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Worldview

 

The purpose of this page is to give you a brief overview of the two competing alternatives humanity – with a little help from its enemies – has come to at this late stage of history concerning the imagined "structure" of Ultimate Reality.

However, at the risk of scaring you away like a wily prize bass, but because there’s such an industrial dumpster-load of junk theology on the web, I thought it best to first insert a brief – as it is termed in Christianese – "statement of faith."   There’s a strong statistical probability you’ll hate me for it, but here goes:

 

STORMWATCH STATEMENT OF FAITH

We are absolutely convinced that, in order for eternal holy Deity to clothe Himself in human flesh, the virgin birth of the Messiah is literally true,  Jesus thereby becoming the Father’s only begotten Son.   We are equally persuaded of this Son’s sinless life lived on our behalf as the "second Adam," of His atoning sacrifice of Himself as the prophesied and foreshadowed "Lamb of God" by crucifixion outside Jerusalem to provide an adequate blood-covering for human sin, of His bodily resurrection from the dead and consequent appearance to hundreds of His followers, of His bodily ascension into the heaven of heavens to receive His rightful place beside the eternal Father, from whence He shall come again to earth "in like manner" as He left in order to establish a literal government on this planet under His rulership for one thousand actual years, after which transpire events quite beyond human imagining.

We believe Yeshua, Jesus Himself, as very Creator-God in human form, is the "narrow door" to everlasting life, a door opened (in this era at least) by trusting totally (not merely in that unique identity, validated by the Father in raising Him from the dead but) in His other mighty works on our behalf – most supremely His once-for-all-time payment of the ransom price which we as fallen creatures could never pay, since we can rely in no part for entrance on personal deeds of "righteousness."   (In other words, "good works" are the fruit and not the root of the gift of a God-wrought new birth into fellowship via and with His Holy Spirit.)

We  believe that the Bible – even though no longer available in its "original autographs" – is God’s authoritative revelation to mankind insofar as ink and paper might aspire to such a task.   As such, despite manifold evil assault, it has been sovereignly and sufficiently preserved, bearing unfathomable marks of Supernatural Authorship.  A two-fold (Old-Deal/NewDeal) yet unified Covenant, it is in itself trustworthy, as "inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." (2 Tim. 3:16-17)

 

 

"Structure" of Ultimate Reality

 

This doesn’t have to be hard. Believe it or not, it doesn’t take a genius to grasp the basic issues in "metaphysical," "cosmological" – or if you want an even scarier word – "ontological" questions concerning ultimate reality.

At the simplest level there are essentially three possibilities.   Reality is, ultimately, either:

One

Two

Many (more than two)

To make things simpler still, I will dispense with discussion of possibility three, because in theology (even more than in academic philosophy) the real historical contest has always been between the first two positions -- since even so-called polytheistic systems usually resolve the second possibility back into the first. (This is actually what the Far Eastern religions have done with concepts best symbolized by the Yin-Yang, as I will explain.)

 

Possibility #1: Ultimate Unity

This idea is summed up in the increasingly popular phrase, "All is One"   (which for a while appeared on matchbook covers for the Hard Rock Café.) This statement is intended quite literally – a bold assertion that at bottom all the seemingly distinct and separate facets of existence manifest forth (or emanate) from a penultimate center, source, or "ground" of Being.   Among the Eastern religions this idea finds its clearest expression in Hinduism, which has tended to include a more philosophical component or "systematized metaphysic."   Over the past century this "monistic" worldview has gained increasing currency in the western world, especially since having been largely adopted by the flower children of the sixties.  John Lennon leaned toward and Charles Manson wholeheartedly embraced this view, as did many in a previous generation at the highest levels of the Third Reich.

Monism (one-ism) in its Hindu variety imagines that the visible universe is a kind of dream-like outer cloak, more or less illusory, thrown out (emanated) from an impersonal "Dreamer" Which (not really Who) exists ultimately on the highest vibratory or "spiritual plane" of a multi-tiered reality whose illusory aspects lessen the closer one approaches the center of pure generating Thought or Mind.   The "glass onion" image fits nicely here, and undoubtedly has an aesthetic appeal for its seeming symmetry and simplicity.   At its best – as a noble human aspiration to comprehend the mystery of existence – this concept does wrestle with some profound truths.    At its worst, as a remarkably intricate fabric of subtle distortions, it is a masterwork of supernatural deception with the swastika its natural symbol.   It is eternally cyclical and eternally Now.  Time is merely part of the illusion.

