Well, the hills are alive with the sound of musings. Fighting fundamentalists on both sides of the theological/epistemological divide are either condemning or defending the fever dream that is director and co-writer Darren Aronofsky’s take on the ultimate disaster story. Not since The Last Temptation of Christ has a film based – however loosely – on Holy Writ inspired this level of controversy, defensiveness and vitriol. And I predict that this one will have more staying power because Noah is a better film – technically speaking – than Scorsese’s tedious, rambling (but in a few moments still brilliant) exercise in cinematic heresy. Even more importantly in our “bigger is better” world, Noah is an epic, $130 million, special-effects-driven spectacle – where poor Martin had to scrape by on a comparative shoestring; a sleeping-bag movie versus Darren’s tentpole.
In Part 2 I will review Noah from a theological perspective. Artistically I would give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. But then my expectations were very, very high. I figured that if Aronofsky could produce the amazing Pi for $60K, surely he could give us a new Citizen Kane or 2001 Space Odyssey when his budget was 216.66 (note the three sixes) times that. Alas, Noah is just another example of how money can’t buy perfection..
But it still is a pretty amazing film, technically and aesthetically speaking.
But before I offer my thematic analysis in Part 2, I would like to invite my Christian readers to join me in a thought experiment.
First, to director and co-writer Darren Aronofsky’s spiritual status and baseline worldview: Much has been written about his professed atheism, with two-fisted atheists proudly claiming him as one of their premier prophets. On the other side, more than a few Christians are locking and loading on his unbelief as proof of a sinister (satanic?) conspiracy to intentionally twist the Scriptures and redemptive history as if they were some gigantic wax nose. Of particular note: Aronofsky’s glaring (or perhaps cryptic) comments about his Biblical epic being “the least biblical biblical film ever made.” Personally, having seen The Greatest Story Ever Told, I think he is both wrong as well as perhaps being intentionally provocative.
But regardless of whatever labels Darren Aronofsky uses or are assigned him by atheists and theists alike, I don’t think he is anymore an atheist than Mark Twain was. A “Christ-haunted” artist – to use Flannery O’Connors useful descriptive – Aronofsky’s adherence to the two central tenets of anti-theism seem apparent upon closer examination: 1. He doesn’t believe in God, and 2. He hates Him. Except in his case it is not so much hatred as it is the all-too-common drive to find an impersonal substitute (which, to be sure, is a form of hatred). Like every other human (see Rom. 1:20), Aronofsky’s soul intuitively senses the overwhelming evidence for design, purpose and pattern in both the cosmos and the human “knowing” of it all. But in his innate fallenness and drive to “suppress that truth in unrighteousness” (Rom. 1:18b) in order to maintain his own autonomy (ironically like his Tubal Cain character in the movie), he has invested his considerable gifts in exploring these patterns and archetypes… but then pulling back from their Source and replacing God with an amalgam of monism, pantheism, Eastern mysticism, numerology/Kaballah, environmentalism and whatever else strikes his fancy at the moment.
Consider, for example, these excerpts from an interview he gave to ChitChatMagazine.Com concerning the aforementioned movie, Pi.
“I think we’re meant to know everything, it’s just a matter of when and how. I think this knowledge of God precludes the existence of the ego and the self and that as Max gets closer and closer to finding this universal order, his own self starts to disappear more and more. That’s the underlying conflict of the movie.”
“(When) you’re walking around the Western Wall in Jerusalem with a backpack, you get brought into religious sects that introduce you to mysticism, that show you the beauty and magic of religion, to bring you back into the fold and away from Satan. For me it didn’t quite work, because the devil has some nice toys. I did come away with some nice stories and some good ideas. That was the seed for a lot of the Kabbalah stuff in the film… There’s some stuff that would blow your mind and we brought that to Pi.”
“The film [though] in a lot of ways is anti-religion and pro-spirituality. I think a lot of religious groups often forget why and what they’re doing. Anyone who believes that they should kill in the name of God I think, has totally lost all sense of spirituality. You know, that’s not what it’s about.”
