Greetings once again Friends! You may have seen a recent Netflix documentary called, “The Social Dilemma” (Initial released: Jan. 26th, 2020). I would recommend it to you. The following review of the documentary appeared on Wikipedia, “The Social Dilemma is a 2020 American docudrama film directed by Jeff Orlowski and written by Orlowski, Davis Coombe, and Vickie Curtis. It explores the rise of social media and the damage it has caused to society, focusing on its exploitation of its users for financial gain through surveillance capitalism and data mining, how its design is meant to nurture an addiction, its use in politics, its effect on mental health (including the mental health of adolescents and rising teen suicide rates), and its role in spreading conspiracy theories such as Pizzagate and aiding groups such as flat-earthers.
“The film features interviews with many individuals who give first-hand experiences of working in and around the tech industry. Interviewees state that the existence of social media platforms and big tech has been instrumental in providing positive change for society, however, some decisions and paradigms have caused consequences that are problematic. Throughout the documentary, many former employees, executives and other professionals from top tech, social media, and research backgrounds give their input on the problems that can be found on a variety of online platforms. These interviews are cut together with dramatizations which tell the story of a teenager’s social media addiction interlaced with a representation of how a social media algorithm powered by artificial intelligence may work.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Social_Dilemma)
The documentary is currently in Netflix Australia’s top ten list and has been popular around the globe. Some media pundits suggest it’s “the most important documentary of our times.” What are the consequences of our growing dependence on social media? As digital platforms increasingly become a lifeline to stay connected, Silicon Valley insiders reveal how social media is reprogramming civilization by exposing what’s hiding on the other side of your screen. Some have even said you will wish you watched this documentary before you started using social media.
These Silicone Valley insiders tell us that there are “whole teams of engineers whose job is to use your psychology against you.” So, these social media platforms aim and work at affecting real-world behavior and emotions of the end-user. The net effect is we become clueless pawns and unwary prey to these media platforms with algorithms that work at confounding social values for truth and freedom (likes, thumbs-up, conspiracies, disinformation, slogans, propaganda, cause), especially with the truth of our personal reality.
Slowly we lose control of who we are until we exchange our self-image for a person that is not true to our reality, but a false one that was unsuspectingly manipulated by third parties who are now running the lives of millions.
And the question that must be asked is, who owns our reality, and thereby our futures – personally and collectively? How is each of our personality being cast, shaped, and reshaped? Is our personal freedoms get sacrificed on the altar of the algorithms of Silicone Valley technological companies, on propagandas and conspiracies? Once our human freedom is brought into question in the theater of social media, in most cases it becomes a moral issue that opens the door to the matter of making choices that in turn affect our personal and collective reality.
A choice is a decision we make where good and bad, right and wrong, where liberty and bondage, are weighed and considered. Humanity was created to be free, so that through our individual liberties we find our realities. (John 8:32, 36; Gal.5:1; 2 Cor.3:17)
This Blog is a Christian site dedicated with worldview based upon values modelled in the Christian Trinitarian perspective. (To read more about what ‘trinitarian perspective’ means, go to: http://bulamanriver.net/6251; also at: http://bulamanriver.net/7458; and http://bulamanriver.net/8036).
There is the Christian perception to social media and the moral imperative it presents that is important for the Christian. Therefore, this blog has always presented its views from the perspective of the Christian Trinitarian believer. That is what this blog site is about and has always done, and will continue to do.
The real issue behind our social media dilemma boils down to the question of values which dictates our human freedoms and how that affects our perspective and worldview that’s modelled after the Creator’s Triune likeness. (Gen.1:26-27; 1 John 4:8)
When media platforms begin to step adversely and don’t allow civil interaction to take place and trample upon values that infringe our freedoms, then it becomes a human issue that has everything to do with who we truly are in our humanity modelled after God’s Love likeness. (1 John 4:8, 16)
People are all different and possess personalities unique to one’s national, ancestral, ethnic, and cultural identity. Then inside such homogenous groupings, people are further identified into tribal and communal standings and functions. Then holistically the final dissection is identifying the self-conception which determine individual functions in the people’s reality in their God-given gifting, individually and collectively.
That is what determines the individual’s reality as a person in God’s Love-image. (1 John 4:8) This divine Love likeness is what human personhood is about, and determines the person’s reality. It has been proven each of our fingerprints are unique to each person, that’s how uniquely different we all are. Even identical twins (who share their DNA) do not have identical fingerprints.* (add as appendix: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fingerprint#:~:text=The%20skin%20on%20the%20palmar,do%20not%20have%20identical%20fingerprints).
