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Evangelism:
The Time Is Now!

Section 6, Chapter 18

Determinism

By Dale P. Kruse

Back to Chapter 17, Section Contents

While doing door to door Surveying and Evangelism, we came to the door of a man who through conversation showed us clearly that he had a Deterministic view of reality. Before I get into the conversation Gene (Real Person, Fictitious Name) and I (Real Person, Real Name. Ha! Ha!) had, it is necessary for me to share with you his response to the survey we gave. It will help you to understand the value of a survey and how it helped us get to the root of Geneís problem and how best to approach sharing the Gospel with him.

Pastor Kruse (PK): Does your household attend Church?

Gene: Occasionally.

PK: Are there any problems you see in the Church in General today?

Gene: Yes. The Church is not addressing the need of the community. They are not addressing the drug problem or alcoholism or child abuse.

PK: If you could make changes in the Church, what changes in the Church would you like to see take place?

Gene: Address real needs, become more socially aware.

PK: If you were to consider going to a Church, what would that Church need to be (qualities) for you to go their?

Gene: It would need to have group unity and real information of how to get in touch with God.

PK: If a new Church were to start in your neighborhood, would you consider going to this Church?

Gene: Maybe.

PK: Who is Jesus Christ according to your understanding?

Gene: A martyr who claimed to be the Son of God who was put to death by the Romans.

PK: If you were to die tonight, do you know for sure whether or not you would go to heaven?

Gene: I donít know.

PK: If someone were to come up to you and say, "I want to go to heaven! What must I do to go there?" What would be your answer to him?

Gene: Well it would depend on your definition of heaven.

PK: What do you think heaven is?

Gene: It is an eternal place of God consciousness.

PK: If you could know for sure how to go to heaven and have eternal life would you be interested in knowing how?

Gene: Who wants to live forever? You would have to convince me that heaven was desirable and living forever is desirable.

The reader needs to understand what is taking place at this point. Gene assumes that what we see in the world today is the normal, that it is what has always been. Gene assumes that manís condition is what it has always been and because it is, manís future is hopeless because there is nothing man can do to change his condition. Because man is what he has always been, Gene makes the assumption that heaven could be no different since man would be there. That is what Determinism is. Francis A. Schaeffer defines Determinism as "The doctrine that human action is not free but results from such causes as psychological and chemical make-up which render free-will an illusion."51/177 Our conversation continued as follows:

PK: I know what you mean Gene. When I was a Junior in High School I was heavily involved in the Ecology movement. I still am a conservationist. During that time after I had preached the problem for a year, I came to the conclusion that preaching the problem was not the solution. Men were educated. They knew what the problem was. They just werenít responding.

I looked in the mirror one day and said to myself, "Dale, the reason why people are not listening to what you and your associates have to say is because you are not living what you are preaching." The end result was I tried to live according to my convictions. The only problem though was I found that being perfect wasnít all that easy (All the while Gene is nodding in total agreement to my conflict. He understood because he himself was going through this kind of conflict).

When I realized that if I with my convictions as strong as they were could not live according to my convictions, there was no way we were going to change a world who did not care to begin with. I realized that manís problem was not his head but his heart, his will. How does one bring his heart into conformity with what he knows in his head. At that time I did not have the answer. I could not change my own heart. I figured it was a matter of time before another Hitler arose and used the bomb and it was all over.

Gene nodded with great enthusiasm. It was obvious he himself had come to these same conclusions. I then went on to explain the following to him.

PK: Gene, the first thing you need to understand about man is that what he presently is, is not what God originally created man to be. Manís present condition is not normal. When God first created man, he created him in His image. This referred primarily to Godís moral character. It also means that man was not ruled through his soul or his flesh, but through his spirit by the Holy Spirit of God. There was no unrighteousness in him. There was no conflict, no hatred, no resentment, no anger, no thoughts or plans of violence and no impure thoughts in conflict with Godís thoughts. Thus, man was able to have a relationship with God and commune with Him. But God did not create man deterministically. What I mean is that man was not created to be a robot. He was not created without freedom of choice, will.

God wanted man to have a choice as to whether he wanted to have relationship with Him. To have relationship with God simply means to allow God to rule over oneís self, to walk in obedience to God. To not want relationship with God simply means to not walk in obedience to God. God provided this choice for man by designating a tree in the garden as being off limits. It wasnít that, that tree necessarily had some special properties. It was just a tree. It was just that God said to man, You shall not eat of that tree. God gave man a way to choose whether he wanted to have relationship with God and to have God rule over him or not.

When Adam and Eve chose to eat of that tree they told God they did not want Him to reign over them. They said they wanted to rule over there own lives. The end result was they died spiritually. This means their spirit died and they lost their ability to have relationship with God which is the function of the spirit of man. This also resulted in the corruption of their soul and flesh and their coming under the domination and bondage of their flesh. This means that since their spirit is now dead and because they are now in bondage to sin in their soul and flesh, even if they wanted to come back into relationship with God they could not through their own efforts. There is no means of having relationship with God except through oneís spirit. Manís spirit is dead. Therefore, he now has no means of having relationship with God no matter how good he is or how religious he is.

