The Science of Division and Separation: Part I
One-ism or Two-ism, Unity or Diversity, Trans-whatever
One-ism and Two-ism
The title is intended to attract your attention. The American culture is in the throes of change of gigantic proportions. However, the change is not new. In fact, it has its roots in the angelic world prior to the creation of man and in the Garden after the fall. Yes, there is a real Adam and Eve! For whatever reason, Adam chose to decide for himself, his wife, and his posterity, how he, and they should live. The fundamental choice of human existence is and always been worshipping and pleasing the Creator or the creature (self and others). Mankind can’t have it both ways. Throughout the ages man continues with those two mutually exclusive choices.
The American culture looks very much like Ephesus and Rome of biblical times. Those cultures were dominated by the mantra: for me, to me, and by me. Feelings, logic divorced from biblical truth, experience/tradition, and subjectivity ruled. Self-realization and self-actualization – me first, second, and third was at the expense of others. There was no appeal to the God of the universe. The me-first mindset will continue until Christ’s return.
The Christian Church and individual Christians have bought into the movement and the influence of Eastern mysticism and spirituality, psychology, and Greek philosophy. As a result, the culture and the people are naturalized, materialized, Eastern-ized, psychologized, and spiritualized as opposed to being supernatural-ized and Holy Spirit-energized. The inward work of the Holy Spirit was and seems to be non-existent. Sadly, churches have bought the lie. There has been a return to the New Age thinking of Gnosticism – which is really old age! There is nothing new under the sun (Eccl. 1:9).
Dr. Peter Jones uses the terms One-ism and Two-ism when he speaks of the attack on the Creator-creature distinction. Fundamentally, the issue is truth vs. falsehood and light vs. darkness (Rom. 1:18-23). Some speak of this phenomenon as culture wars. Psalm 2 labels it rebellion against Yahweh and His Anointed. So-called marriage problems are actually people problems. Marriage and culture are not the problem. They are the milieu in which hearts are exposed and choice id expressed – me or God.
Cultural One-ism is in contrast to biblical One-ism – God is God, Creator and Controller God, and the creature is not. Cultural One-ism is in conflict with a biblical worldview and is at odds with true spirituality as defined by the Bible. Cultural One-ism focuses on a self-created reality which divinized nature; mankind worships himself as he worships the creation. This One-ism is based on the impersonal and sameness of everything and everybody. It disallows distinctions and separation. Consequently, it denies the transcendent and the holy as defined in the Bible as self-apartness, otherness and distinctiveness which are words used to describe the Triune God.
Cultural One-ism denies and works aggressively against biblical One-ism and biblical Two-ism. It works against the biblical notion that everything and everyone has its rightful and distinctive place. It denies biblical One-ism because it denies the essence of God as the holy, other God. It denies the twin pillars of the Trinity which are unity and diversity. Consequently, it denies all Intratrinitarian activity such as creation, re-creation and redemption, and heard and answered prayer.
Dr. Jones equates Two-ism and biblical spirituality. He defines this biblical worldview as the biblical insistence on the truth of distinctions – good and evil, true and false, male and female, God and creation. In essence, Two-ism refers, in part, to the doctrine of two ways: clean and unclean, holy and unholy (Lev. 10:10-11).
Man, the creature, is not the Creator and God is distinct from His creation. In Two-ism, holiness is normative for God. Remember, holiness refers to otherness, separateness, distinctiveness, and worth of all honor and glory. God is Lord of lords and King of kings whether acknowledged or not. God is worthy to be worshipped for who He is. Worship of any other object or being is idolatry.
According to Scripture, Two-ism is God’s revelation of Himself and is one key to the cosmos. This latter point is of extreme importance today as culture is caught up with its self and pushes and demands oneness and consequently, human autonomy as was demonstrated in the Garden. Each individual becomes their own supreme being.
