Jonathan Peageau at The Mansion with CXRE Asset Director Rick Walker
Jonathan Pageau – Author, Public Speaker, and Icon Carver – joins Rick Walker for the show’s fourth episode. They discuss what it means to be Christian, the Mysteries of The Bible, and morality.
About the show: Conversations at The Mansion is a new guest-driven video podcast bringing together the most interesting thought-leaders who provide viewers with unique perspectives at the intersection of media, business, politics, responsibility and work, in a casual, fun and free-flowing conversation at The Mansion.
Scientists the atheists don’t even understand emergence, they don’t even understand how any multiplicity joins into one.
And Keller says it’s so eloquently says that everything that bad that happened will become untrue.
When you worship yourself, it usually starts with worshiping yourself, then you start to die.
question of why is a is a question about time and what precedes it, there’s always the Why is always a predecessor to the, to the impact of the why.
The world of meaning, let’s say is above and in the world of potential is below. So it’s really similar to what Aristotle and Greeks talked about in terms of structure.
Hi, I’m Rick Walker. I’m sitting down with some of my most captivating friends to discuss topics ranging from politics and business to religion and pop culture. Welcome to conversations at the management. Jonathan Pashto, welcome to the mansion remote
ads wonderful to be here, at least virtually, let’s say That’s right. That’s right.
So so you you’ve actually gained some prominence over the last two or three years, your work as an iconographer slash theologians slash I guess, metaphysical mystic as really caught the attention of a lot of folks, especially on on YouTube, that that’s how I became accustom with your your work and your your, your message, just just as a generality, what what is your purpose? What is your What is your overall ethos of what you believe in and why you do what you do?
Well, I, one of the things that I discovered, let’s say, in the past few decades, I grew up as an evangelical, with a great love of Scripture and of Christ. And I discovered in the past few decades that the patterns that you find in Scripture, the the way, the stories are told the way things are set up is something like a map of reality, let’s say it actually describes a frame in which you can live and it talks. It helps you understand how things exist in the world, how the stories exist, and how the stories we tell amongst each other how we frame reality. And this has been something which I guess, you know, 1000 years ago would have been almost obvious to most people. But now because of modern thinking, because of scientific materialism, we have this strange idea that the world is, let’s say random or just, it’s arbitrary. And then we add meaning on top of that, but that we’re in a moment in a cultural moment, as we watch our society break down. As we watch fragmentation in the narratives as we see people start to be at each other’s throats in terms of in terms of social cohesion, we’re at a moment where people realize that there’s something missing, and that, you know, we need to be able to regain the unity that was once there and the way that we saw the world. And so I’m trying to kind of help people noticed how the way the stories are told whether it’s in a Marvel movie, or in the Bible, or in whatever story that you tell even the the story of your day that you tell your spouse, that these actually need to have a pattern for you to be able to pay attention to it. And I’m trying to help people regain that capacity to understand it so that we can tell better stories, and that we can kind of regain a space in culture that we lost to ideologues who are manipulating stories and are trying to tell stories that are really ideologically driven. But a lot of, let’s say normal people that they kind of Christian, regular people, they’ve lost the capacity to, to tell the good stories. And so I’m trying to help bring that back. And images to that’s why I’m exploring ancient imagery, the the traditional images that create images that Christians kind of came up with in the first millennia, because in those images, there’s also this, this frame, or this interrelation, of visual relationships that help us understand how reality exists.
Sure. And that sounds very much like a tolkein type of approach with with definatly, and maybe maybe in his friend, Louis, maybe a louisiane type of type of approach to me exactly. That
I think Tolkien and Lewis are really the precursors in terms of Christianity, Tolkien had a deep intuition about how reality works. And his Lord of the Rings and his kind of mythical mythological world is is is a non Christian virgin. I mean, it’s not Christian explicitly, but it has a pattern, which is just basically the same as you find in Scripture.
Yeah, so there’s this great story of course, they had the group called the Inklings they met every week to talk about the writings from the previous week and, and about eight years into this Tolkien is bringing in this stuff about Lord of the Rings and and about the all the stories stuff like that. And CS Lewis just has enough he stands up he says, He says, damn it, man. Enough for that with the damn elves and storms out. And in the the funny part about that is is you look at lewis’s Narnia series and Tolkien is Lord of the Rings series. About how they’ve they’re both sort of symbolic echoes of what’s really happening not only on Earth, but also on heaven in heaven. And and that frustration was almost like he has too much in common with him.
Yeah, exactly. They were so close to each other that they were inevitably going to clash and how they bring about reality. And I kind of ended up falling closer to Tolkien in that vision in the sense that, let’s say, Louis idev, very deep, deep intuitions for sure. But the the more allegorical way that Louis did things, which is that, you know, it’s like, the lion is Jesus, you know, and then these different characters represent different things. Whereas Tolkien had a more embodied version of it, which is, you could say something like, the different characters in Tolkien will manifest some element of Christ, but not there’s not one that’s like, that’s Jesus. Yeah. And so you know, Aragorn has an aspect of kingship that you can understand Christ through Gandalf has this authority and this, this, this capacity to see the larger pattern that that you can find? And so it’s almost more like the Bible, where in the Old Testament, you have all these figures that have elements of the Messiah, but aren’t completely embodied yet in a full one, like one person in one story. So it’s, it’s, I find Tolkien is closer to actually the way that the Bible tells stories than Louis.
Yeah. What are your What are your thoughts about about symbolism in heaven that as explained in the Bible,
in the Bible? Yeah, well, I would say that there are two there are different realities that are alluded to, there’s a difference between, let’s say, Heaven, then the kingdom of heaven, and then the New Jerusalem, right? Those things are not they’re not exactly the same. They’re related to each other. Right. And so Heaven is something like the place where the invisibles are, where the, where the spirits of things are. That’s what heaven is. And so there’s a, there’s a hierarchy of being you see that in Dante, especially as a Dante as a really great way of helping people understand heaven. And so what is above you is your head, it’s the thing that gives you identity. So as a child, your father is above you, and your your child, your father gives you your identity, and gives you a sense of meaning and a purpose. And so as you as you grow up, you discover that there are other heads that are higher up, whether it be the king, whether it be angels that are, that are, let’s say, the Lord’s, or the principalities of different aspects of reality. And that kind of goes all the way up towards God. And so this idea that God rules from heaven, is related to this notion of a hierarchy of beings, a hierarchy of realities that ascend up to the infinite. And so that’s really what heaven is. And then, like, the idea that we die and go to heaven is not a completely Christian understanding, at least in my my perspective, or even in the traditional perspective, there’s mostly the idea of the resurrection. And then the idea of the New Jerusalem, and so the New Jerusalem, like the streets of gold, and you know, the pearly gates, all of that type of imagery, it’s really important, it’s very important. Because what it what it is, is a manifestation of the totality of everything. And so, and you have to understand it in inside the story of Scripture, that is, there’s a fall, and then in that fall, the descendants of Cain develop a city, and the development of the city is actually part of the fall, right? So you, you’re scared, so you add walls to yourself, you add layers, you add garments of skin, you add all these things, then you add weapons, you start to fight all of this is part of the fall, which leads to the end of the world to the flood in the first part of Scripture. So one of the aspects that is being alluded to in the New Jerusalem is the idea that God will transform this fall into glory. So even the human element, things that we make, even the human developments that we’ve created that are ambiguous, right? So our technologies are always ambiguous, they always have a light side and a dark side, you know, you have airplanes, yeah, great, you can go faster somewhere else, but you can also kill a lot more people from airplanes than you ever could before. So all our technologies have the same ambiguity. And you see in the idea of the New Jerusalem, how it says that the in the New Jerusalem, the glory of all the nations will be gathered into that city. And so you can understand what that means. It’s like all the good things of the world are shown in their glory, whether it be you know, whether it be the natural world in terms of the tree and the waters and the garden, and even the the human development world in terms of technology and in terms of whatever it is humans can produce. The good aspect is what is gathered into the into the kingdom.
Yeah, and I think I think Tim Keller says it so eloquently says that everything that bad that happened will become untrue.
I think that’s really that’s really kind of the the the ethos the that that’ll, that we’ll see that we’ll see in heaven and your conversation. I know you know, I’m on a personal level, so I don’t want to divulge anything personal nature, but I went back and rewatch some of the energy exchange that you had. Jordan Peterson last month on his podcast and he starts tearing up talking about the sort of the fear. And the and I think he I think he uses the word terrorists, he’s afraid. But the narrative and the objective world touch. And the ultimate example of that, in principle is supposed to be Christ.
But I don’t know what, that seems to me oddly plausible. Yeah. But I still don’t know what to make of it. It’s too hard because it’s too terrifying. A reality to fully believe, I don’t even know what what happened to you, if you fully believed it.
If you believed in the story of Christ, if you believe that history and and lead to the narrative, meet
both I think I thank you. Because when you believe that you buy both those stories, you believe that the narrative and the objective can actually touch.
So one thing Lewis likes to say is that what we don’t understand is, is when we asked to have God, God revealed himself over and over in our daily lives, like if you would just reveal yourself, I would believe, is that when the author walks, walk, walks back onto the stage, the play is over. It’s all over. And and so and so we have to use our intuition. It seems like it looks like the conversation you were having with Peterson on the on the podcast was you guys were really working through that, that conversation.
And I think that I think that Jordans reaction to all of this is a honest understanding of what it means, you know, and also this, this terror, I think it’s existential, but it’s also bigger in the sense that, once you once you understand the Incarnation and what it implies, and what we talked about in terms of the idea that this narrative reality, and the world of factuality actually coexist, that they actually joined together. That’s what the kingdom of heaven is, right? That’s the place where God touches the world in the tabernacle, or in the different spaces of Theophany that we see in the Old Testament, ultimately, which really lead into Christ. Like, once you’ve got that, once you understand, all that implies, then it transforms everything, changes everything, it changes the way you see your life, as you see the world the way you see relationships. And so, and I think that his, his frustration at having an inkling of that, and then noticing how us as Christians, we don’t live up to that, like, you know, we, we we still are preoccupied by all these trite things, you know, though we supposedly have the key to the secret of the universe. But we still are, you know, and so that’s why I tried to say, like, I tried to help them see that there are people that live more in that reality reality, and, you know, we all we all kind of exist in this hierarchy of the kingdom, let’s say,
right? Yeah, God, God didn’t come to make bad men good. He Matt can make deadband live. And, and that’s the problem, like we’ve got to take our focus off of what other people are doing, we’ve got to realize that Christians are just moral people like the rest of us, we’re moral beings who make make mistakes, but we have a solution for the mistake, we have a solution to deal with the shame associated with the repentance and that solution be able to turn around in that and i think that’s that’s one of the the commonalities that whether you’re in the Orthodox tradition, or the Baptist tradition, like myself, or the other traditions is we realize that there’s a way to, to come back and approach God.
And there’s also I think, that we’re actually in a, we’re in a scary moment, like in terms of historical moment. But there’s also potential reality in this moment. Because, as we it’s as if, you know, 100 years ago, or 200 years ago, and they talked about the revolutions, and when they, the atheist started to appear on the scene and just say, we just get rid of God, and then we’ll be better. We didn’t have the fruits of that yet. And so it was hard. It’s hard. You can argue on the ideas, but you don’t know what that looks like, because it hasn’t happened. And the same with the 60s, you know, they said, liberate sexuality, and you know, we’ll all be happier. And so okay, fine, like we did, we weren’t able to stop that it happened. But now we can see the fruits. And now we can point to the fruits and say, Do you notice that our society is completely falling apart that fragmentation is, is rampant that you don’t know, your own neighbors, right, that you don’t, that you have no place where you gather together with those around you to even be focused on the same purpose, right, the same goal, the same transcendent thing, and that everything’s kind of falling apart. And the same thing even talked about the 60s and sexual revolution, it’s like at this, they the last results are that people are having less than less sex in the world, because they become a slave to these weird passions. And they’re not they don’t have the total vision of sexuality. So now we can point we can say, this is these are the fruits, right? Like CS Lewis could have told you 50 years ago, and he did tell you but you weren’t listening because the fruits weren’t totally there yet. Now they’re there. And so we have an opportunity to, to kind of gently point to that and say, well, there’s there are solutions to that there are ways to come back together into communion into a body. And that’s what Christianity has always been about. That’s right.
