Chapter 15 Laws from Hell

Chapter 15

Laws from Hell

We learned what crazy ideas the demons are passing around about the Tree of Laws, during our next Hell Outreach mission trip.

VerseScout: Revelation 14:9 …If any man worship the beast and his image, …10 …he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:

VerseScout Relevance Report: God’s angels keep watch over Hell. Luke 16 tells how Abraham, in Heaven, teaches a man in Hell.

They saw God’s command not to eat of the Tree of Laws as a curse upon man! They actually thought the animals, not having the blessing of any command, or “Law”, therefore had more “freedom” than man! They tried to tell us that because animals were never told anything they weren’t supposed to do, that meant they had more “freedom”!

They saw God’s command not to eat of the Tree of Laws as a curse upon man! They actually thought the animals, not having the blessing of any command, or “Law”, therefore had more “freedom” than man! They tried to tell us that because animals were never told anything they weren’t supposed to do, that meant they had more “freedom”!

At first, of course, we assumed they were joking, so we laughed, relieved at the sign of some return of their former good humor. When their faces remained straight, we suspected they were being sarcastic. But after quite some time we finally gave up all hope of any evidence of rationality in their approach to the subject, and accepted the fact they really meant it. They were serious.

We wondered if any response on our part had any hope, since that much determination to twist the facts before them showed a similar disposition to twist whatever reasoning we might present to them. But we gave it our best, anyway.

They actually expected that once Adam and Woman realized they were given a commandment by God, an experience granted to no animal, that Adam and Woman would be “jealous” of the animals!

Jealousy”! That deadly emotion which Beelzebub had felt towards God when all the trouble started! Apparently it didn’t occur to the demons that Adam might appreciate the reason no animal had been found worthy to share this honor: because animals have no capacity to consciously decide whether to do a thing. They have no capacity to benefit from a commandment given by God!

What a blessing! What a blessing to have that capacity, and what a blessing to be offered a pearl of the Wisdom of God! God has given humans alone, of all the creatures of Earth, the ability to consider logically whether to take one course of action or another! In other words, God has given humans the capacity to create!

This could not be, unless humans had also some capacity to visualize the consequences of doing this as opposed to that thing, and make a decision, on that basis, whether to do this or that. In other words, God has given humans the power to choose!

Choice! What a wonderful gift!

The demon drone: “Yeah, if God really loved humans He wouldn’t give them even one law! God cares more about the animals than the humans, because the animals don’t have any rules! They are Free!”

Yeah, right. Free robots.

This mockery was contradicted by another chorus of complaints from the same demons: “If God loved the humans He would give them more than one measly law! God is afraid of the humans getting too smart! He keeps them dumb to protect Himself from too much competition! If God really loved them He would let them have all those laws!”

The demons appeared unaware that they were contradicting themselves. We laughed, but wondered if humans could ever become that contradictory, on one hand blaming God for giving them so many laws, and on the other hand blaming God for denying them the wisdom of many more laws that God has kept “secret”?

Their complaining also contradicted their own eagerness to subject themselves to laws made up by other demons, which do not set them free but make them slaves, and which do not make them wise but make them fools!

VerseScout: Luke 11:46 And he said, Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers.

Colossians 2:20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, 21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not; 22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? 23 Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.

Matthew 5:27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 28  But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

VerseScout Relevance Report: Luke’s warning is of men who love to burden others with laws from which they exempt themselves. Colossians’ warning is of the willingness of average people to voluntarily submit to man-made laws, thinking that makes them wise! Just as Eve thought the knowledge of the tree would make her wise!

The rules that tormented the Colossians were typically based on God’s Laws, but trivialized by their reduction to physical acts which human courts are able to judge. We call that “the letter of the law”. Jesus calls us to live by “the spirit of the law” which raises its standard far higher, but also beyond the reach of human judges, leaving most enforcement to conscience.

“Laws”, “rules”, “instructions”, “maps”, and “manuals” all describe knowledge designed to guide human action, speech, and thought.

God’s laws benefit man. They are short – about 1200 pages, in easy language that a child can read. Its principles inspired American freedom, including freedom of speech and religion, trial by jury, and a vote for all. (See documentary at www.1620.us)

The laws of men often benefit nobody. They fill entire buildings and change every year. None can read more than few of them, few can understand what they read, and few who understand what they read can agree what it means.

Hebrews 12 compares God’s restrictions with those of parents.

