I was thinking in Mass today about the Eucharist and how the Holy Spirit is called down upon ordinary bread and wine which are changed by the power of the Spirit into the body and blood of Christ. In the Eucharistic prayer or anaphora, Christ, giving thanks to God, said, "Take, eat, for this is my body which is broken for you.” Likewise He took the chalice, saying, “This is my blood which is shed for you. Whenever you do this, do this [in] memory of me.” Jesus Christ commanded His apostles to do this in remembrance of Him. But what exactly must we do. Protestants laugh at Catholics because we partake in the body and blood of Christ in every Mass. But our Eucharist is called the epiclesis and is what Christ in fact did at the last supper. Christ surely did not cut off His leg and carve bits of flesh to pass around to the twelve apostles. And he surely did not drain His blood from His severed leg into a cup and offer the warm libation to His guests. That would have been cannibalism. No, Christ took ordinary bread and ordinary wine, and calling down the aid of the Holy Spirit, changed the oblations into His own body and blood. And He commanded us to do the same. What must our protestant brothers do with their sola scriptoria? They fail to follow the Lord’s command.
Scholars generally agree that the beginning of the first chapter of the Book of Genesis makes allusion to two separate creation stories. The first creation story points to a blessing on humanity and a holy day to rejoice in that blessing (the Church). The second story concludes with a loss of the blessing through impending, continued sin in a battle with evil, but implies that humanity will eventually become successful in the battle. (Christ through salvation in a new church). The "blessing"in the first story was that creation was done in six days and the first human inhabitants living in that creation were good and perfect in every way (Godlike). God established His Kingdom on earth for Adam and Eve. God created for them a seventh day to worship Him and to rejoice in Him. This seventh day was to be sacred and holy, a Church for them. The second creation story does not create a new church, but now becomes earthly and sinful because of the disobedience of the first couple. God placed enmity between mankind and the devil and a feud developed. They must toil and struggle for salvation in their six days of the week but God still expects them to be holy on the seventh day, even though they now live in sin. God knows that the walls of His church cannot be overtaken by satan. Yet God promised that humanity would eventually overcome satan in His time, not theirs, because of their disobedience. Since the appearance of Christ, we now have the power to overcome satan, sin and death.
This paper will discuss two ways that early Christians understood Jesus Christ and it will discuss key theological issues that arose out of these experiences of Christ. Early Christians wondered about the nature of Christ: was He human or divine? When the issue was decided that Jesus was both human and divine, early Christians wondered about unity: how they could reconcile both a human and divine nature. Can humanity and divinity be comingled or united into one? How can the “Word” be made flesh? Does the union of humanity and divinity imply a change in the substance of God or was the incarnation a process whereby the Word took flesh? The paper will begin and end with my own personal thoughts.
When Christ first appeared among the twelve apostles, He appeared as a man, the son of a carpenter. Yet the apostles soon realized that Jesus was not an ordinary man. He performed miracles. He changed water into wine. He healed the sick, raised people from the dead, and walked on water. Although He experienced a human death on a cross, He physically rose from the dead, both body and soul. Then Jesus reappeared to the apostles after His physical death in human form again, albeit in a spiritual nature. What exactly did Jesus look like when He returned from the dead? Did He look like His old self before His death, a common man? Or did He look like a ghost, some hazy, smoky, spiritual being that had no mass or physical, corporeal quality? I believe that Christ appeared in both natures, humanly and Godly. He possessed some form, because the apostles recognized Him and Thomas put his hand in His side. He ate fish with the apostles. Yet Christ walked through walls and disappeared as quickly as He appeared. Bur once He ascended into heaven, we have never seen Christ again. Jesus gave the apostles, His 70 disciples and the Fathers plenty to wonder about.
When Jesus asked his disciples who they thought he was, Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). But did Peter mean that Jesus was God Himself, or just the expected Messiah of the Jews? These first century Jews sought a Messiah but did they expect God Himself? Probably not. Because Christ was resurrected, did that make Him divine? Not necessarily. The Pharisees believed in resurrection so Jesus could have been a righteous man in the eyes of God who received special treatment. Righteousness does not equal divinity. Did the early Christians borrow from the philosophy of the Greco- Roman myths of mystical humans becoming Gods such as Hercules and Zeus? Even the Romans and their emperors considered the Roman Emperor as a God. Probably borrowed but hey knew Jesus was not God in that sense. Paul prayed to Jesus, as if to God, and referred to Jesus with Words used to describe God. But did the early Christians believe that Jesus was in fact God Himself? Paul says “one Lord, Jesus Christ”…“through whom are all things and through whom we exist.” Baptizing in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost does not make Jesus God but does lead to the idea of a trinity. And because Jesus spoke Words of truth and wisdom and performed miracles, many concluded that Jesus was somehow sent from God and thus was the son of God since on several occasions Jesus addressed God as His “Father.” Thus many wondered whether Jesus had a human nature before crucifixion and whether He somehow changed His nature to divine after His resurrection. Was He just a mere human before his baptism when the Holy Spirit descended on Him and then, after His baptism, He turned divine?
Therefore many questions arose in the early Church. Was Jesus man, divine or both? Did Jesus as the son of God begin His existence at His conception, or did He exist forever, like God? And if He was God and existed from all eternity, how could God take on human form? All of these questions lead to many church Fathers providing various and differing answers. But answers to questions by one became heresies to others. Let’s look at some of the initial questions about Christ’s humanity and divinity in the early Church.
Monarchianism was a set of beliefs that emphasized God as being one person, in direct contrast to Trinitarianism which defined God as three persons coexisting consubstantially as one in being. [Wikipedia]. They opposed the doctrine of an independent, personal subsistence of the Logos(Christ) and affirmed the sole deity of God the Father. They emphasized the indivisibility of God (the Father) at the expense of the other persons of the Trinity. Their name came from their defense of the "Monarchy" (ultimate rulership/unity) of God. Thus, it represented the extreme monotheistic view. [Britannica].There can be only one God and Christ was not Him. Monarchianism was generally credited to Paul of Samosata, a bishop of Antioch.
Gnostic doctrine taught that the world was created and ruled by a lesser divinity, the demiurge, and that Christ was an emissary of a remote, supreme, divine being, esoteric knowledge (gnosis) of whom enabled the redemption of the human spirit. [Wikipedia]. Gnostics were divided on Jesus. One view held that He appeared as having human form but that He was actually living in spirit only. The other view contended that His divine spirit came upon his human body at baptism and departed at the crucifixion. Jesus was merely a human who attained divinity through gnosis and taught his disciples to do the same. Many of these early concepts were based on the Platonist traditions. Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, wrote against many of the first century heresies, including Gnosticism, in his work, Adversus Haereses.
Arianism was a christological concept which asserted that Jesus Christ was the Son of God who was created by God the Father at a point in time, was distinct from the Father, and was therefore subordinate to the Father. Arian teachings were first attributed to Arius (c. AD 250–336), a Christian presbyter in Alexandria, Egypt. [Wikipedia]. Arianism was the opposite extreme of Monarchianism. Various models of resolving the relationship between God the Father and the Son of God were proposed in the 2nd century, but later rejected in favor of the doctrine of the Trinity as expounded at the First Council of Constantinople in 381, which confirmed the concept of God as one being, consisting of three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Council of Nicaea in 325 deemed Arianism to be a heresy. They decided that Christ had two natures-a human nature and a divine nature- but was in fact God. The Father and Son are one in substance or being (ousia), but distinct in person (prosopon). They defined Christ by defining God, so Christ was not fully described in 325 A.D., only God, as a Trinity, was explained.
The remainder of the third century and the fourth were concerned with the problem of the mode of the union of deity and manhood. Apollinarianism held that in Christ, the Logos, took the place of the human soul. Apollinarianism was condemned by a synod in Alexandria, 362, by synod at Rome under Damasus and at Constantinople, 381. Eutyches was a presbyter at Constantinople. He first came to attention in 431 when he spoke of two natures before the union, but after the union and incarnation, he spoke of one nature. He held that the human nature and the divine nature were combined into the single nature of Christ without any alteration, absorption or confusion: that of the incarnate Word. Eutyches was condemned. Eutyches took the opposite extreme of Nestorius who held that Christ is the expression of two natures. Mary gave birth to a human being. The Holy Spirit produced a temple for God, the Logos, and a temple in which He (God) dwelt. Our human nature was put on Christ like a garment. The humanity of Jesus was not, in itself, God. The duality of the natures is one on account of the unity. He preached that Christ could be one or the other, God or man, but he could not be both at the same time. [First sermon of Nestorius].
The Church Council at Chalcedon in 451 attempted to settle the union confusion. It held that Christ was truly God and truly man, consisting also of a reasonable soul and body; He was of one substance with the Father as regards his Godhead and at the same time of one substance with us as regards his manhood, recognized in two natures, without confusion, without change, without division, without separation; the distinction of nature’s being in no way annulled by the union. [Bettenson]. He was conceived of the Holy Spirit in the womb of his virgin mother, whose virginity remained entire in his birth as in his conception. The properties of each nature and substance were preserved entire and came together to form one person. Each nature preserves its own characteristics without diminution, so that the form of a servant does not detract from the form of God. Christ is invisible in his own nature, but he became visible in ours; he is incomprehensible. Continuing to be before time, he began to exist in time. From his mother, the Lord took nature, not sin. [Tome of Leo, Leo, bishop of Rome, 440 to 461].
The bishops that were uneasy with the language of Pope Leo's Tome repudiated the council, saying that the acceptance of two physes was tantamount to Nestorianism. Archdeacon Dioscorus of Alexandria, a cohort of Cyril, advocated miaphysitism [that in the one person of Jesus Christ, Divinity and Humanity are united in one ( mia - "one" or "single") nature ("physis"), the two being united without separation, without confusion, and without alteration] and had dominated the Council of Ephesus in 431. Churches that rejected the Council of Chalcedon in favor of Ephesus broke off from the rest of the Eastern Church in a schism, the most significant among these being the Church of Alexandria, today known as the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. [Wikipedia]. The results of Chalcedon implicate that Christ appeared on earth as the son of God, a son who existed for all eternity alongside God in two natures, but in one substance. The Council declared that in Christ there are two natures; each retaining its own properties, and together united in one subsistence (hypostasis) and in one single person. If Christ was both fully human and fully divine, how was these two natures unified into one human person, Christ? Many disagreements remained among the Metropolitan Sees and still remain today.
I have come to believe that Christ was a substance of God transformed into human form. Christ did not exist as a separate person alongside God as if the whole universe had three rulers, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, each sitting on three separate thrones in heaven. There is only one ruler, God. God can be everywhere at once. Motion, time, space and eternity have no effect on God. God is the cause of everything and everything is caused by God. God can live within you and me in Spirit while he resides in heaven. God was on this earth in human form 2000 years ago. Christ was not a son of God as if God had children, like you and I have sons and daughters. God did not mate with a female God to produce Christ. When God decided to appear on earth, He sent His Spirit to Mary, who through a miracle, created Himself in human form and called Himself Jesus. Jesus was God himself in human form. When the human God (Christ) died, He return to heaven in Spirit, and His substance reunited with Himself (God). The Holy Spirit is likewise not some third, independent ruler in Heaven. The Holy Spirit does not sit on a separate throne next to God either. Rather, the Holy Spirit is the soul of God. God created us in His likeness, but He exists in spiritual form, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, just as Christ appeared to the apostles after His death when He ate fish with them and allowed Thomas to put his hand in His side. We should not, therefore, say that we have never seen God. We have seen God in the form of Christ, both as a man and in Spirit.
The Holy Spirit, as God himself, still traverses the heavenly and earthly worlds, just as He did since the beginning of time. God sent His spirit at creation. God sent His spirit throughout the Old Testament. God sent His spirit in the form of a man, Jesus, 2000 years ago. God still sends his Spirit to us today to reside in us because of the death of a tiny part of Himself, Christ, the human part. I don’t think Christ still exists or if He does, He exists as the Spirit of God. I think God in the form of Christ came to earth, accomplished His task, and returned to Himself. God conquered sin by offering a part of Himself as an oblation for the sinful nature in which mankind lived. He came in the form of the Spirit of Himself in human form and returned to Himself after His ascension in Spirit.
God sent his Word (Logos), a part of God that can be siphoned off and shared with others, to Mary. “At the moment of conception, in the womb of the Blessed Mother, through the forcefulness of God's activity, not only was the human soul of Christ created but the Word assumed the man that was conceived.” (Newadvent.org). At this miraculous conception, a human body, a human soul and human free will was conceived, and Christ , the Word, who existed before creation, with a divine soul and divine will, was placed into that human body. Therefore God, as Christ in spirit, invaded a human body. Thus the man, Jesus, had two souls and two free wills, one human and one divine and God lived in a human body. “The effect of the Incarnation on the human will of Christ was to leave it free in all things save only sin. It was absolutely impossible that any stain of sin should soil the soul of Christ.” (Newadvent.org). According to the Church each separate nature of Christ had its own separate will, a divine will and a human will. “Christ did acts of adoration (John 4:22), humility (Matthew 11:29), reverence (Hebrews 5:7). These acts are those of a human will. The Monothelites denied that there was a human will in Christ. Jesus prayed: "Father, if Thou wilt, remove this chalice from me: but yet not my will, but thine be done," (Luke 22:42). Here there is demonstration of two wills, the Father's and Christ's. The will of Christ was subject to the will of the Father. "As the Father hath given me commandment, so do I" (John 14:31). He became obedient even unto death (Philippians 2:8).” (Newadvent.org). These two wills were not comingled but distinct. Christ was essentially talking to Himself. His human will asked His divine will to free Him from crucifixion. Yet they cooperated with each other. Christ experienced human desires but had complete control with His divine will. In addition to two wills, Christ experienced human emotions within two separate souls. “He was subject to anger against the blindness of heart of sinners (Mark 3:5); to fear (Mark 14:33); to sadness (Matthew 26:37): to the sensible affections of hope, of desire, and of joy. These likes and dislikes were under the complete will-control of Christ…He could not have been tempted by such likes and dislikes to sin” because of His divinity. (Newadvent.org). Christ’s soul was the exact same nature as God’s soul: omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent. He existed on earth as God but acted human also. As a human he loved John more than the others and he agonized over His death. As God He performed miracles and told of the future regarding His death and resurrection and the destruction of Jerusalem. While physically on this earth, Jesus could read minds and could forgive sins just as God can.
Someone might say my ideas are heretical and are similar to Sabellianism. Sabellius became the leader of the Monarchians in Rome. Sabellius, considered a founder of an early movement, was a priest who was excommunicated from the Church by Pope Callixtus I in 220 and lived in Rome. Sabellius advanced the doctrine of one God sometimes referred to as “economic Trinity” and he opposed the Eastern Orthodox doctrine of the “essential Trinity”. God is said to have three "faces" or "masks" (Greek πρόσωπα prosopa; Latin personae). Modalists note that the only number ascribed to God in the Holy Bible is One and that there is no inherent threeness ascribed to God explicitly in scripture.
“The distinction of the Son from the Father was so spoken of that the Son appeared to have functions of His own, apart from the Father, with regard to the creation and preservation of the world, and thus to be a derivative and secondary God. The unity of the Divinity was commonly guarded by a reference to a unity of origin. It was said that God from eternity was alone, with His Word, one with Him (as Reason, in vulca cordis, logos endiathetos), before the Word was spoken (ex ore Patris, logos prophorikos), or was generated and became Son for the purpose of creation. The Alexandrians alone insisted rightly on the generation of the Son from all eternity; but thus the Unity of God was even less manifest. The writers who thus theologize may often expressly teach the traditional Unity in Trinity, but it hardly squares with the Platonism of their philosophy. The theologians were thus defending the doctrine of the Logos at the expense of the two fundamental doctrines of Christianity, the Unity of God, and the Divinity of Christ. They seemed to make the Unity of the Godhead split into two or even three, and to make Jesus Christ something less than the supreme God the Father.” Newadvent.org.
It seems to me that we have to first describe what God is before we can get a working definition of the son and the Holy Spirit.
Hypostatic Union is the term used to explain Christ being one person with two natures. Hypostasis is the underlying state or underlying substance, and is the fundamental reality that supports all else. It is the form of Plato, the substance of Aristotle, the one of Plotinus and the God of Origen. With regard to humans the term refers to the person. In Early Christian writings, hypostasis is used to denote "being" or "substantive reality" and is not always distinguished in meaning from ousia ('essence' or 'substance').marked by Council of Chalcedon, the Word came to be contrasted with ousia and used to mean "individual reality," Prosopon originally meant "face" or "mask" in Greek. Prosopon is the form in which hypostasis appears. Every nature and every hypostasis has its own proper prosopon: face or countenance. It gives expression to the reality of the nature with its powers and characteristics. In hypostatic union the natures remain distinct because the union is on the level of Christ's hypostasis, not his natures (physes).
The Holy Spirit is the effectuating power of God. When God decides to act, His Word, which is Christ Himself, issues commands and these commands are carried out by the enforcer, the Holy Spirit. God’s commands are promulgated, executed and enforced through the divine and natural laws which He enacted. The Holy Spirit is a very powerful part of God. The Holy Spirit is the reason for Gods omnipresence. He is everywhere at all times.
If Christ is God and God is the Holy Spirit then Christ is the Holy Spirit. God exists in spirit. God is all powerful, all-knowing and all present. He retains these perfected qualities in His other forms of existence, His Word and His Spirit. God sent the Word, which was Christ, in spirit to occupy the soul of the human being, Jesus, who transubstantiated into humanity only for His short stay on earth. God turned humanity into Himself, human yet divine.
In my opinion Christ was like a bit of mercury. Have you ever broken a thermometer that contains mercury? While the mercury is within the glass tube, it stays together as a blob. But if let out of the tube, it creates many little balls of mercury that roll around the floor. But if you put the little balls next to each other, they rejoin as if a miracle, and reform the blob again. If that is not a good mental picture, think about an explosion on the surface of the sun. When the sun erupts, part of the molten rock erupts away from the sun’s surface but is pulled back to the sun by gravity. If not, we would have chunks of the sun floating around our solar system. In these two examples, Christ is the little balls of mercury and the molten rock that attempts to escape the sun during eruptions. They exists independently from the blob or the sun for a while but they return from which they came. Notice that the little balls of mercury and the erupted molten rock remain the same substance as the blob of mercury and the sun when they become separated. God also sends His Spirit to us in the same way, same substance but different form. The Word is the Son. Wisdom and grace is the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is energy released from God and absorbed by man. This energy escapes the primary substance (God), resides with those who seek it and yearns to return to the original substance (God.) God’s substance never changes. His ‘coming’ changed us, though. He changed human composition. We can now live with the Spirit and die and return to heaven in spirit, that is, if we have God’s Spirit in us, that little piece of the sun longing to reunite with the blob. And just imagine. We also have God on earth with us in another form, in addition to Spirit. If God equals Christ and Christ equals Eucharist, then Eucharist equals God. We don’t consume Christ. We ingest God.
These past controversies help us explain God in today’s world with contemporary examples. Church history was a progression of tests. Hypothesis were put forward, reality examined and conclusions made, mostly in political conflict. Councils were formed to decide these issues. Man with our finite intelligence has decided what God is and Christ was (or is). We should still seek answers, however. A simple Creed does not answer the questions I still have.
Philosophica Theologica (this paper) assumes the existence of God. We cannot prove the existence of ‘being’ and the ‘first causes of things’ without being able to explain and prove the ‘first cause.’ We definitely cannot prove metaphysical concepts without the existence of some “higher being.” Because we cannot physically or intellectually explain the “first cause,” we will assume the “first cause” is God. There must be a “first cause” in any system. Unfortunately for some, they must use God, otherwise they explain “first cause” away or call it some other name like the “One” or “Absolute.” If the “first cause” is not God in your system, then no one has ever remotely proven what this “first cause” is. Metaphysics is a fallacy. It is an attempt to define something that cannot be defined. It is a contradiction. A second assumption this paper follows is that we cannot prove the existence of God solely through reason or empirical evidence. God can only be known through faith in an intellectual realm supported by reason. Unexplainable events like the universe, the appearance of humans and miracles tend to compel a belief in God but atheist could just as easily assume that the stars and humans evolved from some unexplainable big bang that has yet to be explained. A third and major assumption of this paper is that there are a set of truths (we can call them by any of a number of names- rules, laws, standards, norms, values, principles) that never change and have existed with and since this “first cause.” These truths are absolute, meaning that they represent ideas that are uniform, consistent and eternal. These truths existed before and with the ‘first cause’ and still exist today and will continue to exist infinitely into the future without change. These truths shall be called divine law and natural law. Divine law and natural law are truths, not knowledge. They were enacted by God. The combination and interplay of these truths are universal and transcend our existence. These truths explain and reveal “being” and the “first causes of things” such that humans can have a glimpse into perfected reality. Thus truth is the awareness of the synergy between the divine law and natural law whereby man discovers himself through rational thought.
