In this article I will first explain two definitions to show the reader my perspective of these words and how I am using them. For Bible references see the Biblical Resource at the end of this article.
Definition of LIMIT
For this illustration limit is a point of no tolerance. When I worked in a group-home for behaviorally challenged teens, most behavioral outbursts were tolerable and dealt with. But if a teen should interfere with the staff’s treatment of or help in a critical situation with another teen, then the interfering teen would have hit or reached a limit. On that same day they would be taken out of the group-home and placed in a secure facility for further placement; but never to return to that group-home.
If we publicly deny the work of the Holy Spirit (blasphemy) for our own gain most likely as a deliberate premeditated act against God, we would lose salvation and as some theologians say, perhaps we were never born again to begin with. In any case that’s a limit in disobedience to God the Father regarding the Holy Spirit uniquely (Mark 3:28-29 and Matthew 12:31-32).
Definition of RECURSIVE
Mathematics & linguistics: relating to or involving the repeated application of a rule, definition, or procedure, or event to successive results for an outcome.
Computing: relating or involving a program or routine of which a part of the computer programing code requires the application of the whole computer programing code so that the explicit interpretation requires, in general, many successive executions of the code. The final event comes into reality (presents itself). This type of code is common in a computer program that generates a parts list for electronic prototyping.
Now the Article Truth Seeks Truth – In God’s Covenantal Relationship Does He Change His Mind?
When God made some statements it appeared He changed His mind (Genesis 6:6-8; Jonah 3:10; Exodus 32:14). Yet it is an absolute truth that the Bible does not contradict itself.
We know God doesn’t change His mind. (Malachi 3:6; James 1:17; Numbers 23:19;)
Before we go into a Biblical explanation I want to give you an illustration of a little boy as one possible answer (a more evangelical conservative answer).
Again the Biblical exegetical explanation is coming. But this example is relevant to that exegetical explanation.
A dad watched his boy play ball hockey in the driveway with the hard orange ball again, and not the softer, less dangerous ball, that he was told to use. Yet again; outright defiance! But the father understood the peer pressure his son had among the other boys, and his mom passing away not long ago. But the father will not let his son get hurt by letting things go. He is a just father. The boy has hit a limit.
The father’s intention (truth) is to block the unused driveway by putting a small building on it. He will do it so that it is impossible for the boys to play there. Every time they see the new little building they would remember this and learn from it. That’s an absolute truth. They can’t use it.
At the same time he said to himself that if the boy would plead with him from the heart and show remorse then he would, on the fly (recursive time), allow the boy to continue playing. In fact, the father would actually build up the sides of the driveway to allow the game to be played more enjoyably. He will also give them a ball that is hard enough to use but be completely safe.
He went to the boy. He told the boy the absolute truth that he and his friends will no longer use the driveway for anything!
The boy pleading with him, and said “mom use to like watching us play”. I will never never use the hard ball again. You have my word on it, father.”
Then the father said the absolute truth that he can use the driveway. He said I promise you I will build this driveway to allow for more freedom to play ball hockey and will give you a ball that will be absolutely perfect.
You see this is an explanation based on our time and space. In the father’s heart he did not lie, nor change his mind, nor mislead the boy. Truth seeks truth. He sought the boy’s truth from the boy’s heart and it matched his own truth, recursively.
God knew beforehand his Son’s ultimate commitment and sincerity. Jesus, Son of God the Father, in Jesus covenantal relationship, is the intermediator between the Father and sinful man. God the Father cannot face sin. But Jesus, as the intermediator, in the Old Testament can interact and have a personal, down to earth (pardon the pun), relationship with man. And He does. The classic example is in Genesis 3:9 where God, in God’s covenantal relationship with man says “where are you? … Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?”. He, as God, knew where Adam was.
God is all sovereign, will not change His mind, or compromise His will and purpose; yes purpose. He went to Moses and Noah with a purpose not just a will. As their truth from the heart matched His foreknowledge truth, so His truth is revealed foreknown from before the formation of the world. The will and purpose go hand in hand. Deep in Numbers 23:19 we see a God of great truth and clarity, unmovable, yet a God of great compassion and a gracious God abounding in love and faithfulness (from Psalm 86:15). He speaks truth and acts in the same truth; He promises in truth and fulfills in the same truth.
In time and space and all things visible and invisible, light and darkness, all the formation that Jesus spoke into existence (Colossians 1:15-20) includes quantum physics. Quantum physics exists and is one of the fabrics of the time-space continuum we dwell in; created for us for God’s glory. In quantum physics, as we observe a subatomic particle, it’s behavior changes just by our observation. This leads to multiple outcomes from the one subatomic element. I often wonder if this could be the level where God changes outcomes, but I dare not make this a claim or doctrine.
In God’s foreknowing He knew that man would sin and be an abomination. He knew He would wipe man off the face of the earth with a flood, less Noah and the 8. That’s an absolute truth.
He talked with Noah, and Noah pleaded with God from the heart with great sorrow. Then God said in His foreknown truth for Noah to build an ark. We all know how the story goes.
But here is the point. God was foreknowing that Noah would plead with God from the heart with great great sorrow. And God foreknew He would have Noah build the ark. Jesus pre-incarnate has a relationship with Noah. The human relational dynamics of the boy’s father are similar.
