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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Too Earthly Minded, No Heavenly Good

About a month ago I was at a business meeting for work. My boss handed out a sheet of paper that had several questions to answer like, "What is in a Ahi Steak Salad?" or "When was the last time you degreased the walls?" The last question was, "When was the last time you feel you went out of your way to serve at Don Juan's?" There were many answers to that question like doing someone else's job, coming in on the day off, and staying late to mop floors, but when those were discussed I started thinking about if those things were really above and beyond the call of duty.
As a little girl my mom would designate cleaning days. She would tell me that I was on her clock, to a certain extent, an employee. She taught me that anything that I was asked to do during that time should be done immediately, well, and without complaining. If by dinner I had not completed those allotted tasks, I was expected to continue working until bedtime and finish them the next day.
As an employee I can apply these same principles. Anything my shift is required to complete should be done before we leave. If this means helping a co-worker, picking up a shift, or staying late to do chores, it is a requirement. It is my duty to do it well. When I signed the line and clocked in for the first time, I was agreeing to give my bosses my time to do with as they pleased. Nothing that was asked of me during that time was outside of my duty. Living up to their high standards is part of the requirement.
This realization enabled me to apply this to my Christian walk. When I accepted Christ as my Savior, I agreed to live up to His standards until He clocks me out. He gave me a guide book, so I can learn His requirements and live up to His standard. This means that I need to actively apply everything He commands in my life and actively resist everything I am called to prohibit. While this task is daunting, He gives me others to help me, the Holy Spirit to guide me, and the ability to live up to His standard. All the rest of the time I have is His. He died for me, so that I might live. As it ays in the Old Testament, " A Life for a Life." It isn't a suggestion it is a job requirement.
Some say that living like this would make a person so heavenly minded they are no earthly good. I disagree. A real and dangerous issue in Christianity today is the rise of Christians who are messing around and not doing their job. In the Bible it says that if we don't take care of it, God will step in and "clock them out early." We all need to be reminded that we are living on His time and we should also be wary of becoming Christians who are too earthly minded that they are no heavenly good.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Living Life Proverbially - Continued

Last time I began the key themes in Proverbs with Fearing the Lord

2) Pursue Wisdom - Proverbs 1:2, Proverbs 2:2
- Don't Follow Sinners - Proverbs 1:10-12
- Calamity will come if you do not - Proverbs 1:27-30
- Those who listen will be safe - Proverbs 1:33
-If you seek her, you will find her - Proverbs 2:3-6
- Wisdom is more precious than jewels - Proverbs 3: 13-20
-Keep Wisdom with you always - Proverbs 3: 21-23
-Prize her - Proverbs 4:4-8

3) Listen to your parents' teaching- Proverbs 1:8, Proverbs 3:1, Proverbs 4:1-2
- Do not be wise in your own eyes - Proverbs 3:7-8
- Do good always, at any time - Proverbs 3:27-28
- Put away deceitful speech - Proverbs 4:23-24
- Obey your parents - Proverbs 6:20
- Be guided by your parents - Proverbs 6:21-23

These are only a few of the themes in Proverbs, but still it takes a lifetime to apply them.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Living Life Proverbially

We often hear, " A penny saved is a penny earned." or , "A closed mouth catches no flies.". Proverbs have been used in every country in every era and the best ones are carried on for generations. Proverbs are universal statements that contain advice on how to live. As they say, "A country can be judged by the quality of its proverbs."
But we are not of this world, Christians, it says in Hebrews, "But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city." As "nomads of the earth" we have a complete set of proverbs to live by. We are given by Solomon thirty-one chapters of principles to learn. Unfortunately I do not think that we take them to heart as we should. I found forty life principles in the first six chapters. While I will not share all forty, I would like to share the themes the principles rest upon.

1) Fear the Lord - Proverbs 1:7, Proverbs 3:7
- He is your shield and protector - Proverbs 2:7-8
- Trust in the Lord - Proverbs 3:5-6
- Give God the first of all you have - Proverbs 3:9
- Do not reject His discipline - Proverbs 3:11
- There are seven things the Lord hates - Proverbs 6: 16-19
- Pride
- Lies
- Murder
- Malicious Heart
- Desires Evil
- False Witness
- Contentious One

The Proverbial Challenge:
Try living up to the standards of Proverbs. Once we know these things we can't ignore them. It is hard, but who said being a Christian was easy?





Monday, August 30, 2010

Coming of Age

Lately, I haven't been as good about blogging. From life decisions to jobs and looking for scholarships I haven't had much time to read or pretty much do anything. Somewhere in the midst of it all I lost a my focus on the big picture and forget to apply what I have learned in the last few years to life now. You would thing after reading as many coming-of-age and advice for life books as I have I would at least know what to do, but apparently everyone has to live it for themselves and learn that pursuing God is the only way to live. He has a plan and He will guide me. I just need to trust Him and be patient. I know that even if what I want now falls through I can trust Him with my future and live life laterally.
Hopefully, I will be blogging more often. I just picked up a George McDonald Treasury and the Manchurian President to read. Also I am reading Proverbs right now and listing all the principles to live by. I can't wait to share all of this with you.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Short Break: Righteousness and Complacency

Lately I have been led to really pursue righteousness for a Christian this might seem pretty self explanatory, but I was surprised at how difficult it is to move out of the complacency in some areas of my life. I realized the things that were keeping me from Christ were not what I was doing, but what I wasn't doing. I wasn't spending enough time with HIm, I wasn't renewing my mind daily, I wasn't focused on HIm. I started thinking about how I would begin a good relationship with someone and realized that I would make room for some one I really cared about, I would go after them and not stop thinking about them. It says in Matthew 5:6, " Blessed are those who pursue righteousness for theirs is the kingdom of God." My prayer right now is that I will have the strength and perseverance to continually pursue something I will never fully grasp in this life.
In Deuteronomy it says to love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. In 1 Timothy it says, "For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." Paul had poured out himself until all that was left was God and His grace. That is all that deserves to control my life. How about yours?

Friday, July 2, 2010

A Man Is Only As Good As His Thoughts: Genesis 6:5

" The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the face of the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" - Genesis 6:5

It says in many places in the Bible that sin originates in the mind. As men we are just as capable of sinning with our thoughts as we are of sinning physically in some cases even more so because we forget that there is an ever present Watcher who knows our thoughts. In Christ we are called to hold our thoughts captive to the Word and love God with all our heart soul mind and strength bending every wayward idea to Christ's standard. In the time of Noah these men were constantly dwelling on evil causing their words and deeds to become increasingly evil to point where, "seeking to become wise they became fools exchanging the truth of God for a lie worshipping the creature rather than the Creator" (Rom 1: 22-23)
Because of man's fallen nature he desires evil; there is no good in him. As Christians we must not allow ourselves to be led astray by those who should be led to Christ. Our thoughts can be held captive by Christ or the World and we must fight to "work out our salvation with fear and, trembling for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work His good pleasure."
(Phil. 2: 12b-13)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Am I My Brothers Keeper?

