Phaeton, The Lost Planet: Chapter Eight, by J. Timothy Unruh
With the conveyance of modern day air travel millions of people are carried miles above the ground at great speeds to all parts of the world annually. From such a lofty prospect, man and his works seem insignificant under the clouds and vapors far below. Such a context leads one to ponder the question: What is man that thou art mindful of him? He seems so insignificant amidst the vastness of the Earth. One might, as well, wonder why God should even "visit him" with his attentions. The experience of sitting under the stars on a clear dark night tends to have the same affect on one's imagination as he "takes flight" among the stars. There is something about observational astronomy, unlike any other experience, that elevates an observer's thoughts to his Creator, and then back to himself. Hence the age old question so many have groped with over the centuries comes into focus: Who am I?
David magnified the honor of his maker by recounting the honors God has put upon man, especially the man Jesus Christ. David himself, during a moonlit evening stroll, was led to admire the condescending favor of God to man. In the Scriptures man is called to be an observer. Man cannot help but see the God magnifying beauty and luster of the heavenly elements. By this, among other things, man is distinguished from the beasts, that while they are so framed to look downward to the ground, man is made erect to look upward toward heaven for his comfort. As each one of us contemplates the stars above and our own humble place in the vastness of creation, the question of our own personal identity as creatures becomes the perennial issue that visits our contemplations and which cannot be resolved apart from Holy Writ. "Who am I" thus follows the question of "Who is God." Among the many matters with which the Word of God continually comes into such direct contact these two are foremost. God has revealed much to us about Himself in Scripture, and it is within the context of His revelation that we understand ourselves. In this day of the "identity crisis" modern psychology, self development programs, or other humanly dynamic schemes cannot truly give us a resolute understanding of ourselves. Only the Word of God can provide that. When we abandon Scripture for other counsel we do so to our own demise.
Man was once a pure image of God. He alone of the creatures could think the thoughts of his Creator. Before sinless man the whole creation, including his own being, was an unclouded mirror in which God could be seen with the clarity of vision. In the mind of man God's revelation came to self conscious reinterpretation. Man had before him the task of conscious recognition of all the meaning deposited by God in the creation and he used his God given powers of investigation to discover the true God-imprinted meaning of nature. When Adam "named" something he was simply reading the name, or meaning, put there by God. Thus man found his identity in the will and purpose of God as a sentient being created in His image. When man first sinned in Eden, he fell into temptation and transgressed the revealed law of God, and as a consequence he lost touch with reality and his own identity.
The man who loves God will not have a problem with his "self-esteem" or his capacity to love his neighbor. To live peacefully man must find the only identity in his life that has worth, that of a child of God. When he knows that he has been regenerated by the Spirit of God through His Word, is a member of the family of God, is forgiven of all iniquity, counted as righteous as Jesus Christ through identification with Him, and destined for an eternal inheritance in the presence of God, that is identity enough for any man! Such identity has been given freely to those who are in Christ. For the Bible believing Christian, the identity crises is over (I John 3:1; I Corinthians 1:30; Philippians 4:13). The self concept of the believer focuses not upon what he is in himself, even though he has a unique personal identity as a creature, but upon who in Christ he has become: "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." -Romans 6:11 This is something totally foreign to modern psychiatrists, they cannot imagine finding self worth in Another. A further sense of man's identity is evident, in the broader context of God's overall creation as well.
"For the invisible things of him fro in the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:" (Romans 1:20)
According to this remarkable verse of scripture, there is a clear witness to the God of creation to be seen in the universe. What is particularly significant is the fact that His Godhead is revealed in creation. For thousands of years, men have recognized that the universe is a Space-Matter-Time universe. The common phenomena of universal experience are always. related to just these three, and no others. Everything in the world around us takes place in space and through time. The recognition of matter within the space-time continuum as basically a form of energy is a universal experience. Each of these three elements are distinct, yet coterminous with the other two, and of the same essence, all being creation. Our universe, manifest in these three universal conceptual forms, is indeed remarkably analogous to the character of the Triune God as revealed in Scripture.
Note: This diagram has been provided through the courtesy of Clifford Moody of C. L. M. Publishers. Due to the formative nature of the information represented in this diagram, and its continued development and refinement, this author offers the reader herein a mere sampling of this fascinating work currently in progress and which is to be ultimately published in book form. Further information on the work being conducted through C. L. M. may be obtained by writing to the publisher's address given at the front of this book.
