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A vehicle for venting on philosophy, religion, and the general state of things. Proprietor: C. W. Powell

Friday, June 06, 2014

And That's the Truth!

And That’s the Truth

“The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us.” John 1:14 “I am the truth….” John 14:6

Two questions have perplexed the philosophers. The first concerns the reality of the objective world. How
do I know that everything is not just a dream? Hinduism thinks that everything ismaya, or illusion. This 
thinking influenced Mary Baker Eddy, and was expressed in Christian Science. There is no objective world, 
all is Mind, and evil is illusion. Divine healing is very important to Christian Science for it illustrates the power 
of Mind over Matter, that matter can be changed through a change of mind. But in spite of philosophical 
idealism (Mind is everything; matter is nothing), these people still get sick, break bones, and die. Funerals are 
held for Christian Scientists and for Hindus.

The other question concerns the reality of spirit or mind. How do I know that my mind is not just a very 
complicated and wonderful computer, fully understandable by natural, material processes? Materialism sees 
all things in terms of molecules, electrons, sub-atomic particles, and physical processes. “The Cosmos is all 
that is or ever was or ever will be,” is the way Carl Sagan began his book Cosmos. If materiality is all there 
is then mental, moral, and spiritual processes can be explained and controlled by material substances. Drugs 
will change the way people behave; physical processes can remake human nature. There can be no spirits 
like angels, demons, God, or the Devil. Physical processes are all there is.

How wonderful are the words of John: “The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us.” The Wisdom of 
God became flesh!

There is no necessary connection between mind and body. The connection is God the Creator, who in grace 
created us with the capacity to know both God and His creation. We know that something mysterious 
happens when a baby is born, or when a person dies, but we cannot explain it. There is a strange and 
wonderful union of flesh and spirit in every human being that takes place when we are born, and is somehow 
severed when we die. Philosophy has puzzled and speculated, from Anaximander’s materialism to Hegel’s 
idealism, but cannot explain the connection between soul and body, and must either deny the one or the 
other. What is the truth?

The truth lies in the words of Christ: “I am the truth.” It is grace that forms the connection between soul and 
body. It was in gracious love that God stooped down and formed man of the dust of the ground, as a potter 
would form an exquisite work of art. It was gracious love that breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life, 
so that he became the image of God. God gave the ability to see, to hear, to rejoice in the world around him.  
It was gracious love that put man into loving, covenantal connection with the world of materiality, but also put 
heaven in his heart that he might thirst after the God who created him.

The Bible reveals Jesus of Nazareth as a most unique person, one who was both God and Man. He was the 
eternal God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, who “proceeded and came forth from God.” (John 8:2 
and Proverbs 8:25). In like manner, though not of the essence of God, all souls come from God, for He is 
the Father of Spirits. Just as we reverence our earthly fathers, we are called to be in subjection to the “Father 
of Spirits,” in order to live (Heb. 12:9). Though there is some analogy to Jesus Christ, yet there is major 
difference, for He is the Only Begotten Son, of the very essence of God, who was united to our human 
nature—both of body and human soul, that He might be an offering for sin. We are created souls, without 
proper immortality, but upheld by the power and word of God.

“The Word became Flesh.” The early church rightly opposed and condemned the Gnostics, who denied the 
true Incarnation of Christ. The Fathers of the church clearly saw that Gnosticism would destroy the link of 
grace between soul and body, leaving only the alternatives of a vicious materialism or an equally vicious 
idealism. The Incarnation was real and demonstrated to the world that God in His grace had made man both 
soul and body, to praise and glorify God forever. The body is not illusion, and the soul is immaterial. The 
connection between them is of grace.

“I am the truth.” Without God’s word the world is a confusing place. Without God’s word, how do I know 
that what I see or hear is real? Maybe the world is illusion. Maybe history is conspiracy, stage-managed by 
very clever people with smoke and mirrors. Maybe there is no soul and when I die I am dead. “What 
happens when people die,” someone asked Dr. Kevorkian. “They rot,” was his reply. Without grace man 
rots, both in body and soul.

“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you,” are the words of Jesus 
(John 14:3) “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave 
it,” said the Preacher (Ecc. 12:7). “Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but 
rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell,” are again the words of Jesus (Matt. 
10:28). And that is the truth.
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