Wednesday, August 12, 2009

On Elephants and Lies...

No, this is not a political post (although I might do one using this title on my political blog). :)

I was reading a book the other day, and I was once again reminded of an old analogy used by ecumenicalists to explain their god, and how he is the same god all the other religions have.

The analogy goes something like this:

There were once three blind men who came upon an elephant. They said to each other: "Well, this is a strange creature! What is it?" The first, who had caught the tail, said, "It is like a long rope." The second, touching the massive leg, replied, "That's impossible. This is very sturdy, like a strong oak tree! This creature is nothing like a rope." The third, hearing the descriptions of the others, and comparing it with the elephant's trunk, which was his point of contact, laughed, saying, "You're both very wrong! The creature is not a rope, nor a tree, but like a large snake. How could you both be so silly?"

The moral frequently given is that they were all right, and they were all wrong, for none of them could see the elephant in it's entirety, but could only encounter small parts of it.

The supposed application is this: the elephant is god, and we are the blind men. None of us is capable of knowing god's full shape, and so we fight and argue about what god looks like, but we are all right and we are all wrong. The Muslims, Jews, Hindu's, Taoists, Buddhists, Christians, etc. all worship the same god in different ways.

Immediately, the Holy Spirit pointed out several truths and several outright lies in this analogy. The truths first, as it's a fairly short list:

  1. God is wholly different from us in His very nature. (Ps. 50:21; Ps. 8; Is. 55:8-9)

  2. We are blind (John 9:39-41), and incapable of full comprehension of Him. (Deut. 29:29)

Now for the lies. (These are too long to put into list form.)

First, there is the underlying assumption that fallen, unconverted man is searching for God. But God says,

There is none righteous, no, not one:
there is not that understandeth,
there is none that seeketh after God.

They are all gone out of the way,
they are together become unprofitable;
there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Their throat [is] an open sepulcher;
with their tongues they have used deceit;
the poison of asps [is] under their lips:
whose mouth [is] full of cursing and bitterness:
their feet [are] swift to shed blood:
destruction and misery [are] in their ways:
and the way of peace have they not known:
there is no fear of God before their eyes.
(Rom. 3:10ff, eph. mine)

And again, Jesus said,

And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
(John 3:19-21; 6:44)

One more should suffice:

And you [hath he quickened,] who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
(Eph. 2:1-13) this (esp. vss. 8, 9) with Heb. 11:6:
But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him:] for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

'Nuff said.

Secondly, there is a blasphemous assumption, even if we were to seek after God without His drawing us, that we could discover anything about Him apart from what He reveals of Himself to us.

Moses said,

The secret [things belong] unto the LORD our God: but those [things which are] revealed [belong] unto us and to our children for ever, that [we] may do all the words of this law.
(Deut. 29:29)

Jesus reiterated:

All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and [he] to whomsoever the Son will reveal [him].
(Matt. 11:27)

Paul confirmed:

But as it is written, 'Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.' But God hath revealed [them] unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them,] because they are spiritually discerned.
(1 Cor. 2:10-14, eph. mine)

Once again, 'nuff said.

Corollary to this is an assumption that God has not revealed to us what we need to know about Himself, that we must figure it out on our own. But we've seen above that "God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit..."

Indeed, God reveals Himself fully in His Son Jesus Christ (John 1:18; 14:9; Col. 1:19), and we have direct access to His revelation of Himself in Jesus Christ by 1) the Scriptures (John 5:39) and His Spirit (John 14:16-18, 26; 15:26, 27; 16:13-16).

So, in conclusion, the analogy is a demonic deception, designed around assumptions that flatly deny the depravity of man and the revelation of God in Christ!

In fact, upon further meditation, it occurs to me that this analogy is very applicable to the god(s) of every religion but that of our Lord Christ. These religions indeed all serve the same god (1 Cor. 10:20, cf. Deut. 32:17), the god of this age, the prince and the power of the air (and/or his minions), and they will join them in their full punishment -- the wrath of God poured out upon them for all eterenity. (2 Thess. 1:7-9, 2 Pet. 2, 3)

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