Cain's arrogance in chapter four of Genesis is covering up the guilt for the murder of his brother. Thinking he can fool God he tries to blow Him off with a sarcastic retort about whether or not it is his (Cain's) job to keep track of Able. God calls Cain on it telling him what he has done and cursing him to the life of a nomad.
But this all roots from Cain's rebellious spirit. Earlier in this chapter Cain's sacrifice is rejected because he does not present the Lord with the right offering. The offering here shows that Cain's heart was not in the right place. God calls for obedience to His commands. At this time it was a lamb for an offering symbolizing the coming Christ. Cain gave his first fruits instead. As a result of this rejection Cain became angry with Able because God favored him for obeying Him. Thus, Cain killed Able.
It is interesting to note that although Cain was bothered when he was asked where Able was, there is no sign that he was just as disgruntled when God told Him his sin. Don't we do the same? Can't we be just as hypocritical? We are bothered by the inconvenience of responsibility, but at the same time are taught by the culture that sin is fine and to be expected making it all the more difficult to be in the world, but not of it.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Man's Curse

To the woman he said,
"I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing;
with pain you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you."
To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,'
"Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat of it
all the days of your life.

It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.

By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return."

The second part of Eve's curse is the interesting part. There are many things that happened when God cursed Adam and Eve: thistles and weeds grew, Eve had pain in childbirth, Adam had to do hard labor to get food, and they were going to both die, but it is interesting to note that in verse sixteen God is talking about a power struggle within there marriage. Eve would desire to rule over Adam. Isn't it interesting how women have sought to rule and dominate over men since that day. They do this without realizing that God put Eve and every woman in a place to protect her.

God gives the reason for man's curse, "Because you listened to your wife and ate..." Eve stepped out of her role acting without his leadership, council, or protection and Adam listened to his wife's folly abandoning his role of leadership. God's roles were reversed.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Snake's Curse: Physical and Spiritual

Genesis 3:14 - 15 says,"So the LORD God said to the serpent, 'Because you have done this,
Cursed are you above all the livestock
and all the wild animals!
You will crawl on your belly
and you will eat dust
all the days of your life.

And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring [a] and hers;
he will crush [b] your head,
and you will strike his heel.'"

Many think that before the Fall snakes not only had feet, but maybe even wings. After the curse it was made the symbol of everything dubious and low. God stripped it of its honor for being a tool used by the fallen Lucifer. Since then the snake has been used in many cultures and religions as a symbol of death, mortality, and evil. Also it is interesting to think about the fact that the snake has been set at the head of many false religions. Satan is still trying to use the snake to deceive people and put himself on the same level as God. In ancient Greece the temple of Apollo at Delphi was originally named Pytho for the Python, a snake that was associated with Apollo. In Egypt it symbolized the god Ra and every temple had a space alloted for snakes. In Rome they kept one sacred snake attended to by the vestal virgins. When the snake refused food from one of its care givers, it was thought that she had lost her purity; she was killed.

The first Messianic prophesy is given to us here. God first cursed the physical serpent, but then moved to the spiritual one. Essentially it says that between unbelievers and the Messiah there will be tension and strife. Also this passage tells us that even though the Messiah will be caused to suffer by the serpent, the serpent will be destroyed by the Messiah. Jesus Christ fulfilled this on the cross where he was caused to suffer, but in the end He conquered Satan and Death by returning to life. In Romans 16:20 Paul tells us, "The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you." This reminds us who believe now that because of Christ's finished work on the cross we are also of the woman's seed. This means that we will be at odds with unbelievers in our world for they are part of the serpents offspring.

Sources:
Info on snake worship
MacArthur Bible Commentary

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Oldest Art: Blame Shifting

""Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?" He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid." And he said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?" The man said, "The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it." Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."" - Genesis 3:8-13

It is a truth universally acknowledged that all mankind when in trouble will shift the blame to the next available scapegoat like spiders to their webs so is man to blame shifting. when the Lord God came into the garden he knew where Adam and Eve were, but he was giving them the chance to repent from their sin. Adam and Eve take the opportunity, but where before they came innocently to worship their Creator, now they justify their absence and in justifying themselves incriminate themselves even more. When asked if they disobeyed each admits to the fall, but lays the blame on another. How typical...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Essence of Christian Hedonism

The apostle Paul once said in Colossians 1:24, "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of His body..." We know as Christians that we are to glorify God with our lives. It is our chief end. Christ said to take up your cross daily and follow Him. He also said, " Blessed are the persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of God."
Suffering is an integral part of our faith and, strange as it may seem, beautiful consummation of our relationship with Christ. In Isaiah 50 we are given an example of Christ's suffering. Even though He was beaten and tortured He honored God and stood by the truth. This selfless act of sacrifice glorified God more than anything else in history, it was the fulfillment of His purpose. When Christ said, "It is finished.", God the Father had been satisfied.
There is a saying, "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him." Every martyr for the gospel found all their fulfillment in Christ knowing that they were made to glorify Him and through this they found their joy. It is the essence of Christian Hedonism, to know Christ in the fellowship of His suffering.

Monday, June 7, 2010

And Then They Fell...

When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they (B)knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. - Genesis 3: 6-7
In every culture there is some type of fall story. The Greeks had Pandora who opened a box releasing evil into the world, the Gnostics believe that the snake was in the right and Adam and Eve were banished because they presented a threat to God, and the Christians, Jews, and Muslims all believe in the Fall of man according to the Genesis three account. It is interesting to note that the Mormons believe that the Fall was necessary to fulfill God's first command (Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth) and Eve knowing this partook of the fruit.
The true account in Genesis three tells us that Eve was deceived in three ways. First, she believed that the fruit was physically good. Second, it emotionally aroused her. After this she thought that it was necessary for wisdom. She was deceived. If we go to
2 Corinthians 11:3 Paul verifies that Eve was deceived by the Devil and that, as Christians, we can be deceived in much the same way. Our thoughts can be "led astray from a pure devotion to Christ". How? By false teachers, false doctrine, and false spirits we are to apt to accept. Every day we accept things like this. We are told to remain tolerant of homosexual agenda, political propaganda, and health practices that are immoral and dangerous.
As for Adam's part in the fall, the Bible simply says that he ate it. There was no deception involved. He knowingly disobeyed God and broke His command.
As Christians in America today we need to be aware of deception and flagrant disobedience. We need to actively stay away from those things that have the potential to pull us away from Christ. But when we fail, because we will, we should remember the words of Thomas a Kempis,
"Be of more even mind, and gird yourself to greater endurance. All is not lost, although you feel yourself very often afflicted and grievously tempted. You are a man, not God; you are flesh, not an angel. How could you continue always in the same state of virtue when an angel in heaven has failed in this, as also the first man in the garden of Eden?"