From our limitations in time and space there seems to be two, or perhaps more foreknowing truths of the same truth. How can that be? In quantum physics it’s easily explained as possible recursive realities in the same time-space continuum, and one becomes the reality. In our reality we don’t know the outcome, but God sure does.
How much more possible is recursive time considering God exists outside of the formation of all things visible and invisible including time and space. Of course, God can freely go in and out of time-space.
Remember this: To reaffirm there is not an iota in the God breathed Bible’s original manuscripts, that is contradictory. Some things are secret and some things are revealed that we may follow all the words of this law, His Book (from Deuteronomy 29:29).
The Bible (Special Revelation context of the Holy Scriptures) will never contradict itself. As God reveals more truth from His handiwork, such as science, (General Revelation) even then we will learn more about Him as the creator for His glory. Over 82% of all scientists were Christians for a reason (as of 1992); something to think about.
The verse (Philippians 4:7) touches on the unexplained attributes of God’s Love – and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.
So we see two truths as contradictory truths on the same relationship reality. But God already determined the final truth which, in recursive time, always was the absolute truth.
My purpose is not to attempt an explanation or clever ways to explain this possible contradiction; which it is not. Rather it is to make it clear that we cannot question God’s morals and values or His ways. In our hearts we must make this a limit in obedience. The fact that because there is already one possible explanation from God’s gift of quantum physics, with our very limited knowledge, how much more and how many more explanations are there with the infinite God? Praise His name. Like we say to the little ones, “it’s just the way it is, for now”.
Now here is what seems clear to me. To be sure, Jesus is the Person of the Triune God who establishes a covenantal relationship (in a real time communication in the Old and New Testament) with humanity, for God’s glory and benefiting us whom He loves.
Do you remember where Jesus, after His resurrection, talked to Cleopas and another unmentioned follower on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24:13-35? Jesus explains some of his relational interaction in the Old Testament, (pre-incarnate Jesus Christ). If you haven’t read it yet take a look. Its quite amazing.
Here is another amazing passage in John 12:30-42 where Jesus quotes Isaiah in Isaiah 6:1-13. Jesus is saying it was Jesus Himself appearing to Isaiah. Now let’s look at how Isaiah records Jesus who was the one who clearly appeared to Isaiah.
Lets look at a bit of Hebrew: h3068. יְהוָֹה yhwh; from 1961; (the) self-Existent or Eternal; name of God: — the Lord. Compare 3050, 3069. AV (6519) – LORD 6510, GOD 4, JEHOVAH 4, variant 1; Jehovah = “the existing One”
We can see that at least in this passage, Jesus is talking about Himself (John 12:30-42) and that Jesus is yhwh.
Interestingly I did a word search in the Logos Bible Study app. I found that out of at least 4000 references to the LORD or combinations of phrases such the LORD Your God, Messiah or Anointed One were all referencing Jesus as yhwh. Of course there are many references to God the Father and the Holy Spirit. I just want to point out the Pre-Incarnate Jesus was in the Old Testament in a relational role with the Triune God’s people. Pre-incarnate refers Jesus Christ when He was in the world in Old Testament; a world which He created (Colossians 1:15-20, John 1:1-3, Hebrews 1:1-3) before He became flesh, the God Man in the New Testament.)
There is another interesting scripture that Jude penned in Jude 1:5. When we read this verse he is saying it was common knowledge that Jesus was the Person of the Triune God who freed the Israelites from the Egyptians and destroyed the Egyptian army. See Exodus 4:10-18. Remember Jude in verse 5 points out it was Jesus with Moses and Aaron orchestrating the exit and freeing of the Israelites. Jesus in His covenantal relationship organized it, guided them and performed the miracles through them. I don’t think Jesus stopped there, and said “ok I’m done. Who’s next to help these people” When Jesus said in John 3:35 “The Father has placed all things in My hands“, Jesus wasn’t kidding. In fact Jesus shows His authority in the following verse John 3:36.
I mentioned this to point out Jesus intentionally establishes a relationship with His people throughout the Old and New Testaments (covenants). But here is a question. What is the difference between a contract and a covenant? A contract is a written agreement between two parties. Easton’s Bible Dictionary says One of the “covenants is where the word is used with reference to God’s revelation of Himself in the way of a promise or favour to His people. Thus God’s promise to Noah after the flood is called a covenant (Genesis 9; Jeramiah 33:20). This part of the definition should suffice for the point I am making here. In all that Jesus did and is doing, He does as the intermediator between the Triune God and the Triune God’s creation, created by the Person of Jesus Christ. Jesus, as this intermediator, established a covenantal relationship with man since the foundation of the world. In this relationship Jesus interacts with us on our level. Even though Jesus, Son of God, knows all things in the Old Testament, He talks and negotiates with us, Adam and Eve, Moses, Jeremiah, and other times with other people. In the New Testament Jesus relates to us as the God Man, the incarnate Christ. In this time Jesus still has an interactive relationship with us still making the Father known to us John 14:6-7; Matthew 11:27; Colossians 1:15; John 17:25-26; John 1:18; Hebrews 1:3. Jesus still speaks to us today in His covenantal relationship through His word and the Holy Spirit and through others. Much of this two way interaction is through quiet time and prayer. May all the glory be to God.