We’ve discussed before the 5 “givens” of understanding ourselves and the world around us. These categories we don’t have to prove because, regardless of how we’re wired, we already know (or are convinced we know) them. They are:


   1.  I exist  (corollary: I can “move around.”)

   2.  I can perceive  (not just “see,” but use all my senses)

   3.  I can feel  (I have real, important emotions.)

   4.  I can think  (My brain can reason.)

   5.  I can choose¹   (I can, and must, continually say YES and NO.)


   While a tenured philosopher may roll his eyes and agonize over whether he and the world around him is “real” or “illusory,” the man on the street (in his car of course) on his way to the grocery, scratches his head, discovers a suitable parking place, wonders about how long this will take out of his only day off, ponders just how he will locate the illusive Brown Cow ice cream bars, and decides how he will attack the list his wife has given him.


   Though we’ve addressed all 5, we’ll say more about #5. But for that you’ll have to use the DOOR.




   So much can be said about choosing and all the factors that affect that. One can ponder “volumes” about what affects, or determines what I’m doing right now, or will do in the next hour, I would challenge anyone to tell me what exit door (here at Panera) I will use, and why, or who I will speak to and what I will say, or who I will avoid or not notice on the way out. And an analysis of my brain waves is no way helpful–with our limits of human understanding–to intelligently predict this.

   Now let’s look at just choosing.

   And get Biblical.

   God desires people created in his image to make good choices: To follow “Him” and not “the world.” How do we go about this. Well, the easy response to this is “Read the Bible and pray.” After all, Jesus on Earth was told to be praying often². But to expand this with details gets complicated.

   Let’s consider the tricky connection between temptation and sin–and look at how Jesus faced this. There are two givens in the account of Jesus being tempted by Satan before His (Jesus’) ministry: (1) Jesus was severely tempted. God the Father did not prevent His Son from encountering this. (2) Jesus didn’t sin.

   Now let’s look at some particulars here–in terms we used at the beginning. Jesus was keenly aware that He really existed in a real world that He and God the Father created. But add to this, coming to Earth as a human baby, growing as a small child into a young adult, He with obviously the Father’s agreement, willingly set aside some of His Divine attributes: omnipresence, omniscience (about some things but not everything), omnipotence (in some respects, He got tired, needed food, sleep, etc.). Jesus had an intimate, inside, knowledge of what it was like to be a “natural” human.

   Jesus perceiving, feeling, thinking, had to say YES and NO every day about many things³. Examine what we know about His temptation by Satan:  He was very hungry after 40 days of fasting. (And after the temptation was over, angels rushed in to minister to Him.) He allowed Satan to physically take Him to a great height to see the wonders of creation and human society. He reminded Him that He (Jesus) could miraculously save Himself by calling angels to rescue Him if He jumped off a high place. He reminded Him that He (Jesus) had the ability (if He chose to claim it) to change stones into delicious bread. Further, He (Jesus) could end this tortuous adventure by a small compromising act: acknowledging the inventive, persistent, personally self-achieving power and purposeful action of one of God’s special creations (Satan, himself). After all, shouldn’t a person work hard to self-achieve and become independent, and not be always drawing upon someone else’s resources?

   But Jesus said No. He referred to what the Bible said. Even though He had some knowledge of the horrors that lay ahead for Him. There was a proper, right, way to go about living. And for Him that was the only way to go.

          “Begone, Satan. No.”

   Such a confusing choice–even the scenario–to the naturalist investigators of today.


   ¹ Choice is the most debatable “given,” of the 5, today.

   ² Jesus the God-Son praying to God-the Father, while Jesus was on Earth, is one of the more puzzling behaviors for believers to ponder. Yet, that should be no more disturbing than the wonder about the Big Bang beginning of the universe.

   ³ Jesus had to make many daily choices as do any other humans: where to live after leaving His home and working in His earthly father’s carpenter shop; what to eat and wear; how to obey His parents; how to get along with siblings and friends; how to choose disciples and how to teach them; how to be careful around women; how to begin His ministry; how to effectively teach; how to go about preparing His followers after the end of His ministry; etc. No wonder that with certain obvious human limitations, He had to regularly pray!

      Happy Anniversary, Karen♥!  The 47 years, and time before that in Israel have been very special.