Tag Archives: depravity

I Might Just Need To Be A We

Calvin not Hobbes

In the last post, Anti-Covenant and Individualism, I was trying to start my line of though by expressing my impression of the extreme difficulty we have in communicating the idea of covenant baptism in general. I believe it is difficult because there is so little framework in our modern culture with which to understand it. We’ve lost the concept of covenants and commitments. Everything has to be spelled out on paper and even then there’s always somebody ready to weasel a way out of (or into) something in the relationship.

In fact, I was listening to Albert Mohler’s Thinking In Public today: Believing Without Belonging? A Conversation With Sociologist Grace Davie. The discussion ranged around quite a bit but hit on what I’m pondering here. I think it’s well worth a listen.

Yesterday, I was ultimately lamenting how our one-istic, individualist culture seems to have separated us from what God set up as the standard pattern for human relationship. That being family, church, Him. We’re so unrelated to each other nowadays that it’s really hard to come together under a single creed. I do believe that the confessional Reformed folk have the best understanding and therefore the closest stance on being united in relationship. I mean, we believe it, strive to inculcate it and act it out. But the culture, 7 days a week, fights tooth and nail for us to return (right after church on Sunday) to our covenantal relationship to computers, food, drink, cars, idle silliness, community service and everything else. We don’t look back, as we’re doing our mundane things, at our relationships with family, church and God to connect and assess value.

I certainly understand and embrace the beautiful assertion (I believe Calvin and others have said it too) that God is our Father and Church is our mother. It’s just that I don’t, in my own experience, value that hugely important pair of facts enough – and if I’m in sorry shape here, I’m willing to bet there are plenty of others as well. Not because we don’t want to, but in many ways because we can’t – the code has been obfuscated or even deleted to the extent that we just don’t get it. The concept is opposed from the start. Even the Biblical family is under attack (and in many cases demolished) as a valid relationship.

I think I begin to see the challenge our loving pastors face – they are fighting to reintroduce the concept of covenant relationships and rework our thinking so that our responses are in the right place. They know our belief is made deeper because of what we see, hear, touch and taste in preaching, the Table and baptism. They also know that to appreciate and embrace these things, we need to chew hard on the idea that we’re not just I, me, personally or “this is just me, but…”

Parting thought,

“If a man is not faithful to his own individuality, he cannot be loyal to anything.” — Claude McKay

What if it’s more like: If a man is not faithful to his identity in Christ, he cannot be loyal to anything but himself?

We are saved by grace through faith and enter into a relationship with God as our Father, Christ as our Savior, brother, priest, king, prophet. But we are not alone. We are, individually, grafted into a group. A family. Into a whole that is our mother, the church. Thinking like a child would, our identity is there. I am a child of God and I belong in His church. I don’t do church or go to church. I am in it. With the others. Never alone. You’re never alone when you’re in Him.

Anti-Covenant and Individualism

Cuz it's all about me!Note: There’s a Part 2 after this: I Might Just Need To Be A We.
The pastor’s comments on Acts 16 last night resound in my mind. In my study toward accepting the doctrine of paedobaptism, I pretty much discarded paedo as the paradigm in preference for oikos. It makes more sense. Paedo may be clearer-cut for others to comprehend where we’re differing from non-paedo, but it’s way better and images our covenantal relationship so much more. Family, congregation, catholic church, history all have this covenant upon which we hang. Paedo doesn’t get us there. Oikos does. If you don’t know, Oikos means household, so I’m talking about the household baptism concept which is all over the N.T. and O.T. in both circumcision and baptism.
It also sure does say something about where modern culture has lost the concept of family hasn’t it? When would we ever baptize our household just because the daddy or the mommy or even the grandpa got dunked? There’s no way to understand what Genesis 17 says about Abraham and the circumcision party he held on his 99th year unless we look at this household thing.

So by “lost the concept of family” I mean we’re individuals even in our families. The dad is just the individual. He is not truly Dad-the-head-of-a-body-that-is-a-family. If a family today was entirely comprised of witches and the father converted to Christianity, the rest wouldn’t think twice about whether they should follow Dad’s lead. They wouldn’t. You can see it in just about any family. If Gospel truth comes from the leader’s mouth, the response is rarely positive affirmation or ponderance. If the mother decides something is best, the rest of the family won’t assume anything, but tend to ignore it unless it clearly serves self-interest. From the root, we are anti- or a-covenantal.

