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THE LAKE, THE ROSE AND THE LILY
THE LUMINOUS LIGHT ON THE LAKE
STEPPING OUT INTO BEAUTY, IN THE LORD
THAT LOVELY LAKE WAS SO ELOQUENT
It was always attractive, that lake near Nelson in New Zealand. There was a length to it which as it were, arose and saddled its ass and went many days' journey. It seemed to journey without cease into the distance, at which, in the misty mergings of vastness, a mount arose, capped with snow, as if author or censor or magistrate, teacher or aim for the lake. It oversaw it with a serenity not of might, but it seemed, of right, like a natural concourse, a natural family.
Around the edge, one could walk on a well-developed but discreet path, wandering near tree-roots and delving into the lapidary gleams of the lake's surface, or touring quietly towards the rippling marvels of contentment which breezed on the s surface of the lake, mobility amid stillness, surface phases which served to emphasise the stilly fastnesses of the deep.
THAT LOST SOUL
It was quiet and I lay down, only to find the location strangely changed. An erratic seeming man arose, like a geyser from the earth, and jabbered away at me, as if possessed by some sad mania, which grappled with and quite overcame his mind. It all arose, he said quietly at first. It just happened. Try to tell me that this organisation and order and beauty and composition and harmony needed more than nothing, and I'll force the words back into your mouth. So far he sounded vaguely like some ranting University lecturer, on vacation.
One day, he composed himself as I watched him, as a doctor might a tubercular patient coughing, nothing was feeling unhappy because it had nothing with which to console itself. There was to be sure, a certain logic in that. If it was nothing, that would be dim. It was just that nothing has nothing with which to feel, no centre for consciousness or mode of wishing. However with such minute details, I did not harass him in the splendour of his diatribe.
Feeling fulfilled when something arose, he went on. Now that too troubled me a little. Something arose. That was very venturesome for nothing to accomplish. He seemed to read my thoughts. Oh, there wasn't ONLY nothing. There was something there. There always has to be.
Oh! I said, startled by the admission. I agree with that. But WHAT was the something there which arose, and which was there all the time ?
Oh it was just stuff, he said, a sort of material.
Oh was it a material composed of matter, or something slighter ? I courteously asked.
Of course it was matter. It was all matter, he replied.
Then one day there was a material something, and it felt lonely because it was all that was there, and wanted a companion ... is that really, then The scenario, I speculated for him.
No! stupid. I SAID there was nothing, and I meant it.
You ALSO said there was something, so didn't you mean that part.
Of course, I meant that too. Are you trying to be clever ?
To be clear. So there was one day, which is time, which is not nothing, something, which for all that was nothing, and it felt, though it had nothing with which to feel, unhappy for the lack of other things, though there was no way a conception about something could enter the mind of nothing, which to say nothing more, was not there in the first place.
You simply do not understand the grandeur of my conception, he said.
Was a conception there ? I asked, rather patiently.
Of course it was, for how otherwise could nothing have an idea of what it wanted though it wasn't there ?
So, then, I continued, you are really implying that one day, when time was there, there was something called nothing which was nevertheless equipped with feelings and conceptions and hence the mind in which to cherish, contain and display, not to say modify and consider them. So one day, in a time situation, there was a location of some kind, where a mind was at work, and it was feeling that it had nothing much to do, and wanted something which was not called nothing with which to ... re-assure itself ? Is that it ?
Except, he said, beginning to warm to the task, of course there was an understanding, for how could this nothing ever grasp the idea of company without a world view of some kind.
Good. One day something with understanding, code-named nothing, equipped with mind and conceptions, experienced a yen, urge, desire, existentialist surge ...
Sure, he said. Just because it was nothing, that did not mean that it did not have some spirit, something with which to yearn and desire.
So then, I said, one day there was in a time-space module...
NO! he declaimed. What is all this about a module ?
Good, so one day there was a time without constraint in a space which was limitless, occupying all that was there, and the time ticked without being too tidy about it, for there was no trouble about limitation of any kind. There was in fact a universal occupancy of what ? of what was or was not there ?
Of what was there, of course, he said, for how on earth or beyond it could you occupy what was not there to occupy ?
Good. So one day there was a terrain and domain of space time, suitably constrained and oriented and organised, which had the facility to be in suitable order, so that bits did not wander about chaotically, and to arise in a sequential mode, so that there was room for development. It was code named nothing and felt moved to become more ... developed.
