Sunday, January 3, 2010

This might be wrong.

[You can basically ignore the first two paragraphs]

Ken Ham came to my church a few years ago, for a week, and did his song and dance routine about creationism and evidence for it and stuff. Naturally, he didn't actually sing and dance, he just talked about it. At one point, he was talking about the church's response to the theory of evolution. He had a slide, it was a cartoon picture of the world, and there were two cartoon planes flying above it. One of them was a jet, and he said that it represented the efforts of the scientific community to disprove creation. It was fast, sleek, efficient, and it was working. Then, the second plane was a little propeller bi-plane. And it was the church. And behind it was one of those banners you see dragging behind those planes (at least, you see them if you've ever been to the New Jersey beach) and it said "Jesus Loves You!" Basically, he was saying that our response was inadequate, that you cannot respond to scientific issues by ignoring them. Someone comes up to you and says, "The Bible cannot be trusted because it has scientific inaccuracies in it." you can't just answer by saying, "Jesus Loves You!"

But in Till We Have Faces, the answer to all complaint against and question about the gods is the gods themselves. God is not an answer, He is the answer, and no question can go unanswered by his existence. In essence, "Jesus Loves You!" is the answer to the questions posed by science. It is simply not the answer that those asking the questions are willing to accept... because being told so isn't the same as experiencing an "audience" with "the gods."

I've been thinking a lot, since writing my post about happiness, about what Hayley said, that Christianity isn't about our need. I'm not sure that I like the conclusion I've reached. Or... no, it is only that the conclusion I've reached is completely contrary to everything I have believed so far, and that frightens me. I'll explain, but first let me say the conclusion.

If - and I believe it is true - that everything, absolutely everything exists to bring glory to God, then Jesus did not die to save us. His act of substitutionary atonement does save us, but it was not for that purpose that he died. His death, in our stead, was an act carried out for the sole purpose of bringing glory to God. And this is probably really basic for some people, but it blows my mind. The idea that it isn't about us. Jesus did not die to save me from my sin. Jesus's death saves me from my sin. That fact brings glory to God, which is the entire reason that Jesus died. Forgive me for repeating myself, but I'm coming to grips with this idea as I verbalize it.

Now here is where I stumble. All my life, I've heard, "Jesus Loves You!" and I believed it to be true. As a child, I knew of his passion - his death - I knew of the salvation it brought. But all my life I connected the two in a way that - it seems - they were not meant to connect. Where is love? Where is love if everything is meant - rightly, for right is defined by God - to bring glory to God. God is glorified by the act of salvation, by the sacrifice of Christ... is even his love for us only another way of bringing glory to Himself? It has to be, for everything that is is meant to bring glory to Him. This idea makes sense, and there is nothing wrong with it. I fear that my inner rebellion against it is simply my selfishness protesting my own unimportance. Because, if this is true, I'm nothing more than a tool, and all God's love for me is is another way to bring Him glory. And I rebel against that, I want to be more important, I want God to love me for some other reason... because of me. And now I can see how wrong that is. The only question remaining is whether I have - in attempting to bring down my own importance - accidentally brought down the importance of God's love.

So now you know what I've been thinking about lately.


  1. This, isn't exactly new to me, but it is still mind blowing! The idea first occurred to me a couple years ago, and really it is so contrary to so much of American Christian culture, but it's most definitely true!

    "Because, if this is true, I'm nothing more than a tool, and all God's love for me is is another way to bring Him glory. And I rebel against that, I want to be more important, I want God to love me for some other reason... because of me."

    The essence of "you" is that you are a tool. God loving you is a fulfillment of the reason you were made. You were made TO give glory to God, and to be loved by God. There is nothing more essential to yourself than God loving you, and that glorifying God. When we think "God loves me to glorify himself." It implies that He doesn't love you for YOU, but for what you give to him. But what YOU essentially are IS an instrument to give God glory. He is using you in the way you were meant to be used, and he loves you for what you ARE, because what you ARE is a tool to be used by God. See? I think that's true, or I hope it's true. It seems too wonderful not to be.

  2. I saw Ken Ham speak once, when I was young enough to not remember how old I was. He said something about rhinos that struck me really funny, and I giggled uncontrollably for an inappropriate amount of time. So whenever I think of Ken Ham I think of unsupressable laughter. And D is for Dinosaur narrated in adorable Australian accents.

    The relationship between God and humans is so baffling to me. On the one hand, God creates humans and saves humans to bring glory to Himself. On the other hand, God loves each person so intimately
    and regards our praise as so precious that He is righteously jealous for it. Why should He chose to have His glory so wrapped up in insignificant people? We ARE important. I can only see it as transcendence and immanence working together to shame me and exalt me into humility, and it's a wonderful antinomy.

    WV: shloodl -- what they SHOULD have called Ramen.

  3. "Is even his love for us only another way of bringing glory to himself?"

    Love is also part of God's nature, and He loves us because of who He is. It's like there are more than one entire reasons. Peculiar.