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Misery Loves Its Company

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?"The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.' ""You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." (Genesis 3:1-5)

Somewhere between the end of the last chapter and the beginning of this Lucifer, the Angel of Light, rebelled against God because he wanted to be above God (Isaiah 14:13 - 14), a God unto himself. When God cast him out of heaven, Lucifer, now Satan, gave himself the form of a snake and went down to destroy the paradise God had created. Eve in her innocence corrected Satan's exaggerated assumption, a seed planted to produce doubt in her mind. With the seed planted Satan went on to say that God was holding back from man something that was good for them and He was being selfish. Satan sought to destroy their innocence and in doing so separate them from God like he was separated. Is not the saying "misery loves its company"?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Institution of Marriage

Genesis 2: 18, 24 ,"Then the LORD God said, 'It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.'...Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh."

I have heard so many things about marriage from every side. The secular world says it is out of date. Some say the woman is there to serve the man, others say she needs to take charge of the arrangement.God tells us here that there is only one way, His. He created a perfect role for each spouse that causes (when followed) fulfillment in life. When one or both step outside of that, it causes strife and contention ultimately causing their hearts to close up to one another.

The husband was created to protect, lead, and love his wife. The wife was made to support, follow, and respect the husband. When the wife respects the husband and follows him even though she does not want to, it inspires love in the husband for his wife creating a beautiful circle. When we strive to be like Christ in marriage, He will bless us by making us more like Him.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Why the Health Bill is Unconstitutional

The healthcare bill is unconstitutional because it is not stated in the constitution that makes it unconstitutional. Article one section 8 gives tells them what they are supposed to do and section nine says what they can't do. The Anti - Federalists were not happy with these limits and passed the 10th Amendment - The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people - this means the states are responsible for there own healthcare system. Have you read the Constitution - please read it if you have not. Our society is so messed up, but if we want to go back to what was originally intended we need to read and learn for ourselves

The Health Bill and Genesis 2:7

“Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history. We of the Congress and this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation.” - President Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln wrote this to Congress one month before he signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This morning it was quoted by Pro-lifers at a press conference. At this same conference it was said that any one that voted for this bill could no longer call themselves this for they will have placed the lives of the unborn children into the hands of this country's most pro-choice president yet. These people depend on the hope that President Obama will pass an executive order that will not allow Federal spending on abortion, but as one of the representatives said, "the executive order is an illusory promise that won't stand for a week..."

As I begin to go through God's word, I am struck by Genesis 2:7, "And the Lord God formed man out of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul." The same man who quoted Lincoln also said the image of God is being ignored and destroyed. God gave man life. Earlier the Bible says, " So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them."

These men who are seeking to pass this bill are suppressing the truth in unrighteousness, they are short sheeting history. God had Israel decimate the Amalekites for killing the children in their women's wombs. Rome fell when they destroyed the image of God through abortion, homosexuality, pedophilia, and murder.

I will continue on other themes of Genesis two, but this verse applies so much to our day and age. God set up so many key principles in the first days of creation, if we would only listen, understand, and live according to this ultimate moral standard.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Stage is Set

א בְּרֵאשִׁית, בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים, אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם, וְאֵת הָאָרֶץ- In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

Every story has a beginning and the most important one of all begins with the most important character of all, God, the Alpha and the Omega, Beginning and End. It seems rudimentary to reflect on the fact that God created, but this always leads me to ask why He created. God knew man would sin against Him, destroying His perfect world, and continue to do so. He knew that He would have to go and personally save mankind at the cost of His own life, yet He still did. Why?God did this for the same reason He does anything, for His own glory. He created a world of people who were totally dependent on Him in a perfect paradise where they could praise Him and bring Him glory. When they fell, He continued on with His perfect plan working it out in every instance to bring Himself the glory He is due. Ultimately all of history points to the redemption of man by God. God created for His own purpose, self - fulfilling glorification.

We all know the story about creation, maybe have even heard a song that goes something like, "Day one - day and night, Day two - heaven and earth, Day three - sea and land, Day four - sun, moon and stars, Day five - creatures of the sky and of the sea, Day six - creatures of dry land and then came man, then God saw that it was good, all of His creation, so He took the seventh day and on that day he rested." God created everything perfect beautiful uncorrupted. Milton put it perfectly in Paradise Lost,
"His farr more pleasant Garden God ordaind;
Out of the fertil ground he caus'd to grow
All Trees of noblest kind for sight, smell, taste;
And all amid them stood the Tree of Life,
High eminent, blooming Ambrosial Fruit" (4.215 - 219)

When God created man, he commanded them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." God created man in His own image giving Him His own moral standards, so that we would be capable of ruling over His creation.

I think it is beautiful that we are given a glimpse of perfection and sad that in our rebellion we chose to give that up for temporal selfish gain. But then history would not unfold, the ultimate sacrifice would not have been necessary, and we would not see the beauty of the cross.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Eve on the Stand

Adam has been compared many times to many characters in fiction and reality, but Eve has been unnoticed. Eve gave up innocence and purity for knowledge. She has walked with God and learned much just as Adam has, but then Satan pricks her pride and gives her a thirst to know what God knows, to be a goddess herself. This is much like Dr. Faustus in The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus. He had studied many things and because of his insatiable appetite for knowledge sold his soul to the Devil. Both were warned, both though it would be best in the moment, and both regretted their actions. Eve repented when faced with the consequences and Faustus when faced with death and Hell. The difference is found in the fact that Faustus had no hope. In hopelessness he sold his soul to the Devil, whereas Eve was given hope after being forgiven. She was given hope for redmption.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Forshadowing the Fall

Milton foreshadows what is going to happen in Book Nine earlier in Paradise Lost. When Eve is brought before Adam after being told that she was made for him, she turns away, not in sin, but just seeking to be won, he then pursues and follows her allowing her to take the lead. It is also hinted at in book nine as Eve persuades Adam into splitting up in order to get more work done. In these instances Adam’s willingness to follow for love’s sake is shown. Milton is trying to show why Adam fell, for he knew what had gone on before and also knew that Satan was going to attempt to make him and Eve disobey God. After Eve sins, Adam disobeys God and follows Eve into sin for the sake of love once again.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Satan - Hero or Rogue

