God Doesn’t Do Nonsense

This is an old one. “Can God create a rock too big for Him to lift?” If you answer, “No, He can’t,” the response is “I thought God could do anything.” If you answer, “Yes, He can,” then the response would be about how the wit thought God was infinitely strong.

I propose to answer the question definitively (and I’m not the first to do so by a long shot).  The answer is “no.” God cannot create a rock so big that He cannot lift it.

And here’s the reason: God cannot do nonsensical things, not because God is limited, but because nonsense can’t exist except in the abstract. (And even then we have a difficult time picturing it.) Could God create a man who was simultaneously both six feet tall and five feet tall? No, and not because God is not all-powerful, but simply because such a man cannot exist.

Back to creation. To create something, by definition, is to limit it. Nothing exists in the real, in the concrete, that does not have limits. In order for God to create ANYTHING, that thing, in the real world, must have a defined nature, composition, and mass. God, Who is unlimited, must by necessity surpass all created things.

Yes, but couldn’t God create an infinitely large rock? Once again you’re attempting to attribute nonsense to God. How could there be any such thing as an infinitely large rock?  Can you picture one?  I can’t.

Could God, if He so chose, create a rock that was greater in size than the visible universe? I haven’t the slightest doubt that He could, if it suited His purposes. But the act of creation is also the act of limitation, and He could then pick it up, again if He so chose.

Hope this is of some help when you run across that question again. It used to bug me.

God bless, friends.

Examining Presuppositions

We have to have our presuppositions, our basic assumptions.   We can’t start every thought process with Descartes’ “I think, therefore I am” and work our way up from there.  I can’t sit down to a bill-paying session and have to reason through “one plus one equals two” before I get my checkbook out, and I can’t question whether gravity is going to work before turning my alarm off and getting out of bed in the morning.

Presuppositions save us time.

However, it’s good to be aware that we, all of us, have presuppositions, and to be aware that sometimes those assumptions are unfounded or unsupportable.  I may assume without checking that my bookmark is where I left it in my latest library read, to the extent that I might tell someone I have my place marked.  However, that would prove to be an unfounded belief if one of my children picked it up off the table out of curiosity and the Walmart receipt I’d used to keep my place had then slipped out.  My presupposition would then not correspond with reality and I would need to be open to examining it, and changing it, in light of the evidence.

Great danger lies in unexamined presuppositions, and even greater peril lies in the fact that many of us have basic assumptions of which we are essentially unaware.  The most honest thing to do is to own and admit to our presuppositions, but this is trickier than you might think.  I am sure that there are things I take for granted which may or not be in line with “how things really are,” but I may very well be blind to them.

I require honest friends, and honest dialogue, to help me examine my assumptions, and I require the courage and integrity to admit when some foundational belief I hold does not correspond with how things are.  We’ll never be free of presuppositions, but may we all have the grace and the wit and the will to acknowledge them and know them for what they are.

Hope all’s well out there, friends, and God bless.

 

At The Writers’ Conference

Man, that was fun.

As you know, I’m a fairly active writer and a semi-author.  (You’re an author when someone else says you’re an author, and I can legitimately claim that.  I joke that I’m a rich and famous author except for the “rich and famous” part.  But I’m not much of an author, at least not yet.)

But I went to my first ever writers’ conference, and I was challenged, and inspired, and encouraged, and, yeah, a little overwhelmed.  I met some very nice people and had some great conversations.  It was just….cool….to be with so many other people who have such similar interests; I don’t hang around with a lot of writers on a regular basis.

I made some good contacts and got some great ideas.  Will anything tangible come of it?  Maybe, maybe not.  It’s okay if it doesn’t.  This was a learning experience for me.

But, yeah, I had a blast.

Hope all’s well out there, friends, and God bless.

Letting God’s Choices Prevail

I’m reading in the early chapters of Deuteronomy, and one of the things that leaped out at me this morning was God’s direction to the Israelites as they traveled NOT to conquer this land or that land because God had not given that particular property to them.

In heading to the land of promise God had selected for them, they were going to be passing through lots of appealing territory that wasn’t meant for them.

And it struck me that it would be a good way to view my own life, to understand that God has certain (and plentiful) blessings in store for me, if I but set my heart to seek and do His will.  But there are plenty of attractive and distracting things along the journey that can, if I let them, turn my heart away from God’s best for me.

It’s as though God is saying to me “I know that particular goal or pleasure or achievement or possession or activity appeals to you.  But it’s not what I have in mind for you, and it’s not as good as what I have in mind for you.  Leave it be, and trust My wisdom and guidance.”

So, as I journey and adventure, I need to be careful to keep my own desires from diverting me away from what God has chosen as best for me.

Hope all’s well out there, friends, and God bless.

The Flu Runs Through

I’m feeling halfway human writing this post.

I’ve had a sick couple of days, honestly.  Self-diagnosed as a mild case of flu.  I didn’t go to the doctor, but I was exposed to it, and I checked all the symptoms–high fever, respiratory issues.

I still appeared in my community theater play.  No understudies.  I bathed liberally in hand sanitizer (seriously, my hands were chapped from using so much of the stuff) and took lots of cold remedies and did okay.  But I was pretty worthless the rest of the time.

I don’t get sick often.  When I do I get behind on stuff I want to do, and then, when I start feeling halfway human, I charge full speed ahead trying to get caught back up.  And then I get sick again.

