KNOCHING ON HEAVEN’S DOOR
A symposium of sorts concerning the writings of the late A.E. Knoch, co-founder of the Concordant Publishing Concern, translator of the Concordant Literal New Testament, and author of numerous biblical articles that can be found at the CPC website. AEK was both a great scholar and a great man, but his theological speculations sometimes tilted toward fatalism, and when this happened his scriptural objectivity took a back seat to an intellectual tour de force. A theological cul-de-sac was often the result.
THE FULFILLMENT OF PROPHECY
How could God foretell the future if He did not have absolute control of His creatures? How could there be a millennium if He allowed each Israelite to choose whether to serve Him or not? If they had this choice, and had not His law written on their hearts, what would keep them from repeating their sad history of declension and rebellion? If God does not determine beforehand just what His creatures shall do, prediction would be impossible, and prophecy mere guess-work. It would be futile to talk about future bliss, and there would be no consummation but chaos. It is not that men may turn against God and refuse to fall in line with His purpose, but that they will do this if left to themselves. Even in the millennium those nations which are not under the direct control of God turn against Him at its close.
Now read this:
GOD MAY DELEGATE SOVEREIGNTY BUT NOT HIS SUPREMACY
In the course of the out-working of this purpose, God has at times allowed some to exercise a certain amount of sovereignty and control over others, but never to the extent of undermining, even to the slightest degree, His own supremacy.
This is shown most forcefully in His dealings with Satan, for in the book of Job, God drew clear lines of demarcation over which the Adversary might not trespass. In Job 1:12, Satan was permitted to touch all that Job had but not the man himself; later, in 2:6, he was permitted to afflict Job himself but not to take his life. The fact that God could erect such barriers over which His chief opponent might not pass is a clear demonstration of the deity of God.
AEK wrote the first quote; John Essex the second. We think the second one makes more sense.
God is revealed through Christ by a series of likenesses and contrasts. He is the Mediator between mankind and God, Who presents the Deity to us so that our senses can perceive Him. Our eyes see God in His visible Image. Our ears hear God through His incarnate Word. But, at the same time, we recognize a vast difference between them, for God is the Source of all, while Christ is the universal Channel. All God’s attributes are inherent; all of Christ’s are derived. Absolute Deity acknowledges no superior, yet Christ acknowledges the Supreme as His God and His Father.
Is Christ then a creature, whose movements, actions and thoughts have all been pre-determined like all other creatures?
Christ is not the Complement of Himself. He is not engaged in revealing Himself. He acts for Another. That Other is termed “the Deity” in contrast with Christ. To say that the fullness of the Deity dwells in the Deity is not only unscriptural but an affront to the spirit of a sound mind. Outside of Christ there is a Deity. Inside of Him is the complement of this Deity. For the purpose of revelation, so far as our senses are concerned, Christ is that Deity. It is His function to show us the Father. Yet, in so doing, He distinguishes Himself from His God, Who is here given a special term belonging to Himself alone. It will greatly aid us if we also confine the term “Deity” to the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, and refrain from applying it to our Lord, and thus conform with the Scriptures.
Now read this:
The revelation of God comes to us through two of our senses, sight and sound. His message is received through our eyes or our ears. We listen to it read or we look into its pages. We hear it expounded or we study its exposition in written form. Christ is the living revelation of God. When He is seen and heard we behold and hear the absolute Deity Whom He represents. Our ears cannot perceive the inaudible. Our eyes cannot view the invisible. In Christ, as the Image of God and as the Word of God, we see His likeness and hear His sayings.The Scriptures definitely assure us that God is invisible and inaudible. This applies, of course, only to absolute Deity, not to those who are so called in a subordinate sense. It certainly does not apply to the Son of God, for He is the Image of the invisible God (Col.1:15). Paul, in writing to Timothy, concerning his own gracious call, bursts out into a doxology, “Now to the King of the eons, the incorruptible, invisible, only wise God, be honor and glory for the eons of the eons! Amen!” (1 Tim.1:17). Like Moses, we shall see the Invisible, in a figurative sense. The means provided for this is Christ. God is absolutely invisible, not merely in relation to our present powers. This is important, if we wish to appreciate the part that Christ plays in His revelation.
Without Christ, can we really know God, and if that is the case, Who is our God?
