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Archive for August 3rd, 2014

Hans_Memling_018

I do not know any Christians who describe themselves as dualists. They all would insist that they do not believe that Good and Evil are equal forces in the cosmos. They insist on the triumph of Good, on the eventual defeat of Evil.

But I would suggest that in fact even most who claim to follow Jesus are actually  practical dualists.

I mean, look at the iconography. The apocalyptic wars of Scripture appear to be nearly even matches. The iconography of the Last Judgement shows nearly even numbers of souls saved or damned, and even worse only a small circle of the elect, sitting smiling above the torment of the masses.

For what it is worth, the Orthodox  icon of the Ladder of Ascent shows far more souls, who appear to be all monks, ascending than falling, but still a large number are lost.

I would suggest that this idea of near symmetry is an illusion born of the human experience.

Also a ‘God’ Who loses half of the souls ‘created in His image’ is an abject failure, both as a Creator and as a Redeemer.

In this sort of practical dualism, the idea good and evil are nearly equivalent powers in the universe is a human illusion, based upon our personal experience as fallen creatures.

And I hasten to add that while we know hardly a thing about the nature of the cosmos in which we find ourselves, to our knowledge we are the only fallen creatures around. The trees and the rocks and the cardinals and the oceans and the snails, electrons, babies and falling rain and tadpoles and galaxies are not conflicted, even if they are bound in some mysterious way to Death. Within the confines of a wounded world, everything is in harmony.

What I mean is that if you take a walk on the beach or in the woods or in a desert, or wherever the touch of humanity is minimal YOU are the only creature that experiences inner conflict,  the only being estranged from itself .Not the oak trees or the cacti or the seashells.

Hence the cartoon staple of the guy with the devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other.

And the icon of the evenly divided Last Judgement.

We ain’t right.

The rest of the very limited known universe appears to be fine, aside from dogs and lab rats and factory chickens and other creatures closely associated with humans, even if the world has little pockets of inexplicable evil. And those appear to be tiny. Nowhere that I know of, aside from where humans have altered the created world in orclike ways, does the tangible world appear to be evenly divided between the Beautiful and the Ugly, or Good and Evil. The cosmos is overwhelmingly beautiful, even if there are these occasional stinking flaws, the dead dog by the side of the road, the poisonous spider, the stinging nettle, the sociopath.

But nowhere does that dissonance approach equity with harmony and beauty.

We are projecting.

The cosmos is beautiful and intricate and amazing and occasionally confounding.

And no, I do not understand why You Know Who did not create a Perfect Universe. I would have, if I was ‘Him’.

By that measure, the Absolute, the Beauty we call ‘God’ has a lot to answer for.

But if you consider the ignorance of the questioners, well, I will take my chances on the assurance of the friends of God that ‘He’ is good and loves sinners.

 

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