In biblical terms, each person is individually gifted with the personality to match such divinely-conferred gifts. Hence, we read this passage from scripture, “God in His kindness gave each of us different gifts. As good stewards of the manifold grace of God, each of you should use whatever gift one has received to serve one another” (Rom.12:6; 1 Pet.4:10). Life and gifts come fused together and are inseparable – that is the reality of our personhood and humanity.
No human can claim to be without a gift given him or her by the Creator. (Rom.11:29) Humans possess gifts because they are fashioned in God’s Love likeness. Paul said, “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable,” to mean God has blessed humanity with His own image and likeness through the gifts He has conferred upon us from birth. (Rom.11:19). Paul reminds us, “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands” (2 Tim.1:6; 4:14). Therefore, a person’s ‘life-gift,’ purpose, dream, calling, or whatever one may wish to call it, is a magnet in the person’s life.
We have heard the adage, “Life is a gift,” denoting that the gift is the expression of who the person is. This is the mind-blowing truth about the beauty of our humanity which is manifested in the vast array of gifts God has so marvelously conferred upon and dispersed in all of mankind. To destroy that ‘life-gift’ is to erase a person’s divine personhood that is his/her identity bestowed by the Creator. In short, each of our ‘life-gift’ defines our humanity that is created in the diverse image and likeness of God in His Tri-Personal Being. (Gen.1:26-27; Matt.28:18-20; 2 Cor.13:14)
The Bible tells us this about God who created our vast universe and all the heavenly wonders in it, “He (God) counts the number of the stars; He gives names to all of them” (Psa.147:4, NASB). God creates everything and is omniscient (all-knowing/all-wise), besides being omnipotent (all-powerful), and omnipresent (everywhere at once). The same manner God counts and names the innumerable stars of the heavens, He knows every human being He gave life and gifts (purpose) upon this earth and calls each by name commensurate with each of our unique gifts. (1 Cor.7:17)
Jesus’ name means Savior for He is the promised Messiah who saves humanity from the sin-condition. (Matt.1:21) Speaking about Jesus with those he saved, the Bible says, “The Shepherd (Jesus) walks right up to the gate. The Gatekeeper (God) opens the gate to Him and the sheep recognize His voice. He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out” (John 10:3, italics my emphasis, MSG; also Isa.43:1.). God names and identifies His human children by the gift He confers upon each person. (1 Tim.4:14-16)
Paul says that because God has conferred gifts upon every living human, we are to keep our gift dusted and polished and desires we immerse ourselves in them by using them in God’s Love. (Rom.11:9; 1 Tim.4:14-16, MSG; 1 Cor.13:1-8). Gifts contribute to the zest of human personality and vitality for which God gave a weighty and influential metaphor for us to contemplate – Gold! Jesus spoke of the parable of the gold in reference to the gifts God confers upon us. You can read this in Jesus’ parable in Matthew 25:14-30. You may visit my Blog Post entitled, “Invest In Gold” at:- http://bulamanriver.net/3145 to view my explanatory perspective on this topic. To neglect and betray your life’s purpose per your gift, or to live diametrically opposite to your divine destiny in your Creator’s likeness. (Gen.1:26-27)
But here is the contextual relevance between the two, so I ask, what has human gifts to do with the social media and the effects social media has upon humans? Much in every way because God will never forsake humanity and will always have a hand in human destiny. (Job.12:10; Pro.16:9) John was given a vision to record God’s glorious plan for humanity’s future upon earth, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among His people! He will live with them, and they will be His people. God Himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever. And the One sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End” (Rev.21:1-6).
So God Himself will come and dwell among humanity who will have been restituted in His Love likeness. (Gen.1:26-27) His unfailing Love has never leave mankind, He has never abandoned humanity, although we cannot say the same of us. (Rom.1:25, 28-32) It will be a future so glorious in its beauty and majesty beyond the human mind to comprehend. Truly, He will do as He promised, “Look, I am making everything new!” – even a new heavens and new earth!
Be that as it may, as we look forward to an unbelievably breathtaking future in God presence, there was a time in human history when humanity evolved into and became a grouping of self-destructive populace and nation that has brought humanity to where it is today. (Rom.1:28-32; Tit.1:15-16; 3:3) This descended so much so that the bible records, “every intent of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil continually” (Gen.6:5). Then the Bible quotes God as saying, “The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart” (Gen.6:6).
