Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Too strange, too lovely, too good, too magical to believe

My sweet Psal in Constant Tower is an atheist. He's a tolerant atheist, however. (Well, tolerant enough.) He's certainly not as rude as the militant angry hateful atheist I've encountered in life and seen on TV or on the web. Loic, in Wind Follower, was a believer in the Creator but was very unclerical and hated the shaman of his people. In that way he was a prophet. But Psal is an atheist. Or rather, he is a secret believer. Except the secret is a strange one: the owner and keeper of the secret doesn't know his own secret: Psal is an agnostic who believes but who is unaware that he is a believer. Or maybe he fights against believing. What, then, will bring him to see that he might secretly want to have a Creator in the world? He becomes aware that there are things in the world that no kind or amount of science can fix: the evil in men's hearts, the evil in his own heart, the strange evil in the world. But really there's more. He discovers that something can be righted in the world...but that only the spiritual Creator can fix it. There is, one might say, a specific joy the Creator can bring to Psal which will prove the Creator's existence to Psal.

That brings me to this: We Christians find it hard to believe that the God who made heaven and earth, the taste buds (yeah, the tongue can discern about 10,000 different tastes, if I remember rightly...which amazes me because it shows God wants us to love food and not merely feed ourselves) and the eyes (tons of flowers and patterns out there) should care for us?

It's not as if we're Hindus who are caught in a kind of universal indifferent machinery. It's not as if we're Moslem who have a holy far-off God who rules and dispenses and whose will one must submit to. We have a God who is God-with-us who has put a ladder between heaven and earth, who has created for us a mediator who can put one hand on God's shoulder and one on ours, who has provided us with a high priest who is not untouched by compassion for us, who has given us an advocate to walk beside us. So then, why the difficulty in believing?

I'm thinking of St Thomas again. And as usual I'll state that St Thomas' problem with believing wasn't some rationalism...it was melancholy and pessimism. And that is the problem with many in the Christian world. We really aren't rationalistically unbelieving, we're just unable to believe that something good can happen to us....now that Jesus is not here.

But the righteousness that is by faith says: "Do not say in your heart, 'Who will ascend into heaven?'" (that is, to bring Christ down) "or 'Who will descend into the deep?'" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? "The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart," that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: Romans 10:6-8. 

We know if Jesus was here that all would be well, that He would heal us...that the healing He's placed in our spirit would transform our mortal bodies. But this God-with-us business, this Christ-in-us the hope of Glory stuff....that is a problem...because our rational minds want to see Jesus is here with us standing beside us in the flesh. 

Paul said this.
Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me 
And I can say it as well.

Yet, although I have seen an angel with my very own eyes, and seen a demon with my very own eyes... I still find it hard to believe that the world operates in the way God says it operates.

I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? John 3:12

The world doesn't work the way we've been taught. But to jump in -- with all one's heart, faith, mind, soul, will-- into the God machinery and to trust that other way as being the true way of being....wow! Difficult. Dar I believe that God has given his people dominion over disease, sin, demons? Can I be transformed by the renewing of my mind? We will see.

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