Living daily in reality – that’s what we all want to do! But what is reality? Is it just what we face in our jobs – getting enough money to keep us working so that we can have children so that they can grow up like us to get jobs so that they can repeat the whole thing all over again until we all cease to exist? Or is there some real reality behind this world that we see around us?
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Day 1: Living Daily in Reality - default
Day 1: Living Daily in Reality
Living daily in reality. That’s what we all want to do! But what is
reality? Is it just what we face in our jobs, getting enough money to
keep us working so that we can have children so that they can grow up
like us to get jobs so that they can repeat the whole thing all over
again until we all cease to exist? Is this the sum-total of reality? Or
is there some real reality behind this world that we see around us?
I will tell you the answer I’ve come to?but only if we can talk a
little more together so that I have the chance to explain why I think
REALITY IS THAT YOU PERSONALLY HAVE A LOVING FATHER WHO CREATED THE
UNIVERSE – HE MADE YOU INSIDE HIS ONLY SON SO THAT HE COULD LIVE A UNIQUE
LIFE IN YOU HERE ON EARTH. That’s reality!
Why do I say that? Because about 2,000 years ago there lived a man who
was actually that son of the Creator of the universe. How do we know he
lived on earth? The British Museum in London has the details of his life
in two old manuscripts written just about 300 years after he lived in
Palestine! And there are over 4,000 other Greek manuscripts that have
the same details. Some of them are dated only 70 years after he died.
But besides these, many of the people who knew him wrote and talked about
him in their books and letters, and the actual garden in Jerusalem where
he prayed his last prayers before he died still exists in the very place
it was described almost 2000 years ago.
So even though religious people have tried to turn this man into a
mystical fairy-tale figure, the facts of his life and history are clearer
and more certain than those of any other man of that time. Reality is
that he existed with the Creator before the world was made – and that was
when your existence was planned! But now, remember I asked you to
think with me a little longer so that you can see I’m not some kind of
crazy fanatic. So – why do I say all this?
First, because he himself,the Son of our Creator, actually lived
here on earth in the first century of our era i.e. he was born about 6
B.C. when the Roman emperor, Caesar Augustus, decreed that a census of
the whole world should be taken. Quirinius was the governor of Syria, and
a man called Joseph, who was the human father of this only son of our
maker, had to go to the town, Bethlehem, where he had been born. These
facts are all recorded in government records and accepted as history by
dozens of contemporary writers, many of whom are not themselves religious
Fifty years later (when many people were still alive who had been in
Bethlehem at that time) the account of this Joseph and his miraculous son
was circulating in written form throughout the first century world. So
the history of this unique human-being’s life is inextricably
intertwined with the local and national political and public figures of
the Mediterranean world of the first century. In the thousands of
historical records not one questions that this man actually lived on the
earth at that time.
Secondly, because the history of his actions and his words has been
preserved so precisely one is compelled to respect and examine closely
the authenticity of his explanation of reality. His death and return to
life are attested and recorded by ordinary people and by scholars who
died because of their eye-witness accounts. So the serious thinker has no
option but to delve deeply into the words this person spoke about the
Creator that he called Father.
If you and I were actually made as part of our Creator? only Son, then
our visit here on earth is only a small part of our real existence, and
our whole life opens up into something far more spacious and limitless
than we ever imagined. So, let’s think together about this again.
Day 2: Beyond Time - default
Day 2: Living Daily in Reality: Historicity of Christ
We’re talking about living daily in reality – and we’ve been saying that
reality was explained to us by a unique human being who lived in
Palestine in the first century of our era. Although certain Western
religions have tried to turn him into a figurehead for their particular
beliefs, he himself was a well-known public figure to ordinary people and
political leaders of the first century.
Four different eye-witness accounts of his life were written and
circulating throughout the Mediterranean world just twenty years after
his execution by the Romans. The writers themselves were written about
and quoted by dozens of contemporaries while the opposition of the
authorities is part of the general literature and government records of
the period. Eventually his explanation of reality was accepted by the
Emperors of Rome and became the accepted explanation of reality for the
This Jesus of Nazareth said that His father created the universe and made
you and me inside him so that he could live in us here on earth the life
he had planned. These eyewitness accounts were collected as the first
four books in the New Testament part of the collection known in Greek as
TA BIBLIA – the Bible. The authors themselves are quoted at the end of
the first century by men like Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp and Papias,
while thousands who had seen the man himself and read the original
accounts were still alive.