It is interesting how culture has linked oneness and autonomy. Autonomy refers to self-expression and rule. The concept and actions that flow from it compete with the Triune God. By popular demand the one consumes mankind and has decided for me, by me, and to me. The one is me. The one has thrown a web around the many so that the one and the many are one. Sameness is key but to what? Without distinctions there will be no progress in any area of society. The program of all chiefs and no Indians sounds communistic and socialistic. It is anti-God. Someone has to be different but this fact is denied. Yet the one who is setting the rules is different as he functions as number one. There should be no number two’s unless you are number one! In non-biblical two-ism, all are number one. Others follow. The definition of cultural one-ism is used to justify all that is non-biblical. It calls right wrong and wrong right which is an abomination to the Lord. (Isa. 5:20).
- What does the phrase: “All is one” signify to you?
- If all is one then all is God or part of him. If true, there is no hierarchy. Yet the one espousing this oneness is number one! What significance would that have for creation and control of the universe? How could Adam be wrong using that definition of oneness?
- If all is one, where does authority, ethics, morality, and worship fit and why?
The Science of Division: Part II
One or Two, Unity or Diversity, Trans-whatever
The Significance of Distinction
Our discussion must begin with the Bible. The Bible is God’s self-revelation, the only standard of truth. Otherwise a person starts with self and ends with self. God Himself is three-in one and therein is unity and diversity. There is order within diversity. At creation, God demonstrated His way of operating in His world. From the beginning God is the God of order. He has been and will continue to be the Separator and Orderer. The book of Genesis opens by recording God’s eternal existence and His creative activity: In the beginning God was…. The Bible presupposes an eternal, active God.
The Triune God created chaos and from chaos came the cosmos (Gen. 1:1-2: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and void and the Spirit of the Lord was hovering over the water.). God brings order to His world His way for His glory. Later in Genesis 1, Moses uses the refrain that God commanded separation: 1:4 (light from darkness); 1:6-7 (the waters); and 1:14, 18 (the lights). Genesis 1 closes with the concise statement: God saw all that he had made and it was very good ... (Gen 1:31).
Genesis 2 teaches that God created the animals and He created Adam and Eve, the crown of His creative activity (se Psalm 8). The Triune God created mankind specifically male and female. Gender was not neutral or an afterthought. It was ordained by God. In the creation account of Genesis 1-2 we learn the non-negotiable truth that God is Creator and Controller and He is a God of separation and distinctions for His purpose and glory. The good of His creation and mankind follow God’s zeal for His name and character.
Turning to the rest of the Pentateuch, we learn more about the science of division. As Moses taught in the book of Leviticus it was a matter of life and death – it still is. The overarching theme of the Pentateuch is God opening a way for sinful humanity to dwell in His Presence. One of the themes of the book of Exodus is intimate knowledge of God which highlights the separation-distinction motif. True knowledge of God leads to true knowledge of self which leads to fear of the Lord and life in His Presence. Hope, comfort, and joy follow.
God used a variety of means to reveal Himself so that both Pharaoh and Israel would know that I am the Lord your God.. (Exodus 6:7-8; 14:4, 18; 16:6, 12). God’s revelation of Himself had a purpose: the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is living, trustworthy, and makes and keeps His promises (Exodus 3:14-15; 6:6-7). Therefore He saved His people at the expense of the Egyptians who were enemies of Israel and His enemies.
The so-called plagues (actually miracles) were signs and wonders used by God to reveal Himself as Controller and Deliverer. They fit the separation-distinction motif described in Genesis. God separated Israel from the Egyptians and vice versa (see Exodus 7-12 and 8:23; 9:4-6, 26; 10:23; 11:7; 12:13, 25, 27). God’s power was evident as the Egyptians received the wrath of God and Israel was saved. The ultimate sign and revelation of God and His separating activity was the Passover (Exodus 12-13). The blood on the doorpost was God’s sign to spare the Israelites and kill the firstborn of Egypt. Distinction was the key – it was a matter of life and death.
- Define One-ism and Two-ism using culture and the Bible as reference points.
- The Trinity is an example of One-ism and Two-ism: how?
