Words from a Father

Husband of One, Father of Four

Tag: eternal

501. Hope Unequaled

Loss of hope is death, no matter how long after. Hope, in itself, is life to the dying and to the living. Hope has no equal in persuading the man, and hopelessness has no equal in his destruction. No passion or truth, no noble lie or self control, no plight for peace or responsibility for justice, nor rejection of oppression or embracing of obeisance are adequate and effective substitutes for hope.

Those hopeful are the strident calm. Those hopeful are the responsibly free. Those hopeful are the logically passionate. Those hopeful are truly alive. And if you are honest about those you admire, you will recognize that those who have hope owe it all to an eternal hope. Hope is either eternal or it is delusory.

462. Essay: Sacrifice and Relationship

We all long for things such as love and belonging, peace, joy, to make an impact, and even to live forever. The blunt person might say this is a good description of heaven. But to be with God in heaven requires two things according to Christianity: sacrifice for our sin and relationship with Him while we live — in that order. Sacrifice for wrongdoing is a common theme running through every ancient culture and still permeating our own.

Since we have all done wrong, we can only offer a sacrifice for our own individual sin; my sacrifice for my sin and you for yours. But once I sacrifice myself for my sin, I cannot live and be in relationship with God, which is the second requirement. This is the classic catch-22, like what we see in “The Gift of the Magi”. There is not enough money for a gift, so the giver sells the thing most precious to them to obtain the gift. Only after do they find out that the complement to the gift was destroyed in the process. It’s like selling all the salt to gain only the pepper.

If a sacrifice must be given first and the relationship formed second, then the solution seems logical. If a perfect human — perfect in the ultimate sense: perfect inception, perfect qualities, and perfect life — were to offer themself as a sacrifice, an imperfect human would benefit.

If this human were actually more than a human — eternal instead of temporal, all-powerful instead of weak — then their sacrifice would extend not just to one human, but to all of imperfect humanity. The acceptable sacrifice of one perfect human would be an umbrella of mercy covering every person who has ever lived.

No wonder that, amidst a chapter about the sacrifice of Jesus on the crucifixion tree, the speaker exclaims, “His banner over me was love” (Song 2:1–4).

Through Jesus the demand for justice is fully satisfied so that we may embark on being fully satisfied in relationship with God.

When we look now at the two requirements to be with God in heaven, it seems it was all a ruse. God did what we could not do in order to give us what we wanted all along: heaven. God the Son took on our debt of sacrifice so we could take on the joy of relationship.

460. An Eternal Anchor

Social justice without an eternal anchor in futile.

If justice is real, then eternity must exist.

If there is no eternity, then there is no true justice.

We may gain slightly better circumstances in our life, but gaining true justice in life is exceedingly rare, if it even occurs at all. Yet we all long for justice, hope for it, believe it is a real thing, and fight for it. So if we do not gain it in this life, then we must acknowledge the possibility of its fulfillment in the next. This also means that “the next life” will not be in this world, as some propose.

436. Full Life

The way to a full life is to spend it on the memorable and the eternal.

422. Essay: Morals, Ethics, and Laws at the World’s End

Morals, ethics, and laws are three different things.

Morals come from a divine source; they are foundational and, it could be argued, absolute regardless whether we agree with them and abide by them or not. Ethics are mankind’s way of codifying standards apart from a divine source, whether springing from a philosophy that is utilitarian, practical, altruistic, lack of purposeful harm, social contract, or what have you. Ethics are circumstantial. Laws are the details, whether coming straight from the undercurrent of moral absolutes via ethics, or coming from ethics without explicitly acknowledging moral codes. Either way, it’s a trickle down from the immovable to the detailed. Separating them this way helps me see them a bit clearer.

All ethical codes and laws are of temporal good, not eternal good; that’s the purpose moral absolutes serve. Ethical codes and laws will always eventually be shown futile because — and this is key — they do not change a person on the inside, but only recommend restraint of outward actions. True restraint, however, only comes from within, thus the emphasis on “internalizing” whatever ethical code one takes as their own. Think of all the laws passed in a city. Now imagine that city has suffered a cataclysm. No amount of signs reminding people not to steal will matter one bit; it’s every person for themselves. But no worry in imagining; it’ll happen again in just a little while. The world doesn’t go for too long in a state of meek stasis because we still haven’t been changed on the inside.

Now fast-forward to the end of the world as our solar system rips apart by colliding with another. If all is lost at that point, which laws matter and which do not? The correct answer from the anti-theist is that none of them do except as a form of control, a form of social etiquette. But when the earth’s mantle is caving in, etiquette matters not.

When did those laws cease to matter? A day before the cataclysm? A month? Five years or a thousand years before? There’s no clear time when they would be futile, so they shouldn’t matter now. It truly is just a matter of time. Let’s not begrudge a few moments here or there when the universe is winding down to its eventual heat death.

Laws are not an objective — immovable — standard. Whenever someone sees fit to break a law, they will and with little consequence. But breaking a moral injunction is akin to disemboweling your own conscience. The consequences are internal and they are grave, eventually spilling out over your stumbling feet. Without an objective moral standard, we tug at the fragile strings of what it means to be human, not realizing it is the cord holding back the hand with Dorian Gray’s dagger. Pull too hard and the youth dies in anguish with nothing but the remnants of a ruined life painted for all to see.

While each decade seems to display mankind’s increased ruination, keeping objective moral standards in place is our only saving grace. At the world’s end only an objective moral standard has enough impetus upon the human heart for right action, and that only comes from God, along with His promised strength to accomplish it.

371. Dedicate Yourself

Dedicate yourself to something greater than what can decay.

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