Our Lord’s apostles are doubtless the best examples of the question of choice. If anyone chose Him, then they did, for they left all and followed Him. Probably they themselves looked at it in this way. But our Lord disillusioned them, and told them plainly, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you” (John 15:16). This applies to all of the disciples, for He declared that no one could come to Him except the Father draw him (John 6:44). Christ knew that no one would come to Him of their own will and determination. They must be drawn. At times it seems almost as if they were forced, as in the case of the apostle Paul, in whom the truth shines more clearly than with the rest. He was determined to oppose God, yet was practically compelled to yield to Him. Was not his conversion of far greater glory to God and more pleasing to Him than if he had made up his own mind to turn to God?
Is it really more glory to God to compel someone to obey Him or to create a creature that is capable of doing so? Just asking.
In some cases, however, He is represented by His Image. Adam saw God in the garden, Abraham entertained Him in his tent, Moses met Him on the mount, Joshua encountered Him at Jericho. These were literal, tangible, material, visible visits of Him Who is the Image and the Word of God. They actually saw His appearance and heard His voice. This, says our Lord, is not possible of the Father (John 5:37). When Philip wished to be shown the Father, our Lord directed him to Himself. “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:8-10). Then He goes on to show that He is not only the Image, but the Word of God. “I am not speaking from Myself.” “I am in the Father and the Father is in Me.” In a few cases we have both the Son and the Father visible at the same time. This occurs only in visions. In the great opening vision of the throne in the Unveiling, Christ is seen as a Lambkin, while there is Another Who sits on the throne. We may be sure that this is not literal. It is a vision. Christ will never be actually metamorphosed into an animal, nor will the Supreme be turned into an august man. Visions are not made of visible objects. They are, essentially, a sight which has no substantial existence. When men set up the worship of an invisible deity, they usually make an image to represent it. This is one of the charges against humanity: that their images degrade the Deity to their own level or below (Rom.1:23). Hence the law forbade all graven images, and Israel, as a rule, has kept clear of them. But this widespread, almost universal, desire to have some tangible, visible representation of God is not wrong in itself. It is an instinctive, God-implanted longing, and God satisfies it by giving mankind a true and adequate Image of Himself in Christ.
In order to clarify our thoughts, let us study a few occurrences of the word “image” in the Scriptures. He Who is God’s Image, and Who spoke as no man ever spoke, used it in contending with the Jews. Taking a minted piece of money, a denarius, He asked, “Whose is this image and inscription?” Their reply was, “Caesar’s.” He responded, “Be paying, then, what is Caesar’s to Caesar, and what is God’s to God” (Matt.22:21).
The fact that we shall partake of this dignity with Him should keep our weak mentality from inferring that the Image of God must be identical with Deity. Real reasoning would insist that the same must eventually be true of us. It would lead at last to absorption into the Deity, a philosophical Nirvana, and endless futile speculations, degrading, not only to the Deity, but to His Image, our Lord Jesus Christ. Let it suffice us that, so perfect is His presentation of the Father, that our eyes are satisfied with seeing God in Him. There are innumerable idols in the world. Each one successfully conceals Him. The Son alone reveals Him.
The above is a good example of Knoch's penchant to elevate the abstract and minimize the concrete. The Image of God is not an image in the sense of, e.g., an image in a mirror, but is actually a real, live human being, and to say that He (Christ) is merely an "adequate" image of God and "satisfies" our eyes in seeing God, is to minimize the actual role and impact of Christ. Just because Christ is visible doesn't automatically make Him something less than God. It actually makes God more real. God in reality is what we are after.
God & Evil
It is worthy of note that one of the best manuscripts, Vaticanus (B) reads evil in place of bad or FOUL in 2 Cor.5:10. This confirms the thought that bad belongs in the same category with evil, rather than with sin. We have shown elsewhere that God creates evil yet does not sin. So it is with our bad or evil acts. It seems that they, when viewed in the light of that day, are used by Him to humble us and give us the experience of bad or evil, and the corresponding grace, which is needed to prepare us for our place in His purpose. I am thankful for the bad which comes to me, in a personal way, yet I realize that the exposure of my own evil and the loss it entails is just as essential as a firm basis for the future. We should be most thankful if, in this life, we are able to requite for anything bad that we have done. It may mean a serious loss, yet all who have the spirit of God should not rest easy so long as they have injured a fellow creature. It may not be possible always to do this. I am sure no one would view the future glory with equanimity if anything of this sort still is against him. To requite all might be an intolerable burden now, added to our other infirmities. How gracious, then, is the postponement of requital until we are immortal, and well able to forfeit all that is necessary to square accounts with those who were associated with us in this life!