Philosophy in this system is the study of the relationship of and between divine law and natural law among humans within nature. Christ was the epitome of this duality of laws. He was both human and divine. His life demonstrated to humanity that we live in a world that is governed by both natural (earthly) and divine laws. These laws were given to us by God. As stated earlier, any system cannot be formulated without the presence of an “unmoved mover.” Otherwise where does “being” and the “first causes of things” come? Can you imagine an ontological system without a theological base and without a God? An atheist could accept the big bang and evolution and reject resurrection and immortality, but such a system would be based on pure matter alone. With no rhythm of life and necessity of destination, only basic natural instincts, survival of the fittest and individual selfish desires would form the basis of such a system. Such a system would require spontaneous generation of every single thing that exists including humans. Such a society would implode and collapse upon itself with total human destruction because of lack of innate guiding principles of “goodness.” Nothing would be good or bad. Everything would be sufficient to fulfill the relative necessities of the individual. Any system has to have a “first cause.” And along with a “first cause,” there must exist some ever present laws that govern the explanation of “being” and the relationship that humans have among themselves and within their environment. For these laws must accompany being and the first cause. In other words these laws must exist because being and the first cause of things could not exist without some grand scheme of basic laws to control existence. There is no such thing as spontaneous generation. One cannot produce something from nothing, unless, perhaps, one were God. Life happens with a regularity and predictability with sufficient consistency to support a conclusion of some guiding, organizing and constitutional principles. Natural law and divine law establishes this underlying foundation. Otherwise we would exist in chaos or we may not exist at all.
Metaphysics was the “science” that studied “being” or “the first causes of things” or “things that do not change.” Is it no longer possible to define metaphysics that way? Metaphysics has become a catch-all category, a repository of philosophical problems that cannot be classified as epistemology, logic, ethics or other branches of philosophy. Epistemology is a theory of knowledge that investigates what distinguished justified belief from opinion. These terms were once based on theology. Now they are more and more based on secular relativism as acknowledged by the definition of the following terms.
Phenomenology- the science of phenomena as distinct from that of the nature of being. It is an approach that concentrates on the study of consciousness and the objects of direct experience. Solipsism-the view or theory that the self is all that can be known to exist. Existentialism-a philosophical theory or approach that emphasizes the existence of the individual person as a free and responsible agent determining their own development through acts of the will. Linguistic analysis can be used to describe the unconscious rules and processes that speakers of a language use to create spoken or written language. Neo Positivism arises out of the analogy between physical and social phenomena. Neo positivism takes phenomena from the physical world as models for social events and uses the laws of the former to explain the latter. It asserts that sociology should be a science and its methods should follow these of the natural especially physical sciences. Neo positivists consider sound scientific methodology to be the first principle of sociological analysis. For them sound scientific methodology involves mathematical and other formal models that incorporate formalization of variables. Computer techniques and language, experimental logics, laboratory experiments and computer simulation of human behavior become paramount.
These definitions demonstrate the replacement of ancient ethics with modern empiricism and morality. Truth, objectivity and certainty have been replaced with moral relativism. Any relevant philosophical system cannot be formulated without the presence of an “unmoved mover” and the associated laws and truths which come with the system. Even Plato had one. Otherwise where does “being” and the “first causes of things” come? Can you imagine an ontological system without a theological base and without a God? A purely secular system would have no place to hang its hat, no concepts or ideas of good and bad with which to compare human responses. Such a sterilized society devoid of emotion in the spiritual sense creates a “what’s in it for me” culture devoid of love and affection. If Humans did not act based on emotions and spiritual consciousness, every act would be neither good nor bad, just necessary to fill a desire of nature. Who would determine what is good? Is a set of divine laws required? Or is morality based on an encounter between two individuals with the hope that both seek the best or individual satisfaction or outcome between the encounter. Such a system of morality becomes purely subjective. The same exact encounter between two sets of people could, in theory, produce two totally different outcomes or results with regard to morality. Happiness requires norms. People act contrary to ethical norms either because they are unaware of them or because compliance would be against their perceived self-interest. Divine law does provide the norms and theology must explain them.
Is ancient philosophy the cause of the decline of theology, the study of God and our existence? Plato, Socrates, Pythagoras, Plotinus, Aristotle and subsequent philosophers and their various schools attempted to explain our existence without the knowledge and certainty of a higher power. They developed extreme systems for the appearance of our solar system, humanity, plants, animals and humanity’s relationship with nature and each other. When the Church Fathers appeared on the scene beginning with Origen, Athanasius, Cyril and the like, they felt a need and did in fact attempt to explain our existence using these ancient Greek, philosophical concepts. These concepts were science to them and became the reasons for our being, both to the Greeks, Romans and Christians. These concepts continued to be the reason for being with the Church Fathers although under a new concept, Christ. The Fathers thought that they had to work these two, sometimes opposing systems into one great creation story. The unfortunate consequence is that philosophical and theological concepts merged with the likes of very influential theologians like Augustine. The Church Fathers attempted a merger of philosophy and theology with a disastrous result. The Church Fathers tended to abandon God because of their need to explain their existence with philosophical concepts. Hebrew history would have worked much better. Truth, as expounded by the prophets, Christ and the apostles, got lost in the mix. Divine and natural laws were put aside and truth became some fanciful concoction of ancient, Greek, philosophical thought and divine revelation. Truth and reason were distorted with the resultant effect of 2000 years of confusion.
So how do we know God exists? Philosophers have manufactured hundreds of ways to explain the existence of God. My way is simple. God revealed himself to a people, the Israelites. All of mankind (Protestants, Catholics, Orthodox, Jews, and Muslims) accepts the history of the Israelites as true. We derive this history from the Old Testament. Further, God revealed himself through Christ, a human who performed Godlike behavior which we cannot explain through reason and empirical evidence. Revelation is the explanation of the existence of God. Christians believe that the existence of Christ as God on this earth fully corroborates the creation story of humans and thus explains “being” and the “first cause of things.” In a way, the existence of Christ proves a theological component of metaphysics. Catholics hold that there must, of necessity, be certain revealed truths apart from those contained in the Bible; Tradition provides the foundation for this form of biblical metaphysics.
The first primary truth is that God created everything. God is the ‘first cause of things.” God created “being” and “beings,” God created life, God created nature, God created the elements and God created the laws which govern His entire creation. The process of creation is a paramount natural law. This system relies on two practical and universal groups of truths which God established to govern His creation: divine law and natural law. There exists countless laws in each group. Let us begin by looking at created, living things, nature. Natural law in this system is much more expansive than the traditional definition of the so called “Laws of Nature.” Natural law is defined as all of the laws in our environment which makes our universe function. Nature in this system is defined as the whole planet on which we live and the rest of the entire universe. Nature is a natural law. Humans live in nature except that a house or office building are merely shelters within nature just as foxes have dens and birds have nests. Natural law consists of all of the laws which are not divine law. For example, a natural law is that a star, like our sun, can warm a planet and provide light causing the planet to sustain life. The energy released from a star is natural law, the byproducts of which are heat and light. Where did man come from, for example, is a question seeking an answer from the natural law and the divine law? Some higher power had to have created all living organisms, plants, animals and humans, which, in this paper, we shall call “life.” Thus the term “life” represents all living things in the universe. “Living” means things which reproduce. “Life” and “Living” are fundamental natural laws. Life replicates itself in order to sustain the species. All living things require at least two basic needs for survival: water and nutrients. (Just imagine, most living things, except humans, spend a large part of their waking hours seeking water and food. [I was just wondering whether bacteria and trees sleep.]) This is a fundament natural law, living. All living things have five common characteristics: they are made of cells, they obtain and use energy, they grow, they reproduce and they adapt and respond to changes in environment. These five later characteristics are fundamental “laws of nature.” Thus we see that there exists several natural laws as a result of creation and they are general and basic. The more detailed laws, those needed for the natural law to function correctly, are the “laws of nature.”(This paper rejects spontaneous generation and evolution.)
This unmoved mover also created all of the matter which composes “living” and “non-living” things. Examples of non-living things include rocks, heat, oxygen, our moon, the snow on the top of Mt. Everest and the elements that make up each cell in our body. These non-living things we shall call “elements.” Everything that exists in the entire universe which has a corporeal, physical body is either life or elements. Humans, plants and animals and microscopic organisms are “life,” but they are made of elements. This fact is a fundament natural law, the synergy between life and elements. For example, almost 99% of the mass of the human body is made up of six elements: oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus. Only about 0.85% is composed of another five elements: potassium, sulfur, sodium, chlorine, and magnesium. All 11 are necessary for life. These elements are in the form of blood, skin, bones, etc. Almost 98% (by weight) of a tree is made up of six elements: carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur.
In addition to living things, elemental things are composed of elements but elemental things are not “living.” “Elements” are not “life.” This computer on which I am typing is composed of cobalt, nickel, iron, 7,7,8,8-tetracyanoquinodimethane, gallium, niobium, copper, lutetium, tantalum, rutherfordium, zirconium, hafnium Gold, arsenic, ruthenium and neodymium among other trace elements. But the computer is not life. An automobile or a house are composed of hundreds of elements. There are currently 118 known elements in the periodic table. Some of the elements are gaseous, undetectable with the human eye. Elements are the key to living and nonliving things. The combination of elements to produce things, including life, is a natural law.
The natural law of creation, which the unmoved mover instituted, causes a combination of elements to produce ‘life’ in this system. This creation event, the point in time when life and elements were created, occurred at some specific point in time in the past. Life and the elements had a beginning. Creation, as a supreme natural law, continues to this day and will continue for the foreseeable future. Humans are born, planets are created and new elements produced (either here on earth or in the universe) every day.
Things, both life and elements, can be classified as Animate or inanimate. For animate things, they can move voluntarily. Humans, animals and organisms can move voluntarily. A deer can walk from one side of the forest to the other, for example. A tree and a rock cannot move voluntarily. (Wind causes a tree to have movement but it is not voluntary on the part of the tree. A tree does not walk around. However, as it grows, the change in height is considered movement. Thus we may be able to conclude that all life has movement. All life is animated in that it moves voluntarily.) A second part of the definition of animate is to be “alive” or “possessing life.” Humans, animals, trees and organisms are animate in this second sense. Things called “life” are animate in this second sense also. But the elements are inanimate, per say, when acting, or rather, existing alone. A rock or an automobile are not animate in this second sense even though they both can be move through an outside source, thus they are not animate in the first sense either. Elements cannot move voluntarily and they do not possess ‘life.’ From these definitions we discover that movement is a natural law (animation.) Another natural law is that for things to gain existence (life or being), a combination of specific proportions of elements is required, another definition of creation. In this system, our unmoved mover created life and the elements simultaneously. (Note in Genesis, man was created on day six.) In other words, the elements were not created first and, then, by some system of spontaneous generation, life began to form. Humans did not evolve from the elements.
Another distinction of ‘things’ is called corporeal and incorporeal. All “life” and the “elements” are corporeal. They have, consist of, or relate to a physical material body. Corporeal things are not spiritual, immaterial or intangible. Corporeal things are things that are composed of elements and have a body, whether animate or inanimate, and can be experienced by one or more of the five senses. They exist in nature. Incorporeal things are things that have no body, but are comprehended by the mind through reason, such as the rights of inheritance, right to freedom of speech, right of intellectual property and thoughts. Notice that incorporeal things belong to the individual and they center on humans. (Humans attempt to give rights to animals, trees and the land.) An incorporeal thing is without physical existence in itself but belongs as a right to a material thing, property or human. Incorporeal things cannot be detected with the five senses. Corporeality is a natural law. This paper shall be concerned with thoughts of humans, in particular, and not necessarily rights attached to material things and property. However we can be certain that animals have thoughts. Fear and anger cannot be experienced by a dog unless he has thoughts about some outside source or stimuli. (Animals, trees and the land do have the right not to be mistreated. That is a divine law. It is based on a moral responsibility. God gave humans stewardship over the earth.) A second definition of incorporeal addresses a state of being outside of humans, that of spirits, angels and human souls. Most philosophers admit that humans are composed of body and soul. Someone on their deathbed in a coma caused by traumatic brain damage can be sustained by machines which provide oxygen and food, but, does that person, who does not have use of their five senses and cannot speak, think or move voluntarily, still have a soul? One question this paper will attempt to address is whether souls of animals exist independent of their physical bodies. Does all living things, including trees and organisms, have souls? Another question for this paper is whether thoughts, spirits and souls are composed of matter and, if not, how do they exist?
What is the origin of our universe? The universe, the place where life and the elements currently reside, had a beginning also. Our universe is part of nature. Some claim the beginning was the big bang, an explosion. (Movement is a fundamental natural law.) They claim that a dense ball of material the size of a pea exploded, as if someone lite a fuse with fire and the pea went off like a firecracker. (Fire is a “law of nature.” It requires a heat source, oxygen and a combustible material.) Our universe began to expand at this particular explosive event and it is still expanding today. But no one can explain where the pea came from or describe what matter of which this pea was composed or why did it explode in the first place. The elements, iron, hydrogen, oxygen, sulfur, etc., which compose stars, planets, galaxies and life, had to have been created also at this explosive event. Just look at a periodic table. All known elements are listed but we can be sure that there are some elements created by God that are not yet known to mankind. Every living and nonliving thing in the universe, including the universe itself, is composed of an element or combination of elements. Even life is composed of elements. Humans have not figured out how the elements, which have no life, combined to form life. But that is what happens in creation. When did this crossover event occur, when nonliving elements coalesced to form living life? Or did life and the elements appear at the same time? We already addressed this issue. They each appeared simultaneously and independently.
Atheist like to use Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution as an explanation for the creation of life. But his theory does not remotely explain the creation of life, much less the appearance of the elements. Did the elements go through a process of evolution too? Where did the elements come from, the pea? Life and the elements did not just spontaneously generate themselves. Someone had to create them. Even the most basic forms of life and the elements had to have had a beginning. You cannot get something out of nothing. There has to be a first of a thing to propagate. There are plenty of missing links in the evolutionary chain that brings much doubt to the system. Archeology has not provided the transition from organisms to animals, much less the proof of the first animal divergences from sea creatures to horses, cows, birds and humans.
There was a time when life and the elements did not exist. This period of nonexistence we shall call nothingness since God also created time. Only God existed in this period of nothingness. In other words there was a time when time did not exist either. At this explosive event, heat and light were created. The basic outcome of heat and light is fire. Light began to move at a speed of 299,792,458 meters per second/186,000 miles per second in a vacuum. This is a universal law of nature. I am sure this explosion created sound which travels at 343 meters per second /1,125 feet per second when not impeded by oxygen or water. If water appeared, it froze at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, 0 degrees Celsius, 273.15 Kelvin, another universal law of nature. Scientists and theologians all have at least one common point of agreement, and that is that life and the elements had a specific instance of birth, a beginning. We can conclude that all of being (matter), everything that exists within time and space and life and the elements as we know them today, at one point in nothingness, however many years in the past, did not exist. An irresistible force, an unmoved mover, caused life, the elements and time to spontaneously appear in space from nothingness. What power could perform such a miracle accept an all-powerful, all-knowing and all-present entity we call God.
God exists in a transcendent domicile beyond our current universe. Our current universe is expanding and scientists claim that we are getting closer and closer at seeing the edge of creation with the Hubble telescope and seeing creation as it is currently taking place. The universe is expanding as a shape of a three dimensional sphere. What is the universe expanding into? Another fundamental law of nature is that when a substance or material increases in volume, the increase displaces another substance or material. Our universe, a chaos of conflict within the elements, is overtaking unity. Our universe is expanding into God’s domicile. God’s domicile is perfected harmony. God’s domicile is God Himself in perfect harmony and unity. Imagine God as a wide, invisible line, a space that is moving in both directions forever (infinitely). Our universe in which we live and the time since its existence is a dot on that line. Existence can be compared to a heart monitor in a hospital that never, ever loses power. God is the line that is produced by the heartbeat monitor. Each heartbeat is represented by a variance in the line that forms a peak and returns to the original line. Our universe in one peak from valley to valley on that line. Our universe was created, will live and die within a single heartbeat of God. God is so infinitely large that He could have very well created other, complete universes besides our own within His domicile that have come and gone, of which we are not even aware.
This all powerful entity exists in a state of animation unconceivable by our irrational, human mind. His existence is similar to our soul on steroids, adrenaline and caffeine times 1000. But He is not soul however. Our human soul, is spiritual and enlivens our body. A human body without soul would be dead. Yes we can keep people alive with machines but they are only unconscious, living matter. Angels and souls of humans and animals are not composed of matter. A soul does not encompass elements, thus it is inanimate in one sense, yet it exists in a dimension which we cannot see with the eyes, so it is animate in the other sense. Its existence is “form” without “matter.” It is the essence per Aquinas. Unlike humans and animals, God has neither matter nor form. His existence is not in a spiritual nature as we would define a spirit as the Holy Ghost, or an apparition or ghostly entity. It’s more of an electrified human soul that never sleeps and is fully conscious. Yet it is not a soul. A peculiar thing about God is that His essence and existence operate in combination. He is both essence and existence at the same time. This effect causes God to be all present. God is all powerful because He is the creator of all things. He creates life, the elements and all thoughts, desires, emotions, intelligence, knowledge, wisdom and the souls that become part of any and all forms of life. The animated part of incorporeal things is in fact God. Therefore all “life” has souls, and these souls are part and parcel of God’s presence in nature. Souls come from God at creation. Thus God is all-present. This infinite presence is a natural and divine law.
God’s omnipresence is fully conscious. His consciousness produces effect. Conscious effects stem from thoughts but God has no thoughts. If He had thoughts they would immediately take effect. Per Aristotle, God has active intellect, nous. This intellect is the force behind the cosmos, everything that is known to exist. God’s potency creates actuality. Normally one must put in motion an act to achieve potential to change or create. God’s potential is unlimited. But God is the First act. Yet God Himself was never created. God is a combination of potentiality and actuality. This state of being makes God all present and all powerful. He has no beginning or end. God was not created yet He resides in everything He has created. God is not matter yet resides in all matter. This is the reason God is both essence and existence so that He is all-present. He is everywhere in the universe at all times, even before time was created. He is in the creation and destruction of stars and planets. He is the substance that fills the universe, black matter. God is all present on earth. He is present in human souls and bodies. He is present in plants and animals (life) and water, fire, air and earth (elements).He is present in the air we breathe. God is present in the sunlight, the water and oxygen and carbon monoxide. He allows things to grow and die. God is all present because He is all-powerful. God’s presence in life and the elements is a basic natural law and is also a divine law.
God also created the “laws of nature.” God is, in nature, the law that governs our natural world. He, as the law of nature, administers and regulates all creation, birth and death of universes, city states, planets and stars, humans and animals, plants and microscopic organisms, all of the elements and the relationships, rules, and interactions that are needed for the carrying out His natural law of creation. There are another set of universal and fundamental rules, the “laws of nature,” that govern the creation, existence and death of all created things, both life and the elements. These fundamental laws of nature are just like God, they never change, are omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent. But these individual “laws of nature” are not Natural laws. Creation is a natural law. Sexual drive of animals is a law of nature. Other examples of the laws of nature are the boiling and freezing points of water. All of the laws of nature combined is a natural law.
God’s omnipresence causes Him to be all-knowing. All knowing God is a fully conscious entity, aware of everything at all times. God’s existence can be compared to a super computer that can make billions and billions of computations a second. But God is that super computer times a billion. The individual intellects of each human from the beginning of time composes a fraction of God’s knowledge. His knowledge is the foundation of time. We shall call this basic unit providence. God provides protection and spiritual care for His creation. The providence of God is the accumulation of effects of all natural and divine laws. Providence is the supreme divine law. Everything that happens on earth and in the universe is a result of God’s providence. God’s power and presence places everything in effect, therefore He knows all. God knows all because He is all-present and all-powerful.
Divine and Natural Law
Humans live and react as in an ant colony surrounded by glass walls in an enclosed container with the human owner looking in. God looks into our lives here on earth in the same way. But the human owner has no spiritual or rational connection with the ants in the colony. God, on the other hand, has extended Himself in spirit to be with us at all times. Unlike the owner of the ant colony, who may look in when food is given to the colony, God provides sustenance to his creation constantly. Likewise, His spirit is always present on earth for putting into effect His natural and divine laws, like spiritual food. God is omnipresent. His spirit operates and controls nature, and when humans let Him, He operates and controls human minds in rational thinking and activity. The divine law truly becomes manifest in the elemental world. This materialization is a natural law. Many humans participate in blind activity just like ants, never noticing the presence of the owner, in our case God. They work, fight, eat and reproduce, but they are oblivious of any transcendent world, just as the ants. God’s spirit allows us to transcend our everyday work-a-day world and see beyond our immediate environs. He calls all but few are seeking and finding. God as part of His character, is composed of the natural and divine laws.
If you believe in God, as this system proclaims, then theology must be part and parcel of the philosophical system. Faith exposes truth through reason and knowledge. The definition of truth, as nothing more than rules of conduct, is refuted and rejected. Truth goes way beyond moral conduct. Truth explains “being” itself and the working of the natural, providential world and the spiritual, divine world. Truth explains everything. Humans become aware of their current reason for existence, where they came from, where they are headed and how they must participate in this material, elemental world to eventually arrive at their ultimate destination. Truth truly sets you free, free to enjoy a peace in this dangerous world and a hope to live joyfully in a future existence. Truth is full knowledge of the natural law and divine law.
