Do Our Ideas Change Reality?
Author: Pastor Robin Fish
Eastern mysticism begins with the idea that how you think about reality fundamentally alters that reality. There is at least a grain of truth to the idea. We say something like it when we say, “One man’s meat is another man’s poison”. The eastern philosophy of controlling reality by how we think about it gave rise to the martial arts disciplines such as Karate and Kung Fu. The question this study will seek to answer is: Does how we think about reality change reality, or does it simply change what we are willing or able to do within the same reality? In other words, do our ideas change reality – or us?
Right from the start, we need to acknowledge that man’s ideas have had an impact on reality. This isn’t a reference to science or technology, although both of these have changed the things we were able and willing to do with reality, and have made some cosmetic changes in reality. This refers to a fundamental change in reality brought about because of man’s ideas.
1. Read Genesis 1:31. How is all that God created described? How good is “very good” in the eyes of God?
Now turn to Genesis 3:17. What does this say about the reality about man?
What else did man’s sin result in (v. 19)? These are fundamental changes in the nature of things.
Turn quickly to Romans 8:19-23. What happened to all of creation because of man?
2. Did man’s ideas really accomplish the change in reality? No. But the changes were on account of the ideas (and actions) of man. God, who made all things, was the one who instituted the changes in things for the sake of man, and on account of him.
The only thing man was able to change all by himself was himself. He went from being a perfect being to being imperfect. He went from being immortal to being quite mortal. He went from being God-pleasing to being under the wrath of God. He went from being good to being evil.
3. How a man thinks can make some very fundamental changes in himself. Turn to Psalm 14:1. What kind of changes can a man make in himself by his ideas?
Read also Romans 1:19-22. What can the ideas of man do to him?
The power of a man’s thoughts to change him is far-reaching, as Scripture witnesses. Look at Proverbs 23:7. How much do the ideas of a man affect him?
4. The ideas of man can also change his circumstances. Turn back to Romans 1. Beginning with verse 18, read to the end of the chapter. What this section describes is a progression in sin. Man sins and, failing to repent, God punishes him by allowing him to slip into even more humiliating and horrifying sin, so that man might see his woeful condition and repent. And so sin leads to sin.
Man fails to acknowledge God and God punishes him with thanklessness, and that with futile speculations, and that with a darkened heart, and that with foolishness, and that with gross idolatry, and that with lustful immorality, and that with degrading passions of homosexuality, and that with every form of depravity of mind and word and action, and that with a missionary zeal for the things they know are evil and vile. That is the power of the mind of man to alter his circumstances.
And, of course, our sins lead to death. Read Romans 6:23a.
5. But we cannot change reality. If that were possible, the evolutionists would have done so long ago. They would have wiped clean any trace of design, any evidence of a Creator. But the shambles of the various models proposed by scientists to provide a mechanism for naturalistic development of the world and life on it have provided a ringing witness to the truth of Romans 1:20.
The presence of God, His eternal power and divine nature are clearly visible, and plainly understood. The scientists can compute the odds of evolution (the same as the odds of a tornado sweeping through a junk yard and assembling a 747 from the materials therein), and demonstrate by natural law that evolution cannot be possible (the Law of Biogenesis).
They are without excuse. They suppress the truth in unrighteousness. They deliberately lie and seek another explanation because they refuse to honor God as God or give him thanks.
6. No, the world exists with or without our awareness. Turn to Job 38. Read the next few chapters. Notice the details about animals and weather phenomena and celestial mechanics that God asked Job about. We have managed to learn some of those details, but they were there, fully functional without our knowledge or awareness.
What is more, although we have the power to destroy ourselves, and to make ourselves more evil and depraved, nowhere does Scripture describe man as having the power to improve himself or make himself right with God.
Turn back to Romans 3. Notice the condemnation of man in verses 10-18. Verse 19 even says that the whole world is accountable to God, and condemned. So salvation comes by the free gift of God, by grace.
7. Not even the right ideas can help. See James 2:19-20. Unlike Paul, who understands faith to be both the knowledge of the truth AND the trust in the truth of the gospel, James addresses the very Hebrew position that faith is simply knowing the facts and believing that they are true. Simply acknowledging the truth, holding the right ideas, is not even enough. The demons also “believe” in this sense and shudder.
Only the one who created reality can change reality. Salvation is the free gift of God. Ephesians 2:8-10 spells it out. “By grace, through faith. Not of works.” We are His workmanship. He did it.
8. Look at Philippians 1:6. Who began the “good work” of faith and salvation in you?
Look at 1 Corinthians 2:14. What can we do?
Natural man (Romans 3: 10-18) does not receive the things of the Spirit of God because they seem foolish to him. Even worse, the natural man cannot even understand them properly, because that understanding is provided by the same Spirit. But, to quote Paul (1 Corinthians 15:57), thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Copyright © 1986 Bible Science Newsletter. Robin Fish. Creation Moments, Inc. PO Box 839 Foley, MN 56329 800-422-4253 www.creationmoments.com