Now you're getting it, he graciously acknowledged. Further, it became obsessed with the notion of upward ho! A sort of British space-time domain.
A domain is usually something ordered by someone, or organised by some force, constraint or power, I noted.
Yes, it was organised by a power that was purely inside itself.
Good, so then this power in itself, was an organising power; it could conceive and ... well, create ?
Of course, dumb-head, he went on, somewhat less graciously. How do you think anything got here if something could not create ? Why, if you know ANY logic, you will at once see that this is the minimum initial power.
Good. Then we have one day, in time, an ordered domain in which a creator lives.
Who said anything about living ? he asked. The creative principle was just around.
A principle ? This is a form of mental notation about what happens. So there was a mental notation about what happens, which made things happen. There seems to be something missing here. Perhaps what you really mean is this: there was a mental facility which had a movement, a dynamic, a flow, an outward manifestation in making things move in a direction the opposite of nothing, into somethings ?
Yes, that's it. It was not a person, or even a thought, though of course it had thoughts, or there could be no thought of matter having in itself a repository for them, called law.
Good again. Thus we have a repository for thought, capable of exercising thought, and placing thought into material things. Let's call it God.
Why not ? It is just a name.
Fine! So one day God found a place to be, in a space-time situation, and finding within a power to conceive and create, proceeded to use it, so that things became, well, not just variations on the original theme of space and time being ordered, but conceptions with material occupations ... like roses.
Precisely. You are really coming along! he cried with an appearance nearer to peace than I had yet seen. This being then had principles and one of these was the upward move, to more form, structure with which to do things, and more law, ordered function so that things could be done.
Then the scenario is this, I mused for him. One day, in a space time domain, ordered, organised and set in a situation of operational facility, a being bred conceptions and organised laws, and implemented both so that the space time structure became inhabited with a lot of divisible entities which performed their various functions in an inter-related way.
You'll do me, he said. What is a better - a more descriptive name for it, do you think ?
Well, I like God, I replied. But in the meantime, if you wish, it could be called the Imaginative-Conceptualising-Conditioning Creator ?
The word 'Creator' is a no-no where I come from...
Then the Imaginative-Conceptualising-Conditioning Institutor ...
Good. That's acronymically speaking, ICCI.
Yes, but we should trace its ways a little further. When it brings into being what was not there, it is really creating.
Yes, I suppose I am just conditioned myself, with all the jabber at the Uni. Creator will do me.
So one day, the Creator thought of improving a base situation by instituting a whole series of entities which would make for more intelligent activities, or even the activity of intelligence, since we seem to have this feature and focus as we are talking, don't we, up to a point!
Yes, so the Creator instituted intelligence and beauty and order and form and structure and ...
Oh, God is the name then. One day, in a space time situation, where matter was, God developed the whole panorama of conceptions and thoughts and put them into forms and formulae, into features and compositions, including man, and equipped the last with intelligence of his own, but as you see, with that, the power to make mistakes too, so that it was what we call a spirit.
Spirit ? That's another word we simply don't allow ... What IS it ? Is it something supernatural ?
At this point, it is simply something that can have purposes OF ITS OWN (you know, like the Australian Republic, something which can make its own mistakes in its own way, and defend itself with Collins Class Submarines which seem to have difficulty in docking and making noise and all that). Hence when its purposes are inadequate for the aim, or the means for the purpose, or the aim for the design, or whatever is without structural sufficiency of thought and mode, why then there is what one could call failure, error, mistake, frustration and so on (SRM pp. 441ff., 348ff.).
Ah! I see. Well if that's what it is, it is certainly here, so it needed this base. Why not call our beginning being that Creator Spirit, God ...
But why was He sitting, or existing around in space-time, and why wasn't he bored earlier ?
Now it's my turn. Who said anything about being bored ? We were discussing a desire to create. We were in a special situation where it was a material set-up, only one of many kinds possible. In this tempered, limited set-up, where all the ingredients were not personal, we were as it were watching in our minds the conceptions flow, and showing what was needed if the thing were to become what it now is. But who said anything about a space time setting hanging around anyway. THAT really isn't nothing, and it was no doubt in need of something to build it, for buildings do not happen by themselves, especially from nothing.
Maybe then there was a universe in which something stirred and resolved to make matter ?
If so, where did the universe arise from ? It is hard to arise when there is no order or orientation or material or space or time with which to do it; unless in a mind, but we are discussing the material case, which appears to lie about us.
