Wednesday, February 23

The Beginning and the End

In considering ethical teachings from the Old and New Testament, do considerations of Creation and Eschatology enter? However while reading Jim's response (here) to my admittedly shallow musings about evil, it occurred to me that my initial thoughts on this (that the beginnings and endings do not have direct bearing on ethics) might be wrong.

Jim provides a quick little syllogism showing that this world is better than the "next". Then he challenges us to find the hole in his logic with, "Proceed to tear it apart, y'all". Now my first thoughts about what was wrong didn't get to the heart of the matter. That is, first I intended (and almost posted as a comment) to point out that the "next world", is actually this world. That is to say, based on the Creed (We believe in the resurrection of the body) or from Paul that what we await is the bodily resurrection here on earth. What we might expect isn't a life in the hereafter somewhere in a disembodied Hollywood heaven. However, given this that doesn't escape the logic of the syllogism. Because presumably while life still here on earth will still be plagued with natural disasters, they also would presumably not affect us in the same way ... back to nerfdom. So Jim's argument still stands, the hereafter being spiritual (or Hollywood style heaven) or on earth with (new and improved) eternal bodies.

Later seemed to me now that the key to the unwinding of the syllogism of course is, contained in the syllogism itself. Our life will be "full of God's presence". This is in a large part what we await (and lack now). That difference between the "nerf" world and now will loom large. Surely our motivations in our life will be just a tad re-oriented when endowed (fulfilled) with the presence of the Creator.

This in turn leads to the natural question, well, why didn't that omnipotent and benevolent God do that the first time? Why didn't he create us and our world to be just like that, i.e., full of God's presence. This in turn takes us to Adam and the fall (leaving God's presence through disobedience), then to Abram and the promise, then to Jesus and the 2nd Convenant (full circle).

My point is that beginnings and endings may have a lot more implications regarding one's ethics than I had originally suspected. While for now, I'm not going to change my course, I will have to keep in mind that these issues may not be mere Angelology. In defense of the Angelologists out there, I will also point out when you have your ducks in a row regarding your ethics, then you are free to exercise the implications of your theology with issues not directly related to "How then shall I live?" (that is to say ethics). But since I haven't got good answers to the first (easy?) question(s), I'm not given to spending much effort on the others.