They are the rules that must be followed to succeed in whatever the child chooses to grow up and do. God’s laws likewise tell us how to do whatever we want in the way that will keep us safe and will lead us to what will truly satisfy us, and that will help us succeed in reaching goals as high as mountains. In other words, God’s rules are rules for success. They are shortcuts to wisdom.

Yet God’s laws are widely hated, for being too restrictive, by hypocrites who vote for human lawmakers to flood society with impossible human restrictions.

“God’s prohibition of eating of this tree doesn’t make any sense”, droned the second chorus. “After all, even God admitted it was ‘good’, since that is the word He used on the very day that Tree evolved.

“Furthermore, it seemed apparent that eating of it would make humans wise. It would make them understand right and wrong. Why would God deny man something that ‘good’?”

We answered, “What do you mean, denied by God? If God’s intent were to deny it, why do you suppose He created it? Obviously God intends it for their eventual consumption, when they are ready. Its only discernible purpose is human consumption. Certainly no animal is able to digest its fruit!”

Our fallen brothers said God made that Tree only so there would be some wonderful pleasure to deny man!

VerseScout: Isaiah 66:9 Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the LORD: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God.

VerseScout Relevance Report: Forbidden sex. We have no physical Tree of Knowledge before us today for Satan to accuse God of denying us. So sex is the thing Satan and his worshipers most accuse God of denying us.

Sex is the pleasure most said to be a good which God denies man, even though the Bible opens with several romance stories starring women beautiful enough to trap kings. (Beginning with Genesis 12: read about Sarah, Rebekah, Rachael. Also Job 42:15, Esther 2:7-9.)

The taunts of God’s critics, which include a great many professing Christians who just can’t believe God’s limits on sex are serious, are ridiculous. God’s only restriction is that once you choose to have sex with someone, you have to keep having sex with that person as long as you are both alive. By what logic is that a “restriction”?

[Married couples have sex way more than unmarried folks: http://www.scienceofrelationships.com/home/2011/8/18/who-has-the-busier-bedroom-single-people-or-married-couples.html]

And by what logic can sex with someone you can’t get along with that long be called “love”?

Can a man prefer Hell over Heaven, and while in Hell, insist he is in Heaven? Just as easily can a man violate God’s “restrictions” on sex, or anything else, and suffer the many natural consequences which everyone knows about, for which he then blames God.

Satan didn’t create pleasure. God did. So God is the One to listen to for tips on the best way to enjoy it. God didn’t create something that good, to not be enjoyed. Isaiah 66:9. And He puts no restrictions on it that anyone with a little common sense who is not at war with reality shouldn’t be able to verify for himself as being for his own happiness.

See “Fornication isn’t the delight you thought” and “Why Laws Restricting Sodomy will Benefit Families, America, and especially Sodomites” at http://saltshaker.us/BibleStudies/BenefitsOfSodomyLaws_Adultery.pdf and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pm065g3cCa0

“If God had any intention of ever feeding them”, the demons said, “why make them wait? What good reason could God possibly have for making them wait?”

“We trust God”, we answered, “Who made the tree obviously for human eating, to invite them to eat at dinner time!”

The demons were unfazed. “The real question you need to answer: why should they have to wait? If it’s good later, why isn’t it good now?”

God is teaching us patience today. Some of us adopted, on this day, Sarcamson’s habit of “rolling our eyes”. All of us felt like doing it, but we mostly suppressed it. It didn’t seem, somehow, very angelic.

We glanced over our shoulders at Eternity, stretching out farther than any but God could see. From where we stood, from now until the very end, if it had an end, was “now”. We had to do mental somersaults to remember that the demons, by separating from Oneness with God, hence with infinite Mass and Energy, were locked in “time”. (Unlike ourselves, who indeed were working in Time, but did not Live in it.)

This created, in them, an anxiety about things not already happening; a fear that there might not be “enough time” to do them. We wanted to tell them to trust God, who made Time in the first place, to have made enough of it. But their determination not to trust God is what turned Time into a prison for them in the first place. So we didn’t know what to say.

I finally blurted out, “If everything that ever will happen, happened at the same time, in the first moment of our existence, what would there be left to do, for the whole rest of eternity?”

Either the demons didn’t hear me or they didn’t want to.

I tried again. “If every meal that Adam and Wo-man were ever in the future to eat, were eaten in the same moment, would not that transform the pleasure of eating into torture and destruction?”

The demons definitely did not want to hear me. They challenged us to justify God not allowing Adam and Wo-man to eat of that tree this very instant! The common sense I had offered them wasn’t enough, they said. That was just speculation, they said. They wanted facts. They demanded to know precisely why God had not allowed Adam and Wo-man to eat of that tree right now!