The Godhead of the Trinity is the fullest expression of who God is. There is one God, yet He exists in three persons. The Bible doctrine of the Trinity, that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are each equally and eternally the one true God, is one of the great unfathomable "mysteries," or profundities of Christian theology. It is a fundamental fact of God's revelation of Himself and the very foundation of Christian truth. Skeptics may ridicule it as a mathematical impossibility yet it is nevertheless a basic doctrine of Scripture, as well a profoundly realistic fact in the scientific understanding of the cosmos. Man as a finite being may not be able to know God exhaustively but he can certainly know him truly, according to the extent of God's revelation. The concept of the Trinity is not one that would ever have been invented in the imaginations of natural man, for it came to us only through special revelation. No representation made by man, physical or mental, can possibly depict the Godhead.
The very first statement in the Bible indicates the reflective nature of creation: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." (Genesis 1:1). Thus time, space, and matter, as represented by "beginning" (a time designation), heaven (a spatial designation), and earth (a material designation), are the three fundamental mutually exclusive - but of the same essence, vitally interdependent, yet collectively exhaustive elements of creation. Neither one of these three can exist without the other, and there is none other element one could add to these three in order to make creation more complete. This is the basic nature of creation and it reflects the nature of the Creator Himself. This image can be understood, at least in part, when one realizes that man himself is a "triune" creature whose elements follow the same pattern of distinction, interdependence and essence. The basic concept of the Trinity and the interrelationships of the offices of each Person of the Godhead in the process of man's salvation is a well known historic fact. The status of the Father as the "source," along with the Son in His manifest eternal "generations" and the interpretive Holy Spirit Who "proceeds" from the Father and the Son, are "mysteries" revealed in the reflective nature of creation. As well, their trichotomy and reflectivity in creation, and man the creature, is a basic self evident truth, although not so well expounded upon or published in the halls of orthodoxy. Just as the identity of a great artist, such as Rembrandt, is reflected in his paintings and is thus known by his works, likewise God, Creator of Heaven and Earth and the host of them, is reflected in His creation. As we turn to man we see this as well. When man fell in Eden, not only was the sin of humanity's federal head and representative in Adam imputed to all of Adam's offspring but by his sin, man defaced the image of God in himself and in creation. Subsequent observers thus see a defaced and polluted creation. Thus because of sin and deception the evidence of God in nature is clouded in man's perceptions. It is not the obscurity of revelation, be it in nature, Scripture, or Jesus Christ, that renders man blind and hostile to the truth, it is his own depravity and perversity that makes him so.
It is only when a man is born again that he finds, or regains, his identity in Christ as a creature of God.
"And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." (I Thessalonians 5:23)
"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and morrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12)
These two passages clearly indicate a tripartite nature in man, and emphasize the distinction between the body, soul, and spirit of man. Of all God's creatures on Earth man is unique in that man is a spirit, as well as a corporeal creature with a soul. To a rather limited extent an animal has a body and a soul exhibiting an emotional constitution, but not a living spirit. Unregenerate man is, although, "dead in trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1). Man is a threefold being; spirit, soul, and body. The trichotomy of man could be carried a step further by describing his spirit as consisting of intuition, conscience, and communion; the soul consisting of the intellect, emotion, and will; and the body consisting of bones, flesh and blood. Of interest also is the counterpart or reflection of Christ in man and creation. It is always the second element which is the visible or revelationary element of the three: The Son as the second person of the Trinity was the visible manifestation of the invisible God in Christ (Colossians I :15; I Timothy 3:16). In Space, matter, and time, matter is the visible manifestation of creation (Romans 1:20). In man, it is the flesh which we normally see, not the bones or blood. In time, it is the present, not the past or the future which we perpetually experience. Thus man's identity is expressed as a reflection of the triune God.
