Passion and Atonement -- The Good News

[Note: The contents page for this series can be found here. The previous entry, Chapter 54, can be found here.]

[This entry constitutes Chapter 55.]

I have no clear idea of how this Child would think, as He grows into manhood. God will have poured Himself out, continuing to enact His own specific part in the story of humanity. We might say the finger of God will be gently touching the earth; a mere hum of His voice; a finite trickle out of the river of His eternity.

I can only use metaphors, and I am well aware of the problems involved in imagining this accurately--which, I am also well aware, is likely to prove a stumbling block for an honest sceptic.

But I appeal to the reasonableness of what I have said before. I am quite sure God exists, and has particular characteristics including a particular personal character. I am quite sure of my own sin and corrupted character. And I am reasonably sure of how this all fits together.

Consequently, I am quite sure that sooner or later, God will do this: even if only for me (if I was the only one who needed it.)

And I am quite sure of what at least some of His intentions will be, in coming.

There is no good reason to call attention to Himself before He reaches a certain age--what that age would be, I can only guess. An age of responsibility, within the culture He chooses, I think; He will have some things to say to them, and He needs to be of an age where they will be prepared to listen. Fancy miracles alone won't be enough to guarantee acceptance; they will only be enough to guarantee a crowd hungry for something interesting to see.

And He has some things to tell them; some things which will be good news, but which will be a very peculiar good news, which many or all of His listeners are going to have problems with--not merely in understanding, but as personal problems.

Not merely as personal problems, but as perceiving a threat.

Not merely as perceiving a threat, but perceiving a threat to their own self-importance.

There will be a wide spectrum of response to what He says; and if He does do anything flashy, there is likely to be fear as well as amazement.

Better, in other words, if He has reached, say, late teens at the earliest, depending on circumstances. He might need to be older, in order to make best use of the historical situation, of course.

He ought, at least, to be old enough to run for His life, if necessary.

Why not just blast them with power, if He is ever in danger?!--or is ever in danger too soon?

Because that wouldn't be the point: He won't be here to show off how much of a muchness He is, but to show how much He loves us... even in putting up with our eccentric moods.

It may be that He knows Who He is the whole time; or it may be that as He grows, the synthetic shape of His own Incarnate natural/supernatural relationship (similar yet different from our own) will also grow, allowing better communication with the Father as He becomes older; or it may be that He will have no special power and specific knowledge before a certain time. I do not know.

He probably will want to have a tradeskill, to sweat for His food the way the rest of humanity mostly does. I doubt He would be a mere accountant or writer like me!--He would be a builder or creator or grower of some sort. Although He will also be a scholar, in His own 'amateur' way, I think, just as any of us can be. It would only be fair if He also had to work for His knowledge, like us, as well as for His food and His place to rest--wouldn't it?

But sooner or later the time would come to travel, to start letting people know Who He is, and (more importantly) to start helping people know better the Father that He, and we, have.

I doubt He would choose special modes of travel, except perhaps for symbolic reasons--always temporary. Maybe once or twice in an emergency, or to make a point, He might travel in a way that was... odd. Otherwise, I suspect He would do what everyone else is doing. If everyone has a buggy, a buggy it would be. If a bicycle, a bicycle. If most everyone is walking from place to place, I expect that He will walk, too--especially in order to be with these people whom He loves. (This might even itself be a reason for Him to come at a time and place where walking is the norm!)

What would be His core message?

The simplest way I can imagine to state it, would be:

"God is a better Person than you think He is!"

But I can go a little further than that, I think.

After all, the reason for this Incarnation is to communicate with us better, from our side of the synthetic breach--a breach that happened due to rebellion.

We are in a mess.

It is a falsity to say that people never knew we were in a mess, until such-n-such a time. Go back to the earliest documents, the earliest stories, all across the Earth, and you will find hints of a Golden Age when we weren't in a mess; which implies, by consequence, that we are in a mess now.

You will find some people believing the heavens are perfect, and the Earth is a sump; that we must somehow rise to the heavens, and be part of them--even if only by drinking beer brewed the way the beer goddess brews it for the heavenly clans!

But even where people worship the Earth as divine; even if you find an early culture where 'anything goes', and life is a party, and sex is free for the asking or the taking, and fighting is almost as good and maybe better than sex--you still, I guarantee it, will find people occasionally claiming that somehow they, at least, have been wronged.

Which implies, by consequence, that people at least understand the concept, and accept the reality, of people wronging other people.

Honor is a noble thing--when backed by charity. Honor without charity, is merely pride in superior behavior. The ancients did, and many people today still do, put a great value on honor; yet unless we read carefully, we are likely to mistake some of the reasons why they (as individuals or as groups) put such value on 'honor'.

