Sunday, September 12, 2004

Evil

Re: the last blog on visions

What hangs up many people with the 'pretty' vision of Jesus is the question of EVIL- the ugly head of Satan revealed in the first wilderness story. In fact philosophy tells us that the question of evil is the cause of religions.

No argument with that, but the best answer that I know comes from a vision of C. S. Lewis in a little book called The Great Divorce. (You can read the book in a half hour.)

The protagonist, granted a short leave in Heaven (from the other place), asks George MacDonald about the terrible chasm from which he and the other travelers had emerged. MacDonald shows him a small crack between two blades of grass:

"Do you mean then that Hell-- all that infinite empty town-- is down in some little crack like this?

"Yes, all Hell is smaller than one pebble of your earthly world; but it's smaller than one atom of this world." (page 122 of a copy by Collier Books)

Evil like most things is relative. Things that seem monumental to us mortal creatures are usually of considerably less moment to the eternal. Think eternally!

3 comments:

Michael said...

Evil is part of life. The name "Satan" means "the opposer". In part, it is like our muscles. The biceps and triceps are opposing muscles. If they are equally strong then the arm functions well. If one is strong and the other is weak, then the arm is "muscle bound" and can't function.

I think the story of the "temptations" in the biblical story of Jesus in the Wilderness had been repeated many times in his life. I picture his first acquaintence with the "tempter" was at age 9. The biblical story occured when he was about 36.

The dialog with the tempter is necessary. Thomas More, in the movie "A Man for All Seasons", demonstrates this capability in a slightly different context than does Jesus, with a similar result. In fact, to become a person requires self struggle and self definition which are self-consciousness.

How then does one develop this needed dialog? First, by taking it seriously as it is a basic task of life. I portray Jesus as doing this task during the monthly time of the Dark Moon. Second, by having another human being participate as an "other" on the journey. I portray Mary of Magdala as being that person for Jesus. Third, by agape caring for the whole of life which includes plants and animals as well as human beings.

I suppose there is some sort of eternal hell as there is some sort of eternal heaven. That is, our work on our own personality creates heavens; if we choose to not do the work, there is nothing to take into eternity.

Anonymous said...

Hell is what we create for ourselves, in t his world, in this life. Heaven too. We can commune with the Divine or not.
'Evil' is there in all of us, and self-knowledge is the real key. SO many 'religions' are there to inforce social responsibility,a nd nothing more. 'Bee good or else'.. So they tell us hell exists. We live a frightened guilty life. Is that not hell?

Be free to love, to not pass judgement, to live with liberty and compassion, and to be not an 'individual', but a servant of God, follow your heart. He is your Heart.

Marjorie said...

I've been meaning to ask you about C.S. Lewis -- I love him (I like to stick to my Anglican/Episcopal writers -- perhaps I haven't yet left tribalism behind). I loved the Great Divorce, especially the part with the Bishop who preferred to stay in hell and discuss his paper on the historical Jesus and thus, unwittingly I guess, turned down the opportunity to journey into paradise. Kind of sums up how I feel about the Episcopacy -- maybe I'm moving out of tribalism yet!