Well obviously it too arose from the mind of God.
Then one day, we could schematise it, there was nothing
but God, as far as material things were concerned. And before that day,
being unlimited by our pretty little sequences of time, He still was.
Time is a limitation: very interesting but merely one mode. He made our space time and materials things and using these as building blocks, invested the situation, the domain with a dignity and a diversity
Which is now what it is. But are you implying that there was a domain of spiritual beings before this.
There is no reason to deny that this could be.
But how did they reach THEIR composition, work place and so on. Did it just arise ?
Of course not. God if He chose could invent a work place for spirits without material walls.
But what if there were a few gods and they had a field day and decided to co-operate and then it all...
Oh then there is need for the system in which they can work out that they want to work in composite mode, the communication facilities and the language coverage available, the thought transference mode and really, there then has to be a spiritual universe created already. Back of this actually, providing the system, is the Creator. So there is one, one beyond it who can control and create. The 'gods' do exist, but are not properly called gods, except in derision as in Psalm 82. They are spirits, unlimited by matter, created by God, and with their own functions and place.
Now I see how beauty can arise. Instead of making insects philosophers, whose discriminating tastes can judge between the super-spectacular magnificence of incredibly complex designs, and so institute them by having them arise to meet their possible capacity to appreciate, which I always thought was a bit rich, I mean some humans are not as clever as that, artistically ...
Precisely. It is a wonderful short-cut in production technique, that what might need something can have it, just by having the possibility of need. Mummy 'nature' knows!
That's cool to the point of absolute zero. Imaginary needs produce actual fulfilments!
It is even better than gambling: you don't have to pay at all, and you don't have to know what you want, for you just find an appreciative universe discerning your need, arranging and organising it all for you, and then presenting it to you without splatter on a platter, all worked out, with lemon to taste. But getting away from childish fairy stories which appeal to the juvenile imagination by omitting education and gaining the world, we turn to reality.
It is better than raving dreams raining pennies from philosophy, which is not much of an engineer, is it ?
Anything but! Instead of having beauty 'arise' from the
deep, where presumably it had been slumbering, the artistic appreciation
and creative capacity being somewhere 'around', you have it simply the
byproduct of the Creator, whose mind already had the engineering facilities
and the conceptual capacities and the artistic aesthetics and the intricacy
penetration and the harmony productive power with which to make beauty.
That, not its absence, is its basis.
Then we need not suppose a rose arose from a deprived structure without mind or concept, power to conceive or to achieve, or that this arose from nothing ?
Of course not. We all know that the construction of beauty involves the most discriminating collation of concepts and capacities, perceptions and conceptions, oversights of domains and synthesis of thought, aesthetic sensibility and practical agility, fold on fold, petal on petal, perfume on perfume, crisp fold of colour on colour, spot and speckle on glowing interiors and moulded exteriors, or whatever. We try to DO it, so we are well versed in PRECISELY what is involved (SMR pp. 431ff.).
If we are to create it, we see seek geometrical form without obtrusiveness, originality without diffuseness, mergings with mission, verges with significance, or find depths and heights with mutual messages, and there, latent but not blatant with loveliness, is the masterpiece; or we work towards it with unitary vision, or creative control or comprehension, till it is finished. Outside ourselves, we find ungoverned mountain grandeurs are yet folded in atmospheric graces, sun-lit in places, shrouded with protective mist in others, undemonstratively declaring splendour amid the delicacy of wild-flowers, natural compositions of untamed serenity and quiet gentleness in each other's arms. We make it - we find it. It is there and well-versed are we in its graces, the configurations and perspectives of beauty, the evocative aspects and the entreating intimacies of its essence.
But in a moment, the delight is a distortion, it is lost by some minute misjudgment. To come, to arrive, it must come altogether. Mere parts lack compulsion to organise, to have place in the domain of beauty; it must meet in detail the rigours of its wonder. Nilsson said well that orchids need to arrive AT ONCE. He was being empirical! That's the way it appears in the line of facts (SRM p. 109, see pp. 108-111). That's the way it is. But it is also the nature of beauty. It is not "there" till finished. Its music is inoperative until the finale. It starts at the curtain. Its last measures are commonly its first performance.
