January 28, 2018

The Breath of Life and Light

         What distinguishes justified belief from opinion? The investigation of this question is the dictionary definition of epistemology, the theory of knowledge, and one of the four components of the Nature of Reality (+ metaphysics, aesthetics, and ethics). The contrast of justified belief from opinion can be understood by the difference in the questions asked of Archangel Gabriel by Zachariah (Luke 1.18; opinion) and Mary (Luke 1.34; justified belief). The contrast can also be understood through God’s explanation of Israel’s problem (and ours) in Jeremiah 13.10 & 1 Samuel 8.6-7: God’s absolute words (justified belief) can become disdained by man’s imagination when it is devolved by relative philosophers (opinion). Jesus’ Parable of the Sower illustrates; Matthew 13.18-22.

         Let me focus this study further with the question: how much of what we call knowledge did God “breathe” into Adam (Genesis 2.7) filing his brain and given to him to be passed down to and discovered by the succeeding generations of his progeny? This knowledge includes the general knowledge about God that Paul writes about in Romans 1.19-20. This knowledge, also, includes the specific knowledge from God that taught Bezalel, for example, “to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft” that would become part of the Tabernacle, which pattern God gave to Moses (Exodus 31.4-5, 25.40). Might such general and specific knowledge be what Jesus attributes as an important purpose of the Holy Spirit, in John 14.26?

         The Gospel writer, John, writes in John 1.1-5 that the Word was the “life” that was “breathed” into Adam (Genesis 2.7; see also John 5.26, 11.25-26 & 1 John 1.2, 5.11). Was this what Solomon wrote about in Ecclesiastes 3.11: God “has put eternity into man’s heart [mind], yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end”? Job and his friends seem to know lots about God, and even eternity, before we have His revelation from Genesis 12 through Revelation 22. Specifically in Job 4.18# & 15.15# (2 Peter 2.4; Juke 1.6), 10.11-12< (Jeremiah 1.5; Psalm 139.13-14; 1 Thessalonians 5.23), 11.7-8^, 16.19^ (1 Timothy 2.5; 1 John 2.1), 19.25-27^* (Revelation 22.12), 26.7-10>*, 27.3#< & 32.8<*^, 27.8#< (John 3.18; Revelation 20.11-15), 28.5> & 23-28>^, 31.1-4#^ & 26-28#, 38.1-3^ & 40.3-5^ (before this, Cain had heard God, Genesis 4.7; so had Noah, Genesis 6-9). [Legend: Blue and # about Heaven and Hell; Purple and ^ about God and Jesus; Red and < about human body, mind, and spirit; Green and > about cosmology and science.] These are ‘justified beliefs’ and not ‘opinions’, as we verify throughout Scripture.

         “Light” was given him in the same breath (see John 1.4, then 8.12, 9.5, 12.46); light that cannot be extinguished by the darkness of satan’s kingdom. This “light”, too, was the general knowledge about God (Romans 1.19-20) and the potential of specific knowledge that would be given to individuals throughout the ages for the benefit of others. Dr. Ronald H. Nash writes, regarding John 1.9, that this “epistemological logos” of the Word is “the source of all human knowledge” (The Will of God and the Mind of Man, 1982, P&R Publishing, Phillipsburg, NJ, p. 67). Like Balezel, we receive from God knowledge and understanding to carry out the purposes He assigns to us (Ecclesiastes 5.19-20).. The Holy Spirit within us takes from the Word (= Jesus) and gives to us the “knowledge” we must use [John 14.26, 16.14-15, Proverbs 20.24 & 27 (where ‘spirit’ is the Hebrew ‘breath’ and ‘parts’ include our thoughts)]. Thus, could Paul be encouraging our greater use than the estimated 10% of our brain power when he writes that we should grow our “maturity” into the complete (implied) knowledge possessed by Jesus (see Ephesians 4.13)? Should other teachers (ex. reading, writing, arithmetic, quantum physics, micro-biology, music performance, salesmanship, etc.) be added to Paul’s list of educators in verses eleven and twelve?

         Even Elihu knew that God breathed into us through Adam knowledge and understanding, which he states in Job 32.8: “‘it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand.’” But, how did he know otherwise, for the record is incomplete about mankind knowing God after Genesis 4.26? [The book of Job is chronologically placed after chapter eleven of Genesis.] Elihu states that knowledge came through God’s breath. Therefore, we can understand John 3.27 and that it explains Jeremiah 1.5 as evidence of the servanthood of man in Philippians 2.7 that is illustrated by Bazalel, in Exodus 31.4-5; and by Moses, Joshua, Isaiah, Peter, John, and Paul.

         God chooses specific ones of us for His specific purposes (could this be an understanding of Ephesians 2.10?). Some become teachers, some lawyers, some doctors and engineers. Others become shepherds of people or animals, nurturing even the smallest into God-sized tasks. But, it is the breath of God that has instructed mankind generally about Himself and specifically about their individual assignments. He, even, walks alongside us training and perfecting our service. How did Elihu know? Do you?

Praise God!!! Copyright © 2018 by Maurice L. Painter. www.sozoclass.com

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