Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Purity Principle: A Biologist's Perspective on the Timing of God's Wrath and Salvation

This'll be a long post with lots of pictures, yay! Make sure to click "Read More" so you don't miss out! 

The Purity Principle

Thesis abstract: my observation and speculation that the reason the Fall happened before Adam and Eve had children, and that the Flood destroyed all of mankind except Noah’s family, is that God chose those times to avoid the far more complicated consequences of what would happen if only a part of mankind fell at once, or how to keep the Messianic Line undiluted from Adam to Christ. They appear to be decisions made mainly on the basis of demographics, with respect to their relation to sinfulness and its effects on the righteous who are living, keeping in mind God’s respect for the deterministic autonomy of man.
How can I say that with simple words? = Specific points in history have seen God’s intervention, I speculate, because of an implied, but (to my knowledge) inexplicit, goal of maintaining the spiritual purity of believers: first the patriarchs, then Israel, and then the Church.

Here’s my big idea: have you noticed, for instance, that every single person in Jesus’ lineage as given in Matthew and Luke (as far as can be told from Biblical background information on them) were saved? What are the chances of that? Now, there must certainly be unbelievers in His ancestry somewhere, BUT nevertheless the fact that there is at least one lineage containing an unbroken chain of belief in God, from father to son, from Adam to Christ, is a very conspicuous observation. And it begs analysis of why this might be the case.

I should clarify how I am using the word purity. You may have gotten the idea from the last paragraph, but let me dispel any possible misunderstanding. My notion of purity in this article concerns itself with spiritual genealogy. The physical lineage doesn’t matter; this isn’t promoting nationalism or ethnic divisions between people. In the context of Israel and the Church, Biblically, purity means you have believers inside and unbelievers outside. Let unrepentant ones in, and the passage “a little leaven leavens the whole lump” comes true. The idea is that unbelief is, from a demographic viewpoint, infectious. Leave it alone without a purge of some sort (does not need to be violent), and over time it has the tendency to totally corrupt everything. We see this in the example of Noah, whose culture had become so far removed from God (from the impurity of the God-believing Sethites intermarrying with pagan Cainites, which tainted the succeeding generations with the Cainite godlessness) that he was the ONLY man alive on earth who walked with God!—out of the millions or possibly billions of people alive at that point. As a student trained in biology, this makes me think of serial dilutions. 

Right-click on any of the following images to see them in a full size view.

Faithlessness, if tolerated by the faithful, and absent God’s intervention, has the effect of diluting faithfulness over time so that there is less and less faith on earth, by proportion of the total population, by every succeeding generation.

This is obviously a bad thing, and if God does not desire (as I believe the Bible gives us strong support to believe) for faithfulness to ever disappear completely from the earth, at any one time, then He would have to do something to protect the diminishing remaining faithful from the corrupting godlessness around them.

And this is, I believe, a supporting reason for God’s decisions in history to a) send the Flood, b) call Abraham out of Ur, c) the Israelite Exodus, d) the Zionistic theocratic laws for Israel that forbade intermarriage with foreigners, and ultimately why Jesus came at just the time that He did.

Naturally, the main reasons from a theological point of view, and a historical point of view, are different, more obvious, and more important. But every good thing done has more than one good reason for doing it, and I’m going to use the space after the jump to describe how God’s desire for the spiritual purity of the various people God has dealt with has, I believe, been a supporting reason for His decision making and His perfect timing.

While I might prefer to make this a heavily-footnoted and cited treatise, I do have time constraints, and such a thorough work might be better suited for a Master's thesis if I should ever continue education in my later years (did you know that tuition is free if you're over 60 in many places?), provided, of course, that my life doesn't end in bloody persecution before then, or God decides to intervene in world events in the manner that I'm discussing here.

Therefore, I will make references to Biblical passages but I can't look up the references now, though Google will accommodate anyone willing to copy text for searching.

I think the easiest way to proceed at this point is to introduce the pictures, one by one, research-paper style.

