It has been quite some time since my last post. I am working on a piece covering evidences for the Bible. But I thought I’d take some time to discuss another thought that has been bouncing around in my head. If you are familiar with the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis, you will remember the phrase “Further up and further in.” At the end of the last book of the series, The Last Battle, Aslan has brought his followers from the extinguished Narnia into “heaven” (Aslan’s Country). When the door closes on Old Narnia, He turns and calls them to come further in and further up. In the book, this means to follow Him deeper in to His country and ends in a beautiful picture of heaven; joy, peace and reunion. I feel that the concept behind “further up and further in” can be carried over into our daily walk. The idea of a deeper faith should be placed in the forefront of any Christian’s mind.
I wish to move past the simplified, watered down version of Christianity that has become so prevalent in our society. While the basic precept of Christianity is simple, it takes more than a water-strider approach to experience the depth of the ocean that is Grace. Sure, we can “make it to heaven” by skittering about on the surface. But true Christianity isn’t fire insurance, true Christianity is death to self and complete surrender of our will and complete reliance on God. Does that sound scary? To give up your will and allow another being to live though you? Think of this; do you really think you have all the answers? Who better to call the shots in your life but an all knowing, all powerful God? A God that is not only all powerful, but loves you enough to redeem you from the pit you’ve mired yourself in.
Now, I’m fully aware that I can’t begin to explore the width and depth of who God is, or even scratch the surface of Grace, especially in one blog post. I invite you to explore with me just a few concepts. As always, I want to hear your opinion and work out any questions.
Let’s start with who God is. The first words and phrases that come to mind always feel inadequate and show that it is impossible to frame the greatness of God in human language. (1Cr 2:9. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.)
The first important concept is perfection, absolute perfection. You’ve heard people say “God is good”, and of course I agree. But, it is more than that. Yes, God is good, but God IS good. As in, God is the absolute end or completion of “Good”. When someone asks how you are doing and you reply “Good”, you are just telling them that you are doing better than bad. Provided of course that you aren’t lying and just wanting them to think you’re doing fine. When you say, “I’m doing good” (aside from bad grammar) You could mean something like, “Oh, I have most of my bills paid and I’m not hungry right now, oh, and coincidentally I’m not bleeding.” All of those things are “good”, in the sense of “satisfactory”. But let’s look at another definition of good. Good can also be defined as morally excellent, righteous or virtuous. Mother Theresa is an example that we all can say was “good”. As opposed to bad, let’s say, Hitler. But then we must decide what it is that defines good and bad. We can’t say “society” because both Mother Theresa and Hitler were a part of society. You can’t measure something by itself or the measurement is meaningless. A thermometer or a yard stick are not what is being measured, they are what does the measuring.
A thermometer is based on the concept of absolute zero. (Kelvin is a temperature scale having an absolute zero below which temperatures do not exist. Absolute zero, or 0K, is the temperature at which molecular energy is a minimum, and it corresponds to a temperature of -273.15° Celsius.) Anything above absolute zero is measured in pre-arranged increments. Absolute zero wasn’t invented, it was discovered. God is “absolute good”. Like absolute zero, God wasn’t invented, He is discovered. When measuring good and bad we measure up to God, just as the boiling point of water is 373.15k when measured in comparison to absolute zero.
Notice that I don’t try to measure bad. This is another thing that is brought up with talking about God being good. “If God is good, and made everything, how could He also make bad?” I’m sure you’ve heard or thought that before. To answer this we must look at the concept of cold. Cold is simply the lack of heat. In measuring temperature we measure the amount of energy in a given group of molecules (simply put). So water boiling at 373.15k holds 373.15 degrees of heat according to the Kelvin scale. Water freezes at 273.15k, but you don’t say it holds 100 degrees of coldness compared to boiling, you say it holds 100 degrees less of heat. In other words, to say something is cooler is to say it has less heat, not more coldness. Following that line, to say something is bad is to say it has less good. As God is good, something that is bad has less God in it, so to speak. Saying that God created evil is much like saying that fire created cold. Something that is bad lacks good, and something that is cold lacks heat.
So, God is good and brought good things into existence. As those good things move away from God, they lose the goodness that was intended when they were created. Bad things exist in our world because we have moved away from God, and away from the original intention of His creation.
Now, the question that always follows is some form of, “If God is good, and so powerful, why does He let bad things happen?” The answer is as simple as the question, “free will”. If I tell you that you are free to do as you please, yet stop you from doing things that I don’t like, you aren’t free to do as you please. Don’t confuse that with setting a series of guidelines and consequences for transgressing those guidelines. To set a standard that I’d like you to follow, then allowing you to choose to follow or not, is very different from forcing you to comply.
This is of course just one little corner of explaining God, or His goodness. If you are content to say “God is good” and leave it at that, well, I can’t force you to look deeper. But this is an example of the journey I’d like to take. Even if this is just the trailhead.
Let’s stop skimming around on the surface of God and dive in. It will require stretching your mind and getting more than the bottom of your feet wet.
Further in! and Further up!