And then there is this from an interview he did with FilmMonthly.com on The Fountain, a profoundly spiritual meditation on life, love, death and transcendence.
Question: “What’s your take on God? Are you religious? Do you believe in God?”
DA: “I think the themes of The Fountain, about this endless cycle of energy and matter, tracing back to the Big Bang… The Big Bang happened, and all this star matter turned into stars, and stars turned into planets, and planets turned into life. We’re all just borrowing this matter and energy for a little bit, while we’re here, until it goes back into everything else, and that connects us all. The cynics out there laugh at this crap, but it’s true. [Laughs] The messed up thing is how distracted we are and disconnected from that connection, and the result of it is what we’re doing to this planet and to ourselves….Whatever you want to call that connection — some people would use that term God. That, to me, is what I think is holy.”
Reading this and watching his movies, it’s clear that at heart Aronofsky isn’t even close to being the crass materialist true atheism demands. He’s very interested in what lies beneath and beyond the “now” of temporal existence. Death may well not be the end – as The Fountain explored – but rather the “road to awe.” (I love this line, though as a Christian I would substitute “door” for “road” – as well as caution people that for many, that “awe” will be “awe-ful.”)
Now back to our thought experiment. Imagine yourself a missionary to a pagan land. Understanding that the “lights” of regeneration have not yet been turned on, you fully expect to find darkness and all manner of idolatry and spiritual confusion. But you also hope to find some glimmers of the light that springs from the image of God yet present deep in people’s souls; the dissonant echoes of an eternity that percolates within their hearts. What happens – or at least should happen – when you stumble across these imperfect artifacts of a paradise that has been lost? Condemn their imperfections? Throw out the embryo of truth because it has been soaked in some very dirty bath water?
Even a casual glance at Jesus’ MO (e.g. see “the woman at the well” account in John 4) or Paul’s atop Mars Hill (Acts 17: 16-34) makes it clear that to do so would be to miss the heart of God and the opportunity for the Gospel.
Now I understand there are thresholds here. A missionary to a tribe of cannibals can perhaps find an opportunity to use their manifestly satanic practices to introduce the concept of substitutionary atonement or even the Eucharist. But that doesn’t give him the liberty to sit around and observe one of their rituals. You can’t condemn something while being a passive – or worse, active – witness to it. And for that reason, I would never endorse a Christian watching a movie so utterly and irredeemably blasphemous as The Last Temptation of Christ.
But as I will argue in Part 2, Aronofsky got far more right or close to right than we should have ever expected given his spiritual and epistemological baseline. It really is not too much of a stretch to call it something of a miracle, a moment when the echoes of eternity rang surprisingly loud and true, despite whatever other thematic defects are in the film. Personally, I believe we have been given a interesting teaching moment, not unlike what Jesus and Paul experienced in John 4 and Acts 17 respectively.
Aronofsky and our broader culture are hearing the echoes, sensing the outlines of something deep and transcendent. They are seeing men walking about (literally in Aronofsky’s case) as trees (Mark 8:28). Always learning but never able to come – by themselves – to a knowledge of the truth (2 Tim. 3:7), they “cannot discover the work God has done from beginning to end.” But by God’s grace, and with our humble, loving and measured assistance, they yet may.
In Orwell’s classic dystopian novel, the fascist government of Oceania and its enigmatic dictator Big Brother attempt to brainwash the masses to accept non sequiturs like “war is peace” and “ignorance is strength.” But in the real world such paradoxical memes inevitably lead to mindlessness – or madness – or are forced to eventually give way to the constraints of cognitive dissonance: the psychological stress that results from holding conflicting ideas or values simultaneously. Hundreds of peer-reviewed studies have shown that people are profoundly motivated, consciously or subconsciously, to achieve consonance – to reduce this conflict or dissonance – by eliminating or at least suppressing one of the conflicting ideas.
