Thursday, June 16, 2016
The law of tangles
We seem to live in a universe—God! I hope it’s only our planet, but I don’t think so—that is full of what some might call booby traps, things that should work a certain way, or at least we’d like them to, but they reliably don’t. I’m sure much of what looks like a conspiracy against us is only our own shallow thinking or incomplete planning—we seem to all come with a built-in propensity to fail.
So I was house cleaning and had to shift my heavy carved Balinese throne off the carpet, so I could vacuum the rug. Sure enough, the electrical cord was going to find itself on the wrong side of the throne, but I outsmarted the little devil, I carefully swung the cord over the heavy chair so it’d be on the right side, where it wouldn’t get caught, or be too short to reach. Then, shifting the throne back into place afterwards, one of its legs bashed into my toes—Ouch! The little devil always gets even, doesn’t he?
What else? In my life, using a toaster often results in disaster. I set the level of darkness I want and trust the mechanism to do what it should. When I am home alone, it works. I do exactly the same thing when I am having company for breakfast, and the toast becomes, as we jokingly say, ‘burnt holocaust for Yahweh.’ Why is it that if something can go wrong, it usually does? I never trip except when I’m being watched.
All of this amounts to nothing more than perpetual annoyance, like the gigantic hotel on wheels that just parked on the street this morning in front of my cliff top home to block my view of the mountains. How long will they park there? I hope they’re not planning to stay. We try our best to keep everything we do in order and take our fair share of shortcuts, and more than half the time, it seems, we fail.
Yet I have met people—and this has even been true of me once or twice—for whom creation itself seems to open a wide path for them to accomplish what they want to do. We call some of them lucky, especially when their general behavior and personality otherwise irk us. When they are those rare people of whom we are in awe for their moral qualities, we call them saints, and wish we were them.
I wonder if this weird fact of nature has some scientific basis. They say that when you get down to those infinitesimal thingummies—string theory stuff—there are no laws as such and everything just chaotically hustles and bustles, producing on a larger scale what appears to us as natural laws. Maybe it’s a statistical thing that mathematicians can figure out. Personally, I don’t buy that one, yet it does sell.
And I don’t exactly buy the animist explanation, that there’s a ‘devil in the details’ of everyday life, you know, imps and demons and poltergeist kinds of things. It seems to me that we live in a universe with a Creator who designed everything to work as it should when we are working as we should, and the problem is, we aren’t, because we won’t. ‘If you don’t obey God, then creation won’t obey you.’
The Bible is full of more than mere hints of this saying being true. Though it may be couched in mythological language, Adam and Eve and the snake and all the rest, there really was a first human couple, there really was a real source of temptation, and there really was a fall—the proof is that we are repeating the pattern every moment of every day. The Book says God put us in charge as His deputy.
We were to be, as it were, God on earth for the rest of the universe. Since the Divine Nature is invisible, He made us to be a visible equivalent of His nature, for the universe to gaze upon, to know, to trust, and to obey. If you read some of the ancient books that never made it into the Bible, like the Book of Adam and Eve—sure they’re ancient myths—you’ll see the principle repeated. Ancient man knew it.
And not so ancient man knew it too, as you will read in the letter of the apostle Paul when he writes that all creation is waiting expectantly for the sons of God to be revealed. The Christian faith is built on this premise, that since the first Adam, that is, we in our current devolved condition, couldn’t step up to the place that God made him for, He had to restart the process by coming Himself as another Adam.
So, in spite of all our many great accomplishments, as we the civilization only seven thousand years old descended from that original Adam and Eve whose conscious life was breathed into our humanoid biological ancestors by the only God there is, yes, in spite of these accomplishments made possible in us by Christ who says, ‘you will do even greater things,’ we still haven’t taken our place, and so these tangles.
These tangles, these stumbles, these getting caught on something where everything should flow smoothly, these little annoyances—not to mention the big ones like wars and revolutions and ecological disasters—these are signs to us, reminders, even wake up calls, to the individual, to you and me, and to human society, that we still aren’t what God created us to be. We disobey God, so creation disobeys us.
What you’re expecting to hear next, maybe, is an altar call: Just accept Jesus, and be saved. But though this is without a doubt the beginning of the good news, the Gospel, it is not the end. We can, and mostly have, stopped short at Christianity as a religion. We haven’t followed Christ, our great High Priest, as He goes beyond the veil, to that real Throne that He shares with His Father and the Holy Spirit.
And which He promises to seat us upon, because that Throne was really made for us in the Beginning, and at the Ending we will be seated upon it, as He foretells to His beloved disciple John in the book we call Revelation, ‘He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches’ (3:21-22).
at 12:39 PM