I want to focus on the Universe and everything in it as the Third Task of the Teacher. There is a lot of ground to cover regarding the Universe and everything in it, but I have already divided things up into some smaller portions, so let’s take a look at the first piece of this puzzle.
The Origin And Meaning of Life
We need a teacher in your area to develop a plan on how to help people who are gathering around the Death, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus Christ explore what the Bible says about the Origin and Meaning of Life. In order to help you get started, I want to outline a starting point for you.
The very first verse of the Bible says that “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The implication here is that there is a spirit whose existence predates the universe. This spirit (who we commonly call God) decided to create the Universe out of nothing.
Everything that exists in this world was a thought that had been planned out in God’s imagination, and then God used his own abilities to make all of the things He could see clearly in His own mind into the world that we are a part of today.
God’s goal for our lives is very simple; in Revelation 4:11 the Bible says He wants “to receive glory and honor and power” from every man, woman and child who ever lived. God has created a world full of beautiful things for us to enjoy His goodness and our response is to show Him respect and gratitude for being generous.
This brings us to the second piece of the puzzle.
The second piece of the puzzle is known as God’s Providence. This is a doctrine that the Church has been having a serious disagreement on for a very long time. Just to be clear, when I refer to the Church, I am including the Orthodox, Protestant and Roman Catholics in the English speaking world.
We all have to consider how exactly God interacts with the world, although we do not always arrive at the same answer. If you really try and explore God’s Providence deeply, you can walk away from this thinking that our greatest minds and scholars are living on completely different planets at opposite ends of the universe.
Yet, we still need the Teachers in your area to help people explore the implications of God’s Providence and the disagreements we have had in the past. With that being said, I want to describe briefly the basic concept of God’s Providence, and then we can look at the different responses people have to it.
Wayne Grudem says “We may define God’s Providence as follows: God is continually involved with all created things in such a way that he (1) keeps them existing and maintaining the properties with which he created them; (2) cooperates with created things in every action, directing their distinctive properties to cause them to act as they do; and (3) directs them to fulfill his purposes.”
That may sound really complicated, so let me unpack this for you.
The first thing I want to say about this is that I am going to be using three words to summarize the three different parts of the definition Wayne Grudem gave us. The three words are (1) Preservation, (2) Concurrence, and (3) Government. Instead of giving you more definitions from a theology text book, I want to use a rock as an example to explain what these terms mean.
(1) Preservation means that God created rocks to be very hard. (2) Concurrence means that rocks will always be very hard. (3) Government means that God has a good reason for rocks to be very hard, and rocks will remain very hard even if someone decides to pick one up and throw it at your face.
The simple reality is that if a rock ends up flying towards your face, God will not intervene to make sure it does not hurt you when you get hit in the face, and this is where the serious disagreements I mentioned earlier comes in.
The Christian Church grew up in a Greek culture, and the thing the Greeks were most famous for in the past was having philosophical debates. This has led to three different responses to God’s Providence within the Church.
The first response is known as Calvinism.
Calvinism began 500 years ago when a man named John Calvin discovered the Bible disagreed with the official teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. Calvin began studying and writing to help people become more familiar with what the Bible says.
Not long after John Calvin died, the next generation of his followers developed what is known as the Five Points of Calvinism (which I am not going to explain here because God already has teachers nearby who can help you with this). The best place in the English speaking world to find Calvinists are usually Baptist, Presbyterian or Reformed Churches.
The second response to God’s Providence is known as Arminianism.
There was a man named Jacob Arminius who had been asked to sit down and write a defense of the Five Points of Calvinism. While Arminius was studying it, he began to believe the Five Points of Calvinism were wrong, and began preaching and teaching a different point of view.
I am not going to explain any more about Arminianism than that because there are already people living nearby who can help you with this. The best place(s) in the English speaking world to find Arminians are Methodist or Wesleyan Churches.