Its totality requires appreciation, even if by magic such could create and summon it. It transcends simple stimuli as the sun the moon, indeed as waterfalls in their summary brilliance and fearless power, nestling in rock and sparkling with delightsome luminosity, surpass a trickle from a tap. In the broader creation, the Creator alone, its source, is apt to produce it. As to our works in this domain, they are a derivative of a derivative, a product of the creation, man
He seemed moved, so I went on. You know, I said, let me
tell you a story.
Let's call it -
THE FLORAL ALLEGORY
One day the rose and the lily were talking. They often did for they had much in common. The lily in its simple elegance and suggestive picturesque peacefulness said to the rose in its intriguing complexity which nevertheless incorporated an overall impact of singleness of design and message, just one word: Good!
Why ? asked the lily, did you say that.
Because, responded the rose, I really do appreciate your exquisite sense of slender sublimity. It speaks of design compactness together with aerodynamic alertness.
Well, said the lily, you are too gracious. But let me tell you, dear rose, for your sense of fragrant quietness is a message in itself, what is that work doing nestling there in your fifth pocket ?
Oh, it is enjoying itself, said the rose. They have their lives to live.
But it is eating your petal, and if you do not take care will eat your heart out.
I know, replied the rose. It is the way things are. Things often eat the heart out of beauty, and then bray about it.
Surely you were listening to that millionaire who said that he bought up cheap the company he had just crushed by temporarily lowering his prices, and then was just going to sell the assets and start setting his prices to make money fast, so that he could retire, or sell the show, before anyone else competed with him again. It takes a lot of capital to do that, you see.
But nowadays surely, the banks practically throw money at 'entrepreneurs' - Australia has had a few cases of that, one in the billions ... and then perhaps it all goes.
Yes, worms do eat the heart out of things and grow fat, before the magpie sights them.
But why do you not ask the gardener to spray you ?
That's his business. I am hoping that the destruction of my beauty will teach mortals some lessons about reality. They are growing so childish lately, always imagining that things come from the place which lacks what they take, so I thought my work would speak: you know, this DISPLACEMENT and ACTION which the world has in nature, is really not productive of what we have, but destructive. I have my patterns, so does the worm. I work at it, and there is the rose; he works at it, and there is the destruction of the rose. Who made the rose, who made the worm ?
Oh undoubtedly our blessed Creator, said the lily.
Then this is the curse, said the rose. And they imagine the cursed nature would create the thing which is destroyed, when it is clear from our every move that creation takes conceptualisation and perception and capacity; but they will not face it; oh a few do. God's garden is still here for a time.
So they put into Nature in their thoughts, the power to make itself when it shows the power to run down and destroy itself ?
It gives them something to do in-between sabbaticals.
That worm is a symbol of sin.
And sin is as real as beauty.
And beauty has a duty to find its source and live with that, rather than ask for destruction because of the presumption of attributing its creation to what destroys, runs down and has no power so much as to conceive. It needs to step out to its source in splendour, in Christ whose beauty was the exquisite and final kind, the beauty of holiness, which SHOWS the beauty in life, and in power, and rescues it from destruction. There's a reason why the Creator of beauty hasn't junked the morbidity of this cruelty and confusion in the world.
He has cursed the earth and scorned its sin (Psalm 2:4ff.,
Romans 8:20ff., cf. News 74), but He has an open
door out of the maelstrom, for His people; and the invitation is as open
as these waters. He has a plan, a gospel and a time. It is nearly
up according to the book (SMR Ch.8).
In fact, He who made it, can take it, and took it, with open arms toward
all, bearing the guilt, to redeem the lost, on the cross; but there are
no redemption vouchers (Hebrews 2:1-3, Romans 8:32, Isaiah 53:4-6, Matthew
20:28) . You come or there is nothing. That is the real nothing; though
even it has ruin as well. It is just nothing sufficient. Nothing with which
to pay for sin, when the only Saviour is rejected. His cover is by covenant
and His covenant is by faith (Hebrews 11;1-6), like all things between
Him and His people. That is the sort of nothing which I wouldn't care for:
there are sweet nothings, but there is nothing sweet about that. It is
like a canker: organised sourness. Those who want it can have it. I don't
hanker for the canker.
THE CHRISTIAN ROSE ?
You sound like a Christian rose ?
I thought you had to be a person to be a Christian ?
Of course you do, but so many people are depersonalising themselves into cultural conformists destroyed into a stolidity which is mere routine drill at the hands of Sergeant Majors of Illusion, that I thought that masquerading as a person could help show them how low they are going.
