Friday, May 31, 2013

Ancient Truths Revealed

There are a few books that have radically shifted my view of Ultimate Reality. MYSTERY WITHOUT MAGIC, BEYOND TRAGEDY, SLAYING THE DRAGON and most recently CATCHING THE LIGHT. SLAYING made me realize how important the Combat Motif is in the Bible. The idea that there was this ancient, primordial chaos serpent which God slayed to create the universe, and that this cosmic beast raises it's ugly head from time to time to threaten creation also appealed to me. It makes me think of Lovecraft's Cthulu mythos or Barker's HELLRAISER series. I was obsessed with these when I was younger. They seemed to me to capture something true. I see now that they do justice to the cosmic scope of evil in ways other models just didn't.

From MYSTERY I learned how to conceive of God and indeed all spiritual realities in an intellectually sophisticated way that made sense in the context of science and ALL our experiences. BEYOND TRAGEDY made sense of sin, and helped me see why Jesus Himself is important. Reinhold Niebuhr was generally lacking in Christology. But BEYOND was his most Christological book and it really made sense of Jesus for me. Both MYSTERY and BEYOND speak to the importance of suffering love and the juxtaposition of vulnerable and coercive power.

CATCHING has brought up some theological problems I'm not done wrestling with. It made me realize that the interplay of light and dark forces can itself be creative, and it presented divine models that seemed as good as the ones I'd been using yet were in some ways very different, allow which I've yet to finish struggling with. But it also seeded some positive ideas to help me integrate many other insights. I see creation itself as an act of redemption. The whole Christ story seems to me to be a historical playing out of a cosmic reality. The cancer model of sin seems more apt than ever now. I think these cosmic forces of evil cannot be defeated by conceiving of a force of good with more coercive power. God's power overcomes these forces because His power is radically different. To conceive of greater coercive power is to conceive of a greater Cthulu hidden. To see God as the power of love is to see the true ultimate power in the universe, and one that is truly on our side. Only vulnerable and creative live is worthy of worship.

I'm still working on all this. But I hope you can see where I am going with is. Light gives, darkness only takes. Light reveals truth, darkness always conceals. 1 John is right: "the children of God and the children of the devil are made plain."

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