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GREATER LOVE DOES NOT EXIST:
THIS PEAK, SUMMIT, ALL
Reader's Digest, November 2004
Hollywood film-making has an interesting aspect now revealed: consultant to Government on terrorist anti-imaginations.
Now this is not to suggest that just because people want to kill infants, batter boys, garotte girls or whatever may be their inhuman form of cruelty chosen in the name of some false religion, godless in its lusts and zealous in its passions (cf. Divine Agenda Ch. 6, More Marvels Ch. 4), they lack imagination. It is lacking only in some aspects, it seems. The term 'anti-' in the above phrase refers rather to the direction than to the nature of the function.
Negative intellectualism, or cynicism (cf. SMR pp. 294ff.), is self-destructive since it radically removes the reason with which it would reason.
Negative imagination in a terrorist and religious setting removes its legitimacy at once by acting for God without authority, evidence or adequate historic background, without verification and without pity. The use of imagination, like that of intellect in some other whose lust is negative, becomes an antithetical operation to all good.
Still, it is imagination of a sort. It is short where it should be long, diseased where it should be healthy, invalid where it should rove with sustainable intent; but it goes, if only down to ruin.
Hollywood however is being asked to show realistic ways of using imagination for the terrors of the terrorist, that phenomenon of the 20-21st centuries whose power is to destroy, not to create, whose lust is to abuse the power man has found by following the mind he has been given, to its illogical conclusion - that is, its self-destruction. It is not at all incidental that so many terrorists - imagining that in torn limbs, infant mulching and child devastations, leaving writhing semi-animate results, as in Israel, for example - add to their folly by their own demise. It is as if power has become king, mind and morals a side-show as the main show must go on.
Where however is it going ? To a spiritual death-row it goes, in the Day of Judgment when God examines every wit and folly of man, and assigns an end to every beginning, whether that end be the glory of the open door of everlasting life or the discard of the dead slurry that flurries off and scurries from its source, the slag that rushes forth to its untimely end, discarded and rejected, unwanted on voyage, having finished before it is well begun.
Recently I was conversing with an
eye specialist who obviously greatly enjoys the advances of his science, and
looks for hope and the gleam of progress. It gets better and better! or more
We are getting better and better! he intoned. However what does not get any better at all is the instrument that holds the instrument, man.
In many cases, ignoring the beginning, it rushes to its end; for of what use is the eye if its sight be evil, or the ear if it will not listen, or the Age if its glory is in shame, or the heart if its will is its own, and its insubordination merely rushes it to the summit over which it spills, like a burst dam! Unhallowed hands may use ultimate devices, but unless they are soundly directly, the truth beyond technique becomes a judgment, not a blessing.
To revert however to Hollywood, where the horror films produced attracted the attention of the Editors of Readers Digest in the November 2004 issue, we find that there is one character who actually TRAINS actors as soldiers in order to ensure authenticity in their film roles. One, Captain Dye, is cited as concerned that the image of professional fighting men should get 'a fair rap'. In the process he gives an image of actors in his sight, opining of many of these that they think the sun rises and sets on their posteriors. Having disposed of this aspect, by report, he is then cited as speaking of what he deems a very different actuality: and this ? it is 'the way a soldier thinks.' As to that, 'we understand there are certain things worth sacrificing for - the mission is frequently more important than you are.'
The self-sacrificing soldier ?
This is a sobering and solemn note. It is certainly in the direction of old-time honour, nobility and fortitude. However let us consider the meaning and the phrasing here.
The saving grace of the statement is the word 'frequently'. In purely military terms for example, it may well be that it is felt that to sacrifice, if need be, 300 men in an operation which could cover a vulnerable bulge in a military line, and so perhaps save 10,000 lives, is a mission of honour and wisdom. Those in it, professionally, it may be felt, are to understand that this is their moment, and if they must die, it is part of their total commitment. Some of these may similarly be most willing, if this is their ultimate contribution.
