My Thoughts Are Not Your Thoughts

How perverse we humans are! In our “sophisticated” age of science and technology we gladly allow ourselves to be made fools of by the ancients who, in so very many ways, understood much more than we do. After all, they lacked all the layers of “sophistication” that we so easily and glibly use to mask and obscure the clarity of what they saw with their “unsophisticated” hearts. We seemingly deliberately “scientize” their writings in a valiant — and effective — effort to obscure their meaning, fulfilling the words of Isaiah:

He said, “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on listening, but do not perceive; Keep on looking, but do not understand.’ Render the hearts of this people insensitive, Their ears dull, And their eyes dim, Otherwise they might see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, Understand with their hearts, And return and be healed.”2

The ancients encoded their spiritual vision in human literary forms that could convey their insights, heart-to-heart. We contemporaries, quite perversely, choose to focus on the words to the detriment of the meaning. We can decipher the mathematical mysteries of space and time; we can prove the nature of the Higgs Boson, but we won’t decode the mythology that was constructed to convey eternal meaning to our human family. It is much easier to treat the ancient literary forms with contempt than to open our hearts and see that we may be mistaken.

The sin of Adam has nothing to do with the first human. This is not an anthropological text. It describes our human (אָדַם ‘adam’) encounter with the prosecuting attorney (שָׂטָן ‘satan’) who accuses us of evil and, in the process, accuses God of inauthenticity (“For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil”3). The result of our human acceptance of the satanized god who accuses humankind of evil, who threatens, angers, rewards and punishes is terrible: we come to believe in suffering and death.

By the sweat of your face
You will eat bread,
Till you return to the ground,
Because from it you were taken;
For you are dust.
And to dust you shall return.4

Once humankind (you and I) accept and embrace the satanized god who believes in reward and punishment, suffering and death, we are lost. We wander in a wilderness of our own understanding from which there is no exit. There is nothing we do or experience that is not tainted with the fear of death. Indeed, every option we face is fearful to us: “what if” it doesn’t work out? “what if” we don’t get what we need or want? “what if” someone will take what we have away from us? What if? Then  we shall surely suffer and we shall surely die.

The so-called “original sin” is not disobedience (as we’ve been led to believe). It is putting our faith in a satanized god who rewards good and punishes evil and, ultimately, believes in death. This satanized god rules our world. It believes in right and wrong and teaches its followers to believe the same. It accuses wrongdoers of sin and seeks to punish them with trials and jails and executions and retribution and wars. It creates enemies against which to hurl its hatred (to justify its own righteousness). It casts blame. It needs weapons to protect itself — thunderbolts and armies with swords and guns and bombs. It justifies the behavior of its followers — all of us at one time or another — in the name of death.

Is it any wonder that humankind uses any means at its disposal to maintain its idolatry? It has to pour contempt on Scripture and faith and religion (which we define as ‘spiritual diligence’) in order to maintain its loyalty to the satanized god of death. Nothing and noone is safe from the worship of this god. Religious thought and preaching is riddled with this perverse belief. “Fire and brimstone” is the mark of this god — death’s promise rather than its liberation. So long as we accept the teachings of the threat of death, we are incapable of escape. We are unable even to imagine a Living God who has no knowledge of death, let alone worship that God.

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o’er the grave
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

______

1Title is taken from Isaiah 55:8-9.
2Isaiah 6:9-10.
3Genesis 3:5.
4Genesis 3:19.

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