Just Just Just to piggyback on on what you just said, the the globalist, the latest, the the intellectual, who is secularized would say that look at love and lust and say that their culmination is always insects. And so they’re therefore the same thing and there’s no there’s no, everything’s relative, but they don’t understand that the consummation of both those things are two different things. Because it’s the why not the what that happens. This the why that why that consummation happens and and that’s just one way that they that they tend to mistake what love what love is and and
you’re totally right and and i but i think that even in the symbolism of the Christian marriage is really a powerful image to help people understand how yes, those elements can come together, you know, the elements of of love in terms of this communion with another, but also this combination of desire into an ecstatic moment, those things actually have to come together into something like if you if you separate them, and if you separate, let’s say reproduction from, from sexuality completely, then you’re going to start to get into weird spaces where sexuality itself is actually going to start to break down. And so and now, like I said, we see the result, but helping people see again, why this institution of marriage which is a mystical institution, which is seen as an image of the relationship of God to the person how this is a way for all the the the desires and the productivity of love to come together into one place.
That’s exactly right in in what they’re what they’re trying to they’re trying to remove a foundation from a house and hope the house still stands. They don’t they don’t think the foundation is very important. And that foundation, obviously Judeo Christian ethics that that that even goes back and proceeds way before Abraham, it goes back to the very, very beginning of creation. And so the rejection I think what it is they they they’re the relativist reject the moral law. They’re the constant moral law, and they and they they attribute natural attributes to it.
Well, they I mean, it’s there’s constant contradictions in the way that things are set up. on a, on one hand, they’re naturalist, and they want to believe in things like evolution, natural selection, you know, the survival of the fittest. And at the same time now, people have embraced this strange upside down victim culture, which is like a caricature of Christianity. And so what we’re really seeing the narrative break down, and we’re seeing these extremes coexist and contradict each other, and an incapacity to resolve this. And sentimentality goes a long way to get give people the sense that, that they’re doing something and so they have feelings, you know, and they’re angry, or they’re outraged, and they, you know, they have they have this pity for something, then they feel like their moral like, this is a moral thing. But it’s not, that’s not how morality works, you know, morality has to have coherence to it, or else, it’s just going to rip us apart.
That’s right. That’s right. So in my opinion, in my opinion, I think morality is basically a set of three different responsibilities. Once again, responsibility to God, one’s responsibility to your neighbor, one’s responsibility to yourself. And whenever all three of those things are alignment, you you are you’re morally heading in the right direction. And what the what the relativist think, is that the morality of the neighbor can be used as a tool to be able to wedge the legislation and the agendas that they that they want to ram through so they can set their own institutional hierarchies that they’re then the determinants of, and they voted the other one, they reject the idea of God and they reject or reject the idea of responsibility to oneself, because that’s relatives. It’s relative, I should be able to make my own decisions and not my decisions. Don’t back to you. Well, that’s that’s categorically wrong.
Oh, you’re, you’re completely right, that we are definitely seeing a, it really is not, it’s not just a breakdown, it really is an inversion of the normal hierarchy of things. And so they, let’s say, in a traditional world, you would try to join together in something which is above you, you know, and so you would try to unite in a higher in a higher being. And so even if it is even, even if it wasn’t, that’s a monotheistic Christian Christianity, even the pagans did that, right, they tried to sacrifice do some, they did some certain rituals to be able to kind of join together in these higher realities. Of course, they were limited, and they were problematic. So we kind of join ourselves into the infinite source of all love in all reality, and the modern ways and opposite. It’s like, we need to find a place where we can join, we need to find a place where we can unite. And so what we are going to do is we’re going to unite in the exception, we’re going to unite in the the thing that doesn’t fit, and we’re going to do everything to make it fit, but not just that, but to mold all of reality to the exception. You know, I kind of say that it’s the opposite of, it’s the opposite of the image of Christ who who goes out to find the lost sheep. It’s like the lost sheep telling Christ to bring the flock out into the wilderness. Like we all need to be out here in the desert, you know, so so it is an upset, and a lot of Christians are being duped by that a lot of Christians are duped because there’s something about it, which looks right. Which is this, this compassion towards the stranger the compassion towards the exception, you know the the marginalized, which is his Christian, but not the tyranny of the margin. That’s not a Christian.
That’s exactly right. It’s really hard to see your problems whenever you’re full of pride. And of course, the problem the problem with a prideful man is that he’s always looking down on people. And whenever you’re looking down, you can’t see that which which is above you.
Yeah, exactly. And that’s really the same. That’s the like, the satanic move. You know, that’s it. That’s what, that’s the fall, the fall of the of Satan in the story, the fall of Adam and Eve is all about pride. It’s all about thinking that the buck stops at me everything. Everything resolves into myself. And and then that creates this upside down hierarchy.
That’s right. That’s right. And, and what do they say, We shall be like gods, where we’re going to set up our own Ruby like gods and we’ll make our own decision will be our own man, we’ll pretend that we weren’t created, or pretend that that there’s no moral authority above us. And we’ll live the way that we want to live. And and, like you mentioned earlier, what they do, they start building walls around themselves. And that that that happens happened, then they started covering themselves with because they were shame. And they start building protection on there. Because why? Because they reject the the primary directive of God, which is the fear not that perfect love casts out all fear. And whenever you’re out of relationship with God, you have nothing to do but to fear.
Yeah. And there’s a, what you see in Scripture, and the pattern you could say is that if you imagine that the proper alignment or the proper relationship is a union of heaven and earth, right a union of in the garden, you can imagine the garden as a mountain, and then this place at the top, where are the place that Moses goes at the top of the mountain, and ultimately, that comes together in the person of Christ as this union of heaven and earth. The modern world manifests itself as extremes. And one of the reason why people struggle to see that is because they tend to take one of the extremes, they take the place into one of the extremes, and they only see the other extreme as the as the bad guy, let’s say. And so the world of the follow that even the modern world tends to move from, let’s say extreme freedom and extreme idiosyncrasy into then extreme order and totalitarian moves. And so we see this vacillation in the modern world. Now, we know for a while we were more on the side of the of the idiosyncrasy and the chaos, I’d say, but we can, anybody who is attentive can see that the totalitarian move is right on the is right on the horizon, it’s almost already there. And so we’re going to move toward a more kind of control society where everything is managed, everything is controlled, your whole life is calculated, is is accounted for. And so that’s the problem is that we just vacillate between these two extremes.
That’s right. That’s right. And so the so the controlling responsibility within the individual is this moral law that the relativist reject. And they think that they reject it because they don’t want to, they want to set up as their own. They want to be like gods. And so and so how do you how do you convince them that third, that there is that there is indeed a moral law that is within that may not be naturally put there through evolution in the darwinistic types of premises, but also what was put there, by by a creator? Yeah.
And there’s some people that you’ll never be able to convince people that are possessed, or difficult to convince, because people become possessed by these ideologies. And they live through them. And they start to actually take the shape of the things that they worship. And so when you worship a certain ideological position, it’s almost like it invades your being, and then people are incapable of seeing anything, except for that, which is within their blinders. And so, you know, I don’t know how to I don’t totally know how to talk to those people. To be honest, I think the the people that notice the problem, at least that see that there’s something wrong, like there’s something off, and that, you know, they noticed a fragmentation in society, they noticed also this, let’s say, totalitarian desire that the state has, and they can see it happen. And I think that to those people, it then you can speak into that and talk about this idea of incarnational principle, this idea of this possibility of balancing, let’s say, the the order and the potential reality of balancing the two sides, and that slug, right, and that’s how the world exists. It’s like, it’s possible to speak into that. But to be honest, like that, the those that are, I haven’t yet seen a way to talk to those that are completely ideologically taken.
Yeah, yeah. So I think I think one of my favorite conversations I like to have with people that are not believers that are maybe maybe worshipers of the naturalistic approach to, to to morality. I like to talk about the Latin term x nearly Oh, no out of nothing, nothing comes. And so they, they always like to push the why question back right? The question of why is a is a question about time and what precedes it, there’s always the the Y is always a predecessor to the, to the impact of the y. And so eventually, they got to get back to some sort of a weather pre pre Big Bang, they’ve got to get back to the concept of some some morphic type of gravity gravitational field that pre existed. But before that, you got to you got to get something that’s not natural, right? That Yeah, that either we believe in the laws of thermodynamics, or we don’t believe in the laws of thermodynamics. And if you’re going to worship science, hey, maybe you should go and worship some of the basic premises of science? I don’t know. I don’t know. Yeah. So they have, they have a hard time getting back to that explaining that how out of nothing, nothing came as the as their as the the start for their natural beliefs. Now, I think also, even even if they can, even if they don’t have a problem with out of nothing, nothing comes they eventually have to get to the part that there is some sort of natural law at play with within us that this moral law. So so if I, if I believe in the law of gravity, and I drop a stone, the stone falls because it has to fall has no other options with the fall. But you and me we have we have an option because we’re not under just the natural law. We’re on to the moral law, we can choose to disobey the moral law, we each and inside know that we’re supposed to do things, because we have something in English, a word called ought we ought to do something. Yeah, the presence the very presence of the word odd.
Exactly. Explain it. No, you can’t explain that. You can’t explain that. I mean, you can’t explain it scientifically. Because it the Word Art means that you perceive the good now whether you perceive the good in a twisted way, whether you you’re perceiving the wrong, good I can, who cares like that, just the fact that you have a category of the good that you have a sense that things can be that there’s a hierarchy in the world, that there are things that are better than others, that there’s a, that there’s a better something than an other thing. That is really, and I think that, as we were saying it, I realized that that has been like my strategy has been something like that is to talk about two things to talk about the good and to talk about attention. And to talk about how the world is so complex, and so multiple, that it actually needs something like attention for you to be able to, to notice it. And that attention is value lated. It has to be there, it’s not neutral. noticing something means you attribute value to it. And already, you’re in a moral law, you’re already into at least the law of the good and the bad. And then you know, even in terms of like a, like a good pencil, like a good pencil is not a moral thing. But I can tell I know what a good pencil is. And I know it because it has a purpose. And I can see the good in it. And even a rock like I know what a good rock is, if I want to throw it. And I know what a good rock is, if I want to build a house with it, and you know, etc, etc. So I think that that’s really, that has been like my strategy, let’s say to go at people and try to help them see that the meaning is inevitable, at least meaning and the idea of the good is inevitable. And these hierarchies are inevitable as well.