The end result was that when God came to them in the Garden and manifested Himself to them, they found that in their fallen corrupted state they were not able to endure his presence, so they, not God, hid themselves from God. So God having mercy on them, withdrew his presence from them, thus the symbolism of God driving Adam and Eve out of the garden.

This is why man, if left in his fallen state, would not want to enter heaven. He would not want to enter heaven because in his corrupted twisted state, he would be absolutely miserable and in hell in heaven in the presence of a perfectly holy and uncorrupted God; but the story doesnít stop here.

God, caring about and loving his creation: Man, decided to do something about this corrupted condition of man and correct it: God the Son, Jesus, came down from heaven and became flesh and lived among men. He did this for two reasons: first, He became man and lived among us to show us what our reaction would be to Him if He where to allow us to live with him in heaven in our present corrupted state. While among us, He loved us, healed us and fed us. What did we do in response? We were so miserable in His presence that we tried to kill God by nailing His humanity to a cross. For what reason? Because God is Holy and man through his sin is corrupted. Sinful corrupted man cannot stand to be in the present of a perfect holy God.

What you see going on in the world today is not what God created man to be or Godís doing. What you and I see in the world today is what man is without God. The misery, cruelty, and violence we see in the world today is the result of the lack of Godís rule over man, not because of His rule. It is because man has pushed God away and insisted on ruling himself and trying to solve his own problems through the initiative of his soul and flesh rather than through the initiative of the Holy Spirit through his spirit. Unfortunately, because manís spirit is dead, even if he wanted God to rule over him through his spirit, there now is no means to. God is Spirit and can only relate to man through his spirit. Because manís spirit is dead and therefore he has no means of knowing God or his answers for him, all man is left with is the finite corrupted reasoning of his soul and the appetite and desires of his flesh.

Gene: What does this have to do with Heaven and eternity?

PK: There is a second reason why Jesus became man. As we already discussed, the first reason why Jesus became man was to show us why in our present corrupted condition we could not be happy in Godís presence in heaven. But He did not show this to us just to show us why we would not be happy in heaven, but second, so that we would understand why His death on the cross was the only solution to manís dilemma. Manís problem is not his behavior, but his dead spirit and corrupted soul and flesh. What needs to be corrected in man is not his behavior but man himself. This is because no amount of right behavior will bring manís spirit back to life and back into relationship with God. Adam and Eveís original sin was that they acted out of the initiative of their soul and flesh rather than out of the initiative of the Holy Spirit through their human spirit. The reason why right behavior does not solve the problem is because all our behavior now whether good or bad is also initiated from the soul, not by the Holy Spirit through manís spirit.

It is because of these truths that Jesus never told man the solution to his dead spirit was correcting his behavior. What did He say the solution was? Jesus said in the Gospel of John chapter 3 that in order to enter Heaven and be able to enjoy it and His presence that we would need to receive new birth from above. Jesus told us plainly that correcting our fallen soul and flesh will not solve the problem, that the only thing that will solve the problem is to be completely recreated, to be born again.

But notice also what this passage says: not only do we need to receive birth from above, but we need to receive birth through the Holy Spirit, not again through the flesh. This will not solve the problem because Jesus said that which is born of the flesh is flesh. This means to be born devoid of spirit and under the control and domination of the soul and flesh, not the Holy Spirit through a spirit that is dead. Jesus said we need to receive birth from above through the Holy Spirit. Only by being born again of the Holy Spirit are our spirits recreated alive and our soul and flesh recreated without corruption or sin so that the spirit is again in complete rule and dominance over the soul and body.

Jesusí death on the cross made this possible. First, his death demonstrated just how much He loved us and that He had no desire that we should be separated from him. He loved us so much that He allowed us to beat him to death and nail Him to a cross and did nothing to stop us. God showed us his vulnerability. Through His non-resistance to our killing His humanity, He also showed us that judging us and sending us to hell is the last thing in his mind for us. God loves us. God created us. He wants a personal one on one relationship with us. He does not want to send anyone to hell.

Secondly, He tells us that all we need to do to be saved is believe that, that is really Him hanging on that cross for our sins and ask Him to save us. If we do, He will save us and cleanse us from all our sins. He will then recreate us and give us a new alive spirit with a nature identical to His nature. He will do this so that we can enjoy His presence and fellowship again and so that we can enjoy the Heaven He has prepared for us. We cannot do this, though, in our present corrupted state. Jesus said that in order to enjoy His fellowship and the Heaven He has created for us, we must first receive birth from above through the Holy Spirit.

Gene: Is blood really necessary to bring us back into relationship with God?

