March 9, 2012
Here is the scene. God calls the angels to him and says, Behold, a miracle that you will never be able to fathom and so never be able to praise me for. Behold, I make Man and Woman, and, listen you angels, this is what I tell them: fear not, but love each other. Crazy, right? They are not going to be made like you who have to praise me for the truth itself. You angels cannot stop praising me, but here is something special, and unexpected, for here I am going to create a world from “fear not, but love each other” and bring about a “Glory, Glory, Glory in the Highest. Bow down before him. Etc.” In other words, I’m going to create a world that will come to love me, and the reason that they will love me, is because they will come to know that I love them, and that I could not imagine anymore an existence where they were not present.*
[* I'm thinking that the angels will not be able to understand what love means, and so of all the creation only humanity is capable of that and so only humanity is capable of loving God, but humanity can only do this once it knows that God loves humanity, à la Wesley.]
So this is sort of synthetic arrangement. A creation fear and hate (where we don’t understand God), a creation subject to that, and a world from that, arising naturally by interaction with human free will, which will figure out that there is a God and that that he loves them individually as precious and meaningful treasures, and by virtue of coming to know that (very, very Wesleyan) they will turn and be unable to bow down like the angels, for they will love God as their Father, as their Daddy, the person they love above all else. Instead they will flock to him and cover him with their love.
And so, I guess, the word to get out is this: God is saying. Look, you want to be free of fear. Ok, then do this: love one another. And two things are promised to happen, namely the world will be happy and you will get happy also. Once that happens you will be able to fathom how much I love you (God speaking).
Accordingly, as I muse about this, the Christian is to believe that he is actually in process of constructing the New Jerusalem on earth, that such a fearless world is a practical and attainable goal, and so where the Christian is obligated to do his best in bringing that about, even if he is not sure of his own capacity to that, i.e., he is to work at it as though it were entirely up to him and possible according to his own effort, and he is to be without fear in the certainty that all things (Muslim example can help here, I think) are in the hands of a loving God who is utterly capable of this task that he has set before himself via them.
So God creates an absolutely free being, as free as God himself. The crown of the masterpiece (someone to love him as he wants to love). An totally free being. And here Kant has already opened the door through the solution of the Third Antinomy. And the result is the chaos of human existence. These are free beings and they are going to prove that by virtue of making there own decisions and not taking external dictation, i.e., the whole idea of autonomy (“every man shall be a king” Les Miz). And so God speaks out and commands love of neighbor and we simply ignore him and go instead by our own self-based nature. And what does the self spirit do when opportunity arises, but opt for the self.
Thinking suddenly about judgement and how God is going to deal with his children who did not do as he told them. The only possible judgement is in terms of their understanding. For example, when I, about 7 o r 8 years old, was “caught” breaking out windows in a junk yard, and explained myself by saying, “but junk is stuff that is worthless and is to be thrown away”, my Daddy did not punish me, but simply informed me that “junk” is a relative term and actually the windows in these wrecks and discards were valuable. So certainly we know in advance (by virtue of this conception) that God will judge us according to our own understanding, and nothing more (Romans 14:4). He speaks and we, due to circumstances, understand it in this way and that. So Don Quixote, most certainly, would be admonished by God and told “those were only windmills and the ‘giant’ was like a face in a cloud, just your enfevered mind” and presumably would be hugged by God for his selfless willingness to risk his own live for the sake of passer-bys, whom Quixote did not even know.
So I wonder how this might tie in with Jesus? As Kant’s “revolutionary” he brings us the message of God clearly so that there is no misunderstanding. “This is what I mean with love one another.” This is Jesus, the authentic representation of the Trinity of Love. So don’t be afraid. Start loving one another just as Jesus is doing and you will find happiness for you and for all who will open themselves up to it.
And so perhaps in the great Garden of the Lord we will be there before God and the angels, all humans together, and while many are bewildered and perhaps even frightened, some are so besides themselves with this identity of God and Jesus, God the Father and the Son, that they are doing cartwheels and composing and performing symphonies. And those who are bewildered will not know what to think and like the Thenardiera couple of Les Miz, will be just looking around if to see if there is any opportunity for the enrichment of Self. So perhaps indeed Self will be there and will be so focused on Self that he will never see the truth, another dimension where the rule is Togetherness, and so maybe where he will be happy in his own selfish way, but in ways when viewed from the perspectives of the band of Jesus at the Party will seem like the love of a puppy dog in receiving scraps from the banquet table.