So, God chose to reset His plans for humanity instead of allowing humanity to destroy itself, “The LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD (Gen.6:7-8). Most of us are familiar with the story of Noah. Through Noah and his children, God chose to make a fresh beginning for humanity, lest they destroy themselves from the face of the earth. Humanity today are principally descendants from Noah. The people who drowned in the flood were mostly descendants of Adam. (Gen.6:9-22)
Why is the story from the epochs from Adam to Noah so important for humanity today? The Adamic epoch leading up to the flood of Noah carried vital lessons for humanity because it showed primarily how mankind as a whole can and had lost its way upon earth. (Gen.6:5) Most of all, it shows how God cares about humanity’s welfare whom He created in His image with divine destiny, and will never forsake but always guide mankind to their ultimate divine destiny which we can read about in Revelation 21 and 22.
Jesus foretold that the calamitous experience humanity underwent in the Adamic epoch of Noah’s flood, will be something humanity will once more undergo and experience – but not necessarily a flood. (Gen.9:11) Listen to Jesus’ prophecy, “The time of the Son of Man (New Testament/current day) will be just like the time of Noah (Old Testament/Noah’s time)—everyone carrying on as usual, having a good time right up to the day Noah boarded the ship. They suspected nothing until the flood hit and swept everything away” (Luk.17:26-27, MSG, italics mine).
We ask once again, what will happen that’s… “just like the time of Noah?” The answer from Genesis tell us, “…every intent of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil continually” (Gen.6:5). But here what is vital truth each of us must face up to and answer…the evil intent and thoughts of the human heart. (Gen.6:5). If and when humanity corrects his evil heart then we can avert another judgment from God. It may not be a deluge as in Noah’s time, it could well be something completely different. Principally, death come to people as a result of following a way of life that is destructive. That way is the way of rebellion and sin against God the Creator.
What is “evil?” Apparently, we see from Noah that ‘evil’ was the trigger for God’s wrath and punishment. (Gen.6:5-8) God said, “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal” (Gen.6:3). What does that mean? It means God’s Spirit will not put up with humans forever if they decide to reject Him and rely upon their mortal flesh entirely. God has always freely made His Spirit available to humans. (John 11:13) What happens when humans refuse and deny God’s counsel? The Bible answers, “There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death” (Prov.14:12, NLT). For the people of Noah’s day, death came by way of a worldwide deluge.
So, the answer to “evil” has to do with what is right and wrong, but most importantly by our conclusion as to ‘who’ is the final arbiter of good and evil in human life and human affairs. It calls for a moral imperative that humans must be very transparent and clear-cut about. How do we choose right from evil, because to choose wrongly can mean sure death. Our first parents were warned about this. (Gen.2:17) Adam and Eve chose to rebel against God’s simple instruction for them at the behest of the devil’s persuasion. (Gen.3:1-6, 11) So, everything good and right proceeds from God and His Love. Everything evil and bad stems from God’s adversary, the devil, Satan.
The Bible says this about God as to the custom and norm by which He exists in His nature and character, “God is Love” (1 John 4:8, 16). So, everything good and right springs out of God’s Love-nature. Because of this, God is inerrable and perfect. (Psa.18:30; Deut.32:4; Psa.19:7) So, the answer to “evil’ is God’s Love. We can refuse God’s Loving counsel and choose to go our own human self-centered way, and make up our own standards of right and good.
But that does not make it good nor right, no matter how much we may try to rationalize it to be so for the Bible says this about the human heart that is left to its own selfish devices, “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” (Jer.17:9; also Mar.7:21). What is this passage saying? It tells us what we may consider “good” may well be “bad” and therefore wrong for us. (Prov.12:15; 16:2) It comes down to the underlying nature and motive of the heart – on one hand is the divine Love, and on the other is the fallen wicked spirit.
The human heart is not born ‘desperately wicked.’ The heart is born neutral and impartial, like a blank slate, so to speak. However, because humans are born into the sin-conditioned rebellious world of Satan resulting from Adam’s fall, he has been busy at work reshaping humans into his own evil rebellious likeness through the fallen Adamic human heart we read in Jeremiah above. (Gen.3:1-6; Jer.17:9) Unless all our motivations and actions are weighed in the scale of God’s Love and grace, they will be found inadequate, deficient, and wanting. John said this about God’s Love in human life, “God is Love, and whoever abides in Love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 John 4:16).
Again, let me pose our contextual question, what has all we have covered above to do with human gifts, the social media and its effect upon humanity? The connection is that all human gifts which define each of our personhood finds its origin and reality in God’s Love. Your gift as well as mine are gifts of God, and all of humanity’s gifts form the tapestry of God’s Love which cover this earth – that is, provided we have become Love ourselves in the likeness of God Himself. (1 John 4:12-13, 16) The danger of social media is its innate propensity and potential to reshape us away from God’s Love, and make us what God has not designed for each of us. Remember, God knows each by name, and that name reflects His gift in our lives – LOVE!