PK: Yes. This is because the Bible teaches us that manís soul is in his blood.56 As long as blood is flowing through manís veins, the potential of his soul development is possible. But if a man is killed, if his blood is shed, the potential of his soul development on this Earth is destroyed. Jesus gave up his soul potential as a man for us, He shed His blood. The end result is that the Bible tells us that whoever believes on and receives what Jesus did for him on the Cross receives birth from above and is cleansed of all his sins past, present and future. The Bible states, "By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."53

You might say, "Well, I know people who claim to be born again Christians who have been real jerks at times." So do I. Well, how can this be if supposedly they have received birth from above? When a person receives Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord it does not mean, on this side of heaven, that he will no longer have battle with sin. This is because the rebirth experience on this side of heaven only takes place in his spirit, not in his soul and flesh. On this side of heaven our soul and flesh are still in bondage to sin. What this means is that through Jesusí blood our sins past, present and future are forgiven. This results in our being able to enter back into relationship with God despite the present condition of our soul and flesh. But because our soul and flesh will not be recreated in the likeness of Jesusí nature until the resurrection, it also means that on this side of heaven we will continue to have conflict with sin. In other words, we are fully accepted by God and still able to have relationship with Him despite our sin. Paul the Apostle explained it this way: he said in the Book of Romans,

Rom 7:24-25, 8:1 "Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

The Bible states, Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a NEW CREATION; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.55 Right now a Christian born from above is saved and positionally absolutely accepted by God without reservation even though manifestly he is still a sinner. But the Bible says that when Jesus calls the Church to Himself in the Resurrection that something will happen to Christians born from above. The Apostle Paul recorded it for us in Philippians 3:20-21. He wrote,

..for our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by THE EXERTION OF THE POWER that HE HAS EVEN TO SUBJECT ALL THINGS TO HIMSELF.

You see, when you receive Jesus as Savior and as Lord, you give Jesus the freedom to change and force your soul and flesh into complete unity and harmony with his nature. But this transformation is not a miserable or unpleasant experience because the Bible says that in this condition in heaven we experience peace, joy and righteousness in the Holy Spirit continuously, continuously, continuously forever. This is because our being recreated inside and out in the likeness of Godís moral nature results in our being able to have unhindered communion in our spirit, soul and body with God and His Holy Spirit. Godís nature is love, joy and peace continuously all the time. Therefore, since nothing hinders our ongoing relationship with God, we also experience His love, joy and peace continuously without interruption forever. This is why Heaven is peace, joy and righteousness in the Holy Spirit ongoing forever.

So there is hope for manís condition. What man is, is not normal.

What he is, is the result of rebellion against God. But God has given man an eternal solution to that problem which is the death and shed blood of Jesus Christ in his place. When one receives Jesus Christ he is cleansed of all his sins past, present and future and he is given a new nature identical to Christís nature which will be fully manifested at the second coming of Jesus Christ and the Resurrection of the Christian who has received birth from above.

You remember I said that the Bible teaches that heaven is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, but it is a lot more. Most peopleís conception of heaven is like the story I once heard about a man who died and got to the gate of heaven and met Peter there. Peter explained to the man that he had a choice: he could go down or he could go up. The man thought about it for a moment and asked Peter if he could check out what it was like below first before making a decision. Peter told him he could. When he got down stairs he came into a huge ball room where he witnessed a huge party going on with a large band playing. When he got back up to Peter he asked Peter if he could check the upstairs before making a decision. Peter told him he could. When he got upstairs he saw three people sitting on a cloud and one of them was playing a harp. The man turned to Peter and said, "Peter, I donít understand? Down stairs they have a big band and up here all there is, is this one guy with a harp!" Peter replied back, "You think I am going to hire a whole band for three people?"

Gene: Ya, that sounds about what most peopleís conception of heaven is.

PK: Gene, the Bible teaches us that heaven is a real place as real as this place. Actually more real. The Bible also teaches us though that we are not just sitting around in heaven. There is work and activity in heaven but with this difference: there is no hate or violence in heaven. There is no sin, this is because our nature becomes exactly like Jesusí nature. There is only love. The Bible defines love as loving your neighbor as yourself.57 There is peace, joy and righteousness in the Holy Spirit and ourwork is not drudgery or boring but completely satisfying and fulfilling. Also you do not get tired.

Comments:

Gene was hearing this for the first time. He was very deep in thought. It was obvious to us he was not ready to make a decision. He told us he wanted to think about what we had shared. We gave him The Bible: Godís Word Absolutely and Understanding Your Salvation in Jesus. We also gave him our phone numbers and told him that if he wanted to talk more about what we shared with him to feel free to call and talk with us. Please pray for this man.

As a result of this particular witnessing situation I committed myself to do extensive research on Christians claimed experiences of Heaven and Hell. I spent a year doing research on this matter and published my results in a book titled, Heaven & Hell an Absolute Reality58 which is the content of section 8 of this textbook.

*Recommended Further Reading

  1. Baker, Harold Armstrong. Visions Beyond The Veil. Minneapolis: Osterhus Publishing House, 1950.
  2. Davis, Marietta.  Scenes Beyond the Grave.
  3. Schmidt, Kenneth R. The Other Side. Folsom: Kenneth R. Schmidt, 1973.

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