Sunday, January 27, 2013

If We Are Wrong, Does It Matter?

Christianity is made up of claims about the ultimate nature of reality, and about the nature of humanity. In some forms, however, the religion would work just as well whether or not it is true. If God stopped existing, would you notice? Or do merely depend on the belief that there is a good and loving God, and not on the good and loving God himself? Do you live the way you live because it is what your logical construction of belief says it makes sense to do, or because the Spirit of God empowers you to?

A God who would work just as well for you if he did not exist, so long as you thought he did, is basically a deistic god. The deist god is safe and comfortable, but it is also useless and impersonal. Does God love you simply as the result of a syllogism? All Christians are loved by God, I am a Christian, therefore I am loved by God. Fine, but do you believe it? Yes, God loves all his creation, but he loves each part in particular by itself.

This is one of the things that I have seen in worldbuilding: when I create something, even if I don't like how it turned out, there is a sort of love which I have for it. Even if I scrap it, there is a sort of love which I feel for what I make. God is the creator of the world. That does not mean he is far off. It does not mean that he is so much greater than us that we are unimportant. The fact that he made us is enough to know that he loves us each individually as who we are. He is the potter, we are the clay. He has his hands in us, whether to save us or no, but for his glory. If we are cogs in a machine, we are cogs in a very special machine, and God loves each cog, for he fashioned us each. If God is playing chess with the universe, he loves each piece and hates to lose any. These are true metaphors, but the way they come out when we see the love of a creator is such that they are somewhat misleading. We are cogs in a machine. We are cogs, in a machine, and God loves us each personally. The machine was not made on an assembly line, but by the hand of God. The machine is not as it ought to be, rather, God made it perfectly, in his love, and it was corrupted, and now, that God might receive glory, he is making all things right.

When there is some mechanical thingamabob that has broken, and I am trying to fix it, I have to go down to the level of the thingamabob. I have to love it, in a way. And it does not make me any less of a human to reach down into the brokenness of a thing to fix it. We are all broken, and God is a great repairman. He does not repair us mechanically, merely following directions. He knows us better than that. He repairs us lovingly, perfectly. He reaches down into the messiness of our lives, and loves us, and takes our brokenness and makes it to his glory.

Then is it brokenness? It is a beautiful brokenness unto the glory of God, and therefore I love that I am broken that it might result to the glory of God, for that is where I find my joy. So I rejoice in all things, for in all things God receives the glory. If I have reason to be glad, then it is God who grants it. If I have reason to mourn, then it is God who sustains me through it. So whether I laugh or weep, I have joy that it is all to the glory of God. Praise God that I am broken, for in my brokenness, I am fixed. For I was made to glorify God, and in my brokenness I do that, and so do what I was made to do.

And if God is not? Well, that is absurd. For who is it who has given me words to say which I could not have thought of on my own? Who has opened my eyes to see what I could not otherwise have seen? I depend on him every day to make me able to do his will. If he is not the one who made me, and all creation with me, then how is it that I love anyone else? If he were not, then I would not have the power to love, nor the wisdom to see and speak the truth in love, nor the care to live, nor the courage to weep, nor the safety to laugh. And I would be nothing--a stone cold heart arguing against all that is, a crafty and evil man.

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