“Perhaps the first theological insight I learned from Gregory of Nyssa is that the Christian doctrine of creatio ex nihilo is not merely a cosmological or metaphysical claim, but also an eschatological claim about the world’s relation to God, and for that reason a moral claim about the nature of God in himself. In the end of all things is their beginning, and only from the perspective of the end can one know what they are, why they have been made, and who the God is who has called them forth from nothingness. Anything willingly done is done toward an end; and anything done toward an end is defined by that end.” (Dr. David Bentley Hart THAT ALL SHALL BE SAVED Page 68)
Lucy said, “We’re so afraid of being sent away, Aslan. And you have sent up back into our own world so often.”
“No fear of that,” said Aslan. “Have you not guessed?”
Their hearts leaped and a wild hope rose within them.
“There was a real railway accident,” said Aslan softly. “Your father and mother and all of you are – as you used to call it in the Shadowlands – dead. The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.”
And as He spoke He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world, and all their adventures in Narnia, had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read; which goe on forever; in which every chapter is better than the one before.
Is not that last paragraph just stunningly beautiful? How I would have loved meeting Lewis and all his confreres of the Inklings! What an incredible group of men in their depths of their imaginations. Of course, now that I have authored a few small writings, one of which actually won a writing contest a long time ago, I would probably feel somewhat overwhelmed in their presence, by their intellect, and awed by their whole demeanor. Or maybe not. Maybe they would have come across as just ordinary men with a passion for writing. Friendly, gregarious, and perhaps willing to help a novice develop his nascent talent.
As I was driving to Panera Bread this morning to pick up breakfast for my wife, I noticed all the flowers blooming along the roadside. In the midst of an avalanche of bright yellow daffodils I also saw several wispy trees sporting thick flocks of small purple flowers. For some reason, I had a sudden longing to be not where I was, but up in the Blue Ridge mountains that rise towards the sky in the distance. This world has become a brutally ugly place. It has never been heaven, but for those of us in the USA, there was a peace that many other countries knew nothing about. Now, we are being torn apart by greed and lies, hatred and distrust. I have to work every day at extricating myself from the tsunami of evil that is going on around me. By extricating, I mean not involving myself in useless debates/arguments with people whose minds are made up and who will not change their point of view, even when shown the facts by government agencies, doctors, and other renowned health officials. They would rather believe a lie.
A couple of months ago I was standing in line in our local post office, without a mask on. The next thing I know, I’m in a rather heated argument with a Mask Nazi about my refusal to wear a mask. When I told him that the CDC declared back in May of 2020 that masks do not work, he responded by saying “That’s what you believe.”
When I reminded him that the CDC is a government agency, he didn’t care, and continued to harangue me about my refusal to wear a proper face diaper. I have had the same response on the Internet from people when trying to show them that distinguished and eminent scientists, doctors, and virologists have all called bullshit on this whole Covid 19 fraud. The common response I get from these people, who are neither intelligent nor worthy enough to wash the lab coats of these scientists is, “They are conspiracy-theory quacks” or “All they want to do is sell you their supplements.” It is enough to make you want to tear your hair out. I am torn between continuing to try to enlighten people with facts and just going my own way, letting them have the slavery they have chosen. I realize this is uncharitable, but the phrase that comes to my mind is “Stupid is as stupid does.”
It is much the same with speaking about Universal Salvation. I am a small fish in the pond of great intellects like Dr. David Bentley Hart, Father Aidan Kimel, Brad Jersak, et al. With men like them in the forefront of the battle, I wonder why I even write the things I do or try to defend Apokatastasis. It seems to be an exercise in futility, for much the same reasons as I stated regarding the Covid farce. There appears to be in mankind some strange manner in which facts are simply ignored. Jesus raises a man four days dead and instead of coming to bow before Him in homage, the Pharisees connived to kill both our Lord and Lazarus. Dr. Hart writes a convincing book showing how utterly off the wall belief in an eternal hell is, from a standpoint of both the moral insult it is to God’s character and how philosophically bankrupt such a belief is, and his detractors, rather than answer him (which they cannot do!) resort to throwing ad hominems at him like monkeys throwing feces.
I saw something today that made me stop and go “Hmmmmm….” It was a tart riposte to those who are saying “All the doctors I know are saying this isn’t a lie and that Covid is real.” The answer to these people was “And all the doctors in Nazi Germany went right along with Hitler’s mass exterminations of the ‘unfit,’ the mentally ill, and those with Down’s Syndrome or other disfigurements that didn’t meet the Nazi expectation of Germany purity.” Or perhaps I will remind them that the majority of doctors in our country don’t see anything wrong with a woman killing her unborn child if the child is felt to be an impediment to the woman’s happiness.
History is filled with instances in which we can look back and see that the masses of people, blindly following their lying leaders, were wrong. We note that even professional men such as doctors and lawyers, went right along with behavior that we find appalling beyond words. In a hundred years, perhaps this current epoch of criminality and blithering stupidity will be added to the list, and people will study this era and wonder “How could they have done such things?” We are living in a time of mass insanity and indifference.
So I am tired today. Tired of the insanity of the world, the people who won’t listen, who don’t care, and who would happily trade physical or emotional safety for slavery. It is too much for them to think, too much bother to do anything other than turn to the government and say, “Make everyone take the vaccine so I can feel safe.” It is the same mindset as in the people who don’t want the trouble of really finding out who this God is that we worship. “The Church has said … ” and that settles the argument once-and-for-all in their minds. Somehow it would disturb them greatly to find out that God really does intend to save all mankind, that, as Dr. Hart says in the quote I gave in the beginning, this was the plan from the beginning. Creation is done to an end, and if the end intended by God was the eternal torture of billions of sentient beings, then of what character would be such a Divine Being?
Or is God really love, the kind of love that is beyond any and all understanding because it is so rich in forgiveness. The kind of love that no matter how deep in sin, how depraved one becomes, how rebellious and indifferent, it will never cease to love until the tormented soul finds rest in that love and enters the Great Story. It is love that created with a purpose, and that purpose is not the unending torment of souls which He created, with a scant few coming to serve Him in fear and dread of one who would do such a thing to sentient beings. I drive the hellists crazy by insisting upon this – that love really does mean a Great Story with an ending so good that we can neither talk about it nor imagine it. All will be set right, and as St. Julian of Norwich said, “In the end, all will be well.” The only way for all to be well is for all peoples to be healed from the terrible calamity of sin and brought to our senses. Anything less is not worthy of the Great Story nor of the One who is love.
When I read the paragraph from Lewis’ story, my mind drifts away – far away – to a place that is beautiful beyond all measure of understanding or explanation. It is a place I want to go to. I am in danger of becoming a cranky old hermit stuck on an island somewhere so I don’t have to anymore put up with people and their stupid insistence on a God who is more like the pagan “gods” than the One who died for us to be freed from sin. I have days when I think of the lies that we have been inundated with – both secular and theological – and I get really angry inside.
Pray for me. That is not the Christian faith.