What, are we supposed to explain the movements of every electron or reject its reality?! Must we explain what holds the moon in its place, or refuse to look at it?! Must we explain every action of God, or refuse to listen to Him?!

Then by that reasoning, let’s order Adam and Woman to explain what makes food taste good, or refuse to eat! Let’s demand they explain the joy of procreation, before they may share it! If they cannot explain these two basics, upon which they know their continued physical existence depends, why should they demand that God explain His warnings for the eternal life of their souls before they will heed?

Why should they imagine they have the capacity to understand any conceivable explanation of the foundation of Joy for all eternity, when they cannot even comprehend how the most basic physical experiences provide them pleasure each moment?

VerseScout: Luke 12:25 And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? 26 If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? …31 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. 32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

Eye rolling became a general problem. Poor Sarcamson developed such a case of it that he had to have his eyes bandaged.

And all this mental turmoil over the greatest blessing of all creation: the power to choose! To visualize! To analyze! To create!

Just as it would kill a tree to begin its life full size from the ground up, before it has had time to grow roots below ground, even so God has not given humans the same unlimited knowledge He Alone has, from their beginning, before they have time to develop a foundation of love, obedience, and discipline.

Therefore as humans visualize the consequences of the choices before them, the accuracy of their visualization will be very limited, just as ours is.

But by trusting God to warn them of dangerous consequences, and by limiting their choices to those matters over which God has given them authority, what a team they will make!

To animals, God gave only an orientation towards doing what was needed for their fulfillment. Yes, what lovable creatures animals are! But the power of thinking, of reasoning, of analyzing, of choosing, of creating, is not theirs, but man’s alone, of all on the Earth!

And now, Adam, God has given you your first challenge: a warning that of all the wonderful food growing around you, there is but one thing you should not eat. Just one, of ten thousand things you can eat with God’s blessing!

What a simple first test. How can you fail? But were it a test for animals, they would not have the capacity for it. So God protects them by putting a kind of orientation within them towards eating good things; actually an instinct, something so automatic it does not even quite rise to the level of “desire”. Neither does it rise to the level of intelligence. Animals can never have the capacity to adapt to new situations that is given humans. They will necessarily lead a much cruder, more dependent existence.

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I logged in to Buttbook. I looked for Beelzebub’s page. I couldn’t find it. It wasn’t there. Is that possible? But I was certain I heard some demons talking about Beelzebub’s Buttbook account.

Finally it occurred to me to look under “Lucifer”. Sure enough, there it was.

“Do you know Lucifer?” I checked “Yes.”

I clicked on “Add Enemy.”

I began reading his posts. One was “How can the time for more knowledge ever not be right?”

It would be a fair question, were there no God who has eloquently warned us about the harm of too much information too early. Were we evolved instead of created as Beelzebub now insists we imagine, with no one watching over us, caring for us, feeding us, but ourselves, in a mad race against everyone else to be the “fittest” so we can “survive” on the backs of others, then of course we would need the edge of every bit of knowledge we can process.

I clicked “Send message”.

I texted,

For one thing, because there can be no freedom to the extent all one’s choices must be made immediately, before one has time and experience to think about them and experience some of the consequences.

Freedom requires one decision at a time.

God created some animals to consume an entire month’s supply of food in a single bite. But not man. God created man to enjoy their food, their life, their ideas, and even their relationship with God, one bite at a time, one choice at a time. Because choice is the fuel of freedom, a gift to be savored.”

VerseScout: Isaiah 28:10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:

VerseScout Relevance Report: Commentator John Gill explains this verse as a description of how children are taught: “a small lesson out of one book, and a small lesson out of another; a little one day, and a little on the next, and so on, that their memories may not be overburdened.”

Unlike animals, God is giving humans an infinity of choices, and an infinity of possibilities through their walk with Him. They may choose what kind of human they want to be. That is even more choice than He gave angels. More freedom than He gave us.

God’s Laws are indeed Holy, and nourishing. They will prepare men for Heaven.

Heaven is Infinite Freedom. It has to be, to be Heaven. But infinite freedom means nothing without infinite choices. That’s why God created Time, to give man enough time to consider all their choices.

Beelzebub allowed my post to remain, so he could respond,

“Oh, so now we are free? That’s a piece of news! I had thought that if I were free I would be able to do Twistees all month without getting sick, kick the roses barefoot without pain, not be held down by this unwelcome force called ‘gravity’, and I would be free to kill God!”