Divine law is derived from the eternal laws of God as they have appeared historically to humans throughout revelation. Divine law are the laws necessary for God to dispense justice within His creation. Justice is a premier divine law. There are thousands of divine laws in the Old and New Testaments. The Ten Commandments are one example. Love of neighbor as yourself, and treatment of others as you would be treated are examples from the New Testament; love is the premier and most powerful divine law. Divine law governs the relationship between humans among themselves and the relationship between humans and society and the relationship between humans and God. Notice the common denominator in all of these relationships are humans. Divine law has an effect on the soul of humans. It causes us to reason and become rational creatures. Divine law bridges the gap between lower laws of nature and the higher natural laws. Divine law governs and explains our thoughts, emotions and interpretation of perceptions of sensible objects, corporeal objects like cars or other humans. Divine law defines the proper reaction by humans to the laws of nature. Divine law governs our concupiscence. Divine law is only applicable to humans. Divine law does not have an effect on organisms, plants, the lower animals or the elements. These are governed by the natural law. (It may have an effect, but only as a byproduct.) The judicial restraint formulated and applied by divine law is promulgated by God and are not effectuated within humans until accepted as Grace. Grace is a divine law. Temperance, prudence, fortitude and justice rationalizes and differentiates the divine law for humans. Humans cannot reason and effectuate these distinctions until grace is provided by God and accepted by humans. Only then can humans begin to understand the mitigating effects of the higher natural law and begin implementing the divine law. Divine law does not function like natural law. Natural law functions without the aid and assistance of humans. Natural law just happens. Divine law happens to the extent that justice is dispensed by God to humans. But divine law requires acceptance and participation by humans. This participation is a natural law. Humans, who make attempts to enjoy the full possibilities of natural law, must enforce their self-perceived concepts of divine law to administer justice among humans. Humans make attempts through their political States, governments and court systems. Humans fail at every level in their attempts at implementing divine law. At least humans still recognize the usefulness of divine law. Many criminal statutes are derived from God’s divine law. Divine law acts as a guide to humans who first must understand and distinguish the laws of nature and the higher natural law. Only then can humans possess the yearning to implement the divine law in their relationship with God and among each other.
Natural Law, is tough to summarize succinctly. Natural law is the processes which God has instituted for the correct functioning of the universe. Natural law exists independently from life and the elements. Natural law is the fundamental rules that govern corporeality and animation in the grand scheme of things. Natural law has no basis in morality. It is neither good nor bad. Natural law is neutral with regard to morality and ethics. That duty belongs to divine law. Natural law governs the relationships between the elements and life but it also governs the basic, sustainable and reproductive components of the interaction between the elements and life and life and humans in particular. Natural law, like divine law, is universal and eternal. Natural law has an effect on the elements, life and humans, in particular, but in different modes of execution. Life and elements exist in nature. Natural law governs nature, nature being defined as the great outdoors and beyond into outer space. Natural law governs the existence of life in nature. Natural law governs the existence of elements in nature. To narrow our focus of discussion, natural law governs the relationships between humans and their existence within a community and society. But it also has effect on the physical body and a secondary effect on the soul. For example, naturally I can go outside on a cold winter day and feel the ice cold wind blowing against my face. The laws of nature can explain the cold weather and can explain the cold wind. The natural law can explain the effects of this coldness on the human body. It may stimulate an animal of the lower nature, like a deer, to seek shelter and likewise with a human. But the natural law can have a secondary or indirect influence on the mind. It can create recollections of similar circumstances experienced in a duck blind and bring back fond memories of sleigh rides in the snow. Natural law can generate or produce happiness within the soul. But natural law is indifferent to emotions, joy, happiness and thoughts altogether. Natural law just exists and humans cannot change it or be changed by it. On the other hand divine law controls the regulation of thoughts and emotions produced by the effects of nature generated by natural law. In other words divine law provides the moral basis and justification of natural law.
Natural law often takes place right in front of you without your knowledge. Take a tree as an example. The leaves are absorbing carbon dioxide and expelling oxygen. The process of photosynthesis is causing the tree to grow with the help of sunlight. The roots are absorbing moisture and nutrients in the growth process, another basic rule under the laws of nature. We can see from this example that the laws of nature are taking place right in front of us and we are not aware of their operation at all. The same ideas hold for changes in weather. Weather patterns are influenced by the small tilt of the earth closer or farther from the sun. Winter brings less sunlight and these cold weather patterns. These are all laws of nature. Our trees, for example, begin to lose their leaves. Like grass, they go into a state of hibernation (I am thinking of bears here) and are fueled by the sap in their roots. Laws of nature exist independent of human activity. They just exist and humans have discovered many of them. But there are probably thousands of laws of nature which we have not yet discovered through the sciences. And there are natural laws which we have not yet conceptualized.
The discovery, conceptualization and implementation of natural law and divine law leads to truth. Truth is perfected knowledge and based on morality, wisdom, and virtue in a synergy of divine and natural law. Truth is the rule of divine law with regard to the individual. And the truth in natural law is empirically determinate. Truth in the laws of nature is the final discovery of a certain condition or existence in nature, like the fact that a chromosome is a strand of DNA that is encoded with genes. In most cells, humans have 22 pairs of these chromosomes plus the two sex chromosomes (XX in females and XY in males) for a total of 46. Another truth is that heat is measured by temperature and water boils at 212 degrees Fahrenheit. A molecule composed of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom is a molecule of water. These are all laws of nature and govern the birth and maturity of nature. We, as humans, are nature. Humanity along with the plant and animal kingdom is a natural law. Divine law determines and regulates how humans react to and live within nature. Nature is a natural law.
Knowledge is not truth. Knowledge is the progression of accumulated ideas, mathematical formulas, and empirical evidence that form a basic elemental scientific fact. New ideas are added onto these elemental facts until a crisis or paradigm change occurs and new knowledge is promulgated. When this process ends, or, in other words, comes to fruition, one has a truth which eventually becomes revealed truth. Knowledge is changeable and cumulative. Truth is finite, definite and unchangeable. Knowledge is empirical and scientific. These terms imply change. Change is a natural law. Truth is constant and given, in other words, truth has been with us since the beginning and will remain with us until the end. Truth is not singular. It is definitely a plural concept. Humans seek knowledge to gain truth. All reality becomes understood when truth is exposed. The circle become complete. When theologians and philosophers, and now, secular scientists, come to that realization, their cooperation will reveal marvelous results. They must learn to separate knowledge and truth. Knowledge is gained from looking forward. Truth is gained from looking to the past. Science seeks knowledge. Theology reveals truth. Philosophy explains the convergence.
Truth existed before Christians appeared on the scene. The Israelites definitely had a brush with truth and discovered much before Christ revealed a large sum of the whole. Jewish theology is the first conveyor of truth. In other words, Christian theology is the understanding of being with a triune God and philosophy is the search for being usually without a God. Finally, why would an atheist ever search for a reason to life and being in the first place? That concept is an oxymoron. A search for being requires life and a creator. Therefore philosophy is a misguided attempt to explain humanity without a God. Or if we must extol its benefits, philosophy is the dividing line between those seeking and those who have already found. The origins of truth and revelation are identical. Both are from God. Human reason, another fundamental natural law, allows us to combine knowledge and revelation to reach truth. (In fact, the terms, truth and revelation, could be synonymous with the terms Natural law and divine law in a theologically philosophical system. Knowledge is an accumulation of answers to natural law and divine law questions. Science is the accumulation of answers to the “laws of nature” questions. Truth, the revelation of answers, is the theological basis which ties these two concepts together.)
Secular and theological scientists and philosophers must come to realize that natural law can be explained by divine law. In truth, the existence of creation can be explained by the synergy between the two. Scientists will realize that natural law is governed by and is in fact divine law. Before natural law was conceived by God, Divine law already existed. Rightly so. God must be separated from modern science but both sides must be promoted, studied, relished and projected as independent modes of existence, the later to seek knowledge and the former to seek and obtain truth.
The origins of reason and revelation are identical. Judaism and Christianity has always been and must be an intellectual revelation. Revelation is the process by which humans become familiar with divine law. Revelation is the preeminent divine law while reason is a natural law. Rebellion against religious tradition (revelation) has been at the core of Western Philosophy. Yet Plato confesses that the wisdom of the ancients is of divine origin. That indicates a very distant and holy past. Revelation began at the same point in time as creation. Therefore, theology is always prior to philosophy. Humans gain knowledge of being through revelation. God provides an insight into the book of divine law. Divine law explains the workings of the human mind and the human’s quest to “know” the theological, philosophical and scientific meaning of the words “existence,” “being” and “reality.”
Philosophy is ultimately based on a prior interpretation of reality and that implies a first cause. Reality has to have a starting point from which one initially interpreted this reality. The theologian guards and interprets tradition which is past action. The philosopher attempts to rationalize current perception to predict future reality. The philosopher’s attempt to explain the reality of this world is at a disadvantage. He has only corporeal things of this world. That is, he must use ideas which he cannot see with his eyes to explain tangible things. He is required to use images of his mind and transcendental things, spiritual things, and things not of this world. Because of his disadvantage, he seeks out a creator. If a creator created these intangible things, there must exist a law or method by which these things operate and exist in harmony. Plato had no conception of our triune God nor was he exposed to the truth and wisdom that the Spirit of God offers. He sought but he never found. He developed fanciful tales about the creation of man and the universe and our being within it. Humans have been tethered to these ideas of Plato and Aristotle ever since. Philosophy attempts to explain ontology and metaphysics by varied degrees of growing complexity based on irrational and fanciful musings of two pagan intellectuals. What a pitiful mess mankind has put himself. Man reasons because God created us that way. Animals reason but just not rationally as humans. Human intellect has a transcendent connection to a superior power which we can recognize. Those, who recognize this absolute power given by God, discovers that the truths proffered by natural and divine law really exist and they have no need for theories on how humans perceive reality and gain knowledge.
But gaining knowledge is a basic “law of nature” for humans. Note that seeking knowledge it is not a natural law. Rather it is just the growing pains from creation. How does humans gain knowledge? Knowledge can only be gained through the senses. The senses are a natural law: Touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste. The senses are not peculiar to humans. Animals, plants and even organisms have senses. That all life has senses is a natural law. Smell and taste are the least powerful of the senses for accumulation of knowledge in humans. Sight dominates and hearing cooperates with sight yet they all work like an orchestra in concert. Humans are most conscious of things seen and heard. If one were placed in an absolutely dark filled room with absolutely no sound, your mind can easily come to rest. You could become completely self-aware. Yet you would still produce thoughts. So thoughts must come from another source in addition to the senses. The senses tend to measure the immediate environment. When one enters the room described above, the senses will immediately detect the lack of light and sound. If the room were absolutely sterile, no sensory experience of smell or taste would materialize. The only sense would be touch until the body is at rest, unless, of course, one is conscious of sitting on the floor. Therefore any additional thoughts, except those that the floor may be hard and uncomfortable, must come from memory of past sensual experiences and anticipated future ones based on the past experiences. Past sensual experiences may include the process leading up to placement into the room or the reason for being placed in the room. Future experiences can be anticipated. One may think of things to do when released, for example, like eating a Big Mac or riding home in a car. But one cannot fully participate in a future experience by thought alone, especially one that has not already been experienced in the past. One can only approximate the future experience even if one has had similar past experiences. The future experience does not become reality until the senses formally perceive the event. Anticipation is only fiction. Therefore reality and sensual perception are natural laws. An accumulation of sensual experiences through reality becomes knowledge. Reality can be defined as a physical state of lucid and present, sensual perception. But where do thoughts come from that are not derived from present sense perception when the mind is at rest. All unperceived thought comes from remembering past experiences. Memory is a natural law. Therefore, thoughts are incorporeal yet animated. Thoughts are therefore movement of the soul. Thoughts and the soul exist on the same plane. They are synonymous. In fact they may be identical.
Our waking hours are spent in a conscience and reality driven world. Yet we spend one third of our life in sleep. During sleep, our five senses are not at work. Thus any thoughts during sleep must come from memory, but memory which is not conscious (unconscious). This repository of memories is called our subconscious. This memory bank can be accessed during sleep and wakefulness, however. We know that our brains are very active during sleep. A definition of sleep might look something like this:
“a naturally-occurring, reversible, periodic and recurring state in which consciousness and muscular activity is temporarily suspended or diminished, and responsiveness to outside stimuli is reduced; an endogenous (i.e. naturally produced by the body itself) sleep-regulating substance, or substances, builds up in the body’s cerebrospinal fluid during our waking hours, which has the effect of increasing the pressure to sleep the more it accumulates. This pressure is only released by the act of sleeping itself, during which the levels of the sleep-regulating substance in the body rapidly declines. Neurons (nerve cells) in the brain and brainstem produce a variety of nerve-signaling chemicals called neurotransmitters in different parts of the brain. These neurotransmitters in turn act on different groups of neurons in various parts of the brain, which control whether we are asleep or awake. A whole cocktail of neurotransmitters are involved in driving wakefulness and sleep, including histamine, dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, glutamate, orexin and acetylcholine, among others. While none of these neurotransmission processes is individually necessary, they all appear to contribute in some way.”
This information about sleep is acquired knowledge, through science, and explains one of the many laws of nature, sleep. All living things must sleep. The mental activity during sleep is not rational, however. Have you ever woke from a good night’s sleep and remembered dreams? Aren’t they almost always weird events? The brain is active during sleep and sometimes creates thoughts, yet these thoughts are not rational thoughts. Thus we can presume that rational thought based on reason can only occur during waking hours and comes from the active senses. The senses, the natural connection to the soul, are not active during sleep.
We now have research institutions who seek new knowledge based on empirical evidence in a secular environment. Secular sciences have no room for theology. I propose that such a separation is a very good outcome. Some say that universities fail to combine all new knowledge into a database of truths which would demonstrate knowledge’s interrelationships. Theologians do not like the idea that knowledge has become secularized and segregated. But that outcome is good. What philosophers and theologians fail to realize is that knowledge is different from truth. In classical logic, 'everything must either be or not be." The ancients were not aware of the interconnectedness of the natural world, salvation history and human history. Knowledge was imbedded in a theological ethic that had a supernatural end but was explained philosophically. Early universities, upon the rediscovery of the ancients, taught medicine, law and theology under this philosophical bent toward theology. Finally, attempts were made to separate theology and philosophy. The scholastics made the pursuit of knowledge an end in itself devoid of religious necessities. Nominalism rejected universals or abstract objects. Humanists wrote about antiquity and a renewed confidence in the ability of human beings to determine for themselves truth and falsehood. The Reformation secularized knowledge and rulers championed rival doctrines in their universities. The Protestants fell into interdoctrinal disputes and theology became muddled with scientific knowledge. Romanticism was characterized by its emphasis on emotion and individualism, as well as glorification of all the past and nature, preferring the medieval rather than the classical. Luckily there appeared great minds like Kepler, Galileo, Descartes, and Newton. A shift occurred to the natural sciences. Knowledge was secularized. Secularization was complete with empiricism. The Popes unwittingly cooperated in the secularization of Catholic universities by allowing natural sciences to be confused with creation science.
Finally, we can see that truth is a completely different pursuit than the knowledge acquired from science, which is gained from empiricism. One does not need science to explain creation if one believes in God. We can seek and learn the processes of creation, but we do not need to explain the moment of creation itself. We must accept “creation” as a natural law. An accumulation of truths equals wisdom. Truth is found in the Old and New Testaments. One knows when he has discovered the truth when he reads and understands the wisdom literature of the Old and New Testaments. Paul’s writings in the New Testament are filled with truths, not so many of the natural law but mostly divine law. Truths are actually synonymous with the natural and divine laws. But truths transcend the natural and divine laws. Truth is a synergistic reaction through a combination of these laws to form a state of peace where no doubt exists. Truth leads to harmony. Every personal situation, which life exposes, reveals a rational response. This is truth. The response must be gained in peaceful solitude centered in wisdom. In this solitude, all anger, desires, adverse judgment, discriminations, emotion, are controlled and conveniently packaged and put away. This unimpeded clarity of vision results in truth. Truth really is an encounter with God. “The gift of wisdom enables judgement according to divine truth.” Summa Theologica, I, 1, 8 ad 2.
Space and Time
What is time? Does time have a beginning? Will it have an end? Time has been described by philosophers in many different ways. Plato’s conception of time was primitive. The heavenly bodies are divine and move in their various orbits to serve as markers of time: the fixed stars to mark a day/night, the moon to mark the (lunar) month and the sun to mark the year. Time itself came into being with these celestial movements as an “image of eternity.” Plato argued not only for a beginning of the universe in time, but a beginning of time itself. When the Demiurge created the universe, he also created time. But what is Plato’s definition of time? Plato's text in the Timaeus at 37d reads:
“[the Demiurge] began to think of making a moving image of eternity: at the same time as he brought order to the universe, he would make an eternal image, moving according to number, of eternity remaining in unity. This, of course, is what we call “time.”
What does that mean? Other passages in the Timaeus make it clear that Plato thought of time as a kind of celestial clockwork, that is, a certain kind of motion, rather than a measure of motion. Is time motion or a measure of motion? Aristotle claimed that “time is the measure of change” (Physics, chapter 12). Aristotle emphasized “that time is not change [itself]” because a change “may be faster or slower, but not time…” (Physics, chapter 10). For example, a leaf can fall faster or slower, but time itself cannot be faster or slower. In developing his views about time, Aristotle advocated what is now referred to as the relational theory when he said, “there is no time apart from change….” (Physics, chapter 11). In addition, Aristotle said time is not discrete or atomistic but “is continuous…. In respect of size there is no minimum; for every line is divided ad infinitum. Hence it is so with time” (Physics, chapter 11). There are problems with Aristotle’s definition. Change occurs in time, or rather, along a continuum of time but time measures nothing especially changes in things. Time continues even when there is no change. (If the only thing that exited in the entire universe were a rock such that no weather or erosion could cause it to change, and no human or earthquake could move it, time would continue to exist.) Time cannot measure change because that would require an implication of some method of measurement to time itself. In other words, time would have to be a combination of seconds and inches or some other form of measurement. Aristotle’s definition of change may be examined by looking at the life of a tree. As a sapling, it exists as a point in time. When it reaches 6 feet tall, its existence is at another point in time and when it is 20 years old and 100 feet tall its existence is at a much later point in time. Then it is finally cut down or it dies. This does not describe time but confirms that a tree has a life for a certain duration and changes as it grows. Everyone agrees time cannot be measured without there being changes in life or elements, because we measure time by observing changes in life or elements, but the issue becomes whether time exists without change. Of course it does. If our tree did not exist, time would still exist. There is motion within time but time does not measure motion or change. At the instant of first creation, say God’s creation of the universe or the appearance of the items causing the big bang, time was also created because something set things into motion. (In this system, that would be God.)Time and motion exists side by side and are distinct natural laws. Time is a natural law. The question really becomes whether time always existed or whether it had a beginning. Once begun time does not stop whether their exist things to change or not. Creation is a continuous process and so time exists along with creation but completely independent of creation or change. Change is a natural law. Change, like time, is neither good nor bad. Everything changes, but it is our own self perception of the changes in things that are good or bad. Time may end when all life and the elements no longer exists, if such a period emerges, since time was created out of nothingness. Its demise does not mean that there are no longer things which exist to change. Time, as a natural law, would have no reason for existing.
In ancient Greece, Plato and Aristotle agreed that the past is eternal. Aristotle offered two reasons. Time had no beginning because, for any time, we always can imagine an earlier time. In addition, time had no beginning because, for any present situation, we always can ask for its prior cause. In the fifth century, Augustine said the universe was made with time and not in time, implying that time began with God's creation a finite time ago. In Medieval times, Aquinas' contemporary, St. Bonaventure, agreed and said there was a first motion and thus a first time, which implies Plato and Aristotle were mistaken in saying the past is eternal. The Past implies events occurring. For events to occur, some change or motion must take place. In our system, God is the creator of our time out of nothingness. The past is eternal but time is not. If everything in the universe, and the universe itself, ceased to exist, would time cease to exist? Time is just like God in that it is infinite. But there are two types of time, natural time and divine time. Time, described as a period of existence, started when creation started and that is the natural part of time. Before our creation event, time existed but was divine time, a time when only God existed. We are currently living within natural and divine time. There will come a period in the future when natural time will disappear and only divine time will exist again.
Time is a natural law like gravity or the heat generated from a fire are laws of nature. You cannot see time. It is not composed of matter. It is not spirit either. It has no cognitive abilities, rational thought nor does it create or destroy things. It has no life of its own except it may have a beginning and an end. We cannot stop it or start it. Time cannot be measured, just as light and sound, in my theory, cannot be measured, two other natural laws. Here’s why. Humans create artificial units of measure for time only for our subjective needs. One day is one complete revolution of the earth on its axis. Yet if I were on Saturn, that day would be completely different as compared to our earthly time. We say light travels at a certain speed per second. However a second on earth would be a completely different period of “time” on Saturn. One sees that humans create a fiction for time based on our earthly environment. All existence lives within time except time is not space. Time, like change, is neither good nor bad. Time is our own self perception of the changes in things but time does not cause or measure the change. Time is a natural law and divine law. Natural time had a beginning and will end. Divine time is infinite with no beginning and no end.