One way of considering what man is may be seen in the following analysis. In the exhibit "Theoretical Graphic Schematic of Man the Tripartite" the outer circle represents the "body" of man, the middle circle the "soul" and the inner circle stands for the "spirit" of man. The body touches the world through the senses. The soul uses the sensory perceptions to gather information from the outside world. The soul "processes" this information through the dynamics indicated in the "gateways" between. The spirit is "elevated" through the soul. In his unfallen state man was illuminated from heaven, but when the human race fell in Adam, sin closed the window of the spirit and it became a dark chamber of death. It remains so until the "life" and "light" giving power of the new life in Christ regenerates a man. Until such illumination, the spirit of natural man stands "guard" at the door and "prevents" the entrance of the Holy Spirit until such volition or will succumbs to the power of the "sword of the Spirit," which is the Word of God. Once this takes place, the Holy Spirit enters and takes up abode in the spirit of man. Thus the battlefield is within the soul of man. The Holy Spirit must make residence not only in the spirit of man but also in the soul and body, as shown in the diagram. Man is to be sanctified - spirit, soul, and body - lest the body be given over to the lusts of the flesh and of the world and the whole man becomes spiritually sick. Being confronted daily with battles which touch upon the cosmic in scale it is also incumbent upon ourselves to have a grasp of the mechanics on how to stand firm as a Christian "soldier."
In man, the soul has a critical role as an interface with the world. The battlefield of "Good and Evil" is in the "soul" of man. If we take a careful look at the soul which can be said to be constituted by the intellect, emotion, and will, we can see the strategic interaction of these three as we approach the Word of God. The intellect is the sentient thinking or reasoning capacity. It might be likened to a master planner or policy maker. One's course of action is thought out by the intellect. The emotion is the rallying point or power device. All of us have an emotional makeup and we act out our lives largely according to the degree to which this emotional dynamo rules. Whatever is decided to be reasonable in the intellect is energized by the emotion, and carried out through an act of the will. For example, from reading the newspaper one might be convinced that a certain cause or course of legislative action would be an effective means to stem the rising tide of violent crime. Through the chartered reasoning of "newspaper exegesis," which often comes without sound principle, and often clouds the issues, one might be so emotionally charged that the practical aspects of such a cause and the constitutional issues involved are completely ignored or rejected. The newspaper editor may seem to have "won" the argument with his eloquence and clever rhetoric, and captured his misguided reader's allegiance. As a skilled orator, one may be able to "win" an argument but that does not necessarily mean he is right. "There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Proverbs 16:25). In this present evil world the mind is often instructed with convincing, although false and deceptive information. The result is, as often, a charged and misdirected emotional life in the individual, who is once again victimized by the world system. Many scripturally unsound viewpoints and decisions are made on an emotional appeal alone. This is why it is so important to be emotionally stabilized and directed by an intellect furnished with the precepts of God. Mental hospitals are filled with people who have lost their way due to a misguided emotional complexion. This is one reason why the Word of God becomes so important to the soul. When we read, study, and meditate on the Word of God, and "reason together," there is an emotional response to the truth which is very benign and powerful, as our souls are encouraged, our spirits are elevated, and even, in some cases, our bodies healed. The godly purpose of the emotions is to be a motivator to embrace and perform that which is right and good. Recognizing. who the God of truth really is, and relying on His Word is the way of the truly wise, and is how the Christian survives this "present evil world." Seeing the Christ of Scripture and creation is what will truly restore one's proper intellectual, emotional, and volitional constitution.
This diagram representing the soul, indicates the Intellect (I), Emotion (E), and Will (W). When our lives function on an emotional appeal alone, the intellectual or reasoning faculty is suppressed resulting in an unstable volitional response. When we act sensibly, based on sound intelligence (the Word of God), there is a proper emotional response leading to a constructive act of the will.
Unlike the unseen angels which are fixed in either iniquity or grace
and have no bodies, man is a visible corporeal being for whom the Creator
Himself, in the second person of the Godhead, died in order to renew his
spirit. How is man, so small, and so insignificant, in his vast world, to
be reckoned by so infinitely great and so mighty of a God? Most of all,
how is finite man, limited in place and power, to hold his own in a cosmos
torn asunder by principalities, powers, and rulers of darkness, under the
wiles of so great a legion of evil adversaries above our world and within
it? The Scriptures throw light on this matter as well.