 

Possibility #2: Ultimate Duality

Things begin to get tangled here because under this heading three distinct varieties logically appear:

There is first  the strictly philosophical and true "dualism," which alone belongs properly in this category -- but to which nobody of monumental note historically seems to have adhered.  This is the idea that there are two perfectly equal but perfectly opposite fundamental principles in eternal antagonism to one another, "urge and demi-urge," absolutely irreconcilable, out of which dynamic conflict the worlds spew forth – more or less chaotically no doubt. Mathematical visions of fractals dancing in their heads, Rosicrucians and Theosophists sometimes sound like they believe this way.   (Not to mention Obe Wan Kenobe.)

But the human mind doesn’t seem capable of swallowing such a concept for long, without realizing that such perfect balance in opposition surely implies Unity on a higher level.  Here, then, we find the misnamed "dualism" of Chinese Daoism, for example, as expressed in the widespread Yin-Yang swirl.  Once again there is the dynamic "motor" behind all appearances, inherent in light-dark, good-evil, positive-negative – but now seen as the practical "modus" or necessary outworking of that transcendent One which awesomely embodies the Unity of All Opposites.   So, in a modified form, we have only fallen back into the monistic or, as it is more generally known, "pantheistic" view.   Thus, as in Star Wars, we have both the dark and light sides of "the Force."  (One can’t help but note how this view, as it has impacted Western civilization, subtly manages to demote "God" and promote "the devil" to equal status.  I recall from my hippie years a line sung by the rocker Dr. John: "I reflected and respected them both"!    A little later came George Burns in the Oh God! movies where he played God and Satan.   Carl Gustav Jung, best known for his theory of the collective unconscious and father of new agey "depth" and "transpersonal" psychologies, espoused this view, most notably in Answer to Job, where he called the symbolism of the Christian cross a geometric perversion because it tried to force the lower arm "representing evil" away and "out of balance" with the other three arms.  The "Maltese cross," such as that emblazoned on the Red Baron’s tri-plane was much more to his liking.   For this mindset the very concept of perfect holiness is anathema.)

Again, for this second perspective, as an eternal Now throbbing in unthinkably huge cycles of self-forgetting adventure, linear historical time is an at once playful and detestable illusion where detachment from life becomes the preferred escape route.   Walt Whitman, having imbibed Hindu ideas by way of New England transcendentalists like Ralph Waldo Emerson, could rhapsodize in dispassionate appreciation of "the big show" even in a scene of violent suicide.   As the Beatles were later to sing, there’s really "nothing to get hung about."

 

The THIRD sort of "twoness" is quite foreign to formal academic philosophy and to eastern pseudo-dualisms alike.   It is the biblical world view.   That is because the two elements here are so unspeakably distinct in nature – so far separated in substance and significance as to be scarcely comparable at all:

 

Reality  with a Capital R

Here we encounter the biblical distinction between "Creator" and "creature."    Reality, according to the Bible, is not the neat sort of package any human being might dream up.   (C. S. Lewis has perhaps the classic presentation of this point in Mere Christianity when he observes that our solar system, for example, is not at all the tidy collection a human engineer might propose.)   One Part of the "twoness" has an eternal existence; the other part was "spoken into being" out of nothing and is "upheld by the word of His power" (Gen. 1, Jn. 1, Heb. 1)  One Part is compared to a Rock; the other to shadow and vapor.  Yet the lesser part truly exists and is no illusion – indeed this lesser is in certain respects highly valued by the superior Part.   To complicate matters yet further, the lesser created-part also includes, in addition to a "material" universe of atoms, stars, and living organisms a spiritual component called "angelic beings" or messengers who are "a flame of fire" – plus one other unique form of life, "a little lower," called humankind that can contain spirit as a clay vessel can contain a flame. These last remarkable creatures, paralleling the three-part division of the tabernacle (tent) or temple as God instructed the Israelites to build, are capable of simultaneous life on three levels: body, soul, and spirit.

Even more unexpected, the created universe – while it still visibly reflects the eternal power and glory of its invisible Maker (Rom. 1:20) – has at the same time, on the other hand, "been subjected to futility" so that  "the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth," "longing," "waiting" "eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God" when it "will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God." (Rom. 8: 19-22)   Strange sayings indeed which mere men must puzzle over.   Here is no endless cycle of death and rebirth but an objective Time-realm in actual motion toward a Goal in Eternity.   "For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things."  (Rom. 11:36)

 

 

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Proceed to reality - part 1

 

 

While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

 

Copyright © 2001 STORMWATCH all rights reserved.  stormwatch@bellsouth.net 
Revised: March 21, 2007.

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