The Roman historians Pliny and Tacitus in the second century communicated
with their Emperor about this man Christ and what they should do to stop
the spread of his teaching. But all the time, the personal chain of
witnesses increased the confirmation of the historical facts – men like
Irenaeus (born about 97 A.D.) talked about Polycarp (born in 70 A.D.) and
said: “I can tell the place in which Polycarp sat and related his
conversation with John and others who had seen Jesus.”
Similarly, the unbroken chain of personal transmission of historical
facts is attested by accounts of men like Papias, who was alive in the
first century and wrote: “Mark being the interpreter of Peter wrote
exactly whatever he remembered; but not in the order in which things were
spoken or done by Christ. For he was neither a hearer nor a follower of
the Lord; but, as I said, afterwards followed Peter, who made his
discourses for the profit of those that heard him, but not in the way of
a regular history of our Lord’s words. Mark however committed no mistake
in writing some things, as they occurred to his memory. For this one
thing he made his care – to omit nothing which he had heard, and to say
nothing false in what he related.”
So the existence of this unique human being is part and parcel of the
historical records of the Jewish nation, the Roman government, and
attested by thousands of manuscripts written in Greek, Latin and Syriac
and confirmed by international crowds who heard him and his disciples.
The significance of this man’s life and influence has been so universal
that our history is measured by the number of years preceding and
following his birth – B.C. and A.D.. The Old Testament prophets which he
respected and trusted and the New Testament writers who respected and
trusted Him have been the basis for the world’s laws and ethics for
centuries. And this man has said that he existed before the creation of
the universe and that you and I were made inside him and are part of him.
But how could this be if he is simply an ordinary human-being like us?
If this man was born of an ordinary woman and died the way we die, how
can we possibly believe that we were created inside him before we were
born here on earth? How can we believe that he is alive now if he was
executed by the Romans almost two thousand years ago? Let’s discuss this
Day 3: Credibility of History - default
Day 3: Living Daily in Reality: Credibility of History
Living daily in reality – not in the world of soap-opera on TV, not in
the disasters happening on the other side of the world – but living in
actual reality!!! But what is reality i.e. what reality really lies
behind this world that we see around us? To know that you’d have to get
off this world and look at it from the outside. And this is what a unique
human being was able to do! He lived in the first century and was known
and acknowledged by thousands of ordinary people who heard and saw him.
But – more than that – he was written about and talked about in
Greek, Latin, and Syriac books – and in the highest circles of
Here’s what Tertullian, a Roman juris-consult, wrote in 145
A.D.. – about this man – â€œthere was an old decree that no god
should be consecrated by the emperor till first approved by the senate.
Tiberius accordingly, in whose days the Christian name made its entry
into the world, having himself received intelligence from Palestine of
events which had clearly shown the truth of Christ’s divinity, brought
the matter before the senate with his own decision in favor of Christ.
The senate, because it had not given the approval itself, rejected his
proposal. Caesar held to his opinion, threatening wrath against all
accusers of the Christians. Consult your histories!â€(cid:157) says Tertullian.
This Jesus was born in Bethlehem in 6 B.C., talked about our Creator as
an only son would, demonstrated power to heal sickness and raise the
dead, was executed and came back from the dead for over thirty days, and
explained that he was returning to his Father, the Creator, with whom he
existed outside time and space. But above all of this, he made it plain
that he was not just a local figure to be used as an example by religions
– he explained that you – and I – were made by his Father, our
Creator, inside him so that he could live through us the life he had
planned before we were born! This is reality.
In fact, he explained what Einstein and modern physics teach us – that
time is relative – depending on where you are in the universe. If you
could get far enough away out in space and returned fifty years later,
you’d be younger than the rest of us on earth. This Jesus explained
â€œbefore Abraham was, I amâ€(cid:157) – and he said â€œI am in you and you in
meâ€(cid:157); one of his associates wrote that â€œall things were created though
him and for him; he is before all things, and in him all things hold
togetherâ€(cid:157). A milli-second after our God had his only Son he created
humanity – all of us individually inside that Son so that we would
share his life.