Yes, yes. That’s right. That’s exactly right. So I think I think the naturalist they like to they like to use vocabulary, to really, to really switch at the tangents. And so I don’t know what, you know, when I first got my driver’s license, my mom said, You know, I know you’d like to help people. But if you ever see someone broke down on the side of the road, don’t stop and help them fix the flat tire. Because we all heard stories about people getting hit on the side of the road by doing that, that’s like the one thing you don’t do call for help for them. Don’t do that. And so every single time I see someone on side of the road that has a flat tire, especially a woman that maybe can’t change the tire by herself. Maybe it’s the older lady, something like that. There’s there’s there’s two instincts that I have, number one is the instinct to stop and put myself at risk and help her the second instinct is to is just to keep on going, maybe maybe they call maybe not. But it’s self preservation. And so the nationalist would say, well, that’s those are the two moral laws and it’s my relativist idea whether whether to choose which one of them but But what they don’t realize is above those two or more to two instincts is is a moral law that’s judging both your instincts, you know, which one you should really do. Now, we may choose not to do it, but there’s a judge of that of those two instincts. It’s a moral law. And I tell you what, Jonathan, I’ve never seen a law without a lawmaker.
Yeah. Yeah. Well, for sure. There’s, I mean, in the sense that the only meaning that we know is a meaning that exists through something like person like that in any type of meaning that we can recognize is something like an intelligence and so and so you know, once you once you start to see that that’s inevitable for that to be like without intelligence, there’s there’s just quantum flux or whatever, there’s just like possibilities. And so you need these intelligent agents. And so like you said, that if you if you understand the ramifications of that Then that can actually scale up. And the idea of angels, the idea of higher beings is not at all doesn’t become weird at all, and then scale that up until you reach. Right? The highest thing which contains everything in it like so. Yeah, that’s, you know, we have we call that God. That’s what that’s what it is. And it is a, it is an intelligence. It’s like the Infinite Intelligence, you could say. That’s right. That’s right.
And I think that I think the primary, I guess, hurdle to have have some of these conversations with people that are that are maybe not believers, right? You got you have different steps, you’ve got atheists, you’ve got theists, you’ve got maybe some sort of borderline Christian, and then you got full blown Christian. And so they’re in steps, right? You got to be convinced of the existence of God before you become a Christian. So so as you as you sort of walked towards theism, it seems like at some point, you’ve got to prove the moral law. And you have to prove maybe the evidence of evil in mankind like that, that that’s a significant hurdle. Maybe not, maybe not that I didn’t make a mistake, but maybe someone else made a mistake, that there’s that there’s evil that exists in the world. What are your What are your thoughts on on the evidence of evil, the concept of original sin and maybe the the deplorable nature of mankind, especially from your from the Orthodox background?
Yeah. Well, from the Orthodox perspective, that they we don’t have the idea of sinful nature. That’s something that just never that never landed, it really comes from Augustine mostly, and guys, its own development through hanselman. And Western writers. In the Orthodox tradition, it’s more this idea of that there is always in the world and everything there is like a divine spark, you could say that, in order for the world to even exist, it has to be connected to divinity somehow, or else it would just cease to exist. And so God is always sustaining reality through this, this point, right, this quality that I talked about this idea that we thought the good, let’s say, the good in that thing, for it to even exist, is that the point that brings it together, and then the problem that that happened, the fall, that’s a is that we are, we are meant to look up, right, we’re meant to look up and then once you when you look up, then all of reality aligns itself properly. But we have a tendency to look down and to focus on the particulars. And then we, because we give our attention too much to those things, then we sin, that’s what sin is, it’s missing the mark, right? missing the ultimate mark, you could say, and so it’s a it’s a good that’s not in the right place. And that’s usually what it is. So the idea is that there isn’t anything which is evil in itself, evil doesn’t have a doesn’t have a positive existence, it’s always misplacement of something else. And so it’s always like, like, sexuality is good. There’s nothing wrong with sexuality, it’s when you don’t aim it in the right direction, that it’s becomes a problem. You know, your desire to eat is good, but it’s when you It’s when you worship, your desire to eat, that it becomes a problem. That’s right. And so, to me, it’s I like I have more of a tendency to help people see the inevitability of the good in the sense that your preset your your, the inevitable capacity you have in tendency, you have to notice the good, whether I agree with whether I think the good that you’re pointing to is false, or it’s off, like just that capacity. And then noticing, like you said that you missed that. You miss that mark. And so so if you’re always missing the mark, how can you even recognize what is it that makes you recognize the good, right? So there’s something going on, there’s a pattern playing itself out, there’s something which is showing you how reality actually works, and how it scales up towards the the the infinite good, so that’s tends to be more My, my, the approach that I have, let’s say,
okay, okay. And I think that I think the Augustinian position was was really a differentiator in theology because he he attached the, the dissemination of sin from Adam to the present day through blood, he said it was through blood. And I think there’s a lot of people that maybe maybe reject that in some nature, but we obviously a lot of us, I think most of us look around and see that it’s obvious that mankind ventually since like, we all we all make, we all make mistakes, whether an action or deed, or thought or intention.
Yeah, the will the way that at least the Orthodox tend to understand it is that sin brings death. Yeah, right. So imagine, so imagine, again, this mountain, this mountain, the garden with like, the top of the mountain is the goal, the place where God meets you. And then when you sin, when you miss that mark, when you worship yourself, it usually starts with worshiping yourself, then you start to die, which means that the elements of you start to break apart, because they’re supposed to be united under this higher thing. And then they start to break apart, right? It’s a it’s a, if a baseball team, which has a goal which is to play baseball and to win, starts to starts to think about its own, every player starts to think about their own little thing. Like I don’t think They’re, whatever it is they want to think about, that’s not part of their goal, then that team is going to die, it’s going to start to fragment and break apart. So if the 10 team sins, this is their mark, then they’re going to start to break apart. And so the idea in the Orthodox tradition is that once you’re in the world of death, then that the, you’re in a cycle of sinning, it’s hard to avoid it. Because once you start to break down into your constituent of desires, then those desires start to pull at you. And so it’s like all your desires, which is supposed to be aligned under a higher purpose, then they start to like, pull you in different directions, then you start to be ripped apart by your desires, and then it becomes easier to sin because, you know, you’ve got, you know, a desire to, to, to control other people, you’ve got this desire, this sexual desire, you’ve got this desire to get away with things, because you think it’s going to make you safe, you know, it’s like, if I can get away with this lie, then I’m going to be safe. And so I’m going to protect myself. So all of these, this world of death, which is these two extremes that I talked about this desire to control everything, and then this breakdown into chaos than that, then once you’re there, it’s like, sin, sin, sin, and it takes like, it really takes a whole, you know, it takes real putting back in place, an ultimate center that we can look onto, and that we can model ourselves after, and that we can live in to be able to get away from that. And that’s what, that’s what the Incarnation is, and that’s what the idea of self sacrifice is in Christianity, it’s kind of it breaks down the pattern of sin. Because all of a sudden, the way to reach up is to actually sacrifice those desires that that are holding you all the things you think, are you it’s like, that’s not you, break that get rid of that if you sacrifice that, then you’re actually going to become lighter and start to go up the mountain. That’s right. That’s right.
Yeah, so and i think i think a lot of it trying to trying to escape that that vicious cycle of sin is is learning how to how to get out of it how to really change course, it’s it’s really, it’s, it’s accelerated, it leads you down the wrong path faster and faster. It’s like a, it’s like a bad drug. And I think, you know, you as you as an artist, you know, I think he said, you have you have a son and you know, if you’re teaching that son, how to how to how to draw or how to write for the first time you’re, you got your hand on him, and you’re teaching him how to how to ride because you know how to write and he’s like to learn how to write unless you teach him. And he’s, like, intrinsically know how to write. And so that’s sort of like how God has to teach us how to how to stop sinning to become better. But the problem is, is in God’s nature, he’s never had to stop sinning because he’s never sinned, he’s never repent, because he’s never done anything wrong. And he’s never had to, to reverse course, because he’s always been heading in the right, the right direction all along, because he’s perfect. And so and so that’s something where it then directs us to a bridge and you talked a little bit about the coming together between heaven and earth, and, and sort of this, this medium and, and follow Alexandra follow of Alexandria, who was a Hellenistic Jew that lived in Egypt, sort of around the time of Christ, maybe about 30 years older than Christ. He started talking about this in advance. And so this is a this is akin to a sacralized, you kind of a relativist there that he said that there must be a medium to bridge heaven and earth. And he said, he said that, that that medium must also be the glue. Now, what does that sound like? what it sounds like? It sounds like Hebrews one three, that yeah, that Christ Jesus upholds the universe with the word by the word of his power, that just a word from from this God, man, Jesus Christ is what holds up holds it. So it’s not only the mediator, but he’s also the kind of the glue guy that keeps everything, everything working there. And that’s, that seems to be like, the obvious conclusion that even the philosophers before they even knew about Jesus would say that, hey, it’s going to take some sort of mediator, like, like you alluded to before.
Yeah. And so those mediators existed relatively before, you know, you can see the Prophet playing that role. This the sacral, the person who is leading the sacrifices in the temple in the tabernacle. And then you can if you look at ancient myth, mythological figures, they’ll have the idea that the king plays that role that’s a the king. That’s why they would say like, the king is a God because the king would be or half Gods sometimes they would say, because he played that kind of role as a mediator. But there is there’s always the problem of the of these relative mediators, because they would always, they would always enter into these cycles of, of sacrifice, and then also the cycles of scapegoating where they would have to end up going to war ultimately, like it would always have to be a way to have an other that you demonize, and that you you you want to to attack to destroy, or you know, and then So Christ really gives us a solution. into that whole pattern, you know, and like I said, it ends up being this surprising story of self sacrifice, which ends up being the reality, the key to reality. And once you see it, like once you understand that something like sacrifice is the origin of reality is based on sacrifice. And that’s why in Revelation, for example, he talks about, you know, the land that was sacrificed before the foundation of the world, you think, okay, what’s going on here. And it’s this idea that the highest thing you can do is give yourself to something higher. And this is like almost like a technical thing that I’m saying it’s not like, it’s not just some emotional thing, it’s like the the highest thing like that a part of a chair can do. His part is give itself to its higher goal, which is to be a chair. If it doesn’t, then it’s going to fall apart, and you won’t be able to sit on it. And it’s the same for a family, the highest thing the members of a family can do is give themselves to the communion and the love that is bounding that binding the family together. And so you realize that Wait, sacrifice is the core is the way reality works. And self sacrifice is the way that we actually bind ourselves to each other into something higher than us. And so the image of Christ as not the scapegoat that sacrifice to bind the community, not the king that is risen up above to bind the community, but both at the same time, and in a way that actually spans the whole universal story. Like, there’s no story to tell after that story. It’s like that’s the story. I keep telling people that there’s no story to tell after the story of Christ. He he kind of solved all the puzzles. It’s pretty astounding, actually.
Yeah, that’s right. That’s right. And the the fact the fact that it always takes blood to atone for sin, whether the Christian tradition, this the Jewish tradition, or other traditions, even in the pagan traditions, it always takes blood. And it’s not it’s not because it’s a traditional thing. It’s because it’s truth. Some somehow humankind knew that it was truth that takes blood to atone for sin. Now, the problem like we talked about a second ago, was that we didn’t know how to repent, because we couldn’t have God teaches because God never repented. And they were requires blood but God couldn’t die. It provide that blood for us. And then in so Lewis Lewis gives this this epic statement. And this is this is, in my opinion, Jonathan, that the most beautiful state outside of Scripture, he says, supposing God became a man in his nature was amalgamated with our nature, he could suffer and die because he was a man, but he could do it perfectly, because he was God, then that actually could help us.