That was quickly followed by mocking and jeers from many others who shared Beelzebub’s strange antipathy towards reality.

After letting the rage build for a couple of days, I posted,

Obviously, “freedom” means no restraint from any other force than reality from achieving whatever you want.

The freedom God grants us is like wanting to paint, and being shown an infinite canvas with an infinite supply of paint, and commissioned to paint anything you want.

One may certainly choose to believe he has no paint, or that paint does not stick to canvas, or any number of myths which will guarantee failure. One may even choose to believe eating the paint will make him healthy, and that banging the canvas on his head will cure his headache.

One may certainly choose to ignore reality, and to forfeit freedom. But that is only the extreme, ultimate proof that he is completely, perfectly free.

But of course “free to fail”, “free to be stupid”, or “free to be a slave” is a perspective of Freedom which tragically understates its potential. “Free to achieve all you desire, with God’s help” captures one of my favorite things about Heaven.

Within the hour my post was removed, I was “unenemied”, and posts about me began appearing with a level of contempt usually reserved for God. I felt honored.

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A few friends joined me on a walk on the new planet. Not far into it, we came across several demons busily kicking a thicket of roses barefoot, and then screaming in pain that a God of love would never allow so much evil in the world, so God must either not love, or must not be in control.

We stepped forward and tried to reason with them.

“Uh, the pain you are screaming about might be from the thorns on those roses puncturing your toes when you kick them.”

“Judging, judging, judging!” they answered. “Can’t you ever just open your mouths a little without judging us? Go away!”

“But we have no unkind desire for you”, we tried. “We don’t want you to suffer. We are not sentencing you to suffer, which is what ‘judging’ is. We are not the cause of your suffering. We simply want to point out reality to you so you can stop suffering.”

“Look, Bozo, life is complicated enough already. We have to live with reality several minutes every day. So now we just want to relax, and be left alone, and take a break from reality, and just do something for our own entertainment without you bookworms coming over here telling us we haven’t studied reality hard enough – that now we are supposed to do it every second of the day!”

“Oh, we’re sorry”, we apologized. “Entertainment is your reason. Yes, we see that now.”

That of course softened them. One of them even invited us to join them. Very generous, after how insulting we had been.

We were hopeful, seeing the door to conversation crack open a little. “But how did you learn about this exciting means of entertainment?” we ventured.

One of them produced a thick book of rules for entertainment. Kicking roses is not something any dummy can do properly, we learned. In order to earn a high score, one must aim at a particular angle, and that is just one of about a hundred rules that must be memorized and religiously followed to keep the referee from blowing his whistle. And one must memorize statistics for use as ammunition in friendly arguments.

In fact, entire universities were set up to identify, train, watch, and honor rose kickers.

How could we reach them? How could we help them? One of us carried a pocket printer, with which we printed out a small booklet about thorns, that explained how thorns have the ability to poke you when you kick them. We thought maybe if they would read it, they would understand how their actions – not God’s creation – were the reason for their pain,, and would stop.

Cautiously, humbly, politely, graciously, we offered them the book. After quite some effort on our part to get their attention, one of them finally glanced at it, but only to sneer, “that’s too long, and I am way too busy. If you’ve got anything worth saying, you can say it in a page.”

Logically, it shouldn’t even take a whole sentence to point out that when you kick roses, their thorns will make your toes bleed. But these demons had made themselves believe 1,000 pages of lies about how thorns don’t really exist, and how there is no greater pleasure than the feeling of roses slamming into toes. The myth of thorns is a conspiracy fabricated by God to deprive demons of pleasure, they “knew”.

Normally it takes longer to disprove a lie than to state it. So how does one disprove 1,000 pages in a single page? To say it another way, if reality itself is unable to persuade them directly, what can be said in just one page that can persuade them?

Nevertheless, promised that a single page might be read, we spent a great deal of time and concentration boiling down our message into a page. We offered it to them.

They were too busy with their kicking to look away to the page we offered. Sadly, we started to walk away. A couple of us saw the beer cartons, and had the idea of stuffing the page down into the cartons where the cardboard handles stick up.

In the midst of this, one of the demons picked up a page, skimmed it for about ten seconds, then wadded it up and tossed it saying “this doesn’t prove anything.” He resumed his kicking and cursing.

As hopeless as his reaction was, we were encouraged that he had given us ten seconds of his attention! We tried to talk to him. But before we had gotten out ten words he cut us off with “It’s no use talking with you! You’re not going to change your mind anyway!” as he went back to his kicking and cursing.