In the first book of Milton’s Paradise Lost Satan is introduced as a fallen hero , he almost seems likable to a certain extent. The flesh seeks to make him misunderstood and forgivable like an enraged Achilles. The fallen Lucifer is the end result that we without Christ are capable of attaining. We feel empathy for Satan because we, ourselves, seek resolution in our own lives without God and, as Satan did, reject God in order to gain glory for ourselves. As Christians, we can see Satan for the charlatan he is and is later revealed to be in the book. He twists the truth to make it seem that God made a mistake in glorifying Christ. He makes it seem like he was cheated by God. The falsehood of this is obvious. Satan seems heroic, but is the snake he morphs into.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Areopagitica Applied

In the last part of the Areopagitica Milton reminds us that even when a country does not follow God, God raises up men to speak out and write about the corruption and evil of the nation. God will reform the nation. At the time that God reforms nations there will be those who seek to lead others astray, but it is then that God will raise up men to stand up. America’s rights are being surpressed. We are like the “noble and puissant” nation who are ruled by those who steal from the people and expect them to buy back their own goods. Our leaders are beginning to steal our rights away and punish us for exercising them. A country cannot remain virtuous with these types of leader. America does not need change, she needs a miracle and change in leadership.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Living with pupose

Every year as spring arrives it brings with it renewal. Flowers blossom, trees bloom. We are so focused on the renewal we forget that the beauty of spring can only come with the death of the previous life. It is a passing from one stage to another.

Our culture calls us to live for the moment because life is purposeless. We are told it is a dog eat dog world where the one who dies with the most toys wins and the one with the gun makes the rules. Lies, all lies.

I have heard every speech, talk, and funeral sermon on death and I could quote Bible verses from Genesis 3 to Revelation 22 on it, but I think that the important thing to remember is what we say about death does not effect the dead, it is what we do with that knowledge of what is to come, how we live our lives in light of it.

We know, as Christians, we have a purpose in life, to glorify God with our lives. Death brings a transfer from a place where we can only do this partially to a fulfillment of this goal. We need to live our lives, so this transition is not drastic.

In conclusion, I hope that I can learn to live my life so that if I died today everyone I know could say without even thinking about it that I lived wholeheartedly for God. This post hasn't been as deep or as analytical, but I think there is still just as much truth in it as can be found in Donne or Cervantes. Our future is not certain, but eternity is. How are you living your life?

Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for, though art not so
For those whom though thinkest thou dost o'erthrow
Die not, poore death, nor yet can'st though kill me ...
And better then thy stroake; why swell'st thou then;
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.
- John Donne

Monday, March 15, 2010

Donne on Death

After John Donne was converted to Protestantism he wrote his Holy Sonnets. In “Death, be not proud” he wrote that death itself shall die and have no victory over men. Men themselves control death with murder, justice, mercy, and other actions that can end in or prevent death. Death holds no fear for any man because it is a short and temporary separation of the body and the soul and the end result is heaven. Death itself is destroyed and defeated in a theoretical death when Christ rose from the dead.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Nobility of the Nobles

In the Winter’s Tale nobility is a huge theme. There is the contrast between the king, Leontes, who is a noble, but does not act nobly and his daughter, Perdita, who is a raised as a shepherds daughter, yet still maintains nobility in her character. Nobility is commonly defined as being born of high rank or social class, but true nobility is acting in the was a true king would act, having mercy, justice, love, kindness, and an ear for the truth. Leontes pushes away all these things when he falsely convinces himself of Hermione’s infidelity. Once convinced he is immovable and sentences his wife to death, this is both unjust and listening to lies. Perdita’s actions, on the other hand, show nobility. All the other shepherds can see her natural nobility because her actions and character betrays a more noble birth.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Shakespeare on Women

Shakespeare shows that women are noble and virtuous. Hermione is faithful and forgiving even when she is tried for adultery and treason. She forgives Leontes after he falsely accuses, imprisons her, and takes away her child. Paulina stays with the queen and speaks out to the king at the risk of her own life. Finally Perdita is innocent and sweet. She portrays innocence and is unaware of her father’s dispute. In the end each woman rises above the circumstances and displays virtue, courage and nobility.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Dr John Faustus - a Machiavellian

Faustus, like Machiavelli, has a power complex. He rejects the Medieval mindset for the wholesale pursuit of power, pleasure, and wealth. At the beginning of the play Faustus has attained the full sum of possible power that he is able without supernatural help. He was learned and accomplished, but he wanted more. As Machiavelli said, “for fortune is a woman and in order to be mastered she must be jogged and beaten.” Faustus wanted fortune and pursued it . By selling his soul to the devil he was taking control of the situation and forcing the hand of fate in his favor. Sadly, once he gains what he believes he wants, absolute power, he looses all the great dreams he had previously. He settles for the entertainment of kings and conjuring tricks.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Una and Duessa - Truth and Lies

In Spencer’s Faerie Queen, as in all allegories, the meaning of the text which is important for understanding is difficult to find. Towards the end of Canto One a sensual scene is dreamed by the Knight of the Red Cross. It seems like Una, whose name is first given here, the knight’s lady, is taken to his bed. He wakes up suddenly and finds a false Una in his room. She claims she loves him, but the next morning the enchanter that created the false Una shows her having intercourse with another man. The Knight of the Red Cross is outraged and leaves deserting the real Una who wakes up and goes after him.
Una can mean one and truth. The Knight is called Holinesse. Holiness and truth are both attributes of God. The false Una is named Duessa. She represents the Roman Catholic Church which teaches falsehood emphasizing the appearance of piety rather than the actions of faith. Falsehood, Duessa, fools our knight, Holinesse, into temporarily abandoning truth, Una, to go pursue personal glory.

A Medieval Ideal

Benjamin Franklin once said, “In this world nothing is certain, but death and taxes.” He was wrong. As long as there is life, there is hope. And as long as there is man, there will be war. There are many things you can learn to depend on, but there are few things that are truly dependable. God, in His plan he gives every generation the opportunity to follow Him, depend on Him. Each generation has succeeded in some ways, but failed in others. Speaking cynically, without God, the only thing we can know is that the government will take our money and someday we are going to die, but for Christians who have that hope they can look at the past learn from their mistakes, emulate their successes, and live their lives striving to finish well living according to God’s standards.