So we now have the opportunity to accept and enjoy our position or to
deny and miss our privileged relationship to our Maker! This obviously
changes the way we all think of our little lives. So, it is important for
us to study the historicity of this man’s life and especially his
resurrection! We need to realize that non-religious historians like
Tacitus acknowledged the existence and character of this Jesus of
Nazareth, that the facts and history of his actions and words are so
well-documented that expert British scholars have said there is no
question about any of the New Testament except about a thousandth part
– and that only concerning punctuation and spelling. It’s important
to know that the original accounts were written by men who were actual
eye-witnesses who suffered torture and death for what they knew was true.
It’s also significant that the transmission of those accounts down
through the centuries is established not simply by the twenty ancient
manuscripts on which we depend for Plato’s Republic BUT in more than
4,000 Greek manuscripts from as early as 100 to 1100 A.D. None of them
differ from one another on matters of fact.
Let’s look at some of this evidence again.
Day 4: A Divine Man - default
Day 4L:iving Daily in Reality: A Divine Man?
If reality is that you and I were made by a fatherly Creator who actually
cares about us and made us inside his only son, it’s essential that we
know why we believe that is reality. First, it’s necessary to know that
such a person as this son actually exists. Many of us have read the Greek
and Roman myths that were written by the great poets and philosophers
about their gods but we don’t believe for a moment that those myths are
reality. When you see movies like “Jesus of Nazareth” or read fiction
like “The Davinci Code” you wonder if there is any truth at all believing
there was a human being called Jesus of Nazareth. What is the evidence
for his existence?
As we’ve discussed during the past few conversations, the evidence is
similar to but immensely more solid than the evidence we have for the
historical figures that form the basis of our laws and philosophy and
national histories. Most of our universities, for instance, regard any
evidence that is within 200 years of an event as an eye-witness account
— even though it is 200 years later than the eye-witnesses actually
lived. This is the way we treat the lives of men like Julius Caesar,
Plato, Aristotle, Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great and Nero.
This man Jesus lived in the first century and was executed in 29 A.D.
Four of his followers wrote their accounts of his words and actions and
circulated them throughout Palestine, Greece, and Rome during the next
sixty years while hundreds of people were alive who had seen what they
had seen. Many like Clement, Papias, Pliny, and Irenaeus referred to
these in their own writings and scores of people were executed during
those years because they talked about this Jesus of Nazareth, yet his
existence and life were never questioned by either the authorities or the
ordinary people. In fact, the opposite is true. There are many official
government documents and references to the trouble this Christ-talk was
Here’s an old Bible of my grandmother’s. She was in the Salvation Army,
was born in 1860 and died in 1945. I’ll read you the little presentation
page, “Presented to Lieutenant Jane Ann Duff for love and service. 21st
of June, 1887.” Now I knew her during the first 11 years of my life, and
she could remember what happened in Ireland from about 1870, so if
someone during that time had risen from the dead and the whole thing was
shown to be a hoax or a kind of Houdini illusion, she would have been
able to tell me about it. Moreover, if hundreds of books had been written
about the lie, she would certainly have protested.
But think about it – she therefore could guarantee the events during her
75 years of conscious life, but I’m still alive 60 years after she died,
so events that occurred 135 years ago can be corroborated by hundreds of
people who are still alive and had the kind of direct contact that I had
with an eye-witness. This Jesus died in 29 A.D. so people who had spoken
with eye-witnesses of his death and resurrection would still be alive in
165 A.D. There were thousands who are in this category – who were alive
during the period from 29 to 165 A.D. while hundreds of books and letters
were being read and circulated about these momentous events.
Of course, what makes the historical facts so certain in the minds of
historians is that the eye-witnesses themselves and those who believed
them gained nothing by their talk. They did not become famous or rich or
powerful through their speaking or their writing. In fact, the opposite
was true – they died in their hundreds in the mouths of lions, at the
hands of gladiators, for the pleasure of Nero and the Roman emperors.
They led their children into lion arenas because they knew this Jesus was
divine. They had no doubt that he had power to die and to live again.
Were they deceived? Let’s talk again about this.