Both of these positions assume that we can use Greek philosophy to discern truth, which brings up the third position on God’s Providence. The best place to learn more about the third position on God’s providence is the Orthodox Church.
To state it simply, the Orthodox truth does not believe that you can use Greek philosophy to discern truth; at least not the way that is popular in the English speaking world. They embrace a form of transcendent worship which claims the One we seek to know is beyond our ability to understand.
I hope the teachers in your area will begin helping you explore these issues in more detail. Now that we have looked at God’s Providence, I want to take a moment to deal with something else that I consider to be a part of the Third Task of the Teacher.
Let’s take a moment to consider what happens when God begins performing miracles in our lives.
Wayne Grudem says “We may define miracles as follows: a miracle is a less common kind of God’s activity in which he arouses people’s awe and wonder and bears witness to himself.”
Now that I explained God’s Providence, I would also like to see the Teachers in your area begin explaining why Miracles happen. Are you ready to learn the reason miracles happen?
The reason God occasionally performs miracles is because the original design of His providence is falling apart around us. The corruption that I spoke of in The Message of Christianity can cause a situation to become so bad that a divine intervention outside of God’s Providence is required for things to remain in line with God’s agenda.
The opposite is also true: there are Satanic miracles which can cause things in the design of God’s Providence which disrupt God’s agenda and corrupt His original design. These satanic miracles can create obstacles that prevent people from experiencing a sense of awe and wonder as God bears witness to himself through providence and even through miracles.
This is why we sometimes find warnings in the Bible against looking for miracles to confirm if someone speaks for God (or not). The message carried by the miracle worker is more important to God than the ability to perform miracles.
We need the Teachers in your area to encourage people to think this way, and I want to explain why having this point of view on miracles is very important to the growth of healthy well balanced Churches in the English speaking world.
Satan and His Demons
Since I have already mentioned Satanic miracles, I suppose it would be wise to continue to dig in a little deeper and discuss the significance of Satan and his demons. Let me say something that might surprise you.
The spirits that God created to be inhabitants of the invisible spiritual realm are not required to obey God; they have the freedom they need to be indifferent or disobedient. God gave them work to do, and they could choose not to do the work they were given by God.
The Bible has a lot to say about this, and I hope the Teacher(s) in your area will take some time to help the people who are gathering around the Death, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus Christ to understand what this means.
The goal that Satan and his demons have is to destroy as much of God’s Providence as possible. The moment a part of God’s original design becomes vulnerable, Satan and his demons will do whatever it takes to destroy it.
Satan has two ways of destroying things in this world. The first way involves people who openly believe that the Devil is a supernatural being that we can interact with. This allows him to control and manipulate people living in this world.
The second way Satan can destroy things in this world involves people who claim that “Satan” is an ethics based philosophical approach to life. In their own words, they say “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.”
Within this rejection of the Death, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, people can climb through the ranks of a hierarchy. How to obtain promotion within the hierarchy is a closely guarded secret, but the people who obtain the highest rank in their system are referred to as Magas.
But let’s not end our time together here on a bad note.
There are spirits who want to use their freedom to make choices in a way that allows them to protect God’s Providence. I think there are two very important things to say about Angels at this point. The first thing is that Angels have the demons outnumbered.
In the Revelation, the Bible tells us that 1/3 of the angels fell; they abused their freedom to make choices and began working to destroy instead of protecting the design of God’s Providence. The simple truth is that if one demon wants to hurt you, there are two angels available to defend you. This is a very encouraging thing, but only for those of us who learn to live in agreement with God’s agenda.
So how do we live in agreement with God’s agenda? The answer is with prayer. You have to share your thoughts on things with God, and ask God for help recognizing if God’s understanding of these things is different than your understanding of these things.
The only danger is that you could decide to never ask God if His understanding of the world is different than yours. This is why I believe so strongly in the Seven Tasks of the Teacher. I have a lot more to say about the Universe and everything in it as the focus of the Third Task of the Teacher, but I will save the rest for later.