Looking back at the Medieval Period when men were men, women were honored, and the Church ruled, God was the center of their culture, unlike now where the Church no longer stands for what is right, but instead yields to the culture, groveling before the Devil, a sycophantic courtesan. Men like Eusebius, Athanatius, Augustine, Boethius, Aquinas, Luther, and Calvin made Christ the ruler of their lives. Eusebius wrote about the lives of those who dedicated themselves to Christ, forsaking all to follow Him even life. Athanatius wrote an entire book on the doctrine of the incarnation of Jesus Christ. On the Incarnation centers the focus on the truth simply and succinctly reminding the reader of that amazing mystery of God becoming man maintaining the fullness of each nature. Augustine gives us his own reminder of that place we strive for in City of God. He reminds us of the eternal City that we should be living in our minds where there is no wrong. He discusses the city of man and how no matter how hard we aspire here to get past our fallen world without the grace of God through Jesus Christ, His Son. It is beautiful how this period because of its lack of outside distractions was able to focus on God whole-heartedly in our modern age almost unheard of state.

One of the most different things from our state and the medieval era is the treatment of others courteously, chivalrously. Every knight had a law of chivalry he had to take. It reminded him to live with honor, respect others weaker than him, and to die with courage. Knights such as Roland, relentless, who stood strong in the face of defeat, and died with honor, or the Knight in Chaucer’s tales, who told the tale of two men who in love the same woman fight for her, treating her with honor and dignity. In Shakespeare’s Henry the V, King Henry acts courteously and honorably inspiring others to do the same at the battle of Agincourt. These men always strive to act chivalrously to one another. The best example of knighthood and chivalry in a medieval setting would be Sir Gawain. The poet who penned Sir Gawain and the Green Knight spent a substantial amount of time on the armor and most specifically the shield of Sir Gawain. On the shield was a five-pointed star that represented the Pentangle, a list of things he had to assist him on his quest. He had religion in the five joys of Mary and the five wounds of Christ. He had his natural gifts that all men possess with the five senses and his five fingers. The last point on the Pentangle represented the five virtues: generosity, chivalry, chastity, courtesy, and piety. When he reaches the Castle of Sir Bercilak de Hautdesert, he abandons his religion until he feels guilty for keeping the girdle. Also he lets down his guard and lays around for the better part of his stay, showing that his senses are not as keen and his hand is not at work to promote good. This opens up his five virtues to intense scrutiny. Two of his virtues are pitted against each other in the form of his host’s wife. She requires him to be courteous to her, which would require giving into her will, but this jeopardizes his chastity. He, acting chivalrously, plays innocent to her advances, and strives to maintain her purity and honor and his chivalry as a knight. The chivalry he shows is a purity of thought toward any man, woman, or child always acting in the way that would edify those around him.

Every period in history sets the stage for the next one. We find our own roots in the Middle Ages, a time where men were beginning to develop a more centralized government introducing a new era. The old era of courtly knighthood and chivalry is seen as outdated as a new era is ushered in to its place. Don Quixote, a man who lived after the era of knights errant, in insanity sought to become a knight in a world dead to all forms of romance. Is he insane to follow a high code of conduct and strive to follow it no matter the cost to himself or is he the only sane one in a world of deranged lunatics? The values of our modern state have grossly dilapidated since the end of those times because man has become self- centered and self-serving uncaring for fellow man. Machiavelli wrote his treatise to the Medici lord of Florence telling him how to best control his state and build a larger one in a dictatorial way setting the scene for the great tyrants of our age, Hitler, Stalin, and Tse-Tung. It is not all bad, however. This period opened up literacy to a certain extent, one could get an education as part of the Church and this set the stage for colleges and schools in the following centuries.

As states were being moved and developed there was an increased awareness of the arts and a focus on beauty as an ideal. It was not exclusive to just the murals of DaVinci or the statues of Michaelangelo, but also including the plays of Shakespeare, the tales of Chaucer, and Spencer’s Faerie Queen. Where before beauty was hidden and rarely shown because of the strong ideas of idolatry, now it was displayed for all to see. Authors portrayed outer beauty as a gift from God and gave great importance to it. Spencer’s Gloriana was beautiful even though the woman who inspired her was not physically stunning, Shakespeare’s heroines are described as beautiful, Juliet, Katherine, Cleopatra, Beatrice, Hero, Desdemona, and Lady Macbeth. Dante focuses on the beauty of his lady Beatrice and then in vivid terms describes the beauty of heaven.

Humanism is the idea that the human body and intellect should be the main focus of life. It was depicted in the Art, religion, and literature in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. There are many things both good and bad that came out of this worldview, but anything taken to an extreme is sinful. It can be found in many works, but Paradise Lost, Utopia, and the Damnable Deeds and Deserved Death of Doctor John Faustus give an excellent taste of humanism.
Mankind has always been egocentric, but at the beginning of the Renaissance in the sixteenth century humanism flourished as Greek ideology was resurrected. Humanism brings about an acute realization of mankind and when used for good our flawed nature. Men like Michelangelo were able to portray the beauty of the human body in an ideal form while showing at the same time the corruption of mankind (The Last Judgment). But on the other end men deified the human mind and body making man the ultimate standard. In Paradise Lost humanism is shown in a good way when God creates man in His own image and sets him as a ruler over all. Milton portrays the body as good and useful for the purpose God created it, but during the fall secular humanism begins with Eve wanting to be a god unto herself and Adam sees the evil actions of men toward others as something to be honored. Michael explains that this is not the case, but many like Adam will see it as such. Also Adam is warned not to worship Eve or deify her, for there is but one God and He is Lord.
In Utopia the search for the ideal society is found. Men want to create a society where they are able to be a law unto themselves and be good in and of themselves. The men who go there are very impressed with the ideal society that verges on making intellect king. These men share the Gospel and the native Utopians accept this and recount that before they had come they had known most of what was told them through there own logic.
In the Damnable Deeds and Deserved Death of Doctor John Faustus humanism itself is shown as unfulfilling. Faustus knows everything there is to know. He is a lawyer, a scientist, a doctor, and a well studied, well respected, well known man, but the lack of fulfillment is shown when he continues to seek more. He knows he is going to Hell, so He does not seek to change his status with God, but rather become a powerful Lord of the world. He seeks the apex of humanism without God, to be a God unto himself. When he sells his soul to the Devil, he realizes that in the end that egocentric worldview has subjugated him even more than before. Each of these works of literature portrays the hopelessness of uncontrolled humanism, but it is not humanism itself that is evil, but rather what our corrupted sin nature does with humanism. Humanism is good when it causes us to give God more honor, praise and glory, but like anything else when made a religion is condemning.

The Medieval Era brings us many good things, ideals, beauty, chivalry, a new focus on God and His will, but it also brings other things like new worldview and standard a set up for today’s fallen society.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

True Love

Shakespear is seen as the bard of the English language second only to Milton and even that is debated. In his sonnets he presents one idea of love. He sees love as “the marriage of true minds” and one that time can not ravage. It begins as an admirer of a beauty and grace that it does not wish time to touch and completes itself in a deep connection where the effects of time do not matter. True love pulls through hard times and difficulties not unsinged, but refined.