Noble as such a sentiment is in some respects, it needs further analysis in terms of life. While the merely self-seeking and self-serving incite no admiration, rats having a similar capacity in their rattish 'ideals', there has to be an understanding of what life is for, before it may be dismissed for this or that. That is axiomatic. You cannot wisely sacrifice unless and until you know what is the value of the sacrifice, its nature too, and the value of that for which you make the sacrifice.
What is the value of your own life ? Is it infinite ? God saw fit to send His only begotten Son to die to enable your deliverance from just doom, and God is infinite! Does this mean that you value your own life above that of others ? Far from it, for Christ did not do this, but yielded a life of infinite value for those of far less value, indeed "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). And what does this show ? To find out, let us see the beginning of this apostolic statement, with its end. It is this:
demonstrates His own love toward us,
The clash and collision in life comes readily when it is seen with a noble vision that stops short, like a truncated cone, smooth and well-formed till you are near the top, but then, there is the tip cut off. Like an ice-cream cone inverted, the tip taken with a nip, it ends suddenly, and becomes like something deformed!
It is necessary to see it in its setting, like a pearl in its mother-of-pearl shell. In its beginning, it is the gift of God, as is demonstrable (cf. SMR Ch. 1, A Spiritual Potpourri Chs. 1-3, Ch. 9, incl. *2, Ch. 1, News 94, Delusive Drift or Divine Dynamic Ch. 3), and in the book of our DNA, parallel by some experts to some 1000 volumes of Encyclopedia Britannica in scope of information and size of deposit in groomed, go-terms, there is much information. In the book of the One who wrote the architecture and construction book, for the derivation over the succeeding generations of more of the most advanced design ever seen by mortal human eyes, its own, there is more. He has not left us without a witness, and having written us into being by His word, He has written to us in His book, as indeed in His Son who brought life and immortality to life (Titus 1:1-3), showing the next step.
In our case, of course, this is not a simple progression. We do not simply actively participate in a kind of collaborative address to eternity, having first achieved time in such style, at His creation! On the contrary, as attested by both the spiritual inanity of terrorism, and the need to know just shown for fighting men: if they are to have an understanding apt for their vulnerability, and so KNOW what they are doing, there is a problem. Something is missing. The God who makes truth available, being it, and who attests His word with a power that empirically and verifiably nothing matches*1, has advised of the problem which only tightly shut eyes can miss.
What is that problem ? It is that of wrong aims, wrong execution indeed and not only the execution wrongly of persons misjudged; it is that of unharmonious collaboration among men, unlike the magnificent unity of the human body, and this with the mind glorying in its technical prowess amid the universe, which so far from glory to man, is glory to Him whose it is, and to whom it is due. It is to the inventor of the lot, to the only One sufficient, and not fitting for some self-vaunting two-legged braggart who is instituted without his help, and removed without his permission, into and from the scene respectively!
The problem, then, is sin. That is, there is a misuse of liberty that is so profound, that instead of a harmonious and godly grace by which all men can live in peace, each in himself and all with each other, a macro-body, with meaning, and not mere totalitarian rumps, there is a debut into dalliance and a fall into arrogant illusion, dejected confusion and the resultant armies of reeling ruin. What is to be created by these little gods, each of whom faces death regardless of aspiration ? It moves towards the abomination of headless robots once human, but now sequestered for other purposes by someone or other or something or other, give it this name or that, so that man is destroying himself, almost uncreating himself, and certainly asking for judgment. He sells to the bidder, to the arrogant, to the destroyer, to the political push or putsch, to the controller of thought, or bodies or taxes, and axes reality in his heart, integrity in his spirit and continues to do what some call live.
Is a rotten banana still a banana ? It is a question; but it is no good! Hence the problem with man, as outlined, bearing itself upon itself, is a terminal illness unless there be intervention.