The first one ("image 3") is a follow-up to the intermarriage example. The idea is that unbelievers, in one way or another guided by Satan, will seek different avenues to increase their influence until they gain enough control over a society to expel or destroy the people of God, in an age-old attempt to thwart His plan. Unbelievers might try to convert young people to anti-God beliefs. They could do this by kidnapping children, as Turks did to Western European Christian families, conscripting their sons into service as Janissaries who were elite soldiers serving their kings (sultan is the term that comes to mind, but I can't be sure that that's not inaccurate. Like I said, I'm not motivated to research minor tidbits like that one). They can do it like secularists do nowadays, mandating educational programs and then indoctrinating children for 30 hours every week in an environment where talk of God is forbidden to be part of any lecture. But against strong Christian parents there is little hope of outsiders to corrupt their children. So, if they can't turn them against the faith, they'll try to get them to marry unbelievers, who will not want to raise their children to be believers. And if that fails, there is no reason in their mind not to ultimately resort to violence.

And to elaborate on the meaning of the term "growth curve," I've created this helpful illustration:

And at this point, the minority of Jews or Christians in the regional population is too insignificant to fully stifle the public advance of the hatreds, envies and murders that are always there in the unbelieving heart, who only need an excuse to exercise them. An excuse, like a society where the majority tolerates and condones it, so that the people of God (poG) are powerless to oppose it, having no influence in politics, law enforcement, academia, or the culture at large.

I want to explain my reference to people of God, believers, etc. I do include Jews in the consideration of people whom Satan wants to destroy, and they are aptly described by the notions of higher birth rates and internal cohesion and real risk of destruction from intermarriage. But they are not included so as to equate them with Christians as people of God in the sense of actually serving God. Romans 9 through 11 are a sufficient guide to explain the role of Israel in the world today. Jews still need to believe in Jesus Christ to be saved. I use the word Jew in this treatise to refer to the ethnicity. Ethnicity does not save anyone, only repentance and faith alone in Jesus' sufficient sacrifice on our behalf for our sins that we deserved the punishment for. In this sense, Jews are not people of God by virtue of being Jews, and indeed there are examples of persecutions of Christians by ethnic Jews! But where Jews factor in is that their ethnicity IS in fact part of God's plan. I'm not a replacement theologian, nor will I tend to John Hagee's errors of soft-pedalling the message of salvation toward Jews. They are no more special than the rest of us in their dire need for the Savior. But God clearly intends to make them a people and a nation. It's my understanding that, whether or not there are any Gentile survivors of the Tribulation, the Millennium will be largely characterized by Jews ruling the whole earth -- under the authority of God, and under Him, the pretribulation saints--us!--from the political center of Jerusalem. All the conspiracy theories about Jews controlling everything are true, they're just before their time. One day they will run the world economy, but not before being disciplined as a nation for rejecting the Messiah. That's what the Tribulation is about. A last shot for salvation for Gentiles, and a stern but merciful reproof of the Jews by God Himself, who will intervene to save His people both physically and spiritually and reunite them to Himself--grafting them back into the True Vine. Hopefully this clears up any possible ambiguity about how I see the Jews' role in human history.

The purpose of the Jews being preserved as a special people was primarily to provide an anchor point into history. Their texts would prove the ancientness of the prophecies about the Messiah, and their very existence would be a sign to the rest of the world that God still cared to let people know Him, and consequently, expected the reverence which is due Him, such that ignorance is no excuse for the pagans. But their preservation was mainly to give a context for the advent of the Messiah. When He came, He did not merely walk around saying "Hi, I'm God." When you consider the concepts of godhood that existed then, and even now, you can understand why that would not have been an illuminating statement. "Which God?" is the obvious retort. So when Jesus came, He did not merely claim to be some deity. He claimed, "you know the One True God that the Israelites have been worshiping for 2000 years? Yeah, I'm THAT God." There is line after line in the New Testament that references Old Testament prophecies that had for hundreds of years been recited by Jews in synagogues who considered them Messianic psalms and prophecies. And He applied them to Himself. That is HUGELY significant. And that is one of the major reasons why Jesus didn't just plop down onto the scene, but came from an established people with an established history. This is what the Jews were chosen for. To be the people from which the Messiah would come.