Day 5: Resurrection - default
Day 5: Living Daily in Reality: Resurrection?
If reality is that we were made inside the only son of our Creator, then
the human being that we identify with him must have power over life and
death. But only Jesus of Nazareth has credibly demonstrated that ability
to die and come back to life. Many fakirs, spiritualists, and con men
have claimed to do this, but none has the kind of public and documented
testimony that surrounds this phenomenal event which split our history
into B.C. and A.D.. Mohammed was a prophet, Buddha was an inspired
teacher and example, but Christ was the only son of the Maker of the
universe and was the being inside whom you and I were created. But WAS he
the one human being who had power to overcome the power of death?
All the contemporary witnesses of his life attest to the facts that he
had power to die, to leave the earth, and to return and live here for
several weeks. The two vital facts are the empty tomb and the various
appearances. The usual imaginative alternatives have never stood the test
of simple logic. If the disciples had stolen the body, why would they
then have died for a lie and allowed their wives and children and friends
to be persecuted and executed for what they knew to be untrue? People
will die for what they think is true, but they will not die for what they
know to be a lie.
If the Romans or the Jewish leaders had stolen the body, why didn’t they
parade it through the streets in order to quell this troublesome
Christian insurgency that was destroying their society and their religion
? If Jesus had simply swooned and been unconscious, how could he revive
enough to roll back the heavy stone from the grave – and – more than that
– how could he, with open wounds in his side and his hands call up enough
energy and strength to appear in thirteen different places miles apart
over a period of more than a month and give an appearance of being more
alive than ever before?
It’s the same kind of logical impossibility in the argument about the
resurrection appearances. He was just a ghost, but he not only walked
through walls, but he ate fish and told sceptical Thomas to actually put
his fingers into the holes in his hands and said, “a ghost does not have
flesh and blood as you see I have.” Perhaps the women AND the men had
hallucinations. But hallucinations have well-known psychological
attributes – they occur in people who have a somewhat emotional and
tentative character – the big, practical fishermen don’t fit that
Hallucinations occur normally among people who want and expect something
to happen – the disciples had given up any thought of Jesus rising from
the dead and expressed their disappointment. Hallucinations usually occur
over a long period of time at lengthy invervals; Jesus’ thirteen
appearances occurred over a relatively short compact period of about a
month and then ceased completely. Hallucinations are usually seen by one
person on their own, but Jesus appeared to groups of people – on one
occasion 500 people at one time. The truth is that the explanations for
the resurrection are more difficult to believe than the unprecedented
Because of this demonstrated power over death and because of his
ethically faultless life and profound grasp of truth, this man was
recognized by the leaders of the world as the divine son of God, and in
325 A.D. belief in him became the established religion of the Roman
Empire and our very dates and time came to be measured as before and
after his birth.
Day 6: Reality in the Creator’s Son - default
Day 5: Living Daily in Reality: Reality is in the Creator’s Son
Living daily in reality – that’s what we’re talking about for five
minutes each day. Naturally the first question that we’ve been dealing
with is ‘what is reality?’ And we’ve answered so far that the only human
being that seems to have existed outside this earth – and been conscious
of his existence – and therefore of any reality behind what we all see
and touch here – is the man known as Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus Christ.
We’ve discussed the fact that he undoubtedly existed in the first century
and we’ve looked at some of the ancient manuscripts that contain the
accounts written and spoken by eye-witnesses. These old documents are
older and more numerous than those we have for any of the other
well-known classical histories of those days.
When, for instance, we think of Plato’s Republic (the basic text for most
university philosophy departments), we accept the text on the basis of
one manuscript which was written 1200 years after Plato wrote his
masterpiece, yet we do not question that we have what Plato wrote.
Similarly with Herodotus, Aristotle, and Lucretius whose works are based
on 2 to 8 manuscripts all of which were written about 1300 years after
the author died. The eye-witness accounts of this man Jesus, on the other
hand, are found in more than 4,000 Greek manuscripts some of which were
written as early as 125 a.d. – while contemporaries were still alive. So
we have no doubt that we are reading what actually happened: there just
wasn’t the time gap for a legend to develop.
But why do we think he was the only son of the Creator of the universe
and that you and I were made inside him? Why would you think he was the
only son of God?