VerseScout: Acts 9:3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: 4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

VerseScout Relevance Report: “Pricks”, from the Greek kentron, means a point, that stings, or a goad – a pointed stick used to direct oxen or cattle. A nurse who draws blood “pricks your finger”, we say.

A great many sins have consequences that hurt us as much as kicking roses barefoot, except that the pain is usually not that instantaneous. Just like in Hell, most sins in America today have entire industries built up around them, with their own stacks of rules, generally unwritten, requiring much harder work to reach certain rewards than pursuing them honestly. And they provide enormous entertainment for spectators, as if they were sports events, through news reports, and dramatizations in books and movies and on TV.

Acts 9:3-5 applies the metaphor to the absurdity of attacking God, or attacking people who love Him and who are trying to tell you about Him. This therefore applies to attacking all that God is: to attacking Love, 1 John 4:8, 16. Or Truth, John 14:6.

We flew away. But we took with us a copy of their 1,000 page rule book. We stopped to look it over. We were fascinated with their conspiracy theory that thorns don’t really exist, but are only alleged by God to exist in order to deprive them of pleasure.

We had previously theorized that the thing about reality that they resist is how complicated it is. We had assumed they are only interested in evidence of anything if it is simple and novel and requires little research, which is why they will not tolerate a precise statement of reality, or evidence that clarifies reality, that is complicated and boring and takes concentration.

But these 1,000 pages plainly disprove that theory. Indeed we look around at all evil and find it requires more concentration, involves more rules, takes more work, and creates more problems than good does.

In particular, I was curious about my old friend Beelzebub. What drives him so far away? How has he cultivated such a preference for an existence so joyless, so difficult?

We also explored the theory that novelty is what they demand in an idea. They are as interested in speculation as in facts. More intrigued by dramatic lies than boring precise truth. More interested in the novelty of an idea than its veracity.

Certainly there is more variety in fantasy than in reality, since there is no limit to the nonsense available to imagination, while there is only one reality.

But the problem with that theory is the impatience we encounter with evidence. If novelty always interested them, evidence that clarifies reality would be the more welcome, since it is the more dramatic, the farther one’s assumptions have departed from reality. But we find the opposite: the farther one recedes from reality, the more one resists evidence.

That left one last theory which we now begin to consider: the preference we were dealing with was for accusations. The demons don’t like research that consists of challenging their favorite accusations.

As we investigated this possibility we narrowed the problem down to what we called “pure accusations”.

Honest accusations are not a problem. They identify words or deeds which are causing problems. They are supported by evidence which can be scrutinized, and they welcome scrutiny, so that the truth may be established and problems solved.

Pure accusations, by contrast, are not supported by evidence. In fact they are made carefully enough that evidence cannot touch them, either to disprove them or to prove them. When evidence can touch them, they accuse evidence itself.

The other factor that makes accusations pure is that even supposing they are true, they are presented as if nothing can be done about them. This protects the accuser from any pressure of responsibility to do something about the one or thing accused. Since nothing can allegedly be done about them, it matters little if the information about them is accurate. The only value of pure accusations, therefore, is their entertainment value.

VerseScout: 1 Timothy 1:4 Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.

VerseScout Relevance Report: The CEV translation puts it: “You needed to warn them to stop wasting their time on senseless stories and endless lists of ancestors. Such things only cause arguments. They don’t help anyone to do God’s work that can only be done by faith.”

A pure accusation, therefore, can’t be disproved. If believed, it is also believed that the harm can’t be corrected. A pure accusation is a perfect excuse for doing nothing different, saying nothing different, or believing nothing different than whatever departure from reality has become a comfortable habit, while blaming anyone and everyone but oneself.

We could still hear the screams and cursing in the distance. Our fallen brothers have chosen to make their decisions carelessly, without the concentration and study required to keep their dreams from becoming nightmares.

My former friend Beelzebub is insanely hostile to correctly discerning what is real. He lies, and laughs. He hurts, destroys, and laughs. He kicks the roses, bleeds, screams, curses, and laughs. Is that really, seriously, his choice? Is that really the choice of his followers?

VerseScout: Hebrews 6:4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

Luke 12:47 And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. 48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

VerseScout Relevance Report: The warning of Hebrews 6:4 is relative – a matter of degree, according to Luke 12. That is, it is to the extent one knows better, and does wrong anyway, deliberately, that it makes no sense to say “oops, I didn’t mean to”.

