Monday, May 25, 2009

OFFSPRING: Not Taking The World Seriously

The actual fallen world, the ongoing cosmos that runs on regular clock-time, is still the subject of God’s concern. It is still in the process of being reconciled and having its sin overcome. To speak of an actual fallen world is to hold up for examination penultimate prodigal history of sin that has not yet come into itself in repentance and faith. It remains a truncated world history that still despairs over its failure to come freely into the presence of God’s mercy, as it can at any time by faith. For this reason, ancient Christian teaching does not speak to the human quandary merely out of humanity’s’ skewed assumptions about itself. We must not concede to the spirit of the times the absolute truth of all its premises, for many of those are false. The ancient faith encounters that conjectured world with real world as God’s gift, valuing the real world more than its conjectured counterpart. (The Rebirth Of Orthodoxy, Thomas C. Oden, 2002)

Contemporary humanity has become apt at differing between reality and a screenplay. Very few people are so taken in by what the watch on a TV screen that they come out of the experience unsure about which experience is the real life. Not so with the natural world and the supernatural world. The real world, by that I mean the fullness of the supernatural and the natural world, requires that we be filled in on the fact that this the play we watch in the natural sphere does not take the whole of reality into account. Humanity often ignores their creator who guides their progress through history, and instead get sucked into the created story is if it is ultimate reality. Oden points us to the fact that we are to take our fallen world and hold up for examination while avoiding humanity’s’ skewed assumptions about itself. This means that we must take care not assume any assumption presented to us by the conjectured world is worthy of acceptance. Instead, we are to face each assumption with God’s real world.

1 comment:

  1. “ ‘Thou didst put all things in subjection under his feet’. For in that he subjected all things unto him, he left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we see not yet all things subjected to him.” Hebrews 2:8 Revised Version
    Hebrews is, to me, the most mystical of New Testament writings. By mystical, I mean this. A mystic is someone who gets some, most, or nearly all their information, knowledge, data, inclination, instincts, judgements from beyond this world. Hebrews refers to this world more times than any other book. Time and again it refers to the church’s, the angel’s, and the Lord Jesus Christ’s relation to it. Hebrews lets me know my place in relation to them and the world they inhabit.
    Father Carlos Miranda in his blog entry quotes Thomas C. Oden from his book, “The Rebirth of Orthodoxy”. Oden speaks of “the spirit of the times”. Father Carlos uses the term contemporary humanity.
    To me, the most venomous words ever uttered by contemporary humanity in the spirit of the times were when a modern theologian stated the following.
    If God is Good, he is not all-powerful.
    If God is all-powerful, then he is not Good.
    These simple statements are deceivingly twisted. They form a kind of mental prison for anyone who considers the worthiness of them. Because they are both lies.
    Because the essence of God is Power. The form that His essence takes, owing to the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ, is Goodness itself. Two facets of this Goodness are Fairness (a more modern idea of righteousness), and Love.
    Yet what are we to do with the troubling verse in Hebrews stated above? It plainly states that God has subjected, or placed beneath in a hierarchy ALL THINGS under the Lord Jesus Christ. But in this world we DO NOT YET SEE the evidence. It is that simple.
    We read in 2 Corinthians that “God was in Christ reconciling the world into himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.” Yet Oden sees the world as being in a “process” of reconciliation.
    Exactly. The world is reconciled unto God. But at the same time we do not see that reconciliation. We see it as an ongoing process. While this world quite obviously needs reconciliation, the mystical truth communicated from the next world tells me it IS reconciled by the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
    In this world I am in the process of salvation, of being “saved”. It is an established and finished fact in the next, thank God. This word for salvation in Greek, soteria, is the root word of our English word, esoteric. Now the root word, soter, is a noun. It is the title of a great lord, king, and yes savior. The gods Zeus, Apollo, Ares were called by this name, Soter.
    Meaning this. Salvation is the name of the process that links me with that other world. The world of our Soter. Our God, Lord, and Savior Jesus Christ.
    An ongoing process of opening my mind, soul, heart and spirit and body to receiving truth grace and peace from the next world. And as Father Carlos states, at the same time NEVER letting the information from what he accurately calls, the “play”, however well informed and well meaning, inform me as to the worlds condition. And my condition.
    As he says in his entry, to do so would be the same thing as mistaking the world portrayed in a screenplay or stage play as the real world.