A brief study of how Christians may have missed the need to let theololgy ask and wonder about What did God want?
An endless stream of words are avalable to tell us what God wants of us! But, near as I can tell He never told us why He created this Universe; or what He wanted to learn in the process? We contend that God can't learn, for He is all knowing and omnipotent. If that was true 14 billion years ago, why Create anything? In a sense you can't because you already have, but infinity has no end.
So, I accept as inventors do, that we have to experiment to learn. Besides, who wants to say that God is forever but has nothing to do? My fundamental then is to start to think that maybe we can start to learn something by wondering what it was that perhaps challenged God to make one or another Universe to see, for example, what happens when a form of mortal life can be tested, to see what infented variations of DNA can evolve on their own?
In starting a new effort, as an inventor, I carefully delve into speculations that can have no Biblical or other know basis of inquiry. For to ask: What did God want? may be called any of several bad things that at one time or another in history would have caused charges of blasphemy or worse leading to excommunication or beheading! Words ending in 'logy' like biology are part of the world of science, not religion. Works dealing with theology then are usually limited to careful study of the words of the past in one or more of several languages by persons with years of study in how to do it.
So, yes, its fair to charge me as one going 'off-base' into a land of useless speculation. Combined with what I call “bureaucratic-constipation” I begin by noting that the land of religion has never been more under attack by young and not so young in history known to me. I contend that we are losing touch with the young and when we seniors are gone, who will rediscover how to get back with God?
From this you may allow me to ask such questions as:
Does Jesus have to return to where he Ascended to judge “the quick and the dead?”
by Richard R. Tryon 12/210/2019
His lively Advent sermon certainly squared with John the Baptist and the Congregation; but, when at coffee hour afterwards, I offered my grey head, as evidence of being closer to being eligible for my soul to wait with my bones in a buried casket or a clay pot as ashes created faster with heat than cold ground. I also raised my concern, shared with you, about why early and the only witnesses to the departure of our Lord from the fascinating period of His Resurrection until the Ascension. A time in which 'doubting Thomas' felt the flesh of wounds still healing, while they also mysteriously moved through walls to appear and finally by lifting off in a manner akin to walking on water, but instead rising into air! It had to leave ALL wondering what was meant about an evident statement of a Return to be again “with us” to judge “the quick and the dead”; or so we learned later? Many artists have crafted pics of human like evidences rising from the Earth to be judged before an Armageddon event to terminate the Earth, if not also all the stars above and fires below our flat Earth.
From my perspective, I find the Episcopal Church is asking me to be thinking that theology is a semi-scientific study of God, as a Trinitarian Being, able to be in a distant place, with a Heavenly Throne and a place for The Son, known to us, to now sit “on the Right-hand of the Father; but, also is in a Spiritual form everywhere…at least in this planet. While we firmly attach ourselves to the ancient connections of the Hebrews, we now have many among us wanting to use their Congressional votes to help us abandon such an evil connection in favor of the more loving one of Mohammed’s creation. Since the modernist President Bill Clinton, we have been urged to prefer pilgrimages to Mecca and make the Jews of Israel share Jerusalem with those men entitled to four wives, leaving a large array of males without any! We students of theology can wonder why this effort to turn many toward an ISIS, a state that must be given much of the land of historic Judaism with the name of Palestine - a word created by the British to describe its post WW I protectorate. It is this kind of confusion that encourages me, and perhaps some others, to wonder: What did God want some 14 billion of our years ago, when we suspect that the current “Big/-Bang” is now known to have happened? Can theology be limited to study of the Bible with a concentration on the life of Jesus, as forecast in what we call the Old Testament actions that gave Jews, escaping from slavery in Egypt, Ten Commandments; and then the essential message of Christ about making “love and forgiveness” key to our life style to be at one with the Lord. Obviously, all of this has to lead to end of life on Earth considerations and thus for a preponderance of today’s aging Episcopalian population to think and wonder: Why did God not only create before the first action known to humans and perhaps no other plant or animal, vegetable or mineral, but keep on doing it? Does our likely unique ability to at least speculate about the future of what we call soul, allow us to wonder: why does the Church contend that all must wait for Jesus to return?
Fr. Matthew offered a new thought to me. The possibility of an immediate judging followed by the Biblical promise of one in the relatively near term future in which many who saw the Ascension might also judged again. As if to say we might have a short-term mission ahead and then a review session to finalize something! When I suggested that mankind has indeed waiting for the return well past the lives of all who witnessed at least the Ascension, if not all else of key events in a three year ministry or more. This to allow some speculation that maybe the Bible authors had no way to fully communicate to followers; or for them to understand that perhaps God had a different meaning in mind, that is more correctly now understood as something else? If so, what?
My words did not claim to prophesy, for nothing in my mind offers any such claim; but, I do hold that I am not afraid to contend that the youth of today can not be comfortable with religious claims that do not fit with what science helps us understand what nobody 2000+ years ago could grasp. How can we help seniors and children wonder that maybe God had a different idea in assisting himself appear, as a baby to learn about life as a mere human; and then discover his real identity among all who are uniquely different, but not immortal.
Is there anything more key to our faith than expressing a certainty, as a Priest converts bread and wine into at least a special evidence that the Holy Spirit is now more present in them than in us, and able to let us be forgiven for our sins? Yes, Easter’s Resurrection, and maybe Virgin birth and the Ascension make the ‘cap-stone’ possible; but return with a special purpose doesn’t compute for me, as something to be delayed for all souls who have departed their bodies, with exception of a few Saints needing to be recognized as evidently present at some special events.
These thoughts and pattern of thinking do relate, I am sure, to the writing of my father’s book, “You Can’t Escape God”, that I did finish 18 years after he stopped writing it and 12 after he died and could no longer talk about it when he visited me in Champaign, IL or at his parent’s home in Maumee, Ohio.
Fr. Matthew’s contribution of a two stage ‘return’ function, while novel, is not compelling. Its like being a little bit pregnant. You are one or the other at the moment of conception. It must be the same with death of our body. If I have thus witnessed my father’s discovery of a way for God to automatically extract from our body, at the moment of death, our soul and its condition along with the original DNA that made us in one cell that did not regenerate while we live, but provided the way for almost all other to do it many times during our bodies life. Biblical scholars are looking in the wrong place, if they limit their search to accept or reject this idea. Since their worldly survival - our strongest instinct- gets in the way, I do not expect any ‘upgrading’ of religious thought to come from their much respected source. Yes, we may well have failed to learn everything about words of the past, but that should not exclude learning from the present and the future in which God still lives to create additional kinds of everything.
What say you?
more to come...
more to come