The Utopian Ideal

Utopian ideals depended on the same principles that held Camelot together; that all man is basically good. This is wrong. Even though a society may discard gold and silver using them only as latrines other things will replace the traditional perceived evils. Marriage is not based on the trust of two people and their belief in God, but it is immediately believed that both are trying to hide something. If a man and a woman can not trust each other, how is the marriage supposed to stick together. Utopians try to suppress the noral tendencies of man by either trying to control the object of desire through devaluation or by allowing the evil to progress to a certain extent. Either way fulfills the lusts of the heart.

Why Camelot fell...

10/3/09
• The ideals of King Arthur’s court crumble in the reality of human nature. Arthur’s ideals depend on the honor of his nights who are in short human and thus flawed. Agravain and Mordred are victims of their own lust for power and Lancelot a victim of his lust for Guinevere. Arthur was an unwise king. He was warned by Merlin when he originally asked to marry her that this woman would destroy his court. The job of the king was to take care of his people, not being self-centered. Because of Arthur’s choice he lost his wife, his friends, and his own life.

Julian of Norwich - Radical or True Follower

9/30/09
• Julian of Norwich called herself a devotee to God, but did she really serve him or was she really serving herself? At one point in her book she describes a hazelnut. She mentions that God is a lover because he cares for the nut. Later she says that the only way to reach fulfilling rest is to reject the love of others and go only to God. This is untrue. God has placed people on this earth in order that His glory may be revealed to them. Locking oneself away from the world to which we are called to minister is both sinful and a bad representation of who Christians are. Sinful, because it wastes the time God has given us to glorify Him and a horrible example because we are told to be in the world, but not of the world. We are called to go out minister to the weak and sick, orphans, widows, and aliens, not seclude ourselves and keep to ourselves the joy of the Lord.

Xenia

9/25/09
• Was Lord Hautdesert truly hospitable? Throughout history there have been many examples of hospitality, but none surpass that of the Greeks xenia. Xenia was a Olympian law that required the Greeks to be hospitable to the point of giving up safety and comfort. In the Iliad, Glaucus and Diomedes not only refused to fight each other, but exchanged there armor because their families had shared bread and xenia. In the Odyssey, the son of Odysseus extended xenia to a complete stranger, Mentor, who was the goddess Athena in disguise, while his household was falling apart.
• Lord Hautdesert did extend hospitality to Gawain, but it was not at the level of xenia. His hospitality only extended to the first night. He fed, clothed, and boarded Gawain in comfort and luxury. The next three days, however, tell a different tale. The lord did not protect his guest from the wiles of his wife, he tested Gawain without cause, and he led Gawain to believe that the lord was someone who he was not. Lord Bercilak even went as far as having all of his peasant try to dissuade Gawain from visiting the Green Knight, who, unknown to Gawain, was Lord Bercilak.

Gawain's Pentangle

9/23/09
• The poet who penned Sir Gawain and the Green Knight spent a substantial amount of time on the armor and most specifically the shield of Sir Gawain. On the shield was a five-pointed star that represented the Pentangle, a list of things he had to assist him on his quest. He had religion in the five joys of Mary and the five wounds of Christ. He had his natural gifts that all men possess with the five senses and his five fingers. The last point on the Pentangle represented the five virtues: generosity, chivalry, chastity, courtesy, and piety.
• When he reaches the Castle of Sir Bercilak de Hautdesert, he abandons his religion until he feels guilty for keeping the girdle. Also he lets down his guard and lays around for the better part of his stay, showing that his senses are not as keen and his hand is not at work to promote good. This opens up his five virtues to intense scrutiny. Two of his virtues are pitted against each other in the form of his host’s wife. She requires him to be courteous to her which would require giving into her will, but this jeopardizes his chastity.

Chaucer cont.

9/22/09
• A seller of indulgences or pardoner was one of the most important positions in the Catholic Church. It was thought necessary to go through a pardoner in order to be forgiven of sins and thus go to heaven. Therefore pardoners did preach on sins and judgment, but the irony in this tale by one of that office is that the sin he is censuring is the sin that he is committing. He speaks out against greed and avarice, but does not first check himself for it.
• He tells the tale of three ‘friends’ who end up murdering each other because of gold lust, but first he tells exactly how he would tell the tale in a church and how the money would come in after words. By ‘allowing’ the poor church folk to be free of their greed he feeds his own. The pardoner even goes as far as to offer indulgences to his companions upon the completion of his story.

The personalities of Chaucer

I find it interesting that Chaucer gives the tellers of his stories such defined personalities. Most of those are contrary to what their occupation entails. The wife of Bath has gone through five husbands and been on three pilgrimages, she was considered a lovely Christian woman, but she later expresses the unbiblical thought that women should rule over men. The Monk is more focused on hunting and sees studying as something that would make him crazy.
There are two that stand out as being true to their occupation. The Parson is specifically said to follow what he teaches before he tells others to do so as well. The Knight is chivalrous, full of integrity, gentle, and honorable.
The character of the pilgrims is sadly lacking in true God honoring Christians. This is especially ironic because they are on a pilgrimage, which is a trip to a holy place in order to bring someone closer to God, not a time for the telling of ribald tales.

Thoughts on Beowulf

Many themes present themselves in Beowulf, but the one that stands out the most is fate. Just before Beowulf fights Grendel he states, “Fate often saves an undoomed man when his courage is good.” Fate is mentioned and appealed to before Beowulf fights Grendel’s Mother and the dragon, and finally in Wiglaf’s speech at Beowulf’s funeral pyre.
In each of these instances the outcome of a situation will change the outcome of the story. If fate did not side with Beowulf during his fight with Grendel’s Mother by revealing the sword of the giants he would have lost. Not only would Hrothgar’s hall have been destroyed, but also the dragon would have ravaged Beowulf’s country.
Fate is the Dane’s term for an unexplainable force that drives all events. The author reveals and we know that fate is the providential hand of God guiding all things for his own glory.