The menace of social media is its deliberate, unwanted and intrusive attempts to keep people trapped in an altered reality of themselves where they are blinded to their fundamental and related gifts that are founded upon God’s Love. Unfortunately, people in their millions may are ignorant of, and have no inkling of the beauty and truth of their gift and true personhood in God’s Love. Humans have existed and are being taken deeper into the devil’s deception in their already warped reality from the truth of God’s Love and Love-gift.
God admonishes us, “Don’t become partners with those who reject God. How can you make a partnership out of right and wrong? That’s not partnership; that’s war. Is light best friends with dark? Does Christ go strolling with the Devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said: “I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people” (2 Cor.6:14-16, MSG, NLT).
We saw how social media platforms aim and work at affecting real-world behavior and emotions of end-users. The net effect is we become clueless pawns and unwary prey of these media platforms whose algorithm work at conflating social value (likes, thumbs-up, conspiracies, disinformation, slogans, etc) with truth, especially with the truth of our personal reality in the Creator’s Love-reality. Slowly, we lose control of who we are until we exchange our self-image for a person that is not true to our personhood reality in the divine Love, but a false one that’s been unsuspectingly manipulated by third-party media forms. And gradually and insidiously social media is running our lives and supplanting our reality for a false one upon a unwitting population.
It is actually the battle for our human minds. Remember what Jesus taught about the human heart and mind that is not aligned with God’s Love and counsel, “It’s what comes out of a person’s heart that pollutes: obscenities, lusts, thefts, murders, adulteries, greed, depravity, deceptive dealings, carousing, mean looks, slander, arrogance, foolishness—all these are vomit from the heart. There is the source of your pollution” (Mar.7:20-23, MSG; Matt.15:18-19). The foundation of these evil works and more is the spirit of rebellion which humanity inherited way back at Adam’s fall in Eden. (Gen.3:1-6)
So, now let us discuss how the divine Love can be made to take center stage in human life through the “Triune Life”*. What is the “Triune Life?” It informs us how God, in His Tri-Personal Being as the Father, Son (Jesus), and Spirit, are all participating Entities in the affairs of humanity, and bringing us to our final destiny in His eternal Kingdom. Each Triune Person’s in the trinitarian activity is referred to as an Ascent. There are 3 Ascents which depict the Love of the Father, Son (Jesus) and Spirit. Then the 4th Ascent depict the manifestation of their Tri-Personal activity in humanity. Let’s begin…
Ascent 1: Holy Spirit – Defeating Rebellion. The 1st Ascent reveals for us the role of the Holy Spirit in human life. What does ‘defeating rebellion’ mean? The work of the Spirit is to defeat rebellion in the heart of humanity. Love cannot take root in the human mind and heart unless and until rebellion is negated and defeated. Besides defeating rebellion the Spirit introduces and plants seeds of Love in the human heart. We read Paul say this to us, “God generously pours His Love into our lives through the Holy Spirit” (Rom.5:5; also, 1 John 4:13). However, here is the proviso – the Holy Spirit cannot come and enter human life as long as the sin-condition through rebellion has a firm footing in our lives. So, this 1st Ascent dovetails into and goes hand-in-hand with the 2nd Ascent…
Ascent 2: Jesus Christ – Light. The 2nd Ascent divulges to us the role of Jesus as our divine/human Savior who is responsible for making the Holy Spirit available to mankind by removing rebellion and the sin-condition which has kept us spiritually trapped since Adam’s fall. Jesus said this about the Holy Spirit, “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper (Spirit) will not come to you. But if I go, I will send Him to you” (John 16:7, italic mine).
What does light in reference to Jesus mean? Light stands for gifts which each is conferred by divine will and eternally embedded in Jesus. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). The “light of life” to a person is his/her gift which is the human God-given purpose which keeps us connected to each of our divine destiny. Every gift has its origin upon the foundation of Christ’s Love.
Paul informs us as to how our gifts are grounded in Christ, “Therefore it says, “When He ascended on high (to heaven as High Priest), He led captive a host of captives, and He gave gifts to men” (Eph.4:8, NAS, italics mine) Yes, humans were captives and slave of the enemy Satan, until Jesus freed us by defeating him in the temptation and at His cross. As a result, from His victory over the enemy He distributed gifts to all.
