Friday, February 24, 2012

On My Tryst w/ Neo-Reformed Theology, or "It's not you, it's me"

{Admin note: This is not an attack in any way, it's just my thought process/experience}

I'll admit, when I was in the process of re-examining everything I believed, I flirted with the neo-reformed movement.  I think what appealed to me most was the certainty so many of them had. They were so sure, and so grateful for the Grace they'd received.

I envied it.

But as I dug deep into the orthodoxy surrounding that certainty, it struck me that it came at an extremely high cost.  Love gave way to a particularly vengeful definition of justice, equality gave way to dominion, and reconciliation gave way to judgement. 

"The world" that God so loved that he gave his one and only became so very, very small.

The God that loved was somehow also the God that chose, and that punished others for the choice that only God was capable of making.

Does not compute.

[End of line]

That's where my brain short-circuited.  I don't think that it's a coincidence that this flirtation coincided with the conception and birth of our second child.  It brought the alleged choice that God makes into stark focus.

There were these two little people that I had (in a sense) created, and that I was responsible for.  How could I possibly say that I loved them both (the world, my world) and then choose one for eternal blessing and one for eternal punishment?  Even if I knew that one would love me in the deepest way possible, and the other would curse me and abandon me, how could I make that choice and still say that I loved them both?

There are other things that bothered me (if this isn't your first time reading this blog, this won't surprise you at all), but in the end, this was it.  I could not reconcile the God who loves with the God who chooses.  I could not reconcile this concept of God's justice-as-wrath and God's nature of Love.  So I've come to this conclusion:

God's justice is mercy.  It's paradoxical.  It's not fair. 

It doesn't make sense to us, but I'm thankful for that. If I judged God's justice by my own definitions, I'd have to readily condemn myself as well.

4 comments:

  1. I love theological philosophy and thinking; I find it ironic. Here we are, willing to contemplate the existence (I'm generalizing for non-believers) of God, but then bringing God to our level of thought. Here is God, the Creator, an entity well beyond our reach of understanding by our own admission, but then we take it upon ourselves to make attempts to understand this entity using a level of understanding that theoretically could never understand "perfection," or "absolutes." Could something not human ever truly understand why humans do/think the way they do? Could humans even make a definitive answer to the understanding of each other?

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    1. It is ironic, perhaps we could even call it absurd. :)

      You make a valid point though, but I can't help but think we're just wired that way. When we consider our collective pursuits of beauty, ethics, science, theology, etc, it is often in these pursuits that we find meaning. The existentialists are famous for saying, you've got three options for grappling with the meaninglessness of the universe: transcendence, absurdity, or suicide. Given those options, is it any surprise many (most?) people opt for transcendence?

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