Space is a part of nature just as the outdoors on the back porch. Nature begins where the human body ends. ‘Elements’ and ‘life’ exist within space. Space implies a chamber or finite capacity in which things exist. Space is a place. Space exists within time. Space can be measured, for example, in either capacity, length or distance. Oxygen and carbine dioxide and no telling what other elements fill space on earth between animate and corporeal things. Outer space is not completely empty, but consists of a “hard vacuum containing a low density of particles, predominantly a plasma of hydrogen and helium as well as electromagnetic radiation, magnetic fields, neutrinos, dust and cosmic rays. 90% of the mass is in an unknown form, called dark matter, which interacts with other matter through gravitational but not electromagnetic forces. It does not emit or interact with electromagnetic radiation, such as light, and is thus invisible to the entire electromagnetic spectrum. Although dark matter has not been directly observed, its existence and properties are inferred from its gravitational effects such as the motions of visible matter.” String theory and the general theory of relativity make attempts at explaining space and time. Humans live within time. All elements and life exists in time. We attempt to measure time but only for human consumption and use. For example, it takes 365 days for the earth to make one revolution around the sun. That definition does not describe time. Time is much more expansive than that. Another peculiar element of time is that past and future events happen within time. For example if a court of law set a firm and fixed trial date, the opposing parties must prepare and be ready to have a hearing at that specific moment in time for which the hearing is set. Time moves events. The trial with all court personnel and the parties and witness will appear and event will take place whether the parties want it or not. Time forces action and repercussions. It forces the future yet exists in the past. Time is the measuring stick of God for the duration of His ‘elements’ and ‘life’ within a particular space, our universe. Space is like time in that there exist natural space and divine space. Our currently, existing universe is natural space. The space into which our universe is expanding is divine space. Our natural space allows change, life, the elements and all of the natural laws to exist. Natural space had a beginning and will end. Divine space is infinite.
Metaphysical investigation includes existence, objects and their properties, space and time, cause and effect, and possibility. A central branch of metaphysics is ontology, the investigation into the basic categories of being and how they relate to one other. So the question becomes how does “life” relate to the “elements” and how does “life” relate to “life?” They relate to one another through the cooperation and interaction of the natural laws and divine laws and the reaction of the elements and life to the consequences of the laws effects. The elements are exclusively controlled by the natural law. On the other hand, life is governed by both natural and divine law. Only humans have a unique relationship with divine law. The lower beings, like plants and animals, do not operate under nor have a direct relationship with divine law for the simple fact that they lack rational reasoning. A pecan tree or a mule deer does not wonder whether God exists or whether they were created by God or by spontaneous generation or evolution. Neither has a love or even hate of its neighbor nor do they worry about virtue or happiness. Both are only worried about one thing, survival. And further the tree has no brain thus no mind to worry. And they really don’t worry, because worry only belongs to rational beings, humans. They exist to survive. But the mule deer does make decisions, though they may be made without reason (i.e. reflective thought). He decides to go one way in the forest versus another and he decides to run when confronted with danger. He decides to eat when hungry and mate when his innate sexual drive kicks in. These reactions are all basic components of natural law, and more particularly the laws of nature. Does a tree think? It has no brain but it does react to nature’s stimuli just as the mule deer but at a lower level of existence. It responds to sunlight. It seeks nutrition and water from the soil. Humans function with the same natural law inclinations as mule deer but on higher plane. This higher plane is rational thought and reason. What is it, rational though? This list of definitional words for the word rational are not much help: agreeable to reason; having or exercising reason, sound judgment, or good sense; reasonable; sensible; being in or characterized by full possession of one's reason; sane; lucid; proceeding or derived from reason or based on reasoning. The definition is closely related to the definition of the word reason. Reason is defined as the power of the mind to think, understand, and form judgments by a process of logic. Another definition is (1) the power of comprehending, inferring, or thinking especially in orderly rational ways: intelligence (2) proper exercise of the mind (3) sanity; the sum of the intellectual powers. So a good definition of rational thought and reason in this system is the process by which the mind and soul reaches knowledge and eventually truth through use of the sum of intellectual powers. These definitions imply chance and logic and subjectivity. What may be reasonable and rational for one person may be something completely different for another. Just like our measure of time, it is based on our personal assessment of our current environment. Reasoned rationality requires more certainty to become truth. Reason must be based on and grounded by natural law and divine law to be rational. But reasoned rationality requires the melding of the intellectual product of the mind and soul, the product of which becomes objective truth across socio and economic human existence. This objectivity is not the product of individual thought processes within individual humans but the insight gained within individual humans of exterior objective truths. One plus one equals two is reasoned rationality, that is, it is based on a mathematical certainty (truth). Mathematics is a natural law. We can with certainty now conclude that natural law is based on reasoned rationality. In other words, natural law is the same as mathematical certainty. It is reasoned, objectified reality. Natural law expresses the truth behind nature. Is divine law just as certain?
When a human views an image which appeals to his/her basic natural instinct, that image is imprinted, usually permanently, in the brain. Take for example, pornographic videos. When viewed, these images form a lasting impression in the mind. These mental pictures are easily brought to the present through memory and can be projected to the future through the sex drive. These appeals to nature’s instinct can become addictive and lead to abnormal behavior. In our example, a man may become addicted to pornography on the internet and such addiction may contribute to current abnormal behavior, delusional activity projected into the future and possible future misbehavior. This appeal of the basic laws of nature can be associated with any of a litany of natural human desires, some harmful and some helpful. For example a desire for nutrition in excess may lead to gluttony, but with temperance, a healthy sustainable life. Divine law assist in the mental process of distinguishing between “good” and “bad” when faced with decisions under the natural law. Divine law, unlike natural law, must be mastered. Of course divine law must be revealed, studied, learned and practiced before it can become beneficial. The constraints and compliance with divine law does produce certain effects, joy for compliance, and justice for non-compliance. Participation in the divine law results in certain outcomes. Unlike natural law, divine law is based on reasoned rationality. It is reasoned, objectified reality of the “good” of God and distinguishes the bad effects of human misinterpretations of natural law. These laws promulgated by God must be imputed to humans by a process of osmosis, though. The divine law must penetrate the mind and must be used to filter the sense perceptions humans experience very day. Divine law then forms a basis for reasoned rationality. It guides the soul. Of course in our system, reasoned rationality is a strict compliance with divine law in order to reach truth.
If the brain is considered a central processing unit of some form that receives sensory data from the surroundings and gives (corresponding) some form of output, so as to help the living organism move/sense/survive in his surroundings, then shouldn't every living organism need one? The answer is no. The non-bilaterian animals don't have brains (jellyfish, coral). Almost all bilaterians (humans) have a brain, with the exception of the echinoderms (sea stars, sea urchins, sea lillies, sea cucumbers, brittlestars), who have a nerve net with no centralized brain. A brain is merely a centralized concentration of nerve cells at the front end of an animal. It is not a prerequisite for sensing or interpreting the environment, however. Bacteria can do both those things just fine using simple chemical triggers. Even sponges react dynamically to environmental conditions without even a nervous system. A brain just makes more elaborate calculations and complicated reactions possible. The point behind this diatribe is that life requires some mechanism to perform sensory perception of its environment, within life and the elements. The more complex the decisions to sensory perception, the greater need for a brain. Reasoned rationality in humans is the epic need.
How does sensory perception work? Life is composed of elements. Elements are composed of atoms, ions or molecules and light’s interaction with the elements gives rise to the various phenomena (reality) which can help us understand the nature of life and the elements. “Light is part of the electromagnetic spectrum, which ranges from radio waves to gamma rays. Electromagnetic radiation waves, as their names suggest are fluctuations of electric and magnetic fields, which can transport energy from one location to another. Visible light is not inherently different from the other parts of the electromagnetic spectrum with the exception that the human eye can detect visible waves. Electromagnetic radiation can also be described in terms of a stream of photons which are massless particles each travelling with wavelike properties at the speed of light. A photon is the smallest quantity (quantum) of energy which can be transported and it was the realization that light travelled in discrete quanta.” Light is a natural law.
Sound is a natural law. “In physics, sound is a vibration that propagates as a typically audible mechanical wave of pressure and displacement, through a medium such as air or water. In physiology and psychology, sound is the reception of such waves and their perception by the brain. Humans can hear sound waves with frequencies between about 20 Hz and 20 kHz. Other animals have different hearing ranges. Sound can propagate through a medium such as air, water and solids as longitudinal waves and also as a transverse wave in solids. The sound waves are generated by a sound source, such as the vibrating diaphragm of a stereo speaker. The sound source creates vibrations in the surrounding medium. As the source continues to vibrate the medium, the vibrations propagate away from the source at the speed of sound, thus forming the sound wave. At a fixed distance from the source, the pressure, velocity, and displacement of the medium vary in time. At an instant in time, the pressure, velocity, and displacement vary in space. Note that the particles of the medium do not travel with the sound wave. This is intuitively obvious for a solid, and the same is true for liquids and gases (that is, the vibrations of particles in the gas or liquid transport the vibrations, while the average position of the particles over time does not change).” This information about sound and light is acquired knowledge, through science not revelation. But this knowledge helps explain the mechanisms of the laws of nature and more particularly, sensory perception. Naturally, sound is required for hearing and light is required for sight. But these two senses are not required for life. However “life” requires at least one of the five senses to “live.” The triggers or external stimuli for the five senses produce sensory perceptions of touch, smell, taste, sight and hearing. A human could not sustain life without at least one of these five senses.
So what differentiates an organism (life) from a rock (elements)? An organism has a much more complicated level of organization composed of several elements, is living, and corporeal. A rock can consist of a single element or of several elements that “are either tightly compacted or held together by a cement like mineral matrix.” It is non-living, corporeal and static unless moved by an outside force. An organism emerges from a combination of many dynamically interacting systems, none of which are close to being present in a rock. Non-living things exist without the five senses. They have no need to perceive their environment. Humans, through reasoned rationality, need senses to make these distinctions.
Human beings were designed to interact and use the natural law. Touch can differentiate elements, eyes can detect light, and ears can identify sounds. Human sensory perception operates in conjunction with natural law. Yet human response to these perceptions are governed by the divine law. In other words, divine law governs all emotions like joy and hatred, moral questions, and happiness. We have previously seen that the lower animals, like dogs and deer, have emotions but are not necessarily faced with moral questions. The lowest living things, like coral and bacteria, have no moral determinations or emotions to analyze and evaluate. Life’s response to environmental conditions (reality) are processed through the nervous system (or brain) and acted upon through the intellect (soul.) Even though all life has souls, only humans have reasoned rationality through the intellect.
Does the heart play a part in the functioning of reasoned rationality? Does all living organisms have hearts? The answer to both questions is no. Plants have no hearts. Many animals have no hearts or even a separate circulatory system. In very small animals there's no need for an organ to transport nutrients through the body; diffusion is sufficient. Larger animals like humans, dogs and fish do have hearts. Sponges have no hearts. They have no organs at all. Jellyfish and flatworms have no hearts and generally use their guts for circulating nutrients around the body. All microscopic life have no hearts or circulatory systems. The heart size for ‘life’ that does have hearts is in direct proportion to the size of the animal. The largest heart is the sperm whale. A heart’s sole function is to circulate blood around a body. Here are some final conclusions. A heart, or a lack thereof, plays no part in sensory perception and reasoned rationality. A brain is not necessary for sensory perception however it is necessary for participation in natural law. Reasoned rationality is necessary for humans to correctly perceive reality through the senses.
There exists an underlying truth to reality. “Being” and the “first cause of things” are definitely not as they seem. Visual observation of an object in nature does not convey the underlying truth behind the current reality it displays to humans. Humans tend to distort these truths through attempts to fulfill personal desires. Usually humans are completely unaware of their own desires and the truths behind them and they live in a world of misconceptions and assumptions. The only reality of which a human can be certain is the lower laws of nature. Humans, like other animals, seek to fulfill their desires for the lower appetites, like food, sex, shelter, usually with blind abandon. Higher natural laws require discernment. Divine law requires knowledge and discernment. The heart has no feeling or emotion as previously discussed. The heart is not involved in sensory experiences. Sensory experience is the reaction and computational response of the brain to some external stimuli. The main sensory receptor is the eyes, the second are the ears. Smell, taste and touch are secondary. Experience is accumulation of the sensory perceptions. When we touch fire we learn it burns. However the mind can react to non-sensory experience. Close yourself up in a completely dark and sound proof room with no smells, nothing to taste or touch and the mind will still work. The mind will produce thoughts replicated from somewhere other than the senses. Where does these thoughts come from? Most likely memory. The mind will regurgitate past sensory experiences. These thoughts may focus on release or escape from this room, the future. But this future is only a return to most recent past sensory experiences. The mind may concentrate on what it will do once released but these anticipated behaviors can only be determined by past history, activity you participated in or performed in the past. Anticipated behavior may be predictable but one cannot know how the outcome will materialize when released from the room. One may have an inclination but these inclinations only are a result of past accumulated sensory experiences. To assume to know the future with any certainty would only be a prediction using past experiences. An accumulation of past sensory experiences may approximate a future experience but the experience may never materialize. Can the mind approximate an experience or event that was never experienced in the past? And if so, what are these thoughts of things and events that were never experienced and where do they come from? Humans are like Pavlov’s dog, receive a stimuli and produce a response. A thought cannot exist except for past or current perceived reality, a natural law. For humans, these stimuli can be immediate or jarred from memory. Animals too, like deer in contact with humans, usually run the opposite way when they see, hear or smell humans. This is learned behavior from past experiences. The lowest levels of life, have no thoughts. They merely respond to current stimuli.
Humans are composed of body and soul. The body is composed of elements as previously discussed. But the soul is not composed of elements. If not composed of elements, what substantiates its existence? This system originally claimed that everything within the universe is composed of elements, everything except souls and its corresponding thoughts and intellect. The soul is animated but incorporeal. However, to possess animation, the soul must have an independent existence. The soul is a completely separate entity from the human body. There is an uncommon diversity in souls. This diversity explains the differences in each human personality. This diversity also explains the omnipotence of God (souls are provided by God, thus God is ever present.). As we discussed earlier, an unanimated human body kept alive by life sustaining machines is just a blob of living tissue (elements). The brain is unable to flip the correct switches for life. But the brain does not animate the body. Neither does the heart. The brain and the heart and the lungs and kidneys are major organs which sustain life but they do not animate life. The lower animals have these organs also. Sperm whales (largest brain in the animal kingdom), gray whales, blue whales, orcas, humpback whales, bottlenose dolphins and elephants, all have bigger brains than humans. Many animals also have larger hearts than humans. If the brain and heart are bigger than humans, one would conclude that these animals are more intelligent than humans. You very well may be right. A huge African elephant is probably a lot smarter than your average Joe on the street corner. But what makes that average Joe different from an elephant? The soul with its innate characteristics of good and God’s bit of essence which animates the human body is the answer. The soul is created with an instant connection with the creator. Communication is the key, communication within an individual’s mind and soul and communication between other individual minds and souls and with God. Communication is produced by the senses. Humans smell and see others, and talk and receive thoughts from others. All animals communicate among their species just as humans do. But humans have the exceptional ability of speech along with a cognitive ability of reason. Yet reasoning causes bias, bias toward the one so reasoning. Reasoning so motivated can distort evaluations and attitudes and allow erroneous beliefs to persist. An ever present bias towards self-preservation causes irrational reasoning. Remember at the beginning of this paper, without a divine law, everyone would act according to the fulfillment of their own personal desires without regard to the consequences of others. Animals in the animal kingdom act this way and somehow survive in a somewhat orderly yet often violent environment. Natural law and the laws of nature are sufficient for them. Animals, other than humans, do not have access to divine law. But Divine law provides humans with a stability (certainty) along with our gift of communicating among our species. Divine law sets a definite moral code and it also dispenses justice. The soul is a gift of the Spirit of God. In all ‘life,’ the soul is composed of a little piece of God’s essence and existence. The human soul is composed of a tiny bit of the essence and existence of God. This bit of essence and existence of God within a human soul is the Holy Spirit. The soul is the coadjutant between the natural law and the divine law. Primarily, natural law governs the body and divine law governs the soul. The body is a temporary living space for the soul. Reasoned rationality under divine law allows the human mind to communicate with its own soul. Reasoned rationality also allows the soul of one individual to communicate with the soul of another individual. And reasoned rationality allows the soul to communicate with God.
The brain controls the functions of the body. It causes the body to hunger and thirst. The brain is like central command for bodily functions. As stated previously, there is often a disconnect between rational consciousness and mental activity. For example, irrational mental activity occurs during sleep. But such disconnects also occur during waking hours. Consciousness of self without reasoned rationality produces a fake concern for others and we tend to deprecate, disapprove of, frown on, take a dim view of, take exception to others and favor ourselves. In the process we lose ethical and moral concern for both parties. Often this disconnect between conscious, reasoned rationality and general mental activity produces a sympathetic fallacy and fake empathy. Concern for others becomes unreal and not genuine. This conceit leads to lethargic pomposity. This attitude leads to political correctness and all sorts of mental distortions. Divine law becomes unreachable and does not provide structure for sensory perception of reality.
There is a point in the development of the intellect in which reasoned rationality prevails. When the mind can distinguish between the various influences of the laws of nature upon the human body and is completely aware of the natural law, the soul can then begin to discern and distinguish the divine law. The soul with the aid of intelligence through reasoned rationality can implement divine law under all sensory, perceived reality and under all thoughts from memory. Mental activity jumps the gap between mind and soul. The mind is the playground for thoughts and emotions caused by the basic human desires of the body. When these thoughts are captured, controlled and packaged within the constraints of divine law and transferred from mind to soul, truth shall be experienced. Thoughts are mental responses from internal or external stimuli and processed by the brain but enforced or carried out through the soul. The soul is the possessor and processer of divine law. The body is the possessor and processer of natural law. The success in degree and amount of possession of both sets of laws effects the implementation and manifestation of justice, compassion, empathy, prudence, temperance, joy and happiness. The more successful in intellectual development, the greater the ability to reach the truth. This pinnacle of wisdom can only be reached when all concern for self is left behind and the intellect is focused on divine law with a complete disregard for natural law.
Let’s look at some examples. We are addressing mental thoughts by humans of external stimuli in nature. We will examine images of a pretty girl, a lavish buffet and a rock band. When a male comes into contact with a pretty female (perception by the eyes), he will make an immediate mental determination about her cuteness. If he finds her unattractive as compared to past images of attractive women, all sexually driven emotions will cease. If he finds her attractive, the natural laws of nature will kick in. Should he feed his sexual desires with further sensory examination, he may touch her and experience her response. He may smell her to see if she is wearing perfume. He will listen to her voice to determine if she has a pleasant personality. Notice that the laws of nature are still controlling his thoughts. At some point in this conscious or unconscious inquisition, he will have to make a decision. (I say conscious because our subject may comprehend the laws of nature and be fully aware of what he is doing or he may be oblivious to the dictates of the laws of nature and completely unaware of his actions.) If our human subject is in contact with the divine law, he will weigh these sensory perceptions against the divine law, and may conclude that these thoughts cross the bounds of fidelity, say if he or she were married. Notice that these thoughts lead to actions. This is a natural law. Our subject may or may not act on his sexual desires depending on the familiarity of the natural and divine laws and his obedience to them. Notice that the thoughts of this encounter after it has ended will remain with our subject for minutes, hours, days or even a lifetime within memory. These thoughts are processed through the mind but filtered in the soul, the repository of divine law. When these thoughts occur under reasoned rationality, they will confirm objective truths. Without reasoned rationality, these thoughts will lead to irrational actions (behavior.)
These same principles hold true with all sensory perceptions, even images of a buffet and a rock band. If our subject visualizes a lavish buffet, he will make final decisions based on paste experiences and current taste and smell sensory experiences. He will either gorge himself, which may or may not eventually validate his gluttony. Or he will eat with reasoned rationality and verify his temperance and prudence. Sounds of rock bands can lead to all kinds of irrational behavior, especially if our subject is under the influence of drugs or alcohol or both.
There is an “unmoved mover” which we shall call God and He is responsible for all of creation, life and the elements by His spoken word (Christ). The spirit is the nous. And what caused the principles or rules that regulate the interaction between the nous and life and the elements? Providence. The unmoved mover does have a grand plan for His creation. We are not privy to such inside information. But be assured that His laws, natural and divine, are in control. He is legislator, judge and jury. We run around, just the little ants in the ant farm, doing our thing, but He is watching and steers the farm as He sees fit. (Please note that I do not believe in predestination.)
What is the character of our being, becoming, existence and reality? Ontological categories of being, or “the categories", are defined as the highest classes under which all elements of being, whether corporeal or incorporeal, can be classified. These outdated categories are divided into primary categories: Substance, Relation, Quantity and Quality and secondary categories: Place, Time, Situation, Condition, Action and Passion. Physics is the philosophy of nature (qualitative aspects of matter and motion); mathematics studies quantitative issues and metaphysics is the divine science (study of being as being on a rational and intellectual level). Metaphysics attempts to understand reality on a higher level than that achieved by the philosophy of nature. Traditionally, matter and form equals being. Matter is quantifiable. Matter has substance in relation to other matter and has a particular quantity and quality. It also exist in a certain space, in time and is either in motion or not. Of course there is an existence of being without matter such as thoughts, souls, angels and God. This incorporeal existence is called essence. Only living things (animated in the first sense) possess essence. A rock or the elements, for example, do not possess essence. Essence of being must signify something common to all living natures. Essence is the definable nature of the incorporeal thing that exists. Essence is the actuality of all acts and the completion of all potentialities. According to Aquinas, essence and existence are distinct in finite entities. But we must further distinguish finite entities between living and non-living (life and the elements.) Immaterial substances (incorporeally) are therefore distinguished from matter. And essence does not exist in the elements. So the question becomes whether or not immaterial substances (incorporeals) are composed of matter. If such substances cannot be composed of matter, what accounts for their existence? These old, rehashed, and worn out terms still used in theological and philosophical study perpetuates the confusion but does provide us some foundation to build upon.