This is something I would dearly love to get conditioned right out of me ASAP. And following that, same for my family. I speak in extremes here: Attending church as a family? Unimportant. Missing out on Sunday or Sunday Communion? Forgiveable. Burning commitment of one family to another in the church? Not a chance.

What’s all this? Duh, individualism. We’ve isolated and isolated until “my responsibility is only to God” which really means “my responsibility is only to me” – a lie, of course. Now, I’m not down-playing individuality. The God we worship is a God of great diversity and colors. He created individuals and uniqueness, called it all good and then set all in motion. We individually contribute to a whole that is greater than the parts. We are hands and feet and eyes and mouths, some one and some many in their gifts and abilities. But we’ve overgrown the garden of plenty so much that the unity is gone for the sake of the individual branches and fruits.

One factor, a cause and a symptom is the idea of Individual Liberty. First off, I think that 200+ years ago the Liberty we had was not the same as it is today. Back then, there was a concept of unity that is missing now. So I don’t think (especially today’s) liberty is necessarily a good thing. There are so many out there who call our liberty a great blessing, but I’d rather lean toward it being just a thing, an event that is comprised of good and bad.

The bad is really bad – it allows me to interprete everything myself. Nobody can hold me to a covenant. That means my family is a group of 6 islands loosely connected by reefs of common ideas or dependency. We don’t cleave to each other and so cannot conceive of cleaving to the church. In modern day, our modern culture and nation, in my modern family, I can worship the way I want.

Doesn’t that just sound wrong? I’m free to choose New Life PCA and if the pastor says something from the pulpit that I don’t like. I’m leaving. No commitment. And though my family may follow me, they certainly don’t have to, and might not. The pastor preaches in and out on Sundays to a crowd of people who are saturated in “my way” Even if they’re born-n-bred old school uber-presby saints, it’s still lurking in there. The pulpit’s constant litany of covenants, corporate worship, community and family must continue – it’s fighting the insanity of Individual Liberty’s dark side.

Once upon a time, the wife, the son, the workers, the grandchildren and great-grandchildren belonged to the father. They served each other under his watchful care and their sins were his responsibility. He was accountable for his family. Today? I do not belong to my father, nor do my kids, or anything else. His responsibility is to love me in some distant way, and though as a God-fearing man I’m sure he cares for me, wishes the best for me and prays for my growth and godliness, I can’t look to him as the head of a covenant family. Who can? I know this is insanely silly for today, but I’m exaggerating the point on purpose. We’ve sacrificed our vital corporate identity for our excessive and decadent individual identity.

So excessive is the individual identity today that I begin to wonder how much of me is entirely false. How much have I been italicized and underlined and bolded and iconified and nicknamed and networked until what’s important about me is blown out of proportion. I’m purely the sum of me and no longer does belonging come easily. I don’t belong to my family, to my church, to Christ…! because I’m too much me. I wonder if that is part of the root of strife in the family. I wonder about a lot of my problems and if they’re because of the devilishly inflated selfishness of this age? Heck, I try to find me in the Bible – how does it apply to me is more important than God’s people most of the time.

Relevant Tangent: I find that when I’m at the Lord’s Table, awaiting the food and drink that we are taught is our sustenance, I must consciously break from me and think of the others. I watch the plates served to others, I pray for my girls or whoever in the congregation comes to my mind – that they would be sustained and gathered into the arms of the rest of us as Christ is gathering us at His Table. I perceive the Supper as a sharing, not an individual act. I’m not savoring the choicest gift of all time on my own, but participating in a toast, a communal sharing of life. I try to visualize this, or recite it, as breathing from the same air, just for the moments we are together. I’m not bragging on my piety or spirituality here, rather I’m lamenting the effort it requires! All of this is a force of will. It does not come to me naturally.

Don’t get me as if I’m going all mystical, though the word mystical is there in our words. I’m not talking about contemplative prayer and zoning out to the collective consciousness junk. I’m talking about how we are all united in Christ and that this means something more than just me and you and him and her across the room. Think about it – lift the bread so that the ones around you can see you lift it, and place it in your mouth with them. Ever see a real wedding where the husband and wife feed each other the cake? That’s it. That’s us. Same with the cup – it’s a toast, too! A toast to the love the father has for us that has given us His Son, the best gift ever given.

Now can we apply that to any other part of our lives? Can we see that He has fed us on Sunday as we are united and this does not change on Monday? We’re still one, just separated by different places. From space, from God’s perspective, we’re all right next to each other. And we’re all in the same time zone.

Why My Kid Can’t Read Twilight Books

First, an analogy about analogies.