Because he talked like God’s son! Even though his earthly father was an
ordinary carpenter, he said to his parents once when he was just twelve
and they found him in the temple, “Did you not know I would be about my
father’s business?” His mother, of course, knew her husband had no
business in the temple. In a very natural way, he identified himself with
God, saying things like, “If you knew me, you would know my Father also”
(John 14:7) and “He who has seen me has seen the Father also.”(John 14:9)
Indeed, where prophets like Mohamed avoided claiming a unique kinship
with God, this man made it the focal point of his followers with the
question, “Who do men say that I am…who do you say that I am?”(Matthew
Well, probably all of us can think of people who make all kinds of wild
claims as long as they will benefit from them; but this man was pointed
and blunt about it even when he was on trial for his life about this very
question of his identity. He was being tried for his life and the
presiding official asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the
Blessed?” He replied, “I am; and you will see the Son of man seated at
the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”(Mark
When I read that as a sceptic, I thought, “That explains it right there –
the man was a lunatic. The psyche wards are full of crazy people claiming
to be anything from Napoleon to God’s Son – that’s what he was – just
another mad demagogue!”
But this man Jesus didn’t act like a lunatic! The insane people in psyche
wards not only make insane claims for themselves, but they act insanely –
they produce other symptoms of their mental imbalance. But this man Jesus
does not behave as a deranged person; his character does not have the
abnormalities or extremes of a madman. Indeed, the opposite is true. When
anyone in the world – whatever their religious or non-religious
background – wishes to set forth an example of a perfectly balanced and
integrated personality, Jesus of Nazareth is the one who is presented as
the model to follow.
“His zeal never degenerated into passion, nor his
constancy into obstinacy, nor his benevolence into weakness, nor his
tenderness into sentimentality. His unworldliness was free from
indifference and unsociability or undue familiarity; his self-denial from
moroseness; his temperance from austerity.” Such are the opinions of most
of the behavioral experts of our time. If this man was a lunatic, then
all of us are hopelessly insane. As C. S. Lewis pointed out, “No one has
yet explained how such deep, moral teaching could come from the lips of a
But perhaps Jesus was simply a con man, a simple liar! Maybe he knew he
wasn’t God but deliberately deceived his hearers about his true identity
in order to lend authority to his preaching.
But he is universally regarded as the teacher of the highest ethical
ideals the world has ever seen; moreover, his life is looked upon as the
outstanding example of a perfect, faultless example of his teaching. If
he is a liar, then the whole world of logic crumbles in our hands, and
our ability to make even the simplest observations with our five senses
It is nonsense to say that the greatest moral teacher and example the
world has ever seen — lied — about the focal point of all his teaching
— his own identity! If Jesus was a liar, then the world is a “tale told
by an idiot.” Or is reality that he is the only son of our Maker and that
you and I were created inside him?
Day 7: Made Inside Christ - default
Day 7:Living Daily in Reality: Made Inside His Son
We’re talking about living daily in reality and we’ve spent the past six
videos sharing why we think the man known as Jesus of Nazareth is best
able to tell us what reality is. This doesn’t mean that we have to be
critical or disrespectful of other great prophets like Mohammed and
Buddha: it simply means that history seems to show that this man is the
one that died, had the ability to come back to life, and spoke about the
Creator as his own personal father.
If you question the historicity or superhuman nature of this Jesus
Christ, please do look at the first six videos which deal specifically
with this intellectual undergirding of what we’re about to talk about now.
The first startling fact we have to face is that this Jesus said that he
existed with the Creator before the universe was created. The Jews then
said to him,”You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham
?” His reply is “before Abraham was, I am”. He makes his pre-existence
explicit when he says “Your father Abraham rejoiced that he was to see my
day; he saw it and was glad”. In this same conversation he says, “it is
my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say that he is your God. But you
have not known him: I know him.” This natural, unaffected consciousness
of his prior existence is expressed again in his prayer “now, Father,
glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the
world began”. All of these statements were put in writing within 10 years
of a manuscript dated about 110 A.D. while some people were still alive
who had actually seen this man called Jesus.