Many lines have been written about how Jesus came at just the time He did because Greek was widely spoken and Roman roads were widely paved, so that the Gospel could easily be transmitted over thousands of miles with blazing rapidity. Allow me to be philosophical for a moment, akin to Plato with his "becauses." God has countless reasons for doing things. And so,
* Why did He come? To save people from their sins. So He came because they sinned, but also because He loved them and wanted to save them.
* Why did He come? Because the time was right. As noted above. But there is another way that the time could have been right, and that's that it was an opportune moment to disperse the Gospel throughout the world. Note that at 72 AD, the Jewish Temple was destroyed by Turkish soldiers in the Roman army under Titus, and this defining act crippled further Jewish rebellion against Rome and scattered them to the winds. Why this scattering is significant, I'll explore below.

God chose to destroy the world of Noah because men were wicked, but you also see that the same phrase is used to describe mankind after the Flood in Genesis 9, so what's different now except the promise not to destroy the world with water? Allow me to suggest that wickedness was a supporting moral reason to destroy the Antediluvian world, but it was not the proximate, or immediately necessary reason. Since people are wicked all the time, and they had been wicked for a long time, that alone can't explain the decision.

No, you see earlier in Genesis that "the sons of God began marrying the daughters of men." This has been variously interpreted to refer to angels taking human wives, but it makes far more sense in the overarching Biblical context to see it as a reference to the sons of God--Sethites, the family line that believed in God--intermarrying with pagan wives--Cainites, the family line that rejected God. Why's this significant? Because of the diluting effects described above.

I believe the final decision to send the flood, also evidenced by the fact that it was planned to come after the death of Methuselah--presumably the last living believer outside of Noah's family--was because there were now no more godly women left in the world for Noah's grandsons to marry, or godly men for his granddaughters. If there is any truth at all to the connection between purity of faith in a family line and spiritual purity of one's descendants, then Noah's grandchildren would have had to marry amongst each other anyway, in order to avoid genetic destruction through intermarriage with the Cainites. So why not kill off the Cainites to remove the temptation?

I think that, absent excessive divine intervention into the thoughts of men's minds to cause them not to ever choose to marry a pagan wife, the only other alternative to preventing spiritual dilution is to remove the faithful from the midst of the faithless. Either by a bottleneck effect or a founder effect. And if we know God well at all, we can see clearly that He'd rather perform a large miracle than to interfere with human free will and man's tendency to marry who he likes rather than who is pleasing to God, such that men would always make the right choice...because that just gets back to the original question of why He couldn't have made Adam and Eve so they didn't choose to sin. I think it's a guarantee, sooner or later, and so if we can accept that Adam was destined to sin because of his free will, then the descendants of faithful parents are destined, over time, to intermarry with unbelievers to the point of destroying any remainder of faith on earth.
Image 5

Now that I've laid most of the groundwork, I'm happy to soon unveil the images I'm most pleased with for the outcome. But first, I want to discuss Babel. This is a clear example of a Founder Effect, where a heterogeneous society is split up into multiple different parts, where each group of people is genetically distinct from the others by simple virtue of being organized by families. And why did God disperse people at Babel? Once again, for multiple reasons:
* because they were beginning to practice idolatry
* because they were directly disobeying God's command to fill the earth
* because the ultimate outcome of this disobedience, if allowed to persist, would lead to a centralized government where the majority view would be imposed on all, with no other societies to flee to. With no recourse, the inevitable effect on the faithful would be a global persecution, albeit localized to Shinar, where the ungodly quickly put an end to the existence of faithful persons on the earth.
* because God was not content to put an end to history so soon, but desired to send the Messiah at some point. In effect, scattering the people abroad, while proximately the result of their idolatry and disobedience, had the ultimate effect of prolonging history, from a few centuries to several millennia from Ararat to Armageddon.
* because this prolonged history would give both enough time for the Messiah to enter into an established context as referenced above, and for the whole world to eventually hear the Gospel message in their own tongue.