When you play baseball, a solid hit, square on the ball, will get the ball going somewhere. The ball is airborne, good to go. Except there are some problems still waiting before you can count a score. It’s easy to predict where a good solid hit is going. A fielder can be pretty sure about catching the ball. And you can be pretty sure that if the fielder catches it out of the air, you’re out. And while the ball is in the air, the rest of the field can arrange itself to optimize taking down the whole offense. Yes, the batter might get a home-run, but that’s not the only possibility.

A grounder has plenty of good and bad properties as well. Which is all just to say that analogies break down and don’t always work right, but they’re tools and need to be employed properly. And, on top of that so does any attempt to explain something.

So here is today’s quick thought.

Look. My problem is not that Harry Potter, or (even more) Twilight are bad to read. They sure have plenty to call bad and less that could be considered actually good. But so doAnne Rice, Louis L’Amour, Douglass Adams, Frank Herbert, Robert Heinlein and many more (just a perspective from my own library). You pick one and I’m sure I can find something wrong with it.

The problem is that a 10-year-old is not a critical reader. She is consuming what she reads in a manner that accepts what is presented. The book, for her, is formative. She doesn’t see it as a deposit of information to be considered. It should be fairly easy to figure out it’s worse if you back up a few years and have an early reader around 7 or 8 pick up Potter or Twilight.

If you’re going to impose a “world” on a child’s imagination, why-ever would you choose anything but the REAL WORLD? Or at least a representation of the REAL WORLD. So that means 1. Bible or 2. Bible. or 3. What I’m proposing: reading that at least has the necessary dichotomies and correct relations to minimize the corruption of the little brain that’s sucking up the information. If it’s a fantasy, is the good truly GOOD? Is the evil discernably EVIL? Is there a judgement on what to do about both? Are the characters portrayed as good actually morally decent? Are the situations clear or misleading? Is the child’s sense of right and wrong going to be blurred or distorted?

I’m not here advocating a legalistic or paranoid approach to what our children read. I’m not saying that (though it’s probably really good to prioritize) the Bible is the only thing a kid should read until they’re of age. Of age? That sounds a bit… maybe of a prejudiced, even legalistic concept, doesn’t it? No. I’m saying that, out of prudence and care for our children, unless we want to spend as much time combating their reading impression as they are reading the stuff, we should be very critical. Fight off the draw of a pagan worldview by delaying the exposure.

Now if, because of this we come to the conclusion that we’re “delaying the inevitable,” I must conclude we are wrong. Dead wrong. It’s not delaying the inevitable at all. By excluding some of the evil that our kids can consume, we are limiting the formative pagan information they consume. In 10 years, my now 20-year-old is not going to be anywhere near as susceptible to the lies. I’m not saying she won’t buy them; I’m saying she will be able (by God’s grace) to discern because she has a much more matured mind.

Look, read the books. Have a great time. Adults should have the necessary faculties to read Potter and stop at the entertainment part. They hopefully have enough sense to realize the authors’ attempt to portray her world as the real world and the characters as her version of good. The adults should be able to toss that falsehood or file away their “learned lesson” for future use in discernment. Try to get a kid to do that.

You’re not going to save the kid, you’re going to at best minimize some of the worst but it’s sure going to be better than letting them develop their own twisted worldview based on fiction that is so easily installed in their youth. GIGO is STILL a valid truth regarding the human mind.Gandalf v. Balrog

I can recommend additional reading at TruthxChange: The Muggles Protest

Cut To The Heart – Twice

I was just reading Sunday while waiting in a line. I had a little tract sized NIV John, courtesy of our Elder from church. When Jesus was dealing with the Pharisees (for instance, in John 8) I wanted to sympathize with them a little. I don’t know if this is a correct view, but maybe the way the badguys have been portrayed is not entirely complete:

Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”

It struck me while taking in these verses anew: what were the Pharisees thinking at this point? I can’t help but wonder if some of them were cut deeply by Christ’s words. But many of them at the time did not give in, rather they must have, with great anguish, turned away from the dialogue. Probably wrenched themselves almost physically from the choice before them to return to their murderous shcemes of false teaching and hypocrisy.

And we could guess that some of these were doubly wounded at Peter’s sermon in Acts. Enough that they could not bear it (“cut to the heart”) and repented. It brings new depth to the thought that they were “cut to the heart” doesn’t it? I can relate to this in my own face-down with the Gospel message and perspective on my own denial or slander of Christ before He dragged me into the light.

Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

I keep thinking about how that must’ve been for them, those who turned away and those who finally repented. It must have been a peculiar agony for both.

But one thing is most poignant. Those who turned ’round and believed at Peter’s proclamation must, more than many, many after them, have seen an immensity in their belief, in the realization of Christ’s work and assumption of His throne.

Surely it was a significant contribution to the great power with which the Gospel spread in the first churches. Those thousands who were made disciples could probably witness to the intensity of the change in the priests who repented. Much like Paul?

That’s reason to Glorify God. May the same sort of thing happen to the faithless preachers in lots of churches today. May they be cut to the quick with these words of Christ and see their error.

Your thoughts? Don’t assume that I’m condemning or criticizing Jesus’ position or that the majority of the Pharisees in this discussion weren’t precisely and only as Jesus generally described them. Consider yourself in this position, knowing the truth and yet the conviction of it, the power of Christ’s message, is still clouded over with the overwhelming voice of the crowds.

I think about the year 1992 when I turned away from the faith in which I was raised, knowing the truth and yet unable to believe it. I can connect my memory of those days of rather violent struggle with the Word and the Truth right to what I think some of these Pharisees might have been experiencing. There is the potential for some serious depth here, in the text. Something that helps us understand the fog of war that overcomes the chances for someone to finally bite into the real truth.

I think it speaks to God’s perfect timing. His perfect Holy Spirit who is able to flip the switch from seeing the world through world-eyes to seeing the world through His eyes. Is this yet another way to see our doctrine of depravity – that our sinfulness is so thorough that we can be slashed, mortally even, by the truth of Scripture and know we are sinners, know we need Christ, but without the help of Him, the One we need, we can still be trapped, in despair or anger.

And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” – Mark 9:23-24

My Progress In Theology 5

From my paper “Covenant Theology As Grasped By A Regular Guy”

I think this section is pretty important. I never really thought much about it until I was drawn into CT thought. I suspect it’s a sort of low-level misconception (meaning people sort of tend to assume without really thinking carefully) that our religious practices save us, or at least play a part in salvation in some vital sense. Most commonly, I believe, this is a problem with historical Israel and ceremonial law. Now, it’s an easily corrected view, by pointing to salvation by faith alone, but simply reading the OT isn’t gonna clear this up. That is the NT, the fulfillment of the OT promises in Christ, which explicitely fixes things. If the message were clear enough in the OT, the pharisees should’ve made a very different progress and definitely been a very different group in the NT.

Now, it must be understood that God’s covenants are not administered in a way that saves His people. People are saved by the person and work of Christ. This presents a problem for us when we look at the Law and the Church. Covenant is the promise; Christ is fulfillment of that promise. In whatever administration of whatever covenant (circumcision, nation, ceremony, Law, church), the center of all is Christ Himself.

We tend to assume or presuppose that the Elect comprise all of God’s covenant community. Especially in the New Testament where fulfillment, if taken incorrectly, seems to say that salvation is the mark of the church. This is simply not so. God’s covenant community consists of both regenerate and unregenerate people. Not all of OT Israel was elect, nor are all members of the NT church elect. Not even all of Christ’s 12 disciples were elect (Judas). This situation is because both Israel and the church are houses of people who are in covenant with God, not explicitly regenerate. God expects something from these people (belief and obedience) and so He has dealt with both spiritual conditions equally throughout history. In other words, elect and non-elect within the covenant community are dealt with through judgment.

Elect are judged via Christ’s substitution and non-elect are judged via the absence of Christ’s substitution but both are called, warned, disciplined and served within the covenant framework. Note that Isaac’s sons were absolute indications of this consistency: both sons were included in covenant administration and yet Jacob was loved while Esau was hated. The New Testament includes a similar situation wherein Peter and Judas both betrayed Christ. One was forgiven and the other condemned but both were in the position of disciples of Christ.

I think we tend to be unwilling to accept the idea that God sovereignly chooses those who will believe in Him because of the tension between human responsibility and God’s sovereignty. Though God knows all and directs all, we are still responsible for our failure to uphold His standards. An aside here, we are likewise commended for our good works, which I think is grossly forgotten in this age of false humility and unwillingness to accept this tension. Shoot, I am increasingly amazed at how it seems many of our problems with theology stem from the fear or dislike of the tension maintained in the Scriptures. Already-not-yet and man’s need vs. God’s requirements are biblical but many times we persist as if they are not.