Each of our gifts will be the vehicle by which we are kept connected to the divine will, just as Joseph’s dream did throughout his life until he became second in command in all Egypt, and saved his family and the known world from a devastating famine. (Gen.50:18-21) Hence, Paul states emphatically, “And you have been made complete in Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority” (Col.2:10, BSB)
Ascent 3: God the Father – Death & Rebirth. The 3rd Ascent depict the Father’s Loving role of manifesting new life in Christ through the process of death and rebirth. (1 Cor.15:22; 35-36) Please keep in mind, this plan of salvation for all humanity is led by the Father. He surrendered His Son to be our Savior, and gave His Spirit as a Friend and gift to be a Helper in our life’s journey upon earth. (John 3:16; 1 John 2:2; Luk.11:13; John 14:16)
Every human is born into the ‘fallen Adamic humanity’ and enslaved to the enemy of mankind. God’s plan since Adam’s fall in Eden at the hands of Satan, was to give mankind a new humanity that is fashioned after Jesus Christ, the second Adam. (1 Cor.15:45) Jesus was given the prophetic name, “Immanuel.” (Isa.7:14) The name means Jesus is both divine and human, or, as the Scripture translate His identity, “God with us.” (Matt.1:22-23)
Therefore, I have called Jesus humanity, the “Immanuel humanity” and is the Father’s gift to mankind who spiritually and indisputably replaces the ‘fallen Adamic humanity.’ It speaks of a human whose life is inducted into and led by God’s Spirit (Ascent 1). The role of the Spirit is to manifest Christ in the life of the believer. (John 16:13-15) It is essentially the new birth in humanity manifested in the life of the glorified Christ in the Spirit’s power. (Eph.3:16-21; John 3:3-7)
How does the Father make this rebirth a reality in humans? God must remove the ‘fallen Adamic humanity’ of Satan, and planted the new ‘Immanuel humanity’ of Jesus in humanity? It began when Jesus inaugurated the birth of the Spirit in humanity that gave birth to the new life that’s empowered the divine life and Love. Jesus introduced the Spirit to humanity when He was baptized by John in the Jordan. (Matt.3:13)
Recall what happened, the Gospel of Mark records, “At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, He saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on Him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are My Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased” (Mar.1:9-11). After Jesus inaugurated the gift of the God’s Spirit in humanity, the Spirit was poured directly upon humanity on the day of Pentecost. (Act.2:1-4; Joel2:28)
Jesus has made possible God’s gift of His Holy Spirit for and in humanity following His repentance on behalf of humanity’s sin in the Jordan where and when the Spirit was first given to Jesus. (John 16:7, ESV; Matt. 3:16-17). Then after His baptism, He was led into the Judean wilderness by and in the Spirit’s power to face Satan and defeat and overcome his iniquitous temptations. Again, He obediently and comprehensively defeated the devil on behalf of humanity. (Mat.4:1-11) Ultimately, Jesus was crucified as atonement to reconcile humanity to God. (John 3:16) Humans cannot defeat the devil were it not for God imputing His Son’s victorious life, death, resurrection, and ascension, upon us. Every day we vicariously relive Jesus’ own victory over Satan as a gift from the Father.
Paul tells the Romans this, “For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ! Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people” (Rom.5:17-18). Yes, God the Father has imputed the victorious life of His Son, Jesus, upon humanity to bring us to salvation and to Himself as His eternal children. (2 Cor.5:21; 1 Pet.2:24-25)
In like fashion, human Love and obedience toward God is not physically nor humanly possible without Jesus pioneering and paving the way so that God the Father can impute* Jesus’ Love and obedience of God upon mankind. Note Paul’s words in this regard, “But now God has shown us a way to be made right with Him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in His grace, freely makes us right in His sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin” (Rom.3:21-25, NLT).
That’s to say, “everyone has and will sin” (V.23) whether through weakness or inadvertently (actively or passively), however, Christ mediates for humanity’s right standing before the Father in His High Priestly role in heaven. (Heb.4:14-16; Rom.3:22; 8:1-4)
Thereby, Paul further lays claim on the importance of faith, saying, “If you’re a hard worker and do a good job, you deserve your pay; we don’t call your wages a gift. But if you see that the job is too big for you, that it’s something only God can do, and you trust Him to do it—you could never do it for yourself no matter how hard and long you worked—well, that trusting-Him-to-do-it is what gets you set right with God, by God. Sheer gift” (Rom.4:4-5, MSG).
Call to mind as to when the Spirit was first inaugurated in human life? It happened at Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan. As Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, the Holy Spirit descended from the Father upon Jesus, a depiction of the reality of our own baptism and how the Father extends the gift of the Spirit who spiritually transports humanity into Jesus’ holy presence as High Priest in heaven before the Father where mankind is embraced as God’s holy children. Also, we are reminded of what the Father did and said to Jesus at His baptism in the Jordan which we saw earlier (Mar.1:9-11).
