WHY ARE WE HERE ?
by Ralph Pahlow
looking at the planet (God's garden), His premier creation (man) and all living things beneath us in the pyramid
of life, there is only one conclusion to be drawn from the evidence and that is that it has been and still is the
product of a Supernatural Power.
That Supernatural Power continues His creative works today.
Man, after Adam and Eve, has always been vested by the Creator with a need for faith in something other than himself, other men, or man made creations. Ancient civilizations such as the Incas in Peru, the Mayas of Mexico, the indigenous populations of the United States, Canada and Alaska, were all worshipers of a higher power. Biblical representations of the various styles of worship extant in all societies B.C. confirm and emphasize one of the basic ingredients of a Christian God's many blessings bestowed on us at birth through His creative largesse, that being the need for faith.
Christianity, the first of very few monotheistic religions existing today remains the only such faith advocating unconditional love as the principal attitude required to overcome circumstances or adversaries. All faiths including Christianity require prayer for successful outcomes, but only Christianity overcomes adversity through the exercise of unconditional love.
A second most striking difference between two of the largest monotheistic religions today (Islam and Christianity) is the Christian belief that God has endowed us with the right of choice , the right to make bad or wrong decisions for our own misguided efforts to satisfy our misperceived self interests.
I don't think too much can be made of a Christian's right to be wrong. Respect for the gift of choice enables the believer to separate the fruit of the transgressor from the transgressor himself, the consequence of which is the ability to love the transgressor unconditionally while rendering judgement of his fruit. Furthermore, I believe judging the transgressor's fruit privately and publicly to be constructive. It is a responsibility all Christians have in the natural, a process of communal correction all of us need to keep us "pressing on" in the right direction according to the Word.
The reality of the wooly mammoth, the sabre tooth tiger, and various and sundry species of dinosaurs, along with the Darwinian theory of evolution, can be seen as the works of an unbelievably Creative Mind. The garden, you see, is still in a state of flux.
Scientific discoveries, such as the blue print for life (DNA), is an example of one of many of God's mysteries that God has allowed scientists to reveal. The blue print of life for a chicken has a commonality with man's of upwards of 80 %. You can see from that how close we came to being birds of a feather!
While the Lord has a plan for all our lives, it is not necessarily predestined that we walk that path. Two huge - HUGE - stumbling blocks impede the way to salvation: choice and style of worship. Slavish addiction to style on the part of any given Christian inhibits that personage to effectively communicate with his brethren, an obstacle not easily surmounted. Style has nothing to do with substance. It is the substance that should be the focus of the church encouraging the variety of Christian flocks to present a unified front when confronted by the wiles and ways of the prince of darkness in our lives in the natural. So what is that substance, you ask? It is the belief that Christ lived, died, and rose on the third day following. That His message of unconditional LOVE conquers ALL.
Isn't that what all styles of Christian worship have in common?
Different styles of worship are the result of church leadership inspirations created to achieve that goal for the flock, some of which are salutary influences that are helpfull in that regard, others of which are at best confusing. The fruit of both when compared to the Word enable the faithfull to discern the difference.
That is why personal intimacy with the Word is so critically important to each of us.
And that is why I believe it is our sacred duty to be as knowledgeable as each of us can with respect to our gardening responsibilities of His Garden and our ability to help each other be the best we can be. The Bible calls for Christians to nurture believers and non alike. Isn' t that an expression of unconditional love?
The Milky Way Galaxy
to terms with reality and the influences thereon by the supernatural are difficult concepts to individually prioritize
and balance so that one can effectively deal with wordly and otherwordly concerns.
That requires knowledge of the tree of knowledge. The Bible is silent about the how to's in the arts, crafts, farming and the myriad skills necessary to maintain and enjoy life in the natural, isn't it? Could that be another reason why the Father created us with a brain and other bodily gifts and talents helpful in doing our part, enabling us to "play our position" with competence, joy and confidence?
Christians are urged to unite in waging war against the principality of darkness. We are not urged to lock step with one another in fighting the good fight.
Each of us must wage that war with the gifts and talents given us by the Father at birth, developed to the fullest. The fear some of us have at becoming just another smileingwallmartbutton Christian can thus be dismissed without apprehensions about giving up our God given individuality... I feel the wagging finger of "pride" pointed at this thought.
Do you think this conflict can successfully be fought by Christians confronting the enemy phalanx after phalanx, formation after formation? I don't think so. That was a tactic of old that failed. Isn't the failure to win what the propets repeatedly railed against?
To overcome the enemy of this world, the demons inside and outside ourselves, a favorable outcome can only result from "playing our position" as well as we can with faith, competence and confidence - that's confidence, not arrogance.
As a newcomer to the faith, I am not prepared to take this attitude to the cross. However, I am prepared to lay it down at the cross if another's contribution to the Christian interpretive stew demonstrates that it is a path not recommended to be walked by the Word.