Thoughts, ideas, feelings and emotions are all areas for the study of ontology and metaphysics. For example, why can a person detect or feel the stare of another person? Obvious to natural intelligence, a stare is not composed of matter just as a thought about a pretty girl is not composed of matter. But these things, a stare and the thought, do exist. (Do you ever catch yourself being looked upon by another?) So what are thoughts composed of, if anything? Natural intelligence is the key. Natural intelligence is the human’s ability to consciously detect the operation of the natural and divine law with God’s assistance. Natural intelligence is distinguished from book sense in that it is not learned behavior. It is more akin to common sense but common sense implies learned behavior. Natural intelligence is innate in living things. It causes young animals to suckle on their mother’s tit. It causes a house plant to turn its leaves to face the window. It causes salmon to leave the sea and swim up-river to spawn. Natural intelligence is life’s response to the natural law. It is basic and common throughout nature. Humans have a more refined gift of natural intelligence because of our reason and rationality. We can visualize this behavior in lower life whereas they cannot, even among themselves. They just respond to nature naturally. Natural intelligence explains life’s reaction to external stimuli but it does not explain what these reactions are composed of or how they materialize. We know that they are incorporeal thus not composed of matter and that they are innate in living things. They can only be explained by the natural law.
There has to be a first mover and he is God. The existence of God has been attempted to be explained using hundreds of methods and definitions. God cannot be explained because no one has ever seen God. Some have heard his audible voice, some have seen Him in different forms, like a burning bush or plagues or Christ, but no one has ever seen Him personally. How can we describe something we have never seen? We cannot. We can only describe how we feel when we come into contact with His different forms. For us today we do not see Christ or burning bushes, so how do we know when we come into contact with His different forms? Fortunately, we come into contact with His different forms every day. We come into contact with nature. If you will look real hard, you will see God in nature, the birds, animals, trees, and humans. Matter is not substance itself but a part of substance. Matter is the subject receiving the form of nature. Aquinas holds that immaterial substances have an element of potentiality, but this is not the potency supplied by matter; rather, immaterial substances are composed of essence and existence, and it is the essence of the thing, standing in potency to a distinct act of existence that accounts for the potentiality. Aquinas attempts to establish a real distinction whereby essence and existence are not only distinct in our understanding, but also in the thing itself. Aquinas claims that if there were a being whose essence is its existence, there could only be one such being, in all else essence and existence would differ. Aquinas concludes that only in God does essence and existence not differ.
If we accept Aquinas’ distinction between essence and existence, I propose essence could be compared to natural intelligence innate within life. That would be the human soul. And the living part of an entity or being (the living corporeal body) would be its existence. We shall say that a human body exists with soul and a material body to complete a being. Such existence would be similar to Plato’s matter and form. But essence is something beyond matter and form. Plants, animals and humans have existence and essence which are distinct qualities. The soul is life’s essence and the physical body is its existence. Therefore essence cannot be composed of matter because the soul is incorporeal. The principles of causality do not apply to essence. Essence is the fulfillment or perfection of God’s design in humanity. Essence is complete Good. Humans take on potentiality to their existence and attempt to catch up with or rather complete their essence. God’s existence is defined by His essence. Unlike all living things, God is both complete essence and existence at the same time. At death a soul will venture from the body. When there is no distinction between the two, essence and existence, they are identical, as only it can be in God, if and when the soul has reached perfection, its essence. God is fully complete and actual. Essence and existence are identical in God but not in humans.
So how does this soul, which is the essence in living things, exist? The soul in living things is provided with a bit of the essence of God at creation. This is a divine law. The soul in living things is animated by this essence of God yet it is incorporeal. The soul’s existence is very similar to the existence of thoughts. Thoughts emerge as visual sensory perceptions of the mind and stored in memory. Thoughts are either rational or irrational according to proper reasoning. The soul is formed by running human thoughts through the natural and divine laws and storing the results in the innate essence of the soul. The essence of the soul either conforms to innate goodness placed therein by God and flourishes or because of the lack of natural intelligence and reasoned rationality, fails to conform to innate goodness and dies a slow, slow incorporeal death. The soul will eventually lose the innate goodness placed therein by God if humans fail to comprehend and implement the natural and divine laws. And even though souls never cease to exist, they do lose their innate goodness.
Morals are the ideal standards of human behavioral law, ethics is the process of implementing them and virtue is the measure of success in there comprehension and implementation. Morals in this system are part and parcel of divine law. Perfect morality is divine law. Morals deal with the controlling principles of right and wrong in behavior and compels one to conform to a standard of right behavior. What, or rather, who determines what is good, moral behavior? Divine law, created by God, governs humans, angels, and all life and governs both good and evil. Divine law also preempts natural law even though both were created by God. What encourages one to conform to divine law? Certainly not natural law. But the natural intelligence of innate goodness draws one to conform. Divine law was previously explained, but in this context, it provides a system or pattern for which humans should live life. Divine morality is distinctly delineated. There can be no confusion in the interpretation of divine law enacted by God. Human actions within and reactions to their environment can be either good or evil. There exist no middle ground. Murder, abortion, execution and euthanasia are bad. Divine law requires humans to respect life. Love, generosity, compassion, and empathy are good. In-bred into human souls is an innate quality from God to do good and it cooperates with natural intelligence. But nature confuses humans. Humans possess a privation of the full essence of God. We are not God, like Christ was. We are humans, a lower species than the angels. Interior human nature and exterior outdoor nature allows for this privation of good. Natural law, and especially its laws of nature, produces natural responses rather than divine responses to sensory perceptions. God is all good and His creation is all good but He allows for deviation because all of His creation does not possess the full essence of God. In other words, creation is not all powerful, all-knowing, all present and all good. We lack the complete essence of God. Nature can be defective because of our basic constitution, animals living within the natural world. We live under the laws of nature. This privation is a divine law. Theologians claim our defectiveness is a result of the Fall and original sin. Atheists claim no moral defect or if it is acknowledged, it is based on concupiscence. This paper claims that humans act against the moral good because of a lack of developed natural intellect, not a privation of good. Reasoned rationality has not been perfected in humans. Human disease and evil in nature, like pollution, is not a privation of good, but a deficiency or lack of complete application or understanding of the natural law just as a depravity in humans is not a privation of good but a deficiency or lack of complete understanding of divine law. Our parents, our principals, our president, our preachers and our priests fail us. We seek the truth yet we do not find it. Finally, theologians like to blame our depravity on free will. Free will is either a rebellion against natural and divine law or a refusal or inability to grasp them. If humans always sought the good with regard to divine law and avoided unhealthy and evil desires associated with natural law, free will can be subdued. The soul could, in theory, never allow the body to sin. One last idea needs mention. Death is not a privation or evil. All life eventually dies. Death is a natural law.
During the history of philosophical inquiry, knowledge of self (being) and the reality in which we lived gradually shifted from an examination of interior motives, desires, and perceptions to an examination of external realities. They realized that human internal nature and outdoors (external) nature seemed to be governed by universal truths but these inquisitors could never determine what these truths were. To know self and reality, we must examine both our internal motives and desires and compare our response to our perception against the reality of the external stimuli. This subjective comparison then must be measured against our knowledge of divine law. When done under reasoned rationality, natural intelligence and wisdom of the laws, truth emerges. Where did these universal truths, divine and natural laws, come from? We now know they come from God. We must examine our perception of external stimuli in nature and compare our human response within the soul under divine law. But are these laws (natural and divine) innate in humans and born into humans at conception and birth? Are they like the color of your hair, skin and eyes except written in the mind, the intellect? How about the laws of nature that control the outdoors? Are they innate to nature? If these outdoor laws are constant and never changing, they could not have developed over time in order to conform to the current state of external nature. They had to have been put in place at a certain period of time, like at creation. Take the principle of gravity. Has it evolved over time to accommodate the changing size of the universe and the relation of our planets in our solar system? Or has the mathematical formula which describes gravity remained constant since its inception? With regard to the divine laws as they relate to humans, in particular morals and virtue, did they evolve over time to accommodate then current societal norms or did they appear one day and have remained constant ever since? And man’s attempt to seek the ‘good’ and the ‘truth’, is that attempt innate in humans or is that desire an acquired yearning?
These moral and ethical laws (divine laws) have been constant since inception, just like the natural law and its laws of nature. Good and evil does not change. People, their environments and societies do. The only thing that has changed is the way humans have interpreted reality or rather misinterpreted reality. Divine law and natural law has been constant since they were promulgated by God. Moral good is innate in humans at conception yet man’s misinterpretation of these sets of laws has created confusion within humans and in society with regard to morals. Thus this innate goodness can be lost. This innate goodness has been described as connatural-normally existing at birth, mankind's connatural sense of the good, connected by nature; united in nature; inborn; inherent; natural. Innate goodness exists in humans only because the soul is a composed of a bit of God’s essence and existence. We were created like God but are far from being in essence and existence of God. But the human body is burdened with the natural law and more specifically the basic laws of nature. This pull of the bodily desires by the mind weakens the innate divine laws within the human soul as soon as one is expelled from their mother’s womb. Humans tend to follow the natural law rather than the divine law only because they are constantly exposed to and continually reinforced with natural law results and outcomes. If this disconnect is not eventually repaired or at least interrupted, humans live their entire lives under the natural law. The morals exposed by divine law and the virtues acquired by use of the divine law, never causes the innate goodness within the humans soul to flourish.
Through age and experience, change and growth and contact with natural intelligence through reasoned rationality, our intellect develops the notion that a privation of the essence of God is within us because of the human, natural body. Reason and logic are needed to discover these truths. And the compilation of knowledge only strengthens our desire to further investigate these compounding and accumulating facts of nature. Hopefully this disconnect will be resolved. This usually occurs by a movement within the soul aided by grace and the Holy Spirit.
From ancient philosophy, reason migrated from some abstract system of belief in sensory experiences (I am thinking of Plato’s cave) to the empirical discovery of natural laws. Knowledge of divine laws flows from these empirical discoveries in natural law. The accumulation of these laws (truths) bring us closer to absolutes which apply across the spectrum of human experience and existence. Yet we do not gain our theological basis for existence from the natural law. Natural laws only explain the proper functioning of life within nature. A natural law cannot say what is good or bad. They are neutral with regard to morality. Every single thing that occurs within nature, i.e., elements and life, can be explained by natural law. (Even though we may not have discovered all the laws yet.) But the consequences of the natural law are neither good nor bad. Morality is gained from the discovery of divine law by humans who participate in nature under natural law. Our knowledge of the truths of divine law is still limited. Where does this natural and divine law originate. From God. So to become successful at life, we must first seek God and know Him.
Both natural law and divine law apply to humans. The two sets have a reliance on one another. Humans could exist without divine law, but there would be no comprehensive system of moral direction. Natural law would pervade. Humans would act based on pure emotion and desire. Every act would be neither good nor bad, just necessary to fill a desire. Who determines what is good: is there a set of divine laws or is it just the relationship between two individuals that both seek the best or individual satisfaction or outcome between the encounter. That is purely subjective. The same exact encounter between two different pairs of people could, in theory, produce two, totally different outcomes or results. People act contrary to the moral norms either because they are unaware of the moral imperative or because compliance would be against their perceived self-interest. Intellect is the reasoning power of the brain; mind is conscious power of the brain; accumulation of knowledge and truths fuels the intellect. We are simply animals living an existence in which the natural laws are being effectuated. The divine law provides order, justice and peace. We may or may not perceive the divine law.
Besides elements and life, there is an essence of being called by various and sundry names, spirit mind, soul, intellect, noes, reason, wisdom, free will, thoughts, etc. This essence of being controls or guides the relationship between natural law and divine law within the human mind and soul. Every action of the brain that does not control the basic functioning of our human body is part of the essence of being. Descartes distinguishes intellectual perception and volition as what properly belongs to the nature of the mind alone while imagination and sensation are, in some sense, faculties of the mind insofar as it is united with a body. Ideas are “modes” or “ways” of thinking, and, therefore, modes are not substances. Ideas require, in addition to God’s concurrence, some created thinking substance in order to exist. He distinguishes three kinds of ideas, namely those that are fabricated, adventitious (happening or carried on according to chance rather than design or inherent nature), or innate. Fabricated ideas are mere inventions of the mind. Accordingly, the mind can control them so that they can be examined and set aside at will and their internal content can be changed. Adventitious ideas are sensations produced by some material thing existing externally to the mind. But, unlike fabrications, adventitious ideas cannot be examined and set aside at will nor can their internal content be manipulated by the mind. Finally, innate ideas are placed in the mind by God at creation. These ideas can be examined and set aside at will but their internal content cannot be manipulated. Our system supports Descartes’ modes of thinking to an extent. He fails to make a distinction between mind and soul in controlling thought and he is incorrect that the mind cannot set aside adventitious ideas.
The existence and essence of the body and soul, respectively, includes conscious and sub conscience thoughts, desires, cravings, emotions, passions, sensations, feelings, ideas and even beliefs. Our mind brings them to consciousness when we in fact meditate and rationalize on the perceived reality. When we analyze individually perceived reality and look behind the thought or image without making preconceived judgments and conclusions, we can reach the truth within the soul. We can either combine the two laws for a conclusion or distinguish the operation of the two laws to realize that either one or the other is controlling the current perception of reality. All thoughts (including the three distinctions made by Descartes) can be examined and set aside at will and certainly all three can be manipulated. The power that governs reasoned and rational impressions (good and correct perception of reality) is divine law. Miracles are the perceived realization between the cause and effect of divine law. As one gains more and more knowledge of the natural and divine laws, one comes closer and closer to the truths behind natural law and divine law. The soul can decide whether any thought is either good or bad almost immediately after the thought is conceived by the mind. Every thought has a reason and it is either rational or irrational. Why does everything must have a reason for its existence? Thoughts exist to complete the essence of the soul. Plants exist to provide food and oxygen for animals. Animals exist to provide food for humans. Why do humans exist? We exist because we are overseers of the lesser beings and the elements under God’s tutelage. We are designed to return to the Father.
Christian narratives form the basis for moral, ethics, virtues and happiness. Secular narratives cannot provide such a basis. Secular narratives have no moral foundation to hang its hat. But everyone would agree that the ultimate goal in this life and the next is happiness. But what is happiness? Happiness for one may be living in a beach front shack on an island in the Caribbean, and for another, cooped up in a log cabin in the mountains painting nature. Happiness seems to be subjective, but both of these people are “happy.” So there is a common denominator. A more precise definition may be “peace of mind.” But what does that mean? Does it mean a satisfaction with life? I may be satisfied with a dog I purchased from the pet store but as soon as I get home and he begins to pee on the floor and chew my slippers, I no longer have peace of mind. When does one become ‘satisfied’ with ‘life’? In this context, the word ‘life’ does not mean just the living nature of a human being, but also the situation or condition one finally achieves in society. But ‘satisfied’ is a rather ugly term. It implies compromise. Is one ever really ‘satisfied with life’? Our definition of happiness may be more attuned to satisfaction with the progress one has made with the perfection of the observances of the divine law within one’s life and, of necessity, within society and with God. These observances lead to truth and the truth sets your mind free from doubt and burdensome desires. Moral concerns disappear. Morality becomes second nature. Freedom of truth leads one to peace of the soul and wisdom. Secular theology clearly cannot provide such a moral or ethical schema since it is not general and applicable evenly throughout society but can only apply subjectively between two individuals within a closed community.
Theology is the study of divine law. Divine law is absolute, determinative and never changing. Divine law explains how humans are to interact among themselves, how humans are to act when alone and how humans are to interact with nature and God. Divine law sounds very sterile and unexciting. It is. Divine law is morally significant. We have not been revealed all of divine law. The only way I can explain divine law is all of the “good” qualities preached by the prophets of old, Jesus, Paul and the apostles, but also those qualities possessed by God. Divine law must be taught, and, if not followed, enforced, to achieve an orderly and functional society. For example speaking about someone in an emotive way and with them not being present is gossip. Such a conversation would be a violation of divine law. Having thoughts about someone, even if the other is in your presence, in an emotive way, is per se gossip and a violation, if not vocally expressed to the other. And if expressed with the result of negative criticism or condemnation or complaint without a valid reason or exhortation, is a violation.
Humans are concerned with their own interests and they often use words to effect an emotional suggestion or control over another. When the words are used dynamically, they achieve their purpose. They either hurt or achieve domination. But with such uses, truths with regard to ethics losses all value. The only concern becomes satisfying personal desires. And any actions or words which accomplish this result become “good.” These concepts seem to me to come directly from Protestant theology. Man is inherently depraved and each man can determine for himself what good means and can do just about anything to realize his desires. Morality and divine law are not designed to function this way. Christ presented another way. We are to become slaves to the other and loose our self-concerns, anxieties, worries and fears.
Why would God do this (crucifixion and ascension)? God did these things to change humanity. He did this so humans can grasp, understand and value the divine law. All souls upon death retain animation and remain incorporeal. Their tendency is to return to God, the One from which they came. But the divine law of justice prevents some from returning. Resurrection is an award to the souls who have filtered the impure desires implanted by the natural law and its laws of nature and who have attained wisdom of the divine law through reasoned rationality and fulfilled the innate goodness of natural intelligence. This judgment is only applied to humans. All of life’s other souls return to their creator upon death. One thing is certain. The essence and existence of God does not change. God does not change into human flesh. God’s Spirit became the soul of the human Christ. That soul infused with the Holy Spirit allowed a human Christ to perform miracles. If Christ was free from sin, then to be like God, he had to have complete goodness, knowledge, and understanding under the Divine law. His ascension allows human souls to participate in this goodness, knowledge, and understanding under the Divine law here on earth and become refined to rejoin the Father in Heaven.
The concept of sin is a complex issue. Sin is a natural law. Humans are supposed to have acquired sin with the disobedience of Adam. Was Adam sinless before his disobedience? If he was sinless before the Fall, then that means humans can be sinless, never possessing an ounce of sin their entire life, although only one person has ever done that, Christ. Has mankind again been given the opportunity to become sinless after the appearance of Christ? The question becomes “For which sins did Christ die?” Original sin, individual sin or both? Has original sin been defeated completely with the crucifixion of Christ? Is the spoils of the defeat only activated through baptism? Is man again inherently good as Adam was before his disobedience? Why does God place a depravity within humans if He came to overcome Adam’s disobedience? We know that we are created with an innate goodness within us. The church says that the nature of sin is born innately into humans, even for humans born after the ascension of Christ. The Church says that humans must undergo baptism to remove the vestiges of original sin. So once the stain has been removed, can man now remain sinless after baptism? If humans do sin after baptism, for the bible says that all fall short, can man become sinless with grace? If born with original sin, but washed with the laver of regeneration (baptism), can a man proceed with the rest of his life without sin? Such a status would be a very difficult possibility, but a possibility nonetheless. Or if he does sin after baptism, he can be forgiven, thus sinless again, and with grace, possibly remain sinless? Sin results as a failure to fully understand the ramifications of reasoned rationality, natural intelligence and consequences of implementation of the divine law. Sin is either a deliberate or an ill-informed violation of the divine law.
Grace is the mind of God as understood by God Himself. Grace is God’s sensory perception of His universe which is all good. Grace is closely akin to the Spirit of God but they are not the same. Grace is the loving act of God when He gives the Spirit. The Spirit is the agent who reveals to humans the effectiveness of divine law. The holy spirit is the vehicle which brings life to the essence in living things of God. The Spirit is a merger of divine law and natural law. The Spirit is the law that bridges the gap between natural and divine law. The Spirit is a force which keeps all of creation, both the elements and life, cooperating and efficiently progressing without some massive upheaval or destructive apocalypse.
Because of the appearance of Christ, Christians are forced to explain God as a trinity. Are there three Gods in our God? Where did the Jews get there conception of God? Was Christ and the Spirit in the Old Testament? Jews believe in the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is mentioned numerous times in the Old Testament. But Christ was never specifically mentioned in the Old Testament, although, through analogy, the Church Fathers found Him everywhere. Today the Jews do not believe that Christ was really God. They still believe in a messiah but not necessarily Christ. Muslims believe in Jesus as a prophet, and their religion believes that Christ will return at the end of time to judge man. They believe in the whole of the Old Testament. This puts us in a quandary. The three major religions of the world all believe in God and the Old Testament. I submit that we all believe in the same God for there can be only one. Happiness is the process of discerning the truth that God has proclaimed in the divine law and living life in His wisdom until natural death.
