle, a person can deliver him/herself if they renounce the spirit and command it to leave in Jesus’ name. However, it is really hard to do on your own. Especially if the spirit has control of your will. It can give thoughts that confuse the victim, making it hard for them to resist it. That is why it often better to have two or three people praying against the evil spirit.

Jesus promised that there is greater authority when two or three are praying together. However, the key to deliverance is the victim renouncing the right of the spirit to be there. Once the evil spirit loses the authority that they have over their victim, they have to go. Of course, they will try to get their place of authority back, by tempting the person to fall into sin again, so it is good to have other people praying for the victim and encouraging and supporting them.

Saturday, September 07, 2019

Who Allowed It?

Many Christians have a false understanding that God controls all events that happen on earth. The technical name for this false doctrine is meticulous providence.

Problem emerge with this view when evil things happen. Those who believe that God controls everything meticulously explain evil by saying that God allowed it, because they don’t want to make him responsible for evil. Saying “God allowed it” is a way of keeping God in control, without leaving him responsible for the evil, but it does not work.

I teach that God gave authority over the earth to humans when he gave them freedom. It could be said that he allowed humans to have authority on earth.

The consequence is that humans are responsible for everything that happens on earth. In addition, humans made the situation on earth worse by submitting to the spiritual powers of evil and letting them go to work on earth.

So, whenever something evil happens, we should not say that God allowed it. We should say that humans allowed the spiritual powers of evil to do it.

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

More Gems from John Lennox

Here are some more Gems from John Lennox.

Scientism

Science needs a health warning.

Scientism is the problem. It is the belief that “Science is the only way to truth”. It is logical nonsense, because it is not a scientific statement, so if it is true, it is false.”

Serious scientists realise that it cannot deal with first and last things, how did things begin, what are we all here for, what is the purpose of life.

Statements by scientists are often not statements of science.

Science has great cultural authority in the modern world. But it should have no authority in other realms.

Einstein said, “A scientist is a poor philosopher”.


Explanation

People wrongly believe that science is coextensive with rationality.

Two possible answers to the question of why is water boiling.

  • Heat transfer from flame of ignited gas.
  • I want a cup of tea.
There is more than one kind of explanation of the automobile.
  • Laws of combustion and mechanical engineering.
  • Henry Ford
Two levels of explanation are needed for any phenomena.
  • Science physics.
  • Agency, Intention.
It is absurd to suggest that physics tells you everything that you need to know about boiling water.

Assuming that physics/chemistry explains everything is a philosophical mistake.

The law of gravity does not explain gravity. Not one knows what gravity its. The laws of gravity are a means of calculating gravitational effects. Newton realised it does not explain what gravity is. No one knows what energy is.

Science is not an exhaustive explanation, even within science. itself.


Language

The greatest pointer to God is language. Mathematics is an elegant language.

  1. There is a text at the heart of experience that we are capable of understanding.
  2. We are language producers.
  3. The universe can be understood by the language of mathematics.
Einstein said that the only incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible.

Abstract science emerged in the west, but not in China. By Christians who believed the world was created by God and therefore understandable.


Nothing

Leibniz said the ultimate question is why there is something and not nothing.

Scientists have to get something out of nothing, and they have nothing to do it with. To deal with this, scientists have redefined Nothing: Nothing is a Quantum vacuum.

God created the universe out of nothing, but he is not a physical being. He is Spirit.


Mind

How does a set of abstract symbols in a human mind explain the universe out there. This seems unreasonable, to a materialistic world view.

Scientists believe that the brain is the end product of a mindless, unguided process. Therefore, why should we trust anything that a mind produces.

John Gray – an atheist said.

Modern humanism is that faith that though science, humankind can know the truth and so be free. But if Darwin’s theory of natural selection is true, this is impossible, because the human mind supports evolutionary success, not truth.
CS Lewis said,
We have done brilliant science by thinking about the universe, but we haven’t thought about the process of thinking.
Can the mind be reduced to physics and chemistry? If the mental is merely physical, it cannot be fully explained by science.

Evolutionary naturalism implies that we should take any of our convictions seriously, include the scientific word picture on which evolutionary naturalism depends.


World View

The are two key world views.

  • One begins with particles, mass-energy and nothing. Explanation must be bottom-up. The human mind is derivative from physics and chemistry.
  • In the other mind is primary – the mind of God.
    In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God.
    Mass energy is derivative.
The key choice is:
Mass energy is derivative V Mind is derivative.

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Science and God

Although John Lennox is a pure mathematician, he is a great communicator, especially on the issue if God and science. This talk called “Has Science buried God?” is a good example of his work. Anyone who is interested in science and apologetics should listen to it.

The following are examples from his talk.

Scientism is the problem. It is the belief that “Science is the only way to truth”. It is logical nonsense, because it is not a scientific statement, so if it is true, it is false.”

Wittgenstein said that the greatest deception of modernism is that laws of nature are explanations of the phenomena of nature. They are not. They are simply descriptions of what normally happens.

The meaning of the word faith has been redefined in a devious way to mean belief where there is no evidence. This is wrong. Everyone understands evidence-based faith. Christianity is evidence-based faith.

Real faith is commitment to people or facts, based on evidence. eg you have faith in the surgeon operating on you.

Faith is essential for science. Scientists need faith in the rational intelligibility of the universe. That is a belief. Science cannot prove it, because you have to believe it because you have to believe before you can start doing science.

Atheism is a belief system. If the brain is the result of an unguided random process, why can anything it determines be trusted?

Atheism undermines the capacity of the human mind/brain to be trusted as reliable.

I really like the section at the end, where he discussed information.
A materialistic world view has a serious problem with information because it seems that it cannot be reduced to physics and chemistry, yet it is at the heart of the universe. He says that physics and chemistry do not have the explanatory power to deal with meaning and language.

When language is involved, we never argue downward to chance and necessity, or physics and chemistry. We always intuitively respond by assuming there is a mind behind it.

We live in an information age. Information is difficult to define, but it is mostly agreed that information is not material. However, scientists who believe that the universe is purely material, are finding that information is fundamental, but it is not reducible to physics and chemistry. That means science cannot explain everything.

He tells the story of a reductionist scientist who sees the words “Roast Chicken” on a menu, assumes they have meaning, because a mind is behind them, but when researching the hugely complicated language known in DNA, he assumes it is the result of chance and necessity.

Monday, September 02, 2019

Women and the Bible

I have always believed that both men and women can be elders in the church. In my book Being Church Where We Live, I explain how they can work together in the body of Jesus.

I have just read a book by Lucy Peppiatt called Rediscovering Scripture’s Vision for Women: Fresh Perspectives on Disputed Texts. This is one of the best books on the scriptures dealing with the role of women that I have read. She examines them thoroughly in a dispassionate and calm way, without being overbearing. I recommend this book to anyone interested in these themes.