God & Evil
1. God uses evil to punish evil; e.g. Flood, Sodom; typically unleashing nature in a destructive/catastrophic manner. (refer to Isaiah 45:7)
2. When an individual falls under the influence of an evil spirit, it's because the individual does not have God's Spirit. In the case of King Saul, God's Spirit had been withdrawn from him. A similar circumstance is the case of Judas.
3. God does not manipulate individuals to do evil acts; e.g., Joseph's brothers acted due to hatred caused by jealousy; Judas acted due to greed; God does not "orchestrate" but rather chooses individuals who are receptive to Him and who (because they possess certain traits of character) have the potential of serving Him.
*And when God instructs individuals to be involved in evil (such as when the Israelites were instructed to kill everyone including women and children in certain Canaanite cities), He was upfront about it. Once again, He was punishing evil.
**What's the difference between God commanding the Israelites to kill all the men, women and children in a Cannanite city and sending a flood or sulphur and brimstone to do the same? Each is an element at God's disposal and the former may have something to do with the metaphor of the potter and the clay. Now individually, an Israelite could have refused the command to kill (and would probably have been put to death as a result), but in obeying God, he was the clay.
***I would say our traits of character are not manipulated by God. Morality or immorality is voluntary.
****Were the inhabitants of Sodom and the pre-Flood inhabitants of Earth (except for Noah and his immediate family) "fitted for destruction"? I would say yes. Were they fitted millions of years before it happened? I would say no. They were punished for the evil they committed. It stands to reason that any righteous individual would have escaped either Sodom's destruction or the Flood. Unless they were innocent bystanders who just happened to be caught in the natural onslaught (which happens all the time).
# You can't be involuntarily moral. Morality is a choice. Choice implies a certain amount of freedom.
Twice Paul repeated his request. Is that recorded as the limit to which we should go? By that time we should carefully weigh the situation, and consider whether the evil of which we wish to rid ourselves is not a blessing in disguise. If it humbles us, that is one of the greatest of boons. Even weakness may be a means of displaying God’s power. We are only an infinitesimal fraction of humanity, and partake of a minute portion of God’s purpose with the whole. He created evil in order to provide a background for blessing, and to reveal Himself through it. So that we should not ask to have all evil extracted from our experience, but rather inquire as to its ultimate effect. Then we may be able to thank God for it, rather than entreat Him to remove it.
When God wiped out evil with the Flood, was He revealing Himself or was He revealing the evil? It might be better to say that God identifies evil and we're revealing ourselves if we don't understand that.
The thought that the resurrection and judgment of the unbeliever is only a prelude to his final “destruction” in the lake of fire must be judged by its moral effect, for it has no support whatever in the Scriptures. In the first place “destruction” (by which annihilation or extinction of being is intended), is never used of the lake of fire or of the second death. It is always used of the sinner before his resurrection at the great white throne. Those who are “destroyed” in Gehenna will be there. Those who “perished” in the wilderness and at the flood will be raised. “Destruction” is never annihilation. It never precludes resurrection and salvation. Indeed, it is a necessary precursor of salvation. The Lord came to seek and to save the “destroyed” (lost). So that, even if there were a single passage telling us that the unbeliever is “destroyed” in the second death (which there is not) we would still have every reason to believe God when He assured us that all who are dying in Adam shall be made alive in Christ (1 Cor.15:22).Let no one suppose that we plead for the repeal of God’s word regarding the doom of the unbeliever. Far from it. But we do plead for the removal of those harsh, human perversions of His word, which seek to make Him a man like ourselves, hateful and hating one another, vindictive and vicious in our views of the so-called “penalties” of sin. We plead for a revision of our vocabulary on this important theme.The terms destroy and destruction are so often used of irrecoverable ruin that a few examples will be given to show how far this is from the truth. The rendering “lost” is always the translation of the word for destroy. It would be the utmost folly for the Son of Mankind to seek, much less to save those who are annihilated. The lost sheep and the lost coin and the lost prodigal all had been destroyed, yet all were found and saved. Were the whole world lost or destroyed in the lake of fire, that would be no hindrance to salvation. Rather, it would be the very sphere in which alone salvation can operate. Christ cannot save anyone unless first he is destroyed, or lost.