But Satan really “knows better”. He apparently knows the consequences (how much his choices hurt him), has experienced them, chooses them, and laughs at them. Why? Why does any human follow?

Our experience with the demons was a preview of what could happen to Adam and Wo-man if they became obsessed with laws before they established faith in God.

Even though the laws of the Tree are God’s laws, we understood that any laws followed by humans must be processed, interpreted, and applied by humans, which would invite many errors because of the undeveloped state of human understanding and experience. And that if they proceeded without listening to God, their errors would not only go uncorrected, but would become tragic, cruel addictions, sustained by pride.

It may seem ironic to say that obeying God is more important than following God’s Laws, but it is a fact that it is possible to follow God’s laws in a way that God has forbidden. It is possible to use God’s laws, not as a guide for love, but as a prop for pride and a license for terror!

May Adam and Wo-man be spared that unhappy addiction!

The mental sickness necessary to suppress conscience enough to feel righteous treating others like that, we called “deangelization”.

VerseScout: Proverbs 13:4 The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat. 20:4 The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing. 26:16 The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason.

1 Corinthians 9:24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. 25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: 27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

VerseScout Relevance Report: Success at anything, including obeying God, requires discipline. Which takes effort – mostly mental. Weak intellectual, physical, and/or sexual discipline leads to failure, which leads to shame/insecurity, which leads to a search for some gimmick or addiction to quiet the ravings of conscience that is less demanding than reality and God. That is the attraction of idolatry, and of the suffering demanded by God-substitutes – one’s own suffering, and human sacrifice of others.

Examples of demands of idols today are the austerity demanded by climate myths, and tolerance/acceptance of attacks by Moslems as deserved. This is all driven by lack of enough love to want discipline. That same lack of love drives dehumanization, of our critics, and of those we want to exploit.

What is the attraction of boasting? Is there insecurity? Why weren’t demons satisfied to be sons of God?

Why such total rejection of intellectual discipline, the preference being for suffering, to quiet the ravings of conscience?

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God held out a Future Possibilities globe where we could all see it.

It showed humans imagining themselves unworthy to even live. It showed other humans inventing cruel rituals and promising that performing them would make people “worthy”, “manly”, or even “heroes”! And wise!

One was to pierce their skin thousands of time to paint pictures on it. Another was to cut deep into their flesh in order to leave scars in grotesque patterns. They developed many ways to torture their own bodies. “Penance” was a word some had for their cruelties.

Some tortured also their hearts and consciences by the unthinkable tortures they inflicted on others as part of their savage “religion”, while they shouted, as if they had any comprehension of God, or any interest in acquiring any, “God is Greater”!

A couple of us grabbed the globe to reset it to “Origins”. How did such tragic nonsense begin?

We watched nonsense begin sometimes from no explicit communication from God, but only from the vague tug of conscience. Sometimes goals were clearly communicated from God, but added to or subtracted from by men through malicious interpretation.

Sometimes God’s recommended goals were correctly understood but without faith in God for help to reach them. That led to depression, at best. At worst, it led to the invention of heavy, if not impossible burdens through which it was imagined that God’s acceptance might be “earned”.

What an insult to the Love of God, depicting God as so cruel that what it takes to entertain Him is to watch His People torture themselves!

It reminded me of how goats court.

When the female’s hormones are all lined up, she wags her tail a lot. The male has to be alert, because her tail is very small. We call that “flagging” because for the male that is like waving a flag.

When the buck sees that, he goes into action. He cranes his mouth under his belly and pees in it. Then he uses his mouth to sprinkle its fragrance over as much of his fur as he can reach. Then he prances upwind of the female, who says in rapturous delight, in goat language, “What a MAN!”

The rest of the time, when goats aren’t courting, goats love to play a game with each other. They rear back to get in position for a powerful lunge forward, and then slam their heads against each other as hard as possible. This is the goat equivalent of a human kiss.

When we first observed this behavior that God has programmed into goats, we just stood there with our mouths open, our chins nearly down to our knees. And yet the human behavior we see in the Future Possibilities Globe makes goats seem downright civilized.

An interesting side note: the latest photos of Beelzebub show him looking more and more like a goat. When the wind isn’t blowing the other way too hard we can tell he smells like one, too – even when he is evangelizing and making himself as attractive as he can. It takes a special SCI to be attracted to that. (Significant Cerebral Interruption.) When he is just relaxing, it’s a whole lot worse than ever seduced any goat.

Making choices that bring joy, happiness, and love require a lot of thinking, concentrating, and staying alert to sin. It takes caring enough to keep your brain turned on, to discern God’s solutions.