So, back to the subject at hand, election is the name applied to those who are chosen by God to be the recipients of His mercy. Regarding Jacob and Esau, the classic example of election:

This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring. For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.” And not only so, but salso when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad—in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls— Romans 9:8-11

I heard not too long ago about the term used in John “draw”

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. – John 6:44

The actual word in the original language is “drag” as in forcefully pull. Christians are not, ultimately, given a choice between God and Hell. Here’s that tension again, choice and sovereignty, but in the end, sovereignty trumps all. Any time it comes down to salvation or destruction, forgiveness, atonement, condemnation or regeneration, either on an individual or gross level, God has the action. He saves, He renews, He destroys, He judges.

God makes His people. This idea validates His promises, unconditional promises that “I will be their God and they shall be My people” which are found throughout the Scriptures, NT and OT.

How does this work in the problem of covenants and whether they are salvific (in whole or in part)? We’ve established that God is sovereign and that His promises are because of His own work. Christ’s atonement, God’s drawing (dragging), those are divine works and only those are ultimately saving works. We don’t contribute to salvation (well, we contribute sin to the equation, but that’s not really part of this mess right now).

So, covenants, specifically those instructions that God has provided within the framework of covenants, do not save. God never once set things in motion that made Him dependent on the proper observation of the ceremonial law in order to save any Jews. To say the Jews were saved by their keeping of the Law is just wrong. God set this up just as a parent sets up rules in the home. Both knew, absolutely, that the ruled would not keep the laws in front of them.

The end of Deuteronomy explains God’s perspective on His chosen nation:

Now therefore write this song and teach it to the people of Israel. Put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the people of Israel. For when I have brought them into the land flowing with milk and honey, which I swore to give to their fathers, and they have eaten and are full and grown fat, they will turn to other gods and serve them, and despise me and break my covenant. And when many evils and troubles have come upon them, this song shall confront them as a witness (for it will live unforgotten in the mouths of their offspring). For I know what they are inclined to do even today, before I have brought them into the land that I swore to give.” – Deuteronomy 31:19-21

Here’s what saves: Christ. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. Everything that God instructs and promises must point to Christ.

Okay. Done with that. The next part: The outside of Election. By the outside, I must now define two terms. Visible and invisible. The visible church is all persons who are within the covenant. Israel was the “visible church” of the Old Covenant. Today, the visible church is quite similar: entire families are partakers of the New Covenant. Not everyone in the New Covenant (the church) is saved. That’s demonstrated in Israel, in Jacob and Esau, in the New Testament, throughout history. There is still a place for a “personal relationship with Jesus” which is that relationship which places one in the invisible church.

This is how I can believe that infant baptism is acceptable practice. This is how I can believe that someone who claims to be and acts like a Christian can “fall away” later in life to the extent that he actually condemns his faith and the truth of God. It’s simply too much to assume that everyone who is a baptized member of a local church is a bona-fide regenerate Christian. I sure wasn’t, though raised through 18 years in Christian churches, baptized, “walked the aisle” and everything else. I fell away, into neo-pagan Wicca (plain old witchcraft) for 10 years, denying my heritage and the church.

I do not believe my spot was “reserved” in the pews of a future church. When I apostatized, that was a demonstration of my unregenerate condition. I was still a child of God’s wrath, not a backslidden Christian. My baptism was one pointing to judgement. So what does this mean? It means that covenants are God’s picture frame around His particular people. He has promises and commands built into His covenants as well as signs and seals of membership, of participation, in that frame. It doesn’t mean that those in the frame are all regenerate, but that they enjoy access to all the benefits of the temporal institution of God’s Chosen People. Works the same way today in the NT church as it did in the OT nation of Israel. It looks different, yes, regarding operation of ceremony, administration and symbolism, but membership and status are still the same.

Here are the rest of the articles in this series:

Progress #1

Progress #2

Progress #3

Progress #4

Progress #5

Progress #6

Progress #7

Progress #8

The Hardest Part

The world is filled with darkness and pain. Like the ringing of a great bell in a close space even a beautiful tone causes pain and disorients. The hurt and emptiness claws at us, dragging us down the rooftops to the brink of night, right to the chasm that awaits with its angry maw, silent yet seething with malice.

And the world is liberally peppered with joy. Green and golden days filled with the whispers of voices that reverberate in our memories long after the conversation and the moment depart. Candles and balloons, symphonies and mad embraces that are sometimes desperate clinging or sometimes needful things that halt our very breath.

Both the evil and the blessed are deadly, for they seek to entrap us in themselves, to entrap us in ourselves and we are most often willing captives, as if every one of us suffers from Stockholm syndrome every moment of our lives.