Believing that this human being knew life before he ever came to the
earth would seem utterly impossible if his ability to come back to life
after crucifixion were not so widely and analytically documented. But,
given the sane and prudent influence that his followers and eye-witnesses
have exercised in our world, this person’s pre-existence with our Creator
seems a more credible explanation for his wisdom than anything else. It
is in keeping with his power over death and disease that his apostle Paul
wrote in a letter to the people in Colossae “He is the image of the
invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things
were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible,
whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were
created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all
things hold together.”
And it is these facts that make his own words believable when he says:
“Before long, the world will not see me any more, but you will see me.
Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realise that I
am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you”. What then is
reality? Reality is that you are actually part of the only son of our
Creator! Far from being the chance accident of a blind evolutionary
process, you are a carefully and uniquely designed development of God’s
only Son. Evolved? Probably, but by a process consciously and lovingly
designed and cared for by a loving father’s concern for his only son.
Reality was stated simply by this man Jesus’ scholarly apostle when he
wrote to the people at Ephesus about 60 A.D. “we are God’s workmanship
created in Christ Jesus for good works that he has prepared beforehand
that we should walk in them”. Why would our creator make us inside his
only Son? Let’s talk again about this.
Day 8: Why Did God Make Us in His Son? - default
Day 8: Living Daily in Reality: Why make us in His Son?
We’re talking about the one human being in the world who had the power to
die and come back to life for more than a month in the first century of
our present era. He is also the man that has been regarded as the wisest
and most ethical human being by both religious and non-religious
philosophers. He behaved and spoke as one would expect the son of the
creator to behave, and he said that you and I were made inside him before
the world was created.
Why would our maker make us inside his only son? This man’s
resurrection, you remember, is so reliably reported in history and fully
documented in thousands of manuscripts that our very history is divided
into B.C. and A.D.. He explained his final departure from the earth by
saying “I go to prepare a place for you that where I am there you may be
also”. It’s plain from his other statements that the creator is a loving
person who made us because he wanted other children like his only son. He
obviously made us in his son so that we would share his life and nature
and be as dear to him personally. But Jesus made it clear that his father
did not want little toy automatons but free-will people who could
actually be friends that he could love. This meant we could choose
non-existence if we wanted, so he would have to sustain us and bear the
consequences while we chose. He did this by making us inside his own son.
So our present world is the temporary effect of our current decision to
live in independent nothingness!
It also explains why so many of us have within us good and kindly
impulses along with selfish and cruel attitudes. The goodness comes from
this life of Christ within us while the hostile attitudes express our
choice of non-existence. But all of this is sustained by the only human
life that has been called “the first-born of all creation” – Jesus, the
only son of our maker. He carries us within himself along with every
consequence of our sin or independent living. As the most responsible
being in the whole universe he has committed himself to enduring whatever
we do with our free wills.
Although there is no ‘before’ and ‘after’ in eternity, let’s for a moment
talk in simple terms. A millisecond after God had his only Son he made
you and me inside his Son so that he could come to earth in the human
race. This is the meaning of those words we quoted before from the book
called ‘Ephesians’ – “we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus
for good works which he has prepared beforehand that we should walk in
them”. In his son our creator works to complete his universe through us
— and bears all the negative consequences of our rejection of his life
in us. Thus this present world is a temporary picture of what life was
not meant to beLiving Daily in Reality the creator himself bears the fatal consequences of all
our autonomous actions so that we may be kept alive for a further
opportunity to accept his life within us. God is no distant, impassive
scientific experimenter observing us through a microscope — he has put
himself at risk and bears all the strains internally of his will and
nature being assaulted by children whom he loves as his only son. This is
the cost of making free-will beings and giving them every chance to make
the choice between life and nothingness.
Day 9: Does the Maker of World Know Everything? - default
Day 9: Living Daily in Reality: Does our Maker Know Everything?
We’re talking about living each day in reality rather than the
dream-world of the media or the transitory world of each day’s
activities. Obviously this forces us to face the question ‘what is
reality’. We’ve answered on the basis of the only human life that seems
to have been directly related to the Maker of the world. We’ve been
saying that this (the actions and words of Jesus of Nazareth whose
historicity we’ve discussed in the first six videos) indicates that there
is no life outside him and his father. This is part of the reason we were
created actually inside him — so that we would share his existence and
could continue to exist even after initially choosing to reject his life.
