The Empty Natural Man

Where do you trace yourself back to? Your answer makes a Huge difference in defining who you are and what you are worth. It also defines the potential of your life. So, don’t just take this lightly. Where do You trace yourself back to?

Two Original Sources

People’s beliefs about where they come from fall into two main ideas. Some believe they came as a product of natural processes, such as evolution is believed to be. These people I shall call ‘naturalists’ – not because they study nature, but because they believe they are a product of ‘natural’ processes.

The rest most commonly believe they came from a creator. These people believe they come from Divine Will, rather than natural processes. The Bible reveals God as a creator and man as God’s principal and most cherished special creation.

For the purposes of this discussion I will label those who trace themselves back to nature as Natural Man and those who trace them selves back to divine creation as Divine Man. In both cases the word ‘man’ is meant to incorporate humanity, of both male and female varieties.

Who You Are

The Natural Man, originating from natural sources, is an equal to all other natural phenomena. Natural Man, by definition, has the same value as every other natural thing. A rock came about by natural processes, and so (as they believe) did the natural man. A pig came about by natural processes, and so (as they believe) did natural man. A lion came about by natural processes, and so (as they believe) did natural man. The same could be said for trees, bees and fleas, if you please.

The Divine Man, on the other hand, tracing himself back to God and accepting that he is a special creation at the hand of God, is not on an equal footing to other natural phenomena. Divine Man is in a class above all other natural entities. This superiority is not by virtue of strength or power over all those other things. Divine Man is weaker than many other created beings. Divine Man is vulnerable to many natural forces which frequently take his life. Floods, fire and lightning claim many human lives, and so too do snakes, spiders and wild animals.

Divine Man’s elevated position is not measured in natural terms, but on the basis of the divine will that created him. Divinity gives mankind the privileged position of having been made “in the image of God”, as explained in Genesis 1:26.

Your Worth

If you are a product of nature, with nothing more to commend you than your ability to survive in the natural world, then your value approximates that of a wild animal, a tree or a rock. You have no more right to breath than the donkey braying in the paddock or the dog chasing his tail. You have no more intrinsic value than the mosquito you squatted, the ant you squashed or the orange you squeezed. There is no reason we should seek to preserve your existence above any other creature. Nor should we lament your passing any more than we lament the death of a tree.

If you are, on the other hand, a divine creation, then your value is as high as that creator deems you to be. You have rights and authority over all other creatures, to the degree that your creator assigns it to you. You have worth on the earth from the day of your birth.

Your worth is radically different to others, depending on whether your origins are natural or divine. You will rise in the eyes of the creator divine or go thud in the mud of your natural line.

Your Potential

Where you can go is also dramatically altered if you are natural or divine. Your potential to amount to anything at all is governed by where you came from. If you are a product of natural processes then you have nowhere to go, but back to the dust from which you came. Your highest thoughts, greatest riches, most awesome achievement and your most powerful contribution will all amount to a hill or beans, a pile of rocks and a dead tree stump. They are intrinsically meaningless, except for the transient sense of momentary meaning you can derive during the process of going nowhere.

Those who recognise their divine origins and walk in relationship with their divine creator, have the potential to rise to the heights of God’s divinity. They can go as far as God empowers them to go. They can impact all of humanity and experience divinity. They can exist beyond this natural moment and enjoy new existence opened up by their divine creator. They can overcome natural processes, including death itself, because they are connected to divinity which is outside the finiteness of the natural world.

Natural Man is Empty

Why in the world would anyone want to be a natural man? Why would someone wish to be nothing? Why would anyone celebrate their futility, when they were created for divine destiny?

Natural man comes up empty on every count. There is no prize, no reward and no hope in being a product of natural process. And there is no need to ever restrict oneself into such a poverty-stricken place. God has revealed to us in the Bible that He does exist and is our creator. God has revealed that He is all powerful and that He created mankind to be in intimate relationship with Him. God promises to empower us to live beyond the limitations of natural life, both while alive and beyond the grave.

There is no reason to remain empty.