Yeah. And a lot of atheists who would listen to this would think that okay, this is just magic thinking, you think that blood you need blood to cover the world that you need blood to, to save unity? Like, what are you talking about? This is insane, and beset. And despite that, we live in the shadow of World War Two, where a churning of blood of millions of people were sacrificed in order to create unity within the West. And so if you don’t believe that you need blood to unite people, it’s like, if you deny that, then you’ve got you, not only is it going to happen again, but it’s going to happen at levels, gulag levels, you know, concentration camp levels of set of human sacrifice, in order to reach it’s like, do you think that the bombs that they dropped on Japan were not a human sacrifice, they were a human sacrifice, they said, and that’s even if you listen to just secular historians, that’s how they presented to us, they say, these people needed to be sacrificed. In order to stop the suffering, we need to kill these innocent people so that they’re the war will stop, and now we’re going to bind together, and we won’t fight anymore. And we’ve been living in on the covenant of World War Two. For the past few generations, it’s been binding us together, the blood that was poured in that war. And so people who think that this is just mythological thinking and that it doesn’t pan out in reality, we need to take a better look at what’s going on. And the same thing like right now, with abortion, it’s the same things, that people believe that abortion is a solution to their problems. They think that they need to sacrifice a life in order to have a better one. What do you think they were doing in the past, when they were killing humans, they’re making human sacrifice, they were saying, If we kill this person, then I my life will get will be better. And we think that the same thing today, we think that we will sacrifice this, this this person, so that my life will then not have any problems, like I will solve my problem by sacrificing this person. And so this is this is a reality that we live with.
That’s That’s right. That’s right. And so I think I think you you see this and you set it, you set up the argument earlier, where you prove the existence evil through the existence of the Nazi concentration camps. The erosion of a bomb, you know, even look to see what would happen in Stalin’s Russia. You see what’s happening in China right now with the wiggers you There is it’s very evident that that evil exists in the world of evil. And and so and so some of the philosophers that may be on the secular side of things might say, Well, how do we get evil from a good God? And and you see, you said, you said earlier that that evil is only kind of bastardized goodness, it’s intellect that takes a little bit of a selfish twist. And going back to that, that that garden scene where we shall be like gods, it’s, it’s, it’s a little bit of a twist on we’re made in the image God, no, we shall be like gods, it’s a little bit of a twist on goodness and holiness, that that that thing becomes self self pleasing.
Yeah, exactly. And there’s a, there’s a mystery, let’s say, kind of in the whole story, it’s hard to fully pierce it. But we can kind of see how God changes death into glory, we see that on the cross, we see it in things like the crown of thorns. And we see it, for example, even in the New Jerusalem, this process of death, which is the this you know, this moving out, and then building walls and building layers gets transformed into something different in the end. And so there is this idea that, let’s say, in the totality of things in the, the totality of everything, that this process, even of evil in depth gets flipped and gets changed into something which ends up, you know, worshiping the Creator. Anyways,
a little a little while, a little while ago, you mentioned the phrase before the foundation of the world, I think. And so can you can you set up what what actually was happening for the foundation of the world, what, what what was what was going on, there
was nothing going on, I don’t know, like the You mean, there was nothing happening before the before the beginning of time, the beginning of time is the beginning of time. That’s kind of that’s how I see it. When I when I when it talks about before the foundation of the world, you could say understand it as in eternity. And in eternity, in the sense of, outside of time, or in that space, where all the totality of time exists in a moment, or in a in a Eternity is not just like before the creation of the world, then there was all this time, that never stops going, going backwards. That’s not the Church Fathers never understood eternity that way. They understand eternity, rather as the source of time. Or let’s say that, that kind of infinite moment out of which all time comes. And so you can say that the Lamb of God is eternally sacrificed, right and that. So it’s not like it happened in a moment. And that’s why like, even some of the Church Fathers will say things that sound crazy to most people that like the the crucifixion happened in eternity. And so it’s like it, yes, it manifested in the world. But it’s an eternal event in the sense that there’s a mystery in the crucifixion, which is actually revealing to us how reality itself works from its very source in terms of in terms of this, this, this, this pattern of being that I talked about. And so I don’t think that there was anything, there wasn’t anything like happening before. Before creation, it’s just all creation flows out of this eternal, eternal spark or this eternal moment, or I don’t, there’s no words to talk about it. Because it’s, it’s outside of time. It’s outside of category. So.
But I think I think you I think you’ve got this. And I apologize, I wasn’t clear so that you’ve got this you have to Trinity that pre existed, the foundation of the world, and there was there had to be something happening there. And I think you’re I think you’re right, the time, the concept of time, is really misconstrued. And this is probably one of the arguments is that you know, like I said earlier, Christ was pulling the, the very universe of the word by the word is power. Well, how is he doing that always here on Earth as a baby. And so, you know, some people might argue, like, that’s a non sequitur, that that doesn’t make a lot of sense. But but but but God is outside of time, he’s looking down in time. And and and the church fathers would say that God is imminent. He’s imminent. So yesterday, today and forever are the same, are the same for him. He is very much as present now than he was yesterday than he is right now in the future. That that it’s it’s like, it’s like an author who’s writing a story that gets up and wants to think about the storyline a little more, he can change the storyline, he can go back in a race, he can add more in the future. But as the time stops in the story, when he gets up from the desk and stops writing, and in God’s God’s eminence, where he can evoke a story of what happened 1000 years ago right now, and he’s very much present right now, just as he was yesterday, and he will be tomorrow, that that’s all pent up in the magnet, the majesty and the glory of God, that and the omnipotence and the omniscience of God that he he can effectuate change across the entire horizon of time at any moment at his at his at his pleasure.
Right and, and so the idea would be that God is outside of time, but time is contained. How can I say this that all of create all of the world exists in God like it’s not outside? If God did that, that doesn’t make any sense in terms of there is no outside to God. It’s a weird, the God, everything is within is in God in the sense, but we’re not God in the pantheistic sense. But yes, sorry, we’re the creation creation is what is in God. And so like you said that that time is an element of that and linearity of time is also contained in in that in the totality, let’s say. And so the the idea that once you once Christ is incarnated, then all of a sudden, you realize that this was the story all along, or that this was there from the beginning that all of the sacrifices all of this stuff described in the Old Testament is actually always an element of Christ, which is kind of culminating into this one moment that happens in the world, but is then shows you that it’s, this is the key to everything else, it’s the key to all of reality from the beginning. So that’s kind of the mystery, those things, these things are hard to talk about. Because we’re obviously beings beings that are in time we have these, this inkling of something more, but it’s hard to, it’s hard to pierce that mystery.
Yeah, yeah, it’s, it’s really like I’ll use the I know, I know, you’re an artist, I’ll use this as, as an example is that if we’re, if we’re in a one, a one dimensional type of being our thought is surround a one dimensions, you know, I can understand a straight line on a piece of paper. But if you start telling me that you can put four lines together, you can make a square, you make a two dimensional figure, I don’t, I don’t believe you, I don’t believe you, because it just doesn’t make any sense to me. Now, if you start telling me that you can take these four, these four lines, this two dimensions, and then you can then create, you can use six of those, and you can make a cube within three dimensions, and I’m going to one dimensionally minded person, I don’t grasp that at all. And that’s, that’s, that’s, that’s an issue, whenever we’re trying to explain the higher medium, the richer medium, by the poor, medium. And that’s, and that’s our problem as as human beings, we’re trying to explain something that’s in three dimensions. And we’re, we’re one dimensional thinkers.
Yeah. And so the the father’s they, their solution to that is to have kind of two moves that we sometimes call that the apophatic move, and the CATA fatik move, which is that on the one hand, we are always reminding people that the realities, the the realities of the infinite are something that we can’t talk about, like everything we say about God is, is false, right? Everything we say about him is is ultimately not reaching up to him, it’s always, it’s always somehow wrong. But at the same time, because all of reality is contained by God, and all reality flows out of him. Therefore, at the same time, everything in the world is manifesting God. And so we can participate in in the life of God, if we’re attentive if we, and especially as we love each other, because as you love one another, then things start to clump together, and you start to see these higher patterns, right. And so you can imagine that if you’re this this one dimensional point, and then you see this other one dimensional point, and that you join yourselves in love, then all of a sudden, you’ve got two dimensions, you know, and so I mean, it’s just an analogy, but you can help you understand how it is possible to kind of rise up as St. Paul talks about to be fit, you know, to rise up as a body into the head as we participate in this in this cosmic Body of Christ. Yeah,
yeah, I think I think I want to, I want to go on a little bit of a Warhol with you on that, on that concept of love before the creation of the world, in that in that same Victor, Richard of St. Victor, I believe it was that, that that use the analogy that when talking about the Trinity, you know, it’s if you look at the world, the world Rogers, look at that, look at the Hindus. Look at the Jews. Look at the look, the Muslims, look at the Christians, we all believe that ad is essence God is love. We all I mean, we might believe in a polytheistic guide on some of those groups, but we believe God is love at his very, very core. And the reason why we know God is love, is because we we love that we reflect His love. And the reason why we know this is this is what Richard said, Richard saying, Victor said, he said that, that if you had if you had a god in singularity, a one person God, before the creation of the world, he would have no one to love. So therefore he could not have been love, he could, from the very, very beginning some things he would have changed, which means he would not have been God. Now, if you had a two person, God, before the creation of the world, though those two people within God within the Godhead could love each other. But it would be sort of a selfish love. Because it’s a it’s a love that’s focused on on each mirror. Yeah. And but but then he said, he said that the reason why we know God has to be have been a trinity is because God created love for secondary purpose and for a higher purpose. And that’s so that we could share life and that you could only have a shareable love. If you have a trinity that’s able to share love between party and party to party. And Tozer I think talks about this eternal dance of love that, that that exists for the creation of the world and, and a God invites us to join him in this eternal dance. And that’s really what the becoming a new man becomes is that he invites us into this love this love that exists for the for the creation of the world and offers this is his his love the highest type of love that that we’re only reflecting very, very, very, very weakly right now.
Yeah, and I think that, you know, there is a, there’s a temptation right now to to for people to go back to Gnosticism. And it is really this this problem of misunderstanding, the Trinity and misunderstanding this idea that love is at the core of how reality works. And you can see it in the in all the kind of transhumanist moves all these, these, these desires to upload, you know, like the idea of uploading your mind or all these these tendencies have this gnostic vision, which is that somehow the world is corrupt in itself. And so you know, do you have the divine mode, it’s easier to see, it’s easy to see, it’s more natural tendency to see that the divine mode, let’s say the unity that brings everything together. But then there’s a problem how that connects to multiplicity. So people who don’t believe in a form of Trinity, they’ll tend to see multiplicity as fallen in itself as the world as being tainted in itself as being poisoned at the very outset. So even as the created world itself is evil, you know, so you see that in Gnosticism, and a lot of that type of thinking, whereas the Trinity because it contains, like you said not just duality, but three, which is the root of multiplicity, right, which is the root root of this dynamic relationship, then it is becomes an image of how the world exists. And it helps us to see that the world is good, and that it exists through this love that we can participate in and, you know, yeah, and then be called into the life of God.
That’s right. That’s right. And that and that that’s an important thing about about being it being an artist, you know, you can be a sculptor, you can be a drawer, you can be a musician as well. And you may I think we talked about King David a second ago, we were really sweet intuited about King David. He was great, great musician. And what you see, what we see in the context was are you are you? Are you musician by any chance?
Not at all? No. Okay. Okay, I wish but no.