Let’s briefly look at the success humans have made with the implementation of divine law. Rome would eventually fall and the Jews faced diaspora. Muslims appeared and began a march of conquest. Christians isolated themselves within the Dark Ages. Around the time that the crusades began in order to capture Jerusalem from the Muslims in 1094, the Christians were also on the move in Spain to remove the Moors from the Iberian Peninsula. By 1492 the Muslims were finally driven out of Spain. They had been retreating to northern Africa for 300 years. What did they decide to do? They began to move east and conquered Constantinople in 1453, excluded the Christians with the fall of the Byzantine Empire and the creation of the Ottoman Empire. The discovery of the Americas and the Protestant Reformation tended to have a calming effect on the political states. Even though wars continued, religion was no longer the primary cause. Humans sought freedom of religion and freedom from political dictators. The German quest for power and domination disturbed the peace in the twentieth century. The Ottoman Empire eventually sided with Germany in WWI and was broken up after the Germans were defeated. The Islamic states were created out of the Ottoman Empire. Israel was created after WWII. With the rise of Israel again, Islam began a march for conquest again. Since September 11, 2001, the Muslims have been in jihad. Now the Muslims have instigated a silent jihad around the world through displaced emigrants. They have not discerned the divine law. Christians, who once had possession of it, are losing the knowledge of divine law at an ever accelerating rate.
I fear for our political states and mankind’s future. We have not learned from any of the mistakes of the past. In fact, wars and hatred and violence are on the rise. We proceed in life with deliberate abandon and indifference. Relationships between humans, relationships between humans and society and relationships between countries are dominated by recklessness and unrestraint at all levels of human existence. Humans have, for the most part, also abandoned their relationship with God. Humans are no closer at following divine law today than the time when the Torah was written or when Jesus appeared. Civil laws are no longer based on divine law but are based on phony and ill-conceived personal rights. In fact, divine law has been relegated to subjective, interpersonal encounters. God has been forgotten or is being deliberately avoided. Unfortunately, the moral decay of our society is nearly complete. Natural law will soon pervade.
Truth and Reason
The origins of reason and revelation are identical. Catholicism has always been and must be an intellectual revelation. Rebellion against religious tradition has been the core of Western Philosophy. Yet Plato confesses that the wisdom of the ancients is of divine origin. That indicates a very distant past. Theology is always prior to philosophy. Philosophy is ultimately based on a prior interpretation of reality and that implies a first cause. Reality has to have a starting point from which one initially interpreted his reality. The theologian guards and interprets tradition which is past action. The philosopher attempts to rationalize current perception to predict future reality. The philosopher’s attempt to explain the reality of this world is at a disadvantage. He has only corporeal things of this world. That is he must use ideas which he cannot see with his eyes to explain tangible things. He is required to use images of his mind and transcendental things, spiritual things, and things not of this world. Because of his disadvantage, he seeks out a creator. If a creator created these tangible things, there must exist a law or method with which these things operate and exist in harmony. Plato had no conception of our triune God nor was he exposed to the truth and wisdom that the spirit of God offers. He sought but he never found. He developed fanciful tales about the creation of man and the universe and our being within it. Humans have been tethered to these ideas of Plato and Aristotle ever since. Philosophy attempts to explain ontology and metaphysics by varied degrees of growing complexity based on irrational and fanciful musings of two pagan intellectuals. What a pitiful mess mankind has put himself. Man reasons because God created us that way. Animals reason but just not rationally as humans. Human intellect has a transcendent connection to a superior power which we can recognize. Those who recognize this absolute power discovers that truth and has no need for theories on how humans perceive reality and gain knowledge.
Knowledge is not truth. Knowledge is the progression of accumulated ideas, mathematical formulas, and empirical evidence that form a basic elemental scientific fact. New ideas are added onto these elemental facts until a crisis or paradigm change occurs and new knowledge is promulgated. When this process ends or in other words comes to fruition, one has a truth which eventually becomes revealed truth. Knowledge is changeable and cumulative. Truth is finite, definite and unchangeable. Knowledge is empirical and scientific. These terms imply change. Truth is constant and given, in other words truth has been with us since the beginning and will remain with us until the end. Truth is not singular. It is definitely a plural concept. It can only be explained by the statement, “you just know when you know.” All reality becomes understood. The circle become complete. When theologians and philosophers, and now, secular scientists come to that realization, their cooperation will reveal marvelous results. They must learn to separate knowledge and truth. Knowledge is gained from looking forward. Truth is gained from looking to the past. Science seeks knowledge. Theology reveals truth. Philosophy explains the convergence. Truth existed before Christians appeared on the scene. The Israelites definitely had a brush with truth and discovered much before Christ revealed a large sum of the whole. In other words Christian theology is the understanding of being with a triune God and philosophy is the search for being without a God. Jewish theology is the real conveyor of truth. Finally why would an atheist ever search for a reason to life and being in the first place? That concept is an oxymoron. A search for being requires a creator. Therefore philosophy is a misguided attempt to explain humanity without a God. Or if we must extol its benefits, philosophy is the dividing line between those seeking and those who have already found. The origins of reason and revelation are identical. Both are from God. Have you found the truth? It will set you free.
Is ancient philosophy the cause of the decline of theology, the study of God and our existence? Plato, Socrates, Pythagoras, Plotinus, Aristotle and subsequent philosophers and their various schools attempted to explain our existence without the knowledge and certainty of a higher power. They developed extreme systems for the appearance of our solar system, humanity, plants, animals and humanity’s relationship with nature and each other. When the church fathers appeared on the scene beginning with Origen, Athanasius, Cyril and the like, they felt a need and did in fact attempt to explain our existence using these ancient Greek, philosophical concepts. These concepts were science to them and became the reason for our being, both to the Greeks and Romans and Christians. These concepts continued to be the reason for being with the Fathers although under a new concept, Christ. The Fathers thought that they had to work these two, sometimes opposing systems into one great creation story. The unfortunate consequence is that philosophical and theological concepts merged with the likes of very influential theologians like Augustine. The church fathers attempted a merger of philosophy and theology with a disastrous result. The church fathers abandoned God because of their need to explain their existence with philosophical concepts. Hebrew history would have worked much better. Truth as expounded by Christ and the apostles got lost in the mix. Divine and natural laws were put aside and truth became some fanciful concoction of ancient, Greek, philosophical thought and divine revelation. Truth and reason were distorted with the resultant effect of 2000 years of confusion.
We now have research institution who seek new knowledge based on empirical evidence in a secular environment. Secular sciences have no room for theology. I propose that such a separation is a very good outcome. Some say that universities fail to combine all new knowledge into a database of truths which would demonstrate knowledge’s interrelationships. They do not like the idea that knowledge has become secularized and segregated. But that outcome is good. What philosophers and theologians fail to realize is that knowledge is different from truth. In classical logic, 'everything must either be or not be." The ancients were not aware of the interconnectedness of the natural world, salvation history and human history. Knowledge was imbedded in a theological ethic that had a supernatural end but was explained philosophically. Early universities, upon the rediscovery of the ancients, taught medicine, law and theology under this philosophical bent. Finally attempts were made to separate theology and philosophy. The scholastics made the pursuit of knowledge an end in itself devoid of religious necessities. Nominalism rejected universals or abstract objects. Humanists wrote about antiquity and a renewed confidence in the ability of human beings to determine for themselves truth and falsehood. The Reformation secularized knowledge and rulers championed rival doctrines in their universities. The Protestants fell into interdoctrinal disputes and theology became muddled with scientific knowledge. Romanticism was characterized by its emphasis on emotion and individualism as well as glorification of all the past and nature, preferring the medieval rather than the classical. Luckily there appeared great minds like Kepler, Galileo, Descartes, and Newton. A shift occurred to the natural sciences. Knowledge was secularized. Secularization was complete with empiricism. The Popes unwittingly cooperated in the secularization of Catholic universities by allowing natural sciences to be confused with creation science. Finally, we can see that truth is a completely different science from knowledge, which is gained from empiricism. One does not need science to explain creation if one believes in God.
Knowledge is not truth. Knowledge is the progression of accumulated ideas, mathematical formulas, and empirical evidence which will eventually reveal truth. Knowledge is changeable and cumulative. Truth is finite, definite and unchangeable. When theologians and philosophers, and now, secular scientists come to that realization, their cooperation will reveal marvelous results. They will come to realize that natural law can be explained by divine law and that existence is created by the synergy between the two. Scientist will realize that natural law is governed by and is in fact divine law. Rightly so. God must be separated from modern science but both sides must be promoted, studied, relished and projected as independent modes, the later to seek knowledge and the former to seek and obtain truth.
The sun(light) exists at the top with so many features it is impossible to fully explain its dimensions. The Good
Four faculties of the soul
Soul passes out hypothesis and goes up to a principle above hypothesis making no use of images but proceeding in and through ideas themselves
Can only be seen with the eye of the mind
Soul uses images from the visible
Animals, humans and things
Shadows and reflections
1 Paul, by God’s will an apostle of Jesus Christ, (God’s will was to convert Paul; Jesus called Paul to be an apostle, just as Christ called the twelve) to those saints, (Paul is writing to those Jewish faithful who are believers in Christ in the new church in Ephesus.) the faithful in Jesus Christ (those Jewish believers who have gained the faith of Christ), who dwell at Ephesus; (Paul addressed this letter mainly to the leaders of his new church in Ephesus. These leaders were probably Jewish, at least 95% of them.) 2 Grace and peace be yours from God, our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ (Paul extends and calls down God’s unmerited favor, blessing and comfort on the new Jewish converts to Christianity). 3 Blessed be that God, that Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us, in Christ, with every spiritual blessing, higher than heaven itself. (Paul praises God and holds Him in high esteem for offering “His Son” and sending Christ as an abundant blessing, greater than the blessing of heaven itself). 4 He has chosen us out, in Christ, (God and Christ selected the Jews as His “Chosen People”) before the foundation of the world, to be saints (God picked Abraham and Abraham’s descendants when Adam sinned to be the conduit to reclaim humanity. This group of elected people became the descendants of Moses and the twelve tribes of Israel), to be blameless in his sight, for love of him (to strive for perfection that will bring the reciprocating love between God and mankind); 5 marking us out beforehand (so his will decreed) to be his adopted children through Jesus Christ (the saints among the Jews were picked by Christ and God to accomplish God’s will before the foundation of the world). 6 Thus he would manifest the splendor of that grace by which he has taken us into his favor in the person of his beloved Son (Christ was the manifestation of God’s grace as an example to those called). 7 It is in him and through his blood that we enjoy redemption, the forgiveness of our sins (Christ’s death brought redemption for the believing Jews and the forgiveness of the sins of Adam for the gentiles). So rich is God’s grace, 8 that has overflowed upon us in a full stream of wisdom and discernment, 9 to make known to us the hidden purpose of his will (God has revealed His will and purpose to the saints through a constant flow of grace, which brings wisdom and discernment). It was his loving design, centered in Christ, 10 to give history its fulfilment by resuming everything in him, all that is in heaven, all that is on earth, summed up in him (God has come full circle by sending Christ to reconcile mankind with God. God’s kingdom is now reestablished on earth as it was before the fall of Adam but this time with restrictions and conditions laid out by Christ). 11 In him it was our lot to be called, singled out beforehand to suit his purpose (for it is he who is at work everywhere, carrying out the designs of his will) (God’s plan was for the Jews to lead this conversion. God designed this plan through His chosen people. God accomplishes His will through grace [unmerited favor] and dispenses grace to whom He wants and when He wants. The Jews were first called and did not succeed so now the gentiles get their turn.); 12 we were to manifest his glory, we who were the first to set our hope in Christ (Paul uses the word “we,” meaning the Jews, and refers to His glory, meaning God. God and then Christ first chose the Jews for reformation. The apostles and saints (all Jews) who were called by Christ are to demonstrate God’s power and might and to expose God’s magnificent achievement through the death and resurrection of Christ to other Jews and the gentiles.); 13 in him you too were called, when you listened to the preaching of the truth, that gospel which is your salvation (Now notice that Paul says “you too.” Paul is now addressing the gentiles. The Ephesians, both Greek and Roman gentiles, were also called after hearing the gospel preached to them regarding the offer of salvation to them. Christ, a Jew, and all of His disciples were Jews. The Jews failed in God’s mission to extend salvation to humanity so now the gentiles are called through the conduit of the Jews.) In him you too learned to believe, and had the seal set on your faith by the promised gift of the Holy Spirit (The Jews believed in a messiah and the gentiles have now learned to believe also. Belief is caused by the receipt of the holy spirit after hearing the word preached); 14 a pledge of the inheritance which is ours, to redeem it for us and bring us into possession of it, and so manifest God’s glory (Christ is messiah as pledged by God to Abraham and Moses. Christ’s death completed His pledge [promise to send] to send the holy spirit as comforter, paraclete and advisor after Christ’s ascension which completed God’s design to return first the Jew and then to the gentile to His fold). Well then, I too play my part; I have been told of your faith in the Lord Jesus, of the love you shew towards all the saints, (Paul plays his part in God’s design by preaching, exhorting and praising because he has been told of the faith, hope and love of the Ephesians, mainly speaking of the Jews but also the few converted gentiles.) 16 and I never cease to offer thanks on your behalf, or to remember you in my prayers. (Paul constantly intercedes to God for the Ephesians.) 17 So may he who is the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father to whom glory belongs, grant you a spirit of wisdom and insight, to give you fuller knowledge of himself (Paul intercedes again and asks God to send down the holy spirit on the Ephesians to bring them wisdom and insight of His plan). 18 May your inward eye be enlightened (Paul wants their hearts, minds and souls to comprehend), so that you may understand to what hopes he has called you, how rich in glory is that inheritance of his found among the saints, (to comprehend the power, knowledge and love that the holy spirit brings to those who accept Christ, all in God’s plan. God’s plan was to extend salvation to the gentiles through the Jews.) 19 what surpassing virtue there is in his dealings with us, who believe (God’s desire is pure in His dealing with the believers, both Jew and gentile). Measure it by that mighty exercise of power 20 which he shewed when he raised Christ from the dead (The Ephesians can weigh and comprehend God’s power and desire by looking at what He did for Christ, raised Him from the dead), and bade him sit on his right hand above the heavens, 21 high above all princedoms and powers and virtues and dominations, and every name that is known, not in this world only, but in the world to come (God gave Christ power over all good and evil, over all humans in heaven and earth and in time and space today and all of the future). 22 He has put everything under his dominion, and made him the head to which the whole Church is joined, (God has made Christ the head of the body, the church, to which all the Ephesians are joined [members of heaven]) 23 so that the Church is his body, the completion of him who everywhere and in all things is complete (The church now becomes the completion of the plan of God to reestablish His kingdom on earth. Humans, both Jew and gentile, can now have a direct relationship with God).
1 He found you dead men; such were your transgressions, such were the sinful ways 2 you lived in. (When Christ appeared, humans, particularly the gentles, were the living dead steeped in vice and corruption and depravity) That was when you followed the fashion of this world (The Ephesians lived by the morals of their secular world), when you owned a prince whose domain is in the lower air, that spirit whose influence is still at work among the unbelievers (The Ephesians were controlled and governed by the evil spirits, the devil, who is still alive and at work in this present world among the unbelievers). 3 We too, all of us, were once of their company (Paul and the saints were also controlled and governed by these same evil spirits even though the Jews were favored in God’s eyes.); our life was bounded by natural appetites (Man’s life was limited by the laws of nature and raw human desires of corrupt nature.), and we did what corrupt nature or our own calculation would have us do (Man acted on these depraved natural desires and followed his depraved free will to fulfill base human pleasures.), with God’s displeasure for our birthright, like other men (All Jews, even Paul, acted this way to the displeasure of God and against the will of God; God wanted humans to love each other and to love Him. God wanted Love as His inheritance. Instead the Jews created displeasure for God.). 4 How rich God is in mercy, with what an excess of love he loved us! (God’s love and mercy is never ending toward His creation, no matter what humans do.) 5 Our sins had made dead men of us, and he, in giving life to Christ, gave life to us too (God’s love was such that He gave a part of Himself [Christ]to His creation to restore the life of dead men, His creation. God was frustrated and fed up with the conceit and wayward actions of the Jews.); it is his grace that has saved you (God’s unmerited favor [Christ and the holy spirit and the gifts which proceed therefrom] has allowed us to save ourselves); 6 raised us up too, enthroned us too above the heavens, in Christ Jesus (this unmerited favor has allowed humans to receive a seat next to Christ and God in heaven). 7 He would have all future ages see, in that clemency which he shewed us in Christ Jesus (God hopes all future generations understand the mercy and leniency He provided us through Christ), the surpassing richness of his grace (This mercy is limitless and binding and flows directly from God). 8 Yes, it was grace that saved you (Paul repeats for emphasis that it was grace, the unmerited attention from God, that brought mankind out of its depravity and freed mankind from the subjugation of the evil spirits.), with faith for its instrument (Faith, hope and love are the implements, requirements and actions on the part of humans which allow mankind to participate in this grace from God.); it did not come from yourselves, it was God’s gift (Grace brings salvation and God gives it freely to all who muster faith within their soul to receive it.), 9 not from any action of yours, or there would be room for pride (You did not save yourself. God gave His grace [His son, the Holy Spirit and all of the virtues that come with them] to you as a gift and you accepted it, either willingly or unwillingly, but your free will was eventually convinced to believe.) 10 No, we are his design; (God designed us to receive grace.) God has created us in Christ Jesus, pledged to such good actions as he has prepared beforehand, to be the employment of our lives. (God created the saints by design [intelligent design] to be like the first Adam. Christ was pledged to us before creation and the saints were modeled after Christ for spreading the good news.) 11 Remember, then, what you once were, the Gentiles, according to all outward reckoning; (Paul addresses the gentiles of Ephesus. They were not of the chosen people but heathens who lived in corrupt nature.) those who claim an outward circumcision which is man’s handiwork call you the uncircumcised. (The Jews call the gentiles the uncircumcised, a ritual the Jew created to set them apart from the heathens in their own eyes.) 12 In those days there was no Christ for you; (‘Those days’ refers to a time period from creation to the ascension of Christ and Paul is talking mainly to the gentiles. In those days the gentiles did not posesse the grace of God and had no opportunity to receive God’s grace.) you were outlaws from the commonwealth of Israel, (The gentiles in those days were shunned by the Jews, the chosen people.) strangers to every covenant, (The gentiles were not party to the covenant made by God with Abraham and Moses.) with no promise to hope for, (The gentiles lived in a depraved society and were depraved themselves with nothing to hope for.) with the world about you, and no God. (The gentiles were surrounded by depravity, evil spirits and idols as factitious gods.) 13 But now you are in Christ Jesus; now, through the blood of Christ, you have been brought close, you who were once so far away. (But since the death of Christ the gentiles have been brought into the fold with the Jews; Christ created a world community under a new covenant.) 14 He is our bond of peace; he has made the two nations one, breaking down the wall that was a barrier between us, the enmity there was between us, in his own mortal nature. (Christ appeared in his human nature to enact a peace treaty between the Jews and the gentiles so that now there is no barrier between the Jews and the gentiles; the two groups are to love one another and not hate each other. Jews and gentiles are all one nation under God; actually all of humanity is now under covenant with God.) 15 He has put an end to the law with its decrees, so as to make peace, remaking the two human creatures as one in himself; (Christ has put aside the old covenants which alienated the Jews from the rest of humanity; now all of humanity are equal creatures and can become the same as Christ in His human nature.) 16 both sides, united in a single body, he would reconcile to God through his cross, inflicting death, in his own person, upon the feud. (Christ ended the feud and reconciled the Jews and the rest of humanity to God by Christ’s death on the cross. God gave a part of Himself as a token for this new friendship within humanity.) 17 So he came, and his message was of peace for you who were far off, peace for those who were near; (Christ came with His message of peace for all of humanity, the Jews, those near to God and the gentles-the heathens in the eyes of the Jews who were far from God.) 18 far off or near, united in the same Spirit, we have access through him to the Father. (After the death of Christ, all of humanity, Jew and gentile, has access to the father [God] through the Holy Spirit.) 19 You are no longer exiles, then, or aliens; the saints are your fellow citizens, you belong to God’s household. (The gentiles are no longer to be shunned, the gentiles are now fellow citizens with the Jews as God’s chosen people, all under one big roof.) 20 Apostles and prophets are the foundation on which you were built, and the chief corner-stone of it is Jesus Christ himself. (This new international household is being constructed by the Jewish saints and the twelve apostles and the whole structure rests on the cornerstone which is Christ.) 21 In him the whole fabric is bound together, as it grows into a temple, dedicated to the Lord; (Christ Jesus weaves all peoples together like a piece of fabric and this new group forms a catholic church who are all indebted and dedicated to Christ.) 22 in him you too are being built in with the rest, so that God may find in you a dwelling-place for his Spirit. (The gentile Ephesians are now called to be part of this new community (house) along with the Jews and they are all called to be filled with the spirit of God, the holy spirit. Their bodies are to become the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. A new temple to God, the Catholic Church has been created for all of humanity to participate.)
