Wednesday, 20 January 2010
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Signature Edition
By C. S. Lewis
A long while back, a fellow Xangan posted this. A very GOOD post, I think. Logical, but not so deep that you have to be a braniac to understand it and timeless even long after it has been posted (Truth is awesome like that). I came back to it through a comment that my fellow Xangan had left on my post which had a link to his post he had written way back then. Anyway, moving on...
In his own post, a commentor left his thoughts:
I don't think Christianity is particularly unique. It still suffers the same shortcomings as other religions, as in it isn't spread to all people but through acts of man. If God truly wanted EVERYONE to know it, wouldn't he have offered it to everyone? It's easy from the American standpoint to think it is offered to everyone because we have the convenience of having churches no matter where we are. Other people in other places don't have that luxury. It still suffers from matters of convenience and proximity. Plus, other religions have the same characters in their legends, and matters of self-sacrifice of a God are found in almost every religion - making the sacrifice of Christ pretty common - only different because of what is gained from the suffering (Odin, for example, gained the ultimate knowledge and magical abilities from being hanged on the earth tree). I don't wish to rid the world of religion, but I do believe "to each his own" and with the dark path we have been going down in regards to the religious (and anti-religious) means of controlling the state and government has proven that religion does not lead to peace, but quite the opposite. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and regardless of what the state believes, no man, and apparently no God has the answer.
I've underlined the part (above) to which I directly replied with the following:
I know your comment here was over a year ago, but I was reading over these comments and saw yours and wanted to offer some thoughts.
First, Scripture tells us that the Law is written on everyone's hearts already. "For God does not show favoritism. When the Gentiles [non-Jews] sin, they will be destroyed, even though they never had God's written law. And the Jews, who do have God's law, will be judged by that law when they fail to obey it. For merely listening to the law doesn't make us right with God. It is obeying the law that makes us right in His sight. Even Gentiles, who do not have God's written law, show that they know His law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heart it. They demonstrate that God's law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right." ~ Romans 2: 11-15, NLT (Underline and italics mine.)
Now I want to point out a couple of things here:
1) There is a distinction that Paul makes between God's law when referencing the Jews and the Gentiles. And that's that the Jews have the written law, meaning they can easily reference it in case there is any doubt or question on a matter, and the Gentiles have the law "written" on their hearts. One is intellectual, the other is spiritual and/or instinctual. The written law wasn't always written down originally. And yet God holds everyone accountable just the same. There was a time before the law was written down, but that doesn't mean the law did not yet exist. So if the law existed regardless of it having been written down, then everyone has no excuse.
Further, Paul addresses whether or not someone has even heard the law. What Paul is ultimately getting at is that the law is "pre-programmed" into our very being in the same way that a computer program has a set of instructions already built into it before any other input is given for it to work with. Similar to a computer program, the law is those set of instructions built into the very being of every human being that allows it to opperate the way he or she should. But unlike a computer program, we can decide whether or not to go against that built-in programming. FREE WILL, is what it boils down to.
So even while we, as a human race, have essetially forgotten how it is we are supposed to live intellectually, our very nature - that "program" - is in effect giving us a sort of warning or error message if anything is off. It is our willingness to listen to those instinctual messages that makes all the difference.
Thus, while we may have lost track of the knowledge in our minds that we can reference like a computer file, we still have a basic system of opperation that guides the whole process. Again, it's our choice that allows us to mind that process or not. (Imagine a computer choosing willfully to just ignore its own set of instructions that allows it to opperate at all! CHAOS! The computer wouldn't work.)
To answer how this is fair, it's quite simple.
As I said, the written law is just something to double check that we are making choices accordingly. Since we can choose to obey the law, which is written on our hearts, or not, and because we have so often disobeyed that law and more and more troubles have risen up, the written law is a guide in which to check that we are, in fact, minding that system of opperations the way God intended.
The more you mind the law, the less and less you'll have any troubles. But as one disregards the law, the more there will be warnings, errors, and all-around system crashes. Then, trying to sort through the mess just to get things back in order becomes a hastle...a maze of cyberspace proportions. Sin, which is disobedience to God and His law, is like openly allowing a computer virus to infect the system. A good virus hides amongst the rest of the normal files and tries to behave like it's supposed to be there. Yet careful examination shows it clearly does not. So when it comes time to clean out the mess and get things opperating according to the way they should, as you know, it's difficult to know which way things really should go and what files need to stay or be deleted.
That's why the written law was so important and why the Jews had NO excuse. They didn't have to rely on instinct: they had the ULTIMATE User Manual. The Gentiles, though they had not heard nor read the law, still had it deep inside them. It wasn't easy - that had to really be mindful of those warning and error messages telling them when something was off. But they were no less accountable for their choices.
As it was, by Jesus' time, He instructed the Church to spread the Message. Make it known. Hand out copies of the ULTIMATE User Manual (which later collectively became what we know as the Bible today). There is more Scripture on this matter about spreading the Word. And Jesus never made any instruction about forcing it on people, saying that if people reject the Message, to shake the dust off their feet and to carry on.
To sum it up, God DID give the law to everyone from the very Beginning. But we rejected it. Saying we could re-write the program and do just fine. (What a joke we have suffered from ever since.) And now God is working through the human race to spread the written law: The Gospel of Jesus for freedom from sins and MORE. Sadly enough, even today, with the massave amounts of options at our disposal to spread that Message, people still reject it. I think - and this is just me thinking aloud - that it will be far worse for them than those who have never heard yet still live (instinctively) according to the law that God wrote on their hearts.