"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness: And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel." (Ephesians 6:10-19)
We live in a world of spiritual conflict, deception, and conspiracy. The Bible makes this abundantly clear. The Savior has provided his people with a means of dealing with spiritual conflict, and conducting a worthy walk. The Christian, in his walk, inevitably engages the opposition and spiritual resistance of Satan and his hosts. The goal of the devil is to produce ignorance, arrogance, and apathy toward God through his deceptions. Hence the Christian needs to be properly equipped and prepared to deal with such mighty invisible forces. The Christian's warfare is against more than just his own fleshly temptations. There are "powers and principalities" of the unseen world against which we are powerless except through the aid of Christ. Truth, Righteousness, Peace, Faith, Salvation, the Word, and Prayer, are weapons that ward off the darts of the unseen enemy. Thus the born again, spirit-filled Christian warrior must continuously "be strong" or strengthen himself with the armor God has provided him. God describes to us how to be "strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might" through a highly figurative illustration of a Roman soldier equipped in full battle array. The armor typifies Christ and what he is prepared to be and do in each believer. The Apostle Paul wrote "Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires" (Romans 13:14) The "ground" of the warrior's strength is his position "in the Lord." His strength is "the power of His (God's) might." When the Christian takes into account his position in Christ and appropriates the provided armor, the Holy Spirit empowers him to make good the new life in resisting Satanic attack. The believer's secret of victory in spiritual battle is reckoning or counting by faith on those resources which are actually his in Christ, the Victor (Colossians 1:13; 2:15). "Take unto you the whole armor" emphasizes the responsibility of so reckoning. This the Christian must do if he is to defend himself and wage effective warfare against the evil denizens of the cosmos. Thus the figure of a Roman soldier describes another aspect of the believer's identity, which is again found in Christ.
Christ is the believer's defense and therefore all pieces of the armor may speak of Him, but they also speak of the resources which are given to the believer by Him. The girdle of truth gives confidence against the onslaught of error, which itself can lead to defeat, discouragement, uncertainty, confusion, depression, and indifference. When confronted with these the believer is to gird up his loins with truth. The soldiers in the Roman army wore short skirts, resembling Scottish kilts. Over them they had a cloak or tunic which was secured at the waist with a girdle. When they were about to enter battle they would tuck the tunic up under the girdle so as to leave their legs free and unimpeded for the flight. Girding the loins is a symbol for readiness to fight. You cannot do battle until you gird up your loins with truth. The distinction of Christianity is the clearly demonstrated right of Jesus Christ to be accepted as authority over any other person, thing, or principle.
The breastplate of righteousness (the practical outgrowth of imputed righteousness) represents the believer's right standing before God. If you have the breastplate of righteousness on, you can be assured that your heart and emotions are perfectly guarded and adequately protected against attack. Through one circumstance or another the believer may occasionally lose confidence and assurance, and may even "feel" unworthy or rejected of God. More than anyone else, the Christian is aware of his failures and shortcomings. That is why he is to put on the breastplate of righteousness. The believer does not stand on his own merits, he never did, but on Christ's merits alone. Before his conversion Paul was one of the most hostile, brutal persecutors of Christians the Church had ever known. Paul must have used the breastplate of righteousness many times as he undoubtedly was often confronted with families with loved ones he had put to death. He was often reminded by people that he was not one of the original twelve apostles, and that his calling was suspect. Being small of stature and not comely in appearance he was likely often under great pressure to be discouraged and defeated. He needed the breastplate (I Corinthians 15:10). The breastplate gives protection against the subtle temptations of unrighteousness.
The Roman soldier wore a stout pair of shoes or sandals which had iron spikes on the sole, which afforded him readiness, quick flight, and maneuverability. It was important that he had good contact where "the rubber meets the road." The preparation, readiness, or sense of peace comes when the believer remembers who he is, what he is, and, above all else, Whom he has. The good news of peace with God gives firm-footed stability when facing the enemy.
The shield, which consists of faith, offers a defense against the devious attacks of Satan. It is according to the character of the devil to attack with his evil "flaming darts." These stratagems of Satan come to us in various forms. Sometimes they are evil thoughts, imaginations or "whisperings" of doubts, fears, or anxieties. They are almost always an attack on our position in Christ as the truth, our righteousness peace, and faith. Satan began this tactic long ago, in the Garden of Eden. The "shield of faith" enables the believer to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one. The shield is not the shield of "belief," since the Christian soldier has already reminded himself of his belief when he put on the girdle of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, and the equipment of the Gospel of Peace. The shield is faith, which is acting on belief. faith is not positive thinking or hoping for the best, it is decision, action, and resolution. Faith is the working out of the implications of belief. Applying these is what it means to be putting on the shield of faith. James calls it "resisting the devil" and refusing to believe his lies. If you keep resisting the devil, he will flee from you.