For individuals who find themselves experiencing erotic, same-sex desires for the first time – and let’s acknowledge that for most these feelings are involuntary – cognitive dissonance in the form of guilt or shame is very common. A good example of this was described by Robert Bauman, a conservative, pro-family Republican who served as a Congressman from 1973 until he lost re-election in 1980 following a scandal involving a sixteen-year-old male prostitute. In his 1986 autobiography, Baumann recalls the homosexual feelings that later began to emerge when, at the tender age of five, he was molested by a twelve-year-old neighbor, thus joining the hundreds of thousands of other victims of sexual abuse who would come to experience same-sex attractions.
“This was not a matter of chance attraction to a forbidden object. This was a frightening force from deep within my being, an involuntary reaction to the sight, smell and feel of other boys. I neither understood nor accepted it. And I came to hate myself because of the presence within me of this horrible weakness, this uncleanness of spirit over which I seemed to have no control.” Robert Bauman, The Gentlemen from Maryland: The Conscience of a Gay Conservative (New York: Morrow, 1986), p. 163
Homophiles (people who like (from Greek philos, love or like) or support the normalization of homosexuality) love to blame the negative feelings Baumann experienced on the projections and expectations of a “homophobic” culture. But studies show that even in the most “gay friendly” societies – like Holland and Denmark – the higher levels of psychological problems found among homosexuals are essentially the same as for those in less “enlightened” societies. The reason for this is that the dissonance, the guilt, is rooted in the individual’s conscience and not the culture. Because humans are created in the image of God and the binary, male-female unity is a vital aspect of that image (Gen. 1:27), each of us possesses a deep-down, “written on our heart” knowledge (Rom. 2:14-15) that homosexuality is abnormal and wrong. As a result, when a person first experiences homosexual desires, cognitive dissonance like Baumann described is the inevitable result.
The same-sex attracted person can reduce this dissonance by affirming their conscience and rejecting their homosexual feelings as wrong, refuse to act upon them – in other words embrace abstinence – and then seek help in dealing with the root causes of these inclinations in the hope of joining the many others who have transitioned into heterosexuality.
The other option is to embrace the homosexual identity and then set-out to muffle or, preferably, silence the conscience by convincing oneself that being “gay” really is okay.
The most common first step here is to enter the same-sex-attracted-feedback loop that is the “gay community.” This can be a LGBT club at school, a gay-pride march, an activist group, immersing oneself in gay-affirming pop culture (music, television and movies) or simply hanging out or hooking up with other same-sex attracted people.
And yet even with all this, the conscience can still nudge; dissonance can still rear its ugly head. And so the next step in eradicating any residual conflict comes through what psychologists call confirmation bias, the rejection of any and all evidence or testimony that dis-confirms, that negates, disapproves, questions or even simply ignores the validity of one’s position. And so every reminder – any suggestion from any source – that homosexuality isn’t every bit as natural, good, moral and conducive to individual and cultural flourishing as heterosexuality has to be eliminated.
A perfect example of confirmation bias can be seen in the work of homosexual activist Wayne Besen, founder of Truth Wins Out, a not-for-profit created to counter Focus on the Family’s now defunct Love Won Out’s ministry to people coming out of the homosexual lifestyle. Besen has been extremely vocal in insisting there’s virtually no such an animal as an “ex-gay,” making that assertion the virtual focus of his calling.
Now here’s an incredible thing: Oprah can do shows about women who lived as heterosexuals for decades and then one day embraced their inner sexual fluidity and jumped on the broad gay-way. But according to Besen and many other homophiles, the same thing can’t possibly happen in reverse. The thousands of people who have self-identified as homosexuals and lived the lifestyle – sometimes for years and even decades – and that are now happily married to an opposite-sex spouse or are celibate and waiting on one: a.) Were never really gay in the first place, or b.) Are living in denial, suppressing their true nature and desires, often out of what Besen describes as misplaced religious guilt.
