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  • Writer's pictureBishop Dr Peter (UK)


Galatians 6:1 (American Bible)

And if a man is overcome by something sinful, brothers, you — the spirit-filled — must restore such a person in the spirit of gentleness and humility, taking care lest you yourself also be tempted.

Notes on the Scripture

The chapter break between Galatians 5 and 6 is not particularly well-placed, because we want to read the first verse of Ch. 6 as part of the “fruits of the spirit” discourse at the end of Chapter 5. Paul has just described the outpouring of good behavior one might expect, and would certainly desire, when one is indwelled of the Holy Spirit. Yet, he allows that a person might have the Spirit and yet succumb to a temptation of the flesh.

He uses the word “restore,” however, and we might understand that something must be lost or damaged to be restored. But which is it? Does Paul assume that salvation, once gained, can be lost and restored? This is the more traditional view, certainly held by the Catholic Church, and there is plenty of support for the notion throughout the New Testament. On the other hand, there are many statements in the Bible that would seem to support the “Persistence of Salvation” doctrine held by the broad category of “reformed” and evangelical Protestant churches — the belief that “Once Saved, Always Saved”; when a person’s soul is saved by faith, it is a permanent and irreversible salvation, and cannot thereafter be lost.

The “Persistence of Salvation” doctrine (and several other theological concepts) can thus be proven or disproven either way. The Bible appears to contradict itself. And it is no use trying to twist the arguments against whichever position we want to take, so that we can pretend they don’t say what they plainly do say. (This method of trying to change the Bible, so that it says what we want it to say, finds guilty theologians on every point. Both evangelical Protestant and Catholic officials have gone so far as to actually rewrite the Bible, adding material that they think should be there, or deleting words that they don’t think should be there.)

But if the Bible contradicts itself, it is illogical! Does this mean it is untrue? A number of aggressively atheistic scholars — including a majority of prominent professors of religion at major universities — take exactly this position. They “disprove” the divine inspiration of the Bible by showing that it logically contradicts itself at several major points.

But their pride of their own intellect hides the truth. Logic is not truth. Logic is a construct of the human mind. It is often useful, especially on a small scale, but any honest scientist will tell you that science cannot explain even the visible universe. Astrophysicists will tell us that they have not “yet” discovered an integrated theory of time and space, which is a guarded way of telling us “we cannot actually explain anything, ultimately.”

We cannot even see the visible universe. We cannot see to the edge of the universe — where we could see the beginning of time — because it is masked by such powerful energy that it defeats any attempt to see through it. At the opposite end of the spectrum, we cannot see inside the universe: We cannot see into the innumerable “black holes,” for the opposite reason: they (theoretically) suck up any matter or energy that gets close to them.

And for that matter, no scientist can explain the behavior of physical objects that they can see. They tell us that dark matter and dark energy change space and time, but nobody even knows whether or not they exist. Scientists just made them up. Do you know what dark matter is? It is a number that has to be changed to make an equation work. It is a physicist’s way of saying “my equations do not work.” He does not question his innate ability to explain reality; rather, he hypothesizes that there is something in the universe that he cannot see that defeats his calculations. (And on this point, we agree!)

Well, we have run out of space without even addressing the content of today’s Scripture; so we will continue our discussion in the next installment on Galatians.

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