- Marriage is an example of One-ism and Two-ism: how?
- Discuss the separation-distinction motif.
The Science of Division: Part III
One or Two, Unity or Diversity, Trans-whatever
The Significance of Distinction
The book of Leviticus further delineates the science of division. The book focuses on how God opened a way into His presence. Mankind’s descent began when God judged Adam and Eve and exiled them from the Garden and His presence. Prior to their expulsion, God promised hope through salvation (Gen. 3:15). Adam was faced with an ultimate question: how could man, unholy and sinful, be allowed into the presence of a holy God? We know the question was a prominent concern of Adam (Gen. 3:20-21; 4:1). In fact the question is captured by the psalmist in Psalms 15 and 24. He asked the question: who can ascend the holy hill? The immediate context was worship in God’s presence but it rings the note: how can unholy man enter into a holy God’s presence and live and enjoy fellowship (15:1; 24:3)?
Israel experienced God’s holiness and dwelling in His presence as a purified and consecrated people through the sacrificial system. When you read the Pentateuch, especially the book of Leviticus, you can’t fail to miss the constant refrain: be holy as I am (11:44-45; 19:2; 20:7, 26; 21:8, 15; 22:9, 16, 32). The sacrificial system was put in place so that the Israelites could enter God’s presence symbolically and enjoy fellowship with Him. Proper separation, distinguishing clean and unclean, was God’s way to enter into His presence and glory. For the Israelites it was a matter of life and death (Lev. 9:6, 22-24; 10:1-3; 16:1ff). The book of Hebrews shows us that the Old Testament sacrificial system pointed to Christ, the true Passover Lamb (Heb. 6:13-20; 10:19-22; John 1:29, 36; 1 Cor. 5:7; 1 Peter 1:18-19).
Another message of the book of Leviticus is atonement. In the ritual, sacrificial system, the principle of separation and distinction was manifested with the daily choice of a male animal without defect. Gender mattered. Entering into a holy God’s presence, which was signified as a consuming fire, could be deadly unless it was done God’s way, at God’s time, and in God’s house. Ask Nadab and Abihu (Lev. 10:1-3). Several passages later God tells Aaron, the high priest, that he (and the people) must distinguish clean from unclean (Lev.10:10-11). The clean/unclean system (found in Leviticus 11-15, 17-27) was a means of alerting the Israelites, singularly and corporately, to the fact that all day, every day, in whatever they thought and did, they must consciously choose God and His way. Separation and distinction was a daily, constant refrain of the Israelite. In the New Testament, Matthew 25:31-46 affirms the divine right and privilege of separation and distinction: at the last judgment God will separate the sheep and the goats.
When the creature assumes the position of Creator, he advocates gender neutrality and non-biblical One-ism. As a consequence, he separates himself from God which is a deadly activity because the creature dishonors God. Such it is today. There is nothing new under the sun. Our culture has returned to chaos: darkness and deadness. Culture today has returned to the pre-creation, anti-creational state of chaos described in Genesis 1:1-2 and typified by Pharaoh’s anti-life measures against Israel.
God’s eternal design is to use sinful man and his activity to rectify the situation. Throughout the ages, arrogant and ignorant man attempts to blur all distinctions (Cultural One-ism). In contrast, God separates for order, for structure, and for purpose (Two-ism) – fellowship and intimacy with Him. As the priests in Leviticus were commanded, all believers must learn the science of division as a matter of life and death. The priests were to distinguish between sacred and common, clean and unclean, and Creator-creature. If you attempt to destroy division eventually you will fail. God won’t allow His world to remain in pre-creation darkness and death. Ask Pharaoh.
- Where are you on the issue of separation-distinction?
- Are you a One-ist so that the god you know is in everything and has nothing to say about your thoughts, desires, and actions?
- If are a Two-ist, what is your science of division? Are you wise and in the light – God’s light and truth – as you apply Prov. 3:5-8; 5:21-22, and 26:11 regularly? It is a matter of life and death.