Are you kidding me? Imagine an inebriation activist who insists that there’s no such thing as an ex-drunk because he and some other buddies couldn’t stay on the wagon or never really wanted to get on it. According to them, every alcoholic who is now sober was either never really a drunk or is now just living a lie.
This is all just confirmation bias on steroids.
And make no mistake about it, denying that there’s such a thing as an ex-homosexual is just the beginning. There are many in the homosexual community as well as the homophiles that support them who have been emboldened by the growing acceptance of gay marriage and other trends in the culture. The gloves are coming off as they are driven to eradicate every vestige of dissonance, any trace of mores, behavior, thought, tradition and public policy that in any way suggests or reminds people that heterosexuality is normal, God-ordained and morally or ontologically superior to homosexuality.
And that is precisely why the slippery slope exists…and gets steeper and steeper as we descend.
and beholds things as they are.
With singled eye, her form grows bright,
moon-bride to the Morning Star.
No glory hers, no image fine
without the Bridegroom’s light.
As cross the sky He runs His course,
burning towards His wedding night.
When she’s complete, each cell in place
from darkened sea is called
The land, the garden, each living stone
quarried from the first man’s fall.
From days of old, with love-light lost
the best that she could know
Were shadows, outlines, fading forms
what glory’s left…mere afterglow.
But now is drawn from Adam’s side,
pierced by death and angry sword,
Water, blood and new Eve bride
conceived by love and shaped by Word.
An angled mirror, her true love’s light
in to the darkness spreads
A foreglow now that rules the night
as little leaven shapes the bread.
“The river of truth is always splitting up into arms that reunite. Islanded between them, the inhabitants argue for a lifetime as to which is the mainstream.” Cyril Vernon Connolly (1903-1974) English intellectual, literary critic and writer, editor of the influential literary magazine Horizon.
Connolly’s quote is a profound one – and never more true than among Christians. We are netted out of the guppy bowl of self by the true Fisherman and then placed in an ocean of truth. And before we know it, many (most) find themselves joining a school of other fish in some estuary of denominationalism and tradition and telling themselves – and arguing with others – that they have found the Mariana Trench.
Now don’t get me wrong. I believe in Truth, the absolute kind that shines like a diamond and is even more hard. I have no problem with denominations – tribes in His Kingdom, I prefer calling them. And I deeply appreciate tradition. Few of us would be Trinitarians without it. What I don’t like are people and groups who claim to have chased the mystery (Pro. 25:2) and caught it. Who chastise other God-fearers who don’t hold to the “truth” they’ve bagged with a cry of “they just need to read and believe the Bible.” (Probably the best example that comes immediately to mind are those who write Dr. Hugh Ross off as a heretic because he believes in an old-earth and animal death before the Fall.)
My calling in God is to try and faithfully present and defend the Truth. And thankfully much of its greater outlines are so straight-up and well-defined that a child can see and understand them. And as a result the overwhelming majority report for 2,000 years (or more) is locked and loaded in agreement: Jesus is God, He died on a cross and rose again bodily from the dead, that salvation from sin is made possible in and through Him alone, etc. There are even some moral/social Truths we can hold on to like the horns of His altar: that murder is wrong (including the murder of little children who happen to be temporary aquanauts in their mother’s womb), that sex is a wonderful and powerful gift from God that is to be unwrapped only in the marriage bed by a covenant-bound man and woman, etc.
But when it comes to getting all the colors right within the broader outline, truly only God is up to the task. Perhaps we will be as well when we cross over the the thinning membrane that separates this world from the New One that is rushing towards us like a comet. (My personal theory is that one of the joys of Eternity will be plumbing the infinite depths of Truth – of the mind of God – without ever arriving at the bottom.)
So in the meantime I’m trying, as Blind Willie Jefferson sang, to “read my Bible often and try to read it right,” ever keeping it mind the second verse: “As far as I can understand, it ain’t nothing but a burning light.”