That, it is the problem that must be solved. Mercifully, and in love, God has solved it. He is not so forgetful of what He has with vast and sustained effort made, as to dismiss it; nor so ignorant in His all knowing comprehension, as to ignore what his creation would do, and fail to have an answer. It is the glory of God, the testimony of history and the word of the faultless book of truth, that this He has provided; and independently again, it is the testimony of history that Christ is the living attestation of this written document, the Bible, verifying and validating it, and it does for Him! (cf. SMR Ch. 8, 6).
The problem, then, it is solvable; but for most, unsolved. It is resolved, but not received.
Would we say, In principle it is solved ... ? No such formulation would be even slightly adequate. Would Einstein feel that E=MC2 is slightly near the mathematical fact ? Whatever the final result on that topic, a thing is right or wrong; and further, it works or it does not. Try it to the uttermost and if true, it works to the uttermost. The problem for man is richly solved and that to the uttermost; but slenderly taken. It is like a course in the university, where most say, It is too hard! But it is still there.
As Christ put it, the road to hell is broad; to eternal life, narrow (Matthew 7). Some then bring in the utterly irrelevant concept of narrow-mindedness and reject it, reject life because it is exact. But one plus one is not broadly two, but precisely so. The canons of invalidity in logic are not roughly right, but precisely so. The dimensions of the arms of a bridge, each arm coming from the opposing shore in order to meet in the middle and be joined, as in the Sydney Harbour Bridge construction method: these are not to be rejected because they are precisely governed.
Indeed, they would need to be rejected if they were not! Traffic does not flow on broadly and roughly right bridges but on exactingly constructed ones.
Truth is what it is, and roughly right is wrong.
The principles of course ARE MET; and judgment on the Messiah, transferred because of love from those who actually deserved it, when it is received with repentance by faith in Him. This is a matter of divine principle; but it is also one of practice. It is not however as in some things, in this case as in the old saw, that practice makes perfect; it is rather that perfection makes practice.
In other words, it is only the perfection of God, in this case as man, in the incarnation, which could or would cover the case, since sin must be met, not merely added to; and its cost must be borne, as in any catastrophe, not merely wished away! It has been borne in the Cross of Christ, and this is far from being general and vague also. While it is amply SUFFICIENT to cover all (I John 2:2), and indeed made on behalf of all, as a cheque might be written for each of one's children: yet, unless it is picked up, it is not transferred, nor is any action is taken, no, nor does anybody's account change.
Thus does goodwill become voided IN PRACTICE, by rejection.
Those in whose actual place Christ is delivered up are those who have ALL THINGS (Romans 8:32), and hence those whose sins He actually bears, are those who are the healed (Isaiah 53:4-6). Most do not pick up the cheque by faith, and this is fatal. Some try to act as if they have done so, and go to some church or other which manufactures some 'christ' or other in an endeavour to use the name but not the goods; but this is a fiasco, a sham and a shame (II Corinthians 11:1-10). What is the good of abusing someone's name, as if this would secure anything. It is worse than plagiarising, it is theft, contrary to truth.
Truth, however, is not workable by fidgetting with figures, but by doing what it says.
What then is the meaning of life, that one should meet it, and know when to sacrifice, when one is REALLY RIGHT in holding one's own life less important that the success of some 'mission', be it military or other ? for there are many more ways of giving your life as a sacrifice, than in having your throat cut!
The meaning of life is that it is made by the Creator, indebted to Him by sin, ungoverned in godless autonomies of various kinds and degrees in the mass, needs remedy to find the reality, and deliverance to know the truth, has this available in Christ who, since we have left the realities of God, has brought them down to earth in the most down to earth fashion, even to the point of executing HIS mission by being executed, to deliver HIS people from the doom. And here it has its summit!