So my theologically-based speculation is that the MAIN reason for God dispersing humanity at Babel was to prevent the spiritual annihilation of faith as described in image 2 and 3, so that He would not be constrained by rebellious humans to speed up the fulfillment of His plan of redemption, but free to govern history at His desired pace, to the maximization of His glory.

What do you think? Sound compelling?

Noah's Flood came to prevent the godless culture around Noah from annihilating his descendants physically by violence, or spiritually by intermarriage with pagans. Babel's dispersion happened to prevent the contraction of history and the physical oppression of the saints before the time was due. Abraham was called out of Ur because of the idolatry there, to establish him and his descendants in the land that God would ultimately ordain to be theirs, and His, for a kingdom for ever. The Exodus occurred to put a stop to the genocide and slavery of the Hebrews by Pharaoh--has it occurred to you that the total removal of all the faithful from Egypt parallels the total removal of the faithful in the Ark, and the total removal of the faithful at the Rapture? This isn't a spontaneous whim, but a confident belief I've come to from the plain evidence of Scripture. The best part is that it doesn't controvert essential doctrines. Instead, it gives a sweeping context that ties them together on a subliminal level. If you disagree, it does you no hurt. But if you understand my arguments and agree with my conclusion, it can give you a deeper intellectual awe and appreciation for how much thought God put into His decisions to do this or that at such and such a time.

One of the reasons for several key moments in earth's history as described by the Bible is the concern for the spiritual purity of the faith. To protect individuals physically or to protect the continuation of the faith in their descendants. I'm fully convinced of this, and I hope you'll click to view this next image full-size and consider how well it makes sense of God's providential timing.

I'm leaving it small because there's no way the text will be readable at a medium size and at full size it won't fit on the screen.

In addition to preserving the faith and preserving the saints who keep the faith, God's progressive revelation to mankind throughout history lends further support to the serial view of His interaction with mankind. As of Adam, everyone knew of God, and this is still true up until Abraham, where God begins to reveal Himself ever more personally to us. By Moses' time, He gives us a detailed description of His character and what He requires from humanity, and gives numerous peculiar instructions to the Hebrews to ensure that it will be very difficult to mingle with the surrounding pagan nations. Don't eat pigs, which will make it hard to get along with the people who use pigs in fertility cults. Don't marry foreign wives, which will make it harder for your children to be influenced by perverse doctrines. Don't sew two different types of garments together, to reinforce this fact that you are to be separate from the nations around you. Is this on racist grounds? No, but because the Jews were the only nation that God came to as a whole, the segregation effect is the same, but it is on spiritual grounds. Foreigners could become Jews; it's just a fact that "haters gonna hate"--hate God, in this case. If people were unwilling to adopt the Jew's faith, how could they accuse God of being unjust in not revealing Himself to them?  At any rate, I digress. After the Jews, Jesus Christ arrives and gives us an even greater understanding of Who He is. And then His apostles, guided by the Holy Spirit, flesh out the theological doctrines in utterly clear terms. And now, we have access to this in our own language, thanks to the work of the Protestant Reformers--it's not as if this event happened without God's foresight, so He is to be given credit for this huge jump in Scriptural knowledge for the common people. And now the Internet makes it so easy to study systematic theology without even a seminary education, thanks to faithful preachers and teachers online.

My point is this. At successive points in history, God has given greater knowledge, aka greater grace, to successive groups of people, such that if people back in Abraham's day could believe in God, then there's fundamentally no excuse for people living today not to believe in Him, with all the knowledge that there is to gain about Him. No excuse.

Click to view at resolution where text is readable.
And that does it for the images I created for this article. Hopefully considering the images will help to make what I'm trying to show very easy to understand. I'm hardly trying to start a new religion here, merely doing some philosophizing and considering Scriptural truths to contemplate why God might have made the decisions He made. He didn't tell us everything, only what we must know, in the Bible. But that doesn't mean we can't try to learn more about Him by building off of this base of knowledge. This is literally the study of God. It can't hurt, unless some conclusion you draw controverts a plain truth of Scripture. At that point, you'd do better not to advance down that path, and simply admit that God knows things you don't, and your thought experiment rests on false premises.