VerseScout: Matthew 24:42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. (See also Matthew 25:13; Mark 13:35; Luke 21:36; Acts 20:31; 1 Thessalonians 5:6; 1 Peter 4:7; Revelation 3:3)

It took much less strenuous mental effort for men in the Future Possibilities Globe to invent their own “solutions.” Unhooking their brains seemed more “fun”.

When that led to such physical pain, some of them might have stopped had they considered that thinking intelligently, as hard as that is, isn’t as hard as physical torture. But even those not proud of how much torture they could suffer were unwilling to add, to their physical suffering, the mental exertion it would take to realize how stupid their “religion” was so they could stop.

So as an alternative to thinking hard, people chose to suffer hard, imagining that to be a shortcut to acceptance by God.

And just to eliminate any possible confusion from the fact that God emphatically disagrees, people dispensed with God’s acceptance altogether and sought instead the imagined acceptance of their imaginary “gods”.

Although suffering is less comfortable than thinking, it is definitely simpler. Pain is infinitely less complicated than thinking. Suffering is so easy that a baby can do it.

Always, the tragedy was fueled by lack of faith in God. It was as if humans thought man was created to meet God’s goals, instead of God’s goals being created to benefit man.

VerseScout: Mark 2:27 And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath:

But if Adam and Wo-man have all knowledge”, Ditsy asked God, “they won’t even need faith in You, because they will know, won’t they?”

A logical question, since Faith is the substance of things not seen. What one sees, one needs no faith to accept, I assumed. Certainly there is a sense in which faith fills in enough gaps in our knowledge that we can make decisions about things.

VerseScout: Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance that what we hope for will come about and the certainty that what we cannot see exists. (ISV)

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (KJV)

“Can we help?” I asked. “Can we teach them so well that they will never be so foolish as to turn from Love and disobey? Can we show them the consequences – death – so clearly that they can never possibly stumble?”

God looked at Beelzebub. We followed His gaze and saw the folly of our scheme. God’s glance at Beelzebub was all the answer Ditsy and I needed. What more evidence of God is there to know, than Beelzebub knows?

Beelzebub is knowledge without faith in God, personified. Who could ever be taught so well as Beelzebub? Who could ever comprehend the consequences as thoroughly as Beelzebub? Yet knowledge did not save him. To the contrary, it was his knowledge itself which condemned him far more than had he done the same things in relative ignorance of the consequences.

VerseScout: Luke 12:47 And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. 48 But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

We understood that intelligence can only grow straight and true on a foundation of faith. All the intelligence in the universe brings one no closer to faith; while faith inevitably leads to intelligence, since all who follow God will be led by God to the greatest possible Wisdom.

VerseScout: Psalm 111:10  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.

Beelzebub’s knowledge was close enough to infinite to support the conclusion that even infinite knowledge can’t make up for lack of faith. He certainly knows God exists, and that all God says is true and is for Beelzebub’s own benefit, including what God says about love, forgiving, giving, work, prayer, wisdom, and purpose.

VerseScout: James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

1 Corinthians 13:2 What if I could prophesy and understand all secrets and all knowledge? And what if I had faith that moved mountains? I would be nothing, unless I loved others. (CEV)

Beelzebub used to understand reality. Now he just bangs his head against it. It has been his choice to throw tantrums against all that he knows.

The memory tugged at me, of my resolve to try to talk with Beelzebub. Although I didn’t know what to say, and he seemed pretty determined to resist anything anyone said, I felt a duty to add my voice to the pressure of Love upon his charred, blistered heart.

After all, we were once the closest of friends.

God’s answer – his glance at Beelzebub – raises the question, which I now asked: “Considering how much pressure laws impose on man, and the consequent unlikelihood that man would ever want to be subject to them anyway, why did You even bother to tell him to leave them alone?”

“Do you remember how Beelzebub’s reason for seeking wisdom changed? Before the Great Tragedy, why did he seek wisdom?”

“The same reason we all do”, someone answered: “to understand best how to make his words and actions shine with love.”

VerseScout: Romans 13:8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. 9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Love is the fulfillment of the law.

Mark 3:4 And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.

VerseScout Relevance Report: Love “fulfills” law – the purpose of law is to encourage relationships of love – to define that human interaction which channels love. The purpose of law is to save life, and to do good. To the extent any population reaches the conclusion that the purpose of a law is to destroy life, and to do evil, they regard, and treat, that law as illegitimate.