I’m trying to be a little more sensible this time around, and take it easy for a day or two.

I still don’t feel well.  But I feel so much better not feeling quite so bad that I feel great.

Hope all’s well out there, friends, and God bless.

The Story of God and Man

The Bible is a divine Book: God inspired it, directed it, used it, and preserved it, and it contains a record of many of His wonderful acts and much about His character and attributes.

The Bible is a human Book:  God used mankind to write the book and it tells the journey of humankind from sinless perfection to tragic fall to hope and forgiveness and redemption and restoration.

It the story of God and it is the story of man.  It finds its culmination in its central character, the Lord Jesus, fully human and fully divine.  The Old Testament expounds on our need or a Savior and on the preparation of the world for His coming.  The New Testament tells of His advent, and the beginnings of the effect His sacrifice and resurrection would have on the history of mankind.

The first verse of the Bible is “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”  The Bible begins with God’s creative acts, but His Creation was to be for the benefit of Mankind.  He was the Author, but we were the Reason.

The last verse of the Bible is “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people.  Amen.”  The grace, the gift, of the God-man is to make possible the reconciliation of the sinfully fallen humanity to the infinitely holy and perfect Father-Creator.  Through His work we can be called God’s people, indeed.

“The story of God and man” should be the perspective from which we approach the Bible.  When you come to your quiet time or your Sunday school lesson, when you reverently approach God’s word, prayerfully ask “what does this passage say about God?  What does this passage say about me?”  Every part of the Bible tells us more about God and how He deals with, loves, corrects, inspires, protects, guides, leads, cares for, loves His people.

 

It is a book about God.  It is a book for us.

 

May we be grateful and thankful for the gift of the Word, and may we joyfully treasure it and live in it and by its teachings.   

 

Taking a Fiction Bath

I’m an aspiring fiction writer.  I’ve written a fair amount of nonfiction, and published some of it, but I’d really, really, like to be a novelist.  I’ve written one novel that I quite like and I even managed to get a top-tier literary agent to look at it.  He told me it was pretty good, but it needed a lot of work to have any hope of marketability.  Publishing is a very competitive business.

So I’m taking a fiction bath with the hope of improving my own writing skills.  I’ve read very little fiction for years–the occasional Terry Pratchett or  Donald Westlake here and there, but that’s about it.  I’ve concentrated heavily on nonfiction.

But if I want to write it, I have to read it, and I’ve moved back to reading stories.  I’m quite enjoying the experience, and I’m already seeing several ways I can improve the novel I’ve written.  But I’m reading Conan Doyle and Ray Bradbury and Jane Austen and Louis L’Amour and Mark Twain and Lewis Carroll and others, and it’s fun.  I’m rediscovering the joy of telling tales.

I’ll keep you posted.  Hope all’s well out there, friends, and God bless.

The Bad Guys Have Their Acts Together

I’m an aspiring fiction writer, and I read a lot of stories as well.

Have you noticed that in a lot of stories, the bad guys are WAY more organized, sophisticated, and together than the good guys are?  It seems like the good guys are always three steps behind.  I’m currently reading the (otherwise excellent and enjoyable) Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull and so far the villains are running rings around the good guys.  You have to wonder how civilized society ever made it to the present day.

Voldemort was stronger and tougher than Dumbledore.  Emperor Palpatine reigned for decades while the last of the Jedi were in exile on Tatooine and Dagobah.  Lex Luthor regularly has Superman on the ropes; he’s never beaten him totally, but he’s still walking around free, powerful, and respected, and Superman has gotten WAY more grief at his archenemy’s hands than the other way around.

I get that the story’s no fun if the good guys don’t have challenges, but it often seems more than a little lopsided to me.

Hope all’s well out there, friends, and God bless.

New Toy

I have a new toy, an IPhone 5 that I actually got as part of an upgrade.

I’ve never had a smartphone before.  My previous cell was so out of date that they can’t import the contacts; I’m having to do it manually.

And this new gadget has SO many toys on it I’m really having to discipline myself to keep my mind on my actual to-do list.

The discipline has slipped a little, here and there…..

Insert hyperlink to test page.

Hope all’s well out there, friends, and God bless.

God’s Watching Over Us

My son is adopted, although his older sisters are our biological daughters.  Long story short, around fourteen years ago Adored Wife and I felt God’s overwhelming message that we were going to have more children, and then a scant few weeks later we learned that a family friend was expecting a child out of wedlock and wanted to know if we would adopt.  He’s thirteen now.

 He’s grown up knowing he was adopted and it’s never been a big deal to him.  But it was only in conversation with him this past week that all the miraculous “God’s leading” stuff came up.  I don’t use the word “miraculous” lightly, and I’d just never had the occasion to tell him the particulars.

But, yes, it was a miracle time.  I’ve rarely experienced a sense of God’s direction as clearly as I did fourteen years ago, but it’s happened a few times in my life.

 And I needed the conversation this week.  I have a few stressful situations in my life right now, and I’m earnestly praying for God’s guidance to see me through it.  And the conversation with my son was a reminder that God has always watched over me and seen me through times of testing.  And the timing of that conversation, relating to my son the Providential circumstances surrounding his birth and adoption, came in the midst of me seeking reassurance from God.

Yeah, He’s still watching over us.

 Hope all’s well out there, friends, and God bless.