Part IV: The Science of Division and Separation: One-ism or Two-ism, Unity or Diversity, Trans-whatever
This question about existence/being is age-old, inherently complex, and the philosopher’s delight. It is easy, a no-brainer, to conclude that man exists. I am because I am. My senses and my reason give me facts. I must interpret them. A logical question follows. The fact that man can ask questions, get data, and interpret data is proof of existence/being and a rational reality. Another question surfaces: what reality? The fact that man exists does not answer the question of his origin (where did man come from?) or a corollary question: what is man? These are simple questions but have invoked a plethora of thought, consternation, and answers through the ages.
Human beings can only answer the question if man is a rational, faith-based, question-asking, and answering being. And he is! Every answer that man gives is to some degree based on an informed faith. The combination of faith and rationality brings to the forefront trust and belief in something or someone.
Enter the concept of One-ism and Two-ism which moves us into the realm of the Creator-creature. Is the Creator and the creature the same and how would you know? All people agree that there is reality, truth, and faith. Even that agreement confirms the existence of a rational, faith-based being. One-ism and Two-ism are terms that describe a faith-based interpretation of reality as a person thinks he knows it; the interpretation is based on truth from some source, within or without. The truth may be his and or as defined by someone else. Faith has a subject, an object, a standard, and content. Faith is based on truth by whatever standard a person declares.
One-ism is based on “natural” faith and focuses on nature – the natural, physical, and material. Man’s origin and the origin of matter can be summarized by the illogical belief that nothing plus time plus chance equals order and complexity (a phrase coined by RC Sproul). A seemingly, self-described, self-professed logical person concludes that the supernatural is non-existent especially in terms of origin and being. God has no place in the person’s existence. All is considered one such that distinctions are non-existent. Causeless effect is the key to reality, man, and the material universe. Chance, a powerless abstraction, has been raised to the status of a thing and a force that has power in its self.
One-ism teaches that nature is the origin of all things and divine; that human beings are part of nature and therefore divine; that all people are pure and innocent; that there are no distinctions within mankind; and therefore the creature is exalted and worshipped. Thus there is no Creator especially a divine One. I call this creature equality. There is no maleness or femaleness. This is called gender equality. Truth is considered subjective, relative, amoral, and personal. I call this pseudo-truth equality. Feelings rule. People with this mindset follow Adam’s example in the Garden. Attempting to push God aside, they do their own thing. Choice becomes for me, by me, and to me. Selfishness reigns. You would think that since distinctions are not allowed and non-existent, there would be no graded selfishness and there would be peace and harmony – one for all. On the contrary, when the cultural one-ist’s virtual reality is invaded by someone who is more selfish, there is hell to pay. The old adage, “don’t rain on my parade,” describes the hypocrisy of one-ist and cultural one-ism.
Biblical Two-ism is biblically defined. It too is faith based. It is Holy Spirit directed and energized. Scripture is its standard and its source of truth. Scripture declares that God is; that He is Creator and Controller; and that mankind (without distinction!) suppresses the truth of God and consequently themselves (Rom. 1:18-20). Truth suppression implies truth, a Truth-teller and Revealer, and a suppresser. The Bible leaves no doubt regarding distinction. The Creator-creature distinction is the greatest, the most magnificent, the most wonderful, and the most profitable distinction that mankind (without distinction!) can have. It is a gift.
- God’s essence is one of unity and diversity rightly understood. He is the Triune, three-in-one God. What significance does that fact have for you and the culture you live in?
- God’s unity is unity of being/essence. He is one. Examples of that unity are given in Scripture and include the Church (Eph. 2:11-15), believers (Gal.3:27-29), and marriage (Gen. 1:26-28; 2:24). What significance does God’s unity have for you?
- God’s diversity is one of function. Within the Godhead, there is order and function so that the one God is the Creator, Controller, and Redeemer. Each member of the Godhead has different functions which are summarized by: saved from God, by God, for God, and to God. How do you respond?