1 With this in mind, I fall on my knees; (Paul prays much and often.) I, Paul, of whom Jesus Christ has made a prisoner for the love of you Gentiles. (This letter was probably written from Rome during Paul's first imprisonment and probably soon after his arrival there in the year 62 A.D. Paul acknowledges that he is bound in some fashion because of his love for and desire to preach to the gentiles. We know that Paul’s first imprisonment was the result of the anger and hatred against Paul from the Pharisees in Jerusalem.) 2 You will have been told how God planned to give me a special grace for preaching to you; (The Ephesians have already been told how Paul was converted on the road to Damascus with the explicit command from Christ to preach to the gentiles.) 3 how a revelation taught me the secret I have been setting out briefly here; (And how Christ has revealed to Paul the real meaning of Christ’s coming and the duties assigned to Paul to share that revelation.) 4 briefly, yet so as to let you see how well I have mastered this secret of Christ’s. (Paul has only giving the highlights of this revelation to prove to the Ephesians that Paul’s knowledge and power came from Christ Himself.) 5 It was never made known to any human being in past ages, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to his holy apostles and prophets, (The desire and intent of God to bring back all of humanity to Himself was never revealed to the chosen people under the old testament but that intention has now been revealed to the twelve apostles and the saints. This revelation came to Paul at his conversion and to Peter at Caesarea on the white sheet.) and it is this: 6 that through the gospel preaching the Gentiles are to win the same inheritance, to be made part of the same body, to share the same divine promise, in Christ Jesus. (The revelation is this: the gentiles, through gospel preaching [hearing the Word] are to share in the redemption and salvation offered through Christ, the Messiah promised to the Jews. The gentiles are to be treated just as the Jews in the eyes of God.) 7 With what grace God gives me (and he gives it in all the effectiveness of his power), (Through the graces from God, Paul has exceedingly abundant power and authority to accomplish this mission given by God.) I am a minister of that gospel; (Paul has become a preacher of the Good News.) 8 on me, least as I am of all the saints, he has bestowed this privilege, of making known to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, (God has place this burden, preaching the endless riches given to the gentiles by Christ, on Paul, a privilege in Paul’s eye, who declares himself as unworthy to be named an apostle. Paul did persecute the Christians before his conversion.) 9 of publishing to the world the plan of this mystery, kept hidden from the beginning of time in the all-creating mind of God. (God has been creating on this earth and is still creating since the beginning of time. God’s plans are revealed in God’s time. Paul’s assignment from God is to reveal the mystery of Jesus Christ to the whole known world.) 10 The principalities and powers of heaven are to see, now, made manifest in the Church, the subtlety of God’s wisdom; (This revelation to the church on earth confirms the power of God to all of the residents in Heaven.) 11 such is his eternal purpose, centered in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 who gives us all our confidence, bids us come forward, emboldened by our faith in him. (Paul and the saints are emboldened through the faith of Christ to stand up and declare this mystery which God wants revealed. The spirit of Christ provides them the confidence to preach the word.) 13 Let there be no discouragement, then, over the affliction I undergo on your behalf; it is an honor done to you. (Paul’s current affliction is shared by the saints. The saints share the suffering of Paul vicariously through the sufferings of Christ.) 14 With this in mind, then, I fall on my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 that Father from whom all fatherhood in heaven and on earth takes its title. (Paul prays to God for His parental protection since God is the father of all beings in heaven and on earth.) 16 May he, out of the rich treasury of his glory, strengthen you through his Spirit with a power that reaches your innermost being. (Paul prays to God that God sends down part of Himself, His Spirit, stored in Heaven in abundance, to pierce the souls of the Ephesians.) 17 May Christ find a dwelling-place, through faith, in your hearts; may your lives be rooted in love, founded on love. (Paul asks God that His love be sent to the Ephesians and stored in their hearts because of their faith and belief in Christ.) 18 May you and all the saints be enabled to measure, in all its breadth and length and height and depth, 19 the love of Christ, to know what passes knowledge. (This love from God can be described in many ways: grace, wisdom, knowledge, truth. This love consists of the virtues and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It also encompasses the divine and natural laws established by God. Paul prays that the Ephesians come to learn and understand Christ’s love. This condition or state of love transforms understanding into wisdom.) May you be filled with all the completion God has to give. (Love is how Heaven functions. It is how God operates. Truth, knowledge and wisdom are refined such that the goodness of God never waivers, is always fixed and constant and can never be reversed or deviated from.) 20 He whose power is at work in us is powerful enough, and more than powerful enough, to carry out his purpose beyond all our hopes and dreams; (Although it is not God and Christ personally who are at work within the saints, the Holy Spirit is just as powerful and all-encompassing with strength abundant to carry out the plan of God, preaching the Word.) 21 may he be glorified in the Church, and in Christ Jesus, to the last generation of eternity. Amen. (God is to be praised for all eternity for the love he has shown the Jews and the gentiles through Christ.)
1 Here, then, is one who wears chains in the Lord’s service, pleading with you to live as befits men called to such a vocation as yours. (Paul states that he wears chains. So he is either locked up in Rome or he is speaking figuratively about his obligations to Christ. Paul tells the saints in Ephesus to respect, appreciate and honor the duty God has placed on them to carry out His plan of spreading the Word.) 2 You must be always humble, always gentle; patient, too, in bearing with one another’s faults, as charity bids; (To be a good preacher and Christian, Paul list some permanent practices: humility, gentleness, patience and empathy as love directs.) 3 eager to preserve that unity the Spirit gives you, whose bond is peace. (This lifestyle requires perseverance in the Spirit of Christ and thus peace and unity abounds within the Church.) 4 You are one body, with a single Spirit; (With peace and unity, the church acts with a unified front as the Holy Spirit is one.) each of you, when he was called, called in the same hope; 5 with the same Lord, the same faith, the same baptism; (Paul stresses that this unity of faith hope and charity are gifts of the holy spirit through the act of baptism. All the believers, Jew and gentile, are called with the offer of the spirit through baptism.) 6 with the same God, the same Father, all of us, who is above all beings, pervades all things, and lives in all of us. (The one and only God, who is the orchestrator of this ritual, makes these virtues available to all who believe and are baptized.) 7 But each of us has received his own special grace, dealt out to him by Christ’s gift. (These virtues are extended to believers in varying degrees and as different gifts, yet all are dispensed because of the death and resurrection of Christ.) 8 (That is why we are told, He has mounted up on high; he has captured his spoil; he has brought gifts to men. (A reference to Ps. 67.19, the quote can be understood as the risen Christ defeating sin and death by His death and resurrection. The gifts previously referred are the spoils of Christ’s victory in this battle, probably the gentiles but also the unrepentant Jews.) 9 The words, He has gone up, must mean that he had gone down, first, to the lower regions of earth. 10 And he who so went down is no other than he who has gone up, high above all the heavens, to fill creation with his presence.) (Christ came down from Heaven to accomplish His victory by instilling these gifts within humans and returned to Heaven in triumph.) 11 Some he has appointed to be apostles, others to be prophets, others to be evangelists, or pastors, or teachers. (Christ created different leadership positions in His kingdom on earth among the gentiles and Jews.) 12 They are to order the lives of the faithful, minister to their needs, build up the frame of Christ’s body, (These leaders are given one main responsibility to preach the word, instill belief in the created and form them into one body under one church.) 13 until we all realize our common unity through faith in the Son of God, and fuller knowledge of him. (The gentiles are now offered the redemption and salvation once offered exclusively to the Jews. This reward will be achieved when the faith of Christ is common among humanity and when humanity has become fully acquainted with Christ.) So we shall reach perfect manhood, that maturity which is proportioned to the completed growth of Christ; (The fullest growth and knowledge of Christ is compared to the life stages of Christ Himself. Christ grew from a baby to a child who discovered and learned new things, to manhood who completed His mission.) 14 we are no longer to be children, no longer to be like storm-tossed sailors, driven before the wind of each new doctrine that human subtlety, human skill in fabricating lies, may propound. (When Christ died and ascended, we were still children and the Jews were confused, following the laws of nature and humanly fabricated doctrines and laws. Gentiles relied on natural law only. The Jews still propound lies to deceive the gentiles like storm tossed sailors. These Jews propound doctrines that only confuse and deceive. Christ has now enlightened both communities.) 15 We are to follow the truth, in a spirit of charity, and so grow up, in everything, into a due proportion with Christ, who is our head. (Now Jews and gentiles must be unified in the truth revealed in the Old Testament, Christ is the truth. Christ operates in a human and divine nature of love. The church must grow into manhood as Christ did and participate in the body of Christ within the church of Christ as leader.) 16 On him all the body depends; (The church depends on the body of Christ.) it is organized and unified by each contact with the source which supplies it; (The Church is organized and unified around Christ through prayer and worship of Christ and supplied by the power and authority of the Holy spirit.) and thus, each limb receiving the active power it needs, it achieves its natural growth, building itself up through charity. (Each limb of the church, gentile and jew, receives the strength and nourishment it needs to grow in faith, live in hope and succeed in love.) 17 This, then, is my message to you; I call upon you in the Lord’s name not to live like the Gentiles, who make vain fancies their rule of life. (Paul message to both Jewish and gentile Christians is this: don’t live like the Roman and Greek heathens who make earthly dreams and earthly desires their guides for running their lives.) 18 Their minds are clouded with darkness; the hardness of their hearts breeds in them an ignorance, which estranges them from the divine life; (Because of the lack of wisdom from Christ, the heathen mind is obscured by these earthly desires. The heathens’ lack of love and wisdom hardens their hearts. The heathens operate in a vacuum of ignorance of charity and are completely separated from the grace and gifts of God,) 19 and so, in despair, they have given themselves up to incontinence, to selfish habits of impurity. (As a result of this separation from God, the heathens live in despair and turn to sexual gratifications and other acts of depravity which become habits and a way of life.) 20 This is not the lesson you have learned in making Christ your study, 21 if you have really listened to him. (These lifestyles of the heathens are not what Christ teaches. To live a Christ-like life, one has to study the life of Christ and change from the heathen way of life. In order to really understand the lesson of Christ you must really pay attention.) If true knowledge is to be found in Jesus, you will have learned in his school 22 that you must be quit, now, of the old self whose way of life you remember, the self that wasted its aim on false dreams. (To absorb this knowledge and wisdom through Christ, the Ephesians must change and head in an opposing direction. They have to give up their old customs, religious practices and dreams and way of life of the Romans and Greeks and put on the life of Christ and walk with Him.) 23 There must be a renewal in the inner life of your minds; (This change goes as far as changing the thought processes of the mind.) 24 you must be clothed in the new self, which is created in God’s image, justified and sanctified through the truth. (This new self must be constantly focused on God using Jesus as a model and the spirit as the energy to change.) 25 Away with falsehood, then; (Be done with lying and cheating and disseminating falsehoods, lying to and about one another; also be done with heresies and propaganda concerning the Lord Jesus Christ.) Let everyone speak out the truth to his neighbor; membership of the body binds us to one another. (The truth, wisdom and knowledge offered through Christ and activated through the Spirit binds the community [the Church] together as one body in Christ and neighbors become real neighbors as described by Christ.) 26 Do not let resentment lead you into sin; the sunset must not find you still angry. (Paul states that there must not be resentment between the Jewish and gentiles Christian communities. Comparing yourself to others will lead to sin because you will always feel inferior; someone will always be better than you at most things and have more possessions. Be satisfied with what God has given you and you will never be resentful. Anger is a feeling or emotion just like any of the hundreds of other emotions. One can have complete control over anger so settle all of your anger issues each day. The community must live in peace.) 27 Do not give the devil his opportunity. (The devil’s main goal is to create division. Shun the devil and his evil minions. The devil does not have your happiness in mind; the devil is out to bring you down. The devil will exploit all of your weaknesses, especially violations of the Ten Commandments.) 28 The man who was a thief must be a thief no longer; let him work instead, and earn by his own labor the blessings he will be able to share with those who are in need. (Thou shall not steal; if you don’t work you don’t eat; work for God and He will send you abundant blessings so that you will have excess to share with others.) 29 No base talk must cross your lips; only what will serve to build up the faith, and bring a grace to those who are listening; (No cursing, gossiping, lying about and to others; such actions can never build confidence among believers; prayer and praise of God will bring graces to those who practice them and to those who are prayed for.) 30 do not distress God’s holy Spirit, whose seal you bear until the day of your redemption comes. (If you receive the graces from God, He will seal you with the Holy Spirit. Be thankful for the receipt of the Holy Spirit. If you do things which Paul prohibits in this letter, the Holy Spirit will leave you exposed to the wiles of the evil one. If you retain the seal of approval of the Holy Spirit, your safety will be protected until your death and resurrection.) 31 There must be no trace of bitterness among you, of passion, resentment, quarrelling, insulting talk, or spite of any kind; (The Jewish and gentile Christians must live in community in Christ. Living life as a follower of Christ requires all vices to be removed from each person and each person must practice the virtues.) 32 be kind and tender to one another, each of you generous to all, as God in Christ has been generous to you. (The virtues are centered on love of neighbor and love of God. The Ephesians are cautioned against being two faced; They are encouraged to treat each other equally with kindness and love; But this reciprocity of treatment applies only among those who actually obey the natural and divine laws of God. Intentional violators of Gods laws are to be shunned.)
1 As God’s favored children, you must be like him. (You cannot be like God because we do not know God, but we can be like Jesus in His human nature. Paul is mainly speaking to the saintly Jews of Ephesus but also to the saintly gentiles. Paul distinguishes the lifestyle of the followers of Christ versus the lifestyle of the unbelieving heathens.) 2 Order your lives in charity, upon the model of that charity which Christ shewed to us, when he gave himself up on our behalf, a sacrifice breathing out fragrance as he offered it to God. (Christ’s body and soul rose to Heaven like a sweet fragrance as an offering or sacrifice to God. Paul tells the Ephesians to imitate the life of Jesus Christ based upon the love that Christ demonstrated to the believer. That love is so strong that you would be willing to give up your own life on behalf of your neighbor.) 3 As for debauchery, and impurity of every kind, and covetousness, there must be no whisper of it among you; it would ill become saints; (Paul is again addressing the Jewish leaders who probably outnumber the gentile leaders 50 to 1 and provides a guidebook for living. Completely remove debauchery, impurity and covetousness from their midst. Don’t practice it or even talk about it or think about it.) 4 no indecent behavior, no ribaldry or smartness in talk; that is not your business, your business is to give thanks to God. (Paul forbids all types of indecent behavior, whether sexually, morally or ethically wrong; Paul forbids talk or behavior in sexual matters in an amusingly rude or irreverent way; Paul forbids rude and sarcastic talk. In other words, speak and act in refined dignity saturated in wisdom. That sounds like a dull and boring life, but it is not. Such a life is as one set apart.) 5 This you must know well enough, that nobody can claim a share in Christ’s kingdom, God’s kingdom, if he is debauched, or impure, or has that love of money which makes a man an idolater. (Notice that Paul mentions Christ and God as both possessors of the heavenly Kingdom but leaves out the Holy Spirit. Only the pure in heart and pure in soul will enter Heaven. For the Ephesians to claim a part of that kingdom, all immoral behavior must be removed including covetness. The Ephesians must not desire or want to possess others things including spouses and material things but especially money. Paul does not forbid or look down upon those who are wealthy. Paul forbids money controlling a man. The Ephesians should not seek, hoard and idolize money for the sake of self-fulfillment. The Ephesians must work hard and better themselves but for the benefit of others in the process not self. Those who look out for the other man will receive their own just rewards.) 6 Do not allow anyone to cheat you with empty promises; these are the very things which bring down God’s anger on the unbelievers; 7 you do ill to throw in your lot with them. (Do not get involved with Jewish and heathen idolaters, heretics, and misfits. They are fake and hollow inside. They do not respect themselves or others. They will defeat you and bring you to their level. God extends His judgment on such people and He will on the Ephesians too.) 8 Once you were all darkness; now, in the Lord, you are all daylight. (Before the appearance and resurrection of Christ, all of the Ephesians lived in defilement and without hope. The Word has appeared and so has enlightenment.) You must live as men native to the light; ( “men native to the light”- either as the sacred Jews did or as if this lifestyle were a part of your nature or past; live as Adam did before the fall and as God intended for humans to live.) 9 where the light has its effect, (The effectiveness of the light is both within and without, within the human heart to reform it to good and within society to congeal it into a believing body in faith, hope and charity.) all is goodness, and holiness, and truth; (The effect of the light is a road to perfection; the Ephesians are to live in goodness, in holiness and truth. There are to be no disharmony or discord. Peace must reign.) 10 your lives must be the manifestation of God’s will. (God’s existence is composed of pure peace, holiness, goodness and truth. God’s objective and goal (His will) is salvation for all of the Ephesians through the effects of the “light.”) 11 As for the thankless deeds men do in the dark, you must not take any part in them; rather, your conduct must be a rebuke to them; (The use of the word dark is a pun; it means the shenanigans during both the dark of night and the actions of depraved men during the daytime. The Ephesians are to set an example that opposes the debauchery of the unbelievers. He Ephesians are to avoid the depraved, call them out and shame them.) 12 their secret actions are too shameful even to bear speaking of. (The lifestyles of the unbelieving Ephesians are so despicable that God would be offended if the believers just spoke of their actions.) 13 It is the light that rebukes such things and shews them up for what they are; only light shews up. (The “light” is defined as pure peace, holiness, goodness and truth. Darkness [moral and ethical depravity] never brings one into the light. Darkness never provides the revelation one needs for salvation. Only the examples of “light” by the believers can expose the corrupted actions of the depraved who are living in “darkness.”) 14 That is the meaning of the words, Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. (Those that live in darkness are dead. Only Christ can give life.) 15 See then, brethren, how carefully you have to tread, not as fools, 16 but as wise men do, hoarding the opportunity that is given you, in evil times like these. (Paul says that the Ephesians must live among the depraved very cautiously. Christ appeared during a time in history that had become very evil. Men performed unspeakable acts unrestrained even by an animal nature. Every conceivable act of human depravity was practiced. Paul encouraged the Ephesians to hoard and protect the graces they receive from God.) 17 No, you cannot afford to be reckless; you must grasp what the Lord’s will is for you. (Seek the lord’s will for your life: a road to perfection and salvation. Paul says that the Ephesians cannot be careless and unconcerned about their own salvation and ascension into Heaven. They must grasp the opportunity offered to them from God and work hard to achieve their purpose in life-salvation.) 18 Do not besot yourselves with wine; that leads to ruin. (Excessive drinking lowers your defenses to the evil one and causes one to venture into darkness. Never get drunk.) Let your contentment be in the Holy Spirit; (Satisfy yourself with the ecstasy and high of the Holy Spirit. Place God in the forefront of your conciseness and live through the charisma of the Holy Spirit.) 19 your tongues unloosed in psalms and hymns and spiritual music, as you sing and give praise to the Lord in your hearts. (Pray, sing, give thanks and talk to God in your heart and mind within and through your voice without at all times both day and night.) 20 Give thanks continually to God, who is our Father, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; (Thank God constantly for His blessings because He has provided the Ephesians with the “light.” This gratitude and appreciation must be expressed in the name of Christ because Christ brought the “light” also.) 21 and, as you stand in awe of Christ, submit to each other’s rights. (Paul now addresses how the believing Ephesians must conduct their relationships among themselves. As you attempt to imitate Christ, the Ephesians are commanded to respect each other’s rights. These rights are the basic freedoms extended by God through both the divine and natural laws.) 22 Wives must obey their husbands as they would obey the Lord. (Every organization, business or church has a leader, one in command. Marriage is no different, God is in command. Marriage is a union between one man and one woman and it is a contract with God. Man and wife must live in the “light” and obey God. But in earthly matters, the husband is the leader of the family. Just as in any organization, discussion is required for all decisions, but the husband makes the final decision and the wife must concede even if she thinks it’s the wrong decision.) 23 The man is the head to which the woman’s body is united, (God made woman from the rib of Adam and made her as Adam’s companion. Although both are equal in God’s eyes, in marriage, the husband is placed as the head of the family and the wife must respect that duty placed on the husband.) just as Christ is the head of the Church, he, the Saviour on whom the safety of his body depends; (The relationship between husband and wife is the same as between Christ and His Church. The believers in Ephesus are the body that comprises the church and Christ is the head.) 24 and women must owe obedience at all points to their husbands, as the Church does to Christ. (If no one had authority to make final decisions in businesses, churches, and governments, mass confusion would exist and nothing would ever get accomplished. The same principal holds true in marriages. Until women accept their submissive role, divorce rates will continue to climb.) 25 You who are husbands must shew love to your wives, as Christ shewed love to the Church when he gave himself up on its behalf. (A submissive role does not mean becoming a slave. Husbands must respect their wives, listen to them, provide for all of their needs and most importantly, love them with all of their heart and soul. Christ gave His life for mankind and the Church shows gratitude by worshiping Him. A loving husband must be willing to give his own life for his wife and then he will deserve the respect and gratitude from his wife.) 26 He would hallow it, purify it by bathing it in the water to which his word gave life; 27 he would summon it into his own presence, the Church in all its beauty, no stain, no wrinkle, no such disfigurement; it was to be holy, it was to be spotless. (What love would Christ show His Church? Christ, sitting as king on a throne in heaven, would allow the church an audience with Him and honor it as holy. Christ would bath the church in holy water, water which His own spoken words brought alive as holy. The church is to be pure, genuine, wholesome and virtuous.) 28 And that is how husband ought to love wife, as if she were his own body; in loving his wife, a man is but loving himself. (Paul says that a husband must love his wife just as he described the love of Christ for His Church. The church is the physical body of Christ himself and Christ loves himself. Therefore a husband must love his wife as if she were part of his own body, which she is.) 29 It is unheard of, that a man should bear ill-will to his own flesh and blood; no, he keeps it fed and warmed; (A man does not normally cause harm to himself or his mother and father or his children but nourishes and protects them. He must do the same for his wife.) and so it is with Christ and his Church; 30 we are limbs of his body; flesh and bone, we belong to him. (If we were to describe the Church as a human body, Christ would be the head with eyes, ears, mouth and nose. The legs and arms would be the Ephesians, members of the church. The heart and soul of this fictitious body would be God Himself enlivened by the Holy Spirit.) 31 That is why a man will leave his father and mother and will cling to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. (Just as the actual, physical body of Christ is in fact the church, a husband and wife once married likewise merge to become one body in the church.) 32 Yes, those words are a high mystery, and I am applying them here to Christ and his Church. (Paul tells the Ephesians that this concept is a great mystery which Christ has revealed to him.) 33 Meanwhile, each of you is to love his wife as he would love himself, and the wife is to pay reverence to her husband. (Therefore husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves His church and wives are to hold in esteem their husbands as Christ loves His body, the church.)