When the Father sent His Spirit upon Jesus, He repeats the words He would forever say to all humanity who follow Jesus by undergoing His baptism, “You are My Son, (‘children’ for all humanity) whom I love; with You I am well pleased” (Mark.1:11; Luk.3:22). As children of God, we are always in God’s holy presence through His Son’s constant mediation, and made holy by the power of God’s Holy Spirit. This is the life we are all called to live – in holy union with the Triune God in the Father’s holy presence. (1 Cor.1:30-31)
4 Ascent 4: Humanity – Human Calling/Gift and Destiny. The 4th Ascent informs us of the manifestation of the work of the Tri-Personal God in humanity we saw in the preceding 3 Ascents above. In other words, the 4th Ascent is the manifestation resulting from the three activities (Ascents) of the Triune God a person encounters above. Arising from the Father’s presence (4th Ascent), humans receive the new birth distinctively in the devolution and distribution of gifts through Jesus. (Eph.4:8) The Father’s divine Love is the energy from which gifts are given birth through the ‘Immanuel human,’ Jesus, who now lives and walks in us. (Isa.7:14; Gal.2:20).
Paul tell us, “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable,” to mean God has blessed humanity with His own image and likeness in the gifts he has conferred upon us from birth. (Rom.11:19). Paul reminds us, “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands” (2 Tim.1:6; 4:14). Jesus said, “You are blessed when you are content with just who you are – no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought” (Matt. 5:5 MSG).
We all have different life-gifts which we must focus upon and cultivate. That’s our gift given us out of the wealth of the Master which we see in Jesus’ parable of the gold (gifts) (Matt.25:14-30). Always believe in your uniqueness and difference in your personhood, and realize you’re that way for a purpose. The life-gift we are born with identifies our place in the plan of God and how each of us play a role in it.
The gift need not be ecclesiastical or religious in nature. People seem to have this perception that when God is involved in a person, his calling ought to be religious in nature. It’s a myth that stems from the enemy who wants to vilify the good in people’s varied talents and gifts. We have been given the freedom to be whoever we want, that obviously means in the area of our strengths, which most likely lean towards our gifts.
Joseph, the son of Jacob and Rachel, was conferred a gift that was not of a religious nature. (Gen.50:18-21) He was an administrator and manager of people in the field of agriculture. (Gen.41:44-49) Joseph’s gift saved the people of Egypt and many nations from a devastating worldwide famine. A person can be a plumber, or engineer, a doctor or gardener, an architect or builder, a marine biologist or fisherman, a basketball player or botanist, or whatever the gift. Gifts evolve as the Spirit supplies the faith. Peter was a fisherman. Then Jesus called him and said from this day forget the fish, let’s do something different with your skills – let’s fish humans. A person may be a basketball player with a short-term career. Then he/she moves onto something else in life. This is the way a person’s “life-gift” works in the Spirit’s influence and guidance.
The crux in the matter of gifting is how they are utilized and lived out in daily life and interaction in relationship with God and our fellow humans. Hence, Paul said this after giving his monolog about God Love fruits, he said, “But desire earnestly the greater gifts, and yet shew I unto you a way of more surpassing excellence,” meaning Love. (1 Cor.12:31). The greatest gift of all is God’s Love which can be made to indwell humans by the power of God’s Spirit. (Rom.5:5; 1 John 4:13) That’s to say, we be earnest in ensuring that all our gifts and talents are affecting all our actions by being carried on the backs of God’s Love fruits we read in the book of Corinthians. (1 Cor.13:1-13 – read the Fruits of the Spirit/Love expounded in detail, and the opposing fruits, at: http://bulamanriver.net/9199)
God counsels us to guard our minds against the insidious evil proclivity that’s foisted upon us by the enemy by way of the fallen human heart. (Prov.4:23) Paul put it across like this, “Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies” (Phi.4:8-9; 2:15). Yes, these virtues and more are the fruits of the Spirit’s Love we must seek to feed and manifest in our true person through God’s divinely conferred gifts. (You may read more about how to live by the fruits of God’s Spirit Love-fruits and power, at: http://bulamanriver.net/9199; and at: http://bulamanriver.net/16467).
The Psalmist affirms this beautiful prose about each of our personal truth in the gifts God has fittingly conferred upon us so we are unique and one-of-a-kind, “Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, the days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day” (Psa.139:13-16, MSG).
Truly, every human is fearfully, wonderfully, and magnificently created with gifts to match. Our response ought to be honorable and investigate our lives, and ask God to help us find out everything about us in each of our gifts. It behooves us to pray for insight so we can get a clear picture of who we are and what we are about. If we have done wrong then pray for guidance and correction.