We agree that lost is the correct understanding for the term destroyed. But we may disagree on why the Lake of Fire will have a moral effect. Dead people are neither moral or immoral. We must be alive to discard immorality.
The change which eventuates in the ultimate salvation of the unbeliever is wrought, not only by his resurrection, but by the august judgment session, when he stands in the presence of Christ, with all his unbelief swept away by the awful realization of His power and the justice of His throne. We are asked, Is it possible for them to repent? Rather, we would like to know, Is it possible for them not to repent, or change their minds? We cannot conceive an unrepentant sinner before the great white throne.God’s thoughts and man’s imaginations are nowhere more at variance than on the subject of judgment, or punishment. God is love; man is hate. David was wise when he was given the choice of fleeing before his enemies or falling into the hand of Yahweh. He uttered a great truth when he exclaimed “Let us fall, I pray, into the hand of Yahweh, for His compassions are abundant; but let me not fall into the hand of humanity.” And surely his choice was vindicated, for when the messenger was stretching out his hand in destruction toward Jerusalem, Yahweh showed Himself merciful, and said, “Enough, now hold back your hand” (2 Sam.24:10-16).
We also believe that everyone will eventually be saved. But we also believe that the eradication of evil for some will be a very long process, else why are some still outside the gates of New Jerusalem?
The apostle Paul’s case is of surpassing significance in its bearing on the salvation of unbelievers. He was the foremost of sinners, and it cannot be denied that, among men, there was no case quite as desperate as his. All question as to God’s ability to save vanishes in the light of his call on the Damascus road. The miraculous means employed in his case surely would suffice for every one of God’s enemies. And who will deny, on sober reflection, that the appalling power and glory of the august judgment session into which the unbeliever is ushered by his resurrection will be unutterably more impressive? The apostle’s vision passed. He came back to a scene where all was as before. He alone had changed. But the unbeliever sees the power and presence of God not only in his own deliverance from death, but in all around him. The vision does not vanish. The divine presence abides.
What happened at Damascus was just the beginning. Paul's conversion continued in the desert where he was subjected to a period of education, training, correction, and rehabiliation. What happened on the road was shock therapy at its finest.
But the believer need not wait until that day. As he matures he will gradually realize that God is All to him now. At first he seeks to inject himself and his will, and the unknown god of chance into the affairs of life. Then he begins to see that God is in all the great crises, the important decisions. But finally he wakes to the fact that everything, no matter what its size or duration, is under His control. All space and that which fills it is subject to the Great Disposer. All time and every event that occurs in it is planned and puts in its appearance when Jehovah wills. If dimension affected the care of God, how small would be his share whose whole life is but a second in the eonian times alone! God is our all, in things great and small! So we anticipate the glorious goal to which He is guiding His universe. May this be the precious portion of all who have partaken of His peace!
Will God blot out our earthly memories or will the horrors and atrocities (of humanity's time on earth) forever be in our minds? Even then (at the glorious end) will some dare to ask, "If you (God) planned every detail, no matter how infinitesimally small, did you really have to make so many suffer? Wasn't there a better way?"
It is only in our spirits that we are aware of our relationship to God. The spirit which we receive from God joins its witness with our spirits that we are children of God (Rom.8:16). We have no physical link with a divinely chosen nation, such as Israel had. We have no evidence in our flesh that we are in touch with the Deity. And it is the bane of the believer's experience to seek for assurance in the state of his soul! Our feelings do not affect our place in God's family. We know God and His grace only through words--God's words--which charge our spirits with divine vitality, and assure us of our place in His purpose. Happiness is not salvation, nor is misery reprobation. They are mere emotions of the soul, dependent on the flesh and spirit. Only by faith can we make contact with God's Spirit. And this can be done only by our spirits.
Knoch is right of course, but it's interesting that the concept of spiritual sight was enunciated by Paul who actually saw Christ. Does that make his faith slightly different from ours?
