PAPER NO. 29
REPENTANCE AND HOPE
Thy Kingdom Come
All Have Sinned
Human beings are all under the charge of sin: all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. All fail to seek the knowledge of God through the work of dominion, to fill the earth with the knowledge of God.
What may be known of God, his eternal power and divine nature and the moral law is clear so that unbelief is without excuse.
No one seeks God; no one understands; no one does what is right.
The inherent consequence of sin is spiritual death: meaninglessness, boredom and guilt, without end.
Unbelief in Believers
The curse of toil and strife and old age, sickness and death, increasing to war, famine and plague, is imposed on all men to restrain, recall from and remove sin, beginning with self-deception and self-justification regarding sin.
Sin as failure to seek and understand remains in the believer even if unbelief does not reign over all his beliefs. God’s call to repentance is over all, in the believer first and also in the non-believer.
The name of God is blasphemed by the non-believer due to sin that remains in believers.
Sin remaining in believers disregards and distorts the meaning of sin, which must be grounded in clarity and inexcusability. The consequence of not seeking and not understanding basic things that are clear to reason empties Christian faith of meaning over time.
Heaven vs. the Knowledge of God
Preparing the way of the Lord requires demolishing arguments and every pretension raised up against the knowledge of God, first in believers, and then in non-believers.
In the Church the commonly held goal of heaven comes short of the glory of God and has been the chief hindrance to the goal of the knowledge of God through the work of dominion.
In the Church several uncritically held epistemological assumptions prevail: literalism, fideism, intuitionism and voluntarism together hinder the knowledge of God and has been used to support salvation focused on heaven rather than eternal life in knowing God.
Four False Epistemological Assumptions
Some in the Christian community have placed immediate knowledge by intuition (the sensus divinitatis) above knowledge by reason and inference (understanding the nature of God from the things made).
Some have taught voluntarism (where the will is free to act against the intellect in knowingly doing evil) in place of culpable ignorance (arising from not seeking and not understanding and where knowing the truth sets a person free).
Some have taught that faith is above and at times against reason, in place of identifying faith with understanding, which grows as understanding grows.
Some have taught the Principle of Literalism in which one word is said to have one meaning, in place of the Principle of Clarity that understands the less basic (word) in the context of more basic principles.
Hope in Repentance
We are to take thoughts captive that are raised up against the knowledge of God. These faulty assumptions, and other arguments that are raised up against the knowledge of God, will soon be addressed more fully in subsequent papers.
While all have sinned in not seeking and understanding, repentance must begin with the believer. When we avoid and resist repentance, the curse deepens. In repentance there is hope that the kingdom of God will come: Repent, the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.