Christ for His part, He did not come as 300 to deliver a division; He came as ONE to deliver ALL who receive Him (John 1:12), and NOT ONE MORE, yes and NOT ONE LESS! This is the condemnation, says John 3:19, that light has come and men have preferred darkness to light. They are forsaken not because they are so negative, but because they in the end, negate remedy and receive ruin if not with relish, then at least with resolution! In this, however, there is no light, nor is reason there to be found, nor any truth at all. It is a mere mixture of forces, where personality dives into its pool of blight.
ONE of the elements of human darkness is not knowing what you are FOR! Hence there is a solecism in your logic, an empty pocket in your progress. You do not know, and guess and without God, can no more guess right than can a man without numbers guess the product of vast multiplications. You must find it where it is. Now as to what you are for, you first are for it, to use the vernacular, if you do not find the meaning of your life; and secondly, when and if you do, you are for the glory of God.
What does this MEAN, however ? It means that your are formed, forged and designed, conveyed to your field and need God as mentor and power, governor and guide, saviour and Lord, to depict for you where HE would have you, what HE would have you do, and HOW you should do it.
Is this to lack imagination then ? Hardly. In the vast fields of life, there is such a plethora of wonder and danger, that these general features leave, as for the soldier in battle performing for his General, an enormous challenge to imagination, to intellect, to creativity and to courage; yes and to faith! It is good that it is so. However, there is the direction, the inspection (Psalm 139:23).
"Search me, O
God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
Again, in Psalm 32:8ff., we find the other aspect noted:
"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will guide you with My eye.
Do not be like the horse or like the mule,
Which have no understanding,
Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle,
Else they will not come near you.
"Many sorrows shall be to the wicked;
But he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him.
Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous;
And shout for joy, all you upright in heart!"
Naturally there is a joy which goes with guidance from God, and an exuberance which features when the focus is on the truth: it is so right, so integral, so explicatory of all things (cf. SMR Ch.5 ); and it is so wonderful, since it means that the most powerful person in the universe is the best, and the most loving and that there is no limit: that life begun on earth has eternity for its prospect, not in some mere vision of hope, but in the practical outcomes of precise and privileged performance by God our Creator, in the predicted death of His Son, where it was to be, when it was to be, why it was to be and with the results that were to be (cf. Joyful Jottings 22-25, SMR pp. 939ff., 973A, Highway of Holiness Ch. 4, Repent or Perish Ch. 2, Christ the Wisdom ... Ch. 8).
It is a magnificent construction, the glorious counterpart of the human body; and it is here that the consummation of meaning is to be found.
Thus God not only made man, but covered his crime, provided for his release from the reeking follies of sin and its blood, does not force, invites and attests, verifies and grants victory, and yet makes it a work for a soldier, for a a fighting man or woman, but OUR WAR IS SPIRITUAL! (Ephesians 6). We do indeed have a willingness to sacrifice for others, because and when our God shows us that THIS is the divinely provided place for our best service in Him whose eternal life being already ours, as He simply directs us in our temporary format, as is best. That makes sense, is not guesswork, satisfies the JUST longing which many have, who are willing to die for others, that good may come; and yet it avoids mere misuse on the basis of delusive objectives, such as any country may have, and most do, from time to time!
Thus you go with God, come from God with new life which He grants to those who receive Him (John 3, Titus 3:3-7), and perform His work as He directs. You live not only as though you live for ever, but because you do so, and in the One whose gift is eternal life, it is relished and reasonable alike, to go as sent, in the love of the One whose sacrifice already is in the domain of the infinite, whose example is lustrous with light: bearing what it takes, to do what is needed, and concluding all, return home, till He comes.
To call it satisfying is to call a miracle an event. It is; but it is so much more that the language seems merely fit for a smile.
NOTE: The reader may in this vein wish to read two parallel works:
one is NEWS 82,
and the other News 122.
For the especially avid, there is also What is life for ?
See Answers to Questions Ch. 9, Pitter-Patter of Prophetic Feet Ch. 4 for example. Ally to Christ, the Wisdom and the Power of God Ch. 8.