God's goal is not gained until He receives the heartfelt adoration of all His creatures.
And this can only be through love freely given and received. Could God accept anything less than what we as humans also desire? Would any of us want to be loved unfreely? Is that even love?
Is not this like our lives? How gladly would we serve our Lord without making a single mistake! What a tragic discovery when we find that every move we make is imperfect, no matter how hard we try to avoid it! But we soon find that the nature of these errors is such that they do not dim God's glory, but only disgrace us. And that is what they are planned to do. God is giving us the experience of evil in order to humble us. Oh, how we need it! How apt we are to denounce the errors of others, especially if they are our own! So long as our pride is unbroken, we will not be happy in the midst of failure, for we seek its source in ourselves. But if we rejoice in the Lord, we will be glad in the midst of mistakes, much as we regret them and seek to hinder and correct them. Else we would be so cast down that our service would be a burden. Not joy in the quality of our work, but joy in the Lord is our strength.
This reads as an admonition to us all to constantly be reviewing and rethinking our own beliefs; couldn't agree more.
Judgment is God's strange work. He uses it on the way. Men make it the end. No matter how an unbeliever is dealt with, whether he dies as a result of sin, or by the direct intervention of God, whether he be cast into outer darkness or into Gehenna, this is not his end. All who do not belong to Christ will be roused from the dead and judged before the great white throne. There they are not forgiven, or saved, but judged. But this is not their end. All these will be cast into the lake of fire, to suffer the second death. Even this is not their end. God does not reach His goal in any of His disciplinary measures. These only prepare His creatures for it. Let us not confuse the going with the goal.
What perhaps is missing here is the concept that the judging will lead to a person who, by the changing of his character through correction, is no longer deemed inadmissable to the Kingdom of God. It's my opinion that this change actually takes place in the Lake of Fire and is open-ended in terms of time.
It is not the mission of this little magazine merely to teach the truth, but to put our readers into the most intimate relations with God, Who is Truth. It is one thing to talk about the omnipotence, omnipresence and immanence of the Deity, yet deny them in thought and action, and another to enjoy the presence and power of God at all times and in all places. The apostle Paul wished to attain, in his experience, to the resurrection life. So it is our privilege, not only to see the grand vision of God's ultimate, but to allow its rays to illumine our lives even now.
Didn't Jesus also say He was the Truth?
God has prepared great surprises for those who love Him, which the human eye is too limited to perceive. Only by the metaphysical perception of the spirit can we apprehend the great mysteries or secrets which are not apparent to the eye of flesh. Only those who have God's spirit are outfitted for the exploration of His wonders. The rest are blind to the greatest of His works. How blessed is the privilege of entering into the depths of God!
It's funny how God can control and determine every aspect of our being which means He must fill up every part of our being yet at the same time for some also add His spirit to something that He already fills up. How do you add water to an already full glass?
THE KNOWLEDGE OF YAHWEH comes through judgment, not as we are tempted to think, through blessing. In working through Ezekiel's prophecy we were struck with the continually recurring refrain which closes many of its sections: "And you shall know that I am Yahweh." One nation after another is dealt with for their doings, and Yahweh brings upon them evils of all kinds, the sword, and famine and the plague, and the result is always the same. They become acquainted with the God of Israel through His judgments in the earth. Even those nations which He employed to chastise Israel and Judah must suffer for the way in which they treated His people, although they were used by Him as His rod.
And will it not be the same in the future? Will not the knowledge of Yahweh, which will characterize the thousand years of blessing, be based upon the terrific judgments which precede it? The goodness of God does not seem to lead men to an acquaintance with Him, but evil is the salutary and effective means in His dealing with the nations on the earth.
With the individual it is the same. Many take refuge in Him from evil, in faith. Even the saint is often driven to Him by trial. And is not the unbeliever brought to a knowledge of Christ and God in the great white throne judgment, when he will be dealt with for his sins? It will be a severe but salutary experience, and will not result in annihilation or eternal torment, but in a knowledge of the Deity which prepares them for His grace in making them alive and reconciling them at the consummation.
Such a view of evil should help us not only to bear the trials which come to us, but to rejoice in them, and to give thanks for them, for we also wish to know Yahweh in an increasing measure, and be prepared to appreciate the pleasures promised in His presence.
