“6 But the righteousness based on faith says, Do not say in your heart, “Who will ascend into heaven?” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7 or “Who will descend into the abyss?” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8 But what does it say? The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart (that is, the word of faith which we preach); 9 because, if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:6-9 (RSV)
As a simple and concerned Christian, one who plainly admits that God by definition and His salvific efficacy are beyond understanding, I admonish the zealous “bible believer” as well as the atheist. I relate both perspectives in same post not as a systematic theologian, historian or philosopher, but as one who believes that God is a mystery whose existence is both simple and profound. Thereis presumption – a grave sin – which pervades both perspectives, not unintelligently but arrogantly, whether intentionally perpetuated or not.
As with all things sinful, the primary cause of the presumption is not necessarily an infraction of a moral “should” or a superimposition of personal will, that “knows more than you do.” Rather it is an outright rejection of God’s deep and ineffable love by which he created all that is. Much to the disappointment of the legalist – God fearing or not – God’s existence and one’s sanctified and good or bad participation in it cannot be reduced simply to a codified list of rules to be accepted or rejected based on good or bad feelings, liberal or conservative politics or the culture in which one has been brought up.
Inspiration is very literally the life breathed by God himself. In that respect, we are all inspired by God because we are alive – not by any choice of our own. God’s infinite love, which is also His creative power, is something that all mankind participates in by nature. And the reduction or rejection of this fundamental human truth runs counter to the very essence that unites all people to each other and to God. As much as we as a species learn about ourselves, we cannot claim to be the primary cause of any of it. We are not the source of creation itself, nor can we fully know the mystery behind it. We are curious beings by nature, but as deeply as we plumb the depths of this mysterious universe we simply come back to the expansive and beautiful and scary Truth that it is – and it is greater than our finite minds could ever imagine it to be..
In the same way as existence itself is both simply yet profoundly mysterious, so is the nature of our salvation. Once we lay claim to know truth completely – whether we as believers are assured of our own salvation or we as atheists hold tightly to the no-truth truth of our existential condition – we convince ourselves to take another bite of the apple, for we wish to know what God knows rather than rejoice fully in who He is. We desire to become gods rather than submit to the infinite majesty that is God.
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