Try and get all that light in your head and it will likely explode. (Exo. 33:20)
PS. That is such a good closing line I hate to mess it up by rambling on. But for the sake of driving this point home in a personal way: I am known for staking a position on certain theological perspectives that could fairly be called “colors within the broader outlines.” For example, I have written articles and produced videos defending a Reformed/Calvinistic perspective on salvation and grace. Ditto on partial preterism and a post-millennial eschatology. But I remain good friends and a co-laborer in the Gospel with people who share differing views on these matters. And while I do believe (Rom. 14:5) that my position is correct – meaning Biblically accurate – I try not to be a jerk or dogmatic about it. I know there is deep mystery here. When I do see Him as He is – and in a twinkling of eye am transformed (1 Cor. 15: 52; 1 John 3:2) – if in that rush of perfect light I see that I was wrong about any of these things, I trust my response will be to laugh…and then worship.
What an explosion would unsky the world and rock the bones of men into little white fragments if the veil were lifted and Truth’s fulness revealed. Only a new creation and a new type of man can stand – more embrace – its measureless weight and glory.
Adapted from ROBINSON JEFFERS, “The Silent Shepherds”
Worshipping the one true God is man’s first, last and eternal order of business, his very source of life and joy. Through worship we honor and enjoy intimacy with the Source of all that is transcendentally true, good and beautiful. It is, as William Temple observed, “the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness; the nourishment of mind with His truth; the purifying of imagination by His Beauty; the opening of the heart to His love; the surrender of will to His purpose – and all of this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable and therefore the chief remedy for that self-centeredness which is our original sin and the source of all actual sin.” (William Temple, Readings in St. John’s Gospel, p. 68)
In Temple’s poignant observation there is a truth that is not understood by many Christians – and completely lost on the skeptic who dares to mock God as insecure (Why does he need people standing around adoring him?) or describe heaven as a big yawn (Who wants to sit around saying “Holy, Holy, Holy” over and over again forever?): that is that as we worship we are transformed. The eyes of our understanding are cleansed. We begin to see Him as He is and are progressively drawn into His glory and are transfigured by it. (1 John 3: 2)
And while there will no doubt be countless other delights we will enjoy in the New Creation (1 Cor. 2:9), this intimacy with the Presence and experiencing its energizing and transformative power will be the greatest and most sublime of all eternity’s joys.
Understanding this, it’s evident that worship on this side of the veil is vital for us individually and corporately as the Church. And so how we do it (engaging heart, mind, soul and strength versus hands in pockets with attention drifting) is crucial. And what we say and sing – as well as how we present and perform our worship – are critically important as well.
Now a sea of ink – and tragically even some blood – has been spent thinking and working through these matters by people far more qualified than me (by corey at testsforge). My little contribution has to do with just one aspect of this issue about which I have heard little – at least in these days where the vast majority of western Christians have been influenced by a baptized form of dualism and a “this is not my home, I just a-passing through” type of Christianity. (For more on this please see my essay, Heaven is Important…But It’s Not the End of the World.) That is the relationship between the lyrics we sing and the Kingdom of God, by which I mean the present reign of Christ in the earth.
In Part 2 I will explore this in more detail.
In physics, the Fine-Structure Constant, also known (significantly I think) as ALPHA (α), is a fundamental physical constant characterizing the strength of the electromagnetic interaction. It is also mysteriously related to a number of other fundamentals in physics: e.g. the square of the ratio of the elementary charge to the Planck charge; the ratio of the velocity of the electron in the Bohr model of the atom to the speed of light; in Quantum Electrodynamics as the probability of interaction between Light and Matter.
Shades of the anthropic principle, ALPHA is one of those finely-tuned constants that describe the fundamental structure of our cosmos. And if it was just the slightest bit different, stars, planets and we would not exist.