1 Abrams, M.H.,ed. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. 6th ed. New York: Norton, 1993.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Modern Church's Importance in Society

While the Church has been very active in the past as an authority over the kings and rulers and a power over the people, in our new millennium, new century, new decade, the ancient power of the Church has been made decidedly irrelevant. The Church no longer takes an active part in standing up for the metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and aesthetics of our Christian worldview, the core beliefs and presuppositions of our faith, making it no longer a strong force in society. As it goes along with a dilapidating society, the Church morphs into whatever the culture dictates. Is there a solution?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Atrophil and Stella - an Ill Fated Romance

In Atrophil and Stella, Sidney puts himself in the place of Atrophil, the layman suitor of the noble Stella. Like every beau he praises her beauty saying nature never made anything more beautiful than Stella’s radiant black eye. His love for her inspires him to do good, but still the desire for her is unquenched. Atrophil wrote in order to earn his lady’s grace. His admiration for her beauty quickly changes into a physical desire for her. He speaks of the sweetness of her kiss. Again the high standards of courtly love fall to pieces in the presence of lust. In the end as is typical the two can not be together, so Atrophil despairs. He has attached his heart to a useless cause and now suffers as result. Going to show once more the futility of creating extramarital attachments when marriage is not an option. It hurts both parties and leaves less of Atrophil’s heart for his future spouse.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Milton on Marriage

In our day and age we often hear about marriages falling apart, children who suffer from their parents divorce, and people living together outside of marriage, but this is not the way it was meant to be. Marriage is one of the sacred ordinances God established symbolizing the relationship between God and Man. In John Milton’s Paradise Lost he illustrates the sacredness and beauty of marriage while at the same time correctly portraying the roles of each partner. Milton has been called misogynistic and Paradise Lost a poem portraying gross suppression of women. In an ideal state Milton presents a biblical portrait of marriage.
After Adam finishes naming all the animals finding that there is no suitable companion for him pleads with God;
“Not so is Man
But in degree, the cause of his desire
By conversation with his like to help
Or solace his defects.” (Milton, 8. 415-19)

A husband and wife should be friends first and then lovers. In Genesis 2 it confirms, “but for Adam there was not found a helper suitable for him.” (New American Standard Bible, Genesis. 2:20) When Eve is created, she begins to become infatuated with her own reflection. A voice tells her she was created for another and to be forever his.
Adam is called to be the ruler of all creation and to lead. Eve’s role of submissive love is commonly looked down upon by many with a secular worldview. Many times in the Bible it is stated that wives should be submissive to their husbands while at the same time the husband should be caring for the wife like Christ cares for the church. In paradise Eve accepts this recognizing that Adam is her guide and meaning of existence. Adam and Eve are called unequal many times, but not in a derogatory manner. It is commonly said that they simply have different role, and while that is true there is more. The differences between Adam and Eve are complementary like a harmony in music. A song can be played and sound beautiful, but a good harmony does not take away from the original composition. It enhances it and shows the full potential the piece has. The role of the wife is not to overthrow the husband’s leadership, but to support it and by doing this she will show submissiveness. When a wife is being gracious and accommodating, it makes the husband want to do more for her. The circle continues with the wife wanting to do more for the husband in return. After the fall God chastises Adam;
“Thy love, and not thy subjection, and her gifts
Were such as under government well seemed,
Unseemly to bear rule, which was thy part
And person hadst thou known thyself aright.” (10, 153-156)

His lack of leadership was part of the fall. If Adam had not allowed Eve to guide him he might not have fallen. In Eve’s submission before the fall Adam tells Raphael that though she is unequal to him she seems to him the most wise, virtuous, and discreet.
Before the fall the perfect and pure physical relationship of Adam and Eve is shown. They give of themselves in a sweet and pure way. They show innocence and love to one another through a conjugal relationship. After the fall they still enjoy the relationship, but lust has tainted their thoughts and actions. In 1 Corinthians 7 Paul points out that it is good for men and women to be married and not live celibately inside of marriage. This part of marriage, so often distorted by our society, proves the sacredness of marriage. Many enter into sinful relationships where they live as though they were married without the commitment of actually being married, but these people do not understand that as they live in promiscuity they loose the fulfillment of the relationship; fulfillment that can only come in marriage. Satan invades the sacred bower in Paradise when he watches Adam and Eve make love. After the angels find him he is thrown out of the garden for invading the unadulterated place and trying to pervert the love that Adam and Eve share. Milton shows the beauty and purity when Adam and Eve first meet. Adam goes after her, not to take anything from her, but to win her over and become one with her. Later, when Adam wakes up, he marvels at Eve and her beauty. Procreation was one of the reasons Adam asked for a mate. He told God that because God was eternal He had no need of a companion, but because Adam was alone there was no way to continue his own race. The first commandment in Genesis 1 is “be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth…” (NASB, Genesis 1:28) and after the flood Noah was told the same thing.
In Exodus 21 a man is told to give his wife all she needs, food, clothing, and marriage rights. Adam was called to be a provider for Eve and a steward of all that God had given. The first example of stewardship is found when God tells Adam to name the animals and tend the garden. Adam and Eve’s main job was to take care of the garden and animals. Providing is made more difficult after the fall when all the necessities of life are not on hand. Before Michael turns them out of the garden he tells them it will be difficult, but gives them hope with visions of the future. God tells Adam that it will be increasingly difficult to grow food as part of the curse. Part of stewardship is maintaining his own family and in this Adam failed. When Adam blames Eve after the fall, God tells him that Eve was not the one He put in charge. Adam was the one responsible for her actions. She was made for softness and sweetness, whereas Adam was made for strength and contemplation. Adam should have not allowed Eve to go her own way, for in doing this he was not maintaining stewardship over his own. In Proverbs 31 the woman’s role in stewardship is shown. She is to make good use of the time and resources provided to her by her husband. Eve was unwise to leave Adam in the Garden, but she was trying to use her time wisely, but it would have been better to stay together and follow Adam.
The most important thing for both in marriage was that they should worship God alone both on the inside and the outside. Adam and Eve praise God and thank Him in the morning and night. They inspire the plants and animals to praise God. Part of Adam’s leadership is found in worshipping God. He is to lead all of creation in praise to the Lord. After the Fall Eve commits idolatry as she worships the tree instead of God. She perceived the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil to be the giver of all good things. Adam later lustfully praises Eve in an idolatrous manner. God tells us in the Bible many times to “worship the Lord you God and serve him only” (NASB, Luke 4:8) and that we shall have no other gods beside Him. At one point before the Fall Adam told Raphael that Eve though unequal is the most wise, virtuous, discreet, and best. He says she is better than wisdom her self. Raphael verbally chastises Adam reminding him that he (Adam) is Eve’s superior and not one to be worshiped. We are reminded in the Bible to “love the Lord you God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind” (NASB, Matt. 22:37).
Milton did not see marriage as a fool’s ordeal, but rather an ordinance set up by God from the beginning. The ideal marriage is a partnership where each person fills roles providing a perfect complement to the other. Like a well-written piece of music each should provide a complementary theme, not with each seeking to overthrow the other in dissonant cacophony. Adam was called to lead and provide while Eve was created to bring companionship and assist in stewardship. Both were created to worship God alone and serve him through submitting to one another in love. They were given physical intimacy as a gift and sealing gesture to a preordained commitment. Christ is described as the groom and His bride, the Church. He provides for His people, leads them, and is a constant companion even when they seek to walk away. The Church is to submit and carry out His plans. Milton knew this and wrote Paradise Lost with this in mind.






