Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Glorious Mess

As I was listening to some new music, I began to ponder the human condition. Sometimes people puzzle me. Sometimes I puzzle myself. For being intelligent beings, it often boggles my mind how much chaos, drama and complication surrounds human life. Human existence isn't something that is nice, predictable or formulaic. It's anything but.

The simple truth is, we are imperfect people, living in a broken and disconnected world. Each of us is trying to make sense of it. Each of us looks for meaning in life. Some discover that the only meaning behind it is that there isn't any meaning. Some find fulfillment in the arms of a person. Some find satisfaction in a particular hobby or pursuit. Yet, there isn't a single one of us who doesn't occasionally feel out of place. As if this world isn't quite the right sort of place. As if we're merely outsiders. Maybe we shake those feelings off and try something new. If only we can discover the right secret, everything will feel right.

So we make mistakes. We try new things. We go new places. We meet new people. In search of... something. We're not really quite sure what. Sometimes, we feel that we've found it. The new somethings enamor us, and for a few moments everything feels okay. But, the feelings never last. The spell is broken and the feelings of disconnection return. It isn't okay to feel so out of place, is it? There's so much that we're supposed to be thankful for. Why does everything seem to be a struggle? Even when everything seems superficially well. How are you doing, they ask? "I'm fine," is the standard reply. But, are we? What does it mean to be fine?

As my thoughts transcended, I began to ponder what God must think of humanity. Does He love us in spite of our flaws and imperfections? Does He manage to find some enjoyment in us despite our endless quest for happiness in all the wrong things? Why did God create us, knowing that we would stray? Why would He create a world which He knew would be a fallen and broken world, tainted by sin and defaced by human rebellion? He seems to find joy in the midst of all it. How does He manage that?

Maybe God doesn't like things that are simple, perfect, and formulaic. What if God created our world not in spite of its fallenness, but because of it? What if God loves people not in spite of their flaws, but because of them? What if God enjoys watching and participating in the little stories of our lives exactly because they are dramatic and full of drama? What if God gave us a broad range of emotions, because there is meaning and purpose in experiencing all of them? What if God delights in the chaos and unpredictability of it all? What if He takes pleasure in the small and large ironies? What if God is less concerned with sin and punishment and more interested in the journey and direction of our lives?

What if this world isn't merely a mess? What if God didn't want to create a perfect universe? What if God made things exactly the way He did, because He wanted it to be a glorious mess?

Just a thought.


  1. If this is the ideal state, then why was a Saviour sent to redeem us from it? (Those of us who will believe, that is.) Why did God look on creation, "and saw that it was good", as Genesis tells us?

    But I don't have all the answers, either; I struggle with all this stuff, too; esp. the "problem of evil". God, being omnipotent, knew that billions would be damned, because of the punishment that He Himself would declare upon the offspring of Adam and Eve, because of what their parents did. So, somehow, the damnation and suffering of billions is in accordance with His divine plan, even though Scripture tells us that He takes no pleasure in the suffering of the wicked. Yet why didn't He impress upon Adam and Eve what all breaking His rule to them (to not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil) would entail, how severe His punishment would be? All He told them was that they would die; but, when they transgressed, turns out they didn't only eventually die, but they were turned out of the Garden, and all their offspring condemned. But, right away, God gave them the mother promise, that One born of the woman would defeat the offspring of the Serpent, and God covered their nakedness, pointing to the covering of sins that was to come later.

    The more one thinks about it, the more it makes one's head spin, I find. I wish I could just not question things.

    Meanwhile, here's someone else trying to puzzle it all out:

  2. God says, "[I] created life and death to see which one of you is best at doing good things."

    The creation of humans by God is like a man creating autonomous robots that have free will and putting them inside a big glass box full of stuff and looking on to see what they do. And occasionally the watchful man likes to change the direction that these autonomous robots are going, he chooses one of the robots and makes it a messenger.

    Modern science hates religion, but I have a suspicion that God has helped to advance science through His messages by His constant encouragement of people to look around and find His 'signs', etc.

  3. Why? We don't know.
    I could choose to believe in some god or other, and that would make me more comfortable. Maybe only for a while. "God of the gaps" - anything that we don't know, attribute it to god. This has happened for unexplained phenomena throughout history. And every mystery ever solved has turned out to be not god. Not magic. It's just the way things are - the way we can perceive our physical universe.

    If god were real, it would be very easy for him to demonstrate his existence. But he never does. (well, I've never seen it in any form)

    All the sadness, poverty, death, diseases, parasites in the world - does god approve of all of this? Is it in his will for all this to happen?

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