Things Are Not What They Seem

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Things are never what they seem. If you would see things clearly you must see with the eyes of the heart. That is the secret of every fairy tale, because it is the secret to the Gospel, because it is the secret to life.

Scripture tells us that we might at any time entertain an angel simply by welcoming a stranger. The serpent in the garden is really the Prince of Darkness. The carpenter from Nazareth—there is more to him than meets the eye as well. Things are not what they seem, and so if we would understand our lives—and especially our marriages—we must listen again to the Gospel and the fairy tales based upon it. There are larger events unfolding around us, events of enormous consequence. A lamp is lit and love is lost. A box is opened and evil swarms into the world. An apple is taken and mankind is plunged into darkness. Moments of immense consequence are taking place all around us.

–John Eldredge,
Love and War

Navigating Without God

stock-vector-a-vector-illustratioof-cartoon-manToday’s western world is familiar enough with extreme Epicureanism. If the world is a random cosmic accident, why should anything be thought ‘evil’ or ‘wrong’ in the first place? Would not all such categories collapse into the projection of our emotions (‘theft is wrong’ would simply mean ‘I don’t like theft’)? And is not that reduction to emotivism, in fact, what has happened in the post-Epicurean world of modern western morality? Get rid of ‘god’, and you no longer have a ‘problem of evil’. All you have is unwelcome ‘attitudes’ or ‘prejudices’. Not that people can easily live like that. They quickly invent new ‘moralities’ around the one or two fixed points that appear to transcend that subjective, emotive analysis: the badness of Adolf Hitler, the goodness of ecological activism, the importance of ‘embracing the Other’, and so on. Better than nothing, perhaps; but people who try to sail the moral seas with that equipment look suspiciously like a handful of survivors clinging to a broken spar as the ship goes down and the sharks close in.

–N.T. Wright,
The Faithfulness of God

Where do they get their idea of evil?

GoodAndEvilWhere do atheists and agnostics acquire their often acute sensitivity to injustice, evil, suffering, and death if not from an even deeper experience of ultimate life, fulfillment, and meaning? In short, what provides the grounding for a radical experience of ‘what ought not to be’ for those who deny ultimate meaning a priori?   –Harvey D. Egan

Demolishing Foundations

Aleksandr SolzhenitsynIn keeping silent about evil, in burying it so deep within us that no sign of it appears on the surface, we are implanting it, and it will rise up a thousand fold in the future. When we neither punish nor reproach evildoers, we are not simply protecting their trivial old age, we are thereby ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations.

― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn,
The Gulag Archipelago

When faith diminishes evil grows

helmut-thielicke-1The unmasking and the potentiation of evil naturally belong close together, for the more concentrated and demonstrative the negation of God becomes, the more powerfully it emerges and the more difficult it is to fail to see it. And yet one will fail to see it even in its most patent form as long as one closes ones eyes to the light and the glory of God.

–Helmut Thielicke,
The Reality of the Demonic

Noctivigants

darkSurprisingly, there are creatures which actually prefer darkness to light. Zoologists call them “noctivigants” and the tribe is more numerous than we commonly suppose. Moths and spiders, bats and owls, rats and mice are all noctivigants, and among larger animals, so are cats, panthers, leopards, tigers and other members of the feline family.

These creatures love darkness rather than light. Asleep by day they prowl abroad in the dark.

Biologically speaking, man is not a noctivigant. He does not prefer natural darkness to natural light. However because of a tragic inner twist that took place through an event called The Fall, humans have become moral and spiritual noctivigants.

Jesus himself gave us this powerful insight: “Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed” (John 3:19,20 NIV).

Ever wonder why some people fiercely attack faith in God and oppose belief in Christ, the Light of the world?

That’s what noctivigants do.

They hate the light and try to put it out.

–Jurgen O. Schulz

When God says, “Me too”

rob bellOur tendency in the midst of suffering is to turn on God. To get angry and bitter and shake our fist at the sky and say, “God, you don’t know what it’s like! You don’t understand! You have no idea what I’m going through. You don’t have a clue how much this hurts.

The cross is God’s way of taking away all of our accusations, excuses, and arguments.

The cross is God taking on flesh and blood and saying, “Me too.”

― Rob Bell