The Christian mind set must not be cast in stone. It must remain sufficiently open to respect the varying interpretations of the past as well as those of today and tomorrow, for all of the secrets of the Bible have yet to be revealed. Respect does not equate with accept.
The fact that too many of the Christian mind sets have been cast in stone has resulted in patrolling the same mountain for 2003 years and counting. That attitude is getting us nowhere.
The Word was a work in progress from Abraham to Jesus to Paul to John. As a product of oral and written traditions, it reflects hellinistic and hebraic influences which in no way can be characterized as uninspired!
The fact that it contains mysteries yet to be revealed attests to the fact that it lives.
I presently believe Christians are the "team", the tools of the Almighty whose responsibility it is to maintain civility, order and respect for each other in the garden we all call home. How well we execute His instructions in that regard constitutes the "test" to which we are being subjected, and that, my friends, is Why We Are Here...!
Adam and Eve ate fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Thus man was born into a world of carnality, but not necessarily because of the fruit the first couple partook of, but more to the point, because they disobeyed the Father of us all.
Similarly, glancing sideways, up or down, benign behavior in it's own right, caused Lot's wife to be turned into a pillar of salt for looking back to view the destruction of Sodom, their former home, after being advised by the Angels assisting in their escape not to look back!
Whether the punishment befits the crime is not for us to judge.
Disobedience to the Lord's commands result in awesome consequences, consequences possibly postponed till the day of judgement. Life in the natural must be tempered by the realization that there is an eternity that ultimately will have to be reckoned with.
We see in The Parable of the Talents, Matthew 25:14-29, that the master rebuked the third servant for his unproductivity with regard to the one talent he was given for safekeeping in the master's absence. In fact, the master, so angered by the return of the selfsame single talent given him by the third servant upon his return, took the talent, which the servant had kept safe, and gave it to the first servant who had not only kept safe the five talents originally given him for safekeeping, but turned the five into ten to the master's benefit. To add injury to the rebuke, the third servant was dismissed from service. So much for carrying out to the letter the master's charge and playing it safe.
Bear in mind that this parable is coming from the mouth of Jesus.
Where did the first servant acquire the knowledge enabling him to double the master's coin?
Jesus even suggests that the rebuke of the third servant's unwillingness to exercise any judgement beyond his initial commission, includes the suggestion that at the very least the third servant could have put the single talent into an interest bearing instrument, a thought assuming knowledge of the world, is it not?
Moral: While living in God's Garden, it is our duty and responsibility to realize the gifts given us at birth to the maximum.
The maximization process can only be achieved through knowledge of the Word and that gained through digestion of the fruit of the tree of knowledge. There is "good" to be harvested here. We have the choice to harvest the "bad" as well. So? That brings us full circle to the Heavenly inspired gift of free will. . . God suggests - you decide.
Very few of the Lord's gifts are born child prodigies. The rest of us need teaching and education to fulfill the promise we were gifted with at birth.
The reality here is Ignorance of the world leaves most of us ill equipped to "run the good race", to appropriately worship and glorify the Father and His works in accordance with what our gifts will allow.
Do you really think it is God's will that we deny ourselves knowledge of the world?
The apostolic mission we are all encouraged to pursue, to spread the word of truth and light and witness to other believers and non, examples of which do not of necessity require a home base, a building in which to find refuge from the trials of life. Our refuge is found in faith, not brick and mortar. The proliferation of church buildings here in Phoenix and elsewhere seems to suggest that style has superceded substance, a strange anomaly indeed, since building monuments to style can be equated with the worship of lessor gods, can it no? The question is "Does each Christian variation on a theme demand a monument to itself to demonstrate the validity of its' teachings?"
Are there insufficient numbers of available public gathering places for the faithful to practice their own variation?
Is a network of fixed addresses best calculated to present a unified Christian front? Jesus started from scratch and ended with scratch. We can only marvel at the fruits of His teachings.
Wasn't the Ark of the Covenant portable?
What have concerns of leaky roofs, disabled plumbing, building maintenance, not to mention taxes, to do with Christian tradition and it's teaching?
Paul and all the Disciples mirrored the Saviors life style while with us.
The incentive to acquire things (like buildings) smacks of the ambition of man rather than the result of Heavenly Inspiration.
I believe that we are on the brink of a new Christian Era fueled by a greater participation by the flock about the teachings of the Word by the pastoral community and the Biblical directions that the Lord wants us follow. This new Christian Era may feature the sheep running herd on the shepherd, a counterbalancing influence of moderation first seen in the American Constitution, a Heavenly inspired document promulgated by an anointed group of Christians.
One of the world's great Christian religions has ruled absolutely and as a result has become absolutely corrupted. Condoning predatory pedaphelia is a sin against God the magnitude of which can hardly be overstated. How could this have happened?
