Saturday, February 23, 2008

Being "In Him"/"In Christ" from Paul to Descartes

Lately I've been reading some stuff on Justification and what it means. I was reading some N.T. Wright and he talked about how many scholars (though not himself I think) believed that the central theme of all of the apostle Paul's writing was the mystical (in a Christian sense - remove modern connotations) was his most important Idea.

In Philosophy we were going through Rene Descartes' Meditations and other metaphysical writings. I love learning about Descartes at Brock because 1) our Professor is smart and accurately portrays him, and 2) Descartes makes me feel like I have a friend, like somewhere even in the distant past there was actually someone who thought about the same things I do. Now I am not trying to compare myself to Descartes, but I'm just saying I love his philosophy because at this point of the book all that Descartes says he can trust is that he exists, and that in order for him to exist, God must exist, and somehow we exist in God.

It reminds me of Acts 17 when Paul goes to Athens and starts debating with the philosophers. Getting up early every morning I drive to philosophy makes me feel like Paul. Maybe I'm being melodramatic but I like to imagine these genius platonic philosophers, and it says that, "While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols". I know the feeling, you know the feeling, when you're sitting there and people around you are reading celebrity magazines and listening to iPods, and talking about money. Everyone has idols - especially here at brock, people embrace the strange polygamy of sources from Nietzsche to Buddha they all deem them 'respectible' but in the end there is no authority to which they owe their allegiance. They believe they are their own end and the 'master of their fate'.

as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.

"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 'For in him we live and move and have our being.'

I think one of my Personal dreams is to somehow before I leave brock get a platform and microphone and scream this out.

Because this is Paul's thinking, it is Descartes thinking. When asking the biggest questions of life, when trying to realize what we are as humans, humanity itself can have no answer. Descartes Cosmological argument shows that the only thing you will ever get from human finitude is finite and human ideas. But as Paul reminds us, when we are 'In Christ' we have access to a whole other world. Something much greater than ourselves. When we enter into the new covenant we have bound our fates together, for all times.

The Greeks talked about an idea where when two people were born a soul was broken in two and your 'soulmate' is the other person in the world who makes you complete. Well call me cynical about women, but I've never met one who could be that (and certainly no men...let the rumors stop lol). I think Paul's idea parallels that quite nicely. That all of our idols and temples built by men cannot contain the greatness of the infinite God, and that only in this covenant with him can we be made whole (salvation means to make whole).

Those are just my thoughts from this morning.

Gratias Tibi Domine

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