Salvation is represented by the helmet or headgear, protecting the vital organ which has to do with the believer's thought life and spiritual senses. The helmet protects the mind, the intelligence, the ability to think or reason. The helmet represents Christ keeping our thinking straight and preserving us from mental confusion and darkness. The world is in desperate need of straight thinking people. Today most scientists, educators, and media people are not straight thinking people. Hence, our society at large is more confused than ever about understanding God, His creation, and. man himself. In the midst of all this, the helmet of salvation thus offers protection and preservation to the believer until Christ's coming.
The Word of God is the great weapon placed in the hands of the believer. It is both his defense and offense. It pierces other hearts and destroys the lies of the devil in others as well as one's self. He need not defend it or support it with long and extensive arguments. He is to proclaim it, simply declare it, "For the Word of God is quick and powerful and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is the discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Hebrews 4:12. The Word of God gets below reason, logic, and deception. It pierces the armor that has been erected against the Word of God and it goes to the heart. Thus it has power in itself. This offensive quality of the Bible explains why it is continually under attack. For centuries the enemies of the Gospel, prompted by the devil, have been seeking to destroy the Bible and its significance and relevance to all of life. Some of these ploys have been very clever and effective in receiving many. History is rife with the influence of heliocentrism, uniformitarianism, evolution, relativity and other "isms" which have characterized the rise of modern "science" which has misled countless millions. The effect, of course, is to keep people from knowing the Scripture and seeing Christ. Many temptations seem logical, reasonable, and widely practiced, but the end thereof is death. The only offensive weapon given to the believer is the sword which the Spirit provides, which is the Word of God. Such personal knowledge thereof as represented by the Roman legionary, is used by the Holy Spirit for both offensive and defensive purposes (Matthew 4:1 - 11; Hebrews 4:12). "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding." (Proverbs 3:5)
Prayer is the capstone of the believer's armor in that it is to be. his constant activity. Prayer is not mumbling to yourself, an incantation, nor a psychological self communion in which you "discover yourself." Prayer is conversation with the living and personal God, and is concerned with many matters in the life of the Christian (Philippians 4:6-7). We are taught in Scripture to pray for it is profoundly simple yet supremely important. Finally, we are told to "stand." We refuse to move from the ground of faith we have taken. We are not told to "fight" but to stand for in the end the battle, as we are taught, is the Lord's.
From the cosmic realm of devastated worlds to the reality of everyday life on Earth, the same evil agents are at work to plunder creation and man. Properly prepared and equipped by Christ, the Christian army shall prevail against the "gates of hell."
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." (II Timothy 3:16-17)
POSTSCRIPT (Chapter 9)
The enigmatic planetary vacancy out beyond Mars has been one of the most intriguing mysteries of modern astronomy. One thing is almost certain, there was once a good-sized planet in this position. The hard data points to awesome forces of disorder unleashed among the stars in the past. One wonders just exactly what did happen out there in the heavens and just how it is related to the catastrophes and convulsions that apparently beset the other planets and their members, as well as the Earth itself. The Bible clearly reveals that what God created in six days and was once unimaginably wonderful and good. With the subsequent entrance of sin all of creation became polluted and afflicted. Thus all of creation, including ourselves, is fallen, corrupted, and afflicted, and cries out for restoration.
To varying degrees there is something amiss with every heavenly orb. Certainly none are hospitable to man in his present fragile body. The creation indeed seems to yearn for and await a special day of promise and glory when all things will be made anew, as it is written:
"...For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, awaiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body..." (Romans 8:22-23).
Phaethon, Phaeton ("FAY-ton,") n. [L. Phaethon; Gr. Phaethon, lit., shining from phaethein, "to shine"]. I. In Greek and Roman Mythology, son of Helios, the sun god: he borrowed his father's sun chariot and, through careless driving, would have set the world on fire had not Zeus struck him down with a thunderbolt. 2. A light, four-wheeled carriage, drawn by either one or two horses, with front and back seats and, usually, a folding top. 3. An open automobile with front and back seats and a folding top, usually furnished with side curtains; a touring car.: 4. The missing intra-Martial-Jovian planet.
The design of this logogram was originated by the author from a composite
of the symbol for the largest asteroid, Ceres, and a representation of Phaeton's
horse and chariot.
Copyright © 1995, 1996. All Rights Reserved. Published by RUHE COMPANY, P.O. Box 1034, Rocklin, California 95677-1034. No portion of this book may be reproduced in any form whatsoever without written permission from the publisher. Internet edition, January 17, .1997
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