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
Son. We are equally persuaded of this Son’s sinless life lived
on our behalf as the "second
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
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
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.
despite manifold evil assault, it has been sovereignly and sufficiently
preserved, bearing unfathomable marks of Supernatural Authorship.
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:
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."
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
distinct varieties logically appear:
There is first the strictly philosophical and
"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
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:
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
whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth," "longing,"
for the revealing of the sons of God" when
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."
to reality - part 1