Like Pi (3.14) ALPHA is commonly referred to by the first 3 numbers of its inverse: 137. (More precisely it is 137.03599173(44)). 137 is made up of three prime numbers and moreover is a unusually beautiful prime (some numerological speculation here) in that it consists of Unity (1, God) and a prime division of Ten (10 = 3 + 7), with echoes of the Trinity and Perfection, Fulness, and the Seven Spirits of God.
Here is what Richard Feynman, Nobel prize-winning physicist, one of the originators and early developers of the theory of quantum electrodynamics (QED) and an atheist had to say about ALPHA
“It has been a mystery ever since it was discovered more than fifty years ago, and all good theoretical physicists put this number up on their wall and worry about it. Immediately you would like to know where this number for a coupling comes from: is it related to pi or perhaps to the base of natural logarithms? Nobody knows. It’s one of the greatest damn mysteries of physics: a magic number that comes to us with no understanding by man (by corey jefferson). You might say the ‘hand of God’ wrote that number, and ‘we don’t know how He pushed his pencil.’ We know what kind of a dance to do experimentally to measure this number very accurately, but we don’t know what kind of dance to do on the computer to make this number come out, without putting it in secretly!” (Richard P. Feynman (1985) QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter. Princeton University Press. p. 129)
Feynman died in 1988, sadly with no evidence of ever having embraced the Author (the Alpha and the Omega) of α. What a tragedy! For there can be no question that living in God’s presence and having eternity to know Him and plumb the mind and heart of the One who “pushed the pencil” would be a joy unspeakable and full of glory.
I will close with this observation concerning ALPHA from Max Born, another renowned physicist and a man who saw “religious professions and churches as a matter of no importance.” (Greenspan, Nancy Thorndike (2005) The End of the Certain World: The Life and Science of Max Born. New York: Basic Books, p. 61-62)
“The fact however that alpha has just its value 1/137 is certainly no chance but itself a law of nature. It is clear that the explanation of this number must be the central problem of natural philosophy.” (Max Born, A.I. Miller (2009) Deciphering the Cosmic Number: The Strange Friendship of Wolfgang Pauli and Carl Jung. W.W. Norton & Co. p. 253)
One of the things I most appreciated about Phil Robertson’s comments to the snoots at GQ was the manner in which he colorfully pointed out the anatomical absurdity of homosex. (WARNING: please read no further if you are a child, pietist, or are easily offended.) Like a red-neck version of Elijah (who may well have been considered a redneck himself circa 9th century BC) mocking the prophets of Baal and the potty habits of their pathetic god (1 Kings 18:27), the bearded one dared to compare the desirability of a certain female body part to its closest correspondent in males.
In so doing Robertson pushed back against one of the key strategies of the architects of the LGBTQ putsch: that is to take the “sex” out of “homosexuality” – to redefine it as a simple orientation (like being left-handed) and disconnect it as much as possible from what people actually do to each other in bed (or in a bathroom or the bushes). For proof of this simply read After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 90s – the seminal book by homosexual, and Harvard educated, activists Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen. See, for example, page 178:
“In the early stages of the campaign, the public should not be shocked and repelled by premature exposure to homosexual behavior itself. Instead, the imagery of sex per se should be downplayed, and the issue of gay rights reduced, as far as possible, to an abstract social question.” (Kirk, Marshall and Hunter Madsen, Ph.D., “Strategy: Persuasion, not invasion,” in After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 90s, Doubleday: New York, 1989, pg. 178.)
Christians and anyone else concerned about the normalization of homosexuality and other perversions of God’s design for gender and sexual behavior should shake off the shackles of newspeak and begin to graciously but firmly – using irony and shock where necessary – join Robertson in pushing back against this agenda. We need to make like Elijah and point out the absurdities inherent in the practice of homosex; how the wages of sin will not only surely be spiritual death, but can lead to physical sickness and death as well.