Okay, so, so I studied, I studied music in college. So what I, what I found out that is that music is based in Trinity, it’s a trinity of Trinity’s. And this is kind of neat. So if you listen to almost any song that that has had, you know, any, any relevance in the last 1000 years, you’ll see a basis of three chords, the journey, it’s like a, like a one, four or five core, whether it’s modern day, or now they’ll be some derivatives of that would be some extra notes, there’ll be some, some minor chords put in there, but but the base of it is three chords. Now, if you look, if you look at the structure of of chords, it’s got three notes in it. So you’ve got most of the song 1000s of years, three chords. Now this is this is this is Western music, made up of three notes. Now, if you measure the variance in between those three notes, what you see is there in thirds,
So even even at the at the inkling of arts in the way that he made us the function and made us to worship him, he has a trinity of Trinity’s at play in the way that we like to worship. And so that, that’s just kind of a sign of how God builds that Trinity with within us and, and, you know, you go back that you go back to the modulation in between your the transposition between the line, the square and the cue, and you should not surprise you that a cube is one is one figure, you might have six sides of this one figure, it might have three dimensions, but it’s one figure. And that’s, that’s like the three person God, that’s like the three person God. And so I see people that are very, very smart throw out the concept of a trinity, because they’re not thinking about a simple cube, I mean, or something very, very simplistic like that, they don’t see how one can equal three.
Yeah, and they it’s also, like I like, like you’re saying that they don’t understand that the problem multiplicity is a real problem. And that if you if you don’t have a way to deal with it, it’s going to haunt you in terms of in terms of Gnosticism. And in terms of seeing the world as fallen, all of this is gonna is going to happen. And so, you know, you could say that deism and atheism lead to this weird, transhumanist way that we think now that, you know, reality is somehow debased. And that, you know, this idea of the mind, you know, the ghost and the Ghost in the Shell type of thinking, where it’s like this idea of a spirit, and then this body that we could leave or transcend all of this is based on this mistake, this basic error that we don’t understand why, you know, why the root of reality is a trinity.
Yeah, yeah. And they and they liked it, they’d like to get in this derivative conversation about, well, I believe that if God was real, it would be a simpler to understand or would be cleaner or be more streamlined or who would have this this, this attribute or this attribute. But what we’re talking about is we’re not in the business of making up religions. We’re talking about truth here. And truth has some complexity to it. You know, there you talked about the the pagan pagan religions and a little bit what’s happened through, you know, I think you talked a little bit about, about the, the Greek, the Greek gods and so forth and all and all the all the stories throughout mythology, is that you that Yeah, there’s miss that that happened in this that kind of echo what the truth is, they reflected a little bit. But it’s possible that there would be a true myth. And that’s what we’re talking about, we’re exploring the option, the option that there could have been a true myth. We’re just wanting the option that, hey, we’re not gonna invent religions, we’re gonna take truth for what it is, no matter how complex it is. And we’re gonna try to understand it, we’re, we’re in the lower medium, but we’re trying to high understand a richer medium.
Yeah, I mean, this idea that somehow would be more streamlined and more simple is, is hilarious, because, you know, the scientists, the atheists don’t even understand emergence, they don’t even understand how any multiplicity joins into one, they don’t understand how anything that has parts can also be one at the same time. They don’t, they can’t explain that they just have magical words that they use. And they talk about emergent qualities as if that tells you how that works. And so it’s like, if you don’t if you can’t see if you can’t even understand how any multiplicity exist as one, then please don’t talk about the Trinity. Because it’s like, You’re, you’re not you’re not you don’t you’re not qualified to judge that, you know, if you can’t, even at the basic, most basic level, are able to understand this emergence, let’s say so, yeah,
yeah. And it’s and it’s a little bit, it’s a little bit like and I’ll use I’ll use an artist, example. I don’t remember Rembrandt’s the Sea of Galilee that was stolen back in 1994. That museum and it’s, it’s that it’s Rembrandt’s only seascape, it’s a story about Jesus is on a boat in the middle of a sea of Galilee, there’s a storm raging and everything. And there’s a hint of yellow and a little bit maybe purple in there. And it’s it’s the other half of the most most of the pitchers is a little bit of darkness, maybe, maybe a lightning strike something like that as illuminate a little bit of the pitcher. And, and if I was inventing something, and I want to be simple, what I would say is I only want the two pretty parts of that pitch rolling with the prettiest part, which would be the yellow, the little hint yellow. So I, what I’m saying is I want to I want to canvas that just one color, just yellow. That’s just yellow. And I think that would be beautiful. If I’m inventing religions. Now, if I’m looking for the truth, what I’m looking for is I’m looking for texture, I’m looking for complexity, I’m looking for something that’s attached to reality. And it’s just like, we wouldn’t want a canvas full yellow, we want something that that reflects reality that it actually is something that’s multimodal multi dimensional, something that is, is something that is from from beyond nature, striking down into nature, which was the coming in the incarnation of Christ.
Yeah, and, and then once you but then once you, let’s say, once you attend to that mystery, like once you take the time and you attend to it, then all of a sudden, it does start to lay itself out. And it’s not a it’s not an arbitrary thing that you believe, I don’t know why it actually starts to reveal itself. And then you start to see how it is that it’s limitless in terms of what it can offer you, you know, especially the story of Christ, my goodness, that story, you know, and you know, we’ve you know, we’ve all been living with it for since we were born, and I you know, I think about that story every day. And then I’m surprised. And once in a while where I’m like, wait, I didn’t I’ve never noticed that. How is it that I’ve never noticed that and then it opens up an aspect of Christ, or I’m reading the Old Testament, and I’m reading some strange story. And I’m like, why is this story there? Why is it so weird? You know, why are these weird stories in Judges, and then there’s something of Christ, which kind of flickers, and then you realize, Oh, this is what it’s talking about. And this is what it’s manifesting to me. And so it is a like, there is this also this joyful exploration of seeing reality kind of appear to you. And then once you see that, then like I said, you look back at reality at like everyday life. And you think, hey, these same patterns are there to like this, this story is that they know the story of death and resurrection, it’s there. Every time I go to bed and get up in the morning. It’s like, you know, every time the sun goes down and comes up, it’s telling that story. And so the fact that you find it strange that it would culminate into this cosmic vision of death and resurrection, which would encompass all of reality. It’s like, Okay, I understand why you might find that strange, but it’s still everywhere. Like it’s still everywhere. Every time the leaves come back up after winter, every time you know, all of all of this is, is just a pattern of reality. And it just culminates into this one story. So
That’s right. That’s right. It’s gonna it’s kind of it’s kind of funny how an artist lets his handiwork be known as Creation, where you see like, like you mentioned the weeds coming back up after a winter that you see this process of death and rebirth, death and rebirth, death and rebirth. Well, I mean, what what more do you need? I mean, do you need an actual signature on the canvas that says God created this? I mean, what more he possibly need, you know, your, you know, artist like yourself, I mean, you, you probably don’t need a signature on the canvas, you can you can tell who’s handy workers whose handy work,
and it’s it but it’s your it’s interesting, because I’ve noticed that a lot of artists right now that are attentive, are able to, like I’ve noticed, like musicians, for example, like you said, are more easily capable of coming to believe in God and in and in Christianity, because they’re just naturally prone to noticing patterns, like they’re naturally prone to seeing how the world kind of has this, this pattern to it. And so they tend to be more easily convinced, let’s say, whereas that the worst or the rationalist? Like they’re the worst, because they also have this trust in their own reason, and their trust in their own capacity. And so because of that, it’s harder to break that.
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, there’s a, there’s a reason why, David, I think in the verse, the third verse of all the Psalms says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. It’s not intellect. It’s not IQ. It’s not how many degrees you have. It’s the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Well, maybe that’s something to think about by the by the guy that was the greatest king in all Jewish history that also gave birth to the wisest man in all of human history. Solomon, maybe it’s worth maybe it’s worth considered? I don’t know.
No, but you’re, you’re right. And there’s also something about that, that it also informs the way, like I keep saying, it also informs the way that the world works, which is that there are things that unite us into one, right, and you need to fear that, because if you don’t like even your family, let’s say your family has, has an aspect of it, which unites it, and you need to have a certain Don’t touch that fear of whatever it is that unites your family together. Because if you don’t, if you act with sacrilege, and you act in a way to disrespect that that aspect, which unites you, you’re going to be surprised to find your whole life in chaos. And you’re going to be surprised to find that everything is break is breaking around you. And no and it’s the same even as a country, like our country has certain things that are sacred which binds them. And you need to fear that you need to be careful, don’t touch that. Don’t touch that without thinking without understanding what it’s going to do to the world because it is going to bring about death, if you if you don’t fear the things that bind you and that ultimately culminates into the fear of God, the God Himself.
That’s right. That’s right. It’s, it’s reverence for the holy Right. I mean, it’s, it’s that I’ve got to realize that my comp, my fellow man is something holy, someone that’s made in the image of God, someone that is not immortal. it you know, we’re all mortals we’re all walking around, you know, nation, nation civilizations. Those are mortal. And and I think Lewis says that, that their life to ours is like, like that of a gnat. But it’s mortals that you that you joke with you snub, you talk to, you marry. And that’s the highest form of holiness that we’re that we encounter face to face is our as our fellow fellow human being because they’re made in the image of God. Hmm,
yeah. And even that, like, even the image of God and your fellow man is something you have to fear, like you have to tiptoe around, you have to be careful not to step on that. Because, you know, because it doesn’t take long before people become beasts and we treat them like bees, you know, it doesn’t do not a lot of steps between one and the other. That’s right, that’s right.
So so I think you I think you spoke earlier about the the concept or the other reality, that Christ is the ultimate symbol of who God is, you know, God, Christ came everything, everything that we saw Jesus, his love for humanity, love for the poor, the the the love for life, is his ability to be able to tell stories and and capture audiences that tells us evidence of God, that everything Jesus was God is God the Father is and so and so being made in the image of God, we’re also maybe maybe once more removed. We’re not as close as close to God, God the Father as Jesus is. But we are made in His image. And so we’re simply we’re symbolic of who God is some way. We just Will you speak for a second about that about the symbolism, the responsibility that the Amano imago dei, of what it means to be made to the image of God.
Well, one of the things that you see in Scripture in Genesis is that God, for example, puts Adam in the garden right tells him to be a gardener and so tells him to tend to creation. He also says to multiply and dominate the earth. I use the word dominate explicitly because they don’t tend to translate it that way. But it has the sense of kind of dominating Yes, but not in a bad sense, but in the sense of spreading the word Right, so you receive the word from heaven, then you spread the word out and you, you bring order out of chaos in the same way that God that God did at the outset. And then we also see Adam, namely the animals, which is this kind of participative role that we have. And so the idea is that the things we put out there, even in terms of meaning in terms of images, in terms of story, all of these, these images that we that we speak into the world, they have an effect, they either lead the world, the world towards the goal, they lead the world, the world towards the mountain and going up the mountain, or they lead the world away from it, and they lead it towards more depth, and more fragmentation. And so so we have a real responsibility to participate in that. And there’s a sense in which, and this is something that Jordan Peterson actually calculates very well, is that if you lie, you’re you will destroy reality, the more you lie, the more you destroy the world. It happens at a small scale, but this small scale has reverberations that it has, you know, because you’re connected to people around you, the effect of your sin is going to be felt like you think that you’re sitting in secret sometimes, but it always has an effect on reality, because you’re not isolated. Even if you do something in secret, you take that secret out into the community that you’re in, whether it even be in the way you look at people in the way you you just these subtle ways that you act, you’re taking that there, and you’re actually participating in either bringing the world into cohesion into love, or, or breaking it apart. And we all have a role to play. And we all act as the agents of God in the world, you could say, and we have the capacity to either to either to either really bring things towards him or to bring it bring things more towards death. That’s right. That’s right.
