by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 4 Study # 12 September 21, 2004 Lincolnton, N.C.
(061)Thesis:Paul's accusations against man consist of a four-fold description of man's antagonism toward the Truth of God.
Introduction:In our study last week we began to look at Paul's accusation that man, having been delivered over to the death he thought he would prefer, was "filled up with, so that he is full of unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, and evil". We also decided last week not to just read over the litany of man's "fullness", but, instead, to consider what Paul was charging man with. So, in our look at "unrighteousness" we saw that it is a frontal attack upon Justice. And we saw that it springs primarily from the lust to bask in the glory that men have to offer. Our conclusion was that if we care overmuch about the opinions others have of us, we will launch a frontal attack on Justice over and over as the situations where "opinions count" call for it. We concluded our study by pointing out that God has given us a record of His four "major issues" in the four Gospels and that man's "fullness of..." are major points of human opposition to those four issues. This evening we are going to take a detour to bring these four issues more clearly into the focus of our attention. I consider this necessary because the residual impact of God's deliverance of man over to a perverse heart and a non-think mind was not totally erased by His gracious recovery of at least some of those that He delivered up.
I. The Historical Development of the Over-All Theological Construct.
A. From the beginning, God has told us that "temptation" would come from three major directions with a fundamental issue as the bottom line.
1. The three major directions are: the lust of the flesh (the fruit was "good for food); the lust of the eyes (the fruit was a "delight" to the eyes); and the arrogance of functional capacity (the fruit was "desired to make one wise").
2. The bottom line was, and has always been, "life" ("...ye shall die...ye shall not die...") and the fundamental methodology was, and has always been, "faith".
B. After that beginning, God began a major program of theological education to bring man back from his unbelief.
1. To do that, He had to put a focus, before those who were willing to believe, that would center their attention so that they would not be deceived when temptation came from any of the three directions.
2. His first step in the theological program was to sponsor a pictorial symbolism that would pull men's attention toward the issues of focus: this pictorial symbolism was the Adam/Seth-developed Zodiacal sign system that was given for the purpose of theological education.
a. In that system, there were four major theses consisting of the theses of the Scorpion, the Man as the Water-Giver, the Bull as the Victorious Herd Protector, and the Lion as the Preserver of Righteousness through wisdom and might.
b. But, the "system" began to break down over generations because the men who carried the system forward were over-committed to their "fullness of unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, and evil" so that the system began to be twisted into a worship of the hosts of heaven -- a worship of the creature rather than the Creator.
3. His second step was to produce a written revelation of His glory so that the tendencies of men would be hampered by an unchanging text.
a. In this written record, He reproduced the meaning of the previously given symbolism in words. The most obvious of those reproductions are found in Genesis 49, Numbers 23-24, Deuteronomy 33, Ezekiel 1 and 10, and Revelation 4.
b. The "weakness" of this written record was that it was given in historically conditioned "settings" over a period of maybe 2000 years (depending upon when Job was written).
1) I call this a "weakness" in that, if a person did not have the earlier symbolism in mind, he would not easily see the overall picture.
2) In some senses, though, it was a great strength in that the words came into historical settings that made a huge impression on those in those settings.
c. The problem with the on-going written record was that the men who took on the task of "interpreting" it were still afflicted with the "fullness of unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, and evil" so that, over sufficient time, the message was twisted out of its meaning to serve the lusts of the teachers.
4. So, His third step was to send His Son into this world as an in-a-physical-body demonstration of the four points of His theology.
a. While Jesus was on the planet, He lived out the reality of the Eagle, Man, Bull, and Lion to some degree.
b. But, His time on the planet was short, His exposure to humanity was limited, and the fullness of the manifestation of the Eagle and the Lion theses was delayed until a later time.
5. So, His fourth step was to sponsor the culmination of His "written revelation" project.
a. This culmination began with preaching, followed by written explanations and corrections of misunderstanding; a process in which a gradual corpus of final writings was produced.
b. The latter stages of this writing project contained four presentations of the Son Who had come and then left.
c. Not surprisingly, those four presentations camped on the four theological points of focus.
1) Three of the four presented Jesus as the Solution to Temptation.
2) The fourth presented Jesus as the Life-Focused God so that temptation and its solution could be seen in the light of the real issue ("Where is Life to be Found?").
d. And, not surprisingly, this effort has also been significantly corrupted by men who are still filled with unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, and evil, but at least some men now have an unadulterated and complete written record of the theology of God.