Then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being (Genesis 2:7). When [Jesus] had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22 NRSV).
God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, are three different Persons of the one Godhead - Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier of humanity, from the best-selling book in history, “The Holy Bible”.
Lightning McQueen: “This organic fuel is great! Why haven't I heard about it?”
Fillmore: “It's a conspiracy, man! The oil companies have got a grip on the Government! They're feeding us a bunch of lies, man!”
McQueen: “Okay, I'll take a case!”
Lightning McQueen (a flashy, red racing car) and Fillmore (a hippy, green VW Kombi van), are characters from the hit children’s movie, “Cars”.
Both scenes give rise to the notion of conspiracy. And there’s no shortage of conspiracy theories surrounding our current situation. I won’t elaborate on them; what I want to do is examine the concept of conspiracy from a biblical perspective. First, a definition.
The word “conspire” is from the Latin, conspirare, literally “to breathe together” – com “with, together” (see con-) + spirare “to breathe” (see spirit). This conveys the neutral or good sense of “to contribute jointly to a certain result”. The most profound example of this use of the word is demonstrated in the Holy Bible where God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit conspire or work together to breathe life into existence. Sadly, we rarely, if ever, consider the word in its proper or glorious use.
The bad sense or sinister meaning we usually attach to conspire is “aspire or plan maliciously, agree together to commit a criminal or reprehensible act”. This carries the baggage of plotting together, agreeing by spoken oath to commit a bad act, engenders fear and mistrust, and co-opts evil for selfish or maniacal gain, power, and control.
Whilst I am not ignorant of human beings in cahoots with sin to collaborate, manipulate, and orchestrate all manner of mischief, I am also fully aware of the folly of it all:
“The words of the Teacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. Vanity of vanities, says the Teacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What do people gain from all the toil at which they toil under the sun? A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises and the sun goes down, and hurries to the place where it rises. The wind blows to the south, and goes around to the north; round and round goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns. All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they continue to flow. All things are wearisome;
more than one can express; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, or the ear filled with hearing. What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun. Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”? It has already been, in the ages before us. The people of long ago are not remembered, nor will there be any remembrance of people yet to come by those who come after them” (Ecclesiastes 1).
Put simply, God blows raspberries at humanities’ feeble attempts to determine the course of history. But for his children who are concerned or worried about evil, the Lord provides out of his mercy and love: The Whole Armour of God.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:10-18).
This is not an “if we”, “then God will”, situation. These are the gifts and promises bestowed on all Christians that they may be assured of God’s protection and peace. Jesus promises, “What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand” (John 10:29).
Monday May 4th 2020.