So God makes people do evil so He can do evil on them so they can learn what evil is? How about another supposition: God reacts to evil because He hates evil. If God didn't hate evil, why would He seek to totally eradicate it? And that is one of His goals, isn't it?
Grace liberates. Yet if we should voluntarily slave for Sin we should become, in practice at least, that which we once were, of which we are now ashamed. We should act as Sin's slaves when we are God's slaves. The rations of Sin are death and distance from God--which we cannot bear. We might be tempted to think that God gives eonian life as wages to those who serve Him. Not so. It is given to us as a free gift, altogether apart from our conduct. But does not this very fact, coupled with all His favors in the past and present, appeal to us most potently so that we voluntarily leave the service of Sin for the service of God?
Our morality, or lack of it, does not affect our relationship with God. Grace knows no barriers whatever, either in our past, present, or future. On the other hand, however, our morals should be and are far more tractable in the liberty of grace than under the lash of the law.
Our morality reflects our relationship to God and therefore has to affect it. There's an almost legalistic tinge that Knoch gives to the concept of grace.
Luke 1: 34-36 "...yet Miriam said to the messenger, 'How shall this be, since I know not a man?' and answering, the messenger said to her, 'Holy spirit shall be coming on you and the power of the Most High shall be overshadowing you; wherefore also the holy One Who is being generated shall be called the Son of God...’”
In the above verse the holy spirit is equated to the power of God and the result of its union with Mary shall be called the Son of God. If the Son of God was already a fixed title, wouldn't the words "is called" instead of "shall be called" be better? The role of the Son of God only began when God emptied Himself and took on human form
How does God know the future? Since He created both Earth and Man, He has an intimate knowledge of both. He can utilize this knowledge, can weigh tendencies and then predict. He can also guide and direct events. At any moment, if anything changes, He can directly intervene and manipulate events accordingly. But this type of manipulation is not an everyday occurrence.
It’s ironic that Knoch believed God was unimaginably powerful, yet would be unable to carry out His plans unless everything was determined beforehand in advance; as if God couldn’t cope with contingencies.
Human architects/builders carry out their plans and bring them to conclusion. They do this even in the face of unexpected difficulties. Can God do any less? Of course a tornado or earthquake can come along and disrupt a human architect’s plans. Fortunately for the human race, God can handle tornadoes and earthquakes.
If everything is pre-determined by God and this happened many millennia ago, then is it fair to say that God's Plan controls God? In other words, if you set your plane on auto-pilot and there was no way of changing it, would you be in control of the plane?
Knochian theology says that unbelievers, after undergoing judging (correction) at the Great White Throne, will then be thrown into the Lake of Fire, where they will experience a second death that terminates in immortality. So whether one is conscious or unconscious in the Lake of Fire, the experience is the same at the end.
Knochian theology tends to make concrete things (e.g. evil) abstract, and abstractions (e.g. predestination) concrete.
The greatest surprise of God is the unique character and personality of the individual human being. In a pre-determined world, God has no surprises.
Precisely because God is in total control, He does not have to monitor the tedious and the mundane. The tedious and mundane tend to take care of themselves.
Determinism is at odds with the ethical process, which involves choosing or not choosing to be moral.
Determinism or Fatalism, by definition, is a limited way of thinking.
If giving God the glory is a good thing, then how do we do it? Do we do it by believing that God does everything? Wouldn't this mean that God was actually present and aware in the individual who kills another individual in cold blood? Or in the individual who savagely rapes a young woman? Or the thief who steals from a convenience store? If God is not present and aware in such events, then how does He do everything? Is it by remote control? Does He sit at an Heavenly Master Control Board orchestrating the show?
Without the power of inductive reasoning, Knochian theology most likely could not exist. Induction is taking a part and turning it into a whole, or a particularity into a generality, or an individuality into an universality.
Words of David: "Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned and done this evil in Thy sight, that Thou mightest be justified when Thou speakest, and be clear when Thou judgest" (Psalm 51:4).
Bonus Pay for the CEO of Evil
Satan: Well, God, I've done any and everything you told me to from that incident in the Garden to possessing Judas to spending a vacation in the Submerged Chaos to raising up armies against you so you could crush them. I'm ready for a break and payment for a job well done. What's my reward?