1 You who are children must shew obedience in the Lord to your parents; it is your duty; (Paul goes on to describe the relationships of other members of the church. He begins with children. Children owe a duty to their parents to show honor and respect.) 2 Honour thy father and thy mother—that is the first commandment which has a promise attached to it, 3 So it shall go well with thee, and thou shalt live long to enjoy the land. (This rule is one of the commandments issued by Christ, honor your father and mother. The promise of a joyful life on this earth on land from your forefathers is the result of honor of parents.) 4 You who are fathers, do not rouse your children to resentment; the training, the discipline in which you bring them up must come from the Lord. (Mothers must embellish love on their children. Fathers must do likewise. Children must be disciplined but not by the natural laws, but with the application and use of the divine laws of God, the main one being love.) 5 You who are slaves, give your human masters the obedience you owe to Christ, in anxious fear, single-mindedly; 6 not with that show of service which tries to win human favour, but in the character of Christ’s slaves, who do what is God’s will with all their heart. (Slavery was a common practice during the time of this letter. Paul admonished slaves to love and respect their human masters with the same depth that they are to love Christ. This love and respect should be perform not with some goal of reward or favoritism such as freedom but with an attitude of compassion to the master just as Christ made Himself slave to humanity and died for the slave too.) 7 Yours must be a slavery of love, not to men, but to the Lord; (Paul tells slaves to become slaves of Christ not of men.) 8 you know well that each of us, slave or free, will be repaid by the Lord for every task well done. (Paul assures the Ephesians that Jew or gentile, slave or freedman, they will all be judged fairly by God with the same degree of love we show one another.) 9 And you who are masters, deal with them accordingly; there is no need to threaten them; you know well enough that you and they have a Master in heaven, who makes no distinction between man and man. (Paul warns slave-owners that they must not be harsh with their slaves but likewise treat them with love and compassion since God will reciprocate the same love and compassion slave-owners show their slaves.) 10 I have no more to say, brethren, except this; draw your strength from the Lord, from that mastery which his power supplies. (Paul ends his message about interpersonal relationships for the Ephesians in the church focused on Christ. But Paul makes a final point. Their relationships must be guided and strengthened by the power and authority offered from Christ and the Holy Spirit. Christ must become their master,) 11 You must wear all the weapons in God’s armoury, if you would find strength to resist the cunning of the devil. (Paul again acknowledges that the existence of the church is faced with a battle against the evil one. Paul uses the actual physical pieces of armor of a Roman soldier to emphases the strength of God to achieve His objective and to win the battle with the evil one.12 It is not against flesh and blood that we enter the lists; (Paul tells the Ephesians that the battle is not against men but with the evil spirits. Soldiers enter their names on lists that belong to the legions. Followers of Christ enter their names in the book of life.) we have to do with princedoms and powers, with those who have mastery of the world in these dark days, with malign influences in an order higher than ours. (The enemy are legions of the dark angels lead by the devil himself. These evil spirits currently have exceedingly detrimental authority in the current Dark Age. The Ephesians and all of followers of Christ must prepare for battle.) 13 Take up all God’s armour, then; so you will be able to stand your ground when the evil time comes, and be found still on your feet, when all the task is over. (Paul alludes to a future battle but one that is winnable when suited with the armor of God. The battle is not a physical battle but a spiritual battle for souls. Paul describes the battle gear for God’s soldiers through metaphor and analogy. If suited with this gear, the Ephesians will still be standing when their task is complete. The task is to defeat heathenism revealed and imposed by the evil one.) 14 Stand fast, your loins girt with truth, (The type of dress for the ancients was to put a type of smock or girdle around the waist or hips secured with a belt. This dress implied action. The language is similar to the direction given by Moses to the Israelites when they prepared to flee Egypt. Paul compared this action of girting to truth and ordered the Ephesians to stand fast, meaning hold the lines. Truth will always win out against darkness. Truth is never changing and powerful.) the breastplate of justice fitted on, (Justice, one of the four cardinal virtues, is depicted as a breastplate. Justice, like a breastplate, must be fitted to the person. One is not born with justice but acquires it through the years through experience and the use of the other cardinal virtues.) 15 and your feet shod in readiness to publish the gospel of peace. (This phrase is an oxymoron. The entire section has battle overtones with the conflict between good vs evil. Yet this sentence encourages peace spread through the good news. The warrior must have shoes ready for the task, hitting the road and preaching the good news of peace.) 16 With all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the fire-tipped arrows of your wicked enemy; (The shield was another piece of equipment that complemented body armor. With truth, justice and peace, Paul says that the faith of Christ will shield the Ephesians from all of the fiery darts thrown at them by the enemy, the evil one.) 17 make the helmet of salvation your own, (The helmet is the crowning point and is described as salvation to the Ephesians.) and the sword of the spirit, God’s word. (Paul says to use the sword of the Holy spirit, which is the word of God and the good news, to mow down the enemy to achieve peace.) 18 Use every kind of prayer and supplication; pray at all times in the spirit; (Paul tells the Ephesians that they will gain strength and God’s favor through earnest prayer for the battles ahead if they pray in the spirit. How do you pray in the spirit? When the Holy Spirit is active in the lives of the Ephesians, they can do all things through Christ. But the spirit must be asked for. The spirit will not dwell in one not saved through the faith of Christ. The spirit will not stay with one who does not do the works necessary for salvation.) keep awake to that end with all perseverance; (Live your life for this purpose, to preach the good news and defeat the heathens and achieve salvation in the process.) offer your supplication for all the saints. (Paul asks from the Ephesians’ earnest prayer for all of the saints throughout the world in their battle to spread the good news.) 19 Pray for me too, that I may be given words to speak my mind boldly, in making known the gospel revelation, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; (Paul asks for prayers for himself so that he can preach the good news to the Romans even while he is being held in captivity for preaching the good news. Paul described himself as an ambassador for Christ.) that I may have boldness to speak as I ought. (Paul preached to the Romans even while imprisoned by the Romans for that very act, preaching.) 21 If you would know more of my circumstances, my occupations, you may learn all that from Tychicus, my dearly loved brother and faithful servant in the Lord; 22 that is the reason why I have sent him, to let you have news of me, and to bring courage to your hearts. (Paul sent Tychicus, a faithful companion of Paul, with the letter to the Ephesians. Paul tells the Ephesians to ask Tychicus for the details of Paul’s imprisonment. Paul’s main purpose for the letter to the Ephesians was to bring the Jewish leaders and the fledgling gentile church courage during the persecutions of Nero.) 23 Peace to the brethren, and love joined with faith, from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an immortal love. Amen. (Paul extends peace to the Ephesians, a church joined by an undying love and faith in Christ under the direction of God.)
Receive the Penitent
Therefore, O bishop, judge with authority like God, yet receive the penitent; for God is a God of mercy. Rebuke those that sin, admonish those that are not converted, exhort those that stand to persevere in their goodness, receive the penitent; Yet it is very necessary that those who are yet innocent should continue so, and not make an experiment what sin is, that they may not have occasion for trouble, sorrow, and those lamentations which are in order to forgiveness. When you see the offender, with severity command him to be cast out; and as he is going out, let the deacons also treat him with severity, and then let them go and seek for him, and detain him out of the Church; and when they come in, let them entreat you for him. For our Savior Himself entreated His Father for those who had sinned, as it is written in the Gospel: "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." Luke 23:34 Then order the offender to come in; and if upon examination you find that he is penitent, and fit to be received at all into the Church when you have afflicted him his days of fasting, according to the degree of his offense— as two, three, five, or seven weeks— so set him at liberty, and speak such things to him as are fit to be said in way of reproof, instruction, and exhortation to a sinner for his reformation, that so he may continue privately in his humility, and pray to God to be merciful to him; Let the bishop, therefore, extend his concern to all sorts of people: to those who have not offended, that they may continue innocent; to those who offend, that they may repent. Preserve those that are sound, admonish those that sin; and when you have afflicted them with fasting, give them ease by remission; and when with tears the offender begs readmission, receive him, and let the whole Church pray for him; and when by imposition of your hand you have admitted him, give him leave to abide afterwards in the flock. But for the drowsy and the careless, endeavor to convert and confirm, and warn and cure them, as sensible how great a reward you shall have for doing so, and how great danger you will incur if you are negligent therein. Receive the penitent, for this is the will of God in Christ.
Instruct the catechumens in the elements of religion, and then baptize them. Eschew the antheistical heretics, who are past repentance, and separate them from the faithful, and excommunicate them from the Church of God, and charge the faithful to abstain entirely from them, and not to partake with them either in sermons or prayers: for these are those that are enemies to the Church, and lay snares for it; who corrupt the flock, and defile the heritage of Christ, pretenders only to wisdom, and the vilest of men;
They (unrepentant and heretics) are void of the Holy Spirit, which always continues with the faithful.
For the Holy Spirit always abides with those that are possessed of it, so long as they are worthy; and those from whom it is departed, it leaves them desolate, and exposed to the wicked spirit. Now every man is filled either with the holy or with the unclean spirit; and it is not possible to avoid the one or the other, unless they can receive opposite spirits. For the Comforter hates every lie, and the devil hates all truth. But every one that is baptized agreeably to the truth is separated from the diabolical spirit, and is under the Holy Spirit; and the Holy Spirit remains with him so long as he is doing good, and fills him with wisdom and understanding, and suffers not the wicked spirit to approach him, but watches over his goings.
G Grace is an anomaly and an enigma. The church fathers, starting with Augustine, insisted that justification and eventual salvation required grace as an activating agent. So what is grace? Some call it an unmerited favor from God. This favor turns one’s attention towards God when God turns his attention on the recipient. So be it resolved, grace comes only from God. If it comes only from God, how do we know what it is, what it feels like, tastes like and looks like since no one has ever seen God? Augustine said that we humans have no participation in the receipt of this grace. Only God can extend it. We cannot request it or ask for it. Only God can give it and he gives grace to anyone He chooses whenever He chooses. I tend to disagree. I think that God requires some form of human participation in the transfer of grace. God calls all to be saved. So let’s debunk the idea of predestination from the outset. God has not called just a chosen few for heaven and damned the rest of us to hell. That surely would not be a totally good and loving God. So can we agree that grace come only from God and it is available to everyone? But how does one receive grace? Does God just zap you unexpectedly like He did Paul or does He require you to grow, change and plead for it like Augustine did?
This brings us to another question we need to answer, the question of sin, before we can fully understand these questions about grace. We must turn to Pelagius for answers. Pelagianism said that Adam did not create original sin, man is not corrupted with original sin and man can achieve salvation through his own ability because man is inherently good. Pelagianism concluded that man can act morally and attain salvation without the aid of grace. Pelagianism was declared a heresy and rightly so. But then came along semi-Pelagianism. These guys acknowledged original sin but said that faith is a human activity and starts with man accepting the free gift of grace that God leaves hanging there and then and only then does God get involved in our salvation. In other words man’s free will was sufficiently powerful and righteous to ask for grace directly from God. In 529 A.D., the Second Synod of Orange condemned semi-Pelagianism as a heresy. The Synod issued the following cannons: Canon 1. If anyone denies that it is the whole man, that is, both body and soul, that was "changed for the worse" through the offense of Adam's sin, but believes that the freedom of the soul remains unimpaired and that only the body is subject to corruption, he is deceived by the error of Pelagius. (Adam’s sin corrupted the whole man, both body and soul.) Canon 2. If anyone asserts that Adam's sin affected him alone and not his descendants also, or at least if he declares that it is only the death of the body which is the punishment for sin, and not also that sin, which is the death of the soul, passed through one man to the whole human race, he does injustice to God and contradicts the Apostle. (Adam’s sin thoroughly corrupted the whole human race, both body and soul.) Canon 4. If anyone maintains that God awaits our will to be cleansed from sin, but does not confess that even our will to be cleansed comes to us through the infusion and working of the Holy Spirit, he resists the Holy Spirit himself. (Only the Holy Spirit can inspire the human will to be cleansed from sin.) Canon 5. If anyone says that not only the increase of faith but also its beginning and the very desire for faith, by which we believe in Him who justifies the ungodly and comes to the regeneration of holy baptism — if anyone says that this belongs to us by nature and not by a gift of grace, that is, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit amending our will and turning it from unbelief to faith and from godlessness to godliness, it is proof that he is opposed to the teaching of the Apostles. (Both the beginning and increase in faith is a grace from the Holy Spirit that inspires the human will toward faith in Christ.) Canon 6. If anyone says that God has mercy upon us when, apart from his grace, we believe, will, desire, strive, labor, pray, watch, study, seek, ask, or knock, but does not confess that it is by the infusion and inspiration of the Holy Spirit within us that we have the faith, the will, or the strength to do all these things as we ought; or if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle (God’s mercy of grace invades the human soul by the power of the holy spirit and causes our faith and free will to be humble and obedient. Humans can do nothing to aid in the transmission of grace. It is a free gift.) Canon 7. If anyone affirms that we can form any right opinion or make any right choice which relates to the salvation of eternal life, as is expedient for us, or that we can be saved, that is, assent to the preaching of the gospel through our natural powers without the illumination and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, who makes all men gladly assent to and believe in the truth, he is led astray by a heretical spirit, (Only the Holy Spirit can cause the human will to assent to and believe the truths of the Gospel.) Canon 8. If anyone maintains that some are able to come to the grace of baptism by mercy but others through free will, which has manifestly been corrupted in all those who have been born after the transgression of the first man, it is proof that he has no place in the true faith. For he denies that the free will of all men has been weakened through the sin of the first man, or at least holds that it has been affected in such a way that they have still the ability to seek the mystery of eternal salvation by themselves without the revelation of God. The Lord himself shows how contradictory this is by declaring that no one is able to come to him "unless the Father who sent me draws him" (John 6:44) (Free will has been corrupted by Adam such that only God’s mercy and grace can reveal the reward of eternal salvation through baptism.) Canon 13. Concerning the restoration of free will. The freedom of will that was destroyed in the first man can be restored only by the grace of baptism, for what is lost can be returned only by the one who was able to give it. (Only Baptism can restore the freedom of will.) Conclusion. And thus according to the passages of Holy Scripture quoted above or the interpretations of the ancient Fathers we must, under the blessing of God, preach and believe as follows. The sin of the first man has so impaired and weakened free will that no one thereafter can either love God as he ought or believe in God or do good for God's sake, unless the grace of divine mercy has preceded him. We therefore believe that the glorious faith which was given to Abel the righteous, and Noah, and Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and to all the saints of old, and which the Apostle Paul <sic> commends in extolling them (Heb. 11), was not given through natural goodness as it was before to Adam, but was bestowed by the grace of God. And we know and also believe that even after the coming of our Lord this grace is not to be found in the free will of all who desire to be baptized, but is bestowed by the kindness of Christ,… According to the catholic faith we also believe that after grace has been received through baptism, all baptized persons have the ability and responsibility, if they desire to labor faithfully, to perform with the aid and cooperation of Christ what is of essential importance in regard to the salvation of their soul. We not only do not believe that any are foreordained to evil by the power of God, but even state with utter abhorrence that if there are those who want to believe so evil a thing, they are anathema. We also believe and confess to our benefit that in every good work it is not we who take the initiative and are then assisted through the mercy of God, but God himself first inspires in us both faith in him and love for him without any previous good works of our own that deserve reward, so that we may both faithfully seek the sacrament of baptism, and after baptism be able by his help to do what is pleasing to him. We must therefore most evidently believe that the praiseworthy faith of the thief whom the Lord called to his home in paradise, and of Cornelius the centurion, to whom the angel of the Lord was sent, and of Zacchaeus, who was worthy to receive the Lord himself, was not a natural endowment but a gift of God's kindness. (Adam corrupted human free will so that no one could love God unless preceded by His merciful grace. Righteous faith of old was bestowed by the grace of God. After the appearance of Christ, faith was bestowed by the grace of the Holy Spirit through baptism. All baptized persons are imparted with a desire and free will to labor for salvation. No one is predestined to evil. The desire to do good works is not a natural endowment but a gift of god’s kindness.) This is what the Catholic Church believes and preaches.
Then Calvin came along 1000 years later and stated that man is totally depraved, man can do nothing toward his salvation and grace is extended only to those whom God predestined from the beginning of time. The Council of Trent declared Calvin and Luther heretics but never fully addressed the issue of how or why a human first desires and then receives God’s grace. Does one have to ask for God’s grace or does God give it only to those he chooses? Or is it a combination of man’s desire and God’s intent. Is it conferred only through baptism? It must be one or the other or can it be a combination of both? It seems to me that it either must be semi Pelagian in nature or Calvinistic in nature (two extremes), but both have been declared heresies. We already saw what the Catholic Church says about original sin, grace and baptism. But questions still remain. The Catholic Church has still not resolved the question of transmission of grace from God to man. What causes a person to convert, who is never baptized until later in life, like Paul or Constantine? Or why does one who is baptized as an infant still seek and participate in evil? What darkens a baptized soul like Adolph Hitler or converts a heathen like Augustine? And why are some never baptized or converted at all? Does man must act or does God fail to act? These are the questions still unanswered.
I believe that man was originally burdened with original sin as a result of Adam’s transgression. When God sent Himself to earth, Christ did not appear as a good example for us to follow. But He did in fact give his life for mankind. Sin and death were conquered once and for all by His death and resurrection. But which type of sin was vanquished, individual sin, original sin or both? I am tempted to conclude that Christ conquered both. Individual sin can now be forgiven upon request in the form of confession. But if original sin is vanquished, it no longer exists. I believe that when God currently creates new souls at conception, they are pure and free from all sin, both original and individual. Since the crucifixion of Christ, I propose that we are no longer burdened with original sin. At conception, a child’s soul is pure and perfect. Free will is pure and perfect also. However the child is born into an imperfect world. God puts us to the test like He did Job. God lets us choose our actions. Most, if not all, choose incorrectly because we have poor examples to follow, depraved friends and family. When a child is baptized, the Holy Spirit fortifies his or her free will. The Holy Spirit then becomes our paraclete and guide. The Holy Spirit and the seven sacraments become the graces of God. These are the free gifts God extends to humanity. God freely extends these graces but we must chose them to fully attach ourselves to them. What happens when we don’t accept them? We create individual sin for ourselves, we lose our way, we lose the support of the Holy Spirit and we drift until death. Some eventually realize the purpose in this life, a journey to eternal salvation. The reward is a conversion. Others continue in the cycle of sin and confession, never getting out of the rut. Some remain in sin forever.
Take my life story as an example. I was baptized as an infant, maybe at eight days of age. I can remember when I was a young child, I was innocent as a babe. I followed my elders and teachers and obeyed my parents. No violation of the Ten Commandments for me. I loved God and neighbor. Then I began hanging around with older kids and my venture into the cesspool of humanity began. I always retained a distant attachment to the church but I never fully committed. I received the graces of Holy Communion, Confession, Confirmation and Marriage. But I would sin and then ask for forgiveness, sin and ask for forgiveness. I knew I was doing wrong deeds in the process but it only moderately burdened me. I would rock along with life, face a moderate setback, and then get on me feet again. This cycle would continue for 48 years. Then finally I faced a major crisis in my life with the loss of a job. That one incident knocked me flat on my back. It was a Paul experience. I didn’t request nor was I seeking a conversion like Augustine. I can only assume that it was God who instigated the whole process. But this incident (loss of a job) deeply affected me. As a result of this catastrophe, I could have gone down the wide path with evil as my guide; or I could have chosen the narrow path with the Holy Spirit as my guide. I don’t know if God influences all of our decisions. I am sure there are many people who turn from God and refuse to listen when major events happen in their lives. In my case I chose God and listened to Him. God extended more graces to me, faith, hope and charity, and I accepted. He has offered justice, prudence, temperance, and fortitude and I have accepted. He has presented wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord and I have accepted. So I guess the answer to all of my questions is that God acts first by tendering graces, and then we humans must decide to receive and act upon these free gifts. God extended grace to me for 48 years and I never responded. Or did I? Was my grace the rewards of a home, wife, children and a job for 20 years? If it was, I never grasped the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Or did I? I detested my sin but I never accepted the power of the Holy Spirit, if He was residing in me, to finally give up sin for good. I relished sin and I couldn’t give it up. I doubt the spirit was in me. The Holy Spirit did not reside in me or if He did, I didn't realize it or accept Him. Then I was zapped. My world view changed. My attention was finally fully focused on God. Why did it take me 48 years? Was it my free will or was it God’s grace? I know God's grace was at work, for I would have never changed otherwise. But I did have to finally make the decision to change. Grace is an enigma.