[forthright] Does God Have Alzheimer's?

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Fri, 26 Aug 2011 08:17:22 -0700 (PDT)
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Straight to the Cross

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COLUMN: FIDELITY

Does God Have Alzheimer's?
 by Mike Benson

My friend has been carefully monitoring her grandmother
for some time...

There have been signals. Telltale signs. Inexplicable
actions.

Lately they have been much more pronounced and
observable. This is not simply "old age;" this is
symptomatic of something far worse. Her grandmother
doesn't just forget something, she simply can't
remember.

She can't recall people or how to do the simplest of
tasks. Faces have no context. Loved ones are total
strangers. It's as if her mind is a sort of computer
hard drive that has been irrevocably erased. The data
is all gone. The external components are still intact,
but there are no files to open and review.

Now my friend's family has been forced to make a heart-
wrenching decision to put grandmother into a nursing
home. Grandma will never return to her old homestead.
Her home with its treasures and precious memories will
be emptied and divided among her loved ones.
Alzheimer's has claimed yet another unsuspecting
victim.

What would it be like to not be able to remember? What
would it be like to forget? What would it be like to
lose the ability to function normally because your
memories are being incrementally erased from your mind?
Imagine her dreadful plight.

She can see, hear, and move, but she can't remember.
Names mean nothing to her. Every face is an unknown.
She is an infant in an old woman's body, at best.  I
shudder to think about it. I am sad for my friend and
her family.

But it occurs to me that God also has a similar
affliction-figuratively speaking. He can't remember
like he used to. Perhaps it might be more appropriate
to say that "He doesn't recall as he used to..." No,
that's not a misprint.

The "Ancient of Days" doesn't recall things as he once
did. You might say it's a divine form of Alzheimer's.
Don't believe me? Read the following passage and pay
special attention to verse 34:

You may be thinking, "But Mike, how can this be? God is
incapable of not remembering."

In order for us to address this apparent dilemma, let's
notice a few Scriptural points:

1. God's is all-knowing (1 Samuel 2.3; Psalm 139.1-6;
147.4-5; 40.5; Matthew 10.29-30; Romans 1.19-20.)

2. For God to not know or remember something would
mean that he is not omniscient.

3. God remembers sin in the sense that he knows
everything, past, present, and future.

4. Under the Law of Moses, sins were remembered each
year on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16; 23.26-32).
"But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins
every year" (Hebrews 10.3). This annual remembrance
was necessary in order that God's people (a) would be
made conscious (Hebrews 10.2) of the enormity of their
transgressions as well as (b) what was required in
order to atone for them. Sin is a type of debt (Romans
6.23). So when the high priest offered the blood of
innocent animals on behalf of the nation, the people
were forced to see and remember the consequences–both
physically and spiritually–of what they had done.

Think of it this way. Think of paying off your car
loan.  Each month the bank remembers that you have a
car payment-and every month it mails you a reminder.
You pay on the debt for several months in a row until
eventually you pay off the car and the entire debt
is–to borrow from Jeremiah–"remembered no more."

Now once the loan is paid off, does the bank forget
that you bought the car, or that you had a bill to pay?
We would agree and say, "Of course not." The bank still
keeps a record of your debt, but it acknowledges that
the debt has been cancelled and, therefore, no longer
held against your account.

Well, God has a record of our sin–because God can't
forget anything, but now under the new and better
covenant (Hebrews 8.6ff), there is no need for
perennial, repetitive sacrifices (i.e., bank
reminders).

By virtue of the "once and for all" (Hebrews 10.5-18)
payment/sacrifice of Christ (Hebrews 9.13-15), God no
longer remembers our sins (Isaiah 43.25) or charges
them against our account. He treats us as if we had
never sinned; he, in essence, forgets (Jeremiah 31.34b;
cf. Micah 7.18-20.)

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