Cite Page
1. Milton, John. Paradise Lost. New York: W W Norton and Company, 2005.
2. New American Standard Bible. , Editor. Iowa Falls, IA: World Publishing Inc., 1960.
3. Norton Anthology of English Literature. 6th ed. Vol. 1. New York: Norton, 1993.

Christian Philosophy

Seeking the Face of God


As the world’s greatest philosophers sought the good and ultimate standard, the Christian worldview cultivated its own great minds. They knew the ultimate standard and from there showed the world what philosophy and literature really was. Dante, Augustine, Boethius, and Aquinas were models of Christian thought and not only wrote them down, but did this with eloquence and form.

Dante shows fullness of God’s attributes and how they can be seen in the everyday lives of men and women. It shows vividly the image of God in their lives. In each sphere an attribute is chosen and depicted in the life of saints who lived virtuous lives. Like the nuns who were torn from their vows, but in their lives kept their love for God keeping their hearts dedicated to Him alone. They showed God’s devoted and unalterable love. In Genesis 1:27 God said, "So God created man in His own image; the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." A wise man once said, “We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.” Dante shows how to glorify God in his writing and through his writing. God gave him the gift of poetry and he used it to glorify God by writing a poem that fully displayed the attributes of God.
Boethius was a Roman who was raised in the ways of Rome. He was a scholar, poet, and politician. He was thrown into prison on charges of treason and sentenced to death by torture and beatings. As he awaited his death, he wrote about meeting a woman named Wisdom and together finding through discourse that God is with them and death brings man closer to Him.“For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory…but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15: 53 -54, 57) Boethius wanted to be closer to God and knew death would bring him closer to Him. Every day he woke up to face torture and I the end bludgeoning and death, but he knew this to be a refining process that would bring him closer to God.” Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10)
In his youth he was a philanderer and the opposite of everything that he became later in life. Augustine of Hippo was changed by God and then dedicated his life to God when he became the priest of the town of Hippo. City of God was written to instill hope in Christians who had been persecuted. He reminded them of the certainty of true salvation and that the “City of God” was a place of eternal Sabbath, rest and fulfillment. While we are in our mortal bodies, we cannot reach fully understand the nature of God and His displayed attributes. “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12) But in the City of God our eyes shall be opened and we will be able to understand the fullness of the presence of God when the Psalmist says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)
Aquinas brings to light in the Summa Theologica things that previously seemed sundry and unimportant. He taught that God is simple. He is one and unified within Himself. He is not composed of parts and no part of Him is separate from the rest. His Goodness is not separate from Him because He is Good. And love, justice, mercy, grace, omnipotence, and the rest of his attributes are the same way. He is His attributes, whereas we, humans, are only mirrors of that, thus we can see goodness in ourselves as a passing act and then continue in sin. Not only is He His attributes, but also each attribute is not contradictory and complementary to the rest. His Goodness is a Just Loving Merciful Gracious and Omnipotent Goodness. God is independent of all things making Him a simple being. “With us composite things are better than simple things, because the perfections of created goodness cannot be found in one simple thing, but in many things. But the perfection of divine goodness is found in one simple thing.” (A Shorter Summa, pg 67) It is one of the most traditional concepts in Christianity, “Hear! Oh Israel, the LORD is our God, the LORD is one!” But the depth of His oneness is seldom thought about.
God has given men minds to think, yet we have allowed them to waste away, a sin, and instead of using them for good, we use them to further our own jealous schemes and sinful desires. These men knew how to think and what to think. These Christian saints sought the face of God and were rewarded with a glimpse of His attributes.

Humanism in Literature

Humanism is the idea that the human body and intellect should be the main focus of life. It was depicted in the art, religion, and literature in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. There are many things both good and bad that came out of this worldview, but anything taken to an extreme is sinful. It can be found in many works, but 'Paradise Lost', 'Utopia', and the 'Damnable Deeds and Deserved Death of Doctor John Faustus' give an excellent taste of humanism.
Mankind has always been egocentric, but at the beginning of the Renaissance in the sixteenth century humanism flourished as Greek ideology was resurrected. Humanism brings about an acute realization of mankind and when used for good our flawed nature. Men like Michelangelo were able to portray the beauty of the human body in an ideal form while showing at the same time the corruption of mankind (The Last Judgment). But on the other end men deified the human mind and body making man the ultimate standard.
In 'Paradise Lost' humanism is shown in a good way when God creates man in His own image and sets him as a ruler over all. Milton portrays the body as good and useful for the purpose God created it, but during the fall secular humanism begins with Eve wanting to be a god unto herself and Adam sees the evil actions of men toward others as something to be honored. Michael explains that this is not the case, but many like Adam will see it as such. Also Adam is warned not to worship Eve or deify her, for there is but one God and He is Lord.
In 'Utopia' the search for the ideal society is found. Men want to create a society where they are able to be a law unto themselves and be good in and of themselves. The men who go there are very impressed with the ideal society that verges on making intellect king. These men share the Gospel and the native Utopians accept this and recount that before they had come they had known most of what was told them through there own logic.
In the 'Damnable Deeds and Deserved Death of Doctor John Faustus' humanism itself is shown as unfulfilling. Faustus knows everything there is to know. He is a lawyer, a scientist, a doctor, and a well studied, well respected, well known man, but the lack of fulfillment is shown when he continues to seek more. He knows he is going to Hell, so He does not seek to change his status with God, but rather become a powerful lord of the world. He seeks the apex of humanism without God, to be a god unto himself. When he sells his soul to the Devil, he realizes that in the end that egocentric worldview has subjugated him even more than before.
Each of these works of literature portray the hopelessness of uncontrolled humanism, but it is not humanism itself that is evil, but rather what our corrupted sin nature does with humanism. Humanism is good when it causes us to give God more honor, praise and glory, but like anything else when made a religion is condemning.

Purpose Statement

This is based off of James 1: 5-6 (ESV) - "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind." I want to seek truth and in doing so find wisdom by looking at not only history, but also current events, literature, philosophy, theology, and politics. It has long been said that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it and I hope that by remembering these things it will draw us closer in our walk with Christ. If you can not already tell, I am a Christian meaning that I believe in a triune God who foreknew and predestined all of Creation for the purpose of His Glory and the glory of His Son, Jesus Christ, who was born of a virgin, lived a perfect life, was crucified, died, buried, descended to hell, rose again the third day, presented himself to hundreds of witnesses, and ascended to heaven. I believe in heaven and hell.