The Challenge

I challenge you to step aside from the lie of your meaninglessness. You are a created being. You have dignity and destiny which transcends anything ever conceivable within natural limits. You have offer of relationship which is beyond all that human experience can ever conceive. You have the open offer to become an intimate of the very divine entity who is all powerful, all loving, eternal, transcendent above all else and who created you specifically to welcome you into His family for eternity.

Don’t come up empty. Come to the Living Lord God Almighty, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, your Creator and the God of the Bible. Come and enter into the glories of divinity, for which you were created.

God Loves Abundance

“The heavens declare the glory of God” Psalm 19:1

One of the striking testimonies of who God is and how He does business with us has been on display since creation, yet it is often overlooked by heathen and Christian alike. The heavens declare the glory of God and who whole of creation is an exhibition of God’s character and qualities. That display is so ubiquitous and compelling that mankind has no excuse for denying the existence and character of God.

“That which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God has shown it to them. For the invisible things of him are clearly seen from the creation of the world, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” Romans 1:19,20

God’s Attributes on Display

The vastness of space and the intricacies of miniature design combine with the whole of creation to testify to God’s attributes. God is supreme in His power. God is awesome in His design capabilities. God is profound in His scope and dimension. God is vast in His sovereignty. God is compassionate, as seen in His devotion of so much diversity just for human enjoyment. God is perfect, as seen by the incomprehensible complexity which works with such perpetual effectiveness.

With such profound evidence on display for everyone to encounter, throughout time and across the globe, no person has any excuse for refusing to believe in God, or rejecting the revelation of God given in the Bible.

The Attribute of Abundance

Years ago I was struck by the evidence of God’s delight in ‘abundance’. I had not been taught to think of God as a God of Abundance, so it surprised me to realise this quality. It came to my attention that I had been to remote locations where entire hillsides were radiant in blossom, yet hardly anyone was there to enjoy the sight. Magnificent sunsets are on display to empty oceans or remote mountain locations. Enchanting bird songs fill the air in places where no-one hears them sing. Fruit flourishes on trees where no-one picks the fruit.

I recalled many such observations from my youth. I once walked a track in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, and came across a passionfruit vine. Some hiker had dropped seed, possibly years before. Now passionfruit tendrils trailed across the ferns and foliage with huge blossoms waiting to form the delicious and tangy fruit. I stopped and scanned the scene, tracing the vines as they ran in various directions, across dense undergrowth. I pointed out the vine to another hiker who couldn’t have cared less. Most walkers on this track were focussed on getting to their objective, not noticing the fruit that was possibly only a few paces away. We did not have time to stop and gather fruit, so I passed on, remembering an abundance that was going to waste.

God Creates Abundance

God revels in abundance and creates it with abandon. How many different shapes of flower would have been sufficient to cater for man’s existence? Probably very few. Yet God made an abundance of shapes, sizes, colours, fragrances and delights in the floral world. God created that abundance for our pleasure. There is no real reason for it otherwise.

How many seeds or grains come from wheat, or an apple tree? There is super-abundance. If the objective was simply to ensure survival of the species, then just one or two grains or seeds would be sufficient. But there is a superfluity. Abundance comes in such measure that we can take an abundance for ourselves and there is still sufficient for the plants and species to survive.

Abundance Prompts Faith

Recognition of God’s commitment to abundance reveals His character. God is a “giving” God. He gives to us nothing less than ‘abundance’. God gives to us superlatively. He not only meets our needs, but throws in many extra hand-fulls – not our hands, but His huge hands, full of superfluous supply.

Just how much sky do you need? Just how many colours do we really need to see? Just how many different flavours would be enough to keep us alive? What if everything felt exactly the same and there were no sensations of texture?

God revels in abundance. That’s His character. The creation reveals, from day one, that God is a God of abundance. And that abundance is for man’s delight. So God is ready to give us ‘abundance’. God has proven His willingness to give us more than we need. He has proven that He is not looking for our survival but to delight and thrill us with His provision.

That’s a real kicker for faith. That should stir you to increased boldness before the throne of Grace. You should have increased excitement about how God will supply all your needs. He doesn’t do it according to the minimum required to have you survive until tomorrow. He meets your needs according to His riches in glory.