It’s like It’s like in a war. You’re either advancing or retreating. If you’re staying still you’re retreating. Yeah, exactly. And so and so we have that we have that need. I think, you know, we talked about Adam, it seems like the pre out on the pre fall the relationship where God was actually walked around in the garden, having conversations with God with Adam and Eve like, that’s the goal is the fact that Eden was perfect naturally, wasn’t why it was even he was even because they had the presence of God. I mean, that’s also how I would define heaven. Heaven is is the is the imminent presence of God that’s that’s realized, there’s no need for faith because God is face to face with you. He’s there. He’s evoke and his power is open his will he’s opening his his glory, and he’s spreading that that glory directly to you. Just like just like two men would would talk and probably closer to that. And, and so we’re I think we’re trying to get back to Eden. I think that’s that that’s maybe maybe one of the one of the hopes and so
yeah, I think when we look Look at Romans five again, like that’s the that’s the original sin chapter, if you look at it from a little bit different, different standards, you’ve got this federal head that is Adam, you know, he taught us how to send and we’re and we’re, we all just happen to send what what how that happened. You know, we can agree to disagree on or agree to disagree with Augustine on how that happens. But what we also see is this hope, there’s this dramatic hope that somehow this this a Magno day, this this this this glory goddess, this is it. This being like that we are there creating the image of God can be restored to that. And Christ is our federal head, that then offers us redemption and propitiation and offers us this ability to be able to restore the glory restored to, to relationship with the one true living God. And and and that’s how we, I think that’s really how we get restored back to the full image of God. And that we’re we’re only mirrors like we’ve spoken out a couple times, we’re only miros mirrors. And depending on our cleanliness, that’s how, that’s how much we’re reflecting the image in the glory of God, the dirty you are there, the dirtier we are, the more that that image will be refracted and broken about and beat not not visible. But if God purifies us, his image is shining on us and the rest of the world will see will see his glory.
Yeah, and it and it’s, and once again, it’s like people will often hear this and think that we’re falling into arbitrary religious speak. But that’s, that’s really once again, how it really once again, how things work, how reality works, that is that if you yourself are a slave to all this multiplicity inside you, that you’re a slave to these different passions, to your different desires to these different obsessions, then that’s what’s going to manifest in the world. You’re not going to be this mirror of love, and of communion that we’re meant to be. But if you’re able to free yourself, you know, in prayer in, you know, through through the prayers of people around you through this, this this communion of love, then you’re then slowly you’re going to start to shine, you’re actually going to start to shine and I hope that some a few people that end their lives have had the chance to meet someone like that to meet someone who is who is bright Right, to meet someone who when you meet them, there’s this transparent, just open, you know, truth and love in their eyes and the way they look at you. And the way they treat you. There isn’t this shiftiness there? Isn’t this hiding? There isn’t this concealing, but rather, this just just presence that they’re with you? And when do you encounter that in a person and you see, you get a glimpse of what’s possible, right, of how we can actually exist as human beings and you use things like if that person is even just, you know, it’s like, 1/10 of what we see, when we, when we, when we read the story of Christ, like you can understand what how the magnet like the magnitude of what he was, and how people were so attracted, and repulsed and frustrated. And, and, and, you know, so because that type of person is also dangerous, right? Because some people will be, will be will get angry, like, if you meet someone that has this open love, they’ll just like their reaction will be this fear because they can’t stand to see this light. It’s like it’s a, it’s burning them, you know. And so that’s exactly right. Like, if we were able to free ourselves from these, this moat, these multiplicity of passions and live in love, then then then we will shine and we will become anchors for the world and the world will start to, to live again.
That’s right. That’s right. And that, and that’s one of the odd things that that the gospel offers us this ability, he mentioned Pacific luminosity, that that someone actually shines. And that’s an aspect of the of glory. So God shares his glory with us. And Glory, Glory is really twofold. So you have this luminosity, this brilliance, this, this shining, and you also have this other element of glory, that that that seems to be fame, or, or appreciation or some some sort of glory that seems a little bit paganistic in its in its approach. And then we go back and we read, read Paul, and he says that those who love God will be known by God. Those who love God will be known by God. He says that there will be fame, that that if we love God, we’ll get fame, with the only person that really, really matters is God. And it’s it’s a very, it’s very, very much akin to what you’d read in Revelation, where the ultimate goal of a man is to hear from his maker, well done good and faithful servant. And if we if we remember to take to get another lewisian type of type of thought, in that if you remember that, that Christ says that we have to come to him like little children. He said, he said, specifically, let the little children come to me, do not hinder them for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs in such these, that the that the imminent reign of God belongs to little kids, and that if we want to come to him, we’ve got a we’ve got to become like children, and there’s nothing more pure, there’s nothing more lovely in a good child, than for him to want to hear his father say, well done.
And there’s something about that, this idea of glory that can really help people get a sense of what his Christianity is about, which is that the same things, so there’s a relationship between glory and death, that one actually becomes the other. And you see that in the garden, this idea that, you know, the nakedness of Adam, which is often described by the church fathers, as the as the garments of light are the garments of glory. You know, we’re transmuted into the garments of skin and these, of course, kind of dark garments. And so let’s say you help the poor, or you help someone who’s sick or you help someone in need. And if you do that, by offering that up to God, then it does become your glory, and it actually will be your glory. But if you take it on yourself, and you try to shine on the world, you know, through the pride of whatever it is you’ve done, then it becomes your death. So that actually the same event the same thing, the same gesture, the same action can be for your death or for Your glory, depending on in which in which way it’s directed.
That’s That’s right. That’s right. I think I think Tozer uses that lie. It’s not what you do to make some man holy. It’s why you do it. It’s the intention. God judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart like it that’s what the purpose of the Word of God is. It penetrates the soul and spirit joints and marrow, it judges the actions of the heart. And and that’s, that’s the scary thing. That is the thing that’s terrifying is that that one day we might look to see if the up to the sky and seeing and seeing the entire world melting around us and see and seeing the descending of this this omniscient, omnipresent Jesus Christ who upholds the universe for the world’s power coming down to judges and you can see straight through our souls.
Yeah, exactly. And all the things that I’ve done that to make myself look good, are going to be nothing You know,
that’s right. He sees Yeah, he see he sees the why that’s, that’s for sure. So so in your so in your, your belief system, you have this concept of theosis tell it tell I think, correct me if I’m wrong. Yeah.
No, no, this is that this is the so in the The idea of the church fathers, it’s a you find it already in St. Irenaeus, who says, the logos of God became man, so that man could become God. And you find it in St. Athanasius, who kind of clipped it and made it more aesthetic and said, you know, God became man. So that man could become God is the idea that the purpose of creation, like that’s why God created the world in the first place, was actually to bring his creation into his life, in this in this true transformation and his true participation in his life. And so that’s what we’re actually called to do. And so the idea is that salvation in the, in the way that a lot of more superficial ways of understanding salvation as this thing of like, you know, I believe in this, or I do this, and then I die, and then I got my ticket, then I go to heaven, that in the Orthodox way of thinking, that doesn’t make any sense, it doesn’t actually mean anything. And so the idea is that salvation is the transformation of the person. And so to be saved, is to be transformed. And what you’re transformed into, is into God, not in the sense that your nature changes like that you become by nature, God, but that as a creature, you become translucent and transparent. And your whole being is, is transformed into this love and into this participation in the life of God. But it’s an actual transformation of the person. And so it’s not like, it actually has to happen. And it’s so and it’s not about doing good or doing bad in a, in a moral sense, although that will kind of seep down from from the transformation, it really is, being transformed into a being that is free from the passions and becomes a, a, let’s say, a B being of light that is full of the of the love of God, and then and then lives in that joy, and in that, that that transformation. So that’s probably the best way to explain it.
So it sounds a little bit like the western Armenian tradition that would that would use that sort of the same thing as sanctification, the definition of sanctification in that I don’t feel the the the pool of sin, I feel I feel like I’ve moved to another level there. In some some belief systems within the Armenian tradition would say that they’re that they’ve actually reached perfection. Is that something? Is that something like that? Or does it or do you actually lose the personality? Your personality is actually absorbed into the ocean of God?
No, that’s, that’s for sure. That doesn’t happen. And the Trinity helps you understand why that doesn’t happen. So there isn’t this sense that you find in Hindu mysticism, for example, where this idea that it’s a drop that goes back into the ocean, where you actually completely disappear. There’s a sense in which because there’s a sense in which multiplicity is good, right? When God creates the world, he says, all the time, this is good, this is good, this is good. There’s a sense in which multiplicity actually participates in, in the life of God like that, that that’s actually part of what God wanted, from the beginning is to have this, this kind of overflowing of himself into creation, but then this bringing in and love of this creation into himself. And so there isn’t this idea that that being united with God or being demonized is a is a form of, of annihilation of the of the person, it’s rather this. It’s rather as the fullness of what you were meant to be and the fullness of the of the person. So it’s a and it’s like, you’ll see yourself as you know, fully as the member of the body of Christ, but not just see yourself, but you’ll be you’re be transformed into that
this is this is before death.
Sorry, yeah, even before you die, this is your call to, to that right away, like you’re the kingdom of God is it is within you, The kingdom of God is, is there for those who can see it for those who can participate in and there is an eschatological moment where that will become, let’s say, fully revealed or fully consummated. But there are saints that are glorified or saints that are that are illumine, we say they have reached that in in this life. And they are there free.
Yeah, yeah. It’s it sounds a little bit like the the West. Mr. catechisms. I think it starts off at the chief aim of man is to glorify God, and to find pleasure in him some derivative of that, in that in that not only we, we glorify that somehow we want to, we want to be glorified. We want God to see it. And we want him to take notice of us and that we want to provide a little bit of satisfaction, a little bit of pleasure back to God, not because he has something missing or he or he actually gained something from our pleasure, just because he likes to see as he likes to see his children glorify and reflect him.
That’s that sounds a little bit a little bit like that, that you’re taking part of the God in the relationship with God the way like I wouldn’t even I could go further and maybe say something that somebody will find something scandalous is that there’s an aspect of what the serpent said in the garden, which is true Right. That is, this is something that appears, mostly also in the tradition of the Christian tradition, and in Jewish tradition is that when God told Adam not to take the fruit, God was going to give Adam the fruit. God just didn’t want Adam to take it for himself. And so that was actually the purpose was that at some point, God would give us the fruit. And that the idea is that we God is calling us to be like him. But we do that in humility, not in pride. It’s actually by basing ourselves and by submitting ourselves to God, that we are transferred, transformed and carried up into him. And that’s what Christ shows us. Because Christ does exactly that Christ eats the fruit, the whole symbolism of the cross is part of him eating the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. That’s why he’s between a good thief and a bad thief, because he’s back in the garden. And he’s back in that place where he has to eat the fruit and he, he goes all the way to the end, God says, eat the fruit and you will die. Christ says, Yes, I will eat the fruit and I will die. But he does it out of submission to the Father, not out of pride and a desire to be self contained, then that’s the key to what God has called us to be from the beginning.
I like that, because it’s also it’s also a symbol of the law. I’m not coming to abolish law, but to fill the law. The command was don’t eat the fruit. But I’m gonna go eat the fruit. I’m gonna go and do what I want to do. But I’m also gonna fulfill the law, the law is done. This is a relationship of grace now with mankind.
Yeah, and he’ll eat it. He eats the fruit in submission, he doesn’t eat the fruit in pride. He eats the fruit and he accepts the die. Yeah, like, you can even almost understand that. When when Adam ate the fruit if he hadn’t blamed Eve, maybe there would have been a way out for him, right? But it was already done. Like, as soon as he ate the fruit, he’s like, it’s your fault. It’s your fault. It’s your fault. That’s right. And then God, Christ says, No, you know what, it’s not my fault. But you know what I’m going to do, I’m going to take that fault. Anyways, I’m going to take it all all of it, I’m going to take it all the fault, I’m going to take on myself, even though it’s not my fault. And I’m going to, I’m going to enter into that into the garden, it reverse in the reverse, I’m going to go back up, I’m going to die and then eat the fruit. And then I’m going to help all of humanity come into the garden with me. So it’s like the sort of crucifixion is is all an answer to the garden. Like, everything that happens is answering what happened in that first in those first chapters of Genesis.