God: Torment in the Lake of Fire for the Eons of the Eons.
GOD’S WORK IS PERFECT. Ours is full of failure. Happy are those who can keep them separate, who do not adulterate His doings with their feeble efforts! Much of human misery comes from the lack of discrimination between the divine and human sides of salvation, in its various aspects. If we mingle these, we do not raise the puny putterings of man to the pure perfection of the divine, but drag down the glorious achievements of God to the low level of human shortcomings. We must draw a clear line between redemption and ransom, conciliation and reconciliation, Christ’s work and our walk, His suffering for our sins on the cross and our loss for lack of endurance at the dais. The divine side has practically disappeared in Christendom, and has been swallowed up by the human. This distinction comes into sharpest contrast where the same phrase is affirmed and denied. On the divine side all is out of God (Rom.11:36). Yet our Lord, when speaking of the human aspect, averred that those who do not hear God’s declarations, are not out of God (John 8:47). The usual reaction is to join the latter class and insist that this proves that all is not out of God, even if God Himself is the One Who gives a spirit of stupor, eyes not to be observing, and ears not to be hearing (Deut.29:4). Those to whom the Lord spoke were calloused by God (Isa.29:10), so that it was out of Him that they were not out of Him! These two passages occur in entirely different contexts. One deals with the basic position of God in His universe, the other with temporary human relationships to Him. Both are true in their own place, but contradictory when cut out of their contexts.
Does the above statement really hold together? Knoch sometimes lived in a shadowy world that was sometimes slippery gray. Either things are or they are not. It is illogical for one concept to be two concepts. If it's two then it's not one. If it's one then it's not two. Either all is out of God or all is not out of God. And of course we're speaking absolutely.
It is inconsistent and unwarranted to question the love of God in returning to death the infants and small children who appear before the great white throne. Unlike their first death, in which most of them endured much suffering, their second death, following the day of judging, will be practically painless, perhaps totally so. Yet as mortals, as members of the old humanity, even babes are corrupt in their hearts. The entire creation has been subjected to vanity, the slavery of corruption. Infants and small children, dear as they are to us, are no exception.
Isn't this reminiscent of pagan rituals such as throwing virgins into the volcano? What's the point (purpose) of throwing infants into the Lake of Fire? They've already died once - wouldn't it make more sense for them to grow up and reach a point where they can make their own decisions and be judged by those decisions?
What is the human will? Wherein does its freedom consist? It is my will to write upon this theme, yet I am conscious that it would not be my will but for the constraint of another Will, which is not mine. It is my will to do the will of God, to submerge my will in His. And, however contradictory it may seem, I have no freedom in doing my own will. There is no liberty for me but in the will of the Lord. So it will be seen that the human will is not absolute, and its freedom is relative. We shall see, as we consider the matter further, that there is no freedom for the will apart from subjection to God, nor is there any absolute determination except on the part of the Creator.
It's never been our intention to even imply that man's will is totally free. Is God's will totally free? Isn't even His will constrained by His very Nature? Can He go against what He inherently is? But what we do not imply, but actually state is that as humans we can freely decide whether or not to make certain moral choices. And as far we know we are making those choices using the faculties that God has given us. And also, as far as we know, God is rightly holding us responsible for those choices.
John 20:17 Jesus is saying to her, "Do not touch Me, for not as yet have I ascended to My Father. Now go to My brethren, and say to them that I said, 'Lo! I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God.'"
John 20:26 And after eight days His disciples were again within, and Thomas was with them. The doors having been locked, Jesus is coming and stood in the midst and said, "Peace to you!"27 Thereafter He is saying to Thomas, "Bring your finger here and perceive My hands, and bring your hand and thrust it into My side, and do not become unbelieving, but believing."28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!"
Luke 1: 34-36 "...yet Miriam said to the messenger, 'How shall this be, since I know not a man?' and answering, the messenger said to her, 'Holy spirit shall be coming on you and the power of the Most High shall be overshadowing you; wherefore also the holy One Who is being generated shall be called the Son of God...'"
In the above verse the holy spirit is equated to the power of God and the result of its union with Mary shall be called the Son of God. If the Son of God was already a fixed title, wouldn't the words "is called" instead of "shall be called" be better? The role of the Son of God only began when God emptied Himself and took on human form.