But I have found nothing that implies that what I've proposed here is theologically wrong. No conclusion I can draw from it does anything beyond enhancing my intellectual apprehension of God's phenomenal wisdom and 'foresight' in making the decisions He did, at just those times that He did. And the best way that I know that it's not a mistake, is that, if you'll look again at my last two images, it gives you a greater thankfulness to God for the grace that He's lavished upon we who are living NOW, at this point in history, with all of this knowledge at our fingertips. Truly, His grace is magnificent. We did not have to know all that we know about God in order to be held accountable for believing in Him. But He gave us the freedom and ease of access to this knowledge anyway!

What a generous, patient and gracious God!

My treatise is essentially over. But I have something to share that I couldn't find anywhere to put, so I'll addend it here: It's an article on the subject of Christianity's beginnings in Asia and Africa, before the Protestant Reformation in Europe that started a new age where Christianity was given the appearance of having come out of Europe.

With reference to the one-world government's tendency to destroy Christianity, as mentioned in the part where I talk about Babel, and that being the reason for God dispersing humanity, consider that this was the reason for dispersion Christians in the 1st Century, too. Christianity spread to 3 continents, and was persecuted to the point of near-total annihilation in 2 of them. To all of those who come with the claim, "you only believe Christianity because it's the religion you grew up with. Did God just forget about all of Asia and Africa?" they are ignorant. They are ignorant because the Gospel DID spread to Africa and Asia, and it was murdered there. Those nations did get a chance, and they used it to oppress and destroy the faith inasmuch as they could. And they have reaped a millennium of consequences for their godlessness, while Europe rose to the heights it did because it became a safe haven for Christians--and in fact, also Jews. Now the Gospel is coming back to Asia and Africa, and God's mercy is overflowing on those rebellious peoples yet again.

But the point is that we have all been rebellious. And that is why any point we happen to be the apparently favored group of people, we should be nothing but thankful to God for not withholding His grace from us, as He rightly may.

Some quotations from the two links:
"Asia’s shining Christian millennium ended bloodily. Christian communities were uprooted or wiped out across the Middle East and ceased to exist in most of central Asia. Churches suffered mass closure or destruction, bishops and clergy were tortured and imprisoned. Christianity survived, but was confined to poorer and more remote regions. The patriarchs of ‘Babylon’ now literally headed for the hills, taking up residence at a monastery in the mountains near Mosul. In China, too, a nationalist and anti-foreign movement came to power in 1368, establishing the great Ming dynasty. The new regime destroyed every remnant of Chinese Christianity."
"For most of its history up until the 14th century, Christianity was a tricontinental religion, with powerful representation in Europe, Africa and Asia. Christianity became predominantly European not because the continent had any obvious affinity for the faith, but by default. Europe was the continent where it was not destroyed."

So thoroughly was the Christian presence destroyed that later Europeans wholly forgot it. Europeans knew a world in which Christianity was largely confined to their own continent. - See more at:"
A great deal of knowledge was gathered by observation and by trial and error in all ancient cultures, but this is not science. Aristotle, for example, observed widely and theorized extensively, but he did not test his theories against his observations so he was not a scientist. Alchemy and astrology were highly developed in China, Islamic regions, India and ancient Greece and Rome, but only in medieval Europe did these become the sciences of chemistry and astronomy. ‘It is the consensus among contemporary historians, philosophers and sociologists of science that real science arose only once: in Europe.’ The leading scientific figures in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were overwhelmingly devout Christians who believed it their duty to comprehend God’s handiwork (pp. 123, 126–127).
And that concludes my treatise on "The Purity Principle."

I hope it was able to offer insights you may not have considered, in regards to God's sovereign providence over the full sweep of human history, and why it's turned out, and is turning out, just the way it did, and is.

~ Rak Chazak

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