Three simple points I like to make, in order of increasing shock factor:
1. According to one peer-reviewed study done towards the end of the 20th century, the life expectancy for the average 20-year-old gay or bisexual man is 8 to 21 years less than his heterosexual counterpart. (See the International Journal of Epidemiology.) Here the authors actually condemn as “homophobic” anyone who dares to point to their research as evidence that homosexuality carries with it certain inherent health risks. And yet they in no way deny the statistical evidence their research has uncovered. (This is one of the best examples of “professing to be wise and remaining fools” I have ever stumbled upon.)
2. As part of my research on this subject, two years ago I attended the various “gay-pride” events that took place over four days in San Francisco. On Saturday I filmed and conducted interviews among the nearly 200,000 attendees of the now famous annual “Dyke March.” It began with a festival in Dolores Park. Like with any festival there was music, speeches and all manner of booths and vendors selling food, drinks, t-shirts, souvenirs and other wares. The most popular merchandise I saw? Dildos. Thousands upon thousands of them in every shape, size and color imaginable. The irony here should be obvious: you have women that don’t want men, that sexually prefer another woman instead. But what do they often bring with them to bed? A crude approximation of a male sex organ. Add to that the fact that it is quite common for one woman to be butch (a top) – to look, dress and behave in a mannish way – while their partner plays the femme (bottom), taking on the more stereotypical female role and identity. There are so many things intuitively, viscerally wrong with this sad pantomime one hardly knows where to begin. (I’m reminded here of the episode of Showtime’s The Real L Word where Cori and Kacy are trying to get pregnant using donated sperm. Instead of going to a clinic (literally too “clinical” for the young romantics) or relying on the old lesbian standby, a turkey-baster (again not very romantic) the couple go to a sex store where Kacy (the butch one) shops for a dildo that can squirt out the sperm so she can use it to “personally” impregnate the femme Cori. What a heart-breaking glimpse into the futility of sin. (By the way, such a device does not exist...yet.)
3. Here we definitely enter the Phil Robertson arena of telling it like it is. Consider God-designed heterosex: the husband inserts his penis into his wife’s vagina. Like a hand-in-glove, there are dozens of anatomical design and response parameters that perfectly sync up. If done properly, with the male in particular being careful to meet his wife’s emotional needs as well as to provide the right friction in the right spot, both partners bond in a powerful and exquisitely enjoyable way, experiencing the “little death and rebirth” that is an orgasm. They can gaze into one another’s eyes and take in one another’s breath. And, miracle of miracles, under the right circumstances, the seed from the man can merge with the egg of the woman to produce a new human life, a new eternal soul and image-bearer of God. This picture of intimacy – of the “two becoming one” – as well as its co-creative elements are a powerful, poignant and prophetic glimpse into our Creator’s purposes and plans. Now take the grotesquerie that is homosex, using two men as an example. The receptacle of death and decay is substituted for the vessel of life. Nothing fits properly and without great care and the use of artificial lubricants, damage to the receiver’s anatomy results. Except for the extremely fit and hyper-flexible, face-to-face, eye-to-eye, breath-to-breath intercourse is impossible, as is mutual climax without other tricks being up their proverbial sleeves. And where the man and woman can produce a baby, for two men new life is virtually impossible. Anal fissures and all manner of infections and diseases – some fatal – are the common physiological byproducts. Boiling it all down to a memorable meme: heterosex ~ fertilized egg, homosex ~ inseminated turd.
This is a hard-saying, but a radically true one. And as the parade of preening emperors grows, spouting their PC nonsense and leading our culture – and yes those tragically cursed with same-sex desires – into deeper realms of bondage, we need now more than ever to use the mirror of truth to point out that they’ve all left the house without any pants on.