In this way our creator made us with the same free will as he has,
allowed us to reject his life, see the consequences of our choice in this
world, and then choose finally life or nothingness.
Most parents know what an agony they’ve often had to bear to give their
children this privilege of free will; this is obviously multiplied and
intensified billions of times when one thinks of a good, loving father
bearing within himself the tortures of world-wars and domestic strife.
Did the maker of the universe know this would happen? Even we humans
with our finite minds are capable of foreseeing and foreknowing what
certain children and adults will probably do. But an infinite mind that
originates everything certainly knows what we humans will do: his love is
not in his ignorance but in his willingness to bear the consequences in
his own heart so that we will see plainly the effects of our choices.
Indeed, he foreknew because he foreordained, and he foreordained because
his love has to bear and transform its opposite. So our maker has to
conceive not only what he is but also what he is not – and he has to
This endurance or patience is intensified by the reality of the eternity
that Einstein clarified in scientific terms when he posited the
relativity of time. Through illustrations with one clock at sea-level and
the other at the top of a mountain, he pointed out not only that time is
relative to space but that eternity includes and transcends time. So God
himself foresaw the long, agonizing history of the universe in a
millisecond, saw his son come to earth in his own physical body, then in
our billions of personal bodies, and bore the pain of it all
instantaneously. In so far as he shares all our moments in his son, he
bears the pain continuously in time until it ends “for we are God’s
workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which he has prepared
beforehand that we should walk in them”. Although his love requires that
he never force our wills yet it also requires that he work with our
waywardness to enable us to make a true choice between life and death,
his son within us and our empty selves.
If you imagine yourself as the absolute and ultimate maker and sustainer
of the universe, you know that your ensuring free will in your creatures
must stem from your own inner integrity and respect for free will. It
cannot come from your handing them over to some abstract force called
chance: otherwise that force would be the ultimate ruler. Thus you have
to know all that will happen in the universe that you have made!
Day 10: The Basis of Our Life - default
Day 10: Living Daily in Reality: The Basis of our Life
We’re talking about living each day in reality and in the first six
days of these five-minute presentations we talked about the human being
called Jesus and the intellectual evidence for regarding him as a
historical person. We then dealt with some of the reasons for believing
that he really is the only son of the creator of the universe; and on the
basis of that we leaped into his own explanation of reality – that his
father, the creator of the universe, had made you and me inside him. This
is why an eye-witness of his life wrote â€œhe is the first-born of all
creation and in him all things were created and in him all things hold
Obviously each of us first appeared on earth when we were born in our
mother but he himself said â€œbefore Abraham was, I amâ€(cid:157) and even he
appeared in his own body at the beginning of our era. However, the
implication of his own words and those of his followers is that â€œwe are
God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works that he has
prepared beforehand that we should walk in themâ€(cid:157). In other words, our
maker planned for his only son to come to this earth and through his life
in us to complete it for his father, the creator. Since our maker’s
infinite mind conceives of everything in a moment in eternity, he has
already walked through the life he planned to lead in his son through us,
so all our works are prepared beforehand for us to walk in.
It’s plain to all of us that we have been given freedom to walk in
those works or not to walk in them, but in some profound way our creator
continues to work in us, through us, and despite us to bring about his
original design. The agony of his son’s death in Jerusalem is his
plainest expression to us of the strain our autonomy causes him
personally and of his readiness to put himself at risk to draw us towards
But the most obvious fact that his explanation of reality establishes is
that your life and mine have a significance far beyond our own little
abilities and talents. We are not what we thought we were – little bits
of flotsam and jetsam being buffeted from one place to another by forces
of economy and our own little desires and ambitions. We are far more than
that – actual beings that are known personally by the Creator of the
universe – created in his son even before the world began. Our lives
are not only already planned but have been already lived – in the sense
that the infinite being who originated everything sees it all in a moment
– far better than our most advanced computer will ever work out the
future economy of the world. The statement is startling and complex but
â€œevery one of our days has been written in his book before there were
any of themâ€(cid:157). In other words, our maker has seen not only the plan he
has for us but also the choices we will make and the counter-moves that
he will also bring about. Our life is a planned adventure – created by
a father who loves us!