Yeah, and I think I think it’s important here just to interject the idea. And the this disclaimer here that we’re not sure how all this works. All we believe is this somehow belief that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, and that he can represent us in our in our, in our standing before God, that somehow that sets us right. And somehow that somehow that offers us eternal life. Like we don’t know the true makeup of it. And it’s just like it just like if, you know, we have the science behind nutrition about that all the calories and the energy and stuff like that comes from food. And if one day, it’s spelled, that that the the, the science behind the calories don’t work, we’re gonna keep on eat just the same. It’s the How it works is is not part of the part of the basis. But the fact that it does work is what we’re stating that it works. sneezers somebody just theories a little bit how it works and how we interpret scripture.
It’s good to stay humble. That’s a good idea.
Well, hey, I’m a I’m a, I’m a businessman. So I don’t I’m way outside of my territory here. And so yeah, so but i think that i think that that what’s just a bit to be explicit about what’s what’s happening here is somehow God makes new men, that the concept of theosis, the silent time, self justification of sanctification, that the taking up of God of mankind into God, creating this, this sort of new creature, that, that the Christian belief is that this, that this is the next phase of evolution, that the next stage of evolution is already happening, and that we have a man that has eternal life, eternal, not because of the duration of the life, but eternal, because of the quality of life. It is a god like quality, that that lasts fast forever, and that that that life doesn’t end in death, the life goes through death into eternal life on the other side of it.
Yeah, and and there’s a sense in which that we will rule with him and that especially some of us will definitely rule with them Christ talks about becoming kind of heads or principles in the world becoming like angels and becoming those that rule over over reality. And so I there is this aspect that the transformation is a real transformation, right? It is just kind of going up this hierarchy of being and and then participating in how the world actually exists. Like is that it’s a mystery. It’s not that easy to totally understand how that works. We can have inklings of it when we notice when we notice how people play that role, like play these kind of heads of things, but in Christ, it seems to be something that is far more permanent, let’s say. Yeah,
yeah. And so one of the one of the One of the quotes I least want to put put forth for your free consideration you being the sculpture that the sculptor the artist is that this world is a great sculptors shop. We’re statues and there’s a rumor going around the shop that one day some of us are going to come to life. I mean, I mean, there’s there’s this hint there’s this essence in in mankind even for Christ coming that that there’s this rumor that hey, your eternal life out there, how do we get to and you see that you see this approach in Alexander the Great the search for the the fountain fountain of youth, the fountain of youth?
Yeah, definitely you see it, you see that desire is there. And, you know, also that all this idea of going into Hades and trying to get people out of Hades, all of these myths that are there in the in the past are there to kind of point us to to something and yeah, the fountain of, of eternal youth is definitely an image of Christianity before Christianity, like an inkling of what it is that Christianity is actually going to end up offering.
Yeah, yeah. And it’s, it’s interesting, if you talk about this, this the sin into the Hadees. I mean, what we’re talking about is, is in let’s go back to Alexander the Great. You’ve got Plato and Aristotle all kind of cluster there together. Alexander’s Father gives him, Homer to read and that’s part of his that’s part of his understanding about how the way the world works. And this guy goes on. And I think he’s 3033 that he conquers the world. And then there’s there’s nothing but hope, hopelessness, but but what you see happening, this is this is 330 years before Christ, something like that, we find interesting is that you read in john chapter four, where Jesus is walking through some merit, some area and he talks to this poor, peasant woman, this tells you something about God, that he’s talking to a poor Samaritan woman, who’s an outcast of society, that she, she she’s offering to get some water out of this out as well and out the middle of sumeria. And he said, and he says, that water will cause you have to come back here day in and day after to drink but the water that I give you is eternal life is water that last night, you know, it’ll, it’s the wellspring cups into eternal life. And the interesting thing about that, is that God uses Alexander the Great, the one figure history that no one ever dares explain a wave as as as a figment of our imagination, the one concrete part of history, three years prior to Christ to go in and conquer scenario on the search for the fountain of youth. And 300 years later, here’s comes God incarnate, talking to the poor, his simplest, most downtrodden woman, about the fountain of youth in a place that Alexander ravish in his in his exploits to it, and you see the complexities of God, that that route at play hundreds of years before him how he uses Homer he is now he’s in a great use play on Aristotle, in that and stoicism, the Greek thought and then you mentioned the logos.
Well, that’s the thing is that once you realize that the world, let’s say when I talked about attention and how the world cannot but happen through stories, and that because attention has a pattern, it’s not arbitrary. We’re not we don’t put our attention on arbitrary things. We’re not attracted to arbitrary things. We there’s there are things that capture our attention for reasons. And once you realize that, then you you’ll notice that the stories have, they have the same patterns. And so not just stories that we tell each other, but actually even the way we remember events, and the way that events become important, right? If they’re if certain events are important to us, because they have that pattern, they follow that pattern. And so just a note to look back into history and to see in Egypt or an Alexander or in all these other stories to see that hey, there’s some inkling it’s funny, because secular these kind of secular historians, they use that to decry Christianity, they use that to say, hey, look, we found this path, this version of a story that looks like Christ, then in the ancient world, haha, you idiots who believe in in this story? And it’s like, no, it’s the opposite. What are you talking about? I mean, this universal story that’s like everywhere. And then and then you’re using it to debunk the fact that a story would manifest itself that way. I don’t understand. It’s like the flood is the same thing. They say the fact that there’s a story of the flood in every culture somehow makes the flood irrelevant. Like I think that’s the opposite. I think the fact that there’s a flood story in every single culture means that that story is something you should pay attention to. Because everybody remembers the story like that it has definitely as meaning Don’t, don’t discount it for that reason.
That’s right. That’s right. And you read, you read something like Plato’s Republic, and he talks about, he talks in there, kind of a mental exercise kind of an Einsteinian type of mental exercise where he says, imagine pure righteousness and a man full of pure righteousness and you and he has this this he crews some of the pure righteousness would accrue to him, you know, a little bit of fame, a little bit of honor, a little bit of dignity to him and, and he could be righteous for the wrong reasons that That, that magic that that man of righteous and you stripped away all those things, and he put a play this concept in his view of him as pure evil, that that everyone castrated and, and and and cascaded him down to to the level of just just just just a trashy but he’s still maintain the concept of righteousness. Then what is it Plato, Plato writes like, what if we flogged that man? And what if we Scourge that man? And what what if we did mean that man? And finally, what if we impelled that man, which is also the type of crucifixion that they would have used back then in Plato’s time in Greek? Greece? What? What would happen to that, that righteousness, that pure righteousness? And now he says that 330 375 years before Christ happens. Now is it is it that he guess that that that that would happen? That that it’s just a figment? That’s just a chance that that would happen? Or is it because Plato actually had a hint of wisdom, that that, that in the ocean of God’s wisdom that one drop should fall on Plato, and he should Intuit that that would be the natural outflow of God, that that that that would be that that that would be the hero archetype? That would be the ultimate story. And I don’t think it’s an accident. I think it’s because Plato had wisdom.
Yeah, well, and it brings us back to the idea that the world isn’t arbitrary. The world doesn’t lay itself out in arbitrary fashion. And so the story of the crucifixion isn’t just an arbitrary thing you have to believe, right? It’s because there are plenty of people that are crucify their blind people that had all kinds of things happen to them. We don’t remember those stories. We don’t tell those stories. The story we tell the story we remember, we remember and we tell because it is an an objective manifestation of a pattern, which finds its culmination in that story. So the fact that ancients would Intuit some aspect of it, not only is it not only is it like surprising is it would be surprising if that wasn’t the case. like it’d be weird if, if, like, no one had an intuition of this pattern that’s there. And that’s real, and that’s part of reality. And then all of a sudden, it just happens. It’s like, no, this is actually how reality works. And all the all the this this, these theories of sacrifice these practices of sacrifices, you know, the idea of blood, the idea of, you know, all of these things that we saw in all cultures were intuiting, some aspect of reality, we’re moving, we’re kind of moving towards something. And then when we see the story of Christ, it’s like, you’re given the key, and you can look back and say, This is what this is what this was going towards, like it was all kind of heading towards this one story. So it is to me that that the type of argumentation that we hear that kind of secular historian argumentation To me, it just, it just really rolls off my back. It doesn’t have any effect on on me, because it’s like, it’s a it’s a misunderstanding of how reality works. And the world doesn’t work the way they think it does. And so,
yeah, yeah. And I think I think reintroduce the idea of the logos that you mentioned a few minutes ago, is really important here. Because we talked about Plato, we talked a little bit about the about the Greek thought, and obviously the logos was at the was at the forefront of what they viewed as wisdom. And what’s real is probably at a topic that they discuss in the industry. It’s there. And you look at you look at a passage that I think that you quoted earlier was was was john one, one, the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, we get seen as Lord of the Lord, the one that only came from the Father full of grace and truth. Or that sorry, he was in the beginning was the Word of the Word was with God, the Word was God, he was with God in the beginning, through him, all things were made without him, nothing was made that has been made in Him was life, and that life was the light of man, that light shines in the darkness, the darkness has not understood it. We see, we see such a theologically rich, you know, handful of words right there, that’s really difficult to explain. And he mentioned the logos, literally the the word that that that john uses in that in that passage. What What is your understanding of the logos and the word as that as as that’s that’s constructed there, especially especially for the meaning of, of what the the precursors to Christ were? And maybe what what the meaning might might be around that, that logos, that work?
Yeah, so one of the things that, let’s say, Christianity reveals, in terms of the logos, it’s something that I think was intuited a little bit before, is that you know, so you have, for example, in the idea of Plato, you have the idea of the forms, which could be something like the logos in the sense that the essences of things that have a kind of eternal existence or that exist in another realm, and then they embody themselves in the world. One of the things that Christianity reveals to us is that those those essences are always also purposes, that they’re also the reason why something exists. And so Christ the logos is not just the the essence Literally the origin of the world in the sense of essence, but he’s also the reason. So that’s why the world culminates into Christ as well. And he’s always the source. He’s the reason. And he’s the end point, you could say, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. And so that is something that Christianity really helps us to understand about how how reality works, and then you can actually understand reality that way, as well is that the logos of something like the logos of a cup, right? Is, is its origin, because without it, you wouldn’t have a cup. And it’s reason because it has a purpose, it’s which is to drink from, and then it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s no, like, that’s the all those things come together into this notion of, of logos in the sense of the essence of something, or the example I’m giving is very simplistic, but it helps us understand how, let’s say how reality works in a fuller way, and it ends up being a participative way that gets so it’s not just these, these forums that float up in the world that are that kind of embodied themselves in the world, but it’s rather this idea that things come together in love, headed towards their purpose, headed towards their purpose, which all of this is this massive process in all of reality, all these things coming together and love aiming towards their purpose. And then you have this fractal version of that, where all of reality is aiming towards the absolute aiming towards the divine logos, which is beyond everything. And so it’s it’s actually, like I said, it’s like a, it’s like a picture of how the world works. And strangely enough, it’s a picture of that right now in the world, all of a sudden, I think people can start to understand, again, feels like for a few 100 years now, people weren’t able to even Intuit that at all, but it seems like right now with, like that science of consciousness, and, and this this limit that science has reach in terms of the observer, the problem, the observer, like we’re reaching a point where all of a sudden, it’s like, you know, this is what we’ve been talking about for 2000 years, folks. Yes, is actually how reality works.