The Pharisees pervert God’s Holy Laws, with these Holy purposes, into a license to “devour widows’ houses”, Mark 12:40. American courts today egregiously turn law against the very purpose of law in abortion cases.

Mark 3:4 models a legal defense copied in American law, generally called the “Necessity Defense”. If your violation of law was necessary to save life, you are innocent. Because the purpose of all law is to do good. Therefore in any situation where following it would do harm, it is not the intent of lawmakers that the law be obeyed.

Yet the Pharisees “held their peace” upon being reminded of the legal defense. They were shamed into dropping their formal charges against Jesus – the penalty for working on the Sabbath was death. But they refused to validate Jesus’ defense by verbally agreeing. Their hearts still raged against Jesus.

Similarly today, state supreme courts have heard the Necessity Defense in about 100,000 abortion prevention cases. “Is it legal in America to save life, or to kill?” State supreme courts say judges don’t need to answer the question, and juries can’t be allowed to know the question exists, because the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that unborn babies aren’t “life”. Which is the opposite of what Roe v. Wade said: that if we ever find out [from fact-finders, such as juries] that unborn babies are humans/persons, then “of course…the case” for legal abortion “collapses”. But the Supreme Court has refused since 1973 cases which address the factual evidence which the 1973 justices pretended to be unable to grasp.

“And to what use does he put his wisdom now?”

“To have something to brag about”, a few of us mumbled sadly, mechanically, while others laughed at the irony.

VerseScout: Romans 3:27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

VerseScout Relevance Report: What is the attraction of boasting? Insecurity? Why wasn’t Eve satisfied with the Garden of Eden? There wasn’t even anyone else to impress. Why wasn’t she satisfied – why aren’t humans today satisfied – to be sons of God?

Lack of faith in God to enable us to succeed makes us insecure. Laziness leads us to trust substitutes for reality that seem easier.

Imagine! Laws whose purpose is to define words and actions which manifest love, made into criteria for how much one is superior to others, which is the very opposite of love!

No, we couldn’t imagine, as hard as we tried.

Beelzebub had to first delude himself into thinking there is anything any soul can do or say or think that will make it any more precious than another soul.

Then he had to pretend that superiority in any skill or ability is honorable or admirable or of any advantage, or any cause of happiness for anyone, even when it isn’t applied in a way that blesses others.

Beelzebub demonstrates, for you, that there is another reason a soul can desire to obey wise, love-fulfilling laws, than to become more useful, or successful, or more of a blessing.

There is no other reason that is smart, but there is a reason.

Boasting is such a poor reason! The very impulse to feel superior creates so much more pressure than any amount of failure to obey laws for the right reasons!”

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It is ironic that God has created a test that seems the opposite of what it is. It seems like a restriction on wisdom, but it is the door to wisdom. It is a test of whether Adam and Wo-man will trust God’s warning; if they will, as we have, that will prove their readiness for more wisdom. If they won’t, and eat, they will learn God’s standards all right but instead of the adventure of mountain-high goals they will feel the shame of failure; both because even with God’s help it takes much time to master them, and because they will struggle alone, not trusting God’s help to attain them.

Their failure will only make them afraid.

VerseScout: Genesis 3:10 And he [Adam] said [to God], I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.

VerseScout Relevance Report: The difference between adults and children learning music or a language illustrates both the advantage and the challenge of fully understanding one’s goals way before one has developed the capacity to reach them.

Children have no idea how much there is to learn, and how much must be learned before they can apply their learning at an adult level. Expectations of them are lowered to their capacity. Their next meal does not depend on their progress. The steps ahead are made easy, attainable, and fun by patient adults.

Adults, by contrast, fully understand how bad they are, and how many years of study will be necessary before they can apply their learning in a world of adults who are less patient and indulgent than parents.

The experience is so relatively discouraging for adults that the myth is common that children can learn faster than adults! This myth is routinely given as an excuse for adults to not even try! (Although immigrants who need jobs don’t have that option!) The opposite is true: concept for concept, word for word, note for note, adults learn much faster. The more thoroughly one understands one’s goal, the faster one can reach it. But few adults have the luxury of patient, indulgent, helpful, omnipresent teachers to swaddle them in baby steps, that children have.

The ideal is a trusted patient teacher, no cost, unlimited time, adult comprehension, adult capacity, and child expectations. That is what God offered in Eden, which Adam destroyed by firing his teacher, and refusing to “practice” his lesson, in his quest to “grow up” way too fast.

Chapter Sixteen: The Tree of Laws

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