Without reading the Word, which they were once forbidden to do, lay Catholics couldn't possibly have served as an effective counter balance to the weight of the canon and the church hierarchy whose leadership was never questioned lest the questioner be characterized as being disobedient, a cardinal sin, or worse - excommunicated. Blind obedience to the church's leadership dictates were, can be and probably are, in too many cases today, detrimental to the flock's ability to thicken it's breastplate of faith.
Third party leadership interpretations of the Word and the acceptance thereof by the flock can only result in a dictatorial monolith, which may unexpectedly give rise to something decidedly non Christian.
How one determines why he is here decides the issue. Leaving it all up to God may seriously impair your relationship with the Father.
While my input to the Christian discourse may well differ from your's, an open dialogue between varied viewpoints can be resolved by reaching a consensus on the points at issue or trumped by an even more authoritarian Biblical view than that which either of us hold.
Would such discourse be good for the faith? Yes. Would views in the extreme come to the fore? Yes. The further removed from Biblicality, the less likely such views would prevail. If they do, there is always the last resort of removing oneself from the congregation.
How many times have we been regaled with the institutionalized dogma of preparation to spread God's Word? How prepared were the disciples? How many underwent an academic regimen to be prepared? They were sent out to spread the Word with only the Teacher's lessons and example to go by.
The point is not to be so intimidated by the interpretative powers you possess as to keep you silent. Let the gifts you have be expressed in a public Christian forum before letting your feet do the talking for you.
Catholics believing in a woman's right to choose are ignorant of the Word. They may properly present themselves as catholic, but by no means are they Catholic.
I am beginning to wonder at the current clamor about end times.
Perhaps a look back to the social and political environment that Jesus grew up and died in would put the impending apocalypse in a less frightening or joyful light, depending on one's point of view. All the prophets expected it momentarily - and were wrong.
That's not to say that it won't happen - some time in the indeterminate future. Our responsibilities are the care of the garden and nurturing those, man and beast, living in it. Let us not get obsessed with the prospect that life in the garden as we know it will come to an end.
Fear of it's coming sooner rather than later can serve as an added impetus to get ready. It can also serve as a reason for complacence. How often did Solomon say "life is meaningless", while recovering later to a more upbeat attitude. Thoughts such as those are certainly depressing and not best calculated to bring forth the best in each of us. So let what will happen happen in God's own good time. Meanwhile let's not take our eye "off the ball".
From Smith's Bible Dictionary we learn that God told Noah to build an ark 1,000 years before Abraham and 1,400 years before Moses received the Ten Commandments from the Father. Moses preceded Jesus by about 1,500 years which makes the Christian Era in the year 2,003 extended to its' origins, 4,900 years young.
Archeologists suggest that indigenous peoples lived in the Grand Canyon possibly as long as 50,000 years ago. They also suggest that some of the specific Indian civilizations lasted 10,000 years. Considering the age of the planet, some measuring in the millions of years, it strikes me that the Christian Era is nearer the beginning than the end. If so, then all the more reason to "keep our eyes on the ball".
When I first read Ralph's article "Why Are We Here?", what came flying into my mind are the words of our Lord, "...Occupy till I come." Believers in Messiah are to 'occupy ourselves with the things of God' till He comes, Luke 19:13. I love how Ralph puts it, "keep our eyes on the ball." The Ball being naturally the Son of the Living God. This is good advice my friends, and I take it to heart. This life is a test, and we will either pass it by being in found in Yeshua (Jesus) or fail it by being found outside of Him. If you do not know Yeshua (Jesus) go here: 8 Steps To A New Beginning
Ralph Pahlow and his wife Cathy, are dear friends of mine, two people who live everyday for the Lord. The Lord found Ralph back in 1999, and when Ralph came to the Lord, he came with all his many questions. Now God is not afraid of anyones questions, as long as they are honest ones, and Ralph's are. Today many of his questions are being answered, and I'm sure with Ralph's sharp mind and quick wit, we will hear more from him in the future. Ralph's book, "A Journey Of Conscience," is his honest feelings from his journaling everyday for God. As I read it, I saw in this big man (6'7"), his gentle spirit that the Lord is molding into the image of His Beloved Son Yeshua (Jesus), and for me it was wonderful to behold.
Measuring the millions of years into 6 days
Many Christians argue and disagree over the age of the planet, however in light of Dr. Gerald Schroeder research, I think many Christians are now rethinking what they had believed about a young earth theory. If you have never read Dr. Gerald Schroeder's book, "The Science of God" I think you should. If you want to read Dr. Gerald Schroeder's article: "The Age of the Universe" click: How can 15 billion years be six days?
I think you will find that Science can prove God did create this world in just 6, 24 hour days, yet it is 15 billion year old. Great reading.
Rev. Barbara Di Gilio