And so it seems the Christians will be the happiest of all, for when they meet Jesus (of the Trinity) as their elder brother, who refused to let go of them when they needed it most, and so made it happen that they might be able to rejoice in their own afflictions for his sake, they will be delirious, and slapping each other on the back and saying like Tolkien’s Ring fellowship, “we did it together, Frodo did it, but we all did it with him. We did it as a team. The band of Jesus.”
This harkens back to St. Francis and the idea that all enjoy God to the extent of their capacity, e.g., the animal at one level and the human at another and the angel even at another.
I wonder now. The first step toward conversion would be the recognition of the plausibility of the historical man Jesus with respect to his character as revealed in the sacred histories. The reason, according to Kant, is clear: because each one of us ourselves is called upon to be just such a person. And so we have no basis to deny the reality of such a person. Not so much that he rose from the dead, but that he persevered to the death and died a Righteous Person. A Righteous Person had lived and died in the annals of time. At least this should be established and acknowledged as plausible.
Then we can turn to a consideration of what he had to say to the humans, his fellow humans. “Look, you have no reason to be afraid. I promise you there is enough for all. All you have to do is to start loving one another, and that means all others, even your enemies. The result will be a world which is happy and which is fit for children to be raised in. I weep before Jerusalem because such happiness is so close, but due to your fear and your selfishness, you reject that happiness and follow the path of fear and which leads to hell. Here is what I am going to do. I am going to die before your eyes, and I permit this my death (speaking with the absolute authority of the Righteous One) and I am going to rise again from the dead and I am going to do this in order that you might realize how much God does in fact love each of you and only wants to bring you home to him. And in order that you be thoroughly convinced in your heart that this is true and that happiness is yours and all like you is that I am going to rise from the dead.”
“What you don’t know”, he continued (as we dream on), “is that it is a violation of the law of nature for a Righteous Man to die against his will. This will be a surprise, for you have no data available that would suggest such a sudden totally unexpected state of being, like the gradual reduction in the temperature of water to freezing (where ‘something suddenly happens’). I die willingly, in order to show you how much God loves you, that he sends me to die for you in order to show you this love, which cannot be expressed and understood in any other way, and then to give you the additional happiness of knowing that this is not vain, and that you will indeed achieve to moral perfection and with it come to love God as he loves you and find happiness beyond happiness.” This is sort of a Kantian take: Jesus dies as elder brother to show his followers what they must also do to become new creatures, i.e., die to sin (which is also very painful), and (but no longer kantian) then promises them that they will be successful by means of his resurrection.
Suddenly I wonder further: maybe the angel Satan decides to force God’s hand and institutes a Joker effect by telling lies. Satan is forcing God to produce his creation in the face of the lie. Not only are people free, but there is a believable lie, and a good reason to be alert and thinking about Self and to be worried about things.
And so, just continuing for a moment in this vein, Satan lies about the fruit, and the free humans buy into that and end up then going their own way in a world in which there is the Lie floating about. And so Satan introduces the lie and God says, so be it, and proceeds to point out to the angels the direction that things are taking as his creation is unfolded to them. The lie then is this: there is reason to be afraid, and so look out for your self first, for you will be better off that way. The truth is: there is no reason to be afraid, and look out first for each other.
Kant could be good here. God created Adam and Eve as absolutely free beings and they could have chosen differently and the happy world would always have continued. But that they not. They deliberately chose the way of the lie and as a result the journey to this happy end, i.e., the completion of the happiness stage of humanity (the New Jerusalem as the culmination and purpose of the creation), will be all the more painful. It was a chance that God took when creating the humans. It could have gone either way, and it went this way. God’s will will rule, and sadly for God and for us we have to go the way ordained for us by Adam and Eve. And we can’t blame them any more or less than ourselves, for we have also freely chosen to do the wrong at times. So, I guess, the suggestion would be that this disobedience can occur at any and all times and by any. So, perhaps, this means a commitment to the law of love at an early age so that disobedience is no longer a factor. So that it doesn’t occur to us.
So how do you discipline children for their own good, but without instilling any fear such that a lie might be seen as advantageous in avoid some discomfort on some occasion? How do you “civilize” children without at the same time killing spontaneity of thought and expression? I don’t know.