So, let us focus on the person we are given through the Love of God. Do not allow a third party to siphon nor introduce any persona that conflict with the truth of our personhood in Christ. As humans we can be naïvely unaware of the potential to be hijacked by a third party to our detriment and demise – which we must guard against, whether the third party is just a person/s, or the more insidious function of social media, or some cause, propaganda, or conspiracy, etc. We live in a world of global commerce in the rapid movement of goods and services, transfer of capital worldwide, social media, natural upheaval through climate change, mass migration as never before, and the ever-increasing complexity of life itself. We must learn to live together in harmony, in cooperate with one another by recognizing the dignity of others in their diversity as divinely ordained, or we will perish together.
Let us choose our paths wisely by heeding the words of warning of warning of Jesus about trying to lead people away from their divinely ordained truth, “Jesus said to His disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones (spiritual children) to stumble. So, watch yourselves” (Luk.17:1-3, italics mine).
Petition: Friends, as I have closed my post in the past, I customarily give our readers the opportunity to give their lives to our Maker. I thank you for investing your precious time with me in the sharing of the good news of Jesus who has enabled us to live the Triune Life* through the 3 Ascents. Jesus is alive today as our High Priest in heaven seated at His Father’s side, and ceaselessly mediating for us. I hope that in your heart of heart you will receive Him as your personal Savior, receive God’s Spirit, and be part of living this glorious humanity made children of God forever. You can privately and quietly pray the prayer below in your heart. I am asking you to pray this prayer as a human being Christ died for, regardless of your background. All are inducted into the one mankind Jesus saved, not into any religious sect or denomination – into the glorious humanity that Christ is preparing as the holy temple for God’s dwelling:
Prayer: “Almighty God, Father of all humanity, forgive me of all my sins for I receive Your Son, Jesus, as my personal Savior. In Your incalculable grace, thank you for recuing me and my loved ones, and all humanity, from the enemy’s fearful and destructive waters, and bringing us home into the life-giving waters of your Ocean of Love. Grant Your promised celestial life in Your Son through Your Holy Spirit, and open my eyes to the wondrous gifts you have conferred upon us all so we may serve one another in your Love. May Your Love guide and protect me and my Loved ones always, and bring us all into Your beloved and divine Kingdom. I praise and thank You, Amen.”
Prayer is A Solemn One-On-One Spiritual Love Dialogue Between a Person and God the Father (Wiki Commons)
Welcome to the celestial life of Love in God’s holy, eternal Family. (1 Tim.6:19) Then keep in touch with God’s Word for you by reading and studying your Bible, and visiting this blog and website and look at various subjects that may be relevant for your situation – go to: http://bulamanriver.net. You can email me with your questions at the address shown below.
Blessing: Until we meet again in my next post, I wish you and your family a truly transformative New Year. May the blessings of the God who ceaselessly expresses Himself in His dependable Triune Love, be with you always. May the Spirit enliven your spirit and make all things concerning you possible as you live the “Triune Life” in 2021 Be strong in the Lord’s joy.
Farewell for now!
Kiang, (Your Servant in Christ)
*Imputation communicates the miraculous truth about how humanity is made right with God (or justified) on the basis of the obedience of Christ. By Jesus’s active obedience he meets the demands of perfect righteousness God has always required of humanity. By Jesus’s passive obedience, he pays the penalty due to humanity on account of sin. Additionally, beyond the imputation of Christ’s full obedience to believers, imputation may also refer to the counting of believers’ sins to Christ as the sin-bearing substitute.” (https://faculty.wts.edu/posts/what-is-imputation/)
*Triune Life: “Triune Life” speaks of the process of theosis or deification of humanity. What is theosis or deification? “It refers to apotheosis, meaning “making divine.” Theosis or deification is a transformative process whose aim is likeness to or union with God (as taught by the Eastern Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholic Church).” (Wikipedia.org) The belief in the process of ‘deification’ is understood in accordance with Jesus’ teaching, when He said, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods” ’? If He called them ‘gods,’ to whom the Word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside (cannot be broken)” (John 10:34-35; Psa.82:6). (You can read about the Triune Life at: http://bulamanriver.net/9199, and other posts)
The Resurrection to Immortality and Deification of Humanity Created In God’s Image (Wiki Commons)
I have written about this subject of ‘deification’ in my blogs under the theme ‘substitution’ and ‘attribution’ (see, http://bulamanriver.net/564), where I showed how Jesus came as God incarnate (Immanuel) to assume our sinful humanity in order to save mankind from sin and death for the express purpose of human deification. (Matt.1:23; Rom.3:10-12, 18, 23; John 3:16; 1 Cor.15:50-55; Rom.8:29) Further, we read the following, “As a process of transformation, theosis is brought about by the effects of catharsis (purification of mind and body) and theoria (‘illumination’ with the ‘vision’ of God). According to Eastern Christian teaching, theosis is very much the purpose of human life. It is considered achievable only through a synergy (or cooperation) between human activity and God’s uncreated energies.” (Wikipedia.org)
So, the “Triune Life” reveals the intersection of human life and activity and the uncreated divine energy flowing from the Tri-Personal Being of God of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is a way of life which explains that process of theosis whereby humans are transformed in body, mind, and spirit by the Love of God. God’s uncreated energy is His Love. So, the foundational tenet of the “Triune Life” is based upon the Love of God, for “God is Love” (1 John 4:8, 16). Thereby, it can also be called aptly, the “Triune Love.”
