Philippians 3:10, Eureka! Likeness IS NOT Sameness!!

My wife and I home-school and we have learned that a good home-school program is not for the faint of heart.  Imagine taking a job as a kindergarten teacher and being promoted to a new grade level each year through twelfth grade!  You would have to learn as much or more than the kids each year just to keep your head above the water.  So most any home-schooler can tell you about both the hard work and the rewards provided the attitude is properly aligned.

One of my pieces of the pie is to handle the higher level math corrections. Currently our oldest teens are wrestling through geometry and everyone's favorite, geometry proofs.  Call me sick, but I do love geometry proofs!  However, it must not be genetic, because my kids do not.  Anyway, Jeff, get to the point.  I was recently reminded from geometry that SIMILARITY IS NOT THE SAME AS CONGRUENCE!  For example if two shapes share identical angles and dimensions in every respect, then they are congruent.  However, if two shapes share identical angles, but only the similar proportion of dimensions, then they are only similar.  For example the earth is a round ball, similar to the sun which is also a round ball, but they are far from congruent.  This seems plain to all. So lets leap to the spiritual.

Christians speak of being Christ-like as a goal in life.  This is typical speech among Christians and generally accepted as the sign of a mature Christian.  However, we should point out that our catchy phrases may often gloss over the difficult heart of what this may mean.  Do we really want the discernment to see sin in other disciples and gently but firmly rebuke it?  Christ did that.  Do we really want to expose the hornets nest of the hypocritical religious?  Christ did that AND with love.  Do we really want to lose sleep and pray all night because other believers are suffering?  Christ did that.  Do we really want to refuse the defense of armies of angels and instead suffer and die?  Christ did that also.  And do we really want to ask God to forgive our tormentors before they even ask?  Christ forgave us all before we asked.  Honestly we may not actually want to be like Christ, but our gracious God finds pleasure putting himself inside sinful man and stretching us to his likeness.  So growing in Christ-likeness is a Biblical idea though a painful stretch. Consider a few Scriptures...

1 John 4:17 (NIV), "In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him."  So Christians are like him now.

Philippians 3:10 (NIV), "I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death."  We also need to strive to be like him.

1 John 3:2 (NIV), "Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is."  Though we are not perfectly like him now, but we will be one day in glory.

But what if someone said instead of wanting to be Christ-like that they wanted to be Christ?  That is instead of being similar to Christ, they wanted to be congruent to Christ.  They were not content sharing similar angles but also wanted to share the same dimensions.  This would be silly, wrong, offensive, it would be anything but accepted.  It is one thing to take us, a little lumps of clay, and shape us into something similar to Christ, but quite another and attempt to shape it into Christ himself.  No amount of clay can make God!  Again this seems plain to all.  So finally lets leap to the image of Christ in man, the mystery of marital union.

As explained in other articles I have noted that Genesis 1:27 says male and female is a reflection of his image within mankind and also Ephesians 5:25-33 says that marriage itself is also a living metaphor with the husband representing Christ, though quite imperfectly, and a wife representing the glorious church. So what points remain to be made?  Satan's schemes and our ignorance are a recipe to destroy the beauty of God's design in male, female, and marriage.

Simply stated two objects can be very similar but if they are not the same then they are not congruent.  Likeness is not sameness!  A man might possibly be Christ-like due to God's grace, but he is still not Christ.  And a wo-man might also be like a man in more dimensions than can be discussed in this article.  And that is all by God's design.  Yet it is the not so subtle and also the very subtle differences that add the WHOA into woman that made God's gift of Eve to Adam so special.  It is the similarity combined with the differences that light the fires of romance and attraction.  Perhaps this is also plain to most yet only rediscovered theory to me.  So what's the point?

I am reminded that Satan's schemes, in combination with our ignorance and rebellion, can be a powerful brew.  Satan has used both the differences and the similarities between men and women to fuel destruction, but God intended the differences and similarities to fuel romance.  Since I am reminded of this recently, I remind you and myself to not be to hasty and miss the way in our judgments.  The power of God's grace is able to make a sinful lump of Clay more Christ-like than we might imagine, but the Christian is still not Christ.  Likewise, the creative imagination of God has made male and female both more similar and more different than we might imagine.  But Satan has used confusion and fear over this fact to instigate divorce, estrangement, flight, mutilations, murder, homosexuality, transgenderism and a host of brokenness to the beauty God created.  So I say again LIKENESS IS NOT SAMENESS, whether it be a small shape and large shape, a Christian and Christ, or female and male sexuality.  Do you think me silly to say don't be fooled?  Well don't be!  Seek the Lord and godly counsel...

Perhaps God has allowed me to write such an admonition to you because someone with little knowledge, such as myself, could not say too much and give an open door to the enemy nor ruin the mystery of romance.  Though I pray that knowledge of God's beautiful designs would grow for both of us beyond mere theory and my lame words.


I home-schooled our John in

I home-schooled our John in 8th grade, including Geometry. What fun! We studied Proverbs together as our Bible course. A rich time, that year. Emily taught History and English. We were in a home-school co-op where Emily taught Spanish and another mom taught Chemistry. Divide and conquer, I say.

Speaking about applying Geometry to faith, did you ever notice that two triangles can be congruent even though they can't be slid onto one another. You may have to pick one up and flip it in 3D space to move it to coincide with another. Likewise, two tetrahedra in 3D space can be congruent, but to get one into the other in 3D, you'd have to do with it what you do with a right-handed glove to make it a left-handed glove, namely turn it inside out. One could instead lift it into 4D, flip it, and then put it back in 3D. But, you say, there is no fourth spatial dimension! There is. It's just not visible. Read E. A. Abbott's great 19th century book Flatland.

When Billy Graham had a pavilion at the 1964 World's Fair in NYC, he called it "The Fifth Dimension." He was thinking of time as the fourth dimension. He was suggesting that not all that's real is able to be perceived by our five senses.

And so it is with our faith, the "evidence of things not seen as yet," to quote Hebrews.

Love to all,


Well said! I guess

Well said! I guess everything has a connection back to God because God authored it all, from salvation to romance and even to geometry!