As someone who has always loved mysteries and pattern mining, one of my greatest delights after having my lights turned on by the Holy Spirit was then applying that light to the study of scripture. I was astonished to find that compared to the Bible, Moby Dick or Finnegan”s Wake were amateurish when it came to using symbols within symbols and other recursive patterns. And what made this even more mind-blowing was considering how the respective books were written: in the case of the later two, one author free to carefully think through and craft their narrative without regard to any thoughts or suggestions other than their own. Not too difficult when it comes to fashioning a coherent and consistent whole. But the Bible? Sixty-six books written by forty different authors over 1,500 years and spanning several different cultures and social classes and written in three different languages. That there”s any coherence at all is by itself pretty amazing. But that an incredible range of interlocking symbols exist that fold into one another and iterate over and over again variations of the same theme…well that, dear reader, is simply supernatural – and proves casinots sajt anpassas autmatiskt beroende pa om du spelar fran din dator, iPad eller annan mobil enhet. that the ultimate author of the Bible was indeed also One.
In this Advent season, I would like to explore one interesting example of interlocking symbols as it relates to the birth of the Messiah. In the same way that the location where Abraham offered up Isaac to God, where David displayed the severed head of Goliath to the city of Jerusalem, and where Jesus was crucified are at minimum thematically related – and I”m guessing precisely synced up geographically as well – so the birth of Jesus was sovereignly choreographed to coincide with the Old Testament birth of the precise child to a specific woman with a certain husband. Despite the scrambling randomness that on the surface seemed to attend the blessed event (“Sorry, no room at the inn. You”re going to have to look elsewhere.”), the true Father of the in-utero Babe was making sure that His Son was born in the exact place He needed to be to make the symbols sing.
We’ve heard it countless times: the laudable advice to put first things first and remember “the reason for the season.” Christmas (from Crīstesmæsse, or “Christ’s mass”), after all, is first and last a celebration and remembrance of one of the two most important moments in history: the arrival of YHWH on our planet as a man (the incarnation) in order to reset the Genesis Project and make all things new. (The second one, of course, was the resurrection when Jesus became the first fruits of the New Creation and launched the final stage of the Project.)
But for many people, remembering to “put Christ back into Christmas” translates into little more than nativity scenes with the baby Jesus and his adoring parents, lowing lambs, humble shepherds, singing angels and the three magi bearing gifts (the latter an anachronism; these Gentile visitors didn’t show up until after, likely well after, Jesus’ presentation at the temple and after he had been moved to a house.) But in reality the atmosphere surrounding the first Advent was heavy with shadows cast by Satan and the Fall as Jesus’ birth signaled the first phase in the ultimate confrontation between good and evil, light and darkness. (Here the reader would benefit by reading my previous post, Creche, Cross and Crown). We can’t fully appreciate the miracle of the Advent without also meditating on the dark clouds roiling about the Christ-child.
Consider: 1. An awkward pre-nuptial pregnancy that surely had rumors flying and Joseph wondering what in the world he had gotten himself into. 2. The ulitimate “on our way to the hospital” delivery, except there was no hospital and no cab-driver or EMT to assist – just a barn with the stench of manure dust in the air and an awkward young man with zero experience in midwivery trying to coax a child that wasn’t his out of his betrothed’s naked body. 3. Angels anouncing His birth with happy cries of “Glory to God in the highest!” and “Peace on earth!”before adding the rather ominous qualification of “with whom He is pleased.” (Luke 2:14) Apparently there will be some with whom He will not be pleased and for whom there will be no peace. Sides are already being drawn and the sword of judgment unsheathed. 4. Ditto Simeon’s prophecy eight days later when Jesus is presented per custom at the temple for dedication to God and to be circumcised, a bloody ritual that for Jesus was shot through with all manner of prophetic import. ““Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” (Luke 2:34,35) Many were going to fall, He was going to be opposed and a sword was “also” going to pierce His heart. No “visions of sugar plums” that. 5. The minor beast 666 Herod would hear of the birth of this King and be inspired by Satan to send his troops to Bethlehem to kill every male baby under the age of two in Bethlehem “and its environs.” (Matt. 2:16-18) Jesus has hardly begun the time of His sojourning as a homo sapien and the body-count was already beginning to pile-up.