Saturday, January 28, 2012

Sex, Marriage & Fairytales

I have no, even faint, appreciation for rap, but I thought this would be an interesting change of pace. Way to say, Jefferson.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Good-bye Joe Paterno

Joe Paterno was a great person and a fine mentor to college students throughout his life.

I met him twice walking to class at Penn State. We shared a sidewalk and a few pleasantries for a few minutes. He didn't have a coterie in tow, and didn't mind talking one on one with a doltish college student rushing off to class. I've always thought that was classy of him. JoePa had class.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Evil Is Not Self-Existent

Evil is real but not self-existent. It isn't an eternal verity, it is only a passing thing, here for time, but not for eternity. If it were not so, God could not be God as presented in the Bible. Instead, god would have to be of a dualistic conception, light and dark at once.

Evil can only exist consequently. Consequent of something God did? Well, yes, but not directly. God did not breath evil into existence, did not cogitate it and then induce it. Evil does not arise from the heart of God, though evil has most certainly arisen.

Evil is not a creation of God, but a creation of creations. Evil bursts into existence when a creation created with the capacity to itself freely create, creates against the will of God. That creation can be an attitude, an action, an aim, or whatever, but to be evil it must be at odds with God--that's what makes it evil. God's response to such is corrective and terminal.

Given God's omni characteristics, if evil were allowed to continue, it would be as if he harbored evil within himself. That would be schizophrenic and impossible, for a house divided against itself cannot stand. Because God is everywhere always, evil cannot be. Therefore, God has circumscribed evil within time for a time until he deals with it eternally.

From the perspective outside of time, evil has not even been a hiccup. For us in time it seems as if evil has been around forever (and always will be), but that is only an illusion we experience from our perspective within time. Outside of time, this realm of time is not so much as even a flash. God who is always the same is there "already" at the beginning and end, whereas evil is not.

Evil is not self-existent, not eternal, and not therefore truly something. Although here and now it is real and has far-reaching consequences, in the eternal scheme of things it is as nothing. Evil is consequent (and therefore dependent) upon creatures taking free actions which are in opposition of God. Where there is no will in opposition to God, there is no evil.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Time and What Matters

I've been talking a lot about time lately. It is real, and fleeting, and overall, a bane to human existence. It is what it is, and all the wishing and wanting, hemming and hawing, ruing and grousing won't do a thing to change it. Time marches on even though we can't keep step.

These thoughts cause me to consider the two great realities upon which all the rest of life hangs.

First, God is the only reality. Nothing else exists of itself. Everything else is a wisp, a flash and a curl of smoke in the mind of God. The universe seems grand and imposing, but it's just a puff (really, of nothing). The machinations and manipulations of countless generations of those made in the image of God vainly tempting to tame the worlds are but a vanishing midst.

Second, time relentlessly, only forges forward. No repeats, no going back, no changes or exchanges, every purchase is final. Time doesn't care about one's dreams, one's loves, one's opportunities, and certainly not about one's regrets. Everyday it puts everything in the round can file and presently stretches toward the next dawn.

Simple and elegant, remarkably profound. These truths consume every other concern and issue in life. As to how, and what this means to any of us, that also seems to me simple and straightforward. So I'll let you do the math.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Shock: Maybe We're Owed A Little Something After All

We are owed nothing. We are entitled to nothing. We are in a position to demand nothing. God is under no obligation to do anything for us. If you think otherwise you know nothing.

I have run across the position of those first sentences and the attitude described in the last taken by zealous folk when discussing God. Truth be told, I may have taken it myself at one time or another. At this point in my life, however, I'm not sure it's tenable. Certainly, none of us would argue for such a position being justified among humans in positions of authority; for example, pet owners.

How could such a position be anything other than callous and oppressive for anyone in a powerful position? Claiming it for God casts him in a very Marie Antoinette-like light. I see absolutely no upside in doing so. A holy and just God merits a better defense than to be cast in that tyrannical light!

Does God not have obligations to sentient beings given his decision to create them? After all, they did not wish themselves into existence with their capacity to (even the inevitability that they would) go against God. I think God does have some responsibility, especially since such souls are eternal and risk everlasting fire. God certainly acts like he has some parental obligations. Perhaps we should take our cue from him regarding this and not press Romans 9:16-24 beyond reasonable measure.

Time continues, giving opportunity for humans to be made right. God has stamped a witness into creation and poured out his Spirit profusely. We have been given all things, including Christ, even holiness is ours if we want it. We may turn our backs upon the responsible provision of God and be left to our fate, but thankfully, God is not so callous that he didn't feel the compulsion to provide.