You are a real sacrifice! said the lily. You are really stepping out for Christ, even though it is only a floral tribute. I wish more people would show their delight in the Lord by being alight with such grace as that.
And you are a joy ! glowed the rose, as its scent wafted the more splendidly about its fascinating glow and flow of splendour, you are gilding the lily.
Not at all, remonstrated our lily. You are gorgeous and delightful. I am so simple.
Well continue to speak when I am gone, won't you ? asked the rose.
Yes, I shall remember you, my dear, replied the lily.
I shall write a little story in the imaginations of some who watch me,
and tell them about the lily, the rose and the worm.
THE WORM IS TURNING
The worm is turning, though, mused the rose. Do you notice how the churches are uniting with the lowest common denominator fusion technique ? it reminds me of fusion in hydrogen bombs.
Yes, that LOCODEC, lowest common denominator confusion.
It's loco all right. And then others who similarly disregard God's beautiful order and organisation and declarations, they want to make not this time another gospel (you know, it's prohibited in Galatians 1), but a splendid self. They are the cynical, self-centred, hollownesses - CYSECHs . Strutting about as if they made themselves, they lose all reason, place themselves at the centre of the universe, and act accordingly.
That reminds me of the Secular Morality without Moses Mouthings of Nothing, you know, like the United Nations who are so moral and have no God. They invent their morals from religious cast-offs, and apply them with a vague knowledgeability, based squarely and most securely on nothing. It is just that without anything, they move a bit.
Oh those! They are the SEMOWIMONs. It rather reminds me of cats crying. It is so unsatisfying really, trying to tell reactor units how to react, and meaningless machinery what is obligatory. They will assuredly develop their touch, they all do in the end, and bring in some sort of force, which is nonsense, since that merely means power to move what otherwise would not be moved, or to accelerate it; so some sort of principle..
Which is nonsense too, since it merely denotes a way of procedure, and if there were a moral way of procedure, written into the universe, then material activities cannot be it, so you have to move to spirit and then to God and then to His mind, and then to His wrath at the outrages committed by and on His creation and then to His word and condition for continuance and then to His morals and His salvation ...
Yes, but they won't go as far as that. It is too inglorious to the demon of self-centred eminence, and God-disposing cast-aways.
Do you mean that like child disposable nappies, they want a god or - you have to say it, person who can be thrown away every time it gets too close for freedom ?
Yes, like the Chinese Communism. Think and thank Marx, and then make the money privately, or ... import it from where it is ! Then say how sure it is that Marx will help you, while nothing helps Marx, whose thoughts start with an energy, a capacity to work which just arose, and continue with a law of history which just works, but doesn't happen, and then end with a heaven which just arises when a certain economic difficulty is overcome; but doesn't come. Everything always has to come from nothing. Like survival confused with arrival in biology, so here in history and society. You need what it takes to get what you have, and merely removing a few creases, or lasting, surviving a little longer, is not the same as manufacturing material.
It is so simple that you would say the world is full of squadrons of simpletons, if it were not for the fact that it is a disease which removes vision (Ephesians 4:17ff., 2:1ff.). When you are blind, well, you simply cannot see. It is pretending to see when blind which is worse than a worm (John 9:39ff.).
It is just as you saw it in Russia - you know, it is called
heaven-to-come, but really it is more like hell.
It is called scientific but happens to use what it denies, to get money, or to fail. Your option. Besides, in terms of definition, the confusion of heaven with a prelude to hell is not very impressive.
Mao became a sort of personal temporary God, like Stalin,
but Mao culted and culled the flowers, the hundred flowers of freedom which
he seemed to appreciate! cutting them down as soon as they grew.
Perhaps he needed the flower power as flour with which to make bread. Since
it is all illusion, try anything! It is worse than a dream. His thoughts
are thwarted, and he is gone with the winds, but not to them! mere verbiage
and cruelty amidst some adventurism, seems to cover a lot of that record.
Mao a god ? scarcely, for a dying god is not the real thing.
BEAUTY FOR ASHES
Not wreckage but resurrection is the need if there is death in divine quarters, for the power of God cannot be limited by the creation which depends on Him for existence: you know the unalterable gospel as Paul says in Galatians 1.
Yes, God has faced and outfaced our follies, and brought back beauty for ashes (Isaiah 61), for those who'll receive it. You need the ONE who made it, or you'll never make it.
The world is making it, like a worm among the roses, declared the rose.
You certainly rose to that occasion.
Spoken like a lily.