We seek to balance the misery, or overcome it by seeking and acquiring the joy, but cannot overindulge so we season all with bittersweet roots and brambles, hoping to make kinder the pain and avoid the illusion of bliss.

There is a way, to see this whole mess, out of the maze. It is simply to read the pages of our lives in the categories of God’s benevolence and provision and His judgment and warning. He is ringing the bell and conducting the symphony. When we seek the joy that is not illusive, not limited to our short lifespans, we find the lasting rest and peace that upholds us through the pain and despair. We realize that we cannot sort the data, find the meaningful bits nor even discard the extremes without falsely lifting ourselves from sanity. We must discover that only the Creator, the Savior, the Lord of all of this can make sense of it. And then we must realize that He has made sense of it, insofar as our weakness can contain, for us.

Our misery, our depraved sensibilities, our corrupted selves are offered restoration in the form of forgiveness and promise. Our joy is translated from momentary, fleeting glimpses of heaven, into limitless revelation of glory and majesty that is incomparable.

The hardest part is that it all seems to remain the same, afterward. The days bite us, the sun sets, the cold seeks our flesh and our teeth gnash in hatred and spite. The battle over this, however, becomes a fleeting thing as we rejoin our promised forgiveness and covenants week after week, year after year among the myriad others who have turned from their futile corruption to seek Christ who took on our miserable flesh, did all that we could not, and felt the corruption and deadly penalty that all of us should have found at the end of our own rope. He gives us hope, gives us shelter, shakes out our closets and lifts us to dry ground if only we heed His call.

Lord may your good news reach bleeding ears. May your life bring life to the dead and dying. May your grace uphold your people as you bring more to yourself every day.


Part of following up on It’s All Messed Up, a post from October 2010.

I sure hope this hits you.


I’m not a qualified philosopher. That must certainly affect my reaction to and analysis of the following quotes. I’m also sold out to a view that places a Creator who is directly involved in creating, sustaining His creation and is sovereign over it for His own purposes. I believe that we humans exist here for a purpose and the only possible purpose is that of the Creator’s will.

All that being said (and more but I’m not going to go off into the fields yet), I stumbled upon an idea called antinatalism in some basic research on a particular philosopher. What I saw there was so dismal that I just had to take it on. It is sad, most of all, that men have so fenced themselves that they come to this while claiming to be open to other ways of thinking.

All this is from a Wikipedia article on Antinatalism. I’m aiming for just the quotes and I’ll tackle the entirety of the article in chunks rather than one long post. Bottom line: I don’t see life, birth or death as hopeless. I don’t see that one can manage to cruise through a lifetime with the views in bold.
There is a case in which this is true. Take the guy named Judas, for example.

I’m not able, philosophically, to argue well enough beyond this: The fact that we’re alive seems to me to indicate that death is unnatural. From lightbulbs to battleships, house-cats to dodo-birds, if they cease to work, there’s something wrong with them. Men, being far superior to those things, must have something far more wrong if they die. For anyone to resonate with the quotes below; for anyone to identify with them, I do hope that they are shaken from their slumber and a sense of urgency replaces the despondency.

Sophocles — It is best not to have been born at all: but, if born, as quickly as possible to return whence one came.


The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” — Matthew 26:24, Mark 14:21

In our natural state, the walking dead that we are, we too would be better off not have set foot on this globe. We participate in the desecration of our Creator’s purposes in everything we do. We seek to obfuscate the truth, block all entry into our self-made existence and evade any call to recognize reality.

Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire;
he breaks out against all sound judgment. — Proverbs 18:1

But there’s an answer to this, too, and one which puts a little flame of possiblity to the cold:

I spread out my hands all the day to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, following their own devices — Isaiah 65:2

Heinrich Heine — Sleep is lovely, death is better still, not to have been born is of course the miracle.

The truly amazing thing is that you’re here, observing this phenomenal event and coming up with such a statement. It is a miracle that this world is here around us, that we’re in it and that it persists; hasn’t collapsed ’round our ears due to our woeful dealings with it. Heine clearly forgot all the wonder of life as he lived it. Or, tragedy of tragedies, he failed entirely to notice butterflies, little girls or kittens.

Are your wonders known in the darkness, or your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness? — Psalm 88:12

It might look bad, but Somebody has said it ain’t all crumbs and broken glass:

For there shall be a sowing of peace. The vine shall give its fruit, and the ground shall give its produce, and the heavens shall give their dew. And I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things. — Zechariah 8:12