Rublev’s Icon of the Trinity (Wiki Commons)
I had coined the term “Triune Love” and “Triune Life,” to refer to a person who lives the three-dimensional life within the Tri-Personal Godhead of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. (Matt.28:19) This is opposed to the one-dimensional human way of life influenced by the devil. We see God’s Tri-Personal Love move in an inward, outward, and upward trajectory, in this process of theosis which I have called the ‘three ascents.’ The three ascents are three steps which dovetails into one another showing how all three Persons of the Godhead are in the relationship of Love with humanity – where God reveals the fullness of Himself to humanity, both individually and collectively. (2 Cor.13:14; 1 Pet.1:1-2) That’s to say, the act of one is the act of all three, and the act of three is the act of one, making them unified in Love. (Mar.12:29; Deut.6:4)
Every aspect of human living follows this three-step format revealing the three-dimensional aspect of how the Tri-Personal Being of God in the Father, Son, and Spirit, directly and collectively involved in the life of human believers, individually and collectively to bring humanity to salvation. These three steps move in an ascending order, so I will call them ‘ascents.’ Each ‘ascent’ dovetails into the next and finally reveals the ‘manifestation’ of the topic, which we will call the fourth step, in this case, Love!
Hence, all my articles are framed within this three-step format, or ascents. The subject of the article dovetails into each ascent and spontaneously lead to the manifestation of the divine Love and reveals how humanity is enlightened by God, and cleansed in mind, body, and spirit. The ascents reveal three doors one must enter to attain the manifestation of God’s Love relationship with humanity. The ascents are not to be misconstrued as some ‘secret knowledge’ or mystical activity. Rather, each ascent represents the relationship of Love a human enjoys with the Triune God in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, throughout a person’s life. In fact, the ascents are actually three Love relationships the believer encounters with the Tri-Personal God. This three-way relationship is what I have called by the term, “Triune Life” or “Triune Love.” These ascents represent the movement of God’s Love in an inward, outward, and upward, trajectory to bring God’s enlightenment in a person. The fourth step reveals how the article is made to manifest in the life of the person, both individually and then collectively in humanity.
Man’s union with the Triune God, or “Triune Living/Loving,” is made possible by Jesus, who Himself, is one in substance and reality with the Triune Godhead. (John 1:1-2) He took our humanity into the very Being of the Triune Godhead by cleansing it of all sin and rebellion. To live the “Triune Love (Life)” is the miraculous expression of the Spirit (Love) in humans. (Rom.5:5) The miraculous life is the promise of the New Covenant, “I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My ordinances, and do them” (Ezek.36:27).
The Bible states, “He (God) does great things that we cannot understand and miracles that we cannot count” (Job 5:9; 37:5). If God acts in ways that cannot be fathomed and is beyond human comprehension, then the miraculous life where humans are privileged recipients, cannot be deciphered by the human mind to its grandest manifestation. But we understand its meaning through divine revelation in that God reveals Himself as Love, and His miraculous activities are enveloped in His Love. (Jer.29:11)
The three-dimensional Triune Life/Love is opposed to living the one-dimensional solitary life of the fallen humanity inherited from Satan through Adam’s rebellion. For additional information about the Triune Life: http://bulamanriver.net/?p=8036. Also at: http://bulamanriver.net/9092.
**Bulamanriver: To read the different facets of the life of the Bulamanriver, you may obtain a copy of my book, “Bula” Man-River, from Amazon.com; xulonpress.com, barnesandnoble.com, and other online book stores. All proceeds will go towards furthering the work of Gospel of Jesus Christ around the world.
Book Cover By Author
Mission Statement: Read the Triune Love Mission, Vision, and Value statements at: http://bulamanriver.net/8664
All scriptures are taken from the NIV Version 2011, unless stated otherwise.
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