“But my God will supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

Allow me to introduce you to your God, the God of all eternity. Allow me to introduce you to your creator and reveal to you that He is a God of Abundance. I encourage you to come to your God, and to press in to Him for the abundance that He wants to give you.

Sovereignty Attacked

Each of us has a remarkable privilege of presenting ourselves before God, independent of the demands and tyranny of our peers or oppressors. Yet this wonderful privilege is attacked and attempts are made to deny us our sovereignty, at many stages in our life. This first commentary on how our sovereignty is under attack may well be expanded on in future posts, but at this point I want to simply draw your attention to the fact that there are various forces which oppose your divinely bequeathed right to personal sovereignty.

Since we are created by God and the rights we have come from God it is logical that the first enemy to any such privilege given us by God would be from the principal evil spirit, who we know as the devil. The devil is a created angel who rebelled against God and came under God’s judgement. His activities since then have been to attack those things which God has created, especially humankind.

The devil attacks our sovereignty in a number of ways. We know from the records of his influence over mankind that he seeks to prompt people to use their sovereignty in acts of rebellion against God. This results in them coming under God’s judgement instead of God’s blessing. Temptation and deception are two key strategies used by the devil.

Another strategy is to get people to hand over their personal sovereignty to the devil. Strictly speaking it is not possible to do so, but the devil has a couple of devices which work in this direction. When a person submits to some kind of inappropriate attitude or behaviour that person becomes a slave to that thing. For example, when a person gives in to anger, they become an angry person, enslaved to angry responses. When a person gives in to lust they become a lustful person, enslaved by lustful thoughts. This does not strictly take their sovereignty from them, but it imprisons their soul and seems to them as if they have lost sovereignty. If the person was to repent and cry out to God for deliverance they still have the right to do so. They may still call upon God, as a sovereign creation, and find God’s help.

The other way of getting people to hand over their personal sovereignty comes in the form of a contract with the devil. The ancient German folktale character, Faust, is a classic case of someone who made a deal with the devil. In recent times youth attending rock concerts have been encouraged to sign themselves to the devil, in their own blood. The act of making such a commitment is a major compromise of a person’s will and results in a tremendous inner sense of slavery. While the person’s personal sovereignty is, in reality, intact, the insistent claim upon them by the devil can seem irrevocable. I have heard testimony of people who have sought Christian help to break such contracts and who have become free from the tyranny of the devil’s claim.

So, temptation, deception and intimidation are typical methods of compromising personal sovereignty. While these methods are used by the devil, they are also employed by other people who wish to assert their will over others and to deny people their rightful freedom. The carrot and the stick, used by governments and other social structures to direct people’s wills, are expressions of temptation and intimidation. Propaganda, indoctrination and deception are also widely used by regimes intent on controlling the masses. Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda, Dr Goebbels implemented the Big Lie theory, that the bigger the lie the more likely people are to believe it.

Fear is another tool for making people give up personal sovereignty. Fear could relate to simple avoidance of rejection by others, such as social pressure to conform in order to be accepted. Or it could relate to the immediate threat of reprisal, death or torture if compliance is not given. Totalitarian regimes often resort to abductions, murders, genocide and other atrocities to instil fear and compliance in the community.

At a more personal level, there are those who seek to enslave others, including their family, employees or people in their care. Manipulation and control may involve just one subject, such as a parent manipulating their child, or a wife manipulating her husband. In such cases the manipulator seeks to turn another person into their slave, at least within certain behaviour patterns, and so resorts to various means of control to get the other to give up their sovereignty. A similar condition is that of domination, where an assertive person will project their personality over others, simply to indulge their own pride and self-centredness. The right to personal sovereignty of those around them is impacted by their domination.

In each of the cases I have outlined, our personal right to come into God’s presence and make appeal directly to Him, remains intact. We may be in physical danger if we do so, but we have not lost the divine right to do so. This is the Divine Right of Everyone! No religious or political domination, nor sin or deal with the devil, can take from us our right to cry out to God and present ourselves before Him.