HOW CAN I KEEP FROM SINGING?
My life flows on in endless song
Above earth’s lamentation;
I hear the real though distant hymn
That hails a new creation
No storm can shake my calm repose
While to this rock I’m clinging:
If Christ is Lord of heaven and earth
How can I keep from singing?
What though my joys and comforts die!
I know my Savior liveth;
What though the darkness round me lie!
Songs in the night he giveth
I lift my eyes – the cloud grows thin,
I see the blue above it;
And day by day this pathway smoothes
Since first I learned to love it.
The peace of Christ makes fresh my heart
A fountain ever springing
All things are mine since I am His
How can I keep from singing?
Day 11: The Release of Living Daily in Reality - default
Day 11: Living Daily in Reality: Some Difficulties
I try to think of the difficulty you might face as you think about this
challenge to live daily in reality. I myself had little trouble with the
question of the historicity of Jesus of Nazareth. In my early university
days I spent time in Latin and Greek and Hebrew and the world of
manuscripts and documenting of ancient history. It was just very obvious
to anyone with even a little knowledge of higher criticism that the
manuscript evidence for the historicity of Jesus was far better than that
for any of the other famous historical figures of that time. The writings
of Julius Caesar and Plato and Homer are accepted by all scholars of
repute on the basis of 10 to 20 ancient manuscripts most of which were
written a thousand years after they died. The manuscripts for Jesus’ life
can be traced to not only thousands of Greek and Latin manuscripts of
various ages which confirm the text we have today, but also thousands of
Syriac and Egyptian versions together with numberless quotations in
non-Biblical literature and letters. But all of this evidence can be
found in books by authors like Bruce and Kenyon – even the most liberal
critics reinforce the opinion of Westcott and Hort – “the words still
subject to doubt can hardly amount to more than a thousandth part of the
whole New Testament”.
What might be new to you is the wide difference that exists between the
other great and respected leaders of the world’s religions and this
person, Jesus. He not only rose from the dead and came alive again as a
real, human-being who could eat fish and talk with his followers about
what happened, but he spoke naturally about his life with his father, the
Creator, BEFORE the world was made. In other words he was not bound by
time and space like all other human-beings, but seemed equally at home in
time-space or outside time-space – and lived that way by passing easily
from one world to the other. Again, the historicity of his resurrection
is dealt with by many sceptics like the lawyer Morrison or the
philosopher, C.E.M. Joad.
Moreover, Jesus himself emphasizes his supra-temporal existence by saying
plainly “I am in my Father, and you are in me”. His disciple, John,
writes “he was in the beginning with God; all things were made through
him and without him was not anything made that was made”. Another of his
apostles affirms that “he was the express image of the invisible God, the
first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven
and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or
principalities or authorities – all things were created through him and
for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
The implication is that we all were first given life in him: indeed the
Greek phrase used by John is literally “all that is was life in him”.
Paul also writes to the Ephesians “for we are God’s workmanship created
in Christ Jesus” while our own poets and intuitions attest to some sense
of our being part of eternity. But certainly this is a claim that goes
far beyond that of being just a prophet – this is a claim that we are
part of him and have been made and sustained by him. This is far
different from its human imitation – reincarnation; for there is no
indication that we come back in some other form in some future life; the
clear indication is that Jesus “goes to prepare a place for us that where
he is there we may be also”.
The other difficulty I thought you might have is one that I had for years
– how can God foreknow what we will do or be? Indeed, how can he
foreordain what we will do or be without making us automatons who cannot
exercise our free wills? My only answer was that God cannot know what
I’m going to do so everything depends on what I will. I thought that he
must be like me and that he would undoubtedly work to subvert my will if
he saw me heading in the wrong direction. So he must not know and
certainly does not foreordain or predestine me since he gives me the
right to choose life or death.
But then I began to see that God makes everything so he makes us capable
of rejecting him and choosing nothingness or death. He can bear that or
let it destroy us; if he lets it destroy us, his will is defeated; if he
bears the rejection, we may be won by his love. Thus he puts himself at
risk and bears the unbearable as God even though he knows each move we
will make. Yet his steadfast love continues forever to work all things
according to the counsel of his will.