That’s right. That’s right. So yeah, so you’ve got that you’ve got the word, I think the word has multiple meanings, you’ve got the you’ve got the logos, and I’ve heard you speak to speak before about the about the the kind of the transmission I mentioned, followed by Alexandra, that had had the belief that there would be some sort of glue, there’ll be some sort of transition between not having got, and he actually said that, I believe that one day that would come from God, a word with a capital W. So that so that that’s sort of thought was being at least espouse a little bit in Egypt with the Hellenistic Jews. And then you’ve got this concept of breath, I think I’ve heard you mentioned in the past, which is more of a Judy, Judy mystic, Jewish understanding of what the Word, the Word, the Word is,
mean, in terms of spirit, like in terms of what the idea of the I mean, I always tried to help people understand that the word spirit and the word breath is the same. And that there’s an there’s an analogy between these different levels of reality that is, you know, your breath carries your word. That’s right, so to speak, your breath proceeds the word you could say, it’s like, it actually carries meaning. And so just like that, they help you understand what it means that there’s a spiritual world, which is the world of meanings, that then kind of comes down and affects reality, just like when you speak, and you tell your son to get to know like to mow the lawn, think that there’s a causality there. Right? You, you speak meaning into the world, and the world can actually reveal that meaning. And so that’s what breath is, it’s this, this spirit in the sense of the, the invisible aspect of reality, let’s say,
yeah, yeah, that’s, that’s right. And so and so what you’re describing is sort of a trend triangulation that John’s getting at, like, by using the phrase word, as, as God, you’ve got the, the, the platanus, you’ve got that the Greeks that are using Word as logos, you have this final value sandras, using it has kind of the glue, that the mediator, and then you also have this idea from from Judaism, that the word is is the breath, literally the Genesis one one In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, that that whenever God speaks it, it forms something concrete, and that so that’s something that
God was hovering above the waters. And so you can imagine this spiritual reality, and this chaotic potential at the bottom. So you have like, the Earth is chaos. And then you have the Spirit of God. Above that the world of meaning, let’s say is above in the world of potential is below. So it’s really similar to what Aristotle and the Greeks talked about in terms of structure.
Yeah, yeah. And so so it’s interesting how one word in the New Testament can bring together three, three different thought systems, the three authors of the world and triangulate them around the personhood of Christ. Now, now, if someone’s really, really smart, we’ve spoken about the intellectual atheist, we’ve talked, talked about the people that that are essentially Gnostics that think that they know better, I would challenge them to spend every minute of every day for the rest of their lives, trying to understand the first chapter of da of john. They will not be able to do it in a worthwhile manner, because it is so theologically rich, it’ll take the entire intellect they’ll take the entire personality take the entire body and energy. And, and and the tire been to be able to understand that that one chapter, let alone all 66 books of Scripture. And it’s it’s so rich and and i think Wayne grudem who who wrote the one of the systematic theology textbooks that they use to train Baptist and Calvinist preachers, he, he goes on, he writes a little bit about this about this concept of the word, the breath, like he talked about kind of the pronouncement. And what he what he says is that is that Christ is the pronouncement because it’s through him all things were made God God works through Jesus Christ to create the world. And it says in the beginning, they created the heavens of the earth. They if them as a plural God, that that actually created in Genesis chapter one, and that in that the same, the same God that said, Let there be light and there was light, is also the same guy that on see a gallery that woke up from his nap and told the storm to be to be still at peace, be still on the disciples, communist one and another. Who is this that even the wind of the ways of obey Him. And it’s the same Christ that reaches down the little girl who was sick and says, talitha Kumi little girl arrived, and she and she wakes up and rises up, and is the same Jesus, Jesus is the same God at the creation of the world, that that walks up to his friends tomb has been dead for three days to Lazarus tomb, and he says, roll away, roll away the stone, they said, Jesus, his body already stinks. He’s already been dead for three days already. He’s already rotting and stinks and just flies in there. All sorts of things. He says roll rolled away anyway. And he wrote, they he commands and rolled away stone. And then he says, He says, Lazarus come forth. And that heap of dirty old, fly filled skin and bones, had no option whatsoever, then to form itself stand up and come forth. Because as grudem says, The power is delivered with the command that God’s command is never delivered without without the power to obey that command. And that whether we’re a dot we’re or a dead corpse, or a little girl on a bed or a storm, that Christ calls us to come forth and gives us the power to do so
it is very fascinating to notice that a lot of the miracles that you mentioned, what you see is you actually see replaying of the creation, you actually see this image of, of God, you know, you could imagine it’s in imagistic, that God reaches in and pulls the earth out of the water, right? So he says, Let let the so the dry Earth comes out of out of the waters, he pulls this order out of chaos. And this is what Christ is constantly doing. When he is healing people. He’s pulling people out of this chaos out of death. He’s, he’s a, he’s submitting the waters, just like the waters in the, in the first chapter of Genesis that you have these chaotic waters, and then the breath of God is there. And speaking, there’s order that comes out of its stability. It’s Oh Christ walking on the waters, Christ, Christ, calming the storm, Christ resurrecting the dead, all of these are to show that the Creator is there, and that the same person that brought the world into being is now making showing you through these little versions of recreation, what it is that he’s doing in the world, you know, healing the sick, all of these are all these these images of having this chaotic thing in front of you, and then bringing order bringing life bringing pattern back out of this chaotic world. Yes, yes.
So so the pitcher, the pitcher behind you, I think is Jonah in the sea monster.
It’s based on Jonah and the sea monster, but it’s actually
it’s not a photo of the actual sea monster in real Journal.
Well, it’s what it is, is actually Christ, receiving the martyrs who died in communist prisons. And so it was painted by a Romanian artist, but it follows the tropes of Jonah in the sense that, that the way that you show the monster is the way that you would show Jonah’s monster and the people coming out would be like Jonah coming out of the of the fish. And so it’s bringing all those images together together to create a new image, but is traditional in the sense that you recognize what what’s happening and is Christ receiving these martyrs? I like to keep that there. When I saw it, I wanted it I you know, I contacted the artist and wanted to purchase it from her because I feel like we need to stick keep our eyes on that because it’s, it’s, uh, we need to stay ready for, for that kind of stuff.
That’s right. That’s right. And of course, of course, the the essence of the story of Jonah is that if you try to evade the will of God, that God will, God will come get you and put you in his will. I mean, and so and so it’s best to live within the will of God and then to try to abandon that will and run away from it.
Yeah, it’s the thing about this sort of Jonah is that it really is the story of the whole story and even ends with saving the city just like the revelation and ends with this saving the city you with this, like the city that’s glorified. But it’s it’s funny because it’s actually to show you that if you said if even if you don’t want to follow God’s will, it’s gonna happen it’s just gonna be more painful, you know, it’s not gonna be as fun but you know, it’s still gonna happen the story is gonna happen no matter what you can’t stop it.
That’s right. That’s right. So it seems it seems like you really view your work as an artist, as an as an act of worship and active, active, maybe participate in a little bit. And be made image of God being a creator, because you’re, you’re made by a creator. And so talk talk a little bit about about your, your theology of work in what you do.
Well, I mean, I really am very fortunate, I’m very blessed, I could say that I have a chance that everything I’m doing is really kind of participating in this, this celebration, and this, this, this joyful celebration of the of the Church of the life of Christ, and ultimately, all moving this all up to towards God. And so I, I really fell in love with the traditional language that Christians developed in terms of art, and, and I have a chance to participate in that, you know, I, the difference between, let’s say, traditional art and modern art is that it is really participative. So the images I make, aren’t just there to go decorate some random person’s house, you know, they’re there to, to remind them of a holy person and remind them of Christ participate in their, their, their, their spiritual life in one way or the other. And it’s usually a commission. So someone will actually specifically ask me for something that I make for them. And so it is becomes a communal act as well becomes an act of participating in that person’s life in the life of the church, and ultimately, in all of our worship that is, is, is given up towards God. So yeah, that’s what that’s kind of how I see what I’m doing.
I’d like to, I like to close, or wind down our time today, to get your thoughts on what are the implications behind the resurrection? Because Christ has has has been raised from the dead? What does that mean? Like, what what’s the so what are the other message,
I’m pretty sure not going to pierce all the mysteries of the resurrection, that’s for sure. But I think that, I think that what it shows us is that there is there is necessarily a reality, above just the material reality, this is this is something that has to exist, and that there is a manner in which all of that is contained, ultimately will be contained in God that it will have an IT WILL HAVE A it’s not a finite thing. And so the resurrection is, you know, because it’s very mysterious to understand exactly what that means and what it means in terms of phenomena. But that it is the promise that we are, we will participate in the totality that we will have a place in how all of it comes together in the end, and that we will participate in that and that we will, that we’re not just these shadows that vanish into into darkness, but rather that all of this comes together. And so that’s what I what I see in that Christ is the first seeds of that and shows us, you know, shows us the mystery of all the other resurrections that we witness all the time, like we talked about, you know, whether it is, you know, a seed going into the ground and giving a tree from a dead from a dead plant, whether it is all of the the cycles of the sun that go down and comes up. All of this is to help us understand how there is a pattern because you can notice that it’s a pattern. And this pattern of reality as a, as a totality, an infinite totality. And we are called to participate in that. It’s not it doesn’t go away.
That’s right. That’s right. And I think I think one of the most impactful lines in in in the New Testament is going a few verses few chapters back in john, john 1419, I believe that says Christ says, because I live, you also will live. It’s definitive, there’s a period there, and his life has implications for us and that resurrection, everything changes. Everything changes. It’s a different it’s an entirely different world. I mean, you think you think about we’re sitting in the year 2021 Why is it 2021? Because they relied all of time into BC and AD.
I mean, because you can’t get out of it. They can’t they can’t get out of it. They tried to create new terms like common error or whatever. And calling it common error is hilarious, because it’s it’s almost like a compliment to Christianity. It’s almost like saying quits, you’re saying that Christianity brought about a common era. That’s pretty amazing. It’s like, I wouldn’t even dare to say that. But I guess you’re saying it. So let’s just celebrate that as well.
Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So so the entire so the entire world is oriented towards the the life birth, perfect life and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And we recognize that every time we look down at our watches, see what time it is. It’s it’s Yeah, exactly. It’s amazing. It’s amazing.
Well, Jonathan, thanks
so much for your time. Thanks so much for sharing a little bit of your love and your passion for your work and for your belief and your faith. With us, we’re gonna put some links down to your to your websites there. I did I did order the Jonah pitcher, I think is a colorized version of the Jonah and the great sea monster that I ordered because I just loved it so much. It just it just had so much rich meaning there. And so I’m hoping hoping to get that today. I think they are tomorrow. So I’m looking forward to to reflecting on your comments and your thoughts on that and thinking about you during that time. But But thank thanks so much for your passion and your willingness to really share your faith with everyone. Yeah,
thank you for this great conversation. I really, I
really, I actually
learned quite a few things, you know, in some of the information that you brought about so I’ll be also meditating on some of the things you talked about in the next few hours. I’ll be like, yeah, that’s interesting. So thanks. Thank you for that. Remember, I’m
not a trained theologian, so you have to take everything I said with it with a disclaimer that I i’m not i’m not trained. But yeah, so you know, I pre I appreciate appreciate your honesty and I I certainly have some things to reflect on in response to this. But thank you, thanks so much for your time. I catch it as a friend and and look forward to staying in touch with you.
Yeah, anytime. It was wonderful. Thanks.