At any rate, we may expect the Son to come to His people, pagan and otherwise, at a time when pagan-and-otherwise both have a clearer idea than usual, that somehow we humans have messed up, and need help relating to God--or at least, help relating better to something better than themselves.

Maybe the temple sacrifices just don't seem to be working anymore (did God ever say He wanted a Temple?); maybe the orgies aren't fun anymore, or maybe the orgies are showing themselves to be as empty of meaning as being on drugs; maybe the philosophy just doesn't seem to be answering enough (or anything?) anymore; maybe the secret mysteries, for the elite, are too mysterious, to the extent that a suspicion is growing... that what they hide, is nothing.

Maybe the people who were supposed to be the heroes, now are showing themselves to be villains. Maybe power is corrupting more evidently than usual; maybe the best of humanity is crushing itself, imploding under its own weight of being the best.

Whatever the details (and those details are speculations of mine), He will come to a time and place that is ready to hear:

"Yes, things are messed up. But there is hope. Yes, you are personally responsible for some of what is messed up. But God loves you anyway. You are people, persons, not puppets of fate, not animals yapping in the street.

"God," He will tell them, "is your Father; and He loves you even more than a human father does--even though you are rebels against Him.

"God," He also will tell them, "loves sinners; and He is committed, by His love and His justice, to working with them, to the remittance, the sending away, of their sin. Their sin, all sin, will have to go, sooner or later: everyone will be salted by the eonian fire, and you are going to be burned if you insist on clinging to what you know is wrong.

"And, if you insist on being lazy and uncharitable, if you insist on taking no responsibility for your behaviors--especially if you claim to be the servants of God, and misrepresent Him in that way--it will go hard on you.

"Yet all those who thirst for righteousness will be filled, and their hearts made pure. All who are pure to the bottom of their hearts, will see the face of God. And all those who sorrow shall be comforted!

"If you will start, if you will seriously commit yourself to changing your mind, to 'repenting'; then you will find God to be helping you already.

"He is ready to forgive you, and to help you, and to help you help other people. He is already acting toward this, before you even have heard that you should make a decision to allow Him to help you.

"It will be dangerous, accepting that help, even though the help is from God; for there are enemies in the world, who are not going to like this in the least.

"But, your Father in the heavens loves those enemies, too; and He will never stop giving His justice and His love to them.

"Oh--you hadn't thought of that, had you!? God loves your enemies, too!

"You had better get used to it, and be glad He loves all His enemies; for you are also His enemies!

"There is no getting around it. If you seriously intend it, that's the same as doing it. Even if you never had the courage to try to seduce your neighbor's wife, you still committed the adultery by willfully wanting to. Even if you murder your brother merely in your heart, you still will face the eonian fire.

"And even if you don't seriously intend to think it, you are still sick; and you have some responsibility, to try to choose whether you will be helped. If you know you are sick, and refuse the help--then that is the same as if you choose to have those behaviors."

This isn't going to sit well with a lot of people.

It is one thing to be healed of a sickness--and He will likely do a lot of that, where He has opportunity... where He has people willing to work with Him, for themselves or for the sake of others.

But it is another thing to be told that our thoughts are also actions, which we are responsible for to some extent--responsible enough, that we need to be purged somehow.

We must suffer God to work with us; we must let down our pride, and our defenses, and trust Him to do the right thing.

Otherwise, we will suffer something else: the way we will suffer if we insist on holding our breath.

But, trusting someone to that extent, even God, isn't easy.

And the Son will know this; He won't lean upon a split cane, or smother a smoldering wick. He wants the cane to be healed to the flexible steelstrength of a sword, and the wick to grow into a volcanic power.

But, with power, comes responsibility.

And eventually, we must take up our responsibilities.

Nor does God exempt Himself from this.

He has the greatest power; He has, even with no blame, the greatest responsibility.

And it is only fair, that He pays, too.

But, He won't be paying for sins that He has done--for He has done no sin.

He will be paying for letting us be free to contribute misery upon our fellows, and upon ourselves.

He will be paying for our sins.

That's what we wanted, isn't it? To know that God does play fair; to know that He does sympathize with our suffering in this unjust world?

Even to know, that God, damn Him, will get His!!

Yes; He will.

Even though He is innocent, His creatures are not. And He has let them, has let us, has let me, be that way.

And sooner or later, He will say and do enough to make Himself a problem to people, even though He is blameless.

His friends will desert Him.

His friends will even betray Him.

He will give up His life, and drink the fullest death any person can drink: even to the horrid depths of being tempted to despair.

And it will only be fair, if He does this having been unjustly accused; falling foul of the world He has made.

It happens to the rest of us. It should happen to Him--right?

[Next: the price for our sins]


Jason Pratt said…
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